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

Land and Water Rights Along the Mojave River

This was a major enterprise by men of capital, with a lot of money being spent -- a fact not lost on Captain Lane. He joined in a partnership with Abner J. Spencer, the recorder for the Silver Mountain Mining District, and in January of 1881 the two of them strove to gain control of land and water rights along the east bank of the Mojave River.

They filed on land for milling purposes on two sites, one ten acres and the other, four, both of which appear to have been in Section 18, T. 7 N., R. 4 W. A third parcel of ten acres was claimed in Section 32, T. 6 N., R. 4 W., which gave them control of the river at the lower narrows. They also filed a claim for a significant amount of water (4,000 miner's inches) beginning at John Atkinson's ranch, a mile or so north of Oro Grande, and continuing in a ditch for six miles downstream.

Lane and Spencer apparently were dealing in secondary mill sites, as the Oro Grande Company's milling site in Section 18, T. 6 N., R. 4 W., had already been selected. Nevertheless, their claims on the sites were bought, and then sold, by those interested in milling, including some Oro Grande Company employees who evidently had their own personal interests, and these sites continued to change hands throughout the 1880s.

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In addition to the mill sites, the Captain also remained involved in filing mining claims, the last recorded in 1882. Many of these were partnerships with new people, but he did join up once again with his old friend Uncle Billy Rubottom. By the time he filed his final Silver Mountain claim, the Vermillion, eleven years had passed since he first became involved in mining on the desert.

When Aaron joined the gold rush in 1871, there was still a sense of adventure on the Mojave. The decade of the 1870s offered a chance for old-timers to relive bygone days, and for a new generation to join the thrills of the hunt. Miners spoke in glowing terms of the new mining areas, and claimed there was a large portion of the county that had "never been trod upon by any civilized being." And they were right -- nearly all of the great finds were in the future. Indeed, the discovery of bonanzas on the Mojave Desert continues to the present day.

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ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - glossary
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