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nanza, and continued so, to the depth of 100 varas, where the progress of the work
was impeded by water, and this was never drawn off, in consequence of the death of
the proprietor, (Zambrano,) which took place at Durango in eighteen hundred and
seven (1807.) His nephew^ at the commencement of the revolution, collected what
money he could, by extracting the pillars of all the mines belonging to the house of
Zambrano, and fled to the peninsula with the produce. The mine now belongs to
Don Antonio Alcade, one of the executors of Zambrano, and would, if worked anew,
with a little sdenoe and activity, prphdbly yield immense profits. The whole should

33 be undertaken, however, as one negotiation, as in such insulated dislaricts, to
make roads and organize supplies for a small establishment, is a very unprof-
itable task. Of the amount of the silver drawn from the Sierra Madre bv Zambrano,
during the twenty-five years that he continued his labors, nothing certain is known ;
but Mr. Qlennie, from whose notes I have borrowed the whole of the details given
above, states that he himself saw in the books of the ousUnn-house of Durango, eleven
millians of dollars, registered as the sum paid by Zambrano as the * King^s fifth,* and this
fact was confirmed to me by the Qitvemor, who examined the registers himseHf, in order to
ascertain it. It is likewise corroborated by the number of mines opened at Quarisa-



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THE LA ABRA SILVER MININQ COICPANT. 347

iney, and the sarronndiog districts, by the peculiar rickmem of their aree, and bj the
immeDse wealth of Zambrano, (diminished as his profits mast have been by the ex-
penses of working,) of which so many splendid monnments remain/' iP^9^ ^*^*)
*' Theae immefue Hokee were derived prinehx^^, (he five great minee, * La Candelarea,'
(at San Dimas,) ' San Juan Nepomnceno/ ' Cinco Senores,' * La Abra.' and * Tapia.' "
On another page, which I have failed to enter upon my note-book, ne says, *' these
mines often yield 20, and even as higrh as thirty, (30) marks per carga of 300 lbs.''

The mines *' La Abra'' and ** Tapia," spoken of in Ward's Mexico, with some ad-
Joining veins or lodes at Tayoltita, are the same that were owned and worked by the
** La jQ>ra Silver Mining Company," in whose behalf this deposition is taken. I know
nothing of the bnsinessof said company, now, nor do I know how mnch money they
expended open La Abra mines, at Tayoltita: bnt their expenditures mnst have been
very large in the work of transporting their heavy machinery — a ten-stamp mill, with
machinery necessary to pnt the same npon the gronnd in proper order for work— all
of which, together with supplies of every description for the use of the company and
its employees, had to be transported on mules' backs, over the most dangerous cafions,
mountains, and preoipicea— a costly, tedious, and very hazardous mode of transporta-
tion—together with the expenses of placing said mill upon the ground, with the req-
uisite machinery for the same. I did not work my mine '* Tecolota," with a stamp-
mill, for I was not able to purchase the same, and transport it to Durango; but I be-
lieve that with a ten-stamp mill and heavy machinery, such as said La Abra Company
oonmienced with, and without anything more than the usual difficulties attending
such mining operations, and if such company h^d been permitted to remain and work
their said mines, unmolested and without hindrance, they would have realized from
their mines a clear profit of at least one million dollars per annum ; and with diligence,
and with the full complement of officers and men, they might have realized evenlarger
amounts than I have stated. Judging, as I do, from my intimate knowledge of the ca-
pacity of said mines, and the richness of their ores. I still claim to be the owner, or
part owner, of said mine, ''Tecolota," having a half interest in the same, but cannot
now, and have not been able to carry on mining operations there since the close of the
late revolution, or contest between the so-called ** Imperialists" and the Bepublican,
or Legitimate Government, under President Juarez.

Ever since the said war closed, or at least since the latter part of eighteen hundred
and sixty-seven (1667,) or early part of eighteen hundred and sixty-eight, (1868,) I
could not remain there with safety to person or property : and I am also well satisfied
that the superintendent and other officers of said " La Abra Silver Mining Company "
oould not have remained in said district, as miners ; that it would have been impossi-
ble for said company to have carried on their said, mining operations, beyond the
spring of eighteen hundred and sixty-eight, (1868,) when they were compelled to
abandon the same ; that it would have been hazardous and unsafe to the lives of Mr.
ExaU, their superintendent, and other officers, and a great risk of any additional capi-
tal invested by said company, to have attempted a continuance of said mining opera-
tions, owing to the prejudice. Jealousy, and hostility of the Mexican authorities to that
company, and their expressed determination to " get rid of them in some way," which
I know to be the fact as to the then local authorities at San Dimas. The interference of
the Mexican authorities, local and national, and citizens, with said American mining
operations; by the way of levying illegal demands, issuing illegal and uijast writs of
arrest, and otherwise annoying those miners, by making everything difficult in the way
of procuring custom-house and other permits for supplies and machinery, which an-
noyances and outrages were not only perpetrated by said authorities against said La
Abra Company, but they were extended to other companies, and individuals working
the mines of that district, and, as I am credibly informed and believe, as well in other
mininff districts of Durango and Sinaloa. These annoyances and hindrances were, in
my Judgment, evidently desired and perpetrated by said authorities and citizens of
Mexico, for the purpose of dnving out and compeling the abandonment of said works,
and of availing themselves of the great quantities of rich ores already tiJLcn out, and
the benefit of the large investments made, and outlays of money expended by said
" La Abra" company, and other miners, for valuable machinery, and in the work of
opening their mines ; and also for the purpose of preventing the dissemination of
ijnerican ideas of government, by association of the peoples of the two nations, as
they seemed to fear that such associations would lead to the annexation of Durango,
and other border Mexican States, to the United States of America, which latter seemed
to be one of the chief causes of their fears. Jealousies, and hostilities to said company,
and others, composed of citizens of the United States, who were carrying on mining
operations there. I know the price paid by said '* La Abra Silver Mining Company,"
for their said mines at Tayoltita. They bought said property, I think, in the early
spring of eighteen hundred and sixty-five (1865. ) to the beet of my recollection, bnt I
cannot now state the exact date. Said property contained a number of the richest
veins, or lodes of silver ore, intermixed with some gold. They purchased the same



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348 THE LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY.

froniDoD Juan CiMtillode yalle,and they paid Mm fiPiy thoasand dollars, ($50,000,)
in gold, for said property.

I had previoaely been appointed agent of said property, by said Jnan Castillo de
Yalle, and was authorized by him to visit New York, in the latter part of eighteen
• hundred and sixty-three, (1863,) for the purpose of raising money with which to work
said mines, or in case I should fail in that, then to sell a portion of the same for him.
I proceeded to New York at about the time stated, I think the last of November or
early part of December, eighteen hundred and sixty-three, (1863,) for that puri)08e,
as his agent, and I there became acquainted with some of the present members and
directors of the said *' La Abra Silver Mining Company,'' who subsequently purchased
said mines of said Don Juan Castillo deValle, and organized said company under the
laws of the State of New York, I think in the summer or fall of eighteen hundred aud
sixty.five, (1865. ) I held said La Abra property, while in New York, at one hundred
and fifty thousand dollars, ($150,000,) a very low price for it; but failed to

35 realize money to work said mines, and I also failed to sell the same at New York,
which failure I attribute to the then disturbed condition of affairs in the Repub-
lic of Mexico. A war was then progressing there between the French or Imperial ista,
as they were called, and the Liberals or Legitimate forces, under President Juarez, and
capitalists of New York said they had but little faith in the stability of the Mexican
Government, and feared that their investments in those mines would not be properly
protected. I promised them the protection, however, of the Liberal army, and Repub-
lican citizens of Mexico; which promises I based upon the liberal proclamations put
forth by the agents of the Liberal Government of Mexico, and which were published
in California, New York, and other parts of the United States, by order of said Mexican
agents. General Caspar Sanchez Ochoa, Colonel Alfred A. Green, and others ; but, I re-
gret to state, that the Mexican authorities did not fulfil the pledges of their agents in
that respect. I advised General Thomas J. Bartholow, a wealthy banker of Saint
Louis, Missouri, whom I met in New York, and David J. Garth, Esquire, a banker, and
now wholesale tobacco dealer of New York, to purchase said La Abra property at
Tayoltita, which they did do subsequently, but not until after they had, both of them,
visited said mines in person, where they became personally acquainted with said Don
Juan Castillo de Yalle, at Tayoltita, and they there purchased said property of him
and paid him for the same, on behalf and for the use of said company, fifty thousand
dollars ($50,000) in gold, as before said.

Before this purchase took place I had already returned home from New York, and
my agency for the negotiation or sale of said property had ceased by limitation ; and
for that reason the property was purchased from Don Juan Castillo de Yalle, direct,
and I received no commission upon the said sale. Said Don Juan Castillo de Yalle
had, I know by my own searches of the proper records, a good Mexican title to the
said property, and he had good right to sell and dispose of the same. I was not pres-
ent, and did not witness the purcbaso, nor the payment of the fifty thousand dollars,
($50,000) for said property, but I know the fact from the statement of the parties to
the purchase and sale of the same, at the time, and have heard said Don Juan Cas-
ti llode Yalle acknowledge the receipt of said lii'ty thousand dollars, ($50,000,) and I
know Don Jnan Castillo de Yalle to be a man of high distinction as a gentleman, and
a man of large property, and of truth and strict iiitec^rity of character, and I believe
bis word would not be doubted in Durango or Sinaioa, and especially by good citi-
zens where he is best known.

I was not at Tayoltita, and was absent from my said mine, Tecolota, at the time
the superintendent, Exall, and other ofi&cers of the said La Abra Silver Mining Com-
pany were driven from, and compelled to abandon, the said mines and property of
said company, but I know the fact from my own knowledge of corroborative oircnm-
stances, and from common report, at the time, or soon thereafter, as fcell amongst Mexi-
can eitizens as Americans, that they were so driven away by said authorities, or hytMr
connivance, and compelled to abandon said mines and property sometime in the early
spring of eighteen hundred and sixty-eight, (16G8,) I think about the last of March,
or early part of April, of that year, and I am also satisfied, from the feelings of said
authorities, in San Dimas, and their previously expressed threats in my hearing, and
determination to drive out and get rid of said La Abra Company, and others who
had made lar^e investment in that district, that it would have been dangerous,

36 if not impossible, for Superintendent Exall, or other American officers of said
" La Abra Silver Mining Company," or any other person acting in such capac-
ity, to have gone back and recommenced mining operations at their said mines, at
any time since they were compelled to abandon the same, in eighteen hundred and
sixty-eight, (1868,) as aforesaid. I spoke and understood the Spanish language, —
which is spoken by all the people of Mexico — well. I was not exactly driven from
my Bald mine, for the reason, as I am satisfied, that said Mexicans had very little to
gun by my dispoBsession, as I had no stamp mill or machinery, was working on- a
amall scale, and had very little ore out for them to take, but I left, as aforesaid, he-



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THE LA ABKA SILVEB MINING COliPANT. 349

» of said hostile feelings and jealousies toward Americans, as I felt that my life
was insecure there.

I am not in any wise interested in the claim for damages of <' La Abra Silver Min -
4ng Company/' against the Republic of Mexico. I have no interest of any kind,
direct or contingent, in the claim of said company against the United States of Mex-
ico, to support which my testimony is hereby taken and given, and I am not the agent
or attorney of said company, nor of any person having an interest in said claim. I
have no feeling or prejudice against any of the authorities or people of the Republic
of Mexico, or any part of the same. I was at all times, when residing in Mexico, and
during the war for their existence as a nation, true and faithful to the liberal, or
legitimate government of President Jaurez, and I still adhere to the same cause, and
to that Republic.
'^ I have never known or heard of any word spoken, or act committed by said La Abra

Silver Mining Company, nor by any member, officer, or employee, of the same, against
the people or laws of Mexico, nor in violation of the same, nor in favor of the annex-
ation of any part of Mexico to the United States of America, nor of any word or act
prejudicial to the welfare, stability, or integrity of the Republic of Mexico.

I have been asked by the attorney of said company, to make an estimate, to the
best of my judgment, of the damages said company should sustain against the Re-
public of Mexico, occasioned by the occurrences of eighteen hundred and sixty-seven
(1H67) and eighteen hundred and sixty-eight, (1868,) as enumerated above, but I can-
not undertake, properly, to estimate said damages, even approximately, for the reason
that I do not know the amount of money said company have expended tor stamp-
mill and machinery, necessary to its proper adjustment for work upon the ground at
Tayoltita, buildings, mill runs, and other heavy works which were done there by said
company, and also for opening said mines and extracting their ores, which were taken
out in large quantities and abandoned as aforesaid, but their damages must be heavy,
and ought, in my Judgment, to be sustained for the full amount of their expenditures
and losses, direct and consequential, by reason of acts of said authorities.

This is my own written statement of the facts, as far as I now recollect them, un-
influenced by any other consideration than that of justice to the parties concerned.

And further this deponent sayeth not.

(Signed) William Henry Smith.

Subscribed and sworn to before me, this twenty-fourth day of January, A. D. 1870.
(Signed) Geo. E. Whitney,

"• [SEAL.] Clerk and Com. of the U, 8, Circuit Court,

for the District of California.

37 United States of America, State of California,

City and County of San Francisco, 88 :

I, George £. Whitney, commissioner of the United States circuit court, for the
ninth circuit and district of California, aud clerk of the same, do hereby certify that
William H. Smith, whose deposition is hereinabove written, attended before me on
this, the twenty-fourth day of January, A. D. eighteen hundred and seventy, (1870,)
at the United States circuit court rooms, in the city and county of San Francisco, and
was pnblicly and duly sworn by me in accordance with the laws of tbe United States
of America, and the State of California, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and noth-
ing but the truth, in the above-entitled matter, and thereupon ho deposed and testi-
fied as hereinbefore set forth; that said deposition was carefully read to said William
H. Smith by me, and that he thereafter signed tbe same in my presence.

I do further certify that said deposition was taken by me, in the city and county of
San Francisco, in the State of California, in the United States of America; that I am
competent to take depositions by the laws of said State and of the United States ;
that I have no interest in the claim to which the testimony of said William H. Smith
in said deposition relates ; and that I am not the agent or attorney of said company
Dor of any person having such interest.

I do nirther certify that said deposition was reduced to writing by Hillary T. Bur-
rows in my presence, who has no interest, and is not the agent or attorney of any
person having an interest in said claim.

And I do further certify that I know the said William H. Smith, the above-named
-^ affiant^ as a man ofgood character for truth and veracity, and I hereby certify to the
credibility of said William H. Smith, and that his deposition is entitled to full faith
and credit. *

Witness my hand and seal of said U. S. circuit court, at San Francisco, in the dis-
trict of California, this 24th day of January, A. D., 1870.

i Signed) Geo. E. Whitney,

SEAL. J Clerk and Com, of the U, S. Circuit Court,

fpr the District of CaHfomia.

S. Doc. 231, pt 2 24

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850 THE LA ABRA SILyEB MINIIIG COHPANT.

In the wuUter of ike Claim for Damagm of ^^La Abra Silver Minit^g Company'* »ga4mH
Tko United States of Mexico.

Doo. No. 12.

Deposition of George C. Biasell for claimants.

U. S. CiBOurr Coubt Boom, Distbict of Caufornia,

City and County of San Francisco,

3 o'clock P. M., March 11, 1870, m :
Personally appeared before me, Qeorge E. Whitney, clerk and commissioner of the
United States circait oonrt for the District of California, Oeorgo C. Bissell, a witness
on the part and behalf of " La Abra Silver Mining Company, '^ the claimants in the
above-entitled canse, and having been first dnly sworn by me according to law, de-
poses and makes oath to the following statement, in answer to interrogations by me,
in relation thereto, as follows, to wit:

My name is George C. Bissell ; I am forty years of age; I was bom in Wellingford,

New Haven oonnty, State of Connecticut, in the United States of America; I am a

miner by occupation; I am a citizen of the United States of America ; my tem-

38 porary residence is in the district of San Dimas, in the State of Dnrango, in the
Bepnblic of Mexico. I have hod my residence there for the last two years, and

was occupied in mining silver ore there, although I have not been in that business or
district constantly durmg that time.

My permanent residence is, and has been for the last eighteen years, in San Fran-
cisco, California.

I know well the mines and mining property belonging to said '' La Abra Silver Min-
ing Company," organized under the laws of the State of New York, I think, in the
sunmier of 1866; said mines and property were situated at Tayoltita, in the mining
district of San Dimas, in the State of Durango, in the Republic of Mexico.

The mines of said company embrace eight veins or '' lodes," under different names —
" La Abra," " La Luz," " Bosaria," '' Tapia,"and ''Cristo" — are the most prominent,
but they were all owned by, and under the works and name of La Abra Silver Min-
ing Company," aforesaid.

Said company had a ten-stamp mill, and very heavy machinery for the same, upon
the ground at Tayoltita, on the Fiastla river, or a tributary of the Guaryisemay river,
a short distance from said veins or mines.

I was engaged in mining, very near to said *' La Abra Silver Mining Company's "
works, in the same district. They had heavier works for mining, and larger ma-
chinery there^ than any in that district, and deponent thinks their machinery and the
expense of mming operations, and buildings for the same, are larger, and ^ost more
money, than any other in the State of Durango.

Said " La Abra Company" were broken up there by the bad acts of Mexican au-
thorities, some time in the spring of 1868. in March, or the early part of April, of that
vear; but deponent was not there at the time, and knows the cause of their being
broken up, by the statement's of said Mexican authorities at San Dimas, and by Mexi-
can and American citizens, and also by common report soon thereafter.

Deponent has been informed by the most reliable authority, by men whose word or
statements are not to be denied or controverted, that said company were interfered
with, annoyed, and finally broken up, by the San Dimas and other authorities of
Mexico, and by the troops of the Republic, under President Juarez; that they had
their trains of pack mules captured by said troops, and the provisions, mules, and
supplies, converted to the use of said army; and that on one occasion of said capt-
ures, one of the men in charge of the train of pack mules was killed, in order that
they might possess themselves of said property for the army.

Deponent was so informed by Macario 01 vera, in the fall of 1868, or early in the
winter of 1869.

Said Olvera was "prefect" of said mining district of San Dimas at the time he told
deponent so.

He was holding a high official position there at the time, and exerted great influence
in that district over tne people, and over other authorities there.

A prefect in Mexico is nign authority, as he exercises both civil and military power
in the district.

Deponent, as before said, did not see these last-named acts, but believes them to be
true, from the said statement of the said prefect, and also from corroborative circum-
stances known to deponent, and also from the high chai^acter of some of the parties
from whom he nas received his information of the facts stated.

39 Mr. John Cole of Camacho, a man of large wealth and of good character, and
Charles H. Exall, the last superintendent of said La Abra silver Mining Com-
pany, are two of deponent's informants as to the particulars stated, also some Mexi-
cans there ; and any statements made by either John Cole or Charles H. Exall are



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THE LA ABBA SILVER MININa COMPANY. 351

reliable, and any man who eiijoys their aoqnaintanoe would beliere anything they,
or either of them, might state as a fact.

Deponent farther says : ^' I reeard said La Abra Company's mines and other prop-
erty as one of the very best, and most valaable in the State of Dnrango^ that I haye
heard, and know by the statements of all parties in and abont San Dimas district,
that tiie richest ores belonging to said company, which they had taken out in large
quantities at the time they were compelled to abandon the same, had been carried
off and sold by Mexicans, and the profits of the same shared by Mexican authorities,
by whom those acts were covertly instigated.''

Deponent further says : '' I know Charles H. Exall, said superintendent of La Abra
Company, yery well and intimately, and have heard from said Exalkhis statement
as to his expulsion from said company's mines, and I believe the same to be true in
every particular, fh>m the character of said Exall as a gentleman of truth, and also
ooxToborative statements from others in that district, at and since the time, as afore-
said, and from other facts known to this deponent.

" The said company must have sustained heavy damages bv reason of said forced
abandonment, but how much, and to what extent, I do not know, and will not at-
tempt to estimate the same, as I have never had access to the company's books, and
do not know all the expenditures and liabilities of said company. I know their dam-
ages must have been very large, however— larger than that of any silver mining
company in that part of Mexico."

Thisaeponent further says: "It was a common report by Mexicans, whose lan-
guage I understood and spoxe well, that said company were in favor of the annexa-
tion of Durango and Sinaloa to the United States of Ainerica. and that those reports
are still kept up, to which may be attributed a part of the hatred and prejudice of



Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Committee on ForeCompilation of reports of Committee ... 1789-1901, First Congress, first session, to Fifty-sixth Congress, second session .. → online text (page 54 of 156)