The 100-Year History of the Benitoite Gem Mine
By Wilson, Wendell E
San Benito County, California The Benitoite Gem mine (also known as the Benitoite mine, the Dallas Gem mine or simply the Gem mine) has been known for 100 years as the source of a crystallographically unique and aesthetic mineral and gem species, benitoite. The primary associated species, neptunite and joaquinite, are attractive and highly desirable as well. The deposit appears finally to be exhausted, though stockpiles of unprocessed vein material may yet yield additional specimens.
Benitoite, a barium silicate with a unique triangular crystal habit, is distinctive in the mineral world for being the only known representative of the ditrigonal dipyramidal crystal class. It is popular for its lovely pale to dark cornflower-blue to sapphire- blue color (some crystals are actually colorless), and is accompanied by an interesting suite of associated minerals including lustrous blackred neptunite and honey-brown joaquinite. Naturally it is a special favorite among collectors.
For many years after its original discovery, benitoite was known only from a limited area in die New Idria district, San Benito County, California, which now includes die original discovery site (die Benitoite Gem mine) as well as die Victor claim,1 Mina Numero Uno,1 Santa Rita Peak property,1 and the Junilla (Junnila) mine.2 Crystals have recently been identified at four other locations in California: on Rush Creek3 and Big Creek4 in Fresno County, in the Lost Hills3 area of Kern County, and Trumbull Peak6 in Mariposa County. It has also been found in small crystals at Magnet Cove, Arkansas,7 at Ohmi, in Niigata Prefecture, Japan8 and at Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia.9 None of these subsequent occurrences have yielded specimens that can come close to matching the quality and beauty of the specimens from the original find.
In honor of the 100th anniversary of this extraordinary occurrence, we will review here the long and involved history of me mine as a producer of beautiful mineral specimens and gemstones. For this project we have been given access to a remarkable lode of historical information: the original mine logbook, check ledger, stock book and financial records of the Dallas Mining Company which originally worked the deposit from its discovery in 1907 until late 1910.10
The story of the benitoite mine begins with James Marshall Couch (1857-1943),11 born near Bear Creek, Henry County, Georgia, the son of Catiierine and A. G. Couch, a physician.12 His parents were killed in the Civil War, and he never received any schooling. As a young boy he worked his way westward doing chores on farms and other odd work until he arrived in Austin, Texas, where he found work with Rev. Benjamin Drake Austin (a nephew of Stephen Fuller Austin, the founder of Anglo-American Texas). He married the Reverend’s oldest daughter Ada Belle, in 1885 and she taught him how to read and write.13
In 1898 he and his wife and six children settled on a homestead near Coalinga, California and raised melons. The farm eventually failed, and he went out prospecting, finding a cinnabar deposit which he worked for several months. In early February 1907 he went to the nearby oil fields in hopes of finding a job, and tiiere he met oil company superintendent R. W. Dallas.14
Roderick William Dallas (1874-1950) was born in New Jersey, the son of Scottish immigrants.15 He had attended Connecticut Agricultural College in Mansfield, studying to be a poultryman,16 but within a few years he and his sister Margaret17 had moved to California where he ended up working in the Coalinga oil field as a superintendent for the Independent oil Production Agency.18 He married Lyda Evelyn Matthis (1878-1959)19 around 1906 or 1907, and Margaret Dallas married Fresno mine superintendent Max Shaffrath.20
Dallas and Thomas Edwin Sanders (a mining man born in California in 1875)21 agreed to grubstake Couch $25 each, and they sent him into the Diablo Range to prospect near the already successful Idria mine. Couch hitched his big bay horse to a wagon and set out for Los Gatos Canyon, where he camped the night, then abandoned the wagon in order to follow a rough horse trail up into the mountains in the direction of the Idria mine. A little before sundown he arrived in a beautiful, pine-studded glade as level as a floor, near the headwaters of the San Benito River, at an elevation of over 4,000 feet; many of the trees were over a hundred feet tall. A stream glistened about 50 feet away, and tiiere was plenty of tall grass for his horse, so he decided to make camp there.
The next morning he made a leisurely pot of coffee and decided to take a walk up the hill on the otiier side of the creek. To his amazement, he found the ground mere littered with tiiousands of blue gems that had weathered out of the natrolite veins and accumulated in the surface. The sight was so spectacular tiiat his first thought was “blue diamonds!” He gathered up a pocketful of the blue gems and raced down to Coalinga where he excitedly announced his find to Dallas-who promptly sent him back into the mountains to actually stake me claim before anyone else did.22
Once the claim had been properly staked and filed, the problem was to determine exactly what they had. Dallas asked his friend Leland Barnes Hawkins, Sr. (1838-1920′s),23 a mining engineer, to take some of the crystals to a lapidary in Los Angeles, but the so- called expert dismissed them as blue obsidian. Ed Sanders took five or six of the crystals himself and sent them to his younger brother, Hal Sanders (1877-1920′s), a faceter and watchmaker in San Francisco.24
According to Louderback’s preliminary report,25 the deposit had been discovered by T. Edwin Sanders and L. B. Hawkins. That’s what they had told him, anyway-he had no direct knowledge. Couch’s story (recorded later by his son in a 1961 booklet. The Benitoite Story) was decidedly different. Louderback struggled witii this problem in 1909 when he wrote:
It has been found very difficult to determine just who is the discoverer of this interesting deposit. Different individuals have laid claim to this title, and a comparison of their various accounts shows tiiat the ambition to be so called has led to misrepresentations of the facts. Mr. J. M. Couch, a prospector of Coalinga, grubstaked by Mr. Dallas, had in December found some deposits tiiat seemed to need further examination, and Mr. Dallas induced Mr. L. B. Hawkins of Los Angeles to accompany Couch into the mountains for tiiat purpose. While out to examine some copper prospects, they happened on the benitoite deposit, and each claims to be responsible for the discovery.
Here again, Louderback had no direct knowledge of what had happened, and could only speculate, trying to reasonably combine the conflicting stories he had been told. According to James Couch’s son, however, the deposit was discovered by Couch alone, and not while he was inspecting the area with Hawkins. There are no copper deposits in the area. The story is believable because in Couch’s excitement filling out the claim forms he entered his own name as the claim name, so the claims, totaling 40 acres, were named (and later patented) as the “James Couch No. 1″ and the “James Couch No. 2.” The location notice stated “Located by James Marshall Couch. March 1907″ (actually it was February).26 Otiier errors indicative of a lack of formal training show that a professional mining engineer such as Hawkins could not have been present at the discovery. This clearly discounts Hawkins’ later claim that he was the discoverer or co-discoverer of the deposit.
Using Crouch’s original paperwork, the claims were then filed officially by Dallas and Hawkins. Claim documents for the benitoite deposit indicate that the occurrence was discovered on February 22, 1907, and the claim was formally filed eight days later on March 2. The claims were filed as “lead” claims to maintain secrecy about the true nature of the occurrence and avoid a messy stampede to the area.27 Actually the deposit must have been discovered somewhat earlier, inasmuch as Dallas and his partners had already incorporated the Dallas Mining Company on February 16. Couch had apparently told family members that February 7 was the real discovery date, which sounds about right.
As mentioned above, the first benitoite specimens to appear on the market were shown by Hawkins to a local expert in Los Angeles, to determine if tiiey had some gem value, but were pronounced volcanic glass. The specimens shown around by Sanders were identified as spinel on the basis of tiieir color.28 In early 1907 a faceted sample was sent by a local cutter to George Godfrey Eacret (1874-1930′s),29 head of the diamond department of the jewelry firm of George C. Shreve & Company in San Francisco,30 offered for $40 as a spinel. The memorandum bill indicated only tiiat the stone had been found somewhere in California. Close examination told Eacret tiiat it was not a spinel or, for that matter, sapphire. Whatever it was, it was new to California. The cutter, when questioned, would reveal only that it had been brought in for faceting by a stranger who wouldn’t say where it had been found.
Eacret purchased the stone and took it to his friend, Dr. George Davis Louderback (1874-1957)31 at the University of California at Berkeley. Louderback confirmed tiiat it was not spinel or sapphire, and tiiat it might actually be a species new to science. But he needed more study material, and asked Eacret to try to obtain some uncut crystals. Returning to the cutter, Eacret was able to apply enough pressure to extract the name of the stranger who had brought the stone in for faceting: a local watchmaker and jeweler named Hal Sanders. When Eacret paid a visit to Sanders, however, he was given a coldly suspicious reception, but came away witii a few uncut crystal fragments which Sanders insisted on calling “sapphires.” He would not, however, divulge any information about the location of the find. The crystal fragments were quickly passed on to Louderback, who sent word two or three days later tiiat the material did indeed represent a new species, and tiiat an examination of the occurrence was now essential. With further prodding, Hal Sanders revealed tiiat the stones had been sent to him by his brother, Thomas Edwin Sanders, who had an interest in the claim. He made arrangements for Eacret and Louderback to meet his brother in the small mining town of Coalinga on July 19, 1907. Arriving mere by train, tiiey were greeted by Leland Hawkins and James Couch, backed by an unfriendly, rough-looking, gun-toting group of tiieir associates. Eacret explained tiieir academic interest in the specimens and their desire to examine the property first-hand, but was told bluntly by Hawkins tiiat “nobody is going to be taken to tiiat mine now.” The interview was ended.32
The visitors made ready to return to San Francisco but, after Hawkins had left, Sanders overruled him and took Eacret and Louderback to the mine by himself-much to Hawkins’ annoyance the next day when he found out what had happened.33
Meanwhile Tiffany’s in New York had heard of the discovery and sent a telegram (probably to Dallas34) asking for more information on the new gemstone. Eacret realized that George F. Kunz of Tiffany’s was now on the trail of the discovery and would surely want to name the new species, so he advised against responding to the telegram in order to give Louderback time to complete his researches and name the new species himself, bestowing a “California name.” Anotiier telegram followed, while Eacret urged Louderback to speed up his investigation. Louderback was speedy indeed; he published a preliminary report35 to establish precedence on July 30, 1907 (just 11 days after his visit to the mine!), officially bestowing the name “benitoite.” He also proposed naming the associated black prismatic mineral “carlosite,” but corrected himself the following year,36 realizing it to be the species neptunite, which had been described from the Narssarssuk pegmatite in Greenland by Gustav Flink.37
Eacret and the Shreve company were granted exclusive rights to handle the gemstone output of the mine in December 1907.38 The performance of the Shreve company must have been unsatisfactory, however, because the agreement was terminated on September 15, 1908.39
The Dallas Mining Company was promptly incorporated in February 1907 to work the deposit.40 Leland B. Hawkins was elected President, Roderick W. Dallas Vice President, Lyda E. Dallas (Roderick’s wife) secretary and Treasurer; James M. Couch and attorney S. R. Bowen (who shortly tiiereafter resigned) were Directors, and all except Bowen were allotted 51% of the capital stock divided equally four ways. Thomas Sanders was then added to the Board of Directors to replace Bowen and was allotted Lyda Dallas’s quarter-share of the stock. Sanders then sold his share41 to Curtis D. Martin42 (1835- 1920′s) of Los Angeles, who replaced him on the Board. Company attorney Henry H. Welsh (1857-1920′s)43 was tiien issued stock in payment for legal services, and J. M. Couch was voted a salary of $3/ day for his services at the mine. Over the next three years additional stock was sold to a variety of investors, most of whom were associated in some way with the mine.44
The official mine logbook for 1907-1910 has survived and provides an interesting glimpse into the early mining operations. Much of the following information, up to 1920, comes from that diary, handwritten by a succession of managers, which has been passed down from the Dallas family through the succession of lessees and owners to the present day.
The mine logbook begins July 19, 1907, just a few days before Louderback’s first brief notice naming the new mineral “benitoite” was published on July 30. A mining expert from the Shreves Jewelry Company (Eacret) and a “university geologist” (Louderback) had come to see the mine. The “expert” gave his approval for the mining operation and “was satisfied it would run into ruby”-an odd statement, perhaps meaning sapphire, which the as-yet unnamed benitoite crystals resembled.
On July 23 Sanders sold all of his interest in the mine to C. D. Martin for $2,500.45
On July 25-26 they began digging the open cut on the hill. They were already concerned about the difficulty of getting benitoite gem crystals out of the hard, white natrolite without breaking them, and so they packed up a representative chunk of benitoite-rich vein material to ship to L. B. Hawkins’ son, Leland Barnes Hawkins, Jr. (1879-1951)46 in Los Angeles. He was then to pass it on to their Los Angeles gemstone outlet, jeweler and gemstone expert Mrs. Gertrude Sarah Reynolds McMullen (1872-1950),47 owner, with her husband Robert McMullen, of the Southwest Turquoise Company. Mrs. McMullen was to experiment on the piece, and is sometimes credited witii discovering die acid removal method for gently cleaning natrolite from benitoite). Twenty-three stones that had been faceted (for $30, according to the company check ledger) by the Moser Brothers were also sent to McMullen to sell for the company.
On August 12 “[William] Prater and two men commenced to chop trees for [building a] cabin, agreed to put up the log part and rafters minus doors, windows and shakes for $35. Building to be 14 x 20 x 9 inside.” The next day tiiey began digging the adit into the hillside to intersect the natrolite veins.
A miner from Los Angeles, Arthur Leslie Klock (1862-1936),48 joined me staff on August 31, along with stockholder C. D. Martin. Prater finished the basic structure of the log cabin on September 3, and everyone joined in “dobbing” the cabin with mud to fill the cracks between logs. Klock built a table and bunk beds for the cabin, and on September 12 he installed a new stove and hung the door. (The cabin was soundly built and stood until 1945 when it was destroyed by a forest fire.49)
Mining continued, as did experimentation “with process to remove gems from matrix by heating. Not very successful.”
On September 2 the mine was visited by Ralph Arnold (1875-1961), a 1902 Stanford PhD graduate and a geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey50 who was studying the fossils of the Coalinga region. Dallas, always more hospitable than his superintendent, had supplied Arnold witii a note addressed to Hawkins instructing that Arnold be allowed to examine the mine, collect specimens and take photographs, which he did.
On October 11, 1907 “Mr. Dallas arrived at camp bringing with him Prof. Louderback of the State University and Mr. Eacret representing Shreves & Company of San Francisco, who desired to inspect the gem property and obtain specimens of the different ores and formations. Also to determine if possible the best means of extracting the gems from the matrix.”
October 12: Arthur Klock was joined on the staff by bis 19-year old son, Ralph Lewis Klock.31 “The day was spent in inspecting the gem property and experimenting on the gem bearing rock with acids and heat. Prof. Louderback secured many specimens and he and Mr. Eacret took photographs of the mine.”
That same day a mineral specimen dealer arrived on the property, Robert Max Wilke52 (1862-1946) from Palo Alto, California. “Mr. Wilke came to make arrangements whereby he could secure specimens of the gem-bearing rock to sell. A proposition was made him by Mr. Dallas and accepted, whereby he is to take specimens not bearing salable gems to sell, giving this company 50 percent of the receipts.”
Wilke became the main route by which good specimens were saved and sold to collectors instead of being chopped up to yield gem rough. The following day Wilke left with 50 pounds of specimens, while Louderback and Eacret spent more time in further experimentation and in visiting the mine. Louderback secured more specimens and Eacret took a picture of the cabin. Unfortunately, “no certain method of extracting the gems was decided upon, as it was impossible to experiment extensively with the apparatus at hand, so it was proposed that Prof. Louderback and Mr. Eacret take samples of rock home with them and continue their experiments where better facilities are available.” Klock and Martin were to begin stockpiling matrix chunks in preparation “for extracting the gems when some method is decided upon.”
On October 17, perhaps following a suggestion by Louderback and/ or Mrs. McMullen, they “succeeded in getting several good gems from matrix by the use of acids and various tools.” There is, unfortunately, no further mention of the use of acid in the company logbook. Today we think of acid as being the only method that should be used; however, it works only very slowly, removing around half a millimeter of natrolite coating per hour. To process a significant volume of benitoite/natrolite vein material would take hundreds of gallons of expensive hydrochloric acid, which would have to be hauled laboriously up into the mountains on pack animals. And so, despite the knowledge of acid-etching, it appears that they continued to chisel out the gem crystals instead. (The check ledger of the company shows no expenditures for muriatic acid.) Especially on rainy days, the logbook often recorded that all of the employees worked in the cabin “dislodging gems.” The “cutting table” with its mechanical punch-press continued in use, destroying an estimated 99% of the crystals in order to salvage the occasional gemmy fragment. On November 5 Couch headed down the mountain to Coalinga carrying a can of benitoite gem rough estimated at about 1,000 carats (less than half a pound).53 Couch also collected samples of “black ones” (neptunite) for Wilke.
On December 9, to replace Hawkins who had quit the month before, Arthur Klock was promoted to the position of mine superintendent.
Work at the mine continued year-round, and winters on the mountain wrought a severe hardship on all who worked there. The weather tended to be changeable and violent, with freezing rain, heavy snowstorms and blizzards, and temperatures plunging below zero. The logbook notes that on February 1, 1908, “Mr. Couch came in about 1 o’clock pretty near dead, an experience of walking that nobody cares to repeat after once trying it through 4 ft. of snow. He feels much better this eve.”
On March 18 Thomas Hayes (1852-192S)54 arrived to take charge of the supervision of the mine from Arthur Klock, who remained as a miner.
On April 1 the logbook states: “Weather clear and cold. Thick ice this morning. Tunneled in the bank this morning and caved down many tons of rock and earth, the best blast of the season. Couch still absent. Boys fear provisions will soon give out.” Provisions did at last arrive some days later, just in time.
The miners had a passing interest in the neptunite as well, even though it was worthless from a gem standpoint. On May 8 Hayes wrote: “Mr. Couch and myself went over to the north end of the claims this forenoon, saw the black crystals there.”
On June 6 Thomas Hayes (writing the logbook entries) notes that he took cabinet samples and gems down to Coalinga and attended a meeting of the company. Roderick W. Dallas, Henry H. Welsh, C. D. Martin, James M. Couch and Mrs. Lyda Dallas (serving as corporation secretary) were present. Hayes “was appointed with Mr. Dallas to go to the city of San Francisco and other places to ascertain the best method of extracting the gems from the matrix.” They visited Shreve & Company, spending all forenoon in their factory getting what information they could in regard to possible extraction methods for the stones, then went to Berkeley and spent the afternoon with Prof. Louderback. The next day they visited Robert Wilke, their specimen distributor, who was presumably using the acid cleaning method by that time in order to prepare his specimens for sale to collectors.
On June 25 Wilke arrived at the mine for a second visit and gathered specimens for shipment back to Palo Alto. The miners collected specimens for him as well, sending three boxes to him in July.
Louderback arrived at the mine for his third visit on August 12. He took many photographs of the mine and gathered various chunks of “gem rock,” spending four days collecting specimens to take back with him to Berkeley.
Three boxes of specimens (one weighing 65 pounds) were shipped to Robert Wilke in September, and in November Wilke made another personal visit to the mine for several days to collect three crates of specimens himself.
In April 1909 more boxes were shipped to Wilke. By the following month the adit had reached a distance of about 65 feet and it was decided to begin a crosscut from that point. By July the miners were encountering “nice specimens of gem rock in the crosscut about 20 feet in.”
Dallas decided that a little advertising wouldn’t hurt the sale of stock in the company. So he had Hayes build a display cabinet, put a large benitoite matrix specimen in it and placed it in the lobby of the Pleasant Valley Hotel in Coalinga on July 7.
Mining operations in the crosscut took a bad rum on July 17, when Hayes noted that the rock showed “signs of a formation that has been misplaced.” The crosscut entered an area of loose rock and boulders that was very difficult to stabilize; heavy timbering was required and the rate of advance slowed to a crawl. The situation persisted for months, and one wonders why they didn’t redirect their efforts, but perhaps the bad ground was also yielding gem-containing rock.
On August 9 Douglas Bovard Sterrett (1882-1969)” of the U.S. Geological Survey arrived to examine tile mine. Sterrett, a geologist and mining engineer, had a special interest in California gem deposits. He wrote an article on tourmaline from San Thego County, California for the American Journal of Science in 1904, and had recently published the gemstone section of the report on the Mineral Resources of the United States for 1906. In 1911 he published a chapter on benitoite in the U.S. Bureau of Mines and Minerals Yearbook for 1907.
By the end of October the Dallas Camp (as it was called) had grown to include not just the original log cabin but also a bam for the horses, a company office, a powderhouse, a blacksmith shop complete with forge, a woodshed, an outhouse and a corral.
The problem with owning stock in a mining company is that stockholders can be billed “assessments” in order to raise operating capital. If they can’t or won’t pay the assessment, their stock is confiscated. When an assessment for ten cents per share went out in July 1909, Couch was unable to pay the $1275, and many of the other stockholders except Dallas defaulted as well, turning their shares back to the company.56 Couch accosted Dallas in Coalinga, pressed a gun into his stomach and demanded that his assessment be marked “paid,” but a couple of Dallas’s bodyguards grabbed the gun away from him.57 Couch and C. D. Martin had lost all of their stock in this way and, because they were no longer stockholders, they lost their place on the Board of Directors in May 1912.58 The Dallas family hung on by paying the assessments on their own shares, and eventually became sole legal owners of the mine. Roderick Dallas’s sister, Margaret Shaffrath, was made a Director in place of Couch, and Reuben Carlton Baker (1872-1957) replaced C. D. Martin.59
In August 1909 Robert Van Vleck Anderson (1884-1949),60 a recent Stanford graduate working for the U.S. Geological Survey in Washington, D.C., paid a visit to the mine, where he was met by Thomas Hayes, his wife, his 15-year-old daughter Leslie and 13-year- old son Leland Hayes, and miners Chester Firlum and Tom McDermit. Anderson made a study of the mine and surrounding area, and was “greatly interested”; he also took photographs before moving on a couple of days later to examine the New Idria mine a few miles away. He was in the area primarily to investigate the nearby Coalinga oil field; the following year he published U.S.G.S. Bulletin 398. “Geology and oil resources of the Coalinga District, California,” co- authored with his friend and fellow Stanford alumnus, Ralph Arnold, who had visited the Dallas mine in September 1907.
Apparently Dallas required that his employees observe the sabbath; mention is sometimes made in the logbook of attendance at services held at the nearby logging camp. Thomas Hayes was not altogether happy about complying with this requirement, as one can sense from bis entry for July 4, 1909: “Sunday was observed in the usual and dignified manner in accordance with the pious and sanctimonious principles of the gentleman for whom the mine was named.”
At the end of October 1909 Thomas Hayes departed and Edmund B. Waiters (1850-1920′s)6′ arrived to take over the operation, with the occasional help of his son, Thornton Craig Walters (1887-1959). The logbook notes: “We begin prospecting for lode.” Shortly thereafter they started sinking an inclined shaft and found good gem benitoite just 4 feet below the earlier workings.
Production continued satisfactorily into January 1910: “Things look good in the shaft. Today we took out some fine looking gems.”
Logbook notes are unusually scanty over the next few months, suggesting that things were not going well. On September 21-24 Robert Wilke arrived for another personal collecting visit: “Mr. Wilke commenced to gather specimens, finding some very beautiful cabinet specimens. Very good prospects in the tunnel.”
The following month (October 1910) a stockholders meeting was held and it was decided to shut down the mine.62 Superintendent Walters made an inventory of tools and equipment, and turned over the property to caretakers, Samuel R. Richardson and his wife Alice- who were to remain alone on that desolate outpost for the next two years.63 On October 1,1913, Richardson held an auction on Dallas’s behalf and sold off all of the tools and equipment of the Dallas Mining Company.
On October 3 Richardson wrote his last entry in the logbook: “How thankful I am to be through staying in this awful forsaken place, for it takes the life and strength out of a person to go over tiiese awful roads, but I am sorry to end my employment witii such kind and considerate people as we have found die Dallas Mining Co. to be, and we certainly appreciate their kindness to us. I have tried to do my best for their interest, and so we shall bid the Old Mine good bye in die a.m.”
Thus the mine ceased operations in 1910 (not 1912, 1913 or 1914 as various reports have said) and stood totally abandoned after October 1913. Nevertheless, Dallas kept up his assessment work and the claim was patented in 1914; thus it remained the property of Roderick Dallas and his family, though it stood dormant for the next six years.
So how much did the mine produce in its first three and a half years of operation? It appears that many hundreds of pounds of specimens were collected by, or on behalf of, Robert Wilke and shipped to him in Palo Alto. Payments received from Wilke for the mining company’s 50% share of the income from the sales of specimens were $57 in 1907, $653 in 1908, $307 in 1909, and $345 in 1910.64 Actually tiiese are fairly substantial sums considering that a dollar in 1908 was worth roughly 20 to 100 times what it is today (depending on the method of inflation calculation used).65 And this may only be a part of what was received; the deposit record for sales of gemstones has not been preserved, and may have included additional payments from Wilke as well. As for gemstone production, it must have been substantial. Laws et al. (1997) estimate 1,000 carats but this is surely far too low. Gem rough was delivered to Dallas in Coalinga on a more or less weekly basis, usually by the superintendent, who would then stock up on provisions to take back to the mine. Sometimes Dallas himself would ride up to the mine to pick up the accumulated production and drop off supplies. On October 18, 1907, part-owner C. D. Martin “carried a cartridge box filled with blue gems” to Dallas. A single parcel that Couch transported from the mine down to Coalinga on November 5, 1907 weighed 1,000 carats. The fact that, over several months, Couch may well have carried a parcel down to Coalinga with him every week when he went to get provisions is not always specifically mentioned in the logbook but probably went without saying.
When Thomas Hayes took over as superintendant in April 1908 he was a bit more specific in his logbook entries: ‘Took down a sack of stones . . .” (April 7), ‘Took down jewels . . .” (May 1), ‘Took down many jewels . . .” (May 23), ‘Took many gems . . .” (May 28), ‘Took cabinet samples and gems . . .” (June 6), “Shipped package of gems to Shreve & Co . . .” (June 23), “Took fine lot of gems . . .” (July 20), ‘Took a nice bunch of gems . . .” (July 31), “Packed jewels for shipment to Dallas in Coalinga . . .” (August 31), ‘Took down . . . a sack of gems and gave them to Mrs. Dallas . . .” (November 11), “Put a sack of gems in the Coalinga Bank . . .” (November 28), ‘Took down a fine lot of gems . . .” (December 9), and so on. The ultimate total of these weekly deliveries must have been many tens of thousands of carats. Unfortunately, as mentioned, the records of the income generated by their sale (and of any dividends paid to the stockholders) have not survived, and were probably kept very confidential by the Dallas family.
According to the mine diary, “B. C. Suit” (Benjaman Casner Suit of Hollister, California) contacted Roderick Dallas in October 1920 about buying the benitoite mine. All the record says is that they “closed a deal for the mine, giving an option until January 1st, 1921.” Suit (he called his business the San Benito Gem Company) was a 43-year-old newspaper journalist from Maryland who had come west following the death of his wife.66
In the late 1920′s Otis Dunn (1907-1983) from Santa Paula, California leased the mine and took out many beautiful crystals. Oscar Couch also dug specimens there in 1929, with E. R. Shane, and discovered some good pieces. Dunn was inactive there for most of 1930-1933, but then reopened it.67 He donated some nice specimens to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California State Mining Bureau.68
In 1934 a jeweler named Arthur Dibbern obtained permission (and probably approximate directions) from the Dallases to visit the mine. He invited two friends to accompany him: watchmaker Roy Martindale and Frank Gulick, a chemistry teacher at Glendale High School in the Los Angeles area. Hiring a trail guide and camp cook to accompany them, they went into the mountains on horseback. After searching for five or six days they finally found it, and spent at least another week on the site collecting specimens. Dibbern found a benitoite crystal that yielded a flawless 1.65-carat cut stone.
Back in Glendale the following year, Frank Gulick had two enthusiastic students in his chemistry class: Pete Bancroft69 and Ed Swoboda.70 One day he told diem of how he and Dibbern had visited the mine site, and the specimens they had found. Swoboda and Bancroft were riveted by the story and anxious to go collect there themselves. Gulick encouraged them, so they obtained permission and directions from the Dallases and planned a trip for Easter vacation in 1935. Gulick even gave them a ride from their homes in Glendale, dropping them off in Coalinga. They loaded their backpacks with food, blankets, cooking utensils, mining tools, dynamite, blasting caps, rifles and pistols, and set out on the 36-mile hike into the Diablo Mountains. Arriving at the mine, they saw that Roderick Dallas’s log cabin still stood there amid the tall pines, its wood- burning stove intact and the walls and ceiling still watertight- though a group of rattlesnakes had to be routed before tiiey could safely sleep tiiere.
The next day they examined the workings and found a number of barren natrolite veins before coming across a “decomposed section of the mine which was extremely rich in weathered-out benitoite crystals.” The dumps also proved productive of good crystals. After two weeks of work they had filled each of their backpacks with about 45 kg (100 pounds) of fine specimens and gem rough. They made five more collecting trips after that, coming away with good specimens each time.
James M. Couch, discoverer of the benitoite deposit, died in San Bernardino County, California on October 31, 1943.71
Roderick Dallas became a broker in petroleum stocks and lived in Los Angeles in the 1930′s; he died in Fresno County, California on December 10, 195072; ownership of the mine then passed to his wife, Lyda E. Dallas, who died nine years later.
During the mid-1940′s, San Francisco mineral dealers Julius Gisler (1888-1959) and his son Oscar Arrnine Gisler (1912-1978) are said to have mined some fine specimens from the old tunnels.
After being inactive for many years, probably since 1914 (except for unauthorized collectors), the benitoite mine was leased in early 1952 by Miller F. Hotchkiss (1910-1968)73 of Firebaugh, California, owner of the newly formed Benitoite Mines, Ltd. His first ad appeared in the February 1952 issue of The Mineralogist, offering single gem crystals and cut stones. Subsequent ads also offered specimens, promising that a “complete selection” would be available by July 1st. hotchkiss used a bulldozer to enlarge the open cuts at the top of the hill; unfortunately very little gem material was produced during this period. The operation proved unprofitable, and in a December 1952 ad the company announced than it would close and would be selling out the 1952 production at wholesale prices.
The mine remained in the hands of Roderick Dallas’s heirs. Beginning in 1952 and for at least nine years thereafter it was operated sporadically under lease by Clarence L. Cole (1879-1967) of Oakland, California.74 Cole advertised as “Cole’s Mines” in Lapidary Journal, and subleased the mine to various parties when he wasn’t trying to work it himself, including Gerald Bosley of San Diego and his partner Josephine Louise Scripps (1910-1992)75 of San Luis Rey, California, heir to the Scripps-Howard newspaper fortune and a dedicated mineral collector. They had waste rock and overhanging overburden around the upper opencut bulldozed out of the way in 1966, although the unskilled operator actually covered up the productive zone rather than exposing it. Consequently only rando specimens were found loose in the bulldozed material, and none were found in place. When not subleasing the mine Cole opened it up occasionally to fee collecting by the public at $2/day.76
In the fall of 1967 far more competent operators, Elvis Leroy “Buzz” Gray of Fallbrook, California and William C. Forrest of Fresno, obtained a five-year lease on the property and renamed what had been called the Dallas Gem mine as the Benitoite Gem mine. Some collectors have wondered whether there had been two mines-the Dallas Gem mine and the Benitoite Gem mine-however they are both the same locality. Specimens correctly labeled “Dallas Gem mine” were collected in 1907-1967, and those correctly laberled “Benitoite Gem mine were collected since 1967.
Forrest and Gray initiated an ambitious rehabilitation program, and began mining the in-place vein. During their first years they worked over the old dumps, screening out considerable benitoite gem rough and crystal specimens, as well as neptunite specimens. The opencut was cleared of debris and untouched in-place vein material was exposed. This resulted in the discovery of many large, high- quality matrix specimens and gem rough in 1969, and in 1970 a large vein section was mined which yielded much splendid neptunite but negligible benitoite. They also purchased many of the unetched benitoite specimens that Clarence Cole had stockpiled. Cole had set aside several tons of unprocessed vein material; one of the chunks (mined in 1956) later yielded the exquisite Josie Scripps specimen featured in Peter Bancroft’s book The World’s Finest Minerals and Crystals (1973). A very fine specimen was buried with Cole when he died (Gray, 2008).
In 1971-1972 they began mining what proved to be a new bonanza that no one had previously considered: the eluvial and colluvial material that, over the millenia, had weathered from the outcrop and slumped downhill. Using hydraulic methods they washed away the loose soil to expose abundand large and small blocks of vein material which proved to be rich in benitoite and neptunite crystals and matrix specimens. Their lease was renewed in 1972, and work continued; by December 1974 the opencut had grown to 45 meters long and 4 meters wide, penetrating downward to the original adit level.
In 1983 Gray and Forrest brought in heavy excavating equipment to explore the deeper beds of eluvium, and more excellent material was uncovered, including a piece of rough that yielded an extraordinary 15.42-carat cut stone, far larger than the previously record-holder (7.5 carats) in the U.S. National Museum of Natural History.
It is worth noting that Gray and Forrest’s activities mining and publicizing benitoite had brought the gemstone before the public eye. In 1985 benitoite was officially declared the State Gemstone of California. Gray and Forrest purchased the property outright from Roderick and Lyda Dallas’s daughter, Hellen Dallas Read, in 1987 and continued to work the colluvium for specimens until it was exhausted in 1996, and attention was turned back to exploring for veins in place. In the spring of 1997 a new productive area was found downhill from the open pit, containing more vein material and colluvium.77 This new vein yielded many fine specimens, including distinctive, pale-colored, highly lustrous benitoite crystals unlike those found earlier.
The well publicized activity during the 1980′s and 1990′s attracted the attention of Kennecott Exploration Company, which hired Brendan M. Laurs to make a thorough geological study of the area in 1995.78 No action was taken as a result, but another large mining concern, AZCO Mining, Inc. became interested as well. They leased the property and then drilled, sampled and studied the geology of the deposit for its gemstone potential for three years (1997-1999). After expending close to a million dollars in marketing studies and a fruitless search for profitable ground they gave up. However, the first detailed geology of the mine area was revealed in the course of tins work. Hundreds of feet of diamond drilling and dozens of test pits did indeed establish the existence of some gemstone reserves. But they were too small-scale to be worthwhile for the big mining company to pay the $1.5 million Gray and Forrest were asking for the property.79
In November 2000, the Benitoite Gem mine was purchased from Gray and Forrest by Bryan Lees’ Benitoite Mining, Inc., headquartered in Golden, Colorado. In March 2001 Lees began mining the eluvial deposits downhill from the veined blue schist body, and approximately 2,000 cubic yards were processed through a jig system. Pay dirt was struck in April 2001, when Lees, on a hunch, decided to dig into an area that had previously been explored by Gray and Forrest. Within hours an unsuspected shelf of blue glauconite schist containing benitoite was encountered.80
Geologic mapping continued during the summer, pinpointing target areas for future open pit mining activities. In March 2002 the processing facilities were expanded. Larger screening equipment, water filtration systems, specimen sorting belts and earth-moving equipment were brought in. The water retention ponds were enlarged by digging out about 10,000 cubic yards of previously processed tailings, which were men reprocessed tiirough the new facilities in order to recover previously discarded gem rough. Once all of the new equipment was in place, 100 cubic yards of material (a mix of old mine waste piles and old tailings) were processed per day, ultimately totaling about 5,000 cubic yards that year. A small- scale jig was added to the circuit to capture smaller pieces of gem rough.
In December further work was done to strip remaining undisturbed, in-place eluvial gem-bearing materials and stockpile them for future processing. The plant was increased in size to accommodate an additional 8-foot jig, and processing capacity went up to over 150 cubic yards per day. During the 2002-2003 season, approximately 6,000 cubic yards of rock and rabble were processed, including materials from both the tailings stockpile and old mine waste piles.
Gem concentrates were produced by a new magnetic separation system-the first time magnetic separation technology has been used to separate gems from a concentrate. The technique is over 99% effective because only benitoite, among all the various minerals in me deposit, contains no iron. Broken “ore” transported by conveyor belt was also hand sorted for potential mineral specimens-the enclosing natrolite protecting the fragile benitoite crystals. As a result, commercial quantities of faceted benitoite became available for the first time since the early 1900′s, and a new flood of specimen material hit the market as well.
In late 2003, Lees began stripping off overburden in an attempt to uncover the in situ source of the eluvial deposits. By June 2004 several thousand cubic yards of rock had been removed to fully expose the benitoite-bearing host rock (blue schist). It turned out that the blue schist unit was broken into blocks roughly 30 x 20 x 15 feet thick. These blocks were arranged in step-wise fashion, separated horizontally and vertically by about 10 to 20 feet. Once exposed, the blocks looked like a giant staircase of 30-foot-wide steps. Unfortunately, all of the mineralized blocks had already been mined out in the early days, as evidenced by old mine tunnels. The few un-worked blocks discovered were all barren of benitoite.
The mine closed between August and December 2004 and started up again in January 2005. The 2005 season brought unusually rainy weather, and the ponds filled to their maximum capacity, aiding in production. With the previous season’s addition of the scrubber, the plant was capable of processing over 150 cubic yards per day, with great recovery rates. It was decided to reprocess yet again some materials ran in previous years and to complete the processing of all remaining stockpiles. Over 10,000 cubic yards were processed in 2005, including every remaining stockpile, eluvial source and old mine dump. By season’s end, the project was considered complete and all the equipment was removed.
In all, Benitoite Mining, Inc. processed approximately 25,000 cubic yards of material, some of it twice. Lees is thoroughly convinced that there are no more benitoite-containing veins left in place, nor are there any commercially viable eluvial deposits left to work (though individual crystals and fragments remaining in the eluvium will probably turn up occasionally for many years to come).
Fortunately, although the remaining productive ground was not as extensive as originally hoped, Lees recovered enough gem rough to finance the mine acquisition and operating costs. Most of the gem rough is yielding stones in the 1-mm to 3-mm size range, or approximately 1 point (0.01 carat) to 10 points (0.10 carat) each. In addition, several hundred pieces of rough were recovered tiiat will cut over 1 carat in size. A beautiful 5.95-carat medium-blue stone was cut about two years ago, and Lees has the rough to produce four or five more stones in the 5 to 6-carat range. One large piece of rough is expected to yield a stone in excess of 10 carats and is being preformed now, and it is very possible that one other stone will also achieve a weight of over 10 carats when cut. Lees estimates that he currently has enough stockpiled gem rough to provide the market with commercial quantities of cut stones and set jewelry for the next ten or so years.
In terms of crystal specimens for collectors, Lees’ operation produced a total of about 15 tons of neptunite/benitoite-bearing vein material, only some of which has generated valuable mineral specimens; more than half of the material proved to be of little value and was either discarded or crashed for gemstone liberation. Most of the more promising material was X-rayed to determine mineral specimen potential. Specimens showing crystals of good size, or concentrations of crystals, were sent to the Collector’s Edge Minerals, Inc. laboratory for preparation, resulting in hundreds of fine specimens. Each piece was carefully cleaned in a phosphoric acid solution to remove the natrolite coatings, then trimmed and prepared to best show off the benitoite and neptunite crystals. Really good matrix specimens still proved to be rare; less than 10% cleaned up to be specimens worth more than $200. Furthermore, most of the specimen-bearing rock proved to contain neptunite, but not benitoite. Only one benitoite specimen was recovered for every ten neptunite specimens.
A large quantity of bulk specimen rock was sold by the pound to John Veevaert for resale through his website. John’s customers etched away the natrolite themselves and found hundreds of nice specimens. One of John’s lucky customers found a stone deep inside one rock yielding a cut benitoite gem weighing over 5 carats.
So far, of the hundreds of specimens recovered by Lees between 2001 and 2006, only 20 fall into the category of top-quality collector’s items. The best piece discovered is a matrix benitoite specimen now owned by Joe Ondraka, of Fallbrook, California (pictured here). It is miraculous that this specimen survived the excavation process without damage because the protective natrolite coating common to nearly all benitoite specimens was not present on this piece. The piece was cut from a 5-ton boulder taken from a small remaining in-situ portion of the original outcrop.
Although Lees has since sold the mine. Collector’s Edge will be acid-processing stockpiled material for at least another five years, during which time they hope to uncover at least 10 more additional top-quality specimens.
In late 2005 the Benitoite Gem mine property was reclaimed and sold to David Schreiner, who has renamed it the “California State Gem mine” and has reopened it as a “fee collecting” site.81 Reservations are required. The mine opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m., and the cost per person is $100 per day. Each person is allowed to take home a 5-gallon bucket of material, and Dave claims that almost everyone finds something, including chunks of benitoite- containing natrolite vein material.
Schneiner himself has found many good specimens of natrolite which have yielded benitoite crystals, and has also found a few very fine pieces of gem rough since buying the property-including a 34.4- carat crystal fragment which yielded an 8.06-carat faceted stone, the third largest in the world.
I am indebted to Bryan Lees for the loan of the Dallas Mining Company logbook, record books, documents and photos for study, and for information on his operations at the Benitoite Gem mine. My thanks also to Bryan and to Joe Ondraka for loaning specimens to be photographed, to Jeff Scovil, Wimon Minoratkul and Harold and Erica Van Pelt for specimen photography, and to Colleen E. Allen of the U.S. Geological Survey Photographic Library for historical photos. Bryan Lees and David Schreiner provided information on their periods of operation of the mine. Anthony Kampf , Bryan Lees and Thomas Moore kindly reviewed the manuscript. Footnotes
1. Laurs et al. (1997).
2. Laurs et al. (1997).
3. Alfors et al. (1965).
4. Basciano et al. (2001); Alfors et al. (1965).
5. Reed and Bailey (1927).
6. Dunning and Cooper (1999).
7. Barwood (1995).
8. Sakai and Akai (1994).
9. Womer and Mitchell (1982).
10. Courteously supplied by Bryan Lees, Collector’s Edge Minerals, Inc., Golden, Colorado.
11. James Marshall Couch (1857-1943): Louderback and Blasdale (1907), (1909); Couch (1961).
12. U.S. Federal Census (1860) for Bear Creek, Henry County, Georgia.
13. Couch (1961), and Austin et al. (1988).
14. Couch (1961).
15. Roderick William Dallas (bom May 17,1874; died December 10, 1950): U.S. Federal Census (1910, 1920) for Coalinga, Fresno County, California; California Death Index, 1940-1997 [gives his mother's maiden name as Beaton; his occupation as "oil producer" and "manager od company"]; the 1930 Census ["Delias"] shows him [occupation: "broker, oil stock"] and Lyda living in Los Angeles with their daughter, Helen; World War I Draft Registration Card gives his middle name and birth date. Fresno County Death Certificate gives bis father as William Dallas (bom in Scotland), and his mother as Margaret Beaton (bom in Scotland). William Dallas (1847-1919) was the son of William Dallas (b. 1818) and grandson of John Dallas (1794-1866); this refutes the suggestion by Quick (1957) that Roderick Dallas was a descendant of George Mifflin Dallas (1792- 1864), U.S. Vice President under James K. Polk, after whom Dallas, Texas was named.
16. U.S. Federal Census (1900) for Mansfield, Tolland County, Connecticut ["Rodrick"].
17. Margaret Dallas is mentioned as visiting the benitoite mine on July 31 through August 22, 1907. The California Death Index (under her married name of Margaret D. Shaffrath) shows that she was born in New Jersey and gives her mother’s maiden name as Beaton, the same as for Roderick Dallas.
18. Roderick William Dallas’s World War I Draft Registration Card shows him living at 193 Jefferson Street in Coalinga, California, employed as an “Oil Operator” for “Ind. Oil Pro. Agency, Webb Building, Coalinga, California.
19. Lyda Evelyn Matthis (1878-1959): Roderick William Dallas’s World War I Draft Registration Card gives his wife’s name as Lyda Evelyn Dallas. The 1910 Federal Census for Coalinga shows her (“Lida E. Dallas”), married to Roderick W. Dallas, an “Oil Producer,” for the previous three years (i.e. since 1906 or 1907), living with their Chinese cook, Wing Ah (who also served as cook at the mine periodically). A photo in the Dallas Mining Company archives show the one-room schoolhouse in Hernandez, indicating that Lyda Dallas and her sister Ida Matthis taught there, suggesting that Lyda’s maiden name was Matthis; this is confirmed by the California Birth Index, which shows Hellen Dallas (daughter of Roderick and Lyda in the census records) born in Los Angeles in 1912, her mother’s maiden name Matthis. It also appears from the California Birth Index that Roderick and Lyda had a son born in Fresno County (probably Coalinga) in 1911, but he died before being christened.
20. Max Shaffrath was a “superintendant, Standard Oil” in Coalinga, California, with a wife named Margaret (according to his World War I Draft Registration Card); the 1910 Census shows they were married in 1908. The California Death Index lists “Margaret D[allas] Shaffrath,” mother’s maiden name Beaton (like her brother, Roderick Dallas). The California Birth Index shows that the maiden name of the mother of their son Max (born in 1917) was Dallas.
21. Thomas Edwin Sanders: Couch (1961); Dallas Mining Company logbook; U.S. Federal Census (1880) for San Simeon, San Luis Obispo County, California shows Thomas E. Sanders (born in California in 1869/70, father born in Louisiana and mother born in Missouri) and brother Hal Sanders (born in California in 1876/7) as members of the large family of Martha and David Sanders, farmers. U.S. Federal Census (1900) for Plumora, Yuma County, Arizona Territory, shows Thomas Snders, bom November 1875 in California to Missouri-born parents, “partner” with Thomas Bouse, both of them listed as “Miner, Gold.” According to the mine logbook, Thomas Sanders sold out his interest in the benitoite mine to C. D. Martin for $2,500 on July 23.
22. This is the account of the discovery as related by James Couch to his son Oscar Couch, and published by Oscar (1961). Although that 10-page booklet, entitled The Benitoite Story, contains many inaccuracies and concocted conversations, this portion has the ring of truth and is most consistent with the claim papers filed.
23. Leland Barnes Hawkins, Sr. (1838-1920′s): U.S. Federal Census (1900) for Los Angeles lists Leland Hawkins, age 62, born February 1838 in Missouri, occupation “mining engineer,” living with wife Rhoda and children Pearl (age 23), Irene (age 7), and Leland (Jr.), age 21.
24. Hal Sanders (1877-1920′s): Marcher (1939); U.S. Federal Census (1910) for Stockton, California shows Hal Sanders, bom in California in 1877/8, occupation “watchmaker, own office.”
25. Louderback and Blasdale (1907).
26. Couch (1961).
27. Copies of the claim papers are in the Dallas Mining Company files examined by the author.
28. Marcher (1939).
29. George Godfrey Eacret (1874-1930′s): Marcher (1939); U.S. Federal Census (1900) for San Francisco lists “Godfrey Eacrat,” bom February 1874 in New Jersey, occupation “diamond expert.” The 1910 Census for Sausalito (a suburb of San Francisco) gives his occupation as “diamond expert, jewelry store.” World War I Draft Registration Card (1917) lists George Godfrey Eacret, bom February 23, 1874, manager of “Shreve Trust Eacret” at 136 Geary Street in San Francisco. The 1930 Census for Hillsborough, San Mateo County, gives his occupation as “Proprietor, Jewelry business.”
30. George C. Shreve, George Bonney and Albert J. Lewis proprietors, located at 106-110 Montgomery Street under the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco. The company was founded some time before 1870 by George C. Shreve, who was born in Massachusetts in 1830 and came to California before 1860. His son, George Rodman Shreve (born in California in 1862), had taken over the business by 1910 (San Francisco Directory 1889-1891; U.S. Federal Census 1910, 1920). In 1911, however, he severed his relationship with Shreve & Company and bought a controlling interest in the jewelry firm of Treat and (Godfrey) Eacret, which then became Shreve, Treat & Eacret. Godfrey Eacret had formerly been diamond expert for Shreve & Company, and had arranged the distribution contract for benitoite with Roderick Dallas.
31. George Davis Louderback (1874-1957) was a prominent Professor of Geology and Dean of the College of Letters and Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He was born on April 6, 1874, in San Francisco, the son of Frances Caroline Smith and Davis Louderback. He attended the University of California, receiving his A.B. Degree in 1896 and his PhD in 1899. He married his classmate, Clara Augusta Henry, in 1899.
Louderback served as Assistant in Mineralogy at the University of California (1897-1900), taught at the University of Nevada (1900- 1906) and served as Research Assistant at the Carnegie Institution (1903-1905), returning in 1906 to the Berkeley campus as Assistant Professor of Geology. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1907 and Professor in 1917, and served as Dean of the College of Letters and Science in 1920-1922 and again in 1930-1939.
At the University of Nevada, Louderback began studies of the structure of the Great Basin, and investigated the gypsum deposits of Nevada. Following his return to Berkeley he described and named the new mineral species benitoite (1907, 1909) and also the associated new species joaquinite (based in part on a crystal given to him by mineral dealer Robert M. Wilke). His 1909 paper is considered to be one of the finest descriptions of a new mineral ever published.
Louderback studied the glaucophane and associated schists of the Coast Ranges and cooperated in a study of the effects of the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. In 1914-1916 he headed an expedition into China to investigate petroleum resources. During World War I he served as Chairman of the Committee on Geology and Mineral Resources of the State Council of Defense and was in charge of cooperation with the United States Geological Survey, the United States Bureau of Mines, and the State Council of Defense in investigations of strategic metal deposits in California. In the 1920′s he resumed his studies of the Basin Range Province in Nevada and published three important papers. Professor Louderback’s research was recognized by his election as Faculty Research Lecturer in 1940. He served on many university committees and was a progressive force in academic government. After his retirement in 1944, the degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred upon him in 1946 by the University.
Louderback was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Geological Society of America, and was a member of the Seismological Society of America, the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Society of Economic Geologists, the California Academy of Sciences, the Washington Academy of Sciences, the Mineralogical Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, the American Geographical Society, and the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography. He was from 1935 the editor of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. Professor Louderback thed in Berkeley on January 27,1957. He is remembered as one of the founders of the scientific tradition of the University of California (see Taliaferro et al., 1959).
32. This description of events up to this point is largely that of Marcher (1939), who was a close friend of Eacret and heard him tell the story.
33. Marcher (1939), however, did not correctly recall that after being turned away by Hawkins, Louderback’s party visited the site that same day anyway, with Thomas Sanders as their guide; the mining company logbook fills in that detail and supplies the date of the visit.
34. Marcher (1939) says that the telegram from Tiffany’s was sent to “some one of those we have mentioned.” Whether he was just being coy or honestly couldn’t remember what Eacret had said is not known, but Roderick Dallas seemed to have taken charge and so the telegram was probably forwarded to him one way or another.
35. Louderback and Blasdale (1907) . . . just six pages, giving a rough chemical analysis and some physical properties and morphology, enough to establish priority until the full version of the description could be completed.
36. “Soon after the mine was visited satisfactory material was obtained and its identity with neptunite recognized” (Louderback and Blasdale, 1909).
37. Flink (1893).
38. Agreement made with Shreve & Company on September 30, 1907 and ratified at the Board of Directors Meeting of the Dallas Mining Company, December 8, 1907.
39. The agreement was terminated at the September 15, 1908 meeting of the Board of Directors.
40. The Dallas Mining Company: The first meeting of the Board of Directors of the Dallas Mining Company was held February 20, 1907; the first official stockholders’ meeting was five days later; and me claims were officially transferred to the corporation on March 14, 1907.
41. Couch (1961) says it was a $5,000 share, but the company record books show that it was $2,500.
42. Curtis D. Martin (1835-1920′s): “C. D. Martin” is referred to repeatedly in the company records and as a miner at the mine. His initials are never identified, and for a while his identity was something of a mystery; however, because of his absence at the stockholders’ meeting on September 1,1907, he was represented by Erwin Martin. Presuming Erwin to be a family member, this allows us to identify “C. D. Martin” with Curtis D[ewey?] Martin (age 64, born in New York in 1835), who appears on the U.S. Federal Census (1900) for Los Angeles with his son, Erwin (spelled “Irwin” on the 1930 census) E. Martin (age 24, born in Nebraska in 1875). This would make Curtis Martin 74 years old in 1908, which seems rather old to do much mining work, but it must be him because all of his family members correlate with Dallas Mining Company stockholders, one of which was I. E. Martin. Curtis D. Martin’s wife, Juliette N. Martin, could have been stockholder “J. N. Martin.” Curtis’s daughter Luella Martin Dowling could have been the wife of stockholder Louis L. Dowling. Curtis’s daughter Nettie (unmarried in 1900) later married Frank Jackson and therefore correlates with stockholder Nettie M. Jackson on the 1912 stockholders’ list. And Curtis’s daughter Bertha Martin Curry (in 1900) could have been remarried by 1912 as stockholder Bertha M. Daily. The family appears earlier on the 1880 Census for Lincoln, Nebraska. Taken together the coincidences are conclusive.
43. Henry H. Welsh (1857-1920′s): appears on the U.S. Federal Census (1910) for Fresno, California. He was born in 1856 in Marysville, California, the son of James Welsh, an Irish miner and saloon-keeper, and listed his occupation in 1910 as “Lawyer, General Partner.” By 1920 he had retired to ran his own vineyard in Fresno.
44. These included (in addition to Hawkins, Couch, and the Dallases) miner A. L. Klock and his wife Rinnie and son Ralph, Curtis Martin and his family members, miner Frank Smith, Mrs. M. J. Patt. L. C. Becker, Oscar E. Slater, Augustus Walker, Earnest Chase, Ester F. Lewis, Laura J. Lewis and Noble Lewis.
45. Dallas Mining Company logbook.
46. Leland Barnes Hawkins, Jr. (1879-1951): U.S. Federal Census (1900) for Los Angeles lists Leland Hawkins, age 62, living witii wife Rhoda and children Pearl (age 23), Irene (age 7), and Leland (Jr.), age 21, born February 1879 in California, occupation “Barber.” The 1910 Census for Los Angeles shows the same family, Leland B. Hawkins, age 72, mining engineer, wife Rhoda, daughter Irene (age 17), and Leland B. Hawkins Jr., age 31, occupation “Commercial Handler, Jewelry.” Leland Jr. apparently acted as intermediary between the mine and their Los Angeles gemstone distributor, Gertrude McMullen.
47. Gertrude Sarah Reynolds McMullen (1872-1950): U.S. Federal Census (1910) for Los Angeles, California, shows Gertrude McMullen, born in Wisconsin in 1872/3, and husband Robert A. McMullen, born in Wisconsin in 1869/70, occupation for both: “jewelry store.” On the 1920 Census Robert gave his occupation as “Merchant, Jewelry Store,” and Gertrude gave hers as “gem expert, gems and jewelry.” The California Death Index gives her birth date as August 23, 1872, and her death date as August 4, 1950.
48. Arthur Leslie Klock (1862-1936): The U.S. Federal Census (1900) for Neponset, Illinois shows Arthur L. Klock, born in New York in September 1862 (occupation: “General Merchant”), with his wife Rennie or Rena Lewis, born January 1870 in Illinois, and son Ralph L. Klock, born March 1888 in New York. The 1910 Census shows the family in Los Angeles (Arthur Sr. is a realtor). By 1920 (still in Los An