Deadlands: Riders on the Storm
Paiute Springs, Nevada
Fear Level: 2
Paiute Springs (PIE-yoot SPRINGZ) is a small silver mining town in southwestern Nevada, at the foot of the Spring Mountains. Until 1868, the area in which the town sits was part of the Pah Ute territory of Arizona. However, as part of a war concession, the land was ceded to Nevada and became Lincoln County.
The closest settlement to Paiute Springs is Las Vegas Rancho, a stop along the Old Spanish Trail (now known as the "ghost trail") owned by Octavius Gass. This lies some 24 miles northeast from Paiute Springs, across the Vegas Valley. The county seat of Lincoln County, Pioche, lies some 198 miles north. Paiute Springs is some 425 miles south from Virginia City, Nevada—site of the Comstock Lode and a silver boomtown. It is also some 434 miles south from Carson City, the capital of Nevada.
Fort 51, a Union outpost, lies some 99 miles to the north of the settlement.
The current population of Paiute Springs is 437 people. It's Mayor is John Paul (J.P.) Jefferson, proprietor of the local hotel, the Prince Royal Arms.
Paiute Springs was founded as a silver mining camp in 1857. At this time, the area was still part of the Utah Territory. Silver was found in the nearby Spring Mountains and miners began to come to claim a stake. While never the boomtown that Virginia City came to be, enough wealth was to be had to make a comfortable life. Soon a town grew up around the hard scrabble camp, and with it, respectability. The town has grown steadily ever since, especially after the small strip of ghost rock was found. That rare element made the town's fortune and brought more settlers.
Nevada became a state in 1864 and Lincoln County was created by a special act of the Nevada State Legislature in 1866, in anticipation of the transfer of lands by the Arizona Territory.
The town is named for the local native tribe and the Ojo de Cayetana spring (also known as Cottonwood spring or Pearl spring) that runs nearby.
Points of Interest
Here are some interesting bits of information about the town and its denizens.
Allan's General Mercantile
This clapboard building's bottom floor is full of a good selection of merchandise The top floor houses the Allan family: David Allan, Marjorie Allan, and little Daisy Allan.
David Allan is the proprietor of the store. He's a young man, serious, but with a kind smile. His wife, Marjorie, is reputed to be a "shrew." Daisy is a sweet little girl of 7 years.
The Assay office is a smallish wooden-beam affair with stout oak doors. There is a central receiving counter and a small office to the side of that.
Eustace Wilhelm is an assay agent for the US government. He checks and certifies the purity of metals (primarily silver) for Paiute Springs and the surrounding camps. He is a handsome man in his thirties, friendly, but firm with the miners. A professional through and through. He spends his evenings gambling at the Imperial.
Bank of Paiute Springs
A stout, one-story brick building with bars on the windows and sturdy locks on the heavy oak doors. The main room has two steel-barred teller's windows along one wall. The vault opens off the back room, near the head manager's office.
Sheldon Haggard is the manager of the bank. He's a middle-aged balding man with a permanent post-nasal drip (don't worry, it's not catching). He's a bit of a unctuous man who usually overstays his welcome. The two tellers are Petunia Davis and Bob Lund. Both are friendly and well-liked in town. The two are having a not-as-secret-as-they-think romance.
The Braun Building
The Braun building is a three-story brick building, one of the finest buildings in town. It is owned by Thaddeus Braun, a local attorney and speculator. He owns a law office in on the third floor of the building. The land assessor's office has space on the second floor and a barber shop operates out of the bottom floor.
Thaddeus Braun is a German immigrant but speaks with only a trace of an accent that grows stronger when he is agitated. He is a ruthless business and a shrewd attorney. HIs wife, Anja, is a sweet woman whose pies often win the annual harvest bake-off. Their son, Jakob, is an 18 year old layabout, living on his parent's money and the fear he can bully out of others. Braun is assisted at work by his secretary, Darla Ingle.
The barber shop is run by Harold Thurman, a tall, thin man originally from Boston who came west chasing a runaway bride. The bride got away, but Harold decided he liked it here and threw up his shingle.
Clyde Stevenson is the land assessor for Paiute Springs and the surrounding region. He is assisted by his clerk, Lorelei Parish.
There is a small cemetery beside the Paiute Springs Church. It is maintained by Homer Beauregarde. Homer is a big, big man, and a bit simple. He works for the Reverend Gage doing various odd jobs for the church, including cleaning up the cemetery. He's a gentle soul, but a bear when riled.
A medium-sized house that's seen better days, Doctor Glenn Fabry makes his practice on the bottom floor (he also doubles as the town dentist), and makes his home on the upper floor.
Doc Fabry is a widower, having lost his wife to consumption some seven years past. He has a daughter, Ginny, who moved to Carson City with her new husband, Thomas, shortly before that. He lives alone and generally likes it that way. He has an assistant, a Paiute girl who calls herself Abigail or "Abby".
This is a large, well-kept, two-story building occupied by the Reverend Timothy Gage and his family. Reverend Gage has a generous stipend, paid for by the Mayor's office, to help maintain the home.
Reverend Gage is a tall, imposing man in his mid-forties, clean shaven, with piercing eyes. His wife, Minerva, is as imposing. They have three children: Ezekiel (10), Esther (7), and Elijah (5).
Minerva is the sister of the Mayor, John Paul Jefferson, which some say explains the generous stipend.
Higginbotham's Boarding House
This is an extremely large four-story house with 18 rooms (six on each of the upper 3 floors) for rent ($1/day, $6/week, $20/month, meals included). It is run by Tallulah Higginbotham, a former socialite from New York who traveled west with her husband, Royal Higginbotham, with dreams of gold and silver. They found silver—but Royal also found a bullet at the hands of an unscrupulous partner who tried to take it all. The partner, Franklin Trotter, was found by the Pinkertons and brought to justice. Tallulah took her fortune and settled in Paiute Springs, not wanting to face her New York friends with the tragedy she found in the West.
Han Lau's Chinese Laundry
Chinese immigrant Han Lau opened up his laundry service three years ago. Since then, the paying customers of Paiute Springs have had the cleanest, most pressed laundry they've ever had since coming West. Lau is a man dedicated to his work and good at his job.
Han Lau is a slight man, only about 5'5" and thin, but has a wiry strength. He speaks English well enough, though with an accent. Sometimes he pretends to understand less than he does when it suits his purposes. Lots of people talk when the "chinee" is around, thinking no one is listening…
The Imperial is a well-kept establishment, two-stories, with a saloon on the bottom floor and a few rooms on the upper floor. The saloon has a long, beautiful wooden bar and stained glass cases. Poker and faro can be found being played here at nearly all hours. There's a piano in the corner where Willie Huddleston pounds out tunes every night. The proprietor, Karl Schmidt, is a tough old barkeep who doesn't put up with any crap in his saloon.
The upper floor has a room for Willie, a room for Karl, and three others for "the girls," a posse of rotating working girls that occupy the saloon at any one time.
A small, two-story frame building with 3 cells and a small office. The town marshal, Lila Kimzey, lives upstairs.
Marshal Kimzey is a young woman, probably in her mid-twenties, with wavy strawberry-blond hair and sparkling blue eyes. She's quick with a smile (complete with dimples) and a kind word for every folk she meets. But behind the sunny exterior is a sharp gunslinger, a shrewd judge of character, and a competent "lawman."
Lila came to town on the stage one day to visit her brother, Orville, who was prospecting. The two of them originally came from Kansas. On the very day she came to visit, the Simpkins Boys came to town, causing trouble. They shot the marshal, Obie Swain, dead at the Imperial, and proceeded to terrorize the town. Orville, indignant because Obie was his friend, smarted off to Zeke Simpkins and took a bullet for it. Lila challenged Zeke to a draw out in the street and took the outlaw down. His brother, Pete, tried to take his revenge with a sneaky Winchester shot from a window, but Lila took him down, too. The mayor, grateful for Lila's sharpshooting skills, offered her the job of town marshal on the spot. To everyone's surprise, she took it.
Lila is a well-liked and respected figure about town—even though she'd look prettier in a dress than those dungarees she likes to wear.
LaPentier's Haberdashery & Design Shoppe
Julien LaPentier (la-pen-te-AY) is a Frenchman who came to America to seek his fortune. He was on his way to Virginia City when his stagecoach was unceremoniously robbed. He was wiped out and abandoned. He made his home in Paiute Springs and started again.
He is a middle-aged man, slightly portly, with a handlebar mustache and twinkling eyes. The women in Paiute Springs adore him and the men don't quite know what to make of him. He deals in hats, handmade men and women's clothing, mending, and original designs.
McDaniel's Boarding House
A two-story boarding house with five rooms for rent ($1.25/night). The sign out front reads "Clean Beds and Home Cooking."
Mamie McDaniel runs the boarding house. She's a 58 year old feisty Irish woman whose husband has long since passed on and her three boys have moved out of Paiute Springs and into their own lives. The boarding house is also occupied by Miss Imogene Crane, the local schoolmarm.
Paiute Springs Church
This small, whitewashed building is in good repair and has a strong white cross at the top of its steeple. There is a bell erected in the belfry.
The church is maintained by Homer Beauregard for Reverend Gage. Though the Reverend himself is a Methodist, the church caters to all Protestant faiths.
Paiute Springs Sentinel
A one-story wooden building. The proprietor (and sole reporter) of the town's only newspaper is Oliver Milhouse, a slightly paunchy, eager man who fancies himself a muckraker.
The Sentinel is not exactly a high-quality paper, but it does report what Oliver sees. He's hoping to sell some big story to the Tombstone Epitaph and make his fortune. Distributed weekly, the paper usually only contains reprints of posters, local news, and an advice column from "Aunt Sally" (also Oliver). Copies can be had in the General Store, the Bank, and at either boarding house for a nickel.
Prince Royal Arms Hotel
This three-story brick building is run by the town's mayor, John Paul (J.P.) Jefferson. The hotel sports a small restaurant and bar on the bottom floor, 18 rooms (9 on each of the upper two floors), and a full staff. The name is essentially J.P.'s attempt at sounding fancy.
J.P. Jefferson is a rich man and a popular one. His gregarious personality and generous nature has made him a good friend to have in Paiute Springs and has carried him to office in the past five elections. He is a portly man and often ambles about with a walking stick. His sister, Minerva, is married to Reverend Gage.
Putnam's Livery & Smithy
This large, newer building was built to replace the old livery which perished in a fire five years ago. The smithy is up front and the livery and corral are out back.
Lionel Putnam is a big, powerfully-built Black man who came to Paiute Springs to escape the Confederacy. He is a guarded man with strangers, but friendly and generous with friends. His wife, Latrelle, is renowned throughout town as one of the best cooks. His three sons, Abel, Darius, and Frederick, are grown and help in the livery.
This whitewashed, one-room schoolhouse is in good repair. It is used by Miss Imogene Crane, the local school teacher. Miss Crane is a young woman, just out of school, and returned to Paiute Springs to teach, having grown up there. Miss Crane is a highly educated and a little on the scandalous side—she sometimes wears trousers when she works the flower beds around the schoolhouse. She is a kind mistress and patient with the children. Her family has passed on—she was only child and her mother and father died during the Simpkins Terror. Miss Crane lives at Mamie McDaniel's boarding house.
This small, wooden shack with a wire leading out of it is maintained by Cecil Dalhart, a young man from Carson City with an interest in science. He keeps a bunk in the office. The line reaches to Denver, but getting messages past there is chancy (only 20% each day).
This large building was erected to use for meetings, dances, and trials. Judge Bradford Perryman, circuit judge, lives in the back rooms. Judge Perryman is a mean old man with a paunch that threatens to bust his suspenders, but most people think he's just like a tick filled to bursting with spite. Fortunately, Judge Perryman travels a lot, so people don't have to put up with him for long.
The White Swan
This large, freshly painted, two-story wooden building with a gorgeous white balcony along the second story is the home of Madame Ephingenia "Eppy" Coolidge and her girls. The ground floor houses a small bar and sitting room. The rest of the house is full of rooms for Mama Eppy and her five girls.
Eppy Coolidge was a saloon girl in Chicago who struck out west to seek her fortune. Her shrewd business sense and good luck brought her a small fortune in a ghost rock stake in California. She sold the stake and used the proceeds to move to Nevada and set up shop in Paiute Springs.
Mama Eppy is a fierce caretaker of her girls and is a crack shot with a derringer. She also holds a fair amount of secrets in the town—people talk to her and her girls about things when they're "happy and tired."