Thursday, May 28, 2015

Klondike Gold Rush of 1896

Gold was discovered in British Columbia in the Cassiar districts, in 1873, and miners entered the Yukon region, in 1882. In 1886, coarse gold was discovered after Forty-mile Creek was found, sending shock waves of excitement through the Yukon country.

In August 1896, George and Kate Carmack, Skookum Jim, and Dawson Charlie, discovered gold on Bonanza (Rabbit) Creek, a tributary of Klondike River. Two weeks later, gold was found on Eldorado Creek, a tributary of Bonanza.

In the fall of 1896, news of the Klondike strikes reached Circle City, and miners departed for Dawson. Building began at the new site of Dawson City, Yukon Territory. By September 1896, Bonanza Creek is fully staked out and many claims were already producing.

During the winter of 1896-97, miners worked the Klondike mines, removing millions of dollars in gold. The summer of 1897 brought news and spectacle. The day of July 14 exploded as the steamship Excelsior arrived in San Francisco, California with a half million dollars worth of gold on board, and wondrous stories of the Klondike Gold Rush hit the news wires. Three days later the steamship Portland docked in Seattle and 68 miners unloaded one million dollars worth of gold in front of a crowd of 5,000.

During July and August 1897, miners left Seattle and other cities for the Klondike. By September of that same year, 9,000 had left the Port of Seattle. Ships bearing the first stampeders arrived in Dyea and Skagway, Alaska or steamed directly up the Yukon River to Dawson City.

Oliver Millett of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, staked a claim on Cheechako Hill, far above Bonanza Creek, that produced a half million dollars worth of gold. A staking rush of the nearby hills began. In the winter of 1897-98, writer Jack London and an army of miners trudged over the White and the Chilkoot Pass trails.

In the spring of 1898, thousands left Seattle and other cities for the Klondike. The population of Yukon peaked at over 30,000. Dawson City became the largest Canadian city west of Winnipeg. The ice on Lake Lindemann and Bennett Lake thawed and an armada of more than 7,000 boats began their water journey to Dawson City.

Unfortunately, more than 60 men and women were killed by a snowslide on the Chilkoot Trail. Through the summer of 1898 between 20,000 and 30,000 potential miners had reached Dawson. Gold was discovered at Anvil Creek, Alaska. Two years after the Great Seattle fire of June 6, 1889, the city began to regrade downtown to expand the commercial district. More than $22 million worth of gold was pulled out of the creeks. Roughly $2.5 million was pulled out in 1897 and $10 million in 1898.

In the spring of 1899, more than a million dollars worth of property and 117 buildings are destroyed in a fire in Dawson City. The town site of Nome, Alaska, was staked out and established. The summer of 1899 brought change and growth to the Alaskan and Canadian gold territories, the railroad came to Alaska as the first White Pass and Yukon Route train ran from Skagway, Alaska, to Carcross, Yukon.

A year later, the line to Whitehorse was completed. When gold was discovered on the beaches of Nome, Alaska, two thousand arrived to extract it, and the next gold rush began. The Klondike Gold Rush was officially over. A Steamer arrived in Seattle in October 1899; it carried Nome miners and gold.

Early in 1900, from January to May, one to 2,000 miners went down the Yukon to Nome, and ships sailed from Seattle for the Nome gold beaches with up to 20,000 passengers on board. Throughout the summer of 1900, thousands descended on the Nome beaches to dig for gold in the sand. From 1901 through 1904, big things happened in Alaska and in Seattle.

Thanks to the Alaskan and Canadian Gold Rush and the rebuilding of Seattle and San Francisco, the annual volume of business in Seattle topped out at more than $50 million. Gold was discovered in the Tanana Valley of Alaska, and the city of Fairbanks was established. The Alaska Club, a Seattle organization of miners who had struck it rich in the Alaskan and Canadian gold territory and other Alaskan businessmen, was created.

Between the years of 1906 and 1916, Seattle grew significantly in size and recognition. Part of the re-growth of Seattle became apparent when, in 1906, the Schwabacher Company constructed a new eight-story building at First and Jackson in Seattle. In 1908, the Alaska Club and Arctic Club merged in Seattle, bringing together as one group the Seattle and Alaskan businessmen. The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition was a world's fair held in Seattle on the grounds of the University of Washington, in 1909, publicizing the development of the Pacific Northwest. The grounds design was achieved by the Olmsted Brothers. Also in 1909, the Statue of William Seward was placed in Seattle's Volunteer Park.

Seattle's ocean-borne commerce reached a new high of $155 million in 1914. Between 1915 and 1916, Alaska exported nearly $50 million in gold, silver, copper, other minerals and salmon to the United States. One of the benefits Seattle received from the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896 was the ability to rebuild the city. In 1916, the Construction of the Arctic Building in Seattle was the physical manifestation of the design work of A. Warren Gould.

Alaska gold rush

Finding your fortune in Alaska required planning, money, stamina and luck. Travelers were at the mercy of the weather, the wilderness and sometimes from their own traveling companions.

     Let's explore the difficulties the gold-seekers faced getting to the gold, let alone finding it. We will piece together stories using diaries, newspapers, maps, photographs and objects people used during their journey.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Historic Scheelite Queen Gold Mine – 20 acre lode claim – Amasa Valley, Utah

The Amasa Valley is one of the most remote areas of the state, tucked high in the House Range, the Amasa Valley is know for its prevalent and free-milling gold. There is still an active placer operation less than 1 mile from the Scheelite Queen mines, and gold ore bodies were seen throughout the workings of the Scheelite Queen.

Overview of the Claim

The Amasa Valley has some of the most historic and richest mines in the state of Utah. It's also in one of the most remote areas of the state. Tucked high in the House Range, the Amasa Valley was noted as early as 1800 for visible gold. Massive old trees that had been carved into sluice boxes and shaker boxes have been found in Amasa Valley. Also reported were old, old mines with rich iron and gold ores.

Most of the excitement quickly passed as the valley was only accessible 6 months out of the year and rich deposits were opening up in California and Colorado.

The Scheelite Queen is one of the most significant mines in the valley. The first recorded production was in 1943. At that time the miners were working hundreds of feet underground, meaning that the history of the mine stretched back farther than 1943, and that in 1943 the mine had just been re-discovered. An old cabin outside of the lower adit dates to 1903 from an inscription inside. Proof that the mine existed far before its recorded 1943 start date.

The gold up in this area is prevalent and free-milling. Placer operations are happening in the bowl of the valley, but not below the valley. This leaves no doubt that the lode gold is still in the valley as there is nowhere else for it to go.

The terrain is rough and the weather is unforgiving. When snow sacks you in, it will be deep and harsh. This is the high country and just like Colorado or Montana, you should plan to be out when the weather moves in.

The roads are in very good repair, but steep and rocky. A full size 4WD will have no problem making it up to the sites.

The claims up here have been held for decades and rarely open up. It's a great opportunity to own some of the richest

“The most important piece of your mining claim is that actual mining claim documentation and location. While other fly by night operations may have the best of intentions, they often get it wrong. This results in you, as a customer, not getting what you paid for. GRE has been documenting, writing and transferring mining claims for over 10 years. We know what we are doing. From our in-house notaries to our master land surveyors, we get the job done right, and we back it up in writing. GRE Guarantees that this mining claim has been written correctly and accurately. It has been physically staked on all corners with GPS embedded images for clear verification. GRE will provide documentary evidence of all paperwork and location staking for the claimant.

GRE works hard to make sure that everything we do is perfect, but occasionally we may make a mistake. So while it is understood by the Customer and GRE, that all attempts have been made to verify accuracy and location in relation to this claim, we want to go one step farther. In the case of inaccuracies or other issues that may impact your claim, GRE will amend or modify and record any documents and physical monuments as deemed necessary at no cost to the buyer.

GRE guarantees this mining claim to be exactly as described and pictured. Please view all images and read complete claim description. We spend a lot of time and effort to document all aspects of each mining claim.

This Guarantee is not any sort of guarantee of mineral content, reserves or future earnings. Assay reports, Reserves, and mineral values are provided as they have been recorded by United States Geological Surveys, and state and local mining reports. Historical records and production are provided for information only. GRE strongly advises all potential claim owners to educate themselves about mining claims. Please be fully aware of what is conveyed with this mineral claim. If you have questions about mining, mining law, processing or even other properties, please contact us. GRE is here to help the small miner work and support the development of mining in this new era of Mining in America.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. We have over 20 years of experience with Mining and Mining claims, we are here to assist you in any way possible. Our offices are open from 9am to 5pm MST, Monday through Friday.”

Total Workings

The workings total roughly 1000' total and there are a lot of small workings around the claim that are unaccounted for.
Historical Value

Very high historic value. Writings in the mines tell a good story and the history of the general area is amazing.
Accessibility and Location

Access is easy but does require 4WD for some steep ascents and off-camber approaches. Location is like no other. The Amasa Valley is stunning.
Mineral Value

Values at this site are in gold. There is a long history of gold and there is an active gold recovery operation in the valley.

Seasonal water is sporadic to say the least, some small pinion pines for firewood. There is very little shelter at the site. A small, old cabin could be refurbished.

Historic Phillipsburg Mine – 20 acre Lode Claim – Eureka County, Nevada

The Phillipsburg Mine was the primary producer for the Diamond Mining District. The Mine was discovered in 1864 by a man named Phillips. There was a bonanza with some ore measuring 6 ounces of gold and 20 ounces of silver per ton. A rush was made on the area, but the majority of the ores came only from the Phillipsburg property. Reported in 1902, “a small community has endured with thousands of feet of underground workings that still show a profit after all these years.” According to maps and surveys, there are roughly 2800' of workings, not including stoping.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The California Gold Rush

The California Gold Rush, which occurred in the late 1840s, was one of the most compelling events in the history of westward expansion. Thousands of people caught “gold fever” and decided to go west in order to “see the elephant,” as the great adventure was often called. Lightly populated by American Indians, Spanish missionaries, and traders, California passed into the hands of the United States as a result of the Mexican War of 1846–48. A number of American settlers, including the ill-fated Donner Party, had already made the overland trek from the east, but the situation was about to be rapidly transformed. On January 24, 1848, James Marshall, overseeing construction of a millrace at Sutter’s Mill on the American River, noticed flakes of metal in the water. Various tests, including that the metal could be pounded flat unlike brittle pyrite (fool’s gold), convinced Marshall and his boss John Sutter that the material was in fact real gold. Despite their best efforts to keep the discovery a secret, word spread like wildfire and the mill was largely abandoned as workers caught the first cases of “gold fever.” The reaction of many was typified by J.H. Carson, who wrote, “A frenzy seized my soul…piles of gold rose up before me…”

 By 1851, the gold rush had made San Francisco a thriving port city.

Excitement spread to San Francisco via the leather lungs of Sam Brannan, who ran through the streets, hollering “Gold, gold, gold from the American River.” Before doing this, he had scouted out a suitable site for a store located adjacent to the diggings. This was an early indication of who would be the greatest profiteers from the Gold Rush. Before long, San Francisco emptied as men went off to the mines, while its harbor was jammed with ships abandoned by their crews, who did the same. People from as far away as Hawaii, Chile, and Peru arrived during the summer and fall of 1848, and in fact these “Forty-Eighters” often picked out the best sites for mining and had the most success.

Not surprisingly, word of the discovery was slow to reach the eastern United States during this pre-telegraph era. Thomas O. Larkin, consul at Monterey, sent dispatches describing the discovery to the east, while a tea caddy filled with gold was displayed at the War Department in Washington, D.C. President James K. Polk gave great publicity to the gold discovery in his December 5, 1848 message to Congress, reporting that “the accounts of the abundance of gold in that territory are of such an extraordinary character as would scarcely command belief were they not corroborated by the authentic reports of officers in the public service.” It was now that the excitement really began, and thousands of people began planning their trip to California for the following spring.

 Gold-hunters heading for California from the East Coast could choose the hard and dangerous overland route — or take a steamship all the way around South America.

Forty-Niners coming to California from the east had three travel choices — whether to go by sea via Cape Horn or Panama, or overland. The amazing Cape Horn route was popular in the early days of the Gold Rush, with hundreds of vessels of varying quality making the more than 13,000-mile voyage around the tip of South America. If weather conditions were unfavorable, this voyage could take as long as eight months. Due to great demand, the ships were often jammed with passengers, and unsanitary conditions prevailed. A number suffered from scurvy from a lack of sufficient variety in their diet. Worse yet, since the crews often took off in search of gold once arriving in San Francisco, many people were left behind waiting for ships in the east. Others failed to account for the reversal of the seasons in the Southern Hemisphere, and suffered from bitter wind and cold as the ships rounded Cape Horn in July or August.

Some intrepid Forty-Niners saw a possible shortcut in the sea route — instead of going all the way around Cape Horn, why not cross through Panama in Central America? This route was indeed much shorter on paper, but suffered from its own pitfalls. In sailing from the east coast of the United States, one had to disembark on the Atlantic side of Panama, and since neither railroad service nor the canal existed at this time, cross overland across the Isthmus to the Pacific coast. The tropical climate and endemic diseases claimed many victims. Many people found that having to rely upon two ships for passage to San Francisco merely doubled their chances of being delayed, with disastrous results.

This map shows the various routes available across the United States in 1850. About the map

In spite of all of these difficulties, it has been estimated that as many as 25,000 persons made the sea journey to California in the aftermath of the gold discovery, or about as many as lived in the whole territory before 1848. These numbers were dwarfed by those who opted for travel by land. Many people already possessed much of the basic equipment, especially wagons, oxen, and mules, required for the trip, and those west of the Appalachians were relatively close to the trail. A good number of these Forty-Niners passed through St. Louis, where they were impressed by the hustle and bustle of the rapidly growing city. Others, such as William Swain, were appalled that St. Louis was “…dirty, with black narrow streets filled with cars drawn by mules. It is a bare heap of stone and brick, covered with coal smoke…” Merchants in St. Louis shipped supplies to Independence and St. Joseph, Missouri, the jumping-off points for the trail.

One of the biggest and most important decisions that those going overland had to make was when to embark on the trail. If a group started too early in the spring, they found that grass on the Great Plains might not yet be high enough for their cattle to graze upon, wearing out the teams at the very outset of the journey. On the other hand, if one started too late, much of the grass might be consumed by the animals of those who had started earlier, or worse yet, too many miners might already be at the diggings. Finally, there was the recent memory of the fate of the Donner Party, trapped in the Sierras with no food by the first winter snowfall of 1846–47. For all of these reasons, it seems that most overland Forty-Niners tended to start somewhat earlier than would have been best.

Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by a bacterial infection of the intestine. About one in twenty infected persons has severe disease characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these persons, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours. The disease can spread rapidly in areas with inadequate treatment of sewage and drinking water.

From Missouri as far as Fort Hall, in present-day eastern Idaho, most followed the already well marked Oregon Trail. The green travelers gained experience the hard way, suffering such accidents as being run over by wagons, shot by nervous companions, or even shooting themselves as they pulled a loaded rifle out of a wagon muzzle first. However, the greatest hazard of all certainly was disease, especially the dreaded cholera, with which a victim could be “merry at breakfast and dead at supper.” The foul water, incessant labor, grueling walks, and varying weather all contributed to the toll. For too many, as diarist Alonzo Delano put it, “the spade of the adventurer was first used to bury the remains of a companion.”

Past Fort Hall, a majority of the overland Forty-Niners followed the Humboldt River, soon to be nicknamed the “Hellbolt” or “Humbug.” Muddy and alkaline, the river diminished steadily as it meandered west. Such grasses as it supported were quickly worn thin by the vast numbers of cattle going to California. The Humboldt simply vanished into the sand at Humboldt Sink, in western Nevada. There began the most difficult part of the journey, the Forty Mile Desert to the Sierras. Although not far by the standards of the entire trip, the exhaustion of men and animals led to the trail becoming littered with discarded belongings and the corpses of horses, cattle, and humans. Finally surmounting with difficulty the heights of the Sierras, the Forty-Niners staggered into the mining camps. As historian Ray Allen Billington put it, they had “indeed been well tested.”

The great adventure of the mass migration to California completely changed the course of westward expansion. Up until 1849, there had been a gradual movement of Euro-Americans from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River and areas beyond, which were geographically contiguous. The only significant exception to this had been the movement of relatively small numbers of people along the trail to Oregon. Suddenly, more than 100,000 people leapfrogged the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, and western deserts within a period of just a few years, many employing St. Louis as a transit point. Motivated primarily by greed, these Forty-Niners also embodied other human qualities, including bravery and a search for adventure, which made their story timeless.