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GhostMiner last won the day on January 27

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  • Interests:
    Exploration & leasing of past producing placer gold mines in the Sierra Nevada Mts.
  • Gear In Use:
    Excavators, skid steers, large trommels, spiral wheels.

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  1. April 27 2002 Part Two Jacob looked a little disappointed and said back when he was here the place was real busy on a Saturday night. I told him that the night was still young and we went inside. There was a family sitting at a table eating and a young couple sitting at the bar. Jacob wanted to go up to the bar and have a drink before we ate so we took seats at the bar just down a ways from the couple. Jacob ordered whisky for all four of us. They didn’t have any of his favorites so he substituted another brand. He did a toast to the mine and our partnership and we slugged down the shots. Jacob ordered another round. I told the bartender to make mine a beer this time. I wasn’t much of a whisky drinker. My partners ordered a glass of ice with theirs but Jacob took his neat. He turned to the young couple and asked them if they were gold miners. They just grinned shyly and stated they were tourists from back east. Jacob turned to me and said back when he came here the place would be full of miners and prospectors on Saturday night. He said the trouble usually started when a few of the local logging crews showed up looking for trouble. He said the loggers were pure trash and rif raf. There was always a fight over women sooner or later. He told us about one bad fight he’d seen where one of the miners got thrown through a plate glass window and got cut up real bad. He said the miners and loggers were going at it pretty good and he and his brother got into the mix. He couldn’t really say who but when the brawl ended the place was all busted up. They all paid for damages and came back on Sunday to help fix the place up. Even the logging crew showed up to help. I asked him if anyone contacted the police. He just laughed and said there was no real law anywhere around there back then. They just handled their own business and that’s the way they liked it. He ordered another round for us before I was half done with my beer and then we moved over to a table and ordered supper. Jacob said he really missed the old days. He said he could still hear his brother cussing up a storm during that fight. Then I saw him drift back in time. He sure had stories to tell. TO BE CONTINUED ............
  2. The Paxton Hotel sits along the Feather River. There are the remains of an old stamp mill just up the river from the hotel and several old gold mine workings including a drift into the mountain.
  3. April 27 2002 Part One This morning was cold and clear and it was Saturday. Jacob thought we should do some digging until mid afternoon and then go out to the Paxton Hotel for supper and a few drinks with the crew. He seemed to like that place I guess. So we all agreed and headed up to the site after breakfast. I took my Mcculloch Pro Mac 650 chainsaw up there with me. We would need to cut up some downed trees for support logs. There was plenty of deadfall we were permitted to use for our mining operation as well as a part of the plan approved to cut trees as needed for mining. Anything I cut would need to be replaced with two saplings so I preferred to just use deadfall if possible. Jim and I worked on the timber while Vern and Jacob went over to our newly opened drift. They dug out some holes to set posts and placed bracing supports overhead. We laid them in where needed and felt secure to drive the drift deeper into the mountain. Jacob told us we would need to keep a careful watch on the tunnel we were forming as we went in further. It was slow going now and we were beginning to hit some decent pay gravels. The bedrock continued to gently slope away from us and we followed it in. By noon we decided to take a quick break and I went down to camp and brought up coffee and sandwiches. Jacob took another sample and it looked promising. We stopped for the day around 3:00 PM and headed back down to camp to get cleaned up. The day had been productive and we were all hopeful of seeing good gold soon. Around 6:00 PM we headed for the Paxton Hotel. On the ride over Jacob was telling us about the old days and that place. It was an old railroad hotel and there were once active gold mines along the river there. He said that Saturday nights were pretty wild. There used to be what he referred to as a Saturday night hoot. There would be a band and plenty of girls there. He said this sometimes caused fights to break out. He was wondering if they still had the hoots there. I told him I had no idea but probably not. I think he was hoping there would be something like that going on. When we pulled into the parking area the place looked nearly deserted except for a couple of cars. TO BE CONTINUED ...............
  4. If you had told me years ago that I would be involved in an adventure on a gold mine in the Sierra Nevada Mts I would never have believed it.
  5. At this point I would like to take a moment to comment on some things I didn't write in my 2002 journal. I was a complete greenhorn as was Jim. Vern was a good prospector. To the horror of my wife, I took the Spring, Summer, & Fall off from a business I ran and went gold mining. I only had the confidence to do this because Vern was a seasoned prospector that had done quite a bit of sampling on the claims. The other thing that convinced me to give this a try was the wild and wooly rich history of this property. I had spent the Winter months of that year doing all the research and made contact with Jim and he was in contact with Jacob. We were pretty sure Jacob would join us in the venture but there was no guarantee until we met with him. My wife was convinced that I would come home penniless if I wasn't murdered on the mine or eaten by wild animals. She had read the old government report on this property with extreme trepidation but reluctantly gave me her blessing as long as I stayed in touch with her as much as possible. I knew I was getting myself into an adventure but had no clue what lie ahead for us. As we began to work the gravels at the old Eastern Drift area I kept a record of the gold we were mining. However, I didn't put any numbers in the journal but instead kept them recorded in a separate record book. For the sake of posting this here, I will include them at the time of the cleanups as I know everyone wants to know what we found. Also, as for more on Jacob that I didn't write down back in 2002, I would like to include a bit more information on him. He and his brother were on the old crew back in 1936. In 1936 his brother Jed was the crew leader and was murdered for his gold. At the time of the murder the crew had mined over 1000 ounces. I have no idea how much gold they got when Jed was killed. There was a second incident in 1937 that involved the crew Jacob was leading and three of the crew were shot to death by an unidentified group of men. All of this had been long forgotten and buried away by time just like the gold in the mountain was buried under slides. As for Jacob and what he was like - I found him to be one of the most down to earth people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. By the time I had found him he was trail worn but very rugged. He loved a good joke and his word was his bond. He worked with us as much as his body would allow. His knowledge of the claims and of mining by old school methods were priceless to us. He was a real character for sure. Even at 85 yrs young he still loved his whisky but had moderated his drinking to a little bit here and there. I never saw him drunk. His favorite drink was Tullamore D.E.W. as well as Jameson and Bushmills. He never drank beer. He rolled his own smokes as I wrote in the journal but rarely did I see him smoke more than 2 or 3 a day. He would get in his moods sometimes where he drifted back in time and we learned to leave him alone on those occasions. Jacob was very spry and I never heard him complain about anything. When he saw gold in the pan his eyes would light up and he'd give us a wink and a nudge. He was one of a kind. The adventure we all had together over the 2002 mining season is something I will never forget. Read on.
  6. April 26 2002 Part Two After looking at the gold in the pan there was no stopping us. Jacob said we were now seeing the beginning of the gold he was digging at this spot back in 1937. Now if we could only find that glory hole. Jacob reminded us that the entire base of the mountain was sprinkled with abundant gold and all we needed to do was put in the time and hard work. He figured we were starting in a good area but time would tell. We dug for a few more hours and got ready to call it a day. We were following a downward slope of bedrock. Jacob said we would soon need to make a decision to continue in deeper and cut timber for supports or dig out a wider channel and hope we hit a good spot that hadn't been buried too badly by the slides. I asked Jacob what he thought about the situation. He said we should work our way in deeper for a spell and see what the gravels produced. Jacob advised that we were on bedrock and following it into the mountain. We had begun to hit virgin gravels that were showing some promise. However, he reminded us that the work would be slower and harder from this point forward. He left it up to us. Vern, Jim, and I all agreed to get a drift going into the mountain and see what it held for us. Before we left for the day Jacob took another sample from the gravel sitting on the sloping bedrock where we had stopped digging. He panned it out and set the pan on the table. He had a smile on his face but said nothing. We took a look. The pan had some fines but there was more coarse gold now. We were all beaming from ear to ear. Now I know what gold fever was all about. TO BE CONTINUED .................
  7. Yes. They were brothers. Names changed for posting here. Jacob was the younger brother. The older brother was murdered and gold stolen in 1936. No one knows if the killer or killers got all of it. Mystery.
  8. He was with the 1936 - 1937 crew. Names were changed. He didn't drink much at this time and had an occasional smoke. I'd say he had a small drink or two per day. Part of his lifestyle. He was able to work at a slow pace part of the time. He didn't out dig us but did quite well because he prospected all the time when in Oregon. For someone 85 yrs young he was quite impressive. Read on.
  9. April 26 2002 Part One OUR FIRST GOLD OF THE SEASON I was up early with Jacob and we had coffee. We seemed to be the early birds of the crew. Eventually Vern and Jim were up and about and after a good breakfast we all got in the truck and headed up to the old drift mine area. It was a sunny morning and a bit cold. I couldn’t wait to get to work even though my body was sore. Everyone was hurting but Jacob told us we would get used to the work soon. I sure was hoping he was right. We went right back to where we had left off and by lunch time the drift was starting to show promise. We had gotten in a good ten feet or so and broke for a quick lunch. It was a quick break and we were back to digging. By mid afternoon we were into the mountain base about twelve feet and progress began to slow because we had higher gravels to deal with. Jacob called a halt to the digging. He wanted to evaluate the ground. He pointed out to us that the base gravels were beginning to dip away from us on a gentle downward slope. There was the beginning of an overhang developing. Jacob said we needed to make a plan and follow it at this point forward. The dig was becoming dangerous. He also told us that he believed we were now into the hill past the overburden from the slides that had buried the virgin gravels. He showed us the difference in the gravels and rock. It was tighter material and had a natural lay to it as well. He said he noticed the digging was harder because we were now in virgin material. Jim, Vern, and I started getting excited now. Jacob took a full pan of the gravel over to the tub and we watched him pan it with great anticipation. It seemed like forever waiting on that sample but finally Jacob backwashed the black sand away and we could see the result. Plenty of fine gold mixed with some nice coarse gold as well. He set the pan down on a wooden table near the tub. We all just looked at it in amazement. Jacob gave us a wink and a smile. I had seen my first real gold here. TO BE CONTINUED ..................
  10. One of the old closed & collapsed drifts from the old crew. It actually starts as a shallow shaft and turned into the mountain on the right.
  11. April 25 2002 Part Three We worked on removing overburden until about 6:00 PM. Unbelievably, Jacob worked the entire time and was actually ready to keep going. The rest of us were shot. Jacob was just itching to get to the pay gravels he had discovered 65 years ago. Each man was working a five foot wide cut into the base of the mountain so we had a twenty foot wide drift heading north. We had gotten nearly eight feet in because the ground came down at a slight angle and as we removed ground there was more of it to deal with as far as height. So we made good time today. Tomorrow will be slower. Before we left for the day Jacob did a test pan at the tub. He gave us a wink and held out the pan. There were a few flakes of gold. He said we just needed to keep working our way deeper into the hill. When we got back to camp we washed up andJacob asked if I had any more of the canned stew. I told him I had plenty and we heated up a mess of it in a big pot. Before we ate Jacob brought out a bottle and we all drank a little whisky with him. He seemed fresh as a daisy and was beaming from ear to ear. He told us we were on gold now and might see some in the pan by day's end tomorrow. We could hardly wait. Vern was a seasoned prospector but Jim and I were greenhorns. We’d never seen more than a few flakes of gold in our brief time out here. After supper we all sat around the campfire for a bit and talked about the claims. Jacob was convinced that there was still a fortune in gold sitting in the ground. He told us of a few hot spots that might still be holding gold up on the northern faultline as well as some secret places he would show us. Night settled in and it got cold. We headed into the campers for a good night's rest. I was hoping to see my first gold tomorrow. TO BE CONTINUED ...............
  12. Just a sample of what we found in the mountain in that first gold run of our 2002 season thanks to Jacob. This picture came from a later date but shows what's in there. More about 2002 to come.
  13. April 25 2002 Part Two We began the task of reopening the mountain at a slow and steady pace. Even though the temperature was still cool it wasn’t long before the sweat was streaming down my face. After about an hour we were ready for a break - that is all of us except Jacob. We paused and watched him continue to chop away at the gravels. He was oblivious to anything but the work at hand. I could only imagine what he was like in his prime. Eventually he paused and looked over at the three of us as we watched him digging. He stopped and rolled a smoke. I told him he was still one hell of a miner. He smiled and said he didn’t hold a candle to his brother Jed. He said Jed was a machine that never seemed to tire and could outwork any man on the crew. We hadn’t gotten into the mountain very far yet but I grabbed a pan of gravels and washed them in the tub. There was no gold. Jacob laughed and said it was garbage from the slides and we weren’t anywhere near the gold yet. He said it was going to take some hard work to get to it. He finished his smoke and we all got back to work. After a while it seemed like we had all developed a steady rhythm. There wasn’t much talking but the sound of the shovels striking stone seemed to have a language of its own. Before we knew it the sun was beating down on us and it was noon. I hollered out that it was time for lunch. We drove back down to camp and ate and talked some with Jacob. He was giving us encouragement and telling us we would get used to the work. He said it would take a few days or maybe weeks but eventually we would build up our bodies to withstand the digging. I laughed and said if I do this all Summer I won’t have an ounce of fat on me. Jacob gave me a grin and said yes, but you’ll have plenty of ounces of gold to replace it. TO BE CONTINUED ...............
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