Happy Birthday to the Nevada Appeal

In 1865 during the heyday of the Comstock and the beginning of the state, E.F. McElwain, J. Barrett and Marshall Robinson started a newspaper in Carson City.

The Carson Daily Appeal came off the press for the first time May 16, 1865, with the announcement that Confederate President Jefferson Davis had been captured. A few thousand headlines later, the paper locals know as the Nevada Appeal is celebrating its 135th birthday in the capital city.

It has been the daily voice of Carson City for 135 years, making it the longest continuously running paper in the state.

"It's a survivor," State Archivist Guy Rocha said. "Other papers have come and gone over the years, but the Appeal has been able to sustain itself. It's been the voice of Carson City.

"In terms of what was happening in this town, the Appeal has been reporting on the events for 135 years. It certainly captured some of the big events. There were other papers that covered Carson City, but the one paper you can always be assured was there was the Appeal."

Nevada in 1865 was quite the place to start a newspaper. The Appeal opened to competition against area papers such as Virginia City's Territorial Enterprise and the Gold Hill News, the Virginia Daily Union, Douglas County Banner, Carson Valley Farmer, The Reese River Reveille from Austin and Lyon County Sentinel in Dayton, among others.

One of those newspapers, the Territorial Enterprise, the state's first paper, is being resurrected as close to its original form as possible. The first issue of the Enterprise is scheduled to hit the streets in the Mother Lode country-Nevada City, Calif., to Fallon - on July 1.

"We're the oldest, but far from continuous," said Lloyd Pendergrast, Enterprise publisher. "We want a newspaper for folks that is kind of an alternative weekly paper in the tradition of the old Enterprise, one that is somewhat satirical, somewhat sarcastic and demands a lot of the responsiveness to the people. What we really are is a new version of the same old traditional newspaper."

The Appeal has been known by a variety of names in its history, including the Daily Appeal, the Morning Appeal, Carson City Daily Appeal and Carson City News. In 1946, it became the Nevada Appeal.

The newspaper's owner, Arthur Suverkrup, changed the name of the paper "because he felt 'a newspaper in a capital community should serve all the people of a state,'" wrote former Appeal editor Peter Kelley in his book "Luck of the (Half) Irish."

Shortly after the paper's inception, it was purchased and run by Henry Mighels. He owned the paper off and on until his death in 1879. His family owned the paper until 1943. His wife, Nellie Mighels Davis, operated the paper with the help of Sam Davis, whom she later married.

Both Henry Mighels and Davis were well known throughout Nevada for their skills as newspapermen. The paper switched owners between 1943 and 1950 when it was bought from the Mighels family and eventually by the Donrey Media Group. Current owner, Mount Rose Publishing Co., bought the Appeal in 1995.

"It's a small, regional newspaper," Rocha said. "Really, the Nevada Appeal is probably as lively as it's been since its inception. It's the capital's newspaper. It's not a large paper, but it's probably as large as it's been since the 1860s. It has quite a heritage. People take pride that it's as good a paper as it's ever been."


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