The purpose of this post is to briefly describe sources of information on the history of Granite County.
The indispensable historical account is the "Mettle of Granite County" by Loraine Domine. This three volume limited edition hardback has been available for $30 a volume at the Granite County Museum and Cultural Center in Philipsburg. As Volume 1 has sold out, we have posted the chapters on the blog in a lightly edited form. "Mettle" will be a frequent source and reference for this blog. Volume 1 focuses on Philipsburg, Volume 2 on southern Granite County including the sapphire mines, and Volume 3 on northern Granite County. "Mettle" is both a comprehensive general history and a social history detailing the stories of many families who settled the area and many of whom still reside there.
Ghost Town Trails by Ron Paige, Dennis Darling, and Jack McCoy is a recent guidebook to Granite County's mining camps, which contains excellent historical accounts of each district. It's chock full of photos and maps!
A classic and still useful book on Montana's ghost towns is Montana Pay Dirt by Muriel Sybil Wolle, detailing both the history of the mining towns and her experiences in several summers of research.
A Town Founded on Hope by Clyde Neu is an excellent account of the early history of Philipsburg by a descendant of a pioneer Philipsburg merchant.
A 2006 doctoral dissertation, "My Destiny to Wander": the Odyssey of James Stuart, by Terrence Delaney, is a monumental biography of Stuart and covers many of the events around the time that the St. Louis and Montana Company built the James Stuart mill and founded Philipsburg.
The most authoritative account of the area's mining history is to be found in the Geology and Ore Deposits of the Philipsburg Quadrangle, USGS Professional Paper 78, by W.H. Emmons and F.C. Calkins (1913). In addition, annual reports to Congress on mining in the West contain contemporaneous and at times extensive narratives on the early development of Granite County. Ross Browne's 1868 report discusses Montana mining beginning on P. 487. It contains much of interest but little on Granite County. The Rossiter Raymond report for 1868 (section on Montana beginning at p. 134) was in part written by W.S. Keyes, Superintendent of the St. Louis and Montana Mining Company. It includes sociological information on the pioneer miners, and an analysis of the inadequacies of then then existing mining law, explaining much of the impetus for the Mining Law of 1872. The report for 1869 (and here, with clearer pages in some cases) discusses Montana beginning on p. 253. Topics include the equipment in the James Stuart Mill and problems with the Comanche ore body, as well as the Rumley/Burgher vs. Comanche Extension suit and the geology of the Poorman's Joy. Rossiter Raymond's report for 1870 (presented in 1871) covers Montana beginning on p. 204, and has a section on the Trout mine. The report on 1871 (covering Montana beginning on p. 258) contains an extensive report on the Philipsburg district by Cole Saunders. The report for 1872 (Montana begins on 214) has very detailed information on the mines of Philipsburg. The report for 1873 (beginning Montana on p. 253) relies on information on Philipsburg provided by Charles Frost. The report for 1874 (starting Montana at 323) briefly reports on the Cole Saunders mill. The eighth and last of the Raymond reports is for 1875, covering Montana beginning on 235, and discussing the affairs of both the Hope Mining Company and the Northwest Company.
Western Fiction writer Dan Cushman wrote an entertaining account of the discovery and silver heyday at Philipsburg and Granite titled Cordova Lode Comstock for Montana, the Magazine of Western History, v. 9, no. 4, Autumn, 1959, pp. 12-21, which, despite his liberal use of literary "license", contains compelling accounts of several key events, especially the silver crash of 1893.
Up the Creek: History of Early Settlers on Rock Creek, Bonita, and Quigley by Darlene Olsen (1990) contains many photographs
of sapphire and gold mining along Rock Creek.
There are very large archives on Philipsburg history located in the Montana Historical Society in Helena, including records of several important area mining companies that were donated by the Antonioli family. Some of the most interesting accounts of the discovery and early development of Granite County's silver mines are to be found in the voluminous S.T. Hauser papers at MHS.
The Archives and Special Collections at the University of Montana in Missoula contain several valuable collections relating to Granite County, including the Frank D. Brown papers and the Daniel Y. Meschter papers. Brown's papers include correspondence with several leading mine developers like Charles McLure, James A. Murray, and Paul Fusz, as well as writings as a journalist and historian. Meschter's papers include biographical research on several dozen Granite County historical personages, a comprehensive extract of Montana newspaper articles covering Granite County between 1865 and 1869, and a collection of 177 under-appreciated, well-researched articles he wrote for the Philipsburg Mail in the late 1980's ("Flint Chips") covering many facets of Granite County history up until about 1879.