Thursday, April 27, 2006

Green Valley, Fifty Years Ago

Today I rec'd this interesting missive:

I was searching the web in hopes of finding some of the old books that detailed the tertiary channels around the Gold Run and Green Valley area and came across your fantastic essay regarding the placer mining history of the area.

I had five placer claims along the North Fork of the American between Green Valley and Euchre bar during the second half of the nineteen fifties. I lost all heart for mining after my wife "wisely" divorced me over my addiction to the life away from all people in the canyon. :-)

Those days were hard times and the only way in and out was by walking and packing everything on ones back.

I became fascinated by what little history I could become aware of and would spend hours visiting and talking with George Veach the man who built the cabin on the south side of the river just short of Giant Gap. I also spent hours talking with the fellow named Stewart who lived in the Gold Run Diggings. He told me many stories about his father the mining engineer and the Chinese who worked in the tunnels under his property.

I and my partners would spend hours walking through the tunnels and even camped over night a few times in them on sand bars along side the flowing water.

I don't know about now, but in the nineteen fifties Chinese people would come every year in a group and hike down to Hayden Hill and hang paper tributes and set off fire crackers in honor of those who died during the land slide. Old George claimed there was thousands of dollars in gold in the part of the sluice that no one ever found. Once crawling on hands and knees under the manzanita brush, I came across the old Hayden Hill blacksmith shop. Nothing of wood remained but there were hundreds of placer mining hand tools and monitor parts. They all disappeared with the coming of helicopters.

Besides working by hand, we had some of the early suction dredges and we worked under water a lot. Once we found under many feet of gravel, a French silver coin dated 1852.

Jim O

So, there it is again, the Chinese of Hayden Hill. But this begins to ring a little truer.

I hope to talk with Jim soon.

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