Copyright
Henry T Williams.

Pacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads online

. (page 31 of 62)
Online LibraryHenry T WilliamsPacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads → online text (page 31 of 62)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


old story-tellers are like old Jim Bridger they
will tell a lie so often and so earnestly, that they



and the small brush along the banks of the
stream gave excellent shade and firewood. On
a low point of land that juts out toward the
river on the south side of the track, and just be-
low this ford, is the Maiden's Grave. Tradition
has it that she was one of a party of emigrants
from Missouri, and that, at this. ford, while they
were in camp, sho sickened and died. Her lov-
ing friends laid her away to rest in a grave on
this point of land, in plain sight of the ford and
of the valley for miles in either direction. But
while her remains were crumbling into dust, and
she, too, was fading from the memory of all, per-
haps, but her immediate relatives, the railroad
builders came along, and found the low mound,
and the decayed head-board which marked her
resting-place. With that admiration of, and de-



185



votion to woman, which characterizes American
citizens of even humble origin, they made a new
grave and surrounded it with an enclosure a
picket fence, painted white and by the side of
it erected a cross, the emblem of the Christian's
faith, which bears on one side, this legend " The
Maiden's Grave " and on the other, her name,
" Lucinda Duncan." All honor to the men whose
respect for the true woman led them to the per-
formance of this praiseworthy act an act which
would have been performed by no race under the
heavens, but ours; and not by them, indeed, to
the remains, under similar circumstances, of a
representative of the sterner sex. The location
of this grave is near Beowawe, and the point is
now used as a burial ground by the people living
in the vicinity. Passing the point where the
grave is located, an extended valley comes in
from the left, south of which extends the Cor-
tez Range of Mountains. We now arrive at

Beowdtve, 556 miles from San Francisco,
with an elevation of 4,095 feet. It has a hotel,
a few dwellings, and is the station where the
business of the Cortex Mining District is trans-
acted. There is no regular stage line to this
district, but private conveyances may be ob-
tained. The mines are reported looking well
are mostly individual property. They are 30
miles from the station and a tri-weekly mail is
carried by some parties who are interested in the
matter. A reduction mill has been erected there,
which is producing bullion regularly. There is
a beautiful signification attached to the name of
this station, which will be more fully realized
after the station is passed, than before. It
means " gate," or " the gate," and as you look
back from below, the conformation of the hills
on either side of the valley is such, that the sta-
tion seems to stand in an open gatewaj r , up the
Humboldt Valley to the canon beyond. The
valley is occasionally dotted with farm-houses,
or ranches, and besides stock raising, which is
one of the principal features of this part of the
country, thsre is considerable done in the way of
agriculture, barley being the chief crop yield-
ing immensely when the land is properly irri-
gated and the crops taken care of. At Beowawe
an immense stretch of valley land can be seen
away to the right, with a range of mountains,
which seems to be an extension of the Reese
River Range, north of the Humboldt, west of it.
As the river bends northward to meet these val-
leys, it receives the waters of Boulder and Rock
Creeks, which come in from the north and north-
east. These creeks open up a vast country,
which is well occupied by ranches and stock-
men. Leaving Beowawe, we cross a large valley
and sage brush plain the valley coming in from
the south. A few miles out, we notice, if the
weather is at all cool, steam rising from the side
of the mountain, while colored streaks, caused
by the sediment of the springs, can clearly be



seen from the passing train. This steam comes
from the Hot Springs on the mountain side, and
the sediment marks their locality. The water in
some of these springs is boiling hot, and par-
takes strongly of sulphur. We could not learn
that any analysis had been made, nor could any
one inform us of the exact temperature. There
is a vast field for geological exploration in this
State, and the general government should enter
upon the work at once. The springs also are im-
pregnated with iron, but no one knows the quan-
tity, nor just in what proportion these mineral
waters are mixed. To the inhabitants in this
immediate vicinity, of course, they have ceased
to be a wonder; but to the majority of travelers,
they will ever be clothed with interest. A creek of
alkali water comes down from the springs and
we cross it on the flat alluded to, and the wide
valley off to the right is still better seen as we
approach and pass

Shofthone, 546 miles from San Francisco ;
elevation, 4,636 feet. ]t is simply a side track
station. Rock Creek, before spoken of, comes
into the Humboldt nearly opposite this place,
and the broad valley continues, on the right of
the road. The station is called Shoshone Point
by the people in the valley, because a mountain,
or high ridge, pushes out into the valley, like a
promontory. This is one of the landmarks on
the dividing line between the Shoshone and
Piute tribes of Indians ; but the line we con-
sider purely imaginary, from the fact that Indi-
ans, as a general thing, go where they please in
this country, lines or no lines. The wide basin
spoken of, continues below and off to the right
of this station, and, as we pass on, a long line of
board fence will be noticed stretching, from a
point high up on the mountain, across the track
and valley toward the Humboldt River, on the
right. This is the eastern line of Dunphy & Hil-
dreth's stock ranche. In seven miles we shall
pass the western line, or fence. AVe have be-
fore spoken of Iliff, as the cattle king of the
plains, and, while this is true east of the Black
Hills of Wyoming, he will have to yield the
crown to some of the cattle kings of the Pacific
Coast. This firm has 20 miles of fencing in
these two lines: They have over 20 thousand
acres fenced in. Their fences, made of redwood
posts and Oregon pine boards, cost them a little
over $900 per mile. They have, altogether,
about 40,000 head of cattle, mainly in two
herds one here a"d the other north, on the
Snake River. Th< y have purchased of the State,
government and Central Pacific Railroad and
now own about 30,000 acres of land. Most of
their cattle are shipped to. and find a market in
San Francisco.

The immense ranee fenced in at this pc hit is

occupied by a select herd of graded stock, and

some of the best blooded animals in the country

i are annually purchased to improve the grades.



186



The system they have adopted for grading up their
herds, is such that in a very few years they will
have the largest herd of high graded stock in
the country. They also cut large quantities of
hay on the meadow lands near the banks of the
Humboldt, which they feed to all their weak
cattle, and to those which they intend for late
winter, or early spring market. The Humboldt
Valley and its tributaries constitute the best
part of the State for stock ranges. The snow
seldom falls very deep ; does not stay long, and
the grass makes its appearance early in the
spring. The purchase of large tracts of land by
these foresighted cattlemen, will give them a
monopoly of the business in the future.

A.ryentu, 535 miles from San Francisco ;
elevation, 4,518 feet. Jt is simply a side track
station, where considerable hay is shipped. This
station is immediately surrounded by alkali flats,
near the base of the Reese River Mountains.
The road continues for a few miles along the
base of these mountains, when, suddenly, a broad
valley opens out, on the left. It is the" valley of
Reese River. We turn to the right, cross the
valley and the river all there is left of it and
arrive at

Battle Mountain, 524 miles from San
Francisco, with an elevation of 4,511 feet. It is
located at the junction of the Reese River and
Humboldt Valleys. The mountain which gives
it its name is about three miles south of the sta-
tion, where there are magnificent springs from
which water is conducted to the town, supplying
the railroad and inhabitants with water. Battle
Mountain is the regular dinner station on the
line of the road, and the passenger will dine at a
very cosy and attractive place. In the midst of
a surrounding desert he will observe the flowing
fountain and patches of green grass which will
here greet his eyes, together with the evident
taste and care which is manifested about every-
thing connected with the house. Travelers will
occasionally have a great deal of fun in listening
to the talk of the Chinese waiters.

The town is mostly on one street south of the
railroad. It has several quite extensive stores, a
public hall, an excellent school-house, two large
freight depots, a first-class hotel. It has an ex-
tensive and rapidly increasing trade with the
surrounding country, and newly developed min-
ing districts in its neighborhood. It is the busi-
ness center of a large number of stockmen, and
the trading point for a large number of mining
districts districts considerably scattered over
quite a large part of the State. The town is
located in Lander County, but is not the county-
seat. Austin, 90 miles away, claims that honor.

Daily stages, carrying the mail and express,
leave here for Austin, Belmont and other places
south, immediately on the arrival of the trains
from the west. The distance to Austin, 90 miles,
is made by about 6 o'clock on the morning of the



day after departure, and, of course, takes in an
all night stage ride. Belmont, about !)0 miles
from Austin, is reached in the evening of the day
after departure.

The following mining districts, south of the
railroad, are reached by stages to Lewis and
Tuscarora : commencing on the east side of the
Reese River Range, first is the Lewis Mining
District, 16 miles distant from Battle Mountain.
It is located on the northern extremity of the
range. At the southern extremity of this range
is the Austin District. The mountain range
between these two districts, is said to contain
mines, but it has not been thoroughly prospected.
Austin, the head-quarters of the Austin District,
is a very nice town with a population of about
3,000 souls. It is said to possess a good deal of
public spirit, and is active and entei prising. It
has a fine court-house, three churches, a large
brick public school building, some elegant resi-
dences, and other appearances of thrift. The
Reese River Valley is about 160 miles long, trav-
ersed its entire length by the river of the same
name, though it cannot be called much of a river
where the railroad crosses it, near Battle Mount-
ain. The upper portion of the valley, about 50
miles in length, is a veiy fine agricultural dis-
trict, is quite well settled, and is tributary to
Austin. The valley is also settled in places
where mountain streams come into it, between
Battle Mountain and Austin. The Manhattan
Company, composed of New Yoik capitalists,
own and operate nearly all the mines in the
Austin District. They are reported to possess
some excellent mines with milling ore, some of
which is high grade. There are other mining
districts around Austin, and tributary to it
such as the Jefferson, lone, Belmont, etc., which
are favorably spoken of.

On the West side of the Reese River Valley,
and immediately south of Battle Mountain, are
the following districts: Battle Mountain Dis-
trict, 7 miles distant; Galena District, 16 miles;
Copper Canon, 18 miles, and Jersey, 55 miles.
The copper mines are owned by an English com-
pany which is now putting in concentrating
machinery and are said to be rich. The Jersey
District produces smelting ore, and has one or
two furnaces already erected which are turning
out bullion.

North of Battle Mountain are the Cornucopia
and Tuscarora Districts which are said to do
some business from this place, and are regarded
as tributary to it. Several stations on the line
of the road are competing for the trade of these
mining districts, and all claim it, and also claim
to be the nearest railroad point, with the best
wagon roads, etc.

Battle Mountain not north of the Humboldt
River, but about three miles south of tin- station
is reported to have been the scene of a conflict
between a party of emigrants camped near the



187



springs heretofore spoken of, and a band of red-
skins who had an innate hankering after the stock
of the said party of emigrants. The losses of
this battle are said to have been quite severe on
both sides, considering the numbers engaged. Jt
is generally conceded, however, that the redskins
got the worst of it, though they say " A heap
white men killed there."

The opening, or valley directly opposite and
north of Battle Mountain, is without water in its
lower portion, and is a desert of sand and sage
brush. The range of mountains at whose base the
town is situated, and south of it, on the west side
of Reese River Valley, is sometimes called the
Battle Mountain Range, and sometimes the
Fish Creek Range, from a creek that rises in it
about 25 miles south of Battle Mountain, and
runs into Reese River Valley.

About 25 miles south of Battle Mountain, are
some very fine hot springs. There are nearly
60 of them, covering about half a section of
land. The largest one is about 00 feet long by
30 feet wide, and at times rises and falls from
three to fivs feet. These springs are on the
stage road to Austin, and are something of a
Avonder to travelers in that direction.

How Ore is Reduced. We visited the re-
duction works of the Lewis District, and to those
who are not familiar with the way in which ores
are handled, the following account may be of
some interest. The ore from the mine in this dis-
trict is neither free milling nor smelting ore. It
has to be dried before it can be milled, and then
roasted before it can be separated and amalgam-
ated. The following is our account of the
process in taking the silver from the ore : The
ore, as it comes from the mine, is first run through
a crusher a machine which has two heavy pieces
of iron coining together like the human jaws in
chewing. It is then passed either onto drying
pans, h'iatsd by a fire from some furnace, or into
a revolving dryer where all the moisture is ex-
tracted. From this dryer it passes through a large
iron tube or pips into the milling hoppers below.
These hoppars, holding the crushed and dried ore,
are similar to those seen in old fashioned grist-
mills, and from them the ore runs on to the stamp
mill. The stamp mill is a series of upright iron
shafts with a heavy iron or steel hammer on the
lower end of each shaft. By machinery, these
shafts are lifted up very rapidly and dropped a
process repeated by each one from sixty to ninety
tirn3s per minute. As they fall, they stamp or
crush the ore to powder. In fact it leaves this mill
pulverized like dust, and is conveyed by a hori-
zontal screw to an adjoining room, where it is
taken by elevators, just like those used in flour-
ing mills to a bin or tank above. In the room
where this elevator and bin are, is the cylin-
drical roaster and furnace. From the tank the
pulverized ore is taken as required, through an
iron pipe into a large horizontal revolving



roaster. About one and one-half tons of ore
dust are required to charge the roaster, to which
is added from eight to ten per cent, of salt. The
heat and fire from the furnace pass through
this roaster as it slowly turns around, the ore
now mixed with salt, falling of course, from side
to side at each revolution, across and through
the flames. Jt is kept in this place about seven
hours, or until it is supposed to be thoroughly
chloridized. It is n snlphuret ore as it comes
from the mine, but becomes a chloride ore by
passing through this process. It comes out of
the roaster at a white heat, is then wet down and
cooled, and taken to an amalgamating pan which
is agitated with a inuller, which revolves in the
pan from 60 to 70 times per minute in other
words, it is a stirring apparatus. One and a
half tons of ore are put into these pans, to
which is added about 350 Ibs. of quicksilver.
Water is then turned in and the mixture stirred
a little, to the consistency of thick paste. Then
hot steam is let in upon the mass, and while in
process of agitation it is heated to a boiling heat.
The pulp, as it is now called, is kept in this pan
and constantly agitated or stirred for about
seven hours. A plug is then drawn from the
bottom of the tank or pan, and the pulp passes
into " a settler " or " separator " where it is
again agitated in water the amalgam, mean-
while, settling to the bottom of the "settler," the
quicksilver with the silver being drawn into
a little receiver, from which it is dipped into
sacks and strained. The quicksilver being thus
nearly all taken out, the balance is called dry amal-
gam, and this is taken to an iron retort, cylindri-
cal in shape, about five feet long and 12 inches
in diameter. This cylinder is charged with
about 900 Ibs. of this dry amalgam, then
thoroughly sealed, after which it is heated from
a furnace underneath. The quicksilver remain-
ing in the amalgam,volatilizes under the action of
heat, and passes through an iron tube sur-
rounded by cold water, where it is condensed and
saved. The quicksilver being expelled by the
action of -the heat, leaves the crude bullion
(silver in this case) in the cylinder. The dry
amalgam remains in the retort some six or seven
hours, requiring two or three hours additional
to cool. The base bullion is then taken out, cut
into small pieces and placed in a black lead
crucible, and melted over a charcoal fire. While
in this crucible the dross of course rises to the
surface of the molten metal and is skimmed off.
In the crucible it is thoroughly stirred with
a long iron spoon, and a sample poured into
cold water for assaying purposes. This is done
just before the hot metal is poured into
the molds and becomes bars. The assay deter-
mines its fineness and value, which is stamped
upon it, and it is then shipped and sold. Jtgoes
into the mill ore from the mine, and comes out
silver in bars.



188



Tlw tfreat Plains and fiesert.



BY JOAQUIN MILLER.



Go ye and look upon that land,
That far, vast land that few behold,
And none beholding, understand ;
That old, old land, which men call new,
That land as old as time is old :

Go journey with the seasons through
Its wastes, and learn how limitless,
How shoreless lie the distances,
Before you corns to question this,
Or dare to dream what grandeur is.

The solemn silence of that plain,
Where unmanned tempests ride and reign,
It awes and it possesses you,
'Tis, oh, so eloquent.

The blue

And bended skies seem built for it,
With roundsd roof all fashioned fit,
And frescoed clouds, quaint>wrought and true :
While all else seems so far, so vain,
An idle tale but illy told,

Before this land so lone and old.

,

Lo ! here you learn how more than fit,
And dignified is silence, when
You hear the potty jeers of men,
Who point, and show their pointless wit.
The vastness of that voiceless plain,
Its awful solitudes remain,
Thenceforth for aye a part of you,



And you are of the favored few,
For you have learned your littleness.

Some silent red men cross your track ;
Some sun-tann'd trappers come and go;
Some rolling seas of buffalo
Break thunder-like and far away,
Against the foot hills, breaking back,
Like breakers of some troubled bay ;
But not a voice the long, lone day.

Some white tail'd antelope flow by,
So airy-like ; some foxes shy,
And shadow-like shoot to and fro,
Like weaver's shuttles as you pass ;
And now and then from out the grass,
You hear some lone bird chick, and call,
A sharp keen call for her lost brood.
That only make the solitude,
That mantles like some sombre pall,
Seem deeper still, and that is all.

A wide domain of mysteries,
And signs that men misunderstand !
A land of space and dreams : a land
Of sea, salt lakes and dried up seas !
A land of caves and caravans,
And lonely wells and pools.

A land

That hath its purposes and plans,
That seem so like dead Palestine,
Save that its wastes have no confine,
Till pushed against the levell'd skies.



189



How the flutes Bury their Dead.

There seems to be a very irregular custom in
practice among this tribe of Indians, in refer-
ence to the disposition they make of their dead.
When one of their number is sick, the services
of a Medicine Man, as he is called, are made
available, and all his arts and skill are exhausted
to effect a recovery if possible. The Medicine
Man comas, and goes through a system of con-
tortions, which would rack the frame of a white
parson till it was unjoint'id, makes passes with
the hands over the body of the sick one, and
keeps up a continual howl that must grata very
harshly upon the nerves of a sensitive person.
Amidst th jsa motions and groans and passes, the
victim to disease lingers, until death puts an
end to his sufferings. When the final dissolu-
tion has occurred, the body hardly has time to
bacoma cold, before it is wrapped in a blanket,
or old cloths, and preparations are mads for the
burial. This is done in secret, and, strange as
it may appear, though many have died since the
advent of the whites into this country, not a
single person, so far as we could learn, knows of
the burial place of a Piute Indian. The Indians
will scatter in small parties, some of whom, it is
supposed, will dig a grave, or perhaps several of
them. ; and though their actions may be closely
watched, they somehow manage to spirit away
the body and conceal it in its final resting-place
so completely, that its location is unknown.
Whether the immediate relatives of the deceased
are made acquainted with the burial place, we
could not learn, but judge not, from the fact
that all traces of the grave are obliterated from
human view. This custom of concealing their
daad, so very strange to us, is said to be univer-
sal among this tribe. Another singular custom
among them, is to remove the tent, or wick-ee-up,
at once, as soon as the body is taken away.
They claim that an evil spirit has cursed the
spot, and that it would be dangerous for them to
remain in the " wick-ee " longer, or on the
ground where it stood. They hasten into this
work as if actuated by the greatest fear, and,
ever afterwards, seem to regard it with suspicious
a\ve.

How the Flutes Catch FisJi. Nearly
all the Indians seen on the line of the road be-
tween Battle Mountain and Reno, are Piutes.
They are great rabbit-hunters, and very success-
ful in fishing. They make hooks from rabbit
bones and greasewood, which are certainly su-
perior to the most improved article made by the
whites. This hook is in the shape of what
might be called the letter " V " condensed ; that
is, the prongs do not spread very far. A line,
made of the sinews of animals, or the bark of a
species of wild hemp, is attached to this hook at
the angle, and baited with a snail or fresh water
bloodsucker. Several of these hooks are tied to
a heavier line, or a piece of light rope, one above



the other, so far that they will not become tan-
gled or snarled. A stone is then tied to the end
of the heavy line, and it is cast into the stream.
The fish take the bait readily, but Mr. Indian
does not " pull up " when he feels one fish on the
line. He waits until the indications are that
several fish are there one on each hook and
then he pulls out the heavy line, with fish and all.
It seems that the hooks are so made that they
can be swallowed easily enough with the bait, but
as soon as the fish begins to struggle, the string
acts on both prongs of the hcok. pulling it
straight, the ends of the letter " V " hook, of
course, piercing its throat. It can neither swal-
low it, nor cast it forth from its mouth. The
more it pulls and struggles, the more straight-
ened the hook becomes. Besides the superiority
of this hook, one fish being caught, others are
naturally drawn around it, and seize the tempt-
ing bait upon the fatal hook. In this way an In-
dian will catch a dozen or so fish, while a white
man, with his fancy rod and " flies " and
" spoons," and other inventions to lure the finny
tribes and tempt them to take a bait, will catch
not one.

Leaving Battle Mountain we have a straight
track for about 20 miles, across a sage brush
plain, the river and a narrow strip of bottom-



Online LibraryHenry T WilliamsPacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads → online text (page 31 of 62)