Bonanza history as drawn from episodes (more or less)
From the 'Dreaming Eagle' (or of utmost importance to it...;)
Early 1849 -
A lonesome wagon on its way
Since Hop Sing is believed to be with the Cartwrights for quite a long time, even knew Marie, he might have been one of the 54 and might have worked on Sutter's land. With the Cartwrights moving to the Sierras, Hop Sing might have accompanied them. His help would certainly be needed.
Hoss would be around thirteen years old at this time, Little Joe seven.
At this time, the (future) Ponderosa was forced to be largely self-sufficient, as there was nothing around to buy any goods from, except for the young Sacramento town (170 miles away) and the crude Dry Diggins (90 miles away in the opposite direction) - provided Ben knew about Dry Diggins, that is. All the goods required to build the ranch must have hauled across the Sierras in a wagon - nails, tools, lamp oil, flour, sugar, coffee, ropes, harnesses, tacks, clothes, furniture, all personal possessions, and the livestock.
The episode 'Blood on the Land' mentions that one of the first things Ben did was clearing pastures and planting grass - given that we're not talking about a small backyard garden here, add a load of seeds to the list.
This map of 1848 below shows the way from Sutter's Nueva Helvetia across the Sierras into Nevada - I've highlighted it in red so it is easier to see. If you click on the map and have a look at the bigger one, you can see that some more of future Nevada territory has been explored. Pyramid Lake jumps into the eye, as well as the Carson and Walker rivers. Funny how the draw Pramid Lake so big and (what I suppose is) Lake Tahoe can barely be seen.
Early 1849 -
Good - another shopping avenue for the Cartwrights, and only 130 miles away...
Westbound wagon train
Spring 1849 -
Ben writes a letter to his 19-ys-old son Adam, who is still studying in New England.
March 1849 -
Later in 1849 -
Somewhen around this time, Marie Cartwright died after a riding accident on the Ponderosa, just in front of the house (Marie, My Love). In the episode 'A Rose For Lotta' Joe recalls his mother died before he was five, but I'm inclined to believe it must have been later than that. In 1849, Joe would have been seven years old.
As Adam recalls, he arrived in the Sierras 'only months before the whole area was declared Utah territory' (which was in Septmeber 1850). He remembers his pride when he presented his plans for the re-building of the crude ranch house to his father.
The episode 'The Philip Deidesheimer Story' states that Adam designed and built the ranch house in its later form.
June 1850 -
At that time, the 'nearest' chances for the Ponderosa to buy, sell or barter any goods and much needed supplies at all would have been Dry Diggins/Hangtown (a whoppy 90 miles away in the rough Sierras) or the Californian town Nevada (130 miles through equally rough terrain).
Ben must have used up all his savings to build the ranch, as we learn in the episode 'Broken Ballad' that the shop owner Will Cass 'carried them for five long months' until they could finally pay their bills.
For the sake of my sanity, in the Eagle Will Cass is told to have had one of the first mercantile stores in Dry Diggins/Hangtown at that time.
Also, Adam will later recall how he first met Roy Coffee who was the sheriff of Hangtown in the early 50s.
September 9, 1850 -
May 1851 -
May 1851 -
Mormon Station/Genoa was approximately about 20-25 miles south from the Ponderosa, Dayton about 20-25 miles east.
June 1, 1851 -
Relations between Mormons and gentiles in Carson Valley were strained from the very beginningy, and non-Mormon settlers in the area strifed for a separation from the Mormon-dominated Utah territorial government.
November 12, 1851 -
January 1, 1852 -
March 1852 -
The first toll bridge in Nevada was built by Col. John Reese, over the Carson River not far from Mormon Station.
Gold Coins began to circulate in Carson Valley. The coins were minted by the Mormons at Salt Lake City in the Church Mint.
The first land claim was granted by the Mormon Station squatter's government, to Col. Reese.
This might be the time for Ben to significantly enhance the lands around the Ponderosa.
Actor Junius Brutus Booth was involved in a tour of California with his sons Edwin Booth and Junius Brutus Booth, Jr., performing in San Francisco and Sacramento.
It might be that Adam met his friend in Sacramento.
The first school was established in Nevada, located in Israel Mott's house in the Carson Valley, a site that would later become Mottsville. The teacher was told to be a 'Mrs. Allen'...
... but was probably a Miss Abigail Jones... ;)
June 24, 1853 -
January 17, 1854 -
May 1, 1854 -
January 1855 -
May 1855 -
June 15, 1855 -
September 20, 1855 -
November 1855 -
May 1856 -
Around 200 Chinese laborers were brought in to Dayton in order to dig a ditch from Gold Canyon to Carson River within two miles of town.
Franktown near Washoe Lake was established by Orson Hyde, probate judge of Carson County, Utah Territory, in the Washoe Valley.
Only 10 or so miles from of the Ponderosa, this would have been the Cartwright's closest neighbors, beside Eagle Station that was also about 10 miles away. The Cartwrights probably had a warmer relationshop with their fellow gentiles from Eagle Station, though.
1856 - Mormon Station was renamed Genoa
November 1856 -
March 6, 1857 -
The episode 'Enter Thomas Bowers' later refered to that decision.
June 1957 -
August 5, 1857 -
September 11, 1857 -
1857 - The Rogers & Thorington House is Nevada's first hotel in Genoa.
Construction of the telegraph line
March 1858 -
The vigilante committee was more or less a hapless lynch mob before one man took control of it and served as some sort of provisional sheriff: Roy Coffee. Adam recalled later how Roy, having nothing left in his live after his wife's death, made the security in the valley his personal agenda; and how people used to refer to him as 'Sheriff Coffee' long before this position was legally created in the valley.
Lincoln & Douglas
June 16, 1858 -
In the episode 'A House Divided' Ben states this speech was made 'a month ago' - not very likely... Senator Douglas achieved immortal fame in the episode 'Love Me Not'... ;)
August 12, 1858 -
November 7, 1858 -
December 18, 1858 -
Early spring 1859 -
Six-Mile-Canyon at Gold Hill
Following the gold up the canyon an outcropping of gold in quartz was found. Another miner, James Finney, nicknamed "Old Virginny" from his birthplace, is reported to have named the future town during a drunken celebration. He dropped a bottle of whiskey on the ground and christened the newly-founded tent-and-dugout town on the slopes of Mt. Davidson "Old Virginny Town," in honor of himself.
The biggest problem in this grubstake paradise was the sticky blue-gray mud that clung to picks and shovels. When the mud was assayed, it proved to be silver ore worth over $2,000 a ton - in 1859 dollars
June 13, 1859 -
Genoa in June 1859 (arrival of Capt. Simpson and his men)
July 1, 1859 -
Virginia City sprang up over night. quickly outpacing neighboring Gold City, even though both towns looked more like refugee camps that time, with masses of tents and crude huts. The boom brought a flood of traffic through the Truckee Meadows. Stage coaches, pack trains, mule and ox teams, prairie schooners, carrying settlers, miners, foodstuffs, lumber, mining equipment, etc. to Virginia City - and they all needed to cross the Truckee River. One Charles Fuller built a wooden bridge near the present site of Reno, and charged a toll to everyone and everything that crossed his bridge. Fuller also provided gold-seekers with lodging, as well as a place to dine and exchange information with other prospectors.
Adam recalled years later how the boom of Virginia City propelled the Ponderosa to prosperity.
July 18, 1859 -
January 1860 -
Early spring 1860 -
Great job offer...
April 1860 -
April 1860 -
Philip Deidesheimer played a role in the episode 'The Philip Deidesheimer Story'.
May 6, 1860 -
May 12, 1860 -
June 2, 1860 -
The episode 'The Paiute War' tells us that the Cartwrights participated in the fighting.
July 20, 1860 -
Summer 1860 -
Territorial Enterprise 1860/61
November 3, 1860 -
November 6, 1860 -
The first bank opened in Nevada when the Wells Fargo Express and Banking Company opened an office in Virginia City. The International Hotel opened on C Street.
The first ore mill built in Nevada was built at Galena to process gold from the Comstock lode.
The following two images show how much Nevada had grown in just one year: