Western Archive 1867 “Eureka Mine” Gold Miner's Letter, 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Postcards & Much More!
Archive of Eight (8) Historic Northern California Western Items, 1862, 1867, 1898 & 1906-Dated, Including California “Gold Rush” Related Letters, 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Images and a 1898 Broadsheet for the "SUTRO BATHS... Bathing Season of 1898", Very Fine.
This extensive California and Western history Archive contains a variety of materials related to San Francisco and the Gold Rush, including a detailed Letter written from the "Eureka Mine" in Northern California. The Old Eureka Mine is located within the town of Sutter Creek in the famous Mother Lode Gold Belt of western Amador County. Also, a Letter from Cerro Gordo, Northern California, Tehama, and Sacramento.
There is a fascinating original Letter from a N.C. Harry, a gold miner who evidently had been in California more than two years, tells his story with bad spelling and all, in part:
"We are living at Mrs. Gates yet but she have no gorel (girl) and she hardly knows how to keep us. Whe can get aplenty of bord with the natives but they are pretty ruff. Wages is $55 a monty." Harry is getting the mine ready for renewed operation after a lengthy closing during the Civil War. "This mine is luking pretty good but the Company are not taken (h)old of her yet sinc the war did clost."
An 1862 Letter from a Sarah Young of Sacramento is well-written, with intriguing details about her recent voyage to California on steamers and across Panama by railroad, in part:
"... we had an unusual long and rough passage. We had a very heavy gail the first night out of New York. It just took the copper off the bottom of the Steamer about 12 feet... We were 10 days. I was sick most of the way... It was very hot and we had mosquitoes and sand flies and cock roaches and spiders in abundance... The Natives were out walking the street and singing laughing and hooting all night. I did not go to sleep that night... We arrived at San Francisco Sunday Night January the 26... The first news we heard was that Sacramento City was all flooded again..."
This archive lot also includes Two (2) Postcards depicting the effect of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. "Agnes D." writes on the back of one Postcard, dated May 27, to her cousin: "Ruins of the City Hall, San Francisco... after the earthquake and fire, April 18, 1906...". Accompanied by another Card postmarked from S.F. in December 1907, depicting the Fairmont Hotel after the great earthquake.
The final item in this nice lot is an exceptional 4-page Printed Broadsheet, measuring 12" x 8" "Programme" for the "SUTRO BATHS... Bathing Season of 1898", with exciting advertisements of all sizes on each page. The backcover page has an advertisement for "The Free Museum attached to the Sutro Baths... contains two of the finest specimens of Egyptian Mummies ever exhumed." (8 items)
The Old Eureka Mine is located within the town of Sutter Creek in the famous Mother Lode Gold Belt of western Amador County. The Central Eureka Mine adjoins the Old Eureka to the south and the Wildman-Mahoney and Lincoln Consolidated Mine lie to the north.
While the mine is technically in the smaller Sutter Creek district, the uniform nature of gold mineralization with neighboring districts has caused some authors to consolidate the smaller neighboring districts into a single Jackson - Plymouth district (Clark, 1970). The Jackson-Plymouth district was the most productive district of the Mother Lode belt with an estimated total production of about $180 million (Clark, 1970).
The Old Eureka Mine was first opened in 1852 and at various times during its history was known as the Hayward, Eureka, Hetty Green, Badger and Wolverine, and Amador Consolidated mines. The Old Eureka Mine was operated independently until 1924 when it merged with the Central Eureka Mine, the combined properties operating as the Central Eureka Mine. The combined Central Eureka Mine is credited with producing $36 million (Clark, 1970). The old Eureka properties are credited almost $28 million of that amount.
The Old Eureka Mine was first opened in 1852 and comprised the Amador, Maxwell, Alpha, and Railroad claims. This mine has also been known at times as the Hayward, Eureka, Hetty Green, Badger and Wolverine, and Amador Consolidated mines. In 1852, a 10 stamp mill was and by 1855, an initial whim shaft had been sunk to about 95 feet with a lower level driven about 144 feet (Trask, 1855) and a 100 foot adit entered the mine from the west.
The initial ore shoot commenced at the surface and extended about fifty feet in depth and was highly pyritiferous. Another ore shoot encountered at the bottom of the shaft was much more productive with almost no pyrite, but instead containing a veinlet of metallic gold (not disseminated) at time exceeding 3/8 inch wide. The same vein had been struck in an adjoining Badger Mine 1000 feet to the south. This is the only instance of a true vein of metallic gold having been found in the state (Trask, 1855). A new 20 stamp mill was built on the Old Eureka in 1856 and 20 more stamps were added in 1857.
Alvinza Hayward acquired control of both the Old Eureka and Badger mines in 1859 and consolidated them under the Old Eureka Mine. The adjoining claim on the south was the Badger claim on which 10 stamps were built in 1854 (Logan, 1934).
In 1857, the consolidated properties had a north shaft 1230 feet deep, a middle shaft 960 feet deep, and a southern shaft at 760 feet deep. By then there were 56 stamps operating in the two mills crushing 80 tons per day, and ore was also sent to custom mills (Logan, 1934). Hayward was very secretive and refused to divulge the details of his production, but local reports placed the output at $6 million up to 1867 (Logan, 1934). In 1866 it was said that 30,000 tons yielded $27 per ton at a working cost of $5 per ton.
In March 1869, the mine was purchased by the Amador Mining Company for $750,000. The Amador Mining Company operated the Old Eureka until 1881. For the year ending July 1, 1869, 30,361 tons of ore yielded $617,542 or $20.34 per ton. For 14 months ended April 1, 1875 the yield was $239,717 in bullion and $20,254 from concentrates, from 22,098 tons of ore indicating a decline in ore quality.
In 1886, after the mine had attained a depth of about 2000 feet and had produced about $16,000,000, it was closed and remained idle for a period of 30 years during which time the mine was acquired by Hetty Green (at one time the country's richest woman). In 1916, a new company purchased the property for $500,000. The old shaft was in very bad shape having been sunk in Mariposa slate. About $200,000 was spent to reopen, dewater, and rehabilitate the shaft and on equipment and pumping. The shaft was deepened to 3500 feet (3212' vertical depth) and drifts were run north and south on the main fissure at 1700', 2100', 2950', and 3500 feet together with approximately 1500 feet of crosscuts (Norman, 1939). The 1200 foot level was also reopened On each of these, except the lowest, from 1450 feet to 1640 feet of drifts were run.
A crosscut was run west 800 feet on the 3500 foot level. All of this exploration failed to reveal paying ore. Total drifts as of July 1, 1920 were 1720 feet on the 1700 foot level, 1345 feet on the 2125 foot level, and 1685 feet on the 2950 foot level. Crosscuts totaling about 1500 feet had been driven in the foot and hanging walls. Several new levels were driven without finding commercial ore in paying quantities. Work was discontinued in 1921.