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


Immigrants to America in the 19th century came for many reasons.  Some were leaving behind religious or political persecution, famine, or war.  The Irish potato famines of the 19th century forced many to leave.  They came to America and found work as laborers, and housekeepers.  Many Irish helped build the transcontinental railroad.  Some who came west worked in the mines of the Comstock Lode.

Irish immigrants played an extremely important part in the development of Nevada.  Many came from County Cork where Ireland's only mines thrived.  Experienced miners from this area came to the American West looking for work in their field.  The west of Ireland has always had the greatest concentration of speakers of Gaelic, the Irish language, and so many certainly came to Nevada and the mines of the Comstock as native speakers.  The following text was found in Virginia City, dating approximately to 1875.  It was an inscription on the back of a photograph from an Irish immigrant to his uncle who lived in Virginia City: "To Timothy, the dear brother of my beloved mother; I am the son of your sister--Robert."

Photo Credit:
Nevada Historical Society