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Several have been sunk, and in every case excellent water has been obtained at the depth stated. Half a mile over to the west is a spring; in one of the claims water has been found. While there is no surface water at present, it is proven that the earth is full of it. Mr. Arnold, who, by the way, is the superintendent of the Roberts & Harpending Company, and a hard-working, reputable man locally, and I believe generally and especially, is now sinking a well near by, with a view to procure sufficient water for a mill. He is down less than ten feet, and has found, up to this writing, considerable water. His intention is to sink, if possible, 30 feet or more. This is the driest season; rain should commence in June. With proper effort I am confident it will cost less to supply a large population with an abundant quantity of fine water than it did in Virginia City. The San Simon River can be reached by pipes-so I am informed-at a cost not to exceed that of the White Pine Water Works. While it would be quite acceptable if the district were coursed with babbling brooks at all seasons, the scarcity of water here is no great objection.
Wood is scarce near at hand. Upon inquiry of a largely interested party of what would be the cost of wood delivered here in quantities of 1,000 cords and upward, he was frank and prompt in declaring it at not "above $20 per cord." Wood is said to be abundant Lot above twenty miles distant, and known to be within thirty miles. Good pine lumber is selling at 15 cents per foot. When the demand becomes large the price will be greatly reduced. For fire-wood there is an ample supply of cedar scattered about within a few miles, to last for some time, but it is too limited to be considered in making estimates for permanent supplies.
The Gila River can be reached with a railroad in forty-five to fifty miles, according to local authority. A broad, level, grassy valley intervenes. There is ample waterpower, and the mountains which hug that stream above possess immense forests of superior timber. Should this immense field of ore prove half as rich as appearances indicate it will, I predict the early construction of a railway to the Gila, as a means of reaching cheap motive power and fuel. Dumps along the body of the Harpending aud portions of the Brown lodes could be reached with cars at a fourth the expense it cost to reach the dumps of the Comstock.
The climate is pleasant. Days warm, but breezy and not oppressive, and nights cool. It is regarded as very healthy. There is nothing in the surroundings to change this opinion, which of course is one formed within a few months by the oldest residents. No one has consented to occupy a grave-yard yet, and therefore no cemetery is located.
Living is dear. Everything but postage-stamps sell at enormous profit, and this is so throughout all this section of country, from Fort Yuma eastward. Bacon sells at 60 to 75 cents; sugar the same; beef and mutton, 25 cents; flour, 10 cents, &c. Goods and provisions are not plenty, but so far as the assortment goes, enough for the demand. Stocks are ordered from Chicago and St. Louis via Sheridan. I am told that freight can be laid down here inside of 10 cents currency from those cities, and that a revolution in retail prices must ensue. As is always the case in new and remote places, cer⚫tain lines of goods bring any price asked; as a rule, merchants' liberality seldom appears to good advantage except under sharp competition. The population is estimated in and about the mines at 300. Many are coming and going.
Little actual mining is prosecuted. Assessment work is the main business, aside from building, which is necessarily limited, although there are several comfortable houses of stone, adobe, and granite, and more building. Owing to the danger from Indians, and distance from supplies, but little is required to hold claims under the local laws.
A notice duly recorded holds six months; a shaft 5 by 5 and 6 feet deep will hold a single claim of 200 feet, or all the claims of any one company on the same lode, for one year. Men without some means should stay away until there is a demand for labor, which is very limited now, and will be for the next six months. There are men here who have bummed their way, and without the means to buy a meal or pay for recording a claim, should they find one. If they could subsist on raw quartz this would be a poor man's paradise. It is a friendly act to often warn them to stay away. The mass of the people here are unable to maintain healthy paupers, and a little starvation is good for such mendicants. Quartz operators of means ought to visit these mines. They could but be delighted to witness more good-looking ore in sight than has ever been worked in the mills in and about Virginia and Gold Hill. Veins of fine-looking ore, standing 50 feet above ground, ranging in width from 10 to 200 feet, form a prospect of enchantment to all mining enthusiasts.
As mining experts are constantly making themselves ridiculous, by giving learned opinions on mineral deposits, I shall not in the least attempt to divide the honors with them. Assays tell well for this ore; it remains for hundreds of tons to be worked in a body by mill process to establish the worth of this district.
This was written in May, 1870. Later in the year my assistant, Mr. Eilers, while in the adjoining Territory of Arizona, gathered some facts in regard to these mines the substance of which is as follows:
There is no doubt about the existence of extraordinary large quartz veins in the district, and the quantity of ore, such as it is, seems to be almost unlimited at the very surface.
In regard to the quality of the surface ore, which here, as well as in hundreds of other silver veins, will probably be found to be the best in the veins, nothing satisfactory has as yet reached me.
We are indeed informed by an article, which appeared in the Scientific Press of July 30, 1870, that a number of assays of ore brought to San Francisco yielded as follows: "$3 01, $10 37, $14 14, 818 84, $28 25, $28 35, $30 17, $43 96, $46 10, $50 23, $53 38, $55 97, $66 76, $113 13, $118 26, $130 81, $147 21, $158 03, $172 80, $224 37, $287 21, $471 24, $528 78, 8561 88, $742 24, $751 87, $831 80, $1,342 50, $1,442 43, $3,038 62, $3,838 46, $4,861 09. A little gold, from a trace up to $25 22, was found in six samples." But this proves nothing. The same assays may be obtained from the smallest pocket of a silver-ore deposit. Only average samples, taken according to the methods in use in the practical working of silver ores, will reveal the true value of those veins, and that only after large amounts have been taken down.
A large number of assays, made in Arizona, of specimens taken from the ledge by one who was unacquainted with silver ores, gave less than an average of $15 per ton, and one of the original locators acknowledged to my assistant that he thought the great mass of the ores would not yield above $15 per ton, and that they all contained a high percentage of base metals. If we add to the cost of beneficiation of such ores the expense for transportation for forty-five miles by railroad to the Gila River, the as yet high cost of freight to and from the Burro Mountains, and the interest of the large capital required for starting such an enterprise, it is evident that those mines cannot be worked at a profit at present. At the same time it is clear that upon the completion of the Texas Pacific Railroad a very extensive mining industry is likely to spring up here. I learn that the attempt will be made during the next year to make at least a beginning in the development of these mines.
The Cienega mines are located about fifty miles northeast of Ralston. According to the accounts received they occur in limestone, and are rather deposits than veins. A town, named Silver City, has been located here, and some little prospecting work has been carried on, but in no case a depth exceeding 12 feet seems to have been reached on the deposits. Much high-grade chloride of silver is reported to have been found, and the principal deposits appear to lie along a zone running northeast and southwest, which is half a mile wide, and has been superficially explored for a length of three miles. Chloride district, two miles, from Silver City, is spoken of in still higher terms of praise.
All these discoveries lie apparently a short distance from Fort Bayard, and may be identical with those of the Central City district mentioned in last year's report. As yet nothing definite is known in regard to them, and as no actual mining was carried on, I have not deemed it necessary to expend any means in that direction.
The passage of the Texas Pacific Railroad bill will probably exercise a powerful influence toward developing the mineral resources of southern New Mexico during the immediate future, and there are certainly no Territories which deserve more the attention of mining men than those crossed by the thirty-second parallel line.
The total white population of the mining counties of New Mexico, as given by the census of 1870, is 26,716, including Mexicans, and distributed as follows: Grant County, 1,143; Lincoln County, 1,803; Taos County, 12,079; Santa Fé County, 9,699; Colfax County, 1,992.
The gold product of the Territory for 1870 slightly exceeds $500,000.
This Territory manifests a steady progress in the direction of settled and productive industry, and permanent public improvements of every kind. The completion of three railroads, centering at Denver, the forma tion of new and thriving colonies, like that of Greeley, and the growth of several branches of domestic manufactures, are all causes which, though distinct from mining, operate favorably to that interest. The absolute proximity of agriculture and mining is not always perfectly advantageous to both. Thus in California the placer-mining operations have been ruinous to large areas of farming and garden land, along the rivers below the mining ground. The vapors from smelting works are frequently injurious to crops. The high rates of miners' wages affect unfavorably the price of agricultural labor. Conflicts of interest between the two industries promote litigation while they hamper legisla tion. Yet, on the other hand, mining cannot maintain itself remote from auxiliaries, except at great pecuniary and social cost to the community. I regard it, therefore, as peculiarly fortunate for Colorado. that within her borders mining and agriculture are "so near and yet so far;" that her rugged mountain districts are skirted with fertile plains and parks; that in days to come the camps of her pioneers will be merely outposts of her great cities. It is difficult to find an instance where the two fundamental productive activities of man are both so magnificently endowed, and so conveniently located for mutual assistance without interference.
The Territorial fair, held in September at Denver, was a striking exhibition of the wealth and progress of Colorado. It is true, it was inferior in its array of native stock to that of 1869, and no more than equal to its predecessor in point of agricultural products. But these facts have little significance. What Colorado can do in these particulars is well known already; and it matters not whether the heifers or the turnips are a few inches larger round the belly this year or last. On the other hand, the magnificent display of blooded stock in 1870 means a great deal. It shows growing wealth and intelligence among stock-raisers, and promises still better things hereafter.
The crops suffered greatly from drought, so that, although the area under cultivation was greater, the total harvest probably did not exceed that of 1869. But next season will astonish the outside world; and meanwhile, though the average yield was not realized in the present crop, the ranchmen of Colorado may claim with truth that, even under the great disadvantage of a partial failure, they far exceeded the general average of the United States.
But the great glory of the fair was its display of ores and bullion. The total value of the samples on exhibition was not far from $100,000; and the exhibition as a whole has seldom or never been equaled. The pride and joy of the citizens over this splendid testimony to their young industry is more than pardonable; it is fully justified. They have no longer any need to indulge in idle asseverations; they can point to facts.
The bullion display was very fine. There was one solid piece of gold bullion, value $39,061 65. Clear Creek County sent one silver button
weighing 1,141 pounds, value $20,000; one weighing 400 pounds, value $7,000; one 933 pounds, value $1,027; and one 113 pounds, value $1,625. The first two were from the Brown Company, the third from the Terrible mine and the last from 43 tons of Snowdrift ore.
The following is a list of the ores exhibited, together with their mill or assay values:
4 oz. in mill per cord.
Marg't Glennan lode.
Foote & Simons lode.
CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, GRIFFITH DISTRICT-SILVER ORES.
All coin values, per ton of 2,000 pounds.
Sweepstakes lode, assay.
Peruvian lode, mill run.
Gilpin lode, mill run..
Ni-Wot lode, assay.
Griffith lode, assay.
Guthrie lode, mill run.
New Boston lode, assay, (50 per cent. lead).
Terrible lode, mill run
Lake Superior lode, assay
Magnet lode, mill run..
Brown lode, mill run..
Quaker lode, mill run.
Mendota lode, assay
Robert Emmett lode, mill run
Bunker Hill lode, assay..
E Pluribus Unum lode, assay.
General Jackson lode, assay.
Cashier lode, mill run...
Federal lode, select specimens, assay
Federal lode, second class, assay.
O K lode, mill run.....
Dives lode, assay
Mountain Ram lode, assay
Of course these figures do not represent the average yield of the ores. treated, still less the average value of the vein-material. Nor would the true average mill-yield give a direct measure of the general quality of ore. A common error with American miners has been the habitual, though often innocent, exaggeration of the "average value" of ores. People do not seem to know what this phrase means. At first it used
to mean the average result of a large number of sample assays; then, when we had grown wiser, it meant the average of pulp assays taken in the mills; and beyond the latter signification we have apparently not yet advanced.
Now any district can maintain a high "average value" of this sort, as long as it sends only good ores to the mill or furnace; and the figures. signify, not the average value of all the ore in the veins, not even that of the ore extracted, but that of the ore treated. In other words, they are a criterion of the expense of mining and reduction, and that is all. Moreover, since no mines ever did or do contain rich ores only, the high yields are generally associated with wasteful sorting, which still further increases the expense of mining.
Let him who would apply this test to a mine or a district measure the excavations on the lodes, calculate the whole amount of vein-matter removed, and compare this with the total of bullion produced. In Colorado this style of calculation would produce some surprising results. But Colorado is no worse and no better than any other districts in this respect. She is just now working her best mines, and of these only the best and second-best ores. When, in the progress of healthful industry, more mines shall be opened, existing mines operated on a larger scale and more permanent system, and less ore thrown away or left standing as too poor to work, we shall see an apparent decrease in the value per ton of the contents of her veins; and I cannot wish her better fortune than just this decrease.
In a subsequent chapter the processes of reduction employed in Colo. rado will be fully discussed, and more exact information as to average value and yield will be given.
H. Ex. 10——————19