Sandy and Eilley Bowers
Eilley Oram and Sandy Bowers both had adjoining land claims in Gold Hill Nevada and upon marrying, combined their claims. It was through a mine on this shared claim in Gold Hill that the Bowers secured their wealth which they used to build the Bowers Mansion. They built the mansion on Eilley’s property in Washoe Valley that she had from a previous marriage.
Sandy and Eilley had two daughters during their marriage but both passed away in infancy. During their travels to Europe to furnish their mansion, they adopted a daughter named Margaret Persia. They lived together for many years at their mansion enjoying their wealth.
Eventually, the Bowers started losing their fortune and Sandy was unable to redeem their mine in Gold Hill before he passed away to a lung disease silicosis. After Sandy’s death, Eilley worked hard to re-establish the wealth needed to afford the mansion and turned the home into a resort/boarding house (Eilley had previous experience starting boarding houses earlier in her life in Gold Hill).
During the time that Eilley was using the mansion as a resort, her daughter, living in Reno at boarding school, died of a ruptured appendix. After the loss of two infants, her husband, and her daughter, Eilley turned to her crystal ball and became a seer to try to earn her fortune. In 1876 the mansion was sold at auction and Eilley procured a small home in Franktown nearby the mansion.
Eilley traveled between Reno and Virginia City earning money telling fortunes for a number of years. Eilley also traveled to San Francisco a few times to make a living there as a seer and ended up in Oakland California where she died at age 77. Henry Ritter, the new owner of Bowers Mansion, helped to bring Eilley’s ashes back to the estate to be buried by her husband and daughter behind Bowers Mansion.