Saturday, November 16, 2013

John Silverthorn's Secret Gold Mine

The mystery of John Silverthorn and his secret gold mine - one that bears directly on assigning proper credit for the first discovery of gold in Montana - was ably recounted by Dan Meschter in Flint chips No. 78.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Trout manganese mill

The Trout Manganese mill, built under the supervision of Roy Hamilton in the early 1950's, was burned down by vandals, or else carelessly, by partiers, last week. Here's a Lee Silliman picture taken just a few weeks ago. The mill processed manganese dioxide ore into several products, using both gravity concentration (jigging) and dry magnetic separation. High grade concentrates were shipped to battery companies because the manganese dioxide was battery active. Philipsburg was the only US district to produce this high grade material. Lower grade material was shipped to the Bunker Hill smelter to use in zinc refining. The mill produced into the 1960s.

Where was American Fork?

Like much of the early history and geography of the Gold Creek area, the exact location of the town of American Fork is not easy to ascertain, because it was mostly abandoned in 1863 when the Stuarts and other miners moved to the boomtown at Montana's greatest gold discovery, Virginia City. Granville Stuart stated that they located their settlement where the Mullan Road crosses Benetsee or Gold Creek. American Fork - misspelled "American Fort" - appears on Pardee's geologic map about a mile upstream from the railroad tracks (below), where he shows the Mullan Road crossing the creek. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Setting up a stamp mill

The Granite Co. Historical Society is part way through a project to set up a working stamp battery at the site of the James Stuart/Hope mill. When the stamps are running it will be the first sound of a stamp mill heard in Philipsburg in more than 100 years.

The battery, jaw crusher and feeders were part of a 10 stamp mill at the Royal mine, owned by Paul Antonioli and Dave Harris. Larry Hoffman, Jim Waldbillig, Phil McDonald and Dave Harris moved the components in late summer to the millsite.

The next task was to create a proper concrete foundation on which to re-erect the battery. Larry Hoffman created drawings for a foundation and this past week the concrete was formed and poured by contractors CNC (more than a carpenter) and Woodland Creations, with the assistance of Dave Harris and Jim Waldbillig.  Pix by Jim right and below.