From Switzerland to the Colorado River : Life Sketch of the Entrepreneurial Daniel Bonelli, the Forgotten Pioneer
Utah Historical Quarterly
Daniel Bonelli was Moapa Valley's (Nevada) first permanent pioneer, having arrived in 1868. He had a significant impact on Nevada that is often overlooked. Perkins gives an account of Bonelli's trials, travels, work, and hobbies. Bonelli and his family were converted to the LDS faith in Switzerland in 1854. They came to America and moved to Salt Lake City in 1860. He was called in 1861 to lead a group of Swiss Saints to establish a wine mission in Santa Clara in southern Utah. Unlike many Saints, who felt being sent South was comparable to being sent to purgatory, Bonelli actually enjoyed life in southern Utah. However, harsh weather and floods made growing grapes difficult, and the Saints looked for other economic opportunities in the area. Bonelli found success in salt mining in Nevada. By 1870, all the Moapa Valley settlers had left except Bonelli and his wife.