Once upon a time, Nevada was Utah.

Territorial Gov. Brigham Young presided over the Utah Territory, lands stretching west from Salt Lake City, across the Great Basin to Carson Valley.

The largest Mormon settlement was in Franktown, just west of Washoe Lake. More than 100 families journeyed there in the summer of 1856 at Young’s request. The goal: organize a government at the territory’s western border.

The Mormons, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, built log houses, surveyed borders and cultivated agriculture about three years before the discovery of silver on the Comstock.

They also built a sawmill, which became the focal point of a legendary curse levied by Mormon Elder Orson Hyde upon the people of Washoe 150 years ago this week.

Floods, earthquakes, the fierce Washoe Zephyr winds and fires — including the Washoe Drive Fire this month — have ripped through the valleys south of Reno for the past 150 years, often resurrecting the ghost of Hyde’s curse.

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