|Digital-Desert : Mojave Desert||
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Mojave Desert History
Chronology - Timeline1604 Juan de Onate is the first European to meet the Mohave Indians while seeking the 'Southern Sea.'
1772 Pedro Fages led an expedition along the edge of the western Mojave along the northern foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains looking for deserters from the Spanish Army
1776 - "Spanish Explorers" came through southern Nevada
1776 First Caucasian crossing of desert: Fr. Francis Garces
1810 Sufficient sentiment against the missions had been stirred up that the Mojaves participated in and may have been leaders of an attack on Mission San Gabriel. (Mojave Indian history, the Spanish/Mexican period)
1819 Nuez, Fr. Joaquin Pasqual accompanies Moraga into Mojave Desert the Moraga party on a punitive expedition against the Amajaba (Mojave) Indians.
1826 Jedediah Smith explores a route across the Mojave from the Colorado River to San Bernardino
1827 The vanguard of a large party of fur trappers and traders led by Ewing Young terrorize Mohave Village. (Mohave enthnography: Explorers)
1827 Jedediah Smith returns to Mohave village enroute to Southern California and is attacked by the Mohave. Ten men of his party are killed and two women captured.
1829 - The Spanish Scout Rafael Riviera becomes first European in the Las Vegas Valley
1829 - Antonio Armijo arrives after his scout Rafael Riviera
1829 Ewing Young, Kit Carson, and their 16 companions who reached a Mojave rancheria in 1829 half-dead from thirst, hunger, and fatigue and are helped by Mojaves.
1829-30 Antonio Armijo and 60 men leave from Abiquiú, New Mexico, for California and arrive there after 86 days. They took trade blankets and serapes to trade for horses and mules and followed a route arriving at San Gabriel, California in January, 1830.
1831 George Yount and William Wolfskill in 1831 arrived with a half-starved party of 20 men at the Mojave villages and are helped by the Mojaves.
April 23 -- Antonio Santi-Estevan and 30 men from New Mexico trade wool for livestock in California. The exact route of this trip is unclear.
May 6 -- Franco de Fouri, Bautista Saint-German, Bautista Guerra, Zacarias Ham, Luís Burton, Samuel Shields, Zebedia Branch, and Juan Lober arrive in California. Hafen and Hafen list these individuals as being with Wolkskill and Yount.
February 26 -- Jesus Uzeta, Perfecto Archuleta, and Tomás Salazar from New Mexico steal 430 animals from California and were reported bound for New Mexico.
October 27 -- José Avieta and 125 men with serapes leave New Mexico for California arriving in Los Angeles on December 24,1833.
William Pope and Isaac Slover travel to California by way of the North Branch with wagons.
April -- José María Chávez and his brother Julian Chávez with family members and several others escape New Mexico by way of Utah to California. They had been singled out for execution for siding with Governor Albino Perez who was slain in the New Mexico Rebellion of 1837. A year later, on
October 17 to February 1838 -- John Wolfskill and 33 people travel from New Mexico to California.
December 2 -- The Sandwich Islands Gazette carries a story on New Mexican caravans in California and reports that they had come there “for a number of years past.” The story deals with how New Mexicans rendezvous in the Tulares and influence Indians to raid California for mules and horses so that they can trade them to New Mexicans.
February 6 -- Caravan of traders from New Mexico is restricted in trading and doing any business south of San Fernando.
March 24 -- José María Chávez and his New Mexicans, known by the Californios as the “Yegueros,” found themselves on the rebel side of a California rebellion at the Battle of San Buenaventura, an old mission site, and were captured by government forces under General José Castro. They were later released. José María returned to New Mexico and continued trading in the Utah country into the 1850s; and, Julian remained in California settling Chávez Ravine in Los Angeles, site of the modern Dodger Stadium (see 1840).
September 22 -- Lorenzo Trujillo, José Antonio García, Hipolito Espinosa, Diego Lobato, Antonio Lobato, Santiago Martínez and Manuelita Renaga (who gives birth to a son, Apolinario, at Resting Springs) leave New Mexico, bound for California. These eight individuals are the first settlers of the San Bernardino area.
July 11 -- One New Mexican trader presents his passport in Santa Barbara, California—possibly this person was from the group of petitioners for passports in Santa Fe.
December 21 -- 75 New Mexicans arrive in California and settle near Rancho de San José. This group was probably the one that petitioned for passports in Santa Fe.
April 4 -- 75 men depart California for New Mexico.
May 15 -- Chaguanosos steal 1,000 animals from San Luis Obispo. The Chaguanosos, including Anglo and French trappers and Utes, were associated with New Mexican traders who stole or enticed other people to steal for them. That month this group stole some 3,000 horses.
February 10 -- Californio officials report at least two and possibly more expeditions reaching California from New Mexico.
August 11 -- John Rowland given safe conduct to go to California from New Mexico.
John Rowland returns to New Mexico with 300 “stolen” animals. Rowland is in Santa Fe in July 1842. Official California records indicated that the Rowland party was inspected and had three horses confiscated.
February 10 -- Juan Bandini recovers stolen horses from New Mexican traders.
February 12 -- Francisco Estevan Quintana returns to New Mexico to get his family. He returns with them and settles near San Luis Obispo.
April 16 -- Francisco Estevan Vigil party leaves Los Angeles for New Mexico with 194 New Mexicans and purchases 4,150 animals. After being inspected by Californio officials, they depart Cajon on April 21 with 4,141 animals. Nine were confiscated.
June 3 -- California officials inspect incoming caravan from New Mexico for woolen goods for trade for horses “as has been done on other occasions.”
1843 October 2: Rancho Los Alamos granted to Francisco Lopez. ~ November 22: Rancho Castac (Lebec-Tejon area) granted to Jose Covarabias [spelling per deed]. ~
March 6 -- 24 people leave California for New Mexico with 252 animals.
November 30 -- A company of men from California is given permission to leave California and trade in New Mexico.
December -- Tomás Salazar and 170 men arrive in Los Angeles from New Mexico with woolen goods. The group is comprised of 165 men and 10 families from New Mexico. They brought serapes and woolen goods to trade and returned to New Mexico in April 1844 (see 1839 and 1840).
1844 Lt. John Fremont and Kit Carson cross the Mojave on similar route
Five families arrive in Agua Mansa from New Mexico.
La Placita, near Agua Mansa, is established by New Mexicans led by Lorenzo Trujillo. Original name of the site was La Placita de los Trujillos.
Jim Waters, Indian trader, uses the Old Spanish Trail to go to California and returns with pack mules and abalone shell.
January 2 -- New Mexican caravan returns to New Mexico from California.
January 11 -- Californios report that a New Mexican caravan, possibly Beckwourth’s, arrives in California.
April 21 -- John C. Frémont reports meeting New Mexicans, particularly Andres Fuentes and a small party, along the Mojave River.
November 10 -- Luís Robidoux is granted a passport to go to California with traders, and the caravan departs from the Luís López settlement.
1846 May 13: Mexican-American War declared by U.S. Congress. ~ July 7: U.S. troops land at Monterey, hoist U.S. flag. ~ December 6: Mexican Gen. Andres Pico (as in Pico Canyon) routs U.S. Gen. Stephen Kearny in Battle of San Pasqual [link]. ~ Miles Goodyear takes pack train of hides from northern Utah south to Old Spanish Trail and then on to California. This likely occurred in late 1846 or early 1847. Goodyear learned about the trail from fellow mountain men/horse thieves such as Bill Williams and Joseph Walker. =
July 3 -- Californios report on New Mexicans living in California. =
January 9-10: Col. John C. Fremont and troops camp at Rancho San Francisco. ~
January 12: Col. John C. Fremont and troops pass through Fremont's Pass. ~
January 13: Mexican Gen. Andres Pico surrenders to U.S. Col. John C. Fremont in the Capitulation of Cahuenga.~
Kit Carson and Lieutenant George D. Brewerton carry messages about the United States-Mexico War using the Old Spanish Trail during this year and the next year. =
December -- Miles and Andrew Goodyear travel same route to California to trade for horses.=
December -- New Mexican caravan of 209-225 men led by Francisco Estevan Vigil arrive in Los Angeles (See 1841 and 1848). Juan Ignacio Martínez, Rowland’s brother-in-law, was on the expedition. (John Hussey indicates that the expedition was comprised of 212 travelers, including 60 boys, and departed from New Mexico with 150 mules carrying blankets and other goods.) They return in April 1848.=
1848January 24: James Marshall discovers gold at Sutter's Mill. ~
February 2: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ends Mexican-American War; California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas become U.S. possessions. ~
1848 February -- Hunt and other Mormons return to Utah from California on Old Spanish Trail in an attempt to supply Salt Lake City.=
April -- Miles Goodyear leaves California with horses. Note: Goodyear was inspected at Cajon Pass on April 23, 1848. He had 231 animals and four men. Probably meeting illegal traders beyond the Cajon inspection point, Goodyear acquired and drove an estimated 4,000 animals over the Old Spanish Trail to Utah. Eventually, Goodyear drove his horses all the way to Missouri—over Old Santa Fe Trail—but found that the end of the Mexican War had released many horses onto the market, increasing the supply and depressing prices. In addition, the war and increased Indian hostilities held down immigration and demand for stock during 1847 and 1848. In 1849, Goodyear drives the herd of horses to Sutter’s Mill in California for trade to Gold Rush forty-niners. The Goodyear situation demonstrates the decline of the Old Spanish Trail trade. =
April -- The Frenchman named Le Tard leaves Cajon with 231 horses, going westward to New Mexico.=
April -- Francisco Estevan Vigil leaves California for New Mexico with 4,628 animals (see 1847).=
July 4 -- Choteau leaves California and arrives in Santa Fe on August 15. Pratt uses Choteau Route in reverse to get to California.=
1849March: Bennett-Arcan party leaves Wisconsin in search of gold. ~
June 27: Edward F. Beale weds Mary Edwards, daughter of U.S. Rep. Samuel Edwards (Penn.). ~
October 7: Jayhawker party encounters Bennett-Arcan party. ~
November 4: William Manly and John Rogers set out from Death Valley to find help for the stranded Bennett-Arcan party. ~
1849 A portion of the Hunt Wagon party, while looking for a shortcut to the gold fields, becomes the first Caucasians (Lost 49'ers) to cross Death Valley
1850January 1: William Manley and John Rogers arrive at the Del Valles' estancia, find help for the Bennett-Arcan party. ~
January 28: Forty-niner William Robinson dies in Soledad Canyon from drinking too much cool water. ~
February 4: Bennett-Arcan party & Jayhawkers (Death Valley '49ers) saved when they reach Del Valle ranch headquarters.~
September 9: California admitted to the Union as the thirty-first state. ~
The Los Angeles Plaza Church death records up to 1850 contain scattered reference to Paiutes, Utes, or Indians from New Mexico:
1851~ May 19: Road from Mission San Fernando to Elizabeth Lake (San Fernando, San Francisquito, Elizabeth Lake roads) declared a public highway.
~ June 8: Prohibitionist Henry Clay Needham born in Percival Mills, Hardin County, Kentucky.
~ August 2: Los Angeles County divided into six townships [source: Thompson & West].
~ December 14: SCV landowner Ygnacio del Valle marries Ysabel del Varela at Church of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles.
1852~ Henry C. Wiley establishes Wiley's Station; partner is Ygnacio del Valle.
~ Edward F. Beale appointed superintendent of Indian Affairs, later surveyor-general of California and Nevada.
~ March 18: Wells, Fargo & Co. founded in San Francisco.
1853~ San Sebastian Indian Reservation established at Tejon.
~ March 3: Congress authorizes Secretary of War to chart a route for transcontinental railroad, appropriates $150.000.
~ March 3: President Millard Fillmore appoints E.F. Beale Superintendent of Indian Affairs for California and Nevada.
~ May 6: Party of 14, including E.F. Beale, departs from Washington, D.C., to chart a route for transcontinental railroad.
~ Lieutenant R.S. Williamson surveys Santa Clarita Valley during expedition to chart route for transcontinental railroad.
~ August 22: E.F. Beale reaches Los Angeles on mapping expedition.
~ December 30: Boundary established between United States and Mexico [link]. 1853 Lt. Robert Williamson explores the Mojave River while looking for a route to the Colorado River
1854~ May 31: Congress appropriates another $40,000 for exploration of a route for transcontinental railroad.
~ July: Gold discovered on the Kern River.
~ August 5: Congress appropriates another $150,000 to complete exploration and reports on route for transcontinental railroad.
~ August 10: Fort Tejon established atop Grapevine Pass.
~ December 5: Gen. Phineas Banning drives first stagecoach through thirty-foot-deep cut at Fremont's Pass.
1855% United States surveyors first visited and recorded Oasis of Mara area in 1855 and 1856.
~ June 3: Supply (a ship) leaves New York harbor bound for Tunis to acquire animals for the United States Camel Corps.
~ July 11: Severe earthquake felt in Los Angeles County.
~ August 8: Surveyor-General Edward F. Beale acquires Rancho La Liebre, then Castaic, Los Alamos, Agua Caliente and El Tejon.
^ Mormons arrive in Las Vegas and establish fort
^ First Post Office established and is named Bringhurst after Mission President William Bringhurst
1856~ January 9: Severe earthquake felt in Los Angeles County; 2 killed.
~ May 13: Colonel David D. Porter arrives in Texas with camels bound for Fort Tejon.
1857~ January 9, 8:13 a.m.: Major earthquake decimates Fort Tejon.
^ Mormons abandon fort
1858~ January 27: Then-Colonel Edward F. Beale drives camels through Los Angeles.
~ July 31: L.A. Star reports progress on cut through Newhall Pass, but government funding is insufficient.
~ October 7: Butterfield Overland Stage rides into Los Angeles.
~ October 8: Butterfield Overland Stage rides through Fremont's Pass and San Francisquito Canyon.
- Aaron Lane
He had barely settled in before his ranch was raided by Indians. Other attacks followed throughout the years, and once he was even forced to ...
Rose-Bailey Wagon Train
1859~ June 25: Outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez escapes from prison while serving sentence for grand larceny in L.A. County; recaptured in August and sent to San Quentin.
~ August 16: Outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez returns to San Quentin to serve one-year sentence for grand larceny in Amador County.
Hoffman Establishes Ft. Mojave
1860~ April 7: Los Angeles Star (newspaper) reports string of Army wagons from Fort Tejon traversing Newhall Pass. 1860-70 Mining strikes in and near the desert; grazing starts in the eastern Mojave to support miners
1861Begin Civil War
~ May 7: Andres Pico and partners granted state franchise to build toll road and cut 50-foot-deep cleft through (Newhall) Pass; they failed; Beale later succeeded.
~ June 7: Army officer in San Francisco informs Fort Tejon's commanding officer that the fort, est. 1854, is to close and its garrison transfered to Los Angeles.
~ June 28: Incorporation of Central Pacific Railroad.
~ U.S. Army Camel Corps discontinued.
Remi Nadeau arrives in Los Angeles from New England with one team of oxen
1862~ January 18: Torrential rainfall washes out cement-walled road through Newhall Pass (future Beale's Cut).
~ Three-year drought begins, ruining cattle industry.
~ General Andres Pico improves road through (Newhall) Pass.
1862 - Floods in Mojave Desert
Indians and secessionists were not the only troubles besetting the area; the largest storm of record in ...
1863~ April 26: Explosion of Phineas Banning's boat in San Pedro harbor, killing Banning's brother-in-law W.T.B. Sanford, who had helped dig first cut through Newhall Pass in 1850s.
~ August 30: State Sen. James Russell Vineyard, one of trio (w/ A. Pico) hired to cut road through (Newhall) pass, dies in Los Angeles without doing it.
~ September 19: Gen. Edward F. Beale loans $2,000 to A.A. Hudson and Oliver P. Robbins to erect toll house in Newhall Pass.
~ December 23: Beale having completed his initial construction contract, Board of Superivsors orders him to keep cutting down the Newhall Pass road to a 20 percent grade.
1864& Borax first produced commercially in the United States in California at Clear Lake north of San Francisco. 1864 to 1868
~ Private James Gorman establishes community of Gorman.
~ March 5: Los Angeles Star reports that the Board of Supervisors has accepted Gen. Beale's cut through Newhall Pass as finished.
~September 11: Fort Tejon abandoned.
^ 1864 - Nevada is admitted to the Union by President Lincoln
1865^ 1865 - Octavius Decatur Gass takes over old Mormon Fort and Establishes Las Vegas Rancho
1866-68 Mojave Road used as mail route; military outposts established along the route
1867~ January 18: Tiburcio Vasquez begins serving 4-year prison sentence for grand larceny in Sonoma County.
1868% Belshaw obtained a one-third interest in the Union Mine on May 6, 1868
# Sageland, which by the spring of 1868 had a saloon and a billiard room, hotel, miner's store, sawmill; two stage lines to Havilah, and an opera house
1871 George Englemann of the USGS's 40th parallel exploration team studies the desert and gives scientific name to the Joshua tree
1873 Remi Nadeau operates 80 freight teams hauling silver bullion from the mines at Cerro Gordo to Los Angeles
1874Southern Pacific - San Francisco - LA. 1874-1876
& 1874 – Large borax deposits located in Saline Valley. Minor production began at Searles Lake in San Bernardino County.
1880^ Archibald and Helen Stewart acquire Las Vegas Rancho from Octavius Decatur Gass for $5000.00
1881Southern Pacific - Mojave - Calico Station (Daggett)
& Borax discovered in Death Valley by Aaron Winters.
^ Helen Stewart gives birth to Evaline La Vega Stewart named after Las Vegas
Southern Pacific builds to Needles - 1882-83
& Harmony Borax Works begin production. New form of borax ore discovered on the south side of Furnace Creek Wash in the area of Monte Blanco and Corkscrew Canyon in Death Valley.
1883Coleman buys Monte Blanco claim south of Furnace Creek wash in the Black Mountains.
Atlantic & Pacific builds to Kingman
Carson & Colorado - Keeler
1884^ Archibald Stewart murdered at Kiel Ranch - First Las Vegas Murder - Unresolved
Atlantic & Pacific crosses Colorado River
Atlantic & Pacific leases then buys line from Waterman Junction (Barstow) to Needles from Southern Pacific and connects it to A & P line (1885?) (A&P becomes Santa Fe.)
~ May 2: Brothers McCoy and Everette Pyle discover Tataviam Indian artifacts in Bowers Cave.
1885California Southern (I) Cajon Pass: Barstow - San Bernardino
1886~ April 27: Legend is born: Article published in San Francisco Chronicle points out connection between Rancho Camulos and H.H. Jackson novel "Ramona."
~ August 28: Peter Mentre, 77, father of Pico oil driller C.A. Mentry, disappears, never to be seen again — until his bones turn up 12 years later.
1887February 8: Southern Pacific spur line opens to Santa Paula (34 miles from Newhall); regular service from L.A. begins next day.
September 1: Town of Saugus founded at SP's Saugus Junction.
September 1: Castaic Train Station dedicated.
1888~ August 14: SP Lang Station Burns Down.
& Coleman dissolves his financial empire and holding taken over by Francis Marion Smith. Pacific Coast Borax Company (PCB) founded by Francis “Borax” Smith.
1892~ December 20: Benjamin Harrison establishes 555,520-acre San Gabriel Timberland Reserve (Angeles National Forest). First forest reserve in California, second in U.S.
1893C. Hart Merriam conducts a biological study of Death Valley
Nevada Southern Railroad: Goffs - Manvel/Barnwell
1895 California Eastern
1898 Randsburg Railway
1902 Ludlow & Southern Railway III
1902 Barnwell & Searchlight III
1903& Development of the Lila C. mine begins on the western edge of the Amargosa Valley and along the east slope of the Greenwater Range. This was the first Colemanite mine in the region.
^ Helen J. Stewart Sells Las Vegas Rancho to Montana Senator William A. Clark for $55000.00
& Development of the Lila C. mine begins on the western edge of the Amargosa Valley and along the east slope of the Greenwater Range. This was the first Colemanite mine in the region.
1904Tonopah & Tidewater
1905Town of Las Vegas established with the opening of the Salt Lake, San Pedro & Los Angeles Railroad & 1905 to 1907 – Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad built from Ludlow to Death Valley Junction with spur line laid to the Lila C. camp of Ryan station. The town of Borate was abandoned and all its equipment moved to the Lila C mine. In 1914 the Lila C. starts to play out.
First Train Arrives in Las Vegas
San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake
Tonopah & Goldfield
1905-06 Tonopah & Tidewater railroad built from Ludlow to Tonopah via, Death Valley; abandoned during WW II
Pete Aguereberry and Shorty Harris discover what turns out to be the Eureka mine.
1906Las Vegas & Tonopah
1906 Salt Lake City–Los Angeles railroad built through the desert (later became Union Pacific Railroad)
19071907 - First Telephone wires installed in Las Vegas
1907 Bullfrog Goldfield
19081908 Arizona & California - Cadiz - Rice - Parker
19091909 - Clark County, Nevada Created
1909 - First Theater the Isis opens
19101910 - State of Nevada Bans Gambling
1910-30 Homesteading in Lanfair Valley
19111911 - The City of Las Vegas is incorporated.
19121912 - The Majestic Theater Opens
1912 SP Jawbone
19131913 Trona Railway
1914& Jan. 26, 1914 – Death Valley Railroad Company founded to build a new rail line from the Lila C. branch 3.19 miles out of Death Valley Junction at Horton to the Biddy McCarthy mine. (1)
& Dec. 1, 1914 – Seventeen mile railroad completed to Biddy McCarthy mine at a cost of $370,000. In the interim the Lila C mine had been shut down and all the old buildings in Ryan were loaded on rail cars and hauled to their new resting place on the slope adjacent to the Biddy. (1)The company first named the camp Devar, for the Death Valley Railroad. But it was renamed Ryan in honor of John Ryan. (1)
~ First Movie Filmed - The Hazards of Helen
1915& January 1915 – The Lila C. mine was closed but not completely abandoned. Activity shifts to new town of Devair. A new calcining plant is built at Death Valley Junction.
& 1915 – Prosperous large-scale metal mining in Death Valley ended around 1915. Other claims near the Biddy were put into production within a year or two. The Played Out opened first. Work then started on the Grand View and the Lizzie V. Oakley. A winding 2-foot gauge rail line, the Baby Gauge, was laid to those mines. (1)
1915-1916 California Southern (II) Rice - Ripley
1916& 1916 – John Ryan of Pacific Coast Borax retires. (1)
1916 Federal Aid Road Act leads to development of Route 66 parallel to the railroad
1920s1920s Los Angeles' population doubles; one automobile for every three citizens
Las Vegas' population grows and gambling takes off during prohibition
1930s Great Depression drives many from cities to the desert for gold and for land to raise crops
Las Vegas booms again with return of alcohol; jobs from building Hoover Dam
1938 Route 66 fully paved
WWII Gen. Patton trains tank troops throughout Mojave Desert. Policy to eliminate coyotes and other destructive behaviors modify large sections of desert flora and fauna
1900-1989 Timeline in part from Las Vegas News Bureau
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