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Lost Gold At The Dead Man's Mine

GhostMiner

Active member

LOST GOLD AT THE DEAD MAN’S MINE​

** A MINERS JOURNAL **​

PROLOGUE : This is the fictional tale and journal loosely based on a real gold strike in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California in 1936. The prospector in this story is Jed Stevens and contains his daily entries in a journal kept while working at the Whiskey Jack Mine, a gold mining property where several old mines were worked over the years. Some of these placer mines produced large amounts of gold from the mid to late 1800’s. It’s the story of the wild adventures and gold found and lost in rugged mountain country and is written in the first person by the prospector. Go back in time and relive this cut throat era of gold fever. Gold, guns, and whiskey. Buckle up for the ride of your life. And don’t forget your gold pan.​

 

GhostMiner

Active member
APRIL 12 1936 : Today I filed all the paperwork at the county court house for the mining claims I now hold near Lost Ravine. Then I drove my Ford truck out to my claims. There was a good spot near Jake's Creek up to the north about 1500 feet from the main road that follows Morgan Creek where I set up my camp. It took the entire day to pitch the tent and set up my kitchen. The tent is a 15 foot cabin with a stove jack. I have a first rate box stove set up inside to be used for heat and some cooking. I also set up a second stove about 200 feet from camp for the main cooking jobs during good weather.

Today was a great day for getting camp set as the day was sunny and not too cold. Tomorrow my plan is to investigate one of the claim sites where the old diggings took place and get a bearing on my situation as far as where I might sample the gravels and old tailings. I am losing daylight and getting cold so I will get into my sleeping bag on the cot and wait for morning.
APRIL 13 1936
Last night got very cold. My water containers had some ice in them when I made morning coffee. I hiked out to the easternmost section of the property armed with my Smith and Wesson Magnum, a shovel, and a bucket and I found an abandoned drift going into the mountain. It was timbered for support and looked to be solid. Inside the opening was an old two man tuttle tooth two man saw. The tunnel had seen some good work i'm guessing back in the late 1800's. All the mines here as far as I know were placers so they probly dug this when water was scarce as I saw abandoned iron pipe in the area. It was nearly high enough for me to stand upright and went back about 200 feet where some of the timbers had started to rot and were collapsing. There were signs of some exposed country rock in the drift. I used my shovel to dig some sample gravels and took them back to camp where I later panned them in the creek. There were fines and a few nice coarse pieces from the two buckets I processed and the drift looked to hold some promise. Tomorrow I am going to hike out on a fault line in the northern area of the claims to take more sample gravels. I've got beans on the stove and a cup of good Irish whiskey before I turn in tonight.

APRIL 14 1936
Today I traversed a major fault about 1500 ft to the north east of camp. Part of the fault was exposed by old diggings while the northern portion on my claim was buried in heavy gravels. Unable to get a good hole going in the heavy material I focused my pick and shovel work near the base of the exposed area which was about 60 feet below the top of the rim. I took several buckets out of the area and panned them at the creek near camp. The pan showed fines mixed with coarse and weighed heavy. So far the claims are showing good signs of gold and I am thinking of a way to do more digging at each of these spots. I will do more exploration out there at the fault tomorrow. It is closer to the creek so I'm thinking it may be a good location for serious digging. It is beginning to snow tonight as I write this and I am stoking the stove and turning in.

APRIL 15 1936
I woke to a cold and snowy scene this morning. About three or four inches of snow. I broomed the roof of my tent and fixed a breakfast of hot water cornbread and coffee. The snow had stopped before I woke so I set out on the hike back to the fault line and also saw some bear tracks that looked fresh. Up at the base of the faultline I spied the critter. He looked to be needing nourishment and no doubt had not been too long out of hibernation. I gave a good holler and he bolted up into the woods higher up the mountain.
I worked the gravels swinging the pic and scooping out gravels by the shovel full at the base of the fault. There seemed to be broken country rock at the base. I went straight in and tried to get some depth which was hard work. After several hours of this I had myself a good hole going into the fault. About mid afternoon I was in deep enough to take some good sample buckets down to the creek. I saw lots of fines and very good heavies that weighed out rich. I went back out with a handsaw and started cutting back brush & small pine in order to fashion a crude roadway for my truck. At the last of light I went back down to camp & heated up beans on the stove and poured a good cupful of Irish whiskey. I began to formulate my mining plan as darkness took the camp.
APRIL 16 1936
Got woke up last night to loud screeching sounds which lasted an hour or so. Might have been lion or bobcat. There were more than one and they came close to camp. I spent the day working on the road up to the faultline. All hand saw & pick and shovel. Was too tired to take more samples. Tomorrow I should be able to get my truck up to the dig site. I will load some gravels to take down to the creek. I have a tom sluice that will sit in the creek where the flow is right. The creek is running good from all the melt off up higher in the mountain. My claims are anywhere from 3500 ft to 4000 ft in altitude. I have a hard wood grizzly screen to set over the head of the tom. I'll shovel onto that to screen out anything over two inches. The tom is 20 feet in length and 18 inches wide. Got a nice supper of dried beef and beans. Turning in now.
APRIL 17 1936
Got a good night's rest. I was able to drive the truck up to the dig site with my buckets. I worked on getting in further and as deep and close to country rock as I could. Then I filled about a quarter ton of good gravels in some buckets and drove down to the creek. I set up the tom and grizzly and set a good angle on the tom. Worked the rest of the day processing and finished up the panning from the heavies that were pulled. When weighed out it was about 20 cents to the ton. Not glory days but working wages at least. My thinking is there is better pay in there to be found. Tomorrow I will begin doing the road work needed to get my truck out to the eastern drift mine I sampled. There is an old wagon road out there I can use once it's fixed up some. Then I plan to get a good test of that mine. Fixing a good supper of hoover stew and coffee spiced with Irish whiskey and turning in.
APRIL 18, 19, 20 1936
Snow is all melted off and the creeks are running hard. I spent all three days out on the old wagon road that leads to the eastern drift mine. The road is now passable for my truck. There's a lot of exposed country rock and old iron pipe out near the drift which tells me this was worked by hydraulic method mostly but for some reason someone drifted into the virgin gravels. The hill is a good 90 ft or more in height and the facings were hydraulicked to country. The old hand dug water flume runs up the mountain but is overgrown with brush. My guess is that the old boys had water delivery issues. Anyway, I will get my truck out there to haul samples to the tom. I noticed a lot of bear tracks along the way. My goal is to find the best ground for my efforts. I'm getting anxious to start mining gold but I know that this early work will pay in the end. Turning in now after a supper of dried beef and crackers and a small cup of Irish whiskey.
APRIL 21 1936
Got the truck out to the eastern drift mine and worked the old adit gravels. I went in about 100 feet and dug down into the old river gravels along the bottom of the west wall. I took out 10 buckets and hauled them to the creek to process. Once again I was not seeing the glory gold I had hoped for. The values were a little less than what I got at the fault line. Some fines mixed with a bit of nice coarse. Tomorrow I will go back out there for another try and perhaps get down to country rock which I think is still another five feet deeper. The weather is warming and the days are getting longer. I haven't seen a soul around this area since I came here. I will be heading to town sometime soon for a few provisions. I am finding the prospecting life to be most fulfilling but lonely at times. It will be nice to get into town.
 

GhostMiner

Active member
APRIL 22 1936
Once again I worked in the eastern drift and once again I found gold. I got deeper although it was mighty tough on both me and my tools of labor. The old channel has a lot of river rock to deal with but I got my buckets out with good material that was on the top of country. My results were a bit better than yesterday but the work to get it was twice as hard. I would need a dozer or dragline to continue further. I don't have the stake for that without finding a partner so I have decided to concentrate my work at the faultline on a full time venture. I am happy to have made a decision and will stick with it.
I also had time to go into town for provisions. I am having a feast of hash and hot water corn bread tonight and washing it all down with some good whiskey. Tomorrow is the start of my mining season.
APRIL 23 1936
Well today did not go quite as expected. As I drove up to the fault line claim there was a surprise waiting. I spied two men with shovels working at my test hole. Upon seeing my truck they looked at each other but stood their ground. My claims are well posted and marked so I thought the worst right from the start. I stopped short of them and got out but stayed close to the truck. I hollered to them asking what they were doing. There was no reply so I asked again but louder. One of the men was a pretty big guy about middle aged and the other looked younger. The big one said they were thinking of buying a claim. I told him these claims were taken and were well marked. The big one said he didn't see any markers. That was a lie because he had to walk right past one right near my hole. I called him out on it and told him I didn't think he was telling the truth and to get off my claim. He looked at me with a sneer and said I needed to prove this was my claim. I reached in my truck and pulled out the paperwork I always make sure to carry. He laughed and said that I might have made those papers up myself and they didn't mean anything to him until he checked the claim at the courthouse. He said he was going to dig some samples whether I liked it or not. The other guy just stood there not saying anything. I told him once more to leave. Both of them just looked at me with blank expressions & shook their heads no. That was about enough for me. I reached in my truck and pulled out my rifle. I leveled it right at them and pulled it up about two feet over their heads and sqeezed one off. They jumped and started looking nervously at each other. I told them the next one would be lower. Luckily they weren't armed. I tried to ask them where they were from but they wouldn't talk so I just told them to git and don't ever come back here. I fired another round over their heads and they high stepped it up the mountain.
It took me a while to settle down but I eventually got to work digging. Spent the rest of the day digging and loading buckets into the truck and took them down to the creek. I'll wash the gravels tomorrow and see what I get. I'm going to have to keep an eye peeled for claim jumpers now.

APRIL 24 1936
I woke up several times last night thinking I heard someone near my camp. I slept with my rifle at my side. I am on edge and keeping alert for sure. I don't think the hooligans know where I'm camped as they came in from the top of the mountain to the north of my dig area. Hopefully they won't be back. If they do, I will deal with them. I am wondering if I was followed from my visit to town but I don't think so.
Today I processed the gravels dug yesterday. Country rock seems to be at varying levels on the fault. I got some good coarse gold out of the heavies, I think enough to keep me working hard. I can load 20 buckets of gravel on the truck at a time. This is a bit shy of a ton. I should be able to bring down 50 to 80 buckets a day. I am dumping the buckets into a large metal holding container near the creek. It's shallow and low to the ground for easy dumping and shoveling work Then I will process gravels the next day. Alternating the work should help keep me from tiring too much. I am no stranger to hard work having done logging and farming as well as gold mining.
The small amount of gold I have mined thus far is hidden away in a can far from camp. That way if I am robbed the thieves will not get it. My journal is not kept at camp either. I am giving thought to bringing out a good mining friend to work with me. I have not made a decision on this yet but he is a good man and would come to the claim if asked.
APRIL 25 1936
The weather today was not fit for a dog. I may have been the only thing moving on the mountain. Cold and periods of heavy rain. I had a good dig which helped keep me warm. There was actually an area of loose gravel above country and I was able to take 90 buckets out. I am thinking this will be good pay. This area along the fault is like a treasure hunt. There may be some trapped gold waiting to be freed by my shovel.
As my day is ending the rain is also diminishing. I've got my tent stove providing much needed comfort. I am just too tired to cook supper so dried beef and crackers will do me fine. I will end my day with a good cup of Irish.
APRIL 26 1936
Glory days may be nearing. I spent the day shoveling onto the grizzly. The water flowed fast down the tom and I made good time for a tired prospector. I haven't finished all the panning but have got most of it done. The weigh was heavy with over five grams and change so far. I think I am on to something now. If I can stay on those geavels my payday will be a good one this week. There is no clue as to the depth & breadth of this paying material but I will do my best to follow it. I am on guard for claim jumpers as well. My rifle is always at my side.
APRIL 27 1936
I had a bear visit last night. I heard it moving around camp and I was able to dispatch it back into the woods using a whistle and a holler or two. I'd rather deal with a bear than a lion. I'd rather deal with a claim jumper in the middle of the night than a lion. I awoke to a better day than yesterday as the sun was coming up bright and clear. My mood was good and the gold was waiting for my shovel. The springs on my truck are not up to standard and I must be careful to avoid overloading buckets on the bed. Times are hard and I have no money to replace a broken spring. I feel that better times will come as the gold is found.
The day was spent back in the good gravels which seem rich and easier to dig and not requiring much pick work. I will learn more after washing them tomorrow. I worked very hard with only a few breaks and hauled out a total of 95 buckets which was even better than yesterday. If they prove as rich as I think and they are plentiful I will see my ship come to port.
APRIL 28 1936
Last night was peaceful with no critters in camp. After a good breakfast of meal and hot water cornbread I worked at washing the fault gravel. With a large grizzly and hopper over the head of the tom and good powerful water down the creek I was able to easily get all my work done and weighed well before dark. The gravels washed today were from a deeper area in the fault and proved out quite well. The weigh showed a little more than 7 grams with much of the gold course. Between my sampling efforts and my start at mining I am nearly to the one half ounce. I have it well hidden and will go back to the dig tomorrow. Tonight it will be hoover stew, corn bread, and whiskey.
April 29 1936
I think I have a problem, I leave no tools or buckets when I'm done for the day at the dig site. I do have a way to mark the dig area to let me know if anyone has been here besides me. When I arrived at the site this morning one of my marker indicators had been tripped and rock overturned. Someone is coming in here at night. Keeping an eye peeled I dug the good gravels deeper down. There seems to be no bottom to these as I am now at a depth of 7 feet or so. They continue to be easy work as well. I removed 90 buckets today and have the gravels in my holding container at the creek for processing. I am going back up to the dig before dark and see if I can catch the claim jumper. I'll bet it's the same two hooligans I ran off.

APRIL 30 1936
I spent a good part of the night near the dig site and watching for hooligans. I saw none. I hiked up with rifle in hand this morning and saw no evidence of trespassers. I don't think anyone could have known I was up there as I was well hidden unless my camp is being watched. I have not seen or heard anyone down here at the creek. I am uneasy and worried that I could be robbed. I have decided to go into town and contact my friend John about coming out to the claim. I will take my gold with me.
I finished up the gravels. These were taken deeper and a bit into the hill. There was good rounded river rock amongst the smaller gravels. Very heavy black iron. My weighs continue to get heavier with 10 grams in the pan. Upon contacting John by phone at town he is more than ready to come out here and should arrive in a day or so. It will be a good relief to have a friend and mining partner at the claim.
 

GhostMiner

Active member
May 1 1936
I drove up to the dig site and found nothing disturbed. I took a walk around the perimeter of the area and saw nothing out of the ordinary and went to work with my pick at loosening some heavy river rock. I dug out some loose gravel underneath one of the bigger stones. Before I put the material in the bucket I took a close look at it as it layed on the spade. To my surprise there were a number of pieces of gold about the size of a pencil eraser or a bit larger. I picked them out and put them in a small bottle in my pocket. I am definitely on to something here. The digging today was slower due to heavy rock that needed to be moved with my bar. I have no idea as to the depth and breadth of this gravel deposit. I am down close to 8 feet and digging to the wall of the pit adjacent to the fault. My strategy is to stay along this level and work the fault north and south as long as the pay stays good. My bucket count was down to 65 today but I have a good feeling about how the wash will come out.
I am expecting John's arrival tomorrow. He is a good friend and can be trusted. He is a veteran of the Great War and can handle himself in the face of adversity. He knows hard work as well as I do. Tomorrow I will wash the gravels and get a weigh.
TO BE CONTINUED ................
 

GhostMiner

Active member
May 2 1936
My good friend John arrived at the claims today. I brought him up to date on what has gone on. I will teach John the mining skills needed as he has never worked for gold prior to now. We have also decided to share security watch at the dig site. This will help put my mind at rest. We will also divide the gold equally and each of us will be responsible for the security of his gold. John brought with him his trusty Colt revolver as well as his old Henry. We are now well armed in case of trouble.
John helped me finish washing up the gravels from yesterday. We are both wearing big grins tonight. This was the heaviest gold weigh I have ever done anywhere. Good coarse gold and many small pieces fortified the weight of the pan. Out of those 65 buckets we made nearly half an ounce. I can hardly wait to dig those gravels tomorrow. It seems to me we have struck an area of raised country rock that may hold something special. Tonight I will stand first watch at the site and John will take the second. I am hoping we will not have any further troubles.
TO BE CONTINUED .........
 

GhostMiner

Active member
May 3 1936
I took first watch at the dig site last night which was uneventful. I got some sleep while John took second watch. About an hour before daybreak I was woke up by the crack of a gunshot - and then a second and a third. I quickly pulled on my boots and grabbed my rifle and ran up there. We had set up an agreed upon place to hide out and watch from. When I got there John was gone. I could hear something going on in the woods going up the mountain on the west side of the ravine. I cautiously walked in that direction with my rifle at the ready. John had thrashed his way about 50 feet up the mountain and stopped. There was a good moon and I could see his outline. I hollered out to him as he came back down. I asked him what was going on. At first he just shook his head as if to tell me not to ask. Then he told me the story.
John said something big came walking down the canyon from the north. Bigger than a man. He said maybe nine feet tall or so. Then a second one appeared right behind the first one. John said he watched the two creatures for about five minutes as they started getting closer. John figured they knew he was there. He said they looked like huge apes. One of them started shaking a tree and grunting. That's when he let loose with three shots from his rifle. He said he didn't try to hit them but shot over their heads. John said the two creatures took off up the mountain faster than any man could climb that rough terrain. He was all fired up and talking fast.
Seeing as it was almost daylight I said we ought to just get back to camp for breakfast. So that's what we did and we talked further on what happened. I've never gone in for this kind of stuff but I figure John to be very reliable and truthful. I couldn't say much about any of it because I wasn't there and eventually John settled down and we went about our work day.
Up on the fault I showed John where we would work and we started to dig. After a few days of teaching John the process we plan to split up with one digging and hauling down buckets while one washes gravels. We were still in the good gravels all day but the digging was still hard as we moved big rock with bars and pick work. The two of us did good and brought down 125 buckets for the day. Tomorrow we will both work the tom and then maybe John will know the work better. I will want to do this a few times until John is ok with working alone and I am sure he won't lose any gold. Tonight we are going to have a good supper of hash and bread and drink some good whiskey.
TO BE CONTINUED ............
 

GhostMiner

Active member
May 4 1936
John has his own camp set up next to mine. I went up on watch first and did some thinking while John got some sleep. I took my bottle of Irish with me. I know for a fact that he saw a lot of action in the war. Might this have affected his nerves? He's always seemed like a steady person to me.The other thing I don't want to admit is could these creatures have been the trespassers that disturbed the dig site at night? I took a drink and tried to put it all out of my mind. Every noise seemed magnified by my nerves. Now I not only worry about claim jumpers but also some kind of creatures and also John himself. I want to get as much gold as I can and get back to my home. I will defend myself and the gold by whatever means needed.
Once again I saw no activity and went back to camp. I decided to just let John sleep instead of waking him for his shift. In the morning John told me I should have woke him. I just said he needed a good rest after his trip to the claims. I had already hiked up there early and saw no disturbance.
We worked the tom all day and I taught John how to process the gravels. I told him I would help with the panning of the heavies until he got faster which takes some time. Anyway, we eventually finished up the work and did the weigh. We were down from the previous weigh with only a quarter ounce. Still not too bad but I have to admit to disappointment. I had worked the hole northward on the last dig. Tomorrow we will work it directly eastward into the fault. It will most likely require hard work. We will take our turns on watch tonight. Then we will work the digging together one more time before we divide our jobs.
TO BE CONTINUED ........................
 

GhostMiner

Active member
MAY 5 1936
Last night's watch was quiet. There didn't seem to be anything moving on the mountain. After breakfast I told John I wanted to divide our day. We would dig in the morning and take 30 buckets directly out of the fault as we worked it into the east. We moved rock with our bars and picked away at anything compacted. Around early afternoon we made two trips with the truck taking the buckets down to process. About supper time I had the panning finished with John's help. He was learning fast. Then came the weigh. I had pulled what I thought were very good pay gravels out of a nice pocket under some boulders. When we saw the scale I just blinked and started laughing. John asked if it was good. I said hell yes John, this is a good one. We had pulled just shy of an ounce out of 30 buckets. This must be a glory hole. We will glory hole the spot and get rich.
This was beyond rich to me and we proceeded to hoot and holler and broke out the bottle. My glory days are getting closer every day. We drank into the night and never did go up to the dig site on our watch shifts.
TO BE CONTINUED .........................
 

GhostMiner

Active member
MAY 6 1936
John and me woke up late this morning as we were both deep in our cups well into the night. We decided to go up to the dig site together and bring down 20 buckets and then wash them. Neither of us is up for hard work today but the excitement of seeing gold is pushing us to dig. The morning was clear and quiet with a warm sun. As we arrived with the truck we once again had a surprise. Three men I had never seen were at the hole and looking around. I did not see side arms on them but one carried a rifle. John always wore his Colt and we both got out of the truck with rifles in hand.
The three men looked to be in their thirties or forties and looked like a rag tag crew. I was in no mood to be pleasant and gruffly asked them what they were up to. The oldest man said they were looking to mine gold and were roaming the area looking for likely places. He said it looked like we had a big dig going and asked if we were on good ground. I told him the ground was all claimed up with all the filings done legal. He asked me if we needed a crew for digging and said they would work for gold. I just laughed and said we hadn't even found any gold but were stubborn in our efforts. He asked me if I knew of any good areas ready to be tested and worked. I bluntly said no, nothing around here. The three of them kind of looked at each other and said thank you and hiked up the mountain. We watched them until they were out of sight.
John looked at me and asked what I thought of them. I said I didn't think much of them and they looked no good to me. He agreed and said we need to make sure to stand our watch tonight. My head was pounding from all the whiskey but I worked the bar and shovel along with John. We kept the rifles close. As we worked the heavy ground east into the heart of the fault we encountered a large boulder maybe six feet in diameter. We went to work with pick and shovel while using a bar to move smaller rock beside and underneath the big boulder. The digging was very hard but we got 20 buckets down to the tom. We worked until nearly dark as we had got off to such a late start. Then we did a weigh. We had three and one half ounces in the pan. I nearly passed out and John started to cry.
TO BE CONTINUED ...............
 

GhostMiner

Active member
MAY 7 1936
Last night we stayed out of the whiskey and slept good. I took first watch and John was up there on second shift. Then things headed south once again. We were fixing coffee, biscuits, and bacon for breakfast when the three rag tags walked into camp like they belonged there. The one with the rifle said they tested ground all over the mountain the last few days and none of it looked any good. He asked again about his crew working with us for a small percent of any gold found and coffee and beans. Once again I told him we weren't finding any gold and didn't need anyone. Then he started to argue with me and said being camped up and such a big excavation going we must be on to something good.
John had stood up in front of the guy and had his rifle in hand. I was caught flat footed. The last statement by the guy made John snap. I had never seen this in the ten years I had known him. John rammed the butt end of the rifle into the guy's belly and he went down on his knees. Then John whacked him in the face with the butt end and he slumped over on his face. I jumped up off my chair ready for anything coming. One of the younger guys made a lunge at John but John caught him on the side of the head with the rifle barrel, withdrew it, and brought it up hard under his chin. He went down hard as well. The other guy stood there shaking.
The second guy eventually got up and was cursing up a storm at John. John made the guy tell him where they were camped. I'm not saying how he did this. Then John told him to pick up his friend who was still passed out and git. And he made them leave the rifle. After this we followed them up to where they had a rough camp set up. The first guy had come around by now. We busted up their camp and told them to pack up and leave the area. John told them that if he saw them on our claims again it would go even rougher for them. They left but they weren't happy about it. Regardless of what anybody hears about this event this is the way it all happened.
By then it was nearly noon so we decided to both go up and dig for a few hours and get back down to the creek until we felt sure they weren't coming back. We only dug 15 buckets and worked the tom. Once again we got a cracker jack return on our labor. Almost one and one half ounces. We are in something special.
TO BE CONTINUED .............................
 

GhostMiner

Active member
MAY 8 1936
I am beginning to worry about John. He is jumpy and in bad sorts some of the time and has little patience nearly all of the time. I fear he has a very bad case of gold fever. John is new to this game and we both have reason enough for the fever as we are seeing gold I could never dream of. I am doing my best to keep him on an even keel.
Last night was quiet. Today John took his shot at working the dig sight and I made adjustments to the tom and grizzly until the first buckets arrived. I gave John good direction on where to dig and the gravels to look for. What he brought down I washed - a total of 32 buckets for the day. The digging is very hard now. John helped me finish up and we did the weigh. It is remaining high grade with over an ounce made. We will stay on this spot until it's played out. Maybe it will never be played out, I don't know.
We are both keeping our own gold in seperate locations. I do not know where John has his and he knows not where my gold is hidden. Tomorrow we will switch jobs with me digging and John running the tom. I will do most of the panning of heavies as John is still slow at that. I am tired. Both in the body and mind. I must worry about John and also any hooligans that may show up. I sleep with my rifle and it never leaves my sight.
TO BE CONTINUED .................
 

GhostMiner

Active member
About GhostMiner : I am the president of a small gold mining & exploration company that has claims in the northern Sierra Nevada Mts of California. We also lease claims.
 

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Odanscoils

Well-known member
About GhostMiner : I am the president of a small gold mining & exploration company that has claims in the northern Sierra Nevada Mts of California. We also lease claims.
Cool
As much as I'd love to hit the SanGabriels.
Doubt I'll ever set foot in commiefornia.
 

GhostMiner

Active member
The actual area the journal is based on. Some of his diggings and gold we found at the site. The journal is based on an old government report on the northern mining property.
 

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GhostMiner

Active member
MAY 10 1936

At breakfast I told John that I wanted to go up and dig again and see if the kettle would widen out some. I had put a dent in its gravels yesterday. So John caught a little sleep while I drove up there. I eagerly got to work shoveling gravel into buckets and seeing if the rich pay would widen out. It seemed contained to this small area so I shoveled what was in there. After I took 10 buckets down to John to start his day I went back up and kept digging. I eventually took a break. I grabbed the rifle and took a seat on a log near the hole when I thought I heard something moving up in the woods on the mountain. I heard what sounded like a branch break and someone or something falling through the limbs of a tree. Then there was the sharp crack of a rifle shot.
Rifle in hand I dove into the hole which was a good eight feet deep. I looked around but couldn't see anything. Then there was another shot and the bullet had struck one of my buckets that was near the hole. I was pinned down. John had to hear the shots and would come running. Camp was less than half a mile away and sound traveled here.
Eventually I heard John holler to me was I ok? I hollered back yes and told him what was going on. He had war experience. He told me to stay put and he'd try to scout the area. I waited for a good twenty minutes or so and John came back from the north hiking down the ravine. He said he couldn't find anyone but maybe we both better get back to camp. I didn't want to leave the buckets of pay so we both loaded them on the truck. There were 15 of them. Then we went back down to camp and got a surprise.
Our camp had been robbed. They stole our gear and food but left the tom and grizzly alone. Our tents were ok as well. Lucky our gold was well hidden and not touched. We figured whoever these hooligans were they must have planned this out. Create a diversion at the dig site while the rest of them robbed our camp and carried off what they could. John was madder than I'd ever seen him. He told me he would kill them if he found them. I calmed him down and said we still had our gold and more buckets to wash and we could go to town and get supplies to replace what they stole.
So I took the truck to town while John washed gravels and kept a lookout on camp as best he could. I got back after a couple of hours and there was no further trouble. I helped John finish up the heavies and we weighed up the gold. What we saw in the pan made us almost forget about the robbers for a minute or two. We got 43 ounces out of the 25 buckets. I did some figuring and it was a better percentage per bucket than yesterday. John asked me if I thought this would keep going. I told him the kettle was nearly played out but maybe one more good day. We both stayed in camp that night and took turns on watch. I drank some Irish whiskey to ease my mind.

TO BE CONTINUED .................
 

GhostMiner

Active member
MAY 11 1936
By now we have over $5000 in gold. John and I decided not to involve the law out here as we feel that might lead to worse trouble if information gets leaked in town. We both decided to handle any problems ourselves. I went up to the dig this morning and John held watch at camp while waiting for gravels. I dug a good part of the day while also hauling down buckets for John. The kettle is played out. I was able to get 52 buckets. These gravels were taken at or near the bottom and I was hopeful for a big day. I was right to be hopeful. The weigh was heavy once again. We got a haul of 72 ounces. We now have nearly $8000 in gold between us. For me this is nearly four years wages. I looked at John and told him we had a chance to get rich, we just need to find another pot hole in the old channel. John asked me if I thought I could find another one. I told him it was in the hands of God but I would try. I told John we had done what few miners had ever done, we had worked a glory hole. We just need to keep digging along the fault north where the old hydraulic boys stopped. The work will get much heavier now as we need to dig much more gravel to get to pay. We will soon be coming to summer months and creeks will slow. That is another thing we will face. I think we have another six or seven weeks before our water supply for washing gravels becomes an issue. After that we will need to rocker box the gravels which will be very slow compared to the tom in a fast creek or we need to get a pump. I'm going up to the dig on first watch with a bottle of my Irish tonight while John gets some rest.

TO BE CONTINUED .................
 
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