Southern Oregon mine,
Gold Quartz.On Saturday last the excitement upon this subject had reached its pitch. On the day previous a gentleman from Yreka had negotiated for one-fifth interest in the Ish claim, for which he was to pay $5000 cash. On Saturday morning this gentleman left for Yreka to return on Monday evening with the money. Saturday afternoon, however, Jimmy Hayes, the discoverer of the quartz, and one-fifth owner of the claim, was induced to dispose of his interest for $1000. Messrs. Williams, Taylor, McLaughlin and Klippel were the purchasers. Possession was given immediately, and the claim has since been only partially worked, we are informed, with quite indifferent success. Indeed grave doubts are entertained by some whether the ledge has yet been discovered. At all events, no uniform continuous vein has been found. During the whole work the hill has been frequented by parties all in eager search for gold-bearing quartz rock, large quantities of which, fragmentary and scattered, have been carried away. We are personally cognizant of the yield obtained from several lots of this rock, which have been crushed here in town, and will mention the following: Messrs. Lowden (Rynus) & Brown crushed 12½ pounds of rock which yielded $196; Granville Sears, from 12 pounds of quartz got $158. Besides this, he had sold for fifty cents about two pounds of the rock, in which no gold was visible, to a lad in town who got from it $7.50. Several other lots of rock averaged anywhere from eight to fifteen dollars to the pound of rock. The lowest yield we know of is forty cents from two pounds two ounces, but undoubtedly a good deal of the rock pays nothing, or not enough to justify crushing it. We hear that $1000 was taken from a single rock about the size of a man's head, but in our opinion the report wants confirmation.
Since Tuesday the excitement has greatly subsided, however, and were it not for the scarcity of water, which prevents the placer miners from working their claims, there would probably be but few persons prospecting, or collecting fragment rocks at Gold Hill. Quite a number continue to visit the locality in mere curiosity, and this tends to keep up a rather lively appearance about there. Some, we hear, have been fortunate enough to find very promising diggings near there--among them Col. John E. Ross, who has gathered several pieces of coarse gold very near the surface earth. A trading post has been erected at the foot of the hill by Morg. Davis, and Ryan, of the Eureka Hotel, has fixed up very comfortable quarters for those who care to eat or lodge in that vicinity.
Hick's vein continues to yield richly as ever, or in fact more bountifully, to its proprietors. On Saturday morning last, in about two hours, the brothers got out nearly $1000. Two pieces, each of the size of a hen's egg, were exhibited to us, surpassing anything we have yet seen. The gold was positively protruding in bits as large as a pea, and again woven through it in thick veins like tangled coarse silk. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and we want no better proof of the richness of Hicks' claim than the weekly products they derive from it.
Maury & Taylor completed their arrastra on Thursday, and we hope to hear good news from their claim next week. It is next above Hicks' in the same vein, and although in no place has their rock shown so astonishingly auriferous, each one of the repeated trials of the quartz has betokened it to be considerably beyond the average yield of the best veins in California.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, January 28, 1860, page 2
GOLD QUARTZ.Nearly every day we hear of fresh discoveries of gold quartz made within the county, all of greater or less promise. The whole region is being prospected, and if by spring there shall be a quartz lead within an area of ten miles in any direction from Jacksonville, undiscovered, it will be one of the recognized wonders of our little world. As yet, none of the veins found vie with Hicks' lead, but they may fall far short of this comparison, and still be very valuable, for as we have before remarked, that claim surpasses any that we ever heard of. Last week, the two brothers took from the rock crushed in an ordinary mortar about 30 ounces of gold, and this week they have been equally successful. The vein has been penetrated only to the depth of from two to three feet, all the way yielding extravagantly as at the outset. Claims in the vicinity, and apparently in the same lead, do not pay approximately, although considerably richer than claims in other localities. The lead taken by Messrs. Maury and Taylor is sunk to a depth of 19 feet, the vein widening as it descends, and is now 22 inches across. The rock merely pounded in a mortar pays from 4 to 6 cents per pound. The proprietors intend to put up an arrastra as soon as a competent person can be found to construct it.
On Tuesday, Dr. A. H. Davis brought to town some exceedingly promising specimens obtained at Blackwell's diggings, and told also of discoveries made by himself near Big Bar, on Evans' farm, Rogue River. Several persons visited the latter place on Thursday for the purpose of prospecting the lead and taking up claims. We were shown several pieces of the quartz rock brought in by these parties. It is of the species generally known as "rose quartz," harder and flintier than any we have seen. The gold is not visible in any of the pieces shown us, but one or two of the parties who have taken up claims assure us that upon crushing and pulverizing it, fair prospects have been obtained throughout. Some dozen or more claims are already staked off, and in the course of a week or two, probably enough will be ascertained of the real character of the rock to either warrant the putting up of a mill, as is projected, or to cause abandonment of the lead altogether.
Others discoveries have been made by Thos. Swinden, near Willow Springs; by a German, on Rich Gulch; and on Applegate we are also told of a very extensive and promising lead. Fair prospects have not been obtained from any of these, but the specimens exhibited from the first two are certainly equal to "fancy pieces" taken from the famous Grass Valley veins. The search is daily continued by nearly all classes of our citizens, and still there is an entire absence of what is generally distinguished as a "gold excitement," which we hope never to see in this valley nor elsewhere. If gold quartz proves, as we believe it will, wonderfully abundant hereabouts, it can be found, obtained and enjoyed without producing gold fever, and therefore more rationally and beneficially by all to whom it comes, either directly, or through the channels of trade.--Jacksonville Sentinel.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, January 31, 1860, page 1
EXCITEMENT.--The news of the discovery by Mr. George Ish of the very rich quartz vein near Big Bar produced intense excitement in town last night. Squire Hoffman was kept busily employed in recording claims until nearly midnight. Crowds of people were preparing to start for the locality this morning. We have at last an "excitement."--Jacksonville Sentinel.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, January 31, 1860, page 1
MORE QUARTZ.--Last night, Mr. George Ish came to town with several pieces of quartz gold rock of extraordinary richness taken from a lead discovered somewhere in the neighborhood of Big Bar, yesterday. The rock is white and very hard, with fine veins of gold coursing all through it. He says the pieces exhibited are fair samples, and that the lead is quite extensive. If so, he will surely soon arrive at fortune.--Jacksonville Sentinel.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, January 31, 1860, page 1
I have just returned from a prospecting tour on "Gold Hill" and vicinity. All the seemingly fabulous tales that have been told and published with reference to the richness of the gold quartz discoveries in that region are more than true. I saw myself not less than one hundred thousand dollars' worth of the gold-bearing rock lying in the corner of one cabin, which had been taken from the ledge in the last three days. Until a day or two past, the opinion has in part prevailed that the very extreme richness was confined to the surface, or detached portions of the rock that had been thrown up, probably from an immense distance below the surface, but they have now struck what appears to be the main ledge, and find it even more profuse in the precious metal than the detached portions had been. It defies description, and is probably very far ahead of anything ever before discovered. The estimate is that it will yield at least fifty thousand dollars to the ton. The lead where they have struck it is about twenty-two inches in width, that will pay at the above ratio. They have only just begun it; of course it is impossible to say how far it extends downward, as they have not gone farther than two or three feet down, as yet.
"Letter from Jackson County," dated February 5, 1860, Oregon Statesman, Salem, February 21, 1860, page 1
THE JACKSONVILLE QUARTZ MINES.--The quartz lead lately discovered in Rogue River valley near Jacksonville, Southern Oregon, bids fair to prove as rich as any yet discovered. The Jacksonville Sentinel of recent date says:
The product of gold for the present week far surpassed the most sanguine anticipations of the respective owners. At the Ish vein, there had [been] up to Thursday noon about 1400 lbs. of gold quartz rock taken, all of which it is estimated will yield fully $12 to the pound! On Thursday afternoon the company struck upon a section of the vein not before worked, and from the ledge itself, and from the surface ground close adjacent, 600 pounds of rock were gathered, all of which is still more auriferous than any before found. The rock is literally wedged, permeated and washed with gold. Two fragmentary boulders, one weighing about sixty pounds and the other nearly forty pounds, are in this last described lot, and it is positively thought by those who have seen them that both will yield one pound of gold to every five pounds of rock. There have been some twenty different lots of the rock from there, both fragmentary and veinous, brought here in town and crushed with mortar and pestle in our stores. In no instance has the average yield of each lot been less than $10 to the pound of rock, and in some few instances it has reached $18 to the pound. The mass, amounting to over 150 pounds, has averaged fully $15 to the pound avoirdupois of quartz, and of this the most indisputable evidence can be had.
Daily National Democrat, Marysville, California, February 15, 1860, page 2
GOOD FOR JACKSONVILLE.--John E. Ross, of Jacksonville, Oregon, purchased a one-fifth share in the Ish Vein gold mine at that place lately for $5,000. Since that time the shares have increased in value. Over $10,000 were taken out in one day.
Sacramento Daily Union, February 16, 1860, page 3
From the South.
JACKSONVILLE, Jan. 5th, 1860.ED. ARGUS: As I have been a careful and constant reader of the Argus for several months past, and seeing no correspondence from the "Sunny South," I take upon myself the responsibility of dropping a few items of truth and note, which are fully worth the perusal of your many readers.
The most glaring thing that presents itself to my notice is the rich discoveries of quartz mines in this vicinity within the last three months, which are, no doubt, the richest quartz specimens ever discovered on the coast, and I might with truth say the most surprisingly and extensively rich ever discovered on the globe. Of these discoveries, I will mention first one on the left-hand fork of Jackson Creek, near Farmer's Flat, which was discovered by Chas. Hicks, near two months since, and has proven so far as worked to be vastly rich. Said Hicks has taken out about $3,000 by the slow process of a hand mortar, since he made the first discovery, and is now going down on the lead. He finds it to be good-paying quartz as he gets down, but not so good as it was on the surface.
There is an excitement in our midst at this time of a great quartz discovery on Rogue River, near a place known as Big Bar, one mile above Col. T'Vault's farm, the news of which spreads like fire to dry grass. Every man who could possibly leave his business has gone to see and get few specimens. Today the news came into town that they had found it much richer than ever.
By the way, I will say that I have been down on a prospecting tour in that vicinity, and just returned yesterday. I was in company with four brother miners. We visited the above-mentioned quartz lead, and found it to be fully as good as represented, and one of the most singular places ever discovered since man came into existence. It is situated near the summit of a very high mountain, which runs up similar in shape to a poorly put-up haycock. They find a good many pieces of quartz, promiscuously scattered along the side of a small gulch, which are exceedingly rich. They dig the surface of the earth to the depth of from two to four feet and find loose quartz in abundance, which is extensively impregnated with gold. I saw them take out on last Thursday two pieces, one weighing 40 pounds and the other 30. Those who took them out valued the two at $2,000. I examined them closely and put them at the lowest notch which I thought was $1,500. There are several more concerned as owners in the lead--one an emigrant, who luckily got a share by discovery, sold out yesterday to Col. Ross for $5,000. He owned a fifth interest. I took my pick and shovel and delved into the hillside as if I were going to make my "pile" in a short time, but the others had staked off their claims a little too large, though I found $6 to $7 in small specimens. There is a town growing up very rapidly at the foot of the hill. One tavern, two groceries, and one store now up and doing a good business. The town will go by the name of Gold Hill. [He's referring to Dardanelles. Today's Gold Hill is across the Rogue River from the hill it's named after.] Three coaches run from Jacksonville here every day. The above statement is as near the truth as I can gather from observation.
There has been but very little rain and snow here this winter. The miners who own placer mines are hard up for "grub money." Merchants looking very straight down their noses. Farmers plowing and sowing their grain all winter. The weather is airy, warm and pleasant--politics, dormant.
Bowen, who killed a Chinaman, is to be hung on the 10th inst., unless reprieved.
There is a great deal of bad whiskey in this part of the country, and I am sure most of it is being drunk. Old T. thinks more, for a man of his age, than anyone I ever saw. There is no doubt but that the whiskey that is drunk in this country during one winter would, if properly conducted in a water ditch, make a good ground sluice-head for a considerable length of time.
As I am a hard-laboring miner, and am not versed in letter writing, I will close. You can use this as you think proper.
A MINER.Oregon Argus, Oregon City, February 18, 1860, page 2
LETTER FROM SOUTHERN OREGON.
The New Gold Discoveries.
Jacksonville, Southern Oregon,
February 14, 1860.Our usually quiet community was recently thrown on its beam ends by a tremendous quartz furore; mortars and pestles discourse discordant, but yet sweet, financial considered, music from early morn till 10 o'clock at night, prospecting quartz and washing specimens.
The Quartz Era.Some five weeks ago, Mr. Charles Hicks, while prospecting at the head of Posey Gulch, on the south fork of Jackson Creek, some two miles back of town, found a quartz lead which prospected very well, and, by the way, the fact may be noted that then and there dawned the quartz era in Southern Oregon.
Mr. Hicks' prospect induced him to pitch into the lead with commendable energy, followed by magical results, thick and fraught to the last degree with the lever that rotates and agitates the human family, niggers included--glittering gold. Hicks brought down some specimens, and exhibited them to the boys, when the excitement became somewhat intense, and the lead being nearby, the entire town turned out to have a sight. Charles did the honors, much to the credit of the Cherokee Nation, of which he is a member, from one of the first families. It is estimated that he paid out some $500 worth of specimens, on application to his bank of quartz. One of Charley's friends wished to take the pick and dig some in the vein; C. told him to go in; he did so, and at every stroke of the pick he would unearth and increase the metallic currency of the world at the modest rate of $500; when, much excited, he called to the crowd, "No use for the mint, boys; here it is with the eagles already on 'em."
Hicks has already hammered out several thousand dollars with a mortar and pestle. His brother, a partner in the claim, sold out his interest for $5,00 a few days after finding it. The company is now Hicks & Taylor, who own 100 yards on the lead. They have put up an arrastra, and so soon as they get a face on the lead will test its richness and extent before sending for machinery. The effect of this discovery has been electric. Every quartz lead on Hicks' Mountain, whether positive or negative, was staked off. Hicks' lead was traced out some distance, and prospected well. Ten miles south of here, a lead has been found that will pay fifteen cents to the pound; another, twenty miles south, at Williamsburg, that will pay over twenty cents; also, one at the Willow Springs, six miles north of town, said to prospect thirty cents; and still another, at Blackwell Diggings, two miles further north, called the Moran lead, which is very rich, prospecting in the flat where it crops out one dollar to the pound; the two latter claims are supposed to be on the Hicks lead.
More Quartz.One discovery leads to another; developments thicken around us. Quartz has seized the entire public, no time to study politics, or even to read the President's Message. In passing notes, and on reflection, since the Hicks discovery, several men have recollected picking up pieces of quartz with gold in them plain to be seen while riding over the hills and mountains. Among the number was Jimmy Hay, who, while hunting cattle some time ago, on a mountain two miles below old Fort Lane, on Rogue River, dismounted from his mule to fix his saddle, when, by the merest chance he picked up a piece of quartz, mounted his mule and started, whistling, down the mountain after the cattle; on looking at the piece of quartz he found, to his surprise, it contained gold, visible to the eye, almost in the dark. But, strange to say, he went on, never thinking, perhaps, of a quartz lead. But since the Hicks discovery, Mr. Hay, Mr. George Ish and the Emigrant started out to find the place; after hunting some three days, they found the gulch on the east side of the mountain next [to] the river, with fragments of quartz scattered along on the surface, which they followed up the mountain, occasionally picking up a specimen, until they arrived nearly at the summit, where the lead crops out; here they dug up a few quartz boulders, broke them up, and then sat down amazed, ready to believe the hard yarns of Munchausen, or the fictions of Arabia. That evening, Jan. 13th, Jimmy Hay and Mr. Geo. Ish came to town, informed two of their discovery, then went to the Clerk's office and recorded five claims--three hundred yards on the lead; they then reported to the public their discovery of a mountain of gold, with a little quartz mixed with it, and proceeded to show specimens to substantiate the report.
On the Rush.In the autumn of 1848, being on the wing for St. Louis, when, as will happen in the voyage of life, we had to wait for the boat--not the wagon--at Hannibal, a pork and tobacco depot on the Mississippi River, in a corner of the state of Missouri. Now, most everybody knows how nervous people suffer while waiting for a boat--we suffered ourselves to make a tour of the Whole Hog Exchange while puffing rolled samples from the tobacco marts, merely to kill time; we soon voted the boat slow; we adjourned to the hotel for a consultation with spirits concerning the health of the boat's boilers, etc. We found a crowd--heard a buzz--somebody said gold, and we, of course, being mortal, became interested. Then we heard California--rich gold mines, and so on--and became excited--we concluded to mix with that crowd; saw some specimens; forgot the boat, she was too slow. We have been mixing with similar crowds ever since. That evening we commenced rushing westward for California--rushed to Gold Lake, Gold Bluff, Gold Beach, Australia, Peru, Colville, Fraser River, etc., but the most simultaneous get-up-and-bundle-out-to-diggings we ever saw was the rush to Gold Hill the other day. At midnight every stable in town was empty; everything that had wheels had a full freight. Saturday morning, Jan. 14th, Gold Hill looked like an overgrown camp meeting; horses were hitched to trees all round the glittering garden of gold. Like turkeys picking up corn did they pick up rocks loaded with gold.
Gold Hillis a very respectable mountain, sitting off by itself to the northwards of the Blackwell Hills, to which it is related by a low divide; Rogue River, from the east, strikes this divide, makes a bend to the north of Gold Hill, washing three-fourths of its base. The Blackwell Hills are an isolated bunch, left by accident, in the middle of Rogue River Valley. The lead, running nearly north and south, splits these hills, striking the golden peak about three hundred yards east of the summit; here it crops out, and in the course of ages debris quartz rolled down the hill in a gulch at [a] right angle from the ledge; here the crowd picked up about $5,000 worth of specimens, the result of the first day's work. Next day, Sunday, the census of the county could have been taken without much trouble, as everybody was at Gold Hill; the result was about the same; the surface dirt was dug up somewhat like a potato patch just harvested, and boulders of quartz found containing from $10 to $142 each of virgin ore. The crowd have been working on the public potato patch ever since, but specimens are growing scarce.
But the Leadfrom the way it opens is said to be the richest one in the world. Where it cropped out, the company have picked up about three tons of quartz that will average $10 per pound. Two of the discoverers, Jimmy Hay, and the Emigrants sold out within a week after finding it. Jimmy got $4,000 for his interest; the other got $5,000. This company now consists of Mr. Geo. Ish, Thomas Cavanaugh [Chavner], Jack Long, John Ross & Co., one-fifth, and McLaughlin, Williams & Co. one -fifth. The company have organized, electing Mr. John Ross president, Mr. Geo. Ish secretary and Messrs. Maury & Davis, merchants of this place, treasurers. They have put up an arrastra, and next week will be grinding out gold. Quite a number of claims have been recorded on this, the Ish Lead, but it will take some time to uncover and trace them out.
There is now no doubt of the immense value of our quartz resources, but it will take a year or two to develop them. A gentleman explains the richness of the Ish lead thus: That this country is out of the range of volcanoes, earthquakes, lightning, subterranean fires &c., and hence not burned up so much as California and other portions of the world; so that the gold in the Ish Lead quartz had been permitted to grow free from heat ever since the world was made. He may be right. From the discoveries being made from day to day, there will probably be a heavy demand on your city for quartz machinery this summer.
Washington Monument.Mr. R. F. Maury, of this place, has forwarded to your city lapidaries a quartz specimen from the Ish Lead, Gold Hill, to be cut and lettered with the words: "Jackson Company [sic], Oregon," on the face of it, which is to be sent to the Washington Monument Association. [If created at all--the stone was apparently never installed in the monument.]
Sharesof one-fifth in the Ish Company could not be bought for $20,000 today, as they have no disposition to sell so long as they have $4,000 or $5,000 in sight. They have sunk down on the ledge some five feet, and it grows richer. How long it will continue to pay thus nobody knows, but it is to be hoped they may take out millions.
Rain.Up to this time we have been unfortunate enough to be blessed with the most delightful summer weather; the creeks are nearly dry; mining, per consequence, is a dry business. We have no ditches in the country. Under this pressure the discovery of rich quartz was an opportune windfall--a godsend.
New Diggings.Last Sunday new diggings were discovered on Wagner Creek, fifteen miles southeast of this place, causing quite an excitement. Seven miles of the creek is now staked off. It is to be hoped they prove good.
The best diggings that have been found lately, with plenty of water to work them, are on the upper branches of Applegate River, near the Siskiyou Mountain, thirty miles south of here. Twenty-five miles of one branch will pay good wages. Some of the claims are now averaging $50 per day. There is a rush commencing up that way.
The Mails.We have none up this way at present, as our mail contractor dried up for want of funds. Other parties are, however, about to take the route who have bottom enough to stand the press.
If Congress will not organize and pass the appropriation bills, we can form a little government of our own here on the Pacific, do our own legislation, manufacture our own goods, and dig up our own gold. The great American Republic has got negro wool in its eyes, and is fast going the same road that old Rome traveled, which led to the seaport called Decay, but any port in a storm. We hope, however, she will keep her wings spread on the sea of Progress, and anchor in the harbor of Eternal Empire, and send along her mails.
May she long flutter.
ON THE WING.Daily Alta California, San Francisco, February 26, 1860, page 1
Rich Quartz in Jacksonville, Oregon.Sacramento Daily Union, February 27, 1860, page 2
YREKA, Feb. 26th.The Jacksonville Sentinel says Ish & Co. have completed their arrastra, and up to Tuesday last had crushed 400 pounds of quartz rock, the product of which was 444 ounces of gold. From a piece weighing 4 pounds 12½ ounces of gold was obtained. It is estimated that this company have already taken out $125,000. Two pieces, one weighing 7 pounds and the other 20 pounds, have been sent to J. W. Tucker, San Francisco, in order that the people of California may witness for themselves the surpassing richness of these new mines. On Friday evening, Feb. 24th, the Ish company cleaned up the rock from the arrastra. From less than 800 pounds of rock they obtained 60 pounds of amalgam. Ross & Co. have crushed 300 pounds of rock, which has given an average of $10 to the pound. One piece, weighing 4 pounds, gave 11 ounces and $13; another piece, weighing 3 pounds, gave 6 ounces; and another, weighing 14 pounds, gave 36 ounces of gold.
Quartz Excitement in Southern Oregon.On Saturday last the excitement upon the subject of quartz had reached its pitch. On the day previous a gentleman from Yreka had negotiated for one-fifth interest in the Ish claim, for which he was to pay $5,000 cash. On Saturday morning this gentleman left for Yreka to return on Monday evening with the money. Saturday afternoon, however, Jimmy Hays, the discoverer of the quartz, and one-fifth owner of the claim, was induced to dispose of his interest for $4,000. Messrs. Williams, Taylor, McLaughlin and Klippel were the purchasers. Possession was given immediately, and the claim has since been only partly worked, we are informed, with quite indifferent success. Indeed, grave doubts are entertained by some whether the ledge has yet been discovered. At all events no uniform continuous vein has been found. During the whole week the hill has been frequented by parties all in eager search for gold-bearing quartz rock, large quantities of which, fragmentary and scattered, have been carried away. We are personally cognizant of the yield obtained from several lots of this rock, which have been crushed here in town, and will mention the following: Messrs. Loudon (Rynus) & Brown crushed 12½ pounds of rock which yielded $196; Granville Sears, from 12 pounds of quartz got $158. Besides this, he had sold for fifty cents about two pounds of the rock, in which no gold was visible, to a lad in town, who got from it $7.50. Several other lots of rock averaged anywhere from eight to fifteen dollars to the pound of rock. The lowest yield we know of is forty cents from two pounds two ounces, but undoubtedly a good deal of the rock pays nothing, or not enough to justify crushing it. We hear that $1,000 was taken from a single rock about the size of a man's head, but in our opinion the report wants confirmation.
Since Tuesday the excitement has greatly subsided, however, and were it not for the scarcity of water, which prevents the placer miners from working their claims, there would probably be but few persons prospecting, or collecting fragment rocks at Gold Hill. Quite a number continue to visit the locality in mere curiosity, and this tends to keep up a rather lively appearance about there. Some, we hear, have been fortunate enough to find very promising diggings near there--among them Col. John E Ross, who has gathered several pieces of coarse gold very near the surface earth. A trading post has been erected at the foot of the hill by Maury & Davis; and Ryan, of the Eureka Hotel, has fixed up very comfortable quarters for those who are to eat or lodge in that vicinity.
Hicks' vein continues to yield as richly as ever, or in fact more bountifully, to its proprietors. On Saturday morning last, in about two hours, the brothers got out nearly $1,000. Two pieces, each the size of a hen's egg, were exhibited to us, surpassing anything we have yet seen. The gold was positively protruding in bits as large as a pea, and again woven through it in thick veins like tangled coarse silk. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and we want no better proof of the richness of Hicks' claim than the weekly products they derive from it.--Jacksonville Sentinel.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, March 1, 1860, page 1
MORE OF OREGON GOLD DISCOVERIES.Our regular corespondent gives us the following startling news from the new gold mines in Oregon:
The Most Enormous Yield Ever Heard Of.
500 OUNCES A DAY FROM ONE ARRASTRA.
$50,000 A DAY BY TWO HANDS!!
QUARTZ WORTH TEN DOLLARS A POUND!
JACKSONVILLE, Southern Oregon, Feb. 2nd.Since writing to you, about a week ago, the quartz fever has continued to hold undisputed possession of this hitherto quiet people; and it cannot be disputed that there are indications of an extension of its ravages to adjoining counties and abroad; and small wonder is it that such is the case, when it is known that within the last six weeks old Dame Fortune permitted one of her stray streaks of good luck to strike this obscure corner of the world endwise, upsetting its established equanimity, kindly lifting the wet blanket of comparative poverty from a number of our citizens, and plunging them head over heels, without any probation or preparation, into the depths of sudden wealth. The quartz developments have really put a new face on the affairs of this region, which will ere long be seen and felt abroad. There is now a possibility of washing out cash enough from our quartz ledges to construct ditches sufficiently extensive to set about 10,000 men at work, sluicing out the rich hills, gulches, flats, etc., and thus make us, in some degree, independent of such dry times as we have enjoyed this winter.
Gold Hill is now a famous locality, commanding our veneration and regard for the very generous manner in which she shells out the treasure.
The Emigrant Company, as it is now called, have finished their arrastra, and after grinding for two days on common quartz, that would pay about $300 per ton, for the purpose of smoothing the bed and filling up the crevices, they proceeded to tumble in 350 pounds of rich quartz; then starting the engine--i.e., the mule round and round--for about ten hours, when they cleaned up and weighed the proceeds, which amounted to the snug sum of four hundred and forty ounces of gold, which will assay about $16 per ounce. Besides this, there were some fifty ounces taken out of the cracks in the bed of the arrastra, which escaped their notice on the first cleaning up--which makes four hundred and ninety ounces for the first day's work with the primitive Mexican grinder.
The same day two of the company commenced taking quartz from the ledge. They worked about six hours, then weighed the quartz taken out, and from a safe estimate, it was found that, in that short space of time, they had taken out the enormous sum of $50,000. These figures may seem astounding, but they express nothing more than solid fact.
It is now ascertained that there is twelve feet of the ledge of pure unburned quartz, twenty inches wide and six feet deep, that is permeated with threads of gold, and will pay above ten dollars per pound. So far, its richness increases with depth. The last quartz they took out yesterday, at the depth of six feet, pays one dollar to the ounce. Tomorrow they could easily take out $100,000 worth of quartz.
If their claims continue to pay at this rate a few weeks only, the company will have the extreme satisfaction of scattering a few millions to increase the volume and velocity of the channels of commerce.
Purchasing an interest in the company now is out of the question--as they are willing to take all the chances of the lead stopping payment.
The company propose sending three or four blocks of quartz to Tucker's jewelry store, in your city, where they can be see by the public.
They are building another arrastra, which will be operation in a day or two. Today, the company sent up orders to Mr. Maury, the treasurer, to send down purses that would hold two thousand ounces; they will send up, tomorrow, over one thousand ounces, which the treasurer will forward to an assay office, probably Yreka, to be put into bars.
MORE OF THE OREGON GOLD DISCOVERIES.--A correspondent of an exchange, writing from Jacksonville, Southern Oregon, on the 22nd February, gives the following news in regard to the quartz leads recently discovered in that vicinity:
Gold Hill is now a famous locality, commanding our veneration and regard, for the very generous manner in which she shells out the treasure. The Emigrant Company, as it is now called, have finished their arrastra, and after grinding for two days on common quartz, that would pay about $300 per ton, for the purpose of smoothing the bed and filling up the crevices, they tumbled in 350 pounds of rich quartz; then starting the engine--i.e., the mule round and round--for about ten hours, when they cleaned up and weighed the proceeds, which amounted to the snug sum of 440 ounces of gold, which will assay about $16 per ounce. Besides this, there were some fifty ounces taken out of the cracks in the bed of the arrastra, which escaped their notice on the first cleaning up--which makes 490 ounces for the first day's work with the primitive Mexican grinder.
The same day two of the company commenced taking quartz from the ledge. They worked about six hours, then weighed the quartz taken out, and from a safe estimate, it was found that, in that short space of time, they had taken out the enormous sum of $50,000. These figures may seem astounding, but they express nothing more than solid fact.
It is now ascertained that there is twelve feet of the ledge of pure unburned quartz, 20 inches wide and six feet deep, that is permeated with threads of gold, and will pay above $10 per pound. So far, its richness increases with depth. The last quartz they took out yesterday, at the depth of six feet, pays one dollar to the ounce. Tomorrow they could easily take out $100,000 worth of quartz.
If their claims continue to pay at this rate a few weeks only, the company will have the extreme satisfaction of scattering a few millions to increase the volume and velocity of the channels of commerce.
Shares in the Moran company are rapidly increasing in value; a few weeks ago a sixth interest could have been bought for $500, now it is held at as many thousands.
Several companies are forming to prospect their claims on the ledge in various places, near the two rich claims of the Emigrant and Moran companies.
The Hicks company, back of the town, are running up a cut to tap the lead, and will be taking out rich quartz next week.
Daily National Democrat, Marysville, California, March 6, 1860, page 2
GOLD QUARTZ FROM JACKSONVILLE.--Mr. Phillip Meagher, of this city, lately arrived from Jacksonville, Southern Oregon, overland, called at our office yesterday and exhibited a number of the most beautiful specimens of gold quartz, taken from the Ish and Maury leads, near the above-mentioned place. One of these weighed between two and three pounds, and was broken off ad libitum by Mr. Meagher, from the vein of the Maury mine. It is perfectly filled with gold, so that it may as appropriately be called quartz gold as gold quartz. In fact, the gold is apparent all over and through it. This splendid piece is to be sent to the Washington Monument, and will be a splendid exemplar of the immense richness of our Pacific Slope of the continent. There were also half a dozen smaller pieces which, with the large one, will be exhibited in this city. Our informant is a perfectly reliable man, well known in this city. He states that the story of two men having taken out $50,000 is quite true. He went into the excavations of both of the mines--the Ish and the Maury--and saw for himself the wonderful richness of the places. It was more like a scene of enchantment--Aladdin's wonderful lamp, or some other fanciful creation of the Arabian Nights--than the reality of sober facts. Above, around, everywhere, the very walls of the excavation were specked with gold. Indeed, such it would seem must have been the case, to accord with the telegraphic dispatch which reached here on Tuesday night, that seventy-five thousand dollars worth of gold were taken out of the Ish claim on the 5th instant! These facts place this mine as far beyond the famous Allison lead, Nevada County, as that is beyond the ordinary quartz leads. The specimens brought by Mr. Meagher, he says, are average ones. The large piece he knocked off the ledge himself, and there were unknown tons of it in sight, and getting richer as the workmen proceeded. Maury is a well-known merchant in Jacksonville, and in ordinary circumstances. The owners of the Ish claim were poor men, as far as money was concerned--Ish having a land claim, with a few cattle. If their luck holds out, of which there seems to be no doubt, they will be millionaires before long. Gold Hill seems to be the headquarters of the gold, as none is found along Rogue River above that place, while below, for many miles, the canyons, gulches and banks of the river have been found to pay, some as high as ten or fifteen dollars to the hand, and others showing only the color. The present season has been an unusually dry one, and this prompted many men to start out prospecting for want of water, when these general discoveries were made. After the Maury claim was discovered, one of the men, who had been herding cattle at or near Gold Hill, remembered that he had found a piece of gold quartz on the top of the hill some time before, and this led to the marvelous revelation. The Ish Company, with a common arrastra, crushed up four hundred pounds of quartz from which they extracted four hundred and forty-four ounces of gold, which would make the rock average about thirty-five thousand dollars to the ton. These are extravagant figures, but the sober facts seem to sustain them. A gentleman of our acquaintance, who sat contemplating these specimens, and listening to the stories of the gold, remarked, with a deep-drawn sigh, "that it never rained porridge but when his platter was upside down"--bemoaning the fact perhaps that he passed over this same country a few years since, and had then contented himself with the sage observation that it ought to be prospected. Mr. Tucker, the jeweler, will have some fine specimens of this Jacksonville gold quartz on exhibition in his window during the coming week.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, March 8, 1860, page 1
THE JACKSONVILLE QUARTZ MINES.--Mr. Strickland, Shasta agent of the California Stage Company, informs us that the company of Ish & Co. recently crushed 1600 pounds, and obtained therefrom 477 ounces and seven dollars--worth over $8,000. The gold was assayed by Greathouse & Co., of Yreka. We were shown four bars of this gold by Mr. S., which were each worth over two thousand dollars.
Shasta Courier, Shasta City, California, March 10, 1860, page 3
DOUBTFUL.--About Jacksonville, Southern Oregon, people are in a ferment over recent rich quartz discoveries. Stories, almost if not quite fabulous, are given; and that $75,000 was taken out of quartz there, on the 5th inst., is one of them.
Placer Herald, Rocklin, California, March 10, 1860, page 2
It appears that the richest quartz leads found are near Jacksonville, Oregon. A company at that place have produced from 350 pounds of quartz 440 ounces of gold, worth $16 per ounce, or $7,000! and that they crushed it all in one day with a single arrastra, driven by a mule; that two men took out from the lode in one day quartz valued at $50,000; that it pays $10 to the pound, etc. That beats Washoe.
Shasta Courier, Shasta City, California, March 10, 1860, page 4
THE QUARTZ MINES ABOUT JACKSONVILLE.--The Sentinel, of March 10th, gives some interesting particulars in reference to the increasing richness of these mines. It says of Gold Hill:
There is nothing to chronicle of a different tenor to the reports we have weekly given from this mountain of treasure. The same old story--rich, richer, and richer yet--and here the degrees end, for to add the superlative suffix would be useless and premature, when in the very next return from the mine there would assuredly come intelligence of the discovery of still richer gold quartz than any before found in the vein, and more of it thicker and closer together. From the day the vein was first struck, each succeeding day it has been predicted: "Well, when they bore down a foot or two more the company will find the bottom of the ledge." And some old quartz miners have quite stoutly asserted all the time that no lead had ever been struck yet; that the vein now worked was merely a huge slab, which had either slided or been cast there by some mysterious convulsion of old mother earth. But every day's work at the Hill proves the fallacy of the prophets, and the error of the miner folks. Deeper and deeper have the Ish Company sunk their shaft in the ledge, and richer and richer has been found the rock, while the vein scarcely diminishes or increases from the thickness developed within a foot from the top. The casing and adjacent earth also continues to yield, or rather to show richly (for the company do not undertake at present to wash any of it), and we shall not be surprised to learn when this is prospected and washed, that it far exceeds the product of almost any placer mining earth in the county. The main ledge is now bored to the depth of twenty-five feet, and it betrays no more indication of giving out, either in extent or richness, than it did one month ago; nor, indeed, so much--for then some serious doubts were apprehended by its owners whether it would not fall off somewhat in the gold product. George Ish presented us a piece of the quartz rock, taken from the vein at a depth of twenty-three feet, on Wednesday last, which weighs about twenty ounces and is literally threaded and webbed with gold in a good portion of it. To give readers an estimate of the thick profusion of the precious metal in the rock, we will state that, in breaking off this piece, Ish hit a blow too much, and severed, as he feared, one end of the block, which he wished to preserve entire. The small bit thus broken away is the size of a hazel nut, and the main rock is as large as a teacup. Seeing light between the great and small pieces, after the unintended blow, Ish took hold of the small piece to remove it; but there was something besides rock, which had not been separated, and which hung stoutly together. The piece was lifted, and with it came the large rock, securely swinging, so broad and strong was the thread of gold which held it. Being finally sundered, as we have them now, one cannot wonder at the suspension of the large piece, when seeing the band of precious stuff which held it to the other. On Monday and Tuesday, it is estimated that fully $75,000 worth of gold quartz was taken from the vein, and on Wednesday another large amount, of which we have heard no estimate.
Sacramento Daily Union, March 20, 1860, page 3
The Ish Claim.Shasta Courier, Shasta City, California, March 17, 1860, page 2
This quartz claim, located near Jacksonville, Oregon, is perhaps the richest ever discovered on the coast. The Sacramento Standard is informed that--
This remarkable claim was discovered in January last by an hostler in the employ of the California Stage Company, near Jacksonville. He literally stumbled upon it, while hunting for some horses belonging to his employers. Its location is not more than a quarter of a mile from the trail via Yreka to Fraser River, and thousands who went upon a fruitless voyage to that frozen region passed within that short distance of this undiscovered wealth. The discoverer had the claim recorded in the name of himself and another, and the Ish company, consisting of five men, purchased it for $4,000. The first day's work of an arrastra brought about $6,000, and that of the second day between $7,000 and $8,000. The yield has been so enormous thus far that the owners believe the quartz already exposed by them to contain half a million of gold. Whether this unparalleled richness is to continue to any extent, or is only the result of a single deposit, time, of course, alone can show.
There is a circumstance connected with the discovery of the claim which is interesting. The hostler found exceedingly rich quartz above the ground. He would not, perhaps, have paid any attention to it if gold had not been plainly visible in it. Near the place, and it was not a place favorable for camping, was a tree, bearing upon it some initials, and the figures 1854. It is more than probable that some adventurer had found the treasure and had marked the lead by right of discovery. The Indians, who were at that time exceedingly hostile in that locality, must have made him one of their victims, for in no other way can we explain the fact that he never made a motion toward availing himself of the unbounded wealth thus accidentally opened to his gaze.
THE JACKSON COUNTY QUARTZ.A correspondent writes:
"All that you have heard in regard to the discovery and richness of quartz mines in this county is true. You probably remember that there is near the big bar on this side of Rogue River a tall bald mountain. It extends nearly to T'Vault's old place. It is a mountain of quartz. On the very top a vein of gold-bearing quartz has been discovered, of fabulous richness. It has been opened about ten feet, and I do not exaggerate when I say that over $100,000 has been taken out already. Four hands can take out $50,000 worth of rock per day. The lead or vein is circular, and is at present about three feet in diameter. In the center of the vein it is full one-half gold. Believe whatever they may tell you. It is the richest discovery of the age or world. About one mile toward Jacksonville another lead has been discovered, not so large, but very rich. The quartz rock is yellow with gold. There is also another lead on Jackson Creek, called the Hicks lead. It is a small vein of very rich quartz. Hicks takes a common mortar and pestle and gets out from 100 to 150 ounces per day. There is a quartz vein at Sterling that those who have examined say will yield $60 per ton. I understand that it is for sale--price $1000. There will be several quartz crushing machines here next summer. They are using the old-fashioned Mexican arrastras now."
"Domestic Items," Oregon Statesman, Salem, March 20, 1860, page 2
OUR JACKSONVILLE CORRESPONDENCE.Gold Hill is still the center around which crowds flock daily in quest of fortune. Rich quartz has been found three hundred yards south of the Emigrant Company claims, on the same ledge.
JACKSONVILLE, SOUTHERN OREGON,
March 12, 1860.
Discoveries take place daily on the Blackwell lead. Some rich prospects have been found.
The Emigrant Ledge, on Gold Hill and Blackwell Ledge, are about two miles apart, on the same range, and there is little doubt but that it is on the same ledge.
Emigrant Company.Last Saturday was dividend day with this company. After a run of fourteen days with two arrastras, they declared a dividend of three hundred and eighty ounces to the share; besides this, five hundred ounces were left in the treasury to pay bills and current expenses.
There are five shares in the company--2,400 ounces ($44,400) fourteen days run--two arrastras, both new, working to a disadvantage, but yet to grind out twelve hundred huge ounces per week, with such antediluvian machinery, is, to say the least, tremendous--stupendous! and indicates the fact that their quartz must be tolerably well mixed with the blood of commerce [i.e., gold].
This company have something over twelve tons of quartz, in sacks, piled up in the treasure room of the arrastra shed that will yield, at the lowest estimate, $220,000, which will feed the arrastras sometime. The company have quit taking quartz from the vein at present, and will only take out enough to run the arrastras until the arrival of suitable machinery from your city. They have sunk a shaft on the ledge to the depth of 25 feet, and, strange as it may appear, the gold is still there as rich as ever, and as yet no signs of exhaustion. It is, certainly, the most extraordinary nest of gold ever known in the age of the world; although other parties say they have a better thing some twenty miles north, in the rugged Rogue River mountains.
The Hicks Claim.Has been opened in another place, and is richer than ever; Messrs. Maury & Taylor's claim, about 200 yards from Hicks & Taylor's, bids fair to rival any outside of Gold Hill. Time and work will establish the fact in round numbers, square figures, &c.
The Moran Company.This company consists of six able-bodied men, who are operating on the Blackwell Ledge, and are building an arrastra. There is now no doubt of the richness of their claims; they ask $5,000 for a share of one-sixth; four weeks ago $500 would have bought one.
Farren's company have struck a good prospect on the same ledge, 500 yards north. The lead is being tapped in various places and prospects obtained from most of them.
Other quartz developments are taking place daily. Already these discoveries sensibly accelerate the pulsations of trade, lately so dull in this large and delightful valley; a little cash begins to circulate, notwithstanding the unprecedented dry winter. The huge blocks of gold from the retorts of the Emigrant Company every Saturday night do good to the eyes; and it can be safely said that when all these companies are supplied with proper machinery such will not be rare.
Mr. George Ish is now in your city, for the purpose of obtaining machinery to work the Emigrant Lead; he is one of the discoverers, and owns a fifth interest in the Emigrant Company's claims.
The dry summer weather still freezes to us with a good deal more tenacity than is healthy. Placer mining is a failure this season; miners are now turning their attention to quartz and river mining. It is to be hoped that this people will not be long dependent on the capricious seasons for water to work the rich placer diggings that cover the face of this country. The products of Gold Hill and other rich leads will probably find investment, ere long, in ditch enterprises; if such events should take place this summer, it will make but little difference whether the war debt is paid or not.
THE MINES IN SOUTHERN OREGON.--The Jacksonville (Southern Oregon) Sentinel of March 10th, speaking of the Ish claim, says:
"Deeper and deeper have the Ish Company sunk their shaft in the ledge, and richer and richer has been found the rock, while the vein scarcely diminishes or increases from the thickness developed within a foot from the top. On Monday and Tuesday [5th and 6th March] it is estimated that fully $75,000 worth of gold quartz was taken from the vein, and on Wednesday another very large amount, of which we have heard no estimate. The two arrastras are kept constantly employed, and yet there are some eight or ten tons of rock equal in auriferousness to any yet crushed, awaiting the extracting process.
"The lower claims, first owned by some of the Ish Company, have been sold--the five shares bringing an average of $2,600 each. These are simply surface claims, no ledge nor indications of one, having been discovered therein."
A letter from Jacksonville to the Alta, dated March 12th, says:
"March 10th was dividend day with the Emigrant Company. After a run of fourteen days with two arrastras, they declared a dividend of three hundred and eighty ounces to the share; besides this five hundred ounces were let in the treasury to pay bills and current expenses. There are five shares in the company. This company have something over twelve tons of quartz, in sacks, piled up in the treasure room of the arrastra shed that will yield, at the lowest estimate, $220,000, which will feed the arrastras sometime.
"Other quartz developments are taking place daily."
Daily National Democrat, Marysville, California, March 23, 1860, page 3
THE ISH CLAIM.--We learn from a gentleman just from Jacksonville, and who has visited this extraordinarily rich quartz lead, that it still continues to pay fabulous amounts. He is of the opinion that it is of incalculable richness.
Shasta Courier, Shasta City, California, March 24, 1860, page 3
THE JACKSONVILLE MINES.--The Sentinel, of March 17th, notes the following operations in connection with these mines:
The gold quartz ledge of the Ish Company continues to pay as extravagantly as ever, and we have no diminution of the average products of preceding weeks to chronicle. Far as the ledge is sunk, the same astonishing auriferousness is displayed, and in one or two new places where the vein has been tapped, similar richness with what has been worked is exhibited. We learn that the company are preparing to have ample steam machinery erected to facilitate their operations. Since writing the preceding we have learned that the Ish Company have cleaned up their arrastras. From 1,000 pounds of quartz 33 pounds of gold were realized.
Sacramento Daily Union, March 24, 1860, page 2
Important discoveries of gold are reported in the vicinity of Jacksonville, in Southern Oregon. A correspondent of the Alta California, writing from that place under date of February 22, says that some of the quartz in that region has been found to be unusually rich. From three hundred and fifty pounds of it, one company obtained, by their primitive Mexican grinder--in about ten hours--four hundred and forty ounces of gold, which will assay about $16 per ounce. He states that two of the company, in about six hours, took out a new supply of quartz, which they estimate to contain $50,000 worth of gold; and that from the quartz immediately before them they can take out, by another day's operations, $100,000 worth of gold. Several other companies in the vicinity cherish sanguine hopes of making large fortunes.
Daily Intelligencer, Wheeling, West Virginia, March 29, 1860, page 2
THE ISH CLAIM.--A correspondent of the Yreka Union, writing from Jacksonville, March 27th, says of the quartz excitement in that county:
"The quartz excitement has simmered down somewhat since last week, and many begin to complain of humbug about sundry claims outside of the rich lead, still there is no positive certainty of course as yet. A few of the 20th shares could be bought now for $13,500, in the rich claim, arising, no doubt, from the expense attending the labor and machinery, as the quartz is hauled nearly half a mile downhill, which, together with the hands employed in getting out the quartz and the working of the arrastras, counts up considerable; however, there is no certainty how their prices will range, from the fact that they are unable to conceive what shares ought to be worth. The company has been endeavoring to organize, but has failed as yet to announce who shall be superintending officers. Out of 1,000 lbs. of quartz crushed, the company realized 33 lbs. of gold. As the Ish Co. are not taking out any quartz at present, it cannot be ascertained how it will hold out."
Trinity Journal, Weaverville, California, April 7, 1860, page 3
Wonderful Deposits of Gold in Oregon--Thirty-Five ThousandThe Oregon papers are enthusiastic over the marvelous richness of the deposits recently discovered in Southern Oregon. "Gold Hill," from all accounts, well deserves its name. The Jacksonville Sentinel, of Feb. 26th, says:
Dollars to the Ton of Quartz--Two Men Take Out $50,000.
We have in the past few weeks published statements of the astonishing auriferousness of the quartz rock gathered and quarried at Gold Hill, but this week we have to record still more astounding facts. Since our last issue, the owners of both the Ish and Ross claims have crushed a considerable quantity of the quartz belonging to them, and extracted therefrom gold. In both instances the extracting process has been crude and imperfect. We will give the figures as they have been proven. It will be remembered that at the lower claim (Ross & Co.'s) no regular ledge has yet been worked; their rock was taken from the surface, and at depths below, averaging from one to four feet. They have already crushed about three hundred pounds of this rock, which has given an average yield of $10 to the pound of quartz. One piece, weighing four pounds, gave eleven ounces and thirteen dollars.
Another weighing three pounds, nearly six ounces and another piece weighing fourteen pounds gave thirty-six ounces of gold! The lowest product of any of the rock (that in which no gold was visible) is about $2 to the pound. The company have used a large mortar and pestle as their crushing apparatus, but during the week a transfer was made of a one-fifth share of the claim to James Vannoy, of Josephine, who is an old practical Carolina miner, and this gentleman is erecting a crushing mill, which shall better answer the company s requirements. The price paid for this one-fifth was $2,500 in cash, the purchaser to receive no share of the quartz rock taken out previous to the sale. The seller was Mr. Loudon, who has besides an interest in the Ish vein, which he proposes to retain. The company have yet nearly a ton of quartz to crush, with a prospect of their claim still yielding as abundantly as ever.
The Ish company have completed their arrastra, and up to Tuesday last (21st February) had crushed and washed out some four hundred pounds of the rock. The product of this was four hundred and forty-four ounces of gold! Four pounds of the large piece which we saw broken up during our last visit there, some two weeks ago, which weighed fifty-five pounds, and in which it was estimated there was $1,000, was crushed in a small mortar, and twelve ounces and a half of gold extracted from it. The balance of this rock promised equally rich, and was sent to the arrastra. On Tuesday the vein was again opened. In six hours nearly three tons of rock, and all of the most extravagant richness, were taken out.
On Wednesday, over a ton more was dug from the main vein, at a point where it was first struck some five weeks ago, and we are assured by a perfectly reliable gentleman who saw the quartz that it was of even surpassing auriferousness to any he had yet seen taken from the ledge. It was estimated that already the company have extracted fully $125,000 worth of gold quartz rock, while the ledge gives indications of increasing richness and extent.
A gentleman who has a claim near the Ish vein informs us that he saw a large piece of the rock taken from that ledge on Wednesday last broken apart, and that to sunder it the men had really to wrench it, so thoroughly interwoven and diffused was the gold through the whole mass.
The Alta California speaks of the arrival from these mines of Mr. Philip Meagher, who had with him a number of specimens of gold quartz, which were the subject of admiration. Says the Alta:
"One of these weighed between two and three pounds, and was broken off ad libitum by Mr. Meagher, from the Maury mine. It is perfectly filled with gold, so that it may as appropriately be called quartz gold as gold quartz. In fact, the gold is apparent all over and through it. This splendid piece is to be sent to the Washington Monument, and will be a splendid exemplar of the immense richness of our Pacific Slope of the continent. There were also half a dozen smaller pieces, which, with the large one, will be exhibited in this city. Our informant is a perfectly reliable man, well known in this city. He says that the story of two men having taken out $50,000 is quite true. He went into the excavations of both of the mines--the Ish and the Maury--and saw for himself the wonderful richness of the placers. It was more like a scene of enchantment--Aladdin's wonderful lamp, or some other fanciful creation of the Arabian Nights--than the reality of sober facts. Above, around, everywhere, the very walls of the excavations were speckled with gold. Indeed, such it would seem must have been the case to accord with the telegraphic dispatch which reached here on Tuesday night that $75,000 worth of gold were taken out of the Ish claim on the 5th inst."
These facts place this mine as far beyond the famous Allison lead, Nevada County, as that is beyond the ordinary quartz leads. Gold Hill seems to be the headquarters of the gold, as none is found along Rogue River above that place, while below, for many miles, the canyons, gulches, and banks of the river have been found to pay, some as high as ten or fifteen dollars to the hand, and others showing only the color. The present season has been an unusually dry one, and this prompted many men to start out prospecting, for want of water, when these general discoveries were made. After the Maury claim was discovered, one of the men, who had been herding cattle at or near Gold Hill, remembered that he had found a piece of gold quartz on the top of the hill some time before, and this led to the marvelous revelation. The Ish Company, with a common arrastra, crushed up four hundred pounds of quartz, from which they extracted four hundred and forty-four ounces of gold, which would make the rock average about thirty-five thousand dollars to the ton. These are extravagant figures, but the sober facts seem to sustain them.
Crawfordsville Journal, Crawfordsville, Indiana, April 12, 1860, page 1
The El Dorado of Southern Oregon.
JACKSONVILLE, OREGON, April 5.I arrived here two or three days ago, and am much pleased with the country generally. Rogue River Valley, in which this town is situated, is one of the most beautiful valleys I ever saw. The climate is remarkably mild, fruit trees being in full blossom--and there is an air of thrift which I have witnessed nowhere since leaving the Atlantic States. The lands are well fenced, many with fine broad fences, such as we see in the East, and the houses are invariably fine large two-story dwellings, and all painted white. This town is bound to become an important point. New quartz discoveries are being made daily in the mountains, at the base of which it is situated.
The Ish, or Gold Hill, claim continues to turn out an astonishing amount of wealth. The company employ but a few men, working eight hours per day. They are waiting for machinery from San Francisco. The claim is situated twelve miles from town. They have two arrastras, and have ground about ten tons of rock, which has yielded $75,000.
On the 2nd and 3rd inst. they took out two tons of rock which, it is estimated, will yield $15,000 per ton--many say $40,000 per ton.
The Hicks lode, two and a half miles from town, pays $50 to $80 per ton.
The Blue lode, two and a half miles from town, is about five feet wide, and prospects same as the Hicks.
There are also some dozen other lodes, which are not thoroughly prospected, but, as far as heard from, yield from $30 to $70 per ton.
The Blackwell lode has been prospected and traced for a long distance, and yields from $40 to $60 per ton.
This place presents an excellent field for capitalists, far better than any in California. The people are rather slow, and lack the enterprise we see exhibited in California towns.
A telegraph company is about being organized, and the prospect is that, within four months, we will be in telegraphic communication with San Francisco,
JIM.Daily Alta California, San Francisco, April 13, 1860, page 4
THE GOLD MINES IN SOUTHERN OREGON.--At last accounts, but little was doing in the placer mines near Jacksonville. The Ish quartz claim continued to pay as well as ever. The main shaft in that claim has been sunk to the depth of 47 feet, the gold being visible all the way down. Other quartz companies were doing well. In Jacksonville, says the Sentinel of the 31st ult., there are on exhibition two huge boulders of gold quartz, taken from the Ish claim at Gold Hill--one weighing 110 pounds, and the other 36 pounds. The big one has gold enough in it to satisfy a small family, but the smaller one is literally crowded with dots, spangles, veins, threads, points and leaves of the precious stuff. The sum of $1000 has been offered for the rock as it is. The pieces sent to San Francisco have no comparison with it.
Daily National Democrat, Marysville, California, April 13, 1860, page 2
The Jacksonville Sentinel says that the quartz mines there are yielding an immense amount of gold, but advises adventurers not to make a rush to Southern Oregon.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, April 14, 1860, page 2
OUR JACKSONVILLE CORRESPONDENCE.Every day adds permanence to the fact that we live in a rich country. Take 500 miles stretching along the Pacific, from latitude 36 to 43--300 miles wide--including the Washoe silver range--and we have the boundaries of the richest and most valuable spot on earth, of the same number of square miles. Up in the north end of the parallelogram, Gold Hill looms up, its summit almost solid gold--claiming the belt, as the richest little knob in the parallelogram.
JACKSONVILLE, Southern Oregon, April 8, 1860.
Every day it is predicted, by various individuals, that the bottom of the Gold Hill pocket will fall out--that the gold will "presto, change," into something else--lead, tin, zinc, or, vanish into thin air, smoke, and so on; and thus losing prestige, Gold Hill relapse from its mountainous magnitude into an insignificant bump of but little more celebrity than a thousand others around it. But so far, from day to day, the magic shaft, now 50 feet deep, finds it rich, as it goes down the side of the ledge, prospecting every foot or two. The fabulous Hill continues to pan out at the rate of ten dollars to the pound of quartz--the prognostications of old miners to the contrary notwithstanding. There is no "throw-off" on that. Yet the Emigrant lead may suspend payment any day! Granted; but all leads are subject to the same vicissitudes. At any rate, when it ceases to belch forth cash at the rate of 1,000 ounces per week--through the agency of two arrastras, one mulepower each--then theorists and scientific skeptics can "tumble in," and tear the Hill and its reputation to shreds--and, if they please, demolish the remotest chance of its being even the glittering foundation of some future romance--American Nights' entertainment, for instance. Of course, nobody expects the Emigrant ledge will thus continue to deluge the country--nobody expects such a yellow flood to last long--but, at present, it is ahead--preeminently the prince of the quartz-ledge family.
Dividend Day.The Emigrant Company declared a dividend, yesterday evening, of 200 ounces to the share--the net proceeds of six days' work with two arrastras. There are five shares, which gives 1,000 ounces as the week's work. What an immense day's work could be done on such quartz as this with a 20-stamp quartz mill! Nearly a quarter of a million dollars per day could be crushed out.
The Hicks Ledge.The Maury Company, who have bought out Hicks & Co., are getting rich prospects on this ledge in several places. What is most remarkable in regard to this ledge is the fact that a rich deposit of lead ore, assaying 80 percent, was found only a few yards from the rich gold pocket found by Hicks.
The Johnson Ledge,a new discovery, is creating some notice. A share of a fourth in the Johnson Company was sold, a day or two since, for $1,000. Any of the quartz will prospect as much as fifty cents per pound, and frequently as high as one dollar is obtained; but there are no rich pockets--the gold being distributed throughout in fine particles not visible. It ranks among the best leads.
Cinnabar.But a short distance from the Johnson ledge is a vein of cinnabar, just discovered. It is about eight inches wide where it crops out; it yields about sixty percent of quicksilver. The vein will be explored, and may prove valuable. The Johnson ledge and cinnabar vein are about a mile and a half west of this town, on the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountain, and half a mile from the Hicks ledge. On and around this mountain as many as thirty companies have quartz claims, from most of which good prospects have been obtained; they are waiting for the advent of quartz mills.
The Fry Ledge.Still they find it. The quartz panorama slowly revolves, and every few days a rich scene bursts upon the view. Every few days some rich hermit ledge, that has been snugly stowed away for the last few thousand years, is picked out by the relentless prospector, and forced to pungle its treasure for the use of us bipeds. This last discovery is on Gall Creek, 4 miles west of Gold Hill, and is just now commencing to rage in a small way. Mr. Samuel Fry, while mining in a gulch, discovered the ledge which bears his name. It prospects its $5 per pound in three different places on top of the ledge. He has not opened it to any extent yet; but, from the prospects, it is likely to prove extensive. Mr. Fry has taken out, in the last few days, several hundred dollars. The quartz, like that from Gold Hill, is filled with threads and sheets of gold. There is a crowd in the vicinity, tracing up the ledge and locating claims. A gentleman from your city--from a Front Street house, up here on business--visited the Fry lead soon after it was discovered, and obtained specimens from it.
In the Blackwell Regionnew and rich discoveries have taken place; they have one arrastra, owned by the Moran Co., merely for the purpose of prospecting. This company intend getting a mill as soon as possible. In this vicinity some dozen companies have claims, and are patiently waiting for mills. Speaking of mills leads to the fact that two of the Emigrant Company--Mr. John McLaughlin and Mr. Charles Williams--have gone down to your city to purchase a quartz mill. They carried down some large blocks of quartz--one weighing 110 pounds, another 36 pounds. They are not so rich as some taken out since they left; but for specimens, they are rich enough, and will take the premium in any quarter of the globe, perhaps.
To the Public,confidentially: In stating the above facts, which time and figures will confirm, Wing is not actuated by a desire to stir up a rush among the denizens of the above-mentioned parallelogram, but simply as news items, to keep track of the vast developments going on in this end of the 500 miles of auriferous and argentiferous earth. We have no wish to abstract the population of our sister state just now, because a crowd of restless miners here at present, with little money, would be no advantage to us. There are no ditches yet to afford water; no mills to crush quartz. In a year or two there will be both of these indispensable agents, of capacity to sustain fifteen or twenty thousand additional population.
In fact, Wing is down on humbug, and its offspring results--such as wrecked pockets, health, and fortunes, mushroom towns, and elephant shows, premature cities, and large graveyards. But with men who have enough money to sustain themselves, the chances are in his favor now to invest and better his condition, if ordinary judgment is used. Capitalists could find no better place than this region to dip, say, half a million into ditches and quartz mills.
Messrs. Maury & Davis, of this town, have just completed a ditch to Williamsburg; it is about 20 miles long, and cost about $25,000. Their receipts from it are something over two hundred dollars per day. This is an evidence of what may be done in ditches up this way.
THE SOUTHERN OREGON GOLD MINES.--The Jacksonville (Southern Oregon) Sentinel of 7th April says:
"The news from Gold Hill quartz mines is cheering as ever or, in fact, more flattering, for during the week the Ish vein has given out a large quantity of rock, which, we are assured, surpasses in average richness any before unearthed. The main shaft is now sunk beyond fifty feet, and from this depth on Monday last Col. Ross and one of the hands got out in two hours work fifteen sacks of quartz, which at a very low estimate will yield $10,000. The prospects are that this week's proceeds will exceed those of any preceding week. The net earnings last week of the company, after crushing only the casing earth and below average rock, was something over 300 ounces."
San Joaquin Republican, Stockton, California, April 19, 1860, page 2
SALE OF GOLD QUARTZ.--Mr. Jas. E. Wainwright sold at auction yesterday the gold specimens lately brought to town from the Ish or Emigrant claim, near Jacksonville, Southern Oregon. The largest piece was sold for $1,029.30, and the smallest for $13.25. The total was $3.377.60. The proprietors of the mine, Messrs. John McLaughlin & Charles Williams, are in town to purchase machinery for a quartz mill. All of the specimens brought what they had been estimated at by Mr. Farrington, who obtained their specific gravity, and a few ran over that estimate. They were mostly purchased as cabinet specimens.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, April 19, 1860, page 1
Fourteen specimens from the Ish gold mines, Jacksonville, were sold today at auction, at the rooms of Wainwright. The largest brought $725."San Francisco News," Sacramento Daily Union, April 19, 1860, page 2
EXTRORDINARY GOLD YIELD IN OREGON.--A letter from Gold Hill, Oregon, details some most extraordinary yields ot gold by the quartz mines. One story is that two men worked about six hours, then weighed the quartz taken out, and from a safe estimate it was found that, in that short space of time, they had taken out the enormous sum of $50,000. The writer adds that these figures may seem astounding, but they express nothing more than solid fact.
Manitowoc Pilot, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, April 20, 1860, page 3
Every number of the Sentinel contains news of fresh discoveries of auriferous quartz in Southern Oregon. Two boulders from Gold Hill, said to be "extravagantly rich," were taken to San Francisco by Chas. Williams and John McLaughlin, shareholders in the Gold Hill lead.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, May 1, 1860, page 2
A gentleman just down from prospecting in the Jacksonville (Oregon) mines has been giving me his experience. He says the famous Ish claim is yielding the richest rock he has ever laid eyes on; that some of it looks as if it had more gold than quartz in it. It is located on the highest peak of one of the highest hills in the vicinity, and seems to be sui generis in its formation. Outside of that, after many days of looking, he could find nothing that promised any better than the thousand old and well-worked mines of California. The lack of water is the great trouble. With a ditch that would cost $150,000, the surface diggings would pay liberally; but the most of the mining is done by farmers, who stick by their farms during the summer and go up in winter, when water is plenty, to hunt for gold a while, and for them the course is profitable. The best chance for men of a little means there, he thinks, is in getting a farm. The soil is black, mellow, easily tilled, and the land averages a cost of only $8 an acre.
"California," New York Times, May 5, 1860, page 3
MINES IN SOUTHERN OREGON.--The Jacksonville Sentinel of May 5th says there is no foundation for the rumor that the famous Gold Hill quartz vein had been exhausted. The company have suspended operations only until the new quartz steam crushing mill is erected. The mill was purchased in San Francisco and has been landed at Scottsburg. Concerning a new ditch enterprise, the Sentinel says:
"It is now fixed beyond conjecture that a water ditch will be constructed within the year from the headwaters of Applegate to Sterling, and in good time thereafter the ditch will be extended on to Jackson Creek to Willow Springs, and intermediate mining localities. In furtherance of this important enterprise, Mr. Truax, with a party, is now out exploring and surveying the line of construction. From Mr. Samuel Taylor, who is engaged in the survey, we learn that their labors will be completed in about a week, and the line made ready for the labor of the workmen. The work will be vigorously prosecuted."
Daily National Democrat, Marysville, California, May 11, 1860, page 3
FROM OREGON.--The following items are gathered from the Jacksonville Sentinel of April 28th:
G. H. Ish, one of the proprietors of the rich quartz mine, has gone to the States. Thos. Cavanaugh [Chavner], another of them, offers a large number of Cayuse horses for sale, at his ranch near Gold Hill. A company has been organized to turn the waters of Rogue River from the old bed at Big Bar. J. C. Drahmer, formerly of this place, is one of the company.
Trinity Journal, Weaverville, California, May 12, 1860, page 4
QUARTZ SPECULATIONS.--The unprecedentedly rich quartz claim at Gold Hill, near Jacksonville, Oregon, has suspended operations, it is said, until new machinery for crushing has been received. With few exceptions, can the reader call to mind his meeting with a friend embarked in a quartz enterprise who, when asked, "What are the prospects?" did not reply, "Well--they are good. But just at this time, we are not doing much, on account of a new addition which is being constructed to our mill; or, "Our machinery got a little out of order, and we have discontinued operations till it is repaired"; or, "Before we can work our lead successfully, we find we shall have to sink a perpendicular shaft." There is forever a slight obstruction in the way--some merely temporary inconvenience to be overcome--and when this difficulty is removed, then look out for a golden harvest! Poor devils! Credulous fortune seekers! That glimmer of hope never expands into the full-orbed splendor of a sunshiny reality. Fortunes dwindle away like a sand hill suddenly overtaken by a rapid current, and are swept into the great ocean of adventure, without yielding the promised riches which were anxiously looked for in return!
Marysville Daily Appeal, Marysville, California, May 15, 1860, page 2
GOLD AT JACKSONVILLE, OREGON.--The Sentinel, of May 12th, speaking of the quartz mines in the above region, says:
"Opportunity was afforded us to visit the arrastras of the Gold Hill Ish vein during the week. They are merely crushing up the casing rock and debris of the shaft, preparatory to commencing operations on a large scale with the steam mill now on the way. Last week the yield from this hitherto neglected stuff was $700. The vein will not be worked until the steam mill is ready for crushing."
Sacramento Daily Union, May 17, 1860, page 2
The extremely rich quartz vein in Jackson County has been worked out; it will no longer pay with the arrastra. The vein will still pay with improved machinery, which is on the way there; until its arrival, work has been suspended.
"Domestic Items," Oregon Statesman, Salem, June 5, 1860, page 2
Good news is once more furnished from several of the quartz lodes within the county. The Gold Hill Ish Company are busily engaged in getting out the auriferous rock, and conveying it to Williams & McLaughlin's steam crushing mill at Dardanelles, which, since Monday, has been in active operation night and day. The mill is now rigged with eight stampers, capable of crushing from ten to twelve tons every twenty-four hours. There is already awaiting the crushing process about eight hundred tons of quartz rock, so that there is little fear that the supply will soon be exhausted, as the workmen at the Hill can get out quite as much as the mill daily grinds. We visited the works on Saturday, and saw several pieces of the rock, taken haphazard from the pile, broken up. Almost every piece revealed uncommon richness. The engine was put in motion during our stay; but as the machinery was not quite in readiness for full operation, the stampers were not applied. Enough was seen however, to convince us that the mill was a complete success, in itself considered, for, new as it is, it worked without the least perceptible jar or sound. Mr. Presbrey, the chief engineer and superintendent, has certainly shown himself a master of his profession, and has erected one of the very best, most substantial and finely finished quartz mills we have seen. Late in the afternoon everything was got in order, and a trial made of its capacity in the work for which it is intended, and a test had of the quality of the rock. Less than a ton was crushed, a specimen of which was shown us on Monday, and it was exceedingly rich--this, too, from the loose casing and eternal rock of the main lode. The product of the week's crushing, we are assured, will be extravagant, the rock averaging even richer than that shown us. Mr. Presbrey, who has superintended several quartz mills in California, some of them as famous leads, says that he has never seen any rock which gave equal auriferous products. The quartz daily taken from the vein is quite as rich as that obtained last winter, when the vein was first discovered.
"Quartz Mines of Southern Oregon," Daily Alta California, San Francisco, July 26, 1860, page 1
THE JACKSONVILLE (OREGON) QUARTZ MINES.--Of the rich quartz veins in the above locality the Sentinel speaks in glowing terms, and says there is no falling off in their productiveness. It adds, under date of July 21st:
The Gold Hill Ish Company commenced operations in their rich shaft last week, and the rock taken from the lode so far exceeds in richness any before discovered. A piece weighing about two pounds was shown us, which displayed astonishing auriferousness. Up to Thursday evening there had been no falling off in the yield of this extraordinarily rich quartz. Last Saturday the crushing of the casing and refuse rock and earth was completed. From 38 tons of this stuff, the handsome sum of $1,600 was obtained. This week the mill has been constantly engaged, day and night, crushing the rich rock lately taken from the vein.
Yesterday evening we were informed by one of the Gold Hill Company that from a cleaning up of the quartz mill on Thursday, nearly $5,000 was obtained.
Sacramento Daily Union, July 27, 1860, page 2
ARRIVED.--The steamer Swan, Capt. Rogers, arrived last Saturday, bringing the largest amount of freight ever brought to Red Bluff by any one boat. The Swan has a new barge, the capacity of which for carrying freight surpasses all others on the northern Sacramento. They left Sacramento with 180 tons of freight, 160 of which came through to this place.
We noticed among the freight a steam engine boiler, intended for the Ish quartz mill, at Jacksonville, Oregon.
Red Bluff Independent, August 28, 1860, page 2
The proprietors of the famous Ish lead, at Gold Hill, Jackson County, Oregon, have commenced tunneling the hill, in order to discover the lead, which after yielding quartz of the most fabulous richness for a time, suddenly ran out. They hope to strike it again.
"Condensed News Items," Semi-Weekly Independent, Red Bluff, California, April 19, 1861, page 2
GOLD HILL.--This once-rich quartz lode is to be opened again. See advertisement.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 30, 1862, page 2
Notice.All persons interested in the Gold Hill Quartz Lode are requested to meet at the New State Saloon, on Thursday, September 4th, at 3 o'clock p.m., for the purpose of assessing the different shares for the further prospecting of Gold Hill.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 30, 1862, page 2
RICH QUARTZ has been struck again in Gold Hill, near the old lead, the extent of which is yet to be ascertained.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, December 15, 1862, page 3
GOLD HILL.--The gentlemen interested in the far-famed Gold Hill quartz ledge were yesterday made joyous by highly flattering prospects taken from their lead. After spending considerable time in running a tunnel in sixty-six feet upon the ledge, they are now rewarded with a prospect of the big pay of 1860. Considerable rock has been taken out, but, we suppose, further prospecting will be done before machinery is put up for crushing. The ledge is owned by twelve or fifteen persons, among whom is Jack Long, who, we suppose is kept in the company "just for luck." May the palmy days of the spring of 1860 return to them.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, April 18, 1863, page 2
Gold Hill.One of the most remarkable deposits of gold ever discovered on the Pacific Coast was that of Gold Hill, in this county. It is located on an isolated mountain, a few hundred feet above the level of the valley, distant some twelve miles from Jacksonville. Rogue River forms two sides of a triangle which surrounds its base, and the valley forms the third. This lode was discovered on the 13th day of January, 1860, and within three months from the time of its discovery, one hundred and thirty thousand dollars were taken out, after which time it failed to be profitable for working. Huge masses of quartz literally filled with gold were picked up on the top of the ground, where this lode was first discovered.
One of the peculiarities of this mine was that gold was found in the crystallized quartz. We have seen specimens from there, so transparent that the smallest particle of gold could be seen in the very center.
The mountain containing this lode has every appearance of having been an extensive "slide," which at some day had broken loose from the mountain to the west. and come down in the valley below. The mountains show every indication of having had a large mass broken off on the side next to Gold Hill. As an evidence that Gold Hill slid from this mountain, we find between the two a narrow valley such as we might reasonably expect to see in the course of time, after such a phenomenon. It is plain enough that when the top of a mountain gives away and slides to its base, that the debris from the broken and loosened sides of the mountain on all "sides" would soon fill up the sharp, angular valley between, and form a narrow and elevated cove, co-extensive with the "slide." Such we find to be precisely the case between Gold Hill and the probable parent mountain. As a further evidence of this theory, we find Gold Hill, located, apparently, in the natural course of Rogue River, and it, turned at almost right angles with its general direction, to the mouth of Sams Creek, then turning again, probably finding its old channel about 400 yards above the upper bridge.
A mountain falling into the bed of a river must necessarily stop up the channel and create a lake above. That this has at some day been the case, we have abundant proof; indeed, much stronger than we usually find in support of any physico-logical theory. Among these evidences, we would refer to the benchmarks on Table Rock and the sand cliffs at the head of Table Rock Valley, the beds of pumice stone which have been formed around the base of Upper Table Rock, and, still further, to the drifted appearance of the gravel and boulders which cover the Desert along Rogue River, above the mouth of Bear Creek. But perhaps the strongest evidence of Gold Hill having one day stopped up the channel of Rogue River is in the fact that the side of Table Rock Hills opposite are covered with the same black ferruginous stone as that found on it. The stones on the opposite side are entirely erratic, differing materially from those of Table Rock. As these stones could not have rolled from Gold Hill since the present state of things, it is evident that they came down before it broke around, and formed its present channel. If the theory be correct that Gold Hill did slide from the mountain west, is it not probable that the same vein may be found in these mountains?
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, February 11, 1865, page 2
The Jacksonville Sentinel says the tunneling in Gold Hill is still progressing with good prospects of success. The ledge has been struck again, and the miners are running a shaft from the runnel to the surface, a distance of one hundred and twenty feet.
"State Items," State Rights Democrat, Albany, Oregon, April 6, 1867, page 2
GOLD HILL.--One day this week, in company with Col. Drew, McQuade and Sam Bowen, an old Jackson Creek miner recently from the north, we paid a visit to the once-famous Gold Hill or Ish lead. We found everything about the lead going to wrack; from appearance no work, to amount to anything, has been done for six or eight years. The shafts have caved and filled up; the tunnels for the most part are caved and blocked up at the mouth; and those that we could enter looked frightful, as the timbering seemed ready to fall in. The owners of this mine firmly believe that a rich deposit of gold will yet be found in Gold Hill. Yet to do this there will have to be much labor an money expended; and, from all we can see, there is no better course to pursue than to give some enterprising company an interest in the mine, in consideration that they thoroughly prospect it. For, as it now lays, it does no one any good, and if it was thoroughly prospected and still found to be worthless, the owners need not spend any more time or money in the enterprise, while if rich pay is struck it would be a benefit to the proprietors to know of its existence as soon as possible.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 1, 1868, page 2
THE GOLD HILL LEAD.TO THE EDITOR OF THE OREGONIAN
SOME BITS OF HISTORY GRAPHICALLY TOLD BY A PIONEER.
GOLD HILL, Or., May 19, '85.Some historical incidents connected with the once-famous Gold Hill mine, situated about two miles from this station, may not be uninteresting to your readers. One morning about 3 o'clock a.m., in the summer of 1853, Col. Wm. Martin, a pioneer of 1845, accompanied by a man named Barnes, rode to the residence of General Joseph Lane, in the Umpqua Valley, near the then-little village of Roseburg and called out "hallo."
"What is wanted?" replied the General.
Said Col. Martin: "The Rogue River Indians have broken out, and are murdering women and children, and we want you, general, to go to the rescue
In twenty minutes the General was on his horse, along with Col. Martin and Barnes, riding rapidly toward the scene of hostilities. The General commanded every old pioneer whom he met to get their guns and pistols at once. The pioneers needed no persuasion; they had all of them surmounted many privations and dangers; they had good stuff in them, nor would they stand back when the lives of women and children were in jeopardy.
General Lane was soon in command of a volunteer force, together with a few regulars. Nor was he long in ascertaining the whereabouts of the Indians; he traced them to a little creek, now called Battle Creek, that empties into Evans Creek a few miles below the little town of Woodville. He effected a complete surprise upon the wily Indians. The first intimation the chief (old Sam) had of danger was a murderous fusillade poured into them by Lane's forces. The Indians, with remarkable self-possession, seized their guns and returned the fire. For awhile the battle waxed fierce and the bullets flew thick, but it was evident and apparent to old Sam that Lane's men were getting much the best of the fight, and his heart began to fail him. Armstrong, as sure a man as ever breathed, fell, pierced through his noble heart. Gen. Lane was shot through the arm, from which the blood poured profusely. The old chief soon began to beg for quarter. Lane, however, was not inclined to listen to his gibberish. The volunteers, however, noticing that the General was pale and weak from the loss of blood, urged him to treat with the chief. He finally consented. Old Sam ordered the remainder of his warriors to cease firing. Many of his bravest ones had bitten the dust. The two leaders, Lane and Sam, walked out and seated themselves on a log for a powwow. Sam's daughter, a most beautiful young squaw, went with her father as a witness of her father's sincerity. A settlement was soon had, and the two chieftains agreed to meet at Table Rock at a given date to ratify the proceedings or agreement made that day. It was further stipulated that General Lane was to bring along a certain number of friends unarmed, and old Sam was to leave an equal number of warriors unarmed to bear witness to the ratification.
General Lane selected Colonel Nesmith, Judge Deady, Colonel Martin, Captain Mosher, Bob Metcalfe and a few others. Nesmith did not approve of the plan, and he accordingly said to the General that he did not propose to go unarmed to the place selected, for the Indians were treacherous, and he thought it was folly to place themselves at the mercy of the savages. "Very well," said the General, "if you are afraid to go you can remain in camp." This nettled Nesmith, who replied, "General Lane, I think I have as little fear as you or any man on the earth, and if you put it on that ground I will go."
When the day arrived Colonel Nesmith and General Lamerick, who was in command of the regulars, held a consultation. Lamerick shared Nesmith's views of the matter. He, too, feared treachery, and accordingly General Lamerick with field glasses went to a commanding mountain overlooking Table Rock, where he could observe the maneuvers of the Indians, who were strung along the ridges a distance of two miles from Table Rock towards Sams Valley. Finding a shade under a large laurel tree, General Lamerick seated himself on a large quartz rock that stood up some three feet out of the ground, and with his field glasses he watched with great anxiety what was going on across the river. Your readers will soon see what the battle of Evans Creek and the war of '53 had to do with the Gold Hill quartz mine.
It is proper to say that Nesmith was right in his conjectures about the Indians. There was an attempt on the part of the savages to carry out their cowardly, murderous designs, and they were only prevented from doing so by the cool bravery of General Lane, who showed no fear of their treachery. The treaty was completed. And now I will turn to the discovery of the Gold Hill quartz mine. In September of 1859 Dan Fisher went out to kill a deer He wandered about in the mountains until quite late in the evening; finally he came to a high mountain, and noticed a quartz ledge cropping out for a distance of forty or fifty feet. He merely glanced at it, for it was getting quite late. He, however, was somewhat impressed with its appearance, so much so that he concluded to carve his name on the laurel tree that spread its branches over the ledge, and intended to return in a short time and prospect the lead. However, he failed to go back; hence he missed a fortune. In January, 1860, Uncle Tommy Chavner hired a young emigrant, direct from Iowa, to work for him on his ranch. The young man's name wan Hayes. One morning Mr. Chavner directed the young man to go out and look after some horses that had strayed off. The young man, in wandering around in the mountains, sat down to rest near the top of a high mountain, and he noticed some beautiful quartz rock that lay scattered around. Upon picking up the pieces he noticed that they were literally covered with gold, and accordingly he filled his pockets and returned to Mr. Chavner's and showed him the specimens. Mr. C., with characteristic cunning, said: "Be quiet about this matter. Say nothing about it, and we will go out and look after this business. I will pay you well," said Uncle Tommy, "if you will show me the place where you found those specimens."
Hayes, however, by this time became excited and could not keep his secret. He sent some of the specimens to Jacksonville. The miners of Jacksonville became intensely excited, and the next day they racked out in every direction to hunt the place where the rich ore had been found. Old George Ish called out to Dan Fisher when he passed Willow Springs, where Fisher was working, "Why ain't you out, Dan, hunting that rich quartz lead?" Fisher replied that he believed he knew where the lead was, and he would tell him right where it was located provided he (Ish) would take him in as a partner. Ish promised he would do so. Mr. Fisher then directed him to the place, and told him that he would find Dan Fisher's name carved on a large laurel tree that stood [with]in a few feet of the lead.
Ish proceeded to the point described by Fisher and found the famous . There stood the laurel tree with Fisher's name cut on it. Uncle Tommy Chavner and the emigrant were by no means asleep; on the contrary, they were on the spot where young Hayes had found the specimens the day previous. Ish soon let Chavner know that he had found the lead. They at once located the mine. Chavner gave Hayes $5000 for his interest. The boy took the money and struck a bee-line for Iowa.
About this time General Lamerick had occasion to visit Southern Oregon on business connected with the army. On hearing the fabulous stories about the Gold Hill mine he concluded to visit the lead. General Lamerick was noted for his profanity. When he arrived at the mine he did some genuine swearing. Said he, "I sat right there on that h--l fired ledge in 1853, when General Lane was treating with old Sam. Little did I know that a fortune was within my grasp." He inquired if there was a laurel tree standing at a given place he pointed to. The miners replied there was; then the General did some more cursing. The unkindest cut of all was the fact that Dan Fisher's name was not included with the locators. Uncle Tommy Chavner got away with about $30,000. He is the only man now who can show any money from what was, as long as it lasted, the richest quartz lead ever discovered on this coast.
OBSERVER.Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 5, 1885, page 1
L. D. Brown will, on the 10th inst., ship a five-stamp quartz mill from Portland to his ledge near Gold Hill. Let the noble work go on. Mr. Brown's enterprise is commendable.
"Local and Personal," Rogue River Courier, Grants Pass, September 3, 1886, page 3
MINING NEWS.Rogue River Courier, Grants Pass, May 27, 1887, page 2
On last Monday morning we boarded the southbound passenger train on our way to Gold Hill for the purpose of making a personal examination of the quartz mines of the Gold Hill Mining and Milling Company. Starting at 7 o'clock a.m., we were at the mines by half past nine. They are situated from a mile to a mile and a half south of Gold Hill, upon a good wagon road leading directly to them. They consist of three well-defined ledges, all of which have been sufficiently prospected by shafts and cuts to leave no doubt as to their extent and uniform paying qualities. The first ledge we approached was the North and South, which lies principally, as far as developed, in the grain field of Mr. John Swinden. Upon this ledge three main holes or shafts have been sunken and one drift 160 feet long has been run. In all the shafts the richest of rock was found in large quantities, the walling perfect and well defined. Before going further we will say that Mr. Charles W. Cornelius, one of the proprietors, met us at the depot and directed us over the property. From the North and South we went to the mill, which we found in full blast. Ten stamps weighing 900 lbs. each were whacking away, shaking the earth a hundred yards away, making a fearful noise--a fine place for the mute language, we thought.
The mills are situated about a half mile from the East and West ledge, upon which they are now working. Two four-horse teams haul 36 tons of ore a day to the mill, which is worked through in 24 hours, and which yields five dollars per ton, the milling expenses being about one dollar per ton, as wood is convenient and cheap.
Greatly to our surprise, we found the teamsters unloading what at first sight we called red dirt; and which we noticed was the so-called ore which was paying from $100 to $150 per day over and above running expenses. It flashed across our mind that no unexperienced person would call this gold-bearing ore. It is genuine carbonate ore--a conglomeration of decomposed quartz. At the mill, Mr. John Swinden, a venerable pioneer of 1851, joins us, and we all get aboard of one of the wagons and go to the mines.
We next visit the Dardanelles ledge which runs east and west, which was discovered by the blowing over of a tree which exposed the ledge to view, upon the dump of which we saw much red rock, the gold particles being plainly seen by the naked eye. This ledge is not an active operation. From here we go to the East and West, where there are mountains of the above-described carbonate ore which the men are digging from the earth in underground chambers, much the same as common dirt that is handled. The wall rock in all these mines is a lifeless-appearing rock, almost bordering upon a sandstone, but which is found with all good ledges. This mine is full of quartz seams and detached pieces of rich quartz which bears a large percent of galena. Here a crosscut tunnel has been run through the hill 150 feet in length, all of which is in the midst of the best of ore, with several side chambers of considerable extent diverging from the main tunnel showing the same body of ore. The East and West and the Dardanelles lie on a steep sidehill, about 400 feet above the valley, and extend from the bottom to the top of the hill, a distance of about a mile, giving out rich croppings and showing plenty of free gold wherever prospected. In fact, the whole mountain seems to be a rich body of ore.
In conclusion, we would say, we saw a 19-hour run on unselected ore cleaned up which yielded $160. The bullion contains about $15 per ton in silver. It is not found necessary to use the rock-breaker nor the concentrator upon the ores being milled. Situated as this mine is in a climate so mild that it can be worked all the year, in the midst of an abundance of wood, and in the heart of a fine agricultural valley, there can be no doubting its immense value. Nor is this all: the Rogue River, which flows through Gold Hill, affords a magnificent water power, which if utilized would render the expense of milling these ores still less. Our readers will hear more from this camp in the future.
Another Pioneer Gone.
A Boise City (Idaho) dispatch of the 14th days: "All old-time miners will remember George H. Ish, who died here today, aged 78 years. He came to California from Virginia in 1849, and along in the fifties removed to Jacksonville, Or., near where in 1860 he discovered what was known as the great Ish lead. He found a big deposit of gold-bearing quartz and after taking out thousands of dollars worth of precious metal formed a stock company for the purpose of working the mine. The company put up a fine quartz mill, Ish spending all he had. The company never realized enough to pay for the mill, for the lead was not a mine at all, but merely a pocket. Ish was disappointed, and he left Oregon for Idaho. He went into the butchering business, then started a dairy and died quite wealthy."
There is one discrepancy in the above statement, where it refers to the quartz discovery on Gold Hill. Jimmy Hay [James Willis Hay], and not Mr. Ish, found that immensely rich pocket, although Mr. Ish was one of the number who afterward became owners of it.
Democratic Times, January 22, 1892, page 3
HISTORY OF THE FIRST QUARTZ MILL IN OREGON.The mining industries in Southern Oregon have taken on new life lately. Yesterday's Oregon Mining Journal, from Grants Pass, is full of news of that section as well as of the mining history of the country. It says:
"Jackson County had the honor of receiving the first quartz mill introduced into Oregon. The Gold Hill mine had just been discovered, and the owners were working in an arrastra quartz worth a dollar a pound. The old machine, with its cumbersome drags, lazy mules, etc., became repulsive to its owners, although they were dividing 1000 ounces of gold a week. So, in 1860, they let a milling contract to Henry Klippel, one of the firm, who went to San Francisco and purchased a 12-stamp mill, of the style then used. It had low, iron mortars, with wooden housings and six stamps working in each mortar. It was shipped by sea to Scottsburg, on the Umpqua, and hauled thence by team to Jacksonville, the steam engine and boiler accompanying. The freight bill alone was $2500, and the total cost of the mill when erected was $12,000. Its first performance was the reduction of 100 tons of refuse quartz from the vein, which had been thrown aside as too poor for the arrastra process. It yielded $100 per ton. The next run was on ordinary quartz from the mine, and much to the surprise of all it yielded only $3 a ton, owing, as was supposed, to defective amalgamation. Another run yielded only $2.40 per ton, and operations ceased. Later, the mill and engine passed into the hands of Jewett Brothers, who placed them on their mine, near Grants Pass, where they did good service for quite a while. Later still, they were converted into a sawmill. When last heard from the engine was in use at Parker's sawmill, on Big Butte Creek, in Jackson County. It should be preserved as a relic."
Oregonian, Portland, November 24, 1895, page 9
Dr. E. O. Smith, the well-known mining expert, has just returned from the Gold Hill mining district, where he has been looking over the country and sampling for Eastern parties for the past six weeks. These parties have in view the purchase of quartz properties, the erection of custom mills, sampling works and a smelter for handling concentrates at or near Gold Hill.
Heretofore, nearly all workings in this section have been shallow in search of pockets; but on the properties he has been examining the workings have one deep enough to get through the later formations into the old formation of granite and slate, in contact with veins which give every evidence of permanency, and produce rich ore in carload lots, which have already been sent to San Francisco for treatment and which have yielded on an average of $60 per ton.
He has seen 500 tons of ore on the dump from a ledge having a breast of from 10 to 15 feet, which will yield $10 to $15 per ton. Dr. Smith says that capital is on hand to complete the great Highline Ditch, which will supply water for thousands and thousands of acres of fine agricultural land. This ditch, which will be 93 miles long, will carry 20,000 inches of water, and will cost $750,000; will also be utilized for bringing lumber from a splendid timber country about its head to Gold Hill, and will supply water for placer mines which will make Southern Oregon one of the greatest mining regions on the coast.
In this region hundreds of thousands of dollars have been taken out by the old system of shallow mining, and now that it is proven that it is only necessary to go deeper to secure permanent veins and rich ores, the future of this mining region is assured. Mr. Smith makes a very favorable comparison between mining in such faraway and inhospitable regions as Cape Nome, where work can be prosecuted only about three months in the year, and a country like Southern Oregon, where a buggy can be driven to any claim any month of the year, and where mining can be carried on the year round in comfort and safety.
Valley Record, Ashland, December 14, 1899, page 3
Longest Mining Ditch.Contracts will soon be let for the longest mining ditch in the world. It will be 93 miles long, beginning above Rogue River Falls and terminating at Gold Hill, Southern Oregon. It will drain 100,000 acres of good placer land, and will cost $700,000, a considerable portion of which amount is subscribed by Portland capitalists.
M. P. Warde, of the ditch company, says the preliminary surveys have been finished and the right of way secured. For four months past 18 surveyors, in charge of J. S. Howard, the well-known government engineer, have been running the necessary lines. Estimates are now being made for letting contracts for digging the ditch, and in the meantime men are kept at work clearing the right of way, in order to conform with the law.
The territory which the ditch will drain is recognized as the richest placer district in Southern Oregon, the mines of which heretofore could only be worked during the wet season. The company proposes to furnish electric and water power to quartz mines.
Valley Record, Ashland, January 25, 1900, page 1
Gold Hill Mining News.Gold Hill, Or., Sept. 1.--For nearly half a century Gold Hill has been recognized as a mining camp of great promise, if its ledges were properly developed. From time to time a considerable amount of gold has been taken out, all by surface mining, with one exception. That was in , when $750,000 was taken out of the hill back of the present city of Gold Hill, and it was that which gave the place its name. Placer mining has been the principal mining of Southern Oregon for the past 40 years, but in the past two or three years much attention has been given to prospecting and developing quartz mines. Within a radius of five miles of Gold Hill there are nine quartz mines which are being successfully worked. They have from 500 to 2000 feet of development work, showing veins from 3 to 10 feet in width, the quartz assaying from $10 a ton to $30 a pound. The Kubli Bros.' mine on Galls Creek is the oldest, and has much the greatest amount of development work. Several thousand dollars are taken from it yearly, while the different veins are increasing in width and richness. It is said that the owners have repeatedly refused $100,000 for their property. They run a five-stamp mill.
The next quartz mine in value is the newly discovered ledge of Mr. Nye. After running a tunnel about 75 feet he struck a vein so rich that $1600 was mortared out. Since then several thousand dollars have been milled, and an expert told the writer that at least $50,000 in quartz was in sight. Then comes the Fort Lane, which has been a dividend-payer for some years, and the Braden mine, owned and worked quite extensively by Ray. The Braden has been a paying mine longer than any other of the group except, perhaps, the Kubli Bros. Then comes the Lucky Bart, owned by Joseph Beeman, which has given the owner a good revenue and promises large things in the future.
The Ruth group of five claims, owned by the Oregon Development Company, has 12 distinct veins. The ore at 50 feet deep assays $27 on a five-foot ledge. There are the Ross mine, the Bowden, the Victoria, all paying something above working expenses, with the promise of developing into very large dividend-paying properties.
Valley Record, Ashland, September 6, 1900, page 1
The First One Erected in Oregon.
On Gold Hill, Jackson Co.
Built by Klippel, McLaughlin and Williams--Not a Paying Investment.
The story of the first quartz mill erected in Southern Oregon is recalled by the passing away of the pioneer miner, Henry Klippel, who is fully entitled to the name of the father of quartz mining in Oregon, through his connection with the industry at Gold Hill lode in 1860. It was in January of 1860 that a pioneer named Graham, who was better known by the sobriquet "Emigrant," located what proved to be the astonishingly rich pocket ledge of Gold Hill. Not being able to locate [i.e., claim] the whole ledge himself, the "Emigrant" took in the proposition with him John Long, George Fish, Thomas Chavner and Jas. Hays, who each staked claims. They found an abundance of flat rock on the surface of the ground which was rich in free gold, and the news of their strike spread over Jackson County like wildfire on a western prairie.
Prospectors and miners flocked to the hill from all quarters of Southern Oregon and Northern California, and hundreds of claims were staked and marked out with no other boundary lines than ropes stretched along them. Among other locators was Henry Klippel, who picked up a piece of quartz rock on his claim weighing thirteen ounces that yielded five ounces in gold. The quartz was worked with mortars, and never before or since was money so plentiful in Jackson County as during those early days. The dull old town of Jacksonville at once assumed metropolitan airs, and was the headquarters for the miners of the whole section. Hotels, restaurants and stores multiplied, and an era of great prosperity was inaugurated. A daily stage line was put on the route between Jacksonville and the new mines and the buses were crowded with prospectors and sightseers bound for the Eldorado, Gold Hill. The gold fever seized on the whole country; farms were abandoned for the mines, and as long as the extraordinary output continued there was prosperity galore for everyone.
After taking out a large amount of the precious metal from their claims, a disagreement arose among the original locators, and Graham sold his interest to Henry Klippel and John Ross for $5000, while James Hays disposed of his for a like amount to Klippel, John McLaughlin and Charles Williams. The new owners immediately began to develop the claims with vigor. Two arrastras were erected to reduce the rich rock, and were operated with mules as motive power. At the weekly cleanups for some time 100 ounces of gold was the rule. Such was the accumulation of ore that the arrastras were not equal to the work, so Mr. Klippel resolved on putting up a 20-stamp quartz mill, to be run with steam power, at a cost of $12,000. In company with McLaughlin and Williams, a quartz mill was purchased in San Francisco, and a contract entered into the mining company to reduce their ore at $8 per ton. The mill arrived in the spring of 1860, having come by water to Coos Bay and then by road, via Scottsburg. Very much difficulty was experienced in hauling the heavy freight over the rough roads. The freight bill alone is said to have been $2600.
After a short time the mill was successfully erected and the machinery installed. Dardanelles was selected as a site for the pioneer mill, and it began work on a run of 200 tons of refuse quartz that had been thrown aside as having been too poor to run through the arrastra.
The rock yielded $100 to the ton, and the prospects were rosy indeed. The next run, which was unassorted rock, however, was a great surprise to the owners, for it yielded only $3 per ton, and the paucity of the gold was attributed to defective amalgamation. But the mine was beginning to peter out, and another run of six weeks demonstrated that the location was a pocket ledge. Two dollars and forty cents per ton was a result of the last run, and during August both the mine and the mill closed down. Messrs. Klippel, McLaughlin and Williams lost about $11,000 on their venture with the pioneer quartz mill.
The property was afterwards leased to a party of Siskiyou County miners, who could not make a go of it, so abandoned it. Then the mill was moved to the Jewett mine, situated on the south side of Rogue River, owned by the Jewett Brothers and William Douthitt, of Jacksonville. At this mine the cleanup showed the rock to yield $40 per ton, and in all $40,000 was pounded out of the Jewett claim.
After this mine was exhausted the old quartz mill was successfully converted into a sawmill, and run as such for a long time. Afterwards it was dismantled and some years later the engine and boiler were moved to Parker's sawmill on Big Butte Creek, where good service was done by them for a number of years.--Ashland Tidings.
Crook County Journal, Prineville, December 12, 1901, page 1
JAMES HAYESThe sudden death in the dooryard of his home near Corvallis, Thursday morning, brings to mind his discovery of the famous Gold Hill mine in Jackson County. The event happened in April, 1859, and Mr Hayes' connection with it has been well known all over Oregon for many years. The discoverer was then a young man in his twenties, having arrived in Jackson County in the autumn of 1852, by ox team from Cook County, Illinois. The story as told by Mr. Hayes in an article, published in the Oregonian, January 7, 1901, is as follows:
THE STORY OF HOW HE DISCOVERED GOLD HILL. TOLD BY HIMSELF.
Happened While He Was Hunting a One-Eyed Mule--
Sold His Famous Claim for Only Four Thousand Dollars.
"In 1857, in company with Tom Chavner, I went to a place called Fort Yale, on Fraser River, in search of gold, but made a dismal failure of it. The following year we returned from Fraser River and I went to work for Chavner on his ranch, formerly known as the Hawkins place, a distance of a few miles from the present Gold Hill.
"A man named Wilson made Chavner's ranch his stopping place at times. Wilson had a mule which ran with some horses belonging to Chavner on the mountain range above Gold Hill. One morning Wilson, being anxious to catch his mule, asked me to go with him to hunt for the mule, to which I consented, and we started on the Wilson mule mission. It was a one-eyed mule, the impress of which remains with me to this date. We started to the mountains with me astride Chavner's cream-colored horse and Wilson following on horseback.
"In going down on the side of the mountain towards Rogue River, where it is very steep, my saddle cinch became loosened, precipitating me over the horse's head, and landing me in a heap. This afforded Wilson much enjoyment and he laughed my discomfort into me with a relish.
"When I went to recinch my saddle again, I discovered something shining on the ground, and stooping down, picked up a small piece of brownish rock, which proved to be quartz. This I showed to Wilson, and he said, 'There is no gold in that,' but I was far from being satisfied with the reply, and I put the quartz into my pocket for further examination. Wilson's mule was duly captured and we returned to the Chavner cabin. The following morning Wilson started for California, and I never saw him afterwards. This occurrence, to my best recollection, was in the latter part of April, 1859. A few days after the incident referred to, an old man by the name of Ish came to my cabin to stay all night. I showed him the rock I found while in company with Wilson. Ish examined my specimen and informed me there was gold in it. He remained overnight and went to Jacksonville the next day, and returned to my cabin about two weeks afterwards. I told him on his first visit that the next time he came to my place I would take him to the spot where I picked up the piece of quartz, and see what we could find there. Ish returned with an emigrant whose name I do not recall, and remained with me during the night. Early next morning the three of us started for the mountain where I had found the quartz. It was very foggy, making it disagreeable traveling, but about nine o'clock the fog cleared away, and the mountainside was beautiful and bright. By this time we had reached a point where I could locate my somersault experience with Wilson on Chavner's cream-colored horse. I pointed out the place to my friends and we proceeded to that point, the emigrant leading the way in our advance about 400 yards but bearing to the right of Gold Hill.
We were traveling on foot, and when I reached the point where I had been unhorsed, looking down I saw a rock similar to the one I had found before, and picked it up. This specimen seemed to be half gold. Ish was so excited over my find that he grabbed it out of my hand for inspection. While Ish was absorbed, doubtless figuring out how many drinks it would be good for, I noticed that the ground all around me was covered with like quartz, richly set with gold. I called to the emigrant and he came back on the run. By the time he reached me I had my hands full of quartz. The other parties took in the situation and proceeded to do likewise. This quartz led me on up the mountainside, which I could follow by the specimens, which strewed the ground for 200 yards. This hill is now and has been since that time known as Gold Hill.
"Being a young man, full of vigor, I led and the emigrant and Ish followed, until I reached a point where I could find no more quartz specimens on the ground. After wandering a few yards up to a point I came to a place where the ground was slightly raised in what seemed to be a rock formation of a steel gray color, covered with a mossy growth. I had gone with a pick that morning and I proceeded to apply it with much force on this rocky formation. It shaled off easily, and seemed to be literally saturated with gold that was inwrought in the quartz. By this time Ish and the emigrant were wild with excitement. The three of us went into ecstasy, the rock was so interlarded with a stringy leaflike gold as to hold it together. We were monarchs of the earth! We considered what was best to be done in order to hold our find. Ish said he would go to Jacksonville and do the necessary filing. But from my knowledge of Ish I thought he would get on a drunk and would return with all Jacksonville. The emigrant and I held a 'council of war,' and I explained to him Ish's fondness for whiskey, and it was decided that I was to accompany Ish to Jacksonville, and the emigrant was to hold down the gold plant until we returned. Ish and I got to Jacksonville in due time, and had the clerk of the court, a Mr. Hoffman, prepare the necessary filing papers to hold the same. As the emigrant and I had concluded, Ish did get drunk in Jacksonville, and could not return that night. I therefore struck out alone for Gold Hill, and found my emigrant friend as I had left him. I took a grubstake from my cabin, on my return, to the emigrant, and there we tented. By daylight the following morning there were at least 150 men on the ground, showing conclusively what a great advertising medium bad whiskey is, Ish having given the whole thing away. Each day and night brought numbers of miners of all conditions to our plant, who were so thick around us that we could do nothing to investigate the extent of the discovery for about a week. Within three days from the time of my discovery, Gold Hill was swarming with people. Among others was one Bill Ballard, to whom I gave a small piece of quartz, from which he realized $120 in gold. A ragged Irishman struck me for a small piece of quartz to show to his partner. It was simply a loan. Two days afterwards he came back dressed like a prince from head to foot; he wore a $50 suit. He said: 'Be jabbers, Jimmie, look at me now! And thin say if it ain't rich quartz?'
"Within ten days we had dug a small hole in the mine to a depth of four feet, when we struck a white quartz, sparkling with gold, the quartz above this being a steel gray or rocky color.
"Having no knowledge of mining, I did not realize the value of my find. Under the arrangements with Ish and the emigrant, they were to be my full partners. Had I been older in the ways of the world, I would have resolved myself into a gold trust, and run it alone. But being a mere boy, I did just what any other boy would have done under the same circumstances.
"The emigrant and I lay there several nights on the mountain, spreading our blankets over the rich quartz we had gathered, and sleeping on the same as if on downy feathers. The miners would steal our quartz from under our heads, and work all manner of schemes on us to get hold of the quartz, and that would be the last of it. Ish, supposing he owned the earth, went to Jacksonville to celebrate, and got on a big spree. Ish's credit for whiskey had risen from zero to 100 cents on the dollar. The emigrant and I, of course, held down our possession, being on duty day and night, while Ish performed the kingly part. I have been averse to copartnerships ever since. There is no exaggeration in the statement that thousands of dollars were picked up from our pile of quartz by the rush of people. Ish, our partner, gave two gamblers, known as Jack Long and Miller, an interest in the mine. He even assumed to act as our general guardian, and dispensed his blessing to all comers. I, too, became generous, and gave Tom Chavner, my old friend, an interest in the mine. The emigrant kept his interest for some time, and finally sold one-third of his interest for $5,000. Being ignorant, I was easily imposed on, and sold my interests to Charles Williams & Co. for the small sum of $4,000. The parties to whom I sold then buncoed me into an arbitration, claiming by virtue of the purchase of my interest of the mine that they were entitled to the gold quartz that I had deposited in Maury & Davis' store, in Jacksonville. They said there was nothing little about them--that we would fix it like true men and arbitrate, that I could select a man, and they would select one, and if those two could not agree, they could select the third man, who would decide it. They had, however, taken the precaution to fix it up with the third man. And so I lost my $3,000 on deposit.
B. F. Dowell advised me to have nothing to do with this arbitration, but the wiles of the robbers made me think that arbitration was proper, and so I lost.
Such are some of the vicissitudes of gold hunting. My discovery was a gold pocket, so called, by miners, which added to the gold of the world upward of $300,000. Briefly, this is the history of the discovery of Gold Hill.
Corvallis Times, January 10, 1903, page 4
THE DISCOVERY OF GOLD HILL.
An Interesting Account of the Finding of this Famous Ledge
from an Interview with the Survivor of the Five Original Locators.
The Mail has been favored with the following account of the discovery of the rich pocket on Gold Hill by John X. Miller, of Trail, who is now the only survivor of the men who located and worked the ledge.
"I have read so many different stories about this matter, most of them wide of the truth," said Mr. Miller, "that I would like for once to place a correct account of the transaction before the world. In my travels over the country, on numerous occasions I have had men tell me the story of Gold Hill in such a way that I, one of the principal actors in the matter, would never have recognized these stories as an account of an incident in which I was personally interested if the narrators hadn't said it was Gold Hill they were talking about.
"But to come down to the story. It was on the 8th of January, 1860, that a man, whose name I never learned (fact is it wasn't considered etiquette to inquire too closely into another's affairs in those days) and Jas. Hayes were hunting horses on the hill where the ledge was afterward found. This unknown man had dismounted and had picked up a piece of float quartz. Just then his horse broke loose from him, and the two followed the animal for some time before they could catch him. The stranger slipped the rock into his pocket and came on to Jacksonville. Arriving there, he discovered that the sheriff was after him for horse stealing. Having been in the habit of irregular dealings in horseflesh, he skipped for Yreka, Calif. At Yreka he met George Ish, and having been befriended by him, showed him the rock and told him where he had found it.
"At that time Jackson Long and I were running a saloon at the then flourishing camp of Willow Springs. One day who should come down the road but George Ish. As soon as I saw him I knew something was up, whether a season of conviviality or a business proposition of some kind, I didn't know. As soon as he could get me alone he showed me this piece of rock and told me how he had acquired it. It was literally full of gold. We then laid plans for finding the ledge. It was resolved that he and I should commence work on the following morning. In the morning, however, it was concluded to let my partner go while I attended to the business. Ish and Long searched all that day, but found nothing. The next day Long and I had to go to Jacksonville. There was an English emigrant there, whom I had been feeding for several weeks, and I gave him $3 to help Ish look for the ledge that day. They sought all over the hill but could not find the mine. At that time Hayes was plowing for Thos. Chavner in a field at the foot of the hill. They went down to him and asked him if he could show them the place where the horse thief's horse got away from him. He said he could, but didn't want to leave his work. Finally Ish gave him $3 to go with them; he consented, and soon located the spot. Ish stood at the place and looked around a few minutes, then pointing up a hill a short distance, said: 'There, boys, is the ledge.' And there it was, sticking up out of the ground and fairly glittering with gold. In staking out the claims Hayes claimed the right to include his friends, when Ish named me as one of the locators, so he was allowed that privilege, and named his employer, Thos. Chavner. Ish needn't have allowed this, as Hayes was working under salary, but he thought there would be enough for all. The claims were then located in the names of Ish, myself and my partner, Long, the emigrant, Hayes and Chavner, each with a fifth interest, myself and partner being classed as one. These were the original locators of the Gold Hill mine.
"Before we had done any work at all, the emigrant sold his share to Henry Klippel and others for $6000, and Hayes sold his share to another company for $500.
"We took out of that hole, from a space about two feet wide and twenty feet long, in the neighborhood of $100,000, working the work with an arrastra. It was the richest rock I ever saw. It wasn't rock with a few streaks of gold in it, as most quartz is, but it was rather gold with a few streaks of rock in it. Besides the amount we took out, I believe we had stolen from us and picked up by outside parties as much more. All this amount really belonged to the ledge, so that it is safe to say that the Gold Hill pocket yielded at least $200,000. The people used to fairly swarm on the hill, and would even come right into the workings and pick up specimens, and as those specimens were all exceedingly rich, a man could pack off a considerable sum in his pockets. One day I was there alone and they got so thick that I had to establish a deadline and guard it with a shot gun.
"Finally the ledge pinched out. We expended a lot more money and went down about 75 feet, but all the gold was within 15 or 16 feet of the surface. Klippel and others brought a quartz mill from San Francisco at great expense, but they never realized anything, and at last the mine was practically abandoned. I have never sold my interest, neither did Chavner or Ish. The above is the correct story of the discovery of the mine. I know it, because I was right there all the time."
Medford Mail, March 27, 1903, page 2
IN EARLIER DAYS"Did you ever hear how Gold Hill was discovered?" said Cy Mulkey. "Its discovery was as much an accident as the locating of the Steamboat mine.
By Fred Lockley
"Jerome Alexander made his living by gambling at cards. During a time when the cards were running badly he went broke. He had two good saddle horses upon which he secured the loan of a hundred dollars from another gambler named Cavanno [Thomas Chavner]. Both of these men were from Jacksonville. Cavanno started for Portland on a brief trip. During his absence Alexander decided to go out on the range, get his horses and pull out for California before Cavanno returned. Alexander went to George Ish, a rancher nearby and borrowed a saddle horse to go out and find his horses, which were running wild with a band of other horses on Gold Hill mountain range [Blackwell Hill]. Ish had no good saddle horses with the exception of a colt which was not well broken and which was very spirited. Alexander was a good horseman, so he borrowed the colt.
"After he had located his horses, Alexander had a lot of trouble trying to cut them out from the rest of the band. They would keep looking away and running back. When running the colt at top speed to head off his horses, the colt fell and threw him. Before he could get to his feet his riding horse had run off to join the others. When Alexander had picked himself up, he started off on foot to try to catch his horses. While scrambling over a little ledge to try to cut off his riding horse he noticed a ledge of quartz rock. It looked rich, though he was unfamiliar with gold in the form of quartz, only having seen gold dust. However, he put the piece of the rock in his pocket and continued the chase for his horse. The bridle reins, which were down, finally became entangled and he caught his riding horse, remounted it and drove his own two horses to Ish's ranch. Putting his saddle on one of his own horses, he got ready to go to Jacksonville.
Just at this time there was a good deal of excitement about the Hicks mine. It was a small but very rich vein. The quartz had been uncovered in a placer mine belonging to Mr. Hicks. As Alexander was leaving, something was said about the Hicks mine. Taking the piece of gold quartz from his pocket he gave it to George Ish, told him just where he had found it and said, for all he knew it might be gold quartz. Alexander pulled out for California with the two horses he had sold to Cavanno.
"A few days later George Ish took the ore to someone who was familiar with gold quartz and found it was a very rich specimen. Ish at once made up a party of five to go out and hunt for the ledge. They located it at once, for the gold-bearing rock cropped out over all the top of the mountain. They named it Gold Hill, which name it still bears. This was one of the richest mines ever discovered in Southern Oregon, and several million dollars were taken out of Gold Hill."
Oregon Journal, Portland, January 31, 1914, page 4
DESCRIPTION OF GOLD HILL AS A MINING DISTRICT(Arrangements have been made by the Bureau to publish information regarding the various mining districts in Southwestern Oregon, giving brief description of the more important mines and prospects. A different district will be covered each week.)
The rich pocket from which the town of Gold Hill takes its name was discovered in 1859, and it is recorded that $400,000 was taken out of this strike during the first year. During the seventies placer mining continued somewhat less actively, about half of the miners being Chinese. In 1884 placers on Galls Creek were notably successful, while gold-bearing gravels on Foots Creek were profitable throughout the decade. During the nineties the output of the placers decreased, but work continued on many creeks of the district. During the first decade of the twentieth century placer mining continued on Foots Creek, Galls Creek, Sams Creek and Pleasant Creek. On the whole the production of the placer mines has maintained for a long time, but is slowly decreasing.
Among the more important quartz mines are:
Sylvanite MineThe Sylvanite mine is located three miles northeast of Gold Hill and is owned by the Oregon-Pittsburg Mining. Company, of which L. H. Van Horne is superintendent. Over 3000 feet of workings, including tunnels, drifts, crosscuts, shafts, etc. Elevation 1360. Hanging wall slate; footwall limestone. Several thousand tons of ore are blocked out with average value of $9.65 in gold, 16 ounces silver, and about 7½ percent nickel. The property is equipped with a ten-stamp mill and accessories.
Gold Ridge MineThe Gold Ridge mine is located in the NE ¼ section 3, T. 37 S., R. 3 W., at an elevation of 2100 feet above sea level. The property is equipped with a two-stamp mill, plates 2½x8 feet, and 7-h.p. gas engine. The work of further development of the property is now being done. The average value of the ore is $10 in gold. The mill is in operation. Owned by the Gold Ridge Mining Company.
Millionaire MineThis mine is located in the SW ¼ of sec. 30, T. 36 S., R. 2 W., at an elevation of 1730 feet above sea level. It is opened up by two vertical shafts to a depth of several hundred feet with levels opened each way at each 100-foot depth. The property is equipped with two Nissen 1500-lb. stamps and two 10-foot amalgamating plates, rock crusher, and Standard concentrating table. Development work has been carried on for some time past and several thousand tons of ore with an average value of $15 have been blocked out. The property is owned by the Millionaire Mining Company, of which S. E. Heberling is superintendent.
Gray Eagle MineThe Gray Eagle is located in SE ¼ sec. 29, T. 35 S., R. 3 W., on the east side of Sardine Creek at an elevation of 1850 feet above sea level. The vein is opened up by three adits on the hillside, the main adit being nearly 400 feet in length with over 300 feet of that distance on the vein, which is chiefly quartz and varies from 9 to 12 feet in thickness. Beneath a fault which strikes north 60 degrees W. and dips 34 degrees NE., but produces but little offset, the vein is locally 35 feet wide. It is said to carry $22 in gold at this point where a winze has been sunk 85 feet deep and a raise extended to the surface. The property is equipped with aerial tramway from the main adit to a ten-stamp mill on Sardine Creek which has a 30-h.p. and 10-h.p. gas engines, two amalgamating plates each 4½x10 feet, rock crusher, and two concentrating tables.
The property is being developed by the Millionaire Mining Company in connection with the work at the Millionaire mine.
Chisholm Copper MineLocated in SE ¼ sec. 19, T. 34 S., R. 2 W. at an elevation of approximately 1700 feet above sea level. A crosscut entry is in about 200 feet. A total of approximately one mile of underground development work has been done, and several thousand tons of ore are blocked out. Owned by W. P. Chisholm.
Bowden MineOn southeast slope of Blackwell Hill near top of grade on Pacific Highway. Has a quartz vein shown by an adit opened by approximately 350 feet of tunnel, and a shaft 185 feet deep which yielded free gold at a depth of 100 feet. Vein from two to three feet wide where stopped. Values run in neighborhood of $62 according to the owner, Elmer Davis.
Blossom MineIn secs. 19 and 20, T. 35 S., R. 3 W., on the left fork of Sardine Creek at an elevation of 2400 feet. Approximately 500 feet of tunnel work done, with active development now being carried on. Vein varies from 15 to 20 feet in width, and it is said the average value is $20. Property in hands of Wilvan Mining Company, with L. R. Van Der Bogart as superintendent.
Corporal G MineLocated in see. 19, T. 3 S., R. 3 W., at elevation of 2600 feet. Discovered in 1904 by J. R. McKay. Operated under lease 1907 by J. E. K. Kirk. Property opened up by approximately 500 feet of tunnel work. Average value of the ore $7.00. Owned by W. P. Chisholm of Gold Hill.
Iron King MineLocated 1½ miles southwest of Gold Hill; 400 feet of development work; average assay on vein $7.95 per ton in gold. C. E. Barges and Tom Cook, Gold Hill, owners.
Western American MineThis property is located 2 miles north of Gold Hill; 200 feet of work done, all in ore. Average value $19.45 in gold. Tom Cook, C. E. Barges and E. Derwent, owners, Gold Hill.
Sunbeam MineLocated two miles east of Gold Hill; 150 feet of work done; gold values $2.80 per ton, copper 2½ percent. T. Cook and E. Derwent, owners.
Black Wolf MineLocated 3½ miles NE of Gold Hill. Not developed; prospected by open cuts and drifts. Nickel and tungsten values. Owned by Mrs. C. M. Crocker and Nicholas Addington.
Black Jack MineLocated 2½ miles north of Gold Hill; 150 feet of work; high-grade shipping ore; owned by Harris and Son.
Aurum Mine8 miles north of Gold Hill; 150 feet of prospecting work; owned by Grey, Norton, Myers and Derwent.
Golden Cross MineFive miles north of Gold Hill. Developed by 500 feet of tunnels and crosscuts. Said to carry gold, silver, nickel, copper, palladium and platinum.
Ida and Margaret MineSee. 24, T. 36 S., R. 3 W. 500 feet development work; owned by Tom Lawrence.
Wanda MineSec. 24. T. 36 S., R. 3 W. 300 feet work done; owned by J. H. Gribble.
May BelleSec. 24, T. 36 S., R. 3 W.; opened up by tunnel 276 feet long, owned by Guy D. Kenney.
Little Henery and Francis MineSec. 24, T. 36 S., R. 3 W.; opened by 550 feet of development work. Owned by B. F. Groves.
Gold Hill PocketThe famous Gold Hill pocket is near the top of the hill of that name in SW ¼ of NE ¼ sec. 14, T. 36 S., R. 3 W., at an elevation of 2000 feet, about 2 miles from the city of Gold Hill. The outcropping rock was so full of gold that it could scarcely be broken by sledging. The gold in the pocket went down only 15 feet and occurred in a fissure vein. It is said that this pocket produced at least $700,000.00.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 24, 1924, page 3
"My uncle, Captain James Blakely of Brownsville, lived to be 101 years old," said Mrs. Dan Richards when I visited her recently at her home in Gold Hill. His son, William Blakely of Pendleton, has just celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary, so he, too, is getting to be something of an old-timer. I went from Brownsville to Prineville in 1879. In 1882 we came back to Western Oregon, settling here in Gold Hill. My husband served as justice of the peace here for many years. Having lived here in Gold Hill for 40 years or more, I have heard from the older settlers about the lively times they had here in 1860 and 1861, when the big gold strike was made here."
Probably the largest pocket of gold ever found in Oregon was at Gold Hill. The lead found there was not a milling lead, but was what is termed a "pocket" lead. This one was like the pocket on the Fowler ledge at Applegate.
The first quartz prospecting done in Oregon was on the left fork of Jackson Creek, just above Farmer's Flat. Sonora Hicks and his brother found a pocket on this lead and took out around $2000 in a couple of hours. The owners of the adjoining claim, Maury, Davis and Taylor, bought the Hicks claim and put an arrastra to work crushing the ore, but did not realize much more than had already been taken out.
A small unnamed butte near Fort Lane, now known as Gold Hill, was the site of the next discovery. In January, 1860, a man known as "Emigrant" Graham discovered rich quartz on the side of Gold Hill. With George Ish, Jim Hayes, Tom Chavner and Jack Long he began to gather up the loose float on their claim. Henry Klippel picked up a small bit of float weighing but 13 ounces that was so rich it yielded over $100 in gold. Within a short time the whole hill was staked and men were working like moles or digger squirrels getting out the fabulously rich ore. Morgan Davis started a store and saloon near the new strike. Jim Hayes sold out his interest to Henry Klippel, John McLaughlin and Charley Williams for $5000. Graham sold his claim to Klippel and John E. Ross for $5000. They put in two arrastras, and from the claims they had purchased for $5000 each they took out over 1000 ounces of gold each week, which at $16 an ounce meant $16,000 in their weekly cleanup. Klippel, McLaughlin and Williams sent to San Francisco in the late spring of 1860 and purchased a 12-stamp steam quartz mill which was shipped by boat to Scottsburg and thence packed to Gold Hill. The bill for freight by water and packing was $2600. With this mill they worked over 100 tons of waste ore from the dump of the two arrastras, realizing over $10,000 therefrom.
The mill was located at "The Dardanelles," and the ore was hauled to the mill from Gold Hill. The refuse, or waste quartz, had yielded over $100 per ton, so it was supposed the pay ore would be rich; but it ran only $3 to the ton. For six weeks careful record was made, and the ore produced only $2.40 to the ton, so the mine and mill both suspended. Over $150,000 was taken from a small pocket 22 feet long, 10 feet high and three feet wide, but that ended it. It was thought it would become richer with depth, so a tunnel was started. Jacob Ish, who owned the land, started suit to contest the mineral rights. Ish had taken it up as a homestead when he found how rich it was, and after long and expensive litigation he lost his suit and the owners proceeded to develop the property, but never secured any more ore of value. Later the stamp mill was moved to Vannoy's Ferry, and still later was used to run a sawmill at Parker's, on Big Butte Creek.
"The man who really discovered the rich gold quartz on Gold Hill," said Mrs. Richards, "was Jim Hayes. He was herding horses for Tom Chavner. They bought Hayes out for around $5000 or, if the way they tell the story to me is correct, they practically froze him out. Hayes held out on them one gunnysack of ore that he had picked up at the grass roots. He buried it at the foot of a tree. Later he could not remember whether he buried it at the base of a madrone or a pine tree. He went back to the Willamette Valley and bought a ranch near McMinnville. Years later, when the mining excitement had died out, he came back to dig up his sack of specimen ore. He couldn't find it and concluded that someone had discovered it and taken it. He died not long after that. Some years ago a Canadian, Bob Ferguson, settled here and rented the old Marksberry place. A pine tree standing close to a madrone had blown down, so he went out to work it up into cordwood. As he started to cut near the ground he noticed the upturned roots had thrown up a lot of rock of a different kind. He got a pick and shovel and shoveled out a wheelbarrow load of gold quartz. Dr. Ray of Medford had bought the place. When he heard that Ferguson had found this long-buried sack of treasure he put in a claim for it, so Bob turned over $3000 worth of the gold quartz to Dr. Ray. My husband met Bob, who was on the way back to Canada, and said, 'Too bad you had to lose that rich ore you found. Three thousand dollars is a lot of money for a poor man to lose.' Ferguson said, 'Don't waste your sympathy on me. I am no longer a poor man. What I turned over to Ray is nothing to what I kept for myself.'"
Fred Lockley, "Impressions and Observations of the Journal Man," Oregon Journal, Portland, September 16, 1924, page 10
IMPRESSIONS AND OBSERVATIONS"My father, James Hayes, one of the discoverers and original owners of the rich quartz mines at Gold Hill, in Southern Oregon, was born in New York state shortly after his parents arrived from Ireland," said Mrs. Olive Bell when I interviewed her recently at Philomath. "My father and his stepfather could not live in the same house, so my father, who was in his teens, went to a neighbor who was planning to cross the plains to Oregon and this neighbor gave him the job of driving his stock. This was in the spring of 1852. Father had no money to buy a saddle horse, so he walked across the plains, driving the cattle.
OF THE JOURNAL MAN
By Fred Lockley
"When Father got to the Willamette Valley he worked for the next few years at whatever he could find to do, and in 1859 was working not far from The Dardanelles, at what is now known as Gold Hill. At Big Bar, near Gold Hill, there was a placer gold excitement in 1852. A good many miners tried their luck there, without much success. In January, 1860, while Father was hunting for stock near Fort Lane, which was not far from Table Rock, his saddle became loose, and he got off to tighten the cinch. He was riding a buckskin cayuse. He happened to see a fragment of hard, white quartz with a streak of yellow through it. He picked it up. It turned out to be very rich in gold. Father reported his find to the man he was working for and showed him the piece of quartz. Father, his employer and one or two other men located a claim on this hillside, which turned out to be very rich. Father sold his interest in the claim to Henry Klippel, John McLaughlin and Charles Williams for $5000 in cash.
"Father hadn't had much schooling, so he went to Jacksonville and invested part of his money in going to school. He loaned $2000 to a man in Jacksonville, taking a mortgage on a building. He was paid $50 a month interest on his loan. The loan wasn't repaid until the Civil War had been going on two or three years, and the man paid Father in greenbacks, which Father sold at 50 cents on the dollar, so he got only $1000 back for his $2000 loan.
"Father was married on October 20, 1861, to Caroline Hinkle, at the home of Michael Walker, on Bear Creek. The Rev. Ben Musick, a Presbyterian minister, married them. Father was 23 and Mother 16 years old when they were married. I was their first child, born at Jacksonville on August 10, 1862. When I was a year old we moved to a 640-acre farm two miles north of Independence. When I was 6 years old Father traded this place for a ranch 12 miles southwest of Corvallis. When I was 12 I attended Corvallis College, which was started in 1864 by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The Rev. W. A. Finley was the first president. The Rev. Joseph Emery was the next president. In 1871 the people of Corvallis bought 35 acres for the college, and its name was changed to Corvallis Oregon State Agricultural College. It is now known as Oregon State College.
"In 1872 an Episcopal church was started at Corvallis, known as the Church of the Good Samaritan. Bishop Benjamin Wistar Morris and the Rev. M. Babcock started the church. Mr. Babcock was the first minister. We had moved to Corvallis in 1869, and not long after the Episcopal church was started Mr. Babcock started a school, which I attended.
"I was married on May 14, 1882, at Corvallis, to Thomas Bell. He was born in Platte County, Missouri, on January 20, 1855. For 13 years we ran a grocery store at Corvallis. When Dr. Fara and William Grover owned the waterworks at Corvallis my husband was the engineer. Later, the waterworks was purchased by the city.
"We had two children. One of my boys, R. W. Bell, who is a mechanic, lives at Corvallis. My husband died five years ago. I am visiting here in Philomath. I still call Corvallis my home."
The original owners of the Gold Hill lode, near Fort Lane, were James Hayes, "Emigrant" Graham, Thomas Chavner, George Ish and John Long. Shortly after James Hayes had picked up and reported the discovery of the rich quartz float, veined with gold, there was a rush of miners from Jacksonville and elsewhere and Gold Hill was staked with claims. Much rich gold quartz was found on the surface. Morgan Davis started a trading post, and a restaurant and hotel was started. James Hayes was one of the first of the original owners to sell. Graham sold his interest to Henry Klippel and John E. Ross for $5000. A quartz mill was purchased at San Francisco by Klippel, McLaughlin and Williams. This mill was shipped to Scottsburg, whence it was brought inland to Gold Hill, the freight alone costing $2600. It was a 12-stamp mill. The various claim owners had discarded something over 100 tons of quartz as being too low grade to handle in an arrastra. This discarded quartz yielded $100 a ton when handled by the newly installed mill. The mill was located at The Dardanelles. Something over $150,000 was realized from the discovery of James Hayes and his partners in a pocket 22 feet long. Later, the mill was moved and converted into a sawmill.
Oregon Journal, Portland, July 3, 1935, page 6
A MIX OF SHREWDNESS AND NERVE
By the time Bill Hay was eighteen, he'd taken a crack at all the frontier had to offer; then, encouraged by living through it, Bill did it all over again!
By LEE DUFUR
When James Willis (Bill) Hay died in 1926, at the age of eighty-four, Ben Hur Lampman, poet laureate of Oregon, wrote his obituary. He titled the eulogy "Bill Hay Takes a Big Share of Oregon Past to Grave." In prose that reads like poetry Mr. Lampman paralleled the life of Bill Hay and Oregon Territory--for the man and the land had been young and wild together, and each had an effect on the other.
Bill Hay came to Oregon as an emigrant. He was acquainted with and later fought the ferocious Rogue Indians when he was fourteen years of age. He worked on the first wagon road over the almost impassable mountains from Crescent City, California to the inland valleys of Southern Oregon. Later he was blacksmith for the stagecoach lines, and rode with the stages from stop to stop to shoe the horses.
With a friend Bill discovered the Gold Hill Pocket, one of the richest gold mines in Southern Oregon. He later managed a warehouse for the Southern Pacific railroad when stagecoaches were no longer used. He farmed and mined intermittently, and in his last years he fished the Rogue River with a pole he had made from old stage whips.
Bill Hay showed a different personality to almost everyone. He was called taciturn by some, loquacious by others. One man has said that he was so crooked his "feet wouldn't track." Others have said Bill was so honest that he was careful to the point of boredom in trying to recall an incident exactly as it happened. At any rate, when Bill sat with his cronies in the saloon retelling the old stories and after he was too old to match friends drink for drink, he pretended to drink, letting his whiskey run into his beard and wringing it out into the spittoon.
Ben Hur Lampman knew Bill well and described him in those last years as "a silent man, for the most part, whose silences had the dual quality of friendship and raillery, and who made speech with a piercing glance of his singularly keen eyes. By way of comment, such a glance from Old Bill Hay was customarily final and left nothing to be said, whether the matter concerned local politics or an extraordinary rough contest with a big trout, or the windy reminiscence of some fellow ancient."
BILL HAY became a part of Oregon Territory in 1854, when he was twelve years old and almost five years before Oregon became a state. "He saw those interminable, dusty, splendid miles with the eyes of boyhood," Lampman said. What he didn't say was that Bill--then known as Willie--walked almost the whole of those "dusty splendid miles" all the way from Kentucky, a distance of nearly 2,000 miles, in five months. And a good part of that way he walked behind 5,000 sheep. The owner of the sheep also had 400 head of cattle which he was driving to California.
Bill's family had started west in a train of twenty wagons drawn by oxen. The sheep owner made arrangements with the train members to help him with his animals, for which aid he promised that he would lead them through good grazing land, and see that they had no trouble with Indians. The grownups in the wagon train voted to accept the deal. They had several youngsters who would make good herders.
Bill, being eleven, was old enough for herding but not for voting. So herd he did. When he was a bent old man, Bill Hay had no trouble recalling those panting, bleating, smelly sheep. In an interview in his seventies, he told about that journey west. "We didn't go by the regular emigrant road, though we often crossed it. For the most part we were five or ten miles to one side of the road, and while it was rougher traveling, there was good pasture and lots of wood and water." Bill did not remember this crossing as a trial or hardship, but one of excitement and high adventure--except for the sheep.
When the Hay family settled on their donation land claim in Southern Oregon, that area of the Territory was isolated from the rest of the world. In any direction to get in or out, one had to cross mountains of such ruggedness that proper road building was beyond the means of people living there. Staples had to be hauled from Oregon City that first year, a distance of near 300 miles over a road that a wagon could barely traverse. Other supplies were packed in by mule from Scottsburg, over 100 miles away.
Bill liked to tell of the resourcefulness of his father. In 1855 Bill accompanied him to Scottsburg to get provisions. When the ship came in from San Francisco, there was a general rush for the precious staples aboard. Bill's father was lucky and bought 100 pounds of potatoes at eight cents per pound. He then cut all the eyes from the potatoes, carefully stored the eyes on the mule's back, and went into the hotel and sold the potatoes--minus eyes--for what he had paid for them. Bill said they planted the eyes the next spring and had a fine crop of potatoes.
Bill's father was provident in many ways. Within ten days from the time he took his donation land claim, a snug log cabin with a stick-and-mud chimney was ready for occupancy. The family arrived in late autumn, and it was necessary to house the father and mother, one daughter of sixteen, twin sons eighteen, and young Bill, who had had his twelfth birthday on the trail. Oregon's winter rains were soon upon them, but a good sturdy roof was over their heads.
During the remainder of 1854 and most of 1855, Bill was kept busy with chopping down trees to enlarge the house and getting fences built for the cattle. He also heard spine-jarring stories of the atrocities of the Rogue River Indians of the area, and he became acquainted with some of the Indians who were willing to try to live in peace with the new settlers and miners.
Bill spent as much time as possible listening to Mike Bushey, a scout for the volunteer soldiers in the area. Considering his age, it does not seem possible that Bill did much fighting, but he did say in an interview in the 1920s, "I served as a scout in the Rogue River War in 1855-56. I served under Mike Bushey. He was one of the best scouts that ever followed an Indian trail. He was tall and strong and had long black hair. When he wanted to get information, he would let his hair down . . . put a blanket over his shoulders, put on his moccasins and walk through the camp. . . .
"After an attack Indians would scatter to the top of some butte. For miles around the Indians that had scattered like a covey of quail would begin signaling to one another. The way they did it was for an Indian to set fire to a handful of pine needles to make a smudge, and then stamp it out with his moccasin. We would see the puffs of smoke gather closer and closer till pretty soon the Indians had reassembled. I learned scouting from Bushey, and I was considered a good scout."
THE INDIANS became more and more troublesome during the fall of 1855, and there were many reprehensible acts on both sides. It was agreed among most of the settlers that the Rogues would have to be eradicated or put on reservations. By January 1856 almost all the homes in the area were either forted up or the occupants had moved into the homes of their neighbors who were forted up. Fear ran abroad in the valleys of Southern Oregon, and Bill Hay's family home became a fort. It was named Fort Hay. His father and one of his brothers are listed on the muster rolls of the volunteers of 1855 and 1856.
One incident is recorded in which Bill Hay did engage in a battle--or rout. One day in March 1856, Bill was coming home on the narrow trail from Long's Crossing. There were five men with him. One was the owner of the ferry at the crossing and some were volunteer soldiers. They were all riding to Fort Hay. Suddenly Bill announced that he "smelled Indians." Even as he spoke, Indians began to appear from behind every tree, shooting as they came. The survivors later reported that there were about 200 of them. Whatever the number, there were too many to fight, and the small party of white men made a sudden lunge forward--toward the fort and protection. Before they could get away, a volunteer's horse was shot from under him. Bill and Elias Wright turned back to help him. The report given by a man who was present states dramatically, "Willie Hay, only fourteen years of age, turned back with Wright and they both rode toward him, right into the blaze and smoke of the hostile guns."
Wright was shot to death, and his body [later] badly mutilated. Olney, the volunteer soldier, got away by running, kicking off his spurs as he ran, and by finally getting into a creek and lying under water, for many hours, with only his nose out to the air. Bill and three other men escaped, and with yelling Rogue Indians in full pursuit, they went for Fort Hay as fast as their horses could take them.
When Bill talked about the incident later it was in a matter-of-fact manner. "I just got out of there when I saw I couldn't help. When Olney's horse was shot, its blood squirted all over my horse and I thought I was shot. When I thought Olney was safe on Wright's horse I took off across country. I didn't need to whip my horse. He went over a log that was six feet high. He just climbed it and I hung on."
A guard of the volunteers was stationed at the fort. As soon as the fleeing men turned in at the gate of the little stockade, couriers were sent out for help to an encampment of soldiers on Eight Dollar Mountain. Five men were sent out to recover Wright's body--and as they then thought, that of Olney. One of the volunteers was killed. It was a very bad night along the trail to Fort Hay that night. Mule trains were waylaid, and at least one driver was killed. The Indians promptly dumped all the flour on the ground and drank the whiskey.
The long night finally ended and the Indians stole away, but it was remembered by the men of the vicinity that Bill Hay was never called "Willie" after that night. Afterwards Mike Bushey, who was then a captain int he volunteers, went up and down the creeks and rivers of Southern Oregon and all the way down the Rogue River to the coast, scouting for the white settlers. Perhaps Bill Hay was with him.
WHEN the Indian wars were over that spring, Bill's father again enlarged his home and opened a store to supply the miners. He had rooms for the convenience of mule trains coming through. Bill worked in his father's blacksmith shop and store and helped with the cattle on the ranch. In 1857 his twin brothers went to British Columbia , as there were reports of rich gold strikes on the Fraser River. Bill had to stay home to help his father farm.
There was still no adequate road system. Crescent City, California was just over the mountains, on the coast, but the grades were so steep that wagons could not get through. Surveys, authorized to try to find a suitable place for a wagon road, had all been unsuccessful; either the surveyors had become lost or they had been attacked by Indians. One group even scouted the wrong river.
There was a mule train route from the coast to Jacksonville, then the main town in Southern Oregon. Bill watched the pack trains carry all kinds of supplies--even pool tables and pianos were brought along, slung between mules. There were also mule passenger trains.
Crescent City citizens helped in trying to promote a wagon road to the interior. Such a road would increase the town's chances of becoming a major seaport.
Materials brought over the passes by mule train were very expensive at the end of the line. Butter which sold for 50¢ per pound in Crescent City cost $1.50 inland. Salt could be purchased in San Francisco, shipped to Crescent City and sold there for 15¢ per pound, but by the time it was packed into the valley where Bill Hay lived it cost from $2.00 to $3.00. Onions increased in price from 25¢ to $2.00 per pound over the fifty-five-mile trip, and tobacco went from 50¢ on the coast to $5.00 inland. Also, when the weather was bad and teamsters couldn't get enough mules through to bring all the supplies, whiskey and salt had priority and other staples were omitted.
Eventually, however, the wagon road was surveyed and during its construction Bill Hay was one of the workers. Sixty years later he talked about his part in this effort. "In 1858 they built a wagon road from Waldo to Crescent City. One hundred miles of grade and some deep cuts cost $100,000, which was an average of $1,000 a mile. . . . On one section of the road where I was working they struck a swamp in the redwood timber. The man in charge of the road building decided they would have to cut a road through the heavy redwood trees. If you have ever been in redwood timber you know that lots of these trees are six to twelve feet through.
"I said, 'If I were building this road I'd go right across the swamp instead of making a detour around it and having to cut those heavy redwood trees.' I was only sixteen years old, and the road supervisor laughed and said, 'You are pretty young for a road engineer, aren't you? How would you build this road?' I told him that on our place I had built a road across a swamp by putting heavy bark across it in the form of corduroy, and that you could drive a four-horse team over it.
"He had the men gather heavy redwood bark and pave the swamp with the bark. They laid it two layers deep, and for years it was the best piece of road between Waldo and Crescent City."
MINING was one of the main occupations of Southern Oregon from the time of its initial settlement. Thousands came into the country, moving from creek bed to creek bed looking for gold. Dozens of rough mining towns were located in the Rogue River Valley and along the Applegate and Illinois rivers. But from the time Bill Hay was a youngster he had more interest in animals, blacksmithing, business and farming than in mining. For a time he made his living by furnishing miners with supplies, services and advice; and he was well aware of their problems, their mining methods, and he even prospected some.
Bill Hay participated, if unwillingly, in the discovery of the Gold Hill Pocket. The story of the discovery is unusual. In the early part of January 1860, when Bill Hay was seventeen years old, he was working on a farm for a man named Thomas Chavner. This farm was in the area where the town of Gold Hill now stands. Bill had a friend whose name was purposely lost because at the time he was wanted by the law. They were riding along on Chavner's farm when the friend got off his horse to examine a piece of quartz. While he was so occupied, his horse ran away. He put the piece of quartz in his pocket.
The boys recovered the horse, and Bill went back to his plowing. When his friend reached Jacksonville that night he was arrested and thrown in jail. He gave the piece of quartz to George Ish to have it assayed. He also explained where had found it. As soon as Ish examined it he knew that here was a bonanza. Ish showed the quartz to Jack Long and John Miller, saloon owners at nearby Willow Springs. Subsequently, Long and Miller took turns keeping the saloon open and, with Ish, searching for the ledge of gold. Long and Miller knew an English emigrant, who also seems to not have a name. For $3 he agreed to help.
They went into the search area day after day, while a young man nearby continued to plow a field. No doubt he had the look of raillery in his eye that Mr. Lampman described so many years later. At last the disappointed seekers approached Bill at his plowing and asked if he had seen two men chasing a horse. He admitted that he was one of those men, but he couldn't leave his plowing. Another $3 got him to change hs mind, and he showed them the place where his friend had found the piece of quartz.
When Mr. Chavner had been notified and the claim staked out, Bill Hay claimed a share for himself and a share for his friend in jail. After it was finally settled there seemed to be seven partners. But Bill, not being interested in mining, or perhaps not having the capital to help develop the mine, sold his part to the other partners for $5,000.
The prospect of a new gold strike brought people from far and near. An interesting little letter was sent to the Daily Alta California newspaper and printed February 26, 1860. The writer dated his letter February 14 and mailed it from Jacksonville, signing it "On the Wing."
The letter contained this paragraph: "But the most simultaneous get-up-and-bundle-out-to-diggin's we ever saw was the rush to Gold Hill the other day. At midnight every stable in town was empty; everything that had wheels had a full freight. Saturday morning, January 14, Gold Hill looked like an overgrown camp meeting; horses were hitched to trees all around the glittering garden of gold. Like turkeys picking up corn did they pick up rocks loaded with gold. . . . Next Sunday, the census of the county could have been taken without much trouble, as everybody was at Gold Hill."
IT IS a safe bet that at least by the time this letter was in print, Bill Hay was over on the Applegate River with his $5,000 in his pocket, looking for a farm to buy.
He later sold that farm and moved to Rock Point. A stage line had begun running between Portland and Sacramento. It was highly advertised and was the first "almost sure" way to get through safely, and it stopped at Rock Point. In line with his following what was happening in Oregon, Bill built a blacksmith shop there and was soon offered the job of shoeing horses for the stage line. He leased his blacksmith shop and started out.
Lampman reported the interlude in this way: "At Rock Point the stages halted with a grinding of brakes and flourish of ribbons for such repairs as might be needed, for a nail in a shoe, a new fitting, and for the stretching of legs. There it was that Bill Hay became a blacksmith for the stage company, and the crony of the lean young valiants who drove. And there it was that he remained in a shower of sparks until the railroad went through and new chapter opened."
Bill told the same story in his less dramatic way. "I practically had to shoe the horses on the go--not while the horses were going, but I had to travel from Roseburg to the other side of the Siskiyous, making every stage station and shoeing the horses. . . . I worked for the stage company until , when the Southern Pacific railroad came through and put us out of business."
Again as Oregon moved into a new era of growth, so did Bill Hay. After the railroad replaced the stage, Bill moved to Central Point and ran a warehouse for the Southern Pacific as a sideline to his blacksmith shop. For ten years he shod horses and made tools for the rapidly increasing farms. He also sold agricultural implements, ran a livery stable, and a dance hall above it. Most of these endeavors were going on simultaneously.
Oregon was diversifying faster than Bill could, though. He said of this time, "I tried to get four hours sleep a day, but I didn't always make it!"
At last he sold all his interest except the franchise for selling agricultural implements. It is said that he went bankrupt, but he never mentioned this in later interviews. In the early 1900s he moved to Gold Hill, the town named for that famous Gold Hill Pocket. Here he started another blacksmith shop and worked for another ten years or more, leaving relatives to operate a ranch he owned nearby.
Then Bill retired to enjoy his fishing and meeting companions in the "Smoke House," a saloon belonging to his son. Bill Hay learned, long before the tourists did, that Oregon was a supreme place for retirement and that the Rogue River was particularly good for salmon and steelhead. A good description of his hobby is described in the final tribute Lampman paid him.
"Old Bill had a fly rod in which there was magic and he made the rod himself, for craftsmanship dwelt in those aged hands. This rod was contrived of sections of historic stage whips, once flourished by celebrated drivers. It was of hickory and very heavy. . . . It was ponderously pliable, if such a phrase may fit, and in the hands of Old Bill it could and did wing a gray hackle far and away over the Rogue, to such haunts as steelheads prefer.
"I do not recall that anybody ever saw him at his fishing or knew for a certainty which riffle was his. Yet presently Old Bill Hay would be coming up from the Rogue and at his shoulder would shine the silver flank of a fat fish or two, and in his eyes for all whom he met would be that light of raillery. He had opened the season. . . ..
"I have but to reflect for a moment, a mere matter of memory, to see Bill Hay coming from across the tracks, where he had a cottage near the river--a powerful, rather dark-visaged old fellow, with a blacksmith's stoop to his heavy shoulders, and a very human twinkle in his eye. He was bearded like a bard, or rather he was bearded as were those characters of the old mining camps, the old trails, who have residence now only in the pages of Bret Harte and in towns such as Gold Hill."
When Bill died he was buried in Hay's Cemetery where he had already buried some of his family, a cemetery which is a part of the last ranch he owned. This ranch has long since been split by a freeway and divided into many home sites along the river. The cemetery itself is on a hill overlooking the town of Gold Hill and in plain sight of the abandoned Gold Hill Pocket.
True West magazine, July-August 1975, pages 32-52
Last revised December 3, 2023