Henry Comstock

Native Americans on the Comstock

The development of the Comstock took a toll on the Northern Paiute Native American population of the region, but they adapted and even prospered in ways which seemed unlikely. Prior to contact with Euro-Americans, the Native American population of the Great Basin was well adapted to the fragile, arid environment, living in seasonally mobile bands and coming together for collective hunts or harvests. When trappers, travelers, and settlers began moving into the Great Basin in the 1840s, Native Americans had to adapt to the changing culture and environment.

James Finney

James "Old Virginny" Finney, born in Virginia in approximately 1817, is credited with discovering the Comstock Lode. Traveling west, he became one of the first of several hundred placer miners in Gold Canyon during the 1850s. In January 1859, Finney, Alec Henderson, Jack Yount, and John Bishop climbed up the canyon, having depleted the surface deposits along the creek. They discovered a rich outcropping they named Gold Hill, which was the southern end of the great Comstock Lode. Within a few months, Old Virginny gave away his subdivided claim as gifts or for little money.

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