HISTORIC CONTEXT

aka South Fork of Judith River

aka Middle Fork of Judith River aka Judith Mountain

The Judith district is located in the southern end of Judith Basin County on the east slopes of the Little Belt Mountains at the headwaters of Yogo Creek and the Judith River.

The Judith district did not experience any significant mining excitement or intensive prospecting, and the rush to the neighboring Yogo district in 1879 apparently had little spillover effect. There is some evidence of placer mining along the South Fork of Judith River, but the dates are unknown and the literature does not discuss any other placer possibilities within the district (Lyden 1948).

No doubt prospectors checked out likely areas for lode deposits in the mountains of the Judith district. Weatherwax and King located six gold claims in the 1880s near Grendall (Grendal, Grendah) Mountain where they processed ore in an arrastra. Most other claims in the district were not located until the twentieth century (Robertson and Roby 1951).

The mining areas of the Judith district are underlain by limestone deposits, with intrusions of igneous rocks, primarily syenite. Ore deposits occur at or near the contact between the limestone and syenite. The primary ores are gold, silver, lead, copper, and iron, although none appear in any notable quantity (Robertson and Roby 1951).

BOUNDARIES OF THE DISTRICT

Weed (1900) briefly discusses a district he labels as Middle Fork of Judith River. Although he does not give any boundaries, he locates the important discoveries "in the region drained by the head-water branches of the Middle Fork of Judith River."

Without a definitive description of district boundaries, the district is best described by the location of the mines themselves. Several of the claims cluster near the headwaters of the Middle Fork of Judith River, in T13N, R9E. Another mine is located near the headwaters of the Lost Fork of Judith River. Finally, remains of placer mines are found along the South Fork of Judith River.

The AMRB (1994) defines the boundaries as the headwaters of Yogo Creek and the South, Middle and Lost Forks of the Judith. Figure 1 shows the AMRB boundary and also the boundaries as defined historically by Weed (1900). The mines located at the head of Yogo Creek more appropriately belong in the Yogo district.

HISTORIES OF SELECTED MINES

Although technically within the AMRB (1994) defined Judith district, the Bourke-Larson, Leonard, Leonard II and Weatherwax/Gold Bug mines are generally included in the Yogo district. See the Yogo district for a discussion of these mines.

Grendal

Weed (1900) briefly mentions the Grendal claim, probably located near the mountain by the same name. At the time of his visit in the late 1890s, the mine was worked through a 50-foot shaft and a 75-foot adit. A sample of the copper and lead ore assayed at $5 in gold and 10 to 12 percent copper.

Sweepstakes

The Sweepstakes mine is located near the head of the West Fork of the Lost Fork of Judith River, about 10 miles south of Yogo Peak. Marvin Corkill of White Sulphur Springs located the silver-lead claim and invested in development work. He sank the shaft 20-30 feet deep and drove the adit about 300 feet. Corkill made small shipments of ore, but there are no production records for the mine. One 308 pound sample of ore assayed at 0.01 ounces of gold, 114.2 ounces of silver, 59.7 percent lead, and 0.05 percent copper. Corkill later abandoned the claim (Robertson and Roby 1951).

Weatherwax and King (Lenny)

This mine includes 6 claims in Section 31, T13N, R9E, along the east side of the ridge that extends southward from the western end of Grendall Mountain, about three-and-a-half miles east of Kings Hill. Weatherwax and King located the claims in the 1880s, mining them for gold ore which they processed in a water-powered arrastra. By the late 1890s, Weed (1900) noted that the mine had been inactive for 10 years. At some point, a bank in Lewistown acquired ownership of the claims, selling them later to Daniel Lenny. Development work includes a 150-foot shaft and a long adit dating from the early workings of the mine; a 20-foot shaft and 50 feet of drifting done by operators Johnson and Nelson; and a 20-foot adit crosscut. In addition to gold ore, the claims contain hematite and limonite, which assayed at 50.7 percent iron. There are no production records for the mine (Weed 1900; Robertson and Roby 1951; DeMunck 1956).

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

DeMunck, Victor C.

1956 Iron Deposits in Montana. Information Circular No. 13. Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology. Montana School of Mines, Butte.

Lyden, Charles J.

1948

The Gold Placers of Montana

. Memoir No. 26. Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology. Montana School of Mines, Butte.

Robertson, Almon F., and Robert N. Roby

1951

Mines and Mineral Deposits (Except Fuels), Judith Basin County, Mont.

Information Circular 7602. United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines.

Weed, Walter Harvey

1900 Geology of the Little Belt Mountains, Montana.

Twentieth Annual Report of the United States Geological Survey

. Part III. Precious-Metal Mining Districts. Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C.