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Elko County

AKA: Cottonwood; Dry Creek; Mound Valley; Skelton; Hylton

Elko County is the heart of western cattle country. Jiggs is the heart of Elko County cattle country. This area consists of some very large and beautiful cattle ranches. Cowboys here are known as buckaroos. The Mound Valley was first settled in 1866. When the boom occurred in Hamilton and the White Pine District, the area became a major thoroughfare to that area. The community was originally called Cottonwood. According to Hall, because of the western ranching culture and outlaw status of the area in the 1870's, Zane Grey based his novel "King Fisher" on Cottonwood. Shortly after this, the name of the community changed to Dry Creek. The area continued to serve as a stopping point and thoroughfare for those on their way to the White Pine District. It wasn't long before the name of the community changed again to Mound Valley. By 1884, the name was again changed. This time to Skelton. In 1911, the town changed its name to Hylton after a local businessman named John Hylton. The name of the town was finally changed for good to Jiggs in 1918. John Hylton was responsible for bringing phone service to the area in approximately 1900 after forming the Elko Southern Telephone Company. Hylton originally ran large sheep herds in the area. He eventually switched to cattle and bought up many ranches in the area. By 1900 (as Skelton), the town contained a dance hall, restaurant, store, hotel, blacksmith shop and saloon. The population that same year was approximately 100 residents. The impressive two-story brick building that you see in the photographs below was built in 1916 by Albert and Julia Hankins. It originally served as a hotel. Jiggs began to fade as an actual town after 1922. However, it has remained a prominent cattle ranching area to this day. In 1938, Ted Carville, who came from a long time Jiggs area ranching family, was elected Governor of Nevada. He was later elected as a U.S. Senator from Nevada.

An interesting point to note, is that there are a couple of burials in the Elko City Cemetery that list Skelton as the place of death. Charles Connelly died in Skelton in November of 1902. Chris Guldager died in Skelton in January of 1901. I bet it's safe to say that not many people out there have ever heard of Skelton. The Guldager Family has a documented history in the area. Sam Guldager's family ran the restaurant and Sam operated the blacksmith shop. In 1902, a fist fight occurred between a local buckaroo from the Carville Ranch named Fred Stone and a saloon keeper named Charles Conley (Connelly). Stone shot and killed Conley, who had not brought a gun to the fight. It was eventually ruled self-defense. Conley had just married Hannah Guldager. Again, both Chris Guldager and Charles Conley are buried in the Elko City Cemetery.

Post Office: December 14, 1869 to July 12, 1870 (as Cottonwood); February 24, 1874 to March 26, 1879 (as Dry Creek); March 26, 1879 to March 17, 1881 (as Mound Valley); November 24, 1884 to May 1, 1911 (as Skelton); May 1, 1911 to November 30, 1913 (as Hylton); December 18, 1918 to June 16, 1980 (as Jiggs).

Fraternal Organizations: International Order of Good Templars (Early 20th century).

There is no need for a road conditions section. It is a very rural, two-lane highway heading south out of Spring Creek. The only thing to watch is the weather and snow. The Jiggs Bar has been open in Jiggs for decades. People talk about country bars or cowboy bars. The Jiggs Bar is the real thing. The people who drink here are actual ranch owners and working buckaroos. For approximately 40 years, cowboys and ranchers from all over the west have chosen Elko as the spot to hold the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. A main staple in getting the gathering started, was a born and raised Jiggs buckaroo named Waddie Mitchell. Waddie Mitchell was also an early participant in establishing major ranch rodeo competitions throughout the west.

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