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below Forest Hill, has 1,000 feet front on the hillside and a tunnel 1,800 feet long. It has never been worked systematically, and has not paid.
The Big Springs claim, with 975 feet of frontage, is being opened, and meantime a 10-stamp cement mill built to work it is standing idle.
DARDANELLS.— The Dardanells Company have 1,000 feet front, commenced work in 1853, and have been at work ever since-at first drifting and now piping. They have taken out $2,000,000 from the blue gravel, which is soft there. They have worked out 400 feet along the front, have run tunnels 1,600 or 1,800 feet, and have drifted out much ground. They can hydraulic away about 300 feet along the face of their claim, but beyond that the hill is too deep to pay for piping. At one time the company employed 60 or 70 men, now they have only four or five, but these with pipes do more than twelve times the number did drifting. The company own a ditch which is 10 miles long, cost $15,000, and supplies 300 inches of water from the 1st December till the 1st of June.
Oro, GREEN SPRING AND UNCLE SAM.–The Oro, 1,000 feet, has yielded $35,000, but is now in litigation, is not doing anything of note, and never was worked with much system. There is a 20-stamp cement mill on it, now idle.
The Green Spring, 750 feet long, has a bed-rock tunnel reaching to the pay dirt, none of which bas yet been worked. The tunnel was commenced in 1854, by poor men, who worked a portion of their time in surface placers or as hired laborers to get the means for continuing work on this claim. It is probable that the front of the hill will be piped away so as to expose the cement, which can then be obtained, at little cost, for crushing.
The Uncle Sam Company have 100 feet and have done very little. Three men are engaged in tunnelling and washing.
HOPE AND ROCKLAND.— The Hope claim is 500 feet long on the hillside, has a tunnel 2,000 feet long in bed rock, has a 20-stamp mill, has yielded $20,000, and has cost $100,000. The mine is now being opened with the expectation of crushing. The mill was kept running six weeks and paid well.
The Rockland, Baltimore and Boston claim is 2,600 feet long; has a tunnel 2,300 feet long; has cost $100,000, and has yielded no return as yet. The tunnel was commenced in 1854, and it has not yet reached the channel.
FAST AND NORTWOOD.—The Fast and Nortwood claim, 400 feet long, has been worked through the Baltimore tunnel, and has yielded $250,000. The company run their dirt in drifts on four different levels, and must load it four different times before they get it to the surface. The claim, in consequence of this mode of working, has not been profitable for several years, but the cement is rich, paying $5 to the carload, or about $7 50 per ton, and there is a large quantity of it. There is a 10-stamp mill to crush the cement.
SNYDER.-The Snyder claim, 200 feet long, has yielded $250,000. This was the pioneer claim of the district, the blue lead having been discovered here in December, 1852, by Mr. Snyder, on a hillside where å slide occurred, exposing the rich gravel to view. A little basin 40 feet in diameter at the slide yielded $40,000. When work was stopped, three years ago, there was a tunnel 1,800 feet long, but as the rock swells very rapidly it is now entirely closed up. There was a stretch of 400 feet in the tunnel where the rock swelled so rapidly that as much rock as would fill the tunnel had to be taken out in each period of eight months. The entire yield was obtained from the red gravel, and that was worked without system.
INDEPENDENCE.-The Independence, now united with the adjoining New Jersey claim, had a tunnel 3,500 feet long, and produced $450,000 before the consolidation. It was worked without system. One spot about 20 feet square yielded $10,000.
NEW JERSEY.— The New Jersey claim is 650 feet front by 4,000 feet deep, under the lower part of the town of Forest Hill. Work was commenced in August, 1853, on the tunnel, and six years and a half of hard work passed with an expenditure of $60,000 before any return was obtained. When the tunnel was in 1,800 feet, an incline was run upwards to the red gravel, which was found to be rich, and the $850,000 were taken from an area 500 feet long by 400 feet wide. The extraction of gravel was continued till April, 1867, when drifts were commenced to open new ground. The tunnel was started in 1853, with the confident expectation of reaching pay in a year; but as the work advanced more slowly and cost far more, the company had to run in debt, and when they reached the pay their debts amounted to $30,000 or more, and some of them had been outstanding for more than four years. The creditors numbered 8 or 10, mostly merchants, who knew nothing of the New Jersey Company save that they appeared to be hard-working, sober, honest men, and were trying to develop a claim supposed to be valuable. There was no long personal acquaintance and no security. The debts bore three per cent. interest per month. The most dangerous period for the company was after they began to wash. A dishonest creditor might then, perhaps, have taken the claim, or at least have caused much expense by an attachment suit; so the fact of the finding of good pay was kept as secret as possible until the $30,000 had been taken out, and then all were paid off at once. This system of giving credits was general in the mines 15 years ago, when the profits charged were very high, when large interest was allowed, when many extensive enterprises were undertaken, and when a large number of these enterprises met with magnificent success, of which the New Jersey claim is a bright example.
Seven channels have been found in this claim running with the slates about northwest and southeast, all parallel to one another, about 25 feet apart, 60 feet wide, with ridges of rock seven feet high between them. The dip from each side of the divide seems to be towards the middle of the hill. There is no water for washing from the middle of July till the middle of November, and meantime the dirt extracted is thrown into a pit large enough to hold 8,000 tons, where water is thrown on it occasionally so as to soften the cement and also to attach the mass together and prevent it from sliding down hill when the rains come. In busy times the New Jersey Company employs 60 or 70 men, the annual expenses are $60,000 or $70,000, and the profit one-half of the yield.
The dirt is hauled out in cars four feet and nine inches long, 28 inches wide, and 15 inches deep. The weight of an ordinary car-load is 1,600 pounds. A steady stream of water runs out from the tunnel and is caught in wooden reservoirs, 20 feet square and eight feet deep, to be used for washing. The sluice is half a mile long, and the grade is in one part 18 inches and in another 23 inches to 12 feet. The steepness of the cañon renders it necessary to have a steep sluice. Slat riffles made of five strips of board an inch thick, two inches wide and six feet long, with strips of the same thickness set between at the ends and the middle and bolted through, are used. The top of each strip is shod with a strip of iron an inch and a half wide and a quarter of an inch thick, screwed on and countersunk.
JENNY LIND.-The Jenny Lind, 450 feet on the hillside, had a tunnel 2,800 feet long, which is now probably closed up, at least in places, since no work has been done for three years. The yield, almost exclusively from the red gravel, was $1,100,000, and there is a large amount of ground still unworked. In this claim were found many rich quartz boulders. The yield of $1,100,000 was obtained by the company from the first washing, leaving to others who rewashed the dirt a very large sum in addition.
GORE, MAINE, AND ROUGH.—The Gore claim, 100 feet wide in front on the hillside and twice as wide further back, took out $250,000 from a tunnel 1,200 feet long. No work has been done for four or five years. Rich quartz boulders were found in this claim also.
The Maine claim, 200 feet front, had a tunnel 1,200 feet long, and took ont $250,000. No work has been done for four years.
The Rough and Ready has 1,200 feet front, had a tunnel 1,200 feet long, took out $250,000, and has done no work for three years.
DEIDESHEIMER AND OTHERS.—The Deidesheimer has 400 feet front, had a tunnel 1,800 feet long, took out $650,000, obtained much from quartz boulders, and has done nothing for three years.
The India Rubber has 250 feet front, had a tunnel 1,200 feet long, produced $50,000, and has done no work for three years.
The Alabama has a frontage of 300 feet, had a tunnel 1,200 feet long, took $150,000, and has done nothing in the last three years.
The Eagle has 200 feet front, had a tunnel 800 feet long, expended $40,000 or $50,000, and took out $15,000.
The Moss has 900 feet front and a tunnel 1,000 feet long, but found no gravel, though it is generally supposed that there is rich gravel in the claim. Quartz was found in the tunnel, and a 10-stamp mill was erected to work it; but it did not pay. This is the last claim to the eastward in the Forest Hill district.
An unrepealed provision in the miners' regulations of the district requires one day's work every month from December till June to hold the claims, but so much work has been done that nobody seems to think of forfeiture under the letter of the regulations. MICHIGAN BLUFF.— Michigan Bluff
, seven miles from Forest Hill, on the same divide, and 29 miles from Auburn, saw its best days between 1853 and 1858, when it shipped $100,000 per month; and now it does not ship more than $25,000. The claims were worked first by drifting and then by the hydraulic process, and for a time this was one of the principal hydraulic camps in the State.
The pay stratum is remarkable on account of containing ninety-five per cent. of quartz boulders, pebbles, and sand, and not more than five per cent. of clay. Some of the boulders weigh twenty tons, and half the weight of the boulders is in those that weigh over a quarter of a ton each. This quartz is very white, and immense piles of the boulders-probably hundreds of thousands of tonsare piled over the many acres that have been washed off. The deepest claim is 80 feet deep, and probably all the ground washed off averaged 40 feet, of which at least five feet were in boulders that are larger than a man's head, and that now lie on the ground.
The only claim now at work on a large scale at Michigan Bluff is the North American, and there is little expectation of extensive work in any other claim for some years. There are places that would pay if water could be obtained conveniently, and there is much ground known to be rich, but it would not pay at present.
The price of water in 1859 was 37} cents per inch, and it was reduced successively to 30, 25, and 20 cents; in 1865, to 174, and in 1866, to 15 cents per inch.
The original size of the claims was 100 feet square to the man.
TAIL SLUICES.—There are four tail sluices, making a quarter of a mile altogether, in Stickness's Gulch, below Michigan Bluff. The sluice is four feet wide, three deep, with vertical sides, and a grade of 14 inches to the sluicebox. Part is paved with wooden blocks and part with boulders. From 1860 to 1863 the tail sluice paid very well, as four or five companies tailed into it, but now there is only one.
NORTH AMERICAN.— The North American claim, as originally located, was 600 feet long and 400 feet wide; but much additional ground has been purchased, and half of the original area is worked out. Sluicing and drifting were commenced in 1854 in front, where the claim was shallow; and in 1858, when deeper gravel had been reached, piping began. In 1866 a bed-rock tunnel 1,400 feet long—in one place 150 feet under the surface of the rim rock-constructed at a cost of $10,000, was first used for washing. The grade is 13 inches to 12 feet, but eight inches is considered preferable. The sluice in the tunnel is two feet wide at the bottom, 32 inches wide at the top, and two feet deep.
The flaring are better than vertical sides for the passage of large boulders two or three feet through, though anything over 150 pounds injures the sluice. Nearly all the gold is caught within 200 feet at the head of the sluice, where the bottom is covered with slat frames six feet long and one foot wide, with four frames to one sluice-box. The slats are boards an inch thick, “shod" with iron straps three-quarters of an inch thick and an inch and a half wide. All the sluice-boxes below the first 200 feet are paved with fir blocks eight inches thick. The first hundred feet of the sluice are cleaned up every evening, and the second hundred twice a week. This cleaning up keeps the riffles in good order, and requires half or three-quarters of an hour. There are 2,300 feet of 11-inch pipe and 150 of 7-inch pipe in use in the claim. The total yield has been $300,000.
NITRO-GLYCERINE.— The number of men now employed is 15; last year it it was 28. One of the chief difficulties in this claim is the removal of the of the stratum of pipe-clay which rests on the pay gravel and must be carried off in the sluice. It is too hard to be piped away, so it must be blasted into small pieces. Previous to this year powder was used, but now Mr. Swenson, one of the partners of this claim, and the pioneer manufacturer of nitro-glycerine in California, supplies that fluid, which is so much better than gunpowder that 15 men do more in 1867 than 28 did in 1866. The nitro-glycerine shatters the pipe-clay into a multitude of little pieces, whereas powder broke it into a few large ones; so, after a powder blast, the miners had to reduce the large lumps with gads, for which there is now little use. It costs about $2 per pound, and is preferred by the miners after they once become accustomed to it. No accident has happened with it on this claim, although sometimes two or three dozen blasts are set off in a day. The smoke from it disappears sooner than that from powder, but it is more injurious.
About 400 inches of water are used in the North American claim for four or five days in the week.
BATH DISTRICT.—The following claims are in the Bath district, adjoining the Forest Hill district :
In the San Francisco claim no work has been done for a long time.
The Rip claim, 450 feet front, has a tunnel 450 feet long in the bed rock. From this tunnel,a shaft has been raised to the Paragon sheet, which was worked from 1852 to 1858. The company are preparing to pipe away the front of the claim, and they intend to erect a mill next year. Work is continued meantime on the tunnel.
The Golden Gate Company have 180 feet front, and own half of a joint tunnel, 400 feet long, on the boundary line of the Rough Gold Company. They are are now working the blue gravel, and getting $5 per ton from it, but they intend to work the Paragon sheet. They have a five-stamp mill, driven by a hurdygurdy wheel.
The Rough Gold Company have a frontage of only a few feet, but the claim grows wider as it goes back into the hill, and 400 feet back it is 200 feet wide. There is a tunnel 1,800 feet long, 150 feet under the Paragon sheet, which is now being worked; but the tunnel was located for the purpose of working tho blue gravel. There is a 10-stamp mill, which was erected in 1866, and is now running steadily.
PARAGON.- The Paragon claim has a front of 250 feet, extends a mile and a half throngh the hill, and is 400 feet wide at the back. The pay stratum now worked is a deposit of rusty gray gravel, four feet deep, resting on the blue gravel 100 feet deep, and covered by volcanic sand. The blue gravel immediately on the bed rock, as well as for 100 feet above, contains some gold, but not enough to offer much profit. The gray gravel contains $10 per ton, the gold being coarse, some of the pieces weighing two or three ounces, and others containing quartz attached.
Work was commenced on the claim in 1852, and the gravel was sluiced for 10 years. It was so tough, however, that it had to be washed repeatedly, and after all much of the clay escaped undissolved. At the first washing the yield was about $1 per ton, and the second, third, and fourth washings, made at intervals of a year, yielded each $2 per ton, and $1 per ton for the fifth, sixth, and seventh washings. Freezing and thawing slaked the cement more rapidly than did sun or rain. In 1864 a 20-stamp mill was built, and then the claim first began to prove its high value. The yield of the claim was $100,000 in 1866, half of it profit. The yield per ton in the mill is no more than it was in the sluice, but the dirt is now not so rich as it was before.
The gray gravel, or “sheet," as it is called, has all been taken out for 1,600 feet front. The tunnel is in the middle of the claim in the blue gravel, 20 feet below the sheet. The pay dirt is breasted out on drifts, which run entirely across the claim, so that there are 400 feet of breast for the men to work at. The gravel becomes softer when exposed to the air, so the large breast gives the benefit of exposure, as well as of abundant room. At intervals of 30 feet a chute is made from the sheet down to the tunnel, for the purpose of throwing down the gravel; few timbers are used, and the roof falls down upon the blue gravel, close upon the heels of the miners. Two men are constantly employed repairing the tunnel, which would close up in a month, if neglected. The blue gravel swells very much in one stretch of 150 feet.
There is enough dirt in sight for four years' work. All the dirt is picked down.
The mill crushes 200 tons a week, and the expenses are $1,000 per week. Fifty men are employed : 32 miners; four carmen in the tunnel; two carmen outside ;. two tunnel menders; four feeders, and six others in and about the mill. Two men feed the 20 stamps, and two others pick out the large stones from the gravel.
The stamps weigh 700 pounds, have 75 drops per minute, and 13 inches fall.
The screen is punched with holes a sixteenth of an inch in diameter, but they soon wear larger.
Two tons of gravel are fed per hour to each five-stamp battery, and three inches of water run steadily into each mortar.
A quarter of a pound of quicksilver is put in every morning, and as much more every evening into each battery.
A flask of quicksilver is bought once in four months, implying the loss of 75 pounds in that period, or half a pound per day on an average, or one-quarter of all that is used. The retorting is done carefully, so the loss is in the sluice.
Below the mortars are Jenny Lind riffles, and below those hurdy-gurdy rifiles. It is said the claim was sold in August, 1867, for $150,000.
OTHER Bath CLAIMS.—The Greek. claim, 160 feet front, has lately been bought by the Paragon Company for $9,650. This claim paid well in front, but was not worked well; the tunnel closed up; the owners quarrelled, and then they sold out.
The New Yörk claim, 200 feet front, has & sbeet like that of the Paragon, save that it is on the bed rock. A tunnel was cut 1,800 feet long in the bed rock, at an expense of $15,000, but bad air proved very troublesome; the work was stopped before pay was reached; the tunnel closed up, and nothing has been done for three years.