Story from John Vonderlin
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There’s GOLD in them there hills!!! That’s something I wasn’t aware of. I got onto this search thread using “Pillarcitos and Pilarcitos” as search terms. I was surprised when the Pillarcitos Gold and Silver Mining Company came up. Up until then the only story I’d seen dealing with gold and the Coastside was the newspaper article I sent you about that whacky guy’s Rube Goldberg invention, that he claimed, and was trying to demonstrate, that it could separate lots of gold from sand at Bean Hollow Beach.
Following is a story that mentioned the Pillarcitos claim and quite possibly represents the high point of homegrown Gold Fever in San Mateo. It was in the August 30th, 1863 issue of “The Daily Alta,” on the California Newspaper Archive website. Enjoy. John
DISCOVERY OF GOLD NEAR HOME
EXCITEMENT AMONG THE LOCATORS OF CLAIMS.
— Within a week past some interesting discoveries of gold-bearing quartz have been made in the valley of the San Andres Creek, San Mateo county, in the coast range, about five miles back of “Thorp’s.” The first indications were found by a Frenchman, who found float rock in the bed of the stream showing free gold. Upon pushing his explorations further up the hill he traced out a ledge of rotten quartz, upon which he and his companions took up several hundred feet, locating in the names of some of the principal French merchants and brokers of this city, and recording their claims at the office of the County Recorder. The next day the news spread abroad, and the employed and workmen on the Spring Valley Water Works, in the Pillarcitos Valley, hearing of the strike, went over and located the five thousand feet along the ledge, which runs southeast and northwest. Soon, others hastened to avail themselves of the discovery, and yesterday, parties were seen hurrying out of town in the direction of the new Eldorado, in quest of fortunes. On Friday night the people in the vicinity held a meeting, and organized a mining district, at which the customary regulations were framed :
At a meeting of persons interested in the gold and silver quartz lodes discovered in the San Andres Valley, San Mateo county, held at the Spring Valley Farm, Pillarcitos Creek, August 28th, 1863, the following rules and regulations wero unanimously adopted: Resolved, That this mining locality shall be named and known as the ” San Mateo Mining District,” the boundaries of which shall be: On the south, commencing at Spanish town on the Pacific; thence running along the County road, easterly, to the Crystal Springs and San Mateo Hotel, to the bay; on the east, along said bay in a northerly direction to the northern boundary of San Mateo county; on the north, along said northern boundary to the Pacific Ocean, and on the west, along the Pacific coast, to Spanish town, the place of beginning. Resolved, That each individual locator of ground shall be entitled to two hundred feet in length, by four hundred feet on each side of the ledge or vein, together with all the dips, spurs and angles of the same. Rexolved, That the discoverer of a vein or ledge, shall be entitled to two hundred feet additional to the above. Resolved, That to hold a claim of two hundred feet, it shall be necessary to do one day’s work in every thirty days, by one man, upon every such claim; in default of which the claim shall be subject to re-location. Resolved. That the filing of a notice with the Recorder shall be considered as a bona fide record ; and the Recorder shall give a certificate of such filing, upon application, of the location. All locations of claims must be designated by written notices and stakes defining the boundaries and limits thereof; and notice must be filed within three days after the location. Resolved, That the sum of one dollar for each and every name shall be paid to the Recorder for his services. The office of the Recorder shall be at the Spring Valley Farm, Pillarcitos Creek. San Mateo county.
A. W. Von Schmidt, Chairman.
Wm. V. Wells, Secretary
The original location was made by a Frenchman named Osslyn, after whom the ledge has been called. The vein, which outcrops freely, is about four feet in width, and is composed of crumbling quartz, easily worked. The next claim, northward, is that of the Pillarcitos Company, consisting of five thousand feet. Among the original locators are Messrs. Yon Schmidt, Eugene Sullivan, Mickle, Wells, .Farwefl, Carlton, Lies, Ecker, Woodworth and other well known San Franciscans. Assays of the rock have gone far into the hundreds per ton. The water power is close at hand for mills, and the locators are feeling quite self-satisfied over their new acquisitions, which are fortunately on public lands, being: just without the boundary of the Fales Kancho. Two tunnels are already commenced to strike the lead about one hundred feet below the outcreppings. Taken in connection with the late discoveries of gold near the Mission Dolores, there is reason to believe that this peninsula is destined yet to make its mark as a mining region.
This little article was the one that gave me Gold Fever, or at least the desire to know if the craziness of the Gold Rush had any homegrown history of interest, other then the commonly encountered story of some person or another, dropping whatever they were doing and heading to the gold fields.
Oddly, this article, was written several days after the “San Mateo Mining District,” formation meeting article, and captures nothing of the excitement described in that article. It appeared in the September 2nd, 1863 issue of “The Daily Alta.”
What the connection to Pillarcitos is I’m not sure, but will keep looking. Enjoy. John
ASSAY OF HOME ORE
The Ossilan Ledge of the Pillarcitos Gold and Silver Mining Company, San Andres Valley, San Mateo County, has yielded some surface “returns” which are worth chronicling. An assay of top rock exhibits $24 a ton, with trace of silver, but of no material purpose. Extensive arrangements are in progress for working these claims on a large scale.