Monday, 9 July 2018

Lost Gold Mines


From Sexton Blake Library #644 Dated October 1938
Recently in the Press there has been reported the discovery of a new gold-mine. This is located in a place bearing the fascinating name of Yellow Knife in the North-West Territory of Canada. The Yellow Knife River flows into the Great Slave Lake to the North of Alberta.
The great difference between this discovery of gold and previous finds lies in the fact that it was made from the air. A prospector, who had been knocking about Canada for thirty years, was flying over a bit of desolate country when he spotted the strike.
He was able to see the veins in the rocks and, landing immediately, began to stake his claim. In addition to the veins in the rock there are also gold deposits at the bottom of the lake. No wonder the lucky finder christened his biggest claim as Treasure Island.
It seems as if the mine now dis­covered is quite incapable of getting lost—mainly through the fact that its position can be constantly located from the air. Many of the old-time prospectors would have been very grate­ful for such an aid. For in the old days mines were constantly getting lost, and often tragedy dogged the footsteps of the original finder.
! For Instance, there is the story of the Lost Arch mine situated in the Turtle Range, California. This mine was actually discovered on two occasions. Yet no one can locate it to-day.
The Lost Arch was first found entirely by chance. Two men dying of thirst lay under an arch of rock. One of them spotted a golden nugget.
Scrabbling with his hands he found that he was reclining over a large pocket of gold. But this discovery was fated to do him no good. His com­panion died there on the spot. And it was a long time before the discoverer could crawl into civilisation, almost at the last gasp.
After recovering he made several attempts to find this gold-mine, but when he died, in 1889, it was in poverty, for he could not make his way back to the mine.
And this is not the end of the Lost Arch. Some fourteen years later a young botanist stumbled upon the same canyon with its amazing natural arch. He also spotted the gold and made a note of the site.
Back in civilisation he told of his find and arranged with another man to set out for the spot. But the very next day he was killed in an accident.
So the Lost Arch mine is still lost.
And there have been many others with a like history—mostly the original finders have found tragedy.
An old prospector once got lost in the arid wastes of that stretch of country known as Death Valley. He was dying of thirst when he happened to dislodge a rock. That rock was solid gold!
Looking round, he saw that he was surrounded by the precious metal. Thirst, for the moment, was forgotten.
He loaded himself with samples of the gold and set out to win his way back to civilisation. But after several days of nightmare-walking he fell into the hands of a wandering tribe of Indians.
In the course of a fight the unlucky prospector was badly wounded in the head, which caused him to go out of his mind.
Subsequently he recovered, and for many years after he would set out on his journey to Death Valley. But he never saw his mine again, and though the country has been searched for many years since the gold has never been found.
It almost seems that the discovery of gold is linked up with some sort of trouble for the finder.
A month or so ago the papers re­ported the death of a man in the Paddington district. He was found gassed in a back room.
It came out that for some time he had been drawing the dole.
Yet at one time he had been rich.
For he had been a gold-mining engineer in California where he had been able to amass several thousand pounds.
With this behind him he had set out on his travels. Then the gold-mining concern failed and he was soon penniless. Though still under sixty he could not find employment, and this undoubtedly preyed on his mind.
The Strange story of the Goler mine brings out the fact that it is not the obssession of gold that is the chief lure. In this case, a man named Goler with two partners discovered a rich mine. The partners died of thirst and Goler returned to civilisation determined to fit out an expedition to exploit his mine. He never found it again.
But later another man set out to find it. He failed in his quest, but by an extraordinarv chance found another rich strike. This proved so fruitful that he is said to have amassed a huge fortune. However, he ran through it. And once more penniless he set out for the Goler mine.
From this last journey he never came back. No trace of him was ever found.

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As an armed forces brat, we lived in Rockcliff (Ottawa), Namao (Edmonton), Southport (Portage La Prairie), Manitoba, and Dad retired to St. Margaret's Bay, NS.
Working with the Federal Govenment for 25 years, Canadian Hydrographic Service, mostly. Now married to Gail Kelly, with two grown children, Luke and Denyse. Retired to my woodlot at Stillwater Lake, NS, on the rainy days I study the life and work of A. Hyatt Verrill 1871-1954.