Emigrant Trail

Our Very Own Dayton
“Best Seller!”
Images of America: DAYTON
by Laura Tennant
and Jack Folmar

First book on Dayton history since the 1920s!
This wonderful book is available for sale in our museum.
Sales benefit the Historical Society of Dayton Valley.
Contact Dayton Book, or call or text 775-508-9043.

A Historic Stop Along the Trail

One of Nevada’s earliest emigrant trails ran through today’s Dayton in the late 1840s when weary emigrants camped along the Carson River near the river crossing, where the bridge is now.

The news of a gold discovery in 1849 at the mouth of Gold Canyon had been passed from one wagon train to another and the emigrants were anxious to see the site.

Lucena Parsons

On her honeymoon in 1850-51, Lucena Parsons, 24, kept a daily diary when she and her husband George left Missouri in a covered wagon. Their company reached the lower Gold Canyon in May 1851 and the Parsons spent nine days camping and prospecting with the 200 placer miners living around the area. Noting that gold fever was rampant, Parsons dug up a few gold nuggets and traded gold for a fresh milk cow before the Parsons left for Sacramento. A text script of her diary is at Stanford University and copies are available at the Dayton Museum.

Lucy Cooke

Lucy Cooke bathed her baby, Sissy, in the Carson River in May 1853 when she and her husband, William, took a break from wagon life and stopped at Hall’s Station on their way to California’s goldfields. Hall’s was a trading post, tavern and boarding house that was established in Utah Territory on the emigrant trail near where Dayton began in 1851.

Lucy’s personal letters written throughout her trip to her sister, Marianne, were returned to Lucy, who published them in 1923.

The Cookes stopped at Hall’s near the gold mines so William could make a few extra dollars. He made $50 a month with board, and Lucy earned her board working at the station. Since no rooms were available at Hall’s, the Parsons stayed in their wagon parked nearby.