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Mining History:
The Mint at the Mescal Mine

The Reasoning

“What was the reason?” this was the inquiry on every one’s lips. The mine, it was rumored, had been sold, bought by a man named Davis, of Denver. He had examined the property carefully and had a great confidence in it; believed the grade of ore would run higher as it got deeper, and he was going to sink on the vein at the end of the tunnel.

Strangely enough, rumor proved true. Williams, who had long realized he had an elephant on his hands, sold, almost for a song, a property which had cost him $30,000, on which he had spent $20,000, and from which he had only received about $10,000 in return. The mine had never been patented, and after it had been shut down, Williams, who was a wealthy man, never troubled himself about doing the annual representation work upon it as required by the statute, and the property had been jumped by two men who had thereby a more or less valid claim to it. The relocations were made, however, as a sort of “hold up” scheme on Williams, so that if he should ever want to start up the mine again, he would have to either compromise with these or have a lawsuit before he could peaceably resume.

This man Davis had, however, taken advantage of both horns of the dilemma. He had been able to buy out Williams for a trifling sum, partly because of the relocation by Brooks and Boswell, and he was able to buy out the latter two for another trifle because they held only a cloud upon the title to the property, which property was really in Williams.

Having completed his purchase, Mr. Davis proceeded at once to revive the camp. His first move was to bring in a lot of new, and a part of it, singular machinery, which had been made at a foundry and machine shop which he conducted in Denver. There was a small refining plant added to the smelter, and a considerable portion of the machinery was, oddly enough, taken into the tunnel; after the shaft had been sunk some distance, it was put down the shaft.

While this latter machinery was being put in, several miners applied at the mine for work; they were told that no one was needed, that the price of silver was so low that it was necessary for the mine to employ just as few men as it was barely possible to operate with, and those who were then employed had been brought from Colorado from one of Mr. Davis’s mines there, and were tested men. The applicants were advised to acquaint any miners who wanted work not to come to the camp as they would certainly be refused employment, and as the distance from the railroad or adjacent camps was great, they would have a long and fatiguing journey for nothing.

The miners asked concerning the machinery, which was, in its carefully boxed condition, then being put into the tunnel. Mr. Spencer, the superintendent, replied that it was hoisting machinery; that it was to be set up at the end of the tunnel, and above the shaft. When asked if this was not a rather unusual way in which to work a mine, Mr. Davis replied that it might be but, that the necessity for keeping down expenses compelled them to operate in the most economical manner possible.

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