Thomas Travis Lane

Thomas Travis Lane

California Gold Miner and Entreprenuer







Tom T. Lane

1869: Thomas Travis Lane was born 1869 in Knights Ferry, California. When he was an infant, the Lanes lived in a remote Nevada mining camp in the Pine Nut district. He learned all aspects of mining from an early age as they moved from camp to camp. Tom was educated at Santa Clara College, then returned to Angels Camp and became superintendent of the Utica Mine and then owned the Big Hurrah Mine in Alaska. His bravery was tested many times during his life of mining.

Tom T, Lane 1905 Biography from the Successful American, "Nome and Seward Peninsula : history, description, biographies and stories 1902-1905"

San Francisco Call, April 11, 1895

   Bursting of the Utica Company's Monster Reservoir - PERISHES IN HIS HOME - Otto Lundt Meets Instant Death In the Path of the Torrent. HOUSES ARE CARRIED AWAY.
Five Dwellings Torn From Their Foundations and Borne Down Mokelumne River
ANGELS CAMP, Cal., April 11, 1895 - At least one life was lost and property was damaged to the extent of thousands of dollars by the bursting of the Utica Water Company's reservoir, northeast of this city, to-day. Without warning the fifty feet of the north wing gave way, and the 270,000 gallons contained in the reservoir escaped with a rush.
   Otto Lundt and his sister lived about two miles below the dam, on San Antonio Creek, and were in the garden when they saw the water coming. The sister escaped to higher ground, but Lundt, who is 80 years of age, attempted to save $500 in cash and valuable jewelry which were in the house. Before he could get out the torrent struck the building and crushed it to atoms. Although , a large number have been searching for Lundt's body it has not been found, and is supposed to have been carried into Mokelumne River, twenty miles distant.
   Superintendent Thomas T. Lane and several attaches of the Utica Company had narrow escapes from death. They had been notified that there was danger of a break and hastened to the scene. They were standing on the dam when the reservoir wall gave way, and narrowly escaped being caught in the rushing torrent. Besides the Lundt house four, other buildings along the creek were washed away, but so far as known no other lives were lost. The reservoir cost about $40,000. It may not have to be entirely rebuilt, but the Utica' s loss will be at least $7000, exclusive of heavy damages which will have to be paid to individuals whose homes were washed away. Courtesy of California Digital Newspaper Collection

San Francisco Call, June 13, 1895
New Fire Company at Angels Camp. ANGELS CAMP, Cal., June 12.— The employes of the Utica Company have organized another fire company here. Superintendent Tom T. Lane has ordered from San Francisco all paraphernalia necessary, and when it arrives to-morrow he will present it to the new company. Heretofore Angels Camp has been poorly protected against fire and insurance rates have been very high, but, with two well equipped fire companies and "giants" that can throw streams over the whole business portion of the place, it is expected that rates will be materially reduced. Courtesy of California Digital Newspaper Collection

Utica Mine 1895 - Gallows Fram and Mill

San Francisco Call, July 23, 1895
FIRE IN UTICA MINE Angels Camp Greatly Excited Over the Catastrophe.
GREAT DAMAGE CAUSED. Seven Men Rescued by the t Brave Action of Superintendent Lane. THE WORKS BEING FLOODED. It Is Classed as the Largest GoldProducing- Mine. ln the United States. ANGELS CAMP, Cal., July 22.— Not since the great cave at the Utica mine in 1889, when seventeen men were killed, has there been such a scene of | excitement as was witnessed here last night a few. minutes after 7 o'clock, when the' fire alarm was sounded and it was learned that the interior of the Utica mine, the support of 'the town, was on fire.
   Smoke was seen issuing from the Stickle and the Utica north "shaft, ' and as soon as the first load of men was 'ascertained that the fire had originated in a stope at the 800-foot level, 300 feet north of the Stickle shaft.
   As there are three shafts, most of the men were soon in safety, but when it was ascertained that seven men still remained on the 900-foot . level, below the . raging flames, the excitement that prevailed, on top can only be imagined.
    Superintendent Tom T. Lane headed a rescuing 'party, and put in a bulkhead of sufficient strength to restrain the smoke for a few minutes within the stope. The heroic young superintendent then gave the signal to be lowered 100 feet. The lamps of the seven imprisoned men had been extinguished and five minutes were consumed in groping their way to the skip. When the party reached the top they were in an exhausted and fainting condition, but all soon reached the surface in safety. Had Tom Lane hesitated two minutes the men would have perished, and the seven miners owe their lives to his bravery.
    When it was ascertained to a certainty that no others remained in the mine, after the smoke and gas had begun to pour forth in such volumes as to repel all attempts to descend, the mouths of the shafts were sealed and an endeavor made to smother the fire with steam. After this had proved ineffectual orders were given to flood the mine. Every man in the town volunteered his services and worked as though his existence depended upon his efforts.
    Although the mouths of the shafts were closed the gas found many avenues of escape through fissures in the ground caused by abandoned shafts and the porous character of the earth. Thirteen hundred inches of water are pouring into the mine.
   It is estimated it will require 18,000,000 gallons to reach the stope where the fire began, and that ninety hours will be consumed in getting this water to' the seat of the fire, and it will take three weeks or more to get the water out. This is a favorable view of the situation. Many of the miners predict that, a large area, of the underground workings will be burned before the water will reach the fire.
    The loss cannot, be estimated with any degree of correctness, but assuming that the fire is confined to a radius of a hundred feet, the water and "flames will probably do damage to the amount of a quarter of a million.
   It is believed that the fire was caused by a blast which was set off i just before the men came off the 6 o'clock shift.
   Scores of employes are stationed along the Utica Company's ditches and pipes as a protection against any malicious interference with the water system.
    In a bulkhead in the Utica shaft last night, a few feet from the surface,108 men were overcome by the gas. Some of them were in a serious condition, but, it is now believed all - will recover. The fumes of the rising carbonic acid gas were so intense last night that many families in the neighborhood had to seek other quarters.
   The Utica is the largest gold-producing mine in the United States. It is said to yield far in excess of $500,000 per month. Over 700 men are employed, and at least 500 of these will be thrown out of employment for six weeks or two months. Alvinza Hayward, C. D. Lane and the Hobart estate own the property.
    At midnight Superintendent Lane predicts that the burning chambers in the mine will be entirely submerged to-morrow and the fire squelched. A million gallons of water are flowing hourly into the mine. AT 'THE COMPANY'S OFFICE. James Cross Tells of the Mine and Its Workings. James Cross, president of the Hobart Estate Company which, with Alvinza Hayward, is interested in the Utica mine, said last evening, in the office of the company "The latest advice we have is that a stream of water has been brought to bear on the fire direct and if it is not spread too far the flames will no doubt soon be under control. "The Utica mine has been J worked for many years," continued Mr. Cross, "and at the time of the breaking out of the fire was a most productive enterprise, and had been for two or three years, the work being done in fine bodies of ore. It has three working shafts and runs 120 stamps, which are kept at work all the time, except when the mill has to be | stopped for necessary repairs. The mine, which is well timbered gave employment to an average of 475 men a day.
   "Of course, we do not know at this time the extent of the damage done by the fire, but this we do know, that the water of the old Union Ditch Company, which belongs to the Utica Company now, and flows between 18,000 and 20,000 miners inches, under a strong pressure, has been turned into the mine for the purpose of flooding it. This will stop the fire unless the stream should give out before the mine is flooded. At all events, the fire and the flooding will occasion some delay before operations can be resumed, how long cannot be told until the water is pumped out." Courtesy of California Digital Newspaper Collection

San Francisco Call, July 24, 1895
THE DISASTER AT ANGELS Fire in the Utica Mine Subdued by Flooding the Shafts. Eighty Workmen Were Overcome by Gas and Had a Narrow Escape From Death.
ANGELS CAMP, Cal., July 23.— The fire in the Utica mine was subdued this morning, and to-night a less despondent feeling prevails. The enormous streams of water which have been poured into the mine since Sunday have flooded it to a depth of fifty feet above the 800-foot level, where the fire started and the shafts were unsealed.
   An exciting scene was witnessed at the Utica north shaft when the bulkhead was being removed. The gas which ascended was so intense as to overpower eighty men. One employe, William Gillrooney, was knocked out by the fumes seven times. Superintendent Tom T. Lane, who was at the front directing operations, was also overcome.
    It is estimated that 40,000,000 gallons of water is in the mine. This afternoon work was begun to get this out. How long it will take to eet the mine dry is beyond calculation. Three extra pumps are to be set up to push operations as soon as possible. The waste pipes and ditches are booming with the rush of water which is being taken out. The work of purifying the mine is going on rapidly, and it is expected that the atmosphere of the Utica will be such that miners will be able to resume work at the upper level to-morrow night.
    Every idle man has been pressed into service to clean away the debris, mend the pipes broken by the great pressure of water, and put all things into running order again. The damage will not be bo great as was at first reported, and $25,000 will undoubtedly cover it, if no further accident occurs. Courtesy of California Digital Newspaper Collection

San Francisco Call July 26, 1895
UTICA'S SUPERINTENDENT. Tom Lane Is in Town Buying Big Pumps to Lift the Water Out. THE FIRE CAUSED BY A FUSE. He Says That the Great Gold Producer's Wealth Is Not Half Developed Yet. Tom Lane, the plucky young superintendent of the Utica mine, who at the risk of his life went down in the shafts and brought up the last miners in the burning mine, arrived here yesterday morning. Mr. Lane is a young man of some 26 years, and for his age has probably more responsibility than any man in a like position in that section of the country. His father is one of the owners and general manager of Hayward & Lane's immense interests.
   Mr. Lane s business in town is to purchase and ship down to Angels Camp some big pumps to hasten the work of getting the water out of the Utica. "There are about 40,000,000 gallons of water in the mine," he said. "How long it will take to get it all out I cannot say just yet, but everything will be done to hurry it up and get the men at work again. We have at the mine a big Cornish pump and two smaller ones with a capacity for pumping out 20,000 gallons an hour. I shall send up from here at least two pumps, one with a capacity of 48,000 and the other of 18,000 gallons an hour. These will lift 2,000,000 gallons a day. We may be at work in two or three weeks again, but it certainly will not be over a month at farthest."
   Asked about the cause of the fire, Mr. Lane said there was no doubt that it was caused by accident. "A piece of fuse from a shot was probably thrown against some timbers in a dry place. You know how these old timbers will be crushed almost into splinters by the pressure and be easily ignited." Mr. Lane was very modest about his gallant conduct in rescuing the men from the 1100-foot level. "The men had to be got out," he said. He spoke of having been overcome more than once by the foul gases when he and a shift-boss went to open up the bulkheads after the tire was extinguished. "Couldn't very well find the men," he said. "But then there was not so much danger to any one with a strong constitution."
   Asked about the ore in the upper part of the mine and keeping the mills going, he said : "We shall need all the power for the pumps and shall not run the mill on that ore. We have plenty of it, of course. There is enough in the upper part of tne mine to keep us going six or seven years." Speaking of the outlook in the lower levels, he said: "The ore shows bigger and richer as we go down. In fact, I believe that with all that has been done we have not more than begun to open the mine." During the fire the superintendent's principal adviser and assistant, William Miller, general underground foreman, displayed admiral self-possession and bravery. Courtesy of California Digital Newspaper Collection

San Francisco Call, October 22, 1895
UTICA MINE'S LOSS. Cal., Oct. 21.— ANGELS CAMP. Tom T. Lane has tendered his resignation as superintendent of the Utica mine. He proposes to devote his attention to the development of a mine near Jenny Lind in which he is interested. The extent of the ore body in the Jenny Lind mine is incalculable. The sulphuret is of a rebellious character, but a large quantity of it was successfully worked two weeks ago and proved very rich. The rock can be extracted through tunnels and drifts without sinking, as there is practically a solid mountain of it. It is predicted that this property will exceed in production the great Utica mine. A sixty-stamp mill will be erected immediately. Superintendent Lane's resignation has not been accepted, but it is generally understood he will insist upon it unless arrangements are made so that he can devote a portion of his time to his own interests. If a successor to him should be appointed the responsibility will probably fall on William Miller, for years underground foreman. Courtesy of California Digital Newspaper Collection

San Francisco Call, April 7, 1897
Wealthy Mining Company. The Jenny Lind Mining Company has been incorporated and starts out with a capital stock of $1,000,000 fully subcribed, which shows an unusual degree of confidence of the organizers in the new company. The incorporation and stock holders are as follows: Tom T. Lane, $999,500; C. D. Lane. $200; L. W. Shinn,sloo: Alvinza Hayward, $100; H. G. Stevenson, $100.
Courtesy of California Digital Newspaper Collection

San Francisco Call, August 27, 1897:

Superintendent Lane Orders All of the Miners to Report on Duty at Once.
ANGELS CAMP, Cal., Aug 26.— The fire in the Utica mine is under control, and the mills have started. Superintendent Thomas T. Lane has issued a notice for all the miners to report on duty. He is highly praised for the excellent judgment he displayed in combating the flames. He has saved many thousands of dollars to the company, and restored the confidence of the business community of Angels and the surrounding country.
Courtesy of California Digital Newspaper Collection

San Francisco Call, September 3, 1897
No Mining Until Spring. MILTON, Cal., Sept. 2.— Thomas T. Lane, manager and principal owner of the Plymouth Rock mine, near this place, has decided that the mine will not be reopened until next spring. The miners who were employed by Lane have left this v.cinity to seek employment elsewhere, and consequently the closing of the mine \< a serious blow to the business interests of this place.Courtesy of California Digital Newspaper Collection

San Francisco Call, July 13, 1909 :
Thomas T. Lane, Mining Man, Loses : $37,000 in Short Time on Racetrack
"Continued ill Luck Made Him Bad Tempered", Says His Wife
Thomas Travis Lane, the wealthy son of a still wealthier father, Charles D. Lane, the mining millionaire, made no defense yesterday to the application of Marguerite Irene Lane for divorce and Judge Mogan signed the decree giving the wife freedom. She also gets a substantial property settlement, but as this was framed up out of court no hint of its size has been allowed to leak out. Lane's gambling was the principal cause of his family troubles. His wlfe testified that he spent a great deal of his time at the racetrack and lost heavily. "Didn't -he lose a very large sum of money just before he left you?" asked Attorney Getz. of Robinson & Getz, who represented Mrs. Lane. "Yes. he lost $37,000 at the racetrack." she answered. Mrs. Lane testified further that her husband was always in a very bad humor while he was losing money. He "wreaked" his temper on her. she said. The divorce was on the ground of desertion. Lane- left his wife December 5,. 1907, and she has never seen him since, "she- testified. "He "decided that he didn't like married life and he Just got up and left," said the witness. The Lanes- were married in January, 1904, and have no children. The corroborating witness was W. J. O'Connor, who described himself as a salesman, living at 562 Sutter street. O'Connor said that, rather more than a year ago Lane left for Nome, saying he hoped he never would see his wife again. A representative of the firm ot Solinsky & Wehe was in court, representing Lane, but no questions were asked of the witnesses.

Courtesy of California Digital Newspaper Collection





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