Idaho History Feb 9, 2020

The Prospector and Thunder Mountain News April 22, 1905

courtesy Sandy McRae and Jim Collord

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The Prospector and Thunder Mountain News

Roosevelt, Idaho April 22, 1905 Volume 1 Number 19

Yellow Pine Basin – Its Timber And Mineral Resources
Great Possibilities Of The District

Yellow Pine Basin is the land of romance since the early sixties, and in ’84 the scene of Bill Southerland’s wonderful trip to save the lives of his scurvey [sic] stricken pardners, which occurrance [sic] gave Capt. H. G. Catilen the incident on which his story, “Yellow Pine Basin” is written.

From the nature of the mining developments of the present winter, will the coming summer be the mecca of a great number of people from the outside, and the scene of a number of mining enterprises. This basin is situated on the East Fork of the South Fork of Salmon river at the mouth of Johnson creek, eleven miles below the Johnson creek bridge on the Thunder Mountain wagon road. This Basin contains about 3,000 acres of level land covered with one of the finest growths of yellow pine timber in the interior of Idaho. The elevation is 4,300 feet at the Werden-[hoff?] … (page torn) … creek, Parks creek, Reardon creek, and Johnson creek mines are situated within a radius of ten miles of the Basin proper, and of a necessity from the nature of the ores and contour of the country they will make the Basin the place where a town is sure to grow in the next few years.

In describing the mines of this section, I will say that the Quartz and Johnson creek mines are located on an exfoliated dyke of porphyries, andicites and altered granite, running north and south, with a slight general trend eastward. Nearly all of this dyke contains slight values in gold, silver, copper and lead, while in it occur lenzes of quartz and quartz-schists in which the values are good. Country rock a nonmicatious granite.

My last three years’ experience on a number of properties in the district lead me to believe that the free values are confined to the oxidized surface of the veins and are not a permanent factor in the mining industry of this part of Idaho. So far nothing has been encountered in the ores to interfere with cyanidation, and that, or some kindred process will be the one used in extracting the precious metals from these ores.

Evidences of this dyke are found from the head of the Buck creek branch of Johnson creek on the south, to the head of Quartz creek on the north, a distance of 17 or 18 miles. Johnson and Quartz creek canyons are caused by the faulting of the granite along a plane of least resistance, and the fault filled with the above named ejecta.

I will now say that paralleling this horizon at a distance of 9 or 10 miles the Reardon and Indian creek ridge horizon occurs. The geological phenomena of this zone is possibly coincident with that of Thunder Mountain proper, being one of the numerous extensions of the same. The ore veins are found in porphries, andicites, schists, and kindred rocks. This horizon, as so far proved, extends a distance of 11 miles north and south along Indian creek ridge, Reardon creek summit, and Trappers Flat. Between these two main geological factors, and on the outside of the same for some distance, veins carrying ores containing good values are found. This region comprising an area 20 miles square presents one of the greatest mining possibilities of our State, and one destined to be a wealth producer for a great number of years, when worked.

I will now mention … (page torn) … taking place in this section. In Yellow Pine Basin the two Van Meter brothers are placering rim and making good wages. On Parks creek, Jessie Jackman and John Carson have driven 200 feet of levels on their respective properties this winter; in the Jackman tunnel from two to three feet of ore is in sight that assays from $5 to $20 in gold, while the showing on the Carson property is equally as good.

Late last fall A. C. Behne disposed of four claims to N. Y. parties and has had two men at work on one of these claims this winter. They are developing through a cross-cut tunnel which intersected the vein at a depth of 50 feet showing it to be at this point six feet in width, sampling, for this distance in the neighborhood of $8 in gold per ton.

The 500 foot cross-cut tunnel at the Sunshine intersected the first vein about a month ago with gratifying results, it proving its self to be three feet wide where struck. But as the tunnel is primarily run for the big vein distant about 150 feet from the one already cut, the work is being pushed ahead to that point. Assays from this ground run as high as $45 in gold, some of which is free. The ore is a massive quartz filled with yellow iron sulphides.

Adjoining the Sunshine on the north, is the ground held by the Johnson Creek Mining Company; operations were suspended on this property last fall to await the results of the work done on the Sunshine tunnel, both of these companies being under the management of the same eastern people. This spring work will be pushed on the Johnson Creek Company’s claims with new vigor. Mr. George B. (Hol-?) … (page torn) two properties.

At the Diffany claims on Buck creek, a number of men will be put to work as soon as supplies can be got on the ground; these claims are under the management of Chas. A. Werdenhoff, and the money is fourthcoming [sic] to do a lot of work this summer. The ores here average $6 gold and 9 oz. silver, and are found on the south side of a large porphyry dyke.

Work is to be resumed on the Golden Gate shortly. The last work done showed ore shutes [sic] that assayed well.

The Black Foot Company’s ground at the head of Quartz creek, on Cleveland Summit, has been closed down the present winter but work is to be re-commenced about the middle of May. Some of the assays from this property give exceptional values.

I will now mention some of the prospects that show up well. On the Van Welch claims about 100 feet of work has been done; one tunnel about 50 feet long has 7 feet of ore in sight that samples $7 gold and 18 ounces of silver, while open cuts on the surface show this ore body in place for four or five hundred feet in length. Sam Gillam’s claims show ores of the same character. Kit, Dick and Charlie Chitwood have eleven claims at this point on which they have driven 350 feet of tunnel. A hundred-foot tunnel shows the vein to be from 3 to 8 feet in width, averaging $10 gold. Al. Behne, Charlie Werdenhoff, Geo. Abstine, Al. Hennessy and Clark Rowland are individual owners of claims on this creek that look all right.

I will now take up the Trapper’s Flat, Indian creek ridge, and Reardon creek parts of the Yellow Pine Basin district. At Black Lake, Allison and Blackburn(?) sunk a 30 foot … (page torn) … The Reliance group this winter, showing up an 8 foot vein, assays from which run $8 to $122 gold, a great deal of which is free. At the Monte Christo, the long cross-cut tunnel has intersected two veins that do not show on the surface. Assays from these veins run from $5 to $10 gold. The Monte Christo is on the same vein as the Reliance and is managed by the Spear’s American Exchange, Mans L. Coffin superintendent; a mill will be placed on this property soon.

On Cooper Mountain, Cooper and Hood have a splendid showing of $20 gold ore on the Minnie claim. This property is attracting a good deal of attention. Perry Watson and Joe Gardner own two claims three miles northeast of the Minnie, from which they get $4 to $16 assays. This vein is well defined and from two to seven feet wide where opened up.

Last fall, Baxter the packer, did quite a lot of work on his claims. A shaft sunk along side of the wagon road shows the vein to be in place, and from two to five feet in width. The ore looks to be of good grade. W. J. Burke has an excellent showing on his ground near the Trapper’s flat road house. The Snow ground will be developed extensively this spring.

A number of claims have been located in the Yellow Pine Basin country by people from the outside during the last two years. On this property little or no work has been done. To retain these holdings, assessment work will have to be done this year. This work of itself will prove some of the claims to be good ones.

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Mountain Scene in Idaho County.
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19050422Pg1-txt1headline1A Mute Messenger.

(page torn) … to our desk one day this week. It was a small bullet encased in a piece of wood from a block a foot in diameter. A. D. Almond while splitting some kindling for his evening fire cut the bullet in two. It had pierced the tree about six inches some time in the long ago — so long ago that the wood had grown around it and entirely obliterated the track it ploughed when it entered the tree. The log came from the house of Sam Bell which fell to ruin some two years ago, and the log was doubtless from a dead tree when it was put into the building; so it may have been embeded [sic] for half a century. It brings to mind stories of the outlawed Sheepeater Indians when they first sought these mountain fastnesses.
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19050422Pg1-txt1headline2Lost Mines.

By far the greater number of the stories relative to lost mines are figments of the imagination. The Lost Cabin, Lost Squaw, Gunsight, Nigger Ben and Pegleg traditions are so firmly welded into current literature in mining that we do not believe that they will ever be completely discredited as myths. They should be classed with sailor’s yarns. We firmly believe that the stories were in most cases invented to pass away an idle hour. Passing from mouth to mouth they have come to be believed. Personally we would not waste five minutes’ time, nor a dollar, to investigate.

– Mining Reporter.
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J. A. Herron came up from the Middle Fork of the Salmon this week and he and O. W. Laing are on a prospecting trip.
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19050422Pg2-txt1headline1The Yellow Pine Basin.

We publish this week an article by Bert Ethier, E. M., on the great Yellow Pine Basin country. This will be interesting to our readers as Mr. Ethier’s statements are reliable and we believe this is the first sweeping account ever published of that great district. The development work there has never been extensive and just what the future will bring forth is still necessarily a matter of conjecture, but we have firm faith that the district will give a good account of itself. It has many natural advantages besides its mineral wealth and is really tributary to the great Thunder Mountain district.
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19050422Pg2-txt1headline2In the Sunny South.

It has been feared by some northern people that the President would not receive a cordial welcome on his trip through the South. Such an idea was never advanced by any one well acquainted with the real temperament of the southern people. It is … misunderstandings have … (page torn) to of the southerner is as quick to right a wrong as to resent a grievance. No chief executive ever received a more enthusiastic ovation than Mr. Roosevelt on his southern trip through Kentucky, Missouri and Texas.
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19050422Pg2-txt1headline3H. O. Johnson Arrives From Salmon City.

H. O. Johnson, who has been spending the winter at Salmon City arrived in town Friday. Mr. Johnson says that those on the outside are just awakening to the marvelous resources of Thunder Mountain. The people of Salmon City say they must and shall have a wagon road through to this town of Roosevelt and that too light away.

Peter McKinney, our well known and popular meat man, leaves for Roosevelt with a herd of cattle and will arrive here about May 10.

Newton Hibbs is expected to arrive with Mr. McKinney. Mr. Hibbs will at once assume charge of the Rainbow Gold Mining Co.’s property and extensive operations will be carried on this summer.

Mr. Johnson is to drive a 200 foot tunnel on his property on Cornish creek and he has engaged O. T. Lingo to freight his supplies and equipment to the mine where work will be commenced immediately. Mr. Johnson says that the prospects for the Butte-Boise railroad via Salmon are very bright and when that road goes through that Salmon will be the headquarters for the Thunder Mountain country. The distance is 120 miles and but seventy miles of road remains to be built. This route would extend down Marble creek, down Middle Fork to the month of Camas creek, up Camas creek to Three Forks, and up Silver creek to the Lingiser wagon road which leads to Salmon.

Mr. Johnson is glad to get back to Roosevelt and we are glad to see him. He is an old-timer here, well and favorably known.
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Locals Continued.


School will commence Monday at the Fairview building. Mrs. Arnold, the teacher, is expected daily.

The snow is all gone in town and every one is busy getting ready for the coming summer which will be a strenuous one.

Frank Gorman is budding a dwelling house on the rear of his lot on Main Street. The house will be 15×17 feet in the clear.

Miners are continually arriving, looking for work. They will have no difficulty in getting employment as the demand for workmen will doubtless exceed the supply as it did last year.
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The Thunder Mountain News.
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19050422Pg3-txt1headline1How Jap Servants Leave.

No Japanese servant is so wanting in good breeding as to give direct notice to her mistress, says the Boston Traveler. Nothing is direct in Japan, for their language does not contain the word “no.” When a servant wishes to leave she asks to visit a sick relative. When the date for her returning arrives, a magnificently worded apology is sent saying that the relative is dead, and that she cannot be spared from her home, or something of the kind. When a servant is rebuked or scolded he must smile like a Chinese cat.

Truth for truth’s sake is unknown in Japanese commerce. If you transact business with a Japanese and trust implicitly to his honor, he will think you such a fool that you deserve to be robbed, and rob you he will. The Chinaman’s word is as good as a check. The Japanese’s word is a mere compliment. The reason for this discreditable state of things is sought in the social history of the nation, which has left trade traditionally to the riffraff.

Their poverty is the excuse the Japanese shopkeepers make for themselves. Their low caste is the excuse make for them by their apologists. In the Japanese social scale the merchant is the lowest, except the outcast or scavenger class, called eta. In the old feudal days the nobles and their establishments of samurai did not buy things at shops. Manufacturers and artificers of all sorts formed part of their establishment. Tradesmen had no customers worth having, and, therefore, only a very low class cared to go into trade.

The elder statesman whom we know in these last few months to be the real rulers of Japan, who have been pulling the wires in secret ever since the Revolution, are much disturbed at the debauch of Japanese trade reputation in the eyes of the world, and there are signs that when the war is over they will take the matter in hand. For the present, we are confronted with the spectacle that, although the Japanese government is the most correct of any of the great powers in observing international obligations, the Japanese individual is at the other end of the scale.
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19050422Pg3-txt1headline2Pillsbury Made Insane Effort to Kill Himself.

Harry N. Pillsbury, champion chess player of America, recently made a desperate effort to plunge from a window in the fourth story of the Presbyterian hospital. He had been suffering from an internal malady and went to the hospital to be operated on.

Pillsbury left his room during the temporary absence of his nurse. He was a wild figure in dishabille, making violent gestures, loudly calling off chess moves and discussing the game in insane fashion to himself. He walked down the hallway to a woman patient’s room, and dashed in. She screamed and her attendant and Pillsbury’s male nurse rushed into the ward.

They led Pillsbury back to his room. Here the patient became more violent and made a rush for the window, which he shattered in his effort to plunge to the street. A woman nurse seized him by the legs, but Pillsbury kicked her to the floor. Two other nurses, a doctor and an orderly arrived at this juncture. Pillsbury gave his captors the struggle of their lives, all the time raving about chess and screaming orders to make certain moves. He was finally overcome and sedatives were applied to quiet him.

-Pittsburg Gazette.

link: Wikipedia Harry Nelson Pillsbury
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Great Thunder Mountain Mining Man Elected Mayor of Nampa.

R. W. Purdum was elected mayor of Nampa April 4th by a large majority. Of the 715 votes cast, Mr. Purdum received 475. He is a Republican in politics, but party lines were entirely obliterated; the great personal popularity of the man gave him his splendid majority. So much is Mr. Purdum liked in his home town of Nampa that even those who voted against him feel no disappointment in his election.

Naturally, the citizens of Roosevelt feel much pleased at his triumph, for they claim Mr. Purdum. He is general manager of the great Sunnyside mine; he, and Superintendent E. L. Abbott who has worked in perfect harmony with him, have made the mine which means so much, not alone to Roosevelt, but to the whole State of Idaho as its future production of bullion will prove. A weaker man would have lacked the courage to expend nearly $1,000,000 as R. W. Purdum has done in developing a mine and acquiring 740 acres of ore blanket; the body of ore now blocked out and worth millions of dollars justifies the operations which would have overwhelmed a man of less confidence, ability and financial backing.

Mr. Purdum is a friend to the town of Roosevelt. Last year when the question of building the road to the different mines on Thunder Mountain proper came up and the idea was advanced to branch south of Roosevelt on account of the lesser grade, thus cutting out the flourishing town already begun, Mr. Purdum stood with the other big mining men here, saying: “Let’s have one good town in Thunder Mountain; Roosevelt is started, its location is good and let’s give it a boost and have a city of which we can be proud. The road must go through the town and up Mule creek.” The result is that Roosevelt has become the metropolis of the district and will doubtless remain such.

The two men who believed in Thunder Mountain, believed in their city of Nampa, believed in their State of Idaho – believed in them, worked for them, and were proud of them first, last and at all times were Col. W. H. Dewey and R. W Purdum. Col. Dewey is dead and his monument is the Dewey mine, but Mr. Purdum is in the prime of his life and his usefulness to his State is but just begun. Accept our congratulations.
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19050422Pg4headline2Idaho’s Town Officer’s.

The results of the municipal elections which were held all over Idaho on April 4 are somewhat interesting. Boise and Lewiston are the only towns of any size in the state which did not elect municipal officers — they having special charters. As we go to press we learn of but two towns in the whole state where the officials were elected by strict party vote.

Macky voted for Sunday closing of saloons, or at least elected trustees in favor of closing.

This independent voting all over the State is an encouraging sign of the times. It is not limited to Idaho, but seems to be taking place all over the country as evidenced in the last national election, and well illustrated in Massachusetts where Roosevelt was given a tremendous majority but W. L. Douglas, the democratic candidate for governor, elected by one of the heaviest pluralities ever given any gubernational [sic] candidate in the Bay State.
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The Mountain Flower.

I sought a cabin near Thunder Mount
Where a miner’s child lay dying;
We could not find a priest to count
The beads, for heaven’s portals plying.

I tried to whisper that weird old tale
That still hangs on the crucifix,
But her eyes seemed e’er to pierce the veil
That floats on fabled river Styx.

She was like to the “Prairie Flower” —
The pure soul of that cabin home.
And when she died, we thought the hour
For the end of all things had come.

She seemed to harken to yonder’ shore
As her soul prepared for its flight,
But ever her gaze reached out before —
Beyond the circle of bear oil light.

And what did she see in that last view —
Need’st shrink from curse the universe broad?
Hell itself gasps at such fiendish brew;
You dare not thus blaspheme your God.

Her soul was calm as an oil-laid sea
And her smile spoke faith and hope;
Whatever her future fate may be
She surely saw in that last scope.

I strove to witness that pure soul soar
And to note its eternal fate
But dimly heard echo of distant oar,
Saw a gleam of an unbarred gate.

She never knew that the Christ had died,
And she never had heard of hell,
But calmly crossed to the other side.
And who dare say all is not well?

We blasted deep ‘neath a towering ledge,
Where sunshine bright the shadow courts
Just in the evergreen forest’s edge,
A sparkling tomb in golden quartz.

Oh sweet be your sleep my lovely one,
On this alter of soul’s tears made!
And wait the wakening time to come
When the demon of Death is paid.

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H. J Hanson has gone to the McGiveney ranch on Middle Fork of Salmon for cattle.

Chas. McLaughlin and D. S. McInerney are doing some fine work on L. A. Wayland & Son’s building.

Dr. C. T. Jones has bought out his partner, Hunter E. Crane and will in future conduct the business alone. Mr. Crane will remain in town.

Mr. Campbell, accountant at the Sunnyside mine, is making a short visit at Nampa. Several men at the mine are temporarily on the sick list.

S. I. Choat and Bert Ethier left Friday for Indian creek where they are to do some work on their property there. From that point Mr. Ethier will go on to Yellow Pine Basin.

Mr. McAndrews has been looking for his partner, Mr. Reuter for some weeks. He has lately learned the cause of the delay. There is a young lady at Knox — we don’t mention any names — but Mr. McAndrews thinks the Belles may ring.

The showing in the shaft at the H. Y. is looking better this week, the ground is more oxidized and Supt. Whitlock has good hopes that the blanket ore will be struck at that point. The rock is also improving in appearance in the Polo Duro tunnel.

Charlie Myers arrived from the Middle Fork Tuesday with his three horses and immediately turned them on the range below town. He says it is summer on the Middle Fork; the grass is green and flowers are in bloom. Stock there is looking fine.

Bert Ailport arrived Wednesday with the mail. Coming down Southwest Fork of Monumental creek, he was endeavoring to remove a large log from the road when he was caught by one end and quite severely hurt. He left with the outward bound mail Saturday morning.

Clark Rowland, a veteran mountaineer and miner, died at Meadows April 9th, says the Statesman. Mr. Rowland, mentioned in Bert Ethier’s article this week as a property owner in Yellow Pine Basin, was well known here in Roosevelt. He was here in the early days of the camp and located property here.

Frank Hutchison received an assay certificate Wednesday night from J. McVicker’s assay office showing trace of silver and $8.44 in gold per ton. This is from his property on south side of Divide creek near its mouth. He is cross cutting the ledge and is in about fifteen feet and has not yet got the hanging wall.
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The Great Blanket Ore Deposit of Thunder Mountain

[The following article was first published July 6, 1902, in the Salt Lake Telegram and republished in the Salt Lake Mining Review July 30, 1904. Its chief value lies in the fact that the prophesy made by Samuel F. Hunt at that time — a prophecy founded on careful investigation — has proven true. At the time of the first appearance it did not meet with the approval of many good mining men here in the district. — Editor.]

Quite a little discussion has gone on among miners and prospectors regarding the nature of the Thunder Mountain ore deposits. The boom literature of the newspapers have it a volcanic condition similar to Cripple creek; and all shades of opinion are expressed pro and con about it in camp. The truth of it is that the volcanic rock so prevalent about the mines have disguised the real nature of the deposits to even very acute and competent mining men.

Having had three months time to study the surrounding conditions and examine into the nature of the ores and the mode of occurrence at many different points, I believe there should be no longer any disagreement regarding the matter and conditions prevalent, and with this make a statement of the facts in the case, which the exploitation of the mines up to the present time have proven. As a new arrival, about the first thing you are told about and shown are the great pieces of charcoal and petrified wood that are found right in the ore. I have seen, many feet under solid strata, eighteen inches of charcoal that will burn in an open fire, and run five dollars per ton in gold.

Now, the most of the ores are of a dark earthy and talcose material, mottled and mixed with sand and gravel and wash worn boulders as large as a cocoanut [sic]. The dark coloring is derived from the presence of carbonaceous material of a lignitic nature, containing many leaf impressions. The floor of the deposit is diorite; the hanging wall is rhyolite which resembles quartzite in appearance; there are two hundred and fifty feet of alternating layers of dark and light colored rhyolites capped with coarse wash worn conglomerate and soft carbonaceous shales that overlie the rhyolites and the ore.

The ore deposits lie in almost horizontal positions. These sediments have been much altered and buried in most places, first by a flow of tuffaceous material or geyser mud and lastly by a basalt capping burying them from sight in many places. What are now the ore deposits, was a marginal sea or lake deposit of the Tertiary age and was primarily a placer bed; but the out-flowing of rhyolites over these sediments forming the immediate cover of the ore deposits has brought about a secondary enrichment of the bed.

Thermal waters were apparently the vehicle that transported the gold which was one of the constituent metals of the rhyolitic magma, downward and laterally through the sediments until brought to the impervious diorite floor, was arrested, making the detrital accumulation above a zone of saturation. The gold, evidently carried in a solution of iron sulphate, was precipitated as sulphide by the organic material present. The deposit then is a blanket; but it has not an exact horizontal position; the reason being that the district has been subjected to recent orographic changes which have tilted the sediments into undulating folds. The backs of the anticlines were more easily eroded and have been removed. The synclines having been more or less compressed and capped by subsequent igneous ejecta, have withstood the ceaseless action of Time’s denudating agents and remain in patches capping the high hills.

There are three of these patches in the district; one on Thunder Mountain with an areal extent of about five square miles. It is in the form of an irregular ellipse, about five miles in length and from one-half to two miles in width.

The next in importance is four miles east of Thunder Mountain on Lookout Peak and covers many more square wiles. Another patch on Rainbow Peak, five miles west of Thunder Mountain, the area of which has not been determined.

There may be a forth development of these formations on the divide between Monumental and Rush creeks ten or fifteen miles north of the Dewey mine.

There is in all probability fifteen or twenty square miles of mining, ground on this fossilized, lava capped, secondarily enriched placer, in the district. Should it prove with further development to be as rich as the famous Dewey mine, it will supply an enormous tonnage for many years to come.

This form of ore deposit is not a singular or unheard of occurrence; it has not upset the philosophy of the mine expert, nor brought out a “new thing.” In fact these pre-quarteranry placers were the first mines discovered in the State of Idaho forty-two years ago, and that too, in this county.

Florence and Warren both are similar occurrences; but were worked out as placers. It is certain that the gold of these camps was deposited on what is now the high hills, before the canyon of the Salmon river, a gorge that is five thousand feet deep, had begun to wear down; and what appear to be isolated patches now, are remnants left here and there of a gold placer that at one time covered an area of thirteen hundred square miles.

In the interior of Idaho now, are many different places dotted over a territory one hundred and fifty miles long, east and west, by seventy-five miles wide, north and south, that manifest similar conditions present at Thunder Mountain; and it is more than likely that a part of this is the richest unprospected field in the West.

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