Beautifully engraved certificate from the Steamboat Silver Mining Company
issued in 1864. This historic document was printed by the Towne and Bacon Printers, San Francisco and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of an early steamboat. This item has the signatures of the Company’s President and Secretary and is over 151 years old.
The Steamboat Silver Mining Company was incorporated in February 1864 and operated in the Sierra District of Humboldt County in the Nevada Territory. Their mining operations were located on the Chrysopolis (Means "Golden City") and Yosemite Ledge. The ledge was named after two of the most famous steamboats that traveled the route from Sacramento to San Francisco during the 1860s. The Chrysopolis Steamer was built in 1860 for the California Steam Navigation Company, she could carry 1,000 passengers and 700 tons of freight. She beat the New World’s speed record by 16 minutes, a record that was neverbroken. Her sister ship was the Yosemite. In 1869, the California Steam Navigation Company became part of the Central Pacific Railroad.
Photo from 1865 of the Steamer Chrysopolis
(Not included with certificate)
Although Spain claimed the Nevada region during the 1500s, no exploration occurred until the early 1800s. Native Americans living there at that time included the Paiute, Shoshone, and Washoe tribes.
During the 1820s, trappers from the Hudson Bay Company explored the Humboldt River. Jedediah Smith traveled across the Las Vegas valley and William Wolfskill blazed the Old Spanish Trail into California. Complete exploration of Nevada occurred during the 1840s; John C. Frémont explored and charted the Great Basin and Sierra Nevada.
At the end of the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), the southwest came under U.S. control. In 1850, the Utah Territory, that included Nevada, was established. Some of the first settlers came to Nevada during this time.
In 1857, congress was asked to create new territory out of the “Great American Basin.” This region included parts of eastern California, Arizona and what is now Nevada. The area was referred to as the "Territory of Sierra," "Carson Territory" or "Washoe Country."
In 1858, it was proposed that Nevada would be carved out of western Utah but pro-slavery southerners stalled the bill. Finally in 1859, “the citizens of the western Great Basin met,” seceded from the Utah Territory and created the territory of "Nevada." This was never recognized by congress however and so it was not until March 2, 1861, president Buchanan signed the bill creating the Nevada Territory.
Territorial legislators met in Carson City in December of 1862, to create a State of "Washoe." But in November of 1863, when the delegates met to draft the constitution for the state of Washoe there was disagreement about the name. The other names that were considered were "Humboldt," "Nevada," and "Esmeralda." When the debate was complete, Nevada, the Spanish name for snowy or snow-covered was accepted.
Nevada did not have a large enough population to become a state at the beginning of the Civil War (1861-1865). However, President Lincoln saw that most Nevadans were anti-slavery and that the North was in desperate need of silver and gold to help pay for the war. On Oct. 31, 1864, Nevada became the 36th state of the Union with Carson City as its capital.
During the late 1860s, several miners settled the northwestern counties of Nevada. The following decade, mines closed as the value of silver dropped. Thousands of miners left Nevada looking for work, others turned to ranching.
Mining Certificates from the Nevada Territory are quite scarce and highly desirable.