A BRIEF HISTORICAL SKETCH OF CALICO
(From Calico Print, Vol. 1, No.1 July 12, 1882)
The first discovery of mineral made in this fabulously rich mining district was made some seven or eight years ago (1874-75) about three miles northerly from Grape Vine Station (now Barstow) and Waterman & Porter’s mill and about eight miles distant from the rich and extensive mineral belt which surrounds for miles in every direction the promising town of Calico. It was made by an eccentric old man by the name of Lee, who was, it is supposed, killed by Indians whilst on one of his solitary prospecting expeditions some three years ago in the vicinity of Old Woman Springs.
Lee first located on the property now owned by Waterman & Porter upon which they keep a fine ten-stamp mill and a large force of men in constant operation, the mill each day adding to the country’s wealth. This ledge was worked by Lee for a quicksilver mine, and the rich horn silver for which it is so famous was called by him “pencil lead,” he taking the’ native silver for particles of quicksilver. The work, having been abandoned for some two or three years consequent upon the death of Lee, Waterman, and Porter, being out in quest of mining properties, were shown the property by Mr. E. J. Miller, Recorder of the Grape Vine District.
Porter, being a practical miner, on his first visit, recognized the immense value of the property and immediately commenced making locations. This was in the fall of 1880. During that winter and in the spring of 1881, hundreds of locations were made in the immediate vicinity until not a red rock remains but what is well monumented.
Not until the spring of 1881 were there any discoveries made on Calico Mountain. The first was made by Lowery Silver (elsewhere Silva), who is still a resident miner of the district, and was made a short distance north of where the town of Calico is now situated. The first work of any note that was done in what is now Calico District, but then the Grape Vine District (Calico having lately segregated), was some four miles northwesterly from the town on the Consolidated and Pico claims. In March or April last, our worthy under-sheriff, Tom Warden, together with Hues Thomas and others, discovered the wonder of the age, the great “King Mine,” the richest and biggest mine in the State of California.
After these discoveries many others were made and located, among which were the Oriental series by Messrs. Allison, Waldrip, Day and others and subsequently sold to Messrs. Earl & Garnett, of San Francisco. This splendid property, upon which a tramway and mill are soon to be built, is being rapidly developed under the superintendency of Judge James Walsh; while Sam James keeps his weather eye open upon the doings around the famous King Mine. During the fore part of July last the rich deposits of the Burning Moscow were located by J. B. Whitfield, John Peterson and Hieronymas Hartman. This mine is still in active operation, having produced some of the richest hornsilver ore ever found in camp.
Rich locations are still being made each day adding to the number, and the rich finds lately made in the eastern portion of the district have given an impetus to prospecting.
One year ago where Calico now stands there was not a single house, and on Wall street but one camp (Allison’s) and James Parker and Ellie Miller were the sole inhabitants, on the Fourth of July last, and not until Sam James and his party arrived a few days afterward to commence operations on the King Mine was there any show of activity. If one year has made so decided a change what may we not expect during the next 12 months: From present appearances we hazard. the opinion that e’er another year shall have rolled around that our little wooden village will have given place to an active, busy, bustling mining town, second to none in this or any other State or Territory. Surely the richness and number of our mines demand it.