LETTER FROM VIRGINIA.
[SPECIAL CORRESPONDENCE OF THE HERALD.]
VIRGINIA, Nev., August 8, 1869.
The great sensation of yesterday was the eclipse of the sun, which we sage-brush barbarians were permitted to look at, same as good Christians in other parts of the country. A big cloud got in the way just as the thing was about to commence, but soon it raised like a big drop-curtain, and all hands had a good view of the new attraction. Smoked glass and similar contrivances were in demand, and the streets were filled with people, all curiously surveying the eclipse. The Chinese style was to view its reflection in tubs and wash-basins of water. As to the Piutes, after taking numerous smoked glass observations and holding some little consultation among themselves, they shook their heads ominously and came to the conclusion that the sun was "heap sick, and 'spose he catch 'em all black he gone dead sure." I believe, however, that it was the general opinion of all good critics in the matter that the eclipse was well conducted throughout, and a perfect success. It might have been run for several days longer with the same degree of popularity.
Vice-President Colfax and party are expected to arrive here to-morrow, and in order to give him the proper reception, committees composed of prominent citizens of Virginia and Gold Hill, and also of Odd-Fellows, are already appointed to escort them in from Reno. The freedom of the city will be donated to them, which means a free run at all the lunch-tables, and freedom from arrest in case they get too much beer on. Colfax, though, doesn't drink, at least he didn't when he was here before. There will be gay times to-morrow when Colfax comes. He will be as popular as the eclipse. It is understood to be their intention to stop here for two or three days before they go to Carson or anywhere else.
Undertaker in Mourning.
One of our city undertakers was down to Reno the other day, when he got into a small difficulty with a boy connected with the telegraph office at that place and would have slapped the boy's chops for him, only the boy up and knocked him over. When he got up again the boy would have run, but Nels Hammond and others who were near by and didn't like to see the boy rode over, patted him on the back and made him show fight again. He got that undertaker down, pounded him good, and he came back home with two of the gayest black eyes you ever saw, both being dressed in deep mourning. He thinks that telelgraph boy is a lightning striker.
A Piute Contractor.
Ike James, the well known surveyor in this city, tells the best joke on himself I have heard lately. The back yard at his residence being considerably filled up with rubbish, and in need of a good cleaning, he let the contract to an enterprising Piute warrior for $2 50, day before yesterday, with no particular stipulation as to where he should throw the dirt, other than that he would get it off the premises. Our Piute made his squaw help him and they made a splendid job of it, getting through by the middle of the afternoon. He took a look at it and never was better satisfied in his life. He paid the $2 50 willingly and considered it mighty cheap at that. It was all well enough till his neighbor Collins, the blacksmith, came home from work, when a new phase of the matter developed itself. Collins' office was built on the line of James' back yard, and confound that Indian, if he hadn't opened the back side of the vault and dumped all the dirt from the yard into it, filling it jam full, and then shut up the hole again. He said grace a few times, while Collins stood by shaking his fat sides like an old elephant with the ague. He knew 'twas no use hunting up that Indian, so he went right off downtown and let a contract with Patsey Brown to come that very night and clean out the vault for $25. No more Piute contractors for Ike James.
During the past few weeks, since Wells, Fargo & Co. hauled off their pony express between Reno and this city, the Pacific Union Express folks have been having it pretty much their own way as far as coming in ahead every evening from Reno on the arrival of the cars at that place. Wells, Fargo & Co. have been running a sort of four wheeled go-cart, called a "buckboard," bringing in the United States letter mail, their treasure boxes, express, etc., at a very fast rate, yet behind the pony. The last four or five evenings, however, that two-horse buckboard has been getting after the pony pretty lively, coming into Virginia only a few seconds behind, making the distance—twenty-tree miles—in only a few minutes over an hour, with a single change of horses. The pony I think changes twice. Last evening they came in on two different streets, in order to avoid the huge crowds of waiting and excited spectators, and the buckboard is said to have passed Union street first. They certainly make big time over the road, and create a nice little daily sensation.
Those challenges between some of the engine companies of the Virginia Fire Department, of which I have heretofore made mention, are apparently ending in smoke. Their mutual defiances are still published in the papers, but when they come down to business neither of them are there; at least that's the way the thing looks at present. There will be no coin put up, and there will be no trumpet race nor trial squirting. That's so. It is a fizzle.
Of all the mines in this section, outside of the Comstock ledge, the Occidental has thus far proven itself to be the best and most reliable. The ore in it is all low grade, but very regular, extending in an unbroken sheet from the summit of the hill 600 feet down to the lowest working level, or tunnel. Winzes have been sunk over 200 feet below that, and all the way in ore of an improved quality. Indeed the ore constantly is found richer as depth is attained. A tunnel is being run from away down on the hillside, which will work the ledge 400 feet deeper than the present working level. It is already over 1,000 feet in length, and judging from the softer and more favorable character of the rock, as well as surveys, the tunnel must be near the ledge. A fine stream of water is developed by this tunnel which will be made available for mill purposes. The pay ore of the vein varies from six to twelve feet in width and there is plenty of it in sight to last for many a long year to come; besides which, an immense extension of it has been recently developed by the 600-foot, or lowest working level being run 400 feet further north, beyond the old workings. The mine looks well throughout, and the company finances are healthy.
The mines along the Comstock were never worked to better advantage as far as this side of the Divide is concerned. Those at the Gold Hill end have a dampener thrown on them by the continued disability of the Crown Point, Kentuck and Yellow Jacket on account of the fire, which still burns within their depths, yet they, in the course of a few months, will recover even from that terrible blow. North of the Gould & Curry the ledge may be set down as dead and expensive property, except in the case of the Sierra Nevada mine, which is one of the best paying of any on the whole ledge, and is worked at the least cost. It is a valuable and well managed mine.
The second clean up of the Sierra Nevada for last month yielded 411,000, and the mill is regularly at work again as usual on another run of superior ore. The yield for the present month will be even better than that of last month; the first clean up will be made on the 16th. The huge deposit of ore does not decrease, but on the contrary increases in size as working development progresses. It will take many years to work it out. The finances of the company and the excellent yield warrants another dividend soon.
The Gould and Curry still yields well from the old upper workings, about forty tons per day of $45 ore being produced, with good prospects for a still better yield shortly. Good progress is being made with the drift east at the Seventh station, near the bottom of the shaft.
The Savage is in rather a quiescent state at present. It yields considerable good ore, but the developments at the lower levels are not satisfactory. Good bodies of ore are hoped for in deeper sinkings.
Hale and Norcross is also down, owing to less yield of good ore of late. The repairs to the shaft will be completed in three or four weeks, when, with better facilities, a better yield will be the consequence. There is one splendid body of rich ore at the lowest levels, and another in the old upper workings, which assays $40 per ton.
The recent burning of the new Chollar-Potosi hoisting works did not impede the working of that mine at all or injure it; on the contrary, it has yielded better ever since, and more and richer ore is developed in the main workings. A dividend of $2 per share, aggregating $56,000 was declared last Thursday.
The water in the north shaft of the Yellow Jacket is reduced to about seventy feet. It will take a month yet to get it all out, and also the thirty feet of mud and debris at the bottom of the shaft. It will be at least two months before any ore will be taken from the north mine through this shaft. The air in the north mine is tolerably good, and it is yielding the usual amount of ore.
No good ore developments are yet made in the 1,000-foot level below, which is not near or into the west wall of the ledge. The upper levels in the west ledge are being cleaned out, in order to get at the large amounts of low grade ore known to exist there. An assessment of $5 per share, aggregating $60,000, was levied day before yesterday.
In the Belcher mine a raise 130 feet in length was completed day before yesterday from the 850 to the 730 foot level, furnishing an excellent circulation of air in that part of the mine. The proposed drift northeast to connect with the 900-foot level of the Crown Point was commenced yesterday.
The Overman yields twenty-five or thirty tons of $20 ore per day, and a very good showing of ore exists at the fourth level, improving in both quantity and quality. The prospecting going on in other parts of the mine develops nothing important in the way of more good ore just at present, although there are prospects of something better soon.
The Tom Thumb crowd of little folks did splendidly here, as well as at the other town where they appeared. Piper's Opera House never was better or more fashionably attended than it was at their two entertainments given last Wednesday and Thursday evenings. The little folks were much pleased with their reception, the country, and the people; and the people were much pleased with them. They have gone your way, and you cannot fail to like them. Last evening, Miss Emma Forrestell, the wonderful female contortionist, gymnast, etc., put in her first appearance at Piper's Opera House, to a very fair audience. She was assisted by Master Tommy McLaughlin, a very good jig dancer, and Billy Wilkinson, a tolerable Ethiopian actor. She is the whole attraction, however; her two companions could not draw a corporal's guard. She can tie knots in herself, scratch her off ear with the toe of her near leg around the back of neck, and stand more pounding from a fourteen-pound hammer smashing huge stones on her breast, besides other rough usage, than any other woman that I ever saw. She is a wonders of india rubber suppleness, and, like Tom Thumb, is just from the East. You will see her soon.
George Francis Train.
Big posters stuck up to-day about the streets, everywhere, announce that "George Francis Train is coming," but don't state when he is coming. 'Tis well. George is the coming man. He always was coming it over the people sensationally, and now he cometh in big letters to the land of Washoe, where flourisheth the sage brush and the silver brick. It is gratifying to know that he is coming.