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


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4 hours ago, IronDigger said:

Just publish the book and see how it goes.

I am not publishing a book.

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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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   Well, The Journal has 150,000 views! Many thanks to all the great people who read it.

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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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   May 2   1937

 

   Everyone was up bright and early. We had our breakfast and did the weigh which was another good one. Even with only two men digging and a reduced bucket count we had seven ounces in the pan. I had more logging to do so Will and Hudson were once again on their own. I told them not to drive the drift any further north into the mountain as it was getting a little shaky as far as collapse. Instead, they would move fifty feet to the south and cut laterally across the face of the mountain and drive that into the hill and start a second drift. That way we could keep processing gold while I cut timbers.

   While we were busy working in the afternoon I heard three shots coming from Ben’s Thompson. We stopped work and grabbed our rifles and headed down the trail on foot. Ben was holding a stranger at gunpoint. Ben told us the guy had refused to stop when he commanded so he fired the shots in the air and the man was stopped in his tracks. 

   He did not have a rifle but I noticed an empty holster on his right hip. Ben had made him drop the pistol and I saw it laying on the ground. Ben told him to back away from the gun which he did. I asked him what he was doing up here on our mine.

   The man looked to be in his forties and seemed to be belligerent. He said he was just out for a hike and he wanted his gun back. Ben told him he’d get the gun back when we found out what he was up to. I told him I didn’t believe him and he’d better start talking the truth or it might go bad for him. He asked me if that was some kind of threat. I told him it sure as hell was and he had ten seconds to tell us the truth.

   He seemed to understand that we meant business and started to open up some. The man said he’d heard all kinds of stories about us, everything from big time miners on a massive gold strike to straight out killers. None of us said a word and just stared him down. He said he was alone and broke. He had gold fever and was looking to see what a real gold mine and crew looked like. He said he meant no harm.

   I told him that now he’d seen some of us and told him to get off our mine while he could still leave under his own power. He cursed at me and said that what he’d heard about us must be true. Ben fired off a burst from the Thompson and the bullets struck all around where he stood. He cried out for us not to kill him. I just told him to git. He asked about his pistol. I told him to leave it and never come back. With that he walked back down the mountain muttering to himself. I told Ben to follow him and make sure he left. With that over with we all went back to work.

   By the end of the day Will and Hudson had dug 250 buckets. They made good time working into the hill but I think some of the first diggings were mostly overburden gravels and sluff. We will see what the weigh brings in the morning.  

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

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May 3   1937

 

   There were four more ounces at the weigh this morning which surprised me as some of the buckets contained overburden. It also tells me the channel is wide as we moved a good 50 feet and got good results. I decided to stop bucking logs today and join the dig. We will move yet another fifty feet to the left or west and see if the channel continues laterally. If it does we are on a massive strike that could be very steady and possibly take us past last years results.

   Will, Hudson, and me got to digging bright and early. We worked into the hill past the overburden and stayed low and close to country rock gravels. After two hours of intense work I stopped and took a pan of the gravel to the tub. It was full of course gold. Whiskey Jack was right. The company he worked for back in his day made a big mistake moving to another location but all the better for us. We’ll take what they didn’t get with a big thank you and a smile. I noticed we were in some heavy gravel with lots of rounded river rock. If this channel is much wider we could simply keep digging along the side in a lateral direction to the hill and never have to go in deeper with timbers for support for quite awhile. Also, if the channel continues north into the mountain like I think it does there are millions of dollars of gold waiting for our picks and shovels. 

   By the end of the day the three of us were exhausted. We are still soft from the winter rest and do not have our mining bodies at the ready. We are sore and our hands are blistered but I will beat the crew into shape. The gold will make us strong and give us power. 

   Down at camp tonight we sat around the fire after supper with a few Lucky’s. I told the crew I was proud of them and we are once again coming together as a ruff and ready team of miners. We will watch out for each other and work like devils on this mountain of gold. 

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

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Many thanks to geof_junk for all of his support.

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   May 4   1937

 

   Yesterday’s test run totalled 290 buckets. When John presented our results I was stunned to say the least. There was five ounces of gold in the pan. Besides showing us the channel continues west it also tells us the channel is rich. I’m talking very rich. I am beginning to wonder if we are following an east/west fault. I can’t understand why the old time mining company pulled out of here unless there was more to the story that Whiskey Jack told us. Anyway you cut it, the channel shows all the signs of a strike.

   I had a meeting with the crew before we started work. I told them to clam up about this discovery. If word of this gets out we will have every prospector, miner, and rif raf out here giving us grief. Everyone agreed to keep their mouths shut.

   I decided to move another fifty feet and cut into the hill left of our previous dig and continue to attempt to find the end of the channel or fault. We worked hard all day and brought John 320 buckets of gravel. My test pans all showed gold so I think these rich gravels may run quite a way. I can only imagine what gold we will produce once we start a real drift into the mountain. 

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

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