Gold Mining in Texas
There are historical references on gold mining activity in Texas. Gold and silver were found in this state. The monks of the order of St. Francis discovered and worked the silver mines of El Paso. These mines were closed and hidden by them, remaining unknown until 1793, and reopened in 1872. In 1892, Texas was a small producer of gold and silver, the main districts were the Llano, Mason and the Trans-Pecos. Probably the most pretentious workings were near Shafter, Presidio County, where silver was mined since 1884. The country rock is dolomitic limestone which has been considerable disturbed by the intrusion of igneous matter, the center of the disturbance being the Chinatti Mountains. Two dikes traversed the property of Presidio mine, which have probably influenced the mineralization, as the orebodies were more or less intimately associated with such occurrences.
The ore of the Presidio mine was free-milling silver chloride, bearing traces of gold and argentiferous galena. Some prospectors indicated the presence of copper. The line separating these two classes of ore was about one-half mile west of the Presidio mine. The ore occurred as pockets and impregnations in limestone strata, which was being as much as 50 to 60 feet in both vertical and horizontal dimensions.
Gold was found in small quantities in Llano and Gillespie counties. Veins contained traces of gold in the Quitman Mountains. Gold also was found in the Burnetan system of rocks of central Texas. The Bonanza and Alice Ray mines of the Quitman Mountain produced some fairly good ore containing 30% of lead, 25% of zinc, 20 to 30 ounces of silver, with traces of gold. Gold and silver associated with pyrite, marcasite and several copper and lead minerals occurred in the Burnetan system, usually as infiltrated masses, streaks, pockets. The Trans-Pecos region produced gold and silver, especially the latter. The Presidio and Cibolo mines were the main silver producers. The copper ores of the Carrizo Mountains showed traces of gold. The Silver Mine Creek, southeast of Enchanted Rock, Gillespie County was the scene of operations in 1889 of gold prospecting activity. The ore found consisted of schists and quartz-seams carrying pyrite, which in part was altered to hematite and limonite. The only district in the Central Mineral region that produced gold was the county about the headwaters of the Little Llano Creek and Babyhead Creek, in Llano County. Here the gold was associated with silver and copper-bearing minerals.
The auriferous deposits of Big Sandy Creek were known for some time, but the work has some restrictions. Where there were gold bearing rocks, deposits of auriferous gravel were found. Some gold was produced in 1902, but the largest part of the product was silver, most of which came from the Presidio mine at Shafter. The Burnetan rock system of central Texas also reported some gold in small quantities as was reported by the Geological Survey of Texas in 1889.