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** Lost Gold At The Dead Man's Mine ** A Miners Journal **


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   April 28   1937 

 

   Today we made our plan to mine at the eastern drift area. The drift cut into the virgin gravels of the mountain about half a mile northeast of our camp. Jed had fixed the old wagon road last year and it was good enough to get our truck out there. Seeing as the distance was quite far and the elevation was about 200 feet higher than our creek we would need to haul buckets again. That was the one thing we all liked about the southern pit - not having to haul gravel to the creek. So the labor will be double what we did there.

   The entire crew went up to the area and we took a good look around. The old tunnel was in very poor condition and unsafe to work. We decided to begin digging into the side of the mountain about fifty feet south of the drift. Whiskey Jack had told us that the gravels on that entire hill were good to mine and contained gold. 

   It was decided that John would run the tom down at the creek and Will, Hudson, and myself would handle the digging chores. We would keep Sarge down at his post near camp and Ben would set up a watch post near the dig site. Three shots fired would mean trouble. We all carried guns with us and kept them close even when working. This entire area had seen many hooligans last season as word of a gold strike had got spread around and we expected the same or worse troubles again this season. We are as prepared as we can be.

   We helped John get the tom set up and after a good lunch went about mining once again. It felt good to be in a new area and I hoped I could forget some of the past. We opened up a good area of virgin ground and hauled a total of 120 buckets down to John. We didn’t get in very deep yet but my test pans showed some color so I think we should do ok here. When we do the weigh in the morning I am hoping we have made a good decision.

 

   TO BE CONTINUED .....................

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   April 29   1937

 

   We were all anxious to see the results of the weigh. After breakfast we went over to John’s work station and  John placed yesterday’s results on the scale. There was half an ounce which wasn’t too bad for 120 buckets. Not the glory days of last year but at least it held promise. We went back up to the dig site and told John we’d have some buckets down to him in short order. We were all hungry for gold and ready to work. 

   The three of us were getting a good channel going into the base of the hill. The problem will be that when we get in deeper we will need to brace the top to keep it from collapsing or we could just keep cutting laterally across the face without going in to the point of collapse. My way of thinking is that if the gold gets better the deeper in we go then we will cut bracing. We will be ok for a few days and will cross that bridge when we get to it. 

   We had buckets delivered down to John right quick and were building up a head of steam with the picks and shovels. It just felt good to be digging. Along about the third hour I noticed a color change in the gravels from brown to dark brown or dark red. I took a pan of this over to the wash tub and worked it down. I hollered over to Will and Hudson and they came over to get a look. Sitting there in the pan were seven nice pickers and a load of fines. This was rich. I told the boys that now we knew what we needed to follow into that mountain. I had a feeling that Whiskey Jack and Jed  were looking down on that pan with a smile and saying to go after it boys.

   We worked until dark and ended our day’s dig with 312 buckets.  When we got down to camp John said he was seeing lots of gold in the sluice. We were talking about the new dig site until we hit the sack. I can’t wait to get the results from John tomorrow morning. 

   TO BE CONTINUED .....................

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   April 30   1937

 

   Well now, the crew had good news this morning. We had six ounces of gold in the pan from the weigh. This is the best for the season so far and I bet it gets better. We are going to drive in a drift deep into the mountain and chase that dark red gravel streak. Everyone is pretty excited and can’t hardly wait to dig more gold. 

   We spent the day working the hill and widening out a good opening. Country rock is only five feet or so beneath our feet as we go into the mountain. That’s because the old hydraulic boys cut everything down to bedrock and stopped at this point so we are just following the country in now. The color change happened right around the five to six foot area above country. That seems to be the rich gravel. We will dig in as far as we can safely go and then will need to timber the tunnel we form. As long as that color is there we will stay on it.

   We went back to camp for lunch and John had some gold in a pan to show us. This was just a little bit from the buckets we had brought down on the truck early this morning. The pan was loaded with heavy, coarse gold. I am talking about a lot of gold. John was grinning from ear to ear. 

   We went back up to the dig after a quick lunch and worked until dark again. We had the start of a nice drift into the mountain and took out a total of 290 buckets. I think we will need to cut bracing tomorrow so we will divide the crew. John will stay at the tom while I drop trees and buck up timber. Hudson and Will are going to keep working the drift. It will most likely take me a few days to cut enough timbers to get the start of the tunnel safer. This is going to be an ongoing job as most of the drift will probably need to be timbered. 

 

   TO BE CONTINUED ....................

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   May 1   1937

 

   The crew gathered around John for the weigh this morning. We all had high hopes. John brought out the gold and placed it on the scale. There were nine  ounces and we let out a whoop and a holler. John stopped us and said to wait, there is something else. He then took out a small jar and dumped it on the scale. There were three more ounces of nuggets and pickers for a total of twelve ounces. I dropped to my knees with my head in my hands and felt all the pressure I’d been feeling leave my body. We were on big gold again. We broke out a bottle of whiskey and had a toast to the gold and ourselves as well as Jed and Whiskey Jack. Then we headed up to the mine to start digging. 

   As much as I wanted to dig I had to continue my lumberjack work. We were going to need timbers soon. Will and Hudson would need to step it up and work like devils. From my area in the woods not far from the mine I could hear the shovels banging away against the gravels and the occasional curse word. I just laughed to myself and kept dropping and bucking up trees.

   By the end of the day they had dug 210 buckets. It was all hard work but we knew it would pay us well. We sat around the fire and talked mining and gold. Will and Hudson were more than ready to see big gold weighs. I was more than ready as well.

   TO BE CONTINUED .................

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