Skip to Content

Johntown Nevada

Johntown, Nevada, now a ghost town, played a pivotal role in the early days of the Comstock Lode. Located in Gold Canyon, midway between Dayton and Silver City, it was more than just a mining camp; it was a bustling community that housed many key figures in the discovery of Nevada’s silver.

Johntown Nevada Overview

Johntown, established in 1853 in Lyon County, was integral to the Comstock Lode’s history. Serving as a home for miners, prospectors, and notable figures like Eilley Orrum and the discoverers of the Comstock vein, it was the first significant mining settlement in Nevada. The town thrived in the shadow of the Sierra Nevada, where miners sought their fortunes in gold and silver.

Learn more about Ghost Town in Nevada and Ghost Towns in the Southwest.

Year Established/Founded

Johntown was established in 1853 as a mining camp in the Gold Canyon area.

Johntown Nevada History

Johntown’s history is closely tied to the Comstock Lode. It was a hub for miners before the major silver discovery, hosting various residents including Henry Comstock, Peter O’Riley, Patrick McLaughlin, and James Fennimore. The town also housed Eilley Orrum’s boarding house and a notable saloon, Dutch Nick’s.


  • 1853: Establishment of Johntown.
  • 1854 – 1858: Joe Webb edits “The Gold Canyon Switch,” the first newspaper in the territory.
  • 1857 – 1859: Johntown becomes the largest mining camp in the western Utah Territory.
  • 1860: Abandonment of Johntown following the Comstock silver discoveries.


The camp was known for its placer mining operations, with limited gold yields. It was a precursor to the major silver discoveries in the Comstock Lode.


Unknown at this time.

Click here to view the railroads in Nevada.

Post Office

Unknown at this time.

View the list and history of Nevada Post Offices.


Unknown at this time.

Learn more about Nevada Newspapers

The Population of Johntown Nevada

At its peak, Johntown had a population of around 180.


4,720 feet.


Johntown was located in Gold Canyon, between Dayton and Silver City in Lyon County, Nevada.

GPS Coordinates

39°15′07″N 119°37′25″W

Click here to view our recommended mobile apps for the outdoor explorer and what to take on your next road trip.

Speaking of mobile apps, two of my favorite mobile apps for exploring the southwest are two different mapping apps one that builds your schedule and the other helps me look to see if my rural destination is taking me to private or public lands. Highly recommend both!

  1. Roadtrippers Plus is $29.99 per year paid version that allows you to build longer itineraries, share your plans with friends, and use the app without ads. Click here to save $5 on your subscription to Roadtrippers.
  2. onX – click here to learn more about onX GPS Map App for Backcountry, Offroad, and Hunting.

Photos and Videos

Today, Johntown may have vanished, leaving little behind to mark its existence, but its legacy as Nevada’s first mining town and a key player in the early days of the Comstock Lode endures. It reminds us of the humble beginnings and the perseverance of those who sought fortune in the Nevada silver mines.

References Used

Click here to view our list of History of the Southwest – Books and Online Resources to learn more about our amazing area!