The village of Yorkville is situated on a narrow ridge running down between First and Second Brushy Canons, about one mile and a half north-east of Yankee Jim’s. At this place there are both tunnel and hydraulic diggings, some of which are very rich and have yielded immense sums of gold. The place has an average voting population of about ninety. The diggings were first discovered in 1853, by Ben. Moss, Frank Emmens and Henry Ewer, who sunk a shaft from the surface to the bed-rock on top of the ridge just below where the village now stands. The hill has been pierced by a large number of tunnels, some of which run entirely through it from one canon to the other. The business houses, at the present time, consist of one store, one billiard saloon and a boarding house, each of which is doing a good business. There have been a large number of tunnels run into the hills at this place, some of which cost as high as thirty thousand dollars.
Attempts have been made by large capitalists to penetrate the rich deposits in the Forest Hill Divide, by tunnels run through the bed rock from the Brushy Canon side of the ridge, but up to this time, although tunnels have been run a great way into the hill, at a very great expense, none of them have ever reached the main gravel deposits supposed to exist in the center of the hill. A great many, however, have obtained good paying dirt upon the rim rock, and although they failed in the main object of their enterprises, lost nothing by their investments. Some companies even yet, after six years of constant labor in running these tunnels, do not despair of yet reaching the ” main lead,” and at once becoming millionaires.
Sometimes called “Smithville,” is the center of a large mining district, composed principally of placer diggings, and known as ” Secret Diggings.” These mines were first struck in 1850, by Messrs. Post & Ripley, and Wm. Gamble, and the first work done was in the neighborhood of “New Castle,” which is now defunct as a town. Gradually the miners worked further down towards the plains, where was built a new town, which was named Stewart’s Flat; but, like most mining towns of an early date, it has gone into a decline.
Pine Grove was established about the same time – as Stewart’s Flat, and has improved very gradually, until it is now the center of a population of some 1,500 inhabitants. Very many of the residents of the district are permanent, having large farms fenced in and under cultivation. The mines will without doubt last for a long term of years, and the town has a fair prospect of a lengthened existence.
Among our businessmen we count one of our old pioneers, L. G. Smith, at present one of the representatives of this county in the Legislature, who was the first to establish a trading post at this place. Another is Wm. D. Perkins, familiarly known as Dana Perkins, proprietor of the Pine Grove Hotel. He has a fine racetrack near his house for quarter racing, as well as one of the finest dancing-halls in the State. A large proportion of the mining population are “forty-niners.”
We have a Dashaway Association at this place, which has been in existence since the 20th of January 1860. It consists of some thirty-five members. The officers are: John F. Weaver, President; C. A. Mullen, First Vice President; B. W. Neff, Second Vice President; J. W. Belden, Recording Secretary; W. Becker, Financial Secretary; Wm. Vosburgh, Treasurer. They have now a library of two hundred and eighty volumes. The Post Office address for Pine Grove is Secret Ravine Post Office; Edward Cook, Postmaster.
The officers of the township of which this is the center are: John B. White, Collector, office at Pine Grove; G. C. Harmon, Assessor, office at Stewart’s Flat; Edward Cook, Justice of the Peace, office at Pine Grove; Samuel Ray, Justice of the Peace, office on the Auburn Road, two miles from Pine Grove.