Aurum Cemetery, Aurum, North Spring Valley, White Pine, Nevada

The cemetery is located in T21N, R65E, Sec 13, on an alluvial fan of Silver Creek, at an elevation of 6986 feet, about 60 miles from Ely, NV. (See Silver Canyon Quad 7.5 minute series Topo map.) Spring Valley was once part of the lands roamed on by the Gosh-Ute Indians, known to be an aggressive people.

The Silver Canyon mining district was most active in 1869 to 1871, becoming organized in 1871 when silver ore was discovered. Three mining camps once existed in the vicinity. The first camp was christened Silver Canyon or Doughberg. The second camp was named Aurum, a Latin word meaning gold. The third camp was termed Aurum II. 

The first camp of Silver Canyon had two boarding houses, several saloons, a store, and a blacksmith shop. A ten-stamp mill built to handle ore but the gold content of the ore was not as good as expected and Silver Canyon camp faded away in the late 1870's. In 1878, new discoveries were made and Aurum was born. In 1881, Aurum had a store, one saloon, a blacksmith shop, two boarding houses and its own post office. A school began in November of 1881, but Aurum was a ghost town by 1884.

Aurum II revived in 1887, peaked in 1897 and 1898 with sporadic mining attempts until the mid 1920's. A stage line served Aurum three times a week. Hans Anderson drove the stage and mail route from Cherry Creek, Pat Keegan drove between Aurum and Osceola, and Frank Bassett drove to Ibapah (Deep Creek Station), Utah. After the mines closed down, the store and post office continued to serve the Cleveland, Bassett, Odgers, Yelland, Sampson, Cameron, McHugh and Davis ranches. Ben Sanford was the postmaster and storekeeper in 1897.

On 11 February 1884, a snowslide hit a lodging house, store, stables and other buildings in the camp killing Wallace Crimmon, John Fox and foreman W. H. Mitchell. It is not know if any of these victims were interred here.

Nothing remains of the camps but the cemetery. Of the eighteen visible graves, only five markers could still be read in 1971, Cameron, Doherty, Hughes, Killam and Palmerton. In July 1999 Palmerton's marker was missing or unreadable.


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Name Information
Brooks, Dr. ___ Died December 1885 from a throat infection. A Hamilton resident who left there in 1878, it was he suggested the Latin name of Aurum, meaning gold, for the new camp in 1881 when the post office turned down the suggested name of Silver Canyon. Co-owner with others of Boston, Massachusetts, of the Sadie L., Bluebell, and the Buckhorn Mines.
Cameron, Jacob of Germany, ca 56, buried 31 Oct 1897 In Memory of Jacob Cameron 1840 - 1897, ‘'Tis Finished! The Conflict is Past.  The Heaven-born Spirit is fled." Cameron’s wife was the community midwife and he was a rancher near Muncy Creek. A Republican, Jake was described as being of "sterling worth"
Doherty, James Died Oct. 21, 1891, age 57 yrs.  Gray slate material marker.
Hughes, N. L. A Native of Missouri, died Mar. 11, 1896, aged 63 years.
Hyland, Thomas Died 1884 from injuries received in a powder blast at the Bluebell Mine.
Killam, M. (Moses) Died Feb. 4, 1897, born in Penn. July 4, 1820. A prospector who was considered to be a "good man" and always walked around with his hands clasped behind him.
Palmerton, Geo. Born in New York, age 63 years. Wooden marker. Partner of Simon Davis during the early 1880's. He died previous to 1897.
Snivelly, Mabel Child, died 1880 when carried a long distance in a wagon pulled by a runaway team. Her mother and two siblings had been thrown clear but Mabel was carried away. She was found about fifteen miles distant from Aurum. Effie Read says legend states that her grave overlooks the the camp but was blasted out of solid rock on one of the surrounding steep cliffs.
Unknown miner died between 1887 and 1900 from a hemorrhage, before the doctor could arrive from Ely. (Unknown author of an article titled "Nevada’s Turbulent Yesterday.. "Give Me Back My Yesterdays.")

The Spring Valley Indian Affair

James Tollard was killed by Toba, a Gosh-Ute Indian, in September 1875. Tollard and his partner, A. J. Leathers, refused to pay $50 to two Indians who had promised to show the white men a rich outcropping of ore in the Schell Creek Range. The ore was of no value. Tollard was killed but Leathers escaped and made his way to the A. C. Cleveland ranch.

The Gosh-Ute’s were in the process of gathering pinion nuts in the hills near the Cleveland ranch for their winter supply. In fear of attack, A. C. Cleveland captured a Gosh-Ute to hold as hostage, but shot the Indian when he tried to escape. A second Gosh-Ute was killed by Cleveland’s herders when he refused to give up his rifle.

Settlers, worried that the Indians would retaliate because of the loss of their two men, formed volunteer troops from Pioche, Eureka and other areas. Governor L. R. "Broadhorns" Bradley, wired Major-General Schofield in San Francisco, CA., asking for federal troops, Major Dennis was sent to Spring Valley to quell the uprising. Dennis found only peaceful Indians who quickly proved they had no wish to make war upon the whites by surrendering To-Ba, the Gosh-Ute who had killed Tollard. To-Ba was hung for the murder.


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Overview of Spring Valley from Aurum Cemetery - Shaputis photo 1999

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These pages will attempt to try to personalize the individuals buried in our cemeteries because they are not just a name and date. Additions, comments, queries or corrections are always welcome.  Please feel free to contact me at:

Researched by June Shaputis using existing tombstones, Ely City Cemetery records, newspaper obits, LDS cemetery records, family information, local history books, and death certificates located at the White Pine County Recorder's Office in Ely, NV. (Effie O. Read White Pine Lang Syne page 124-126, 173-174)

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