HIGHGRADERS AND CLAIM JUMPERS

Survey number:      Owner:      Date of discovery:

January 18, 1916: “HIGH GRADER IS ARRESTED AT ATOLIA—Charge Organized Gang Making Clean-up From Rich Ore on Desert. –The war on of the Atolia Mining Company on the high graders, who are declared to be reaping a fortune in the theft of the $3 a pound ore, began yesterday when Clarence Kirk was charged with grand larceny.

According to the district attorney’s office thousands of dollars of ore has been taken by the high graders.

Kirk, it is alleged, was caught with a sack of ore late in the night.  Secret service men, employed by the mining company are declared to have been gathering evidence against organized high graders.

For weeks there have been charges of high grading.  One high grader is declared to have lain in wait for another high grader who had found his cache and then fell asleep.  In the morning his pile of ore was gone.” –San Bernardino County Sun

March 11, 1916:  “ALLEGED JUMPING OF CLAIM CAUSE OF COURT SUIT FOR INJUNCTION – Another move in the pastime of claim jumping at Atolia, the tungsten mining center of the desert, was make yesterday when J. L. Roberts filed suit for damages and a restraining order against P. Osdick, J. D. Herman, Jerry O’Rourke and others charging that the defendants jumped his rich claims known as the “Northeasters” group in the Rand District on December 20, 1915, and have caused at least $1500 damages by operating the property since that time.” –San Bernardino County Sun

March 12, 1916:  “WOMAN JUMPED CLAIM IS ALLEGATION IN ATOLIA SUIT—Alleging that a woman headed a party which jumped his tungsten claims near Atoka and since October 1, 1915, have been extracting ore from the property, C. H. Gallagher yesterday filed suit against Florence Arnold asking the court to eject the woman from the property and permanently restrain her from entering upon it. And demanding $2000 damages as a result of the entrance of the defendant on the claims.  The property involved is listed as the Multum and Parro claims one, two, three and four and the Bryan quartz claim, all in the Atolia district.” –San Bernardino County Sun

April 12, 1916:  “ELEVEN HIGHGRADERS HAVE BEEN ARRESTED on complaint of the Atolia Company, several have been fined, some are in jail and warrants are out for eight or nine more.  Those arrested, with one exception were caught with the goods and confessed.  One had forty-five pounds, others several pounds.  All were Italians.” –Bakersfield Californian

July 27, 1916:  “CHARGED WITH ENTERING the treasure house of a tungsten concern at Atolia, Charles Gibson is in the county jail in default of $1600 bonds, having been brought in from Atolia today by Deputy Sheriff G. V.  Hopkins.  Gibson is charged with stealing a quantity of high-grade ore.  He protests that because he worked on a mining claim and slept near the treasure house that suspicion attached to him.” –San Bernardino News

August 20, 1916:  “SHERIFF J. L. M’MINN IS SUED FOR HEAVY DAMAGES—Suit for $50,515 was filed in the superior court today by P. R. Billick,  a former employee of  the Atolia Mining Company, against the company, Sheriff J. L. McMinn, W. F. Hohlman and C. S. Taylor, for alleged false  imprisonment.

The complaint alleges  that on July 8, while  plaintiff was in the employ of the mining company, he was seized, beaten,  abused, maimed and threatened by the  defendants, and later forced  to appear before the  superior court of San Bernardino county to defend himself  against the  charges  of the defendants. That before he could obtain his liberty, he was obliged to provide a bond of $500.  That when  the case came to  trial, all  of the charges against him utterly failed  and  were proven false, and that in consequence of the harassment, humiliation, and disgrace to which he had  been subjected, he  has been damaged in   the  sum of  $50,000,   besides being put to other expense.

The plaintiff, P. R. Billick, is represented by Attorneys H. L.  Meyers and H. H. Appell, both of Los Angeles.” –San Bernardino News

August 31, 1916:  “MINER CHARGES THAT HE WAS JAILED FALSELY—charging that he was falsely arrested.  P. R. Billick yesterday filed suit for $59,515 against the Atolia Mining company, W. G. Hoffman, constable at Atolia;  Sheriff J. I.  McMinn and Justice C. S. Taylor of Atolia.  Billick was alleged to have stolen ore, was arrested and released.

“I am only concerned because my office did the duty the law compels us to do, accept a prisoner when presented with properly executed papers.,” said Sheriff McMinn last night.” –San Bernardino County Sun

December 18, 1916:  “TRIAL DATE ANNOUNCED—The $50,000 suit instituted by P. R. Billick of Atolia against the Atolia Mining Company.   Sheriff J. I. McMinn, Justice C. S. Taylor and Officer W. F. Homan of Atolia for alleged false arrest and malicious prosecution, was today set for trial in the superior court before a jury for February 15.  Attorney H. L. Myers, who represents Billick, was arrested because he refused to be searched for tungsten as demanded by Atolia officers.  He resisted arrest, but a jury refused to convict him and he was freed of the charge.” –San Bernardino News

February 16, 1917: FALSE IMPRISONMENT IS CHARGED AT TRIAL –Charging Sheriff J. L. McMinn, Deputy Sheriff W. F. Hoffman, Justice C. S. Taylor and the Atolia Mining Company with conspiracy in his false arrest and imprisonment in the county jail, Peter Billick yesterday opened his court trial for heavy damages.  A jury is hearing the evidence.  The trial may be concluded today.  It is before Judge J. W. Curtis, H.  L. Meyers and H. H. Appel of Los Angeles represent Billick and the district attorney’s office is appearing for the defendants.” –San Bernardino County Sun

July 14, 1917:  “HIGHGRADER BROUGHT IN FROM ATOLIA MINE—Ernes Badostain, under sentence of 420 days fir theft of tungsten ore at Atolia, was brought to the county jail yesterday by V. B. Hogue.  Badostain is alleged to have taken tungsten from the plates in the mill.” –San Bernardino County Sun

October 15, 1917:  “ERNEST BOADESTINE owes his arrest and several months in the county jail to his sweetheart.

Boadestine was arrested in Atolia as a highgrader and sentenced to serve six months in the county jail.  He was sent to Lytle Creek prison camp and escaped two months ago.

He has a sweetheart in Atolia.  He corresponded with her and the longing to see her overcome his better judgment.  So he went to Atolia.  An office recognized him and now he is in the county jail again to serve out his sentence with prospects of a penitentiary sentence for “breaking” from prison camp.” –San Bernardino News

October 27, 1917: “HIGH GRADER IS ORDERED PAY $150 FINE TO COUNTY—E. Toro, alleged high grader from Atolia, was convicted before Justice Edward Wall yesterday and fined $150.  Sentence of 150 days in jail was suspended.” –San Bernardino County Sun

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