Deep Enough; Author: Frank A. Crampton
Of all the memoirs of the wild West, Frank Crampton’s autobiography of his youth in the mining camps ranks with the very best.
Scion of a wealthy New York family, Crampton ran away from home in 1904 at the age of sixteen. Two bindle stiffs picked him up in a Chicago railroad depot and led him west as they taught him to survive first as a hobo and then as a hard-rock miner. In the first two decades of this century Crampton lived and worked in almost all of the important mining camps in the Westin California, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado as a miner, assayer, surveyor, and finally one of the West’s best-known mining engineers.
In miners’ lingo “deep enough” meant “I don’t care” or “I’ve had it”; the term was applied to anything one did not like or wanted nothing more to do with. Many of the experiences that Crampton describes were of that order. He was trapped in a collapsed mine shaft for ten days. He was in San Francisco at the time of the great earthquake and in Ludlow, Colorado, during the Ludlow Massacre. He lived in Death Valley among the desert rats and witnessed the last days of the old French prospector John Lamoigne, who “never looked for anything where anyone else would expect to find it, but where others were afraid to try.” He become so bored with barrooms and gambling dens at one time that he hired a girl of the line in Goldfield, Nevada, just for an hour’s conversation.
So many adventures, so much camaraderie, novelty, and humor are crammed into this true-life story that fiction pales in comparison. Bindle stiffs, tinhorns, tenderhorns, bohunks, entrepreneurs, politicians, wives, and women of the evening crowd the pages. This reprinting of the 1956 edition of Deep Enough is enhanced by two new maps and additional photographs from the author’s personal collection. In reading it, a new generation can share the extraordinary characters, hardships, and plain fun that Frank Crampton knew between the ages of sixteen and thirty.