LATER FROM BIG BEND. – From Mr. D.W. Smith, who left Big Bend on the 15th November, we have the following interesting information respecting these promising diggings.
Mr. Smith, who has a claim on Carnes Creek, where he has been working during the summer, came over the divide by the Government trail to the head of Shuswap Lake, a distance of thirty-five miles. The trail is very good for a mountain trail, and can be walked easily with a pack in two days. Small lake boats run from thence to Savana’s ferry, which takes an additional two days.
THE BIG BEND DIGGINGS. Mr. Smith, who was one of the pioneers, having travelled with Carnes, after whom one of the creeks is named, and reached the diggings on the 30th April last, states from his experience that he is of the opinion that a range of country, say from 100 to 120 miles, exists there that will pay from half an ounce to four ounces a day when properly opened to the hand. The party prospected on their way up and found good prospects, equal to those found in the gravel of any of the creeks now known to be rich.
FRENCH CREEK. On this creek two companies of 12 to 15 men remained when Mr. Smith left, intending to winter there, sufficient provisions having been brought in to maintain them by Messrs. Smith and Ladner. From 250 to 300 men had been on the creek during the season, some of whom never worked, and returned, reporting that there were no diggings. A good many tried to open claims but did not succeed in doing so before cold weather set in. Dupuy opened a hill claim and took out $800 to two hands working on the bench rock. The Half Breed Company, or Discovery Claim (four men), in the creek in one day took out 64 ounces, averaging from two to four ounces to the hand on the bed rock gravel from 8 to 10 feet down. A company working in the gravel, from one to two miles above, averaged from an ounce and a half to two ounces a day to the hand in getting out their tail-race, when their wheel froze up, without expecting to reach the bedrock this fall. Shep. Bayley’s Co., three in number, had got out as much as $1600, getting as high as 12 ounces to the pan.
The bed rock on this creek is from 6 to 15 feet deep, coarse and heavy gold being found wherever it was reached. A man who sunk a hole about 4 feet deep 15 miles up the creek obtained a similar prospect of the same kind of gold to that found in the gravel lower down.
CARNES’ CREEK. On this creek 13 men were at work when Mr. Smith left, who found good prospects until they were washed out. One man panned out one evening in the loose gravel $9.
The bed rock had not been reached in consequence of the freshet, although Mr. Smith’s company had gone down 36 feet, believing themselves within 10 feet of the bed rock when they stopped sinking. They then washed on a bar getting about $15 to the hand in the loose gravel.
Carnes & Co. (two men) averaged about $30 to the hand in the gravel in the bed of the creek without attempting to sink to the bed rock which they intend to do in the spring.
Chapron & Co. flumed the canyon and panned out about $40 one day on the bedrock, but their flume was carried away, and they stopped for the season.
Messr. Smith & Co. turned the creek two or three times, and were washed out by heavy rains. Below the dam they got about four bits to the pan in the loose gravel, and believed the could make from about two to three ounces to the hand sluicing.
McCULLOCH’S CREEK. On this creek, Barney Reilly & Co., five in number, averaged from two to three ounces per day to the hand, one day making 35 ounces working on the high bed-rock.
On the top of the hill where the creek was level some men prospecting got from four bits to a dollar and a half to the pan in the gravel without reaching the bed rock.
MOBERLY CREEK. Our informant learnt from Mr. Moberly, who came to New Westminster with him, that he prospected a creek emptying into the Little Shuswap, on which he obtained prospects of from 5 to 8 cents to the pan, on a bar, without using a pick. Mountaineer Perry, one of the pioneers, told Mr. Smith that the prospect was about 10 cents to the pan, and he intended returning there to prospect this fall. He gave it as his opinion from the look of the slate range and the quantity of quartz wash gravel that there was as good diggings there as any that had been prospected.
OTHER CREEKS. In a creek about 30 miles above the mouth of French Creek emptying into Gold Creek, a man struck a prospect as good as that on any other creek, declaring that he preferred it to French Creek, and intended returning there with provisions to hold his claim.
On other creeks at the mouth of which casual prospects were made, equally good colors were found affording the presumption that as good diggings may be found on other creeks emptying into the Columbia as any that have been tested.
MISCELLANEOUS. French and Carnes’ creeks are large creeks about thirty miles long having plenty of pay dirt and extensive benches. They are about fifty miles apart, the latter being lower down. McCulloch Creek also empties into Gold Creek. Judging from the experience of last Spring the diggings can be worked as early as March, as the earliest prospectors found the ground though covered with snow quite soft when they arrived there in April.
Messrs. Smith (of Smith & Ladner), Romano and McBeil intended engaging a man each to blaze out a pack trail from the terminus of the Government trail on the Columbia to French Creek, good feed for animals existing all the way. The shortest and best route to the diggings is decidedly up the Fraser. The Kamloops and Shuswaps Lakes, on which the British Columbian Government intend having a steamer placed are not generally frozen over beyond March, while the lakes on the Columbia River are not open till May, and the Columbia River is a long, tedious and dangerous route to travel.
Gold Creek or River, into which French Creek empties, is about 100 miles in length, and has fine prairie lands on either side producing fine hay. Four men reported having discovered something in the neighbourhood of French Creek which they would not exchange for the best discovery in the country. They refused to disclose the secret until they had made themselves secure.
A miner who left Big Bend after our informant told him that six feet of snow lay on the Divide when he crossed over, and was still falling.
One-third of the miners who were at the diggings belong to Colville, and had returned to winter there. A big rush was expected to the diggings in the spring.
Mr. Perry reported having discovered silver ore on Moberly Creek.
PROVISIONS. The following were the ruling prices of provisions at Big Bend:- Bacon, $1.50 lb.; Flour, $80 100 lbs.; Sugar, $1.50 lb.; Coffee, $1.50 lb.; Tea, $3 lb.; Butter, $2 lb.; Beef, 65c lb.
From another informant just arrived from Kamloops we learn that Romano had reached French Creek with 25 mules laden with provisions, which would be a great boon to the miners at Big Bend.
At Kamloops several parties were organizing pack trains to convey provisions, drawn by digs, to Big Bend during the winter. A fine opportunity presents itself here for speculators to make a clean sweep of the superfluous canine species.
Messrs. Dewdney and Moberley (sic.) had both returned from Big Bend.