aka Zosell

Located about eight miles southeast of Deerlodge on upper Cottonwood Creek, the Emery district is also known as the Zosell mining district, a variation on Zosel. W. T. Zosel was a prominent rancher and homesteader who lived near the district and was also the discoverer of the Bonanza lode. However, because of the more recent predominance of the Emery lode mine, the district has come to be better known by that mine's name (Derkey 1986).

Placer gold was discovered in Rocker Gulch in 1872. The original discoverer, H. L. Hoffman continued to work the placers with George Boothroyd and others for the next 20 years. They were reported to have recovered $50,000 from their Rocker Gulch claims. Despite a mining season that was limited to 2.5 months per year, a total of $75,000 in gold worth $17.50 per ounce was recovered from both Spring and Rocker Gulches. Rocker Gulch was worked for half a mile along the narrow stretch below the Blue Eyed Maggie mine and for about three quarters of a mile above the forks, nearly to the head. The gravel deposits were generally less than 10 feet deep and varied from a few feet to 32 feet wide. Spring Gulch was worked for a considerable distance below the Sterrett mine. Except for a few ounces of gold panned in 1933, all placering stopped in the district in 1889 (Pardee and Schrader 1933; Sahinen 1935; Joyce 1951).

Geologically the district is underlain by andesite. To the east it is overlain by Tertiary lake beds and to the west intruded by the quartz monzonite of the Boulder batholith. Several faults are shown by mine workings. The most important ore deposits are in veins which strike northwest or northeast and dip northward, generally less than 40 degrees. These are the result of low-angle reverse or thrust faults that more or less follow bedding plains. Most of these veins have filled open spaces along fractures or between fragments of broken rock. Locally, vein minerals have partially replaced the broken rock. Most veins are narrow but are persistent in strike and dip, and the ore bodies are fairly extensive in their length and depth. Several feet of the wall rock is commonly mineralized. These deposits are typified in the Emery, Blue-Eyed Maggie and William Coleman mines (Sahinen 1935; Robertson 1953).

Steep, nearly vertical fissures also occur in an east west direction. These probably represent normal tension fractures. Veins have formed in these fissures in the Black-eyed May, Emma Darling, Sterrett, and Swan-Sabbath mines (Robertson 1953).

The first lode rush in the district occurred in 1872 on Baggs Creek. A prospector named Thomas Spring is said to have discovered a lode of very high-grade ore. Apparently, the man mined his lode just enough to pay for his sprees in town. In 1872, he was persuaded by Sam Scott (who was known to grubstake Spring) to reveal the location of the mine. Scott was allowed to follow Spring as far as the forks of Cottonwood Creek. Later, two mining men talked Spring into allowing them to develop the mine for half interest in the returns. Although the party made it to the forks of Cottonwood Creek, Spring disappeared while hunting grouse. He was found the next day, the apparent victim of a heart attack. The news sparked a rush to Baggs Creek, but the mine was never found (Derkey 1986).

The first lode mine to be claimed in the district, the Hidden Hand was located by Joe Peterson. Lode mining in the district commenced in 1888 or 1889 and since then many mines have been operated, but only intermittently. Prior to 1928, $675,000 in gold, silver, and lead had been recovered from lode mines. Of this, nearly half a million dollars came from the Emery alone (Pardee and Schrader 1933; Sahinen 1935).

The principal mines are: Emery, Blue Eyed Maggie, Bonanza, Hidden Hand, Emma Darling, Argus, Sterrett, Kirby, Black Eyed May, William Colemen, and Bell

Other mines in the district include the Caroline, the Ding Bat (Steere 1979).


Pardee and Schrader (1933) describe the district as "an area of 3 or 4 square miles on the slope west of the Continental Divide about eight miles east-southeast of Deerlodge. Most of the mines of the Zosell district are in the drainage basins of Rocker Gulch and Spring Gulch, small tributaries of the south or main fork of Cottonwood Creek. A few of the deposits are beyond the northern limits of these basins on the slope above the north fork, known also as Baggs Creek.

Sahinen (1935) reiterates that the district is on the west slope of the Continental Divide about 8 miles east-southeast of Deer Lodge, a station on the Northern Pacific and Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroads.

Robertson (1953) geographically defines the district as sections 1, 2, 3, 10 and 11 , T7N, R8W (Figure 1).

Derkey (1986) states that gold was recovered from Rocker, Spring and Deep Gulches along with a small tributary of Little Cottonwood Creek near the Sterrett mine.



The Argus mine is located in the northwest quarter of section 2, T7N, R8W. The patented mine (MS #3493) was worked out of three inclined shafts and at least two adits which worked an extension of the vein worked in the Hidden Hand mine. The mine recorded production of 102 tons of ore in 1914 yielding 35 ounces of gold; 5,672 ounces of silver; 38,800 pounds of lead and 1,500 pounds of copper. The mine produced a small amount (19 tons) the next year and then lay dormant until 1934. The mine achieved modest levels of production until 1938, but never achieved the level it did in 1914. Total production for the mine was only 218 tons of ore which returned 82 ounces of gold; 8,147 ounces of silver; 1,553 pounds of copper and 58,512 pounds of lead (McClernan 1976).

Blue Eyed Maggie

The Blue Eyed Maggie is located in the center of the east half (McClernan says north half of the southwest quarter) of section 10, T7N, R8W on the north side of Rocker Gulch just below the flat and behind the Emery school house. The mine first reported shipping ore in 1910. By 1915, the mine was one of the two most productive mines in the district (the other was the Emery). Production then waned and the mine sat idle. In 1919, 1921 and 1922 small lots of ore were shipped from the mine. The production increased with development work being done on the mine in 1924. The mine began to ship ore in 1925, peaking in 1927 with four carloads. In 1926 and 1927 the mine was operated by James E. Higgins, one of the owners, and by lessees (McClernan 1976).

In 1929 the mine was acquired by the North American Mining and Smelting Co. Although production was low for the next two years, by 1932 the mine became the largest producer in the district with 340 tons shipped. The next year production leapt to 700 tons of lead ore and 280 tons of gold-silver ore shipped. The mine continued to produce until 1940 (Robertson 1953).

The mine extracted ore from an inclined shaft with four levels. It was credited with a total production of $85,000 from 1910 to 1926; by 1940 this had grown to around $100,000. The ore returns consisted of 50 percent silver, 45 percent gold and the remaining in lead. Ore averaged 1.5 ounces of gold; 42 to 63 ounces of silver to the ton and two to six percent lead. The development consisted of a 170-foot deep incline and shaft with drifts extending 250 feet west and 50 feet east. The mine officially reported production for 22 years between 1910 and 1940. It was also discussed in the mining literature in 1910 and in the early 1930s (Pardee and Schrader 1933; WPA 1941; Robertson 1953).


The Bonanza mine is at the heart of the district in the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section 11, T7N, R8W, north of the Emery mine on the low ridge east of the upper course of Rocker Gulch. The property, which is composed of the Bonanza, Hope, Daisy, Bonanza Extension and Edison patented claims, was first located by W. T. Zosell in 1895. The mine was initially developed by a tunnel and shaft in Rocker Gulch. The earliest shipment was 4.5 tons of hand-sorted, high-grade ore sent by Mr. Zosell to the smelter in 1911. This was followed by 16 tons sent by A. L. Applegate. In 1919 and 1920, William Zosell shipped both first- and second-class ore to the smelter. In 1924, the mine was secured by the Bonanza Mining Co and ore shipments continued. The mine was extended down to a fourth level. In 1926 and 1927, the mine was actively developed by the company; an electric hoist was installed and the shaft extended. However, a heavy flow of water necessitated the cessation of work until a tunnel could be run in from Spring Gulch to drain the mine. This tunnel was never completed. When described in 1933, the mine consisted of a 2-compartment shaft sunk to 340 feet. Short drifts were run at depths of 100 and 235 feet (Pardee and Schrader 1933; WPA 1941; Robertson 1953).

In 1936, the mine was reopened by W. Oliphant and T. Boatman to take advantage of the recently increased price of gold. The mine was taken over by Bonanza Leasing Co. in 1938 who operated the mine until 1950, except for the period during World War II when gold mining was prohibited by law. At the peak of production in 1947 and 1948, the mine produced 1,853 tons of ore yielding 686 ounces of gold and 3,569 ounces of silver. The mine also shipped 71 tons of lead ore which was reduced to 8 ounces of gold; 1,800 ounces of silver; 141 pounds of copper; 36,630 pounds of lead and 7,684 pounds of zinc. The mine was reported to have produced $125,000 during this period.

The mine worked the largest vein in the district. This varied from a few inches to as much as 20 feet wide, averaging 2.5 feet. Total development for the mine is listed as 640 feet of inclined shaft and over 3,500 feet of of drifts (Robertson 1953).


The Emery mine is located in the extreme east-central part of section 10 and the west-central part of section 11, T7N, R8W, nine miles northwest of Deerlodge. The lode was discovered in 1888 by John Renault; shortly thereafter relocated by another prospector, W. C. Emery. Although the mine was initially named the Carbonate Hill, it came to be known after Emery who developed the mine to a depth of 100 feet, extracting a considerable amount of ore (Pardee and Schrader 1933).

In 1890, the mine was sold to N. J. Bielenberg et al [apparently Grant Kohrs was one of his partners] who worked it profitably and patented it in 1893 (MS #4014) before leasing it to Powers and Harrington. In 1897, 50 men were employed underground along with 8 topmen to extend the inclined shaft from 350 feet to 500 feet. A second inclined shaft was sunk to 275 feet on the Emery Extension. In 1899, the mine was reported to have a 450-foot shaft and was steadily sending gold, silver and lead ore shipments to the smelter. The next year the mine employed 35 miners, 8 topmen and 2 engineers to extend the shaft 150 feet to the 700-foot level and to complete an air shaft to the surface. Early in 1902, the mine was operated by W. I. Higgins who had a new vertical shaft sunk to the 450-foot level (Robertson 1953; Derkey 1986).

The Emery Mining Company was organized in 1902 by M.W. Trask and M.S. Halteman among others. The company acquired the Emery mine and patented the Better Judgement and Red Cloud claims. The company erected a concentrator at the mine and began shipping concentrates in addition to high grade ores. The company was reported to have taken out $90,000 in gold, silver and lead ore (Robertson 1953).

Smelter returns for the mine show 14,550 tons of ore and concentrates were shipped from 1891 to 1905. This ore netted $464,590.53 at the smelter with gold accounting for 46 percent of this value while silver represented 44 percent and lead 10 percent. In round figures this ore was reduced to 11,000 ounces of gold, 335,000 ounces of silver and 1,220,000 pounds of lead.

In 1907, the mine was purchased by the Deer Lodge Consolidated Mines Co., an English company. Extensive and excessive development followed; improvements included the erection of a new concentrating mill and the sinking of a new shaft to the 900 foot level. During the short period of English ownership, the mine and mill produced about $15,600 while the improvements and claims were sold at a sheriff's sale in 1908 for $20,000. The mine was idle from 1908 to 1910. Thereafter the mine was operated by the Emery Consolidated Co. which was made up of many of the same interests as the Emery Mining Company, the Carbonate Hill Mining Co. and various lessees. In 1912, the mine reported sending regular shipments of ore to the smelter at East Helena. The Black Rock claim was added to the property in 1916 and the Rocker Gulch placer sometime thereafter. In 1917 a new mill was constructed at the mine to produce lead concentrates rich with silver. The last shipments in 1922 and 1923 consisted of gleanings of former workings. In the latter year, a new electric 70-ton flotation mill was used to rework tailings. When visited in 1926, the mine was in the hands of Joseph Whitworth and others of Deer Lodge, but was closed at the time (Byrne and Barry 1902; Walsh and Orem 1912; Pardee and Schrader 1933; Elliot 1939; WPA 1941; Derkey 1986).

Total development of the mine by 1922 reached a depth of 700 feet. The mine was accessed through the 500-foot shaft sunk by the English company, the Black Rock shaft 600 feet west of the mine and by the old 700-foot long inclined shaft 500 feet north of the mine. The former two shafts are connected by a winze and two raises. In all, the mine contained 9,000 feet of drifts, crosscuts, levels and a large area stopes. Ores included arsenopyrite, pyrite, galena and sphalerite in a quartz-carbonate gangue. At the 100-foot level, ore netted $26 a ton at the smelter. Later shipments at lower levels averaged $35 a ton (Pardee and Schrader 1933; Elliot 1939).

In 1931, G. E. Witworth leased the property and sank an inclined shaft to the 850-foot level. The mine returned to production in 1932 when 108 tons were shipped to the smelter. In 1934 the mine shipped 105 tons of siliceous gold-silver ore. Witworth controlled part of the property until 1938 and reported nearly $220,000 in metals taken from the mine (Robertson 1953).

In 1935, the Tweedy Brothers leased a portion of the mine and rebuilt the flotation mill. The brothers treated nearly 12,000 tons of ore before releasing the mine in the spring of 1936. In 1938, Boomer and associates, dewatered the mine and installed an air compressor and electric hoist. They shipped hand-sorted ore directly to the smelter in 1939. Thereafter, the mine continued operation under lessees until World War II brought an end to production in the early 1940s. In 1945 John B. White, Jr. constructed a 100-ton flotation mill at the mine and conducted test runs. The next year the mine was operated by the Deerlodge Mining Company who milled about 1,000 tons of ore. This company continued to work the mine and the flotation mill until 1948 (Pardee and Schrader 1933; WPA 1941; Robertson 1953).

Final development of the mine included 2,075 feet of shafts (one of which was 1,400 feet long), raises and winzes and about 9,600 feet of drifts and crosscuts. The area stoped out is not known. Total mineral production was estimated at over one million dollars (Robertson 1953; McClernan 1976).

Emma Darling

The Emma Darling mine is located in the north half of the southeast quarter of section 2, T7N, R8W, on the upland at the head of Rocker Gulch east of the Hidden Hand mine. The mine was developed by an adit and a 90-foot shaft. A sample from near the mouth of the adit assayed 2.5 ounces of silver and $2.40 of gold to the ton. When the mine was examined in 1926 the adit and the shaft were both inaccessible. The mine reported production intermittently from 1908 to 1924 and again from 1938 to 1940, but no production figures are available. In 1910 and again in 1916, the mine was one of the leading producers in the district. The mine was said to be the fifth or sixth most important mine in the district. From 1908 to 1942 the mine produced 1,392 tons of ore which yielded 895 ounces of gold; 55,683 ounces of silver; 2,469 pounds of copper; and 127,953 pounds of lead. Production was slight and intermittent from 1908 to 1936. From 1936, production more than tripled to 301 tons per year. Production then slowly eroded until 1942 when gold mines were closed by Federal Order. When visited in 1951, a large waste dump and ore chute were observed, but only bare remains could be seen of the headframe and the hoist house (WPA 1941; Joyce 1951; Robertson 1953).

Hidden Hand

The Hidden Hand mine is located in the extreme west-central part of section 2, T7N, R8W, west of the Emma Darling at the head of Rocker Gulch, and was said to be the first mine to attract attention in the Zosell district. It was discovered by Joe Peterson and initially developed in 1887. In 1897 the mine was being developed by an inclined shaft 60 feet deep. When examined in 1926, the mine was idle and the underground workings inaccessible. The owners, Henry Peterson and Henry Scheutz indicated that the mine was worked out of a 280-foot incline shaft. Although it only produced intermittently, the mine was estimated to have produced $46,000 in gold, silver and lead by 1928. Most of the ore shipped came from a shoot 2 feet wide and 200 feet long that extended from the surface to a depth of 45 feet. Returns from the smelter indicated that the ore ranged in value from $25 to $40 per ton net in gold, silver and lead (Pardee and Schrader 1933; WPA 1941; Robertson 1953).

The mine was returned to production in 1928 by the Harvey Creek Mining Co., but no production records exist for this period. The company exposed and mined-out a flat, rich lead-silver ore shoot before abandoning the property. The mine's most important period of production was from 1937 to 1947, when over $62,000 in ore was taken out of the mine by Mr. William Howard. Total production for the mine was estimated at $120,000. The mine's development included a 350-foot inclined shaft and a sinuous adit estimated to be 1,200 feet long. In 1951 only a 100-foot long adit terminating in a room could be accessed (WPA 1941; Joyce 1951; Robertson 1953).

Other mines in the district, discussed by Pardee and Schrader (1933), include the Sterrett, Kirby, Black Eyed May, William Coleman and the Bell.

Robertson (1953) discussed these mines as well as the Wake Up Jim, Bertha May, Elizabeth - Little Emery, Herculese, Matheson, Mountain Chief, Wednesday - Thursday, Tuesday - Friday, Monday - Saturday, Sabbath Day - Paymaster - Swan, Bull Moose, Harrison, Katy, Copper Cliff.


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