This is not the Ward Charcoal Ovens, located about five road miles to the south, but rather, the mining camp of Ward. I guess we can start off with this short description from the History of Nevada:
The Mining District of Ward, in which the town is located, was discovered and organized in 1872, by Thomas F. Ward. The mining records are kept by Louis A. Hauck. There have been 153 locations, and there are now sixty-five miners in the district. The principal mines are the Paymaster, Defiance, Shark, Pleiades, I. X. L., Governor, Jupiter, Grampas,
Juno, Mountain Pride, and Silver Cloud. The Paymaster has a tunnel 3,000 feet long, and is 750 feet below the surface. It also has a shaft 162 feet deep. This and others are the property of the Martin White Mining Company. Freights are brought by team from Eureka, 110 miles, and from Wells, 155 miles. Timber is procured at a distance of eight or ten miles, and consists of pine. A good supply of water is obtained from Willow Creek, and is brought, by a pipe, three miles to the mill. There was a furnace of fifty tons capacity and a twenty-stamp mill belonging to the Martin While Mining Company. The furnace has been idle for two years, and the mill one year. In 1876 two smelting furnaces were erected at Ward, but the ore was of a rebellious nature, and the fluxes had to be hauled so far that they were not a financial success. In 1877 a twenty-stamp) leaching mill was built at a cost of $85,000, and $25,000 was spent in experimenting, when it was given up as a failure. A very fine double track tunnel, which is now in 3,050 feet, is being run by the Martin White
Company, under the Paymaster and Young America. Upon the developments of this tunnel depends the future of this camp. The Ward Reflex, a weekly newspaper, is published here, and maintains its faith in the future prosperity of the district.
-History of Nevada, 1881
A little more detail from Mr. Lincoln:
Discovered in 1872 by Thomas F. Ward and others, the principal mines were owned by the Martin White S.M. Co. which in 1876 had two smelting furnaces and a 20-stamp mill. Ward was founded in 1876 and grew to a population of 1,500 in 1877. The mines were actively worked up to 1882. In 1906, the Nevada United Ms. Co. acquired most of the mining claims in the district. This property is now being operated by the Ward Leasing Co.
-Mining Districts and Mineral Resources of Nevada, Frank Church Lincoln, 1923
Ward had its share of crime and criminals. Don't know if this contemporary article got the dates mixed up, or if this Finnegan guy was way out of control.
The lack of formal law enforcement led to the early formation of a Vigilance Committee. They had their hands full with the local citizenry. One bad man named Finnegan had the habit of walking into a saloon and ordering everyone present to contribute $2 to his bankroll. If refused, he would throw a revolver into the middle of the room where it would fire at random. No on protested until March 1878 when a random shot killed a bystander in Mamie's Hurdy House. The vigilantes arrested Finnegan and took him to Hamilton for trial. He was found not guilty because the dead man was armed, and the vigilantes vowed to kill their own rats rather than seek justice from the county seat.
-Nevada State Journal May 4, 1975
Finnegan finally went too far.
OFFICER MURDERED. At Ward, in White Pine county last Monday night, Officer Nelson Houston was shot and instantly killed by Tim Finnegan. The latter was making a disturbance in a dance-house, when the former attempted to put him out. Finnegan resisted and Houston used his club. At this junction Finnegan fired, the ball passing entirely through the body of the officer, who never spoke afterwards. There is a Vigilance Committee in Ward, and there is a probability of Finnegan being lynched by it.
-Nevada State Journal, March 8, 1878
Finnegan runs, afraid of being lynched, and rightfully so. But he's captured, and will be brought to town to face justice for his crime.
FINNEGAN CAPTURED The Elko Independent of Monday says, Tim Finnegan, who fatally shot officer Houston, in Ward, a few days ago, and took to the hills, was captured at Sam Mosher's ranch on the following morning, by Alex McDonald and George Lamb who had been sent hither by Sheriff Raum, and were at the ranch when Finnegan arrived. He was taken to Ward and delivered to the authorities, the parties received the reward of $200 offered for his arrest. The excitement had to a great extent subsided by the time Finnegan was brought back, and no violence was attempted by the populace. He is now in jail and will be dealt with according to the law.
-Nevada State Journal, March 14, 1878
WARD REFLEX: The miners employed in the Paymaster became excited Tuesday on learning that Tim Finnegan had been captured and brought into town. The report reached them that there were going to be a hanging scrape, sure, and all quit work in order to witness the performance. This had a tendency to excite others, and for a time things looked squally for Finnegan, nor was all doubt removed until the next day, when the prisoner was started for Hamilton under strong guard.
-Pioche Weekly Record, March 16, 1878
Justice finally catches up with Tim Finnegan.
Tim Finnegan, who killed Officer Houston at Ward, has commenced his life sentence in the State Prison.
-Nevada State Journal, May 31, 1878
Or does it? Wait, what? Well, someone here got their dates messed up, but a pardon? Really?
TIM FINNEGAN PARDONED
At the meeting of the Board of Pardons in Carson last week, Tim Finnegan, who shot and killed Officer Houston in Ward in September 1877, was granted a pardon. Many of our citizens will remember the excited feeling that followed the murder, and how the late Sheriff Raum used all the strategy and forces at his command to save Finnegan from being lynched. He was not convicted "by the eloquence of Gen. Kittrell," [John Ramsey Kittrell, Nevada Attorney General] as the Sentinel states, but on the pleading of B.K. Davis, then District Attorney, and the plain evidence of eye-witnesses to his crime. Since Finnegan's incarceration in the State Prison he is said to have given the authorities there a great deal of trouble, once we heard, coming very close to blowing up the warden's office. Unless it be his bad behavior, we know of no other good reason for turning Tim Finnegan lose on society to renew his former very bad life.
-White Pine News, July 25, 1885
Some info on the newspapers:
THE WARD MINER In the history of the press a paper is a paper,
whether it be the size of a postal card or a blanket
sheet. The Ward Miner, as it appeared in the fall of
1876, was neither of these, but was literally a 7x9
paper, being about the size of a sheet of notepaper,
and published by Mark W. Musgrove. The wealth
of the Martin White mine, and the rich croppings
of many quartz ledges in the neighborhood, had
attracted a large population to Ward, and the field
seemed promising for a newspaper. Musgrove was
not an experienced journalist, and his paper did
not prosper exceedingly, therefore he transferred
his office and his " good-will " to Mr. Robert W.
Simpson, one of the pioneers of journalism in
Nevada, who then established THE WARD REFLEX. Issuing his first number April 19, 1877, making it a
handsome paper with five columns to the page, which
appears the favorite size in the mining regions of
Nevada. The Reflex is independent in politics,
though with Democratic proclivities, ardently devoting
itself to the interest of its section.
-History of Nevada, 1881
At the time the Directory was published, Ward had an attorney, a bakery and two restaurants, a book and news store, a brewery, a tobacco store, two general merchandise stores, a clothing store, a dairy, a dentist, three druggists, a dry goods store, two livery stables and a feed stable, a grocery store, a gun smith, six liquor stores, two lodgings, four markets, a notary public, two doctors, two news papers, a surveyor, a watchmaker and jeweler, and a purveyor of oysters.
Bacon & Co, liquors
Basler John, gunsmith
Basseett, Mrs. F, oysters
Bassett, W R, liquors
Been H D, atty at law
Bozarth J M & Co. liquors
Clute F W, drugs and hardware
Chon A & Bro, cigars, tobacco, stationery
Crane and Cowl, liquors
Edwards, Mrs. J C, lodgings
Evans Wm, livery stable
Hagar H, physician
Harvey, Clement & Co. gen mdse
Hauck Louis A, notary public and commissioner of deeds
Hilp Bros, gen mdse
Jackson F W & Co, books, stationery, news
Kanenbley F, dentist
Liddle J & Co, market
McGill Wm A, surveyor
Meagly and Dekey, market
Meyer J & Bro, dry goods
Moore & Co, druggists
Morse W B, liquors
Mosier and Hamilton, dairy
Musgrove Mark W, propr of "The Ward Miner"
Batte & Goldstein, clothing
Perley & Smith, liquors
Pojade & Gargaghan, groceries
Roach Samuel, livery stable
Robertson, J L druggist
Rockman M, physician
Schofield R G, watchmaker and jeweler
Scott John T, market
Simpson R W, propr "Ward Index"
Smith & Mezger, brewery
Taylor & Co., restaurant
Weiss & Summerlott Chas, bakery and restaurant
Wisel & Gilbert, feed stable
Woodberry & Bourgoise, market
Yates Mrs., lodgings
-Pacific coast directory, for 1880-81
Ward had already declined considerably by the time it was visited by fire.
BIG FIRE AT WARD
A Large Portion of the Town In Ashes
Just as we were going to press, word comes to us that Ward was visited by a destructive fire last Tuesday [August 14th, 1883] night. From O'Neil's stable on the upper side of the street to Baker's restaurant was consumed; on the lower side of the street up to James Liddle's butcher shop. The stores of Hilp Bros. and Garaghan and Ponjade must have escaped. We are sorry for the misfortune of our neighbors, and hope when more particulars reach us, it will turn out the destruction was not so great. Our present information comes by Duck Creek, and is confined to the above facts.
-White Pine News, August 18, 1883
A Destructive Fire At Ward
A Eureka dispatch says: A fire broke out in Sam Roach's blacksmith shop at Ward, White Pine county on the night of the 14th instant, and destroyed Wearn's boarding house, the school house, and Jake Henderson's barn. It then crossed the street and laid in ashes Thomas O'Neil's livery stable, the City Hall, F. W. Clute & Com.'s store, Frank Weise's saloon, and three other houses. The total loss is estimated at $10,000. The only insurance is on Clute's store. Gilmer, Salisbury & Co. lose four tons of barley and some vehicles.
-Reno Evening Gazette, August 18, 1883
T. F. O'Neil and Sam Roach were the heaviest losers by the Ward Fire. Both are energetic men and take their loss without a murmur. The Hilp Bros. of Ward and Taylor, are ready to sell their mercantile business in both places. THey are doing well, but want to leave for the East. This is a good opening for any party who wish to engage in that line of business. Over in Ward, James Liddle and R. W. Simpson are considered the boss firemen. We don't wonder at Bob possessing the necessary elements to extinguish the fire-fiend, but how Jim happens to work up his reputation is not so easily explained. T. F. O'Neil will build another stable on the site of the one recently destroyed by fire.
White Pine News, September 1, 1883
We are informed that T. F. O'Neil has purchased Sam Roach's stable interests at Ward.
-White Pine News, September 8, 1883
Some activity occurred after the decline, though
Ward, in White Pine county, Nevada, has been deserted for the past 25 years, but owing to the development of the great copper deposits of Ely, it now exhibits signs of life. During the life of the mine, a lead smelter, of possibly 100 tons capacity, was built and operated for a short period; this was an unsatisfactory treatment, owing to the increasing percentage of copper. Next a lixiviation plant was erected, tried, and abandoned; finally a 20-ton stamp mill was built and run irregularly until the mine was shut down (about 1883).
-Mining and Scientific Press, March 2, 1907
Just so you know, "lixiviation" also called "leaching," is the process of separating soluble from insoluble substances by dissolving the former in water or some other solvent.
From the Historical Marker:
Ward was a typical, lawless mining camp in its early years. Imagine, if you will, this camp of 2,000 citizens then, situated at over 8,000 feet in elevation, where winter was a time of deep snow and icy winds; where hogs ran at random on the streets; and where women were known to have roamed and begged for food. A Chinatown came into being. Killings were not infrequent, and early justice was by the vigilante committee and hanging rope. Reform Gulch, or Frogtown, was located a mile south of the city. Here, ladies of the night set up for business in tents. One abandoned brothel was used for a school house. No movement was ever started to build a church.
-Nevada Historical Marker 54,
Ward Mining District