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Miner Matt

Bagby California

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Here is a picture of Bagby in the early 1900's or late 1800's.

This was some town. It was frist called Redleys Ferry and then Benton mills after Fremonts wife. Her madien name was Jessie Benton. The Yosemite short line railroad would come though here on it's way back and forth from Merced Falls to Yosemite.

They built the dam and used the water power to run one of the largest Quartz mills in the state it was over 100 stamps and later one of the first hydro-electric plants that took power to the mines.

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Took this one early this last summer, got a little speck of gold or 2, dredged a bad spot I guess, next year i'm going up stream with my 3" and detector for a few days. Heard many storys of good gold coming out of thar

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Yeh Vini, I worked at Bagby for over 6 years, from 89-95 for Bill brosious. I had Mondays and Tuesdays off, I collected gate fee's, ran the store and did campground Maint. for him, on my days off I'd Dredge with my 5 incher and sometime just walk up stream and Detect. I found 20 oz's one summer dredging, and found many old coins one gold 1811 French 20 Frac coin. Found a lot of diamond rings too! From all the swimmers and boater. Those were the good old days. We use to let people keep there camp spot by the month, and leave there dredge in, and we would keep an eye on it for them. Too bad its not like that anymore. Grubstake

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Hello Matt,

Thanks for sharing the picture. Grubstake shared a lot of Bagby's history with Dennis and I when we were up there last. Sure sounds like a lot of gold was found there at one time.

Take care,

Rob Allison

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Grub I hope you'll come up with me this summer you can point out some spots to me on the river that might get me into some of that, I've gotten 0 gold with my 3" dredge just when I got it all fixed and roaring to go season was over.

There aren't a lot of guys doing Briceburg or Bagby anymore and I certainly doubt it's played out it gets some replenishment each years from runoff so I'm just betting theres a few spots gathering some crumbs of gold maybe even bigger. HEll I was out at least 5 times to briceburg this summer and saw all of 3 guys dredging all those times. One day at Bagby some folks pulled up that used to dredge there 20 years ago they had story's just like you Grub, they did really well then and there were a lot of people dredging there then he said.

It's gorgeous country and I love that river.

I can picture ol Grubstake now ;)

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Yeh I don't dredge anymore, too hard on me, I'll be happy to piont out some place's to you. Grubstake

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Hey Matt where was the dam at?

Yeh I don't dredge anymore, too hard on me, I'll be happy to piont out some place's to you. Grubstake

Grub it's tough work i'd be happy to have you just point ;) . The first time I really got to dredge was with Cooter using his 4" i got tendinitis the following day that lasted no less then a month. Hauling all that equipment down those hills then back up is hell I try to bring along a strong back to help me at least get everything back up and loaded. First time I took my 2" out I wrecked my back for 2 weeks hauling it over dredge tailings down on Agua Fria and I never even got the thing running :angry: I have had a few nighmare trips this first year I took my 3" out tiwce and never got it to run, up and down briceburg hills talk about disappointing to say the least, I finally got that dredge running in my girlfriends dads swimming pool 2 days later dredge season was over LOL

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Vini, the water is low now, it was a wood crib dam, as you go to the front camp, the first sharp piont you turn to the right at, look down into the river, you can see the old timbers sill in the water, spiked to the bedrock. Also in the parking lot, now paved, over to the far right as you drive in, there is an old addit, that comes off the pine tree mine, its all caved in and unless you know where to look, its hard to tell. When I worked there, Bill was thinking of opening it up, to strat a mushroom farm in it. Grubstake

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Here is another picture from a different angle.Note the rocks falling in the background.Might of been working on the railbed?

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OH YEAH thats a good one Matt I see the dam now, definetly blowing something up back there

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I just found these heres the old train running up Bagby

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post-8202-1197699893_thumb.jpg

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I believe it was a standard gauge 4'11".The same as roman chariots.I don't know the reasoning behind this.

Maybe one of the railroad buffs can tell us.

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Benton Mills [Mariposa]. On the south bank of Merced River, opposite modern Bagby and now under the backwaters of Lake McClure. From 1850 to 1860 the place was known as Ridleys Ferry, for Thomas E. Ridley, who operated a ferry here from 1850 to 1852. It was on Frémont’s claim, and it is generally assumed that the name Benton Mills was given for Frémont’s father-in-law, Senator Thomas Hart Ben-ton of Missouri, but it may have been given for the man who built the quartz mill there for Frémont in 1859. At that time the Mariposa Gazette referred to it as a type of mill, “The Benton Quartz Mill.†Transactions, 1859, (p. 91) reports that a 16-stamp mill crushed 130 tons every day and a 48-stamp mill was under construction. For many years the ore of a number of mines was crushed here. There were barnlike mill buildings, boarding houses, cabins, and a store “finely situated on both sides of the river,†which Frémont had dammed to produce power for the mills (Hutchings’ California Magazine, September, 1859, pp. 101, 103; Alta, August 11, 1860). The mills went the way of all of Frémont’s mines and millions. In 1920 the last remaining one was destroyed by fire (Mining Bureau, XXIV, p. 80). In 1890, when the post office was established, the place was renamed Bagby for a hotel owner. The mines in the Bagby District in the vicinity of the towns of Bagby and Bear Valley are listed in Bulletin, 193 (p. 29) and in Mining Bureau, LIII (pp. 232 ff.). The Red Bank, one and a half miles northwest of Bagby, was worked intermittently for almost one hundred years. There was placering and sluicing in the late 1860s, brief hydraulic mining in 1881, and extensive underground mining in the late 1890s and intermittently into the 1960s (Mining Bureau, XVII, p. 135; XXXI, p. 43; LIII, pp. 162 ff., p. 299; Bull., 193, p. 29). The famous Pine Tree and Josephine Mine is treated separately in this dictionary. One mile east of the Pine Tree is the French Mine, one of the earliest mines in the county, which operated intermittently to 1948 (Mining Bureau, LIII, pp. 99 f.). The Mexican Mine, also one of the earliest, was discovered by Mexicans and worked by them until 1859, when undisputed title was given to Frémont. It was reactivated in 1908 and again briefly in the 1930s (ibid., p. 132). The Mountain King Mine, six miles east of Bagby, on the Merced River, was not developed until 1899. It became idle in 1925 after having produced about a million dollars worth of gold and silver (ibid., pp. 140 f.). It is shown on the USGS Sonora 1939 quadrangle.

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