My Mountain my Time and Earlier
Compiled By Eugene Halverson
I was born and raised in Telegraph. I lived in a company house just below the Old Telegraph Mine. This was about 7,500 feet above sea level, lots of snow. My mountain was high but I had no idea how high it was all I knew was how steep it was when I walked from canyon to canyon. The highest elevation is Flat Top Mountain at 10,620 feet. About 600 feet short of the highest mountains east of Salt Lake. I always knew my mountain had an Indian name, Oquirrh is a Ute name for shining mountain and they do shine in the winter. By following the artifacts like chippings and arrowheads, I followed their trails up the creeks and over the mountain passes finding their villages along my way. Sun Shine Peak always fascinated me with its height and snow even in July. I have so many wonderful memories of the canyons and the many mines, dumps, gulches, canyons and peaks and we had names for all of them. In earlier times the mines and the people lived and accepted each other. Now the whole damn mountain is locked away without memories I would have nothing.
Gold and silver was scatted across the whole mountain and was safe until the white man came with its lust for wealth and power. There are many stories who found it first but the first mine was organized by Colonel Connors and a bunch of apostate Mormons in 1863. Then gold rush began. The California Militia under Connors were scouring the mountains for gold, along with local farmers and loggers, and even travelers on the way to Oregon and California. There are many conflicting stories of who first found the Jordan claim but this is where the silver/lead bullets were made that massacred the 500 Indians at Bear River. Soon hundreds of other claims of valuable mines followed, but my story is about those mines near my home; the Jordan, Silver Shield, Telegraph, Roman Giant, Yosemite, May Berry and the Queen.
|Looking at Copperfield from Telegraph|
Back then transporting the ores by team and wagon across properties and through the towns was almost impossible, so the Walker’s in July 1874 began building a mule powered tramway from the Jordan to Frog Town in lower Bingham. It was finished a year latter. What once was a narrow gauge railroad back then was now my trail to Dinkyville. I have read about many fights over right-of-ways when the tramway crossed over other mining claims and private property but eventually they crossed. Gravity was what moved the loaded cars from the mines down and mule power brought the empty ones back. Many stories were told about this tramway for the time it operated. John Creedon tells such a story in the 1920’s.
|men pulling on brakes--mule trains up|
The Telegraph mine was a very important mine with a silver lead vein 150 feet wide it shipped its first ore in 1874. It was the first producing mine of the later United States Mining group. But law-suits followed and the courts gave these claims to a French company, called the “Societe des mines d Argent et Fonderies de Bingham” in 1879. During this time an experimental called the Jordan 10 stamp mill built below the mine and town. This mill crushed the gold and iron, leaving the coca dirt, a fine dark brown dirt we are all familiar with. The gold I panned here was dark too. Saw mills were also harvesting the trees and there were a number of them.
|Yosemite was working during my time|