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Letter from J. T. McWilliams (Good Springs, Nevada) to J. Ross Clark (Los Angeles), January 25, 1903






McWilliams' handwritten letter of his water measurements on the Las Vegas Ranch and his resolving of discrepancies with other measurements.

Digital ID


Physical Identifier

Box 1 Folder 3 J. Ross Clark LV Ranch 12-27-1902---4-30-1903 60A Pt. II


hln000779. Union Pacific Railroad Collection, 1828-1995. MS-00397. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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Digitized materials: physical originals can be viewed in Special Collections and Archives reading room

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Manual transcription





Good Springs, Lincoln County, Nevada January 25, 1903 Mr. J. Ross Clark, President Empire Construction Company Los Angeles, California Dear Sir, There has come to my attention a very important matter in regards to the measurement of water in Las Vegas ranch brook which you should know at once. So as to facilitate matters I have also written to Mr. McDermott, and Colonel Moore, your engineer who went to the ranch to check my measurements, viz: There is a letter here from Will J. Stewart wherein he states that Colonel Moore?s measurement shows 283 miners inches. I reported my measurements to be from 205 to 207 miners inches. From other sources I have had Stewart?s letter corroborated. Knowing there was something seriously wrong and that 80 inches of water one way or the other would cut a big figure in the deal I went to the trouble to find the error and have located it unless Colonel Moore went over his figures before wiring result of his measurement east and found it first. I learn that he measured the flow at my weirs, but did not get his figures except by rumor that they are practically the same as mine. He also constructed two weirs on same lines as my own, except they were 10 inches shorter. One of these was placed in south branch of creek close to the big spring, and his meter measurement over it was 6 ? inches in depth by 30 inches in length of weir, which gives a volume of 187 5/10 cubic feet per minute, or, 127 ? miners inches, the other was placed in the north branch close to other springs, and measured 4 ? inches in depth by 30 inches length of weir, which gives a volume of 124 2/10 cubic feet per minute, or, 84 4/10 miners inches. Adding the two together gives the flow of the brook to be a trifle less than 212 miners inches and which, except for some little seeps is the total flow of water on the ranch. With the exception of one little seep, all seeps drain to brook. I understand the way error came about was that in computing the two depths of 6 ? inches and 4 ? inches were added together thus giving a depth of 11 inches by 30 inches long and which when computed in this way, and using 11 ? gallons per minute to equal one miners inch, as several engineers do, gives Mr. Stewart?s figures. If you will notice the measurement given above over the 6 ? inch depth and 30 inch length of weir, and the largest of the two, you will find the volume to be 127 ? miners inches, and if you double this, (notwithstanding the other measurement of depth was but 4 ? inches) you will not obtain for a result 283 miners inches by considerable. Mr. McDermott would not go to expense of measuring at the Springs. As stated in my report which I mailed to you we measured ? miles below the Spring, also near house. Knowing that the water was what you were buying I was careful to measure correctly at points selected by Mr. McDermott, and on top of this I was particular to give to you all details about from and construction of weir and dams, also my measurements and calculations in detail so that you could have anyone else take my measurements and calculate by any other desired or favored formula. I advised Mr. McDermott to measure the water on Oregon Short Line Company?s ranch located 1 ? miles from Las Vegas ranch. He would not do it, and I learn that Colonel Moore done so, and naturally presume you issued order on strength of information contained in my report. I have some reason to believe that Mr. McDermott made some criticism of my work and time taken to do it. If so it will well repay you to ask him for to send you the last two letters I wrote to him, and the only ones since we quit the work, I gave the information which caused the survey and measurement of work and have considerable other data of other points along the route. If your clerk opens this letter in Los Angeles he should, I think, forward it, specially when I consider that you went to considerable expense to have water remeasured. Yours very truly, J. T. McWilliams