The Pacific Northwest Forum
Volume 6, Number 2, Pages 10-27
Spring, 1981

Maiden: A Mining Camp's Struggle for Permanence on the Montana Frontier

by Sean McCourt

Sean McCourt wrote this paper while studying under Robert B. Swartout, Jr., in the Department of History at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. He presented an earlier version of the paper at a Phi Alpha Theta (History Honors Society) Conference in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

Part I

The mining camp was the focal point in an era when men and women struggled to build something lasting in a strange and hostile environment. Often it was beset by economic problems.(1) Life was exciting, but many wanted it to be more stable. Those who adhered to this attitude, like the merchant, newspaper editor, businessman, mine owner, and others, did so for a good reason. Stability meant a camp was maturing. and prospering, thus ensuring itself of some sort of future permanence and eliminating much of the risk involved with investing in a particular camp.(2)

But stability was not a characteristic of the mining frontier. Mines, camps, life in general were in a constant pendulum motion. When times were good the camp prospered and appeared stable. When the mines declined and stopped producing, the camp similarly declined, as people pulled up stakes and moved on to more promising areas.(3)

Many factors influenced a mining camp's success or failure. It did not exist within the shell of the frontier, sheltered from outside interference. Rather, it was an institution affected by all forces, both local and national. The camp was nineteenth-century America and in most respects reflected the country's needs, strengths and weaknesses.

Usually, a mining camp materialized wherever rich minerals existed. Camps first arose in the 1850s and 1860s with the great placer booms. Later, quartz mining gave rise to new camps in the 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s. Generally, the first camps began in California and then spread eastward. Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and South Dakota all had their booms. Most were short-lived, as each camp spent its hour on stage and then disappeared. A few, though, continued to hang on to permanency and flourish today, defying the philosophy of the mining frontier, "easy come, easy go..."(4)


The great entrepreneurs of the East who put their investments
into large enterprises such as railroad building needed
mining to support and make profitable these investments.


With the advent of quartz mining in 1870-1880, Montana mining entered a new phase. No longer was it a simple economy where mining was done by an individual or partners who, with a rocker or sluice, could work a bench and make enough money to live on.(5) No, mining was now entering a new phase; corporations with great capital replaced individuals; stamp mills and smelters replaced sluices; and mining towns with hotels, banks, billiard halls, and newspapers superseded placer camps. Great commercial prosperity invaded isolated regions and, sometimes, left them as scarred, desolate ghost towns. This was the Gilded Age, the era of businessmen who identified "exploitation of natural resources with progress,...a kind of law of the jungle, ... of lust for speculation, of huge wastefulness of natural wealth, of bustling materialism, of splendid audacity..."(6)

This aggressive exploitation of resources brought American industrialism to the doorstep of the Montana frontier. The quartz mining period ushered in the capacious stamp mills whose production and profits in many cases justified their existence. This rapid development in mining resulted from industrial need. The great entrepreneurs of the East who put their investments into large enterprises such as railroad building needed mining to support and make profitable these investments.(7) Hence, capital was flushed into the mining industry, developing and making it prosperous, and thereby feeding the larger industrial machines.

Maiden, 1885

Courtesy of Montana Historical Society, W. H. Culver Photo

The mills required tremendous amounts of capital, scrupulous management, experienced labor, extensive development, and large ore reserves.(8) They provided a market for large quantities of chemicals, quicksilver, blasting powder, candles, lumber and machinery.(9) Transportation facilities were a key to survival, and isolation would destroy the entire enterprise. The quartz mines acted as a stimulus for other industries such as banking, lumber, overland transportation, the legal profession and more. And these industries called for technicians, mill hands and bookkeepers.(10) Thus, the quartz mining greatly expanded and complicated Montana's simple economy whose growth depended on Eastern capital.

The early placer mining period had attracted vast numbers of people into the Montana Territory. Quartz mining, with its stamp mills and smelters, later drew these people and more into the immediate area of its operations. Directly and indirectly, it provided an economic base for the area. Mining camps like Maiden sprang up, and their existence rested on diverse factors. Capital was necessary to develop the region, and operations needed to be a success to encourage continued capital support. Mining camps also depended upon agricultural products to supply foodstuffs for the community.(11)

Thus, the survival of a mining camp rested on many factors. To survive, the camp had to overcome all obstacles; if it failed, it would become a ghost town. When we trace the history of Maiden, Montana, from 1880 to 1891, we can see these diverse forces at work in a mining camp of Montana during the Gilded Age.

Gold was discovered in Maiden Gulch, near Lewistown in the Judith Mountains, in 1880 by a group of five prospectors: "Skookum Joe" Anderson, c.c. Snow, Eugen Ervin, Pony McPartland, and David Jones.(12) News of the discovery circulated throughout the region and eager prospectors rushed into the district.

The camp prospered in 1881-82, but Maiden's initial prosperity depended upon a steady cash flow coming with the great influx of people into the region.(13) Superficial placers could aid the camp's economy, since it was not uncommon to take out forty dollars a day.(14) But the small scale placers alone could not carry the camp because lack of water in the region necessitated expensive mining techniques.(15) Saloon keepers, barbers, blacksmiths and mercantilists looked forward to the introduction of capital that would bring "promise, life, and business to the town..."(16)


To survive, the camp had to overcome all obstacles; if it failed, it would become a ghost town.


Capitalists had entered the district as early as 1881, yet their cautious, slow approach made their existence seem unnoticeable until 1882. Samuel T. Hauser and Anton M. Holter purchased the Montana and Oro Cache mines from Anderson and Jones, the original prospectors, and began exploratory work on the properties in the summer of 1882 and soon built a five-stamp mill to process the ore.(17) More extensive work took place on the Collar mine where workers tunneled, crosscut and drifted the property to ascertain its wealth. That year the Collar Company was drawn up with a capital of $600,000 in Eastern stock. The company planned to use $300,000 to develop the property further and build a 20-stamp mill.(18)

With these signs of growth the camp buzzed with excitement, and a building boom occurred. In 1883, the businesses of Maiden included thirteen saloons, three general stores, two hardware stores, two hotels, two barbershops, a clothing store, bakery, meat market, restaurant, drug store, dance hall, newspaper, school, blacksmith shop, and a livery stable.(19) The developmental work and erection of the 20-stamp Collar mill kept the camp busy in 1883. Business was good and miners, merchants and artisans looked forward to a prosperous year.

But trouble lay on the horizon and in late 1883 the Collar mine closed after a run of only nine days. Following the collapse of the Collar Company, Maiden was "wrapped in a dark gloomy veil of uncertainty."(20) The failure of the Collar property is a classic case of corporate ineptness. The company had failed to explore the property sufficiently and later realized it had overestimated the value of the mine and underestimated expenses. The Eastern capitalists quarreled among themselves and operations were further delayed.(21) The company folded without ever reopening the mines. Such failures occurred throughout the West, in the South Boise ledges of Idaho and elsewhere, during the quartz mining period.(22)

The effects of the Collar failure on Maiden were enormous. The labor debts of the Collar Company went unpaid until a sheriff sale could be arranged. Cold, hungry miners wandered throughout the camp eventually finding refuge at Fort Maginnis four miles east. Bills for materials rested in the debit columns of merchants' books, never to be paid off in full. The action of the Collar Company also frightened away would-be investors. There was little work in camp, and the population declined. Maiden appeared to be dying in the winter of 1883-84.(23)

The proximity of the Fort Maginnis Military Reservation did not help matters, for Maiden was situated within the reservation's boundaries. A dispute arose in April 1883, when a military order called for the vacating of the area within 60 days.(24) The citizens formed committees and protested to the territorial delegate, Martin Maginnis. The Maidenites demanded a bill to limit the reservation's boundaries, thereby excluding the mining area in and around the camp.(25) The result of the dispute would be critical. If capital was to enter the district, Maiden would have to be cut from reservation boundaries since if the mining property lay inside military boundaries it would be impossible to secure clear land titles. Parties owning mining property in the area deferred further development "...for fear of losing both claim and money expended thereon."(26)

In the wake of Maiden's depression, the citizens engaged in activities to attract capital. Pressure on Congress to cut Maiden from the reservation increased. On June 7, 1884, the Secretary of War issued an order to the commander at Fort Maginnis not to interfere with the mines and citizens of Maiden while a reservation bill, changing the boundaries, was pending in Congress.(27) The bill passed later that year.

Maidenites also began to advertise the resources of the district in the camp's paper. Often, this advertising exaggerated the local mineral values:

"Throughout the Judith range, running in a northeasterly and southwesterly direction, and traceable into the Snowy range of mountains, has been found what may properly be termed the mother lode of quartz. Numerous spurs have been discovered on both sides of the main vein, but the bulk and wealth of the deposit of nature's precious metals ... have been found in this parent vein. Nearly every mine in the Judith Mountains showing a superior degree of richness or large body of ore are on this vein..."(28)

Unfortunately extensive surveying by the USGS in 1896-97 revealed no indications of a "main vein."(29) In fact no vein existed at all. The mineralization in this area occurred in pockets and thin seams along the contact zone of the porphyry mass.(30) But prior to the government survey people's imaginations could run wild.

Maginnis Mine and Mill

Courtesy of the Montana Historical Society, W. H. Culver Photo

Along with advertising the wealth of the region, citizens threw their support behind the tax issue of the 1885 Montana Constitutional Convention. This issue evolved from section 4 of the Convention's proposed amendments which called for tax exemptions on "...mines and mining claims, both placer and in rock, in place containing or bearing gold, silver, copper, coal, or other valuable mineral deposits..."(31) In other words, the unknown mineral wealth inside a mine would be exempt from taxation.(32) Maidenites supported the section on taxation strongly, for as they saw it, if the bill failed, it would discourage capitalists and retard development. Furthermore, they believed the section would aid farmers as well. To the people of Maiden, it seemed logical that the taxation clause would encourage capital investment and thus help mining regions to develop and prosper. Areas like Maiden would provide a local market for the products of farmers, who in turn would profit. Thus, any farmer who opposed section 4 was really endangering his own vital interests. Yet not everyone supported the taxation clause. Cattlemen and woolgrowers believed they were not dependent upon the mines for a market and thus criticized the section on taxation. Their position was well represented in the Rocky Mountain Husbandman (White Sulphur Springs) and editorial back-stabbing was common between this paper and Maiden's Mineral Argus.(33)

Maiden also attempted to help herself out of depression by forming the Maiden Reduction Company. This incorporated stock company was organized by Maidenites for the purpose of building and operating reduction works that would attract ore from surrounding regions. Eventually, railroads and capital would enter the area and Maiden would be on the road to eternal prosperity.

The company's chief problem was a lack of capital. When the necessary resources proved elusive, the founders built the reduction works with their own money and with IOUs. These investments were to be paid off with profits. Yet the project flopped after a year of operation, largely due to inexperience. Anticipated profits became real debts, and the camp as a whole suffered from the adventure.(34)


Unfortunately extensive surveying by the USGS in
1896-97 revealed no indications of a "main vein."


Despite such setbacks, however, Maiden's efforts to rise out of her economic slump were not entirely fruitless. On June 3, 1884, Samuel T. Hauser and Anton Holter formed the Maginnis Company and filed articles of incorporation in Maiden district.(35) Initially intending to sell out to an English syndicate, Hauser and Holter changed direction in mid-stream.(36) Satisfied with prospective developments in the local Montana and Oro Cache mines, the Maginnis Company initiated a vigorous mining adventure in the spring of 1884.(37) With a capital stock of $500,000 the company intended to build a new custom ten-stamp mill and 50 men were employed immediately. In October 1884, the Maginnis Company purchased three mines in the area of $100,000: the Kentucky Favorite, the Keystone, and the Comet, the former a gold-bearing mine, the latter two underdeveloped silver and gold producers. Miners were put to work extracting ore and building roads.(38) Meanwhile, another mine in the district, the Spotted Horse, was beginning to produce. Its ores were worked through arastras which were capable of crushing 1 1/2 tons of ore per day.(39) Jones and Davis, the owners, cleared $441.00 on 32 tons and a month later $787.00 on 23 tons.(40) The Spotted Horse proved to be the most valuable mine in the area and one of the top producers of gold in Montana.

"The Whitney Bull Outfit," Maiden, 1882

Courtesy of the Montana Historical Society, W. H. Culver Photo


With gold in sight, activity picked up in Maiden, and once again it became the cultural, mining, and commercial center of the surrounding area. Balls were held in the International Hotel; Maiden's coronet and brass band found new life; the town boasted of an amateur baseball team and was a common focal point for traveling minstrel troops. Maiden's importance as a commercial center was witnessed by a change in freighting routes in 1884. Maiden now became the terminal for the Southern Stage Route and the Junction City Route, which had originally terminated at Fort Maginnis and Andersonville respectively.(41) All appeared well, but more problems, common to the quartz mining industry, lay ahead.

In 1885, a bill was drawn up to create the county of Fergus in central Montana. Maiden at the time was part of Meagher County, but she was included within the new boundaries of the proposed county. Rivalry for the county seat began between Maiden and Lewistown, the heart of the local cattle country. Maidenites boasted of room for 50,000 people, immense resources, a favorable location, a glorious destiny. The great numbers of people in camp provided a local market for farmers who were unable to compete on the foreign market. Maiden stores carried German socks, leather slippers, Cardigan jackets and more. The camp even had a ladies' bazaar. But cattlemen proved to be more powerful than miners at the convention in Helena, and Lewistown received the county seat in August 1886.(42)

Lewistown's victory showed that in central Montana mining was secondary to cattle and wool. As if serving the course of history, Maiden's newspaper moved to Lewistown under the name of the Fergus County Argus and news about Maiden was restricted to a third page column.(43)

None the less in the summer of 1885 the camp appeared prosperous. The Maginnis ten-stamp mill finally reached completion and employment picked up. But the financial security still eluded the region. Developmental costs in the stamp mill soared due to a water shortage. The company was forced to expend large amounts of time and money building flumes and a reservoir, installing a tramway, and putting in pumps.

The lack of water plagued the entire area, dictating when mills operated and when they did not. Water scarcity forced the company to pump the slum from the slum tanks back into the plant, impeding operations. The entire mill was then overhauled and some machinery remodeled. Extensive flume building followed in order to flush fresh water into the system.(44)

Labor costs complicated operations as well. Experienced miners were scarce and novices demanded the same high wages. Inexperience led to errors in mill and mine operations, often resulting in increased expenditures. Moreover, transportation facilities were poor and mill operations suffered further.

Freighting outfits from Junction City had to contend with steep grades, lack of bridges, and a gruelling two-day journey traversible only in the dry season. Freight rates were high and depended upon various factors: local demand, season, and availability of equipment, men and animals.(45) All these problems led to sporadic mining activities in the Maginnis Company's mines.

In June 1886, the mill closed down. Books were scrambled, bills destroyed, and enormous quicksilver loss occurred. The company pondered abandoning the entire operation. Managerial weakness had caused much of the problem; so H.J. Brothers, the general manager, was replaced immediately and the mill fired up again later that summer for another try.(46)

Troubles in development initially plagued the Spotted Horse mine also. In late 1885, McAdow, Anderson, and Jones were losing gold through the arastra process. Debts accumulated and the mine was to be sold at the sheriff sale, but in May 1886, McAdow paid $11,000 to keep the mine and made clear his intent to develop the property thoroughly. Within a year the mine yielded good ore, and McAdow erected a small three-ton capacity mill. Good results followed, and McAdow believed he had struck a true fissure vein. A ten-stamp mill was erected in October 1888.(47)

By 1889, favorable developments in the mines found Maiden on the upswing. Indications of prosperity were evident throughout the camp. Merchants offered wide selections of goods, attracting both Maidenites and outsiders. Enrollment in the Maiden school showed 32 students present with an attendance rate of 96%. Maiden now had a jeweler and a resident physician and even the burned down Maiden brewery was rebuilt. New families entered the area and new houses were built.(48) The Maginnis Company now employed 50 men in its mines, and mill and ore reserves were favorable. The Spotted Horse was improving with every blast and its ten-stamp mill paid $4,000-6,000 in wages every month. In 1889 the gross monthly output of the mine was $25,000-35,000 depending upon water availability.(49)

In May 1889, McAdow bonded the Spotted Horse for $500,000 to the Jay Gould Company. A new company was formed, incorporating the Maginnis Company's property was well. The new company under Jay Gould representatives planned extensive development in the area and Maidenites talked of railroads, capital, and endless employment. Granville Stuart arrived in Helena that year with $100,000 in gold from the company's Maginnis and Spotted Horse mills.(50) The company also planned to build a superior 20-stamp mill behind the present Spotted Horse mill, a move which was completed in the spring of 1890. Prosperity appeared to have arrived. But in the summer of 1890, problems beset the Jay Gould Company, and it backed out of the area. The owners declared that the mines simply did not meet expectations.(51)

P.W. McAdow reacquired the mine and made a 40-day run on the Spotted Horse in December 1890, grossing $50,000.(52) The mill then closed down for the winter and McAdow left for sunny California. Little work was done that winter. Throughout 1890-92 McAdow dragged his feet and the mine was idle more often than not. He sold the mine once more in 1893.

Maiden continued to hang on, supported by the limited output of the mines. Yet its time was drawing to a close. The lack of water, the marginal quality of the ore, and Maiden's isolation from Eastern capital and railroads proved to be the ultimate drawback. In 1896, less than 200 inhabitants resided in Maiden and most of the mines lay idle. By the early 1900s her importance in the urban frontier vanished, and she was overshadowed by towns like Lewistown. In 1905, a fire destroyed almost the entire town. Today, Maiden is a ghost town dotted with a few summer cottages.(53)

Part II

Maiden's decline and eventual collapse exemplified characteristics which were prevalent in many mining camps. Among Maiden's shortcomings, isolation was the most destructive. This was illustrated by high freight rates and lack of a railroad. Without a railroad connection (Maiden was 112 miles from the nearest railroad), Maiden attracted little outside attention, a key obstacle to her growth.(54) Deep mining in the district developed very slowly since insufficient transportation facilities discouraged outside investors.

The capital investment in the area came chiefly from Hauser and Holter's Maginnis Company, P.W. McAdow's Spotted Horse, and later the Jay Gould Company. In all three cases the investors had persistent troubles in operations, thus slowing development. Furthermore, these individuals had numerous investments in other locations and industries outside of Maiden. Their interests in Maiden, though important, were not crucial enough to command their undivided attention. Thus development in the district did not receive as much attention as Maidenites would have liked.


The West resembled an Eastern colony and more and
more came to depend upon the power of the East.


True, these capitalists were concerned with the prospects of the district, but not to the point where they would use (if they could) their influence to bring in a railroad, thereby solving the community's isolation. The district was not important enough to warrant the building of a railroad to Maiden's front door. These disadvantages were exemplified in 1890 when the Jay Gould Company, after extensive development, left the area.

Another problem contributing to Maiden's collapse was the geology of the area. Though bonanzas like the Spotted Horse existed (thousands of dollars to the ton), in general the gold ores in the district were low grade, about ten to twenty dollars per ton.(55) Quartz veins and mother lodes simply did not exist in the area. This fact, along with high labor costs, water scarcity, and transportation difficulties, found investors making less money than desirable.

Maiden's economy, then, depended upon operations in the mines, and when companies faced obstacles in the area, so did Maiden. Other mining camps, like Marysville, experienced this same relationship with companies in their districts. When the Drumlummon prospered, so did Marysville. When it faltered, Marysville faltered. As in most mining camps, the companies provided the economic supports that kept the town alive. All inhabitants were dependent one way or another on mining operations.(56) If other industries existed in the area, such as cattle, wool, and lumber, and if they could carry the town's economy, the town would survive. But if economic dependence rested solely upon one industry, the camp's chances for survival were slim.

As we have seen, another factor in survival was a town's usefulness to the surrounding area. This was a key component in the urban-rural frontier relationship. Though Maiden did supply the area with some of its needs, she could not provide all of them. Consequently, Maiden was overshadowed by Lewistown, which fulfilled the requirements of this urban-rural relationship much better. Though camps like Maiden were important in providing a stimulus for settlement of the West, their existence afterwards was not crucial. The cattle and wool industries were much more important in central Montana.(57) Maiden, then, was inevitably destined to become a ghost town.

The mining camp demonstrates a familiar pattern in both Montana and the West. The period 1850-1900 saw tremendous growth throughout America. The entrepreneurs of the East - the men of the Gilded Age - were rapidly changing the social, economic, and political values of our country. They reached out and grasped the West through railroads, capital, manufactured goods and more.

The West resembled an Eastern colony and more and more came to depend upon the power of the East.

One way the West depended upon the East was through railroads. The need for railroads was espoused by communities and local capitalists. Newspapers advertised incessantly the benefits railroads would bring: "With railroads come population, industry, and capital, and with them come the elements of prosperity and greatness to Montana."(58) The railroads hauled people, manufactured goods, raw materials and so forth, all necessities vital to the Montana economy. Yet they also were large land holders in Montana and elsewhere through massive land subsidies, and their grip on the West tightened.(59)

Maiden, 1886

Courtesy of the Montana historical Society, W. H. Culver Photo

Many of the Western lines were built on the principle that costs could be covered and profits realized through promotion and demand. With completion of the tracks, intense promotional campaigns for the settlement of the West followed. Railroad land sales commenced, oftentimes dictating the line of settlement.(60) Railroad control of Western lands was evident in other ways. Finances for the lines came from Eastern entrepreneurs, who often hoped to control the raw materials of the West.(61)

The railroads also exemplified the powerful Eastern corporations forming in the late 1800s. These corporations and other wealthy partnerships exercised control of the West through capital. Capital investment so crucial to the West's development was always in short supply. Even powerful Montana capitalists like Samuel T. Hauser, T.C. Power, Marcus Daly, I.G. Baker, and others had to get finances from such places as St. Louis, New York, and Montreal. True, they were wealthy individuals, yet their resources could not cover all investment demands. Local capitalists were constantly returning to the East in order to expand in Montana. Eastern corporations extended their control over Montana in other ways. Consolidation through stock transfers was common in the 1890s. An example occurred in Butte when the powerful Anaconda Company was absorbed and later emerged as the Amalgamated Copper Company, owned by Standard Oil and financed by the First National Bank of New York.(62) Montanans resented their role as an Eastern colony, yet at the time choices were limited.

Thus the mining camp aided in the settlement and growth of the West. The camps attracted large numbers of people whose needs were serviced by merchants, bankers, doctors, and lawyers. Communities developed to meet the needs of the people. Schools, churches, and newspapers abounded, along with cultural events like drama troops and lectures. Quartz mining also fostered transportation routes and expanded the use of coal and timber, and encouraged agricultural development in the surrounding valleys by creating markets for rural products. Agriculture flourished and provided security for a more permanent settlement.(63)

Thus, mining camps were an integral part of a long process that transformed the Montana wilderness into an industrial society, a process that involved time, money, and exploitation of natural resources. Maiden did not survive, but it helped give birth to a county and state that flourish today.


1. Duane A. Smith, Rocky Mountain Mining Camps: The Urban Frontier (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1967), pp. 3-15.

2. Ibid.. p. 59-77.

3. Ibid.. p. 8.

4. Ibid.. p. 247.

5. A bench is a gravel deposit in an ancient stream bed which lies above the present stream.

6. Merle Curti, Growth of American Thought (New York, 1943), p. 510, as cited in Robert L. Romig, "Stamp Mills in Trouble: Quartz Miners Learned the Hard Wayan the South Boise Ledges:' Pacific Northwest Quarterly 44-5 (October, 1953), 166-76. The Gilded Age was a generation of transition, a time of growth and change (in the form of progress) in all aspects of life: labor, investment, geography, politics, and society itself. For further information see H. Wayne Morgan, The Gilded Age (New York, Syracuse University Press, 1963).

7. U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Resources of the United States (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1882-93), p. 49.

8. The Montana Historical Society Staff, comps. and eds., Not in Precious Metals Alone: A Manuscript History of Montana (Helena: Montana Historical Society, 1976), p. 122, K. Ross Toole, Montana: An Uncommon Land, pp. 81-83.

9. Clark C. Spence, Montana: A Bicentennial History (New York, Norton, 1978), p. 38.

10. K. Ross Toole, Montana: An Uncommon Land (Nonnan: Univeristy of Oklahoma Press, 1959), p. 83.

11. Michael P. Malone and Richard B. Roeder, Montana: A History of Two Centuries (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1976), p. 65.

12. Anna Zellick, "A History of Fergus County from 1879 to 1915," (M.A. Thesis, University of Chicago, 1943), p.2.

13. Rocky Mountain Husbandman (White Sulphur Springs), July 27, 1882, p. 2.

14. James Brisbin to eastern newspaper (n.p.), "The Maginnis Gold Mines" (2 August 1882), James Brisbin Papers, Manuscript Collection No. 39, box 2, folder 10, Archives Division, Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana. James Brisbin, prolific writer and novelist, is best known for his works The Beef Bonanza and Belden. He shared a great love and respect for the West gained through his cavalry service in various army forts throughout the West. He was also an active publicist and brought news of the Western frontier to the East, through his articles and letters to newspapers.

15. Though the area is blessed with large amounts of precipitation from winter snows and summer rains, the streams carry little or no water. This scanty supply of water is due to the geological structure of the area. The stream beds are composed largely of limestone which causes the water to sink, thus passing beneath the beds of limestone. As the water sinks it reappears as springs only in the areas of shale. The result is that running water is difficult to come by because of the prevalence of limestone in the area. Later, this would account for the great expenses incurred in flume building and pumping units. U.S. Geological Survey, Geology and Mineral Resources of the Judith Mountains of Montana, p. 452.

16. Rocky Mountain Husbandman, July 27, 1882, p, 2.

17. Ibid. (25)

18. Ibid. Stamp mills were invaluable in large mining operations where tons of ore needed to be crushed in a single day. The most common was the California stamp mill which worked much like a piston in a car engine. A mill generally contained anywhere from five to sixty stamps, ten and twenty being the most common in the Maiden area. The stamp was similar to a pillar with a shoe or stamp at one end. The stamp was powered by steam. Ore was placed under the stamps on a heavy iron trough-the battery-which enclosed all the stamps. In the battery were iron dies, each matching their appropriate stamp. Com-kernel size ore made a lateral pass under the stamps and over the dies and was crushed into fine particles. From here the crushed ore departed out the front side and passed over filtering screens. Operations of this sort required vast amounts of ore, maintenance, capital, and water to continue running. Great care had to be taken to make sure all these requirements were fulfilled. If not, the company stood little chance of making money. For more information see Otis E. Young, Jr., Western Mining: An Informal Account of Precious-Metals Prospecting, Placering, Lode Mining, and Milling on the American Frontier from Spanish Times to 1893, 3rd ed. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1976).

19. John N. DeHaas, Jr., ed., Central Montana Ghost Towns (Bozeman: Montana Ghost Town Preservation Society, 1975), n.p.

20. Mineral Argus (Maiden), February 7, 1884, p. 4.

2L Ibid January 4, 1884, p. 4.

22. Robert L. Romig, "Stamp Mills in Trouble: Quartz Miners Learned the Hard Wayan the South Boise Ledges," pp. 167-76.

23. Mineral Argus, November-May, 1883-84.

24. John N, DeHaas, Jr. ed. Central Montana Ghost Towns, n.p.

25. Mineral Argus, February 7, 1884, p. 4,

26. Ibid.

27, Ibid. June 12, 1884, p. 4.

28. Ibid. October 23, 1884, p, 1.

29. The porphyry contact marks the area where sedimentary and porphyry (igneous) rock meet. The gold was found in angular masses of purple fluorite and quartz near the contact zone. For more geological information see U.S. Geological Survey, Geology and Resources of the Judith Mountains of Montana, by W.H. Weed and L.V. Prison, Economic Geology, 18th Annual Report, pt. 3, 1896-97 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1898), pp. 589-97.

30. U.S. Geological Survey, Geology and Mineral Resources of the Judith Mountains of Montana, p. 589. This mutual belief arose out of fancy rather than fact. The townspeople, newspaper, and miners all held to this belief in hopes that it would bring further development to the area.

31. Mineral Argus, October 30, 1884, p. 3; July 17, 1884, p.3.

32. Section 4 also stipulated that all machinery, property, surface improvements, and annual net proceeds of mining claims should be taxed. For further information on taxation see Louis Levine, The Taxation of Mines in Montana (New York: B.W. Huebsch, 1919),

33. Mineral Argus, 1884; Rocky Mountain Husbandman, 1884,

34. Mineral Argus, May 8, 1884, p. 1; January 4, 1885, p. 4.

35. Ibid. June 12, 1884, p. L The articles of incorporation were filed in the office of the territorial secretary by the following trustees: S.T. Hauser, A.M. Holter, George A. Hill, Ashton K, Karbous, and A.M. Esler.

36. Mineral Argus, April 24, 1884, p. 5.

37. In the fall of 1883, the Maginnis Company shipped 1,BOO pounds of Oro Cache tailings from their 5-stamp mill back East to be run through a concentrating process. The tailings proved richer than expected (55.9 ounces of gold). Consequently, the company decided to stay in the area and develop its prospects further.

38. Mineral Argus, June 12, 1884, p. 4; October 16, 23, 1884; June 18, 1885, p. 1; July 23, 1885, p. 5; August 6, 1885, p. L

39. Ibid., August 2, 1884, p. 4. Arastras were crude, rock-surfaced mills constructed from local materials. A three- or four-foot hole in the ground was lined with flat stones. A horse strode the perimeter dragging a large stone over the ore. The ore was crushed and later amalgamated with quicksilver. Water power often replaced horse power.

40. Ibid. July 17, 1884, p. 5; August 2, 1884, p. 4.

41. Anna Zellick, "A History of Fergus County," chapter on mining.

42. Mineral Argus, August 6, 1885, p. 1; October 29, 1885, p. 1; November 26, 1885, p. 3.

43. Though on the surface the move of the camp's newspaper to Lewistown seems insignificant, the ramifications were far reaching. The existence of a newspaper showed the owner had faith in a particular camp-a belief that the camp and mines would grow sufficiently to support the costs of running a paper. A newspaper indicated that a camp was established and had further stability. Through its services the paper promoted and publicized the district's resources, thereby helping the camp create an aura of permanence. When the Mineral Argus left Maiden it demonstrated that the owner's faith in the camp was wavering in favor of more prosperous areas like Lewistown. Duane A. Smith, Rocky Mountain Mining Camps, pp. 65-68.

44. Fergus County Argus (Lewistown), August 26, 1886, p.3.

45. Mineral Argus, February 26, 1885, p. 1; June H, 1885, p. 1; Malone and Roeder, Montana: A History of Two Centuries, p. 60.

46. Anton M. Holter papers, Manuscript Collection no. 80, box 1, folder 14, Archives Division, Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana; Fergus County Argus, August 16, 1888, p. 3.

47. Mineral Argus, December 1885; Fergus County Argus, August 1886-0ctober 1888.

48. Fergus County Argus, 1887-89.

49. Ibid.

50. Ibid., May 2, 1889, p. 2; May 30, 1889, p, 3; November 28, 1889, p. 2. Granville Stuart was one of the true pioneers of Montana. In 1858, he and his brother James discovered gold at Gold Creek, the first strike in Montana. From gold mining he went into the mercantile business and then on to bookkeeping for the First National Bank of Helena. In 1879, he became manager of the powerful DHS (A.J. Davis, Samuel T. Hauser, Granville Stuart) Ranch in then Meagher County. His interests with Hauser at the First National Bank of Helna and the DHS found him as general manager of the company in Maiden. Later, he entered politics, serving in the territorial legislature (1872, 1875, 1879, 1883). and as U.S, Miniser to the Republics of Uruguay and Paraguay. A man of varied interests, he died in 1918. Granville Stuart Papers, Manuscript Collection no. 61, Archives Division, Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana.

51. Fergus County Democrat (Lewistown), May 7, 1896, p. 2.

52. Fergus County Argus, December 25, 1890, p. 3.

53. Ibid., 1890-1905; John N. DeHaas, Jr.. ed., Central Montana Ghost Towns, n.p.

54. U.S. Geological Survey, Geology and Mineral Resources of the Judith Mountains of Montana, p. 589; Malone and Roeder, Montana: A History of Two Centuries, p. 141; James A MacKnight, The Mines of Montana: Their History and Development to Date (Helena: C.K. Wells Co., Printers, 1892), p. 121. Though the railroad arrived in Lewistown in 1902, Maiden could not recover. The large mining companies had folded, most of the population had drifted away, and the mines were largely worked out by 1900. The railroad, then, simply arrived too late.

55. U.S. Geological Survey, Geology and Mineral Resources of the Judith Mountains of Montana, p. 592.

56. Clark Spence, Montana: A Bicentennial History, p. 38; K. Ross Toole, Montana: An Uncommon Land, pp.80-81.

57. Fergus County Argus, October 25, 1888, p. 2.

58. Robert G. Athearn, "Railroad to a Far-Off Country - The Utah and Northern," in Montana's Past: Selected Essays, ed. by Michael P. Malone and Richard B. Roeder (Missoula: University of Montana Press, 1973), p. 214.

59. Excluding the Great Northern Railway Company, the other railroads received large land grants from the government to help cover building costs. The Northern Pacific received twenty alternate sections on each side of the track in Montana territory, amounting to roughly fourteen million acres. Carl F. Kraenzel, The Great Plains in Transition, 3rd. ed. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1969), pp. 127-28; K. Ross Toole, Montana: An Uncommon Land, p. 92; Michael P, Malone and Richard B. Roeder, Montana: A History of Two Centuries, pp. 130-35.

60. J.W. Smurr and K. Ross Toole, eds. Historical Essays on Montana and the Northwest (Helena: The Western Press, Historical Society of Montana, 1957), p. 218; Clark C. Spence, The Sinews of American Capitalism: An Economic History (New York: Hill and Wang, 1964), p. 157.

61. Karl F. KraenzeI, The Great Plains in Transition, p. 128.

62. K. Ross Toole, Montana: An Uncommon Land, pp. 157-166.

63. Merrill G. Burlingame, "The Mining Frontier in Montana" in Montana's Past: Selected Essays, edited by Malone and Roeder, pp. 114-15.