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The Kimball Report

as reported in the

Salt Lake Herald-Republican

in 1898



General Kimball Tells of Its Early History




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    Much interest has been centered of late in the reported discovery of the Josephine, above Kamas, In Summit county, reputed to be an old Spanish mine, worked by greasers many years ago. The Herald was the first to make mention of the finding of this alleged old producer, and since then a company of Salt Lakers has been formed for the purpose of cleaning out its old workings, and to operate it in a thorough manner. Samples of quartz brought down from the property carrying excellent values in the yellow metal and, while the story of the discovery has provoked much ridicule and scoffing in certain quarters, the discoverers of the property, William Bird and son, have been strong in the conviction that they had uncovered one of the richest gold mines ever found in this western country, while the new company has been equally as sanguine as to what would eventually come of the enterprise, the want of faith in others never phasing their decision to prove beyond question just what was to be found in these old workings, which undoubtedly were made to a large extent by human hands. While it has long been rumored that old and abandoned mines existed in Summit county, it was hard to verify the fact by old-timers in this country, the memory of the oldest inhabitant failing to go as far back as the period in which they were supposed and believed to have been worked, and for this reason mining men have been somewhat skeptical as to the actual existence of these old wealth-producers. There is one Utah resident, however, who is cognizant of the fact of the existence of these mines, the gentleman in question being General William H. Kimball of Park City, who has lived in Utah since 1850 and 1851, and who, at that time, was deputy United States marshal of the then territory of Utah.


   General Kimball was a Salt Lake visitor yesterday, and to a representative of The Herald made the following statement regarding an old Spanish mine, now believed to be the Lost Josephine, and the general says that he is ready to make sworn affidavit to the truth of his statements, which, in his own language, reads as follows:

    “in the year 1842 there were four companies of Spaniards who came up into this country for the purpose of prospecting, and mining. They called the river they were on the Tempe Nogas, but this is now known as the Provo river. These men had two mines, which were located between the Provo and Weber rivers. One of these they worked out, and the white people who first discovered Kamas valley, or what was called Rhodes valley in the early days, found this exhausted producer which was situated on the west side of the valley, about half way between the Provo and Weber rivers, and when discovered tools of ancient make were found in its old workings.

    “The other mine, and the one from which the Spaniards took the most gold, was across the valley on the east side, and was situated on the ridge back of what is now knows as Hoyt's Peak, between the Provo river and the Weber. The Weber was not named at that time, but a man could stand on the ridge between the tunnel and shaft of what is now called the Josephine mine, and see the Tempe Nogas river, now the Provo, and also the unknown river, now known as the Weber."

    “The Spaniards” Mr. Kimball went on to say “left the mines when they had secured all the gold they wanted, heading for Mexico, through territory occupied by the Navajoe Indians. The Indians were hostile, and massacred the entire company, with the exception of their captain, who managed to make his escape. The Spaniard who escaped was named San Jose Pueblo. Pueblo made his way to Mexico, where the Utah mines were recorded at Santa Fe, and after remaining there for some time, made up a party for the purpose of returning here to reopen and work these gold mines, but, upon his arrival, finding the Mormon people here, he concluded to abandon his project, instead of which he went into the business of buying young Indians for the Mexico slave trade. The United States government, hearing of this, ordered me, then deputy United States marshal, to arrest the Spaniards, which was done in the fall of 1851, and I had eight Spaniards under arrest and under my charge for a period of seven weeks, who were charged with buying Indians for the purpose of taking them to Mexico to sell as slaves. The only one of the prisoners who could talk English was San Jose Pueblo, and I spent considerable time in his company, gaining his confidence, and he told me a great deal regarding his gold mine above Kamas, and all about the one which had been worked out.

     The theory had been that the Spaniards closed and sealed their mines to hide them, but San Jose Pueblo stated that their laws obliged them to conceal their good mines whenever they left them for any length of time. He also said that if this mine (the Josephine) was ever found, the finders would find in its old workings a lot of tools, powder, etc., which had been used in the working of the mine. He also said that this mine was a natural cave when first found, and that it was very rich in gold in the bottom and that the property had been worked by them quite extensively, several cuts having been run from the cave, in which large bodies of gold ore had been uncovered on every hand, the workings extending into the mountain until a depth of 600, or 700 feet below the surface had been attained. Pueblo also stated that an incline tunnel had been run in a westerly direction, and that finding that his incline headed for an old shaft on the property, the workings were extended until air connections were made. San Jose Pueblo also told me that he came to this country to mine with his father when he was a little boy, but when I first saw him he was a man of at least 50 years, which goes to show that the mines above Kamas had been worked for many years prior to the advent of the white man into this country. 

    In further talk regarding incidents connected with what is now called the Josephine mine, General Kimball stated that when he arrested the eight Spaniards they had in their possession one squaw with eight papooses. Pueblo also gave General Kimball three gold nuggets, valued at $20, $10 and $5, respectively, which he claimed came from the Josephine mine, and in the same year, 1851, Mr. Kimball was given another nugget from this mine from which a $20 gold piece was coined in Deseret money, the piece being coined in the John Hay's mint, the coin afterwards being given by Mr Kimball to his father. The trail from the mine to Santa Fe was down the Arkansas river.

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