September 24, 2000
A keepsake issued on the occasion of the Charter Doins of the
Ancient and Honorable order of E Clampus Vitus
Queho Posse Chapter 1919
September 24, 6005 ecv
A keepsake issued on the occasion of the Charter Doins of the
Ancient and Honorable order of E Clampus Vitus
Queho Posse Chapter 1919
September 24, 6005 ecv
All facts herein are represented as true and correct, with the full weight and approbation of any and all who have or have not reviewed, interrupted, retained, restrained, refried, and rehashed the information contained herein. Should errors of fact or supposition be found, noted, revealed, or in any other manner brought forth to the Brothers of ECV, be it known that they will have been placed herein with that final end in mind.
Eldorado Canyon has had a long and convoluted history. It has been part of, or claimed by, three different territories, had overlapping representation in one territorial and one state legislature at the same time, and been so far from anywhere that it became infamous for its level of violence in both the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The canyon was first prospected sometime in the 1850s, with Francis X. Aubrey noting gold flecks in the area about 1853. Though claims have been made that during the Mexican period mines had been located in the canyon, no proof of this has been forthcoming. One anecdotal story, though, tells of a group of Mexicans who arrived at the Techatticup mine in the 1870s with an old Spanish map which pinpointed the location. They left soon after arriving, having found the mine already being worked.
As early as 1857, Captain George Alonzo Johnson arrived at Eldorado Canyon on the steamship General Jesup. He is credited with giving the canyon the name EI Dorado, which later became Eldorado. In 1859, prospectors located promising signs in the area, and by 1861 the Techatticup had been located and was producing. The first stamp mill, a 10 stamp unit, was built about 1864.
The Colorado Mining District was organized in 1861, and was named for the river. Two early ghost towns were in the canyon. The first, Lucky Jim, was only active during the Civil War. The second, Eldorado City, actually had a post office from 1879 until 1907.
The ownership of the canyon bounced through various territo during the early American years. After the United States appropriated the southwestern territory from Mexico, it was part of the New Mexico territory from 1850 until 1863, when it became part of the Arizona territory. In 1868, the United States Congress gave the area to Nevada, but local residents were not particularly pleased. J. Ross Brown, in his Resources of the Pacific Slope, 1869, described the area as follows, with a note toward the resident's wishes regarding the state to be in,
El Dorado Canon, upon the west bank of the Colorado, some 40 miles north of Hardyville, is the center of a silver district, in which a number of lodes have been located and several of them worked. Two mills were erected several years since.
The Techatticup lode is seven feet wide, well defined, and yields good are. Four hundred tons crushed averaged $ to the ton.
The Queen City, Indian Queen, and other lodes have a good reputation.
This part of Arizona has, by a vote of Congress, been set off to the State of Nevada, but its inhabitants protest against the change, and the legislature of Arizona has unanimously memorialized Congress to reconsider its vote.
As late as 1870, the quest was unresolved, and George Ernst, the County Assessor of Lincoln County for that year, noted that Callville and EI Dorado Canon were continuing to pay taxes to Arizona. This was soon remedied, but the extreme distance of The area from the county seat (Hiko from 1867 until 1871, and men Pioche), about 160 miles, made it a difficult area to control.
For a short time there was even an official military presence in the area. Camp EI Dorado, a temporary military camp of about 50 soldiers, was originally established on January 15, 1865, and was in operation until August 24, ] 867. The soldiers stationed at the camp were from Fort Mojave. The camp was established to protect the residents of the area from Indian attacks.
Eldorado Canyon, which was originally known as EI Dorado Canyon, was extremely hard to reach, except by water. From the 1860s through the 1880s, steamboats on the Colorado made runs to the mouth of the canyon, later the site of Nelson's Landing in the twentieth century, on their way to Callville, the furthest north up the river they ran. By the time the area was firmly part of Lincoln County and Nevada, the easiest way to get t the state capital was to travel down the river, up the Pacific Coast, then overland from San Francisco to Carson City. Even the county seat was about 160 miles away, over relatively trackless desert.
This led to the development of local justice systems, as well as individual efforts to control problems. In most cases, there was no reason to try to get the Sheriff from Pioche, 160 miles away. Problems were handled, and often buried, long before the Sheriff could arrive. Indians could also be a problem, as you will see elsewhere in this keepsake.
Ike Alcock was a resident of Nelson, one of the two towns of Eldorado Canyon, the other being EI Dorado itself (now located under the Colorado River). Ike, in addition to being a member of the original Queho Posse, was a local resident and generous to boot. Ike was a resident, on and off, of Eldorado Canyon for nearly all of his life, having arrived in 1878 at the age of 22. He lived in the canyon until his 97th year, when he was moved to the county hospital in Las Vegas.
In his early years in the canyon, he was involved in the movement of a steam traction engine from Death Valley to the valley. The engine had been purchased by the Pacific Coast Borax Company, operating in Death Valley, but it was not considered a success. This may have been because another one of the three similar engines purchased by the company blew up with a spectacular explosion soon after being put into use. Given the loss of the first engine, the other two were retired from service, and sat for quite awhile in the valley.
One of the engines was eventually purchased by the owners the Techatticup Mine, and was shipped by rail to Searchlight. There it sat until Ike agreed to drive it to the mine. With a greater level of luck than he perhaps deserved, Ike got the engine started and drove it from Searchlight to the Techatticup in Eldorado Canyon at the blazing rate of 3 1/2 miles per hour. After getting the behemoth to the canyon, it proved unsuccessful, and was abandoned near the Colorado River in the area later occupied by Nelson's Landing. Almost 50 years after being abandoned, it was purchased by Peter A. "Pop" Simon about 1950, who moved it to Pop's Oasis, his motel and casino in Jean, Nevada, where it was an attraction for many years.
Ike also was involved in the efforts of an eastern firm (how often have true Clampers known "easterners" to be the butt of western jokes?) to dredge the Colorado River for gold. Given the rich ores in the Eldorado canyon, this firm felt that if the silt at the mouth of the canyon were to be dredged and mined, it would yield a significant return. After donning the hardhat diving outfit, and working for some time to keep the silt flowing and the larger rocks out of the intake hoses, the company went out of business and Alcock was again out of a job.
Alcock was known as a good worker and worked for most of the mining operations in the Eldorado Canyon, as well as the Searchlight area, including the Techatticup. It was during one of these periods that he became involved in teaching a few newcomers to the area respect for water, water being a precious commodity in the canyon.
I will let the great Nell Murbarger tell the story from here.
One of his favorite stories concerned three "Calitorny fellers" who came to EI Dorado canyon to do some assessment work. Water fit for drinking was almost non- existent in the area and after exhausting the meager supply brought with them, the city men began mooching water from Ike. As Ike had to haul his water several miles, this added burden worked quite a hardship on the old man and he soon got enough of the practice. The question was how to terminate it without actually antagonizing the men.
After standing for several day in charred wooden barrels, Ike's water invariably took on a dark brown tint which the "Calitorny fellers" regarded with pronounced disfavor and after numerous subtle hints had failed to discourage the moochers, Ike seized upon the happy thought that he might get his message across by capitalizing on t: discoloration.
Next time one of the men appeared with a bucket and asked to "borrow" some water, Ike cheerfully ladled several gallons of the dark brown fluid into the other's container and the fellow started back toward his own camp.
"Oh, I say!" Ike called after him. "Wait a minute!" Stepping in his cabin he emerged with a piece of dirty flour sack which he handed to the fellow. "Reckon you better strain it, " he said, a little sheepishly. "Why?" Asked the city man in alarm. "It doesn't have bugs in it, does it?"
"Bugs?" repeated Ike innocently. "Oh, no - no bug cou live in that water. But several months ago an old strc -. _ jackass fell in th' spring an' died, and I noticed this morn in , his hair's startin' to slip. "
Eldorado canyon began to slip as a mining district during the later 1800s, but with the revival of mining in the west during the First World War, the area boomed again. In March of 1905, only a few months before Las Vegas began, the town of Nelson was laid out. It was named for Charles Nelson, a local miner who had been killed by the renegade Indian Ahvote in 1897. Nelson had a post office from 1905 through 1929, and again from 1938 to 1944. Nelson even boasted a newspaper, the Eldorado Canyon Miner, edited and published by H. H. Johnson. Beginning publication on February 7, 1917, it lasted for about three months, before it went out of business for lack of support. Johnson was also involved in various mining ventures, including the Eldorado Enterprise Gold Mining Company. A brochure for this company is appended to this keepsake for the further enlightenment of all attending Clampers. For further information regarding investment opportunities, please see Clamphistorian Mark Hall-Patton, who will happily sell you any shares he does not own in the valley's enterprises.
Today, mining continues on a sporadic basis in the canyon. The Techatticup, the site of the E Clampus Vitus's Queho Posse Chapter 1919's charter doins, has been a part of the history of the canyon from the very beginning. By 1907, Ransom estimated that the mine had produced between $2,000,000 and $7,000,000 in gold ore, and throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the mine was active. Total production may never be known, but we celebrate its history, as well as that of the valley during our doins at this site.
As to the name, according to the Nevada State Historical Society, in its Third Biennial Report of 1911-1912, Mr. Clark Alvord noted that Techatticup was take from two Paiute words, Hey-uiey, meaning come and te-congah meaning eat. Normally translated as eat, hungry or white man's bread, it apparently derives from the statement made by the Paiute guide who led the first prospectors to the site of the mine. It is not recorded as to whether the guide was ever fed.
The Techatticup, along with the Gettysburg, another famous mine of the district, were the first two mines patented in Nevada.
It has always been a noted site in the canyon, and is spoken of in many early reminiscences of travel though the desolate southern Nevada area.
We gather here on this illustrious occasion to celebrate its history, and that of so many others who have made Southern Nevada what it is today. May the brothers never forget.
Queho was the last in a string of local Indian killers who mayor may not have had reason for his actions. Perhaps in our enlightened current days, we might feel for his childhood and the dismay which was evident in his early years, but in the early part of the Twentieth Century, such notions were not particularly widespread.
Queho began his killings about 1910, though some sources credit him with a killing or two somewhat earlier. He followed on the heels of such notables as Ahvote, and Mouse. Ahvote was the brother of a Paiute who killed a postman near Callville. In the custom of the time, a delegation from Eldorado City called at the Paiute village, demanding that the village capture and punish in Indian. While resistant, the villagers realized that the miners would seek revenge of the entire village. Ahvote was chosen to hunt down and kill his brother.
As might well be expected, this somewhat unhinged Ahvote, who, just a few years later, began killing, eventually murdering five miners in Eldorado Canyon, including Charles Nelson (the namesake of the town of Nelson), Judge Morton and Charles Monahan. Ahvote was then hunted down and killed. At least one account has this killing being done by Queho, who was chosen for the assignment by the tribe, much as Ahvote had been earlier, and with the same unforeseen results.
Soon thereafter, a Paiute named Mouse got drunk and shot some fellow Indians on the Bonelli ranch about 1898. He was noted for his ability to move without sound, and was on the loose for two years, until killed by the Paiutes leading a posse in 1901. Mouse's Tank, in the Valley of Fire, is named for him.
However, Mouse was not to be the last in this string. The last of the great renegade Indians of southern Nevada began his known murders in 1910. This was Queho, a half Cocopah, half white or Mexican local Indian. Why he started to kill is unknown, though one account has his first victim as J. M. Woodworth, a woodcutter for whom Queho worked at times. Woodworth was said to have refused to pay Queho, who then decided that a large piece of wood, correctly applied to the side of Woodworth's cranium, could bring sufficient satisfaction. Unfortunately, it was apparently not as satisfactory to Woodworth, whose body was found soon after. Obviously, if it was Queho who had tracked down Ahvote years before, perhaps the step from executioner to murderer was not a long one.
Queho killed a number of other people, mainly in Eldorado Canyon, including the night watchman of the Gold Bug mine, whose badge number 896 was later found among Queho's remains. Queho killed a few more times, and then melted into the rugged country around Eldorado Canyon.
Having been spotted on a few occasions from a distance over the intervening yeas, the original posse which had been created to track him disbanded. In 1919, however, Queho was back with a vengeance. He killed Eather Taylor and William Hancock, local miners. His last killing came the night of January 21, 1919, when Queho killed Maude Douglas, in her home at the Techatticup Mine.
The posse, lead by Sheriff Frank Wait, were back at it. A reward, eventually totaling $5,000 was offered by the State of Nevada for his capture. Queho, though, had learned well his mountains and valleys, and continued to hide in the area.
The last recorded sighting of Queho came in 1930, when he walked into a store on Fremont Street in Las Vegas and bought some food. Though not apprehended, the fact that he was still alive kept Wait, and a few original posse members like Ike Alcock, looking for Queho.
For all the looking he was never captured. Local resident Knute Jensen claimed to know his whereabouts and would even leave food for him when in the area. They felt he was not as bad as he had been made out to be.
In February 1940, the long search was finally ended when Charley Kenyon, and Art and Ed Schroeder located an interesting cave along the Colorado River about 10 miles south of Hoover Dam. In the cave they found the remains of Queho, along with the original badge #896 and other items taken in some of the early murders. There were also items which had been stole from the Hoover Dam construction, and enough evidence that _. was determined that Queho had only died about six months before being found.
The old posse was no longer needed, and Frank Wait, who helped identify the body, was able to put the case of Queho to bed. Let the brothers remember their unsuccessful, but heartfelt, efforts.
The ancient and truly honourable order of E Clampus Vltus was founded in the year 4005 BC, as recorded in the texts of our Clampatriarch St. Vitus. Its more recent history begins in the ancient era before the advent of the Gold Rush in California, a time of darkness which required the efforts of one Squire Ephraim Bee to bring enlightenment to the masses. His efforts brought forth an organization heretofore not known in the history of fraternal organizations in our great country. For this was an organization for which the search for frivolity and conviviality was ofttimes paramount.
His organization was found to need a more fertile ground in which to truly thrive, and in 1849 a ritual of the order was located by a passing traveler to the diggings in California, and the rest, as we say in the biz, was history.
For it is important to understand that the ritual was brought to the one area of our great and illustrious land which did not require such amenities as historical accuracy (remember, this was before postmodernism and new math), and also involved the influx of the most needed commodity for the success of any E Clampus Vltus chapter, Poor Blind Candidates. With the amazing propensity for new diggings residents to wish for acceptance, the order thrived in the diggings, often marching in civic events under the banner of our noble order, a pair of bloomers.As the.years passed, Clamperdom entered an unfortunate period of moribund activity, a period when many chapters ceased active operations. Then did not cease existence, as was discovered by those individuals who became involved in the effort known affectionately as E Clampus Vltus Redivivus, or the resuscitation of the wonders and glory of our order.
Those individuals, whose names are held in reverence by all true Clampers, are Carl I. Wheat, Leon Whitzell, and G. Ezra Dane. It was from the mystic archives of future XSNGH Wheat that the original references were drawn, which led to the discovery of Clampatriarch Adam Lee Moore, who held the final incorporation of the order under the laws of the state of California. With the willingness of Moore, the order was revived as a source of frivolity and serious historical research for the entire west in 1931.
Chapters of the revitalized ECV have been founded throughout California, and in such states as Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and, most importantly, Nevada. Today, membership in the varic chapters tops 600,000 men, all of whom believe in our goals of fun and recognition of the achievements of the past.
You have now joined the Queho Posse. We are named in honor of the intrepid band of individuals who were singularly unable to capture one of the last great Indian badmen in Southern Nevada, Queho.
Queho began his acknowledged murders in 1910, though there was some possibility that as much as 13 years earlier he had killed another Indian. He killed his first white man, a shopkeeper named Hy Bohn, in late 1910, and followed this by killing Special Deputy L. W. "Doc" Gilbert. He then went into hiding, as a posse was formed to track him down. He was not located, and in 1919 he struck again, killing Maude Douglas, Eather Taylor and William Hancock. After that he again vanished, though another posse was after him. Many claimed to have seen Queho over the ensuing years, though none were members of a posse.
In 1940, three prospectors found Queho's remains in a cave in Black Canyon. He was identified from the artifacts found with the bones, including the badge he had taken from Doc Gilbert, by Las Vegas Chief of Police Frank Wait, who had been a member of the original posse. The Queho Posse honors the memory of those individuals who attempted unsuccessfully to bring Queho to justice.
We in the Queho Posse are dedicated to memorializing the history of Southern Nevada, and bringing forth plaques upon the desert so as to make our proverbial history bloom. For those of you who read these lines before receiving the ennobling Staff of Relief, the true depth and mysteries of our order will not be clear. For all XPBCs who read these words after successfully completing the terrible and instructive ritual in the Hall of Comparative Ovations, learning the righteous and glorious music of the much heralded Hewgag, and perceiving the true depth of cognition needed for the understanding of the motto Credo Quia Absurdum, you have entered into a truly superior organization, one coeval with Adam (the first Clarnper), and one whose destiny awaits only your efforts.
What Sayeth The Brethren?
Clamphistorian Mark Hall-Patton
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