The Prospector

The Prospector


One of many definitions Webster uses in defining the word “Prospect” is “To explore or examine something: as, to prospect a district for gold.” Another definition is “An act of looking forward: anticipation.” Without a doubt, the mining prospector had to have these qualities of looking forward, of exploring and examining with great anticipation. The prospector had to be one of the world’s greatest optimists. Getting a grub stake that would make it possible to venture into unexplored mountainous areas, with nothing more than maybe a mule, pick and shovel and sufficient amount of food to last maybe a month was just a way of life for them. They would hear about an area where some other prospector had made a find of ore and they would take off to stake a claim in the same area. Hope was the driving force because they were going to “hit it” and find even richer ore.

Emil J. Raddatz was a typical prospector. He did not finish high school in St. Louis but had read about the West and all the opportunities the West provided. He and a couple of other young men drove cattle from Missouri to Colorado in 1874. Upon arriving in Colorado, he heard the men talking about the finds of rich ore in the mountains to the west. He had been a clerk in a store, and his family had tried farming but found that was not very rewarding.  His older brother had gone to Mexico to be involved with mining property. He returned to St. Louis but was not happy and made the decision to return to Colorado and prospect for “rich ore.” He worked in the mines in Leadville, and Silverton Colorado to gain some experience and read what few books that were available regarding mining. Miners in those days worked 7 days a week and for little money. His goal was to build up a “grub stake, buy the mule and necessary hardware to prospect, and strike out on his own. This he did in the Colorado mountains with little or no success. At one time he helped build the jail in Pueblo, Colorado by mixing cement in order to get another grub stake for his prospecting.

After seven years of prospecting and working for a grub stake, he went to join his brother, Gustav in Durango, Mexico where he worked for the Niedringhaus Company with mining interests in Durango. Two years later he returned to the United States and went back to Colorado. In 1887, Emil with his new wife moved to Stockton, Utah where he was associated with the Hornerine Mine as superintendent of the mine. But he had a dream of developing his own mine. He had started at the very bottom of the mining industry as a mucker in Leadville and with hard work and a keen mind had become something of a mining expert. His studies of mining law would serve him well in the fulfillment of his dream.

In July of 1907, Emil, representing the Hornerine Mine, went to Ely, Nevada to a meeting regarding railroads. While there he met John Bestlemeyer from Provo, Utah who had some claims in the East Tintic district. Tintic was the name of an Indian chief whose tribe had roamed this part of the country long before the Mormons arrived. There are some stories told by the Indians that Spanish explorers, deserters of the Spanish army in Mexico, had mined in this area.

Emil confirmed the Bestlemeyer claims and started out to seek funds for development. In October, 1907 he formed the Tintic Standard Mining Company. Bestlemeyer turned over his four claims for 75,000 shares of the 1,175,000 shares for which the company was incorporated.

Emil was a gambler in many respects. He mortgaged his home and property to help fulfill his dream. He gambled other peoples’ money with 19 assessments of the stock.  He even took a $5000 loan from his mother-in-law, and from what I have learned, I would face a firing squad rather than face her for failing to repay this loan. In fact, he had invested $407,000 in his dream before a vein of ore of any consequence was opened…read more in the full biography of E.J. Raddatz


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