Mining History Library

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Arrival at Circle City (1898 Two Years in the Klondike and Alaska Gold-Fields)

This true account describes what life was like for miners at Circle City, Alaska in 1896 – one of the most isolated mining camps in the world.

The Dreaded Chilkoot Pass (1898 Two Years in the Klondike and Alaska Gold-Fields)

This true account describes the extreme difficulties that prospectors experienced carrying a ton of supplies over Chilkoot Pass on the trek to the Klondike Goldfields.

The Prospector and His Burro - The Day of the Prospector Has Not Passed (1913 The Salt Lake Mining Review)

"And, as for the country having been thoroughly prospected, there is nothing to it, and I am willing to wager a tommyknocker against a power drill that I can go into any old camp in this western country and, by careful prospecting, find a body of pay ore in localities which have been over-run by mining men for a score of years, or more."

The Mining Camp (Comstock Lode 1859-1860) (1883 Comstock Mining and Miners)

This fascinating account of the Comstock Lode in 1859 and 1860 describes the early development of Gold Hill and Virginia City, the difficulties of transporting freight from California, the Pyramid Lake war, and the violence and lawlessness of the burgeoning camps.

The Prospector and His Burro - Claim Jumping (1916 The Salt Lake Mining Review)

"The hermit and I had been playing cards all the evening and while we smoked and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves we little dreamed that a party of five men–desperate-looking characters–were plowing their way up the trail, through the snow, with the intention of driving the old man from his claim and so intimidating him that he would be afraid to complain to the proper authorities or even to come back to his property; a method of obtaining possession of valuable property often practiced in those days."

The Prospector and the Pay Streak (1911 The Salt Lake Mining Review)

"The prospector is happy and he firmly believes the story that he is telling. And some of his acquaintances believe him, and, to such an extent that they are willing to pay him a fancy figure for a share in his find."

The Lost Ledge (1869 Adventures in the Apache Country)

This account of the search for a lost silver vein in Death Valley was written in the 1860s and tells the background story of what became known as the legend of the "Lost Breyfogle Mine".

The Prospector and His Burro - Another Lost Bonanza (1909 Salt Lake Mining Review)

"You say you have been thinking of 'lost mines' again, and that you are of the opinion you could go back to a discovery you had made, even if years ago. Well, a burro might do this, but the average prospector can't..."

How an Alcalde Was Once Deposed (1885 Mining Camps – A Study in American Frontier Government)

This fascinating true account from the early 1850s Oregon placer mines describes how miners got justice for an injured fellow through the establishment of a frontier court of law.

The Prospector and His Burro - Stock Manipulation (1910 Salt Lake Mining Review)

"In the mining game, as I have told you before, there are a number of get-rich quick methods that are not sanctioned by Blackstone, or authorized by mine conditions; and yet I can point out a number of mining men, even in this camp, whose properties are not paying running expenses, upon whose stock assessments are regularly levied, and who, notwithstanding these discouraging circumstances, are able to own the highest-priced autos, who are constantly investing in valuable real estate, and who always have plenty of money."

"Fooled the Robbers" - an Incident of the Days of Stagecoach Holdups (1909 Newspaper)

The Trick by Which the Old Time Mining Man of Colorado Saved Himself and Sacrificed His Fellow Travelers

The Prospector and His Burro - Roving and Hermit Prospectors (1907 Salt Lake Mining Review)

"There are two types of prospectors," said the prospector to his burro; "The 'roving' prospector and the 'hermit' prospector. The former is sometimes styled the 'desert rat,' and this is the class to which you and I belong to."

The Greatest Fire in a Mine (1895 Newspaper)

Ths 1895 article recounts a devastating 1869 mine fire at Virginia City, Nevada: "The damage caused by the great fire was never fully repaired. Some of the closed galleries were never reopened and a number of bodies, if not consumed in the furnace, remain at this day in the crypts where the miners were entombed by the fallen roofs of the galleries."

The Old-Time Prospector Is Being Crowded off the Globe (1923 The Salt Lake Mining Review)

"Here and there about the states may be found ex-prospectors, men who can still make "sourdough" bread, turn a hot cake, a pair of eggs or a rasher of bacon by merely flipping the skillet, "an' without losin' a drop o' grease," are still to be met, but they have no successors."

The Prospector and His Burro - The Tenderfoot (1916 Salt Lake Mining Review)

"It is a wonderful thing," said the prospector to his burro, "what strange ideas the masses of the people have regarding the source of gold and silver. I have conversed with eastern tenderfeet on this subject, and, according to their way of thinking, all that was necessary to get away with a big jackpot was to go west, almost anywhere, select some easy spot to dig, and rake in gold nuggets about the same way that a farmer would gather in his potatoes in the fall, the nuggets being about the same, in size, as a good Irish spud."

Taming of Sam Brown (1892 Newspaper)

"He was a strapping six-footer, toughened by a life of exposure and peril. He reveled in an atmosphere of reckless debauchery. He was at one time the creature and the creator of the uncurbed license of the early camp. It flattered his vanity to be hailed as a gang leader, foremost of the toughs in the foremost mining camp."

The Prospector and His Burro - The Swindle That Wasn't (1915 Salt Lake Mining Review)

"The buyers began active work at once, in the operation and development of their new acquisition, and those who were 'on' began to wait for the day when they would come to a realization of how they had been soaked on a salted mine. But the day never came, and within two weeks shipments began pouring down the canyon from the new producer, and for ten years the mine has been a regular producer and dividend-payer."

Letters From California #3 - S. R. Smith (1849 Newspaper)

"We lived principally upon bacon, hard bread and coffee. I have not taken off my clothes at night since I left Independence; nor do I expect to so long as I remain here. I am glad, (since I got through alive,) that I came across the Plains, for I now consider myself capable of enduring anything, so far as hardships are concerned."

The Prospector and His Burro - A Private Bonanza (1910 Salt Lake Mining Review)

"You ask why I do not try and sell my mine? ...for why should a man try and sell a $20-gold piece? What I have I can take out, little by little, by myself, and what is left is as good as having a substantial bank account, for I can draw upon it whenever I wish."

Letters From California #2 - William Swain (1850)

Letter written by a '49er from California describes life of the miners in detail, and conditions in the gold fields.