GANARGWA MINING COMPANY
The Ganargwa Mining Company was one of those private gold companies which never issued any coins or patterns. Organized in December 1848, in Newark, Wayne County, New York, by local residents, its members included: Columbus C. Hyde, John Curtis, Reuben Grippen, Henry (also listed as Hiram) Lusk, Rennsalaer Ellis, John Runyan, Myron M. Culver, Mahlon D. Fairchild, Daniel A. Kenyon, David Fairchild, William H. McKinster, and Alvin Hosmer.
The company boarded the steamer Crescent City in New York on March 15, 1849, and are listed as passengers traveling with the NHRMM & Trading Co. On board was a coining press, with steel dies, for the coining of $5 and $10 gold pieces.
The Crescent City arrived at Chagres, Panama, on March 24, 1849, and the company started over the Isthmus to the Pacific two days later. The trip was interrupted at Gorgona, as there was an outbreak of cholera at the Pacific Ocean Terminus, Panama City, and also since passage to San Francisco could not be obtained aboard the already full booked steamer Oregon.
The company then purchased, for $5,000 in Panama City, the 32-ton brigantine Edalina on April 12 and contracted an American Master, Captain Carey. Part of the Company’s investment was recovered by offering passage for 30 others paying $200 each for the trip to San Francisco. They planned to moor the Edalina at Sacramento City and mint coins aboard her there.
The company sailed from Panama City on April 30, 1849, traveling up the coast, but was forced to put in at Realjo, Nicaragua, to replenish fresh water and provisions.
Entering the harbor, the Edalina was “captured’ by a British sloop-of-war. Even after the War of 1812, the British Navy still boarded some American sailing vessels, either conscripting sailors or more likely pirating provisions. Capture of these vessels on flimsy pretexts was common, as the British captain benefited in the sale of the confiscated vessel to local governmental officials on shore. The excuse used in this instance was that the Edalina flew the American flag instead of its former New Granadian one, and its final contract of sale papers were not in order.
One of the Ganargwa members wrote in his diary that “the greasers swiped everything valuable including our coining press and other machinery.”
Members of the Ganargwa Mining Company and the other passengers and crew of the Edalina eventually made their way up Baja California to San Francisco. The Company mined gold on Michigan Hill, a bluff near Auburn, and in Nevada City in the Sierra foothills of California, but never coined gold. Several members of the company, however, later had prominent careers in California politics.
--Reprinted with permission of the author
from Donald H. Kagin's, "Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the
United States", copyright 1981, Arco Publishing, Inc. of New
Sources and/or recommended
"Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia Of U.S. And Colonial
Coins" by Walter Breen
"Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States" by
Donald H. Kagin