At (in) the Colorado River, Central Lake.

Mead Basin Joint plaque with Floating Whang chapter.

Queho'st Gaurd, June 15, 2002




Written, compiled, plagiarized, bowdlerized, and otherwise hyperbolized by


Clamphistorian and Clampatriarch


Mark "Mad Hatter" Hall-Patton, XNGH


Issued in honor of the Joint Doins of the Queho Posse, Chapter 1919, and the Floating Whang Chapter, Number 8, of the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus, held over the site of the community of Callville, before and after the full moon on June the 15th, in the year of all Clamperdom, 6007.


Obfuscationist Press


A Short History of the Illustrious, Lost Metropolis of Callville


Clark County, Nevada


{Pah-Ute County, Arizona}


{Yet another part of Lost Dutchman which has slipped away}


The first westerner who is known to have used the Callville wash as a route to the Colorado River was Antonio Armijo, in January 1830. He was looking for a less difficult route than that of today's Boulder Canyon, the site of Hoover Dam, and found it to be a good substitute.


It was quite a few years before the area was again being used. In 1847, the plucky band of pioneers know as the Saints, or adherents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, following Brigham Young, made their way into the valley of the Great Salt Lake. Young and the Saints were intent on developing the land, and began exploring outward from the Great Salt Lake, throughout today's Utah, Nevada, northern Arizona, and parts of California.


As part of these explorations, Young sent an exploring party under the command of Rufus Allen south to find a suitable location of the Colorado River for a shipping port. He was unsuccessful, but that same year saw William Bringhurst also sent south to exploit an area on the Old Spanish Trail known as the meadows for its plentiful water, or in the Spanish language, Las Vegas.


Bringhurst's community did not prosper, and the Saints were called home after only a few years. Young had not given up on the idea of settling the area, and reacted strongly when news reached him from Jacob Hamblin of the appearance of a United States Corps of Topographical Engineers expedition up the Colorado.


This was the Lt. Joseph Ives expedition, which set out from Robinson's Landing, about 60 miles south of Yuma, in December 1857. Traveling north in the Explorer, an iron-hulled stern-wheeler, the explorers made their way as far north as Explorer's Rock, about four miles north of the current site of Hoover Dam. Though he did not reach Callville Wash, Ives was spotted by Hamblin and two other Mormons who were dealing with the natives of the area.

Word reached Young, and he decided that a Mormon presence on the river was necessary. It took six more years, until 1864, before Young was ready for his move. At the General Assembly of the church that year, Young spoke. He announced,

	We shall want another path to bring home the Saints, and we want to prepare for it.  The Colorado 
	River is only a short way from St. George, and if I lived there I would soon have steamboats passing 
	up the river, and it would serve as an island station for the other communities and outpost to furnish 
	supplies to the	immigrants bound for Salt Lake.


Young was serious. He chose Anson Call to locate a site and found a community for shipping on the river.


Call was from Vermont. Born in 1810, he had converted to the Mormon religion in 1854. By 1855, he was the Bishop of Bountiful (perhaps presciently, as he eventually had five wives and 23 children). In 1856, Young sent him to the Washoe Valley near Snowshoe Thompson and Julia Bullette territory, to help settle that area.


He was able to get along well with the various Indian tribes in the area, and eventually adopted two Indian children as his own. He returned to his home in Bountiful in 1857, but when called by Young in 1864, he willingly went.


In his journal, Call noted that he was called on November 1, 1864, to,


	take an exploring company and locate a road to the Colorado River and find a suitable place for 
	a warehouse, and build the same, and form a settlement at or near the site of the landing.


He began the journey in mid-November, arriving in Str. George on November 24. He then left with a party of five, including Jacob Hamblin, Lyman Hamblin, his son, Dr. J.M. Whitmore, and Angus M. Canon. On December 2, 1864, Call recorded,


	We started at eight and one-half and journied a southwest course for ten miles further in 
	a south southwest course when we turned south till we came to the Colorado River a mile 
	below the narrows above the mouth of the Black Canyon.  About one half of a mile below 
	the mouth of the wash we found a black, rocky point which we considered a suitable location 
	for the erection of a warehouse above the high water mark; here we considered the best 
	landing could be established.  We found the river of reddish color and about 150 yards 
	wide...Our judgement is that the water might be taken out about a mile above the landing 
	and conveyed down to the bottom a short distance below where we have camped. Containing 
	about 200 acres of good land.  Beaver abound.


It is interesting to note that even today, nearly 150 years later, beaver (the kind used for hats) have been found in the Clark County Wetlands Preserve in the Vegas valley.


Call's site was soon known as Call's Landing, or Callville. It was not an auspicious area to build, being many miles over unbroken land to the nearest communities in either Eldorado Canyon to the south, or St. George and Santa Clara to the north. It was to be the site, though exploration continued by Calls party for a few weeks more. The eventually made it as far south as Hardy's Landing, near Fort Mohave, where they were able to witness the launching of the first boat built there, the Arizona. Call thought Hardy's Landing was well built, and spoke highly of it in his report back to Salt Lake.


William Hardy, however, was not pleased by the prospect of competition, and did not promote the new river landing.


After returning to the Callville site on December 17, a community was laid out, comprising 40 lots which were to be 100 feet square. Call determined where the warehouse was to be built. Call then left the new community's site, leaving his son-in-law James Davids, and Jacob Hamblin's son Lyman to begin the foundations for the warehouse.


By March of 1865, Call returned with one of his wives, Mary Ann, a surveyor to plat the new townsite, and tools and materials to begin building. Building materials were not easily located, and the building was eventually built from limestone quarried nearby. Roof timbers were cut at the Spring Mountain Ranch, later site of the April 13, 1997, Queho Posse doins. Roofing material were shipped in by steamer.


The warehouse was substantial enough that when Lake Mead backed up behind Hoover Dam during the 1930s, the walls of the warehouse were still standing. They are today under several hundred feet of water.




While building was going on, local Indians were employed to look for the steamboat which was to be coming upriver. Unfortunately, they were unaware of what kind of a beast a steamboat was, and reported back that they had not seen the beast, but had located its footprints. The workers on the warehouse decided to see the tracks, and also did not recognize them. They followed them for some time, eventually finding a very tame camel. Capturing it, they sent it back to its owner in Salt Lake City, a Mr john Young. How Young had acquired the camel is unknown, but it was probably one of those brought to the southwest as part of the government's experiment under Lt. Beale.


Building continued on the site, and Call began working on a shipping agreement. He was successful in signing an agreement with R. G. Sneath form San Francisco, and decided to open the Callville warehouse in the spring of 1866. Sneath sent Henry Dibble as agent for his company, which was a bit of a change for Dibble. Being used to the cosmopolitan lifestyle of San Francisco, he none-the-less made a go of it in the frontier community of Callville.


Callville was getting to be a quite a location. In May of 1865, the county of Pah-Ute had been created by the territorial legislature of Arizona, Southern Nevada being part of the Lost Dutchman territory at the time. Callville was selected as the County Seat of the Pah-Ute, and Octavious Decatur Gass was the territorial legislator.

Gass, for whom Gass Street in Las Vegas, as well as Decatur Avenue, were named, was the owner of the Las Vegas Rancho, but listed a residence in Callville during the period the community was the county seat. Callville held this position until October 1867.


While the county seat, Callville became a shipping site. The first steamboat to try to reach the new community was the Esmeralda, which was within only a few miles when it turned around and landed downstream at Eldorado Canyon. The turn was occasioned by rumors circulated by William Hardy, the aforementioned founder of Hardy's Landing.


Though hardy was able to intercept this first shipment, later ones did make it through. Callville became the northernmost point on the Colorado River steamboats could reach, though the trip was not an easy one. The major problem was the area of the river which became known as Ringbolt Rapids in Black Canyon. This section of rapids were considered nearly impassible, until a plan was hatched to embed large iron rings in the walls of the canyon. These were used with a cable and winch arrangement on the steamers. The cable was fitted into the ring, and the winch would be used to pull the steamer through the rapids.


The two steamers which regularly made the trip were the Esmeralda, and the Nina Tilden. Outfitted with the winch, these steamers began plying the river. On October 8, 1866, the Esmeralda became the first steamer to make its way to the new settlement. Throughout the rest of 1866, and during the high water periods of 1867, shipments were regular to the landing.


Callville had a problem, though, as a transhipment location. The road from the landing to St. George was nearly impassable. It went though incredible canyons, and crossed the Muddy and Virgin Rivers a number of times, often with fords, not bridges.


Callville was non-the-less becoming known. It received a post office on January 25, 1867. The office was in operation until June 15, 1869. This was the ending period of the community, for by 1869 it was nearly defunct.


In 1866, rumors were flying that the local Indians planned to make trouble for the settlers. Gass, as a territorial legislator, pressured the Army to station troops near Callville. In January 1867, a Captain yard, one sergeant, and 9 privates were detached from Camp El Dorado to set up a presence at Callville.


Though they had 30 days rations, the assignment was not a pleasant one. By February, one of the privates had deserted, and a second detachment of 9 men had arrived, making the army presence number 18. This was only for a short time, as soon after that the presence only number 8 or 9 men through its existence.


As the expected Indian troubles never materialized, and the site was a truly god-forsaken one, the army wanted to pull out their men. Callville had all of three residents, so the army actually outnumbered the residents. The army rotated through men, with eventually 47 men being stationed there. Of those, six eventually deserted, and one committed suicide. Still representing Pah-Ute County in the Arizona Territorial Legislature, Gass was able to keep the presence there until March of 1868, but thereafter the army left, with probably some variant on the term "good riddance" left in their wake.


It should be noted by all the brethren, that history does not actually repeat itself, though past events may presage the future. In fact, the history of Pah-Ute County may be part of this. Pah-Ute was created in 1865, and by 1866 the federal government passed a bill which allowed the territory to be annexed by the state of Nevada. Arizona was opposed to this, but Nevada accepted the new territory in 1867. Arizona, was unwilling to accept the actions of the United States Congress, and continued to seat a delegate from another state's territory as part of their own. It was not until 1869, that the Territorial Legislature rescind the bill which had created the county, which was no longer their territory.


As an historian, I can draw no parallels between this and subsequent land grabs by later representatives of the area known as the land of the Lost Dutchman. I will leave that to later historians and essayists.


Callville had had its day. When visited in April 1868, Inspector Charles A. Whittier found no white residents in the community. By 1869, the community was considered a ghost town. When horse thieves tried to cross the river later that year, they used the doors from the old Callville warehouse, but their makeshift raft fell apart, and most were drowned.


Callville's last brush with possible glory came in 1869. John Wesley Powell, a one-armed explorer who had decided to be the first to traverse by boat the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, selected Callville as the terminus of the journey. Through incredible trials and tribulations, six of the nine men of the expedition, including Powell, reached St. Thomas at the end of their trip. A few continued on to the Gulf of California and the terminus of the Colorado, but Callville was hardly mentioned in the records of the expedition.

It is interesting to note that Myron Angel, in his 1881 history of Nevada, listed Callville as still functioning, and as the head of navigation on the Colorado. A petition had been presented to the United States Congress sometime around 1880 for $250,000 to improve the navigation on the Colorado. This was never granted. He even noted that a charter had been obtained for a railroad to link Eureka and Callville. Though the railroad was never built, it appears the dream took a long time to die.


Anson Call had left the community named for him by 1867, and returned north to Bountiful. He lived until 1890, well longer than the community he founded.


The structures at Callville, especially the warehouse, still stood in the 1930s, when Lake Mead began to fill. A local school teacher [and diligent local historian] decided to photograph the site, which gave us the best photographic record of the ruins before Lake Mead brought an end to their scenic nature.


Today, the site is under a few hundred feet of water. It is still there, as is the memory of the short lived community. Callville Wash is a well known stop for boaters on lake Mead, and the scene of numerous bass and other fishing tournaments.


We honor today our forbears. Anson Call was a man of vision, for could any man with five mothers-in-law not be? He took to heart the truth of the statement, "be fruitful and multiply, sireing 23 children. Let us remember him, and all those who came before, who made Southern Nevada what it is today, a natural Clamper paradise.


What sayeth the brethren?




And so recorded!


A Brief Aside: The Drawings of Charles David "Asshole" Murphy, member in good standing of the Queho Posse, Chapter 1919, of the ancient and honorable order of E Clampus Vitus.

These views represent a true and faithful rendition of events and people, even if created from wholecloth, and are published here for the entertainment and education of the brethren.













A brief Bibliography for those of the brethren who are so inclined as to continue their learning.

 Angel, Myron, A History of Nevada, 1881, Thompson and West, reprinted 1959, Howell North, Berkeley, CA

 Bufkin, Donald, The Lost County of Pah-Ute, in Nevada Official Bicentennial Book, 1976, Nevada Publications, Las Vegas

 Gamett, James, and Paher, Stanley, Nevada Post Offices, An Illustrated History, 1983, Nevada Publications, Las Vegas

 Paher, Stanley, Callville; Head of Navigation, Arizona Territory, nd, Nevada Publications, Las Vegas

 Steiner, Harold Austin, The Old Spanish Trail Across the Mojave Desert, 1999, Haldor Company, Las Vegas


Compiled, and rendered into print for the elucidation and education of the members of the ancient and honorable order of E Clampus Vitus, for the meeting of the Queho Posse Chapter 1919, in joint doins with the Floating Whang Chapter 8, upon the occasion of the Whang's plumbing of the depths of Lake Mead to ascertain the location of the lost community of Callville.


Specially printed on paper upon which the truth of ages sits lightly, the print of knowledge lays comfortably, and the imprimatur of Cardinal Zin, he of the red persuasion, has passed judgement and found none wanting.

May all who partake of the fruit of the tree of wisdom, stand well away from the falls of temptation, for verily, the revered Brother Dumbillicus hath placed a petal from his alter upon this work.



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