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A Famous Old Miner

A Famous Old Miner image
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The Paciöc coast newspapers have been full of stories about Edward Schieffelin, one of the discoverers of the Tombstone mines, who was found dead iu a cabin in eastern Oregon. His remaius, according to his wish, now rest upon the top of a granite peak two miles west of Tombstone, A. T. He desired, he said, "to beburied in the garb of a prospector, my oíd piok and canteen with me, and a monument snch as prospectors build when locating a rnining claim built over my grave and no other monument or slab erected. " It seerus to be geuerally feit throughout the Pacific coast that tbis plain, ignorant, kind hearted old pioneer and prospector, who had traveled many thousands of miles in search of new mines, has thus unconsciously made his mark upon onr romance and history. That lonely granite cairn in the desert, rising upon the extreme point of a treeless promontory, will long be pointed out as the grave of one of the most famous of American prospectors. Ed Sehieffeliu's one great strike yielded him fully a third of 1,000,000. At various times iu his adveuturous career he plodded painstakingly over the wildest portiousof the Rocky mountains and Sierras, he visited Alaska, Mexico, South America and South África, but never again found such a mine. When he died, his fortune, at one time said to be over $500,000, had greatly decreased by reason of bad inrestmeuts and costly expeditions. The story of the findiug of Tombstone, that briefly famous Arizonian miuing city, has been told in mauy different ways, until it is fast becoming one of the most attractive of Pucific coast niyths. The simple faets are that late in the seventies the two Schieffelin brothers and Dick Gird were prospecting, sometimes together, sometimes separately, in various districts of Arizona and New Mexico. It was a time of terrible Indian outbreaks, and the Apaches were on the warpath, killing lonely miners and prospectors, attacking the stage coaches and running off cattle. Ed Schieffelin finally wandered into the neighborhood of a disputed claim, the Bronco, where eight men had been shot in various attempts to decide its ownership, and was hired at $2 a day to sit on a hilltop and look out for Indians. One day, while hunting up a stray horse, the hitherto unsuccessful prospector stumbled into what was afterward called Tombstone Gulch and found some copper stained rock on what became the Tongh Nut mine. This he sent to Gird for an assay, and soon after sent ore from tho Lracky Cuss. When development veas begun, a thin vein in granite widened, and promised immense ricbes. The claims were sold for very large sums, and when the Apaches were driven out capitalists poured money into the district. But the mines did not justify expectations. Tombstone was very far from being a second Comstock. The unlncky Broncho never paid a dollar. The Schieffelin and Gird claims yielded for a time bnt soon ran out, and the camp sank into decay. The flrst time I met Schieffelin, that most typical of western prospectors, was about six years ago. After hearing some of his picturesqne prospector yarns I told him about the various treasure expeditions to Coos island and the legenda which had caused these excitements. He seized npon the glittering tale of diamond hilted swords, bags of doubloons and bars of gold with the faith of a child and at once offered to fit out a schooner for the islands and to pay my expenses as well as give me a third of the treasure if I wouldgoalong to repeat the legend as ofteu as desired. He had prospected for almost everything, he said, except pirate treasures, and he wanted those diamond hilted swords to "put in his parlor. " I did not know at that time the story about his parlor. Having bought a f 7,000 house in the town of Alameda, he kept several tons of quartz in one corner, on Lo)p of wbich his old prospecting tools, burro's saddle and camp outfit reposed when not in use. I uever heard what his wife thought of this unique turniture, but there is no doubt that the diamond hilted swords would have rested peacefully ou the quartz pile, and it was with sincere regrets that I acknowledged to him my eutire laok of faith in the picturesque Spanish legend of Coos island. Schieffelin's Alaska experieuces have long deserved a chronicler. He fitted out an expedition years ago and prospected over vast areas of that región. His little steamboat ascended the broad Yukon, and the party wintered in the interior. One man, since dead, Charles Farciot, remained behind when the steamer returned to prospect further. When he desired to return, he built one of the most remarkable little steam entines ever seen on the coast. It was made from a few pieces of pipe and some old cans picked up about the deserted Schieffelin camp, and his only tools were a file and a pocket knife, with a stone for a hammer. He put this rude little engine in the stern of a small rowboat left behind for his use and steamed 2,000 miles without an accident. The outfit was afterward on exhibition in San Francisco and excited the astonishment and indeed the profound admiration of the best machinists, who agreed insaying that Farciot's ruechanical genius was of a very high order. -


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News