Thursday, July 25, 2013

Idaho is Rich in gold, but Reduced Water Flow Hampers Mining

The San Francisco Evening Bulletin reprinted several items published in the “up-country” on July 25, 1863. Thus, The Dalles Mountaineer reported that Augustus N. Grenzebach, “a well known citizen of The Dalles,” had recently returned from the Boise Basin. The article said, “His reports are like all other from that locality – rich mines and untold wealth, but a scarcity of the element without which it is impossible to separate the gold from the earth. At Placerville, mining has been measurably interrupted for weeks back on account of the scarcity of water, and the other mining camps begin to suffer from the same great want.”

The article went on, “By the end of July, it is his opinion that mining will be confined exclusively to creek camps, leaving the bars over to another year.” But “beyond question, the Boise diggings are the richest yet discovered, and when ditches are completed, and water introduced, their yield will astonish the world.”

Grenzebach must have been truly impressed by the potential of the Idaho mines. A little more than two years later he appears as the Superintendent of a substantial lode mine. Augustus was sometimes also tasked with personally recruiting investors in San Francisco.

Another traveler in from Idaho City emphasized the weather problem. This man said, “The people in those high latitudes have experienced hotter weather during the present season than has ever before been known on this coast north of the equator. On one occasion the mercury rose to 125 deg. in the shade.”

On other matters, we learn that “Gov. Wallace was busy preparing appointments for the various offices throughout the Territory that require to be filled to carry out the Territorial organization. Instructions had been given to the U. S. Marshal to proceed with the census of the Territory, which it was expected would be completed in about six or eight weeks.”

Reference: “A. N. Grenzeback,” Owyhee Avalanche, Silver City, Idaho (November 25, 1865).
“Later from the North,” Evening Bulletin, San Francisco, California (July 29, 1863).

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