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Lewis Rice "Broadhorns" Bradley

Second Elected Governor

of Nevada 1871 - 1878

Elko County, Nevada


One of the well kept secrets of Elko, Nevada is that the second elected governor of Nevada is buried here in a simple grave in the Elko Cemetery.  His grave is within an easy view of Elko High School at 9th and Juniper streets.  




L. R. Bradley was born in Orange County, Virginia on February 15, 1805. He brought his family west to California in 1852 and to Nevada ten years later where he was engaged in the cattle business in Elko County. He served two terms as governor and was narrowly defeated for a third term in 1878. Ill health prevented him from re-entering politics and ranching. He died in Elko on March 21, 1879.

Picture of Governor Bradley

Governor Lewis Rice Bradley was a widower. His daughter Virginia acted as the official hostess during his term. She married Supreme Court Justice Charles H. Belknap on February 27, 1873.









Grave of L. R. "Old Broadhorns" Bradley in Elko County Cemetery at 9th and Juniper.
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The blue-gray turreted home at 643 Court Street was build in 1904 by Lewis Lee Bradley, son of John Rueben Bradley.  John R. Bradley was the son of Nevada's second Governor, L. R. "Broadhorns" Bradley.  Elko Free Press - Walking tour provides introduction to Elko by Mike Antrobus and Jan Petersen.  The house is currently owned by Mr. Mark Chilton.
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Edna Patterson

pertinent quotations taken directly from pages 326 - 330

L. R. Bradley

Born in Madison County, Virginia.  L. R. Bradley married Virginia Hode Willis, and two children were born  John Ruben and Sarah Watts Bradley [referred to in all other references as VIRGINIA HODE ]  In 1843 he moved his family from Richmond to Kentucky and the following year to Fayette, Missouri.  While living in Missouri, his wife died.  In 1852 he sold his Missouri property and with his son, John R., trailed cattle to California by way of Platte River, Fort Hall, Raft River of Idaho down the Humboldt River of Nevada and crossed the sierras to Stockton California.  The losses of this drive amounted to 40% of the herd as cattle perished or were driven away by Indians.  The next year, returning to Missouri, he undertook another drive of horses, mules and sheep to Stockton and netted a large profit.

The Bradleys settled at Stockton until floods during the winter and springs 1861-62 destroyed their lands.

In the fall of 1862 Andrew J. and C. D. Lane and W. K. Johnson, in connection with John R. Bradley, purchased part of the Mason Ranch, Esmeralda County (later Lyon County) and drove cattle in from California.  Later they sold to Joe Douglas of Virginia City and in 1882 "Hock" Mason repurchased the property.

Father and son trailed their remaining livestock to Lander County and turned them loose to range the Reese River Country between Austin and Battle Mountain.  While living in Austin, L. R. Bradley formed a partnership with James Rooker and the firm operated the Rooker-Bradley Meat Market as an outlet for beef.

Extending their cattle operation eastward the Bradleys ranged in Pine Valley, Eureka County and a portion of the valley became  known a Bradley Flat.  In 1866 they sent three men, Joseph Kirkpatrick, Cornelius Wood and John Dall into Mound Valley to take up land to be sold to the Bradleys.  From Mound Valley they stretched to Huntington Valley and Joseph Smith, another of their men, acquired land which he turned over to the Bradleys.

By 1869 the Bradleys had headquartered in Elko.  The Democrat Party, looking for a candidate for governor in 1870 nominated Lewis Rice Bradley who was elected Governor of Nevada.  "Old Broadhorns" served two terms and was defeated in his third try for office.  His political disappointments and the loss of 20,000 head of cattle during the severe winter of 1879 probably speeded his death on March 21, 1879.  A simple marble shaft marks his grave in the Elko Cemetery.

John Ruben Bradley

While Governor, Bradley formed a partnership with George Russell and J. R. Bradley and their holdings extended into Elko Humboldt and Lander Counties, Nevada and Cassia County, Idaho, operating under nine different brands.

[section on Idaho ranch operation left out]

Although the winter of 1879 crippled the Russell-Bradley herds, enough cattle survived to form the nucleus for one of the great cattle spreads of Nevada. 

In 1885, while still operating with George Russell, John R. Bradley formed a partnership with Nathaniel Hockett Allan ("Hock") Mason of Mason Valley, Nevada under the firm of Mason-Bradley.  They headquartered at Deeth and ranged 12,000 head year round in the Mary's River Country of Northern Elko County and Bruneau Basin of Idaho.  Before any land survey had been undertaken they claimed all of Salmon River drainage, including Sun Creek, Camp Creek and the Big Meadows on Canyon Creek. (The property was later sold to Sparks-Harrell Co.) The Bradley family owned 20 irons.  Russell and Bradley and Mason and Bradley cow outfits prospered until the winter of 1889 - 90 for that year they got great numbers of cattle and attempted to save herds by shipping in hay.  Losing between 6,000 and 7,000 head, they kept twice that number alive with ingenuity and the use of money.

Following the white disaster, Hock Mason withdrew from Mason-Bradley and teamed up with Henry Miller of Miller and Lux, becoming a partner in the Miller and Lux 25,000 head cattle operation in Humboldt, Washoe and Lyon Counties, Nevada and Harney County, Oregon.

In 1897 Russell and Bradley dissolved and John R. Bradley controlled the Mary's River division with his son Lewis Lee and Jefferson Davis under the name J. R. Bradley and Sons.  Their lands extended from 12 Mile Ranch on the Humboldt River to Deeth and north along Mary's River.  George Russell too control of the 25 Ranch (named for the brand) in Lander County.

[article continues]

John R. Bradley died in Reno, February 14, 1902.

Lewis Lee Bradley

Lewis Lee Bradely, son of J. R. Bradley, was born at Stockton, Calif. Nov. 17, 1866.  When 5 years of age his family moved to Austin, Nevada and later to Mineral Hill and in 1870 to Elko, Nevada.  He was educated in Elko schools and the Pacific Business College of San Francisco, and then entered the cattle business, assuming management of Mason-Bradley Co.  He later purchased the Commercial Hotel in Elko.  In 1891 he married Mary H. Armstrong of Starr Valley and to them were born two daughters, Beulah, wife of Joe Snelson (manager Fielding Hotel, San Francisco) and Alice May.  L .L. Bradley died in Carson City



Virginia Hode Bradley 

(daughter of Gov. L. R. Bradley)


Charles Henry Belknap 1841-1926

 7/20/1841, Newburg, New York
Parents: Aldred Alden & Caroline Lucinda
Brother: Clayton Belknap.
School: Polytechnic Institute, Brooklyn, N.Y.
1865 Emigrated to Virginia City, Nevada.
Lawyer; admitted to bar 1869 (Nevada).
Mayor of Virginia City; Secretary to Governor Lewis R. Bradley (Nevada).
1872 - appointed to Nevada Supreme Court.
1873 - marries Virginia Hode Bradley (daughter of Gov. Bradley).
Children:Caroline "Carrie" Belknap Brown, born in Nevada; Virginia, born in
California; Dita born ?; and Alden, born in Nevada.
1905 - retired from Nevada Supreme Court.
1926 - died 10/6/1926, San Francisco, California.


The Nevada Supreme Court

Justices of the Nevada State Supreme Court
Name Years
Belknap, Charles Henry (Dem), appointed to Garber's vacancy until election following 1872-75
Belknap, Charles Henry (Dem) 1881-87
Belknap, Charles Henry (Dem) 1893-99
Belknap, Charles Henry (Dem) 1899-1905




Elko, Nevada Time-Line


Events that took place in L. R. Bradley's term


  • L. R. Bradley, Democrat, became governor of the state. He served in the office until 1878.
  • State Capitol completed and occupied by August
  • Reno got the county seat from Washoe City.
  • Tuscarora boom with 2 more in the 188O's and the last in 1903.
  • Lewis R. 'Old Broadhorns' Bradley (Democrat) became Governor; re-elected 1874.
  • Lieutenant George Wheeler's survey expedition in Nevada; in 1872 it became the U. S. Army's 'Geographical Surveys West of the 100th Meridian,' later U. S. Geological Survey (1879).
  • Congress made Camp McGarry an Indian reservation; land set aside for Summit Lake Paiute Reservation January 14, 1913 (Humboldt).
  • First brand recorded in Nevada by E. Burner of Elko County.
  • Washoe County seat moved from Washoe City to Reno.
  • Ruby Hill (Eureka) founded.


  • Borax industry & Metallic City, Rhodes & Sodaville. Virginia & Truckee extended from Reno to meet tracks in Carson City.
  • Winnemucca got county seat as Unionville mining camp dying.
  • March 12: President U. S. Grant established Moapa Indian Reservation by executive order; cancelled and re-established in another spot by executive order February 12, 1874, original reservation included about 3,900 square miles; reduced by Congress 1875 to 1,000 acres; increased by executive orders in 1912; land allocated to Indians 1914.
  • Eureka Mill Railroad constructed between Virginia & Truckee Railroad and quartz mills on Carson River; abandoned 1906.
  • 1872-73:  A. W. von Schmidt survey of California-Nevada boundary.


  • March 1: Eureka County, with Eureka as its seat, was created. It became effective March 20, 1873.
  • The Great Bonanza Mine was discovered, which helped to bring about a revival of industry and speculation in Nevada.
  • Big Bonanza (4th & last boom) on the Comstock - 30,000 pop.
  • Pioche & Bullionville Railroad transporting ore to mills.
  • Comstock's second big fire, killing 6 men.
  • March 4: Legislature elected John P. Jones (Republican) to serve as U. S. Senator; re-elected 1879, 1885, 1891 and 1897.
  • May: Freight road established from Winnemucca to Austin (Humboldt, Lander), connecting the mines around Reese River with the transcontinental railroad at Winnemucca (Humboldt).
  • June 11-August 1: Virginia City & Gold Hill Water Company built water system for the two Comstock towns; water conveyed through 21 miles of pipe and 45 miles of flumes from a dam and reservoir at Marlette Lake across Washoe Valley to the Comstock by way of Lakeview Ridge (Washoe, Storey). This system was considered a major engineering achievement at the time and in 1975 was designated a national landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
  • October 27: Joseph F. Glidden of Illinois invented the first effective and economical barbed wire; invention had major effect on ranching and farming in Nevada. Legislature created Eureka County, county seat at Eureka.
  • University of Nevada established by Legislature.
  • Winnemucca-Boise road built, connecting the Idaho mines with the transcontinental railroad at Winnemucca (Humboldt).
  • Legislature enacted cattle and sheep branding law for ranchers.
  • Nevada Central Narrow Gauge (Pioche & Bullionville) Railroad built; abandoned about 1881.
  • Wadsworth-Columbus road opened to wagon traffic; connected the mines of Esmeralda County with the transcontinental railroad at Wadsworth (Washoe).
  • Discovery of 'the Big Bonanza' directly under the Consolidated Virginia Mine on the Comstock Lode at Virginia City (Storey); largest single silver and gold ore pocket ever discovered, it yielded more than $100 million over six years.
  • "Crime of 1873''. Congress passed coinage act which discontinued minting of silver coins for domestic use and severely limited silver purchases by U. S. Government. When law took effect in 1875 price of silver fell heavily, affecting Nevada's mining industry.
  • Humboldt County seat moved from Unionville to Winnemucca.
  • Belleville (Mineral), Cornucopia (Elko), and Cherry Creek (White Pine) founded.
  • Nevada State Agricultural Society chartered; became a state institution in 1885.


  • The University of Nevada was established at Elko.
  • 3rd & 4th Comstock fires.
  • Construction began on Eureka & Palisade Railroad designed to link rich mines at Eureka with the transcontinental railroad; completed 1875; abandoned 1938.
  • Tybo (Nye) founded.
  • Reno-Loyalton road opened. connecting the mining and agricultural communities of Sierra County, California, with the transcontinental railroad at Reno (Washoe).


  • Worst of six major fires on the Comstock.
  • Panic of 1875.
  • Big fire in Eureka.
  • Eureka & Palisade Railroad completed.
  • Wm. Sharron ousted Ralston from Bank of Ca. led to suicide.
  • Establishment of Indian reservations by executive order.
  • Lake Tahoe Railroad (Glenbrook) completed.
  • March 4: Legislature elected William Sharon (Republican) to serve as U. S. Senator.
  • April: Anti-Chinese labor riot at Cold Hill (Storey); Chinese workmen forced to leave their jobs by white laborers opposing employment of low-paid Chinese workers.
  • August 26: Collapse of the Bank of California; financial panic in Nevada and California; mysterious death of Bank of California founder W. C. Ralston at San Francisco; many of the Bank's holdings were reorganized and taken over by William Sharon.
  • September: Goshute Indian war scare in White Pine County.
  • Anti-Chinese labor disorders at Carson City and along line of Virginia & Truckee Railroad.
  • Logging at Lake Tahoe. Carson & Tahoe Lumber & Fluming Company (later Lake Tahoe Narrow Gauge) Railroad built at Glenbrook; abandoned 1898. M. C. Gardner (Camp Richardson) Railroad built on south shore of Lake Tahoe; abandoned after 1885.
  • Virginia City (Storey) nearly destroyed by fire.
  • Elko-Tuscarora Road constructed (Elko); connecting the Tuscarora mines with the transcontinental railroad at Elko.


  • Top production year for the Comstock. $45,653,477.
  • Wm. Sharon merged all Bk. of Ca. mines into Consol. Imperial.
  • Invention of telephone by Alexander Graham Bell.
  • February: Labor strike on Virginia & Truckee Railroad over issue of Virginia & Truckee RR using Chinese laborers; strike settled when low-paid Chinese employees were fired.
  • May: White labor organizations attacked Chinese workmen cutting wood in Washoe County, protesting employment of Chinese laborers by logging companies.
  • June: Large anti-Chinese riot in Carson City; leaders were arrested and convicted for their part in the disorder.
  • October 12: Bishop Ozi William Whitaker of the Episcopal Church opened first private school for girls in Nevada, at Reno (Washoe); school closed 1894.
  • Nevada products shown at U. S. Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia.
  • Belmont-Eureka Telegraph Line built, connecting Belmont mines (Nye) with the transcontinental telegraph system at Eureka (Eureka).
  • Gas street lamp system installed at Reno by private company (Washoe).
  • Candelaria (Mineral), Pyramid City (Washoe), and Ward (White Pine) founded.


  • 1st important library opened by Virginia City Miners' Union.
  • Dawes Allotment Act gave each Native American family 40 to 160 acres with balance of land surplus for whites.
  • March: Congress passed Desert Land Act and Water Act of 1877, allowing sale of up to 640 acres of surveyed semi-arid public land to each settler who irrigated and improved the property.
  • April 16: Executive order established U. S. Indian reservation at Duck Valley and Carlin Farms; Carlin Farms Reservation discontinued 1879.
  • Legislature established Nevada Fish Commission.
  • Wadsworth-Elko-Tuscarora Telegraph Line built, linking the mines of Tuscarora (Elko) with the transcontinental telegraph line at Elko.
  • Electric telephones installed in mines at Virginia City after the invention was shown at 1876 U. S. Centennial Exhibition; first telephones in Nevada (Storey).
  • Virginia & Gold Hill Water Company improvements, Marlette Lake Tunnel built, second set of pipes added to carry water to the Comstock Lode towns (Washoe, Storey)
  • Bunkerville (Clark) founded under the principles of the 'United Order,' a Mormon cooperative concept of community life.
  • Hannah K. Clapp and Annie Martin opened the first kindergarten in Nevada at Carson City, as a private institution; first public kindergarten in the state opened in 1895 at Reno (Washoe).


  • Invention of phonograph by Thomas A. Edison.
  • Bland-Allison Act, boosting silver, enacted by U. S. Congress.
  • Bannock Indian Wars.
  • Eureka fire destroyed $1 million in property despite fire dept.
  • February: Congress passed Bland-Allison Silver Purchase Act over veto of President Rutherford B. Hayes, obligating U. S. Government to purchase fixed amounts of silver every year.
  • March 1: Day school for Indians opened by Indian agent at Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation; enlarged to boarding school 1882.
  • May 30: War began between whites and Bannock and Paiute Indians led by Bannock Chief Buffalo Horn; Indians were defeated after several pitched battles. Buffalo Horn was killed by U. S. Army troops commanded by General 0. 0. Howard. Nevada militia participated in the warfare which took place in the northern part of the state and southern Idaho.
  • June 3: Congress passed the Timber and Stone Act allowing citizens to purchase up to 160 acres of public land unfit for cultivation, at $2.50/acre. This legislation effectively allowed a few companies to acquire much of Nevada's forest lands in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
  • August 3: Reno's Chinatown burned; Workingmen's Association, a labor organization, ordered all Chinese out of town. Although a vigilance committee at Reno restored order, the Workingmen's Association prevented Chinese from rebuilding their homes and shops for over a month (Washoe).
  • Grasshopper and cricket plague reported in Washoe, Humboldt, and Elko Counties, and in California and Utah; lasted until 1883, causing great damage to crops.
  • Genoa-Bodie Telegraph Line built, connecting the mines of Bodie, California, with the transcontinental telegraph system at Genoa and Carson City.
  • Soda pop (originally called 'soda gush') appeared in Nevada.
  • George Wheeler's surveying expedition to Nevada; continued 1871 U. S. Army mapping survey of western states and territories. Wheeler's efforts ended in 1879 when Congress created U. S. Geological Service to take over his work.
  • Nevada State Medical Association formed as a statewide organization of physicians at Carson City.
  • Rich strike of ore started rush to Bodie, California; most supplies for Bodie, Bridgeport, and other camps around Mono Lake were brought in by railroads and wagons from Nevada towns.
  • Bristol (Lincoln), Ely (White Pine); Lewis (Lander) founded; hotel started which became site of Gardnerville (Douglas).
  • Construction began on Reno-Bridgeport toll road, designed to connect the mines around Mono Lake, California, with the transcontinental railroad at Reno (Washoe).
  • John Wheeler and Oscar Ash built West Walker Toll Road from Antelope Valley to the mines around Bridgeport, California (Lyon, Douglas).
  • Joseph Scott of Halleck (Elko) imported the first purebred Hereford cattle into
  • Nevada.


  • J. H. Kinkead, Republican, who had been elected in 1878, became governor of the state and served in the gubernatorial office until 1882.
  • Invention of electric light by Edison.



The Spring Valley Indian Affair

James Tollard was killed by Toba, a Gosh-Ute Indian, in September 1875. Tollard and his partner, A. J. Leathers, refused to pay $50 to two Indians who had promised to show the white men a rich outcropping of ore in the Schell Creek Range. The ore was of no value. Tollard was killed but Leathers escaped and made his way to the A. C. Cleveland ranch.

The Gosh-Ute’s were in the process of gathering pinion nuts in the hills near the Cleveland ranch for their winter supply. In fear of attack, A. C. Cleveland captured a Gosh-Ute to hold as hostage, but shot the Indian when he tried to escape. A second Gosh-Ute was killed by Cleveland’s herders when he refused to give up his rifle.

Settlers, worried that the Indians would retaliate because of the loss of their two men, formed volunteer troops from Pioche, Eureka and other areas. Governor L. R. "Broadhorns" Bradley, wired Major-General Schofield in San Francisco, CA., asking for federal troops, Major Dennis was sent to Spring Valley to quell the uprising. Dennis found only peaceful Indians who quickly proved they had no wish to make war upon the whites by surrendering To-Ba, the Gosh-Ute who had killed Tollard. To-Ba was hung for the murder.









Additional Information:  Northeastern Nevada Museum


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