| Nine Mile Ranch, located
nine miles from Aurora was once owned by Captain John Nye. It was here that that Sam
Clemens spent a week nursing his ailing friend. Sam and his buddy Cal Higbie, had just
discovered a "blind lead" into the Wide West Mine days before and had filed a
claim on it. Each took off to pursue other interests thinking that the other would do the
necessary assessment work before the 10 day time requirement expired. Sam went to Nine
Mile Ranch, while Cal went off to find the Lost Cement Mine.
Let's quote Sam here on what
transpired after he had walked 9 miles back to Aurora from Nine Mile Ranch on the evening
of the 10th day after the claim had been filed:
"As I raised the hill (the hill where the cemetery is located) overlooking the
town, it lacked fifteen minutes of twelve. I glanced at the hill over beyond the canyon,
and in the bright moonlight saw what appeared to be about half the population of the
village massed on and around the Wide West croppings. My heart gave an exulting bound, and
I said to myself, "They have made a new strike to-night--and struck it richer than
ever, no doubt" I started over there, but gave it up . I said the "strike"
would keep, and I had climbed hills enough for one night.
It was a little after one o'clock. As I entered the cabin door, tired but jolly,
the dingy light of a tallow candle revealed Higbie, sitting by the pine table gazing
stupidly at my note, which he held in his fingers, and looking pale, old, and haggard. I
halted, and looked at him. He looked at me, stolidly. I said:
"Higbie, what--what is it?"
"We're ruined--we didn't do the work--THE BLIND LEAD'S RELOCATED!"
It was enough. I sat down sick, grieved--broken-hearted, indeed. A minute before, I was
rich and brimful of vanity; I was a pauper now, and very meek. We sat still an hour, busy
with thought, busy with vain and useless self-upbraidings, busy with "Why didn't I do
this, and why didn't I do
that," but neither spoke a word. Then we dropped into mutual explanations, and the
mystery was cleared away. It came out that Higbie had depended on me, as I had on him, and
as both of us had on the foreman. The folly of it! It was the first time that ever staid
and steadfast Higbie had left an
important matter to chance or failed to be true to his full share of a
Latter Sam wrote "I always have it to say that I was absolutely and
unquestionably worth a million dollars, once, for ten days".
By the way the Wide West went on
to become one of the richest producers of Aurora!