The Mining
By Charles M. Rolker - 1880
The town itself, a neat, clean, and orderly
mining town, is encircled on the north by
trachyte and granite mountains, skirting to
the west They are cut through in places by
deep gorges, left us as the only trace of the
force of former currents, which drained the
adjoining territory to the north; and which
when swelled and infuriated by tempests
and cloud bursts, took in their grasp the
huge blocks of granite and trachyte, which
now lie scattered about as boulders, to the
north, west and east of the town.

I will add a few words of the early history of
the camp, giving a few data as to the
bullion production .and the cost of working
these ores. As early as April or May, 1875, a
party came down from Salt Lake City, spent
a few hundred dollars in prospecting, and
left the camp in disgust. In the latter part of
July, the same year, Judge Barbee came to
reconnoitre the district. In September he
returned to Salt Lake City to lay in supplies,
and returned October 15th. He then
prospected for thirty days on the White
Reef, now the Gisborn claims, but without
results. He then with two men started on the
Tecumseh ground, which he located and
named after the Indian chief. December
8th, 1875, he made his first shipment of 10
1/2 tons of $502 ore; of course he sorted his
ore. In forty-five days he made his second
shipment, for which he received $7000. This
he followed up with smaller shipments to
Salt Lake City up to July, 1876, when,
obtaining better rates in Pioch, he
afterwards shipped to that place.

Salt Lake charged the old Reno rates, and
involved shipping rates of from $45 to 50 per
ton, while the shipping rates to Pioche, were
$30 per ton. They allowed 70 to 75 per cent of
assay value, and charged $20 per ton beside
for milling the ore. About $17,000 was
realized on or sold to Salt Lake smelters, and
about $23,000 from the Pioche mills.
Outsiders shipped to Pioche beside about
$8000. Until October, 1876, probably twelve
persons formed the entire population of
Silver Reef City; the next month, what is
known as the Pioche stampede, set in. From
this time active work was done, as will be
seen from the mills which were built. In
February, 1877, the Leeds 5-stamp mill was
started, followed in June, 1877, by the
Stormont 10-stamp mill; and in October, of
the same year, by the Pioneer 3-stamp mill.
January, 1878, brought the Christy 5-stamp
mill into operation; and in March, of the same
year, the 5-stamp of the Barbee & Walker
commenced operations. This latter mill was
burned down the 23rd of June, 1879. It was,
however, rebuilt and started the 27th of
February, 1880. The Pioneer 3-stamp mill was
close in June, 1879, and subsequently taken

All of these mills, except the Leeds and
Christy and the re-built Barbee & Walker mill,
were built by home capital. There are four
companies at work-in the camp, Christy and
Leeds being under San Francisco
management, Barbee & Walker and Stormont
under New York control. Outside of the four
companies, the Kinner mine on the Buckeye
Reef, and a few minor claims on the southern
portion of the White Reef, are being worked
by private parties. On what is termed locally
the River Reef, the east branch of the White
Reef's horseshoe, little work is being done at
present, though a nice round sum of bullion
has been made from the ore taken out the