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Info on Sawyers Bar area.


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Hi all, I am new to the forum, and have enjoyed reading many of the posts. I have been gold prospecting for some time, and I am hoping to do some detecting in Northern california. I own a few claims just outside of Sawyers Bar in Siskiyou County, and noticed there are some folks from that area here. The area is not only rich in gold, but history also. I would love to hear of any stories or experiences from anyone, if so kind enough to share. I own some acreage on one particular gulch, and will be spending some time there this summer. Knowledge is power, and I am lacking in this case...LOL. I have a good friend who spends a lot of time in the area, and I have learned a lot from him in the last few years about the mining history in CA., but the stories fascinate me, and I am hungry for any info on the gulches around Sawyers Bar... Thanks !!

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Thanks David, actually, there isn't that much info on this particular area on the internet... The 'ol timers held a lot of secrets, and passed them on to only a few. I have done a lot of research, and countless hours of reading. I buy books every time I go out, and look for every opportunity to gain info on the area.

Google is nice, but experience has taught me nothing replaces first hand knowledge. It is fun, and challenging to buy, explore, and prospect a property 1000's of miles from home. So much has happened in those mountains, with such enormous machinery, and labor. I am amazed at some things I see when walking around the mountain...so many questions. Unfortunately, google does not have the answer.

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My Great Grandfather, John B. Meenach Is buried in the Sawyers Bar Cemetery. He was a Miner and had a cabin there. He passed in 1940 working his claim. We think his claim was on in the Monson Cr. area. Most of that Family History had died. My older Sister has some pictures of my Mother,Grandmother and Uncle playing in the river that she tracked down the swimming hole with. The cabin is gone but with the help of some locals she visited the area.I hope to get there this summer to check ouut the area and atleast dip a pan Was going to last summer but I had a stroke I am 60yrs old..I will be spending some time with the Gals from Sawyers Bar the week of June 18 in Grants Pass for the Jet boat trip we take every year. They are full of history from there. They are bringing my Sister some buckets of cons from thier claim to run throw her gold wheel. Gonna be a fun week. Like always.

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Woodchuck,I gather you've read all the mining reports,bulletins issued by the state over the past 150 years.There may be diaries,stories,tales available from the local historical society and old newspaper articles..info on old survey maps and land deeds etc.

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I and some partners ran the Double Eagle Mine up Eddy Gulch and Compressor Gulch ... Pulled lots of gold there and had 37 miners working for us in the early 80's ... I think most of the residents from back in those days have died or drifted away ... I do know of some very cool and profitable areas there but I think most of them are claimed up now ... Let me know what areas you are interested in ... Cheers, Unc

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Jason, welcome to the forum!!! :D

You're a long way from the east coast forums, I'm sure you will get some great info here, Ron is a great start in your quest for info. :thumbsupanim

Jason is a great guy and a very hard worker mining for gold, he been prospecting the east for a number of years, he as mentioned and a few others have claims in Siskiyou County, anyone that can help Jason out I would appreciate it!!

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  • 1 year later...

I know this is an old post but new to me.

I lived all my life on the Salmon river... grew up at the Forks of Salmon and still have my parents old house down there.

Ron, I probably knew some of the folks that you had working. McBrooms, etc.

Enjoy talking about the river....

Harry

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Hey Harry ... McBrooms , Minihan, Dave Foote, Dickie Watts, Bunch of others worked for us up Eddy Gulch on the old Double Eagle ... I think ol' Freddy is still there up some cold shady gulch battling piss firs over the Klamath Group ... That was an adventurous time, but long gone now ... Cheers, Unc

post-9-0-53042900-1388476482_thumb.jpg

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HA! How many people know who or what "piss firs" are these days? Piss fir willies we called 'em!

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Not sure you guys are talking the same thing but when I lived in Boulder CO in the 70's that is what we called the Colorado White Pines. Mike F

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Ron,

Some are still around. I think Glenn McBroom is working at the Live Yankee? the last few years. His parents are still there.

You were working placers in Compressor gulch weren't you?

I helped survey some areas for drill sites on the Mtn. Laurel, etc. above where you were mining. All of that area is for sale on "The Claimpost" web site.

I have a claim on Jackass gulch, below Sawyers Bar, if you remember where that was.

Lots of good tailings in that area to detect that are not claimed.

wa-au-nut, I sure don't know where the Monson Creek area is??

woodchuck, if you are still around, ask away......

Harry

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Hey Harry...l think we owned the Mtn Laural group too... I sold off my right and ownership to a bunch of those mines around 83 or so. Walked out of the BrassLantern bar with huge wads of $20's ... we had a ball back in those days ... think I blew the last remains of Peru, couple yachts, and areal adveture out of my nose not too long ago ... it was just a couple years before the commies took over America. Now days you just cant do what we did back then... seems like the tailend of real adventure. Miss those times. Cheers, Unc

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  • 3 years later...

Bumping this thread cause it's interesting!  Cheers, Unc

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Soooooo, Ron, you familiar with the tale of the post-Civil War old Russian hermit and his rumored six buried jugs of gold just west of Sawyers Bar?

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Hey, Micro...There were several hermits around SB but I don't recall hearing that particular tale...There was one guy who found a huge multi-pound nugget shaped like a very big shoe sole ... When he wanted to buy something at the store or the bar he'd pull the nugget out and chop off a chunk with his axe...Cheers, Unc

 

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I think it was 2004 give or take a year when Jill and I spent a few weeks camped at a Forest Service camp site (no amenities, just a flat spot with some cleared spots and a single outhouse) a few miles east of the "town" (meaning where roughly a 100 folks still resided in the old town limits but without any store or service available -- nearest place to buy some bread or last week's newspaper was in Forks of Salmon).  We somehow crossed a claim line by 20 feet or so (nothing is marked along the river -- we had to go by the mile markers along the road that threaded its way a hundred feet or so above the river bed and sometimes those markers were difficult to gauge exactly).  We were doing okay by digging out crevices that opened into deeper potholes, then scanning into the cracks with our GB2s and picking out the mostly smallish nuggets when we were paid a visit by the owner of the claim -- an old Hippie who had been living there since the 1960s, but who also had a place in Etna many miles away.

He understood how we made a slight misjudgment and so we resolved the situation by paying him $20 per day to continue working on the edge of his claim.  Several days later he visited.  He especially admired my fairly new Minelab GP Extreme and when he saw how effective we had been he invited us to his place in town where we gave him a few of the more interesting things we had recovered for his collection (he especially coveted some small steel rock wedges that the old-timers used to fracture open bedrock crevices).  In return he asked if we were interested in a deal he offered.  We jumped at the chance even though we were down to our final day or two of food rations.  The deal was this: He would give us permission to go onto one of his claims a mile or two west of town (downriver) as long as we agreed to split 50-50 anything we found.  He stated that the claim was located where a Russian hermit once had a cabin back in the 1870s or 1880's.  If we could locate where that cabin had been we should concentrate our efforts in that vicinity in that the old Russian prospector allegedly had hidden six crocks of gold before his deathbed revelation.  Supposedly one of the crocks had been found during the 1960s by someone with one of the early metal detectors of the day.  That meant that up to five were left assuming no one else had gotten to them without his knowledge.

So we agreed, spent the night at his place and early the next morning we forded the river leaving our 4X4 truck parked on the north bank and crossed over a rocky bar (the water was low that time of year -- low enough to wade cross the river, albeit a somewhat risky proposition as the cobbles were very slippery and our metal detectors were not waterproof).  Within an hour I began getting huge signals from the Extreme.  Unfortunately they were smack in the center of a very thick poison oak patch.  Jill and I worked for two or three hours carefully removing the poison oak (we both are highly allergic to it) and uncovered a 10 X 10 clearing.  A couple of feet down I pulled up the scattered remains of an ancient cook stove complete with porcelain handles.  Not far away Jill screeched -- the kind that didn't need any explanation.  She had located a stringer of bricks about 18 inches deep.  That meant we may have found the section of the old foundation that supported the stove and the cabin's chimney!  Knowing where the cookstove was located helped us visualize how the original cabin might have been laid out, i.e, where the entry door must have been and the window openings.

Jill didn't want me near "her area" so I continued to detect and recover old personal items such as 45-70 casings, corroded brass buttons and snaps and a weird what I thought to be a bookmark with an inscription that read "Catch One".  I figured this may have had to do with catching salmon which back in the day were plentiful in the Salmon River.  It wasn't until years later that I learned what that strange object really was and it confirmed our suspicions about who (or what) the old Russian might have been up to.

Around midday Jill let out another screech.  Oh my God!  Beneath the layer of brick she dug out a woman's old leather boot and sticking up from the center of the boot opening was what appeared to be the bleached remains of a bone!!  Jill almost threw it to the ground before I grabbed it and examined the "bone" more carefully.  It turned out to be a broken stick that just looked like a bone.  But Jill was still creeped out because the owner of the claim had given us some background on what was known about the old Russian -- mainly that he was a hermit and had a reputation for not ever enjoying the company of a woman.  It also was said that a number of women from the town had mysteriously disappeared back in the boomtown days when tens of thousands of ounces were being pulled from the area claims.  This was back in a time when whiskey and a certain type of woman flourished -- the kind of woman who might have been tempted by a large enough pile of gold to wander away from the town center and into the wilds.

As the sun began its afternoon descent the shadows grew longer and we still had not recovered any gold.  About 15 feet distant from where the boot was found a huge Douglas Fir had blown over some 10 or 20 years back.  Its root ball beckoned.  So I carefully worked my way around the edge of the cliff that descended down to the river in order to scan the undersides of the massive root ball.  I always do this because there is no telling if the rootball brought some nuggets up with it as the mighty tree after 200 or 300 years fell over.  Sure enough, I received a mighty signal on my first pass of the detector.  Getting the nugget out, however, became a challenge because of the massive intertwining of rootstock and stone cobbles.  It took me ten minutes or so to hack away an opening.  However, instead of a nugget out came the boot mate identical to the one Jill had found!!  Boots in those days were made of many layers of leather fastened together by hundreds of specialized hooked nails and brass eyelets.  I still have the crumbling remains of one of the boots.

We spent the last hours of daylight trying to guess where the Russian may have buried his jugs.  We already had exhausted the cabin site itself.  Jill opined that if she were a hermit she would have buried her gold in places she could keep her eyes on.  So we tried to figure out where the windows had been on the assumption that these would have provided the Russian with opportunities to peek out to see if anyone was disturbing his hiding spots.  The trouble was that we were running out of time and the potential hiding spots were many and were covered in poison oak.  Finally, we had to begin our exit.  Deer hunting season would open at daybreak the next morning and we did not want to risk being mistaken for a deer.  We still needed to get our dredge out of the river and packed.  My annual vacation was ending.  I needed to get back to that monstrous human anthill called Los Angeles.  So we stopped off at the claim owner's place, told him what we found and showed him our finds, splitting with him a few of the more interesting relics.

So Ron, that's my story and I'm still wondering if you ever heard anything remotely similar.  And, oh yeah, that "Catch One" item.  About five years later we had a visit from one of Jill's old high school friends.  She was a Hollywood clothes designer who makes period costumes for use in movies.  Her eyes lighted up when she noticed the brass "bookmark"in our display case.  So I took it out for her to examine.  She asked for a magnifying glass and after some moments said, "That's no bookmark.  It's a very old dress waistband cinch -- the kind of fancy item that rich ladies wore back in the Civil War days.  It doesn't say "Catch One".  It is engraved, "Catch On".  Where on earth did you find this?  These are very rare!"

And so the mystery intensifies.  What was that old Russian hermit up to anyway?  Any other Sawyers Bar tales to share?

 

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