Diamond Valley to State Line Mine, Hackett Ranch, Jenny Mine

St. George Jeepers Trail Report - June 21, 2016

Diamond Valley to State Line Mine, Hackett Ranch and Jenny Mine

Six hardy drivers and their passengers braved the heat and met at the Diamond Valley church under hazy conditions for a trip that included several interesting historical sites. The trip was led by Joan and Phil Hayes. The church is pictured lower right.

Smoke from the Saddle Mountain fire in Pine Valley, Utah, can be seen rising over Pine Valley Mountain. Efforts to contain this fire have been hampered by thoughtless pilots illegally and dangerously flying their drones over and near the fire. 

After departing Diamond Valley we drove up Highway 18 toward Enterprise, Utah. Below is a hazy morning view of the fire from near Central, Utah. As of Tuesday, the day of our ride, the County had declared a state of emergency. 

In Enterprise we turned right, remaining on Highway 18 and proceeded to the intersection of Highway 56 at Beryl Junction. From there we drove west to Modena and then onto the Modena Canyon Road. Below, airing down on the Modena Canyon Road. 

The next leg of the trip took us up Hamblin Valley and to the mining town of Stateline, Utah. Our first stop was the Stateline, Utah, cemetery. 

Following are photos of some of the graves in the old Stateline cemetery. 

Many of those buried here were children. Infant mortality was high in those days. 

Alfred Paul Force, who only lived two days. 

An old-time name you don't see any more. 

The group visits the gravesites, many unmarked except for the stones encircling the graves. 

After departing the cemetery, our first stop was the ghost town of Stateline, Utah. Gold and Silver were discovered in Stateline Canyon in 1894 and soon a town sprung up. In But as with many mining towns, the ore started to play out around 1910 and by 1918 there were only 18 people left. Minor mining activity has continued in the area from time to time until 1984. 

Why minerals were not found in Stateline Canyon sooner is a mystery. From the 1870s the main stage road from Frisco, Milford, and the Mormon settlements further east ran through here as it headed towards Pioche, and the southwest Nevada mines.

Countless prospectors and mining men must have passed the promising looking ledges along the canyon, either by stage, or on horseback. According to legend, the canyon was also used by cattle rustlers and other outlaws. They found it a convenient route to move their stolen Mormon cattle from Utah to Nevada where officials turned a blind eye to stray Mormon cattle that were brought in to feed the hungry miners of the Nevada mines. One such outlaw was Nate Hansen who was shot within a few hundred yards of the state line by an angry Mormon posse determined to get their cattle back before they could be sold.

Though small-time mining started in 1894, it was not until 1896 that rich silver/gold ore was found in the shallow workings of the Ophir mine. This touched off a small stampede to the area and other major outcroppings were found to contain paying quantities of both silver and gold. The major mines included the Ophir, the Johnny, and Creole. The ore coming out of the Creole in 1899 was so rich that the ore dump was successfully panned by the company.

Stateline grew quickly from a small tent camp to a full-fledged mining town. In 1896, the Intermountain Mining Review reported that a new town site had been established and that town lots were being sold for $100 apiece. They reported that there were twelve active mines in the district. Subsequently, it was reported that a post office had been established, over 180 men were working in the mines with more coming in daily, and that Stateline City contains 17 houses and more being put up.

By 1903, Stateline had grown to a solid mining town of 300, with two or three general stores, a fine hotel, two saloons, blacksmith shop, shoemaker, restaurant, a daily stage to Modena on the railroad sixteen miles away, and its own newspaper, the Stateline Oracle. Several mills for processing the ores from the Ophir, Johnny, Creole, and Big Fourteen mines were also erected in the surrounding area, close to their respective mines.

Extensive mining continued until about 1910 when many of the mines started closing because of a lessening of high quality ore. Miners and business gradually drifted always until in 1918 there were only about 18 individuals left in town carrying on small time mining in some of the lesser claims. Since about 1920 some mining had continued in the area with minor upswings in activity in the 1930s and 1940s. As late as early 1980s limited mining was being done. In 1984, the Ophir mill that we visited and sits prominently on the hill above the town was closed by the EPA for improper environmental procedures, closing the last mining operation in the area.

Today the ruins of what is left of Stateline lay along a mile stretch of road leading into the mouth of the canyon. One cabin still looks to be occupied, at least part time.

Various remaining structures and ruins in Stateline, Utah 

Bonnie Allred and Mike Hess explore the ruins of the old stone structures.

Judging by the quality of some of the remaining structures, there were some capable stone masons in the town. The Ophir mine is located on the hillside above the town.

Ruins of the general store.

Remains of what was likely the root cellar and cold storage at the back of the general store. 

Someone's once-upon-a-time home, sweet home. 

Mike Hess checks out a cabin that has been maintained and appears to be occupied part time. 

After leaving the town site, we proceeded up the valley to the Ophir mine.

Ophir Mine 

Examining some of the remaining gold processing machinery. 

Even mine ruins can serve a useful purpose. Below, most likely a raptor, probably some sort of hawk, nests in the rafters. 

One of several huge tanks used in the ore leaching processing. As mentioned earlier, the mill was shut down by the EPA in 1984, likely due to problems with cyanide and/or mercury contamination, common pollutants related to gold ore processing. 

A massive piece of iron, the ball mill, is a part of the machinery that pulverized the ore. 

Modern day ball milling machine. They haven't changed much in over 100 years. Ball mill machining is widely applied in industries such as cement, silicate product, refractory, fertilizer, mineral processing of ferrous and nonferrous metal and glass ceramic, etc. It is mainly used to make dry or wet powder of various ores and other grindable materials. 

Phil Hayes and Craig Allred leaving the mine. 

After departing the mine, we traveled up a scenic valley. Along this moist riparian valley bottom we saw some interesting plants. The grass is one of several species commonly known as foxtail, the flowering shrub is woods rose (Rosa woodsii) and the gray shrub is big sage (Artemesia tridentata). Big sage is a common and important component of our western landscape. 

Woods rose 

Woods rose is a native perennial. It's a 2-5 foot tall shrub, usually forming thickets. Growth starts in early spring and it flowers from May to July. Seeds are contained in an orange-red hip, which generally stays on the bush through the winter. Wild rose occurs on prairies, plateaus, dry slopes, and in open woods, ravines, and thickets, growing at elevations from 3500 to 7500 feet. It is a common riparian species. It is fairly tolerant of browsing. It can thrive from moderate shade to full sunlight. Wild rose is very fire tolerant, and usually survives to produce an abundance of sprouts.

Wild rose is browsed by livestock and big game from spring through fall, preferring this shrub in the spring when the leaves appear.

Wild rose hips persist on the plant through much of the winter. Many birds and mammals are sustained by these dry fruits when the ground is covered with snow.

It produces extensive rhizomes, and has good survivability and revegetation characteristics even on harsh sites, making this species an effective material for erosion control.

Europeans utilized hips as a source of Vitamins A and C. Rose hip powder was used as a flavoring in soups and for making syrup. American Indians utilized the young shoots as a potherb. The leaves were steeped for tea, petals were eaten raw, in salads, candied, or made into syrup. The inner bark was smoked like tobacco, and dried petals were stored for perfume.

(Utah State Extension Service)

Foxtails are grasses with seed awns that are extremely dangerous to dogs and grazing animals. Foxtail awns are barbed, razor-sharp needles, designed to burrow into the ground with the seed. However, they can also burrow through a dog’s skin and enter soft tissue where they can cause serious injury, infection and death. What are commonly known as foxtails can belong to at least 5 genus. This one is possibly of the brome genus, foxtail brome. 

Foxtails are found most often on wild barley grasses and grow to be 2 to 5 feet in height and have a top with hairlike needles that resemble a fox’s tail. In some varieties the spikelets (top) look like common barley or rye grass.

Not all foxtails have lethal awns, but grasses such as foxtail barley and foxtail grass have particularly nasty awns. Other kinds of grasses, such as Ripgut brome and Canada wild rye, cheat grass, red brome and several needle and thread grasses, also have potentially dangerous awns.

A foxtail’s torpedo-shaped awns can penetrate any part of a dog’s body. The awns most commonly lodge in a dog’s nose, ears, underbelly, rear end and paws. Long-haired dogs are particularly susceptible, as the barbed foxtail stays attached to the dog’s fur and are difficult to spot in long fur.

Once the foxtail awn begins traveling through an animal, they do not break down. A foxtail in a dog’s ear can perforate an ear drum. In a paw, it can lacerate the pad and move into the limb. In the nose and mouth, foxtails can eventually migrate towards the lungs.

Muscular movements (or air flow, in the case of nostrils) can cause the foxtails to continue to burrow through soft tissues and organs, causing abscesses and infection that can lead to physical disruption and death. The awns may eventually be encapsulated by the body and break down naturally over time or in some cases need to be removed surgically.

Foxtail grasses can be found throughout the world. The grass is not native to North America and is most commonly found in the Western United States. Grazing animals such as sheep can also be vulnerable to the problems caused by the awns. 

Cabin ruins in an idyllic setting under a cottonwood and surrounded by Utah juniper, pinyon pine, woods rose bushes and sagebrush. 

Some scenery along the trail under a hazy sky. 

A lone sentinel, a common raven surveys his realm. 

Prickly pear cactus were blooming profusely along the trail. 

Climbing up to 8,000 feet elevation. 

One of the best parts of the day, lunch, enjoyed under a hazy sky and comfortable temperatures. 

Vista looking back toward Hamlin Valley from the lunch spot. After lunch we headed on west and entered Lincoln County, Nevada. 

Cabin with an interesting address and TV antenna (?), way out in the boonies. 

Next stop, the Hackett Ranch, also known as Deer Lodge. Following is an extensive historical review of the Hackett Ranch and mining in the area. It hopefully will be interesting reading for history junkies, and is included in this report as it is typical of many of the old ranching and mining families of the region in the latter half of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries. Many of the pioneers were born in the eastern US and moved west during this period, as did Mr. Hackett. It gives a glimpse at how business and community processes worked back in those days. Although transaction amounts don't seem like much in today's dollars, they must have been big in that time.

Modern day remnants of the Hackett Ranch 

Arrow points to the Hackett homestead structures. Their meager farming areas are clearly visible. 

DEER LODGE AND FAY, LINCOLN COUNTY, NEVADA: A HISTORIC OVERVIEW AND AN ARCHAELOGICAL INVENTORY

Prepared for:

Bureau of Land Management

Caliente Field Office

The town of Deer Lodge had its humble beginnings as the location of the Gold Bug Mining Company office. It first made the newspapers in July of 1896 when its main section burned down. The fire started in the Gold Bug Mining Company office, owned by George Moody, the Lytles, and the Hammonds. Also burned were an assay office, blacksmith shop, and the residence of a Mr. W. S. Bennett.

Deer Lodge was formally reborn, possibly in a slightly different location, at a public meeting on May 9, 1897. The town site was on the Log Cabin claims owned by William T. Troutman and William Clark, and on the Rollins claim owned by James Knight and John Ryson. The claim owners gave a 30 x 100 ft lot to each of the 31 participants at the meeting, provided that they built within 90 days. An advantage noted was that a 12-foot well was already present that would provide water to the residents.

An application was submitted requesting that a post office be established and that a new road district be created. These requests were received favorably at the next meeting of the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners on June 7, 1897. A new township was created. Borders of the new township were eight miles south, twenty miles north, twelve miles west, and east to the state line from Deer Lodge. Charles Lytle was appointed justice of the peace and James Knight was appointed constable. During these early years (1896-1897) Deer Lodge was the principal settlement in the Eagle Valley Mining District. Hollace H. Cooper started building a store in May 1897.

Through the spring of 1898 the town was growing steadily. Old-growth pinyon provided 20 foot logs for construction and, as a result, log houses were the most common form of structure. In April a dozen log houses were under construction. Some lumber had started to be shipped in from Utah allowing for the construction of frame buildings. The growth of Deer Lodge came to a brief halt in April 1898 when the Homestake Mine shut down. According to tax rolls, there were 14 residences and businesses in or near town in 1898 and 1899.

The town was located on the Amended Homestake No. 3 and Amended Deer Lodge claims. The Deer Lodge Claim was surveyed in January 1903, replacing one of the early homestead claims. The claim was owned by the Irus Gold Mining Company (presently the mine is spelled Iris) which sold it to John A. Larson for $1,000 in May 1904. Larson then sold it to the Newport-Nevada Company for $125 the following month, clearly along with some other consideration not revealed in the recorded transaction.

In 1899 Deer Lodge was still the only town in the district but there were small camps and cabins in several other places. In January there were about 100 persons in town.

By November the district was benefitting from a minor rush of miners from Delamar, continuing a group migration from that place that started as early as 1897.

Deer Lodge reached its peak early in 1900 when it had 20 residences and businesses. The 1900 federal census (taken in June) enumerated 220 individuals. There was, however, a question regarding the town's long term viability. The decline of the Homestake Mine and the ascendency of the Horseshoe Mine, led many to vote with their feet. With the establishment of Fay, a few miles to the west, Deer Lodge began to be left behind. By September of 1900 every available house was being removed to Fay, along with most businesses. By the following year the town was a fifth is former size. The 1910 federal census found 29 people living in Deer Lodge. By the time of the 1920 census, and again in the 1930 census, the only ones left in Deer Lodge were representatives of the Hackett family.

The Hackett Ranch 

After mining declined in the area, most folks moved back home or on to more promising mining camps. Only a few of the mining crowd hung on in Fay through the 1920s, but even they were gone by 1930. While the town of Fay faded away, Deer Lodge lingered. Its continued existence was due to one resident family that stuck it out, shifting their way of life from mining to ranching. 

Deer Lodge, ca. 1908 

Edward Hebert Hackett was born in 1853. (Various sources list the middle name as Hebert or Herbert). Commonly referred in adulthood as "E. H.", he was the youngest of three children born to Charles and Olive Hackett in Charlestown, New Hampshire. The 1870 census finds him living with his parents in New Hampshire where he worked on his father's farm. By 1875 E. H. had moved on to Boston, Massachusetts, where he married Emma Irving. The 1880 census finds E. H. and Emma living in Boston, along with their daughter Mabel Olive Hackett, born the year before. At the time, E. H. was working in a saloon. E. H. suffered from tuberculosis and at some time the family moved west. In the early 1890s he was working in the mines at Silverton, Colorado. At that time, Emma resided at Rico, Colorado, where their son Everest Hebert Hackett was born in 1892. The family moved to Salt Lake around 1894-1895.

In 1897, E. H. and Emma claimed the Midnight-Reliance group of claims including the Marble, Midnight, Everest, Lone, and Reliance claims. These claims paid off handsomely when the group was sold in partnership with G. B. and D. E. Blakely for $10,000 to the Newport-Nevada Mining Company. Prospecting continued. In 1899, E. H. claimed the Star Fraction, Contract, Contract No. 2, May Day, and Dodd Lode near Buck Mountain in partnership with C. L. Hannah. His earlier bouts with tuberculosis precluded E. H. from working work underground in the mines, so he focused on management, surveying, and sampling.

E. H. was involved in a variety of mining interests and became closely associated with activities of the Newport-Nevada Mining Company at the Homestake Mine. He was the supervisor and principal local representative of the company throughout its long history in the district.

According to local tax rolls, E. H. Hackett owned lots in Deer Lodge at least as early as 1910 but no earlier than 1908. Hackett built a two-room log cabin with a sod roof and a covered porch. A photograph dated circa 1908 shows the house in its original configuration (Figure 17). This house was greatly expanded sometime during the 1910s and is shown in a photograph dated ca. 1920.

Emma Hackett 

Though they retained an active interest in various claims, beginning probably in the late 1900s, the Hacketts increasingly turned toward ranching. Livestock on the Hackett Ranch were branded with an "HA" ligature filed on January 1, 1916. Initially, operations focused on three small fields they cultivated in Deer Lodge Canyon. The family grew all its own vegetables and relied on hunting to add to meat supplies. Their transition into the cattle business prompted a happy circumstance for the family. Everest Hebert Hackett married Sarah Elizabeth Hall in 1915. They married in St. George, Utah. Sarah was born in New Hebron, Utah on January 30, 1897. Everest and Sarah had gotten to know one another when E. H. purchased cattle from her father William Wesley Hall, who operated a large cattle ranch near Enterprise in Washington County, Utah. Everest and Sarah moved into an old house next to the existing Hackett house. (The dormer on the house is shown from the inside in a following photo later in this report.)

Hackett House ca. 1920, After Modification. Pictured are Emma (ghostly figure to left), Everest, and Edward Hackett and Mabel (Hackett) Traver and her sons Russell and Clarence

By 1919 the only improvements listed in county tax records for Deer Lodge belonged to the Hackett family. In that year the tax records became exceptionally detailed. At that time, E. H. and Everest H. Hackett owned a house and stable in Deer Lodge and a cabin in Prohibition Flat. In that year they owned 35 saddle horses.

E. H. Hackett died in 1922. Emma lived to the age of 93, spending summers in Deer Lodge and the rest of the year in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her daughter Mabel (Hackett) Traver. Everest and Sarah moved into the larger, original Hackett house and assumed management responsibilities of the ranch. As reflected in tax records from the 1920s through the 1940s, their personal property was typical of what one would find on an independently owned, small, subsistence-level ranch. With the demise of the Fay post office in 1924, Everest rode to Modena once a week on horseback to get mail. By 1929 he was making the trip to Pioche for mail once every two weeks.

While the center of the Hackett Ranch sat on patented mining claims, their Nevada holdings were extended by means of two homesteads. A homestead entry was patented under Emma Hackett's name in July 1926. This was an irregular parcel of approximately 479 acres that included land to both the east and west of their patented claims. The following year Everest Hackett was granted a homestead under the 1862 Act for 640 acres at Prohibition Spring, four miles south of Fay. This area served well as winter range for their stock given that it is 600 feet lower in elevation than Deer Lodge. Everest and Sarah lived at this homestead over five winters, which was required to prove up on the place. During those year the children went to school at Modena.

After proving up on the homestead, the Hacketts shifted their place of residence back to Deer Lodge. Use of the homesteads and lands in Utah allowed the Hacketts to run around 300-400 head. One short coming of their ranch was that it lacked sufficient hay fields. As a result, they had to buy hay in the winter.

The Eagle Valley District did not see the level of small-scale gold mining experienced by many areas during the Depression. This is not to say that there were not attempts to revive mining in the 1920s and 1930s. Helen Hackett (gravestone pictured later) stated, "I always thought they put more money into it than they got out of it ... But yes, some people made a little bit off from it." The lack of active mining made this remote area an attractive location for bootleggers during Prohibition. One pair well-known to Deer Lodge residents used prospecting as the cover for their operation. As Mary Fogliani relates the tale: "They came by in their heavy wagons and they said they were mining." Mr. Hackett said, "They're taking out something more than mining supplies," because the wagon ruts were so deep. Well, they used to come down and visit with Pete [Fogliani] and me, and you could smell them before they got anywhere near that schoolhouse. They weren't fooling anyone."

"We decided we'd go up and see if we could find the still where they were making their whiskey. We found it about 2 miles from the schoolhouse in an old abandoned building. There was quite a large room with straw all over the floor. You could smell the whiskey, but you couldn't see anything. Finally we kind of kicked some straw away and found what looked like a piece of leather, so we reached down and it was a leather to pull up a door with. We pulled up this door and here were these great big vats of whiskey, with guess what - two or three rats floating around on top of them. So then we were interested to find where the still was. And it was really camouflaged. They had it down where some brush and some pine trees were."

Prior to the Taylor Grazing Act, the Hacketts informally shared the open range with several other area ranchers. In anticipation of some form of regulatory action, ranchers were asked to prepare and submit maps showing the extent of their existing operations. In 1928, Everest Hackett submitted a map to the office of the Nevada State Engineer.

In 1939, Emma deeded the Deer Lodge homestead and her interest in the cattle brand to Everest for a nominal consideration. Emma passed away in 1943 and is buried in St. George, Utah. Everest and Sarah Hackett moved off the ranch in 1959. They eventually settled in Payette, Idaho, where they both passed away in the 1980s. Their remains were returned to Deer Lodge where they are interred in the family cemetery.

On April 14, 1960 the entire ranch was sold to Francis Taylor of Moapa, Nevada for $80,000. Holdings at that time included the group of patented mining claims centered on Deer Lodge; the split homestead adjacent to the claims; the Prohibition Flat homestead; water rights to springs in Deer Lodge Canyon, Prohibition Spring, and Ox Valley Spring; and rights to water from Deer Lodge Creek for milling purposes. It also included land in Utah and grazing rights to 2,475.19 acres in that state. The Taylors never occupied the ranch. It has been abandoned since 1959 except for occasional attempts to keep a watchman on the property. The absentee owner as of 2012 is/was Lynette Marie Taylor of Arroyo Grande, California. As of this writing, Deer Lodge is completely abandoned.

Edward Lee Hackett, who likely died as a casualty of WWII.

Wilson Seegmiller Stewart and Mary E. Hackett Stewart. They died on the same day, likely due to accident.

Old gateway into the Hackett home site.

Old hen house

Nest boxes in the hen house. They were to a large extent a subsistence family.

Sign over bedroom door.

TRAMPUS AND THE VIRGIN-Must be an interesting story here.

Attic bedroom in the main house. Unfortunately, when the integrity of the roof is gone, it's not long before the rest of the structure follows.

Traveling on east toward Utah and proceeding through a large burn.

The burn area was dominated by two post-fire pioneers, yarrow and globemallow.

Yarrow, Achillea spp., probably western, or common yarrow, A. millefolium

Yarrow provides poor to fair cattle forage and fair to good sheep forage, especially the inflorescence (flowers). It is usually grazed only when it's green, and it may contain toxic alkaloids and glycosides. An excess of this plant on mountain range indicates the need for lighter grazing or rest. It obviously reacts well to fire.

According to tradition, the plant was first named by Achilles, hence its scientific name. Native Americans used tea made from yarrow to relieve ear, tooth and headaches; as an eyewash; to reduce swelling; as a cold remedy; and as a tonic or stimulant. Yarrow varies in taste and in potency depending on where it grows and at what stage of growth it is in. The best time to collect yarrow for tea is right before the flowers are produced, using only the new succulent leaves. Green leaves were use to relieve itching, chewed for toothaches, and used as a mild laxative. During the Civil War, yarrow was widely used to treat wounds and became known as 'soldiers' woundwort." An ethanol extract of yarrow has mosquito-repelling properties.

Globemallow, probably scarlet globemallow, Sphaeralcea coccinea

Wild Horses in the burn area and off of the burn area.

Unsecured vertical mine shaft in the Big and Little Buck Mines area

Hillside mine locations at the edge of the burn area.

Back shaft of the Jennie Mine, just across the border in Utah.

A well secured vertical mine shaft.

For safety and liability reasons, the remnants of the Jennie Mine were demolished in 2004.

Then

Photos by Cat Evans

 

Now

It must have been a difficult decision regarding demolishing the mining remnants, weighing the historical significance of these old structures against the possibility of injury or death of visitors and likely litigation.

From the Jennie Mine it was on the trail back to Modena, a dusty ride down the Old Modena Highway to Enterprise for air up and ice cream. Another fun and historically fascinating day on the trail.

An afternoon view of the uncontrolled Saddle Mountain fire.

Submitted by Bud Sanders

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