Gold Mining in Washington
Some gold placers were discovered in Washington. The Peshastin Creek placers were discovered in 1860 and were worked irregularly. The Swauk placers, located in 1868 were successfully operated. Gold bearing veins were discovered in the Peshastin district in 1873. The first discovery in the Peshastin district was by Culver and Saunders and was called the Culver vein. The republic mine was located and stacked in March, 1896 by Ryan and Creasor, prospectors from the Coeur d’Alene district. Fifteen days later, the Mountain Lion mine was discovered by Arthur Best, and the fraction, Flat Iron and Last Chance were located by George Rennels and J. Bell.
In 1900, the Mountain Lion mine ranked next to the Republic was as one of the great mines of the Eureka district and consisted of six claims, of which three are given above, the others being Mountain Lion, Fraction, Navahoe and Zeta. In 1881, the mining operations practically confined to Yokina, Peshastin district and Spokane counties and to the Snake River in Columbia, Garfield and Whitman counties. In Stevens County were located the Mount Chopaco mines, often known as the Smilkameen, The mining operations were confined to eight counties including the above.
The largest producers of silver in 1898 were in Stevens County. The first discovery in the Embry camp occurred in 1883; about two miles east of Chewelah, the most noted mine was the Eagle, which consisted of six claims. Other important mines in this locality were the Alice, Copper King, Jay Gould, and Golden Crown. These mines produced gold, silver, lead and copper. The north half of the Colville Indian reservation was open to mineral entries in February, 1897.
In 1892, three small hydraulic operations were underway in Kittitas County, the best claims being the Black, Bigny and Delig. During 1895, there was a decrease in gold production in the state. In 1899, the mines of the republic district were actively developed, but owing to the closing down of the Republic mine, the output was still low. During 1902, practically all of the Republic mines were operating, while in 1904, both the gold and silver production increased. The Sherman District, some ten miles northwest of the Republics got great attention in 1904.
The country has been subjected to extensive lava-flows which folded sedimentary rocks of considerable range in age, the Monte Cristo in the Cascade Range and the Republic districts are the two most important sources of gold in Washington. From the limited information available, the precious metals deposits were found in fissure-veins, contact and impregnations, the ore forming minerals were chalcopyrite, pyrite, bornite, pyrrhotite, marcasite, arsenopyrite, galena, cuprite, magnetite, stibnite, argentite, millerite, and realgar. The gangue was basically quartz, tonalite, andesite and limestone.