aka Bear Creek
aka Bearmouth aka Top o' Deep (sub-district)
The Garnet mining district was one of the earliest to be established in the Montana Territory. It was contemporary with the mines at Bannack, Virginia City, Butte, Silver Star and Philipsburg. Preceding the discovery of the lode deposits in the Garnet district was the discovery of placer deposits in 1865 at the confluence of Bear Creek and the Clark Fork, an area subsequently known as Bearmouth. Another small mining camp called Beartown sprang up about six miles up the creek. By 1868 Beartown was described as several stores, saloons, gambling houses, a blacksmith shop and other businesses typical of mining camps. A school was built in 1881 (Sahinen 1935; Lyden 1948; Meyer 1992).
The Bearmouth placer district around Beartown was reported to have produced more than $7,000,000 in placer gold by 1917. The placers were narrow, but rich, with some mines producing as much as $1,200 per foot. This concentration made the placer gravels suitable for "coyote" or drift mining. Miles of flumes brought water to work the placers and in one place an oxbow ridge was cut by a short tunnel for a flume. In 1896, thirty-five placer miners worked together to construct a million gallon tank to water their chronically dry claims. The gold in the Bear Creek placers derives from the lode deposits in Garnet and Top o' Deep (Mining World 1910; Pardee 1918; Kauffman and Earll, 1963).
Soon after the discoveries at Bearmouth, prospectors searched the interior of the Garnet Range for other placer and lode deposits. The discoveries were not long in coming, for within a year the lode deposits at Top o' Deep, located about four miles east of Garnet, were made. The next year, in 1867, the rich deposits in the Garnet (or First Chance) district were located. Copper Cliff in 1891 and Coloma in 1897 followed sometime later (Pardee 1918; Kauffman and Earll, 1963).
J. T. Pardee (1918) describes the geology of the area as follows:
...part of the borderland between the great pre-Cambrian shale and quartzite area of northwestern Montana and a province of Paleozoic and later sediments deposited along the main axis of the Rocky Mountains. In its southeast corner Cretaceous shale and sandstone are exposed. Toward the northwest older beds, including at least 4,000 feet of Paleozoic limestones, succeed one another in descending order before the Algonkian shales and quartzites are reached. The latter occupy at least two-thirds of the area described, are 5,000 feet or more in thickness, and belong to the upper part of the Belt series. In common with many other parts of the general region this area does not show angular discordances between any of the rocks mentioned, all the beds having apparently remained undisturbed until the last was laid down. Therefore breaks in the sedimentation are not readily detected, and a great gap between the Cambrian and Belt rocks would hardly be suspected in a casual examination. So far as the observations go, however, the Flathead quartzite, the oldest Cambrian formation known in the general region, is not present everywhere in the area described (Pardee 1918:165-166).
Ore deposits in the area are composite shear-zone veins in granodiorite in bedding- fissure veins in the sediments. The veins are narrow, 1 to 4 feet wide and vary in length from 50 feet to half a mile. Depth also varies from 25 to 500 feet. The veins carry rich gold values as well as some silver and copper. Ores are a spongy mass of quartz and limonite (Sahinen 1935).
Even though the rich Grant and Hartford, Lead King, and Shamrock lodes were discovered in 1867, lode mining initially took a back seat to the placers in the mid-1860's. Although by the early 1880's numerous small underground mines began developing. Ore from these mines was processed in arrastras along Bear Creek or shipped to smelters in Butte or Helena, although small amounts were milled at the mines. The ore was hauled by wagon 10 miles to Bearmouth and then delivered to the Northern Pacific Railway or, after 1909, to the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway for shipment to the smelters. A recovery rate of 80 to 90 percent of the gold and silver was obtained from the oxidized ore. Small amounts of copper and lead were also recovered (Pardee 1918; Kauffman and Earll 1963).
Major lode mining did not occur until 1886 when B. A. C. Stone worked the Haparanda Lode above the Top o' Deep district and by the mid-1890's large-scale production in the district was underway. In 1894, Dr. Peter Mussigbrod announced plans to build a 10-stamp mill in the Garnet district. The mill, managed by A. H. Mitchell, was completed the next year and a small town named Mitchell sprang up around the plant. Ore from Mussigbrod's ten claims was worked along with custom milling from other properties. In 1896, the operation was making ore shipments to smelters that were valued at $72 to $120 per ton (Anderson and Decco 1988; Meyer 1992).
In 1896 the Nancy Hanks, which had been discovered by Sam Ritchey in 1873, was the scene of a major strike. A rich vein of red ore was found in a shoot off the mine's old shaft. Two crews of 12 men worked around the clock extending the shaft to 100 feet. The Nancy Hanks mine became one of the mainstays of the district for the next three years and then continued to produce intermittently until 1907, at which point it had produced about $300,000. Other important mines followed the Nancy Hanks during this period including: the Tiger, Dewey, International, Grant and Hartford, Robert Emmett, Minnie Palmer, Fairview, Shamrock, and Magone and Anderson (Pardee 1918; Kauffman and Earll 1963; Wolle 1963; Cushman 1973; Hammond 1983).
In 1900 the Colorado Smelter in Deep Creek was erected by A. B. Brown. The smelter, constructed with the help of Denver investors, allowed local miners to smelt their ores locally and thereby save freighting charges. The operation was said to have recovered 90% of the mineral values in the ore (Dimou 1979).
The town of Mitchell also reached its peak during this period. The first post office was established in 1896 and in its first year 100 people were listed as receiving their mail there. While the town was originally called Mitchell, after Dr. Armstead Mitchell who set up the first stamp mill in the area, it was changed to Garnet in 1897. At this point the town had 13 saloons, four hotels, several company boarding houses, two laundries, a school, two barber shops, three livery stables, a candy shop, an assay office, a butcher shop, a doctor's office and daily stage service to Bearmouth. Some twenty mines were in operation around the community. In 1900 the Red Cloud employed 50 men, the Shamrock employed 20 and L. C. Parker was developing the Nancy Hanks under a bond (First Federal Savings and Loan Association n.d.; Cheney 1983; see also: Ellingsen 1970; Gallacher 1982; Hammond 1983; Meyer 1992).
In August of 1900, Samuel Ritchey leased the Nancy Hanks mine to Colonel L. C. Parker, who would himself drop the lease within two years. Other mines followed this pattern as the richer veins of ore were depleted. The Anderson and Magone, Shamrock, Lead King, and Mussigbrod mines continued to operate, but on a reduced scale under lessees. The town of Garnet declined with the mines and by 1905 it was reduced to around 200 persons. In 1912 a fire destroyed almost half the town and by 1920 it had become virtually a ghost town, although the post office stayed open until 1928 (Anderson and Decco 1988).
Little mining was done during the 1920's with the exception of the Katie which several shipped carloads of lead or silver-lead ore to the smelter at East Helena and to a zinc plant in the East (Sahinen 1957).
With the 1934 action of President Roosevelt raising the price of gold to $32 an ounce, interest revived and many of the old mines were reopened. Production continued from the Nancy Hanks, Shamrock, Magone and Anderson, and the Crescent-Lead King-Red Cloud group, with smaller amounts produced by the Robert Emmet, Free Coinage, and San Jose mines. The Mountain View and other mines flourished for a short time in the 1930's. In 1939 a Yuba dredge began working the gravels of Bear Creek. The dredge, operated by the Star Pointer Exploration Company, was electric powered and had 85 six cubic foot buckets. Production again came to a halt during World War II when the government closed down non-essential gold mines as part of the war effort.
Some production resumed following the war but by the early 1950's the productive period of the Garnet district appeared to be at an end, with last recorded ore shipments occurring in 1955. By this point all the known accessible quartz-gold veins had been worked out and any remaining ore would most likely be low grade and unprofitable to mine. However, some development work has continued sporadically from the 1960's through the 1980's although no further production of any consequence has been reported (Mining World 1905, 1906; Kauffman and Earll 1963; Geach 1962; 1965; 1966; Cheney 1983; Gallacher 1982).
During the early period in the Garnet district, from the first strike in 1867 to 1916 when all but the Dewey mine closed, an estimated $1,500,000 worth of ore was taken from the district . Most mining in the district since 1916 has been small-scale, intermittent operations. However, in the post-1916 period more efficient techniques for reworking old mine tailings, the advent of the Star Pointer Dredge and higher prices for metals resulted in the production of about $2,099,000 worth of gold and silver - plus small amounts of lead, zinc and copper - bringing the district's total production to around $3,599,000 (Kauffman and Earll 1963).
Top o' Deep Sub-district
The Top o' Deep mining district was a small mining camp to the east of Garnet which was most active during the 1860's as a placer camp. Some lode mining was conducted during the 1890's but was limited by constant litigation. Total production was estimated by Pardee to have been around $50,000 although Cushman reported an extremely rich claim was located in the district which yielded $240,000 in gold (Pardee 1918; Wolle 1963; Cushman 1973).
Other mines in the district include the Mammoth (Taylor 1981).
BOUNDARIES OF THE DISTRICT
Sahinen (1935) places the Garnet district in the northern part of Granite County, 11 miles north of Bearmouth, a station on the Northern Pacific and on the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railroads.
Lyden (1948) described the placers on Bear Creek immediately to the south of Garnet. This placer district extends from its confluence with the Clark Fork at Bearmouth upstream to its headwaters. This includes Bear Creek's tributaries: Felan Creek, Tenmile Creek, Chicken Run Creek, Kearns Creek, First Chance Gulch, Deep Creek and Cayuse Gulch. All of these streams have been extensively placered.
Anderson and Decco (1988) discuss the cultural resource definition of the district.
The Butte District Office of the Bureau of Land Management began action in 1987 and 1988 to have the town of Garnet and the area immediately surrounding it declared a National Register of Historic Places district. The BLM's boundaries for this district (24GN540) encompasses the town of Garnet and an area approximately one-half mile around the town (Figure 2). The area includes the E3/4 of Section 3 and the W1/4 of Section 2. The UTM references for the district are: Zone 12, A 322405m E, 5187765m N; B 321000m E, 5187771m N; C 321702m E, 51886650m N; and D 322425m E, 5188605m N.
The traditional Garnet mining district, as used in publications and common usage, would most likely cover a larger area of mining activity around the town of Garnet than that of the NRHP Garnet historic district. The general Garnet mining district would encompass Sections 2, 3, E1/2 4, E1/2 9, 10 and 11 in T12N R14W (Figure 2). The UTM boundaries would be: Zone 12; 5185800m N on the south, 318600m E on the west, 5189000m N on the north, and 323400m E on the east. This area includes the sites of major mining activity that were directly related to the town of Garnet.
The area of the Top o' Deep mining district would encompass Sections 5 and 8 in T12N R13E (Figure 3). The UTM boundaries would be: Zone 12; 5185500m N on the south, 326480m E on the west, 5188790m N on the north and 328100m E.
The map (Figure 1) shows two versions of the Garnet mining district, the Top o' Deep sub-district, as well as the large outlined area defined as the Garnet district by AMRB (1994). Between the Garnet and Top o' Deep sub-districts are four sections which lie mostly on the north side of the divide at the headwaters of Elk Creek. This area is the Elk Creek sub-district. Because of the proximity to and overlapping historic information on these districts, the reader should also review the Elk Creek, Coloma and Copper Cliff district discussions.
HISTORIES OF SELECTED MINES
The Austin was apparently a small operation on the Austin claim which was opened and produced for a few years during the 1930's. The 1938 Mineral Yearbook lists the Austin as a gold, silver and copper mine which shipped low-grade ore for smelting in 1936 and 1937. It is unlikely the mine was a major producer or was active for more than a few years (GLO Mineral Survey Plat Map No. 6971-2-3-4-5).
The Austin claim was located by Henry Grant on May 4, 1895 and surveyed in 1903 (Mineral Survey No. 6974), at which time there was only a discovery tunnel on the claim. Grant also had the adjacent Sierra, Forest, Cleveland and Gold King claims. The Sierra mine, located on the Sierra claim a few hundred feet west of the Austin, was reported to have produced a small amount of medium-grade ore during the late 1890's. The adjacent Sierra mine, 24GN377, was recorded by the BLM on September 29, 1981. At the time of the 1903 survey, the mine had four discovery shafts, a discovery tunnel, nine other shafts, two tunnels, drifts and raises, and a house -- all valued at $14,120 which would indicate a moderate sized operation. The Austin appears to have been an attempt to reopen the vein worked by the earlier Sierra mine operation. No records were available which would indicate the mine never produced any significant amount of ore. Some development work was done at the site in the early 1980s but no production resulted from the effort (GLO Mineral Survey Plat Map No. 6971-2-3-4-5; Pardee 1918; Mace 1988).
The Dewey mine is located on a slope west of Williams Gulch, about a quarter mile northwest of the town of Garnet. Prior to 1915, the mine was worked by S. I. Richie as part of the Nancy Hanks operation and its production is included in the Nancy Hanks figures. During 1915 and 1916 the mine was under the direction of J. G. Klenze and produced about $100,000 in $74 per ton ore. In 1916, when most of the mines of the district were closed by litigation, the Dewey Mine distinguished itself by remaining open. The mine made regular shipments to Butte and Helena smelters and worked part of the ore in the Red Cloud Mill (Pardee 1918).
The mine was developed by a 400-foot incline shaft with 1,000 feet of level workings. On the 400-foot level the mine is connected with the Nancy Hanks 200 feet to the west and another shaft 200 feet to the east. In the lower levels the Dewey vein is quartz and barite with pyrite, tetrahedrite and chalcopyrite ores. Above the 100-foot level the ores are oxidized with limonite the most abundant of the secondary products. Ores average 3.5 ounces of gold and 6.5 ounces of silver per ton and 2 percent copper with some variation (Pardee 1918).
Grant and Hartford
The Grant and Hartford is located a quarter mile south of Garnet with the stage road down First Chance Gulch running under the trestle out of the main adit. The operation was a moderate-sized gold mine which was active before 1910. The Henry Grant and James Hartford Lode was first located by the Butte and Garnet Gold Mining Company on October 16, 1875. The claim was surveyed in September of 1904 and was shown on the GLO claim map to have a discovery shaft, tunnel and winze valued at $2,000. Most of the mine's productive period apparently occurred during the next few years when an estimated $30,000 worth of ore was taken from the mine. At this point, the mine consisted of the main adit which drove eastward into the Magone and Anderson claim. The mine car tracks from the adit to the dump ran over a trestle which crossed the road from Garnet to Bearmouth. Pardee reported there was also a winze, with short levels, sunk 200 feet on the vein, plus another adit level on the west side of First Chance Gulch. By 1912 and 1913, however, the mine's main adit was used only for removing ore from the adjacent Magone and Anderson mine (GLO Mineral Survey Plat Map No. 7327; Pardee 1918).
Following this early productive period the mine, although owned by the Butte and Garnet Gold Mining and Milling Company, was operated by lessees. The mine was worked only intermittently through the 1920's and 1930's. The ore was hauled to Bearmouth where it was taken by the Northern Pacific Railroad to various mills for cyanidation. There are no records of any further ore shipments after 1940 (WPA 1941).
Herzer and Green
The Herzer and Green mine was a small operation located on the south slope of Anderson Mountain. The mine was on unpatented ground and apparently operated for a few years during the late-1930s. In 1940 the mine had a 60-foot shaft and three tunnels. The gold and silver ore was either shipped or processed at the mine in a five-ton, gasoline powered Gibson mill. The mine employed four men who handled about 300 cubic yards of ore per day. The mine was shut down shortly after and has not been reopened (GLO Mineral Survey Plat Map for T12N R14W; Work Projects Administration Mineral Resources Survey 1940; Mace 1988).
In 1921 and 1922 the Katie (or Katy) mine shipped carloads of lead or silver-lead ore. The mine was described as near Nimrod. Although in the AMRB (1994) Garnet district, Sahinen (1957) placed it within the Copper Cliff district. In 1923 the mine shipped a lot of sulphide lead ore to the smelter at East Helena and another lot of lead-zinc ore to a zinc plant in the East (Sahinen 1957; WPA 1941).
Magone and Anderson Prospect
The Magone and Anderson mine is just east of the Grant and Hartford and about a quarter mile east of the town of Garnet. The mining remnants on the site appear to have been a small prospecting operation of the Butte and Garnet Gold Mining and Milling Company -- the owners and operators of the nearby Magone and Anderson mine, located about a quarter of a mile north of the site. The prospecting operation is on the company's Magone and Anderson claim. The company also held the adjacent Nancy Hanks [not to be confused with the Nancy Hanks Lode claim located further west], Lide and Adelia claims. Mining operations at this location probably occurred sometime following 1916 since the survey plat map done that year does not show any mining workings at the site's location. The operation most likely occurred during the 1930's when the mine was reactivated (Pardee 1918; GLO Mineral Survey Plat Map No. 9876).
The original Magone and Anderson mine is one of the more productive mines in the district. Incomplete records show 2,600 tons of ore with an average value of $60 per ton grossed $150,000 for the mine. In June of 1916, when the claims were surveyed, the various workings on the claims amounted to four discovery shafts, a tunnel and parts of two other tunnels, valued at $13,690. In 1981 there were the remains of two boarding houses, a small shack, a log structure and a steam power plant on the site. The structures were reported to have dated from the 1930's (GLO Mineral Survey Plat Map No. 9876; Pardee 1918; Taylor 1987).
In 1904 the mine was being run by Tom Anderson through four tunnels and a shaft with a vertical depth of 2,500 feet. The mine was reported to have shipped one car load of high grade ore which averaged $80 to the ton. Although considerable work was done on the property before 1910, the mine's most productive period was from 1910 to 1914. During that period the mine was reported to have produced about 2,600 tons of ore in addition to working ore from old dumps. The ore was estimated to have been worth over $150,000 which brought the mine's total production up to about $300,000. The ore was of a high grade with some shipments running as high as five and one-half ounces of gold, six and one-half ounces of silver plus small amounts of copper per ton of ore. During this period the working entry to the mine was through the main adit level of the Grant and Hartford mine. Most of the ore was taken from a crosscut known as the Magone and Anderson tunnel No. 5 which was located about 80 feet above the entry tunnel (Mining World Sept. 16, 1905; Feb. 24, 1906; Pardee 1918).
Following this period, the company's charter expired and it was reorganized as the Garnet-Butte Gold Mining Company. The mine continued to operate under lessees who engaged in small-scale mining and development work during the 1930's. From 1940 to 1942 the mine was reported to have produced 20,000 ounces of gold and 20,000 ounces of silver. The mine was closed in 1942 by government order which shut down all non-essential gold mining during World War II. The mine was not reopened following the war and has remained inactive (Gilbert 1935; WPA 1940; Trauerman and Reyner 1950; Krohn and Weist 1977).
Mitchell and Mussigbrod
The Mitchell and Mussigbrod property consists of a group of 22 claims extending from First Chance Gulch to Cave Gulch with a group of eight claims between Cayuse and Day Gulches. Most of the development occurred on the Red Cloud, Lead King and Crescent in First Chance Gulch. These mines were developed after a mill was built in 1895. While these properties were under Mitchell and Mussigbrod control a 250-foot shaft and three levels were run on the Red Cloud. On the Lead King and Crescent four tunnels developed 4,000 feet of underground. The Red Cloud reportedly produced $250,000 from one ore chute alone. In 1896 smelting ore reportedly valued between $70 and $140 per ton were shipped to Helena and Butte. By 1905 the combined operations of the Mussigbrod and Mitchell employed 40 men and was shipping $10,000 in ore every month. (Mining World 1905; Meyer 1992).
The combined operations also included the Robert Emmet, Fourth of July, Cave Hill and Fair View claims. A 200-foot incline shaft with 500 feet of drifts was driven on the Robert Emmet in 1900. In 1905 a 350-foot crosscut tunnel on the Fourth of July was said to have $350,000 of ore in sight. By 1910, it was estimated that the combined claims had produced $320,000. In 1910, the operation was called the best equipped and developed mining property in the Garnet district. Later these properties would be under the control of the First Chance Mining Company and are listed as such under the Red Cloud mine (Mining World 1905; 1910; Meyer 1992).
The Mitchell and Mussigbrod mill was built in 1895 and contained 10 stamps along with concentrating and slime tables. It was remodeled in 1897 and continued to work both the owner's ores and custom ores from around the district. When described in 1910, it was idle (Mining World 1910; Meyer 1992).
Montana and Denver Mill
The Montana and Denver mill was not active in 1910 when it was described. The mill contained 30 stamps along with concentration and cyanidation equipment. It was a custom mill that ran for about a year (Mining World 1910).
Mining in the Top o' Deep district, located about four miles east of the Garnet district, began in the mid-1860s when placer claims were first worked. Gold-bearing quartz veins were uncovered by these early placer workings and some of the veins were worked at shallow depths although little substantial lode mining occurred until later in the nineteenth century.
The Mountain mine apparently was first operated around the turn of the century. By 1916 it was the only lode mine still in operation in the Top o' Deep mining district. The mine, operated by H. P. Hanifin and located on unpatented ground on the western rim of the basin at the head of Deep Creek, consisted of shallow workings only 40 feet below the surface with about 50 feet of drifts. Previous operators were reported to have produced one carload of ore that yielded 16 percent copper but little or no gold and silver. There are no records of this small operation remaining active beyond 1916 (Pardee 1918).
According to Pardee (1918) production in the Top o' Deep mining district was limited and by 1916 only about $50,000 worth of gold ore had been produced by the district. However, Cushman (1973) states that one of the richest claims on record was just below the camp at Top o' Deep. The claim was said to have yielded half a ton of gold worth $240,000. Yet, for the most part, the district's underground mines were small and closed for long periods due to litigation problems. Minor shipments of ore from the district were reported in 1918, 1921-1926, 1931 and 1953 but the total value of the shipments probably did not amount to more than $5,000 (GLO Mineral Survey Plat Map for T12N R13W; Pardee 1918; Kauffman and Earll 1963).
The Mountain View mine was a moderate-sized operation located on unpatented ground about a half mile east of Garnet. The mine was operated for a time during the early 1930's by the Lakawana Gold Mining Company. In 1937 it was taken over by Mountain View Gold Mines, Inc. The company apparently mined the property for about two years before closing down on September 1, 1939. During the period of operation the company opened over 2,000 feet of tunnels, drifts and stopes. Ore was processed in a 25-ton mill at the mine. There are no records of the mine's production during this period nor of any production during the period following World War II. In the 1960's the property was owned by John Khor and operated by Tim Colver of Drummond. Some development work was done on the property in 1965 but no production was reported (GLO Mineral Survey Plat Map for T12N R14W; Mineral Resources 1931; WPA 1940; Geach 1965, 1966).
The Nancy Hanks is located about a third of a mile northwest of the town of Garnet in Williams Gulch. It is composed of the patented Nancy Hanks and eleven unpatented claims: the Spokane, Julia Dean, Eva, Cascade, Midnight, Dewey, Lucky Friday, Tiger, Free Coinage, O.K., and Postman. It was located in 1873 or 1874 (one source even says 1878) by S. I. Ritchie (or Ritchey), and was at first practically the only mine developed in the district. In its first years only small lots of ore were worked in an arrastra on Bear Creek. But the mine was destined to start the first lode mining boom in the district in 1896. In that year an especially rich ore shoot was located in the Nancy Hanks. The "red ore" of the mine was said to have produced $400,000 from a chimney in under a year, but this figure is probably inflated. For the next three years the mine shipped ore continuously and thereafter intermittently until 1907. In 1900 the mine had two steam hoisted shafts, one 100 foot vertical and one 160 foot inclined (Mining World 1905; 1906; Pardee 1918).
The control of the Nancy Hanks changed several times. By 1897 the property was owned by Ritchie and J. S. Auchinvole. After three years, they leased the property to L. C. Parker who met with only indifferent success in his two-year attempt to work the mine. In 1905 Al Lowry and a partner sank a shaft on the claim following a small seam; when this opened up he was able to take out $30,000 in a short time. Litigation followed; eventually the leaser was able to employ 10 men in the shaft and recover an additional $45,000. Lowery did well enough by his lease to purchase the Crawford Hotel and convert it into a home for his family. In 1910, the mine was operated under the Nancy Hanks Mining and Milling Co. with Ritchie and several Butte men in control. However, by 1916 when the mine closed, it was owned by J. L. Templeman and Co.(Pardee 1918 ; Mining World 1905; Meyer 1992).
The mine was developed from two shafts at least 100 feet deep. The old works, where the "red ore" was located, was about 200 feet west of the Dewey incline shaft. From this shaft east and west stoping was done in the rich ores. At the 65-foot level ore was extracted that ran $200 per ton in gold. The Minnie Palmer shaft was 500 feet further west of the "old" shaft; the stoping in this mine was run west (Pardee 1918).
The mine worked three leads, two in limestone and one in granite. Limestone ore ran as high as $570 per ton and one carload netted $15,000. Granite vein ore was reported at $140 to $175 per ton. Smelter returns indicate that the average ore actually ran $8 per ton in gold, 4 to 28 ounces silver per ton and a trace of copper. Incomplete records indicate the Nancy Hanks mine produced at least $300,000 by 1915 (Pardee 1918).
The area along the upper section of Kearns Creek, where the Peggy Ann was located, was originally a placer operation. The creek bottoms throughout the area were worked by Frederick Eggers, Patrick Birningham, Henry Epple, Louis Hashel and Zachariah Brown during the 1870s. The diggings in 1880 had 800 feet of sluice boxes, about three miles of ditches, five reservoirs and seven cabins. Running under the placer claims and south of the Peggy Ann, was the Old Columbo Lode, claimed by Charles Warner and the Switzerland Lode claimed by Henry Uhler. Neither claim appears to have been mined. In the immediate vicinity of the Peggy Ann was a small operation known as the Spokane mine. Pardee (1918) reported the mine produced a small amount of rich ore which yielded about $3,000. The mine probably operated during the 1890's and by 1916 the workings were no longer accessible. The Peggy Ann was another small operation in this vein which was reported to have operated for a brief period around 1918. The mine may have operated intermittently during the 1920's and 1930's and the Mineral Yearbook for 1940 reported a small amount of ore had been shipped in 1939 (WPA 1941). Some development work was reported on the property during the 1980's but no ore was shipped from the mine (GLO Mineral Survey Plat Maps Nos. 755 & 7514; Pardee 1918; WPA 1941; Mace 1988).
The Red Cloud property is composed of the Crescent, Lead King and Red Cloud. It is responsible for five-sixths of the First Chance Mining Company's production. The mines are located on First Chance Creek. On the west side of the creek the Lead King and Crescent claims have seven adit levels ranging from 600 to 1000 feet in length. On the east slope of the creek the Red Cloud claim has four long adits and an incline shaft that reaches 240 feet below the stream level. The Red Cloud vein was known to persist half a mile along the strike and 800 feet on the dip with a thickness of three or four feet. Two large ore shoots were developed on the two sides of the creek (Pardee 1918).
In 1900, when the operation was described, the mine and mill employed 50 men. Ore was extracted from three adits of 450 feet, 500 feet and 950 feet while the shaft hauled out ore with a steam hoist.
Most of the ore from the mine was concentrated in the company's mill with a return of 80 to 90 percent. The Mining World in 1905 stated that $300,000 was taken from the Red Cloud and Lead King ore chutes (Mining World 1905; Pardee 1918).
The Shamrock mine is located in Williams Gulch opposite the Dewey. The property was composed of the Shamrock, Shamrock Fraction and the Nancy Hanks Fraction. It was one of the Garnet district's first major lode discoveries when Samuel Ritchey located it in 1867. Like many of the other lodes, it was not developed until the 1890s and Ritchey did not file a claim on the property until April 1, 1897. Ritchey worked the mine during the late 1890's and then sold out to J. S. McDermott around 1904. At that time, the mine had its own 10-stamp mill with a plate amalgamator and concentrator; a large boiler and steam winch; extensive wooden buildings and a 60-foot incline shaft to reach the mine workings. In 1905 the Goff brothers built a small concentrator with jig and Wilfley table on the property to work the mill tails. The Mining World on February 24, 1906 reported that Ritchey shipped upward of $400,000 worth of ore during the period he ran the mine, although this figure is undoubtedly exaggerated.
The mine was one of the more productive in the district and, as Pardee (1918) reported, it probably did ship more than $100,000 in ore before 1916. Production was reported to have declined in 1907 and apparently continued to dwindle until the mine was closed around 1913. The mine was reported to have operated intermittently in recent times but no figures were available on the extent of production (GLO Mineral Survey Plat Map No. 5361; Mining World 1905; Feb. 24, 1906; Pardee 1918; Kauffman and Earll 1963; Ellingsen 1970).
The Willie mine was a small operation located on unpatented ground on the east side of First Chance Gulch about half a mile south of Garnet. Pardee (1918) reported that a large quantity of ore was taken from a quarry on the property. The ore was shipped sometime prior to 1916 and was said to have yielded from four to 11 dollars per ton. An adit was driven into the lode from a ravine near the quarry but there is no record of any further production from the mine after 1916. Part of the quarry and the adit were in the Free Coin claim of First Chance Mining Company (who also held the Lead King, Crescent and Bull's Eye claims). The claim was granted on July 26, 1893 and therefore it would seem likely the operation of the Willie mine was part of this company's operations in the area during the 1890's (GLO Mineral Survey Plat Map for T12N R14W; Pardee 1918; Mace 1988).
Other important mines in the Garnet district include the Fourth of July, International, Free Coinage, Robert Emmet, Spokane and San Jose. The Gold Leaf in the Top o' Deep district is also mentioned in mining literature.
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
Anderson, Paul and Dale Decco
1988 "Cultural Resource Inventory and Assessment of Hard Rock Mines in the Garnet District, Granite County and the Top o'Deep District, Powell and Granite Counties", prepared for the Montana Department of State Lands by GCM Services, Butte.
Babcock, William A., D. Gallacher and P. Ligget
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