An account given in the history taken from the cornerstone of the old church tells of agrievance the property owners had against Thomas Judd and the Nevada Land and Livestock Company concerning the amount of water that constituted a share. On Oct. 12, 1901, Apostle Anthon H. Lund, Elder I. C. McFarlane, and President Edward H. Snow came out from Utah to meet with Thomas Judd and the aggrieved citizens of Lund and Preston. The misunderstanding came about because the directors of the Land and Livestock Company planned to sell 4,400 acres of land, which was more than the available water warranted. It came out at the meeting that Thomas Judd had already persuaded the board to cut the amount to 3000 acres. The citizens agreed to cooperate, the acreage was again cut to 2600 acres, and confidence in the company and its agent was restored.
It is significant that the church, not civil authority, was the mediator in this case, which reflects back to the early years of the church's role in the government of the Utah Territory. But with the church's avowed support of civil authority, it was inevitable that a political awareness should grow along with the growth of the colony. The schools were administered under the principle of the separation of church and state, the post office was run by the federal government, property was recorded, assessed and taxed according to civil law, and as an unincorporated town, its legal affairs were under the jurisdiction of county government, namely, the county commissioners. So in addition to being linked with Ely and the rest of the county economically, it was also linked politically. Ely had been the county seat of White Pine since 1887 when it was moved from Hamilton.
It is probable that the political preferences of the people were already set before they came to Nevada. In any case the town was split along party lines in much the same ratio as the rest of the state with a little preponderance of Democrats. Like the rest of the state, too, they had a tendency to cross over party lines in their voting with the exception of a few hard line party members who, in all probability, voted straight ticket throughout their lives. Such a political figure was J.J. Gubler, hard-core Republican, whose influence came to have an impact not only locally but county wide and state wide as well. So the people voted for their president, senators, congressman, state and county officials like citizens anywhere else. They were just as vociferous as other Nevadans in their support or opposition to Free Silver, Woman Suffrage, Prohibition and later repeal of Prohibition, which, in those years, were the issues confronting Nevada voters. When legalized gambling and liberal divorce laws became state policy, they had only indirect impact on the valley.
More to the point were local issues and town and county officials. Moses Harrison was made Justice of the Peace in 1902 and served the county as well as the town in that capacity. Others who served as Justice of the Peace were Albert Gee of Preston, Allen Wakeling Sr., William H. Ivins, Roderick D. McKenzie, Milton Gardner, Merrill Gubler and C. L. Rowe.
Three White River citizens served as county commissioners, Martin Petersen of Preston,Allen Wakeling Sr. and J. J. Gubler of Lund. Mart Petersen was elected and served as assembly man from White Pine County in 1944. John Whipple served as assembly man in 1948.
Almost always there was a deputy sheriff appointed in the area, although, in the early days his duties consisted mostly of maintaining order at the dances. Over the years Albert Gee, Tom Windous, Herbert Allred of Preston, Rennie Whitehead, Ed Hendrix, Will Hutchings, Ed Fawcett, Neil Gardner and Clinton Scow of Lund, have served as deputies. Gradually the duties of the office have increased and its scope has broadened so that Robert Bartlett, who is the deputy now, is an active member of a police force that serves the whole county and provide sefficient service, including ambulance service to the town.
Up to the time the Peabody Plan was adopted and the local schools were put under county administration, a number of the town people served as school trustees. Some of the first who served were Allen Wakeling Sr., Moses Harrison, Robert Reid, Jacob Gubler, David Gardner,and Heber Smith. A number of local people have taught in the local schools. The first of these was Orin Snow followed in those early years by Ethel Smith (Matheson), Jessie Reid (Burgess), Mazie Reid (Ashby), and LaVeta Harrison (Gibson).
Since the county plan for education has been in operation, Arthur N. Carter served for sometime on the school board. More recently Philip Carter has served on a seven-man county school board with singular success and has accomplished much for the local and county schools and for education in general.
In connection with the schools, P.T.A. is another civic service organization that has performed a needed function for the town. It has acted as a go-between with the School Board,the State Department of Education, the County Commissioners and others, raised money for desirable educational projects not otherwise provided for, scholarship funds, etc. Two recent P.T.A. presidents who performed valuable services in connection with the restoration of the high school are Mike Gardner and Bob Bartlett.
Farm Bureau and the Extension Service are other agencies that have made significant contributions to the economic, educational and cultural life of the town, with their help in farm management, sewing, food preservation etc. Marilda Whitlock, of Preston, David and Ruth Gardner, George Fawcett, Belle Gardner, Arthur Carter, Vance and Sara McKenzie, Harriet Ivins are names connected with this service.
Over the years, in times of crisis or need, the town has resorted to the mass meeting, that foundation of the democratic process that harks back to Colonial America. At such times they have formed committees to investigate, report, make contacts, and find solutions to the problem in question. This method has accomplished a number of needed improvements. Not the least of these was the return of the high school after numerous town meetings over a two year period suggested various methods of attacking the problem and united the people in a concerted effort of total dedication.
Out of the town meeting also came the idea for a Town Council. This body has been instrumental in enlisting the support of the County Commissioners in a number of projects which include oiling and improving town streets and improving and maintaining field lanes and roads. Recently a highway maintenance station has been located at the north end of town with the necessary buildings and facilities.
The recently completed Community Center is a result of the efforts of the Town Council with the cooperation of the County Commissioners. This building was obtained through the Economic Development Administration, a government Public Works project. It will provide a place for civic functions of a social, athletic, cultural and educational nature. The citizens feel that its particular value will be the contribution it makes to the school and town athletic programs. In any case its potential to provide expanded school facilities when necessary fills a pressing need. Some people who have served on the Town Council are Frank Reid, J.L.Whipple, Jeff Gardner, Ricky Hendrix, Ron Horsley, and Laine Hendrix. County Commissioners whose cooperation made a number of these improvements possible are Dr.Kendall Jones, Douglas Hawkins, Tom Collis, Dean Brunson and Raymond Urrizagga.
Neil Jensen who spent his early years in Preston has served the county faithfully and efficiently as County Recorder for many years.
In recent years several local people have served on the Soil Conservation Board, Van Petersen of Preston and Max Reid at the state level, Van Gardner and Vance McKenzie on the A.S.C. committee.
Ernest Gubler and Jesse Gardner served as chairmen of the county B.L.M. Advisory Board for a number of years.