Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens

Chapter 3
Economic Geology

Part 2
Minerals and Mining


Greene county lies just beyond the limits of the great Western Interior coal field. The nearest deposits of coal which are being worked at the present time are situated in Dade county, not far from the Greene county limits. With such close proximity to workable deposits, it would be expected that outliers of the coal measures, and even workable pockets of coal should occur. This is, in fact, the case. Although in several localities coal is known to exist, it is only in one of these that it is pure enough to be of value. This is on the Kincaid farm, about one and one-half miles southeast of the town of Brookline, township 28, range 23 west, section 10, southwest quarter. This deposit is situated in a much-tilted ridge of sandstone. The seams of coal are greatly inclined, having a pitch, in places, of forty-five degrees north by west. But little drifting has been done. Although the coal of the middle and lower veins is quite pure, making an excellent grate coal, little investigation has been made regarding the extent of the beds.

In the year 1860 a vein of less than two feet of impure coal was discovered in two shafts, one-half mile southeast of the Kincaid place, on the Moore farm, township 28, range 23 west, section 15 northeast quarter of the northwest quarter. It is near the southern limit of the sandstone belt, and the carbonaceous shale is still seen on the old dumps. The tops of these shafts are about fifty feet below that of the Kincaid shaft. A well sunk about one-half mile east passed through one hundred and thirty-seven feet of Upper Burlington limestone, demonstrating the abrupt limits of the coal area in that direction.

At Campbell station, on the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Memphis railroad, is a coal pocket which covers several acres. It was discovered in digging a well, which is forty-nine feet deep. In this well, under ten feet of slate and shale, very thin seams of coal are found, alternating with shale and gray bituminous limerock until the bottom is reached. The deposit is too impure to be utilized. [101]


One of the promising future industries of this region is the development of the fine bodies, of clay and clay-shales of various grades found within the limits of Greene county. These clays, unlike the purer, kaolins which are associated with the granitic rocks, are all secondary residual deposits from the denudation, decomposition and segregation of different formations, but they are mainly derived from the coal measures, having been, originally, the cementing material of the sandstones, and probably, to a degree, of the limestones.

Chemical composition is of great importance in the utilization of clay, which may be separated into its proximate constituents, such as kaolin (the hydrous silicate of alumina) or clay proper water, sand, mica, lignite, pyrites, and salts of lime and potash. All but the kaolin is impurity, and may be absent or present in varying proportions.

The important physical characteristics of clay are plasticity, density and fusibility. The first is a fundamental quality, the power to absorb water, which renders it easily molded into any desirable shape. When dry it hardens, and becomes like stone when baked, and the plasticity can never be restored. Density is important in its relation to the various uses to which clay may be put, the denser varieties being more valuable for fire-brick and household utensils. The fusibility of clays depends entirely upon the relation of the various impurities which they contain.

The clay deposits of Greene county are mainly confined to three formations, the Coal Measures, the Upper Burlington and the Hannibal. The clays of the Coal Measures are, by far, the purest and best of all. They are mainly confined to the townships on the western border of the county. The Kelso clay beds are probably the most promising of any yet discovered in the county. They are situated about four miles west of Willard, in township 30, range 23 west, section 20, northeast quarter of southeast quarter. Several prospect shafts have been sunk, and evidence of a large and valuable deposit found. One shaft, at a depth of thirty feet, passed through the following strata:

Section at the Kelso Shaft. [102]



Soil, red clay, with imbedded clay nodules

2 feet


Limestone, with chert, dark-colored, coarse

5 feet


Shale, variegated, reddish and greenish

3 feet


Shale, compact, bluish, with occasional thin seams containing fossil plants

18 feet


Shale, black, with crystals of selenite

4 feet


Shale, black

3 feet

The surrounding rock is a coarse boulder conglomerate. The Upper portions of the clay vary from greenish to reddish, but the great mass of the bed closely resembles, both in plasticity and chemical composition, that, found at Billings, in an adjacent county. Its freedom from mica and iron makes it a most promising variety for the manufacture of fire-brick and all kinds of pottery. The nodules of clay mentioned in the first two feet of the section are the mineral Halloysite, and seem to be peculiar to this locality, at least they have never been seen at any other point. They vary from the size of a nutmeg to masses several inches across. They are imbedded in an impure, ferruginous clay, resembling the Upper Burlington clay soon to be described, and when freshly broken, are delicately and beautifully colored from a rich salmon color through the various shades of red, pink, yellow, blue and green. These nodular masses seem to have almost completely lost their plasticity, and they are hard and brittle. It might be supposed that they are masses of the clay that have been baked by surface fires, but the finding of them at greater depths in other shafts precludes this idea. The proximity of this deposit to the railroad, the purity of the clay and the size of the deposit, as indicated by the prospect holes, are all facts in favor of its further development.

The clay in the ochre beds on the Long farm, township 30 north, range 23 west, section 21, a short distance south of the Kelso locality, has attracted some notice. The fifteen feet of clay found just above the ochre deposit is the purest and the finest quality of clay that has been seen in the Southwest. It is pure white, free from grit and very plastic. If the area of the bed is sufficiently large, as is indicated, this will prove even more valuable than the ochre.

Deposits of clay have also been found on the Lintner farm, on the south slope of a draw running into Clear creek; on the Gilmore farm, three miles northwest of the Kelso beds; near Evans' mill, fifteen miles northwest of Springfield; east of Cave spring, on the Sac river; and another two and one-half miles northeast of Buckley.

The clays derived from the Upper Burlington limestone, as has been stated, are highly ferruginous, very impure, and mainly utilized in brick- making. The residual material is called "geest," and is mainly formed from the breaking down of the upper shaly and cherty beds of the Burlington formation, and in places partially derived from the sandstone that once overlaid the formation. These deposits are very, large, scattered over the whole county, and are practically inexhaustible. Wherever subterranean drainage has been imperfect, the low, flat, swampy tracts are found, in most cases, to be underlaid by deposits of this clay. But few of the numerous and widely, scattered beds, have been worked.

The Rand brick-yard has been one of the most prominent and the largest yard which has supplied brick for the city of Springfield. It furnishes the raw material for the brickyard in the western part of the city. This clay covers an area of about thirty acres. It is about eight feet deep, and requires practically, no stripping . The deposit has been worked since the year 1881. [103]

East of Springfield, on the McClure land, a small bed of clay has been worked for a number of years, and southwest of the city, near the old Kirchgraber place, on the Mount Vernon road, another brick-yard has been operated.

At Ash Grove, the Walker yard, opened in 1886, operates the clay bed located at the juncture of the main line and the Clinton branch of the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Memphis railroad. The deposit covers about ten acres, varying from two to four feet in thickness, and requires no stripping. Other small deposits of clay are worked at Republic and Walnut Grove.

The clays of the Hannibal sandstones and shales have not, as yet, been utilized within the limits of Greene county, although they are used farther north and there is no reason why the heavy and wide-spread deposit in the north half of the county should not be made into the cheaper grades of clay products.


In several localities in Greene county, fine beds of moulding sand have been found in the upper Coal Measures. That on the Hibler farm and the adjoining Kincaid tract, next to the railroad, in township 28, range 23 west, section 10, southwest quarter, has been largely used by the Springfield Stove Works.


Only a few small beds and pockets of iron are found in Greene county. The sandstones of the Carboniferous frequently contain nodular masses of limonite. As these withstand the destructive power of atmospheric and aqueous agencies better than the matrix, they are left with the residual material, while the softer, lighter and more easily decomposable materials are carried away. Swallow1 has given the following list of localities for iron ore in the form of hematite in Greene county:

Township 27 north, range 23 west, section 19,west half, hematite.
Township 27 north, range 23 west, section 1 southwest quarter, hematite.
Township 30, range 19 west, section 18 oxide.
Township 27, range 24 west, sections 14 and 15, hematite.
Township 27, range 24 west, section 23, hematite.
Township 27, range 24 west, section 24 east, half brown hematite. [104]

These, as well as other localities observed, are merely residual deposits of ore from the Coal Measures sandstones. Many samples of these deposit may be seen in the stone walls and fence corners of Grand Prairie. In 1885 several shafts were sunk on the Hill farm, on the conglomerate ridge south of Bucksnort Hollow, township 29 north, range 19 west, section 5, northeast quarter, lot 7. A small local deposit of bog iron ore was discovered, evidently residual from the conglomerate. Sometimes the iron ore is found as residual material filling crevices, as, for example, on the Wilson farm, township 30 north, range 23 west, section 32, northwest quarter, where the vein, which was traced for twenty feet, was two and one-half feet wide and about twenty feet deep. The crevice walls were of sandstone. The drill penetrated nineteen feet further, in calcite and iron. The ore was a good quality of limonite.

The iron in the residual clay covering the upper beds of the Upper Burlington frequently approaches bog iron ore in composition. In the quarry near the old cotton mill in the city of Springfield, such a deposit was found filling a "flat opening" where the underground drainage had segregated it. The bed had a thickness of about two feet.

In a number of places in the Coal Measures sandstone deposits, in the western part of the county, the residual material from denudation of the sandstone has been so great as to form large deposits of excellent yellow ochre. On the Long farm a fine bed of this ore was discovered in 1887, in township 30 north, range 23 west, section 31, northeast quarter. In 1892 it was leased to the Bois d'Arc Mining Company, and worked for a short time. Altogether, six shafts, with drifts, were sunk on the tract, and in the deepest shaft, which reached a depth of seventy feet, thirty-five feet of ochre was exposed, under fifteen feet of a fine white clay. The material requires, washing, and the ochre is, apparently, of a very good quality. The Bois D'Arc company discovered another deposit in township 30, range 23, section 31, southeast half, where, in the fall of 1891,a mill was erected. Undoubtedly other excellent beds of ochre occur in the same township.

A number of small deposits have been worked between Republic and Billings. The ore, however, brings only about one dollar and fifty cents. per ton loaded on the cars at Billings, and is worth about three dollars per ton at the smelter at Carondelet, where most of the product is sent. It costs about one dollar per ton to get the ore loaded on the cars, which leaves a profit of only fifty cents to the company. The ore from the Republic district, though not so abundant as that from the Billings diggings, is of better grade. The output of this region is principally limonite, and it is found in pockets, varying from a few feet square to over an acre in extent. The amount of phosphorous in the ore is above the average, occasionally running over one per cent. The pockets are usually found imbedded in Graydon sandstone, the beds of which mark the course of the prehistoric Schoolcraft river, described in the preceding chapter. These deposits of iron were carried down in solution and in smaller quantities, and slowly deposited by this ancient stream. [105]


Greene county has never been a large producer of lead and zinc, though seventy-five years before the Joplin field was discovered lead was known and worked, in a small way, by the Indians and hunters of this region. The location of the first deposit of lead discovered in these early days was on the James river, near Kershner's Spring, and later, the Phelps mines were located at this point.

The Phelps Diggings.—The shafts here are mainly situated along two crevice courses about seventy-five feet apart, running in nearly parallel lines from the James river on the south, in a course north 25 to 30 degrees west, through the ridge to the Suffolk diggings on its north slope. A section of one of the shafts shows:










Limestone and chert, Lower Burlington, to top of ground at shaft

Soil, made up of Chouteau and Hannibal

Limestone, rather compace silico-magnesian, probably somewhat metamorphosed

Sandstone, Phelps

Limestone, King's Branch

Alternating beds of hard chert and silicious limestone, Joachim

Sandstone, Saint Peter

Shale, alternating layers of finely laminated blue and white

40 feet

16 feet

12 feet

2 feet

14 feet

15 feet

3 feet

2 feet

This shaft lies on one side of the crevice, and represents the geological horizons at this point. The main ore-body, at the Phelps mines, lies above the Phelps sandstones, and is made up of segregated mineral, disseminated through "gumbo," the wonderfully tenacious clay formed by the breaking down of the Hannibal shales. Great difficulty was found in cleaning this ore by hand, as the peculiar gangue resists separation to a remarkable degree. Various experiments were made as to the effects of frost and heat of the sun before hand-jigging, and roasting was also tried, all with no very satisfactory results, until later, the Nathalie and Suffolk companies put in steam concentrators. Neither the King's limestone nor the Joachim, on account of their silicious nature at this point, are favorable for the accumulation of much of an ore-body, hence the upper run of mineral was soon exhausted in these mines. Any second run of mineral in this region would have to be looked for in the Joachim and Jefferson City limestones; but owing to the greater depth of these, and the narrowness of the ore-body, it would seem that all, profitable mining in the camps of this locality must be necessarily confined to the formations above the Phelps sandstones, viz., the Hannibal shales.

The Phelps mines represent one of the oldest lead camps in the southwest. Schoolcraft2 speaks of camping, in January, 1819, at a place which was, undoubtedly, this one. He writes: "Twenty miles above the junction of these streams (James and Finley), on the immediate banks of the James river, are situated some valuable lead mines, which have been known to the Osage Indians, and to some White River hunters, for many years. The Indians have been in the habit of procuring lead for bullets at that place by smelting the ore in a kind of furnace made by digging a kind of pit in the ground, and casing it with some flat stones, placed so as to resemble the roof of a house inverted, such is the richness of the ore and the ease with which it melts. The ore has not, however, been properly explored, and it is impossible to say how extensive the beds or veins may prove. Some zinc, in the state of sulphuret, is found accompanying it."

The ore, occurring here in the soft Hannibal shales, is easily worked and thus it is seen why the Indians, who are not fond of manual labor, should take such long journeys for the sake of procuring their lead with the least outlay of effort. [106-107]


In 1844 ex-Governor McClurg owned a store at Linn Creek, on the Osage river, from which point he distributed goods throughout the South-west. Hearing his teamsters speak of the discovery of lead at the old Hazelwood mines in Webster county, and at the Phelps mines, he told them to bring back ore when they delivered their goods, as the price of lead was high at that time. He also set men at work at both of these camps, and he erected a small smelter at Hazelwood, to which point ore from the surrounding camps was hauled overland by team to St. Louis, a distance of over two hundred miles. The price of lead soon declining, work at these mines was stopped for want of cheaper transportation facilities. The Phelps mines were abandoned until 1875, when the land was leased from its owner, Governor Phelps, by Messrs. Charles and Henry Sheppard, of Springfield, and Judge Picher, of Joplin. After some general mining, the old pump-shaft was sunk to a depth of sixty feet, and by drilling, seventeen feet more. The best run of mineral was found at a depth of twenty-five feet in the lower "gumbo" deposit of the Hannibal shales, and above the Phelps sandstone. Search was made for a deeper run of mineral, but in vain, and the lease was soon given up. No further developments were made until 1885-6, when Mr. Joseph O'Donnel released it from Col. John E. Phelps. Mr. O'Donnel worked these mines profitably for about one year. In the latter part of 1886 Colonel Phelps engaged a superintendent and worked the mines up to about 1891. In the early part of this work the production was about two carloads of mineral per week.

The Pierson Creek Mines.—These mines are located in the southwest quarter of section 36 and northeast quarter of section 35, township 29,range 24; also in northeast quarter of section I,township 28, range 21,in the valley of Pierson creek, east of its union with the James river. Mining at this point began about 1885, upon land then owned by Mrs. McFarland, who leased eighty acres to Messrs. Ball and Thomas, of Springfield. Early in the spring of 1890 these persons subleased the property to Messrs. Sherman and Edgar, who, in November, 1892, transferred their interests to the Nathalie Mining Company and these people, a few months later sold their lease to Mr. R. P. Bowyer who systematically and successfully worked this property until 1895. His drifting amounted to about one thousand two hundred feet along the ore-body. A peculiar feature of this mine was a series of faults in the ore-body. In following the northwesterly trend of the crevice, a blank would suddenly be reached, and on drifting from fifteen to thirty feet to the west, the continuation of the crevice would be found. Five of these displacements were encountered in drifting across the eighty-acre tract. Over fifty thousand dollars' worth of ore was taken from this mine. Fifteen per cent. of the bulk of this ore was galena. These mines were well equipped with steam hoisting plants and concentrating works. They are situated in a narrow valley, mainly on the west bank of Pierson creek, on a gentle slope toward the Upper Burlington plateau to the northwest, and the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Memphis railroad passes down the valley, crossing the creek just south of the principal mines.

This mining camp is one of the most instructive points for the study of ore crevices and depositions, and their relations to geological horizons. The section given below will show the formations at this point. It is taken from the top of the bluff on the east side of the stream and just north of the master-fissure of the group, at Mr. Bowyer's "Sunrise" shaft, the fissure being at this point, associated with faults in which the hanging-wall is twenty feet higher than the foot-wall, the reverse of the general rule for faulting. The course of this master-fissure is about north thirty-five degrees west, having a dip of about sixty degrees northeast. The bluff is capped with ten to twenty feet of residual Upper Burlington chert: [108]

Section of Bluff on Pierson Creek.


Chert, residual, Upper Burlington
Limestone, Lower Burlington
Limestone, Chouteau, which extends 6 feet into the shaft
Shales, Hannibal, the ore horizon
Sandstone, Phelps, with fish teeth, forming the bottom of the run of minerals in this camp

20 feet
60 feet
30 feet
40 feet

½ foot

This fault shows the formation on the south side of the ore-body twenty feet lower down than those on the north side. Along the bluff a few hundred feet to the north, is another fault, and still a third is found about one hundred feet further in the same direction. Owing to the slope of the Lower Burlington chert, it is difficult to determine, accurately, the throw of the last two displacements. They vary from ten to twenty feet in the amount of dislocation. The disturbance of the strata caused by this faulting has deceived, and rendered the calculations of the miners worthless, as to the locations of the ore horizon at a number of points in their vicinity.

Returning to the main crevice a number of shafts have been sunk from the top of the bluff along the fault, and the narrow ore-body has been exposed in the Lower Burlington limestone, midway along the bluff, thus presenting the very best opportunity for the study of the fault, the fissure, and the worthless Lower Burlington ore-body, which is about eight feet wide. The hard Lower Burlington chert of the ore-body is mixed with a small amount of disseminated lead and blends.

In the Chouteau, the ore-body apparently narrows, and contains but a little lead, in cubical crystals. As this is thickly covered with Lower Burlington slope, but little opportunity is given for its study.

In the main shaft in the Gumbo, or Nathalie mine, about three hundred feet northwest from the old main shaft at the foot of the bluff, there is an excellent opportunity to study the deposition of the ore. The slope here is about eighty feet long, and varies in width from fifteen to thirty feet. There are, apparently, at this point, two nearly vertical fissures separated by a arrow belt of nearly barren rock. The ore in the upper part of the shales is mainly galena, in small cuboidal and modified octahedral crystals, disseminated in a white tallow clay lying in the shattered horizontal cracks of the shales. The lower twelve feet of the shales, which represent about the height of the slope, contain mainly zinc blends in the shape of thin, massive sheets, intercalated between the bedding planes opened by the shattering, and leading, as veinlets, to the two main runs of mineral. These form the two nearly vertical veins before referred to. These shafts are frequently coated with the white, compact tallow clay referred to above. The blende is also found in small, disseminated crystals of great beauty in the softer shales. The vein-stuff consists of a very small amount of disseminated calcite ("tiff") and the wall-rock is the typical blue or bluish-drab Hannibal shale.


The ore seems to have been deposited under considerable pressure, filling the two main crevices, and penetrating the shattered wall-rock in tortuous veinlets, filling such spaces in more or less massive sheets, and then forcing its way into the softer portions of the shale wherever it could penetrate, forming disseminated crystals. The blende is light colored, and is of great purity. The ore-body varies from twenty to thirty-five feet in breadth, and from eight to fifteen feet in thickness. The roof of the slope will, undoubtedly, furnish a great amount of galena when taken down. The ore is intimately associated with the "gumbo," a variety of tallow clay, from which it is separated with great difficulty, and the waste dump contains a considerable amount of ore.

The Bowyer & Company Mine.—In the fall of 1895 Mr. Bowyer leased an adjoining forty acres across the "Gulf" railroad right of way, on what would be a probable extension of the ore-body of the old Gumbo and Nathalie mine, in township 29, range 21, section 35, northeast of northwest. The first drill that was put down struck the continuation of the ore-body. Several months were spent in prospecting with the drill, in order to demonstrate the extent of the ore-body on this new lease. In October, 1896, a shaft was sunk and mining commenced on this new tract. This ore-body, as was seen in the old Gumbo mine, lies between the Hannibal shales and the Phelps sandstone. It is very irregular in shape, having a series of blind spurs running southeast from the main course of the ore deposit. This new ore-body was developed for about three hundred feet, and found to have a width of about twenty-five feet, with a thickness of eight feet. This was one of the most intelligently managed mines in the Southwest. The extent of the ore-body was calculated by a system of both vertical and horizontal drilling, by the means of which latter new parallel crevices were discovered. By utilizing the steam from the engine that ran the hoisting apparatus, the expense of running the diamond drill for the horizontal drilling was reduced to seventy-five cents per foot. The ore at these mines had always been extremely difficult to clean, owing to the fact that the disseminated crystals of lead and zinc are so closely associated with the tenacious white tallow clay. Mr. Bowyer made a careful study of those conditions; and by means of some ingenious contrivances of his own. managed to thoroughly and economically clean this ore which was formerly so difficult to handle. [110]

The Lewis Mine.—South of the Gumbo, or Nathalie, Mr. Bowyer did some prospecting in 1895, sinking the "Sunrise shaft at the summit of the bluff just east of Pierson creek; but it was not until 1896 that productive mining was done east of the stream. In that year, Mr. J. T. Lewis leased from Mr. T. J. Kershner the forty acres south and east of the Gumbo "forty," and about eight hundred feet east of the "Sunrise" shaft. The Lewis shaft is eighty-four feet deep, and the ore-body presents itself under, apparently, the same conditions as those which prevail at the Nathalic and Gumbo mines. The drifts have an extent of about three hundred feet.

Suffolk Shafts.—About one-half mile to the southeast of the Nathalie shafts are the mines of the Suffolk Lead and Zinc Mining Company, which, at different times, have been called the Mumford or Kershner mines, and later worked by Captain Leader, of England. They were first opened by Mr. Kershner in 1886. They are located on the continuation of the crevices upon which the Phelps mines are situated, in township 28 north, range 20 west, section I, northeast quarter. A low divide separates the two groups, which are only two hundred feet apart. The following section, taken from the pump-shaft, gives the relative thickness of the geological formations at this point: [111]

Section of the Suffolk Shaft.



Limestone, Chouteau
Shales, Hannibal, ore horizon
Shale, Hannibal, broken gumbo and ore
Flint and sandstone, Phelps and Joachim

12 feet
12 feet
30 feet
9 feet
8 feet

The Daisy Mine.3—In sections 35 and 36, township 29, range 21, is located the Daisy mining property, formerly known as the old Kershner tract, comprising sixty-five acres. It is bordered by the main line of the Kansas City, Springfield and Memphis railroad, which runs a loading spur for ores and supplies to a point a quarter of a mile northwest of the north line of the property. Several successive veins, paralleling each other and several hundred feet apart, have been discovered and worked on this land. In is 1896, on its western slope, vein No. I was first opened by Messrs. Lewis and Bench, and for several years a small ore-cleaning plant, consisting of crusher and rolls, turned out a considerable amount of particularly rich lead and zinc. In 1899, drilling done by Messrs. Lines & Company, located another rich vein of ore, some four hundred feet east of the Lewis and Bench vein. This new discovery, vein No. 2, was worked for a total length of one thousand eight hundred feet, and several thousand tons of ore were produced. A mill was erected at the shaft on this vein, about six hundred and fifty feet north of the railroad track. Messrs. Lines & Company sold their mining lease to an eastern company known as the Daisy Mining and Milling Company. This new company took possession of the Lines lease in 1902, but did no work until February, 1903, when drilling was begun on the Lines vein, some nine hundred feet north of the present mill. Ore was struck, proving the continuation of this vein to the north line of the Daisy property, and for over one hundred feet into the adjoining property. In May, 1903, a shaft was sunk to a depth of one hundred and ten feet, and was connected to the mill by cable car and tramway. Production on this vein began in April, 1904, and ended in December, 1904, a total of two hundred and fifty feet having produced zinc and lead to the value of twenty-one thousand dollars, prices then being from thirty-two to thirty-seven dollars per ton for zinc. It is estimated that the total value produced from this vein was fully one hundred thousand dollars. For some months before vein No. 3 was exhausted, drilling had been begun to the east, and in 1904, what is known as vein No. 3 was struck some three hundred feet east of the mill. A shaft was sunk seventy-two feet deep to the bottom of the ore in 1905, and operations began during the winter of 1905-06, with an output valued at twenty-five thousand dollars. In July, 1906, the Daisy Company, having bought the fee to the sixty-five acres, and owning also the mill,leased their land to the Rathbun Mining Company, which produced from this shaft, from August, 1906, to August, 1907, a total output of zinc and lead valued at fifty-nine thousand six hundred and eighty-seven dollars. W. Martin Jones subsequently leased this property from the Daisy Company from August, 1907, to October 23, 1909, when fire destroyed the shaft buildings and the mine became flooded. The production during this last period was valued at sixty-three thousand two hundred and forty-four dollars. After a shut-down of seven months the property was reopened by the Bray Mining Company. Extensive drilling on vein No. 3 to the north and south proved the continuous ore-channel, and two shafts were sunk, and two tramways, eight hundred and ninety and nine hundred and seventy feet long, respectively, were built to the mill. The output from November 1, 1910, to May, 1913, was approximately one hundred and sixty thousand dollars. Between veins 1 and 2 a new vein was struck during the summer of 1913 and some four hundred and fifty feet of it worked up to October, 1914, producing approximately, forty thousand dollars. This vein runs in a northwesterly direction into the adjoining property, where two mills are kept in operation. [112]


At present the Bray Mining Company continue prospecting on the Daisy Company land, with the hope of developing new ore-veins.

The Waverly Mine.—About 1898 a Kansas company sunk a shaft about one hundred and forty feet deep on land just north, and forming an extension of the Bowyer property. This was worked profitably for about two years.

The Badger Mine.—Later, in about 1907, Mr. George Mutscheler leased prospected and developed the Badger property, situated northwest of the Waverly, and a continuation of the ore-body of the latter. The shaft was two hundred and sixty-five feet deep to the deposit of ore just underneath the Hannibal shales. Still later the property was worked by a Mr. Daniel, of Michigan, and it is stated that in two years he took out nearly one hundred thousand dollars' worth of ore.

In 1912 Mr. A. Clas, of Springfield, purchased the property, incorporated under the name of "The Choteaur Mining and Land Company," and worked from 1912 to 1913, taking out some twenty carloads of zinc ore. In November, 1913, the Choteaur Company moved its plant to the Morgan land, just north of the Daisy property, on a continuation of the ore-body of the latter, where they sunk a shaft one hundred and twenty-five feet deep, reaching the greatest width of ore-body yet found in Greene county, it being nearly one hundred feet wide in one place, a fact due, probably, to the merging of two or more runs of mineral. From this shaft, about fifty carloads of mineral have been taken out.

The Charles Meyer and Company Mines.—In July, 1914,this company leased land to the north of the Choteaur, on an extension of the same run of mineral. The ore-body worked by this company varies from thirty to sixty and seventy-five feet in width, and up to date about forty carloads of mineral have been taken from this shaft. Later, Mr. A. Clas and Company developed the land just north of the Meyer mine, and have taken out some fourteen cars of zinc ore to date.

The Cook Mine.—On the south side of the James river, just south of the original Phelps mines, C. R. Cook, in 1914, opened and developed a continuation of the Phelps run, taking out some ore and demonstrating the extension of the run for several hundred feet toward the south bluff of the river.

The mines of the Pierson reek district are unique, being the only ones the United States that have been developed from the Hannibal formation. The ore, as has been described, is mixed with a tenacious white clay, locally called "gumbo", which, in the early days, was found exceedingly difficult to separate. The ore is of high grade, and is exceptionally pure, always commanding a high price in the market. [113]


The first discovery of lead in the region of Ash Grove was made soon after the settlement of the county, and was in township 30 north, range 24 west, section 31. Only a small amount of "float" mineral was found. In 1859, in a well sunk on the Corum farm, one mile south of Ash Grove, near the center of section 28, a small amount of galena was thrown out; but it was not until 1867 that any serious prospecting was done.

The mines in this locality are mainly confined to the sections lying south of Ash Grove and east of the Sac river. From the first prospecting, in 1867, by Judge Ralph Walker, up to the building of the railroad to Springfield, the mining industry of this region did not flourish, although many shafts were sunk, and a smelter built. It was the discovery of a rich prospect on the Hutchins land, where considerable mineral was taken off it, that gave the real impulse to the development of this district. There were, however, great obstacles to successful mining at this time. The pig lead had to be hauled eighteen miles, over a rough road, to Brookline, the nearest railway station. The price of lead declined from thirty to nine dollars a thousand, the leases required the enormous royalty of thirty-three and one-third per cent., and for these reasons mining was practically stopped until about 1888, when a rich strike was made on the Duncan land, two miles south of the town.

The mines of this region are all located in the middle beds of the Upper Burlington, and most of the ore is taken out from just above a bed of yellow rock thirty feet thick, which is frequently mistaken for the Chouteau limestone. This yellow rock is the same as that which forms the floor of the lime kiln quarry at Ash Grove. The following camps in the vicinity of Ash Grove will be briefly described:

The Corum Diggings.—These are in township 30, range 24, section 28, south one-half center. More prospecting was probably done on this land than on any other portion of this region, but only small amounts of ore were obtained.

The Hutchins land, now known as the Murray tract.—The mines on this land are situated a mile and half south of Ash Grove, in township 30, range 24, section 32, southeast quarter of northeast quarter. They were discovered in 1867, and a considerable amount of ore was obtained from them, but owing to the discouragements already referred to, work was soon abandoned, and they were not reopened until 1888, when the rich deposit on the Duncan land, a quarter of a mile to the south, was found. The first zinc from the Ash Grove mines was shipped from this tract. Of the various companies organized to develop this land may be mentioned the "Golden Eagle" mining company with a capital stock of thirty thousand dollars, which took out about four hundred thousand pounds of lead; the "Gulf" company, which found good silicate at a depth of sixty-five feet; and the "Clinton" company, which also found a fine deposit of silicate at sixty-five feet.

Taylor shaft, of the McCord land.—This is located in township 29 north, range 24 west, northeast quarter of section 6, about one-half mile south of the Murray land. Messrs. Taylor and Edgington discovered a rich deposit of mineral on this land in 1889. The shaft was sunk to a depth of seventy-five feet, after passing through a surface layer of about fifteen feet of ferruginous sandstone. The output of this shaft from February to May, 1890, sold for twenty-three thousand dollars.

Dunlop Shaft.—On the lot adjoining the Taylor and Edgington shaft, Messrs. Dunlop and McKellop struck a rich vein of silicate at eighty feet. The Gilliam Mining Company sunk several shafts on this tract and did some rifting, the deepest point reached being one hundred and thirty-five feet, all in bowlder formations. The deepest run of mineral, however, was found at level of eighty-five feet, just above the yellow rock. The ore-channel has a arse N. 14 degrees W. The ore-body varies from fifteen to sixty feet in width, and is from six to thirteen feet in depth. Drifting along this ore-body has been carried on for six hundred feet. The ore consists mainly of galena in the upper part, followed by zinc silicate, and with zinc blende in the lowest run. Little or no carbonate, or "dry bone" is found.

The Pennsylvania Company Land.—This is situated just east of the railroad and south of the town of Ash Grove, in section 28. This company sunk shaft, in 1895, to a depth of two hundred and fifty feet, reaching the Joachim limestone. On this land, as in the other camps of this region, most of the ore is obtained just above the yellow limestone, though at times it tends to greater depth, and is geologically lower.

The Getty Diggings.—These are in the northwest quarter of section 33, township 30 north, range 24 west. A number of shafts were sunk here to a depth of from twenty to thirty feet, penetrating the yellow limestone from six to eight feet. Both galena and calamine were taken out. [114-115]


These mines are located at the head of a spring branch, which is one of the tributaries of Pickerel creek, and on a dividing ridge running southeast from the spring. They are in township 29 north, range 24 west, northeast quarter of section 33 and northwest quarter of section 34. They were discovered in 1887, by John McDaniel, who found some small crystals of lead in cleaning out the spring, and they were opened and worked somewhat extensively for several years by Thomas O'Banon, being finally abandoned because of lack of transportation facilities. Ash Grove, the most accessible point for shipment, is about fourteen miles distant. The conditions in which the ore exists in these mines are almost identical with those at Ash Grove. The large bulk of the ore was taken from the decomposed beds immediately above the yellow rock, or Chouteau-like layer of the Upper Burlington limestone. Some two hundred shafts were sunk at these diggings, only two or three of which extend below the yellow rock referred to. These shafts are mainly located along three more or less parallel runs that have an average course of twenty-five degrees north. They extend for about one-third of a mile, and are only a short distance apart. The west run is almost wholly located in the northeast corner of section 30, while the other two are mainly in the northwest corner of section 34. A shaft sunk to the depth of forty feet near the middle of the west run struck the yellow rock at a depth of twenty-five feet. A crevice six feet wide in this limestone was exposed, having a course north, twenty degrees west, and was filled with chert and galena. Above this limestone several drifts were made in the clay, and a large amount out. Below the yellow rock, a pinkish, highly crystalline aragonite, commonly called cave onyx was found. The deepest shaft sunk was near the spring in the northwest corner of the diggings. It was sixty-two feet deep and passed through two feet of soil, six feet of the yellow rock, and fifty-four feet of blue, crystalline Upper Burlington limestone. Some zinc was obtained in this shaft, while "float" lead was found up the slope in all three runs in clay just above the yellow layer, and "dry bone," lead carbonate, was found near the surface at the highest points on all these runs. Some silicate was taken out of the middle run high up the hill. Crystals of galena, dolomite and zinc blende were mixed together with the chert bowlders in some of the shafts. Phosphate of lead was associated with "tiff" and galena at a few points. In a shaft forty-six feet deep, at the top of the hill, a flat opening above the yellow rock yielded sixty thousand pounds of "float" lead. A peculiar sandy, porous rock is associated with the mineral at a number of points. The porous cavities are, evidently, the casts of zinc blende crystals that have been eroded away. Black oxide of manganese moss markings are frequent in the flint, which is white, seamed and slightly fossilferous, The ore-body, in places, seems to have a width of nearly one hundred feet. It is estimated that over two hundred carloads of mineral have been taken out of both the central and western runs. Mr. S. M. Smith, of Springfield, later reopened these mines and worked them for a short time.


Mining in the vicinity of Brookline has not been carried on for a number of years. In the early days it was conducted by means of shallow diggings in ground that had been gone over in a similar manner two or three times and directly over an ore-body the width of which is at least fifty feet, with a workable depth, in the Upper Burlington limestone, of over two hundred and five feet, as shown by drill-hole sections.

The Potter Shaft.—Of the Brookline mines, which are in three groups the oldest and most worked was that on the Potter tract township 28 north, range 23 west, southeast one-fourth of section 2. Mineral was discovered here in about the year 1873, and this claim has been extensively mined to depths of from twenty-five to fifty feet. Mr. Bay Wilson worked the tract for lead from 1875 to 1876, taking out, it is estimated, over three hundred thousand pounds of ore, entirely supplying his own smelter which was built near by. One shaft was sunk to a depth of ninety-five feet. In others, drifting was extensively resorted to, but as both the shafts and the mines were so dangerous from constant caving in that it was impossible to work them properly, they were finally abandoned.

In the deepest shaft, a run of blende three feet in thickness was struck. The ore-bodies are evidently wide, but it is impossible to estimate their extent from the surface. From observations on the shafts and caved-in drifts, the crevice courses appear to run north to twenty to thirty degrees cast. The galena was found associated with an abundance of calcite, dolomite and clay. The chert in the vein-stuff is but little brecciated and the limestone of the wall-rock is soft, porous and highly fossiliferous.

In 1887, some Brookline people clubbed together and sunk what was called the citizens' shaft to a depth of eighty-five feet on this tract. Digging was stopped in open ground, in decomposed limestone, with tallow clay and calcite.4 About sixty feet to the north and west of this is located the "Line" shaft, so-called from its position on the line between two companies who used it in common to work their drifts. The Stogsdale company drifted north forty-four feet and took out the largest amount of lead on the tract. A little west of due north from the "Line" shaft, the old smelter was located one hundred and eighty feet due north of this same shaft. Bay Wilson sunk a shaft ninety- three feet deep, passing through bowlders and clay to a depth of seventy feet and struck the first zinc at a depth of eighty-six feet.

The Armstrong Diggings.—Immediately south of the Potter place is a second group of mines in the north part of the "eighty" are some large sinks, with cave openings in the bottom, in one of which a considerable deposit of ore was found. Just to the west of these sinks Mr. Armstrong, in 1875, discovered crystals of lead in the soil at the surface. A number of shafts were sunk and over five thousand pounds of zinc silicate were taken out. These old shafts are now filled up.

The Old Silicate Diggings.—About one-quarter of a mile to the south of the last described diggings, but still on the Brown "eighty," is a group of excavations which were worked in 1875. Subsequently, all the diggings in this neighborhood were abandoned.


Before closing this chapter on the economic products of Greene county it seems wise to speak briefly of copper, silver and gold, The first, copper, has never been found in the county in commercial quantities, and only the stains of copper carbonate and copper pyrites are rarely met with in minute traces in calcite and limestone. Swallow, in his geological report on the southwestern branch of the Pacific railroads 1859, quotes from Broadhead the following localities in Greene county where copper has been found: "On section 19,northwest one-fourth of southwest one-fourth, township 30, range 24, very small traces of copper were found associated with calc spar, and traversing the lower silicious beds ('Turnback rocks') of the encrinital limestone in about an east and west direction. At William Haralson's, on the west one-half of section 10,township 29,range 24 west, a pit has been sunk fourteen feet deep through the lower beds of the encrinital limestone. The ore found here is the sulphuret and green carbonate, in a gangue of coarse, opaque, buff-colored calc spar, adhering to large crystals of white, sub-transparent calc spar, the copper ore more often occupying the line between the two varieties of spar. Some mining has been done here, but no profitable results have, as yet, been derived. This shaft was sunk in the edge of a valley leading into the valley of the Sac river and about three-fourths of a mile from that stream. Fragments of copper ore have been found at several places along the valley."

The "Turnback rocks" and "encrinital" limestone referred to above are the Upper Burlington limestone. There is very little probability that any workable bed of copper ore will be discovered within the limits of this county.

From the earliest settling of the country to the, present time, rumors and traditions of old Spanish mines and smelters for silver have been treasured up throughout the whole Southwest and these stories have been so frequently met with as to justify some statements in regard to the subject. No silver has ever been found in paying quantities in Greene county, nor is it likely that it ever will be found. All galena carries a greater or less amount of this metal, but, so far, none has been found here which carried enough to justify working for silver. The stories in regard to ancient mines and smelters all point, undoubtedly, not to the work of Spanish miners, but to that of the early settlers of this region who "gophered" for lead 'ore. The late Senator Headlee stated, as far back as 1840 or 1845, that the sons of Mr. Bedell, one of his neighbors, used, periodically to visit the farm owned by James Cash, in township 31, range 21,southeast one-fourth of section 32, where they dug enough lead to run out the bullets used for hunting. Of late years, the peculiar rocks of the Devonian beds have constantly led the "old miner" into a belief that they carried some of the ores of the precious metals. This had, apparently, been confirmed in many cases from the fact that the Sac limestone carries finely disseminated pyrites, which, when smelted in a blacksmith's forge, as has frequently been done, gives a metal called by some "white metal," and by others "silver," the real substance being essentially iron. At several points quite extensive mining has been done in these beds for the supposed silver. Messrs. Johnson and Cook sunk several shafts near the middle of township 30, range 22, section 29, one of which reached the depth of eighty-four feet. They claimed to have obtained considerable silver from this locality, although a sample of what they believed to be nearly pure silver upon assay was found to be nearly pure lead, with hardly a trace of silver. The record kept in these shafts has been of value in determining the thickness of the horizons of that region.

No gold has ever been found in Greene county and the geological conditions are such that there is little or no probability that it will ever be discovered here.


It is frequently asked if petroleum and natural gas may not be found in this region and numerous attempts have been made to raise funds to carry on the work of sinking wells in search of them; but in the light that geology offers, it can be assorted that all such attempts are useless, certainly within the limits covered by this county. The reasons for these assertions are as follows: an impervious or "cap" rock is essential for the preservation of both gas and petroleum and there is no such impervious stratum, as will be seen by the description of the rocks of this area. Again, the geological horizons of this territory are frequently very much flexed, folded, shattered and deeply fissured, furnishing favorable conditions for the deposit from below of the lead and zinc, while the same conditions would be favorable for the escape of any gas or oil that might have accumulated. Thus the very agent that helped to bring up the rich deposits of mineral, is also responsible for the escape of the gas or oil that might have existed. No instance is known throughout our country where lead and zinc are found in the immediate vicinity of gas and oil.

1 Geological Report on the Southwestern Branch of the Pacific Railroad, G. C. Swallow, 1859, p. 35.
2 "A View of the Lead Mines of Missouri," Schoolcraft, 1819,p. 254.
3 The writer is greatly indebted to Mr. George Mutscheler, who was superintendent for the Daisy and Bray Mining Companies for twelve years, for information in regard to this property.
4 This shaft was subsequently reopened and excavated to a depth of 125 feet. A powerful stream of water from the northeast stopped the work. The bed of clay and water-worn gravel in the bottom of the shaft was probed five feet farther, but no change in condition found.

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