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September 11, 1861: Hayward

September 11, 2011

Hayward 01

Mural, downtown Hayward; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

Camp 51

[Today] I visited some of the hills in the neighborhood, and among the rest, a “coal mine” where much money had been expended and not a particle of coal found, and where a very little geological knowledge would have saved the money. Then a “copper mine” just as bad and more expensive. I went down a shaft a hundred feet, hanging on a rope, then into a drift in rock where it is impossible for a mine to occur—money thrown away. I told the man to stop digging, and I think he will—after sinking a few more hundreds.

[Tonight] Professor Whitney joined us in camp. He had just returned from Washoe. I wish I could recount his tales of that country—it seems a fable—a desert region, inhospitable, but with mines of fabulous richness—$700,000 taken from one vein in a short time—the largest steam stamping mills in the world erected, where the freight amounted to sixteen cents per pound ($320 per ton)—for a short distance of the road boilers sent by express at thirty cents per pound—tales of money being both lost and won by the hundreds of thousands, of a large town springing up in that desert in two years, etc.

We [are] camped on a lovely spot by a stream, under a stupendous sycamore, on a rich bottom. The land was recently sold for one hundred dollars per acre, as it had produced over ninety bushels of wheat per acre. But pretty as it was, a heavy fog rolled in from the sea by night and dripped from the trees like rain, wetting our blankets as we slept under them—reminding me of rain once more.

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