HISTORIC CONTEXT

aka McClellan Creek

aka Seven-up Pete Gulch aka Keep Cool Creek aka Liverpool Creek aka Stonewall Mountain

The Lincoln mining district (noted more for its placer deposits than for lode mines) is made up of Lincoln Gulch, McClellan Gulch, Seven-Up Pete Gulch, Keep Cool, Liverpool Creeks, and Stonewall Mountains. The ten mile long Lincoln Gulch is located about four miles west of the present town of Lincoln, a small community on the upper Blackfoot River. The site of the original discovery was three-and-a-half miles from the mouth of Lincoln Gulch and the Blackfoot. The diggings at Lincoln Creek were discovered about 1865 by Richard Evans and D. W. Culp. Early-day drift mines produced nearly $7,000,000 in gold from a stretch of the gulch 7,400 feet long. The pay streak was from 50 to 300 feet wide and averaged at least $375 to a set, which was a block 4 feet wide, 4 feet high, and 10 feet long (Lyden 1948; Wolle 1963).

The years 1869 and 1870 were boom years. The town of Lincoln was established at the mouth of the gulch some four miles northwest of the current location of the town. Some reports record the population at 3,000 in 1871. Ditches, such as the one from Beaver Creek to Lincoln Gulch, were constructed to transport water and extend the placer season. During the year, reports of new strikes caused the miners to stampede to new diggings. By late 1871 mining had declined along the creek and a few years later had almost completely ceased. Beginning in 1904, some of the undrained gravels in the lower part of the gulch were mined through shafts and a long tunnel by the Lanstrum Company. After the Lanstrum Company suspended operations, no placer mining activity was reported from Lincoln Gulch until 1941 when some gold was recovered by sluicing ( Lyden 1948; Wolle 1963; Caywood 1986; Fairchild 1986).

On the upper gulch, the Cameron quartz mill was established prior to 1877 when it was shown on a map of the district. The mill was constructed by the Cameron brothers who had been placering and hydraulicking the gulch since 1872. The mill was later conveyed to Jacob Leistner. In October of 1905 the millsite was located by the Eglanol Mining Corporation along with the adjacent mining claims of the Lincoln lode and the Monster lode. At the time of the Government Land Office survey, the 10-stamp mill was listed as a "13 foot x 24 foot stampmill". The new company converted the mill from water power to steam power and broke up the arrastra for use as a boiler stand. Around 1910, a cyanide mill was built to serve the Lincoln Lode and the Blackfoot mines. This mill operated through the 1930s (Taylor 1982).

McClellan Creek is a tributary of Poorman Creek, entering it from the south about seven miles southeast of Lincoln. Placers in McClellan Gulch yielded $7,000,000 between 1864 and 1875. Deposits were said to very rich; one pan of gravel was said to have produced $500 in gold. After 1875, the gulch was profitably reworked several times. In 1926, A. J. Wood and Fred Meade worked an open cut 2.5 miles above the bottom of the gulch in ground previously worked by drifting. In 1927 the men found a 57 ounce gold nugget worth $1,026. The previous record nugget in the gulch was worth $700 (Lyden 1948; Montana Bureau of Mines n.d.).

Lode deposits in the McClellan Creek were first worked in the late 1860s. In 1869 a 30-stamp mill was hauled from Ft. Benton and was erected in the spring of 1870 (Bassett and Magee 1869).

Seven-Up Pete Creek is a northwest -flowing tributary of the Blackfoot River. It originates on the Continental Divide about five miles north of Stemple and empties into the Blackfoot about 5 1/2 miles east of Lincoln. The lodes at Seven-Up Pete Gulch were discovered in 1886 by W. F. Howe. The most extensively developed mines are the Columbia, Last Chance and Rover which produced only 12 tons of ore in a ten year period. A mill was erected at the Last Chance, but no production was credited to it. By 1926, very little work was being done in the district (Lyden 1948; Montana Bureau of Mines n.d.).

Keep Cool Creek is a southwest-flowing tributary of the Blackfoot River, rising in the mountains north of Lincoln and joining the river about two miles west of town. Placer deposits on this creek were reported to be irregular and of low grade (Lyden 1948).

Stonewall Creek is a tributary of the Blackfoot River, rising in the mountains north of the town of Lincoln and joining the river about 2 1/2 miles west of town. Little is known of the history of placer mining on this creek. No production was recorded from 1904-1937. In 1937 a dry-land dredge recovered more than 300 fine ounces of gold. The placer gold probably was derived from the quartz veins of Stonewall Mountain which were developed primarily for their copper (Lyden 1948).

Liverpool Creek is the next major stream east of Stonewall Creek. Placer gold has been mined in the valley of the creek, but it is reported the deposits are irregular and low grade (Lyden 1948).

All of the sub-districts of the Lincoln district are in an area of Beltian rocks. The McClellan Gulch sub-district is cut into argillites and quartzites of the Belt series. The country rock of the Seven-up Peter Gulch is andesite lave (Sahinen 1935).

BOUNDARIES OF THE DISTRICT

McClernan (1983) places the district between the Stemple-Gould district to the south and the Heddleston district to the east. Figure 1 shows the AMRB (1994) boundaries of the district with a smaller area delineated that includes all the primary gulches which were placer mined.

HISTORIES OF SELECTED MINES

Big Blackfoot

The Big Blackfoot group is located in the northeast quarter of section 29, T14N, R9W about four miles west of Lincoln on the west side of Lincoln Gulch near its juncture with the Blackfoot River. The property included the Big Blackfoot, Golden Bar, B&B patented lodes along with the unpatented James, Tip Top, M&M, and Hill lodes. The mine was being worked by 1880 when an arrastra was built nearby on the Penney or Nickel claim. John Rowand patented the Big Blackfoot claim in 1905 (except for the Big Blackfoot itself which was patented in 1908). At the time, improvements were listed at $11,042. These included several discovery excavations, two shafts, four drifts, a raise, a winze, mill, cyanide plant and an assay office. The mine was developed by an adit and a crosscut with a combined length of 2,500 feet. The mine worked a quartz lode with gold values, reportedly around $2.20 to $3.00 per ton (Taylor 1982; McClernan 1983; Caywood 1986; Caywood and Quigg 1986).

The mill was composed of a grizzly, rock crusher, Hendy Challenge feeder, two 1000 pound gravity stamps, a large discharge mortar, copper plates, hydraulic classifier and other associated equipment. The cyanide plant contained redwood tanks capable treating 12 to 15 tons per day. The plant was water powered (Caywood 1986).

The plant was not big enough to commercially treat the ore, but did demonstrate that cyanidation was practicable. This consideration was important as Rowland spent three decades trying to interest investors in his mine, but met with little success. Rowland met with other problems associated with the mine and mill. No sooner was the mill completed and ready to run, than the Northern Pacific notified Rowland that he was operating on their land and that he had to clear off immediately. After five years of litigation and the expenditure of $18,000, Rowland won the right to develop his claim (Caywood 1986).

By 1917, the mine had been developed with 2500 feet of underground workings, but 13 years later Rowland was still trying to sell the mine. After 1930, the mine was lost by the Rowland's heirs and came into the hands of Mrs. Mose Harris. The mine finally saw production in the late 1930s when 10 to 12 men were employed in the mine and mill (Caywood 1986).

With the advent of World War II, the operation switched processing the zinc and lead ores of the Carbonate mine in the nearby Heddleston district. The ore was treated using a flotation technique (Caywood 1986).

Cameron

The Cameron complex of properties is located in the northeast quarter of section 20, T14N, R9W, in the upper Lincoln Gulch. The property is composed of the Cameron millsite, the Monster and the Lincoln lodes. Angus and Andrew Cameron first worked the Lincoln Gulch in 1872, at first by placering and later by hydraulics. Moving to the upper gulch, they established an arrastra some time prior to 1877 to work the ore of their Monster lode mine. The mill was reported as a sawmill to circumvent an early law against mill sites on workable mineral property. The property was later conveyed to Jacob Leistner.

In 1905, the Eglanol Mining Company located the millsite with an amended claim and a few days later located the Monster and Lincoln lodes. The company upgraded the site from a water-powered arrastra to a steam-powered 10-stamp mill. The arrastra was broken up and used as a base for the boiler. The Monster lode was later cancelled due to non-payment of inheritance taxes after the director of the Eglanol Mining Company died. The Lincoln lode passed into the hands of Lulu Lifits Tatum.

The mill property was abandoned sometime between 1905 and 1907. In 1910 a cyanide mill was built to serve the Lincoln and Blackfoot mines. This mill operated until the 1930s. Metal from the mills was salvaged in the 1930s. The original stamp mill has since collapsed and many of the original buildings burned (Taylor 1982).

Columbia

The Columbia mine is located in the southeast quarter of section 20 T14N, R7W in Seven-Up-Pete Gulch. It was developed at the turn of the century by a 300 foot deep inclined shaft with several hundred feet of drifts on various levels. On the 200 foot level, the lode was said to be seven to eight feet wide. Assays showed from $1.60 to $7.20 in gold per ton and from 1 to 2.6 ounces of silver per ton (Pardee and Schrader 1933; Fairchild 1985).

Cotter Basin

The Cotter Basin mine is located in the northwest quarter of section 11, T15N, R9W. The mine was developed by an open cut about 600 feet long and two adits. The ore from the mine was estimated to be .85 percent copper and .2 ounces of silver per ton (McClernan 1983).

Last Chance

Located in the northwest quarter of section 29, T14N, R7W, in Seven-Up-Pete Gulch, the Last Chance was developed by 3,000 feet of underground work on a vein that was reportedly three feet wide. Ore from the vein assayed between $2 and $35 per ton in gold with some small streaks up to $52 and $614. Ore packed out to the smelter from the mine ranged from 1 to 5.83 ounces of gold per ton and 13 to 232 ounces of silver. A mill was erected at the mine, but there is no record of any production from it (Montana Bureau of Mines n.d.; Pardee and Schrader 1933; McClernan 1983).

Lincoln Gulch Placers

The Lincoln Gulch Placers in section 17, T14, R9W were the scene of intensive placering activity. The area has been developed with numerous pits and trenches to strip the overburden, testing for a pay streak. Early drift mining produced an estimated $7,000,000 from the rich ground under the overburden. Nearly all of the gold came from a stretch of gulch 7,400 feet long. This pay streak was from 50 to 300 feet wide. The gravel was worked in blocks that measured 4 x 10 x 4 feet high. These blocks averaged about $375, but went as high as $2,400. The gold was said to have been unusually pure; and was assayed at $19 per ounce at a time pure gold sold for $21.50 per ounce. Water for the mining was carried by ditch from neighboring stream (McClernan 1983; Montana Bureau of Mines n.d.).

McClellan Gulch Placers

The McClellan Gulch placers are located in the west half of section 21, T13N, R8W. The gravels were first worked from 1864 to 1875. The stream has since been reworked several times both by hand placers and by dragline for a length of two to three miles. In 1926, A. J. Wood and Fred Meade mined an open cut about 2.5 miles above the mouth of the gulch. They opened ground previously worked by drifting. In the spring of 1927, they were reported to have found a gold nugget weighing 57 ounces, worth $1,026. It has been estimated that $7,000,000 came from the gravels of this gulch (Pardee and Schrader 1933; McClernan 1983).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Abandoned Mine Reclamation Bureau (AMRB)

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