Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Mining History at Gold Run

The 1884 Sawyer Decision more or less ended hydraulic mining in the Sierra.

With respect to the patented claim on Canyon Creek known as the Canyon Creek Placer Mine (CCPM), part of the 800-acres-now-for-sale at Gold Run, we obtain a snapshot of the CCPM in 1867, when the discerning eye of J. Ross Browne was cast over the mines of the area [Resources of the Pacific Slope, 1869, New York, D. Appleton].

At that time the CCPM was owned by "Kinder and White." Soon it would pass to the Gold Run Ditch & Mining Company; much later, it would belong to James Stewart the Younger, the son of the man twice mentioned below, the son whose name is forever attached to the Gold Run Diggings (labeled the "Stewart Gravel Mine" on the USGS Dutch Flat quadrangle). But no one lives forever, and the Stewart lands passed to the Pohleys of Auburn, and thence to a group of investors sometimes called Gold Run Properties.

And now it is all for sale.

Browne's essay would benefit much from a map of the area, and a detailed map of the mines; I have such maps, and know the long-forgotten names of the ravines leading into Canyon Creek across the Gold Run Diggings--from north to south, Rock Creek, Goosling Ravine, Gold Run Ravine, Potato Ravine, and Judd Ravine.

Judd Ravine is crossed by the Canyon Creek Trail just south of the great tunnel of the Gold Run Ditch & Mining Company.

The Blue Lead was the gold-rich stratum of deepest Eocene sediments, lying on the bedrock floor of the ancient river channel. "Lead" is pronounced to rhyme with "feed" or "mead" and is closely related to the word "lode."

So. Here are the Gold Run. Mines, in 1867.

GOLD RUN.-On the Railroad divide, between Bear river and the north fork of the American, the Blue lead appears at Dutch Flat, Gold Run, and Indiana Hill. The width of the lead here is nearly half a mile, and there are 200 or 300 feet of pay gravel, with no overlying barren stratum. Squire's ca–on, which empties into Bear river, separates Dutch Flat from Gold Run. The latter did not obtain a large supply of water until lately, and therefore its best claims have not been exhausted, and it is the most prosperous hydraulic camp in California. Nine thousand inches of water are used here, requiring a payment of $1,000 a day or more in gold. The gravel is peculiarly soft and there is great depth, so that high power is obtained, and more dirt is washed in proportion to the quantity of water used than in any other large hydraulic district.

GRAVEL AT GOLD RUN.-The bed of auriferous gravel at Gold Run is about 350 feet deep, of which only about 150 feet have been worked so far. The sluices are therefore 200 feet above the bed rock. A shaft was sunk 185 feet deep in Potato ravine to the bed rock, and the bottom of that ravine is below the level of most of the sluices. It is to be presumed that the bed rock in that shaft is no lower than elsewhere in the channel. Pay gravel was found all the way down, and it was soft until within six or eight feet of the bottom. This vast bed of gravel two miles long, half a mile wide, and 250 feet deep, cannot be washed away for many years.

OUTLET.-Although the ca–on of the north fork of the American river is at least 2,500 feet deep, yet it is two miles distant from Gold Run, and the tailings must run into Ca–on creek, which near the claims is only 150 or 175 feet below their levels. Several claims have been compelled to stop work because they no longer have any outlet. An outlet must be obtained 200 feet deeper than Ca–on creek, and it must be had without waiting for the gradual washing out of the Blue Lead channel from the ca–on of the north fork of the American river. That outlet will be through a tunnel about a mile long, and from this tunnel shafts will run up to the various claims. It will be very costly, but on the other hand it will yield an immense return.

FACILITIES FOR PIPING.-There is no prettier hydraulic washing than that at Gold Run. The gravel is very soft, it is deep, water is abundant with a high pressure, the claims are large, and there is no superincumbent layer of barren matter. In proportion to the amount of work done fewer men are employed at Gold Run than at any other camp in the State. At Smartsville much time is spent in blasting; at La Porte, in puddling; at Dutch Flat, in attending to large boulders; but none here. Two men are sufficient here to do all the work in a claim that uses 300 inches of water. As an inch of water is equal to a supply of 145 pounds per minute, or 8,700 pounds per hour, or 102,900 pounds (51 tons) in 12 hours, so it follows that 300 inches supplies 15,000 tons in a day; and as the water carries off at least one-tenth-the ordinary calculation is one-fifth-of its bulk of earthy matter, it follows that two men wash 1,500 tons at Gold Run in 12 hours, or 750 tons each. It is a common saying at Dutch Flat that there three pipes are required to break down as much gravel as the water of one can wash away, but in Gold Run one pipe will break down as much as three can wash away. This is an exaggeration when stated as a general principle, though it has been true in some instances.

CA„ON CREEK.-Ca–on creek runs from Gold Run along the eastern border of the Blue Lead 3 1/2 miles down to Indiana Hill, where it empties into the north fork of the American river. This creek furnishes the outlet for many of the claims. The original bed of the creek was in general 350 feet below the surface of the lead, or "gravel range," as it is also called, but the bed has been in some places filled up as much as fifty feet with gravel.

WATER.- Piping was commenced at Indiana Hill on a small scale in 1857, with 400 inches, supplied in the late winter and early spring by a ditch from Ca–on creek. Four years later the Dutch Flat ditch brought to Gold Run 800 inches, which ran for six or seven months, and have since been doubled; and the Bear River ditch brought in 800 more; and in 1864 [1865-RT] the South Yuba ditch brought in 2,500 inches. The demand for water has always exceeded the supply, and as the supply increased so did the amount of work and of production. (Gold Run produced $150,000, in 1865; $300,000 in 1866; and the yield for 1867 is estimated at $500,000. The customary price for water is 12 cents per inch for 12 hours, and 20 cents for 24 hours.)

SQUIRE'S CA„ON CLAIMS. -On the southern lode of Squire's ca–on , in the Gold Run district, are the following claims, commencing at the east: Frost & Co. began work in 1865, wash through an open cut, use 300 inches of water, and usually run in day-time only, though they have run night and day at times. W. H. Kinder began work in 1866, uses 300 inches of water, washes through an open cut, and runs in day-time only. Wentworth & Co. began work in 1866, use 300 inches of water night and day, and wash through an open cut. A. Bell & Co. are running a bed rock tunnel, and have not commenced washing. Wolcott & Co. began work in 1867, and the claim was sold in June for $3,500. They use 300 inches of water in daylight only, and wash through an open cut, but intend to cut a tunnel. The Bailey claim, consisting of 21 claims, each 100 by 200 feet, has not seen opened, and no work is being done. Crader & Co. began in 1867, and use 175 inches day and night.

CA„ON CREEK CLAIMS.-The claims which have their outlet into Ca–on creek are the following, near the head of Squire's ca–on : The Rock Company opened their claim in 1866, and used 250 inches of water, running day and night. They are not piping now, but are preparing to lay a long pipe so as to have a heavy pressure for 1868. Hughes & Co. opened their claim in 1866, but are not at work now. A. S. Benton opened his claim in 1867, and uses 300 inches of water by day light only. The Harkness claim has been worked by sluice and pipe for 10 years, is now taking 650 inches of water day and night, and draining through an open cut. Behind Harkness is the claim of Halsey & Co., 900 feet long by 500 wide, which cannot be worked until an outlet is obtained through the claim in front. A fourth interest was offered for sale in last February for $2,000, but no buyer appeared. It would have found ready sale if there had been an outlet. Next to Harkness, on Ca–on creek, is the claim of Goding & Co., who have worked off the top of their claim as low as they can go, and are now waiting for a deeper outlet. The claim of Benton & Co., adjoining, is in a similar condition. The Bay State claim was opened in 1857, and has been worked steadily since whenever water could be had. In 1866 it used 750 inches day and night; this year it used 350. The profit never has been large, though the gross yield has been $150,000, and the yield for 1866 $37,000. The claim of Abeel is in the same condition as that of Goding.

GOOSLING RAVINE CLAIMS.-Goosling & Co. have been at work since 1854. A ravine runs down through the middle of the claim, and they are piping on each side, using 300 inches day and night on one side, and 300 inches in daytime only on the other. Goosling ravine is in this claim. Prindle & Co. opened their claim in 1864, and used 275 inches of water day and night. Work has been closed for this season because the pipe has advanced to within 50 feet of a ditch, the proprietors of which have warned the claim owners that they will be held responsible for any damage to the ditch. Four ditches cross this claim. The outlet is through Goosling's ravine.. The Uncle Abe claim, behind Goosling, is irregular in shape, but is about 1,000 feet long by 850 feet wide. It was opened in 1867, and in April, May, and June, yielded $12,000. It was sold in May for $6,000. The consumption of water is 275 inches day and night.

LOWER CA„ON CREEK CLAIMS.-The claim of Winters & Co. has been worked three years, and is in the same condition as Goding's. The Bay State No. 2 is unopened. An offer of $3,000 for the claim was refused. The Hall claim was worked for two years, but is idle this season for want of an outlet. The claim of Taylor, Moore & Co. is about 1,000 feet square, was worked on a small scale from 1853 till 1865, and for the last two years has been piping on a large scale. It was sold this year for $11,000. The yield in "a run of 22 days," as a run of 11 days day and night is termed, is usually between $4,000 and $5,000. The Church claim was opened in 1860, and the yield in 1866 was $27,000. Three-fifths of the claim were sold in 1865 for $7,000. Of water, 275 inches are used in the day-time only. The Golden Gate claim began work in 1858, uses 300 inches of water in daytime only, pays well, and is the last claim that tails immediately into Ca–on creek.

GOLD RUN CA„ON.-The Gold Run claim began work in 1859, uses 300 inches of water in the day-time only, has paid well, and tails into Gold Run ca–on, which is on the southern side of the claim. An offer of $10,000 for the claim has been refused. The Fitzpatrick claim, fronting on Gold Run ca–on , has lately been sold for $2,100, and is now preparing to work with 300 inches of water. On the south side of Gold Run ca–on , and opposite to the Fitzpatrick claim, is the Sheldon claim, owned by the Dutch Flat Water Company. It has been worked several years, but is idle now. The Huyck and Hubbard claim, fronting on Gold Run ca–on, has a sluice tunnel, but is waiting for cheaper water, and doing nothing. The Home Ticket has been worked four years, and uses 350 inches in day time. The gross yield in May and June, 1867, was about $100 per day. The Newark was opened in 1863, uses 300 inches in the day-time, and yielded about $75 gross in June, 1867.

POTATO RAVINE.-The following companies tail into Potato ravine, a tributary of Ca–on creek: Baldwin and Bailey have been at work three years, using 275 inches of water in the day-time, and obtaining about $70 gross per day. The Harris claim is large and unopened. The Fitzpatrick claim yields about $75 gross per day, was opened in 1866, and consumes 330 inches of water in day-time. The Cedar Company have 900 by 800 feet, began work in 1861, run 300 inches day and night, and obtain about $230 in 24 hours. The yield in 1866 was $35,000, one-half of it profit. Stewart and Kinder have 500 feet square, fronting on both Ca–on creek and Potato ravine, but are not at work. Along Ca–on creek there is a rim rock, so they will tail into Potato ravine. They refused an offer of $1,500 for the claim. The Judd and Griffin claim, 1,000 feet square, has been worked since 1854, and was sold in 1866 for $3,500. The yield is about $75 per day, with 270 inches running twelve hours out of the twenty-four. To get drainage an open cut was made 600 or 700 feet long in the rim-rock, and in one place 40 feet deep. Huyck and Judd have one of the most profitable claims of the district on the eastern side of Indiana Hill ca–on, which empties into the north fork of the American river. They have been at work since 1854, use 275 inches of water in the day-time, and cleared $7,000 in 1866. The Hoskin claim adjoining is open, but is not worked.

INDIANA CEMENT MILL.-Mallory, Gaylord & Co. are working with an eight stamp cement mill, driven by a hurdygurdy wheel. Their claim is the only one in the district in which the bed-rock has been reached. Their mode of getting out dirt is to cut a tunnel 60 or 70 feet on the bed-rock, let off a blast of 200 kegs of powder, sluice off the top dirt, and run the cement through the mill.

INDIANA CA„ON CLAIMS.-The following claims tail into Indiana Hill ca–on. The Hawkins claim was opened this year, uses 350 inches night and day, and yields $200 in 24 hours. The Brink claim was opened in 1864, but is not worked now on account of disturbance of the telegraph or flume from which the pipe is fed. The yield was about $75 per day, and the quantity of water 300 inches. Work will be resumed next year. Stewart and Prindle opened their claim in 1867, use 200 inches day and night, and take out about $100 per day.

MOODY'S TAIL SLUICE.-In Ca–on creek Moody & Co. have a double tail sluice 2,000 feet long, consisting of two flumes, each eight feet wide and about four feet deep. This sluice cost $25,000. The lower part was carried away in 1862, and the upper part was buried and had to be replaced. The yield was $10,000 in 1865, $7,000 in 1866, and $3,000 in the first half of 1867. An offer of $11,000 for a third interest was refused. The estimated receipts for 1867 are $10,000. Most of the cleaning up is done in September and October, when there is not much water for piping.

KINDER'S TAIL SLUICE.-Kinder and White have a tail sluice in Ca–on creek and claim the creek for a mile and a half below Moody & Co. In the upper part of their claim they have two sluices eight feet wide and 700 feet long. Half of the sluice was sold in 1865 for $3,000, but since then it has become more valuable. The grade is three inches to 12 feet. This sluice was carried away in 1865. The following companies tail into the two tail sluices in Ca–on creek:

Companies Inches
Rock Creek...... 275
Benton & Co.... 350
Harkness......... 600
Bay State......... 350
Bell.................. 300
German........... 600
Uncle Abe....... 275
Taylor & Co..... 400
Church............ 275
Golden Gate..... 3OO
Home Ticket.... 350
Newark............ 300
Bailey & Bro..... 275
Fitzpatrick........ 300
Brogan............. 300

Total 5,250

The Gold Run tail sluice, in Gold Run ca–on , is 1,500 feet long, six feet wide, and yields $6,000 or $7,000 a year. It tails into Ca–on creek. Goosling & Co. have a tail sluice 3,000 feet long in Goosling ravine, and four companies tail into it. Two tail sluices are buried 20 or 30 feet deep in this mine. Huyck and Judd have 1,000 feet of tail sluice in Indiana Hill ca–on.

HOSKINS TAIL SLUICE.-The Hoskins tail sluice is in Indiana Hill ravine, which is so steep that the sluice is in short sections, the longest 24 feet, and between the sections the water pitches down over steep rocks. There are in all fifteen boxes of main tail sluice, six or eight feet wide and two or two and a half feet deep, with a grade of eight inches to 12 feet. Besides the main sluice boxes there are a number of undercurrent boxes, from six to nine feet wide, 14 inches deep, with a grade of 12 or 13 inches to 12 feet. Not more than one-fifth of the matter in the main sluice gets into the undercurrent, passing through a cast grating of white iron, with openings an inch wide, eight inches and a half long, separated by bars an inch and a half thick on top. There are usually from 600 to 1,200 inches of water running in the main sluice and 120 in the undercurrent, which latter catches three times as much gold as the former, because the current is slower and shallower. There are second undercurrents, or secondaries, as they are usually called. Their grade is 14 or 15 inches to the box, their width 30 inches, and their depth 12. They take one-fifteenth of the water of the undercurrent, and catch one-eighth as much gold. They are especially serviceable for catching quicksilver. The spaces in the grating are five inches long and three-eighths of an inch wide. There are three boxes of 12 feet to each undercurrent, and two to each secondary. The undercurrents always pay where the gold is fine, and the secondaries are especially serviceable in steep ca–ons.

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