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Friday, May 25, 2012

The Lost Doukobor Mine

Argentite aka Acanthite
Photo by Rob Lavinsky

In autumn of 1929 lightning struck in Gold Creek Basin and started a forest fire in the area behind Hubbard Ridge, to the north of Flagstaff Mountain.  Although the fire was in Washington State the nearest crew for fighting the fire was a crew of twenty-five Doukobors from Rossland, British Columbia.  The Doukobors were a religious sect that migrated from Russia mainly during 1899 that were mainly farmers, but many of the men worked on the railroad while their women did the actual farming.

While the Doukobors were fighting the fire it jumped their fireguard and engulfed their camp in flames.  The firefighters ran for their lives.  Once the fire was finally extinguished they conducted a headcount and discovered two of their crew was missing.  The next morning the missing men rejoined their crew.

The Doukobors told the rest of their crew how they had managed to keep ahead of the flames.  During the night they took shelter at the base of a landslide where they discovered a vein of galena, an ore of lead and silver.  The men took samples of this ore that they brought back with them.  One of the workmen named Ray Wiley recalled later, “It was fine grained argentite – high grade silver ore.

The ore was sent to the CM&S Company’s assay office in Trail, British Columbia where it was assayed at over 1,000 ounces of silver per ton, thus it was bonanza ore.  Later in 1930 the Doukobors in company with some geologists returned looking for the rich vein of galena at the foot of a landslide.  They were unable to find a trace of the silver ledge, nor even the landslide.

Since that time many other prospectors have searched in Gold Creek Basin for the lost Doukobor Mine, but all their attempts to find the galena bearing ledge have failed.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very interesting story I've been doing some research on. I am thinking of just driving up there to check out the seems that a certain FR 15 runs along and across Gold Creek, up and past where it begins near Flagstaff Mountain. Do you know anything about this road? I am surprised that during the construction of this road they didn't make any discoveries; if there is anything to be discovered that is.