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oasis


Deep Springs
Deep Springs Valley
Oasis
The Piper Family of Oasis

All photographs on this page courtesy of Rich McCutchan archives unless otherwise noted.
See USE NOTICE on Home Page.

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oasis ca
Piper family ranch at Oasis, CA
oasis ca
Piper family ranch at Oasis, CA
oasis ca
Piper family ranch at Oasis, CA
piper family
Piper family ranch at Oasis, CA
BEFORE scratch removal
piper family
Piper family ranch at Oasis, CA
piper family
Piper family ranch at Oasis, CA

piper family
Piper family ranch at Oasis, CA
BEFORE scratch removal

piper family

Piper family ranch at Oasis, CA
BEFORE scratch removal

piper family

Piper family ranch at Oasis, CA
BEFORE scratch removal

piper family

Piper family ranch at Oasis, CA

piper family

Piper family ranch at Oasis, CA
piper family
Piper family ranch at Oasis, CA
BEFORE scratch removal

piper family
Piper family ranch at Oasis, CA
BEFORE scratch removal

piper family
Piper family ranch at Oasis, CA

BEFORE scratch removal

Piper family ranch at Oasis, CA

BEFORE scratch removal
 

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big pine citizen
Potash Lake - Deep Springs Valley
(Article courtesy of Hal Eaton)

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deep springs boarding house
Boarding house; school at Deep Springs Valley - June 1922


deep springs cottages
Dean's and foreman's cottages; school at Deep Springs Valley - June 1922


Ed Elbers writes: My grandfather , George Brown worked at Deep Springs as the cattleman in charge of the cattle out there ... during the 1940s - 1950s.

deep springs lake
Salt well in Deep Springs Lake - June 1922

inyo chemical company
Inyo Chemical Company's experimental plant from Deep Springs Lake - June 1922

payson ranch
Payson's Ranch, Antelope Springs, Deep Spring Valley - 1896

stewarts ranch
The "lower ranch," formerly Stewart's ranch, Deep Spings Valley - June 1922

pipers ranch
Camp at Pipers Ranch, Oasis - 1896

Hal Eaton writes: Piper established the Oasis Ranch in the southeastern area of Mono County. Piper was the 11th of 15 children, whose parents had left England in 1842. He was born in Battle Creek, Michigan, on January 2, 1843, and came to California in 1855. Piper married Catherine Somerville who bore him four children: Sara, Inez, Noah T. , Jr., and Maribel, who now resides in Los Angeles.

The reason Piper chose to settle in south eastern Mono County is unclear, but his decision proved to be a stroke of genius. In the following years, Piper's ranch
dominated the economy of southeastern Mono County, and Piper became the area's most influential citizen. Although Piper may have come to Mono County because of the mining camps in the area, he had no interest in mining himself. His stated purpose in coming to Mono County was to establish a ranch that would provide food for the miners in the area.

The name Oasis was derived from the fact that Piper planted hundreds of cottonwood and black locust trees which significantly altered the appearance of southeastern Mono County. Piper's major occupation was cattle ranching, and he devoted most of his 2,000 acres to that purpose, slaughtering the cattle in a large stone corral on the ranch.


Piper attempted to make the ranch operation as self-sufficient as possible and grew potatoes, hay, and alfalfa besides raising cattle. The eastern Nevada mining towns of Tonopah and Goldfield were very dependent on the Oasis Ranch for their food supply, but his farm products were shipped to eastern California mining towns as well. Although Piper profited from miners in Mono County, Inyo County, and eastern Nevada, he did not hold the occupation of mining in high esteem. Afraid that his children would be dominated by the influence of miners in the area, he hired a teacher to educate his oldest daughter Sara. She in turn instructed the younger children. When the Piper children reached their teens, they were sent to high school in Sacramento.

In a normal year, Piper hired approximately 30 farmhands, usually employing a combination of white and Indian workers. He experienced difficulty with white workers but resolved the problem by firing them and hiring Indian hands. Piper maintained a patriarchal relationship with the Paiute Indians; he and other whites in the area usually handled disputes with the Indians by themselves. In one instance, whites kidnapped an Indian named Joe Bowers and held him until tensions abated. Piper kept skulls in the cellar because they supposedly kept the Indians from stealing farm goods. He hired an Indian woman named Topsy to care for his eldest daughter and also opened the ranch once a year for Paiute tribal dances. With his influence spreading beyond southeastern Mono County, Piper was elected agricultural com missioner for Mono County in the l880s. When mining in the area diminished at the turn of the century, Piper sold his ranch for $100,000 and retired to Los Angeles. He died in 1910 at the age of 67. Information on the Oasis Ranch is based on an interview with Mr. Robert Roth of Riverside, California, whose grandfather was Noah T. Piper. Mr. Roth also has an excellent collection of photographs of the area.


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This page was last updated 01 January 2021