Item #010172 1866 – 1909. Politics in the Old West as evidenced by an archive of 26 items related to the career of an important western senator, William M. Stewart, with information about securing mining rights and railroad positions for friends, influencing the appointment of the Commanding General of the Department of Arizona, and removing a dishonest Associate State Justice from office. William M. Stewart.
1866 – 1909. Politics in the Old West as evidenced by an archive of 26 items related to the career of an important western senator, William M. Stewart, with information about securing mining rights and railroad positions for friends, influencing the appointment of the Commanding General of the Department of Arizona, and removing a dishonest Associate State Justice from office
1866 – 1909. Politics in the Old West as evidenced by an archive of 26 items related to the career of an important western senator, William M. Stewart, with information about securing mining rights and railroad positions for friends, influencing the appointment of the Commanding General of the Department of Arizona, and removing a dishonest Associate State Justice from office
1866 – 1909. Politics in the Old West as evidenced by an archive of 26 items related to the career of an important western senator, William M. Stewart, with information about securing mining rights and railroad positions for friends, influencing the appointment of the Commanding General of the Department of Arizona, and removing a dishonest Associate State Justice from office
1866 – 1909. Politics in the Old West as evidenced by an archive of 26 items related to the career of an important western senator, William M. Stewart, with information about securing mining rights and railroad positions for friends, influencing the appointment of the Commanding General of the Department of Arizona, and removing a dishonest Associate State Justice from office
1866 – 1909. Politics in the Old West as evidenced by an archive of 26 items related to the career of an important western senator, William M. Stewart, with information about securing mining rights and railroad positions for friends, influencing the appointment of the Commanding General of the Department of Arizona, and removing a dishonest Associate State Justice from office
1866 – 1909. Politics in the Old West as evidenced by an archive of 26 items related to the career of an important western senator, William M. Stewart, with information about securing mining rights and railroad positions for friends, influencing the appointment of the Commanding General of the Department of Arizona, and removing a dishonest Associate State Justice from office
1866 – 1909. Politics in the Old West as evidenced by an archive of 26 items related to the career of an important western senator, William M. Stewart, with information about securing mining rights and railroad positions for friends, influencing the appointment of the Commanding General of the Department of Arizona, and removing a dishonest Associate State Justice from office
1866 – 1909. Politics in the Old West as evidenced by an archive of 26 items related to the career of an important western senator, William M. Stewart, with information about securing mining rights and railroad positions for friends, influencing the appointment of the Commanding General of the Department of Arizona, and removing a dishonest Associate State Justice from office
1866 – 1909. Politics in the Old West as evidenced by an archive of 26 items related to the career of an important western senator, William M. Stewart, with information about securing mining rights and railroad positions for friends, influencing the appointment of the Commanding General of the Department of Arizona, and removing a dishonest Associate State Justice from office
1866 – 1909. Politics in the Old West as evidenced by an archive of 26 items related to the career of an important western senator, William M. Stewart, with information about securing mining rights and railroad positions for friends, influencing the appointment of the Commanding General of the Department of Arizona, and removing a dishonest Associate State Justice from office

1866 – 1909. Politics in the Old West as evidenced by an archive of 26 items related to the career of an important western senator, William M. Stewart, with information about securing mining rights and railroad positions for friends, influencing the appointment of the Commanding General of the Department of Arizona, and removing a dishonest Associate State Justice from office

California, Nevada, Arizona.

Known as the “Silver Senator” Stewart, somewhat famous for having once employed Samuel Clemons as his secretary, was the drafter of the 15th Amendment that granted African-American men the right to vote. He was an original California Gold Rush pioneer and amassed a fortune as a mining litigator. He held political offices in California before moving to Nevada in 1860 where he became a senator in 1864. Stewart was instrumental in in developing the Comstock lode and was a ‘founding father’ of Death Valley’s Panamint Silver Mines. Several episodes of the classic television show, Death Valley Days are based on events in Stewart’s life. After relocating to Tombstone, Arizona, he represented the Contention Mine throughout the 1880s and while living there witnessed the Gunfight at the OK Corral. Stewart Street in Santa Monica was named in his honor, and he was later inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

This archive contains considerable insight regarding the wielding of political power in the Old West, including the removal of a corrupt Associate State Justice, Isham Reavis, in Nevada, who he coerced into resigning rather than face trial for bribery. Although no official documents relating to Isham’s removal have survived, several letters in this collection evidence those behind-the-scenes machinations. The archive also contains correspondence between high regional public figures regarding the appointment of General George R. Crook as the Commander of the Department of Arizona.

The contents include:

1. 10 August 1866 – Letter from Stewart to Horace Greely introducing Adolph Sutro (King of Comstock) who amassed a fortune as the developer of the water-draining Sutro Tunnel which allowed Comstock Lode mines to operate safely. The letter is docketed, presumably in Greely’s hand.

2. 29 February 1870 – Letter on Nevada Secretary of State stationery sent to Stewart by the State Librarian related to a request from Thomas Fitch, who later served as Wyatt Earp’s defense attorney following the OK Corral gunfight.

3. 16 April 1870 – Letter sent to Stewart by Henry P. Randolph of New York requesting he use his influence to garner a lucrative position for Randolph with the Union Pacific Railroad.

4. 11 May 1871 – Letter on U.S. House of Representatives stationery to Stewart from Arizona’s Territorial Delegate Richard C. McCormick, requesting Stewart use his influence to ensure that General Crook remained assigned to the territory to conduct the Yavapai War against the Apache. It also requested that he obtain support from influential westerners to organize the Texas Pacific Railroad.

5. 1871 – A letter from former Governor Anson P. K. Safford, datelined San Francisco May 11th 1871, specifically noting,

“Genl Crook told me . . . that he had been appointed to temporary Command the department of Arizona. The Genl Says (. . . in Confidence) that if he is only to command a few months and then be relieved that he would only have time to mature his plans and get ready for operations . . . to place the force into fighting trim he will have to cut a good deal of red tape and place the most efficient men ahead. . .. By doing so he will receive the displeasure of many officers. If after doing this and before he could have an opportunity . . . with the Indians . . . it would [create] a deep feeling against him in the Army and [he would] gain no credit as a fighter. . .. if he finds he is to be relieved in the fall he would let every thing stand as it now does in the Territory and get along as easy as possible. . ..”

6. 13 January 1872 – Letter on Territory of Arizona Executive Office stationery from Governor Anson P. K. Safford in Tucson to E. B. Gage, a Tombstone mining executive who funded Wyatt Earp’s Vendetta Ride, requesting assistance in removing Arizona Territory Associate Justice Isham Reavis. It reads in part:

“Enclosed are several documents for Stewart I send them to you thinking you can . . . save Stewart some time . . . to ask for the removal of Judge Reavis. . .. I have known the villainy of this man for over two years. . .. My duty to an afflicted people will not allow me to remain silent any longer. . ..”

7. 14 January 1872 – Letter on Territory of Arizona Executive Office stationery from Governor Anson P. K. Safford in Tucson to Nebraska Senator P. W. Hitchcock. It reads in part:

“Isham Reavis . . . is unfitted for the position he holds. I should be pleased . . . if you would ask for his removal. . .. Should you know of any honest capable man in your State . . . you desire to send in his place, the change would be hailed with joy by a large majority of the people of this territory. . ..”

8. 14 January 1872 – Letter sent to Steward on Territory of Arizona Executive Office stationery by Governor Anson P K. Safford in Tucson with more information regarding Reavis. It reads in part:

“I enclose an affidavit [showing] an alarming condition of affairs. . .. Reavis is the one I proposed to have removed two years ago. . .. He has gone on worse than ever. . .. Corruption existed but you know how difficult it is to prove these things and his tyranny and oppression has been so great that the people have been intimidated. . .. I think [the affidavit] can get him removed at once. . .. He has acted in . . . in the interest of Hooper Whiting & Co. . .. The middle man in this bribery is John S. Carr. . .."

9. 1885 – A pamphlet written by Stewart, Bondholders’ Conspiracy to Demonetize Silver. . .. Complete with 43 pages and original wrapper.

10. 1890 – A pamphlet written by Stewart, How Silver Was Demonetized / Speech of Hon. William M. Stewart , June 5, 1990.” Complete with 60 pages but no wrapper.

11. 10 February 1898 – Letter on United States Senate stationery to “The American Pub Company” of Chicago agreeing to write for the publication providing it “agree that I could be at liberty to express my own views [and] that the journal is open to free discussion. . ..”

12. 1 September 1898 – Check from The Bullion and Exchange Bank of Carson City, Nevada, signed by Stewart payable to P. B. Ellis for $20 and bearing a 2-cent “battleship” revenue stamp. Ellis operated the State Line Mine and Mill in Death Valley from 1885 to 1890. Later, he served as the Assayer at the Carson City Mint and as Nevada’s Deputy Secretary of State.

13. 19 October 1898 – Check from The Bullion and Exchange Bank of Carson City, Nevada, signed by Stewart payable to himself for $1,000. It bears a 2-cent “battleship” revenue stamp.

14. Circa 1898 – An Underwood & Underwood stereocard portrait of Senator Stewart.

15. 1 January 1901 – Personal Letter signed by Steward to Nevada Deputy Secretary of State [Pearis B.] Ellis, regarding the exchange of money.

16, 17, and 18. 4 April 1907 – Letter from Stewart at his Bullfrog, Nevada law office, relating to the estate of William Grady and his relationship with the W. E. Lawton and his Tonopah-Goldfield Trust Company, a second from Huger Wilkinson at Rhyolite, Nevada, to Campbell, Metson & Brow dated April 4, 1907, regarding the Stewart’s involvement in Grady estate, and a telegram from Wilkerson to the Campbell firm telling it that an “understanding” was reached with Stewart and to delay taking further action.

19. 25 September 1907 – Letter from Stewart at Rhylolite, Nevada to the Campbell firm reporting that the Estate of William Grady had been resolved.

20. 16 January 1908 – Advertising cover to Stewart from R. L. Polk, publisher of the Nevada State Gazetteer, franked with a 2-cent Washington stamp. Roughly opened on the right edge.

21 & 22. Circa 1909 – Two biographical clippings delineating Stewart’s career, possibly from Who’s Who.

23. Undated – A photograph postcard of Stewart riding a Burro titled, “Senator Stewart who represented Nevada in the U. S. Senate for 36 years / Upon retirement he built his home in Rhyolite Nevada.”

24 & 25. Undated – Stewart’s autograph on a small card as well as on an album page along with that of John P. Jones. Jones, another senator from Nevada who served for 30 years. Jones was an original California 49er and later owned the Crown Point Mine on Comstock Lode. He was a co-developer of the Panamint Silver Region along with Stewart and the founder of Santa Monica, California.

. Item #010172

(For more information, see Reminiscences of William M. Stewart, Wilcox’s The Saga of Doc Holiday online, “Panamint City, California” at the Western Mining History website, and Goff’s “The Appointment, Tenure and Removal of Territorial Judges. . ..” in the July 1968 issue of The American Journal of Legal History.) A unique collection documenting William M. Stewart’s political influence in late 19th century Arizona and Nevada including previously unknown information regarding the removal of Nevada Associate State Justice Isham Reavis and General Crook’s appointment as Commander of the Department of Arizona. At the time of listing, although copies of Stewart’s fascinating autobiography are readily located, no similar collection of original source Stewart documents is for sale in the trade or has been sold at auction. OCLC shows several institutions hold isolated documents and letters related to Stewart.

Price: $4,000.00

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