White River, a ranching community, is located in the southwestcorner of White Pine County, Nevada, at the north end of White River Valley.
In 1871, Gilmer & Salisbury of Pioche extended their stage line to Hamilton, by way of White River and Ellison Canyon. The telegraph line took this same route, and it is interesting to note that the large barn now standing on the Jesse Gardner Ranch was built out of poles from that line.
The first Post Office in the area was established at Stockville (now the Gardner Ranch). With the boom of Hamilton and Pioche over, the Post Office was moved to a more central location (now the Walter Rosevear Ranch) and George Hayden was Postmaster there until 1899. A phone was also on the ranch in the early 1900's. This ranch was also known to some as the Barnes Ranch.
The earliest Indian family on White River that anyone can recall was White River Jim's family, and many of that generation are still in the area. White River Jim was one of the early Indians who signed the Ruby Valley Treaty in 1864, and he was known to wear only a breech cloth summer and winter. Two of his daughters are remembered as Lizzie Lee and Mary McQueen. Lizzie and husband, Andy Lee, had a boy named Arthur Lee whom they had adopted. Mary and husband, Jim McQueen, had a large family. Mary's oldest son was named Ed Smith. The story goes that he was born at Smith Creek, and a crumbling stone cabin stillmarks the place. Ed was a large man and a great worker. He pitched hay for every rancher in the area and also hauled wood for many of the people with his wagon and a team named Maude and Daisy.
Another Indian lady was Hot Creek Annie, a relative of White River Jim. While still a very young girl, she went with Hot Creek Johnny (from Nye County) to Hot Creek Ranch, where shelived until Johnny died. She then returned to White River, where she lived in a tent. Sub-zero weather didn't seem to bother her. Annie raised an orphan girl, Virginia Hot Creek. Virginia attended school at White River until Annie's health forced them to move to Ely in 1943. Cleve
Charles family also lived on White River in the thirties and again in the fifties.
At one time, White River had as many as ten families, and schools were located on the different ranches from time to time. In 1916, a central schoolhouse was built by Abe Arigoni, a rock mason from Railroad Valley. That building burned, and was replaced by a wooden building. These buildings were both located near the spring near Smith Creek. Some of the teachers remembered were: Mrs. Palmer, Irene Mendes, Grace Vann, Gladys Dixon, Daisy Shone, Artie Zedler, Fannie Daniels, Mary Cazier, C. Perry, L. Peterson, Mary Barney, C. Locke, Mrs. Bradley, L. Perry, Mrs. Murphy and Tillie Goss. The first school was in 1877. The last school year was 1950.
Among the earliest settlers at White River were:
Mr. and Mrs. Smallen, who owned Indian Spring and ran a small dairy. When Gladys Cazier married Tom Windous, it was here at Indian Spring that they built their new home.
Jacob Rosevear, a Cornishman, who ran cattle from Hamilton to Moorman Spring below Lund around the year 1877. He built the log cabin that still stands at Willow Grove, and also built corrals and a cabin out of rocks at Rock Point (now known as the Cove).
George Hayden, who settled on the ranch where the Wallace Jureys now live. This ranch was later owned by the Owen Cazier family who moved there from Currant. Mr. Cazier moved his log house from Currant to the ranch, and later enlarged it with rock and cement. Other owners of the ranch were Jos. Rosevear, Walter Davis, Wm. C. Goodman. At one time, the Lew Cazier family lived in the old Hayden house on this ranch, and remains of this rock house are still visible.
Peter North, who started ranching at what is now known as the Tom Rosevear Ranch. John Whipple bought the ranch in 1903 and sold it to John Moffit and Joseph Judd who lived there with their families a few years before they moved away. Later, Tom Rosevear, Sr., of Illipah, and E. H. Berryman, of Eureka, bought the Peter North Ranch in 1914. Other owners included George Hayden, and Chris Hermansen.
The ranch was divided, with the lower half being bought by Wm. C. Goodman. This ranch is now owned by Walter Rosevear, son of Tom, Sr., and by Tom Rosevear, a grandson of Tom, Sr.,with Walter owning the upper half and Tom and family owning the lower half.
George Ellison, who settled at what is now known as the Jesse Gardner Ranch, and where Stockville was located. Mr. Ellison sold out to the C. A. Mathewson Family from Hamilton. Other owners were Steve Williams, Albert Williams, and it is now headquarters for Gardner Ranches. Albert Williams tore down the original house and built a small house, garage and bunkhouse. Of special interest on the ranch, besides the telegraph pole barn, is the slaughter house, still standing, which is the oldest building on the ranch. Also, a very unique type of barbed wire is still seen on some of the ranch fences.
J. M. Slopansky, who sold his ranch to the Pete Pastorino family when they moved to White River from Currant Creek. Other owners of this ranch were: Lowell Peterson, Ed Goss, Bill Casey, George Manley and currently, Ernie Ulrich.
The McQueen Ranch was later owned by the William Ferguson family who moved from Railroad Valley. They built a new home out of native rock which still stands. Other owners of this ranch were: J. C. Wheeler, Wm. Farmer, Butler, Dan Clark, Clarence Munson, and now Gardner Ranches.
Horse racing was one of the few entertainments to be enjoyed by the early settlers, and there were three large race tracks in the White River area. One of these was at the Ellison Ranch (now the Forest Station); another was at Stockville when owned by the Ellisons; and the third was on the flat hill above the lower Rosevear Ranch. The Ellisons were great race horse people and were known to have some of the best horses in the West.
Lastly, two cemeteries probably best tell the history of just how long White River has been surviving. The Indian Cemetery has names carved in many hand-made stones --McQueen - Collins - Lee-- and many others unreadable. The other cemetery also has hand-carved stones that read --James Smith Died 1894 Age 62 -- Alice McQueen 1895 Age 13 --
F. N. Smith Died 1880 -- Mrs. G. S. Ellison 1879 Age 80 -- Tom Ellison Died 194 -- Babies --
Many people have come and gone and White River now has but four ranching families -- Gardners - Jureys - Rosevears - Ulrichs -- while the ranch of White River Jim's belongs to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Also left is a host of memories.