I am pleased to announce the release of my latest book on Oregon Mining History. "The Golden Trail" is the follow-up to my earlier work "Gold Dust".
As Amazon.com explains it: "In his follow-up to "Gold Dust: Stories of Oregon's Mining Years", Oregon mining historian and prospector, Kerby Jackson, brings you another treasure trove of stories from Oregon's rich history of gold prospecting, about the prospectors and their discoveries, as well as about the breathtaking areas where they made their homes. This time around, Jackson brings us twelve tales from Oregon's Gold Rush, including the story about the first gold strike on Canyon Creek in Grant County, about the old timers who found gold by the pail full at the Victor Mine near Galice, how Iradel Bray discovered a rich ledge of gold on the Coquille River during the height of the Rogue River War, a tale of two elderly miners on the hunt for a lost mine in the Cascade Mountains, details about the discovery of the famous Armstrong Nugget and others."
How about a sample first?
The Lost Badger Mine
As the popular story goes, in 1878, a German immigrant by the name of Karl Meyer was prospecting on Miller Creek in the Lower Applegate District near the Josephine-Jackson County line. Unlike many such immigrant miners, Meyer was no greenhorn when it came to mining and in fact, had a received a degree in mineralogy from the University of Berlin before he had left Germany to come to Southern Oregon.
One morning, Meyer awoke at his camp on Miller Creek to discover that his mule, whom he called Maud, had wandered off sometime during the night. The mule was very fond of huckleberries and as they were just starting to ripen, Meyer knew that he would Maud at the nearest huckleberry patch.
Meyer followed the tracks of his mule up Miller Creek for what he estimated was about four and a half miles, then found that Maud's tracks left the creek and struck in the direction of a huckleberry patch he had seen earlier that month that he thought was located about three miles away. Following the tracks, he crossed several small gulches and creeks in the direction of the berry patch. Soon, it began to drizzle and steadily developed into a typical Oregon downpour, wiping out his mule's tracks.
Soon, Meyer, who always found the hills and mountains of Southern Oregon confusing, began to lose his bearings. Soaked to the bone, he desired to find shelter and wandering into a narrow canyon, discovered a small cave located underneath a rock overhang. The German climbed to the cave and sat down on a rock at its mouth, enjoying the temporary shelter that the overhang offered. His hope was to wait the storm out and continue on.
A few minutes later, a large badger came lumbering toward the cave, also apparently in search of shelter. As the animal came quite close to Meyer and startled him, he gave it a fierce kick. The animal snarled at him and then vanished into the cave, disappearing so quickly that it drew the miner's curiosity enough that Meyer decided to explore the cave. Setting some dry tinder alight with a match, Meyer set out deep into the recesses of the cave which soon ended abruptly. There on the wall at the end of the cave, the firelight revealed a bright glimmer.
Meyer was stunned to see a 14 inch wide vein that was heavy with gold running along the wall and promptly broke out enough ore to fill his hat.
Crushing and washing the ore out in the creek, the material proved rich. In fact, it was so rich that the hat full of ore was nearly 90% gold and gave up $4984 worth of gold. From that figure, Meyer determined that the ore would assay at about $415,000 per ton, or about 23,714 ounces per ton!
As Meyer was sure that he would have no problem finding the cave again, he did not make a map or leave any marks to find his way back. In fact, all he could really think about was to get back to his camp to write out a location notice that would give ownership of his discovery.
Once Meyer returned to camp, he found the mule waiting for him, her sides distended from gorging herself on huckleberries. As it was already late in the day, Meyer felt that it was best to wait until morning to return to his new claim. This proved to be a fatal mistake.
Get your copy of "The Golden Trail" from Amazon.com to read the rest of the story of the Lost Badger Mine here.