The Lost Mines of the Desert - Part III: The Peg -Leg Mine

Oroblanco

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MUCHAS GRACIAS mi amigo Pegleglooker!

Now I must point out, if Thomas is not "the" right Pegleg, then why do we find Thomas being named in 1854 newpaper articles? I have run across the John G Smith too, which led me to believe there had to be two Smiths. If the true "original" finder were another Smith than Thomas, shouldn't we find a different name in the oldest accounts? Thank you in advance,
Oroblanco

PS just wanted to add this, that several people vouched for Thomas Smith having gold nuggets in his possession, here is one example
"PEGLEG" MINE IS NOT A MYTH Evidence That It Exists in the Bad Lands. Special Klppatch to The Call SAN* DIEGO. Jan. 15. — It seems that the mysterious "Pegleg" mine has not been entirely given up as a myth, for though many prospectors have sought to locate the scene of the fabulous finds and have failed In the attempt, there are others who are willing to endure all sorts of hardship in searching for the mine .of the eccentric old cripple. Men still believe that the mine will be re-located, and there are those who hope to be the successful searchers, and that at no distant day. There is a gentleman residing in San Diego who knew Pegleg Smith and heard from his lips the story of his discovery. Silas Gasklil, who lives at the corner of Sixteenth and F streets, was a neighbor of Smith at Weberville. after the latter claimed he had found his mine. Gasklll's house was not over 100 yards from the cabin of Pegleg. In the evenings young Gasklil would go over and listen to his neighbor's thrilling tales of his experiences as a hunter and a trapper. Pegleg Smith's deformity was not confined to an* absent limb. He had an everpresent appetite, which was inordinately devoted to the fiery liquid. Silas Gaskill liked to hear the old hunter's tales as well as the latter liked the lurid liquor, and was willing to make a fair exchange by embellishing his visits with a pint bottle of Hangtown whisky. This amount was ample to keep his host's highly colored yarns spinning for one ordinary evening. On one of Gaskill's visits Pegleg told of his trip across the desert when he clalmnd to have found his gold. Mr. Gasklil vouches for the truth of the nuggets being in the possession of old Pegleg. He personally saw and handled them. He is furthermore satisfied that .the mysterious mine is a reality, and that It is "situated somewhere in the "bad lands," which lie directly on the route Pegleg must have taken. The reason, he thinks, no one has yet been able to find the mine is that all who have gone in search of it have looked for the ordinary indications of gold, which he is satisfied are entirely absent. The description Mr. Gasklll gives of the location of the mine as given him by Smith is borne out in every respect by an Indian who lives at Mesa Grande. When a boy this Indian was over in the "bad lands" In company with his father. They also picked! up some pieces of blackcoated metal, which they afterward learned were nuggets of gold. A few months ago tho Indian made an attempt to tlnd the place to which he had been with his father. He did not find the identical spot, but was in the neighborhood of it. and brought back a very rich chunk of ore bearing the black covering. His description of the spot visited by him and his father Includes three hills answering the description of those told of by Peg Leg Smith.
<from The San Francisco Call
Date: January 16, 1900>
I put several passages in "bold" to highlight that the Pegleg being described as a "hunter and trapper", that Gaskill held the very nuggets in his hands or claims to, and that it is coated with black.
 

pegleglooker

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Oro,
Remember in the mid 1800's Thomas L was the most " known " peglegged Smith. I only posted the article to show that Thomas L did admit HE was NOT the one who found the original gold. I mean they didn't even know it was gold... they thought it was copper ( that's why they used it for bullets ). And the reason we don't find any other early names is because the gold with the " 3 buttes " did not happen til later and possibly the early or mid 1850's. Remember Book's post talks about " original inception in 1853 " so to me that means the pegleg we are looking for came much later than 1826-27 or 28. This is also why John G Smith fits as well, after the march of the Mormon Battalion, he " may " have tried to find work as a guide out of Yuma. Then after awhile headed back east to simply go home....

PLL
 

auferret

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I would like to note that the map posted above is the same one that is in the Nov '46 edition of Desert Magazine, including the circle. A copy of that edition is at http://www.scribd.com/doc/2149995/194611-Desert-Magazine-1946-November . I'm not sure which edition had the story of the man that found pegleg's gold but if I remember correctly, they just reprinted the one from Nov '46. Oro...nice catch on the quote not matching the circle on the map.
 

pegleglooker

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Hi ferret,
I have all the copies of the pegleg articles in DM as well as the Letter to the editor. I will post the list later tonight ( I'm moving as we write ).

PLL
 

auferret

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pegleglooker

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Hi ferret,
Most of the people who have been on this site for awhile know about scrbd.com and have used it quite a bit. Try searching for mining journals and California and watch what comes up.... Very interesting reading.

PLL
 

pegleglooker

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hey guys,
Here is a list of the Desert Magazine articles about pegleg. Warning!! do NOT consider this list as a TOTAL list. While doing my research on thi, I found other " letters to the editor " and some other small things about pegleg that are NOT on this list. So at best I would call this a
" partial " list.

enjoy
PLL

peglist1.jpg

peglist2.jpg

peglist3.jpg
 

pegleglooker

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While we are on this subject there is something I feel I must say. Some of the writers...should we say, didn't ALWAYS do a great amount of research. Oh they will tell you they did, but I would STRONGLY suggest to go after their materials as well. I will talk about one writer that this had happen to me. Mr Henry E W Wilson was supposed to be a TRUE peglegmaniac, but after finding " his " articles ( which were only at the Los Angeles Main Library ) and reading them, I found very little if nothing at all about pegleg that was not written somewhere else earlier. So be very cautious about believing everything you read..

PLL
 
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Old Bookaroo

Old Bookaroo

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Howdy, Friends!

First of all, thanx to Jeff for moving Ole Pegleg "above the line." Now it's up to us to show him he did the right thing.

I would like to point out that most of my original post was simply the information written by Horace J. West. I can not take or accept either responsibility or credit for it. The "further reading" is, of course, mine, but most of the information belongs to Mr. West. I'm just sharing it.

Many, many thanks to Peg Leg Looker and Oroblanco - great posts!

The way I read it, PLL, the desert town was Mojave. Now there are few things on God's Green Earth as transitory as a 19th Century mining camp. Many of those Western towns were moved more than once. The wooden buildings may have had a wood floor but often no foundation. And, of course, many of the "buildings" were tents with wood or even sod walls and a canvas roof. Additionally, many such settlements had the same name, or kept the name when they moved.

Oroblanco - you guys beat me to it regarding the Desert Magazine map drawn by the great Norton Allen. The map predates the "Mr. Pegleg" letters by 15 or 20 years.

Once more - thanks to all for your kind words, here and via PM, your great comments and your willingness to share years and years of research. This, to me, is the best such an Internet Forum can offer!

And, frankly, it's a lot more fun than warning modern TH'ers about poseurs, frauds and assorted snakeoil salespeople and other vermin...

Good luck to all,

~The Old Bookaroo
 

pegleglooker

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hey gang,
So where is the Mojave ?? This is from their site:

What & Where is the Mojave Desert?
Good question, glad you asked... Let me over explain.

The Mojave or Mohave Desert occupies a significant portion of Southern California and parts of Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. Named after the Mohave Native Americans it occupies roughly 25,000 square miles in a typical Basin and Range topography.

320-mojave.jpg

It's HUGE!!!! and that would mean peglegs gold could be anywhere. Another thought, since it was a major landmark couldn't they have just mentioned it as " somehwere " in or near the Mojave ??

PLL
 

gollum

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Hey PLL,

Why are you even talking about the DM Letters to the Editor? Didn't you tell me that the whole story was made up by Choral Pepper?

Mike
 

Oroblanco

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I think if the town was Mojave, it was referring to the town of that name and not the whole of the Mojave.
Oroblanco
 

pegleglooker

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hey Oro,
This is for you....

The city of Mojave began in 1876 as a construction camp on the Southern Pacific Railroad. From 1884 to 1889, the town was the western terminus of the 165-mile (266 km), twenty-mule team borax wagon route originating at Harmony Borax Works in Death Valley. It later served as headquarters for construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

Book wrote:

" The day he pulled into the mining camp with its three saloons and two stores "

I hope I'm not nitpicking but...... Then again ???

PLL
 

Oroblanco

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Not nitpicking, after all I did say:

"I think if the town was Mojave..."

not claiming that Mojave MUST be the mining camp referred to. However, are you absolutely sure about your date? Pegleglooker wrote:
The city of Mojave began in 1876 as a construction camp on the Southern Pacific Railroad

So what do we make of this...
"In late July 1875 rails finally reached Mojave, four miles south of the bullion station Forks of the Road." (from Mining History of the Western Mojave Desert, LM Vredenburgh)

The way that was written, it implies that there was already a settlement present by the time the rails actually reached it in 1875. SPRR certainly laid out the town plat, but I don't think we can rule out the possibility of some kind of mining camp there earlier.
Oroblanco
 

Oroblanco

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Wikipedia? I won't throw stones at Wiki :o but have found many times that the "official" dates for the founding of towns and cities, as well as the first "settlers" arriving etc are not too accurate, that earlier settlements and settlers were present than the "official" versions admit. This does not prove that Mojave existed prior to 1876 either.

Gollum wrote
Hey PLL,

Why are you even talking about the DM Letters to the Editor? Didn't you tell me that the whole story was made up by Choral Pepper?

Is there proof to this contention mi amigo Pegleglooker? Thank you in advance,
Oroblanco
 

cactusjumper

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Roy,

Fort Mohave was established in April of 1859. It was called Camp Colorado, but was quickly renamed Fort Mohave. Mohave City was a settlement that was first settled in 1864. The Post Office was established in 1866. "Arizona Place Names" by, Byrd H. Granger/Will C. Barnes.

Take care,

Joe
 

Oroblanco

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Wow Joe - that was almost too easy for you! Is that Fort Mohave/Mojave city in Arizona or CA? Thank you in advance,
Oroblanco
 

Oroblanco

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Hmm - the text here, "...which had its original inception in 1853 when “Peg-Leg” Smith wandered into Mojave with nearly ten thousand dollars’ worth of black nuggets..." doesn't actually specify Mojave California does it? :icon_study:
Oroblanco
 

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