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Historical Gazette, Cracker Creek Mining District

Rock Worth $160,000

Sumpter, Oregon 1900

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Millsite on Cracker Creek
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Rich Strike Made in the Gibraltar
Owned by Paul Poindexter and Claud Basche

Located by the North Pole Mine
Now being Sacked for Shipment

On September 8, 1900 a wonderfully rich ore deposit was uncovered in the Gibraltar about 150 feet from the mouth of the tunnel. This mine is located near the North Pole in the Cracker Creek district and is owned by Claud Basche and Paul Poindexter.

Poindexter was out at the property Sunday and brought in a sack full of the rock. It resembles the rich ore found in the Golconda which has made that mine famous.

Ruins of Golconda shaft
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It is almost black in color and is studded with free gold, many of the specimens carrying perhaps 10 percent of the precious metal. A hatful has been assayed and the certificate shows $160,000 to the ton. How much there is of it is, of course, not known. Poindexter says it is scattered across the entire five feet in the face of the tunnel. Where the ledge has been cross cut it averages about 19 feet in width. The rock has carried only fair values up to this point, $18 to $20 with the exception of at one place, where $260 assays were obtained. Barren rock has been encountered just before this last rich strike was made.

Four men are now at work taking out an sacking this precious ore, which will be shipped to a San Francisco smelter for treatment. If a few tons of it is secured, there will be a celebration in this town at no distant day. The gentlemen have decided to take the advice of J.H. Robbins and keep their shirt- waist on until the money is in his bank. The Sumpter Miner

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In 1996, soon after posting this article, news came to us from the Cracker Creek mining district. In more recent history the Cracker Creek Gold Mining Company operated in the Sumpter Valley even until late 20th Century. We went to our correspondent's web site and read the whole scoop. Unfortunately his link is no longer active. He told us that the story we'd posted: "Rock Worth $160,000" was nothing but a bombast by the editor of the Sumpter Miner whose job it was to pump up the town and encourage people to come to the area. So what's new? That newspaper told a story... a big whopper evidently... and so then we repeated it... lies are perpetuated that way... rumors, too, fact checking becomes a challenge in reporting history. Since we were at the time also trying to pump up tourism in Eastern Oregon, we fell short of our duty to get the facts correct. It is sad when journalists don't report the true story, but rely instead on rumor and exaggeration. Count me guilty, but without malice or forethought. It's only now, more than 20 years later that I see my failing. I also see that I had something in common with the Sumpter Miner editor ~ the motivation of encouraging people to come to Sumpter Valley. You should. I did. Enjoyed rock hounding and photography while I was there. I'll bet that you can still do those things, too. It was there that I began to think of doing this history newspaper. I felt the call of the past, the echo of those seeking their fortune. I decided that I'd use the journalism degree I had earned and not let it go to waste. Hope you enjoy our stories, ones we chose as worthy and interesting so we plucked them from the pages of history. In some editions we tried our hand at writing them when we could find enough facts to check and confirm our story, but in most editions, we relied heavily on the original authors who saw the history as it happened. I enjoy autobiographies so, this was a natural tendency.The way it ends then: the discoloration is on them, not me. Your clue is to look for my sources, my attribution. If it's not in quotes in the middle of the story, or given at the beginning of the story as a Dateline sort of citation, then look at the end of the story for a source citation. My professors always said "Attribution. Attribution. Attribution." That keeps plagarism at bay. ~editor

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Bridget E. Smith, editor & publisher

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