Comstock Lode


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Comstock Lode,

richest known U.S. silver deposit, W Nevada, on Mt. Davidson in the Virginia Range. It is said to have been discovered in 1857 by Ethan Allen Grosh and Hosea Ballou Grosh, sons of a Pennsylvania minister and veterans of the California gold fields who died under tragic circumstances before their claims were recorded. Henry T. P. Comstock, known as Old Pancake, was a sheepherder and prospector who took possession of the brothers' cabin and tried to find their old sites. He and others searching for gold laid claim to sections of the Comstock (1859) but soon sold them for insignificant sums. The lode did not become really profitable until its bluish sand was assayed as silver. News of the discovery then spread rapidly, attracting promoters and traders as well as miners, and the lode was the scene of feverish activity. Among early arrivals was William Morris Stewart, who later became one of Nevada's first senators. Camps and trading posts in the area became important supply centers, and Virginia City, a mining camp on the mountain, was for several decades the "capital" of the lode and a center of fabulous luxury. Great fortunes were made by the "silver kings," John W. Mackay, James Graham Fair, James C. Flood, and William S. O'Brien, and by Adolph Sutro, George Hearst, and Eilley Orrum Bowers. Silver determined the economy and development of Nevada until exhaustion of the mines by wasteful methods of mining and the demonetization of silver started a decline in the 1870s. By 1898 the Comstock was virtually abandoned.

Bibliography

See G. Smith, History of the Comstock Lode (1943); G. Lyman, The Saga of the Comstock Lode (1934, repr. 1971); L. Beebe and C. Clegg, Legends of the Comstock Lode (4th ed. 1956).

Comstock Lode

richest silver vein in world. [Amer. Hist.: Flexner, 177]

Comstock Lode

richest silver deposit in U.S.; famous during frontier days. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 418]
References in periodicals archive ?
Described, too, are the silver rushes to Tombstone, Arizona and to the famous Comstock Lode of Nevada; the rush to the Cripple Creek, Colorado region with its "unusual" gold ore (sylvanite); and the last and in some ways most outrageous of all the gold rushes, the one to the Yukon Territory in the late 1890 's.
Less than 15 miles southwest of the Comstock Lode (and 10 miles due east of Lake Tahoe), the town originated and grew due to the 19th-century silver-mining boom surrounding Virginia City.
Skeel cites neither the Currency Act of 1792, which made bimetallism government policy for the next 141 years, nor the discovery of the Comstock Lode, whose rich veins flooded the late 19th century world with so much silver that it altered the relative prices of the two precious metals.
41; Gunther Peck, "Manly Gambles: The Politics of Risk on the Comstock Lode, 1860-1880,, Journal of Social History 26 (1993): 701-723.
Mackay, who'd struck it obscenely rich in Nevada City's Comstock Lode before moving on to Butte, Mont.
He succeeded in solving the drainage, ventilation, and access problems in the mines at the Comstock lode in the Nevada territory.
Not till 1859, however, were the surface outcroppings of the Comstock Lode discovered in Nevada--one of the world's mineral treasure stores, which at its best yielded $20,000,000 worth of mingled gold and silver annually, and over time produced a total of $400,000,000 worth of precious ore.
The Mogollon Project covers an extensive, silver-gold bearing epithermal vein field with geological similarities to Comstock Lode, Nevada and Guanajuato District, Mexico.
The East-side of Lucerne encompasses a nearly half-mile long segment of the Gold Hill/Silver City extension of the Comstock Lode and already has an extensive amount of drilling.
The rich shelf of silver and gold ore discovered deep below Virginia City was subsequently dubbed the Comstock Lode.
16) By 1865, the vast majority of miners on the Comstock Lode no longer worked above ground on their own claims, but instead toiled underground for wages in large, highly-capitalized mine operations.
site of the fabulous Comstock Lode, in the period from 1860 to 1880.