Coppereid, 1909, copper + Reid

Coppereid, Churchill County, Nevada

Cover Date: September 9, 1909

This is the story of a copper mining area and the town that supported it in Churchill County AND the man who made it all happen!

Cover as HistoryCopper was discovered in the Stillwater Range in 1868 in a remote canyon called White Cloud.  The White Cloud District was formed on the west slope of the Stillwater Range 33 miles northeast of Stillwater and 35 miles southeast of Lovelock. 

For a year no work was done in the area because of Indian difficulties. In 1869 Major B. B. Bee and Frederick North finally organized the district but no work was actually done until the early 1870’s by John. C. Fall of Unionville.

A camp near the mines formed with a store, saloon and about 40 people. To draw more attention to their mine, a townsite was platted at the mouth of the canyon called White Cloud City. Growth didn’t come and the camp stayed small. In 1893 a copper smelter was built and shipped a limited amount. 

The town and mines languished until 1907, when the Nevada United Mining Company under the direction of John T. Reid began to carry on extensive operations. The Nevada United under Reid at one time had 33 patented claims.

The town of Coppereid was born in the location of the original camp of White Cloud City. Enough people came to town to warrant a post office, boarding house, commissary, and saloon. 

A forty mile railroad was projected from Hazen or Parran. The 1913 Nevada State Legislature even granted Mr. Reid and his heirs the right-of-way for said railroad. (I wonder if this law is still in the 

Production was limited and by 1912 the area lost its post office and most of its citizens!

History of CoverJohn T. Reid was born around 1871 in Unionville, Nevada. He became a mining engineer at 25.

The first known mention I have found of Mr. Reid in Nevada comes from an 1896 Nevada State Journal newspaper article. He writes from Lovelock about a rousing and enthusiastic meeting held in Lovelock to organize a Bryan Silver Club. A. Westfall was to be chairman and Reid the secretary. Like most Nevada towns they were concerned what the demonetization of silver would mean to the state. 

In 1896 he surveyed the Tintic Mining District in Utah for the Nevada United Mining Company. The mines were so successful that Reid received a lifetime annuity from Oliver G. Jennings, nephew of John D. Rockefeller.

Early in the 1900’s John Reid found the remains of a body(ies) with a rifle, pipe, shoes, etc. The Nevada Historical Society in 1941 determined that the bones were from three Piute Indians and pre-1840. That represents a very early encounter with white men in the Lovelock area. 

We find Reid and the Nevada United Mining Company mentioned in a lengthy newspaper article on December 25, 1907.    Merry Christmas Mr. Reid! Reid is the General Manager! 

In 1908 there was great speculation that the Shady Run Mine of the Nevada United Mining Company was about to crosscut a great copper ledge. This on authority of the general manager John T. Reid. Reid also says that a railroad will certainly go through once the vein is open!

Those of us who know Nevada history can laugh all we want at the idea of a railroad to a mining boom camp. But this one actually went a little further than most. Chapter 179 of the 28th Session of the Nevada Legislature gave John T. Reid and his associates a right of way for a railroad from Hazen or Parran to the Nevada United Mining Company’s mines at Copper-Reid in Churchill County. This was in 1917 when Coppereid was supposedly dead. Maybe the history books have that wrong? (I wonder if this law has ever been revoked or it is still on the books?)

The company was a close corporation, which means it crated a company town where others were not invited. The company provides a boarding-house and a company eight-horse team the makes runs to Lovelock and back at frequent intervals. 

Reid was also interested it he welfare of the local Piutes. With the Reverend Mark White and others he wrote to Senator Nixon requesting a permanent home for the Piute Indians of Lovelock and the vicinity. The letter stresses that the Indians should have no fear of moving again like they have had to do sow many times in the past. This was in 1909 when our cover was mailed. 

When Mr. Reid passed away circa 1941, a large collection of materials, including many related to the Indians in the lovelock area were donated to the Nevada Historical Society. He truly was a Nevadan concerned about the true native Nevadans!

Reid was also the post master for Coppereid the entire time of its existence. Yes, he actually cancelled this cover!