Hay view from Castle

Hay view from Castle
Hay-on-Wye, Powys (formerly Breconshire), Wales. The "Town of Books" (and Vaughans!)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Likely Johns Home, Jacks Valley, Nevada

I'm pretty sure after comparing Google Maps with the 1862 federal survey with BLM's amazing GeoCommunicator and the 1870 Grant Assignment (also from BLM online) that this is the house that Abednego Johns lived in with his second wife, Jane (Jeanette) Vaughn Lewis Johns. I have seen a historical building in Reno from the 1890's with similar stone, door, and window layout.
Best evidence says this is the Abednego Johns House, Jacks Valley Road, Genoa, Nevada, from Google Maps
Jack's Valley Road and sections 22 and 23 T.14N., R.19E. Carson City, showing quarter/quarter sections
1862 government survey, Jack's Valley, Nevada. The Surveyor must have written "A. Johnson" for "A. Johns"
It's in the correct quarter section to be Abednego's and the Joneses were his neighbors to the north.

When Cousin Judy told me that she had found Elinor's daughter, Jane, Jane's husband, John Lewis, and their son, John Samuel Lewis, in the same 1856 Ellsworth Handcart Company, I said that all we had to do was to find Jane and that will tell us where Elinor [Eleanor] was and where she is likely buried. That has not been an easy task.

Abednego, pioneer of 1853 (aboard The Jersey, and with the Joseph Young Wagon Co. to Salt Lake), changed his name from Jones to Johns after arriving in Nevada. That may have been to distinguish himself from his neighbors and friends from Wales, the Joneses. His first wife, Mary Evans, died in 1860 and he married Jane that year who, after 1880, changed her first name to Jeanette. I'm not exactly sure whether she was divorced from John Lewis. Civil and ecclesiastical order and organization had completely broken down in Carson Valley between 1857 and 1861.

There is a pioneer cemetery in Genoa and one on the Winters Ranch farther up Jacks Valley. Both have names of burials listed online, and while there are some unmarked graves, it seems odd that no burials for the Johns family are listed when they had several people die in Jacks Valley between 1860 and 1890. One of those would be Elinor between 1860-62 as she shows on the 1860 Census with Jane and the Johns Family as "Ellen" age 74 (the Census taker was terrible with getting the names down), but not on the 1862 Territorial Census.

My hunch is that there was a family cemetery plot on the Johns Ranch. I could see no clear sign of it on Google satellite pics. So, I think somebody has to knock on that door and ask what they may know about the Johns Family or any old grave plots on the property. Any volunteers?

And that is why I may be taking the long way home from Oregon.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I didn't click the right surface-management buttons!
Good thing I figured this out before I got there. It doesn't make much difference, but I do have to be careful that I don't get into any conflict-of-interest issues since I do work for the BIA on Washoe lands. The land is Indian trust land! It appears to be zoned "commercial" by the Washoe Tribe. So that home in the Google pic above is possibly rented, either to tribal members or non-Indians. It is part of the Tribe's Stewart Community Ranch lands formerly affiliated with the Stewart Indian School on the other side of Highway 395 on the south end of Carson City.

Oddly, the land was acquired by the US for the Indian School in 1890, the same year as Abednego's and Jane/Jeanette's deaths. This may be why information about their family and ranch in Jacks Valley seems to disappear from the public record . . . .

The former Indian School is now a historical site.

It may be difficult, though, to put up a monument for Elinor on Indian Lands. There's still the Genoa Pioneer Cemetery. But we've got to get this confirmed.


  1. I actually lived in this house in the early 1970's. We remodeled the house and found fire damage to the second floor. There was a date inscribed into the cement flooring on the north entrance to the house. I think it was 1913. I don't know if this was when the house was built or when the porch slab was poured. The old attached wood framed garage contained some old license plates and other memorabilia. I also don't know too much about the house other than the previous tenant. His name was Baber. He was also an employee of the Stewart Indian School and was charged with running the cattle portion of Stewart's vocational department. I explored this property completely as a teenager with no car and loads of time on my hands. To the rear of the property there was about 10 acres that was a museum of ancient farm equipment and automobiles. The cars appeared to be of 20's and 30's vintage. To the south you could actually see remnants of the pony express trail. The trail appeared to veer west of the current Jack's Valley road. One interesting thing I found was a dry well just off the trail with remnants of buildings.

    1. Thank you so much for that information!

      I figured that the current structure would have been part of the Stewart Indian School ranch. So far, the Washoe Tribe has been unresponsive to my requests to visit that property. Are you aware of anything resembling a possible grave site, perhaps on the first knoll to the east of the house across the current road?

      The dry well with remnants of buildings would be very interesting. I take it that was South of the house and West of the current road? Could you estimate about how far?

      I need to do more detailed map analysis, triangulation, measuring, etc.

  2. I never saw anything resembling a grave site on the east side of the house across Jacks Valley Rd. The only thing of note on that side of the property was a lot of hot spring mud holes.

    If you take a good look at the south side of the property on google maps you can see remnants of an old road which I presumed was the original Jacks Valley road and possibly the pony express route. The old road veers off to the west about a hundred yards south of the house. The well is situated just yards to the west of the old road, before the creek runoff area. I visited the area in June, 2019 and there appeared to be a brush fire so the well should be easy to spot.


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