This 'n That: History of Hall County, Georgia
by Sybil Wood McRay;     c1990
Publisher: Chestatee Regional Library, Gainesville, GA

 

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IS THAR GOLD IN HALL COUNTY?

 

The question is often asked by present-day Hall countians as to the possibility of gold mines in and around Gainesville. Was gold located in Hall, or were most of the mines and mining in Lumpkin County? Why did the government locate the mint in Lumpkin county in a small place not as yet highly populated, rather than in Gainesville where already Templeton Reid had operated a private gold mint? Unanswered questions, except for gold being in Hall county.

In perusing old publications the fact was established that there was a great deal of competion and rivalry between Hall and Lumpkin counties as to gold mining and gold discoveries.

Hall county people shared in the gold rush of 1828 which brought scores of miners from throughout the world to this area. A Hall countian, Benjamin Parks, discovered gold and he is buried in the Yellow Creek Baptist Church Cemetery near Murrayville, Hall County. His tombstone is inscribed: Benjamin Parks, born Oct. 27,1809, died March 5, 1895. A bronze plaque nearby has the inscription:

“Discoverer of Gold in Georgia 1828, setting off 1st Gold Rush in U.S.”

The first gold mint in this area was located in Gainesville in 1830, two years before Lumpkin county was created, and six years before there was a Dahlonega.

The study of many records places the location of the mint possibly to have been located in a blacksmith shop just off the city square. It was probably located on West Washington Street on the parking lot which once belonged to the old Gainesville High School. The mint was operated by Templeton Reid, one of the first privately-owned mints in the U.S.

The Gainesville Mint ceased operations because miners began clamoring for a government-owned mint. They were afraid they were being cheated by the amount of gold in the coins. It has since been proved that their fears were unfounded and that the content in the gold of the privately minted coins was indeed of greater amount than those later minted by the government.

Matthew F. Stephenson, the assayer sent to this area by the government, is buried in Alta Vista Cemetery, Gainesville.

MATTHEW FLEMING STEPHENSON 1802 – 1881

The most important question might be asked: is there still gold in Hall county? Where is it located? An article from a newspaper published in Hall county in 1876 will give a few answers to the questions:

VALUABLE MINERALS FOR SALE – Gold – Silver – Copper – Mica.

1. These valuable discoveries have been made within the first five months in Hall county. The first discovery made was on the property of William F. Tanner and David B. Tanner, 12 miles southwest of Gainesville in Morgan’s District, a gold vein four feet wide. The essay of this vein is $52.17 per ton.

2. GOLD vein three feet wide on the property of Joseph R. Reed, seven miles southwest of Gainesville, Morgan’s District. The essay of this vein is $47.10 per ton.

3. GOLD VEIN one foot wide on the property of J. S. Owen, four miles south of Gainesville. The essay of this vein is $31.00 per ton.

4. One of the most valuable GOLD veins in the state, on the property of Mr. S. Mooney (NOTE: This Sampson “Semp” Mooney), four miles west of Gainesville on the Brown’s Bridge Road. This is known as the main vein, running through the well known McClusky mines. The essay of this vein is $269.80 per ton.

5. On the property of Samuel Lesser, 11 miles east of Gainesville, a valuable GOLD and SILVER vein, and near this is a bed of sulpher. The essay of this vein is $78.08 gold, and 8 per cent silver per ton.

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6. The great copper vein on the property of O. Buffington, 10 feet wide – shaft sunk 24 feet. Assey of this is 18 percent copper per ton.

7. On the property of William A. Harrington, a valuable GOLD vein, four feet wide, known as the lead vein, running the Glade Mines. The assay of this is $67.09 per ton. Also a valuable Mica bed, together with kaolin and falsper. The mica is four and five inches square.

Since it is well-established fact that diamonds have also been found in Hall county, possibly there is a wealth to be found beneath the clay in and around Gainesville. Should we get out the trusty picks and shovel and start digging?

OLD MINES AND TUNNELS NOTES

(from files on notes and people, The TIMES)

HISTORY: Gold deposits of Georgia (1909) gives the information that the TWITTY property was mined for gold. Placer work was done and at least three tunnels were dug into the side of the hill.

One who does not wish to be quoted says the Twitty property was once known as Telford Town, named for Will Telford. . . says that miners found few rocks, abandoned them. He mentioned an asbestos mine.

 

Gold deposits of Georgia gives the following information on Hall County Mining:

 

Mining about a mile from Twitty property

Stowe Mine – on Longstreet and Merck property

Ivy and Elrod Mines – 6 miles northwest of Gainesville

on road to Dahlonega. Low grade ore, some rich pockets.

Other known Mining Places in Hall County:

 

Pass property

Mammoth

Currahee – 6 miles northeast of Gainesville

Glades – 11 miles northeast of Gainesville

Some mining north of Murrayville

6 ˝ to 7 mile mining belt around Gainesville

McCleskey (McLesky, McCluskey) – 3 miles west of Gainesville.

Small scale mining during War Between the States. Samp (Sampson) Mooney then took over. Mill on McClesky Creek. Jacquish and Mathews dug underground for one and a half years and sunk shaft.

Byrd Mine – ˝ mile northwest of Gainesville.

 

GOLD STREET in Gainesville (near the hospital) was named because of gold mining in the area.

 

Used with permission from Hall County Library

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