Black hills of Dakota Territory, situated on the forty-fourth parallel of latitude
and between the 103d and 105th meridians of longitude, are rich in gold and
silver, as well as coal, iron, copper, and pine forests.
The area occupied by the Black hills, as delineated on a map which accom-
panies Lieutenant Warren's report, is 6,000 square miles, or about the surface
of Connecticut.* Their bases are elevated from 2,500 to 3,500 feet, and the highest
peaks are about 6,700 feet above the ocean level. The whole geological range
of rocks, from the granite and metamorphosed azoic to the cretaceous formations
of the surrounding plains, are developed by the upheaval of the mountain mass.
Thus, at the junction of silurian rocks, gold becomes accessible, while the car-
boniferous strata bring coal measures within reach.
With the pacification of the Sioux Indians, and the establishment of emigrant
roads, this district of Dakota would doubtless be the scene of great mining ex-
citement, as the gold-field of the Black hills is accessible at a distance of 120
miles from the Missouri river.
As early as 1862 some American explorers washed from the bed of the North
Saskatchewan river, at a distance of two hundred miles from its extreme sources
in the Rocky mountains, minute particles of gold, but with no return exceeding one
cent to the pa?i or five dollars per day. In subsequent years the emigrants from
GOLD MINES EAST OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 331
Selkirk settlement, and a few American adventurers, obtained more satisfactory
results, there being frequent instances of ten dollars as a daily average, from bars
or gulches nearer the mountains. As the Montana explorations have advanced
towards the international frontier, each encampment proving more productive than
its predecessors, the opinion has prevailed that the sources of the Saskatchewan
would develop rich deposits of gold and silver, especially near the great centre
of physical disturbance, where Mount Hooker reaches an elevation of 16,000 feet,
and Mount Brown 15,700 feet above the sea, and from which the waters of the Sas-
katchewan, Peace, Frazer, and Columbia rivers diverge to three oceans. So
prevalent is this belief in Montana that a sudden migration of thousands may at
any moment be anticipated. Probably the intelligence received in Oregon^during
November, 1866, that American prospectors at the Kootonais mines had passed
the mountains on or beyond the boundary of 49 and found rich washings, re-
turning even $60 daily to the hand, on the sources of the South Saskatchewan,
will, if fully confirmed, be the signal of a movement over the border into' thi
Saskatchewan basin as remarkable as that which filled the valley of Frazer river
with miners from California and Oregon in 1859.
In 1865, attention was directed to discoveries of gold and silver northwest
of Lake Superior, in the State of Minnesota. Lake Vermillion, an expansion
of a stream of that name, is the centre of the district in question. The outline
of this lake is very irregular. With a diameter of thirty miles, its surface is so stud-
ded with islands, its shore so broken with bays and headlands, that the entire
coast line cannot be less than two hundred miles in extent. In 1848, Dr. J. G.
Norwood, of Owens's geological survey, passed from the mouth of the St.
Louis river, at the western extremity of Lake Superior, to the sources of the
Vermillion river, and descending through the lake to the Rainy river, furnished
a sketch of its natural features and mineral exposures. His statements are re-
peated, so far as they record the usual indications of a gold formation.
Before entering Vermillion lake from the south, Dr. Norwood mentions a per-
pendicular fall of eight feet over " silicious slate, hard and gray, with minute
grains -of iron pyrites sparsely disseminated through it." This rock bears
east and west, with thin seams of quartz between the laminse running in the
line of bearing. There are also irregular patches of quartz from eight to ten.
feet long, and from six to twelve inches wide, which cross the strike at right
angles. The river is broken by falls three-quarters of a mile above, or south
of, Lake Vermillion.
The islands in the lake indicate very distinctly volcanic action, one of them
being an extinct crater. The prevalent rocks are talcose slate, which Dr. Nor-
wood describes as " eminently magnesian, thinly laminated and traversed by
numerous veins of quartz from an inch to five feet, wide, some of which contain
beautiful crystals of iron pyrites." He adds, that " from some indications no-
ticed, other more valuable minerals will probably be found associated with it."
A specimen obtained about midway of the lake is catalogued as " quartz of
reddish brown color ; cristaline, with yellow iron pyrites, crystallized as well as
foliated, disseminated through it."
These quartz veins were ascertained in 1865-'66 to be auriferous. A speci-
men weighing three pounds, containing copper pyrites, was forwarded by the
governor of Minnesota to the mint in Philadelphia, and upon assay, was found
to contain $23 63 of gold and $4 42 of silver per ton of 2,000 pounds. The State
geologist, Mr. H. H. Eames, reports an abundant supply of quartz equal in rich-
ness. Other assays in New York in one instance, by officers of the United
States assay office show results from $10 to $35 per ton. There are rumors
of larger proportions, but the above are fully authenticated. Professor J V. Z.
332 GOLD MINES EAST OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN
Blaney, of Chicago, describes a vein ten feet in width, at the foot of a shaft of
fifty feet, which is " indubitably gold-bearing ;" and adds, " that specimens taken
from its central portion, as proven by a^say, would be sufficient in California,
Colorado, and other successful mining regions, to warrant further exploration."
Washings of the drift near the veins opened have produced gold, but in limited
The productiveness of the Vermillion mines is not yet determined, but will be
tested by several mining organizations during the current year.
When in 1862 gold was discovered upon the sources of the Saskatchewan, a
newspaper at Selkirk settlement, the Norwester, published statements of the
existence of gold between Lake Superior and Lake Winnipeg. Since the Ver-
million discovery, rumors of its extension into British America aro prevalent, and
suggest a probability that the mountain chain known to geographers as the
Laurentian, which separates the waters of the St. Lawrence and its lakes from
the tributaries of Hudson bay, may reveal to future explorers extensive de-
posits of gold and silver. The basin of the St. Lawrence, including the sand-
stones of Lake Superior, is a lower silurian formation ; that of Hudson bay,
granitic or primary, with many evidences in Minnesota, and along the Canadian
shore of Lake Superior, of eruptive or igneous agencies.
Sir Roderick Murchison has frequently advanced the opinion that the pro-
ductive gold districts of the world occur where the, silurian, and perhaps the
lower strata of devonian rocks are in contact with, or have been penetrated by,
greenstones, porphyries, serpentine, granitic and other rocks of the primary for-
mation. Gold, especially when traced to its original matrix, is found to occur
chiefly in veins or lodes of quartz rising from beneath and cutting through the
secondary strata or beds of which the surface was previously composed. These
conditions are observed in the Vermillion district, and Professor Owen, as early
as 1850, traced in this locality of Minnesota, and northeastwardly along the
north shore of Lake Superior, in Canada, what he denominated a " great plutonic
chain," and " the main axis of dislocation," from which silurian sandstones ex-
tend southwardly through Wisconsin and Minnesota, while on the north the
streams which are turned towards Hudson bay traverse a region exclusively
granitic, or primary. If in Minnesota an auriferous belt has marked this line of
junction, we may with reason 'anticipate its extension eastwardly into Canada,
and northwestwardly towards Lake Winnipeg. Indeed, as English explorers
trace this contact of primary and silurian formations along the basins of Lakes
Slave and Athabasca, and the channel of the Mackenzie to the Arctic ocean, it
becomes an interesting problem for future solution, whether the auriferous de-
posits of British Columbia and Saskatchewan may not be extended with various
degrees of productiveness along the crest which separates the waters of the
Gulfs of Mexico and St. Lawrence from those of the Arctic ocean and Hudson
bay, quite as the discoveries of this century now follow the Ural mines eastward
through Siberia to the Pacific.
The intrusion of granitic rocks is not confined in Minnesota to the north-
eastern angle of the State. *It has been traced southwestwardly, near Sauk
Rapids, upon the Upper Minnesota, and even to the northwestern boundary of
Iowa, in a wedge-like shape, although covered in most places by the mass of
drift which constitutes so large a portion of the surface of Minnesota. A similar
granitic cape, with its associated minerals, may be the explanation of the alleged
gold deposits in the township of Madoc, near Kingston, in Canada West.
In regard to the Madoc mines, the only facts fully established at the date of
this report are, that Chicago parties have become purchasers of fifteen acres,
the principal locality of the alleged discovery, for the sum of $35,000 ; that at
GOLD MINES EAST OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS, 333
an excavation of six feet, made originally in search of copper, gold in consid-
erable quantities has been found in coarse sand, in decayed/ quartz, and also in
a cream- colored quartz that abounded in a crevice and its surroundings ; and
that an assistant of Sir William Logan, the government geologist, has written
a letter to L'Ordre, of Montreal, in which he says that the mine " the Rich-
ardson" " is as remarkable for its richness as for the manner of its existence,"
and that " he sees in the Richardson the best as well as the most encouraging
of all indications for the search of gold in Upper Canada." A correspondent
of the New York Tribune, apparently disinterested, and writing from the vi-
cinity January 22, 1867, asserts that " some thousands of dollars of native
gold have already been secured from this mine and other adjacent localities, and
sold in Belleville, Canada West, to jewellers, who pronounced it a very good
quality, fully equal to that of Australia." This section of Canada is also
known to abound in copper, iron, lead, slate, and marble.
The Chaudiere mines, near Quebec, are probably a development of the Alle-
ghanian range. They have hitherto been confined to placer or alluvial mining
on the tributaries of the Chaudiere. Quartz mining has not been prosecuted to
any great extent, although an official publication by the Canadian government
reports assays at $21, $37, and even $95 p5r ton.
The gold fields of Nova Scotia consist of some ten or twelve districts of
quite limited area in themselves, but lying scattered along the southeastern coast
of the province. The whole of this coast, from Cape Sable on the west to
Cape Canso on the east, a distance of about two hundred and fifty miles, is
bordered by a fringe of hard, slaty rocks, slate and sandstone in irregular al-
ternations, sometimes argillaceous and occasionally granitic. These rocks are
always, when stratified, found standing in a high angle, sometimes almost ver-
tical, and with a course in the main very nearly due east and west. They
seldom rise to any great elevation, the promontory of Aspatagon, about five
hundred feet high, being the highest land on the Atlantic coast of the province.
The general aspect of the shore is low, rocky and desolate, strewn often with
large boulders of granite or quartzite. This zone of metamorphic rocks varies
in width from six or eight miles at its eastern extremity to' forty or fifty at its
widest points, presenting in its northern boundary only a rude parallelism with
its southern margin, and composing about six thousand square miles of surface,
the general outline of ^hat may, geologically speaking, be called the gold region
of Nova Scotia.
A contributor to the Atlantic Monthly magazine for May, 1864, enumerates
Tangier Harbor, Wine Harbor, Sherbrooke, Ovens, Oldham, Waverly, Stormont,
and Lake Loon a small lake only five miles distant from Halifax as localities
which have fully determined the auriferous character of the district already de-
scribed, and selects for specific description, and as a specimen of other veins, the
Montague lode at Lake Loon. The course of this is E. 10 N., that being the
strike of the rocks by the compass in that particular district. It has been traced
by surface-digging a long distance not less, probably, than half a mile. At
one point on this line there is a shift or fault in the rocks, which has heaved the
most productive portion of the vein about thirty-five feet to the north ; but for
the rest of the distance, so far as yet open, the whole lode remains true and un-
" Its dip with the rocks around it is almost vertical, say from 85 to 80 south.
The vein is- contained between walls of slate on both sides, and is a double or
composite vein, being formed, first, of the main leader ; second, of a smaller vein
on the other side, with a thin slate partition-wall between the two ; and third,
of a strongly mineralized slate foot-wall, which is in itself really a most valuable
portion of the ore-channel.
334 GOLD MINES EAST OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
" ^he quartz which composes these interposed sheets, thus separated, yet
combined, is crystallized throughout, and highly mineralized ; belonging, in fact,
to the first class of quartz lodes recognized in all the general descriptions of the
veins of this region. The associated minerals are, here, cuprite or yellow-
copper, green malachite or carbonate of copper, mispickel or arsenical pyrites,
zinc blende, scsquioxide of iron, rich in gold, and also frequent ' sights' or visible
masses of gold itself. The gold is also often visible to the naked eye in all the
associated minerals, and particularly in the mispickel and blende.
" The main quartz vein of this interesting lode varies from three to ten inches
in thickness at different points on the surface-level, but is reported as increasing
to twenty inches thick at the bottom of the shaft, already carried down to a
depth of forty feet. This very considerable variation in thickness will be found
to be owing to the folds or plications of the vein, to which we shall hereafter
make more particular allusion.
"The minerals associated with the quartz in this vein, especially the cuprite
and mispickel, are found most abundantly upon the foot- wall side, or underside,
of the quartz itself. The smaller accompanying vein before alluded to appears
to be but a repetition of the larger ^ne in all its essential characteristics, and is
believed by the scientific examiners to be fully as well charged with gold. That
this is likely to come up to a very remarkable standard of productiveness, per-
haps more so than any known vein in the world, is to be inferred from the offi-*
cial statement in the Royal Gazette of Wednesday, January 20, 1864, published
by authority at the chief gold commissioner's office in Halifax, in which the
average yield of the Montague vein for the month of October, 1863, is given as
3 oz. 3 dwt. 4 gr.; for November, as 3 oz. 10 dwt. 13 gr.; and for December, as
5 oz. 9 dwt. 8 gr., to the ton of quartz crushed during these months, respectively.
Nor is the quartz of this vein the only trustworthy source of yield. The under-
lying slate is filled with bunches of mispickel, not distributed in a sheet or in
any particular order, so far as yet observed, but developed throughout the slate,
and varying in size from that of small nuts to many pounds in weight masses
of over fifty pounds having been frequently taken out. This peculiar mineral
has always proved highly auriferous in this locality, and a careful search will
rarely fail to detect sights ' of the precious metal imbedded in its folds, or lying
hidden between its crystalline plates.
" Nor is the surrounding mass of slate in which this vein is enclosed without
abundant evidences of a highly auriferous character. Scales of gold are everywhere
to be seen between its laminae, and, when removed and subjected to the proceeds of
'dressing,' there can be little doubt of its also yielding a very handsome return.
In fact, the entire mass of material, which is known to be auriferous, is not less
than twelve to fifteen inches at the surface, and will doubtless be found, as all
experience and analogy in the district have hitherto shown to be the case, to in-
crease very considerably with the increased depth to which the shafts will soon
be carried. No difficulties whatever are apprehended here in going to a very
considerable depth, as the slate is not hard and easily permits the miner, in his
progress, to bear in upon 4t without drilling upon the closer and more tenacious
" The open cut made by the original owners of the Montague property, and
by which the veins have been in some degree exposed, absurd and culpable as
it is as a mode of mining, has yet served a good purpose in showing in a very
distinct manner the structure of these veins a structure which is found to be on
the whole very general in the province. The quartz is not found, as might
naturally be supposed from its position among sedimentary rocks, lying in any-
thing like a plain, even sheet of equal thickness. On the contrary, it is seen to
be marked \>y folds or plications, occurring at tolerably regular intervals, and
crossing the vein at an angle of 40 or 45 to the west. Similar folds may be
produced in a sheet which is hung on a line, and then drawn at one of the
GOLD MINES EAST OF THE EOCKY MOUNTAINS. 335
lower corners. The cross-section of the vein is thus maile to resemble some-
what the appearance of a chain of long links, the rolls or swel& alternating with
the plain spaces throwgh its whole extent. Perhaps a better comparison is that
of ripples or gentle waves as seen following each other on the ebb-tide in a still
time on the beach.
"The distribution of the gold in the mass of the quartz appears to be highly
influenced by the peculiar wavy or folded structure. All the miners are agreed in
the statement that the gold abounda most at the swells or highest points of the
waves of rock, ami that the scarcely less valuable mispickel appears to follow the
same law. The spaces between are not found to be so rich As these points of
undulation ; and this structure must explain the signal contrast in thickness and
productiveness which is everywhere seen in sinking a shaft in this district. As
the cutting passes through one of these swells the thickness of the vein at once
increases, and again diminishes with equal certainty as the work proceeds ; be-
low this point destined again to go through with similar alternations in its mass "
The gold of Nova Scotia is remarkable for its great purity, it being on the
average twenty-two carats fine, as shown by repeated assay. The bars or in-
gots are current in Halifax at $20 an ounce. Assays by Prfessor Silliman, of
Yale College, have ascertained values of $1*9.97 and $20 25, and the gold com-
missioner of Nova Scotia assumes $19.50 as the basis of his calculations of the
gold product of the province.
The official returns of the deputy gold commissioners for the several districts
to the chief commissioner at Halifax are unusually exact and reliable in re-
gard to the most important point of the whole subject, namely, the average
yield per ton of quartz crushed at the mills. By regulations of the mining
department, every miner, or the agent or chief superintendent of each mine, is
required, under penalty of forfeiting possession of the mine, to make a quarterly
return of the amount of days' labor ex pended, the number of tons raised and
crushed, and the quantity of gold. These returns are not likely to be exaggera-
ted, as a government royalty of three per cent, on the gross product is exacted.
Besides the miner's report, all owners of quartz mills are also required to render
official returns under oath, and in a form minutely prescribed by the provincial
law, of all quartz crushed by them during each month, stating particularly
from what mine it was raised, for whose account it has been crushed, and what
was the exact quantity in ounces, pennyweights, and grains. Upon this basis
it appears that the average for all the mining districts is $30 per ton ; while the
maximum yield at some of the prominent mines has been $1,000 per ton at
Wine Harbor, $240 at Sherbrook, $220 at Oldham, and $100 at Stormont,
during the months of October, November and December, 1863. These results
are independent of the great waste which attends the reduction of pyritous
ores. The cost of reduction at this time does not exceed $7 per ton, owing to
the moderate scale of prices for labor, supplies, and fuel in Nova Scotia.
The writer in the Atlantic Monthly, already referred to, accounts for the
absence %f alluvial gold by the peninsular formation of Nova Scotia. The ac-
tion of the glacial period would only transport the detritus of auriferous rocks
beneath the Atlantic ocean. Therefore, the gold of Nova Scotia is to be suc-
cessfully sought under the application of the most scientific and systematic
methods of deep quartz-mining. His summary of these methods is so suggest-
ive that it will be cited :
" The ill-considered system of allotting small individual claims at first adopted
by the colortial government was founded, probably, on a want of exact know-
ledge of the peculiar nature of the gold district, and the consequent expectation
that the experiences of California and Australia in panning and washing were
to be repeated here. This totally inapplicable system in a manner compelled
the early single adventurers to abandon their claims as soon as the surface-water
began to accumulate in their little open pits or shallow levels, beyond the con-
336 GOLD MIKES EAST OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
trol of a single buckgt or other .such primitive contrivance for bailing. Even
the more active and industrious digger soon found his own difficulties to accu-
mulate just in proportion to his own superior measure of activity, since, as sooa
as he carried his own excavation a foot or two deeper than his neighbors, he
found that it only gave him the privilege of draining for the whole" of the less
enterprising diggers, whose pits had not been sunk to the same level as his own.
Thus the adventurers who should ordinarily have been the most successful were
soon drowned out by the accumulated waters from the adjacent and sometimes
abandoned claims. Nearly all of these early efforts at individual mining are
now discontinued, and the claims thus shown to be worthless in single hands
have been consolidated in the large companies, who alone possess the means to
work them with unity and success.
" The present methods of working the lodes, as now practiced in Nova Scotia,
proceed on a very different plan. Shafts are sunk, at intervals of about three
hundred feet, on the course of the lodes which it is proposed to work, as these
ore distinctly traced on the surface of the ground. When these shafts have
been carried down to the depth of sixty feet, or, in miner's language, ten fathoms,
horizontal drifts or levels are pushed out from them, below the ground, and in
either direction, still keeping on the course of the lode. While these subter-
ranean levels are being thus extended, the shafts are again to be continued
downwards, until the depth of twenty fathoms, or one hundred and twenty feet,
has been attained. A second and lower set of levels are then pushed out beneath,
and parallel to, the first named. At the depth of thirty fathoms a third and
still lower set of levels will extend beneath and parallel to the second. The
work of sinking vertical shafts, and excavating horizontal levels to connect
them, belongs to what is denominated the ' construction of the mine,' and it is
only after this has been completed that the work of mining proper can be said
" The removal .of the ore, as conducted from the levels by which access to it
has thus been gained, may be carried on either by 'direct' or by 'inverted
grades ' that is, either by breaking it up from underneath, or down from over-