History of Migrants in the Damonte Area
By the mid-1840’s, migrants began to arrive. The first non-natives to travel through the Truckee Meadows were the Stephens-Townsend-Murphy wagon party in 1844. A local Paiute, Chief Truckee, is credited with guiding these emigrants into the Sierra Nevada mountains to Truckee and Donner Lake; hence the origin of the name Truckee throughout the region. Next came John C. Fremont in 1845 and the Donner party in the fall/winter of 1846/1847. Many more migrants traveled through the area after gold was discovered in California.
While Mormons were the first few European settlers of the Truckee Meadows area in the mid-1850s, the first non-Mormon European settlers were brothers Peleg and Joshua Brown in January 1857. The brothers settled in what is now the Damonte Ranch area while it was still part of the Utah Territory. There were only a few other immigrants in the area at that point in time. The Brown ranches included cattle, oxen, bulls, horses, and gardens with many vegetables and fruits.
Photo of John C. Fremont.