Updated: Sep 14
This year’s newsletter is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Edward Allen Metz. Ed served on UGMM’s board of directors from 2006 until he had to resign in 2021 due to health issues. Ed was at the center of the Museum’s annual gold show all 10 years that it was held. (2009-2019) He was at the center both figuratively and literally. Many of you may remember him sitting in the center of the gold display sharing his geological knowledge. Ed, along with sons Franklin and Tim with grandson Roman came to Alleghany every year. Ed, Tim and Roman travelled from Nebraska while Franklin came from Chicago! If you took a 16 to 1 mine tour during a gold show you likely had “the boys” as Ed called them, assisting on your tour.
Ed at his Gold Show “station” with son Tim Metz (standing) June 2016 Photo courtesy of Lillian Downing.
_____________________________________ The museum kept regular hours for the first time in many years for the last two summers: 2021 was made possible by Wayne Babros, Lindy Laird and Chris Smith. 2022 was covered by Wayne Babros and Chris Smith. This is a huge commitment. We wish to thank them for their dedication. Hopefully the doors will be open in 2023 as well: Weekends Memorial Day through Labor Day. Call or email in advance. Photograph album of Chinese men & women in Sierra County by Rae Bell I was so excited to discover this item on the California Historical Society website: “The collection consists of a photograph album kept by justice of the peace John T. Mason in Downieville, California. It contains 176 identification photographs of Chinese men and women in Sierra County, California, dated between 1890 and 1930, with the bulk of the photographs taken in Downieville by D. D. Beatty in 1894. “ Finding the album was bitter-sweet. It does include several individuals who resided in Alleghany and even one who was born here (pictured below). Prior to this discovery you could count on one hand the number of Chinese individuals in the museum’s photo collection. The bitter side is the reason for the documentation which was a general climate of suspicion.
Twenty-two-year-old Quok Moon. Occupation Miner. From John T. Mason’s photo album. Courtesy of the California Historical Society. Notice the little heart pin on his tie? What stories would he tell us? His long braid or “queue” is wrapped around his head. Incidentally, the book: California’s Pioneer Moun-taineer of Rabbit Creek by Albert Dressler circa 1930, tells John T. Mason’s Sierra County stories. Alleghany Tales, Homegrown Miner By TM (Bud) DeGrio It was April 1961, my 16th birthday! I couldn’t wait to “hire on” at the 16 to 1 gold mine for the summer. The mine boss was Wilford Hart; underground boss, Tom Hogan Sr.; mill boss, JB Hunley. These men were “legends” in my mind. ALL had given me a “lick or two”, for disorderly conduct, during my first 16 years of life in Alleghany! These men also knew that I was a product of Dad, Mike DeGrio, another “legend”, but not in my mind! You see, my dad forced me to work at his mines for a $1.00/DAY. Whenever I asked for a raise, he often told me that “I should be paying HIM for the experience I was getting”!! Well, the 16 was paying $1.63/HR for a nipper* but one had to be 16 years old to legally work underground back then. So, in early June, I quit Dad and hired on with the 16 to 1 mine. (I’ll save that story for another time)
The DeGrio Family 1948 Top Row L to R Grand papa McKillop, Margaret Degrio with baby Mickey, Mike DeGrio. Bottom row kids: Kathleen, Patty and Thomas (Bud) DeGrio The Big Day was near, so I went up to Alleghany Supply Co. and Joe Sbaffi (another legend) “sold” me a new set of *diggers, boots and hard hat. Dad told me to buy my own since I wasn’t working for him! Joe was my first credit account, allowing me to charge the cost of diggers, etc. until I got my first paycheck, which the Mine gave to Joe…..I got whatever money that was left over. Joe always got paid FIRST!
The day finally came and reported to the “Dry House” to change into my diggers and to get “trained” (do’s & don’t’s) but some time was spent on high-grading*….. get caught, get no pay & get fired! A lot of jokes about lunch pails??!! Tom Hogan partnered me to miner Jim Davis, I was to be his nipper, chuck tender, bit beater or go-for this or that or whatever Jim needed. The mine was actually in the “retreat mode” and crews were removing gold from “pillars” left in previously mined areas as ground support. Anyway, FUD (Jim’s “handle” given by other miners) and I were assigned to the 1700’ level of the 49 Winze. Access was via the 16 main shaft (Slim Clemo, Hoistman) down to the 1400’ level. Then tram over to the 49 winze to be lowered to the 1700 level. I believe the winze was flooded to the 1800 level. We were removing a quartz structure that had been by-passed in earlier operations and after each shot (blast), Tom Hogan and/or JB Hunley would “inspect” the muck pile & face for gold. They would sack the high-grade before progressing. Sometimes we would “sift” thru the entire round, by hand, until all gold was removed! It was exciting at first, but it got really tedious after a few hours of picking high-grade. We were wasting the muck below the 1700 level and it could not be recovered later. The time passed quickly but not without an event or two. I was “burning the candle” at both ends, working 6 days and “chasing rabbits” at night! I developed the uncanny ability to sleep standing up while working underground…the story goes like this: FUD is at the face drilling (using post & liner drill) & it’s very loud. I’m back about 50’ with light off, Tom Hogan walks up behind me, asks a few questions, no response from me. He realizes that I’m asleep and kicks my feet out from under me!! I woke up, face down, in the piss ditch!! I accused FUD of the sabotage and was fuming mad, until the end of shift, when we rang out, ole Slim Clemo couldn’t stop laughing!! Reaching the dry house, the whole dang crew was laughing at me. That was bad enough, but upon leaving, I grabbed my “feed sack” off the rack, the handle broke and it hit the ground, spilling “high-grade” all over the ground!! For weeks after, I was the brunt of their good humor. More Tales to follow. *Definitions Nipper Inexperienced mining position, assists lead miner with everything. Diggers Waterproof bib overalls or rain pants High-grading: Stealing high grade (gold) ore
Thank you to Lillian Downing for serving as director from 2011 into 2021 and especially for helping with the Gold Show gift shop & raffle!
_______________________________________________________________________ Two Corporations and a Gold Mine Because of the museum’s longtime association with the Sixteen to One Mine, many people are unaware that Underground Gold Miners Museum is a separate entity. This is compounded by the fact that many people do not understand the difference between the Sixteen to One Mine and Original Sixteen to One Mine, Inc. Underground Gold Miners of California Museum aka Underground Gold Miners Museum, is a non-profit corporation incorporated on February 16, 1995 by Michael Miller, Thomas Woodfin and Janice Street. The articles of incorporation state its purpose as: “To provide educational services that preserve, protect and promote past, present and future underground mining resources.” The Sixteen to One Mine is the hole in the ground, the gold mine itself. The claim was located in 1896 by Alleghany native Thomas Bradbury. Several nearby mines have been connected to the Sixteen to One Mine by underground tunnels over the years, these include The Tightner, The Red Star and the Twenty-One Tunnel. Note: the word “original” is not part of the mine’s name! Original Sixteen to One Mine, Inc. is a corporation, incorporated on October 6, 1911 by JG Jury, WI Smart, and HK Montgomery as a privately held corporation. To the best of our knowledge, it is the oldest Gold Mining Corporation in the United States. On May 19, 1989 the stock was publicly listed for the first time. Filings regarding recent ownership changes can be found on the SEC website: sec.gov The CORPORATION Original Sixteen to One Mine, Inc. has owned the Sixteen to One Mine (hole in the ground) since 1911.
Dr. Edward Allen Metz Nov. 30, 1936 ~July 6, 2022
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to George Edward Metz and Emma Dolqueist Metz. Ed received a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Mining from Drexel University. During this time, he was married and raised three daughters. He went on to achieve his Doctorate in Medicine from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He practiced medicine in Harrisburg, PA and Port Allegany, PA, where he met Gay Gilmore. Their love for medicine made a strong connection. They married Nov. 23, 1978 in Nazlini, AZ. Their union led to the adoption of two boys that completed their family. They had medical practices in Sioux City, IA, Ganado, AZ, Kemmerer, WY, and Crawford, NE. Ed entered the military in Dec. 1958 as a National Guard Enlistee. He later received a direct commission in the Medical Corps of the US Army Reserve. He was promoted to colonel on March 11, 1997. He had numerous military awards and achievements. He retired from the military on Nov. 30th, 2000, his 64th birthday. He was honored by the State of South Dakota, where Nov. 30th was named “Col. Edward A. Metz Day”. He served his country for 21 years retiring as a full bird colonel. Ed is survived by his wife of 44 years Gay Gilmore-Metz, his 5 children Donna Metz of Laurel, MD, Joanne Metz (Harvard) Hitchcock of Olean, NY, Barbara Metz (Clyde) Franklin of Omaha, NE, Franklin Gilmore-Metz of Chicago, IL, and Timothy (Aubrey) Gilmore-Metz of Crawford, NE. His seven grandchildren: Jennifer, Lilly, & Ivy Spicer, Jamie Molyneaux, Tyrone Franklin, Andrea Lopez, Gabrielle Franklin, Jackie Hitchcock, Roman Gilmore-Metz and his eleven great grandchildren: Carter, Ophelia & Silas Molyneaux, , Norah, Etta & Sallie Franklin, Coraline Carucci, Jaylen & Nya Lopez. Donations in honor of Dr. Metz can be made to Underground Gold Miners Museum.
A memory of Ed Metz By Edda Snyder
At the last gold show, I was circling the cases, taking a minute to look at each piece when I noticed a gold tooth nestled among the specimens. I looked up at Ed and asked, "Okay, what's with the tooth?" His eyes lit up mischievously and he said, "Oh, that's my tooth. Been waiting for somebody to notice it for a couple of years now. You're the first." We laughed.
________________________________________________ Gold and Arsenopyrite with an Unusual Habit – From the Sixteen to One Mine is the title of an article written by Dr. Edward A. Metz and published in the Mineral News Vol. 37, No. 9 Sept. 2021. Ed did research for this article for many years. The project was spurred by some Sixteen to One specimens that had been misidentified by at least one geologist as gold and “stibnite”. Since there was no record of stibnite occurring in our area, Ed took it upon himself to have one of the specimens analyzed in a laboratory, only to discover that it was an unusual form of Arsenopyrite. To get a copy of the Mineral News send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 434-964-0875. Please let them know that Dr. Metz and Underground Gold Miners Museum referred you.