SINISTER SIGHTINGS
PARANORMAL SOCIETY &
REVENANT RESEARCH GROUP

Location history
Being based out of Reno, Nevada, this gives us incredible places to visit all along the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Whether it's just up the hill or a trip over the mountains, we have and will continue to explore and investigate The Comstock Lode, California Gold Rush Country and wherever else we can find history and haunts to experience.

gold hill hotel & Yellow jacket mine disaster
gold hill, nevada
(28 miles south of reno, nevada & 2 miles south of virginia city, nevada)

     It is said that the Miners Cabin is haunted due to victims of the fire being taken inside or near the building to be treated or later die. Many teams ave investigated his sight to some success. For our investigation of the cabin, we came out with one photo that caught our attention in the back bedroom. But I can say, lack of evidence aside, that we all had similar experiences of seeing someone move in the dark backroom or seeing somebody walking past out of the corner of your eyes, odd feelings of being watched or there being one person extra among us that we could not see.

     The main hotel is believed to be haunted by several entities as well.

“Rosie” in Room 4- Believed to be a lady of the night who has taken a liking to the room. Reports of this room are:
-Strong smell of roses in the room.
-Lights turning on and off by themselves.
-She is also known to play tricks on guests by moving or taking objects or personal belongings only for them to be returned or found in another location.

“William” in Room 5- Thought to be a miner who perished in the Yellow Jacket Mine Disaster. Reports of this room are:
-Strong smell of tobacco smoke.
-Tends to play with the locks on the door.

Other locations said to have paranormal activity are:
-The Great Room which was a popular spot for the living at the time and some ghost hunters believe it is still a popular spot among the dead from that time.
-Upstairs hall where people have heard the running and laughing of children accompanied by the smell of cookies.

THE HISTORY AND THE HAUNTS

This is a copy of the newspaper article on the Yellow Jacket Mine Disaster that took place on the property of the now Gold Hill Hotel found at: http://www3.gendisasters.com/nevada/19950/gold-hill-nv-yellow-jacket-mine-fire-sep-1873

“Gold Hill, NV Yellow Jacket Mine Fire, Sep 1873
Submitted by Stu Beitler

MINE EXPLOSION.

Gold Hill, Sept. 20 -- This morning, shortly before three o'clock, a fire broke out in a wince, of the thirteen hundred foot level of the Jacket ground, north of the Jacket shaft, occasioned by a spark from the blacksmith shop in that level, used by the Belcher to sharpen tools. There were six men suffocated, and several more are not expected to survive. Five explosions have occurred up to this hour, shaking the town, and causing some damage to the Crown Point and Belcher, caused by tearing out
the timbers in the drifts, and filling them up with debris.

THE YELLOW JACKET MINE FIRE.

San Francisco, Sept. 20 -- The following additional particulars have been received from the Yellow Jacket mine:
The firemen can do nothing toward extinguishing the fire, but it is in a place where there is not much timber, consequently it will soon die out. Work will probably be commenced in the Belcher and Crown Point tomorrow, and none
of the mines have sustained much damage. Six miners were killed outright, and a number of others are very sick from inhaling the gas and being burned, but not dangerously. People are greatly excited, and it is rumored that others are missing. The cry now is, "No more blacksmith shops in the mines." ALBERT LACKY, underground foreman of the Belcher mine, had his face and arms badly burned in trying to save his men. The coroner's inquest will be held Monday.

Salt Lake Daily Tribune Utah 1873-09-20”

old washoe club
virginia city, nevada
(26 miles south of reno, nevada)

     Here's where the fourth entity comes in and we do not believe this to be the same male spirit on the first floor because we are looking at two very different personalities and this one seems way more prominent.

"The Man In Black" as he is referred to, is experienced on the 2nd floor but mainly encountered on the 3rd in Room 12 or "The Red Room".
-Can be aggresive and is known to scratch people and have heard that things have been thrown. (We had one of our investigators who was scratched in Room 12 during our first investigation.)
-People have experienced the sound of heavy footsteps walking or running. (We had, on a couple of occasions, investigators hearing this and when we pursued the sound, it always seemed right around the corner before stopping.)
-The name "Man In Black" seemes to come from the appearance of a shadow figure. (2 of us did see this on the 2nd floor move very fast past us. When we pursued into the next room, it was gone.)

     From the endless stories and history here, there many reasons for all of these entities. One that I did hear from a credible source was that a man killed a prostitute on the 3rd floor and commited suicide on the 2nd floor shortly after. Was it the "Man In Black" that murdered the "Lady In Blue"? Not saying it is but if true, does line up with known entities and why they may still be here. The young girl, whether it was the 13 year old girl who may have been murdered here or the 10 year old girl who died inside after being run over which this is the version that the tour guide will tell you which I personally am more inclined to believe, either way, it explains the young girl still here. Now let's take into account the dynamite cache explosion that killed 12 and was blamed on a pet monkey and the back Crypt that was used to store bodies in the winter when the ground was to frozen to dig graves and at times stored over 70 bodies at once. Who's to say who these entities really are and how many of them are actually in this location. But we will return and find out all we can from the trapped souls here ourselves.

THE HISTORY AND THE HAUNTS

     The Washoe Club opened June 1, 1875. the original building burned in the fire that cosumed half the city on October 26, 1875. The next year the club opened in a new location. At the time it only had 200 person limit for membership of the Millionaires Club upstairs. Members of note included Mark Twain and Ulysses S. Grant among other wealthy and famous figures of the time. At that time, the 3 story brick building had one main entrance on the street and 2 back entrances so the wealthy could hide their affairs from their wives and public notice. This location is as rich in history as it is in haunts. I highly recommend looking it up because the history is a lot to write about here.

     I have heard may different and conflicting stories as to the haunts here but all stories lead to 4 seperate entities. From mnay accounts, there are 3 but I will get to that shortly.

"Lady In Blue" a.k.a. "Lena", May be a murdered prostitute.
-Blonde in blue dress.
-Usually encountered on the first floor on or near the famous spiral staircase. (We do believe we captured a photo of here here.)
-The tour guide does have a photo of here captured in a selfie by a tourist on the 2nd floor. ( Might say she is if it weren't for the fact that her eye sockets were black and empty.)
-The scent of sweet, flowery perfume is often experienced and believed to be her. (We did encounter this smell on the first floor on seperate occasions by to two seperate teams.)
-We heard that she is known to touch people and at times, a little friendly towards men. (I was touched on the back of my hand one the first floor and another investigator we all believe, well, had his butt grabbed. He thought it was his wife who did this but we were all together at this time and everyone saw his wife nowhere near him.)

"Little Girl" a.k.a. "Emma" or "Ella", two accounts are a 10 year old girl run over in the street by a stagecoach and brought in where she died. Or a 13 year old girl murdered by a man in the building. (No matter the story, we do believe there is an early teen or pre-teen gril here.)
-Known to be sad. (On 5 seprate times, our team heard a crying or moaning we think was her. We did capture one of these on the audio of our static night vision camera.)
-Can be playful and toys and a 19th century doll are set out for her and witnesses have seen them moved on their own. (We brought a toy as a gift and trigger object. It was moved at one point but she seemed more interested in our flashlight we st on the floor. We got the light manipulation on 3 video cameras.)

"The Miner" a.k.a. "Scotty", Said to be a miner who frequented the bar in life and came back in death.
-Usually experienced in the bar area on the first floor.
-Said to move glasses, light fixtures and drinks unattended drinks.
-Heard that the bar leaves a single drink out for him before closing.

del oro theatre
grass valley, california
(88 miles west of reno, nevada & 60 miles north of sacramento, california)

     So when it comes to the Del Oro, there are a number of things as to why it may be haunted but we won't know for sure until we investigate this site ourselves and knowing that the only real investigation that took place here was in the lobby during business hours. So to be the first to conduct an actual, overnight investigation here makes it all that much more exciting and a great honor that we're allowed to do so.

     So to finalize, after our investigation, we can say with certainty that this location is haunted and extremely active. We feel there are at least 3 entities here with a fourth a legtimate possibility. The story of the young girl I mentioned before, as I stated, Felt it was far fetched and I was correct to think that. During our pre investigation talk the Assistant Manager was asked about this and was told that it was actually a prank done by employees on the tour guide who is convinced to this day, it was a ghost. But there is a playful little girl here in the lobby area who has been encountered playing with a ball making employees do a double take and we did experience what sounded like a child running. The Lady in White as they call her is in Theater 2 in the rear who really seems to want people to pay attention to her and can be very vocal and she is known to appear. A male entity who remains in the booth that has shown his face and has touched employees and if you don't work there, he seems to be resistant to people in his work space. We believe another male entity to be present in Theater 1 appearing as a shadow figure and comes off as shy but curious. It was a great investigation and would go back any day.

THE HISTORY AND THE HAUNTS

     Built in 1941 and its grand opening in May of 1942, the Del Oro started out as a single screen theater. In 1993 the Del Oro was renovated and expanded to a 3 screen movie theater with 845 seats and late renovated again in 2003.

     Through our endless research, I happened across this location while reading Ghost Hunter's Guide to California's Gold Rush Country by Jeff Dwyer. While I did enjoy it and got several leads from it, I do think that some of the locations stories may have been a bit exaggerated, especially after talking with owners, managers and curators.
The only story I initially found was about the spirit of a prankster girl here that throws popcorn from the air or said to appear from thin air and rain popcorn or shredded napkins. A little far fetched in my view but not being there and not seeing what these witnesses saw, who knows, maybe it did happen that way. I decided to look deeper at this one to see if there was anything more to make this worth contacting the theater. It took me awhile but I found what I was looking for buried deep in the internet. What I did find does make this investigation worth making the trip.

-First I found a story of a woman that was either pushed or fell from a stairway and died on impact with several stories found to back it up but with conflicting reports of her being pushed or falling. But the entity of a woman is said to be on the property.

​-Second, a freak fire was said to have broken out in the projection room killing the projectionist and he is said to still be on the property as well.​-

    ​With the building being renovated in 1993 and again in 2003, investigators know this to, on many occasions, stir up resident spirits. As well as the possibility of tunnels running beneath the town and the Del Oro itself, the land itself may very well be haunted. The tunnels throughout gold rush country, death was an everyday occurance. Especially regularly learning of collapses and explosions taking place in these tunnels. In most cases, due to the diggers being immigrants, the mine owners and engineers felt it was faster and cheaper to leave the trapped diggers and sometimes sealing the effected tunnel closed with dynamite and dig around.

 

tuolumne county museum
sonora, california
(180 miles south of reno, nevada & 95 miles southeast of sacramento, california)

     With reports of a baby crying, cell doors from the old jail closing on their own and toilets with manual flushes flushing themselves over and over for short periods of time, something or somethings are haunting the old jail in Sonora, California.

     We are always excited and anxious for an investigation and very appreciative to be allowed to do so. But to say I am excited for this location is an understatement since there is way more activity here than originally believed and to be the first team to investigate is such a great honor.

     Now to make note of what the actual possibilities are that makes it haunted.
-The courtyard was once the exercise yard where a well used to be in the middle. Story goes that at one point a dead prisoner was dumped down this well and the well was buried.
-As explained to me, death was such a common and everyday occurrenburied ce that in many situations, dead prisoners were in unmarked graves anywhere there was an open plot of dirt they could bury someone in.
-In 1908, living quarters for the sheriff and his family began to sprout up connected to the jail and one bit I read stating one sheriff was there for 20 years so families were raised on this property and at times the wife being the caretaker of female prisoners as well as keeper of the keys while her husband was away.

     The jail was in use up until the 1960's. So considering the unknown amount of prisoners who perished while imprisoned here, deputies or sheriffs who came and went and the possibility of an attachment by one still doing his job keeping the prisoners locked up and families raised here taking into account that it was common for women and their children to die young. So entities of a woman, baby, child, lawman and prisoners are all possibilities here.

THE HISTORY AND THE HAUNTS

     During the California gold rush, towns such as Sonora popped up everywhere in the mid 1800's. In the year 1850 with a population of 8,351, there were 30 murders in the county with 12 taking place in one week. During this time, Imprisonment was crude with the lack of facilities due to high premiums on property. At times, prisoners were shackled and chained to large oak trees while the construction of a large log building was taking place. Escapes were so frequent that a more secure was required and in 1853, a new building was constructed. Yet escapes were still frequent. In 1856, two lots were purchased and a new jail was built and completed in 1857.

     Now here is the story and “haunt” that got my attention and drew me to researching more and getting approval to investigate which I will explain a bit more about shortly. In December of 1865, the story goes that on a very cold night and out of frustration of being locked up for the 5th time in 2 years and lack of hot food, prisoner Tom Horn set his cell on fire and perished in the blaze. Earlier in the afternoon he obtained tobacco, rolling papers and a pack of matches from a friend thrown to him in his cell. Some say it was an accident that this fire happened. On purpose or accident the fire did happen and Tom Horn did die in the fire. Where the fire is said to have originated was his mattress and with it being made of burlap and straw, it would not take more than few sparks from his cigarette, misplaced cigarette or a quick strike of a match for it to quickly start fire.

     “Mediums” and “sensitives” have reported smelling smoke in his cell or running out altogether from the feeling of choking on smoke. Not to cast doubt or offend anyone here, but I take very little stock in “mediums” and “sensitives”. Not saying I don't believe they can see or feel things but I generally only believe 5% of them and of those I believe, I only believe half of what they say. So when I made contact with the museum it required that the entire board vote for us to get in which was huge because they have never allowed an actual investigation to take place here. From here I learned SO much more. For one, Tom Horn was considered a fool and if he was there people would know it was him. From more and more information being gained, Tom Horn is not haunting the location and there have been no actual accounts that are known having any relation to Mr. Horn. But that does not mean it is not haunted. And though the Tom Horn haunting has been put in major doubt by the most reliable of sources, because the story is out there, we will investigate this while there.


fort churchill
(58 miles southeast of reno, nevada)

     In response, the U.S. Army was called upon and a force from California was mobilized. June of that same year the Army as well as volunteers attacked the Indians starting the second battle of The Pyramid Lake War. Only 2 Whites were lost while conflicting reports of Indian losses ranging from just a few to upwards of 160. No matter their losses, the Indians retreated effectively ending the war. It was these events that led to the construction of Fort Churchill. Efforts were made by Wa-he, brother to Winnemucca, to go to war with the settlers as well as the troops at the fort claiming he was the tribes spitiual chief. During a gathering of the tribes near Walker Lake, Wa-he was out voted by tribal leaders and no war came about.

     At any given time, 200 troops were stationed at the fort and it was responsible for protecting migrant and communication routes throughtout the area. The telegraph through here was connected to Placerville, CA and the Pony Express here handled the the 120 mile route to Friday's Station in what is now Stateline, NV. This route was made famous by a man named Pony Bob Hamlan who made the fatest travel time of 120 miles in 8 hours and 20 minutes all while wounded. What was the news he was arrying that was so important? That would be Presdent Lincolns Inaugural Address. Considering the soldiers and settlers as well as the Indians all occupying this area, between war, sickness, crimes and natural cause, this place has seen its fair of death. Remnants of the old cemetery here being proof of that though the bodies were moved long ago. So going through the history and events here, it's not unreasonable to believe that there may be more than one haunting here and we look forward to finding out ourselves.

     In conclusion, is it haunted? After a 2 night investigation, yes. The Fort itself is but mostly a risidual. There seems to be at least one intelligent entity here though. As for the Cemetery, it is extremely haunted and incredibly intelligent with most experiences happening here being audible voices, footsteps and interaction with EMF sensors upon request. The Fort was more along the lines of these spirits going about their daily duties without even noting our presence. Footsteps on wooden floors and sounds of wooden doors opening that are no longer there and the sound of marching soldiers doing cadance on the parade grounds or the firing of rifles and cannons. The intelligent entity here does seem make its presence known and presents himself as a shadow person following late night visitors.

THE HISTORY AND THE HAUNTS

     I have heard little in the way of this area actually being haunted other than a small investigation of nearby Buckland Station taking place once or twice. Learning of one prior investigation was tough enough to find, finding evidence has been harder and as of the time I write this, I have been unable to find any. So with the considered, why would we schedule an investigation at the location? Because taking into account all the history and events either on or near this site, all historical evidence points to the perfect conditions of which any normal known haunting would stem from. So let me take a moment to briefly explain the history.

     Once an active U.S. Army Fort, by order to Captain Joseph Stewart, who was in command of Fort Alcatraz just prior and joined Colonel John C. Hayes in defeating the local tribes, built the Fort  in 1861 for the purpose of protecting early settlers. The valley, originally settled by the Buckland family in 1859, it became a stop for the Pony Express, Overland Telegraph and stagecoach route at nearby Buckland Station that served as a supply center and hotel. At the time of the Forts finished construction, it contained 58 structures with a popuation of 337 men and 12 women. Now only 15 structures still show and most of that is because of the Daughters of The Revolution and the Civilian Conservation Corps rebuilding the fort in 1930 until the onset of WW2 when resources were harder to obtain. Between the many years in the harsh Nevada desert and the purchase of the base upon its closure by Samual Buckland for $750 which almost all the wood was stripped and used for the construction of Buckland Station that can still be visited to this day, there really is not much left of the ruins and is considered as being in an arrested state of decay.

     Where it gets interesting is the year after the first settlers came upon the valley and a year before the fort was built. In 1860, the fear of Indian attacks was at an all time high. Rumors and stories of attacks on Williams Station, an outpost on the Carson River 30 miles from Carson City, made their way back to settlers of the valley and immediate protection was demanded. Kidnappings and other serious crime committed by Whites upon the Indians spawned retaliation attacks by the Indians. In May of 1860, a force 105 White volunteers banded together to attack the Indians in what was considered the start of The Pyramid Lake War. The Whites underestimated the Indians, led by War Leader Numaga, and 75 0f the 105 man force was lost in a major Indian victory including the loss of the ranking officer Major William Ormsby. Though Ormsby would not be the last officer to meet his demise at the hands of the Natives. Years later, Lt. Colonel Charles McDermit, who was highly respected if not the most respected officer at Fort Churchill, lost his life in an ambush while on an expidetion. He was returned to the Fort and buried with full military honors.

     During these years, the start of the Civil War, the Fort took on another role. With fears in Virginia City of southern sympathyzers attempting a take over of the rich mines of the Comstock, the soldiers armed and trained a volunteer group known as the Union Blues. With the responsibility of monitoring the stagecoach routes, the soldiers from the Fort also arrested southerners and possible confederates and put them to hard labor as "a show of loyalty to Nevada".    ​

​dake house
Genoa, nevada
(49 miles south of reno, nevada)

     Other reported activity here includes; phantom smells or Phantosmia, of a sweet smelling perfume in the parlor, the apparition of a woman on the first floor, objects and dishes disappearing only to reappear later, footsteps on the second floor when nobody is up there and even as far as a customer who was upstairs being slapped upside the head only to find that he was alone. Albeit to say, he quickly left and never returned. As to who these resident spirits may be, well we hope to get back to you on that.

     And side note but most important is a big thank you for the permission from Mrs. Martha Williams to allow us entrance for our investigation as well as to Ms. Sandie LaNae of Thin Veil Investigations for her support of our teams investigation of a site they're regulars at. Surprisingly enough, A lot of talk of Para-Untiy gets thrown around in the field when in many occasions, teams get upset and turn ugly when another team investigates in “their territory”. Support of another team while in a site they frequent is rare but shows there is that unity out there so our thanks to her and her group is for that. As for our investigation here, activity and evidence from here from others that are trustworthy tells us it is haunted. As for us, being here for only 2 or 3 hours since our investigation was cut short, we walked away with no evidence or any stories of our own. But, we will go back and try again.

THE HISTORY AND THE HAUNTS

     Before Dake House was built, it began as Mormon Station in 1851. It wasn't until 1872 that the town Undertaker, C.W. Dake, built the home. Through the properties history it was a Post Office and a Justice of the Peace as well as a Funeral Parlor. It was later sold to Theodore P. Hawkins, a former Pony Express Rider. Now it is home to Antiques Plus owned by Mrs. Martha Williams.

     Mrs. Williams' family originally moved into the home in 1962 and only in 1980 did it begin to turn into a store. Most of the time the family used it as a home and store, no paranormal activity was experienced. It was not until later that any supernatural experiences began. This involved a painting of a vase with pink flowers. On 3 occasions, the painting was purchased until it flew off the wall to the floor causing no damage other than once when it landed on a electrical socket below causing some sparks. The painting is no longer for sale. Now, as to the origin of the painting, this has a couple stories. First, some sources say it belonged to Martha's mother Bernice who lived in the home, mostly on the first floor, until her passing. The other story goes that it was a painting done by a medium in San Francisco during a séance in the 19th century. As for the séance origins, maybe a stretch but I've seen weirder that was true. Whatever the truth is, Mrs. Williams experiences were very real and this was reiterated this and other known experiences to me on the phone.


 

eureka motel/cafe & the chinese tunnels
eureka nevada
(243 miles east of reno, nevada)

     Now that we have covered a bit on the tunnels, we cannot leave out the structure above. The Eureka Motel, also known as the “Chinamans”. The structure that comprises the Eureka Motel/Restaurant is actually 2 buildings joined together. The first was built in 1873 with the addition added in 1874. One of these buildings served as a motel while doctors and lawyers used the other as offices. In its time, it was known as the Zadow Hotel, named after the Zadow family who were local ranchers. In the 1940's, the property was purchased by Fred Minoletti and Soon Ng. Fred was a local businessman, farmer and also served as Eureka's Sheriff. Fred sold his interest in the property to Soon Ng in the 1950's. The last room rented and last drink served was in the early 1970's with the restaurant only being operated occasionally. The property was purchased by current owner Richard McKay, a 5th generation Nevadan and 4th generation Eurekan, from Soon Ng's grand-daughter in November of 2015.

     As for reported activity, experiences of disembodied voices, footsteps, cold spots and objects moving on their own seems to be common. One account from owner Mr. McKay states that while looking for the electrician, he called out and upon the second shout, a reply was heard. But not from the electrician. Other reported experiences have come from Mr. McKay's wife Crystal who will not enter the premises alone and their hotel manager having experienced footsteps and furniture being moved on its own while painting the restaurant several months ago.

     Its history, the tunnels and reported experiences make for an exciting location. As to who or what is haunting this property and the tunnels below, well, that's what we are going to try to find out.

     We must also add a big thank you to Mr. McKay for much of the historical information provided, stories and experiences and help with the editing of this article so we could make sure we present nothing less than fact and prevent any injustice being done to him, his wonderful property and the town of Eureka itself in the way of our writing. And an even bigger thank you for his permission to investigate this location and looking forward to him and his niece joining us for what should be an interesting night.




THE HISTORY AND THE HAUNTS

     With any building in any town, they all start with the history of the town itself. Eureka, Nevada was founded in 1864 with the discovery of ore, primarily lead which led to it becoming one of the top producers of the material in its time. The industry led to a booming population of 10,000 and gaining the nickname “The Pittsburgh of the West” due to the amount of smoke produced from its many smelters. Being from Nevada and living here all my life, I have passed through Eureka more times than I can count and it can be hard to imagine that many people living here. With its 1800's era buildings and its back drop of green, rocky mountains, it is a beautiful town that deserves more attention than it gets from the outside world.

     But there is more to this town than what you will see on the surface. Like many towns of the era, it was not uncommon for networks of tunnels to be dug around and under the towns themselves. Eureka is no different. What separates Eureka's tunnels from others we've experienced is 2 things; 1. The question as to who built them and 2. the 14' high, 20' wide and 80' long underground “cathedral” made of very intricate and amazing brick work lying just beneath the streets of this town that is several hours from any real populace. A common nickname given to these tunnels is “The Chinese Tunnels”. As to who built them is a matter of debate and the generations of locals who have lived here since its founding will stand by the builders being Italian immigrants. Since there is very little to no documentation as to who built them, until any hard evidence that states factual proof as to who the mysterious builders were, we'll just have to side with the locals. And looking at the brick work, to me, has a very European style. But let's not toss out the idea of others' involvement here. When it came to most western mining towns' tunnels, Chinese and quite often Irish immigrants were nearly always used for such tasks. Both the Chinese and Irish during the time were considered second class citizens and were not much more than slave labor. Now from our research, we can not find much in the way of Irish involvement in their construction but it is a fact that there was a Chinatown district. In Eureka, the Chinese had a very small footprint on the surface due to their status and may have used this underground network of chambers and tunnels as homes, shops, gambling halls and opium dens.

     Whatever the truth is, it is easy to see them doing so. And its shadowed history of use does not stop there. The discovery of a still in the basement of the Colonnade Hotel, which the tunnels still extend to its foundation today, led many to believe that they were used for the manufacture and transport of illegal alcohol during the prohibition. Even much more recently, in August of 2014, a marijuana grow, that was estimated to have over 400 plants, was busted and the property stayed vacant since.



 

colonnade hotel
eureka, nevada
(243 miles east of reno, nevada)

     There may just be a connection with the Colonnade Hotel and another scheduled location the same night, The Eureka Motel/Cafe. With the network of tunnels under Eureka. Though there is no access to the tunnels from the Colonnade, the tunnels run right up to its foundation with a closed off vertical shaft under the sidewalk. But it doesn't mean it didn't have access at some point.

     Reported activity by guests includes what sounds like a party in the basement and an apparition of a woman pacing the 2nd floor. Mr. Popovitch has never experienced any paranormal activity himself during his ownership of the building. Much of this information provided is thanks to Mr. Popovitch himself who has been extremely helpful and welcoming.

THE HISTORY AND THE HAUNTS

     The Colonnade was built in 1880 after devastating fires and flooding in Eureka. Built by William Clark, it's primary use was a meeting hall for the Italian Benevolent Society who's sole purpose was to aid Italian immigrant miners and their families. Their use of the property only lasted 5 years. It sat empty from 1890 to 1930 when purchased by Ed Herrara who turned it into a hotel and boarding house and even rented room 1 and 2 as offices for the local doctors. It is said that it was Ed Herrara that named it the Colonnade.

     Prior to World War II, the patriarch of the Sallaberry family purchased the property upon his arrival to Eureka, Nevada from his home in France and used the Colonnade to house and feed local miners. After the end of World War II, the rest of the Sallaberry family moved to the United States and ran the hotel until moving from Eureka and leaving it in the hands of their daughter, Mary Jean Labarry. Other than her use of the Colonnade as her home, it was used as a hotel and even a Sunday school for the local children who loved and admired Mary and were even allowed to play here. Most accounts from the children loved it here except for the underground coal storage that they referred to as the “dungeon”. Ms. Labarry put the property up for sale in 1998. In 1999, it was purchased by current owner, Mr. Mike Popovitch. Mr. Popovitch began restoration of this 4800 square foot building with the intent of turning it into a 4 unit apartment building. Through its restoration, a still in the basement was found for use of making illegal whiskey during prohibition and was said to be the best whiskey in Eureka. Many interesting artifacts have been found in walls, ceilings and floors during the renovation including money, marbles, medical advertisements and old bottles. One interesting piece found in the floor of the basement was a Chinese coin. But considering the original use of the land was Chinatown, it's probably not much of a surprise that Chinese artifacts were found.

jackson house hotel
eureka, nevada
(243 miles east of reno, nevada)

We experienced first hand doors slamming shut and locking us out when the doors were not locked and the keys we were given would not unlock them. This required us to climb through windows on more than one occasion just so we could gain entry. We found no natural explanation as to wheat caused it and every time we got back in, the doors were unlocked. One even required that we use a credit card to pop the latch on a separating door in the suite. The latch was popped and even investigators putting their entire weight against the door would make it budge. Once inside, the door opened with ease along with the outer door opening just fine and the key started working to open it again. Investigators were touched and grabbed, verbal challenges to our team from an unidentified entity (though we have a couple ideas as to who this one is but it is still being investigated), audible footsteps, knocking and banging of room doors, audible conversations between a man and a woman, shadow figures, 2 occasions we believe we caught apparitions in the bar as well as upstairs in the hallway leading to the suite which is where reports of children playing are and this particular apparition seemed child like and was moving towards a trigger object (teddy bear) that contained sensors that we planted in the hallway. The feeling of not being alone or being watched is common because odds are, you're not alone and you are being watched.

The Jackson House is most definitely haunted by several entities, 14 as we've been told twice through a Spirit Box, and gave us way more than we expected and if anyone staying here isn't prepared to handle it, it can get overwhelming and has led to guests requesting to be moved to the main hotel further up the street not long after check in. While we've investigated some notorious locations and even some unknown that are said to be some of the most haunted, the Jackson House blows them out of the water and is a paranormal investigators dream. If you can handle it.

THE HISTORY AND THE HAUNTS

It was very hard to find a lot of historical information on The Jackson but we dug deep to get what we have and owe a big thank you to local historians and the Eureka County Recorder for mucg of it and will share it with you now. The Jackson House Hotel structure that stands today was built in 1877. Before this, the property was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Buel Sheets and through a lengthy negotiation beginning June 7, 1876 and concluding June 28, 1877, the property and original structure. The Cosmopolitan Lodging House, was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Vanderleith who turned it into the Jackson House Hotel. Mrs. Vanderleith's name has been hard to come by due to any and all records from the County Recorder stated her name as A.E. Vanderleith though we have reason to believe that her name is Audrey and suspect that the Vanderleith's inhabit the build to this day.

The Jackson House Hotel was advertised to be the only fire proof hotel in Nevada. In 1880, this proved to be false and the hotel was gutted by fire. By 1907, it was restored and reopened as the Brown Hotel under the ownership of Angelo Florio who was a prominent figure and leader in Eureka. Angelo was born in Italy and migrated to the United States at a young age, eventually finding his way to Eureka and became a wealthy rancher ans stockman enabling him to own shops and hotels in Eureka during the late 1800's and early 1900's. Dan Morrison, who is believed to have to have bought the Jackson from Mr. Florio, struck it rich with the find of a gold vein at the Diamond Mine where his brother Alex perished in a mining accident. It closed its doors in 1940 and sat vacant. It did not take on the name of Jackson House Hotel again until it was once again restored as a historical building in 1981.

Owner and operator, Kim Hicks, welcomed us with open arms and we stayed here for 7 nights while we investigated the hotel as well as 10 other locations in Eureka in a combined 2 trips in 5 months. From the outside, it is undoubtedly a beautiful and stunning building. But the real charm is the interior. With a large lounge and meeting room in the rear, an inviting cafe area and a bar with a very impressive and original bar, the downstairs is open with tons of natural lighting, very comfortable and enjoyable to spend time in. The upstairs, with 8 rooms to stay in, has the 1880's feel with modern amenities. Whether you're into haunted hotels or just era hotels, it's more than worth it to stay here. That's if you can make it through the night!

As for reported activity, lights turning on and off by themselves, doors and windows slamming shut, children running up and down the halls, the feeling of being watched that reportedly goes as far as “I'm watching you” written on the foggy bathroom mirror that was seen after a guest exited the shower. Now, from our teams first hand experience while investigating here of 7 days and nights, there is so, so much more that we can report.


eureka opera house
eureka, nevada
(243 miles east of reno, nevada)

As for reported activity, a “woman in white” has been seen in the upper balcony, encounters with children on the stage and auditorium as well as unexplained activity by a male entity who is believed to be Joseph “Mormon Joe” Barker who is the only documented death on the property we could verify. His life story tells of a man migrating west in hopes of better work to support a family he had to leave behind. He was a hard working man who did several different jobs out west while seeing very little of a family until finally settling in Eureka and opening a tailor shop. That tailor shop that was on the property before the Opera House is where Mr. Barker met his horrific demise. He was working very late on a very cold night. He lit the stove in the shop to keep warm while working and whatever it is that happened, the events leading up to the fire, nobody really knows. All that is known is that the fire started from the stove and got out of control quickly. By the time fire crews responded and the time it took to put out the fire, it was too late for Mormon Joe. His charred remains were found by the fire crews, huddled in the corner trying to escape the blaze. As for any documented evidence to say he is still inhabiting the property, there is none. What we did document was an encounter with what seemed like a young boy on stage and in the auditorium. We did not collect any findings a woman in white but did have activity in the basement from what seemed like a man. Can we say it's haunted? Evidence makes us lean that way but without more, we are reserving a final judgment.

Now I must give credit where credit is due. Much of the history presented in this article is taken from www.co.eureka.nv.us, the official Eureka Opera House website as well as additions added from information found at www.rainesmarket.com under the “Eureka Self-Guiding Tours” tab, and we highly recommend this website for anyone interested in Eureka's history, it is a wealth of information in regards to the towns history that you will not find anywhere else.

THE HISTORY AND THE HAUNTS

Eureka, Nevada is proud to have one of the best two restored and usable opera houses in the state. The other is Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City. The Eureka Opera House, built in 1880 when the population of the town was about 3,000, has always served as a gathering place. Eureka’s Opera House, today, is a full service convention center and Cultural Arts Center. The building is used for conventions, meetings, and community functions as well as cultural presentations and is open to the public for tours year round. It has meeting, kitchen, and catering capacity to accommodate over 300 people.

The Eureka Opera House was built on the ashes of the old Odd Fellows Hall, which was destroyed by the great main street fire of August 1879. The Opera House was used for the first time for the New Year’s Eve Costume Ball in 1880. The November 11, 1880 Eureka Daily Sentinel newspaper stated, "The building is, according to the plan of work now being carried on, to be thoroughly fire-proof, built with masonry (volcanic tuff) walls, brick and iron front, and slate roof. From the basement to dome the new theatre will be furnished as none of the class have ever been in Eureka. Its arrangement is pronounced to be first-class, for ventilation, for heat, for means of egress in case of fire, and in fact for a "thousand and one" reasons it is bound to be a beneficial and permanent monument to the memory of those who have erected, and who will so soon elegantly furnish the same for the edification of our people."


Eureka was on the main tour circuit for opera and theater performances and many famous personalities performed here during the town’s hey-day. The opera house served as a community auditorium showing anything of interest including boxing, speeches, plays, graduations, and dances including the annual Nob Hill Fire Company Masquerade Ball held every year from 1880 until well into the 1900s. The first silent movie was shown there in 1915 and then in the 1920s the opera house was changed into the Eureka Theatre and “talkie” movies were presented.

In December 1923, a fire caused by a misplaced lantern destroyed the oleo stage curtain that was originally hand-painted in Italy. The curtain was replaced in 1924 with a new one painted in Minneapolis, featuring advertisements for local businesses from 1924. The 1924 oleo curtain still hangs at the front of the stage.
The last movie was shown in was in 1958 with the building falling into disrepair afterwards.
In 1990, Eureka County acquired the structure and began a three-year restoration. The Opera House reopened on October 5, 1993. The Eureka Opera House received the 1994 National Preservation Honor Award.


Other historic elements such as the original projectors from the early days of the silent movies, the first "talkies" projector, and a carbon-arc spotlight are on display. Historic graffiti has been preserved back stage from the early days and the tradition has been continued with signatures of the people who have performed at the Eureka Opera House since it was reopened. The Opera House maintains a monthly schedule of cultural events as well as local events. Make any excuse to visit and explore historic Eureka, one of the best preserved historical mining towns in Nevada.




 

joseph "mormon joe" Barker
by daughter Dora Barker Burnham

Joseph Barker (1835-1896)

Joseph Barker was the oldest of five children born to Henry and Sarah Pickersgill Barker in Bramley, Yorkshire, England on September 29, 1835. He had one brother, John Barker, and three sisters, Mary, Amelia, and Sarah.  His father died in 1857, December 16th, at Leeds; also, two sisters died there, one on 29 Nov. 1854 and one 12 Feb. 1860.  He had only one brother left, who was named John, and his mother.

Timeline:

29 September 1835 – Joseph born
11 April 1837 – Mary Ann born
5 June 1860 – Joseph and Mary Ann baptized
11 June 1860 – Joseph and Mary Ann married
24 April 1861 – Sarah Jane born
1862 – Came to Utah
30 January 1864 – Mary Ann Barker born
9 February 1866 – Joseph ordained Elder
22 July 1866 – Emma Amelia born
2 April 1869 – Catharine Maria born
4 June 1871 – Ellen Melissa born
25 November 1872 – Sealed in Endowment House
19 June 1873 – Georgena Madora born
April 1874 – Joseph left the family, went to Nevada
2 March 1878 – Mary Ann baptized again
About 1878 – Mary Ann married James Harvey Dunton
15 April 1879 – John Harvey Dunton born
1879 – Mary Ann, Ellen, Dora, and John left Parowan
1880 – Hole-in-the-Rock to Montezuma Fort
May 1881 – left Montezuma Fort to move to Durango, Colo
Fall, 1883 – moved to Mancos
About 1882 – Four older girls came to Mancos
19 May 1884 – Emma married to Joseph Willden
9 September 1884 – James Harvey Dunton set apart as first Presiding Elder, Mancos branch
5 July 1884 – First Relief Society in Mancos held. Mary Ann secretary
June 1885 – Catharine married to Charles Pinkerton
14 December 1885 – Sarah married to William McDonald Devenport
About 1886 – James Dunton returned to Utah, Mary Ann built a home at “the Park” where she lived in the summer
11 June 1888 – Ellen married to William Halls
1 January 1889 – Mary Ann Barker married to Roy Weston
May 1891 – 22 November 1892 – Mary Ann President of Relief Society.
29 October 1896 – Joseph died in Eureka, Nevada
16 May 1897 – Dora married to Lewis Burnham
29 June 1910 – Mary Ann died in Redmesa, Colorado
20 February 1924 – Ellen died in Huntsville, Utah
1 April 1939 – Sarah Devenport died
11 0ctober 1941 – Emma died
11 April 1954 John Harvey died in Pueblo

This story was compiled by Kristine Halls Smith in December 1998 from material printed in a
booklet called History of Joseph Barker and His Family, published in 1954; from Miller, David E., Hole-in-the-Rock, University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1966; and from Freeman, Ira S., A History of Montezuma County Colorado, Johnson Publishing Company, Pueblo, Colorado, 1958.


Joseph was trained in England for work as a tailor. He had lived in Leeds, Yorkshire, England all his life, but for some reason unknown to us, had recently come to Devonshire. (Note by Marie Dean Speakman: My mother, Sarah Jane Barker, later added a note in her Book of Remembrance, that “The 1861 Census states that Joseph and Mary Ann Doidge Barker lived on Princess Street and that Joseph Barker was then in the Queens Royal Army, and that he was listed on his marriage license as a ‘Gunner in the Royal Artillery’.) 

Sometime during the late 1850′s, he met missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and became converted to the message they brought about the teachings of Joseph Smith who had established a new church in America. His contact with the church led him to meet another young convert, Mary Ann Doidge.

Joseph was baptized on June 5, 1860 and a few days later, he married Mary Ann Doidge at Stonehouse, Devonshire on June 11, 1860.

Nearly a year later a baby, Sarah Jane, was born to them on April 24, 1861. For some time they had greatly desired to emigrate to the United States. Joseph Barker was having a hard time making a living as a tailor and they were unable to save the money necessary to emigrate abroad until Mary Ann was able to nurse a wealthy family's child for compensation.  They crossed the Atlantic in 1862, taking six weeks.

After reaching America, it was difficult to find a way to cross the plains and join those of their faith in Utah. Joseph found a chance to drive a team of oxen, but there was no way for Mary Ann and the baby to come at that time, so he went on ahead. Three weeks later, Mary Ann and the baby followed.
After reaching Salt Lake City, Joseph and Mary Ann were sent to help settle southern Utah. Their second daughter was born on January 30, 1864 in a little town called Washington. She was named Mary Ann after her mother.


Not long after that they moved to Parowan, Utah where Joseph was ordained an Elder in the church on February 9, 1866. It was here that Emma Amelia was born on July 22, 1866. Catharine Maria, called Kate or Cassie was born on April 2, 1869, and Ellen Melissa, sometimes called Ella, was born on June 4, 1871.
Theirs was a difficult life living under pioneer conditions.  Both parents worked at anything they could find to do. Joseph couldn’t find work as a tailor, so he herded sheep and hauled freight to the mining camps near Pioche, Nevada. 

Again quoting Mary, “Mother loved to go out in the evenings to social affairs. Pa usually preferred to stay at home with the baby. The rest of us would go with Mother. When we came home, we would find Pa reading by candle light. The book he read most was Shakespeare’s Complete Works in One Volume.” Jeanie adds, “What a strong man Joseph Barker must have been!” Mary said, “Mother was a great reader, too, but she preferred something of a lighter nature than the plays of Shakespeare.”
One of Mary’s most pleasant recollections was of her trips to Pioche, Nevada with her father. He would take a wagon load of supplies – chickens, eggs, butter, and other produce that he purchased in Parowan – and sell it to the miners. “Once a tire came loose,” she said. “It was miles to the nearest blacksmith’s shop. Pa didn’t want to leave me alone in the wagon, so he rolled the wagon wheel and carried me on his back all that way and back again.

When Ella was a baby, in 1872, they went to Salt Lake City to go through the endowment house and receive their sealing.  While in the city, they bought their first stove and a Howe sewing machine. Until this time the cooking was done over the fireplace and the sewing was done by hand.

On June 19, 1873, Georgina Madora, called Dora, was born.
Sometime before 1874, Joseph’s mother, Sarah Pickersgill Barker, came to Utah. She died in Parowan on September 3, 1874.
One man who herded sheep with Joseph said that he had never known him to lose his temper, but he was always kind and patient. Another man who had hauled freight with him said that he was “a good man.” A later newspaper article describing his death said, “Joe was a quiet, kindly man, who made no enemies.” Dora recalled that she had “never heard my mother speak unkindly of him, so I am sure she loved him.”
Emma related that when she went to Pioche with her father on one of his trips, he told her that the reason that he took one of the children with him was to help him resist going down into the basements where the bright lights shone, which were the gambling dens. Dora says that “No doubt he had learned to play cards in England.” She said that their mother used to play cards, too, and told the neighbors fortunes with cards for entertainment when they called in to spend the evenings. She said, “Father had endeavored to increase his small earnings by playing cards for money in Pioche. There being expert gamblers there, Father lost everything he had, including his team and wagon during one trip. He felt that he could not come home and face his family under the circumstances, so he stayed in Pioche trying to reimburse his losses. Later he wrote to Mother asking her to come to Pioche to live since he could find work there as a tailor. She consulted with her bishop about this matter and he advised her not to take a family of girls into a mining town to raise, so she was obedient to counsel at the cost of becoming separated from my father.”
In 1874, Joseph left the family and went to Nevada to stay, sending money to them when he could.

Even after Joseph had been in Nevada for some years, he still cared for his daughters and his wife. He wrote to his daughters and Dora wrote that “When I was in high school he sent me a large shell with the Lord’s Prayer engraved on it and a five-dollar gold piece inside as a Christmas present. He wrote to my sister Kate once that he was coming to see his children and ‘my wife, too, for she is my wife.’ This showed that he loved Mother and still claimed her.”
After Joseph Barker had been in Pioche for a while, he left and went to Eureka, Nevada and there he set up a tailor shop which was located at the corner of the opera house.
On Saturday, October 31, 1896, an article appeared in the Eureka Sentinel which described Joseph’s death on October 29, 1896. It said, “Unfortunate Fire. Sad Death of Joseph Barker in the Burning Opera House Thursday Morning. The Eureka Opera House was discovered to be on fire Thursday morning at about two o’clock. The fire bells were rung and it was but a few moments before three companies were on the ground and doing excellent service in controlling the flames.
The fire started in the tailoring establishment of Joseph Barker, better known as ‘Mormon Joe.’ The doors were broken in, and part of the main stairway chopped out to give the firemen a better chance to save the burning building. They worked valiantly for an hour and a half, and were finally successful.
It was generally believed on the street that Barker was not in the tailor shop, as it has been his habit to sleep in his home in Godwin Canyon, but at about four o’clock, when the fire had been effectually checked and the smoke had somewhat cleared away, his body was found near the south side of the room in which the fire had evidently started. He was in a kneeling position with his head between the legs of a small table against the wall. The poor fellow was so badly burned as to be almost unrecognizable, and in all probability must have been smothered some time before the firemen gained an entrance into the shop. This room was broken into immediately on their arrival, but the smoke was so dense that several minutes passed before they could get a few feet beyond the doorway, and they moved along the opposite side of the room from where Barker was found, as the fire was raging most fiercely on the north side.
Joe was a quiet, kindly man, who made no enemies.
It will probably never be known how the fire originated. The most plausible theory advanced is that it started from some charred wood that he was seen to take Wednesday morning from the ash heap left by the bonfire which had been built Tuesday night in front of the Courthouse. He carried these into his shop and they probably smoldered during the night, and finally broke out into a blaze.
The Opera House is owned by Governor Sadler, Mrs. M. Winzell and the Foley estate. The Governor estimates the damage to be in the neighborhood of three thousand dollars. An insurance has been carried for many years, about $2,900 having been paid in premiums, but it was allowed to run out on the first of this month, hence the owners suffer a total loss.

The whole front of the building is badly damaged, and the inside of the hall burnt and blackened by the fire and smoke. The scenery is also damaged. It is not yet certain that it will be repaired, as the owners have not been able to consult in regard to the matter.”

News of Joseph’s death reached Mary Ann and her daughters when a letter written to him by Kate was returned to her marked “deceased.” Dora wrote that when her mother was lying ill before her death, Sarah’s husband, Will, asked her who she wanted for her husband in the next world. She answered, "Joseph Barker, of course."





8 October, 2013

Written by daughter Dora Barker Burnham, July 28th, 1952 Information added in 2008 by great granddaughter LaVerne B. Merrill


her life was spared. During the trip Sarah threw their only comb overboard. After a stormy six weeks on the ocean they landed in New York in 1862. We don’t know which of the nine chartered ships carrying Mormon Saints the Barkers were passengers on. When they landed at New York it was hard to get trains to take the people on to Florence, Nebraska, because the Civil War was raging. They were put on cattle cars with little or no seating accommodations. After about nine days they reached St. Joseph, Missouri; then it took them a couple of days by boat to get to Florence, a busy Mormon camp on the west bank of the Missouri River. This was one of the years when President Brigham Young called for men and teams from throughout the Utah territory to go back to Florence and help the Saints. The Deseret News of May 21st, 1862, noted that 262 wagons, 293 teamsters, 2880 oxen, carrying 143,315 pounds of flour left Salt Lake City for the Missouri River to assist the immigrating saints. Over 5000 saints made their way West in 13 organized companies and several independent companies. Joseph Barker got a chance to drive a team of oxen for another man, probably in an independent company, thus providing his way to Utah. He had to leave immediately. This meant he had to leave his wife and child to follow as soon as possible, as there was not room for them in this wagon train. Mary Ann followed 3 weeks later with her baby, agreeing to do the cooking and washing for the captain of the company. When they reached Utah they stayed with some friends, the Moody family, until they were called by Brigham Young to help settle Parowan, Iron County, Utah--which had first been settled in January of 1851. They had a hard struggle to live. Joseph had been a tailor in England and wasn’t used to farming and cattle raising. In Parowan he herded sheep and worked at whatever he could find to do to make a living for his growing family, which now consisted of six daughters, namely: Sarah Jane, Mary Ann, Emma Amelia, Catherine Maria, Ellen Melissa and Georgina Madora. All children had blue eyes like their father and mother. His wife, Mary Ann worked gleaning wheat, washing, teaching night school and anything else that was available to earn a bowl of molasses or flour, or what ever she could to help feed the family. Mary Ann liked to go out to socials, which she did taking the older girls with her, but Joseph preferred to stay home, tending the younger children, and reading Shakespeare. Joseph was ordained an Elder 9 February 1866 at Panguitch, Iron County, Utah. In November of 1872 they traveled by team and wagon to Salt Lake City. They received their endowments and were sealed in the Endowment House, 25 November 1872. The children were not taken, as there were no sealings done for children at that time. Since then, individually they have been sealed to their parents. Our Grandmother, Georgina Madora, (Dora) was born in the covenant. While in the city they purchased their first stove and sewing machine, having cooked over an open fire, and having done all sewing by hand until this time. Their daughter Mary tells of being hungry for milk so she prayed that the Lord would send them some cows. Joseph was able to purchase one at a time until he had four so he could have milk and cheese for his family, but sold two of them to get a team and wagon to freight with. This upset Mary. She asked him “Why did you sell the cows. I prayed and got them for you and I soon would have had you a team of horses.” With the team of horses Joseph freighted from Parowan to Pioche, Nevada, a mining town, taking loads of salt, fruit, vegetables and grain to sell to help their meager income. Most of the Parowan men freighted to the mining camps to get the necessary cash to live on. Often on his trips to Pioche he would take one of the girls with him for company. The daughters enjoyed these trips very much. Mary tells of one trip when a wagon tire came loose. He didn’t want to leave her alone with the wagons, so he rolled the tire and carried her on his back most of the way for miles, to get the tire fixed and back again to the wagon. I, Dora, sixth daughter of Joseph and Mary Ann Barker, was only ten months old when my father and mother were separated so I never knew what it was to have a father. My parents had been very poor and my father had done freighting to Pioche to bring in a little income. Father had endeavored to increase his small earnings by playing cards for money in Pioche. There being expert gamblers there, Father lost everything he had including his team and wagon during one trip. He felt that he could not come home and face his family under the circumstances, so stayed in Pioche trying to reimburse his losses. Later he wrote to Mother, asking her to come to Pioche to live. She consulted the Bishop about this matter (who at that time would have been Charles Adams) and he advised her not to take a family of girls into a mining town to rear, which caused a permanent separation. Brother Alvin Decker of Mancos, Colorado, told me that he had herded sheep with my father and that he had never known him to lose his temper, but that he was always kind and patient. Joe Hadden also told me that he had hauled freight with Father and that he was a good man. I have never heard my mother speak unkindly of him, so I am sure she loved him. My sister, Emma, related that when she went to Pioche with Father on one of his trips, he told her that the reason that he took one of the children with him was to help him resist going down into the basements where the bright lights shone, which were gambling dens. No doubt he had learned to play cards in England. Mother used to play cards too, and told the neighbors' fortunes for entertainment, when they called in to spend the evening, so I believe it was an English sport. After we went to Colorado, he corresponded with us. I wrote to him occasionally when I was young. When I was in high school he sent me a large shell with the Lord's Prayer engraved on it and a five-dollar gold piece inside as a Christmas present. He wrote to my sister Kate once that he was coming to see his children and "my wife too, for she is my wife." This showed that he loved Mother and still claimed her. I am glad that it was not hatred that separated them. However, he was never able to come and visit. After he had been in Pioche for a while, he left and went to Eureka, Nevada, and there he set up a tailor shop, which was located at the corner of the opera house. He lived in a cabin in Goodwin Canyon. It was in this tailor shop where the fire started which caused his death. The account of the fire and his death was given in the local paper, The Eureka Sentinel, 29 October 1896 (which was the fall before I was married. The news of his death made me very sad although I had never known him.) The article stated that Joseph Barker had been seen carrying some wood from a deserted campfire during the afternoon so it was supposed that it was this partly burned wood which started the fire in his shop. He was found in a kneeling position apparently having suffocated from smoke in trying to put out the fire. He was burned quite badly. The article stated that he was called "Mormon Joe" and was a quiet, kindly man and made no enemies, a good epitaph for any man's tombstone. When Mother was lying ill before her death, Will Devenport, my sister Sarah's husband, asked her whom she wanted for her husband in the next world. She answered, "Joseph Barker, of course." One night in her delirium she seemed to be searching all night for her husband's grave. Her last word before she died was “Joseph.” Mary Ann always spoke well of him, as did his daughters, and all loved him to the end. May God grant that the errors of this life will not keep my mother and father separated in their life after death. ”Unfortunate Fire” “Sad death of Joseph Barker in the burning Opera House Thursday morning.” Taken from Eureka Sentinel dated Saturday, October 31, 1896. This Eureka Opera House was discovered to be on fire Thursday morning at about 2 o'clock. The fire bells were rung and it was but a few moments before three companies were on the ground and doing excellent service in controlling the flames. It was generally believed on the street that Barker was not in the tailor shop, as it has been his habit to sleep at his home in Goodwin Canyon, but at about 4 o'clock, his body was found near the south side of the room in which the fire had evidently started. He was in a kneeling position with his head between the legs of a small table against the wall. The poor fellow was badly burned as to be almost unrecognizable, and in all probability must have been smothered some time before the firemen gained an entrance into his shop. This room was broken into immediately on their arrival, but the smoke was so dense that several minutes passed before they could get a few feet beyond the doorway, and they moved along the opposite side of the room from where Barker was found, as the fire was raging most fiercely on the north side. Joe was a quiet, kindly man, who made no enemies.


Additional sources used in Joseph Barker’s life story:
1. Life of Mary Ann Doidge, My Grandmother by Myrtle 
Melissa Devenport Dean. Printed on 4/11/2008.
2. History of Joseph Barker by granddaughter Ida May Devenport Dean, made available by the International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers.
3. Life of Sarah Jane Barker Devenport by her daughter, Myrtle Devenport Dean. Printed on 2/8/2005.
4. Joseph Barker and Mary Ann Doidge Barker Dunton written by Kristine Halls Smith December 1998. Made available by the International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers.