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Ghost Mines of Yosemite (1958) by Douglass Hubbard


21. SHERIFF’S SALE

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TOM BENNETT, William Swift and the others in New Bedford thought it would be a simple matter of reorganizing and eliminating deadwood from the company to get the mine open again and the elusive Sheepherder vein cut.

But as time went on and nothing was done the Eastern stockholders became uneasy and began devising plans for protecting their interests. As a first step—to learn the value of the properties against which their claims were pending, they sent William Swift to Bennettville with Captain Bickford Anthony, an English mining engineer.

In a report made after his inspection of the lodes, Captain Anthony estimated a mineral value of ore in sight on the Sheepherder Lode of $9,642,840, and on the High Rock claim of the Great Sierra Lode, $2,700,000, or a total value, not counting the Bevan claim, of $12,360,840. 1 This encouraged the stockholders, but in early 1887, to establish their claims legally, they assigned them to William Swift as trustee.

In June 1887 Swift brought suit in Cook County, Illinois, against the Great Sierra Company, the judgment was obtained to the full amount of the claims—$277,083.86.

Since all available property of the company was in California the judgment of the Illinois court was taken to the Superior Court of Mono County, California, and again rendered in the full amount. By order of that court the properties were sold in 1888 at public auction by the sheriffs of Mono, Tuolumne, and San Francisco counties and were purchased by William C. N. Swift, Trustee, for $167,050. 65

But the spark was dead. More than $300,000 had been spent 34 and the men who had driven the project so hard were tired. Tom Bennett was 67, William Swift, 73. The others had faded out of the picture. Both men died in New Bedford at the age of 77—Swift in May 1892 and Bennett in April 1898—believing to the end in their empty dreams of a vast fortune, which never came true.



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