In about 1906, Dominique Laxalt, a Basque sheepherder from Soule, France, arrived in Nevada. While he had little education and didn’t speak English, Dominique soon became a successful sheep and cattle rancher in Nevada and California.
In 1921, he married Terese Alpetche, who, like Dominique, had been born in the Basque provinces of France and had immigrated to America.
In 1922, the livestock market crashed, causing Dominique to seek work on ranches throughout Nevada and Eastern California. In 1926, the Laxalts, who would eventually have six children, settled in Carson City, where they operated the French Hotel and owned the Original Ormsby House. Dominique soon returned to the sheep business, raising herds in the mountains above Carson City as well as in Dayton and at Marlette Lake.
Terese operated the hotel and raised the children, all of who went on to remarkable careers. Two, John and Peter, became successful Nevada attorneys while daughter Marie became a schoolteacher and daughter Suzanne became a nun with the Holy Family Order. Another son, Robert, was the founding director of the University of Nevada Press, an award winning author of 17 books, and first occupant of the Distinguished Nevada Author Chair at the University of Nevada, Reno. Paul served as Nevada Governor and as a U.S. Senator. Dominique Laxalt died in Carson City in 1971, Terese Laxalt died in 1978, and Robert Laxalt died in 2001.