Gambar halaman

$890,000 150,000

From Deer Lodge
From Bannack

Estimate for December:
From Helena..
From Virginia City
From Deer Lodge.
From Bannack.
Total silver in refined bars, 1871..
Base bullion (silver and lead) shipped by freight to Corinne, 50 tons,

valued at $300, silver, per ton...
Crude ore shipped by freight, 200 tons, valued at $50 per ton...

250,000 100,000 120,000

20,000 125,000

15, 000 10,000


To this amount should be added the amount in the hands of Chinese, who nsually sell only what is necessary for their current wants, and take it away when they go out of the country in parties; the amount retained by a class of men who believe the price will be higher-hoarders; the amount taken out of the country by individuals and parties of men who, this year, have availed themselves of going together in numbers of fifteen or twenty on the "fast-freight line," which takes them from here to Corinne in eight or nine days, for mutual protection, and to save express charges on their gold



I have submitted these figures to many of our leading bankers, merchants, and miners and not one has said I have placed the amount too high. Some of them believe the yield has been ten millions. The express agents think that I should double the amount shipped by express. The bankers and merchants agree that the yield this year is larger than it was last year, because their business proves it. The year has certainly been a prosperous one for Montana. The next year promises to be still more prosperons than the present. Much more snow has already fallen than fell all of last winter. This shows that we may expect an abundant supply of water next year, which is all we require for a season of great prosperity, because the bulk of our gold is the product of placer mines.


In Beaver Head County the old placer mines of Grasshopper Creek are still worked to a considerable extent. Their paliest days are, of course, gone by, and the rude methods of pan and rocker have long been replaced by sluice and hydraulic mining, and even these methods have not yielded very satisfactory results during this year. White labor is still very high, and it is evident that diggings must be very rich to enable the employer to pay $5 or $6 per day to his hands. At the same time there is such an unreasonable enmity of white miners against the Chinese, that those of the latter who came into Banpack in the spring to engage in mining were notified by the whites to leave at once. Now the majority of the inhabitants of Bannack would be glad to welcome them back, but they have engaged in other parts of the Territory, and for this year, at least, Bannack will certainly remain a dull camp as far as placer mining is concerned.

At the time of my visit there was only some sluice mining going on at claims on the bar opposite the town. I must add here that Bannack is situated on the north side of Grasshopper Creek, and that the productive ground which has been heretofore worked reaches from one and a half miles above the town (west) ta about six miles below it. A great part of the bed of the creek is practically worked out, and that part which is still untouched cannot be worked at present, on account of the costly raising of the gravel through shafts, water being at the same time very troublesome. But on the bars, though the majority of the rich claims here, too, are exhausted, there remains still a large field, especially for the time when labor shall have become reasonably low. Four

miles below town the White's Bar Ditch Company and the Cañon Ditch Company have had two hydraulics at work since the middle of May, the former company employing eleven, the latter four men. The gravel on the hill-side is here from 12 to 20 feet deep, the portion nearest to the slate bed-rock alone carrying gold. This auriferous stratum is found froi to 6 feet thick. The White's Bar Ditch Company has worked pretty regularly with eleven men since the middle of May, as above mentioned. Up to the 28th of July they had, however, only taken out $466. At the same time they expected to have twelve or fifteen hun. dred dollars in the fine dust closest to bed-rock, which is reserved for cleaning up when water becomes scarcer later in the season. So far, they had only worked a week and a half in cleaning bed-rock, and the returns for the last week had not come into town.

The Cañon Ditch Company had employed up to the 22d of July only four men, who made the necessary repairs on the ditch, which leaked in many places. Since then they employed fourteen men, washing off dirt. There had, of course, no clean-up been made up to the 28th.

The Pioneer Ditch Company have employed four to five men up to July 1, and since then only two. I am told that they have probably taken out $700 or $800 this year, but I could not obtain any definite information on this point.

The Spring Gulch Ditch Company, for which the four partners constituting it have done the work principally themselves, is reported to have taken out $5,000 this season. The gold from the Bannack diggings is, on an average, S35 fine. Since the 22d of July three companies of Chinese, about fifty in all, have commenced work several miles below Bannack. There is nothing known as to the yield obtained yet, but their diggings are thought to yield not above $2 per hand per day.' Indeed, Mr. L. Newman, the agent of Messrs. Wells, Fargo & Co., at Banpack, a gentleman who has the best opportunity for correct observations, thinks that there are but very few claims in Bannack and vicinity which will exceed the above yield.

At Horse Prairie Gulch, twenty-eight miles southwest of Bannack, the Yearing Brothers are reported to employ between thirty and forty men in their hydraulic claims, and Merrill's, II yde's, and several smaller claims employ about thirty more. About $11,000 have been brought into Bannack from this locality up to the end of July. The gold is found .900 to .910 fine.

The two principal buyers of gold in Bannack, Messrs. Wells, Fargo & Co., and Mr. Ike Roe, had bought, up to the time above mentioned, from the Bandack, Horse Prairie Gulch, and neighboring placers, $65,000 worth of gold. This amount has, of course, been considerably increased during the latter part of the year. Mr. Ike Roe writes me in Decemler that he alone had bought $60,000 up to that time. Information from Wells, Fargo & Co., applied for some time since, has not reached me at the time of this writing, but I feel sure that they cannot have bought less than $40,000 during the year. This makes the yield of gold of this district less than any previous year, and the reason for this is to be sought in the falling off of the placer yield.

The Dakota is the best-known quartz vein in the immediate vicinity of Bannack. It occurs about a mile below town, in the hill north of Grasshopper Creek. It is, unfortunately, divided up into a great number of very small claims, of which Nos. 1 to 3 and Nos. 6 to 10 inclusive, have been worked the most. No. 6 is better opened, and has bad more work done upon it than all the rest, although the entire length of the claim is only 100 feet. It belongs now to W.C. Hopkins alone, who has

bought out his former partner. The claim was worked for several years previous to 1870, when, for the first time, it lay idle during almost the entire year. About eight weeks previous to my visit to the district, work was recommenced on the mine, and it has since kept the mill busy.

The vein being, as above stated, best exposed in Dakota No. 6, the following statements refer more particularly to that claim. The vein strikes nearly east and west. It lies between a granite dike on the south and crystalline limestone on the north, and is, consequently, a contactvein. The dip of the granite wall being quite irregular, sometimes to the south and more frequently to the north, that of the vein is also varying, and the first exploring-shafts which followed the vein closely are therefore rather crooked. The width of the vein is also very variable, being from a few inches to 15 feet. The horses in the vein, which occur quite often in the larger portions of the vein, are always limestoue, never granite. The great bulk of the ore is a very dark-colored quartzy brown iron-ore, while around and in the limestone horses, down to a depth of over 200 feet, sheets and threads of green carbonate and soft black oxide of copper are always found. In a large bonanza, only lately discovered, quite near to the surface, these sheets of copper-ores are quite thick, from half an inch to an inch, and they completely envelop the limestone boulders, which lie very loosely in the brown ore. The greatest depth reached on the whole vein is 310 feet, in a shaft on No. 6. A long tunnel, which exposes numerous cavities filled with beautiful crystals of calc-spar, is also driven on this claim across the limestone into the vein, striking it at a point where it is at least 15 feet wide, 165 feet below the surface. For 20 or 25 feet before reaching the vein the limestone becomes quite brecciated and loose. From the bottom of this tunnel a shaft is sunk 145 feet deeper on the vein, which, for its entire dept.b, stands in a large mass of soft brown ore, showing free gold quite frequently. The existence of the large body of fine ore lately found quite near to the surface was unknown to the owner, both its extremities in the longitudinal direction being hidden by walls of dead matter, so that he had thought the whole intervening space was filled with the same. All the ore down to the depth now reached is very rich in oxide of iron, quartz being present in a much smaller proportion. No water has been reached in the shaft yet, and iron pyrites occur, therefore, only in small bunches on the lowest levels. But whenever the water-level is arrived at, the pyrites will undoubtedly be found in the lode to be very solid, an occurrence which, so far, has in most gold-veins not proved to be very farorable for the richness of the veins in depth, and which is, to say the least, a great impediment to the extraction of the gold by milling. The ore worked at the mill at present yields only $12 to $15 per ton, much gold being lost on account of imperfect machinery.

The Wadham vein is located on the opposite bank of Grasshopper Creek, bigh up toward the summit. It runs northeast and southwest, and dips northwest. The width of the paying portions of the lode is from 3 to 4 feet, as exposed in several shafts from 50 to 100 feet deep. The ore has a redder color than that from the Dakota, and contains from $200 to $240 per cord, (of six tons.) The mine has been opened to a depth of 125 feet, and the ore is worked in three arrastras, by Mr. Wadham himself, and in the R. T. Hopkins Mill of five stamps. A good deal of the ore is slightly copper-stained.

The Saint Paul is higher up on Grasshopper Creek, just opposite BanDack, and on the same bank as the foregoing. The vein lies between syenite and talc-slate on the banging, and quartzite on the footwall. Nearest to the vein on the hanging-wall generally lies a two-foot band of

[ocr errors]

syenite, which, however, thins out often and disappears, permitting a one-foot layer of talc-slate, which lies above it, to form the wall. The vein has a general northeast and southwest course, and dips first near the surface, almost imperceptibly, but after a depth of 10 or 20 feet has been reached, very steeply toward the northwest. The first feature is undoubtedly the result of the erosion of a steep ravine which runs along the vein and near to it, and which caused the upper softer portion of the vein to tip over into and across it, after the supporting rocks were mostly washed away. The vein, which is shown in the different prospecting. tunnels and shafts to be from 3 to 6 feet thick, is distinctly divided into two layers, which differ materially in appearance and composition. The upper layer, from 1 to 31 feet thick, is an excellent highly ferruginous gold quartz, in which free gold is frequently visible; it is often quite soft for a considerable distance, but sometimes quite hard, yet porous. The latter kind of ore shows quite as much free gold as the former. The lower layer, from 2 to 3 feet thick, is a whitish, red-spotted, decomposed material, which may have been syenite; but it always contains gold in the red spots, though it is not near as rich as the upper layer.

The claim of Mr. George Brown, which is the only one worked, contains 350 feet. He has opened it by six or eight tunnels and small shafts, in all of which the lode appears very regular as soon as the upper portion, which, as mentioned above, is tipped over toward the ravine, has been passed through. Six hundred tons of ore from this claim have been worked, the greater part in the New York and Montana Company's Mill, and the remainder by Mr. Brown himself in the N. E. Wood Mill, which he has lately rented. But he can only work three tons in twenty. four hours when the ore is soft, and does not extract more than half the assay value of the ore, which is reported to be from $24 to $28 per ton. The claim is excellently located for tunneling on the vein, as a depth of about 250 feet can be reached by starting in the bed of Grasshopper Creek.

The following notes on the other claims along the Dakota were furnished me by Mr. W.C. Hopkins, of Bannack.

Dakota No. 5, west.-Owned by a New York company. The top of the claim is stripped of surface material about 15 feet in width, and to a depth of about 25 feet. Ore seemed to be in pockets near the surface. At the present depth the vein is 3 feet in width, and dips to the west. The ore is of the same character as that heretofore described from No. 6.

Dakota No. 7, west.-Two shafts, each about so feet deep, with drift connecting, are on this property. A large amount of ore has been taken out of this claim, which was all milled, yielding as well as other ores on the lead. The claim has been in litigation for the past two years,

but a settlement has now been made, and the owner will recommence work as soon as the weather will permit.

Dakota No. 8, west.—There are also two shafts on this claim, about 80 feet deep. Ore commenced being taken out at a depth of about 20 feet. At a depth of about 60 feet one of the shafts broke through into a cave, about 20 feet in depth, and extending nearly the whole length of the claim, or about 100 feet. This opening dips to the west, and its bottom was covered with “burnt” quartz containing considerable free gold. The hanging-wall is limestone, full of small pockets showing calc-spar crystals, and stalactites and stalagmites of great beauty. No attempt has been made to sink below this cave, the owners preferring to wait developments on No. 6.

Dakota Nos. 9, 10, and 11, west.—Same number of shafts as on the

foregoing claims. The ore is apparently of the same character, but does not occur in the same quantity as in the other claims. The vein still shows a heavy dip to the west.

Dakota No. 12, west.-The shaft on this is over 100 feet in depth, and shows hardly an indication of ore. The lead does not seem to extend much farther west than No. 11.

The Dakota lode possesses some peculiar characteristics. The Discovery claims are in a ravine. The richest claim is No. 6 west, which is on the west slope of a hill about 150 feet above tbe Discovery claim. No ore is found west of No. 2 west until No. 5 west is reached. There is so much water found in No. 2 west, which is on the east slope of the bill, as to impede working, while in No. 6, on the western slope, at a depth of 300 feet, or nearly 100 feet lower than the shaft in No. 2, there has been no water, and the bottom of the shaft is perfectly dry. No ore is found east of No. 2 east, from Discovery, and none is found west of No. 11 west as yet.

Estimate of cost of mining and reducing ores in Beaver Head County, Non

tana Territory, reported by Walter C. IIopkins, December 31, 1871. Population of Bannack, 500; population of Argenta, 400; wages of first class miners, $4 to $5; wages of second-class miners, $3 ; wages of surface laborers, $3; cost of lumber, $50 to $100 per 1,000; cost of mining-timber, usually 75 cents per stick of 20 feet; cost of common powder, $6.50; cost of giant powder, $6.50; cost of quicksilver, $1.25 per pound; cost of freight from Corinne, Utah, 3 cents per pound; cost of fuel, $8 to $10 per cord; cost of 10-stamp mill, California pattern, including freight, erection, &c.—none in this section; cost of 20 stamp mill, freight, erection, &c. -none in this section; minimum mining cost per ton of ore-no estimate, work being generally done by the day; average yield of ore: gold, $12 to $20 per ton; silver, from $30 to $100 per ton, at mine.

The mills of Bannack are nearly all old and imperfect, and sadly out of repair.

The N. E. Wood Mill, a Bullock crusher and grinder, is not at all fitted for working hard ores, and even with soft ones has a very small capacity, as above mentioned.

The Walter C. Hopkins Mill, belonging to the owner of Dakota No. 6, has twelve stamps, and at the time of my visit the batteries leaked badly, so that one could not be kept in operation at all, and, shortly after, the mill had to be shut down altogether on account of the giving way of the battery foundations. Besides the stamps, there are two dolly-tubs and a settler in this mill. It is the only mill in the vicinity of Bannack which is driven by steam. [Information derived from Mr. lIopkins himself late in the year renders it probable that this mill will be fitted with steam-pipes, pans, and settlers very soon, the object being to fit it for the working of the Blue Wing silver-ores by the Washoe process, and to make it more effective for gold-ores.)

The R. T. Hopkins Mill, a littlo 5-stamp affair, with an arrastra attached, is the only one which has been running very regularly of late Fears. It crushes ore from the Wadham, and is said to work nearly as close as Mr. Wadham's arrastras, which are lower down the creek.

The New York and Montana Company's Mill of twenty-four stamps was idle and closed up at the time of my visit, on account of litigation, so that I could not even get into the building, which has a solid and sub

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »