Humboldt Basin

The first discovery of gold in Mormon Basin was made by some men from Humboldt River Nevada. They had been to the Auburn mines, and like many others, became discouraged at first sight of the country and were on their way home again when they made their discovery. Charles Stubley dug the first ditch from Glengary gulch to Sunburnt flat. Mr. Ingraham came to the camp January 2, 1863, and got an interest in some claims where he and two others did the first sluicing in the spring of ’63, taking out $65 per day per man. Mr. Getchell made as high as $200 per day with a rocker on his claim.

There was no arrangement made for a formal observance of the Fourth of July at the Basin in 1863, and the miners all through the camp were a little surprised at about nine o’clock in the morning to bear an orator declaiming loudly, and on looking for the source from which the noise emanated, he discovered George Henry in the top of a pine tree rehearsing Patrick Henry’s celebrated speech delivered in the Virginia house of Burgesses in 1775.

In the month of May 1867, Samuel Leonard and William Rankin went down Canyon creek from the Basin on a fishing excursion. They left the horse which they took with them on the side of the hill, while they went down to the creek to fish. When they got ready to start home, Leonard went up to get the horse, he was shot and killed by Indians. Rankin ran into the brush and jumped into the creek and concealed himself under some overhanging willows. The Indians searched all along the creek for him, one of them seating himself on a leaning willow near where Rankin was concealed, to watch for him while the others were searching through the brush. The water was very cold and Rankin was terribly chilled by the time the Indians gave up looking for him. He made haste to camp when the Indians were gone and reported what had happened and a party of men went down and brought Leonard’s body away.

In the spring of 1868 a party of men left Clarks creek to pursue and recover a number of horses which the Indians had stolen. Near the head of Willow creek they were fired upon by Indians in ambush and Jonas Belknap was killed. The rest of the party retreated in haste leaving the body of Belknap to the Indians.

Another party set out soon after to recover the body of Belknap. Alexander Sutherland was one of the party. Before starting out, he went to a photographer’s rooms and told the artist he was going on an expedition after Indians, and he felt like he should never come back, and he wanted to get his picture taken. This was done, and leaving directions what to do with it in case he did not return, he departed with the company. Before they reached the country where Belknap was killed they halted at a spring to take lunch. The Indians fired upon them and killed Sutherland.

Gold Rush, History,

Collection: Baker County Oregon Genealogy.

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