Amador claims to be the leading mining county in the State. This claim rests upon the amount of its output of goldó$2,145,997.63 in 1885, which sum was larger in 1886, but the official figures are not at hand; the small size of its mining district, and the almost certain possibilities for largely increasing the yield of bullion through the coming into being of new mines now being prospected. The mining district is much smaller than any in the State and the yield of bullion is exceeded only slightly by two counties, both many times larger.
While gold-bearing quartz is found in almost every portion of the county, the section that has attracted the most attention is comparatively small in area. The historical "Mother Lode" belts the county entirely across, extending north into El Dorado and south into Calaveras, and in Amador are found the most important and most numerous leads upon it. From Plymouth south to the Mokelumne River, there is a succession of paying quartz mines, the equal of which is found in no other mining district in the world. Along this line are most of the leading towns and the bulk of the population of the county.
More than one-sixth of the gold put into circulation in the State from its mines comes from "Little Amador," and the leading mines which produce this vast sum yearly are not on the market, and never have been, which should serve as an indication that legitimate mining is here carried on, and the mine owners have the utmost confidence in their property. In good truth, mining in Amador County is carried on for legitimate profit and not for speculation, and the results fully justify the confidence of those who invest their capital.
The prevailing idea of the uninitiated as to a mining region is that it is a barren, rocky soil, where vegetation does not exist and where civilization is at a low ebb. No greater fallacy could exist than such a view regarding the mining region of Amador. Green fields and trees stretch in every direction; the soil is most fertile, and it is by no means an unusual sight that of a bearing orchard on top of ground where underneath thousands of dollars in gold are taken out monthly. In 1887 there were 1,132 men employed in the mines, operating 582 stamps. Besides, there were probably 250 more men engaged in prospecting and operating smaller mines.