Sandy Bowers

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Sandy Bowers
"I've had powerful good luck, and I've got money to throw at the birds." (Bowers, 1861)

[1]

Lemuel Sanford Bowers (nickname: "Sandy") (February 24, 1833 – April 21, 1868) was an American teamster of Irish descent,[2] miner and owner of the Crown Point Mine near Gold Hill, Nevada.[3][4] Bowers and his wife were the Nevada Territory's first millionaires.[5] Their home, the Bowers Mansion, was the first of the stately homes built in Nevada with the wealth from the Comstock Lode.[6]

Biography

Bowers was born in Madison County, Illinois in 1833.[7] After coming west in 1856 and spending some time in Sacramento, he soon travelled to Gold Hill. A new mining community located south of where Virginia City, Nevada is today. Sandy quickly began investing in mining claims. Once his claims were set, he bought, sold and traded his investments.[8]

Bowers and James Rogers registered their holdings for a 20-foot mining claim in Gold Canyon on January 28, 1859.[9] In 1859, Eilley purchased Rogers' half of the claim for $1,000 (approximately $28,000 today).[10] Though she was married at the time to someone else, Eilley married Bowers on August 9, 1859,[11] and ten months later, she divorced Alexander Cowan on grounds of desertion.[9][12]

Their first two children, a son, John Jasper Bowers (June 28, 1860 – August 27, 1860), and a daughter, Theresa Fortunatas Bowers (June 16, 1861 – September 17, 1861) died as infants. Shortly thereafter, the Bowers decided to build a home and they travelled to Europe between 1861 and 1863 to purchase furnishings for their mansion and had a desire to meet Queen Victoria.[13] The couple returned to Nevada in April 1863, accompanied by an adopted baby girl, Margaret Persia Bowers.[14] With furnishings, they spent $407,000 (approximately $6,520,000 today).[10][15] Though Bower could only read and write a little,[16] every book in the Bower mansion library had his name on it.[2] The Bowers Mansion in Carson City, Nevada, completed in 1864, is an example of fine homes built in Nevada by those who became rich as a result of the Comstock Lode mining boom.

By 1865, the Nevada mines were reaching the end of their heyday. Rich and miserable, Bowers preferred living in a shack while his wife preferred spending their millions of dollars.[17] He moved back to Gold Hill, attempting to save their mine, with poor results.[14] In early 1868, he tried to sell a portion of the mine but died on April 21 at the age of 35 from silicosis, a common lung disease amongst miners.[9] Bowers is buried in back of the mansion at the top of a rise.[18] His estate was appraised to be worth $638,000 at the time of his death.[15]

The "Sandy Bowers Claim" still exists, though it became a part of the "Consolidated Imperial" before control was taken over by Sutro Tunnel Coalition, Inc.[19]

References

  1. ^ Ingham, George Thomas (1880). Digging gold among the Rockies: or, Exciting adventures of wild camp life in Leadville, Black Hills and the Gunnison country. Hubbard Bros. p. 484.
  2. ^ a b The Homiletic Review , Volume 47. Funk & Wagnalls. 1904. p. 50. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
  3. ^ Ingersoll, Ernest (1897). Gold fields of the Klondike: and the wonders of Alaska. Edgewood. pp. 413–417.
  4. ^ Laxalt, Robert (1991). Nevada: a bicentennial history. University of Nevada Press. ISBN 0-87417-179-2.
  5. ^ Morris, Roy (2010). Lighting Out for the Territory: How Samuel Clemens Headed West and Became Mark Twain. Simon and Schuster. p. 102. ISBN 1-4165-9866-9.
  6. ^ Beebe, Lucius Morris; Clegg, Charles (1956). Legends of the Comstock Lode. Stanford University Press. p. 25.
  7. ^ Rocha, Guy (April 1, 2008). "Searching for "Sandy" Bowers". The Nevada Observer. 5 (11).
  8. ^ Sacramento Daily Union. April 24, 1868 (3:3) Obituary of Sandy Bowers
  9. ^ a b c Cleere, Jan (2005). More than petticoats: Remarkable Nevada women. TwoDot.
  10. ^ a b Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  11. ^ Rast, p. 197
  12. ^ "Bowers: European Adventures". University of Nevada, Reno. 1996. Archived from the original on 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  13. ^ James, Ronald Michael (1998). The roar and the silence: a history of Virginia City and the Comstock Lode. University of Nevada Press. p. 68. ISBN 0-87417-320-5.
  14. ^ a b "Alison (Eilley) Oram Bowers". University of Nevada Reno. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
  15. ^ a b "Nevada History (From Thompson & West's History of Nevada 1881, With Illustrations And Biographical Sketches Of Its Prominent Men And Pioneers, pp. 38-41)". Nevada Observer. December 26, 2005.
  16. ^ Ingersoll, p. 413
  17. ^ "Books: Silver Saga". Time Magazine. April 14, 1941. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
  18. ^ "Bowers Mansion Tombstones Washoe County, Nevada". usgwarchives.net. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
  19. ^ Carlson, Helen S. (1974). Nevada Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary. University of Nevada Press. p. 57. ISBN 0-87417-094-X.

Bibliography

  • Rast, Sheila, ed. (1940). Nevada: A guide to the Silver State. Portland, OR: Binfords & Mort. ISBN 1-60354-027-X.

External links

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