TALES OF THE SIERRAS by J. W. Hayes. With illustrations by John L. Cassidy. Jeff W. Hayes, John Uriel Hayes.

TALES OF THE SIERRAS by J. W. Hayes. With illustrations by John L. Cassidy. Portland, Oregon: F. W. Baltes and Company, Publishers, 1900. 20.5x12.5 cm (octavo), pp. [1-4: blank] [5-12] 13-136 [note: first and second leaves used as front paste-down and front free endpaper; true endpapers at rear], inserted frontispiece (photographic portrait of the author and his son), drawings in the text by John L. Cassidy, original pictorial red cloth, front and rear panels stamped in black, plain spine. First edition. One of the stories, "The Hermit of Telegraph Hill," pp. 27-33, set in Tuolumne Meadows near Mount Dana, is an account of the discovery of the Sheepherder, the most famous lode in Tioga Mining District. Other stories are set in the Sierra and in eastern Nevada. "In presenting 'Tales of the Sierras' to the public, I do so in the belief that it will find general favor with its readers ... The stories are founded on facts, with just enough elasticity of the truth to render them interesting and entertaining" (preface, p. 13). John Uriel Hayes (1853-1917) was born in Cleveland. He taught himself Morse code and got a job as a telegraph operator on the Lake Shore Railroad in Pennsylvania. In subsequent years, Hayes worked in Buffalo, N. Y., Cleveland, Chicago, New York, St. Louis and Omaha. In 1877 he hooked up with the Western Union Telegraph in Virginia City, Nevada. According to the PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF PORTLAND, 1903, "... A year later (he) helped to organize the Nevada & California Telegraph Company, superintending the construction of the telegraph from Carson City (Nev.) to Bodie, Cal." Eighteen months later he made a small fortune as one-third owner of the Great Sierra Mine, which was sold for $100,000 ... He took his profits to San Francisco, played the stock market and lost them all. He worked for Western Union and the U.S. government in various locales, then came to Portland as Western Union office manager in 1882. In 1889, he switched to the Postal Telegraph Co. In 1894, he suffered an ear infection; a botched treatment left him blind. He quit his job and spent more than $30,000 traveling the East in search of a cure. Nothing worked. He repaired to Cleveland, learned to type and took a job as a press operator for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Six months later he returned to Portland, applied at The Oregonian and was told there were no openings. He turned to writing. His first book, TALES OF THE SIERRAS, was a best seller, thanks largely to John W. Mackay, a silver mining and telegraph tycoon and an associate from Hayes' Nevada days. Mackay saw to it "copies of the book (were) sent to every cable station and office in the world ..." (1903 PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD). Hayes published at least six books, including AUTOGRAPHS AND MEMOIRS OF THE TELEGRAPH (1916) that includes an account of telegraphing in the early days of Virginia City and elsewhere in eastern Nevada. Hayes died in a November 1917 train wreck in the Chicago area. (Most of this reading note is based on an account of Hayes life and work by John Terry, The Oregonian, online, posted 21 August 2010; to date I have not been able to document his association with the Great Sierra Mine.). Cowan (1933), p. 272. Paher 808. Baird and Greenwood 1141. Wright (III) 2610. Early gift inscription in pencil on the front free endpaper. A bright, nearly fine copy. (#166945).

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