The Roundup -

Vigilantes Alive and Well in Virginia City


September 27, 2017 | View PDF

Most people have heard of those famous, or infamous depending on whom you talk to, vigilantes that ruled the streets of Virginia City in late 1863 and early 1864. These citizens took it upon themselves to rid the town of unsavory characters and they did so with gusto, hanging at least twenty people in a six week period. These vigilantes vanished from the forefront in 1864 with the arrival of a district judge, but their legend lives on in books and tall tales.

It appears that a tiny band of modern day vigilantes has recently risen from the dust of the past to establish a benign rule on an obscure dirt road located on the outskirts of Virginia City.

The saga of these modern day vigilantes began with the naming of that unpaved road. Cornucopia Road leads out of Virginia City and meanders up a mountainside. Along that Cornucopia Road, five different dwellings exist, each on its own little dirt path or driveway leading to the house. Four of those six roadways offer no throughway, as they dead end at the house itself or shortly beyond the living quarters.

The local emergency services would like to see these roads named in order that emergency personnel can locate these homes in case any type of emergency situation should occur. I have always thought it would be a hoot to live on Lois Lane, so I petitioned the County to have our dead end road formally named 'Lois Lane'. The one other landowner who lives along that lane, along with a third landowner who owns property on the other side of the roadway, all agreed to call that little gravel road Lois Lane. We filed the appropriate paperwork with the County and a few weeks later we had our official road name of Lois Lane.

Two couples live on Lois Lane. My husband and I live here year round while the other couple, our very dear neighbors, at this point still have a home in Nevada so they only live here during the summer season. As good neighbors will do, we try to look out for one another at all times.

All four of us began calling Lois Lane 'home' this spring. My husband and I became permanent residents here in April, our neighbors stay for the summer, but since they come and go, we keep an eye on their property when they leave town for any length of time.

In early May, my husband and I noticed some activity on the neighbors' land while they were in Nevada. We assumed the intruder in question had a legitimate reason for loitering at the neighbors' shop site, but just to make sure, we put in a call to our neighbors to alert them of the presence of unknown people. I said to my dear neighbor and friend, "If that person ought not to be on your property, let us know and the Lois Lane Vigilantes will spring into action and take care of the problem."

That started it all. Lois Lane vigilantes became our buzz word, a common theme, and a phrase that we used regularly in jokes and in idle conversation. Our neighbors showed up in June for the summer, and the Lois Lane vigilante comments cropped up repeatedly in conversation.

A few weeks later, our neighbors gifted us with LLV shirts, with a nice LLV logo on the front, complete with images of bullet holes above the LLV logo. On the back of the shirts the words 'Lois Lane Vigilantes' show up in bold letters, along with an image of a noose and a mean, derelict-looking cowhand.

Now that the four of us had nicely matching shirts declaring who we were, we decided this required regular meetings of the vigilance committee. We opted to meet once a week. None of the four of us particularly like wasting our time on dry boring meetings, so we laid a few ground rules. These rules included the stipulation that each member would bring the adult beverage of his or her choice to the meetings to help the sessions move smoothly, and we would talk about whatever our hearts desired at these meetings, rather than following some stuffy agenda.

What fun. I wish all the meetings I had to attend had such important rules as these.

This August, a week before our fellow vigilantes had to return to Nevada for the winter, we met at the Wallace Street Photographic Emporium in Virginia City and had an official Lois Lane Vigilante picture taken. We figured if history ever wanted to remember us for any reason, someone somewhere might still have a photo in existence that would satisfy historians as to who these modern day vigilantes really were and what they looked like. Thanks to this photo, we now have proof of the existence of this group: two grizzled old men who hadn't shaved for a week in preparation for the photo shoot, one gorgeous Vigilante lady (not me, unfortunately), and one wrinkled old prune (me) of a vigilante woman who can still wield a rifle and shoot it with accuracy. Don't forget the vicious Doberman, our mascot who always stands ready for the attack at a single command.

Criminals, beware. The Lois Lane Vigilantes represent one dangerous group of human beings and one snarly dog.


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