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Black Hills Geology

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Froffl the Miuncapolis Tribune, St'jii. ilth. At a meeting of the Academy of Natural Sciences, held at their room laat eve ïiing, Prof. Newton H. Winchell, State Geologist and ProfeBsor of Natural History in tho State University, was present and iiiado souie reraarks concerning the xpodition to the Black Hilla, froni which he had just returned, tho reporta of the gold discoveries there, and the general nature of tho country. What the Professor said is given in substance below: Prof. Winchell said that he did not see any gold in the Black Huls, nor did any one bring any to hiin for examination. Some brought what tUoy thought was gold-bearing quartz, but on examination he found it to be niica acales, stiunod with iron rust. Iron often gets into mioa and colors it. He would not say but what there was gold there, and some parties may have discovered gold, but he saw none, and therefore he was of tho opinión that there was none there. He was led to beliove that the reports of gold were groundless, from another reason, viz.: that the character of the men who talked up the expedition urging the government to explore the Black Huls would lead any one to distrust their statements. ïheso men were miners and adveuturers who profess to bo practical miners, but who have always lived on and proiited by excitement. ïhey were stock jobbers who probably own extinct claims now in different parts of the country, and who wishod to profit out of this expedition. He did not say that Gun. Custer or the military authorities had been influenced by these men. 'Ihey may have been practical scueniers. The roporters accompanyingthe expedition derived all their inl'onuation coucerning the reported gold discoveries from those men, and so did Gen. Custer. No one but these men pretended to have taken out any gold, or to have seen any anyway. It would have been very easy for them, with the viow of raising this excitement, to have taken with them a quantity of gold dust and then washed it in their paus. He would uot say that they did so, but they might have done so, and indeed the possibilities for so doing were so great that he thought it a good reason lor distrusting their statements. He did not wish by these remarks to dissuade men froui going to the Black Hills, but he did not wish them togo and expect to return loaded down with gold nuggets, under his representations. He knew that when people got there they would find a great many pleasant things, but no gold. He disclaimed any personal feeling against tho men referred to. He had been on friendly terms with them, and they had treated him oourteously. But he did not think that in his position he ought to sanction, by his silence, the wild fever which has uow been excited. It having been wondered at by many why so numerous a forcé of soldiers went on this expedition, it inight be explained by saying that the men do not like to be ïdle all the time ; they want something to do. There was a good regiment of cavalry at Port Lincoln, which would oost no more in the field than it would there. In tact, it would be cheaper to keep the horses on grass than on corn, and therefore that was an argument in favor of the expedition. As far as the speaker knew, there was no appropriation made by the government, and it cost no more than if it had remained at the fort. The topographieal work would be going on somewhere, and its prosecution in conuection with the expedition was no extra expense. In speaking of the Black Hills región, the Professor said that it was a beautiful country. Among the induceinents to emigrants to lócate there are the beauty of the country and the salubrious and. pleasant atmosphere. There is plenty of arable land to support a numerous population. There is a large growth of Norway pine there, which would furnish all the timber necessary for building. If tiinber should not be desired, stone is plenty, and also an abundance of clay tor making brick. There is water-power in the streams which would run sawmills for working up lumbar. The water there is all clear and pure, and often cold. The little valleys are watered by streams which run through them, and ofteu springs were found along the sides of the valleys. The Black Hilis get more rain than the plains around them. The hills in that región are cut into canons which are very wide, and grassed over the bottoin. Through the valleys streets could be run if they should ever be settled. They have rocky bluffs on either side, the rock being hid by soil, but sticking out sufficiently to show that there is a continuous wall of rock there, only blightly hid. The principal economical producís that he found were iron and gypsum. He saw inarble also, which could be quarried and would be quite valuable. He found material from which the smaller necessities are made ; such as slating, paving stones, and some very fine slute from which whetstones and hones are made. Ho did not get that large amount of fossils and specimens on the trip that he expected to, because the expedition wont into the mountains, which is not a fossiliferous región, and did not go into the fossiliferous bad lands. He got a number of hides for the museum at the University - whioh will be found to be valuable. Among them we those of the antelope, deer, elk, bear, badger, and weasel. There is no one living in the Black Hills región now, and the expedition saw scarcely any Indians. Those whom they did see were a Sioux hunting party, from the Küd Cloud agency, who were captured by the soldiers - that is to say, they were surrounded aud did not offer resistance, when informed of the peaceful intentions of the expedition. They were hired as guides, but having got iuto some trouble with the other guidws, they suddenly decamped. The expedition had no trouble whatever with the hostile Indiins, as the redskins had no chance to catch Gen. Custer asleep. Custer is too oíd an Indian fighter ever to sleep on such a trip. The trip was voted, on the whole, a pleasant one, and the expedition was regarded as having been successful.


Old News
Michigan Argus