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The Nevada State Line, date unknown (Picture: Twitter)

Happy 157th Birthday, Nevada!

‘Home Means Nevada’

By Megan Barth, October 31, 2021 6:31 pm

On October 31, 1864 President Abraham Lincoln officially declared Nevada the 36th state. The state at that time had only 40,000 inhabitants, short of the required 60,000 for statehood. However, with the discovery of silver and gold, miners, Republican politicians, and Nevada citizens became the driving forces for statehood. Since the presidential election was only days away—November 8th, 1864, the Nevada constitutional delegation sent the longest telegram on record to Washington, D.C. containing the entire text of the proposed state constitution. The 18,000 word telegram, at a cost of $4,300, took seven hours to transmit via Salt Lake City, Chicago, and Philadelphia, before finally arriving in DC.

Cover of Nevada Magazine (Photo: Nevada Magazine 2014)

Prior to Lincoln’s declaration, Lincoln had appointed numerous Republicans to the territory in preparation for his re-election and to pass the 13th Amendment to end the civil war. Taken from the Elko Daily Press: ‘The decisive factor in easing the path to Nevada’s statehood was President Lincoln’s proposed 13th Amendment banning slavery. Throughout his administration, Lincoln had appointed territorial officials in Nevada who were strong Republicans, and he knew he could count on the congressmen and citizens of the new state of Nevada to support him in the coming presidential election and to vote for his proposed amendment to the Constitution.”

James W. Nye was one of Lincoln’s first appointments and was known as a staunch antislavery advocate. Orion Clemens arrived ahead of Nye as Territorial Secretary. His appointment encouraged his younger brother Samuel to head west, fail at mining and take up journalism. It was then that Samuel Clemens changed his name to Mark Twain. In 1862, Twain began publishing his news stories in the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. An adventurer at heart, Twain often traveled from Virginia City to Tahoe and wrote: “As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface, I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth afford.”

On February 19th, 1866, the Nevada legislature passed AB26 which designated the state seal to be engraved with Nevada’s motto “All for our Country” but there is no documented record of the committee proceedings, discussions, or the source of its originality.

Overlooking Lake Tahoe on the Tunnel Creek Trail where a bench is dedicated to Mark Twain (Photo: Megan Barth for The Nevada Globe)

The state slogan “Battle Born” was adopted on March 26, 1937 and is often confused with the state’s motto.

Nicknames: Sagebrush State, Silver State

State Motto: All for Our Country

State Slogan: Battle Born

State Song: Home Means Nevada (Killer version by The Killers from a rally for Harry Reid)

Tree: Single-Leaf Piñon and Bristlecone Pine

Flower: Sagebrush

Bird: Mountain Bluebird

Bertha Raffetto wrote “Home Means Nevada” for a performance at the annual picnic of the Nevada Native Daughters in 1932. The 1933 Legislature, per unanimous vote, made it the state song. In the second stanza of the song, Raffeto wrote:

Whenever the sun at the close of the day,

Colors all the western sky,
Oh my heart returns to the desert grey
And the mountains tow’ring high.
Where the moonbeams play in shadowed glen,
With the spotted fawn and doe,
All the live-long night until morning light,
Is the loveliest place I know.

Incline Beach, Lake Tahoe (Photo: Megan Barth for The Nevada Globe)


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2 thoughts on “Happy 157th Birthday, Nevada!

  1. Hello,
    Would it be possible for this site to be on GETTR ? Many of us do not use twitter or face book . Thanks for a great site. Also , please Megan join Jerry Evans station. WE NEED YOU !

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