Schellbourne, in the foothills of the Schell Creek Range, was a Shoshone village site long before it began its recent historic career in 1859. Captain James Simpson passed through the site and this point, looking for a short route across the Great Basin. That same year an overland stage and mail station was built at Schellbourne. In 1860, the Pony Express Company used the same facilities, and when the telegraph arrived in 1863, it passed over this same route.
During the rush to Virginia City mines in 1859 and 1860, it became necessary for the army to send troops to this point to protect the personnel of that western pilgrimage.
Silver ore was discovered in the mountains immediately to the east of Schellbourne in the early 1870's, and it became part of the Aurum Mining District in 1871. An active mining camp developed, with a population of over 500 persons. By 1885, the ore had been mostly depleted and the camp abandoned. The district and adjacent valley were then acquired by "Uncle Billy" Burke as a ranch. Schellbourne has operated as the headquarters for various ranches since that time.