Saturday, August 3, 2013

Large Amounts of Gold Dust Waiting for Shipment

On August 3, 1863, The Oregonian reported, “Our merchants are constantly receiving letters from their correspondents at Boise and at other trading points in the mines, full of complaints because of the impossibility of safely sending out the immense amounts of dust now accumulated.”

Unfortunately, dangers lurked along every trail. The newspaper said, “On account of the enormous expense of maintaining Expresses of sufficient strength to be prepared to resist the possible attacks of highwaymen and Indians, none now transport treasure, except in very small sums, and parties coming out are always unwilling to bring or have in charge any more than belongs to them.”

One miner braved the trails by himself and managed to slip through. From him, The Oregonian heard that, “If he had taken all that he was begged to bring, he should have had over a million dollars worth, and from others we get similar statements.”

The inability to get the gold out placed miners and merchants in an awkward position. To maintain their good credit, they were “very anxious to place in the hands of their creditors, who of course are equally – perhaps a little more – anxious to receive it.”
Box with Gold Nuggets and Dust

And, as the article went on, “Such a condition of things of course greatly obstructs business, and is a serious detriment to the mining districts, as well as to the merchants in this city, at the Dalles and in San Francisco, to all of whom it is a matter of serious consequence that transportation of treasure should be possible, safe and regular.”

Reference: “Millions of Gold Waiting Transportation,” The Oregonian, Portland (August 3, 1863).

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