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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 48

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thirty miles south of Tonopah called Rabbit Springs, Stimler picked up a piece of interesting float. But it was not silver that he held in his hand; it was gold! A terrific sand storm was blowing that day, but in spite of the misery and cold, Stimler traced the ledge from which the float had rolled and staked out several claims, one of which he called the “ Sandstorm” in honor of the weather. This was December 2, 1902. Through 1903 the activity around Goldfield, touched off by the rich samples brought into Tonopah by Harry Stimler, moved forward without the richness of the district being really proven; but by spring of 1904 the location work established the fabulous surface values, and the shaft began to prove there was richness with depth. The boom reached the boiling point. George Wingfield bought the Sandstorm from Harry Stimler, and it produced seven million dollars in seven months. This is only one of the incredible items connected with Rabbit Springs, which later became Goldfield, the richest gold discovery ever made anywhere in the world. In order to escape expensive litigation, George Wingfield bought and combined many contiguous claims and fractions into one group he called the “ Goldfield Consolidated Mines Company” and capitalized the company for fifty million shares, most of which were traded on the Mining Exchange in San Francisco. The richest single shipment from Goldfield was forty- seven and one- half tons from the Hays- Monette lease on the Mohawk Mine. It was so rich that the ore was sacked and stored in the John S. Cooke Bank until it could be shipped. When it reached the Selby Smelters near Oakland, California, it was tested and valued at $ 574,953.39. The record shows this as the richest shipment of ore ever recorded in the world, both in value per ton ($ 12,300) and in over- all value. Goldfield was the scene of the wildest mining boom Nevada had experienced since Comstock days. Stages loaded with prospectors, promoters, gamblers, and ladies of doubtful design were coming into Tonopah, two and three a day, stopping only long enough for a change of horses before pushing on to the newest El Dorado. Many of our friends bought claims from the army of prospectors who had staked out the desert for miles around the original spots located by HarryStimler, and by Al Meyers and Charlie Taylor, two other lucky first arrivals. As a result of the earlier Tonopah excitement, prospectors had swarmed over southern Nevada like field mice. Hardly more than wanderers, most of them knew nothing of mineral formation, but now groups of men in eastern cities stood ready to grubstake any man on the scene willing to undertake the search for gold. Other men were hired to follow the trails of the prospectors to report any discoveries that looked promising.



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