Ragtown was never a town, but the name of a most welcome oasis and hamlet. This mecca on the banks of nearby Carson River received its name from the appearance of pioneer laundry spread on every handy bush around.
The Forty-Mile Desert, immediately to the north, was the most dreaded portion of the California Emigrant Trail. Ragtown was the first water stop after the desert. To the thirst-crazed emigrants and their animals, no site was more welcome than the trees lining the Carson River.
Imagine, if you will, the moment when the animals first picked up the scent of water—the lifted head, the quickened pace, and finally mad, frenzied dash to the water's edge. Then, rest and repair for the arduous crossing of the Sierra Nevada that lay ahead.
In 1854, Asa Kenyon located a trading post near Ragtown. Here he offereed goods and supplies to the trappers. During the 1850's and 1860's, Ragtown was one of the most important sites on the Carson Branch of the California Trail.