Grand Encampment Mining District

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This Page: Rudefeha Mine and Battle continued, the Lost Cabin Mine.

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About This Site

Two Gentlemen about to duke it out in front of the Blue Ribbon Saloon, Dillon, Wyo., 1904

Dillon was named after Malachi W. Dillon who was involved in various mining ventures beginning with coal in Carbon in the mid 1880's and apparently ending with a gypsite mine in the Seminoe Mountains about 1915. Dillon may have been an itenerant prospector. He was apparently born in California in 1864 and was in Carbon County by 1886. In 1892, a Malachi W. Dillon was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in Utah.

Dillon, Wyo., 1904

The town received notoriety as a result of sydicated columns written for newspapers about the country by Grant Jones. Following his graduation from Northwestern in 1897, Jones became a national writer for the Chicago Times-Herald, covering among other events, the national Republican convention at which William McKinley was nominated. He was a popular after dinner speaker. His career, however, went into decline as a result of excessive booze. He first went to Colorado and then to the Encampment District where he founded the Dillon Doublejack for which every miner in town was a "special correspondent." [Writer's note; "doublejack drillings" is a method of hand hardrock drilling. One man holds a steel drill bit while the other grasping a six to eight pound sledge hits the bit. After each blow the first man turns the bit. The one holding the bit must have extreme confidence in the one driving the bit. If the second one misses there is likely to be major injury.] Jones wrote columns about mythical animals, perhaps similar to "pink elephants," including the one-eyed Screaming Emu and the six-legged Coogly Woo. He died in his cabin on June 19, 1903, in an incident involving the injection of morphine whilst intoxicated. The cabin was described by Willis George Emerson in his Treasure of Hidden Valley:

Grant Jones' bachelor home consisted of a single room a hastily improvised shack, as he had correctly called it, that had cost no very large sum to build. It was decorated with many trophies of college life and of the chase. Various college pennants were on the walls, innumerable pipes, some rusty antiquated firearms, besides a brace of pistols which Jim Rankin had given to Grant, supposed to be the identical flint-locks carried by Big Nose George, a desperado of the early days.

Grant's college fraternity, , Phi Delta Theta, Illinois Alpha Chapter, in its memorial politely referred to his death as "sudden."

The Dillon Stage

Because of the depth of the snows in the winter, Dillon boasted of a two-story outhouse. Dillon was the alleged headquarters for Stemp Springs Coal & Power Co., formed by Ole Granberg and Henry O. Granberg of Oshkosh, Wisc. Granberg was also involved with the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Co, and the Pluto mine. Granberg actually visited Dillon, but he told the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, December 1, 1903, p. 10, he did not care to remain there. By 1906, letters to the mining company were being returned "unclaimed." He did stop off, however, in Cheyenne, to see the hanging of Tom Horn.

Granberg is now remembered as having purchased a fake 1804 silver dollar from a Pinkerton Agent for $100.00. If real it would have been worth a fortune. It was in reality a more common 1800 silver dollar whose date had been altered. In the rush to the mountains to sell stock, another Oshkosh resident who profession was formerly shown as a bartender and propriator of a sample room found himself as the president of the Hahn's Peak Gold Mining and Milling Co. The Pluto Gold & Copper Company did slightly better. It was formed in 1902 and was capitalized at $1,000,000. Although, it actually opened a mine with five shafts, the deepest of which was 100 feet, and had some 2,000 feet of workings and a 40 hp. steam plant. But the glowing reports given by Granberg would seemingly indicate, based on the illustration below, that the mine's prospects were somewhat exaggerated.

The Pluto Mine

By 1909, representatives of Local No. 189 of the Western Federation of Mines, wrote the National begging off from paying the $77.00 national assessment because the mine had closed before the assessment could be collected and most of the men had departed town.

Dillon, Pencil Sketch by Dean Bode, 1909

Other companies attempted to promote themselves by reference to the apparent success of the Rudefeha. As an example, a prospectus for the Great Lakes Mining and Smelting Co., allegedly located five miles south of Encampment, boasted of the number of loads of ore being shipped. What the prospectus failed to advise gullible investors was that the loads were for the Rudefeha Mine and not its own from which no ore was being mined. Thus, promotional material for such companies compared themselves to the Rudefeha even though little more had been done than provide glowing assays. As another example the only developmental work for the Island City Copper Mining Co. was the digging of a 15 ft. hole. Of a similar nature was the Calamet Mining & Milling Co. whose development consisted of a 16 foot hole. The company claimed that its ore assayed out at 70% copper. Most of the companies were gone by 1907.

From the cloudy crystal ball department: in 1907, the State Geologist Henry C. Beeler reported as to the mines featured on this page:

The two mines of the Penn-Wyoming Copper Company, the Ferris-Haggarty and the Doane-Rambler, are in active operation. In the former some' new ore shoots have been opened and the mine bids fair for a greater production than ever, as it has been put in first-class physical shape and the ore handled at a less cost per ton. Diamond drill prospecting has been going on in the lower levels of this mine this year, exploring the adjacent formations for parallel ore shoots, but the results have not yet been given to the public. In the Doane-Rambler mine, work has been confined to reopening the working levels, putting them in shape for a large production and connecting the mine with the sixteen-mile overhead tramway, which transports the ore from the Ferris-Haggarty mine to the Encampment smelter and the railroad. There is no reason, why an active production campaign should not be made, and the management of this enterprise is to be congratulated on what it has accomplished, in the face of what appeared to be almost insurmountable difficulties, in the way of fires, scarcity of labor, financial depression and an arbitrary and needless decline in the price of copper, which occurred just as it had completed its new works and was prepared to produce at a handsome profit.

This new smelter and railroad have made the future of the Encampment district a certainty, as there has never been any doubt as to the ores here, and new work is going on all over the district.

Rambler, approx. 1904

The mines closed the next year. The Penn-Wyoming Company was over extended with the cost of the infastructure, several fires at the smelter and a reduction in the price of copper. In order to promote the sale of its stock, the company resorted to the declaration of dividends when it was making no money. The assets were sold to the United Smelters, Railway & Copper Company, but to no avail. A receiver was appointed and the assets foreclosed upon. When the shafts of the Rudefeha Mine were sealed no provision was made for drainage and the shafts are now flooded with some seepage poluting nearby steams.

Rambler, Wyo., 1898

Rambler, located in the Grand Encampment Mining District of southern Carbon County, was established by Rumsey, Deal, Ferris amd Haggarty as a part of their copper mining operations. The Rudefeha Mine was the most important in the area. The Rambler was the second most important in production followed by the Kurtz-Chatterton.

Bird's eye view of Rudefeha Mine, Rambler, Wyoming. Tramway terminal in tall building at right of photo.

The ore was hauled from Rambler by mule train to the smelter in Encampment.

Rambler, Wyoming, 1907.

By 1941, the most of the building in Rambler were in a state of collapse except a few occupied by Sheepherders.

Next page: Battle continued.