|People & Life Ways|
|Riches, Ranching & Railroads|
Charcoal was used as fuel in the smelting furnace. Charcoal burners had become an important occupation in Europe as nations industrialized. People who had been charcoal burners in Italy emigrated to the Eureka Mining District to do the same job in Nevada. By 1880, people who had been born in Italy were the largest ethnic group living in the Eureka area.
Charcoal burning was hard
work. The workers lived in dugouts or poor shacks. They made
less than half the wages paid to a mine laborer, and found it difficult
to receive fair treatment from merchants, smelter owners, and the teamsters
who hauled the charcoal. They formed the Charcoal Burners' Protective
Association (CBPA). In 1879, when they demanded a higher price for
their charcoal, there was conflict between the charcoal burners and teamsters
who were hauling the charcoal. A deputy sheriff and a group of men
from Eureka rode out to a camp at Fish Creek, and shooting broke out.
Five Italians were killed, and the conflict has come to be known as "The
Italian Charcoal Burners' War".
Reader: Paolo Ramela
1: Nevada State Museum
2: Nevada Commission on Tourism