Thursday, March 14, 2013

Henderson Gulch (Emmetsburg)

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."
The men came from St. John, New Brunswick, Canada and sailed down the east coast to the Gulf of Mexico; crossed the Isthmus of Panama; then sailed to San Francisco. Here the history becomes unclear. One article states Big Joe and Little Joe next sailed to British Columbia, Canada and then followed prospectors ending up in the Flint Creek Valley. "Young Joe's" (the nephew) obituary (Philipsburg Mail, June, 1926) stated he traveled from San Francisco to Boise and then into the Kootenai Lakes in British Columbia. Then he and Dick Prince walked to Blackfoot City in 1865. The first winter was spent digging a ditch from Willow Creek so they would have water to placer mine the following spring. This first ditch was called the Bryne ditch, later the Anderson ditch (according to Jeff Conn) and finally the Conn ditch. It brings water in right at Emmetsburg, the principal settlement in Henderson Gulch. 

Emmetsburg was inhabited from 1865 to about 1878. During this time a number of miners were killed while mining or died of other causes and were buried near the camp. James Murray was one of the early miners in the area and after he became well established as a prominent Banker in Butte, decided that the men buried there needed to be remembered. In December of 1914, James and Frank D. "Sandbar" Brown dedicated a monument, sculpted by Missoula artist Edgar Paxson, for the seven known miners - and the unknown miners - buried there. A contest had been held for the monument's inscription and was won by Percy Stone, a Journalism Student at the University of Montana. Young Stone's father was A.R. Stone a noted journalist and Dean of the School of Journalism at the University. The marble obelisk bears the seven miners name below a pick and shovel crossed with a gold pan, all in bold relief on the south side and on the east side of the shaft is the inscription: "God sent you here to make the wilderness a state. This done he called you home but left your work for inspiration." The west side of the monument states: To the known and unknown dead of Henderson Gulch this monument is dedicated. December 1914, James A. Murray. The known dead are: Pat McHenry, Thomas Roach, James Fletcher, James Grimes, William O'Hara, Ed Clusky and Jimmie Jones. (The known obituaries of the Henderson's are included in "Mettle of Granite County Book Three")

During the 1930s, the Schneider Brothers of Philipsburg (William and Jake) mined at Henderson gulch and discovered that the pay gravel contained a significant amount of tungsten. Their claims were later sold to a mining company who installed a large Yuba dredge to mine the gulch during WWII when the price of tungsten was high (approximately $0.75 per pound of tungsten concentrate. It is sometimes stated that the dredging wiped out the site of Emmetsburg but in fact the old townsite is much disturbed by dam and pond building but was not dredged. 


  1. granite countertops edmonton
    Thanks, you guys that is a great explanation. keep up the good work..

  2. I'm travelling to Montana later this month to research James A. Murray. My plan is to start in Missoula and review the Frank Brown Papers, travel through Philipsburg to Butte, and pile through all of the lawsuits Murray filed back in his heyday. Is this monument easy to spot driving south on the 1? I found Hall on a map - but could not find Maxville.

    1. I've hiked up to this monument, pretty cool n hidden from view

  3. Bill,
    kindly email me at

  4. Bill feel free to contact me at for directions to the monument and discussion of your massive research plans on James Murray.