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Friday, July 30, 2010

NEVADA LEGENDS Early Mining Discoveries

  
Written by Sam P. Davis in 1912, compiled and edited by
Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, November, 2009.



The story of the first discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, California, was the beginning of a marked event in the history of the United States which led to the mad rush of fortune hunters to the Pacific Coast, and gave the world a romance of sudden wealth which has never been duplicated in the history of mining. For the next ten years, the record was one of tragedy and greed, of gilded adventure and extraordinary happenings, in which the soldiers of fortune from the uttermost parts of the earth plunged into the seething melting-pot of fate and fought for spoils so vast and so easily acquired that it made the tale of Aladdin's Lamp a jest and mockery.
The romance of California gold mining needed a sequel, and the opening chapter was written when the Grosh brothers, of Philadelphia, who first discovered silver in Nevada, on the eastern slope of Mt. Davidson.

Miners were always quick to "pick up" their homes and
move to the next big mining strike.
Now and then, a hand reaches down and brings up some fragment which calls to mind the incidents which cluster about that tremendous discovery which helps make a new State and contributes a page to the history of the world.
After the bloom had worn off the gold excitement in California, some of the men who had rushed to the Coast doubled back along the trail and began to hunt for the precious metal in Nevada.
Gold is not a modest metal. It makes its presence known whenever it can and is always seeking recognition. When, in its original location, it is always subject to dislodgment from the attrition of the elements, the convulsions of nature, and the thousand and one disturbances arising from the industry of man. The moment it is loosened from its original home it becomes subject to the law of gravitation, and every movement is downward. Every storm which beats upon it helps to disintegrate its prison walls, and at every turn, the stones of the stream fall upon it and hammer it flatter, while the wear of the water takes away its sharp edges, so that when a practiced prospector picks it up from the bottom of his pan scores of miles from the original ledge, the appearance of the little grain of gold gives him a tolerably good idea of the distance it has traveled.
Early in the 1850s, prospectors found gold in the Carson River, near present-day Dayton, and they followed the indications up the ravine which carried away the wash of Mt. Davidson. They found the precious metal in paying quantities all along this gulch, which were washing out gold on the eastern slope of the mountain. Gold hunters from Placerville, California had come to the river as early as 1854 and earned good wages with pick and pan in what is now known as Six-Mile Canyon.
The Grosh Brothers
In 1857 E. Allen Grosh and Hosea B. Grosh, sons of Reverend A. B. Grosh, a Unitarian clergyman of Philadelphia, were working on the Comstock. From the testimony of many miners who knew them, they were men of considerable scientific attainments, being chemists, assayers and metallurgists. In addition to all this, having quite an outfit of assaying implements, they also brought with them to a spot afterward occupied by the Trenck Mill, quite a formidable library of scientific works. Captain Gilpin and George Brown were also regarded as partners of the Grosh brothers. 
They went to the Comstock region from Mud Springs, California in 1857, and prospected for nearly a year. When they came across a young man named McLoud, they took him along with them. He was a Canadian, about twenty years of age, and had crossed the plains with some Mormon emigrants. 
Now and then, a hand reaches down and brings up some fragment which calls to mind the incidents which cluster about that tremendous discovery which helps make a new State and contributes a page to the history of the world.
After the bloom had worn off the gold excitement in California, some of the men who had rushed to the Coast doubled back along the trail and began to hunt for the precious metal in Nevada.
Gold is not a modest metal. It makes its presence known whenever it can and is always seeking recognition. When, in its original location, it is always subject to dislodgment from the attrition of the elements, the convulsions of nature, and the thousand and one disturbances arising from the industry of man. The moment it is loosened from its original home it becomes subject to the law of gravitation, and every movement is downward. Every storm which beats upon it helps to disintegrate its prison walls, and at every turn, the stones of the stream fall upon it and hammer it flatter, while the wear of the water takes away its sharp edges, so that when a practiced prospector picks it up from the bottom of his pan scores of miles from the original ledge, the appearance of the little grain of gold gives him a tolerably good idea of the distance it has traveled.
Early in the 1850s, prospectors found gold in the Carson River, near present-day Dayton, and they followed the indications up the ravine which carried away the wash of Mt. Davidson. They found the precious metal in paying quantities all along this gulch, which were washing out gold on the eastern slope of the mountain. Gold hunters from Placerville, California had come to the river as early as 1854 and earned good wages with pick and pan in what is now known as Six-Mile Canyon.
The Grosh Brothers
In 1857 E. Allen Grosh and Hosea B. Grosh, sons of Reverend A. B. Grosh, a Unitarian clergyman of Philadelphia, were working on the Comstock. From the testimony of many miners who knew them, they were men of considerable scientific attainments, being chemists, assayers and metallurgists. In addition to all this, having quite an outfit of assaying implements, they also brought with them to a spot afterward occupied by the Trenck Mill, quite a formidable library of scientific works. Captain Gilpin and George Brown were also regarded as partners of the Grosh brothers. 
They went to the Comstock region from Mud Springs, California in 1857, and prospected for nearly a year. When they came across a young man named McLoud, they took him along with them. He was a Canadian, about twenty years of age, and had crossed the plains with some Mormon emigrants. 
until they returned. 
While preparations were being made for the departure of the Grosh brothers to Philadelphia, Hosea, while prospecting, ran a pick in his foot, which eventually resulted in lockjaw, from which he died from on September 2, 1957. He was buried near their camp and his grave marked by a few large rocks. Years later, his father would send a slab from Philadelphia to mark the grave.
With his brother, Hosea, dead, Allen didn't go to Philadelphia, but would soon travel along with McLoud to Last Chance, California. About November 1st the pair started across the mountains for Mud Springs by way of Georgetown. They crossed into California by way of Lake Tahoe, then known as Lake Bigler. While they were crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains, they were caught in a succession of snowstorms, suffering terribly and nearly freezing to death. However, they finally reached Last Chance, in Placer County. By this time, both men's feet were frozen. McLoud had his feet amputated but Grosh refused. He died in December, 1857 and was buried in the area. Neither one of the Grosh brothers, nor their families, ever realized a dollar from their discovery which added to the world's wealth over seven hundred million dollars and saved the American Union in the Civil War.
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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Development of gold recovery techniques

 Development of gold recovery techniques


Because the gold in the California gravel beds was so richly concentrated, the early forty-niners simply panned for gold in California's rivers and streams, a form of placer mining. However, panning cannot be done on a large scale, and industrious miners and groups of miners graduated to placer mining "cradles" and "rockers" or "long-toms" to process larger volumes of gravel. In the most complex placer mining, groups of prospectors would divert the water from an entire river into a sluice alongside the river, and then dig for gold in the newly exposed river bottom. Modern estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey are that some 12 million ounces (370 t) of gold were removed in the first five years of the Gold Rush (worth approximately US$7 billion at November 2006 prices).



Gold miners excavate a gold-bearing bluff with jets of water at a placer mine in Dutch Flat, California sometime between 1857 and 1870

In the next stage, by 1853, hydraulic mining was used on ancient gold-bearing gravel beds that were on hillsides and bluffs in the gold fields. In a modern style of hydraulic mining first developed in California, a high-pressure hose directed a powerful stream or jet of water at gold-bearing gravel beds. The loosened gravel and gold would then pass over sluices, with the gold settling to the bottom where it was collected. By the mid-1880s, it is estimated that 11 million ounces (340 t) of gold (worth approximately US$6.6 billion at November 2006 prices) had been recovered by "hydraulic process." This style of hydraulic mining later spread around the world. An alternative to "hydraulic process" was "coyoteing. This method involved digging a shaft 6 to 13 meters (20 to 40 feet) deep into bedrock along the shore of a stream. Tunnels were then dug in all directions to reach the richest veins of pay dirt.

A byproduct of these extraction methods was that large amounts of gravel, silt, heavy metals, and other pollutants went into streams and rivers. Many areas still bear the scars of hydraulic mining since the resulting exposed earth and downstream gravel deposits are unable to support plant life.



Quartz Stamp Mill in Grass Valley crushes the quartz before the gold is washed out

After the Gold Rush had concluded, gold recovery operations continued. The final stage to recover loose gold was to prospect for gold that had slowly washed down into the flat river bottoms and sandbars of California's Central Valley and other gold-bearing areas of California (such as Scott Valley in Siskiyou County). By the late 1890s, dredging technology (which was also invented in California) had become economical, and it is estimated that more than 20 million ounces (620 t) were recovered by dredging (worth approximately US$12 billion at November 2006 prices).

Both during the Gold Rush and in the decades that followed, gold-seekers also engaged in "hard-rock" mining, that is, extracting the gold directly from the rock that contained it (typically quartz), usually by digging and blasting to follow and remove veins of the gold-bearing quartz. Once the gold-bearing rocks were brought to the surface, the rocks were crushed, and the gold was separated out (using moving water), or leached out, typically by using arsenic or mercury (another source of environmental contamination).Eventually, hard-rock mining wound up being the single largest source of gold produced in the Gold Country.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Gold Pan.US - Gold Prospecting Blog: Keep an Eye on Your Prospecting Equipment

Gold Pan.US - Gold Prospecting Blog: Keep an Eye on Your Prospecting Equipment

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Gold rushes

 Gold rush

In the United States and Canada prospectors were lured by the promise of gold, silver, and other precious metals. They travelled across the mountains of the American West, carrying picks, shovels and gold pans. The majority of early prospectors had no training and relied mainly on luck to discover deposits.

Other gold rushes occurred in Papua New Guinea, Australia at least four times, and in South Africa and South America. In all cases, the gold rush was sparked by idle prospecting for gold and minerals which, when the prospector was successful, generated 'gold fever' and saw a wave of prospectors comb the countryside.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Historical methods gold prospecting

Historical methods gold prospecting


The traditional methods of prospecting involved combing through the countryside, often through creek beds and along ridgelines and hilltops, often on hands and knees looking for signs of mineralization in the outcrop. In the case of gold, all streams in an area would be panned at the appropriate trap sites looking for a show of 'colour' or gold in the tail.


Once a small occurrence or show was found, it was then necessary to intensively work the area with pick and shovel, and often via the addition of some simple machinery such as a sluice box, races and winnows, to work the loose soil and rock looking for the appropriate materials (in this case, gold). For most base metal shows, the rock would have been mined by hand and crushed on site, the ore separated from the gangue by hand.

Often, these shows were short-lived, exhausted and abandoned quite soon, requiring the prospector to move onwards to the next and hopefully bigger and better show. Occasionally, though, the prospector would strike it rich and be joined by other prospectors and larger-scale mining would take place. Although these are referred thought of as "old" prospecting methods, these techniques are still used today but usually coupled with more advanced techniques such as magnetic surveying and gravimetric analysis.

In most countries in the 19th and early 20th century, it was very unlikely that a prospector would retire rich even if he was the one who found the greatest of lodes. For instance Patrick (Paddy) Hannan, who discovered the Golden Mile, Kalgoorlie, died without receiving anywhere near a fraction of the value of the gold contained in the lodes, the same story repeated at Bendigo, Ballarat, Klondike and California.


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Sunday, July 18, 2010

BIG GOLD NUGGET WOW !

WOW !




Gold Fact: Did You Know
Sadly almost all gold nuggets found prior to 1990 have been melted down. At the time of the gold rush, even the largest nuggets were melted down, formed into bars or coins and assayed to determine their gold value so that payment for goods and services could be easily obtained. The Great Depression and the raw gold price spikes during the 1980's saw many of the best surviving nuggets held by state governments, museums and private collectors being melted down for cash. What a terrible loss! Only very recently has appreciation of geological rarity, uniqueness and nostalgia replaced the greed and fear that determined the fate of placer and lode nuggets in the past.



Gold Nugget Pricing: natural gold nuggets typically sell for a premium price over the spot gold price because they are valued similarly to gem stones and are much more rare than fine gold dust. Much of the gold bullion traded on the stock market is made from refined and melted down gold dust to form coins; 95-98% of the world's native gold is actually in the form of gold dust and not gold nuggets.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Old Prospectors Lessons

The Old Prospector's Lesson


(source unknown)

An old prospector shuffled into the town of El Indio, Texas leading an old

tired mule. The old man headed straight for the only saloon in town, to

clear his parched throat. He walked up to the saloon and tied his old mule

to the hitch rail. As he stood there, brushing some of the dust from his

face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out of the saloon with a gun in

one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.


The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, saying, "Hey old

man, have you ever danced?" The old man looked up at the gunslinger and

said, "No, I never did dance... never really wanted to."


A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned and said, "Well, you old

fool, you're gonna' dance now," and started shooting at the old man's feet.

The old prospector, not wanting to get a toe blown off, started hopping

around like a flea on a hot skillet. Everybody was laughing, fit to be

tied.


When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing,

holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon. The old man

turned to his pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun, and cocked

both hammers. The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air.


The crowd stopped laughing immediately. The young gunslinger heard the

sounds too, and he turned around very slowly. The silence was almost

deafening. The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old timer

and the large gaping holes of those twin barrels.


The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old man's hands, as he

quietly said, "Son, have you ever kissed a mule's ass?"

The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, "No sir..... but... I've always

wanted to."

There are two lessons for us all here:

Don't waste ammunition.


Don't mess with old people.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Donkey Baby Sitters ??? LOL !

Ranchers who raise horses often have a donkey or two on the property. The donkey will serve as a calming agent when around horses, especially foals. While a foal will not willingly approach a human, unless trained to know that it is all right to do so, a foal is normally quite comfortable around a donkey, and when the donkey approaches a human, the foal is likely to do so as well.


One of the best of the donkey facts is they make fine pets and companions. Donkeys tend to be well-behaved, and can be very loyal.

They are sometimes called stubborn, but most experts believe that they are simply being cautious, and careful.

If a donkey doesn't believe it’s a good idea to go somewhere, it won't go there.

All in all, for work, as a babysitter, guard animal, or companion, a donkey can usually fill the bill.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Old Texas Pete A security Guard ??

The most interesting donkey facts relate to those things the donkey is good at, a few of which may surprise you. A donkey can be saddled and ridden like a horse, and is a very good mount for small children.


The donkey will generally run no faster than it wants to, which is not very fast. The donkey, as we have said, can be used as a beast of burden, and as it often bonds to its owner, and to humans in general, can be used as a pack animal without requiring a lead rope.

Donkeys are also used as security guards for herds of cattle or sheep. A donkey does not like animals such as wolves or coyotes, and will aggressively defend the herd against them. Besides a powerful kick, a donkey will bite and stomp a foe. Most donkeys do not like dogs for that matter, and are apt attack a ranch dog, though they can usually, if not always, be trained to coexist.

Monday, July 12, 2010

More About Those Donkey's

No set of donkey facts would be complete without the following: The male donkey is called a jack, the female a jenny, and donkeys under one year old are collectively referred to as foals. A foal is a colt if male, and a filly if female.


Different species of the horse family can usually interbreed, with the most common example being that of the horse-donkey hybrid, which we know as the mule.

The mule is the result of a male donkey mating with a female horse, and in general, carries many of the finer features of both species. A male horse can also mate with a female donkey. Here the offspring is called a hinny. A cross species less frequently encountered, and generally considered to be a less desirable or useful animal than is the mule.
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Donkey's tail

The donkey's tail is more like that of a cow, and there are a number of other differences which set the donkey apart from the horse, largely differences in conformation. While the typical donkey is usually smaller than a horse, the donkey comes in sizes ranging from miniature to around 14 hands, the height of a medium-sized horse. A very pronounced difference of course, is the donkey's unique sound, the bray.


Donkeys have been domesticated for several thousand years, and continue to be used as work animals, or beasts of burden, in many parts of the world.


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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Donkey's Better Friends Than Jackasses !

 I wanted to tell you the story of The Donkey So Here Is the first thought!

This Is My best friend and he is no Jackass !


Donkeys were introduced to North America by Columbus, and were extensively used by the Spanish conquistadors during their explorations and settling of the New World.



As the preferred beast of burden for miners and prospectors, the donkey enjoyed a heyday of sorts in the 1840's. And some will tell you they are a whole lot more faithful than those two legged Jackasses !

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

MARK ANSON UTAH'S OLDEST SHERIFF

Part Two

I was not lacking in confidence. I had several times in the past proven myself the superior of grown men in mountaineering skills. There was not a doubt in my young mind that I could not lose this old man in the dust.


But still he came on. I watched as he stooped and examined the tracks, then mounted his horse nimbly and headed straight in my direction at a trot. I realized that I would have to resort to more stringent efforts to cover my tracks.

Mounting my horse, I rode her along the hard-pan where, I was convinced, no trace of passage could be seen. I stopped beyond the crest of a hill a mile or so away and secluded myself beneath the shadow of a cedar to watch. Sheriff Anson arrived at the hard-pan and stopped; he dismounted. He walked slowly around the area in a full-circle, stooped once to do something I couldn't quite make out, then mounted again. Without further hesitation, he rode directly toward me!

I rode hard for several hours, using every ruse I could imagine or remember to lose the old tracker, to no avail. Every zig-and-zag was followed unerringly; every back-track discovered; every blind-trail ignored and by-passed. My respect for the "old man" was growing by the hour.

By nightfall my horse was tired and thirsty. She was a young mare, heavy with colt, and I knew I couldn't push her. But it did give me an idea. Riding up to an escarpment where a cedar tree grew out from an overhang some eight feet above the ground, I pulled myself up into the tree from atop my horse, and spooked her down the trail. I then climbed to the top of the cliff, took up a post, and waited.

The old Sheriff came riding leisurely along and I smiled to myself as he by-passed my hiding place and continued along the trail left by the riderless horse. But, no more than half a mile away, I saw him stop, dismount, examine the trail again, and take a drink from his canteen. At last he remounted, just as the sun began to sink in the western sky over the rim of Hogsback Mountain, and I was relieved that he would be moving on: but he didn't. He turned around and rode straight back toward me. Who was this guy?

I traveled all night on foot, then made a dry camp and went to sleep. Before the sun rose I was up, scrambling up a promontory to scan the back trail. There, on the horizon, leisurely plodding along, was the old sheriff. It was nearly beyond belief

I had one last chance. About a mile away, in a wall of ledges overlooking South Valley, I knew of a crevice high on the cliff-side - where once I had explored an eagle's nest - where I could hide in complete concealment. I soon nestled in there, feeling quite secure.

The old Sheriff, whom I watched intently from a niche in the rocks, wound his way across the valley and stopped his horse directly beneath my hiding place. I held my breath as he unscrewed his canteen and took a drink, less than fifteen feet below my roost.

"Hot day,, isn't it boy?"

I jumped. How could he know I was there?

"Imagine you could use a drink of cold water just about now?"

He was right about that.

"Come on down, boy," he said. "I might be too old to climb up after you, but I can damned well out-wait you. " I knew he could. I climbed down. We rode double back down the valley to where my parents waited in a war-surplus Jeep. By the time we arrived, the Sheriff had gleaned my story from between parched lips. Before turning me over to my parents, he asked their permission to take me home with him: "I'd like to give him a little talking to," I heard him tell my father. "He ain't a bad boy. He just needs a little change of direction. "

"I ran away from home once," Mark told me, back at his house. "Damn near got me killed," he said. He leaned back in his leather chair and looked up at the pine rafters, as if his past history was displayed there, upon the mists of time.

"I was a little older than you are now," he began. "Maybe sixteen or seventeen. And I thought I knew everything there was to know. Nobody could tell me anything, you see."

"Why did you run away?" I asked, genuinely curious. His old wife Sarah brought us hot rolls with butter and honey, and hot chocolate to drink, fresh from a half-gallon tin of Baker's Brand Chocolate. While I dug in ravenously, he answered my question.

"My dad wanted me to hold up my end of chores around the ranch," he replied. "I thought there was a faster and easier way to make money. Must of have been about 1885..."

In about 1885 a notorious horse rustler named "Dutch" John Henselini came through Burnt Fork with a stolen herd; he needed an extra hand and hired the teen-aged Mark Anson to go along with him as a "gingler," or horse-wrangler. Unhappy at home, Mark went with the rustler without bothering to notify his family.

They drove the stolen herd into Utah, across the Green River at Cottonwood Crossing near the Flaming Gorge, and out onto the cedar flats above Red Canyon (where Flaming Gorge Dam on the Green River is presently located; Dutch John Flat, named for the rustler-chief, is today the town of Dutch John, Daggett County, Utah).

The Dutch John Gang consisted of about six or seven men. They rustled stock in northern Wyoming and Montana and drove them to Dutch John Flat. Here they had erected corrals of cedar- posts where they corralled the stolen animals for brand alterations before driving them further south for sale.

"It was my job," Mark told me, "to herd the horses on Dutch John Flat when the gang was away. I would be left alone there for weeks on end, but when they came back, their pockets would be jingling with gold, and old Dutch John paid me good. I had no complaints. I was feelin'pretty cocky about myself I was thumbing my nose at the law and making more money in a month than my dad made on the ranch in a whole year. Yeah, I thought that runnin' away was the smartest thing I ever done."

Then one day, while the gang was camped on the Flat (where the town now stands), some of the horses strayed over the ridge and Dutch John sent young Mark to fetch them back. He had only barely left the camp when "all hell broke loose."

A sheriffs posse from Vernal had crossed the river at Little Brown's Hole about five miles to the east, and had slipped up on them stealthily by way of Dripping Springs. A running gunfight ensued, during which all five or six members of the gang - including Dutch John - were killed. Mark watched from a pinnacle above Dutch John Gap.

"I was never so scared in all my young life," old Mark said, taking a sip of his cocoa. "My life had been saved by only a few minutes, but I knew, too, that if they saw me, I could still be killed, or spend years in prison. I high-tailed it out of there. I swam the Green River and walked over forty miles up Henry's Fork to my dad's ranch. No place ever looked better to me than the old home place did at that moment."

Subsequently, I learned, Mark enlisted in the U.S. Cavalry: his father thought it would help to mature. He had been one of the guards who watched over the famous Sitting Bull, following his arrest upon his return from Canada where he had fled following the Battle of Little Big Horn.

"We got to be pretty good friends," Mark told me, getting up from his comfortable chair, surprisingly agile for his age - and considering that he had been chasing me in the hills for two days - he opened an old trunk near his bedroom door and removed an old 45-70 Cavalry rifle and handed it to me. It was heavy. On the stock were brass studs, imbedded in the wood in the shape of a cross.

"Sitting Bull gave this to me," he said, replacing it carefully in the trunk. He handed me a 45- 70 cartridge and told me I could keep it. "Sitting Bull was murdered, you know," he added reflectively. "They said he was killed trying to escape, but he wasn't. He was murdered. I Know- I was there."

When his cavalry term ended he returned home and not long afterward became a deputy sheriff under Sheriff John Ward of Uinta County, Wyoming. His co-deputy was Robert Calverly, formerly foreman of the Carter Cattle Company, but more renowned as the only lawman ever to capture the notorious Butch Cassidy and send him to prison (1894).

In 1898 his biggest coup as a lawman occurred when the Union Pacific flyer was robbed at Bryan Station, about mid-way between Fort Bridger and Green River City, Wyoming. The Red Sash Gang, to whom the robbery was attributed, escaped with $85,000 in heavy-gold coin and bullion, carried away in the panniers of several pack-mules. The robbers, six or eight in number, passed through the buttes just east of Burnt Fork. Deputy Anson organized a posse and set out in hasty pursuit, hoping to head them off before they reached the high Uintahs.

The outlaws stopped briefly in Connor Basin to steal one of George Solomon' s best horses Solomon was away at the time, serving as flag-bearer for Torrey's Rough Riders in the Spanish- American War. Then they proceeded up Sol's Canyon, still encumbered by the gold.

"At Half-Moon Park," Mark said, a grin breaking his face, "old Charley Brant came riding along in the opposite direction. Just as he rode out into the Park out of the timber, he spots the outlaws comin'his way. 'Hey,'he yells out. 'Where the hell you fellers going to with old Sol's horse His answer was hot lead, and he beat it back into the timber with his tail between his legs."

Five miles east of Half-Moon Park, in a small meadow in the heavy timber, the outlaws abandoned the pack-mules - emptied other burden. The place ever after became known as "Jackass Park. "

Deputy Anson's posse was now hot on their heels. A telegram had been sent over the mountain to Sheriff Bill Preece of Vernal, who was already underway with another posse to head the robbers off. The two posses converged upon the outlaws in Dowd's Hole and a desperate gunfight ensued. Four of the robbers were killed, two wounded and captured, and two others escaped. The gold was never recovered.

"The gold had to have been hidden within the five miles between Half-Moon Park and Jackass Park," Mark lamented. "They had less than two hours to do it. Two of the captured men died in prison in Illinois. The gang's cook, a black man, before he died, told the story to another black man called Nigger Turner. He had half a map to the place where the gold was buried - smuggled it out of prison drawn on the instep of his shoe. I knew old Nigger Turner well in later years. He lived in a cabin at McKinnon (Wyo.) and hunted for the gold. One day his horse came back with blood on the saddle. Nobody ever seen him again."

It was apparent that the Red Sash gold was one of the old man's favorite topics. He assured me that he had been searching for the gold for more than fifty years. "It's gettin' o little late," he surmised, "but I still have hopes that somebody will find it before I die." They didn't.

The leader of the robbers was a man called Red Bob. He escaped. It was later learned that he was none other than Harry Alonzo Longabaugh - better known as The Sundance Kid. What the wizened old Sheriff could not have known then was that Longabaugh removed the gold in 1908.

Mark Anson was a font of information on early law enforcement in Wyoming and Utah, having known both the famous and infamous on both sides of the law. His memory was an encyclopedia of history. One story interested me greatly.

"I knew Butch Cassidy," he told me, "both before he went to South America, and later, when he came back."

This wasn't exactly a revelation to me. The usually accepted version of Cassidy's fate was that he and The Sundance Kid had been shot down in a gun battle with Bolivian soldiers in 1908 or 1909. My grandfather, Willard Schofield, who had grown up with Butch in southern Utah, and knew him later, had informed me that Butch survived and returned to the United States. But I was interested in Mark Anson's version.

"Butch was back here in 1908. He met his father down at Smith & Larsen's Mercantile that fall and they had a long talk about Butch reforming his ways before it was too late. I met him again about 1919 or 1920. 1 ran into him face-to-face as he stepped down from the Price stage, coming to Vernal. We recognized each other right away. 'You still a lawman? He asked me. I said, 'Hell, yes.' 'Well,'he says to me, 'I'm counting on our friendship. I hope you won't mention that you've seen me."'Mark paused for effect. The suspense got to me: I had to ask: "What did you tell him?"

"I told him," he grinned, "that the last I heard of Butch Cassidy, he was killed in South America. We shook hands and went our separate ways. I never seen him again, but I heard that he was around. "

"You see," the old sheriff added, "I chased Butch Cassidy when he was on the wrong side of the law, but when he quit the Outlaw Trail and went straight, we could meet as old friends. It's called giving a man a break. "

I could see he was leading up to something.

"Now you can say that you was trailed by the lawman who trailed Butch Cassidy. I gave him a break, and son, I'm gonna give you one, too. You just go on back home now, and if you don't ever do it again, it will be something you look back upon one day as a story to tell your grand-kids. But if you ever do run away again... " - he leaned forward and gave me a cold stare I have never forgotten

come after you again, and next time, I'll have your ass!"

Mark Anson remained an active lawman until he turned eight-seven. He had given me a break, taught me a lesson, and like Butch Cassidy, we became friends. Mark encouraged me to write about the history of northeastern Utah, and I began doing so at about the age of twelve. When the old sheriff died, several years into his nineties, I went to his funeral. Before the earth was heaped upon his coffin, I tossed the 45-70 cartridge into the open grave. Somehow, it seemed a fitting tribute.

Sources:

1. Personal interviews with Mark Anson prior to his death, and access to his papers in later years.

2. Flamina Gorize Country, by Dick Dunham.

3. History & Biography of Southwestern Wyoming Pioneers, Wyoming Historical Society.

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

GREAT 4TH OF JULY STORY

Kerry Ross Boren


MARK ANSON

UTAH'S OLDEST SHERIFF

by Kerry Ross Boren

His house, in which he lived with his wife Sarah, was a huge, oblong building, constructed of peeled-and-squared pine logs which had been cut and hauled from the nearby Uintah Mountains during the 1920's. The house had a green tar-paper roof and sat on the crest of the high knobby hill looking down upon the little town of Manila, Utah, like an overlord and his fiefdom. The only access was by a graded road which snaked its way around the hill from a swinging gate at the intersection of a frontage road.

Few people ever saw Mark Anson, the sheriff of Daggett County, Utah. For that cause he was held somewhat in awe by the local populace, and remained something of a mystery. Part of the reason was due to his age, for Mark was past eighty-five. If the criminal element should think of this as an advantage, however, it was always to their detriment. Sheriff Anson always got his man.

Daggett County, during the late 1940's and early 1950's, when I grew into boyhood there, was the smallest, least-populated, and most isolated county in the State - a virtual throw-back to the Old West. Many of the county's older residents - Willard Schofield, Tom Welch, Tom Jarvie, Minnie Rasmussen, Jim Lamb and others - had been personal acquaintances of Butch Cassidy; so had Mark Anson.

Mark was not originally a resident of the county. He was the son of Tom Anson, an early pioneer of the Henry's Fork country in southwestern Wyoming. Mark was born at Burnt Fork, Wyoming, on his father's ranch, during the late 1860's. Burnt Fork was, however, barely across the Utah-Wyoming border, some thirty-five miles, as the crow flies, west of Manila.

I came to know Mark Anson, and to learn his life's story, in a very unusual way.

When I was ten or eleven years of age - in about 1951 or 1952 - I followed in the footsteps of many an earlier errant child and ran away from home. My older brother had taken a new litter of kittens belonging to my pet cat, put them in a gunny-sack, weighted it with rocks, and drowned them in the pond. I felt badly abused and determined to run away and live as a hermit in the nearby mountains.

Our family ranch was some six miles south of Manila, on the lip of Sheep Creek Canyon, in the foothills of the massive Uintah Mountains - Utah's highest. I had grown up in the Uintahs and felt perfectly at home there. I had been hunting, fishing, and exploring the canyons and rivers of that region since the age of five or six, and lived like a prodigal wild child in their midst without apprehension or concern.

I bridled my horse - "Jewel," a pinto - and rode off bareback into the hills south of the ranch, feeling simultaneously unloved and yet elated at my new-found sense of freedom and independence. It didn't last too long.

I hadn't gone many miles when I discovered that, in my haste to leave, I had overlooked provisions. By day's end I was hungry and had nothing to eat. I hadn't even considered until that time how I was going to provide for myself in the mountains.

I happened to be near my uncle Roy Boren's ranch in South Valley. I knew that he and my aunt were away on a visit, so I dropped by the ranch and helped myself to food from the pantry, my uncle's best fishing rod, and, for good measure, I took a pocket watch from a dresser - in case I needed to know the time of day. I was to learn that the watch had belonged to my aunt's father, Charles Potter, and was an heirloom. I felt bad then, but at the time I took it, it was the least of my concerns. I had never stolen anything before, and because of the lesson I was about to learn, never would again.

I camped that night on Sheep Creek, caught trout for my supper, to supplement some of my aunt's bottled fruits and vegetables, and made my bedroll next to a campfire. In the middle of the night I was awakened by the sound of an automobile coming up the canyon. I doused the fire, bundled up my few belongings, and climbed upon Jewel's back. Nearby was a branch of old Outlaw Trail, winding its way up the cliff-side for some two thousand feet to the crest of the canyon. It had been constructed in the 1890's by Cleophas Dowd, whose grave lay at the bottom of the trail: he was murdered in the canyon in 1898. Few people could navigate the trail in daylight, especially with a horse, but I did it by night, and was feeling quite proud of the accomplishment.

What I didn't know, but strongly suspected, was that the car contained members of my family, frantically searching for me. The next morning my worried mother went to elicit the aid of Sheriff Anson to find me. By noon the old man was on my trail.

I spotted him early on, several miles down the valley, slowly walking along in front of his horse, pursuing my tracks. I rode hard toward an escarpment, hid my horse behind an outcropping of ledge, and climbed to the top of the ridge to watch his progress. At this point the "game" was enjoyable, like cowboys and Indians - or Butch eluding a posse. I didn't know it then, but Sheriff Anson had once pursued members of the Wild Bunch, over this same terrain. Had I known it, I might not have been so smug.
 
PART TWO COMMING SOON!
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Friday, July 2, 2010

Prospectors Ghosts From Times of Old

Second Part

When the sun goes down, we instinctively look for a safe and secure environment to remain in until the sun comes back. Even sitting in our own house in darkness can be scary.


Another is being alone. Humans are safer in packs, like a pack of wolves, monkeys, sheep or whatever. A group is less likely to be attacked, and is more able to fend off an attack. If you are one of 10 people running from a tiger, it is statistically less likely you’ll be the one that gets eaten. So being alone will always make you more afraid than being in a group.

Another is being in an unfamiliar environment. Being somewhere you know well is far less concerning than being somewhere you don’t, like in a foreign city. If a danger pops up, you’ll deal with it better if you are familiar with where you are.

So if you combine all three: being alone deep in a pitch black unfamiliar mine your brain will naturally be making you feel quite scared. Every distant drip sound will make you stop and listen; and even the slightest thing will make you jump. You might even feel childish and stupid for feeling scared, but you won’t be able to help it, it’s simply a natural reaction to the environment. However, care has to be taken not to let this lead to panic and irrational behavior.

There are many things that could push you from being scared into a state of panic:

Getting lost

Your lighting suddenly failing or weakening unexpectedly

A sudden unfamiliar noise

Thinking you heard a sudden unfamiliar noise

Unusual shadows or reflections catching your eye

A sudden realization how far you are from daylight
 

Abandond mine near Animas Forks, Colorado


This ghost photo was sent by Robert Stiles of rmstilez@yahoo.com.

Robert said, "I am enclosing a photo I took in an abandond mine near Animas Forks Colorado. This is a solid stone shaft cut in the late 1800's. Many people died years ago in the Colorado mining boom."

Dr. Dave's Notes:

This is an excellent photo of an orb in motion that appears to have ectoplasmic discharges expanding outward.
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