Rensselaer County Gold and Silver Mining Company
☞ PITTSTOWN AURIFEROUS.—Some time since, Adolphus Vandercook made up his mind that in a “gulch” on the “Fake farm,” in Pittstown, there was a large amount of precious ore, and he quietly went to work to obtain possession of the estate, which consisted of about eighty acres. The owner (Bachman) would not sell it, but he gave Vandercook a lease for twelve years, with the privilege of mining. A Colorado miner went up yesterday, and after examination, gave it as his opinion, that the ore, which is abundant, and is found near the surface for some three miles, is superior to that of Colorado. Some specimens were taken to New York, yesterday, to be tested. Residents in the neighborhood speak of a mining effort made at the same spot some thirty years ago. It was probably proved then that “all is not gold that glistens,” and so it may be again. But there are those who have faith in it. In Lansingburgh, a stock company is talked of, and we have no doubt that the stock would be taken quickly, at least as favorably as share for share of—Heydrick.
Troy Daily Times. October 12, 1865: 3 col 4.
☞ THE EQUALIZATION QUESTION came up in the Board of Supervisors this morning. An amendment to the reports was presented by Mr. Brown, of Stephentown. It leaves Troy with its addition of $1,059,323, and makes an increase of about the following sums in these towns: Hoosick $25,000; Lansingburgh $20,000; Schaghticoke $40,000; Schodack $40,000. The deductions are about as follows: Berlin $10,000; East Greenbush $15,000; Grafton $10,000; Nassau $10,000; North Greenbush $10,000; Petersburgh $15,000; Poestenkill $15,000; Sandlake $20,000; Stephentown $10,000. The other towns are the same as the minority report. Quite a spicy debate ensued, worthy of the Troy Common Council. The Lansingburgh Heydrick scheme and the Pittstown “gold mine” and ‘ile well, were humorously alluded to. The principal joke was that one of the town members whose homestead is assessed for $2250, was offered $12,000 in cash for it this morning, by another town member.
Troy Daily Times. December 15, 1865: 3 col 3.
☞ GOLD! GOLD!—FROM PITTSTOWN TO NORTH CAROLINA.—The Fake farm gold placer, in Pittstown, is said to promise well. A shaft has been sunk about twenty feet, and the deeper it goes the more rich becomes the quartz. That taken out now is said to be worth from $300 to $500 per ton. The new process of separating the metal from extraneous substances will be introduced and render the working of the quartz much more profitable than under the previous system. The extent to which the lead runs in the neighborhood is conjectural at present, but measures will be taken in a short time to ascertain it. The Fake farm interest is to go under the management of a stock company in the course of a couple of weeks. If what men who are ordinarily truthful say of the results of the tests made of the product is entitled to credence, there is a pile of money in the enterprise; if not, it is very much of “a sell.”
—More gold excitement! It is a “big thing” brought to Troy all the way from North Carolina. The owner of the gold plantation has arrived with specimens of quartz—very rich, of course—richer than anything of the kind ever before developed in this country. The gold comes out in lumps from the rock. The affair has created quite a local stir. The owner of the rich plantation offers the property for $200,000—very moderate, considering that Heydrick was accepted on oil at a couple of millions. But here we have the quartz; Heydrick only had oil—on the tongue. It is rumored that checks have been deposited to the extent of $100,000 to hold the North Carolina man of gold, and subject to the report of a committee who are to go on and examine the riches of his incomparable mine. From oil to gold is indeed a pleasant transition—especially if you got the real spelter. When that comes, Ophir like, from the North Carolina plantation, reminding us of correspondent Merriam’s “golden pavements and amethystical shoes,” we shall be sure to report detailed progress in the columns of the Troy Daily Times. Meanwhile, we fall back upon Pittstown amid the glitter of golden treasure.
Troy Daily Times. May 12, 1866: 3 col 2.
☞ BRIEFS.—”All that glitters is not gold,” but it is said that the glittering material from the Fake farm in Pittstown is the genuine article, and is worth from $300 to $500 per ton. Of course there is to be a stock company to work it. Nothing is done now a days unless through the medium of a stock company, as the patriotic and generous holders of a very “good thing” are always willing to part with their enormously valuable right for a mere song to a stock company. “Of course.” The Times folks who have had some experience in Heydrick don’t appreciate “stock companies” as much as they did, and therefore advise the public not to be in a hurry to invest in gold mining companies. Sensible advice.
Troy Daily Whig. May 14, 1866: 4 col 2.
The company quite recently organized to operate the gold mines in Pittstown, under the name of the Rensselaer County Gold and Silver Mining Company will commence active operations soon. The prospects of success are bright, and the applicants for stock numerous. We hope that it may prove a success.
Lansingburgh Weekly Chronicle. September 12, 1866: 1 col 6.
☞ BENNINGTON.[…]—The company owning the gold discoveries in Pittstown, recent held a meeting at Gates’ Hotel and completed their organization. Some three or four of our citizens are engaged in the enterprise.
Troy Daily Whig. September 21, 1866: 3 col 1.
This corporation has now fully completed its organization, and opened its stock books for obtaining subscriptions. By the prospectus issued, it appears that the following officers and board of trustees have been appointed to manage the affairs of the company, viz:
President—DR. JOHN N. SCRANTON.
Treasurer—F. A. VANDERCOOK.
Secretary—J. HALSEY CUSHMAN.
General Superintendent—GEO. W. HALL.
Trustees—JOHN N. SCRANTON, GEO. W. HALL, ROBERT HARRISON, SHURAD G. LANSING, F. A. VANDERCOOK, CHARLES C. GRIDLEY and S. A. VANDERCOOK.
The above list comprises several gentlemen well acquainted with mining business, and who know well what they are about to undertake.
Our readers are perhaps well aware that it has for some time past been contemplated to form a company to work the mineral deposits upon the Backman and Snyder farms, in Pittstown, for the precious metals. For more than half a century past it has been believed that gold and silver abounded there, but until recently no definite steps have been taken to ascertain the truth of the matter. But during some months past several of the gentlemen connected with this company have been actively engaged in making the necessary analysis of the ores taken from these mines, and have certified over their own signatures the result of their examinations.
We copy the following from the prospectus referred to:
BENNINGTON, VT. Aug. 31, 1865.
We hereby certify and state that in the month of July, 1866, we made five separate analysIs of sulphurets taken by us from the rock along the stream upon the premises known as the “Backman” farm, in Pittstown, N. Y., with the following result :
No. 1 (gold) yielded at the rate, per ton, of………………..$8,533.88
No. 2 (silver and gold) [yielded at the rate, per ton, of]……..1,066.73
No. 8 (silver) [yielded at the rate, per ton, of]………………..27.19
No. 4 (silver) [yielded at the rate, per ton, of]………………..25.60
No. 5 (gold) [yielded at the rate, per ton, of]……………….6,400.00
In the foregoing assays, the gold was estimated at the par value of $16 per oz, and the silver at $1.25 per oz.
The ore so analyzed consisted of average specimens taken from various veins along the stream. We further state that we consider the indications of gold-bearing lodes, as evinced by the outcropping veins examined by us at the localities referred to, to be fully as favorable as the Colorado Territory in that respect, the yield of gold and silver thus assayed, as stated, being far superior to the general yield of that country.
GEO. W. HALL,
JOHN N. SCRANTON.
I certify that I have personally examined the premises in Pitttown, called the “Bachman” farm, with reference to its gold and silver-bearing value, and as the result of that examination, I fully concur in the foregoing certificate of Messrs. Geo. W. Hall and Dr. John N. Scranton, and in the opinions therein expressed. FREDERICK A. VANDERCOOK.
Upon the subject of the Virginia and Carolina gold mines, Prof. Frederick Overman, one of the most skillful mineralogists of the age, says as far back as 1851, in his work entitled “Practical Mineralogy:
“There are gold-bearing localities, which if not equal to those of California at present, will be of greater importance in the future, and I predict, more sure and lasting. It may be asserted as a fact, that all native suferets, particularly all the sulpherets of air, contain gold. As sulpherets cannot possibly penetrate any rock but from below, we may conclude that the heaviest body of such kind of ore must necessarily lie deep in the earth. This conclusion is supported and confirmed by practice; for all pyriteous veins are invariably found to improve in quantity and quality with the depth.”
There is a stream of never-failing water running through the “Bachman” farm, with a fall of upwards of 125 feet in less than 360 feet. As the mineral veins diverge from this stream upon both sides for a considerable distance, it will be seen that the water power afforded by this stream and fall will greatly facilitate and cheapen the mining operations, such as crushing the ore, & c.
The Bennington Banner states in regard to the Superintendent of the Company and the subject generally:
The experience of Mr. Hall, who has been for several years past among the mines and superintending mills in Colorado, where gold in principally found in pyrites and sulpherets, will enable the company to commence operations as soon as their working capital is paid in, which they propose to raise by selling stock in ten dollar shares, calling for one-third only of the amount subscribed, until the mines are developed and their richness proved. The landed property of the company, consisting of two valuable farms, on which the mines are situated , the risk taken by the subscribers to their stock is very light, as the division of the property, even if the project is abandoned after expending the working capital, will return quite a per cent, of the amount paid in [?]
We cannot better close this article than by copying the closing remarks of the prospectus:
The proximity of these mines to market (eleven miles from Troy, four miles from a station on the Troy and Boston railroad, two miles in a direct line from the same road, open to the actual inspection of the stockholders—under their own eyes, as it were,)—are facts which give a value to this property which renders the investment more desirable than the distant Colorado and Nevada interests.
But if, by any possibility, the enterprise should result in failure, the stockholders would still find themselves the owners of one of the most valuable farm in the country, with valuable improvements, and all the machinery and mining implements of the Company, which would return them a large percentage upon their investment.
But this Company do not intend that such a result shall ensue. The scheme will be developed energetically, and we have not the least doubt, successfully.
Troy Daily Whig. October 2, 1866: 2 col 2.
A society has been formed in Rensselaer county, New York, to prosecute the search of gold int he town of Pittstown. It is believed by many citizens that gold has been found there and that an industrious prosecution of digging will yield immense fortune in this new Eldorado.
“All Sorts of Items.” Windham Journal. October 18, 1866: 2 col 5.
☞ LANSINGBURGH.—The street gas lamps have once more bene lighted, and the ‘burghers are again enabled to find their homes without the aid of lanterns after sundown.—The late airing of the extensive Vandercook gold mine swindle has stirred up considerable of the old Heydrick bile, and small crowds of sufferers hold gloomy meetings on street corners. It remains to be seen if these gatherings will result in a “bull” movement in the stock or a “bear” raid on the perpetrators of this gigantic swindle. A storm is evidently brewing, but how soon or how violent it will belch forth only those inside of the ring can disclose. It is generally understood that Mr. Vandercook was particularly anxious that his relatives in the ‘burgh should accumulate large fortunes, and therefore induced them to subscribe liberally to his gold mining scheme. These parties are loth to believe that Vandercook has absconded with their funds, and confidently assert that he has gone to Waterloo for a large amount of machinery for mining purposes, and will soon return to prosecute operations on a larger scale than formerly. The whole affair is very much muddled at present, and the most sanguine admirers of Mr. Vandercook confess that the prospect for dividends on their stock is not at all promising.
Troy Daily Times. October 28, 1867: 3 col 1.
☞ THE ALLEGED GOLD MINE SWINDLE.—A few days since we published the main particulars of what was stated to be an extensive gold mine swindle, perpetrated upon the citizens of Bennington and other places, but which now turns out to be no swindle at all. The article was compiled from communications in the New York Herald and Express, which appeared on the 24th inst., though our paragraph was not published until the 26th inst., time enough having elapsed, we supposed, to have secured a denial of the statements contained in the communications, if they were untrue. The following, however, appears now:
To the Editors of the Troy Daily Whig: In your issue of the 25th inst., we find a copy of an alleged communication from a Bennington correspondent of the New York Herald, in which it is stated that one Vandercook had, in the capacity of a confidence operator, originated and put forth to the public an enormous swindle in the way of a Gold and Silver Mining Company in Pittstown, Rensselaer county, N. Y. The article copied in your columns further stated that Vandercook had disposed of the entire stock of the company, thirty-five thousand shares, amounting to $350,000, and had appropriated the proceeds to his private purposes, &c. We now desire you to state that the article in question is a base and malicious fabrication from beginning to end. Not a dollar of the stock referred to has ever been issued. Nobody has been swindled, and it is strange that any such reports should ever gain currency in any respectable quarter. We challenge authority for the statement that any parties have invested in the stock of that corporation, or that any person has been cheated or defrauded by the company or its officers. Inasmuch as these reports, uncontradicted, might be believed by many, is the apology which we have to offer for this communication. Wherever the officers of the company are known, the false reports referred to receive no credence, and we now desire that you give the weight and influence of your columns to rebut a base and malicious libel, which must have originated only with sinister design. JOHN N. SCRANTON, Pres’t.
GEO. W. HALL, Sup’t.
Troy Daily Times. October 30, 1867: 3 col 2.
☞ THE GOLD MINE SWINDLE AGAIN.—Editors Troy Whig.—Dr. John N. Scranton, as President of the Rensselaer County Gold and Silver Mining Company, makes a remarkable statement in your issue of yesterday, which we would correct. He states in his card that “not a dollar of the stock referred to has ever been issued. Nobody has ever been swindled, and it is strange that any such reports should ever gain currency in any respectable quarter. We challenge authority for the statement that any parties have invested in the stock of that corporation, or that any person has been cheated or defrauded by the company or its officers.” We never saw it stated that any stock had been issued, on the contrary, the New York Herald expressly asserted that Vandercook shrewdly avoided issuing any stock, as he professed to keep it out of the markets; but he gave receipts in which he bound himself to furnish the stock as soon as issued, and we, the undersigned, now hold the receipts given us by Simon Adolphus Vandercook, for the amount of cash paid by us, and for which we were to receive from him, an officer of the company, the stock we so purchased, being nine hundred dollars. Many others in this village, also in Waterloo, New York and other places, made similar investments in the bogus gold mine, and now hold similar receipts to those in our possession, and the very remarkable statement, made officially, by Dr. John Scranton, will no doubt surprise them as much as it astonished us, and the public generally. The statement which appeared in the New York Herald, exposing the extent of this gold mine swindle, we believe to be correct.
A. W. ALDRICH,
Lansingburgh, Oct. 30, ’67.
Troy Daily Whig. November 1, 1867: 4 col 4.
“Pittstown Gold Rush!” Pittstown Historical Society Newsletter. Fall 2002. http://pittstown.us/historical_society/newsletters/IssueIIwholeissue.pdf
See also The Austerlitz Cannibal