ST. ELMO MINE

Survey number:      Owner:      Date of discovery:

July 28, 1896: SAN BERNADINO COUNTY—FROM RANDSBURG — R. A. Powers is in receipt of a letter from his partner, Gen. W. D. McCourt, who is in Randsburg, saying that a rich strike has been made in that district, seven miles south of town. He says the property is very promising from surface indications. The ledge is traceable on the surface for 1000 feet, and the run is three feet wide. The cropping’s for from 50 to 100 feet along the ledge are so rich in free gold that it can be seen with the naked eye at a distance of ten feet, and the entire length of the exposed cropping’s give colors. The general writes that everything is looking well in the older section, though but little work is being done, owing to the extreme heat. The discovery above alluded to is in San Bernardino County, and was made by Bakersfield parties. It is believed the find will stimulate prospecting.” — Los Angeles Daily Times


August 3, 1896: “IT IS SAID THAT IN THE HILLS some distance southwest of Randsburg a remarkable strike has been made.  The ledge found by S. Drouillard and S. H. Pyle is three feet wide on the surface and crops out for several thousand feet.  The rock is literally alive with free gold every piece showing the yellow metal in profusion.  Nothing approaching it has ever been brought to town.  It will assay from $1500 to $2,000 or more per ton.”  – Los Angeles Daily Times

St. Elmo Headframe. Circa 1897. Stage from Kramer Junction passing by. Collection of Maturango Museum

August 05, 1896:  “ STUMBLED ON A FORTUNE –  A Rich Strike on the Mojave Desert – A PROSPECTOR’S GREAT LUCK – Seeking for Water He Finds a Gold Bearing Ledge – Ore Which Assays Anywhere From $250 to $2500 Per Ton—Story of the Find –

The story has already been told briefly of the latest wonderful discovery of gold on the Mojave desert, says the Bakersfield correspondent of the San Francisco Call, but only the bare bones of the romance (for it is a veritable romance) have been presented to the public. The account as previously telegraphed was that two prospectors, wandering far from settlement or habitation on the superheated sands of the desert during the recent hot spell, when in the settled valleys deaths from heat were numerous, and even that fabled individual, the “oldest inhabitant,” could not call to mind another “spell of weather,” had by merest accident stumbled upon a fortune in the shape of a ledge of gold bearing rock of almost incredible richness.

These men, Drouillard and Pyle by name, being practically without means, naturally looked about for some method of recuperating their fortunes. Stories of the good luck that had befallen other men situated like themselves, and who had gone to the desert mining camps, reached their ears, and they decided that what others had done they also could do.

Neither had even the small amount of wherewithal to obtain the outfit, without which it was worse than useless venture desert ward. A brother of one of the partners was consulted, and promptly volunteered to do what is known as the ‘ grub-stake act.” in other words he agreed to furnish what was necessary for the trip. In return for an equal share in whatever discoveries might be made.

Equipped then for the hardships and dangers of a desert trip in July the two partners started tor Mojave with a determination to exhaust every effort in the search for a paying mine. As luck would have it they started just at the commencement of that hot wave which for three long, weary weeks held the interior valleys in its fiery grasp and brought to death more human beings and animals than the newspapers have cared to publish.

But such a drawback as 125 degrees, more or less, in the shade and up to 15o in the sun, could not daunt these two prospectors. They pushed their way out on to the Mojave Desert to the recently established camps fifty to sixty miles northeast of Mojave. Then they began their inquiries. Had such and such a locality been prospected? Yes and some good mines found. Well, we don’t want to go there. Another locality? The same answer. Another? Still the same reply. Finally, how about that region- Oh, that’s been prospected high and low and never a sign of color found. That’s the place for us. That’s what we are looking for—and toward it they headed. They made camp at the only water in the region, and then started to prospect the entire locality thoroughly.

Each day they filled their canteens and with renewed _____ struck out, hopeful that ere the thrice-heated sun fell behind the blue hills in the west some discovery would reward their efforts. The heat was something awful. Nothing like it had ever been known in that region, and all who could fled to the mountains or the seashore.

But the partners persevered. Two weeks in this earthly inferno and still no discovery to reward them. But this did not cause them to lose heart. They had gone to the desert with a definite object and they proposed to accomplish that object or die in the attempt.

On the first day of the third week Drouillard started out alone and in a different direction from any in which he had previously gone. Someone who claimed to be acquainted with the country told him where there was a spring in the direction in which he proposed going where he could find abundance of water. Very carelessly, but quite naturally, he put faith in these instructions, took the bearings of the presumed spring carefully and started out with what he supposed was water enough in his canteen to suffice until the spring could be reached. Having full faith in the directions given, he did not husband his supply of water as he might otherwise have done, but drank freely whenever thirsty. The result was that his canteen was empty long before he reached the spot where he expected to obtain a fresh supply of water. Some time passed after the last drink had been taken before he reached the spot where the spring was supposed to be. When Druillard arrived at the hoped-for locality at last, he found where the spring had been, but not a drop of water was there. It had vanished, evaporated completely, and not so much as a sign of moisture remained. The unusually hot weather had dried up every drop of what had been a fairly abundant supply.

Now the pangs of thirst which had assailed the prospector for the last two hours were redoubled. The very knowledge that there was no water to be had made him the thirstier, His parched mouth became still more parched and he would have given anything in the world for a draught even of the most brackish water. He sought in every direction for another spring, but in vain. Not a sign of water could found anywhere.

While looking for the precious fluid half blinded with the heat and glare and half mad with the torments of thirst he stumbled over some “Float,” which his experienced eye told him at a glance was a good indication at the proximity of a ledge of quarts, even his thirst did not deprive him of the desire which had prompted the trip, and, half unconsciously almost, he abandoned the search for water and followed up the float, determined to find its source, even if it were the last thing he did. He had not far to go, perhaps only 500 yards he traveled, led on all the while by the increasing quantities of float, and then suddenly he came to the ledge which was its origin. At the point when he struck it the soil was neatly level and the quartz projected perhaps a couple of feet above the surface. A glance showed him that it was beautiful “live” rock. Then, a blow with his pick and a piece was broken off and picked up for examination. This was enough; he had found what he sought.

All across the fracture the bright yellow metal glittered in the sun, a mass of wire work held together by a spongy formation of half decomposed quartz, dark red in hue and contrasting handsomely with the treasure in its grasp. Almost half gold was the fragment of rock. Another and yet another piece was broken off and all with the same result. The ledge was followed some distance, and still the rock wherever broken off showed up rich with gold. It was a bonanza.

To use Drouillard’s own words: “I was no longer thirsty'” Only a man who has actually experienced a desert thirst can realize what this means. Think of the most acute bodily discomfort one ever experienced, increase it a hundred fold, then have something: transpire which drives that discomfort, even the memory of it, from one’s mind like a flash, and he can perhaps have a faint realization of the sensations of the lucky prospector overalls find.

As soon as he realized what he had discovered, Droulllurd saw that the ledge cropped out for a long distance in both directions. He at once put up a monument and notice of claim, and then started for camp. Five mortal hours he went without water. Five hours without a drink of water? Pshaw, most of us do that every day and think nothing of it. But out in the desert—hot, dusty shade less, cloudless, with the fierce July sun beating- down with a fervor which the cold figures of the thermometer cannot adequately depict—ah, that is different. Why. fifteen minutes without a drink is misery, half an hour torture, two hours death almost to the man unaccustomed to the terrible world yet five long hours did Drouillard travel with empty canteen at his side. The latter portion of the period he was buoyed up by the glorious news which he was hastening to impart to his companion. Had it not been for that it is doubtful whether he would ever have reached camp alive. When he did arrive he was as near death as one can be and recover.

The rest of the story is soon told, in as much as it is but a repetition of what has occurred hundreds of times. The partners went back to the scene of the discovery, staked out claims for themselves and their backers, and then gave the news to the world. Four claims totaling 8000 feet on the ledge, was their modest limit, and then the discovery was open for anyone. As soon as the news got out miners from Red Rock and Mojave, from Goler and Randsburg from Cow Wells and Coyote Hole, rushed in. and in an incredibly short time had the country staked out for miles. The original discoverers traced the cropping’s for a little over a mile and located it; but one man has already found cropping’s of a similar character nine miles away and the country has been pretty nearly all taken up.

Ore taken from several points on the ledge shows assays of anywhere from $250 to $2500 a ton, mostly in gold but with a fair amount of silver. All along the ledge, which is three feet in width on the surface, samples taken at random show the same wonderful layer and stringers of pure gold running through the quartz. A small shipmen of 7oo or 800 pounds of ore was taken from the cropping’s and sent to be worked, and from the assays is expected to return from $1 to $1.30 per pound in free gold.

Arrangements are bring hurried by the discoverers for systematically and thoroughly working the mines, and they returned yesterday to the desert from here, having come in to procure supplies and make preparations for opening the mines.

The exact location of these newly discovered mines is at the southern base of the range of mountains on the northern slope of which Randsburg is situated. They are about ten or twelve miles nearer Mojave than Randsburg. A dry lake known as Cuddeback Lake is close by and at Cuddeback wells, four or five miles distant, is an abundant supply of pure water. lt is believed from indications that water can be obtained close to the mines. Rogers Station, on the Santa Fe road, is about eighteen miles south-southwest of the discovery and is the nearest railroad point. An old wagon road from Mojave passes directly through the locality, and the ledge itself shows signs of the passing and repassing of many vehicles, yet never a man thought it worthwhile to examine the rock until Drouillard came along.

Other locators on the ledge are finding rich rock, while dry washers are already at work in several localities along the ledge and are making good wages.  The report has been circulated that this is probably the lost Peggy  mine. The proposition is absurd on its face. The Pegleg mine is on a direct line between the Colorado River at about the Needles and Warner’s pass, away to the southeast from Los Angeles. It is no more than three days’ horseback ride from Warner’s ranch, and is a couple of hundred miles or so from St. Elmo—the name given the new camp.” – The Herald

August 24, 1896: “SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY—Another rich find is reported from Randsburg, in a claim known as the St. Elmo, six miles south of the town of Randsburg and one mile from the county line, in this county.  It is owned by deputy Sheriffs of Kern County.  The ledge was found by a prospector who had been unable to find a prospect until he started in search of water and discovered this ledge.  The outcroppings are 300 feet long, the ledge being four feet thick.  It is said to be rich in free gold.”  – Los Angeles Daily Times

August 31, 1896: “(Fresno Republican) ANOTHER LETTER is at hand from D. M. Pyle relative to the work on the St. Elmo mine in the Randsburg district.  When he wrote the miners were down but a few feet, but he said some of the rock was very rich—rich enough to go several hundred dollars to the ton.  The bulk of it, however, is not so rich but all of it will pay handsomely for mining and milling.  The ledge does not appear to be well defined yet, but the miners thought that a few feet more would them down onto it.”  — Los Angeles Daily Times

Kern County Sheriff Bourgwardt appears to be part of a partnership of employees of the Sheriff's office that also included Deputies Plye and Crawford in addition to Ex-Sheriff Drouilllard who actually found the mine.

OCTOBER 9, 1896: “GRUBSTAKED A POOR PROSPECTOR – How Sheriff Borgwardt and Deputy Pyle Found the St. Elmo. – The Romance of the Extraordinarily Rich Mine on the Mojave Desert -BROUGHT A CAR OF ORE HERE. The Story of the Discovery of a Curious Gold Ledge Among Green Mesquite.

Among the arrivals at the Russ are Sheriff H. L. Borgwardt and Deputy Sheriff D. M. Pyle of Kern County. They brought up a carload of gold ore from the recently discovered St. Elmo mine, on the Mojave Desert, about which there has been quite a sensation. Some months since the two gentlemen grubstaked a prospector. He went out on the desert about 110 miles east of Bakersfield, and on July 15 last found rich croppings of gold. Following them a mine has been developed that has been the talk of all Kern County and that part of the State.

The mine is in the Randsburg district Mr. Borgwardt and Mr. Pyle are much pleased with their discovery. They believe it is one of the great mines of the country. “There are now about 40 feet of development on it,” said Mr. Pyle, “and this is by a single shaft. Both walls are granite. At 26 feet there were two feet of ore and at 30 two and a halt were shown. I have just received a letter from Mr. Wright, the foreman. He says:” The vein consists mainly of rose-colored quartz, carrying sulphurets and free gold, ‘There is a light-colored quartz, blue stained and impregnated with sulphurets. It lies next to the talc on the foot wall. Ore-sorting and sacking is progressing, as is extracting.
“We have made several shipments of ton lots of ore to this City,” continued Mr. Pyle. “The first lot ran $140 a ton and the last till now $800. We have some to hear from. I think it will average about $300. So far the average has been about $250. “The vein crops out on the surface for 3000 feet. The vein doesn’t show all the way, however. In some places it is covered by the sand, but substantially it continues for the distance stated. “Though this mine is on the Mojave Desert, and there are wide wastes of sand about there, yet around the mine are a great many mesquite bushes. They are of a deep bluish green color, and thus relieve the desert of much of its forbidding character. The trees are so plentiful that you can’t drive a wagon through except by zigzaging.”

Mr. Pyle was a member of the Legislature from Santa Clara in 1885, when he settled in Kern County. He is a brother in-law of James Rae. ‘Santa Clara was the place of his birth. Sheriff Borgwardt is a native of Amador, but went to Bakersfield as a boy. They will be here for a few days.” – San Francisco Call

December 29, 1896: “Seven miles from Randsburg on the stage road to Kramer, and on the open desert, is the St. Elmo mine, the property of Sheriff Pile of Kern County and the brothers Drouillard, who discovered it and are working it. Next to the Rand group, this mine is the largest producer. Its surface dirt is all broken work, gold-bearing gravel, yielding by drywashing $1.50 to $2 to the ton. The placering has been leased to a Los Angeles company for a royalty of 25 per cent, and a gigantic dry washer has been built, to be worked by a 10-horse power gasoline engine, in conjunction with a pulverizer. The dirt is to be handled by teams and scrapers only, and the projectors hope to work up 200 tons a day and realize $300 daily if it works successfully.” – The Herald

December 30, 1896: “The St. Elmo is about to ship two cars of ore to Pueblo, Colorado, for treatment, as much of their ore is refractory and cannot be profitable worked in ordinary stamp mill.  This mine is taking out some very rich rock and is one of the best in the district.”  Los Angeles Daily Times

January 10, 1897: “Then there Is Cy Droulllard, who eked out a bare existence for a decade or more as a county constable In Kern county? He went over to what is now Randsburg one day last Juno to serve some legal papers.  He saw what the Rand mine was doing, and lost no time In going out to prospect In that region. He spent several weeks in prowling about the foothills, searching for signs of mineral wealth. He shunned no danger from thirst and hunger, and slept where night overtook him, only to follow up a lead at daybreak. One evening as he was munching on his supper of canned corned beef and crackers he saw a mass of live rock that looked more promising than any he had seen in several days. It was too dark to do much at investigating it that night. So he simply drilled a hole a few inches deep that evening and the next morning put in a small dynamite candle. When the charge had been exploded, Cy ran back to see what his blast had revealed. His trained eyes told him he had at last made his stroke of fortune. Where that charge of dynamite blew open a projecting rock, out on the yellow, blistering sands of the Mojave Desert six miles east of Randsburg. Cy Droulllard located the St. Elmo mine. He has had several offers for the property, but he declines to listen to any offers and says it is worth millions to him. That may seem strange to the average reader when the information is added that the shaft into the St. Elmo mine is down but about 140 feet, and the only works about it are a common windlass, a length of wire cable and a few ore buckets. But there are miners who have been in all diggings of any note from Mexico to Alaska during the last three decades, and they, say that now the St. Elmo is paying over $700 a week, primitive as the works are.  A loan of $38,000 has been negotiated on the property for more rapid development.  Right over this site many teamsters and laborers In Randsburg have past repeatedly in the last ten years on their way to and from their work in the borax fields in Death Valley. The poor old man who sweeps floors and cleans windows at the “Ilepubllo ‘ saloon in Randsburg camped three nights on the spot where the St. Elmo mine is worked to-day, along with several teamsters, in October two years ago. He recalls, too, with the bitterness of regret, how, while the party sat and smoked about the camp fire in those evenings, the talk turned upon the luck some men had in stumbling upon fortune!” — The Sun (New York)

May 1897: “THE CALIFORNIA RAND” In July 1896, Si Drouillard, found the St. Elmo mine.”  – Overland Magazine

August 1, 1896:  “SI  AND JOE DROUILLARD of Bakersfield passed through Mojave this week on their way to the St. Elmo mine, near Randsburg where they expect to remain.”  — The Californian (Mojave News)

August 6, 1896: “SI DROUILLARD says that he has two times as many friends now as he had a month ago.  Since finding a rich gold mine he says that people come across the street to speak to him and several storekeepers have told him his credit is unlimited. The new millionaire seems to think that this worthless outcropping of human nature is one of the pains and penalties of becoming suddenly rich.

D. M. Plye has returned from San Francisco where he went to have an assay made of the rock from the Si Drouillard mine out on the desert.  The rock from the main ledge assayed $1127 to the ton and the pick-up rock turned out to be $250 to the tom.”  — The Weekly Visalia Delta

October 2, 1896:  “H. MEAD reached Mojave on Tuesday evening with eleven tons of ore from the St. Elmo mine.  This is supposed to be the richest lot of ore ever taken from the Rand district and the returns are eagerly awaited.”  – Californian

October 28, 1896: “SHERIFF BORGWARDT says the St. Elmo is all right and is showing up better as the work on it proceeds.”  – Californian

December 5, 1896: “MOJAVE ITEMS -Si Drouillard passed through town on his way to St. Elmo Friday.”  – Californian

January 28, 1897:  “THE ST. ELMO PEOPLE have also struck ore of a very high grade, and lots of it, in a drift to the westward, and about thirty feet in depth.  This ore was reached on in a vein running parallel to their main vein and about 250 feet from it.  This mine is distant from Randsburg about six miles and out on the level desert.”  -- Los Angeles Times

February 24, 1897:  “THE BIGGETS DEAL YET RECORDED from this section was closed a day or two ago, when the St. Elmo mine, located about six miles south of Randsburg, owned and operated by Borgwardt, Pyle, Drouillard and one or two others passed into the hands of a corporation.  A company was organized in Los Angeles with William Ferguson president; J. F. Turner. Vice- President; M. W. Turner, secretary; M. J. Blaisdel, Capt. Thomes, C. G. North, and E. H. Gould, under the name of the Randsburg and St. Elmo Improvement Company, with the object of developing water and conducting a general milling and mining business, with headquarters at Los Angeles.

An arrangement was made with the owners of the St. Elmo mine and that property was conveyed to the company above mentioned.  D. M. Pyle, one of the owners, was taken into the directory, and the name of the corporation was changed to the St. Elmo Mining and Water Company.  The consideration at which the St. Elmo was taken is understood to be $250,000.  The mine at once passes into the control of the new company, with E. H. Gould manager, who will make his headquarters at the mine.  Mr. Gould is the owner of what is called “The Castle” a magnificent property in La Canada about twelve miles north of Los Angeles, and is also a large real estate owner elsewhere.  Mr. Ferguson is Vice-President of the Union Bank of Savings on Spring Street, Los Angeles, while J. F. and M. W. Turner are well known moneyed men of the same place.  Mr. Blaisdell is an experienced mining man.  Capt. Thomas is one of the operators of the St. Elmo Hotel here, and the owner of real estate in Los Angeles, while D. M. Pyle, undersheriff of this county, is one of the most popular business men in Kern County, and in whom everybody has confidence.

The new company starts out under the most favorable auspices with a mine which, at the present outlook, is second to none in the Rand district, and is regarded by many experienced miners as the best mine here, with men of capital behind it to push all ordinary development work without the sale of stock, and in a locality easy of access, and only twenty miles from Kramer, on the Santa Fe railroad.

For the present the purpose of the company is to sink a double compartment shaft at some point on the ledge to a depth sufficient to fully develop the mine, and for the additional purpose of obtaining water which will probably be reached at 200 feet, or certainly before 500 which is now the depth proposed.

They do not propose to mill any ore for the present, and if they strike water sufficient, works will be put up on the mine and the ore can be milled at a minimum cost, thus saving the high cost of transportation, with the additional loss of from $10 to $15 on every ton run off into the tailings.

This ledge has been prospected and shafts sunk in eight different places, long distances apart and ore milled from all of them, with the lowest return of $33 per ton, while selected ore has run as high as $1 per pound.  The ledge at a depth of eighty feet has never shown less width than two feet, while it has been ten and twelve feet in some places, and in one place at the surface it is thirty feet wide. It has been located for 6000 feet and that is the length included in this deal.  There are two parallel ledges _______ from the main ledge 200 and 280 feet.  These have been prospected in a number of places and show as rich ore as the main ledge.  The St. Elmo is a strong vein of ore, lying out on the open level desert, with no high hill near: gives every indication of being a true fissure vein, and will doubtless prove a bonanza to the new owners if properly managed. ”  – Los Angeles Daily Times

April 28, 1897: “UNDER SHERIFF D. M. PYLE of the St. Elmo is in Bakersfield for a few days.  Before leaving Saturday morning he reported a new and very rich discovery of ore a little distance south of the main shaft.  The double shaft is now down ninety feet, and they are pushing work on it night and day.”  – Los Angeles Daily Times

May 1897: “THE CALIFORNIA RAND” Listed in the Overland as one of the producing mines of the Rand District in March of 1897.  It was discovered July 15, 1896.  Production to March 1897 was $12,000 and the shaft was 80 feet deep.  Owners were listed as S. G. Drouillard (St. Elmo Mining and Milling Co.)  — Overland Magazine

July 11, 1897: “CROSSING OVER THE STRINGER DISTRICT, and about six miles from Randsburg, is the St. Elmo group of mines, comprising the following seven:  St. Elmo No. 1, St. Elmo No. 2, St. Elmo No. 3, Princess, I. X. L., Chiquita and Buckskin.  The properties are incorporated under the name of the St. Elmo Mining and Water Company, capitalized at $2,500,000, divided into 250,000 shares of the par value of $10 each.  They are all under the management of E. H. Gould, a man who if I am not greatly mistaken, knows a mine when he sees it.  While well versed in mining theories, he has had experience of many years on the Comstock and other important mining camps.  The St. Elmo properties were originally located by Sheriff Borgwardt of Kern county, and four other persons,  and from whom the company purchased the mines, the locators taking pay for one half of the amount in company’s stock.  There are four different shafts on the ground and a gasoline engine of twelve horsepower is going to be put in which will enable all the shafts to be worked from one shaft by means of an over-ground cable, thereby very materially lessening the cost of operation.  A new double-compartment shaft is now being sunk on the St. Elmo No. 1, and besides the one being sunk on the J. I. C. mine is the only other double-compartment shaft in the Rand district.  It is 5×9 feet in the clear and is now down 110 feet.  When I was there the other day they were busy putting up their hoisting plant, the machinery for which is on the ground, and was purchased in Los Angeles.  The company is also sinking a well for water about three miles below the mines.  They are down 120 feet, and are satisfied they will get an abundant yield.  When they do they will put up a ten stamp mill, put up a pumping plant at the well, crush their own ore and thereby save the expense of hauling, while at the same time using some of their base ores which do not pay to haul far, as Manager Gould says “It is easier to pump water than haul ore.”  – Los Angeles Daily Times

August 09, 1897: “GEO. E.PRATTt visited the St. Elmo mine Wednesday and informs us that they have recently received a ten-horse power gasoline engine and are erecting a hoist. As soon as this is completed work will be commenced on the double compartment shaft, which will be sunk to a depth of 500 feet.” – The Herald

November 16, 1897: “THE DOUBLE-COMPARTMENT SHAFT of the St. Elmo mine is now down 200 feet, and at that depth they have a sixteen foot vein of ore.  They are running only a daylight shift.  On the foot wall they have a tough whitish-colored vein of talk, varying in thickness from a few inches to a foot.  A great deal of assessment work is now being done in vicinity.”  – Daily Californian

February 23, 1898: “VICTOR- THE FIVE STAMP MILL is running day and night on a 100-ton consignment of ore from the St. Elmo mine of Randsburg. ” – The Herald

June 27, 1903:  “KERN COUNTY—All the employees of the Yellow Aster M. & M. Co., near Randsburg, numbering over 200 are out on a strike because of a demand by the union for a 60 cents a day increase in wages.  The mills have been cleaned up and the mules sent to pasture.  The St. Elmo group of the Johannesburg G. M. Co. has shut down and Manager Ericson has gone to New York.  The Butte Con. M. Co. men are out, as also those on the Baltic mine.  The Santa Ana is paying the 50 cents increase asked.”—The Mining and Scientific Press

Mineral Survey No. 4123, Independence Land District, Claims located on various dates recorded March 12, 1903, known as the St. Helena Consolidated Lode, consisting of the Annie Lode, St. Helena Lode, Verna Lode, Mono Lode, Alice Lode, and Rilla Lode, owned by The Johannesburg Gold Mines Company, improvements consist of on Annie Lode, 1 shaft, value $100; on St. Helena Lode, 1. shaft with drift, value $1650, 2. Shaft with cross cut, value $1550., 3. Shaft with drift and cross cuts $1500, on Verna $100.  Located in Sec. 29, 30, and 20 of T.30S., R 41 E., M.D.M.

September 5, 1903: “An examination was recently made of the property of the Johannesburg Gold Mines Company at Johannesburg, Cal., by Mr. Uriah Johnson.  It was made at the instance of the Benson Investment Company, of Los Angeles, to which to which the report is addressed.  Following are extracts from it:

“There are two well defined ledges upon this property, running southwest and northeast, and dipping to the west.  These ledges have been opened up for a considerable distance, over four thousand feet, and a good deal of high grade ore, running from $25 to $500 dollars per ton, has been extracted in surface workings and a few feet below.  In fact, the history of the mines shows that richest ore ever produced in Southern California was taken from these mines, but, owing to the lack of water, and the difficulties of transportation, the mines were never worked below twenty to thirty feet deep, until the present company purchased the property.  Active work of development was begun by the Johannesburg Gold Mines Company last October, and has been prosecuted with vigor since that time.  There is now over six hundred feet of underground work completed, and the work is still being prosecuted with double shifts night and day, and it is safe to state that before the mill is completed, there will be over a thousand feet of underground work ready for stoping.

Ore has been developed on these ledges wherever sinking has been done, and is found to be contiguous and of a high grade, none so high as some surface cropping, but high grade ore for so large a body. The average of great numbers of samples taken in the most careful way, to show the exact milling value, ran $17.40 per ton in gold.  In stating this, I mean to say that all of the ores that will come out of the mine in the mill would average that, but in places it runs very much higher.  Many assays run from two hundred to five hundred dollars per ton.  This grade of ore however, I entirely omitted in getting my averages.”  — Los Angeles Mining Review

September 19, 1903:  “The Johannesburg Gold Mines Co. state; “Had it not been for the unforeseen interruption to our business, doubtless the energetic work we planned would have resulted in getting the property on a dividend basis this fall.  The installation of our mill and our entire investment of our mill and our entire investment is at a standstill solely on account of existing labor troubles.  We are surprised at any suggestion of dividends by this company from stock sales.  Our business has not been conducted in a manner to warrant any such insinuation.”  – The Mining and Scientific Press

May 31, 1906: “A C. Carroll was accidentally killed at the St. Elmo mine Saturday last.  He was descending in the bucked and fell out in some way, falling 150 feet to his death.”  – Randsburg Miner

May 22, 1909:  “The St. Elmo is working 50 men taking out a good grade of scheelite, running $300 to $600, which it is shipping regularly. ” – Mohave County Miner

October 27, 1915: “W. B. WILSON is still operating the St. Elmo and has leased the Wynn custom mill, which is kept busy on his property.  The ore averages about $17 free gold and $13 per ton is recovered by cyanide process after milling.”—Bakersfield Californian

March 5, 1924:  “TURNED DOWN $75,000, NOW UP for $10,000.—Randsburg, March 5.—In the early days of the Rand, there were a number of sensational gold finds, many of them in the “pictures” and “jewelry,” and none more so than the St. Elmo, with its rose colored quartz and wire gold.  Had the owners accepted Chas. (“Charlie”) D. Lanes bona fide offer of $75,000 cash, many well known mother lode operators would have followed in and taken up promising prospects then on the market.  One of the six interests “would have to consider the sum of $250,000 for my interest,” said one owner, and he meant it, for, at the time he was asked to name what he considered a fair price for the property.  This was after Lane’s offer and during the time the high grade was being mined.  The St. Elmo has changed hands many times, but never enough of working capital to prospect and develop it.  It can be bought on terns for the modest sum of $10,000.  There are many good properties which, if handled in the same manner as the King Solomon would soon be in the milling class.”—Bakersfield Californian

August 15, 1924: “The Californian says that Max Hess and two hard-working miners are taking out ore in this development now going on at the old St. Elmo.  Mr. Hess and associates in the St. Elmo deal have sublet to Charlie Grollar and A. Sjofund local gold hunters, a block of ground across the Santa Fe railroad track.  A 12 foot hole put down by the pair encouraged them to seek a lease and put up a blacksmith shop.  Later they intend to equip their shaft with approved machinery and go with the work.” – Randsburg Miner

November 14, 1925:  “TONOPAHNS BUY RANDSBURG GROUP –Tonopah, Nov. 14 –Local men have organized the  Nevada Rand Mines Corporation of Tonopah to take over the  St. Elmo group of claims situated near Randsburg, Cal., by purchase from Thomas R. Hanna, of Martinez, Cal., the owner.

The St. Elmo is a well known property that has produced a large tonnage of medium with some high grade gold ore adjoining the Atolia Tungsten Company’s holdings, from which more than $10,000,000 has been shipped in recent years.” –Reno Evening Gazette

November 17, 1925: “ST. ELMO MINE SOLD BY HANNA—Martinez, Nov. 17.—Announcement was made today by Thomas Hanna of Amador Valley, resident of Crockett Land and Cattle Company, of sale of his St. Elmo mine in the Randsburg district to the Nevada Rand Corporation of Tonopah.  Terms of the deal were not made public.  The mine, owned by Hanna for the past three years adjoins the Atolia Tungsten property.” –Oakland Tribune

December 7, 1925: “NEVADA RAND TO OPERATE ST. ELMO—The Nevada Rand Gold Corporation, Tonopah (Nev.), company, recently incorporated, has taken over the famous St. Elmo mine in the Randsburg District of Kern County. The property comprises six patented claims and was one of the early gold producers of the district, having a production of about $500,000 taken from depths not exceeding 250 feet.

New equipment is being provided for the mine and systematic and extensive development is planned by the management.  Heavy duty gasoline power machinery is included in the equipment, other installations comprising hoisting plant and compressor.  Electrical equipment will soon follow and machine drills will be employed in mining operations.  Until other arrangements are perfected the company will have its ores treated at a local milling plant.

St. Elmo ore is in the high grade class and the gold content is generally quite coarse and free milling.  The St. Elmo adjoins the Atolia Tungsten Mining Company, with a production in excess of $10,000 and still going strong, and is a near neighbor of the California Rand Silver, California’s premier silver and gold producer.” –Bakersfield Californian

Nevada Rand Gold Corporation Stock Certifcate. Collection of the Rand Desert Museum

January 18, 1926: “THE ST. ELMO, operated by the Nevada Rand Gold Corporation of Tonopah, Nev., is reported to be showing well on the 250-foot level.  A cross-cut is being driven to the east on that level to reach the east vein system.  One vein has already been cut, and two others are expected within 30 feet.  Many eastern investors have become interested in the Nevada Rand Gold and because of its reputation and popularity that section is becoming well advertised throughout the east.” –Bakersfield Californian

April 1926: “ST. ELMO REOPENED, Randsburg Gold Producer with Past Record of Half a Million Dollars, Will be Extensively Developed by Nevada Rand Gold Corporation—Shows Two Promising Veins.  Brief mention was made in our Mining Bulletin of the acquisition of the St. Elmo gold mine, one –half mile south of Atolia and six miles south of Randsburg by the Nevada Rand Gold Corporation, under the direction of A. B. Hall, the well-known local mining engineer.  Since the writer has had an opportunity of confirming the facts then given by a personal visit to the ground.

TWO FISSURE VEINS—The property shows two main gold-bearing fissure veins known as the “east and west” from which approximately $500,000 in high-grade ore was recovered by shallow workings in earlier days.  The main opening, known as St. Elmo shaft, was started on the west vein, which dips 75 degrees westerly.  At the 150 –foot level a cross-cut was run westerly to pick up the vein and encountered it at 20 feet.  The shaft was then continued to the 250-foot level and another cross-cut run westerly, this time 50 feet, where the vein was again picked up at ___and where it has been offset about ___feet by a fault.  A cross-cut was also run easterly 320 feet to the east vein which seems to have changed its dip from westerly to easterly at that horizon.  At the time this writer visited the ground drifts had been run upon the vein about 20 feet north and 10 feet south.  The vein varies in width from 2 to 10 feet and carries values wherever opened.  At times quartz carrying free gold visible to the naked eye is found, but as a rule the values are finely impregnated in the quartz.

PAST PRODUCTION $500,000 – South of the main shaft the west vein has been stoped practically to surface from the 100-foot level, with production estimated at $200,000.  North of the point where the cross-cut at the 250-foot level enters the east vein, toping has been carried on for a depth for a depth of 100 feet over a length of 250 feet and to a depth of about 140 feet over a length of 100 feet.  If this shoot, which produced around $300,000 in the past, rakes perpendicularly, the north drift on the 250-foot level will have to driven between 30 and 35 feet to pick up pay ore.  If it rakes northerly, however, as expected the drift will have to be carried proportionately further.  To the south it is expected that the drift will enter pay values almost immediately below an area stoped from the 100-foot level over a length of about 150 feet.

VEINS WILL CONVERGE—At a  point approximately 500 feet south of the mains shaft, the two veins , which are quartz-filled fissured in monzonite, will converge if the hold the courses indicated and it is believed that important enrichment may reasonably be expected.  The work of testing this theory will be undertaken at once and there is every indication that good values will be found at several points in between, where surface assays have been most encouraging.  Another shaft, 150 feet deep, sunk in earlier days on the east vein, lies 150 feet north of the point where the crosscut from the main shaft intersected the vein and it is the intention of Mr. Hall to make connection at the earliest possible date.  This will provide natural ventilation and presumably open up an important stoping area.

The main shaft is equipped with 15-horsepower Fairbanks-Morse gasoline hoist and a three-drill compressor is being installed.  With this equipment the development outlined can be carried out expeditiously and economically.

LOCATED THIRTY YEARS AGO—The St. Elmo locations were made in 1896 and embraced one of the noted properties of the district brought into prominence by discovery of the Yellow Aster mine, which has since produced upwards of $10,000,000 in gold.  Much high-grade shipping ore was encountered and shipped to nearby reduction plants.  Actual mining operations were commenced in 1897 and steady production maintained for several years thereafter.  Complete records of shipments are not available, but partial records prove that in 1897 and 1898 shipments were made to the value of $140,000.  Three carloads shipped to Pueblo, Col., netted $600 per ton, while four carloads shipped to Selby netted $300 per ton.  The stopes still contain a very material tonnage of milling ore and this will be extracted and treated at local plants to help finance development work.

TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES GOOD—The property is one of real merit and should respond handsomely to the campaign of development outlined by Mr. Hall.  It is very conveniently located on the Randsburg-Cramer (sic) branch of the Santa Fe railroad where a siding, St. Elmo, has been provided near the main shaft.  The main highways from Randsburg to San Bernardino and from Atolia to Mojave also cross the ground.”—Southwest Mining News Service

May 18, 1926:  “ST. ELMO MINE MAY PRODUCE RICH VEIN—St. Elmo mine, in the Rand district, which  was  taken over by the Nevada Rand Company  is being developed extensively, according to reports received here.  A. B. Hall, superintendent of the mine, was a Bakersfield visitor yesterday.

Drifts are being run at the 250-foot level, and it is believed that rich value of gold will be encountered in the mine.  Samples are being taken from each drift in the shaft and assays are being made to provide information  for further development.” –Bakersfield Californian

April 12, 1927: “MINING MAN IS KILLED IN FALL –Tragedy  Occurs in Mojave Desert – Plunges from Bucket Into Long Shaft – Was on Inspection With Sightseers—Bakersfield, April 11 – A. R. Hall, president of the Nevada Rand Gold Mining Company operating the St. Elmo mine one mile south of Atolia, was killed instantly at the height of the desert gold anniversary celebration Sunday when he slipped from an elevator bucket and April 12, 1927:  plunged 240 feet to the bottom of the shaft according to word received here today.

Mr. Hall had been showing the mining property to two parties interested in the company, and his body crashed from one side of the main shaft to the other to drop at the feet of Mrs. E. A. Elbe and R. M. Atwater.  Riding on the cross-beam of the bucket were Mrs. Atwater and R. M. Atwater.  They were unable to grab Hall as he lost his footing and they could only cling to the rigging horrified as they heard the thud of the doomed man’s body.

Just how the veteran mining man, who had made hundreds of similar trips up and down the shaft, happened to fall will remain a mystery.  Before he had fallen a third of the distance Mr. Hall was dead, it is believed, as his body was horribly crushed and battered by beams struck in the fall.

J. S. Mahood, constable in Atolia district, was called, who brought the body to the surface.  A Coroner’s inquest was conducted immediately by Coroner J. B. Hanna of San Bernardino, who organized a jury which returned a verdict of accidental death from falling down a mine shaft.

He is survived by his mother and widow, who live in Lone Pine.  Mr. Hall is being buried today at Lone Pine.” –Los Angeles Times

St. Elmo Headframe 1926.

July 1, 1927:  “DR. C. M. GRAHAM AND F. H. THIELE of Inglewood, Cal., are here in connection with the affairs of the Nevada Rand Gold Corporation of Randsburg.  Bert Hall, manager of the  company was killed last April by a mine accident as he was being hoisted to the surface.” –Reno Evening Gazette

October 8, 1929:  “WIDOW OF BERT HALL WINS HER INSURANCE—Mrs. Sara A. Hall, widow of Bert Hall, the well-known Tonopah mining consultant, has received a judgment of $5150 in settlement of a policy held in the Employers’ Liability Insurance Corporation of London, England.

The company resisted payment on the ground that the risk was written on the life of an executive officer of the Nevada Rand Gold Mines Company, operating at Randsburg, and that the policy was invalidated when Hall engaged in  actual underground work.

The contention was  referred to  the industrial accident commission of California, when it was disclosed that under the policy Hall was permitted to act as foreman in administering the affairs of his company.  Hall was killed April, 11, 1927, whle working in the shaft.  The contest was thrown out and an award for the full amount plus $150 for funeral expenses, allowed.  Under the policy the company must pay the widow at the rate of $25 per week, dating back to the fatality.

B. Hall, a pioneer of Randsburg early days, having faith in the St. Elmo, a sensational gold producer of the early days, organized the Nevada Rand Gold Mines Company to operate the property, which lays between Atolia and Randsburg.

The accident occurred on the first day’s celebration of the discovery of gold in the Rand district, 35 years ago.” –Bakersfield Californian


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