Thursday, February 10, 2011

Vol. 3 A DECADE OF SEARCHING FOR PRECIOUS METALS

The weekly newspaper, published in Thompson Falls, Montana, added details to events the homesteaders had already related to family, friends and neighbors, and neither source could be credited with total accuracy. The editor had one advantage; he could review any documents in the Clerk and Recorders office, as well attend County Commissioner meetings, and if necessary, print corrections when the minutes of such meetings were approved at the following meeting. Each edition of the paper was eagerly awaited, saved and shared.

SANDERS COUNTY INDEPENDENT LEDGER
April 8, 1920

PILGRIM CREEK MINING
Development Being Done on Cabinet Mining Company Claims
"For a long time it has been known in mining circles that some of the richest copper districts are only waiting development and that means that capital will come to Sanders county. Especially the country around Noxon aroused the interest of experts who examined the samples brought in by prospectors.
"Among the richest discoveries those of the Cabinet Mining company showed up so well that through the efforts of County Commissioner Maynard, Pittsburgh capital became interested in the development of the five claims of this company and they are going ahead with the work which will, if all signs do not fail, open up one of the richest ore bodies in the state.
"It is understood that the Cabinet Range Copper Mining Co. is going to install a power drill."
"A 24-foot rotary wheel has been installed which develops 35 horsepower used for driving air compressor and power drills. There has been constructed 1500 feet of flume, taking the water from Pilgrim Creek for the power purposes. The ore assays give 35 per cent in copper, in the average with lead and silver in paying quantities. Sam Holbert of Pittsburg, Penn., is the resident manager. He came to Thompson Falls with his wife Wednesday and purchased a one ton Studebaker truck for the company. Now everybody start in and boost for the bridge at Noxon and keep it up until election. It is absolutely necessary for transcontinental travel for the farmer, the lumber interests and for the development of the mines."
(insert photo)
Caption: Whitetail deer near George Jamison's homestead. Courtesy Loren 'Lanky' Jamison collection.

Not just a few stockholders wondered how they would pay the assessment on their mining interests as Samuel B. Holbert, treasurer, J. F. Dewart, secretary, and the other officers of the Cabinet Range Copper Mining Company at Noxon declared an assessment of 1% per share on the assessable capital stock of the corporation outstanding upon the books of the company on December 10, 1919.*1.

Due January 12, 1920
"or any stock upon which the assessment shall remain unpaid ... will be delinquent and advertised for sale at public auction, and unless payment is made before, will be sold on the 31st day of January 1920 to pay the delinquent assessment, together with costs of advertising and expenses."
More assessments were levied against thirty stockholders of the Cabinet Range Copper Mining Company as of Feb. 20th. Assessments ranged from $2.50 to $300.00. Due and payable April 20th. *2.
Shareholders, A. G. Holmes; W. E. Henderson; Sarah J. Henderson; Curtis B. Fleming; D. A. Monroe; S. Ray Holbert; H. H. Stanley; C. F. Briggs; W. S. McClay; W. H. Moore; Saml. I. Black; N. B. Trist; D. D. Kirby; John Lee Kirby; Mary C. Kirby; Rae B. Smith; Sydney O. Hartje; Sydney E. Hartje; Charles G. Hartje; Richard Hartje; Lillian Davis; L. W. Conroy; F. W. Ruess; Wm. M. Kerr; Lee LeMasters; Susan H. Black; Frank H. Black; James A. Black; Irving Black; George W. Tanner.


(insert photo)
Caption: George Jamison's barn. Courtesy Loren 'Lanky' Jamison collection.

Sam Holbert received the machinery for his mine. As soon as the snow melted on the Pilgrim Creek mining property and the frost went out of the county road so the mud holes could dry up he and Art Hampton and Kenny Miller would install it.*3.
"The Holbert Mine was up toward the hill, where you started to go up to Eighty Peak," Stewart Hampton said.
"Jim Millar mined for years and years, too," Bob Saint said. "He'd get a few dollars ahead, get some powder and go drill in and blow up some rock and bring it out. That was right across the road from where the Davis place was on the north side of Pilgrim Creek road."*4.
The editor of the paper made it a point to meet incoming trains as often as possible, and never was bashful about questioning arrivals for news about the comings and goings in their towns. He dutifully published just about every scrap of information. Likewise, folks making the train trip to the county seat were often happy to drop by the newspaper office to help the editor by providing news of upcoming events, or anything else they considered noteworthy for the paper's readers, such as the following.

SANDERS COUNTY INDEPENDENT LEDGER
April 15, 1920
"The many friends of Jim Miller will be glad to know that his mine is showing up quite well. Some of the ore assayed shows good values in silver."
Miller ate at Ethel Bartholomew's restaurant, hanging his cane on the back of a nearby chair. She joked comfortably with the slim man who wore his fingernails very long. He had watched her grow from girlhood into a mature woman.
"Jim Miller patented his claim," Lanky Jamison said. "Dr. Lloyd, who wanted that claim awfully bad, said there was an extremely good copper showing in there, copper and silver.
"Miller, an ex-Texas Ranger, spent his last years staying in that little boarding house Ethel had behind the cafe. I think he was a county patient then. When he was in Texas he shot and killed a man he thought was drawing on him. But the guy wasn't. Miller said that's when he quit the rangers."*5.
Thus. the editor learned, and shared the news that another one cent per share was levied against stock in the Cabinet Range Copper Mining Company, and the Vermillion Silver and Lead Mining Company levied an assessment of five mills per share.*6.

SANDERS COUNTY INDEPENDENT LEDGER
July 22, 1920
"The Cabinet Range Copper Co., located seven miles south of Noxon on Pilgrim Creek has just finished 1100 feet of fluming which will give it thirty five horse power to drive a 24-inch Pelton wheel and will soon have their compressor installed. This will do away with hand work as the work hereafter will be done with Burley drills, the power being obtained from the compressor.
"The company is now 500 feet in with the tunnel and are cross cutting for the ledge. According to the last reports they have struck stringers of rich copper ore in the cross cut."

(insert photo)
Caption: Wallace 'Wally' Gamble carried his camera on all his excursions in western Sanders Couonty. This ice field in Miran Basin reflects on the mirror-like surface of the high mountain lake where Wally loved to fish. Courtesy Clifford A. and Dorothy Weare collection.

Twenty five people holding stock in the Cabinet Range Copper Mining Company were delinquent in their assessments.*7.
 
The United States discounted Canadian silver 10 cents on the half-dollar; 5 cents on quarters; 2 cents on dimes. Half dimes and one cent pieces refused.*8.
 
Up on Tamarack Ridge above the Baxter homestead on Pilgrim Creek, on the right as you go up the road, Lanky Jamison hiked upward, going up the mountain probably a quarter of a mile.
"There's a spring comes out and there's an old mining cabin there," he said.
"A one room log cabin. It'd be caved in now. I found it in the 1920's. Inside was a split shake table, two beds, with tick mattresses. Tin plates and tin cups, silverware and stuff on the small table. They had boxes for chairs. Also a 45.90 (caliber) rifle. One of those little wood cook stoves had a frying pan and a dishpan on it.
"There was some mine dump, caved in. For years I thought those men must have had dinner, went in the tunnel and it caved in on them and they died in there. It looked like they'd eaten dinner or breakfast. No idea who they were.
"The bedding was on the beds. If they'd of left, they'd have rolled that bedding up and hung it on a wire so the pack rats wouldn't get in it. I packed out the 45.90 rifle and gave it to Wilbur Jewett. I also gave him a 40.82 rifle given to me by Frank King's dad. It had a long barrel. I gave Elmer Scheffler an 1808 riffle when he had a horse down and had to go shoot the horse."*9.
(insert photo)
Vern Munson's hand-shoveled road from his ranchhouse to Highway 10A. Looking towards Bald Knot Mountain (or north up the Bull River valley) from northeast side of the mouth of Bull River area. Vern always had 'stew bums' staying with him to shovel the road. Circa 1929-31. Ed Lydie acquired this place, which had been the original Jim Freeman homestead. Courtesy Loren 'Lanky' Jamison collection.

The Salisbury mine on the west fork of Pilgrim Creek was producing. It started out about 1920 or before, Clayton Bauer said.*10.

The Homestead Mining Company, Box 5, Noxon, held unpatented claims in Pilgrim Creek Mining District. About 475 feet of tunnels and crosscuts had been developed employing four or five men. Officers: John Salisbury, President and manager, Spokane; LLoyd E. Gandy, Vice President, Spokane. Incorporated April 20, 1920. Capitol shares 1,500,000, par 10 cents; outstanding shares, 1,011,130.

Properties owned were Ross, Homestead, Harold and Bob, all unpatented claims in the Pilgrim Creek Mining District 10 miles from Noxon.
"On up Pilgrim Creek was the old Baker Mine and above it was the Holbert Mine," Lanky said.
"Well, up in that area they found a big chunk of galena; lead and silver, you know. About the size of a water tank. Some said the size of a washtub. Some said the size of a water tank. It was float. They found it in the creek bottom. Before the timber got so growed up we'd go hunting up Huckleberry Ridge (Stover's place) and then come down Telegraph Creek to the Baker Mine.*11.
"He had a one roomed cabin there. There's outcroppings of quartz all over. Baker didn't use dynamite. He used black powder. It came in twenty five pound cans. That was in the 1920's. Several times I found pieces of lead and silver right on top of the ground. Float. And in places in the creek there was some."*12.
Mining news was always a popular topic as Montanan's sought to cash in on mineral prospects, and many Sanders County residents were no exception. Besides, the editor never neglected an opportunity to be a 'booster' of his county. He wasn't about to risk censure by doubting the veracity of his sources.

SANDERS COUNTY INDEPENDENT LEDGER
April 8, 1920

VERMILLION MINING DISTRICT
"W. A. Kittrel, manager of the Vermillion Mining company, attended the April meeting of the board of county commissioners to urge them to improve the road fifteen miles east of Noxon at Vermillion river into the mining property. The commissioners agreed to inspect it April 12th.
"The company has expended so far about $50,000 on their mining properties about 14 miles from Vermillion station near the dividing line of Lincoln and Sanders counties. These promising mining claims are making an excellent showing under the able management of Supt. Kittrell. A new sawmill will soon be in operation to furnish lumber for fluming, while an up to date compressor is being installed.
"It is confidently expected that another 200 feet of tunnel will strike the main lead, which will give the companp (sic) 365 feet of depth on a rich ore body. Another advantage of the company is the construction by the county commissioners of Lincoln County, of a road, which will when finished connect with our road, giving road transportation by truck for the ore to two transcontinental lines, the N. P. and Great Northern. The Silver Butte property undoubtedly will come into its own when this is accomplished. On this property in years past over $450,000 has been expended but on account of transportation costs these mines have been idle for years."

Vermillion River, east of Noxon, provided enough gold that the Chinese went in and worked it by hand. Rusting remains of obsolete mining equipment lay scattered among the trees and brush reclaiming the area adjacent to the creek. Deep rock walled trenches remain, nature camouflaging them more each year.*13.

(insert photo)
Caption: A fresh snowfall coated the peaks when Wallace Gamble took this picture of Chicago Peak, from high on the mountainside across the Bull River valley. Courtesy Clifford A. and Dorothy Weare collection.
BULL RIVER MINING
September 9, 1920

King and Lowry were prospecting on the East Fork of Bull River, high up the mountains below spectacular St. Paul Peak. Prospecting continued on Milwaukee Pass below St. Paul; in Copper Gulch; and Last Chance below Chicago Peak. Copper and silver were assayed pretty good.
"Jim Freeman had the mine between Chicago Peak and St. Paul," Lanky Jamison said.
"In the pass there. There's a hole that goes down about 40 feet. And in the twenties Anaconda Copper Mining Company offered $40,000. And he wanted $100,000. He died in the poorhouse."*14.
(insert photo)
Caption: St. Paul and Chicago Peaks, circa late 1940s. Courtesy Wallace 'Wally' Gamble collection.

Dan DeLong said there used to be an old Indian trail that went up the East Fork of Bull River up over the top of the mountain and came down and went up Lost Cabin Gulch up Elk Creek. The Indian Trail went over into the Couer d'Alene's from the reservation.*15. On Beaver Gulch, up toward Elk Ridge, Faye Rasmussen said a miners cabin was somewhere between there and Divide Peak.*16.

Mr.and Mrs. Cap Berray sold vegetables, eggs, milk, butter and horseradish to the miners on Copper Gulch. There was a gristmill in Copper Gulch. Catherine McDowell came across the arastra while out on a family huckleberrying trip.*17.

(insert photo)
(Caption: Standing near the old Smeads Landing spur on the NPRR, Wallace 'Wally' Gamble took this photo looking north up the bull River valley. Circa 1930. Courtesy Wallace 'Wally' Gamble collection.

"Bill Hull's cabin was up in Copper Gulch, and two old log cabins. One was Collins, Lanky said. We camped up in there with a forest service rig. That's a narrow canyon there. I fished that creek.
"The 1910 fire came up through there and for ten years trees didn't grow at all. Over on the hill Fred Copery had a mine above Cotton's place. On the Berray Mountain trail up about the first switchback, over in the draw. He had a shaft started in the hill.
"Charlie Martin was digging a tunnel in up on the Devil's Club creek."*18 (In the Ibex Mountain area of Bull River, which became part of the area designated as Cabinet Wilderness, long after all these miners were dead.)
(insert photo)
Caption: These men reached Rock Lake, high inthe Cabinet Mountains of northwestern Montana only to find it still covered with ice. Winter ice lingers late into the summer at high elevation lakes such as this favorite one. Courtesy Clifford A. and Dorothy Weare collection.

Jim Miller, Lyons and Jack Ully all mined on Squaw Peak. Disputes and minor wars broke out. Tempers were quick. Men were determined. Lookouts kept watch for intruders. Jim Berray packed the miners gear and provisions on packhorses to the mine on Squaw Peak.
"Up on Squaw Peak and the Billiard Table there were mining claims all over," Lanky said. "I had a forest service map that had them marked out.
"On Squaw Peak old Jack Ully went in from up over the mountain. That trail only went in there about a half-mile or so and dead-ended. He had a shaft. Those shafts went straight down. He used a radio thing you packed on your back. It had dry cell batteries. If there was ore there it would buzz. It would start buzzing the vein and if you got off of it then it won't buzz.
"The tunnel goes in and the shaft goes down inside it. He had high-grade ore with gold in it. They packed it out with mules.
"They had a cabin there and then you continued up onto the bench and there's another open shaft. It's deep. It's open. Dangerous.
"They got down there with ropes and a metal winch with a light cable on it a little heavier than an airplane cable. A hundred feet of it or so, then they had rope on it. A rope harness dropped the men down to dig with hand tools. Everything was hand drills. It's got four points on it and you'd turn it. You'd beat it down about a foot or so. They sent mud down (water). You'd put your dynamite in and then you mud packed it. Otherwise nothing would happen.
"After you lit the fuse they'd crank you up with the winch. The drum would only take so much line so they'd have to hand winch the rest of the way. They'd get you up before the dynamite went off.
"You can't go back down in there because the fumes would kill you. You'd shoot it way late in the afternoon and then go back the next morning. Then you could break up the stuff and bucket it out. After you got it out they'd break the side rock off and pack the high grade copper bearing rock out using mules."*19.
(insert photo)
Caption: Miners at the Oakland Mine. Circa early 1900s. Courtesy Patsy Duffy Layton collection.
Lanky said, "The Ross Brothers were prospecting up on Ross Creek. You go clear to the Big Cedars and there's that big draw in there. They had some buildings there and across the creek there's white quartz. Richard 'Mickey' Weare and I went up there once and Mickie filed on it once but I don't think he did anything with it."*20.
"In the Big Horn Basin, you go up the Middle Fork of Bull River, way up, then you swing off up near the bare rocks, there used to be a trail that swung off.
"Dad was the trail foreman up there about 1925-26. Well they found thick black rock that laid (sic) in a shelf.
"This old Charlie Martin he assayed it. There was no copper, gold or silver. So Carl was in the next morning and he told me to go get him some. I went up there. There was bushes 40-50 feet high when I went in there in the 1950's. There's this little pothole about fifty feet across, they called it a ledge. And I get to that and I turn and here's a high rock. I went up that. I walked in and out the same day. Didn't give me much time.
"But I got to wandering around and I come to an outcropping of copper and gold. I always had a hammer and chisel so I chipped a bunch off and gave it to Carl. He had it assayed by a place in Butte and an outfit in California. They sent a geologist out. He wanted me to get two feet each side the vein of rock and claim it. I wouldn't show him where it was. I should have. I covered it up with shale."*21.
Charlie prospected in the mountains surrounding the Bull River valley his whole life, and as far as anyone knew he barely eked out a subsistence. He lived mostly off the land and came to town as seldom as possible, but in his old age he bought a car and died when he crashed at the junction of the Bull River road and Highway 10A. He failed to make the turn onto the highway.

Even as the routines of life continued in somewhat predictable yearly cycles in northwestern Sanders County, readers kept abreast of mining developments from reading headlined news reports that moved less enticing news to other pages of the newspaper.

SANDERS COUNTY INDEPENDENT LEDGERSeptember 9, 1920
"Old Dad" Hyatt took employment in the Dolan prospect owned by Dr. Stackhouse of Sandpoint leaving his own promising galena mine to wait for a while. Both mines are on East Blue creek and are of more than ordinary promise."
SANDERS COUNTY INDEPENDENT LEDGER
April 7, 1921

"The Cabinet Range Copper Company seven miles south of Noxon on Pilgrim Creek, are pushing along on the last hundred feet of the 800 foot tunnel where they expect to strike the ledge. Much interest is taken by local parties in the development of this promising property."
###

With so much of the forest burned off in the 1910 fire, outcroppings were easier for men to explore. Much of the mountainsides looked almost pastoral in their nudity. Interest in mining continued unabated with high hopes following each discovery.

Mike Conners continued to mine gold at his place, near Jamison's on the north side of the Clarks Fork, patiently shoveling gravel along the river into rockers to recover it.*22.
"Walt McClung worked in his prospect in Rock Creek," Clifford Weare said.
"Using a wheelbarrow, shovel and dynamite, he built a road into his mining prospect near the lower end of Rock Lake.
"Walt McClung, a half-breed Indian and what was the other fellas name? They sold it to the Heidleberg. He had a lot of bad luck. He showed the Indian quite a lot. He had two nice girls and a boy. The boy was maybe 10 years younger than the girls. I guess they didn't get much out of their prospect. But the Heidleberg Brewery put lots of money in up there at the lower end of Rock Creek Lake. Buzz Myers stayed at the Heidleberg Mine."*23.
Fillerup worked in the Heidleberg Mine in the late 1920's and Bob Jenkins ran a mill at the mine.*24.

1924-30

Sam Holbert, the prospector and miner, returned to Noxon every summer for several years. He mined for corporations, employed by owners far away, sent to prospect and develop where feasible.

Clayton 'Clate' Bauers learned the blacksmithing trade from Frank King.
"Holbert had Jesse King, Frank's brother working in the mines as tool sharpener," Clate said.
"He'd get drunk and not show up. Sam would put up with it for a few weeks and then Sam showed me how to sharpen steel. That's how I started in the mine.
"They drilled by using a piece of sharpened drill steel, hit it with a hammer and drill it down. A single jack was to use one hand; double jack - use a sledgehammer and somebody hold the steel for you.
"I worked for Sam in 1924-25. I was blacksmithing for them and only had two sets of miners to sharpen steel for. So Sam come out one morning and said we want to do some looking around and try to find those veins over in Stevens Creek where the quartz comes out.
"I said, 'I know where that is because I've come on it while I was out hunting.' Sam said he'd looked and looked and didn't find it. So I was to get some steel sharpened up ahead for the miners and then the next morning we'd take off over in there to look for it.
"The next day we went over and I showed him where this quartz came out in the draw down there and we followed that clear over to the mine. And the vein of quartz missed where they was diggin by maybe a hundred feet. So then he told me, 'You take a couple men and go up on the trail and start drifting (digging tunnels) and see if you can find it.'
"We went back in there 40-50 feet and we was up in the wrong kind of formation. Sam came up one morning and asked what's the matter we hadn't found that vein (tunneling). I said I thought we were too high. He agreed because there was two different formations in there.
"So we went down lower and we hit a vein of ore and started sinking. We got down about two feet and Tommy Walker and Gottard was drilling by hand. They hit this hard stuff and drilled all day and didn't get down only about two and a half or three feet.
"Sam came up and we decided to blast it and see what we were in to. We did and we hit a vein of copper and quartz. The next morning we went up to clean it out and then Sam come up and he says, 'I'm gonna tell you Clate. The stockholders are comin' up here and they've been giving me a bad time about this property. So you take and bury every piece of ore. Poke it down a hole. So we did. And nobody did anything with it. Old Sam died. There are several hundred feet, or thousands, of workings back in there."*25.
(insert photo)
Caption: Blue Creek miners. Circa early 1900s. Fiddlers, John Dolan and Patrick Duffy (center.) Note snowshoes on the wall and wash pan, towel and hand crafted benches. Shorty Dettwiler helped his family haul wood to the Montana Gold Mine in Blue Creek, briniging it down from the ridge. Sam Aue, Joe Brooks' uncle, made the mining company get their trail off his land and go in another way. Dettwilers also hauled grub to the miners in the cabin. Only two miners remained there at night, the others went home. When powder was shot the mine the blast could be heard in the cabin. Courtesy Patsy Duffly Layton collection.

The Broken Hill Mine was operating in Blue Creek Mining District: Silver and lead. Leased in 1923-24 by Federal Mining and Smelting Company.

After the 1925 fire, A. J. Kline went to work at the Blue Creek mine as a carpenter, cook and miner. Patrick "Pat" Duffy was the powder money. One day a dynamite charge he set off went off late, filling the mine with gas. Pat was injured and unconscious when A. J. reached him, risking his own life to go into the mine, digging Pat out of the rubble, hefting him across his shoulders and packing him out. Both men recovered and were back to work in a few days.*26. H. Conn leased it in 1925-26. Exported 2 carloads to Belgium in 1925. (See chart of mining activity.)

Everett Jenkins and Clifford Weare began doing some prospecting, intending to file on claims. C. M. Fasett Co., Inc., assayed their samples: Sept 29, 1925, no silver and only a trace of gold. An assay cost $1.50.

October 4, 1925 H. V. McCormick in Spokane, WA contacted Weare about his mining.
"Please don't think I am hurrying you in regards to clay samples promised but am anxious to get them so that I can have the analysis and if found adopted to my purpose, to be able to get the extent of the deposit before extreme cold sets in ... Keep in view that all clays are not soft and plastic but like a soft rock."
Weare and Jenkins looked into assessment work requirements.
"There seems to be no limit on the number of mining claims which a miner or a group of miners may hold in common and work in common; and they can do all their assessment or annual representation work on one of the claims provided that they are all contiguous claims," Attorney Wade Parks advised them June 1926.
Meanwhile, the pair of prospectors was studying up on molybdenite. The School of Mines, Butte, said
"Molybdenite is the chief source of molybdenum and we assume that that is the molybdenum mineral of which you have a deposit.
"Molybdenite is found in pegmatites and surrounding rocks, especially granite. It occurs also in tin-stone veins and cassiterite, wolframite, topas, etc. It is also found in contact-metamorphic zones between limestones and granites associated with epidote, chalcopyrite, etc."
"The market value f.o.b. Colorado is 48 to 50 cents per pound of ore of 85% concentrates ... There is no book devoted exclusively to this mineral or of molybdenum, but there is a general discussion in THE MINERAL INDUSTRY DURING 1925, published by McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York."*27.
(insert photo)
Caption: The old Earl Engle cabin, blanded in snow at the Rock Creek meadows. Circa 1939. Courtesy Wallace 'Wally' Gamble collection.

By 1927 Weare began getting more and more involved in the investment end of mining. Requests for money or assistance came from several people.
"Andrew Baker wants to sell his six-sixteenths interest in the Pilgrim Creek mine for $7,000, and he will give you a commission of $250. Baker is 'hardly able to be around and not able to write a letter.'"*28.
Wm G. Newberry writes from Wallace, ID enticing Weare to find investors for mining properties he's
"got aline on" in British Columbia. The four main proposition points are "(a) ore, (b) transportation, (c) capable men to handle the job and money, (d) and necessary backing. (no hot air.)" He dangles "a game that will show $15 per man per day; six dumps - 12 men = $180 per day. Investment required $2,000-$2500.
"That game is a cinch, too - no maybe at all. Another B.C. layout is 2200 oz silver ore and hand sorts 1 ton to 6 tons waster. A real small mill proposition, $20,000, will put that in ok. Vein is 38" wide and a high mountain ahead for depth."*29.
W. A Darling offered Weare a chance to invest with Johnnie Miller on his Swamp Creek property, located on the south side of the river from Weeksville.
"Very shortly shares are to be offered in it in Sanders county, and the balance will be offered in Spokane. I sure would like to see at least one mine in this county it would help everyone to do something then. I think you will agree with me when I say 'A property must look pretty good when John Miller will spend between $15,000 and $20,000 of his money on it.' I understand that several engineers have looked at this property and have reported very favorable in regard to it. "John will have charge of the development, and most of us know John Miller will not squander the money foolishly and that he will stretch every red cent just as far as it will stretch."*30.
(insert photo)
Caption: These two fishermen, hiking the trail to Rock Lake in northwestern Sanders County, are dwarfed by the peaks surrounding them. Courtesy Clifford A. and Dorothy Weare collection.

Frank J. Moore, Carmen's long disappeared dad, writes Weare from Powers, OR.
"I have a place just eleven miles from here so rich in placer gold that I have not been able to sleep over two hours a day for the last two weeks. The water is too high yet for me to do anything ... best chance I ever saw to make big money and make it quick ...
"I hope to be able to repay you and Mrs. Weare for all the nice things you both done for me ..." Moore urges Weare to come over and get in on the chances.*31.
Weare and Jenkins file notice of appropriation for 1600 miners inches per second of water from the East Fork of Blue Creek for "power purposes both direct and electrical for light milling and drilling machinery" at the Broken Hill and other mining claims. Plans are to divert the water into a flume.

They're investigating compressors, turbo stoppers, and other mining equipment handled by the Denver Rock Drill Manufacturing Company and buy a 2 1/2" centrifugal pump from Alaska Junk and ship in 1,690 pounds of boxes of high explosives from Sanders County agent, F. J. Kirshinick.*32.

(insert photo)
Caption: High water surrounds Marion's Island in the spring run-off in the Clark's Fork River in front of Noxon. Looking upstream, taken from the north side of the river. June 1948. Courtesy Marion and Paul McKee collection.


By 1929 Weare began a marketing campaign for various mining properties he's gotten involved in. He inspires enthusiasm through letters he sends out.

Benj. L. Smith, Seattle writes,
"With reference to your mining property, my field man who is now at Butte, gives a very good report as to the general location, etc. of your property. I would like to go into the matter further with you, if your property is still on the market.
"I have been very successful in the past in shaping up properties for underwriting through brokers; have connections in Salt Lake, Denver and the Eastern Markets ... a property properly presented to the legitimate broker is immediately financed; one can't today 'peddle stock' on the street as of yore ..."

In April, Smith writes again,
"I am very much interested in all three (mining) properties and believe I can serve you to advantage. Will be in Montana some time this month... and I will want and can finance operations on several properties... keep me advised as best you can as to weather conditions over there."
(insert photo)
Caption: Looking across the Bull River valley to 7716 ft. Ibex Peak rises in the background. Courtesy Wallace 'Wally' Gamble collection.

And again in June, Smith writes wanting to know if the 160 acres of mining property at Clarks Fork, ID is open for a deal. Might want to take a lease with option to purchase. Can they meet at the property for inspection?*33.

D.K. May approached Weare again.
"You are overlooking a grand opportunity by not becoming interested here with me and help me push the developments of it.
"If there is a big mine in this country it is right here in this mountain and it wont take much money to open it up, compared with that of other properties. And with your valuable help and assistance, it won't take me long to do this work if I only had the money to work with. I'm on the track of a drilling outfit, if I can get that we can move along faster. Please let me know if you will come up and when you can be here."
Weare hadn't gone back last fall as May had expected him too.*34. A serious setback to their hopes came in the report from the Montana School of Mines and State Bureau of Mines and Geology. Materials sent have been examined. Rock consists of lime carbonate, a very common substance, therefore
"probably of little value, in our opinion. There is no indication of any ore-mineral in the material sent."*35.
The decade of flurries of mining activity ended with no one developing rich prospects.

(insert photo)
Squaw Peak is silhouetted in the background of this scenic view of the Clark's Fork River. Courtesy Wallace 'Wally' Gamble collection.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Sanders County Independent Ledger, December 11, 1919.
2. Sanders County Independent Ledger, April 8, 1920.
3. Sanders County Independent Ledger, March 22, 1920.
4. H. R. Bob Saint, tape recorded oral history, November 18, 1983.
5. H. R. Bob Saint, tape recorded oral history, November 18, 1983.
6. Sanders County Independent Ledger, June 10, 1920.
7. Sanders County Independent Ledger, July 22, 1920.
8. Sanders County Independent Ledger, August 26, 1920.
9. Loren "Lanky" Jamison, tape recorded oral history, December 26, 1986.
10. Clayton Bauer, tape recorded oral history, November 1979.
11. Loren "Lanky" Jamison, tape recorded oral history, December 26, 1986
12. Loren "Lanky" Jamison, tape recorded oral history, January 8, 1987.
13. Stewart Hampton, oral history, var.
14. Loren "Lanky" Jamison, tape recorded oral history, February 19, 1990.
15. Dan DeLong, tape-recorded oral history, May 26, 1987.
16. Faye Rasmussen, tape-recorded oral history, 1988.
17. Catherine McDowell, tape recorded oral history, November 29, 1979.
18. Loren "Lanky" Jamison, tape recorded oral history, December 26, 1986.
19. Loren "Lanky" Jamison, tape recorded oral history, December 26, 1986.
20. Loren "Lanky" Jamison, tape recorded oral history, Decmeber 26, 1986.
21. Loren "Lanky" Jamison, tape recorded oral history, December 26, 1986.
22. Loren "Lanky" Jamison, tape recorded oral history, December 26, 1986.
23. Clifford R. Weare, tape recorded oral history, March 10, 1970.
24. Stewart and Agnes Hampton, oral history, November 18, 1983.
25. Clayton Bauer, tape recorded oral history, November 1979. 26.
26. Letter, May 31, 1991. A. J. Kline was a carpenter and a bricklayer. Sons Jerold, Kenneth, and Roland Kline were born in Heron, Montana. Klines moved form Heron in 1967. Albert J. Kline died in 1976 and Sophia Kline died in 1983.
27. School of Mines, Butte, MT, letter December 24, 1926.
28. Wade Parks, attorney, Plains, MT, letter February 26, 1927
29. Wm. G. Newberry, Wallace, ID, letter January 25, 1928.
30. W. A. Darling, letter February 27, 1929. 31. Frank J. Moore, Powers, OR, letter April 7, 1929.
31. Clifford R. Weare papers, var., 1927-29.
32. Benj. L. Smith, Seattle, WA, letters, var., 1929.
33. D. K. May, letter June 11, 1929.


CHART OF MINES AND MINING ACTIVITY

BLUE CREEK MINING DISTRICT
  1.  1. AMAZON (Owner, AMAZON MINING COMPANY
  2.  2. BLUE CREEK; (also known as SCOTCHMAN - STACKHOUSE, incorporated 1923; BLUE CREEK MINING COMPANY). 20 men employed 1930. Shipped 108 tons in 1937. Last operated 1938, employing 20 men.
    • Blue Creek Mining Company officers were George W. Beardmore, secty., Pearl A. Stackhouse, D. K. Tarr (Pennsylvania). Six patented and 3 unpatented claims. 180 acres on the East branch of Blue Creek, 4 miles North of ID hiwghway, 15 miles from Clark's Fork, ID and Noxon, MT. Lead, silver and zinc. 2500 feet tunnel. 40 feet shaft and stopes. Diesel power, compressor and hoists. Hydro-electric power can be developed on property.
    • 1928 C. P. Stackhouse, Pres. & treas. (Sandpoint). E. W. Wheelan, Sect. 6 patented claims and 3 unpatented claims. Silver, lead, zinc. 2000 feet of adit. Compressor, machine, drills. Ore chute 180 feet long; 4 feet of high grade and 10 feet of milling ore at the end of 1928.
    • 1933-34, ore was being dumped into ore chutes by the highway. Albert Nash had a mill at Clark Fork to process the ore.
    • Last operated in 1938. 20 men.
  3. GOPHER HOLE, on Blue Creek. Joe Brooks and Shorty Dettwiler claims.
  4. THE BADGER, John Greenden claims on Fat Man Mountain, 1940. Altogether, Greeden had 10 claims, including,The Beaver, The Sacajawea, The Pocahonas, The Sitting Bull, and etc. Joe Brooks took them over in 1960's.
  5. SILVER-LEAD MINING COMPANY, 1920. BROKEN HILL, incorporated 1922; FEDERAL MINING AND SMELTING COMPANY, leased it 1923-24. Two more owners to date. Exported, 1925 and 1926. Shipped four railroad carloads to Belgium.
  6. MONTANA GOLD MINING AND MILLING COMPANY, INC. Three claims in 1908. Assayed gold $40-$120. Assayed $120 per ton in 1909. 8-18" wide, $10 free mill. 1911 employed 12 men. Had blacksmith, bunkhousc and wagon road to railway station. A four foot ledge assayed $212 per ton in 1912.
  7. JACK ULLEY on Squaw Peak, 1928; DIXIE QUEEN MINING COMPANY, 1930's. Went to Spokane, WA where he left canvas sacks of Iron Pyrite – fools gold.
NOXON MINING DISTRICT
  1. CHILSON, 1921-22 (Lost Mine)
  2. FREEMAN, above Copper Lake in Copper Gulch. PRICE had it in 1930.
  3. Walt McClung prospects vicinity of Rock Lake Fault.
  4. HEIDLEBERG, 1920s, on Milwaukee pass on the Rock Lake Fault.
  5. R. J. Price had 15 claims in 1930. HEIDLEBERG acquired it 1936. Worked intermittently. Office at Noxon in 1940. J. A. Carlise (Tacoma, WA), Carl Biber, Pres. & Mngr., Geo. Reist, V. Pres., Cavelti, Dir. (Tacoma, WA) H. R. Olson (Pasco, WA), O. J. Bandelin (Sandpoint, ID), Patrick Green, engineer. Incorporated in 1936. Capitol, one million shares, par $1.00. Outstanding, 635,223 shares.
  6. 19 unpatented claims 14 miles NE of Noxon at the head of Rock Creek. Gold silver ore. 640 feet of tunnel, surface cuts. Water power, 24 inch Pelton water wheel. Compressor, 5-ton Rib Cone Staub mill, amalgamator and concentrating table.
    • Last operated 1939. Closed for winter. Employed 8 men. 1939 took out $750 in gold in 10 days. 4 men. 8 ton Marcy ball mill.
    • 1948 - 874,953 shares outstanding December 31st. 800 feet of tunnel, 30 feet winze and surface cuts. Five foot ledge of silver and gold ore. A 48" double Pelton water wheel. Mill run by gasoline power, 2 compressors by water power. Road was built further into it in 1960.
  7. CHARLIE MARTIN, prospected in the Bull River valley, Copper Gulch, St. Paul, etc. until his death, circa 1960s.
PILGRIM CREEK MINING DISTRICT
  1. HOLLIDAY MINE, near the headwaters of the west fork of Pilgrim Creek. John Salisbury, Pres., Lloyd E. Gandy, Manager & Vice Pres. (Spokane). Gold, silver, lead and zinc in quartzite, and copper. Open cuts, 300 Feet adit; 1,500 feet drift. Width of ore zone about 100 feet; vein 4 inches to 2 feet thick. Total width of vein is 12 feet of workable ore. Operation ceased in 1933.
  2. HOMESTEAD MINING COMPANY - Incorporated April 30, 1930. A million and a half shares, par 10 cents. Outstanding, 740,000 shares. 140 acres seven miles from Noxon station. 325 feet of tunnel and crosscuts. Showing of 10 feet of silver-lead-zinc-copper ore. Development work only in 1939.
    • W. P. Hopkins director in 1939. Developing 1945-49, inactive 1950-56, reopened 1957. Three to six men working. 16 tons shipped to Wallace 1961 contained too much zinc. Employees were Kenny Miller, Mike Compton, Ronald Mercer, Ray Peterson and his brother, Leonard Brothers and Frank King.
  3. HOMESTEAD - HAROLD; BOB, ROSS, (10 miles from Noxon) CABIN, EXTENSION & CHRISTIE, INC. 1920. Homestead Mining Company developed 475 feet of tunnel. Developing only in 1948. 4-5 men. 7 claims unpatented.
  4. MILLER (on the Stover home ranch on Pilgrim Creek).
  5. PILGRIM, Sam Holbert conducted explorations.
  6. PRINCEMONT MINING COMPANY, six claims in late 1910s.
  7. CABINET RANGE COPPER MINING COMPANY, 18 claims in 1926, incorporated in 1919. "Sold for taxes. Company dead." (from School of Mines 1940 memoir #20). Water flooding it 1960.
  8. BAKER; also known as WHITE STAR. 1/2 mile East of the Holliday Mine road.

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