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1907 - Nevada Gold Mines

Precious metal mines and mining camps dominated Nevada's early history until the Great War. Base metal surpassed precious metal production during the war and post-war years to the early 1960's, though due to new technologies and high gold prices, precious metal production reached new highs during early 1990's. Gold and silver occur in numerous localities in every county in Nevada. They are always found together, although sometimes one and sometimes the other predominates in value. The precious metals not only occur in siliceous and pyritic gangues, but are also commonly present in ores of copper, lead, zinc, arsenic, and antimony. The principal locality of this industry was the Comstock Lode, upon which Virginia City was built, many of the mines being directly beneath the town. The Comstock District has been the largest producer of gold and silver in Nevada, its production from 1859 to 1921 having been $386,346,931; which includes but a few thousand dollars in copper and lead in addition to the precious metal values.

The Eureka District was next in importance among the early producers, having a record of $40,000,000 in silver and $20,000,000 in gold, besides 225,000 tons of lead, produced from 1869 to 1892. Reese River District came next with its production of some $50,000,000 in bullion, followed by Aurora, Tuscarora, Pioche, White Pine, Candelaria, Belmont, Cortez, and Cherry Creek. The productions made by all of the early discoveries save the Comstock had been exceeded by those of some of the more recent ones.

Goldfield produced $84,878,592 from 1903 to 1921, principally in gold; and Tonopah produced $120,490,863 from 1900 to 1921, principally in silver but with a considerable amount of gold. There was so much gold in the Tonopah ore, that with the recent decline of Gold- field, Tonopah had become not only the most important silver district in the state but also the most important gold district.

The Unites States Government coined and fully monetised gold bullion for individuals, and without limit, charging for these services and advantages merely a fraction of the cost of coinage. Practically it coined and monetised privately-owned gold-bullion gratuitously. As the owners of gold coins may have them minted and re-minted as often as they please, without loss, and may melt them down or export them at pleasure, the mint and market value of that metal was substantially identical. Such, however, since 1873, had not been the case with silver. This metal the government coined for itself only. A troy ounce of fine silver was coined into $1.29.

Goldfield is a town and the county-seat of Esmeralda county, Nevada, U.S.A., about 170 m. S.E. of Carson City. The population in 1908 was, by local estimate, about 20,000. It was served by the Tonopah & Goldfield, Las Vegas & Tonopah, and Tonopah & Tidewater railways. The town lies in the midst of a desert abounding in high-grade gold ores, and was essentially a mining camp.

The oldest rock in the Goldfield District is Cambrian shale which has been intruded by alaskite that is probably of Cretaceous age. Upon these older rocks rest unconformably a series oof Tertiary lavas and lake sediments. Ransome gave the following sequence beginning with the oldest: - Vindicator rhyolite, Latite, Kendall tuff, Sandstorm rhyolitc, Morena rhyolite, Milltown andésite, Dacite, Dache vitrophyre with intercalated Chispa andésite, Meda rhyolite, Andésite breccia, Espina breccia, Siebert lake beds with intercalated Mira basalt, Pozo conglomerate, Spearhead rhyolite, Rabbit Spring breccia, conglomerate, and sandstone, and Malpais basalt.

The Goldfield ore deposits were irregular lodes in the fractured and highly altered country rocks. The ore shoots were in the form of irregular bodies in the irregular lodes and their limits can only be determined by assays. The principal ore bodies are in dacite, though some are in rhyolite, andésite, and latite, and low-grade ore with occasional rich shoots occurs at the latite-shale contact. The principal gangue mineral is compact quartz derived from the silicification of volcanic rock, with which are associated kaolinite and alunite. The ore minerals occur mainly in the quartz though at times in or near alunite. They consist of fine-grained pyrite and marcasite, bismuthinite, goldfieldite, arsenical famatinite, native gold and tellurides, with minor amounts of other sulphides. Concentric shells of ore minerals about altered rock fragments are characteristic of the rich ore.

The discovery of gold at Tonopah, about 28 m. N. of Goldfield, in 1900 was followed by its discovery at Goldfield by Harry Slimier and William Marsh on December 2, 1902. After a brief excitement, most of the prospectors left the camp and the original claims were allowed to lapse. A. D. Meyers and R. C. Hart located the Combination Lode on May 24, 1903. Ore was discovered on that claim the following October, shipments began in December, and the great Goldfield stampede ensued. In 1904 the Goldfield district produced about 800 tons of ore, which yielded $2,300,000 worth of gold, or 30% of that of the state. The railroad was extended to Goldfield in 1905, at which time the population of the town was 8,000. In addition to the mines, there were large reduction works. In 1907 Goldfield became the county-seat. The gold output in 1907 was $8,408,396; in 1908, $4,880,251. This remarkable production caused Goldfield to grow rapidly, and it soon became the largest town in the state. The Goldfield Cons. Ms. Co., the principal company in the camp, was organized by George Wingfield and Senator Nixon in 1906, and its 100-stamp mill was completed in 1908. It was in the latter year that Goldfield reached its maximum population of 20,000. From 1904 to 1918, the Goldfield District was the most important gold-producing district in Nevada. By that time, the large known orebodies had become nearly exhausted and the production fell off rapidly.

The Goldfield Cons. Ms. Co. was incorporated in Wyoming in 1906 with a capital stock of 5,000,000 shares of $10 par value of which 3,559,148 shares had been issued. The stock was listed on the San Francisco and Salt Lake City Stock Exchanges and New York and Boston Curbs. The home office is in the Reno Nat. Bank Bldg., Reno. The company began leasing in 1906 and in 1920 adopted a policy of leasing blocks of 300 ft. x 300 ft. to individuals. The property consisted of 390 acres developed by 6 working shafts.

The Florence Goldfield M. Co. owned 67.7 acres adjoining the Goldfield Consolidated and developed by a 1,200 ft. shaft and several miles of workings. The company paid dividends from 1908 to 1911 since which time it was worked by lessees. The Goldfield Deep Ms. Co. of Nev. was a consolidation of 36 claims effected to secure funds for deep mining. The property adjoined the Goldfield Consolidated on the N. W. and a 2,400-ft. shaft which is being sunk upon it had reached a depth of 1,400 ft. The Goldfield Great Bend M. Co., owned 112 acres developed by 2 400-ft. shafts and equipped with hoist, compressor, pump, and old mill. It was worked by lessees. The Red Hill Florence M. Co., owned 70 acres adjoining the Florence Goldfield on the S. and W. The Reorg. Cracker Jack M. Co., owned the Adams Group, Great Western Group, and other claims. The Reorg. Kewanas Gold M. Co., owned 40 acres adjoining the Goldfield Consolidated on the W. and an option on the Eagle Mine 3 m. W. of Goldfield. The Silver Pick Cons. Ms. Co., of San Francisco, owned 60 acres developed by a 1,500-ft. and 280-ft. shaft; and had produced rich ore from its Red Top lease on the Goldlield Consolidated ground.

Soon after mining on an extensive scale began, the miners organized themselves as a local branch of the Western Federation of Miners, and in this branch were included many laborers in Goldfield other than miners. Between this branch and the mine-owners there arose a series of more or less serious differences, and there were several set strikes - in December 1906 and January 1907, for higher wages; in March and April 1907, because the mine-owners refused to discharge carpenters who were members of the American Federation of Labor, but did not belong to the Western Federation of Miners or to the Industrial Workers of the World affiliated with it, this last organization being, as a result of the strike, forced out of Goldfield; in August and September 1907, because a rule was introduced at some of the mines requiring miners to change their clothing before entering and after leaving the mines, a rule made necessary, according to the operators, by the wholesale stealing (in miners' parlance, "high-grading") of the very valuable ore (some of it valued at as high as $20 a pound) ; and in November and December 1907, because some of the mine-owners, avowedly on account of the hard times, adopted a system of paying in cashier's checks.

Excepting occasional attacks upon non-union workmen, or upon persons supposed not to be in sympathy with the miners' union, there had been no serious disturbance in Goldfield; but in December 1907, Governor Sparks, at the instance of the mine-owners, appealed to President Theodore Roosevelt to send Federal troops to Goldfield, on the ground that the situation there was ominous, that destruction of life and property seemed probable, and that the state had no militia and would be powerless to maintain order. President Roosevelt thereupon (December 4th) ordered General Frederick Funston, commanding the Division of California, at San Francisco, to proceed with 300 Federal troops to Goldfield.

The troops arrived in Goldfield on 06 December 1907, and immediately afterwards the mine-owners reduced wages and announced that no members of the Western Federation of Miners would thereafter be employed in the mines. There were no fatalities. President Roosevelt, becoming convinced that conditions had not warranted Governor Sparks's appeal for Federal assistance, but that the immediate withdrawal of the troops might nevertheless lead to serious disorders, consented that they should remain for a short time on condition that the state should immediately organize an adequate militia or police force.

Accordingly, a special meeting of the legislature was immediately called, a state police force was organized, and on the 7th of March 1908 the troops were withdrawn. Thereafter work was gradually resumed in the mines, the contest having been won by the mine-owners.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:24:29 Zulu