Grosh Brothers Expedition FAQ, References, Field Work
- Pronunciation of “Bucke”?
A: The correct pronunciation, according to the Western Libraries of Western University in London, Ontario, Canada, home of the R.M. Bucke and Dr. Edwin Seaborn Fonds, is “buck”. Wendell Robie says “buck-ee” while others indicate it was “buck” with a silent “e”. According to the 1990 film, Beautiful Dreamers, a dramatized account of the friendship between Walt Whitman and Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke, Bucke was pronounced as “buck” with a silent “e” and his first name was Maurice (Beautiful Dreamers (1990) – IMDb).
- Pronunciation and spelling of “Grosh”?
A: The correct pronunciation, according to Charles Wegman, direct descendant of Warren Reinhart Grosh, son of Aaron B. Grosh, brother of Ethan Allen and Hosea Ballou Grosh, is “grow-sh”. Wendell Robie used at least two versions, “Grash” (“ah” sound) and “Grolsch”. The name is spelled both ways in several different articles. Another, frequently used spelling, is Grosch.
- Did Bucke have a foot and his other leg amputated or was it one foot and part of another?
A: He had one foot completely amputated and half of the other. “(they) found it necessary to amputate one of my feet, and a portion of the other.” “It would appear that Bucke had one foot and part of another amputated in Last Chance, not “lost his foot and his other leg”.
- How many men were at Last Chance when Grosh/Bucke arrived?
A: The following footnotes identifies some of the individuals at Last Chance
- Did Grosh/Bucke hear dog(s) barking and drag themselves towards the sound and into Last Chance or where they were discovered by Mexicans who were hunting game who had come from Last Chance?
A: Bucke and E. Allen heard dogs barking and dragged themselves towards the sound. The dogs were part of a mining party of Mexicans nearby who came upon them both and brought them back to their small mining camp about 6 miles from Last Chance.
- Did Grosh bury his assays, maps and claim documents in the hollow of a fallen pine tree, roll a rock in front of the opening and mark the tree with a cross or did he just toss the materials aside on the trail?
There are stories that are silent on whether E.A. Grosh buried any documents or samples in “a fallen pine tree stump standing 20’ tall, rock rolled over opening, cross marked on trunk.” From our research we noted that there are stories where Bucke says Grosh threw away his documents, samples, etc., and that they shucked all non-necessary weight before plunging down the steep ravine towards the Middle Fork American River (today’s French Meadows). [NOTE: it is possible at the time of the Bucke’s story that comes out 25 years later, that he was intentionally deflecting treasure hunters from trying to find the buried evidence and thus lied about what they did with the documents in the hopes he could find them for future claims of the Comstock Lode.
However, our research shows that Bucke’s aforementioned story changes after he was contacted by Alpheous Bull in 1864 to return to California to testify against the claims being made by A.B. Grosh and the litigation filed by the Grosch Consolidated Gold and Silver Mining Co. against the Gould & Curry and Ophir mining companies. Bucke was handsomely paid for his time in California and Nevada in 1864-1865 as well as his testimony].
We therefore, using logic, common sense and corroborating facts through our research, believe E. Allen Grosh did indeed hide the maps, documents and samples in the hollow of a dead pine tree, roll a rock across the opening and mark the stump with a cross to make it easier to find upon later return. It seems highly improbable, given the whole purpose of the trip across the Sierra was to gain further assay proof of his find and raise the necessary capital to buy needed equipment to properly mine the claim, that E. Allen would carelessly “throw away into the snow” these precious assets. What happened to these assets is unknown. We speculate that a) W.J.Harrison, who claims E. Allen told him about the stash before perishing at Last Chance, went and found and retained the assets [he inferred this in an interview but never revealed them to anyone], b) Bucke and A. Bull found them upon their return to the area on horseback in 1864 and then proceeded to hide or destroy the evidence or c) the assets remain in the tree somewhere near the remains of the Greek Hotel in Little American Valley.
Note: It appears that Harrison was informed by Grosh and/or Bucke about Allen’s burying of maps, samples, etc. along their journey in the pine tree stump and may have later found the location, retrieved, and possessed the contents. Since there was never a court order requiring disclosure, Harrison does not appear to have made his assertion public. Bucke would have informed Alpheus Bull of this situation and is why, in part, he returned to California and traveled horseback from Tahoe City to Last Chance and back.
“We threw away our gun, and everything that we had brought with us from Squaw Valley, including Allan’s papers. We kept nothing but our blankets, a butcher’s knife, and a tin cup in which was the miserable remains of our meat, and ran for our lives. We struck south (maybe toward French Meadows). In a few minutes we reached the edge of the ridge. The descent was very steep, but the snow was deep upon it. We ran down it full speed. When we got to the bottom of the hill, we found ourselves in a tolerably broad, flat valley, well wooded with evergreen trees.”
“The gun was thrown away. Allen’s papers, containing the records of his discoveries and titles to claims, were abandoned. Others might reap where he had sown. Nothing was kept but the blankets, a tin cup and its contents, and a butcher’s knife.” … “They struck for the nearest edge of the ridge and down the steep slope full speed through deep snow, to an evergreen valley.”
Following their stay in the cabin (Greek Hotel) in Little American Valley they followed the blazes in the trees that marked the trail, Grosh and Bucke got lost while the weather was changing for the worst. Our research found Bucke’s first statement about Grosh’s abandonment of documents, samples, etc. while in Last Chance in December 1857 “… They became so faint that they could no longer carry anything except their blankets, so they ate as much as they could and threw the rest away. At that point Allen Grosh, who had stuck to his maps and assays through all the journey, concluded to abandon them also, and so he tied them up in a piece of canvas and deposited them in the hollow of a large pine tree. … The tree in which they were deposited had blown down with the wind, having broken about twenty feet from the ground, Grosh told him that it was safer to select a tree of that kind than a standing one liable in a storm to lie uprooted. The hollow in this tree was quite small, and after depositing the records he cut a mark on the tree with his knife and rolled a good-sized stone in front of the hollow.”
Additional references are documented in Bob’s Debate Over Disposal of Assays-Maps-Docs by EAG.
Note: The aforementioned sources about E.A. Grosh’s abandonment of his documents, samples, etc., gives a clue where he might have been when this occurred. Grosh and Bucke had followed the trail that was identified with blazes in the trees from the cabin in Little American Valley to ridge (Lyon Ridge) for approximately 5 miles and before their descent to the evergreen valley (French Meadows). Bucke’s account indicates they had come to a broad basin with few trees and became lost. After discovering they traveled in a circle and tried to start a fire, they abandoned most everything and ran off the divide toward French Meadows.
- Were the documents E. Allen Grosh was carrying on the trek all their findings or were some documents left behind in the mining cabin in Gold Canyon?
A: “In the spring Comstock learned that Allen Grosh was dead, and concluded to take advantage of the knowledge then acquired. The partner of Grosh claimed afterward that Comstock ransacked the cabin for papers and data, and was thus enabled to relocate the ledge. It is not probable, however, that such was the case, as the Grosh brothers did not trust him with anything, nor was it likely that they left anything in the cabin that would benefit him. After they left he probably went over the ground where he had seen them prospecting and located the likeliest places.”
“The usual story is that Allen secretly cached his assaying tools and memoranda of their discoveries before Comstock was brought to the cabin, but Dr. Bucke’s narrative shows that he threw all his papers away in the Sierras.”
Mrs. Dettenrieder (Ellis) in her interview indicates that, “I should like to know what became of the record book they (Grosh brothers) showed me, that was left in Comstock’s possession.”
- Allen Grosh contracted with Comstock to stay in the cabin near Silver City, which included ¼ ownership in one of the brother’s claims for keeping it from being jumped in Allen’s absence by living in it.
When Allen Grosch started for California, he left the records of his and his brother’s claims and the personal effects of both with (Henry) Comstock, who naturally went into possession of the locations and exercised the rights of ownership over the whole. It was in this way that he became connected with the claim which has given his name to the lode, and rendered it immortal. This claim became subsequently embodied with others controlled by Penrod & Comstock, and “Old Virginny,”and is now included in the Ophir. It also includes the claim of John Jessup, who was killed by Sides in Gold Hill. This claim was jumped by Reilly and McLaughlin while most of the people were off to Carson, where Sides was taken for trial; and this is their claim to the credit of first discovering the Comstock. Had the lode been named after the true discoverer it would have been called the Grosch Lode, for the brothers unquestionably made the first location thereon. This was made before any other persons in the whole section knew anything about silver ores or their reduction. In the year 1859 locations were made, not only along the line of the Comstock, as then known, but the entire country was dotted with them.
The partner of Grosh claimed afterward that Comstock ransacked the cabin for papers and data, and was thus enabled to relocate the ledge.
- Did Grosh leave Comstock in charge of their mining cabin?
A: “When the surviving brother, Allen, went on that fatal journey to California, he cast about for someone to leave in charge of his effects. Comstock seemed the most available. It is said that a written contract was drawn up; Comstock was to have a one-fourth interest in one claim for keeping it from being jumped in the absence of Grosh, and was to live in the little stone cabin. He does not seem to have been taken any further into Allen’s confidence. Both the brothers were very cautious and secretive; but this claim, which was somewhere around the head of Gold Canon, was now staked out, and known to many, so Allen probably thought it better to give Comstock a share than to have him persuade his associates to take possession. It is in perfect accord with what we know of these admirably equipped young prospectors to suppose that both the brothers understood Comstock thoroughly, and that they told him nothing of their ” monster vein,” the Comstock.”
“Long after Allen’s death, when his heirs and his former associates in California searched for evidence to bear out their claims in court, little could be found. Did Comstock obtain the clew in some neglected paper in the Grosh cabin? Or did he live all winter in the rude stone hut where two brave, silent prospectors had lived in poverty, fighting slowly and intelligently toward one of the greatest fortunes ever lying before treasure-seekers—and did he only dream wild dreams and go back to his placers the same haphazard ” Old Pancake ” ? Was the rediscovery of the Comstock wholly an accident? The reader must judge for himself in the light of Comstock’s behavior during the early months of 1859—the days of Gold Hill and Ophir.”
“In the spring Comstock learned that Allen Grosh was dead, and concluded to take advantage of the knowledge then acquired. The partner of Grosh claimed afterward that Comstock ransacked the cabin for papers and data, and was thus enabled to relocate the ledge. It is not probable, however, that such was the case, as the Grosh brothers did not trust him with anything, nor was it likely that they left anything in the cabin that would benefit him. After they left he probably went over the ground where he had seen them prospecting and located the likeliest places.”
“In their cabin… about a mile above Johntown, they are said to have had a library consisting of a considerable number of volumes of scientific works; also, chemical apparatus and assayer’s tools. … When Allen Grosh left to go over the mountains to California, Comstock was placed in charge of the cabin, and it is very probable that whatever books and apparatus there may have been were carried away by such visitors as took a fancy to them, and thus were scattered and lost.”
- Were Comstock and Grosh Bros. casual acquaintances or friends?
A: “The Grosh brothers occupied (a) cabin along with young McLoud (Richard Bucke), and Henry Tompkins Paige Comstock, after whom the ledge was named, was a frequent visitor to their little home.”
“When the surviving brother, Allen, went on that fatal journey to California, he cast about for someone to leave in charge of his effects. Comstock seemed the most available. It is said that a written contract was drawn up; Comstock was to have a one-fourth interest in one claim for keeping it from being jumped in the absence of Grosh, and was to live in the little stone cabin. He does not seem to have been taken any further into Allen’s confidence.
“Dr. Bucke, who knows all the parties well, says there was no intimacy between Comstock and my sons, nor was there any likelihood of there being any confidence reposed in the former by the latter, so widely different were they in character, disposition and habits.”
- Name of person Grosh/Bucke were traveling to meet?
A: “Their plan was now to go to San Francisco, form a company, come back, erect machinery, and begin at once working the ore.” … “On the 19th of August, just as the Grosh brothers had located their “claims,” and were about to leave for the coast to raise the capital required to work them, as Hosea was doing some final work before starting, his pick glanced from a rock, struck his left foot, and passed nearly through it. There is no mention of who they were traveling to meet.
Wendell Robie during his KAHI Radio Program indicated (at 5:06) that Grosh was headed to Grass Valley. However, Robie also indicated (at 5:55) that he received a letter from Harold Power who informed him that Grosh was coming to secure financial aid from Doctor D.W. Strong of Strong Diggings (aka Damascus). Robie also makes reference to an article. Damascus was located north west of the Foresthill Road. This lends some evidence that Grosh may have been heading in the direction of the Sugar Loaf near Michigan Bluff.
Perhaps, Grosh was planning to see Melville Atwood, a chemist, and metallurgist residing in Grass Valley as Atwood had later made an assay of some rock brought from Nevada by a man named (Judge) Walsh. It was not until June of 1859 that Atwood in an assay at Grass Valley, California, found silver assaying 15-20% in ore from the Ophir diggings on Mount Davidson, which marked the beginning of the Comstock Lode.
- Reason for making the trek?
A: “Their plan was now to go to San Francisco, form a company, come back, erect machinery, and begin at once working the ore.” … “On the 19th of August, just as the Grosh brothers had located their “claims,” and were about to leave for the coast to raise the capital required to work them, as Hosea was doing some final work before starting, his pick glanced from a rock, struck his left foot, and passed nearly through it.
Most accounts refer to the Grosh Brothers plans to go west to San Francisco (there are several sources), and maybe back to Pennsylvania, to raise capital for the purpose of forming a company, procuring equipment, coming back to their mining claims in Nevada, erecting machinery, and begin working the silver ore veins.
“Grosh and a companion were headed to Grass Valley to have the ore samples assayed (to determine its ingredients and quality from an expert); thereby, be able to demonstrate to prospective investors that their discovery was independently tested.”
“When Hosea was buried, Allen found himself some sixty dollars in debt. Allen had determined to cross the Sierras to California and interested persons of means in the silver claims.”
Also, refer to #10 above.
It appears that the Grosh Brothers were preparing for travel to secure financial aid and/or to have his metal or ore samples tested (assayed) to determine its ingredients and quality from an expert.
- How many and who were people who came from Michigan Bluff to try and help/save Grosh/Bucke?
A: Johnson Simmons, who had stopped at Last Chance at the time… gives an account.
J.Z. Tibbits of Iowa Hill was the doctor summoned by miners in December 1857 to Last Chance and performed the amputation of Bucke’s feet. Dr. Tibbits was too late to save Grosh.
- How did Grosh Bros. meet Mrs. D? Relationship?
A: Mrs. Ellis (aka Mrs. Detterrieder or Mrs. D) was a friend; but, does not state how they met. Instead, “… Mrs. Ellis was to furnish some capital with which to open a mine…”
Mrs. Louisa M. Detterrieder, whose name at that time (September 1857) was Mrs. Ellis, who stated that she first met (the Grosh Brothers) as early as 1853 and became quite interested in the discoveries.
Mrs. Dettenrieder (aka Mrs. Ellis at that time) in her interview indicates that “I was not acquainted with them in 1853, but became so in 1854, in the fall of which year they returned to California, and wintered at Volcano (aka Mud Springs). In the early part of 1855 they came back, packing what they had on a little jenny, and stopped at my house for dinner.
- Was Grosh Bros. silver discovery first in the USA? First west of Rockies?
A: “Among the original forty-niners were two brothers, Allen and Hosea Grosh, of Pennsylvania. From California they had made their way over the Sierra to Gold Cañon in the early fifties. As early as 1854 they had discovered native silver in the cañon, which they revisited again and again, but they kept their knowledge to themselves. They were the first discoverers of silver west of the Rockies.”
- Was Grosh Bros. silver discovery the core of the eventual Comstock Lode?
A: “In June 1857, writing from Gold Canon, Allen Grosh gave more particulars of their discoveries… but everything in (Allen’s) memoranda confirms the idea that they had really struck the Comstock Lode. Additional evidence is afforded by the story that one of their friends, Mrs. Ellis, who was to furnish some capital with which to open a mine, was told by them that their largest ledge was on what is now Mount Davidson, and she had a piece of ore containing ” gold, silver, lead, and antimony,” which description would very well apply to Comstock outcroppings. A button of silver extracted from ore of one of their claims was shown to Dr. Bucke by Allen Grosh in 1857.
Some remarkable references to the discoveries made by the Grosh brothers are given by a recently found manuscript written by Francis J. Hoover, a pioneer of ’49, who died in San Francisco some thirty years ago. It is called A True History of the Discovery of Silver in Washoe, then Utah, now the State of Nevada, and is dated September 9, 1863. The story it tells is that in July, 1853, Frank Antonio, the ” Old Frank ” after whom the Grosh brothers named one of their mines, went from El Dorado County, California, with five others, to prospect in Western Utah. He had a horse stolen, and while searching for him ” on a table-land running north and south and broadside to the sunrise” he found rich silver ore, which he knew, having worked in the silver mines of Brazil. Fie kept the specimen after he returned to California, and tried to interest men in the subject, but long without success.
Frank Antonio, the Hoover manuscript proceeds to say, then told the Grosh brothers, who had been mining in Gold Canon, about his discovery of silver ore in that region, and finally helped them to organize the ” Frank Silver Mining Company” composed of nine members, mostly Californians. In 1856 the Grosh brothers found what they supposed to be the main ledge, and located four hundred feet for each member of the company. This, Mr. Hoover believes, was along the axis of the Comstock lode. The first claim notice, he says, was posted on what is now the Ophir, and another was on Gould and Curry ground.”
In addition, the Johntown Historical Marker (Google Maps: goo.gl.maps/Hwp656JT3H5zEUz4A) indicates the following:
Nevada’s first mining town was established in 1853. A boarding house was operated here by Eilley Orrum (Mrs. Sandy Bowers) and other prominent residents. Discoverers of the fantastic Comstock Lode included the Grosh Brothers, Peter O’Riley, Patrick McLaughlin. H.T. P. Comstock, and James Finney (Old Virginny). Nevada Historical Market No. 39-Sponsor – E. Clampus Vitus 1967
Among most historians/authors, there is no debate that the Grosh Brothers were the first discoverers of silver in the region. However, the editors of the Grosh Brother Letters, Ronald M. James and Robert E. Stewart, believe the Grosh brothers were based too far down the mountain to have discovered the actual Comstock Lode, but if they had lived a few years longer their expertise in chemistry and mining would surely have brought them the wealth and success they longed for.
Bucke is interviewed in December 1897, where the reporter says, “The article in the (New York) Sun states that the Grosh brothers were the first to discover silver in the west,” “That is a fact,” replied the doctor (Bucke). “They discovered silver in the west as early as 1853, if not earlier. I have read all their letters to their father on this matter, and I know absolutely about that. Comstock I last saw in 1864. He was then alive and hearty. No, I never saw him drink; he was a very sober man.
- Who paid for the two headstones of Hosea and E.A. Grosh?
A: “In 1865, when, the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Schuyler Colfax visited Virginia City, he presided at the ceremony of erecting a commemoration tablet over the grave of Hosea Grosh in the Silver City cemetery.”
“(the) slab (tablet) had been sent from Philadelphia by the father of the deceased…”
from an account written by Grosh brother’s father, Aaron Grosh, that “a memorial stone (which I had ordered at my expense) has been placed over (Hosea).”
- Where did the headstones come from/were made?
A: Hosea’s gravestone is from A.B. Grosh in Philadelphia and E.A. ‘s from Bucke in Canada. Refer to #16.
- Was the Last Chance cemetery maintained for a while by a civic group? Who?
A: The Native Sons of the Golden West (NSGW) – Auburn Parlor 59 have, at least once, helped clear the brush from the cemetery.
- Relationship of Bucke to Walt Whitman? Alexander Graham Bell? Tennyson?
A: Bucke read Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” in 1867 and claimed it to be one of the most important events of his life. He traveled to New Jersey to meet Whitman in 1877 which marked the beginning of a long, close friendship between the two men. Upon Whitman’s death in 1892, Bucke became one of his literary executors and was a pallbearer at his funeral.
According to Wikipedia, Bucke was deeply involved in the poetry scene in America and had friends among the literati, especially those who were poets. In 1869, he read Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, an American poet, and was deeply impressed by it. In Cosmic Consciousness, he notes that his cosmic consciousness experience occurred following a night reading Whitman and Romantic poets. Later, he met Whitman in 1877 in Camden, New Jersey, and the two developed a lasting friendship. Besides publishing professional articles and non-fiction books, Bucke wrote a non-fiction book: Walt Whitman. Bucke later testified that he was “lifted to and set upon a higher plane of existence” because of his friendship with Whitman. He published a biography of Whitman in 1883 and was one of Whitman’s literary executors.
Pertaining to Tennyson, Bucke reported he did indeed meet Tennyson during a visit to Europe and after an introduction from Walt Whitman:
“Camden N. J. U. S. America1
June 26 1891
If you are feeling well enough and in an opportune mood let me introduce my good friend & physician Dr Bucke2—He is Superintendent (medical and other) of the big Insane Canadian Asylum at London Ontario—is an Englishman born but raised (as we say it) in America. I still stick out here in the land of the living but pretty tough pulling most of the time—
Pertaining to Alexander Graham Bell:
“It is not widely known that Bucke, a friend of Alexander Graham Bell, was (Signed) W . J. Harrison
April,1966 HISTORICAL KOTE 149
the first telephone subscriber in London, her mental condition remained the same. Ontario. The first public demonstration However, within a year after the opera- of the telephone took place in the [???]. She was much better and within Asylum, which was connected to the two years she was almost well, Later the City Office of the Dominion Telegraph was discharged from hospital and recovered. Company on Richmond Street, four Follow-ups a year later found her per- miles away.
From Bob: Bucke and E.A. Grosh would have appreciated this Tennyson quote from Ulysses, describing his resolute, determination and heroic, “To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.” (1833) [This was carved on the cross on Observation Hill in Antarctica to memorialize Robert F. Scott and his Polar Party who perished returning from the South Pole.]
- Details of effort by Grosh Bros. father to claim a share of the Comstock Lode?
A: “Long after Allen’s death, when his heirs and his former associates in California searched for evidence to bear out their claims in court, little could be found.”
“After long and costly litigation the heirs of the Grosh brothers failed to secure any foothold, and so dropped into oblivion.”
“Some years after the Comstock had become a heavy bullion producer the heirs of the Grosh brothers tried to secure their rights on the Comstock by litigation and employed Benjamin F. Butler, then the most noted lawyer in the United States to prosecute the case. He made a very thorough examination into the matter and stated to the litigants that there was no legal question about the absolute rights of the heirs to some of the most valuable ground on the Comstock, but he gave them the advice that the defendants were men so thoroughly entrenched in possession, and having unlimited money at their command they would be able to buy up any jury that could be selected to try the case , and that, under the circumstances, the winning of such a case would be an impossibility. The heirs of the Groshes wisely concluded to drop the idea of attempting to wrest the big mines from the hands of William Sharon and the Bank of California.”
A.B. Grosh hired Benjamin F. Butler (a noted Washington D,C. attorney) to litigate the assertion over ownership. Butler conducted a thorough examination of the claim and concluded that a good argument could be made that the Grosh Brothers’ heirs had a right to demand compensation in view of a reasonable assertion of at least partial ownership of the Comstock. Nevertheless, Butler added that “the defendants were men so thoroughly entrenched in possession, and having unlimited money at their command that they would be able to buy up any jury that could be selected to try the case, and that, under the circumstances, the winning of such a case would be an impossibility.”
A.B. Grosh deeded his ownership to Douglas and Nickerson, both of Placerville, CA, who represented the Grosch Consolidated Gold and Silver Mining Company, and later determined that he had been swindled as he was never paid what had been promised to him. Afterward, litigation occurs with Grosch Consolidated Gold and Silver Mining Company vs. The Gould & Curry Silver Mining Company and Henry T. P. Comstock. The Complaint was filed with the U.S. District Court of the 12th Judicial District, San Francisco, on October 17, 1863. The Statement of the Grounds of the Claim of the Grosch Consolidated Mining Company was for 3,750 feet of the Comstock Ledge by Benjamin R. Nickerson. The Plaintiff was the Grosch Consolidated Gold and Silver Mining Co. 420 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA., represented by Edward Tompkins, S.W. Sanderson, and ? McHenry (on a contingent fee) and, the Defendant was the Gould & Curry Silver Mining Company and Henry T.P. Comstock represented by C. Temple Emmett, a San Francisco attorney).
Henry Comstock asserts that he had inherited claims from the Grosh brothers that remained valid and had never been purchased by the mine operators of the time. In addition, Comstock arrives in San Francisco on January 3, 1865, and meets Bucke at the Russhouse (hotel), where he lets it be known that “he is on the Grosh side of the case.”
- More details of Grosh Bros. heritage, upbringing, youth?
A: There are good descriptions.
- More details of Bucke’s heritage, upbringing, prior experiences and youth?
A: Richard Maurice Bucke was born in 1837 in Methwold, England, the seventh child of Reverend Horatio Walpole Bucke (a parish curate) and his wife, Clarissa Andrews. His family migrated to Canada when he was a year old, settling near Lundon, Ontario.
Horatio W. Bucke had given up the profession of religious minister, and trusted his family’s income to their Ontario farm. A sibling in a large family, Richard Maurice Bucke was a typical farm boy of that era. He was an athletic boy who enjoyed a good ball game. When he left home at the age of 16, he traveled to Columbus, Ohio and then to California. Along the way, Bucke worked at various odd jobs. He was part of a traveling party who had to fight for their lives when they were attacked by Shoshone Indians, on whose territory they were trespassing.
According to Richard Maurice Bucke the Grosh Brothers were always cheerful, hopeful amid all discouragements, honorable in small things as in great, they gained the respect of all their companions, though they were somewhat reserved in disposition and confided in few intimate friends. The miner who may have known them best has written of them that they were “in truth religious, not apt to talk about it, not wedded to any special dogma, but filled with that genuine religion of the heart which is the salt of the earth, and which keeps whoever possesses it, as it kept them, fearless, earnest, and pure.
- Learn more about Comstock’s past, upbringing, reputation, etc.?
A: Somewhere I read an account of Henry Comstock and what became of him. I seem to recall he was broke and ultimately commit suicide in Montana. I will try to locate that reference.
- More detailed description of the trek from Gold Canyon/Silver City, Nevada, to Last Chance, California
A: The following primary sources provide good descriptions of the Grosh/Bucke trek:
25 Years Ago by Richard Bucke – The Overland Monthly Vol. I, June 1883. Pages 555-560.
Richard Maurice Bucke – A Sketch by James H. Coyne, 1906. Chapter: A Tramp Over the Mountains, Pages 24-29.
Grosh had not traveled over the route that he and Bucke took over the Sierra Nevada in November/December 1857; however, Bucke had gone over what he described as the Washoe Trail at least four times when he traveled back and forth to his Marysville, California mining site. If the plan was to go to Grass Valley or Damascus, it makes sense that they took the Washoe (aka Western States) trail.
Note: Grosh and Bucke were not able to follow the entire length of the Washoe Trail from the cabin in Little American Valley to Robinson as planned. Although the route was logical, and they did try, the deep snow and lack of visibility caused them to go in a circle, becoming lost, and, as a result, they abandoned their plan and instead headed towards the river below (French Meadows).
- Details about the location of the Greek Hotel?
A: On November 29, 1857, Grosh and Bucke had descended from the steep western slope into the canyon of the Middle Fork of the American River and that night came to an empty cabin that Bucke describes as having been used in the summer by cattlemen and by weary mountain travelers in Little American Valley.
“That night they camped down the slope in a forsaken cabin.”
Little American Valley lies at the extreme head of the Middle Fork of the American River, and at an elevation of over 7,000 feet. It is a beautiful valley with a wild stream that is seemingly guarded by the highest mountain peaks in this region. A number of years ago, during the prevalence of the Placer County Emigrant Road and mining excitement in the area, Jorge Ballen, or as he is commonly called, Greek George, a Greek emigrant, built a house in Little American Valley, and kept a store as well as a public house for the accommodation of travelers… A small pile of granite slabs and rocks beside the trail in a little green slope of the valley is the only relic left, except for the tree blazes preserved by overgrown bark, to mark the use of the old emigrant road.. The Greek Hotel that was built during the prevalence of the wagon road (Placer County Emigrant Road) and mining excitement no longer exists but the pile of rocks comes from the remains of the fireplace and chimney.
“It did not take us long to reach the old stage-station in the Little American Valley. Here Greek George – he was never known by any other name – had a station, only the charred logs remaining to tell of some irreverent sheep-herder or Indian who had no regard for historic landmarks. The piles of rocks which remain denote the presence of the chimney. When the new stage-road was built and travel over this road – always very slim and precarious – completely declined, Greek George removed, but his log hotel and bunk-house remained until a few years ago. We had lunch by the side of the old chimney and ruminated [sp] over the scenes that may have transpired here in those early days. On our way back we passed the stumps of two large fires which were undoubtedly cut down to supply George’s houses with shakes…”
Below is the only known photograph (below) taken by Wendell Robie of Robert Montgomery Watson showing the location of the cabin (Greek Hotel) in Little American Valley to the NSGW September 1931 expedition.
Hal V. Hall, expedition team member, was shown this location in the late summer of 1969, when he was 14 years old, and recalls that it was near the east end of Little American Valley along the formerly used Western States Trail by the Tevis Cup Ride.
- Was the Greek Hotel the same as the cabin Grosh/Bucke reported staying at after crossing Squaw Peak on the west side of summit?
A: Since there is no mention from either of the two sources about any other cabin or residence in Little American Valley, it is safe to assume the cabin and the Greek Hotel are one in the same. Refer to Plat maps that show a cabin in (Little) American Valley, dated 8/31/1870, and 4/10/1885. Refer to Bob Crowley’s map overlays of the old plat and USGS topo maps.
- Location of “wide ravine” Grosh/Bucke encountered when first trying to summit between Squaw Peak and Granite Chief at Emigrant Pass?
A: …”they found a ravine, at least a thousand feet deep, with perpendicular walls, between them and the main ridge to be crossed.”
This reference is regarding the mid- to upper-portion of the route from Squaw Valley but before High Camp.
- Did H. Grosh die of blood poisoning or sepsis?
A: “Blood poisoning set in, …”
Mrs. Dettenrieder indicates that, “to furnish the money I went on down to Johntown. Three days after that, Hosea died from the effects of blood poisoning from the wound in his foot.”
- Who were the men present at Last Chance when E. Allen and R.M. Bucke were brought in? What role did each play? What was revealed by E. Allen about the hidden maps/assays/samples or what was in safe back at their mining cabin?
Grosh was taken from Blind Ravine to Ben Leggett’s hotel in Last Chance and did not die immediately, but he lived about a week and was attended by William (W.J.) Harrison, a miner there who had received an education in medicine. William Christian was also present and was interviewed. Johnson Simmons was also present and was interviewed. Dr. J.Z. Tibbits was the doctor summoned by miners in December 1857 to Last Chance and performed the amputation of Bucke’s feet.
Johnson Simmons was stopping at Last Chance at the time and gave an account that indicated his understanding of the Grosh/Bucke trans-Sierra journey including what McLoud (Bucke) said about the tree in which they were deposited had blown down with the wind, having broken about twenty feet from the ground, Grosh told him that it was safer to select a tree of that kind than a standing one liable in a storm to lie uprooted. The hollow in this tree was quite small, and after depositing the records he cut a mark on the tree with his knife and rolled a good-sized stone in front of the hollow. Note: Interesting, this account by Bucke differs from subsequent newspaper and book references to what Grosh did with his documents, maps, assay records, ore samples, etc. Were subsequent accounts differed on purpose at A. Bull’s request as part of his (Bucke’s) testimony regarding the pending litigation?
W.J. Harrison resided with his brother, Thomas Harrison, in Last Chance when Grosh and Bucke arrived in December 1857. E. Allen Grosh was able to converse during his sickness at Ben Leggett’s hotel in Last Chance. William Christian, a miner, when talking with a reporter indicated that he does not know, but thinks it likely that Grosh talked with (W.J.) Harrison and others who attended him about his discoveries on the Comstock. Following the death of E.A. Grosh, William (W.J.) Harrison was the person that wrote two letters from Last Chance – – one to A.B. Grosh and the other to J.H. Hoover about the death of E.A. Grosh on 12/20/1857.. On February 12, 1861, A.B. Grosh writes, “(Francis J.) Hoover believes Harrison can get the papers and memos which Allen left in the snow, and asks Bucke if he could direct them to the place where they threw them away.” A.B. Grosh received a letter from W.J. Harrison which states, “A few days since I received a letter informing me that Bucke who was with your son in crossing the mountains claims an interest in those discoveries — Now I am willing to be qualified that Mr. Bucke never had the shadow of a claim. Your son never saw Mr. Bucke till the morning your son Hosea was buried. I did, on the second day after bringing your son over to our little town, ask him if Mr. B (Bucke). was a partner. Your son told me, so did Mr. B., that he, B., was not interested in any way in the discoveries.”… “Could the bundle of papers etc. left by your son as he crossed the mountains be found, it would be a great advantage in the suit. I am satisfied that I could find the deposits of ore made by your son as he came over.” Mr. Hoover says of Harrison: “I think he now has them (books, ores, etc) in his possession, and will produce them at the proper time… He says Allen told him all, just before his death, but enjoined him to secresy (secrecy) in the matter, and until he is compelled by law to make the disclosure in a Court of law, he cannot do so.” Note: It appears that Harrison was informed by Grosh and/or Bucke about Allen’s burying of maps, samples, etc. along their journey in the pine tree stump and may have later found the location, retrieved, and possessed the contents. Since there was never a court order requiring disclosure, Harrison does not appear to have made his assertion public. Bucke would have informed Alpheus Bull of this situation and is why, in part, he returned to California and traveled horseback from Tahoe City to Last Chance and back.
Following the surgery, Dr. J.Z. Tibbits referred Bucke to Alpheus Bull of San Francisco with a letter that sets forth his plight and asks for assistance. Note: Alpheus Bull is associated with both the Ophir and Gould & Curry mining companies. On July 8, 1861, Tibbits wrote a letter addressed from Iowa Hill, California, to Dr. Bucke in Montreal, urging him to establish his mining claims along with those of Reverend A.B. Grosh. The letter is telling as it refers to what was said by Bucke to Tibbits following the surgery in Last Chance, e.g., Bucke was a partner of Grosh and heir to the Comstock Lode silver discovery riches.
Through Dr. Tibbitts, R.M. Bucke meets Alpheus Bull in San Francisco in 1858 after his disastrous adventure in the Sierra Nevada and it was the same Mr. Bull who had purchased a ticket for him, which enabled Bucke to return home to Canada. On March 5, 1864 Bucke receives a telegram from Bull who is seeking Bucke’s assistance in a lawsuit that had been filed against the Gould and Curry (Silver) Mining Company, of which Bull was a trustee and President from 1864 to 1875. Bull wanted Bucke’s testimony that the land mined by the Grosh brothers was not the site of the Comstock Lode.
The Gould & Curry Mining Company was one of the key producers on the Comstock. Incorporated on June 27, 1860. The Gould & Curry began as two adjacent mining claims of Gould & Co. and Curry & Co. located between the Savage and Best & Belcher mines in the central part of the Comstock lode. Located in early 1859 as one of the first Comstock claims, it is named after Abram Curry, one of the first settlers into Carson City, and Alva Gould. Both men sold out their interest in the claim for an aggregate sum of less than $10,000. Gould & Curry was the first major mining company to build their own mills, two in 1861 and one in 1863. The stock rose to $6300 per foot in June 1863, or about $1600 per share, after Comstock mine production went from $6 million in 1862 to $12 million in 1863. Among the original incorporators were George Hearst, Lloyd Tevis, John Earl, Alpheus Bull, Thos. Bell, A. Head, B.F. Sherwood, and Wm. Blanding. William Chapman Ralston was initially appointed treasurer, and Charles Strong the mine superintendent. Shareholders George Hearst, William Lent and John Earl, would all go on to be instrumental in the building of the new mill at the junction of Six and Seven Mile canyons that was completed in 1863 and later sold and dismantled after 1870. The mine produced over $17 million in gold and silver and was the primary financial motivating machine in 1863 that changed Virginia City from a good mining region to a great one.
Alpheus Bull, as a youth had traveled through the Midwest as a fervent, itinerant preacher of the Universalist religion. He came to California in 1849. On the way he befriended the Grosh brothers. He made a fortune at Red Bluff in mining and then in the mercantile business. He was the president of the Gould & Curry for most of the 1860’s and a California millionaire.
In 1864, Bucke was urgently requested by Bull to go to California in the interest of the Gould & Curry Silver Mining Company. Bucke went, and was amply remunerated for his time and services, returning to Sarnia in 1865, which not only enriched in experience, but with a substantial sum of money.
Note: Ironically, A. Bull had befriended the Grosh brothers while traveling across Mexico in 1849 and did the same with Bucke after his fearful trip with E. Allen Grosh over the Sierra Nevada in November/December 1857. Five years later, the Grosch Consolidated Gold and Silver Mining Company brought legal action against Gould & Curry and Henry Comstock, where Bucke’s knowledge of Grosh’s discoveries was a factor in the case. Bucke, who was being paid handsomely, spent over a year in California and Nevada awaiting to testify during which time he travels with Bull to western Nevada where the Grosh brothers were prospecting including meeting with George Hearst and, for whatever reason, travels horseback from north Lake Tahoe along the route taken in 1857 to Last Chance and back. Unfortunately, Bucke’s diary does not indicate the reason for this journey; only to indicate he found the rifle that was discarded. There is no mention if he found Allen’s belongings buried in the pine tree. There are other sources that demonstrate that the Grosh family was deliberately and diabolically denied any rightful claim or renumeration from the riches made by Comstock Lode’s mining companies.
- Could R.M. Bucke deliberately falsified information concerning the assays, samples, maps and documents hidden in a tree? Why are there different accounts of this incident from very detailed description to it never having happened?
Bucke’s diary on May 3, 1864 indicates that while he was at Gould & Curry’s attorney, (C. Temple) Emmet’s office, Bull shared a letter that he had received from A.B. Grosh. Bull and Emmet were meeting regarding the suit broght against Gould & Curry. Bucke states that as it relates to A.B. Grosh … “it seems that the poor dear man is at last fairly cheated out of his claim, for they (Grosch Consolidated Gold and Silver Mining Company) have the deed of sale, and have given him for security for the $10,000 they were to have given him for it 100 shares of $1,000 each of Grosch Consolidated stock.” On May 5, 1864, Bull wanted Bucke … “in a day or so to state what it will be worth to stay here (California) this balance of year. On May 6, 1864, they concluded it would be better not to mention any sum until after the trial as it might look bad.”
At Alpheus Bull’s written request, Bucke return to California in 1864-1865 to testify against A.B. Grosh’s demands and the suit brought forth by the Grosch Consolidated Gold and Silver Mining Company and where Bucke visits in both Nevada and California. Bucke was well compensated by Bull for his testimony while being instructed to be silent during his stay and beyond.
The Grosh Brother’s Legacy
- The discovery of silver by the Grosh Brothers that resulted in the riches from the Comstock Lode helped the Utah Territory become the state of Nevada.
- During the Civil War, no State was as great a factor in saving the Union as was Nevada. President Lincoln believed that the abolition of human slavery would require the admission of Nevada into the Union and an amendment to the Constitution would be equivalent to a million more men in the field of war (Sam Davis, The History of Nevada, Page 266). After the war, when the (Schuyler) Colfax party visited the Comstock, Colfax, in his speech to the miners, read a letter he had received from (President) Lincoln regarding the mineral wealth of the Nation following the war and how the more gold and silver that is mined makes the payment of the debt easier. Lincoln intends to promote the idea that disbanded Civil War soldiers go west that will serve the miners prosperity (Sam Davis, The History of Nevada, Page 269).
- According to Mark Twain, The Innocents at Home, there was … a vast web of interlocking timbers that held the walls of the gutted Comstock apart. These timbers were as large as a man’s body, and the framework stretched upward so far that no eye could pierce to its top through the closing gloom. It was like peering up through the clean-picked ribs and bones of some colossal skeleton. (Source: Western Libraries, AFC 20 – source mat page ref from index F79 (page 446). The engineering genius of Philip Deidesheimer, a German miner of scientific attainments, invention of a system of timbering called cribbing started with the Ophir mine, which resulted from its design in the building of skyscrapers.
- Recognition by Speaker of the House of Representatives (later, Vice President of the U.S.), Schuyler Colfax and Nevada State Governor, Bross (Henry Goode Blasdel), presided at the ceremony of erecting a commemoration tablet over the grave of Hosea Grosh in the Silver City cemetery on June 27, 1865 (Sources: Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 29, Number 4452, June 28, 1865; George Lyman, Saga of the Comstock Lode, 1934, Chapter LXIV, Page 338; and, later, Schuyler Colfax Letter to A.B. Grosh, January 18, 1880).
Jane Fiedler. A History of Squaw Valley. Self-published. 1977. Pages 22-26.
Lyndall Baker Landauer, The Mountain Sea – A History of Lake Tahoe, Flying Cloud Press, 1996. Page 52.
W.B. Lardner and M.J. Brock. History of Placer and Nevada Counties California with Biographical Sketches. Los Angeles: Historic Record Co., 1924. Pages 46-48, 227.
Gene Markley. Hills of the Coyote. First Publication. 1980. Pages 17-18.
Norman McLeod. Distant Voices, Different Drums – A Collection of True Stories, High Drama at Last Chance. 1991. Chapter 7: High Drama at Last Chance. Pages 67-71.
Dan De Quille (William Wright). The Big Bonanza. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1959. Pages 14-15. (1)
Margaret Sanborn, The American (River of El Dorado), Holt, Rinhart and Winston, 1974. Chapter 17, Last Chance, Pages 204-211.
Edward B. Scott. The Saga of Lake Tahoe. Crystal Bay, Lake Tahoe: Sierra-Tahoe Publishing Co., 1957. Pages 1-2.
Edward B. Scott. Squaw Valley. Crystal Bay, Sierra-Tahoe Publishing Co., 1960. Pages 7-8, 87 (2).
Thompson and West, pub. History of Nevada 1881 with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Berkeley, California: Howell-North, 1958. Pages 51-54.
Thompson & West, pub., History of Placer County, Oakland, California, 1882, Page 406
George Williams III. Mark Twain: His Life in Virginia City, Nevada. Riverside, California: Tree By The River Publishing. 1986. Pages 39-40.
Bill G. Wilson. Gold & Schemes… and Unfulfilled Dreams. Self-published., 2002. Grosch Brothers Found Silver Lode – A Nevada Secret Left in Last Chance Grave, Pages 76-77.
Ronald M. James and Robert E. Steward. The Gold Rush Letters – E. Allen Grosh and Hosea B. Grosh. Reno, Nevada: University of Nevada Press. 2012.
Sally Zanjani, Devils Will Reign: How Nevada Began, Reno, Nevada: University of Nevada Press. 2006. Pages 41-46.
James H. Coyne. Richard Maurice Bucke – A Sketch, Toronto: Henry S. Saunders, 1923, Revised edition Reprinted from the Transactions of The Royal Society of Canada, 1906. Chapters: Adventures in the West, Pages 16-23; and, A Tramp Over the Mountains, Pages 24-29, 33.
Charles Howard Shinn, The Story of the Mine, D. Appleton & Company, New York, 1896, Chapter V., Pages 26-33.
Eliot Lord, Comstock Mining and Miners, 1883
Sam P. Davis. History of Nevada. Early Mining Discoveries. Chapter XIII, Volume I, 1913. Pages 381-390.
George Lyman, The Saga of the Comstock Lode, 1934
Peter Rechnitzer, R. M. Bucke-Journey to Cosmic Consciousness, 1994
The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, Volume XXV, History of Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming (1540-1888), 1890, Page 98, footnote 9
Mark Twain, The Innocents at Home, George Routledge & Sons, 1872
J.B. Roberts II. “The Brothers Grosh.” Nevada: The Magazine of the Real West. December 1990. Pages 48-52.
Unknown author. “Sierra Rescue… But a Secret Dies.” Unknown source and date.
Unknown author and title. Sierra Heritage. Pages 33-34.
Unknown author. “Brothers’ Letters Relate Mining Hopes, Sorrows.” Las Vegas Review-Journal. June 9, 2008. Website: https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/brothers-letters-relate-mining-hopes-sorrows/ (3).
Caroline Lawrence. “Bonanza Denied by Pickax and Jackass.” Wonders & Marvels. Undated. Website: https://www.wondersandmarvels.com/2012/10/bonanza-denied-by-pickax-and-jackass.html (3).
San Francisco Call, From Early Days: The Silver Discovery in Washoe Valley – How Francis Hoover Found & Lost Wealth, Vol. 75, No. 157, May 6, 1894
Sacramento Daily Union – The Grosch Brothers in WASHOE, Volume 25, Number 3870, August 17, 1863, Page 5, Column 5
Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 29, Number 4452, June 28, 1865
The Daily Sun, Comstock Lode Name is Wrong, March 15, 1957, Page 26
Auburn Journal, The Grosh Brothers, Volume 6, Number 3, October 16, 1889
Auburn Journal, Volume 6, Number 5, October 30, 1889, Page 3
The Placer Herald, Placer’s Big Tree, W.B. Lardner, Volume LXVIII, Number 6, August 21, 1920
Tahoe Topical, The Discovery of Silver on the Comstock and the Groshes Bros., by Marshall W. McDonald, June 14, 1946
Sacramento Daily Union, The Grosch [sic: Grosh] Brothers in WASHOE, Volume 25, Number 3870, August 17, 1863, Page 5, Column 5
The Bury and Norwich Post, and Suffolk Herald, July 13, 1880, page 7
Daily Alta California, Volume 15, Number 4983,
San Francisco Evening Bulleting, March 9, 1865
The London Advertiser, Discovery of The Comstock, December 16, 1897
Karl Grubaugh. “Grosh Brothers: Forgotten cache reveals Comstock discovery.” Mountain Democrat. August 15, 1997. (3)
Marshall W. McDonald. “The Discover of Silver on the Comstock and the Groshes Bros.” Tahoe Topics. June 14, 1946. Old Virginny’s Town.
Bill Wilson. “The Grave Claimed This Mining Secret.” Auburn Sentinel. September 25, 1992. Pages 8 and 10.
Unknown author. “Looking Backward: 100 Years Ago – December 26, 1857.” Blizzard Traps. No date (Source: Wendell Robie File).
Charles T. Wegman and George C. Harvilla, The Letters of Ethan Allen and Hosea Ballou Grosh 1849-1857, unpublished.
Austin E. Hutcheson, “Before the Comstock 1857-1858: Memoirs of William Hickman Dolman,” New Mexico Historical Review, Vol. 22, Number 3, July 1947
Western Libraries – Dr. R.M. Bucke and Dr. Edwin Seaborn Fonds (diary, unpublished manuscript, and maps collection
London Public Library – Seaborn map collection of the Grosh/Bucke trans-Sierra journey)
R.M. Bucke, 25 Years Ago, The Discoveries of Silver in Nevada, Overland Monthly Vol 1, June 1883, Pages 553-560
Bancroft’s Map of the Washoe Silver Region of Nevada Territory, 1862
Map of Silver Mines near Virginia City, 1878
Map of Comstock Lode and Washoe Mining Claims, 1875
Pacific Coast Annual Mining Review, Henry S. Fitch · Volume 1, 1878, Pages 150-151
Yale University Library Digital Collections
Annual Report of the Surveyor-General of the State of Nevada, for the year 1865, Page 19
Robert Ruxton, The Tale of Silver, 1907, Pages 9-10
Schuyler Colfax Letter to A.B. Grosh, January 18, 1880
May W. Perry. “Placer County Big Trees.” Placer Nugget. Auburn, Ca.: Placer County Historical Society. Pages 4-5. Perry wrote various articles for the Nugget during the 1960’s.
History as Made in the Gold County – Grosh Brothers Discovery of Silver – Comstock Lode. Tape recording of Historical Facts and Antidotes as Researched and Narrated by Wendell T. Robie on KAHI Radio, moderated by Gene Ragle (25 minutes). January 24, 1960.
(1) Dan De Quille also wrote: A History of the Comstock Silver Lode and Mines. New York: Promotory Press. 1974, reprint of 1889 ed. I have not read this book but it might have more on Grosh.
Mark McLaughlin. “Ghosts of Gold Hill Nevada (Part 2).” Tahoe Nuggets #185. May 23, 2010. Website: www.thestormking.com.
Ronald M. James, The Roar and the Silence: A History of Virginia City and the Comstock Lode, Reno, Nevada: University of Nevada Press. 1998, Pages 3-4, 6, 13.
Martin Griffith. “Brothers’ Letters a Mother Lode of Gold Rush life.” Associated Press, June 15, 2008.
Kathy Weiser, Tragedies of Gold Seekers, Legends of America, 1922 (updated September 2020), Pages 4-5
Cyril Greenland, Historical Note: Richard Maurice Bucke, M.D., 1837-1902, Canadian Psychiatric Association Journal, Vol. II, No. 2, Pages 146-148.
Grosh Collection at the Nevada Historical Society, 1650 North Virginia Street, Reno, Nevada 89503 (Open Wednesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Telephone: 775.688.1191.
The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, has a collection of Grosh-related documents, including letters between Aaron B. Grosh and Richard Maurice Bucke as well as the aforementioned Gold Rush Letters – E. Allen Grosh and Hosea B. Grosh. (http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b11219387~S1)
- Find Greek Hotel remains in Little American Valley
Refer to #27 above. Completed field survey 10/17, identified site, research continues. Nolan Smith’s file is at the U.S. Forest Service, Tahoe National Forest (TNF), Nevada City, CA. office.
- Find E. Grosh grave (Last Chance)
TNF confired location of gravesite and cemetery during clean up after Mosquito Ridge Fire. Also clearing brush from the area.
Hal has been at this location twice and believes he could locate the cemetery where E.A. Grosh was laid to rest.
- Find H. Grosh grave (Silver City)
Completed and found 10/17/22.
Silver City Cemetery, Grave #1
Charles Howard Shinn, The Story of the Mine, D. Appleton & Company, New York, 1896, Chapter V., Page 30, indicates that “In 1865, when the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Schuyler Colfax, visited Virginia City, he presided at the ceremony of erecting a commemoration tablet over the grave of Hosea Grosh in the little Silver City cemetery.”
Refer to #6 below.
- Look for wide ravine on way from Squaw Valley to summit
Refer to #29 above. Sighted likely ravine during 10/18 field survey/scouting trip.
- Check out confluence of Duncan Creek and Middle Fork American River
Sighted during 10/18/22 scouting trip.
- Visit Gold Canyon and possible site of Grosh mining cabin
10/17/22 visited graveyard and gravesite. Saw sign for the canyon where the cabin was likely located (½ mile from Comstock Foundation HQ.
Bob: Many tried to identify the Grosh mining cabin and failed. That area has been exposed to much redevelopment and the odds of locating the cabin are slim-to-none given the major disruption and elimination of any possible finding of artifacts or clues
Charles Howard Shinn, The Story of the Mine, D. Appleton & Company, New York, 1896, Chapter V., Page 30, indicates that “… (Hosea Grosh) on September 2nd died in their rude cabin of unhewn stones at the mouth of American Flat Ravine.”
According to History of Nevada 1881 – Thompson & West, Page 51, Mrs. Dettenrieder states, “In passing down the trail along the American Flat Wash on my way to Dayton, I came upon the cabin of the Grosh brothers.”
According to History of Nevada 1881 – Thompson & West, Page 53, states that Dan De Quille’s book, Big Bonanza that … “their cabin, which stood near the present town of Silver City, about a mile above Johnstown.”
American Flat Wash (American Ravine) begins in a northwest direction (and ends below Ophir Grade Road) at the intersection of Highway 342 and Pediar Road in Silver City, NV.
The Nevada Centennial Marker No. 19, erected by E Clampus Vitus, dedicated to the Grosh brothers along the road in Silver City indicates the following;
Two well-educated brothers, Hosea and Ethan Grosh, discovered silver here in 1856 but both died in 1857 before their ore was assayed. Had they lived they might have gone on to locate the Comstock Lode. Their cabin was ¼ – mile to the South.
Other prospects for further information may include contacting the following individuals:
- Kelly Dixon, University of Montana, Missoula, knows a lot about the history of Virginia City and the early mining beginnings. She did her Ph.D. dissertation there.
- Guy Rocha does a radio program on PBS on the history of Nevada and he works for the Nevada State Library in Carson City.
- Penny Ruck – She is the best contact for Washoe trade routes and Washoe ethnography.
- Robert Steward spoke on the Grosh Brothers on 11/10/15 at the Dayton Community Center as part of the Comstock Foundation’s Comstock History Lecture Series.
The Grosh Collection including the original letters are located at the Nevada Historical Society, 1650 North Virginia Street, Reno, Nevada 89503 (Open Wednesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Telephone: 775.688.1191. This collection includes The Gold Rush Letters of E. Allen Grosh and Hosea B. Grosh, edited by Ronald M. James and Robert E. Stewart, 2012. University of Nevada Press, Reno, Nevada 89557.
- Scout likely path from Squaw Peak down to Little American Valley
- Scout likely path Little American to French Meadows
According to James H. Coyne. Richard Maurice Bucke – A Sketch, “The trail now was a blazed one, and easily missed; the snow was three to four feet deep, and even more in places, along the side of a high ridge. Then the ridge spread into a broad plateau. Soon the trees failed them, there was no trail, and the cold was intense.” (Page 25).
There is a logging road near the former site of Hodgson’s Cabin to French Meadow on a long, gradual descent.
- Scout French Meadows to Duncan Creek confluence with MF American
We will head up to Duncan Canyon instead as this route is known.
There is a trail (aka Poppy Trail) along the north side of French Meadow Lake to the dam.
- Scout confluence to Last Chance
See above – will follow Mosquito Ridge Road to 43/44.
Bob’s approximation of where they went and possible location of the Mexican Camp: [map coming]