Digital-Desert : Mojave Desert
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Mojave Desert History - Pioneer of the Mojave
Part-time Prospector

Providence Mountains Miners Run Off by Indians

For the period of the 1850s the records of mining activities on the Mojave Desert are very scant, as the prospectors were few and the work was on a minor scale. It was not until the 1860s, following the success of the Comstock Lode and other mines in Nevada and Arizona, that the attention of the mining community turned to the Mojave.

One of the early mines to be developed in the area was described in an 1863 report as being located in the eastern portion of the desert on a peak called Silver Hill. This find was in the Providence Mountains, and was significant enough to warrant the organization of the Rock Springs Mining District, complete with officers and by-laws.

However, it was not long before the mines were closed, most likely because the miners were run off by hostile Indians. Many of the attempts to establish mines on the Mojave during the 1860s were thwarted by Indian attacks, resulting in little progress in the industry until the end of the decade.

One such attack occurred in 1864 when a group of men went out to work some mines in the vicinity of the Providence Mountains. The mines reportedly had been discovered by a Dr. Winston of Los Angeles, and it apparently was a find of some consequence, for an historical account in the San Bernardino Guardian stated that "quartz mines of great size and exceedingly rich in gold and silver were found in abundance." But the hopes of the miners were dashed one night when a band of Indians rushed down from the adjacent hills "with battle ax in hand and a yell which was enough to strike terror to the heart of the boldest miner," and Winston and his companions were compelled "to abandon their camp to the untutored savage and flee for their lives."

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ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - glossary
ghost towns - gold mines - parks & public lands: wilderness - native culture - history - geology: natural features - comments

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