Monday, May 23, 2016

Yerington Monday: Frank Bugbee’s Granite Times

Frank Bugbee’s Granite Times

Homemade, handwritten newspapers were a noble tradition in Nevada’s pioneer days, but the best may have been the last: Frank Bugbee’s Granite Times.

Granite was a mining camp and post office from May 1908 to May 15, 1909.  It was seven miles west of Schurz.  Granite was founded when mineral locations were made in the area in March 1908.  Shortly thereafter, the Mountain View Mining District was established attracting 200-300 speculators, saloonkeepers, prostitutes and drifters of every stripe.  Among them was Frank Bugbee.

A native of Ohio, Bugbee had taught school in Kansas before arriving in Nevada around the turn of the century.  He turned up in a number of mining camps before joining the rush to Granite and starting the Times.  Bugbee’s enterprise did not survive beyond seven issues, judging by surviving copies, but it was a lively journal whit it lasted, providing insight into the life of the obscure camp and the outlook of an ingenious editor.


The Easter edition of April 17, 1908 featured drawings of a colored egg, a chick, a rabbit and a scene  entitled “Single Jacking in Granite.”  The issue reported that a Mr. Burroughs had struck placer gold while digging the foundation for a building and that Raleigh Baker had recently returned from Yerington with a new pair of shoes --both for the left foot.

A new well was being dug just north of town,  There was progress on the auto road to Schurz, and the Schurz String Band had played at Granite’s “Second Ball.”

Bugbee’s readers learned that a local steam laundry operator had made a trip to Yerington to purchase a parrot, which he was teaching to say, “Hand and steam laundry.”  Ads appeared for Dry Hide Louie’s Shaving Parlor, the J.J. Lunch Room (“cement floors a specialty, and for a man named Butterfield, “Real Estate and Chickens.”

Bugbee even reported on himself.  He had ordered a carload of type to print his paper properly, but through an error he received a mess of tripe.”  Bugbee was equal to the situation, however.  He offered “a bar of soap and a pound of tripe” to those who solicited others for new subscriptions to the Times.

Bugbee liked to print aphorisms and pithy advice.

__”Don’t argue politics on the street, better try religion.”
__”Monotony and rust eat out ambition--we don’t blame people for being just a little wicked once in awhile just for a change.”
__ “Being a big husky man saves a great many from getting a good licking.”
__He remarked that young girls often wondered who their husbands would be, while those who had them wondered where they were.”

Bugbee pushed for culture in Granite.  He supported an effort to import a preacher, but he warned anyone considering the position not to come ”unless he is a good hammerman and can handle a shovel.”

The Easter issue included a poem by  local miner, M. L. Ruef, who occasionally helped out at the Times office:

“ Granite, Granite, Granite,
You are the wonder of the day.
And you’ll always be remembered
In a good old -fashioned way.
A town of jolly fellows
And pretty girls a few,
Granite you are a wonder
We take our hats off to you.”

In the May 1 issue, Bugbee reported that Dry Hide Louie had amassed so much wealth from panning miner’s whiskers that he had retired and moved to Yerington.  There was a plug for the town’s physician, Mrs. Dr. Carpenter.  Bugbee recommended that his readers go to her for sulfur and molasses, since spring had arrived.  His own mother had given the remedy  to him, he wrote, and he could still taste it 20 years later.

The May 1 issue is the last surviving for the Granite Time.  In it Bugbee summed up his philosophy:  “Stop grumbling.  Get up two hours earlier in the morning and do something out of your regular profession.  Mind your own business and with all your might let other people alone.  Live within your means.  Give away or sell your dog.  Go to bed early.  Talk less of your own peculiar gifts and virtues and more of those of your friends and neighbors.  Pay your debts.  Be yourself all you would see in others.  Be a good man and stop grumbling.

As a mining camp, Granite never got beyond the leasing stage, and when its fortunes waned, its inhabitants began to depart for newer, richer diggings.  Among those who took their leave was Bugbee.  Moving on to Dayton, where he acquired some mining properties, he later became a Lyon County deputy sheriff and served in the Nevada Assembly in 1931, 1933, and 1935.  In the early 1940’s, he moved to Yerington.  He died there on April 4, 1943, just after his 73rd birthday.

The two surviving issues of the Granite Times, kept at the Nevada Historical Society, were donated by Bugbee himself in 1909.  They can be viewed on microfilm or in their original full-color glory at the museum and research library in Reno.

These two issues seem to belie, but do not disprove, the spirit of optimism that brightened his editorials:  “Take courage, my brothers, take courage,”  he wrote.  “Do not get discouraged because you have not the tools and equipment you should have to run your lease.  The editor has only three lead pencils, but he gets out a paper every week.”

(Nevada Magazine, June 1982 “Type, Tripe and the Granite Times” by Phillip I Earl and Eric N. Moody)

Reno Evening Gazette - April 5, 1943
Frank Bugbee Dies In Lyon County
Illness Fatal To Mining Man
YERINGTON, April 5. -- Francis (Frank) Eugene Bugbee, long-time Nevada resident, mining man and legislator, died at the hospital here Sunday night after an illness of several months.

Born in Ohio seventy-five years ago, he grew up in Kansas and Colorado and came to Nevada during his youth, locating in Mason valley and Dayton where he followed mining for many years. He served as a deputy sheriff at Dayton for a time and was an assemblyman in the Nevada legislature during the sessions of 1931, 1933 and 1937. In the legislative session which closed just a few weeks ago, he served as assistant sergeant-at-arms although he was ill at the time.

In addition to his widow, the former Mabel Lord, whom he married in 1927, Mr. Bugbee is survived by a son, Lyle, a government employee in Texas; a sister, Jesse Callahan of Abilene, Kas.; a brother, William Munden of Abilene and an uncle, Charles Osborn, of Winnemucca. Funeral services will be announced later.
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