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Lincoln County

AKA: Coal Valley; Coal Valley Irrigation Project; Oneota Dam; Davis Dam

All we had on this town was a rumor that a dam may have been built there for agricultural purposes. None of the go-to authors had written anything about it. So I went to the newspaper archives. Oneota/ Coal Valley sits on the Lincoln and Nye County line, not far from the Nye County town of Sharp. Everything referenced in this write-up comes from area newspapers between 1908 to 1920. Because most of the information that I found came in very small tidbits, it may read more like a timeline than an actual article. In July of 1908, water-power at Cherry Creek (Lincoln County) was being developed for future irrigation in Coal Valley. By December of 1908, freight teams were hauling machinery and supplies to Oneota for work on the dam. By January 1909, it was reported that a massive dam and reservoir, along with15 miles of irrigation had been completed at a cost of $125,000. Cottonwood, Cherry and Pine Creeks were to provide the water to irrigate 15,000 acres for cultivation. The reservoir would be able to handle as many as 288,000 acres of irrigation. 160-acre plots and bonuses would be offered to settlers willing to come to the area. George G. Davis, formerly of Las Vegas and Pioche, was a major investor and developer at Oneota. By January of 1909, over 70 people were living here. A freight road between Pioche and Oneota was being planned, as weekly supplies were being hauled to Oneota from Pioche. An individual named William Thompson, who had interests at Oneota, stated that the dam would be ready to irrigate crops for the 1909 season. In February of 1909, George G. Davis purchased the famous Mountain View Hotel in Pioche. He had plans to remodel it and turn it into a lavish establishment. Part of the financial deal between Davis and J.B. Hull (owner of the Mountain View), was that Hull would receive 800 acres at Oneota. By the Spring of 1909, outside investors were traveling to the area to inspect the progress. In June of 1909, a drunken dispute occurred between Elmer Davis (The nephew of G.G. Davis) and a cowboy named Eugene Dupont. Davis was shot and killed by Dupont. He was immediately arrested and taken to Pioche. The Oneota Post Office was opened in July of 1909. In October of 1909, Eugene Dupont was acquitted of the murder of Elmer Davis. By mid 1910, the Cherry Creek Irrigation Company and G.G. Davis were being sued by James A. Nesbitt and the Hodges-Cook Mercantile Company for non-payment. On May 1st, 1911, the company applied to be able to release the irrigation waters for distribution. In May, sales for the area were being advertised. Parker and Ballard of Salt Lake City handled the sales. The buyer was required to purchase the land from the U.S. Government for $1.25 an acre. From there, the buyer would purchase water bonds for the amount of water needed to farm and irrigate their crops. The water purchase would be made from the Cherry Creek Irrigation Company. By late Summer of 1911 through early 1912, many farm families from Kansas began to arrive to establish agricultural operations. In March of 1912, five more Kansas farm families arrived at Caliente with farm equipment and livestock. In January of 1912, the District Court ruled in favor of plaintiff J.A. Nesbitt in his case against the Cherry Creek Irrigation Company. However, this small judgment was not expected to cause any problems for the company. In August of 1913, the Tonopah Daily Bonanza ran an article titled "Oneota Camp In White Mountains Is Doing Well". Not much was actually said about the camp in the article. On December 1st, 1916, the Cherry Creek Irrigation Company of "Sharp, County of Nye, State of Nevada" made a new application to distribute water into Lincoln County. It now included water from the White River Sink. The water would also be diverted to different townships that were only identified by numbers assigned to them. By October of 1917, a man named L.M. McArthur of Cedar City, Utah had gained at least some control over the Oneota dam operation and had made several applications for water appropriation and diversion. By the end of 1917, conflicts were arising between Oneota area cattlemen and sheepmen from Utah. The Utah Sheepmen were said to have "invaded" the area. From here, there isn't much more written about Oneota and Coal Valley. The U.S. Census for Lincoln County, Nevada listed the 1910 population of Oneota at 11 residents. The census contradicts news articles that state that as many as 70 people were living there. By 1920, the U.S. Census listed the population of Oneota at ZERO residents. And there you have the story of another Nevada town that vanished into history, whose name was likely never even known by 99.9% of the people who currently live here.

Post Office: July 19, 1909 to April 30, 1912.

Last Trip/ Road Conditions: November 2020. I do not believe that there were any issues with the dirt roads getting there. But it is a long way out in the middle of nowhere, so go prepared.

Sources: White Pine News (Newspaper); Pioche Weekly Record/ Pioche Record (Newspaper); Las Vegas Age (Newspaper); Carson Daily Appeal (Newspaper); Yerington Times (Newspaper); Eureka Sentinel (Newspaper); Tonopah Daily Bonanza (Newspaper); Nevada Post Offices- An Illustrated History (By: James Gamett & Stanley W. Paher); Nevada Place Names- A Geographical Dictionary (By: Helen S. Carlson).

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