William Prows

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

William Cook Prows (or Prouse) (June 11, 1827 – May 3, 1894) was an early Mormon leader and American settler who may have been the first man to discover gold on the Comstock Lode, leading to a rush of mining in the area during the mid-19th century.


Prows was born in the upper part of the Kanawha Valley, Virginia (now part of West Virginia). He was a descendant of Captain Thomas Pickering, an early leader of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Prows joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1841 in Nauvoo, Illinois. He became a Mormon pioneer who signed up to be a part of the Mormon Battalion in 1846.

While returning from California with the Mormon Battalion in 1848,[1] Prowse was reportedly the first man to wash gold on the Comstock Lode.[2] The other principal candidate for discovering the Comstock Lode is Abner Blackburn.[3]

Prows returned to become an early Mormon leader and one of the founders of Fillmore, Utah. He was jailed for a time for practicing polygamy. In 1894, Prows decided to retrace the steps of the Mormon Battalion, became ill on the trek, and was taken to Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, where many Latter-day Saints lived to avoid prosecution for practicing polygamy. He died in Colonia Juárez.


  1. ^ Zanjani, Sally Springmeyer. Devils Will Reign: How Nevada Began. University of Nevada Press, 2006, p. 175.
  2. ^ Southern California Quarterly. Los Angeles County Pioneers of Southern California, Historical Society of Southern California, p. 297.
  3. ^ Bagley, Will, ed. Frontiersman: Abner Blackburn's Narrative, ix, 133-36.