As the 1940s began, the Nazi’s blitzkrieg across Western Europe not only helped revive the American economy, it also stirred concern about this nation’s supply of industrial diamonds from abroad.  Attention again focused on the Pike County field, particularly the big southeast slope owned by the Arkansas Diamond Corporation.  Unable to attract investors for the Ozark, Howard Millar was available to serve as adviser or agent for those interested in the ADC‘s property.  In early 1940 he thought he had a buyer in Oklahoma City, but that prospect collapsed in less than two weeks.[1]      

    Howard Millar’s later biography, Finders Keepers, tells of a more successful effort involving a mining promoter from Chicago whom Millar said he had met several years before, Ray E. Blick.[2]  Although Millar’s account is uncorroborated, Blick did take an option on the ADC’s property in July 1940, and hired a Chicago engineer with no experience in diamond mining, George N. Vitt, to evaluate it.  For orientation, Blick gave his consultant a collection of reports and other material John F. Fuller had produced before his recent death.  Vitt perused the material, looked around the property, and issued his thirty-four page report on September 1, 1940.[3]



[1] Millar’s correspondence in January 3-February 15 (I.P) covers the negotiations with “Dr. Perrine,” identified as an oil-investments man.  Howard Millar to Perrine, February 5, 1940, tells of side negotiation with the trustee of the ADC, who, Millar said, wanted an initial payment of $25,000 by March 1 for purchase of control.


[2] Finders Keepers, pp. 67-68.  Millar said Blick approached him wanting information about diamond properties, and he introduced Blick to Roy Thompson of Little Rock, the businessman still heading the ADC.  According to Millar, the result was a meeting in Little Rock with Millar, Blick, Thompson, and Charles Wilkinson and attorney.  He said he was astounded by Wilkinson’s payment of “$175,000 cash” for a controlling interest in the ADC property, “sight unseen.”  Whatever Millar’s role, if any, no available evidence corroborates his account.


[3] Pike, Misc. 4, 309, Option, Arkansas Diamond Corporation to Ray E. Blick, July 9, 1940 (no price was given for the option; it was a one-year arrangement to buy the property for $175,000, including cancellation of the 1930 lease with the Arkansas Diamond Mining & Engineering Co., and could be extended one additional year for $10,000); George N. Vitt, “Report on the Arkansas Diamond Mine,” to Ray E. Blick, Chicago, September 1, 1940, “Crater of Diamonds” vertical files,  Department of Parks and Tourism, Little Rock (on microfilm, first separate roll following the six-roll basic series)).  Vitt’s report was filed with the “Reports and Information Gathered by John T. Fuller from 1908 to 1931.”  No doubt it was this Vitt referred to in a “Letter of Submission” attached to the report:  “. . . I am herewith submitting my summary report on the subject, having visited the property and studied all reports and materials you supplied me with for the purpose.”

    Pages 1-2 of the report provided Vitt’s “Biographical Background.”  John Fuller’ death was mentioned briefly on page 15; for details see obituary, “John Torrey Fuller,” New York Times, May 19, 1939, p. 21 (referred to his retirement as chief engineer of the Aluminum Company of America, and to his experience in South Africa; but failed to mention Arkansas).


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