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Ranch in Longstreet Canyon

Jack Longstreet (1834-1928): Last of the Desert Frontiersmen who hailed from Tennessee. He made his way to Arizona and Nevada in about 1880. Nothing is known of his earlier life other than his claims, which included being a relative of General James Longstreet of the Confederate Army, having ridden with Moseby's Raiders during the Civil War, and having worked as a Pony Express rider. He was known as a man quick with the gun, and with a checkered past. In his 40's, he married an Paiute Indian woman named Fannie, spoke their language, and spent much time with them.

Longstreet had only one ear, which he allegedly lost after having been caught rustling cattle in Texas. According to the tale, when the gang of rustlers were captured, the other men were hanged, but, Longstreet was spared because of his youth, instead, having one ear chopped off and sent packing. Until the end of his life, he wore his hair long to hide the injury.

In 1882, he was running a saloon and drug store in Sylvania. The next year, he was homesteading a tract of land a few miles south of the Moapa Indian Reservation. Longstreet's white neighbor in the upper Moapa Valley was a man named Alexander Dry, with whom Longstreet had a dispute -- some say over water rights, others say it was over a gambling debt while horse racing. Whatever it was, the quarrel resulted in gunfire and Dry was killed. Longstreet claimed self-defense, and because Dry's weapon was found unholstered, he was acquitted of any crime.

By 1895, Longstreet was living in Ash Meadows, where he built a cabin and tried his hand at mining and ranching. The cabin has been rebuilt today and is in the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Amargosa Valley, Nevada. He sold the cabin in 1906 then moved to the Kawich Mountains, where he built the Red Rock Ranch (near Silverbow). There, he became real good friends with a rancher named Breen. According to the tale, the Clifford family who lived in the valley below, wanted to buy the ranch but Breen wouldn't sell. When the Cliffords reported to have found Breen dead, Longstreet didn't believe them, thinking that they had killed him. He soon made his way down into the valley, and shot them.

He built another ranch (and a mine in Windy Canyon) father north in a couple canyons off West Stone Cabin Valley. That is the ranch depicted in these photos. He continued to ranch and mine until his death at the age of 94, having outlived most of his friends and enemies. After having accidentally shot himself, the wound festered for several days before he was taken to the Tonopah hospital, where he died later from a stroke.

Epitomized as the mythical Western frontiersman, Longstreet was said to have been a charismatic man reputed to settle arguments with a gun and champion those who could not protect themselves. Self-reliant, strong-willed, and fair-minded, he spoke with a southern drawl, and in his last years was revered as a gruff but kind old man with many stories of his gunslinger days. His grave is in Belmont, Nevada along side his wife Fannie, who died four years later.

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The road up Longstreet Canyon is very narrow and brushy, it is better suited for an ATV. I drove about a mile and a half up the canyon and then hiked the rest of the way (about another 1-1/2 mile) to the ranch. I actually took this photo on my way back down out of the canyon, but it gives one an idea of the heavy brush - it is even thicker farther up the canyon.

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A large herd of Pronghorn Antelope I encountered in West Stone Cabin Valley

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