Native Americans reportedly showed miners where silver ore was in 1870, and by the spring of 1874 Tybo began to boom. Laid out in three sections, the town was almost 1,000 by 1877. At this point Tybo was second only to Eureka for lead-silver ore in the country. in 1879 the Tybo Consolidated Mining Co. ran into ore reduction issues, and by 1880 the town was almost deserted. Attempts to get things going again sputtered until 1929 when the Treadwell-Yukon Co.'s flotation mill and sulfide smelter began operation, ceasing operations in 1937 when the plant was disabled. Small scale leasing operations continued until 1944. Attempted to reopen Tybo were made in the 1960's and 1970's.
EIGHT MILES NORTHWEST OF THIS POINT LIES WHAT WAS FORMERLY ONE OF THE LEADING LEAD PRODUCING DISTRICTS IN THE NATION. PRODUCING ERRATICALLY FROM ORE DISCOVERY IN 1866 TO THE PRESENT (THE LAST MILL CLOSED IN 1937), TYBO HAS MANAGED TO ACHIEVE AN OVERALL CREDITABLE RECORD.
TYBO, IN ITS INFANCY, WAS KNOWN AS A PEACEFUL CAMP, BUT LATER REFUTED THAT CLAIM WHEN THERE OCCURRED RACIAL STRIFE BETWEEN THE IRISH, CORNISH AND CENTRAL EUROPEANS. LATER THESE GROUPS BANDED TOGETHER TO DRIVE FROM THE TOWN A COMPANY OF CHINESE WOODCUTTERS.
THE TOWN WAS NOT UNIQUE IN HAVING THREE RESIDENTIAL SECTIONS EACH WITH ITS ETHNIC GROUP. HOWEVER, ALL CHILDREN WENT TO THE SAME BRICK SCHOOL.
-State of Nevada Historical Marker
Tybo had its share of criminal activity, often involving drinking and card-playing.
At Tybo, a few miles from here, last Saturday a party of friends congregated in a cabin and engaged in a game of cards. One of the party had a twenty on the table, five of which he lost, the winning party took up the twenty, saying he guessed he would keep it, all the others objected when the shooting followed. A six shooter ball too effect in the right side of the head of one of the company just below the temple, and ranged downward and came to the surface of the left cheek. The name of the person that was shot is not known. After the shooting all but the wounded man left the cabin, the first one who entered found him in a chair where he had climbed, he was able to converse but through intention or otherwise failed to disclose the identity of the man who shot him or the cause that led to it. The doctor pronounced the wound not necessarily fatal. The whole party had been drinking.
-Nevada State Journal, May 13, 1874
A little irregularity occurred at Tybo on Sunday last, between Thomas Best and W. Kilingsly, while engaged in a game of cards. Ugly words passed between the two, which resulted in Best ejecting a bullet through the right cheek of Killingsly, lodging just under the skin in the left cheek. The shootist left for parts unknown and the wounded man was carted into Belmont in Tuesday. Dr. Moore extracted the ball, and the unfortunate man is comfortably ensconced at the County Hospital. Sheriff Caldwell started for the battlefield on Sunday night, returning on Wednesday, minus the Best of the two Sabbath breakers. Best has the best of the game, as he got away with the money on the card table and defeated the object of the Sheriff's visit to Tybo.
-Belmont Courier, May 16, 1874
Still there was work to be done.
We learn that a number of men are employed in pushing forward the work on the smelting furnaces at Tybo. The parties engaged in the enterprise are sanguine of success, having in sight large quantities of ore, of the practibility of smelting of which they entertain no doubt. It is also stated that the "rough element" which drifts so naturally to new camps, is well represented in Tybo, and that lot jumping, drawing six-shooters, and other kindred diversions, have already commenced.
-The Pioche Record, June 16, 1874
Highland supplied Tybo with buildings and machinery. Later, many buildings were moved to Ely.
All the machinery and mill buildings formerly at Highland have been moved to tybo. There were sixty wagon loads.
-Nevada State Journal, May 13, 1875
But all was not it was cracked up to be. Tybo really wasn't that big.
Do not come to Tybo. If you do, you will walk out hungry. The glowing reports that the newspapers are constantly giving this place are to a certain extent, false. Fourteen Piochers arrived here yesterday, worn out from fatigue and exposure. upon their arrival, they saw the streets of Tybo thronged with whites, negroes, chinamen and Indians, and, of course, thinking they had come to White Pine No.2, they rode through the streets as dignified as only a piocher can be. Today they seek the foreman of the one mining company that is here, searching for work, and are given the following encouraging answer: That the mine is full, and there there are plenty of pioneers in this place if there should be any vacancy. They then turn upon their heel and curse themselves for coming here, and many are heard to say, "I wish I had stayed in Pioche; no matter how dull Pioche is, it is better than ten Tybos."
-Pioche Record, August 2, 1876
Something had to be done about the criminal element.
The citizens of Tybo are organizing a Citizens' Protective union, which we interpret to mean "601."
-Nevada State Journal March 8, 1877
["601" committees were groups of citizens that basically got tired of lawlessness and would take the law into their own hands, telling criminals to leave town or face vigilante actions.]
Still, ore was being mined and processed. People were still coming and going.
BRISK TIMES-- The Belmont Courier of Saturday says: From gentlemen just in from Tybo we learn that the camp presents a lively appearance at present. Money is plenty, most of the people are at work, the furnaces and mill are running constantly, and the mines are looking very fine. We also learn that the new steam pumps of the Tybo Consolidated mining Company has been placed in position and is working splendidly.
-Reno Gazette Journal, March 16, 1877
From Eureka to Belmont is a daily stage (except Sunday-) running to Morey- eighty miles; thence to Hot Creek, sixteen miles; thence to
Tybo, twelve and one-half miles; and thence thirty-five miles to Belmont. -History of Nevada, 1881
The following businesses and services were listed in the Pacific Coast Directory for 1880-1881: Bootmaker, brewery, brokerage, constable. doctor, dressmaker. druggist, Eureka, Tybo, and Belmont stage line, general merchandise, groceries. three liquor stores, livery, two lodging houses, meat market, newspaper, notary public, three restaurants, stock broker, Wells Fargo & Co..
TYBO- A flourishing town in Nye county, 305 southeast of Virginia City, 35
southeast of Belmont, the county seat, and 98 southwest of Eureka, the
nearest railroad station and banking point. Settled in 1870, it contains 2
steam quartz mills, a Methodist church, good district schools, and numerous
well stocked general and special stores. Ore is the principal shipment.
Stages tri-weekly to Belmont and Eureka; fares $5 and $20 respectively.
Population, 500. Mail, tri-weekly. George Turin, postmaster.
Brougher W, saloon
Butler James, barber
Colligan, Mrs. J laundry
Devine NJ, saloon
Donnell JA, live stock
Fiarbanks A, carpenter
Gillmore Bors, billiard hall
Hasman Joseph, tinner
Hathaway, Mrs. M J, livestock
Hind H, billiard hall
Lucas James, carpenter
Luse LS, restaurant
McCormack Mrs A, laundry
McCormack Miss F, milliner
Metz H, saloon
Moore Alfred C, books and stationery
Moore Bros, livestock
Moore Mrs J A, notions
Moore W, meat market
Moore W A, justice and musical instruments
Oaks George, meat market
Olds J, barber
O'Neil Miss Annie, music teacher
O'Neil D, restaurant
Page JD, livery
Roddick H, contractor
Stevens George, book agent
Stevenson Mrs. Eliza, teacher
Stroh John A, lawyer
Stroh J, saloon
Trowbridge WS, general store
Turin George, Justice of the Peace
Wagner A, contractor
Wah Sam, china store
-COLORADO, NEW MEXICO, UTAH, NEVADA, WYOMING, and ARIZONA GAZETTEER AND
BUSINESS DIRECTORY, Vol. 1 1884-5
As usual, fire was not only a danger but could destroy almost an entire town
and change it forever.
TYBO DESTROYED BY FIRE
George Turin, postmaster at Tybo, 100 miles south of Eureka, writes a hasty note giving scanty details od a fire there, that has laid the entire town in ashes, except Tybo Company's reduction and hoisting works and the store, which were some distance removed from the camp. The fire broke out at 4 o'clock in the morning of the 4th of July in Gale's barber shop, and when it was first seen three buildings were ablaze. There were no water facilities, and all the houses were destroyed in a short time. In the debris after the conflagration, the body of John J. Olds was found burned to cinders. The total loss was $30,000 [$864,226 in 2019 dollars]
-Reno Gazette Journal, July 7, 1884
After the decline, attempts were made to restart the mines.
OLD TYBO MINE NOW UNWATERED-- WILL BE WORKED
Hamilton Reed, master mechanic at the Montgomery Shoshone at Rhyolite, arrived in Tonopah Sunday evening from Tybo, where he has been engaged for several weeks in pumping out the old Tybo Mine.
From 1872 to 1875 Tybo was a remarkable producer and game employment to several hundred men. The town of Tybo then had a population nearing the thousand mark, and had representation in almost every line of business.
-Reno Gazette Journal, August 10, 1910
Wood was getting harder to get, although there was some talk of bringing in electricity.
The Tybo mines have, in the past, been operated entirely by steam power. The fuel of the country is pinion pine; and this has all been cut off for a distance of about eight miles from the mines. It grows high on the mountains and this, together with the distance it must be packed on animals, and hauled in wagons, makes its present cost from $8 to $9 per cord. Probably the latter figure will obtain in large operations in the immediate future, and a gradual increase will take place as it is cut to greater distances from the mine. A cord of Pinon wood does not equal in quantity, a cord of other wood, as the sticks are crooked and it cannot be piled so closely. Some 4 or 5 years ago a large hydro-electric plant was erected at Bishop Creek, California, by the California & Nevada Power Company, and has been supplying power to many of the mining camps and mines lying to the west of Tybo. It has been introduced and is in use at manhattan, 45 miles from Tybo. It is estimated that an extension can be constructed from Manhattan to Tybo at a cost of, say, $50,000. The Company is delivering power to Tonopah as low as $7 per horsepower. It would probably charge about $8, or possibly $9 at Tybo. If the mines were running at full capacity, it would requires at least $150 horsepower, exclusive of any power for the reduction works. On this basis, the difference between the use of fuel and electric power would be about $1000 per month.
-Report on Tybo Consolidated Mining Company, October 24th, 1910
But eventually, Tybo became a shadow of its former self.
BUSTED MINING TOWN CLOSES ITS SCHOOL
Tybo's school bell rings no more, and there is no small boy to be glad. In fact the Tybo school has been closed because there isn't even one child of school age here. The teacher, Miss. Hattie Ewing of Tonopah, left before the holidays, after the moving van had emptied the homes which had supplied her pupils. A few months ago Tybo was a thriving mining community. Today the mines are closed with the explanation that developments of the next few months will bring a revival of activity in the mines and new life to the town. Just now there is only one child in town and he is not of school age.
Hawaii Herald, February 14, 1919
Mining can be dangerous.
Death of George Surlovich - Treadwell Yukon Company, Ltd.
On November 18, 1929, I attended the inquest over ther remains of George Surlovich, 34 years of age, single, a native of CzschoSlovakia, instantly killed in the Treadwell Yukon Mine, Tybo, Nye county, Nevada. I find the deceased was emplyed as a timberman and working in the Tamarack stope, on the 300 foot level. It seems Surlovich started to pick out for a hitch and undermined a large boulder on the hanging wall, and this boulder just turned over and crushed in his side, killing him almost instantly. Fre Hooper, a miner, was within ten feet of him, and he did not hear the boulder roll over, but as he turned around saw Surlovich pinned between the boulder and the footwall. We has removed immediately but died before reaching the surface.
-Inspector of Mines Biennial Report, 1920-1930
Death of Kalle Maki - Treadwell Yukon Company,Ltd.
On April 14, 1930, I attended the inquest over the remains of Kalle Maki, a Finn, 37 years of age, single, instanlty killed in the 11th day of APril, 1930, in the shaft of the Treadwell Yukon ompany, Ltd. situated at Tybo, Nye county, Nevada. The deceased was emplyed as ashaft man, and on the day of the accident was mucking out. I fond this accident was caused by a plank which fell from the lower set of timber to the bottom, a distance of about 25 feet. One plank struck the deceased on the back of the head, killing him instantly. It appearsthis this shift put in this platform and, as they were working in the kip pocket, probably thought it not necessary to nail the plank down.
Inspector of Mines Biennial Report, 1929-1930
There was some successful mining activity in the 1930's, but unfortunately the Depression made it difficult. Still, despite a couple of years of shut down, there was some profits made, but eventually, it came to an end.
TYBO MACHINERY IS SHIPPED TO SACRAMENTO
W.J. Russell, tybo mining man, accompanied his mother, Mrs. W.H. Russell, to her home in Eureka Monday. Mrs. Russell had been visiting her son and family in Tybo for the past three weeks. They returned to Tybo Tuesday. Mr. Russell is a former Eurekan, but has been living in Tybo for several years, where he has been conducting the sale of homes and machinery. A great many of the homes have been sold to Ely residents, who have moved them and set them up in Ely. At the present time, Mr. Russell is shipping the balance of the machinery from the Tybo mines to the American Junk Company of Sacramento, California.
-Reno Gazette Journal, September 9, 1939
Tybo was infamous for its racial issues, due to the many nationalities working there. However, mistreatment of the Chinese was common almost everywhere.
High point of the district's racial contention was reached in May, 1876, when charcoal burners with a contract to supply several million tons of fuel to the Two G Mining company, imported into Tybo a large number of Chinese coolies to perform the labor of cutting the wood and firing the charcoal kilns. Angered by this influx of Oriental laborers, white workmen of the district momentarily forgot their own inter-racial disputes and rose in united protest against the Sons of Canton. Mill owners made haste to clear their own skirts by declaring that the contract price for the charcoal had been based on the premise that only white labor would be used. The charcoal burners countered with the claim that they had been unable to procure white workmen in sufficient numbers, and to escape the penalties set forth for non-fulfillment of the contract had been forced to accept any sort of labor available. To forfeit the contract, they declared, would mean their financial ruin. But the whys and wherefores of charcoal economics held no special interest to the Occidental laborers of Tybo, whose chief concern was to emphasize the fact that Coolie wage-cutters were not welcome in their camp. Assembling in saloons and on street corners, small knots of muttering workmen eventually congealed in a roaring mass meeting with a lust for blood-- Chinese blood. Fortified by raw liquor and mob courage, the howling pack at midnight stormed the sleeping charcoal camp, situated in the canyon a couple of miles above town and with cracking bullwhips, popping pistols, and drunken curses, sent the terrified Orientals fleeing for their lives. Next morning found the charcoal contractors scouting the nearby hills in pursuit of their scattered woodcutters, reassembling them from individual points of cover as they might gather a herd of sheep stampeded by wolves. Driven back to the kilns, the still-jittery Chinese were ordered to resume work, and throughout the day discharged their duties under the protection of loaded Winchesters. Nightfall brought another conclave of 200 miners bristling with guns and indignation. In deference to the armed guards, still vigilantly patrolling the charcoal camp and its environs, the original plan to "clean out the Chinks" lost some of its savor and it was resolved "not to be rash or resort to violence." Instead, the contractors were given 24 hours in which to get rid of the Chinamen. End of the grace period found the woodcutters still cutting wood and the guards still guarding. Another ultimatum was issued: Either the Chinese leave camp before another nightfall or both they and their employers would be ridden out of town on rails. The white laborers, by this time, were so thoroughly aroused that wholesale bloodshed would have been inevitable had the Chinese not grown weary of the whole sordid affair and offered to depart the district in exchange for stage fare to Eureka. With passage money readily supplied by the Anti-Asiatic League, a racial difficulty that had threatened to over-populate Boot Hill was settled to the satisfaction of everyone. Everyone, that is, except the charcoal contractors, who were left to commune with their forfeited contracts.
-GHOSTS OF THE GLORY TRAIL: Typo Was Allergic To Orientals, Nell Murbarger
Turns out lead is heavy.
My father passed away in April of 1929, and I graduated in June. My brother Belmont and I were painting the house that summer and Doc Galvin, the chief of police, came by and told me I had a job at Tybo. It was a lead mine about 60 miles east towards Ely. There were no jobs around Tonopah and I guess he figured that the family wasn’t in good shape. So I worked at Tybo that summer and my mother went down to Oakland to stay with my sister Gladys and her husband Wesley.
At Tybo I was on the bull gang. They had a big mill there and we just did the dirty work— carried steel and lumber around, worked as gofers. It was hard, physical labor, but I was young then. The stuff that came out of there was called concentrate. One shovelful of it weighed about 75 pounds. It went by truck to Tonopah where they would unload it onto a freight car. My brother Belmont worked at that, and he would come home so beat up and dirty. That stuff would get into your lungs, too. Belmont later had problems with his breathing—he died of emphysema.
I was working in Tybo with a guy named Swede. We got paid at the end of the summer.
-Jack Douglass -
Jack’s Story: The Life and Times of Jack Douglass,
Nevada Gaming Pioneer
Interviewer: William A. Douglass
UNOHP Catalog #176
One notable feature of the area is the charcoal kilns built to convert local pine to charcoal to power the steam-operated mines. THey are in about three different locations west of the town site.
Tybo Charcoal Kilns
Ninety-three years have passed since a contractor from Eureka built 15
kilns near Hot Creek Valley for the Tybo Consolidated Company. Two of
these kilns in Tybo Canyon remain in an excellent state of preservation.
The kilns were built to produce charcoal from native timber.
The smelting furnaces of the Tybo Consolidated used charcoal for fuel. The
production of this commodity became the most important adjunct to early
western mining and became an industry of some importance of its own.
Wood was hauled in from the surrounding hills to the kilns and the charcoal
hauled to the smelter. This required numerous kilns scattered throughout
the mining district, as the distance for hauling wood became uneconomical.
An acre of mature pinyon nut trees, the favorite tree, produced 8-10 cords
of wood. The kilns were packed tight in layers to the top. The workmen
would exit by the rear window. Each kiln held between 5 and 6 cords of
green wood. The window and lower openings were closed and the kiln fired.
The processing was controlled by vents along the base. When the wood was
charred to the right point the fire smothered by sealing all openings. The
kilns produced an estimated 28 bushels of charcoal. The going price for
charcoal was $30 a bushel in 1874 and 25$ in 1877.
-National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form
Nelson Seymour Trowbridge
The Trowbridge store was one of the-- if not the- major stores in Tybo.
Businesses were established which included the Trowbridge Store, Rosenthal Store, Streitberger Store, Barney McCann’s Restaurant, W.F.Mills, and Company Bank. Trowbridge, however, was the biggest, most influential businessman in the town. All of these businesses owed their existence to the mines and the 2G Mine was the biggest by far. So, what happens when the biggest store and the biggest mine clash. One would think the mine would win this one. After all Tybo existed for one reason only - mining. But in reality Trowbridge had a huge advantage over the mine. He would continue to provide goods and merchandise to the mine and its employees when times were lean. Eventually the 2G Mine (the major mine in Tybo) had become so indebted to one store owner, that store owner became the mine’s principal owner. The store belonged to N. S. Trowbridge. Trowbridge would make himself the mine superintendent and when good times returned he had the biggest mine and the biggest store. Tybo was Trowbridge's town!
-unCOVERing Nevada's past
It wasn't cheap living in Tybo, most likely due to the fact that it was far off the beaten path. Prices below from The Inflation Calculator:
Mining folks paid dearly for their goods at the old mining camp of Tybo, according to a "blotter" or account book kept by N.S. Trowbridge in 1876 and now on display in Lovelock, Nevada, the Review Miner says. A sack of flour cost $5.25 [$127.70 in 2019 dollars], a pound of butter $1.50 [$36.49], and a pound of coffee $1 [$24.32] . Two cigars sold for fifty cents [$12.16], a pair of overalls for $2.50 [$60.81], and a paid of drawers for $2.50 [$60.81]. Twenty pounds of lard retailed for $5.50 [$133.78], fifty-three feet of "hickory," apparently rope, for $31.80 [$773.49]. A paid of suspenders brought $1.25 [$30.49] and a gallon of whiskey realized $6.50 [$158.10]. Somebody gave $1 [$24.32]for two quarts of kerosene while $2.50 [$60.81] went for a pair of gloves and $1.50 [$36.49] for ten pounds of cornmeal.
-Reno Evening Gazette, August 9, 1941