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Lost Gold At The Dead Man's Mine

June 12 1936

We didn't do any digging as far as buckets of pay go yesterday. We worked at widening out the top area and ramping the trench for preparation of working there again. I finally gave in to my crew and tomorrow we will resume the glory gravels. I took John up to the site along with Jacob and we chopped away at making everything accessible by foot for now. It was hard work but it will pay off by saving time once we get deeper. We also dropped a few more trees and bucked them up for any timbers we might need for bracing the side walls.
After supper John and me had a long talk man to man. I explained to him we didn't need any more trouble that might cause us issues. I told him I appreciated his loyalty to his crew but we need to keep it calm if possible. We have a limited time to be here working before snow comes, possibly as early as October. I am hoping to have us all set financially by then. John seemed to listen to what I said and we shook hands and opened up a bottle.
All four of us sat by the fire that night looking at the night sky, rolling burley shag, and swapping stories. We talked about farming and gold and all kinds of things. The whiskey went down and we opened another. Pretty soon we were all drunk as sailors who had just got to port after six months at sea. Finally we sent Will up to stand watch. I told him to take Jacob with him. Hell, by then it was past midnight. John and me finally put up the bottle and went to bed.

TO BE CONTINUED .................
JUNE 13 1936

This morning we took Will up with Jacob and me to the dig site and worked the trench. It was a pleasure to get back into those gravels. We were also visited by two deputies who were investigating John's beating of the bounty hunter. Just what I didn't need or want to deal with. I backed John's story which we had worked out in case of the law dogs appearing at the mine. I told them that the bounty hunter had threatened John and lunged at him because John wouldn' take him as part of our crew. One deputy said that wasn't what he was told and why did John take his guns from him. I said the bounty hunter was reaching for his pistols and John was left with no choice but to defend himself and take the guns from him. The deputies looked at each other and went away to talk by themselves for several minutes. When they came back the deputy in charge said they had no proof either way as to what happened and couldn't make an arrest unless there was more evidence. They made John give them the bounty hunters guns though. Before they left John told them to tell the bounty hunter to stay away from our mining camp. They agreed.
With that out of the way we worked the rest of the day and brought down 280 buckets. Hopefully we will see good gold at the weigh tomorrow. We all talked around supper about trying to keep everything from developing into trouble that brought the law down on us. We need to protect ourselves and our goods but not go too far in doing so unless we have no choice. We all had a few drinks of whiskey and Will took first watch.

TO BE CONTINUED ....................
JUNE 14 1936

The weigh gave us two ounces. The gravels in the trench are steady pay and the work is not too awfully bad. We will stay with this plan and drive the trench deeper until we find country or another kettle. The days are getting quite hot with temperatures in the 90 degree area at the peak. At night it drops quickly after sundown and we wear heavy clothes to stay warm. We are all doing good, honest work and our pay exceeds every expectation for sure. We are a team now and all watch out for each other. I continue to hope for another big strike but even if that fails we are making hay with our efforts. There are many desperate people roaming about that would steal from us if given the chance.
Will worked at widening our dig area at a higher level today. Jacob and me worked nearly side by side with shovels clanking and sweat flying. The sounds of our work here echoes down the fault line. I have begun to see some country rock at the 10 foot depth but then it disappears under deeper gravels. To me this is showing a possible sign of a deeper hole to be dug which is just north of the first kettle. We are descending the trench in that direction. If only we could dig faster we would find our answer.
At the end of today's dig we took down a total of 245 buckets and it was hard earned pay. The trench has taken shape and getting quite large. If we do hit a deep kettle we will have to make a plan to get the buckets back up to ground level, especially if it becomes deeper than the first one.

TO BE CONTINUED ....................
JUNE 15 1936

One more ounce of gold was produced from the dig yesterday. We have dropped off the raised country rock and I have dug south picking it up again. We took 115 buckets of the country and ran out of pay. The area between the two lifted country slabs is about 8 to 10 feet in diameter. We are about halfway between our first and second holes and all trench work has now stopped. I am now thinking we have discovered another kettle in the channel at the base of the ancient waterfall. The depth of this pot hole is unknown. I panned some gravels at the surface with almost no color. This makes me think it is deep and gold is well below the surface.
I had John come up to have a look as well. We will start digging out gravels and John will process everything as we go and eventually see where the bottom lies. The top gravels are fairly easy digging and we got down a couple feet today and removed 140 buckets for a total of 255 buckets. We will process them separately.
At supper we talked about this new area and are all eager to find out what this kettle may hold. It could be the glory hole we are all dreaming of. For sure it is larger than the first one. Things have been quiet around here lately. It's been good to be able to concentrate on work for a change.

TO BE CONTINUED ..........
JUNE 16 1936

We got one ounce from the 115 buckets on country rock and another one half from the 140 buckets of supposed kettle gravels. Seeing as this one half ounce is at the top layer and weakest part of a pay channel this holds great hope to us. Could this be another big strike? Will, Jacob, and me worked hard digging the top of the kettle today. We found the digging not too bad and there is enough room for two of us to dig at once. We alternate the work with the third person carrying the buckets out to the truck. We are able to walk the buckets out at this depth. When we come up out of the kettle we are in the bottom of the trench. Then we walk our ramp out to the surface. We kept John busy today as we removed 220 buckets. I don't know what is harder work, digging or carrying two full buckets to the surface. John has become quite proficient at washing gravels and at panning as well. He is now a first rate miner for sure. We all earned a good supper tonight and made a good dinner of hash and hot water corn bread. John said he was seeing good color in the heavies so tomorrow's weigh is holding some promise. My whiskey is a comfort to me and eases the tiredness of my body and helps me sleep. Jacob and Will are not big users of spirits but will toast with John and me most evenings.

TO BE CONTINUED .........................
JUNE 17 1936

Another ounce in our till from yesterday's haul. We are all working our system now like a well oiled machine. The days are long and hot and it seems I never can have too much water. The kettle is now dug several feet below country level and we move the gravels at a steady pace with little talk between us except for the occasional grunt or curse word. The crew is able to work long days with good light. The creek has slowed quite a bit but we have not needed the pump yet. At the level we are working the rock is small and being the size of a baseball mixed with smaller stone and gravel. We have not needed the bars yet. I have become accustomed to the work although I look forward to a long rest at the end of our season. We all pushed hard towards the day's end delivering 260 buckets to the tom. Will will need to help John finish up the weigh tomorrow morning as we kept him under heavy load. There have been no new prospectors hiking up the creek. Perhaps the word is out that there is a good crew working the best ground and with desperados roaming the mountain coming out this way is not safe.

TO BE CONTINUED ..........
JUNE 18 1936

We are all happy miners. We took three ounces from what I now am fairly certain is another kettle. I don't think we have even scratched the surface. This one appears to be much larger than the first but we still have no knowledge of its depth. Only God knows what may lie at the bottom. Jacob and Will are developing the fever and now rival John in this regard. I am doing my best to keep everyone focused on the job at hand and telling them we don't know how much gold we will get and keep our expectations realistic. I fear it is falling on deaf ears as the talk in camp is of buying all kinds of things with the gold. All I can do is keep them all working towards our goal of getting it all before the season ends while staying safe.
If anything, this gold is acting as fuel for the crew. I tell everyone to work at a steady pace and don't burn out. The days now are over 90 degrees every day but at night it drops sharply at sunset and gets cold. The air is very dry and we all drink lots of water all through the day. We haven't seen rain for two weeks. Gravels are still fairly easy and the buckets are flying out of the dig. We took 290 out today and are exhausted. We should all sleep good tonight. I am drinking whiskey with John and dreaming of home.

TO BE CONTINUED ...................
No offense meant by leaving but the forum here is low view & little to no interaction to have the journal posted. Just not a good fit. Cheers.