Early History

 !! GOLD !!

The earliest reference to the existence of gold in Virginia was by Thomas Jefferson in 1782.  Jefferson described a sample of ore weighing about 4 pounds that was found on the north side of the Rappahannock River about 4 miles below the falls near Fredericksburg. 

The next discovery was at the Whitehall Mine in Spotsylvania County in 1806, but mining did not begin there until 1848.


The Tinder Flats Mine on Contrary Creek near present day Mineral was first operated in 1830.


From 1836 to 1850 the State's annual production of gold was between $50,000 and $100,000.

The Walton Mine on Contrary Creek near Mineral was one of the richest gold deposits in Central Virginia, producing ore ranging from $118.00 to $2,673.00 per ton. 

In 1836 the Jenkins Mine on Contrary Creek was producing $2,000.00 to $3,000.00 in gold per year. Gold ore was found on the property, which, according to a master miner, had pieces of gold approximately five eights of an inch in diameter protruding from it. 


The Civil War almost completely stopped gold mining in Virginia.


Iron and pyrite mining began in 1834 and the iron ore was refined in two charcoal bast furnaces, the Rough and Ready, and Victoria furnaces. 

Miners in the picture above sluice for gold using a long tom sluice box.