The Story of Daniel G. Tipton and His Silver Ingots

The Story of Daniel G. Tipton and His Silver Ingots


The two silver bars are of a size weighing about an ounce or two each inscribed simply with "Hudson River Mine" and "Little Chief Mine." Both bars display the initials "D.G.T., Panamint" beneath the mine names. They resemble ingots from the 1860s to early 1870s leading to curiosity about the identity of "DGT."

The mystery was quickly solved. Daniel G. Tipton was the person matching those initials. He along with partners James Ewing and John Copely staked, located and eventually incorporated the Hudson River silver mine on September 23 1873. The Little Chief mine had been staked by P.W. Medlin and J.B. Catlin for several months earlier on May 13 1873 (likely after the snow had melted). Tipton later acquired it as confirmed by records from Inyo County Recorder’s office and Bureau of Land Management’s Mineral Survey files.

These mining claims were among the earliest in the mining district situated high up on a mountainside and ridge approximately 1500 to 2000 feet, above the narrow valley floor that housed Panamint City’s burgeoning mining community.

In the months of February to May in 1873 miners marked their territory by staking mining claims on land. The valuable silver deposits within the quartz veins quickly became a source of pride for miners, in the region.


Panamint: Multiple Periods of Discovery and Exploration.
Panamint's history traces back to the late 1850s when a prospector explored the mountains and stumbled upon a few scattered prospects. He moved on in search of gold, merely jotting down his findings in his notebooks, which were eventually published a hundred years later. Within four years, eager prospectors scoured the hills for a potential new discovery following the rich silver ore find in Cerro Gordo around 1860, nestled in the rugged Inyo Mountains northeast of Los Angeles by a day's stagecoach ride.

By 1861, the Panamint Silver Mining Co. Was established as one of the initial mining companies for Panamint ores. Despite several other ventures being formed, conflicts with Native American tribes in the Owens Valley led to miners abandoning their operations, causing the Panamint mines to be deserted and gradually fade into obscurity. Fast forward to 1869, a fresh group of prospectors unearthed ore in a steep canyon located two mountain ranges east of Cerro Gordo near Telescope Peak (11,049 feet), one of the tallest peaks in the Panamint Range overlooking Death Valley.

In a remote desert canyon, the miners stumbled upon more than just silver and copper. They also discovered a vital water source flowing from springs high in the canyon. This water was crucial for their survival in a mining camp nestled deep within the California Nevada desert near Death Valley.

Venturing into the Panamint Range was no easy feat. Situated between Death Valley to the east and Panamint Valley to the west, this region of the Great Basin was barren and arid, with sparse vegetation like sage brush dotting Panamint Valley.

The miners remained committed to their find, residing in makeshift shelters within the canyon to protect their claim from being seized by opportunistic individuals. They awaited investors willing to provide the necessary funds to develop the mines and extract the valuable silver hidden within the mountains. Among these early prospectors were Richard C. Jacobs, William L. Kennedy and Bob Stewart.

A few individuals had explored the area as early as 1860 and at least one person seemed to be aware of the initial findings at Panamint in 1861, even though none had actually visited. In the late autumn of 1872, the group journeyed up Surprise Canyon, tracing a path marked by scattered silver ore pieces in the dry creek bed. They claimed to have been tailed by a group of six armed individuals “with enough guns to stock a hardware store”, as recounted years later by Senator William Stewart in his memoirs and Milo Page in the Inyo Register in 1906, later retold by Lingenfelter in 1986 (Death Valley and the Amargosa). The members of this group included Dan G. Tipton, Henry Gibbons (or Givens), James Dempsey, William Cannin and Louis Hudon, supposedly led by Gibbons according to Page and Lingenfelter. This particular group reportedly settled further up in the hills away from Jacob’s camp.


Tipton's History

Daniel Gordon Tipton was born in 1844 in New York. He served in the Civil War aboard the USS Malvern, an ironclad ship. Enlisting in July 1864 and being honorably discharged on April 16, 1865, just a day after President Lincoln's assassination. Some accounts suggest he headed west and associated with outlaws in Pioche, Nevada. However, later historical accounts dispute this portrayal as exaggerated or inaccurate. Records from his time at an Ohio prison describe him as 5'10" tall with blue eyes and chestnut hair, noting that he never married. Tipton appeared in the 1870 Federal Census, hinting at his possible presence in a remote area engaged in prospecting or mining activities. Among the alleged outlaws he associated with was "leader" Henry Gibbons, who was employed at a mill in Virginia City, Nevada around 1867. Interestingly, neither Gibbons nor Tipton are mentioned in formal works on California outlaws or related to Hume's book detailing pursuits of Wells Fargo robbers as per Dr. Robert Chandler, retired Wells Fargo Historian.

Image of Daniel Tipton


Panamint Mining District Established in February, 1873

In February 1873, the Jacobs exploration team officially gathered for the inaugural Panamint Mining District meeting, extending invitations to fellow prospectors. Another group, headed by Daniel G. Tipton, also attended the gathering. Neill Wilson mentioned in Silver Stampede that Tipton was known as a prominent figure in politics or business elsewhere. On the other hand, Lingenfelter and others argued that Tipton and his associates were infamous for robbing Wells Fargo stagecoaches and had fled from Pioche to hide in the mountains.


Ambiguity in the Historical Documentation
The origins of Panamint are shrouded in mystery, with conflicting tales and unverifiable sources. One common narrative suggests that the Tipton group, known as a notorious gang of outlaws, arrived in Panamint during the winter of 1872-1873 following a stagecoach robbery in Pioche. However, this story intertwines with another group of outlaws from 1874, leading to a web of intertwined and confusing accounts. Various historians have added their own embellishments to these stories, contributing to the tangled web of narratives. Despite efforts by writers like Lingenfelter to untangle the past based on supposed firsthand information, the truth remains elusive among the myriad versions of events presented in publications like Page, Wilson's Reminiscences and reports in regional newspapers. Surprisingly, none of these historical accounts reference the Inyo County Recorder's Office records. The only reliable source for details on claim staking activities in Panamint Mining District's early days.

While we're currently looking into this, the project won't be finished in time for this release. Instead, it will be the focus of an upcoming article.


Panamint was Founded
During the spring of 1873 a small mining camp was starting to take shape. "The pioneers of the place and a few newcomers were camped in caves or stockades thatched with boughs" made of creosote and sage brush. "Everything in sight had been monumented and the residents were waiting comfortably for the next turn of the wheel" said Wilson in Silver Stampede. What he meant was the mining ground had mostly been claimed, leaving the challenging terrain high up on the canyon walls and neighboring canyons untaken. Tipton took initiative by staking the Hudson River claim in these accessible areas.

Contrary to some accounts Tipton was quite active in his prospecting efforts. He extensively explored the land, built connections with miners and businessmen distancing himself from the Gibbons gang. Along his journey he crossed paths with P.W. Medlin and J.B. Catlin who had staked a mining claim on Little River located two thirds up the mountainside on the west canyon side. After months of searching for signs of mineral deposits Tipton eventually discovered that colored quartz held clues to high grade silver minerals that others had overlooked while focusing on duller silver oxide minerals in quartz, near the surface.

Breaking through the rock to uncover the silver ore required hard work with a pick and shovel sometimes digging tens of feet deep into mineralized quartz.

The mining claim along the Hudson River, established by Tipton, Copely and Ewing was officially surveyed in March 1875 by Alfred Craven, a mineral surveyor. The claim was officially recorded on April 21st of the year covering an area of 20.53 acres. Situated near Happy Canyon atop the ridge and above the Hemlock mine the Hudson River mine featured two tunnels (adits) and open cuts. These tunnels were positioned around 200 feet apart. One at the claims center and another to the northeast. Marked by stone monuments for development purposes. Reports on Hudson Rivers ores circulated in years with Raymond (1875) observing vein systems similar, to Stewarts Wonder mine running parallel and noting a northeast strike pattern with steeply dipping northwest quartz veins.

The Panamint ores seem to have quality as indicated by the silver analyses; Hudson Rivers average pay streak was $80.19 per ton and Little Chiefs was $84.82 per ton; ore containing blende and galena was valued at $59.69 per ton all based on Mr. C. A. Stedfeldt’s observations reported to Raymond.

The Little Chief mine, encompassing 25.30 acres was also surveyed with the locators finding a millsite 4 miles downstream in Little Chief Canyon in November 1874 by Alfred Craven, deputy mineral surveyor. The mine is situated in the quarter of section 15 Township 21 South, Range 45 East. The survey was officially filed on February 16 1875. Patented on April 12 1876. The primary shaft and tunnel are positioned near the center of the claim east of Little Chief Canyons drainage leading north into Surprise Canyon. The claim markers included posts set in stone monuments with a juniper tree in the northeast corner. The tunnel and shaft are around 50 feet apart with the shaft located west of the entrance to the tunnel (adit), near the canyon bottom.

The land measurement was done in chains, where a "chain" equals 66 feet. The millsite is located around 1500 feet northeast from the center of the mining claim. A trail leading to mines winds up the ridge to the west of the operational area. The Little Chief "shows a body of ore some 4' in width with assays ranging from $196 to $800. It is owned at present by Tipton & Co." (11/22/1873 Mining and Scientific Press, hereafter noted as MSP.) Little Chief Canyon, named after the mine was famous for its red-light district managed by Martha’s camp in 1874 according to Lingenfelter.

The Wyoming mill site is positioned 185 feet southeast of the Little Chief mill site. The Wyoming claim is situated at the top of Chief gulch, known for its abundant rich "croppings."

With two mining claims secured Tipton aimed to make a move, towards raising capital for developing his prospects or possibly selling them outright.


The Race to Panamint has Begun!

By the middle of 1873, news about Panamint had spread widely. Much of the attention focused on a few promoters and the original locators. Among them, R.C. Jacobs stood out as he sought funds for a stamp mill. There were conflicting reports about whether he planned for a 5 or 15 stamp mill and almost every month from spring to October of 1873, there were updates suggesting that the mill would be ready soon. Jacobs, identifying himself as both a miner and metallurgist, confidently shared with the press his belief that "the mines of Panamint will surprise the world" (8/30/73 MSP.) He predicted that "The new district will ultimately become one of the richest silver producing localities on the Pacific Coast”. He described how prominently visible the ore veins were stating “the ledges crop out conspicuously." And "The lead is truly a monster, measuring in some places 30' in thickness and will probably average 5' for a distance of 3000 while some assays are as high as $3000 per ton." (8/2/1873 MSP.) Certain samples showed astonishingly high values of up to $3000 per ton (8/2/1873 MSP.) Raines and Kennedy were also actively involved in promoting Panamint, along with others who often frequented Montgomery Street in San Francisco for business dealings. While Kennedy focused his efforts in Los Angeles and managed to secure financial backing there.


Promoting Panamint in its Early Days

  1. P. Raines, a smooth-talking individual known as a "shabby operator" and an aspiring stock investor in San Francisco, had big dreams of striking it rich. He closely followed the stock exchange updates, kept up with the daily news on mines and eagerly awaited any hint of an upcoming mining boom. Lacking funds of his own, Raines had to bide his time while searching for a potential partner. Upon catching wind of the buzz surrounding "Panamint", he embarked on a quest to secure financial backing. Eventually, he managed to persuade a mining promoter named Mr. Vander lief to sponsor his expedition to Panamint solely based on a tip he overheard at the exchange, all in the hopes of discovering a lucrative new mining site (Wilson.)


During his time in Panamint, Raines negotiated agreements for significant mining properties.

After assessing the town and its prospects firsthand, he hurriedly “rushed into a hotel” in Los Angeles and shared tales of the wealth waiting in Panamint near Cerro Gordo. he helped start a well calculated "rush" to Panamint. (See Chalfant, Wilson, Nadeau)

Raines successfully secured another financial backing from Vanderlief for their next venture. This time around they transported 300 pounds of ore from one of his properties by wagon to Los Angeles with intentions to gain media coverage for promotion. A strategy that proved highly successful.

Then, in a strategic move aimed at sparking excitement, he journeyed north to San Francisco. Raines came well prepared with "many column inches of newspaper encomium (glowing praise)" which was eagerly received by the mining reporters hungry for news. In San Francisco, the financial hub of the West, Raines successfully convinced the Mining and Scientific Press to publish a brief article in the popular mining paper: "A friend who returned this week from a trip to (the) Panamint mines, furnishes us with some information concerning the new district, which is of interest... some of the leads are described as cropping out from a quarter of a mile to two miles in length and run from a "knife blade" up to thirty feet in width". "About 100 claims have been recorded and a town site has been located..." (9/13/1873 MSP).

By September 1873, Panamint had caught the attention of the Mining and Scientific Press, sparking a silver “rush” that continued to be covered regularly until around 1881 and intermittently thereafter. A serendipitous encounter with Senator John P. Jones from Nevada, who had amassed a fortune from the Gold Hill Crown Point bonanza, was orchestrated at a poker table in a local club. Raines captured their interest not with money but with a piece of high-quality Panamint ore, which he slid across the table towards Jones. On the spot, he secured a $1000 advance and later received an additional $15,000. It took Raines a few attempts, but he eventually persuaded Senator Jones to visit Panamint. Impressed by what he saw, Jones reportedly acquired options on five claims for $113,000 (including the Wyoming and Hemlock), exactly as Raines had strategized. The press coverage that followed was glowing (and possibly embellished), echoing Raines’s intentions perfectly.

"The indications are that Panamint is the richest mineral strike ever made in quartz on the Pacific Coast" quoted the Mining and Scientific Press in the spring of 1874. In parallel, Jones involved his longtime friend Senator William Stewart in the venture. Having been friends since the 1850s, they frequently engaged in joint investments. The opportunity arose when Stewart had departed from the Senate and was occupied with his legal practice and mining ventures.

The new camp attracted numerous prospectors. A town was officially established and someone was put in charge of keeping records, although those records might not have survived. By July 1873, between 80 and 90 mining claims had been marked and the community had grown from around 70 people in April to over 100 miners and prospectors. Eighteen months later, in November 1874, the population swelled to between 1200 and 1500 men who were just as active as during the early days. "The roads are lined with teams going in. Everybody is flush, gambling is in its zenith, and the camp looks like a California or Nevada camp in the early days." (11/21/74 MSP)

As mining operations ramped up, there was a need for processing facilities. The closest mill was located at Cerro Gordo. Miners also shipped ore overseas to Liverpool due to challenges with metallurgy. The ore was known for being a “rebellious ore”. It cost around $30 per ton to transport it to Los Angeles and an additional $24 per ton by ship to Liverpool. "It is mined and sacked for about $15 per ton, as the ledges are wide and large. The ores contain from 10 to 30% cop per, so by shipping to Liverpool, the miners get from $ 15 to $ 45 per ton for the copper alone." (11/21/74 MSP)

 Panamint Mines Silver City California

Tipton's Silver Bars Help Sell the Mines
Tipton kickstarted his quest to find a business partner or sell his mines by showcasing two silver ingots as samples of the final product. It was noted that Tipton made a deal with the Surprise Valley Mining Company, selling the Hudson River property for $25,000 in the summer of 1874. The specifics of whether this was for the entire property or just a portion remain uncertain. Records indicate that on November 24, 1874, he sold a share to James Scobie and another share to Senator Stewart the following day for $7,000, as documented in Inyo County's records by Robert Palazzo in his piece "Daniel G. Tipton; An Update," published in Hoya Volante by the Zamorano Club (2010). Perhaps it was these small silver ingots and the ore itself that caught Stewart's eye.

Tipton was highly involved in various business transactions in Panamint, engaging in buying and selling parcels of land, mines, claims and structures. According to Palazzo's findings, there were at least twelve real estate deals attributed to Tipton in 1874 alone. Further investigations suggest that Tipton continued his business endeavors in Panamint until at least 1879. Interestingly, even though he identified himself as a "miner" in Inyo County's Great Registers of 1875, 1877 and 1879.


Senator Stewart and Jones Dive Eagerly into Panamint
Stewart decided not to seek reelection to the Senate in 1875. Instead, he invested in Panamint mines with his longtime friend John Percival Jones, a fellow “capitalist”. Both Stewart and Jones had previously owned mines together in California during the gold rush when they first arrived in California in 1850.

With financial support from Jones and Stewart, other investors and speculators also joined the venture in Panamint. This group included prominent figures like John D. Fry, who had found success with the Crown Point Bonanza and subsequently invested in the Wyoming mine.

Once Stewart and Jones acquired key properties in Panamint, their goal became evident; they aimed to profitably mine these properties following the successful model of Mackay and Fair's operations in Virginia City. The acquisition of these properties marked a consolidation that provided them with the necessary resources for a larger scale mining endeavor. This new enterprise integrated Tipton's expertise along with contributions from Jacobs and other stakeholders.

Mining operations commenced at some of the sites, leading to the construction of several basic mills.

The initial public announcement in a technical publication regarding an activity was made in 1874 by Ross Raymond in Minera, located west of the Rocky Mountains. He reported, “there has been a vigorous of the district, the result of which has been the discovery and location of over 160 claims, and building by the miners of suitable quarters... " Stewart soon traveled to Panamint with hopes a profitable mining operation started. "Our headquarters at Panamint were in a mountain ravine where there was grass and plenty was an admirable place for outlaws"... "A company of gentlemen engaged in the business of stopping stages, and relieving the express box and passengers of gold and other valuable(s) in this secluded nook. They were a picturesque crew.... and ornaments enough guns to stock a hardware store." The outlaws had discovered some rich veins which terminated at the spring. there that they built their crude home, "the resort of the road agents which soon became Stewart's new home. Never one to pass up a good opportunity, Stewart soon bought out the outlaws' mines. We purchased from them most of their mines-which were no good for they were too lazy to work them..."As part of the transaction, Stewart had to arrange an agreement with Wells, Fargo & Co.

The bandits had committed numerous robberies on stagecoaches, leading them to believe that stepping out of their hideout would result in being either shot or captured. Stewart organized a deal where a percentage of the proceeds from the sale went to Wells Fargo & Co., a long-standing client of his. Several writers have recounted this tale, though its accuracy has yet to be confirmed by Wells Fargo itself.

There is uncertainty regarding which outlaws Stewart was referring to. Whether it was Gibbons, Tipton and others or John Small and John MacDonald. In Glasscock's book "Here's Death Valley" (1940), the outlaws were identified as Small and McDonald who had recently stolen $4,462 from a Wells Fargo treasure chest during a stagecoach robbery in Eureka, Nevada. The incident involved the fatal shooting of the shotgun messenger Tim. The outlaws sought refuge in Panamint pretending to be miners while secretly laying claim to lucrative silver veins in the hills. A reward of $4,000 was reportedly offered for their capture. Notable detective James Hume was actively pursuing them. To secure Small and McDonald's claims as part of his $12,000 investment deal, Stewart agreed to pay Burne $4,462.64.

The official record of a notable event in the Robber's Record dates back to December 1874, not December. It involves Gibbons, Tipton and others being accused of robbing a Wells Fargo stage in Pioche. However, the specific involvement of Gibbons, Tipton and Wells Fargo in this incident remains uncertain in the Robber's Record. There is speculation that Gibbons and others might have targeted a stage from a different company operating in Pioche at that time, whose records may have been lost over time. The narrative could have been embellished to incorporate the renowned Wells Fargo stage line into the story. Additionally, Small and McDonald had a third partner named John Curran, also known by aliases like "John Wilson" and "Patsey Marley." In 1875, "Hume ran him down in 1875 and Curran served time in jail until June 1883," according to Wells Fargo historian Dr. Robert Chandler. However, the official report from Wells Fargo presents significant discrepancies compared to Glasscock's account of the events. The trio made an unsuccessful attempt to rob a stage traveling from Eureka to Palisade on D-Day where they left behind an express box. Despite this failed attempt at robbery, Small and McDonald disappeared without any further communication with Wells Fargo thereafter. Chandler also mentioned that Wells Fargo was adamant about not accepting monetary compensation instead of pursuing legal action against criminals ("taking them off the road"), as they believed that imposing jail sentences served as an effective deterrent against future crimes.

The group of bandits supposedly had influence over the Wyoming and Hemlock mines, located near Tipton. According to Stewart's narrative and accounts from Glasscock and others, their story seems to have been intertwined with other “bad-guys”. Among the initial discoverers were members of the Hank Gibbons gang, which consisted of Daniel G. Tipton, Jack Dempsey, John Curran (also known as John Wilson), Jim Scobie, Parker, Copely and Chunn. This group, joined by Richard C. Jacobs, W. L. Kennedy and Robert Stewart, convened the inaugural meeting of the Panamint Mining District in February 1873. It's worth mentioning that some historians have mistakenly linked Jacobs to Austin, NV; however, George W. Jacobs was involved in establishing the Reese River District and Jacobsville but has no familial connection to R.C., who was born in New York in 1829. In contrast, George and his two brothers residing with him were all born in Prussia between 1835-1841.


Stewart & Co. Begin Work on Their Mines

After finishing the merge of the mining claims, Stewart's teams “sank two shafts” as described in his memoirs, "from two to three hundred feet, in ore from five to eight feet wide... averaging $200-$300 per ton. We erected a very expensive quartz mill...but found, to our astonishment, that in each case the ore was a pipe, and extended but a few feet from the shaft in each direction." As production ramped up, Panamint saw a population of 1500 2000 residents living in various makeshift structures along the canyon. By January 1875, reports indicated that 2500 people resided in about 200 homes and tents, primarily miners, saloon owners and gamblers.

The town generated around $1 million in bullion before mining abruptly stopped due to geological factors like post ore faults or vein system complexities. This sudden halt caused financial losses for investors. Surprisingly, the former stage robbers Stewart had acquired ended up staying and forming friendly relationships with everyone.

Stewart and Wells Fargo & Co suspected that the robbers were planning to steal the bullion at Panamint and vanish. Despite others investing in mines there, Wells Fargo decided against setting up an office due to safety concerns. Stewart knew the risk of bullion theft during transportation from Panamint to the valley floor. To thwart potential robbers, he came up with a clever plan to shape the silver into large spherical ingots that were difficult to move. The robbers attempted various tactics but failed to steal even a single ingot. Eventually, Stewart had the ingots transported on wagons to the smelter, outsmarting the outlaws who couldn't do anything with these heavy objects even if they managed to steal one. (Stewart, Reminisces)


The Initial Stage of Mining Operations in Panamint has Concluded

There is no existing record of the mining consultants Stewart & Co. Who were hired to investigate the mines at Panamint and the subsequent mine failure. If the vein system had been faulted off or affected by severe structurally controlled pinch and swell, competent mining engineers or geologists should have been able to guide the underground crew in an exploration effort to locate the faulted or structurally controlled extension. Nowadays, we accomplish this through drilling and drifting. In those times, they would have driven exploratory drifts instead. However, we are uncertain about what actually transpired. As ore reserves dwindled from the most productive mining company and a harsh winter storm devastated most of the town in this narrow canyon, interest in Panamint began to wane. Even the owner of the Panamint News decided to leave and headed for Darwin, a neighboring mining camp located half a day's ride southwest.


Jones and Stewart opted not to invest further in the meager showings at other mines, despite having constructed the largest mill in that region. The mill ceased operations by May end of 1876, with employees being laid off by 1877. Shortly after, Jones put up both the mill and mine properties for sale.

Their primary objective was to run a successful mining operation, not engage in stock promotion, so they decided to withdraw discreetly. While the early promoters of Panamint had effectively advertised the region through newspapers, the new mining experts approached it with more caution. The first indication of trouble surfaced in 1875 when Ross Raymond, a respected mining engineer and Mineral Commissioner for the Government stated “It is to be regretted that so little has been done in regard to the development of the mines in depth. And it is to be regretted still more that the most important developments show nothing favorable, and this had evidently deterred the prospectors from continuing their explorations." By 1877, Raymond's concerns had reached a logical conclusion: "The latest reports from Panamint district indicate a danger of exhaustion of the ore bodies, though the veins seem to continue in depth."

It took some time for the district to recover. The establishment of the Inyo Consolidated Mining Co. Aimed to acquire Stewart & Co.'s properties and undertake profitable mining endeavors.


The California-based Inyo Consolidated Mining Company

(the stock certificate shown here accompanies the ingots in this lot)

By 1881, the majority of the mines in Panamint had been merged into the Inyo Consolidated Mining Company of California by George M. Pinney, a San Francisco promoter. In 1875, Pinney faced serious allegations of fraud related to a stock scheme and left the country for two years. By 1880, having evaded any concrete evidence against him, he relocated to New York and embarked on a new venture. Promoting mining operations in Panamint.

Despite the closure of major mines like Stewart's and Jones group, Pinney leveraged their production data to boost his promotional efforts. The Inyo Consolidated owned all crucial mines in the area, such as the Hudson River and Little Chief. Reports indicated that ore at Hemlock was yielding an average of $80 100 per ton, with expenses amounting to $18 20 per ton. Assays from other mines were equally promising. Stewart's Wonder reported $919.57 per ton, Wyoming yielded $609.47 from high grade ore, Jacob's Wonder produced $348.11 from select high grade material among others.

Although Raymond refrained from publishing exact production figures as a precautionary measure, this decision limited Pinney's and others potential advantages even further.

In the beginning, he began with the Ida, Eureka and Independence claims that he had purchased back in 1875, right after hearing about the Panamint news. By acquiring the Jones Stewart properties and mill later on, Pinney sensed that the investment climate in New York was favorable for another business venture.

Pinney authorized the Company to issue $500,000 in stock and appointed Henry Mott Jr., described as " a pudgy young chemistry professor at the New York Medical College and Hospital for Women" by Lingenfelter, as president. Pinney took on the role of general manager, maintaining his office next to the exchange on Broadway—a strategic location for the upcoming promotion.


To kick things off, Pinney discreetly purchased the pricey Panamint mill (and possibly the mines) from Jones and Stewart for $50,000 while informing shareholders that they had cost $500,000. By July 1881, he was distributing a dividend of 5 cents per share despite no actual production from their own mines. He continued these dividends consistently until October by seemingly funding them through hefty fees to himself and selling newly issued stock. The mill commenced operations in December 1881 using custom ore supplied by other mine owners, resulting in $107,400 worth of bullion production.

No gold or silver was extracted from any of the “mines” owned by the Company. According to Mint Director Burchard, the Little Chief mine, part of Inyo Consolidated, was considered one of their most productive mines, although its output during the early 1880s remains a mystery.

By the summer of 1882, San Francisco newspapers were harshly criticizing the Company's operations as fraudulent. The Alta California newspaper especially targeted Pinney, exposing his past actions and questioning the judgment of those who invested with him.

In spring 1882, Pinney stopped paying dividends, citing mill renovations. In October that year, they processed 500 tons of ore from their stockpile. Possibly the only ore extracted from their mines. Yielding $26,000 in silver bullion within two months. However, disaster struck on December 19 when a fire destroyed the mill's retort room. Some historians suggest this may have been intentional sabotage; meanwhile, Pinney's hired mine manager absconded to San Francisco with the bullion and profited from its sale before collecting insurance money amounting to $33,500. He used part of this sum to pay off his house in Oakland and returned a mere $336.53 to the Company before being arrested upon his return to New York. He refused to be the “fall guy” for these events ascribed to him by others in media reports (Lingenfelter).

In the meantime, some “faithful” followers temporarily assumed control of the organization and attempted to restore its operations. Mott was ousted from his position as President and New York Supreme Court Judge H. A. Gildersleve took over, with N. G. Fairman assuming the role of Secretary around May 1882.


President Grant Invests In Panamint

The group attempted to leverage the connections within the traditional “good ol’ boy” Republican circle, relying on Stewart's close friend Ulysses S. Grant and the newly established Grant & Ward bank in New York. The day-to-day operations were managed by Grant's son, U. S. Grant Jr. And his business partners. However, their ventures, like the Inyo Consolidated scheme, eventually collapsed, leading to the bankruptcy of both the bank and Grant by 1884. Grant had invested all his money and trust in his son and associates. Stock was marketed to affluent individuals in New York such as George Proudfoot, a lawyer overseeing various estates. Some of the Inyo Consolidated stock certificates from that time bear U.S. Grant Jr.'s signature on the back as a witness to Proudfoot's signature; interestingly, he omitted the "Jr." from his name.

The Results
The mines faced inevitable failure. While other mines in Panamint resembled those operated by Stewart's group, they were less successful. Minimal bullion was extracted and for three years, the Company remained mostly inactive. In 1885, Fairman made another attempt at the venture. They restructured as the Surprise Mining and Milling Co., initiating the construction of a new mill. With no stockpiled ore or prior exploration by engineers and geologists to confirm reserves, there was a lack of material to feed the mill, leading to a certain failure of the project – a common oversight among inexperienced mine investors even today. Despite Fairman's mill being destroyed by a powerful windstorm, he erected another one in 1887. The venture floundered due to the absence of essential ore for processing in the new mill, causing the company to dwindle along with the town that eventually became deserted until around 1960. The remaining wooden structures were bought and relocated by Walter Knott to his new amusement park named "Knott's Berry Farm" in Anaheim during the late 1950s, where they remain today.

The remnants of Panamint city are now safeguarded within the boundaries of California Desert National Monument.

The road often gets flooded and the steep 4000-foot ascent from the valley to Panamint is dangerous, but thankfully, there are no more bandits lurking in the rocks or side canyons looking to rob unsuspecting tourists.


Tipton Journeys to Mexico and Tombstone
After Dan Tipton left Panamint around 1879, he journeyed to inspect the silver mines in Sonora, Mexico. There, he acquired or stumbled upon valuable mine properties in Torres, approximately 200 miles south of Tombstone. It is possible that his first encounter with this region was during the search for Johnny Ringo with the Posse, who was located in Fronteras about 100 miles south of Tombstone. In Torres, he established the Tipton & Ures Mining Company, which eventually achieved great success even after Tipton's departure. The mine situated in Torres, Sonora was situated on what later became known as the Santa Getredis and La Blanca vein systems. Significant producers of gold, silver and copper for over four decades. Subsequently renamed as the Colorado & Ures Mining Company and then the Sonora & Ures Mining Company. With a substantial financial investment secured, he made his way back north to the silver mines of Tombstone around 1880 1881. Possibly following his friend Dave Neagle's move from Panamint to Tombstone. Upon arrival in Tombstone, Tipton likely invested in various businesses and mining ventures. It is believed that Tipton developed a friendship with the renowned Earp brothers during his initial months in Tombstone as detailed by Stuart Lake's biography of Wyatt Earp (Frontier Marshal, 1931).


The Shooting of Morgan Earp Following the OK Corral Incident

The gunfight that took place at the OK Corral on October 26, 1881 had a lasting impact. The Earps emerged victorious from a highly intense confrontation, but the Clanton McLowery Stillwell gang had influential allies, prompting certain members of the law to pursue them. In March 1882, five months later, while Morgan Earp was engaged in a game of pool at the Campbell & Hatch saloon in Tombstone, he was brutally murdered by members of the Clanton gang. Following the gunfire that erupted in the saloon, Tipton, Bob Hatch, McMasters and Pat Holland were among those who forced open the saloon door to discover Morgan Earp lying motionless with his life nearly drained away, with Wyatt by his side. Subsequently, Tipton joined Earp's group or posse for a period of time after the tragic incident. A week after Morgan's passing and with another posse searching for Earp and Holliday, Tipton assisted Wyatt by delivering funds on behalf of the Vigilantes. Thereafter, he rode alongside the Earps as part of their "vendetta" posse. Several months later, Wyatt and his companions traveled to Trinidad, Colorado to visit Bat Masterson who operated a gambling establishment there. It is said that Wyatt divided his $2000 bankroll among his comrades before parting ways; meanwhile Tipton chose to stay behind in Trinidad.

Wyatt traveled to Gunnison, while Doc Holliday headed to Denver. Earp spent years gambling in the Colorado mining camps until 1883. During that year, Earp and Masterson journeyed to Dodge City with their posse. Upon their arrival, Tipton, Earp and the rest of the gang were all deputized on the same day. By April of 1885, the posse had relocated to El Paso. Tipton decided to work for the Customs Service and settled down there, while the other members of Earp's group moved on. Historians like Peter Brand ("Daniel G. Tipton and the Earp Vendetta Posse"), Bob Palazzo ("The Darwin Tombstone Connection" in The Album; Times and Tales of Inyo Mono, 1993), Lake and others.

 Wyatt EarpMorgan EarpDoc Holiday

The Last Days

Tipton became well versed in gambling games while associating with the Earp brothers. In 1895, he witnessed the notorious gunman John Wesley Hardin committing a robbery at the gambling rooms above the Gem Saloon in El Paso. Tipton provided a statement to the Court, resulting in Hardin being found guilty and fined $25, as per Court records. However, Tipton's stint in Customs was short lived, leading him back to Mexico where he ventured into illicit activities like smuggling international workers into the US from or through Mexico. This illegal endeavor eventually led to his downfall when he was apprehended at the border in 1897 attempting to smuggle Chinese workers using counterfeit customs materials. His arrest made headlines in El Paso and San Francisco. Subsequently, Tipton was incarcerated at Ohio State Prison in October and succumbed to kidney disease four months later.


The Importance of the Panamint Ingots

The importance of these two silver bars cannot be emphasized enough. This is the only instance where a bar has been directly linked to such a significant period of wild west activity. It includes the early days of the gold rush, silver discoveries in remote desert mountains, stagecoach robberies, mining promoters in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, influential Comstock silver magnates, interactions with President Ulysses S. Grant, key mining communities like Panamint and Tombstone, notable figures such as Wyatt and the Earp Brothers, Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson and J. W. Hardin. The story is authentic and holds immense historical value that is hard to surpass.



Fred Holabird, 2010

Beebe & Clegg, US West, Saga of Wells Fargo, 1949

Brand, P. Tombstone Vendetta, 2006

National Association of Ouwlaw and Lawman History, Vol 24, No. 4, 2000

Palazzo, Daniel G. Tipon

Palazzo, The Darwin-Tombstone Connection

Panamint News

Sacramento Union

San Francisco Call

US Census Data

Wilson, Silver Stampede, 1937

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