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‘Great Beds of Copper Discovered’

Transcibed 1/31/2021

Hoffman, H. “Great Beds of Copper Discovered.” The San Francisco Call, November 13, 1897. Accessed December 8, 2020.


Almost Pure Ore on Prince William Sound.


Stakes Out a Claim Which Will Yield to Him a Fortune.


Cooks Inlet Country Rich In Products Other Than Golden Nuggets.

Special Dispatch to The Call.

SITKA, Nov. 5. (by steamship City of Topeka to Seattle, Nov.12.)—One hundred and twenty-three miners, prospectors, surveyors and laborers arrived here on the steamship Dora from Cooks Inlet and Prince William Sound. While every prospector and miner carries back with him a small sack of gold as the result of his season's work, none brings news of strikes of fabulous richness, though there were all kinds of extraordinary reports afloat soon after the ship tied up at the wharf. Apparently authentic information was brought down, however, of the discovery oi extensive beds of oil and veins of coal near Prince William Sound, which is to the east of Cooks Inlet, on the Kenai Peninsula, and on the Alaska Peninsula to the westward.

The larder of the Dora on the down trip was entirely exhausted, owing to the carefulness of the new captain to anchor over night. William Bebe of Seattle said facetiously that if there had been a few more buoys to tie to they might have starved to death before they reached port.

The prospectors and miners who came out re: Robert Elliott of 423 Kearny street, San Francisco; William Bede of Seattle, John Heady of Seattle, Fred Erickson of Seattle, Phil MacBeth, John McLennon and Ed Pitcher of Port Townsend, James Walker of Fresno, Cal.; George Harvey, Isaac Isaacson, Jack Ellis and J. D. Trapp of Juneau, Henry Edwards and wife and Mrs. Pierce of Seattle.

These men were working on the lower creeks of Six-mile creek. While the party which came out about four weeks ago was working on the upper creeks and was driven out by the cold, the upper creek prospectors were more successful than the present party, as they came down with about $200,000 out of the total estimated output oi $250,000 in the Cooks Inlet country for the season. The fact, in brief, about the Cooks Inlet country so far as at present prospected is that while considerable pay dirt has been found and worked at a profit the paystreak, if there is one, has not yet been found.

The most sensational story brought down by any of the party is the report of the discovery of rich copper ore on Prince William Sound. An element of mystery was thrown into this by the fact that there was a man aboard who exhibited a large nugget of almost pure copper, but who refused to tell his name or where he found it. He is going to San Francisco.

I have learned that this man is Mike Gladhaugh, an old miner of the Black Hills. His discovery is on the beach on Prince William Sound, near Taiteklah. The ledge is said to be nearly pure copper. It crops out on the beach below high-water mark, and when the tide is at its maximum the ledge is out of sight, but this does not dampen the enthusiasm of this old miner nor reduce his confidence in the belief that he has a good thing. He has very little of the vein in sight, but he has already set a price of $150,000 on the discovery.

On Tatanch Island a blowout of copper pyrites of gigantic dimensions has been found. Down on the beach there are said be huge bowlders of almost solid copper. Other locations in this section said to be equally promising have been made. These reports come straight enough, and if absolutely true, copper has at last been found in Alaska in great and paying quantities.

The Alaska Commercial Company seems to be quite as active in the Cooks Inlet territory as it is in the Yukon. Robert Elliott said he had heard reports that the company was buying up claims around Six-Mile Creek for the purpose of working them on a large scale with giants. He said he heard the Polly Mining Company was offered $150,000 for its claims, but he did not believe it, as he did not think the Polly property was worth so much money. That this or other companies of large capital are buying and bonding large tracts of ground for hydraulic mining on an extensive scale there is no doubt.

The largest coal and oil fields so far discovered are west of Cape Yakatago, near two small streams which flow into Controllers Bay. These have been discovered and located by the Alaska Development Company of Seattle, which has had prospectors looking for oil and coal in that region for the best part of two seasons.

T. J. Hamilton, vice-president and general manager of the company, who has spent this season there, and who was a passenger on the Dora, says that one of field has a frontage of five miles and the other of nine miles. He said that the oil was certainly lubricating and that the coal was bituminous and the finest on the Pacific Coast.

It is sad in this city that the Alaska Development Company is another name for the Standard Oil Company. Vice President Hamilton denies this. When asked if he objected to being gobbled by the oil monopoly he said he did not if his company could be swallowed at its own price. Being nearer the Oriental market, this company expects to compete with the Standard Oil Company for the trade of China and Japan.

Vice-President Hamilton talked railroad just before he sailed for the south on the City of Topeka like a man who has unlimited capital or is backed by some company which has. He said the company intended to start a preliminary survey next season for the railroad from Controllers Bay to Circle City, Forty Mile. Cudahy and Dawson. Copper River comes out a few miles to the westward of Controllers Bay. The railroad route would be to cross Copper River above the canyon, about 100 miles above the Delta, girdle on the northeast on a high plateau between Copper and Sushitna rivers, cross the headwaters of the Tanana River and then east to the Yukon, a distance of about 550 miles. Indians take that route sometimes to come out from the Yukon. The scheme is to supply coal and oil for the Yukon towns, particularly when the working of quartz is begun, and to do a general transportation business.

Other oil strikes made this season are near an Indian village called Soldovia, on the Kenai peninsula, and in the Iliamni couniry, on the Alaska peninsula. Here, it is said, was found a lake of oil in which the Indians have for years reported that bears wallowed to prevent themselves being annoyed by insects and for the sake of the perfume of the oil.

No man in the Dora party could be found who had heard any reports from the Copper River except from Indians, who said no white men had been up the river.

Bars in the Sushitna River have this season been found to pan out as high as $1.50 in fine gold per pan, which is considered very good pay dirt. At no place where the ground was panned did it fail to show- colors, and at some places coarse gold was found. A Mr. Girdwood of Sitka and three others wintered in there last season at the foot of the first great falls, 200 miles up, but were driven out this summer owing to a lack of provisions. They will return next spring.

Coarse gold was found under bowlders which were removed for the purpose of using them to build a fireplace in their cabin. The gold of the latest strike in the Klondike, on Skookum Pup Creek, was found under stones and bowlders. During the season just closing itis estimated that about 500 men have been prospecting in that vast section of Alaska west of Copper River and south of Norton Sound.

-Hal Hoffman


Homer Johnson’s Gusher Spouting With Strong Pressure.

VICTORIA, Nov. 12 - The steamer City of Topeka, which arrived from Alaska after midnight, reports having sustained considerable damage in a gale off the Queen Charlotte Islands on Monday last. A large wave washed over the vessel, smashing the doors and flooding the cabins, while several of the crew were more or less injured. She brings several passengers from Cooks Inlet, who confirm the report that the mines there have this year yielded a quarter of a million in gold.

The Topeka brings a party which has been examining the petroleum discovery made at Kyak, back of Cooks Inlet, by Homer Johnson of San Jose. His gusher is now spouting through a 1 1/2-inch pipe, with a very strong pressure. The Standard Oil Company's experts, who have been examining the great find, are also passengers.

Robert Duncan, superintendent of the Treadwell mine, is on his way to San Francisco on business. Fred Nowell, also of Alaska, is returning from Dyea, where he has been in connection with the aerial tramway his company is building ever the pass. Two other companies, also, are building. Cook, who boarded the steamer at Juneau, says news of Dawson City up to October 10 had been brought there, with no noteworthy incidents.


Regulations Governing Use of Lands in the Reservation.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12. — Secretary Alger has issued regulations governing the use and occupation of lands within the limits of the military reservation of St. Michael, Alaska. They are substantially as follows:

Applications for permission to conduct legitimate business enterprises must be accompanied by testimonials of good character and standing, reciting the nature of the business to be conduced; the location, as nearly as possible, on unoccupied land within the reservation; the area of land necessary; number and character of buildings, etc., to be erected, and probable date when occupancy is to be commenced and terminated. Those located on this reservation at the time the reservation was made -will in like manner present their applications for permits. The permit will authorize the grantees to maintain the specified business, and none other, at the places named. The permit will not be negotiable, and will be of no value or effect until presented to and recorded by the commanding officer of Fort St. Michael, and the location staked out by him. It will not be transferable without the approval of the Secretary of War, except where both parties to the transfer are on the ground and one desires to dispose of his interest, in which event the commanding officer for St. Michael may authorize the transfer. It will give no right or title to ownership of lands, and is revocable at the will of the Secretary of War. Occupants under these permits will be subject at all times to such police regulations as may be imposed from time to time by the commanding officer of Fort St. Michael or higher authority.

In case of naturally restricted landings, sites for buildings and shipyards, no monopoly will be given to any person or corporation, and no permit will hi construed to do this, and all disagreements between holders of permits will, after a careful hearing by him, be settled by the commanding officer of Fort St. Michael.

No retailing of distilled spirits in the reservation will be owed, but this prohibition shall not include light wines or beer.

It is to be understood that these permits are issued subject to any subsequent legislation of Congress.

Provision is made for reserving sufficient lands for the post at St. Michael and for the modification of terminal of permits.