Mining History Library

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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.

The Old-Time Prospector (1889 Chamber's Journal of Popular Literature)

A description of the American Prospector by the Chamber's Journal of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Letters From California #1 (1850 Newspaper)

"Large numbers are coming down daily from the mines, some with a pretty good quantity of “dust,” but the greater number without any. It is very sickly up there, and most of the operatives are coming down to spend the rainy season. The sickness and privation here is appalling, and I have about come to the conclusion that this is the greatest humbug that was ever started."

The Discovery of Silver (Comstock Lode) (1895 New England Magazine)

This incredible story describes the first discovery of the fabulous silver veins of the Comstock Lode by Allen and Hosea Grosh, a tale that ends in tragedy for the brothers. The location of the veins was lost with the brothers, and the Comstock riches would remain hidden for another two years after this initial discovery.

The Prospector and His Burro - Gold is Where You Find It (1906 Salt Lake Mining Review)

"I want to tell you, old long-ears, that the trouble with the majority of prospectors is that they are too set in their ideas. They have formed opinions which they stick to, whether they are right or wrong. They attempt to dictate to nature and refuse to see anything good in the mineral line unless it exists according to their preconceived ideas."

The Prospector and His Burro - Bonanzas of the Early Days (1906 Salt Lake Mining Review)

"In looking at what is left of this old camp the veil of the past seem to be raised for me. To the tenderfoot this discovery would seem to take one back to prehistoric times, and yet it is not more than twenty-five or thirty years ago since these hills were full of life, and since these old mines were actively operated; on a primitive scale, to be sure, and yet with profit."