United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Fore.

Compilation of reports of Committee ... 1789-1901, First Congress, first session, to Fifty-sixth Congress, second session .. online

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said authorities, which I know did, and does still exist against said Abra Silver Mining
Company, and its superintendents; but I never knew, or heard from any good au-
thority, tnat said Exall, or any employ^ or member of said company, ever interfered
in political affairs while in Mexico, or ever disobeyed any of the laws thereof, and I
bebeve such prejudice, by said authorities, not well founded, but that it was en-
oourased by selfishness and the hope of gain by said Mexican authorities, if not ab-
solutely instigated by them, which latter fact, from circumstances known to me, cor-
roborative of the same. I believe to be true of said authorities.

I have lived in California and in different parts of Mexico for about eighteen years,
and I speak and understand the Spanish language, and have so spoken and under-
stood the same for more than fifteen years last past.

I am perfectly satisfied that neither said company, nor any officer acting for them,
could have ever returned and recommenced said mining operations, with safety to
life or capital, since said company were expelled, or forced by the acts aforesaid to
abandon the same, in the sprmg of 1668, nor would it be safe now for said company
to attempt to repossess themselves of their said mines and property.

I know the fact that the said prefect of San Dimas* Macario Olvera, war
40 married to, and lived with the daughter of one Guadalupe Soto, who had a
lawsuit with said La Abra Silver Mining Company about the titleof one of the ha-
ciendas belonging to said ** La Abra Company's" mining property at Tayoltita, and
that said company eaiued the suit, and that said Guadalupe Soto was known as a
bitter enemy to said company, and I am satisfied that said prefect of San Dimav
shared the leelings of hatred and prejudice by said Guadalupe Soto and family, of
which said prefect became a member by marriage, aod with whom, is is said, he ha^
for a long time been upon the most intimate terms. I am also satisfied that othe^
Mexican authorities, both local and national, were inflaenced by said prefect, and it
had been determined by said Mexican authorities, at all h€uard8f to get rid of said
company, in some way, and not to permit them ever a^ain to work their said mines.

I have no interest, direct^ contingent, or otherwise, in the claim of said ''Abra Sil-
ver Mining Company" acainsttbe Republic of Mexico, to support which my testi-
mony is here taken, and I am not the agent or attorney of said company, nor of any
person having such interest ; and upon the happening of no event woald I be entitled
to any part of the sum which may be awarded said company by the Commissioners.

And further deponent saith not.

(Signed) G. C. Bisskll.

Subscribed and sworn to before me this eleventh day of March, A. D. 1870.
(Signed) Georob E. Whitnst,

Clerk and Commissioner of the U. S. dnmii Court, District ofCdUfomia.

Unitbd States of America, State of Caufobhia,
aty and County of San FrauoisoOf ss :

I, George E. Whitney, Commissioner of the United States Circuit Court, for the
Ninth Ci^uit and District of California, and Clerk of the same, do hereby certify



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352 THE LA ABBA SILVER lONINa COlfPANT.

that George C. Biasell, whose depoeition is hereinabove written, attended before me
on this the eleventh day of Maron, A. D. (1870) eighteen hundred and Beyenty, at the
United States Circnit Court roomB, in the city and county of San Franoisco, and was
pnblioly and duly sworn by me in accordance with the laws of the United States of
America, and the State of Califomia, to tell the tmth| the whole truth, and nothing
but the truth, in the above entitled matter ; and thereupon he deposed and testified
as hereinbefore set forth : that said de|>osition was carefully read to said George C.
Bissell, by me, and that he thereafter signed the same in my presence.

I do further certify that said deposition was taken by me in the citv and county of
San Francisco, in the State of Califomia, in the United States of America ; that I
am competent to take depositions, by the laws of said State, and of the United Scates:
that I have no interest in the claim to which the testimony of said George C. Bissell
in said depKMition relates, and that I am not the agent or attorney of said ** La Abra
Silver Mining Company," claimants in the above entitled cause, nor* of any person
having such interest.

I do fhrther certify, that said deposition was reduced to writing by Richard T. HUl,
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 Ceorge C. Bissell, the above-
41 named affiant, as a man of good character tor truth and veracity, and I hereby
certify to the credibility oi said George C. Bissell^ and that his deposition is
entitled to full faith and credit.

In witness whereof, I. George £. Whitney, Clerk and Commissioner of the United
States Circuit Court, District of Califomia; have hereunto set my hand and seal of said
Circuit Court, at San Francisco, in said District of California, this eleventh day of
March, A. D. 1670.

[sbaih] (Signed) Gbobob E.'Whitnet,

Clerk and CknnmiBsUmer of the United Staiee dreeit Court, Diatrioi of California.



Doc No. 26.

In the nu^tter of the Claim of La Ahra Silver Mining Company against the JUpublio of
Mexico. DqMsition of Jamea Granger in hehalfof clamants. To he submitted to the
Joint Cemmiseien of ike United States of America and the United States of Mexico ap-
pointed under the Convention of July ith, 1868. In session at fFashington, D, C,

COKSULATB OF UNITBD STATES,

State ofSinaloa, B^ublio of Meaeioo, ss:

Personally appeared before me, Isaac Sisson, United States commercial agent, in
and for the port of Mazatlan and its dependencies, James Granger, who is personally
well known to me, and after having been by me duly sworn according to law, deposes
and testifies, in answer to the following questions submitted to him by me, as follows:

Question No. 1. What is your name, age. birth-place, citizenship, and occnpation ;
and where do you now reside, and where aid you reside, and what was your occupa-
tion from about the 20th of October, 1866, up to the 20th of March, 1668 f

Ans. Mv name is James Granger ; I am forty-two ^ears of age ; I was bom in Scot-
land, in the kingdom of Great Britain, and I am still a citizen of the same ; I now
reside in San Dimas, in the State of Durango, in the Bepublio of Mexico,- my profes-
sion is that of a miner, but I am now acting as bookkeeper for Half Martin, of San
Dimas; from October, 1866, to the 20th of March, 1868, 1 resided at Tayoltita, in the
said mining district of San Dimas ; my occupation was, then, that of a professional
miner; fh>m April, 1867, until March, 1868, 1 was employed as one of the clerks and
assistant superintendent of '^La Abra Silver Mining Company," a large stock cbmpany
of American citizens, then doing business at said Tayoltita.

Ques. No. 2. State the names of the mines belonging to '' La Abra Silver Mining
Company," of which you were assistant superintendent, the character of said mines,
as to richness of their ores, and the quantity or supply of the same ; state all you
know in relation thereto.

Ans. The names of the mines owned by that company, were " La Abra," " El Cristo,"
" La Luz," *« Animas," " Bartholow," '^A^yan," " Sanz," " El Rosario," ** San Felipe,''
** San Antonio," and " Talpa." These mines are all well known, and spoken of as ex-
ceedingly valuable mines, and their ores rich in silver, and abundant in supply. Some
of them are historical and in the working.of them, former owners have realized im-
mense fortunes, and it is pretty well nn£rstood hvprofessianal miners who have in-
vestigated these mines, that the richest of their " lodes," or veins, have yet> not been
reached, for the want of the necessary expenditures in opening them up, by *^ tunnel-



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THE LA ABRA SILVER MININO COBIPANT. 353

ing." Saoh expeDditares are particularly needed in opening " La Abrai" and '* El
Rosario/' by tunnels.

42 Thoee two mines have turned out ores that ** benefioiated'' ten to fifteen markfi
to the carga, and selected pieces much more, to my knowledge, as I ha/oe te$ted

(hem myself f and I believe, if properly tunneled, would yield enormous profits to their
owners. The supply of all those mines of '* La Abra Company " is, I belieye, almost
inexhaustible. It is the most valuable property I know oi in that district, including
ail their machinery and improvements. '

Question No. 3. Is " La Abra Silver Mining Company,'' or its officers still there,
and yet carrying on their minins operations at Tayoltitaf

Ans. No, sir ; they have left Tayoltita, and that company is doing nothing there
now. They have quit and left the district, and ceased mining operations there alto-
gether.

Question No. 4. When^ and in what way did said company quit and oease its mln-
iuff operatiuns at Tayoltita, and what has become of said compan v f

Ans. That companjr was broken up, and compelled to abandon said mines and mining
operations at Tayoltita. in March, 1868, and I can not tell you what has become of the
company. 1 believe they are broken up, and their interests destroyed as a mining
company ; at ail events, they abandoned all their mines, provisions, supplieSy ma-
chinery, buildings, and all other property there in March, 1868.

Ques. No. 5. Why did said ''La Abra Silver Mining Company" quit work upon
their said mines, aud abandon all their works and property at Tayoltita, as stated
b^ you f Answer in a concise manner, and state all you know in relation thereto,
giving facts, dates, names and circumstances, so far as you can now recollect them ;
and state also if you spoke and understood the Spanish language, while in the employ
of said company, or could read or write the same.

Ans. I spoke and understood, well, the Spanish language, and I also wrote and
read the same while with said company, without difficulty, as I had done for some
vears, and do now. The said La Abra Silver Mining Company abandoned their mines,
hacienda, stamp mill, and reduction works, in March, 1868. I do not recollect the
exact dav, and they were forced to abandon said mines, and works, from the inter-
ference, hindrances, annoyances, and obstructions they had met with in the prosecu-
tion of their mining operations, both in the getting up of the machinery and supplies,
on the road, by the military of the Republic, and from the various local authorities,
which were such as must have convinced them that they never would be able to carry
on their mining operations, with any chance of success. I shall proceed to state on
what facts I found this statement :

In the latter part of 1865, and in 1866, when they were getting up their machinery
and supplies from Mazatlan, it was a matter of public notoriety that they were hin-
dered and delayed by the military authorities of Mexico, and they were subjected by
said authorities to ''forced loans " or prestamos, and illegal exactions upon said ma-
chinery and supplies ; one of the captains, or quartermasters of one of the tndns of
the company, whose name was Scott, commonly called " Scottie," was robbed by the
military of the liberal army, on the road from Mazatlan, and while near Camacho :
said Scott was in charge of three thousand dollars of the company's money, and said
military took from him and converted the same to their own use, eleven hundred and
seventy-eight dollars ($1,178,) and I know that the same has never been returned to
said company. Another, by the name of Grove, was foully murdered, I think

43 about the same time. This took place at a point called " Candelero Crick,"
between San Ignacio and San Dimas.

Said company was also forced to pay " prestamos. " A letter was received by
Colonel de Lagfiel, superintendent of said company, from Colonel Vaidespino, of the
Republican army of Mexico, dated July 27, 1866, and signed " Jesus vaidespino,"
which came into my possession as clerk of the company, and which letter has never,
since its receipt, passed oat of my possession ; and 1 now present the same to the
consul, marked " Exhibit Z." This letter demands twelve hundred dollars ($1,200)
from said company for the support of his forces, under his command. It is needless
to say the demand was coinplied with. In June or July, 1867, the "gefe politico"
of San Dimas, Marcos Mora, came out to Tayoltita, and be summoned the superintend-
ent of said company, Charles H. Exall, to come befor^im. I accompanied Superin-
tendent Exall before the gefe, and I heard all the con^rsation that took place on the
occasion. The said gefe, Marcos Mora, seemed much excited, and prejudiced against
the company. He told Superintendent Exall that he mast " work the mines of the
company as he directed them to be worked," and to " work all their mines," or he
would " take the mines of the company from them and give them to the people to
work on their own account." A large number of the workmen of said La Abra Com-
pany, and other Mexicans, were sitting in the portal of the house of Guadalupe Soto,
then the local Judge there, or " Juez," (conciliador,) where the gefe politico had callea
our superindendent, Mr. exall, and where this interview was held ; and he, the gefe,
[ the doois to be opened, so that the crowd outside might hear him, (of course, )



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354 THE LA ABBA filLYER MINING COMPANT.

luid ii: o iond yoice, that ooald be heard by all the people oatside, he said that he,
Boperinteadent Ezall, Bhonld work the mines of the oompanv as he, the gefe politioOp
had diieoted, or he woald take their miDes from them, and give them to the people
to work as they pleased, and that he, the gefe, '' wonld not be responsible ror any
oonseqnenoes that might result thereirom." He, at the same time, forbid anr of the
workmen there Irom working for said company. This created tremendous enthnsiasip
and excitement with the workmen, and I felt that the result of this talk, which was
calculated, if not actually intended, to incite the people to riot and bloodished, might
be the destruction of the company's interests, if not the expulsion of their American
employees. I remember particularly the case of a man, whose name was Aquilino
Calderon, who, beine very anxious to work, had gone up to the mine ''ElCristo,"
and while there employed, three armed men were sent by said ^efe, Mora, after him,
and he was brought by them before said ^ofe, who commanded him to work no longer
for that company, and warned him that if he again attempted to work for the oom-
pany he should be arrested and sent to the common Jail at San Dimas; and I nnder-
stand that other men were so threatened in the same way by said prefect.

In the month of December, 1867, or January, 1868, the superiutendent, Charles H.
Exall, was arrested and imprisoned by the "jnejs oonciliador " of Tayoltita, Nicuior
Peres, on a mere pretext, without any reasonable cause whatever. The partionlais
are as follows : Mr. Exall was occupied in a private room, and in private conversa-
tion, and while so engaged, said Juez, or Judge, Perez, entered the store at the ha-
cienda, and without speaking or asking permission, he passed into a private storeroom
adjoining, and Mr. Exall, observing this, stepped to the door of said storeroom,

44 and in a polite manner addressed said Perez, saying that no one was allowed
to enter said storerooms without license, and if heliad any business to please

communicate the same to him. Said Perez came out of said storeroom in a great rage,
and asked Mr. Exall if he thought he, Perez, was a thief, or wanted to steal anything.
Mr. Exall denied any such idea, and stated that, in reouesting him to leave the pri-
vate storeroom, he was merely carrying out the general rules of the company.

Said Perez would listen to no explanations, and when he went out remarked that
he, Exall, should hear from him. About half an hour after, an order came to the
hacienda for Mr. Exall to attend, forthwith, before the said Juez, or Judge, Perps,
which order Mr. Exall obeyed, and upon entering said conrt-room. said Judge Peres
commenced a tirade of the most infamous personal abuse of said Exall, without lowing
explanation or Justification, sentenced said Exall to pay a fine of, I think, about fifty
dollars, and imprisonment for two months. Exall was confined in the hacienda an-
til the next morning, when he was sent for by said '< Juez," who did lock up said
Exall in an old empty house, with the declared intention of sending him to San
Dimas to complete ms sentence. Said Judge remarked, at the same time, that he
could not permit Exall to ride even his own mule to San Dimas ; that he should tnm^
him the same as he would treat anv common prisoner.

When I went to visit said Exall in his prison, the next morning, I found him bosily
engaged in killing fleas that were troubling him. It was a filthy place. By personal
influences I brought to bear, and by securing Ae payment of the fine imposed npoa
him. I managed to get Mr. Exall released. All the above I witnessed myself. A few
weeks after this occurrence, on a Saturday, the superintendent, Exall, received from
said Judge Perez an order directing him to attend at his "Juez-gado," (court-room,)
and the same evening, at seven (7) o'clock, Mr. Exall, in obedience to said order,
went to the court-room, where he found assembled a large number of the employees
of La Abra Company's mines, and others, and in their presence the said judge pro-
ceeded to lecture said Exall upon the manner in which the business of said company
should be carried on, and he threatened that if the superintendent or company did
not work in the mode and manner to please the authonties they should be deprivned
of their property, and forced to flee the country ; all of which was said in my hearing,
and although I have only stated a few circumstances that came under my direet
observation, showing the animus of the authorities and people of this district^ tiiese
are not by any means to be taken as all that took place, nor even as the most veoca-
tious. It was the daily, and almost hourly annoyances and interruptions. Every
pretext that could, by any means, be made the basis of a suit or exaction was availed
of.

The rich mines, and the large expenditores of this La Abra Company, seemed to
have excited the cupidity of tne authorities, and they determined to get rid of thia
company, and to drive them out of the country. I have heard this determinatton
expressed by the " Gefe Politico" of the district, officiating as such at the time, and
also by different Judges in the district of San Dimas. The universal sentiment of all
the Mexican people and authorities there was, that all the mines of the ooontiy
should be worked and owned only by the natives of the country. As I have aaid
before, this was expressed in my presence and hearing, by Judge Micanor PeroSy and
also by another judge at Tayoltita, whose name is Guadalupe Soto, and alao bj

45 the gefe politico of the district. I am satisfied that said snpexintend«nt| Sxall^

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THE LA ABUA SILVER MINING COMPANT. 355

oonld not have oontinned the miuing operatioDS of this company any longer than
he did, with any hope of seoority or protootion to life, or the property of the
company, and that they coald not have retnrned and worked their said mines, since
that time, with any hope of 6ach seonrity or protection. Judging, as I do, firom the
past, and my knowledge of the feelings there on the part of said anthorities.

Before I entered the service of the company as assistant superintendent and clerk,
I heard of a large train of mules, laden with supplies for the company, having been
captnred by the military authorities ot the Republic, and of the disappearance and
. supposed murder of one of the quartermasters, or captain in charge of the train ; and
also of ''prestamos" levied on other trains of the company, loaded with supplies for
the employees at Tayoltita; but of the prestamos upon the mule trains, I have no
personal Imowledge, but they were matters of general and universal report and be-
lief at the time, and I believe them to be unquestionably true.

I also know that an armed mob of some forty or fifty men, charged on the hacienda
of La Abra Company, at Tayoltita, with the expressed intention of killing all the
American employees of the company, which mob, it was believed by all of the Ameri-
cans there at the time, had been incited at the instigation and by the connivance of
the anthorities, which, I understood, was afterwards ascertained by the company to
be the fact.

Another American company in this neighborhood, at Candelero creek, were attacked
by an arm mob of Mexicans, two of their officers killed, and others wounded, and the
company forced to abandon their property and mines.

Question number six. Would yon know and recognize the official siffnatore and
handwriting of said Gefe Politico, and Juez Concillador, Marcos Mora and Qaadalnp«
Soto, if yon were to see them f

Ans. Yes, sir.

Question number seven. ([Consul Sisson hands to witness the order, purporting to
be from the Gefe Politico of San Dimas, dated July 10th, 1867, and marked <<Exlubit
X," the seal of the consulate attached.) In whose handwriting is this paper, and
signature to the same f

Ans. It is the handwriting, body and signature, of Marcos Mora, who was Gefe
Politico of the district of San Dimas at the time that order was given. I remember
the order very well, as I received it as clerk of the company, and after showing it
to the superintendent, Mr. Exall, I filed it awav with some other papers of the kind,
and subsequently turned it over, together with two or three others from Judge
Guadalupe Soto, to the attorney of said La Abra Company.

Question number eight. (The consul hands to witness a paper purporting to be an
order ftom Marcos Mora, dated June 3d, 1867, and marked "Exhibit Y,'' with the
seal of the consulate of Mazatlan attached.) Whose order is this, and in whose hand-
writing is it written and signed f

Ans. It is a copy of an original order issued by said Gefe Politico, Marcos Mora, and
received by Judge Guadalupe Soto, on the 3d day of June, 1867, and by him exhibited
to said superintendent, Exall, and myself, and this copy, by request, we were allowed
to take from the originaL This copy is in the handwriting of Diego Flores, then in
the emploT of said La Abra Company, at Tayoltita.

I know it to be a true and correct copy of the original, signed b^r said Marcos
46 Mora, who was at that time the Infect, or Gefe Politico of the said district of
"San Dimas.''

Snestion number nine. (Handing to witness two papers, purporting to be orders to
company from Judge Guadalupe Soto, at Tayoltita, and dated respectively, 4th
and 24th of July, 1867, with the consular seal of the United States for Mazatlan.
attached.) Whose orders are these, and in whose handwriting are they written ana
signed f

Ans. They are orders issued by Guadalupe Soto, who was the Juez conciliador, or
local Judge, of Tayoltita at that time; both body and «signatnre are in the hand-
writing or said Guadalupe Soto.

Question number ten. What amount, or quantity of silver ores were taken out and
abandoned by said company, in Biarch, 1868, and what has become of said oresf
State all you know bearing upon that subject.

Ans. I think about seven thousand cargas, or what Americans would call a little
over one thousand tons, all the richest ana best of which has long since been picked
out and carried awav, {. «., stolen by Mexicans.

Even while Snpenntendeut Exali was still there trying to carry on the works of
the company, this tearing down of the ores of the company, where it was piled up,
within the enclosures of me hacienda, and the culling out of the richest pieces, and
stealing and packing away the same by Mexicans, in sacks, was going on almost
every mght, and sometimes in open daylight, and that too with impunity and defiance,
and Superintendent Exall did not daro even to gaout or attempt a defence of the
same, as it pn>bably would have cost him his life to do so, for it seemed to be well
understood by Mexican workmen in Tayoltita, that those acts were ^* winked at,** if



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356 THE LA ABRA 'SILVER MINING COMPANY.

not actually inBtigated, by the jbathorities, both of the District and "Cnartel^^or
Paeblo ; and it may not be oat of place to state, in this connection, that Macario
Olyera, the Gefe Politico of said District of San Dimas at the time the company were



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