The Jones’ Boys: Stout-Hearted Little Fellows Frozen to Death

American Flat/Ophir Grade

American Flat/Ophir Grade

A Sad, Sad Incident — Two little boys Found Frozen to Death.

The Gold Hill News of Wednesday last has the following:

We grieve to record the sad fact that two little sons of Robert Jones, the well-known milkman, whose milk ranch is situated at American Flat, were frozen to death on the Ophir Grade during the late heavy snow storm. They were at Mr. Jones’ ranch in Truckee Meadows, and their father sent a letter telling them they might

Come Home to Christmas

And have a good time. Their names were John, aged ten years, and Henry, aged about thirteen. They left the ranch at the Meadows last Saturday morning, on horseback, driving two cows and two calves before them. It was a very stormy day, but notwithstanding the chilly rain and snow which was falling, the stout-hearted little fellows thought they could make the trip. The streams along the route were swollen, and the road so bad that their progress was slower than they expected, and they only reached Brown’s ranch, in Steamboat valley, where they staid that night. Next morning (Sunday) they started out again, going by way of Steamboat and around by Ophir grade, although it was still

Storming Heavily.

It seems strange that the people at Brown’s station or ranch, should have allowed these two little boys to go forward in such a storm, attempting what most men would have considered too great a hardship to encounter. But the little fellows were thinking of home and the Christmas pleasures promised them. They passed out into the storm and were

Seen No More Alive.

Yesterday the anxious father, fearing that perhaps his dear little sons might have made the attempt to come through the storm, or at any rate, desirous of visiting them, started for the Truckee Meadows by way of Virginia and the Geiger Grade. He heard of them when he got to Brown’s, and immediately started following up the route they had taken. Hoping to find them at some place of shelter they might have sought, he eagerly inquired, but could get no trace of them. More and more eagerly he pressed forward his tired steed through the deep drifts of snow up the Ophir Grade from Washoe Valley, and at length about 7 o’clock this morning saw a horse some distance a head standing in the road. He recognized the animal at once, and fearing the worst, hastened to him. There, near the faithful animal, close beside the road, lay his two little boys locked fast in each other’s arms,

Frozen to Death.

No trace of the other horse or of the cows and calves they were driving were to be found, and appearances indicated that they must have left those animals behind, and both were riding this horse, which was the strongest of the two, the other one, perhaps having given out entirely. Both boys were well clothed, the eldest having on a long pair of stout winter boots. The youngest wore a pair of gum boots, which he had taken off and lay near by. He had done this, perhaps, to empty the water out of them, with the assistance of the brother, and then both being overpowered by the cold and fatigue, had finally laid down to die.

Great Drifts of Snow.

Were along the grade, but where they lay was a bleak place, swept clean by the driving winds, and no snow covered them. Their wet clothes were frozen fast to the ground. They have at last reached home, but, alas, not to gladden it with their childish joy. The chill hand of death has silenced forever their bright hopes and joyous anticipations.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Dec 30,  1871

**Photo posted by RickC on Flickr, with this description:

Ophir Grade was the toll road between Virginia City and Washoe Valley where the first ore processing mills were. This is American Flat west of Virginia City and shows a mill built of concrete in the early 1900’s that was only used for a couple of years. Virginia and Truckee RR spur grade is also shown.

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2 Responses to “The Jones’ Boys: Stout-Hearted Little Fellows Frozen to Death”

  1. RickKC Says:

    Thanks for reprinting my article from Please don’t forget to credit as the source.

    • mrstkdsd Says:

      Hi Rick,
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I did site my source for the article (Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Dec 30, 1871), which is where I found it. The picture posted is linked and I also sourced where I got the information for the picture.

      I was not aware that you also had this article on your site, as that is not where I found it.

      If you have any questions, feel free to reply.

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