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Neil S Berman
Expert Numismatist & Rare Coinand Currency Dealer

US Currency

72. Amador Canal and Mining Company Note72. Amador Canal & Mining Company Note,
San Francisco, CA 3-Nov 1874

Amador County, located along the central part of the Mother Lode, was the second largest gold producing county in California. The district supported towns such as Jackson, Sutter Creek and Amador City, holding mines such as the Kennedy, Bunker Hill, and Keystone mines. The original lode of John C. Fremont and the Mariposa Estate can be traced directly to the Keystone mine. 

The Amador Canal and Mining Company had its roots as the Sutter Canal and Mining Company, which began in 1870. They had purchased the rights of the Butte Ditch Company, a company formed to acquire and supply water to hydraulic mines and a few quartz mines. Their work was under funded, and the Amador Canal & Mining Company was formed and purchased the assets in 1873. The new company completed the ditch, providing water to mills which greatly lowered their operating costs. It remained in operation until well after 1881. [Ref: Mason, J: History of Amador County; 1881, pg 266-267] Ross Raymond, U.S. Mineral Commissioner, stated in 1874 that this company was one of the most important of the region: “This canal is intended to supply with motive power the hoisting works and mills of the various mines on the Mother Lode in this country . . . for sixteen months, the work was prosecuted steadily, until the canal was completed to its junction with the old Butte ditch, a distance of thirty five miles from the reservoir at Sutter Creek.”

Unfortunately, the Butte ditch portion suffered losses of water by evaporation that were unacceptable, and a new ditch to the Mokelumne River had to be dug.  The ditch was designed to be full at three feet, five feet wide at the bottom, eight feet wide at the top, with a grade of eight feet per mile, set to deliver 55 cubic feet of water per minute.  Sherman Day was the mine engineer in charge of the project in 1873 and 1874. Day consulted with Henry Knight, superintendent of the successful Natoma Canal at Folsom. In the field the company was run by General Alexander. The company had drawn contracts with many of the larger gold producing mines, such as the Amador, Oneida, Maxwell, Keystone mining companies, and hoped for contracts with the Kennedy, Downes, Mahoney and Summit Mining companies. [Ref: Raymond, Mines and Mining West of the Rocky Mountains, 1875, pgs 69-71] 

The signors of this One Dollar Scrip note, President J.S. Emery and Secretary, V.N. Van Brunt were not San Francisco residents in 1873 or 1875 as might be expected from a note with a San Francisco dateline, and were probably Amador residents. The note was issued to C.M. Gerrow, also not apparently a San Francisco resident.
This note is one of the great California scrip or private currency rarities, with perhaps three known specimens. This is an R8 and the finest specimen of the three. $12,500.

© 2013. Donald Kagin. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Neil S. Berman is an expert numismatist and a dealer in rare coins and currency. His business is located in Westchester County NY.  For professional advice about most collectables contact Neil. Comments and questions are welcome.


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