A mining district was established in the area after gold discoveries in 1861 . A camp was born- Palmyra- and by the fall there were 100 miners in the area. By 1861 population had quadrupled and a post office was established. Eventually, discoveries a half mile to the east resulted in the camp of Como, and Palmyra suffered. Palmyra's location is variously described as a half mile to a mile west of Como. In 1864 a mill was built to the southeast, and quickly shut down. The town languished as ore ran out, although there were brief revivals in 1879 and 1902 that lasted two or three years each. Another large mill was built in the 1930's- it, too, quickly shut down after they discovered there was no ore to process. Talk about the need to get a business plan.
Como came into being before Nevada was admitted to the Union as a state- it was still the wild and wooly West.
COMO INDIAN SCARE IN 1863
It seems strange that [Paiute Chief] Numaga should ever have been the cause of terror to the whites, of his volition, but in 1863 he met the whites of Como and uttered a protest against the white destroying the pine nut groves; he said these groves were the main reliance of his people, their chief food, their orchards in fact. The whites were welcomed to the dead and fallen trees, but the food-bearing trees must be left alone, he would not permit their destruction. No attention was paid, for was it not Numaga who had warned them? Suddenly, prowling, skulking forms appeared before the wood choppers, with stern faces and hostile looks, but no show of violence. Then the people of Como had a genuine war scare, which turned into a fiasco. The two was put under martial law, couriers secured a lieutenant and twenty men from Fort Churchill. That night everyone was given the password but two forgot it, and meeting in the dark blazed away at each other until ammunition was exhausted. Alarm and consternation spread over the town, someone in the excitement also fired at nothing and pandemonium was let loose. The joke of it all was that the next morning solemn-visaged savages came down to the town to know what had caused the shooting and general Fourth of July celebration the night previous.
-A History of the State of Nevada: Its Resources and Its People. 1904
The Civil War was raging and there were strong feelings about it, even in Nevada.
"Abolition" Outrages." Virginia Union of August 23th has the following :' A noisy Secessionist was arrested by Lieutenant Mattheson somewhere about Dayton or Palmyra, on Friday, and sent to Fort Churchill. He had been hurrahing for Jeff Davis and uttering treason generally. At the time he was taken by the Lieutenant there was a warrant out for his arrest for petit larceny on a charge of stealing blankets from a boarding house. The civil authorities will attend to his case after he it discharged from the Fort. A rumor is afloat that a soldier named Murphy is to be shot for desertion at Fort Churchill in a short time, probably a day or two. Murphy was a soldier in the United States service, and deserted from the Fort over a year ago, taking with him a horse belonging to the United States Government. He was arrested a short time since, at or in the vicinity of Como. He is a Copperhead [Northern Peace Democrats who opposed the American Civil War], and is said to have joined the army for the purpose of supplying information to the enemies of the Government. Like other Copperheads, he pretended to be loyal.
1863 27 August, Sacramento Daily Union
Discoveries here seemed promising and Como was growing.
I would say that the town of Como that four months ago had had but six buildings in it, has grown to be a young city. Many good and substantial buildings are going up, and town lots that were dull sale, three months since, at $150 are now selling from eight to fifteen hundred dollars; and all seem satisfied that Como will soon be a rival of Virginia [City] both in population and mineral wealth. A fine mill is being put up, and I understand that several others will be put up this fall.
-LETTER FROM COMO. PALMYRA DISTRICT. NEVADA TERRITORY.
1863 21 August, Daily Alta California
But the furor didn't last long.
The once busy village of Como, in Palmyra District, Lyon county, say the Reese River Reveille, is represented as almost entirely deserted, there being but on house occupied, the National Hotel, a costly structure, which now shelters a few woodchoppers who pay ten dollars per month rent. Como was once a very prosperous town, and had newspaper, the Sentinel, with many promising mines, but of late its business has been wood cutting altogether, and now the forests are exhausted.
1866 14 June, Marysville Daily Appeal
But they kept trying
The once famous Whiteman mine, situated three miles from Como, in Palmyra district, Nevada, is now being worked with good success ; 900 pounds of selected ore, worked at Reno by the Stetefeldt process, yielded an average of $223 per ton. The mine is now owned by Croker.
1870 1 July, Sacramento Daily Union
The Lyon County Times of the 24th says : The mines of this district are again coming into favorable notice. Some capitalists are about erecting hoisting works for the efficient working of some of the many mines known to be rich in gold, and carrying a good average of silver. The old Rappahannock, relocated as the Aurora, is spoken of most favorably, the ledge being wide and well defined, assays from which have gone as high as $4,000 to the ton. The old town site of Como has been, or is about to be, laid out, Charley Willard having left Dayton on Tuesday, accompanied by a surveyor, for that purpose. When we have money plenty to work undeveloped mines, Palmyra District will come to the front.
1877 27 February, Sacramento Daily Union
There were other problems too...
The Lyon County Times makes the cold chills creep over the dwellers of this valley by the following report : A teamster who came into Dayton from Palmyra District last Monday reported that the valley on the eastern side of the Carson, from Dayton to the foothills, swarmed with grasshoppers in various stages of development. They are seen in layers from one to three inches thick, with open spaces of twenty or thirty yards between layers, and so numerous that a hundred or more can be killed at a step. The ranchers at New Jerusalem dread the damage which these insects will do to their crops and propose to gather what produce they can before the grasshoppers begin their march down the valley toward the Big Bend of the Carson. The pests will start out in a couple of weeks at furthest. This will be the first visitation of this plague to this part of the State since the settlement of this county by the whites. In past years a few grasshoppers were seen here and there throughout the valley, but they were not sufficiently numerous to cause any alarm. If they start down the river, as they are expected to, they will do an enormous amount of damage, as hardly a ranch will escape their notice, as they never leave anything worth mentioning. If, however, they go in the direction of Como they will not do much damage, as there are no ranches in that section.
1879 15 May, Sacramento Daily Union
Still, they kept looking for ore and developing the mines...
NEWS FROM COMO
J.H. Hepworth is in from Como. He reports the mines as looking fine. There are about fifty miners there now. He has a contract to erect a four stamp mill at Palmyra, a mile from Como, and there is talk of moving a mill from Six Mile Canyon to the site of the old Como mill. Wood is cheap. It can be laid down for $6 per cord. Water is very scarce. Mr. Hepworth worked there in 1862 and he believes there are good mines there. The Eureka had 50 tons of rock crushed at Dayton which went $17 75 [sic] per ton. The ore carries both gold and silver and is free milling.
1879 August 19 - Reno Evening Gazette
A little background and news of a miniature revival, with a little conspiracy and intrigue thrown in for good measure...
COMO AND PALMYRA
A Famous Old Camp Revived and Promising Well
The "Gazette" Sends a Reporter to Visit the Mines and Give Their True Condition- the Truth of the Matter
Como went up like a rocket in 1862 and came down like a stick in 1864. For three years it was much talked of as Virginia City, and had a population only second to that on the comstock. It had a street a mile long with not a vacant lot. Its hotels were commodious, and its saloons crowded. A ten stamp mill was built and ore from the Whitman mine, which assayed into the hundreds, was hauled to it and worked. The astonishment and distress of the owners can be imagined when it was found that the rock did not pay expenses. An exodus commenced set in in 1864, and in 1865 it became a stampede such as Meadow Lake experienced later. Everyone got out regardless of consequences and left the town silent and deserted. the machinery from the big mill was sold and hauled away. the houses were stolen piece by piece and taken to Mason Valley. A fire or two occurred, and the work of destruction never ceased until not a wooden house remained. Last summer, when interested parties visited the place, the walls of two solid stone cabins alone remained. One of these was occupied by "Old Martin, the Wizzard," a ventriloquist and juggler. A mile west of Como, and over the hill, was Palmyra, a town of 500 inhabitants as against Como's 2000m or 1500 at least. Both places went together and not a house remained. The great interest taken at present is the ore remarkable from the fact that there have been no bodies of ore unearthed this year which were not known then, and if the mines are worth opening up now the question is asked, how could it be to effectually squelched fifteen years ago? Old miners answer that the Comstockers combined to crush the rising young camp, and that John B. Winters was the selected agent. He went there and took charge of the mill as soon as it was built, and, it is said, raised the mullers so that the ore would not amalgamate, and the result was-- collapse. In addition to this there was gross mismanagement in the work of prospecting. Thousands of dollars worth of dead work was done. In one place a tunnel runs into the hill for a hundred feet, then turns to the right, and runs another hundred feet, and stops within eight feet of the surface. Another tunnel in hard rock runs in 300 feet, and is only twelve feet under ground then. There are now nearly a hundred claims located, and the recorder is putting them down as a rate of five or six a day. The following mines are being worked at present: In Como-- the Yellow Jacket, Chieftain, May-Day, Eureka, South Eureka, Silver Globe, Como Consolidated, and one claim not named. At Palmyra-- the West Rapidan, the Orizaba No. 1, Mountain View, Sierra Nevada, and the Old Yuba. The Eureka is the chief mine of the camp. Mr. Welter is building a ten stamp mill just west of where the old Palmyra stood. The site for the foundation is dug out and the timbers and machinery are on the ground. This is the only mill in the process of construction at this point.
1879 October 17, Reno Evening Gazette
The Como-Eureka Company has finished building a ditch from the mine, in Como, to the Welter mill in Palmyra, a distance of one mile. The ditch was built for the purpose of conducting the water hoisted from the mine to the mill. — Lyon County Times.
1886 20 December, Daily Alta California
Everyone was dissapointed that Como didn't work out, but the fascination with the area held.
TO REDEEM THE WEALTH OF COMO
New Wine Being Poured Into an Old Bottle
Mines That Were Bonanza in Early Days-- Water Which Drove Miners Away From Their Gold
The name of Como was once a synonym for fabulous bonanza in gold and silver ore, as the name of the Comstock has since become. The streets of Como and Palmyra teemed with human life and the stir and bustle of a populous and prosperous mining camp was there. Then came the news of the fabulous wealth of the Comstock, and the hundreds of men at work in the Como ledge, discouraged by the floods of water which poured into the mines from each new drill hole and blast, and allured by the golden glitter of the Comstock bonanza, forsook Como. The snows of the Winter of 1866-67 came and there were no human footprints in the Como streets. Coyotes howled about the deserted dwellings and sagecocks perched upon the rooftops and call their mates to the shelter afforded by the hundreds of forsaken cabins. Not a dozen buildings now stand of the 300 or more which once stood in Como and Palmyra. The only census ever taken in Como showed the number of the population of the camp to be about 1,800. Now about 18 souls can be found in the whole district. The reporter was introduced to "Pony" Crownshield. "Pony" is no longer a colt. He is fully the allotted three score years and ten. He got his name from riding the pony express in early days and has been known by no other name since. He is a most affable and entertaining old prospector and to him we owe much of the data we gathered concerning Como.
Not saying Mr. Crownshield is a liar or anything like that, but I can't locate any list of Pony Express [Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company] riders that shows that name or a even a name similar to that. However, this doesn't mean he didn't ride for that company, or a smiliar company, or used a different name, etc. etc.
He has lived a hermit's life Winter and Summer in that camp for years. The great Como ledge was located in 186X [unreadable] but in that year there was an Indian outbreak and the redskins drove the prospectors away. They returned the next year, however, in great numbers, and located claims from which the commenced to extract gold and the thriving town of Palmyra sprang up. The ledges is the largest ever known, being something like 17 miles in length and of great width. The great drawback to this country, however, is that floods of water lie within 60 or 70 feet of the surface. Water in the town well at Como stands within 20 feet of the surface. The Montgomery claim, staked out in 1862, was the first one located in the District. Is was later known as the Chieftain. Water drove it owners out of the mine and the croppings having been worked out, it was abandoned. In 1863 the town of Como was built, one mile above [east] of Palmyra, and from this time until 1865 the population of the district steadily increased. Wells Fargo had erected a pretentious stone structure for its offices. There was a stock brokers office also in a stone building, thirteen saloons and five hotels. Business was booming as the mines were producing and everybody had money. Among the Como mines of early days were notably the Monte Cristo-- later called in Como-Eureka.
1895 August 27- Daily Territorial Enterprise
Maybe if we brought some electricity?
RESUMPTION OF WORK AT COMO
Virginia City, April 19-- The extension of the Truckee River General Electric Company power line to the Como-Eureka property in Como is completed and manager Rue will soon be using power from that source in operating the federal company's mine and mill. He has several men now employed and the forces will be largely increased at an early date. Manager Boyle is making a survey for the extension of the power line to the North Rapidan, where work was resumed today with a small force to be soon increased when driving the drain tunnel will be resumed and the outlook for unusual activity in the mining industry in that region during the current year is certain, as it is stated on reliable authority that Robert Logan will soon resume the extraction of ore from the Hulley-Logan mine and operate the mill with electric power.
1905 April 29, Reno Evening Gazette
Despite repeated digging, Como was becoming just a fond memory.
Como, Nevada by H.C. Cutler
Como is in the Palmyra mining district, in the Pine Nut range, some ten miles in a southerly direction from the old town of Dayton, the nearest railroad point. It was discovered in the early sixties and its first boom was contemporaneous with that of Virginia City. At one time the population was several thousand and the busy main street was lined with stores and saloons; even a brewery, to keep the inhabitants from getting thirsty, could be found. Some surface work was done on the large quartz outcroppings and several shallow shafts sunk, but the greater attractions of Virginia City gradually drew the whole population away before the area was thoroughly prospected. After this, mining was carried on in a desultory manner, with some success in one or two properties, until 1910, when there was absolutely no activity whatever.
A quarter of a million dollars was spent developing the Buckeye and North Rapidan properties but the company ran into financial difficulties and shut down. The Como-Eureka closed. The Holly-Logan was abandoned and the mine and mill idle ever since.
Edwin Baruch and C.O. Erixson leased the old Como-Eureka in 1910, cleaned up the old workings. in 1911 H.L. Taylor purchased the property and continued development. The main power line of the Truckee River General Electric Co. crosses the property, and all equipment is electric. A 50hp hoist, an Aldrich electric sinking-pump, and the mill are run by electric motors. THe old mill, consisting of on three-stamp and one 5-stamp battery (750 lb stamps) with plates and an outdoor cyanide tailing plant, is still used, although it is understood that the present owners will erect a complete up-to-date plant in the spring.
-1912 April 13, Mining and Scientific Press
They kept trying to mine at Como but there just wasn't enough ore to be profitable.
FOUNDATIONS LAID FOR PLANT OF COMO MINES COMPANY
New Development Program is Inaugurated; Silver's Rise is Great Benefit
Rapid progress is being made in the installation of the mill for the Como Mines Company, it was reported this week by Charles Oster, general manager. Foundations have been completed for two benches, the third is no being poured, and the foundations for the crushing plant, which will have a capacity of a thousand tons daily are finished. Afterwards a four compartment shaft will be raised to the surface, the collar of which will be on the same lavel as the main tunnel. All the ore hoisted will be trammed through the tunnel to the portal, where the new mmill is being constructed. This main tunnel, including the branch to the North Rapidan, is about seven thousand feet in length.
1935 April 17, Reno Evening Gazette
The Como Mines started operating a 300 ton flotation mill in June 1935. Since that date the operation has lost money each month. The present situation comes in some considerable part from major breakdowns in original hopes and expectations. The apparently authentic assay plans left by the 1918-20 operators of the upper levels, when checked, proved to be about three times actual assays. The Buckeye, Como, and Rapidan shafts, and more of the upper levels from these shafts are old workings at least previous to 1918. In 1919-20 there was an intensive operation of the mine. They developed the Rapidan on the 350 level and the Como on the 300 level. A 100 ton cyanide mill was built and operated for nearly three years. During this operation a very complete assay plan was prepared showing large tonnages were left in the sides and below the old stopes. In the past year very extensive check sampling of these old assay plans has definitely proven them to be inaccurate and way high. There is a very good 300 ton mill mechanically but it needs some money spent on it to make it a good gold saver. There is about a 20% tailings loss. The 1936 intensive development period has recently been suspended without finding any important orebody. There seems to be no reason to start this development now. The mine should be closed down immediately and all expense stopped as soon as possible.
-1936 July 18, Report on Property of Como Mines Company, Henry C. Carlisle
Probably as old as Como was the nearby site of Pony Meadows, where much later there was a mill and a mine.
DISCOVERY AT PONY MEADOWS IS ATTRACTING MANY PROSPECTORS AND MINING MEN TO FIELD
Wide Vein Shows Twenty Feet of Ore Of Mill Grade
Considerable Highgrade On Footwall; District Mined in Former Years
The strike made at Pony Meadows, east of Como, by David Meiklejohn and Harry Delk is attracting a great deal of attention and it is reported that prospectors are camped in the new district. The mouth of the tunnel has been found where soldiers of FOrt Churchill are said to have operated. Ore than will pan has been found on the dump and old-timers say that the bore extends into the hill for a distance of about six hundred feet. Paramour, a Como district pioneer, now dead, is said to have milled a large part of the dump from an old shaft sunk in the vein, hauling the material to his plant just east of Como, and the remains of two or three arrastra have been found in the vicinity of the vein. Pony Meadows was named for one of the first men to operate in the district. What his discoveries were is not known, but he fenced in the springs and is said to have become unpopular on that account. In any event his headless body was found one day, and how he met his death and who were the perpetrators of the crime has always remained a mystery. The ground on which the discovery has been made is owned by the Mount Lincoln Mines Company.
1928 June 26, Reno Evening Gazette
PONY MEADOWS SHIPS FIRST CAR
The pony Meadows Mining Company operating northeast of Como shipped its initial carload of ore last week to the Selby smelter. The lot comprised fifty tons and is expected to run better than $100 a ton in gold.
1929 June 11, Reno Evening Gazette
PONY MEADOWS MILL NEAR COMO NEARS COMPLETION
David D. Meiklejohn reported Saturday that the new mill of the Pony Meadows company, east of Como, will be ready for operation in a short time. The machinery consists of stamps, secondary grinding and Kraut flotation cells and the capacity will be about twenty tons daily.
- 1929 November 5, Reno Evening Gazette