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Local History

Slater Copper Mine

 Death of man who saw the Slater copper mine when he was a little boy

Springfield Republican, 27 April 1923, page 4

"With the death of Wallace Mahan, one of the oldest residents of Shannon County, last week, perhaps the last person who remembers anything about the early workings of the copper mines in Shannon County has passed away. He was 90 years old and lived practically all his life in the county in which he died. He was 6 or 7 years old when Joseph Slater, a Frenchman, left St. Genevieve, on the Mississippi River, and journeyed to Shannon County to mine copper. Indians had brought samples of the ore to the French trading post and promised Slater to show him where the ore could be found. Slater for several years operated a copper mine on Jack's Fork which he called 'La Belle France.' Slater put in a crude charcoal smelter. The ore in pigs was hauled by teams of oxen to St. Genevieve and by steamboat to New Orleans and exported to France. In 1840 the government made a resurvey of this state which showed Slater's mine to be in a different location form that which he had homesteaded. Another man owned the mine. Slater destroyed the smelter, filled up his shaft and did everything possible to hide the mine. The miners left the country and the mine was never discovered. Some prospectors have at times claimed to locate the lost mine, but no one knows if they have. Mahan did not remember the location but he knew it was near Eminence. [Reprinted from the] Howell County Gazette."

Wallace Mahan has an entry on that recounts this article and two other stories of the mine. According to the Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records, there was one entry for a Joseph Slater of Madison County, Mo. [two counties east of Shannon County], who filed a claim for township 31, range 5, section 33 in Shannon County on June 25, 1841. This claim is in the north west part of the county and not near Eminence.

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