Charleston

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Elko County

AKA: Mardis; Bayard; Union Gulch; Cornwall; Copper Mountain

George Washington Mardis was a man who had been actively prospecting in the area since the 1860's. He discovered placer gold on a creek in 1876. That creek would be named Seventy- Six Creek. You can see the page on this website for Seventy-Six Creek. Based on these discoveries, the town of Mardis was formed. Mardis grew quickly and soon gained a lawless reputation. The normal mining camp businesses soon came to Mardis. These included saloons, stores, a hotel and school. George Mardis was known as a hard fighting bible thumper. He would carry ore to Elko and Deeth for the mines, as well as gold for the miners. He was well trusted. During a trip in 1880, he was carrying gold for a Chinese storekeeper. He was ambushed and killed by a "Six-Toed Chinaman" named "New York Charley". A posse soon tracked the barefoot man down via a six- toed footprint in the sand. When they caught up to him, he was hanged. By 1883, the mines and the placer activities had both declined. In 1886, a post office opened under the name of Bayard. Activity revived by the late 1880's and the town was later renamed Charleston. The lawless element never went away. Murders were committed and murderers frequented the area. A story goes that the Sheriff of Elko was chasing a fugitive. When he got back to Elko, he made the comment, "I didn't get him, but I rode plumb through Charleston without being shot at!" or "plumb through Charleston and did not get shot!" Mining ups, downs and revivals occurred throughout the 1890's and early 1900's. The discovery of Jarbidge was very friendly to Charleston. In 1911, the Charleston- Jarbidge stage line was established. After this time frame, major mining activity became very limited. This area is also huge Elko County cattle country. The Prunty Ranch is located right near Charleston. There are internet articles written about the Prunty Ranch and their famous Diamond A horse. They are well worth reading. For decades, starting in the 1950's, the Pruntys raised top of the line bucking stock and drove them the old way, via cattle drive, to the huge Silver State Stampede & Rodeo in Elko.

Post Office: August 28, 1886 to February 2, 1889 (at Bayard); January 31, 1895 to July 31, 1951 (at Charleston)

Last Trip/ Road Conditions: I've been here several times. The last time was passing through elk hunting in November 2021. The road via Deeth, or the road via Wild Horse are both pretty good. It's always been relatively dry when I went through. It could get rough in the snow. Also note, this place is out in the middle of nowhere. Don't plan on cell service and don't plan on anybody driving past you if you break down. And it's a really long walk out! Go prepared everywhere. But go really prepared when going to places like this.