Schellbourne Ranch Cemetery, White Pine County, Nevada (near Cherry Creek)

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:

Schellbourne now serves as the headquarters for a ranch. (see below for current 2008 contact information please) One of two small cemeteries lies near the stone and log ruins of the town in Lot 9 Section 7, T22N R65E and the site is a Historical Monument under the Recreation and Public Purposes Act.   The second cemetery site location is unknown but is believed to be within a radius of a  mile or two.

Schellbourne is a ghost town on private ranch property recently owned by the McKnight family. but was sold to Herb Stathes, the great grandson of the original owner, William "Billy" Burke. (Stathes owns the ranch in 2005) The Pony Express used this area as a stop for its riders and eventually a short-lived town evolved. A pitiful few stone walls of once impressive buildings remain, but all the other buildings have been bulldozed to clean up the area when they bought the property in 1998. Permission is required to visit the site. 
Schellbourne history
Pony Express in White Pine County, Nevada
Schellbourne Pictures
Jerry Bowen's pages.

The cemetery is a short distance to the east of the remaining stone walled buildings, just behind and near the end of the long line of trees and has at least 7 graves. The three Burke markers on the right are made of cut steel wagon wheel sections riveted together in the shape of crosses. Four other graves to the left are marked by illegible wooden crosses.) A large ornate iron crucifix is located in the center of the small cemetery which has been thoroughly cleaned up by the McKnight's.

Jerry Bowen at Schellbourne Graveyard.jpg (91824 bytes)

Jerry Bowen next to one of the hammered wagon wheel crosses on the grave of one of the Burkes at Schellbourne. 


Schellbourne Cemetery - 
Before the clean-up by new owners. 
Jerry Bowen Photos



This shows placement of the four illegible wooden markers.


schellbourn_cem2.jpg (228766 bytes)

The Cemetery cleaned up and showing placement of the wooden makers in 1999 - Shaputis Photo

schellbourne_burke.jpg (231607 bytes)

Burke markers  in 1999 - Shaputis Photo

schellbourne_cem.jpg (221006 bytes)

Ornate cross  in 1999 - Shaputis Photo



Name Information Comments
Bennett, Mabel of Schellbourne, NV., died ca age 16, buried 31 Jan 1911. (here or in Cherry Creek?) Death certificate at WP Recorder's office.
Burke, Eliza (no other information on marker)  
Burke, Marsh’l (Marshall) (no other information on marker)  
Burke, Wm. (William) of Schellbourne, NV., aged ca 78, buried 5 Aug 1908  (no information on marker) He was once nominated for Lt. Governor. His brother James was mining partner of J. W. Marshall who was credited with discovering gold at Sutter's Mill, Coloma County, CA.

William Burke took up a homestead that included the town site of Schellbourne, raised stock and farmed. He co-owned the Gem Mine in the Schell Creek District and the Bullion Mine in the Rubyhill District.

Filcroft, Thomas Killed by Joseph Watts 29 May 1873. May be buried here. (Effie O. Read White Pine Lang Syne page 119-123)
The previously 3 Unknown men who were murdered, probably around 09 Jun 1865 near Schell Creek Station, are now identified as: 

Two brothers,  Morgan and Martin Woolman of Buchanan Co., Iowa 

and a traveling companion known only as "Jim."


Morgan and Martin Woolman went west some time in 1864 and were on their way back from California with some half-breed horses (one account puts the number at 14) to take back to their Iowa homes. Traveling with the two brothers was a man known only as " Jim." All three men were murdered in June 1865 by Ransom Young, age 20, and James Wabb (aka Josiah Walton), age 19, at or near Schell Creek.  

The two youthful murderers had met their victims at Ruby Valley or at some point east of the Sierras and traveled with the three men until they killed them using ax or hatchet blows to bash in their heads while they slept. Then, they mutilated the faces of the victims using sharpened cedar branches hoping Indians would be blamed for the deaths. 

The killers loaded the dead men onto horses and led the animals up a nearby gulch about one or five hundred yards where the murderers concealed the bodies in tall sagebrush on the side of a hill away from where they had all been murdered. 

Blood and brains found at the campsite and dropped on the way to where the bodies had been hidden led a man searching for stock to the corpses on 10 Jun 1865. He gave the alarm and the pursuit for the perpetrators began.

Wabb and Young had tried to burn the bloody clothing and blankets of the victims, but did not succeed in the attempt. A badly damaged daguerreotype was later found in the ashes which was thought to be a picture of a woman and a child, perhaps related to one of the murdered men.

While Young was arrested at Bed River, east of Schell Creek, by soldiers, Wabb escaped on a jaded horse. His horse gave out at Indian Springs and he continued his escape on foot. He was captured within four miles of Fort Crittenden (Camp Floyd, UT?) by a Mr. Roberts and a second man who were pursuing him. 

Wabb identified himself as being Josiah Walton of California and admitted to the killings. Mr. Roberts arranged to immediately transport him back to Schellbourne. Young was being held at Egan Canyon by the Justice of the Peace and he too had confessed. 

Upon hearing of the capture and imminent arrival of Wabb, a large body of angry citizens forcefully took possession of Ransom Young from the Justice of the Peace and took him to Schellbourne to meet the arrival of Wabb and his captors. 

Young showed regret for his part in the horrific murders but Wabb was indifferent and sullen.

The citizens constructed two tripods from poles and a carpenter's saw horse was placed beneath each. The prisoners were made to mount the sawhorses, cords were fastened to the apex of the tripods and snugly adjusted around the two prisoners necks. Then the saw horses were removed. Because there was very little fall for the bodies, the two died by strangulation.

Young and Wabb were executed without a trial at Schell Creek, (Schellbourne) at ten o'clock on the morning of 15 June 1865 over "the graves of their victims on a grassy hillside under a stately pine, near a beautiful spring." It is said they were buried near the spot where they had murdered the three men.

Young and Wabb were from near Mission of San Jose, California and had relatives there. One newspaper account concluded, "The swift retribution that overtook the murderers was but the just punishment of their crimes."

It is reasonable to assume that "Jim" and Morgan and Martin Woolman were the first interments to be made in the Schellbourne cemetery.


Pioneer Nevada Volume 1 published by Harrods Club of Reno 1951 page 70. Book owned by Margaret Rowe of Ruth, NV. (Effie O. Read White Pine Lang Syne page 119-123)

Carson Daily Appeal 16 Jun, 1865

Austin Reese River Reveille June 10, 13, 14, 15, & 20, 1865


Morgan J. Woolman was born about 1828 in NY. His father was Hirum Woolman born c. 1800 and his mother was Lidia Woolman b. ca 1796. They settled in Michigan where Morgan married Emily J. Irwin, b.18 Nov. 1837.

It appears they had two children while living in Michigan and then in around 1862 moved to Sumner Twp., Buchanan Co. Iowa where Morgan bought land from his brother Martin. There they had another child, Harry
Woolman in 1863. 

Morgan's estate was probated in the fall of 1865. 

Source: Tom Rice

Sent: Thursday, March 20, 2008 11:47 AM
Subject: Schellbourne ranch

June; To clarify the history of Schellbourne ranch, you may want to add this.  The ranch was sold by the Burke's to some sheep ranchers, they owned the ranch for sometime and then sold to a couple in Utah. When the husband died in the late 70's it was sold to Marvin Jesson. I bought the ranch from him in 1995 and still own it. Some of the old buildings were destroyed along with the house due to their run down state and were ready to fall down. There are only two members of the original Burke family still living, they are the grandson and grand daughter of Wm. "Uncle Billy" Burke. one lives in Wells the other in Reno, both are close to ninety. We continue to make improvements and the ranch is a viable working cattle today. Many visitors still come by and we hope to try and restore some of the remaining buildings.    Herb Stathes
Herbert E. Stathes
Hill City Oil Co., Inc.
1409 Dunn Street
Houma, LA  70361
Phone: (985)851-4000

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. Sources: White Pine County Recorder office, Old Book #1 Book 53, Deaths (County Recorders records)  & LDS Schellbourne Cemetery Tombstone List dated June 1950, located at Ely BLM (1973 legible markers) The cemetery was visited on 7/27/99 by June Shaputis and Marilyn Newton.

Home Page

Pages designed by
copyright 1998