Relief Mine -- Chapter Six

2002-9-14 04:25:00

This story starts getting more interesting as we go along here.

The Relief Mine
By Ogden Kraut
First Published 1978

Chapter 6


. . . we will have to go to work and get the gold out of the mountains to lay down, if we ever walk in streets paved with gold. * * * When we have streets paved with go]d, we will have placed it there ourselves. (Brigham Young, JD 8:354)

On September 3, 1894, John Koyle visited the mountain to discover the place where he was to commence mining operations. The messenger told John that a "doubting Thomas" would accompany him on his first trip to the mountain. The "doubting" friend turned out to be Joseph Brockbank, a cousin. He was not convinced there was anything to the dream but would go up to the mountain any way.

When they had reached the mountain and had climbed for about an hour, John stopped and asked his friend if he could see anything unusual in the area just ahead of them. Joseph Brockbank replied that he could see a spot of ground with what seemed to be a halo of light over it which made it lighter than the sunshine would make it even though it was about high noon and directly in the sunlight. Koyle then told his friend to see if he could walk over to it and locate the exact spot. Joseph Brockbank walked over and struck his pick into the ground in the center of the super-lighted spot and loosened some black rocks on the surface. [43] "There," said John, "we'll dig on this spot, and if we do not find a cream-colored formation within three feet of the surface, then there is nothing to my dream." They dug. At 18 inches a cream-colored, rocky formation was encountered. It was enough! They were convinced. (The Dream Mine Story, Pierce, p. 12)

A few days later, on September 7, 1894, John H. Koyle returned to the spot with five of his friends and they staked out seven mining claims in the area. But after this, John didn't do much mining work for awhile. He became so busy with many of his farm chores that the farm began to receive all of his attention.

One day all of his chickens were dead, and then his children took sick. At this, his wife urged him to go back up on the hill before the calamities became any worse. So on September 17, 1894, John with five friends returned to the hill to resume work. With their grubstakes and tools they organized themselves into three shifts around the clock, with two men to each shift.

Then came many years of constant and arduous labor by family and friends as they followed a "cream-colored leader". Occasionally they would encounter some peculiar marking, coloring or formation just as John had seen or had been described by the messenger or in a dream. The stories of the cream-colored leader and other prophetic incidents drew people to the mine to hear more about this strange work and see the diggings for themselves.

During these first few years the mining project was not incorporated and no stock was sold. Then on March 4, 1909, the Koyle Mining Company was incorporated.

Stockholders were John H. Koyle with 13,500 shares; John H. Koyle trustee with 49,500 shares; George Hales with 1500 shares; John F. Beck [44] with 1000 shares; B. F. Woodward with 1000; J. P. Creer with 1000 shares; and W. Jones Bowen with 1500 shares. There were 42,000 shares of treasury stock making a total of 114,000 shares with a par value of $1.00 per share or $114,000. John H. Koyle was listed as president and director of the corporation, with J. P. Creer as vice president and director, and W. Jones Bowen as secretary and treasurer. These three, plus George Hales (bishop in Spanish Fork), B. F. Woodward, and John F. Beck, made up the board of directors. (Historical Study of the Koyle Relief Mine, Christiansen, p. 20)

An annual stockholders meeting would be held on the second Monday of May at 2:00 p.m. (This custom has continued to the present.) The company now owned 18 mining lode claims on the mountain. Men came to the mine wanting stock and were willing to work for it rather than take money. Three shares a day were allowed for a man's labor.

Stockholders were gained from every walk of life, most of whom believed that the Dream Mine had a divine message and purpose. For the most part, however, they represented the credulous but thrifty poor among the Mormons. Seldom was the stock ever sold to a non-Mormon, for this was primarily and essentially a Mormon project, saturated as it was with Mormon ideology and religious objectives, nonetheless, completely independent of the church leadership itself. This was strictly between man and God. (The Dream Mine Story, Pierce, p. 14)

On May 18, 1912, there were several amendments to the Articles of Incorporation. The most significant changes were to Articles Two and Six. The amount of treasury stock was increased to 114,000 shares and the total capital stock was increased to 200,000 shares. The par value of the stock was $1.00, but public sale was made at $1.50 per share.

[45] The stockholders were encouraged to purchase 100 shares of stock; it was said that this amount would be sufficient to take care of any man's family when the mine came in. But, if a man had more stock than 100 shares, he would be in a much better position to assist his fellow men during the times of trouble and famine.

Thus, through the many years that followed before any triumphant goals were reached, more than 7,000 families became associated with this strange project, following it almost like a religion. If we consider a conservative average of four or five to the Mormon family, it represents from 28,000 to 35,000 people directly or indirectly associated in this strange project. (Dream Mine Story, Pierce, p. 15)

Men who worked at the mine were continually learning the powers of direction and guidance that accompanied Koyle in his operation. Mr. C. F. Weight relates an incident with which he was personally acquainted:

[46] While sitting on this station (No. 10), Koyle was telling me about the beautiful north wall which would come in on the north side of this No. 10 Run. It would be black and slick and very shiny. This was so much different than any other place we had found that it looked almost impossible of fulfillment. I said to Koyle: "If we find that black wall just as you have described it, I will be well satisfied that we will find all the rest of them." Koyle reassured me that we would get the north wall exactly as he explained, which we did in 53 feet. This wall came in exactly on line. If we had missed the right direction one degree to the right, we would never have found a wall. (The Story of the Dream Mine, Weight, p. 13)

Some of the men who worked at the mine occasionally thought they knew more about mining and ore than John Koyle. Sometimes they would want to follow their own inclinations rather than Koyle's directions. Claude Weight describes one such occurrence:

Another interesting incident happened as they went down on the No. 8 Run. After going straight down for 12 feet looking for the foot wall which would turn them to the east on an incline, Frank Woodward was very much interested in a little spot on the west side. He dug in there a little way and told the men that this was the right way to go as that looked very promising from a mining standpoint. He persuaded the men to accept of his design to dig in there a ways, saying, "We must not let Johnny know anything about it," meaning Koyle. They had a general understanding to that effect. So they worked putting in a round or two of holes in the place and covering up the place with boards so that Koyle would not know anything about it. [47] About that time Koyle had a dream wherein he was shown exactly what they were doing. He saddled his grey mare and went up to the mine arriving there as usual about noon. He said to Woodward: "Frank, what are you doing back behind the ladder on the west side there?" Frank decided to play innocent and ignorant and said: "Oh, nothing," trying to sidetrack Koyle. Koyle said, "Yes you are." Woodward said, "Okay, ask these men." There was not one of them that would admit it. Koyle said, "I saw that you are going in the wrong direction behind the ladder on the west side and that there were six of you implicated in it," so they went down the mine and Koyle went behind the ladder, threw the boards off the hole, and exposed their doings. They did not have much to say about it, but years later two of the men told Koyle the whole story and there were six of them implicated in it. (The Story of the Dream Mine, Weight, p. 13)

By the end of the year 1913, the shaft had been sunk to 1400 feet. The narrow tunnel prevented any more than two men at a time to work the face of the shaft and a bucket had to be filled and conveyed up a series of eleven windlasses to reach the entrance where it was dumped. Water was seeping into the mine and became another problem for the workmen; so a manual pump was installed to help alleviate that difficulty. A horizontal tunnel was planned which would connect with the bottom of the shaft and thus allow the water to exit from the upper workings.

Since the construction of this tunnel had become almost a necessity, much speculation arose as to where it should be started. Dr. James E. Talmage, former professor of geology at the University of Utah, visited the mine at this time. He also speculated as to where the tunnel should be located by saying it should begin on the north side of Water Canyon near the bottom.

[48] On the morning of January 6, 1914, John Koyle announced to his friends that he had received a dream which showed him the exact spot where the tunnel should begin. The place would be a quarter of a mile to the northwest of the original diggings but in a different canyon. He said:

Well, I had a dream last night, seeing the exact spot where I am to start the long tunnel that I saw in my first dream, but did not see where to start it. I know now. It is over in a canyon north of us down toward the bottom. I saw two bare spots on the sidehill, one above the other. We are to begin on the lower one. I went around, in my dream, about 300 feet west and stood against some small trees and leaned over, looking toward the lower bare place, and I was shown that if I would direct the operation regularly from this point, we would get everything in the long tunnel that I was shown in my dream, getting the first water at 300 feet, the place for the wintz at about 1,000 feet, the white vein at about 2,000. At about 2,300 feet I would get parallel walls, the great breaks back to the west and the slick wall. Then I was to get down on my knees and see daylight from the turning down place, the last turn toward the rich ore some one hundred feet below the tunnel. ("Carter Grant Statement", p. 6)

Work began on the new construction site immediately. William Pierce, Lars Olson, William Gammel and John Koyle began their trip to find the two "bare spots" that should be found in the deep mid-winter snow. It seemed incredible that any bare spots could be found. Even John seemed amazed at such instructions. But they pushed on through the deep snow to the place that had been given in the dream. Lars Olson had gone on ahead of the others for a ways. Suddenly they heard Lars shouting and saw him [49] waving his hat. He found two bare spots at the bottom of a little gully--just as the Bishop had predicted! They could now begin work on the long main shaft to the mine.

[Photo of Main tunnel entrance and blacksmith shop (also showing track to mill building)]

On Saturday, January 10, 1914, Bishop Koyle awoke from another remarkable dream. As he lay there contemplating the dream, he suddenly experienced a strong vibrating influence which lasted for several minutes. No sooner had it left than it reoccurred again, but stronger than the first time. The sensation left and then returned a third time. When he raised himself up from the bed, he saw two men, standing near his bedside. One was taller than the other, but both had white hair and beards.

[50] The short one did all of the talking, and declared that he and his companion were two of the Three Nephites, apostles of old who had divine custody of this mine. He informed Bishop Koyle that he had started the tunnel in the correct place, and that he would get everything he had been shown in his first dream or spiritual entry into the mountain. However, false rumors and stories of the most malicious and unwholesome character about him and the mine would soon arise through the activity of the adversary, who because he had been unable to influence the workers at the mine, would now concentrate his efforts on the people in the valley below, so that high Church authorities, misunderstanding things, would use their influence to close the mine and stop their work. Nevertheless, he was to be patient, and in due time the same authority which had closed the mine would permit it to be opened again. Then, after carefully outlining the future in a conversation that lasted fully two hours, they departed, promising him that both men and money would always come to his assistance until all the great objectives had been reached and he had been fully vindicated. (The Dream Mine Story, Pierce, pp. 20-21)

Bishop Koyle claimed that these visitors were two of the Three Nephites who had chosen to remain on earth at the time of Christ's visit to this continent. Many such things were prophecied of them, for it is written:

And they are as the angels of God, and if they shall pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus, they can show themselves unto whatsoever man it seemeth them good. Therefore, great and marvelous works shall be wrought by them, before the great and coming day when all people must surely stand before the [51] judgment-seat of Christ; Yea even among the Gentiles shall there be a great and marvelous work wrought by them, before that judgment day. (3 Nephi 28:30-32)

The first portion of their visit was a half-hour conversation which explained the nature of the work and of the opposition to the mine. Bishop Koyle was told that James E. Talmage and Heber J. Grant would soon be the chief opponents of the mine and would cause him much trouble.

After this first half-hour of visiting had ended, the Nephite explained to Bishop Koyle that he was free to repeat any of the conversation to whomever he wished, but the remaining period of their visit must not be devulged. For another hour and a half the visit continued. No one ever learned what was in that conversation. Nearly everyone speculated, and many of them begged the Bishop to tell a little of it, but the only answer he gave was, "It's too big--you couldn't take it."

Ere his two heavenly visitors departed, they gave him a final warning in addition to the charge that he must not reveal the hour and half portion of their two-hour conversation. First: he must never at any time write anything nor sign any written statements about the nature of this mining operation. And second: he was not to allow brothers to be on the board of directors at the same time. (The Dream Mine Story, Pierce, p. 21)

There was one exception to the Bishop's relating the hour and a half portion of the conversation--he could relate it to the General Authorities of the Church if they would consent to listen. If they would not have an audience with him, then the third member of the Nephite Quorum would deal directly with the Church in due time. However, the authorities of the Church never allowed him to tell his story of these Nephite messengers and their visit.

[52] Difficulties up to the present were the deep snows, sacrifices in time, water in the shaft, hard rock drilling, and numerous other seemingly constant difficulties or trials. These were only preludes to the unseen powers that could dishearten and even stop the mining operations.

It is at this imposing juncture that we must assume that Bishop Koyle had been informed of something that the Church Authorities were not aware of. Why would such messengers appear to John Koyle rather than to the General Authorities of the Church? If the Church had made compromises with the world--if through concession of Gospel principles--would there then be a veil between the Church and the heavens? What was this message that was "too big" to tell? Were members of the Church and their leaders under a false premise of conciliation that placed them spiritually beyond the grace of direct revelation from God? Would God choose a humble farmer to bring such a message to such powerful and acceptable leaders over millions of people?

When the Prophet Balaam (Num. 22) chose to walk contrary to God's instructions, a common jackass rebuked him! God spoke through the mouth of an ass to rebuke a prophet! Could it be that a common and simple farmer had been chosen to carry a message from heaven to the learned and sophisticated leaders of so many people?

The principles of truth and the gospel as laid down through the Prophet Joseph Smith are eternal in their nature. No man, no matter how exalted or how highly esteemed among men nor even if he makes claim to the title of prophet, seer and revelator, dare turn from nor neglect those holy principles. God cannot and will not be mocked--for He does "not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore His paths are straight...." (D & C 3:2) It is God in whom there is no variableness nor shadow of turning--but man is ever changing, inconsistent and subject to error. God [53] chooses many ways to correct, admonish, rebuke or chasten. We may be guilty of rebellion as Ezekiel described when the word of the Lord came to him saying:

Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house. (Ezekiel 12:2)

Even the wise and the learned leaders of the Jews were blinded to the voice and person of their own Messiah! The history of man is sad indeed. And, in this generation the Lord has vowed that . . .

The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh. (D & C 1:19)

Stockholders were told, just as Koyle had been told, that one share of stock would someday be worth a thousand times its cost. Men would go to court for one share of stock; and if a man had a hundred shares, he would be a wealthy man.

The LDS Church became very concerned and worried about the mine because so many active Church members were involved with it. The leaders were perplexed as to how to handle the situation because so many prominent Churchmen were stockholders who bore testimony to the mine with the same feelings and inspiration that they bore testimony to the Gospel.

Dr. Lowry Nelson, a prominent BYU, USU, and government sociologist, said that the mine had "the largest social group movement in the Church, in the entire history of the Church and yet independent of the Church organization itself."

[54] The thought of owning stock worth so much was an incentive for many to buy the stock, but the desire for wealth and power that gold would bring would prove to be a test for many stockholders. The Bishop often said that the first year after the mine came in would be a time of test and trial to many rich stockholders.

With the vast sums of wealth from the mine, there will also come tremendous responsibilities. That mine has a very special mission, and every stockholder should prepare himself for his part in that divine commission.


-- End Of Chapter --


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Chapter Seven -- Part One

Chapter Five

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