Gold Mining in Tennessee
Gold was discovered at numerous localities in Tennessee, mainly along the belt of Ocee slates and shales and between the French Broad River and Georgia Line. The principal localities in which gold was found are Montvale Springs, Blount County, Citico and Cane Creeks in Monroe County. The Coca Creek district produced the largest part of the gold mined in the state.
The many relics of mining operations in the shape of tools and working on copper, lead and zinc veins in the state would seem to indicate that the Spaniards had once been actively engaged in mining operations, not for these base metals but with the expectation of finding gold and silver. The first mint return from the state was in 1831, but as it is an exceptional case, when sufficient production were obtained from metal mining operations, and especially precious metal mining, were reported mint returns during the first years of such work. It is probable that mining was performed on somewhat earlier. Nevertheless, the first mention made regarding mining was that gold found in Coca Creek, Monroe County, as early as 1831.
It is important to indicate that silver which the natives of Kentucky and eastern Tennessee were known to collect and probably smelt by some crude process and which they tendered to the early settlers in barer. It was evident that they must have existed or that the Indians had by chance blundered on to cache of the Spaniards. Independent of the trace of silver-ore found on assays in lead ores, two specimens of silver sulphides were found in the waters of the Cumberland Mountains.