In the usual version told of the discovery of the great placer mines of the Garnet Range, gold was discovered in the area then known as Bear. The mouth of Bear Gulch is located about eleven miles west of Drummond and the first discovery is credited to the Jack Reynolds party, in October of 1865 in Elk Creek Gulch. Reynolds' discoveries led to a rush of miners into Bear Gulch (the upper part of which is called First Chance gulch), Elk Creek Gulch, Deep Creek Gulch and Bilk Gulch. It is known because of Leeson (1885) and the Morse Family descendants that Colonel George W. Morse and partners took about $250,000 worth of Gold out of Bilk Gulch. But perhaps the role of John Lannan in these events has been overlooked.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Copied below is part of the topographic map from USGS Professional Paper 78, focusing on Philipsburg and vicinity. The surveying for this map was done in 1905, on horseback and using plane table methods, and is a classic example of the fine work of the early US Geological Survey. But perfect it is not.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Henderson Gulch, located on the west side of Highway One between Maxville and Hall, was named after the miners who discovered gold there in 1865. An uncle, nephew and unrelated Henderson were called "Big Joe", "Little Joe" and "Young Joe."
There are no known photos of Philipsburg that date from the 1860's. There is, however, a remarkable and detailed sketch made by Granville Stuart on September 6, 1867, which first came to our attention via Terrence Delaney's dissertation on James Stuart.
Saturday, March 9, 2013
The credit for the "first discovery of gold in Montana" has long been a source of controversy, partly deriving from a campaign by Granville Stuart to get the legislature to declare him to be the discoverer and to grant him a pension for this signal service to the State. (See Delaney, P. 296, fn 74).
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Residents of Southwest Montana are likely quite familiar with Fred Burr as a place name. Googling "Fred Burr" and "Montana" gives over ten thousand hits for the numerous locales in Granite, Powell, and Ravalli counties named for Burr - indeed, there are three "Fred Burr" creeks, one in each county. Our object in this post is to tell the story of the man who is honored whenever we drink tap water in Philipsburg from Fred Burr Lake, cross the pass from Red Lion to Racetrack Lake over Fred Burr Pass, or take a dip in the swimming hole in Fred Burr Creek.