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Alone again, on April 22, Weed wrote: “I have been looking for some of your folks here for the last day or two bearing the news of the sale of the mine.” He concluded: “I hope you will send some one here this week in my place as I want to go east” sometime in May.

Two weeks later: “I am completely tired and wore out and I do not feel like working any longer alone.”

At the bottom of a letter written around this time, Weed circled a statement: “Confidential: Don’t you retain an interest in the mine.”

On May 18, in his final letter, Weed wanted to head east so much he’d even take third class, known for having tough customers, on the train. “As far as safety is concerned, I think I have encountered everything in the shape of danger within the last 27 years.”

In a postscript: “My eyes will be turned towards the top of the hill from this [time] on for someone to relieve me.”

A Mr. Farley replaced Weed on May 25. For his year at the Oriflamme, Weed earned $403.49.

Weed died April 29, 1918. He was 90.

The Oriflamme died much sooner. According to mining records, it was one of 16 mines in the region that produced less than $25,000. ■
Jeff Smith

QUOTATIONS:

  1. J. Wesley Jones: “You see the miners, picking among the crevices in the rocks with their pick-axes and iron spoons. No light and easy task.”
  2. Horace Fenton Wilcox: “I staked out a lot of claims myself, but the more mines I owned, the poorer I got.”
  3. Mary C. Morse (wife of Ephraim): “[The mine] seemed to me a gloomy place to work.”

SOURCES:
Ellsberg, Helen, Mines of Julian, Glendale, 1972.

Egenhoff, Elisabeth L., The Elephant as They Saw It, San Francisco, 1949.

Fetzer, Leland, A Good Camp: Gold Mines of Julian and the Cuyamacas, San Diego, 200.

Hill, Mary, Gold: The California Story, Berkeley, 1999.

Sheldon, Gale, “Life at the Oriflamme Mine, 1875–1876,” Journal of San Diego History, October 1957, vol. 3, no. 4.

Morse, Mary C., “A Trip to the Mines,” Journal of San Diego History, January 1967, vol 8, no. 1.

Weed, Amos, letters of Amos Weed to Ephraim Morse, mss. at San Diego History Center.

Wilcox, Horace Fenton, “Memories of the Gold Stampede in Julian,” Touring Topics, February 1932.

Articles in the San Diego Union and the San Diego Daily World.

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Comments

William Howell Feb. 25, 2011 @ 12:30 p.m.

I believe the "Mr. Farley" mentioned near the end of the story may have been my great-great grandfather, Joseph Farley, a Union Civil War veteran now buried at Mt. Hope. His daughter married Frank Harritt and their daughter was my grandmother. Harritt Dam at Lake Jennings, Harritt Rd. in Lakeside, and Harritt School in Santee are named after the family.

A great story about how difficult it was to mine in Julian.

Bill Howell Santee

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Jeff Smith Feb. 25, 2011 @ 10:51 p.m.

Bill: wasn't Joe Farley part-owner of the Stonewall Mine (with Almon Frary, Sr.)? From what I've been able to gather, Joe was one of the few that Morse could trust with the Orifamme, while trying to sell it.

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William Howell March 1, 2011 @ 6:42 a.m.

Yes, Joseph does show on the deed for the Stonewall for a period of time as does Mr. Frary. He apparently invested in several mines in the area and is on and off several deeds. There were a series of lawsuits in the area at the time too, over ownership, shares, etc. These folks were pretty litigious. There is another Farley showing on the census in the area simultaneously and I have not been able to track him at all. He's listed as a 'house painter'. This is why I said I "thought" Joseph might have been part owner of the Orifamme. It's all very confusing and records are not that great.

Joseph ended up the founding (charter) chaplain for the Grand Army of the Republic here in San Diego.

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