Mojave Desert History: Pioneer of the Mojave
A SETTLEMENT ON THE MOJAVE
From various sources it is known that Aaron was not alone at the crossing. The census shows there were ten people living in two residences on the river by 1860. Listed in Dwelling No. 703 were Aaron Lane, William R. Levick, and the Nicholson family, consisting of George and Frances, and their three children aged 9 to 13. Joseph and Mary Highmoor lived in Dwelling No. 704, with a seven-year-old female named Anna.
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In January of 1860 the newspaper, referring to this small group, announced that a settlement was being formed on the Mojave and that "good locations are known to exist." In April of the following year another "settlement" was reported to be in existence:
On the Mojave river settlements are springing up. The tide of travel is carrying along the hardy and industrious pioneer, with his family, who is now erecting his home on the banks of the river. Fine tracts of arable land exist there, and already broad fields present their luxuriant grain to the astonished gaze of the weary traveler. Fine springs of water thread their silvery course, affording joy and refreshment to the wayfarer, ere lost in the sands of the desert.
Although the author of this article indulged in some rather fanciful rhetoric, it can be seen that he only is referring to a single residence being built on the river for one family. This was most likely the Nicholson home at Point of Rocks, as that property appears on the tax assessment records for 1862, and there are no other candidates.
D'Heureuse photo, courtesy Bancroft Library
NICHOLSON FAMILY'S POINT OF ROCKS HOME BUILT IN 1861
Contrary to the author's idyllic description, Lane and the other few settlers had chosen harsh country in which to make their livelihoods, and they spent their days in danger from numerous sources. Indians, rustlers, horse thieves and other desperadoes made existence precarious on the river well into the 1860s.