(Going it alone could be tough on the old timers but most preferred it that way.)
The following post is a continuation of the diary entries of an old time gold prospector written back in 1904. This gentleman is now long passed but a relative and Bedrock Dreams reader has agreed to share parts of this gentleman's diary as long as I maintain the family's anonymity and don't reveal exact locations.
Apr. 6, 1904
Good gold in outcrop thus far. Fine gold is thick in rotten quartz. Stumbled onto a real corker? Marked location and will claim spot as my own. Tomorrow will set to serious work and await developments.
Apr 7, 1904
Very warm today. Had to seek what shade I could find during hottest part of afternoon. Working pick and shovel on outcrop. Vein trends NW. If gold holds up could be flush so crossing fingers.
Apr. 10, 1904
Spent day crushing ore and panning. Weighed gold out before supper...tucked away 11 full ounces. That will buy me a bit of grub. Worried about sacking ore for assay though. Wagging tongues will be loosed in town and trouble could follow with all the drunkards and thieves about.
(Note: The spot price of a troy ounce of gold in 1904 was $18.96.)
Apr. 12, 1904
Spent half day loading Sarah with water cans and taking it up to claim. Very hard for a lone fellow to develop a mine, that much is certain. Sell out if gold holds up and let the big shots toss money into the hole?
Apr. 17th, 1904
To town where Fred was getting provisions too. William remained at mine to keep an eye on their goods. Just as well since we don't seem to get along. Showed Fred some ore...he was impressed. Said I was onto something but not to assay yet lest word get out. Had another good meal at Hubbards. Fred wished me luck and I the same to him.
Apr. 19th, 1904
Sacking ore most of day. Rotten quatrtz appears to pinch out about 40 feet to NW. Bad luck yet again.
(Free gold in oxidized or "iron stone" matrix.)
Apr. 22, 1904
Don't know how much longer I can hold at this spot. Surface ore may last another month, no longer. Will have placed some jingle in my pockets by then so all not lost.
Apr. 26, 1904
Rattlesnakes becoming problem. May have stirred up a nest. Shot 3 big ones and must watch my step. Awful hot again so rested in middle afternoon.
Apr. 27, 1904
No matter the heat and snakes. Found nice chunk of ore today more gold than rock that put a big smile on my mug. Think big vein could be down deep but can't get at it alone.
Apr. 29, 1904
Will carry samples to town tomorrow for assay. Locate buyer for claim? Seems I have done as much as one man can and can do no more. But don't want to walk out on the real deal. Can't decide. Sinking a deep shaft might be the right ticket but will need to hire help. Will think on this a bit more. Maybe talk to Fred, hear what he has to say on the matter.
End of diary entries.
As you can see, gold prospecting and mining definitely had its ups and downs back then just as they do today. This old timer's words still echo loudly across all the years and tell us many things about how it was back then and what it took to get the gold.
My thanks to the reader who shared parts of this diary with me. It's not only a highly interesting historical document but provides personal insight that otherwise might have faded into memory.
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2013
Questions? E-mail me at email@example.com
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