HISTORIC CONTEXT

aka Battle Creek

The Murray mining district, known for some production of copper ore, is located fifteen to twenty miles south of White Sulphur Springs, on the southeastern slopes of the Big Belt Mountains. Although the mines were discovered at least by the late 1880s, there was little production until the late 1910s and 1920s (Sahinen 1935; Roby 1950; Swallow and Trevarthen 1889; WPA 1941).

Underlying the gently rolling hills of the Murray district are Belt series slates, shales, and impure limestones. A fault about seven miles east of the town of Sixteen, places these rocks in contact with Cretaceous shales. Irregular masses of diabase intrude into the Beltian rocks north of Sixteen, while Belt and Cambrian rocks on Black Butte contain intrusions of syenite porphyry and acidic dike rocks. "Ore deposits occur in narrow fissure veins cutting the Belt rocks. The veins show evidence of faulting and are composed of fragments of wall rock, quartz, and calcite spotted with copper minerals" (Sahinen 1935).

Initial reports from the Murray district painted a favorable picture. In 1889, the Montana mine inspector noted that the local mines showed more copper ore than any others in the Belt Mountains, and he suggested that they might sit on top of a large copper belt joining Copperopolis, the Crow Mountains, and Butte. The mines evidently did not live up to their initial billing since there is little other information available. The Steward and Battle Creek mine shipped some copper ore in 1918, while the Copper Queen shipped ore in 1923 and 1929, about the same time the Copper Glance was active. There are no known mills in the district and total production is unknown (Swallow and Trevarthen 1889; WPA 1941; Roby 1950).

BOUNDARIES OF THE DISTRICT

Sahinen (1935) places the Murray district on Battle and Sixteenmile creeks, with no further details given. Roby (1950) defines the district more explicitly by noting that a number of claims cluster near the head of Battle Creek. Figure 1 shows the district as defined by the AMRB (1994) following Sahinen (1935) with the area of mining at the head of Battle Creek identified after Roby (1950).

HISTORIES OF SELECTED MINES

Copper Glance

Not much has been reported on the Copper Glance mine. Roby (1950) said that operators shipped ore in 1929-1930 (Roby 1950).

Copper Queen

There is little information available on the Copper Queen mine. Roby (1950) notes that the mine shipped some ore in 1923. The mine reported production of oxidized copper ore in 1929 but was closed a year later (Roby 1950; WPA 1941).

Steward and Battle Creek

Located one mile north of Battle Creek, the Steward and Battle Creek mine was worked in 1918 when it produced just a few carloads of copper ore. The copper content is unknown. Workings include a 100 foot shaft. Little else is known about the mine (Roby 1950).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Abandoned Mine Reclamation Bureau (AMRB)

1994 Mining districts of Montana. Maps 1:100,000 and Map #94-NRIS-129. Compiled and edited by Joel Chavez. Prepared by Montana State Library Natural Resource Information System (NRIS) for Montana Department of State Lands. Helena

Munson, Gene and Shirley M. Munson

1980 "Cultural Resource Inventory and Assessment: Montana Power Company 500 kV Powerline from Broadview to Townsend", prepared for Montana Power Company by Cultural Resources Division Mineral Research Center, Montana Tech Alumni Foundation, Butte.

Roby, Robert N.

1950 Mines and Mineral Deposits (Except Fuels), Meagher County, Mont. Information Circular 7540. United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines.

Sahinen, Uuno Mathias

1935 Mining Districts of Montana. Unpublished master's thesis, Department of Geology, Montana School of Mines, Butte.

Swallow, G. C., and J. B. Trevarthen

1889 Report of the Inspector of Mines.

1890 Reports of the Inspector of Mines and Deputy Inspector of Mines for the Six Months Ending November 30th, 1889. Journal Publishing Company, Helena.

Work Projects Administration (WPA), Mineral Resources Survey

1941 Montana Mine Index, and Alphabetical Index Arranged by Counties, Districts and Mines of Information on Montana Mines from 1867-1940. Montana School of Mines, Butte.