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 particu-
larize 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 of 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 un-
skilled and expensive labor, uncertain and costly transportation, and a great dis-
tance 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, Ne-
vada, 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 (his 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 cop-
per district on the Illinois river, near the junction of that river and Fall cre-: j k,
about eighteen miles north-northwest from Waldo. Another district was about
the same time discovered at Ilockland, 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
142 RESOURCES OF STATES AND TERRITORIES
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
game 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. Butjt was not till November, 18G3, when Mr. Robert Ry-
land, 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, macle an
extended examination of the mineral resources of Arizona, and ki 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. Pompelly, 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 j 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
and California. The ores themselves are also quite distinct, and far more valu-
able 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 ex-
tensive 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., were brought
to San Francisco in 1862, from the N " Favorita " mine, also in Lower California.
In 1864 a number of valuable deposits of copper ores were discovered in va-
rious places in the State of Nevada. Among the most important of these dis-
coveries 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 EsmeralcU
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 judi-
cious system of encouragement by the federal government, may be made to pro-
duce many millions of dollars annually.
The locality of the most important mining districts It will be impossible
WEST OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 143
under this heading to mention any except those in which well-known mines are
located, and of these only to give the merest outline description. To avoid
expansion, as the materials are very abundant, only those from which ores 'are
known to have been exported will be referred to. These are the following :
The Copperopolis, Table Mountain, Napoleon, Laucha Plana, Campo Peco,
and Copper Hill, in Calaveras county.
The Newton, Cosumnes, and Hope Valley, in Amador county.
The La Victoire and Birdseye, in Mariposa county.
The Buchanan, in Fresno county,
The Osos, in San Luis Obispo county.
The Solidad, in Los Angeles county.
The Genesee Valley, in Plumas county
The Alta, in Del Norte county.
The Mount Diablo, in Contra Costa county.
The Rockland, in Oregon.
The Peavine, in Nevada.
The Favorita and Sauce, in Lower California.
The Williams Fork, in Arizona.
Copperopolis mines. The Copperopolis mines are located in Salt Spring
valley, in the southwestern portion of Calaveras county, about thirty-five miles
nearly east from Stockton, at the head of navigation on the San Joaquin river.
This valley is large, beautiful, and well sheltered, and very fertile, producing
all descriptions of fruits, grain, and vegetables in the greatest perfection. Its
peculiar excellence in these respects has caused it to be more or less under cul-
tivation since the settlement of California by the Americans. It is bounded on
the east by the Bear mountains, a lofty branch of the foot-hills lying between
the Stanislaus and Calaveras rivers, which nearly divide Calaveras county into
two parts. On the west it is bounded by a range of low broken hills which
skirt the eastern side of the valley of San Joaquin. It extends nearly to the
Calaveras river on the north. The most famous copper mines on the coast are
located on the west of this valley, near the head of what is called Black creek,
a small tributary to the Stanislaus.
The lode on which the Union, Keystone, Empire, Calaveras, and Consolidated
mines are located passes through this valley in the direction of north 30 west.
It has been more or less developed for about fifteen miles, and found to curve
slightly towards the north, at its western extremfty.
There are other lodes in this valley on which are located many mines known
to be of great value, though they have not been as extensively developed as
those on the main lode. It is claimed that there are four of these lodes, which
range from a few feet to six miles in distance from the main one, but all follow
the same direction. This cupriferous belt has been traced with comparatively
slight interruptions from this valley to the American river, its general course
being about north 15 west.
The most important mine in the valley is the Union. This contains 1,950
feet on the main lode, which was originally divided into thirteen shares of 150
feet each. But at present it is nearly all owned by Meader, Lalor & Co., mer-
chants of San Francisco, Mr. McCarty, one of the original locators, being the
only one retaining any portion of their claim.
The owners of this mine never formed themselves into an incorporated com-
pany, as nearly all other mining companies generally do. Probably no necessity
arose to compel them, as no assessments were ever levied on their shares, the
mine paying well from the very commencement of their operations. It gave
them a dividend of $11,000 per share in December, 1862, and during the year
1863 the dividends amounted to 820,000 per share, clear of all expenses. It
is not possible to tell how much the mine has paid since, in consequence of
144 RESOURCES OF STATES AND TERRITORIES
Header & Co having purchased it soon after the last dividend in 1863 was
declared, and they have their own reasons for* not making its revenue public.
It is alleged that in the winter of 1863 that firm paid Mr. Reed, the locator of
the mine, $65,000 in cash for 975 feet. In 1864 Mr. Hardy, another of the
original locators, it is stated sold his interest in the mine to the same firm for
There is but little doubt that this mine contains the largest body of yellow
sulphurets of copper ever discovered. Some scientific gentlemen have expressed
doubts as to whether this body of ore is a true vein, or merely a local surface
deposit, as it does not present some of the characteristics of veins of similar ore
found in other counties. The fact that it has been explored to the depth of
upwards of 500 feet without any symptoms of its giving out, and that it has
been examined for many miles consecutively, presenting the same general
appearance throughout, is, to say the least, a stronger proof in support of the
opinion that it is a continuous, regular vein, than any theory can be that it is not.
The work on this mine is carried on by means of three shafts, which have
been sunk from 300 to 500 feet on the lode, from which several levels or drifts
have been run along its course. For the purpose of hoisting the ore there is a
fourteen horse-power steam-engine at the mouth of each of the two outer shafts.
At the main shaft, from which the mine is drained, there is an eighty horse-
power engine, which is used for both pumping and hoisting. Another shaft is
in progress, and nearly completed, which is being sunk for the purpose of
striking the lode at a depth of between 400 and 500 feet, at a point where it is
known to dip considerably to the east. All the other shafts having been 'com-
menced on the lode, passed through it on reaching a limited depth, going further
from it as the depth increased, involving an increased expense in running
tunnels to strike it at each succeeding level.
The dimensions of this body of ore have been ascertained with tolerable ac-
curacy, for a length of nearly 600 feet, and to a depth of upwards of 400 feet,
by shafts and levels which have been made in it. Near the surface, for, say
150 feet in depth, the lode varied in proportions very much, ranging from one
foot to twelve feet in width. At the depth of 200 feet in the main shaft it. was
nearly 21 feet wide; at 250 feet deep, it was nearly 30 feet wide; and continued
of nearly tlie same width to 300 feet in depth, when it became less uniform,
and began to decrease in proportions, till at the depth of about 400 feet at the
north, near the Keystone line, it had decreased to about 6 feet in width, while
for 200 feet north from the main shaft it is nearly 28 feet wide. As the Key-
stone company have recently struck the lode on their ground, within 100 feet
of the dividing line between the two mines, at a depth of 360 feet, where it is
10 feet wide, it is presumable that its contraction in the Union, at nearly the
same level, is not permanent.
It would be difficult to obtain correct information as to the product of this
mine, from its opening up to the present time, as its proprietors seem averse to
furnishing particulars/ It is known, however, that the exports of ore from this
State amounted to 5,553 tons in 1863, and to 10,234 tons in 1864, at least one-
half of which was obtained from the "Union." The company's books show
that from the 10th March to the 31st December, 1865, 25,542/tons of ore were
actually shipped from the mine. As the firm owning it state that the average
of all its ores shipped is 15 per cent., and estimate it to be worth $75 per ton,
it follows that its products for 1865 exceeded $1,500,000 in value. The ship-
ments for 1866, as will be seen by reference to the table of exports, will exceed
those of 1S65 the quantity shipped being only limited by the number of
vessels available for carrying it away. The above figures will convey a slight
idea of the importance of developing such a fruitful source of national wealth
as is presented in the copper mines of the Pacific coast.
The Union company employ about 250 men about the mine, in the various
WEST OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 145
departments of its operations. None of the companies at Copperopolis employ
any Chinese coolies.
The Keystone is next in importance to the Union, which it adjoins on the
north. It contains 3,300 feet on the lode. It is owned by an incorporated
joint-stock company, the shares in which are one hundred and fifty in number.
It was on this claim that the first work of development on the lode was done,
in what is still called the discovery shaft, on the north end of the claim, and
Which is still used by the company in their operations.
The shareholders in this mine have not been as fortunate as those of the
Union. The Keyston ehas never yielded them a dividend since its discovery ;
on the contrary, it has cost them $100,000 in assessments over and above the
receipts from its whole product of ore, which up to October 1, 1866, amounted
to 5,719 tons, worth, at $75 per ton, 8428,925. The enormous expenses in-
curred in the development of this mine ha^ve probably been caused by mis-
management, and costly, useless experiments for concentrating the low grade
ores, of which the mine produces very large quantises.
The best informed among the stockholders in this mine estimate that it hag
produced sufficient ore to defray all the expenses of working. The $100,000
collected as assessments have been expended in experiments and machinery.
The company have very fine and powerful hdisting, pumping, and concentrating
machinery. The latter is only used during the winter and spring, when there
is an abundance of water available. The ores in the Keystone are identical
with those in the Union, but they are not found in as large a body, or as com-
pact. The lode in this mine has at no time exceeded ten feet in width, and it
is usually so much divided by the containing slate that the cost of its separa-
tion by hand-labor causes it to be not very profitable to the company. At the
depth of 260 feet in the main shaft the lode was only six feet wide, and con-
tained a body of iron pyrites nearly a foot thick through the centre of it for
nearly 150 feet in length, and it was further divided by seams of slate into
irregular masses from one inch to six inches thick.
The greatest depth reached on this mine is about 400 feet. Quite recently,
in the sixth level, at a depth of about 360 feet in the Houghton shaft that is,
the shaft nearest to the dividing line between this mine and the Union a body
of ore nearly ten feet thick was- struck while drifting within 150 feet of this
dividing line. In this body of ore there is only about four feet sufficiently rich
to pay for shipping ; the remainder is so divided by the containing slate, or con-
tains so large a proportion of iron pyrites, as to fall below the average of 12 per
cent , the present lowest grade of paying ore.
There are six shafts in this mine, only two of which, the discovery shaft and
that nearest the Union, are in use the cost of sinking and timbering the others
being nearly a total loss to the compnny. In fact, the first two years' work done
on the mine was wasted through the inexperience of those who were intrusted
with its management.
The annual product of the Keystone, according to the books of the company,
has been as follows:
1862 . . 596 tons of 2, 376 pounds.
1863 7 . . . . 758 tons of 2, 376 pounds.
1864 1, 506 tons of 2, 376 pounds.
1865 1, 743 tons of 2, 376 pounds.
1666, (til! October 1,) 1, 386 tons of 2, 376 pounds.
Total production 5, 719 tons.
The company employ about one hundred men in the various departments of
The Empire mine is located next to the Union, on the south. It contains
H. Ex. Doc. 29 10
146 RESOURCES OF STATES AND TERRITORIES
1,800 feet on the same lode. It is owned by an incorporated company, the
majority of the stockholders in which are capitalists who reside at New York.
This company have expended a very large amount of money in developing their
mine. The greater portion of this expenditure, as has been the case with the
Keystone company, has been wasted through incompetent management. Great
improvements in this respect have been made recently, and the prospects of the
company are promising. The explorations now in process show considerable
good ore, and there are indications of an increase in the dimensions of the lode.
The ore in this is similar to that in all the other mines on the lode ; but in
the croppings on this claim there was considerably more quartz than there was
upon any other claim on the lode. In this quartz, which was of a milky white-
ness, there was metallic copper, crystallized in leaf and fern-like forms, which
were exceedingly brilliant and beautiful when first taken out of their stony
The Calaveras is located next south of the Empire, on the same lode, of
which it contains 3,000 feet. The croppings on this claim were exceedingly
rich, but the lode has not proven to be so below the surface. Several shafts
have been sunk and many drifts and cuttings made without finding any body
of ore of importance. The company are not working this mine at present.
The Consolidated is located on -the same lode, north of the Keystone. It
contains 3,000 feet.
The Webster is the name of another important mine in this valley. It is
located about one and a half mile east of Copperopolis, on a massive body of
ore nearly twenty-eight feet wide. This ore is of a different character to that
in the main lode, and is much less valuable ; for, though quite solid and compact,
it does not average more than eight per cent., in consequence of the larger per-
centage of iron it contains.
The Inimitable is another important mine in this valley, located on a dif-
ferent lode altogether. This mine is situated parallel with the Union, and but
a few feet apart from it, on the east side. So close are these two mines together
that the owners of the Inimitable had some intentions of suing the Union com-
pany for damages for taking out some of their ore on some of the lower levels,
which they claimed was on the Inimitable's ground. The Napoleon mine, which
is located four miles south from Copperopolis, is on the eastern end of alode which
runs through this valley, parallel with the main lode, but about six miles apart
from it, which has been located upon for nearly fifteen miles. The Scorpion,
Swansea, Massachusetts, Pacific, and other valuable mines, are located on this
parallel lode. These lodes are easily traced to near the banks of the river,
where they all disappear, and are not again visible till near the town of Monte-
zuma, in Tuolumne county, six miles from the other side of the river. Gopher
Hill, where the first discovery of copper was made, is supposed to be the ex-
treme west of the main lode.
The above is not by any means a complete list of the mines in Salt Spring
\alley. There are scores of others, but these are the most important.
At present about one thousand men are employed in various capacities among
the mines in this district, the larger proportion of whom are foreigners, chiefly
English and Irish. No Chinese are employed about the mines except as cooks,
washermen, and servants.
The Table Mountain mine is located about five miles southeast from Coppero-
polis, and about one mile from the Stanislaus river. It is the last claim on the
main lod* on this side of that river. It contains 2,150 feet on the lode, which
is here about six feet wide, and much divided by the containing slate. This
mine is owned by a joint-stock comply of twenty-one shareholders. It has
been considerably developed, and about one thousand tons of ore have been
shipped from it.
The Campo Seco, Lancha Pluna, and Copper Hill mines are located on a
WEST OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 147
continuation of the main Copperopolis lode, where it makes its appearance
between the Calaveras and Mokelumne rivers. All these mines were discovered
in 1861, shortly after the discovery of the Union and Keystone mines. They
have been extensively developed, and the lode has been well tested by shafts
and drifts. It presents the same peculiarities as were noticed at Copperopolis.
Jt is quite large on the Campo Seco claim, being twenty feet wide at one hun-
dred feet deep. It is scarcely as large in the Lanclia Plana, and in the Copper
Hill it is only about six feet. The character a^id composition of the ores are
identical with those at Copperopolis, and they are contained in the same de-
scription of rock, and present many other features of similarity. Large quanti-
ties of ore. have been shipped from these mines; but the present low price of
ores, which is lower than it has previously been for the past fifteen years, leaves
so small a profit after paying expenses that the companies are storing most of
their ores in anticipation of an improvement in the market. . About one hundred
and fifty men aie employed among these mines, about forty of whom are Chi-
nese, who perform much of the labor .aboye. ground, such as separating and
bagging the ores, &c.
Quite extensive concentrating works are being put up on the Campo Seco
mine. The company "intend to concentrate most of their ores into about fifty
per cent, matte or regulus.
The Napoleon mine is located about four miles south of Copperopolis, in
what are called the Gopher hills, a range of low, broken hills, very irregular in
form and direction, on the east of the San Joaquin valley. They are the first
hills met with after leaving Stockton and travelling east. As has already been
mentioned, this was the first copper mine opened in California. As such, Mr.
Hughes, who discovered both the Napoleon and the Quail Hill mines, claimed
the latter as a silver or gold mine.
The Napoleon contains 2,700 feet on two well-defined lodes of ore, similar in
composition to those at Copperopolis. It was located in November, 1860, and in
October, 1862, was owned by an incorporated company ; each foot in the mine
representing a share of stock. In 1863 these one-foot hares were selling at
In consequence of the country through which the Napoleon lode traverses
having been much disturbed by subterranean forces, it is extensively dislocated.