Nevada History Lecture – Origin of Counties: History and Miscellany

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Event Series Event Series: Nevada History Lectures

March 16 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Nevada History Lecture

March 16, 2024
1:00 to 2:30pm

Title of Talk: Origin of Counties: History and Miscellany

Speaker: Jeff Kintop, former state Archivist, and Vice Chair, Nevada Judicial Historical Society

State of Nevada Map, 1905

Summary of Talk

Nevada had 17 counties before 1969 when Ormsby County disappeared as a county and became Carson City, an independent city that functions as a county. In the United States, a county is a specific region of a state. While it is made up of 50 states, it also has 3,144 counties. In Louisiana they are called “Parishes.” Alaskans call theirs “Boroughs.” A county is a separate administrative area of a state — in other words, there is a local government that manages each individual county. The states range from having three counties (Delaware) to 254 counties (Texas). The Latin root of county is comitatus, “jurisdiction of a count.

When Nevada Territory was created, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah territories created counties within the present boundaries. Congress expanded Nevada’s boundaries east and south. And of these counties disappeared, some of the earliest records of Clark County can be found in Kingman, Arizona.

While Nevada’s counties were created by the Territorial or State Legislature, creating them and moving county seats caused heated debates, arson and assault. This is a short history and miscellany of Nevada’s counties – how they began, who or what they were named for, and a few facts that will make them memorable.

Jeff Kintop, historianSpeaker Bio

Speaker Bio

Jeff Kintop has worked in Nevada History for 44 years. He retired from the Nevada State Library, Archives and Public Records in 2018, where he worked for 35 years, starting as an Archives Assistant and retiring as Administrator of the Division.

As newspaper reporter Guy Clifton once wrote in 2013, “A funny thing happened to Jeff Kintop on his career path back to his native Minnesota. He fell in love with Nevada, and the rest, quite literally, is history. Kintop, the Nevada state archivist, moved to Reno in 1979 to work on a grant-funded history education project at the University of Nevada, Reno.” The grant funding ran out he took a part time job the Nevada State Archives.

Over the years he served as Nevada’s representative to the Library and Archives Preservation Institute, Nevada Governor’s Conference on the Future of Libraries, White House Conference on the Future of Libraries, the Society of American Archivists Preservation Management Institute, and the Archives Leadership Institute. He has written or contributed to numerous books, reports, and articles on Nevada history, historical research, and archival programs. He has also written or directed more than twenty federal, state, and private grants for historical and archival projects.

He holds a Master of Arts in History and is an ACA Certified Archivist. He Kintop served as staff to the State Historical Records Advisory Board 1991-2008, Chair 2009-2016, and Ex-Officio Secretary 2016-2018. He served on and was chair of the State Board on Geographic Names and is now Deputy Coordinator/Co-Chair of NVSHRAB and President of the Nevada Judicial History Society.

Make sure to arrive early as we have limited seating available in our Event Space. Don’t forget, we provide free, temporary parking permits to make it easier to visit NHS!



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1650 N. Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89503 United States
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Phone: 775-688-1190