Silver City: A prelude to Furnaceville & Ingot

In 1862, a silver rush caused the creation of a mining community called Silver City, also known as Silverton, about 2 1/2 miles above the present-day town of Ingot. It’s name derived from the silver ore which the miners of this burg sought after along the channels of Silver Creek and Cedar Creek.

It was located in the boundaries of the Cow Creek mining district. In the beginning the community was bustling with miners who pitched their tents up at a rapid rate. This tent community eventually transitioned into a settlement with about fifty wooden structures. Silver City included two stores, three boarding houses, a saloon, a livery stable, a meat market, and many bungalows.

That year, Silver City residents George W. Brown, W. Albertson, and another man by the name of Daniel Bacon, a resident of Little Cow Creek, located the silver vein of the Jacksonian lead mine, which yielded them lucrative results and it was the first silver load mine in the area. Together they began driving an incline winze on the property which measured at sixty feet when it was completed. The above miners named this mine after their Civil War hero General Stonewall Jackson.

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The Jacksonian’s ore body also included galena and sphalerite. Galena is the principal ore of lead and is a heavy mineral which is generally situated in cubed  masses. Sphalerite is a zinc sulphide which is the principal ore of zinc, cadmium; blackjack. It is generally situated in yellow, black or brown crystals.

Years later, the Jacksonian lead mine was merged into the Asher mine holdings which also included the Calcopirate mine. Copper was also discovered, that year, at the nearby Copper Hill mine, but it lacked mining activity until it was owned and operated by Marcus H. Peck in 1873. During 1863, a water ditch was dug from North Cow Creek to the above area which imported water to a blast furnace. There was an arastra in the area as well. An arastra is similar to a stamp mill, except it crushes rock in a circular position rather then a vertical position.

This is where the rock of the Jacksonian load mine was crushed to collect it’s ore, and then the ore was delivered to be assayed at the assayers office to determine the content and the quality of the ore. The Jacksonian load mine continued yielding lucrative results of silver. By May 30, 1863, the residents of Silver City desired to have a good road constructed to their active business district.

New buildings were still being erected by local carpenters in the area as well. Growth was definitely on the rise in this burgeoning settlement and it was an up-and-coming place to live in Shasta County. While the silver discoveries attracted additional people to the area, the mining companies and the local stores began hiring new employees. Later that year, another mining claim called the Silver Creek Lode was located on Silver Creek, it was owned and operated by Wood & Company. Wood & Company cleared out forty tons of rock on the Silver Creek Lode, and after the rock was crushed at the arrastra, it was assayed as high as $100 per ton in silver during July of 1863. Other mining companies at Silver City were clearing the same amount of rocks which was assayed at the same rate.

According to an excerpt of an article from the August 15, 1863, edition of the Shasta Courier newspaper, it reported that the Board of Supervisors created the following election precinct that month:

Silver City election precinct established polls opened at H. Hartman’s District Recorder’s office, H.H. Oliver appointed Inspector of election and D. Bacon, S. San… Judges.” (SIC)

The judges in the above column would have been the local Justice’s of the Peace for that election precinct. Then in 1864, Silver City reached a thriving population between 200 and 300 residents. During August of 1865, a company of men gathered with the intentions of a joint stock company to be organized on Little Cow Creek at the home of C. Ultz for the purpose of grading a turnpike road through the area. This graded turnpike road was planned to commence from the house of L.C. Woodman on Little Cow Creek; thence north-easterly up the said creek, by way of Silver City to the mouth of Cedar Creek; thence up Cedar Creek to a point where the said creek intercepts the Fort Crook and Yreka road. The members of the above company were: W.E. Wood, J.P. McCutcheon, C.D. Farquharson, C. Ultz, W.H. Angell, B.D. Anderson, D.C. Johnson and J.A. Wood. The money for the proposed graded turnpike road was to be raised by subscription.

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According to the 1881 Business and History of Shasta County, written and compiled by B.F. Frank and H.W. Chappell on page 24, it relates the following: “When the furnaces were in complete running order, a considerable quantity of rich (according to assays) argentiferous galena ore was introduced and worked, and upon cleaning up, after a run, nothing but a black, villainous looking mass was brought to view, and upon being taken to San Francisco, was pronounced to be nothing but pot metal, the report cast a gloom over Silverton, in fact it was the death knell to the camp.” (SIC)

The above account was the death knell to the community of Silver City. Yet, there are a few resources which claim this community became deserted in 1865. This also caused the proposed graded turnpike road to never come to fruition. However, my research proves the above date to be inaccurate. My source for the above statement comes from the Shasta Courier newspaper of November 24, 1866, which relates the following information: “DESERTED – Silver City, a mining village on North Cow Creek, is entirely deserted at the present, the smelting works erected there having proved a complete failure.” (SIC)

Those people who resided at Silver City during it’s prime were George W. Brown who owned a house at Silver City, Brown also owned an additional 160 acres of land on Cow Creek. George Cline was another person who owned 160 acres of land at Silver City alongside Little Cow Creek. It was called Cline’s ranch. Another 160 acre ranch at Silver City was owned by Suppe Eilers as well.

After Silver City became deserted there was still a family living in that burg on March 1, 1871, and on that day a son was born to the wife of William H. Hilton, according to the Shasta Courier newspaper. Then on, March 4, 1871, the Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, printed the following account of a delinquent tax listing: “Against the Silver City Smelting Co. and one smelting furnace situated on Little Cow Creek known as the Silver City Smelting Furnace and works for… $12,47.50” (SIC)

Silver City was left as an abandoned ghost town with it’s structures still intact. Over the years, it’s buildings fell to pieces due to neglect, relocated to other places, or demolished. Eventually, a forest fire ravaged the area and destroyed the remaining structures. As Silver City, also known as Silverton became oft-forgotten, it was sort of a prelude to Furnaceville and the present-day town of Ingot.

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Among the notable residents who tried their hand at mining in Silver City was William Burgett. He made a small fortune there and then Burgett relocated his family after the community folded. They eventually settled at Fall River Valley where he became a blacksmith and he established the town of Burgettville in eastern Shasta County.

Richard Johnson was another notable miner of the area who failed at striking it rich in Silver City and then he relocated to Trinity County when the community of Silver City was deserted. At Trinity County, Johnson struck his fortune there. Eventually, the Silver City election precinct was abolished shortly after the community was deserted. Silver City never had a post office to send and receive mail. As for the Jacksonian load mine, it was last owned and operated by James G. Asher and George S. Burns of Redding in 1974. Since then, the mine has been idled.

RESOURCES:

  • The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, May 16, 1863
  • The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, May 23, 1863
  • Pittsburg Mines – The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, July 18, 1863.
  • The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, August 15, 1863
  • Road Notice – The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, August 26, 1865
  • Cow Creek Mines – The Sacramento Daily Union newspaper of Sacramento, January 1, 1866
  • Deserted – The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, November 24, 1866
  • Delinquent Taxes For the Year 1865- 1866 – The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, January 13, 1866
  • Delinquent Tax List – The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, March 7, 1868
  • Delinquent Taxes For The Year 1869-70 – The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, January 22, 1870
  • Copper Ore – The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, July 5, 1873
  • Mr. Peck – The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, August 30, 1873
  • M.H. Peck – The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, April 18, 1874
  • Letter From Cow Creek – The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, April 25, 1874
  • New Mines – The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, May 9, 1874
  • Quartz Mine – The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, August 29, 1874
  • The Red Bluff Sentinel newspaper of Red Bluff, September 5, 1874
  • 1881, History and Business Directory of Shasta County, California
  • Shasta County, California A History by Rosena Giles, published by Biobooks, ©1949.
  • Place Names of Shasta County by Gertrude Steger, published by La Siesta Press, ©1966
  • Mines and Mineral Resources of Shasta County, California – County Report 6 – by Philip A. Lydon and J.C. O’ Brien ©1974 by California Division of Mines and Geology

Meet the writer: Jeremy M. Tuggle
Education and Community Engagement Manager – Shasta Historical Society

Jeremy M. Tuggle, born in Redding, is a descendant of 11 pioneer families who settled Shasta County between 1849-1889. Jeremy attended Shasta College and is the author of two published books, Rooted in Shasta County (2003), and A Journey Through Time: Ono and the Bald Hills (2008), as well as various articles on local history.

In 2017 Mr. Tuggle was awarded a Community Service Award, a prestigious national award for community service in historic preservation, by the Major Pierson B. Reading Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Jeremy is a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of California, and an Eagle Scout.

Tuggle has been employed at the Shasta Historical Society since November of 2009.   In his present role as Education & Community Engagement Manager, Jeremy conducts research for the historical society’s programs and events, contributes to the Society’s social media presence, and ensures the highest quality guest and patron experience at our programs and community events.

Mr. Tuggle enjoys sharing his knowledge of local history and events, and is available to community organizations to present programs about Shasta County history.  


Contact the editor: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.

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