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Friday, March 4, 2011

Gold Occurrences in North Carolina

Gold was discovered in North Carolina in 1799 by an 11-year-old farm boy named Conrad Reed who was fishing in the creek that ran across this father's property. He was fishing in the creek when something that was yellow and shiny caught his eye, so he took it from the creek  and brought it home where for several years it was used as a door stop. It was actually a gold nugget that weighed 17 pounds, but nobody in his family was able to identify what the mystery stone was. From that time on gold is an important part of North Carolina's history.

Reed was one of the many Hessian soldiers that deserted from the British Army during the Revolutionary war and took up farming in North Carolina. Although he was unable to identify what the mystery stone was, but by being a practical man when he was offered $3.50 by a local jeweler he accepted the offer. It wasn't until later that he found out with the mystary stone really was that led to a suite where Reed was eventually awarded $1000.

Panning for gold in North Carolina

The first gold mine in the state was established in 1803 that would make North Carolina the only state producing gold until 1828. It remained nation until the discovery of gold in California in 1848. The gold rush of 1849 into North Carolina's reign as the leading gold producing state of the nation although gold is still produced in the state mainly by weekend miners and prospectors.

Although there are placer gold deposits to be found in North Carolina most of the early mines were in hard rock where some of them extended as far as 400 feet into the earth. One of these mines located at Gold Hill eventually reached a depth of 800 feet in 1857.

North Carolina is located in the gold pyrite belt of the Southern Appalachian's that reaches from Maryland to Alabama. In North Carolina it includes the Piedmont and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The last significant amount of gold that was produced in North Carolina was as a byproduct from copper mining in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Amalgamation tables at the Reed Gold Mine in North Carolina 

Gold is still being produced in North Carolina by small-scale miners and weekend prospectors that even though they don't get much gold for their efforts they are at least rewarded with a few colors of gold at the bottom of their gold pans.


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