LETTER FROM VIRGINIA CITY.
[SPECIAL CORRESPONDENCE OF THE HERALD.]
VIRGINIA CITY, September 12, 1869
Within less than a month past we have had no less than five fires here in this city, all of them the work of incendiaries. From two to a dozen building were burned each time, and, as you may well suppose, the Fire Department here is getting to be exceedingly well practiced, and ever on the lookout. It is well they are, for just give a fire half a show at the present time, when everything in the shape of lumber and wood is as dry as tinder and equally ready to catch fire on the least spark of provocation, and away goes half the city at least. Unoccupied buildings are selected in which to start the fire, yet in the last instance, which was last Thursday evening, a little building at the corner of C and Mill streets, in which three men were sleeping, or at least abed, was set on fire. Two of the men escaped; but the third, a deaf old fellow, named Lorentz Ackerman, after coming out once, went back after his blankets, and either got suffocated or confused, or both, and was taken from the ruins next morning a blackened human cinder. He was a native of Germany, aged sixty years. It is a terrible pity that some of these infernal scoundrels, who set these fires just out of pure mischief, or from a worse motive, could not be caught in the act. His term of life would be particularly short, and his trial would not cost the county a cent.
Scarcity of Water.
In common with Philadelphia and New York, Virginia is also complaining of a scanty supply of water at the present time. The springs are getting exceedingly low throughout this section, and therefore, as this city is dependent on three or four springs for the requisite supply of water, we have to economize in the use of that desirable fluid all possible. Many people are growling at the water company as though they were in fault, yet how can the company help it? They can't make water, but simply furnish all they can procure. They are now arranging for a further supply by pumping out the shaft of the Mexican mine, which is full of water. This will, however, be furnished to some of the mills which are now supplied from the same source that the city is. Meanwhile it would be well under the present circumstances, for the people of Virginia and Gold Hill to exercise due economy in not only water but whisky, for it is a well known fact that no scarcity of water was complained of in Philadelphia until the great whisky conflagration of some five weeks ago, whereby 25,000 barrels of that popular beverage was destroyed. The inference is that the natives of that city have been obliged to run on water ever since in place of whisky, and hence the scarcity, extending its influence even to New York and Boston. The Philadelphians, probably, found water excellent to use with soap in washing themselves, but now they find it good to drink.
More Rich Discoveries.
I got a letter from a friend at White Pine, the other day, which informs me that they have just opened a ledge which was discovered a few weeks ago some three miles north of Hamilton, and within a quarter of a mile of the Elko road. They found some very rich ore in it, and an assay of it gave nearly $11,000 to the ton. If it only turns out one-fifth as well as that on the average, the old Eberhardt will have to subside into third class ore compared with it. Of the extent of the ledge or name of the claim, I am not yet advised, but will be in a day or two. Nearly a week ago a prospector from away down in the Pahranagat region, showed me some very rich ore he has found about 90 miles north of Collville, on the Colorado. He calls it antimonial silver, and says it assayed in Austin, or somewhere out in that section, $2,100 to the ton. The ledge is three feet wide, of unknown extent or depth, and, so far as prospected, opened out all the same as the specimens he showed me. It shows no rock, but only the metal itself. Having my own opinion in the matter I got some assays of it made for my own private satisfaction, and the result was from $30 to $50 per ton only in silver. It is simply antimonial galena, with some silver in it. It certainly is very rich in lead, and whittles almost like the pure metal.
Only yesterday, a friend just in from Walker River showed me a sack-full of the richest copper ore I ever saw in this section. It came from a new discovery he has made within five miles south of Walker Lake. The ledge is only about a foot wide, but apparently must be nine-tenths copper, judging from these specimens. Indeed, some pieces showed native copper, and all of it was of the richest red and black oxide character.
Wonderful Meat and Bone Shower.
My friend from Walker Lake has a marvelous story to tell about a great shower of bones and meat which occurred there on the 4th of August. It was just after dark. The day had been very sultry and close, with a few large, sullen clouds glowing about the horizon, occasionally brightened with a flash or so of heat lightning. My friend was sitting with the three others composing the prospecting party, at the foot of a broad scrub cedar tree, smoking their pipes after the evening meal, when suddenly there was a great rushing noise overhead, and down came a terrific shower of bones and meat, which lasted nearly a minute, he would judge. The boys kept snug under that tree till morning, when they took a critical inspection of the matter. It was a bona fide---or bonified—occurrence, and no mistake. There lay bones and fresh meat scattered over an area of nearly half a mile. Rib, thigh and shin bones, and even whole heads with the horns on, and large chunks and strips of beef, whole livers, hearts, haslets, etc., were strewn about a few rods apart. Judging from the long sheep horns, shape of the bones, quality of the meat and other peculiarities, they came to the wise and correct conclusion that these were the actual remains or pieces of Los Angeles cattle—a conclusion fully corroborated by the newspaper accounts of a great shower of meat and blood occurring at that place on the 3d of August, the day previous. My friend and his companions account for the strange phenomenon thus: An immense army of buzzards must have found a lot of dead cattle near Los Angeles, and tearing off whatever suited them from the carcasses, they scattered blood, etc., over the town as they carried and flew off together—perhaps, frightened by coyotes---and when they got to Walker Lake, some peculiar electrical condition of the atmosphere caused them all to let go their booty; hence the shower. Those who carried the heads were probably the leaders, or head buzzards of the flock.
Stocks are very firm at present rates, with a tendency to rise. This is owing to better prospects, increased confidence, and an easier money market. In all these respects there will be an improvement before next spring.
Of all the mines along the Comstock, the Sierra Nevada has the best thing in surface ore I know of, and is worked with the least expense and most profit; hence the regular monthly dividends. The entire monthly expenses of the Company, including mining, milling and everything, are less than $6,000, while the monthly receipts of bullion are from $12,000 to $20,000, and sometimes more. It is easy to figure on continued dividends at that rate. The last regular monthly dividend of fifty cents a share was payable on the 10th inst. These are not very large dividends, it is true, but they constitute a heavy percentage on the price of the stock. In addition to the already immense quantities of good pay ore of which I have heretofore made mention as already developed in the surface deposits, they have within the last two or three weeks developed a regular vein of ore, rich in free gold, from eight to twelve feet wide, in the southerly branch of the car track tunnel. It runs northwest and southeast, and doubtless extends to the surface, and how much below the level of the tunnel is not yet ascertained; neither is its length known yet, although it has been drifted upon some 40 or 50 feet. It has only been worked or raised upon some 15 feet above the tunnel as yet. No blasting is required, it being of the soft decomposed ore and gravel character, yielding readily to picks and gads. At the westerly end of the surface pit, another huge body of similar ore has also recently been developed, showing 30 feet in width thus far, and it is upon ore from this and the other new body of ore I have mentioned that this mill is being run at present, therefore something extra in the way of good receipts are anticipated this month. There is enough ore already in sight in these two developments to last several months, to say nothing of the other deposits already found, and which it will take years to work out. The ore is extracted with extreme facility, run in cars directly form the mine into the mill, and, being gold ore, needs no regular pan process in the working, as in silver ore. The free gold is caught in amalgamated copper plates, and the sulphurets caught from the tailings, in running through several hundred feet of blanket sluices, are worked in a couple of pans. The underground workings of the mine are well ventilated, and everything about both mine and mill is conducted in a very orderly, systematic, economical and profitable manner.
The drift west at the 700-foot level of the Ophir is 570 feet in from the shaft, and the face is in hard, dry, gypsomized porphyry. Nothing promising developed as yet.
-The new shaft of the Virginia Consolidated is just 280 feet deep to-day. No increase of water is yet encountered; all there is, being easily hoisted out with the soft rock and clay. Ross & Co., the contractors for the first 500 feet, are prosecuting the work with great energy, sinking at the rate of two and a half feet per day, and timbering and finishing up the same in a thorough workmanlike manner as they go. Their new steam hoisting works operate finely—hence their excellent progress.
Some little increase of good ore is found in the old upper-workings of the Gould & Curry, but the lower tunnel still show no sign of promise.
The monthly receipts of the Savage continue falling off. The receipts for August were $32,400, a decrease of $18,400 from the July receipts. Nothing encouraging is found at the lower levels.
The present yield of the Hale & Norcross is about 150 tons per day, some little falling off from last week. Considerable water is encountered in drifting westward, at the fifth level, but it is gradually decreasing.
The Chollar-Potosi yields about 180 tons of ore per day, averaging over $50 per ton. An extensive body of extra good ore is developed in the northern portions of the Blue Wing and New Tunnel sections, averaging nearly $100 to the ton.
The Yellow Jacket yields some 200 tons from the Yolo tunnel. About the last of this week the mud and water will be reduced in the old north shaft to the track-floor of the 700-foot section. With the present yield of the mine the financial condition of the company is kept healthy, and Yellow Jacket stock is considered good to hold.
There is nothing new or important to report in the condition of either the Kentuck or the Crown Point mines since last week; the same may be said of the Overman.
The lower tunnel of the Occidental mine cut the ledge last Tuesday, but has only penetrated it over five or six feet, owing to the angle at which it is struck. The ore looks well and assays well, considering that it is merely the outskirts of the ledge, and not in the regular pay ore struck at all. The ledge at that point should be, and doubtless is, 60 feet or more in width. Every foot of progress with this tunnel shows better ore, and as it cuts the ledge 400 feet below the present lowest workings, an immense amount of ore is doubtless by it, as the pay ore struck in this ledge is unfailing and continuous throughout—exceeding regularity being the marked feature of the Occidental.
The Lady Bryan is yielding some extraordinary good ore at the present time, and this month's receipts are expected to be more than last month, which amounted to $18,000. The mine is looking very well throughout, and everything connected with it or the affairs of the Company are being economically and well conducted under the present management. A meeting of the Company will be held in this city day after to-morrow to consider a proposition for increasing the capital stock and number of shares.
The Martinetti's commenced at Piper's Opera House last Monday evening, with a large audience, but they are playing to rather thin houses just now. They produce the Green Monster next Tuesday evening, and if that does not draw good houses their engagement will not be a profitable one. Piper has gone down to your city to secure other talent and better attractions. Lotta would draw well here, with a good company.