October 13, 1892
Sixteen Well Defined Veins
From the Blue Devil to the Boston
One Tunnel to Cut All
Write Up of Horseshoe Basin Concluded – Description of its Numerous Lodges and Vast Wealth – Valley of the Stehekin, its Settlers, Resources, Etc.
The following is a brief description of the veins from the Black Warrior on the south to the famous Boston (across the divide) on the north, with the names of claims, owners, etc., so far as could be ascertained.
The Blue Devil ledge, the first discovery in the district, was located in June three years ago by Messrs. M.M. Kingman and A.M. Pershall, and sold, together with the Black Warrior, which adjoins it on the same ledge, last year to Donald Ferguson for $30,000. Farther east on the ledge are the White Cap and Opal claims, owned by Messrs. J.F. Samson, Lloyd Pershall and E.F. Christie, the Upper Ten and Last Chance claims, owned by Capt. Chas. Johnson and Wm. Gibson – the whole stretching out nearly a mile and three-quarters, clear across the basin, the east end of the Last Chance reaching the divide between the basin and Park Creek and the west end of the Blue Devil climbing the Doubtful lake divide. The width of the ledge is from ten to twenty feet, and looking down upon it form the rim of the upper basin it can be clearly seen nearly the whole distance mentioned above, not alone by the red stains but also by a distinct depression, where the glacial slides have scooped off the top but have not been able to carry away the foot wall, which is very hard. The pay streak is from two to four feet wide, and an average assay gives 60 ounces silver, 20 percent copper and 40 percent lead. This ledge is the first one to be tapped by the tunnel now being pushed by Mr. Ferguson, and which, it is estimated, will cost, when completed to cut the sixteen veins of the group, in the neighborhood of $200,000- and two-years’ time.
The next ledge north of the Blue Devil is the upper side, one-half of which is owned by Wm. Buzzard, the other half by Donald Ferguson and H.C. Thomas. The vein is eight to twelve feet wide, exposed for about 1,000 feet. Mr. Ferguson also owns the Cultus claim, an east extension.
Then comes the Black Bear ledge and the Tyee, both ledges belonging to the Ferguson group.
The next is the Crescent, previously mentioned, owned by Ferguson, a four-foot vein of galena with two feet of pay ore. A westward extension on this ledge is the Buzzard, owned same as the Upperside, which in places widens out to from ten to sixteen feet and is exposed for 400 feet. The Bullion is an eastern extension owned by E.B. and D.A. Vroman. This claim is eight feet wide and shows good galena ore, but has had very little development. Further east and north is a spur located by Messrs. A.M. Pershall, Jack Empey and Jack Marshall, and named the Idaho, which shows good mineral.
Northwest of the Crescent is the Waupaca, one of the first discoveries, which shows four feet of galena, and to the eastward on this ledge is the Lake View. Both claims are understood to belong to Mr. Ferguson.
Next comes the Summit claim, owned by Messrs. Buzzard and Ferguson, on which considerable work has been done and a fine body of ore uncovered, assaying 75 ounces silver and 70 percent lead. An east extension owned by C.H. Cole is called the Whistler. Mr. Cole also owns a claim named the Grand Central No. 2 on a vein or spur north of the Whistler.
This brings us to what is in many respects the most remarkable ledge in the district, situated along and in places crossing the outer circle of the crescent of the basin, 8,000- or 9,000-feet above sea level. It was discovered last year by Messrs. Pershall and Kingman, who located on it the Red Mountain, Rusty, Horseshoe and Davenport claims, also a spur to the southward from the Davenport, the Eclipse, East of the Davenport is the Washington owned by J.F. Samson, Lloyd Pershall and Ben F. Smith, and still further east, reaching to the Park creek summit, is the Sawtooth, owned by Wm. Henry and C.H. Cole. This ledge may well be termed the keystone of this phenomenal mineral belt. At the point of first discovery, on the Horseshoe and Davenport, there is an exposed pay chute of glittering galena 300 feet long, from three to four feet thick and from ten to twenty feet high, where glacial action has carried away the foot wall. Considerable development has been done this season on all the claims mentioned, establishing the permanence of the vein beyond all doubt. Its average width is twenty feet, the pay streak averages four feet wide, and the assays give an average of the ore at 60 ounces silver to the ton, with 77 percent lead.
Most of the ledges mentioned can be clearly traced across the basin from one ridge to the other, except at places where they extend under the glaciers.
The next ledge to the northward form the Red Mountain, Rusty, etc., lies over the divide in the Cascade district, and on it Mr. Ferguson has two claims, the Minnesota and Montana and still north of that on another ledge, the Iceland and Greenland, very appropriate names when the altitude is considerable. The writer was unable to secure any data as to extent or prospects of the last two ledges, nor of four other claims located somewhere in that neighborhood, the Gray Eagle, Golden Gate, Arizona and Little Boy.
This brings us to the famous ledge on which is located the Boston mine, and which parallels all the ledges of Horseshoe Basin. The Boston is owned by the Messrs. Rouse, together with Pittsburg and Seattle capitalists, and was located several years ago. Two tunnels have been opened on the ledge, one of sixty and one of forty feet and its undoubted and immense wealth first brought the Cascade district into prominence, drew attention to it and led to the discoveries east of the divide in Okanogan county. The Chicago is a westward extension, and still further west is the Buffalo. The first two claims east of the Boston are the Sierra Grand, owned by Ferguson, and the Ontario, in which he has a one-half interest. The pay streak of this ledge averages four feet in width, assaying from 40 to 120 ounces in silver and from 40 to 50 percent lead. The Boston was visited year before last by Donald Ferguson, as an expert in the interest of intending purchasers. He had no hesitation in pronouncing it very valuable property, but its inaccessibility amounted to an effectual bar to its successful operation, and his report was to the effect that its ore would have to find an output to the southward. The property was visited this season by John B. Farrish, of Boston, said to be the leading mining expert of the United States, who made substantially the same report as did Mr. Ferguson, that it would have to be reached from Horseshoe basin. The Ferguson tunnel, while it has nothing to do with the Boston proposition, will eventually tap the same vein, on the Ontario claim, within 300 feet of the Boston. In all probability all these mines will be consolidated, constituting one of the most stupendous propositions known to the mining world.
It is expected that the Ferguson tunnel will be excavated far enough before heavy snowfall so that work on it can be carried on without interruption during the winter, and suitable buildings and other improvements are being provided with that end in view. A new trail is to be opened from the Stehekin to Ferguson’s camp, leading up on the east side of the cascade flowing out of the basin, thus avoiding the heavy climb of the present trail and making the camp much more accessible.
The ore of the basin can all be very easily delivered by a system of bucket tramways to the cars on the Stehekin, but it is more than probable that after the present tunnel strikes the Blue Devil an other tunnel will be started on the Stehekin which will be the main tunnel for the whole proposition, obliviating the necessity for bucket tramways and cutting the veins from 1,000 to 4,000 below the surface. Tunnel boring, mining and lighting will be done by electricity, as unlimited water power exists within a few rods of either the present works or on the Stehekin.
Our time for investigation was altogether too limited to take in but a very small portion of the wonders and prospects of this phenomenal district, and on Friday morning, September 16th, the writer, accompanied by Ben Smith, struck the zigzag trail for home, leaving Al Spader and Wm. Buzzard behind to do further development work. We halted at the camp of Robert and J.B. Pershall, on the Stehekin, long enough to examine and possess ourselves of some rare specimens from their claim, where only a few rods away “Bob” and Geo. Wason were busy putting in shots and uncovering the rich silver ore ready for shipment as soon as transportation reaches them.
Farther down the stream we had the pleasure of meeting M.M. Kingman, Al Pershall and J.F. Samson on their way to the basin. Fortunate men, all of them, though if any one thinks they do not deserve all they may get out of these mines, let him attempt to undergo all the hardships of prospecting, discovery and development before he ventures to say what he thinks.
We arrived at Bridge Creek early in the afternoon, where another pleasant interview with Col. Frank Wilkeson was had. The colonel evidently knows a good thing when he sees it. He isn’t located there in that wild mountain fastness for his health alone, nor yet for the paltry income afforded at present from this “store,” although it must be admitted that the aforesaid store is a great convenience to all the mining camps thereabouts. He is a man of education and culture, has traveled extensively and held the position of private secretary to Ben Butler in his campaign of 1884. He is at present the press correspondent of the New York Times. When such a man deliberately puts down his stakes and stays with them like the colonel has done at Bridge Creek, the public can well believe there is more in it than appears on the surface. When asked the direct question as to what his presence and stick-to-itiveness meant, he was closer than a clam shell; but even if there were nothing else, the proximity of this splendid townsite to the various camps in the great ore belt means that another Leadville or Virginia City, or Creede will spring up on this site as soon as genuine development of the mines shall begin.
Saturday morning found us again headed toward the lake. The pall of smoke had become too dense for enjoyment of the scenery. The mountains thereabouts are full of wild game, such as deer, bear, cougars, mountain goats, wolves, etc., and fresh deer and bear tracks were plentiful in the trail. We were not on a hunting expedition, however, unless it was for civilization once more.
The valley of the Stehekin for eight or ten miles above the lake is from a mile and a half wide, and though for the most part densely timbered the soil is rich and will produce and mature almost everything in the way of fruits, vegetables, etc. It is all taken up and when cleared will be very valuable, besides being very beautiful and romantic. The Stehekin is emphatically the home of the trout, and one can scarcely throw in a line without hooking one weighing from one and one half to five or six pounds. Another attraction of this section, very rarely met with east of the mountains, is the profusion of wild fruits, such as raspberries, dewberries, huckleberries, cherries, service berries, grapes, current and elder berries which grow here.
Among those who have fortunately secured a farm in this delightful valley are Frank F. Keller, J.W. Provance, Mr. Horton, Wm. Buzzard, Dan Devore, C.H. Cole and Robert Pershall, the last three being on or near the head of the lake, at what is known as Stehekin. It may be remarked that most of the farms are on the north side of the stream, though there are some exceptions.
Stehekin, at the head of navigation of the lake, with its romantic and healthful situation, with on good hotel and store, notwithstanding its sparse population and newness has bright prospects for prosperity ere long.
Tuesday morning again finds us on the Belle headed for home, having had a wonderful amount of experience and adventure crowded into one short week, and more than ever convinced that aside from all her other varied resources Chelan has the mineral backing to make of her a populous and prosperous city.