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silver, cinnabar, or copper discovered, and which are properly agricultural lands, the said settlers or owners of such homesteads shall have a right of preemption thereto, in quantity not to exceed one hundred and sixty acres; or said parties may avail themselves of the provisions of the homestead act of Congress, approved May 20, 1862. It further provides that upon the survey of the socalled mineral lands, the Secretary of the Interior may designate and set apart such portions of such lands as are clearly agricultural lands, which lands shall thereafter be subject to pre-emption and sale as other public lands of the United States, and subject to all the laws and regulations applicable to the same.
This favorable action, and the establishment of a land office, whereby all delay in perfecting titles will be obviated, must encourage our people in the cultivation of lands in immediate proximity to the mines a matter of the first importance to the prosperity of our mining interests.
1. Copper resources of the Pacific coast.—2. Various copper districts.-3. Geological forma
tions in which copper is found, &c.—4. Reduction of ores, quantity, &c.
1.-THE COPPER RESOURCES OF THE PACIFIC COAST.
Introductory remarks.-The comparatively recent date when the importance of these resources first attracted any attention ; the extent of territory over which they have been traced; the absence of any correctly compiled statistics connected with them in either the State or federal offices; the indisposition of influential parties to give any information, under the plea that it would expose the secrets of their business, and the efforts of others to make mines in which they are interested appear of greater or less value than well-known facts would warrant; the vague and unreliable nature of most of the articles which from time to time appear in the local papers on the subject, as well as many mor impediments, render it exceedingly difficult to convey a clear idea of the proportions and actual value of these resources in a hastily compiled report. Even were the fullest details of information available, many interesting facts must unavoidably be crowded out of such a report. Sufficient may be presented here, however, to demonstrate the extent and value of the copper mines of the Pacific coast, and to prove that under a more judicious system of development they may be made much more profitable to their owners as well as to the federal government, and that an important means towards the accomplishment of this end will be attained by the collection and proper arrangement of statistical and general information on the subject.
The discovery of copper on the Pacific coast.—The existence of copper on the Pacific coast was weli known for many years before California became a State in the great American republic. The ores of this metal are known to have been found in Mexico, at various points, in great abundance for centuries past. In the territory within the limits of this State they were found as far back as 1840, near the Solidad pass, about ninety miles north of Los Angeles.
The first officially recorded discovery of copper in California, since it has become a State, was made by Dr. J. B. I'rask, who acted as State geologist from 1851 till 1854. During that time, in the course of his travels, he found copper in nearly every county in the State—the first discovery being made near a place then called Round Tent, in Nevada county.
As but little attention was paid to the report of these discoveries, and the notes and specimens of the ores collected by Doctor Trask were soon after lost or destroyed, they exercised but little influence.
In the summer of 1855 public attention was again called to the fact of the existence of copper in this State, by the discovery of a body of beautiful ore at Hope valley, Amador county, by an old prospector, known as Uncle Billy Rodgers. The ore from this place, being rich in garnets, attracted great attention. About the same time a party of prospectors in El Dorado county found a large body of green and blue carbonates on a side of a hill a few miles from Placerville, and, attracted by the brilliant colors of these minerals, collected several sacks full of them and sent them to San Francisco, where, by assay, they were found to contain 40 per cent. of copper, and worth about $140 per ton.
These discoveries were mentioned in nearly all the papers published in the State at the time, but were soon forgotten in the more exciting search for gold which occupied almost everybody's attention, and the now great copper resources of the Pacific coast remained without an effort being made for their development till November, 1860, when Mr. Hiram Hughes, returning from a trip to Washoe, whither he had gone to search for silver, while prospecting for that metal among the foot-hills that margin the valley of San Joaquin, without being aware of the fact discovered the gossan or cap of a copper lode, on what is now known as Quail Hill, No. 1-an insignificant mound among the Gopher hills, in the southwestern portion of Calaveras county, about 35 miles southeast from Stockton, and six miles from Central ferry, on the Stanislaus river. This gossan, which presented much the appearance of a body of iron-rust held together by a frame-work of quartz, was found to be very rich in gold, and it was for this metal that Hughes worked his claim. Soon after, while making further explorations for "ironrust,” he discovered the croppings of what is now known as the Napoleon mine, about three miles southwest of his first discovery. As there was less gold, and considerable of what was then, to him, an unknown mineral, in this place, he sent a lot of the ore to San Francisco, where it was pronounced 30 per cent. copper ore, and worth about $120 per ton. As soon as this fact became known there was a great excitement, and everybody began prospecting for “iron-rust,' and as the indications of copper were to be found almost at every point among the Gopher hills, hundreds of claims were speedily marked out and recorded the favorite direction being along the course of the lode on which the Napoleon was located, as this was easily traced for miles; the most important "extensions" on the original lode being the Josephine on the west, the Lotus, Nagnolia, and Collier on the east. But as none of these mines, except the Napoleon, ever produced much marketable ore, work on all of them very soon ceased. Hughes and his partners, after partially developing the Napoleon mine, which contained 2,700 feet on the lode, in 1862 sold eleven-eighteenths of it to a company for $22,000. This company, in October, 1862, was incorporated under the title of the Napoleon Copper Mining Company, which, after taking out of the mine and shipping about 4,000 tons of good ore, sold the mine, in 1864, to Martin & Greenman, dealers in ores, of San Francisco, who at present own and work it.
Notwithstanding the great amount of prospecting that followed Hughes's discoveries, it was not till some time in June, 1861, that the lode on which the mines at Copperopolis are located was discovered, though it is only about six miles from the Napoleon, and the locators of the Union, Keystone, and other mines were all old residents and miners in the vicinity. W. R. Reed, Dr. Blatchly, and Mr. McCarty located 11,250 feet of the Copperopolis lode in July, 1861. This location embraced the ground now owned by the Union, Keystone, Empire, Calaveras, and Consolidated companies. Many interesting and instructive facts might be here introduced to exhibit the ignorance of the parties who first discovered these important mines as to the value of their property. The following will be sufficient to illustrate this curious fact :
J. W. Bean, esq., who built the first hotel at Copperopolis, had been mining for years among tlie Gopher hills and in the vicinity of Salt Spring valley;
and though such was the abundance and beauty of the specimens of copper ores all around him that he collected nearly a cart-load of them as curiosities to decorate his rude cabin, he afterwards threw them away as useless. In 1855 he had collected so many of these specimens that his partner would not have any more of them brought into the cabin.
Mr. Hughes, whose blindly-directed enterprise led to the discovery of the value of the copper resources of the Pacific coast, had also been mining for years among the Gopher hills; and although his observant attention had been attracted to the peculiarities of the rocks that form these hills, he had no idea of the stores of wealth that lay scattered so lavishly all around him till he had made a trip to Washoe during the excitement which followed the discovery of silver there. When in that Territory, being forcibly struck with the great resemblance between the rocks near the Comstock lode and those that he was so well acquainted with about the Gopher hills and Salt Spring valley, and not being successful over there, he returned to the old familiar field of his labors and commenced prospecting for silver, and did not know for many months after his return that he had acquired a fortune by discovering a copper mine. So with Mr. McCarty, one of the present owners of the great Union mine. He had lived in Salt Spring valley nearly ten years, mining and ranching by turns. As early as 1852 he had sunk a deep prospect-hole on the ground now belonging to the Keystone company, and threw away the rich copper ores as worthless, while seeking for gold, which he never found. So with Mr. Hardy, another of the original locators of the Union. This gentleman, a keen, intelligent man of business, who was for a long time the superintendent of that mine, and afterwards became senator for Calaveras county, resided for years within two miles of where Copperopolis now stands without having any idea of the immense wealth that lay stored up for him in the hard, sterile banks of the little creek that meandered past his homestead.
The limits of this report will not admit of any further digression on this very interesting history.
As soon as the magnitude and importance of the discovery made by Mr. Reed and his party became known, the rush of prospectors to the locality became tremendous, and in a few days claims were staked off extending for nearly twenty miles in all directions along the lode, or rather lodes, (for there are more than one of them,) across and parallel to them. Large sums of money were in many instances expended in the purchase and development of claims which were located miles away from all indications of any lode whatever.
One of the effects of this great excitement was the creation of the now thriving town of Copperopolis, the first house in which was built by Mr. Reed in September, 1861. In less than two years after it contained a population of nearly 2,000, which supported three schools, two churches, a weekly newspaper, four hotels, with stores and workshops of all kinds sufficient for an active, thrifty community. It now has three lines of stages running to and from it daily, and has a costly railroad in course of active construction to connect it with the navigable waters of the San Joaquin river, which, when completed, will more than double its wealth and population.
To give the names of all the claims that were located in and around Salt Spring valley during the first great excitement would serve no useful purpose, as most of them, after the expenditure of more or less labor, have either been abandoned altogether or are held till labor and transportation shall become cheaper or copper ores become more valuable. The most important mines in the valley at present—the only ones that are being developed—are the Calaveras, Empire, Union, Keystone, Consolidated, and Kentucky, which range from south to north in the order in which they are here written, and the Inimitable, which is located on the east side of and parallel with the Union. The developments in this and other mines located parallel with the original claims
leave little room to doubt that there are at least two-some persons say fourdistinct lodes, or very large consecutive bodies of ore, identical in composition, independent of the main lode. The question of whether there is one or more lodes promises to be as fruitful a point for the lawyers to settle as a similar question was among the owners on the Comstock lode, in Nevada.
The thousands of persons from all parts of the State who were attracted to the Salt Spring Valley mines by the reports of their value, thus becoming acquainted with the general appearance of copper ores, on returning to their several districts soon discovered these ores almost everywhere, so that before the close of the year 1861 a well-defined belt of copper ore, containing several distinct lodes, was traced and partially developed from a point about thirty miles north of Los Angeles, at La Solidad, through Mariposa, Merced, Fresno, Tuolumne, Stanislaus, El Dorado, Placer, Nevada, Yuba, Trinity, Sierra, Plumas, and Shasta counties, to a point about twenty miles west of the town of Yreka, in Siskiyou county, where it enters the State of Oregon in a northern spur of the Siskiyou mountains, the most western branch of the Sierra Nevadas. As will be more fully explained in another portion of this report, there is a most remarkable uniformity in the direction and dip of the lodes in this great copper belt, as well as in the geological formations in whicii they are found, in the character of their ores, and in several other features, all which point to a simultaneousness of origin over very large tracts, many portions of which have been much disturbed and shifted by subsequent subterranean action.
Other extensive deposits of copper ores have been discovered in the coast range, particularly around the base of a spur of Nount Diablo, at the low divide in Del Norte county; in Hope valley, Amador county; at Whiskey Hill, in Placer county, and at several other points which it is not necessary to particularize at this time.
The results of all these discoveries were the location of thousands of claims, some of them of considerable importance, in nearly every county in the State, and the incorporation of a countless number of copper mining companies, whose certificates of stock were bought and sold at the public boards and by private merchants by thousands; and for about a year the development of the copper resources of the Pacific coast was prosecuted with great zeal. But a few months' experience taught those most deeply interested in the business that, with unskilled and expensive labor, uncertain and contiy transportation, and a great distance from a market for the final disposal of the ore, it is unprofitable to work the richest and most extensive copper mines in the world.
The excitement attending the discovery of so much copper in California, as may well be supposed, soon spread through the adjoining States and Territories, and it was not long before many important lodes were discovered in Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, Sonora, and Lower California. As it will be quite impossible to even mention all these discoveries in detail, only a few of the most important will be referred to at this time.
In 1860 a miner named Hawes, who had long been working in that vicinity, having his attention attracted to the quantity of metallic copper found in the sluices of the miners who were engaged at Placer mining for gold, commenced a search, and soon discovered a valuable lode of copper ore in a small gulch about six miles from Waldo, Josephine county. On this lode was subsequently located the Queen of Bronze mine, the most important copper mine in Oregon. Soon after the discovery made by Hawes, other parties found an extensive copper district on the Illinois river, near the junction of that river and Fail creek, about eighteen miles north-northwest from Waldo. Another district was about the same time discovered at Rockland, in Josephine county, in which more than twenty mines of importance were subsequently located.
Copper has also been found in Wasco county; on the John Day river, and at several other points in the State of Oregon. The districts in Josephine county being near the dividing line between that State and California, and the lode having been examined from Waldo to near Crescent City, Del Norte county, in the latter State, where an extensive district known as the Alta has since been developed, leaves no room to doubt that they are all located on the same great belt of copper ores referred to above.
The largest masses of metallic copper found on this coast have been obtained from these Oregon mines. One piece reported to have weighed half a ton was taken from the “Diamond” mine; another piece weighing four hundred pounds was taken from the “Cruikshank” mine, and a great many pieces weighing from one hundred to three hundred pounds each have been found in this vicinity.
In 1862 several valuable deposits of copper ore were discovered on Williams's fork of the Colorado river, in Arizona Territory, near where Aubrey City has been since located. But it was not till November, 1863, when Mr. Robert Ryland, of San Francisco, commenced work on the “ Planet” mine, at this place, that the true value of these Arizona copper mines was ascertained. There are undoubted proofs of the existence of exceedingly valuable copper mines in this Territory, at various points convenient to the navigable waters of the Colorado and its tributaries. Mr. Pompelly, a scientific geologist and mineralogist, who subsequently was appointed mineralogist to the Japanese government, made an extended examination of the mineral resources of Arizona, and in the published report of his observations he refers particularly to the extraordinary richness and extent of the copper resources of the Territory. Other parties, who have travelled extensively through it since Mr. Pumpelly, fully corroborate all that gentleman reported on this subject. Important mines have been discovered, and districts organized at many points in the Territory, among which are the Irataba district, about twenty-five miles southwest from Fort Mohave; the Freeman district, about sixty miles south of Williams's fork; the Chimewawa district, on the west bank of the Colorado, nearly opposite La Paz; the Salaza district, about thirty-five miles northeast of La Paz, and the Castle Dome district, about thirty miles north of the Gila. The formations in which the copper is found in this Territory are altogether different from those in which it is found in Oregon aud California. The ores themselves are also quite distinct, and far more valuable than those found in these States. The details of these peculiarities will be given hereafter.
About the time the Colorado mines were discovered, a singular but quite extensive lode of copper ore, containing considerable metallic copper and silver, was discovered near Loretto, in the province of Comondu, Lower California. Several tons of exceedingly rich ore, which averaged sixty per cent., was brought to San Francisco in 1862, from the “ Favorita” mine, also in Lower California.
In 1864 a number of valuable deposits of copper ores were discovered in various places in the State of Nevada. Among the most important of these discoveries are the “ Peavine" district, near the Hennep pass, but a short distance from the line of the Central Pacific railroad. The completion of this road to the neighborhood of this district has given it much importance of late, the railroad company offering to deliver the ore in Sacramento at nine dollars per ton. Other copper mines have been located on Walker's river, in Esmeralda county, and on the south fork of the Carson river, in Ormsby county, and at other points in this State, the ores from which will be profitable to ship as soon as the completion of the Pacific railroad shall afford the means for sending them to a market.
The above hurriedly compiled notes, though giving the merest outlines of the extent of the copper resources of the Pacific coast, are sufficient to convey an idea of the magnitude and importance of these resources, which, under a judicious system of encouragement by the federal government, may be made to produce many millions of dollars annually.
The locality of the most important mining districts.—It will be impossible