What People have said
...about New Mexico, mines, and the Cerrillos Hills
J. Lyman Hayward, 1880 [Promotional words from the Cerrillos Mining District during the boom of 1880.]
The cost of living is reasonable. First-class board can be obtained for from six to seven dollars a week. Common miners' wages are two dollars and a half per day. Owing to the uniform mildness of the climate, labor can be performed uninterruptedly throughout the year. There is a growing demand for labor, and the laboring miner can find no better country in which to live. Constant work at fair wages in a climate not excelled for healthfulness in the West; in proof of which we give the following fact: that since the formation of the camp there has been no fatal case of sickness amoung the people.
To the capitalist, there can be no better section of country in which to invest. The richness of the mineral will compare favorably with any mining district in the West. Labor is at a fair rate. Railroad communications are rapidly increasing. Coal, iron, limestone and fire-clay for smelting purposes are abundant, and large quantities of lumber that can be delivered at the mines for twenty-five dollars per thousand. Good mining property can be obtained from many of the locators at reasonable prices.
THE LOS CERRILLOS MINES AND THEIR MINERAL RESOURCES, J. Lyman Hayward, J.C. Clark Printing Co, S. Framingham, Mass., 1880
Bennett & Brown, 1880 [More promotional text from the mining boom of 1880.]
In 1680 a visitor to Los Cerrillos might have seen drudgery and servitude of mining for poor pay among those who broke the rocks with unwieldy stone hammers, wooden wedges, and levers. In 1880 he can see numerous new mines upon the sites of old ones, and elsewhere hear the pick blows, the scrape and ring of shovelful, the clinking hammer strokes on drills, and the booming of blasts deep in the fissured hills where work in hopeful earnestness is carried on. The prospectors and miners of this district are generally well pleased and reasonably expectant of rich returns for their outlays upon claims, as no silver district heretofore discovered discloses such a great number of true fissure veins in so limited an area of country. The ores of this district run from 15 to 1500 ounces of silver to the ton, with occasionally gold, from a trace to 6 or 8 ounces to the ton; and this from only what might properly be called surface workings, so that according to all experience heretofore in silver mining, with a sufficient depth, the mines of this district may reasonably be expected to surpass in richness anything ever before discovered.
AMONG THE ANCIENT AND INTERESTING SCENERY OF NEW MEXICO, text on reverse of a stereo photograph, Published by Bennett & Brown at Santa Fe, N.M., 1880
Fredric M. Endlich, 1889 [Travel writing from the Far West.]
As we leave the capital [Santa Fe] we soon find that the silver fever of the old Spaniards has persisted to this day. Holes and shafts and tunnels are dug into the earth or rock; silver and lead have come out of some, gold and copper out of others, disappointment out of the majority. The famous turquoise mines, known to the Spaniards as early as 1536 [sic], are but a short distance off, and the Pueblo Indians there burrow for their favorite chalchahuitl. We hear tales of wondrous wealth which Mexicans acquired years ago ... Some of these stories are true, some are not.
The composition of a mining camp is a curious one. Men from all quarters of the globe congregate there, in search of a livelihood. The roving prospector leave his mountains and condescends to dwell in settlements for a while - long enough, at least, to earn a sum sufficient to carry him through another tour of exploration. His wants are few; a blanket, some bacon, flour, and tobacco, a pick, a shovel, and possibly a gold pan. If he is wealthy, he may also indulge the flesh with liquid comforts. Two typical prospectors agreed to become "pardners" on a trip. Between them they mustered eighteen dollars. "Cock-eyed Jim" was to invest this judiciously, in supples, while "Sidling Sam" undertook to "rustle" tools. As they were cording their packs, just before starting out, Sam bethought himself to inquire into the nature of the chosen provisions.
"Two dollars' worth of bacon, a dollar's worth of bread, and fifteen dollar's worth of whiskey," reported Jim.
"What on earth do you want so much bread and bacon for?" was Sam's indignant remonstrance.
Three classes of people may be distinguished in this section of New Mexico, excluding Indians: white men, Mexicans, and "Texans". The members of this latter are a peculiar set of individuals, not cow-boys, not rustlers, not miners nor working-men. They become day-laborers sometimes, or small teamsters, live upon invisible means of support in many instances, and cheerfully but unostentatiously assist in the abridgment of overgrown stock herds."
Fredric M. Endlich, THE HEART OF NEW MEXICO, Harper's Weekly, September 7, 1889, New York, (pp.729-732)
John R. Park, 2000 [A modern-day perspective.]
"New Mexico is one of the most interesting of the major mining States. Because of a diversity of landscape (reflecting a complex geology), a diversity of materials have been mined. Because of the dry climate, many operating mines are viewable, and remains of historic mines are naturally preserved. Unfortunately, Santa Fe seems to have developed an imported elite of the insipidly politically-correct and so, there are relatively few visible mines, mining museums, and related sites in New Mexico (compared to the potential and compared to the other western states)."
John R. Park, A GUIDEBOOK TO MINING IN AMERICA, Volume 1 West, 2000, Stonerose Publishing Co., Miami. (p.206)