Von Schmidt Marker 6/4/14

1872 Nevada border marker receives preservation

by Emerson Marcus, courtesy of Reno Gazette Journal

Verdi Von Schmidt Monument photo by Lee Adams

Verdi Von Schmidt Monument
photo by Lee Adams

Over the Truckee River bridge in Verdi off Dog Valley Road stands a 142-year-old cast-iron border marker — a little-known reminder of errors in 19th century Nevada-California boundary surveys and heated land disputes. The border marker, originally placed there in 1872 by surveyor Alexey Von Schmidt and designated on the National Register of Historic Places, was protected in recent decades by a decrepit chain-linked fence with a large dent on its side. Its recent history is marked by graffiti, bullet holes and theft, which officials and locals hope changes with construction of metal fencing this month from a $40,000 California state grant. The area’s past history is equally colorful, including gunfights, botched surveys and emigrant wagon routes where Nevada and California converged in the Sierra. The Sagebrush War A decade before Von Schmidt placed the marker in 1872, citizens of Nevada Territory claimed portions of California near Honey Lake. One of Nevada’s original nine counties, Roop County, spilled into present-day Lassen County northwest of Reno. Territorial legislators felt land east of the Sierra crest should belong to Nevada, the “weaker neighbor,” but they first asked California for permission. That request was denied, but ongoing disputes would take a century to settle. The California Constitution in 1850 established the boundary north of Lake Tahoe along the 120th meridian. But California, with its wealth, rushed through statehood lacking advanced survey, and many just on the western side of the established line either avoided California tax collectors by claiming Nevada citizenship or simply felt more akin to the nearby settlers than they did to Sacramento, their capital. Jurisdictional disputes followed, and few grew hotter than a shooting skirmish between Plumas County and Roop County citizens in 1863. Shots fired after each county arrested officials of the other, including judges and one sheriff. Two were injured prior to a peace being reached in Susanville where two men from each side met. Roop County was dissolved. The brief Sagebrush War — perhaps hyperbole — demanded a need for a more thorough survey. Von Schmidt’s markers Nineteenth century survey technology proved tricky, specifically in determining longitude. While latitude is based on the horizon and fixed celestial points in the sky, longitude is based on the surveyor’s position with Greenwich, England, and given the Earth’s speedy rotation, there is little room for error. There were errors in past surveys, and Von Schmidt sought to fix them — though he didn’t quite get it right, either. Arriving in Verdi with a $40,750.32 contract to survey the stateline for the federal government’s General Land Office, Von Schmidt was supposed to start his survey at the border of Nevada, California and Oregon. Instead, he opted to use data for the 120th meridian at Verdi produced by George Davidson, a geodesist from the U.S. Coast Survey who had had been in Verdi earlier and whose work he knew to be more accurate. “He starts to go north, and says, ‘I’m going to do it differently,'” said Nevada land surveyor and Von Schmidt marker historian, Paul Pace. (Photo: Tim Dunn/RGJ ) The General Land Office demanded he backtrack and follow instructions, which Von Schmidt obeyed, but inklings toward

Von Schmidt Marker at Verdi  photo by Lee Adams

Von Schmidt Marker at Verdi
photo by Lee Adams

Davidson’s calculations got the best of him. Unfortunately, Von Schmidt measured incorrectly, putting the iron marker 500 feet west of the 120th meridian, according to Pace. When he reached Lake Tahoe’s North Shore, he was 1,600 feet off, Pace said. “Nevada would be three miles wider (if he went off the federal government’s request),” Pace said. “But that wouldn’t have lasted. That would have had to be resurveyed as well.” Surveys in 1893 and 1899 showed errors with Von Schmidt’s line, especially south of Tahoe along the oblique portion of the Nevada-California border. Disputes continued surfacing in the courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1981 that the boundary between California and Nevada remain the Von Schmidt line. Preserving history Pierre Bayard-de-Volo first saw the marker when he bought property in Verdi in the 1960s. If his memory serves him accurately, he remembers a plaque where there is now a 2-foot crack on the California side of the marker, but no Verdi resident has been able to verify that for him.

In 2006, he called Sierra County Supervisor Peter Huebner on how to preserve the vandalized marker. Then the recession hit. “Pierre (Bayard-de-Volo) thought I was giving up on it,” Huebner said. “I said, ‘I’m not going to give up.'” “I’ve spent 16 years on the board (of Sierra County Supervisors), and this is my biggest personal project,” Huebner said. Last week, the metal fencing was built — costing $15,000 — and extra funds will be used to fix the crack in the marker. A plaque interpreting the marker’s history is also planned, along with another for the Henness Pass Trail — a major emigrant trail through the Sierra — and historic Crystal Peak. At a glance • The Alexey Von Schmidt survey marker was placed on the California-Nevada border in 1872. A recent $40,000 California state grant paved the way to protect the marker, which has a history of vandalism and theft. • The marker has “California,” “Oregon” and “Nevada” on its west, north and east sides, respectively, the year 1872 and notes how it is 120 degrees west of Greenwich, England on its south side. • There is believed to be less than a handful of other surviving Von Schmidt markers, and the known ones do not have writing. If you go • The marker sits on the Nevada-California line off Dog Valley Road. It is open to the public.

Chili May Be Dangerous 2/19/14

courtesy of Mountain Messenger

THE MIDDLE–More than one eastern County would-be chili cook have complained about the price of beef. Given the upcoming Great Yuba Pass Chili Cook-off, held March 1 at Yuba Pass, and the futility of attempts to use road kill, badger, wolverine and chicken, area ranchers are advised to keep an eye on their stock.
The usual suspects, always including Loyalton’s Andy White, have resorted to hiding the names of judges from honest contestants. The privilege of naming judges switches from side to side annually. This year, it’s the east side’s turn.
Our sources have suggested we plan to bribe Jeanine Hudson and Ron Strong, but the names of other judges have been stubbornly withheld.
We know that Strong is susceptible to ‘Goldwater for Emperor” lapel buttons, but are unaware of any Hudson weaknesses.

don fund The necessity of bribing judges is absolute: there are no rules in the event, but human nature and greed area natural rule. There are no entry fees, no registration, no amenities offered, no requirements but showing up. There are no rules and everyone is welcome to be disrespected by the bribed judges on an equal footing.
For the record and to avoid a libel suit, we insist on declaring there is ABSOLUTELY NO PROOF Andy White’s chili sent 60 people to the hospital last year. Chuck or Danny Henson’s chili may have been responsible for that, for all we know.

Senior Caregiver Course 1/8/14


Bette Jo and Frank Lang are teaching a 40 Hour Senior Caregiver Course March 4-April 10, with tentative class hours on Tuesday and Thursday from 5PM-8PM and 2 Saturdays from 9AM-12PM. Topics will include an understanding of aging, health care needs, as well as the development of  physical, emotional, and technical skills. Participants will be given a Certificate of Completion upon finishing the Course.

Rural life has numerous challenges that make living and staying in the community problematic. All communities require infrastructure including people, water, food, shelter, sanitation, gasoline, transportation, jobs and companionship. We all hope to stay in our homes and in our community as long as possible. Aging and illness require caregiver infrastructure to stay in our homes and our community. Not everyone has the capacity or interest in being a caregiver but circumstances often direct our lives in that direction. We will all need help at some point in our lives that requires the support of a caregiver at a clinic, hospital, assisted care facility or in our home. We all want to support our family and our friends in their efforts to remain in our community or in some circumstances die in a peaceful and comfortable manner at home.

Our intent is to provide training and an understanding of how to be a caregiver. We hope to attract individuals of all ages. In some situations, this will be a family member who wants to assist their parent, spouse or family member to stay at home. You might want to refresh or improve the skills you already have. Alternatively, someone might want to develop a career or skill set that will provide a job as a caregiver that is satisfying and needed. One might also just want to know more about health and the body to better help themselves or others in an emergency or in everyday life. A caregiver not only tends to the physical care needs that a person has but also to the infrastructure that is required to keep them at home such as nutrition, housekeeping, transportation and shopping.  The Course will be held at the Western Sierra Residential Center which has graciously donated the facility for our classes. Books and materials will be provided. There is no cost for the Course. Please call Bette Jo or Frank Lang at 289-3644 if you have questions or want to sign up.

John “Duke” Evans Arrives on 10/30/13

John Wayne “Duke” Evans, weighing in at 8 lbs 6 ozs, was born on October 30, 2013 to happy, elated, proud parents Hayley and John Evans and brother Karston of Loyalton.  According to Dad  Hayley,  Karston and Duke are all doing great.
Duke let's everyone know he ain't happy with the car seat rules.

Duke let’s everyone know he isn’t happy with the car seat rules for his trip home from the hospital..

Grandparents are Pam Cayuga of Redding, Mary Evans of Huntington Beach and John W. and Lori Evans of Huntington Beach.
Sheriff John Evans said, he and his father are big John Wayne fans and every male on the Evans side is named John (Karston’s middle name is John Eli) and both paternal grandparents graduated from Wayne State University in Michigan.
“It has been long ago since a sitting Sheriff had a baby in Sierra County”, said John who will be 48 this year.  Dad John, Mom Hayley and brother Karston are eagerly looking forward to this new chapter in their lives.
Happy parents, Sheriff John Evans, and Hayley Cayuga Evans with baby boy John "Duke" Evans

10/30/13 Happy parents, Sheriff John Evans, and Hayley Cayuga Evans with baby boy John “Duke” Evans. Somehow Duke and Mom look much more rested than Dad… 

Caught Copper Handed 8/28/13


Booking Photo of David James Farris

Booking Photo of David James Farris

Sierra City – On Tuesday evening Sierra County Sheriff’s Deputy Graham Beatie and Detective Mike Fisher arrested David James Farris out of Truckee for stealing copper piping from the San Francisco State University Field Campus just north of Sierra City for Burglary, Grand Theft and Possessing burglary tools. Sierra County Judge Kennelly had just issued a Warrant for PC 487(a) and PC 459 for previous thefts with Deputy Beatie spotted the previously identified vehicle from security cameras at a previous crime scene.

Sierra County Sheriff John Evans is asking for the public’s help in determining where the suspect may have been staying or camping in the recent weeks in an attempt to recover stolen property. Please call the Sheriff’s Office at 530 289-3700 or contact any Sierra County Deputy on patrol.

Have you seen this truck? Please notify the Sheriff's Office when and where.

Have you seen this truck in a campground? Please notify the Sheriff’s Office when and where. Call 530 289-3700 if you have any information.

Sierra County Sheriff's Office is seeking information on the whereabouts of this vehicle in the past few weeks call 530 289-3700 if you have any information.

Sierra County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information on the whereabouts of this vehicle in the past few weeks call 530 289-3700 if you have any information.

The Sheriff’s office has requested help if anyone recognizes this truck call 530 289-3700.

While searching the area for the suspect Deputy Beatie and Detective Fisher saw the suspect emerge from a building carrying copper piping. Bail was set at $30,000. New charges of PC 459 and PC 466 were added for the theft at SFUFC. Sierra County Sheriff John Evans, who was also on scene, will be issuing a Press Release later today.