So there we were, searching for the grave of a man murdered at Mott's Ranch back in 1918, when we stumbled on this grave. Couldn't get back to town fast enough to see if we could find some details. A search of period newspapers turned up some results.
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According to the 1910 census, Mr. Laird was 46 years old, single, and born in the United States from Scottish parents. His occupation was listed as "buckaroo." If the information on the census was correct, that would place his birth year around 1864. He was listed in the 1917 Polk's Washoe County Directory as a "horse dealer" in the area served by the Sheepshead post office.
Luckily for us, Mr. Laird seemed to be well-known and in the news from time to time, so we have some sort of record regarding his activities. Horses seemed to be his specialty, and he participated in several rodeos and rodeo-like activities. He also had several brushes with the law, both as the accused and as a witness against the accused.
The earliest article we stumbled on was when the Reno Evening Gazette reported on January 14 1889 and Mr. Laird and his brother Warren were accused of larceny, but they were found innocent of stealing a calf.
The Reno Evening Gazette had a story about Ed riding wild horses at the State Fair in 1890. He also rode a couple of wild steers, and got second place.
In October of 1895, the Reno Evening Gazette reported that an A. A. Smith attempted to poison Mr. Laird, along with three others, for some reason. Mr. Smith denied the charges.
In November of 1894, two men were murdered and the Reno Evening Gazette reported in December that Mr. Laird was questioned about his knowledge in the case.
There was some time for fun, though. Mr. Laird attended a get together at Horne's Ranch on July 4, 1914.
That next winter, Mr. Laird spent the winter in Reno, according to the Nevada State Journal.
Contrary to the date on the grave stone, in late August of 1917 the Reno Evening Gazette reported the murder of Ed Laird in his cabin. A jury quickly decided that it was murder most foul. Sheriff Ferrel didn't think the motive was money. The Sheriff revealed the gruesome details of his murder theory.
On September 3, 1917, the Reno Evening Gazette reported a $500 reward was being offered. More rewards were offered later in the month. But, to our knowledge, no one was ever arrested for the murder, and Mr. Laird rests on what was once his ranch, overlooking the Smoke Creek Desert playa.