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The Candelaria Company at Real del Tuerto has worked eight men for ten months, and 1,200 tons of quartz were mined by them. I am not informed of the yield of this ore; but as the company bought a ten-stamp mill last year, which had before crushed ore from the same mines with satisfactory results, it may be expected that the business of the company was a paying one, though wages have been much higher in this part of New Mexico than elsewhere. The Candelaria has paid $83 per month to its hands, without board; and the New Mexico Mining Company about $60 with board.
In Grant County little real mining has been carried on, while much prospecting has taken place.
The placers in the vicinity of Pinos Altos have produced little, partly on account of drought and the hostility of the Apaches, and partly be cause nearly all the floating population in this camp was carried off to the Burro Mountains by the excitement which broke out in the early part of 1870, on account of alleged rich discoveries of silver veins.
The quartz mines, too, have done little during the year, and of four companies reported only one has worked twelve months, the remainder having been active from one to four months.
The Pinos Altos Mining Company has only worked one month, and its product is less than $3,000. The remaining three companies, Reynolds & Griggs, Ryerson & Co., and the Asiatic Mining Company, have employed sixteen men, on an average of eight months, at $2 per day. They have crushed 3,970 tons of quartz, which yielded $60,900, an average of $15 33 per ton. The largest product is that of Messrs. Reynolds & Griggs, who crushed 2,880 tons, yielding $48,500.
The Pinos Altos region is one of the most exposed to the depredations of the Apache in all New Mexico, the distance to the Sierra Blanca and the Pinal Mountains, the strongholds of the worst bands of Apaches, being short, and military protection not in the immediate vicinity.
The celebrated copper mines of this region, in Central City district, which were described at length in last year's report, have not been in operation. But steps have been taken to secure United States title to the Santa Rita mines, and an early resumption of operations at this mine is expected.
The great events in reference to mining in the Territory of New Mexico are the simultaneous discoveries at widely remote localities of extensive silver veins and deposits. I refer to those made at the Burro or Pyramid Mountains, in Mesilla County, those in the Cienega and Chloride districts, in Grant County, and finally, those near the Rio Dolores, an affluent of the Rio San Juan, in the northwestern part of the Territory. The latter, though reported to be rich and extensive, have been less explored than those first named, the Ute Indians having prevented the prospecting party, when attempting to reach the mines the second time, from advancing in that direction, forcing them to turn north, where they are said to have discovered rich gold mines in the San Luis Park in Colorado.
The Burro and Cienega mines are better known, and, though no active mining of any account has been carried on in either of these localities, many outsiders, and among them intelligent mining men, have visited them and reported on their merits, as far as developed at present. Various accounts have appeared in the press from time to time in regard to the Burro mines. The following is from the pen of Mr. J. Wasson, surveyor general of Arizona Territory:
As these mines have attained celebrity, and are destined to be more widely and favorably known, their location should be described with approximate accuracy-all that any man can do at present. New Mexico claims them, and while Arizona does not deny
it, she does not admit it. The line between New Mexico and Arizona is established on the one hundred and ninth meridian of longitude west of Greenwich, and no line has ever been run or observations taken on it, not even at its intersection with the international boundary between Mexico and the United States; hence any positive opinion as to the territory in which these mines are situate would be presumption. Yet it is generally believed that the line between the Territories lies to the west about fifteen miles, and for legal purposes the authority of New Mexico is recognized. The mines lie just south of the Overland Mail and Stage road, and the bold croppings may be seen distinctly fifteen miles distant either way on the road. They lie at the extreme north end of the Pyramid range of mountains, where they lose themselves in the open, level country, forty-five miles east of Camp Bowie, at Apache Pass, and seventy miles southwest of Camp Bayard; by the sinuous road of Tucson, one hundred and fifty; and west of Mesilla, on the Rio Grande, one hundred and twenty. The stage passes weekly over this route, once each way, with the mails and passengers to Tucson and Mesilla. Fare to Mesilla, $35; to Tucson, $42 50; and thence to San Diego, $90-two trips each week west of Tucson.
Up to May 21st there were 1,257 original claims recorded, and they cover a scope of country about six miles in extent. But three monster veins are prominent-Harpending, Brown, and Arnold. They crop out for miles, in places 50 feet above the surface, and verging from a few to hundreds of feet in width. Between the lodes is a network of smaller ones, many of which are from 10 to 50 feet in thickness. The limited amount of labor performed forbids any correct opinion of worth, regarding the casing of the veins, extent or character much below the surface. In a few places slate walls have been exposed by the miners to a depth of several feet. Quite an extended observation of quartz operations in the Pacific States and Territories has convinced me that more failures have ensued because of a lack of ore than on account of its barrenness of gold and silver. Here the quantity is apparently unlimited. I was disgusted in advance with what I considered the same old stories about "any amount of ore-rely upon that." I felt that all former lying had been rendered insignificant in comparison. Yesterday and to-day I carried a hammer, climbed up over the scraggy croppings in scores of places, and knocked off pieces where others had not, and the amount of quartz in sight is so great as to make one doubt his sight-almost regard himself in the midst of a wild dream. I have neither seen nor heard any exaggerations with reference to the quartz in this district.
The quality is still a matter upon which the honest and well-informed may and do differ. I to-day saw boxed some forty pounds of ore from various mines, and addressed to A. Harpending, San Francisco, to be forwarded by stage to-morrow. It may be taken for specimens, but I am sure there are many thousands of tons equally as good in plain sight. If the ore which P. Arnold has forwarded to Mr. Harpending gives satisfactory returns of gold and silver, there can hardly be a doubt that this is the most extensive deposit of rich quartz ever found in America. The same quality of ore is abundant throughout the district. It is exposed in thousands of places, and not in small bunches. Speaking only in comparison with other ores, I believe those of this district will be proved of great average richness. I understand the tests so far made have shown but little gold; yet to-day I struck a small pocket which contained much free gold, as was verified by pulverization and careful washing. Unquestionably silver largely predominates.
There are many evidences that these mines have at one time been worked in a crude way, and the ore taken elsewhere for reduction, and that some of the mysterious and fabulous tales of silver mines in Mexico had their origin here. On the Roberts claim, on the Brown lode, is an old stone cabin. It was covered in the usual Mexican style until recently, when some soldiers set fire to it and burned off the roof. It was covered with cedar poles, thatch, and dirt. A hole near by, where the mortar was probably mixed, is grown up with small shrubs, and a portion of the limbs of a cedar tree adjacent have been cut off, and the marks of the ax are yet visible in the dead branches. The work must have been done many years ago. In the quartz near by there are crevices worked out into the heart of the ledge, some of the cavities being large enough to admit a man on his knees, and when discovered, the entrances were closed with rocks. In other places ore has evidently been taken from the surface, as the "deads" are as orderly placed to one side as is the practice of modern miners. At this city springs were dug out and walled up. Flat stones used in grinding grain for food are lying about. The careful observer here can have no doubts regarding these statements. The Apache Indians killed and drove men from highly cultivated farms in many sections of this country-why not from mines?
Large teams can easily reach the majority of claims, and with very little labor roads can be made so as to admit of heavily laden wagons passing to and from any of them with ease. The hills rise gently and are covered with a heavy growth of nutritious grass and scattering cedar timber of the scrub variety; are not rocky except near the veins, and there the boulders are quartz croppings. In most all quartz districts the item of roads is a big one in the expense account; here it will amount to nearly nothing. In the gulch passing up through Ralston water is abundant in the rainy season, and for some time thereafter on the surface; new wells have been dug from 5 to 25 feet
Several have been sunk, and in every case excellent water has been obtained at the depth stated. Half a mile over to the west is a spring; in one of the claims water has been found. While there is no surface water at present, it is proven that the earth is full of it. Mr. Arnold, who, by the way, is the superintendent of the Roberts & Harpending Company, and a hard-working, reputable man locally, and I believe generally and especially, is now sinking a well near by, with a view to procure sufficient water for a mill. He is down less than ten feet, and has found, up to this writing, considerable water. His intention is to sink, if possible, 30 feet or more. This is the driest season; rain should commence in June. With proper effort I am confident it will cost less to supply a large population with an abundant quantity of fine water than it did in Virginia City. The San Simon River can be reached by pipes-so I am informed-at a cost not to exceed that of the White Pine Water Works. While it would be quite acceptable if the district were coursed with babbling brooks at all seasons, the scarcity of water here is no great objection.
Wood is scarce near at hand. Upon inquiry of a largely interested party of what would be the cost of wood delivered here in quantities of 1,000 cords and upward, he was frank and prompt in declaring it at not "above $20 per cord." Wood is said to be abundant Lot above twenty miles distant, and known to be within thirty miles. Good pine lumber is selling at 15 cents per foot. When the demand becomes large the price will be greatly reduced. For fire-wood there is an ample supply of cedar scattered about within a few miles, to last for some time, but it is too limited to be considered in making estimates for permanent supplies.
The Gila River can be reached with a railroad in forty-five to fifty miles, according to local authority. A broad, level, grassy valley intervenes. There is ample waterpower, and the mountains which hug that stream above possess immense forests of superior timber. Should this immense field of ore prove half as rich as appearances indicate it will, I predict the early construction of a railway to the Gila, as a means of reaching cheap motive power and fuel. Dumps along the body of the Harpending and portions of the Brown lodes could be reached with cars at a fourth the expense it cost to reach the dumps of the Comstock.
The climate is pleasant. Days warm, but breezy and not oppressive, and nights cool. It is regarded as very healthy. There is nothing in the surroundings to change this opinion, which of course is one formed within a few months by the oldest residents. No one has consented to occupy a grave-yard yet, and therefore no cemetery is located.
Living is dear. Everything but postage-stamps sell at enormous profit, and this is so throughout all this section of country, from Fort Yuma eastward. Bacon sells at 60 to 75 cents; sugar the same; beef and mutton, 25 cents; flour, 10 cents, &c. Goods and provisions are not plenty, but so far as the assortment goes, enough for the demand. Stocks are ordered from Chicago and St. Louis via Sheridan. I am told that freight can be laid down here inside of 10 cents currency from those cities, and that a revolution in retail prices must ensue. As is always the case in new and remote places, certain lines of goods bring any price asked; as a rule, merchants' liberality seldom appears to good advantage except under sharp competition. The population is estinated in and about the mines at 300. Many are coming and going.
Little actual mining is prosecuted. Assessment work is the main business, aside from building, which is necessarily limited, although there are several comfortable houses of stone, adobe, and granite, and more building. Owing to the danger from Indians, and distance from supplies, but little is required to hold claims under the local laws.
A notice duly recorded holds six months; a shaft 5 by 5 and 6 feet deep will hold a single claim of 200 feet, or all the claims of any one company on the same lode, for one year. Men without some means should stay away until there is a demand for labor, which is very limited now, and will be for the next six months. There are men here who have bummed their way, and without the means to buy a meal or pay for recording a claim, should they find one. If they could subsist on raw quartz this would be a poor man's paradise. It is a friendly act to often warn them to stay away. The mass of the people here are unable to maintain healthy paupers, and a little starvation is good for such mendicants. Quartz operators of means ought to visit these mines. They could but be delighted to witness more good-looking ore in sight than has ever been worked in the mills in and about Virginia and Gold Hill. Veins of fine-looking ore, standing 50 feet above ground, ranging in width from 10 to 200 feet, form a prospect of enchantment to all mining enthusiasts.
As mining experts are constantly making themselves ridiculous, by giving learned opinions on mineral deposits, I shall not in the least attempt to divide the honors with them. Assays tell well for this ore; it remains for hundreds of tons to be worked in a body by mill process to establish the worth of this district.
This was written in May, 1870. Later in the year my assistant, Mr. Eilers, while in the adjoining Territory of Arizona, gathered some facts in regard to these mines the substance of which is as follows:
There is no doubt about the existence of extraordinary large quartz veins in the district, and the quantity of ore, such as it is, seems to be almost unlimited at the very surface.
In regard to the quality of the surface ore, which here, as well as in hundreds of other silver veins, will probably be found to be the best in the veins, nothing satisfactory has as yet reached me.
We are indeed informed by an article, which appeared in the Scientific Press of July 30, 1870, that a number of assays of ore brought to San Francisco yielded as follows: "83 01, 810 37, $14 14, 818 84, 828 25, 828 35, 830 17, $43 96, $46 10, $50 23, $53 38, $55 97, $66 76, $113 13, $118 26, $130 81, $147 21, $158 03, $172 80, $224 37, $287 21, 8471 24, $528 78, $561 88, $742 24, $751 87, $831 80, $1,342 50, $1,442 43, $3,038 62, $3,838 46, $4,861 09. A little gold, from a trace up to $25 22, was found in six samples." But this proves nothing. The same assays may be obtained from the smallest pocket of a silver-ore deposit. Only average samples, taken according to the methods in use in the practical · working of silver ores, will reveal the true value of those veins, and that only after large amounts have been taken down.
A large number of assays, made in Arizona, of specimens taken from the ledge by one who was unacquainted with silver ores, gave less than an average of $15 per ton, and one of the original locators acknowledged to my assistant that he thought the great mass of the ores would not yield above $15 per ton, and that they all contained a high percentage of base metals. If we add to the cost of beneficiation of such ores the-expense for transportation for forty-five miles by railroad to the Gila River, the as yet high cost of freight to and from the Burro Mountains, and the interest of the large capital required for starting such an enterprise, it is evident that those mines cannot be worked at a profit at present. At the same time it is clear that upon the completion of the Texas Pacific Railroad a very extensive mining industry is likely to spring up here. I learn that the attempt will be made during the next year to make at least a beginning in the development of these mines.
The Cienega mines are located about fifty miles northeast of Ralston. According to the accounts received they occur in limestone, and are rather deposits than veins. A town, named Silver City, has been located here, and some little prospecting work has been carried on, but in no case a depth exceeding 12 feet seems to have been reached on the deposits. Much high-grade chloride of silver is reported to have been found, and the principal deposits appear to lie along a zone running northeast and southwest, which is half a mile wide, and has been superficially explored for a length of three miles. Chloride district, two miles from Silver City, is spoken of in still higher terms of praise.
All these discoveries lie apparently a short distance from Fort Bayard, and may be identical with those of the Central City district mentioned in last year's report. As yet nothing definite is known in regard to them, and as no actual mining was carried on, I have not deemed it necessary to expend any means in that direction.
The passage of the Texas Pacific Railroad bill will probably exercise a powerful influence toward developing the mineral resources of southern New Mexico during the immediate future, and there are certainly no Territories which deserve more the attention of mining men than those crossed by the thirty-second parallel line.
The total white population of the mining counties of New Mexico, as given by the census of 1870, is 26,716, including Mexicans, and distributed as follows: Grant County, 1,143; Lincoln County, 1,803; Taos County, 12,079; Santa Fé County, 9,699; Colfax County, 1,992.
The gold product of the Territory for 1870 slightly exceeds $500,000.
This Territory manifests a steady progress in the direction of settled and productive industry, and permanent public improvements of every kind. The completion of three railroads, centering at Denver, the forma tion of new and thriving colonies, like that of Greeley, and the growth of several branches of domestic manufactures, are all causes which, though distinct from mining, operate favorably to that interest. The absolute proximity of agriculture and mining is not always perfectly advantageous to both. Thus in California the placer-mining operations have been ruinous to large areas of farming and garden land, along the rivers below the mining ground. The vapors from smelting works are frequently injurious to crops. The high rates of miners' wages affect unfavorably the price of agricultural labor. Conflicts of interest between the two industries promote litigation while they hamper legisla tion. Yet, on the other hand, mining cannot maintain itself remote from auxiliaries, except at great pecuniary and social cost to the community. I regard it, therefore, as peculiarly fortunate for Colorado that within her borders mining and agriculture are "so near and yet so far;" that her rugged mountain districts are skirted with fertile plains and parks; that in days to come the camps of her pioneers will be merely outposts of her great cities. It is difficult to find an instance where the two fundamental productive activities of man are both so magnificently endowed, and so conveniently located for mutual assistance without interference.
The Territorial fair, held in September at Denver, was a striking exhibition of the wealth and progress of Colorado. It is true, it was inferior in its array of native stock to that of 1869, and no more than equal to its predecessor in point of agricultural products. But these facts have little significance. What Colorado can do in these partienlars is well known already; and it matters not whether the heifers or the turnips are a few inches larger round the belly this year or last. On the other hand, the magnificent display of blooded stock in 1870 means a great deal. It shows growing wealth and intelligence among stock-raisers, and promises still better things hereafter.
The crops suffered greatly from drought, so that, although the area under cultivation was greater, the total harvest probably did not exceed that of 1869. But next season will astonish the outside world; and meanwhile, though the average yield was not realized in the pres ent crop, the ranchmen of Colorado may claim with truth that, even under the great disadvantage of a partial failure, they far exceeded the general average of the United States.
But the great glory of the fair was its display of ores and bullion. The total value of the samples on exhibition was not far from $100,000; and the exhibition as a whole has seldom or never been equaled. The pride and joy of the citizens over this splendid testimony to their young industry is more than pardonable; it is fully justified. They have no longer any need to indulge in idle asseverations; they can point to facts.
The bullion display was very fine. There was one solid piece of gold bullion, value $39,061 65. Clear Creek County sent one silver button