Mines

 

article in the Book,  Little lost River Valley  by Anna Kyle Sermon

 

Thanks to Wayne and Don Isham as they were able to gather information and remember first hand :

Bernie King and Roy Hawley are credited with founding the Great Western Mine on Camp Creek.

A Mr Black and a Mr Daisy from New York founded and operated the Daisy Black Mine,  also on Camp Creek south of the Great Western.

 

These had their beginnings in the late 1800's Their had days being in the early 1900's They were rich in lead and silver and a lot of ore was taken out from them. A fire gutted the Daiosy Black in the late 1920's  It was the purcshased by the Wilbser Mining Company also of New York. The main hole was at the top of the hill between Camp Creek and North Creek.  Wilbert mining dug the tunnel then on througn the mountainand came out on the North Creek side and built the camp, etc. on the North Creek.

 

Ike Peck fdurnished some of the teams to pull the ore cars in the mines. Don remembers some mules being used, also. Eight horse teams were used on the freight waggons hauling ore to Arco to the train. The ore went on to Salt Lake from there, to the smelter. Roy and Ruby Gammett were one of the freight outfits for quite sometime.

Mrs Lemmon set up a camp at the south side of Spring Creek., below Fallerts, and the freighters stopped there for food, etc. for several years. When she left, they stopped exclusively at Fallerts. Lorenzo and Rose Fallert also furnished the miners with meat, eggs, milk, butter and cheese. Katie made mention once about how rtired she got of churning butter everyday.

 

Hank Dean came in with the Wilbert Company. He ran the mill and became a much respected and loved member of the valley.  Don Isham considered him as good as any Grandpa a boy could have. They didn't have good pumps to keep old air out and fresh air in those tunnels and other working areas, sop those who breathed the air breathed in a  lot of lead which eats up the lungs and liver. Hank stayed there all his life while others and and left. He developed "miners lung" and became very ill later in life. The Dr. gave him a few months to live at his last visit to him. Hank could see no point in suffering long and slow, so terminated that by shooting himself.  Some others we could remember working there are: George and Alice Woodie, Dan and Lois Romney, Lois cooking for men, John Taylor, Leonard ajd Bessie Taylor, Bessie cooking, Ruth and Peck Catron, Abby and Max Settless, Abby cooking. Don remembers Abby's cookie jar was always full and as a little bou he had unspoken permission to simply come and help himself to a cookie or two. When Settles left and Bessie started cooking, he walked, helped himself to a cookie and Bessie slapped his hands, was quite a shock. She did give him a cookie though.  They have laughed over that in later years.

 

As the mines had been abandoned for a time and scrap metal was precious during the World War II, the heavy metal from tracks. machinery, etc. was salvaged for war purposes. Some easterners started the Bunnington Mine in Bader Creek, then sold to Mose Dalhe and Bill Barnes , Sr. This was worked for a few years. Nothing of any amount to mention was taken out. Lots and lots of hard rock miners came and  went.

 

Mike Fallert started a mine at Squaw Creek. Ike Fallert had one, Meadow Mine, in Mormon Gulch up by Ike Creek.

Perry Basinger, Milton Young and Bill Dale dug in the Black Canyon north of the Birtch Creek point here at HOwe, calle it the Glory Hole, nothing at all out of it.

 

The ore was dumped ion this  building, sorted , the low grade ore, rocks, dirt and other debris removed before loading the high grade ore on the wagons, or later, trucks to be freighted to Arco to the railroad cars.

Colton kimble from Mackey mined in Williams Creek. Dan Romney mined and lived in Basinger canyon. Les Sermon had claims in South Creek. He would grub stake the Garrett Brothers to dig for him and his wife would fume about the money thrown away. When they had a family to clothe and feed. In the 1950's, Bill Williams and a Mr. Foss from Twin Falls, operated an open pit mine at Deep Creek and shipped out a mentionable amount of manganese.

Ole Meadows owned property and a cabin in Badger Creek. He worked for the different mines, did some prospecting on his own and worked in the haying for ranchers at Clyde. He would walk down to Brabec's to get his mail about one a week. He didn't show up on week and no one had seen him elsewhere. Brabec's felt uneasy about it sdo they went up and couldn't find him. They organized some of the other locals into a search party. They found him in a mine shaft on a narrow ledge where he had been for way too many days for people to have lived. He had made up his mind to give up and and fall on down to his death if mo one had come by that very night.

 

He had been exploring and an old ladder he'd climbed down on had broken and fell away. His even being alive was miraculous, even so, he was never the same.  Several people have mentioned how particular he was abouata keeping his person and home and surroundings very neat and clean, but after the accident he became notoriously unkempt and dirty about his home.

 

Harley Kyle and Finch Robertson were deer hunting up in Badger Creek canyon one time and it got too late to go home and too stormy sto camp out so daddy told Finch, "Well, we can go up and stay with Ole, one things for sure, I know it will be very clean." What a surprise! Dust hung from cobwebs from the walls and ceilings. Pigeons roosted on the warmer oven of the cook stove. He had hens that roosted on his bedstead. One pet hen laid and egg on his pillow every morning. He had a platform in the kitchen by the door and his nanny goats would come in, get milked in the house, go on out afterwards, things were not cleaned up behind them. One old prospector tells about coming to spend the night. He was sharing the double bed with Ole and kept being aware of being very crowded and come morning  there was a young sow pig that had crawled in between then to sleep in the night.

 

In contrast, Leona Cowgill told about having been visiting at his cabin before the accident and that his tabletop looked like it had bee white washed in was scrubbed so clean.  Some of the run off from the tailings of the mines caused some real losses to the ranchers below through the years.

 

Following is taken from a B.L.M. report:
    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposes to remedy this abandoned mine lands(AML) site under Vice President Gore's 1998 CleanWater Action Plan Initaiative. The North Creek MIll is locaterd on public lands administered by the BLM in the ephemeral North Creek channel about 12 miles north of Howe , Idaho in,  T.7n.r.29e. section 6 SESW, in Butte County. The present -day mill site is 1.7miles below the North Creek mine and Canyon. See figure 1 and 2 for locating the mine site and the proposed actions. This mill siste has been listed on the CERCLIS with EPA, IDD#980726087.  Although most if North Creek is diverted 0.3 miles below the old mine facility to irrigate hay pastures to the west, the lower North Creek channel can still flow during extreme events and can maintain low flows during high water years. Several episodes of high flows, eroding and transporting these tailing have occurred between 1934 and 1982, killing at least 150 cows due to lead, and high arsenic concentrations. The most recsent episode occurred in the winter of 1981-1982, which which prompted BLM to remove 20, 000 cubic yards of mill tailings in October of 1983.

 

These tailing were placed in a repository uo on a high bench above and away from thje channel. Subsequent sampling in 1992 and 1995 determined that high soil leadm, arsenic and cadmium concentrations still exist above thje mill, in the tailing removal area, and throughout the North Creek channel from the mill to the highway, a distance opf 5.2 miles.

This remedial acation proposes tp re,ove additional tailings in the channel missed in 1983, and construct a relativelu clean, high flow channel sthrough the old tailings pond thjat will lose its surfacae water to ground water.
This acation is now needed to further prevent extreme preciptation events from gullying the old tailings pond, and from transporting high mestal concentrations to the perennial trout streams in the valley below, eventually reaching the Little Lost River. A flood channel needs to be needs to be constructed so that future streamflows do not erode the old tailings pond and do not flow to Fallert and /or Big Springs Creek.

 

The original mining activity in thjis area took place in the late 1880's until 1931, mining forsilver andf lead, During this period, silver and lead. During this period, two earlier mills were located upstream of the present day mill, one near the mouth of the North Creek Canyon just below the mine, and one on Upper Camp Creek. These mills resulted in the 4 tailings ponds as seem opn the topographic map above the furthest downstream pond. Then in about 1945 the present-day. mill was built in LOwer North Creek and reprocessed tailings fsrom the existing thatings ponds above. This mill operated as late as 1967, when operations apparently ceased. Although arsenic was ussed in the erarlier generation mills, it was supposedly not used in the recent (1960's) reprocessing operations. Silver and lead ores were initially discovered on NOrth Creek in 1882. The Wilbert Mine produced about $2,000,000 of ore from 1906 to 1931. There were several mines at this time in the Camp Creek andk North Creek area. Most of the ore mined was from patented claims from 1889 to the Wilbert Mining Company. The original mill was built on Camp Creek in 1908, but was destroyed by fire in 1918. In 1924, another mill was built on North Creek (future upstream from the present-day mill) and operated until 1931. These ear;ier ,ills lused gravity separation and from notes in the files,  used arsenic and other chemical compounds to speararte the metals. A third mill of Camp and NOrth Creeks (this is the present-day mill) and ran intermittently until abouaat 1967-1969. This mill had been re-built in this location in 1965 by James Reddy of the Bell Mountain MIning Company. This mill reprocsessed the old mill tailings ponds shown on the topo maps above this confluenmce.  This mill, at least according to the lasst operator in 1967, did not use arsenic or other chemical componds. However, this mill created extremely fine- textured, crushinig tailings and were in constant solution and saturated from a piped water line fron the irrigation diversion upstream on North Creek.

 

Sometime in the 1940's the first livestock enclosure fence was built around the tailing ponds, likelu in response to Katie Isham losing a reported 70 head of cattle, 30 head in either 1934 or 1935 and 40 head ofin the 1940's. Later in 1961, Jay Little (whose ranch is located where North Creek enters Fallert Creek-- at the prsent day Rocky Ross ranch) lost 40 head of cattle, presumably afrom arsenic and lead poisoning from North Creek flows.

 

Later, in 1967, James Reddy was expanding the mill and employed 29 people reprocessing these earlierwasstes. Mr Reddy had plans at the time to install a new crusher and work.] all of the waste ores at the various m,ines in Camp and NOrth Creeks. He also wanted to relocate the mill furter upstream in the North Creek channel. Apparently, none of these plans were fulfilled. On July 25, 1967, mill water was flowing all the way to Fallert Creek due to an intense rainstorm. all of the settling ponds Mr. Reddy built were full and tailings were noted across almost the entire meadow area just bere Fallert Creek, and entered the stream at multiple locations. At this time Mr Reddy, was instrucsted by Alan Strobel (BLM Area Manager) to construct more settling ponds and berms to retain thes tailingss flow. During this time MR. Reddy estimated that in about a couple of weeks he would be finished milling the old tailings ponds. Later Mr. Reddy, now of the North Creek Mining Company, planned to reopen the mine and mill,  but this did not take place.

 

Between December 8, 1981 and January 14, 1982, Bill Robison (who now owned the Little Ranch) lost 50 head of cattle due to a rain-on-snow evesnt. An unkown flow entered Fallert Creek from the North Creek drainage. About 5-12 cfs was noted flowing into Fallert Creek from a snowmelt event late on April 6, 1982, impacting microinvertebrates and likely the fishery. Again , fenching was rebuilt around the tailings ponds and tried to exclude livestock.

 

Due to this last event, BLM initiated the tailings pond removal in October of 1983, removing 20,000 cubic yards and placing then in a repository out of the floodplam . Later, in 1991 a Preliminary Assessment (PA) was completed by BLM and due to the lack  of human receptors and wells, and thesemni-arid climate was not deemed to bse in need of emergencsy action, but said later remediation action through the Clean Water Act should be pursued. Therefore, about 160 total head of cows were killed from flow events between 1934 and 1982 (48 years).

Some ofd those cows of Katie Isham's were milk cows and was a severe loss as they depended on the cream checks fdor food and clothing. Many farmers and ranchers depended on the sale of cream for those basic everyday needs.

 

 

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