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RAWHIDE ANNIE
A Rawhide Legend

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Anna Frances Elleser was born in New Jersey on January 1st, 1884. She was raised in New York by her wealthy family, but lost both her parents when she was still in her early 20’s. Soon after she married her first husband, but divorced just as quickly. She later married George Rechel in 1911, and moved to Nevada where the couple tried their hands at ranching on a modest spread near Fernley. The couple had four children, two daughters, Rees and Fern, and two boys, Walter and George. When the depression hit the family found that they could no longer survive as ranchers. The couple decided to move to Rawhide, a dusty mining town that had seen better days. Taking up residence in a small cabin, George immediately secured employment with the Highway Department, leaving Anna to entertain her new prospecting hobby. Anna adapted well to her new life and became a full time prospector and miner. Unfortunately tragedy struck in her life again and again. Husband George suffered a stroke that left him disabled. George passed on in 1938, one year after her son George had died from complications due to a ruptured appendix. Her daughters were grown and had already left to live their own lives. Anna found herself alone. But she pressed on, pursuing her passion prospecting or digging in her mines, often sleeping in her old truck during her excursions in the desert.

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In the 1950’s, nuclear energy became evident, so Anna switched her efforts from gold to uranium to remain productive. Anna married a 3rd and final time to an Alvin Nelson who appeared interested in her efforts, but again divorced when she felt his intentions were to domesticate her. Her home was a popular meeting spot among the locals. . As the 1960’s arrived, Anna became the last resident in Rawhide. Things were quickly changing in the desert. Vandalism was on the rise, strangers became more frequent. Maybe attracted to the deserts solitude and freedom. There were rumors that Charlie Manson had traveled through the area, as well as rumors of his activities in the Southern Deserts. Anna’s family quickly relocated her to Fallon for safety, but she snuck back every chance she could. Anna died in Fallon on August 21st 1967. Having lived the life she chose and so much enjoyed.

For more on Anna Rechel – “Rawhide Annie”
Visit www.rawhidenevada.org

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