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As It Was: Liberty Mining District Yields High-Grade Gold

The Liberty Mining District in the Salmon Mountains in southwestern Siskiyou County contained many high-grade gold deposits, first discovered in the 1850s.  The area mines remained active into the 20th century.

The most famous was the Black Bear Mine, discovered in 1860.  The richest lode mine in Siskiyou County, it produced more than 200,000 ounces of gold in its early years.  John Daggett became rich as owner and developer of the mine, which had two veins, one running north and south, the other running east to west.

The Eddy Gulch placer mines were also important producers in the Liberty District.  They extracted   150,000 ounces of gold in the 1850s and reported even more in reserves.

Other mines in the Liberty District included the Klamath, with a production of 35,000 ounces between 1863 and 1910; the Mount Laurel with 36,000 ounces from 1863 to 1910; the Union, the Uncle Sam, and the Lanky Bob.  Smaller Liberty District mines included the Ball, Cleaver, Hanson, Hickey, Jumbo, and White Bear.

Sources: Immediate Area Gold Production, theclaimpost.homestead.com/SALMONRIVERGOLDHISTORYAREAATTRACTIONS.html. Accessed 1 Dec. 2019; Western Mining History: Liberty District, westernmininghistory.com/articles/436/page1/. Accessed 1 Dec. 2019.

Gail Fiorini-Jenner is a writer and teacher. Her first novel "Across the Sweet Grass Hills", won the 2002 WILLA Literary Award. She co-authored four histories with Arcadia Publishing: Western Siskiyou County: Gold & Dreams, Images of the State of Jefferson, The State of Jefferson: Then & Now, which placed in the 2008 Next Generation Awards for Nonfiction and Postcards from the State of Jefferson.