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in this bill is usually regarded as a function of local State and county authorities, I believe that Congress may well consider the propriety of undertaking it in the sparsely inhabited desert regions where the great body of lands are public lands which yield no taxes and, being practically uninhabitable, are likely to remain public lands and 80 continue to be unavailable as local sources of revenue.
The following speak for themselves:
BONES OF DESERT'S VICTIM FOUND NEAR SPRING-MAN DIES OF THIRST CLOSE TO
WATER-SKELETON MAY NOT BE IDENTIFIED.
[Special to the Express.)
SAN BERNARDINO, April 4. Bleached by desert winds,
the bones of an unknown prospector were found far out on the bleak plains in the "Willie Boy" country, and tell the story of another victim of thirst.
The man had almost reached Surprise Springs. Whether in his delirium he did not know water was at hand, or was too weak to dig the sand out from the water hole, will never be known.
Deputy Sheriff Reche, who was traveling the route over which he had aided in driving "Willie Boy” to his death, five years ago, found the skeleton.
The man had been dead for weeks, and only the fact that he had three gold teeth gives the officers a clew to identification, and this is so meager a clew that the man probably will never be identified. Reche telephoned the report of the discovery from Banning.
DRINKS His Own BLOOD-MAN CRAZED BY THIRST IN DEATH VALLEY PLUNGES
KNIFE INTO MOUTH TO MOISTEN TONGUE.
[By direct wire to the Times.)
RENO, NEV., July 14. Driven to the point of desperation in an effort to quench his thirst, an unknown prospector lost in Death Valley lanced the roof of his mouth for the relief his own blood furnished his parched throat. The man was found by Dr. Bulette and Edward Bevis, who were en route to the Keane Wonder mine across the sandy waste. When discovered he was demented, and as a last resort plunged the knife into his mouth in order to open an artery that would spread his life's fluid over his swollen tongue.
The prospector could not give his name, but it was learned he had started from Skiddoo in an attempt to reach Rhyolite and had set his course across the desert which has already claimed so many victims. When he was found by the two mining men he was delirious and had nearly succumbed to the heat and thirst. He was lifted into the automobile, where it took one man to hold him in the seat. He raved and attempted to fight and the coagulated blood of his face and the blood-stained knife showed to what desperation he had been driven. He was conveyed to Rhyolite, and it is stated that he will recover. Thus far it has been impossible to learn his identity. There were no papers on his person and he had thrown away everything he had been carrying across the desert.
The following is from an article written and published by Allan Kelly.
THE VALLEY OF FEAR-DEATHS IN THE COLORADO DESERT THIS YEAR. The list of known victims of the desert mounts up day by day. In three weeks, 11 dead prospectors were found and 8 others were raving maniacs when they were rescued. And the rescues, moreover, were accidental; other travelers simply happened to find the mad wanderers.
James McRae, a miner, attempted to cross Death Valley on horseback recently, He knew the way and the location of the water holes, and he carried a cask of water behind his saddle. But the horse dropped under the terrific heat, and McRae was compelled to abandon the animal and make the rest of the journey afoot. He filled his canteen from the cask, gave what remained of the water to the dying horse, and trudged over the sand toward the next spring, 10 miles away. The canteen leaked, and soon he had not a drop of water. It was only 10 miles to the spring, but 10 miles of Death Valley, with the temperature at 140 and the wind like the blast from a furnace, is an appalling distance.
McRae knew what was before him, and, restraining the mad impulse to hasten forward, he sought the scant shade of a mesquite bush, and rested through the remainder of the day and a part of the night. When the heat had abated some few degrees he resumed the journey, and he succeeded in keeping his wits sufficiently to travel in the right direction. Here is his own description of the end of the quest:
“When at last I dragged myself to the spring, after hours of torture, I had begun to see all manner of hideous shapes flitting before me, and the drip, drip of water trickling from the rocks into the muddy pool sounded like the mocking laughter of devils jeering at my sufferings. I had enough sense left, though, to drink sparingly at first, and, after satisfying my thirst to an endurable degree, I sat upon a rock, filled my pipe, and thought over my narrow escape. I was so joyful over it that I let out an exultant shout. My yell was answered by a pitiful cry from some place over in the sand hills, and I hurried in the direction from which the cry came. Not far away ! found six men almost dead. They were within a hundred yards of the spring, but had no idea that there was a drop of water within 50 miles. It was that lucky yell of mine that saved them. Had there been a signboard at the spring, they would have seen it from a distance, and been saved long before."
The six men found by McRae were the two Rice brothers, of Pahrump; James De Long and Hiram Phillips, of Bakersfield; Ben Raymond, of Daggett; and Blake, of Owens Valley. They were on a prospecting trip from Pahrump, had found springs dried up where they expected to get water, and had lost their way hunting for other water holes. But for McRae's luck in finding a spring, these men would have met the fate of a party that attempted to cross Death Valley in the latter part of June. There were nine in the party, and when found by other prospectors within half a mile of an unmarked water hole seven were dead and two were raving lunatics.
On July 3 Matt Riley and James Kitte went out on the desert in Riverside County, Cal., with only a gallon of water between them. Kitte was made ill by the heat 12 miles out, and after resting by the roadside he turned back, and so escaped the fate which overtook his companion. Riley was found dead a few days later. His tracks indicated that he had traveled 50 miles in search of Cottonwood Springs, but had lost his way because of the lack of signboards, and had died of thirst about 20 hours after his search began.
A MADMAN IN ONE DAY.
J. H. Hooker, a health seeker at Indio, went out for a walk in the cool of the morning, and, knowing nothing of the desert, he took no water. In the burning heat of midforenoon he became bewildered, and at night he wandered back into town a madman.
Manuel Sepulveda, with his wife and several children, left Uvada, Utah, for Searchlight in a wagon, and got along all right to Moapa, in southern Nevada. After leaving Moapa the Sepulvedas departed from the beaten trail to make a cut-off, and soon were lost in the desert. Their water supply ran short, and the horses were about ready to drop when a thunderstorm broke, drenching their parched bodies and replenishing the water tank.
The next afternoon Sepulveda imagined that he saw a railroad train on the horizon and turned his horses in that direction, knowing that if he could reach the track he and his family would be safe. All night he drove on, but in the morning there was no sign of the railroad, and Sepulveda understood that the mirage had lured him into a trackless waste of sand. He turned toward a distant range of hills, and urged his team on, hoping to reach them and find shade before the heat of the afternoon sun should come upon them.
As the outfit came to the crest of a sand hill, a blue lake fringed with trees appeared at one side of the course, and the woman and children shouted joyfully and thanked heaven they were saved. But Sepulveda had some desert experience, and he knew the lake was an illusion. It was a mirage so perfect in its mockery that the woman could not believe her husband's declaration that the rippling waves of blue water were only pulsating billows of heated air arising from scorching sand, and she urged him almost frantically to turn from the course and drive into the waters of the lake. The man and the horses were not deceived, and as they went on the mirage receded into the distance and melted away, and where the waves had danced whirling dust devils arose and waltzed madly across the desert.
In the afternoon thunderclouds gathered along the range of hills, and soon the storm broke with crashing peals and vivid flashes. The horses reared and whirled, cramping and overturning the wagon, broke from the harness, and ran away. The
family was left afoot in the land of despair, and nothing remained but await madness and death.
One of the smaller children was missed, and in search of the wanderer Sepulveda walked to the top of a swale into which he had entered to look over the country. Standing upon the summit and outlined against the horizon, the man was seen by a party of miners camped not far away at a spring. And so the Sepulvedas were rescued and guided to Ivanpah, whence they were directed toward Searchlight. Because of the absence of guideposts, they had gone a hundred miles out of their course.
WHY MEN DIE IN THE DESERT.
C. W. Turner, former owner of an oasis known as Indian Creek ranch in Lincoln County, Nev., told me something about Death Valley recently. Mr. Turner is a typical desert dweller, bronzed as an Indian, lean and wiry, tough as hickory, despite his 67 years, and with hair and beard as black as jet. He was born on the Hudson, and came to Nevada overland in 1849. Two or three years ago he sold his ranch and went to Oregon, but it was too wet for him there, and he returned to the desert, whose strange lure no man can resist when once it takes grip on his soul.
We were speaking of the seven prospectors who were found dead in the valley in June, and Turner said: “ I have crossed Death Valley often, and at all seasons, and I have learned what it is that kills men there. It is fear. The heat is awful, and when a man faces the burning wind and his eyeballs are seared by the glare of sunlight on the sand he thinks he never will be able to pull through, and blind terror seizes him. I knew one man who killed himself when he still had a canteen full of water. He wrote a note, saying that he preferred sudden death to the delirum that he felt coming on him, and shot himself. It was the terrible heat that frightened him. There are springs in Death Valley, and there is green timber in the mountains around it. One who knows the location of the water holes can get through all right if he does not become panic-stricken and wear himself out in his blind haste to get somewhere. The sink might well be named the Valley of Fear."
Almost without exception, the tragedies of the desert are caused by the lac of guideposts to direct travelers to water.
LANDS FOR PUBLIC PARK IN OREGON.
APRIL 1, 1916.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the
Union and ordered to be printed.
Mr. Sinnott, from the Committee on the Public Lands, submitted
[To accompany H. R. 10305.]
The Committee on the Public Lands, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 10305) to grant certain lands to the State of Oregon as a public park, for the benefit and enjoyment of the people, having considered the same, report thereon with a recommendation that it do pass.
The lands which this bill proposes to grant to the State of Oregon for park purposes only are situated in the northwestern part of the State
, in Clatsop County, near the Pacific Ocean. They consist of two peaks of moderate elevation and adjacent lands. The ocean beach from the mouth of the Columbia River south to Tillamook Head, a distance of some 25 miles, is a very popular summer resort section, visited by tens of thousands of people yearly. This park will be readily accessible to them. There are excellent highways from Portland and Astoria to the vicinity of the park. There is good railroad service also. Camping places with abundance of good water are numerous. From the summits of the peaks, snow-clad mountains, rivers
, forests, settlements, and the Pacific Ocean extend in endless and beautiful vistas. The park will be within a convenient distance for a half million of people.
The summits of the peaks are open lands generally; on other parts of the lands are woods, but no very valuable timber according to the information furnished to the committee, which will be preserved in their native beauty and protected from depredation and fire.
The lands are to be granted for park purposes only, and if not so used at any time revert to the Government. The committee offer the following amendments: On page 1, line 11, strike out the word “of," and insert the word "of" between the words “half” and “section."