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large expectations. A good ten-stamp mill was placed upon each of these mines, and they were so manipulated by speculators as to sell at high figures, in preference to more valuable properties. These two mines are now virtually abandoned, and the mills upon them have been lying idle during the entire season. The natural result of the failure of enterprises so prominently before the public has been a distrust that makes capital very slow of investment, even in mines that would yield good returns. The claims of this region are mostly in the hands of first owners, men who have not the means to put up mills and put their mines in proper working condition. The greater number of the claims in the country which were worked in 1870 were operated by this class of men, to the extent of their ability, for the purpose of prospecting and developing them. The lodes which do not promise well have generally been deserted. Nearly all the rock crushed during the past year was furnished by three or four claims.
The district contains six ten-stamp mills, one six-stamp mill, and three twenty-stamp mills. Of two additional ten-stamp mills, one has been dismantled, and the power has been applied to run a saw-mill, and the other was destroyed by fire late in the season.
The express shipments of gold for 1870 amounted to about $80,000. The amount leaving by private conveyance is unknown; but I presume it was small, as this item is only considerable where express charges are high, and where placer mining produces large amounts of gold. I think that the product for the year may be put at $100,000.
For notes of operations, etc., I am indebted to Mr. Bolivar Roberts, Mr. R. K. Morrison, and other residents.
The best mines and claims, so far as they have been tested by the actual working and milling of the rock, are the Cariso, the Miners' Delight, the Young America, the Carrie Shields, the Sowles & Perkins, and the Buckeye lodes. The Cariso and Young America are situated a few hundred yards from the village of South Pass, and are but a short distance apart. The shaft upon the former is now 180 feet deep, and good machinery for hoisting is erected upon the mine. Two levels have been run northeast, to a distance of 50 feet each, at the depths of 90 and 140 feet respectively. Three levels have been worked southwesterly, from 30 to 60 feet. Good paying quartz was extracted from all these levels. The lode pitches south at an angle of about 45°, to a depth of 150 feet, when it becomes vertical. Water comes into this mine at the rate of about 250 gallons per hour.
The Young America mine has a shaft 85 feet deep, from which two levels have been worked to a distance of about 60 feet, at the depths of 60 and 85 feet respectively. The quartz is of good quality, and the vein is from 1 to 4 feet wide. Hoisting works of a superior pattern are erected upon this mine. The ten-stamp mill belonging to this company was destroyed by fire, the work of an incendiary, on the night of the 11th of November, 1870, which has caused a temporary suspension of operations.
The Carrie Shields lode is working to a depth of 80 feet. The vein is from 18 inches to 3 feet wide, and rich.
The Miners' Delight mine has been worked from an incline following the ledge, to a depth of 95 feet. The company is sinking a vertical shaft from which to work the mine, and is at present driving a cross-cut to the lode, at a depth of 116 feet. The sinking of the shaft still goes on. The lode is from 2 to 6 feet wide, and pays from $35 to $150 per ton. This mine and the Cariso have yielded the richest ore yet produced in the Sweetwater country.
The Sowles & Perkins lode shows a vein about 3 feet wide of paying ore. The shaft is 90 feet deep.
The Buckeye lode is about the same in width as the Sowles & Perkins. The company is now sinking a vertical shaft from which to work this mine. The shaft, which is now (January, 1871) 130 feet deep, is located so as to cut the lode at a depth of 150 feet. They have now reached 130 feet.
There are a number of other lodes which promise well, but which are in the hands of parties who have taxed themselves severely to develop their properties thus far, and who lack the means to increase the scale of their operations. As these lodes have not been tested by the repeated and continuous milling of the ore raised from them, they must be passed by for the present; another year will, no doubt, prove the quality of a number of them.
The Sweetwater mines of gold-bearing quartz, so far as they have been worked, are comprised within a belt of country about eight miles long and less than one mile wide, running from southwest to northeast. Rich float-quartz has been picked up, and lodes that prospect well have been discovered outside of these limits; but the working of such lodes and the formation of new camps has been prevented, mainly by incursions of hostile Indians. The extent of the undeveloped lodes of the country is entirely unknown, and the gold-producing capacity of those which have been worked most is but very imperfectly developed.
The population of Sweetwater County, by the census of 1870, was 1,916. About half of this population belongs to South Pass and Atlantic Cities, Miners' Delight and vicinity comprising the mining district. Wages for good laborers are from $3 50 to $4 per day; wood is $4 per cord; lumber, $35 to $50 per thousand feet; flour, $7 to $8 per hundred pounds; potatoes, 6 cents per pound; sugar, 20 to 30 cents coffee, 35 to 60 cents; butter, 50 to 75 cents; bacon, 35 cents; lard, 40 cents; fresh beef, 15 to 25 cents; and case goods, $7 to $15 per case.