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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 20

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that God will take care of them both while they are apart. In appreciation of Belle Butler, whom I never knew, Hugh and I had MIZPAH engraved in our wedding rings. By the time I arrived in Tonopah, the Butlers had already gone to California to enjoy the fruits of their good fortune, and Tasker Oddie was for me the link between the rock that missed being hurled at a burro and the leasers who were swarming like ants over Mount Oddie. Tasker had been sent to Nevada on a commission from the Phelps- Stokes interests in New York. They had extensive ownership in the state - land, mines, and railroads - about which they needed detailed reports. Caught by the lure of the West, Tasker, after he had completed his investigation, decided to stay in Nevada. For a few years he prospected without any luck; then, rather than return to the East, he ran for district attorney of Nye County, of which the county seat was the little town of Belmont. Carrying a bag of specimens, Jim Butler tramped into Belmont, seventy miles beyond the spot where he had collected the rocks, in order to show them to Tasker Oddie, the only man he wanted to trust. But Tasker didn’t have eight dollars to risk on an assay fee, even with Jim’s promise of half interest if the rocks proved to have any value. However, in the course of the Phelps- Stokes investigations, Tasker had made a friend of Walter Gayhart, a science teacher in Austin who had a small assay outfit in his home. Tasker decided to ship the samples to his friend, offering him a percentage of his own half interest if the samples proved to be worth anything. The stage coach trip was long and slow, and waiting for return information was hard. I heard Tasker tell of the agony it was, the cold chill she experienced when the letter did arrive. He was afraid to open it. When he did open it and began to realize the significance of the assayer’s figures, he was almost afraid to accept the report as correct. But he knew Gayhart was a capable man. The promise held out by these meager samples was too exciting to be dismissed. These rocks might have come from the lost Breyfogle - the will- o’- the- wisp that had had men combing southern Nevada for forty years for the rich ore cropping that, according to legend, a prospector had staked out, then never could find again. ASSAYS OF SAMPLES OF ORE FROM T. L. ODDIE Sample 1 Silver 23 ounces Gold $ 6.70 per ton Sample 2 Silver 540 ounces Gold $ 206.70 per ton Sample 3 Silver 60 ounces Gold $ 19.00 per ton Sample 4 Silver 8 ounces Gold $ 2.25 per ton Sample 5 Silver 60 ounces Gold $ 75.60 per ton Sample 6 Silver 5 ounces Gold $ 2.67 per ton Sample 7 Silver 15 ounces Gold $ 2.40 per ton



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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 20
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