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Full text of "A History of American Mining"

A. I. M. E. SERIES 



A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 



TO THE MOST DISTINGUISHED OF AMERICAN 
MINING ENGINEERS 

HERBERT HOOVER 




Strattou discovering the Independence. 



(Frontispiece) 



copybight, 1932, by the 
McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. 



PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OP AMERICA 

AU rights reserved. This hook, or 

parts thereof, may not he reproduced 

in any form mthout permission of 

the publishers. 

Fourth Printing, September, 1937 



THE MAPLE PRESS COMPANY, YORK, PA. 



INTRODUCTION 

This volume forms the second of the series issued by the 
American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers 
and made possible through the Seeley W. Mudd Memorial 
Fund. It is designed to give to those who have come late 
into the professions of mining engineering and metallurgy 
something of that background the older men built up as they 
went along. The pioneers did not read history; they made it. 
We who come later, facing different and more complex situa- 
tions, have much to learn from their experiences. In develop- 
ing the mineral wealth of a continent and building a great 
industry things do not "just happen"; they are brought 
about by men who have the wit to see and the courage to do. 
Our predecessors were men with these qualities. They fought 
great battles against heavy odds and they have left us a 
great heritage. Many of them we cannot know in p)erson 
for they have "gone over the range," but we do well to know 
what they did and how they did it. 

Too much of history as taught in schools is concerned only 
with war and political changes. Fortunately wars come but 
infrequently while we must eat every day. Fortunately, also, 
but few attempt to make their living out of politics. Most 
of us are concerned with other things, and engineers first of 
all with those things which center on the technology and 
economics of their profession. To understand these we need 
a historical background : we must know how things come about. 

In this book Mr. Rickard breaks ground. It is true pioneer- 
ing since little has been written on the history of any engineer- 
ing in America and less on that of mining. Mr. Rickard 
has not attempted to write a complete or even a systematic 
historical work. Instead he has opened doors and invited 



X INTRODUCTION 

his readers to glimpse fascinating vistas of the past. For 
those who wish to pursue the subject further abundant foot- 
notes have been provided, and those who miss chapters on 
regions and materials not covered may be reminded that the 
field is open and a good example is well followed. What Mr. 
Rickard has written has to do mainly with the West; it is 
part of the story of how our country came to be and as such 
should be part of the intellectual equipment of every engineer 
who aspires to have a part in the making of tomorrow. 

It is particularly fortunate that it has been possible, through 
the generosity of the author, to include this book in the series. 
No one could have been found more competent to prepare it 
than Mr. Rickard, nor anyone more willing to assist in further- 
ing the generous intention of the benefaction. Mr. Rickard 
first met Mudd in 1886 and has taken particular pleasure in 
writing this book. Its production is one more evidence of 
the high esteem in which Mudd was held by his professional 
associates and the compelling force of the ideal of service 
which shaped his life. Mudd was himself a Westerner. Born 
and educated in Missouri, he devoted the larger part of his 
professional activities building up mining in the Trans- 
Mississippi region. His first job after he had been graduated 
from Washington University was at the copper smelter in 
Ste. Genevieve in the Ozarks. Later he moved to Colorado 
and still later to the Southwest. He played an honorable 
part in the development of a number of the great mines of 
the region and he left to his profession a lasting heritage of 
good will and high ideals. 

H. Foster Bain. 

New York, N. Y., 
June, 1932. 



CONTENTS 

Paqb 
Introduction, by H. Foster Bain ix 

CHAPTER I 

The Beginning 1 



CHAPTER II 

The Gold Discoveries 18 

CHAPTER III 

Mining in the Far North 40 

CHAPTER rv 
Low-cost Gold Mining 63 

CHAPTER V 

The Comstock Lode 82 

CHAPTER VI 

Early Days in Colorado 115 

CHAPTER VII 

Lead Mining in the Mississippi Valley 147 

CHAPTER VIII 

The Great Salt Lake 179 

CHAPTER DC 

The Black Hills of South Dakota 202 

CHAPTER X 

The Copper of Lake Superior 222 



xii CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XI 

Page 

The Exploration of the Southwest 249 

CHAPTER XII 

Copper-mining in Arizona 277 

CHAPTER xiri 
The Development of the Northwest 301 

CHAPTER XIV 

The Bunker Hill Enterprise 318 

CHAPTER XV 

The Gold, Silver, and Copper of Butte 341 

CHAPTER XVI 

The U.V.X., a Mining Adventure 365 

CHAPTER XVII 

The Great Diamond Hoax 380 

CHAPTER XVIII 

The Flotation Process in the United States 397 

Index 415 



A HISTORY OF AMERICAN 
MINING 

CHAPTER I 

THE BEGINNING 

The American mining industry is vigorous today because 
it is young. At a time when the ore deposits of central Europe, 
for example, were being exploited actively, those of the United 
States were lying practically untouched. The founding 
fathers of our republic were not interested in mineral wealth 
because they were ignorant in such matters; their preoccupa- 
tions were with defence against the Indians, the clearing of the 
forest, and the starting of agriculture in their new domains. 
They had no idea of establishing a mining industry. 

The Indians whom the American colonists dispossessed had 
no mines; they used only the metal that was to be found lying 
on the surface of the ground. Their arrows and spears were 
tipped with flint, which likewise called for little digging, if 
any. The native copper that glacial action had torn from 
the lodes of the Lake Superior region and had carried into 
the valleys of the Ohio and Mississippi was employed in the 
making of ear-rings, bracelets, knives, and scrapers. The 
same useful metal was found in many other places, in Virginia 
and Carolina, in Vermont and New Jersey, for example, but 
the Indians did not know how to melt it, much less how 
to smelt the ore, therefore they shaped it into tools and 
implements by hammering. Fortunately for them the ham- 
mering of the metal caused it to harden and therefore to 
become serviceable for implemental use. It is doubtful if 
they obtained the copper by actual mining, that is, by dig- 
ging or excavating; it is true we find traces of such operations 
in the Keweenaw peninsula of Michigan, but we have no 

1 



2 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

evidence that such operations antedated the arrival of the 
first Europeans. 

How little the future greatness of the United States as a 
mineral region was anticipated, or even imagined, in the 
eighteenth century is evident from a remark made by a Dutch 
philosopher, Cornelius de Pauw, who, writing in French, stated 
that "in all the extent of America there are found but few 
mines of iron, and these so inferior in quality to those of the 
old continent that it cannot even be used for nails".* In 
1929 the United States produced 56,433,000 tons of steel, t 
Even that wise philosopher Benjamin Franklin, when arguing 
in favor of a paper currency in 1790, remarked: "Gold and 
silver are not the produce of North America, which has no 
mines". J In 1929 our production of gold was worth 
$43,900,000, and that of silver amounted to 60,938,000 ounces. 
In 1915 we produced $101,035,700 in gold, and in 1923 the 
output of silver was 73,335,170 ounces. 

It is true, nevertheless, that the early exploration and 
colonization of Massachusetts and Virginia were stimulated by 
the belief that these regions were rich in the precious metals, 
as likewise they had been a lure for the Spaniards in the 
southern regions of the American continent. The British 
Crown, like the Spanish, had an eye to a share in any gold or 
silver that might be found in the New World; in 1606 the 
charter granted by James I to the London and Plymouth 
companies specified that a fifth of the precious metals and a 
fifteenth of any copper that might be discovered by the settlers 
in the course of their explorations should accrue to the Crown. 
It is said that John Smith, when he arrived in Virginia, sought 
gold and copper mines, and would be content with fur and 
fish only in default of the more valuable metallic products.! 

* Cornelius de Pauw, 'Recherches Philosophiques sur les Am^ricains', 
Vol. II, p. 182; 1770. 

t Mineral Industry, edited by G. A. Roush, Vol. XXXVIII; 1930. 

t 'The Works of Benjamin Franklin', edited by Jared Sparks, Vol. II, 
p. 347; 1840. 

§ Herbert I. Priestley, 'The Coming of the White Man', p. 10; 1929. 



THE BEGINNING 3 

In one of his expeditions, up the Chickahominy river, Captain 
Smith is said to have found some gold, the consequence of 
which was to cause much excitement in the colony and the 
sending of a shipload of glittering dust to the jewelers in London, 
who reported that it was only mica. Tales of natives wearing 
golden ornaments were told of the aborigines of New England 
as had been said, more truthfully, of the peoples whom Cortfe 
and Pizarro dispossessed. All that the northern Indians 
could show in the way of metal was native copper, which, 
according to the early explorers, they wore as ear pendants, 
necklaces, and bracelets, besides making tobacco-pipes out 
of it. These, however, were hereditary accumulations and 
did not bespeak any important industry. Franklin said that 
he knew of only one copper mine in the country; it was in New 
Jersey. In 1929 the United States produced 931,103 tons of 
copper. 

Copper in the metallic, or native, state was used by the 
aborigines of North America before the arrival of any Euro- 
peans. For example, Sebastian Cabot, in 1497, saw the 
natives of Newfoundland in possession of "great plenty of 
copper", which they wore as "headstones hanging at their 
ears".* When Giovanni Verazzano, a Florentine navigator 
sailing under the French flag, reached Nantucket island in 1524 
he found the Indian women wearing ornaments of wrought 
copper, which they esteemed more than gold.f Jacques 
Cartier,t on the occasion of his second voyage to Canada, 
in 1535, when exploring the river St. Lawrence, was given "a 
great knife of red copper that commeth from Saguenay", this 
being native copper that had been hammered by the Indians. 
Samuel Hearne, in 1771, went to the Coppermine River dis- 

* Richard Hakluyt, ' The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, 
and Discoveries', Vol. VII, p. 153; 1904. 

t John R. Forster, 'History of the Voyages and Discoveries made in 
the North', p. 435; 1786. 

{Richard Hakluyt, 'The Third and Last Volume of the Voyages', 
p. 230; 1600. 



4 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

trict, and ascertained there that the Eskimos of Coronation 
Gulf, on the Arctic coast, came thither to dig for native copper, 
which they found in a conglomerate and with which they 
made knives, awls, and spearheads.* George M. Douglas 
visited this district in 1912 and found the Eskimos still using 
the copper in the same hthic way. Occasionally they discover 
a piece large enough to beat into a knife 8 inches long and 3 
inches wide.f They possess no tools for mining, and there- 
fore are restricted to grubbing for pieces of metal that have 
been set free by the weathering and decomposition of the 
encasing rock. That is how primitive man, thousands of 
years ago, obtained some of his copper. 

The early European navigators that visited the Pacific 
coast of British Columbia and Alaska found the natives in 
possession of copper bracelets} and ceremonial plates. § 
The Russian explorers in Alaska, near Mount St. Elias, found 
crude copper knives in the Indian huts as early as 1741. || 
The Haidas, on the Queen Charlotte islands, were the principal 
traders in copper on the North Pacific coast and had a tradi- 
tion of obtaining it from a copper mountain in the north. 
The same tradition survived among the Chilkats, at the head 
of the Lynn Canal. They obtained their copper from the 
White river, in the Yukon watershed. Sixty years ago the 
Indians were still using the metal as an article of trade, and 
were secretive as to its provenance. Specimens had a worn 
appearance as if eroded by stream action, says Dall.H He 
remarks that the copper occasionally showed silver also, which 

* George M. Douglas, 'Lands Forlorn', p. 284; 1914. 

t Samuel Hearne, ' A Journey from Prince of Wales' Fort in Hudson's 
Bay to the Northern Ocean', edited by J. B. Tyrrell, p. 198; 1911. 

% John Ledyard, 'A Journal of Captain Cook's Last Voyage', p. 77; 
1783. 

§ 'Menzies' Journal of Vancouver's Voyage', edited by C. F. New- 
combe, p. 42; 1923. 

II S. MuUer, 'Voyages from Asia to America ', translation from the 
Dutch by Thomas Jefferys, p. 42; 1761. 

^ William H. Dall, 'Alaska and Its Resources', p. 477; 1870. 



THE BEGINNING 5 

indicates that it came from the Dan and Chitutu rivers, 
where such silver-copper nuggets are still obtained in associa- 
tion with alluvial gold.* This is the part of Alaska now 
known as the Chitina, or Cbpper River, district. Chiti is 
copper and na is river in the Indian language.! Here we 
may take note of the fact that many of the dialects of the 
Alaskan aborigines have the word for copper, but none for 
gold or for iron. Spearheads and arrowheads made by the 
Indians out of native copper have been found by American 
miners in the sluice-boxes of their placer workings on the 
tributaries of the Chitina river. The Indians on the White 
river, 125 miles east of the Copper river, used caribou horns 
to dig the copper nuggets out of the stream gravel ;t in 
later days they bartered this native copper, which was used 
by themselves and other tribes for arrowheads, knives, and 
cooking utensils, and also for bullets when lead was not obtain- 
able.! One mass of three tons was found on a bank of the 
White river, but most of the copper was in the form of lumps 
weighing about five or six pounds. || It was the only metal 
these Indians used when the fur-traders first came in contact 
with them. The English colonists also availed themselves of 
native copper, as we shall see. 

The first copper-mining in American lands was at the Cobre 
mines in the Santiago province of Cuba in 1524.^ These 
mines were worked irregularly until 1834, when an English 
company bought and consolidated the principal claims; they 
have been operated in recent years under American control. 

* Fred H. Moffit, U. S. Geol. Survey, Bull. No. 345, p. 176; 1908. 
t Fred H. MofEt and A. G. Maddrew, ' Mineral Resources of the Kot- 
sina-Chitina Region, Alaska', U. S. Geol. Survey, Bull. No. 374, p. 19; 1909. 

I A. H. Brooks, 'A Reconnaissance from Pyramid Harbor to Eagle 
City, Alaska', U. S. Geol. Survey, Annual Report, Vol. XXI, p. 379; 1899. 

§ D. D. Cairnes, 'Upper White River District, Yukon', Canadian Geol. 
Survey, Mem. No. 50, p. 2; 1915. 

II C. W. Hayes, 'An Expedition through the Yukon District', National 
Geographic Magazine, Vol. IV, p. 143; 1892. 

If E. G. Tuttle, Mines and Minerals, Vol. XXXI, p. 449; 1911. 



6 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

A copper lode was discovered in Massachusetts in 1632, but 
the first company in the American colonies that was chartered 
to exploit copper deposits was the one organized by John 
Winthrop, the younger, in 1709, to start mining at the town 
of Simsbury (now East Granby) in Connecticut, where a 
copper lode had been discovered two years previously. This 
mine was worked until 1773. Shafts were sunk to a depth of 
80 feet, and "vast caverns excavated in the hill",* but the 
lack of machinery and the cost of pumping reduced profits 
sadly. A smelter is said to have been erected by the German 
workmen at a place in West Simsbury that they named 
Hanover. After the Revolution the mine became the State 
prison of Connecticut, and was used for this purpose until 
1827. t The mine was not profitable except at first, when 
rich ore was obtainable, the colonists shipping it to England, 
because, at that time, the smelting of it in the colonies was 
prohibited, t The cost of transport was high and the ships 
that carried the ore were sometimes wrecked and occasionally 
seized by the French during times of war. When the mine was 
abandoned, its capacious openings were utilized as a prison for 
felons, and later for the unfortunate Tories. It is now known 
as Newgate, in compliment to the famous prison in London. 
As Dr. J. H. Trumbull observes, in this way the mine "became 
of much greater value to the State than all the copper dug out 
of it". The memory of the enterprise is perpetuated by the 
coins that were struck from the copper in 1737 and 1739. 
These coins were never legal tender, but served as token 
money, because small change was scarce in the colonies at 
that time. 

It is interesting to note that the manufacture of pins from 
native copper by wire-drawing artificers from Yorkshire was 

* J. Leander Bishop, 'A History of American Manufactures', Vol. I, 
p. 508; 1861. 

t ' Newgate of Connecticut ', Magazine of American History, Vol. XV, 
April, 1886. 

t Bishop, op. cit., p. 509. 



THE BEGINNING 7 

started at Lynn in 1666 by Nathaniel Robbinson, and the 
General Court gave a small monetary aid to encourage the 
undertaking. 

Meanwhile other mines had been started in New Jersey, 
where, at Hanover, Arent Schuyler, a Hollander, had found a 
vein of copper ore in 1719. It is said that his Negro servant 
picked up a piece of native copper and brought it to him as a 
curiosity. Some hammers and other tools found in an old 
opening in this vein indicated that it had been worked pre- 
viously by the early Dutch settlers.* The ore proved rich 
and profitable; it was carried to the Hudson and shipped in 
barrels to Bristol, in England, where it sold for £40 per ton. 
We are told that it yielded 80 per cent of copper, which suggests 
that the mineral was native copper. In 1731 the output was 
1386 tons; but no attempt was made at smelting, because the 
colonists were not allowed to smelt ore and refine copper, f 

In 1750 Elias Boudenot leased some land near New Bruns- 
wick, also in New Jersey, on which several masses of copper, 
weighing from five to thirty pounds, had been turned up by 
the plough. A pit was dug, and at 15 feet the miners found 
several thin sheets of copper, together with sundry large lumps, 
all "between the rocks". A stamp-mill was erected, and 
much excellent copper was sent to England. Again, it is 
obvious that the mineral was native copper only. At a depth 
of 50 feet, solid ore, meaning sulphide mineral, was cut, but 
the cost of labor proved excessive and the mine had to be 
abandoned. At SomervUle also some native copper was found, 
together with other copper minerals. On Van Home's moun- 
tain, just before the Revolution, two skilful Germans built a 
furnace and reduced the ore collected from the surface by the 
settlers in the locality. Two masses of virgin copper, weighing 
1900 pounds, were found in 1754. The smelting-works were 

* Bishop, op. cit.. Vol. I, p. 546. Also J. D. Whitney, 'The Metallic 
Wealth of the United States', p. xxiii; 1854. 

t Caroline C. Newton, 'Once upon a Time in Connecticut', p. 103; 
1916. 



8 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

destroyed during the Civil War. These records of the occur- 
rence and use of native copper are extremely interesting, 
because they indicate that there were sources of such metal 
for the use of the aborigines outside the Lake Superior region, 
to which most of the pre-Columbian copper of the Indians is 
usually ascribed. 

Copper was discovered in Orange county, Vermont, in 1820, 
and was afterward smelted at Vershire, by a group of residents 
known as the Farmers' Company. In 1853 the mine was 
purchased by sundry persons in New York who organized the 
Vermont Copper Mining Company and operated "under the 
direction of a skilled Cornish miner".* We are told that this 
and other mines in Vermont were the principal American 
source of copper during the eighteenth century, until opera- 
tions were started in the Lake Superior region. 

The first discovery of iron ore in the United States was made 
by Ralph Lane and Thomas Heriot, who commanded an 
expedition sent by Sir Walter Raleigh to North Carolina in 
1585. When seeking for gold on the island of Roanoke, they 
found iron ore. Heriot, the historian of this settlement, says: 
"I know nothing to the contrary but that it [the iron ore] may 
be allowed for a good merchantable commodity, considering 
there the small charge for the labour and finding of men, the 
infinite store of wood, the want of wood and dearness thereof 
in England, and the necessity of ballasting ships ".f He 
interjects a reference to the fact that the destruction of the 
forests for the purpose of making charcoal to be used as fuel 
in the iron-furnaces had already become a burning question 
in the Old Country. The colonial pioneers had to begin 
mining in order to obtain iron ore from which to extract the 
wrought metal needed by their blacksmiths for making tools, 
and the nails so necessary for house construction. Thus the 
first mining industry of the people of the United States was 
started. However, it was not until 1608 that 17 tons of iron 

* Rowland E. Robinson, 'Vermont', p. 360; 1892. 

flTohn Pinkerton, 'Voyages and Travels', Vol. XII, p. 594; 1812. 



THE BEGINNING 9 

was smelted at Bristol, in England, from 35 tons of ore shipped 
by the Virginians at Jamestown. From this "iron oare", 
said Sir Thomas Gates in 1610, they could make as good iron 
as any in the world. 

In 1619 the London Company sent to Virginia a large number 
of emigrants, among whom were 153 persons said to be skilled 
in the manufacture of iron. The intention was to establish 
three iron-works in the colony, the first of these being on 
Falling creek, a branch of the James river, not far from James- 
town itself and only 32 miles from the sea. This plant started 
in 1620. Three of the master-workmen died, whereupon, in 
1621, a reinforcement of 20 experienced hands was sent from 
England under the leadership of John Berkeley; but these 
well-meant efforts soon came to a tragic end, for in 1622 
the Indians attacked the iron-works and massacred 347 
persons, including Berkeley.* The plant was completely 
destroyed. No other iron-works were started in the American 
colonies for many years thereafter. 

The scarcity of tools and hardware prompted renewed efforts 
to manufacture iron in the colonies; in 1643 John Winthrop, 
Jr., the son of the Governor of Massachusetts, organized a 
company known as the Undertakers for the Iron-works. The 
sum of £1000 was raised for the enterprise, but it lagged. The 
first plant was not erected until 1646 at Lynn, near a group of 
small lakes of Glacial origin in which bog ore was found. This 
mineral was easy to obtain and was easy to smelt; it was fused 
in the furnace with a calcareous flux in the form of sea-shells. 
Charcoal, of course, was the fuel. The younger Winthrop, 
who became Governor of Connecticut in 1657, started iron- 
works at New Haven in 1662. The operations started by 
Winthrop were continued intermittently, and at a small profit, 
on account of litigation and other troubles. The alleged 
destruction of the forests, to obtain the requisite charcoal, 
made the iron-founders as unpopular in New England as they 

•* Bishop, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 469. 



10 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

were in Old England, where the devastation of the oak woods 
was deemed a national calamity. This prejudice, on both 
sides of the Atlantic, hindered the development of the iron 
industry most seriously until the use of coal provided anew, and 
a better, fuel for the metallurgist. The colonial iron-furnaces, 
like those of contemporary England, were 'bloomeries', that 
is to say, they yielded blooms, or lumps, of wrought-iron, 
which were hammered on forges near the forests from which 
the charcoal was obtained. It is recorded that New England 
had 6 furnaces, 19 forges, and a nail factory in 1731. 

The first cast-iron was made in 1727, in Pennsylvania;* 
this is remarkable, because the art of casting iron was known 
in Europe — in Belgium and England — more than two centuries 
eariier. The first castings made in sand in America are 
credited to Joseph Mallinson, of Dusburo, who started the 
practice in 1739 and received a grant of 200 acres of unim- 
proved land in recognition of his useful invention. It was the 
custom at that time to close down the furnaces during the 
summer, on account of a shortage of the water-power required 
to force the blast. The steam-engine was not introduced for 
this purpose until 1800, although it had been in use in the 
British iron-works for half a century. 

The smelting of iron from bog ore at Middleboro, in Massa- 
chusetts, was prompted by finding such deposits in numerous 
small ponds in the township. "The ore was dragged from 
the water by an instrument similar to an oyster dredge, at the 
rate of about two tons per diem for each man, which quantity 
gradually diminished to half a ton a day."t A richer deposit 
of the ferric peroxide was discovered in 1747, and a good supply 
was forthcoming, so that rolling-mills, employed chiefly for 
making nail-rods, were started at Middleboro. This enter- 
prise was soon checked by an act of Parliament that was meant 
to encourage the exportation of iron ore from the colonies to 

* James M. Swank, 'History of the Manufacture of Iron', p. 169; 1892. 
t Bishop, op. cit., p. 490. 



THE BEGINNING 11 

England, and to discourage iron manufacture in America. 
This arbitrary exercise of legislative authority was much 
resented in Massachusetts, and contributed to the irritation 
that culminated in the Revolution. 

Although the numerous small deposits of bog ore were the 
principal resources of tiie early iron manufacturers of New 
England, they soon yielded in importance to the hematite and 
magnetite ores found in the western counties of Massachusetts, 
notably in the Berkshire hills, and also in the adjacent parts 
of New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. A furnace to 
smelt such ores was erected at Hardwick, on the river Ware, 
in 1773 by Joseph Washburne, who received a grant of a 
limestone tract to supply him with the necessary flux. 

The first iron manufactured in Pennsylvania was produced 
at a bloomery at Coventry, in Chester county, in 1718. Ten 
years later, four furnaces were at work. In 1776 the furnaces 
at Warwick and Reading were engaged in casting cannon for 
the State. These furnaces were blown by long wooden bel- 
lows, propelled by water-wheels, and when in blast they pro- 
duced from 25 to 30 tons of iron weekly. The price of pig-iron 
in 1789 was £6^ Pennsylvania money, equivalent to $17-33, 
per ton. By the time George Washington became President, 
the making of iron on a small scale was established in every 
one of the thirteen States of the Union. 

The immigration into the western wilderness was followed 
in 1791 by the establishment of iron-works in the Mississippi 
valley: at Bourbon, in Kentucky. This furnace was so close 
to the frontier that the workmen had to be guarded from attack 
by the Indians. The pots and kettles, and blacksmith iron 
also, fabricated at this metallurgic outpost had a wide market 
throughout the pioneer settlements.* In 1810 the Secretary 
of the Treasury stated that the annual value of iron and its 
manufactures in the United States was about $13,000,000. 
The iron imported was valued at $4,000,000 per annum. 

* J. Kussell Smith, 'The Story of Iron and Steel', p. 36; 1908. 



12 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

There were 530 forges and bloomeries in the country. To 
encourage the domestic industry, the first tariff on iron was 
levied in 1816. 

The enormous deposits of iron ore that have given the 
United States the material for a colossal steel industry were 
not discovered and developed until a comparatively recent 
date. The first mention of iron ore in the Lake Superior 
region is to be found in a letter written in 1840 by Douglass 
Houghton, the first State Geologist of Michigan, but he did 
not consider the deposits of economic value because his investi- 
gations were restricted mainly to the shore of Lake Superior, 
and to places therefore where no considerable outcrops were 
to be seen. The real discovery is to be credited to William A. 
Burt, who was in charge of a survejdng party in 1844, when 
he noticed the erratic behavior of his compass needle, which 
gave readings 87 degrees from the normal.* Ascribing this 
effect to the nearness of iron ore, Burt and his companions 
searched for outcrops and soon found several, from which 
they broke samples. A map made at that time shows the 
name Iron Hills. The first iron deposit to be discovered and 
to be exploited became the Jackson mine, which was described, 
in a letter of November 10, 1845, as "a mountain of solid iron 
ore, 150 feet high". The ore was said to look "as bright as a 
bar of iron just broken". This discovery was made on July 
23, 1845, by S. T. Carr, who was guided to the locality by an 
Indian chief named Manjekijik. His name deserves to be 
honored, for it was he that led the way to a momentous event. 
In reward for his service, the Indian was given, by official 
letter, a share in the location, but this promise was never 
fulfilled, and Manjekijik died in abject poverty, although the 
Jackson Mining Company, afterward the Jackson Iron Com- 
pany, became a highly profitable enterprise. The land was 
bought from the Government for $2-50 per acre. Eleven 
persons, most of whom lived at Jackson, in Michigan, organ- 

* T. B. Brooks, 'Geological Survey of Michigan', Vol. I, p. 13; 1873. 



THE BEGINNING 13 

ized the company and procured permits from the War Depart- 
ment to locate one square mile apiece on the south shore of 
Lake Superior. 

The first attempts to smelt the ore were failures, but in 
August 1846 a man named Olds succeeded in making a good 
bar of iron in a blacksmith's fire, this being the first iron 
produced from Lake Superior ore. A forge was constructed 
on the Carp river, three miles east of the mine, and on February 
10, 1848, A. N. Barney smelted the first bloom from which 
merchantable iron was made. This iron, from specular ore, 
was used in the building of the steamboat 'Ocean'. The iron 
was smelted as a bloom, which was hammered into bars, four 
inches square and two feet long. In 1850 five tons of the 
Jackson ore was taken to the iron-works at Newcastle, Pennsyl- 
vania, where it was made into bar-iron by A. L. Crawford. 
Here we have the first link between the coal of Pennsylvania 
and the iron of Lake Superior — an event of deep significance. 
The first blast-furnace to treat Michigan ore was built near 
the Jackson mine by C. T. Harvey for the Pioneer Company 
in 1858. The Civil War created a demand for iron and thereby 
stimulated the young mining industry of this Marquette 
region. In 1929 the Lake Superior region yielded 65,443,546 
tons of ore averaging 51-18 per cent of iron. 

America continued to use charcoal in the iron-furnace for 
90 years after England had discarded this primitive fuel.* 
The Americans of that day were not a manufacturing people, 
they made iron for the blacksmith; their production of iron 
was a small and local industry. After the United States 
achieved independence the immigration of skilled iron-workers 
from England, despite stringent emigration laws, brought men 
that were well versed in the art. In an advertisement appear- 
ing in the Pittsburgh 'Mercury' of May 27, 1813, one of the 
newcomers from overseas offers to instruct blast-furnace 
managers in the method of converting coal into coke. In 

* B. F. French, 'History of the Rise and Progress of the Iron Trade of 

the United States'; 1858. 



14 A HISTORY OP AMERICAN MINING 

1817 at Plumsock, in Pennsylvania, a rolling-mill was started 
by Isaac Meason, who used coke in his refinery.* This mill 
was built by an English immigrant, who built another blast- 
furnace near Parker's Landing in 1819; and there also coke 
was used. But these attempts to use the new fuel were 
abandoned, because the blast available was too feeble. Other 
similar efforts proved abortive. In 1825 William Strickland 
was sent to England, to study the subject, by a Society for 
the Promotion of Internal Improvement in the Commonwealth 
of Pennsylvania. Strickland, in due course, forwarded his 
report, but even the information made available by him proved 
insufficient, probably because the right kind of coal was not 
obtainable. The offer, in 1835, of a gold medal, by the Franklin 
Institute, for the making of not less than 20 tons of iron from 
ore by aid of "no other fuel than bituminous coal or coke" 
suggests that theretofore the best results had been obtained 
with other fuels or by mixing coal and coke with charcoal. 
It has been claimed that coke was made and used at the 
Allegheny furnace in Blair county, Pennsylvania, in 1811, but 
it is not clear that coke was used alone. However, in 1835, 
as if in consequence of the promised award, good gray forge- 
iron was made by William Fernstone with coke from Broad 
Top coal, and to him therefore apparently we must accord 
the honor of being the first successful maker of coke-iron, at a 
date nearly a century after Abraham Darby had first used 
coke successfully at Colebrookdale in England. 

The development of ample coal resources was, of course, 
essential to the existence of large metallurgic enterprises in 
the United States. It is doubtful whether the American 
aborigines knew how to use coal, although one of the Jesuit 
missionaries has recorded the fact that he saw the Algonquins 
"making fire with coal from the earth" as early as 1660. The 
coal of Illinois and Mississippi wins mention in some of the 
early chronicles of the seventeenth century. The exploring 

* Franklin Ellis, 'The History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania', p. 
242; 1882. 



THE BEGINNING 15 

friar, Louis Hennepin, states that the Indians on the Illinois 
river were digging coal in 1679.* A mine of bituminous coal 
was started in 1750 near Richmond, in Virginia, for the use of 
local blacksmiths. Maps dated 1770 and 1777 mark the 
sites of coal mines in Ohio; a flatboat loaded with coal dug 
in Jackson county was taken to New Orleans in 1810. The 
first discovery of anthracite in Pennsylvania was made by a 
hunter, Philip Ginter, who, in 1790, stumbled upon a piece of 
black stone that he suspected to be coal. In 1812 George 
Shoemaker of Pottsville hauled nine wagonloads of anthracite 
to Philadelphia, but he could sell only two, and gave away the 
seven others. He was regarded as an impostor for attempting 
to sell stones as coal, and found it expedient to get out of 
town promptly to escape arrest. Several chroniclers tell the 
story of the subsequent discovery of how to burn anthracite. 
One of the loads of coal sold by Colonel Shoemaker was pur- 
chased for a wire- works on the Schuylkill river. "A whole 
night", says NicoUs, "was spent in the effort to make the coal 
burn, when the hands in despair quit their work, but left the 
door of the furnace open. Fortunately, one of the workmen 
forgot his jacket, and returning found everything red hot." 
The anthracite, to burn properly, needed a strong draught. 
At the beginning of the nineteenth century the coal mines of 
Virginia constituted an important local industry, but this 
business was interrupted by the War of 1812, and in the 
interval the anthracite mines of Pennsylvania underwent 
preliminary development. The total output of coal in 1828 
was only 95,980 tons of anthracite and 100,480 tons of bitumi- 
nous coal, "not enough now", as Bain says, "to heat the 
government buildings at Washington".! Coking coal was 
discovered in 1842, and its great usefulness for the smelting 
of iron ore was proved in 1859 at Pittsburgh. 

* Louis Hennepin, ' A New Discovery of a Vast Country in America ', 
translated by Reuben Thwaites from the French edition of 1697, Vol. I, 
p. 152; 1903. 

t H. Poster Bain, 'A Century of Industrial Progress', p. 94; 1928. 



16 



A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 



Then from England came the locomotive and the beginning 
of an era of railroad building that has gridironed the American 
continent with lines of steel over which the stream of com- 
merce flowed unchecked by any inter-State duties. The first 
American railroad was opened to traffic in 1830. The railway 
mileage increased from 4,026 in 1842 to 93,262 in 1880 and 
to 258,238 in 1924. Most of this was constructed by aid of 
English capital. In 1925 the exports of the United States 
were $4,909,848,000, the excess over imports being $683,258,- 
000. The average daily production of coal per man employed 
in the mining of bituminous coal in the United States increased 

Production op Coal, and Steel in 1913 



Country 


Coal, tons 


Steel, tons 


United Kingdom 


292,202,000 

562,695,000 

278,627,000 

42,671,000 


7,543,000 
31,823,000 




Germany 


19,292,000 




4,419,000 







from 2-56 short tons in 1891 to 4-73 tons in 1928, and it is 
significant that during this period the proportion of coal 
mined by machine increased from 5 per cent in 1891 to 74 per 
cent in 1923; nevertheless, owing to higher wages, the cost 
per ton increased from $1-12 per ton in 1916 to $2-86 per ton 
in 1922. Meanwhile the industrial development of the 
country is expressed eloquently by the per capita consumption 
of coal, which increased from 0-03 ton in 1825-1834 to 5-37 
tons in 1915-1924. From 1886 to 1913 the production of coal 
increased in England from 158 to 287 million long tons; during 
the same period the American output increased from 102 to 
509 million long tons. While England's production increased 
80 per cent, that of the United States increased 400 per cent. 
During the same period the production of iron in England 
increased from 7 to 10 million tons; in the United States, from 
5% to 31 millions; and in Germany, from 33^^ to 19^ millions. 
In 1929 the American output of coal was 552,465,000 tons. 



THE BEGINNING 17 

The outputs of coal and steel in 1913 give a measure of the 
industrial preparedness of the four Great Powers to meet the 
exhaustive test of a world war. See figures given on page 16. 
Industrially Germany could face the combined strength of 
England and France, but when America entered the war she 
was doomed to defeat. In the future, as in the past, indus- 
trial vigor will be the principal factor in deciding the contests 
between peoples; let us hope, sincerely and insistently, that 
our strength will be used only to prevent the obscene insanity 
of war, which is the complete negation of civilization. 



CHAPTER II 

THE GOLD DISCOVERIES 

When Ponce de Le6n landed in Florida in 1573 he was told 
of an Indian chief that possessed much gold. In 1576 Diego 
Meruelo obtained some of it from the Indians, and in 1579 
Alvarez de Pineda reported that the natives wore ornaments 
of gold, which they obtained from the rivers. These state- 
ments all refer to the southern Appalachian region. The 
name is recorded in 1527; when Pamphilo Narvdez landed at 
Tampa he heard that there was much gold to be obtained in 
a region named Apalache.* In 1564 Rene Laudonniere 
describes the methods used by the natives to win gold in the 
Apalatcy mountains.! However, no serious mining opera- 
tions were undertaken until long afterward; the mining of gold 
in the Southern States may be said to have had its beginning 
when a nugget was found at the Reed mine, in North Carolina, 
in 1799. This nugget, which was of "the size of a small 
smoothing iron", was kept for several years before the finder 
learned what it was, but later more lumps, one weighing 28 
pounds, were found in the same locality, and eager digging 
ensued.t Thomas Jefferson, in his 'Notes on Virginia', 
mentions the finding of a quartz specimen, not a nugget as 
is generally stated, that contained 17 pennyweights of gold; 
this was found on the Rappahannock river in 1782. § 

* 'The Narrative of Alvar Nunez Cabega de Vaca', translated by- 
Buckingham Smith, p. 18; 1851. 

t Richard Hakluyt, ' The Principal Navigations, Voyages, and Dis- 
coveries ', p. 352; 1600. 

t George F. Becker, U. S. Geol. Survey, Annual Report, Vol. XVI, 
part 3, p. 253; 1894. 

§ Thomas Jefferson, 'Notes on the State of Virginia', p. 36; 1825. 

18 



THE GOLD DISCOVERIES 19 

The Mint reports show that gold was produced in North 
Carolina in 1793; up to 1828 this State yielded all the gold 
that was produced in the United States, the total amount, 
however, being only $110,000.* Virginia's name appears 
in the Mint report for 1829. In that year there was a real 
rush to Georgia, and a few years later a gold discovery was 
made in Alabama. In 1833 and 1834 the gold collected in 
Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia was worth about a millon 
dollars per annum. Three mints were established in 1838, 
at Charlotte, North Carolina, at Dahlonega, Georgia, and at 
New Orleans, Louisiana. The last mentioned did not func- 
tion until the Californian gold began to go thither. 

The early mining operations in the South were all based 
upon placer deposits and soft outcrops. The Haile mine, in 
South Carolina, was started with placer and open-cut workings 
in 1829, no underground mining being undertaken until 1880. 
In later years, when in 1890, the Haile mine was revived, it 
became an important centre of metallurgical progress under 
the progressive management of Adolph Thies. From 1804 to 
1866 the Appalachian goldfield, extending into five States, 
yielded $19,375,890. Concerning the gold-mining industry 
of the South it may be said, retrospectively, that it was 
relatively unimportant, but it played a useful part in preparing 
American miners for the bigger developments in the West. 
The maximum output was between 1840 and 1849, after which 
the Southern diggings were completely eclipsed by those dis- 
covered in California. 

E. T. McCarthy, a distinguished British mining engineer, 
in a book of reminiscences, kindly and humorous, has told of 
his experience at a gold mine in North Carolina 50 years ago. f 
In the ofiice were files of vouchers from slave-owners in the 
days before the Civil War, these receipts covering the loan of 

* H. B. C. Nitze and H. A. J. Wilkins, Trans. Amer. Inst. Min. and 
Met. Eng., Vol. XXV, p. 679; 1896. 

t E. T. McCarthy, 'Incidents in the Life of a Mining Engineer', p. 11; 
1918. 



20 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

slaves for work in the mine. The ore was of low grade, but 
the total expense was rarely more than a dollar per ton, so 
that the manager was able to make a precarious profit. Labor 
was cheap, the negroes being paid half a dollar per shift. 
Oak wood cost a dollar per cord, and pine only 75 cents. But 
it was a small mine, such as did not warrant expansive opera- 
tions; and this was true of most of the Southern mines. 

The discovery of gold in California by Marshall in 1848 was 
the most portentous event* in the history of modern mining, 
because it gave an immediate stimulus to worldwide migra- 
tion, it induced an enormous expansion of international trade, 
and it caused scientific industry to invade the waste places of 
the earth. It is true, the occurrence of gold in California was 
known previously, but the finding of gold and the knowledge 
that it could be found were by themselves of little moment; 
it was the production of gold on an industrial scale, and 
lavishly, that rendered Marshall's fortuitous discovery so 
momentous. 

In a book entitled 'A System of Mineralogy', by Robert 
Jameson, published at Edinburgh in 1816, it is written: "On 
the coast of California, there is a plain fourteen leagues in 
extent, covered with alluvial deposits, in which lumps of gold 
are dispersed". This is quoted, not quite correctly, by 
Humboldt. The plain mentioned by the Scottish mineralogist 
is difficult to identify, but it may be the one from which the 
Mexicans obtained gold before the American invasion. In 
1842 Manuel Castanares, the deputy from California in the 
Mexican Congress, went to California for the purpose of 
investigating industrial conditions; he remained there two 
years, and in his report, dated March 2, 1844, at Mexico City, 
he states: "The gold placer discovered in the middle of last 
year has attracted the greatest attention, for it extends nearly 
thirty leagues; the purity of the metal is shown by the assay 

* T. A. Rickard, 'The Discovery of Gold in California', University of 
California, Chronicle, April, 1928. Also 'The Later Argonauts', Trans. 
Inst. Min. and Met., London, Vol. XXXVI, pp. 14-37; 1927. 



THE GOLD DISCOVERIES 21 

certificate made by the mint at this capital, the original of 
which I send herewith". On September 1, of the same year, 
he writes: "The mining interest in California is of greatest 
importance, and I have the satisfaction of assuring you that 
it forms one of the most valuable resources of the department 
[of Upper and Lower California] ... On my departure from 
that town [Los Angeles] in December, 1843, there were in 
circulation about 2000 ounces of gold, which have been 
extracted from the above mentioned placer, the greatest part 
of it destined to go to the United States".* The goldfield 
to which he refers was near the Santa Feliciana canyon, 40 
miles northwest of Los Angeles; the discoverer was Francisco 
L6pez, a herdsman, who (on March 9, 1842) found the gold 
while digging wild onions with a knife. This discovery was 
known to those then living in that part of California, f The 
diggings were worked on a small scale, but profitably, until 
1854; their existence was known also to American officials, 
for, on May 2, 1846, the U. S. Consul at Monterey, Thomas 
A. Larkin, wrote to Commander Montgomery as follows : " At 
San Fernando, near San Pedro, by washing the sand in a plate 
any person can obtain from one to five dollars per day of gold 
that brings seventeen dollars per ounce in Boston. The gold 
has been gathered for two or three years, though but few have 
the patience to look for it". This evidently is the placer 
mentioned by Castaiiares. 

Another early discovery that has been authenticated is 
credited to Jedediah S. Smith. In 1825 he came to California 
at the head of a party of trappers in the employ of the 
American Fur Company. Starting from Wyoming, the party 
reached the Humboldt river, in Nevada; J from there Smith 
and two others crossed the Sierra Nevada at the head of 

* Colecci6n de documentos relatives al departamento de California', 
Mexico; 1845. 

t Charles J. Prudhomme, Historical Society of Southern California, Vol. 
XII, p. 18; 1922. 

t W. A. Chalfant, 'The Story of Inyo', p. 43; 1922. 



22 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

the Truckee river, and then descended into the valley of the 
Sacramento, to proceed on their way to San Diego. Coming 
back. Smith crossed the mountains at Walker's pass and 
skirted the eastern slope, discovering Mono lake, where he 
found gold "in quantities, and brought much of it with him 
to the encampment on the Green river",* to which he 
returned safely. On making a second journey, in 1826, with 
the purpose of prospecting again, he and most of his 
companions were killed by Indians. This disaster caused 
the American Fur Company to desist from further exploration. 
No more was heard about the gold discovery. 

Why were such facts ignored? It may be that the American 
Government was already anticipating a change of national 
ownership of the region in the near future. The Mexicans 
were disinclined to encourage mining in California; the 
hacendados deprecated any move that would take laborers from 
their fields and gardens; the Franciscan padres were afraid 
that a rush to the goldfield might bring a horde of new settlers, 
Americanos, who would dispute their dominance over the 
Indians. Both were correct in their anticipations, as the 
sequel proved. 

Why did the earlier Spaniards miss the treasures of Cali- 
fornia? They thought to gather the gold easily after it had 
been wrested from the earth by the laborious effort of the 
natives, they dreamed of tearing it from the glittering domes 
of the fabulous Seven Cities of Cibola, they expected that the 
Indian temples would be stored with images studded with 
lumps of gleaming metal. The conquistadores failed because 
they sought for gold with the sword and spear, instead of the 
pick and shovel. 

Thus the eventful discovery was postponed to later days, 
when a carpenter, ignorant of mining, happened to stumble 
upon a find of gold and accidentally won a name in history. 
In January, 1848, James W. Marshall was building a saw-mill 

* J. Ross Browne, ' Reports upon the Mineral Resources of the United 
States', p. 305; 1867. 



THE GOLD DISCOVERIES 23 

at Coloma on the south fork of the American river, 40 miles 
northeast of Sacramento, which is now the capital of California. 
Marshall was a wheelwright from New Jersey, and he was 
building the saw-mill, which was to be driven by water-power, 
in partnership with John A. Sutter, a Swiss merchant adven- 
turer whose hacienda was at New Helvetia, now part of 
Sacramento, where he had a tannery, a ranch, and a trading- 
post. When the mill was nearly completed, Marshall noticed 
that the tail-race was not deep enough, so, in the afternoon of 
January 23, he opened the water-gate for the purpose of per- 
mitting the full stream to run during the night. In the morn- 
ing, while the mill-hands were at breakfast, he shut off the 
water and sauntered down the bed of the tail-race to see if it 
had been deepened sufficiently by the scouring action of the 
current. While doing so, he detected several bright bits of 
yellow mineral on the flat stones; he guessed that the mineral 
must be either pyrite or gold, and he knew that one of these 
was brittle whereas the other was malleable, whereupon he 
picked up the largest flake, which was about the size of a melon 
seed, and bit it ; then he pounded it on a rock, proving thereby 
that it was soft.* Surmising therefore that the metal was 
gold, he gathered several of the flakes, put them in the crown 
of his hat, and exhibited them to a group of mill-hands, con- 
sisting of five white men and three Indians. As he approached 
them, he exclaimed: "Boys, by God, I believe I have found a 
gold mine". One of the Indians, who had seen gold in south- 
ern California, murmured "Oro". When a man named Smith 
produced a five-dollar gold coin and compared it with the 
flakes, those present agreed that, although the color was 
slightly different, the metal was the same. Then Marshall is 
said to have gone to the cook, Jennie Wimmer, from whom he 
obtained some vinegar to make a test of solubility, but this 
part of the story is doubtful. Another statement, better 

* Philip B. Bekeart, Qtuirterly Journal, Society of California Pioneers, 
Vol. I, No. 3; 1924. 



24 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

corroborated, is that Mrs. Wimmer happened to be making 
soap, so Marshall asked her to boil the largest flake in strong 
lye, and in the morning, when it was cut out of the soap that 
lay on the bottom of the kettle, it showed no discoloration. 
Finally, Marshall took it to the blacksmith and told him to 
beat it thin on his anvil, again proving how malleable it was. 
Meanwhile some of the mill-hands went to the tail-race and 
gathered several more flakes of gold. 

Upon the monument erected in 1890 at Coloma by the State 
of California to the memory of Marshall, the date of the dis- 
covery is given as January 19 and the gold he found is described 
as a "nugget". Both of these statements are incorrect. At 
that time many Spanish words were in use among the Ameri- 
cans in California. Marshall used the word chispa to designate 
the gold that he had found. In this context chispa is best 
translated as a bright speck or spangle. The first and largest 
spangle that Marshall picked up on January 24, 1848, was 
sent by Sutter to the Smithsonian Institution, at Washington, 
where it is described as follows: "Under the microscope it 
shows numerous white particles imbedded in it, which are 
apparently of quartz. Two small thin films of quartz are 
still attached to it, as found. There are further many minute 
black points of no appreciable thickness, which are evidently 
iron or manganese oxide". The particles of quartz became 
imbedded in the soft gold when Marshall pounded the flake 
on the granite, and the black spots were acquired when the 
gold was hammered on the blacksmith's anvil. The event 
was recorded in the diary of Henry W. Bigler, a Mormon 
worker at the mill; under date of January 24, he wrote, on a 
page that has been preserved among the archives of the Society 
of California Pioneers,* as follows: "This day some kind of 
mettle was found in the tail race that looks like goald"; and 
to this subsequently he added the statement: "first discovered 
by James Martial, the boss of the mill". 

* John S. Hittell, 'Marshall's Gold Discovery', Society of CaUfornia 
Koneers, 1893. 




M 
O 

o 

t-l 

o 



o 

o 
< 

CD 



Monterey 



Fig. 1. — The Californian goldfields. 



to 



26 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

On January 28 Marshall went to Sutter's hacienda to report 
the discovery. Upon entering the office at New Helvetia he 
locked the door and drew forth a rag in which the yellow flakes, 
altogether about three pennyweights, were wrapped. Sutter 
tested the metal with some nitric acid that he happened to 
have among his apothecary stores; he then pulled down a copy 
of an old encyclopaedia and read the article on ' Gold ' ; then, 
he weighed the flakes when immersed in water; he compared 
their gravity with that of some silver coins; whereupon he 
pronounced the metal to be 22-carat gold; and his decision, 
spoken in that frontier store at the foot of the Sierra Nevada 
went forth to all the world, at first only the whisper of rumor, 
but soon a shout of exultation, summoning the adventurous 
of every land to California. 

The next day Sutter followed Marshall on horseback to 
Colbma and with him examined the tail-race, along which they 
picked up some more bits of gold. After looking around for 
a day or two, Sutter returned to his hacienda, but before leaving 
he asked the mill-hands to say nothing about the discovery: 
to keep it secret for six weeks; he did this because he feared 
that any excitement might cause his workmen on the ranch 
to leave him. * Curious to relate, the men at Coloma did not 
appreciate the significance of the discovery and most of them 
left California shortly afterward. One of them, however, 
carried the news to San Francisco; this was Charles Bennett, 
a carpenter, who exhibited some of the gold flakes and told 
the story of discovery. Among others to whom he gave the 
information was Isaac Humphrey, who, having been a miner 
in Georgia, understood what it meant and promptly accom- 
panied Bennett when he returned to the mill a few days after- 
ward, arriving there on March 7. The mill-hands were still 
at their regular work, no gold-digging having as yet been 
started, whereupon Humphrey did a little panning on his own 
account and then constructed a rocker such as he had used in 
Georgia. With this machine he began to wash the gravel near 

* Theodore H. Hittell, 'History of California', Vol. II, p. 686; 1898. 



THE GOLD DISCOVERIES 27 

the mill and obtained two or three ounces of gold per day.* 
This, when it became known, put an end, of course, to work at 
the saw-mill. All the men betook themselves to gold-washing. 

Neither Marshall nor Sutter profited by the discovery. 
The laborers left the saw-mill; the men on the ranch decamped 
to the diggings; the tannery was ruined; the Indians even 
refused to harvest Sutter's crops; the miners stole his cattle 
and rode off on his horses. Prosperous before, he was beg- 
gared by the gold-seekers and by the disorganization that 
ensued. Nothing remained for him but to join the others in 
the search for gold; he started on a prospecting expedition, 
but it failed, and, in the end, he had to be pensioned by the 
State. Marshall, a man of morose temper and defective 
intelligence, had no luck whatever, and soon became indigent ; 
eventually he also received financial aid from the State, but 
he died a poor and utterly frustrated man. In 1848 California 
yielded $10,000,000 in gold. 

At that time California had but lately been added to the 
United States at the close of a war with Mexico; indeed, it is 
interesting to note that the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 
which marked the end of hostilities, was signed on February 
2, 1848, whereas the discovery of gold by Marshall was made 
on January 24; in other words, California was ceded by Mexico 
to the United States nine days after the momentous discovery, 
which, at that date, was not known to either government. 
By the treaty with Mexico the United States annexed Cali- 
fornia, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, together with 
portions of Colorado and Wyoming, paying only $15,000,000 
for these magnificent domains. In 1849, a year later, Cali- 
fornia produced gold equivalent to three times the payment 
made under the terms of the treaty. 

The first public notice of the discovery of gold appeared in 
'The Californian', a newspaper issued in San Francisco, under 
date of March 15, 1848: 

* Henry Degroot, Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. XL VII, p. 320; 
1883. 



28 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

"Gold Mine Found. — In the newly made race-way of the 
saw-mill recently erected by Captain Sutter, on the American 
fork, gold has been found in considerable quantities. One 
person brought thirty dollars worth to New Helvetia, gathered 
there in a short time. California, no doubt, is rich in mineral 
wealth; great chances here for scientific capitalists. Gold 
has been found in almost every part of the country." 

This indicates the current belief that gold existed in the 
region. It is noteworthy that this press announcement of 
the momentous discovery was made nearly two months after 
the event. 

On the twenty-ninth of May 'The Californian', when 
announcing that its publication would be suspended, said: 

"The whole country, from San Francisco to Los Angeles, 
and from the seashore to the base of the Sierra Nevada, 
resounds with the sordid cry of gold! gold! gold! While the 
field is left half planted, the house half built, and everjrthing 
neglected but the manufacture of picks and shovels, and the 
means of transportation to the spot where one man obtained 
one hundred and twenty-eight dollars worth of the real stuff 
in one day's washing; and the average for all concerned is 
twenty dollars per diem."* 

On the same date the American alcalde at Monterey, named 
Walter Colton, refers in his diary to the excitement caused by 
news that gold had been discovered, and on June 20 he records 
the fact that the man whom he had sent to the diggings had 
returned with specimens of gold, which had caused an immedi- 
ate stampede of the people at Monterey, f Such also was the 
effect of the news in distant places. An excited migration 
ensued across the plains, over the Panama isthmus, and around 
Cape Horn; the young and energetic of many lands hurried 
to the Eldorado that promised to fulfil the dreams of Raleigh's 
day. Most of the men that rushed to California had never 

* J. Ross Browne, 'Reports upon the Mineral Resources of the United 
States', p. 15; 1867. 

t Walter Colton, 'Three Years in California', p. 246; 1850. 



THE GOLD DISCOVERIES 29 

seen a mine, but that did not matter; they came to do the 
work of mining and with the washing of the first panful of 
gold-bearing gravel they became industrial sappers, the 
brothers of the pick and gad. They had the machinery most 
used in mining: human muscle; they had the science most 
approved in that ancient art : organized common sense ; they 
achieved the basic purpose of mining: to exploit mineral at a 
profit. As Jason and his comrades found the Golden Fleece on 
the banks of the Colchis, so these later Argonauts found the 
splendid treasure that had been stored for them during geologic 
ages in the beds of the Yuba, Shasta, and American rivers; but, 
instead of the sheep's fleece, they used blankets for catching 
the fine gold. The daily winning averaged about an ounce of 
gold per man. "It was no uncommon event for a man alone 
to take out five hundred dollars in a day, or for two or three, 
if working together, to divide the dust at the end of the week 
by measuring it with tin cups. But we were never satisfied", 
says one of the pioneers. 

Their apparatus was simple.* At first a shovel and any 
kind of shallow vessel sufficed, such as a frying-pan, the gravel 
being shoveled into it and then washed with a circular shaking 
movement, on the edge of a stream, so that the light and 
barren sediment was carried away, leaving the heavy sand 
behind; and this again was washed further, the big lumps 
being picked out by hand, until a glittering string, or tail, of 
golden particles remained. If the gold was coarse, in nugget 
form, the operation did not have to be finished before disclosing 
the precious metal. The handle of the frying-pan was soon 
removed, and the prospector's pan became a circular sheet-iron 
or tin-plate dish with sloping sides, usually 15 to 16 inches in 
diameter, 10 to 11 inches across the bottom, and from 3 to 4 
inches deep. The use of it by the miner was essentially a 
method of concentration, resembling the long-continued action 
of the water in the stream, by means of which the detritus of 
the hillside had been sorted and accumulated in particular 

* James J. Ayres, 'Gold and Sunshine', p. 43; 1922. 



30 A HISTORY OP AMERICAN MINING 

places, to be hidden there until the digger uncovered it. Later 
he devised a simple machine for doing his work more expedi- 
tiously; he made a wooden box, about three feet long, sloping 
gently and mounted on rockers, like a baby's cradle. Above 
the upper end he placed a smaller box, bottomed with wire- 
screen or sheet-iron in which holes had been punched, this 
device serving as both a hopper and a sieve, to exclude the 
stones and coarse gravel, which were discharged by lifting the 
box. To the side of this 'cradle' or 'rocker', as it was vari- 
ously named, a handle was fixed, so that the digger could move 
it to and fro with one hand while with the other he poured 
water over the gravel in the hopper by means of some sort of 
dipper or can nailed to a piece of wood. Whatever went 
through the bottom of the hopper fell to the floor of the cradle, 
the rocking of which expedited the separation of the barren 
sediment, which was washed away, leaving the gold and iron 
sand behind. This contrivance served the digger's purpose 
fairly well, but he ascertained shortly that he was losing the 
finer particles of gold, whereupon he constructed a machine 
somewhat more elaborate. He lengthened the cradle untU it 
became a trough or launder 8 to 10 feet long, and to the 
bottom at intervals he nailed transverse cleats, or riffles, to 
arrest the smaller particles of gold as they slid along with the 
heavier sediment, while the worthless dirt was washed away 
by the water that was poured into the hopper. This machine 
became known as the 'long Tom'. Finally the elongated cradle, 
thus developed, was replaced by a series of sluice-boxes, or 
sectional launders, in which the gold-bearing sediment was 
disintegrated and washed by a running stream of water while 
men on both sides stirred the gravel on the bottom and lifted 
the large stones out of the run-way by means of shovels or 
forks. In addition to riffles, the digger used blankets, such 
as those in which he slept, the woolly fibre serving to catch 
the dust of gold. At a later date the miner summoned to his 
aid a chemical agent; he placed quicksilver in his riffles, so 
that the gold was amalgamated, or alloyed, with another heavy 



THE GOLD DISCOVERIES 31 

metal, which arrested the particles of gold and prevented the 
minute flakes from running away. The amalgam was col- 
lected, put into a buckskin bag, squeezed by hand, so as to 
discharge the excess of quicksilver, the residue being then 
exposed to heat, in a retort, whereby the highly volatile 
mercury was expelled, leaving the gold free. 

Most of the gold lay on the bedrock, to which natural 
bottom it had settled through the gravel on account of its 
gravity, this descent being aided, during the geologic aeon, 
by such constant vibration of the ground as is exhibited in its 
major form by earthquakes. Sometimes a layer of clay was 
mistaken for the base of the deposit, but in the course of 
experience, the result of accident and observation, the digger 
ascertained that the clay might constitute a false bottom, 
below which, on the true bedrock, more gold was to be found. 
Usually the precious metal had settled into the cracks and 
crannies of the rock, and in such places were discovered the 
pockets from which gold was gathered in handfuls. Rich 
deposits occurred in what seemed to be the most unlikely 
places; even high on the hillside the digger found gravel of 
surprising richness, and apparently the very laws of gravity 
were flouted by the discovery of the precious metal on bed- 
rocks that had a reverse slope. These were the remains of 
older stream-bottoms, now mantled with lava, across which 
the existing river had cut its way. 

Each man had his own theory about the distribution of the 
gold. Most of the diggers dreamed of a mother source, some- 
where in the heart of the mountains, from which the gold had 
been washed into the creeks and gulches near the foot of the 
range. They recognized the action of water in moving and 
concentrating the gold, but they failed at first to appreciate 
the fact that it had been derived by erosion from the quartz 
veins in the hills near-by. So, eager prospectors climbed the 
mountains and sought for the inexhaustible origin of all this 
widely scattered wealth; and even after gold had been dis- 
covered in the veins along the lower slopes of the Sierra they 



32 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

continued to search for the great central vein from which the 
gold, they thought, had flowed or had been ejected in the 
old volcanic days; for by this time they were aware of 
the fact that layers of lava had covered the former surface in 
places and had buried the ancient river-bottoms as much as 
fifteen hundred feet. The early placer miners underesti- 
mated the productivity of such veins as were proved to con- 
tain gold, and assumed that they would be profitable only 
to a shallow depth. So did their geologic notions swing to 
and fro. 

At first the digger worked singly, but he soon found it more 
convenient to have a partner, not only for company but 
because the lone man was economically a misfit. Usually one 
man shoveled the gravel while the other washed it in the 
cradle or rocker. As the workings increased in size it became 
necessary to operate in parties of four or more. Thus larger 
and more lasting partnerships were formed, and clusters of 
cabins began to appear among the pines on the hillsides. In 
the summer of 1848 about five thousand men were at work in 
the gulches and along the streams of the Sierra Nevada. 

By what legal right, it may be asked, did these adventurers, 
many of them Europeans, exploit the alluvial deposits and 
remove the gold? The territory of California, recently 
acquired from Mexico, was under military rule, and the oSicer 
in command. Colonel Richard B. Mason, thought it best, as 
he said, "not to interfere, but to permit all to work freely" on 
the goldfields. Official opinion is made clear also in the report 
of his successor. General Persifor F. Smith, who, a year later, 
stated that the mines were on public lands and belonged to 
the government of the United States, but he deemed it to be 
neither the policy of the government nor the wish of the people 
of the United States to eject the diggers, because of the benefit 
done "to general trade by the diffusion of the precious metal". 
As in medieval days, it was found wise to encourage the miner 
in his production of useful metal. The general in command of 
the Pacific division remarks in 1849: 



THE GOLD DISCOVERIES 33 

"I do not conceive that it would be desirable to have the 
mines worked for the benefit of the public treasury. To do 
that would require an army of officers and inferior agents, all 
with high salaries, and with opportunities and temptations 
for corruption too strong for ordinary human nature. The 
whole population would be put in opposition to the govern- 
ment array, and violent collisions would lead even to blood- 
shed ... If the Government shall desire revenue enough to 
pay the expenses of executing the laws passed on the subject, 
it is the most that should be proposed. The advantage the 
whole country will derive directly from the opening of the 
mines, and the indirect advantage to the treasury from aug- 
mented commerce, will, in my opinion, more than compensate 
for any outlay it has made or may make."* 

He, evidently, was a sagacious man. The Mexican mining 
law was no longer operative in California, no law of the United 
States was applicable to the new diggings, and no State govern- 
ment f had as yet been organized, therefore the diggers were 
left to their own resources, and they promptly met the needs 
of the moment by drafting their own regulations. They did 
this so sensibly that their local rules became the substance of 
the mining law of the United States as enacted by Congress 
in 1866. 

The right to locate a mining claim, and to hold it against all 
comers, until abandoned, was generally admitted. This basic 
idea of mining law had been brought by the adventurers to 
California from other lands; it was the traditional right of the 
miner, as much in the seven mine-cities of the Harz as in the 
stannaries of Devonshire and Cornwall. Title, it was agreed 
tacitly, was derived from the first locator, and continuity of 
work sufficed to maintain persistence of ownership. This 
simple code was established by mutual agreement of the 
diggers in meeting assembled, and by their willingness jointly 

* Report of General in Command of the Pacific Division, October 7, 
1849. 

t California became a State of the Union on September 9, 1850. 



34 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

to use force in support of any comrade that might suffer wrong 
from a trespass on his claim. The size of it, from thirty to a 
hundred feet square, was estabhshed in the same manner, a 
modification being made in accordance with the character of 
the deposits, for some of them necessitated a larger area, in 
proportion to the scope of operations, the amount of the pre- 
paratory expenditure, and the number of men needed to con- 
duct the work on a suitable scale. Each man had his say, 
any man was as good as another, and the rudimentary com- 
munity accepted the decision of the group as final. Thus was 
the organization of the mining-camp evolved. Bayard Taylor, 
a trustworthy observer, who visited the diggings in 1849, says: 

"In all the large digging districts which had been worked 
for some time, there were established regulations, which were 
faithfully observed. Alcaldes, magistrates, were elected, who 
decided on all disputes of right, or complaints of trespass, and 
who had power to summon juries for criminal trials. When 
a new placer or gulch was discovered, the first thing done was 
to elect officers and extend the area of order. The result was 
that in a district 500 miles long, and inhabited by 100,000 
people who had neither government, regular laws, rules, mili- 
tary or civil protection, nor even locks or bolts, and a great 
part of whom possessed wealth enough to tempt the vicious 
and depraved, there was as much security to life and property 
as in any part of the Union, and as small a proportion of 
crime. The capacity of a people for self-government was 
never so triumphantly illustrated."* 

On their way to California, whether they came overland 
or by sea, the adventurers learned many lessons of mutual 
tolerance and of self-government; while acquiring an indif- 
ference to the machinery of government, they became disposed 
to prefer a direct appeal to the community as the simplest, and 
therefore best, form of popular administration. The long 
voyage as members of an unruly company under an incom- 
pyetent captain, and a similar experience with the immigrant 

* Bayard Taylor, 'Eldorado', Vol. I, p. 67; 1850. 



THE GOLD DISCOVERIES 35 

trains that threaded their way across the prairies, caused the 
young men to learn how to settle disputes, to appreciate the 
need for discipline of some sort, and to co-operate in maintain- 
ing order. If the wearisome journey did more to discipline 
than to educate, it served, on the other hand, to develop some 
measure of skill in self-government, and to induce a tendency 
toward short cuts as much for the preservation of order as for 
the summary punishment of those who infringed the frontier 
code. When they arrived at the diggings, the adventurers 
continued the associations, sometimes the partnerships, formed 
on board ship or in the covered wagons that became known as 
'prairie schooners'. The stories of the golden days leave 
contradictory impressions; on the one hand we read of order, 
generosity, honor, and high aim ; on the other we see pictures of 
riot, bloodshed, fraud, and frenzy. Neither extreme is alto- 
gether true, but the facts are given more reliably in the 
chronicles of the time than in the later reminiscences of garru- 
lous pioneers. The life of the mining-camp, as Royce says,* 
was "the struggle of society to impress the true dignity and 
majesty of its claims on wayward and blind individuals, and 
the struggle of the individual man, meanwhile, to escape, like a 
fool, from his moral obligation to society". In such a frontier 
community, made up of men that had left their homes, their 
families, and their old vexations in an attempt to find a golden 
paradise, the social struggle came to the surface and was to 
be seen in its true hght; for social duties of any sort are a nui- 
sance amid the excited digging for gold, and to be a member of 
a vigilance committee in a roistering camp is better sport than 
to serve on a legal jury in a quiet town. 

For nearly two years, however, from 1848 to 1850, the life of 
the diggings had many ideal aspects, as regards democratic 
government, orderly work, and cheery comradeship. During 
those two years only the most vigorous and resolute came 
to the gulches, no women disturbed the virile camps in the 

* Josiah Royce, 'California, from the Conquest', p. 240; 1886. 



36 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

hills, and the easy winning of gold made the miners generous 
to each other. They had no time to quarrel, the world was 
young, and life an epic. The population of the diggings 
by this time had grown to 100,000. 

The social organization of these mining-camps in the foothills 
of the Sierra Nevada during the first two years of the golden 
era represents the nearest approach to genuine democracy that 
history records. Like shipwrecked mariners cast upon a 
lonely island they found themselves temporarily associated, as 
it happened, in this case, for the purpose of winning gold where 
apparently there was plenty of it. They had brought with 
them the spirit of the American frontier, a frontier that had 
slowly advanced across the continent, from sea to sea, during 
two hundred years.* That frontier spirit found expression in 
jurisdiction by popular tribunals and in the insistent establish- 
ment of self-government, even at the expense of efficiency. 
If a dispute arose, the diggers near-by dropped their picks, and, 
in prompt assembly, listened to the explanation of the quarrel. 
The verdict of the majority was accepted, and duly enforced. 
For more important matters, the call went forth, across the 
ridges and up the gulches, summoning all the men in the dis- 
trict to meeting. There the vox populi pronounced its ultima- 
tum. These methods met temporary emergencies, and dealt 
with them in a manner so fair and yet so flexible that the camp 
laws survived after the rush. If the punishments, on occasion, 
seem to us today to have been brutally severe, we must remem- 
ber that the association of men was essentially temporary; 
it was fortuitous, and it might come to an end any day; hence 
nobody was inclined to stop the digging for gold and join with 
the others in building a jail in which offenders could be 
incarcerated. Therefore, to suppress crime and protect 
property, it was found necessary to put a criminal either out of 
the world or out of the camp. The actions of the diggers were 
impelled not by cruelty, but by social exigencies. 

* Mary Floyd Williams, 'History of the San Francisco Committee of 
Vigilance of 1851', pp. 66-87; 1921. 



THE GOLD DISCOVERIES 37 

In the third year after the discovery there came many 
undesirable elements: the loose women, the gamblers, and the 
saloon-keepers. Another factor in promoting violence and 
disorder was a local exaggeration of the American dislike of 
foreigners, including the native Indians and Mexicans from 
whom the land had been but lately wrested. An amusing, 
but instructive, story is told of General Persifor F. Smith; 
he, while at Panama in February, 1848, had come to the deci- 
sion, as we have seen, that the diggers were trespassers on the 
Federal domain, and that it was his solemn duty to expel them; 
but being sagacious, as well as solemn, he appreciated the fact 
that the force at his disposal was inadequate to keep all of 
them off the Government's property, and that their produc- 
tion of gold was stimulating national commerce. On the 
other hand, he decided that, while he might not be able, and 
perhaps ought not, to exclude all of them, he might exclude 
some for the benefit of those that were American. Therefore, 
when the ship 'California' arrived at Panama with 75 Peru- 
vians on board, and a big throng of Americans was waiting to 
proceed to California on the overcrowded ship, they having 
come overland across the isthmus, he decided that trespassing, 
after all, was a thing of degrees, and was tolerable, when the 
trespasser was the right kind of fellow. Thereupon he issued 
an order to exclude foreigners from California. But the 
Peruvians refused to budge, and continued their voyage to 
San Francisco. The diggers themselves meanwhile had 
adopted regulations forbidding slave-owners, from the South- 
ern States, to stake claims for their 'black bondsmen', that 
is, using the names of negroes to acquire extra claims for 
themselves. Likewise they would not allow the Chilenos, 
including Peruvians, to locate claims for their peons. The 
community of mines was to be for free men only. Later a 
tax of $16 per month was levied on all 'foreigners' working in 
the mines, but this local impost was not uniformly exacted. 
The Mexicans from Mexico itself, or Sonorians, as they were 
called, came in large bands, and took possession of some choice 



38 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

ground on the Tuolumne, Stanislaus, and Mokelumne rivers; 
the feeling against them was so strong that they were ordered 
to leave; and they went, without resisting, but not without 
committing several outrages on the immigrant parties that 
they met on the way home. The treatment of the early 
French miners was outrageous; such acts may have "served 
to weld the Americans in a closer union", as Shinn says,* 
but it also bred a spirit of vicious intolerance that is strangely 
at variance with the miner's proverbial generosity. The 
Chinese were rigidly excluded; and had to wait their chance 
until much later, when they were permitted to pick up the 
crumbs that had fallen from the white man's table; in other 
words, they re-treated the refuse of the old diggings. In the 
decade 1848-1858 California yielded $555,000,000 in gold. 

Among those who joined the rush to California was Edward 
H. Hargraves, an Australian squatter, of English birth. 
He sailed from Sydney in July, 1849, and arrived at San 
Francisco in October. Upon his arrival, Hargraves, who 
was then thirty-nine years of age, went to the diggings at 
Jamestown, on Wood's creek. The Australian noticed 
the similarity between the geologic conditions amid which 
gold was being found in California and those he knew to 
exist in New South Wales. He became eager to return to 
Australia, and discover gold there. Later he went to the 
diggings on the Yuba, where he did pretty well, but, he says: 
"The greater our success was, the more anxious did I become 
to put my own persuasion to the test, the existence of gold in 
New South Wales ".f He sailed from San Francisco in 
November, 1850, and arrived at Sydney in January, 1851. 
On February 12, 1851, he discovered gold on Lewis Ponds 
creek, which flows into the Macquarie river. He found 
gold in many places and started the great rush to Australia. 
Thus the Californian discoveries stimulated the very beginning 
of the mining industry in Australia. 

* Charles H. Shinn, 'Mining Camps', p. 7; 1885. 

t Edward Hammond Hargraves, 'Australia and its Gold Fields'; 1865. 



THE GOLD DISCOVERIES 39 

Another consequence of the discovery of gold in Cah- 
fornia and of its subsequent lavish production must be noted, 
for this played an important part in the history of the United 
States by giving invaluable assistance to the cause of the 
North during the Civil War. If the gold and silver produced 
in the States of the Pacific coast region during the years 
1861-1865 had been turned into the coffers of the Confederacy, 
the result of the war might have been different. The loyalty 
of California to the Union ensured the use of this precious 
metal in preserving the life of the nation. The value of the 
gold and silver shipped from the western States during the 
years 1861-1864, inclusive, was $186,012,460. This enormous 
sum of money, or of metal equivalent to money, was placed 
at the service of the Union during the period of the conflict, 
and enabled it to meet its obligations confidently. One 
can only guess what might have happened if the gold had 
gone to the South instead of the North. As the silver of 
Laurium paid for building the ships that won the battle of 
Salamis for the Greeks against the Persians, so the gold 
of California paid for the military supplies that enabled the 
United States to remain a single nation. 



CHAPTER III 
MINING IN THE FAR NORTH 

The early history of a country is Unked with its topographic 
features. Mountains are barriers, rivers are avenues, the sea 
is a Wghway. The first Europeans to reach the northwestern 
corner of the American continent, now known as Alaska, came 
from Asia, for the Pacific Ocean provided an approach by 
means of the islands that like stepping-stones stretch far 
westward from the inhospitable shore of the mainland. 

The Russians crossed Siberia and explored the Arctic coast of 
Asia. In 1728 a band of Cossacks was driven by a storm 
eastward from Kamchatka, and landed in Norton Sound.* 
Others followed them, and settled on the islands and peninsulas 
of southeastern Alaska. The mountains guarding the coast 
discouraged any advance into the interior. Another range, 
the northern extension of the Rocky Mountains, barred the 
westward progress of the French voyageurs and the English 
fur-traders of the Hudson's Bay Company. After the Rus- 
sians had obtained a foothold among the Indians, the viceroys 
of Mexico sent successive expeditions up the coast, such as 
that of Perez in 1774 and of Heceta in 1775. If the Enghsh 
fur-traders had not interfered, the Spanish and Russian 
spheres of influence would have conflicted, and the contest 
for control might have ended in establishing a line of demarka- 
tion somewhere near the mouth of the Columbia river. The 
British navigator Captain James Cook landed near Sitka in 
1778 while seeking a way by water to Hudson Bay. Fif- 
teen years later his midshipman, George Vancouver, in 
command of another British expedition, surveyed the coast 

* T. A. Rickard, 'Through the Yukon and Alaska', p. 10; 1909. 

40 



MINING IN THE FAR NORTH 41 

carefully from 35 to 60 degrees north latitude. Meanwhile 
the English also were beginning to find a way overland from 
Canada. Alexander Mackenzie, in behalf of the North- 
western Fur Company, started from an outpost on Lake 
Athabasca, ascended the Peace river, crossed the mountain 
barrier, and reached the Pacific tidewater in Queen Charlotte 
Sound in 1793 — and just missed meeting Vancouver! Thence- 
forth the northwestern corner of North America, from Unalaska 
along the fringe of islands to Sitka and thence to British 
Columbia, was the battle-ground between the agents of the 
two fur companies, namely, the Russian American Company 
and the Hudson's Bay Company. Not until 1826 did the 
Russians extend their exploration along the coast of Bering 
Sea to the mouth of the Yukon. The establishment of a 
post at St. Michael prepared the way for trade up the Yukon, 
the great river of Alaska. In 1843 Zagoskin reached the 
Tanana and built Nulato. 

While the Russians were exploring the western coast of 
Alaska, the English were finding their way east of them to 
the Arctic. In 1789 Mackenzie descended the river that 
now bears his name and reached the frozen sea. In 1826 
Sir John Franklin went westward from the mouth of the 
Mackenzie. When he was lost, the successive relief expedi- 
tions sent from England between 1845 and 1853 explored 
and charted portions of the Seward peninsula. The great 
interior region was still unknown, although the Hudson's 
Bay agents were persistently advancing their outposts west- 
ward. .In 1840 a factor, or agent, of that company established 
a trading-post at the head of the Pelly, a tributary of the 
Yukon. In 1847 Fort Yukon was built by McMurray. 
The English traders heard that the Russians were in the 
lower Yukon, and in 1850 they descended the river to Nxilato. 
Thus here and there at enormous distances apart the lonely 
outposts of the European peoples were gaining a foothold. 
The only purpose of their intrusion into the inhospitable wilder- 
ness was the trade in furs. No whisper of gold was yet heard. 



42 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

In 1863 the Western Union Telegraph Company sent an 
expedition to survey a telegraph line that was to connect 
America and Europe by way of Asia. At that time sub- 
marine transmission by cable under the Atlantic was believed 
to be impracticable. The survey of the proposed route 
through British Columbia, Alaska, and northeastern Siberia 
involved the exploration of regions but little known. In 
Siberia, George Kennan did good work;* in Alaska, Robert 
Kennicott was the leading spirit, f Although the project 
of an overland telegraphic system was nipped in 1867 by the 
announcement that the Atlantic cable was a success, the 
explorations made then and thereafter by the men in charge 
of the Western Union expeditions proved most useful. They 
ascended the Yukon, and they crossed the Seward peninsula. 
The information they procured proved of great value in the 
negotiations between the American and Russian govern- 
ments for the transfer of Alaska to the United States, and the 
routes they mapped were followed by the telegraph lines 
that were established as soon as the country came into prom- 
inence in consequence of the gold rushes. 

In 1867 Russian America was purchased by the United 
States for the sum of $7,200,000, and the 'district', at the 
suggestion of William H. Seward, the Secretary of State, 
was named Alaska. At that time the finding of gold had 
been reported in a vague way, but no profitable mining 
had been done. The fur-traders, having no experience in 
mining, looked for gold in the bars of the big rivers and not 
in the side canyons of the smaller streams in which gold was 
found later in abundance. The Indians, it is true, like 
primitive man elsewhere, had picked up bits of gold and 
lumps of native copper on the edges of the streams that 
were their natural highways, but these pieces of metal were 
used only for ornament and had relatively little value. In 

* George Kennan, 'Tent Life in Siberia'; 1870. 

t Frederick Whymper, 'Travel and Adventure in the Territory of 
Alaska', p. 89; 1869. 



MINING IN THE FAR NORTH 



43 



1880 two nuggets were obtained by barter from an Indian 
at Nulato. But such pretty specimens awakened only a 
languid interest on the part of the trappers until they were 
joined by prospectors that had wandered northward from 
British Columbia. 




Fig-. 2. — Alaska. 

Up to the date of the transfer of Alaska from Russia to 
the United States, there had been no gold-mining in the 
territory. The Russian governors discouraged the search 
for gold because it might interfere with the fur-trade, which 
was their source of profit. Some old records prove that 
the Russians had indeed noted the occurrence of gold in several 
localities, but they had made no systematic effort to exploit 
the deposits. P. P. Doroshin, a Russian mining engineer, 
was sent by the Russian Government in 1848 to explore 
the mineral resources of the territory; he found .gold on the 
Kaknu [Kenai] river, which empties into Cook inlet, and 
he brought back 40 ounces, which, however represented the 



44 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

labors of as many men for several months, and therefore was 
deemed an unpromising effort.* Afterward he was bitterly- 
reproached for his failure to discover any workable gold 
deposit, but he was handicapped by the lack of aid from the 
natives, who, he said, had no word for gold.f The Stikine 
river was invaded by prospectors in 1865, and in 1874 the 
Cassiar diggings were started on the Canadian side, but 
these events created no stir. In 1869 a party of disappointed 
prospectors, headed by Mix Sylva, traveled northward 
from Fort Wrangell and discovered placers on Windham and 
Sumdum bays.f It is reported that $40,000 was taken from 
these diggings in the two following years. This was the 
first gold-mining in southeastern Alaska. 

The old Russian capital was Sitka, on Baranof island, 
where mining began in 1877 with the location of the Lucky 
Chance and Stewart claims on Silver bay. One of the locators 
of the Stewart was George Pilz, who erected the first ten- 
stamp mill in Alaska at that mine in 1879. At this time 
John Muir was deputed by the United States government 
to explore southeastern Alaska, and in his report he stated 
that the region between Windham bay and Sullivan island 
was destined to be a second California. The report, in 
pamphlet form, came to Sitka in the spring of 1880, and was 
read by Pilz, who had just completed his little stamp-mill. 
He and N. A. Fuller, a local merchant, after reading Muir's 
report, decided to send prospectors into the district recom- 
mended by the distinguished naturalist. They chose Joseph 
Juneau, a French Canadian, and Richard Harris, an American. 
Accompanied by three Indians and well equipped, these 
two started on July 19, 1880. 

* Ivan Petroff, 'Report on the Population, Industries, and Resources of 
Alaska', p. 115; 1884. 

t P. P. Doroshin, Archiv fitr wissenchaftliche Kunde in Russland, 
Vol. XXV, p. 226; 1866. 

t Charles Will Wright, 'The Juneau Gold Belt, Alaska', U. S. Geol. 
Survey, Bull. No. 287, p. 2; 1906. 



MINING IN THE FAR NORTH 45 

From Sitka they went in a small boat to Windham bay, 
to the Taku inlet, and to the Lynn Canal, and when they 
came south again their boat ran aground on a bar in Gastineau 
Channel at the north end of Douglas island, nearly opposite 
the present site of Juneau. Then they crossed to the main- 
land, where they found gold at the mouth of a small stream, 
which they named Gold creek. The date was August 17, 
1880. They went up this stream to Silver Bow basin and 
discovered several rich quartz veins, which they covered with 
their locations. Being now short of provisions, they returned 
to Sitka, but shortly afterward they went back to Gold 
creek, where, with the aid of the Indians, they cut a trail 
and packed 800 pounds of ore, with which they returned to 
Sitka in November. 

Juneau and Harris were intelligent fellows; they gave a 
frank account of their discoveries, * the news of which promptly 
caused a rush to Gold creek, where a town-site, now the city 
of Juneau, was located. In the spring of 1881 the North- 
west Trading Company sent Edward de GrofE to open a 
store, which served also as the post-office. A mining district 
was duly organized in February, 1881. In April, John Olds 
went up Gold creek and above its source in Silver Bow basin 
to the ridge that rises on the eastern side. On the mountain 
slope he found the outcrops of the Perseverance and Ground- 
hog lodes. He told the present writer that wherever the 
snow was gone he saw lots of loose ' float ' in which gold could 
be seen. The veteran acknowledged that he became excited, 
and thought he had found "the richest country on earth". 
How many times have our other prospector friends thought 
likewise! He located several claims, but when the experts 
arrived and condemned the discovery, he neglected his loca- 
tions, which in later days marked the scene of mining opera- 
tions on a tremendous scale, as we shall see in due course. 

The Chilkat Indians opposed the incoming prospectors 
until 1880, when 16 men, led by Edmund Bean, crossed the 

* H. H. Bancroft, 'History of Alaska', p. 739; 1886. 



46 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Chilkat pass and descended the upper waters of the Yukon. 
In 1883 Frederick Schwatka crossed the same pass and 
followed the Yukon all the way to the sea. His graphic 
account* of the expedition appeared in the 'Century' maga- 
zine, and did much to excite interest in Alaska. He mentioned 
the occurrence of gold in several localities, notably at the 
mouth of the PeUy river, f but he deemed such discoveries 
as of no consequence in comparison with the fur-trade, which 
was still highly profitable. The sables of the Yukon were of 
the best quality, and the traders of the Hudson's Bay 
Company had established posts at several places along the 
great river as early as 1873, one of these being Fort Reliance, 
six miles below the junction of the Klondike with the Yukon. 
Many of the early prospectors that explored the region used to 
spend the winter at this post. J 

Edward Schieffelin, who discovered the silver deposits 
of Tombstone, Arizona, went, in 1882, with his brother to 
Juneau, and, later, in a small boat he voyaged first to St. 
Michael and then a thousand miles up the Yukon, where 
he spent a year in prospecting. He found some shot gold 
on the Melozecargut, or Monday river, near Rampart, where 
he and his party remained until August, 1883, by which time 
he had come to the conclusion that the shortness of the 
season and the difficulty of obtaining supplies were disadvan- 
tages that would have to be compensated by a prospect of 
unusual richness. 

The first profitable diggings in the valley of the Yukon 
were on the Stewart river, where some rich bars were dis- 
covered in 1885, but soon the report of coarse gold having 
been obtained lower down the valley caused the men on the 
Stewart to decamp with characteristic haste for the new 
Eldorado. This was at Forty Mile — that is, 40 miles from 
Fort Rehance — where a prospector named FrankKn made 

* Frederick Schwatka, 'Along Alaska's Great River', 1885. 
t Frederick Schwatka, 'A Summer in Alaska', p. 317; 1893. 
i Tappan Adney, 'The Klondike Stampede', p. 237; 1900. 



MINING IN THE FAR NORTH 47 

his discovery in 1886. Until 1893 the gulches in this district 
yielded most of the gold that came from these parts.* In 
1892 a Russian half-breed discovered gold on Birch creek, 
farther down the Yukon, and many of the men at Forty 
Mile went thither, their new camp becoming known as 
Circle, because it was close to the line of the Arctic Circle. 
The Forty Mile district was partly within Canadian territory, 
but Birch creek was wholly American. 

The gold was found on bedrock, underneath a few feet of 
gravel, which was removed by shoveling. Where the over- 
burden of barren gravel was too thick for shoveling it became 
the practice to sink shafts by aid of wood fires, for the ground 
in the Alaskan interior is frozen perennially. The fire thawed 
the gravel, so that it could be shoveled, and then hoisted to 
the surface, where it was washed in sluice-boxes during the 
summer season. These early diggings were not rich, and 
the shortness of the season was a handicap to systematic 
operations; moreover, the remoteness of the mines and the 
precarious character of the food-supply checked enthusiasm. 
In 1896 the annual output of gold from the Yukon region 
was about a million dollars, of which nearly a third came 
from Canadian territory. The international boundary is 
50 miles below Dawson, where the waters of the Klondike 
mingle with those of the Yukon. Up to that time therefore 
this vast watershed was of no consequence as a mining country; 
its products were fish and furs; then, suddenly, as out of a clear 
sky, came the tremendous shout of a great gold discovery. 

On July 14, 1897, the steamship 'Excelsior' arrived at 
San Francisco with a number of miners carrying sacks 
of gold 'dust' valued at $500,000. Three days later the 
'Portland' unloaded $1,000,000 in gold on the wharf at 
Seattle. The happy diggers told stories of a new Eldorado 
in the North, in the valley of the Klondike, on the edge of 
the Arctic. The news was flashed round the earth, and the 
response was prompt. Within a few months 33,000 gold- 

* J. E. Spurr, 'Through the Yukon Gold Diggings', p. 110; 1900. 



48 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

seekers landed at Skagway on their way to the diggings. 
In eager procession they climbed the passes that led over the 
coast range to the headwaters of the Yukon, down which 
they voyaged in boats and rafts to Dawson. In 1898 the 
Klondike district yielded $10,000,000, and in 1901, $22,000,- 
000. The total output has been about $200,000,000. 

Many Americans participated in this stampede, and in the 
more systematic development of a later day, but the Klondike 
is not within American territory, and therefore does not 
come within our purview at this time. In the wake of the 
Klondike rush, however, there came other finds of gold in the 
North, chiefly in Alaska itself, in American territory. 

The most remarkable of the Arctic diggings were those 
at Nome, which became the scene of operations unlike any 
other in the history of mining. The story centres round the 
three lucky Swedes, as they were called, although one of them, 
Jafet Lindeberg, was a Norwegian, who came to Alaska in 
charge of the herd of reindeer that the American govern- 
ment caused to be brought thither from Lapland in 1898. 
Of his two comrades, John Brynteson had worked in the iron 
mines of Michigan, while Erik Lindblom had been a tailor 
in San Francisco. They chanced to meet, in September, 
1898, at Council, on the Seward peninsula, which projects 
into Bering Strait toward the northeastern extremity of 
Siberia. All the available alluvial ground in the Council 
district had been staked by the 'stampeders' on the way to or 
from the Klondike, so they decided to go elsewhere. Lindblom 
reported that he had found gold in the coastal plain not far 
to the north, so the three adventurers procured a boat and 
the necessary provisions, with which they sailed for a hundred 
miles along the coast until they came to the mouth of the 
Snake river, near Cape Nome. The chill gray waters, under 
a cloudy sky, lapped a long beach fringed by the moss-covered 
plain, the Arctic tundra, which stretched drearily inland 
to a low line of forbidding hills. The gravel on the edge of 
the river, and even the beach sand, showed some gold, but 



MINING IN THE FAR NORTH 49 

the prospectors inferred correctly that it came from richer 
deposits up-stream. So, in their boat they ascended the 
meandering waterway as far as was practicable, and then 
on foot they explored the valley and began to test the tributary 
creeks systematically. The names of those creeks to an 
Alaskan are now as eloquent as Colchis and Pactolus 
to Macaulay's schoolboy. 

Although novices in mining, these three Scandinavians 
selected what proved to be the richest portions of the creek- 
beds; they located a joint discovery claim and then three 
other claims in their separate names, first on Anvil creek, 
and then on Snow, Glacier, and Rock creeks. They knew 
what they were about; they showed good judgment in their 
locating, and they took pains to comply with the law. When 
they returned to Council, in October, the news of their dis- 
coveries soon spread, causing a rush. The Nome mining 
district was organized forthwith, and the whole country was 
soon plastered with locations, most of which were illegal. 
The prospectors that had done the first mining on the Seward 
peninsula were chagrined to find that the three Swedes, 
comparatively inexperienced as they were, had pegged the 
best claims; whereupon they 'jumped' the claims of Lindeberg 
and his partners on Anvil creek, and set an example that was 
followed at once by the crowd of newcomers. Every claim 
was covered, two or three deep, with locations. Anarchy 
ensued, culminating in a disgraceful litigation, rendered long 
and costly by a conspiracy among the local authorities at 
Nome. Never was the law worse prostituted by scoundrels, 
and never did a man fight more courageously against big odds 
than Lindeberg in behalf of his 'prospecting comradeship'. 
To the honor of American journalism be it said that the 
'Washington Post' was instrumental in exposing the shame- 
ful story, and causing the Senate to demand an investiga- 
tion. The Federal Court at San Francisco checked the 
outrage and prevented the robbery from being consummated. 
Lindeberg and his associates came into their own, after a 



50 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

fight that had lasted three years. The Pioneer Mining 
Company, which became the owner of their consoUdated 
holdings, produced $17,000,000 in gold, from which $6,000,- 
000 was paid in dividends. Lindeberg did not forget his 
native place, Tromso, in Norway, but gave money for build- 
ing schools there, so that his younger countrymen might 
obtain the educational training that he had been compelled 
to acquire as best he could during the rough and tumble of 
his mining life. 

In 1899 some of the gold-seekers that congregated on the 
seashore at Nome were disgusted to find that all the creeks 
were plastered with location notices; fortunately for them, 
the gold was not only in the creek-beds, but also in the detritus 
under the moss at the edge of the plain where it was broken by 
the wash of the waves; no exceptional intelligence was needed 
to impel an idle digger to test the beach sand, which was, 
it seemed, open to anybody. Early in June a soldier found 
that the beach contained gold in paying quantity; it was a 
mine! Soon scores of men went to work feverishly with pan, 
shovel, and rocker; as much as $200 in a day was gathered 
by individuals; two men won $1100 in two months; during 
that summer $1,200,000 was recovered from the beach. The 
next year, of course, there was a rush thither, and a white- 
tented city, like a snow-drift five miles long, fringed the shore of 
Bering Sea. In the summer of 1900 there were 30,000 people 
at Nome; the output of the district, including the creeks, 
during that season was $4,750,000. The beach, itself has 
yielded altogether about $5,000,000. 

As might be expected "the golden sands of Nome" were 
admirably adapted to reckless promotion and flamboyant 
finance. Companies were formed without limit and shares 
were sold without stint; if individuals without machinery 
could earn $10 to $20 per day by mere digging on the sea- 
beach, it was obvious, so purred the promoters, that with 
machinery and expert knowledge the winnings would inevit- 
ably be tremendous. Every kind of gold-saving device was 



MINING IN THE FAR NORTH 51 

brought to Nome, from patent cradles to cumbrous dredges; 
the shore became littered with fearsome machines, which 
might still survive as monumental follies if a big storm had 
not smashed them and swept them over the tundra. A few 
linger in sheltered spots, a warning to the unwary. 

Soon after the digging on the beach had been started, the 
owners of claims on the adjacent tundra asserted that they 
were the legitimate proprietors of the marine alluvium; 
in compliance with the demand of sundry rich companies, 
three hundred miners were arrested by the military force 
posted at Nome, but they were soon released because there 
was nowhere to lodge them and nobody to feed them. Later 
the Government asserted its right of possession, the shore 
being a Federal reservation; no claims therefore might be 
located, but a man could hold a patch of ground so long as 
he was at work, on the tacit agreement of his fellow-workers. 
So the digging continued during summer for many years 
thereafter, and even as late as 1907 a hundred men were 
earning $3 per day on the beach. The gold obviously has 
been derived from the seaward edge of the coastal plain, 
itself an alluvial fan created by deposition of the detritus 
brought down from the gold-bearing hills eastward. The 
tide concentrates the gold upon a layer of clay that underlies 
the sand; a storm scatters the gold and throws it on the 
surface of the beach, to gladden the heart of man. At one 
time it was imagined that this deposit of golden sand extended 
under Bering Sea and across to Siberia, 175 miles distant; 
indeed, in 1900 an expedition under Russian guidance, but 
financed by an Anglo-American syndicate, was sent to find the 
other end of the marine placer. The enterprise served, as 
Huxley said, apropos of Spencer's idea of a tragedy, to 
illustrate how a pretty theory may be killed by an ugly fact. 

The rush to Dawson and to Nome brought many enter- 
prising men to the Yukon watershed and led eventually to 
the discovery of gold, in places scattered far apart in this 
northern wilderness. One of the richest diggings was on the 



52 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Tanana, which enters the Yukon at Fort Gibbon. The 
story of discovery has two threads, drawn by Barnettfe and 
Pedro respectively. In the spring of 1901, E. T. Barnette, 
who was called Captain because he commanded a boat in 
which he brought a stock of goods for sale, came up the 
Yukon from St. Michael and ascended its tributary stream, 
the Tanana, with the intention of establishing a trading- 
post. He found a suitable site and unloaded his goods on 
August 24, 1901. Meanwhile a party of five men, led by 
Felix Pedro, had started across country from Circle, which 
was 175 miles northeast of Barnette's camp. Before they 
arrived they had exhausted their food supplies and were 
living on berries and game. On July 27, 1902, Pedro made 
the first discovery at the head of Gold Stream; he picked up 
some bits of gold in the bed of the living stream and then 
sank a hole into the frozen ground to one side, where he 
found more gold in the gravel. The camp was named Fair- 
banks in honor of a Senator that subsequently became Vice- 
President of the United States. In September, 1902, there 
arrived Wadda, a Japanese, a redoubtable character, who, 
in January, 1903, carried the news of the discovery on Gold 
Stream to Dawson; whereupon a stampede ensued. Eight 
hundred men left Dawson during the next three months. 
They were a disorderly lot, not genuine miners; when they 
reached Fairbanks they were disappointed to see so little 
gold, and wanted to lynch Wadda. They also threatened 
an attack on Barnette's store, but a few well-armed men 
thwarted this purpose. Frustrated, most of them departed 
down the Yukon in small boats and rafts, bearing with them 
bad reports concerning the diggings, so that supplies intended 
for the traders at Fairbanks were either diverted to other 
points or countermanded altogether. In consequence, a 
severe shortage of food was experienced by the people at 
Fairbanks during the ensuing winter, and many would have 
died of starvation if fortunately great herds of caribou had 
not crossed the district in their annual migration southward. 



MINING IN THE FAR NORTH 



53 



■■%. Hydraulic Pipe 



%Tijbe 



Shortly afterward the rich alluvium of Cleary creek was 
discovered, and everybody had a chance to become rich. 
With the first snow that fell in the autumn of 1904 — in October 
— a boiler of 40 horsepower was hauled to the creek and set 
up on No. 1 Below, which means the first claim below the one 
located by the discoverer. A boiler was 
a prime requisite to the miner in Alaska j^" L.-'-2/zSfeel Head 
because he needed steam to thaw the ' ~^^^^fi'/n/ef 
frozen ground. The Alaskan interior is ' 

stiU in the grip of a Glacial period; the 
surface is covered with moss, named 
'tundra' by the Russians; under this 
comes a blanket of frozen mold, called 
'muck' by the Americans, because when 
thawed it is converted into liquid mud. 
Under this is the gravel, also frozen solid, 
which extends to bedrock, where lies the 
gold in concentrated form. It is impos- 
sible to reach the gold-bearing sediment 
on bedrock by means of pick and shovel, 
nor will ordinary explosives serve to aid 
the miner in sinking the necessary shaft. 
What could the miner do? He could 
overcome cold with heat. He laid bundles 
of sticks on the ground and made a fire 
that melted the frozen ground, so that 
it could be broken and shoveled. By repetition of this 
procedure the hole became a shaft. But such work was 
tedious and expensive. An alternative method was discovered 
by accident; in 1898 C. J. Berry noticed that the steam 
escaping from the exhaust of his engine had bored a hole in 
the ground; he picked up the exhaust-pipe, which was a rubber 
hose, and ascertained that the steam would thaw the ground 
to full length of the hose within a few minutes. Eureka! 
At once a suitable device was constructed; a rifle barrel 
was chosen and a small hole was bored in one side to admit 



f' 

.--■hi' Outlet 



Fig. 3. — A steam-point. 



54 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

the steam. Thus was the 'steam-point' invented. In its 
rudimentary form it consisted of a short length of iron pipe, 
pointed at one end, and at the other attached to a rubber 
hose leading to a boiler. The pointed end of the five or six 
feet of pipe was driven forward by taps from a hammer as 
the ground was softened by the jet of steam. In later years 
it was discovered by John H. Miles that cold water was 
better than steam, because it was cheaper and because it 
was effective over a wider range.* A solid head was added 
to the butt end and a protecting ring was welded to the 
forward end; the shank was made of special pipe and armored 
tubing replaced the ordinary hose. The cost of thawing by 
means of this device was from 30 to 50 cents at first; sub- 
sequently it was reduced to 10 or 15 cents, per cubic yard. 

The frozen condition of the placers in Alaska proved in the 
end to be useful in many ways. The miner could sink his 
shaft even in the bed of the creek, without having any water 
to pump; he was excused from using timbering; he could 
burrow with safety and follow the layer of gold-bearing 
gravel with impunity under the ice-bound surface. 

The methods employed in mining the frozen ground are 
illustrated by the operations at No. 11 Below on Cleary 
creek, as I saw them in 1908. The shaft is 7 feet square 
and 70 feet deep; in order to make a sump for collecting the 
seepage from thawing, the shaft has been sunk 10 feet below 
the surface of bedrock. Then a drift, 6 feet wide and &}i 
feet high, has been excavated uf)-stream along the top of 
bedrock for a distance of 200 feet, to the boundary of the 
claim. This drift or gangway is timbered. From the main 
passage a number of cross-drifts extend at right angles on 
both sides to the limits of the gold-bearing sediment of the 
alluvial channel, which here is from 240 to 300 feet wide. 
This development work being completed, the miners begin 
to remove the frozen gravel lying on bedrock, using the 

* Walter S. Weeks, 'Thawing Frozen Gravel with Cold Water', Mining 
and Scientific Press, Vol. CXX, p. 367; 1920. 



MINING IN THK FAR NORTH 55 

'steam-points' already described. The 'points' are first 
fed with hot water while they are being driven into the ground, 
and when they have been forced to their full length, the 
water is replaced by steam for 24 to 30 hours. This is the 
' sweating ' period, during which the frozen sediment is thawed 
around each point for a space 2 to 2}^ feet wide. When the 
ground has been softened, the 'points' are withdrawn, and 
the miners use their picks to break the gold-bearing material 
so that it can be shoveled into wheelbarrows, which are then 
trundled to the shaft. There the 'dirt' is discharged into a 
bucket and hoisted to the surface, to be washed in sluice- 
boxes during the genial days of summer. Even in this sub- 
Arctic region the temperature rises above 90°F. in July; the 
air is pleasantly warm when the ground underfoot is still 
held in the grip of a Glacial cold. In the course of these 
operations the miners remove about one foot deep of the 
bedrock and from five to six feet of the overlying gravel. 
The gold-bearing sediment is from a few inches to three 
or four feet thick. The excavation of the top of the bedrock 
is made necessary by the fact that the gold has found its 
way into the cracks and crevices of the rock, which, fortunately, 
is so decomposed as to be soft and therefore easy to dig. 

To go underground we* stood erect on the edge of the 
bucket and grasped the steel rope, while being dropped 
quickly to the bottom of the shaft. Lighting our candles, 
we walked along the boarded way over which the wheelbarrows 
pass. Having been warned of their approach, we stepped 
aside with our backs to the side of the level while the pro- 
cession of six men trundling their barrows proceeded to the 
shaft. Each barrow holds 15 cubic feet, or 375 pounds of 
gravel, six of them being required to fill the bucket of the 
hoist. The men are paid $5 and their board, which is worth 
$3 per day, so that each worker costs the mine-owner $8 
per day. Each man excavates, shovels, and wheels his own 
share of the output of the mine at a pace regulated by the 

* Not the editorial ' we ' ; Scott Turner was my companion. 



56 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

leader, who is chosen by the manager for that purpose. Turn- 
ing into a cross-drift, we entered a low cavernous chamber 
made in the course of mining. There we saw 38 'points' 
silently at work, with nothing to indicate the process, for 
any leakage of steam is carefully prevented. Such leakage 
not only entails waste of energy, but it causes the air of the 
mine to become heated so as to thaw the roof, with consequent 
falls of the overburden. Everything is frozen hard. The 
air has the feel of a cold-storage chamber. In walking through 
the workings one hears the occasional dropping of the gravel 
that has been loosened by such warming of the air as is due 
to the bodies of the miners and to the steam-pipes. 

The mines were worked mainly by lessees; fully three- 
quarters of the gold won in the Fairbanks district in 1908 was 
being taken out of the ground by 'lay-men', who paid the own- 
ers of the claims a tribute of 25 to 50 per cent on the gross out- 
put. For this large proportion of the yield the claim-holder 
had usually done nothing except to locate the ground or 
have it located for him. Of the hundreds of lucky mine- 
owners in the district, only a few made a discovery of gold 
themselves and only a few ever did any real work themselves. 
Many of the claims were located under power of attorney, 
and in some instances, by the abuse of this privilege, a few 
men had been enabled to acquire large areas of profitable 
ground. A miner could go up a creek and stake for himself 
and his friends as many claims as he hked, provided he made 
a discovery on each claim of 20 acres; although, as a matter 
of fact, a true discovery was rarely made, for the simple 
reason that the gold was thirty or forty feet underground, 
and a shaft was not sunk to bedrock until many days after 
the legal formalities of 'location' had been completed. More- 
over, a man could stake an 'association' claim of 160 acres, 
using the names of eight men and making only one supposi- 
titious discovery. This is a striking example of the unearned 
increment and of special privilege under a republican govern- 
ment, not infrequently named a democracy. By virtue of 



MINING IN THE FAE NORTH 57 

power of attorney a locator used any names he pleased, the 
fiction involving no permission or legal authorization from 
the owner of the name. In this manner Alaska was plastered 
with claims belonging to men that did nothing while others 
did the work from which the idle owners gathered a rich 
tribute of gold. 

While the alluvial diggings were attracting crowds of 
adventurers, the less spectacular winning of gold from lodes 
that reached into the crust of the earth had been started 
successfully in southeastern Alaska. Incidentally, it may 
be noted that none of the rich placers were linked with gold 
veins of comparable productiveness, although, in accord with 
experience elsewhere, the miner expected to find the stumps 
of the veins or lodes that by becoming weathered and eroded 
by geologic agencies had contributed the gold occurring 
in the alluvial deposits. Such veins were found in Silver Bow 
basin, which was first prospected, as we have seen, by Juneau 
and Harris, in 1880. The placers in this locality proved the 
more productive in the early days, so that the mining of the 
ore in the hillside was postponed to a later day. However, 
when Juneau and Harris came to Sitka with their news con- 
cerning Gold creek, a French Canadian, named Pierre Erus- 
sard, decided to go forth on a similar quest. He had been 
living with the Indians while engaged in prospecting, and when 
he left Sitka he was accompanied by several of them, among 
whom was his squaw's brother. In November, 1880, they 
landed on Douglas island, which is separated from the main- 
land by Gastineau Channel, and is opposite the town of 
Juneau. Pierre and his Indian comrades found gold in the 
beach sand; they also discovered an outcrop of gold-bearing 
quartz on the hillside, about a quarter of a mile from the shore. 
He located two claims, one named the Paris, after the capital 
of France, and the other the Bear's Nest, because he found 
the ground occupied by a bear and her two cubs. The 
loose quartz of the outcrop was shoveled by Pierre' into his 
sluice-boxes, and a little later he drove a shallow adit, or 



58 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

tunnel, to cut the lode a few feet below the moss-covered sur- 
face. This was the first mining on Douglas island. Pierre 
continued to wash gold out of the small placer formed by the 
concentration of the detritus eroded from the quartz outcrop, 
and he dug into the surficial part of the lode itself where it 
was soft, washing this product also in his rocker and sluice- 
boxes. He did fairly well, but it was no bonanza, compared 
with Gold creek ; therefore he sold the better of his two claims, 
the Paris, to John Treadwell, in 1881. 

John Treadwell was a carpenter and contractor with some 
experience in mining, for as early as 1869 he had worked in 
White Pine county, Nevada, and for 12 years before going 
to Alaska he had been engaged in both lode and alluvial 
mining in Nevada and California. In 1881 he was building 
a house in San Francisco for John D. Fry, a banker. To 
Colonel Fry and his friend James Freeborn there came a tale 
of a rich prospect in the hills behind Juneau. They decided 
to send Treadwell thither, promising him a third interest 
if the business was consummated. Treadwell went north, 
saw the prospect, and found that it was a stringer of quartz 
carrying free gold. This small vein was in the slate close 
to the present Ebner mine, in the Silver Bow basin, and 
eventually formed part of the great Alaska-Juneau property. 
Treadwell saw that most of the rich ore had been dug out 
and decided that the prospect was unattractive. Dis- 
appointed, he prepared to return to San Francisco, but 
while awaiting a steamer to take him back he met Pierre 
Erussard in the little store he had started at Juneau. Pierre 
happened to need some money to pay freight charges on sup- 
plies that had just arrived from the south, so he was willing to 
take $500 for an interest in his mine on Douglas island. With- 
out going to see the claim, Treadwell 'took a flyer' and 
advanced $500 from the funds intended for the purchase of the 
other prospect. Then he went across the water to see Pierre's 
mine and was so favorably impressed that he took a bond 
on the Paris claim for $20,000. Having made this deal. 



MINING IN THE FAR NORTH 



59 



Treadwell went to San Francisco, whence he returned on 
May 17, 1882, with a five-stamp mill, which he set to work 
on the Paris claim. Fry and Freeborn completed the deal, 
and Treadwell got his third interest. A few years later 
Freeborn sold his share to D. 0. Mills, a financier of high 
standing. The Alaska Mill & Mining Co. was formed, and 
operated the mine until June 1, 1890, when the Alaska Tread- 
well Gold Mining Co. was incorporated under the laws 
of Minnesota. In deference to his business ability, Mills 




Fia. 4. — Douglas island and Gastineau Channel. 



remained in control although in 1890 the Exploration Com- 
pany, of London, on the advice of Hamilton Smith, acquired 
a major interest. The Exploration Company was the chief 
of the many English financial groups that bought and worked 
American mines on a large scale during the last decade of the 
nineteenth century. Hamilton Smith became consulting 
engineer to the Treadwell company; he was followed succes- 
sively by H. C. Perkins, Thomas Mein, and F. W. Bradley, 
all of whom achieved notable distinction in their profession. 

In 1883 work was begun on the first large mill, of 120 
stamps, which was completed two years later. In 1887 the 



60 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

number of stamps was doubled, all under one roof. In 1893 
and 1899 the subsidiary companies, owning the adjacent 
ground, in the names of the Mexican and United corporations, 
erected their own mills, and a new 300-stamp mill was added 
by the parent company, the Alaska Treadwell Gold Mining 
Company. By that time 880 stamps, under the same manage- 
ment, were treating the ore of the lode. In 1908 they were 
crushing 1,360,000 tons of ore, yielding $3,250,000 per annum. 
At that time the ore reserves of the Alaska Treadwell were 
estimated to be 4,664,742 tons, of which 709,055 tons lay 
broken in the stopes. The 32 machine-drills in the mine were 
breaking 29-35 tons per drill per shift, the maximum duty being 
54-68 feet drilled and 53-9 tons broken per shift.* 

Until 1895 all the ore came from the big excavation known 
as the 'glory-hole', dug in the lode for a length of 1400 feet, a 
maximum width of 420 feet, and a maximum depth of 580 
feet. This huge open-cut yielded 5,086,500 tons of ore, up to 
1905. The 540 stamps of the Alaska Treadwell company 
crushed from 2750 to 3000 tons daily, or about 53^^ tons per 
stamp. In 1908 the ore contained $2-35 in gold, of which 
$2-15 was recovered, leaving only 20 cents in the discard. 
The cost of milling ranged from 12 to 22 cents per ton, the 
lowest figure referring to the newest mill. The total cost of 
mining and milling, together with general expenses, was only 
$1-35, so that a profit of 43 per cent was made on the assay- 
value of the millstuff. During the year ending May 31, 
1908, the Alaska Treadwell mine yielded 743,097 tons of ore, 
from which $887,509 as gold in amalgam and $736,636 in 
concentrate was obtained, making a total output of $1,624,145. 
Of this, $577,493 was profit. Up to that time the mine had 
yielded $22,359,934, of which $10,438,933 had been profit. 

An economic tragedy was impending. The method of 
mining underground, as distinguished from the open-cut, was 
an application of the overhead system of stoping, in the course 

* Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. XCVII, p. 750; 1908. 



MINING IN THE FAR NORTH 61 

of which pillars of rock were left to support the excavations. * 
When a stope was being cut, the miners stood on broken ore, 
only enough being drawn on the level below to keep the men 
within reach of the 'backs', which were arched so as to diminish 
the tendency to cave. Ore was stoped to a maximum width 
of 250 feet; in places it was removed for a width of 160 feet 
along a distance of 300 feet, creating large voids. Unfor- 
tunately, when the ore was drawn the stopes were not filled 
with waste, in consequence of which an enormous pressure 
developed on the hanging wall, and this became concentrated 
on the pillars, some of which collapsed, and caused caving on 
a large scale. This was followed by falls of rock from the 
surficial openings and eventually by subsidence, which 
became manifest by cracks, through which the sea-water 
began to seep into the mine. Over 340,000,000 cubic feet of 
rock had been removed in the course of mining operations 
during 45 years. The water of the mine became increasingly 
salty — an ominous sign! In 1916 it was ascertained that the 
inflow of salt water was at the rate of 39 gallons per minute. 
An effort to check this inflow was made by dumping tailing 
from the mill, to fill any cracks in the sea-bottom. The draw- 
ing of ore from the upper workings was decreased.! To 
facilitate measures of safety the three companies were con- 
solidated in 1916. These precautions were too late, and 
proved unavailing; on the night of April 21, 1917, the beach 
subsided and large cracks appeared on the shore. Water 
poured into the mine, and the workings were drowned com- 
pletely. Fortunately the catastrophe had been foreseen, so 
care had been taken to save the men underground, not one of 
whom was lost. A number of horses and mules employed on 
the lower levels, however, were entombed. Two of the 
company's houses, a natatorium and a fire-station, were 
engulfed within the opening made by the caving of the surface. 

* T. A. Rickard, ' Mining the Treadwell Lode ', Mining and Scientific 
Press, Vol. XCVII, p. 85; 1908. 

t Mining and Scientific Press, February 10, 1917. 



62 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Many other buildings cracked or collapsed, but, again, no 
lives were lost. The great enterprise was dead. Up to 
June 1, 1916, the Tread well group of companies had treated 
26,464,047 tons of ore for a yield of $62,797,460, the average 
yield being $2-37 per ton, the average operating cost $1-42 
per ton, and the dividends 80-5 cents per ton, making a total 
profit of $21,303,557. But this does not measure the industrial 
benefit of the operations, because for the time of a generation 
this mine served as a point of departure for discovery and 
development in the surrounding country, out of which came 
other useful enterprises that contributed to the welfare of the 
people of southeastern Alaska. 



CHAPTER IV 

LOW-COST GOLD-MINING 

Forty-three years ago a record for low cost was made at the 
Spanish mine, in Nevada county, California. In 22 days of 
September, 1887, there was mined 2796 tons of ore at a cost 
of 37-5 cents per ton, of which 32-4 cents was for labor and 
5-1 cents for supplies. The mill treated this ore for 23 cents 
per ton, of which 12-3 cents was for labor and 10-7 cents for 
supplies. Thus the total operating cost was 60-5 cents per 
ton. The yield was $1-16 in gold per ton, leaving a profit of 
56 cents per ton, or 48 per cent of the yield. The mine was an 
open-cut in a schist formation on a hillside and the work was 
done by Chinese laborers that were paid $1-40 per shift. The 
ore was soft, and could be ground effectively in four Hunting- 
ton mills, supplemented by silvered amalgamating plates.* 
The engineer in charge was F. W. Bradley, a student from the 
University of California. -As has been indicated, the condi- 
tions were unusually favorable in respect of softness of ore, 
accessibility to the mill, metallurgic simplicity, with cheap 
labor and power, but even at that the results were so remark- 
able as to attract general attention, which, as might be 
expected, was magnified, for advertising purposes, by the 
manufacturers of the Huntington mill, the firm of Parke & 
Lacy, at San Francisco. The record made at the Spanish 
mine therefore found its way into many textbooks on mining 
published at that time. 

The editor of the 'Mining and Scientific Press 'f (at that 
date, Charles G. Yale) evidently took a warm interest in the 

* Mining and Scientific Press, October 22, 1887. 

t This technical periodical, pubUshed at San Francisco, was started in 
1860, and was consolidated with the 'Engineering and Mining Joumar 
of New York in 1922. 

63 



64 



A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 



good work done at the Spanish mine, for, in the issues of 
November 26, 1887, and of January 7, 1888, he quoted further 
figures of cost with keen appreciation. In the first of these 
articles he gives the data for 28 days in October, 1887. They 
show that 3443 tons of ore were treated in the mill at a cost 





Stoping per 
load 


Tram- 
ming 
4874 
loads 


Mill- 
ing 

4874 

loads 
per 

load 


Boarding- 
house 
per man 
per day 


Superin- 
tendent 

and 
general 
expense 






Cuts 
4746 
loads 


Stopes 

128 

loads 


Total 




SO-046 


$0-686 






$0-097 


$100-00 


$ 292-06 




$0-033 


$0-020 
0-008 
0-046 




R. B. men 






96-00 




0-004 


0-127 




73-75 




223-85 




0-023 


0-813 




346-10 












$0-073 


$1-626 


$0-033 


$0-074 


$0-097 


$100-00 


$1192-75 














$0-001 
0-002 
0-002 


$0-004 
0-362 

0-010 


$ 2-10 


$ 8-38 


General hardware 


$0-001 


$0-016 
0-037 
0-113 


$0-001 


19-12 
24-47 




0-016 


93-38 








123-71 


Mill 








0-043 
0-019 


208-30 










92-36 




0-001 


0-094 




19-50 




0-002 




10-15 








2-10 
















$0-018 


$0-260 


$0-003 


$0-067 


$0-376 


$ 2-10 


$ 601-47 








$0-091 


$1-786 


$0-036 


$0-141 


$0-473 


$102-10 


$1794-22 







of 23-9 cents, of which 13-3 cents was for labor and 10-6 cents 
was for supplies. The mining cost was 34-6 cents, of which 
30-4 cents went for labor and 4-2 cents for supplies. The 
bullion produced was worth $3138-55, and the total expenses 
were $2015-04, so that a profit of $1123-51 was made on ore 
containing 91 cents' worth of gold per ton, the total cost being 



LOW-COST GOLD-MINING 65 

only 58-5 cents per ton. In the next month, November, 4047 
tons of ore were mined and milled, the total yield being $2644-57 
and the total cost $2120-27, so that the profit was $524-30. 
The mining expense was 31-4 cents per ton and the milling 
only 20-8 cents, so that the total cost was 52-2 cents, as against 
a yield of 65 cents per ton. 

The records of the Spanish mine were destroyed in the San 
Francisco fire of 1906, but, fortunately, the figures for another 
month, namely, June 1899, were preserved in a notebook, as 
tabulated on the page opposite. 

The "load" was equivalent to a ton. These costs as 
detailed above include the salary of the superintendent and 
the general expenses, but they exclude expienditure at the 
boarding-house, because this was covered by a charge of a 
dollar per day for board and lodging, as paid by the men on 
the pay-roll. The total cost, as will be noted, amounted to 
37 cents per ton, to which must be added the expense of the 
shoes and dies used in milling; this item is not given in the 
notebook, but it can be stated as not more than 5 cents, so 
that the total cost amounted to 42 cents per ton. This serves 
to show that the low costs of 1887 were not a mere flash in the 
pan; on the contrary, the operations were continuous in 
economic character from 1886 to 1900. 

Subsequently Mr. Bradley became consulting engineer and 
president of the Alaska Treadwell Gold Mining Company, 
and at the mines on Douglas island, Alaska, he made a new 
record on a much bigger scale. In obtaining such satisfactory 
results he was aided by the successive resident managers, 
Joseph MacDonald, Robert A. Kinzie, and Philip R. Bradley. 

In the year 1913 the Alaska Treadwell company mined 
886,057 tons of ore at a cost of 82-71 cents per ton, including 
development; this output was milled at a cost of 24-76 cents 
per ton, and a total operating cost of $1-21 per ton, to which 
7 cents per ton was added for dwellings and construction, 
making a total cost of $1-28 per ton, inclusive of taxes and 
office expenses at Paris, London, and San Francisco. The 



66 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

net profit was 11-38 per ton, and the total profit, $1,448,438. 
Up to that time the total tonnage treated had been 13,867,789; 
the gold yield, $33,964,625; the profit, $15,674,258; and the 
dividends, $13,785,000. 

The favorable factors that facilitated this performance were 
various: a large lode, which was stoped for an average width 
of 125 feet; no timbering was required, yet the ground broke 
so well that 30 tons were broken per machine-shift ; the larger 
fragments required block-holing, or 'bulldozing', but this 
could be done effectively, because the gold-bearing rock broke 
easily into large slabs. In the mill the ore could be readily 
pulverized by stamps, at the rate of 4-8 tons per stamp per 
diem. Half of the gold in the ore was free, that is, it could be 
saved by amalgamation on silvered copper plates; the other 
half of the gold was collected in the 2 per cent of pyritic con- 
centrate, from which later it was extracted by cyanidation. 
The position of the mine, at tide-water, permitted marine 
transport for machinery and supplies; the seasonal variations 
in the weather were not such as to handicap operations, and 
an adequate force of intelligent workmen was always available, 
thanks partly to proper housing and considerate management. 

The success of this group of mines on Douglas island 
prompted plans for starting similar large-scale operations on 
the gold lode upon the mainland opposite, where a potential 
orebody 4 miles long and as much as 1000 feet wide had been 
outlined in the workings of the Ebner, Alaska Juneau, and 
Perseverance mines. Each of them- had been exploited with 
moderate success for a gold ore of medium grade, that is, from 
$2 to |4 per ton, after sorting; and it seemed likely that they 
would prove even more profitable if worked on a much larger 
scale such as would permit of the beneficiation of their low- 
grade ore, that is, an ore comparable with that being treated 
so successfully by the Treadwell companies. 

The Ebner was worked for 15 years by a man of that name, 
who proved the existence of large reserves of putative ore 
yielding $1-80 per ton for a width of 60 feet. An adit, to cut 



LOW-COST GOLD-MINING 67 

the lode at a depth of 1200 feet, was started in 1913 by the 
engineers of the United States Smelting & Refining Company, 
with a view to developing enough ore to justify milling opera- 
tions on a big scale. This undertaking was dropped in 1917, 
because no orebodies of adequate dimensions were disclosed. 

The Perseverance mine was acquired by Joseph T. Gilbert, 
of Gilbertsville, New York, in 1895. He and his partners 
erected a ten-stamp mill and a wire-rope tramway, for the 
purpose of testing the ore broken from the outcrop. This 
selected ore yielded $4 per ton. The desultory operations 
came to an abrupt end when, in 1899, a snowslide destroyed 
both the mill and the tramway. * A year later Charles Pearce, 
who worked as foreman in the Treadwell mine, happened to 
meet Colonel W. J. Sutherland, a promoter, to whom he 
spoke concerning the Perseverance mine. Whereupon the 
Colonel took the business in hand and drove an adit 2400 feet 
long to tap the lode at 1300 feet, on its dip of 73 degrees, 
below the outcrop. This adit, known as the Alexander tunnel, 
intersected 70 feet of lode assaying $2-40 per ton. In 1904 
Sutherland met Arthur L. Pearse, an English mining engineer 
of good standing, in London, and engaged him to examine the 
mine, with a view to placing £100,000 in bonds with Achille 
Adam, of Paris. Pearse reported favorably, but Adam and 
Sutherland failed to agree on terms. In 1905 the firm of John 
Taylor & Sons, long and honorably established in London, 
sent J. H. Clemes to examine the mine, but he decUned to 
confirm Pearse's appraisal of its potential value, because at 
that time an outcrop 4000 feet long and a point in an adit 1300 
feet below represented the only evidence on which an estimate 
of 10,000,000 tons of ore had been predicated. This, to a 
conservative engineer, seemed much too expansive. How- 
ever, the Colonel raised some money in London, and, aided by 
Gilbert, proceeded to the building of a 50-stamp mill, which 
was completed in 1906, and served to provide a precarious 
profit. A yield of $1-90 per ton was obtained at a working 

* T. A. Rickard, editorial, The Mining Magazine,liondon, March, 1914. 



68 



A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 



cost of $1-20 per ton. Another unit of 50 stamps was added 
in the following year, 1907, and the increased milling capacity 
reduced the working cost to 93 cents, on a yield of $1-80, per 

ton. This work was done in the name of the Alaska Consoli- 
dated, which was the holding company for the Perseverance 
Mining Company, of New York. For five years this company 
operated on a narrow margin, the working profit at the mine 




Fig. 5. — Map of the Juneau mines. 

being absorbed in new equipment, London expenses, and 
frequent litigation. In 1911 Colonel Sutherland died. He 
owed his title to having been on the staff of a Cuban governor, 
and he had most of the characteristics of the typical promoter 
of the nineteenth century : expansive and expensive, florid and 
flamboyant, persuasive and persistent. Just before his death 
serious litigation had been started in Alaska on the initiative 
of Louis Shackleford, who had quarreled with the Colonel over 



LOW-COST GOLD-MINING 69 

a game of poker, and had vowed to get even. He held apex 
rights by means of a claim called the Groundhog, which covered 
part of the outcrop, and he controlled sundry other claims on 
Sheep creek along the strike of the lode. Therefore Shackle- 
ford, with B. L. Thane, a local mining engineer, acquired the 
ground on which the tailing from the Perseverance mill dis- 
charged and thereby held Sutherland in a cleft stick. On the 
death of Sutherland, the other two, with Wendel P. Hammon, 
of San Francisco, approached the English shareholders with 
a view to a compromise and an eventual consolidation of the 
conflicting interests. This was finally accomplished in 1912, 
when the Alaska Gastineau Gold Mining Company was 
registered in New York for the purpose of acquiring the vari- 
ous Perseverance properties. Thereupon bonds were issued 
through Hayden, Stone & Company, of New York, for pro- 
viding a working capital of $1,250,000. As soon as this had 
been accompUshed, the promoters sent D. C. Jackhng and 
A. F. Holden to examine the mine. They reported favorably, 
and recommended the provision of $4,500,000 for development 
and equipment, the latter to include a mill of 6000 tons daily 
capacity and a hydro-electric power-plant. It is evident that 
confident expectations were entertained and that operations 
on a magnificent scale were planned; but this was no half- 
baked affair, it was under the guidance of highly competent 
mining engineers. The required capital was raised by issuing 
614,700 shares at $10, the remaining 135,300 shares, out of a 
total authorized capital of 750,000 shares of $10 each, being 
held in reserve for general purposes and to acquire the out- 
standing minority stocks of the two original constituent com- 
panies. This issue was made in July 1912, $5 per share being 
paid on allotment and $5 a year later. In 1914 the shares 
were quoted at $24. 

The scheme outlined by the management was an enlarge- 
ment of that suggested originally by Pearse. His first milUng 
unit was to have a capacity of 2000 tons daUy; Jackling and 
Holden proposed to start with 6000 tons daily. Pearse esti- 



70 



A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 



mated a stoping-width of 60 feet, averaging $2-20 per ton, to 
be worked at a cost of $1-25 per ton; his successors expected 
to stope an average width of 70 feet, containing $1-50 in gold 
per ton, at a cost of 75 cents per ton. This later estimate was 
not based upon ordinary sampling, which in a lode of such 
size and grade, and with so few openings, was deemed imprac- 
ticable, but upon the yield of the 600,000 tons that had been 
taken from three large stopes. The plans for development 
included the driving of an adit in the lode from Sheep creek 
at an average depth of 2200 feet below the outcrop, or about 
700 feet below the old workings. At that time, in 1912, it 
was assumed that 50,000,000 tons of ore were "definitely indi- 
cated ", and on this basis the property was deemed a " bargain " 
at $12,000,000, provided the necessary working capital became 
available. It was expected that the ore, as broken in the 
mine, without sorting, would yield $1-50 per ton in the mill. 
This expectation was based upon the work done previously in 
the Perseverance mine by a competent superintendent, J. R. 
Mitchell, a Cornishman, who had applied the caving system 
successfully, and had proved thereby that the ore could be 
broken at the rate of about 100 tons per machine-drill shift. 
It was anticipated that the cost of mining, plus development. 





1915 


1916 


1917 


1918 




1,115,294 

$1-16 

81-06 

$0-31 

0-31 


1,892,788 

$1-19 

81-33 

$0-38 

0-27 


2,240,346 

$1-11 

81-32 

«0-42 

0-26 


1,285,445 


Average value 


$1-09 


Recovery, per cent 


81 10 




$0-61 




0-33 






Total cost . 


$0-71 


$0-75 


SO-77 


$0-90 







could be reduced to 24 cents, as against 72 cents in the Tread- 
well mines. 

The mill started to work in February, 1915, by which time 
it was estimated officially that between 75,000,000 and 100,- 



LOW-COST GOLD-MINING 



71 



000,000 tons of ore having a recoverable value of $1-50 per 
ton had been proved.* In March the mill treated 40,000 
tons, the tailing assaying 30 cents from a feed of $1-85 per ton. 
During the four years 1915-1918 the results were as shown on 
the page opposite. 

The financial sequel is told best with the arid eloquence of 
statistics, f 





1915 


1916 


1917 


1918 


Revenue 


$1,046,104 
794,256 

+251,848 


$1,837,291 

1,423,260 

+414,031 

217,747 

112,834 


$2,009,632 

1,724,474 

+285,158 

228,552 

42,275 


$1,136 223 


Operating charges 


1,233,168 
— 96 945 


Interest oaid 


219 685 






— 336,250 









In April, 1915, the shares sold at $40-75, and the bonds (two 
issues each of $1,500,000 at 6 per cent) sold at $160, together 
equal to a valuation of over $35,000,000. In 1922 the loss 
was $144,538. Then silence. 

The mflling practice was most ingenious, and was based 
upon an application of the methods applied so successfully to 
the concentration of low-grade copper ores, in which field the 
engineers of the company had special and successful experience. 
The conventional processes of amalgamation and cyanidation 
were discarded completely. The crushing was done by gyra- 
tory breakers, supplemented by jaw-breakers of unusual size. J 
The ore was then conveyed to rolls, supplemented by more 
rolls, with an intermediate sizing upon impact screens. This 
product passed over tables of the Garfield and Wilfley type, 
followed by Richards-Janney classifiers, the coarse product 
from which went to tube-mills, while the fine passed to more 
Garfield and Wilfley tables. The final products consiste<i_of 

* Mining and Scientific Priss, Vol. CX, p. 781; 1915. 
t Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. CXVIII, p. 685; 1919. 
JL. E. Spray, 'The Alaska Gastiaeau Mill', Mining and Scientific- 
Press, Vol. CX, p. 612; 1915. 



72 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

several classes of concentrate, all of which were shipped to the 
Selby smelter, near San Francisco. 

The failure of the Gastineau enterprise was due to an opti- 
mistic estimate of the grade of the prospective output of the 
mine when worked on a magnified scale, and also to an unex- 
pected dilution of the ore as it came from the stopes. In the 
official report for 1914, reference was made to "the known 
continuous and uniform nature of the ore deposits",* but 
such a statement was not warranted by previous experience 
in either the Gastineau or the Juneau mines. The assumption, 
which seems to have underlain the estimates of the pro- 
moters, that the 600,000 tons mined under Mitchell's super- 
intendency could be regarded as a fair sample, was fallacious. 
Every miner selects his ore and selects the places where he is 
to obtain it; mining is essentially a selective process; and 
Mitchell, an experienced Cornishman, was a sagacious miner. 
This fact was not sufficiently appreciated. Moreover, it was 
expected, under the modified caving system adopted at the 
Gastineau, that the rock broken would be restricted to specific 
parts of the lode, but this is not what happened; in consequence 
there was a dilution, by inclusion of barren rock, that lowered 
the grade of the output, and thereby vitiated the estimates. 
Another, perhaps minor, factor was the wetting of the ore. 
The average annual precipitation, as rain and snow, at Juneau 
is 85 inches, and along the crest of the mountains, where the 
outcrop of the lode extends, the precipitation is 130 inches. 
When the ground became fractured by the vigorous mining 
operations underground the seepage from the surface mois- 
tened the ore, which, in this unsuitable condition, went to the 
dry-crushing mill, and therefore caused difficulties in the 
treatment. In other words, a dry-crushing mill of the copper- 
concentration type was not suited to a wet and sticky ore. 
The failure of the Gastineau enterprise was due, it is fair to 
conclude, to insufficient appreciation of previous local experi- 
ence on the part of engineers of distinguished ability, as demon- 

* Engineering and Mining Journal, p. 63, July 10, 1915. 



LOW-COST GOLD-MINING 73 

strated in their own special field of copper-mining. However, 
as Mr. Jackling is said to have remarked, one can not pick a 
winner every time. 

Meanwhile an enterprise of similar character was being 
incubated at the Alaska Juneau, which lies between the Per- 
severance and the Ebner mines. For many years before 1915 
the Juneau was treated as one of the Treadwell group, although 
separated by the strait called Gastineau Channel, because 
friendly stockholding interests were represented by interlock- 
ing managements. F. W. Bradley was president and con- 
sulting engineer of the Treadwell group, and president also of 
the Juneau company, with Robert A. Kinzie as resident 
manager for both mines. The Juneau was owned by a private 
company that included among its principal shareholders 
Wernher, Beit & Company, the South African promoters and 
financiers, also the old Exploration Company, of London, with 
Hamilton Smith, its consulting engineer, also his partner H. C. 
Perkins, and the estate of Thomas Mein, who at one time was 
manager of the Treadwell mines, and subsequently became 
manager of the Robinson mine at Johannesburg, in the Trans- 
vaal. Up to 1915 this company had paid $55,000 in dividends. 
From 1897 to 1900 inclusive a total output of 72,321 tons was 
treated, after careful sorting, in a 30-stamp mill. The yield 
averaged $4-10 in free gold, recovered by amalgamation. No 
concentrate was made. During the subsequent nine years, 
from 1901 to 1909, an output of 181,436 tons was treated in 
the same mill for an average yield of $1-45 per ton, .also as free 
gold, by amalgamation. The decreased return during this 
later period was caused by a change of method, careful sorting 
giving way to the selection of blocks of ground in mining, 
supplemented by rough sorting before milling. Between 1903 
and 1905 two adits, 400 and 500 feet respectively below the 
open-cuts from which the previous output had come, were 
driven to, and through, the lode. Slices from the sides of 
these new workings were tested in a five-stamp miU. This 
sampling indicated a width of 343 feet of ore yielding at the 



74 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

rate of 90 cents in free gold in the upper adit and 570 feet of 
ore of an equal gold content in the lower adit, a part of which, 
173 feet long, showed $1-22 per ton. In August, 1910, F. W. 
Bradley suggested that $500,000 be spent in driving an adit 
5700 feet long to cut the lode 900 feet below the upper work- 
ings; at the same time he advised the building of a 100-stamp 
mill, a power-plant, and such other equipment as might be 
required to test the feasibihty of exploiting this immense low- 
grade gold deposit on an adequate scale. Moreover, he offered 
to complete 5000 feet of the proposed adit for 50 shares of the 
company's stock per linear foot, that is, 250,000 shares for the 
whole 5000 feet of adit. In 1903 the Juneau company's 
capital had been increased from 500,000 to 750,000 shares, and 
the additional 250,000 shares happened to be intact. Thus 
the arrangement with Bradley was facilitated. Upon the 
completion of the adit he was to equip the mine as planned, to 
a productive capacity of 23,000 tons per month, and in return 
he was to receive 250,000 shares more, the capital of the 
company being increased by that much, to 1,000,000 shares. 
Thus he was to become the owner of half the stock, which, 
together with his former small holding, would give him the 
control. In December, 1910, an agreement embodying these 
terms was consummated by Perkins and accepted by all the 
stockholders. Thereupon Bradley alloted one third of his 
interest in his contract to Ogden Mills, chief shareholder (in 
succession to his father) in the Trpadwell companies, and 
another third to the San Francisco Exploration Company, a 
partnership consisting of J. H. Mackenzie, M. L. Requa, and 
Bradley himself. Later the stock held by Wernher, Beit & 
Company was purchased by W. H. Crocker. 

The adit was driven in due course successfully to comple- 
tion in 1913. The lode, where it was cut at this level, averaged 
$2 per ton over a width of 500 feet; whereupon Bradley, by 
averaging the yield of the old workings overhead with that of 
the sampling at the adit-level, estimated a yield of $1-45, to 
be won at a cost of 80 cents, per ton. The sampling had been 



LOW-COST GOLD-MlNING 75 

done carefully, in the ordinary way, with moil and hammer. 
The estimate of cost was based upon his experience at the 
Treadwell, together with such mining and milling as he had 
supervised at the Juneau itself. By combining the caving 
system, already used in the Perseverance mine by Mitchell, 
with the shrinkage stoping method used in the Treadwell 
mines, he expected to obtain 100 tons of broken ore per 
machine-drill shift as against an average of 30 tons in the 
mines on Douglas island. * He expected that whereas sorting 
of i}4, to 1 had yielded an average of $4-10 during four 
years, and whereas selection of ground and rough sorting in 
the ratio of 1-6 to 1 had yielded an average of $2' 70 dur- 
ing nine years, it would be feasible to obtain an average 
yield of $1-45 by sorting 3 to 1 henceforth when mining 
on a larger scale underground. 

The successful flotation of the Alaska Gastineau and the 
good reports from that mine caused Bradley's associates to 
insist upon a public flotation of the Juneau in March 1915. 
Shortly thereafter the capital of the Alaska Juneau Gold 
Mining Company was increased to $15,000,000 in $10 shares. 
At that time a pilot-mUl of 50 stamps, erected on the shore of 
Gastineau Channel, showed that the run-of-mine averaged 
$1-50 per ton, which meant $3 per ton for sorted ore. A 
report t was issued jointly by Bradley and Mackenzie shortly 
after the flotation of the company; in this report they stated 
that there was available .80 to 100 million tons of ore that after 
sorting should have an average assay-value of $2 and should 
yield a net profit of 70 cents to $1 per ton. A block of 400,000 
shares at $10 was underwritten and sold at par by a syndicate 
headed by Bernard M. Baruch, who took pains to emphasize 
the conservative character of the technical estimates, where- 
upon the shares rose to $15. The pilot-mill of 50 stamps, 
which had gone to work in 1914, gave results as shown on 
the next page. 

* F. W. Bradley, Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. CVII, p. 882; 1913. 
t Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. CXI, p. 917; 1915. 



76 



A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 



Year 


Tons 


Gold, 

assay-value 


Yield 


Tailing 


Gold 


Concentrate 


1914 
1915 
1916 


60,026 
179,892 
180,113 


$1-43 
1-48 
0-91 


0-91 
0-69 
0-39 


$0-25 
0-48 
0-61 


0-27 
0-29 
0-26 



In the report for 1916 Mr. Bradley stated that up to date, 
including the early milling in Silver Bow basin, the mine had 
yielded 742,220 tons having an average assay-value of $1-93 per 
ton for gold alone, and that the large-scale milling of the future 
should be done on an ore containing $1 per ton in gold, silver, 
lead, and zinc. The cost was estimated not to exceed 50 
cents per ton, having in view a capacity of 10,000 to 12,000 
tons per day in the new mill. This may be compared with 
the forecast, three years earlier, of $1-45 in yield and 80 cents 
in cost. Evidently the expectations on which the Juneau 
enterprise was started had begun to suffer a discounting, but 
most of the estimated margin of profit had survived and the 
tonnage of ore assured was now so great as to indicate a win- 
ning by no means unsatisfactory. Then a serious blunder was 
made. Early in 1915, Bradley became ill, and in June he 
went to Honolulu to recuperate. Meanwhile one of the 
directors had issued a circular, unwarrantably optimistic, and 
shortly before Bradley's departure the directors sanctioned 
the erection of a mill of 8000 tons capacity. This was done 
under the direction of Mackenzie, who had become consulting 
engineer in Bradley's absence.* The mill was ready to start 
in March, 1917, and in the May following Mackenzie relin- 
quished his duties as consulting engineer. The mill proved a 
failure; the lining of the ball-mills was defective; the passing 
of the ore from the gyratory crushers direct to ball-mills of a 
type untried outside cement practice failed to produce the 



* J. H. Mackenzie, Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. CXVI, p. 323; 
1918. 



LOW-COST GOLD-MINING 77 

desired pulverization; the capacity of the plant was only 
1200 tons per day in May and 3274 in December, the highest 
being 3833 per day in November, or considerably less than 
half of what was expected. The cost of milling during the 
last four months of 1917 was 40 cents per ton mined, the total 
cost was 70 cents, and the yield was 75 per cent of an assay- 
value of 82 cents, so that a loss of 8 cents per ton had to be 
faced, the little lead and silver that were recovered being 
absorbed by freight and treatment charges on the concentrate. 
The average gold-assay value of the mill-feed for the year 
1917 was 86 cents. The operating loss incurred after the mill 
started was $144,940 at the end of January, 1918, by which 
time the company was indebted to the amount of $1,000,000. 

The enterprise seemed about to end in a fiasco, and Mr. 
Bradley might easily have saved himself a great deal of the 
worry that had suddenly come upon him in consequence of 
the unwise policy of his associates, who built a mill that 
ignored the experience acquired in the operation of the pilot- 
plant and of other mills in the district. However, he felt 
under obligation to the shareholders, most of whom had bought 
stock on account of their confidence in his skill and integrity, 
and he had a certain not unreasonable urge to persist in prov- 
ing that his plans, carried out by him, would come to profit- 
able fruition. He was assisted loyally by his brother, Philip 
R. Bradley, who was resident manager of the mine from 1914 
to 1920, and consulting engineer afterward. 

The new mill had been built without providing facilities for 
sorting, whereas the experiments in the pilot-mill and all 
previous plans had been based upon the expectation that 
sorting would be practised as an integral part of the operations. 
Here note may be made of the fact that all the early mUluig 
at the Juneau during a long series of years included some 
measure of selection of ore and the sorting of it after it had 
been mined; and it was the proper sorting of the ore before 
grinding that in the end turned failure into success. The mill 
had to be altered radically, and further experimental work 



78 



A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 



had to be conducted before the plant could be completed. It 
was a difficult task. Operations continued to be unprofitable, 
of course, and the indebtedness increased rapidly, for this is 

Pilot-mill 





Number of 

days in 

operation 


Tons 
mined 
per day 


Per ton milled 


Year 


Cost of 
milling 


Gold 

assay-value 


Gold 
recovered 


1914 
1915 
1916 


311 
363 
364 


201 
495 
495 


$0-4473 
0-3917 
0-4953 


$1-32 
1-33 
0-94 


$1-06 
104 
0-64 



New Mill 



1917 


274 


2,472 


0-7171 


0-86 


0-64 


1918 


363 


1,631 


0-6762 


0-92 


0-73 


1919 


363 


1,909 


0-6608 


0-99 


0-72 





New Mill Under 


Reconstruction 




1920 


364 


2,590 


0-4463 


1-08 


0-78 


1921 


363 


4,445 


0-3554 


0-86 


0-60 


1922 


361 


6,400 


0-2613 


0-81 


0-56 


1923 


361 


6,860 


0-2662 


0-81 


0-58 


1924 


362 


8,476 


0-2512 


0-87 


0-62 


1925 


362 


9,618 


0-2504 


0-85 


0-58 





New Mill Completed 






1926 


362 


10,579 


0-2154 


0-75 


0-50 


1927 


362 


11,790 


0-2257 


0-77 


0-55 


1928 


363 


10,243 


0-2285 


1-11 


0-84 


1929 


362 


10,598 


0-2319 


1-12 


0-89 


1930 


363 


10,811 


0-2269 


1-11 


0-86 



one of the penalties of large-scale operations when they mis- 
carry. Mr. Bradley personally advanced the necessary funds, 
until the amount became too burdensome, whereupon an issue 
of bonds for $3,500,000 was authorized on March 15, 1919. 



LOW-COST GOLD-MINING 79 

The response at first was restricted to two stockholders, each 
for $500, in consequence of which he himself subscribed for 
the major portion of these bonds, of which $1,894,000 was 
issued ultimately. By that time all the defects of the mill 
had become apparent and steps were taken to correct them, 
the principal change being the addition of sorting-belts, 
together with the equipment required for the disposal of the 
rejected rock. Again let us avail ourselves of the arid elo- 
quence of statistics as recorded on the opposite page. 

The 10 years, 1917-1927, constituted a period of severe 
strain and courageous effort; then came the assurance of suc- 
cess. Slowly the capacity of the mill was increased to a 
maximum of 14,000 tons per diem, but this was too severe on 
the equipment, and it was decided that 10,000 tons was the 
tonnage best suited to the plant. Slowly a profit was won 
and in due course the bonds were retired, the extinction of all 
indebtedness being finally achieved at the end of 1930, by 
which time the sum of $3,378,586 had been liquidated. In 
December of 1930 there was mined and trammed to the mill 
325,990 tons, the jdeld from which was 97-55 cents in gold, 
besides 1-53 cents in lead and silver, per ton. The cost of 
mining and tramming was 28-68 cents per ton; of milling, 
19-94; of other operating costs, 2-15; and of head-office 
expenses, 0-77 cent. Thus the total cost was 51-54 cents and 
the operating profit, 47-54 cents per ton, or a total profit of 
$155,000 for the month. A dividend of 10 cents per share 
per quarter was declared, thereby emphasizing the emergence 
of the enterprise from gloom into sunlight. 

The following description outUnes the operations of the 
mill. The basic principle of the treatment is to reject and 
remove the barren portion of the mine output as quickly as 
possible. The gold in the ore is intimately associated with 
galena in quartz, which is distributed through the rock (slate 
and gabbro) in the form of veinlets and irregular masses. 
After the mine output has been broken to a minimum thick- 
ness of ten inches, it is easy to pick out the quartz and the 



80 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

rock showing any quartz, these being dropped into the bowl 
of a gyratory crusher. The clean slate and gabbro remain on 
the belt and proceed to the waste dump. Out of 10,000 tons 
brought, by tram from the mine, 4100 tons is rejected by 
sorting on belts, where the picking is facilitated by spraying 
the material as it goes onto the belt after it has been crushed. 
Sizing by means of impact screens is followed by further 
sorting, whereby 1450 tons additional are rejected. Fine 
grinding in rolls and ball-mills is followed by tanks and tables 
that together eliminate a further 4250 tons as tailing; finally 
another 193 tons is removed by flotation; so that altogether 
9993 tons of waste material is rejected, leaving only 7 tons of 
lead concentrate, in which the gold, with a little silver, is 
collected. The coarse gold goes into the concentrate, and is 
collected along the extended central riffle of a Wilfley cleaning- 
table, from which it drops into a bucket, enclosed in a steel 
tank, to prevent robbery. From this container the gold, with 
some black sand, is removed to a barrel, in which it is recov- 
ered by amalgamation. This last process requires only two 
hours of one man's time daily. Thus 80 per cent of the total 
gold recovery is effected; the other 20 per cent remains in the 
galena concentrate, seven tons daily, which is shipped to the 
Bunker Hill smelter in Idaho. 

The various estimates for the Juneau predicted (1) a jdeld 
of SI -45 to be won at a cost of 80 cents, (2) an assay- value of 
$2 to yield a profit of 70 cents to $1 per ton, and (3) a $1 ore 
that was to be treated for 50 cents per ton. This last estimate 
was the one made by Mr. Bradley in 1916; and it has been 
justified. In the Juneau estimates, as in those of the Gasti- 
neau, a factor of error was introduced by the omission to 
recognize the effect of faults and of a variant richness of the 
parts of the lode, in the form of ore-shoots, whereby the out- 
put did not have the uniformity of character and content that 
had been anticipated, although at the Juneau the consequent 
discrepancy was not as critical as it was in the case of the 
neighboring mining venture. A shaft that was sunk recently 



LOW-COST GOLD-MINING 81 

200 feet below the adit has cut into ore worth $4-40 per ton. 
This is not a suggestion of enrichment in depth, but a con- 
firmation of the beUef that the lode is differentiated by the 
occurrence of ore-shoots. The adit penetrated $2 ore, as has 
been mentioned, but the stopes immediately overhead ran 
into low-grade stuff, so that possibly the shaft may have 
entered an ore-shoot, the top of which was cut by the adit. 

The Juneau today is believed to have enough ore in reserve 
to supply the 3,800,000 tons per annum required at the present 
rate of exploitation for at least 20 years. Therefore it is 
probable that in the years to come the present record for low- 
cost mining and milling will be bettered, but, such as it is, the 
performance constitutes a notable achievement. 



CHAPTER V 
THE COMSTOCK LODE 

The finding of gold, in enriching quantity, along the streams 
that issued from the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada 
was the prelude not only to the birth of an organized mining 
industry in California but to the intensive exploration of the 
entire Pacific slope; it presaged the feverish exploitation of 
the mineral resources that the ubiquitous prospector soon 
uncovered all over our western domain. At first when this 
migration began, as typified by the rush of 1849, there was no 
time to examine the signs of ore that were to be detected along 
the track of adventure, and, it must be added, not many in 
that motley crowd of gold-seekers were qualified to interpret 
the signs if they had lingered to look at them. Such intelligent 
curiosity as a few of them possessed was directed to the finding 
of gold chiefly, if not exclusively; and their good sense in this 
respect can not be impugned, because in a new and remote 
country the less valuable metals and minerals are unlikely to 
be worth the winning. 

Many of those that came to California crossed the alkaline 
wastes and sagebrush prairies that extend between the Great 
Salt Lake and the ramparts of the snow-clad Sierra; when 
coming overland they found it convenient to halt on the 
eastern slope and to pitch their camp in the valley of the Car- 
son river before they began the tedious ascent of the moun- 
tains and the final entry into the land of gold. One of 
the trails most used by these immigrants followed the Carson 
river to the mountain meadows south of Lake Tahoe and then 
descended among the pine-woods of Placerville, where they 
went to work with pan and shovel in the gold-bearing streams 

82 



THE COMSTOCK LODE 83 

tributary to the American river, the Rio de los Americanos of 
the Mexicans in Cahfornia. The Carson valley became a 
resting-place on the road; it was an oasis in their desert 
pilgrimage. That migration, like an army, had many camp- 
followers; it included all sorts and conditions of men and 
women, and children as well. Among others a party of 
Mormons, led by Thomas Orr, came westward from Salt Lake 
City in 1849; one of them, William Prouse, of Cornish origin, 
used a milk-pan to wash the gravel in a little creek that entered 
the Carson river from the west, where the hamlet of Dayton 
now stands. The date was May 15, 1849. Prouse found a 
few specks of gold in his pan, but they gave no promise of such 
riches as were anticipated across the mountains in California; 
therefore he and his Mormon friends decided to move forward 
to the Eldorado in the west. They were delayed, however, 
by a heavy fall of snow and remained in the Carson valley 
for three weeks, during which John Orr, the son of the Mormon 
leader, and others of the party returned to the gulch in which 
Prouse had prospected. They found a little more gold and 
also some pieces of quartz that contained gold, but they lacked 
the tools and provisions required for a proper campaign, and, 
being eager to proceed to California, they abandoned the 
diggings as soon as the trail across the mountains was suffi- 
ciently free from snow.* The gravel was not rich enough to 
beguile these prospectors from the larger lure that lay across 
the mountain ramparts separating California from the terri- 
tory that was then part of Utah, and is now Nevada. The 
creek where Prouse prospected became known as Gold canyon; 
it was the door to one of the treasure-vaults of the world, the 
Comstock lo(ie; but no one surmised the connection. 

Meanwhile others had come into this valley, and the placer 
diggings attracted many of them. Among these a party of 
Mexican peons led by Ignacio Pared^s, from Alamos, in 
Sonora, tried to work the gravel with their bateas, or wooden 

* Eliot Lord, 'Comstock Mining and Miners', U. S. Geol. Survey, 
p. 12; 1883. 



84 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

bowls.* The creek had dwindled to a mere thread of water, 
so that ordinary gold-washing was impracticable; therefore 
the Mexicans separated the gold by dry-blowing, a method 
that, like the winnowing of grain from chaff, employs air as 
the medium for recovering the particles of gold from the silt 
of the river-bed. A few weeks of this work sufficed for this 
party also, because supplies were scanty and the gold win- 
nings were meagre. 

Two years later, in 1851, John Reese and some other 
Mormon pioneers started little farms in the Carson valley 
and found a ready market for their produce — crops and cattle 
— among the miners, of whom there were frOm 20 to 130 at 
work, according to the season, in Gold canyon. Their earn- 
ings averaged $5 per day, and the supplies now obtainable 
from the ranches made life more tolerable. In 1852 a settle- 
ment, named Johntown, was established in Gold canyon at a 
place that was four miles above the Carson river. At the 
junction itself were the huts of the Chinese, who, as early as 
1856, were at work in their patient and careful way, picking 
up the crumbs, as it were, that the Caucasian dropped. This 
hamlet was known as Chinatown, until, at a later date, 
it was re-named Dayton. 

Sluice-boxes and rockers became numerous as the placer 
miners slowly worked their way up the gulches. About $100,- 
000 worth of gold was gathered annually until 1857, by which 
time the gravel in the lower parts of the canyons and in the 
bars of the Carson river had been pretty well exhausted. They 
did not prospect on the upper slopes, nor did they have any 
idea of the wealth that lay in the ground above them. Some 
of the gold they washed out of the higher diggings was pale 
and they were paid only $12 per ounce for it, instead of the 
usual price of $18 for placer gold. The admixture with silver 
did not mean anything to them ; they were perplexed, but not 
inquisitive. It is said that in 1853 some of the gulch-miners 
hired a Mexican, who tried to tell them that there was plenty 

* Charles H. Shinn, 'The Story of the Mine', p. 16; 1903. 



THE COMSTOCK LODE 85 

of silver on the mountain overlooking their placer workings. 
He could not speak Enghsh, so he said "Bueno", and pointed 
to the peaks above the canyon; then, waving his hand as if 
to include the rocky slope, he exclaimed earnestly "Mucha 
plata! Mucha plata!". They did not understand what he 
meant until long afterward when the memory of his words 
and gestures had been illumined by the light of later events. * 
He left in three days, and played no further part in the melo- 
drama of the Comstock. This story has merit, but it is not 
at all convincing, because not even a keen-eyed Mexican 
familiar with silver minerals could have found any along 
the Comstock outcrop, although he might have seen some 
elsewhere, not far from Gold canyon, as will develop in the 
course of this history. 

The men in Gold canyon indeed were a shiftless and a 
sodden lot, but not all of them; among the illiterate mob that 
found slim pickings in the gulch were two brothers named 
Grosch, born in 1824 and 1826 respectively, the sons of a 
Unitarian clergyman in Pennsylvania, f In common with 
other young men they were stirred by the news of the discovery 
of gold in California, and sailed from Philadelphia to Tampico 
in February 1849. They crossed Mexico and reached San 
Bias, on the Pacific coast, after undergoing many hardships. 
At San Bias they went aboard a bark that took them to San 
Francisco, where they arrived in August, just six months from 
their start. In 1850 they were at the Eldorado diggings; in 
1853 they crossed the Sierra Nevada and joined the miners in 
Gold canyon. Hosea Grosch and Allen Grosch were intelli- 
gent and observant young men; they had some books, prob- 
ably of a technical character, and they had also some assaying 
apparatus of a crude kind, probably made by themselves. 

* Dan De Quille [William Wright], 'History of the Big Bonanza', 
p. 39; 1877. 

t S. H. Marlette, Annual Report of the Surveyor General of Nevada, 
1866, and Dan De Quille, Engineering and Mining Journal, Vol. LIII, p. 
254; 1892. 



86 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

They were quiet and reticent, and owing to their aloofness 
from the other diggers they were regarded as a mysterious 
pair. Soon after their arrival they built a stone hut at the 
base of Grizzly hill in American ravine, at the south end of 
the settlement that became Silver City. Although the Grosch 
brothers were fairly successful in their gold-washing, they 
appear to have devoted most of their energies to a search for 
silver ore. In 1856 Hosea wrote to his father telling him that 
they had found some silver: "it resembles sheet-lead broken 
very fine, and lead the miners suppose it to be . . . other ore 
of silver we think we have found in the canyon, and a rock 
called black rock, very abundant, we think contains silver". 
The placer miners often complained of a heavy mineral, which 
they named 'black iron' and 'blue stuff', as it clung to the 
bottoms of their sluice-boxes and clogged their riffles. Some 
of this when found at a later date may have been a sulphide of 
silver, such as the mineral argentite, but other pieces prob- 
ably were only the "black rock" mentioned by Hosea Grosch; 
this could not have been argentite or any ore rich in silver, 
otherwise they would have discovered the fact by their assay- 
ing. On the slope of Mount Davidson there is plenty of 
heavy ironstone, blackened by manganese oxide, such as will 
fit the references to "black rock". Later the young man 
informed his father that they had discovered "two veins of 
silver at the forks of Gold canyon . . . one of these veins is a 
perfect monster". A reference to cupellation indicates that 
they had a muffle-furnace. In 1857 Allen Grosch wrote to 
his father: "Our first assay was one-half ounce of rock; the 
result was $3500 of silver to the ton,* by hurried assay, which 
was altogether too much of a good thing ... we assayed a 
small quantity of rock by cupellation from another vein. The 
result was $200 per ton. We have several other veins which 

* This is said to be the first silver smelted in the United States west 
of the Rocky Mountains. In 1869 a party of Mormons found silver 
in the Panamint mountains, in southeastern California, and built a small 
furnace, by aid of which they produced some bullion. 



THE COMSTOCK LODE 87 

are as yet untouched. We are very sanguine of ultimate 
success". Poor fellows! they were destined to utter failure. 

We may pause here to enquire whether the brothers had 
found a part of the southern outcrop of the great Comstock 
lode. It is more than probable that the irony of fate was not 
so emphatic; it is likely that the rich samples about which 
they wrote to their father came from one or more of the small 
veins near Johntown, which was situated half a mile below 
the place that later became known as Silver City.f The 
Kossuth vein has been suggested as the probable source of 
their specimens; but this vein shows no silver in its croppings, 
and these were not such as to have attracted the young men of 
our story. It appears that they were at work at a distance of 
at least five miles eastward from the line of the Comstock lode. 
During the winter of 1861 William Wright, whose pen name 
was Dan De Quille (a writer for the 'Territorial Enterprise' 
and the author of a book on the early history of the Comstock), 
found the remnants of two furnaces, together with fragments 
of crucibles and cupels, at the foot of Grizzly hill after a heavy 
downpour of rain had washed away the piles of debris and 
exposed these mementoes of the Grosch brothers. Among 
them was a piece of galena, which closely resembled the ore of 
a vein known as the Red Lead, about half a mile west of this 
spot. The vein carried from $40 to $60 in silver at the surface, 
but this ore proved to be only- a patch. Close to the remnants 
of the furnaces, Wright found a metal tube belonging probably 
to a canvas bellows. * We must note the fact that silver was 
not found anywhere along the surficial exposure of the Com- 
stock lode; the quartz in the parts of the lode that project 
above the surface of the ground is usually uninviting to the 
prospector, it contains small inclusions of country-rock, and 
does not look like promising vein-matter. At Gold Hill, 
where the outcrop of the lode was decomposed, so that gold 

■f For this suggestion, and several others, the author is indebted to his 
friend Grant H. Smith, who is preparing a history of the Comstock mines. 
• Engineering and Mining Journal, Vol. LIU, p. 254; 1892. 



88 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

was discovered at grass-roots, the detritus was mistaken for a 
placer deposit and was located as such by the discoverers. 
In that locality the ore of silver sulphide was not found until 
the mine-workings had penetrated 25 feet or more beneath the 
surface, for example, in the Bowers, Plato, Eclipse, and Bacon 
properties. All the evidence therefore warrants the conclu- 
sion that the Grosch brothers did not discover the Comstock 
lode. In later years a group of enterprising persons tried to 
use the Grosch story for the purpose of extracting money from 
the owners of mines on the Comstock; the promoters of the 
scheme claimed 3750 feet of the best part of the lode. The 
Grosch Gold and Silver Mining Company was capitalized at 
$5,000,000, and afterward at $10,000,000, on which basis 
enough stock was sold to pay for a long, costly, and futile 
litigation, which yielded no information of historic value. 

We return to our story. During the summer of 1857 the 
two brothers gained a livelihood, as they had done in previous 
years, by gold-washing in the canyon while at intervals they 
continued their prospecting for silver on the adjacent hillsides. 
They made no effort at actual mining, because they had no 
money, and they knew that to open up a mine, especially a 
silver mine, it was necessary, at that time and place, to have 
ample capital, for, as the Spanish proverb says. Para trabajar 
una mina de plata se necesita una mina de oro: it takes a gold 
mine to develop a silver mine.' This Spanish reference is 
apropos, because the reader may wonder why they sought for 
silver rather than gold, as their fellow-miners were doing. 
The clue, I suggest, is to be found in the fact that they 
employed, or had working with them, a Mexican whom they 
called Frank, and he, probably, having seen some silver- 
mining in Mexico, had put the idea into their heads. Ban- 
croft says that he was an experienced miner.* 

Their placer claims gave them the means of subsistence, 
but the workings were so far from the stream that they had 

* H. H. Bancroft, 'History of Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming', p. 
96; 1890. 




X,arson ^ 



a 

H 

O 
O 

CO 

h9 
O 
O 

f 
o 
o 



•^Monterey 



Fig. 6. — Map showing position of Virginia City relative to San Francisco. 



00 



90 A HISTORY OP AMERICAN MINING 

to carry the detritus — not gravel — in sacks to the water; and 
this consumed so much time and energy that not much of 
either was left for their major enterprise, the search for silver. 
Therefore they did only enough gold-washing to pay for their 
food. It has been stated that in 1856 the brothers visited 
Eldorado, on the Californian side, and from there wrote to 
sundry friends in the Middle West from whom they obtained 
a little money for their undertaking, which they named the 
Utah Enterprise, because, it must be recalled. Gold canyon 
was then in western Utah. After returning to their diggings 
in 1857, they were promised further financial aid by George 
Brown, a cattle-man living in the Carson valley, but unfortu- 
nately soon afterward, on August 14, Brown was murdered. 
More misfortune was impending. Only five days later Hosea 
Grosch accidentally struck a pick into his foot and for lack of 
proper medical aid the wound became infected so that he died 
of lockjaw on September 2. Allen, much depressed by his 
brother's death, decided to go across the Sierra to the mining- 
camp of Volcano, where he intended to spend the winter. He 
was accompanied by Richard M. Bucke. They had delayed 
their start untU the lateness of the season made the crossing 
of the mountains a dangerous adventure. For 11 days they 
struggled through the snow ; indeed, they only just made their 
way through the drifts; and both were badly frost-bitten. 
AUen Grosch reached the journey's end ill and exhausted, soon 
to die; his papers were thrown aside when he and his com- 
panion were struggling in the snow. Bucke barely escaped 
with his life; one foot and one leg had to be amputated, and, 
after regaining some measure of strength, he betook himself 
on badly damaged stumps to Canada, where later at London, 
in Ontario, he became superintendent of the Dominion Insane 
Asylum. So the heavy hand of misfortune erased the investi- 
gations of these intelligent young men, and it was left for a 
drunken loafer and a shifty impostor to give their names to 
Virginia City and the Comstock lode. 



THE COMSTOCK LODE 91 

A month after the death of Allen Grosch, the miners in Gold 
canyon organized a quartz (or lode) mining district at John- 
town. They named the district Columbia. Among them 
was James Fennimore, or Finney, as he preferred to be known, 
a prospector during sober intervals. He was nicknamed ' Old 
Virginia', because he was born in that State. One day he 
was rambling along the hillside, near the spot where later the 
Ophir claim was located, when he espied a large outcrop of 
yellowish quartz. He found no sign of ore and made no 
attempt to test the ground, but, thinking, in a muddled way, 
that it might be a vein, he wrote a location notice on a slip of 
paper, which he hid among the loose stones. The date was 
February 22, 1858.* He did not record his claim, he made no 
effort to work it, and it proved of no consequence except as an 
excuse for a futile lawsuit. In the following winter Finney 
and three others, one of whom was John Bishop, were pros- 
pecting near the head of Gold canyon when they noticed a 
mound covered with snow, which they shoveled aside. Then 
Bishop took a panful of debris, from which he washed 15 cents' 
worth of gold. Afterward Finney examined the mound a 
little closer and found a gopher hole, at the mouth of which 
was some fine earth. This he panned, and it proved to be 
rich. Whereupon the four men staked four claims, each 400 
by 50 feet, across the gulch, which happened to be along the 
line of the lode. They located the deposit as if it were placer 
ground. This was named Gold hill. It was the outcrop of 
the Comstock lode. 

The question may be asked why the discovery of the great 
lode was so long delayed. One might suppose that the diggers 
in working their way up the gulches from the Carson river 
would have been led inevitably to the lode that by its erosion 
had enriched the placers. The truth is that the prospecting 
of the Grosch brothers and the less intelligent work of their 
companions in the early 'fifties had no relation to a discovery 

* J. Ross Browne, 'Reports upon the Mineral Resources of the United 
States', p. 27; 1867. 



92 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

of the Comstock. The gold in the lower gulches was derived 
from a series of little veins and stringers that abounded in the 
hillside above Johntown, and near the site of the later Silver 
City, three miles from the line of the Comstock lode. Much 
of their gold was obtained not from alluvium but from patches 
of detritus that they found not in the gulches but along the 
hillslopes. If this gold had been derived from the Comstock 
lode, they would have found more of it as they approached 
the source; instead, their diggings above Silver City became 
poorer, until they had to stop work, and then began to wander 
over the countryside in search of new diggings. 

Gold hill is at the head of Gold canyon. After Finney and 
his friends had made their discovery, nearly all the residents 
of Johntown came thither; some of them moved their houses, 
bit by bit, to the upper site, while others built new log huts. 
These men were encamped on the great lode, but they had no 
idea that they had found anything but a gold placer similar in 
character to those on which they had been working in the 
canyons below. At the start of their work on Gold hill they 
made $5 per day to the man, and when they dug two or three 
feet into the decomposed rock they made more than twice as 
much.* Underneath their diggings were developed such 
famous mines as the Consolidated Imperial, Crown Point, 
and Yellow Jacket, but there was nothing at the surface to 
■ suggest the silver ore that was found soon afterward when 
they began to sink their little shafts into the lode. 

The population of Johntown had dwindled to a small 
remnant by 1857, because by this time the lower-gulch and 
hillside diggings had become unprofitable. A few of the men 
went up the next canyon northward known as Six-Mile. Here 
also their prospecting was bringing them close to the line of 
the great lode, for they were working not near the banks of 
the Carson river but several miles up the canyon, searching 
for gold in the detritus on the hillsides rather than in the 

* Dan De Quille, Engineering and Mining Journal, Vol. LII, p. 637; 
1891. 



THE COMSTOCK LODE 



93 



gravel of a stream. Six-Mile canyon leaves the Carson river 
at a point about five miles north of the mouth of Gold canyon, 
and as the two canyons extend upward into the flank of Mount 
Davidson (which rises to 7941 feet above sea-level) they 
approach each other; Gold canyon terminates at Gold hill; 
Six-Mile terminates at the northern end of Virginia City; so 
that at their upper terminals the two gulches are only a mile 



Virginia City 

MT. 
DAVIDSON J. 

Gold m\^ 



i 




SCALE OF IVIILES 

1 2 3 

1 I li»^^^ 



Fig. 7. — The approach to the Comstock. 

and a quarter apart.* To these points on the great lode the 
diggers had come at last after 10 years of desultory digging. 
Among the diggers that came to Gold Hill from Johntown 
were Patrick McLaughhn and Peter O'Riley. They found 
that all the promising ground had been staked, so they crossed 
the ridge to Six-Mile canyon. Here also the Irishmen found 
the ground fully occupied, therefore they moved to the mouth 
of Spanish ravine, above any signs of previous digging, and 

* Virginia City is 1800 feet above Dayton, and Mount Davidson 
rises 1600 feet above Virginia City. 



94 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

there on the hillslope they got some specks of gold in the loose 
dirt. Near-by was a small spring, by aid of which they began 
to wash the debris on the hillside, making $1-50 to $200 per 
day. They could not wash this earthy material in their 
sluice-boxes, because the supply of water was barely sufficient 
for the intermittent use of a rocker. They continued to work 
here until June, when, to increase their supply of water, they 
started to make a small basin in which the trickle of water 
might be held. When doing this they dug a little deeper than 
their previous trenching and at 4 feet they came into "a 
yellowish sand, mixed with bits of quartz, and friable black 
rock".* It has been stated, for example, by Lord, whom I 
have just quoted, that the yellowish sand was hornsilver, the 
silver chloride, a waxy mineral; but this is unlikely; it prob- 
ably was only sand, that is, bits of quartz, of the yellowish tint 
characteristic of the Comstock outcrop. Most of the black 
rock was quartz that had become heavily stained with man- 
ganese oxide; but some of the black stuff was argentite, the 
sulphide of silver; and with it were mingled specks of gold, not 
readily visible. This material therefore looked unattractive; 
however, they had to test it, so they washed a hatful in their 
rocker, and were astonished to see the quantity of gold that 
was collected. At first the paleness of the gold and the unex- 
pectedly large amount of it caused them to question the 
genuineness of their discovery. The gold was combined with 
so much silver that it was worth only $11 per ounce. They 
were accustomed to decomposed quartz, and they decided 
that they had broken into a patch of rich detritus. So they 
located two 50-foot placer claims. f They were overjoyed. 
Just then a lank fellow on a small horse came riding toward 
them. It was Henry Comstock, formerly a trader and trapper 
in the North, a talkative trickster. { He caught sight of the 
gold and guessed that something rich had been found. Dis- 

* Eliot Lord, 'Comstock Mining and Miners', p. 38; 1883. 

t Thompson and West, 'History of Nevada', p. 57; 1881. 

t William Wright, 'History of the Big Bonanza', p. 397; 1877. 



THE COMSTOCK LODE 95 

mounting, he fingered the gold and asked some questions. 
Then, impudently, he told the two Irishmen that they were 
trespassing on his property; he asserted that he had a ranch 
of 160 acres covering the ground, which included the water- 
hole and the trench in which the prospectors were at work. 
It was all bluff, a rank imposture, but he talked so loudly and 
so confidently that McLaughlin and O'Riley thought it best 
to pacify him by acceding to his demand, which was that he 
and his partner, Emanuel Penrod, should be given a share of 
the claim. When this had been arranged, Comstock asked 
for an additional 100 feet of ground in behalf of himself and 
Penrod, this being in return for the right to use the water of 
the spring. This 100 feet, he insisted, must be in the middle 
of the claim immediately south of the discovery claim. To 
all of which the Irishmen agreed. The date was June 8, 1859. 

Meanwhile, a meeting had been called to frame regulations 
for a new mining district; therefore, to obtain an undisputed 
right to their claims, Comstock and his three partners con- 
cealed their discovery by filling the hole and obliterating other 
traces of their work. The meeting was held on the eleventh 
of June; the Washoe mining district was organized; the next 
day, Comstock and his partners, over whom he easily asserted 
loud-mouthed leadership, located 300 feet for each man and 
an additional 300 feet for the discoverers, making 1500 feet 
in all along the lode. Apparently Penrod had persuaded 
them that it was the top of a vein, not a placer; but the true 
character of the discovery was not yet recognized. At the 
end of June, a ranchman named B. A. Harrison was given a 
piece of the black ore, which he carried to Grass Valley, across 
the mountains, in California. There he showed it to James 
Walsh, who, in turn took it to Melville Atwood to be assayed, 
on June 27. It contained $3000 in silver and $876 in gold.* 
The result of the assay was not known until late at night, but 
at dawn of the next day Walsh and his friend Joseph Wood- 
worth, both on horseback, with a pack-mule, had started for 

* Almarin B. Paul, Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. XLV, p. 392; 1882. 



96 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

"the eastern slope", as the Comstock district was known 
until the acceptance of the new name, Washoe, after the tribe 
of Indians that ranged along the eastern base of the Sierra. 
Within a few days, hundreds of eager men were on the way. 
The first Washoe rush had begun! 

When Walsh and others that led the stampede from Grass 
Valley and Nevada City across the Sierra to the scene of dis- 
covery arrived there, they found Comstock and his partners 
still engaged in working their ore for gold alone.* However, 
the secret of the peculiar black mineral being a rich ore of 
silver soon leaked out, despite which Walsh succeeded in 
getting an option on Comstock's interest, one sixth, for 
$11,000, paying only $100 down. Comstock thought that 
the rich ore was merely a bunch or pocket, and was glad 
therefore to get a sum of money that seemed to him a fortune. 
McLaughlin sold his interest in September 1859 for $2500. 
O'Riley held on to his share of the mine, and eventually 
obtained, with dividends, the sum of $50,000. Walsh bought 
Penrod's share for $6200. f The prospect-hole of the two 
Irishmen became the Ophir mine, which yielded $17,655,000. 
If the Grosch brothers missed their chance, it is also a melan- 
choly fact that the other actors in this mining melodrama 
profited but little from their endeavors; Comstock died 
miserably, by his own hand, in 1870; and both of those whom 
he deceived ended their lives as unhonored paupers. 

The fortuitous character of these events is nothing new in 
the history of mining; blind Fortune has often stubbed her 
toe against rich ore since the miner invoked her aid in his 
search for wealth. Diodorusf tells us that "in the country 
of the Paeonians the farmers, cultivating the soil, often turned 
up bits of virgin gold with the plough". "Chance", says 
Pennant § wisely, "was the general detector of metallic riches 

* Dan De Quille, Engineering and Mining Journal, Vol. LIII, p. 112; 
1892. 

t Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. XXXIII, p. 112; 1876. 

X Diodorus, XVI, 8. 

§ Thomas Pennant, 'A Tour in Wales', Vol. I, p. 52; 1778. 



S-- THE COMSTOCK LODE 97 

in early times. The gold mines of Galicia [Gallaecia] were 
discovered by the plough; those of India by the casting up of 
hillocks by the pismires, or ants; the silver mines of Spain by 
the casual burning of wood. Trivial accidents, even to this 
age, have been the cause of mighty mineral discoveries. The 
great mine at Halkin was discovered by ditching; that at 
LlangjTinog, in Montgomeryshire, by the slip of a woman 
ascending a hill, and baring the vein with her feet." This 
was written in 1810; the pismires are analogous to the gophers 
that dug up the earth in which Fennimore found the gold, 
and as for ditching, that has now become a recognized method 
of prospecting. 

In August the first consignment of ore was taken to San 
Francisco by James Walsh and Henry Comstock; it was packed 
in sacks and small boxes that were carried on mules across 
the mountains. They sold 3151 pounds for $1-50 per pound. 
This induced the owners of the Ophir to ship their rich sulphide 
ore as fast as it was mined, so that at the end of the season, 
before the first snow closed the trail, they had delivered 38 
tons to Joseph Mosheimer, of San Francisco, for reduction. 
The yield, after smelting, was $114,000, or an average of 
$3000 per ton; but the charge for reduction was $412 per 
ton and the transport of the ore cost $140 per ton. Mr. 
Mosheimer must have done nicely out of his metallurgical 
performance. The bars of white metal from Mosheimer's 
furnace were carried through the streets of San Francisco, 
to be seen by crowds of excited people, and by others, no less 
excited, that looked at them when they were displayed later 
in the window of the bankers, Alsop & Co., to whom the bullion 
was delivered. Despite the inclemency of the season, in the 
early spring of 1860, there ensued an eager rush to the Washoe 
diggings, up the Sacramento river in crowded Httle steam- 
boats, over the mountains on foot or on horseback, through 
the snow, and across the plain to the Comstock, as the lode 
was already being called in compliment to its supposed dis- 
coverer. The distance from San Francisco to Sacramento is 



98 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

90 miles, from Sacramento to Placerville, in the Sierra Nevada, 
45 miles; from Placerville it is 117 miles to Virginia City. 

The mining of silver was unknown in the western States 
prior to the discovery of the Comstock lode, and the pioneers 
of that period had but little knowledge of the metallurgic art 
required to extract silver from complex ores; but the fame of 
the bonanzas in the flank of Mount Davidson brought to the 
hectic operations all the science that was extant, to guide 
intensive exploitation on a scale hitherto undreamed. First 
the example of the Mexican miner was followed; on June 22, 
1859, only two weeks after the discovery, the four locators 
made a contract with J. D. Winters and J. A. Osborn whereby 
these were to provide two arrastres, or Mexican grinding- 
mills, and the two horses required to run them, in exchange 
for two-sixths of the 1400 feet that had been located.* It may 
be added that Osborn soon' sold his sixth interest for $7000 
to George Hearst, an energetic mining-man who heard of the 
discovery from Atwood, and followed close behind Walsh 
when he came to the Washoe diggings. Hearst subsequently 
sold this part of the Ophir to Ben HoUiday, of the Overland 
Stage line, for $30,000, and therewith bought his interest in 
the Ontario mine, in Utah, when he recommended it for 
purchase to his associates, James B. Haggin and Lloyd Tevis, 
in the year 1872. 

In September, 1859, Woodworth and Hastings started two 
more arrastras on the Carson river near Dayton. These 
treated three tons each per day. They were followed by a 
Georgian stamp-mill of four heads, weighing 400 pounds 
apiece, erected by Logan and Holmes also on the Carson river 
in October of the same year. These stamps were moved by 
horse power. In the following year, 1860, Dr. Elias B. Harris 
brought a Howland nine-stamp portable rotary battery from 
San Francisco. This mill, with nine stamps in a circular 
mortar-box, of three pieces, was started on August 11, 1860, 
on ore that came from the Bowers mine. Only one ton per 

* Thompson and West, 'History of Nevada', p. 57; 1881. 



THE COMSTOCK LODE 99 

day could be treated; the mill crushed dry and the dust 
proved extremely troublesome, so a change was made to wet 
crushing. An improvement ensued immediately; the mill 
now treated ten tons per day, and $13 more was recovered 
from the ore. The charge for milling at first was $100 per 
ton, then $75, and in the spring of 1861 it was reduced to 
$50 per ton. "The cost of working the ore", says Harris, 
"was a little less than six dollars per ton ... I hired my 
amalgamators for fifty dollars and sixty dollars per month. 
Engineers for one hundred dollars per month, working 12-hour 
shifts."* These low wages indicate the depression that pre- 
vailed in the district at that time. The retorted bullion was 
worth only $10 to $14 per ounce, and as the Bowers mine was 
deepened the value decreased further, in consequence of an 
increasing proportion of silver in the ore. 

Meanwhile Almarin B. Paul was building a mill at the 
Devil's Gate in Gold canyon. The machinery was brought 
from San Francisco at an expense of $400 per ton, and the 
lumber cost $300 per thousand. This also was a rotary mill, 
which at first ran dry and then was changed to wet crushing. 
Paul and Harris competed for the honor of starting first, and 
they appear to have finished their mills on the same day, 
August 11. The first lot of ore that went to Paul's mill 
consisted of five tons of tailing from the arrastras on Gold 
hiU; it yielded $84-56, or $16-91 per ton in gold and silver. 
The mills proved so remunerative that Paul built another of 
48 stamps; this was erected at the foot of Gold Hill in 1861. 
Milling operations were handicapped by lack of water. In 
1861 a tunnel in the northern part of Virginia City cut a good 
stream of water, and most of it was conveyed by ditch and 
flume to Gold Hill by Williams and Gashwiler, who sold it 
for one dollar per miner's inch, equivalent to about 2230 cubic 
feet per twenty-four hours. In 1862 there were 20 miUs at 
work,t and in 1866 there were 66 mills, with 1226 stamps and 

* Thompson and West, op. cit., p. 68. 

t J. Wells Kelly, 'First Directory of Nevada', 1862. 



100 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

919 pans, these plants representing an aggregate expenditure 
of more than six milUon dollars. 

The mention of pans is significant. For grinding, the 
Mexican used the arrastre, in which also he placed quicksilver 
to arrest the gold and silver. When the ore was refractory- 
he introduced the cazo, or kettle, in which the ore was mixed 
with other chemicals, such as salt and bluestone (copper 
sulphate). Later the process was performed on a larger scale 
in a paved yard, or -patio, from which it obtained its name, the 
mixing being done by the tread of mules. It was this process 
that was imitated in the American pan, a circular container 
resembling that of the arrastra, but made of cast-iron, 5 feet 
in diameter and 2 feet deep. This receptacle, invented 
separately by Israel Knox and Henry Brevoort, was provided 
with muUers, or weighted radial arms, for stirring and grinding 
the pulp. Steam was admitted to expedite chemical action. 
In Paul's mill, which was designed after careful experimenta- 
tion, each of the pans held 300 pounds of ore and 40 pounds 
of mercury, to which were added a pint of salt and a few 
ounces of copper filings or copper sulphate. Hot water was 
admitted and copper crossheads in the pan served to arrest 
the amalgam, more of which was gathered from the bottom 
of the pan at intervals. This became known as the Washoe 
milling process. 

Before the new process was fully developed, nearly fifty 
arrastres and several patios were in use on the high-grade ore 
of the Comstock, such ore having an assay-value of over $100 
per ton and consisting mainly of heavy sulphides. The 
second-class ore that went to the stamp-pan mills contained 
some native silver and some native gold, together with silver 
sulphides (argentite, polybasite, stephanite) associated with 
blende and galena in a matrix of crumbly quartz. A great 
variety of pans, settlers, barrels, and tubs came into tem- 
porary use, but only two feeble attempts at concentration are 
recorded. The cost of treatment in custom mills was not 
less than $20 per ton until 1865, when prices were reduced 



THE COMSTOCK LODE 101 

gradually to $16 per ton, with a deduction of $3 per ton when 
water-power was utilized. Haulage from Virginia City to 
the Carson river, a distance of seven miles, cost $4 per ton. 
By 1866 the Washoe process had become standardized.* 
The ore passed first through Black jaw-breakers and then 
into batteries of five stamps, each of which weighed from 
500 to 1000 pounds and dropped 8 or 9 inches at the rate of 
90 times per minute. No amalgamation was attempted inside 
the mortars. The screens were either of brass wire-cloth, 
40 to 60 mesh, or of sheet-iron perforated with holes 34o to 
3.^4 inch in diameter. From the batteries the pulp passed 
first into settling-pans; afterward it was shoveled into cast-iron 
pans, from 4 to 6 feet in diameter and 2 feet deep. Here the 
grinding and amalgamation took place. The pan had a false 
bottom of iron. The charge weighed from 1200 to 1500 
pounds. Steam was admitted while the muUer made 60 to 
70 revolutions per minute. Quicksilver was sprayed by being 
pressed through canvas at the rate of 60 or 70 pounds to the 
charge. Two hours were devoted to grinding, and two or three 
more to amalgamation; then the contents of the pans were 
discharged into settlers, which resembled the pans, but were 
of larger diameter. Here gentle stirring expedited the settling 
of the amalgam and of any uncombined quicksilver. The 
amalgam was then collected, to be strained through a canvas 
bag, the residue being retorted. Sundry chemicals were 
added, such as salt, copper sulphate, and sulphuric acid. At 
one time many absurd nostrums were in use, including tobacco 
juice and sagebrush tea. The effect of the chemicals in the 
process was not well understood, as might also be said of its 
prototype, the patio;] it was questioned whether the chemicals 
served any useful purpose, because usually the quantities 
added were too small. The mercury and the iron, aided by 
heat and friction, were the principal agents in the reduction 

* James D. Hague, 'U. S. Geological Survey, Exploration of the 
Fortieth Parallel', Vol. Ill, p. 193; 1870. 

t T. A. Rickard, 'Journeys of Observation', pp. 140-145; 1907. 



102 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

process. The loss of iron in the batteries and pans was as 
much as nine pounds per ton of ore. 

The difficulty of treatment was in proportion to the richness 
of the ore, because the richer the ore the more of sulphide 
minerals it contained, therefore requiring more quicksilver 
and more grinding, and leaving a greater loss in the tailing. 
High-grade ore ($200 to $300 per ton) cost $50 per ton for 
reduction as late as 1867. The average charge levied by 
custom mills through the 'seventies was from $11 to $12 per 
ton. The recovery at first was from 60 to 65 per cent of the 
assay-value, but by re-treatment, in settling tanks or by con- 
centration, the saving was increased sometimes to 85 per cent 
or more, the gain going, however, not to the customer but to 
the mill company. For many years the mills returned only 
65 per cent, retaining anything more that they might be able 
to get out of the ore and from the tailing. This supplemental 
recovery had been the perquisite of the mill-owners from the 
beginning, and served to lessen the charge for treatment. 
The mills were owned by small groups of directors of the 
mining companies and they were enriched by means of this 
by-product, which arrangement was in entire accord with the 
code of ethics prevalent at Virginia City. 

As soon as the critical metallurgic difficulties had been 
overcome, the production of ore was hastened, and a large 
population found employment at the mines. Virginia City, 
at an altitude of 6300 feet, became a hectic town of 12,000 
inhabitants. Within a few years, however, the shallow ore- 
bodies showed signs of depletion; in 1870 the outlook was 
gloomy, but at the end of that year the Crown Point ore-shoot 
was cut at a depth of 1100 feet, and the Oomstock took a new 
lease of life. Then came the discovery of the Big Bonanza 
in 1873. 

The story of the Big Bonanza centers about four men : John 
W. Mackay, James G. Fair, James C. Flood, and William S. 
O'Brien. The leader of this group, and the most remarkable 
among them, was Mackay. Of Scottish-Irish origin, and a 



THE COMSTOCK LODE 103 

ship carpenter by trade, he came to California in 1851. For 
eight years he worked in the Downieville district, with the 
usual scant success of the average placer miner of that period 
in California. In the fall of 1859, when the discovery of the 
Comstock became known, he packed his blankets over the 
Sierra and went to work in the mines at Virginia City. He 
acquired an interest in several properties and by 1863 had 
become the superintendent of three mines. Two years later 
the undeveloped Kentuck attracted his attention, whereupon 
he took the lead in disclosing a valuable orebody, the jdeld 
from which enabled him to acquire a comfortable fortune. 
Then, for several years, he was one of the unsuccessful oper- 
ators of the Bullion mine. In the fall of 1868 he and Fair 
joined with two Irishmen, Flood and O'Brien, who had been 
running a saloon in San Francisco and had made money by 
speculating in stocks; these four formed a partnership for the 
purpose of obtaining control of the Hale & Norcross mine, 
which already had undergone extremes of fortune. Assess- 
ments to the amount of $350,000 had been levied at the end of 
1865; after which, in 1866 and 1867, the mine had paid large 
dividends. In January, 1868, William Sharon entered the 
market, intending to take the control from Charles Low and 
his associates, whereupon a remarkable contest ensued. The 
Hale & Norcross property covered 400 feet along the lode, and 
was represented by only 800 shares. The selling price on 
January 8 was $300 per share, this quotation rising to $4100 
on February 11, and $7100 a few days later. The market was 
in a panic and means had to be found to prevent the stock 
from being called on the exchange for over a month. Mean- 
while a few shares were sold for as much as $10,000 each. At 
the annual election, on March 10, 1868, Sharon won a barren 
victory, for the mine produced only 16,536 tons of compara- 
tively low-grade ore during that year. No dividends were 
paid; on the contrary, three assessments, aggregating $200,- 
000, were collected. In May the capital stock was increased 
to 8000 shares, and toward the end of that year, 1868, the 



104 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

quotation fell below $50 per share. At this juncture Flood 
began to purchase the stock, and before Sharon was aware 
the Big Four had secured the control. On March 9, 1869, 
they elected themselves trustees, or directors, of the company. 
The new directors promptly rescinded an assessment that had 
been levied, and by skilful management, aided by good fortune, 
they were able to pay dividends amounting to $728,000 during 
the following three years. 

Of this group of four men that now had obtained a strong 
footing on the Comstock, Fair was an able mine superintend- 
ent, but unreliable; Flood was a clever stock -manipulator and 
a keen business-man; O'Brien was a light-weight; Mackay, on 
the other hand, was a big man, one of the best men that our 
Western mining industry ever produced. Reticent, modest, 
self-effacing, he was also forceful, courageous, and persistent; 
he was shrewd but generous, a captain of industry endowed 
with constructive imagination, as is proved by his laying a 
transatlantic cable in face of the sustained opposition of the 
Anglo-American telegraph companies; and subsequently his 
Postal Telegraph system likewise was established despite all 
sorts of difficulties placed across his path by the existing 
monopoly, the Western Union Telegraph Company. Shortly 
before he died he undertook to lay a cable across the Pacific 
Ocean to Honolulu, Guam, and the Philippines; he did this 
without any subsidy or guarantee, but with a largeness of 
mind that proved his public spirit. 

One of the first steps taken by this group was to break the 
mill monopoly of the Union Mill & Mining Company, con- 
trolled by William Sharon and the Bank of California; the 
Big Four took hold of the Bacon mill at Silver City, and 
shortly afterward they bought two more mills near-by, all of 
which they enlarged and improved. Fair became superin- 
tendent of the Savage mine, but failed to find any rich ore. 
The Hale & Norcross orebody was nearly exhausted; it became 
necessary to find a fresh outlet for the speculative energies of 
the partnership. So they bought the Consolidated Virginia 



THE COMSTOCK LODE 105 

mine as a gamble; it was a unification of three small mining 
claims covering 1010 feet along the lode. Prospecting opera- 
tions in this ground had been disappointing, and the shares 
stood at 1% in 1871 when two-thirds of the stock was bought 
by Mackay and his associates for about $50,000. The shaft 
was 525 feet deep at this time, and it was down to 710 feet in 
1873 ; meanwhile a drift on the 1200-foot level of the Gould & 
Curry had been extended through the Best & Belcher ground 
into the Consohdated Virginia mine. This drift was -turned 
westward toward the foot-wall of the lode. In September 
1872, at a point 178 feet north of the Best & Belcher line, the 
drift broke into a fissure seven feet wide filled with clay mixed 
with crushed quartz and broken rock, all of which averaged 
about $20 per ton. After following this fissure northeastward 
for 200 feet a small body of $40 ore was encountered. The 
shaft was sunk to the level of the drift, and a new drift extended 
from the shaft southeastward cut into ore at a distance of 250 
feet from the shaft on March 18, 1873. A chamber 50 feet 
wide, 25 feet high, and 140 feet long was excavated, all in ore 
assaying from $50 to $600 per ton. The subsequent average 
mill-return was $40 per ton. During this period of successful 
development Captain Samuel T. Curtis was superintendent, 
although Fair succeeded in stealing the credit for the discovery 
of the big orebody. 

The discovery that made the Comstock world-famous was 
made accidentally, as many discoveries of ore have been made 
both before and since. Prior to this event all of the orebodies 
had been found along the foot^wall, whereas the Big Bonanza 
lay in a vertical rift in the hanging-wall, which was 500 feet 
east of the foot-wall. The discovery would not have been 
made in the ordinary course of exploration if the drift from 
the adjoining mine into the Consolidated Virginia had not 
followed a fissure in the hanging-wall rock that led northeast- 
ward directly away from the parts of the lode previously 
penetrated. Eventually this part of the lode would have been 



106 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

explored, certainly, but the discovery in 1873 was fortuitous 
to the extent indicated. 

The bonanza was cut in the Consolidated Virginia ground 
on the 1200-foot level, as we have seen; and it was tapped at 
successive levels down to 1500 feet. Later the orebody was 
proved to persist to a depth of 1650 feet, where it ended 
abruptly as on a floor. Crosscuts showed the width of the 
ore to be as much as 200 feet, and connecting winzes demon- 
strated, continuity. The bonanza was found to extend into 
the territory north of the Consolidated Virginia shaft that 
had been acquired in December 1873, whereupon the 1310 
feet of ground between the Best & Belcher and the Ophir 
mines was divided, the southerly 710 feet being held by the 
Consolidated Virginia and the northerly 600 feet by the Cali- 
fornia. Up to 1870 the ground that became the Consolidated 
Virginia and the California mines had been explored down 
to 500 feet in a haphazard way and without the finding of 
any rich ore. In 1876 the Consolidated Virginia yielded 
142,679 tons of ore, from which $16,657,649 was obtained; 
and in the same year the California yielded 128,801 tons, 
from which $13,400,841 was obtained. A force of 1000 miners 
was employed in the two mines in 1877 in the effort to rush 
production, with an eye on the stock exchange. In 1877 the 
output of the two mines was 

Virginia 144,400 tons, yielding $13,734,019 

California 217,432 tons, yielding $18,924,850 

Altogether the two mines yielded $150,000,000 in metals and 
paid $78,148,800 in dividends, during a period of 22 years. 
Most of it, however, was produced in five years, 1874 to 1879, 
from a million tons of ore that averaged $100 per ton. For 
three years, after the big orebodies were uncovered between 
the 1100-foot and 1600-foot levels, the Consolidated Virginia 
and California mines produced $3,000,000 per month, and 
dividends at the rate of $1,080,000 per month were paid by 
each of the two mining companies, which, by the way, were 



THE COMSTOCK LODE 107 

not united again until 1884, to become the Consolidated 
California & Virginia Mining Company. The coupling of the 
names of the Consolidated Virginia, itself a consolidation, and 
of the California, another consoHdation, in references to these 
events has caused a confused idea that they had been already 
joined under one ownership; but this did not take place until 
both mines were impoverished. In 1876 Mackay, in charge of 
both mines, took out 16,000,000 in one month for the purpose 
of making an exhibit of bullion in the Centennial Exhibition 
at Philadelphia; but the exhibit was not made. 

This enormous production incited an orgy of stock gambling 
in all the shares of the mines along the Comstock lode, whether 
good or bad; as much money was made in speculating in the 
stock of the poor ones as in that of the rich ones. Mines sold 
for millions that never had a pound of ore. Claims were 
staked forty miles out in the desert. In 1870 Consolidated 
Virginia stock was offered at $1 per share; in June, 1872, it 
could be purchased for $15, and in November of the same 
year it rose to 1176; then, in January, 1875, to $700; at which 
price the valuation of the mine was $75,600,000. The Cali- 
fornia shares rose from $37 in September, 1874, to $780 in 
January, 1875, giving the mine a valuation of $84,240,000. 
In 1871 the two mines were valued at less than $50,000; in 
1875 they stood at $160,000,000. 

During the early years, trading in mining property was done 
in units of a foot, the number of feet along the lode being the 
measure of a company's possessions; later the stock was issued 
in multiples of the feet of ground owned by a company; thus 
the Ophir, owning 1400 feet, had 5600 shares; and the Gould & 
Curry, with 1200 feet, had 4800 shares. These Gould & 
Curry shares sold for $1600 on July 10, 1864, and for $700 on 
June 29, 1866; indeed, the ups and downs of the San Francisco 
market in Comstock shares make even the recent hysteria 
on Wall Street seem somewhat tame. The shares of the 
Crown Point jumped from $2 to $1825 apiece in less than two 
years; within eight months, in 1878, the shares of the Sierra 



108 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Nevada mine soared from $4 to $275, such inflations being due 
chiefly to market manipulation and insane optimism. Money- 
was made easily and lost recklessly; the Comstock became a 
byword for tricky dealing, extravagant management, and 
fickle fortune.* Rossiter Raymond, when Commissioner of 
Mining Statistics for the Federal Government, recorded his 
impressions of the manner in which mining on the Comstock 
was conducted in 1868: 

"All the explorations in the barren mines of the Comstock 
could have been executed with the money flung away by the 
mines that have had, for a time, rich ore ... As the prospects 
of mining on the old wasteful plan grow darker and darker, 
officers, agents, and stockholders bend their energies to save 
what they can by speculation out of the approaching wreck. 
We might well afford to leave them to their fate, but for the 
fact that the effect of an abandonment of the Comstock lode 
would be almost fatal to systematic and permanent mining 
in the Pacific States. It would confirm the mischievous 
feeling that mining is half grab and half gamble ; that the only 
way to make money at it is to dig out what rich ore you can 
get, and then find a fool to buy the property; or failing that, 
to make a fool of that collective individual, the public, and to 
'unload' yourself of your stock. "f 

The best mines were much over-valued, and many of those 
quoted at high figures were actually worthless. False reports 
were forwarded from Virginia City. Visitors were permitted 
to go underground so that their ignorant ecstacies might fool 
the public. Obviously there were extraordinary opportunities 
to win wealth, or poverty. During the 'Con. Virginia' boom 
of November and December, 1874, and January, 1875, the 
buying of shares on. a margin was done on such an enormous 
scale and so recklessly as to invite disaster. It was impossible 

* T. A. Rickard, 'The Comstock of To-day', Gassier' s Magazine, 
September, 1901. 

t Rossiter W. Raymond, ' Mineral Resources of the States and Terri- 
tories ', p. 51; 1869. 



THE COMSTOCK LODE 109 

to find enough money on the Pacific coast to finance these 
wild dealings; even on a Uberal estimate not more than 
$20,000,000 was available for such purposes at that time, yet 
$50,000,000 of stock changed hands in one month (December, 
1874), and the market value of the listed stocks amounted to 
$262,000,000 on January 7, 1875. Five months previously 
the total valuation was $38,000,000; within six years it fell to 
$7,000,000. In 1875 it was evident to sagacious onlookers 
that a fine opportunity was offered for a bear raid, and James 
R. Keene, at that time the shrewdest dealer on the San Fran- 
cisco exchange, with other professional brokers, availed him- 
self of the chance to make a fortune while the quotations 
.crumbled in financial ruin. 

The "imperial treasure-chamber", shared by the Consoli- 
dated Virginia and the California companies, was described 
in extravagant terms. Confident predictions were made of a 
yield of 134,000,000 annually for at least 10 years. Even the 
Director of the Mint endorsed such wild expectations, and in 
his 'Annual Report' for 1875 he quoted from the report of a 
Professor Rogers, who said: "It would seem fair to conclude 
that with proper allowance, the orebody equals an amount, 
which, taken at the actual assays, would give as the ultimate 
yield of the two mines, $300,000,000; but to guard against a 
chance of over-estimating, I take the assays at one-half that 
ascertained, which will place the production at not less than 
$150,000,000".* The assays were those of grab samples; he 
had not sampled the ground systematically; he was not a 
mining engineer, and consequently he had less reason for 
halving his estimate than for rejecting it entirely. The actual 
productfon of the two mines from the blocks of ore estimated 
by the professor did not exceed $90,000,000. The total output 
of the Comstock mines was $350,000,000, of which 55 per cent 
was in silver and 45 per cent in gold.f The total profits 
distributed to the shareholders amounted to $116,000,000, of 

• Annual Report of the Director of the Mint for 1876, p. 83. 
t John A. Church, 'The Comstock Lode', p. 5; 1879. 



110 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

which $74,250,000 was contributed by the two mines that 
shared the Big Bonanza. From 1885 to 1895, when the under- 
ground fire had been checked and milling charges had been 
reduced to $6-50 per ton, the Bonanza yielded an additional 
895,000 tons of an average value of $20 per ton from old fills 
and from the margins of the old stopes, enabling an addi- 
tional $3,898,800 to be paid in dividends. 

The professional mining engineer is justified in believing 
that the Comstock did more harm than good to legitimate 
mining; it encouraged the idea of the sudden acquisition of 
wealth without work, of finding ore without systematic search, 
of forming share-mongering companies on mere expectations, 
with a view to market jugglery. The orgy of gambling, 
trickery, and extravagance dishonored a basic industry and 
drew into the ranks of honest workers, skilled engineers, 
and sagacious managers, a motley crew of cheats, rogues, and 
swindlers. The Comstock undoubtedly had a bad, and last- 
ing, influence on the morale of mining, but the enormous out- 
put of the precious metals had a beneficial effect; in the first 
place, it brought a most timely contribution of specie to the 
treasury of the Federal Government during the critical period 
of the Civil War, and later in facilitating the tremendous 
industrial expansion that ensued when the Southern Confeder- 
acy had laid down its arms, and the energies of the people of 
the United States were directed to the development of their 
expansive western domain. 

The wealth that came from the mines of the Comstock had 
another effect. The actual richness of the mines was exag- 
gerated in fabulous stories that not only caused the price of 
silver to diminish but frightened several European countries 
into the demonetization of that metal. The fact that the 
value of the bullion from the Comstock was nearly half in 
gold was overlooked. In 1871 Germany adopted the gold 
standard and ceased the minting of silver; in 1873 the United 
States, by Act of Congress, discontinued the coinage of silver 
dollars; in the same year Germany provided for the retirement 



THE COMSTOCK LODE 111 

of its silver coins and the sale of the bullion; in 1874 the govern- 
ments of the Scandinavian countries demonetized silver; in 
1875 Holland suspended the minting of silver for private 
account and established a gold coinage; in 1876 France and 
Spain did likewise. How hysterical these hurried demoneti- 
zations proved to be is indicated by the fact that the price of 
silver on the London market declined only from 60 pence in 
1861 to 52 pence in 1881, and today there is ample cause for 
regret that our bimetallic standard was abandoned in favor 
of a monometallic gold standard at the time when a tempo- 
rary increase of silver production seemed threatening to the 
world's financial stability. 

The unwatering of the Comstock was a noteworthy event. 
The mines on the flank of Mount Davidson were subject to 
flooding even before they attained any real depth. Several 
shallow adits were made to drain them while they were yet in 
the early stages of development. In October, 1869, the Sutro 
tunnel was commenced. This famous adit starts from the 
valley of the Carson river, and has a length of 20,145 feet, or 
about four miles; it intersects the lode at the Savage shaft, at 
a point 1895 feet below the outcrop. Eight years, and four 
and a half million dollars, were consumed in the enterprise.* 
The idea was to drain the mines, but long before the tunnel 
reached the lode the workings had been extended fuUy a 
thousand feet below the level of the tunnel, and most of the 
ore had already been removed. The amount of water that 
flowed out of the tunnel at one time exceeded 7000 gallons per 
minute. Nevertheless, as stated, this enterprise, like many 
other tunnel schemes, was finished too late, and failed there- 
fore to fulfil the purpose for which it was primarily intended. 
The orebodies found below the level of the Sutro tunnel were 
insignificant in size and richness as compared with the bonan- 
zas of the upper levels, and therefore, although the stimulus 
of the stock market caused the deeper developments to be 
continued for a time, the last deep mining ceased in 1886, and 

* The actual cost of driving the tunnel was $2,096,566. 



112 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

the lower workings were allowed to fill with water. Since 
then sundry efforts have been made at intervals to galvanize 
the Comstock mines into productive life, but they have 
proved short-lived and abortive. 

The miners of the Comstock deserve a word of praise; they 
met and overcame more obstacles and more diflBcult obstacles 
than any that the brothers of the pick and gad had ever faced 
before; and the hard-bought experience that they gained they 
carried with them all over the world, and most notably to the 
big mines of Montana, Colorado, and Dakota, as the history 
of those regions abundantly testifies. 

The visitor to Virginia City, as I saw it 20 years ago, 
arrived rich in remembrance of its past, and left poor in the 
realization of its present. One was taken into enormous 
shaft-houses dilapidated by the heavy hand of time, and one 
was shown huge engines of antiquated design, only to feel the 
ponderous silence of abandonment. It was interesting, how- 
ever, to note how modern winding engines had been evolved 
from the clumsy and complicated patterns of a former day. 
The Comstock was a great school of mechanical design. In the 
mines along the big lode the American engineer first faced 
the problem of deep development, but it may well be doubted 
whether it was a good school of mines in any department save 
the mechanical. There was skill in the erection of machinery, 
and there was ingenuity in the adaptation of European 
methods of timbering to unusual conditions; but in the appli- 
cation of geology to mining and in the improvement of under- 
ground practice, there was not any such advance as was made 
at the mines of Colorado, Michigan, and Montana. Possibly 
the geologic conditions were unfavorable to such research. 
On the whole, looking back at the record of the Comstock, we 
may conclude fairly that notwithstanding the mechanical 
skill of the constructing engineers at Virginia City, the Lode 
did more harm than good to mining, because it accentuated 
the gambling phase and subordinated the industrial function 
in its feverish operations. 



THE COMSTOCK LODE 113 

The judicial tribunals of the new Territory of Nevada were 
subjected to gross corruption. At the time when the Terri- 
tory was organized, the Civil War was engaging the attention 
of the Federal Government, so it is not surprising that the 
doings of the small community at Virginia City were of slight 
consequence. The judges were paid only $1800 per annum, 
and their pay came to them in paper currency that was worth 
at times hardly more than half of its face value. Moreover, 
the cost of living in the mining region was abnormally high. 
Despite these conditions, the judges maintained a style of 
living that considerably exceeded the amounts of their salaries ; 
yet from day to day they were called to pass upon titles 
involving property worth millions of dollars to litigants not 
at all scrupulous in their methods. The bribery of judges 
and juries became so flagrant as to be censured even by the 
not too fastidious newspapers. Mass meetings were held to 
denounce the corruption of the Territorial courts. On Janu- 
ary 16, 1864, William H. Stewart exposed the scandalous 
dealings in connection with the Chollar-Potosi case and 
thereby initiated a petition for the removal of all three judges. * 
On Stewart's further forceful action shortly afterward the 
three judges telegraphed their resignations to President 
Lincoln. Then an attempt was made to have a San Franciscan 
lawyer, named Swift, appointed Chief Justice of Nevada, but, 
again under the leadership of Stewart, the recognized leader 
of the Nevadan bar and later Senator, a public protest ensued 
against any appointment until Nevada became a State and 
could elect her own judges. Thereupon the President with- 
drew the nomination of Swift, and the Territory was left 
without a judiciary until October 31, 1864, when Lincoln pro- 
claimed Nevada a State. 

On the Carson river, it was difficult, even 20 years ago, to 
find the sites of the mills that had served the Comstock in its 
hectic days. This river has seen many changes. Placer 
washing for gold made it important before the Comstock was 

* Sam. p. Davis, 'The History of Nevada', Vol. I, p. 288; 1913. 



114 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

discovered; later, the mills were grouped along its waterway, 
and then the Sutro tunnel gave it a short-lived animation. 
When that ceased the industrious Oriental folk grew vege- 
tables for the surviving population. When I was there in 
1901 the unlovely quiet of abandonment rested on the whole 
district. The Chinaman alone was superior to his surround- 
ings. Amid the general decay he continued to give life to 
the green spots that his patient hands had won from the sterile 
surface. The coolie and his kitchen-garden formed a picture 
that was the very antithesis of the volcanic energies that once 
rioted at the mines of the Comstock. "Cold upon the dead 
volcano falls the gleam of dying day." The mines are idle, 
the sunlight falls on abandoned shaft-houses, the rain rusts 
the motionless machinery, but 
"The river still is winding, still is winding 
Past the gardens where the Mongol tends the cabbage and 
the leek." 



CHAPTER VI 

EARLY DAYS IN COLORADO 

The beginning of Colorado's mining industry is linked on 
one side with that of the Appalachian districts and on the 
other side with that of California, because the first discoveries 
were made by pioneers when on their way from Georgia to 
California. In the summer of 1849 a party of seven Georgians 
were taking a herd of thoroughbred horses across the continent 
to the Pacific coast. They reached Camp Lyon, on the 
Arkansas river, in October, and, meeting James Dempsey, 
a Government guide, they were persuaded by him that it was 
too late to cross the mountains that season. His advice was 
accepted, and, moving northward, they established a winter 
camp at the junction of Cherry creek with the Platte, close to 
the site of the city of Denver. Upon a sand-bar, lining the 
south side of the river, they built two cabins. During the 
closing months of 1849 they prospected the alluvial banks of 
Cherry creek, but they made no attempt to penetrate into the 
mountain canyons, near them, westward, for fear of the 
Indians.* They found gold in several places along Cherry 
creek, and particularly at a spot 16 miles up the stream from 
their camp. From the feathers of the wild geese that they 
shot they obtained quills in which they placed their gold-dust. 

This party of Georgians consisted of Dr. L. J. Russell and 
his brother. Green Russell, also A. T. Lloyd, G. W. Kiker, 
and P. H. Clark. Early in 1850 they crossed the main range 
of the Rocky Mountains by the Bridger pass and went on to 
California. They mined near Downieville, and were success- 
ful. Occasionally mention was made by them of the gold 

* T. A. Rickard, 'The Development of Colorado's Mining Industry', 
Trans. Amer. Inst. Min. and Met. Eng., Vol. XXVI, p. 334; 1897. 

115 



116 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

they had found in western Kansas (for Colorado was then 
part of Kansas) on their way across the plains. The goose- 
quills gave evidence in proof of their story. In the spring of 
1857 they, with others, sold out their interests in California 
and returned to Georgia. Before separating, it was agreed 
among them that in the near future they would organize a 
prospecting party for the purpose of going to western Kansas 
in search of gold. In May, 1858, therefore, eleven of them 
met at the Planters' House at St. Louis. In addition to the 
original party of seven, there were present J. A. O'Farrell, 
three men of the name of Chastine, and another named Fields. 
All save two had been to the Californian diggings. Having 
organized the expedition, they went to Leavenworth by water 
and thence to Camp Harney along the military road. Late 
in July they left this frontier post, accompanied by an escort 
of twenty soldiers under the command of Captain Lyon. 

In August the party reached their former camp on the Platte. 
They found plenty of the wild cherries that gave the tributary 
stream its name. As soon as camp had been pitched, they 
went to the places where Russell and his friends had discovered 
gold in 1849. They found enough more to encourage them. 
Prospecting parties were organized. Some of them went 
northward until they came to a mountain stream full of large 
boulders. They went up to the forks of this Boulder creek. 
In a small basin on the left branch they found gold, and called 
the locality Gold Run. Another party went across the 
intervening ridges to Fall river, and from there to Spring 
gulch. They did not descend into the northern valley of 
Clear creek at that time, but they crossed Quartz hill and 
found rich gravel in Russell gulch, which was named after the 
discoverer. Green Russell. It was now too near winter to 
start systematic mining operations, so they returned to the 
base camp. Six of the party went east to procure provisions, 
returning in the spring of the following year, 1859. 

That was the year of golden discovery. At the close of the 
preceding season a rumor of rich diggings had crossed the 



EARLY DAYS IN COLORADO 



117 



plains and had started a rush westward. On July 24, 1858, 
the 'Weekly Kansas Herald' had announced that "on the 
headwaters of the South Fork of Platte, near Long's Peak, 
gold mines have been discovered, and 500 persons are now 
working there".* The facts are absurdly confused, but the 
announcement served to excite public interest. Companies 
were organized all over the Missouri valley for the purpose of 




Fig. 8. — Map of Colorado. (Reproduction licensed — base material copyrighted 
by Band McNally & Company.) 

an expedition, and the newspapers offered sage advice con- 
cerning the outfit suitable for prospective, and prospecting, 
miners. Many began to arrive early in 1859. In April, 
George Jackson, an experienced Californian miner, while 
hunting amid the mountains on the south branch of Clear 
creek, saw a stream along which the sand looked promising. 
Taking his sheath-knife he dug enough sediment to fill a 'tin' 

* James F. Willard, in 'Colorado: Short Studies of its Past and 
Present', p. 103; 1927. 



118 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

cup and washed it in the stream, recovering a dollar's worth 
of gold. Whereupon he and others started to work systemati- 
cally. Most of the men came from Chicago, so the creek took 
their name, although later Idaho Springs became the principal 
settlement. In May, John Hamilton Gregory, with J. M. 
Cotton and his brother, William Cotton, went up the northern 
branch of Clear creek. At the head of the gulch Gregory 
discovered the lode that was named after him. The date. 
May 6, 1859, is the birthday of Colorado's mining industry. 

Gregory's first panning of the soft material of the outcrop 
yielded four pennyweights of gold. He employed five men 
and took out $972 in one week by aid of a sluice-box. With 
his friends he framed the first mining regulations in Colorado, 
allowing 200 feet on the vein to the discoverer and 100 feet to 
any later locator. These regulations, however, were soon 
modified, a mountain (or lode) claim being reduced to 100 
feet long by 50 feet wide, while a gulch (or placer) claim was 
given 100 feet up and down the creek, from bank to bank. 
The first arrastra, moved by oxen, was set to work in July 
1859; and a week later an arrastra driven by water-power was 
started by J. D. Peregrine at the Gregory diggings. In 
October, of the same year, J. Prosser brought a stamp-mill of 
three heads and set it up at the Gregory mine; this mill crushed 
the headings of the sluices, that is, the coarse gold-bearing 
stuff that remained at the head of the sluice-boxes. Most of 
the mining at this time in the district, later known as Gilpin 
county, was confined to the surficial ore of the weathered out- 
crops, which was treated as alluvium. Tramways were built 
down the hillsides to the gulches, where water was available 
for sluicing. Gregory was most successful in his prospecting 
and made a small fortune, but, being an inveterate gambler, 
he died poor in 1864.* 

Among the adventurers attracted to this part of Colorado 
was George M. Pullman, later famous as the inventor of the 
sleeping-car, the idea of which he is said to have got from the 

* Frank Fossett, 'Colorado', p. 212; 1878. 



EABJLY DAYS IN COLORADO 119 

double-decked miners' bunks. He worked on the Gregory 
lode, having secured claims No. 7 and No. 8, together with 
half of No. 6, all of which he sold in 1864 at the price of $1000 
per linear foot. Each claim was 100 feet long. This trans- 
action started him on his successful career. Later he had a 
hardware store in Central City. 

Soon after Gregory's discovery other veins were located: 
the Bates, on May 15; the Gunnell and Kansas on May 25. 
The Bobtail was discovered in June. By the first of July, 
1860, there were sixty little mills in operation. Everything 
betokened prosperity, but soon the discovery shafts pene- 
trated through the gossan into pyritic ore, from which the 
gold was more difficult to extract. However, the richness of 
the upper portions of the lodes was such as to leave a hand- 
some margin for dividends, in consequence of which, during 
the winter of 1863 and the spring of 1864, several mines were 
sold in New York and Boston. A stock boom ensued, only to 
collapse ignominiously in April. Here we may note the 
appearance of a myth that early gained credence among the 
miners and served to deceive the public for many a long day. 
In a report made by J. P. Whitney, in 1867, as commissioner 
from Colorado to the Paris exposition, it is written: "A pecu- 
liarity of the Colorado gold veins is, that they are invariably 
found richer the deeper they are sunk upon".* Indeed, it 
would have been a unique peculiarity, and would have com- 
pelled the mining engineers, if they were worth their salt, to 
sink to at least two or three thousand feet before beginning 
to stope. That delusive idea of enrichment in depth has been 
riddled by the bullets of fact;t it was like the kingdom of 
heaven in that it came not by observation. At this time also 
there appeared a number of incoherent processes, with the 
promise of a 100 per cent extraction. The inexperienced 
chemist, in the hands of the unscrupulous promoter, followed 

* 'Colorado', Schedule of Ores, Paris Exposition; 1867. 
t T. A. Rickard, 'Persistence of Ore in Depth', Trans. Inst. Min. and 
Met., London, Vol. XXIV, pp. 3-190; 1915. 



120 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

the stockjobber in ruining a promising industry. Gilpin 
suffered eclipse. Many mines were compelled to close down; 
others were operated with a ruinous loss of the gold in their 
ores, which defied known methods of treatment. Meanwhile 
the leasing of claims to working miners and the consolidation 
of adjacent mines served to diminish expenses. Then the 
smelter-metallurgist came to the aid of the baffled mill-man. 
In 1867 the Boston & Colorado Smelting Company was 
organized by N. P. Hill, formerly professor of chemistry in 
Brown University. In June the first experimental plant was 
erected at Blackhawk. In January, 1868, the smelter opened 
for business. In 1873 the shipment of matte to Swansea, in 
far-away Wales, was stopped, and a scientific effort to extract 
the gold and silver from the matte was made successfully by 
Richard Pearce, who was the pioneer of copper-smelting prac- 
tice in the Rocky Mountain region.* 

While these problems of reducing complex ores were being 
solved under genuine scientific guidance, the mining industry 
of Colorado was winning fresh territory southward, amid the 
snow-clad mountains whose waters feed the San Juan river. 
In 1861 a party of prospectors, guided by Jim Baker, crossed 
the Sangre de Cristo range and reached the headwaters of the 
Animas river, which the Spaniards named el no de las dnimas 
perdidas, the river of lost souls, in recognition of the gloomy 
magnificence of its scenery. At the time when the American 
pioneer penetrated into these mountain fastnesses the region 
was in possession of the Ute Indians, and prospecting was 
rendered difficult. The Baker party, overtaken by heavy 
winter snows and attacked by the Indians, suffered severely, 
only a few escaping over the mountains. Before they were 
driven out of the region they had tested the river gravels in 
several places, and the remains of their placer workings sur- 
vive in many a secluded gulch to tell of these beginnings of 
mining. 

* T. A. Rickard, ' Richard Pearce, a biographic sketch ', Engineering 
and Mining Journal, March 10, 1928. 



EARLY DAYS IN COLORADO 121 

In 1864 a guide named Eobert Darling brought a party of 
Army officers and Mexicans from Santa Fe to examine the 
outcrops of sundry lodes that he had found on the Dolores 
river. This party built an adobe furnace and spent an entire 
summer in an ineffectual attempt to smelt the lead-zinc ores 
occurring near the present site of Rico. At the end of the 
season they returned to Santa Fe, and the Dolores valley 
reverted to the trappers and hunters, who found beaver along 
the stream and bear on the hillside. In 1870 a party of 
prosp)ectors sent by Governor PUe of New Mexico did some 
placer mining in Arrastra gulch and while thus engaged Miles 
T. Johnson discovered the outcrop of the Little Giant vein, 
the ore from which was treated in a Mexican arrastre. It is 
said that, in 1871, 27 tons of ore yielded $150 per ton in gold. 
From this mine came the first ore to be shipped outside.* 
Two years later troops had to be sent into this region to expel 
the miners, who were there in violation of a treaty signed in 
1868 whereby the Utes were secured in sole possession. In 
1873, however, the Utes agreed to cede the San Juan mountains 
to the United States government under the terms of the 
Brunot treaty. 

Meanwhile, despite redskins and snowslides, the two chief 
perils that the prospector had to face, the search for minerals 
had {jersisted. In 1872 the Little Giant company was organ- 
ized at Chicago, and in the following year a five-stamp mill, 
with a Dodge crusher, replaced the arrastras. In 1874 there 
was a rush of miners, chiefly from northern Colorado, to the 
San Juan region. Forthwith mining operations were started 
in many localities, notably on the Aspen, Prospector, and 
Susquehanna claims, all on Hazelton mountain, whence several 
hundred tons of ore containing copper and lead were brought 
for treatment at a smelter erected north of Silverton by Judge 
Green, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The machinery came on 
burro-back from Colorado Springs, which was then the 

* F. L. Ransome, 'The Silverton Quadrangle, Colorado', U. S. Geologi- 
cal Survey, p. 19; 1901. 



122 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

terminus of the Denver & Rio Grande railroad. This plant, 
which started work in 1875, had a capacity of 12 tons per day. 
The bullion was shipped on mules to Pueblo. In 1875 J. A. 
Porter, a Freiberg graduate, metallurgist to Green & Com- 
pany, introduced the siphon-tap, and in the following year he 
erected the first water-jacketed furnace to be used in Colorado. 

The development of more mines soon rendered the Green 
smelter inadequate; and in 1880 the works of the San Juan 
Smelting & Refining Company were erected at Durango, which 
locality is in the centre of excellent coalfields. This was one 
of the instances of the logical tendency to centralize the 
smelting industries of the region in the valleys, where the 
junction of the railroads from the adjacent mountains enabled 
the metallurgist to obtain the necessary mixture of ores. 
Thus, in the course of time, the large reduction works of 
Colorado became concentrated at Denver and Pueblo, with 
Durango and Leadville as subordinate centres. 

Raymond, in his report for 1869, outlines the character of 
the business done between the local smelter-men and the 
miners.* He says that Professor N. P. Hill, in charge of a 
smelter at Blackhawk, in Gilpin county, paid his clients 20 
per cent of the value of the gold in a 2-ounce ore, 30 per cent 
of the value of the gold in a 3-ounce ore, and, progressively, 
as much as 50 per cent of the gold-value of a 6-ounce ore. 
This last means that for an ore containing $120 in gold, he 
paid $60; that is, he charged $60 for smelting, plus loss of gold 
in smelting. For the silver in the ore, he paid 75 cents, when 
silver was worth $1-29; and he deducted as many ounces of 
silver as there were percentages of copper; that is, he deducted 
6 ounces of silver if the ore contained 6 per cent of copper. 
But he paid $2 for each percentage of copper, deducting 0-5 
per cent from the amount indicated by wet assay. So he paid 
$2 for each 20 pounds of copper, at a time when copper was 
selling for 23 cents per pound. No account was taken of less 
than one ounce of silver, one percentage of copper, or one- 

* Rossiter W. Raymond, 'Mines and Mining', p. 363; 1870. 



EARLY DAYS IN COLORADO 123 

quarter ounce of gold. Raymond remarks: "It is understood 
tliat Professor Hill will before long enlarge his works". It 
would seem that he might have done so most profitably, but, 
as Raymond himself suggests,* on his own exact knowledge 
of the conditions governing such an enterprise, the supposed 
immense gains made by such reduction works were largely 
imaginary. A contemporaneous smelter across the hills at 
Georgetown was unable to conduct its business profitably _ 
even when receiving $100 per ton for the treatment of custom 
ores. Receipts of ore were intermittent and shut-downs for 
repairs were frequent. The shipment of bullion was costly 
and the time in transit was so long as to entail a burden on 
the company's treasury. Returns from the metals extracted 
from ore purchased for cash were often delayed six months. 
Materials of construction were usually not only costly, but 
were often not obtainable. A piece of round iron, to make 
bolts, for example, could not be found by a smelter manager 
although he searched in all the neighboring mining centres. 
Moreover, the uncertain life of individual mines, most of them 
mere prospects, and the vagrant character of the miners, who 
were attracted by every rumor of a new discovery to drop work 
at one place for the sake of a better chance elsewhere, intro- 
duced factors of uncertainty that undermined the stability 
of any smelting enterprise that was dependent, as all of them 
were before railroads had been built, on a local supply of ore. 
The only cure for these harassing conditions was the develop- 
ment of mines so large and so productive as to ensure a steady 
tonnage of ore of uniform character. 

It is pleasant to quote Raymond because he was a famous 
personality in American mining affairs for half a century. As 
statistician, reporter, and commissioner under the Federal 
government at the beginning of the great era of mining 
development that followed the discoveries of gold in California 
and silver in Nevada, he exerted a wide influence by reason of 
his intellectual vigor and high character. As editor of the 

* Rossiter W. Raymond, 'Statistics of Mines and Mining', p. 350; 1871. 



124 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

'Engineering and Mining Journal', which became influential 
when directed by him, from 1867 to 1890, he won the leader- 
ship of the mining profession, and as secretary of the American 
Institute of Mining Engineers, from 1884 to 1911, he exercised 
a remarkable influence, especially on the younger men, who 
were greatly attracted by his brilliant speeches, by his forceful 
writings, and by the charm of his personality. He was a 
, convincing publicist. Under his editorship the transactions 
of the Institute became a splendid reference library for those 
taking part in mining affairs and an exemplar of good literary 
style in technical publications. He exercised an immense 
influence for good in his day and generation; "for fifty years 
the force of his personality was felt among the men that were 
organizing and directing the mining industry of a continent; 
for fifty years he did not fail to write a Christmas story for the 
children of his Sunday-school; he was a friend to the old and 
to the young. Age could not wither him nor custom stale 
his infinite variety. He influenced those that today are 
influencing others; his spirit still moves among men. Blessed 
be his memory".* 

Greater discoveries of mineral wealth were yet to be made 
in Colorado. The mining excitement of 1859 had been started 
with a tale of gold having been found on Pike's Peak, a^oble 
mountain that overlooks the plains of central Colorado. 
Many of the wagons that crossed the prairies bore the joyous 
device ' Pike's Peak or Bust ', and some of them returned later 
in the summer over the same route with their motto changed 
significantly to 'Busted'. It is true, as we have seen, gold 
was found in the Clear Creek and Gilpin districts at that time, 
but none was discovered at the foot of Pike's Peak, and to 
those who went thither the expedition was a fiasco. Early in 
the following year, however, several scattering bands of 
diggers ascended the Arkansas river. One party went west- 
ward as far as the headwaters and into California gulch, where 

* T. A. Rickard, 'Rossiter Worthington Raymond, A Memorial', 
p. 13; 1920. 



EARLY DAYS IN COLORADO 125 

they encamped. At noon, of April 6, 1860, John O'Farrell, 
when breaking through the snow to obtain water for his coffee, 
tapped the creek, and in the sand he found gold. The pieces 
of porphyry that he saw amid the gravel reminded him of 
similar conditions he had observed on the Feather river in 
California, but little did he guess the significance of those rock 
fragments or the enormous wealth that the porphyry covered 
on the neighboring hills. George Stevens and his party 
arrived soon afterward. The discovery claims were just above 
the site of the A. Y. and Minnie mine, in the district that 
became known as Leadville. 

Here we may recall the fact that Meyer Guggenheim, the 
founder of the Guggenheim firm of mining and metallurgical 
financiers, became interested in mining at first by means of 
an involuntary participation in the ownership of the A. Y. 
and Minnie mine, at Leadville, in 1884. He had loaned $5000 
to A. J. Graham, a publisher of Philadelphia, who in turn had 
lent money to Harsh and Carey, the owners of the mine. 
When this mining enterprise failed, it passed into the hands 
of Graham and Guggenheim, each owning one half. At that 
time Meyer Guggenheim was a lace merchant ; he had come as 
a poor Swiss immigrant to Philadelphia in 1864, and had 
started as a petty trader. He was shrewd and acquisitive of 
every kind of information; so he had prospered. The mining 
venture at Leadville brought him into a new field of business. 
One of his sons, Benjamin, came to Leadville to be clerk at the 
mine. Later Ben Guggenheim went, as time-keeper, to the 
Globe smelter at Denver. There he made the acquaintance 
of Edward H. Holden, the promoter of the Globe Smelting 
Company, and an enterprising citizen. Holden enlisted Ben 
Guggenheim's interest in a project to build a smelter at Pueblo, 
which is seventy miles south of Denver, and at the foot of the 
mountains in which were the chief sources of ore-supply, 
notably Aspen and Leadville. Holden persuaded Ben Gug- 
genheim to broach the subject of the proposed smelter to his 
father. This was done. Meanwhile Meyer Guggenheim, 



126 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

without a hint from anybody, had become keenly aware of the 
high charges levied by the smelters on the ore from the A. Y. 
and Minnie mine, and he had made his usual shrewd enquiries 
into the business of smelting. To him it looked like the better 
end of the game. Therefore he was receptive to Holden's 
proposal. Shortly afterward, Holden, who had disagreed on 
sundry matters with Charles B. Kountze and Dennis Sheedy, 
the Denver bankers that controlled the Globe smelter, severed 
his relations with them. He went to Pueblo, where, with the 
financial assistance of Meyer Guggenheim, he built the Phila- 
delphia smelter in 1886, the main source of ore being the A. Y. 
and Minnie mine, together with other mines at Leadville. At 
this time, and for this purpose, Meyer Guggenheim organized 
a corporation known as M. Guggenheim's Sons, each of the 
seven sons obtaining an equal share in the smelting enterprise. 
The operations of the Philadelphia smelter were conducted at 
a loss for several years, and it was only after many changes 
had been made in the staff that the company secured the aid 
of the best technical advice. The first metallurgist to turn 
the scale was August Raht. When the business became profit- 
able, the Guggenheims expanded their enterprise by building 
a smelter at Aguascalientes in Mexico, and, later, another at 
Monterey, also in Mexico. 

In 1899 a consolidation of smelters was formed under the 
corporate name of the American Smelting & Refining Com- 
pany, but at this time the Guggenheims had no part in it. The 
nucleus of the combination was the United Smelting & Refin- 
ing Company, which owned smelters at East Helena and Great 
Falls, both in Montana, and the National Smelting & Refining 
Company's refinery at Chicago. This group of smelters con- 
trolled the supply of lead ores from the Coeur d'Alene district, 
in Idaho, and held a strategic position of decisive importance. 
Another important member of the consolidation was the 
Omaha & Grant Smelting & Refining Company, with smelters 
at Denver, Leadville, and Omaha; and to these were added 
the plants of the Kansas City Smelting & Refining Company, 



EARLY DAYS IN COLORADO 127 

the Pueblo Smelting & Refining Company, the Colorado 
Smelting Company, at Pueblo, the Durango smelter, and the 
Germania, at Salt Lake City. For a while the Guggenheims 
were in competition with this big group, which became known 
as the Trust, a name given 30 years ago to any monopoly, 
especially if it threatened to be overbearing. A clearing- 
house for ores was established at Denver, with Franklin 
Guiterman as manager, and this prepared the way for a 
merger. In 1901 the American Smelting & Refining Company 
absorbed the Guggenheim smelter at Philadelphia, their Perth 
Amboy lead and copper refinery, and their Mexican business 
as well. For these properties the Guggenheims received $17,- 
500,000 in preferred stock and $17,500,000 in common stock 
at par. The capital of the American Smelting & Refining 
Company was increased from $54,000,000 to $100,000,000, 
whereupon $10,200,000 preferred and common shares in equal 
parts were sold to the public to obtain more money for improv- 
ing sundry plants. At this time Daniel Guggenheim, the 
eldest son, was made chairman of the executive committee, 
and on the death of E. W. Nash, in 1905, he became president 
of the company. In the interval the Guggenheims had bought 
blocks of the common stock, and, with the shares held by 
friends, they thereby acquired the control. In 1905 the 
American Smelters Securities Company, a subsidiary com- 
pany organized by the Guggenheims, purchased the Selby, 
Tacoma, and Everett smelters, thereby emphasizing the hold 
that they had upon the mining and smelting industries of the 
United States and Mexico, although at no time was their 
control a monopoly. In later years they have speculated in 
mines on a large scale, and usually with success, but more 
recently they have decreased their personal participation in 
the affairs of the big smelting company to become bankers, 
benefactors, and members of the haute finance of New 
York. It seems a long way from the little A. Y. and Minnie 
mine in California gulch, Leadville, Colorado, to which we now 
return. 



128 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

The immediate result of O'Farrell's discovery was the 
starting of a lively camp, from which sundry miners carried 
away from $50,000 to $100,000 each as the reward for their 
first summer's work.* These placer operations lasted for 15 
years, during which period the greater treasures of Leadville 
lay dormant all around the gold diggings. In the sluice-boxes 
the miners found lumps of heavy mineral, which they threw 
aside irritably because they interfered with the saving of the 
gold, not dreaming that the iron-stained heavy stuff was rich 
in silver and lead. In 1875 W. H. Stevens and A. B. Wood 
came over the Mosquito range from Fairplay to build a ditch 
for conducting water to California gulch. While preparing 
to do so, Wood examined the hillside and picked up some pieces 
of lead carbonate. Knowing that this was a carrier of silver, 
he dug a hole through the surficial debris and uncovered an 
outcrop of low-grade ore. This was on the south side of Dome 
hill, on ground subsequently located as the Rock claim. The 
ore that he found assayed only 27 ounces of silver per ton, 
but it was rich enough to stimulate systematic search on both 
sides of California gulch, and on the slope of Iron hill. In 
1876 a series of claims was located along the outcrop of the 
supposed vein, and ore was taken in 1877 from the Rock mine 
to a smelter, at Malta, that had been built three years before 
to treat the ore of the Homestake mine, on the Saguache range, 
opposite the site of Leadville. Stevens persuaded the Harrison 
Reduction Company of St. Louis to erect a smelter in 1877, 
and in the following year James B. Grant, a Freiberg graduate, 
built the plant that became the forerunner of the multifarious 
metallurgic activities of the Omaha & Grant Smelting & 
Refining Company. In 1879 Anton Filers and Gustav Billing 
built the smelting-plant that in later years became the property 
of the Arkansas Valley Smelting Company. In 1878 the 
output of Leadville was worth $3,000,000. 

* S. F. Emmons, 'The Geology and Mining Industry of Leadville', 
U. S. Gaol. Survey, Mon. XX, p. 77; 1886. 



EARLY DAYS IN COLORADO 



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130 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

While these smelters were in course of construction the local 
supplies of ore were being increased rapidly by further dis- 
coveries. The most important was the consequence of pure 
accident. Two prospectors were grubstaked, or provided 
with tools and food, by a man named Tabor, who had a store 
and was the local postmaster. He was to have the half of 
anything that the two prospectors, Rische and Hook, might 
find. Among their provisions was a jug of whisky, which 
proved so inviting that they decided to drink it before they 
had gone more than a mile from the camp. When they had 
done so, they concluded that the spot at which they had halted, 
on Fryer hill, was as good a place as any other for sinking a 
shaft. At a depth of 30 feet they struck the rich orebody of 
the Little Pittsburg mine, this being the one point of all others 
on the hill where the ore lay nearest the surface. Thus Tabor 
was enriched; but his luck was not yet exhausted. He was 
asked by the members of a grocery firm with whom he did 
business at Denver to buy them a prospect. He bought the 
Chrysolite claim for $40,000 from a notorious person known 
as Chicken Bill. It was this fellow's specialty to play tricks 
on the unsuspecting, more particularly by 'salting' claims, 
that is, by enriching faces of ore artificially. He had not 
waited until his shaft reached the ore-bearing formation, but 
had sprinkled rich ore, taken from a neighboring mine, on the 
bottom of the shaft. Tabor was inexperienced, and was 
readily fooled. After he had sold the claim. Chicken Bill 
could not resist the temptation to boast of his performance, a 
rumor of which reached Tabor's clients, and they, of course, 
promptly repudiated the transaction. So the mining claim 
was left in Tabor's hands. Luck was with him; only a few 
feet deeper, in the same shaft, his men cut into a rich orebody, 
this time truly in place. After he and his associates had taken 
$1,500,000 out of the ground, they sold it for a like sum to the 
Chrysolite Mining Company. 

This story of the drunken prospectors, true as it is, must not 
let us overlook the fact that a month before Tabor's grub- 




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132 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

stakers had found rich ore, the first discovery on Fryer hill 
had been made by George Fryer in a hole that he sunk north 
of Stray Horse gulch, where he cut into carbonate ore, and 
thereby disclosed the great ore-measure that becam'e known 
as the ' first contact ', because it was a replacement in limestone 
at the contact with an overlying sheet of intrusive porphyry. 
At first the ore was supposed to be confined to the blue dolo- 
mitic hmestone (Carboniferous) at or near this contact with 
the white porphyry, but subsequently ore was found in the 
underlying white limestone (Silurian) where it was penetrated 
by, or otherwise near, another igneous rock, called the gray 
porphyry. This became known as the 'second contact'. 
Both of these ore-bearing horizons are crossed and- dislocated 
by big faults. Hence it became necessary to the miner to 
know the extent to which the strata had been displaced, and 
to ascertain where to seek for the contacts along which the ore 
had been concentrated. To give this information, S. F. 
Emmons made a thorough study not only of the geology in the 
vicinity of the mines but of the entire district within a radius 
of 10 miles, thereby obtaining a comprehensive view of the 
structural conditions that had affected the localization of the 
ore. Through the medium of the United States Geological 
Survey, he gave the mining community a monograph explain- 
ing the distribution of the ore, together with a series of maps 
that to the mining engineer underground were as charts 
whereby he steered the course of his exploration; it is not too 
much to say that, measured even in so commercial a unit as 
the dollar, they were worth many millions to the operators at 
Leadville. Moreover, the report by Emmons, published in 
1886, taught those engaged in mining throughout the Rocky 
Mountain region, and elsewhere, how great was the immediate 
and practical usefulness of a correct geologic diagnosis of a 
mining district, quite apart from its obvious value in present- 
ing scientific conclusions and in its general educational effect. * 
The Leadville monograph was epoch-making. 

* T. A. Rickard, 'Geology Applied to Mining', The Mining Magazine, 
Vol. XI, p. 126; 1914. 



EARLY DAYS IN COLORADO 133 

The experience gained at Leadville prompted an eager search 
for similar deposits elsewhere in Colorado, and resulted in the 
discoveries that are now associated with the names of Aspen 
and Rico. The ore deposits of Aspen were investigated by 
Emmons and J. E. Spurr, both Harvard graduates. Aspen 
is a locality where the uplifts of the Saguache and Elk moun- 
tains converge, so that the sedimentary rocks are squeezed, 
crushed, and faulted. * Along the faults, and proceeding from 
them into calcareous rocks, the ores of silver and lead have 
been deposited, in a manner analogous to that observed at 
Leadville. Although the porphyritic intrusions are not so 
large at Aspen, yet intercalations and dikes have played a 
decisive part in creating conditions favorable to the deposition 
of ore. The chief ore-bearing horizon is along the upper edge 
of the Carboniferous limestone, as at Leadville, but in this case 
the contact is with the overlying Weber shale, also Carbonif- 
erous, rather than with porphjrry. Where enriched by ore, 
the shale and the limestone are alike turned into dolomite. 
Here, as at Leadville, the financial success of mining operations 
was dependent largely upon the elucidation of a complex 
system of faults. This was done by the geologist with a skill 
that the miner acknowledged with gratitude. 

The mention of Aspen recalls the name of a mining engineer 
conspicuous in the development of that district: David W. 
Brunton. He was manager of several mines at Aspen and he 
was the engineer of the Cowenhoven adit, which was 2)4, miles 
long, in the driving of which he introduced sundry new methods 
of pushing through soft ground. Aspen was associated with 
an early use of electricity in mines, an electric hoist having 
been placed in the Veteran tunnel in 1888 by WilUam B. 
Devereux, another distinguished mining engineer. Brunton 
designed an electric hoist, manufactured by the General 
Electric Company, for use in the Free Silver shaft. For many 
years this was the most powerful machine of its kind in the 

* J. E. Spurr, 'Geology of the Aspen Mining District, Colorado', 
U. S. Geol. Survey, Monograph, No. XXXI; 1898. 



134 



A HISTORY OF 



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EARLY DAYS IN COLORADO 135 

world.* Brunton was eminently progressive; he was one of 
the first in Colorado to drive an automobile. Twice (1909 
and 1910) he was president of the American Institute of 
Mining Engineers, and he did honor to the Saunders medal by 
being the first to whom it was awarded. 

At Rico, in the San Juan region, the ore is found also in beds 
of Carboniferous limestone not far from intrusive masses of 
igneous rock. The discovery of the first orebody in the 
Enterprise mine, on Newman hill, admirably illustrates how 
ore can be found by accident; and the subsequent finding of 
many other orebodies will serve even better to show how much 
more effective is the prospecting that is based upon a correct 
understanding of the local geology, f In 1881 David Swick- 
himer and his comrades sank a shaft on Newman hill in the 
expectation of cutting the continuations of veins already 
worked successfully in sundry claims to the south named the 
Swansea group. The shaft went through drift all the way for 
146 feet. This part of Newman hill has an overburden of 
glacial detritus, which covers the true rock-surface of sand- 
stone and limestone in which the ore-bearing veins are found. 
Therefore the veins do not outcrop at the present surface. 
Another shaft, on an adjoining claim, the Songbird, did 
reach the lime-shale at 203 feet. Both of these exploratory 
shafts were in wet ground, and were abandoned. In 1886 
Swickhimer, encouraged by developments in the Swansea 
mine and more than ever persuaded thereby that 4;he veins 
must extend into the Enterprise claim, recommenced the 
sinking of his shaft. Despite a heavy influx of water and 
many mishaps, the shaft was sunk into the lime-shale, where 
it penetrated rich ore at a depth of 262 feet. The ore was one 
foot thick; it assayed 2 ounces of gold and 519 ounces of silver 
per ton. It formed part of a flat lode. In the light of later 
knowledge, this discovery was a piece of extraordinary good 

* T. A. Bickard, 'Interviews with Mining Engineers', p. 78; 1922. 
t T. A. Rickard, 'The Enterprise Mine, Rico, Colorado', Trans. 
Amer. Inst. Min. and Met. Eng., Vol. XXVI, pp. 906-980; 1897. 



136 



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138 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

fortune, for the orebody proved to be one of the richest in 
Newman hill, and it would have been missed if the shaft had 
been sunk 20 feet to the east. Swickhimer thought that the 
layer of ore was merely a roll or bend on the part of the 
Enterprise, an almost vertical vein. However, he soon satis- 
fied himself that it was a bedded formation, conforming with 
the enclosing rock. The shaft was sunk 60 feet below this 
'contact', and in a drift run westward the Enterprise vein 
itself was intercepted at a point 118 feet southwest of the shaft. 
The ore in the vein was 20 inches thick, and it assayed 3 
ounces of gold, with 285 ounces of silver, per ton. Thus Swick- 
himer, by his intelligent persistence, completed a remarkably 
successful search for ore, finding not only the vein that was the 
immediate object of his prospecting, but also an orebody as 
unexpected as it was rich. 

The shale, limestone, and sandstone beds of the Rico series 
are of Lower Carboniferous age; on Newman hill, as we have 
seen, they are hidden under a cover of Quaternary drift, the 
maximum thickness of which is 400 feet. Intrusions of 
porphyrite, most plentiful at the northern end of the hill, 
explain the activity of the ore-forming agencies. The mine- 
workings are largely confined to a vertical range of 200 feet, 
because the veins do not extend upward beyond the ' contact ' 
and they become barren at an average depth of 100 feet below 
that horizon. The use of the term 'contact' was borrowed 
from Leadville; as a matter of fact there is in this case no 
juxtaposition of an irruptive and a limestone, but a thin layer 
of pulverulent black shale, which happens to be the remnant 
of a former bed of gypsum, from 10 to 20 feet thick.* In 
places this gypsum survives, and contains rich ore. Besides 
this flat ore deposit we find a double series of upright veins, 
both of which terminate in their approach to the so-called 
contact. Just below it, the veins divide into branches, or fan 
out into stringers; and the interesting fact became disclosed 

* Whitman Cross and A. C. Spencer, 'Geology of the Kico Mountains, 
Colorado', U. S. Geol. Survey, pp. 274-278; 1900. 



EARLY DAYS IN COLORADO 139 

from careful surveys, made by Rickard, while manager of the 
mine in 1894, that orebodies along the 'contact' are related 
to these veins — capping them, as it were. The ore along the 
plane of the former bed of gypsum exists in narrow bands that 
correspond exactly to the strike of the tributary veins under- 
neath, and where several veins apex at this horizon the result 
is a merging of the orebodies into one flat mass, such as that 
discovered by Swickhimer. Of the two sets of veins, one is 
barren of ore and is known as 'cross-veins' in distinction to 
the ore-bearing veins, which are known as 'verticals'. The 
barren veins have a N W-SE strike and a flat dip ; the ore-veins 
have a NE-SW strike and a nearly vertical dip ; they intersect, 
and the ore-veins are dislocated by the cross-veins. The 
faulting of the rich veins by the barren ones, and of both by 
later movements, causes structural complications that the 
mining engineer must unravel if he is to search for ore intelli- 
gently. Obviously a good deal of work and money could be 
squandered in an aimless search for the broken ends of faulted 
veins. Indeed, in the early operations in the Enterprise mine 
the finding of them was haphazard and expensive, even when 
it was successful. 

The mine was opened by means of adits, which also served 
to test some of the veins in depth. Drifts running northeast- 
ward gained distance from the so-called contact, and early 
gave proof that even the 'verticals' soon became impoverished. 
Deeper adits and prospecting from shafts in adjoining mines 
confirmed this unpleasant fact. Yet it was disregarded as 
long as possible. When Swickhimer, as we have seen, first 
penetrated into ore on the 'contact,' he thought he had cut 
a flat vein. Later, when the workings had demonstrated 
that the ore conformed with the bedding of the shale, the 
notion was started that Rico had a limestone-shale contact 
similar to that of Aspen and resembling the ore-bearing zone 
in the Carboniferous limestone of Leadville. Despite the 
evidence obtained in the wake of development in regard to 
the relationship between the ore on the 'contact' and the 



140 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

veins impinging from below, the Leadville tradition was 
fostered, until finally there arose talk of a 'second contact' 
resembling that of the white limestone and gray porphyry 
at Leadville. Bore-holes and shafts were sunk in the expecta- 
tion of finding such a zone of ore, but these explorations failed 
utterly. Analogy is a dangerous mode of reasoning, especially 
when apphed with eyes wilfully shut. 

It remains for us to draw two lessons. First from Leadville : 
there the geological survey of the surface, followed by induc- 
tions affording data for the construction of a map exhibiting 
the rock structure underground, proved of more immediate 
use to the miner than any theory attempting to explain the 
origin of the ore deposits. As to the latter, we still engage in 
disputation; as to the former, we accept the colored chart with 
gratitude, for the correctness of the mapping has been proved 
repeatedly by mining operations during the past 50 years. 
Emmons came to the conclusion that the porphyries were the 
immediate source of the ore, by the agency of descending 
waters, which found a soluble medium in the limestones 
and there effected a chemical exchange that resulted in the 
deposition of silver and lead minerals in large masses. What 
may have been the original source of these minerals, he did 
not venture to say. The later attempts of others to answer 
this question have usually ended in vague references to a 
source somewhere "below". I do not hesitate to assert that 
in directing his scientific investigation toward ascertaining 
the particular conditions modifying the localization of ore, 
Emmons did much more for mining than by any theorizing 
upon the origin of that ore. He was thoroughly in touch with 
the engineers in charge of the mines, and he knew the sort of 
guidance that would help them most. Such guidance he 
was enabled to give them. Whatever may be the primary 
source of the ore, it is the last process of concentration that 
has formed the orebody as found today by the miner. He 
wants to know what conditions have modified the final 
concentration, so that he may search for such favorable 



EARLY DAYS IN COLORADO 141 

conditions as a preliminary to finding the ore itself. He asks 
the geologist to tell him where the ore is Hkely to be now, not 
where it was formerly or whence it came. The one is merely 
interesting; the other is of immediate economic importance. 

At Rico likewise the recognition of the structural relations 
was more directly useful to the miner than any theory explain- 
ing the genesis of the ore deposits. For instance, it was 
interesting to learn that the so-called contact marks the 
position of a former bed of gypsum, but it proved much 
more important to the mining engineer to recognize the exist- 
ence of a definite horizon above which the veins did not extend 
and along which they were connected with a layer of rich ore. 
The further observation that this ore existed in bands corre- 
sponding to the strikes of two systems of veins underneath was 
more to the point than any discussion of the genetic connection 
between the ore deposits and the porphyrite, which had 
penetrated the Carboniferous strata and had been probably 
a prime factor in giving life to the thermal waters that had 
circulated along the vein-fractures and along the gypsum 
contact. Finally, the detection of a rule of faulting, however 
difficult to explain, was more helpful to the mine-manager 
than scientific ruminations concerning the source of the ore, 
the age of the deposits, or the paleontology of the rocks 
enclosing them. Both Leadville and Rico afford notable 
examples of the fact that in ascertaining the structural 
relations of the ore deposits, the geologist can give the miner 
the most positive aid; as was early realized by Emmons,* 
who, by his consistent effort to follow this line of research, 
was enabled to give geology an economic function previously 
unknown in metal-mining. 

This was appreciated by the time the Cripple Creek district 
became an important goldfield, in 1891, and thereby unex- 
pectedly justified the expectations of an earlier day. Pike's 
Peak, the summit of which rises to 14,107 feet above sea-level, 

*.S. F. Emmons, 'Structural Relations of Ore Deposits', Trans. 
Amer. Inst. Min. and Met. Eng., Vol. XVI, pp. 804-839. 



142 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

had served as a landmark for two mining excitements, and 
in the end the noble mountain was fated to cast its cool shadow 
upon a hectic mining centre. In the rush to California, 
after 1848, the adventurers that came westward across the 
plains shaded their eyes to catch the first glimpse of the 
beacon mountain, which Lieutenant Zebulon Pike had recon- 
noitred in the first years of the century. The immigration 
that was destined to dispossess the Indian and the buffalo 
was guided by this snowy summit in the last stage of the 
long trek from the Missouri river to the Rocky Mountains. 
Ten years later the rumor of gold being found in this part of 
the country caused a stampede that was frustrated in its 
immediate objective, as we have seen, although it led sub- 
sequently to the discoveries of Gilpin and Leadville. To 
these and other districts the prospectors went during the next 
two decades; and so the silence of the pine-clad hills around 
Pike's Peak remained unbroken by the blow of pick or hammer. 

Suddenly, in the spring of 1884, rumors were circulated 
concerning a wonderful discovery on the southern slope of 
the Peak. During the darkness of an April night a horde of 
prospectors stole hurriedly away in obedience to vague hints 
that had been scattered among the habitues of the saloons in 
Leadville and neighboring mining-camps. Each party aimed 
to be the first on the ground. The dawn of the next day 
found an excited crowd of four thousand men gathered together 
at the foot of Mount Pisgah. The incident became known in 
local history as the Mount Pisgah fiasco.* Among the hills 
that cluster around the southern base of Pike's Peak is a 
dark cone of phonolite standing apart from his smaller breth- 
ren. This is Mount Pisgah. In 1884 the miners that had 
assembled there were unable to find gold in workable quantity 
save in the prospect holes made by the original locators. 
Whether they had sold their claims, we are not informed. 
Artificial enrichment, or salting, was suspected; the man that 

* T. A. Rickard, 'The Cripple Creek Goldfield', Trans. Inst. Min. find 
Met., Vol. VIII, p. 50; 1899. 



EARLY DAYS IN COLORADO 143 

had instigated the rush was conspicuous by his absence ; and a 
supposed accomplice is reported to have been caught with a 
bottle of yellow stuff in his pocket. It was not whisky, 
but its sometime antidote, the chloride of gold. Suspicion 
seemed justified. Angry feelings found vent in threats 
of lynching, but in the failure to lay hands upon the actual 
perpetrator of the fraud, the affair ended in a big picnic 
and a general drunk. A Uttle digging had been done, one or 
two quartz veins had been disclosed, but the comparative 
poverty of the ore only added bitterness to the general dis- 
appointment. The crowd dispersed as quickly as it had 
come. The hillsides resumed the quiet aspect of the 
cattle range for which they seemed best fitted. The 
vicissitudes of mining are proverbial. No locality illus- 
trates the fickleness of fortune more forcibly than Cripple 
Creek, which later sprang into productive life on the very 
scene of the Mount Pisgah fiasco; from the summit of that 
discredited hill a geologic Moses might have been vouchsafed 
the vision of a promised wealth in gold and silver, but even 
when at last genuine discoveries were announced, in 1891, 
there was no rush thither. It remains to add that on the top 
of Bull cliffs, a name reminiscent of the fact that the district 
was formerly given up to the ruminating herd, there was 
found a shallow shaft dug in the days of the first Pike's Peak 
excitement. That shaft was near not one but several mines 
subsequently so rich as to make fortunes for many. 

The discoverer of Cripple Creek was Robert Womack, the 
owner of a small ranch in the district and a prospector at 
intervals from 1880 onward. The cowboys and herdsmen 
looked good-naturedly at Bob's digging, but did not consider 
it of any consequence. In 1890 he found a promising vein — 
small, but rich — in Poverty gulch, and sank a shaft 48 feet 
on a claim that he named the El Paso. This became the 
Gold King mine when Womack optioned it for $5,000 to 
F. F. Frisbee, and he in turn transferred it, at a profit, to 
Lennox & Geddings, of Colorado Springs, which is 20 miles 



144 A HISTORY OP AMERICAN MINING 

eastward from Cripple Creek, and on the opposite side of 
Pike's Peak. These transactions caused hardly a ripple of 
interest in local mining circles, because the Pike's Peak area 
had gained a bad name: moreover, another excitement, at 
Creede, in southwestern Colorado, diverted attention at 
this time. 

It was Stratton's discovery that put Cripple Creek on the 
map. * W. S. Stratton, a carpenter by trade, had been in the 
habit for many years of prospecting when not engaged at his 
regular work; he had learned the use of a blowpipe ahd had 
acquired the elements of mineralogy; in short, he was an 
energetic and intelligent man. During the early part of 
1891 he was searching for cryolite, a mineral from which 
aluminum is extracted, and had pitched his tent on the western 
slope of Pike's Peak. In May, while at Colorado Springs, he 
met Frisbee, who showed him some assays of ore that had 
come from Cripple Creek. Thereupon Stratton moved thither 
and went to see the work done by Womack. Among others 
that were prospecting in the vicinity was an old mountaineer 
named Dick Houghton. One day he met Stratton and showed 
him a piece of ore that looked like galena, so Houghton said. 
Stratton, however, demurred; it was not the sulphide of lead. 
They went together to Stratton's tent, where a blowpipe test 
was made. Under the hot flame the mineral yielded a button 
of gold. Neither knew that it was a telluride of gold, probably 
calaverite or sylvanite. Cripple Creek became famous for 
its lustrous tellurides, both of gold and of silver, minerals of a 
kind previously but rarely known to the miner, although made 
familiar by subsequent discoveries in other parts of the world, 
notably at Kalgoorlie, in Western Australia. It is not recorded 
who was the first to recognize the tellurides of Cripple Creek, f 

* T. A. Rickard, 'Two Famous Mines', Mining and Scientific Press, 
Vol. cm, p. 765; 1911. 

t Probably the credit belongs to Richard Pearce, a keen mineralogist, 
then residing at Denver. R. Pearce, 'The Mode of Occurrence of Gold 
in the Ores of the Cripple Creek District', Colorado Scientific Society, 
Proc, Vol. V, p. 7; 1894. 



EARLY DAYS IN COLORADO 145 

but there is a story that a miner made a camp fireplace with 
some pieces of rock and that the heat of his cooking operations 
caused a part of his hearth to sweat gold, which means that 
the ore in the rock was roasted, the tellurium being released 
as fume, leaving globules of gold behind. Such an accident 
is not unlikely. 

Stratton located a claim next to Houghton's, and continued 
to roam over the hills in search of something better. On the 
sixth of June he moved his tent to the foot of Battle mountain, 
a grassy slope, where he, in company with a man named 
Troutman, found a piece of loose rock full of gold; but the 
source of this rich 'float' they could not find. An old ranch- 
man, Billy Fernay, came along at this time and showed Strat- 
ton some float that he had found on the hillside, whereupon 
they located a claim in the joint names of Stratton, Houghton, 
and Troutman. Next day Stratton examined the ground, 
and, having found a vein, tried to make the trend of it accord 
with the line of the ridge, for he had an idea that the rich 
ore would be confined to veins having a north-south direction. 
It is not unusual for prospectors to have such notions fixed 
in their minds. This led him down the hill to a bold outcrop 
of granite. The outcrop, in dikelike projection above the 
surface, had been seen by many; a path from one ranch to 
another ran close to it, and all the cattle-men that had any 
fancy for prospecting had looked at it, only to condemn the 
rock as worthless granite. Fernay drew Stratton's attention 
to this outcrop, but he, like the others, thought it most 
unattractive. On examining the rock he noted the absence 
of any familiar metallic mineral and an entire lack of the 
vein-quartz with which he was accustomed to associate the 
occurrence of gold. He was mistaken; the granite was much 
decomposed, it was impregnated with iron oxide, and it con- 
tained vesicular quartz in which plenty of fine gold lay hidden; 
in brief, to a prospector of adequate experience it was a 
most promising veinstone. Stratton found gold by panning 
the debris on the hillside near this granite comb, but he 



146 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

was unable to trace the gold to a source in the kind of ore he 
was seeking. He took loose fragments of porphyry, the 
prevailing formation, to Colorado Springs for assay, but the 
results showed only three or four dollars per ton. It occurred 
to him then that the granite outcrop must be the lode from 
which the gold was derived. Acting on the impulse, he 
returned quickly on horseback and celebrated the day — the 
Fourth of July — by locating two claims, the Washington 
and the Independence. Some pieces of the outcrop were 
broken, and Troutman took them to Colorado Springs to 
be assayed. He returned in haste next day with an assay- 
certificate proving the ore to contain 19 ounces — $380 — per 
ton! It was a bonanza. 

From 1891 to 1898 the output of the Independence mine 
was worth $3,985,440, and the profit to Stratton was $2,402,- 
164. In 1899 the mine was transferred to a London company 
and became the sport of reckless promotion. Including his 
dividends, Stratton received $10,000,000 from the English 
promoters before his interest was terminated. From 1898 
to 1904 the production of the mine was $11,046,947, from 
which $4,142,738 was paid in dividends. Altogether the 
Independence mine yielded $21,061,585, of which $7,393,654 
was distributed in dividends, to which must be added sundry 
profits to the promoters, lessees, and ore-stealers, equivalent to 
at least $3,000,000 more. Stratton died in 1901, ten years 
after his discovery. By that time the Cripple Creek district 
had yielded $125,000,000 in gold. 



CHAPTER VII 

LEAD MINING IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY 

The Mississippi river was discovered by French explorers 
that came southwestward, by way of the Great Lakes, from 
eastern Canada. Vignan, JoUet, De Champlain, and others 
of the French pioneers in the first half of the seventeenth 
century, dreamed of a short cut to China by means of the great 
waterways they explored. In a geographical book published 
in London in 1726 by Daniel Coxe an account is given of 
"a new and curious discovery and relation betwixt the river 
Meschachebe [Mississippi] and the South Sea, which separates 
America from China, by means of several large rivers and 
lakes". Louis Joliet, a fur-trader, and Jacques Marquette, 
a Jesuit missionary, reached the Mississippi and paddled 
their canoes on its broad waters on June 17, 1673.* They 
descended the river as far as the entry of the Arkansas trib- 
utary, and then returned overland to Canada, being deterred 
from going farther south by reason of Indian hostility. Sev- 
eral years later Robert de La Salle, a French trader, starting 
from Quebec, went westward to Lake Michigan and thence 
to the Illinois river, which he and his comrades descended in 
their canoes to the junction with the Mississippi, and then 
followed it to the sea. They reached the Gulf of Mexico 
on April 9, 1682. Thus the great central waterway of North 
America was made known. 

These French-Canadian voyageurs, or boatmen, traded 
with the Indians for furs in the Upper Mississippi valley, and 
when in need of bullets they noticed the outcrops of lead ore, 
from which, probably in the last decade of the seventeenth 

* James W. Thompson, Historical Collections of Louisiana, part 2, p. 
284; 1850. 

147 



148 A HISTOR"X OF AMERICAN MINING 

century, they began to extract the metal in a crude way for 
the purpose of making ammunition. It is probable that 
the first trader to teach the use of gunpowder to the tribesmen 
on the upper Mississippi was Jean Nicollet, who came from 
Ottawa to Green Bay, on Lake Michigan in 1634, and had 
dealings with the Winnebago Indians of Wisconsin. Radisson 
and Groseilliers, who followed in the wake of Nicollet, ascended 
the Fox river and accidentally re-discovered the Mississippi; 
they heard of lead ore in 1658 when among the Boeuf [buffalo] 
Sioux,* probably in the vicinity of Dubuque, in Iowa. Joutel, 
who was in this region as early as 1687, says in his journal of 
1713 that "travelers who have been at the upper part of the 
Mississippi affirm that they have found mines of very good 
lead there". t Louis Hennepin's map of 1687 shows a lead 
mine near the present site of Galena. Father Hennepin 
was a companion of La Salle. 

The French were aware of the value of the lead ores, and 
questioned the Indians concerning them. Although the 
aborigines regarded minerals in a superstitious way, they 
had enough of cupidity to show the traders where ore could 
be obtained when themselves adequately rewarded for such 
assistance. The white trappers had introduced the use of 
guns among the Indians and had taught them how to hunt 
for the fur-bearing animals on a commercial scale; in con- 
sequence lead became of economic value both in the making of 
bullets and as an article of trade. J 

The finding of copper was also reported by the early 
explorers, but this probably was native copper carried in the 
Glacial drift from the Lake Superior region, or it was a green 
earth such as fooled Pierre le Sueur. He journeyed from 
Mackinac by way of the Wisconsin (which the French called 
Ouisconsin) river in 1683 and trafficked with the Sioux 

* Wisconsin Historical Collections, Vol. XI, p. 93; 1893. 
t Reuben G. Thwaites, Collections of the State Historical Society of 
Washington, Vol. XIII, p. 271; 1895. 

t Reuben G. Thwaites, 'Wisconsin', p. 155; 1908. 



LEAD MINING IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY 149 

Indians at the headwaters of the Mississippi. He reported 
the finding of certain lead ores and colored earths. In 1697 
he obtained permission to exploit these deposits, and in 1699 
he arrived in Louisiana with 29 miners, whereupon he was 
aided by D'Iberville, the Governor, in his expedition to these 
supposed valuable deposits. Le Sueur went to the upper 
Mississippi and took 3000 pounds of supposed copper ore, 
which he loaded into his canoes and brought to Biloxi in 1702, 
but on arrival in France the cargo of mineral proved to be a 
worthless green sand. This fiasco ended his career. 

The pioneer miner of the Mississippi valley was Nicolas 
Perrot; he may have come to these parts with Le Sueur. 
According to one account, Perrot, in 1690, when at Green 
Bay, on Lake Michigan, was presented with a lump of lead 
ore by a Miami chief. La Potherie says that the chief gave 
Perrot information concerning the source of the ore, and 
Perrot shortly afterward went thither: on the Mississippi, 
below the Wisconsin river, in the country of the Siou^i. He 
found "the lead hard to work because it lay between rocks 
and required blasting; it had very little dross, and was already 
melted".* These particulars indicate that the mineral was 
galena. The diggings probably had already been started 
by the Indians, on the initiative of the fur-trader, and they 
had found unoxidized ore that looked so metallic that it 
appeared to have been melted by some 'natural process. 
According to another account, Perrot said that "he taught 
the Indians how to cut the ore from the rocks" and that by 
melting, it was reduced one-half, f Later, when the diggings 
became deeper, the Indians learned to make an inclined plane; 
along this slope they carried wood to the working face, where 
they made a fire, to heat the rock, on which afterward they 
threw water, so as to cause it to crack and disintegrate. 

* Bacqueville de la Potherie, 'Histoire de I'Am^rique Septentrionale', 
Vol. II, p. 251; 1753. 

t E. H. Blair, 'Indian Tribes of the Upper Mississippi', Vol. II, p. 
74; 1911. 



150 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Then, with a queer assortment of implements, such as stag- 
horns, hoes, and old gun-barrels, they dug the mineral. 
Most of the labor was performed by the squaws, who removed 
the broken ore in birch-bark 'mococks', or panniers, and 
carried it to a crude hearth built of logs, which were laid on a 
slope. The wood was set on fire, and as the lead melted and 
ran down, the Indians scraped a place into which the molten 
metal settled so as to form flat ingots, in which shape it was 
transported down the great river.* Perrot's trading-post, 
built at this time, was on the east bank of the river, opposite 
the site of Dubuque. 

In 1699 Le Sueur, as we have seen, ascended the Mississippi 
intent upon exploring the lead mines in behalf of the French 
king. He worked some ore in the now deserted Perrot 
mine, and also near Potosi, in Wisconsin, but the results 
were not satisfactory, so he returned to France without 
developing the industry. Penicault, who accompanied Le 
Sueur in his last expedition up the Mississippi in 1700, says 
that "these mines are known to this day by Perrot's name".t 
The itinerary of this voyage of Le Sueur, as given in La Harpe's 
history of Louisiana, written in the early part of the eighteenth 
century, states that Le Sueur found lead on the banks of the 
Mississippi not far from the present southern boundary of 
Wisconsin, that is, in the vicinity of the mining districts of 
Galena and Dubuque. Charlevoixt says that the first 
discovery of lead in the Mississippi country was made by 
Perrot in 1692, and he adds that in 1721 the mines still bore 
Perrot's name. According to him they were above the 
Des Moines river. 

It is said that the Indians sold some lead of their own 
smelting to French traders at Peoria in 1690. § If this means 

* W. R. Smith, 'History of Wisconsin', Vol. Ill, p. 353; 1854. 

t B. P. French, Historical Collections of Louisiana and Florida, p. 68; 
1869. 

t Pierre F. X. de Charlevoix, 'Histoire de la Nouvelle France', Vol. 
Ill, p. 397; 1744. 

§ W. H. Pulsifer, 'Notes for a History of Lead', p. 82; 1888. 



LEAD MINING IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY 



151 



that they knew how to smelt the ore before they were shown 
how to do so by Europeans, it is highly improbable. There 
is no reason to believe that the aborigines understood the 
art of smelting. In the burial mounds of the Mississippi 
valley the only lead relics are in the form of crystalline galena, 



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Fig. 14. — The lead districts of the Mississippi region. (Reproduction 
licensed — base material copyrighted by Rand McNally & Company.) 

sometimes slightly cut, and their exterior completely oxidized.* 
Such pieces appear to have been kept as a curiosity. The 
aborigines of this part of America did not know how to smelt 
any ore ; they did not know even how to melt the native metals 
that they found, such as gold, silver, and copper, or to shape 
them by casting in a mould. All their metallic artifacts 

* F. W. Putnam, Reports of the Peabody Museum, Vol. Ill, pp. 173 and 
426; 1885-1886. Also Charles Peabody, Peabody Museum Papers, 
Vol. Ill, p. 48; 1904. 



152 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

were made simply by hammering with stone. In 1766 
Captain Jonathan Carver, a colonial Indian fighter, found 
lead in abundance at the Blue Mounds, and he tells us that 
the Indians in the surrounding country were seen by him to 
be in possession of pieces of galena, which they had obtained 
as 'float', that is, they had picked it up from the surface 
without digging; and they apparently were incapable of 
putting it to any use. They kept it as a pretty thing, a 
curiosity, or, perhaps, as a mascot, as was done by the Indians 
in the Lake Superior region with the lumps of native copper 
that they found. 

The French, as we have seen, introduced fire-arms among 
the Indians and showed them how to shoot the fur-bearing 
animals, whereupon the Indians soon imitated their patrons 
by digging lead ore and making bullets. The first metallur- 
gists in the Mississippi valley were the hunter and the Indian; 
they gathered the ore exposed at the surface or dug shallow 
trenches to obtain more of it; then they smelted the ore by 
making a fire in an old stump, in the hollow of a fallen tree, 
or in the camp-fire itself, which, the world over, was the 
primitive metallurgic hearth. From the ashes they picked 
the little lumps of lead that had been reduced from the ore 
by this haphazard operation. By such crude methods they 
advanced to the use of the log-hearth, which was simply a 
trench dug in a hillside that was filled with logs on which the 
ore was thrown. The fire would be started in the evening, 
and in the morning the lead would be found at the bottom 
of the trench, where it had consolidated into shapeless lumps 
or had trickled into small holes that had been scratched in 
the earth under the logs. Later these frontier metallurgists 
found it convenient when casting their lead to make a hole 
in the ground in the shape of a brick, and in the centre of 
this mould they placed a stick, so that when the lead ran into 
the hole from the ore that had been reduced by a wood fire 
it cooled to an ingot with a perforation in it; through this 
perforation they drew a rawhide rope, to facilitate transport, 



LEAD MINING IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY 153 

for it could then be easily swung either on the shoulder of a 
man or on the back of a horse. * 

The scene now shifts southward to Missouri. 

In 1712, during the reign of Louis XIV, a mining concession 
was granted to Antoine Crozat in the Louisiana territory, 
which belonged to France and at that time extended from 
the Carolinas to New Mexico, with an indefinite limit north- 
ward to the headwaters of the Mississippi. In 1717 Crozat 
retroceded his rights to the French Crown, whereupon the 
privilege of working mines and of engaging in commerce 
within the territory was granted to La Compagnie de la 
Louisiane ou d' Occident, known generally as the Company 
of the West, the promoter of which was the notorious John 
Law, a Scottish financier, whose flamboyant enterprise, when 
it failed completely in 1720, went down in history as the 
Mississippi Bubble. Among the adventurers that penetrated 
into the country of the Illinois Indians at that time was 
Philippe Renault, the son of an iron-founder at Consobre, 
in France, and therefore probably a man possessed of some 
technical knowledge. He was at the head of a syndicate 
subsidiary to the big company, and his task was to initiate 
mining operations in the northern part of Louisiana, in the 
upper valley of the Mississippi. He was designated the 
Director General of the Mines of the Royal India Company 
in Illinois, this last name at that time including much more 
than the present State of IlUnois. Renault left France in 

1719, taking with him 200 artificers and miners, well provided 
with tools, t On his way to New Orleans he touched at the 
island of Santo Domingo and purchased 500 Negroes for 
working the mines. From New Orleans he proceeded, in 

1720, to Kaskaskia, which was one of the earhest outposts 
established by the French fur-traders coming southward 
from the Great Lakes. Renault fixed his headquarters at 

* Robert Hunt, 'British Mining', p. 121; 1884. 

t Henry R. Schoolcraft, 'A View of the Lead Mines of Missouri', p. 
15; 1819. . 



154 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Fort Chartres, and from there he sent forth his exploring 
parties, some of which were led by Antoine de la Mothe 
Cadillac, whose name survives* in that of the district in the 
Ozark hills of Missouri known to this day as Mine La Motte, 
at the headwaters of the St. Francis river. His name is 
memorialized also in that of a standard automobile, manu- 
factured at Detroit, which city he founded. f The members 
of this French expedition apparently knew little about smelt- 
ing, for Charlevoix, who was in the region during 1721, says 
that one of the party, the Sieur de Lochon came thither as a 
smelter expert in 1719, and that he tried to extract silver 
out of a lead ore, but, even after four days of laborious effort 
De Lochon succeeded in obtaining only two drachms of 
silver out of a pound of ore, and even this, it was suspected, 
had been added by a practical joker. Later he recovered 
fourteen pounds of bad lead from more than a ton of ore, 
whereupon, highly disgusted, he returned to France. It 
was left for Renault himself to direct the real work of develop- 
ment. At first he was much disappointed in his confident 
expectations of finding gold and silver, whereupon he turned 
energetically to the mining and smelting of lead ores. "In 
the month of June last", says Charlevoix, "Renault found a 
bed of lead two feet in thickness, running to a great length 
over a chain of mountains, where he has set his people to 
work."{ The lead he produced was carried on pack-horses 
to New Orleans for shipment to France. Renault appears 
to have done well until the Indians crippled his operations, 
but in 1742 he returned to France, taking most of his workmen 
with him, and selling the slaves before his departure. 

In 1763 Frangois ValM resumed work at Mine La Motte, 
and built a block-house to protect his men from the attacks 

* Also in Cadillac, a city of 9570 inhabitants, in Michigan. 

t Louis Hennepin, 'A Description of Louisiana', p. 61, as translated 
by J. G. Shea; 1880. 

t Pierre F. X. de Charlevoix, 'Journal of a Voyage to North America', 
Vol. II, p. 219; 1761. 



LEAD MINING IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY 155 

of the Chickasaws, but, despite this defence, the Indians 
captured the post in 1769, during the absence of Vall6, and 
killed his son. Work was abandoned at intervals, punctuated 
by Indian raids, to be resumed successfully in 1782. Captain 
Henry Gordon states that in 1766 the French had "large 
boats of 20 tons, rowed with 20 oars, which go in seventy odd 
days from New Orleans to Ilinois. These boats go to the 
Ilinois twice a year, and are not half loaded on their return; 
was there any produce worth sending to market, they could 
carry it at no great expence. They, however, carry lead, 
the produce of a mine on the French side of the river, which 
yields but a small quantity, as they have not hands to work 
it".* The reader will note that the spelling of the original is 
faithfully reproduced. 

In 1770 the lead of the miner, next to the peltry of the 
fur-trader, was the most valuable article of export from this 
region. It served also as currency.! Meanwhile, in 1762, 
the eastern half of the Mississippi valley had been ceded by 
France to England and the western half to Spain. Under 
the new regime the search for mines was resumed and some 
of the old diggings were re-opened. In 1763 an important 
discovery was made by a Frenchman named Burton, or 
Breton, formerly with Renault; while pursuing a bear he 
stumbled upon a rich outcrop of lead at a place that became 
known at first as Mine a Burton, and later as Potosi. In 
1798 a concession to Moses Austin brought a man of real 
technical ability to the mines. Austin built a reverberatory 
furnace and a shot-tower at Herculaneum, of which he was 
the founder. However, the output of lead was small; Mills 
estimates the total output of Mine La Motte from 1723 to 
1804 at 8000 tons.J In 1916 some old tools were found in 

* Thomas Pownall, 'Topographical Description of North America'; 
1776. 

t Reuben G. Thwaites, 'How George Rogers Clark Won the North- 
west', p. 312; 1903. 

t James E. Mills, 'Geological Report on the Mine La Motte Estate', 
New York, 1877. 



156 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

the abandoned workings of Mine La Motte; the most interest- 
ing of these was a three-pronged grapphng-iron used for dis- 
placing and pulling oxidized and partly oxidized ore out of 
cavities. Some small car-wheels made of solid wood were 
also found; these were made of the bois d'arc, bow-wood, 
known as the osage in the Mississippi valley, where it is 
indigenous. The evidence of wear on these wheels indicated 
the use of a track made of wooden rails. Another interesting 
relic consisted of a few bars of lead cast in the shape of a 
horse-collar, so made as to be carried on a mule's shoulder 
in course of overland transport. 

Now we return to the Upper Mississippi region, where 
Perrot started mining in 1692. For a long time not much 
was done in these parts, because the discoveries southward in 
Missouri proved more attractive. Le Guis in 1743 gives an 
account of the methods used by twenty miners then at work 
in the Fever River region,* which included the adjacent 
parts of the present States of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa. 
He says that these men were "a fast lot", and that every man 
worked for himself, "getting enough to earn him a bare 
existence for the rest of the year". That does not sound to 
us as anything extraordinary; it is typical of the miner's life. 
Le Guis describes their method of smelting, which shows a 
little improvement on the earlier log-hearth. First they 
cut down two or three large trees and divide them into 
logs five feet long. They then dig a bowl in the ground 
and place three or four of the logs over it. More logs, arranged 
so as to make a boxhke enclosure, are superimposed, and into 
this enclosure they shovel the ore, which is then covered with 
more fire- wood. The fire is started underneath; the logs 
burn; and the mineral is partly melted. The operation may 
have to be repeated three times before the ore is adequately 
reduced. The lead, falling into the bowl, is found in a 
lump, which is subsequently re-melted into bars weighing 

* Joseph Wallace, ' The History of Illinois and Louisiana under French 
Rule', p. 274; 1893. 



LEAD MINING IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY 157 

from 60 to 80 pounds, in order to facilitate transport to 
Kaskaskia. This is done by horses, "which are quite vigor- 
ous", says Le Guis; "four or five bars of lead is a load for a 
horse " ; and this seems by no means excessive. Our informant 
concludes by stating that "in spite of the bad system these 
men have to work, there has been taken out of the La Motte 
mine 2500 of these bars in 1741, 2228 in 1724, and these men 
work only four or five months in the year at most". Their 
system did not warrant contempt; it was not much improved 
until the introduction of the Drummond blast-furnace in 1836 — 
a century later. 

In 1774 a French-Canadian named Julien Dubuque dis- 
covered lead ore near the site of the city, in Iowa, that now 
bears his name. He was a most enterprising trader and had 
the good fortune to be liked by the Indians, with whom he 
lived on the most friendly terms; not only did he employ 
many of them to aid him in finding ore and in digging it, but 
he married the daughter of a chief. From the west side of 
the Mississippi he crossed to the eastern bank of the river and 
started new diggings there also. * At a full council of the Sauk 
and Fox Indians held at Prairie du Chien in 1788 he was 
granted formal permission "to work lead mines peacefully 
and without prejudice to his labors"; and thereafter for many 
years he and his agents mined for lead in northeastern Iowa 
and northwestern Illinois. The grant from the Indians was 
confirmed by Carondelet, the Governor of Louisiana, in 1796; 
it is said to have extended for seven leagues along the Missis- 
sippi and to have been three leagues wide. In a statement 
made by Dubuque himseK to Major Zebulon M. Pike in 1805, 
he claimed that his mines on the west side of the Mississippi 
were yielding about 30,000 pigs of lead annually. He waxed 
rich on lead and peltries, both of which he shipped to St. 
Louis, making journeys thither twice a year. Dubuque 
employed his Indian friends in prospecting, and if they found 
anything he sent Canadians and half-breeds to test the dis- 

* Dubuque and Galena are 12 miles apart. 



158 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

covery, although he was content sometimes to let the Indians 
dig the lead ore themselves on the understanding that they 
would bring the product to his trading-post on the river. 
In this manner he dominated the entire lead region of Iowa, 
Wisconsin, and Illinois before American settlements were 
made.* When Dubuque died, in 1810, his Indian friends 
buried him in a leaden coffin, and they refused to let any 
other European operate the mines. Schoolcraft, writing in 
1819, remarks that "the Sacs [Sauks] and Foxes are still in 
possession of the mines of Prairie du Chien", and they con- 
tinued to claim them until they were removed from the district 
in 1832. After Dubuque's death, the Upper Mississippi 
lead deposits were neglected until 1821, when the attention 
of Americans was first drawn to the rich lead ores in this 
part of the country, f 

The Indians with whom Dubuque lived had learned from 
earlier Europeans how to mine and smelt the ore. As a rule 
they gathered only the ore exposed at the surface, although 
in places they dug into the hillside for a short distance, f 
When they reached hard rock they built a fire, and when the 
face had become well heated they dashed cold water upon it, 
so as to cause it to crack. This is the 'fire-setting' method 
common to all primitive miners, and in vogue in Europe 
even after the introduction of explosives. For tools, the 
Indians used staghorns, many of which have been found in 
the abandoned diggings. The staghorn likewise was the 
pick of the primitive miner in Europe. In Dubuque's time 
the Indians obtained iron implements from the traders to 
whom they sold the lead. The mining was done chiefly 
by the squaws, and a few old men. No warrior demeaned 

* Reuben G. Thwaites, ' How George Rogers Clark Won the North- 
west', p. 318; 1903. 

t R. D. Irving, Trans. Amer. Inst. Min. and Met. Eng., Vol. VIII, 
p. 498; 1880. 

I Reuben G. Thwaites, Report of the American Historical Association, 
1893, p. 194. 



LEAD MINING IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY 159 

himself to such undignified labor. When they dug to any 
depth below the surface they did not sink vertical pits but 
inclines, up which the ore, in deer-skin bags, was dragged by 
means of long thongs of hide. A rich vein is said to have been 
discovered in 1780 by a squaw of Peosta, a Fox warrior. 
Even so late as 1810, we are told by John Shaw that the 
squaws carried the mineral in sacks on their heads to the 
smelting-places; he claims to have loaded 70 tons of lead in 
his boat, this being the first boat-load of the metal to be taken 
from Galena.* 

Dubuque's Indian associates, under his guidance, smelted 
the ore in an improved trench furnace. A hole, two feet 
deep, and as wide at the top, was dug in the face of a hillslope ; 
this hole tapered like a mill-hopper and was lined with flat 
stones. Across the lower end, which was about eight inches 
square, narrow stones were placed gratewise. A channel, a 
foot wide and deep, was dug from this crude furnace to a 
depression in the ground that served as a mould. The 
channel was filled with dry wood and brush, which, when 
ignited by the molten lead, served to maintain its liquidity. 
The flat ingots, called plats (or plates), by the French, weighed 
about 70 pounds apiece, or about the same as the pigs of 
later days. 

When Schoolcraft visited the lead mines of Missouri in 
1818, he found the log-furnace still in use.f It consisted of a 
steeply inclined hearth, on a hillside; it was enclosed by a 
brick wall on two sides and at the lower end, where the wall 
was seven feet high, through which an arched opening admitted 
air. The furnace had no roof. Three large oak logs were 
rolled into the hearth from the back and rested on ledges so 
as to occupy the full width of the furnace; then small split 
logs were set up, after which the ore (chiefly galena) was 

* Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Vol. II, p. 
228; 1856. 

t Henry R. Schoolcraft, 'A View of the Lead Mines of Missouri', p. 
94; 1819. 



160 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

shoveled into the furnace, so as to fill it. More logs were 
laid on the ore until it was completely surrounded by the fuel. 
The smelting operation was started with a gentle heat, which 
was raised gradually. Without any clear notion of what 
they were doing, the effect was first to roast a portion of the 
sulphide ore, forming lead sulphate and lead oxide, and when 
the temperature was increased these products reacted with 
the unoxidized galena so as to produce metallic lead and sul- 
phur dioxide, the latter going forth as fume while the metal 
found its way into a hole prepared to receive it. The condi- 
tions were not such as to complete the necessary chemical 
reactions, and the recovery of the lead therefore was defective. 
From 24 to 36 hours was required for the smelting, and the 
yield represented about half of the lead content. Small 
lumps, only partly reduced, fell into the wood ashes, or, if 
the heat was sufficient, they mingled with the slag. This 
refuse, called the 'lead ashes', after being picked for a few 
lumps of clean lead, underwent washing and then was smelted 
with flux (chert or sand) in an inclined reverberatory furnace 
(also on a hillslope) introduced from Virginia, the yield being 
an additional 15 per cent, making the recovery about 65 
per cent in all. 

Schoolcraft, a scholarly Indian agent of the Federal Govern- 
ment, re-visited the Mississippi valley in 1820, and went to 
the Dubuque mines,* where the work was being done by the 
squaws, who were provided with hoes, shovels, and pickaxes 
by the traders. With these tools they dug trenches to a 
depth determined by the hardness of the rock. There were 
no shafts; instead, the Indians made inclined ways up which 
they could walk with their panniers of ore, as the Mexican 
has done even in our own day. The maximum vertical 
depth was 40 feet. The ore was carried to the traders, who 
smelted it in the log-furnaces, the Indians being paid two 
dollars for 120 pounds of ore, but the payment was made 

* Henry R. Schoolcraft, 'Expedition to the Sources of the Mississippi 
River', p. 173; 1855. 



LEAD MINING IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY 161 

in goods at the trader's price, so that the ore probably cost him 
about 75 cents per hundredweight. The performance reminds 
one of the mythical dealings between the natives of Cornwall 
and the Phoenician ore-buyers in the far-off Cassiterides. 

In 1802 Louisiana was retroceded to France, and in 1803 
it was sold to the United States. In 1810 the Indians in the 
Galena district of Illinois were producing lead on a con- 
siderable scale, as John Shaw has told us. In 1811 George 
Jackson, a miner from Missouri, built a furnace on an island 
in the Mississippi near East Dubuque and took his lead to 
St. Louis in flatboats, although "he met with much opposition 
from the savages, who bitterly hated all Americans". A 
distinguished historian, Reuben G. Thwaites, says that "the 
volatile manners" of the French were more in accord with the 
character of the Indians, with whom they readily inter- 
married, and he acknowledges that the bearing of the Anglo- 
Saxon, meaning British and American, frontiersmen has 
ever been of a domineering kind, these stalwart pioneers being 
"the heralds of a relentless system of conquest". We must 
concede that the coureurs des hois, or rangers of the woods, 
from French Canada had better manners, certainly from the 
Indian warrior's point of view, for it was much more polite 
for the stranger to marry his daughter than to massacre his 
tribe, and the Frenchman by courteoiis dealings probably 
got more out of the aborigines than the relentless invader 
from the English-speaking regions. 

Between 1815 and 1820, John Shaw made eight trips in 
his boat between St. Louis and Prairie du Chien, for the 
purpose of trading with the Indians. He visited the Fever 
River mines several times and saw the Indians smelting lead 
in rude furnaces. On one occasion he bought from them 
70 tons of metal, "and still left much at the furnace".* In 
1819 several American traders, who attempted to compete 
with the French Canadians in this region, were killed by the 
Indians. In the same year, however, there was a general 

* Wisconsin Historical Collections, Vol. VIII, p. 250; 1890. 



162 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

movement of Americans into these parts, for the purpose 
either of trading in lead or building small smelters, and 
many of the newcomers, we note, took Fox women for wives. 
This argues the beginning of better relations with the Indians. 
One of the chiefs, named The Buck, found a big mass of lead 
at this time in diggings about a mile above the site of Galena. 
The Indians expressed a desire to send the beautiful lump of 
galena to the Great Father at Washington, but as this was 
never done, we may infer that it was broken and then sold 
piecemeal to the traders at the current rate of a peck of ore 
for a peck of corn. The white men called the mine Buck's 
lead (or lode), and another near-by they named Doe's in 
honor of the chief's favorite squaw. 

After the French trappers from Canada had started to 
exploit the lead resources of the Mississippi valley, and before 
the American miner gained control of the industry, there was 
an interval during which the Indians themselves mined, 
and even smelted, the lead ore, in imitation of their employers, 
men like Dubuque. In 1811 the Indian agent at Prairie 
du Chien reported that the Sauks and Foxes* on the east side 
of the river, lower down, and others on the western bank, had 
almost abandoned the chase except to procure the necessary 
meat, and were devoting their energies to the diggtug of 
lead. In 1810, he says, even with their crude methods of 
reduction, they had smelted 400,000 pounds of metal, which 
they had exchanged for manufactured goods, partly with 
venturesome Americans, but chiefly with Canadian traders, 
who took pains to incite opposition to their American com- 
petitors, f Of these, several took the risk and lost their 
lives during the decade 1810-1820. The Indians believed, 
and in this belief they were justified by subsequent events, 
that if the cupidity of the American adventurers was aroused 
by the richness of the lead deposits they would promptly 

* Their true name was Miskaukis, but the French called them the 
Renards, meaning 'foxes'. 

t Reuben G. Thwaites, 'Wisconsin', p. 200; 1908. 



LEAD MINING IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY 163 

dispossess the Indians under cover of the treaty of 1804. 
By this treaty the Sauk and Fox claimants to the extensive 
lead-bearing tracts in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Missouri ceded 
this region to the United States, but, by a clause in the treaty, 
they were permitted to occupy their old camping-grounds 
until such time as the land was leased or sold by the Federal 
Government to real settlers. 

Soon after the Louisiana territory passed into the possession 
of the United States, the Congress, by act of March 3, 1807, 
reserved all Government lands containing lead ores and 
authorized the leasing of them at a royalty of 10 per cent. 
Until 1822, however, the actual mining operations were desul- 
tory and unsystematic. In that year a Kentuckian, named 
Colonel James Johnson, obtained a lease in the Fever River 
district* now identified with Galena, in Illinois. The ' Colonel' 
had already been mining in these parts without a licence. 
He brought Negro slaves with him, together with some 
experienced miners, who were provided with the proper 
tools, so that, under cover of strong military protection, he 
was able to conduct his operations on a scale and in a style 
hitherto unknown in the lead country. Johnson's success 
soon attracted a horde of prospectors and squatters from 
Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky, as well as from adjacent 
parts of Illinois. These newcomers paid scant attention to 
the Government regulations. Those that had leases suffered 
from encroachment, and disputes were numerous. In August 
of 1826 there were 453 persons at work, and in 1827 the name 
of Galena was given to the principal settlement. 

Soon prospectors were picking holes all over this Illinois- 
Wisconsin region, and the landscape became dotted not only 
with log shanties but also with the stockades that the pros- 
pectors erected to protect them against Indian assault, which 
was imminent. The Sauks and Foxes, together with some of 
the Winnebago Indians, in their crude way and for several 
generations, had been mining and smelting the lead ore in 

* The French called it Riviere au Fihvre. 



164 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

this region; they were now roughly pushed aside by the 
newcomers, whom they could not withstand unless they 
went to war. The shafts of the natives were boldly appro- 
priated by armed white men, who evidently meant to stay, 
and such 'sink-holes' as the Indians had abandoned because 
they were too deep for their limited appliances were re-opened 
and worked by the intruders. 

The land held by Dubuque when he died was relinquished 
to the United States by the Indians in 1832, and Dubuque's 
supposed heirs were forcibly ejected.* By the Act of 1807 
all the Government lands containing lead were ordered to be 
reserved, and leases were authorized. No leases, however, 
were issued until 1822, and not much lead was produced until 
1826, after which date the output increased rapidly, the rents 
being paid with tolerable regularity at first. Many of the 
farmers, with their Negro slaves, spent part of the year at 
the mines. They were slow to pay the royalty; it was reduced 
from 10 to 6 per cent; but even at that it was paid for a short 
time only. The Government found itself helpless in the 
matter, f because in 1835 the miners and smelters refused to 
make any payments. Whereupon, after much fuss and 
trouble, it was decided, in 1847, to sell the mineral lands. 

Any prospector that found ore and took it for sale to the 
nearest smelter had to pay a fifth of his receipts to the owner 
of the land. If others came to the place of discovery, these 
later claim-holders had to pay four-fifths to the proprietor 
of the land. The discovery claim, however, when sold carried 
with it the original right to four-fifths of the produce. Hodge, J 
writing in 1842, describes some of the tricks of the trade: 

"The proprietor may persuade miners to come and work 
in this way, or he may hire them on fixed terms, but the former 

J. D. Whitney, 'The Metallic Wealth of the United States', p. 405; 
1854. 

t Isaac A. Hourwich, 'The Making of America', Vol. VI, p. 273; 1905. 

t James T. Hodge, American Journal of Science and Arts, Vol. XLIII, 
p. 41; 1842. 



LEAD MINING IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY 165 

is considered the preferable plan, because the miner is induced 
by it to raise as much ore as possible, and in the latter it is 
no object to him to take out any at all, and it is therefore 
frequently the case that when working on wages they will 
carefully conceal a rich lead, and work in unprofitable rock 
until the proprietor abandons the diggings, and years perhaps 
have passed, when they will come back and make a new 
discovery there, and work it on shares." 

The agents of the smelters visited the mines and bargained 
for the ore on hand; when sold, the smelters sent their own 
wagons and teams to fetch the ore. The price paid fluctuated 
with the market price at St. Louis, with the competition 
between the buyers, and with the distance from the shipping- 
point, which was Galena, in Illinois. Lead was then worth 
three cents a pound at Galena. As the smelters paid cash 
for the mineral, and sometimes had to wait ten months before 
they received the proceeds from their shipments to an Eastern 
refinery, they were frequently in financial trouble. 

The log-furnace, even when it was buUt upon a platfofm 
of masonry, was a crude affair and a wasteful method of 
smelting on account of the incompleteness of the chemical 
reactions. In 1834 Peter Lorimier erected a Scottish hearth 
on Catfish creek, in Iowa, and near Dubuque. * This furnace 
was still in operation in 1897. The adoption of the Scottish 
hearth, a type intermediate between a reverberatory and a 
blast furnace, was an important event in the history of the 
lead industry of the Mississippi valley. The only important, 
change made in the modern practice with the Scottish hearth 
has been the use of electric power to rabble the charge, instead 
of the work done formerly by human labor. In the letters 
of John Marsh, who was stationed, as Indian agent, at Prairie 
du Chien in 1826, we get a good picture of the lead industry 
as conducted at that time in the face of opposition from the 
Indians. Prairie du Chien was on the Mississippi and 60 
miles above the lead diggings of the Fever River district,. 

* A. G. Leonard, Iowa Geol. Survey, Vol. VI, p. 17; 1897. 



166 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

where, in 1774, Dubuque had started mining by friendly 
arrangement with the Sauk and Fox tribes. Marsh wrote 
to his father in England as follows : 

"The country abounds in lead ore — every hill is full of it. 
It is found in masses from the size of a bullet to a barrel, 
and even larger. It is truly surprising to witness the labour 
of these people. They [have] penetrated into the earth from 
twenty to eighty feet, and often through the solid rock. 
You may easily believe that men, stimulated by such prospects 
of gain, would not pay much regard to the rights of the 
Indians, who own the most valuable part of the mineral 
country. The agents of the Government have not been 
able to goverti the miners, and nothing but a strong force 
can control them. A treaty will be held with the Indians 
next spring, to attempt to purchase the land. There is no 
doubt that the murders committed by the Indians last summer 
were partly caused by the aggressions of the whites. Eight 
of the Indians are now in irons at the fort [Fort Crawford, 
at Prairie du Chien], and will be tried and probably hanged 
next May. I expect that this and the treaty together will 
breed a war in which the Winnebagoes will be exterminated. 
This is now, has been, and I fear ever will be, the fate of the 
redman when he comes in contact with the white strangers."* 

In the foregoing paragraph the whole story of the early 
settlement of the Mississippi valley is outlined : it was a contest 
between the white squatters and the red aborigines, to whom, 
of course, the land had belonged. The agents of the Federal 
Government were separated from Washington by a hard 
journey of five or six weeks, and the troops available in the 
district were always inadequate — a hundred men or so. 
The 'treaties' with the Indians were agreements forced down 
their throats with a rifle, and, as Marsh intimates, bred war, 
not peace. He says that common laborers were paid $20 per 
month, which, of course, was high pay in those days, and 
even at that they were hard to get, because anybody could 

* George D. Lyman, 'John Marsh, Pioneer', p. 106; 1930. 



LEAD MINING IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY 167 

seize a small piece of ground and dig ore for himself. There 
were plenty of traders that were willing to advance tools, 
provisions, and clothing on credit, to be paid in mineral 
when found. The ore, says Marsh, was current as silver 
coin at about $16 per 1000 pounds. 

The Indians regarded the deposits of lead on their lands 
as part of their possessions. The swarms of white men, in 
their eager search for lead, disregarded the rights of the 
aborigines. Moreover, the American miners employed the 
Indians as workmen, and frequently the Indians that they 
employed belonged to a tribe that was the hereditary enemy 
of the particular Indians on whose lands they were trespassing; 
thus a double insult was offered. In 1826 there are said to 
have been 1500 Sauks at the mines in the Fever River district, 
where many of the discoveries of ore had been made on ground 
that was claimed by the Winnebagoes. 

The prospectors and mining adventurers did not scruple 
to search for lead on territory that was outside the Govern- 
ment lands, they trespassed upon the hunting-grounds of 
the Indians, even where such grounds had been specifically 
reserved for the aborigines by treaty. That was one cause 
of the many Indian wars — chiefly ambuscades and massacres 
— during the American development of the Mississippi valley. 
The idea that the inhabitants — the Indians — had any rights 
to the country was treated as a joke when it stood in the way 
of profitable exploitation. The Black Hawk war, which 
looms large in the story of frontier days, was merely the dying 
protest of a brave savage when subjected to unendurable 
mistreatment.* In 1831 the squatters wrecked the village 
of Black Hawk, a Sauk chief; they ploughed the graves of his 
ancestors, scattered their bones, and desecrated their graves 
by planting crops. Is it strange that the Indian warrior 
retaliated, and in his own cruel fashion waged relentless war 
against the invaders? We make a heroine of Boadicea, who 

* Henry C. Campbell, 'Wisconsin in Three Centuries', Vol. II. p. 
189; 1906. 



168 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

fought the Roman invaders of Britain, but we make only a 
bloody outlaw of Black Hawk, who resented the destruction 
of his hearth and home. Thwaites, the historian of Wisconsin 
and a keen student of frontier civilization, says that "the 
treatment of Black Hawk and his band, both before the war 
and during hostilities, is discreditable to us. It is a black 
chapter in the history of the West".* Undoubtedly the ill 
feeling between the savages and the settlers was extremely 
bitter, and no warfare more cruel, or more regardless of human 
decency, was ever waged. It was a war of extermination. 

A good idea of the unruly condition of this American frontier 
in the first quarter of the nineteenth century is to be obtained 
from the performance of Henry Dodge in 1827-1828. With 
50 men, well armed, he squatted on the lead-bearing land 
of the Winnebago Indians in the Wisconsin valley and started 
to produce the metal forthwith. Joseph Street, then living 
at Prairie du Chien, as Federal agent for Indian affairs, wrote 
to the office at Washington concerning Dodge as follows: 
"Many are flocking to him from Fever River, and he permits 
them to join upon paying certain stipulated portions of the 
original purchase. The ore is more abundant nearer the 
surface, and obtained with greater facility than ever known 
in this country. It is said that he has raised about half a 
million [pounds?] of mineral [galena?], smelted from 900 to 
1000 bars, and is smelting 50 bars [each probably 70 pounds] 
a day. With two negro men in one place he raised about 
2000 pounds [of ore] per day. What will be the effect of these 
high-handed measures I am at a loss to say". Soon this 
Federal agent had to face the dilemma ; on January 26, 1828, 
a chief of the Winnebagoes came to the agency and complained 
that a large company of white men had gone far into his 
domain and was removing the lead ore. "The hills are 
covered", said the chief, "more are coming and pushing us 
off our lands to make the lead. We want our Father to 
stop this before blood may be shed." This reference is to 

* Reuben G. Thwaites, 'Wisconsin', p. 207; 1908. 



LEAD MINING IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY 169 

the President of the United States. The agent became 
alarmed, and sent his assistant, John Marsh, to the Dodge 
diggings, with orders to notify the farcical 'General' to move 
off the Indian lands instantly "if he did not wish to be removed 
by force".* But this was an empty threat. In the dead of 
winter Marsh had to go on snowshoes across the frozen 
wilderness, a distance of 95 miles to reach 'General' Dodge. 
He found that industrial pirate within a stockade; a meeting 
of the miners was called, and to them Marsh read the official 
message that he had brought with him. Then Dodge addressed 
the assembly, and insisted that there was no recognizable line 
of demarkation between the lands of the Winnebago Indians 
and those of other Indians, the Chippewas, Pottawattamies, 
and Ottawas of the Illinois, on which citizens of the United 
States had the right to dig for lead ore; and therefore that 
until such a Une was definitely marked and established it 
was by no means certain that he and his associates were on 
the lands of the Winnebago tribe. 

Marsh wrote, in a letter to Street, that he spent the rest of 
the day in looking around. "Ore is found", he said, "in great 
abundance near the surface, and in large masses. Few of 
the excavations are more than ten feet deep. The whole 
country appears to be literally full of lead ore, and the labor 
of obtaining it is trifling. Traces of old Indian diggings are 
found throughout the country for several miles. There are 
also furnaces where the Indians smelted the ore. "f Dodge 
was living within a stockaded fort near the principal mine. 
There were twenty log houses in the immediate vicinity, 
besides several more at a distance. A double furnace was 
in constant operation, and a large quantity of lead in bars was 
on hand. The men engaged in these mining operations num- 
bered 230, and they were fully armed with rifles and pistols. 

Dodge's response to the official warning was to strengthen 
his fort and to provide himself with several hundred more 

* Louis Pelzer, 'Henry Dodge', p. 33; 1911. 

t George D. Lyman, 'John Marsh, Pioneer', p. 141; 1930. 



170 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

rifles. Then he announced that if the oflicers and men of 
the regular army in those parts had more guns than he, they 
could come and try them. Street called upon the com- 
mandant at Fort Crawford, adjacent to Prairie du Chien, to 
remove the trespassers. The commandant replied that he had 
only 130 men fit for duty and that it was out of his power to 
comply with the request. Street could do nothing. Shortly 
thereafter, on August 25, 1828, the Winnebago Indians were 
expelled from their grounds and Dodge retained his mines 
unmolested. He waxed wealthy, shipping his lead from 
Helena on the Wisconsin river in his own steamers direct 
to New Orleans. After the treaty with the Indians was 
ratified, he became proprietor of more than a thousand 
apres, and upon his expansive domain during four decades 
he won fame and fortune, becoming three times Governor of 
the Territory of Wisconsin, Territorial Delegate to Congress, 
and eventually United States Senator, in which capacity, 
poetically speaking, he became in his old age an upholder 
of the law that in his early manhood he had defied. 

At first, as we have seen, the lead was shipped down the 
Mississippi to New Orleans, for trans-shipment to Europe, 
but as early as 1822 some of the ore was carried to the Atlantic 
coast by way of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers to Lake Michi- 
gan; and this route was used for 20 years thereafter. In 1836 
a company was formed to operate a combined wagon and 
boat service between Galena and Chicago, and from there by 
the Erie Canal to the eastern markets. In 1847 a Milwaukee 
paper speaks of the interest excited by the 'prairie schooners ' 
that were constantly arriving from the lead districts, these 
picturesque wagons being drawn by six, eight, or more yoke 
of oxen. * The roads they followed became tempting avenues 
to the later agricultural settlers that went from the lake 
shore to the interior, and in this way the path of the lead 
miner became an important factor in facilitating the develop- 
ment of southern Wisconsin. 

* Isaac A. Hourwich, 'The Making of America', Vol. VI, p. 273; 1905. 



LEAD MINING IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY 171 

In 1845 the output of the Galena district was 54,495,000 
pounds of lead, but the average price was under three cents 
per pound. Until 1850 iron and lead were the only indus- 
trial metals in the commerce of the United States; indeed, 
during the first 70 years of our national existence not one 
of our mineral resources served to supply adequately the 
needs of domestic manufacture.* 

After 1845 the mining of lead in Missouri had begun to 
decline owing to the depletion of the surficial ore, but in 
1867 the deeper exploration of the deposits in St. Francois 
county, which had been the scene of early mining operations, 
was successful in demonstrating that at a depth of a little over 
a hundred feet there was a limestone formation that contained 
lead in disseminated form. This new resource was exploited 
by the St. Joseph Lead Company, which eventually became 
the most productive lead enterprise in the world. This com- 
pany was registered in New York on March 25, 1864, to 
acquire and exploit a tract of 946 acres, the property of 
Anthony La Grave, at Bonne Terre. The St. Joseph Lead 
Company started with a capital stock of $1,000,000, but this 
did not outweigh two mortgages, amounting together to 
$75,000, on the land it had acquired. Therefore the stock 
sold at haK its par value, and, in default of working capital, 
the mining operations languished. Among other misfortunes 
may be mentioned a raid of Confederate troops under General 
Price. The report for 1865 showed $17,275 received from 
sales of lead as against an expenditure of $34,096. f There- 
upon a new board of directors was elected; they went to the 
mines, made such examination as they could, and, what was 
more important, levied a voluntary assessment whereby the 
property was freed from debt. Another important step was 
taken: a number of Cornish miners were engaged, and a wood- 

* Victor S. Clark, 'History of Manufacturers in the United States', 
Vol. I, p. 328; 1929. 

t J. Wyman Jones, 'A History of the St. Joseph Lead Company', for 
private circulation, p. 8; 1892. 



172 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

fired reverberatory furnace was erected. The operations 
became more fruitful. Abundance of ore was found in hori- 
zontal sheets, 6 to 8 inches thick, at a depth of only 4 to 8 
feet. These fiat masses of galena were blasted, and then 
broken with heavy hammers; next the ore was reduced 
further in a Blake crusher and Cornish rolls, after which the 
lead mineral was concentrated by the jigging process. The 
jig was a quaint contraption; it consisted of a heavy log, 
or 'horse', across which was laid a long pole, having at one 
end a man astride and at the other a suspended sieve filled 
with crushed ore to which water was supplied. The perse- 
vering up-and-down motion of the man at one end of the pole 
served to give a similar agitation to the material in the sieve 
at the other end, so that the heavy particles of galena sank 
to the bottom and the light particles of gangue rose to the 
top, to be removed by hand. The concentrate collected at 
the bottom of the sieve was carried to the furnaces. These 
were stone ovens with a sloping bottom, reminiscent of the 
older log-hearths; at one side was a fire-box for wood fuel; 
and at the front, or lower end, was an opening through which 
the molten lead ran into an iron pot, from which it was ladled 
into moulds. Such a furnace when operated by six men 
would produce 32 pigs, each of 72 pounds, in 24 hours. The 
operations were too laborious to leave any comfortable margin 
of profit; the ore did not average more than 6 per cent of 
lead, and a day's work at the furnace did not yield more than 
2300 pounds of metal worth 5 cents per pound. The mine 
workings were shallow; in wet weather they were filled with 
water; in winter, the sleet and ice handicapped the miners; 
in dry weather, the supply of water was insufficient for the 
mill; therefore the season of active work did not exceed six 
months and only 6000 pigs of lead, or 216 tons, could be 
produced in the course of a year. The ore, however, was 
abundant, and that was a factor of prime encouragement. 
As the diggings were extended underground and shallow 
drifts were extended they ran into richer ore and at the same 



LEAD MINING IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY 173 

time gave the miners better protection from the weather, 
besides developing a supply of water, which, by aid of pumps 
and a reservoir, enabled the ore-dressing to proceed less 
interruptedly. To facilitate the smelting, the sulphur con- 
tent of the ore was decreased by calcining it previous to 
reduction. The mill also was improved in sundry details. 

The decisive factor in bringing success to the St. Joseph 
Lead Company at this stage in its history was not a machine, 
but a man: Charles B. Parsons. He was occupied in the 
dressing of lead ore at Northampton, in Massachussetts, 
when he was invited to become superintendent of the mill 
at Bonne Terre, to which place he came in 1867. The president 
of the company, J. Wyman Jones, and later writers also, 
testify enthusiastically to the value of his services in putting 
the St. Joseph Lead Company on its feet. "He won the 
esteem and confidence of the entire community", we are 
told. Later he became resident director, in which capacity 
he continued until his death in 1910 — a span of 43 years of 
exemplary professional service at Bonne Terre. To aid 
Parsons in making necessary improvements, a bond issue of 
$100,000 was authorized, 30 cents being payable in cash and 
70 cents in shares of the company at par. These bonds 
proved burdensome to the company, but they were redeemed 
at intervals and were finally liquidated in 1881, by which time 
$175,000 had been paid in principal and interest. Trouble- 
some they may have been, but they gave the financial aid 
needed at a critical period. 

In 1869 a diamond-drill, the only one in the United States, 
was brought to Bonne Terre. The drill had been imported 
from France and was not an efficient machine, but it was 
operated by a capable man, Albert Shepard, and it yielded 
important information concerning the distribution of the ore 
at depths not yet reached in actual mining. The ore-bearing 
formation is a dolomitic limestone, about 500 feet thick and 
lying horizontal, in which the lead ore is found in layers and 
masses of irregular shape and extent at varying depths, but 



174 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

in greatest quantity within the lower strata. The borings 
made by Shepard cut into mineral at 120 feet, thereby dis- 
closing a new ore-bearing horizon. Thereupon a shaft was 
sunk, which in those days meant the work of six months. 
The shaft found no ore, as not infrequently happens in the 
wake of a bore-hole. However, a drift soon penetrated into 
ore, which proved to be the fringe of a large area of produc- 
tive ground. The diamond-drill was most useful in pros- 
pecting, and enabled the company to find ore-measures of 
wide extent, the yield in later years being about 75 pounds of 
lead per ton of ore. This lead, it may be noted, is free from 
other metals, the traces of silver, copper, and other impurities 
being so slight as not to require removal from the pigs as 
marketed. In course of time large chamberlike excavations 
were made underground, these being sustained by pillars of 
rock, in places rich in lead but too useful as supports to be 
removed. The ore-bearing stratum was found to be as 
much as 60 feet thick over an area of many acres. Through 
the workings the broken ore was drawn in cars pulled by 
mules, until electric power was substituted. In 1874 the 
first dividend was paid. 

In early years the company's operations suffered from lack 
of railroad connection; the supplies and machinery coming 
inward, like the shipments of lead going outward, had to be 
hauled over a rough wagon-road to Summit, a station 14 
miles from Bonne Terre on the Iron Mountain railway. In 
the spring and fall, the teams of four or six mules dragged the 
wagons, loaded with twenty or thirty pigs of lead, through 
the tough mud, slowly and painfully, so that at times the 
haulage cost more than the lead ore was worth. In 1880 a 
narrow-gauge track was completed to Summit under the 
joint ownership of the company and its neighbor, the Desloge 
Lead Company. This railroad was used not only for ship- 
ments of metals and supplies, but also to remove the tailing, 
or 'chats', from the mill. Previously, owing to the flatness of 
the local terrain, this had to be done by ox and mule wagons. 



LEAD MINING IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY 175 

In 1882 the company produced 15,214 pigs of lead. Early 
in the following year, however, the naill was destroyed by 
fire, and the disaster seemed overwhelming; but the old mill 
consisted of a group of straggling wooden buildings, the 
increment of years, so badly arranged that economical work 
was impracticable; therefore it was not difficult to turn the 
disaster to advantage by designing and building a much 
better mill, as Parsons proceeded to do forthwith. This 
plant had a capacity of 500 tons and was patterned after the 
practice in vogue at Joplin, but it was equipped with his own, 
instead of the Cooley, jig. A side-bump Rittinger table 
was another interesting feature.* This mill was in use for 15 
years, its capacity being increased finally to 800 tons per 
day. In 1887 the ore yielded 5-65 per cent of lead; the tailing 
contained 2-13 per cent, or 27-4 per cent, of the mill-feed, this 
high loss being due mainly to the sliming of the galena. The 
cost of milling at that time was 36-4 cents per ton. After 
the death of Parsons, many changes were made in the 
mill, his jig being replaced by the Hancock, and the Rittinger 
tables by Wilfley's. In 1916 the capacity of the mill had been 
increased to 2400 tons daily. 

The company increased its mining resources by purchasing 
a tract of 344 acres known as the Penn Diggings in 1883; 
and three years later the Desloge Lead Company, owning 
3218 acres, was absorbed. Here it must be explained that 
Firmin Desloge re-entered the lead-mining business and 
started the Desloge Consolidated Lead Company in 1894, f 
this enterprise in turn being absorbed by the St. Joseph Lead 
Company in 1929. In 1890 a railroad to the Mississippi 
was completed, and thereby permitted the erection of a 
smelter at Herculaneum, a mile south of the Riverside station, 
which is 32 miles from Bonne Terre. 

* A. P. Watt, Trans. Amer. Inst. Min. and Met. Eng., Vol. LVII, 
p. 330; 1917. 

t H. A. Guess, Trans. Amer. Inst. Min. and Met. Eng., Vol. XL VIII, 
p. 33; 1914. 



176 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

By aid of the new railroad and of the smelter, the operations 
of the company developed in extent and productivity. The 
period of most rapid growth has been during the past 16 
years. The multiplicity of shafts and of haulage to the 
mills has been corrected by a system based upon the use of 
four shafts alongside as many mills, all the haulage under- 
ground being done by high-speed electric locomotives running 
over an extensive series of tracks. Until 1920 the ore when 
mined was shoveled by hand; today most of the output is 
loaded by electric shovels, each of which does the work of a 
dozen men. Electric power is generated at a central station, 
where pulverized coal is burned under boilers in much the 
same manner as gas or oil, the output being 12,500-kilowatt 
turbine units. The coal comes from southern Illinois. The 
use of the flotation process in the mills has decreased the 
loss in slime, the minute particles of galena being saved, so 
that for every 100 pounds of lead in the ore mined, over 90 
pounds of lead is recovered in the concentrate that is shipped 
to the smelter. 

During its life so far of 66 years the St. Joseph Lead Com- 
pany has had only three presidents: J. Wyman Jones, from 
the start to 1904; his son, D wight A. Jones, from 1904 to 1913; 
and Clinton H. Crane, from 1914 to the present time. During 
the World War the lead output of this company's mines 
proved of immediate and great value. On the very day 
that the United States declared war, namely, April 6, 1917, 
Mr. Crane became chairman of the Committee on Lead of 
the Advisory Committee of the Council of National Defence. 
The committee undertook to furnish, and did furnish, the 
lead required by the Government at a price less than that of 
the current market, which market price fluctuated violently 
in common with that of most commodities in those hectic 
days. Subsequently, in 1918, when the tremendous demand 
for munitions created an acute condition in the lead market, 
the administration of the entire American and Mexican lead 
output was undertaken by the Lead Producers' Committee 



LEAD MINING IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY 177 

for War Service, with Mr. Crane as chairman. It is estimated 
that near the end of the war less than 10 per cent of the 
country's production of lead went into uses other than those 
vital to the victory of the Allies. The St. Joseph Lead Com- 
pany from the date of its organization to December 31, 1929, 
produced 2,707,957 tons of lead, the sale of which has permitted 
the distribution of $63,963,189 in dividends. The lead of 
the Mississippi valley has proved of critical importance both 
in peace and in war. 

The first discovery of lead in the American colonies was made 
fourteen years after the landing of the first English settlers 
in Virginia.* In 1621 lead deposits were found on Falling 
creek, near Jamestown. The demand for bullets created 
a market for the metal, and the giving of guns to the Indians 
for shooting fur-bearing animals caused the lead to be highly 
appreciated by the natives of the interior. In 1765 a lead 
mine was worked .at Southampton in Massachusetts by a 
Connecticut company; it was abandoned during the Revolu- 
tion and re-opened in 1809; but it proved unprofitable, and 
work was stopped finally in 1828. In Maine, Connecticut, 
and Pennsylvania lead has been found and mined on a small 
scale at various times. Lead is needed in warfare, as the 
American revolutionists discovered. A leaden equestrian 
statue erected in honor of George III in 1770 had to be sacri- 
ficed to their needs; it was used to make bullets for the purpose 
of destroying His Majesty's soldiers. We are told that the 
statue was melted by Governor Winthrop of Connecticut, 
and that it was converted into 42,000 bullets. In 1777 the 
Congress of the United States recommended that the lead 
mines in the State of New York be exploited, and promised 
to supply prisoners of war for the purpose in the event of an 
inadequate supply of ordinary labor, f The only lead mine 
of any consequence in New York State was the Livingston, 

* W. R. Ingalls, 'Chronology of Lead-mining in the United States', 
Trans. Amer. Inst. Min. and Met. Eng., Vol. XXXVIII, p. 664; 1907. 
■ t Journal of Congress, Vol. Ill, p. 462. 



178 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

at Ancram; this mine was worked later during the Civil 
War, but the yield of lead proved insufficient. The principal 
lead mines at the time of the Civil War were in the possession 
of the Southern Confederacy; in consequence, the Union 
troops had to make bullets by melting the lead gutters of the 
roofs and the pewter pots of the pantry. 

The production of lead in the frontier settlements of the 
Upper Mississippi was a factor in the industrial development 
of American territory. The lead obtained at first, on a small 
scale and in a crude way, was used not only by the fur-traders 
but by the Indians from whom they bought the pelts. This 
trade did little to develop the resources of the region, because 
the fur-buyer was secretive; he wished to be let alone in his 
preserves; he welcomed no newcomers. The news of lead 
being found served to attract the miner, who soon changed 
the petty dealings into an important business; he was not 
secretive; as soon as he had staked his claim, he invited others 
to come; he laid the foundations of a permanent and profitable 
industry; he was the true pioneer of civilization in the Missis- 
sippi valley, as he had been, or was destined to be, in many 
other backward parts of the earth. 



CHAPTER VIII 
THE GREAT SALT LAKE 

In 1776 two Franciscan friars, Domfnguez and Escalante, 
started to find a direct route from Santa F6 to Monterey, 
and in their misguided wanderings northward they reached 
Timpanogos, now known as Utah lake, where they heard 
of a much larger body of water to the northwest, of which 
they were told that it was extremely salt.* They never saw 
this great lake, because they passed south of it on their way 
to the Pacific coast. 

The Dead Sea of North America was discovered in 1825 
by James Bridger, a trapper. He and other trappers had 
ascended the Missouri and had reached the Bear river. A 
discussion arose as to the course of this river, and a bet was 
made, to settle which Bridger followed the Bear river to its 
source, in the Uintah mountains, and from the crest of the 
watershed he caught sight of the lake, to which he then 
descended, t He tasted the briny water of the inland sea 
and wondered if it were an arm of the Pacific Ocean. 

The lake was first seen by the Mormons on July 24, 1847. 
A band of them, numbering 145 and led by Brigham Young, 
had migrated from Missouri in search of a new home in the 
western wilderness. It is recorded that when Brigham 
Young stood on the summit of the pass over the Wasatch 
range and saw the valley of the Jordan outspread before him, 
he exclaimed: "It is enough. This is the right place". He 
had seen it in a vision, so he claimed, and foresaw the future 
glory of the new Zion that was to be planted in that happy 

* Diario Documentos Historicos Mexicanos, Series 2, Vol. I, p. 454; 
1854. 

t H. H. Bancroft, 'The History of Utah', p. 20; 1889. 

179 



180 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

valley. The proper name of the Mormons is the Church of 
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a name adopted by them 
in 1834 while they were settled in Missouri. This sect had 
been founded by Joseph Smith, at Manchester, New York, 
in 1830, in consequence of a vision in which the Book of 
Mormon, in golden tablets, was revealed to him by the angel 
Moroni, the son of Mormon, both of these persons, it is 
alleged, having survived a fierce war between groups of 
Hebrew settlers that came to America from Jerusalem by way 
of Chile. At one time the word Mormon was supposed to 
represent the English transliteration of the Greek word 
mormon, but Joseph Smith denied this derivation* and said 
that 'Mormon' came from the Egyptian mo, meaning 'good', 
and the English word 'more', abbreviated to 'mor', so that 
it meant literally 'more good'. This sounds like the "deliri- 
ous trimmings" of philology. The nearest Greek word is 
mormon, meaning a 'bugbear' or 'monster'. The Egyptian 
for 'good' is menkh and mensh. 

Joseph Smith was born in Vermont in 1805; he was working 
at a silver mine at Harmony, Pennsylvania, in 1825. When 
persecuted, on account of his aJleged visions, he fled from 
Vermont to Pennsylvania, where he began to write the Book 
of Mormon. He gathered followers and led them to Ohio, 
Missouri, and Illinois, successively, as they were driven by 
persecution from one State to another. Smith was murdered 
at Carthage, Illinois, in 1844. Whereupon the sect he had 
founded decided to go to the far West, under the leadership 
of Brigham Young, who had succeeded Joseph Smith as the 
Prophet of the Latter-day Saints. Young, who was also a 
Vermonter, was then forty-three years of age; he was an able 
and energetic man. 

The Mormons thought to escape the jurisdiction of the 
United States government by their migration to the Salt Lake 
region, which at that time was not within the national domain, 
but they were thwarted by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo,, 

* William Alexander Linn, 'The Story of the Mormons', p. 108; 1902. 



THE GREAT SALT LAKE 181 

signed on February 2, 1848, at the close of the Mexican war. 
By this treaty Mexico ceded an immense stretch of western 
territory to the United States, including the region over which 
Brigham Young and his followers had established control. 
Early in 1849 the Mormon community was organized as the 
State of Deseret, with Young as Governor. According to 
the 'Book of Mormon' the word 'Deseret' means 'land of the 
working bee', a fitting symbol for this industrious people and 
one that is perpetuated by the beehive that now appears on 
the seal of the State of Utah. Deseret comprised not only 
the Utah of today but also Arizona, Nevada, and parts of 
New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and California. Brigham 
Young claimed a sway imperial in its perspective. In 1850 
Deseret was admitted into the United States as the Territory 
of Utah; it had shrunk in area, but still included portions of 
New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. On January 4, 1896, 
the State of Utah was organized and admitted into the Union. 
Utah is a corruption of Ute, the name of an Indian tribe. 

The Mormons had a goodly heritage. In 1860 Sir Richard 
Burton, the famous traveler, stood at Emigrant Gap and 
thus described the view in his diary:* 

"The sun, whose slanting rays shone full in our eyes, was 
setting in a flood of heavenly light behind the bold, jagged 
outline of 'Antelope Island,' which, though distant twenty 
miles to the northwest, hardly appeared to be ten. At its 
feet, and then bounding the far horizon, lay, like a band of 
burnished silver, the Great Salt Lake, that still innocent Dead 
Sea. Southwestward also, and equally deceptive as regards 
distance, rose the boundary of the valley plain, the Oquirrh 
Range, sharply silhouetted by a sweep of sunshine over its 
summits against the depths of an evening sky, in that direc- 
tion so pure, so clear, that vision, one might fancy, could 
penetrate behind the curtain into regions beyond the confines 
of man's ken. In the brilliant reflected light, which softened 

* Richard F. Burton, 'The City of the Saints and across the Rockj 
Mountains to CaUfornia', p. 194; 1862. 



182 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

off into a glow of delicate pink, we could distinguish the Unes 
of Brigham's, Coon's, and other kanyons, which water has 
traced through the wooded fianks of the Oquirrh down to the 
shadows already purphng the misty benches at their base." 

Since then many shadows have crossed the range. "Our 
lives are like the shadows on sunny hills that lie. " But the 
sunsets retain the same quality of beauty and the clear ether 
still provokes the imagination of man. Sir Richard spells 
'canyon' in his own way, and was led by deceptive analogy 
to speak of Brigham, instead of Bingham, canyon. Bingham 
has proved industrially as important as Brigham was 
politically. The English traveler was so exhilarated by 
the fresh mountain air that to him it seemed "Switzerland 
and Italy lay side by side". To him the Salt Lake valley, 
"this lovely panorama of green, and azure, and gold — this 
land, fresh, as it were, from the hands of God", was worthy to 
be the Zion of the Latter-day Saints, and also of later sinners. 

The discovery of the mineral deposits of Utah was retarded 
by the opposition of the Mormons, who intended to make 
agriculture the basis of their industrial development. They 
discouraged, and tried to frustrate, the search for minerals. 
"This opposition", as Emmons* said, "and the natural 
obstacles in the way of cheap mining or of an economic reduc- 
tion of the generally rather refractory ores, acted as an 
effectual bar to the development or even the discovery of the 
mineral resources of the Territory in its early days." The 
transcontinental migration that ensued after the discovery of 
gold in California did not lead to any important find of ore in 
this region, because the leaders of the Mormon church were 
successful in preventing it, "fearing that the exciting and 
unsettling influence of that pursuit [mining] would turn away 
their people from the more monotonous and peaceful occupa- 
tions of agriculture, and thereby interfere with their great 
work of reclaiming the desert, and fearing, also, that the 

* S. F. Emmons, U. S. Geol. Survey, Sixteenth Annual Report, part 2. 
p. 352; 1895. 



THE GREAT SALT LAKE 183 

restless and sometimes rather lawless class of people who are 
attracted by mining excitements might prove a disturbing 
element in the population and tend to subvert their almost 
autocratic authority".* 

When the brethren slid their logs down the mountain-side 
they disturbed an occasional piece of lead ore and dreamed of 
mineral wealth that might contribute to the embellishment of 
the Temple and the glorification of Zion, but their Prophet 
warned them to stick to the building of homes and the develop- 
ment of farms until such time as the Lord saw fit to "reveal to 
them the hidden treasures of His storehouse".! Orson F. 
Whitney, a Mormon bishop, in his history of Utah, exclaims: 
"Who wished to see Deseret, peaceful Deseret, the home of a 
people who had fled for religious freedom and quiet to these 
mountain solitudes, converted into a rollicking, roaring, 
mining camp? Not the Latter-day Saints". 

The logic of events proved too strong for the Mormons in 
Utah as it proved too strong likewise for the Boers in the 
Transvaal. Indeed, the analogy is not sufficiently appre- 
ciated. The Boers left the Cape Colony in order to escape 
from British control; they believed in the practice of slavery, 
and quoted Biblical authority in support; they also wanted 
ample room for their pastoral Industry. So they crossed the 
Vaal and started new settlements beyond the reach of Euro- 
pean interference. The Mormons, desiring to escape from the 
legal control of established American communities, believing 
in the practice of polygamy, for which likewise they quoted 
the Biblical text, and hoping to develop a purely agricultural 
industry in an isolated region, migrated into the western 
wilderness and settled on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. 
Nor must it be forgotten that the Mormon people were largely 
British. Boer and Mormon alike expected to remain detached 
from the civilization they had abandoned, each intended to 
pursue his own mode of living in the outer wilderness, each 

* Ibid, p. 351. 

t T. B. H. Stenhouse, 'The Rocky Mountain Saints', p. 712; 1873. 



184 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

was disappointed and thwarted by the oncoming tide of 
industrial progress. The pioneers of mining in their eager 
search for mineral wealth, invaded the Transvaal and Utah, at 
first peaceably and then aggressively, gaining a foothold as 
their numbers increased, attracting others for the same purpose 
in ever increasing numbers, until the original settlers were 
overwhelmed and over-ridden. Slavery was as repugnant to 
the Briton as polygamy was repugnant to the American. The 
perpetuation of these practices created a prejudice against 
the Boers and the Mormons respectively, and under cover of 
that prejudice the miner Was enabled to obtain military 
protection, the effect of which finally was to submerge the 
political islands that the Boer and the Mormon alike had tried 
to create in the midst of a continent. 

So Brigham Young failed to realize his purpose of establish- 
ing a separate people, but' he succeeded, even beyond his 
dreams, in laying the foundations of a thriving community on 
the shore of the great lake. Any disparagement of the 
Mormons on account of their opposition to mining or on the 
score of their polygamous habit must be joined with a hearty 
admiration for their energy as pioneers and with high praise 
for their thrifty enterprise. To this day they set a good 
example to the people of the West by their intensive farming, 
collective loyalty, and intelligent co-operation. 

The existence of silver ore near the lake became known in 
1857, but Mormon influence prevented the development of 
mines. In 1862, during the Civil War, the Third California 
Infantry happened to be stationed at Camp Douglas, over- 
looking Salt Lake City. Many of the soldiers in this volunteer 
regiment had seen something of gold-mining in California; 
their commander was General Patrick E. Connor, who, it is 
said, looked to immigration as the best means of settling the 
Mormon question, then becoming troublesome. He encour- 
aged prospecting therefore, and granted furlough to his men so 
that they might have frequent opportunity for exploring the 
neighboring mountains, when not engaged in preventing 



THE GREAT SALT LAKE 185 

depredations by the Indians (Piutes and Goshutes) and not 
otherwise occupied in keeping an eye on the Mormons, who 
were unfriendly. Bancroft* says: "The first systematic 
efforts at prospecting, made by permission of General Connor, 
when in command at Camp Douglas, were ridiculed in the 
tabernacle; and later, when mining projects were brought 
forward by Gentiles [those who were not members of the 
Mormon church], they were steadily discountenanced". 
Whitney, t writing from the Mormon standpoint, says of 
Connor: "His object was to reconstruct Utah, to put the 
Mormons under and render the Gentiles paramount. To 
effect that object he strained every effort of his energetic soul; 
hesitating not to exaggerate grossly, not only the growth of the 
infant industry of mining, making it appear a very giant at its 
birth, when everyone knows that for years it was a mere babe 
in arms, never attaining to any proportions until after the 
advent of the railway, but also the general condition of affairs 
at Salt Lake City and throughout the Territory". 

At that time Bingham canyon was valued by the Mormons 
for its fine timber, red pine three feet in diameter being 
plentiful there. Early in the autumn of 1863 an apostate 
Mormon named George Ogilvie found fragments of lead ore in 
the canyon and took them to Camp Douglas, where they were 
exhibited to General Connor. On September 17, 1863, the 
discovery was located as the West Jordan, which was the first 
mining location made in Utah. In the following December a 
mining district, the first in the Territory, was organized under 
the name of West Mountain, which is the English meaning of 
the Indian word Oquirrh. It included the northern portion 
of the Oquirrh range. Bancroft^ recounts the episode: "In 
1863 Captain A. Heitz and a party from Camp Douglas dis- 
covered argentiferous galena and copper in Bingham canyon, 
on the east slope of the Oquirrh range, near the Jordan, and 

* H. H. Bancroft, 'History of Utah', p. 741; 1889, 

t Orson F. Whitney, 'History of Utah', Vol. II, p. Ill; 1893. 

% Bancroft, op. cit., p. 741. 



186 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

about thirty miles south of Salt Lake City. A mine was 
located in September of that year by a man named Ogilbie, 
and in December following a mining district was established, 
named the West Mountain, and including the portion of the 
range between Black Rock, at the southern end of the Great 
Salt Lake, and the fortieth parallel. In 1871 this district 
contained 35 mines". 

Whitney's description* may be compared with the fore- 
going: "A party of soldiers from Camp Douglas were guarding 
some horses belonging to the garrison which [the horses, not the 
garrison!] had been sent to graze in Bingham Canyon. They 
were joined one day by General Connor and a picnic party of 
ofl&cers and their wives from Camp [Douglas], and one of the 
ladies, while rambling on the mountain sides, picked up a 
loose piece of ore. The soldiers at once prospected for the 
vein, discovered it, and striking a stake in the ground made 
their location, since which Utah has been known to the world 
as a rich mining country". Another account, by the historian 
TuUidge, states that a man named Ogilvie, while logging in the 
canyon, found a piece of ore, which he sent to General Connor, 
who had it assayed. It was then, according to TuUidge, that 
Connor organized his picnic party and proceeded to Bingham 
canyon for the purpose of locating a claim, which was named 
the Jordan. Soon afterward Connor wrote some mining laws 
and held a miners' meeting at Gardner's mill on the Jordan 
river, where the laws were adopted and Bishop Gardner elected 
recorder of the West Mountain mining district, f Thus was 
the ball set rolling. 

The discrepancies between these various accounts of the 
discovery are typical of most stories dealing with such events. 
Unless the facts are set down in writing at the time, they are 
readily twisted or obscured by the desire to give credit to one 
or other of the participants in the affair. 

* Whitney, oy. cit., Vol. II, p. 107. 

t Edward W. TuUidge, 'History of Salt Lake City', p. 698; 1886. 



THE GREAT SALT LAKE 



187 



Connor and his associates started a newspaper for the 
purpose of making known the mineral resources of the Terri- 
tory; it was named the 'Union Vidette', and its first issue, of 
November 20, 1863, contained this announcement : 




F^V 
^^T 

l%-#. 



I 



.Ooderii ^ 
\^^ 



SALT LAKE CITY/a ' 

^^ '^Wcst Jordan 

%4sr 







Fig. 15. — The Salt Lake region. {Reproduction licensed — base material 
copyrighted by Rand McNally & Company.) 

"The general commanding the district has the strongest 
evidence that the mountains and the canyons of the Territory 
of Utah abound in rich veins of gold, silver, copper, and other 
minerals; and for the purpose of opening up the country to a 
new, hardy, and industrious population, [he] deems it impor- 
tant that prospecting for minerals should not only be untram- 



188 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

melled and unrestricted, but fostered by every means. In 
order that such discoveries may be early and reliably made, the 
general announces that miners and prospecting parties will 
receive the fullest protection from the military forces in this 
district, in the pursuit of their avocations; provided always, 
that private rights are not infringed upon." 

Such was his challenge to the Mormon hierarchy. 

In the summer of 1864 the West Jordan Mining Company 
was incorporated under the laws of California, and a tunnel 
was started, at $60 per foot. In the same year the first 
smelting-furnace was constructed by General Connor, who 
had enlisted the help of friends in California; but they were 
inexperienced, save in placer mining, and failed completely in 
this venture. In June, 1864, another mining district, named 
the Rush Valley, was organized. This covered the western 
slope of the Oquirrh range, leaving the eastern side to the West 
Mountain district. Vigorous prospecting ensued; but these 
early operations languished, in spite of the discovery of several 
handsome outcrops of argentiferous lead mineral, because so 
many obstacles stood in the way of profitable mining. The 
lack of railroad transport rendered all supplies exceedingly 
expensive; a shovel cost $2-50, a keg of powder, $100. More- 
over, the influence of the Mormon church was effective in 
discouraging the settlers in the Salt Lake valley from partici- 
pating in the development of these lead resources. Alluvial 
gold is the best mineral for pioneer mining because it is 
extracted by simple methods, and, on account of small bulk in 
proportion to high value, is cheaply transported. The first 
discovery of gold, therefore, is an important event in the 
history of any region. A party of Californians when returning 
from Montana to spend the winter in the Salt Lake valley, in 
1864, found gold in Bingham canyon, and began forthwith the 
systematic washing of the gravel along the stream. A nugget 
weighing a little more than an ounce was found at the start, 
and these alluvial operations are said altogether to have 
yielded a million dollars during the ensuing six or seven years. 



THE GREAT SALT LAKE 189 

The first mining at Bingham was prompted, as we have seen, 
by the silver-bearing lead ore that outcropped on the hillside 
and by the gold that was found in the gravel of the gulch. 
Later, gold was won from quartzose veins that traversed the 
limestone. In 1882 four stamp-mills had been built to treat 
this gold-bearing ore. The success of the lead-mining, which 
was contemporaneous, was due not only to the silver contents 
of the ore in such mines as the Jordan, Galena, and Winne- 
mucca, but also to the intense oxidation of the mineral, 
which yielded easily reducible carbonate ore even at a con- 
siderable depth in such mines as the Brooklyn, Lead, and 
Yosemite. 

The completion of railroad communication led to the mining 
of silver ore in Little Cottonwood canyon, in the Wasatch 
mountains, in 1864, by some of General Connor's men, but it 
was of no consequence until four years later. The Emma 
mine was located in this district by Woodman in 1868, and 
subsequently, when sold in London, gained ill fame in conse- 
quence of a fiasco. At first the mine was highly productive, 
yielding daily a hundred tons of ore containing 200 to 700 
ounces of silver per ton. General Schenck, U. S. Minister to 
England, was prominent in forming a $5,000,000 company in 
London for the acquisition of the Emma. In a few months 
$1,500,000 was taken out of the mine, and then the orebody 
petered out suddenly. General Schenck was ruined and had 
to flee from London to escape prosecution.* During the 
excitement caused by these events, a discovery of hornsilver 
was made in a canyon, now known as Ophir, on the west slope 
of the Oquirrh mountains, where the first location was made 
on August 23, 1870. On this claim, named the Silveropolis, 
so-called boulders of the silver chloride were found at grass- 
roots. The Walker brothers shipped 40 tons that netted 
$24,000 from the surface workings of the Silveropolis. The 
news of such rich finds served to attract miners from the other 
parts of the West to Utah. 

* P. Donan, 'Utah', p. 36; 1895. 



190 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

The first shipment of ore from Utah, according to Bancroft,* 
was "a carload of copper ore from Bingham canyon, hauled 
to Uintah on the Union Pacific, and forwarded by the Walker 
Brothers to Baltimore in June 1868". This happened before 
the transcontinental railroad was completed by the linking of 
the Union Pacific and Central Pacific lines at Ogden on May 
10, 1869, and it was two years before Salt Lake City was 
joined to the main line by the construction of the Utah Central 
railroad. The mention of copper so early is interesting, 
because no large shipments of such ore were made until 
December, 1896, when 5000 tons of sulphide ore was shipped 
from the Highland Boy mine, at Bingham. It is worthy of 
note that the original Highland Boy company was started as 
a gold-mining venture by Samuel Newhouse, the promoter, 
and Thomas Weir, the manager. These two had so little 
idea of developing a copper mine that they built a cyanidation 
mill to extract the gold in the oxidized ore. This mill ran for 
several months, but it was not a success, chiefly because the 
copper, which they had ignored in their experimental work, 
interfered with the recovery and caused an excessive con- 
sumption of cyanide. After the mill proved a failure and the 
company's affairs had reached a critical stage, Newhouse, it 
is said, went to Denver in order to raise money to meet his 
delinquent pay-rolls, and while there he received a telegram 
from Weir informing him that ore containing 15 per cent of 
copper had been struck in the lower adit. This saved the day. 
Another story asserts that in the course of exploratory work 
in the zone of oxidation a winze penetrated sulphide ore. 
This so alarmed the management that the winze was covered. 
Later, failing to develop a successful gold mine and the price 
of copper making that metal attractive, the winze was 
re-opened and a discovery of copper sulphide was announced. 
At first, as has been explained, the copper deposits were 
overlooked. They were of low grade and not as easily smelted 

* H. H. Bancroft, 'History of Utah', p. 741; 1889. 



THE GREAT SALT LAKE 191 

as the lead ores. The shipment of copper-sulphide ore from 
the Highland Boy in 1896 gave the promise of a new departure 
and led to the transfer of this mine, together with other claims, 
to the Utah Consolidated Mining Company, which, three 
years later, completed the building of a smelter of 250 tons' 
capacity. In 1897 the Stewart No. 2 and a number of adjacent 
claims were acquired by the Boston Consolidated Mining 
Company. As yet, however, there was no mention of the 
mine that was to give fame to Bingham and to Utah. 

It is probable that the first mining on the present Utah 
Copper property was done at the time when General Connor's 
soldiers began to prospect in the hills enclosing Bingham 
canyon, that is, soon after 1862, for the Soldier tunnel, by its 
name, perpetuates that tradition. The oldest claim now 
included in the property is the Washington, which was located 
in 1865, whereas the latest claim, the Jubilee Fraction, was 
located on November 29, 1910, seven years after the Utah 
Copper Company was organized. 

The story of this famous enterprise* begins with Colonel 
Enos A. Wall, of Indiana. As he himseK acknowledged smil- 
ingly, his military title was one that he owed to his friends. 
Such were the amenities of frontier days. His parents were 
North Carolinian; he started his mining career in Colorado in 
1860, and went from there to Montana in 1863, varying the 
search for gold with general business as a freighter and trader 
in the material and supplies exchanged between that Territory 
and Utah, to which he came in 1868, remaining there for 
fourteen years. Then for five years he was chief stockholder 
and superintendent of the Wood River Gold & Silver Mining 
Company, at Bullion, Idaho, where he won the regard of his 
fellow-citizens so as to be elected to the upper house of the 
Territorial legislature and president of that chamber. In 
1885 he returned to Utah, engaging in mining at Mercur and 
elsewhere. 

* T. A. Rickard, 'The Utah Gjpper Enterprise'; 1918. Also Mining 
and Scientific Press, Vol. CXVH, p. 445; 1918. 



192 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

In July, 1887, Wall went to Bingham, where his attention 
was attracted to a discoloration on the hillside, visible from 
the road. The water issuing from a spring just above the 
site of the 'pit' of the Utah Copper mine, as it was in 1918, 
had been conducted to a placer near the site of the present 
railway station. The bare rock on the hillside had become 
discolored and the gravel in the gulch likewise was stained 
green by the coppery solution. When examined, the ridge of 
rock proved to be an outcrop of monzonite impregnated with 
copper sufficiently to assay 3 per cent for a length of 300 feet. 
An abandoned tunnel, 90 feet long, had been driven into the 
hill on the line of a short fracture that had yielded pieces of 
ore rich in chalcocite. Entering this tunnel. Wall broke a 
sample; upon the fresh face of rock, underneath the green 
stain, he saw that the monzonite was spotted with chalcocite 
and bornite, suggesting to him a similarity to the ores of Butte, 
with which he was familiar. He sampled the tunnel and 
obtained an average of 2-4 per cent of copper by assay. 
Numerous tests by panning showed that a concentrate assay- 
ing 30 to 40 per cent of copper could be produced. That was 
the discovery of the Utah Copper mine. 

Upon enquiry at the Recorder's office. Wall ascertained that 
the ground covering the area in which he was interested had 
been abandoned, and therefore was open to re-location; so he 
staked the Dick Mackintosh and Charles Read claims, naming 
them after two of his friends. He located other claims and 
found other abandoned workings, in which he saw more evi- 
dence of an extensive dispersion of copper in rock that had 
been too poor for selective mining. At that time he lacked 
the money needed for systematic development, but he did his 
assessment work faithfully from year to year. Later he made 
some money by sundry deals at Ophir and Mercur. He was 
not a promoter, but a miner and a dealer in mines, backing his 
personal judgment successfully and establishing a good bank- 
credit in Montana and Utah. Meanwhile he retained his 
faith in the copper-bearing porphyry at Bingham, and looked 



THE GREAT SALT LAKE 193 

forward to acquiring the financial resources required to provide 
the equipment for exploiting the deposit on the large scale 
that it demanded. By the time the Highland Boy started a 
local copper excitement, in 1896, he had secured 200 acres and 
had done $20,000 worth of exploratory work, as represented 
by 3250 feet of workings. 

Enter Captain Joseph R. De Lamar. He was born in 
Amsterdam; he had been a diver; he had commanded cargo- 
ships between New York and Bermuda; his captaincy was of 
the sea. His mining adventures had extended all the way 
from the- Sangre de Cristo mountains to Lake Nipissing. De 
Lamar had known Colonel Wall at Mercur, for, among other 
dealings, he had bought from him the Brickyard mine in 1894. 
At that time the Captain's chief of staff, or manager, was 
Hartwig A. Cohen. In 1895 Cohen examined Wall's copper 
prospects at Bingham, and expressed a favorable opinion; 
whereupon De Lamar took a six-months' option on three- 
quarters of the property at $375,000. A test was made on 76 
tons of ore in a small stamp-mill, the result being a recovery 
of 60 to 62 per cent in a concentrate containing 28 to 33 per 
cent of copper from a 2 per cent ore. No business ensued, 
however. De Lamar thought the recovery discouraging and 
the outlook for copper unpromising, the price of the metal 
having fallen at that time to 9^ cents per pound as against 12 
cents a year before. 

Three years later, De Lamar obtained another option, this 
time on a quarter interest at $50,000, and on a second quarter 
at $250,000. The workings were sampled by Robert C. 
Gemmell and a test of the ore was made by Daniel C. Jackling, 
both of these engineers being on the Captain's staff. The 
subsequent negotiations, however, broke down. Shortly 
afterward, at the end of 1898, Cohen resigned as manager for 
De Lamar and was replaced by Victor Clement, who had but 
lately returned from the Transvaal, where he had been man- 
ager of the Simmer & Jack mine. From Gemmell and Jack- 
ling he heard about the Wall property; thereupon, early in 



194 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

1899, he assured Wall that he could guarantee him a square 
deal, the result being an offer by Clement, for De Lamar, to 
purchase a quarter for $50,000 outright, with a year's option 
on another quarter at $250,000, and on a third quarter at 
$1,250,000. This proposal was accepted by Wall, whereupon 
De Lamar's engineers started exploratory work, and soon had 
spent $25,000 in new openings. Samples were taken at 
intervals of five feet. Jackling, in his report, estimated 
12,385,000 tons of ore averaging 2 per cent, besides a probable 
25,000,000 tons more. The mine-sampling was checked by 
mill-tests, using five stamps, two Wilfley tables, and a Frue 
vanner. The results showed a recovery of 71-70 per cent in 
a concentrate containing 21-75 per cent of copper. When 
sold to the Germania smelter, the concentrate was valued 
at $55-07 per ton, which included payment for 0-12 ounce of 
gold and 1-40 ounces of silver per ton. Unfortunately, while 
this examination of the mine was in progress, Clement got 
into a wrangle with De Lamar, the result being that Clement 
resigned, and Cohen came back as manager. De Lamar 
dropped the deal, except for the quarter interest he had bought 
for $50,000. He had spent $46,000 in the course of the 
investigation. 

Cohen submitted the business to Benjamin Guggenheim in 

1900, to Charles A. Coffin, of the General Electric Company, 
in 1902, and to John Hays Hammond, also in 1902. Indi- 
rectly the Utah Copper venture was offered to Marcus Daly 
in 1901, to the Tharsis Sulphur & Copper Company in 1902, 
and to William A. Clark in 1903. The fact that a mass of 13'^ 
to 2 per cent copper rock was unattractive 30 years ago should 
surprise no one; it required constructive imagination of no 
common order and unusual financial courage to undertake 
the large-scale exploitation of such a deposit at that time. 
Both requisites were forthcoming in due course. 

Soon after completing his examination of the Wall property, 
Jackling resigned from De Lamar's employ. In 1901 he went 
to Colorado Springs, where he became associated with Charles 



THE GREAT SALT LAKE 195 

MacNeill and other friends as consulting engineer to the 
United States Reduction & Refining Company. At the very 
start of his career at Cripple Creek in 1894, he had made the 
acquaintance of MacNeill and also of Spencer Penrose and 
Charles Tutt, these three being the organizers of the reduction 
company, which operated two mills at Colorado City, close to 
Colorado Springs, on ore coming from the mines at Cripple 
Creek. Jackling was then thirty-two 5'ears of age; he had 
already proved himself a resourceful metallurgical engineer, 
and he had repeatedly advised De Lamar that the Bingham 
venture was full of promise. Starting life poor and without 
friends, he had worked his way to graduation from the Missouri 
School of Mines. A masterful character, possessed of vigorous 
initiative, he was beginning to feel his way to his proper posi- 
tion as a captain of industry. He spoke about the Wall 
property to his associates in Colorado, and they undertook to 
back him; so, at the end of 1902, while at Salt Lake City on 
other business, Jackling called upon Wall and tried to obtain 
an option, but without success. It happened that both 
Jackling and Cohen were in the town in connection with a suit 
brought by De Lamar over the interpretation of an electric- 
power contract made during the time they were in the Cap- 
tain's employ; so they met. Jackling discussed the question 
of an option with Cohen, and told him that if he could persuade 
Wall to grant one, the gentlemen in Colorado would provide 
the capital necessary to develop the enterprise. Cohen went 
to Wall and spoke of having New York friends that would be 
willing to find money for the Bingham undertaking if a reason- 
able option could be given. Wall was willing to sell half his 
holdings for $400,000, but he imposed conditions in regard 
to the equipment and development of the mine ; he demanded 
also that a mill to treat 500 tons daily be built by the supposed 
New York buyers, who also were to purchase De Lamar's 
quarter interest. These negotiations were on the point of 
breaking down when Cohen obtained the help of a local 
banker, William S. McCornick, who aided him in persuading 



196 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Wall to come to terms. On January 23, 1903, Wall signed an 
option to Cohen on "two-fourths undivided interest" at 
1350,000 in cash, of which $50,000 was payable on March 9 
and $300,000 on June 7 of that year. In this agreement Wall 
recorded his willingness to join in the organization of a stock 
company, retaining for himself the right to nominate one 
member of the governing board. Cohen took the option to 
Jackling, who took it to MacNeill, in Colorado. Thereupon 
MacNeill, Spencer Penrose, and his brother R. A. F. Penrose, a 
distinguished geologist, came with Jackling to Utah and 
visited Bingham. Cohen's agreement was replaced by a new 
one, in the name of Spencer Penrose, by the terms of which 
Wall was to receive $385,000 for 55 per cent of the entire 
property, and the Ma cNeill-Penrose group was to purchase 
De Lamar's quarter, leaving Wall with a 20 per cent holding in 
both shares and bonds. The option was to be for six months, 
with the privilege of extension for twelve months more on 
payment of $5000 in cash for each monthly extension of time. 
They did use seven months extra, and for that they paid 
$35,000; so Wall eventually received $420,000 in all. They 
bought De Lamar's interest for $125,000. 

An examination of the mine was made by F. H. Minard, 
who was selected by R. A. F. Penrose. Minard's report was 
dated April 23, 1903. It made clear the fact that the porphyry 
had intruded into the limestone and quartzite, and that the 
copper was in the porphyry in the form of small particles of 
copper pyrite, which had undergone leaching and concentra- 
tion within a zone of enrichment. The leached portion 
extended for 50 feet from the surface, and within this zone the 
monzonite averaged 0-75 per cent of copper. The zone of 
enrichment, underneath, was from 100 to 150 feet thick, with a 
copper content of 2 per cent, as chalcocite. Below this was 
the primary deposit, containing 1-1 per cent of copper. 
Minard's samples were taken with hammer and moil at 
intervals of 10 feet. Usually each sample weighed 50 pounds. 
The average of all his samples was 1-6 per cent, and he esti- 



THE GREAT SALT LAKE 197 

mated that the workings disclosed 9,000,000 tons of such 
copper-bearing rock. 

On June 4, 1903, a company named the Utah Copper Com- 
pany was organized under the laws of Colorado, the capital of 
this corporation being $500,000 in shares of one dollar each. 
Then an experimental plant of 300 tons, known as the Copper- 
ton mill, was built at Bingham, to ascertain the method 
best suited to the treatment of the ore. This mill was 
completed in April 1904. Shortly afterward the company 
was reorganized; this, time it was registered in New Jersey 
with a capital of $4,500,000 in $10 shares. The date of this 
incorporation was April 29, 1904. An issue of $750,000 in 7 
per cent bonds, to run for three years and convertible into 
stock at par, was made on July 1. These bonds were largely 
underwritten by the promoters themselves, for they had been 
successful in earlier mining ventures and were wealthy men. 
Here it may be mentioned that $250,000 was all the cash that 
was put up at the start to launch the Utah Copper enterprise. 
Wall was left with $150,000 in bonds and 90,000 shares of 
stock. Jackling and Cohen received a 5 per cent commission, 
which was paid in stock. They still had to find the working 
capital — several million dollars — required to develop and equip 
the mine on an adequate scale. 

In the summer of 1904 the purchase of a block of stock was 
considered by the General Electric Company, on the recom- 
mendation of their engineer, D. M. Riordan, after an examina- 
tion had been made by E. Gybbon Spilsbury and W. Lawrence 
Austin, who found that at least 5,000,000 tons of 1-98 per cent 
copper ore had been developed, and reported that the small 
Copperton mill had been brought to the point of profitable 
operation. These estimates fully confirmed the earlier figures 
of Jackling and Minard; nevertheless they were received with 
scepticism; the directors of the General Electric followed the 
lead of a member of the board that would "not believe the 
damn figures". Such undoubtedly was the mental attitude 
of others to whom the business was presented. In 1906 the 



198 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

remainder of the original bond issue of $750,000 was retired, 
at a premium of 5 per cent, to make way for a new issue of 
bonds, namely, $3,000,000 at 6 per cent, this money being 
required to build the Magna mill at Garfield, the metallurgical 
centre of the Utah Copper Company on the shore of the Salt 
lake. This issue was convertible into stock at $20 per share; 
it was underwritten by the Guggenheims, in the name of the 
Guggenheim Exploration Company; and they, at the same 
time, purchased a block of stock. In February, 1907, Hayden, 
Stone & Company underwrote the purchase of 60,000 shares 
of stock at $25 per share, making $1,500,000; and in June, 
1908, the same firm of brokers underwrote an issue of $1,500,- 
000 in bonds convertible into stock at $20 per share, the bonds 
being sold in order to provide funds for expanding the capacity 
of the mill. Thus the capitalization of the company became 
augmented to $7,500,000. Two years later, in January, 1910, 
the capitalization was increased to $25,000,000, of which 
stock to the amount of $16,244,900 in $10 shares has now been 
issued. Out of the stock issued in 1910, amounting to $8,282,- 
240, the sum of $3,100,000 was paid for the property of the 
Boston Consolidated, and $4,455,120 was paid for 1,000,152 
shares of Nevada Consolidated, this being a highly successful 
copper enterprise at Ely, in Nevada. From the day when 
production began, in 1907, to the end of 1917 — ten years — the 
mine yielded 67,220,700 tons of ore, averaging 1-428 per cent 
of copper, from which was produced 3,11-8,385 tons of con- 
centrate averaging 19-81 per cent and containing 617,785 
tons of copper. From this output of metal the company was 
enabled to pay $75,770,882 in dividends and at the same time 
to accumulate a working capital of $48,293,528. All the 
estimates of the engineers that best appreciated the capabilities 
of the mine have been fully confirmed. 

Wall was elected a director of the company when it was 
organized in 1903, but he resigned in 1908, on account of 
friction with his colleagues on the board. The result of these 
disagreements was to create bitter feeling between him and 



THE GRiiAT SALT LAKE 199 

Jackling, a feeling that lound vent in a journalistic vendetta; 
Wall started a paper called 'Mines and Methods', published 
at Salt Lake City, for the purpose of waging war upon Jackling 
and his associates. This paper was issued weekly from 
September, 1909, to August, 1913, and then it went into the 
limbo of deservedly forgotten things. This animosity on the 
part of Wall was due not to personal wrong but to intense 
disappointment in not being made manager of the company 
and in seeing the credit for the creation of this splendid enter- 
prise pass to Jackling, whose virUe personality increasingly 
dominated the operations of the company. One cannot with- 
hold some measure of sympathy for the old miner, who stuck 
to his dream so long and showed such patience in consolidating 
the property first and then in nursing it during the long years 
of inaction; but such sympathy is not inconsistent with admira- 
tion for the persistence and skill of the younger engineer, 
who, with equal faith in the prospect, brought the dream to 
complete fulfilment. 

In 1929 the output of the Utah Copper mine was 17,724,100 
tons, or 50,210 tons per diem. While obtaining this ore, 
5075 feet of churn-drilling was done, whereby 15,000,000 tons 
of 1-12 per cent copper ore were developed. The total 
reserves of ore at the end of the year were estimated at 
640,000,000 tons, averaging 107 per cent of copper. Nearly 
10 million cubic yards of overburden were excavated and 
removed during the year. The actual mining cost was 12-37 
cents per ton, to which 6-40 has to be added for fixed and 
general charges. The average copper content of the ore was 
0-994 per cent, or 19-88 pounds per ton. The average recovery 
in the form of concentrate at the mills was 85-67 per cent, or 
17-04 pounds per ton. The average milling cost for the year 
was 36-58 cents per ton. The concentrate averaged 32-06 per 
cent of copper. By precipitation from mine and dump waters 
there was recovered 4,514,498 pounds of copper. The net 
production of copper, after smelting and refining, was 296,- 
625,554 pounds. The average cost, including depreciation 



200 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

of plant and equipment, and of all fixed and general expenses 
(except Federal taxes), was 6-65 cents per pound of copper. 
The importance of a mine such as the Utah Copper to the 
community in which it is placed is indicated by the fact that 
the company's assessed valuation for the year 1930 is $92,659,- 
600, which is equivalent to the tax valuation of 18 of Utah's 
29 counties, representing 60 per cent of the State's total area, 
and to more than one-eighth of the total assessed valuation of 
the State. 

It is important to note that the Utah Copper mine produces 
gold and silver in quantities sufficient to give it distinction as a 
source of the precious metals. The output of the three metals 
respectively in 1929 was: 

Copper 296,625,554 lb. at 16-749}; = $49,681,949-98 

Gold 116,087-182 oz. at $20-00 = 2,321,743-64 

Silver 1,050,074-67 oz. at 53-294>i = 559,525-42 

$52,563,219-04 

On October 31, 1930, Mr. Jackhng was awarded the Saunders 
medal of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical 
Engineers. On that occasion it was stated that the cost of 
moving material by electric shovels and electric haulage had 
been reduced to between 12 and 15 cents per ton, and the 
recovery in the mills had been increased from an average in 
early days of 60 to 65 per cent of the copper content to a present 
yield of 85 to 95 per cent. In consequence of these reductions 
in cost and improvements in metallurgic practice it was 
possible to exploit profitably surficial ore containing only 
0-6 per cent of copper and to mine underground ore containing 
as little as 1 per cent, whereas in the early days of the Utah 
Copper enterprise no rock containing less than 1 -5 per cent of 
copper could be considered as 'ore'. 

From July 1, 1904, to November 30, 1930, both inclusive, the 
Utah Copper mine yielded 201,623,974 tons of ore, from which 
3,601,371,703 pounds of copper were extracted. The gross 
value of the metals contained in the mill ore was $839,718,009, 



THE GREAT SALT LAKE 



201 



and out of this the shareholders received $215,477,022 in 
dividends. 

The costs of operation in 1929 were as follows : 



Distribution 



Per dry 
ton of ore 



Per pound 
of net copper 



Mining (and stripping) 

Milling 

Ore delivery 

Treatment, freight, and refining 
Selling expense 



$0-4121 
0-3658 
00896 
0-3765 
0206 



$0-02500 
0-02219 
00543 
002284 
000125 



$1-2646 



$0-07671 



Perhaps a hundred years hence these figures* will not seem so 
remarkable as they seem to us today, but assuredly if our 
grandfathers, in, say, 1850, had been given a glimpse of 
this page they would have marvelled so greatly as to be 
incredulous. 



For which I am indebted to David D. Moffat, the General Manager. 



CHAPTER IX 
THE BLACK HILLS OF SOUTH DAKOTA 

The Black hills rise like a dark island above the far-flung 
prairie lands of the Dakotas; to their sombre pine-clad slopes 
they owe the name, Black mountains, by which they were 
known to the early explorers. Pahasapa, a Sioux word with 
the same meaning, was the name given to these hills by the 
Indians, who avoided them, believing them to be mysterious 
and dangerous. The aborigines entered the hills rarely, to 
pick berries, hunt the deer, or to cut lodge-poles, the central 
supports of their huts. 

The French explorer Pierre de la Ver^ndrye reached Dakotan 
soil in October 1738, coming thither from Montreal by way 
of Lake Superior and the Lake of the Woods.* Five years 
later his sons, Frangois and Louis Joseph, reached the Black 
hills, as is recorded on a plate unearthed at Fort Pierre in 
1913. The French-Canadian explorers and trappers of that 
time, however, appear to have been diverted southeastward to 
the more promising lands of the Mississippi valley, so that we 
find no mention of the Black hills in the chronicles of the period 
until Lewis and Clark, on their way to the Pacific coast, in 
1805, met a French trader, named Jean Valle, on the lower 
Cheyenne river, and from him they heard of the Black moun- 
tains in a casual manner. Next, Wilson P. Hunt, who, at the 
head of an expedition crossed the Rocky Mountains on his way 
to the Astor trading-post on the Columbia river, in 1811, had a 
glimpse of the dark hills to the north, but that was all. Then 
in 1823 Jedediah S. Smith, one of the earliest discoverers of 
gold in California, crossed the southern part of the Black hills 
on his way westward. Two trading-posts were established in 

* Agnes C. Laut, 'The Blazed Trail of the Old Frontier', p. 33; 1926. 

202 



THE BLACK HILLS OF SOUTH DAKOTA 203 

1828 on the Belle Fourche and White rivers for the purpose 
of obtaining furs from the Indians, and for the first time we 
hear whispers of gold having been found in these parts. 

It is a tradition in the Northwest that Father Pierre De 
Smet, a Belgian Jesuit, in the course of his missionary work 
among the Indians, in the years 1846-1849, learned that gold 
was to be gathered in the hills, and advised the Indians to say 
nothing about it, * for fear of bringing a horde of prospectors 
into their country. General Sheridan, who knew the priestly 
explorer, learned something of the sort from him, for, when 
writing to General Sherman, in March, 1875, he said that 
"while living with the Sioux Indians he [De Smet] was shown 
by them nuggets of gold, which they informed him had been 
obtained at different points in the Black Hills . . . and on 
his representation that such yellow metal was of the great- 
est value, they told him that they knew where there was a 
mountain of it". Subsequent investigation, however, proved 
that the Indian mountain of gold was nothing more than a 
formation of yellow mica.f It is said that in 1867 the 
Indians agreed in council not to reveal the presence of gold 
in the hills and stipulated that any one of them that did so 
was to be killed, "for fear the country should be taken from 
them"; so said Sitting Bull, the Sioux chief. { It was Custer, 
whom he vanquished, that was the first to make known the 
occurrence of gold. 

Such recognition as the region obtained among men of 
education a hundred years ago was due chiefly to the fossils 
that the fur-traders began to bring from the hills and to the 
descriptions of them that appeared in scientific journals. 
For example, Hiram A. Prout, in 1846, described a gigantic 
palaeotherium from the bad lands of southern Dakota in the 

* H. M. Chittenden and A. T. Richardson, 'Father De Smet's Life, 
Letters, and Travels', Vol. IV, p. 1522; 1905. 

t Henry Newton and Walter P. Jenney, 'Report on the Geology and 
Resources of the Black Hills of Dakota ', XJ. S. Geol. Survey, p. 17; 1880. 

t George W. Kingsbury, 'History of Dakota Territory', Vol. I, p. 966; 
1915. 



204 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

'American Journal of Science'. In 1855 a military expedi- 
tion, commanded by General Harney, was accompanied by 
several scientific observers, among them being Ferdinand V. 
Hayden, who began a geologic exploration of the Hills, and 
drew attention to them as an interesting subject of study. 
In 1866 he stated before the Dakota Historical Society that 
he had seen some little specks of gold along the foothill streams, 
and he expressed the opinion more than once that there were 
chances of finding gold in some quantity in the mountains; 
but, apparently, at no time did he trouble to follow the clue. 
Rumors of gold in the Black hills, however, were frequent, 
and it became customary for the Territorial governors of 
Dakota to allude to the matter vaguely, but with increasing 
assurance, notwithstanding the complete lack of evidence. 

The country was within Indian territory; by the treaty of 
1867, ratified by the Federal government, the Black Hills 
region was within the permanent reservation set aside for the 
Dakota, Kiowa, and Sioux tribes. They denied entrance to 
their domain. The Laramie-Bozeman trail, planned in 1865 
as a route to the goldfields of Montana, cut across the buffalo 
grounds of the Sioux reservation, and we need not be surprised 
to find a statement that a renowned chief. Red Cloud, made 
it "a route of massacre" for the gold-seekers on their way 
westward. The Government at Washington tried to prevent 
conflicts between the whites and the Indians, but the increas- 
ing curiosity concerning the Black hills and the popular desire 
to have the region opened to settlement could not be controlled, 
whereupon those in authority decided to send a military expe- 
dition to explore the country and to establish central fortifica- 
tions for the protection of travel. Such were the conditions 
when, in 1874, General George A. Custer was directed to 
organize an expedition for the purpose of establishing a route 
to the Black hills. This expedition was most successful; the 
information gathered by the newspaper correspondents and 
scientific observers was given wide publicity. Few Indians 
were seen, and those that were encountered evidently were 



THE BLACK HILLS OF SOUTH DAKOTA 



205 



much surprised by the imposing cavalcade, with its artillery 
and hooded wagons. On July 30 the expedition halted in a 
natural park near the granite ramparts of Harney's Peak, and 




Fig. 16. — The Black Hills district. (From 'New InternatioTial Encyclopedia,' 
courtesy Dodd, Mead & Company, Inc.) 

some prospecting was done during the interval of three days. 
"The gold-seekers who accompanied the expedition", says 
N. H. Winchell, the geologist, "report the finding of gold in 
the gravel and sand along this valley." The place was on 



206 A HISTORY OP AMERICAN MINING 

French creek, where Custer City was built later. The dis- 
covery of gold was made by Horatio Nelson Ross, an experi- 
enced miner, on August 1, 1874. 

Another story of the first discovery of gold is told by Jenney, 
as follows: Toussaint Kensler, a half-breed Indian, who had 
worked in the gold placers of Alder gulch, in Montana, was in 
prison, under sentence of death, when he escaped. He disap- 
peared for a long time, and when he re-appeared at the Indian 
agency he had in his possession a number of goose-quills filled 
with gold-dust, which he claimed to have obtained in some 
diggings that he had discovered. He was re-arrested, and in 
due course he was hanged; but before his execution he drew a 
map of the locality in which he had found the gold and also 
showed the route he had traveled, together with the distances 
and names of creeks he had crossed. His sketch, says Jenney, 
who had it in his possession, indicated that the place was either 
on Amphibious or on French creek, probably the former.* 
Both these creeks drain the southern part of the natural park 
to which Custer's name was given because he camped there 
in 1874. 

Even this does not exhaust the list of probable first dis- 
coverers of the gold, for, in still earlier days, the Hills were 
prospected by adventurers that never returned. In 1887 a 
flat stone found near Spearfish disclosed an inscription: "Came 
to these hills in 1833, seven of us De Lacompt Ezra Kind G. 
W. Wood T. Brown R. Kent Wm King Indian Crow all ded 
but me Ezra Kind killed by Indians beyond the high hill got 
our gold June 1834". On the reverse was written: "Got all 
the gold we could carry our ponys all got by the Indians I 
have lost my gun and nothing to eat and Indians hunting me". 
Not far away were some camp utensils so much rusted as to 
indicate long abandonment. Some of the names are said to 
have been identified by kinsmen ;t nevertheless, the story 

* Walter P. Jenney, ' Report on the Natural Resources of the Black 
Hills of Dakota', Sen. Doc, No. 51, 44th Congress, p. 51; 1876. 

t Jesse Brown and A. M. Willard, 'The Black Hills Trails', p. 29; 1924. 



THE BLACK HILLS OF SOUTH DAKOTA 207 

must be regarded as an amusing concoction. At other places, 
it is said, tools, ruined shelters, and other evidences of for- 
gotten pioneers, the victims of the Indians, have been found. 

General Custer, in his record under date August 2, 1874, 
says: "I have upon my table forty or fifty small particles of 
pure gold, in size averaging that of a small pin head, and most 
of it obtained today from one panful of earth". On August 
15, in a dispatch sent from Bear Butte, Custer said: "Subse- 
quent examinations at numerous points confirm and strengthen 
the fact of the existence of gold in the Black Hills. On some 
of the water courses, almost every panful of earth produced 
gold in small, yet paying quantities. Our brief halts and 
rapid marching prevented anything but a very hasty examina- 
tion of the country in this respect; but in one place, and the 
only one within my knowledge where so great a depth was 
reached, a hole was dug eight feet in depth. The miners 
report that they found gold among the roots of the grass, and, 
from that point to the lowest point reached, gold was found 
in paying quantities. It has not required an expert to find 
gold in the Black Hills, as men without former experience in 
mining have discovered it at an expense of little time or 
labor".* 

There was great excitement in the camp when it was 
announced that gold had been found, and all the cooks were 
importuned to lend pans, dishes, and buckets to the many 
men that were eager to try their luck. William E. Curtis, 
correspondent for the 'Chicago Daily Tribune', wrote on the 
seventh of August to say that the first mining district in the 
Black hills was organized at this time, on French creek, and 
that the meeting was held around a camp-fire surrounded by 
wagons. The discovery claim was granted to Ross, and No. 
4 below discovery went to his partner, William T. McKay. 
Twenty claims were located. It was a romantic gesture, and 
nothing more. The locations had no validity, the land 

* George W. Kingsbury, 'History of Dakota Territory', Vol. I, p. 889; 
1915. 



208 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

belonged to the Indians, and the Government at Washington 
was not prepared to aid such trespass on their domain. 

It is tempting to compare General Custer and his men with 
other military expeditions into mining regions. Alexander 
the Great during his Indian campaign was accompanied by 
Gorgus, a miner, who found gold and silver in the country of 
the Sopiethes, the modern Punjab. So says Strabo;* but 
Herodotus,t and, later, Arrian, unite in contradicting this 
statement and in asserting that the Indian tribes whom 
Alexander encountered were without gold. In later days the 
expeditions of such conquering freebooters as Cort6s and 
Pizarro were unaccompanied by mining experts; instead, the 
conquistador es, in their invasions of Mexico and Peru, looked 
for gold in the graves and temples of the natives, and for such 
looting it was not necessary to employ the miner; they sought 
for gold and silver with the sword, not the pick. 

News of the discovery of gold spread fast and incited a rush 
to the Black Hills, as was to be expected. A civilian party of 
28 persons, headed by John Gordon, came from Sioux City, 
Iowa, and followed Custer's trail to French creek, where they 
easily found the place where the General's camp-followers had 
made their discovery. They arrived in December, 1874, and 
became the first settlers in the new Eldorado. It is significant 
that they proceeded at once to build a stockade, for defence 
against the Indians. But before the redmen attacked them, 
the Government, bound by the treaty of 1867 to prevent such 
incursions of the whites, sent a troop of cavalry to round up 
this prospecting party and brought them, in April, 1875, to 
Fort Laramie in Wyoming. However, the tale told by these 
adventurers about the gold they had seen gave added zest to 
the spirit of adventure aroused in the adjacent regions, and 
caused others to penetrate into the proscribed area. In the 
summer of 1875 the Government again sent small military 
detachments to remove such unauthorized gold-seekers, but 

* Strabo, XV, 1, 31. 
t Herodotus, III, 106. 



THE BLACK HILLS OF SOUTH DAKOTA 209 

they continued to evade the lax military surveillance, and 
filtered slowly into the hills along the trail made by their 
forerunners. As Richard E. Curran sings: 

An old trail, a bold trail 

The old French trappers knew, 
A far trail and a war trail 

Through the land of the fighting Sioux; 
A rough trail, once a tough trail. 

Where oft the war-whoop thrills, 
The gold trail is a bold trail 

As it bears to the far Black Hills. 

Other prospectors soon came by way of Sidney, Nebraska, 
and Cheyenne, Wyoming. The troops were withdrawn from 
the Hills; in consequence, during the spring and summer of 
1875 there was a continuous stampede to the diggings. Early 
in 1876 an attempt was made to establish a stage-line from 
Cheyenne to Deadwood, but the hostility of the Indians made 
it utterly impracticable. 

Custer's expedition in 1874 was an infraction of tribal rights 
as defined by the treaty of 1867, creating the Indian reserve 
in Dakota; therefore the march of the soldiers across their 
territory angered the Sioux. Some adjustment of Indian 
rights was imperative. President Grant caused a commission 
to be appointed for the purpose of negotiating a treaty with 
the Indians. On September 20, 1874, a grand council con- 
vened. The chairman of the commission, William B. Allison, 
finding it hopeless to secure title to the soil, said to the redmen : 
"We have now to ask you if you are willing to give our people 
the right to mine in the Black Hills, as long as gold or 
other valuable metals are found, for a fair and just sum. If 
you are so willing, we will make a bargain with you for this 
right. When the gold or other valuable minerals are taken 
away, the country will again be yours to dispose of in any 
manner you wish". This is not all that he said, of course, but 
it was the main proposal. One can not read it without smil- 



210 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

ing — a sardonic smile. The Indians could not agree, but the 
majority, including most of the younger men, were opposed 
to a sale at any price. The negotiations failed; gold-seekers 
continued to come into the hills, all military interference 
having been withdrawn. Stray parties of prospectors were 
ambushed and killed by the Indians. Meanwhile the Govern- 
ment, perplexed by the state of affairs, decided to send a party 
of geologists and topographers to investigate. Walter P. 
Jenney, accompanied by Henry Newton and other scientific 
men, made an examination of the Black hills in the period 
between April and October, 1875. Jenney reported: "There 
is gold enough to thoroughly settle and develop the country, 
and after the placers are exhausted, stock-raising will be the 
great business of the inhabitants, who have a world of wealth 
in the splendid grazing of this region". It is curious that he, 
a geologist, should have overlooked the probable exploitation 
of the veins and lodes from which, by erosion, the gold of the 
placers had been derived. This scientific reconnaissance col- 
lected much useful information concerning the region, but, of 
course, could do nothing to settle the basic question of land 
ownership. The Indians were rampant, they resented the 
disregard of their rights. They had three or four thousand 
warriors afield. Then, suddenly, came the appalling news 
that a force of 300 soldiers under the command of General 
Custer had been surrounded by the Indians and completely 
destroyed on June 25, 1876, near the Little Big Horn river. 

After the Custer disaster the new mining-camps were in 
constant danger of Indian attack, and several small parties of 
prospectors were killed. Raids on the horse herds were fre- 
quent, and cattle also were stolen by the natives. In August, 
1876, General Crook came to relieve the people of the Hills. 
On his way he scattered an Indian force that opposed him at 
Slim Butte on September 19, and after a few of their villages 
had been destroyed by the troops, the Indians were offered a 
settlement, for which, defeated and dispirited, they were quite 
ready. In October the Sioux, Cheyennes, Ogallalas, and 



THE BLACK HILLS OF SOUTH DAKOTA 211 

Arapahoes signed a treaty of peace, by which, in return for 
sundry concessions, they were withdrawn from the Hills. 
This treaty was approved by President Grant on February 28, 
1877. General Crook and his troops proceeded to Deadwood, 
and other mining-camps, where they were received joyously 
by the happy diggers. 

In 1921 a suit was brought by the Sioux Indian tribes for 
possession of the Black Hills, the claim involving about a 
billion dollars. For 20 years or more the Sioux had threatened 
to start litigation, and finally they engaged Charles E. Hughes, 
Jr., the son of the Secretary of State at Washington, to begin 
proceedings, on the plea that they had never ceded their 
trans-Missouri hunting-grounds to the whites, and that the 
treaty approved by the Congress in 1877 was at variance with 
the terms agreed upon at the open conference in 1874 with the 
commission headed by Senator Allison, as already recorded. 
The Sioux wanted a refund of $400,000,000 on the Homestake 
mine alone. We may presume that nothing came of this 
proposed lawsuit, but the historian may take note of it, as 
indicating that the Indians thought that they were misled. 

In 'Scribner's Monthly' there is an account of Deadwood 
as seen by Leander P. Richardson in August, 1876.* He 
writes: 

"The Deadwood ground is all taken up, and men do not 
dare to go out prospecting away from the main body, on 
account of the Indians. Summed up briefly, the condition 
of mining affairs is this: placer mines all taken up; quartz 
mines the only resource left. In order to work these, capital, 
machinery, and mills for the crushing of the ore must be 
introduced. Men of wealth will hesitate about sending 
capital into a country so far from railroad communication, 
and about which so little is definitely known. Most of the 
men now in the Black Hills are laboring men, inexperienced 
as miners. Their chances for employment in the mines, then, 
are small, and their prospects in quartz mining are even poorer. 

* Scribner's Monthly, Vol. XIII, p. 756; 1877. 



212 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

The mineral riches of the Black Hills cannot be developed for 
fully twenty-five years to come . . . Farming there is out 
of the question. Throughout a greater part of the district 
heavy frosts begin in September; snow-storms did not cease 
last spring until the eleventh day of June. Every farmer will 
see that a country where winter reigns from September to 
June cannot support its inhabitants upon its agricultural 
products." 

This magazine writer was depressed by the hardships he 
had experienced, and by bad weather, to such a degree as to 
prove himself a foolish pessimist. The quartz mining devel- 
oped into a major industry, as we shall see, and the severity 
of the climate was no hindrance to the profitable cultivation 
of wheat and other grains. Evidently he did not know how 
ordinary "laboring men" under experienced supervision can 
be trained to become efiicient miners in a short time. They 
found ample scope for their service when the Homestake, 
Caledonia, Father De Smet, and other big mines started to 
work. In 1877 the Black Hills district yielded $2,000,000 in 
gold; in 1880, the yield was $3,300,000. The total production 
of gold has been $287,500,000. 

From the date of the discovery of gold until the President's 
proclamation declaring the Black Hills to be national terri- 
tory, the pioneers, as we have seen, were trespassers upon the 
Indian lands and were compelled both to fight the natives 
and to dodge the military police of the United States govern- 
ment. They persisted in coming, however, and in staying. 
Camps were established at Bear Rock, Whitewood, Deadwood, 
Gold Run, and Palmer Gulch. Frank Bryant and his partners 
washed the first gold on Whitewood and Deadwood gulches 
in August, 1875, but they did not find the gravel good enough 
to satisfy them. In November, however, a party led by 
William Lardner staked a rich discovery claim at the mouth 
of Blacktail ravine in Deadwood gulch, and with this success- 
ful venture the mining industry of South Dakota may be said 
to have been born. In three months the locators collected 



THE BLACK HILLS OF SOUTH DAKOTA 213 

$27,000. To the diggings at this time came also the Wheeler 
brothers, experienced miners, who in the fall of 1876 sold 
their two claims, from which they had taken $150,000 in gold- 
dust. The rumors of rich finds incited a stampede to Dead- 
wood, and soon the confusion caused by the careless location 
of claims was followed by numerous controversies, involving 
gun-play, fortunately harmless in most cases. 

The most important location to be made during those hectic 
days was the claim that became the Homestake mine. The 
discoverer was Moses Manuel, a prospector, who heard of the 
Black Hills on his return from Alaska in the fall of 1874, and, 
attracted by the reports of Custer's expedition, made his way 
alone over the mountains from Portland, Oregon, to Helena, 
Montana. There he met his brother Fred, who accompanied 
him to the Hills, by way of Green River, Laramie, and Chey- 
enne. They reached Custer City in December, 1875, but 
finding nothing of promise there they proceeded to White- 
wood creek, halting at other places to prospect on their way. 
At Whitewood there was much excitement, because the 
placer diggings were rich; they were enriched by the erosion 
of the schist lodes and of a gold-bearing conglomerate of 
later origin that capped the hillsides above the gulches. 
The Manuel brothers camped in Bobtail gulch and engaged 
in gravel mining, because the snow made hillside mining 
impracticable; but a lode claim, the Golden Terra, had been 
located, and a two-thirds interest in it was bought by the 
two brothers, and their partners Hank Harney and Alex 
Eng. Moses Manuel, fortunately, has told the story of the 
discovery of the Homestake lode. It came about in this wise: 

"Toward spring, in the latter part of March or April, four of 
us found some rich quartz. We looked for the lode, but the 
snow was deep and we could not find it. When the snow 
began to melt I wanted to go and hunt it up again, but my 
three partners wouldn't look for it, as they did not think it was 
worth anything. I kept looking every day for nearly a week, 
and finally the snow got melted on the hill and the water ran 



214 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

down a draw which crossed the lead, and I saw some quartz 
in the bottom and the water running over it. I took a pick 
and tried to get some out, and found it very solid, but I got 
some out and took it to camp and pounded it up and panned it 
and found it very rich. Next day Hank Harney consented 
to come and locate what we called the Homestake Mine, the 
9th of April, 1876." The claim covered only 75 feet on each 
side of the vein and was 1350 feet long, so as to cover nearly 
4% acres.* 

As soon as the location had been made, Manuel and his 
partners started to sink a discovery shaft, and the first lump 
of quartz, weighing about 200 pounds, was one of the richest 
that ever came out of the lode. Next day they began to dig 
an open-cut, and found that the ore was both wide and rich. 
To treat their output they built an arrastra on Whitewood 
creek and made a road, over which the ore was brought in a 
wagon pulled by oxen. With this equipment they extracted 
$5000 in gold during the winter of 1876-1877. In the spring 
the four partners sold the Golden Terra to John Bailey, of 
Denver, and the Durbin brothers, of Cheyenne, for $35,000, 
so that now they had ample working capital. 

A ten-stamp mill was built and a half-interest in a saw-mill 
was acquired. Meanwhile, on another claim, the Old Abe, an 
orebody had been found in the course of preliminary explora- 
tion. They had given an option on both the Homestake and 
the Old Abe, but both options had expired without a purchase; 
and now they felt justified in asking bigger sums for these two 
claims. George Hearst took an option on the Homestake at 
$70,000 for 30 days, and a few days later Huron offered 
$45,000 for the Old Abe. In due course, both these trans- 
actions were consummated. 

It is interesting to note that the Homestake claim itself and 
the Golden Star claim, purchased at about the same time, 
covering together 1350 feet by 450 feet, constituted the entire 
property of the Homestake Mining Company when it 

* Richard Blackstone, The Pahasapa Quarterly, Vol. V, p. 18; 1916. 



THE BLACK HILLS OP SOUTH DAKOTA 215 

was incorporated on November 5, 1877, by James B. Haggin, 
George Hearst, and Lloyd Tevis. The enterprise was capital- 
ized at 100,000 shares of $100 each, and an assessment of $200,- 
000 was levied immediately to build a mill of 80 stamps, 
which started to crush ore on July 12, 1878. The results were 
so satisfactory that the construction of a second mill, of 
120 stamps, was started six months later, to be completed 
on September 1, 1879. 

The first report of the company stated that the 80-stamp 
mill, between July 12, 1878, and April 1, 1880, crushed 
110,000 tons for a yield of $923,389, or an average of $840 per 
ton. The ore came from an open-cut and was hauled to the 
mill by horse-wagons until April 1879, when a small Baldwin 
locomotive came into use. . Extreme cold (27 degrees below 
zero, Fahrenheit) stopped the milling repeatedly during the 
winter of 1877-1878, because arrangements for heating the 
building were inadequate. However, this was soon corrected 
by the energetic superintendent, Samuel McMaster, a big 
Irishman, who had obtained his experience in the mines of 
Australia and California. 

In the first report it is said: "The gold is mostly coarse 
and easily saved in the batteries. The ore is in the highest 
degree free milling, even that from the lower levels [200 feet] 
with several per cent of pyrite is readily amalgamated, the 
concentrates showing but $8 per ton. The average loss, 
while working ores containing $8 to $10 per ton is but $2-00, 
indicating a yield of 75 to 80 per cent . . . The average 
yield up to June, 1879, was $9-69 per ton. Milling all the rock 
between walls has lowered the grade, while reducing the cost 
of mining. The yield from Sept. 1879 to Feb. 1880 was $4-25 
to $5-60 per ton, it now averages $7-95. Blankets and con- 
centrating machinery are not employed; the most perfectly 
concentrated tailings will not assay more than the rock from 
which they are derived. The loss of quicksilver is but 0-16 
ounce per ton". That tells the story plainly and truly. The 
Homestake ore was simple in character and admirably adapted 



216 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

to stamp-milling, plus amalgamation. Nowhere has the 
stamp-mill been used so effectively as at Lead City, which 
is the town that has been built near the great mine. The 
enterprise flourished. Three distinct periods in the life of 
the Homestake mine are recognizable, the first being one of 
development, from the start to 1890; the second was a period 
marked by expanding operations and the acquisition of 
adjoining properties; the third from 1910 to date has been 
distinguished by mechanical and metallurgical improvements, 
accompanied by a steady fruition of profit. 

In the early days of the company the management had to 
face many difficulties that belong entirely to a romantic past. 
Machinery and supplies were brought in ox-wagons, and 
passengers traveled in stage-coaches from the nearest rail- 
road points, at Cheyenne, Sidney, and Bismark, but not with- 
out an occasional unpleasant, if picturesque, interruption 
caused by Indians and by highwaymen. Supplies reached 
the mining-camps so irregularly that sometimes the miners 
were glad if only the flour and bacon did not run short. Game 
hunted in the Little Missouri region was frequently of timely 
value to the hungry gold-seekers. Snowslides and fires 
punctuated the life of these frontier communities, and an 
occasional shooting scrape betokened the lawless spirit of 
reckless men. 

Shaft-sinking and underground development followed the 
open-cut mining at an early date — probably too soon, for 
it would have been cheaper to remove much more of the 
lode by daylight. The underground methods copied those of 
the Comstock, including the carpenter's idea of square-set tim- 
bering; but stoping without timbering was soon adopted 
in the Caledonia mine, and shrinkage stoping was introduced 
in the Deadwood Terra shortly afterward. The mill capacity 
was increased steadily, without increasing the number of 
stamps, from 2J^ to 4 tons per head, by changing the design 
of the mortar and by increasing the weight of the stamps. 
During this early period there was intense rivalry between 



THE BLACK HILLS OF SOUTH DAKOTA 217 

the neighboring companies and an eager scramble for water- 
rights. These conditions were ended by a consohdation of 
properties, the Homestake company absorbing its neighbors. 
Thereupon the shafts were deepened to 1700 feet and the mills 
were increased to 1000 stamps, whereby over 4000 tons of 
ore was treated daily. 

The Black Hills region, occupying an area of 5000 square 
miles, geologically consists of an Algonkian island flanked by 
later sedimentaries, many of them metamorphosed; topograph- 
ically the Hills consist of a dome of granite and schist 
surrounded by foothills of limestone and sandstone, rising 
above the wide plains of the upper Missouri. The gold of 
the Homestake lode occurs in large bodies of quartzose 
chloritic schist, originally a ferruginous dolomite, conforming 
to the structure of the enclosing Algonkian slate and schist. 
The width of the milling ore varies from 50 to 400 feet. The 
area that has been proved to be gold-bearing is about a 
mile and a half long by half a mile wide. 

In 1888 the Homestake company milled 243,355 tons for 
a yield of $3-71 per ton and at a cost of $2-52 per ton, the profit 
therefore being $1-19 per ton. In 1895 the Homestake com- 
pany was operating two mills, one of 100 and another of 160 
stamps. Each stamp weighed about 880 pounds and dropped 
85 to 88 times per minute. The height of drop was 9}4 inches 
and the depth of discharge varied, as the die wore down, from 
9 to 11 inches, an effort being made to maintain a nearly 
uniform depth by means of chuck-blocks. Inside the mortar 
there was one amalgamating plate, of plain copper, 5 inches 
wide, in front. The screens were of No. 8 Russia iron punched 
with diagonal slots so as to be equivalent to a 30-mesh wire. 
Mercury was fed into the battery in proportion to the richness 
of the ore, as indicated by the condition of the amalgam on 
the apron plates. The aprons were 10 feet long and 43>^ feet 
wide; two of them discharged upon one tail-plate of the same 
size. All the plates were of plain copper. Then came traps 
to arrest amalgam. No serious effort was made to concentrate 



218 



A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 



the sulphide minerals (iron pyrite, pyrrhotite, and mispickel) 
associated with the gold; the two mills respectively had only 
six and eight crude bumping tables for this purpose. The ore 
was crushed at the rate of four tons per stamp, at a cost of 
85 cents per ton in the smaller mill and of 70 cents in the larger 
one. During the year ending June 1, 1894, the two mills 
treated 309,210 tons yielding $1,390,- 
610, or $4-50 per ton of ore. The 
extraction was about 75 per cent.* 

It may be said fairly, I think, 
that the stamp-mill as a combined 
ore-crushing and gold-saving device 
was never put to more successful use 
than by the Homestake company. 
This success was due in large part to 
the design of the mortar, which com- 
bined two excellent features : an oppor- 
tunity for amalgamation and a rapid 
discharge of the pulp. The narrow- 
ness of the mortar hastens discharge 
and gives a capacity nearly twice that 
of the ordinary Calif ornian battery; 
the depth of the Homestake mortar 
prevents scouring of the inside plate 
and permits the arrest of the gold on this plate, as well as 
by the free mercury added with the ore as it is fed into the 
mortar.f 

This practice was described by unfriendly critics as exempli- 
fying "haste and waste ",t because the ore was rushed through 
the mills and no serious attempt was made to save the concen- 
trate. This criticism was itself hasty, and perhaps wasted 

* T. A. Rickard, 'The Stamp Milliiig of Gold Ores', p. 98; 1897. 

t T. A. Rickard, Trans. Amer. Inst. Min. and Met. Eng., Vol. XXV, p. 
913; 1896. 

t C. G. Warmford Lock, Trans. Inst. Min. and Met., Vol. Ill, p. 171; 
1895. 




Fig. 



—The Homestake 
mortar. 



THE BLACK HILLS OF SOUTH DAKOTA 219 

also. During 1894 the saving of concentrate was 457 tons 
having an assay-value of $6 per ton, on which the company 
realized about $2 per ton when sold to the Delaware smelter 
below Deadwood. The chief loss in the tailing was in the 
form of amalgam and floured quicksilver. The truth is, 
the ore was easy to crush, the gold was readily liberated for 
amalgamation by the fine grinding in a deep mortar, and it 
could be treated so rapidly and so cheaply as to yield a 
handsome profit. The milling practice, as I remarked in 
1895,* from a technical standpoint might be deemed inade- 
quate, but from a business point of view — and the primary 
purpose of mining is to make money — it was justified by the 
financial results. As was remarked by another commentator, 
apropos of such criticism, in 1912: "The fact remains that 
for over 30 years, with an ore uniformly of low grade and in a 
region of high wages and high freight rates, this company has, 
with the exception of three brief cessations due to extraneous 
causes, kept its mills running and paid dividends which now 
aggregate over $27,000,000, the output having passed the 
$100,000,000 mark".t 

By that time, 1912, the Homestake company was operating 
six mills dropping 1000 stamps altogether. The total cost 
of milling in the 200-stamp mill had been decreased to 40 
cents per ton.f The speed, drop, and discharge were about 
the same as before, but silvered plates had largely replaced 
the plain copper, and the tables for amalgamation had been 
greatly enlarged. The apron plates were in four rows, each 
55 by 144 inches, so that an amalgamating surface of 55 
square feet was provided for each stamp. The plates were 
silvered to the amount of two ounces of silver per square 
foot. The recovery by amalgamation was 72 per cent of the 

* Engineering and Mining Journal, Vol. LX, p. 251; 1895. 

t Allan J. Clark and W. J. Sharwood, Trans. Inst. Min. and Met., 
London, Vol. XXII, p. 68; 1912. 

t Charles W. Merrill, Trans. Amer. Inst. Min. and Met. Eng., Vol 
XXXIV, p. 587; 1904. 



220 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

gold in the ore. Moreover, the cyanide process had been 
introduced by Charles W. Merrill in 1899. The first thing 
done was to classify the tailing by means of cones, from 
which the slime was discarded. The essentials for effective 
cyanidation are classification and aeration, the ferrous salts, 
detrimental to the process, becoming oxidized thereby.* For 
six months the cyanide recovery was 74-7 per cent, on the sand, 
which averaged $1-20 per ton; but the slime, which assayed 
80 cents to $1-10 per ton, was not as yet subjected to treat- 
ment. This step was taken in 1906, when the Merrill filter- 
press was introduced, followed by the use of zinc-dust for 
precipitation. Re-grinding of the coarse portion of the tailing 
was started in 1908, by means of pans and tube-mills, the 
recovery being increased thereby so that in 1912 the total 
recovery by the mill was well above 90 per cent, of which 
13 per cent was effected by the treatment of the sand and 
7 per cent by the treatment of the slime. This was done on 
an ore containing $3-60 in gold. 

The report for the year 1929 shows that 1,437,935 tons of 
ore was milled for a yield of $4-53 per ton, or a total output 
of $6,517,838. Dividends amounting to $1,758,120 were 
paid from a revenue of $2,473,196. The company had 251,- 
160 shares of $100 par value. There were 15,176,740 tons 
"blocked out and remaining in the mine". Development at 
the 2600-foot level was proceeding "satisfactorily and with 
encouraging results". The report is curt, and does not go 
into details, as is usual when a mine is controlled by a small 
group, not looking for public support. Up to June 1, 1900, 
the mines of the Homestake company had yielded $59,246,340, 
out of which $15,445,468 had been paid in dividends. From 
1900 to 1912 the consolidated company produced $55,987,490, 
and paid $12,293,400 in dividends. Since then the output 
of gold has been steadily about $6,000,000 per annum, per- 
mitting about $1,750,000 to be paid yearly in dividends. In 

* Allan J. Clark, Trans. Amer. Inst. Min. and Met. Eng., Vol. LII, 
p. 77; 1916. 



THE BLACK HILLS OF SOUTH DAKOTA 221 

1930 the production was $8,667,515, the largest on record, 
the yield having been $6-175 per ton, or 30 per cent better 
than in any year since 1910. The reserves are given as 15,- 
657,561 tons. The total production to April, 1931, has been 
69,000,000 tons, yielding 1233,564,312 from which dividends 
of $57,868,684 have been paid.* 

* Cleophas C O'Harra, president of the South Dakota School of 
Mines, issued an invaluable bibhography of the geology and mining of 
the Black Hills in May, 1917. 



CHAPTER X 

THE COPPER OF LAKE SUPERIOR 

The first mention of the occurrence of native copper near 
Lake Superior is found in a book by Lagarde, publislied in 
1636. The letters of the Jesuit missionaries in the seventeenth 
century refer to the use of tiiis copper by the Indians. Fran- 
cesco Bressani, an ItaHan friar, says, in 1653: "There is a 
copper ore, which is very pure, and which has no need of 
passing through the fire; but it is in places far distant and 
hard to reach. We have seen it in the hands of the barbar- 
ians".* Father Jerome Lalemant, writing in 1659, says that 
the coast of Lake Superior is "enriched with copper of such 
excellence that pieces as large as one's fist are found, all 
refined ".f These pieces of copper were hoarded by the 
Indians as mascots. The mention of the metal as having 
been already refined by nature recalls the fact that the old 
Greek historians spoke- of gold-dust as being apuron, or 
not needing the fire. Father Claude Allouez,t writing 
in 1666, says: "One often finds at the bottom of the 
water [of Lake Superior] pieces of pure copper, of ten and 
twenty livres [pounds] weight. I have several times seen such 
pieces in the savages' hands; and since they are superstitious 
[as if the padres themselves were not!], they keep them as so 
many divinities, or as presents which the gods dwelling beneath 
the water have given them, and on which their welfare is to 
depend. For this reason they preserve these pieces of copper, 
wrapped up, among their most precious possessions". 

* Reuben G. Thwaites, 'The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents', 
Vol. XXXVIII, p. 243; 1899. 

t Ibid., Vol. XLV, p. 219. 

t Ibid., Vol. L, p. 266. 

222 



THE COPPER OF LAKE SUPERIOR 223 

In two 'relations' by different writers one finds mention of 
the famous mass of copper on the Ontonagon river. Father 
Claude Dablon, in 1671, speaks of it as "that great rock of 
copper, seven or eight hundred livres in weight, seen so near 
the head of the Lake by all who pass". This, and "the 
numerous pieces found at the water's edge in various places" 
led him to conclude, logically, that "there are parent mines 
to be discovered".* 

Among those that accompanied the Jesuit missionaries were 
lay brothers that knew something about metal-work and were 
competent to make copper castings in a crude way. They did 
not have to smelt the ore, but only to melt the metal already 
provided in an elemental condition by the agencies of nature. 
These pioneer metallurgists used the copper to fabricate 
crucifixes and for making the medals that the missionaries 
awarded to their converts. 

In 1765 Alexander Henry, an Indian trader, who had come 
from England to North America soon after the conquest of 
Canada by the British, traveled through the Lake Superior 
country, and recorded his observations, among which was "the 
abundance of virgin copper". He states that the Indians 
" were used to manufacture this metal into spoons and bracelets 
for themselves", t from which it is evident that their early 
veneration had been succeeded by utilitarian ideas. He 
remarks that "in the perfect state in which they found it 
[the copper], it required nothing but to beat it into shape". 
In 1766l he went up the Ontonagon river to see the copper 
boulder of which the Indians had told him. Its weight he 
estimated at 5 tons. "Such was its purity and malleable 
state, that with an axe I was able to cut off a portion weighing 
a hundred pounds". This mass of copper was removed to the 
Smithsonian Institution at Washington in 1843 at a total 

* Ibid., Vol. L, p. 99. 

t Alexander Henry, ' Travels and Adventures in Canada and the 
Indian Territories', edited by James Bain, p. 186; 1901. 



224 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

cogt of $3500. It weighs 6500 pounds.* Close to it were 
found numerous stone hammers; and the boulder itself bears 
many chisel marks; which goes to prove that both red and 
white men had tried to chip portions of it during the long time 
it had lain exposed on the river bank. 

Whether the Indians did any mining for copper before the 
European arrived on the scene is doubtful, but we have 
abundant evidence that they did detach pieces of metal from 
the big masses that lay in sight and that they would go so far 
as to dig a trench to get at the less accessible projections of 
metal. To utilize the copper of the large masses, the Indian 
belabored the protruding parts with his hammer, and if there 
was no natural protrusion he would make one by pounding on 
the edge of the mass until he formed a piece that could even- 
tually be disengaged. He worried such pieces of metal apart 
by aid of a stone maul weighing from 5 to 15 pounds, like those 
found in the ancient copper mines of Wales and Spain. f In 
an old trench that had been dug in the outcrop of the Minesota 
lode the early American prospectors found a mass of copper, 
weighing 11,585 pounds, that the aborigines evidently had 
tried to remove; they had raised it five feet along the slope of 
the vein by aid of logs, and had then abandoned the attempt. 
It is noteworthy that "they had taken off every projecting 
point which was accessible, so that the exposed surface was 
smooth ".{ More than ten cartloads of stone hammers were 
gathered in the vicinity, together with numerous stone gads. 
The hammers were merely water-worn boulders of hard rock 
around which a groove had been made for the attachment of 
withes, or water-soaked twigs, that served as a handle. One of 
these stone mauls, with double grooves, weighed 36* pounds, 

* Charles Moore, 'The Ontonagon Copper Boulder', U. S. National 
Museum; 1897. 

t T. A. Rickard, 'The Early Use of the Metals', Journal of Institute of 
Metals, Vol. XLIII, No. 1, p. 302; 1930. 

X 3. W. Foster and J. D. Whitney, 'Report on the Copper Lands of the 
Lake Superior District', Sen. Doc, No. 69, Vol. I, p. 169; 1850. 



THE COPPER OF LAKE SUPERIOR 225 

which weight suggests that it was meant to be swung by two 
men. Near it was found the trunk of a small oak, the branches 
of which had been trimmed, leaving the stumps, so that it 
resembled the 'chicken-ladder' used by the Mexican miner to 
this day. The remains of baskets made of birch bark indicate 
the manner in which the broken rock was removed from these 
Indian workings, which involved no systematic mining, only 
the digging of shallow pits and trenches. In them have been 
found wooden shovels resembling canoe paddles. 

We have no reason to believe that the Indians used the 
copper for other than ornamental purposes before Europeans 
entered their domains. The mass of copper found in the 
Minesota outcrop at a depth of 18 feet had been raised a few 
feet by means of logs. Hoy mentions a piece of black oak 
six inches in diameter cut from one of these logs, on which were 
found distinct marks of a narrow axe that must have been 
"very sharp ". * Referring to other so-called ancient workings, 
he says that "the fresh condition of the woodwork, skids, and 
ladders, and the evidences that sharp axes were used in fitting 
the timbers is evidence that they are not of great antiquity". 
Jackson, in 1844, said that the work was done by French 
half-breeds and the Chippewas employed by them. The 
evidence of trees, believed to be aged, growing in the old 
diggings, has been misinterpreted. In the rubbish, for 
example, that covered the Minesota mass of copper to a depth 
of 12 feet, there was growing a hemlock tree that had 280 rings, 
but it must be remembered that the French penetrated into 
the Lake Superior region 300 years ago, a time fully sufficient 
to account for the seeming age of any of the diggings that have 
been discovered. In due course the European trappers made 
use of the copper for industrial purposes, thereby setting an 
example that the aborigines followed, in fabricating imple- 
ments of peace and war. Satterlee Clark, an Indian agent 
stationed with the Winnebago tribe, said in 1828: "When I 

* P. R. Hoy, Trans. Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Vol. VI, p. 101; 
1885. 



226 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

first came among the Winnebagoes, many of them had 
copper-headed weapons. Many of them carried lances 
headed with copper. Masses of virgin copper were often 
scattered about, but particularly in the sand upon the beach 
of the Wisconsin. This was so pure and soft that it was no 
trouble to shape it to suit them".* 

The Lake Superior copper, we are told by the Jesuit fathers, 
was carried far in the course of intertribal trade, but it had been 
borne southward also long before in the Glacial drift, and had 
become distributed not only in Wisconsin, but in the lower 
Mississippi valley. Moorehead, when exploring in Wisconsin, 
in 1902, expressed his surprise at the amount of copper he 
found on the surface between Two Rivers and Princeton, a 
hundred miles apart. He obtained 138 pounds of specimens 
of small size, "some of which", he adds, "have been partly 
worked by man".t In the burial mounds of pre-Columbian 
days have been unearthed implements and ornaments of ham- 
mered copper. Some of this contains bits of silver, proving there- 
by that the metal had been neither melted nor smelted, but that 
probably it was derived from the Lake Superior deposits, in 
which native silver and native copper are found in close associ- 
ation. In the mounds of the Turner group, in Ohio, there have 
been found "several nuggets of native copper, others partly 
flattened by hammering, and several hammered into sheets of 
varying thickness ".| These sheets were divided into strips 
and then were cut into small pieces that were rolled into beads. 

The marks of smoke and the finding of ashes close to some 
of the masses of copper in Michigan indicate that the adhering 
rock was loosened by the heat of wood fires, aided perhaps by 
splashing water upon the hot surface, to hasten disintegration. 
Such use of fire, characteristic of primitive mining everywhere, 
has been cited as an argument that the Indians must have 
discovered that the metal could be melted, but we must note 

* American Anthropologist, Vol. I, p. 35; 1888. 

t Warren K. Moorehead, American Anthropologist, Vol. V, p. 51; 1903. 

J F. W. Putnam, American Anthropologist, Vol. V, p. 49; 1903. 



THE COPPER OF LAKE SUPERIOR 



227 



that the high conductivity of the copper would render difficult, 
if not impossible, the fusion of any part of the mass under 
such conditions; a'nd if by chance a small lump of copper in the 
rock adhering to the large mass was slightly fused, it is evident 
that the aborigines failed to recognize the fact, because all 




Pig. 18. — Lake Superior copper region. 

their copper artifacts were shaped by hammering. The 
primitive mind works slowly; an effect would have to be 
produced many times before it would be noticed; and even 
then the reasoning from effect to cause might not be made. 
The Indians of the Lake Superior region, however, seem to 



228 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

have appreciated the thermal conductivity of copper, for the 
explorers of the seventeenth century tell us that they cooked 
their food by heating the copper stones and putting them into 
water within a birch-bark pail. It has been remarked 
repeatedly by archaeologists that the altar fires of the Indians 
were hot enough to melt such copper ornaments as were placed 
beside them, and that therefore it is strange they should have 
failed to discover the fusibility of copper;* but this inference 
also is without metallurgic confirmation, because copper melts 
at 1083°C., whereas the slow burning of wood upon an altar, 
without any forced draught, would not subject anything placed 
near such a fire to a temperature in excess of about 500 °C. 
Nevertheless, long before any Europeans came to America, 
the Indian mound-builders of the Mississippi valley, not 
knowing how to use heat to fuse their metal, learned to shape 
the native copper in the cold by placing a piece of approximate 
form in a stone mould and then hammering the soft metal 
to the required contour, f Experiment has shown that this 
can be done. 

Mention may be made of the fact that at first it was thought, 
even by competent observers, such as Schoolcraft,} that these 
masses of native copper in the Lake Superior region were of 
volcanic origin, because they were rounded, by erosion. 

Now we return to the enterprising Alexander Henry. He 
was prompted by what he had seen of the copper in the Lake 
Superior region to engage in mining, for, like the Jesuit father 
previously quoted, he concluded that the copper on the surface 
was but the outward and visible sign of hidden metallic wealth 
underground. In the spring of 1768 he made the acquaintance 
of Alexander Baxter, who had come from England for the 
express purpose of investigating these copper resources; 

* Marquis de Nadaillac, 'L'Am^rique Prehistorique', p. 181; 1885. 

t George B. Phillips, Journal, Institute of Metals, Vol. XXXVI, p. 103; 
1927. 

I Henry R. Schoolcraft, 'Exploring Expedition to the Sources of the 
Mississippi River', p. 365; 1855. 



THE COPPER OF LAKE SUPERIOR 229- 

whereupon the two Alexanders joined forces in founding the 
first mining company to operate in those parts. They started 
some men to digging for the native copper "imbedded in stone" 
in 1771, but after sundry misadventures, including the caving 
of the workings, they abandoned their attempt three years 
later. Even that brief experience had demonstrated that the 
difficulty of procuring workmen, the cost of transporting 
supplies, and the delay in reaching the distant metal market 
were adverse factors too serious to be overcome at that time. 
Moreover, we must note the fact that Alexander Henry him- 
self, writing in 1776, avowed that his company was not 
organized to mine the copper deposits but "with a view to the 
silver, which it was hoped the ores, whether of copper or lead, 
might in sufficient quantity contain ". * He added the remark : 
"The copper ores of Lake Superior can never be profitably 
sought for but for local consumption. The country must be 
cultivated and peopled before they can deserve notice". He 
was depressed by the high freightage to Montreal. 

Then came an interval of inaction, until Douglass Houghton, 
an able scientist and a far-sighted man, drew attention to the 
copper deposits. In 1830 he made his first visit to the southern 
shore of Lake Superior in company with General Lewis Cass, 
who did not share his optimism; but, despite lack of encourage- 
ment, Houghton persisted in his purpose, although, curious to 
relate, he regarded the metallic condition of the copper as 
unfavorable to persistence of the ore in depth, and he held this 
opinion until he ascertained that the contrary "was more or 
less universal with respect to all the veins". The Calumet 
& Hecla mine is now 5720 feet deep, so these qualms were 
unnecessary, although fully warranted by previous experience 
in copper-mining, for native copper in the outcrops of veinS^ 
is usually the product of weathering and of such decomposition 
as is due to oxidizing waters at ornear the surface. Houghton 
was the mayor of Detroit and a citizen of wide influence, 

* Alexander Henry, 'Travels and Adventures in Canada', edited by 
James Bain, p. 226; 1901. 



230 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

yet he had much difficulty in persuading the legislature of 
Michigan to grant a small appropriation for the survey of the 
Upper Peninsula. He was appointed State Geologist in 1837 
and forthwith gathered about him a capable staff, with whom 
he plimged into the wilderness and began a topographic 
survey. * He blazed the trail for the many able geologists that 
have followed him in unraveling the geologic structure of the 
copper country. Houghton's first report was printed in 1841, 
and aroused immediate interest; his report, clear and concise, 
told the world for the first time in convincing language that 
there were vast resources of copper upon the southern shore 
of Lake Superior, which at that time, it must be remembered, 
was as remote as Cape Nome is to us today. In 1843 an 
arrangement was made whereby he was enabled to combine a 
linear survey for the Federal Government with the geological 
survey he was making for the State of Michigan. This was 
necessary before mining locations could be recognized by the 
Federal authorities, and, moreover, some settlement had to be 
made with the Chippewa Indians, who occupied the region. 
This was done in 1843, when 30,000 square miles were ceded 
by the Indians, who were moved elsewhere, but without ever 
receiving full payment. The first mining permits were issued 
by the Government in 1844. In the following year Dr. 
Houghton's career came to a sudden and tragic end, when he 
was drowned by the capsizing of a sail-boat in which he was 
going across the lake to the Eagle River district. 

The Government granted prospecting permits, or conces- 
sions, of nine square miles each, but this large area was shortly 
reduced to one square mile. A royalty of 20 per cent on the 
gross output was demanded, but as a rule it was not paid, 
the prospectors contenting themselves with searching for the 
lumps of copper to be found on the surface of the ground. In 
1846, therefore, the permit system was dropped, and all 
mineral lands were placed on sale at the uniform price of $5-00 
per acre, this being reduced shortly afterward to $1-25 per acre, 

* T. A. Rickard, 'The Copper Mines of Lake Superior', p. 35; 1905. 



THE COPPER OF LAKE SUPERIOR 231 

the owners of registered claims being given the first chance to 
purchase any part of them they desired. From this time, 
1846, the copper-mining industry of Lake Superior may be 
dated. * The growth of the industry is shown by the increasing 
output, in pounds of copper, in successive decades: 



1845 


24,880 


1875 


36,039,497 


1855 


5,809,334 


1885 


72,147,889 


1865 


14,358,692 


1895 


129,330,749 



The first company to work in the Lake Superior region was 
the Pittsburg & Boston Company, which was organized in 1844 
to operate the Cliff mine, in the Eagle River district, near 
Keweenaw point, at the northern extremity of the peninsula. 
The fissure veins in this locality had been described by Hough- 
ton and were first explored by Charles T. Jackson in 1844. 
The veins carried both native silver and native copper, not in 
layers of conglomerate or of amygdaloid, which proved to be 
the greatly productive lodes in later years, but in transverse 
fissures cutting across the bedded series of rocks. The Cliff 
mine was examined by Jackson and also by J. D. Whitney, 
both of whom in 1845 advised exploration through the foot 
of a cliff on the crest of which evidence of a copper deposit 
had been found. An adit was started at the base of this bluff, 
and at 70 feet it cut a lump of metallic copper, the first 
' mass ' (as such occurrences are termed) to be found by under- 
ground mining in the Lake Superior region. This discovery 
was important because it indicated that the erratic boulders of 
metal, previously found on the surface, had their origin in the 
lodes, and not in any foreign source. 

The Cliff mine, from the start, was remarkably rich in 
'mass' copper. Between 1846 and 1853 the sales of metal 
netted $1,328,406, from which dividends aggregating $462,000 
were won. The depth attained was 462 feet. In 1870 work 
was discontinued, owing to impoverishment at the bottom 
level; up to that time the Cliff had paid its stockholders 

* Horace J. Stevens, The Copper Handbook, p. 17; 1902. 



232 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

$2,627,660 in dividends, or a little over twenty times the 
paid-up capital. In 1872 the mine was re-opened under a new 
management, and the output rose again, to 1,162,873 pounds 
of copper, in 1875; but after that the yield diminished, and in 
1887 the operations ceased. In 1908 the Chff was acquired 
by the Tamarack Mining Company. 

The Minesota was discovered in 1847 by S. 0. Knapp, who 
had noticed the surface indications of earlier diggings. In one 
of these, at a depth of 18 feet, he uncovered the mass of native 
copjjer to which reference has already been made. The first 
shipment from this mine was made in 1848, the year in which 
the first Minesota company was organized. The name is 
spelled thus, lacking an 'n', because the locator made the 
error. However, that was no handicap; up to the end of 1881 
the dividends amounted to $1,920,000. Nearly 70 per cent 
of the product up to 1861 was in the form of 'mass', and only 6 
per cent was 'stamp-rock', meaning ore that underwent 
treatment in a stamp-mill. This mill was a crude affair, and 
when the masses became scarce the company had to shut 
down, in 1890. 

This mine will always be celebrated because it 3delded the 
largest mass of copper ever found by aid of the miner's pick. 
In the Cliff mine, in 1875, a lump weighing 40 tons was found, 
and removed, but the Minesota surpassed this record with a 
mass of almost incredible size. Here I may say that it used 
to be said, 40 years ago, that in the Lake Superior mines there 
had been found masses of native copper so large that they could 
not be removed profitably. This myth has persisted to later 
days. So recently as 1901, an archaeologist* stated: "Our 
miners prefer those other forms [ores] and avoid the metallic 
copper, for it is yet impossible to blast it or otherwise detach 
the large pieces economically". Tell it to the marines! In 
1857 a mass weighing 420 tons was found in the Minesota mine 
at a depth of 150 feet. The maximum length was 46 feet, the 
maximum width was 123-^ feet, and the maximum thickness 

* Harlan I. Smith, Popular Science Monthly, May, 1901, p. 110. 



THE COPPER OF LAKE SUPERIOR 233 

was 8^4 feet. The mean thickness was 4 feet. Twenty men 
labored for 15 months to remove this copper from its rocky 
encasement; and the work involved the use of both powder and 
chisels, as is told graphically by George D. Emerson, in 'The 
Mineral Statistics of Michigan ' for the year 1880. First the 
miners excavated the rock next to the mass and exploded six 
kegs of powder. This proved unavailing, so further blasts 
with increasing quantities of powder, up to 30 kegs, were 
exploded. Altogether 110 kegs, or 2750 pounds of powder, 
were used before the mass was torn by the successive explo- 
sions. Incidentally we may note that the tenacity of the 
copper, a characteristic that baulked these miners, is a quality 
that made the copper valuable when it reached the surface. 
It was cut into small lumps by aid of chisels, which had a bit 
of ^/■ie inch and were bevelled both ways; in length they 
varied, the general rule being to use a chisel 18 inches longer 
than the thickness of copper through which it had to cut. The 
hammer weighed 7 pounds, or 8)4 pounds including the 
handle.* The cost of cutting the metal was $12 per square 
foot, the resulting chips having a weight of 27 tons, which at 
the price obtainable for copper in 1857 was worth $8500, as 
against the cost of the labor of 20 men for 15 months, about 
$18,000. The 420 tons of crude metal and attached matrix 
would yield 75 per cent of refined copper, or 315 tons, which, 
at $400 per ton, net cash on delivery, after deducting cost of 
transport, conversion, and sale, would give $126,000, so that 
most assuredly it was a highly profitable find. Eighteen 
months were required to remove all of this huge mass of copper 
from the Minesota mine. 

At first cape chisels with a ^-inch bit, and later pneumatic 
cutters, were used to subdivide the masses of copper. One 
might suppose thal^ the oxy-acetylene torch might serve the 
purpose, but the thermal conductivity of copper is an obstacle. 

* Thomas Egleston, Trans. Amer. Inst. Min. and Met. Eng., Vol. VI, 
p. 287; 1879. 



234 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Nowadays the mass copper is cut by means of a high-speed 
twist-drill, from 11 ^*:^ to 263^ inches long and of a gauge 
ranging from 1 to ly-ie inch. The foreman in charge marics 
the lines along which the piece is to be cut; then holes are 
drilled along these lines so as to leave only from a half to three- 
quarters of an inch of metal between them. Every seventh or 
eighth hole is drilled through the mass to determine its thick- 
ness, the other holes being stopped approximately one inch 
short of passing through the mass. The holes are filled with a 
powerful explosive, known as 90 per cent Rendite, from which 
the paper covering has been removed to assure the complete 
filling of each hole with the explosive material. A ridge of clay 
is then plastered along the line of holes and a train of dynamite 
known as 70 per cent Atlas A powder is laid along it, so as to 
connect all the holes by a continuous band of dynamite. A 
dynamite cap is placed in a stick of the Atlas A powder and 
all the dynamite is then covered with clay, after which the 
charge is exploded by means of an ordinary fuse. The violence 
and speed of the explosion expand the drill-holes, so that the 
desired piece of copper is ripped from the main mass. In 
practice it has been found convenient to limit the size of the 
pieces, to be detached and removed from the mine, to 5 feet 
in width, 10 feet in length, and a weight of 10 tons. A lump 
weighing as much as 14 tons was brought to surface from the 
Ahmeek mine in 1923. At the Ahmeek mine the cost of copper 
obtained from such masses is about the same per pound 
produced as of that which is obtained in ordinary stoping 
operations less the cost of milling. Mass copper can, and 
does, go direct to the smelter. It is interesting also to note 
that the production of such copper from the Lake Superior 
mines decreases in depth; in the Ahmeek mine the frequency 
and size of the masses, usually in sheet form, fromless than an 
inch to fully twenty inches of pure copper, have decreased in a 
marked manner below 3500 feet on the dip of the lode. In 
recent years hardly any mass copper has been found in that 
Xaine, either in the fissure or in the main lode. 



THE COPPER OF LAKE SUPERIOR 235 

The occurrence of native copper has overshadowed that of 
native silver in the Lake Superior mines, but silver is a notable 
feature of the lodes. The largest piece of pure silver found in 
later years was in the Mass mine; it weighed 12 pounds. This 
piece formed part of the Michigan mineral exhibit at the St. 
Louis Exposition. In 1873 a small boy, while 'cobbing', or 
selecting bits of copper rock in the dump of the National mine, 
at Rockland, broke a piece of conglomerate in which was 
hidden a lump of 16 pounds of native silver. Captain J. C. 
Thomas informed the present writer that he had seen pieces 
of almost pure metallic silver weighing from 25 to 30 pounds in 
association with native copper in the Cliff mine. As much 
as $500 worth, he says, was extracted in a single night by the 
men, who presumably did not report the fact at the office. 
Many thousand dollars have been taken from the mines of 
Lake Superior in the form of silver secreted by the miners, not 
to mention the specimens that now enrich museums all over 
the world. 

In 1854 the Central vein was discovered by John Slawson, 
the 'agent' of the Cliff company, who stumbled upon an old 
digging in which a large lump of copper was unearthed. This 
was sent to Detroit to be smelted. Three large masses were 
found in old workings, two of them overlapping; the total 
weight of metal was 53 tons. The thin edges of these masses 
had been hammered so that they were much bent, at which 
stage apparently the effort to break them had been abandoned. 
We need not assume that this was the work of any ' ancient ' 
miners; in all probability it dates from the days of the French- 
Canadian pioneers. In 1865 the production of this mine 
exceeded a million pounds of copper, and in 1886 it rose to 
2,512,886 pounds. In 1880 the output included 286 masses 
of copper, having an aggregate weight of 1,254,901 pounds. 
In 1895, at the thirty-first level, the vein was found to cease at 
a bed of conglomerate; its faulted extension is supposed to have 
been recognized, but it was barren of copper. 



236 



A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 




Prospectors soon picked their 
way southward from these Eagle 
River mines to Portage lake. The 
riches of the district now known as 
Calumet were unsuspected at first, 
and it was nearly twenty years 
before they were appreciated. The 
country around Portage lake was 
readily accessible by water and a 
settlement was made in 1847.* In 
that year the first of the bedded 
formations was uncovered, and the 
discovery led to the organization, 
in October 1848, of the Quincy 
Mining Company. The early ex- 
ploration of this district, however, 
was not promising, for the simple 
reason that it was devoted chiefly 
to the fissures. For a year the 
Quincy company fussed over one of 
these worthless cross-veins, before 
the discovery of a rich bedded-lode 
formation was made by the 
Pewabic, a company organized by 
C. H. Palmer in 1848. Despite 
this encouragement the Portage dis- 
trict underwent no notable devel- 
opment for several years, the chief 
mines of the Lake Superior region 
being still in the Eagle River and 
Ontonagon districts. In 1852, how- 
ever, the Isle Royale lode was found 
near the present site of Houghton 
and large quantities of native 

* Graham Pope, Lake Superior Mining 
Institute, Proc, Vol. VII, pp. 18-31. 



THE COPPER OF LAKE SUPERIOR 237 

copper were extracted with a success that made this mine 
famous, and, with it, the locality. The principal lode was a 
bed of amygdaloid, marked by a line of old pits for nearly a 
mile along the outcrop. Adjoining tracts of land were 
promptly taken up; and in 1853 the Huron Mining Company 
was organized at Boston, although the supposed extension of 
the Isle Royale lode was not traced into this ground until a 
year later. At this date Cornish miners began to arrive in 
large numbers, attracted by reports that had reached England. 
In 1854 and 1855 the mining industry of Portage lake was 
depressed; some of the companies, including the Quincy, had 
not yet found the lodes that subsequently proved so produc- 
tive, and they were struggling along, engaged in mining 
either the poorer layers of amygdaloid, parallel to the rich 
lodes, or the thin veins, which cross them. In 1856 the 
Pewabic company found the great amygdaloid lode known by 
that name; and the neighboring company, the Quincy, quickly 
followed suit, at a time when hope and money were both at a 
low ebb. In 1873 the Quincy yielded 2,800,000 pounds of 
copper and in 1903 the output was 18,498,288 pounds. 

The first copper-mining in the Lake Superior region, as we 
have seen, was based upon the veins of the Eagle River district; 
these cut across the bedding of the trap (amygdaloid) and 
conglomerate layers constituting the prevailing geologic 
formation. The early discoveries at this northern end of the 
Keweenaw peninsula were followed by mining in the lodes of 
'mass' copper in the Ontonagon district, at the south end of 
the region, where the veins cut the bedded series at an acute 
angle on the dip. Subsequently came the discovery of 
abundance of native copper in the amygdaloid layers, as in 
the Quincy. Finally, the uncovering of a copper-bearing bed 
of conglomerate marked the beginning of another momentous 
development. Such was the discovery of the Calumet lode by 
Edwin J. Hulbert, John Hulbert. and Amos H. Scott in 
September, 1864. 



238 



A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 



The story of the Calumet & Hecla does credit to the intelli- 
gent persistence of the discoverer, Edwin J. Hulbert, and to the 
shrewdness of his financial supporter, Quincy A. Shaw, but it 
is marred by one of those not infrequent quarrels between men 
of unlike temperaments, resulting in the familiar dispute as 
to whether the man that finds the mine or the man that founds 
the great enterprise should be the chief beneficiary. Hulbert 
was a surveyor; he had laid out roads, mapped lands, and 
charted mine- workings for ten years before the discovery.* 




Fia. 20. — Section of a conglomerate lode. 

He has related how, in 1853, he lived in the Eagle River 
district and became a keen student of mining geology under 
such veterans as W. H. Stevens, Samuel W. Hill, and Charles 
Whittlesey. At that time the mining of copper was restricted 
to transverse veins, the beds of conglomerate being disre- 
garded. In 1858 he began a survey for a State road from 
Copper Harbor to Ontonagon, and in the course of this work he 
noticed a violent deflection of the magnetic needle on Section 
23; this put him on the alert for a mineral discovery later. 
While making the northern part of his survey, he found frag- 
ments of a brecciated conglomerate containing native copper, 
* T. A. Rickard, 'The Copper Mines of Lake Superior', p. 42; 1905. 



THE COPPER OF LAKE SUPERIOR 239 

similar to some 'float' that he had found several years earlier 
on the banks of the Eagle river. The conglomerate differed 
from all others in the district in being brecciated; and it was 
this fact that started him on his long and persistent search. 
In 1860, when making a final survey for the road from the 
Cliff mine to Portage lake, he picked up some fragments of 
the conglomerate, and shortly afterward he discovered a big 
block of it covered with moss; also, in the vicinity, he observed 
a depression that looked like an ' ancient ' pit, similar to others 
that were known on the Keweenaw peninsula. He ascertained 
that this was on Government land, whereupon he bought 
1920 acres, for the purpose of further exploration. The 
disturbed condition of business during the Civil War prevented 
him from doing anything until 1864, when the Hulbert Mining 
Company was organized with 20,000 shares, of which he held 
5000, the remainder belonging to his associates, J. W. Clark, 
Horatio Bigelow, and other Boston men. 

Hulbert discovered the Calumet conglomerate in a pit that 
he sunk on Section 13, at a depth of eight feet, under soil and 
drift. In the 'ancient' pit, the conglomerate was found by 
sinking below the bottom of the abandoned digging, which 
proved to be the work of the Indians, who had used it as a 
cache, or hiding-place, for copper that they had gathered else- 
where, on the surface. This cache contained the birch-bark 
baskets used for carrying copper, together with tanned deer- 
skin, such as the Indians used for repairing mocassins. More- 
over, 50 barrels of copper carbonate were taken out of the 
excavation, this being the weathered remains of the copper 
that had been secreted there long before. 

Then, also in 1864, another company was organized by 
Hulbert and his Boston friends to acquire the land of Section 
13, owned by the original company. This new company was 
named the Calumet Mining Company of Michigan. In the 
same month the Hecla Mining Company was formed with an 
equal capitalization, namely, 20,000 shares of the par value 
of $1, to acquire the larger part of Section 23. In the spring 



240 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

of 1865 Hulbert went to Boston and arranged with Shaw for a 
loan of $16,800 wherewith to buy additional land. It was 
evident that the lode extended south westward into Section 23 ; 
therefore Hulbert arranged with Shaw to purchase it from the 
St. Mary's Canal Mineral Land Company for the benefit of the 
Hecla company, with the result that Hulbert held one-third 
of the Hecla shares and Shaw, with his brother, the other 
two-thirds. 

In 1866 the Calumet shares rose to $75, from their original 
11 valuation. Nevertheless, successive assessments amount- 
ing to $12-50 had to be levied owing to the lack of mass copper 
in the lode and the difficulty of treating the ore. Many local 
stockholders sold their holdings, to their lifelong regret. What 
with assessments and loans, about $1,200,000 was required 
before the mine became a profitable undertaking, all the 
original promoters being severely tried in their efforts to 
provide money to develop the mine. During these vicissitudes 
Hulbert lost a part of his interest by having to exchange it for 
debt certificates of the Huron mine, of which he was manager. 
This embittered him, naturally enough; there ensued a quarrel 
with Shaw and the Boston directors; but eventually, in 1884, 
a settlement was made whereby Hulbert received $300,000 in 
Calumet & Hecla stock, which was placed in trust. The 
income from this supported him comfortably during the rest 
of his life, much of which was spent in Italy. 

The Hecla paid its first dividend in 1869, and the Calumet 
in 1870. In the following year the two companies were con- 
solidated with a capital of $2,000,000 in 80,000 shares. At 
that time the dividends of the united enterprises had already 
amounted to $1,850,000. In 1874, the output was 238,709 
tons, yielding 4-22 per cent of copper at a cost of $8-48 per ton. 
In 1879 the capital was increased to $2,500,000 in 100,000 
shares of $25, this being the maximum permissible under the 
laws of Michigan. The dividends in that year amounted to 
$1,600,000. At the end of 1882 the Calumet & Hecla had 
taken copper valued at $71,219,610 out of ground equivalent to 



THE COPPER OF LAKE SUPERIOR 241 

120 acres. In 1883 the average width of stope was reported 
as 8 feet, with a maximum of 20 feet, and an average jdeld of 
4-5 per cent of copper. In 1923 a consolidation was effected 
between the Calumet & Hecia Mining Company, the Osceola 
Consolidated Mining Company, the Allouez Mining Company, 
the Centennial Copper Company, and the Ahmeek Mining 
Company, the newly formed corporation being named the 
Calumet & Hecla Consolidated Copper Company. In 1929 
this consolidated company produced 90,319,000 pounds of 
copper, valued at $15,977,431 from its mines* at a cost of 11-43 
cents per pound, and paid dividends amounting to $9,024,759. 
Up to the end of 1929 the consolidated company had produced 
3,700,156,280 pounds of copper. During its long and success- 
ful life the mine has engaged the services of many notable 
men: the first president of the company was Alexander Agassiz, 
celebrated as a naturalist; he was succeeded by Quincy A. 
Shaw and later by his son, Rodolphe L. Agassiz. Among the 
engineers mention must be made of James MacNaughton, 
general manager from 1901 to 1926, at which time he became 
president, and C. Harry Benedict, metallurgist from 1898 to 
date. The Calumet & Hecla paid $184,027,028 in dividends 
up to March 31, 1930, of which $13,265,294 was received from 
the affiliated companies, so that from its own operations the 
Calumet & Hecla has paid $170,761,734. 

The Tamarack enterprise owed its inception to Capt. John 
Daniell, who, when in charge of the Osceola mine, noted the 
regular dip of the Calumet conglomerate at an angle of 373^^ 
degrees, and conceived the idea of intersecting the lode in depth 
beyond the western boundary of the Calumet & Hecla by 
means of a shaft that would have to be sunk 2260 feet 
vertically. After several years of planning he enlisted the 
financial support of A. S. Bigelow and Joseph W. Clark, of the 
Osceola directorate, who, with other friends, provided a quarter 
of a million dollars to buy the land and to commence the Tama- 

* Also there were produced from the reclamation plants, at Lake 
Linden and Hubbell, 33,511,000 pounds at a cost of 5-62 cents per pound. 



242 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

rack No. 1 shaft in 1882.* In those days such an enterprise 
demanded much money and courage, and Captain Daniell's 
idea was not well regarded, although subsequently, when it 
came to successful fruition, he received the credit due to him. 
The shaft cut the lode in 1885 at a point only 10 feet deeper 
than the Captain had calculated, and it was so rich in copper 
that the Tamarack became forthwith an important mine. 
When Daniell broke down in health, he was succeeded by his 
able lieutenant, Captain William E. Parnall, another redoubt- 
able Cornishman. In 1900 the Tamarack produced 625,422 
tons, yielding $3,299,077, of which $1,199,141 was profit, 
enabhng dividends to the amount of $1,020,000 to be paid 
on the 60,000 shares of stock. Before being absorbed by the 
Calumet & Hecla, the Tamarack produced (1888-1917) 
13,114,563 tons of ore, from which 378,650,348 pounds of 
copper were recovered. 

The fact that the extension in depth of the lodes was not 
properly covered by claims in the direction of dip did not 
enter into the calculations of the early operators, but sub- 
sequently, when persistence in depth had been demonstrated 
by actual mining, this matter received attention. The 
Calumet & Hecla company, for example, undoubtedly made 
a mistake in failing to secure its deep-level ground, an omission 
that became the basis for the organization of the Tamarack 
company, whose first shaft was sunk vertically 2270 feet 
before it cut the Calumet conglomerate at a point 3780 feet 
from the surface as measured on the dip of the lode. The 
Calumet & Hecla group soon began to buy Tamarack stock 
on the open market and eventually in 1916 the Tamarack 
was absorbed by the Calumet & Hecla company, whose 
workings followed the lode to a distance of 9469 feet from 
the surface and to a vertical depth of 5720 feet, at which 
horizon the copper content is still such as to render possible 
profitable operations. The life of the enterprise has been pro- 
longed usefully by the absorption of adjacent properties, 

* Horace J. Stevens, The Copper Handbook, p. 258; 1902. 



THE COPPER OF LAKE SUPERIOR 243 

namely, those of the Osceola, AUouez, Centennial, and 
Ahmeek companies. 

Most of the mines in the Lake district were developed 
from promising outcrops, but the Mohawk was found by 
the uprooting of a tree, caused by the faUing of another 
tree that had been felled by a woodchopper. John Stanton, 
one of the honored worthies of the Lake Superior region, 
had already obtained an option on the ground with a view 
to prospecting. The chopper brought him a lump of rock 
showing native copper, which adhered to the roots of the 
tree, and Stanton then arranged for systematic exploration. 
A dozen pits were put down to a depth of 30 to 40 feet, and 
for lengths of 25 to 45 feet across the strike of the lode. All 
save two of these trenches exposed copper ore of good grade, 
and the evidence thus obtained was deemed sufficient to 
warrant the sinking of shafts. In this instance the drift 
overlying the true rock was only 12 to 20 feet thick; but 
elsewhere in the district such prospecting is rendered expensive 
by reason of a much heavier overburden of drift. On the 
Globe ground just south of the Champion mine, for example, 
there is as much as 200 feet of this 'wash'; and, in order to 
determine the position and character of a probable lode, it 
was necessary to put down two diamond-drill holes from a 
position some distance on the dip side, so as to intersect the 
lode at right angles, and these holes passed through 225 feet 
of drift and 600 feet of rock before they cut into the ore. 

A good example of the application of geologic knowledge to 
mining exploration is to be found in the story of the Champion 
mine. But first a brief explanation is necessary. The 
trap beds, that is, the layers of diabase interbedded with the 
sandstone and conglomerate of the Keweenaw series, are 
so nearly alike that identification of any particular member 
is usually impracticable, but occasionally some mineralogic 
characteristic will serve as a guide; thus the foot- wall of the 
Kearsarge amygdaloid is a bed of trap marked by large 
feldspars. L. L. Hubbard, formerly State Geologist, used 



244 



A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 



this fact to determine the position of the Kearsarge con- 
glomerate, and he proved that it was a rehable indicator. 
It is also proper to state that the officers of the Michigan 
Geological Survey recognized the foot-wall of the Mohawk as 
being this same bed, before they knew that any openings had 
disclosed copper; and they made known this identification 
at once, although it was a long time before the correctness of 
the correlation was generally admitted in the district. Usually 
the amygdaloid layers are more susceptible to weathering 
than the compact trap encasing them, in consequence of which 







:^0Yn}yj^^^;^^^^^Jf;-^iyl'^^ 



^ Copper ^M^mygdahid VrPrl Trap 

Fig. 21. — Section of an amygdaloid lode. 

the softer rock becomes covered with debris and soil. The 
conglomerate beds, on the other hand, resist erosion and 
therefore show bold outcrops. It was by means of one of 
these that the Champion lode was discovered. In the Baltic 
mine, which exploited the Champion lode, there was a con- 
glomerate bed 112 feet to the east, or in the foot- wall, of the 
copper-bearing Baltic-Champion lode. In his exploration 
over what became the Champion company's mining property, 
and over what was then a tract of bush-land belonging to 
the St. Mary's Canal Mineral Land Company, a solitary 
outcrop of conglomerate was noticed by Hubbard, and he 
took it to be the one above mentioned. The outcrop was 



THE COPPER OF LAKE SUPERIOR 245 

50 feet long, so that it gave a line of strike. Hubbard stepped 
112 feet westward and came to a reef of trap, which was not 
what he was seeking; but a few feet beyond there was a 
depression in the surface; this was followed by a stream, in 
the bed of which he found some amygdaloid. By following 
the course of this amygdaloid, along another depression 
between two outcrops of trap, he soon unearthed some copper 
ore. Then, guided by the strike of the conglomerate, he 
followed the parallel amygdaloid; and when trenches were 
excavated, he found copper in all of them. This was the begin- 
ning of the Champion mine, of which the sagacious geologist 
above mentioned became the successful manager. 

While in the district in 1904 I went to see some prospecting 
that was being done on another tract across which this same 
Baltic-Champion lode had been traced. Work was pro- 
ceeding in an open-cut, recently enlarged from a trench, at 
the bottom of which a copper lode, amygdaloid containing 
native copper, was exposed. Fifteen inches of soil and gravel 
formed the surface layer, in which nests of carbonated copper 
were enclosed; these essentially were pieces of 'float', or 
detrital copper, so oxidized that the carbonated lump usually 
contained only a nucleus, as big as a pea, of copper coated 
with cuprite, which in turn was enclosed by melachonite and 
azurite. Under the superficial layer came 3 feet of 'hardpan', 
brecciated rock and gravel that was well cemented; and in 
this were to be seen more fragments of copper coated with 
cuprite and surrounded by the carbonate minerals; below 
this, within the cracks in the amygdaloidal rock, were copper 
stains for a further depth of 8 feet. At the bottom there was 
exposed a wide lode containing metallic copper distributed 
irregularly and to a degree not to be estimated by the eye. 

Nature gave the Upper Peninsula a series of copper lodes. 
Man turned them to industrial use. The Lake region was 
explored and developed by men of many origins, and in 
their diversity they were representative of the composite 
human energy that conquered the American wilderness of 



246 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

plain and forest, changing the desert to a granary and the 
waste to a habitation. Whoever desires to appreciate the 
causes that have stimulated the wonderful growth of these 
United States can, by going to Houghton and Calumet, 
observe two of the principal factors in that remarkable 
development, namely, the natural resources of a continent 
and the energetic men of many lands, competing in skill and 
united in effort. The roll-call of the inventors, engineers, and 
business men that have won distinction in the copper country 
indicates how many are the peoples that have partaken in 
this industrial conquest. The steam-stamp was the invention 
of Ball, a Massachusetts mechanic; the vanner is credited to 
William B. Frue, an Irishman, and his master mechanic, 
William Foster, of Fredonia, New York. August Heinback, 
a German, did much to develop the usefulness of the vanner; 
the jig was improved by John CoUom, a Cornishman. The 
first iron-bodied jig was designed by S. E. Cleaves, from Maine. 
Another notable engineer was J. W. V. Rawlins, an Englishman. 
Philip Scheurmann, a pioneer millman, was a German. Bruno 
V. Nordberg, the designer of many of the large mechanical 
equipments, was a native of Finland. Alexander Agassiz was a 
Swiss. John Stanton, identified with sound practice and 
honorable dealing, was born in Somerset, England. James 
MacNaughton was born a Canadian. F. W. Denton is a son 
of New Jersey. E. D. Leavitt, another honored leader, was of 
Massachusetts; and if the roll of honor begins as it ends with 
the name of a New Englander it serves to suggest that httle 
leaven which leaveneth the whole lump. 

The men of mechanical ingenuity and administrative 
capacity exhibit great diversity of origin, but underground 
one race of men long continued to hold pre-eminence. The 
Cornishman is with honor save in his own country; there 
his obtuseness to the application of modern machinery has 
passed into a proverb; but outside the rock-ribbed peninsula 
of Cornwall, all over the world, he has taught men how to 
dig the ore. The story of the Lake mines is punctuated with 



THE COPPER OF LAKE SUPERIOR 247 

the names of 'captains' whose inherited instinct has piloted 
those that go down the mine in skips. 

By Tre, Pol, and Pen 

You may know the Cornishmen. 

If the prefixes are not sufficiently indicative, you can trace 
them by the stories of their physical strength and good 
humor. They say that after Captain Martin Goldsworthy 
had been slanged by a dismissed workman, he was asked 
why he had not knocked the man down. With a vigorous 
aspirate, he replied: "That's one of the honors of the position". 
There was Captain William Parnall, who crossed the Atlantic 
when a boy of eighteen, being prompted to emigrate by a 
poaching escapade. He served in the water-works tunnel 
at Washington and became known as an expert hammerman. 
After two years in the coal and iron regions of the South, he 
came to Lake Superior in 1859. From worker in the National 
mine he soon became shift-boss, and then assistant captain. 
The superintendents of the mines in the Lake district were 
called 'captains', in Cornish fashion. Parnall became cele- 
brated locally as a wrestler, particularly in consequence of a 
fight in which he vanquished a notorious bully. This episode 
attracted the attention of Captain John Chynoweth, who 
advised him to improve his natural abilities by study. He 
used to read at night, Ijang in his bunk with his miner's 
candle stuck in his hard hat — and that after an exacting day's 
labor. From being captain at the Franklin mine, in 1869, he 
advanced to posts of greater responsibility, and in 1890 he 
was appointed assistant superintendent of the Tamarack. 
He died chief at that mine in 1903. Two of his sons were 
graduated with the first class of the Michigan College of 
Mines, in 1888. Richard Uren and John Uren likewise 
were Cornishmen whom change did not stagger; they were 
willing to move with the procession, and sometimes to lead it. 
Captain Richard Uren possessed a good deal of mechanical 
ingenuity and busied himself with improving the devices 
used around the mine. He, like most of his countrymen. 



248 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

traveled 'to different districts, and widened his experience; 
as superintendent of the Old Abe mine in the Black Hills, 
he became familiar with gold-mining in South Dakota; later, 
he was one of the first to open up the Wolverine; and there is 
no reason to doubt that if his ideas had been followed the 
Wolverine would have become a big mine many years before 
John Stanton actually brought it to that stage. Capt. John 
Daniell as we have seen, was the originator of the Tamarack 
'deep-level'; and simple as it seems today to sink a shaft 2300 
feet to cut the Calumet lode, it was a bold venture in 1882. 
Another good service he did was in advising Albert S. Blgelow 
to interest himself in the Boston & Montana group of mines, 
at Butte. Daniell was a good man underground, and had 
that sound judgment which' is priceless; he was the captain 
that made the Osceola a profitable mine, after others had 
failed; and although not a technical man, he gladly availed 
himself of technical science. Captain Samuel B. Harris, 
Captain Johnson Vivian, Captain John Dennis, and Captain 
Thomas Hosking all did credit to the 'old county'. 

It is a notable fact that in the first class sent out from the 
Michigan College of Mines, there were five sons of Cornish 
mine captains out of the seven that were graduated. The day 
of the old Cornishman has gone; his place has been taken by 
sons that are native Americans; and these, although better 
educated, lack the distinctive character of their fathers, hav- 
ing lost some qualities and gained others more adapted to 
their environment. Nevertheless, when technically educated 
men, American, whatever their fathers were, had the 
management of the mines, in 1904, I found the underground 
work still in charge of a Cornishman in every mine that I 
visited. Shoved aside at the surface in the march of technical 
advancement, the Cousin Jack still held his own underground, 
simply because he knew better than anyone how to break 
rock, how to timber bad ground, and how to make the other 
fellow shovel it, tram it, and hoist it. The old Cornish saying, 
'A good bal makes a good cap'n', is still true; in the end the 
spark-plug of the mine mechanism is the shift-boss. 



CHAPTER XI 
THE EXPLORATION OP THE SOUTHWEST 

The early Spanish adventurers found but little gold or silver 
on the American mainland, and the aborigines in the country 
that is now the United States were not as submissive as those 
of the West Indies, so the conquistadores obtained no foothold 
north of the Caribbean sea. Their later exploration north- 
ward had Mexico as a base — and wild yarns as a basis. The 
friar Marcos, a member of Estevanico's unfortunate expedition, 
brought the story of the Seven Cities of Cibola to Mexico 
City in 1539. Except as Indian hovels,* they existed only in a 
disordered imagination, but when Vdsquez de Coronado's 
expedition pricked the glittering bubble, there appeared an 
enticing mirage in the northern desert: the glorious land of 
Quivira, where even the common pitchers and bowls were 
made of solid gold. Coronado proceeded northward and 
found only enormous herds of buffalo on the plains of Texas. 
It was a melancholy land. No gold or silver was to be seen 
among the poor Indians. Coronado reached the country of 
the Wichitas, in Kansas, before he abandoned his quest and 
turned home, which he reached, with only a third of his party, 
hungry and tattered, in 1542. 

So long as greed stimulates the imagination there will be no 
lack of tales such as those that repeatedly led the Spaniards to 
the rainbow's end. In 1860 an expedition was organized in 
San Francisco by Dr. Darwin French to explore the desert 
country near Owens lake on the news that the Indians in those 
parts shot golden bullets, f The fact that the savages were 
known to possess few guns did not discredit the tale, which 

* The Zuni villages south of the present town of Gallup. 
t W. A. Chalfant, 'The Story of Inyo', p. 86; 1922. 

249 



250 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

incited nine men to spend eleven months in the deserts of Inyo 
without finding any place in which gold was so common as to 
be used for ammunition, nor indeed did they find enough gold 
even for wedding rings, whereupon the deluded prospectors 
returned, as the Spaniards had often done, sadder, but not 
wiser, men. 

Cabeza de Vaca records the fact that in 1536 when he was in 
the Davis mountains, east of the Rio Grande, the Indians gave 
to one of his companions, Andres Dorantes, a large ornament 
made of copper on which a face was figured. He says it was 
un cascabel gordo, grande, de cobre.* This has been translated 
by Buckingham Smith as ' hawks-bell 'f and by Fanny 
Bandelier as 'rattle '.J One can not escape the literal transla- 
tion of cascabel as 'hawk-bell', although it may have had a 
long handle that made it resemble a 'rattle'. The Indians 
from whom Dorantes received the object said that they had 
obtained it from their neighbors, and when these, in turn, 
were asked whence it had come, they said that it had been 
brought from the north, "where there was much copper, and 
it was highly prized". On crossing a mountain, "the stones 
of which were iron slags", probably lava, the Spaniards came 
to another Indian village, the people of which, when shown 
the copper bell, said that at the place from which it came there 
were a great many sheets of the same metal in the ground, and 
that it was highly valued. To this they added that at the 
place mentioned the people lived in fixed habitations. 

Cabeza remarks that he and his companions thought that 
the copper country was on the South Sea, for they had always 
heard that it was richer in metal than the other sea, to the 
north. The Spaniards also believed that it had come from a 
foundry and had been made of cast copper. Both translators 

* 'Naufragios y Commentarios', p. 109; 1922. 

t 'The Narrative of Alvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca', translated by 
Buckingham Smith, p. 92, 1851. 

% 'The Journey of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca ', translated by Fanny 
Bandelier, p. 139; 1905. 



THE EXPLORATION OF THE SOUTHWEST 251 

accept this inference, which is dubious to the point of incredi- 
bility. We have no reason to believe, and plenty of reasons for 
disbelieving, that the pre-Columbian Indians knew how to 
melt native copper, much less to smelt copper ores. The 
reference to the South Sea means the Pacific Ocean, and there- 
fore westward. In that direction there was copper in the 
form of sheets or plates of native metal in at least two localities, 
Cananea and Santa Rita, in the regions that are now named 
Sonora and New Mexico, respectively. In the Veta Grande, 
one of the mines of the Cananea Mining Company, near the 
Mexican border, there occurs a soft white siliceous earth, close 
to a limestone and quartz-porphyry contact, in which sheets 
of native copper are found in a vertical position, so that they 
look as if they were "buried", which was what the Indians 
told Cabeza. And 90 mOes north of Cananea is Santa Rita, 
where native copper in sheets and ragged lumps was obtained 
by the Mexicans long before any American miner started to 
work there. We may recall the fact that Castaneda, in his 
account of the Coronado expedition, in 1541, says that a chief 
in the Quivira country, probably Colorado, wore a copper 
plate upon his breast.* Such ornaments were worn by the 
Indian chiefs in Florida and in Alaska. They could even make 
a bell by hammering the copper into sheet form and then 
shaping it around a wooden core, which was the manner in 
which they fabricated various ornaments, such as ear-rings. 
There remains the possibility that the northern region from 
which the Indians said they obtained the copper may have 
been Lake Superior, but, although most of the copper of the 
aborigines in the Mississippi valley came from there, we need 
not look so far afield when the known copper deposits of the 
Southwest are so much nearer to the locality in which Dorantes 
was given the mscabd de cobre. 

The first mention of real mining in the Southwest comes 
from Antonio de Espej'o, a merchant of Mexico, who sought 

* Pedro de Castaneda, 'The Journey of Coronado', translated by 
George P. Winship, p. 75; 1904. 



252 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

northwest of the Rio Grande for a lake of gold of which there 
were rumors; that also vanished as he approached; but he is 
said to have discovered veins of rich golden ore in Arizona at a 
place now identified with Prescott. His report caused much 
excitement along the frontier.* Whereupon Juan de Oiiate 
of Zacatecas organized an expedition for the purpose of 
estabhshing a settlement in the northern region known as 
New Mexico. Early in 1598 Onate reached the sand dunes 
of El Paso. He went northward to Moqui, and from there 
he sent Marcos Farfdn to the goldfield that Espejo had dis- 
covered, with orders to stake claims. But it all came to 
nothing; the distant mines could not be worked without Indian 
labor, and that could only be procured by exercising the force 
of a large military establishment. So New Mexico became a 
missionary field, with Santa Fi as the centre of a number of 
Jesuit outposts, until the Indians revolted, in 1680, and mas- 
sacred such of the Spanish settlers as did not escape to El Paso. 
The first information concerning the occurrence of copper 
in the Southwest was derived from the Indians, who, in the 
latter part of the eighteenth century, found native copper 
at Santa Rita,! now in the State of New Mexico. One 
account f says that this mine was acquired by the Mexicans 
from the Indians in 1780; another § asserts that in the year 
1800 an Indian, grateful for an act of kindness, showed the 
place to a Mexican officer. Colonel Jos^ Carrasco, and he, 
in turn, mentioned the discovery to his friend Don Francisco 
Manuel Elguea, a merchant of Chihuahua, who thereupon 
obtained a concession of the district from the Spanish govern- 
ment in Mexico. Elguea bought Carrasco's interest in 1804, 
and soon thereafter made a contract to supply the govern- 

* Henry E. Bolton, 'The Spanish Borderlands', p. 169; 1921. 

t T. A. Rickard, Engineering and Mining Journal, Vol. CXVI, p. 
754; 1923. 

t James O. Clifford, Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. CIV, p. 463; 1912. 

§ Charles E. Chapman, 'The Founding of Spanish California', p. 28; 
1919. 




Fig. 22. — Map of the Southwest. {Reproduction licensed — base material copyrighted hy Rand McNally & Company.) 



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254 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

ment with copper for coinage, the common copper coin 
being the tlaco, which was an eighth of the real, itself an 
eighth of the peso of today. 

The native copper of Santa Rita is found in the form of 
small lumps scattered through the matrix of granodiorite, 
but more commonly the metal occurs in flakes, leaves, and 
tabular masses sometimes more than two feet square. The 
Indians, before the Spaniards came, are said to have hammered 
the copper into rude ornaments, as was done contemporane- 
ously by the aborigines in other parts of North America. 
The mining of the Indians, the Mexicans, and the Americans 
up to 1882 was based mainly on the extraction of this native 
copper, and not of any other ore. To the Mexicans the 
deposit was a criadero de cobre, or place where copper was 
generated. The native metal stuck out of a big outcrop, 
and it is reported that masses weighing as much as a ton* 
were cut in pieces suitable for transport to Chihuahua. 

Elguea made several visits to the mine. On the occasion 
of his second visit he built a triangular fort, with a martello 
tower of adobe at each corner, one of which survives. This 
fortification was meant to be a protection against the Apaches, 
and probably also to confine the convicts that had been loaned 
to him by the Mexican Government. Thus Elguea had the 
advantage of cheap labor; however, he was handicapped by 
the high cost of transport, on mules, over a rough trail for 
300 miles. The ragged pieces of native copper were packed 
in wool, but even this made an awkward load, so a rudimentary 
furnace was built to melt the metal into ingots of 150 pounds, 
two of which made a fair load for a good mule. One of the 
old Mexican moulds for casting the copper has been found; 
it was cut in rock, and consisted of four recesses, 6 by 20 
inches, side by side. Twenty ingots of copper were dis- 
covered in a clump of willows on Whitewater creek; these 
appear to have been dropped by persons in flight, probably at 

* Arthur P. Wendt, Trans. Amer. Inst. Min. and Met. Eng., Vol. XV, 
p. 25; 1887. 



THE EXPLORATION OF THE SOUTHWEST 255 

the time when Santa Rita was evacuated hastily in fear of 
an Indian attack soon after the Mimbres massacre, a hor- 
rible episode in frontier history. In 1838 the State of Chihua- 
hua had offered a bounty of 100 pesos on every Indian warrior's 
scalp, 50 for the scalp of a squaw, and 25 for that of a child. 
Sonora likewise was pajdng a bounty on Indian scalps, 
and allowed the captor to keep any booty he might seize. 
At this time a man named Johnson, a trapper, desirous 
of getting Apache scalps for the Chihuahuan government, 
invited the Indians to a friendly meeting on the Mimbres 
river, and when they were in the act of distributing some 
flour he had given them, he fired a howitzer loaded with 
slugs, nails, and bullets point-blank into them. * Is it strange 
that the Apaches retaliated? Such ugly facts as these 
must be kept in mind if we are to understand the hideous 
feud — not to be dignified by the word 'war' — between the 
white invaders and the red aborigines. Nor need we be 
surprised that during the centuries in which the Apaches 
resisted the invasion of their land, by Spaniards and Ameri- 
cans, the miner found it difficult and dangerous to establish 
his industry in the Southwest. 

When Elguea died, in 1809, the Santa Rita copper mine 
was managed by Francisco Pablo de Lagera, by whom the 
property was leased to Sylvester Pattie, an American, in 
1825. His son James Pattie shod his horse with the cop- 
per, which was hardly suited to the purpose, on account 
of its softness. Indian attacks stopped work at the mine. 
Next we find Coursier, a French resident of Chihuahua, 
in control at Santa Rita.f He is reported to have cleared 
half a million dollars in the course of seven years. Again 
the Indians hindered exploitation. A dispute also had 
arisen as to whether the mine was in Chihuahua or New 
Mexico. In 1848, by the terms of the treaty of Guada- 
lupe Hidalgo, this part of the Southwest was ceded to the 

* Thomas E. Farish, 'The History of Arizona', Vol. I, p. 116; 1915. 
t A. Wislizenus, American Journal of Science, Vol. VI, p. 385; 1848. 



256 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

United States, and two years later New Mexico was organized 
as a Territory. 

Coursier was succeeded by Robert McKnight, who is said 
to have made a handsome profit out of the mine between 1826 
and 1834.* Indian hostility again punctuated the history of 
the Santa Rita. In 1840 Leonardo Sesqueiro took hold and 
worked the mine for about fifteen years, when he had to aban- 
don it, because the Indians cut him off from his supplies, 
which were brought from Chihuahua. Sweet and La Coste, 
both of San Antonio, Texas, were working the mine in 1860, 
when most of their workmen stampeded to the gold discoveries 
at Pines Altos, which is 12 miles northwest of Santa Rita. 
Their operations also had suffered repeated interruption by 
reason of Indian raids. In 1862 Confederate troops, under 
General Sibley, invaded the region. They left a souvenir in the 
form of a mould for Minie balls that was found in 1910 when 
part of the old fort was demolished to make room for a 
machine-shop. La Coste and his associates resumed 0f)era- 
tions after the Civil War, and continued them until 1871, when 
the mine became involved in litigation, initiated by the 
Elguea heirs, who claimed the property under the terms of the 
old Spanish grant. This claim had not been settled in 1872 
when a smelter-man from Colorado, named Matthew D. 
Hayes, endeavored to get title by applying for patent under 
United States law;t but the rights of the Elguea heirs were 
confirmed by both the Commissioner of Patents and the 
Secretary of the Interior. A few months later Hayes made a 
settlement with the Elguea heirs, and the ground was at once 
re-located by him under American law. In 1880 Hayes sold 
the mine to J. Parker Whitney, who, in 1898, leased it to the 
Hearst estate, which had large cattle holdings in this part of 
the country. Two years later a group identified with the 
Anaconda Copper Company obtained control, and Benjamin 

* Rossiter W. Raymond, ' Mineral Resources West of the Rocky 
Mountains', p. 337; 1874. 

t John M. Sully, 'New Mexico, theLand of Opportunity', p. 151; 1915. 



THE EXPLORATION OF THE SOUTHWEST 257 

B. Thayer was placed in charge, remaining at Santa Rita 
until 1903. Most of the mining was done by small parties of 
lessees, but some valuable orebodies were uncovered by 
company operations directed by Thayer. In 1906 an examina- 
tion was made by John M. Sully, and it was on his report that 
this mining property was acquired by the Chino Mining 
Company in 1909. 

Many are the tales that have been told in flamboyant 
pamphlets and books, intended to stimulate financial interest, 
concerning the rich mines in Arizona that the Jesuit fathers 
worked, and abandoned — for the benefit of later comers. The 
historic evidence available will not sustain this tradition. The 
Jesuits operated no mines, except, perhaps, on a small scale, 
some silver prospects near the Tubac presidio that were 
worked in later days, for example, by Charles D. Poston in 
1856. Father Eusebio Kino is quoted by sundry writers* 
as testifying to the existence of rich mines in his day, but the 
description left by the padre does not apply to Arizona. In a 
letter written in 1710 the Jesuit father said: "In these new 
nations and new lands there are many good veins and mineral 
lands bearing gold and silver; and in the neighborhood and 
even in sight of these new missions and new conversions some 
very good new mining-camps of very rich silver ore are now 
being established ".f This is part of a general statement, a 
benign and grateful survey of the blessings bestowed by a 
bountiful Providence, written by the good man when at the 
mission of Neustra Senora de los Dolores, Our Lady of the 
Sorrows. The mission was on the San Miguel river, in Pimeria 
Alta, in northern Mexico. 

Raymond refers to early Spanish operations at Taos, in New 
Mexico, and says that they were stopped by the revolt of the 
Pueblo Indians, at which time the Jesuits, who were the 
principal miners and who used the Indians as slaves in their 

* W. H. Robinson, 'The Story of Arizona', p. 283; 1919. 
t Henry E. Bolton, 'Spanish Exploration in the Southwest', p. 458; 
1925. 



258 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

mines, were massacred. * He refers to the tradition concerning 
the productive mines that were worked before this expulsion 
of the Spaniards in 1680. It was said that the Indians, aware 
that the cupidity of the invaders had been the cause of their 
oppression, took pains to conceal the mines by filling them 
with debris so that in case their oppressors returned they 
would be unable to find them. This, said tradition, was done 
so effectively that when the country was re-occupied peacefully 
by the Spaniards, they were unable to find the mines. There- 
fore the Indians became credited with a knowledge of the 
places where these 'lost mines', fabulously rich, of course, 
were hidden. Raymond observes truly that in New Mexico, 
as elsewhere, tradition has wonderful tales to tell; thus, for 
example, at the mines of the Arroyo Hondo it is believed that a 
Mexican, named Vigil, found a document in an old church at 
Guadalajara, in Mexico, and that in this old document it was 
stated that the Spaniards had worked mines in the Taos 
mountains for silver, of which they obtained millions, so that 
at the time of the massacre in 1680 they had fourteen millions, 
whether ounces or pesos is not stated, all of which they hid in a 
shaft. A similar story is told of Gran Quivira, near Fort 
Stanton. To explain the failure to resume mining on the part 
of the returning Spaniards at the close of the seventeenth 
century, it was reported at Taos that the Indians expressly 
stipulated that they should not engage in mining but only in 
cultivating the soil. These stories are part of the historic 
background of the Southwest, in which such tales were accept- 
ed as gospel, and served, it is sad to relate, as bait to be used 
by clever promoters, who found the yams useful when preparing 
a prospectus for the sale of stock in New York or Boston. 

An incentive to the search for silver was given in 1736 by a 
remarkable discovery of large lumps of native silver at 
Arizonac, a locality in northern Sonora, just south of the 
present southern border of the State of Arizona. The dis- 
covery was made by a Yaqui Indian, who disclosed it to a 

* Rossiter W. Raymond, 'Statistics of Mines and Mining', p. .397; 1870. 



THE EXPLORATION OF THE SOUTHWEST 259 

Mexican trader. A rush to the place ensued. No such 
masses of pure silver had ever before been seen at the surface. 
One lump of 2700 pounds and several others weighing from 
200 to 400 pounds were found, besides numerous smaller 
nuggets. A decree of Phihp V, dated May 28, 1741, states the 
weight of the balls, sheets, and other pieces of silver (bolas, 
planchas, y otras piesas de plata) to have amounted to 156 
arrobas in all, or a little over two tons.* When the discovery- 
was made known, Captain Juan Bautista de Anza, then sta- 
tioned at Fronteras, came promptly to the place and laid 
claim to the find in behalf of the king of Spain. According 
to law, one-fifth of the silver would normally accrue to the 
King, but as this was a natural curiosity (como cosa especial) 
Anza decided that it should be sent to Madrid. If it did not 
pertain to the royal prerogative for this reason, then as a 
criadero, or growing-place, of silver, it would belong to the 
national treasury. The Viceroy (Linares) reversed Anza's 
decision, but the royal decree of 1741 sustained him.f 

This notion that minerals and metals grow in an organic 
sense comes down to us from classic antiquity. Pliny makes 
several references to the idea, and Vannucio Biringuccio, in 
1540, wrote an essay on 'The Generation of Metals', likening 
ore-bearing veins to the branches of a tree that are found in the 
mountains where "the minerals are ingendered". As an 
example, he cites the fact that "in some places of Hungarie at 
certain times of the year, pure gold springeth out of the earth 
in the likeness of small herbs, wreathed and twined like small 
stalks of hops, about the bigness of a pack thread and four 
fingers in length ".J Please note the convincing details. In 
still later times, we learn, from Thomas Egleston,§ that in our 

* Sylvester Mowry, 'Arizona and Sonora', p. 250; 1864. 

t Charles E. Chapman, 'The Founding of Spanish California', p. 24; 
1916. 

t Richard Eden, 'The First Three Enghsh Books on America', 1540, 
edited by Edward Arber, p, 364; 1885. 

§ Thomas Egleston, Trans. Amer. Inst. Min. and Met. Eng., Vol. IX, 
p. 638; 1881. 



260 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Southern States this myth prevailed; it was believed that th& 
tailings of abandoned mines became so enriched as to be 
workable at a profit, the amount of gold thus obtained being 
proportioned to the interval of time elapsed, which meant the 
measure of the opportunity for the gold to grow. Many 
modern promoters appear to cherish this delusion ; for, accord- 
ing to them, the resources of idle mines are magnified during 
a period of inaction. 

In 1854 the locality of the Bolas de Plata was re-discovered 
by a party of twelve Americans, led by Charles Schuchard, 
who found a piece of silver weighing four ounces on the surface, 
and later they unearthed a lump weighing 19 pounds in some 
shallow old diggings overgrown with oaks.* This party of 
prospectors was driven away by the Mexicans, who claimed 
that the ground was within their territory, the boundary line 
of the Gadsden purchase (covering the part of Arizona that is 
south of the Gila river), made by the United States in 1854, not 
having as yet been fixed. The locality of the Bolas de Plata 
gave its name to the State, for it was known to the Spaniards 
as Arizonac, and when the party of Americans led by Schuchard 
and Blanding started work at Ajo, also in 1854, they called 
their company the Arizona Exploring and Mining Company. 
This is said to have influenced the choice of the name Arizona 
for the new Territory organized in 1863, although the Arizona 
Mountains proper are south of the Mexican line, in Sonora. 
Arizonac and Arizona are derived from the Moqui Indian 
words ari, meaning 'few', and zoni, 'fountains' or 'springs', 
the reference therefore being to the aridity of the region, f 

These finds of native silver are interesting not only because 
they incited mineral exploration in the Southwest, but also 
because they suggest how primitive man, such as the Indians in 
Mexico and in Peru, found the silver that they turned into 
ornaments, merely by hammering, at a time when they did 
not know either how to melt metals or smelt ores. The native 

* Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. XL VI, p. 126; 1883. 

t H. H. Bancroft, 'History of Arizona and New Mexico', p. 400; 1889. 



THE EXPLORATION OF THE SOUTHWEST 261 

metal — gold, silver, and copper — was to them a soft and 
attractive stone. 

The Spaniards coming north from Mexico made sundry- 
mineral discoveries, as has been noted, but they were opposed 
persistently by the Indians. In 1751 a revolt of the Apaches 
against the Jesuit colony at Pimeria gave excuse for the later 
myth of an abandonment of profitable mines and smelters. 
The Indian revolts, such as those of 1680 and 1751, were 
important industrially because they meant a lack of peon labor. 
In 1767 the Jesuits were expelled by a decree of Carlos III. 
From 1790 onward, so long as the Apaches were quiet, some 
prospects were worked on a small scale by the Spaniards. 
Bancroft mentions several minor enterprises that were active 
during this period, among them .being gold placers on the 
Colorado river, quicksilver mines in the Moqui region, and 
silver mines in the Santa Rita mountains. In 1822 the Mexican 
revolution caused political disorganization, of which the Apa- 
ches availed themselves to commit numerous depredations, 
causing the mines to be abandoned. In 1841 the Texans in- 
vaded New Mexico, and in 1846 it became American territory. 

The northern part of the present State of Arizona, that is, 
the territory north of the Gila river, was occupied by American 
troops in 1846, and the occupation was ratified at the conclu- 
sion of the Mexican war in 1848. Six years later, in 1854, 
the southern part of Arizona, south of the Gila, was acquired 
peaceably from Mexico under the terms of the Gadsden 
purchase, the sum of $10,000,000 being paid for it. Just 
before the Civil War a large amount of capital was drawn to 
Arizona for the purpose of working silver mines, but upon the 
withdrawal of Government troops, needed elsewhere, the 
Apaches and Mexicans raided the mining centres and brought 
operations to an end for the time being. Ross Browne in his 
report for 1863 bemoans the havoc that had been wrought by 
these incursions. 

The population of the Southwest 70 years ago was decidedly- 
disorderly, because, except for a few widely separated American 



262 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

ranchers and miners, it was composed largely of outlaws. 
That fine old gentleman, Raphael Pumpelly, has told us, in 
conversation and in his book, of his experiences in Arizona 
during 1860 and 1861.* He says: 

"There were refugees from the vengeance of the San 
Francisco Vigilance Committee, and from the States [which 
was the way in which people in our western Territories used to 
speak of the old parts of the United States], and there were 
escaped convicts from Australia. The labor element consisted 
of Mexicans, largely outlaws from Sonera. Back of them 
were the ever-present rarely visible Apaches." 

It sounds like the scenario of a cinema performance at 
Hollywood. Pumpelly went as manager to the Santa Rita 
silver mines, near Tubac, which is 30 miles southwest of 
Tucson. He was the only one of five successive managers that 
was not killed either by Mexicans or by Indians. When this 
part of Arizona came into the possession of the United States 
it was almost depopulated save for the Indians. After the 
Gadsden purchase had been ratified. Colonel C. D. Poston 
entered the region at the head of an exploring party, which 
found some rich silver ore, and thereby attracted attention to 
the mineral resources of the Territory. Several mining com- 
panies were organized to develop mines, and a small American 
population, chiefly men from the Southern States and from the 
Pacific coast, was collected. Many of these were ruffians 
wanted by the police of Texas, Mexico, and California. 
Pumpelly describes the condition of the frontier communities : 

"There was hardly a pretense at a civil organization; law 
was unknown, and the nearest court was several hundred miles 
distant in New Mexico. Indeed, every man took the law 
into his own hands, and a man's life depended on his own 
armed vigilance and prudence, and mainly on the fact that 
public opinion was the only code of laws, and a citizen's 
popularity the measure of his safety. In a society composed 
to a great extent of men guilty of murder and every other 

* Raphael F*umpelly, 'My Reminiscences', Vol. I, p. 200; 1918. 



THE EXPLORATION OF THE SOUTHWEST 263 

crime, popularity was not likely to attach to the better class 
of citizens. The immediate result of the condition of public 
opinion was to blunt ideas of right and wrong in the minds of 
newcomers, who, suddenly freed from the restraints of the 
East [the Eastern States], soon learned to justify the taking of 
life on trifling pretexts, or even to destroy it for the sake of 
bravado. Murder was the order of the day; it was committed 
by Americans upon Americans, Mexicans, and Indians; by 
Mexicans upon Americans; and the hand of the Apache was, 
not without reason, against both of the intruding races." 

Pumpelly recognized, as any fair-minded man would do, that 
the aborigines in Arizona, and elsewhere in our western territory, 
had ample justification for fighting the early trappers, prospec- 
tors, and settlers, however much he, and we, may sympathize 
with those that opened up the Great West and prepared the 
way for the well-ordered life we call civilization. The Apaches 
had no reason to be friendly to the Americans, any more than 
to the Mexicans, whom they had hated and fought for three 
centuries; they had been treated by the whites with the same 
cruelty that they themselves had practised in their savage 
methods of reprisal. When they were betrayed under cover 
of a white flag by an officer of the United States Government 
they could not be blamed for waging war ruthlessly. Pum- 
pelly remarks that "the history of our Indian troubles through 
more than a century is the history of a people in the childhood 
stage of civilization, trying to maintain rights granted to them 
as wards by solemn government treaties — treaties that under 
collusion with a corrupt Department of the Interior have been 
continually violated by the 'Indian ring' and greedy hordes 
of land grabbers and swindling lawyers". Shall we say that it 
was an inevitable part of frontier life, which, manly and 
courageous, energetic and resourceful as it may be, is tinged 
with lawlessness, lack of scruple, and the direct methods of 
eager exploitation? 

Throughout the early history of this part of the United 
States the belligerency of the Apaches was a hindrance to 



264 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

mining. Incidentally, we may pause to recognize the fact 
that the land belonged to the Indians, that the Spaniards and 
other later adventurers from Europe were invaders, and that 
the refusal of the Indians either to submit to the foreigners 
or to surrender their patrimony is entirely to their credit. If 
they were cruel, so were the white men, whose treatment of 
them will not bear examination. The hostihty between the 
prospectors and the Indians in the Owens Valley region, east 
of the Sierra Nevada in southern California, is typical of the 
long-drawn conflict between industrial exploitation and primi- 
tive savagery. A fair-minded chronicler speaks of "the 
pathetic resistance to the inevitable white domination",* and 
deplores the atrocities that were perpetrated by the frontiers- 
men in retaliation for Indian outrages. The outrage of the 
savage was synonymous with the atrocity of the white man, 
because the latter, nominally, at least, had a code that was 
higher than that of the primitive people with whom he was in 
conflict. The worst men, much worse than the most cruel 
combatants, were the white traders that sold guns to the 
Indians with full knowledge of the use to which they would be 
put. There were many such, to whom the desire of gain was 
paramount over any notion of elementary decency. 

Theodore Roosevelt, a man keenly in sympathy with the 
spirit of the frontier, discussed this subject of the treatment of 
the Indians; he said: 

"As for the whites themselves, they too have many and 
grievous sins against their red neighbors for which to answer. 
They cannot be severely blamed for trespassing upon what was 
called the Indian's land ; for let sentimentalists say what they 
will, the man who puts the soil to use must of right dispossess 
the man who does not, or the world will come to a standstill; 
but for many of their deeds there can be no pardon. They 
utterly despised the red man; they held it no crime whatever 
to cheat him in trading, to rob him of his peltries or horses, to 
murder him if the fit seized them . . . Thus there are many 

* W. A. Chalfant, 'The Story of Inyo', p. 120; 1922. 



THE EXPLORATION OF THE SOUTHWEST 265 

dark and bloody pages in the book of border warfare . . . 
Their deeds of terrible prowess are interspersed with deeds of 
the foulest and most wanton aggression, the darkest treachery, 
the most revolting cruelty; and though we meet with plenty 
of the rough, strong, coarse virtues, we see but little of such 
qualities as mercy for the fallen, the weak, and the helpless, 
or pity for a gallant and vanquished foe."* 

A later writer states the case thus: "A handful of savages, 
knowing little of agriculture or manufacture or trade among 
themselves, having no conception of private ownership of land, 
possessing social ideals and standards of life based upon the 
chase could not and should not have remained unaltered at the 
expense of a higher form of life. The farmer must always 
have right of way against the hunter, and the trader against 
the pilferer, and law against self-help and private war".t 
This would be amusing if it were not pathetic in its smug 
prejudice. I ask the reader to imagine what would be the 
reply of an educated Indian, of whom there are many today, to 
this pitiful outburst. 

The law of invasion was put into polite words by Captain 
A. T. Mahan at the beginning of the present centm-y; he said: 
"The claim of an indigenous population to retain indefinitely 
control of territory depends not upon a natural [birth] right 
but upon . . . developing it in such a manner as to insure the 
natural right of the world at large that resources should not be 
left idle but be utilized for the general good ".J This talk of 
'natural rights' reminds one of the doctrines of Rousseau and 
of other quasi-philosophers. As to the exploitation of natural 
resources, one might put in a word for posterity, whose 'rights' 
are ignored by a too previous use of them. 

This Indian question was one of the chief difficulties that the 
American prospector had to face, in Arizona and in other parts 

* Theodore Roosevelt, 'The Winning of the West', part 1, pp. 121, 
122, and 127; 1906. 

t Frederick L. Paxson, 'The Last American Frontier', p. 15; 1918. 
t A. T. Mahan, 'The Problem of Asia', p. 98; 1900. 



266 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

of the West ; it is a question that must not be ignored, although 
today the memory of it is blurred by romantic stories of heroic 
pathfinders and by blood-curdling tales of treacherous red- 
skins. The Indians were robbed, cheated, and betrayed, 
repeatedly and continuously, until driven to retaliation in 
resentment and self-defence. At one time a million of them 
roamed over the continental area of North America, and under 
the nomadic conditions of a hunting life this was all the 
population the country could sustain, in contrast with the 
123 millions that under well-organized industrial conditions 
are now able to maintain a high standard of economic welfare. 
The aborigines were bound to be dispossessed, it is true, but 
they might have been treated in a more humane fashion, and if 
they had been treated with some approach to fairness there 
need have been but little of the savagery that was shown alike 
by the Indian and the frontiersman. The failure to exercise 
good judgment in this matter delayed the development of our 
mineral resources, caused the loss of thousands of lives need- 
lessly, and bespattered the pages of our frontier history with 
ugly patches that sadly disfigure its romantic features. 

We, Americans, had plenty of sympathy for the Boers when 
they were vanquished by the British, without recognizing that 
the conditions that brought about that regrettable conflict 
had their parallel in the history of our own country. The 
Dutch and others that settled in the Transvaal were a pastoral 
people, and had no interest in mining. They themselves were 
intruders upon the domain of the natives, but that fact was 
ignored. When foreigners, uitlanders, found gold and dia- 
monds, and thereby attracted a motley immigration of 
energetic exploiters of the mineral deposits, the Boer republic 
profited, in taxes and other revenue, but when the Boer 
settlers seemed likely to be overwhelmed by the alien popula- 
tion, they took steps that inevitably led to war. Roosevelt's 
argument, that the land belongs of right to him that knows 
how to beneficiate its resources, applies as much to the miners 
in the Transvaal as it does to the miners in Arizona. It is the 



THE EXPLORATION OF THE SOUTHWEST 267 

idea underlying the intrusion of Europeans among the back- 
ward peoples everywhere. We need not defend it; we may 
even regret it ; but apparently it does make a difference whose 
ox is gored. As Bolton remarks, "the first battles for freedom 
in this land were fought by the red natives". 

Despite Indian opposition, which obviously was legitimate, 
the prospectors in the Southwest persisted in going upon their 
lands to dig for ore. After the Civil War every military 
expedition was also a prospecting tour, because the soldiers 
were on the look-out for possible mines, but the reverse is also 
true, that every prospecting party had to be a military 
expedition, on account of probable attacks by the Apaches. 
The removal of the Indian menace greatly facilitated prospect- 
ing in the Southwest. It was not practicable to prospect and 
to watch the Indians at the same time: to hold a pick in one 
hand and a rifle in the other might be deemed heroic, but it 
was incompatible with profitable industry. 

The silver-lead deposits of Patagonia, in the Santa Cruz 
mountains, 80 miles east of Tucson and only 10 miles north of 
the Mexican border, were discovered in 1858, on the hint of 
old workings, possibly of Mexican origin. The first locators 
were six officers of the United States Army, but they failed in 
their operations and sold the mine in 1859 to E. Brevoort, who, 
in turn, sold it to Lieutenant Sylvester Mowry, of the United 
States Army, in 1860. He had been in command of Fort 
Yuma. Mowry constructed twelve small blast-furnaces of 
Mexican type and produced silver-lead bullion, which he 
shipped to England. Some of this product he cupelled in 
Mexican vasos, to obtain the silver needed for current expenses, 
moulding it into bars of various sizes, ranging from $2 to $300 
in value. These, he says, served as "a convenient circulating 
medium".* In 1862 Mowry was arrested by General Carle- 
ton, on suspicion of being a Southern sympathizer, but he was 
discharged six months later, an embittered and beUigerent man. 

* Sylvester Mowry, 'The Geography and Resources of Arizona and 
Sonora', p. 52; 1863. 



268 A HISTORY OP AMERICAN MINING 

In 1868 he obtained $40,000 damages from the Government, 
and went to London, where he died soon afterward. The 
mine, in the Harshaw district, was worked subsequently by the 
Standard Metals Company. 

In May, 1860, a party of Californians led by Colonel Snively 
discovered gold in Rich gulch, near the site of Pinos Altos in 
the southwest corner of New Mexico. The news of the dis- 
covery brought a crowd of men to the locahty, so that within 
six months there were 1500 on the spot. They worked the 
gravel in several gulches and averaged from $10 to $15 per day, 
which indicates highly profitable digging. In December the 
first quartz vein, the Pacific, was located by Thomas Mastin. 
In the spring of 1861 this prospect was bought by Virgil 
Mastin, a brother of the discoverer, who proceeded to work it 
energetically. Unfortunately the Apaches made several raids 
and seized the horses of the miners. On September 27, 1861, 
a band of Indians, 500 strong, was driven off after a severe 
fight, but Thomas Mastin, who commanded a company of 
volunteers, was killed, as well as several others. Depressed 
by this disaster, most of the miners left, but Virgil Mastin 
persisted in remaining. He could not do much however, on 
account of Indian depredations, until 1866, when he organized 
the Pinos Altos Mining Company, under charter from the 
territorial legislature of New Mexico. A mill of 15 stamps, 
each weighing 700 pounds, was erected, but it did not operate 
continuously, treating only about a thousand tons per annum 
for a yield of $35,000 during 1867 and 1868. 

In January, 1862, a party led by Captain Powel Weaver 
discovered gold along the Colorado river.* While engaged in 
trapping fur-bearing animals, they stepped aside occasionally 
to prospect. They found gold in a gulch named El Arroyo 
de la Tenaja,t about seven miles east of La Paz, at that time a 

* J. Ross Browne, 'Report on Mineral Resources', p. 454; 1868. 

t Pumpelly gives an interesting description of these remarkable 
water-holes in granite, 'My Reminiscences', Vol. I, p. 256, and Vol. II, 
p. 774; 1918. 



THE EXPLORATION OF THE SOUTHWEST 269 

favorite shipping-point for merchandise going into the interior 
of Arizona. Captain Weaver kept the gold-dust that they 
gathered in a goose-quill, and when he went to Fort Yuma he 
exhibited it to his friends. Among those that heard of the 
discovery was Don Jos6 Redondo, who forthwith organized a 
small party and went to Weaver's camp, where he was shown 
the gulch in which the gold had been obtained. From this 
place the newcomers started to explore the district, and soon, 
within less than a mile south of Weaver's camp, Redondo, 
when engaged in panning, was astonished to get a chispa, or 
nugget, that weighed 2 ounces. Others of his party found 
good prospects in the vicinity, but as they had only come to 
reconnoitre, and were without either the necessary tools or 
provisions, they returned to La Laguna, a settlement about 
twenty miles above Fort Yuma, on the Arizonan side of the 
Colorado river. Shortly thereafter a party of 40 persons went 
to the placers reported by Redondo and soon after their 
arrival there, in February 1862, a number of fresh discoveries 
were made, indicating that gold was obtainable over a large 
area. Campo en Medio, Los ChoUos, and La Plomosa were 
the Spanish names given to the rich diggings. When the news 
spread to Mexico and California there was a rush, so that soon 
1500 men were at work. This number did not diminish until 
the spring of 1864, when the apparent exhaustion of the 
shallow placers and the extremely high price of provisions 
caused many to leave. Some of the diggers made money fast. 
Juan FerrA found a nugget that weighed 47 ounces. Others 
found several chispas, as they called them, weighing from 20 
to 27 ounces. It was said, boastfully, that not even a Papago 
Indian would work in these diggings for less than $10 per 
day. Lack of water was a hindrance, so that dry-washing 
machines were introduced, unsuccessfully. It is estimated 
that a million dollars was taken from these diggings in the first 
year. Later, several gold and silver veins were discovered 
between La Paz and Wickenburg, but most of the mines 



270 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

were short-lived. Some copper mines, notably the Planet, 
near Williams Fork, proved more productive. 

In 1863 Captain Weaver, a distinguished frontiersman, 
found gold south of Prescott and about the same time another 
famous pioneer, Joseph Walker, went into the country of the 
Pima Indians, along the Hassayampa, in central Arizona, 
and obtained gold in several places, notably in Lynx and 
Big Bug creeks, near Prescott, which soon became an impor- 
tant settlement, and eventually the capital of Arizona. One 
of the best of the mines opened up in 1863 was the Vulture, 
which was discovered by Henry Wickenburg, a member of 
the Weaver party. A pile of loose stones showing gold freely 
led to the discovery of a lode that was 15 feet wide. When the 
rush ensued the Apaches were attracted and many white men 
were killed while going from the waterless locality of the mine 
to the Hassayampa river, where they treated the ore in arras- 
tras. The first of these was constructed for Wickenburg by 
Charles Genung in July, 1864.* When these grinding-mills 
were ready, Wickenburg arranged to sell his ore for $15 per ton, 
it being understood that the purchaser would mine and sort 
the ore himself, and transport it to the river. Two years 
afterward Wickenburg sold the mine for $75,000 to Benjamin 
Phelps of New York; he erected a 20-stamp mill at Wicken- 
burg. Thomas Price, of San Francisco, has stated that the 
Vulture produced $2,500,000 from 118,000 tons of ore in 
six years. Later, an 80-stamp mill was built at the mine for 
the treatment of low-grade ore. The old stone buildings were 
torn down and crushed in the mill for a yield of $20 per ton. 
At a depth of 550 feet the lode was cut by a fault and the 
life of the mine was thereby abruptly terminated. An effort 
to find the lode beyond the fault is being made at the time of 
this writing. 

General James H. Carleton encouraged mining when he 
was stationed in New Mexico during 1863. Many of his 
soldiers had mined in California and were keen to discover 

* Richard E. Sloan, ' History of Arizona ', Vol. I, p. 512. 



THE EXPLORATION OF THE SOUTHWEST 271 

gold while serving with him. The General sent a gold nugget 
to President Lincoln with the remark: "It will gratify him [the 
President] to know that Providence is blessing our country, 
though it chasteneth", the last reference being to the Civil 
War. He suggested further: "Would it not be wise for 
Congress to take early action in legislating for such a region, 
to open roads to give force to subjugate the Indians, to give 
mail facilities, to claim rights of seigniorage in the precious 
metals, which will help us to pay our debts?". This last 
again refers to the heavy expenses of the Civil War. Evi- 
dently General Carleton appreciated the mineral resources of 
the Southwest. He wrote from Santa Fe.* 

The first prospecting in the Globe district was done by 
W. A. Holmes and a party of 30 men in 1869; when hard- 
pressed by the Apaches they fortified themselves near Cotton- 
wood springs, and the remains of their fort are to be seen near 
the Bird mine. They were so harassed by the Indians that 
they had to move away. In 1873 the Adamson brothers found 
some good-looking outcrops and located several claims, but 
they were too far from any base of supplies; so they also 
departed. In 1875 a number of men came thither from 
Silver City, including Regan and Mason, who located the 
Globe claim, which later was developed successfully as a 
silver mine by Kayser and Simpson. 

Several finds of silver on the surface are recorded. In 1871 
General Carleton, then in command of the Federal troops in 
Arizona, established a post where the town of Pinal now 
stands. His successor, General Stoneman, constructed a 
road in 1873 that became known as the Stoneman grade. 
A soldier, named Sullivan, employed in building this road, 
when returning from work in the evening, sat down to rest on 
a boulder near the camp. Seeing some black pieces of rock, he 
picked them up, and, when trying to break them, he found 
that they "flattened out like a piece of lead", so says the 

* James H. McClintock, 'Arizona', Vol. II, p. 403; 1916. 



272 A HISTOEY OF AMERICAN MINING 

chronicler.* The soldier knew nothing about silver ore, but 
he put some of the pieces in his pocket and went his way to 
quarters. Shortly afterward his term of service expired, 
and he drifted to the ranch of Charles Mason, on the Gila 
river. Sullivan showed the black stuff to Mason and to 
others, but would not tell where he had found it. Suddenly 
one day he disappeared, and was never seen again. He was 
supposed to have been killed by the Apaches while trying to 
return to the place of his discovery. Whether the black stuff 
was native silver that had become blackened by oxidation 
or whether it was the black silver sulphide, argentite, it is 
not possible to say, because these two minerals have an equal 
hardness, which is slightly greater than that of lead. 

In 1874 a party led by Mason was seeking for Sullivan's 
lost mine when they made the first location in the Globe dis- 
trict. Next year Mason and four others started from the 
Gila valley toward the Pinal range for the purpose of 
bringing some ore from the Globe mine. They traveled 
with a string of mules. On their way back they were 
attacked by the Apaches and one of them was killed. The 
survivors decided to carry their comrade's body to the old 
military camp, ajid in the evening they made a halt at the 
foot of the Stoneman grade. Next morning, when about to 
start, they ascertained that a mule was missing. One of the 
party, Isaac Copeland, went in search of it and found the 
mule standing on "a little brown hill", an outcrop. Going 
up to secure the animal, Copeland stumbled over some 
pieces of black rock, which was heavy and soft. It was 
Sullivan's find. Copeland rushed down the hill to his friends, 
shouting excitedly "I have struck it!". He showed pieces 
of the long-sought silver mineral. They located the Silver 
King claim on March 22, 1875. In 1881 when twenty stamps 
were pounding merrily on rich ore, there came a weary man, 
who went to the company's office, and humbly asked for work. 

* Patrick Hamilton, 'The Resources of Arizona', p. 202; 1884. 



THE EXPLORATION OF THE SOUTHWEST 273 

It was Sullivan.* Up to 1884, the Silver King mine yielded 
$5,000,000. Much of this was native silver in leaf and wire 
form, in the ore. It is said that some of the silver was in 
crystalline clusters, and that before the reduction works were 
built, fully $1,000,000 was shipped to San Francisco as ore 
that assayed $1000 per ton.f 

In Richmond basin also, on the western slope of the Apache 
mountains, were found nuggets of silver that attracted 
thousands to the Globe district in 1874. It is said that 
$100,000 in pure silver was picked up on the surface and just 
underneath. Several veins were disclosed in the search for 
this silver, and some of them were exploited subsequently, 
but without results at all commensurate with their promise. 

The discovery of the Commonwealth lode, in Cochise 
county, is one of the romances of Arizona. A family named 
Pearce had a ranch on the outskirts of the Dragoon mountains; 
the two sons went occasionally to Tombstone to work as 
miners, but the ranch was not neglected, the principal asset 
being a small herd of cattle, which by care and thrift had 
increased, so that the time came when a carload could be 
shipped to Kansas City for sale. This was a great event. 
One of the sons, John, was entrusted with the shipment, 
which he sold in due course. On his return home, he found 
himself estranged from his family, for reasons too uncertain 
to be mentioned. This was in 1894. John Pearce left the 
ranch and went prospecting. He wandered over the Dragoon 
mountains and on a hillside where the desert lands approach 
the base of the mountains he found a big outcrop of quartz. 
This was a landmark; it had been known for many years, 
because it was on the line of the old trail through the South 
pass to Tombstone, but, apparently, it had never been tested. 
Travelers had used the lumps of quartz to make fireplaces, 
many of which were to be seen on the lee side of the outcrop. 

* William P. Blake, Engineering and Mining Journal, Vol. XXXV, p. 
238; 1883. 

t Henry G. Ward, 'Mexico in 1827', Vol. I, p. 458; 1828. 



274 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Some of these pieces of quartz were rich in silver and gold, 
but Pearce made his discovery in the outcrop itself, from which 
he broke samples, intending to taice them to Tombstone to be 
assayed. This was in February, 1895. His family was 
disinclined to provide any money for what was deemed a 
a wild venture, but his mother finally gave him the money 
needed to pay for the assays. They proved the ore to be 
rich; whereupon the whole Pearce family became interested in 
John's discovery; and John, forgiving former slights, was good 
enougK to take the entire family, father and mother, two 
sisters, and brother, as partners in the mine. He regained 
favor in the domestic circle and everybody rejoiced. After 
a few carloads of rich ore had been hauled to the railroad and 
shipped to El Paso, the Pearce family began to think of selling 
the mine, for the sale of a mine, to people living in a mining 
region, is usually the simplest way of making quick money 
out of it. 

At this time Richard A. F. Penrose, a distinguished geolo- 
gist, whose home was in Philadelphia, happened to come to 
the district in company with John Brockman, an experienced 
mining-man of Los Angeles. The latter saw the mine first 
and asked Penrose to examine it. They arrived on horseback 
on December 24, 1895, and the next morning, Christmas day, 
they sampled the ore on the several claims that the Pearce 
family had located. The samples proved rich in gold and 
silver. The mine was purchased on May 1, 1896, and by 
August, 1899, the output had been 75,000 tons, yielding 
$4,000,000, of which $2,567,000 was profit. 

Early in the summer of 1877 a small detachment of soldiers 
was marching from Wickenburg to Fort Huachuca; and with 
them went a prospector named Edward Schieffelin, who 
sought an opportunity to test sundry reports of rich ore to 
be found in the mountains southward. While the military 
party was passing through the San Pedro valley, Schieffelin 
packed his burros and went into the hills. He avoided any 
encounter with the Apaches and succeeded in finding some 



THE EXPLORATION OF THE SOUTHWEST 275 

good silver ore; then he returned to Globe, expecting to meet 
his brother, who, however, was not there ; so he went to Signal, 
in Mohave county, where he found his brother, Alfred, and, 
on his suggestion, showed the 'float' he had brought to 
Richard Gird, then assayer at the Signal mill. Together the 
three men proceeded to the place of discovery, and located 
additional claims, which proved richer than the original 
location, the Tombstone. The others were named the Tough 
Nut, Goodenough, Lucky Cuss, and Grand Central. It is said 
that when Schieffelin was asked where he was going, he 
replied, "To look for stones"; whereupon the soldiers said, 
"The stone you'll find will be your tombstone", the allusion 
being to the deadly Apaches. Thus the district obtained its 
name. The discovery claim was recorded on September 3, 
1877, which is the birthday of the Tombstone district. 

Soon after the arrival of the Schieffelins and Gird, two 
other prospectors named Edward Williams and Jack Friday 
were looking for their mules, which had broken away from a 
dry camp and wandered along an Indian trail in search of 
water; the two men traced the mules by the marks of a chain 
that one of the mules was dragging; they noticed that in one 
place the rock surface had been so scratched as to disclose the 
gleam of metallic mineral ; whereupon they started to dig. The 
claim they located was subsequently named the Contention, 
and it proved to be the richest in the Tombstone district. It 
was close to Schieffelin's claim. When Williams and Friday 
encountered him and his companions, it seemed that a quarrel 
over their locations would ensue, but the five men agreed to 
to divide the ground, the Schieffelins taking the lower end, 
the Contention, while Williams and his partner took the upper, 
the Grand Central. Soon afterward the Contention was 
bought by W. D. Dean, of San Francisco, for $10,000. In 
1879 the Corbin brothers bought the Schieffelin interest in 
the Tough Nut for $1,000,000. Gird later received an equal 
sum for his interest. The Contention mine became highly 
profitable, but an increasing inflow of water into the workings 



276 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

soon crippled the operations, as much as eight million gallons 
of water being pumped per 24 hours. In 1911 all work ceased. 
It is interesting to note how frequently these early mineral 
discoveries were made by men either in uniform or associated 
with the soldiers serving in the Southwest, to check incursions 
of Southern troops during the Civil War or to curb the Apaches 
before and after that period. Many prospectors enlisted for 
the sake of the opportunity given them to see the country, so 
that militarism and mining became curiously associated. This 
may remind us that the word 'mine' had a military meaning 
long before it gained an industrial significance. A mine that 
is meant to blow up the enemy or a mine that is meant to 
destroy the enemy's ships is more in accord with the primary 
meaning of the word, the true derivation of which lingers in 
'minatory', meaning threatening, for 'mine' comes from 
minae, a 'threat', and from mina, a 'point', or 'something 
that threatens'. The Romans learned how to demolish a 
barbarian fortification long before they acquired any technical 
skill in the art of working ores. 



CHAPTER XII 

COPPER-MINING IN ARIZONA 

It is claimed that the first mining of copper by Americans in 
Arizona was done at Ajo, near the Mexican border, in 1854,* 
a year after this region had been added to the United States 
under the terms of the Gadsden purchase. A group of adven- 
turers, organized at Los Angeles under the name of the Arizona 
Mining & Trading Company, came to the district. This 
party of prospectors consisted of 20 men, led by Major B. 
Allen, J. D. Wilson, and William Blanding.f They went 
first to Yuma, where the party divided, some of them going 
southward into Mexico while the remainder took the trail 
to Tinaja Alta, where they heard of the copper deposits of Ajo, 
which is 85 miles southeast from Yuma.J They found attrac- 
tive outcrops of copper ore, and set to work energetically, but 
their operations suffered many interruptions, because that part 
of the country was still controlled by the Mexicans, who were 
uncertain about the exact position of the new international 
boundary. The Mexicans tried to expel them, but they held 
their ground. The first shipment of ore, consisting of native 
copper and cuprite, came from what is now the western end of 
of the New Cornelia workings; it was hauled in ox-carts to 
San Diego, 400 miles across the desert. § Later shipments 
were hauled to Yuma and floated on barges down the Colorado 
river to the Gulf of CaUfornia, whence the ore was loaded on 

* Thomas E. Parish, 'The History of Arizona', Vol. I, p. 279; 1915. 

t James H. McClintock, 'Arizona', Vol. I, p. 105; 1916. 

I Courtenay De Kalb, Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. CXVI, p. 
115; 1918. 

§ Ira B. Joralemon, Trans. Amer. Inst. Min. and Met. Eng., VoL 
XLIX, p. 593; 1914. 

277 



278 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

ships that carried it to Swansea, in South Wales, which was 
then the copper-smelting centre of the world. 

The price of copper ores as delivered to the smelters at 
Swansea in 1866 is given by Ross Browne, as follows : 

Ore containing 10 per cent of copper $33-87 

Ore containing 17 per cent of copper 58-75 

Ore containing 21 per cent of copper 67-62 

The freight to Swansea from San Francisco was $15, bags cost 
$4 per ton of ore, and $5 more per ton was deducted for 
commissions. * 

It is worthy of note that camels were brought from Arabia 
for the purpose of carrying water from the Gila river to Ajo,t 
and some of these animals, when the use of them was discon- 
tinued, were seen occasionally years afterward in the desert 
lands of the Southwest like the wraiths of a forgotten fauna. 
Subsequently camels were employed in Nevada to bring salt 
to the mills on the Comstock, because the road to the salt 
deposits crossed sandy tracts over which mules and wagons 
could not be used. Later these camels also were discarded 
when salt deposits were found near Virginia City and in a 
locality that could be reached conveniently by more conven- 
tional carriers. 

The mine at A jo, known successively as the Cornelia and the 
New Cornelia, passed through the usual vicissitudes of fortune 
until in later days improved mining and metallurgical methods, 
preceded by diamond-drilling, created conditions favorable to 
the large-scale exploitation of comparatively low-grade ore. 
Several companies and several distinguished engineers failed 
to bring the enterprise to fruition until, in 1913, on the initia- 
tive of John C. Green way, the Cornelia mine passed into the 
possession of the Calumet & Arizona Mining Company. J 

* J. Ross Browne, 'Mineral Resources of the United States', p. 208; 
1868. 

t Raphael Pumpelly, 'My Reminiscences', Vol. II, p. 768; 1918. 

J T. A. Riekard, Engineering and Mining Journal, Vol. CXIX, p. 
285; 1925. 



COPPER-MINING IN ARIZONA 279 

Greenway, aided by Louis D. Ricketts, as consulting engineer, 
made a complete success of the venture. As the oxidized 
material had to be removed before the sulphide ore could be 
mined, they started a series of experiments in 1913 to determine 
whether such oxidized material could be beneficiated profitably 
by some simple leaching process. The tests were made by 
James Potter, assisted by Henry Tobelmann, as chemist. 
Later, a one-ton plant was started under the same direction. 
In the course of this experimental work several technicians, 
notably Stuart Croasdale, F. L. Antisell, Frederick Pope, A. 
W. Hahn, and W. H. Morse, were consulted. The composite 
result of their co-operative research assured favorable results, 
whereupon a 40-ton plant was erected and was operated for a 
year, followed by a plant of 5000-tons daily capacity, in 1917. 
This last proved completely successful. Two years later, in 
1919, an experimental mill was built to test the treatment of 
the sulphide ore by flotation. Then came the erection of a 
flotation plant of 6000-tons capacity, designed by H. Kenyon 
Burch. This went to work in 1924. By recent remodeling 
this plant has been given a capacity of 20,000 tons daily. 
These large-scale operations would have been impracticable if 
an ample supply of water had not been obtained, by sinking a 
two-compartment shaft 650 feet deep at a place six miles 
distant, where the water-table of the region was tapped by 
four pumps, the total yield of 4550 galloiis per minute being 
delivered to the reservoir at the mine against a frictional head 
of 1375 feet. Without an adequate supply of drinking water 
for the large force of men employed and without plenty of 
water for metallurgic purposes, the Cornelia enterprise 
would have been impossible. The finding, pumping, and 
distribution of this ample supply of water are not the least of 
the many engineering features that characterize this successful 
undertaking in the southwestern desert. 

In July, 1917, the New Cornelia Company acquired the 
property of its neighbor, the Ajo Consolidated Company. 
This is another story. In 1912 Walter M. Briggs and James 



280 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

P. Gaskill, aware of the successful treatment, by washing and 
leaching, of low-grade pyritic ore from the Rio Tinto mine, in 
Spain, at the plant of the Pennsylvania Salt Company at 
Greenwich Point, near Philadelphia, came to the conclusion 
that there was money to be made in the leaching of copper 
ores that could be mined cheaply with the steam-shovel.* 
The Ajo property was purchased by them, for James Phillips, 
from the Randall Ore Reduction Company, and diamond-drill- 
ing was started in 1913 by E. J. Longyear & Co., of Duluth, the 
contract price being at first $2-50, and later $2-25, per foot. 
In due course 11,000,000 tons of 2}4: per cent ore was proved. 
When the New Cornelia acquired the property the assured 
tonnage had increased to 21,000,000 of 1-55 per cent ore. 
The diamond-drilling on the consoUdated property was con- 
tinued until 71,000,000 tons of l}^^ per cent ore had been 
proved. In November, 1918, the New Cornelia paid its first 
dividend. The production of copper from June, 1917, to 
April, 1924, was 247,869,655 pounds. 

An incursion of Confederate raiders interrupted mining in 
the Southwest during the Civil War. In 1865, a regiment of 
Federal troops from California, under the command of Colonel 
J. H. Carleton, when in pursuit of Indians, became engaged 
in prospecting, which led to the discovery of Copper mountain, 
now known as the Clifton district, in Graham county, Arizona, 
but no claims were recorded. The first real mining was 
started by Isaac Stevens and a party of miners from Silver 
City, New Mexico, in 1870. They located several claims in 
Gold gulch, two miles west of Morenci.f Among the claims 
then recorded were the Yankee, Arizona Central, and Mocte- 
zuma. Work was commenced under American auspices, but 
with Mexican labor, in 1871, at the Longfellow mine. Robert 
Metcalf, who discovered the Longfellow, sold an interest in the 
claim to the Lazinski brothers, who had a store at Las Cruces, in 

* T. A. Rickard, Engineering and Mining Journal, Vol. CXV, p. 9; 
1923. 

t James H. McClintock, 'Arizona', Vol. II, p. 421; 1916. 



COPPER-MINING IN ARIZONA 281 

New Mexico. Shortly afterward all the original locators sold 
their holdings to the Lazinskis. An attempt at smelting the 
rich surficial ore was made in 1873 in a reverberatory furnace, 
with firebrick costing a dollar apiece.* This proved a failure, 
whereupon early in 1875 H. Lazinski erected a small Mexican 
adobe furnace, the blast for which came from a blacksmith's 
bellows. This furnace smelted only about one ton of ore 
daily, the loss of copper in the slag was excessive, and the 
consumption of fuel was enormous, not more than three 
pounds of ore being smelted per pound of charcoal, made from 
the mesquite on the surrounding hills. t An interesting 
series of experiments was then started by Lazinski and his 
brother. Commencing with a metal plate, sprayed with water, 
they developed a furnace constructed of copper troughs cast 
from the crude copper they were producing. By engaging in 
the sale of merchandise to the local community they diminished 
the cost of shipment, the horse-wagons that took the metal 
to the railroad, 700 miles distant, returning with supplies for 
their store. The first bars of copper cast in Arizona from the 
smelting of ore, as distinguished from the melting of native 
copper, were those carted from Clifton in 1875. They were 
produced by the Lazinski brothers from ore that came from 
the Longfellow mine.t These operations attracted attention 
to the district, and shortly afterward a group of claims adjacent 
to the Longfellow was acquired by the Detroit Copper Com- 
pany, organized by Captain E. D. Ward, a steamboat-owner of 
Detroit. In 1882 the holdings of the Lazinski brothers were 
bought by a Scottish corporation, the Arizona Copper Com- 
pany. During their control of the mine the Lazinskis are 
believed to have produced 20,000,000 pounds of copper, under 
great disadvantages, because the nearest railroad was at La 

* James Douglas, Trans. Inst. Min. and Met., London, Vol. XXII, 
p. 532; 1913. 

t Arthur F. Wendt, Trans. Amer. Inst. Min. and Met. Eng., Vol. XV, 
p. 43; 1887. 

X James Douglas, Mineral Industry, 1897, p. 229. 



282 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Junta, in Colorado, 700 miles distant. Their supplies came 
from Silver City, New Mexico, and they built a wagon-road to 
expedite traffic. Charcoal for smelting was brought from the 
Burro mountains, 80 miles distant. A narrow-gauge railroad 
was built to Lordsburg, 70 miles distant on the Southern 
Pacific, in 1882. The extension of the Southern Pacific rail- 
road did much to foster copper-mining in these parts, not only 
by facilitating the shipment of the metal to the New York mar- 
ket but by enabling the local smelters to obtain suitable mix- 
tures of ores from the mines in Arizona itself. Until this could 
be done the winning of copper at Clifton and Globe, for 
example, despite the richness of their various siliceous ores, 
proved unprofitable. 

William Church, an enterprising engineer from Colorado, 
who initiated the transactions that led to the formation of the 
Detroit Copper Mining Company, wished to build a smelter 
on the San Francisco river, six miles below the mine, and with 
that plan in mind he called on Phelps, Dodge & Company, in 
New York, offering them a half-interest in the enterprise if 
they would advance $30,000 for the building of the smelter. 
At that time James Douglas was about to come to Arizona 
to examine some mining claims for the Lewisohn brothers, 
who were feather-merchants in New York. Dr. Douglas was 
in charge of a small copper-reduction plant at Phoenixville, in 
Pennsylvania, and was known to Phelps, Dodge & Company, 
who thereupon asked him to investigate Church's proposal as 
well. He did so, and recommended the advance of the money, 
which participation marked the entry of Phelps, Dodge & 
Company into the Clifton district as half-owners of the 
Detroit property. This contact between Douglas and the 
Phelps-Dodge company was the beginning of a life-long asso- 
ciation, profitable and honorable to both parties, and most 
fortunate for the mining industry of Arizona. 

The chasing of Apaches, which long continued to be the 
favorite sport of American troops in the Southwest, led to 
several mineral discoveries on the part of observant soldiers. 



CX)PPER-MINING IN ARIZONA 283 

One of them, a scout named Jack Dunn, in August, 1877, 
located a claim called the Rucker, near the Mexican border, 
thereby starting the copper-mining that made Bisbee famous. 
Dimn's location was named after J. A. Rucker, an army 
officer, to whom was given a share in the claim. * The Copper 
Queen deposit was discovered by Hugh Jones in 1877 and a 
claim named the Mercey was located by George Warren, after 
whom the district is named, on December 27, 1877. This 
claim was re-located as the Copper Queen by George H. 
Eddlemann and M. A. Herring on December 15, 1879. The 
original locator, Jones, abandoned his discovery because he 
saw nothing more than "copper-stained rock". A little 
copper-furnace was erected by Warner Buck on the Robb 
claim, owned by D. B. Rea, of Tucson, and some matte was 
produced unprofitably in 1878. The Copper Queen prospect 
was purchased by John Ballard and William Martin, of San 
Francisco. They were successful contractors, but entirely 
ignorant of mining; they had, however, the advice of two 
competent men, Ben Williams and Lrouis Williams, the sons of 
John Williams, of Globe. Under their direction, George Center 
built a smelting-furnace, a 36-inch water-jacketed cupola, in 
1880. This little smelter treated an ore yielding 23 per cent of 
copper, and for a time did well. The fuel was English coke, 
brought by way of San Francisco. 

In 1881 James Douglas came to Bisbee and obtained an 
option on the Atlanta clainij which was next to the Copper 
Queen. In developing the Atlanta, Dr. Douglas was unsuc- 
cessful at first in finding ore, and after he had spent $70,000 in 
exploratory work it was proposed by his associates to discon- 
tinue operations, but on his advice they agreed to advance 
$15,000 more for development, with the understanding that if 
this renewed attempt failed to discover sufficient ore, they 
would abandon the venture, f Sinking was resumed, and 

* James H. McClintock, 'Arizona', Vol. 11, p. 429; 1916. Also 
Patrick Hamilton, 'The Resources of Arizona', p. 166; 1884. 

t James Douglas, Trans. Inst. Min. and Met., Vol. XXII, p. 534; 1913. 



284 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

within a few feet the Atlanta workings penetrated a great 
orebody, which proved later to be the basis for a magnificent 
copper enterprise. 

Meanwhile Ballard and Martin had exhausted the ore in the 
Copper Queen, and in 1884 litigation was threatened between 
them and the owners of the Atlanta, whereupon the two mines 
were joined in the name of the Copper Queen Consolidated 
Company. Ballard and Martin thought themselves smart in 
selling a mine that they believed to be exhausted, and were 
glad to dispose of it to the firm of Phelps, Dodge & Company, 
for whom Dr. Douglas was acting. That was in 1885. Doug- 
las then became the moving spirit of this company and of 
other mining operations undertaken by the Phelps-Dodge 
company in Arizona. In 1890 he engaged Louis D. Rieketts 
as his assistant; this professional association continued for 
17 years. In 1904 a geologic study of local conditions was 
made for the United States Geological Survey by F. L. 
Ransome.* 

In due course the Copper Queen company extended its 
territory by acquiring the Goddard properties and by purchas- 
ing outljdng claims, including the Neptune and Lowell groups. 
The Irish Mag and one or two other desirable claims, however, 
were involved in litigation because the owner, an Irishman 
named James Daley, was a fugitive from justice, and a Mexican 
wife became claimant to his belongings. Eventually the 
Supreme Court of the United States recognized her title, which 
soon afterward passed to Martin Costello of Tombstone. He 
was willing to sell for $500,000, and Douglas was willing to 
take a bond at that price provided he could explore the 
property by extending the underground workings of the 
Copper Queen mine, whereas Costello insisted that the work 
be done from the surface of the Irish Mag, SO that he WOUld 
have a shaft in case the deal fell through. When these 
negotiations failed, in 1901, the Irish Mag was purchased by a 

* Frederick Leslie Ransome, ' The Geology and Deposits of the Bisbee 
Quadrangle', U. S. Geol. Survey; 1904. 



COPPER-MINING IN ARIZONA 285 

group of gentlemen from Michigan and Pennsylvania in the 
name of the Lake Superior & Western Development Company, 
which later became the Calumet & Arizona Mining Co., the 
leaders of which were the Hoatson brothers, Thomas F. Cole, 
George E. Tener, Chester A. Congdon, and Charles Briggs. 
This company subsequently acquired additional territory 
and eventually became one of the leading producers of copper 
in the Southwest. Litigation over apex rights would have 
ensued between this company and the Copper Queen if Douglas 
had not possessed the sagacity to arrange with his neighbors to 
waive any extra-lateral rights in favor of the common law, 
whereby each company waived any claim to ore in depth that 
was vertically outside its side and end lines. At the same 
time an agreement was made giving each company free access, 
for information, to its neighbor's underground workings. 
This not only ensured peace but also the opportunity to become 
informed concerning discoveries of ore, all of which redounded 
greatly to the prosperity of the district, and, I may add, to the 
esteem in which Dr. Douglas was held by his fellow-engineers. 
Only oxidized ores were worked by the Copper Queen 
company until 1893, when converters were added to the 
smelting-plant. As early as 1886 a film of matte floated on 
the bars of copper and the quality of the metal suffered so 
much that the direct method of smelting had to be abandoned, 
whereupon matte was made, and reduced in the converter. In 
1906 the production was 71,711,813 pounds of fine copper, 
together with 332,311 ounces of silver and 7573 ounces of gold. 
In 1912 the output was 692,995 tons, containing 81,597,115 
pounds of copper, 674,086 ounces of silver, and 13,863 ounces 
of gold. In addition to the copper ore, the mine yielded 10,626 
tons of lead ore, containing 2,953,685 pounds of lead, 325,931 
ounces of silver, and 3889 ounces of gold. From 1885 to 
1930, inclusive, the Copper Queen mine yielded 29,166,780 
tons of ore, from which there were extracted 2,740,752,125 
pounds of copper, 99,158,282 pounds of lead, together with 20,- 
451,071 ounces of silver and 486,690 ounces of gold. 



286 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Mining, not for native copper, but for the blue and green 
carbonates, to be used as pigments, was started by the Indians 
at Jerome, on the outcrop of the United Verde orebody, at a 
date that takes us back to Spanish dominion. The Verde 
(or green) valley was visited by Espejo in 1583. Antonio 
de Espejo, a wealthy citizen of Mexico, led an expedition into 
the country west of New Mexico, and when in the Verde 
valley he was told by the Indians about their mines, which 
were diggings on the mountain west of the river. "I found 
them", he says, "and with my own hands I extracted ore 
from them, said by those who know to be very rich and to 
contain much silver." Perez de Luxan, who accompanied 
Espejo, had a different opinion; he wrote in his journal that 
the mines were in a very rough sierra and were worthless; 
the Spaniards, according to him, could find no trace of 
silver, "as they [the mines] were copper mines, and poor".* 
Later, Juan de Ofiate, who became Governor of New Mexico, 
sent Captain Marcos Farfdn in 1598 to find the mines reported 
by Espejo. He found a mine "at a good height" where 
there was "an old shaft, three estados'f in depth, from which 
the Indians extracted the ores for their personal adornment 
and for the coloring of their blankets, because in this mine 
are brown [iron], black [manganese], water-colored [chryso- 
coUa], blue [azurite], and green [malachite] ores. The blue 
is so blue that it is understood that some of it is enamel ".{ 
I have inserted the probable minerals used for the respective 
pigments. The Spaniards with Farian had no knowledge 
of mining; yet they located a large number of claims and 
Ofiate himself stated subsequently that these mountains were 
"without doubt the richest in all New Spain". On their 

* ' Expedition into New Mexico made by Antonio de Espejo ', Journal 
of Diego P6rez de Luxdn, translated by George P. Hammond and Agapito 
Rey, p. 107; 1929. 

t An estado is the height of a man. 

t Henry E. Bolton, 'Spanish Exploration in the Southwest', p. 244; 
1916. 



COPPER-MINING IN ARIZONA 287 

return to San Juan Bautista in New Mexico, we learn of one 
assay of 11 ounces of silver per quintal (100 pounds). Farfdn 
had no tools and his men obtained the samples by using their 
knives and daggers. This was characteristic of Spanish 
exploration; they searched for mines with the sword, not the 
pick. In their magniloquent way they named the Verde 
El Rio de los Reyes, and described it as "a large and copious 
river". The valley and its hillslopes seemed to them most 
attractive; on the banks of the river flourished grapes, walnuts, 
flax, and blackberries. The Indians had fields of maize and 
were prosperous. 

Espejo records his visit to the salt deposits near Camp 
Verde; these are being exploited today by a company known 
as Sodium Products, the principal commodity being sodium 
phosphate. The Indians obtained common salt here at a 
time when they were living in cliff grottoes; some of their 
stone hammers and stone picks have been found, together 
with a human skeleton, lying near remnants of sandals and 
a brush torch.* 

The earliest settlement of Americans in the Verde valley 
dates from 1865, when a party of pioneers migrated thither 
from Prescott and chose a tract of land near the mouth 
of Clear creek. Two hundred acres of land were cleared 
and ditched, the principal crops being grain and vegetables. 
It is recorded that barley, threshed by hand, was hauled 
over the mountains to Fort Whipple, near Prescott, to be 
sold there for $17 per hundred pounds. The valley became 
widely known as an agricultural district and therefore attracted 
new settlers, so that in the succeeding 15 years most of the 
tillable area was occupied. At that time the covered wagon 
was the chief vehicle of transport. 

Sixty years ago the valley and its enclosing hUls had an 
appearance far different from what it has today. In summer 
the hills were covered with luxuriant grass, waist-high, in 

* George J. Young, Engineering and Mining Journal, Vol. CXXIV, p. 
18; 1927. 



288 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

which game, chiefly deer and antelope, was plentiful. The 
bottom-lands were covered with forests of Cottonwood and 
sycamore. The river was never in flood, because the grass 
on the hills retarded the run of the rain-water and the dams 
of the beaver served to check any sudden rise in the level of 
the river. The too intensive pasturage of cattle destroyed 
the grass, the miner demolished the trees, while the fume 
of the smelter poisoned both, so that today a district once 
verdant and productive has become notable chiefly for a 
scenery of the Syrian type, in which the high coloring is the 
result of aridity. 

The hfe of the pioneers was made hazardous by the Yavapai 
Apaches, who, naturally, did not like to be dispossessed of the 
good land in the valley that had belonged to their people for 
generations. To protect the American settlers, a detail of 
soldiers was sent by the Federal Government in 1865, and a 
camp, named Fort Lincoln, was established near the Haskell 
ranch. This camp was occupied by regular troops in 1866, 
but five years later they were moved to Camp Verde, which 
in turn was abandoned in 1900, when all danger of Indian 
depredations had passed. 

The first mining claim to be located in the Jerome district 
was that of Alfred Sieber, a noted scout, in 1877; he named it 
the Verde. Two more claims were located along the outcrop 
by John Dougherty and J. D. Boyd in the same year, and the 
Verde mining district was organized shortly afterward. In 
1878 three adjoining claims were located by M. A. Ruffner 
and the two McKinnon brothers, John and Angus.* Their 
locations included the Eureka and Wade Hampton. These 
three men, in partnership, drove a short adit that connected 
with a 45-foot shaft. The showing of ore was encouraging, 
but it appears that the owners of the prospect were afraid to 
extend their workings deeper for fear they might knock the 
bottom out of the mine and thereby spoil the chance of a 
satisfactory sale. In 1882 a favorable mention of the mine 

* James H. McClintock, 'Arizona', Vol. II, p. 406; 1916. 



COPPER-MINING IN ARIZONA 289 

caused F. F. Thomas to come from Prescott for the purpose 
of an examination. He was an excellent engineer, of high 
character, as he proved during an honorable career, part of 
which was spent as manager of the Central mine at Broken 
Hill, Australia, and part as manager of the Gwin mine, in 
California. Thomas was so favorably impressed by the 
Verde mine that he persuaded F. A. Tritle, sometime Governor 
of the Territory of Arizona, to join him in the venture. The 
McKinnons were paid $500 in cash and were to receive 
$15,000 on December 1. Thomas took options on the adjoin- 
ing claims, making eleven in all. They had good copper 
showings, and assays proved the ore to contain gold and silver 
as well. Thomas and Tritle then obtained the financial 
assistance of James A. Macdonald, president of the Queen 
Insurance Company, and of Eugene Jerome, both of New 
York. In 1883 the United Verde Copper Company was 
organized with Macdonald as president and Jerome as sec- 
retary-treasurer. To the latter came the honor of giving 
his name to the town, which, at one time, was the capital of 
Arizona and in later days has won worldwide fame in con- 
sequence of the two great mines in its vicinity. 

Thomas was appointed superintendent. He built a 50-ton 
furnace and smelted the ore with moderate success, but the 
cost of shipping the products to a refinery was too burdensome. 
During the last five months of 1883 slightly more than 2,000,000 
pounds of matte and black copper were produced at an 
operating cost of 7 cents per pound. This was derived from 
the rich oxidized ore found at or near the surface; it 
contained gold and silver, as well as copper. The black 
copper (known as 'bullion') was 94 per cent and the matte 
about 60 per cent copper. Both products were hauled to 
Ash Fork, on the Atlantic & Pacific railroad, which had been 
built into Arizona in 1882. Before that date the nearest 
railroad station was Abilene, in Kansas. The freightage 
from the mine to Ash Fork in 1883 was a cent per pound each 
way. The coke for the smelter was shipped from Wales to 



290 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

San Francisco, and thence by rail to Prescott Junction. The 
cost of it is not known, but coke produced near Albuquerque, 
New Mexico, was quoted at $11 per ton, and by the time 
it was dehvered at Jerome it cost $35 per ton. The smelter 
products were sent to the Orford refinery in New Jersey; the 
freightage, on a declared value of $300 per ton, was $51-38 
from Ash Fork; this, when added to the local haulage, brought 
the total cost of transport, from smelter to refinery, to $71-38 
per ton. At that time the price of copper was 14-5 cents per 
pound, and although the company was in debt, it seemed that 
its obligations would soon be liquidated and that handsome 
profits would accrue to the shareholders. Unfortunately 
the ore available was soon exhausted and no new orebodies 
of sufficient richness could be discovered; so the enterprise 
came to an untimely end, in 1887. 

In 1888 William A. Clark, subsequently Senator from 
Montana, bought the United Verde property and started 
fresh exploratory work. He had known of the mine for 
many years; in 1884, he had been appointed commissioner 
to represent the State of Montana at the New Orleans expo- 
sition. Among the mineral exhibits he noticed some specimens 
of copper ore from the United Verde mine; these interested 
him because the assay-certificates attached to the specimens 
showed that gold and silver were associated with the copper. * 
In his customary methodical manner he made a note on the 
subject. When he returned to Montana, he forgot about it, 
but he was destined to be reminded of the United Verde two 
years later. Clark's mines at Butte, which were highly 
productive, supplied ore to the Port Orford Copper Company, 
in New Jersey. When this smelter went into liquidation, 
in 1886, he was one of the chief creditors. He assumed 
control of the refinery and operated it for a year or more. 
When examining the records he found assays of ore shipments 
from the mine in Arizona that had supplied the specimens he 
had noticed at New Orleans. Thereupon, in 1888, he sent 

* T. A. Rickard, Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. CXVI, p. 9; 1918. 



COPPER-MINING IN ARIZONA 291 

Joseph L. Giroux to examine the United Verde. Giroux 
ascertained that the controUing interest in the property was 
under option to a group represented by James Douglas, so 
he arranged to have the refusal. Dr. Douglas decided not to 
exercise his option, because, it is said, he considered the lode 
to be spotty and the mine too distant from a railroad, where- 
upon Giroux informed Clark, who came to Jerome forthwith, 
and, after an examination of the mine, purchased 70 per cent 
of the stock in the company that owned it. He acquired 
most of the remaining stock in due course. 

Clark began to operate the United Verde in 1889, with 
success. Giroux was manager. In 1894, shortly after the con- 
struction of the Santa Fe, Prescott, & Phoenix railroad, he 
built a narrow-gauge line from Jerome to connect with this 
railroad at Jerome Junction. A smelter with a capacity of 
3,500,000 pounds of copper per month was then built. Unfor- 
tunately this plant was placed over the mine-workings and 
became endangered by the settling of the ground; moreover, 
the site was inadequate for the desired expansion of the plant, 
whereupon in 1912 the building of a new smelter was started 
in the valley, at Clarkdale. It was completed in 1915. At 
this time the Santa Fe built a branch of standard gauge to 
this point. In 1905 the United Verde produced 32,683,951 
pounds of copper, together with 486,041 ounces of silver and 
15,915 ounces of gold. From the date of its purchase by 
WilUam A. Clark in 1888 to the end of 1930 the mine has 
yielded 20,314,000 tons of ore, from which 1,959,098,900 
pounds of copper have been extracted, together with 1,009,800 
ounces of gold and 34,586,000 ounces of silver. The value of 
this output has been shghtly more than $350,000,000. The 
United Verde is probably the richest mine that was ever 
worked under individual ownership. Prior to Senator Clark's 
death, he and his family owned 953^ per cent of the total 
(300,000) shares in the company; and since then, by the 
purchase of the Macdonald holding of 12,500 shares, the Clark 
family owns more than 299,000 shares of the United Verde 
Copper Company. 



292 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Globe became a mining centre in consequence of the 
discovery of the Silver King mine, 19 miles southwest, in 
1874, at a time when Geronimo and his Apaches were rampant 
in this region. A good supply of water, obtained from Pinal 
creek, served to make Globe a distributing point for mining 
operations in the vicinity.* For a decade the surrounding 
district produced silver and gold, rather than copper. In 
1881 John Williams erected a small copper furnace for the 
Old Dominion company at a point about six miles west 
of Globe, to treat oxidized copper ore found in the schist. This 
locality is now known as Miami. The smelter was called the 
Carrie plant, because it treated siliceous ore from the Carrie 
claim. In order to obtain the necessary flux, WiUiams 
arranged to pay a dollar per ton for ironstone from the 
Old Globe outcrop, which happened to contain more copper 
than the Carrie ore; thus the value of the Old Globe was 
discovered. Later the Old Dominion, which had ceased opera- 
tions, and the Old Globe were purchased by Kayser and 
Simpson. Then the Old Dominion smelter was built at 
Globe, this event marking the beginning of important copper- 
mining operations in the district. By 1886 there were six 
furnaces at work in the Globe district, but they were forced 
into idleness at the end of that year on account of the low 
price of copper, which was then quoted at 11 cents per pound. 
In 1888 the Old Dominion company was reorganized, starting 
forthwith on a long and successful career. In 1892 Phelps, 
Dodge & Company purchased the United Globe mines, and 
shortly thereafter, on the initiative of their resident manager, 
E. H. Cook, this firm acquired a large number of claims in 
the Miami area. In 1903 the same firm obtained control of 
the Old Dominion. At that time sundry small veins of siliceous 
copper ore had been worked on the Live Oak and Keystone 
claims, t and their green dumps, now part of the great Inspira- 

* T. A. Rickard, Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. CXV, p. 161; 1917. 
t F. L. Ransome, 'The Geology of the Globe Copper District', U. S. 
Geol. Survey, p. 156; 1903. 



COPPER-MINING IN ARIZONA 29S 

tion mine, serve as a reminder of the small operations in search 
of oxidized copper mineral that preceded the big-scale chalco- 
cite developments of our own day. 

The story of the Miami copper enterprise is a good example 
of the modern appUcation of scientific knowledge to prospect- 
ing, and this inust be said timidly in fear that the readers of a. 
later day, famihar with geophysical methods, may take a 
toplofty mental attitude. In November, 1906, J. Parke 
Channing, a Columbia School of Mines graduate and a. 
distinguished mining engineer, was at Globe on a visit to the 
Old Dominion mine. While there he met F. C. Alsdorf, whom 
he had known in Colorado in 1895. Alsdorf told Channing 
that in the course of scouting he had found what appeared to 
him to be a promising deposit of disseminated copper in the 
hUls about six miles west of Globe. Both Alsdorf and Chan- 
ning were familiar with the 'porphyry copper' type of mine, 
and Channing especially understood how Lake Superior 
mining methods and Montanan smelting practice could be 
applied to a low-grade copper deposit of this kind. They took 
horses and rode to what is now the Miami-Inspiration district. 

Near the western edge of this mineralized area, a ridge of 
schist flanked by granite, there was an adit, known as the 
Woodson tunnel, that had been driven in the course of mining 
sundry patches of rich carbonate ore, and at its farther end 
this adit had penetrated low-grade material, in which, however, 
some specks of chalcocite were detected by the two engineers. 
Together they rode back over the ground, dismounting at 
intervals to examine the surface, and to discuss the signs of 
leaching in so far as they gave promise of enrichment below. 
At the eastern end of this area they came to the group of 
claims that Alsdorf had under option and that ultimately 
constituted the property of the Miami Copper Company. 
Channing examined this ground, and was favorably impressed. 
The next day he interviewed the several claim-owners and had 
a talk with the attorney, F. J. Elliott, in whose name several 
of the options stood. These options called for cash payments 



294 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

such as were not justified by the condition of the property, 
which had only a few 10-foot holes without a pound of visible 
ore. The meeting with the owners lasted until the small 
hours of the following morning, by which time Mr. Channing, 
representing the General Development Company, controlled 
by Adolph Lewisohn, of New York, had taken an option to 
purchase the property for $250,000, of which $150,000 was to 
be paid in cash, and $100,000 in the stock of a $2,000,000 
corporation. The first payment, of $50,000, was to be made in 
six months. Mr. Channing returned to New York, and sent 
Louis A. Wright to examine the prospective mine. The report 
of this capable engineer confirmed the opinion of Messrs. 
Alsdorf and Channing that there was a good chance of uncover- 
ing a large deposit of disseminated copper. In December, 
1906 — only a month after the first inspection — two shafts 
were started: one, on the Captain claim, where there was a 
showing of carbonate ore, and the other on the Red Rock 
claim, where the oxidized cap was so thoroughly leached that 
only a small spot of green could be detected. However, the 
cap on the Red Rock impressed Channing because it was well 
silicified and showed residual iron, which was not in excess as 
on the Red Spring claim farther north. Silicification accom- 
panies the solution and removal of the soluble portions of the 
rock; an excessive coloration suggests that the downward 
migration of the copper had not kept pace with the erosion, 
thereby preventing concentration at a lower horizon. 

The two shafts were sunk simultaneously by the aid of 
gasoline-hoists. At a depth of 100 feet the Captain shaft 
passed out of copper-stained siliceous schist into rock showing 
specks of chalcocite, and 70 feet deeper it penetrated the 
granite, which contained the primary sulphide, chalcopyrite. 
The granite was cut again in a drift extended northwestward 
at the 150-foot level, whereas a drift in the opposite direction 
struck leached schist within a hundred feet. The shaft was 
sunk to 200 feet, and at that level a drift was driven 70 feet 
southeast in granite showing pyrite and chalcopyrite. Later 



COPPER-MINING IN ARIZONA 295 

exploration showed that if this shaft had been placed 200 feet 
to the west, it would have cut a large orebody at a depth of less 
than 75 feet. The first results therefore were disappointing. 

Meanwhile the Red Rock shaft was being sunk through 
leached cap-rock, and it was not until April, at a depth of 
200 feet, that this shaft penetrated suddenly into the zone of 
secondary enrichment, the schist assaying 3 per cent copper, 
as chalcocite. The shaft went through 50 feet of this stuff; 
a level was started from the bottom; and at the end of May 
the drifts had been extended 50 feet each way to the four 
points of the compass. The showing was sufficiently encourag- 
ing to warrant the first payment, in June. Mr. Channing 
went to Alaska, and on his return in October he found that 
1,000,000 tons of ore had been proved. By March, 1908—15 
months from the start — there was 2,000,000 tons of 3 per cent 
ore assured; the Red Rock shaft, then 710 feet deep, had 
proved the vertical extent of the orebody, and most of the 
drifts — 2518 feet in aggregate length — were in good ore. 

Thereupon the Miami Copi>er Company was organized in 
New York with a capital of 600,000 shares of $5 each, a total 
of $3,000,000. Inasmuch as this was a 50 per cent increase 
on the capitalization specified under the option, the promoters 
(the General Development Company) increased the number 
of shares going to the claim-owners, who then received $150,000 
worth of stock. By this time about $150,000 had been spent 
in development, so that the total expenditure incurred in 
purchase and exploration was about $400,000. Of the 600,000 
shares authorized, 300,000 were deUvered to the General 
Development Company for having found the mine and 
developed it to that stage, of potential productivity. A block 
of 200,000 shares was sold at par in order to raise $1,000,000 
of working capital. As the mine underwent development it 
became evident that the million would not suffice, so, later, 
the 100,000 shares remaining in the treasury were sold at $10 
each, raising another million dollars. In 1910 the capital 
was increased to 750,000 shares, and the extra 150,000 shares 



296 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

were sold for $2,500,000. Thus altogether there was provided 
for development and equipment about $4,500,000, in addition 
to the $400,000 paid for purchase and preliminary develop- 
ment. It is interesting to note how much money is required 
to convert a promising prospect into a dividend-paying mine. 
In 1917 the Miami shares were quoted at a price that gave the 
mine a valuation of $30,000,000; it had paid $11,190,000 in 
dividends; and a sum of $1,700,000 had been put back in 
development and improvements. On April 1, 1917, the 
company had quick assets valued at $7,600,000, of which 
$2,000,000 was cash. A total of $35,000,000 had been paid 
in dividends at the end of 1930. 

The facts tell the story without the need of rhetorical adorn- 
ment. It shows how intelligent observation and scientific 
reasoning can be brought to bear even on that exploratory 
phase of mining which has seemed usually so haphazard. The 
sum of $400,000 was risked to ascertain whether there was 
enough ore to constitute a profitable mine; after that point 
was passed, the further development underground served 
merely to emphasize the bigness of the orebody and the con- 
sequent need of making financial provision for operations on a 
big scale. The story of the Miami suggests also that the 
successful exploitation of an orebody may involve operations 
on a scale so big as to require the expenditure of sums of money 
that make the original purchase of the bare ground seem very 
cheap; it indicates that a mining claim without the intelligent 
use of capital is only second-rate scenery. The Miami story 
also shows the camaraderie that exists between engineers of the 
best type, and the good faith that is kept between them; as also 
between them and the community. It is worthy of note that 
Mr. Alsdorf was retained by Mr. Channing to superintend the 
prospecting operations and that Mr. Elliott was engaged as legal 
adviser, thus evincing the confidence that existed between the 
principal parties to the enterprise. To the historian of a later 
day, these ruminations may probably seem quaint, but, such 
as they are, they represent the ideas prevalent in our day. 



COPPER-MINING IN ARIZONA 297 

After Parke Channing had bonded the properties now owned 
by the Miami Copper Company, W. B. Thompson and others 
obtained options on adjoining property and formed the 
Inspiration Consolidated Copper Company, while Hovland 
and Smith bonded and formed the Live Oak Copper Company, 
these two companies being shortly afterward consolidated into 
the Inspiration Consolidated Copper Company. The old 
Inspiration Company erected a test-mill for the treatment of 
the ore by gravity concentration. The experiments were 
fairly satisfactory and the Inspiration Consolidated Copper 
Company had already prepared the foundations for a large 
gravity mill when the Minerals Separation Company called 
attention to the resiilts of tests in its San Francisco laboratory 
made on Inspiration ore. These results were so startling that 
all construction at Inspiration was stopped for a year while 
experiments were made with the flotation process, with the 
result that the Inspiration company changed its concentrator 
plans from all-gravity to flotation after making a contract 
with the Minerals Separation Company that was mutually 
satisfactory. This marked the first important introduction of 
flotation into the copper-mining industry of the United States. 

Another, and later, feature of local metaUurgic practice was 
the successful application of leaching to the ores of the Key- 
stone, Live Oak, and Inspiration mines, all of which contained 
large tonnages of mixed ore in which half the copper occurred 
as chalcocite and haK as oxidized minerals, such as chrysocolla 
and malachite. These ores carry only 1-2 per cent of copper; 
they are too poor for a dual process of leaching and concentra- 
tion; whereupon experiments were made, and, fortunately, it 
was ascertained that the regeneration of ferric sulphate could 
be utilized as a solvent for the chalcocite, as also for the copper 
in an oxidized condition. George Van Arsdale, at the request 
of Dr. Ricketts, made a number of experiments at Los Angeles, 
these being followed by further tests made at the Inspiration 
mine, where Harold Aldrich and Guy Ruggles developed a 
leaching process that was embodied in a 10,000-ton plant cost- 



298 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

ing $6,000,000. This plant has been completely successful; it 
is extracting 90 per cent of the copper in the mixed ore. Here 
note may be made of the fact that in the leaching operations 
at Ajo the regeneration of the ferric sulphate was a nuisance, 
whereas at Inspiration it was an aid. At both mines the 
leaching operations attained a precision of treatment new to 
this difficult branch of metallurgy. 

In the early 'seventies Louis Zeckendorf and Albert Stein- 
feld, merchants of Tucson, were attracted by some copper 
prospects in Pinal county on Mineral creek, a tributary of the 
Gila river, and they spent a considerable sum of money in 
developing these prospects, which were sold to an English 
company, Ray Copper Mines Ltd., in 1898. The English 
owners aimed to mine the copper in a diabase dike, and ignored 
the copper disseminated in the surrounding schist. However, 
an incline-shaft in the dike happened to pass into the foot-wall 
country-rock owing to a turn in the dip of the dike, and thus 
the schist was found to contain a secondary enrichment of 
copper. The small area of such ore proved by the English 
company in the vicinity of No. 1 shaft was sampled incorrectly, 
and, when it was milled, the returns proved disappointing. 
A 200-ton mill was built at Kelvin, 6 miles south of the mine, at 
the junction of Mineral creek and the Gila river. Power was 
obtained from oil distillate, but the engines gave so much 
trouble that continuous operation proved impracticable. The 
nearest railroad was 60 miles distant, at Red Rock, on the 
Southern Pacific line, and as all fuel and other supplies had 
to be hauled from that point, and the copper concentrate also 
had to be carried thither by wagon, the conditions were 
burdensome. The recovery of copper in the mill was dis- 
appointing; the schistose ore was supposed to average 4 per 
cent plus, whereas it contained only 2 per cent plus, and the 
actual saving in the mill was only about 1 per cent of copper. 
Operations ceased, and the mine remained idle for several years. 

Philip Wiseman, while general manager for the Shannon 
Copper Company, at Chfton, had heard of the Ray, and went 



COPPER-MINING IN ARIZONA 299 

thither. He had seen the work done by James Colquhoun, 
who, probably, was the first to treat a disseminated copper 
ore, at Clifton, in 1896; but it was of comparatively high grade, 
so that, when he examined the Ray deposit, in 1901, Colquhoun 
concluded that though there was millions of tons of 2 per cent 
copper rock, it could not be exploited profitably. Wiseman 
inferred, from Colquhoun's operations, that ore of this charac- 
ter could be made to pay. Therefore, in association with 
Seeley Mudd, he secured options on the Ray mine and 
adjacent properties; these options were transferred to the Ray 
Consolidated Copper and the Gila Copper companies in 1906. 
The two companies were consolidated in 1907 under the 
leadership of Daniel C. Jackling, with Wiseman as general 
manager at Kelvin. The schistose ground was thoroughly 
drilled, and thereby about 5,000,000 tons of ore in an area 
3000 feet wide by 12,000 feet long was proved, the copper 
content being about 234 per cent. Further exploratory work 
resulted in the proving of 80,000,000 tons of ore by 1912. 
The EngUsh company had buUt a narrow-gauge railroad from 
the mines at Ray to its 200-ton milling plant at Kelvin. This 
line was re-built in 1908 and the milling plant was changed and 
enlarged to 300 tons capacity. This miU was used as a testing- 
plant, preparatory to the erection of a 5000-ton mill, in which 
the gravity concentration method was used. 

It is interesting to trace the germ of low-grade 'porphyry 
copper' exploitation, for mines in schist as well as monzonite 
are thus designated. In 1903 L. C. Trent said that a 30 per 
cent concentrate could be obtained from a 2 per cent copper 
ore in Utah, meaning Bingham, but it was the mill-testing of 
Jackling in the Rogers mill at Bingham in 1899 that was the 
pioneer enterprise in this class of mining, because, unlike 
Colquhoun, he foresaw the profitable treatment of 2 per cent 
stuff by ordinary gravity concentration, which, later, was 
discarded in favor of the more effective process of flotation. 

It is noteworthy that the intensive development of the 
copper resources of Arizona during the last 40 years, a develop- 



300 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

ment that made Arizona the most productive copper region in 
the world, was based upon resources that had been known 
long before, and that awaited railroad building and metallurgic 
technique to make them the basis of successful industry. The 
finding of rich ore, at Bisbee and Jerome, for example, attracted 
capital and engineering skill, thereby starting profitable 
production, but it was the gradual proving, chiefly by drilling, 
of immense masses of copper-bearing rock and the subsequent 
skilful use of metallurgic processes of concentration that 
enabled the relatively lean ores to become sources of wealth 
incomparably greater than the criaderos and bonanzas that 
first attracted the prospector to the Southwest. 



CHAPTER XIII 
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NORTHWEST 

In 1803 the purchase of the immense territory called the 
province of Louisiana was arranged between Thomas Jefferson, 
President of the United States, and Napoleon Bonaparte, First 
Consul of France. This central portion of what is now the 
United States was claimed in 1682 by the explorer Robert de 
La Salle for France, who continued to hold her title to the vast 
domain until 1762, when it passed by treaty to Spain, only to 
be retroceded to France in 1802, in consequence of Napoleon's 
military domination of Spain. Jefferson did not care to see 
New Orleans and its extensive hinterland pass into the hands 
of France. Spain did not matter so much; she was quiet and 
feeble, whereas France was restless and aggressive under 
Napoleon, who had dreams of founding a French colonial 
empire on the American continent. The expression of Ameri- 
can feeling that Jefferson elicited came as a surprise to 
Napoleon, who concluded that a contest was not worth while, 
for his navy had been shattered by the English, and it was 
evident that only maritime supremacy could enable him to 
retain this trans- Atlantic possession; so he resolved to put it 
out of the grasp of England and at the same time replenish 
his military chest by selling Louisiana to the United States. 
The price was 60 million francs. 

By the terms of the Louisiana purchase a magnificent 
territory was added to the national domain; it covered more 
than a million square miles, or more than the total area of the 
United States at that time. Louisiana included the present 
States of Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, 
Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, 
Oklahoma, with parts of Colorado, Idaho, and Minnesota; but 

301 



302 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

its limits northward were vague, so that historians do not agree 
as to the precise portion of the country it embraced. If the 
Louisiana Territory was limited to the watersheds of the 
Mississippi and the Missouri, it would not include Idaho, 
which is drained by rivers that are tributary to the Columbia. 
At the date of cession the entire population of the region, 
exclusive of the Indian tribes, consisted of 90,000 persons, of 
whom 40,000 were slaves. The white inhabitants were 
chiefly French. 

In order to explore this new domain. President Jefferson, 
just before the actual transfer (on April 30,1803), asked the 
Congress to appropriate $2500 for an expedition, which was 
placed under the leadership of Captain Meriwether Lewis,* 
who chose Captain William Clark as the second in command. 
This famous Lewis and Clark expedition consisted of 27 men, 
besides the two leaders; 9 were young frontiersmen from 
Kentucky, 14 were soldiers from the United States Army, and 2 
were French voyageurs, or boatmen. At that time the country 
'beyond' was quite unknown, weird tales were current con- 
cerning it, and when the explorers started to cross the head- 
waters of the Missouri to the upper reaches of the newly 
discovered Columbia, they were hardly expected to return. 
The vague notion that Jefferson himself had as to the route 
likely to be taken by the expedition on its return journey is 
suggested by his instructions to Lewis, to whom he said: 
"Our consuls, Thomas Hewes, at Batavia, in Java, William 
Buchanan, in the Isles of France and Bourbon, and John 
Elmslie, at the Cape of Good Hope, will be able to supply 
your necessities by drafts on us".t 

Their trail followed the rivers : first, the Missouri to its tribu- 
tary the Yellowstone, then the Yellowstone and the Jefferson. 
When they entered Idaho, they encountered the Shoshone 
Indians at the junction of the Salmon and Lemhi rivers. All 
went well ; they treated the Indians considerately, and received 

* He was Jefferson's private secretary. 

t Noah Brooks, 'First across the Continent', p. 13; 1912. 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NORTHWEST 



303 



kindly treatment in return. The crossing of the Bitter Root 
mountains was hard and wearisome. The Indians on the 
western slope were likewise friendly. When Lewis and Clark 
reached the Clearwater, which they believed to be tributary to 




the Columbia river, they built five canoes and proceeded down 
stream. Nine days later they floated into the Great River, 
the River of the North, or the Oregon, as the Columbia had 
been variously known to the earlier explorers. On November 



304 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

2, 1805, they reached tidewater and heard a few words of 
English spoken by an Indian. They camped on the shore 
of the Pacific on November 12, eighteen months after the start 
of the expedition. They returned to St. Louis on September 
3 of the following year. 

The earliest curiosity concerning the northwestern part of 
North America was aroused by the idea of finding a short 
way from Europe to India. The fable of the Strait of Anian 
enticed the Spanish navigators northward from Mexico, as the 
similar dream of a Northwest Passage took the English 
sailors into the Arctic ice. These explorations, during three 
centuries, from Cabrillo to Cook, 5delded much knowledge 
concerning the navigable rivers of the North American con- 
tinent and opened the eyes of the explorers to the fur resources 
of the northern regions. The rivers became the natural high- 
ways to the interior, and up them went the early colonists, 
the trapper and the trader leading the advance. Through the 
middle of North America, from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf 
of Mexico, there runs a wide trough, which is crossed by the 
valley of the Great Lakes; on each side of them there is a low 
rim that separates the northern from the southern watersheds, 
and the streams that formerly connected them. Short 
portages enabled the French boatmen to link the waterways 
north of the Lakes with those south of them. Thus the 
French fur-traders, by making use of the Indian canoe, 
paddled along a Canadian river into one of the lakes and 
across it, southward; then carr3dng their canoe for 10 miles 
or less, they launched it on a stream that bore them into a 
tributary of the Mississippi. These portages served to link the 
water-ways. * After the Mississippi valley had been explored 
and colonized, the finger of adventure pointed westward, 
where the ramparts of the Rocky Mountains interposed an 
imposing barrier to the migration of the people coming from 
the Atlantic coast. Again a river offered a way of approach 

* Ellen C. Semple, 'AmericanHistory and its Geographic Conditions', 
p. 28; 1903. 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NORTHWEST 305 

to the trapper and prospector. The Columbia throws mighty 
arms as far as the headwaters of the Athabasca in the north 
and as far as the sources of the Colorado in the south; it 
penetrates the heart of the Rocky Mountains and almost 
touches fingers with streams that feed the Missouri. Lewis 
and Clark followed the Missouri, and then its most westerly 
branch, the Yellowstone, to the mountain barrier, through 
which they penetrated by aid of an Indian trail over the 
Lemhi pass, thereby reaching a branch of the Salmon river, 
which would have led to the Snake and thence to the Columbia; 
but the Salmon was not navigable, so they turned northward 
over the range until they struck an upper branch of the 
Clearwater, down which they floated in their canoes first to 
the Snake and then into the Columbia itself, to the sea. 

The migration of colonists fron the eastern seaboard to the 
regions beyond the Alleghenies began before the Revolution, 
but the Lewis and Clark expedition was the first to break 
through the barrier of the Rocky Mountains and start "the 
winning of the West ". When Lewis and Clark were encamped 
among the Nez Perces on the Clearwater, they found traces 
of the white men that had preceded them into the wilderness 
of mountain and forest, and when they arrived at tide- 
water they met an Indian that understood their speech. 
It is noteworthy that the explorers famous in the early his- 
tory of the West have usually found other white men ahead of 
them, French trappers, British fur-traders, or American pros- 
pectors, who had made friends with the Indians and married 
among them, becoming 'squaw-men ', and being thereby admit- 
ted to the aboriginal knowledge of the country. Among these 
was Carboneau, the French-Canadian trapper that married 
the famous Sacagawea, a Shoshone woman, with whom he 
accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition, to which both 
husband and wife proved of great service as guides. Another 
was Drewyer, the son of a Canadian and a squaw, who 
was particularly helpful in killing game for food in January, 
1805, when the same expedition was extremely short 



306 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

of provisions. Other expeditions were aided similarly. 
Indeed the term 'squaw-man' has been used unwisely as a 
term of opprobrium. Were the men that made friends of the 
Indians and married their women less commendable than those 
that cheated and murdered the Indians? As a matter of fact, 
the prospector, no less than the fur-trader, derived much 
useful aid from the squaw-men because these acted as inter- 
preters and gave them invaluable information concerning the 
country in which they were seeking either for peltry or for 
metals. The squaw-man was the pioneer colonist. 

The rivalries of the fur companies opened the Northwest to 
mineral exploration. The commercial activities of Canadian 
companies operating southward were noted by the government 
of the United States when it had but newly come into being; 
the leaders of the young American nation looked askance at the 
growing influence of foreigners over the aboriginal tribes 
within its own territory; therefore, in 1796, an effort to counter- 
act these activities was initiated by the American government 
and an attempt was made to establish trading-posts on the 
frontier; but this effort failed, because the dull patronage of 
government could not outvie the keen activity of private enter- 
prise.* What the Government failed to do, the energy and 
enterprise of an individual succeeded in accomplishing. John 
Jacob Astor was the man. Astor was born in the German 
village of Waldorf, near Heidelberg, on the Rhine. During 
the American Revolution, he started his commercial career 
in London, where his great-grandson died a British viscount in 
1919. In 1783 he determined to follow an elder brother, who 
had been residing in America for several years. Taking with 
him a stock of merchandise, bought with his savings, he went 
to New York, where he sold his merchandise and invested the 
proceeds in furs, with which he returned to London in 1784. 
He sold the furs satisfactorily, and came back to New York in 
the same year. Thereupon he devoted himself, perseveringly 
and thriftily, to the business of a fur-trader. After sundry 

* Washington Irving, 'Astoria', Vol. I, p. 27; 1836. 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NORTHWEST 307 

trade restrictions between Canada and the United States had 
been removed by treaty in 1795, Astor made a contract with 
the Northwest Company, which, in 1806, estabUshed the first 
posts beyond the Rocky Mountains, north of the Columbia 
river. In 1807 Astor started to trade on his own account, 
ceasing to be merely a broker or middle-man. He had now 
the requisite capital and resources, but he soon discovered that 
despite his knowledge and enterprise he could not overcome 
the opposition of the Mackinaw Company, which controlled 
most of the fur trade within American territory. He appealed 
to the American government for help, oiJering to turn the whole 
business of that part of the continent into American channels. 
His plans were cordially approved at Washington. In 1809 
he obtained a charter from the legislature of New York State 
incorporating the American Fur Company with a capital of a 
million dollars. This capital was furnished by Astor himself; 
in fact, he constituted the company. In 1811, in conjunction 
with certain members of the Northwest Company and others 
engaged in the fur trade, he bought out the Mackinaw Com- 
pany and merged it with the American Fur Company in a new 
association called the Southwest Company. This was done 
with the knowledge and approval of the American government. 
Unluckily the war of 1812 stopped the operations of the new 
company, and after the war it was dissolved, the Congress 
having passed a law prohibiting British fur-traders from doing 
business within the territory of the United States. Meanwhile 
ships were going to the Pacific coast to engage in the peltry 
business. Among them was the 'Columbia', commanded by 
Captain Robert Gray, of Boston, who discovered and named 
the great river in 1792. 

The reports of Lewis and Clark showed Astor that it was 
practicable to maintain communication across the continent. 
He decided to establish trading-posts along the Missouri and 
the Columbia rivers. At the mouth of the Columbia he would 
have his headquarters, and to it he would send a ship each 
year from New York with supplies and with the merchandise 



308 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

needed for the trade with the Indians. These plans were sub- 
mitted to Jefferson, who gave his warm approval, because the 
President foresaw that such enterprise would facilitate the 
spreading of the American people toward the Pacific coast and 
thereby promote the growth of the nation. With thQ 
approval, therefore, of the Government, Astor organized two 
expeditions, one by sea and one by land, to proceed to the 
mouth of the Columbia river. His ship, the 'Tonquin', com- 
manded by Jonathan Thorn, sailed round Cape Horn and 
reached its destination, on March 22, 1811, after a voyage of 
198 days. A site for a trading-house was selected near Point 
George ; it was named Astoria. Meanwhile the land expedition 
under Wilson Hunt had started from Montreal and proceeded 
to St. Louis, from which it went in canoes for 450 miles up the 
Missouri. In crossing the mountains much snow and other 
difficulties were encountered, but at last Hunt and liis party 
arrived at Astoria, on February 15, 1813, after more than two 
and a half years of travel. The direct line from St. Louis to 
Astoria is only 1800 miles, but Hunt had wandered 3500 miles 
to get there. 

The news of the outbreak of war between Great Britain and 
the United States had reached Astoria, by sea, on January 15, 
1813. On October 16 there appeared a vessel with agents of 
the Northwest Company on board. These contracted for 
the purchase of the American Fur Company's property at a 
price of $58,000. Astor's local representatives were largely 
Canadians with a friendly feeling toward the Northwest people. 
While the transfer was being concluded a British sloop of war 
arrived with orders to capture Astoria. The sale having been 
made, its terms were respected. The American flag was 
replaced by the British, and Astoria was re-christened Fort 
George.* The touch of military conquest given to the affair, 
by the presence of the British warship, caused the restoration 
of Astoria to the United States under the Treaty of Ghent in 

* Reuben G. Thwaites, 'A Brief History of Rocky Mountain Explora- 
tion', p. 196; 1904. 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NORTHWEST 309 

1815, but it was held by the Northwest Fur Company until 
1821, when it passed with other possessions of that company 
into the hands of the Hudson's Bay Company. 

Most of us have forgotten how much the fur of the beaver 
was worn in the olden time. Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote: 

Have a good hat; the secret of your looks 
Lives with the beaver in Canadian brooks. 

When the silk hat replaced the beaver in 1832, the price of the 
fur in London fell to one-eighth its former figure. 

For ten years after the capture of Astoria, scarcely an 
American was to be seen in the region. An agreement for 
joint occupation was made in 1818 between the United States 
and Great Britain, but this failed to decide the opposing claims 
and did but accentuate the conflict of interests. The agree- 
ment that this part of the country should be open to the 
peoples of both nations was for ten years, and in 1828 it was 
extended for ten years more. The Hudson's Bay Company 
extended its outposts ; the Columbia River basin was occupied 
by British subjects and governed under British law. In the 
spring of 1811 David Thompson, of the Northwest Company, 
had tried to forestall Hunt, representing Astor's company, but 
he had been delayed in crossing the mountains. Nevertheless 
he laid claim to various places as he descended the Columbia 
river and erected flagstaffs flying the British colors. On this 
performance the British government based its right to domin- 
ion in 1826. A friendly effort was made to arrange the 
international dispute. In 1826 the forty-ninth parallel of 
latitude was accepted temporarily by both parties as the 
frontier up to the Rocky Mountains. Interest in the con- 
troversy grew to excitement as migration over the Oregon trail 
increased. In 1843 an expedition of 1000 persons, including 
women and children, with herds of cattle and horses, trekked 
from Missouri to the valleys of the Willamette and Columbia. 
In 1844 another company of 2000 immigrants of like character 
joined them, and in the following year 3000 more. The 



310 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Hudson's Bay agents objected to this peaceful invasion because 
it spoiled their fur trade. Congress was slow to act, but, 
thanks to the exertions of Senator Thomas H. Benton, a treaty- 
was drafted amicably in 1846, the British protocol being 
accepted, whereby "the Oregon territory was divided by the 
49th parallel from the Rocky Mountains to the Straits of Fuca, 
and thence by a line following the main channel of these straits 
to the sea".* Two years later, in 1848, Oregon was created a 
Territory. In 1859 Oregon became a State. 

The foregoing account of the extension of the fur trade, and 
its resulting international disputes, is necessary to an under- 
standing of the beginnings of mining in the Northwest, because, 
as in the Mississippi valley, at an earlier period, the fur-trader 
prepared the way for the prospector. Between the seeker of 
furs and the searcher for minerals came the missionary, who 
tried to save the soul of the Indian while his enterprising 
friends were succeeding in dispossessing the poor aboriginal of 
his earthly possessions. Thus the mineral resources of the 
Northwest were opened up. In 1810 the Missouri Fur Com- 
pany established a post on the Snake river and in 1811 a party 
of the Pacific Fur Company, controlled by Astor, descended the 
Snake to its junction with the Columbia. Then came mis- 
sionaries, both Romanist and Protestant. These traveled 
along the trails that the trappers and packers had established 
across the Bitter Root range, which separates Idaho from 
Montana. In 1841 Father De Smet, a Jesuit priest, descended 
into the valley of the Coeur d'Al^ne river and ministered to the 
Indians of that name, a name they owed to a tricky trader, 
whom, when he tried to get the best of them, they called, in the 
French that they had learned from the Canadians, coeur 
d'al^ne, or heart of an awl. The other traders, for lack of a 
better name, thenceforth spoke of these Indians as the Coeur 
d' Alines. They were a docile tribe, and begged De Smet 
to establish a mission among them, as was done in 1842. It 

» Robert McNutt Elroy, 'The Winning of the Far West', p. 127; 1914. 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NORTHWEST 311 

was trade with these Indians that led to the discovery of the 
mineral wealth of the region. 

In the spring of 1849 the gold excitement in California 
attracted many of the pioneer settlers from the Northwest. 
Ten years later gold was discovered in the Similkameen valley, 
but these diggings proved to be in British territory, as Ameri- 
can traders soon realized, when they were taxed $100 for the 
privilege of doing business there. In August of the following 
year, 1860, the placers of the Cariboo, at the head of the Fraser 
river, were made known and soon drew the usual motley crowd 
of eager gold-seekers. Some of the claims yielded from $8 to 
$50 per day per man. Five men in one company took out 
$2400 in gold in six days. The reports from Cariboo started a 
renewed search for gold along the northern border-lands of 
the United States, one consequence of which was Pierce's 
discovery in the valley of the Clearwater. 

To E. D. Pierce belongs the honor of being the pioneer of 
mining in Idaho. He was a trader among the Indians and 
through them he had long known that the country east of the 
big bend of the Snake river was gold-bearing, but he did not 
care to undertake prospecting operations for fear of arousing 
their enmity. He had been in California and knew something 
about placer mining. In 1858 Pierce went to the district of 
the Nez Perc^ Indians, but found no opportunity to search for 
gold until the ratification of the Nez Perc6 treaty in 1860, 
which event marked the cessation of hostilities between these 
Indians and the white settlers. Early in the same year he 
was enabled to verify his belief that there was gold in the 
gravel of the Clearwater, a branch of the Snake, and he so 
reported in April at Walla Walla, which was the nearest 
distributing point. Pierce did not return at once to the 
Clearwater, on account of opposition from both the Indian 
and the military departments of the Government. These 
dreaded a renewal of trouble with the Nez Percys and the 
Spokanes in the event of a mob of prospectors over-running 



312 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

their reservations. * In August, of 1860, however. Pierce was 
able to set out from Walla Walla for the purpose of making a 
conclusive examination. He appears to have been a careful 
and sagacious man, unwilling to commit himself to an opinion 
until sufficient evidence was forthcoming. He ascertained 
that the diggings would yield from 8 to 15 cents to the pan. 
Having satisfied himself that profitable mining was feasible, 
he tried to organize a large number of men to return with him 
and remain on the ground during the winter, but the fear of 
attack by the Indians was a sufficient deterrent to the adven- 
ture, so that only 33 men were willing to accompany him. By 
the time 300 men had set to work on the Clearwater, at a 
place named Oro Fino, a treaty was negotiated with the 
Indians. This was in the spring of 1861. By July fully 5000 
men had scattered over the surrounding district, and prospect- 
ing had extended to the south fork of the Clearwater, where 
Elk City was founded. 

From the mining-camps of Pierce City and Oro Fino, in the 
Clearwater valley, the restless prospectors roamed southward 
to the other tributaries of the Snake river. In September of 
1861 an exploring party found rich gravel on Miller creek, 
which was named after one of the discoverers, Joseph Miller. 
This was on a branch of the Salmon river, in what is now 
Idaho, and was then in the Territory of Washington. An 
eager rush ensued, the exaggerated reports of big winnings 
having the effect of depriving Oro Fino and Elk City of a large 
part of their vagrant populations. John Munsac, we are told, 
purchased a claim for $1800 and "from two pans of the dirt 
took four ounces of gold". In two weeks he obtained 45 
pounds of 'dust'.f The hostility of the Shoshone Indians, 
however, troubled the diggers, and an unusually severe winter 
(1861-1862) checked placer operations. Meanwhile 700 men 
had congregated along the creeks and "every kind of provisions 

* 'The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft', Vol. XXXI, p. 235; 1890. 
t H. H. Bancroft, 'History of Washington, Idaho, and Montana', p. 
247; 1890. 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NORTHWEST 313 

was worth a dollar a pound, except beef, which was still cheap ". 
It is recorded that there were 186 claims on Miller creek; these 
were worked by 558 men, who gathered $2,785,536 in eight 
months. In the spring of 1862 a large number of miners 
arrived from California, and from elsewhere, so that in June 
fully 20,000 men were distributed among the various diggings 
on the Clearwater, Salmon, Powder, and John Day rivers. 

Prospecting farther southward was resumed; a party of 12, 
under the leadership of George Grimes, left Auburn, in Baker 
county, Oregon, and proceeded up the Snake river as far as 
Sinker creek. Then they advanced to the Boise river, which 
they crossed on a raft, to halt at the place where Boise City 
now stands. In August they reached the higher ground, where 
they found several creeks rich in gold, but they were attacked 
by some Shoshones that had been following them for several 
days, and Grimes was killed. As they were too few to face 
further attacks, the party returned to Walla Walla in Septem- 
ber, bringing about $4500 in gold-dust with them. This 
caused excitement, and incited the organization of another 
expedition of 54 men, well armed, who reached the Boise 
basin on October 7, 1862. They built cabins, and a stockade. 
Others came soon, attracted by the rumors of rich gravel. 
The best diggings were 70 miles due east of Fort Boise, which 
is on the Snake river. This was a beautiful country and it 
has become celebrated since then for its agricultural produc- 
tivity. At that time it was in the eastern part of the Territory 
of Washington, but in 1863 the portion of Washington lying 
east of Oregon and of the 117th meridian of west longitude 
became the Territory of Idaho. 

Grimes creek, named after the unfortunate leader of the 
first expedition, proved to be the richest in the Boise basin. 
Eighteen dollars a day was the usual gain. One pan of gravel, 
we are told, yielded $80. Soon ditches were constructed and 
the mining operations became more systematic. The Indians 
were still menacing, so a company of 200 men made a recon- 
naissance for the purpose of reprisals. A number of the natives 



314 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

had taken an advantageous position on high ground, from 
which they could not be dislodged until "by artifice the Indians 
were induced to surrender, and thereupon nearly all were killed 
by the ruthless white men in revenge for their murdered 
comrades". Men, women, and children were shot, only three 
small boys escaping. That is typical Indian warfare as it was 
understood in frontier days. 

In 1863 the Boise mines drew 25,000 into southern Idaho. 
During June quartz veins were discovered, the Pioneer, on 
Granite creek, and the Elmore, on Bear creek, being the mines 
that proved the most productive in later years. Among the 
settlements then founded were Rocky Bar and Boise City. At 
this time a party of prospectors searching for some 'lost 
diggings', said to have been worked by the immigrants of 
1845, went south of the Snake, and in the watershed of the 
Owyhee river they found good placers along a creek named 
the Jordan, after one of the discoverers, Michael Jordan. The 
gravel deposits were small in extent and many of the diggers 
that rushed thither were disappointed ; moreover, the gold was 
alloyed with so much silver that it was worth only $10 per 
ounce. This indicated the nearness of veins containing both 
gold and silver; indeed, shortly afterward, in July, several veins 
of rich silver ore were found. The discovery of silver caused 
keen interest, and the people of Oregon were sorry to be told, 
as soon as a survey was made, that the Owyhee silver deposits 
were inside the newly organized Territory of Idaho. Boonville 
and Ruby City were founded, and soon afterward, Silver City. 

Most of the productive mines in the Owyhee district, such as 
the Poorman, Ida Elmore, and Golden Chariot, were on War 
Eagle mountain.* Shipments from the district in three years, 
1865-1868, amounted to $2,969,648. The veins traversed 
granite and were remarkable for their hornsilver, the chloride, 
which was found in crystalline masses of remarkable beauty. 
Some pieces of this soft mineral were in sheets a sixteenth of an 

* William Ashburner, ' Mineral Resources of the States and Territories ', 
p. 161; 1869. 



THE DEVELOPMENT OP THE NORTHWEST 315 

inch in thickness and more than a foot square. Fourteen tons 
of ore shipped from the Poorman mine in 1866 to Newark, 
New Jersey, yielded $4000 per ton. From July to November, 
1866, the Poorman yielded 2382 tons, which, by treatment in 
four different mills, produced $546,692. 

The Poorman vein was discovered in the summer of 1865. 
At the place of discovery the vein was small and the ore was 
not rich. Soon afterward a prospector named Peck found 
some rich float at a spot about a thousand feet south of the 
discovery shaft, where the locators, Hays and Ray, were at 
work. By a little digging. Peck uncovered a rich vein, and 
promptly covered it, so as to hide his discovery. Then he 
collected all the rich float he could find and hid that also. His 
operations were out of the sight of his neighbors, to whom he 
went subsequently and with whom he talked in a casual way 
until they had told him how far their claim extended. He 
ascertained that it included the rich ground he had uncovered. 
He tried to buy their claim, but nothing was done; whereupon 
he left the locality, thinking it wise to dissemble his interest in 
the matter. On his return he found that some other prospec- 
tors had discovered his rich spot, had located a claim, and had 
already mined some handsome ore. Hays and Ray claimed 
this ground, and Peck undertook to help them, but the jumpers 
obtained monetary aid, built a fort, and prepared to resist 
eviction. A compromise was effected, but the mine suffered 
from subsequent litigation. The company that owned it was 
named the New York and Owyhee Mining Company, it is 
noteworthy that the manager in 1867 was John M. Adams, 
the first graduate from the Columbia School of Mines. Miners 
were paid five dollars per day. It is recorded: "The Chinese 
find limited employment, at a great reduction, but the pre- 
judice existing against them is as strong in Idaho as else- 
where, and the Indian difficulties have prevented any large 
immigration". 

Oregon had its share of mining excitement. Marshall, the 
discoverer of gold in California, had been an immigrant to 



316 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Oregon in 1884,* and with him at the time of the discovery at 
Coloma, in 1848, were two others from Oregon. As soon 
therefore as the news came from California, most of the able- 
bodied men in Oregon rushed thither. The Territorial legisla- 
ture had to suspend its sittings for lack of a quorum. Flour 
and lumber were exported freely from Oregon to the new 
camps in the Californian goldfields, and the farmers of the 
northern Territory profited greatly. The fur trade suffered 
depression, and this facilitated the eventual settlement of 
territorial rights by causing the retirement of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, and the recognition of American rights, resting 
largely on Astor's pioneer enterprise. A considerable part of 
the migration westward to California followed the northern 
route. In 1850 there came 35,000, chiefly men, by the over- 
land route to the Pacific coast, and 8000 of these settled in 
Oregon, where the gold discoveries were relatively unimportant 
and consequently did not interfere with the more quiet and 
fundamental development of agriculture. In 1850 gold was 
found on the Klamath, in northern California, and this led 
two years later to similar discoveries on Jackson creek in 
Oregon itself. In 1861 there were finds of gold on the John 
Day and Powder rivers in eastern Oregon, but none of these 
events caused any such excitement as the rushes to the 
American river in California or the Fraser river in British 
Columbia. These were decisive events. 

The rush to the Californian diggings attracted many men 
from the country north of the Columbia river, now the State 
of Washington, and delayed the development of the less 
feverish industries, such as the agricultural and pastoral ; but 
the rapid settlement of the Pacific coast consequent upon the 
migration stimulated by the gold discoveries had a quickening 
effect upon the whole of the Oregon Territory.! The exporta- 
tion of grain and lumber to Cahfornia enriched the settlers in 

* The year in which Oregon was organized as a Territory, 
t H. H. Bancroft, 'History of Washington, Idaho, and Montana', p. 
13; 1890. 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NORTHWEST 317 

the Northwest. Many of the gold-diggers returned from the 
south with the capital needed to develop the resources of their 
home locality; they busied themselves in felling timber for the 
saw-mills that provided the piles for the new wharves of San 
Francisco and the lumber for the city that was being built on 
the Golden Gate. The early settlements of Olympia, Port 
Townsend, and Seattle were lumber centres. Seattle was 
founded in 1852, and was named after an Indian chief that was 
held in high regard by the pioneers. In 1855 a discovery of 
gold in the Willamette valley, near the site of Fort Colville, 
which was established four years later, caused a short-lived 
excitement. During the rush to the Fraser River placers, in 
1859, many of the returning prospectors stayed in the Willa- 
mette valley and explored the upper reaches of the Columbia as 
far east as the Bitter Root valley, where they made five or six 
dollars per day. Some soldiers from Fort Colville discovered 
gold on the Similkameen river in October, 1859, and nothing 
could stop another stampede, followed by the organizing, in 
November, of a number of stock companies at Portland. 

The Northwest, as a mining region, was opened up first by 
the trapper and squaw-man, followed by the fur-trader. 
These blazed the trail over which came the prospector, a placer 
miner, who, through the Indians, heard of the occurrence of 
gold in some of the stream-beds, and forthwith used his pick 
and pan in the search for profitable alluvium. The working 
of the placer deposits attracted men that were experienced in 
the mining of the ores of the base metals and thereby led to 
the exploitation of the big silver-lead deposits of the region. 
By the establishment of mining communities in the mountains 
there was created a market for the produce of the farmers in 
the valley; and so, in due course, an industrial civilization was 
founded. 



CHAPTER XIV 
THE BUNKER HILL ENTERPRISE 

For many years the occurrence of gold in the Coeur d'Al^ne 
region had been rumored among the pioneers of the Northwest. 
It is stated that as early as 1853 gold was discovered in this 
district by Donelson, of the Stevens expedition, but the 
hostility of the Indians prevented prospecting. In 1858, when 
Lieutenant John MuUan surveyed the military road across 
the Bitter Root mountains, the members of his expedition, 
most of whom had mined in California, noticed sundry outcrops 
of good-looking quartz, and some of them actually found gold, 
as is recorded in a letter that MuUan wrote, from Washington, 
in 1884. The first successful prospector in the Coeur d' Alene 
was Tom Irwin, who worked a quartz vein on the Mullan road 
in the spring of 1879. Two years later he met A. J. Prichard, 
who was engaged in the lumber business; he told him what he 
thought of the chances of placer mining in the upper reaches 
of the Coeur d'Al^ne river. This was in 1881. Prichard 
became keenly interested, and himself found gold on several 
creeks, one of which is now known by his name, at a place close 
to the site of the town of Murray.* In 1883 Prichard located 
a number of claims, and shortly afterward he wrote a letter to 
the members of a Liberal League to which he belonged, inviting 
them to "secure the lion's share" of the mineral wealth he had 
uncovered. His letters caused a stampede from Montana 
and Colorado, and from South Dakota also, to the Coeur 
d'Al&ne gold belt in the summer of 1883. 

A town, named Eagle City, was surveyed; in 1884 lots sold at 
prices ranging from $200 to $2000. The buildings were made 
of logs and shingles. Shoveling of the snow in front left a 

* T. A. Rickard, Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. CXX, p. 13; 1920. 

318 



THE BUNKER HILL ENTERPRISE 



319 



mound between the houses and the street. From big tents, 
with gaudy signs, came sounds of barbaric music, the cUck 
of poker chips, and the clink of coin over a bar. At the 
corners stood groups of men talking about mines and mining, 



10 M JO 40 50 




Salmon City L. isJOf 

<S) \ *\ 

I Lemhi ^^<i 



Fig. 24. — Map of Idaho. 

some of them examining specimens as they were passed from 
hand to hand. The stores exhibited lumps of gold-bespattered 
quartz. A pistol shot would cause a transient flutter and the 
saloons momentarily disgorged a motley crowd. Pack trains 
arrived, weather-worn and dilapidated from hard travel, and 



320 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

after them came the poor fellows that had dragged their 
belongings on sleds and toboggans over the snow-covered trail 
across the mountains from Thompson Falls, their ardor having 
been excited by the flamboyant advertisements issued to 
'boost' the newly constructed Northern Pacific railroad. 
Amid the hubbub of arrival, there were cheerful sounds of 
greeting and the laughter of care-free young men. The 
hammering of the carpenters indicated the growth of the town. 
An air of expectation pervaded the community; the town was 
full of life and hope — a transitory gleam. Eagle City soon 
lost its plumage; other 'cities' sprang up like mushrooms in 
the night; among them were Carbon City and Myrtle; each 
had its short splutter; their sites are hard to find today. It 
would be difficult also to discover the place once occupied by 
the town of Delta, the birthplace of David Levinger, recently 
a director of the American Institute of Mining and Metal- 
lurgical Engineers, and the manager of the Development 
Department of the Western Electric Company, the largest 
single consumer of lead in the United States. 

Murray was one of these early mining centres. The firm of 
Cooper and Peck owned a store of general merchandise in that 
town. During the summer of 1885 they grubstaked a prospec- 
tor named Noah Kellogg. In frontier communities 'grub- 
staking ' used to be a recognized form of mining speculation ; it 
consisted in supplying a prospector with food and tools, in 
return for which he undertook to give his backers a half- 
interest in any mineral discovery he might make. Kellogg 
was provided with a donkey and $18-75 worth of supplies and 
provisions; these consisted of 15 pounds of flour, 7 pounds of 
bacon, 8 pounds of beans, 4 pounds of dried apples, 2 pounds 
of coffee, $1 worth of sugar, one pair of $2-75 shoes, and half a 
dozen printed location notices. He was to prospect on the 
south fork of the Coeur d'Al^ne river for gold, because it was 
for gold that they were looking, and it was in gold-mining that 
Kellogg was supposed to be proficient. He started on August 
1, and returned four weeks later, having consumed the 



THE BUNKER HILL ENTERPRISE 321 

provisions with which he had been supphed. All that he had 
to show were some pieces of ironstone that contained a little 
lead, as galena; these specimens did not interest Cooper, to 
whom they were shown, but later Kellogg took them to Philip 
O'Rourke, who had been to Leadville, in Colorado, and who 
knew something about silver-lead ores. The Irishman offered 
to go with Kellogg, who, apparently, considered that his 
agreement with Cooper and Peck had terminated. A day or 
two later the two prospectors went together down the south 
fork of the Coeur d'Alfene river, Kellogg stopping at Big creek 
while O'Rourke went on to Milo creek. Next day, September 
4, near the head of the gulch, O'Rourke picked up a piece of 
iron-stained mineral which, when he broke it, showed galena 
inside. He found similar 'float' up the hillside, and was led 
thereby to the outcrop of the Bunker Hill lode. He located a 
claim. Four days later Kellogg joined him, and they located 
more claims; then together they returned to Murray, where 
they exhibited their specimens to sundry friends, but not to 
either Cooper or Peck. 

Litigation ensued, of course, because Kellogg had broken 
faith with his backers. The District Court awarded a fourth 
interest in the Bunker Hill claim to Cooper and Peck. Never- 
theless the story persists in the Coeur d'Alene that they were 
given a half interest by the Court because it decided that the 
'burro' was the real discoverer of the lode. Kellogg's yarn, 
which blooms perennially, was that the donkey went astray 
and that he found the animal mesmerized by a brilliant mass 
of ore. In the memoirs of Jim Wardner, a promoter well 
known throughout the Northwest, the tale of Kellogg is given 
thus: 

"Looking across the creek we saw the jack standing upon 
the side of the hill, and apparently gazing intently across the 
canyon at some object which attracted his attention. We 
went up the slope after him, expecting that, as usual, he would 
give us a hard chase; but he never moved as we approached. 
His ears were set forward, his eyes were fixed upon some object. 



322 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

and he seemed wholly absorbed. Reaching his sidCj we 
were astounded to find the jackass standing upon a great 
outcropping of mineralized vein-matter and looking in 
apparent amazement at the marvelous ore-shoot across the 
canyon, which then, as you now see it, was reflecting the 
sun's rays like a mirror." 

This is a mere concoction, and it may seem frivolous to 
quote it, but the story of Kellogg and his burro is as much a 
part of mining tradition in the Northwest as was that of Jason 
and the Golden Fleece among the Greeks in the dawn of 
mining adventure. Neither Wardner, nor Kellogg, nor the 
gentle jackass, nor even the keenest of observers ever saw a 
glistening mass of galena outcropping there or anywhere else 
in nature. Galena oxidizes when exposed to the weather and 
loses its bright lustre, becoming the dull sulphate or the equally 
dull carbonate, which usually is colored red by the oxidation 
of a small proportion of associated iron pyrite. The outcrops 
of lead lodes consist commonly of dark-red ironstone with 
gray spots of anglesite (the lead sulphate) or cerussite (the 
carbonate) in the midst of which unoxidized remnants of 
galena may survive. Portions of the Bunker Hill outcrop can 
still be seen near the place of discovery; they consist of iron- 
stained quartzite containing specks of lead mineral. The 
talk of a glittering mass of silvery ore sticking out of the 
mountain-side so brilliantly as to mesmerize the ass, and others 
not any wiser, is pure moonshine. What did happen probably 
is that the donkey, intelligent enough to find fodder for himself, 
strayed through the pine forest above the creek toward the 
outcrop, because near it, on account of the mineralization, 
there was a bit of open space covered with bunch-grass. 

Jim Wardner joined with the locators in raising the capital 
needed to develop a mine; he took samples of the lead ore to 
Spokane, where the assayers found that it was rich in silver 
as well as lead. Wardner returned to the mine and contracted 
to buy 25,000 tons of ore, he to advance the owners f 5 per ton 
and they to produce not less than 20 tons daily. About 800 



THE BUNKER HILL ENTERPRISE 323 

tons of ore was taken out of the mine, on which Wardner 
received $115 gross per ton, and which he sold to the Selby 
smelter at San Francisco. But the effort seemed to exhaust 
the orebody; the bottom of the workings showed only stringers 
of galena in a wide lode. Whereupon a tunnel, or adit, was 
started from the gulch into the hUlside to cut the lode at a 
greater depth. This intersected 36 feet of fine-looking ore, 
but it was too low-grade for shipment to a distant smelter; it 
had to be concentrated. In 1885 Wardner went, to Sam 
Hauser, at Helena, Montana, and persuaded him to find the 
money for a 100-ton mUl, while he himself was to obtain a 
contract from the owners of the mine to concentrate 50,000 
tons at $5 per ton. All went well. The mill soon put the 
mine on its feet. In consequence, it was sold to Simeon G. 
Reed, of Portland, for $650,000, on the report of Joshua E. 
Clayton, in 1886. 

The Bunker Hill & Sullivan Mining & Concentrating Com- 
pany was incorporated under the laws of Oregon on June 29, 
1887, with 300,000 shares of $10 each, of which Reed held 
249,988 shares. Victor Clement was appointed manager; on 
his advice a tramway and a new mill were built. In 1891 the 
new mill at Kellogg, with its Bleichert tramway, was at work 
successfully. The records show that although 213,108 tons 
of ore was mined up to May 31, 1892, for which the smelter 
made returns of $1,923,083, yielding an operating profit of 
$899,601, the company was unable to provide the money 
required for the needed plant and equipment, whereupon it 
was arranged that D. O. Mills, of San Francisco, should buy 
50,000 shares at $3 per share, and another block of 50,000 
shares was taken at the same price by James L. Houghteling 
and friends of Chicago. Even these funds proved insufficient, 
so a loan of $60,000 was obtained from the First National Bank 
of Portland. The indebtedness to this bank increased to an 
embarrassing degree, so W. H. Crocker, of San Francisco, was 
persuaded to loan the company $110,000 at one per cent per 
month; and he became a director, continuing throughout the 



324 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

later history of the enterprise to be its stalwart financial 
supporter. It takes money to make mines, especially large 
mines needing mills and smelters. Further loans were 
required before the Bunker Hill enterprise was finally success- 
ful, and long before that the small holdings of the original 
owners, Kellogg, O'Rourke, Wardner, and Sulhvan had been 
largely absorbed by the capitalists to whom reference has been 
made, and the remainders of these small holdings were even- 
tually absorbed by outside speculators. 

In 1893 Clement went to South Africa and was succeeded 
as resident manager by Frederick W. Bradley, who, in turn, 
was succeeded by Albert Burch in 1901, to be followed by 
Stanly A. Easton in 1903. Mr. Easton is still the manager. 
Mr. Bradley has been president of the company since 1897. 
The Bunker Hill is a good example of the dominance of the 
engineer in the control of the operations and the policy of a 
large mining undertaking. In 1894 the first dividend was 
paid. The average working cost for 32 years was $2-54 per ton. 
For 22 years the yield averaged 11-28 per cent of lead and 
4-92 oz. of silver per ton. The Guggenheims bought the 
shares of Clement's widow in 1905 and endeavored later to gain 
the control, but without success. Crocker, Mills, and Bradley 
continued to be the dominant factors. 

The labor disturbances, and riots, of 1892 and 1899, crippled 
the operations of the Bunker Hill company and gave a sinister 
fame to the Coeur d'Alene. Such episodes, unfortunately, 
were a characteristic feature of mining in western America 
during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and the 
historian must not ignore them. In 1890 a Consolidated 
Miners Union was organized in the Coeur d'Alene, and in 1891 
a Mine Owners Protective Association was formed. The two 
sides, workers and employers, were preparing for the conflict. 
It started over a minor matter. 

In July, 1891, the Wardner union presented a demand to 
the manager of the Bunker Hill, at Kellogg, for the discon- 
tinuance of the arrangement whereby the men paid a dollar 



THE BUNKER HILL ENTERPRISE 325 

per month for medical services, without hospital facilities; 
instead, it was asked that a similar amount be deducted from 
each man's pay in behalf of the Central Miners Union Hospital 
at Wallace, which is 10 miles from Kellogg. The manager 
decUned to accede to these demands and invited such of his 
employees as objected to 'get out'. A strike ensued. Sundry 
outrages were perpetrated. A compromise was reached in 
December, but other disagreements arose at several mines 
within the district, and, as these synchronized with a dispute 
between the mining companies and the railroad companies 
over freight-rates, all the principal mines closed down on 
January 15, 1892. In March it was announced by the Mine 
Owners Association that satisfactory arrangements had been 
made with the railroads and that the mines would resume 
work, but only $3-00 per day would be paid to car-men and 
shovelers as against $3-50 per shift of 10 hours to all miners. 

The temper of the two sides, and the sentiments underlying 
their actions, is expressed in their public statements, the 
purpose of which was to enlist public sympathy. In the 
announcement made by the Mine Owners Association, it was 
said: 

"This scale of wages, after much consideration, has been 
determined upon as liberal and fair by the Association and it 
is hoped that it may meet the approval of all old employees as 
well as the public generally. The Association also announces 
that in all tunnel mines where a majority of the men desire to 
avoid working Sunday and Sunday night they may, on giving 
expression of such desire to the manager, have Sunday and 
Sunday night off each week. While we have no objections to 
miners unions if they are governed and conducted by able, 
sensible, real miners, it is nevertheless a fact that during the 
years we have had unions in this country there has been 
trouble somewhere most of the time, strikes and threats of 
strikes, committees and delegations continually, to the great 
annoyance and loss not only to the miners but also to the 
community generally as well as the mine-owners, and we 



326 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

challenge anybody to show in what manner the miners or 
owners or the community have been benefited one cent's 
worth for all the trouble caused, for all the time lost, for all 
the hard feeUngs engendered, for the many hard-earned dollars 
which the working miners have contributed to the coffers of 
the unions, excepting in the matter of the Sisters Hospital, 
which is a notable institution and worthy of generous support 
. . . The only men who can be said to have been benefited at 
all are the car-men and shovelers, worthy men, no doubt, 
but it is well known that any reasonably intelligent man can 
learn to do this work in tunnel mines in a few days, and can it 
be said that these men are entitled to the same pay as skilled 
miners, who have spent years in learning their trade? We 
have endeavored many times to learn by what reason the 
unions demand the same pay for these men that they do for 
miners, but have failed entirely to get any good reason . . . 
Even admitting that the danger is equal to both miners and 
car-men alike, we would ask if the world's work is paid for 
without regard to skill? Does the locomotive fire-man get 
the same pay as the engineer? ... It is true that the mine- 
owners raised the wages of car-men and shovelers last year 
at the demand of the unions, but they did so under protest and 
with a keen sense of its injustice. However, at that time lead 
and silver were much higher than at present, and desiring to 
get along amicably with the unions and being able to afford it, 
the wages of car-men and shovelers were raised. Now the 
conditions have changed; lead is only four cents and tending 
downward. Silver is below 90 and going lower, and the mine- 
owners are therefore under the necessity of the strictest 
economy." 

I should like to quote in extenso, but space forbids. The 
pronunciamento of the mining companies proceeds to say that 
the trouble with the workers is entirely a matter of business, 
that the ores are low-grade, and that strict economy is impera- 
tive. Moreover, the capitalist followed the prospector into 
the region, and with the money and skill of the capitalists the 



THE BUNKER HILL ENTERPRISE 327 

mines were developed and equipped. Why then these threats 
to run them out of the country, to burn their mills, blow up 
their flumes, and even murder them? Does this talk of riot 
and murder do anybody any good? Who are the cause of it? 
A few agitators, not real miners, who terrorize the community, 
"their sole purpose being to keep up a continuous state of 
turmoil and strife to the end that tribute may in some way or 
another come to them". Then the unions are warned by the 
mine-owners that any looses due to the destruction of mills or 
other property will have to be paid by the county. They 
seem to anticipate events. They expect that any concession 
will be followed by fresh demands. They ask "if many of the 
leaders have not made up their minds that if they are successful 
in the present conflict, they will within 60 days urge a strike 
for $4 a day for miners, for the closing of company boarding- 
houses, for a boycott on all business enterprises in which any 
mine-owner has an interest, for a rule that no miner be allowed 
to work in any mine in the Coeur d'Al^ne over seven days 
unless he joins the union, if not freely then by force, that no 
mine foreman shall discharge any man underground until he 
has given a satisfactory reason for so doing to the union". 

Again it is evident that the mine-owners anticipate the union 
program with considerable confidence. Their statement is 
long and discursive; it shows how warm the controversy had 
already become. It was not a fight between employer and 
employee, but between the owners of the mines and a group of 
agitators from the outside. The statement concludes by 
saying: 

"We will simply add that we have determined that the wages 
cited are fair and liberal, and all we ought to be asked to pay, 
and having so determined we do not mean to start up our 
mines at any higher wages. We will wait until the first of 
April for our men to make up their minds, and if they decline 
to accept, we will have no other course but to claim the right 
to work our mines (which we paid for and own) outside of any 
unions, and we are fully determined to do so without any 



328 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

dictations from any association, conceding, however, the right 
to every person to demand any price they see fit for their labor 
as long as they do not interfere with the rights of others, and 
we feel confident the law will uphold us in so doing." 

To this the Central Miners Union of the Coeur d'Al^ne 
replied immediately, in terms that indicated an unrelenting 
struggle. The spirit of the reply is suggested by the opening 
paragraph : 

"As miners, we are not gifted with the literary abilities 
of the hired attorneys of the Mine Owners Association, nor at 
the same time with the talent of making statements so absurd 
and false as to cause a blush of apology on the cheeks of 
Ananias, but as working-men we ask a thoughtful and con- 
siderate public to view both sides of the question before forming 
an opinion as to the merits or demerits of the case brought 
before their notice." 

As a critic, I should say that the statements of the two 
parties do not differ greatly in literary style, and it is a safe 
guess that both of them were prepared by "hired attorneys". 
The Unions assert that "the late shut-down" was not due to 
wages but was intended "to crush out organized labor" and 
to introduce contract labor. They insist that the owners have 
made big earnings on their capital, except where the mines 
have been mismanaged. They complain of the condition of 
the lodging-houses and the quality of the food provided by the 
companies. They deny that the increased rate to the car-men 
was made under protest, and that in certain mines the higher 
rate had been paid previously without the sohcitation of the 
miners union. They proceed to say: "The Mine Owners 
Association conveys the idea that we are nothing more nor less 
than a band of anarchists continually threatening the destruc- 
tion of fife and property, liable at any moment to carry out 
such threats if necessary to accomplish our purpose". They 
ask where and by whom such threats were made. The 
history of succeeding events records the fact that the mine- 
owners were better prophets than managers and that the 



THE BUNKER HILL ENTERPRISE 329 

Union fulfilled the worst anticipations of its opponents. The 
question uppermost in strikes is touched: 

"There is no doubt that the mine-owners would not object 
to the unions provided they were officered by their nominees, 
but to this every member objects, as they should, in order to 
maintain some independence that in future as in the past they 
might be in a position to direct their efforts to mutually 
benefit all working-men and by lawful means, and to state 
that the central or any other local union means in the future to 
select a county ticket to be voted on in the fall is a falsehood 
without a vestige of truth ... As for coercion in order to 
enUst members, the people here know well we have never used 
the like with one-half the force the Association has done to 
compel outside mines to fall in line. Will the Mine Owners 
Association allow their constitution to be perused by the 
public? We think not, because from information now in our 
hands we know it is so opposed to law and order that the 
darkened archives of the Association is its safest retreat." 

The proposal of the mine-owners was rejected; the mines 
were closed and notice was given that new arrangements 
would be made to re-open them for work in June 1 (1892). 
Before that date the managers began to import miners 
from the outside under the guard of detectives. They also 
obtained injunctions from the Federal court, and served them 
on a number of persons, restraining them from interference 
with the operation of the mines. During June the mines were 
run short-handed and intermittently, chiefly by non-union 
labor. The 'History of North Idaho ' says : 

"The mines that came under the special displeasure of the 
union men were the Bunker Hill & Sulhvan, at Wardner, 
and the Gem and Frisco, on Canyon creek. At the Canyon 
creek mines the feeUng between the union strikers and the 
non-union men who had taken their places 8.nd were working 
under guard was very bitter. Exchanges of harsh words were 
frequent and fist-fights were not uncommon. These eventually 
precipitated an armed encounter of July 11th between union 



330 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

men and the employees and guards of the Frisco mine. At 
about five o'clock in the morning of that day the firing com- 
menced. It is said by both sides that the shooting was not 
intended at first to do more than frighten the men out of the 
mine. Soon, however, a pitched battle resulted, both miners 
and guards firing to kill. The strikers were at a disadvantage, 
so withdrew up the hills. It was now that the plan of destroy- 
ing the mills took shape in their minds. They came to the 
the end of the tramway, placed some giant powder in a car and 
started it to the buildings on its errand of destruction. The 
fuse was too short, so the explosion took place too soon to do 
serious damage, though the tramway was destroyed. Powder 
was then carried to the flume and, the water having been 
turned off, sent down the penstock and to the water-wheel. 
The old mill was thus wrecked, but fortunately most of the 
men had withdrawn to the new mill, thus saving their lives. 
The men in the mill continued firing a short time, but soon 
realizing their hopeless position, surrendered. Soon the 
battle began at the Gem. The men in that mine had made 
some preparation by erecting barricades of wood and lumber. 
As the night shift was going off and the day force going on, 
the firing began. After a large number of shots had been 
exchanged by the strikers in the town of Gem and by the 
men at the mine, a conference was held under a flag of truce, in 
which it was agreed that the non-union men should surrender 
if so advised by A. L. Gross, the only member of the Gem 
company in the country. Gross advised the surrender and 
the men handed over their arms." 

In the two battles two non-union men were killed, namely 
John Starlick and Ivery Bean, also three strikers, James 
Henessy, Gus Carlson, and Harry Cummings. * A consider- 
able number were wounded. After their victories at the 
Gem and the Frisco the strikers proceeded to Wardner, 
going from a point outside of Wallace to the junction in 
two freight-cars propelled by gravity. They arrived after 

* The names bespeak racial origins. 



THE BUNKER HILL ENTERPRISE 331 

dark on the night of the Uth, took possession of the Bunker 
Hill concentrator and placed a ton of powder under it. 
Next morning Mr. Clement had the choice of discharging his 
non-union employees and sending them out of the country or 
having his mill blown to pieces. Under the circumstances 
he agreed to send the men away, which was done. Martial 
law was promptly declared, and under the protection of the 
soldiers many of the expelled non-union men returned. With 
such help, the Bunker Hill & Sullivan Company resumed 
work before July 1. Many of those who were most active in 
the uprising were compelled to flee from the country; many 
others were placed under arrest, but only a comparatively few 
were convicted and punished. Gradually the troops were 
removed, and on November 18, 1892, martial law was revoked. 
It is a miserable story. Even the shooting was poor! 
Think of all the gun-play that took place at the Gem and 
Frisco mines, yet only five men were killed. A side-light on 
these events is afforded by Charles A. Siringo, a detective 
hired by the Mine Owners Association. In his book, 'A 
Cowboy Detective', published in 1912, he relates his experi- 
ences during this strike. Acting under instructions, he 
played the part of a miner and joined the union at Gem. His 
reports were mailed to St. Paul, Minnesota, where a copy was 
made and sent to the secretary of the Mine Owners Association 
at Wallace. Siringo, or 'Allison', as he then called himself, 
was elected secretary of the union; whereupon he did the 
correct thing, shirked work, and was discharged. In order 
to remain secretary, he pretended that his father sent him 
money from Texas. The treasurer of his union was George 
A. Pettibone, a justice of the peace, later to be numbered 
among those who were punished for their crimes. With 
Pettibone and other union men he would order 'scabs ', that is, 
those refusing to join the union, out of the country, and, if 
necessary, "get up a mob, by holding a citizens mass-meeting, 
to run them out of the State". Only members of the union 
were permitted to enter the "citizens ' meeting ". He describes 



332 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

the sequel: "Then it would be declared the sense of the 
citizens indignation meeting that certain 'scabs' be run 
out of the State. Often as many as half a dozen 'scabs ' 
would be taken from their homes, sometimes with weeping 
wives and children begging for mercy, and with tin pans and 
the music of bells, they would be marched up and down the 
street to be spit upon and branded as 'scabs ' before the public 
eye. Then half-clothed and without food, the poor devils 
would be marched up the canyon, a few miles beyond Burke, 
and told to hit the road. Pistols would be fired over their heads 
to give them a good running start. By this route, during 
winter, the snow is waist deep over the Bitter Root range, and 
there is not a living inhabitant until Thompson's Falls, Mon- 
tana is reached, a distance of about 30 miles. This thing was 
kept up all winter, and I learned a few new lessons in human 
nature". His reference is to the winter of 1891-1892. 

When war was declared between the mine-owners and the 
miners unions in the spring of 1893, the sheriff of the county 
was friendly to the unions, of which fact Allison informed his 
employers; whereupon they arranged matters so that a train- 
load of strike-breakers passed through Wallace without stop- 
ping, thereby eluding the sheriff, who stood ready to arrest them 
under the State law against importing armed thugs. Each side 
invoked the law and both sides disregarded it. The conflict 
was a lawless fight, a reversion to frontier barbarism. Other 
trainloads of strike-breakers were imported under armed 
guards. Soon it became evident that the secrets of the 
Gem union were being given away by a traitor, so a Butte 
detective was put to work to spot him, and Alhson's job 
became uncomfortable. He was charged with disloyalty at 
a meeting called for the purpose, but managed to bluff his 
accusers. Two days later he had reason to believe that he 
had been recognized by a man whom he had helped to 
convict in Nevada. It was time to skip. He hid under the 
sidewalk, and while there saw some of the fighting and heard 
the explosion at the Frisco mill. Crawling under the side- 



THE BUNKER HILL ENTERPRISE 333 

walk, he escaped, while angry men overhead were discussing 
what they would do to him. He tells a good story. A few 
days later he was kept busy identifying the union leaders, who 
were arrested by the troops under General Carlin and placed 
in the 'bull-pen', a large stockade with a frame building in 
which the prisoners slept and ate. In less than a week 300 
were placed in the 'bull-pen ', which was at Wardner. 

Work at the mines was resumed, the bad men were arrested 
or driven out of the district, and order was restored, but the 
feeling of bitter antagonism survived between union and 
non-union labor. Several outrages were committed, one of 
the worst being the murder of John Kneebone in July, 1894, 
and the expulsion by force out of the county of R. K. Neill 
and three other men. On April 23, 1899, a demand was 
made on the Bunker Hill company by the Wardner union for 
a uniform wage of $3-50 to all underground men and for the 
recognition of the union, now affihated with the Western 
Federation of Miners. The new manager, Frederick Bur- 
bidge, said he would submit the matter to the other officers 
of the company; they agreed to increase wages of all laborers 
from $2-50 to $3-00 and of all miners from $3-00 to $3-50 per 
day, but refused to recognize the union. On April 26 the 
tramway was seized by a group of armed strikers and men were 
stopped from going to work. 

On April 29 a group of masked men at Gem took possession 
of a train from Burke, they compelled the engineer to back 
the train to the powder-house at the Frisco mine, where 70 
boxes of dynamite were loaded on a box-car. The train then 
went to Wallace. There a number of men from Mullan got 
on board. Proceeding to within a mile of Wardner, the engi- 
neer was compelled to stop the train while another group of 
men boarded it. By this time the mob on the train num- 
bered ^bout a thousand, of whom 300 were masked and armed. 
They left the train and went to the Bunker Hill mill, which 
was then completely destroyed by the use of several hundred 
pounds of dynamite. 



334 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

As soon as the echoes of the explosion had died away among 
the surrounding mountains, an ominous silence ensued, to 
be broken by a deafening fusillade from the train, this 
being meant to celebrate the 'victory ' of the ruffians posing as 
labor reformers. Nobody was killed at the mill, but during 
the excitement that followed John Smythe, a Frisco miner, was 
shot and killed; James Cheyne, a vanner-tender of the mill, 
was fatally wounded; and R. R. Rogers, stenographer with 
the Bunker Hill company, was wounded. Smythe is said to 
have been killed by the strikers because he was suspected of 
being a 'traitor'; for the kilUng of Cheyne, a man named Cor- 
coran was convicted and sentenced to 17 years' imprisonment. 

Those were bad days for the staff at the Bunker Hill. 
Wisely, they did not meet violence with more violence, for 
that would have settled nothing. Friends came from Gem 
to warn them of the impending danger; they were told that 
500 men had stolen a train, opened the Frisco powder-house, 
broken into militia headquarters and seized rifles, and were 
coming down to blow up the mill. Word was passed for 
everybody to abandon the property and seek safety. W. C. 
Clark, the electrician, tells me that after he had seen "the 
mill go up" he noted the sun glistening on the dinner-buckets 
of a group of men on the hillside coming down from the mine 
toward Government gulch, so as to avoid Wardner. They 
were friends. The whole party, including the mill staff, 
then walked to the mouth of Pine creek, where they camped. 
J. C. Bodley, an old-timer, made 'biscuits' for them that 
night. They waited until 11 p.m., when a special train sent 
by the president of the company, F. W. Bradley, came up 
from Tekoa. At Cataldo they picked up Mr. Burbidge, who 
had escaped over the river flats. On arrival at Tekoa, at 
5 a.m. next day, they breakfasted, and four hours later took 
the train back to Kellogg, where they learned that the strikers 
had gone and everything was quiet. The Kellogg adit was 
being driven at that time and the management was anxious not 
to suspend this particular work, so, as the power-plant had 



THE BUNKER HILL ENTERPRISE 335 

been destroyed, the old plant in Milo gulch was brought into 
use and an Edison bi-polar dynamo was installed for driving the 
cars in the adit. Lights from the same dynamo were used to 
illuminate the bull-pen at Kellogg, where 500 men were impris- 
oned all summer. This is the second mention of a 'bull-pen'. 
Again United States troops were sent into the district, on 
appeal from the Governor of the State. General H. C. 
Merriam was in command. He 'rounded up ' those suspected 
of complicity in the destruction of the mill and placed them 
in the bull-pen. Most of those charged with major offences 
escaped and those charged with minor offences were released, 
because the county declared itself unable to try so many 
persons. This illustrates the break-down of local govern- 
ment. Owing to complaints made against the harshness 
with which the prisoners were treated, this matter was referred 
by Congress, on January 8, 1900, to the Committee on 
Military Affairs for investigation. It was charged that there 
was issued and enforced by General Merriam a proclamation 
in violation of the Constitution of the United States and of 
the State of Idaho. The proclamation read as follows: 

"Whereas the following notice has been served upon the 
mine-owners of Shoshone county by the duly constituted State 
authorities, by whom martial law has been declared, to- wit: 

"To the mine-owners of Shoshone county: 

"Certain organizations or combinations existing in Shoshone 
county have shown themselves to be criminal in purpose, 
inciting and, as organizations, procuring property to be 
destroyed and murders to be committed, by reason whereof 
it has been twice necessary to declare martial law in Shoshone 
county. 

"You are therefore notified that the employment of men 
belonging to said or other criminal organizations during the 
continuance of martial law must cease. In case this direc- 
tion is not observed your mines will be closed. " 

The effect of this proclamation, of course, was to prevent 
union men from obtaining work in the county, whereupon the 



336 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

authorities, civil and military, were charged with "an outra- 
geous misuse of the military power of the United States . . . 
in the interest of the owners of the Bunker Hill and Sullivan 
mines". After an investigation that lasted three months, 
the committee of Congress reported that none of the 'where- 
ases' was sustained by the evidence, but a minority of seven 
condemned the action of the President, the Governor, and 
the General. 

The trouble-makers were scattered effectively and normal 
conditions of production were restored by the end of the year. 

The story of these labor troubles is an essential part of the 
history of the mines; the facts have been stated with an 
intentional impartiaUty, but possibly not without some 
prejudice in favor of the engineers in charge of the mines. It 
is true, the stockholder was receiving his dividend when 
wages were being reduced, and the capitalist seemed to be 
profiting at the very time when the miner's pay was cut, 
but the capitahst and the stockholder had to wait many 
years before they received any return on their money, the use 
of which, for developing the mines, involved a decided risk, 
a risk so large as to justify a proportionate financial reward. 
The miners, undoubtedly, were stimulated to strike and to 
disorder by a few professional agitators, without whom, 
probably, the managers could have come to reasonable terms 
with their employees. To the future historian, I think, the 
incapacity of local authorities to maintain order, and the 
consequent condition of real anarchy that supervened, will 
be the most surprising feature of these events. The hiring 
by the companies of ruffians in the guise of laborers, under the 
guard of detectives, to fight the corresponding ruffians on 
the other side is worthy of medieval days,' not of a modern 
repubfic devoted to liberal ideals. One other feature calUng 
for comment is the hasty use of 'guns', meaning revolvers, in 
these mining-camps. The revolver is primarily a weapon of 
assassination, not of defence, and as used in these frontier 
disputes the use of it constitutes a blemish on our American 



THE BUNKER HILI. ENTERPRISE 337 

civilization. The 'gun' is practically unknown in the mining 
life of Australia or South Africa; it is pecuUarly western 
American. The future historian is certain to comment on 
this fact; let us anticipate him, and tender our apology. 

During these disorders the Bunijer Hill suffered, as we 
have seen; the mill that the strikers destroyed in 1899 was 
replaced by another erected on the same site in 1900. In 
January, 1909, the mill treated 27,400 tons of ore assaying 14-2 
per cent lead and 5-1 ounces silver per ton, the aggregate 
assay-value being $15-48 per ton, with lead at 4-5 cents per 
pound and silver at 53 cents per ounce. Another mill was 
built in 1909; it was designed by Gelasio Caetani on the basis 
of experience gained in the older mills. This Italian engineer 
was a graduate of the Columbia School of Mines, and, it 
may be added, the son of the Duke of Sermoneta. In 1924, 
as Prince Caetani, he served as Ambassador to the United 
States, after most distinguished service during the Great War. 
In June, 1919, the feed to the new mill assayed 10-05 per cent 
lead and 3-9 ounces silver per ton; the average assay of the 
resulting concentrate was 68 per cent lead and 23-8 ounces 
silver per ton. The economic extraction was 55-8 per cent 
for the 28,436 tons of ore treated. 

A smelter was built near the mine in 1917 at a first cost of 
$2,500,000, which now has been increased to a total expendi- 
ture of $3,934,715. In 1918 the tonnage of ore that came 
from the mine was 389,027, at a total cost of $3-70 per ton. 
The milling cost was 71 cents; the smelting and refining per 
ton of concentrate was $12-74*; the operating profit was 
$6-45, and the dividends $3-99, per ton of ore. For the 33 
years to the end of 1920 the total operating profit was $30,- 
627,610, to which profits from subsidiary mining companies 
amounting to $4,213,606 were added, making $34,841,216 in 
all. The dividends paid had aggregated $23,231,250, the 
cash and bonds in hand amounted to 12,383,933, leaving 

* In 1930 the cost of smelting and refining, including depreciation, was 
$9 10 per ton of concentrate. 



338 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

$9,226,033 as the sum spent in equipment, purchases of 
additional property, Ktigation, etc., in addition to the bare 
operating cost. During this period of 33 years the gross 
yield of the ore was used thus : 

Per Cent 

Operating cost 25-30 

Freight and treatment 41-21 

Dividends and cash 28-01 

Betterments and additional property 5-48 

10000 

In the 11 years 1920-1930 inclusive, the mine has yielded 
4,835,010 tons of ore, from which 869,405 tons of concentrate 
has been made; from the concentrate 850,095,111 pounds of 
lead and 15,499,964 ounces of silver have been recovered. 
The cost of mining has averaged $3-84 and the cost of milling 
94-5 cents, per ton. The operating profit during this period has 
been $28,492,440, from which dividends amounting to $24,- 
584,237 have been distributed to the shareholders.* 

The concentrate goes to the company's smelter. In 1929 
the smelting cost per pound of lead was 3-01 cents out of a total 
production cost of 5-67 cents per pound of lead. In 1928 the 
electrolytic zinc-reduction plant, having a capacity of 65 tons 
of slab zinc per 24 hours, was started. This plant, named the 
Silver King, is the property of the Sullivan Mining Company, 
which owns the Star mine, at Wallace. The Sullivan company 
in turn is owned as to one-half by the Bunker Hill & Sullivan 
Mining & Concentrating Company and as to the other half by 
the Hecla Mining Company. The zinc produced by this 
plant is noted for its purity, 99-99 i>er cent, and for this reason 
commands a premium of $20 per ton even during the present 
period of depression. The cost of the plant was $3,500,000. 
The future historian will be interested to learn that the first 
slab of zinc was inscribed as follows: 

* These figures I owe to the courtesy of the manager, Stanly A. Easton. 



THE BUNKER HILL ENTERPRISE 339 

"First sijcty pound slab of 99-99 per cent Bunker Hill zinc 
poured at the electrolytic zinc reduction plant of the Sullivan 
Mining Company, Tuesday afternoon, November 6th, a.d. 
1928. Being the day upon which the Honorable Herbert 
Hoover was first elected President of the United States." 

The aforesaid future historian will infer, correctly, a most 
friendly feeling on the part of the Bunker Hill manager for his 
fellow mining engineer at Washington, and he will note the 
word "first", which indicated a hvely hope that Mr. Hoover 
might be re-elected in 1932. As to the correctness of this 
anticipation, the future historian will have an advantage, as 
he will have in a great many other ways, over the writer 
of this book. 

It is interesting to note that the recovery of the zinc is due to 
the use of the flotation process. Formerly the zinc was 
discarded; indeed, not long ago all our western smelters 
exacted a penalty of 50 cents per unit on ores that contained 
over 8 or 10 per cent of zinc. Current penalties are usually 
30 cents per unit over a free allowance varying from 7 to 10 
per cent. Thus zinc at one time was a drug on the market; 
it was regarded as a nuisance by the metallurgist at the lead or 
copper smelter. Much of the zinc recovered today is a by- 
product that has become of economic worth simply by reason of 
the facility with which, by aid of froth flotation, a zinc con- 
centrate can be recovered separately from a lead concentrate, 
both being derived from a complex ore. Of the six mills 
operated by the Bunker Hill company, only one is doing any 
gravity work, and even that one is supplemented by flotation; 
all the others are plants devoted to the use of flotation, which, 
in contrast to the old method of gravitation, may be said to be 
a process of levitation. 

But technology and statistics do not tell all the story of a 
mine. A stockholder, at Chicago, talking about the ups and 
downs of life, remarked that when everything seemed to be 
going wrong with him he would turn in his chair and look 
up at a photograph on the wall showing the Bunker Hill 



340 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

mine, and would then recall the fact that it had seemed likely 
to fail at times, yet the stock he held in the enterprise had 
provided for the clothing, the education, and helpful start in 
business of his children. The reminder always gave him a 
fresh impulse of courage to go ahead, and a renewal of con- 
fidence in the future. Such a mine as the Bunker Hill is more 
than a hole in the ground ; it is an expression of hope, initiative, 
energy, and accomphshment; it is the fine flower of industrial 
achievement. 



CHAPTER XV 

THE GOLD, SILVER, AND COPPER OF BUTTE 

The first discovery of gold in Montana is credited to Frangois 
Finlay, a half-breed, from the Red River country, in Canada; 
he went to California during the early days and learned there 
how to wash the gold from placer deposits; then, on his return, 
he crossed Montana and found gold on the western slope of 
the Rocky Mountains, on Gold creek, a minor tributary of the 
Hell Gate river, in what is now Deer Lodge county. That was 
in 1852.* Finlay did not find enough gold to induce him to 
continue at work, but six years later a group of miners, led by 
the brothers James Stuart and Granville Stuart prospected on 
this same creek, obtaining about ten cents to the pan. They, 
however, were harassed by the Blackfeet Indians, and they 
were also handicapped by lack of proper tools; so they too 
desisted from further operations. 

Two years later, in 1860, Henry Thomas started to work on 
Gold creek with three sluice-boxes hewn out of green timber 
that he cut on the spot. With this simple apparatus he won 
from $1-50 to $2-00 per day. This may be considered the 
first instance of systematic mining in Montana. MeanwhUe 
the Stuarts went to Fort Bridger, in southwestern Wyoming, 
where they remained as traders until 1861, when, again lured 
by the gleam of gold, they returned to the valley of the Deer 
Lodge and resumed prospecting, using 10 sluice-boxes that 
were brought from Walla Walla, in Washington, 425 miles 
distant. In the summer of 1862 they were joined by many 
others, chiefly from Colorado, in consequence of an exchange of 

* W. S. Keyes, in appendix to 'Reports on the Mineral Resources of 
the United States', p. 39; 18|8. 

341 



342 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

letters, whereby the fact of their having found gold became 
known to many. 

In 1862 John White found gold on Grasshopper creek, a 
tributary of the Beaverhead river on the eastern slope of the 
Bitter Root mountains. Soon afterward other rich bars were 
found, and in the fall of 1863 the town of Bannack was laid out. 
Here the first important mining operations in the State were 
begun, and with such success that the fame of the diggings 
attracted a large number of energetic men during 1863.* The 
placers of Bannack yielded about $4,000,000 in gold. 

In the spring of 1863 a party of eight men led by William 
Fairweather went from Bannack to prospect in the Yellowstone 
country, eastward. They were attacked by the Crow Indians 
on the Gallatin river, but all save one of them managed to 
escape, with the loss, however, of all their provisions and most 
of their horses. When returning, worn with fatigue, they 
camped on the bank of a stream, which, of course, they 
examined for gold. Fairweather noticed a spot where the 
bedrock was exposed, and started to pan the loose earth, 
obtaining $1-75 of gold at the first trial. Other places were 
tested, with encouraging results, whereupon four of the party 
proceeded formally to stake their claims. This was Alder 
creek, now identified with the richest placer diggings ever 
developed in Montana. Not much could be done, on account 
of the lack of provisions, so they moved to Bannack, from 
which place they returned, accompanied by others, to the 
gulch along which they had made their locations on June 6, 
1863. Within two years Alder gulch was the site of several 
settlements, including Virginia City, which had a population 
of ten thousand, and became the capital of the Territory of 
Montana in 1865, in succession to Bannack, which was the 
first capital. 

Alder gulch proved to be extremely rich. At the head of the 
ravine, in the mountains, nine miles south of Virginia City, the 
gold was coarse, even nuggets worth $200 to $800 being 

* W. A. Clark, 'Helena Directory', p. 21; 1884. 



THE GOLD, SILVER, AND COPPER OF BUTTE 343 

recovered. Lower down, below the town of Summit, the gold 
was in the form of flakes, rounded at the edge, and known 
therefore as 'scale' gold. Still lower in the gulch the precious 
metal became progressively finer until it was not only 'dust' 
but 'flour' gold. During the year of the discovery not much 
of the best ground was tapped, owing to the fact that the rich 
sediment lay so deep as to require a systematic scheme of 




Fig. 25.- 



-Map of Montana. {Reproduction licensed — base material copy- 
righted by Rand McNally & Company.) 



bedrock drainage. In 1868 it was estimated that $30,000,000 
had been taken out of Alder gulch.* 

In September, 1864, gold was discovered in Dry gulch, much 
farther northward, and shortly afterward in Last Chance 
gulch, near-by, more gold was found. A group of 20 men set 
to work, and a little later a party of immigrants from Min- 
nesota, on their way to Alder gulch, stopped to prospect in the 
adjacent ravines, in which they developed profitable diggings, 
notably at Grizzly and Oro Fino ; but not until the following 
February, of 1865, did it become widely known that this rich 
placer district had been opened up. The locality is now 

* J. Ross Browne, ' Reports on the Mineral Resources of the United 
States', p. 507; 1868. 



344 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

identified with the site of Helena, which became the capital 
of the Territory of Montana in 1874; however, the early mining 
phase of the city's life is now almost forgotten, in consequence 
of the exhaustion of the alluvial diggings, in which only an 
occasional painstaking Chinaman can be found grubbing amid 
the tailings of pioneer days. It is interesting to note that as 
late as 1884 there was so much gold in the unworked portion 
of Main street, in Helena, that a contractor in payment for 
excavating the foundation of the building erected for the 
Montana National Bank was willing to accept the gravel that 
he dug out of the site. 

In Montana, as elsewhere, the placer miner blazed the trail 
for the lode miner; indeed, widening the generalization, one 
may say that all over our western domain, as in other parts of 
the world, the finding of gold has been the first step in the 
development of a mining industry. Gold is found in its 
native state, and requires therefore no smelting or refining to 
prepare it for market. The extraction of gold from the gravel 
of the stream is the simplest process used by the miner; it can 
be performed with an apparatus of the crudest kind; and the 
results are evident forthwith. Gold is so valuable that the 
product of a placer mine is not bulky, and therefore can be 
carried or shipped by primitive means of transport. Every- 
thing unites to make gold-washing the pioneer phase of mining. 
In 1867 the yield of gold from Montana was $12,000,000. The 
placer diggings of Montana altogether yielded $150,000,000 
up to 1876. 

The first lode mining in Montana was done in the Bannack 
district, where, in 1862, two miners, named Allen and Arnold, 
built a stamp-mill.* It was entirely home-made; the iron was 
taken from old wagons and was fashioned by the blacksmith; 
much of the lumber also came from discarded vehicles. This 
mill had six stamps, each of 400 pounds, and was driven by 
water. The ore came from the discovery claim, named the 

* H. H. Bancroft, 'History of Washington, Idaho, and Montana', p. 
723; 1890. 



THE GOLD, SILVER, AND COPPER OF BUTTE 345 

Dakota. In the fall of 1864 another mill, actuated by steam 
power, was started at Bannack. 

This mill was purchased by Hopkins and Butterfield at 
St. Louis and brought from there at a total cost of $25,000. It 
had 24 stamps, but only 12 were set up. Each stamp weighed 
550 pounds, and dropped 14 inches at the rate of 45 times per 
minute. No gold-saving devices were used except amalgamat- 
ing plates, and the mill is said to have saved only 25 per cent 
of the gold in the ore for the British owners of the mine, the 
No. 6 Dakota. 

The placers of Alder gulch were enriched by the veins of 
Summit. The first quartzose ore from the hill claims (the best 
of which was the Oro Cache, discovered in 1864) was crushed 
in a stamp-mill that had a capacity of only 33^ tons per week. 
In 1868 several mills had been built; these crushed nearly a 
ton per stamp per day at a cost of $6-50 to $7-00 per ton. The 
mills themselves cost from $20,000 to $30,000 each, and had a 
capacity of 15 to 24 tons per day, from which we may infer 
that they had from 10 to 30 stamps. Wages were from $6 to 
$9 per shift. 

The placers of Silver Bow, in the valley below the site of 
Butte, were discovered by Budd Parker, P. Allison, and the 
two brothers (Joseph and James) Esler, who came thither 
across the main range of the Rocky Mountains from Alder 
gulch in 1864. It is said, however, that Caleb Irvine, when 
crossing this valley as early as 1856, found evidence of "pre- 
historic" mining. Such statements are common in the 
chronicles of the pioneers, whether in Montana or in Michigan; 
they refer usually to holes dug by their predecessors of the same 
race and period, but abandoned prematurely by disappointed 
adventurers. In this case, as is customary, the "ancient" 
working was imputed to the aborigines, but we have no reason 
to believe that any Indian dug the prospect-hole that Irvine 
found on the hill now celebrated for its copper mines. 

The news of discovery, as usual, caused a stampede from 
the nearest camps and brought a crowd of diggers, who soon 



346 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

extended their operations up Silver Bow creek for five or six 
miles to Town giilch, where the houses of Butte now cluster. 
In February, 1865, Silver Bow was made the county seat of 
Deer Lodge county and for a short time it became even the 
capital of the Territory of Montana, which had been organized 
the year before, but its tenure of the honor was precarious, 
for in June the Democrats shifted the capital to the town of 
Deer Lodge. However, despite this loss of political prestige, 
Silver Bow continued to flourish, although the gold from the 
placers was of inferior quality, selling for only $12-00 to $14-00 
per ounce, as against the $16-50 to $18-00 paid for the gold from 
the other gulches. The impurity of this gold, occasioned by an 
admixture of silver, should have suggested the fact that the 
alluvium had been enriched from the degradation of the out- 
crops of veins that contained both silver and gold, as the pale 
gold of the canyons at the foot of Mount Davidson presaged 
the discovery of the Comstock lode. At the base of the hill 
made famous by the Anaconda mine, there were excellent 
placers. They were close to the veins. Ross Browne wrote 
in 1867: "In every gulch where gold placer mines are found, 
gold-bearing quartz veins are found also, many of which con- 
tain silver, copper, antimony, arsenic, and manganese, and are 
rich but very refractory".* Such were the outcrops through 
which the miner had to penetrate in search of the great ore- 
bodies, rich in silver and copper, of the Butte district ; but the 
significance of these signs was not understood by the diggers. 
When alluvial mining was started on Silver Bow creek, the 
birth of Butte as a mining district was marked by a camp that 
was pitched on the hillside above the placer workings by 
William Allison and George Humphreys, who came from 
Virginia City in 1864. They, it is said, found a hole, four or 
five feet deep, in a vein known later as the Original. Near it 
were some elk-horns that had been used as gads.f This 
probably was the "prehistoric" working mentioned by Irvine. 

* J. Ross Browne, op. cit., p. 504. 

t M. A. Leeson, 'History of Montana', p. 917; 1885. 



THE GOLD, SILVER, AND COPPER OF BUTTE 347 

Others came up the creek, and soon the richness of the placers 
attracted such a crowd of diggers as to warrant the organiza- 
tion of a mining district and the location of a town-site, in 
1866, to which the name of Butte was given, in reference to 
the conical peak that rose above the pine-clad slope northwest 
of the camp. The year 1866 marked the culmination of 
placer mining in the district; the yield of gold began to decline, 
and by the end of 1867 the diggings were almost abandoned. 

The first lode claim to be located on the hillsides of Butte 
was the Asteroid, which was staked by W. L. Farlin in the 
autumn of 1864.* This covered a portion of the blackened 
quartz of an outcrop that later was re-located as the Travona. 
Several other locations, including the Parrott, were made at 
this time, but the prospectors were looking only for a free- 
milling gold ore, they set no particular value on these manga- 
nese-stained silver-bearing veins, until later the news of the 
great developments on the Comstock lode began to stimulate 
a more intelligent curiosity. 

Some encouragement was given by the discovery of rich 
silver ore in the Travona in 1865, and in the following year an 
arrastra was constructed by Charles Savage to treat ore from 
the Parrott claim, but the attempt proved a failure. Then a 
10-stamp mill, known as the Continental, was brought from 
Stirhng to treat the silver ore at Butte, but it also failed as a 
metallurgic venture. It is said that Dennis Leary and T. C. 
Porter tried to smelt some of the Parrott ore in a furnace that 
they constructed in 1867; but this likewise was a fiasco. Then 
a small shipment of rich ore was made to Swansea, in Wales, 
but the cost proved entirely prohibitive. The outlook was 
gloomy indeed, and the camp languished, although assessment 
work was done on a number of claims, including the Parrott, 
Original, Gray Eagle, and Mountain; and in some of these 
prospects the workings had been extended to a depth of as 
much as 150 feet in the course of timid exploration. 

* Walter Harvey Weed, 'Geology and Ore Deposits of the Butte 
District, Montana ', U. S. Geol. Survey, Prof. Paper No. 74, p. 18; 1912. 



348 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

At this time, in 1867, there was a smelting-furnace in opera- 
tion at Argenta, on Rattlesnake creek, north of Bannack. 
Silver-lead ores were being reduced by aid of charcoal as fuel. 
Evidently this venture provoked no confidence, for W. S. 
Keyes, commenting upon it, said that "ores containing less 
than $100 per ton cannot, in my judgment, be at present 
smelted with a profit". He was sure, despite his training at 
Freiberg, that it was all a mistake to use fire-reduction 
methods. "This much is certain", he remarked, "amalgama- 
tion is more expeditious and far cheaper; the one performs 
most of the labor by machinery, that is, is thoroughly in 
consonance with the spirit and genius of the people; the other 
necessitates repeated handlings and much manual labor, and 
hence its greater expensiveness." Comment is superfluous; 
the reader can make it himself in accordance with his own 
particular sense of humor. 

No progress was being made, the outlook was gloomy, and 
the unhappy town was losing its scanty population when in 
1875 William Farlin built the Dexter 10-stamp mill and 
furnace near the Travona mine, and began to treat the ore by 
means of a chloridizing roast followed by amalgamation, in the 
Freiberg style. It is said that Farlin took some samples of ore 
with him to Owyhee, in Idaho, where he had them assayed, 
and thereby learned that they were rich in silver, with some 
copper. At this time also he obtained information concerning 
the treatment of such an ore. This knowledge he kept to 
himself, having formed the intention to re-locate, or jump 
legally, some of the most promising claims on which assessment 
work had not been done. On the night of the last day of 1874 
he placed his notices of location on the Travona and other 
claims that subsequently proved extremely valuable. Farlin's 
mill, however, was hardly a success until it was completed by 
W. A. Clark in 1876, at which date the profitable treatment of 
the silver ores of the district may be said to have commenced. 

In 1878 the output of Butte was: 



THE GOLD, SILVER, AND COPPER OF BUTTE 349 

Silver bullion $ 899,000 

Gold-dust 85,000 

Ore shipments by the Utah & Northern Railroad, 1920 tons 1 



Ore shipped by the Missouri river, 135 tons J ' 

$1,174,000 

The gold-dust indicates that some of the placer diggings were 
still productive. Alder gulch and the Last Chance diggings 
continued to give profitable employment to groups of old 
prospectors for several years longer. 

The price asked for milling was $25 to $30 per ton; this was 
high enough to incite the building of more mills and to develop 
useful competition. In 1875 the shipment of some rich ore 
from a claim called the Acquisition to the Walker brothers at 
Salt Lake City caused these consignees to send Marcus Daly 
to examine the mines at Butte. He arrived in 1876, and soon 
took an option on the Alice mine for $5000. The reader will 
have noted the entry upon the stage, successively, of two of 
the chief actors in the economic melodrama that was to attract 
attention to Butte in later years. William A. Clark and 
Marcus Daly are names famous in the history of the American 
mining industry. 

Daly commenced work on the Alice during the late summer 
of 1876, and in the following year, when the shaft had reached 
a depth of 200 feet, he brought an old 20-stamp mill from Ophir, 
Utah, and erected it on the Alice property. It was a dry- 
crushing plant, and was designed to treat oxidized ores, where- 
upon in 1878, he added a White-Howell roasting-furnace for 
the purpose of a chloridizing roast of the sulphidic silver- 
bearing ore. In 1880 a 60-stamp mill, with two White- 
Howell roasters and a drying-cylinder, was built by the Alice 
company. Then the Moulton and Bluebird mills were built 
after the same pattern. The climax of the silver period was 
reached in 1887 when the Alice mill had 80 stamps, the 
Moulton 40, the Lexington 50, the Bluebird 90, and the Silver 
Bow 30, a total of 290 stamps, treating altogether about 
400 tons per day, for an average yield of $25 per ton in silver, 



350 A HISTORY OP AMERICAN MINING 

besides a little gold. The active operation of the silver mines 
had revived Butte, so that in 1880 the population was 3000; 
and on December 21 of the following year a railroad connection 
with Ogden was completed as far as Silver Bow junction. 

The outcrops of the copper lodes were bare of vegetation, 
for chemical reasons, and therefore they were noticed by the 
earliest prospectors, some of whom made locations on them, 
such as the Parks, Parrott, Original, and Gagnon, even before 
the close of 1864. In the following year a shaft 40 feet deep 
had been sunk in the Parks vein and disclosed six feet of 
copper ore. In 1866 an attempt was made, as already 
recorded, to smelt some of the ore from the Parrott claim, 
and a year later another furnace, built of stone and provided 
with a bellows, had been put to work on the Washoe claim. 
This also failed. The mining of copper was long delayed for 
reasons by no means wholly metallurgic, for the establishment 
of a copper industry requires economic conditions, including 
railroad transport, much more highly developed than those 
sufficient for successful gold-mining, or even for silver-mining. 
To Clark and to Daly belongs much of the credit for making 
the copper mines successful. In 1872 Clark turned his atten- 
tion to the matter, and in 1873 he began to develop the Colusa, 
Original, Gambetta, and Mountain Chief mines. The ore 
they yielded was hauled in wagons 400 miles to Corinne, in 
Utah, the nearest railroad point, from which it was shipped to 
various buyers, one of these being the Boston & Colorado 
Smelting Company, at Blackhawk, in Colorado. To the 
directors of this company, notably Nathaniel P. Hill and 
Richard Pearce, Clark suggested the building of a custom 
smelter at Butte. This was in 1878. Henry Williams was 
sent to investigate the conditions, and when he reported 
favorably the Colorado & Montana Smelting Company was 
organized, in 1879. Forthwith a smelter was erected at Butte, 
thereby establishing a local market for both the silver and the 
copper ores of the district. This was a critical event. The 
need for such a local smelter can be inferred from the fact. 



THE GOLD, SILVER, AND COPPER OF BUTTE 351 

as Weed* states, that a shipment of 35 per cent copper ore 
from the Green Mountain mine to the refinery at Baltimore, 
in Maryland, in 1877, yielded no profit although it contained 
$130 per ton in copper and $50 per ton in the precious metals. 
The arsenic in the ore served to excuse a high charge for 
treatment, which, with the cost of transport across country, 
overwhelmed the assay-value. The Colorado & Montana 
Smelting Company, in which Hill and Pearce joined hands with 
Clark, leased several silver mines and used their manganiferous 
ore to mix with the custom copper ores, thereby producing a 
high-grade matte that was sent for refining to the Argo works 
at Denver. 

We have seen how Daly, convinced of the favorable pros- 
pects of mining at Butte, persuaded Haggin, Tevis, and Hearst 
to purchase the Anaconda in 1881. It was a small silver 
mine, only 60 feet deep, and the price was $30,000. At that 
time James B. Haggin and Lloyd Tevis were lawyers, in 
partnership, at San Francisco. George Hearst, the father of a 
well-known publisher and subsequently United States Senator 
from California, was a young man with a reputation for "a 
keen nose for ore". He had made a start by buying Osborn's 
interest in the Ophir, one of the discovery claims on the 
Comstock lode, and in 1872 he had advised his associates to 
purchase the Ontario, which proved to be the richest silver 
mine in Utah. In 1876 the same trio acquired the Homestake, 
in South Dakota. It is a remarkable fact that this group of 
enterprising men should have happened to select three of the 
best mines in the United States: the Ontario, the Anaconda, 
and the Homestake. 

In 1881 Daly leased the Dexter mill for the Anaconda Silver 
Mining Company and treated 8000 tons of oxidized silver ore 
from the Anaconda mine, obtaining 30 ounces of silver per ton. 
This ore contained just enough copper to obviate the need for 
adding bluestone in the process of amalgamation, but the 
bullion was base, some of it running only 400 fine. Shortly 

* Walter Harvey Weed, op. cit., p. 20. 



352 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

thereafter a seam of copper glance a few inches thick was cut 
at a depth of 100 feet, and this discovery stimulated further 
search for copper. George Hearst visited the district in 1882 
and recommended deep development, for which he selected the 
place of a new shaft. A crosscut from this shaft, at a depth 
of 300 feet, penetrated 5 feet of copper glance, which was 
mined and shipped to Swansea. This shipment signalized the 
birth of the copper industry of Butte. A few years afterward 
a number of smelters were started in the district and the local 
reduction of the ores rendered unnecessary any further 
shipments to Wales. Matte was made, to be forwarded to the 
copper refineries on the Atlantic coast. Thus the copper 
industry of Butte was established. Meanwhile, at the end of 
1881, the Utah & Northern railroad had connected the district 
with the main line of the Union Pacific at Ogden. Seven 
years later the Montana Central railway reached Butte, and 
in 1893, the Northern Pacific railroad. 

Silver-mining continued to be important even after the 
copper resources of the district were tapped, until 1893, when 
Butte, in common with all the silver-producing centres, was 
prostrated by the collapse of the silver market. One or two 
mines, such as the Nettie and Lexington, remained active 
until 1897, and others have been revived at intervals since 
then, but none of the silver properties was a noteworthy 
producer in later years except the Lexington, which yielded 
silver ore that contained copper also. Thus Butte passed 
through three stages of development, devoted to the winning 
of gold, silver, and copper in turn. In 1895 the Anaconda 
company was reorganized as the Anaconda Copper Mining 
Company, with a capital of 1,200,000 shares of a par value of 
$25 apiece. A large block of stock was placed in London, but 
most of it drifted back to the United States, because the enter- 
prise was not properly appreciated in England. The organiza- 
tion of the Amalgamated Copper Company in 1899 was the 
prelude to an enormous consolidation of properties under the 
domination of capitalists identified with the Standard Oil 



THE GOLD, SILVER, AND COPPER OF BUTTE 353 



Company, one of the most powerful and profitable industrial 
organizations in the world. H. H. Rogers more particularly 
became prominent in Amalgamated affairs. First the Washoe, 
Colorado, Parrott, and Anaconda companies, owning various 
mills and smelters, were joined under one control, and then in 
1901 the Amalgamated acquired the Butte & Boston and the 
Boston & Montana properties. From 1884 to 1898, a period of 
14 years, the Anaconda yielded 9,575,793 tons of ore that 
averaged 53^^ per cent copper, 43^ ounces of silver, and 35 
cents in gold per ton. In 1900 the Amalgamated company 
produced 1,421,500 tons, yielding $18,730,131, of which 
$5,365,518 was profit. 

The growth of the Butte mining industry is shown by the 
following record : 



Date 


Gold, ounces 


Silver, ounces 


Copper, pounds 


1882 
1887 
1892 
1902 
1909 


12,094 
48,175 
36,223 
46,051 
39,443 


2,699,296 

6,958,981 

8,311,130 

10,106,884 

10,609,328 


9,058,284 

78,699,677 

163,206,128 

288,903,820 

311,323,650 



It will be noted that the copper ore continued to be enriched 
by gold and silver; this suggests, what was a fact, that the 
precious metals obtained from the quartzose ore in the shallow 
workings represented the upper portion of veins that had been 
weathered and leached. 

From 1882 to 1884 the Anaconda company shipped 37,000 
tons of ore, averaging 45 per cent copper, from Butte to 
Swansea. In 1883 Daly decided to build a smelter for the 
company near Warm Springs creek in the Deer Lodge valley 
26 miles from Butte. The site was chosen on account of the 
abundant supply of water. The first plant, on the north side 
of the creek, was designed to treat 500 tons daily, by concentra- 
tion and smelting; it began to operate in September, 1884, 



354 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

The ore treated at Anaconda for the first few years averaged 
12 per cent in copper; this was concentrated mechanically and 
then smelted into a 64 per cent matte, which was sent to 
Swansea and to Baltimore, until converters were added to the 
reduction works in 1892. Additions and reconstructions were 
made at intervals under the direction of Otto Stallmann until 
the plant was able to treat 1000 tons daily. However, this 
was not enough, so, in 1887, the construction of the Lower 
Works, as they were called, was begun on a site about a mile 
east from the first plant. Fire and other mischances hindered 
the completion of the new smelter, which was treating 3000 
tons daily in 1889. According to Horace J. Stevens, an 
unprejudiced commentator, the management of the Anaconda 
in those days was unwise in the continued use of smelting- 
plants that were out of date. The old smelter became a 
heterogeneous collection of furnaces and mills that had grown 
without plan or system. However, this fact appears to have 
been realized, for, in 1898 Daly decided to build an entirely 
new reduction works on the south side of the creek. It was 
designed to treat 4800 tons daily, commencing in 1900, but it 
was soon enlarged to a capacity of 12,000 tons. This plant 
was designed by Frank Klepetko, but it was modified and 
completed by Edward P. Mathewson, whose long and successful 
career as manager of this justly celebrated copper smelter is a 
notable part of Montanan history. 

Here a brief review of the development of smelter design 
may be of interest to the later historian. In the Colorado 
smelter, started by Henry Williams in 1879, the ore was roasted 
in a reverberatory furnace (50 by 12 feet) and then smelted in 
another reverberatory (143-^ by 9 feet), by use of wood fuel. 
This smelting-furnace treated 12 tons of ore per day and 
produced a 60 per cent matte in which there was from 700 to 
800 ounces of silver per ton.* The matte was hauled 200 
miles to the nearest railroad. In 1889 the Bruckner cylinder 

* H. O. Hofman, Trans. Amer. Inst. Min. and Met. Eng., Vol. XXXIV, 
p. 259. 



THE GOLD, SILVER, AND COPPER OF BUTTE 355 

was introduced for roasting, and in 1892 the Pearce turret- 
furnace was adopted. 

In 1880 A. Wartenweiler started the Colusa smelter of the 
Montana Copper Company with four reverberatory roasters 
(60 by 11 3^ feet) and two reverberatory matte-furnaces 
(15% by 10 feet). The lump ore was roasted in heaps at 
first, but in 1882 the smoke nuisance was so great as to compel 
the use of stalls. This smelter was sold to the Boston & 
Montana Copper Company in 1888. 

The Parrott smelter was completed in 1881; the ore was 
roasted in 11 reverberatory furnaces (60 by 14 feet) and 
smelted in 6 reverberatory matte-furnaces (14 by 11^ feet). 
The smelting charge was 23^^ tons and the capacity of the 
furnace was 10 tons per day. The matte contained 60 to 67 
per cent of copper, and 40 to 45 ounces of silver per ton; it 
was turned into blister copper, but this proved to be too 
expensive; indeed, the matte was marketed more easily than 
the blister copper. In 1884 a Herreshoff 48-inch water- 
jacketed blast-furnace was built by Edward D. Peters, the 
author of a standard textbook on copper-smelting, and in the 
same year the converting of the matte was begun under 
the direction of the inventor of the process, Pierre Manhes. 

The upper works of the Anaconda company were started by 
Marcus Daly in 1883 with 34 reverberatory hearths (50 by 
14 feet) for roasting the ore, followed by 26 matte-furnaces 
(20 by 14 feet) and two 70-ton water-jacketed blast-furnaces. 
The smelting charge in the reverberatory furnaces weighed 
33^ tons, and 15 tons of roasted ore was smelted in each 
furnace in 24 hours. After the plant was destroyed by fire in 
1889, it was re-built, unchanged in its design, until it was 
closed down early in 1902, when the new smelter came into 
operation. At that time the re-built plant contained 40 Bruck- 
ner roasting-cylinders (18 by 9 feet); 4 MacDougall roasting- 
fumaces (16 feet in diameter and 21 feet high) with 6 hearths, 
also 4 Wethey calciners, with hearths of 100 by 12 feet; and 
11 reverberatory furnaces (31 by 16 feet) for treating the 



356 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

matte. Each of these last took a charge of 9 tons and smelted 
90 tons per diem. The lower works at Anaconda, erected two 
miles below the old plant, were designed by Otto Stallmann 
and started into action in December, 1888, with 56 Bruckner 
cylinders (18 by 9}i feet) and 28 reverberatory matte-furnaces 
(22 by 16 feet). Each of the latter took a 6-ton charge and 
smelted 40 tons in 24 hours. The old smelter building was 
destroyed by fire in March, 1889, and was replaced promptly 
by a steel structure. In 1890 the plant contained 40 Bruckner 
roasters, and in 1899 four MacDougall furnaces were added. 
The matte-furnaces were enlarged, four of them to 35 by 18 
feet. These took an 11-ton charge and treated 75 tons daily. 
The converter plant was started in 1890 with 15 stalls for 
upright vessels, 10 feet high and 6 feet in diameter. Under 
the same roof were 6 blast-furnaces, 8 by 33^ feet at the 
tuyeres and 10 feet high. An electrolytic refinery went into 
operation in 1894. 

The next plant, designed by Frank Klepetko, was started 
in 1902; it contained 48 six-hearth MacDougall roasting- 
furnaces, 16 feet in diameter and 21 feet high, together with 
five blast-furnaces 180 by 56 inches at the tuyeres and 15 feet 
high; also 14 matte-furnaces (50 by 20 feet) and 8 converter- 
stands (barrels, 123^ feet long by 8 feet in diameter). The 
farmers in the Deer Lodge valley began to complain of the ill 
effects of the smelter fume, whereupon a high stack and a long 
dust-chamber were constructed in 1903. 

Butte produced three chromatic characters, Clark, Daly, and 
Heinze, an American of British origin, an Irishman from 
Ireland, and a German Jew from New York. Of the three, 
William Andrews Clark was the most successful and the most 
influential. He was bom in Pennsylvania in 1839 and spent 
his boyhood on a farm. When his parents moved to Iowa, he 
went to school so effectively as to become a teacher. The 
devastation due to the Civil War caused him to migrate 
westward to Colorado, where he worked in the gold mines of 
Gilpin county. In his early manhood he experienced all the 



THE GOLD, SILVER, AND COPPER OF BUTTE 357 

trials and privations of frontier life. When twenty-four years 
of age, he went to the placer diggings of Bannack; with his 
gains he started a store at Virginia City, Montana, and later 
in Last Chance gulch, now Helena. In 1866 he went on horse- 
back to the Pacific coast and bought a stock of goods with 
which he started business afresh at Elk City, and a year later 
he obtained the contract for carrying mail between Missoula, 
Montana, and Walla Walla, Washington. Evidently he was 
active and enterprising. He became wealthy, and with two 
friends he established banks at Deer Lodge in 1870 and at 
Butte in 1877. He was now a resourceful capitalist. In 1872 
he bought a number of mining claims; and many others came 
into his hands as unliquidated collateral for bank loans. He 
then went to the Columbia School of Mines for a year of study. 
He was eager to equip himself for the control of large mining 
operations. Upon his return to Butte he organized the 
Colorado & Montana Smelting Co. and thereupon built the 
first smelter in the Butte district. Later he built the bigger 
plant of the Butte Reduction Works and acquired the rich 
Elm Orlu mine. Daly and he had been friends, but both 
being Democrats and both being determined to control their 
party, they became keen rivals and then implacable enemies. 
Daly had established his smelter at Anaconda, which he 
desired to make the capital of the State; Clark was willing to 
further this plan if Daly would support his candidacy for the 
United States senatorship, but they could not agree, where- 
upon Clark gave his support to Helena, which was eventually 
chosen as the capital. The reader will have noticed that 
Montana had five different capitals at intervals. In 1901, 
Clark, who was aided by Heinze, was elected to the United 
States Senate without opposition. Meanwhile he had become 
enormously wealthy not only through his mining operations in 
Montana but by the fortunate purchase and development of 
the richest copper mine in the world, the United Verde, in 
Arizona. Unlike most of the western mining millionaires, 
W. A. Clark was refined, even fastidious, but his intellectual 



358 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

and artistic dreams were subordinated to a wide-awake and 
coldly practical activity in financial and political affairs; he 
was vain and Uked flattery, but he was self-reliant and inde- 
pendent; he had a taste for good pictures and was a connoisseur 
of good wines; he was an accomplished man, and he accom- 
plished much. He lived to be eighty-six years old. 

Marcus Daly was of an entirely different type. Born of 
poor and illiterate parents, in Ireland, he came to the United 
States at the age of 15, and worked as a dock hand in Brooklyn, 
before saving enough money to pay for his passage to California 
and the gold mines. At first only a pick-and-shovel man, he 
soon acquired a good knowledge of mining practice. He 
worked for Mackay and Fair in the mines of the Comstock, 
where he attracted the friendly notice of the Walker brothers, 
by whom he was employed in Utah and by whom he was sent 
to Butte in 1876, when he was thirty-five years old. By 
working as a miner in the Alice mine he obtained the informa- 
tion on which he advised the Walkers to purchase it, obtaining 
for himself an interest, which he soon sold for $30,000. Shortly 
thereafter he severed his connection with the Walker brothers. 
Daly had become convinced that the mines of Butte were 
destined to be highly productive, so he went to San Francisco 
to solicit the aid of George Hearst, Lloyd Tevis, and James 
B. Haggin; they bought the Anaconda. At a shallow depth 
the ore became poor in silver but rich in copper, whereupon 
Daly stopped work and began to buy the adjacent claims, 
preparatory to a large-scale development. He acquired coal- 
lands to obtain fuel and huge tracts of timber-land to supply 
him with wood for the mines. He built a smelter at Anaconda 
and connected it with Butte by rail. He established banks, 
built power-plants, and started systems of irrigation. He was 
vibrant with energy and initiative. His feud with Clark 
debauched the political life of Montana from 1888 to 1900, 
when he died. He and Clark had been friends, but their 
interests clashed, and their characters were too unsympathetic 
to permit of a friendly adjustment. So the arena was set for a 



I'HE GOLD, SILVER, AND COPPER OF BUTTE 359 

virulent fight. Clark had control of the Butte Reduction 
Works, a custom plant, whereupon Daly built the Anaconda 
smelter, a few miles distant. Daly started the 'Anaconda 
Standard' and made it the best paper in Montana. Clark 
bought and directed a rival newspaper, the 'Butte Miner'. 
Daly's affable disposition, combined with a reputation for 
loyalty and courage, made him more attractive to the crowd 
than his reserved and astute rival. He was a born leader of 
men. Uneducated in a school sense and rough in his manners, 
Daly never sought office for himself, but placed his henchmen 
where they could be of use to him. For 10 years he thwarted 
Clark in his ambition to be senator, and even when his rival 
was first elected in 1899 Daly continued the vendetta by 
giving $25,000 to wage a fight in Washington whereby the 
new senator was compelled to resign. Daly spent more than 
half a million dollars in his effort to make Anaconda the 
capital, and in 1896 he gave $50,000 to the Bryan campaign 
fund. His career exemplifies the chances open to an energetic 
and resourceful man in the early days of the West. 

The third celebrity of Butte was Frederick Augustus Heinze, 
a New Yorker of German-Irish parentage and Semitic ancestry. 
He graduated from the Columbia School of Mines in 1889, at 
the age of twenty-two, and immediately went to Butte, where, 
by the aid of Leonard Lewisohn, he obtained an appointment 
on the surveying staff of the Boston & Montana Copper Com- 
pany, and thus had access to the maps of the district, thereby 
gaining a knowledge concerning unpatented fractions of which 
he made sinister use later. Not rehshing drudgery of any 
kind and apparently slothful, he looked around for a livelier 
job. He left Butte and returned to New York, where he 
joined the editorial staff of the ' Engineering & Mining Journal ', 
for one year. Genial, handsome, well-dressed, Fritz Heinze 
was liked by his associates, but he showed no aptitude for hard 
work and disliked any task that was confining. At this time 
his father died, leaving him some money. As soon as he 
obtained his share of the inheritance he returned to Butte 



360 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

with the avowed purpose of starting a custom-smelting 
business. In 1892 he organized the Montana Ore Purchasing 
Company, and in an incredibly short time the furnaces were 
erected and put to work. He made money fast. As an adjunct 
to this business he leased several mines, and when directing 
their operations he became keenly aware again of the 
complexity of the vein system at Butte and the consequent 
conflict of apex rights. He began to purchase claims and 
fractions of claims that seemed to promise strategic advantage, 
including the Rarus, Johnstone, Cora, and Tramway. Mean- 
while he went across the northern border into British Columbia 
and built a smelter at Trail to treat the ore from the Rossland 
mines. To assist this enterprise he built a railroad that con- 
nected the mines with the smelter. He also started a news- 
paper, 'The Miner', at Rossland. These ventures came to a 
fruitful end when the Canadian Pacific Railway Company 
bought him out — smelter, railroad, and newspaper — for a sum 
that was said to have been $1,200,000. 

During the period of this Canadian excursion Heinze had 
retained his headquarters at Butte and had become involved 
in several lawsuits over mining rights, in which litigation he was 
assisted by clever lieutenants, legal, technical, and political, 
especially the last, because justice and legislation, like kissing, 
went by favor in those spacious days of the State of Montana. 
When the Amalgamated Copper Company was formed, the 
litigation between Heinze and its constituent companies 
reached a climax. Heinze posed as a David fighting against 
the Goliath of the Standard Oil Company, which, as repre- 
sented by H. H. Rogers, was supposed to control the Amalga- 
mated. The battle was joined with fearsome intensity; no 
weapon was left unused: trickery, bribery, and even bloodshed 
served the antagonists. Fortunes were made by the lawyers 
and handsome fees were paid to the experts that gave the 
scientific testimony needed in these apex suits, but one good 
result ensued, in so far as knowledge of the local geology was 
quickened by the evidence given in the courts and by the 



THE GOLD, SILVER, AND COPPER OF BUTTE 361 

disputes that arose therefrom. In 1902 Heinze transferred his 
interests to the United Copper Company and prepared to sell 
out. Through the friendly offices of Thomas F. Cole and 
John D. Ryan a settlement was made with the directors of the 
Amalgamated, who were tired of the costly imbroglio. Most 
of Heinze's holdings were purchased for the sum, so it was said, 
of $10,000,000. Thus in 10 years he had won a big fortune. 

He returned to New York and engaged in banking business. 
In 1907 he started to corner United Copper shares, this stock 
being used as a gambling medium. The attempt failed, the 
stock exchange firm he had organized for his two brothers also 
failed, and he had to resign the presidency of his bank, the Mer- 
cantile National. That started the panic of 1907. An investi- 
gation followed, Heinze was indicted, to be acquitted after a 
long trial. There was joy in Butte, where he was popular, and 
to which he then returned, no longer buoyant. He had 
saved some of the wreckage of his fortune; with the Stewart 
mine in Idaho and the Mascotte in Utah he still did fairly well, 
but his last years were embittered by litigation arising out of 
his New York banking entanglements, and he died in 1914, at 
the pathetically early age of forty-two. 

The people of Montana, like those of our other mining 
regions, had trouble with the Indians, simply because the 
prospector entered the hunting grounds of the aborigines, and 
they resented the intrusion. In 1877 Joseph, a chief of the 
Nez Perces went on the warpath, and it was W. A. Clark that 
rode, like a Paul Revere, 42 miles in less than three and a half 
hours, from Deer Lodge to Butte, to warn the mining com- 
munity; and it was he, as Major Clark, that led the Butte 
battalion against the redskins. Chief Joseph had invaded 
Montana from Idaho and had marched to Missoula, pursued by 
regular troops under General Howard. Clark led his battalion 
to the aid of the citizens of Missoula, -but the Indians avoided 
the town, and ten days later in the Bitter Root Mountains 
Chief Joseph and his men encountered a force commanded 
by General John Gibbons, by whom they were crushed in the 



362 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

battle of the Big Hole. Clark brought one of his companies 
to the aid of General Gibbons and won high commendation for 
his services. 

When Marcus Daly and W. A. Clark were waging their 
cat-and-dog fight for supremacy in the politics of Montana, 
and while the whole State reeked with the corruption inevitable 
from the reckless use of money on both sides, there entered the 
arena of Butte the young man from New York, Fritz Heinze. 
He gave a lurid touch to the hectic life of the mining centre, 
as we have seen. Ingenious and unscrupulous, he had become 
keenly aware of the entanglements of ownership caused by the 
careless locating of claims, of varying size and direction, in 
early days, and of the complications incidental thereto. The 
vein system of the district is intricate, and the dislocations due 
to faults have greatly increased the complexity of structure 
underground, producing conditions that completely stultify 
the so-called law of the apex. Heinze found ample scope for 
predatory litigation, and by means of a few well-selected 
purchases of claims he started lawsuits that undermined the 
ownership of some of the richest properties. When he was 
quieted at length, after a harassing conflict, costly in money 
and morale, there followed a long series of litigations of a 
similar type between the companies that owned mines in 
which were copper veins that trangressed the cryptic bounda- 
ries provided by an enigmatic law. Those were great days in 
Butte, 30 years ago, when the court was in session, and the 
stage was set for a performance the playing of which involved 
the gain or loss of millions of dollars. Lawyers celebrated for 
their forensic skill and geologists honored for their scientific 
knowledge were to be seen and heard as they played their 
parts. To those of the passing generation the names df the 
participants in these trials will revive poignant memories. 
Among the geologists in the case between the Anaconda and 
the Colusa-Parrott companies were Clarence King, founder of 
the United States Geological Survey; Nathaniel Shaler, 
professor of geology at Harvard; Rossiter W. Raymond, 



THE GOLD, SILVER, AND COPPER OF BUTTE 363 

secretary of the American Institute of Mining Engineers; 
David W. Brunton, one of the best mining engineers our 
profession ever produced; Frank L. Sizer, happily still honor- 
ably active in San Francisco; W. S. Keyes, a Freiberg graduate, 
who had had charge of the first smelter, the Argenta, in 
Montana; and Horace V. Winchell, geologist to the Anaconda 
company. Many of the lawyers came from Denver, notably 
Charles S. Thomas, Charles J. Hughes, and Joel F. Vaile. 
The future historian will be surprised to learn that the testi- 
mony in these lawsuits over apex rights came from scientific 
men in the generous pay of the litigants, and if he is sagacious, 
as future historians are supposed to be, he will marvel why the 
Court itself was not empowered to engage the scientific gentle- 
men in an advisory capacity, thereby freeing them from bias. 
The spectacle of a group of learned and honorable men testify- 
ing as to facts and theories in a sense opposite to that of the 
statements of another group equally learned and honorable 
will provoke a cynical smile from the aforesaid historian. 
As most of the cases were tried in the Federal courts, the 
Judges were men of high character, and there is no reason to 
believe that they would have abused the power, had it been 
given them, of selecting the specialists upon whom they could 
rely for a strictly scientific interpretation of the structural 
conditions to be observed in the ground concerning which 
the Htigants were disputing. One or two incidents may be 
cited for the purpose of illustration. William Scallon, attor- 
ney for the Anaconda, asked O. A. Palmer, a witness for the 
Colusa-Parrott, if he recognized the existence of the Blue 
Lode. The witness repHed: "I do not; I recognize the exist- 
ence of stopes on the line of what you call the Blue Lode ". As 
stopes are excavations in ore, the stopes in question were 
either in a lode or they were made to create the appearance 
of excavations in ore. The Blue vein, an ore-bearing fault- 
fissure, owed its name to the fact that it happened to be 
colored blue on the map prepared by the draughtsman 
in Clark's oflice. One group of 'experts '—they functioned 



364 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

as expert witnesses rather than as expert scientists — was 
positive that the Anaconda crossed the Colusa, whereas the 
group on the opposite side was equally positive that the two 
veins joined. One side testified that there was a continuous 
Blue vein, which faulted both the Colusa-Parrott and the 
Anaconda veins, whereas the other side insisted that there 
was no such thing as this Blue vein and that the other veins 
were not cut off by it. Keyes had read a passage in Kemp's 
book on ore deposits. Whereupon Thomas asked him if he 
considered the book a standard authority. Keyes acquiesced 
promptly. Then Thomas read a passage from a later 
edition of the same book and "completely nonplussed" 
the witness, as a newspaper account tells us. The author. 
Professor Kemp, beloved as teacher and honored as scientist, 
had seen reason to modify his earlier description of some 
feature in the local geology, having obtained fresh evidence 
on the matter. This only suggests that when witnesses 
posed as consultants to a Wise Providence in the creation 
of the ore deposits, they were over-stepping the hmitations 
of science; and it also suggests that no certainty was warranted 
on the part of such witnesses in swearing that a particular 
geologic structure could be interpreted in but one way, which 
was the way that favored the contention of the litigant by 
whom they were engaged, not as scientific witnesses but as 
hired advocates. Our future historian will find even more 
to say concerning these apex litigations. For the present it 
only remains to remark that although the work done in connec- 
tion with the lawsuits did undoubtedly assist the mine- 
managers in understanding the vein structure of the Butte 
district, it is a significant fact that the interesting evidence 
given by geologists so positively in the courts is not quoted 
in any geologic treatise or in any scientific discussion, for the 
simple reason that it is suspect. 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE U.V.X., A MINING ADVENTURE 

In the history of American mining, so far as I know, there 
is no cleaner, brighter, or more completely successful mining 
adventure than that of the United Verde Extension.* It 
deserves to be placed on record here. 

The mine is at Jerome, 25 miles northeast of Prescott, in 
Yavapai county, Arizona. For 30 years before the U.V.X., 
as it is known to mining men, achieved celebrity, the Jerome 
district was identified with a copper mine, the United Verde, 
one of the great mines of the world. The success of this 
mine, of course, stimulated the search for similar orebodies, 
or for an extension of those already known, in adjacent 
ground; but, despite vigorous prospecting, the United Verde 
remained for many years alone in its glory. The reason for 
this solitariness was geologic: a fault with a big throw 
frustrated the effort to trace the ore-zone, thereby causing 
exploratory work to be both uncertain and costly. 

Despite these failures to develop other mines in the vicinity, 
the belief persisted that all the ore was not localized in the 
United Verde mine, but before we consider the reasons for 
such a belief we must look at the geologic conditions. The 
basal rock of the Jerome district is a schist, which has been 
correlated with the Yavapai formation of the Bradshaw 
quadrangle. This schist is geologically ancient, for it is of 
pre-Cambrian age. It is composed of volcanic tuffs, together 
with sediments, both argillaceous and siliceous, all of which 

* T. A. Rickard, Engineering and Mining Journal, June 14, 1924; also, 
by same writer, Mining and Scientific Press, January 5 and January 12, 
1918. 

365 



366 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

have been so thoroughly metamorphosed that they are now 
difficult to distinguish from the igneous rock, diorite, that has 
pushed its way into them from a batholith, or deep-seated 
core of magma, the true character of which has been studied 
in the Bradshaw mountains, near Prescott.* The batholith 
is granite, its marginal phase is diorite, and the later offshoots 
are quartz-porphyry. The diorite has intruded so inten- 
sively into the basal rocks that it constitutes a large part of 
that complex formation; this has had the effect, increased by 
earth movements, due to crustal unrest, of bending the former 
layers of tuff and sediment into sharp folds and of shearing 
them so that now they appear as a schist. Moreover, by 
further metamorphism, caused by heat and pressure, the 
schist has become partly crystalline, and by later shearing 
movements the diorite has become partly schistose, so that 
today it is difficult to distinguish between them, except by 
careful examination under the microscope. To avoid precision, 
some of the geologists use the old-fashioned term 'greenstone' 
in speaking of this rock. 

This pre-Cambrian complex was eroded by weathering 
until its surface was reduced to a peneplain, and on this 
base-level was deposited, from the Cambrian sea, the sediment 
that as sandstone now rests on the schist; and later, in the 
Devonian and Carboniferous periods, the sandstone was over- 
lain by beds of limestone and sandstone. This later series of 
rocks, together with those on which they were deposited, 
underwent movement in places sufficiently violent to cause 
breaks through which came intrusions of the magma under- 
neath, now appearing as dikes of andesite. Finally, the 
eroded surface of the later sedimentary rocks and of the old 
complex was smothered under flows of lava, extruded from 
numerous vents during the Tertiary period. This lava is a 
basalt that is known in the Southwest as 'malapai', a word 
derived from the Spanish mal, 'bad', and pais, 'land'. 

* T. A. Jaggar, Jr., and Charles Palache, U. S. Geol. Survey, Bradshaw 
Mountains Folio, p. 4; 1905. 



THE U.V.X., A MINING ADVENTURE 



367 




368 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Such are the rocks of the Jerome district. If one stands by 
the Douglas house on the ridge near the main shaft of the 
U.V.X., one can distinguish the various formations without 
difficulty. The slope of the mountain behind the town is 
an escarpment, the top of which is a plateau 7700 feet above 
sea-level, and at the foot of the mountain is the valley of the 
Verde river, only 3200 feet above the sea. The plateau is 
covered by lava. Facing this escarpment one can see the 
big open-cut of the United Verde mine; above it, on the sky 
line, are the horizontal beds of light-colored limestone; 
underneath them are the strata of reddish sandstone, resting 
on the schist. In front, in a gully that leads down from the 
United Verde, is more schist, but to the near right, northward, 
is a ridge of dark lava, under which are exposed the limestone 
and the sandstone, in sequence as above, and lying on the 
schist. These beds are far below the similar beds to be seen 
near the top of the mountain. 

Obviously we have the evidence of a fault, which has 
dropped the entire series of rocks, from lava to schist, and 
has thereby dislocated the ore-bearing zone of the United 
Verde by many hundred feet. The fault can be seen and the 
line of it can be followed athwart the slope of the mountain 
from below the United Verde slag dump to the Jerome post- 
office, and much farther southward and northward from these 
points. It appears as a belt of broken rock, with bands of clay, 
dipping with the hill, northeastward, at an angle of 60 degrees. 
For several miles its general course is N53°W. It has a 
slightly corrugated surface, and may be regarded as a com- 
paratively simple plane of movement. The vertical dis- 
placement caused by this fault is 1600 feet, and the horizontal 
displacement is 900 feet. Underground the fault appears as 
180 feet of sheer-zone, within which is a series of minor step- 
faults, so that the drop between the two walls of the fault is 
about two hundred feet. 

The United Verde orebody was found along the contact 
of quartz-porphyry and diorite where the latter had broken 



THE U.V.X., A MINING ADVENTURE 369 

into the schist, a short distance west of the fault. The ore- 
body is crossed by the fault, in consequence of which some of 
the ore at surface was scattered over the face of the mountain 
and thereby gave an incentive to prospecting. 

Such are the geologic conditions, a general knowledge of 
which was common to well-informed persons in the Jerome 
district at the time when a search for ore in the faulted ground 
below the United Verde was started. The first to do so was 
George W. Hull, who, in 1899, organized a company named 
the United Verde Extension Gold, Silver & Copper Mining 
Company, which became known as the U.V.X. ; and its suc- 
cessors, despite various slight modification of the registered 
name, have shared the use of this convenient abbreviation. 
This first company owned a dozen claims adjoining the United 
Verde property on three sides. 

In March, 1899, Louis E. Whicher, of Boston, became 
interested in the U.V.X. enterprise to such an extent that 
he and his friends acquired control. A working capital of 
$100,000 was provided and a shaft was sunk. This shaft was 
within a stone's throw of the United Verde shaft and above 
the fault. It failed to find ore. At this time, in 1900, a 
surveyor named J. J. Fisher located a fractional claim of a little 
less than an acre between the United Verde and the March 
claim, also belonging to Hull. Fisher named his fraction the 
Little Daisy, and persuaded Whicher to provide money for 
sinking a shaft. This shaft was sunk 300 feet through the 
lava, limestone, and sandstone that covered the ore-bearing 
formation, which, as we have seen, is schist. Some signs of 
ore were found, but nothing of value; so operations ceased in 
1901. The venture was blighted by the fact that the Little 
Daisy claim was too small, and the most promising workings 
were close to the March claim; therefore Whicher made a trade 
with Hull whereby he acquired the four claims adjoining the 
Little Daisy, namely, the March, Conglomerate, Iron Carbon- 
ate, and Bitter Creek, in exchange for the various claims that 
the U.V.X. company owned around the United Verde property. 



370 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

At the same time Whicher acquired the Little Daisy from 
Fisher for 5000 shares, so that now he had a compact piece 
of territory covering 75 acres, all below the line of the fault. 
Thereupon the Little Daisy shaft was sunk to 800 feet under 
Fisher's superintendence. He, unfortunately, did not live to 
see the fulfilment of his expectations, for he died in 1911. 

Meanwhile, in 1910, the U.V.X. company had been reor- 
ganized under the laws of Delaware, with a capital of 400,000 
shares of $10 each. The capital was diminished later to 
$750,000. From 1907 to 1911 C. C. Burger was consulting 
engineer, and expressed confidence in the venture. In 1911 
R. M. Atwater examined the property for Whicher, and 
reported favorably; he concluded by saying: "I believe the 
chances of finding valuable orebodies are excellent". At 
this time (in April, 1911) Burger announced the finding of 
ore that assayed 2-6 to 3-1 per cent of copper, with $2 per 
ton in the precious metals, in a winze then 65 feet below the 
800-foot level. The copper was in sulphide condition, but it 
showed signs of leaching. 

A more important event was the finding of some 40 per cent 
chalcocite in a crosscut on the 700-foot level. This patch of 
sulphide proved to be 5 feet wide and 15 feet long; it averaged 
18-7 per cent of copper, as reported by Burger. The discovery 
caused the shares to jump to $4; but it was a mere flash in 
the pan. Several other experts came to Jerome, and they 
reported adversely. Some of them accounted for the copper 
in the schist on the 800-foot level of the Little Daisy mine by 
supposing it to have been precipitated from solutions that had 
come from the United Verde orebody. The patch of chalco- 
cite failed to impress them. Up to this time, $500,000 had 
been spent in exploratory work, and the enterprise languished. 
It was about to be invigorated by new blood. 

In 1908 Major A. J. Pickrell purchased some stock from 
Fisher, and for a time served as a director of the company. 
Through him the U.V.X. obtained the financial assistance 
needed to bring the venture to fruition. In December, 1911, a 



THE U.V.X., A MINING ADVENTURE 371 

few days before Fisher died, the Major wrote to James S. 
Douglas, who was then at Douglas,* Arizona, urging him to 
come to Jerome and look into the U.V.X. business. Douglas, 
the son of Dr. James Douglas, who was long identified with the 
Phelps-Dodge corporation, had been to Jerome several times 
and knew something about the local geologic conditions. 
Upon his arrival, at the end of 1911, he was met by Major 
Pickrell and with him examined the U.V.X. workings down 
to the 800-ft. level, but no deeper, on account of water. What 
he saw impressed him so favorably that he commenced 
negotiations for an option. This option was submitted to 
Phelps, Dodge & Company, but it was rejected by them on 
account of a fancied defect in the title, whereupon Pickrell 
again urged Douglas to interest himself personally in the 
enterprise. His persuasion prevailed. Thereupon Douglas 
wrote concerning the project to his friend George E. Tener, 
then at Pittsburgh, and asked him to join hands in the 
proposed adventure. 

In April, 1912, they engaged Ira B. Joralemon, then mining 
geologist for the Calumet & Arizona Mining Company, to 
examine the U.V.X. In his report, Joralemon stated that he 
would expect to find good sulphide ore at a moderate depth 
below the 800-foot level; he suggested that "the leached 
and crushed area in the Little Daisy might be part of a shear- 
zone, like that in which the great orebodies of Jerome occur. 
While the result of the work is a gamble, there is a chance of 
finding a mine worthy of being compared with the United 
Verde". He concluded his report in these words: "I think 
the chance is worth taking". This strengthened the pur- 
pose of the two gentlemen that had the matter in hand, 
Douglas and Tener, so they decided to ask a few friends to 
participate in the adventure, and, on August 14, 1912, they 
issued a circular letter in which a number of mining engineers 
and other friends were invited to join them in providing $225,- 
000 for the further exploration of the U.V.X. property. The 

* Named after his father, Dr. James Douglas. 



372 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

text of this letter deserves to be placed on record. The reader 
can decide for himself whether the invitation was such as 
would have induced him to participate in the gamble, for 
that it was frankly. 

"George E. Tener and J. S. Douglas have secured an 
option on 450,000 shares of stock of the United Verde Exten- 
sion Mining Company. 

"The United Verde Extension Mining Company is capital- 
ized at 1750,000,* with 1,500,000 shares of a par value of 
50 cents each. 

"The original stockholders own, in round numbers, 400,000 
shares, and George E. Tener and J. S. Douglas have an option 
on 400,000 shares and have paid $25,000 into the treasury of 
the company for 50,000 shares. 

"500,000 shares will be left in the treasury. 

"The option on the 400,000 shares runs to June 15, 1915, and 
the shares are to be purchased as the Treasurer may require 
funds for development work, at the discretion of the Board of 
Directors, who will be controlled by Mr. Tener and Mr. 
Douglas. 

"As a commission for services, the United Verde Extension 
Mining Company are to pay Mr. Tener and Mr. Douglas 
150,000 shares proportionately as the money is placed in the 
treasury. A proportion of the stock received by Mr. Tener 
and Mr. Douglas as commission from the United Verde 
Extension Mining Company is being used by them for 
organization purposes, but to comply with the law of the 
State of Delaware it must be issued to them for services 
rendered. 

"They propose to extend to you the privilege of subscribing 
for .... shares at $0-50 per share, equals $...., this 
subscription being subject to the call of the Treasurer, Mr. 

* This represented an increase to 1,500,000 shares of 50 cents each, as 
compared with the former capitalization of 500,000 shares of $10 each, 
as covered by the contract between Douglas and Whicher, the president 
ctf the company. 



THE U.V.X., A MINING ADVENTURE 



373 



C. P. Sands, at 280 Broadway, New York, who will most 
likely call for 20 per cent of this amount on close of this 
subscription list, and the balance as needed, which will 
probably be at the rate of 20 per cent every three or four 
months. The Treasurer will forward stock to you as amounts 
are received in response to each call. 

"It is proposed to expend $25,000 in development work on 
the present 800-foot level of the United Verde Extension 




Fia. 27. 

Mining Company's property at Jerome, and if the results are 
satisfactory to expend $200,000 at the rate of about $10,000 
a month, crosscutting and drifting at that level. 

"Mr. Tener and Mr. Douglas are not asking their friends 
for subscriptions, but believe that their plan for the develop- 
ment of the United Verde Extension Mining Company's 
property will result in the discovery of valuable orebodies, 
and in sending you this letter, it has occurred to them that 



374 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

you might consider it a favor to be permitted to join in a 
speculation which they recommend as such." 

This letter stated the facts plainly: it did not beg for 
financial assistance; the recipient had to form his own con- 
clusions as to the merits of the venture. Those to whom it 
was sent were mostly professional men not only familiar with 
copper-mining operations in Arizona but also with the repu- 
tation for integrity that both of the promoters had won in 
the Southwest. Mr. Tener, then living at Pittsburgh, was 
known as an honorable and experienced mine operator; 
he was an organizer and one of the directors of the Calumet 
& Arizona Mining Company; yet it is no reflection upon him 
to say that it was mainly on Mr. Douglas's reputation for good 
sense and practical experience, together with implicit con- 
fidence in his good faith, that the money was subscribed 
promptly. It was raised in five successive calls of $40,000 
each, so that, with the $25,000 that the two promoters had 
themselves furnished at the outset, there was $226,000 
available for exploratory work. 

The original prospecting shaft, on the Little Daisy fraction, 
had been sunk through the fault to a depth of 800 feet, as has 
been stated. The first exploratory work done by the new 
owners was to extend a drift eastward from a crosscut on the 
800-foot level to the saddle on which the Edith and Audrey* 
shaft-houses are now standing. In this long drift a mass 
of quartz, of a promising character, was encountered. This 
led to the sinking of the Edith shaft, which was named after 
Mr. Tener's daughter. This shaft is 1900 feet east of the 
Little Daisy and was made partly by sinking and partly by 
rising for 300 feet, from the 800-foot drift. The Edith shaft 
went through 180 feet of lava, 400 feet of limestone, 90 feet of 
sandstone, and reached the schist at 670 feet, which depth 
geologically was equivalent to the 800-foot level of the Little 
Daisy workings. When the Edith shaft had been sunk 
below this level to 1200 feet, a drift was extended westward. 

* Named after the daughter of Captain George Kingdon. 



THE U.V.X., A MINING ADVENTURE 375 

The drift found some ore in the corner of the Maintop claim, 
belonging to the Jerome Verde company;* at the same time 
another drift was started due south, and at a distance of 
400 feet from the Edith shaft it was turned due west; at 250 
feet beyond the turn this drift cut a lump of melachonite 
(the black oxide of copper) about as large as a bushel basket, 
say, a hundred pounds in weight. This happened in August 
of 1914. It was a mere flash in the pan; nothing more was 
found. At this juncture the two promoters engaged a mining 
geologist to show them where they had erred in their search for 
ore. After a careful examination, the scientific gentleman, 
whose name need not be recorded, condemned the venture and 
strongly advised the management to cease operations. How- 
ever, even this wet blanket did not extinguish the flicker of 
hope that survived in the robust mind of Douglas, who decided 
to persevere. 

In the September following Ygnacio S. Bonillas and Philip 
D. Wilson, the geologists, respectively, of the Copper Queen 
Consolidated and the Calumet & Arizona companies, examined 
and reported on the operations. They expressed the opinion 
that the evidence of rapid and incomplete oxidation of 
copper minerals in the workings on the 800-foot level, and 
also on the 1200-foot level, as exemplified by iron-stained 
siliceous material, quartz stringers, and flakes of native 
copper, all pointed to the existence of primary sulphide ore in 
the zone of fracture underneath, and that therefore there was 
a reasonable expectation of finding rich ore below, that is, at no 
great depth below the 1200-foot level. By September the 
$225,000 of working capital had been spent, and it became nec- 
essary to ask the shareholders to subscribe for their proportion 
of additional treasury stock at $1 per share. This they did 
forthwith. The issue, however, it must be noted, had been 
underwritten by Messrs. Douglas and Tener, so that the result 

* In consequence, an option was taken on the Jerome Verde property, 
on a fifty-fifty basis, but this option was soon reUnquished. About 
S400,000 of ore was taken out of the Maintop claim. 



376 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

of it was never in doubt. Thus $50,000 more became available 
for further exploration. A little more work was done : the drift 
that was being driven toward the centre of the U. V.X. property 
on the 1200-foot level was extended a few feet farther, to a 
point about 150 feet beyond the place where the bunch of 
melachonite had been found in August. On December 20, 
1914, this crosscut broke into 5 feet of 45 per cent ore! 

It was the real stuff, at last! There was no more question 
about going forward with the development of the mine. The 
discovery proved to be part of a mass of ore 120 feet long that 
reached a few feet above the 1100-foot level. The first 
shipment, 76 tons, was sent to the United Verde smelter in 
February, 1915, and brought $75,000. From this orebody, 
about $600,000 worth of copper was obtained during 1915. 
The prospect had become a mine, but its wealth had only been 
touched. A drift was started on the 1400-foot level to cut the 
continuation of the ore that had been discovered on the 1200, 
but it went beyond the point where the ore ought to have been 
and found nothing. No crosscutting was done until January, 
1916, because a heavy flow of water had been tapped south of 
the ore pn the 1200-foot level. It became necessary to place 
electric pumps at the 1400-foot station. The exploratory 
drift on this lowest level had been stopped in a kaolinized rock 
that encouraged expectations of another orebody. It looked 
' keenly ', as a Cornishman says. This place was 850 feet south 
of the Edith shaft. As soon therefore as the pumps were in 
place and the level was drained — in February — a crosscut was 
driven both east and west on the 1400-foot level for the purpose 
of intercepting the north end of the high-grade ore found on the 
1200-foot level; but both of these crosscuts drew a blank, 
because, as was ascertained later, the orebody had taken a dip 
westward below the 1200-foot level, so that the crosscuts 
were too far east. 

The results were extremely disappointing, but there remained 
further scope for discovery. The next crosscut was started 100 
feet farther south, and found nothing, but the third crosscut 



THE U.V.X., A MINING ADVENTURE 377 

at a distance of 40 feet from the drift cut into 16 per cent ore, 
and continued in ore for more than 200 feet. This was an 
entirely new orebody. The main level was extended into it 
and crosscuts were driven at intervals of 50 feet, proving that 
the orebody reached to within 30 feet of the Florencia side-line, 
the southern boundary of the U.V.X. property. On the 1400- 
foot level this orebody had a length of 440 feet and a maximum 
width of 260 feet; it covered 62,400 square feet. One ton of 
such ore occupies l^^i cubic feet. The upward termination 
of the orebody was found to be at 1240 feet, and the downward 
limit at 1629 feet. The U.V.X. had become one of the great 
copper mines of the world. 

During 1916, the year following these discoveries, the mine 
yielded 36,402,972 pounds of copper from 77,461 tons of ore, 
this being an average of 23-5 per cent of copper, besides 
2570 ounces of gold and 128,468 ounces of silver, the total 
output being worth $9,949,918, of which $7,000,000 was profit! 
In the spring of 1917 the mine was estimated to have 2,000,000 
tons of 15 per cent ore, representing 600,000,000 pounds of 
copper, to be produced at a profit of 10 cents per pound. The 
prize was worth $60,000,000! 

In April, 1917, the mine produced 4390 tons of 38 per cent 
ore and 7029 tons of 29 per cent ore, together containing there- 
fore 6,991,480 pounds of copper, worth $2,167,358 — in one 
month, please note! When I first saw a carload of this 
chalcocite ore, just off the cage at surface, it looked to me like 
cannel coal; it blackened the fingers. That carload assayed 
40 per cent. How it would have gladdened poor Fisher to see 
it. He deserved to share in the reward. 

The 50-cent shares of the U.V.X. jumped to $45 as soon as 
the happy facts became known. Before the consummation, 
however, some of the shareholders, afflicted with a not unrea- 
sonable timidity, or 'cold feet', as you will, had sold out as 
soon as they could get back the money they had risked. Most 
of the participants, including, of course, the principals, held on, 
and in 1917, when I visited the mine, they had already drawn 



378 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

$3 -85 in dividends upon each 50-cent share. Those, not many, 
that were too "sane" to go into the "gamble" when they were 
invited to do so, were very sorry indeed, and there is reason to 
believe that thenceforth they smiled engagingly at almost any 
'wildcat' that grinned at them from out the Arizonan cactus. 

However, there were few heart-burnings and many rejoicings 
at the outcome of the undertaking. It requires courage, the 
grit of a real miner, to go through with an adventure such as 
the U.V.X. It needs luck also, for promising indications are 
often deceptive. How much of Douglas's success was due to 
such luck and how much to sagacity, it is impossible to say; 
he himself makes no claim to being the seventh son of a 
seventh son. He was aware of the fact that the rich ore- 
channel, as mined in the United Verde, was faulted ; he could 
measure the extent of the fault ; he could see the dip and direc- 
tion of it; the work done by his predecessors had disclosed 
signs of mineralization, especially of chalcocitization; and he 
had reason to expect that any orebody he might find would be 
of high grade. The risk was great, but the possible winning 
was in proportion. His reasonable expectations, founded on 
general experience and local knowledge, were justified in the 
event, and he is entitled to the credit of a gloriously successful 
exploration. He insists, however, in characteristic fashion, 
that for his success he is indebted in large measure to the two 
successive superintendents of the mine, David Morgan and 
George Kingdon, who proved themselves exceptionally com- 
petent, both underground and on surface. Having some 
knowledge of the excellent manner in which the work was done, 
I take pleasure in placing their names in this honorable record. 

Up to the end of 1930 the U.V.X. has produced 2,713,346 
tons of ore, yielding 645,358,694 pounds of copper, 102,785 
ounces of gold, and 5,025,003 ounces of silver. The ore has 
averaged 0036 ounce of gold, 1-923 ounces of silver, and 11-85 
per cent of copper. The recovery of copper has been 97-89 
per cent. The mine plant has cost $2,086,860; the smelter, 
which was built in a hurry during the period of the World War, 



THE U.V.X., A MINING ADVENTURE 379 

represents an expenditure of $5,122,445. Thus the total 
outlay in plant has been $7,209,305. The total of dividends 
is $39,742,500, and the company retains $7,181,937 in cash 
assets, so that the total distributable profit is $46,924,437. 
There remains only about $4,000,000 to be won from the ore in 
reserve, for, despite intensive prospecting, no other large 
orebodies have been found and the life of the mine is unlikely 
to last for more than about three years more. The total 
winning will be about $50,000,000. To get at this Douglas 
and his friends had to spend $355,000, and even if we add the 
money spent unsuccessfully by their predecessors — say 
$650,000 more — the total amount of working capital consumed 
was only $1,000,000. The game was well worth the candle. 

One word more; many of the richest mines in the world have 
been the cause of great financial loss to the public because they 
were over-valued on the stock exchange and their shares were 
bought at inflated prices. The bonanzas have been as much a 
source of regret as the borrascas; the genuine enterprises, by 
being grossly exaggerated, have done as much harm to the 
pockets of innocent folk as the calculated frauds. The U.V.X. 
has been free from anything of the kind; not much stock was 
sold at the high quotations, because the principal holders 
retained their stock even when, in 1916, it went up to $52 per 
share. Mr. Douglas, I may add, sold none of his stock until 
1928, when he sold some, most of which he bought back later. 
He holds 56,000 shares now. The whole business has been 
clean from start to finish; it has justified the claim of Agricola 
that "mining is a calling of peculiar dignity". 



CHAPTER XVII 
THE GREAT DIAMOND HOAX 

This story of the salting of a supposed diamond mine is a 
part of our Western history and deserves to be recorded in this 
book. It was more than a local affair, because it was con- 
cerned with persons in London and New York, as well as San 
Francisco. 

Part of the story has been told by Asbury Harpending in a 
little book published 12 years ago. Harpending (who died 
at New York in 1923) was in London in March, 1872, when he 
received a cable dispatch from William C. Ralston, the presi- 
dent of the Bank of California, stating that "a vast diamond 
field" had been discovered "in a remote section of the United 
States". Before starting for San Francisco, Harpending had 
an interview with Baron Rothschild, who showed a lively 
interest in the story, which was as follows : two weather-beaten 
prospectors went to the Bank of California and deposited some 
uncut diamonds and rubies for safe keeping; these precious 
stones were estimated to be worth $125,000. The men said 
that they had found the gems in "a desert portion of the 
West". They departed quietly, but the story was told in 
business circles; whereupon George D. Roberts, a mining 
engineer of wide experience and an associate of Ralston, 
sought an interview with the prospectors. One of them 
proved to be a man that had been in the employ of Roberts. 
Both prospectors, named Slack and Arnold, appeared "coy 
and cautious"; they were "simple-minded fellows", and were 
"afraid to trust anyone with the momentous secret". They 
refused to divulge the place of discovery and declined "to 
part with their rights", but later "they became more amenable 
to reason" and expressed willingness to sell a half interest to 

380 



THE GREAT DIAMOND HOAX 381 

"gentlemen in whom they had such implicit confidence". 
They agreed, says Harpending, "to conduct two men, to be 
selected by Ralston and Roberts, to the diamond fields, and 
allow them to satisfy themselves as to the general nature of the 
find, but with this proviso: that these representatives, after 
reaching a wild uninhabitable country, must submit to being 
blindfolded, both going and coming back". The examination 
was made by David D. Colton and another, under these con- 
ditions. "More diamonds were unearthed and the party 
returned with rose-colored reports of the genaineness of the 
properties and their fabulous richness." 

The place of the diamond deposits appears to have been kept 
secret at first, and even after this alleged examination by 
Colton and another, it was not stated publicly in what region 
the discovery was situated. At one time Arizona was credited 
with it, and most of the histories of the State contain references 
to the fiasco. Bancroft says that Arnold placed the site south 
of the Moqui towns, near the Colorado Chiquito.* McClin- 
tock says that the diamond mine was "somewhere north of 
Fort Defiance, in northeastern Arizona", and he suggests that 
these locations were made "merely for the purpose of diverting 
attention" because "in reality the field whence the diamonds 
came was south of the Moqui villages ".f He was in error. 
In 187S the Governor of Arizona, in his annual message to the 
legislature, expressed satisfaction that the press and people of 
the State, "much as they desired immigration", had not 
encouraged the diamond excitement. 

It was at this stage of the proceedings that Harpending 
arrived in San Francisco from London. He found his friends 
greatly excited. The two prospectors, says Harpending, made 
"an offer to go to the diamond fields and bring a couple of 
million dollars worth of stones and place them in our possession 
as a guaranty of good faith". They departed. A week later 
they telegraphed from Reno asking that somebody meet them 

* H. H. Bancroft, 'History of Arizona and New Mexico', p. 591; 1889. 
t James H. McClintock, 'Arizona', Vol. II, p. 397; 1916. 



382 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING - 

at Lathrop. Harpending went; he says; "I had a long wait at 
Lathrop, but at last the expected Overland [train] pulled in. 
I located the men without difficulty. Both were travel-stained 
and weather-beaten, and had the general appearance of having 
gone through much hardship and privation. Slack was sound 
asleep like a tired-out man. Arnold sat grimly erect like a 
vigilant old soldier with a rifle by his side; also a bulky-looking 
buckskin package". They told Harpending that they had 
lost one package of stones while fording a river — by the way, 
in a "desert" country — but that "as the other contained at 
least a million dollars worth of stones, it ought to be fairly 
satisfactory". On arrival at Oakland they handed the bag 
of diamonds to Harpending, who went immediately to his 
home, where his associates had assembled. " We did not waste 
time on ceremonies. A sheet was spread on my billiard table, 
I cut the elaborate fastenings of the sack, and, taking hold of 
the lower corners, dumped the contents. It seemed like a 
dazzling many-colored cataract of light!" 

The diamonds were displayed later in open trays to the 
sight of the people of San Francisco. Local excitement was 
tremendous. Several persons went to the prospectors and 
bought an interest in the discovery, which, it was understood, 
was owned as to three-quarters by Ralston and his friends. 
A sample of the stones was sent to Tiffany, the jeweler, in 
New York, and a party of six, including Harpending and the 
two prospectors, proceeded thither. Tiffany reported that 
the sample was worth $150,000. "At that figure, we had 
diamonds enough already in stock to make up a total of 
$1,500,000 in hard cash." That seemed "regular velvet to 
begin with". 

All that was needed now was to send a mining expert to 
confirm the value of the discovery. Henry Janin, a dis- 
tinguished engineer, was engaged to make the examination; 
he, accompanied by three others, including Harpending, was 
conducted to the mine by Slack and Arnold. They proceeded 
to Rawlins, in Wyoming, and went from there by an indirect 



THE GREAT DIAMOND HOAX 383 

route over rough country to "the spot". Arnold and Slack in 
their zigzag course had actually brought them within twenty 
or twenty-five miles of the railroad, but Arnold assured 
Harpending, with a smile, that the railroad was "at least a 
hundred miles away". The party proceeded to search for 
diamonds, by aid of pick and shovel. "Everyone wanted to 
find the first diamond. After a few minutes Rubery gave a 
yell. He held up something glittering in his hand. It was a 
diamond, fast enough. Any fool could see that much. Then 
we began to have all kinds of luck. For more than an hour, 
diamonds were being found in profusion, together with occa- 
sional rubies, emeralds, and sapphires." 

Apparently even Janin overlooked the discrepant character 
of the evidence, for rubies, emeralds, and sapphires are not 
found in the same rocky matrix with diamonds. "Mr. Janin 
was exultant that his name should be associated with the 
most momentous discovery of the age." In two days he was 
satisfied of the "absolute genuineness of the diamond fields" 
and advised the immediate location of the adjacent ground so 
that "one great corporation" might have "absolute control of 
the gem market". 

Janin's report is quoted in the 'Engineering and Mining 
Journal' of September 3, 1872. It appears in the 'Mining 
Summary ' under the heading of ' Arizona ' . That is where the 
diamond fields were supposed to be, but a reference is made to 
"the efforts to conceal their precise location". Most of the 
report is given verbatim, but not the first paragraph: 

"He says while at the diamond fields, there was washed of 
rich gravel less than, but say, three thousand pounds, or one 
and a half tons. This amount of work was done by Messrs. 
Slack and Arnold principally, the only experienced washers, 
assisted at times by myself and other members of the party. 
The total amount of work done was under, but say, four days' 
work of two men, or eight days' work of one man. This 
amount of labor produced 256 carats of diamonds, first quality, 
worth $16 per carat, or $4096; 568 carats diamonds, second 



384 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

quality, worth $3 per carat, $1704 ; 824 carats, $5800. Further, 
of rubies, four pounds, or 7200 carats, worth 50c. per carat, but 
estimated at 30c. — $2160. Total produce of one and a half 
tons of gravel, $7960, or $5306— say $5000— per ton. The 
estimate was made on a conservative, commercial and selUng 
basis, and ignored the fact that while none of the diamonds 
were worthless, many were large enough to be worth much 
more per carat than $16 . . . The washing was done by hand 
in ordinary gold pans; with the assistance of even the simplest 
machinery (gold rockers), the results of the same quality of 
gravel would have been increased many-fold by the same 
number of days' work. One thousand tons of such gravel as 
this would produce $50 per share and would more than cover 
the purchase price and expenses of production." 

Then follow other estimates based on the foregoing. The 
report continues: 

"Our stay at the diamond fields was so short (we were in 
camp at the field only seven days), and there was so much to be 
done in the way of locating, surveying, and securing the 
property, water rights and timber lands, that it left much less 
time than I desired, in which to prospect and sample this tract 
of ground. To prospect the whole tract of nearly 3000 acres 
would occupy months. I had only time to gather samples from 
those portions of the 160-acre block of ground which are 
marked in the accompanying plat. The amount of prospect- 
ing done was insignificant, and does not enable me to form a 
judgment as to the extent or limits either of the very rich or 
only moderately rich ground." 

This is followed by details concerning the water-rights and 
timber, after which he says: 

"In conclusion, I would say that I consider this a wonder- 
fully rich discovery, and one that will prove extremely profit- 
able. That while I did not have time enough to make the 
investigations which would have answered very important 
questions, I do not doubt that further prospecting will result 
in finding diamonds over a greater area than is as yet proved to 



THE GREAT DIAMOND HOAX 385 

be diamond-bearing; and finally, that I consider any invest- 
ment at $40 per stare, or at the rate of $4,000,000 for the whole 
property, a safe and attractive one." 

This report is open to several obvious criticisms. If the 
time spent on the ground was insufficient for a satisfactory 
examination, Janin should not have written the final para- 
graph, in which he pronounced the "investment" safe for 
$4,000,000. As the sequel proved, his investigation was so 
perfunctory that no opportunity was given to detect an abject 
fraud. The deposit is described as "gravel", as if it were an 
alluvial deposit. The panning of samples was done "princi- 
pally" by the two vendors, and probably the selection of the 
places to be tested was left largely to them. Janin should 
have taken an "experienced washer" with him if he was unpre- 
pared to do the panning himself. As it was, he played into 
the hands of the two rascals like any tenderfoot. 

The party, accompanied by Janin, went from Wyoming to 
New York. "In a brief space ... all the civilized world 
knew that vast diamond fields had been discovered on the 
North American continent, had been inspected by a mining 
engineer of great reputation and pronounced genuine." 
Rothschild cabled to Harpending, who replied that "half the 
truth had not been told; but the diamond fields were rich 
beyond calculation". Indeed, it is not surprising that after 
Tiffany's valuation and Janin's report "every suspicion gave 
way to an unbounded enthusiasm". 

On June 30, 1872, a company with a capital of $10,000,000 
was organized in Cahfornia. "Twenty- five gentlemen, repre- 
senting the cream of the financial interests of the city of San 
Francisco, men of national reputation for high-class business 
standing and personal integrity, were permitted to subscribe 
for stock to the amount of $80,000 each, and this initial capital 
of $2,000,000 was immediately paid to the Bank of California." 
The men that became the directors of the company "stood as 
the last word in the financial and commercial world of the 
Pacific Coast". One of them was the representative of the 



386 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

house of Rothschild, which became the company's agent in 
Europe. "The interest of Slack and Arnold was wiped out 
finally by a cash payment of $300,000." 

The directors dispatched a consignment of diamonds to 
Rothschild, and sent a party of miners and surveyors, headed 
by Roberts, to the diamond field. Meanwhile not a share of 
stock had been placed on the market, "although the excite- 
ment was intense". Roberts and his party confirmed all that 
had been said; he asserted that "if they had been deceived they 
were the worst deceived and cheated men who ever lived". 
They were. The package of diamonds brought back by the 
Janin party was valued at $20,000, but Tiffany estimated it to 
be worth only $8000. This discrepancy was disregarded. 

By that time "everything was closed down for the winter". 
One wonders why the company dared to leave such a treasure 
unprotected. Fortunately, no share speculation had been 
started, but handsome offices were engaged, and in it was 
displayed a map of the 3000 acres claimed by the company, 
showing the relative positions of Diamond Flat, Ruby Gulch, 
and Sapphire Hollow, but omitting the site of Sucker Valley. 

That significant spot was exposed suddenly on November 11, 
1872, when the president of the company received a telegram 
from Clarence King, at that time at the head of the Fortieth 
Parallel Survey and later the first Director of the U. S. Geo- 
logical Survey, stating that the diamond discovery was a hoax 
and that the ground had been salted. The telegram came from 
Wyoming. The directors were stunned. They held a meet- 
ing, says Harpending, and asked King to take a party to the 
alleged diamond deposit. Accordingly Janin and three others 
started immediately. King went with Janin and his party to the 
alleged diamond field, and showed them the evidence of fraud. 

In the 'Engineering and Mining Journal' of December 10, 
1872, the fiasco is exposed. Clarence King's report is given 
in fuU; also the second report by Janin. Apparently King 
came to San Francisco as soon as he had discovered the fraud; 
he addresses his report to the directors of the New York & San 



THE GREAT DIAMOND HOAX 387 

Francisco Mining & Commercial Company in these words: 
"I have hastened to San Francisco to lay before you the 
startling fact that the new diamond fields upon which are 
based such large investment and such brilliant hope are utterly 
valueless, and yourselves and your engineer, Mr. Henry Janin, 
the victims of an unparalleled fraud ". He proceeds to explain 
that he made the examination, "feeling that so marvelous a 
deposit as the diamond fields must not exist within the official 
limit of the geological exploration of the Fortieth Parallel, 
unknown". He was "enabled to find the spot without dif- 
ficulty, reaching there on Nov. 28 . . . Our first day was 
devoted to the sandstone table rock, at the head of Ruby 
Gulch, where about all the stones collected by your parties 
have been gathered, and had our critical work ended with the 
close of this one day, we should have left the ground confident 
believers in the genuineness and value of the fields. My 
suspicions were, however, aroused early in the second day's 
work, and I at once determined to make an exhaustive series 
of prospects, of which the following are the results: 

"First — A nearly uniform numerical ratio exists between 
the rubies and diamonds. 

"Second — The gems, in nine cases out of ten, lie directly 
upon the hard surface of rock or an indurated crust of soil. 
In the exceptional cases, where I found them in crevices, there 
was always ample evidence that the sand or soil had been 
disturbed and broken up within a year. 

"Fourth — Ruby Gulch, leading directly from Table Rock 
to Arnold Creek, and by necessity receiving the wash of the 
gem-bearing surface of sandstone, was found to be extremely 
rich in rubies at the head; but this richness, instead of con- 
tinuing down the creek, as if genuine, it inevitably must be, 
proved to exist only in ground directly at the foot of Table 
Rock, where the soil was clearly disturbed, mixed and smoothed 
over . . . 

"Sixth — Upon raised dome-like portions of Table Rock 
rubies and diamonds lay upon the summits and inclined sides 



388 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

in position where the storms of one or two winters must 
inevitably have dislodged them . . . 

"Seventh — An exhaustive examination of the rock-material 
itself, with a field microscope, revealed no grain, however 
minute, of either gem. 

"Eighth — In the ravines and upon the mesa near by are 
numerous anthills of small pebbles, mixed by the ants, and 
which we found to bear rubies on their surface. A still closer 
examination showed artificial holes, broken horizontally with 
some stick or small implement, through the natural crust of 
the mound; holes easily distinguished from the natural avenues 
made by the insects themselves. When traced to their end, 
each artificial hole held one or two rubies. Moreover, about 
these 'salted' hills were the old storm-worn footprints of a man. 

"Ninth — I discovered in the Table Rock three small 
emeralds. Summing up the minerals, this rock has produced 
four distinct types of diamonds. Oriental rubies, garnets, 
spinels, sapphires, emeralds, and amethysts — an association of 
minerals I believe of impossible occurrence in Nature. 

"The results of these ten links of proof are: that the gems 
exist in positions where Nature alone would never have placed 
them; that they do not exist where, had the occurrence been 
genuine, the inevitable laws of Nature must have carried them. 
Finally, that some designing hand has 'salted' them with 
dehberate fraudulent intent. Furthermore, this is the work of 
no common swindler, but of one who has known enough to 
select a spot where every geological parallelism added a fresh 
probability of honesty. The section of the geological locality 
is so astonishingly considered, the 'salting' itself so cunning 
and artful, the filling of all the conditions so fatally well done, 
that I can feel no surprise that even so trustworthy and cau- 
tious an engineer as Mr. Janin should have brought home the 
behef he did, especially when, as his report states, he was not 
allowed to prospect exhaustively; nor do I wonder that your 
second party of ten men brought back a confirmation of Mr. 



THE GREAT DIAMOND HOAX 389 

Janin's opinion, since they, too, were hurried from the ground 
without actually testing it . . ." 

The report is signed "Clarence King, U. S. Geologist". I 
have not quoted all of it, because it is unnecessary to do so. 
King magnifies the cleverness of the deception partly to soften 
criticism of his friend Janin, and perhaps also unconsciously 
to emphasize his own skill in the detection. He did no more 
than any competent mining engineer should have done; the 
fraud was a piece of "coarse work", and should have been 
detected by both Janin and King after any real investigation. 
The reason why the "second party of ten men" confirmed 
Janin's first report was because they omitted, as he did, to 
make adequate tests, or to remain on the ground long enough 
to gather the necessary clues. It seems to me that the fraud 
was the work of a common swindler and that "geological 
parallelism" was distinctly lacking, for the presence of 
diamonds in company with three or four other different kinds 
of gem-stones presents a distinct geologic discrepancy. The 
salting itself was so little "cunning and artful" that the dia- 
monds and rubies were placed loosely in natural crevices, the 
piercing of the anthills was performed so carelessly as to be 
visible, and the footmarks of the perpetrators were so little 
disguised as to remain in plain sight for months after the fake 
had been concocted. 

King's report is followed by Janin's second report. It is 
dated November 25, 1872, and gives the result of his second 
visit to the ground, accompanied by King. Janin says, in 
part: 

"We have examined all the points tested by Mr. King, and 
have made numerous additional tests, all of which go to prove 
that he was right in his conclusions, that the ground is abso- 
lutely worthless and not diamond-bearing, and that it has 
been made the field of an ingenious and infamous fraud. In 
company with General Colton I repeated the tests made by 
me on the occasion of my first visit, at points a third of a mile 
distant from the 'discovery' point, where I had previously 



390 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

found and reported diamonds and rubies. Innumerable tests 
showed the ground to be absolutely barren, showing that the 
gems found were placed in the various samples of gravel taken, 
between the time they were collected and the time when they 
were washed. These tests were made in company with one of 
the original and supposed discoverers." 

"These tests" refers to the panning done at the time of 
Janin's first, and perfunctory, examination. His statement 
indicates that not only was the ground salted, but that the 
samples likewise were doctored during the time they were 
being tested. He describes in detail the confirmation of King's 
conclusion and then proceeds: 

"We gathered diamonds and rubies from the bare pieces of 
sandstone above, as has been done by every party visiting the 
ground. Here, too, the conditions of fraud are numerous 
and irresistible. Since I professionally examined and indorsed 
this supposed discovery, the responsibility of investments made 
subsequent to my report and the consequent losses of course 
rests upon me. In partial explanation of the apparent ease 
with which I was befooled, I must be allowed to go back to the 
time when I first heard of this affair, when my services were 
engaged. In the latter part of last May I was in New York 
and was called upon by two gentlemen of this city, both at 
present large shareholders in the enterprise and with their 
own means largely engaged in the same. They laid the story 
before me and silenced the increduHty which it naturally 
excited, by the statement that they themselves had investi- 
gated the matter closely; that they were assured by the original 
prospectors, and believed that two trips had already been made 
by them to these fields, at long intervals, and that each trip 
had resulted in the production of large values in precious 
stones, although their work was done hastily and with rude 
implements . . . 

"While discounting in my own mind very largely the state- 
ments of the prospectors as quoted to me, they still left me 
firmly impressed with the belief that such large sums had been 



THE GREAT DIAMOND HOAX 391 

obtained from this ground as to preclude any suspicion of 
'salting'. Diamonds and rubies, both in the rough and 
polished state, were shown to me, and in good faith, as coming 
from these fields. The diamonds were, many of them, of 
considerable value, and were ranked as a high average quality 
by New York lapidaries. The diamonds picked up by the last 
expeditions are mostly small and worthless, and are the refuse 
of what was obtained by the earlier expeditions. On my way 
out I was told in great detail the story and adventures of 
the two so productive trips. I looked upon my investigation 
as undertaken not to determine the fact of the discovery, 
but to ascertain approximately the extent and value of the 
same . . . Had I been allowed more time, as I desired, in 
which to make my investigations, it is probable that I would 
have detected the fraud. At the same time, it is possible 
that the same 'salting' game might have been kept up, and 
my good opinion of the property have been not only confirmed 
but increased ... A further explanation of the mistaken 
opinions of myself and others is found in the patient, ingenious, 
and audacious nature of the fraud." 

So ends the report; it is ingenuous, and frank in its accept- 
ance of blame. In the same issue of the 'Engineering and 
Mining Journal' there is an editorial article, entitled 'The 
Diamond Swindle'. It was written by Rossiter W. Raymond. 
Again Janin is fortunate in finding a friend ready to minimize 
his blunder. Raymond, King, and Janin were among the 
first men in the profession at that period — 50 years ago — and 
they were close friends. Dr. Raymond endeavors to explain 
"the otherwise astonishing phenomenon of an engineer like 
Mr. Janin, consenting, after so much preparation, to leave his 
work half done, and to present a preliminary, where he 
intended to render a conclusive, report". His explanation is 
that Janin was "hurried away, after a single day's prospect- 
ing", and that "a great deal of clerical work devolved upon 
him, by reason of the illness of the only other person in the 
party who could discharge it ; and when, after all preliminaries 



392 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

[this refers to surveying, locating, and preparing records] were 
completed, the work of prospecting actually began, it was 
continued but a single day, before the sick man [a representa- 
tive of the capitalists] peremptorily insisted on being taken 
away, declaring he should die if he remained longer in the 
wilderness". These facts, says the editor, "come to us on 
excellent authority". 

Then follows a reference to King's report, with the remark: 
"It now seems beyond doubt that the locality (which is in 
Colorado) was skillfully 'salted' with small stones, while large 
ones were from time to time introduced into the samples taken 
for testing, during the process of washing. That Mr. Janin, 
like most of his profession in this country, had had no practical 
acquaintance with the geology, topography, and special con- 
ditions of diamond fields was no disgrace to him. That he did 
not suspect a fraud, even, was natural enough. He was sent 
to report on the probable value of a discovery which had 
furnished precious stones for more than a year; his employers 
did not request him to test its genuineness, but to determine 
its extent". This is kind, but not altogether convincing. He 
did not remain on the ground anything like long enough to 
"determine its extent"; and an engineer is expected, of course, 
to satisfy himself of the "genuineness" of a deposit before he 
begins to value it in terms of millions of dollars. Raymond 
seems to appreciate the weakness of his apology; for he adds: 
"But when all is said, the fact remains that an acute, experi- 
enced, and upright man allowed himself to be outrageously 
deceived, in a case involving his own hard-earned reputation, 
and an enormous pecuniary interest ... Of course, this 
matter will be laid at the door of 'science' — but most unfairly. 
The combination of circumstances that deceived one of the 
shrewdest experts on the Pacific Coast might have misled any 
scientific man in the country, who did not absolutely disbelieve 
all men and all superficial phenomena". 

To which I would remark that an engineer when about to 
examine a mine should write caveat emptor on the first page of 



THE GREAT DIAMOND HOAX 393 

his notebook. Raymond senses this, for he continues: "But 
the scientific spirit is that of entire scepticism and fundamental 
investigation. Mr. King's work was scientific, yet he confesses 
that if his examination had ended with the first day, he would 
have been convinced as Mr. Janin was. It was his continued 
investigation that brought out the truth; and it was Janin's 
unfortunate failure, through causes apparently beyond his 
control, to make such an investigation, and his fatal error in 
consenting to give a 'preliminary opinion' that cost him so 
dear". That is true. 

If King had gone all the way to the place of the supposed 
discovery and had spent only one day there, he would not have 
done his work as a geologist in a "scientific" manner. The 
methods of science are thorough and sincere. Raymond 
proceeds to state that "this is a startling lesson for mining 
engineers". He refers to previous editorial warnings against 
the trickeries of the promoter's trade, and ends with the regret- 
ful statement: "Henry Janin's mistake may well teach us all 
humility and caution". With this I concur heartily. 

In after years even Raymond himself was grossly deceived 
in his estimate of the ore in the Chrysolite mine at Leadville, 
and others of us at some time or another have been barely 
fortunate enough to detect fraud in time to prevent a public 
fiasco. Henry Janin survived the blow to his reputation and 
regained his standing in the profession long before he died, on 
January 6, 1911, nearly forty years after the events that I have 
described. The moral of his story is that an engineer should 
avoid expressing a premature opinion; he should write no 
report until he has ascertained the facts; and, more particu- 
larly, he should be intensely sceptical of any alleged new 
diamond field in the United States, or elsewhere. 

The party that accompanied King and Janin in this final 
examination returned to San Francisco, and on November 25 
the facts were given to the press, "that the diamond fields were 
a fraud, and that everyone had been taken in". An investi- 
gating committee was appointed. A disgusted confederate 



394 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

gave useful evidence. It appeared that Slack and Arnold had 
bought a parcel of the small diamonds used for drilling; a 
dealer in London identified them as having been purchased 
from him a year before. This information should have been 
available sooner, for it was based on the examination of the 
consignment sent to Rothschild for sale some time in July. 
The subscriptions of the 25 shareholders, aggregating $2,000,- 
000, were returned to them. The only loss incurred was the 
money paid to the perpetrators of the fraud and the expenses 
of the various expeditions, all of which were met by Ralston 
and his associates. The general public did not lose a cent. 

The diamonds used in the salting came from South Africa 
and were bought by Arnold in London. The stones were of 
the inferior kind used for glass-cutting, diamond-drilling, and 
other utilitarian purposes. It must be remembered that in 
1872 not much was known about diamonds or their mode of 
occurrence. The diamantiferous deposits of South Africa 
were discovered in 1869 and the mining of them may be said 
to have started in 1871. Before that the chief source of 
brilliants was Brazil, where the diamonds are found in sand 
and gravel derived from a conglomerate of micaceous sand- 
stone. Perhaps that was why Arnold selected a sandstone for 
the scene of his fraud. The South African diamonds are found 
in a volcanic plug, which consists of a breccia of several rocks, 
chiefly peridotite. Sapphires are found in Montana and 
Canada in dike-rocks, such as lamprophyre, andesite, and 
syenite. Rubies and emeralds are found in pegmatite. 

Several interesting discrepancies are to be noted in the details 
of the story. Harpending says that Slack and Arnold received 
"approximately $600,000", and that the salting was done 
with stones that cost them "about $35,500". He says that 
they received finally a cash payment of $300,000, but he does 
not say when or how they were paid the second $300,000. On 
the other hand, the first parcel of diamonds, which was 
deposited by Slack and Arnold at the Bank of California, was 
said to have been worth $125,000. Next the consignment sent 



THE GREAT DIAMOND HOAX 395 

to Tiffany was estimated by him to be worth $150,000, where- 
upon the diamonds "already in stock" were given a value of 
" $1,500,000 in hard cash ", as Harpending asserts. Obviously, 
the value of the stones was absurdly over-rated from start to 
finish, and Tiffany's appraisal was largely to blame. He 
apparently did not know how to appraise uncut stones, his 
experience having been only with cut gems. His name even 
then carried much weight in the gem market. 

It is one of the humors of the swindle that the discards of the 
diamond trade, bought for $35,000 only, should have sufficed 
to create an estimate of more than $1,500,000, for it must be 
remembered that all the stones were not recovered. Some of 
them must still remain where they were placed, in Colorado, a 
few miles south of the Wyoming boundary. In Harpending's 
tale he describes the "dazzling many-colored cataract of light" 
that he emptied on the table from the bag that the prospectors 
brought to San Francisco. Uncut stones are not "dazzling", 
or even brilliant; they are dull, like pieces of ground glass. 
Evidently imagination entered into play. That some of the 
diamonds were cut stones is likely; indeed, it was part of the 
crudity of the swindle that one or more cut stones were used 
in the salting. Harpending says that King obtained his clue 
from the finding of a cut stone by a German member of his 
staff, and there is evidence to corroborate this statement, the 
man that detected the evidence of the lapidary's art being a 
certain Schmidt, who had had some experience with gems. 

Suspicion of the complicity of some of the promoters was 
aroused at the time, but there is every reason to accept 
Harpending's assertion that they were dupes, not conspirators. 
Slack, it seems, received only $30,000; he disappeared, and no 
trace of him was ever found. Arnold went to Kentucky, 
where he settled down to enjoy a quiet life. When the fraud 
was detected a lawsuit was started against him in the local 
court, to which he replied by denying the salting and asserting 
that if there had been any it must have been done by the 
"California scamps". He brought forth Janin's report and 



396 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Tiffany's appraisement in proof of his own honesty. His 
neighbors thought him a fine fellow, and supported him 
cordially. In the end, after sundry negotiations, he com- 
promised and surrendered $150,000, in consideration of 
immunity from further litigation. But he did not live long to 
enjoy his ill-gotten gain; he was shot in an altercation on the 
street and died soon afterward, at the end of 1873. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THE FLOTATION PROCESS IN THE UNITED STATES 

The introduction and development of the flotation process 
have proved to be of such momentous importance to the 
mining industry of the United States that they deserve to be 
considered historically. * 

The origin of the use of oily matter in separating minerals in 
ores is obscure, because its beginnings were unregarded. The 
story told by Herodotus concerning the recovery of gold from 
the mud of a lake by means of feathers daubed with pitch in the 
hands of apocryphal virgins is as pertinent to our inquiry as 
the yarn, two thousand years later, of a young school-teacher in 
Colorado that was washing oil-stained ore-sacks in her 
brother's assay-oflice when she noted the floating of pyrite on 
the water contaminated by the oil. In any event, the method 
patented by Carrie Everson in 1885 was a complete failure, 
except as factitious evidence for trying to disprove the original- 
ity of subsequent inventions. 

An early and inadvertent use of the affinity of oil for metallic 
surfaces is suggested by the story of Jason and the Argonauts, 
who extracted gold from the gravel of the river Colchis by 
means of sheepskins. The woolly hide served, like the 
blankets used in our early stamp-mills, to arrest the gold, 
which was further detained by the oil on the fleece. Strabo, 
referring to a later period, says that in the country of the 
Soanes, who inhabit the valley of the Colchis, "the winter 
torrents are said to bring down even gold, which the barbarians 
collect in troughs pierced with holes, and lined with fleeces; 
and hence the fable of the Golden Fleece ".f William Pryce 

* T. A. Rickard, 'Flotation', p. 9; 1917. 

t Strabo's Geography, XI, 2, 19. 

397 



398 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

describes the use of a similar method in Brazil. " The inhabit- 
ants of Brazil", he says, "will sometimes find a kind of gold- 
dust, so very weak and minute, that they cannot save it well 
in bowls [bateas]. This has obliged them to have recourse 
to another method of making the most of this very small gold- 
dust, by laying an oxhide on the ground, with the grain of the 
hair against the water, which passes gently over it. On this 
they stir and mix the sand and gold-dust; by which means the 
small particles sink and are intercepted in the hair of the hide, 
while the sand washes off."* The saving of the gold was aided 
by the oil on the hide. 

Hezekiah Bradford, an American, also in 1885, obtained a 
patent that was based upon the recognition of the surface- 
tension of water when in contact with air. Surface-tension is 
the contractile force at the surface of a liquid whereby resist- 
ance is offered to rupture. These early experimenters had an 
inkling of the physical phenomena underlying the flotation 
process, but they were pioneers that blazed no trail. More 
significant was H. L. Sulman's British patent of 1893 in which 
he described a means for saving float gold by adding something 
to the mill- water that would diminish its surface-tension. 
Mr. Sulman was destined to be a true pioneer, because, not only 
had he the advantage of a scientific training, but his profes- 
sional participation in the oil and soap industries gave him 
knowledge of a kind that was applicable to the metallurgic 
process with which his name is now imperishably associated. 

In 1894 George Robson and Samuel Crowder patented a 
process, in England, for the separation of metallic matter from 
gangue by the use of a large proportion of oil. It was a method 
of buoying the sulphide particles in oil. A trial at the Glasdir 
gold mine, in Wales, proved a technical success, but an 
economic failure. Two years later, in 1896, William Elmore 
bought the Glasdir mine, and sent his two sons, Francis 
Edward and Alexander Stanley, to investigate the method of 
concentration as applied to the gold-bearing copper-pyrite in 

* William Pryce, 'Mineralogia Comubiensis', p. 246; 1778. 



THE FLOTATION PROCESS IN THE UNITED STATES 399 

the ore of this Welsh mine. There the Elmores saw Robson's 
experimental plant, and they hardly needed Crowder's urge 
to proceed with the effort to use oil as a means of concentra- 
tion.* In 1898 Francis Elmore obtained his first patent, 
which led to the formation of a strong syndicate and to the 
building of a mill at the Glasdir mine. 

In his patent Francis Elmore described the process as "mix- 
ing the pulverized ore first with water in considerable quantity, 
then adding to the mixture an oil of the kind described, which 
adheres to the metallic constituents but not to the wet rocky 
constituents". The metallic constituents are not wetted, 
because they are oiled. Elmore used a thick oil and introduced 
the idea of a freely flowing pulp as against the mixing of oil 
with crushed ore in the presence of only a small proportion of 
water, as Robson and Crowder had done. By using more 
water, he also entrained more air, so essential to success, 
although he did not then recognize the fact. Charles M. 
Rolker read a paper on the Glasdir mill before the Institution 
of Mining and Metallurgy in London on April 25, 1900.t The 
paper and the discussion show clearly that nobody at that time 
recognized the part played by air in this oil-concentration 
process. The manager of the miU had testified that the 
floatative efficiency of the oil was 150 per cent greater than had 
been expected; that is, the actual load of concentrate on the oil 
was that much greater than anticipated. Francis Elmore 
remarked upon the difference between theory and practice. 
Rolker imputed it to the viscosity of the oil. Neither Sulman 
nor H. F. K. Picard, the later protagonists of flotation, both of 
whom took part in this discussion, made the sKghtest reference 
to the agency of air, which was entrained with the ore and the 
water while they were being mixed in the revolving drum. 
Three years later Stanley Elmore actually took out a patent 
wherein air was specifically excluded from the operation. It is 

* Mining and Scientific Press, February 24, 1917 and June 16, 1917. 
t Charles M. Rolker, Trans. Inst. Min. and Met., London, Vol. VIII, 
p. 379; 1900. 



400 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

certain that in 1900 the agency of air — the bubble-making 
phase — was not understood by any of the exponents of oil- 
concentration. 

In 1901 the Elmore syndicate established a demonstration 
plant in London, and in due course a number of mills for 
applying the bulk-oil process were built at mines scattered all 
over the world, notably in Wales, Cornwall, South Africa, 
and British Columbia. Meanwhile experiments were being 
made at Broken HiU, in Australia. Charles V. Potter and 
Guillaume D. Delprat patented processes in which, for the 
first time, we have mention of bubbles that served to raise 
the ore particles to the surface of the pulp in a mill. They 
expected to make their bubbles by generating gas by means of 
some acid that they added to the pulp. They did not use oil, 
but as they were engaged in treating old dumps, we may infer 
the presence of oily compounds* suitable for lowering the 
surface-tension of water and thereby facilitating the forma- 
tion of bubbles. Large quantities of dump material were 
milled successfully by flotation methods at Broken Hill 
between 1903 and 1905. 

The scene shifts from Australia to Italy. In 1901 Alcide 
Froment, an engineer at the Traversella mine, invented a 
modification of the oil-concentration process, this modification, 
patented in June 1902, being the introduction of a gas into 
the freely flowing oiled pulp used by Elmore. He argued, 
in his patent, that "if a gas of any kind is hberated in the mass 
the bubbles of the gas become coated with an envelope of 
sulphide and thus rise readily to the surface of the hquid 
where they form a kind of metalHc magma". The phrase 
"gas of any kind" is important, for, although he generated 
his bubbles of gas by the reaction between sulphuric acid and' 
the carbonates of the gangue or between the acid and the 
limestone that he added to the pulp, he had hit upon one of 
the fundamental principles of the flotation process as we know 
it today. If he had specified air as the particular gas to be 

* T. J. Hoover, 'Concentrating Ores by Flotation', p. 101; 1912. 



THE FLOTATION PROCESS IN THE UNITED STATES 401 

used he would have been acknowledged as a pioneer of flota- 
tion. Air was present, of course, and played a decisive part 
in the operation, for he specified the employment of a centrifu- 
gal mixing device "in which two stirrers work in opposite 
directions, making 300 revolutions per minute". His British 
patents were acquired by the Minerals Separation Company in 
1904, and Froment died soon afterward. 

Now we come to the Minerals Separation Company, which 
has played the chief part in the later development of the proc- 
ess. In 1901 John Ballot organized a syndicate to take an 
option on the Australian rights to the Elmore bulk-oil process. 
He engaged the firm of Sulman & Picard as advisory metal- 
lurgists. Acting upon their advice, the syndicate did not 
exercise the option. In December 1902 Ballot purchased 
the patents of Arthur Cattermole and assigned them to his 
syndicate, which was named the Cattermole Ore Concentration 
Syndicate. On December 31, 1903, this syndicate was 
reorganized as Minerals Separation Limited. 

Cattermole, in his patent of September 28, 1903, refers to the 
selectiveness of oil, when emulsified, for sulphide particles, such 
selective action being intensified by acidulation of the water. * 
He then says that if the mixture be agitated thoroughly there is 
a tendency for the metalliferous particles, now well coated with 
oil, to adhere together, forming granules that sink and are 
readily separated from the lighter gangue by a rising current of 
water. He specifies the proportion of oil as between 4 and 6 
per cent of the metalliferous mineral matter in the ore. Evi- 
dently he missed the fact that his thorough agitation of the oiled 
pulp made multitudinous bubbles, that is, froth. It is stated 
that in the course of experimentation with the Cattermole 
process in the laboratory of the firm of Sulman & Picard, in 
London, a series of tests was made with variations in tempera- 
ture, acidulation, oiling, and mixing. When the proportion of 
oil was reduced, the granules began to rise, the best results 
being obtained when there was less than 0-62 per cent of the 

* T. A. Rickard, 'The Flotation Process', p. 40; 1916. 



402 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

oil (oleic acid) on the ore. The experiments were conducted 
by Arthur H. Higgins, in the laboratory of Sulman and Picard; 
and the ensuing British patent, No. 7803, was obtained in 
the names of Sulman, Picard, and Ballot on April 12, 1905. 
It was followed by the American patent. No. 835,120, taken 
in the name of the Minerals Separation Company on November 
6, 1905. This was the basic American patent; it proved suffi- 
cient to cover the rights to froth-flotation. 

Meanwhile, as early as 1901, in the use of the Cattermole 
process in the Central mill at Broken Hill, it had been 
remarked that a scum laden with sulphide mineral was 
formed whenever the rotation of trommels, or the motion 
of jig-plungers, or the splash of elevators produced a 
violent agitation of the mill-water containing slime. The 
use of oil served to make this foam more persistent. In 1902 
it was noticed that the scum of slime from re-crushed tailing 
was saved by floating it over a spitz-box. W. Shellshear 
and F. A. Beauchamp suggested the application of this idea 
to correct the failure of Cattermole's granulating process, 
which suffered from the fact that floccules of mineral broke 
away from the granules on the concentrating tables. Their 
suggestion was adopted in 1903. It was discovered that the 
floatative effect was produced when using 9 pounds of oil and 
22 pounds of acid per ton of ore. The proportion of oil was 
diminished gradually to two pounds per ton of ore. This was 
the beginning of froth-flotation. In 1904, after a 60-ton 
Cattermole plant had been built in the Central mill, a number 
of experiments were made by George A. Chapman, one of the 
able men on the staff of Minerals Separation. His tests 
showed that when using 16 pounds of oil per ton of ore he 
obtained excellent results, "with all float concentrate, no 
granular material being formed". In other words, the 
Cattermole process was discarded. The importance of the 
floating does not seem to have been appreciated until early in 
1905, when "a remarkable development in the operation", 
says James Hebbard, the manager of the Central mine. 



THE FLOTATION PROCESS IN THE UNITED STATES 403 

"was discovered (strangely enough, at the same time here 
(Broken Hill] and in the patent company's [Minerals Separa- 
tion] laboratory in London) which had for its main principle 
the reversal of all previous operations, and consisted in the 
complete flotation of each particle of mineral independently 
in place of granulating the mineral particles and causing them 
to sink, thus not only revolutionizing the process, but greatly 
simplifying and cheapening it. The developments noted 
were mainly along the line of decreased consumption of oleic 
acid, for example, from 3 per cent oleic on ore, resulting in 
very little float down to 1 per cent, giving practically a 
complete float".* According to this, the discovery of the 
agitation-froth process was made independently and con- 
temporaneously in London and at Broken Hill. It only 
remains to add that Chapman had experimented with the 
Froment process in the London laboratory in 1903. Like 
many other interesting industrial discoveries, that of flotation 
has been obscured by the exigencies of litigation, and it is 
difficult to get at the facts now. It is fair to add, however, 
that the observations made in the mills at Broken Hill prior 
to 1905 concerning the fioatative effect of scum or foam were 
without inventive result; those that made them did not 
appreciate their real significance at the time, although they 
spoke of them appreciatively after patent 835,120 had been 
issued. They did not publish anything at the time and they 
did not seek to patent their ideas. The productive observa- 
tions were those based upon the experiments of Sulman and 
Picard in London, because these led directly to the discovery 
by Higgins, and the ensuing patent. Here note may be made 
that the Broken Hill milling by flotation was done in heated 
solutions, whereas the American adaptation of the process 
was distinguished by the use of unheated circuits. 

So far oil-flotation had received scant attention in the 
United States. In 1899 Charles Butters tried to introduce 

* James Hebbard, Australasian Inst. Min. Eng., Proc, November 10, 
1913. 



404 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

the use of the Elmore process, and established an ore-testing 
plant for this purpose at Salt Lake City. He used a cen- 
trifugal machine to separate the excess of oil from the con- 
centrate. The results showed no betterment on water 
concentration, and the high proportion of oil — ^20 pounds per 
ton of ore — "made a fearful mess", as Butters himself 
remarked.* The Elmore process of bulk-oil flotation was 
tried, unsuccessfully, at the Boston Consolidated and Mam- 
moth mines in Utah during 1900 and 1901. In 1906 a sur- 
face-tension method of remarkable ingenuity, invented by 
A. C. Macquisten, was used in the Adelaide mill, at Golconda, 
in Nevada; and in 1911 a similar plant was built at the 
Morning mine, in Idaho, but these interesting ventures were 
mere ripples on the calm surface of American apathy, which 
twenty years ago gave no promise of the full tide of metallurgic 
advance that since then has swept over base-metal mining in 
our country. 

Another American patent deserves mention as a link 
between the Elmore bulk-oil process and the later frothing 
methods. Edmund B. Kirby, in his patent of December 14, 
1903, used from 25 to 75 per cent of oil in a flowing pulp, 
but he depended upon thin oil — kerosene — and upon violent 
agitation, so that he departed from the Elmore type of 
flotation. The more interesting feature of his claim was 
"the injection of a gas, preferably air, into the mass", which 
statement, if taken with reference to "allowing the hydro- 
carbon-coated particles to float to the surface of the mass",, 
seems indeed to be a forecast of froth-flotation. Kirby tried 
his process on a variety of British Columbian ores, but no 
working-plant was erected; nevertheless he deserves respect- 
ful mention in any history of the flotation process. 

Then came James M. Hyde; he had been on the staff of 
Minerals Separation under Theodore J. Hoover, who in 1906, 
was engaged by Ballot as general manager for his company. 
In 1911 Mr. Hyde left Minerals Separation, after only one 

* T. A. Rickard, 'Interviews with Mining Engineers', p. 125; 1922. 



THE FLOTATION PROCESS IN THE UNITED STATES 405 

year's service, and went to Montana, at the instance of Mr. 
Hoover, who Ukewise had severed his connection with 
Minerals Separation. Hyde made flotation tests on the zinc- 
lead ore of one of the Butte & Superior company's mines, at 
Butte, and erected a trial-plant at Basin in disregard of the 
Minerals Separation patents. In 1912 Edward H. Nutter, 
American manager for the Minerals Separation company, 
erected a 50-ton experimental plant to treat the chalcopyrite 
ore of the Britannia mine, on Howe Sound, British Columbia, 
and demonstrated the efficiency of the process, which has 
been in use at this mine continuously since then. 

In October, 1911, a suit for infringement was brought by 
Minerals Separation against Mr. Hyde, and thus was started a 
series of Utigations that engendered much bitterness. Here 
it may be noted that the Elmores and Minerals Separation 
waged war likewise from 1905 to 1914; it was a relentless 
fight involving charges of bad faith. So also the litigation 
between Minerals Separation and Hyde had a background 
of personal animosity arising out of the fact that Messrs. 
Hyde and T. J. Hoover had been on the staff of Minerals 
Separation. These cross-currents of ill-will were regrettable 
in so far as they prevented a reasonable compromise and 
thereby undoubtedly hindered both the apphcation and the 
improvement of the process. 

The lawsuit against Hyde was based on his infringement of 
patent No. 835,120, which, as the United States Supreme 
Court decided,* depended upon the use of a critical amount of 
oil, less than one per cent on the ore, and upon so impregnating 
with air the mass of ore and water, by means of violent agita- 
tion, as to cause a froth, peculiarly coherent and persistent, 
composed of air-bubbles with only a trace of oil on them, to 
rise to the surface, bearing with them a high percentage of the 
metal and metalliferous particles in the pulp. The District 
Court of Montana decided against Hyde, the Court of Appeals 
reversed this decision, but the Supreme Court upheld it. 

* T. A. Rickard, 'Concentration by Flotation', p. 106; 1921. 



406 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Looking back, it is remarkable that the case should have gone, 
by writ of certiorari, to the Supreme Court. The Supreme 
Court's action in granting a submission of the Hyde case was 
influenced probably by the fact that Minerals Separation just 
before the application for a writ of certiorari had won its 
British suit against the Elmores before the Law Committee 
of the Privy Council in London; it happened that Chief 
Justice White knew Lord Haldane personally, and had a great 
respect for his acumen. It is evident, from reading the record, 
that the judges were not qualified to try this highly technical 
case, and that the final decision might as well have gone one 
way as the other. The decision had the effect of putting 
Minerals Separation well in the saddle and eventually led to a 
series of adjustments helpful to the application of the process 
on a large scale. In 1919 Minerals Separation brought suit 
against the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company for 
infringement of patent No. 835,120, and in the following year 
another suit was started against the same company for 
infringement of patent No. 962,678. Eventually this litigation 
was dropped when a compromise was made and the company 
became a licensee. A suit was brought against the Magma 
Copper Company in 1920, for infringement of patent No. 
962,678, but the legal proceedings were so dilatory that the 
final decision, adverse to Minerals Separation, was not given 
until 1930, by which time the patent at issue had expired. 

The first successful use of the process in the United States 
was made at Butte, on a zinc-lead ore, as we have seen. The 
later development of the process was based on the treatment 
of copper ores, especially the chalcocite disseminated through 
immense orebodies disclosed in Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. 
This part of the story begins with the tests made by Minerals 
Separation in the London laboratory and in plants erected at 
sundry copper mines in other countries, such as the Caucasus 
Copper and the Great Fitzroy mines. These early attempts 
were unsuccessful. In his book, dated July 4, 1912, Theodore 
J. Hoover refers to the limitations of the process and mentions 



THE FLOTATION PROCESS IN THE UNITED STATES 407 

both bornite and chalcocite, at Bingham, for example, as 
giving trouble to flotation methods. In a report made by 
Hyde, in 1911, it is stated that "the copper ores of a good part 
of the Southwest and also of at least a portion of the Utah 
region contain chalcocite, which is not floatable by any of the 
methods so far tested".* This indicates the opinion held by 
the Minerals Separation staff at that time. They discovered 
their mistake in due course. During 1912, in the Minerals 
Separation laboratory at San Francisco, several tests were 
made on chalcocite ore from the Inspiration mine, in Arizona, 
but the results were disappointing. At the end of that year, 
however, an 87 per cent recovery on a 2 per cent copper ore 
was obtained in a 15 per cent concentrate. A 50-ton experi- 
mental plant was erected forthwith at the mine. The Inspira- 
tion company, acting on the advice of Dr. L. D. Ricketts, 
took out a licence from Minerals Separation in 1913. During 
March of that year F. A. Beauchamp, of the Minerals Separa- 
tion staff, obtained a 90 to 92 per cent recovery in a 35 to 40 
per cent concentrate from a 2 per cent ore, with a 0-15 to 0-2 
per cent tailing. That was a decisive demonstration. In the 
early experiments the presence of a colloidal kaolinized mineral 
had diverted the oil from its proper function and had interfered 
with the recovery of copper, until Chapman suggested the 
addition of the oil to the ore in the tube-mill, where the mineral 
particles became oiled at the instant of exposing fresh fractures. 
These experiments warranted the expectation that on a 1-58 
per cent copper ore there would be obtained a 273^ per cent 
concentrate, giving a recovery of 92 per cent and a tailing loss 
of only 0-13 per cent of the copper. A 600-ton Minerals 
Separation test-plant was built in January, 1914; in July of 
that year a pneumatic equipment consisting of five Callow 
cells and one Pachuca tank was added, and between August 
and October a Towne machine was in use. In 1915 the 
Inspiration Consolidated Copper Company built a mill of 18 

* T. J. Hoover, 'Concentrating Ores by Flotation', p. 157; 1912. 



408 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

sections, each of 800 tons capacity, or a total of 14,400 tons 
daily. Later this mill treated 21,000 tons per day. 

In June, 1914, Chapman started flotation experiments at 
Anaconda in a 200-ton plant. He obtained a recovery of 
90 per cent, using a kerosene-acid sludge made from Calif ornian 
petroleum and chamber acid, the latter having been found 
more effective for the purpose than fume acid. Here I may 
remark that copper is 'recovered' in a concentrate and is then 
' extracted ' by smelting. The distinction is important in this 
context. On February 1, 1915, the Anaconda and Inspiration 
companies signed a joint contract with Minerals Separation 
by the terms of which they agreed to pay royalty on a scale 
ranging from 12 cents per ton on 4000 tons daily to 4 cents 
per ton on the treatment of more than 30,000 tons daily. 
This was a great winning for the patent-owning company. 
The tonnage coming under the terms of this agreement 
included the ore treated by sundry subsidiary mining com- 
panies, the consequence being that the maximum tonnage and 
minimum royalty specified in the agreement were reached by 
the close of 1916, at which time the Anaconda flotation plant 
was treating 14,500 tons daUy. As an example of the saving 
made by aid of flotation, it is worth mentioning that whereas 
the tailing from the water-concentration mUl used to assay 
0-62 per cent copper, the residue now, after treatment in the 
flotation annex, assayed only 015 per cent on a 3 per cent ore; 
that is, out of QO pounds of copper per ton, only 3 pounds was 
going to waste, as compared with 12-4 pounds formerly. The 
recovery was 95 per cent. Moreover, the metallurgic improve- 
ments made at the Washoe plant during 1915 were so effective 
as to cause an increase of 55,000,000 pounds per annum in the 
production of the Anaconda company "without increasing the 
tonnage or grade of ore that has been mined in the past ". So 
testified John D. Ryan, the president of the Anaconda com- 
pany, in his annual report. * Further, he stated that ' ' approxi- 
mately 40,000,000 pounds of this increased production will be 

* Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. CXII, p. 296; 1916. 



THE FLOTATION PROCESS IN THE UNITED STATES 409 

made without adding to the cost per ton of ore treated ". This 
was equivalent to the output of a big mine. 

Opposition to the Minerals Separation company and ques- 
tioning of the validity of their patents were not ended, 
however; and this unwillingness to give them a clear field was 
stimulated in the United States by what was considered a 
drastic manner of enforcing their rights, by binding technicians 
to secrecy, and by efforts to prevent the publication of informa- 
tion on flotation. This opposition to Minerals Separation and 
their exacting methods, as it seemed, was voiced effectively by 
the 'Mining and Scientific Press' of San Francisco, which tech- 
nical periodical also published a great deal of useful information 
on the subject. The antagonism to Minerals Separation culmi- 
nated in a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, which 
heard the charges in 1920, but, it is fair to say, the evidence 
was weak and the greater skill of the lawyer for the respondents 
caused the inquiry to come to nothing.* 

Meanwhile litigation was still in progress. The Miami 
Copper Company, whose mine is adjacent to the Inspiration, 
undertook to flout Minerals Separation. From December, 
1913, to August, 1914, a series of flotation tests were made by 
R. C. Canby, who used various types of apparatus, including 
the Minerals Separation agitator and the Towne machine. 
On August 7, 1914, a pneumatic flotation plant was completed. 
The remodeled Miami mill, with a capacity of 4200 tons daily, 
went to work on March 15, 1915. In this plant the Callow 
machine was introduced. On July 14, 1914, Minerals Separa- 
tion brought two suits, based respectively on patents No. 
835,120 and 962,678, but these suits were dismissed on request 
of Minerals Separation, and on October 10, 1914, a single suit 
was started for infringement of three patents, the two already 
mentioned and No. 1,099,699. 

This last patent was not sustained and need not be dis- 
cussed. No. 835,120 was alleged to have been infringed by the 
use of the Callow machine, invented by J. M. Callow, of Salt 

* Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. CXXI, p. 263; 1920. 



410 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

Lake City. His flotation cell consists of a box with a sloping 
bottom in which are holes, over which canvas is spread, so 
that air can be filtered through at the rate required to make a 
froth. It was claimed by the Miami company that the admis- 
sion of air without mechanical agitation was a departure from 
the process of patent No. 835,120, and resembled a device 
patented by T. J. Hoover in England in 1910, but never 
patented in the United States. The District Court of Dela- 
ware decided that the Miami had infringed, by using less than 
1 per cent of oil, and by employing pine-oil, this being a soluble 
frothing agent such as that of patent 982,678, which had been 
granted to Sulman, Greenway, and Higgins in 1910. This 
patent became increasingly important, as the life of 835,120 
expired in 1922, and Minerals Separation had to fall back on 
other patents, of which it had acquired a large number, with 
the promise of long-continued collections of royalty. The 
varying solubility of oils and the use of soluble agents for that 
modification of the surface-tension of water to which the 
phenomena of froth-flotation or bubble-levitation are so largely 
due became an important feature of both litigation and mill 
op)eration. The idea goes back to William Haynes, who, in 
his British patent of 1860, used coal-tar from gas-works in a 
rudimentary process of oil-flotation. Coal-tar contains as 
much as 20 per cent of soluble products, but Haynes had no 
more notion of the part they played than Elmore had of the 
part played by air in his bulk-oil process. 

Next we come to an extremely important phase of the 
process, namely, the modifications known variously as selec- 
tive, preferential, or differential, all of which contribute to the 
successful recovery of several kinds of marketable concentrates 
of the different metallic sulphides constituting the complex 
ores of lead, zinc, and copper, with their associated precious 
metals. This phase of flotation fortunately has not been 
checked by litigation. 

At an early stage in the development of the process, espe- 
cially in Australia, it was discovered that the surface of some of 



THE FLOTATION PROCESS IN THE UNITED STATES 411 

the sulphide minerals could be altered so as to diminish their 
ability to float while leaving the surface of the other associated 
sulphide minerals unaltered and therefore floatable. This 
research was directed chiefly to the separation of blende from 
galena. E. J. Horwood rendered galena resistant to flotation 
by roasting it at a low temperature, while the blende was not 
affected if the roasting was well controlled. Horwood's 
American patent was No. 1,020,353 of 1912. The Horwood 
process was used at the Afterthought mine, in Shasta county, 
California, by J. T. Milleken in 1917.* Fractional roasting 
was used also in the North Star mill of the Federal Mining & 
Smelting Company, near Hailey, Idaho; and another modifica- 
tion of roasting was used by the Progress Mining & Milling 
Company, near Robinson, Colorado; but none of these 
preferential operations was on a large scale. 

The first mention of the use of dissolved substances for 
producing a differential effect is contained in British patent 
No. 23,870 of 1910 and in American patent No. 1,067,485 of 
1913, both granted to Edward H. Nutter and Henry Lavers, of 
the Minerals Separation company. This may be regarded as 
the first truly ' differential' method. The wording of the 
patent is vague, purposely. The desired effect is produced, it 
is said, by means of varying physical conditions and by the 
use of various soluble froth-forming substances, such as cresol, 
eucalyptus oil, and by the addition of sulphuric acid. The 
next method of this kind to be considered is that of H. H. 
Greenway and A. H. P. Lowry, embodied in American patent 
No. 1,102,738 of 1914; this consists in treating the ore with a 
solution of a bichromate either before or during flotation. 
Such minerals as galena and pyrite wiU be wetted by this 
solution, and such minerals as blende, molybdenite, and chal- 
copyrite can be floated differentially from their association 
with either pyrite or galena. The inventors of the method 
soon learned that much better work could be done by perform- 
ing the flotation in an alkaline pulp, in the presence of a 

* A. H. Heller, Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. CXIX, p. 151; 1919. 



412 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

bichromate, and the result of this discovery was embodied in 
American patent No. 1,142,820 of 1915. 

The development of differential methods owed much to the 
early work done at Broken Hill in the treatment of dump 
material.* It was observed that under certain conditions the 
galena and silver sulphide floated less completely than the 
blende. This may have been caused by the lubricating oil or 
some other oily substance that got into the mill-circuit. 
Experiments demonstrated that the sulphide minerals could 
be made to behave differently. F. J. Lyster took advantage of 
these hints while at work in the mill of the Zinc Corporation at 
Broken Hill, and in 1910 he obtained British patent No. 
11,939, followed by American patent No. 1,203,372 in 1916, 
both of these being acknowledged as supplementary to the 
Nutter-Lavers patents, and both were duly assigned to the 
Minerals Separation company. Lyster used various reagents, 
such as lime, calcium sulphate, magnesium chloride, and 
ferrous sulphate, whereby the galena was caused to float, 
while the blende remained inert. The zinc sulphide may be 
caused to float later by continued agitation and aeration of 
the pulp. Copper sulphate was introduced for the separation 
of zinc blende, successfully, but the method was not patented 
and therefore became open to the art, as the lawyers say. 

The chief patents now surviving, all owned by the Minerals 
Separation company, are based upon the use of xanthate salts 
of the alkaline metals and various alcohols. The Whitworth 
patents covering the use of phosphocresylic acid and owned by 
the American Cyanimid Company, have proved important in 
treating the lead end of zinc-lead ores and some copper ores. 
The basic xanthate patent is that of Cornelius H. Keller, of the 
Minerals Separation staff; this is No. 1,554,216, issued in 1925. 
Corresponding patents are held by the same company in other 
countries. The effect of xanthate as a flotation agent is to 
increase the recovery of concentrate and to yield a product 
that both settles more quickly and is more easily filtered. 

* W. Shellshear, Mining and Scientific Press, Vol. CXV, p. 613; 1917. 



THE FLOTATION PROCESS IN THE UNITED STATES 413 

The why and wherefore of these results remain obscure, Uke 
most of the physics of flotation. 

It is interesting to note that the use of some kind of oil was 
considered necessary in the early days of the process, and oleic 
acid was the oil mentioned in the basic froth-flotation patent, 
No. 835,120. Later, various oils, usually those readiest 
available, such as pine-oil, camphor-oil, and eucalyptus-oil 
were introduced. The essential factor in the process is a 
decrease of the surface-tension of the water, mixed with the 
pulverized ore, by the addition of a contaminant or modifying 
agent. For example, the addition of soap to water diminishes 
the contractile force of surface-tension so as to render the 
bubbles more persistent. The aim of the metallurgist there- 
fore was to make a coherent and persistent froth that would 
be capable of levitating the particles of metallic mineral to the 
surface of the pulp, whence the mineral-bearing product was 
removed for filtration or dewatering. The oils and chemical 
reagents added to the pulp have the effect of preventing the 
wetting of most of the valuable metallic minerals (including 
sulphur and graphite), by giving them a protective film, 
whereas the earthy gangue minerals are readily wetted and 
therefore do not attach to the bubbles. Selective wetting 
therefore becomes a critical factor in the process. In the 
course of experimentation it was ascertained that the modifica- 
tion of surface-tension could be effected by soluble frothing 
reagents other than oils, so that gradually the use of oil was 
superseded until it has now become a minor factor in the 
miUing process. In 1926 a total of 201,711,795 pounds of 
various reagents was used in treating 50,889,254 tons of ore in 
the United States. From this ore a recovery of 3,353,120 tons 
of concentrate was made, showing a concentration in the ratio 
of shghtly more than 15 to 1. Of the American ores treated 
by flotation during that year, a little more than 70 per cent 
were copper ores, and about 15 per cent were zinc-lead ores. 
Of the total quantity of reagents employed, lime amounted to 
162,240,359 pounds; sodium sulphide to 7,354,844 pounds; 



414 A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 

pine-oil, 5,980,311; xanthate, 3,983,118; refined coal-tar 
creosote, 2,777,806; soda-ash, 2,985,867; and sulphuric acid, 
4,539,500 pounds.* 

Normally the flotation process in the United States is 
responsible for the metallurgic treatment of 55,000,000 tons 
of ore annually, the products being extremely diversified and 
including copper, lead, zinc, silver, molybdenum, and graphite. 

* Thomas Varley, Engineering and Mining Journal, Vol. CXXV, p. 
469; 1928. 



INDEX 



Adobe furnace, 281 

Age of copper workings, 225 

Alaska, copper, 5 

purchase of, 42 
Alaska Gastineau, 69 
Alaska Gastineau mill, 71 
Alaska Juneau mill, 79 
Alaska Juneau mine, 73, 75, 77 
Alaska Treadwell, 57, 59, 62, 65 
Amalgamation, 31, 101, 216, 345, 

348, 351 
American frontier, 36, 168, 266 
Anaconda, 351, 353 

flotation, 408 

smelter, 355 
Ancient mining, 345, 346 
Ancient workings, 225 
Anthracite, first use of, 15 
Apex nights, 360, 362 
Appalachian gold field, 19 
Applied geology, 132, 140, 243, 

371, 375, 378 
Arizona, derivation, 260 
Arizonac, 258, 260 
Arrastre, 98, 100, 121, 270 
Arroyo de la Tenaja, 268 
Astor, John Jacob, 306, 308 



B 



Beach mining, 50 
Big Bonanza, 105 
Bingham, 185, 190 
Black copper, 289 



Black Hills, output, 212 
Blast-furnace, 13, 267 
Bog-iron ore, 10 
Bolas de Plata, 260 
Bradley, F. W., 63, 73, 77, 324 
Breakdown of government, 49, 335 
Browne, J. Ross, 261, 268, 278 
Bmnton, D. W., 134 
Bubble flotation, 400 



Caetani, Gelasio, 337 

Callow, J. M., 409 

Calumet & Hecla mine, 239, 241 

depth, 229 
Camels, use of, 278 
Capital and labor, 326, 336 
Captains, of mines, 247 
Cariboo, 311 
Cast-iron, 10 
Chaloocite, impregnation, 294, 298 

ore, 377 
Channing, J. Park, 293, 295 
Charcoal smelting, 348 
Chinese diggers, 344 
Chinese labor, 63, 114, 315 
Chispa, 24, 269 
Chloridizing roast, 349 
Church, John A., 282 
Clark, W. A., 290, 348, 350, 356, 

361 
Clearwater diggings, 311, 313 
Coal, early discoveries, 14 

production, 16 
Coeur d'Alfene, 310, 318 



415 



416 



A HISTOEY OF AMERICAN MINING 



Coke, first use, 14 

later use, 283, 290 
Comstoek, discovery, 94 

production, 109 
Concentration, gold ore, 80 
Copper, breastplate, 251 

casting, 223 

converter, 354, 355 

in Alaska, 4 

in Massachussetts, 6 

in New Jersey, 7 

in Vermont, 8 

industry, beginning of, 350 

leaching, 279, 297 

native, 3, 7, 222, 251, 254, 277 

pigments, 286 

production, 3 

used by Indians, 1, 226, 250, 254 

workings, age of, 225 
Copper-jacket furnace, 281 
Copper Queen, 283, 285 
Comishmen, 237, 246 
Cradle, 30 

Crane, Clinton H., 176 
Criadero de cobre, 254 
Cripple Creek, 143 
Custom smelting, 122 
Cyanidation, 220 

D 

Daly, Marcus, 349, 351, 354, 358 
Deep-level mining, 242 
Diamond deposit, 381, 394 
Diamond drill, 173 
Diamond drilling, 280, 300 
Differential flotation, 411 
Discovery of gold, California, 20, 

22,26 
Donkey story, 321 
Douglas, James, 282, 284, 285 
Douglas, James S., 371, 374, 378 
Douglas island, 45, 57 



Drift-mining, 54 
Drilling native copper, 233, 234 
Dry-blowing, 84 
Dry-crushing, 72 

E 

Early discoveries of coal, 14 
Early discoveries of gold, 18 
Early exploration, 2 
Early lead mining, 148, 177 
Early stamp-mill, 344 
Emmons, S. F., 132, 134, 141 
Expert evidence, 363, 364 
Exploration, French, 147, 149, 202, 
222, 304 
Spanish, 22, 40, 179, 249, 261, 
287 



Fairbanks, 52, 66 

Finance, of mines, 74, 240, 296, 324 

Fire-setting, 149, 226 

First lead smelting, 152, 156 

First silver smelted, 86 

First use of anthracite, 15 

Flotation process, 297, 339 

litigation, 405 
Forty-niners, 35 
Fraser river, 317 
French exploration, 147, 149, 202, 

222, 304 
Frontier barbarism, 332 
Froth flotation, 402 
Frozen gravel, 47, 53 
Fur-traders, 40, 306, 310, 317 



G 



Gadsden purchase, 261 
Geology, applied, 132, 140, 243, 
371, 375, 378 



INDEX 



417 



Geology, of Jerome, 365, 366 
Gilpia county, 118 
Gold, early discoveries, 18, 115, 
311, 317 

in Black Hills, 203 

in California, 20 

in Colorado, 115, 118 

in Idaho, 311 

in Montana, 344 

in Virginia, 19 

mining, pioneer industry, 118, 
344 

nuggets, 18, 269, 342 

pockets, 31 

production, 2, 38, 48, 146, 212 
Gold canyon, 83, 85 
Growth of metals, 259 . 
Grub-stake, 130, 320 
Guggenheim family, 125, 126 

H 

Heap-roasting, 355 

Heinze, F. Augustus, 359, 361, 362 

Homestake, milling, 217, 219 

Homestake mine, discovery, 213 

Homsilver, 189, 314 

Hulbert, Edwin J., 237, 239 



I 



Impure gold, 84, 314, 346 
Indian copper mining, 224, 252 
Indian lead mining, 150, 151, 158, 

160 
Indians, and prospectors, 255, 266, 
268, 271, 314, 341, 342 
treatment of, 161, 166, 209, 211, 
230, 263, 265, 314 
Industrial development, 16 
Iron, blast-furnace, 13 
bog ore, 10 
early smelting, 9 



Iron, first discovery, 8 
manufacture, 11 



Jackling, Daniel C, 193, 195, 199, 

299 
Janin, Henry, 382, 389, 393 
Jerome, geology, 365, 366 
Jesuit explorations, 222, 257, 310 
Juneau, diggings, 44 

K 

King, Clarence, 362, 386, 389 
Klondike, discovery, 47 



Labor and capital, 326, 327, 336 
Labor-unions, 324, 326, 328 
Lake Superior copper, 231 
Lake Superior iron, 12 
Lawlessness, 216, 262, 263, 330, 332 
Leached outcrops, 353 
Lead, in Missouri, 149, 156 

in New England, 177 

in Wisconsin, 153, 171 

milling, 175 

smelting, 152, 156 
Leadville, discovery, 128 
Litigation, at Butte, 363 
Log-furnace, 159, 165 
Long Tom, 30 
Lost mines, 258, 272, 314 
Louisiana purchase, 301 

M 

Malapai, 366 

Masses of copper, 223, 231, 233 
McCarthy, E. T., 19 
Metals, growth of, 259 



418 



A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MINING 



Miami copper mine, 293, 295 
Mill, Alaska Gastineau, 71 

Alaska Juneau, 79 
Mills, of Comstock, 98, 101 
Mine finance, 74, 240, 296, 324 
Mine La Motte, 154 
Minerals Separation Co., 401 
Miner's pan, 29 

Mining, and agriculture, 316, 317 
Mining in Virginia, 2, 9 
Mining and Scientific Press, 409 
Mining law, 33 
Mining men, 246, 247 
Mississippi, discovery of, 147 
Mormons, 180, 183 
Mount Pisgah fiasco, 142 

N 

Native copper, 3, 7, 222, 251, 254, 

277 
Native sUver, 235, 259, 271, 273 
New Cornelia, 278, 280 
Nome, 48, 50, 51 
Nuggets, 18, 269, 342 

O 

Oregon territory, 316 
Oregon trail, 309 
Ore-sorting, 77 
Outcrops, leached, 353 
Over-valued mines, 379 



Pahasapa, 202 

Pan-milling, 100 

Parsons, Charles B., 173, 175 

Pearce, Richard, 144, 350 

Penrose, Richard A. F., 196, 274 

Perseverance mine, 67 

Pike's Peak rush, 124 



Pockets of gold, 31 
Porphyry copper, 293, 299 
Prairie schooners, 35, 170 
Prospectors and Indians, 255, 266, 

268, 271, 314, 341, 342 
Pumpelly, Raphael, 262, 268 

R 

Ray copper mine, 298 
Raymond, Rossiter W., 123, 257, 

391 
Revolvers, use of, 336 
Richest mine, 291 
Rickard, T. A., 139 
Ricketts, Louis D., 279, 284, 297 
Rico, Colorado, 135 
Roasting, chloridizing, 349 

in heaps, 355 
Russians, in Alaska, 40, 43 

S 

St. Joseph Lead, 171, 175, 177 
Salting, 130, 143, 392 
Santa Rita, 252, 255, 257 
Seward peninsula, 49 
Siphon-tap, 122 
Sluice-boxes, 30, 47, 341 
Smelter design, 354, 356 
Soldiers as prospectors, 267, 276 
Spanish exploration, 22, 40, 179, 

249, 261, 287 
Spanish mine, 63 
Squaw-men, 305, 317 
Stamp-mills, Colorado, 118, 121 

Homestake, 218 

Montana, 344, 345 
Steam-point, 53 
Steel, production, 2 
Strike-breakers, 329, 332 
Sulman, H. L., 398, 403 
Surface-tension, 398, 410, 413 
Swansea smelters, 278, 347, 352 



INDEX 



419 



Tamarack mine, 241 
Tanana, 52 

Telluride minerals, 144 
Thick-oil flotation, 399 
Thomas, F. F., 289 
Tombstone, 275 

U 

United Verde, 288, 290, 291 
Utah Copper, 191, 195, 199 



W 

Washoe process, 101 
Water-table, 279 

X 

Xanthate salts, 412 

Y 
Yukon, exploration, 40, 41 

Z 
Zinc by-product, 339