Gold in Tallapoosa County Alabama

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Gold in Tallapoosa County Alabama

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I propose now to discuss that part of the Lower Gold Field which seems to me to offer these inducements and to hold out these promises of profitable investment. 

I refer to Tallapoosa County, long known, with Cleburne County, as the scene of the greatest development in gold mining to be met with in the State, a place famous among the placer miners and quartz crushers of fifty years ago, and which has yielded a large part of the gold credited to the Southern States between the years 1830—1850.


In the adventures of Captain Simon Suggs, written to describe the truly remarkable experiences of this truly remarkable person, Johnston Hooper incidentally mentions a circumstance which bears upon the history of the gold fever in this part of Alabama. The Captain had bargained for a certain piece of land belonging to a Creek widow. When the time for payment drew near he found himself without the necessary funds to complete the trade, a condition of affairs by no means uncommon with him. Other speculators desired the same piece of land, and offered the widow much more than the Captain had agreed to pay, but she steadfastly refused to deal with any one but with her friend, Captain Suggs. She was beset on every side, but nothing could be done. It was known to the others that the Captain had no funds, and they supposed that in the end he would be forced to say so, when they expected to come in for something good. The Captain disappeared from the Post for several days, and no one knew what had become of him, although he intimated that he Was going to borrow some money from a friend. Finally when the widow seemed upon the point of concluding that he had left the country and was about to sell the land to some one else, he rode up, dismounted and joined the crowd with an enormous pair of saddle-bags on his arm, heavily laden. The speculators at once concluded that he had “struck it rich,” as the saying was and is to this day; there was no telling, gold was plentiful then and many good nuggets had been found, and many a fifty pounds of ore that would pay for the land many times over. They at once came to terms and bought from him the coveted quarter section for two and a half times what he had agreed to pay for it. When the bargain had been firmly arranged and the money paid, he quietly threw out from the saddle-bags alot of worthless rocks picked up along the road. All this happened in what was then Tallapoosa County about the year 1835, and illustrates in a striking manner the rage for – speculation. The throwing open of much valuable land for settlement, consequent upon the removal of the Creek Nation, was responsible for much of it, but the genuine gold fever is to be credited with the greater part.


It is most unfortunate that no reliable statistics of the number of miners, or the yield of gold or the cost of the operations are now to be had, but from the trustworthy tradition and from what I have myself seen over a large part of the district in question, there can be no doubt of the activity that prevailed at that time among the gold miners in Alabama. It is said that in the adjoiningcounty of Cleburne the town of Arbacoochee, now containing less than three hundred people, had in 1845 some five thousand inhabitants. From 1830 to 1850 the prospector was a familiar figure along the roads and among the hills of Tallapoosa.

Hog Mountain Alabama

Most of the gold in the heart of the state has been produced at the Hog Mountain District and the eastern banks of the Hillabee Creek in Talapoosa County. Hog Mountain was one of the largest gold producing areas in Alabama. Nearby creeks yield placer gold. Placer gold is found in all streams draining the Devil’s Backbone Mining District, which extends south into Elmore County, west of the Tallapoosa River, and northeast into Chambers County. Area streams and tributaries of the Eagle Creek Mining District, in the central part of the county. Area streams and branches in the Goldville Mining District, northeast of Alexander City. Several gold bearing streams and branches are located within the Talladega National Forest.

Goldville Alabama Gold Rush

Goldville, Alabama was founded in 1842, during Alabama’s peak gold-mining period of the 1840s and named for gold discovered in the surrounding area. It incorporated first on January 25, 1843, and became home to several thousand people—5,000 by some accounts—making it one of the largest towns in Alabama at the time, though many reportedly lived in tents. As the center of gold-mining in east central Alabama, Goldville boasted numerous stores, several saloons, a hotel, a mining supply house, a race track, a school, and a masonic lodge.

Gold Mining At Goldville Alabama

At Goldville itself, between 1840 and 1850, there are said to have been fourteen large stores with a contributory population of at least 3,000. Now one looks in vain for the tenth part of this population, and the stores have been converted into dwellings and barns.

It must, however, be distinctly stated that the mining operations conducted forty and fifty years ago along this belt merely scratched the great deposits of free milling quartz that characterize it.

Above water level, i. e., at depts varying from 10 to 40 feet, these seams furnished a material much more friable and easily crushed than was found at greater depths. The gold was coarser, and the absence of any considerable amount of sulphurets allowed free malgamation. At few places along the belt, for a distance of 10 miles, did these old miners, so far as could be ascertained, penetrate to the the lower limit of the decomposed sulphuret. At one place only did I observe the presence of undecomposed and decomposing sulphuret, viz: at the Jones pits, in Sec. 5, T. 24, R. 23, near the north east extremity of the Goldville Belt. Here the undecomposed sulphuret of iron, with arsenopyrite, began to come in at the the bottom of a shaft 60 feet deep. It is held in a hard, bluish quartz showing also free gold. A sample, which showed no free gold, gave by fire assay,

Gold . . . . ..2 7-10 oz. per ton.

Silver… . .1-10 “ “ “
(See also page 48.)

} Value per ton $55.90.

It is highly probable, and, in the light of universal experience in the South Atlantic Gold Fields, even certain, that the free milling ores, that is, such ores as readily yield their gold to mercury, begin to carry sulphurets below water level. As these come in the free gold goes out, and when a typical sulphuret ore is found, it contains about one third of its total gold in such a condition as that quicksilver Will attack it. The other two-thirds can not be extracted with quicksilver at all unless the ore is thoroughly roasted, and even then incompletely. Forty years ago such an ore was almost worthless in a district affording no smelting ores. To be available at all it had to contain sufficient free gold, easily taken up by quicksilver, to pay for the mining and treatment of the whole amount of ore and leave something over for profit.

Gold exists in quartz seams in at least two conditions. First, as free gold, more or less fine and intimately mixed with the quartz. Second, combined, or mixed, with a mineral consisting of iron and sulphur, or iron, copper and sulphur, known as Pyrite, or Chalcopyrite. Generally the mineral occurring with the gold is pyrite, or, as it is briefly termed, sulphuret, meaning a compound of iron and sulphur. This sometimes contains copper, but in the Southern States rarely beyond two per cent. When this sulphuret is‘ exposed to the atmosphere it begins to decompose, the product being oxide of iron, a reddish or reddish-brown substance, wnich remains, and sulphate of iron (copperas) which, being soluble in water, is washed away.

All the quartz seams of the Goldville Belt seem at one time to have carried sulphuret disseminated through the quartz. The sulphuret has been decomposed down to water level, so that now these seams show above this point a friable quartz penetrated in every direction with thin veinlets of oxide of iron, the remains of the original sulphuret. In many cases the gold carried by the sulphuret is now concentrated along these “iron stains,” and on breaking the quartz and rubbing off the stains and panning them, the gold may be panned out, proving that it is now free gold. In the upper portions of these seams all of the gold is now free and is easily taken up by quicksilver. The old time miners, lacking the means for treating the undecomposed sulphuret, ceased their operations when it appeared in any consiberable amount. They mined thus only the upper portions of the seams, from which the gold could be obtained with comparative ease.

Where the decomposition has been going on for ages, as is the case in the Southern Gold Fields, and when the original sulphuret was rich and plentiful, it often happens that the residual oxide of iron forms veins of several inches in thick-‘ ness and carries much gold. In the Rudisill Mine, near


Charlotte, N. 0., there was a vein of this oxide of iron, along with other ores, about four inches thick that went down to a depth of 300 feet, and carried in places nearly $500 worth of gold per ton. At the Boilston Mine, in Henderson County, N. C., I have also observed these veins of iron oxide, one of them carrying $112 per ton. Such veins readily yield their gold to quicksilver, and constitute the best grade of ore in I many localities.

One can now appreciate why these old miners made so many pits, trenches and shallow shafts; they were searching for ore that was easy to crush and easy to amalgamate. When they came upon the underlying undecomposed ore, harder and impregnated with sulphuret, they moved on to ‘another place and repeated their operations. But after all, they left an _incalculable amount of free milling ore, as the seams of which I speak are continuous for at least 15 miles, and probably extend for 30 miles. Even should this not be the case, assuming that the greater part of the free milling ore had been removed, an assumption by no’ means to be allowed, we now possess means for the economical treatment of the undecomposed sulphuret, which for ease, rapidity and thoroughness, leave but little to be desired. I refer to the Chlorination of Gold Ores, a full deseription of which will \be found sn Appendix A. The sulphurets, the great Buga-boo of Southern gold miners, no longer vex us; they can be and they are treated for their gold contents with the most gratifying success. Apart from the sulphurets, however, and leaving them to be treated when they appear, it is my deliberate opinion that between Hillabee Bridge and the Birdsong Pits there is enough free milling gold ore to maintain a dozen stamp mills of 200 tons per day capacity at work profitably for twenty-five years. I have been over nearly all of the district twice and do not hesitate to say what seems to me to be the truth. The statement may and doubtless will be received by some with the customary smile ofincredulity, the almost invariable accompaniment of assertions regarding the profitable treatment of Southern gold ores. The same smile did duty when the first assertions as to the Southern iron ores were made, when the Florida Phosphates were discovered and when coke making was begun in Alabama, and is still in good working order. It is as old as human natiire and will outlive the last man.

In my examination of the Goldville Belt, extending from Hillahee Creek in a general north east direction to the Birdsong Pits, a distance of about 14 miles, I was particularly fortunate in having as my companion and guide Col. B. L. Dean, of Alexander City. He has been a resident of this part of Tallapoosa County for 36 years and has devoted more intelligent attention to the mineral wealth of the county than any one I know of. He is especially well acquainted with the region east of the Columbus and Western Railway and north of the Tallapoosa River. At my request he wrote a brief account of the Goldville Belt and I reproduce it here in his own words :

“The first work in this part of Tallapoosa County was done between 1840 and 1850 by Edward Birdsong, who has been dead for thirty odd years. He owned and mined part of S. W. a} and N. W. 4 of Section 4, ‘1‘. 24, R. 23. His widow, a resident of Columbus, Ga., was living in 1889. She could give more information about the mining interest in those days than any one I know. She said to me once that she was the cause of her husband’s stopping work; the country was full of miners and she could not afford to raise her children where the Sabbath was a day of hunting and gambling. Her husband’s work was carried on with negroes. In illustration of the gold fever she said that her negro cook, after attending to all of her duties at the house, would take her pan and wash out 75 cents worth of gold in a day, crushing the ore in a little hand mortar.

“Towards the south west we come next to the Jones Pit, in Sec. 5, T. 24, R. 23. On this property a great deal of work has been done with wooden stamps and the Arastra. There was also at one time a steam engine at the mine. Reports as to the yield of gold vary. The veins are from ten to twenty feet in width. (I have heard old miners say that in places the Jones Pits were very rich, IV. E. P.)


“Next towardsithe south west we come to the Germany Pits, in the N. \V. and S. W., Sec. 8, same township and range. It is said that Mr. Germany made money here. In this Section is located the town of Goldville, one of the oldest places in the county. \ _

“Next in order are the Houston Pits, where much work has been done, but I know very little about them.

“The Log Pits are next, where also much work has been done.

“Next are the Ealyl’its in the S. W. 4 of Sec. 26, T. 24, R. 22. A great deal of work was done here by Mr. A. Ealy and the Hon. Daniel Crawford, Ex-State Treasurer. Col. Crawford had great faith in this part of the county and was always on hand when any work was going on. I asked him once how he worked the Ealy Pits. He said that he made the machinery himself; four iron-shod wooden stamps run by water power at Jarvis’ Mill. He hauled the ore two miles, crushed it with the wooden stamps and then “rocked” it in a rocker. I inquired what was the best run he had ever made in one day, and my recollection is that he said it was $73 or $75. After the death of Mr. Ealy, work was suspended, probably in 1845 or 1846, and has not been resumed since. I met a man once, named Collins, living in the northern {part of the county, who had worked at the Ealy Pits and he told me that Ealy and Crawford got out some ore that ran $41 to the bushel. (Taking the bushel at 100 pounds, this ore was worth $820 per ton; pretty good stuff for those days. W. B. P.)

“Of the Stone and the Croft Pits. which come next, I know but little. A good deal of work was done from first to last, but nothing of record.

“The Mahan Pits, which come next, seem to be in the slate and a little off the main line of the quartz. Heavy sulphurets begin to show at the Mahan Pits, but the ore carries also free gold, as I have panned it out. Some of the ore was sent north several years ago by a Mr. Linds, and it assayed $22 per ton.

Ulrich Pits on East Bank of Hillabee Creek

“Lastly, we come to the Ulrich Pits on the east bank of Hillahee Creek. A great deal of work has been done here also, and much money spent to no purpose in shafts and drifts. The quartz is walled in slate dipping in some places nearly vertically, but as a general thing not above 45 degs. Dr. Ulrich sunk several costly shafts, hunting for copper, but as they were put down on the west side of the veins while they dip towards the east, the deeper he went the the farther he was from the ore. He finally discovered gold instead Of copper, and erected a mill furnished with wooden stamps, taking the water for his power from Hillahee Creek. He worked in this way until the war, making his gold into bars and buying cattle with it, so I am informed by old citizens. Ulrich’s operations were conducted without the least regard to economical mining, and with no thought for the future. . The showing of ore at these pits and at the J ones Pits is greater than at any intermediate locality, and at these two places water is much more abundant and accessible than anywhere along the belt. Col. A. H. Moore had some of the Ulrich ore assayed in North Carolina, and told me that it ran $21 per ton

“On the west side of Hillahee Creek these seams continue in a south west direction, crossing the road from Alexander City to Hillahee Bridge on the the Duncan Place. This belt seems to be bounded on the east by a large slate dyke from 200 to 400 yards distant from the quartz seams. It crosses the Columbus and Western Railway in Coleman’s Cut. This ends what I have to say about the Goldville Belt. % “About two and a half miles west of the Log Pits we find a great mass of ore in the Hog Mountain. There are millions of tons of quartz in the Hog Mountain, all of it carrying gold. I saw assays of ore taken from 16 different places and they showed the ore to be worth from $4 to $16 per ton. (Other assays of Hog. Mt. ore will be found under the appropriate heading, W. B. P.)

“From Hog Mt. we come south, in the same section to where William Conant worked in 1844 and 1845. His said ‘ that he made money, using the crudest appliances and hauling the ore two miles with oxen.

Encyclopedia of Alabama

From Hillabee Bridge, six miles east of Alexander City, to and beyond Goldville for a distance of 14 miles, an almost unbroken line of pits, trenches and shafts bear witness to-day of the great amount of work done prior to 1855. A mere enumeration of some of these old workings, which may be seen and in part explored, even now will show to What extent these operations were conducted. Thus, from a point half a mile above the bridge to the Birdsong Pits beyond Goldville, we have Section, Township, Range.

Ulrich Pits ……………………………. .. 8 23 22
Mahan Pits …………………………… .. 4 23 22
Croft Pits …………………………………. .. 34 24 22
Stone Pits ……………………………….. .. 34 24 22
Ealy Pits …………………………………. .. 26 24 22
Log Pits (Tog Pits is incorrect.)…. 24 24 22
Houston Pits …………………………… .. 18 24 23
Goldville ……………………………….. .. 8 24 23
Germany Pits ………………………. .. 8 24 23
Jones Pits ……………………………….. .. 5 24 23
Birdsong Pits …………………………. .. 4 24 23


These by no means exhaust the list; there are others which in their day were quite as well known and quite as productive, but whose exact location is now unknown.

It will be seen by consulting any map of Tallapoosa County, or the new State map, that these old workings follow each other in the order given from south west to north east. They do not appear upon either map, but by laying a straight edge along the map from Alexander City to Goldville, they will occur in almost a right line, the Ulrich Pits being the most southwesterly and the Birdsong the most northeasterly. Of the history of these mines little or nothing is known. The only mention of any of them which I have been able to find is a brief note by Oscar M. Lieber, in the Second Report on the Geological. Exploration of the State of Alabama by M. Tuomey, published in 1858.

This Report was posthumous, and was edited by J. IV. Mallett, now the distinguished Professor of Chemistry in the University of Virginia. He says in his Preface that the Report was drawn up by Prof. Tuomey in November, 1855, and was presented to the State Legislature at its Session of 1855-56. The information it contains is therefore such as was available prior to 1855, although the Report was not printed until 1858. On page 64 of this Report Prof. Tuomey says of Goldville: “The gold mine of this place was discovered in 1842, and was worked to water level. The most noted portion of the mine was known as the tog pit.” (There must be an error here, for Col. B. L. Dean, of Alexander City, who has known that district very well for thirtyfive years, informed me that the name of ‘tog pits’ was entirely unknown there. Prof. Tuomey evidently referred to the Log Pits, which, however, are three miles south west of Goldville. W. B. P.) Prof. Tuomey continues: “the richest ) part of the vein in this pit (what he calls the tog pit) was from 4 inches to 2 feet thick. It was quartz in talcose slate, and yielded 2%dwts. to the bushel of ore. The gold was worth 90 cents to the dwt. Almost $30,000 worth of gold was extracted from this pit, and from this the proprietors received in addition $80.00 in silver. The history of this mine is like that of all Southern gold mines—the, total want of any practical . system of operations.” This mine, Mr. Lieber reports, has been recently reopened. “A vein has been discovered which, from its curious contortion, is called the snake vein. In the south side of the shaft it is poor, but in the northern side it yields on an average one dollar per bushel. The ore is a friable, porous, ferruginous quartz. The country is talcose slate, decomposed as far as yet reached. Numerous other veins appear on the same property, and properly managed success may be anticipated. The minerals found here, besides gold, are magnetic iron sand, native sulphur, garnets and mica.” Thus far Prof. Tuomey.


Ulrich Pits

As to the Ulrich Pits, it may be said that some forty or fifty years ago a German named Ulrich had a vineyard here and opened the gold pits. He mined and crushed in a crude way a considerable amount of the ore and is said to have made a good deal of money. The ore is a free milling sugary, and crystalline quartz, stained with oxide of iron, and held in a tough micaceous slate, strike North 30 deg. East, dip 40 deg. S. E. There are visible six seams of quartz, the largest six feet in width and the smallest three feet. They are separated by bands of slate, and the entire six seams are comprised within a distance of three hundred feet. They outcrop on a hill above Hillabee Creek, at elevations above the creek of fifty’ to one hundred and fifty feet. The 530 foot line of altitude runs at the base of the hill at the creek. The pits are now fallen in, as well as the drifts, but the nearest pit to the creek is distant three hundred feet. There is always a bountiful supply of good water in the creek and it never rises to the first opening. All of the work done was on the north side of the creek, for, although the creek cuts all of the seams, nothing has been done on the south side. Mr. Ulrich seems to have cut into the ore while excavating a wine cellar. The deepest pit was sunk fifty feet and is now fallen in and inaccessible in the lower levels. Several drifts were started in to cut the ore at depth and it was found to be of good quality. \Vhile a considerable amount of ore was taken out, from first to last, the main body was hardly touched, and there still remains a large amount of free milling quartz within one thousand feet of the creek. From several old dumps I secured samples of the ore which gave by fire assay from $2.06 to $8.46 per ton. (See table of assays along Goldville Belt, pp. 45 and 46).

One of the quartz seams on the Ulrich place crosses the Hillabee Bridge road about three miles from Alexander City, on what is known as the Duncan Place, one mile south west of_the Ulrich Pits. Here it is 2% feet thick, held in the same slate. A sample gave, by fire assay,

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From this point, this seam of quartz and others in close proximity extended in a north east direction for twelve miles to and beyond the Birdsong Pits. I have closely observed the character of the quartz over this distance and it differs but little from that at the Ulrich Pits. Scores of old pits,

3 trenches and shafts are found. I do not think that any half

mile between Duncan’s and Birdsong’s will fail to show evia dences of former operations; some of them, for that day and time, quite extensive.

Over this entire distance of twelve miles the quartz seams are bold and strong, preserving the same general characteristics, and showing a remarkable continuity of walling, strike and dip. In places, as for instance at the Jones Pits, where the greater part of the old time work was done, they thicken up to thirty feet. Nothing of any moment has been done at any of the Pits for more than thirty years. Between 1835 and 1860, it is said that several thousand miners were at work along this range, but in 1850 they began to drift towards California, and this migration, with the disturbing efi’ects ofthe civil war, put an end to the operations. A large amount was certainly taken out and treated, but with what results as to profits can not now be known. The country was then very thinly settled and all the supplies had to be hauled for 50, 60 and even 70 miles over roads that, for the most part, were simply execrable.

No records were kept of the amount of ore treated or the yield, and it would now be a hopeless task to endeavor to ascertain the out-put of gold or the cost of production. From a careful examination of the localities, the nature of the ore and the conditions under which the work must have gone on, it is, I think, evident that the operations must have been, in. places, very profitable.

No organized capital was employed and there were no mills worthy of the name. But little was known of the art of mining, and still less of the art of milling, the most important consideration in the successful management of all gold ores, and there must have been a large loss of gold. Yet the work went on for years, some of it costly work. The only explosive they had was black powder; all of the drilling ‘ was done by hand and a great deal of the crushing also. But they kept at it, and the engineer who examines the district today can see for himself that an astonishing amount of ore was raised and treated. The old openings are now abandoned, large trees are growing in the pits and trenches and the shafts, some of them more than fifty feet deep, are gradually filling up with leaves, rotten timbers and debris from the walls. Gold mining in the Goldville District is unkempt, ragged and down at the heels.


“In Section 5 we find gold in the slates and heavy sulphurets in the shoals of Enittachopka Creek, the sands all along the creek for miles will pan gold.

“In all these places the quartz seams appear to go in parallel bands six or seven in a group and from thirty to forty feet apart. The same is true of Hog Mt.”

This concludes Col. Dean’s interesting and valuable letter. If there were others in the country who took the same intelligent means of informing themselves as to what has been done and what still remains to be done to develop legitimate gold mining the task of the prospector would be easier. He has faith in the future of Tallapoosa county as a gold producer andwhether his hopes are fulfilled during his lifetime or not he may, perhaps, from another sphere be able to look down upon a score of mills, pounding away and proving the reality of what he labored so long to establish, ‘ the profit in quartz mining along the Goldville and Hog Mt. Belts.

Following is a list of the assays made on small samples taken’along the Goldville Belt from Hillabee Bridge to the Jones Pits. It is not claimed for these assays that they represent in every particular the value of the ores, still they will show their general character. To sample these seams correctly would cost a good deal of money and the Survey has no means at its disposal for such an undertaking. The owners of the property should take the matter in hand, employ a competent engineer and furnish him with the means for opening the old pits or sinking new ones, so that average samples could be secured.

Assays along the Goldville Belt from the Duncan place, on the Hillabee Bridge road about 3 miles from Alexander City to the Jones Pits. Fourteen assays were made along this line, viz: one from Duncan’s, five from the Ulrich Pits, two from the Ealy Pits, five from the Jones Pits, and one from what is known as the Chisolm Place, in Sec. 9, T. 23, R. 22. The value of the ore varies from $2 to $55.90 per ton.

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Duncan Place, sugary quartz 2% ft. width, sample from seam
in road,

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Jones Pits, old dump, white crystalline and bluish quartz, with
pyrite, and Arsenopyrite i. e. pyrite containing arsenic:
Gold 7—10 oz. per ton. ..
Silver. . . . .1—10 oz. per ton. i value per tonsaogo
Jones Pits. old dump, white crystalline quartz: ‘ l

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Jones Pits, old dump, white crystalline and bluish quartz with
pyrite and arsenopyrite.
Gold . . . . . .9—10 oz. per ton.

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Chisolm Place, out crop of whitish sandy quartz, 6 ft. wide.

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Copy of a letter received from Col. J as. P. Dawson, Turner Building, St. Louis, September 18th, 1891 :

Sr. Locrs, Mo., Jan. 22d, 1889. Elias S. Pepper, Esq, 3rd National Bank, City : Dear Sir—The sample of ore from . . . . . . . . ..marked . . . . . . . . .., submitted to us for examination, contains

Gold . . . . . .265 025. per ton.
Silver. . . . .0.10 ” “

St. Louis Sampling and Testing Works, WrLLrAM B, POTTER, Mgr. “5;,

According to this assay the ore is worth $54.87 per ton. The letter was marked in pencil “Jones Vein.”

In regard to the foregoing analyses I can only reiterate what has been already more than hinted at, that if the owners of gold properties desire assays which shall correctly represent the character and value of the ore, they should employ a competent and reliable mining engineer to make a detailed report. Samples taken at random may be correctly assayed and yet reveal but an indication.

Four miles almost due west from Goldville, two miles east of Hillabee Creek, and the same distance south from the Tallapoosa, Clay, line in Secs. 10 and 15, T. 24, R. 22, in Tallapoosa County,is the famous Hog Mountain. It derives its name from its peculiar shape when viewed from a distance. It attains an elevation of about 1,000 feet above tide and about five hundred feet above the surrounding country. It is composed in great part of quartz seams separated by bands of clay slate, highly metamorphosed in many places. A ledge of coarse granite appears among the slates of the hanging wall, i. e., the south wall, for the seems here are orientated contrary to the general run of the quartz in this part of the county. They hear almost due east and west, and, with the slates, appear to have been twisted around, the normal course being towards the north east. On the west side of the mountain there are enormous outcrops of quartz seams and massive boulders of quartz. One of the seams, known as the Blue Seam, ShOWS 35 feet in width where it is uncovered. This seam was worked to a limited extent several years ago, and some good ore was taken out.* It bears east and west and dips to the south 30 degrees.

There is now a ten stamp mill, California pattern, with engine and boiler on the property, but no work has been done for several years. From the appearance of the more recent openings I think that perhaps 500 tons of ore were mined and milled, but I have as yet been unable to ascertain with what success. The ore is a sandy, friable quartz near the surface, but soon begins to harden, and at a depth of 15 or 20 feet is quite hard. At a depth of 20 feet in the Blue Seam sulphurets begin to come in and carry gold, as will appear from the assay. .

The Tallapoosa Mining Company, of St. Louis, is now preparing to begin the work at the Hog Mt. on an extensive scale, so it is said. With a modern mill crushing from 200 to 300 tons per day, there is no reason why the Hog Mt. should not enter the list of profitable mines. There are millions of tons of workable ore in this hill. The main’ draw-back to any considerable operations here is the scarcity of water; there is no suflicient supply nearer than Hillahee Creek, 1.5—2 miles. For this reason, and on account of the character of the ore, any company wishing to work on a large scarle would have to expend a great deal of money. The difficulties to be met and overcome, however, are no greater than have been successfully encountered elsewhere.

Through the kindness of Col. Jas. P. Dawson, Turner Building, St. Lonis, I can present some additional information concerning the ore from Hog Mt.


*About one mile from the Hog Mt. towards Cowpens Tourmaline is abundant.


“Alexander City, Ala., May, 1889, pannings made on Hog Mt. by Wm. H. Cornell:

Veins. No. of pans. Showed gold.
1×2 …………………. ..11. ………… …… .. 7
2×3..= ……………… .. 9 …………………….. .. 6
3×4 ………………… ..20 …………………….. ..13
4×5 …………………. ..10 …………………….. .. 8
5×6 …………………. ..12 ……………………. .. 7
6×7 …………………. .. 8 …………………….. .. 4
7×8 …………………. .. 5 …………………….. .. 5
8×9 ………………… .. 6 …………………….. .. 4
9×10 ……………….. .. 4 …………………….. .. 2

85 56

These pannings were all taken from the surface, and as near in diagonal as possible. The show was from three to thirty particles to the pan. From 3×5 the best.”

Another letter from Col. Dawson enclosing two from Mr. Jewett, Assayer in charge, United States Assay Ofiice, St. Louis, was received at the same time. From the assertions of Mr. J ewett in regard to some ore which Col. Dawson informs me was from Hog Mt., I find that it was worth $8.26 in gold and 36 cents in silver per ton.

Copy of a letter from the St. Louis Sampling and Testing Works:

. “January 11th, 1889. T. Wright, Esq, 3d and Olive Sts., City: ‘

Dear Sir—We herewith enclose certificate of assay. The concentrates weighed 1.870 grams, 28.85 grains. It obtained from two ounces avoirdupois this would be a concentration of over 30 to 1. Unless the assay of the original is known, it would be impossible to say what loss attended the process.

Very respectfully,
St. Louis Sampling and Testing Works,
Wm. B. Potter, M’g’r.”

This letter is marked, in pencil, “Hog Mt.” The certificate referred to was as follows, as per copy:

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Dear Sir—The sample of Pulp from ………. ..marked “Con.centrates,” submitted to us for examination contains Gold ……………. ..4.37 ozs. per ton. Silver ………….. ..2.92 “ “ “ Respectfully,

St. Louis Sampling and Testing Works,
Wm. B. Potter, M’g’r. J.”

Taking the total value of these concentrates at $93.24 per ton and the degree of concentration as 30 to 1, the value of the untreated ore would be $3.10lper ton.

Copy of a certificate of assay of what Col. Dawson wrote was “a number of pieces picked up at random on the mountain and assayed together.”

“St. Louis, Mo, April 22d, 1889. T. Wright, Esq., 3d and Olive streets, City :

Dear Sir—The sample of orerrom ……… .. , marked ………. .., submitted to us for examination, contains Gold ……………… ..0.3 ozs. per ton. Silver ……………. ..0.1 -‘ 1‘ “ Respectfully, ’

St. Louis Sampling and Testing Works. William B. Potter. Manager.” Taking these figures, the value of the ore per ton was $6.20.


Copy of another letter received from Col. Dawson:

“St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 2d, 1889.. T. Wright, Esq, ~ 3d and Olive streets, City:

Dear Sir—We have treated the barrel of ore you sent us as follows: The ore was crushed in a three stamp gold battery, with inside and outside amalgamated plates, using a 40 mesh screen, and the tailings were run over an Evans concentrating table with the following results :

Net weight of ore ……………………………. ..502 lbs.
Containing gold…… ………….. .. 1.90 ozs. per ton.
“ silver ………………. ..0.1 “ “ “

The amount remaining in the mortar after the run was 219 lbs., assaying 1.90 ozs. gold per ton, thus giving 283 lbs. as the net weight of ore treated. The tailings from the plates contained, Gold …… .050 ozs. per ton, showing a saving of 73.7 per cent of the Gold.

The tailings, after passing over the Evans Table, gave the

following results : §

Headings ………….. .:….11 lbs.. containing
Gold …………… ..1.60 ozs. per ton.
Silver ………….. ..0.10 “ “ “

Middlings ……………. ..48 lbs., containing
Gold ……………. ..0.35 ozs. per ton.

The Headings contain 3- per cent of the Gold in the original ore, but it will be noticed that their grade is a little lower than the original ore._

The above results would indicate that your ore is fairly free milling. With a larger amount of ore, sufficient to make several runs under varying conditions, it is possible that somewhat better results might be obtained. Respectfully,

St. Louis Sampling and Testing Works, William P. Potter, ManJager. 7

/ .
According to this assay the ore was worth as follows:
Gold ………………………… $39.27
Silver ……………………… .. .10

$39.37 per ton.

The following letter, also from Col. Dawson, is very important, showing as it does that at one time much more information concerning the Hog Mt. ores was available than is now the case.

“St. Louis, Sept. 8, 1891.
James P. Dawson, Esq.,
President Tallapoosa Mining 00.,

Dear Sir-Replying to your inquiry concerning assay work done by my direction on Hog Mountain ore, I have searched all through my papers for the records but could not find them, and I do not know what I did with them. I had very many assays made, perhaps sixty or seventy, of the ore taken from different parts of that property, and of course can not _ remember themf I do remember that they ran as low as $2 and as high as $31, and I believe that they averaged $7.50, and I believe that they represented perhaps the true character of the property more closely than any other investigation ever made. I regret very much that I do not have the records, since I would be glad to give them to you.

Yours truly,
A. F. Herman.

The assays I speak of were made in ’86 and ’87.”

I made four assays of ore taken at random from some old dumps on the Hog Mt. They ran from $6.20 to $58.67 per ton, the average being $24.53. They are as follows:

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1. No work of any consequence has been done for thirty years. .

2. No reliable records are to hand relating to the work done prior to 1860.

3. Except at the Ulrich, Jones and Hog Mt. mines no good exposures ofthe veins are to be seen now. The old workings are fallen in and access to the seams is not to be had except at some expense, and the Survey has no means at its disposal for this purpose.

4. The assays of the samples taken show that the ores vary in value from $2 per ton to $58.67.

5. A large amount of work has been done by the old miners, and by reliable tradition some of it was very profitable. ‘

6. The Ulrich and Jones Pits are well supplied with running water sufficient for extensive operations. The Hog Mt. is from one and a half to two miles from Hillabee Creek, the nearest available water supply.

7. An abundance of good timber of all kinds is within easy reach of all the Pits and of Hog Mt.

8. Profitable gold mining could be carried on in this part of the county.


Silver Hill is in Secs. 16 and 17, T. 20, R. 22, Tallapoosa County, and is about 13 miles S. W. of Dadeville. Mining was carried on here probably as far back as 1835, but there are no records of what was done or of anything in connection with the work. There are abundant evidences that a great deal was done from first to last, for the old works are quite extensive, more so than at any locality in the County. A description’of Silver Hill is contained in the Report of Prof. Tuomey, previously referred to as having been published in 1858. As he or Mr. Lieber, or both, visited the place before the shafts, drifts, &c., had fallen v in as badly as they have now and as the description is well worth reproducing it is here given in full, taken from pages 47 to 50 of that Report.

Prof. Tuomey says:

“The talcose slates of Silver Hill are seen outcropping near Ufola, and the gold mine occupies the crest and flank of the bill which extends to the stream on which the mill is situated.

“The auriferous slates are enclosed between beds of horn— blende. The following section will show the position of the mine :

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a. Hornblende slate.

b. Auriferous talcose slate, with veins of quartz.
0. Dark colored talcose slates.

d. Hornblende slates.

“This section is best seen at the base of the hill near the mill. Both a. and b. are quite hard, when placed beyond the influence of atmospheric agencies.

“About ten years ago this mine was in its most prosperous condition. About 150 feet of the principal vein was found out-cropping on the crest of the hill. It was 2 feet thick, but about 12 feet below the surface it became thinner and richer, at a depth of 15 feet it became poorer. It again thickened to 4 or 5 feet, and continued to improve in productiveness until it was abandoned.

“The vein, which was quartz, was worked to a depth of 80 feet in the centre, where it was richest. The ore .was there worth $4.85 per bushel (about $96 per ton W. B. P.) The ‘ course of the vein was a little North of East. The usual mode of letting out th/ mine in small parcels was adopted here, and with the say e results as elsewhere—the total ruin of the works. The/vein is situated in Section 16, Township 20, Range 22. (T‘lhev‘range is 21, W. B. P.)

“It has been recently re-opened with some prospect of success. An adit has been driven a little above the natural drainage of the Creek, with a view of striking the vein below the old works. IVhilst this heavy work is going on, the proprietors are working some ore from the top of the ‘ hill. The ore is hauled by oxen about 250 yards to the mill, where I found 6 stamps, and a badly constructed Burke Rocker, in operation. The ore thus treated yielded only 121} cents per bushel. (Say $2.50 per ton, W. B. P.)

“The principal vein was not exposed at the time of my visit, but some of the auriferous portions of the country, which were worked, presented the appearance shown in the cut, Fig. 2 :

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“The dark lines represent broken quartzose veins containing gold. On the branch, into which the drainage and surface water flows, signs of old works occur in the gravel deposited in its-bed. Mr. Lieber, who examined this place more recently, reports as follows :

‘The Silver Hill Mines, which were formerly abandoned on account of difficulties among the members of the company, are now worked by a Georgia company, with a prospect of success.

‘The country is a talcose slate, one of the beds of which is of that peculiar black kind resembling black lead. Another talcose bed, in which quartz appears in irregular masses, is the one which is worked, the slate being also auriferous. This bed strikes North 700 East, and dips 15° to 35°. A quartz vein, leading from this, and striking North, is about 12 feet thick, including the selvages and the ‘ workable slate. The main body is 8 feet thick. Deeper down, the quartz will consolidate, in all probability, into a regular vein. Garnets and peroxide of iron occur, but all mixed confusedly with the slate. The black and grey slates are not auriferous, whilst the red, and portions of the white slates, are.

The present company have driven two good adits, one of which is 400 feet in length, which, by draining a large amount of untouched ore, will enable them to win the contents of the mine for a long time. without any additional expense of consequence for drainage. The gold is said to be worth 95 cents per‘dwt.’ ‘

“ On the opposite side of the branch, an immense series of quartz beds comes to the surface, which beds are more or less auriferous, and have even been worked, but with great difficulty, owing to the distance from water. They occupy the crest of a hill of considerable elevation, towards Blue Creek, forming an interesting feature of the landscape. (This ridge is known locally as The Devil’s Back-bone, and extends for several miles in a North Easterly :direction, W. B. P.)

“ On the tributaries of the Creek, a greatv amount of gravel has been washed, in years past, for gold, and with much success, but these works have been abandoned years since.”

Thus far Prof. Tuomey.

I can only confirm what is here stated as to Silver Hill, the work has been carried on in a haphazard way by first one set of miners and then by another.‘ I could not get into the lower works but from what appears on the surface there is sufficient eVIdence of the wasteful and unscientific methods which were pursued. That there is good ore still at Silver Hill the following assays will show. The samples were ‘ taken at random from some old dumps:

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No. 1278. Light yellow sugary quartz, gave traces of gold and silver.

No. 1276 represents the ore which is found in the bottom of an 80 ft. shaft, so I was informed by Mr. Isham Worsham, who worked at Silver Hill many years ago. Of course it can not be said that all the ore is of this quality, I am even disposed to think that but little of it is so good. Mr. \Vorsham described the vein as being about five feet in width and as carrying a good deal of sulphuret. The shaft was entirely filled with water at the time of my visit in August, 1891. I have some interesting letters concerning Silver Hill from Major C. H. Parmalee, Ass’t. Treas. of the White Breast Fuel 00., 18 Broadway, N. Y. As they contain some valuable information regarding the value of the ore, I reproduce them here, omitting such parts as are of a purely personal nature.

Copy. WHITE BREAST FUEL ,Co.. 18 BROADWAY, N. Y., ‘ ‘ Sep’t 1st, 1891. M1. W. B. Phillips, Univ. Ala.

DEAR SIR: Your very kind favor of the 27th Aug. receiVed, also the report of the Thies Process of treating low grade gold ores, for which I thank you very much.

“Before the War,” Prof. Emmons, State Geologist of N. C., made an examination for me of the Silver Hill property. I will hunt it up and send it to you. Mr. R. C. Hills, the Geologist of our Coal Companies, also made a partial examination of Silver Hill and Gregory Hill. I think I have his letter and the results of some assays he made, which I will also send you. (Neither of these reports has come to hand, W. B. P., Feb. 15th, 1892.) Many years ago 1 had some assays made of Silver Hill ores but can only say that the lowest was $15.00 per ton and highest $500. Some Cincinnati parties a few years ago had assays made of Silver Hill sulphuret ores, and told me that the average was $30.00. I worked from the North end of Gregory Hill (two miles N. E. of Silver Hill, W. B. P.) ten years ago about, 1200 tons of the ore, without any selection. It averaged $1.75 per ton. My screens were very coarse, and we knew but little about the business. ……. ..l ……………. .. I think that Gregory Hill would average, without selection, $2.00 per ton and at a cost of 50 cents per ton: ample water can be obtained for 20 stamps. say 60 tons per day. I think it would be safe to call the Silver Hill refactory ores $25.00. I once got $14.00 free gold per ton from 8 tons of refuse Silver Hill ore. It was hauled from the surface yard at Silver Hill to the 5 stamp Battery I had near Gregory Hill. Same screens were used. The ore was partially decomposed by weather exposure, say for twenty years. ……………… .. Yours, C. H. P.”

In this letter Major Parmelee also says in regard to Hog Mt.: “A Mr. Phillips, a mining engineer, examined Hog Mt. for Burke of New Orleans. He said to me it was a very valuable property because of the cheapness with which it could be worked. His test of the ore ranged from $6.00 to $16.00 per ton.”

Copy. “ NEW YORK CLUB, 5TH AVE. AND 35TH ST., g Oct. 2nd, 1891.

Mr. W. B. Phillips, Univ. Ala.
You are probably not aware that there is a shaft sunk about 90 feet down square on to the sulphuret vein—~at least 30 feet or more below any of the old works. …………………. .. It was in this shaft that Prof. Emmons examined the vein. It has been sunk about 20 feet deeper since that time. i The old workings will not interfere with this shaft in any way. There is also another shaft on the same vein about 150 feet west of this (what I call N0. 1 shaft) that can be cleaned out. The ore from these shafts will assay from $15.00 to $50.00. The vein so far as stripped averaged from 18 to 24 inches. This is very, very hard and so are the walls. …………………. .. ‘ I am very truly yours, 0. H. PARMELEE.”

At Dent Hill, half a mile north-east of SiIVer Hill, some work has been done on a curious mixture of talcose schist and quartz, but I was unable to find more than $2.06 per ton of gold in the sample taken. At this point begins the Devil’s Back-bone, previously spoken of, and continues for several miles in a northeasterly direction. It is a very bold out crop of a sandy, friable quartz, almost like a sandstone, varying in width from six to fifty feet, and carrying some gold. From Silver Hill to a point opposite the Gregory Hill in Sec. 33, T. 21, R. 22, I took 8 samples but found no more than $2.06 of gold per ton in any on them. All showed this amount of metal. Seven of the samples were taken between Dent Hill and Farrar’s Mill along the outcrop, the other one from a point on the ridge directly opposite Gregory Hill, where the wagon road crosses the vein. This tremendous out-crop of quartz is one of the prominent features of the landscape, as already remarked by Prof. Tuomey, and is remarkably uniform for miles. I was along it for about five miles and observed that at no place did it appear to show any deviation from its typical character. It is in most places stained of a light yellowish color, and, on crushing and panning leaves traces of undecomposed pyrite and black iron sand. It has occurred to me that the presence of gold in the highly graphitic schists of Gregory Hill and Blue Hill may be due to leaching from this enormous mass of quartz, the strike and dip of the two being nearly the same. These schists are in places very rich in free gold but do not yet evince the presence of pyrite; the gold is coarse and free. A fuller description of Gregory Hill and Blue Hill will enable one to see the force of this suggestion. The entire locality is brim full of interest to the geologist and to the practical miner, to the first on account of the association of gold with schists heavily charged with graphite, and to the latter on account of the ease with which mining can be carried on here.

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