Sunday, December 13, 2015

Dr. Noble Martin (1820-1896): Minister, Doctor & Legislator

Dr. Noble Martin (sketch, SF Call; Photo Michael Colbruno)
Dr. Noble Martin was a minister, doctor and a long-time member of the California Legislature.

He was born in Vermont in 1820 as the third of nine boys. As a young man he worked on a farm and as a wagon maker. He came to California in 1852 to mine for gold. After finding only moderate success in the mines at Little York and Red Dog, he studied medicine and was a practicing physician for 25 years in Dutch Flat. The town, which is about 30 miles northeast of Auburn, was once one of the richest mining towns in California. The town is now designated as a "semi-ghost town" and has only 333 residents.

He served in the California State Legislature for 25 years, serving Placer and El Dorado counties. He served on the Assembly Education Committee, where he was an outspoken advocate for creating kindergartens.* He served in the Senate from 1892 until his death.

In 1892, he strongly supported his Republican friend George Perkins* for the United States Senate, despite being a lifelong Democrat. Perkins had served in the State Senate and as Governor of California from 1880-1883. He remained in the U.S. Senate for 22 years.

Dr. Martin died at the home of his daughter in Berkeley after being in failing health.

* Both Emma Marwedel, founder of the kindergarten movement, and Senator George Perkins are buried at Mountain View Cemetery

San Francisco Call, Berkeley Gazette, Oakland Tribune, Journal of the Senate of the State of California

Friday, December 11, 2015

Dean Briggs Lyman (1838-1903): MIning pioneer; Nevada State Senator

Dean Lyman grave
PLOT 35 

Dean Briggs Lyman was born in South Royalton, Vermont in 1838 and came to California in 1856, where he worked in the placer mines. He was married twice, first to the former Nellie Smith and later to Anna Dunlap, with whom he he had two children, Edward and George.

He moved to Nevada and work in the quartz mills in Washoe City. He went on to run the Morgan Mill in Ormsby and the Mexican Mill in Empire City (which was named for the Mexican miner Gabriel Maldonado, who purchased the mine).

Gould and Curry Mine, Virginia City (1874)
In 1880, he became the Superintendent of the famed John Mackay and James Fair silver mining interests. Mackay, Fair and James Flood were known as the Bonanza Kings (aka Silver Kings) who all became multi-millionaires. Lyman became a lifelong friend of Mackay and went on to run a number of mines under his control, including the Ophir, Sierra Nevada, Union Consolidated, Consolidated Virginia, Gould & Curry and other mines. Silver mining in Nevada began in 1858 with the discovery of the Comstock Lode, the first major silver-mining district in the United States. The Comstock Lode has been mostly inactive since the 1920s. The state is now known as the "Silver State."

Lyman also dabbled in politics, being elected to the Nevada State Assembly in 1873 representing Armsby County. From 1885-89, he represented Storey County in the Nevada State Senate.