%> Nevada Riches: The Land and People of the Silver State
People & Life Ways
Riches, Ranching & Railroads

Helen Stewart in Southern Nevada

Helen Jane Wiser Stewart, known as "The First Lady of Las Vegas", was born in 1854 in Springfield, Illinois.  She moved with her family to California, and after marrying Archibald Stewart, a cattleman, moved with him to Pioche, Nevada.  In 1882 the Stewarts moved again to an isolated ranch in the Las Vegas Valley.  It was intended to be a temporary residence, just until Archie Stewart could sell the property.

In 1884, however, Archie Stewart was murdered at a nearby ranch.  Helen Stewart was left with four children and one on the way.  She learned to operate the ranch, and raised her children and successfully managed the large operation, including orchards, until 1902.  She sold her land to the railroad in that year, and the town of Las Vegas was established.

The Stewart children were educated by tutors when they were young, but were eventually sent away to school to continue their education.  Much of the information available on Helen Stewart and the history of southern Nevada has been found in her letters and the diaries she kept.

Click the next links to read from the letters and diaries of Helen Stewart.

Photo Credits:
Special Collections, University of Nevada Las Vegas Library