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Gone, but not forgotten: The Newton County mining industry


The Arkansas Gazette (28 Jul 1940) reported that Dr. W. A. Hamilton, of Booneville, was working an old mine in Limestone and had discovered small quantities of gold and quicksilver there. He had plans to find investors to purchase mining equipment to extract the precious metal, but nothing more was heard about it.
Zinc, on the other hand, was found in abundance in Newton County. Numerous newspaper articles about zinc and lead mines along the Buffalo and Cave Creek can be found from the late 1800s until the 1940s. The same article reporting the gold in 1940 also reported that the Bald Hill Mine on Cave Creek had loaded 42 tons of ore on trucks to be taken north to Missouri for shipment. They also reported a new lead/zinc mine near Mt. Hershey was being developed.
Dec. 8, 1940, the Arkansas Gazette reported the discovery of a deposit of manganese near George in northwest Newton County. Plans were made to mine manganese deposits between Ponca and Kingston. They felt the finds so important that the REA ran an electric line from Ponca to George so that modern machinery could be used. The manganese deposits had been discovered in an old drift from which lead had been mined years before. They were planning on having three 8-hour shifts to build a shaft and tunnel.

In some places, the old pick and shovel method was still in use. In this same article they said a large quantity of lead and zinc had been mined the old fashioned way at the Old Confederate Mine on Cave Creek.

Barbara LeRoy is the author of “Which Side Were They On?,” a new 302 page book listing biographical sketches of the Newton Countians who were involved in the Civil War, available for sale either in the Bradley House Museum or by purchasing online at www.newtoncountyar.com. The book sells for $33.