Saturday, June 1, 2013

High Wages in the Mines of Idaho

The June 1, 1863 issue of the New York Post published a brief item: “Laborers’ wages in Idaho territory are eight dollars per day.”

At that time, non-farm laborers in the East earned less than $1.50 a day. Farm laborers did well to make 50¢ a day, although they usually got meals as part of the deal. One can easily see why men might be tempted to head for the gold fields. Of course, those wages seemed much less generous when common food items, like bacon and bread, might cost four to ten times what they did in the East.

The Post went on, “Eight thousand men are working in the Boise River Mines, which extend over a district of thirty miles long. Supplies reach them from Salt Lake City.”

References: Stanley Lebergott, “Wage Trends, 1800-1900,” Trends in the American Economy in the Nineteenth Century, Princeton University Press, New Jersey (1960).
“Miscellanea,” New York Post, New York City (June 1, 1863).

No comments:

Post a Comment