Miner's Hopes for Rich Strike Continue into His 80s
Tiaman Hatcher heard that an old ore-grinding mill near Rogue River was to be sold for back taxes. He was 61 years old and by then had been a miner, farmer, mechanic, road builder, carpenter, and even an oxen driver.
So Tiaman and his wife bought the 20-acre claim in 1960 and moved into a small cabin that had been abandoned to goats and deer. Discovering old mine shafts, he and some partners chiseled the gold-bearing ore out of the remote mine shafts with picks and shovels, and then packed it over rough, steep hillsides in five-gallon pails to the old mill. Hatcher wouldn’t start up his diesel-powered, rickety mill to crush the ore until he had brought in three tons. That took a lot of buckets. Later, he cut a rocky road, so that a tractor and trailer could bring the ore over half the way, but it still had to be hand-carried uphill.
When his wife died, Hatcher had no savings after the medical bills, but at age 82 in 1981 he kept mining, positive that he’d strike it rich someday.
Source: Korbulic, Mary. "An Ounce of Gold for a Ton of Ore." Daily Courier 4 Feb. 1981 [Grants Pass, Ore.], section d. Web. 22 Feb. 2014.