THE KOOTANAIS MINES [From the Columbian]
A gentleman residing at Soogoos Lake, writes under date July 17th, as follows:-
DEAR SIR, - The quiet little town of Colville was thrown into a state of great excitement on the 5th inst., by the arrival of a party of miners direct from the Kootanais mines, en route from this place (Soogoos Lake) for the purpose of recording claims and securing miners’ licenses, from the Government officer. They brought down some very rich specimens of quartz rock, and also a considerable quantity of “dust,” which they left at Colville, to be forwarded by express to Portland, proceeding immediately on their way to secure their discoveries by compliance with the law.
Another party of miners have also arrived from the Salmon River mountains, who report rich discoveries both of quartz and placer diggings on the new trail made by the citizens of Colville from the mouth of the Pen D’Oreille to Kootanais. (The H.B. Co. are not making a trail from Fort Sheppard via Pen D’Oreille as stated by the authority of Mr. McKay. British Columbia is indebted to the citizens of Colville for the construction of the trail.) The diggings along the rivers and creeks in the Kootanais country, are paying very well. My informant states that himself and partner took out $1,400 in 20 days, and he reports many more doing equally as well – some much better. He says he knows of no company making less than $9 to $10, and so on, up to $300 per day to the hand. He states that he has been twenty days on the road from Kootanais, travelling the circuitous route of Cor-de-Lane and Spokan, a distance of 400 to 500 miles, in order to secure his discoveries. The miners, after recording their claims and taking out licenses, immediately set out for the Kootanais, taking the new trail, which shortens the distance between Colville and Kootanais 200 miles. – They report provisions plenty at moderate prices. They left these diggings on the 27th June, and report that there had arrived at the mines 500 to 600 pack animals with cargoes, and they met on the way down a great many more freighted for the mines. There were, up to the time they left, only 500 men in the mines, but they were daily arriving in large numbers from all quarters.
If the people of British Columbia wish to compete with their more enterprising neighbors of Oregon and Washington, they must be up and stirring, push the Hope wagon road through, and improve the road down the Similkameen and Kettle rivers to Fort Colville or Sheppard, and thence to Kootanais. If something is not done, and that quickly, British Columbia may bid farewell to the trade of the Kootanais country.
Major Rumvill, U.S.A., stationed at Colville, and Mr. Smith, of the firm of Omsted & Co., of Colville, have discovered a quartz ledge within a short distance of that town, which assays $40 per ton. They have sent below for machinery.
The following remarks on the above are from the Columbian: These new diggings appear destined to give rise to that amount of “croaking” on the one side and exaggeration on the other which has ever characterised the opening up of new gold fields in every country. While cautioning the public against swallowing, unalloyed, such information as appeared in the Victoria Chronicle of Friday, under the heading “The Kootanais mines Humbug” on the one hand, we would, on the other, suggest that such information as is contained in a letter published in the present impression should be received with considerable caution. That these mines have proved a “humbug” is utterly unworthy of credence. The fact is, prospecting may be said only to have commenced. Yet, so far as the ground has been tested, the result would appear to justify the most sanguine expectations entertained respecting that section of country. It is known that rich diggings have been struck, and it is believed that they extend over a large tract of country. The character of the gold obtained would indicate anything but superficiality. It is coarse, resembling very much in form water-melon seeds, though much of it larger. A sample sent to the Hon. Colonial Secretary has been assayed in the Government office here and has proved to be 930 fineness, yielding $19 25¢ to the ounce, being superior in quality to any hitherto obtained in British Columbia.
The letter from which the Chronicle publishes an extract may or may not be genuine. But, be that as it may, our contemporary, in the heading and remarks with which he accompanies it, would seem to exhibit either very great ignorance upon the general subject or an overwhelming desire to decry the Kootanais.
FREIGHT FOR THE KOOTANAIS MINES. –
We learn from Mr. Dietz, who came down from Hope yesterday, that pack trains have come into that town for cargoes, intended for these new gold fields. The people of Lytton, alive to the importance of securing their share of the trade, raised a fund of over $1000, and sent off a party of six yesterday week to examine and report upon the Kootanais mines, and we hear that the people of Yale are about to follow their example.