Historic Arkansas Smith
20 Acre Placer Claim – Basin District – Jefferson County, Montana
This is a remote Montana gold mine. The Arkansas Smith Placer Gold Claim offers impressive mining opportunities. An extensive amount of gravel bars as well as the natural streambed support productive gold recovery. The claim is suited for most types of gold mining activities from panning, sluicing and high-banking to metal detecting, dowsing and more. Uncle Sam Creek which runs through the middle of the claim provides plenty of year round water for all your mining needs. During surveying gold was easily found in the material by panning. The claim boasts excellent access and does get visitors driving through on the road. The claim was originally surveyed and sampled for rich, free gold deposits in the gravels.
We estimate the creek bed to be over 600 feet on this claim and there is water year round. It is likely there is some native silver and possibly some relics to be found on the claim but the primary commodity will be gold. The road to the claim is accessible from May through snowfall, normally late October. The road is not maintained and is in decent condition. 4-Wheel drive is required. This is not a claim to pass up!
Uncle Sam Creek offers a wealth of gravel bars and hard-packed streambed; ideal spots to high-bank, sluice, metal detect, or pan. It is likely there has been some work done after 1900 based on the remnants and items seen in the area. It is estimated by the surveyors that the claim has been worked intermittently in the early 1900's. No effort to mine for many decades is evident. The gold that you will find on this claim has been washing down from the mines, hills and gulches above and depositing and replenishing the gold on this claim.
The best gold is on bedrock. Uncle Sam Creek is one of the creeks in the district that was mined by hand in the late 1800's. There is still good gold in the creek, benches and on bedrock on this claim.
OVERVIEW OF THE MINES
The Arkansas Smith Mine is in an area with rich gold mining history. But as with all old mines and mining districts in the Western U.S., the old timers NEVER got it all! Why? There are many reasons for this and here is a short list of some of them.
1) In the mining camps 'News' of other 'Strikes' was always coming in and miners seemed to be eager to pick up and leave what they had for the new places. It didn't seem to matter that the new place may not be as good or that by the time they heard of it there wasn't any open ground left for them to stake a claim. The grass is always greener was their belief.
2) Some new strikes were better because they had more gold or more water or easier access - remember back then there were no roads to these places.
3) Some new places were safer. Between Outlaws and hostile Indians there was always something to fear.
4) When the USA entered the second world war congress closed all non-essential mines in the country. Unless a mine could switch to mining other metals for the war or if it was already mining metals and minerals needed for the war effort the mines were forced to close. Very few mines were allowed to stay open and operational. Those mines that closed stayed closed after the war for a few reasons - a lot of the mine owners died in the war and never came back, economic conditions after the war were not good enough to reopen the mines and the owners held the claims hoping the economy would change for the better but most of these owners died before the economy made it economically viable to reopen the mines, many mines were forgotten and 'lost'
5) Comodity prices fluctuate and mines that were profitable at one point in time may not be later and as the prices fluctuate those mines can become profitable again to mine.
|So why hasn't anyone claimed these mines now? Mainly the population wrongly believes there is 'no gold left'! If they only knew the truth the west would be flooded with people. Seriously, there is gold almost everywhere in the west and in places where there has been no history of production and places the old timers never found! The ground the old timers mined still holds gold for many reasons. First, the methods they used were not the best. Second, they were in a hurry to get rich and they looked mostly for the easy gold and threw out the material that held a lot of small gold. Third, they didn't have the ability to process some ores to get the gold. There are books written by people who had first hand accounts of the gold rushes, especially from the Klondike Gold Rush, and they talk about the miners only being interested in the big nuggets of gold and not 'wasting' their time on the small stuff. The women came behind them and picked small gold nuggets out of the 'waste' piles!! Even then, that still left a lot of fine gold. Technology and knowledge is on your side now days. We know more and have equipment that will trap the big stuff but also the tiniest pieces even down to minus 400 mesh and smaller. Yes, -400 mesh is so small a single piece of gold that size won't look like gold. But a hundred of them together will!|
|Also think about the current state of the country and all that is going on, this could be your last chance to own a gold mine - your own bank. We sell a lot of mining claims and everyone tells us how happy they are with them. People first want the gold for the value but once they get out to their own claim they love the freedom they have to work and enjoy the great outdoors. Don't wait, get your own gold mine before it's too late. The Arkansas Smith Mine is located in the southwest quarter of section 29. It is the closest claim available to Basin on Uncle Sam Creek. Arkansas Smith claim is about 6850 feet in altitude.|
DETAILS ABOUT THE MINE
|Access to the Mine||You can drive a full size 4x4 truck to the mine|
|Tailing Present||Some. Loose gravels in the creek bed of small pebbles to larger boulders. Boulders are great places for the gold to hide. Benches on both sides of the creek are virgin ground.|
|Depth / Length||Over 600 feet of creek bed gravels. 1320 feet side to side with gold bearing benches.|
|Minerals in the Mine||Historically mined for gold. Minerals of Sapphire, quartz, pyrite, galena, gold, black sands with rare earth minerals would be expected.|
|Foot traffic at the mine||Some|
|Number of Mines||1 Placer|
|Nearest city with amenities||Basin, approximately 12 miles|
|Access to the Claim||A good dirt road breaks off from the state highway and runs all the way onto the claim.|
|Parking and Staging on the Claim||Claim is situated on a mountain side. There is some room for parking of vehicles.|
|Resources||Year round water, grasses, sage and trees|
|Structures on claim||None|
|Elevation||Aprox. 6850 feet|
Economic information about the deposit and operations
|Development Status||Past Producer|
- Gold- Primary
Nearby Scientific Data
- Boulder batholith and broadly related stocks
ReferencesUSGS Database - 10196594, 10019677
MINING DISTRICT INFORMATION
Basin District Information
|The Basin mining district, also known as the Jefferson district, is on the eastern slope of the Continental Divide, north of Interstate 15 and the Boulder River between the small communities of Bernice and Basin. Often the Cataract and High Ore districts are considered sub-districts of a larger Basin district. Basin, Cataract, High Ore and Red Rock creeks flow from the high mountains north of Basin into the Boulder River, all within three miles on either side of the town. The mouth of Cataract Creek is less than a half mile below the mouth of Basin Creek.|
|The Basin, Cataract, and High ore districts are primarily underlain by quartz monzonite of the Boulder batholith. The quartz monzonite of the northern portion of the district is overlain by tertiary dacite, and the quartz monzonite on the western edge of the district is overlain by late Cretaceous andesite. The andesite deposits are pre-batholithic, and the dacite deposits are post-batholithic. The andesite and monzonite formations are cut by dikes of dacite and rhyolite.|
|The district contains both placer and lode ore deposits. A unique formation in the district is a disseminated gold deposit in granite, which occurs west of Basin along Red Rock creek (Sahinen1935:47).|
|Gold deposits at the mouth of Cataract Creek were reported to have been located as early as the summer of 1862 by prospectors who staked claims. However, these claims were quickly abandoned for the reportedly richer diggings on Grasshopper Creek. These abandoned claims were then acquired by James and Granville Stuart, and Reece Anderson who built cabins at the mouth of the Cataract Creek. Two years later placer deposits were found two and a half miles further up the creek but, although rich, the ore was too difficult to work and the claims were abandoned. Soon after, however, placer mining activities quickly spread over the length of both Basin and Cataract creeks. Some of the deposits turned out to be moderately profitable, although nothing like the bonanza placers at Last Chance Gulch or Alder Gulch were encountered (Lyden 1948; Wolle 1963; Becraft et al. 1963).|
|A small mining camp grew up on the flat at the confluence of the Boulder River and Cataract Creek, but when the town of Basin was established at the mouth of Uncle Sam Creek a half mile to the west, the buildings at Cataract were gradually moved to Basin, eventually leaving no trace of the Cataract camp (Wolle 1963).|
|In 1880 the cluster of cabins at the mouth of Uncle Sam Creek officially became Basin City. Over the next two decades the town was an active camp, supplying the mines and miners in the district (Knopf 1913; Wolle 1963). It prospered in spite of several disastrous fires, the last occurring in 1893, and by 1905 the population had reached 1500 persons (Pardee and Schrader 1933; Becraft et al. 1963; Wolle 1963).|
|In 1883 the railroad line from Helena to Wickes was completed and the smelter at Wickes was remodeled and enlarged... Few production records were kept during this period but it has been estimated the Basin district produced about $8,000,000 in gold (Pardee and Schrader 1933; Becraft et al. 1963). Most mining throughout the region south of Helena, from this point on, consisted of smaller-scale operations, carried out with limited capital and equipment. For the most part, old tailings dumps were reworked or old mine workings were reopened on a reduced scale. The Basin district, however, was somewhat of an exception to this trend with a number of major mining operations being developed after the turn of the century.|