The Lost White Cement Mine

KGCnewbieseeker

Sr. Member
Oct 29, 2005
324
47
FL
Pure, native gold occurs in nature in only a few types of deposits. The most important of these include vein and fracture fillings, replacement bodies, pipe or "chimney" deposits, stockworks, saddle reefs, and placer deposits. In most hypogene (or primary) deposits, the matrix or gangue minerals are usually quartz and calcite. Gold is almost invariably associated with igneous rocks of intermediate to silicic composition. This knowledge guides prospectors in their search for the yellow metal. In general, they look for outcrops of highly altered rock containing veins, replacement bodies, reefs, or stockworks. Since most hypogene mineral deposits are derived from a magma source, an igneous intrusion of dioritic to granitic composition is almost always nearby. The ore deposits may be emplaced within the igneous body itself or within the surrounding country rock.


Eventually prospectors came to recognize the classic types of gold-bearing ore bodies. But what about nuggets of native gold in a light-colored, cement-like matrix? Can such a thing be possible? The geology of most gold-bearing ore bodies argues against it, but as everyone knows, gold is where you find it! In the history of mining in the Old West, at least three incredible ledges of gold-bearing cement-like ore have been discovered. Unfortunately, all three were lost soon after their initial discovery, but samples of ore were collected from each and all have survived.


One of the most famous of the gold-bearing cement ledges is the Lost Cement Mine in the Mammoth Lakes country of east-central California. Located somewhere in the Ritter Range south of Mono Lake, the Lost Cement Mine gained a legendary status in the gold camps of California.


Another of the famous ledges of gold-bearing cement lies at the southern end of the Panamint Range in Death Valley. Known as the Lost Mine of Manly Peak, the rich ledge was discovered in 1925 by Asa M. Russell and Ernie Huhn. When the two prospectors returned to Manly Peak to work the mine, they were unable to find it.


A third ledge of incredibly rich gold-bearing cement lies somewhere in the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains of southern Colorado, just north of the New Mexico border. Known as the Lost White Cement Mine, the fabulous ledge yielded samples of ore containing 1000 ounces of gold per ton! And like all the other gold-bearing cement ledges, the ore consisted of nuggets and grains of pure gold in a "cement-like" matrix.


During the summer of 1858, a party of prospectors led by Henry Sharron was camped in a canyon known as Horsehead Gulch, in northeastern New Mexico. One hot day in July, an old prospector stumbled into their camp, more dead than alive. The men at the camp nursed the old man back to health and soon found that he had a fantastic tale to tell.


The old prospector's name was White. He told the men in the camp that he had journeyed west in 1849 to seek his fortune in the gold fields of California. But after several years of disappointment, he decided to return home. It was well that he did so. While passing through the mountains of southern Colorado, he made the discovery of a lifetime. Somewhere back in those mountains, a few days northwest of Horsehead Gulch, White found a fabulous ledge of gold-bearing white "cement". The old man gathered a sackful of some of the best samples and continued southeastward out of the mountains. He became disoriented and eventually stumbled into the Sharron party's camp.


White showed the prospectors some of his ore. To their amazement, the ore was indeed cement-like in appearance. It looked like white cement speckled with gold! The ore was analyzed by the camp assayer and found to be extremely rich. Of course, the Sharron party worked themselves into a frenzy over this strange-looking ore. They managed to coerce the old man into leading them back to the mine where they would work the deposit together. The Sharron party offered old man White the richest and choicest part of the claim while they would split up the remainder. Unfortunately for the Sharron party, the old man began to have afterthoughts. On the third day of travel, near the Colorado/New Mexico border, White disappeared. He was never seen again. Just before he left, White had indicated that the ledge was only a day's journey away. The Sharron party therefore continued northwestward into the mountains in an attempt to find the deposit. They were unsuccessful. Although they combed the area, they were unable to find any cement-like deposits. The Lost White Cement Mine remains hidden to this day.
 

Old Bookaroo

Silver Member
Dec 4, 2008
4,168
3,180
Thank you for posting that! Quite interesting!

Mark Twain wrote a classic account of hunting for the Lost Cement Mine in Roughing It. Ginny White reprinted that, along with the 19th Century newspaper Cement Hunters series.

Merry Christmas to all,

~ The Old Bookaroo
 

Oroblanco

Gold Member
Jan 21, 2005
7,831
9,723
DAKOTA TERRITORY
Detector(s) used
Tesoro Lobo Supertraq, (95%) Garrett Scorpion (5%)
Ditto - thank you for posting this! It is a wonder that more treasure hunters don't hunt this one.
 

Old Bookaroo

Silver Member
Dec 4, 2008
4,168
3,180
Obviously, this is an old thread.

I again came across Charles Michelson's entertaining article (1901) on lost mines in the American West. I've posted part of this before. He wasn't always 100% accurate (are any of us?) but he was a native Westerner and a good writer.

White's Cement Mine - 1901.PNG



THE HUNT FOR WHITE'S CEMENT MINE


Most fascinating of all these stories of treasure is the history of White's Cement mine, which divides the interest of Rocky Mountain prospectors with the Lost Cabin. White was an old California gold seeker who came to Colorado with the prestige of having found numerous paying claims. He prospected alone, but indulged himself in the luxury of a half breed Indian camp attendant. One day in 1858, he came into Horse Head Gulch to buy supplies. He took a number of odd specimens to a German assayer in the camp and learned that they carried a thousand ounces–fifteen thousand dollars–to the ton. Of course a discovery of such magnitude could not be kept secret. White's specimens were apparently white clay, very hard, and speckled over with bits of gold. When the lumps were broken, it was apparent that the gold ran all through.

"Where did you get it?" was naturally the first question put to the old prospector.

"That's my business!” was his prompt reply.

"Is there much of it?” was the next query.

"Plenty."

No other information than this would he give, though he was urged by men to whom he was under obligation for help extended when he was down to bed rock in his grub box.

That night there was a miners' meeting held in Horse Head Gulch. It was presided over by a brother of the late Senator Sharon of Nevada. The camp was in an uproar, for it had been well-nigh a dead camp, and the knowledge that such a bonanza was somewhere close at hand was like the smell of meat to wolves in winter. The miners' meeting resolved itself into a committee of the whole, and, headed by Sharon proceeded to the shack where White was sleeping, cynically unconcerned with the turmoil in the camp. They awakened the old prospector and told him firmly that he must lead them to his find. He could, they told him, reserve for himself the pick of the claims, and they would work it for him if he wished; but they would not permit him to hold out the whole country.

White told them to go to a certain distant camp–not the one whose streets are paved with gold.

This answer was the signal for the arrival of a sub-committee, which came in bearing a rope taken from a windlass of a neighboring claim. After a short session with the sub-committee, White reconsidered his determination, and consented to lead them to the rich cement deposit on the terms offered by the miners.

The camp went wild at the prospect, and the miners' enthusiasm did not wane even when White told them that the place of promise lay a hundred and fifty miles or more away to the southeast, which would locate it in northern New Mexico. The supply stores were seized, and outfits were fairly divided among the prospective millionaires, for it was determined that everybody should have a square show; and in two days the start was made. Horse Head was deserted.

The first day's march saw the army trailing over the roughest part of the Rocky Mountains. White and his Indian boy were, of course, in the lead. Those of the miners who had been lucky enough to obtain mounts kept close, to them, and the rest struggled along behind as fast as they could come. The bad feeling of the night of the committee's visit was forgotten, and everybody was pleasant to the gray haired prospector who was leading them to fortune.

By the first night half the horses had gone lame, and the guard that kept up with White was thinned. By the end of the next day, the weaker miners had dropped so far back that there was a trail of stragglers extending for miles along the trail. When three days had passed, most of the crowd had parted with everything except what was absolutely indispensable, and many had gone beyond the line of safety in lessening their loads.

That night found the head of the weary column on a remote ridge, while before them lay a desert country, bounded on the far horizon by a stupendous range of gray rock. Among these forbidding cliffs, White said, lay the cement Eldorado. The men lay down for the night in their clothes–for blankets had been thrown away–on the bleak ridge, being too much spent to move down into the canyon before them, where there might have been water.

Morning dawned, but White was no longer with them. While the sleep of exhaustion held the other miners, their guide and his Indian had slipped away, nor did any one of the band he had tricked ever see him again. It is said that half of the men who started with him from Horse Head Gulch never got back; but even the story of suffering and disaster told by the survivors could not stop the rush that the news of White's find had started all through the Rocky Mountain country.

It was three years later that White was heard of again. Then he turned up in Salt Lake City, with more of the wonderful specimens that had been associated with his name wherever men talked of gold and gold mines. He stayed but a short time, and would not talk about his adventures, parting only with enough of his gold spangled clay to provide himself with a few necessities. He disappeared from Salt Lake at night, and was never heard of again. That was thirty years ago. The White Cement mine has been re*ported found a dozen times, but no specimens like those that White brought to Horse Head and to Salt Lake have ever been shown to make good the stories of treasure trove.

Such tales are thick as sand burrs in the West. Every section has its lost mine, and each believes implicitly in its own, while scoffing at all other stories.


Good luck to all,

The Old Bookaroo
 
Last edited:

jayday65

Tenderfoot
Dec 18, 2006
7
0
front range colorado
Detector(s) used
Gti 2500 garett,Compass X-200 challenger
Obviously, this is an old thread.

I again came across Charles Michelson's entertaining article (1901) on lost mines in the American West. I've posted part of this before. He wasn't always 100% accurate (are any of us?) but he was a native Westerner and a good writer.

View attachment 1926117



THE HUNT FOR WHITE'S CEMENT MINE

Most fascinating of all these stories of treasure is the history of White's Cement mine, which divides the interest of Rocky Mountain prospectors with the Lost Cabin. White was an old California gold seeker who came to Colorado with the prestige of having found numerous paying claims. He prospected alone, but indulged himself in the luxury of a half breed Indian camp attendant. One day in 1858, he came into Horse Head Gulch to buy supplies. He took a number of odd specimens to a German assayer in the camp and learned that they carried a thousand ounces–fifteen thousand dollars–to the ton. Of course a discovery of such magnitude could not be kept secret. White's specimens were apparently white clay, very hard, and speckled over with bits of gold. When the lumps were broken, it was apparent that the gold ran all through.

"Where did you get it?" was naturally the first question put to the old prospector.

"That's my business!” was his prompt reply.

"Is there much of it?” was the next query.

"Plenty."

No other information than this would he give, though he was urged by men to whom he was under obligation for help extended when he was down to bed rock in his grub box.

That night there was a miners' meeting held in Horse Head Gulch. It was presided over by a brother of the late Senator Sharon of Nevada. The camp was in an uproar, for it had been well-nigh a dead camp, and the knowledge that such a bonanza was somewhere close at hand was like the smell of meat to wolves in winter. The miners' meeting resolved itself into a committee of the whole, and, headed by Sharon proceeded to the shack where White was sleeping, cynically unconcerned with the turmoil in the camp. They awakened the old prospector and told him firmly that he must lead them to his find. He could, they told him, reserve for himself the pick of the claims, and they would work it for him if he wished; but they would not permit him to hold out the whole country.

White told them to go to a certain distant camp–not the one whose streets are paved with gold.

This answer was the signal for the arrival of a sub-committee, which came in bearing a rope taken from a windlass of a neighboring claim. After a short session with the sub-committee, White reconsidered his determination, and consented to lead them to the rich cement deposit on the terms offered by the miners.

The camp went wild at the prospect, and the miners' enthusiasm did not wane even when White told them that the place of promise lay a hundred and fifty miles or more away to the southeast, which would locate it in northern New Mexico. The supply stores were seized, and outfits were fairly divided among the prospective millionaires, for it was determined that everybody should have a square show; and in two days the start was made. Horse Head was deserted.

The first day's march saw the army trailing over the roughest part of the Rocky Mountains. White and his Indian boy were, of course, in the lead. Those of the miners who had been lucky enough to obtain mounts kept close, to them, and the rest struggled along behind as fast as they could come. The bad feeling of the night of the committee's visit was forgotten, and everybody was pleasant to the gray haired prospector who was leading them to fortune.

By the first night half the horses had gone lame, and the guard that kept up with White was thinned. By the end of the next day, the weaker miners had dropped so far back that there was a trail of stragglers extending for miles along the trail. When three days had passed, most of the crowd had parted with everything except what was absolutely indispensable, and many had gone beyond the line of safety in lessening their loads.

That night found the head of the weary column on a remote ridge, while before them lay a desert country, bounded on the far horizon by a stupendous range of gray rock. Among these forbidding cliffs, White said, lay the cement Eldorado. The men lay down for the night in their clothes–for blankets had been thrown away–on the bleak ridge, being too much spent to move down into the canyon before them, where there might have been water.

Morning dawned, but White was no longer with them. While the sleep of exhaustion held the other miners, their guide and his Indian had slipped away, nor did any one of the band he had tricked ever see him again. It is said that half of the men who started with him from Horse Head Gulch never got back; but even the story of suffering and disaster told by the survivors could not stop the rush that the news of White's find had started all through the Rocky Mountain country.

It was three years later that White was heard of again. Then he turned up in Salt Lake City, with more of the wonderful specimens that had been associated with his name wherever men talked of gold and gold mines. He stayed but a short time, and would not talk about his adventures, parting only with enough of his gold spangled clay to provide himself with a few necessities. He disappeared from Salt Lake at night, and was never heard of again. That was thirty years ago. The White Cement mine has been re*ported found a dozen times, but no specimens like those that White brought to Horse Head and to Salt Lake have ever been shown to make good the stories of treasure trove.

Such tales are thick as sand burrs in the West. Every section has its lost mine, and each believes implicitly in its own, while scoffing at all other stories.



Good luck to all,

The Old Bookaroo
Thanks for sharing your story!
 

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