My name is James Fredrick Wardner but my friends call me Jim. Despite the lack of notoriety for my accomplishments, I contributed a great deal to the mining success in the Silver Valley. Because of my wit and initiative, the Bunker Hill and Sullivan mines boomed. Though I did not discover their locations, it was I that made sure the two mines became prosperous.
I was born in May, 1846 in the great state of Wisconsin. When I was eight I noticed that rabbits multiplied quickly, so I started trading them and never looked back. I got away from fur trading and when I was 37 and headed out towards Murray and Eagle, the two camps in northern Idaho. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about over the findings of gold in the Coeur d' Alene region.
After a few years of middling success I decided to throw in the towel on Idaho and mining. While I was leaving Gene's tavern after a small farewell gathering for my last night in Idaho, my old friend John Flaherty stopped me with great news. Flaherty full of excitement and while panting said, "Say, Jim, I have seen a mine what is a mine. I have located both extensions, and I want you to go to work and git there as quick as you can. Come into Guse's and we'll talk over it." I quickly sobered up after hearing this momentous news, but for not long. We headed back in and dispatched more whiskey while he gave me the details. This was the start of the great Bunker Hill and Sullivan mines.
After hearing the details, I headed out toward Flaherty's camp with two bottles of Walker's Rye whiskey. Here, other men informed by Flaherty would accompany me in the search. When the locations of the mines were distinguished and the men were feeling satisfied, I snuck away with a hatchet and marked a fir tree along the Milo Creek. This ensured us the rights to the water that the mines needed in order to prosper. Without water, the mines would be useless and thanks to me that was not the case. Though obtaining water rights was crucial, I was not done with my contributions. After discussing the finances for the mines, it was clear that I needed to step again, due to the lack of funds. I got the ball rolling with the initial $15,000, which ultimately adds to my argument that I had the greatest influence on the development of the Bunker Hill and Sullivan mines.
After selling the rights to the water and my shares in the two mines, I left the Silver Valley to pursue other trades. Not all of my ventures were as successful. In an attempt to regain my fur trader status from my younger days, I opened a cat ranch on an inland in the Puget Sound. Aside from poor judgments in other ventures throughout my life, I will always be known for my most crucial contributions to the success of the great Bunker Hill and Sullivan mines in Silver Valley.