How Did Octavius Decatur Gass Purchased The Mormon Ranch

476 Words2 Pages

After the Mormons left the Vegas area in 1857, the next significant chapter opens in 1865. It was then that Octavius Decatur Gass purchased the Mormon fort and converted it into a ranch. Gass was a Scotch-Irishman and hailed from Ohio. Gass was thinking at the time that this ranch would be a good stopping point for gold diggers and other people coming through the valley area. With the help of friends he started work on restoring the foundation of the fort to convert it into a working ranch. Over time, he bought out other properties to where in the end, he and his partners owned 640 acres. Gas owned 160 acres and others the balance. However, by 1822 he was able to buy out the others and own the entire 640 acres. Gass' efforts would eventually, …show more content…

His ranch did become a popular way station for travelers, but not with the number of people he had hoped for. As time went on, Gass was able to acquire more and more property. By 1877 he held 960 acres and had more than 30 men and women working for him. Gass' ranch appeared to be a great success. However, he was loaded with debt. Eventually, after mortgaging his ranch, and borrowing $5,000 from another rancher, Archibald Stewart, Gass defaulted on his loan to Stewart and loss the ranch. Archibald Stewart and his wife, Helen continued to work the ranch and make it a successful enterprise. Helen Stewart, who in later years earned the title of the First Lady of Las Vegas. She will prove to be a major personality in the founding of the city in 1905. We will tell more about her in future installments in this series. During one of Archibald's trips away, a ranch hand, Schyler Henry, threatened and insulted his wife . When Archibald returned, his wife told him what had happened. On July 13, 1884, Archibald Stewart traveled to a rival ranch, the Kiel Ranch located in North Las Vegas, to confront Henry. A gunfight ensued and Archibald was killed. Some historians think it was a set up and no one was brought to

Open Document