Friday, October 8, 2010

The Mine Of Lost Souls

On the eastern end of the Uinta Mountains, there is a place where treasure hunters and prospectors have spent years searching for a presumably rich silver mine. It is the Dry Fork of Ashley Creek. The details pertaining to this lode are sketchy at best, but the fact that its location is right in the middle of one of the only areas in the Uintas to have ever produced commercial ore, make it one that is definitely worth looking for!

The story goes that sometime before the Indian revolt of 1844, there was a rich silver mine that was worked by Spaniards, or Mexicans depending on who is telling the story. A time came when the miners where attacked and killed by the Indians and nearly all of the miners were killed and their bodies were thrown in the mine shaft. The ones who weren't killed had managed to keep themselves hidden long enough to go unnoticed and eventually made their way back to the settlements in New Mexico.

Among them was a small girl who, many years later recalled her story to others. She called this place The Mine Of Lost Souls and still remembered the landmarks nearby. She stated that the mine is on a high point of land near the conjunction of two streams. One of the streams disappeared into a sinkhole only to resurface several miles down canyon. There was a natural stone bridge that spanned a side canyon and not far from the bridge was a cave where some of the miners had lived.

If you drive up the Dry Fork of Ashley Creek you will come to a place where two forks come together. Take the left fork and you will see a natural bridge that spans a side canyon on your right. About a half a mile from the stone bridge is a cave that is hidden in the brush. Further still you will find the sinkhole where the creek disappears. The mine has to be close by here somewhere. Just waiting for the lucky prospector........ .......maybe you!

In the 1930's a man by the name of Sam Reynolds of Vernal, Utah, was approached by an older gentleman of Mexican descent. He had a map that led to a mine worked by his family in the long ago. Being unfamiliar with the territory, this man asked Mr. Reynolds to help him locate the mine. According to Mr. Reynolds, the map led them directly to the canyon where the stone arch is. The two were unable however, to find the mine. It had probably been carefully concealed when the Indians revolted.

There have been other mineral strikes in this area in more recent times. The Carbonate Mining District was formed in June of 1880 and one month later surveys were made for the townsite of Bullionville. Gold strikes were made on nearby Gilbert Peak in 1894. The early mines at Bullionville were less than spectacular and given it's proximity to Brown's Hole, Bullionville soon became better known for outlaws than for miners.
In 1887 the famous Dyer Mine was discovered and things changed. The Dyer was a rich copper mine with ore running about 20% copper. Some of the richer bodies of ore ran higher than 50% copper. The Dyer also produced enough silver and gold to cover expenses. Gold was discovered on Marsh Peak in 1897 and the town had another boom. This particular deposit was fairly rich but extremely shallow and the ore soon gave out. The Dyer Mine soon played out as well and eventually shut down in 1900. Bullionville was no
more. The Dyer had been in production for 13 years and produced over $3,000,000 in copper alone.

So, we know that the Ashley and Brush Creek areas are mineralized. All of the landmarks are right there in Dry Fork, the Mine of Lost Souls shouldn't be too hard to find....but it is!

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