George Byron “By” Day was born in 1843. When he was 16, he borrowed $200 and left his home in Illinois on a wagon train en route to Gold Hill, Nevada, hoping to make his fortune in the silver mines. Leaving there, he made his way to Smith Valley where he stayed with soldiers camping at the hot springs. He eventually settled near Bridgeport, California to raise cattle and sheep. In 1905, By and his son, Charles, purchased 200 acres for $500 in Smith Valley to supplement their grazing property. The original Day Ranch is situated at the base of Red Canyon on today’s Upper Colony Road near Wellington. In 1906, the Days purchased approximately 680 additional acres for $3,360 in Lyon and Douglas Counties. Charlie met Fallon native Edna Brown and they were married in March of 1906. Charlie and Edna’s daughter, Alpha, was born on May 1, 1907. Alpha attended grammar school in Bodie, Calif. A shop and “big house” were built at the ranch in 1917. A large barn was moved from Bodie to the ranch around 1910. The small brick home that the Days first lived in is still used as a residence. Family stories passed down describe the process of building the structures which still stand today. Charlie had to bring in lumber and supplies from the old town of Hudson in Smith Valley via horse and wagon. Trains delivered supplies from California into Yerington then through Wilson Canyon to the town of Hudson. Alpha was working at the Valley Co-op Store in Wellington when she met Norman Annett, a young mining engineer born in Goldfield. They married in 1926. When Charles died, Norman and Alpha took over the Bridgeport and Smith Valley sheep operations. Norman and Alpha had two children, Norma Jeanne, born in 1937 and Alfred, born in 1942. Norma Jeanne married James Costa of Winnemucca in 1960. Over the years, the Day-Annett-Costa Ranch has raised sheep, cattle, potatoes, onions, and alfalfa. For the past thirty years, the farming operation has been done by the V. F. Bryan, Inc. Ranch under a lease agreement with Jim and his sons, Paul and Peter, who maintain the non-lease elements. In 2012, the Day-Annett-Costa Ranch was a recipient of the Nevada Centennial Award Ranch & Farm Award.
This entry is from the Nevada Centennial Awards Ranch & Farm Program which recognizes agricultural families who have owned and operated the same land in Nevada for 100 years or more. Forty-seven families have now been inducted into the program that began in 2004. The awards program is sponsored by the Nevada Agriculture Plate funds, Farm Bureau, Agricultural Foundation, Nevada Department of Agriculture, Cattlemen’s Association and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information about the Nevada Centennial Awards Ranch & Farm Program please visit http://agri.nv.gov/.