A Lincoln County Farmer in 1887

Mr. D. Bonelli was a citizen of Rioville in Lincoln County in the 1800’s. He was a farmer and a weather observer. He mentions St. Thomas, which is now under the waters of Lake Mead. This was written in 1887, before Clark County was broken out of Lincoln County:

“I settled here in 1868, first at St. Thomas, 25 miles north of here, where the thermometer would go to 123 in the shade and 156 in the sunshine. This temperature will hatch out eggs left in the cupboards in the houses, if they get an occasional movement, and it will steep tea in the sun and boil eggs in sand exposed to the sunshine, though it will not melt lead.”

“The excessive heat of course limits the range of vegetation, and makes it necessary to grow grain in the Winter. It is sown in October and November and ripens the first of May. Figs are ripe by the middle of May; almonds full grown last of April; grapes ripen the last of June.”

“Snakes, lizards, horntoads and tarantulas take a sort of hibernating spell in the hottest weather for a mouth, and are extra active about February and March, by which time our main forage crop, lucerne or alfalfa, is growing. It is cut by the middle of April, and five additional crops are cut if water be plentiful. The articles mentioned are the main productions that will stand the climate, everything else languishes in the Summer time. I am now getting some esparsette to try, a European forage plant that may do well in this dry, hot climate.”

“This region is sparsely settled, since there are only a few margins of arable land along the streams and transportation facilities are lacking to market the products. Railroads come near enough to spoil the produce market we used to find in mining camps, and not near enough to take off our surplus. If there is nothing found suited to the climate that will pay to export, and no mineral discoveries of value are made, it will only be the question of a few years when the white man must disappear from this region in spite of the many efforts made in the past for its settlement. If anything exists in nature that is valuable for food, clothing or medicine that requires just such a climate, it would be charity to introduce it.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *