RANDSBURG MINES INTRODUCTION

Survey number:      Owner:      Date of discovery:
" ---the desert camps also need less whiskey and more water.”
 

Prospectors In Rand Mining District Collection of Kern County Museum

July 27, 1896:  “THUS IT COMES ABOUT  that there are professional and amateur prospectors  by the hundreds who make this city their base of supplies, but spend their lives upon the deserts  And growing out of this fact is the further fact that there are not only gold prospectors, but grub-stake prospectors—men who systamaically bunco the unsophisticated denizens of the city out of grub stakes, only to retire to some secluded spot on the desert to sid down in idleness for three to six months until the provisions are exhausted, when they will return to the city with weird yarns of their imaginary exploits on the trackless desert. And there are secrets of the desert—awful secrets, of death from agonizing and dementing thirst, and deaths from_______, and then the narrator stops and leaves his story in mystery, for you to conjure up the horrors of a grim and sanquinary crime far from view of the sleuth hounds of the law, way out on the desert, where the passions of men have no outward moniter.

 Such is life on the deserts, broken now and then in its monotonous existence by the story of some striking success of a well known man  Failures are never noted, for they are to common  Death, coming in the form of a crime or thirst, is ever an interesting story, for the prospectors have grown familiar with crime, and have all experienced thirst to that degree which teaches them how horrible the death must be But above all else in interest, and yet by no means unknown, is the finding of the whitened bones of some human being, possible with some means of identification, but more probably with no mark by which to learn the name of the unfortunate 

And thus the search for gold goes on, and year by year the great, forbidding desert becomes better known through the sacrafice of human lives, and day by day new mines are being discovered  which will add materially to the nation’s wealth.”  –  Los Angeles Daily Times

January 27, 1896:  “RANDSBURG—JAN. 25—The axiom that silver comes in ledges and gold is where you find it seems to be a self evident proposition enough, but what has agitated the grey matter in the craniums of many prospectors is “Where did the gold from that has supplied the dry diggings of Goler, Red Rock, Summit, Last Chance and other camps east of Mojave?

Messrs. Burcham, Mooers, and Singleton, who had been working the Goler and Summit diggings with more or less success for two years, determined after the wet winter of ’94 and ’95 (when the dry process was no longer feasible at the surface) to try and solve the problem, and solve it they did.  There was an old legend of ledges of fabulous richness in a range of mountains about ten miles south of where old man Goler first pitched his tent, since become famous at Goler mining camp.

F. M. Mooers, with W. J. Langdon and B. F. McGee made a hurried trip to the spot in the winter of ’94 and found very find gold in a canyon running northeast and southwest to the summit of a mountain, which the aneroid indicated as 4800 feet altitude.  There was no evidence of prehistoric “wash” and they came to the conclusion that the gold came from nearby ledges decomposed.

 The striation of the mica schist and porphyry float indicated glacial action, and a hunt for the ledges that gave up the gold began.  Following up the main canyon they came upon numerous porphyry dykes with walls of trachyte and mica schist.  Some specimens of this rock were sent to Los Angeles for assay, but getting no returns the place was abandoned.

 Nevertheless Messrs. Mooers, and Singleton could not rest satisfied without paying a visit to the locality, and last April with a well-equipped outfit for a long stay, started for what is destined to be one of the richest  gold camps on the Pacific coast.  Following up the same canyon they came upon quartz outcropping standing seven feet above the surface, a chip of which assayed at $70. 

 Here they sunk a fifteen foot shaft and developed a ledge six feet wide between well defined walls of prophecy and mica schist, the vein on the wall assaying for two feet $97.50.  They then began prospecting for other ledges and located fourteen other claims. It first appeared that the “__ass” first claim located was simply ___per from the mother lode, a vast body of ore running northeast and southwest, 30 feet wide and by mill tests running from $48 to $1440 per ton.  There is a stratum in this enormous ledge that will yield anywhere from $300 to the latter figure per ton.

 The mountain is covered with “float” showing free gold as large as wheat grains to the naked eye, and from two to four feet of decomposed quartz from which two men last week in 5 ½ days took out $193.33 with a “dry washer.”  The gold is very fine, hardly perceptible on the “riffle board” until water touches it, is very heavy and assays at the mint $10.50

 Development work was at once begun on this ledge and thirty-six tons (two car loads) were hauled by the Searles Borax team to Mojave and shipped to the Selby works in San Francisco.  Then the injunction suit brought by your former townsman O. B. Stanton and tried before Judge Van Dyke of Los Angeles at Bakersfield caused a temporary suspension of development, but after the injunction was raised, development was resumed and some astounding discoveries made.

 Parallel with the “Olympus” (the mother lode) is another ledge called the “Trilby”, running northeast and southwest, of a bluish grey quartz colored with hematite of iron red, eight feet wide, the striatum on the hanging wall assaying $2942.  Repeated trials by pounding up one quarter pound of the rock in a morter and washing in a horn spoon have showed this rock to run one dollar and a half per pound.

 Eugene Garlock, the Tehachapi capitalist, is erecting a ten stamp mill at Cow Wells (eight miles from the camp), with a capacity of twenty tons per day.

Benson Bros. Have a Chili mill also at the same place, with a capacity of two tons per day. 

Messrs Swarthout, Kuffle, and Richards, owners of rich diggings at Goler, have a shaft down forty feet showing a good body of rich ore, about three miles from the Rand Mine.

 Messrs. Kelly and Donovan are sinking a six-foot ledge which is close to the side line of the Trilby, and is a fine milling proposition clear across with a stratum on the hanging wall showing $2,250.

Rand Mining District Formation Papers, Signed December 1895, Recorded January 1896, Collection of Rand Desert Museum

There have been about 150 locations made in the district and at a meeting to elect a recorder, there were thirty five resident miners present.  The district is called the Rand district.

Page 2 of The Rand Mining District Formation Papers

  There are five wooden buildings, including stables, corral, saloon and about thirty tents.  Water is hauled by Harley Swarthout at $2 per barrel and provisions are supplied from the store of the indefatigable desert merchant and hotel proprietor of Kane springs, Charles Koehn.  Water can undoubtedly be obtained much nearer than Cow Wells or indeed anywhere in the main wash between Goler and the Randsburg mines. 

Rand Mining District Formation Papers Signature Page 1

 The owners of the above named claims have located a mill site within three miles of camp and will soon sink on it for water.  It now seems that the coarse gold found at Goler, Red Rock, Summit, etc. came from burned out ledges, as the area which these diggings embraces is of volcanic origin, as indicated by the numerous extinct craters ,burnt malachite “float” or “pilot rock” and jasper, found in this belt, which is about ten miles wide.

Second Page of Signatures on 1895 Rand Mining District Formation Papers

 To the north is the El Paso range, with mineral bearing rock in places; the Argus and Slate Ranges with gold bearing quartz to the east, while to the south led the Randsburg mines, with their fissure veins.”  — The Californian

Page Showing Recording Date of Formation Papers. Note that the papers were recorded in San Bernardino County. The location of the County Line was in dispute until the early 1900’s.

January 17, 1897:  “RANDSBURG. ITS MARVELOUS GOLD MINES AND ITS MAGIC GROWTH since the first rays of sunshine illuminated true way of the illustrious Pathfinder over the sandy wastes and cragged mountains of Southern California have the sunny slopes of the volcanic peaks and verdant mesas given cause for such invasion and great excitement as at present exists in the new mining camp of Randsburg. When in route from the ancient and honorable Pueblo of Los Angeles to the historic mission on the bay of Monterey General Fremont was unquestionably the first of all prospectors to cross the golden reefs of Randsburg, lying as it does within a pass twelve miles due north from a historic landmark known as “Fremont’s Peak,” at the base of which the Pathfinder developed upon the edge of a dry lake— by sinking a well a few feet in depth— an abundance of pure, sparkling water, which has since served to quench the thirst of many a poor traveler crossing the trackless sands.

Randsburg is the latest link in California’s golden chain, and will undoubtedly prove the loadstone of the mining world. Crowded vehicles, cavalcades of freight teams, prospectors’ outfits, etc., from the old Concord and thorough brace stages to the historic burro, speck the long lines of wagon-roads leading from the railway stations to this golden oasis of the Mojave Desert, where a city or over 2000 inhabitants has been built up in an incredibly short period, and its progress is only limited by the supply of material, because of the slow process of freighting by team. The camp is crowded with prospectors, investors, fortune-seekers, and mining experts from South Africa to the Caribous and the Com stock to the Atlantic The man from Cripple Creek no longer enthralls the attention of the mine-owner. The lustered and booted Britisher makes hardly a ripple in the serenity of the camp, and the South African expert is more familiarly called by his given name. The magic growth of the camp seems to be justified by the wonderful development of rich finds from the hammer tap on the surface to the continuous rich and pay rock from the grass roots down, and bids fair to surpass any camp discovered in late years as it is situated centrally in a gold-bearing zone many miles in length and as broad as the eye can reach. Nowhere has success attended the efforts of the poor prospector greater than in the district of Randsburg. Over $250,000 has been extracted from the mines of this camp by the original locators within a period of six months, and it is safe to say that at the present date there has not been to exceed $5000 of outside capita! Expended in the development of mining property, and in every case the expenditure of labor or money has met with stir*’ and handsome returns. While the reputation of this camp has been founded upon its wonderful high-grade property, with ore running in value from hundreds to thousands of dollars per ton, still the great future of the camp lies in the value of its low-grade ore which like a network traverses the surrounding country for miles in extent and awaits only the advent of the practical miner and moneyed operator to yield its golden store.

Mining at the present time is being carried on in the most primitive style; whips, whims and windlasses can be seen on the mountainside for miles around, but not a single power hoist is visible in the camp. Most of the producing mines are found in the contact, porphyry and mica schist and porphyry and syenite. Great ledges of quartz, ordinarily styled as “bull ledges,” are found traversing the district in all directions, differing from the ledges of like character found in Northern California in that they are all more or less mineralized and not infrequently carry gold of extreme fineness that would pay in more favored districts where wood and water are plentiful. The dyke movements are clearly defined throughout the district and a careful study of the condition of mines now being operated in relation to formations there observed makes the work of the intelligent operator and prospector almost a certainty. The Rand Mining Company controls a group of eight mines upon what is known as the mother lode of the Randsburg district, and under the management of C. A .Burcham is fast becoming a noted property. The Olympus, Trilby, Rand and Yellow Aster claims of this company are being developed in a miner-like manner, and thousands of tons of ore averaging $20 per ton in value is already in sight. Mr. Burcham is styled the “Stratton” of Randsburg, and as his famous prototype of Cripple Creek ventured his fortune for the weal of the common interests of the camp that gave him fame and riches, so does lie in this Eldorado of the desert, ‘being one of the venturesome spirits to whose pluck and energy fell the fortune of discovery of this district. With excellent judgment and business tact, Mr. Burcham acquired a number of valuable properties, none of which are permitted to lie idle, and it is gratifying to note that his energy and enterprise are being rewarded.
The Butte mine, owned by H. C. Ramey, H. C. Tate, B. B. Somers and J. E. Ramey, is one of the richest mines in the district. It adjoins the Good Hope, and at a depth of 125 feet has in it 3 course of development produced over $60,000. H. C. Ramey, the leading spirit In this company, is an old-time prospector in the district, and is very popular among the miners, to a large number of whom he gives employment. The ledge of the Butte mine is stronger defined and traversed on the hanging side by a great syenite dyke running almost due east and west. The J I C claim, lying contiguous to the Butte mine, is attracting a good deal of attention from mining men who are investigating the district, and presents a most promising opportunity to the investor because of its location. The Omega claim, about four miles southeast from the camp of Randsburg, at a depth of forty feet shows a remarkably strong lead of ore cropping, high-grade siilphurets and is paying its owners handsomely. The owners are Messrs. Crow & Kuffel of Randsburg and Wilson of Mojave. The Blackhawk group owned by a company headed by W. C. Wilson of Mojave and Clyde Kuffel, postmaster at Randsburg, has produced some of the richest ore found in the camp, and is considered a bonanza to its owners. The entire country for miles from the Blackhawk to the southward is of rich auriferous sand formation to a depth of from one to  six feet, and is being successfully worked by the Stine Mining and Milling Company of Los Angeles with a mammoth dry washing machine, the largest ever Known to be constructed or operated. It has a capacity of over 200 tons per day, and with the large number of acres of pay dirt which this company have taken up within the immediate vicinity of the St. Elmo it is estimated they have sufficient to run for years to come. Mr. Stine of Los Angeles is the inventor and manager of the machine at the mines and Mr. F. Lindenfeld is president of the company with Louis Ebbinger, N. T. Blair, and J. A. Lovie. W. l. Edwards, D. H. Yonilev Lobe of Los Angeles stockholders and directors.

Following the line of the Olympus to the south is a long line of locations more or less developed that present an interesting feature of the camp of Randsburg, as this is considered the great mother lode of this mineral belt. The formation is strong and permanent in character and the ledges are all found at the contact of porphyritic granite and slate and show strongly, averaging from ten to thirty feel in width, with values running from $5 to $25
per ton. In this group are found the San Diego Rustler and Skyscraper, owned by O’Leary & Maginnis, and the Eureka 1 and 2 and Old Glory, owned by Dickinson& Decker. Distinct in character from those heretofore mentioned is a little group of mines about two miles from Randsburg, in what great dykes of porphyry, micaceous schist and bull-quartz running from north to south, with distinct indications of earthquake disturbances having rent the formation from east to west, leaving parallel fissures extending over one mile in width and three miles in length within which boundaries are found hundreds of stringers of very rich quartz. The absence of milling facilities on account of the scarcity of water has been a great drawback to this camp, and only high-grade ores would stand the expense of treatment. At present it is necessary to haul the ore to water, some ten miles distant, at an expense of $10 per ton for hauling and milling. At Garlock there are three mills in operation and three more in course of construction, at Koehn Springs one ten-stamp mill and at Cuddeback Dry Lake one five-stamp mill.

Until a short time ago water for domestic use was hauled in barrels from Garlock, ten miles away, and sold at $2 per barrel, but now the camp is supplied from wells recently developed in the hills nearby. and the water is piped in. An enterprise is now on foot looking to an abundant supply of water from a point about eight miles distant that will furnish sufficient for mining and milling purposes for a development many times as great as now.

While this camp presents the most flattering inducements to practical miners and men of means for investigation and investment, it must be admitted that there is no inducement for men seeking employment, as the mines have not reached a state of development where it is possible to work many men at present. Tue Randsburg Miner, the first newspaper to be published in the camp, by George W. Glover Jr., made its initial appearance in a four-column folio December 12, 1896. It is a bright, newsy little sheet. In the second issue of Saturday, December 19, in a communication addressed to Major E. F. Bean of the Randsburg Blue Gravel Cement Company, the editor makes the following interesting observations: There are almost innumerable quartz veins running to all the quarters of the compass, i
among which some 4500 locations have been made, the most of which are held by men who have no money and, like many in new districts, hold them of so great value that special mining men of capital are not willing to pay as much for a small hole in the ground as a developed paying mine will bring. This will cure itself in due time. A location, simply because it is quartz, will not necessarily be valuable. The great problem now to be solved is do these mines go down? So far, about 120 feet is the deepest shaft sunk In some cases continuous pay is found, and in others broken and barren spots are encountered. For this winter I would advise all who have not the means to support themselves for a few months when here to stay away, ‘for there is limited employment, and will be until capital takes hold and does that kind of mining that requires regular payrolls. The outlook for years to come is very encouraging. If no more pay mines are found it will be a good and prosperous camp, and if the mines develop permanently down then it, All mat seems in the way of immediate progress and prosperity is that miners that have from ten to thirty claims without a dollar refuse to sell for anything short of the value of a paying mine.  Such is discouraging to those who are willing to invest a reasonable amount of money in a fair prospect.

The town of Randsburg, according to the surveys of a half-dozen surveyors, and- as established repeatedly, is located in the south half of section 35, township 29 south, range 40 east, and in the north half of section 2, township 30 south, range 40 east, all iv Kern County, It is just a mile from the east line of section 35, and two to the San Bernardino line. Randsburg is connected by three stage lines with the outside world, one line from Mojave via Garlock and Goler, a distance of fifty-two miles northeast; another line from Mojave by what is known as the Mojave “short line,” run by J. W. Fianigau, a distance of thirty-eight miles northeast; and another still shorter route from Kramer on the A. and P.. railway to Randsburg,-, only twenty-four miles due north, via Francisville, where the prince of entertainers, Colonel Frank Francis, looks well to the comfort of the passengers en route. The road from Kramer is hard and of easy grade from Francisville in to Randsburg, making it quite a pleasant trip. The advertised fare from Mojave to Randsburg is $3 and from Kramer $2, which is considered reasonable enough. The three different lines send to Randsburg from five to eight stages a day, averaging about seven passengers each. They land their passengers at the St. Elmo Hotel, run by Roach & Henderson. This is the leading hotel and is made famous for its wonderful rooming capacity. No matter how many arrivals a day they always have plenty of room for more. This will be more clearly understood when stated that they have actually but seven rooms and one spring bed in the house, but they have three or four annexes with unlimited cot capacity. The largest of these is called No. 11. Nearly every arrival modestly requests a good room on account of being tired or kick. Mr. Roach replies: “Certainly, we will give you a good room.” He then tells Joe Carroll,  the room clerk, to put them in No. 11. If room 11 was ever filled up no one ever heard of it. The growth of Randsburg is something phenomenal. Four months ago there were but four tents and less than fifty people in the camp by actual count. There are now 175 houses and 276 tents, with an estimated population of 2000. All lines of business are represented and prices are moderate, though some of the pioneer business houses have got the trade pretty well in hand. Yet there are new stores opening up almost every day. ‘This, however, is warranted by the rapid growth.

There are a few very prominent mining men from Colorado, Arizona and Northern California now in camp looking over the situation. Among them may be mentioned J. J. Brown, an owner in the Little Johnnie of Leadville, one of the biggest gold-producers the world ever saw. With Mr. Brown is James A. Shinn. a heavy mine -owner and operator in Leadville. These gentlemen express themselves as greatly pleased with the camp and declare their intention to become interested in some good properties. Mr. Brown has large interests in Montana, Idaho and Arizona. Colonel Charles A. Tozier, one of, the old and best-known mining experts on the Pacific Coast, has been around the camp for the past three weeks and is particularly well pleased with the outlook. Robert Strauss, half owner of the Fortuna, near Yuma, Ariz., passed through Randsburg a few days ago, on his way to Inyo County, toward Panamint. He expressed quite a favorable opinion of what he had seen of the camp. *The sale of the Santa Ana, Mercedes and Napoleon mines was consummated last Saturday. The group was owned by Garlock, James Brothers and Simpson and was sold to Munson & Leighton of Los Angeles for $10,000. The new owners put men to work sinking the Napoleon last Monday and it is the intention to push development work and show what is in the ground as quick as possible. A good strike may be looked for at any time. Hon. F. S. Munson, one of the purchasers of this group of mines, is City Councilman of Los Angeles. He is not in the habit of doing things by halves and will at once push the work of development to its utmost. He is now starting a double compartment shaft on the Napoleon and will put up a mill as soon as sufficient ore and water to warrant it.

The pioneer business houses of Randsburg deserve great credit for overcoming the expense and difficulties attendant upon’ bringing, in merchandise, building material and all kinds of supplies and keeping down prices to about the same as in towns upon the line of a railway. The firm of Hammond & Co. was the first to open a general store, when only twenty five or thirty people were in the district. They have kept pace with the camp and now have a large stock of general merchandise and make miners’ supplies a specialty. J. \V. Ragsdale of Madera was one of the first to invest in Randsburg mining properties. He has formed a copartner ship with Mr. Fugard, a capitalist and mining man of Los Angeles. They have erected a fine office building and are handling mines, real estate, investments, buying and selling mining properties, etc. They are part owners of the J I C, one of the best mines, in the district, and have made some of the biggest sales yet made in the camp. Major E. F. Bean of the Randsburg Development Company la one of the most active men in the camp in buying and selling mining properties, and represents a great deal of capital seeking investment. The Major has been rustling in the camp from its start and has been handling some big propositions. James & S. Montgomery, formerly of Omaha, is the pioneer wholesale liquor dealers in Randsburg. They located here in April, 1896, and have practically got the liquor trade corralled. J. M. Crawford of Bakersfield put up the third building in the camp four months ago, and now owns nearly the entire block. He is doing a splendid wholesale and retail liquor business. L. Nelson, the pioneer mining broker, buys and sells mining property; investments, insurance, abstracts, real estate, notary, deeds, etc. Dr. Hempstead, the pioneer druggist, was the first to establish a pharmacy in the camp, and now has the only complete line of drugs within a distance of sixty-five miles in any direction. He has become quite popular in the camp and practically holds the entire business in his line. The Randsburg Produce Company, composed of Los Angeles gentlemen, has been building up a splendid business in shipping produce to the surrounding camps. It was established here December 16, 1896, and has the only strictly produce house in the camp. Claude Bohanon has a wholesale and retail liquor-house, carrying a fine line of goods. He is agent for the – Fredericksburg Brewing Company— also Constable and Deputy Sheriff. The tri-weekly mail service in and out of Randsburg is very inadequate. Petitions for a daily service have long since gone to Washington, but action seems to be very slow. The fact is the mails are cumbersome, naturally, made so by accumulation at Mojave, .where they may be short of help, but where the service is actually worse than none at all. Letters have been delayed eight and ten days going each way through the Mojave office and it would be far better if they would take the pouches direct from the train to the stages and let the Randsburg office do the distributing for Garlock and Goler. In this manner great delays would be overcome, as the Postmaster at Randsburg, Mr. Clyde Kuffol, is a live, active and obliging young man, and frequently works up to 11 and 12 o’clock at night to accommodate the public in the delivery of their mail. He has just put in a large number of new Yale lock-boxes and the office presents quite a metropolitan appearance.”  – San Francisco Call

April 22, 1897:  “A miner writing from Desert Springs Cal., to the Los Angeles Times, says that when tbe people of Randsburg quit selling town lots to each other and go to work in earnest on their mines, tbe wonderful richness of the district will astonish the world.  He intimates that the desert camps also need less whiskey and more water.”  —  Arizona Silver Belt

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