Nevada Appeal at 150: Feb. 21, 1955: First Appeal editor elected to News Hall of Fame

Henry R. Mighels, first editor of the Carson City Nevada Appeal 90 years ago, was honored Saturday by Nevada State Press Association with election to the state’s Newspaper Hall of Fame.

He joins such celebrities as Mark Twain, Joe Goodman and other early day editors in the gathering.

The choice of Mighels this year was made by a nominating committee which selected three names; then newspapermen throughout the state chose the Carson editor in a mail ballot. Claude Smith of Fallon Standard and Jock Taylor of Austin Reese River Reveille were contest chairmen.

Mighels was noted in Nevada not only as a pioneer writer, but also as a legislator. He was born in Norway, Maine, Nov. 3, 1830. He went to California in 1850 and began his newspaper career in 1856 in Oroville as assistant editor of the Butte Record. Later he became local editor of the Sacramento Bee. In 1860 the Marysville Appeal was established with him as its first editor, but in 1862 he returned east to enlist in the Union army. While serving there, he was injured and suffered gangrene, which was later to bring him to an early death.

After being mustered out of the army, he returned to California in April 1865, but came to Carson in May to become editor of the Morning Appeal, now the oldest daily newspaper in Nevada, founded May 16 of that year.

Mighels soon became sole owner of the Appeal, and the paper remained in the family ownership for more than half a century, although it was leased at various times to other publishers.

Aug. 20, 1866, he married Miss Verrill of Norway, Maine, and they had four children. A grandson, Harry Mighels, still lives in Carson and is active in community affairs.

Mighels soon became prominent in state politics. In 1868 he was named state printer, and in 1876 elected to the assembly from Ormsby County, being chosen speaker by acclamation. In 1878 he was the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor.

He became critically ill in 1879 and spent considerable time in a hospital in San Francisco, but finally wrote in his column in the Appeal, “I am making up my mind and body for the homeward trip ... I am no longer an interesting subject for the student of anatomy and surgery ... I state this not so much as being a cause of rejoicing or lamentation as a probability, which, like the date of a wedding or a funeral, is interesting to those who are interested.”

He kept his sense of humor to the end, writing again in his column — excerpts of which were published posthumously in the book, “Sagebrush Leaves” — “My dear readers, those who subscribe and who are regular in your payments; those who subscribe and are not so systematic; those who would if they could; and those who borrow with regularity and criticize with freedom, all and singular, be warned in time! No joking, I am going home.”

He died in Carson City, May 28, 1879, at the age of 48.

This concludes the Appeal’s review of news stories and headlines during its Sesquicentennial year.


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