Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mining Company Speculation and the Gold Hill Mine

On October 15, 1863, the San Francisco Evening Bulletin published its regular “The Mining Roll Continues” item. The notice said, “The following companies filed their certificates of incorporation yesterday:  Great Consolidated Boise River Gold and Silver Mining Company, Placer District, Idaho Territory.  Capital stock $1,373,300, in 13,733 shares of $100. Trustees -- E. Rankin, W. H. Mills, W. L. Boothby, W. D. Robertson and F. A. J. Diss. ... [Other companies.]”

So far as can be determined, none of the company Trustees ever had anything to do with Idaho Territory. It appears that they simply invested (speculated) in mining stocks. Mr. Mills, for example, was listed on the incorporation and/or prospectus documents for at least a half dozen mining companies during this period.

The Great Consolidated Boise River Gold and Silver Mining Company did come to own a number of mining claims in the Boise Basin. Unfortunately, the corporate history is lost, so it is unclear if the incorporating officials still controlled the firm. The company eventually purchased one of the best claims, if not the best quartz claim, in the Basin -- the Gold Hill Mine.

Originally called the Pioneer Mine, the claim was the first lode discovery along Granite Creek, two to three miles northwest of Placerville. The Illustrated History of the State of Idaho stated that, “Even the poorest rock in the Pioneer assayed over sixty-two dollars to the ton, while the better class went from six to twenty thousand dollars!”
Miner Working Lode Face. Library of Congress.

Those potential returns encouraged the owners to bring in one of the first large ore mills – a ten-stamp array – into the Basin. The Pioneer and several smaller lodes were eventually combined into what would be called the Gold Hill. A new mining town, Quartzburg, also grew up essentially in the middle of the ridges that covered the gold lodes. The Gold Hill operated profitably for over seventy years.

References: [Illust-State]
“The Mining Roll Continues,” Evening Bulletin, San Francisco, California (October 15, 1863).

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