Mine Tales: Miners discovered gold en route to California

2013-12-02T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T16:17:11Z Mine Tales: Miners discovered gold en route to CaliforniaBy William Ascarza Special to the Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Located in the Dragoon Mountains on Golden Rule Hill, the Golden Rule Mine was the primary metal mine in Cochise County’s Dragoon mining district. The Golden Rule Mining Company was the mine’s namesake, and one of the earliest companies involved in its development from 1883 through 1890.

Discovered by miners W. Mansfied, G. Fisher and J. Ahl in 1849, the area — sometimes referred to as the Old Terrible Mine — was one of the primary producers of gold in the Dragoon Mountains. But several decades would pass before its true potential was realized, as the Apache threat impeded exploration.

At times the future Golden Rule Mine-area served as a stopping point for the Butterfield stage on its journey from Apache Pass to the Dragoon Springs stage station between 1858 and 1861. A signal point atop one of the neighboring hills served to warn the stage of Apache activity and possible raids.

The Golden Rule Mine was prospected and worked after a peace treaty was negotiated in 1872 between Cochise and Brig. Gen. Oliver O. Howard at Cochise Council Rock. Gold was discovered in small placer deposits in washes around the mine property, but further development proved impractical due to lack of accessible water and the erratic distribution of the gold.

However, upon the discovery of significant gold-bearing vein lodes, mining began in earnest, with a yield of $125,000 in gold by 1883.

By 1902, 8,000 tons of gold-lead ore had been extracted from the mine. That same year, the property was purchased by the Old Terrible Mining Company.

Several years later it was acquired by the Manzoro Gold Mining Company.

Since 1916, the mine has been owned by several lessees.

The Golden Rule Mine was serviced by 10-stamp and 20-stamp mills, the latter located a half-mile north of the mine, near an established well.

Although they are no longer standing, a hoist house and a blacksmith shop existed near the Jackson inclined shaft.

Excavated in 1904, the 227-foot tracked, inclined Jackson shaft proved to be the prime spot for ore extraction.

An older, 325-foot inclined shaft was filled with sand and gravel caused by a cloudburst in 1910.

The mine was chiefly a gold producer, yielding $200,000 of gold between 1883 and 1929.

By the early 1970s, total production of the mine amounted to 19,000 tons of ore, yielding 9,543 thousand ounces of gold, 72,000 ounces of silver, 178 tons of lead and nine tons of copper.

Recent activity in the Golden Rule district includes seven carloads of ore shipped to the Asarco smelter in El Paso in the early 1980s. Principal host rock consists of limestone, rhyolite, sandstone and shale. Exposed quartz veins are common.

More than 2,000 feet of underground workings have been built during the history of the mine’s operation.

Sources: Elsing, Morris J. and Robert E.S. Heineman. Arizona Metal Production. Arizona Bureau of Mines, Economic Series No. 19, Bulletin No. 140. Tucson, University of Arizona, 1936; Keith, Stanton B. Index of Mining Properties in Cochise County, Arizona. Arizona Bureau of Mines Bulletin 187. Tucson, University of Arizona, 1973; Hampf, Andrew William. Geology of the Golden Rule Mine Area, Cochise County. Master of science thesis, UA 1972;

Kreidler, T.J. Mineral Resource Potential of the Dragoon Mountains Rare II Further Planning Area, Cochise County. U.S. Bureau of Mines Mineral and Land Assessment MLA 35-82 1982. U.S. Dept. of the Interior Bureau of Mines; Wilson, E.D. et al (1951), Arizona Zinc and Lead Deposits, Part II, Arizona Bureau of Mines Bulletin 158.

William Ascarza is an archivist, historian and author. Email him at mining@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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