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This page is dedicated to Mrs. Bessie Grock Winchell, who was a life-long resident of Elko County.  Bessie Winchell wrote the priceless book "Now and Then" in 1986 about living and growing up in Deeth and Starr Valley, Nevada.  Mrs. Winchell passed away on October 31, 2001 at the age of 82.  Her obituary, included toward the end of this page, only provides a peek into the life of this lively, courageous and spirited woman. 



On January 13, 2002, my dad, my son Harry, and I took a 'Sunday drive' 30 miles east of Elko - on the I-80 Freeway - to the small town of Deeth.  We drove the muddy roads of Deeth, took a few photos, visited with a resident walking her dog, and then drove south on the 'hardtop' to Starr Valley.  But this page is about Deeth.  It is a very short distance from I-80, but in time it is a hundred years from the freeway.  This is shown best in the photo of the windmill in the foreground, by the corrals, and the microwave tower in the distance by the freeway.  I think I was born a few generations too late.  I yearn for those times.  I envy the ranchers, who with great tenacity, struggle to hang on to those times ... when hard work, using what you have learned, some sage wisdom, some good weather, family, true friends, and an undying faith in God were all you needed to get by.  



Howard Hickson's Histories

 Elko County Place Names

Deeth: (Between Elko and Wells) Settled in 1868 and named after a man called Deeth who ran a small store on the banks of the Humboldt River some two miles below the present town. 


This site has many wonderful old photographs of Deeth dating back to 1875.





Deeth's History

compiled from Bessie Winchell's book "Now and Then", 1986

Map of Deeth

Deeth is at the confluence of the Humboldt and Mary's River.

"The early Indians trapped fish with willow traps woven out of pliant willow branches, narrow at the neck and widening at the bottom." (Winchell, 1986).  They lived by hunting, fishing and gathering berries and nuts.  

Peter S. Ogden was one of the earliest trappers to visit the area.  He trapped the Mary's River in the Spring 1831.  Milton Sublette and Nathan Wyeth trapped the Mary's River in 1832.  Thomas McCoy, of the Hudson Bay Company, trapped the Mary's River in 1833.  He reported that he met with poor success as it had already been trapped.

John C. Fremont wrote in 1844 of finding hot springs.  His description of these springs match those springs just north of Deeth on Hot Springs Creek.

Deeth was on the California Trail - used by wagon trains headed west toward California.  However the town was not settled until 1868 during the construction of the transcontinental railroad.

Deeth was founded by the railroad.  It became a supply center and shipping point for Starr Valley, Ruby Valley, Charleston and Jarbidge.  The town flourished when gold was discovered in Jarbidge in 1910.  Freight came by railroad to Deeth.  It was then transported to the gold camp of Jarbidge via freight wagons.

In 1895, Nevada had a total population of 45,761.  Deeth 82, Elko 766, Ft. Halleck 21, Halleck 43, Ruby Valley 52 and Wells 254.  During the boom years, caused by Jarbidge, the population of Deeth was 250.  It contained two large general merchandise stores, 2 hotels, a dance hall, 5 saloons, an opera house, a slaughter house, a red light district, a creamery, a school, a newspaper, a garage, blacksmith shop, livery stable, post office, jail and 42 dwellings, 25 of which were fine homes.  On the hill north of Deeth there was the Indian village.  In her book, "Now and Then", Mrs. Winchell describes her childhood memories of Deeth during these times, the railroad, flood of 1910, ranching, the freight traffic, schools and the advent of the automobile.

Her section on the life of the Shoshoni Indians who lived in Deeth is a must read.


USGS Topographic Map of Deeth (1991)

USGS Aerial Photograph of Deeth (1995)



Click on photos to see original high clarity digital photographs



Exit 333 to Deeth and Starr Valley on the east bound lane of the I-80 freeway.  The I-80 freeway was constructed in 1975.  When you exit right you are on the old Highway, US40, that went into Starr Valley south and then east to Wells.  Take this road - it is paved - and enjoy nice short detour into the ranching culture.  The road reenters I-80 freeway near Wells.
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Looking east at the northern and middle areas of Deeth.  Western Pacific tracks are in the foreground.  The Southern Pacific tracks parallel these in the distance.
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Middle and southern areas of Deeth.
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Northern entrance to Deeth.  RR tie house is on the left of the road.  This first group of photos are taken of northern Deeth - along the road to Charleston.
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RR tie house.  According to Mrs. Winchell's map of Deeth this was thought to be the area of Truetts Red Light.  The actual use/owner of this house is not shown on the map.
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Inside RR tie house.  Looking south out front door.
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A little further down the road.
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The sign in the window says "For Rent".  It is actually a very nice looking house from the outside.  McCormick House (?) (new)
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Foreground is the approximate area of the Bradley Opera House.
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"DEETH HEADQUARTERS of Russell-Bradley ranch"  There is a 1909 photo of this house in Mrs. Winchell's book.  It is identical except a white picket fence surrounded the house. (Winchell, 1986)  L. R. "Broadhorns" Bradley was the second elected governor of Nevada.  Governor Bradley died in Elko on March 21, 1879.  He is buried in a simple grave in the Elko Cemetery.  The governor's son John Ruben Bradley was the active partner with George Russell at this operation.
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Down the road just past the 'big house'.  Bradley Office.
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Looking back west from where we were.  Ahead lies the corrals.
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Standing in same place as previous picture looking north toward the freeway to 'the house on the hill'.  According to Mrs. Winchell, this hill was called Indian Hill and was occupied by Indian dwellings.  According to Mrs. Winchell, in 1989,  it was the site "of the home of Bob and Shirley Garrett.  This home was built in the 1970's by Peter Marble."  It was owned by the Rafter Diamond Ranch.
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The corrals.  They look like they have been here a long time.  I am unsure but I think this is the McCormick Feed Lot shown on Mrs. Winchell's Deeth map.
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West edge of town.  Left takes you up the Mary's River to Charleston and straight ahead to O'Neal Basin.  Next summer I'm going both ways.  First to Charleston.
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The next group of pictures is of Deeth between the two sets of railroad tracks.  This is the Fire Department Building.
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Deeth Mercantile and Old Post Office.  Original building burnt and was rebuilt on the same site.
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New Post Office.  The East Humboldt Range is in the background.
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At the post office looking south at the East Humboldt Range.  Western Pacific tracks are in the foreground.  
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Behind (east of) the new post office.  According to Mrs. Winchell's map: Travelle - Wise House (yellow in distance), Mahoney Brothers House (white). The Deeth School (tore down) was just to the right (south) of the white house.
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Travelle - Wise House 
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Bird House
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South of the old post office along the second set of railroad tracks was August Alles Home (tie building).
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Southern set of railroad tracks and Deeth Siding.  Down by the willows on the left was the Western Pacific Depot (now tore down).  Directly to the right of the tracks was the Western Pacific Stockyards (gone - where the barite is now stockpiled).  Directly to the left of the tracks was the Standard Oil Bulk Plant (now tore down).
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Stockpile of 'jigged' barite at Deeth Siding from the Old Soldier Mine, near the head of Stormy Creek, in the Snake Mountains, forty some miles north of Deeth.  I'm guessing there is 7,000 tons of jig product here.  It has been here since the mine closed in the early '80's.
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Ranch houses just south of Deeth Siding (furthest to closest:  Forbes (gone), Wilber Smiley House and Bob Anderson House (moved to Starr Valley)).  If you follow this road it takes you back to the blacktop road to Starr Valley.
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Grock Bros Machine Shop just south of Deeth on the paved road.
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Picture from the base of the East Humboldt Range in Starr Valley looking north at Deeth.  Deeth is in the valley at the confluence of Mary's River and the Humboldt River.

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Bessie Grock Winchell's family plot next to the chapel at Starr Valley Cemetery

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Elko Daily Free Press, November 2, 2001





Elko, Nevada Time-Line

Starr Valley Cemetery, Elko County, Nv


Elko County Veterans Cemeteries
Elko Nevada

This file was created by Judy Swett to honor the memory and service of Elko County, Nevada Veterans.


L. R. "Broadhorns" Bradley, Elko, Elko County, Nv 

George Russell Mausoleum, Elko, Elko County, Nv 

Rossi Mine - Barite, Elko County, Nv 





Winchell, Bessie, 1986, Now and Then, Bonanza Publishing, Prineville, OR 97754


Additional Information:  Northeastern Nevada Museum


Stanley W. Payher, 1970,  Nevada Ghost Towns & Mining Camps, Howell-North Books, Berkeley, California, Page 220 has a wonderful article on Deeth.  If you enjoy Nevada history this book is the very first one to buy.  It is amazing how much history and how many photos are packed into its 500 pages.  The slip cover of mine is shredded, the pages are marked up, the corners are dog-eared - but it is among my personal treasures.  If you cannot locate it locally, it is available at the Northeastern Nevada Museum.


 If you know or would like to add anything about this page, please let me know

© 2002 - Elko Rose Garden Association

Recent Photos by Dan Turner