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Tonopah, Nevada – Silver mine.

Filed under: Rockhound stories,Video — Gary October 17, 2010 @ 10:01 pm

Came across this article on a silver find in Tonopah Springs.  Very interesting!

Tonopah, Nevada

Tonopah, Nevada

Tonopah Springs, later the site of one of the richest booms in the West, was an Indian campground for many years, long before Jim Butler spent a chilly night here. A number of stories exist as to how Butler discovered the ore. The most popular version is that Butler’s mule wandered away and when Butler found the ornery critter, he noticed an outcropping that appeared to be heavily laced with silver. Butler took a number of samples. The date was May 19, 1900. This quiet start belied the actual importance of the discovery. Butler firmly believed he had discovered an important silver deposit but he had trouble convincing the assayer he visited in nearby Klondike. The assayer told him the samples were worthless, consisting mainly of iron, and he threw them into the back of his tent.
Butler was still convinced that his find was genuine. On his way back to his Monitor Valley ranch, he stopped at Tonopah Springs once more to gather samples. Back at his ranch, Butler put the samples on his windowsill. Not too much time passed before Tasker Oddie, later to be governor of Nevada, stopped at the ranch and spied the ore samples. He offered to pay for another assay and Butler agreed to this. Butler, in turn, offered Oddie a quarter interest of the assay. Oddie heartily agreed. He took the ore samples to William Gayhart, an Austin assayer, and offered Gayhart a quarter interest in his quarter. Gayhart found the assay ran as high as $600 a ton. When Oddie was notified of the value of the samples, he immediately sent an Indian runner to Butler’s ranch to alert him of the rich find. Butler did not react rapidly. He stayed at his ranch to complete the hay harvest and did not even bother to file claims on the lode site! News of the discovery traveled to Klondike and soon, scores of eager prospectors were searching around Tonopah Springs, to no avail, for Butler’s lode. Butler finally went to Belmont, and on August 27, 1900, he and his wife filed on eight claims near the springs. Six of these – Desert Queen, Burro, Valley View, Silver Top, Buckboard, and Mizpah – turned into some of the biggest producers the state has ever had.

Continue reading the article here: Tonopah, Nevada


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