United States Mining Company 1899

United States Mining Company 1899

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United States Mining Company 1899

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Beautifully engraved certificate from the United States Mining Company issued in 1899. This historic document was printed by the American Banknote Company and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of an allegorical woman. This item is hand signed by the Company’s Vice President and Treasurer and is over 103 years old.
Certificate Vignette Mining for metals, coal, hydrocarbons, and minerals was a vital aspect of Utah's economic, industrial, political, and social growth and development. The mining industry has touched all aspects of life in Utah and has contributed greatly to the state's history. Mormon gold miners participated in the initial discovery of gold in California, and gold dust imported from California between 1848 and 1851 to Utah was processed by Mormon pioneers. But Brigham Young discouraged his people from searching for precious metals because he feared not only the loss of critical manpower to the goldfields but also that mining would distract Mormons from agricultural pursuits and would attract non-Mormons, or Gentiles. Although early leaders of Mormon Church placed a higher value on agricultural development than on mining for the precious metals, Brigham Young did recognize the need for iron, a metal that was costly to import by wagon from the East. In 1850 Young issued a "call" for an "iron mission" to southern Utah (Iron County), but after four years this effort was abandoned. In the 1860s church leaders encouraged lead and silver mining around Minersville. Brigham Young's resistance to precious-metal mining began to break down with the coming of the railroad, and Mormons came to dominate the prospecting of such ores in many areas until the economic collapse of the mid-1870s. In the 1880s and 1890s, the decades after Brigham Young's death in 1877, a number of church leaders including John Taylor, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith, became involved in the ownership of silver mines. The beginnings of commercial mining in Utah are traced to Colonel Patrick E. Connor and his California and Nevada Volunteers who arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in October 1862. Many of these soldiers were experienced prospectors and, with Connor's blessing and prompting, they searched the nearby Wasatch and Oquirrh mountains for gold and silver. In 1863 the first formal claims were located in the Bingham Canyon area, and this spurred further exploration. Discoveries soon followed in Tooele County and in Little Cottonwood Canyon (1864). With the development of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 came the transportation network necessary to elevate Utah's mining efforts from small-scale activity to larger commercial enterprises. Other early mining areas included the Big Cottonwood, Park City, and Tintic districts, along with the West Mountain District, which encompassed the entire Oquirrh mountain range. Mining activity in these regions grew through the 1880s, but, as surface deposits dwindled, the need to mine for mineral sources at depths far beneath the surface necessitated larger amounts of capital, and individual efforts generally gave way to corporate interests. Between 1871 and 1873 the British invested heavily in Utah mining ventures, the most noted being the Emma Mine in Little Cottonwood Canyon, which was rocked with scandal involving unscrupulous mining promotion. After the Panic of 1893 and the subsequent depression had ended, mining in Utah burgeoned. By 1912, 88 mining districts were listed for the state (between the years 1899 and 1928 the Salt Lake Mining Review listed some 122 districts). Production figures, in terms of total value compiled to 1917, illustrate the successful mining of gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc in Utah's three leading mining districts: Bingham (1865-1917) $419,699,686 Park City (1870-1917) $169,814,024 Tintic (1869-1917) $180,401,804 Other districts listed included Big and Little Cottonwood ($25,722,533), American Fork ($3,895,050), Piute County ($3,679,143), Carbonate ($478,122), Mt. Nebo ($190,762), and West Tintic ($139,018). Essential to the rapid increase in mine production was the further expansion of transportation facilities, including the competition between the Union Pacific and the Denver and Rio Grande Western railroads, which fostered the completion of spur lines and narrow-gauge district lines. Also essential was the development of mills and smelters needed to make the shipping of ores and concentrates a profitable enterprise. Custom mills and smelters virtually sprang up near many mines, beginning in the 1870s and continuing to the turn of the century. Most of these operations proved ephemeral, lasting only long enough to treat the grades of ore for which they were built. Of more importance was the construction of large smelting plants in the Salt Lake Valley. The erection of these facilities also commenced in the 1870s. In Murray, the Germania and the Hanauer plants functioned into the 1890s. They were purchased by the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) in 1899. ASARCO also purchased the Mingo smelter, built in Sandy in 1878. By 1902, ASARCO had begun operations treating lead-silver ores in its large plant in Murray. The Midvale area became another key smelting region. In 1873 the Sheridan Hill smelter was built at West Jordan to treat ores from the Neptune Mine. The Galena smelter, constructed in 1873, treated ores from the Galena and Old Jordan mines at Bingham. It later became known as the Old Jordan Smelting Works. In 1899 the United States Mining Company--later the United States Smelting, Refining, and Mining Company (USSRMCO)--was organized, and in 1902 it completed its large smelter at Midvale. The ASARCO and USSRMCO plants, together with the International Smelting and Refining Company operation in Tooele, became giants on both a state and regional level in the consolidation of the smelting

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