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The History Mystery #32

We have a lot of great information on Grub Gulch and the mines in that area, and good information and photographs of the Texas Flat Mine. But recently some folks have asked the Raymond Museum about the “French Gulch Mine” in our area.

There is a mine by that name up by Shasta, Calif., and there is a geographical name listed as French Gulch, but was there an actual mining operation there on the Fresno River?

Would love to know what was there and what type of operation they had at French Gulch!

Thank you,
Lynn Northrop, Raymond Museum

History Mystery #32

We got only one response to History Mystery #31, but that response was great! Newspaper articles at that time verify the information.

Thanks Mary, for taking the time to respond. We now have this information in our archives to share with others.

Mary Baloian

As a Senior Archaeologist with Applied EarthWorks, Inc., I was part of a research team piecing together the history of the Crane Valley (Bass Lake) Dam during its recent seismic upgrade.

The grave sites south of the Dam contain two grave markers marking the location of four burials – Theophilus Belmontes, Alex Carso, Agapito Mora, and George Pell. Three of the names are on one marker, while George Pell is listed by himself on the other marker.History Mystery 31 graves 1

History Mystery 31 graves - 2An article in the San Francisco Call on Mar. 6, 1910, reported that Alex Carsa (ending in an “a” not an “o”) and Al Mora, who were both employed by the San Joaquin Light and Power Company, were killed instantly when a derrick fell over at the Crane Valley quarry.

The article stated that four other workers were injured in the accident, one fatally. The state death index indicates that Belmontes died the same day as Carsa and Mora. There is a “Don Monte” listed in the newspaper article as wounded or, more specifically, crushed with internal injuries.

Is it possible that “Belmontes” and “Don Monte” are the same person and he is the individual of the four who was fatally injured and later died?

There are two George Pells listed in the death index between 1905 and 1939. Both died in Fresno—George A. Pell in September 1932 and George F. Pell in December 1908. If, in fact, either of these individuals are associated with the marked gravestone, it is probably the latter (George F. Pell) given the similarity in the date to the deaths of Carso and Mora and the third individual ”Belmontes/Don Monte.” If so, Pell would have died and been buried first (1908), with the others meeting their fate two years later (1910).

Although it is not certain how Pell died, the fact that Carso, Mora and Belmontes were buried at the same location suggest that Pell’s death also may have been linked to construction at the dam.

The mystery continues!

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