YELLOW ASTER MINING & MILLING CO. (Rand Mtn. Mining Co.)
- 1898 thru 1901

Survey number:      Owner:      Date of discovery:
Major Development

Following the Vein in Search of Gold. 1898 Santa Fe Rairoad Pamphlett - Collection of Deric English

January 31, 1898: “The Randsburg mines improve with depth. The Rand group, now incorporated under the name of the Yellow Aster Mining and Milling Company, is shipping per day from 50 to 75 tons of ore, taken from nearly a dozen different shafts, which runs, without sorting, from $25 to $75 per ton.” – The Sun

March 3, 1898: “RANDSBURG, March I.—The past week has been a plethoric one for the Rand district as far as rich strikes in the mines are concerned. Beginning with that in the Rustler, mention of which has been made in The Herald, successive finds have been made in the Trilby, Kinyon and Butte mines. In the Trilby, which is one of the Rand group, the strike was accidental, and had it not been for the critical examination of some of the rock by a visitor at the dump, would not perhaps have been noticed. For several days miners had been engaged running a drift to tap the main shaft at a depth of 170 feet, and were going through a hard, blue colored quartz, which to all appearances was worthless. On Saturday they had gone through fifteen feet of it. On that day a visitor at the mine picked up a piece of the quartz and while looking at it discovered that it contained gold. The attention of the superintendent was called to it, and to make sure that it was worth saving he had several assays made of the supposed waste, and was agreeable surprised to find that it averaged $92 to the ton all through. This kind of quartz is something new in the camp, and is said to closely resemble the telluride ore of Cripple Creek.” –The Herald

March 4, 1898: “Randsburg, Feb. 28—(Regular Correspondence) THE YELLOW ASTER Mining Company, the Rand group, has struck a 15-foot ledge of ore assaying $92 per ton.  This is the biggest strike in the Rand district and in itself is enough to make a good camp.  A contract was let to two men named Bennett and Donaldson to run a 300-foot tunnel on the east side of the gulch, for the purpose of sticking the Trilby vein.  This would give a height of nearly that much over the ledge to the surface vertically, as the hillside at this point is very steep.  In running the tunnel, when into the hill about one hundred feet, a hard vein of blue ribbon quartz was encountered, but it was no different from anything else in the mountainside that no attention was paid to it.  It was very hard, and the work was slow, but it all went over the dump, no one supposing there was anything in it.  When quite through it, a distance of fifteen feet, some one accidentally discovered a piece that showed free gold.  It was then examined more carefully and an assay was made for gold only, with the result of $92 to the ton.  It is now being assayed for other metals.

Some miners claim it is tellurium.  One experienced miner having worked for eight months in Stratton’s Independence mine at Cripple Creek, and who is now working in Randsburg, says it is identical in appearance with the ore in that celebrated mine.  It is very hard, and some free gold is visible in it, also cube iron, lime, and schist.  In looking at it with a glass spots of what appears to be pure silver are visible.

Load of Gold Ore From Yellow Aster Enroute to Garlock Mills. C. W. Tucker photo in the Cooper Family Collection of the Rand Desert Museum

There are no indications of anything on the surface, as it does not crop sound anywhere, as do the rest of the veins in the Rand group.  It is on the Trilby territory, but is not the Trilby vein, as it is of a very different class of rock.  It lies to the north and west of the Trilby vein, some two hundred feet or more.

Mr. Singleton, the manager of the Yellow Aster Company says they have as yet encountered nothing like this any part of the workings of the various mines in the group.  It will not be free milling like their other ones, although it horns some gold but the greater part of the value is in the sulphurets.

There is considerable excitement in the camp over this discovery, and the thickness of the vein, with its solidity, together will well defined walls, make it the wonder of everybody.  Some very sensational stories were in circulation in regard to it yesterday, but the above are the facts as obtained from personal observation and from Mr. Singleton, who gave all the information in his possession. ” — The Los Angeles Daily Times

Group of Miners In Yellow Aster Mine. Note Candlesticks and lunch pails both highly collectible items.Collection of Kern County Museum

March 10, 1898: “THE YELLOW ASTER MINING Company (Rand Group) produced last month $36,000 in gold bullion, which makes the total product since December $67,000.

In tunneling 100 feet to strike the main Trilby ledge, they encountered cross ledges, every twenty feet from a few inches to fifteen feet in width, the latter milling $92 per ton.  There is now apparently enough ore in sight to keep hundred stamps pounding for the next ten years.

A former superintendent of the Comstock Lode declares this group equal to those celebrated mines in their palmiest days, and, if water can brought to them they will produce as much money as the famous bonanza of Nevada.  And the water will soon be there. ” — The Los Angeles Daily Times

March 24, 1898: “SAN FRANCISCO MARCH 23. One of the most expert cases of train robbery In California occurred last night about 11 o’clock, on the Southern Pacific near Goshen, in the heart of the Sao Joaquin valley. Two men stopped the northbound Los Angeles express, blow up the express safe, and obtained $10,000 in treasure shipped from the Randsburg mines, as well as considerable money from the registered mail. The robbery was not far from the scene of the repeated hold-ups by Evans and Sontag, who escaped detection for over three years, and then defied the authorities In the Sierra Nevada foothills for nine months.  A reporter who was on the train last night gives the following account of the hold-up, which shows that the men were railroad hands and experts in train robbery:  “Soon after we pulled out of Goshen the train came to a standstill. Two robbers had crawled over the blind baggage car, and after finding that several hoboes who were on the car were unarmed, they dropped down back of the engine tank. They got the drop on the fireman and made him draw the fire from under the engine. The train came to a standstill on Cross Creek Bridge, where the trestle is pretty high. “The engine and express car were allowed to go over the trestle, which left the main part of the passenger train so that no one could cross without walking on the trestle. The robbers discharged their rifles in the direction of the Pullman cars after Tom Moade, the railroad detective, had taken two shots at them with a pistol. Meade called for volunteers to go out and fight the highwaymen, but there was no response.  “Meanwhile the robbers had uncoupled the express car and ordered Express Messenger Pease to come out; he refused, whereupon they blow the door off, and upon the threat of being shot down. Pease capitulated. The robbers blew open the express safe and then made the fireman touch off the fuse of a big dynamite cartridge placed on top of the through safe. It did not go at first, so they made him go in again and light it. All took refuge under an ad joining car.

“The explosion was heard for twenty miles. It blew the car into kindling wood. The whole roof was taken up and carried bodily for 100 yards and dropped in a field. The top of the safe was blown clean off and one of the robbers quickly went through it. Then he attacked the mall and took the registered pouch for San Francisco. “With the plunder two men went down the track for 100 yards, where they had a buggy and drove off. They spent fully twenty-five minutes at their work and were as calm and deliberate as though at a stage rehearsal of a train holdup. The train hands made to cross the trestle, and they reported to the anxious passengers that the robbers had departed and had no Intention of going through the cars.  “The scenes in the Pullman cars were ludicrous. The passengers recovered their money and watches from their shoes and under the seats, and the ladles were restored from the hysterics into which they were thrown by the tremendous explosion of dynamite which put out all the electric lights in the cars. The conductor and brakeman bad locked themselves into the last Pullman and the Negro porters took refuge in the smoking compartment, from which they emerged reluctantly.”

Mr. Leo Wormser, dealer in optical goods, of New York, and Miss Edith Hathaway of Worcester, Mass., wore among the passengers in the Pullman cars. Miss Hathaway said all the passengers picked up silver coins as souvenirs of the wreck, as loose silver was scattered all about when the safe was blown up. A young Negro was found by the passengers in the baggage oar standing near the stove with a chicken under each arm. He had been stood up by the robbers and was so rattled he did not know where he was. He had grabbed two chickens that had been blown out of their coops by the explosion.

The express company declares that little was lost from the safe, but it is known that the Randsburg shipment was on the train, and the robbers evidently knew of this shipment. Posses are out scouring the San Joaquin plains, but the men had four hours’ start, and as the country is not thickly settled they have an excellent chance to escape into the mountains. It is thought they belong to the gang of Si Lovern, a saloon keeper of Visalia, who was the leader of a band of train robbers and was recently sent to State prison for life. This part of the San Joaquin Valley is an ideal place for a train robbery, as the towns are far apart and the ranch houses are frequently separated by many miles. With three hours hard riding the fugitives can reach the foothills, where escape to the Sierra Nevada Mountains is easy. Once in the mountains the robbers are safe, as the mountaineers bate the railroad companies and give aid to any fugitive. It was the aid given to Evans and Sontag In these mountains which prevented the authorities from capturing them for many months.”  — The Sun (New York)

Gasoline Hoist underground at YAMM cosborn photo Coll. Of D, English

March 30, 1898: “RANDSBURG, Cal„ March 28.-F. M. Mooers of the Yellow Aster Mining company, better known as the Rand company, is in Los Angeles and before his return will secure a boring plant. It is the intention of the company to bore for water in the gulch at the foot of the mines. If unsuccessful in that they will bring in water from beyond Squaw Springs. When water
is once secured they will put up a thirty stamp mill, which they hope to have in operation within four months. The plant will coat in the neighborhood of $50,000. A new hoist arrived for the company on Friday, making the second to be put in place this year. Several hundred feet below the shaft opening up the Trilby ledge a tunnel is being run with the expectation, of encountering the same ledge lower down. In this tunnel seven new ledges have been uncovered thus far, one of which is fifteen feet wide and is said to assay about $90 per ton.” – The Herald

April 4, 1898; ‘THE RAND PEOPLE will clean up about $45, 00 for the month of March.  They are working 120 men, and when the tunnel now being run, strikes the Trilby, will increase their output very considerably.  It is also expected then that their ore will average $40 per ton from all their workings.  A fifty stamp mill is in contemplation by this company, but no definite steps have been taken, now will there be until the question of power and water has been satisfactorily settled.  Mr. Singleton the manager subscribed for 150-horse power to the Kern Rand Company, and would be glad to take it now, or at least a portion of it. If it is a long time in coming, the company will probably have put in a system of steam engines, and make other expensive arrangements, which they will be loath to drop at a later date.

For the good of the camp, as well as the incorporators of the Kern-Rand company they cannot get their power into this camp too soon.  The Yellow Aster people have now two gasoline engines, and expect to put in others.  The last one is a 20-horse power engine, ten of which will be utilized for hoisting purposes, and a dynamo put in place and run for the surplus power for use in lighting the mine. ” — The Los Angeles Daily Times

April 6, 1898: “A PROSPEROUS CAMP Randsburg’s Gold Output for ’98 Will Aggregate a Million Dollars RANDSBURG, April 4.—A conservative estimate of the output of bullion from the Rand district for the three months just past Is: January, $70,000; February, $70,000; March $85,000. The expectation is that this coming month will eclipse all others. At the rate the mines are producing at present, this camp will take out $1,000,000 of gold for the year 1898. The Rand district will produce 1-18 of all the gold taken from the gold-bearing camps of the state. Leaving out the placer camps (this camp producing very little placer gold), it will produce 1-15 of the entire gold output of the state for the year 1898, taking as a basis the entire amount of gold mined In California during 1897. At the present time there are between 300and 400 men on the pay rolls of the district, and between $25,000 and $30,000 is expended each month for wages. It will be seen from the above Item that the camp is in a very prosperous condition, although a good many men are idle because they cannot obtain work. During the month of March the Yellow Aster Mining Company cleaned up between $44,000 and $45,000 in gold. At its Garlock mill last week the clean-up amounted to $18,000. The company employs over 100 men and the March pay roll amounted to $18,000. On Saturday a2O horse-power gasoline engine was taken from the depot at   Johannesburg to one of its mines.”  – The Herald

Taking a Break At the House Out Back. Collection of Kern County Museum

April 14, 1898:  “GEORGE CALLADINE AND OLIVER LeFEVRE and his wife were arrested today, charged with stealing ore from the Yellow Aster Mining Company.  Warrants are out for three other parties, but two of them, Jim Adams and another man skipped out last night, taking over $600 with them.

These men were all miners working on the Yellow Aster and Trilby mines.  The ore was very rich, worth as much as $2 per pound.  The officers found a sack of ore in one of the houses searched, the upper portion of which was filled with potatoes and onions.  This ore was in packages, just as carried from the mines, and was glittering with gold all over.

Mr. Singleton estimates that they have been losing $2500 a month for some time past.  The theft was traced up, by the wives of some of the men implicated selling old dust to the merchants; and then Lambert, night watchman of the town, worked up the whole scheme.

It is supposed that quite a number are implicated.  George Calladine was the night-shift boss, and was paid $15 extra last month for supposed vigilance in handling rich ore.  Several more arrests will be made tonight, and the miners are much excited.  No bonds have been given yet and the parties are in custody. ” — The Los Angeles Daily Times

April 15, 1898: “PILFERERS OF ORE. A NUMBER OF ARRESTS MADE AT RANDSBURG –RANDSBURG, April 13.—1n a recent letter mention was made of considerable petty thieving going on in the district. For several days it has been quietly whispered about that some very rich ore had been taken and pounded out and the horning’s sold. The whispers were verified this morning, when it was found that warrants were out for the arrest of George Calladine, Jim Adams, Oliver La Fevre and wife and several others. The warrants were served on Calladine, Le Fevre and wife, and the trial is set for Monday next. Adams and another party took “French” leave last night, and it is supposed about $1600 of gold dust went with them. The ore was taken by men employed by the Yellow Aster Company, and suspicion was aroused by the parties or their wives selling gold dust to the merchants here. Their houses were searched, and in some of them ore was found which is worth *1 per pound. At one place the ore was in a sack, with a layer of potatoes and onions on top. At another place it was found just as it had been brought down from the mine—a little in a pocket handkerchief, some more tied up in a rag, etc. George Calladine was night shift boss, and had been paid extra wages for his honesty” – Los Angeles Herald

Skillings Well. Collection of the Rand Desert Museum

April 15, 1898: “The Yellow Aster Mining Company has purchased E. M. Skilling’s wells. These wells are located about four miles north east of Johannesburg, and are near the Johannesburg Town site company’s wells. Now that they have the necessary water the Yellow Aster Company will proceed to erect a 30-stamp mill to handle their ore.”  — Los Angeles  Herald

SKILLING'S WELL, THEN (1898) & NOW (2013). Bart Parker provides scale, seen centered against the enclosed base of the derrick. His truck is parked at center right, beneath the column of steam, just where it would have been in 1898. -- William J. Warren © 2013

SKILLING'S WELL, Well Collar, Chief Hole Inspector Bart Parker, 2013.

April 16, 1898: “THE YELLOW ASTER Mining Company has purchased the Skilling’s wells and pipe line, and will soon begin the erection of a mill of suitable size to do their own milling.  The mill will not be less than thirty stamps and may be larger. This will be the first company in the district to own their own mine, mill and water supply, and they have ore enough to keep a mill going the rest of the natural lives of all members of the company; and the mill could easily more than double the capacity proposed.”  — The Daily Californian

Yellow Aster 30 Stamp Mill Overlooking Randsburg.. It took almost three years from the discovery of gold by Singleton, Burcham and Mooers before a stamp mill could be constructed. Water was the first concern and litigation the second. Litigation ended in late 1897 and the water problem was solved with the purchase of Mountain Wells from E. G. Skillings.

April 17, 1898: “The Yellow Aster Mining Company has caused the arrest of four people for stealing ore, and warrants are out for James Adams and Charles Townsend. (December 19, 1897: Charles Townsend and wife of Grass Valley, Cal., arrived this week to remain permanently. Mr. Townsend has had 15 years’ experience in mining, and will engage in it here.” –The Herald) These men left the camp on Tuesday evening, and it is supposed they took several hundred dollars in gold dust with them. A description of the men has been sent out, and a reward of $20 is offered for their apprehension.”  — The Herald

April 18, 1898: “Yellow Aster — There are something like 120 men working on the Yellow group, and the output of bullion last month was about $45,000. We are reliably informed that the company contemplates putting in power drills soon, and to operate them will put in a dynamo which will be run by a gasoline engine. This will furnish power for the drills and lights for certain parts of the mine.—Randsburg Miner” The Herald

April 29, 1898:  “DEFENDANTS ALL ACQUITTED in the Yellow Aster Mining Case. Randsburg April 20.—(Regular Correspondence)  The first case of the Yellow Aster Company against the miners for alleged stealing of ore was called Monday before Justice Maginnis, with Dist. Atty. Fay of Bakersfield, assisted by Goldberg of Randsburg for the prosecution, and Attorney Bob Bledsoe of San Bernardino for the defense, and it resulted in acquittal.  This was the case of George Poppet, who has been working for the Rand people for a long time.

The first witness called was a miner named Harris, who testified that he had worked with defendant last summer and fall, and had known him at times to put the trial  horning’s into a vial and save it, instead of dumping it into the tub, but did not think it amounted to more than 25 cents at a time.

Miners Getting Off Shift at the Hercules Hoist House of the Yellow Aster Mine. Note on bottom margin reads “Miners Coming off Shift- with lunch buckets etc. (Hercules Hoist during erection ) May –98.” H. Cooper Family Collection of the Rand Desert Museum. This photo although not stamped C. W. Tucker is considered to be a Tucker photo, based on the similarity of the mounting and the fact that it was included in the Cooper Family collection which contained many similar mounted photos by C. W. Tucker. Some of the duplicates in this collection contained both the C. W. Tucker stamp and unstamped versions of the same photo. C. W. Tucker photo from the Cooper Family Collection of the Rand Desert Museum

Robert Price was called and testified that he saw Poppet exhibit what he thought was an ounce vial full of gold dust.  He said he had got it at different places.  Anderson, the merchant, testified that he thought he had bought $2 or $3 worth of dust for him a short time ago, but was not absolutely positive.

Mr.  Washburg, clerk in Anderson’s store, testified to buying a small quantity of dust, say $5 worth, a short time ago, from defendant, remembered it by Mrs. Poppet getting a pair of shoes and paying for them in dust.  He could not swear positively to the day or amount, because no books are kept in the store and the dust was taken in as so much cash.  It was only in case a party wished to trade out and left a balance to their credit that a record was kept of the transaction

This was all the evidence and after hearing it Dist. Atty. Fay did not ask that the prisoner be held.  He was at once discharged.

The case of George Colladine was called at 9 a.m. Tuesday, and only one witness examined.  He was discharged.

At 2 o’clock in the afternoon Oliver le Fever’s examination began, with attorney Wynne for the defense.  Four witnesses were called.  One swore to seeing him carrying a sack of rich ore down from the Rand Mine and dump it in the gulch beside a large rock where were several other sacks of ore.  It was proven that he had at several different times sold gold dust to one of our merchants, and even acknowledged that he had got it from the Rand Mines, but at the conclusion of the testimony the District Attorney mad a motion for discharge, the evidence not being direct enough to convict.

The case against Mrs. Le Fever was then dismissed, the evidence against her being no stronger that against her husband.  The examination of the whole number resulted in Scotch verdict of “not proven.”  The result of the trials will be beneficial to the camp, notwithstanding there were no convictions.

Oliver Le Fevre and his wife and two other families, who were mixed up in the alleged ore stealing, have sold their belongings, and left for other parts this evening. ” — The Los Angeles Daily Time

May 12, 1898:  “THE BIG RAND MINE—Taking Out Forty Thousand Dollars Every Month – Some Unpublished Facts About the Big Mine –Now Known as the Yellow Aster – Big Stamp Mill Projected.

An enormous amount of reading matter has been published about the desert mines, yet strange to say, very little authentic matter has appeared about the biggest and best mine of them all.

In all of the stories of Randsburg mention is made of Rand Mountain and the original discoveries there, but no details of the immense amount of work done by the Yellow Aster Mining and Milling Company, or of the grand results.

Rand Mountain or Yellow Aster as you choose to call it, —keeps up both Randsburg and Garlock, tow smart mining towns.  In Garlock alone the Yellow Aster people pay out over nine thousand dollars every month, while Randsburg gets nearly twice that sum.

Ore loading Dock at Yellow Aster Mine.—In the lower left note the sloped platform from the tracks to the top of the wagon. The ore car was pushed by hand to this point and the car was tipped so the ore would slide down the platform into the wagon. H. Cooper Family Collection of the Rand Desert Museum. Photo by Randsburg resident photographer C. W. Tucker.

The regular income of the Rand mine each month for the past three months has been over $40,000, and some months it is considerable more.  Much more ore could be taken out if milling facilities were more extensive.

At present sixteen hundred tons of ore is mined monthly by the Yellow Aster Mining and Milling Co.  This is over 100,000 pounds a day.

The Rand mine proper is but one of the score or more claims owned on Rand Mountain by the Yellow Aster people.

Some of the mines adjoining are Trilby, Yellow Aster, Olympus, Mooers, Singleton, Burcham, and farther away, Nancy Hanks, the other quartz claims and the Johannesburg, and other placer claims running down to Fiddlers Gulch.

The half dozen principal claims are really one mine with shafts and tunnels connecting them.  Of these there are four main tunnels, the Lower, Midway, Upper of No. 3, and the Trilby.

Lower tunnel is one the Rand mine and goes in 350 feet.  The Yellow Aster people will to raise on it and drift north as soon as arrangements can be made to get waste out of the way.

Midway Tunnel connects the Rand, Olympus, and other mines adjoining.  It is 400 feet long.

Underground View of Thompson Stope in the Trilby Tunnel of the Yellow Aster Mine.Note in bottom margin, in John Singleton’s hand reads, “Under ground view “Trilby Ledge”. Sampson stope to the left.” H. Cooper Family Collection of the Rand Desert Museum. Photo by C. W. Tucker

The Trilby Tunnel cuts 12 ledges of pay rock and will in time extend through that part of the mountain which forms the end of Rand Canyon.  When this is done ore will be brought through it from the Nancy Hanks mine to the mill which will soon be located among the other buildings in Rand canyon.

Among the many shafts of the Rand mine are two worthy (of) special mention.  They are the Hercules and the Vertical shafts.  The former is now down 180 feet perpendicular and is a large shaft so situated to connect all the mines of the Rand or Yellow Aster group.

Its situation in the center and lowest part of the gulch makes its 180 feet fully 600 feet lower than the upper works of the mine.

The Vertical Shaft is down 228 feet and equipped with a powerful hoist, fine timbering and a well built shaft house above it.  The Vertical is a big shaft to connect with every part of the big mine and an immense amount of work is done by aid of it.  It is the pet of John Singleton, one of the owners of the Rand group and now superintendent of Rand Mountain works.

Mr. Singleton, has prepared for a cloudburst on Rand Mountain by building a big wall around the top of the Vertical Shaft so if a cloudburst ever occurs there the lower works will not be flooded through this big hole on the surface and in the apes of the gulch or canyon.

At present over a hundred men are working in and on the big mine and the number of operators have not varied much from that number for six months.

Team on Scales In Front of Yellow Aster Office.—Note in bottom margin reads “Taken from just below the offices showing teams and load of ore on scales. “Old Glory” to much in a whirl to show good—American Jack shown better on my private office.” H. Cooper Family Collection of the Rand Desert Museum. Back of photo is stamped C. W. Tucker, Randsburg, Cal.(Editors note" American Jack would have been a flag with 45 stars on a field of blue. JBP)

Only high-grade ore is being hauled to the three Garlock mills controlled by the Yellow Aster people.  All the low-grade ore is formed into dumps on Rand Mountain where it will remain until this company’s own stamp mill is in operation.  Splendid ore shutes and bins have been built on both sides of the canyon to load the 12 and animal outfits which haul ore to Garlock.

New ore bins, 16 feet by 48 feet in size, are being built at the lowest end of the present works which will hold 600 tons of ore.  Opposite the bins is the Changing House, now being completed.

This building has long been needed but the Yellow Aster Mining & M. Co. did not want to search its employees until the extensive stealing of rich ore made it necessary.  As soon as the Changing Building is completed each miner as he goes to work will change his clothes and put on clothes furnished by the company, same as it is done at the U. S. Mint and at other rich gold mines.

While the Yellow Aster Mining & Milling Company is an incorporated stock company it is composed of but a few people.  The shareholders are John Singleton, F. M. Mooers, and wife and son, Mr. and Mrs. C. L. (A) Burcham, and some small shareholders.  The income of the company has paid all expenses, which have been about $25,000 a month for some time and paid good dividends besides.

The ore is getting richer all the time as depth is reached and the development work is more carefully done than on any other mines in this part of the state.

Some blue quartz strongly impregnated with free gold as well as sulphurets has been found in big veins.  It seems exactly like rich Cripple Creek ore from the famous “Independence” mine.  Many good judges call it telluride ore.

Early Yellow Aster Mining Operations—Note structure in upper right of photo. This is a steep sloped track on which was run a type of ore car known as a “Skip”. These cars were operated by cables and were lowered down the slope filled with ore which they deposited into a “Hopper” which was a large bin that held the ore. The bin then deposited the ore into an ore cart which was pushed to the loading station to the left of center of the photo. H. Cooper Family Collection of the Rand Desert Museum. Back of photo is stamped C. W. Tucker Pho. Randsburg, Cal.

The ore from the Rand, which is milled at Garlock all the time by the Henry, Garlock and Visalia mills, averages considerable over $30 to the ton.

Plans are now being drawn for the big mill to be part of the Yellow Aster Plant.  Thirty stamps will be the first capacity of the mill and steam power will be used.  It will be arranged to add more stamps up to 100 if that number can be used.  When these stamps begin to drop on Rand Mountain ore the town of Randsburg will go ahead as it never has gone before.

The Yellow Aster people have purchased the Skillings Wells, which was the first water developed in this part of the desert.  These wells are located about 4 miles east of Johannesburg and 6 miles from the Rand.  The company now have miners working on the Skillings wells developing water.

The Klist & Farris well on the side of Lava Mountains, a half-mile above the Skillings property has also been purchased by the Yellow Aster people.  This well alone has water enough to run 30 stamps.  It is of large caliber and through solid rock for about 300 feet.  Near it is a reservoir site worth almost as much as the well.

It is high enough to carry water up into Rand gulch by gravity passing over two ranges of hills on the way.

Looking Down Canyon at the Yellow Aster Mine, with Randsburg in Background. A Long Walk to Work. Note on bottom margin reads “Looking from Town up to the Mine.” C. W. Tucker photo from the Cooper Collection of the Rand Desert Museum.

Squaw Springs Water Company have their 4-inch pipeline nearly completed to the end of the Rand property, while the Johannesburg Milling & Water Co.  now have their Randsburg pipeline in operation, so there is all the water that the Yellow Aster Mining & Milling Co. can need right at hand if their own supply should give out.

A survey has been made for the Rand pipe ling from Skillings well, and a line can be laid in a few weeks.  Specifications for the big mill with concentrators and cyanide tanks are now being made as fast as possible.

The offices of the Yellow Aster Mining & Milling Co. are on Rand Mountain about half way up the canyon from the center of Randsburg to the main works of the mine.  Superintendent John Singleton has a cozy office and residence near the main office where Mrs. Burcham is in charge during the absence of Mr. Singleton.  Mr. L. V. (Harry) Cooper, the bookkeeper, is in charge of the main office and is kept busy all the time.

The name of the Yellow Aster was adopted by the company because a boom mining company had stolen the name of “Rand Mountain” to advertise some claims in the Rand district and had incorporated under that name.

Yellow Aster is the name of one of the principal claims adjoining the Rand, Trilby and Olympus.  The flower is also used as the emblem of the Rand and appears on all checks and stationary of the Yellow Aster Mining and Milling Co. By the way, speaking of checks, many people have found fault with the Rand people because their employees are paid in checks instead of money.  The facts of the case are that it would be impossible to bring the money in here safely to pay out the $25,000 which the company distributes each month.

Pioneer Camp 1898—Randsburg camp actually started in this area closer to the mine than it is today. There was not sufficient room for the town so it was moved to its present location in 1896. In this photo the building on the right forefront is John Singleton’s office, the building directly behind it and to the right is the Yellow Aster Company office, the next building up the street on the left is the Duke home. The large building up the street on the right is Mrs. Kern’s Boarding House which was moved over from Goler in 1896. It is believed that this building was moved to the upper end of Rand St. later in 1898 . H. Cooper Family Collection of the Rand Desert Museum. Back of photo is stamped C. W. Tucker, Randsburg, Cal.

The holdup on the Southern Pacific railway a few weeks ago which occurred in a much thicker populated part of the country was on account of the Rand mine bullion.  The train robbers had been here the week before planning for it and timed it so as to capture the bullion but the gold was rushed through a day too soon.  One of the train robbers, it is said, rode up from Garlock mills on an ore wagon after spying at the mills.

Great secrecy is exercised in getting there $10,000 bricks out of the desert.  Some times they leave Garlock on the stage, and some times they go by the Randsburg Railway or private conveyance.  Some of these nights the Randsburg Railway will be held up to capture the bullion, and if the train robbers find out definitely that gold bricks are on board they will get a good haul.”  The Rand

May 20, 1898: “THE RAND MOUNTAIN—While much has been written in regard to the Randsburg mines, comparatively little has been written regarding the Rand Mountain Mine from which the camp takes its name.  This mine is one of a score or more claims on Rand Mountain, owned by the Yellow Aster Company.  According to the Rand, a paper published at Johannesburg, in Garlock alone the Yellow Aster people pay out over $9000 every month, while Randsburg gets twice that sum.  The regular income of the Rand mine each month for the past three months has been over $40,000 and some months considerably more.  Much more ore could be taken out if milling facilities were more extensive.  At present 1600 tons of ore are mined monthly by the Yellow Aster Mining and Milling Company.  This is over one thousand pounds a day.

The ore from the Rand, which is milled at Garlock by the Henry, Garlock, and Visalia mills, averages considerably over $30 to the ton. Plans are now being drawn for a big mill to be part of the Yellow Aster plant.  Thirty stamps will be the first capacity of the mill, and steam power will be used.   It will be arranged to add more stamps up to 100 is that number can be used.  The ore is said to be getting richer with depth. ” — The Los Angeles Daily Times

Flag Raising Day, June 16, 1898—Note on bottom margin, written in John Singleton’s hand reads “Flag raising at Yellow Aster Office, June 16th, 98.’ H. Cooper Family Collection of the Rand Desert Museum. Photo by C. W. Tucker

May 27, 1898: “ABOUT FIFTY MEN were discharged from the Yellow Aster (Rand) mines a few days ago. The cause was not a lack of ore or a deterioration of the quality. More men will be put on shortly. A beautiful fifteen foot flag was raised at the Yellow Aster office yesterday at 5 o’clock, just as the day shift was leaving the mines. By invitation about twenty-five of the business men of Randsburg were present. ” — The Los Angeles Daily Times

June 16, 1898 : “JOHANNESBURG, June 11.—The Yellow Aster company are now down 160 feet in the water shaft in the Skllling well, which they recently bought, and have opened up a volume of water from which 26,000 gallons a day can be secured. Their pipe for the line between the well and the mines at Randsburg has been ordered and as soon as it arrives it will be laid.” The Herald

June 14, 1898:  “AT THE RAND MINE much development work is being done, now that mining facilities are so limited. The new foreman is John Purcell, formerly of Cripple Creek. Only five stamps are running on the Visalia mill in Garlock on account of the shortness of water supply, thus only twelve tons of Rand ore is milled dally there now. As soon as proper milling facilities are obtained, which may not be in six weeks, more men will be put on at the Rand mine. The Yellow Aster Mining and Milling Company expect to use all ten stamps at the Red Dog mill and fifty stamps at Barstow If good work can be done there, as no doubt there can be. This would make it possible to work 200 men, but that is a question of two months at least, for men will not be put on any faster than needed. The company’s scales have been removed from Garlock and are being put in at Rand Mountain. The Yellow Aster people now have over 500 tons of ore in their bins.—Johannesburg Rand. –RANDSBURG, June 12.—The gold output for this district during April was about $80,000 and for May about $10,000. The falling off during the months of April and May is due to the lack of milling facilities tor the Yellow Aster Company’s ore. The company instead of keeping three mills busy at Garlock are only milling at one. The stamps at the Johannesburg reduction works were dropping day and night on Yellow Aster ore when the engine broke, causing a delay of several weeks. The outlook for a large output of bullion for the month of June is excellent. The Yellow Aster Company will keep the stamps of one mill at Garlock dropping, ten stamps of the Johannesburg mill and thirty stamps at the new mill at Barstow. For May their output was about $10, ooo instead of $40,000 as heretofore.”  — The Herald

Yellow Aster Receipt For Pipeline Work. $200 was received in this payment from the Yellow Aster to George Lloyd local teamster in the name of Lloyd and Bryden. It is assumed that Geo. Lloyd was subcontracting on this job.

June 14, 1898:  ” A NEW STAMP MILL Fresh News of the Randsburg Mines JOHANNESBURG, Sept. 3.—Mr. Purrington of San Francisco, a representative  of the Union Iron works, visited the camp this week. He came to consult with Col. Singleton of the Yellow Aster Company regarding the erection of the new stamp mill at that company’s mines. Mr. Purrington hopes to secure the contract for his company. He left Tuesday evening for Barstow, to meet Mr. Singleton, who was superintending the monthly clean-up of the Yellow Aster ore. The contract for digging the pipe line from the Yellow Aster Company’s wells to the company’s mines was let to Edmund Bryden and George Diojd. Work was commenced several days ago. The pipe line runs through the towns of Johannesburg and Randsburg, thus making their water companies who have the right of way through these towns.” — The Herald

June 16, 1898: “RANDSBURG, Cal., June 14.— The Yellow Astor company have brought suit against the Henry Milling company of Garlock to recover 3000 tons of tailings and $5000 damages; also the same company have brought suit against J. B. Hughes, mill man of Garlock, to recover 4000 tons of tailings and $5000 damages.”  — The Herald

June 16, 1898: “  THE JOHANNESBURG RAND says: The Yellow Aster Mining and Milling Company expect to use ten stamps at the Red Dog mill and fifty stamps at Barstow if good work ; can be done there, as no  doubt  there can  be.  This would make it possible to work 200 men but that is a question of two months hence, at least, for men will not be put on any faster than needed. The company’s scales have been removed from Garlock and are being put in on Rand Mountain. The Yellow Astor people now have over 500 tons of ore in their bins.  –

Yellow Aster Mining and Milling Co. Flag Raising Day With Dog. Photo has two notes in John Singleton’s hand. The note on the face of the photo reads “My dog “Rand” helping to make a noise.” The note in the bottom margin states “Another view of the flag raising. The shot was taken during a hurrah time – June 16.” H. Cooper Family Collection of the Rand Desert Museum. Photo by C. W. Tucker

June 25, 1898: “THE FLAG RAISING AT THE OFFICE OF THE YELLOW ASTER MINING COMPANY yesterday evening was one of the happiest and most loyal little gatherings that has ever taken place on the desert.  As we go to press with the three pages before Saturday, we have not the room to report the matter and do it justice, and we will leave our successor to do it in next Saturday’s paper.  But knowing the extreme modesty of our friend McDivitt, we want to say just this much about the affair.  The impromptu speeches of Messers McDivitt and Linkenbach were far above the average of “talks” on such occasions, and it was evident to any person that the loyal words spoken came directly from the heart in each instance, and served to awaken the heartfelt loyalty of every man present.  Col. John Singleton and Major F. M. Mooers deserve the thanks of the community and district for this display of their loyalty in placing so fine an Old Glory where it may be seen by all men who visit the camp.”  Randsburg Miner

June 25, 1898: YELLOW ASTER NOTES – The Yellow Aster Company has shut down the Visalia mill at Garlock and suspended all operations there.  The last milling at Garlock consisted of about sixty-six tons, which produced more than $100 per ton.

About seventy tons of ore averaging about $80 per ton have been run at the Johannesburg mill during the last ten or twelve days.

Another rich strike has been made in Trilby No. 2, and over $3000 was taken out in one day. The ore is fairly bristling with the yellow stuff we are all looking after.

Ore is being shipped to the Barstow mill right along, each car being loaded with about twenty-five tons, and a watchman accompanies each car.  His duty is to ride down on the car and guard it to its destination, where he turns it over to Mr. Harry Cooper, and returns to guard the nest lot down.  Thirty stamps of the new mill are kept constantly dropping on this ore.  It is shipped loose instead of being sacked.  The mill seems to be in good condition and is doing good work.

At the wells work is going forward in a very satisfactory manner and the present supply amounts to about 30,000 gallons every twenty-four hours.  It is the intention of the company to tunnel in from the bottom of the Skillings well, where they are now at work at a depth of 205 feet, for a sufficient distance to get whatever water they want, even though it be necessary to join this well with the Kleist & Faris well, which however, it is not thought will be necessary, as the flow is increasing steadily now.  Mr. Bell of the Fulton Iron works of Los Angeles, is here now figuring on the putting in of a pipe line from the well to the mine, and a larger pumping plant.  The pipe used will be five inch, and a hundred thousand gallon tank will be erected at once at the wells, and as soon as necessary a similar one will be built at the mine.  This will give employment to many idle men, and make things hum in the old camp.  Randsburg Miner

Frederick M. Moores Outside of His Tent House-- A fancy tent house with a window and shingle roof, porch awning with hammock but still having canvas sides. . H. Cooper Family Collection of the Rand Desert Museum. Back of photo is stamped C. W. Tucker, Randsburg, Cal.

June 25, 1898: DELEGATE TO THE INTERNATIONAL GOLD MINING CONGRESS.  W. F. M. Mooers, vice president of the Yellow Aster Mining Company, has received his appointment as a delegate to the International Gold Mining Congress, which assembles in Salt Lake City on the 6th of July, and we are permitted to publish a copy of his commission as follows:

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, STATE OF CALIFORNIA

The International Gold Mining Congress will assemble in Salt Lake City, Utah, July 6, A. D. 1898; and

Whereas, I have been authorized and requested to name delegates to such congress to represent the State of California; now

Therefore, In pursuance of such request, and to the end that our state be properly represented in this body, I have appointed, and do hereby appoint F. M. Mooers, as a delegate to the said International Gold Mining Congress.

Witness my hand and the Great Seal of the

State of California, at Sacramento, this 16th

Day of May A. D. 1898

James Budd

Governor of California

L. H. Brown

Secretary of State

Mr. Mooers has received a letter from the secretary of the mining congress and  will leave for Salt Lake July 2nd.  He will go on to Omaha after the adjournment of the congress, where he will place and exhibit from the Rand district;  he will remain at Omaha for some time attending to the exhibit and from there he will go to New York, returning home about September.”  Randsburg Miner

June 25, 1898: “Mr. Hugh Stevens had some of his toes crushed by  and accident at the Yellow Aster mines Wednesday night.  He was taken to Los Angeles on Thursday evening’s train.”  Randsburg Miner

June 26, 1898:  “The Johannesburg Rand says: The Yellow Aster Mining and Milling Companyexpect to use ten stamps at the Red Dog mill and fifty .stamps at Barstow if good work can be done there, as no doubt there can  be. This would make it possible to work 200 men, but that is a question of two months hence, at least, for men will not be put on any faster than needed. The company’s scales have been removed from Garlock and are being put in on Rand Mountain. The Yellow Astor people now have over 500 tons of ore in their bins

The new reduction works at Barstow have started up and 200 tons of ore run through the mills. It is expected that it will take about a week to get everything in proper shape, when the works will be able to take care of all ore consigned to them. Five cars of ore were shipped in from Randsburg. It is believed there will be no difficulty furnishing ore to keepthe works running at full capacity.” –San Francisco Call.

June 27, 1898; ‘THE YELLOW ASTER MINING Company has closed the Visalia mill at Garlock and entirely suspended operations there.  For the present all the ore is going to the new mill at Barstow.  What they are milling now is averaging much higher than ever before, and they are getting some exceptionally rich ore from Trilby No. 2.  Fine specimens of this ore now on view at General Manager Singleton’s office are literally plastered all over with free gold, and in one day recently a few men took out above $3000. They have put in a new twenty-ton wagon scale, and everything is weighed as it is shipped, and weighed again when it reaches Barstow.  A watchman accompanies each car of ore from the time it leaves here until it is placed in charge of Mr. Cooper at Barstow.  The last milling at Garlock went $128 per ton, but the rock now being milled goes about $85 per ton. ” — The Los Angeles Daily Times

July 02, 1898: “MINES AND MINERS RANDSBURG, June 21—The Yellow After Company has shut down the Visalia mill at Garlock, after a clean-up of sixty-five tons of ore, which ran over $100 to the ton. During the past ten days the company has had seventy tone, of ore* run at the Johannesburg mill, which averaged $15 per ton. The company is now shipping dally to the Barstow mill approximately 2 carloads of ore, or about fifty tons, enough to keep twenty-five or thirty stamps running all the time. The ore is shipped loose in the car, and is of such value that it is necessary to send a watchman with it from Johannes burg to turn it over to the mill authorities. A very rich pocket was encountered in one of the company’s mines (Trilby No. 2) one day this week, and in less than twenty-four hours’ time something like $13,000 was taken out.

One of the best-known and most reliable mining experts in the country was in Randsburg this week, traveling incog (nito), and in his Investigations he visited the Yellow Aster Company’s mines. To your correspondent, who has had an acquaintance with him of many years’ standing, he said that he believed that the Rand group of mines was composed of the richest gold mines in the world, and that it would not be long before this fact would be developed. As an evidence, he cited the 300-foot tunnel in the Trilby No. 2, which, he said, was a mass of ledges and stringers. In the entire length of the tunnel there is not ten feet of wall which is not cut by ledge matter and ore, some carrying a value as low as |8 or $10, and some running into the thousands. One man, he said, was working on an elght-inch stringer from which he was taking $1,200 a day. If the company had hoisting and milling facilities, he said, there would be room in the mines for the employment of 500 men.

At the Yellow Aster Company’s wells work is progressing satisfactorily, and a 30,060 gallon output of water has been secured. This will be considerably augmented when the tunnel now being driven connects the new wells with the old Skilllng well. The pipe to convey the water from the wells to the mill site in town will be five-inches in diameter, and the Fulton Iron works of Los Angeles has a representative here figuring on the Job.

Rand District Production. The Johannesburg Chronicle correspondent writing under a recent date says: “The total amount of gold produced In the Rand district for the first five months of the year will amount to over $330,000. Of this $70,000 was milled in January, $76,000 in February, $85,000 in March, $60,000 In April and $40,000 in May. The falling off during the last two months was due to the lack of milling facilities for the Yellow Aster Company’s ore, and the breaking of the engine at the Johannesburg reduction works, causing set idle for several weeks. For several months the yellow Aster Company has been keeping the stamps of three mills at Garlock dropping and their monthly clean-up has been from $40,000 to $44,000, while during May let amounted to only $13,000. During the month of June this company will send 100 tons of ore daily to the Barstow mill, keep five stamps of the Johannesburg reduction works dropping day and night, besides one mill running at Garlock. The outlook for June is excellent and will probably result in the largest clean-up so far this year. During May the Eureka mill at Randsburg (two stamps) handled ore from several different mines, amounting to $18,000, that of the Napoleon running over $100 per ton; Merced $70: Santa Ana, $150; Sunshine, $130; Klnyon. $1S0; Blackhawk, $36, and Maggenetta $160.” –The Herald

YAMM Letter Head Recieipt For Buggy. Could this be the buckboard that Charles Burcham was using when he and his two partners found the mine?

August 10, 1898: “LAST WEEK THE YELLOW ASTER COMPANY made the second clean-up for July at the Barstow mill. The total output for the month was over $63,000. The dividend for June was $10,000, while that for July will be $26,000. A few weeks ago development work.  In the Klelst & Farls well, recently purchased by the Yellow Aster company, work was stopped on account of the large flow of water and the inability to handle It without proper machinery. Yesterday the engine which will be used for hoisting and pumping purposes was taken from the cars to the wells and will at once be put in place. The ground has been surveyed for the stamp mill and the eating and bunk houses were moved the latter part of the week, to make way for the new mill.” – The Herald

August 14, 1898: “The best of the developed mines of the Randsburg district, are steadily demonstrating the value and permanence of the ore bodies of that region. The Yellow Aster .Company makes this showing according to the Randsburg Miner: The Yellow Aster Mining Company cleaned up $35,370 at the Barstow mill, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week the result of the last half of July In the middle of the month they cleaned up $28 000 making with the last clean up $63,370 for the month. This is the largest run ever made in one month by the company. They are now working in a solid ore body in the Trilby mine more than forty, feet thick and milling every pound of it. The last clean up was principally from Trilby ore and averaged as near as they could estimate it $43 per ton. Their July dividend will be $25,000 and this notwithstanding some heavy expenditures in water development. The outlook for the Rand group of mines was never better, in fact never so good as now.” –San Francisco Call

September 04, 1898: “The Yellow Aster Mining Company, by its recent record with its rich Randsburg properties, is doing much to advertise that desert district, and the permanence of its values. The developments of the past few months In the Yellow Aster have made Pat Reddy, the well-known San Francisco attorney; sorry he had trouble with his partners and forced them to buy him out. Concerning this and the latest showing of the mine the Randsburg Miner says: “The Yellow Aster Mining Company at their monthly meeting in August made their July dividend $35,000 instead of $25,000 as was at first contemplated. Their expenses were less than expected, so their dividend was larger. “Since December, 1897, the company has declared and paid $85,000 in dividends, of which Reddy’s share, had he elected to stay in and work amicably with the others for the development of the Rand mines, would have been $21,250, an amount within $3760 of the whole amount he received for his Interest. In addition to that there is a surplus now on hand In the company’s funds sufficient to run up his Interest in the dividend since December last, and in this surplus, to an amount at least $300 more than he received, and he would still own his one fourth interest In one of the best paying mining properties In the State.” –San Francisco Call

September 04, 1898: “RANDSBURG MINER SAYS: “The Yellow Aster Mining Company at their monthly meeting in August made their July dividend $35,000 instead of $25,000 as was  first contemplated. Their expenses were less than expected, so their dividend was larger. “Since December, 1897, the company has declared and paid $85,000 in dividends, of which Reddy’s share, had he elected to stay in and work amicably with the others for the development of the Rand mines, would have been $21,250, an amount within $3760 of the whole amount he received for his interest. In addition to that there is a surplus now on hand. In the company’s funds sufficient to run up his Interest in the dividend since December last, and in this surplus, to an amount at least $2,040 more than he received, and he would still own his one fourth interest In one of the best paying mining properties in the State.”  – The San Francisco Call

September 9, 1898:  “FOR AUGUST THE CLEAN-UP of the Yellow Aster Company at Barstow was $42,000 in bullion.  This company exercising the wise precaution of mingling their ore, running some of the lower grade stuff with their high grade so as to maintain their monthly average.  They are now working 150 men at their mines and wells. ” — The Los Angeles Daily Times

Interior of John Singleton's Office, John Sitting, Wife Mabel Standing, and Rose Burcham Sitting. Note at bottom reads “Interior of my office taken expressly to secure pictures of our dogs “Rand and “Trilby” (Other occupants not looking their best).” Note band around John's head. He was thrown from his horse and severly injured. His nephew Harry Cooper who worked for John stated in a letter to his father that John credited Dr. Rose Burcham with savng hs life. C. W. Tucker photo from the Cooper Family Collection of the Rand Desert Museum.

September 18, 1898:  “Colonel Singleton of the Yellow Aster mines left Sunday for Los Angeles.  At the time of leaving he was quite ill, but word has since been received that he was better. The Yellow Aster mines shipped 1400 tons of ore last month to the Barstow Reduction works, the ore milling $30 per ton. Tie output of this district for the month of August was about 180,000; of this the Yellow Aster mines produced in the neighborhood of $43,000. With the advent of cooler weather there will be renewed activity in mining work, and the monthly output of each of the remaining months of the year will probably exceed that of any preceding month. — The Herald

September, 23, 1898:  “THE YELLOW ASTER MINING & Milling Company of Randsburg has declared a dividend amounting to $10,000 for last month (August).  The amount of the dividend is less than that declared for some of the previous months, but this is explained by saying that the directors decided to carry forward a large portion of the August earnings to surplus account, it being their intention to expend a large amount of money on new machinery and other improvements.  The total amount paid in dividends by this company to present time is $158,000. ” — The Los Angeles Daily Times

September 27, 1898:  “THE RAND MINING SUIT–SUPREME COURT GIVES THE PLAINTIFF ANOTHER CHANCE In the suit of Stanton, appellant, against Singleton et al., respondents, carried up on appeal from Kern County from Kern County, the Supreme Court has ordered a reversal of the judgment of the lower court.  The plaintiff sought by the action to compel performance by the defendants of a contract made in June, 1895.

The defendants owned a mineral tract in the Summit mining district, and desiring capital to work and develop it, gave a thirty day option of a one-half interest in consideration of the plaintiff agreeing to spend, first $10,000 in opening the property; second, in erecting a ten stamp mill, the stamps to weigh not less than 700 pounds, and any time within six months the plaintiff was to have the privilege of purchasing the property for $500,000.  The essence of the contract being time, it was mutually agreed that if active operations were not begun within thirty days, the contract was to be void. The plaintiff entered into possession and expended about $2000 as a part performance of the contract.  On July 9, 1895, the defendants notified him that they would not be bound by the terms of the contract, and refused to permit him to continue work in the carrying out of the terms of the contract.  In bringing suit the plaintiff expressed his readiness to perform all the conditions of the contract, and asked judgment that he be let into possession of the premises.  The defendants demurred to the complaint on the grounds that it is not state facts to constitute a cause of action, and also, that one Burcham should have been made a party defendant.  The demurrer was sustained and judgment was rendered dismissing the complaint, from which the plaintiff demurred.

The Rand Group of Mines -- Overland Magazine

“Under the terms of the contract,” says the Supreme Court, “The plaintiff had the right to enter upon the mining claims for the purpose of working and developing them.  It is evident that the ultimate object of the contract was to give the right at any time within six months after its date to acquire and undivided half interest in the property for the sum of $500,000.  In order that he might intelligently determine whether to exercise this option he was to have the opportunity of testing the value of the property by an expenditure of money thereon, which in case he failed to make the purchase would inure to the benefit of the defendants.

“The subsequent refusal by the defendants to permit the plaintiff to perform this obligation (the expenditure of $10,000) is a sufficient excuse for its non-performance, and their repudiation of the contract prior to the expiration of the period of six months, and declaration that they would not execute him a deed for the one-half interest, released him from the necessity of tendering the $500,000 as a condition of maintaining the action.”

In reversing the judgment the trial court is directed to override the demurrer to the complaint.

The whole group of Rand mines, including several placer locations, upon which the town of Randsburg is now located is involved in the suit.  The Rand group is incorporated for $1,000,000 under the name of the Yellow Aster Mining Company, but none of its stock was ever placed on the market.  Its July dividend was $35,000, the group output for that month being $65,000.

In 1895 the Rand group was located in the Summit mining district, in Kern County.  This was long before the towns of Randsburg or Garlock has any existence.

Singleton, Moors and Burcham were then in poor circumstances, and when offered to expend $10,000 in developing the property and placing machinery on it- a ten-stamp mill—Singleton and Mooers accepted the offer .  Burcham being absent did not sign the agreement, but according to the assertions of the complaint on file, his partners vouched for his approval.  But Burcham refused to toe the mark and repudiated the contract.  The defendants contend that they signed the agreement with the distinct understanding that Burcham was to sign or the agreement of sale was to be void.

Will A. Harris and Judge John S. Chapman represent the defendants, while Lloyd & Woods of San Francisco and William F. Herrin, chief of the Land department of the Southern Pacific, and represent the plaintiff.  Mr. Horrin does not appear as counsel of record yet he was present at the last term of the Supreme Court, when the case was argued at length. ” — The Los Angeles Daily Times

September 28, 1898:  “RANDSBURG, Sept. 27.— During the last few days much uneasiness has been caused by groundless reports that the Yellow Aster Mining Company intended  to cease all operations on their group of mines, now working 150 men. Last evening a general invitation was extended to the citizens to meet at the company’s office this afternoon at 1 o’clock, where a large gathering of business, professional and mining men was assured that the company would continue the working of its property and that there was no idea, occasion or reason to change the plan of work outlined. Cheer after cheer greeted this announcement.”  – The San Francisco Call

Receipt From Frederick Mooers for $2,000 Dividend Payment, Dated October 10, 1898

October 17, 1898: “The Yellow Aster Company regularly ships from two to three car loads of ore per day to the Barstow mill. Most of this is taken from the Trilby tunnel, a big chute of ore forty feet wide. It is one ledge of ore piled up against another, with well-defined wells a few inches thick between .them. So far the whole body has averaged $40 per ton, and by sorting could be made to run $60 per ton. The company expects to have its own mill, with a capacity of 200 tons per day in operation by the end of the year. It is estimated that there is enough ore in sight to keep this mill running for years.”  – The Sun

October 27, 1898:  “THE YELLOW ASTER MINING Company of Randsburg, Cal., at a meeting of its directors held last week, declared a dividend for last month  (September) amounting to $20,000, payable immediately .  The output of the company’s mines for the same month was $45,000.  The dividends paid by the company to the present time amount to $178,000.

30 Stamp Mill at Yellow Aster. Collection of Rand Desert Museum

John Singleton, Mrs. Dr. Burcham, and F. M. Mooers, all of the Yellow Aster Mining Company, are in Randsburg for the first time in some weeks.  Mr. Singleton has been absent on account of ill health, and Mr. Mooers has been spending most of the summer East.  Notwithstanding their absence, work has been going forward, and great development has been done.  The foundation and the retaining walls for the new thirty-stamp mill are almost completed, and work on the mill itself will begin in a few days.  In excavating for the foundations of the mill, everything was found that entered into its construction, stone for the retaining walls, a bed of fine cement along with sand, all the elements that enter into the construction of the concrete floor and walls.

Flotation Tables at Yellow Aster 30 Stamp Mill. Collection of the Rand Desert Museum

The mill and the pipe line will cost in the neighborhood of $80,000.  The mill will be lighted by incandescent electric lights.  The contract for the mill was let yesterday to the Union Iron Works of San Francisco, and the requirements are that the mill shall be finished and the stamps dropping in ninety days from the signings of the contract.  About forty workmen, carpenters, and machine men, will be put to work.  These additional workmen, together with the receiving of such a quantity of materials and lumber, will make a great difference in the general business of Randsburg for some time to come.

The mill will have a capacity of from 125 to 150 tons per day.  The monthly clean-up now at the Barstow mill, running about fifty tons per day, is from $45,000 to $65,000 and when that amount is doubled or trebled Randsburg will be in the very front rank of gold-mining camps in the state. ” — The Los Angeles Daily Times

Engine in 30 Stamp Mill. Note the chandalier and the oil cans shaped like teapots, the influence of Dr. Rose Burcham? Collection of Kern County Museum

November 16, 1898: “MR. BIGELOW, representing the Union Iron Works of San Francisco, is here at work on the new Yellow Aster quartz mill.  He expects to finish it by January 1, although that seems hardly possible, considering the amount of heavy machinery that must be moved and put in place in that time.  The company is continually striking new ledges of or wherever it works, either in excavating for improvements, running tunnels or drifting in the mine.”  —    The Daily Californian

November 21, 1898: “In the Yellow Aster property at Randsburg, Kern County, a vein of very rich ore, running $30,000 a ton, has been uncovered In the Trilby tunnel. At a depth of 800 feet the whole mountain seems to be a mass of low grade ore running about $8 a ton and seamed with rich veins. During the last year and a half the Yellow Aster has regularly milled from 1,000 to 2.000 tons of ore each month averaging $40 a ton.”  — The Sun

Mineral Survey No. 3645, Independence Land District, application for survey filed 14 December 1898, survey completed February 1899, known as Yellow Aster Group # 2, consisting of the El Rico Claim, Old Dollar Claim, Johannesburg Placer Claim, Prescott Placer Claim, Desert View Placer Claim, Singleton Quartz claim and ——–Yellow Aster Mining and Milling Company,. Locate at T.29 S-R.40E. MDM section 35

November 26, 1898:  “THE MAIN PUMP of the Yellow Aster Company has arrived at Randsburg.  It covers a whole flat car and weighs thirteen tons.  This is the force pump to be used to force the water through six miles of five-inch pipe from the wells to the mill.” –Corona Courier

December 24, 1898: “John Singleton, president of the Yellow Aster Mining Company, Randsburg, has returned from a visit to the mine and reports satisfactory progress on the new forty stamp mill.  — The Herald

December 24, 1898: “John Singleton, president of the Yellow Aster Mining Company, Randsburg, has returned from a visit to the mine and reports satisfactory progress on the new forty stamp mill.  — The Herald

January 13, 1899: “RANDSBURG, Jan. 12. — J. C. McDonald was seriously injured by a premature blast in the Yellow Aster mine last night about midnight. McDonald and three other men were working in the Trilby Winze about 150 feet underground, and when the day shift quit work a number of shots were fired and all were supposed to have gone off but one. This one was carefully looked after, but one other was overlooked, and when McDonald was drilling a new hole it exploded in his face, blinding him. His right leg was broken below the knee, his left arm was terribly lacerated, and his face and eyes were terribly cut. One eye is entirely gone, and he will probably lose the other. The other men did not sustain serious injuries.” — The Record Union

February, 21, 1899: “A RANDSBURG FATALITY—Randsburg, Cal. Feb. 20 – John G. Stephens, a miner working in the Yellow Astor (sic) mines, fell from a ladder this morning at 7 o’clock, and died from the effects of the fall.  He left home at o’clock, and as he was ascending in vertical slope in the Hercules mine fell, not one knows how far.  It could not have been more than ten feet.  His head was crushed and an arm was broken, but he died before they could get him home.  Stephens leaves a wife and two little boys in Randsburg.  His parents live in Los Angeles, where he will be taken for burial by the Miner’s Union, of which he was a member.  He was 34 years of age, and had been living here nearly a year.  This is the first fatal accident occurring in the mines here.  Stephens was a member in good standing of the A. O. U. W. lodge.” – The Herald (Los Angeles)

Receipt for $1,283,00 Dividend Paid to C. A. Burcham and Received by R.A. Burcham Dated February 13, 1899

April 26, 1899: “LOS ANGELES, April 2.”—1t is stated here this morning that a deal has been made whereby the famous Yellow Aster mines at Randsburg will be transferred to the ownership of a French syndicate represented by Captain Delamar. The consideration is believed to be $3,000,000.

B. N. Clement, Delamar’s representative, arrived here to-day from the mine. John Singleton, President of the Yellow Aster Company, has gone to Randsburg, and cannot be seen regarding the deal.”  – The Record Union

April 27, 1899:  “ SAN FRANCISCO, April 20.—V. A. Clement, the mining engineer for Captain de Lamar, the copper magnate, is in this city en route to Denver, Col., there to enter into negotiations for the purchase of some gold and copper properties. Mr. Clement will not discuss the report, of the sale of the Yellow Aster mines of Randsburg to a syndicate headed by Captain de Lamar for $3,000,000. Captain de Lamar is now in Colorado.”  – The Record Union

April 28, 1899: “V. A. CLEMENT, THE MINING ENGINEER who is negotiating for the purchase of the famous Yellow Aster mine at Randsburg for Captain de Lamar, left yesterday for Denver to confer with the intending purchaser.”  — San Francisco Call

May 03, 1899: “THERE IS TALK THAT THE YELLOW ASTER MINES at Randsburg, the richest and best developed of that district, have been sold to Captain de Lamar and associates for $3,000,000. The property was recently examined by Victor A. Clement, formerly associated with John Hays Hammond in the Transvaal.”  – San Francisco Call

Yellow Aster's 30 Stamp Mill bult in 1898 and Demolished in 1918. Collection of Rand Desert Museum

June 05, 1899: “THE YELLOW ASTER MILL is kept running night and day, getting about 140 tons through each twenty-four hours. They are now putting in concentrators. Mr. Bigelow, who represented the Union Iron Works in the building of the mill, having charge. If these mines are about to be sold as was reported a while back, there are no indications of it here.”  — The Record Union

October 05, 1899:  “THE YELLOW ASTER MINING COMPANY at Randsburg, Cal. has now 157 men on the pay roll of whom are employed in the mines and 20 in the mill The pay roll exceeds $3,.000 a month.”  — Arizona Silver Belt

November 09, 1899:  “W. MALARKEY FORMERLY SUPERINTENDENT OF THE GOLDEN GROSS MINES at Hodges, Calif. and well and favorably known in Jerome and Globe is now superintendent for the Yellow Aster company Kern county Calif.  – Arizona Silver Belt

Hauling Oil to The Y.A.M.M. MILL. Oil was shipped by rail to Johannesburg and then by mule team to the mills.

November 13, 1899: “THE LARGEST OIL ENGINE EVER BUILT FOR A MINING HOIST has been erected by a San Francisco firm for the Yellow Aster Mining Company at Randsburg. It is a four cylinder vertical engine of 130 horsepower, and is calculated to work the hoist to a possible depth of 2000 feet.”  — The San Francisco Call

November, 18, 1899: “SUPREME COURT DECISION –The End of a Vexatious Lawsuit –On Monday evening last, word came to the form of a telegram from Mr. Chapman, attorney for the Yellow Aster Company, to Mr. Singleton, that the Supreme Court had affirmed the decision of Judge Van Dyke in the case of Stanton vs. Yellow Aster Company.

This case which has been pending since the early history of the now celebrated Rand mines and which has cost the company thousands of dollars and no end of worry, is now finally deposed of and the original locators, Singleton, Moores, and Burcham are now in undisputed possession.

Briefly the history of the lawsuit is, that O. B. Stanton took a bond from Messers Singleton and Moos, on the Rand  group of mines, be agreeing to do a certain amount of work and erect a mill to cost $10,000 on the property, in consideration of which he was to receive a one-half interest in the mines.  He being unable to comply with the conditions on his part, yet claimed fulfillment of the contract on the part of the company and brought suit in the Superior Court at Bakersfield to compel such claim.

This suit was decided in favor of the company, Pat Reddy being their attorney.  This decision was appealed from by Stanton to the Supreme Court and being referred to a department of three judges, the decision of the lower court was reversed and the case ordered back for trial in the Superior Court.

From this the Yellow Aster Company appealed to the full bench and their appeal being granted the case was heard before the full court of seven judges and now comes the decision sustaining the judgement (sic) of Van Dyke in the first place.  Reddy in the meantime having sold his interest to the other members of the company for $27,000 which has long since been paid.

In spite of all these disadvantages and costly court proceedings, the Yellow Aster company has gone right along developing their mines, putting in costly machinery, built a fine 30-stamp mill, equipped with the latest approved gold saving apparatus, bought and developed a magnificent water system seen miles away, pumping their water for use at the mill through a seven mile five inch pipe line, and in all other respects added continually to the value of their mines.

All this in addition to having a constant monthly payroll, running from ten to fifteen thousand dollars, and declaring a dividend of from ten to twenty thousand dollars per month.

Immediately on receipt of the good news the big flag was hoisted at the company’s office and general rejoicing was had everywhere.   In many of the public resorts of the town when it became known that the suit had been decided favorably, the men broke out into hearty cheers and everywhere was heard words of praise for all the members of the company.  It is but justice to say that they are held in respect and esteem, not only by their employees but by all who came in contact with them.

Giant powder was put off on the hillsides and it sounded for a little while as though Oom Paul had transferred his attack from Ladysmith to Randsburg.

General Manager John Singleton, and secretary Mrs. Dr. Burcham, left the same evening for Los Angeles, although their preparations for going has all been made before the good news arrived.” –Randsburg  Miner

January 16, 1900: The Yellow Aster company has a force  of men at work sinking the Pat Reddy well to a greater depth. An engine and pump will be put on to test the flow of  water.” – Los Angeles Herald

April 28, 1900:  “YELLOW ASTER MINING Co. has changed their main place of business from Randsburg to Los Angeles.” — Randsburg Miner

May 26, 1900: “A TELEGRAM RECEIVED HERE YESTERDAY ANNOUNCED THE DEATH OF F. M MOOERS, vice-president of the Yellow Aster Mining Company.  The news cast a gloom over the whole community, as no man in Randsburg was better known. He was an old time desert worker, and when here a month ago hired a team and went six miles north to Summit dry washing diggings, where he and his partners were working when they discovered the famous Rand mines.  He was also Randsburg’s first postmaster and held that office until Mr. Young was appointed.  He was a kind-hearted, genial, companionable man, liberal and free with his money, and there are several people in Randsburg who will seriously miss him.  Want of space forbids a more extended notice; below we copy from the Times, of Los Angeles:

Frederick M. Moores – One of the original founders of the Yellow Aster Mine. Photo shows him inside one his tent house at the mine. H. Cooper Family Collection of the Rand Desert Museum. Back of photo is stamped C. W. Tucker, Randsburg, Cal.

Mr. Mooers resided in Los Angeles at No. 818 Bonnie Brae Street.  His death was due to heart failure.  Ed. J. Mooers, the only son, with his wife started for New York Thursday.  The other surviving relatives are Mrs. Eliza A. B. Mooers, mother, and three brothers, Charles H., James I., and William H., all residents of Los Angeles.

Frederick Mitchell Mooers was born at Ithaca, New York, in 1847.  When a mere boy he left the paternal mansion and located in New York City, obtaining employment as a drug clerk.  His employer became part owner of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and young Mooers was transferred to the business office of that paper.  After six years he severed his connection with the Eagle and started west.  For a time he was located in Chicago, doing reportorial work on various papers of that city.  Then he prospected through Montana and Wyoming, southward into old Mexico.  Thence he turned westward through New Mexico and Arizona.  Piercing the Sierras, he landed in Southern California about 1885. In 1895, along with C. A. Burcham and John Singleton, the wanderer pitched the first tent in Randsburg.  Shortly after the Yellow Aster was located by the three prospectors Mooers was the geologist of the party and selected the location.  The history of the mine is known to all Southern California.  The properties are estimated to be worth between five and six million dollars.

Mr. Mooers was an educated man.  He was of a philosophical turn of mind and found in the life of a prospector a surcease for the troubles of metropolitan life.  Yet throughout his eighteen years of prospecting over deserts and among lonely mountain peaks, he frequently made brief returns to civilization, generally finding employment at such times in newspaper work.  His long search for El Dorado ended successfully. ” — Randsburg Miner

MOOER'S RESIDENCE, 818 S. BONNIE BRAE ST, LOS ANGELES, 2012 -- William James Warren © 2012 Built in 1894 at 818 South Bonnie Brae Street in the then fashionable Westlake area of Los Angeles. The Mooers House was built for May Gertrude Wright and F. L. Wright. The Wrights sold the house in 1898 to Frederick M. Mooers (1847–1900) for $5,200. The Victorian era house combines elements of Queen Anne, Richardsonian Romanesque and Moorish Revival architectural styles. The house has been designated as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

MOOER'S RESIDENCE, 818 S. BONNIE BRAE ST, LOS ANGELES, 2012 -- William James Warren © 2012 Architectural Detail. A far cry from his spartan habitation in Randsburg, Mooers barely had time to enjoy the extravagance lavished by the master carpenters of the era.

May 26, 1900:  “WORK ON THE NEW PIPE LINE of the Yellow Aster Co. has begun, and a dozen men are at work excavating the trench for the pipes.” — Randsburg Miner

June 03, 1900: “A large strike of water has been made In the Rand district, at Mountain Wells, belonging to the Yellow Aster Mining Company. The company has made connection with the pipes of the local water ‘company and is furnishing the latter 40.000 ‘gallons of water a day. This gives the Randsburg camp more water than it ever had before, and, as a result, all the stamp mills in the district are again, running night and day. “–San Francisco Call

July 08, 1900: “ THE LATE FREDERICK M. MOOERS GAVE THEM AWAY — AT FIFTY HE WAS A POOR MAN — Five Years Later He Had Secured and Lavishly Thrown Away Many Thousands of Dollars. Frederick M. Mooers, mining king and prince of good fellows, whose career the past four years has been extraordinary and eccentric in its lavish expenditure of money, died suddenly the other day at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, in New York. He will be remembered because, like the blithesome prince of old, he went about tossing fortunes into the laps of all to whom his fancy turned.

The story of Frederick Mooers rise from poverty to wealth is an interesting one. Indeed, his whole life was one of unusually romantic vicissitudes. At the age 1 of fifty Mr. Mooers was without a dollar. At the age of fifty-five he died, possessed of one-third of the Yellow Aster mines, a property for which the Del Mars, of Utah, vainly offered$4,200,000. His father was a cobbler in Cambridge, Mass. He went to New York at the breaking out of the Civil war, and for months was a street Arab. Then he became a compositor on the New York Sun, later joined an expedition to Brazil, and before he was twenty-four made a fortune of some $18,000 in the diamond fields along the Amazon. Returning to New York he married, and gaily spent his little fortune within two years. He went back to the Brazilian diamond fields.  Meanwhile the governmental policy toward the diamond miners had changed, and aliens were no longer permitted to mine there. He returned to his typesetting, this time on the Brooklyn Bugle.  One day he contributed an article to the Eagle on commercial affairs of Brazil, attracted the attention of the proprietor, Thomas Cinsella, who made him a bookkeeper in the business office. Next Mooers was cashier for the Eagle, at $5,000 a year. Those were palmy days of journalism in New York and Brooklyn— when Tweedism put vast sums in the pockets of favored publishers. But Tweed was sent to prison. The Eagle changed hands and Mooers was out of a job. Mooers next Joined a filibustering expedition to Costa Rica, in Central America and with his comrades lay in jail one year, expecting almost any day to be led out to execution. He was a sailor before the mast for the next year and a half. Returning to New York In broken health, he wrote an article for the Sun about the hardships of common sailors, which brought him to public notice, he was called to Washington by a committee in congress to relate in detail how American sailors were treated on ships sailing under foreign flags.

Where Every Prospect Pleases -- Overland Manazine

In April, 1895, Mooers, John Singleton and Austin Burcham were living in a tent at Goler, earning a dollar a day, and on particularly favorable days a dollar and a half. For weeks Mooers had pondered over the problem of the source of the golden specks which they were dry-washing in the brown dessert sands. One day it flashed upon him that the Goler camp was the center of an enormous extinct crater; that the golden particles in the sand were washed there through countless ages from the ledges formed by volcanic action, and that if the rim of the volcano might be found the original ledge would be a source of fabulous wealth. For days he told and retold his theory to h.is companions. Finally Singleton and Burcham agreed to go and search for the ledge. Two days of prospecting led to the location of the seven mines known as the Yellow Aster group, where Randsburg has since grown up.  So rich-were the specimens whacked from the outcropping rock that the Yellow Aster paid from the start. Mooers, Singleton and Burcham m had taken over $700,000 in ore from the golden ledge up to January.

How Much To The Ton? - Overland Magazine

With the knowledge that the Yellow Aster was to be a source of thousands of dollars every month as long as he would probably live, Mooers set about having a gloriously good time with its suddenly acquired fortune. “I know too well ”said he to friends, “that my life has been one of such hardships that I will probably live but a few years more than  ten or twelve years at the outside—and I mean to have fun and make some people remember me for personal kindness after I am gone.” And he kept his word. First he bought a magnificent mansion owned by Thomas Pitch, at 838 Bonnie Brae Street, Los Angeles.  He went to New York and got his aged mother, his young son and his brothers, and brought them ail in a private car to Los Angeles. The home was furnished superbly. He bought horses and carriages for the family’s use, provided his mother with servants to anticipate here slightest wish, and made sure that the home circle should have a certain part of the dividends from the Yellow Aster monthly. All the rest he devoted to all sorts of whims of pleasure. A month later, in Buffalo, he found a printer of his own name dying of consumption. The next day the printer, his wife and two Children were traveling in sumptuous style toward San Diego, where for over a year, until the man died, they received from Mr. Mooer’s Los Angeles bankers a certain monthly stipend. A year ago a man fell down a shaft in the Yellow Aster mine. The Yellow Aster Company pensioned the widow liberally.  Mr. Mooers happened to be on the cars a few weeks later, and the widow came forward and introduced herself to him. During their conversation she spoke of her three daughters and of the plans of their dead father to send them East to the paternal home. A day or so later Mr. Mooers had bought round-trip tickets for the whole family to West Bedford Mass. Not only that, but he secured berth, in the Pullman cars for them and gave a $20 gold coin to each of the trio. While in New York last summer he overheard a colored man in the hail of the Imperial hotel where he was stopping tell another servant of how the sweeping of dusty carpets in the hotel was gradually Killing him with consumption He inquired at the office about the man, had a doctor examine him, and found the case a genuine one for charity. Shortly after the man, his wife and child were on their way to California at Mr. Mooer’s expense. They are now in Phoenix, and the man is the chief cook at the Adams house. Two months ago Mr. Mooers was in a blacksmith shop in Los Angeles, to get shoes for high pacer. He heard several men discussing the prospect for getting gold Cape Nome. None of the men knew him. He became Interested in one of the young men because of his burning zeal to go to Nome, He invited him to his house that day and several days thereafter. On one of the first steamers from Seattle to Cape Nome, early In May, Richard H. Judton sailed north with supplies and capital enough to last two years. Frederick Mooers was his silent partner. “– The Saint Paul Globe

Pump House and Reservoir at Yellow Aster -- Collection of Deric English

September 1, 1900: “THE GOLER WELLS. The pumping plant of the Yellow Aster Company at Goler is almost completed and will soon be in operation.  After the pump is started and they can handle the water, work will be resumed and the well sunk deeper.

This water system with everything connected with it, including well, pipeline, reservoirs, engines and pumps, will represent an outlay of not far from $75,000, and is very thorough and complete, everything being of the best.

The next move of the company will be to either sell the mines and all connected with them, or increase the capacity of the mill by adding forty more stamps, and this will be determined shortly.

Applications to purchase are received daily, and men have made long and costly journeys, with little or no encouragement, to interview the owners, and if the management decides to sell a fancy price can be obtained without trouble.  The fact that the water problem, a difficult one in this desert country, is solved and water is developed and a magnificent system of works established to deliver it on the ground at the mines will enable the Yellow Aster people to get much more than this plant has cost in negotiating a sale.

No time will be wasted, however, on this score.  If a sale is not soon made, or an excellent prospect of one, the company will immediately proceed to put up forty stamps, as they feel sure they have plenty of water to run 100 as well as 70.

Last month 3894 tons of ore were mined and milled with an average force of 62 men in the mines.  This was an average of 4 ½ tons to the stamp, and at an actual cost of mining and milling of $2.36 per ton.  Considering the cost of everything here on the desert and that the water was pumped from deep wells six miles away from the mill this is getting it down to pretty close figures. ” — Randsburg Miner

September 22, 1900: “THE GOLER WELL has been sunk twenty feet deeper since the new pump has been put to work and more water is encountered with every foot of depth. Water from the Goler wells is now being forced up the hill and into the tank at the mill at the rate of 100,000 gallons per day and everything is working in good shape. ” — Randsburg Miner

Burcham Square Sets Underground at Yellow Aster Mine. Collection of the Rand Desert Museum

September 22, 1900: “MINE ACCIDENT—Tuesday morning everybody was startled with the report of another accident in the mines.  Soon it was discovered that T. J. Riggs had been killed and T. H. Reed had been injured.  T. J. Riggs and Al Marks were working in a drift in the Yellow Aster mine and behind them some thirty or forty feet was an ore chute supported by stulls and legging, and above that C. J. Enright was stoping.

The evening before it appears these men, Riggs and Marks, when about to shoot thought they heard the timbers crack which supported the ore above, but nothing came of it, and next morning they went to work as usual.  An hour or so after beginning work at the breast of the drift, T. H. Reed, timber man in the mine came in to examine the timbers, and while in the act of taking measurements to put in uprights to support the stulls, the latter broke and let down thirty or forty tons of ore overhead.  Riggs had gone back from his work, either for tools or to see Reed and when the crash came he and Reed were near each other and both were caught.

Reed was thrown toward the hanging wall and covered with the ore and timbers while Riggs was thrown toward the foot wall, most of the weight coming on him.  Reed was dug out, but it took nearly an hour to do it.  He was badly bruised about the head and legs but no bones were broken, and he will about again in a short time.

It took nearly another hour to uncover Riggs and when found he was dead, having been crushed and his back broken by the fall, as was testified to afterward at the inquest.

Coroner Frank Buckrens came up from Bakersfield, and held an inquest Wednesday morning, the jury rendering the following verdict:  “That deceased, Thomas Jefferson Riggs, was a native of Illinois, forty eight years of age, and came to his death on the 18th day of September, 1900, in Randsburg, Kern county, Cal., by the falling of ore in the Yellow Aster mine caused by defective timbers and an overweight of ore upon the same. Signed:  F. H. Heald, Peter Jacob, Lewis Woodward, J. R. Taylor, Geo. T. Phillips, Chas E. Jefford, T. J. Kennedy, Jas. H. Pearson, Thomas Fitzgerald, and Thomas Conklin.

Mr. Riggs was buried from Miner’s Union Hall Wednesday afternoon, the services being conducted by Rev. Page Case, and his remains were followed to the cemetery by a large number of people, the Miner’s Union turning out more than fifty strong. He was an exemplary citizen, respected by all who knew him, and one of the saddest things about his death was that after working a long time on the hill he had concluded to quit and had made preparations to move with his wife to Oregon and locate there, and this was the last day he intended to work in the mines. ” —  Randsburg Miner

November 3, 1900: “ MR. JOHN LEWELLYN and C. W. Shurett of the Llewellyn Iron Works (are) in town figuring the costs for the new 100 stamp mill for the Yellow Aster. ” —  Randsburg Miner

Goler Well -- From the Book Memories of Garlock Paul Hubbard

November, 17, 1900: “Realizing the immense body of ore in the Rand Mountain and the smallness of their mill capacity, the company  began to cast about for a greater water supply a few months ago.  The old Benson well, down near Goler, which had been  sunk 400 to reach bedrock and stopped on account of  water, was examined and tried, but  as the timbering was  bad and the  title imperfect, a new well was sunk a short distance away, and water was struck at the same level in coarse gravel, with a big increase of water  for every foot sunk.  This well is now some fifteen feet in the gravel,  and the water supply is equal to nearly 125,000 gallons every twenty-four hours, and with greater depth they are confident of 200,000.  When it became apparent that the water supply was assured, the company let a contract for a pipe line and pumping plant from the well to the mine, some seven miles distance, and an elevation to overcome of 1375 feet.

The completion of the works at the Goler wells, with the magnificent plant installed, whereby it is expected from 150,000 to 200,000 gallons of water per day can be delivered at the mines in Randsburg, merits a brief description.

First, there is the building over the well, which contains the pump, engine and  boilers,  This is of frame and  with sides and roof covered with corrugated, galvanized iron,  and is 50 x 28 feet with 14-foot ceiling, finished inside, sides and  ceiling with the best quality of redwood.

The boiler house, which occupies and adjoinine L, is  30 x 60 feet.

The whole stands on gravelly ground, and  to obtain a sure foundation the inside was excavated to a depth of from four to sixth and filled in with cement  concrete.  Over 300 tons of this was put in place to secure a solid foundation.  The whole building, boiler-room and all, is finished with cement flooring.

The engine-room is beautifully finished, the ceiling in light blue, the sides steel grey; the engine and pump are painted a wine color, striped with black, gold  and  silver,  with  ornaments in  gold and wreaths  of  yellow asters, the whole presenting an  elegant appearance.  On  the walls are nickel-plated clock, steam gauge, a 1000-pound hydraulic gauge for pump, a low-pressure gauge, vacuum  gauge and revolution counter, all  nickel-plated, like the clock, with size to match.

Goler Engine Room. Collection of the Rand Desert Museum

The pump is a Dean power  pump, made at Holyoke, Mass., driven by cut gear  direct from crank-shaft of engine, with a capacity of 200,000 gallons every 24 hours against 800 pounds pressure. It is fitted with automatic alleviator, and made of Steeline, which is  the  toughest and most durable metal known to the mechanical trade, bronze not being equal to it.  The  valves are set in individual parts, making repairs much easier in case of breakage.   The pump entire weighs 15 tons and came in one piece, all set up.  It requires 125 horse-power to drive it.  The style is outside packed plunger pattern.  It takes the water from the small reservoir and delivers it at the large reservoir at the mill, seven miles away, through a six-inch pipe, overcoming an elevation of  1380 feet.  A small pump raises the water from the well 400 feet and delivers it to the reservoir.

The engine is a Nordburg Corliss tandem, compound  condensing, of 200 horse-power capacity, of  the  most modern style, being  higher-priced than any other sold in  America, and considered  the best  that money  can buy for the use intended.  It was build in Holyoke, Mass.,  and fitted with the latest style  lubrication oil pumps, and automatic stop in case of accident.  The fly-wheel alone weighs  seven tons, and the entire engine fifteen-tons.

The pump and engine set side by  side and are placed on a solid bed of concrete  six feet  in depth running clear across the building.

Hauling Oil to the Boiler House At the Yellow Aster Reservoiir in Randsburg. Collection of the Rand Desert Museum

The boiler room is fitted with two 66-inch horizontal tubular boilers  of  125 horse-power capacity each, with a Webster vacuum heater and Timpin duplex feed pump.  Dow oil pump for pumping fuel oil to tank above, and  Dean vacuum pump, Wainright surface condenser and Wilgers improved oil-burners.

There are wide folding doors between the engine-room and boilers, and when open  the  engineer has a full view of both rooms.  The whole arrangement being with a view to  convenience as well as utility.

The engine produces one horse-power to every sixteen pounds of water evaporated in the boiler per hour.

The pump is slow-speed, making about  thirty strokes to the minute.  The small reservoir at the works which first receives the water from the well has a capacity of 28,500 gallons, and the large one at the mill seven miles away has a capacity of 100,000 gallons.

For  completeness,  beauty and finish, there is probably nothing like it in a private corporation doing business for themselves, and to come across such work away out  here in the great Mojave Desert is something_____________.  The Yellow Aster People do everything in the most thorough manner sparing no expense to get  the best results.”—Randsburg Miner

November 29, 1900: “YELLOW ASTER MINING SUIT COMPROMISED — Cash Settlement Reached and Defendants Agree to Withdraw Their Claim. — LOS ANGELES. Nov. 28. — The equity case to quiet title to the Yellow Aster mining properties. In Kern County, was disposed of by Judge Ross in the United States court to-day. The Yellow Aster Mining and Milling Company brought the action against O. B. Stanton, E. J. Baldwin and others for the thirteen claims forming the Yellow Aster group, and the decree today entered, by which the defendants get $14,500, was in the nature of a compromise, both parties uniting In the request that a decree be made giving to the Yellow Aster Company complete and undisputed control of the properties, and forever restraining the defendants from making claim to or entering upon the property.”  — The San Francisco Call

December 8, 1900: “CONTEST OVER DEAD MINERS BIG ESTATE,  The contest of the will of Frederick M. Mooers, the Yellow Aster mining king of Los Angeles, who died in New York last May, while en route to Europe, was set down for trial by Judge Shaw for February 11. The amount of property involved approximates a million dollars, the most of which is Yellow Aster stock, valued at $765,000.

The contestant is the surviving widow, Mrs. Frances L. Mooers.  The will bears the date of April 26, 1900.  The devisers in it are an aged mother, Eliza R. Mooers; the widow; an only child, Edwin M. Mooers, three brothers and an aunt.  One of the brothers, Charles H. Mooers, was named executor.  In his petition for probate of will, he states that the property sought to be disposed of includes, besides 15,500 shares of the mining stock, much personal property, and the $10,000 family residence at No. 818 Bonnie Brae Street.  The stock returns a yearly income of about $30,000.  Deceased was only 52 years of age when he suddenly died.

The widow attacks the will by alleging that her husband was of unsound mind and under the coercion of his brothers and others of the family when he executed it.  She isn’t pleased with his generosity toward them. It cuts materially into her own bequest, which is about one-sixth of his estate.  She makes her strongest accusations against the proposed executor Charles H. Mooers, who is alleged to have taken advantage of his wealthy brother by influencing his mind which she says was weakened by the excess and dissipation of strong drink, against his wife, by telling him that she was his enemy, had designs on his property and was endeavoring to defraud him out of it.  Wherefore, says she, her husband got it into his head that she was deserving of little or nothing.  And, owing to his condition of mind, he was—so avers the widow—especially inclined toward suspicious and unusually credulous statements made by his relatives.  The brothers lived in the same house with him out on Bonnie Brae Street.

Mule pulling ore cars at Yellow Aster Mine. Deric English Collection

But all the legatees thus assailed have replied with vigorous denial of all the widow’s allegations.  They say that the mining king’s mind was not affected by strong drink and that when he made the will he acted voluntarily in full knowledge of all the facts.

Charles H. Mooers says he left a good business in New York City, at a great personal sacrifice, to comply with his brother’s urgent and oft repeated requests to bring their old mother to California and live with him after he became wealthy with his mines.  Therefore Charles had always cared for her, while Fred was out West making his fortune.

The legatees also say that Mrs. Mooers was not a good wife to the deceased for fifteen or twenty years during his lifetime, but lived separately and apart, from him until after he became wealthy.  Although his said to have given her Yellow Aster stock worth almost a million dollars, even then she refused to live with him longer,  They further charge that she and one J. C. Robinson had schemed to get his property and he knew it.  Being fond of his brothers and his mother, however, he gave them most of his estate. The Kern county court records, it is said, showed that Mrs. Mooers began a divorce suit against him in March 1898, alleging desertion.

In their answer, the legatees aver also that the deceased in his lifetime had said that Robinson was his enemy and pronounced him responsible for the alleged fraudulent attempts to deprive him of his property.  And the widow is alleged to have associated with him.

Accordingly, the legatees ask that the will be probated, averring that the contestant is entitled to nothing, by reason of “cruel unwifely and inhuman treatment.”  — (L. A. Times)” — Randsburg Miner

February 2, 1901: “A CORRESPONDENT OF THE LOS ANGELES MINING REVIEW, puts the output of the Randsburg, Cal, district for last year at a little more than $1,100,000, and does not include the product of dry-washing, which is no mean amount of itself. Of this entire output the Yellow Aster group of mines can be accredited with probably 60 per cent., the Pinmore of Johannesburg with 10 percent, and the remaining 3ong>

March 24, 1901:  SAN FRANCISCO MAN LOSES LIFE IN YELLOW ASTOR.  George Sandow of San Francisco Loses His Life In the Randsburg Gold Producer.  Randsburg, March 23.—George Sandow was killed today by falling down a shaft in the Yellow Aster mine.  He was making a survey of the mine when the accident occurred.  Sandow was resident of San Francisco.  A wife and three children survive him.  – San Francisco Call

April 08, 1901: “MOOERS WILL CONTEST WILL NOT BE TRIED — Widow and Other Heirs of the Dead Mine-Owner Reach an Agreement. LOS ANGELES. April 7. — After nearly a year of legal strife the widow and other relatives of the late Frederic M. Mooers have adjusted their differences and dismissed the will contest, which attracted attention, not only in California, but also in New York State, where Mooers was well known.   The stipulation, that the contest of the widow, Frances L. Mooers, against her brother-in-law, Charles H. Mooers, and other members of the family be dismissed was signed yesterday.

Under the will Frederic M. ‘Mooers, who died on May 24, 1900, the discoverer of the famous Yellow Aster mine, left 7000 shares of the mining stock to his three brothers, 5000 shares to his son, Edwin D. Mooers%2ong>

March 24, 1901:  SAN FRANCISCO MAN LOSES LIFE IN YELLOW ASTOR.  George Sandow of San Francisco Loses His Life In the Randsburg Gold Producer.  Randsburg, March 23.—George Sandow was killed today by falling down a shaft in the Yellow Aster mine.  He was making a survey of the mine when the accident occurred.  Sandow was resident of San Francisco.  A wife and three children survive him.  – San Francisco Call

April 08, 1901: “MOOERS WILL CONTEST WILL NOT BE TRIED — Widow and Other Heirs of the Dead Mine-Owner Reach an Agreement. LOS ANGELES. April 7. — After nearly a year of legal strife the widow and other relatives of the late Frederic M. Mooers have adjusted their differences and dismissed the will contest, which attracted attention, not only in California, but also in New York State, where Mooers was well known.   The stipulation, that the contest of the widow, Frances L. Mooers, against her brother-in-law, Charles H. Mooers, and other members of the family be dismissed was signed yesterday.

Under the will Frederic M. ‘Mooers, who died on May 24, 1900, the discoverer of the famous Yellow Aster mine, left 7000 shares of the mining stock to his three brothers, 5000 shares to his son, Edwin D. Mooers, and 2650 shares to his widow. Mrs. Mooers objected to the disposition of the property according to the will and filed a contest in which she alleged mental unsoundness, undue influence and fraud exercised by Charles H. Mooers. She alleged that her brother-in-law prejudiced the mind of her husband against her. In their answer the defendants claimed that “several years -before his death Mr. Mooers gave to his wife 10,000 shares of his mining stock and that she combined with others to defraud Frederic M. Mooers of his property.

The trial of the case was to have begun before Judge Shaw next Monday and the widow came: out from the East several days ago to watch her interests.  Since
her arrival there have been several meetings between the contestants and the defendants. They have concluded that their differences were caused largely through misunderstanding and decided to dismiss the case. By the terms of the compromise the widow abandons her contest of the will and Charles H. Mooers withdraws his charges. The estate is valued at $1,000,000.  – San Francisco Call

The Two Mills of The Yellow Aster Mine. The Thirty Stamp Mill Is On the Right. The 100 Stamp Mill On The Right, Was Bult in 1900 to Handle the Ore From the Open Pit Mining. Collection of the Rand Desert Museum

April 27, 1901: THE NEW 100 STAMP MILL- BEGAN CRUSHING ORE LAST TUESDAY MORNING—The stamps began dropping in the new mill of the Yellow Aster Company Tuesday morning.  The mill was begun about the middle of November last, and completion of such a building equipped with such heavy and complicated machinery in five months shows that the work was energetically pushed from the start.

Had it been generally known that the mill would start half the population of Randsburg would have been present and especially the business men, as it marks an epoch in the history of Randsburg?  But few knew it and there was no demonstration and no display.  The only demonstration by the company was the display of flags from the large pole at the office, the staff at the old mill and one up at the carpenter shop at the tunnel old glory was flung to the breeze and remained the day.

Mr. J. H. Payne and Capt. Jones both friends or Mr. Singleton from Los Angeles were present, and the only strangers, the former turning a valve which let on the steam and started up the machinery, the latter releasing and dropping the first stamp.  During the day a few people came and went, all very much interested in the event.  Mr. John Singleton, president and general manager, Mr. Austin Burcham, vice-president, Mrs. Rose L. Burcham, Secretary of the Yellow Aster Company were all present, and each showed appreciation of the fact that their labors were so nearly ended in the direction of building and that now they look for reward, commensurate with the work done.

Their pride is situated on the apes of the hill a little to the west of the gulch, nearly opposite the old mill with a steep descent from the mill both east and west.  Situated as it is and covered with white galvanized iron both roof and walls it can be seen for many miles, from the north, west, and east.  Rand Mountain back of it shuts of the view from the south.  The top of this hill was grades off and leveled down to the solid rock, and then a bed of cement concrete, varying in thickness according to the weight to sustain was put over all.

Inside 100 Stamp YA Mill. Note the timbers used in the construction of the mill. Cosborn photo. Deric English Collection

The timbers used were of the heaviest Oregon pine, bolted together, securely, the whole with a view to strength in order to safely carry the immense weight.  The ore bin alone in the upper part of the building when full, as it is now, contains 1200 tons, the stamps batteries and other machinery aggregating many more hundred tons.  The superstructure had to be put up with strength sufficient to contain all this.

The rock crusher is a Comet made by Frazier & Chalmers for Chicago and is a marvel.  It will grind up a ton or rock in less that have a minute and when working at its full capacity is equal to 200 tons an hour.  The ore is trammed from the mines to the rock crusher above the mill and is then drawn from bins after going through the crusher and carried on a heavy railway into the mill.

"The Batteries" Or Stamps As They Were Commonly Called Of the 100 Stamp Yellow Aster Mill. Collection of Deric English

The batteries are of the most approved type and it is expected that they will save half a dollar per ton over those now in use in the 30 stamp mill.  The cleanup and milling room is the southwest corner of the mill and is fitted with large amalgam revolving barrel into which the amalgam is charged and everything is thoroughly ground up and pulverized by the round balls within.  This process is kept up until every particle of extraneous substance is ground up and carried off by the water, leaving nothing but quicksilver and gold.  Adjoining this room is the melting room which contains a large retort and bullion furnace.

The engine and boiler room is the most complete up-to-date and handsomest of any quartz mill on the coast.  The engines are two tandem, compound condensing Corliss, coupled direct to the line shaft, each engine driving 50 stamps.

The engines are steam jacketed, as are also the receivers which prevents condensation of steam, and allows the use of all steam delivered to them.  They are equipped with steam separators, which allows nothing but dry steam to enter cylinders, the separators and jacket, are drained to the hot well automatically by steam traps.

Engine Room At Yellow Aster Cosborn Photo. Collection of Deric English

The cylinders are lubricated by handsome nickel-plated oil pumps driven from the valve gear, and which require no attention after once being regulated, as they start when the engine starts and stop when they come to rest.  These engines were built by Frazier & Chalmers of Chicago and are guaranteed to develop 1 horse power for each 15 lbs. of water evaporated in the boilers per hour; ordinary engines require 20 to 30 lbs. of water for every horse power developed.  They are coupled to a Wheeler Surface Condenser which is fitted with automatic, atmospheric exhaust so that in case of shutting down the condenser for repairs it allows the engine to exhaust to the atmosphere same as non-condensing engines.

Mr. Van Meter has overcome the use of a circulating pump by placing a small tank a few feet above the main reservoirs.  The pumps at the wells and repumping station discharge into this tank, thence if flows by gravity through the condenser to the main reservoir which supplies the mill.

As the steam after leaving the engines is condensed and pumped into the hot well by the vacuum pump, thence into the boilers by the feed pump, it is necessary to remove the oil which has been used to lubricate the cylinders, this done by placing an oil separator in the exhaust pipe between the engines and condenser.  The engines are fitted with handsome nickel plated vacuum and high and low pressure steam gauges, mounted on an elegant mahogany gauge board.

The line shat boxes are equipped with oilers set in substantial concrete piers.  These boxes when filled with oil require no attention for weeks at a time.  These rings carry the oil up from the cellars below to the top of the shaft, thence it flows through the journals back to the cellars below and is again carried up by the rings and thus the process of oiling is kept up. The boilers which are the Sterling water tube pattern will safely carry a working pressure of 150 lbs. and are equipped with the “Reliance” safety water columns, which automatically blow a whistle calling the attention of the engineer to either a high or low water mark.

Local Boiler Plant. This photo from the Rand District File of the Kern County Museum does not specifically identify this boiler room as being at the Yellow Aster Mill, but it is included here as an example of what the boilers would have looked like.

The boiler room has duplicate boiler feed pumps, insuring against delay for repairs in case of accident, or when one gets out of working order.  In the boiler room is also a Dow duplex fire pump to which fire hose can be attached and carried to any point throughout the mill and is of ample capacity to maintain a pressure sufficient to throw ¾ inch streams 100 feet vertically, or twice that distance horizontally. All steam pipes are covered with magnesia sectional covering.

The pump at the pumping back station is located about 2000 feet distant, and is about 400 feet below the mill.  This pump is of the compound, condensing, duplex pattern and is 13×24 and 10 ½ x 18 and when running to its full capacity will deliver 60,000 gallons of water per hour to the mill.  The water which this pump handles is from the tailing pond after it settles and is carried by gravity to the reservoir at the pump station.

The chief engineer in charge of all the engines of the company is C. E. Van Meter for a long time in the employee of the Union Iron Works at San Francisco.  His first assistant is W. D. Peters and at the mill site are two others William Gray and William Bahney.  Mr. Van Meter has been in the employee of the company for more than two years and has planned and installed all the machinery at the different works.

Interior of Yellow Aster Mill. Chief engineer C. E. Van Meter in froreground, ass't. engineer W. D. Peter in background. One of W. D. Peter's relatives lives in Salinas, California and has a toolbox and tools that once belonged to the man in the pictrue. He has generously offered to donate them to the museum but we have lost his address, hopefully he will contact us again.

The new engine room will, if possible, be more elegantly finished than that of the 30-stamp mill.  It is 30×74 feet with cement floor, metal ceiling and sides in Greek and Arabesque patterns.  It is elegantly painted in colors, as are the engines and from the ceiling two ten light chandeliers, besides bracket lights for the sides. The boiler room immediately adjoining on the west is 20 X40 feet.  The whole building being 76×140 feet.

The most remarkable thing about this magnificent property, which if anywhere else than on this great desert, would attract more attention, is the fact that it is yet in the hands of the original prospectors and discoverers, and the starting of this new mill, which in itself is a marvel of excellence and beauty, was on the sixth anniversary of the finding and locating of the first one of the Yellow Aster claims.

It is seldom that the finders of a good mine are the principal beneficiary’s.  It generally happens that the finder, or prospector, is unable to develop his property and it passes into other hands.  Not so in this case.  From the start they seemed to realize that a fortune lay in those barren Rand hills, and with a tenacity of purpose seldom equaled and never surpassed, they stuck to it.  Putting back into development as fast as they took it out, overcoming all obstacles, fighting law suits, enduring desert heat and the discomforts of life in a mining town’ developing a splendid water system which makes these mills possible, where a few years ago water was a luxury and sold at two dollars per barrel.  All this and more they have gone through, seeing themselves today rewarded in the undisputed possession of the best paying and richest mines in the state, and better equipped for taking out gold than any other. ” — Randsburg Miner

December 29, 1901:  “THE MINES OF RANDSBURG, so says the Randsburg Miner, are looking well and the outlook is better than at any time in the past five years. The Yellow Aster mills are running to their full capacity and are putting through about 45o tons per day, with a prospect of an increase to 600 tons daily. There are still rumors current of the sale of the Yellow Aster property but, according to the Miner; no onehas yet had an option on the mines.”  — San Francisco Call

Men Setting On Ore Car at Yellow Aster. Deric English Collection

May 12, 1901: “YELLOW ASTER MINE.  MOOERS WILL CASE DISMISSED IN SUPERIOR COURT.  END OF GREAT ROMANCE.  WOMAN FIGHT’S HARD TO SAVE HER GOOD NAME.  A special correspondent to the New York World from Los Angeles says:  By the dismissal of the Mooers will case from the docket of the superior court of this city the latest chapter has been written in the romance and tragedy of the Yellow Aster Mine.

It is the romance of a sudden fortune smiling after years of adversity.

It is the tragedy of domestic peace that did not stand the strain of poverty and drink and wild ways of a wife who considered herself wronged by her husbands will and brought to the defense of her good name all the resources that the law affords.

It is this spectacle of a woman’s fight that will live longest in the story of the Yellow Aster mine despite the gleam of gold and the splendor of vast wealth that have made the tale of its discovery famous along the Pacific Coast.

THE BRIDE OF YEARS AGO— Could Frances L. Demarest have read her horoscope as she stood before the altar in Newark N. J. , thirty years ago, she might have let the bridal roses wither from her cheeks  before she plighted troth to the future finder of the Yellow Aster mine.  She little realized that the plain band of gold linked her life with an abject slave of drink.  But neither poverty nor opulence met the short-sighted vision of the pair as the plighted fealty on that bright summer morning.  They were apparently destined to the humdrum middle-life existence that is perhaps, after all, the happiest.

Miss Demarest came of good family and had received a high school education at Ithaca, N. Y., the birthplace of the Mooerses.  Her father was a business man in easy circumstances; her brother, W. E. Demarest, is today well known in New York.

Mooers left home when but a boy and began life as a drug clerk in New York.  His employer subsequently became interested in the Brooklyn Eagle and took Mooers with him.  He was a bright, intelligent, lovable youth, and soon won his way into the confidence of the managers of the paper.  But appetite for drink ruined his prospects and finally cost him his position on the Eagle.

To conquer his love for drink Mooers spent a year in an asylum for inebriates, but without avail.  He tried reporting on Chicago papers, but gave that up.  His adventurous disposition became fired with the desire to discover gold.  He went to

Colorado and searched the Rockies.  From there he drifted to Montana and Wyoming and later to New Mexico and Arizona.  Once or twice he returned to his wife in New York.  Early in the 80’s his dream of riches drove him to California for good.

Mrs. Mooers did not follow her husband’s wanderings, but took up such employment as she could obtain.  For a time she kept a boarding house.  After Mooers went to California she was placed in charge of a Children’s home on Long Island.  Later she kept a boarding house in Long Branch.  The next turn in fortune’s wheel gave her a position as an attendant at the Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum.  There was a third member of the family now—Edward Demarest Mooers—her son—and it was sometimes difficult to keep the wolf from the door.

Out in California Mooers led the life of a typical miner.  Fired with the expectancy of finding it “this time,” the pick-axe and grub-kit were time and again strapped to the horse and weary marches made over the mountains and wastes of sand.  The Mojave Desert was explored and the mountains for more than a hundred miles around San Bernardino.

During the years on the desert it is said that Moore’s mine became affected.  He was at times subject to a mania.  He located diamond mines in the heart of the Mojave and dreamed he had found a new South Africa.  Gold was his constant idea.  Running to a spot where he thought it lay buried he would cry.  “Dig, Dig!” When the men would cease he would moan and lament like a child.

In 1895 came the expedition that was to succeed.

The men who took part in it were Mooers, Austin Burcham, a broken-down butcher from San Bernardino, and John Singleton, a clerk.  They were camped together at Goler, a godforsaken place on the bitter edge of the Mojave Desert.

The men of the camp were busy shoveling sand into dry washers.  It was the hardest kind of work in the most terrible climates and yielded a few dollars a day.

Mooers reasoned that if he could find the place from which the gold-bearing sand had been belched his fortune would be made.  He persuaded Burcham and Singleton to go with him in quest of the crater of an extinct volcano.  “That’s volcanic sand,” he said.  He was the only one of the three who had studied metallurgy.  The others had sufficient faith in him to join him.  It would do no harm anyway.

One day Mooers jumped from the crazy wagon in which (the) three were prospecting and scrambled up the ledge with his pickaxe.  It was, he thought, part of the curved rim of a crater.

“Oh, pshaw!” said Singleton, “that old dead rock.”

But a minute later Mooer’s hoarse voice came down to them, almost inaudible with excitement:

“Burch come up here when you have unhitched.  I’ll introduce you to your fortune.

It was a true work.

“There’s enough ore in sight here now,” said ex-Governor Markham a little later, “to yield Mooers estate $17,000 a month for twenty years.

All three prospectors became rich.  Mooers and John Singleton build palatial residences in this city.  The Burchams live in Randsburg.

The spot where the prospectors pitched their tent only six years ago is now the center of a prosperous mining village.  The Yellow Aster mine has made it.  The ore formerly had to be hauled in wagons to Garlock or to a distant railway station and shipped to the mills at Barstow.

There is a railroad there now.  A new 100-stamp mill is to be installed soon.  When it is finished the owners expect an output of 16,000 tons per month, or over a million dollars a year.  There is ore in sight to keep the mills at work for fifteen years.

It is reported that a cash offer of $6,000,000 for the mine has been refused.  From the product of the mine large pumping plants that bring water for ten miles have been built, as well as a perfectly equipped electric-lighting plant.

Standing on the spot where Mooers located the first claim you can just make out on the top of a neighboring hill, indistinct form of an old dry washer, battered and worn.  It is on the top of the “Olympus” claim.

When operations were begun at the mouth of the gulch Mooers built there a small cabin of primitive architecture. Since then it has been moved several hundred yards up the hillside, where it stands minus several boards.

The gulch where this cabin once stood has been completely filled for a depth of one hundred feet with tailings and refuse ore from the mines.  This is to be worked over by the cyanide process, and is expected to yield added millions.

Of Mooer’s after life but little need be said.  His wife tried several time to live with him, but gave it up, and for years made her residence at Patterson, N. J. where she if favorably known.  With the advent of prosperity the prospector planned trips around the world and adventurous journeys abroad.

“I’ll have a gay, mossy time now.” He used to say…”and when I am dead some folks “I’ll remember me tenderly anyhow.”

He gave $2,000 to an old printer.  He sent $150 to the widow of another printer.  He sent $500 to pay a $75 grocer’s bill in Brooklyn.  He took a barkeeper and his wife on a two month’s tour to Mexico.  All the mixer had to do was to supervise Mooer’s artistic poems in things drinkable.  He took a barber on a trip to New York.  He threw $20 gold pieces to street urchins.  To a baby in Randsburg named for him he gave a sack of 100 $20 gold pieces.   Once he gives $300 to every dance-hall-woman in Randsburg and advised each in turn to go home and lead another life.

Yet he merely spent the income from his mine—nothing more.  Some weeks before his death Mooers had delirium tremens and was treated at the California Hospital, in this city.  After signing his will Mooers started on one of his sprees.  It lasted from Los Angeles to New York, and the record of the trip is like a serial story, the chapters being acted in the barrooms of the best hotels.  He took Billy Manning, an ex-pugilist with him.

About the middle of May last year Mrs. Mooers learned from the papers that he was at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, New York.  She found him there, ill, and in a deplorable condition.  May 24 he died.

The mind of the pioneer prospector had become embittered against his wife during their separation and in his will, made in the hospital, he gave her but 2,650 shares of the Yellow Aster stock, while to his mother, three brothers and his  son, were left the majority of his golden hoards and the future earnings of the mine.

Mrs. Mooers was not, perhaps, in need of greater wealth that the will placed at her disposal, but she felt that she must fight for her good name, which had been assailed by her husband’s relatives.  She contested the will.

In the answer filed in the court it was alleged that she had not been to Mooers a faithful wife, and her name was connected with that of J. C. Robinson, of New York, her agent and adviser.  Under the circumstances, Mrs. Mooers decided that she had no option but to fight the will; and in the event she won a practical victory, the other legatees surrendering a considerable portion of the stock bequeathed to them.

And thus the famous case passes into history.”  – The Wichita Daily Eagle

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