Eusebio† Cenoz

Interviewed by: Mateo Osa


Gardnerville, Overland Hotel



5:He came in 1966 from Alturas CA where he was cooking at the JT for one year

His partner Angelo Deford and Esperanza Deford- they were Basque as well

10:They took over Dick and Helen Chapels lease at the hotel (1967) with the option to buy after five years.

20: Lease agreements for the hotel, they received all the inventory that was there and had to pay $58,000.†

27: April 1972 they bought the Overland Hotel (Eusebio, Angelo and Esperanza)

31: The same year Eusebio went to Spain on vacation when he came back he found his partners were getting a divorce. April 1973 they were officially divorced.

35:1974 April 7th his partner died.†

40:Eusebio bought the Defordís part.† He had to buy some of it from their kids as well.

45: He bought/owned the hotel soley by 1976

50: Had same number of rooms as they do now, 12 rooms upstairs

55: Rented out the rooms, he and his partners used 3 of the rooms for themselves

60: Had some renters who stayed by the month as renters

63: John Etchemendy was a retired sheepherder that rented from them

73: Some of the renters where going to airplane school at the airport there.

80: The kitchen was the same as it is now, the banquet room was at one time a post office

86: They changed the post office to a banquet room in 1972, the post office was paying rent to them,

93: The post office found another place to set up and they moved so they started using that area as the dining room. The post office was there before they started leasing it.

103: They had always had slot machines in the Hotel

108:† He had done the paneling in the dining room, bar and some of the rooms upstairs.† They did some plumbing.

115:† They have pretty† much just maintained the condition of the hotel.

120:† Eusebio heard that some Italians were the actual builders of the hotel.

125: John Etchemendy was one of the first owners that he knew about, with Jimmy Miller

130: Same Jimmy Miller as the one in Millerís Market

135: Jimmy Miller had a bigger part of the hotel than Etchemendy, ĺ to ľ.

140: Etchemendy lived there with his family, five kids.

145: Miller had his own place elsewhere

150: The building was owned by both Etchemendy and Miller but only Etchemendy owned the business

158:Etchemendy owned the business for about 40 years

160: Around 1952/53 Juan Saras came in and was the owner when Eusebio first came to Nevada as a sheepherder

165: When he first came the stairs were in a different place but they moved them before he became and owner. He would come there every once in a while

170: Eusebioís first meal on American soil was at the Overland Hotel

180:† They offered lunch and dinners.† Lunch was 11-2 and dinner was 6-9.

190: Had to feed people in groups sometimes because the dining room was so small. They had to put tables in the bar too.

200: They were very busy, by six it was full for dinner and they bar was full of people waiting to be fed.

210: In the beginning, his partner was a bartender, his wife Esperanza, a waitress and Eusebio cooked

220: Eusebio did all the cooking himself, no other hired helpers.

225: When they opened the new banquet room (former post office) they had† a lot of parties around 100 people

235: They would eat soup, salad, stew, tongue, oxtail and then the main course was steak.

245:† They used to only serve steak as the main course. Now they serve lamb, seafood,etc.

250: Eusebioís wife, Elvira, was the one who suggested he have more selection for the main course

256: Lunch was $2.00 and Dinner was $2.50 when they first started

270: Had a couple of other workers there, waitresses, school girls. At one time they had 7 other workers for the parties

280: The dinner parties would have a meal and then a meeting or visit.

286: Eusebioís most common language he used was Spanish or English

290: He used his Basque sometimes but didnít always use it unless it was a Basque party

300: They had lots of tourists there and locals who did business

310: Didnít know why there werenít any Basque hotels in Minden

315: Learning English was very difficult, he wanted to learn but he didnít have any one to teach him.

322: He was a sheepherder for 12 years

325: He understand his broken English when he became a business man

330: He never had any problems with the people there, the locals, they liked him and trusted him

340: Etchemendy approached him when he was working in the JT and told him he should buy the Overland

350: He was working at the JT then for Gene Lekumberri

360: Etchemendy said that he should buy the Overland.† They would call all the time


375: They said it was a good business and it had a very good reputation even before he bought it

385: When he came to America he just wanted to earn a little money and go back

390: But when he got here he felt healthier and liked it better than the old country

395: He decided to stay here, quit sheepherding because he felt he was getting too old

400: Gene Lekumerriís brother was the cook at the JT but he went to Spain and got married

405: So Lekumerri offered Eusebio the job to cook at the JT

410: Angelo Deford started talking to Eusebio when he had to come back to town because he had a broken leg.

415: He had 2000 head of sheep, they stick them out there with them with no training

420: He was a sheepherder in Spain before he came to America, it was hard because he had a burro and one tent

425: He had to move came every 2-3 days to keep the sheep with feed.† He worked all year and lived in the tent the whole year.

430:† He had a little stove and used to stay warm with wood if he had it or he burned sagebrush.

435:† Had to move fast sometimes to keep things dry if there was a storm

438: They had a camptender that would bring them groceries once a week,; bread, meat, coffee, macaroni and a gallon of wine for seven days.

445: He had lots of wild animal experiences with coyotes, bears, lions.†

453: He had two dogs that helped keep the coyotes away but the dogs were often outnumbered by the coyotes

458: He often lost a lot of sheep because of the coyotes.

465: If the bears started eating the sheep they would take about one a day, they would eat everything but the wool and bones

470: He had a gun, 30X30 for protection, he killed coyotes and one bear

476: The day he killed the bear, the night before the bear killed a sheep.† He went out around dark a little away from his tent and he saw the bear coming for his sheep.

485: The bear saw him and thatís when he shot him in the head.

490: The next morning another bear killed a sheep so he went watching again

495: The† bear came out and was kissing and mourning the male he had killed, the bear was a female and had cubs

505: The tent was made of canvas and he slept on a cot with blankets and another piece of canvas

510: He kept fire burning in stove and when he woke up in the morning he would keep brush to burn in his tent to warm up in the morning

519: He cooked in the dutch oven on his little stove

525: A normal day as a sheepherder:† Get up at daylight, cook a little coffee and eat some bread

530: Then you go out and chase your sheep and move them until you find new feed ground

537: By around 10 or 11 oíclock go back to the camp and make himself lunch, stew usually.

545: Take a nap sometimes if you had time and they you go back and round up the sheep again

550: Stayed with sheep until it was dark and band them back up again and hope next morning still there

557: He came to town on his 15 days vacation

560: He would go to the Santa Fe in Reno, see his friends and talk to people.

565: After 15 days vacation he was ready to go back to the sheep because he didnít want to spend all his money

575: His boss paid him once a year and he would put his own money in the bank himself

580: The camptender would come get him and give him his check and he would go on vacation

585: He would deposit most of his check in the bank

590: After a while he got tired of his life as a sheepherder.

600: Was happy both in sheepcamp and in hotel, has been a very good experience

605: Good relationship in the community, not totally excepted by everyone.

612: (women begins speaking in Spanish) Do you know how many sheep you have watched over in 10 years?? (she asks Eusebio) 3000 obregas (ovejas?) in one year are one million 95,000 sheep

615: In ten years you have watched 109millon 500,000 sheep! Thatís terrible and thatís without having little lambs included can you imagine?? You would have to had another million.† 109 million 500,000.

630: (another women asks) isnít it hard to watch that many sheep?

625: it depends on the pastor (Eusebio says), the women says now youíre tending people right!

630: They start talking in Basque

635: Still talking in Basque

645: Still talking in Basque

660: Still talking in Basque

670: Still talking in Basque

680: Still talking in Basque

695: Still talking in Basque

710: Still talking in Basque

720: Still talking in Basque

730: Still talking in Basque

745: Still talking in Basque

755: Still talking in Basque

765: Tape ends