1871 Smith 1943

Grant H. Smith The History of the Comstock Lode 1850-1920, Geology and Mining Series No. 37, University of Nevada Bulletin: Reno, Nevada, vol. XXXVII. 1 July 1943, no. 3, (revised 1966), Ninth printing, 1980. 305 pp., 1871, 1870s, 1860s

[p. 58] Chapter VII The Panic of 1865-Comstock Production and Profits from 1859 to 1866-Stock Devilment.

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     [p. 63] "Editor Fred MacCrellish of the Alta California, the leading journal of San Francisco in the '50s and '60s, sought to lead a crusade against stock gambling in 1870 and 1871. In one issue, he said: "This stock jobbing business is simply gambling, and of the most demoralizing kind; for, unlike card playing it is pursued openly and has been regarded as respectable, just as lotteries once were. It is worse than card gambling, because the players are not upon an equal footing; its demoralizing influence more widely permeates all classes of society without regard to sex or age, and it breeds an increasing crop of professional liars whose business it is to entrap honest but credulous people." He endeavored to enlist the aid of the press and the pulpit and was making some headway when the discovery of the Crown Point bonanza created another wild market. (Alta California, July 16, 1871)

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[p. 80] Chapter X The Early Bonanzas-The Ophir, The Gould & Curry, The Savage, The Chollar-Potosi, The Yellow Jacket, and The Original Gold Hill Bonanzas

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     [p. 87] "In 1871, after the discovery of the Crown Point bonanza, John P. Jones and Alvinza Hayward took over the control of the Savage and ran the mine for the benefit of their mills.

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p. 126] Chapter XV The Gloomy Year of 1870-The Crown Point Revival in 1871-The Boom of 1872-Sharon-Jones Contest for Senate

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     " . . . [p. 129] "Crown Point stock advanced slowly, with wide variations, during the first half of 1871, evidently manipulated up and down, reaching $300 in June. Belcher went through the same performance, and reached $240 by the end of that month.

     "Hayward, representing himself and Jones in San Francisco, began to buy Crown Point stock from the time of the discovery. Lord says: "His purchases were made so rapidly and shrewdly that he obtained 5,000 shares, nearly half of the entire stock in the company, at prices averaging less than $5 per share." That statement is questionable. It is highly improbable that he acquired that amount of stock at such low prices. The brokers on the San Francisco Exchange were quick to note a demand and boost the price. The stock rose beyond $5 immediately after the discovery and was selling at $18 within three weeks. A few months later Hayward bought 1,000 shares from Charles B. Low at prices ranging from $90 to $180, which assured control of the mine."

     [p. 130] "Sharon appears to have been slow to learn what was going on. It is probable that he could not conceive that his associate, Hayward, and his superintendent, Jones, would play him false. Instances of that kind were rare. While warring groups of speculators fought each other with all of the means at their command-deceit being the chief weapon-they played fair among themselves. It is quite probable that both Hayward and Jones had become rebellious over little Sharon's autocratic manners and methods.

     "Meanwhile Sharon had been manipulating Belcher and gathering in all available stock at comparatively small prices. His biography states that he and Ralston secured almost all of the stock in the Belcher at $1 a share. They must have bought it from the treasury, to which it had returned for nonpayment of assessments, a favorite trick of those in control when a boom started.

     "Sharon was bitter when he learned that Jones and Hayward had the control of the Crown Point, but made the best of the situation: "He proposed to sell to Hayward and his friends all the shares of himself and friends in the Crown Point mine, at the market price, on condition that Hayward and his friends would sell to them all of their interests in the Belcher." The offer was accepted and the transaction closed. Lord states on the authority of Sharon that Sharon sold his 4,100 shares of Crown Point to Hayward on June 7, 1871, for $1,400,000, which would be at the rate of $341 a share. This was by far the largest single transaction in Comstock stocks up to that time.

     "The boundary line between the two mines passed downward through the middle of the bonanza, dividing it into two nearly equal parts. The Belcher's portion proved richer and more productive so that the trade eventually favored Sharon and his associates, Ralston and Mills. In addition to the lion's share of the dividends, each group made private milling profits running into the millions,

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     [p. 138] "Both companies [Crown Point and Belcher] are digging pell-mell to see which can produce the most in the shortest time. Belcher now produces nearly 500 tons of ore daily, and is making preparations to produce between 500 and 600 tons. Furthermore, workings of this style on the Comstock have taught us what result to expect." (U.S. Mines and Mining for 1872, p. 118). [Rossiter] Raymond [mining engineer] was critical of the Comstock practice of "gutting the mines."]

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 Kelyn Roberts 2017