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DRY WASHING IN THE DESERT.
Gold Hunting After the Old Mexican
The desert country of the south
west is rich in legends of lucky strik
es made by dry washers. And the
dry washer is not a laundry utensil
desizned for use where water is too
scar-e to be used other than inter
nally. it 'is the sole mechanical in
vention with which the native Mexi
can is credited, a means of taking pla
cer gold from the sand in which wind
supplies the place of water.
Given a good head of water and
the man with the hydraulic giant will
wash a fortune for auriferous gravel
that carries a few cents' worth of
gold to the square yard. The fellow
with the pan must find fifty cents
worth or better in the same area to
make wages but the dry washer re
gards the ground as barren if he
does not find a dollar's worth of the
yellow metal on his riffles after
screening the same amount of sand.
There was old man Cushenberry,
whose haunt was south of Casa'Doma,
that curious volcanic plateau which is
visible from a hundred miles around
Yuma. He was in his chronic condi
cion of hard luck when a shovelful
of sand left the riffles of his primi
tive dry washer clogged to overflow
ing with dust and nuggets.
In half an hour he had taken out
$14,000 and in the next,six months he
had spent every cent of it in an inef
fectual effort to raise water from the
Colorado for more extensive opera
tions. He never found another pock
Down around Yuma, when you talk
of diy washing, they will also tell you
of thO ditched hobo. A Southern Pa
cific brakeman ejected him from a side
door Pullman, and he sought the wa
terfront, which was an institution
then celebrated from the Dallas to the
"The Front," was a narrow strip
of s4ore.just below the old govern
ment'corral, where by ancient usage
was established the commonwealth of
the dead broke. Everything was own
ed in common. They had a mayor
and an unwritten code enforced by a
Kangaroo court. In earlier days nn
loss of caste attached to residence on
"The Front,'' today's insolvent was
frequently tomorrow's magnate. Gra
dually however, the hobo element
came to be predominant, and the city
marshal abated the sanctuary as a
But to return to the ditched hobo
He toid the Fronters a hard luck
story that would a. few years ago have
insured aid, comfort and indolence.
The taming of the Apache and the ex
tension of the Santa Fe and ,the
Southern Paeafic haid, however, iade
them familiar with his kind, and his
was very promptly disposed of. A
grubstate was made up and he was
adlvised to accompany a couple of merh
who were just starting on a dry wash
ing expedition up the river.
That same day the outfit uncover
ed a gold ledge that was shot and
speckled with free gold and the hobo's
share brought him $50,000. All hobo
land preserves traditions of the lyr
iod of plenty that followed. Inciden
tally: not one of the trio that struck
the lode was alive -a year later.
But as to the dry washer and~ the
man who operates it. The, tourist
'who crosses the sand and alkali wastes
in a Pullman, br is whirled in an au
tomobile to the bonanza to look at
the good thing the superintendent:
has framed up for him sees neither.
The desert prospector is the broth
er of silence, a silence so profound
and pervasive that wvhen a vagrant
wind raises a level jet of sand and
moves it a yard or two the silken
swish of its transit is audible for fur
The scamper of the horned toad
fills the void corridor of the ear, the
fpotfall of the sad-eyed burro is per
cussive.* Only at night, when the
coyote lifts a lean muzzle .to the
bland moon is the stillness shattered
as infinite desolation fiads a voice.
Another sound there is that speaks
of man's presence. In the heart of
the waste, miles from the railway and
equally remote from wood and water,
there may be heard a reeurrent pop
ping that is not to be confounded
with the parring rataplan of the
It is like the pop-pop-popping of a
gasolene launch, and the tenderfoot
might fancy that the ship of the des
ert had been brought up to date and
equipped with those mysterious appli
ances of which the motor enthusiast
loves to discourse.
Approach the sound and you will
come upon a man and his machine--a
sun browned and solitary man, the
corners of his eyes wrinkled like an
apple that has been frozen and thaw
ed, by the instinctive contraction of
the lids against the glare of refracted
H-e is the last of the placer miners,
Sthe survival of a type that levels
hils and fills valleys by a magic that
Wa,tlid dl.-tilh thle re.t I tile mighty
wizalc, .11"ClLeal Scott.
The water ways, from the frozen
tundra of the north to ciene-a, of the
souith, have long Since giveu up their
store of yellow metal. The pan, the
longtom and the flume exploited them,
after which the hydraulic recovered
fortunes from tailings or from gravel
too poor to work by the more expe-i
But the desert is rich in auriferous
gavel. There are thousands of
square miles in the Mojave and the
Colorado that yield placer gold in
such quantities that, given water, the
output of Cripple Creek and Tonopah
would be made -to look like a grub
Water is not, but there is wind.
The dry washer is merely a rude bel
lows of the familiar blacksmith pat
tern. It forces a current of air
through a sheet of muslin set on an
inclined plane and crossed at right
angles by sticks of woods called riffles.
The gravel is made to run down this
muslii incline, while the bellows lifts
it over the, riffles. The gold being
heavy is eaught and held under the
cross pieces; pebbles and sand are
ejected at the bottom.
Various forms of the dry washer
have been patented, but the simplest
type remains the best; an old soap
box, a few yards of tarpaulin, half a
yard of fine muslin and a little bal
ing wire are all the material required
for its construction. The whole ap
paratus need not weigh over twenty
pounds and the prospector can pack
it from place to place on his back.
Down in southwestern Arizona the
Mexican is credited with the inven
tion of the dry washer and nothing
else. It is the last resource of the
prospector who cannot get a grub
stake. - For miles around Yuma on
either side of the Colorado, one may
cunt on taking out an average of a
dollar a-day with this crude appliance
and as $5 will grub stake a man for a
month there is little excuse for being
For twenty miles north of the con
fluence of the Gila and the Colorado
the barren gulches are honeycombed
with the work of the dry washer. The
work of the white man is easily dis
tinguishable from that of the chula.
In places the bedrock has been ex
posed for hundreds of feet along the,
bottonm of the shalloy gulch, the ce-.
ment strata swept clean with a whist
broom, since pay dirt is found most
y at the bottom. This is the work of
the American. The Mexican seldom
ays bare more than a square yard
ad from that, so the envious Gringo
asserts, he gets what he is after.
A still more simple a:nd -primitive
ethod of dry 'washing is indicated
y innumerable basin-like depressions
along the sides of these gulches. From
each has been taken about a bucket
ful of sand which is placed, a handful
t a time, in an ordinary gold pan, a
ussia iron basin a little larger than
he-ordinary tin wash basin.
This, by a dexterous tin of the
wrist, the Mexican throws into the
air, at the same time blowing through
it. As it falls he tilts the pan, al
lowing it to run in a thin st.ream ov'er
the idge. His bead-like eye is eaught
nd sent back to the foxtail of black
sand and concentrates on the opposite
edge of the pan. In half an hour he
is solvent, and the placer ground will
know him no more until a run of hard
ick at cockfighting or monte sends
him back to the band nature has pro
dded for him.
It is confidently asserted through
out the southwest that the Mexican~
possesses a sixth sense which enables
him to loeate infallibly tlle pockets
iih white men either miss altogeth
er or only stumnble upon by accident
Men have carefully studied the
natural features of these spots, but
are unable to discover the indications
which j--int them out to the native.
t is mnaddening to work ten days un
der a blazing sun for a few dollars'
worth of dust nid nuggets, and then
o,osee a lazy Mexican walk directly
to a spot a few rods away, pan a
>ucketful of dirt and slouch off after
baif an hour's work with $50 worth
of the yrellow metal knotted up in his
But if the Meixican possesses this
sense, he is cal eful r;ot to abuse it.
, takes only enorgh f<,r his immedi
ate necesities, and has a lofty coni
tempt f'r the A.2-a-anl's amnbit.)!
to ap.!re riches. No- will he locate
a quartz vein if he bappens t.. vad
By an unwritten law these dry
lacers abov'e Yuma are free to all.
No o;'e stakes a claim other than
home I ;ea+ed by dredging compamies
wbo after years of disaster have not
yet giaen over the a.sempt to eat
away Ihe bank;s ff ti.e Colora3o un
til they have opened a passage in to
Man' fe*c: discoveri..s 'of quartz
m,es h:aye been made by ecy washers
d cn. have been v rked by the
same primA n'e method
Now and then a rich stringer, a
enan inch or two wide is found,.
WI i .ell I I 1o f u illiclil! \'1\Uhli11e t0
pay for the erection L L u arrastra,
which is a crude quartz vrisher oper
ated by mule power, or even by hand.
rhe arrastra, by the way, is precise
,y the sort of mill to which the Phil
istines harnessed Samson, according
to the familiar picture by Dore. The
discoverer then rigs a spring pestle
with which he pulverizes the rotten
quartz-running the powder through
Early in the 90's two young fel
lows found such a stringer near the
deserted camp of Ehrenburg. With
pestle and dry washer they managed
to get out several thousand dollars'
worth of dust, but a good deal of the
rock was too refractory to be worked
in that way, and this was sacked in
the form of specimens and concen
trates. the whole amounting to over
They came down the river in a boat,
which was tipped over in three feet
of water within a few miles of Yuma
by a big dog that accompanied the
party, and tried to climb aboard after
being pitched out for a swim. Not a
cent's worth of the cargo Was saved.
The bottom of the Colorado is a vast
deposit of silt and quicksand. Dred
gers have sunk seventy fee+ in it
above Laguna without touching bed
The plarer miners say the gold of
the desert which the dry washer re
covers in such minute quantities was'
deposited by the river, the bed of
which is liable to/change materially
in a few weeks. In the mile deep
canyon that is one of the world's won
ders, a ditch from five to fifteen miles
wide and hundreds of miles long, cut
through a highly mineralized region.
there must have been many rich lodes,
richer perhaps than any of which the
world holds record. These, the ation
of the water through countless ages,
has disintegrated and carried .far
down toward the delta of the great
river in the form of dust and nuggets.
The Colorado is a natual flume.
Its bottom, deep under the silt where
rifts and ridges of bedrock form
milewide riffles, is a treasure nouse
whose riches no man may estimate.
But even the opaque water is said a
carry an average of twenty-five cents'
worth of gold to the ton, held in solu
tion or floiting on the surface.
Every miner knows that gold will
float, the flour gold whose particles
are so minute that only the avid grip
of quicksilver may clutch and hold it.
Perhaps some day some Jernigan will
make good and wrest it from the
broad and shallow Colorado a treas
ure that will complicate anew the re
lation of the preecious metals.
Meanwhile the chief source of pi-o
ductioni, so far, as these placer de
posits are concerned, will continue to
be that legacy of the Aztecs, the dry
I will furnish a first class barbee
at Jno. P. Wicker's August 22, to be
prepared by J. A. Graham and E. M.
Wicker. -Everybody come and enjoy
a good dinner.
W. L Graham.
An extra meeting of the County
Farmers' -Union is hereby called for
Saturda~y August 17, on important
bu.siness. All lo,cal anions widl see
thait delegates are chosen.
J. B. O'Neall HQlloway,
'Secretary County Union.
W. C. Brown,
Broaddus and Ruffs 5e tablets have
better and more paper in them than
can be bought elsewhere. Buy one and
see for yourself.
Barbecue at Sligh 's.
Mr. Jno. C. Xills will furnish a
barbecue at Sligh's on August 17, the
occasion being the meeting of the
farmers' union. P-omninent speakers
will be present and will deliver ad
dresses. The price of dinner will be
35 cents and 40. cents. Eiverybody. is
invited and a good dinner is guaran- I
Call on Broaddus and Ruff for Col
gate 's Palm soap. Best 5c. .soap sold.
THE BEE HIVE
will move Sept. 1st into C
the store room now (
used by Shelley & Sum
mer,. formerly occu- ~
pied by Kibler-Dennis
Furniture Co., oppo
site Daniel & William
son's Jewelry Store. I
E. L BALES 00, 1'
THE GLOBE, IS IT?
We announce the formal
Fall and Winter Opening
of our Merchant Tailoring Depart
ment which will be in charge of
a Special Representative of
*THE LIBE TAILORTNG COmpAkNY,
Makers of the best there is in Tailoring
August 15, 16 and 17
Over 500 Suitings, Trouserings and
Overcoatings will be displayed
for your inspection.
Smith & Wearn
Newberry, S. C.
Orders taken for immediate or fufure dellvery.
Measures taken Scientifically.
WAGONS, WAGONS. 1
*Just received, car load of Fish Bros, high grade
S1-2 and 2 3-4 Wagons. For the next 30 days
ye will sell these Wagons regaPdless of profi$s.
Ls the strongest, best made and 'easiest running
agon on the market.
Buggies! Bu ges
We.carry but one line of Buggies in stock;'man
factured by The Summers Buggy Co, of~ Barns
ille, Ga.m, These Buggies are considered by all to
)e the best and neatest job ever offered on this.
narket. Our prices and Terms are reasonable.
uy a Summers Buggy Company's Buggy, manu.
actured at Barnsville, Ga., and you have the best.
4o more broken wheels, split -bodies, cracked
hafts, broken springs or bent tops. We are the
nly parties handling these Buggies in this county.
.ome and see our stock of Wagons and Buggies
nd you will buy from
P. M. EVANS ,& CO.