Here’s Noozhawk of Santa Barbara on THE BONANZA KING, by Kimberly Collins.
“Rags to Riches: Former Goleta resident tells the story of John Mackay and the Comstock Lode in new book” by Brett Leigh Dicks, the Santa Barbara News-Press, June 27, 2018. Click here for the article, or on the images below to enlarge for easier reading.
John and Louise Mackay at the coronation of Czar Alexander III in Moscow in 1883—an excerpt from THE BONANZA KING published in The American Scholar. To read it, click here or on the image below.
While I was in Phoenix for THE BONANZA KING event at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, I was interviewed by Ted Simons for the PBS program “Arizona Horizon.” Click here or on the image below to watch the broadcast.
Fun interview! Here’s “An immigrant alters U.S.’s destiny,” Irish Echo, June 20, 2018.
They asked me about THE BONANZA KING, my writing process, advice I’d give to young writers, and about my favorite books and authors.
“Mark Twain’s Real Name: How Sam Clemens Picked a Pen Name,” an excerpt from THE BONANZA KING.
Click here to read the full story: “Buried Treasure: California author Gregory Crouch digs deep into Wild West history,” Alta, Journal of Alta California, June 18, 2018, by Beth Spotswood.
(Click here and scroll to the bottom to read the rest of the story)
While writing THE BONANZA KING, I became fascinated with the techniques and technology of Comstock mining. Here are some diagrams to help explain the square-set timbering technique invented in late 1860 by mining engineer Philipp Deidesheimer that made it possible to extract the Comstock Lode’s colossal ore bodies. (Clicking on the images should enlarge them for more detailed examination.) The internal structure of a honeycomb gave Deidesheimer the crucial inspiration.
This diagram clearly shows how “wall plates” and “angle braces” were used to shore a “dipping” ore body:
This next one shows how miners could use the square set technique to stope out ore in depth, on multiple “floors” (each line of square sets) and “levels” (from each of the shaft stations, generally at 100 foot intervals) at the same time. Comstock miners thus gutted an ore body with speed that would have astonished previous generations of miners:
Below is a standard Comstock mineshaft as they were constructed once “second line shafts” started going down. (Those were the shafts that were sunk east of the “croppings,” prime examples being the Gould & Curry’s “Bonner Shaft,” the Savage’s “Curtis Shaft,” and the “Fair Shaft” at the Hale & Norcross. Those three were named for the men who superintended their “sinking.”) They had three or four compartments. Two compartments for hoisting, one for pumping, and one for sinking. Three compartment shafts omitted the sinking compartment, the one through which the work of sinking the shaft to another station was done. It’s apparent that Deidesheimer’s square set technique inspired their construction. If you look carefully, you can see the “guide rods” running down the sides of the two hoisting compartments and the sinking compartment. The guide rods were embraced by the “ears” of the cage frames, iron flanges that guided the cages up and down the shafts. (I’ll go into greater detail on the shafts, cages, and hoisting and pumping apparatuses in another post.)
My time with John Mackay is coming to an end, but your opportunity to get to know this amazing man and his legendary accomplishments is just beginning. I hope you enjoy your time with him on the old Comstock Lode as much as I have. Here’s an excerpt from THE BONANZA KING at Smithsonian.