%> Nevada Riches: The Land and People of the Silver State
Nevada Government & Politics
Territory & Statehood

Relations with California: Territory of Nataqua

Not only were easterners moving westward in the 1850s, but Californians were moving eastward, some into the Honey Lake Valley.  Some of the settlers followed the pioneer tradition of forming their own government.  They did not want to be part of California and neither did they want to be part of Utah.  When Judge Orson Hyde explored the region in 1856, the settlers told Hyde they resided in California and not Utah and when Plumas County officials tried to collect taxes, they claimed to be in Utah.

In April 1856 Isaac Roop and others organized the territory of Nataqua.  They ignored the fact that if they were not in California they would be in Utah Territory.  Nataqua claimed 50,000 square miles of Utah territory and eastern California from forty miles south of Genoa, east to the middle of Nevada and north to the Idaho border.  The settlers in Carson, Eagle, and Washoe Valleys, who outnumbered their northern counterparts by twenty to one, had no knowledge of being incorporated into the new territory.

The Honey Lake settlers used their geographic location as a way to avoid paying taxes to any government.  They told Plumas County officials they were not in California and told Hyde they were not in Utah. They were all adamant in their resistance against being part of Plumas County and the State of California.  There was no taxation in their new territory.  Nataqua died quietly because most of the settlers in Honey Lake Valley generally ignored it.  Soon after its organization, Recorder Roop was removed from office after he left the valley to winter in Shasta.  The idea of self-government did not die with Nataqua because the residents of Honey Lake journeyed south to Genoa, August 7, 1857 to help create a new territory out of western Utah.

Photo Credit:
Library of Congress