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BC Historical Books

The Frazer River thermometer. Great gold discoveries of 1858. The Frazer River gold mines, and their… 1858

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Array -V
Cold by tin;     )        One half the truth to us was never told.
C.irt loin!!        / l-'or lii'iv we ;irc, all nnkk deep in gold !
mf      law  limit,         \    So pTOul  tlic rush we have no time to count,
•\ JflPbO I l_  Just fill the Ship, we'll guess ^ the a
!    R
The fact that gold lias exist
not by any ijfcans a now rtpp-'
mlc of the vast country whit
:;sidererl a wil
^region was visl
^Bhc existene^
sPmdulgcd in f
Once in a whilBT F lEttc years-
jntities among the countries bordering on the Pacific Coast,
rjugh it is commonly so described.    For nearly a century the
present possessions of the Hudson's Bay Company, has been
ielding nothing but furs and peltries.; and yet; as long .ago as 1777
i officer. Carver by name, who published a book in which he men-!
orthwest Territory, and for which he was soundly berated, as one1
-that is since California became a Stale—a faint rumor has reached
us that gold was to be had for the seeking in the countries lying alongFrazer's and Thompson's Rivers,
jbut little attention was paid to it.    At length, in April, 1858, some persons returned from the new min-1
jifig region, where they had contrivfidtoaefcjM^Jttr a small quantity of the dust.    This they exhibited
kllO t0 tllp'r ""'^fl^s, without at all cxdHH MPJources of the land from which they had "come ; but
soon the story of their success wasDrnBH^Rmt, until no limit was set to their acquisition, and the
Isands of Frazor's River were sail literall^BWecni with the precious metal. As an example, it was
'statedJfc- the Sacramento Union that there was in that city, on the 16th June, a young man who
.claimefTto have just returned from a prospecting tour on Frazer and Thompson Rivers. He represented
jgold asjJieing abundant some hundred miles or more above the junction of those rivers, but not to be
" jgatherea on account of the hostility of the Indians.    The country, according to his report was terribly
rough and mountainous—i: plenty of snow and cold weather, but no timber."—Rivers were to be passed,
h "untnins scaled, canajBteassed through, in the course of which perilous experience the party lie belonged in l(fei their mia^fctools and p ■ovisious. Nevertheless he saw the gold, which he described as
" lying ns thick as pebor^Tupon the bottom of the stream"-—so thick that they could have dipped it up
i tin cup, if the Indians bad not objected. ■»
if spile of the miraculous nature of this story, the new excitement spread like wildfire.    Parties in
elsewhere, who at first had scouted the idea now became its warmest advocates, and
whose editors had scouted every report, w&ife seized with a sudden fever, which manifested
Reproduction of articles in which the capacities of the freshly discovered gold regions were
^glowing colors.
liners, however, did not trust altogether to the journals, or to mere hearsay. Numbers of
Companies working paying claims immediately dispatched Irustworthj^^jeiiiBteome of whom returned,
with full confirmation of the news. This was the signal for a gencuafl |Btn? By the time the first
Jrcports were fairly circulated, great numbers of persons who had l^M ^■ercd prosperous were ma- J
:kiug their arrangements to depart. One man who owned a claim^H ^B^ uce!l paying him from;
teii to fifteen dollars per day, sold it at a great saenj^e, and tooPH^Hm. conveyance, followed by
Jnisny of his neighbors, whom his example had inoculated with the prcvailing epidemic. The roads in
(JQ the interior throughout the month of June were thronged by miners, journeying toward the nearest!
ipoitit of departure with all the implements of their arduous calling about them. The first steamers '
[away from San Francisco as many as one thousand at a time, and one conveyed away some thir
Isct f<
■ w.
[outfits wi
'Several n
crowded  to suffocation, and those establishments  which dealt  in niinj
o(l r§soo
pTA   ( KcpovtH coil-1     Xi'ws sci-ibk-rs' tttlfs arv fomiil inimcusoly gn'iit,
*JU.'( liriiicd. j      Excited Suckers swttllow ilmvn the bail  I
--,!-.'■ - .. nf reports rather contradictory in their nature, bill si ill the rush mere:
■wi:s iii fne state were depopulated. Even public officials abandoned their dutie:
i with the tide. In the latter part of June, more authentic information was received. Sc
.parties who had gone up to the mines returned to tiie city to purchase provisions, but, instead of
nifying the yield of gold in the new mines, most of them were very guarded in their replies to tad
riy questions which were put to them. These made their purchases and hurried back to the diggi'i
Jwithall possible speed, thus adding still further confirmation to the miners Some of the gold
80 began to be shown about San Francisco. It is for the most part in very small scales, which renders its
'extraction from the sand a matter of some difficulty. Coarse gold, however, exists upon or in the]
neighborhood of Thompson's river, and large strikes are said to have been made. From one hundred
to'ihree hundred dollars are said to have been made by fortunate minersJn a single day. Others, whose:
^testimony is vouched foi by competent authorities, claim to have majlRi) average of twenty dollars'
per day each, during a period of several weeks.
The large numbers of persons who were pouring into the British Possessions now alarmed the Governor. Douglass, who lost no time in issuing a Proclamation, warning the adventurers, that they were
encroaching upon the rights of the Hudson's Bay Company, and .forbidding them to trade with the Indians uqmi any pretence whatever. They were also informed that they must obtain a paid-for permit;
!of the Officers" of the company at Victoria, before ascending the river, and that no American goods j
jy could be introduced for the purpose of trade without the payment of a heavy license fee. This ordi-
U nance, which was just enough in itself, has undoubtedly retarded for a time the growth of Victoria,-
but at that point is destined, eventually, to flourish, one of the principal cities on the Pacific coast.
Advices from Frazer River to the 15th May, added fresh fuel to the flame. Several well known citizens returned, all of them having considerable sums in dust, and one being said to possess as much as
g^ii.OOO in Frazer River .treasure. Three places on BelliiigharcpBay are contending for the superiority,
aiip. this is within the American limits, the public attention is principally directed that way. Companies of speculators had already started for those places, where they bought up all the land that was I
considered available for their purposes, and the prices of lots immediately rose from a merely nominal
valuation to prices beyon.l the reach of wise men's purses. The names of these places arc Port Town- i
send, Whatcom and Sehome; the two latter being near enough together to form eventually one city.
So great did the rush now become, that it was necessary to put'on several steamers to accommodate!
fi0the crowds that were going to seek their fortunes among the golden sands of Frazer's river. So far,
the yield of the precious metal had been authenticated, but the miners now found a fresh difficulty in
their way. It was ascertained, that during a considerable portion of the spring and summer, the conn-1
try was liable to freshets, which would render it impossible for some time to get at the princi| al depositee. Gold, however, is said to have been found in the banks at some point above a place called Hill's
Bar, in quantities, which yielded from five to fifteen dollars per diem to the man. Mr. Hill, from
wJoVn this bar took :t - name, returned to Bellingham Bay in the latter part of June, with a report that
theg&ver had risen too high to be profitably worked, and that it would be from six to eight weeks be-
tore the waters would subside sufficiently to answer the purposes of the miner.
Meanwhile thousands had ascended the river, and improvements were going on at Victoria, in the
British Possessions, and at Sehome and other places on the American side of the line. A trail was begun from Whatcom, with the view of establishing a route to the upper mines overland, which by this
50 tlmr is nearly, if ho( quite completed. Some impetus has been given to trade by this unexpected movent i. and persons going to the new diggings are comparatively at the mercy of traders. At Fort Lang-
lev, tu which point the steamer Surprise has been conveying passengers from the Bay, flour has been
high as $75 per barrel, and common salt pork at the extraordinary figure of seventy cents
per pound
The n-
HSulara nil
d<i#ay Shi
veil b)
lioj-tothc p,
it Tsaid. wil
hawc tallen.-
Country MerchanI—Waiting for customers,-
to-day. (July 2d,) does not in any respect contradict tiie par-
lroady received.    Numbers of persons who left San Francisco with barely sufficient means to
ieir passage to Belfinghauo Bay are described as being reduced to serious inconveniences in
nee—-cliuiis and other shell fish forming their principal diet.    Wages for the severest kind of
;h its pile-driving, digging, etc., are only |2 -3!) per day at Whatcom, Offing to the superabwi-
:e of labor.    At Victoria a somewhat better state of tilings prevails, but the land is all bought up'
is worth the having, and lots are held at extravagant rates.    An attempt was made by the British!
bitants to induce the Vancouver House of Representatives to pass a bill authorizing the establish-!
Free Trade, for the purpose-.of inducing emigration, but that body paid no atten-
il though Governor Douglass was understood in some degree to favor it.    The mines;
:i condition to be worked by the lnhMic of August; by which time the river will
:• yield of gold is then anticipated—with how much reason time alone can deter
long a resident in the Northwest Territory, several years since published a book, in
' those legions is described as being very variable, and such as, in fact, to djscou-
miimH d residence there.    The winters begin in September and continue severe into
1 which time the snows are heavy and the weather Inclement.    In the spring there
ther and in June and July there are very heavy rains.    The country which eonsti-
i, as far as known, is mountainous and forbidding, but there is some interesting
banks of which are formed in some places by precipitous walls of rock,
al thousand feet.    Such drawbacks, however, only seem to whet the appe-
of our adventurous miners, and thousands are still flocking, by every steamer, to the new Ei Dorado
ofthe North. -    '        '  ____'
Published by Sterett <y Butler, 145 Clay Street, San Francisco, Gah and for sale at the News Depots.
The trade supplied on  liberal terms.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in tl
on scenery upon the
"V rising to an altitude of sev


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