Original Sixteen to One Mine, Inc.
Willard P. Fuller, Jr., aka Bill
My first meeting with Bill took place in December of 1974. He was a former geologist for the mine and lived not far away in San Andreas, California. He seemed cautious or aloof or at the least very guarded with our conversations. Some people would confuse this attitude as gruff. Quickly, I learned that Bill took mining and the Alleghany Mining District very seriously. His caution in revealing facts, data and opinions represented his privacy and love for our way of life. "Who is this young whippersnapper asking all about the Sixteen to One anyway?" he was thinking.
Recently, our current geologist, Ray Wittkopp commented that Bill had that “Harvard arrogance”. It was said with respect and I knew what Ray meant. For five years three of our five directors had a Harvard education and Bill held one of those positions. I liked working with those Harvard mining guys. They taught me a lot.
Bill earned a Bachelors of Art degree (magna cum laude) in Geology in 1940. He also received his MSC in Economic Geology from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California in 1942.
Bill always answered my letters. He was one of a handful of men with actual experience before the mine was left to flood around 1965. In 1987 I asked him if he would consider a position on our board and take a more active role in our management. He said yes and held that title until 1992. A most memorable piece of advice that Bill repeated was due to the nature of our high-grade gold mine. He said, “Work out your plan. Do not flit about the mine going from one attractive spot to another. Stay focused but know when it is time to quit a heading.” That advice remains true today.
Bill died last Monday in San Andreas. Perhaps his greatest legacy for the mine and company will be the maps he left in our library. I say perhaps because we still have three targets he strongly recommended for mining a good pocket of gold. Oh, Bill, we will get to them, so stay in touch.
Maps, reports and other documents no matter when they were prepared influence us today; however the competence and reliability of the author is important. One of the most famous geologists was Reno Sales, world renown and associated with the Anaconda Company. He developed a technique of underground mine mapping and held classes. It was the Reno Sales/Anaconda School of Mapping and offered by invitation only. It was my pleasure to meet three of those graduates. Bill was the last living graduate of Mr. Sales unique and innovative method of mapping veins, wall rock and other important characteristics of a mine.
I remain very grateful for the trust and advice Bill offered me. While he will be missed, he will be remembered.
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