LATER. – Important from Big Bend, KOOTENAY, ROCK CREEK, ETC., ETC.
A gentleman who has just reached town, having left Fort Colville on June 12th, has supplied us with the following interesting and important information:
BIG BEND DIGGINGS. – About 200 men had ascended the Columbia for the Big Bend Diggings. The river now presents much the appearance that Fraser River did in 1858. Numbers of canoes and small boats are continually ascending. Captain White’s steamer will be ready to navigate the river up to the Big Bend by September next in time for the fall trade. Our informant saw miners who visited these diggings in the spring and returned for supplies. They reported having found general good prospects. On the bars they could get from four to six bits and on the creeks from 25 cents to a dollar and a quarter to the pan.
The diggings were causing considerable excitement and it is anticipated that there will probably be from 8000 to 10,000 men there this summer. A large stampede will no doubt take place from Boise and the neighbourhood in this direction. A firm at Colville had sent up boats loaded with provisions.
Our informant thinks that British Columbia will not be able to participate in the traffic with Big Bend or Kootenay mines until the Government constructs a proper road from Fort Hope to Fort Shepherd, and then he does not consider that we can expect more than half the trade. The distance is about 200 miles and there are no engineering difficulties in the way that he is aware of.
Bacon at Big Bend when it could be got sold at $1.50 to $1.75 per lb. Beans, do. Flour from 75 cents to $1. Tea about $5 per lb; very scarce.
KOOTENAY MINES. – Our informant confirms the report of the discovery of the new creek referred to by Commissioner O’Reilly. He understood that several thousand miners were on their way to Kootenay. Provisions were very scarce and high. At Colville flour was retailing at from $15 to $25 per 100 lbs., according to quality. Sugar, 50 cents; tea, $1.75 to $2.50 per lb. Bacon, none, ruling at 62 ½ c.; Beans, 35c to 40.
The country by this time is no doubt well supplied, large quantities of goods were on the way.
A company was being formed in Oregon to run stages from Priest Rapids or White Bluff to the Little Dalles 20 miles above Colville to connect with Captain White’s steamer, a distance of about 150 miles.
ROCK CREEK. - About 50 or 60 men are at work here appeared to be making fair wages. The water had been very high this spring and caused considerable delay in getting into the bed of the creek.
ON BOUNDARY CREEK – a few Chinamen were working and doing well. A party of three took out 7 ounces in a week.
CHINAMEN’S DIGGINGS – It is estimated that from 1200 to 1500 Chinamen, chiefly from British Columbia, had found their way to Colville and were mining in the bars of the Columbia below Fort Shepherd for a distance of about 400 miles. They can make from $1.50 to $3 a day, though some have made as high as $6 a day, and last season Chinamen were known to have made from $2000 to $3000.
THE BIG BEND DIGGINGS [From the Columbian] The atmosphere is pregnant with rumors of rich discoveries in this interesting and promising section of country. Mr. William Ladner, who has just returned from the Kamloops, informs us that he saw Perry, the well-known explorer, who had come over to Kamloops for a supply of provisions. Mr. Perry informed Mr. Ladner that he and his partners struck rich diggings in a creek emptying into the Columbia river at the Big Bend, and about where the road from Shuswap Lake will strike the river. They took out $700 apiece in a very short time, but not having a supply of provisions they were compelled to leave. They (sic.) were about sixty men on the creek when he left to get provisions. He represents the mines there as quite equal to Cariboo. Mr. Ladner also saw Mr. Campbell, the well-known cattle dealer, who has just returned from the Okanagan country, and who told him of rich strikes on the Big Bend towards which there was a great rush.
Mr. Moberly (?) of Yale, received a letter from Mr. W. Robertson, dated Fort Colville, June 10th. Mr. Robertson says:- “I got here four days ago and am building a boat to go up the Columbia. * * There were eighteen boats went up the Columbia this spring, and the day before we got here a man came down with a number of letters from those who are at work prospecting, and all those letters concur in saying that something has been struck but how good it is I do not know yet. Some of the party went up a creek that empties into the Columbia and found a good prospect on the sloping bedrock going into the creek, and when the party who came down left no bottom had been reached where they had sunk shafts on the flats, the water being too high to get down in the creek.
Another party came down yesterday who are going back. They bring further information that there are some miners working on a bar above this creek, and doing pretty well. I should not be surprised to find that good diggings have been found on the Columbia this summer.
The greater part of the boats that left here went high up towards the Big Bend, but from them we have heard nothing. It was the tail end of the prospectors who struck the creek above alluded to. Two large boats loaded with merchandise started up this afternoon. The diggings are 250 miles above Colville.” * * *
There has been no news received as yet from the Government exploring party commanded by Mr. Orr, but everywhere there appears to be the greatest confidence felt as to the result of the explorations and prospectings now going on.
Mr. Ladner informs us that the Hudson Bay Company are busily engaged in erecting a station, storehouses, etc., at the foot of lake Kamloops, which indicates that the cautious and shrewd directors have no longer any misgivings as to the future of the country alluded to.