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AMADOR COUNTY.—The County Assessor in his Report for 1858, speaks of the operations in quartz as follows:
“Quartz mining is now one of the most important branches of industry pursued in this county. The wild excitement of 1851-'52, when little was known as to the practical working of gold bearing quartz, brought ruin upon many of our citizens and deterred others for years from engaging in a branch of business which was deemed extremely hazardous. A few enterprising mon, however, persevered; and it is now demonstrated that there is no safer or more permanent investment. There are 32 quartz mills in operation, propelling 402 stamps, against 23 mills, with 268 stamps, last year. Total product of 32 mills per annum, $1,350,720. Besides the above, there are 50 arastras in operation and one of Howland's rotary mills, which has been in operation for a short time, with what success, however, I am not advised. As to the intrinsic value of the quartz lodes or their extent, no possible estimate can be made. New lodes of great richness are almost daily being discovered, offering extraordinary inducements for the investment of capital.”
BUTTE COUNTY.—The number of quartz mills in operation in this county, is 17, with an aggregate of 168 stamps. There are also attached to these mills, 30 arastras. Cost of machinery, $250,000. Quartz mining has exercised much interest during the past year. Good prospects are found over a large extent of country and the business appears to be in a prosperous condition.
CALAVERAS COUNTY.—The number of mills in operation is 53, with an aggregate of 231 stamps; ere are, also, 25 arastras. Capacity for crushing estimated at 500 tuns per day. Aggregate cost of machinery, $377,000. The operations during the past season, have been more extensive than those of any previous year. A large number of mills have been erected, which have yielded, in many instances, handsome returns. Number of mills erected since May 1857, 28. (See Note p. 257.)
EL DORADO COUNTY.—The number of mills in operation is 40, with an aggregate of 311 stamps. Number of arastras, 65. Cost of erection of machinery, $300,000. Quartz mining has been sufficiently tested in this county to establish its permanence for years to come. It is and will be, remunerative to those engaged in it who have the advantage of experience and capital. Many new leads have been opened within the last year, which have yielded an abundant return to those engaged in their development.
MARIPOSA COUNTY.-Considerable enterprise has been manifested, during the past season, in developing the quartz resources of this county and several new mills have been erected. If there was an adequate supply of water in this region, it would yield as large returns as any other section of the State. There are at present in operation, 32 mills with an aggregate of 310 stamps. The number of arastras in the county is 95, of which 55 are north, and 40, south of the Merced River. Nearly all of these are profitably employed. Estimated cost of machinery, $380,000.
NEVADA COUNTY.-Grass Valley and the vicinity, present the most convincing proof of the importance and permanence of the quartz interest of this State. The number of mills in operation is 32, 21 of which are propelled by steam, and 11 by water. Number of arastras, 36. The number of stamps contained in these mills is 316. Cost of machinery estimated at $500,000.
In addition to the quartz veins immediately connected with the above mills, there are a number, probably 100, of valuable leads now being worked, among which may be mentioned, the Lecompton and Deadwood
veins. The rock taken therefrom is crushed by the mills in the vicinity at a reasonable rate.
There is no county in the State that has been more worked, and where adventurers have made and lost more money-where men have become more experienced than in this. Being about the first to extensively engage in the business, this county drew considerable capital to it that was invested in machinery and leads, much of which became inactive in consequence of wrong calculation and enormous expenses. Latterly, and we may say, within the period of our first issue and this, the shrill whistle began to blow as a signal for renewed operations; and now, there is not a single mill but what may be considered in active operation.
The Allison Ranch vein, so far, has proved to be the richest quartz lead in the State; but there are several others in the vicinity of Grass Valley, which deserve mention, each having produced a large amount of gold, viz: Gold Hill, Massachusetts Hill, Osborn Hill, Houston Hill and Lafayette Hill. It should be borne in mind, that the veins of Grass Valley have, as yet, been but partially worked; the business, however, has been reduced to a system, and may be regarded as a permanency for the future. The future for the operator in quartz, promises well; liberal rates for labor, a better understanding how to work and how to save the gold, have produced good results, and will, with the new and improved machinery now being introduced in the various mills, insure for this branch of mining, hereafter, results which will reward those who are devoting their energies and capital to its development.
Alison Ranch.—This vein is, beyond question, the richest gold mine in California, if not in the world. It is situated on Wolf Creek, three miles from Grass Valley, and is owned and worked by the original discoverers, Messrs. Daniels, Colbert & Co.; the firm consists of six persons.
This vein was first noticed in 1852, by Mr. Daniels, who was then engaged with his partners in working a claim on the creek. The gold was observed to crop out very distinctly from the side of the ledge; but its existence did not create much attention, from the fact that operations in quartz were then regarded by miners, generally, as an unprofitable employment. The company
continued their labors upon the banks of the creek until the fall of 1855, when their attention was again attracted to the vein by the reports of large yields in quartz in the neighborhood, and they at once decided upon testing its value; accordingly, they commenced operations, and had proceeded but a few feet into the rock, when the richness of the quartz became apparent. The first sixty-three tuns taken out were sent to a mill in the neighborhood and yielded the remarkable sum of twenty-two thousand dollars, or three hundred and fifty dollars per tun. They continued in this manner to work the vein until October, 1856, when their own mill was completed.
The mill now in operation on the vein is small, compared with many others in the neighborhood. It is furnished with eight stamps and is capable
of crushing twenty tuns of ore daily, which yields on an average, two hundred dollars per tun. The richness of the quartz is very uniform, and the gold appears to exist throughout the entire claim, which is twelve hundred feet in length.
The yield of this mine since October, 1856, is estimated at one and a half millions of dollars. About eight thousand tuns of quartz have been crushed, that have averaged two hundred dollars per tun. What the value of this mine is no one can estimate; from present appearances, millions of gold will be taken from it. The operations so far, have scarcely broken its crust, and years of labor will be required to exhaust the quartz, which appears to be almost inexhaustible.
PLACER COUNTY.— The number of mills in operation, 17; aggregate of stamps, 144, with 34 arastras; cost of machinery, $170,000. Several new and extensive mills have been erected during the past season, nearly every one of which paid the proprietors well.
PLUMAS COUNTY.—The County Assessor, in his returns for 1858, says:
"There are 8 quartz mills in this county, 4 of which are in active operation, propelling 18 stamps and 10 sets of Chile rollers, all driven by water power, and are capable of crushing 10,000 tuns of quartz annually; average yield, $20 per tun. The cost of machinery is $100,000. There is in process of erection one which is designed to have 16 stamps. This branch of industry is gradually increasing in importance, and will eventually be one of the best paying interests in the county. When we consider the great disadvantages under which our pioneer quartz miners have labored, without capital or adequate machinery, it is due them to state that they have contributed largely to the mineral wealth of our county.”.
TUOLUMNE COUNTY.— The number of mills in operation is 30, with an aggregate of 260 stamps, erected at a cost of $280,000. There are also 20 arastras, of from 6 to 18 feet in diameter, erected at a cost of $400 each. The late discoveries made in Tuolumne County, in the mountains east and north of Sonora, show that the mineral wealth of this region is as yet but partially developed. Since the discovery of the Platt or Soulsby Vein by Mr. Platt of this county, the mountains have been covered by parties prospecting for gold veins or quartz bearing gold; and up to this date there has not been a vein of auriferous quartz found in the granite, but what bears gold. The belt above referred to is about 25 miles in width from north-west to southeast. A wide field for the industrious miner is still open, which presents facilities that few counties in the State possess. There is water in abundance for the use of the mills, and those in this portion of the county use it (from ditches or canals) as a motive power, and then run it back into the canal again. By this means miners are able to control 25 or 30 horse-power, for the sum of $1 to $2 per day, thus offering great advantages to those engaged in this branch of mining.
Street & Soulsby's Claim.—This remarkable claim, the richness of which is said to equal that of the Allison Ranch, is situated in the vicinity of Sonora. It extends a distance of 2,400 feet, and is estimated to contain 20,000 tuns of
quartz, that will yield on an average $200 per tun, equal to $4,000,000. The mill now in operation on the vein has 20 stamps, and is crushing 150 tuns per week. There are several other valuable leads in the vicinity, that are yielding extraordinary amounts of gold, upon which new and extensive mills have been erected.
YUBA COUNTY.-Number of mills in operation, 9; aggregate number of stamps, 80; number of arastras, 20; cost of erection, $80,000. There are several valuable leads in this county, that have yielded large returns during the past season. Recent discoveries have developed an extensive quartz region in the vicinity of Sand Hill, which is reported to be one of the richest in the State.
THE GOLD PRODUCT OF CALIFORNIA AND AUSTRALIA. The amount of treasure manifested at the port of San Francisco from April 1849, to December 31, 1857, amounts to $370,986,599. The shipments previous to that date, were estimated at $3,200,000, making an aggregate of $374,186,599. This amount does not include the sums taken by private hands, the aggregate of which cannot be ascertained.
The following table has been compiled from reliable sources for the purpose of ascertaining the probable yield of the mines of this state and Australia, up to the close of 1857: Table exhibiting the Shipments of Treasure, the Receipts of Gold at the U. S. Mint and
Branches, and the estimated Yield of the Mines of California and Australia to December 31st, 1857.
4,921,250 5,232,249 8,000,000 1850.
27,676,346 28,206,226 25,000,000 1581...
42,582,695 57,138,980 41,250,000 4,535,565 1852.
46,586,134 51,470,675 58,500,000 48,679,515 1853..
57,331,024 62,838,395 62,500,000 52,228,500 1854...
51,328,653 46,719,083 70,500,000 45,143,795 1855..
43,080,211 47,419,945 67,000,000 57,566,150 1856..
48,887,543 56,379,901 70,000,000 63,702,400 1857
48,592,743 55,217,843 65,550,000 58,821,495 Totals............ $370,986,599 *$410,623,297 $468,358,500 $330,677,420 The yield of the gold mines of this State up to December 31, 1857, is estimated by an experienced writer in Hunt's Magazine, (June 1858,) at $468,358,500. The same valuable authority, during the years 1854 and 1855, placed the amount up to the close of the year 1854, at $411,162,061, which is $145,353,561, more than the sum included in the estimate of the present year for the same period of time. The data upon which these figures are made, does not appear, and it is therefore difficult to determine which should be regarded as the more correct amount. From an examination, however, of the following, it will be seen that the estimates of 1854–5 are a nearer approximation to the actual yield, than those of the present year:
* Amount of California gold received at Mint and branches, up to June, 30th 1857, $383,873,099 60. -[Director of the Mint, 1857.