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Anyone Know Ben Thompson ?


DolanDave

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I got this manual at a swap meet in Quartzsite, Arizona. It's a manual written by Ben Thompson, who placer mined a lot in Northern Nevada/ Mill City area. He describes. Terry T bones in 90's that found a 27 ounce nugget, and killed by a train. He also talks about Burns Bros truck stop, and Dick who worked there also found a 24 ounce nugget near where Terry found his (Big Easy). Enclosing pic if his book. 

Dave

ObKBEQHx-456743008.jpg

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My old friend, the late great Smokey Baird of Lovelock, Nevada, knew Ben Thompson and said he used to live out at Barrel Springs, working his claims there. I got into the northern Nevada area just after T-Bone was killed, and I knew "two-pound" Dick Bailey before he found his big nugget, back when he used to work as a tire repairman at the Burns Bros truck stop at Mill City.

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If I remember right, my buddy Mike who  hunted with Dick and also lived in the area, talked with Ben sometimes. I think he saw him a few years ago out Imlay way. Mike told me the old guy used to dry wash a lot, and really knew some good areas all over.

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18 hours ago, Lunk said:

My old friend, the late great Smokey Baird of Lovelock, Nevada, knew Ben Thompson and said he used to live out at Barrel Springs, working his claims there. I got into the northern Nevada area just after T-Bone was killed, and I knew "two-pound" Dick Bailey before he found his big nugget, back when he used to work as a tire repairman at the Burns Bros truck stop at Mill City.

Thanks Lunk, yeah Ben talks a lot about Barrel Springs area, in the book. Also Mill City, how some guys pulled out 100 ounces on the water districts property there...

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I've heard stories of this legend of a gold hound man but was never a pleasure to meet him.  Yes another of Northern Nevada Legend's who is swinging better golden pastures "the Smokey Baird" mentioned him to me a few times.  Others, 2 pound Dick, a regular at the T & A, knew and spoke of him also.  T-Bone, Jim Malone and Sue Thompson- now Sallee, were all well known big gold grabbers back in the 90's.  In fact, the last time I was down Jungo Road, I swung by the T-Bone Memorial on the tracks near Pronto.

I was fortunate back then as Largo (great Boise guy) took me down and introduced me to many of them.  Back then a VLF machine was able to do well and getting 1 ounce weekends was not unheard of.

Old Chuck Graff and his wife from TX spent the summers down there and boy did he have a collection.

Jim Malone owned "Lunker Hill" and many 1+ oz'ers with a few monsters came off that knob.

My 1st instructor on VLF gold machines, the famous "Gordon Zahara" who taught me at the Rye Patch burn barrel where I still train customers (some 20+ yrs later) and find a few nuggets, was also swinging the desert asphalt and eluvium fans forming from the high slopes working down across the desert floor.

Lunk became a good friend of Smokey and luckily towards the end was able to hear some of the great stories probably mentioned in the Ben Thompson writings.

If you ever decide to sell that piece of history Dave, please let me know.  Nice find BTW and thanks for sharing some old memories.

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The joy of remembering and the sobriety of reality - dealing with a non-renewable resource in the absence of new technology for discovery and recovery.  Remember “peak oil” of a decade ago - blown away (for now) by advanced horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (at who knows what environmental cost).

Sadly, for gold in North America and probably Australia - no new technology is likely to return the “artisanal miner” to his former glory.

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15 hours ago, Gerry in Idaho said:

I've heard stories of this legend of a gold hound man but was never a pleasure to meet him.  Yes another of Northern Nevada Legend's who is swinging better golden pastures "the Smokey Baird" mentioned him to me a few times.  Others, 2 pound Dick, a regular at the T & A, knew and spoke of him also.  T-Bone, Jim Malone and Sue Thompson- now Sallee, were all well known big gold grabbers back in the 90's.  In fact, the last time I was down Jungo Road, I swung by the T-Bone Memorial on the tracks near Pronto.

  Thanks for reply Gerry, WesD, Lunk n JasonG .... I bet Jim Straight might also know him. Ben talks about hunting placer gold fields to include Northern Nevada, Northern California, Quartzsite, Rich Hill area since 1947.... Need to get a few more of the old prospectors to write their memories down before its gone into the golden pastures...

  I know when my prospecting legs get to tired, I will be releasing all my info I know, documented mostly on google earth... for others to learn from.

Dave

 

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Right on Dave, that's the attitude that will keep prospecting alive and well for those who come after us. Every nugget we dig up is one less lead for a greenhorn to find and make the same connections we made to find more gold. I remember how hard it was to succeed without anyone helping with some of those missing pieces when I started, and today it's even harder for greenhorns, tomorrow it might be impossible. A side note, you are the only person I've ever met who took me to a place where gold was found, to which I am still very appreciative.

I think about this a lot when I'm out detecting because I know today there are plenty of great places I've cleaned out now, that a newer prospector would pass right through and assume there is no gold, just as I did for years when I started. Yet I know if I took a dozer back there would still be more gold out of detector range and I know exactly where to dig if I have to permit them. I can't doze them all, someone should though. That's the kind of knowledge that I feel shouldn't be lost or modern prospecting is going to die with it. New technology is great, but a backhoe in just the right place can be just as good when most the surface stuff is gone.

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