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Mining History:
The Mint at the Mescal Mine

Continuing on the Case

We secured a good description of this bacchanalian silver owner, and I started in search of him. I soon found he was no longer in the city and as it was more important to continue to trace down where the bar came from than to pursue this criminal, I turned this part of the investigation over to the bureau and myself continued on the main case.

To find out through what channel that bar had gotten into town was the important thing. It was most likely that it had come under some sort of a cover—enclosed in something intended to disarm suspicion of the fact that bar silver was being transported. It was almost a matter of course that I should first call at the various railroad offices to inquire if any person answering the description of the drunken lodger had at any time received any freight which might allow of the hypothesis of its being bullion. Imagine my surprise and delight when the division superintendent of the first road I called upon, the Santa Fe Railroad, told me that large quantities of bar silver had been shipped over the line, billed to a man I described, who went by the name of Reynolds. He told me there was no secret about these shipments; that the bars were refined silver and that they came from the Mescal mine in California. The Santa Fe hauled all the silver from this mine and most of it was taken to Kansas City and delivered to Reynolds, who from there reshipped it to various points throughout the United States.

Possessed of this information, and feeling myself on a hot trail, I communicated at once with the bureau at Washington, advising them of my intention of going to California, taking charge of the Mescal mine, and arresting every person having any relation to it. I advised the chief that in order to successfully carry out this programme it might be necessary to make a show of force, and I wanted a detail of some sort to be placed under my command. Accordingly I received instructions through the War Department to call on Gen. McCook of the Department of Arizona to place at my disposal whatever force I should feel myself in need of.

This being arranged, I started for California. Arriving at the station of Bitter Creek, which was the point nearest the Mescal mine, I sought out a teamster known as Dolph Kevane, who had been an old prospector, who was well acquainted with the country, and especially with the locality of the Mescal mine.

At that time Liuet. [sic] Ferguson, with a detachment of twenty men of the cavalry, had arrived from Fort Wingate and were camped at Burton’s Bridge across Dry River. The lieutenant reported to me and I ordered him to proceed with his troop to the Mescal mine, and to arrive there under the cover of the night, at daybreak on the morning of the 5th of August.

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