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Early mining in southwestern Utah and southeastern Nevada, 1864-1873 : the Meadow Valley, Pahranagat, and Pioche mining rushes.

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Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Humanities
Department History
Author Bourne, John Michael
Title Early mining in southwestern Utah and southeastern Nevada, 1864-1873 : the Meadow Valley, Pahranagat, and Pioche mining rushes.
Date 1973
Description For the people of Utah, the changes wrought by the influx of miners and prospectors as a result of the discovery of gold in California were viewed as both good and bad. The Mormons welcomed the chance to sell supplies for needed cash, but resented attempts by people they viewed as outsiders to exploit the mineral wealth of their territory, and more importantly to attempt to take over the local government of Utah Territory. This conflict was quite evident during the Civil War when General Patrick E. Connor's troops were stationed in the territory. Connor viewed the situation as an excellent chance to indulge in mining, and through mining promotion to bring in enough non-Mormons to take over the territorial government. The Mormons, whose experience with mining in the past indicated little aversion on their part to mining perse, viewed Connor's actions as a direct threat to their control of the local government, and consequently they adopted a public policy opposing mining calculated to blunt Connor's attack. The discovery of silver-lead deposits in Meadow Valley in late 1863, and early attempts to claim them in 1864, proved to be an excellent example of Mormon interest in mining quenched by a desire to avoid aiding Connor's promotion schemes. In addition, it also showed the early type of prospecting activity; civilian, military, and governmental, which continued in the area that year (1864) and the next. In 1865 a prospecting party working out of Meadow Valley discovered high grade surface silver deposits in Pahranagat Valley. This sparked a rush into the area which attracted capital and interest from primarily the east coast investor's market. The Pahranagat rush also helped successfully support the Colorado River-Callville shipping route until more reliable and cheaper routes of supply and travel were opened northwest from Pahranagat to Austin, Nevada. The activity in the Pahranagat Valley also illustrated the beginnings of the gradual shift in the economic orientation of the area from Salt Lake City and the east coast as a primary base of supply to Nevada, and through Nevada, the Pacific coast cities. Mining activity in the area soon faded as the mineral deposits were relatively shallow, but the much-publicized and intense White Pine rush into the area, approximately 115 miles north of Pahranagat, soon shifted the focus of attention to the mines near Hamilton and Treasure Hill. This rush, one of the largest in eastern Nevada, sparked many smaller rushes and reopened older districts. One of the older districts which was revitalized by the overflow from the the White Pine rush was Meadow Valley, renamed in 1869, Ely District, or Pioche. Ely District and the city of Pioche were direct outgrowths of the flow of men and investment capital from White Pine, but when rich discoveries were made in Pioche in 1871, production and growth soon surpassed the parent district but declined at a rapid rate. The Pioche boom was fairly productive but short lived and the processes which worked to create Pioche were repeated by 1875 to begin the decline of that camp. New mining camps, such as Cherry Creek and Eureka, Nevada and Silver Reef, Utah, began growing as Pioche faded. This repetitive cycle of discovery, boom, new discovery elsewhere, and subsequent waning can be clearly seen from the earliest discoveries at Meadow Valley onward. This pattern of development and decline lasted throughout the era of boom and bust mining in the Great Basin.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Mines and mineral resources -- Utah -- History Mines and mineral resources -- Nevada -- History Utah -- History -- 19th century
Dissertation Name Master of Arts
Language eng
Rights Management (c) John Michael Bourne
Format Medium application/pdf
ARK ark:/87278/s6s22qg2
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2019-09-23
Date Modified 2019-09-23
ID 1461212
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6s22qg2
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