William E. Price Records
William E. Price was listed in the 1880 Nevada Census as a 45 year old wood dealer, born in Illinois , living in Franktown. He served as a State Assemblyman from Washoe County in 1874-1874, 1879-1880, and 1883-1884. 1879 Price lived in Ophir; in 1883 he lived in Franktown.
Price was a party in at least two lawsuits. The first was a Nevada Supreme Court case, #1126, June 17, 1882. Gilson & Barber vs William E. Price. Appealed from 2nd Judicial Court, Washoe County. In this suit Gilson & Barber assumed a contract originally held by Hugh Porter to cut and haul wood for Price, to be delivered to the Ophir Dump. When finished Gilson & Barber sued Price for payment and won a judgment on May 30, 1878. Price appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court, claiming the contract was not completed. The Court's decision was not part in the case file in the State Archives.
The second case was filed in Washoe County District Court, no case number,  as William E. Price vs the Virginia and Gold Hill Water Company and J.B. Overton. According to court documents in the collection, beginning about Aug. 20, 1875 Price was the owner and builder of a water ditch and V flume, including water rights. The ditch was 5' wide and 1 ½' deep beginning up in the mountains [west of Washoe Valley] and running to Ophir Creek, then down along the channel to a lake or pond owned by Price, then connecting with a V flume and its branches, emerging at the community of Ophir on the Virginia and Truckee Railroad tracks, about 6 ¾ miles total. Price also owned other ditches and flumes used year-round to transport wood, lumber and ice. Price owned about 1,500 acres of timber lands from which he cut cord-wood for the open market and to fill contracts. In July 1877 he filed water claims with the Washoe County Recorder. Price stated his uses [his businesses] were totally dependant upon this water.
Price alleged that without his consent, beginning July 5, 1889 the defendants broke and destroyed the ditch in several places and turned the waters off his lands and continued to do so thereafter preventing him from carrying out his business. He asked for damages and that requested that defendants be enjoined from further destroying the ditches and diverting the water. Price was granted a restraining order and $2,000 while the court action was pursued.
Other court documents in the V&GHWC records contain the testimony of John H. Dall who claimed construction of a ditch and use of the same Ophir Creek water to Franktown from 1868-1871 for his quartz mill at Franktown, predating Price's use of the water. In 1871 Dall sold all his water rights and flumes to Virginia and Gold Hill Water Company except for a small creek kept for home use. That creek was later sold to Theodore Winters along with 2,000-2,500 acres. To make his land and water claim perfect in 1871 Dall went back to the men from whom he purchased the land and water, got a deed(s), recorded it, and then sold the land to the water company. Dall stated he knew Price beginning in 1862 and had never heard of Price claiming the ditch.
The defendants contended that they were the lawful owners of the water and that destroying the ditch did not constitute an unlawful act. Overton stated he notified Price in 1877 of the company's claim to the water and turned water out of Price's ditch into the natural channel whenever he found it running in the ditch. In 1888 the Virginia and Gold Hill Water Company's flume to the creek from the tunnel was completed and the water taken to Virginia City by way of the tunnel. Overton claimed Price's use of the water was permissive and that he did not own it. He gave evidence that contradicted Price's statement of continued use of the flume from 1875.
Although the official court decision is not included in this file, an 1891 letter indicated that the court decided case by allowing 75' of water to the Water Company during a portion of the year and allocating the balance to Price.
Price is mentioned in the following article in the Weekly Nevada State Journal, Aug. 7, 1875: William Price has erected a saw mill in the vicinity of the great landslide [Slide Mt.], of the Sierra Nevada, west of Franktown. The mill has already started up and is engaged in sawing lumber for Mr. Price's flume, in the same locality. The work of surveying the route for the same had already been completed by Mr. Fillebrown. 3,200 cords of wood were shipped to Carson and Virginia from Franktown station last month. About 20,000 cords more will be shipped from the same point during the present season. 200 wood choppers are at work in the mountains between Price's and Marlette's.
William E. Price Records. 1889-1900. 3 folders. WATER-0001 files 036-038.
SERIES: WILLIAM E. PRICE WILLIAM E. PRICE VS V&GH WATER CO AND J.B. OVERTON OVER WATER RIGHTS IN WASHOE VALLEY, PT. 1 1889-1990 WATER-0001 036
SERIES: WILLIAM E. PRICE WILLIAM E. PRICE VS V&GH WATER COMPANY AND J.B. OVERTON OVER WATER RIGHTS IN WASHOE VALLEY, PT. 2 1889-1990 WATER-0001 037
SERIES: WILLIAM E. PRICE WILLIAM E. PRICE VS V&GH WATER COMPANY AND J.B. OVERTON OVER WATER RIGHTS IN WASHOE VALLEY, CORRESPONDENCE 1889-1990 WATER-0001 038