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Tom T. Lane

TOM T. LANE is the elder son of Charles D. Lane. He was born in Stanislaus County,  California, May 3, 1869, and educated at Santa Clara College, a prominent educational institution of the state. He has been connected with the work of mining since his earliest recollection. When he was six or seven years old his father was placer mining in Idaho, and with plate and quicksilver the boy did some mining for himself, learning to clean the plates and retort the gold. He did not make a fortune, but the work profitable early experience, and the returns from it made enough for "spending money." When he was attending school his vacations were spent on a hydraulic mine operated by his father in Del Norte County, California. He learned the business of mining just as a fanner's boy learns farming, and has been operating both placer and quartz mines for himself ever since he was twenty years old. His early operations were in California and Mexico, but he has been identified with the Nome country since the beginning of active work in this region.

In 1898 he was instrumental in outfitting G. W. Price to go to Kotzebue Sound. Mr. Price was returning from this trip with "nary a color in his poke" when he arrived at Golovin Bay and heard of the strike on Anvil, and was a member of the party that organized the Nome District. In fact he was the only member of the party who was familiar with mining and mining laws. Mr. Lane did not go to Nome the following year, 1899, on account of his interests in Mexico, but he was there in 1900, the year of the receivers, and had charge of the vast interests of the Wild Goose Company during his father's enforced absence in California. It was during this period that he bought the Mattie, Lena, Edna and Rosalind for the Wild Goose Company. The price paid seemed to be large, but it set the seal of value on these bench properties, and subsequent developments have more than justified the investment.

The season was near the close when Mr. Lane found his first opportunity to undertake some explorations in a comparatively unknown and un-prospected region of the peninsula. He had brought to Alaska a complete telephone equipment, and this had been duly installed in Nome. In the latter part of September he went into the Bluestone country but on account of the storms and heavy rains he was not permitted to do any prospecting. He extended his trip to the Kougarok, and has been acquiring property in this district every season since then. His faith in the mineral wealth of this district has never abated He bought benches at a time when many people were abandoning creek claims and decrying this part of the country, and is now among the largest property holders in the district. He built the first ditch in this part of the country. Work on this ditch was begun in the latter part of 1903 and completed last fall. It is ten miles and three quarters long, and brings water from Coffee Creek to No. 8 Dahl, covering not less than eight miles of auriferous gravel benches on Coffee, Dahl and Quartz Creeks. This ditch was constructed for fourteen cents the foot, costing less than any other ditch of similar capacity and length in Northwestern Alaska. He is constructing another ditch from Henry Creek to Homestake, a distance of thirteen miles; and crossing the Kougarok a ditch will be constructed ten miles to Arctic creek. This ditch will be twelve feet broad on the bottom, and will carry 3,000 inches of water, 600 inches being available in the dryest [sic] part of a dry season. The ground that these ditches will cover will not be worked out in a generation. Up to this date most of the work on the Kougarok has been of a preliminary character, but the season of 1905 should witness the beginning of work that will produce immediate and profitable returns. Mr. Lane will operate extensively on Dahl, Arctic and Homestake Creeks. In 1901 Mr. Lane bought the Maudeline, Diadem and the Little Jim fraction, adjoining the Mattie claim on the left limit of Anvil, and has successfully operated these properties.

T. T. Lane developed the first quartz mine in Seward Peninsula. In 1 902 he acquired a quartz ledge on Hurrah, a tributary of Solomon River, and the work he did on the vein that season revealed enough good ore to warrant the erection of a stamp mill. Accordingly a ten-stamp mill was put on the mine in 1 903. Ten stamps have since been added to the mill, which has been profitably operated since the dropping of the first stamp. Mr. Lane has an undeveloped quartz property on Trilby Mountain, in the Solomon River region, and he thinks it is a promising prospect.

Mr. Lane's residence is in San Francisco. He is a member of the Bohemian and San Francisco Clubs of that city. He belongs to the Masons, Elks, Workmen and Native Sons. Possessing an inquiring and inventive mind, the experience of near a quarter of a century in mining has qualified him for the work he is doing. He has within him the spirit for big undertakings. This came to him as an inheritance. His independence of character is shown by the disposition manifested when he was a boy to work for himself. With the experience he has had. the perception he possesses, the force that dominates his character, and the opportunities in the Northland he has created for himself, he should within the next few years develop an extensive and a very valuable property on Seward Peninsula.

Source: Nome and Seward Peninsula by R. S. Harrison. Seattle: The Metropolitan Press, 1905.





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