Friday, October 16, 2009

Mining in Baxter County – Part II

Mining in Baxter County, Arkansas, was an up and coming enterprise and very speculative. By 1901, over 400 mining claims had been reported in The Baxter Bulletin. By the same article, mining claims had been registered in the county starting in 1886. Of some of these mining claims, a geological survey of Baxter County was completed by 1892 by state geologist Dr. John C. Branner.

Some of the minerals collected and verified were:
  • Zinc Carbonate
  • Lead
  • Dolomite
  • Chert
  • Iron
  • Red Marble
Many of the minerals were amalgamated together in a blend. Therefore the jack or mineral ore that had to be processed to get the desired zinc.

While doing the survey, Dr. Branner had a young geology student & assistant named Herbert Hover, future president of the U. S., inspect 13 shafts, prospects, and mines in Baxter County, which were:
  • The Michigan Prospect
  • The Partnership Claim
  • The Gilliland Shaft
  • The Commercial Shaft
  • The Jones Prospect
  • The Big John Claim
  • The Bruce Creek Hawkeye
  • The Hawkeye No. 1
  • The Hawkeye No. 2
  • The Gold Standard Claim
  • The Lost Mine
  • The Halsenbeck Prospect
  • The Bean Prospects

Click on pictures to enlarge them.

Districts were also mentioned such as the Bald Dave, Bruce Creek, Jenkins Creek, and the North Fork of the White River area.

Click on pictures to enlarge them.

As the years rolled by, The Baxter Bulletin Published a front page article & graphic about the “Lost Mine” owned by the Kimberly Company.
“The most important discovery yet made in this county, and one that is second to none in the Arkansas District, has been revealed by the log of the Kimberly Mining and Milling Co.’s drill on the Last Chance. This company commenced drilling on their property in January, but the inclement weather in February compelled them to temporarily shut down, after reaching the depth of 68 feet. The work was resumed three weeks ago and the hole put down to a depth of 154 feet. At 42 feet the drill passed into a heavy body of ore and continued for 20 feet, then the ore got lighter and showed lead mixed with the jack. This run continued for 32 feet, then passed into a heavy ledge of blend, and this held out any breaks for 60 feet and was still good ore at the bottom of the hole- making an almost continuous run of ore for 112 feet.”
As progress was made, the founding of other mining companies became a norm in Baxter County, and these companies were selling stock to cover the expensive investment of mining in northern Arkansas.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Lastly, as a Tribute to the hard working prospectors & miners, The Baxter Bulletin published a popular poem entitled:
"The Man Behind the Pick
There has been all kinds of gush about the man who is "behind"—
And the man behind the cannon has been toasted, wined and dined.
There's the man behind the musket, and the man behind the fence;
And the man behind his whiskers, and the man behind his rents;
And the man behind the plough beam, and the man behind the hoe;
And the man behind the ballot, and the man behind the dough;
And the man behind the jimmy, and the man behind the bars;
And the Johnny that goes snooping on the stage behind the "stars";
And the man behind the kisser, and the man behind the fist;
And the girl behind the man behind the gun is on the list;
But they missed one honest fellow, and I'm raising of a kick,
That they didn't make a mention of the man behind the pick.
Up the rugged mountain side a thousand feet he takes his way,
Or as far into the darkness from the cheering light of day;
He is shut out from the sunlight, in the glimmer of the lamps;
He is cut off from the sweet air in the sickly fumes and damps;
He must toil in cramped positions; he must take his life in hand.
For he works in deadly peril that but few can understand;
But he does it all in silence, and he seldom makes a kick,
Which is why I sing the praises of the man behind the pick.
He unlocks the bolted portals of the mountains to the stores
Hid in nature's vast exchequer in her treasure house of ores.
He applies a key dynamic, and the gates are backward rolled,
And the ancient rocks are riven to their secret heart of gold.
Things of comfort and of beauty and of usefulness are mined
By this brave and quiet worker—he's a friend of humankind;
Who though trampled down and underpaid, toils on without a kick;
So I lift my hat in honor of the man behind the pick.

                            Click on picture to enlarge  poem.

I would like to thank Brenda Johnson for her valuable help in acquiring the Annual Report of the Geological Survey of Arkansas for 1892.

Anonymous. “The Man Behind the Pick.” The Baxter Bulletin 1.32 1 Aug. 1902: 9.
(1892) Branner, John, C. Annual Report of the Geological Survey of Arkansas for 1892. Thompson Lith. and Ptg. Company. Little Rock, Ar.
Shiras, Tom. “The Mineral Field: The Kimberly Mining and Milling Company Couple work with Faith and are Rewarded.” The Baxter Bulletin 06 June 1902 Volume 1, Number 24 ed.: A1-1.
White River Mining and Development Company. Advertisement. An Opportunity of a lifetime11 July 1902: 29. Published in: The Baxter Bulletin.

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