Lovelock Centennial 1868-1968 : George Lovelock


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George Lovelock

From the
Lovelock Centennial Booklet 1868-1968

Pershing Co. Nevada

George Lovelock

George Lovelock, pioneer, the founder of two towns which bear his name, honored and respected as the patriarch of the town of Lovelock, Pershing County, Nevada, had during his life of eighty-three years, a career of varied experience, passed in different climes, and of successful effort and accomplishment.

He was born March 11, 1824, in Swansea, Wales, and was reared and educated in England. He married Mill Mary Forest, April 5, 1847, and shortly thereafter they took ship to Australia.

Their first son, Fredrick, was born while they were on passage. In Australia Lovelock was employed in the copper mines for over two years, after which he and his family embarked for the Sandwich Islands. Leaving his wife and child on these islands in the Pacific, Lovelock set sail for San Francisco, California, arriving April 3, 1850.

Lovelock had learned the carpenter trade, and for the first few weeks he was engaged in building houses in Happy Valley. In May he went to Sacramento, where in June, he was joined by his wife and son.

Soon thereafter they moved to Brown's Valley, and thence to Feather River, where he built the second house in what is now the city of Oroville. His son Thomas was the first white child to be born there, September 1851. In 1852 he moved to Marysville, California, for more healthful location for his family, and thence to Butte Creek. he built a store there and the place was named Lovelock in his honor.

This little California town still exists. During his stay in the area he was engaged in placer mining, teaming, and also built a sawmill at Lovelock. At the beginning of the Civil WAr, however, the demand for lumber ceased and he abandoned his California enterprises and struck out for Nevada.

He was located at the mouth of Rocky Canyon, then Humboldt County, until 1866, when he moved to where the town of Lovelock has since been built.

Upon arriving in the "Big Meadow", he bought the squatters' right, 320 acres for $2,250.00, from the Blake brothers and got with it the oldest water rights on the Humboldt River. He established his home and operated a newly acquired stage station on Hill Beachey's line at a point nearly opposite where the railroad depot now stands.

So far as can be determined, in 1866 the Blakes and George Lovelock also completed one of the earliest irrigation canals in the Lovelock Valley. They harvested the Great Basin wild rye growing in the meadows and along the Lovelock Slough with scythes each fall and used or sold the hay. The L.N. Carpenter priority in the union Canal is based upon this early Blake-Lovelock water right.

When the building of the Central Pacific Railroad reached the site of present Lovelock in early August of 1868, George Lovelock gave eighty-five acres for a town site which the company named Lovelock. The railroad company promised to give his a block in the town in exchange, an agreement that was not kept, and he had to pay five hundred dollars for half a block. Also, in return for giving the railroad the right of way, he was to receive a free pass - but he had only one free ride.

George Lovelock was a tireless and faithful worker in the developing of the agricultural and mineral resources in the Humboldt County section. He was one of the first men in the county to engage in mining enterprises and at the time of his death his holdings were quite extensive.

He was the discoverer and original owner of the American Nickel Company's nickel and cobalt properties at Cottonwood Canyon, and has valuable holdings there and in many other districts in the county. Mining was his life's work and study. In the delirium of fever, the night before his death, he was going down shafts, a candle in hand.

"Uncle George" was a short stocky man with bush whiskers. He is remembered sitting on the porch of his adobe home surrounded by ore samples and the town's children who gathered to hear stories of history and admire his collection.

The well-versed pioneer with his extra wide suspenders and handkerchief around his neck was also noted for his unusual foresite of the future. His granddaughter recalls sitting on his lap watching pigeons, when he predicted: "One day we will be flying through the air like the birds. You will live to see this occasion, but I will not."

His prized possessions were an unusually large pocket watch and chain that he had brought to this country from England; his "stogie" knife with its long sharp blade which he used to remove corks from various types of bottles; and his miner's eye glass, a tool of his beloved trade.

He was never sick a day in his life prior to the three days before his death. His longevity was often attributed to his daily ritual of dipping his penknife into a blue bottle of quinine powder and consuming all the knife point would hold. This was followed by a cup of tea which he made from the wild sage brush of which he was so fond.

Besides his extensive mining interests, George Lovelock was also engaged in the hotel business. In Lovelock he first owned the Big Meadow Hotel which he later "exchanged for a consideration" for the portion of land belonging to Ed Asher. This land beyond the Lovelock Slough is the present location of the Ruddell Ranch. He owned a hotel in Trinity when the town was in its hey day and also operated a large hotel at Oreana.

He never joined societies. His career was its own justification and eulogy. In politics he always voted the Republican ticket and he remained steadfast in the Christian faith of the Episcopal Church of his childhood. Above all, he was staunch in his belief and practice of the Golden Rule. "No one in need, be they of the dusky native tribes or the 'paleface' brother, was ever turned from his door empty handed. Indured to the hardships of pioneer life, yet he had a tender and sympathetic nature, always glad to divide his last morsel with those in need."

Mary Lovelock, first wife of George, mother of his children and sharer in his pioneer hardships, passed away July 5, 1881. She was 58. After a time a second companion, Mary Evans, was taken. No children were born of the second marriage and the wife was accidentally drowned in the old river channel which passed back of their home three years after the union.

The eight children born to George Lovelock included, Frederick, Thomas, George Jr., Daniel, Stephen, Nellie Lovelock Carpenter, Jennie Lovelock Ruddell, and Ellen Lovelock.

George Lovelock passed away March 28, 1907, at the age of 83 following an attack of pneumonia.
Information collected and compiled by Elaine Pommerening, Lovelock, Nevada [Histories chairman for the Centennial Booklet Committee, and co-chairman of the Lovelock Centennial Committee.]

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