Betty O'Neal

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Lander County

PART 1: The events that occurred prior to 1900 will be written on this page. The events that occurred from 1900 forward will be written on the "Betty O'Neal Mine" link located on the Lander County page.

While dates of 1880, 1881 and 1882 have appeared as founding dates for Betty O'Neal and the Betty O'Neal Mine, it is clear that the area was already well established by 1879. Based on the conflicting dates, I mainly used old newspaper archives for this write-up. An article from the Daily Silver State in July of 1879 was titled "Lewis District". The article read, "The owners of the Betty O'Neal Mine, in Lewis, are erecting buildings..." In August of 1880, the Battle Mountain Messenger reported "Six bars of bullion from the Betty O'Neal Mine, Lewis District, valued at $7,000, came down on Thursday..." By February of 1881, Unionized miners in the town of Lewis convinced miners in Betty O'Neal to walk off the job and join the miner's strike. This caused mines in both locations to shut down. The demand was $4 per day in wages. This was eventually resolved. A few months later, progress was being made in the Lewis and Betty O'Neal mines. The Betty O'Neal was reported to have good hoisting works on the property. They were also engaged in sinking the shaft and pumping water out of the mine. Reports of good bullion shipments continued through May of 1882, with a report of 50 men at work. By the middle of June, the workforce had been reduced to 30 men. Custom milling costs were being blamed. In June of 1882, growing Anti-Chinese sentiment and activism began to appear in the area. The formation of an Anti-Chinese Club was discussed. Businesses and mines were asked to fire their Chinese employees. The Betty O'Neal employed three Chinese men at that time. They were paid the wages due to them and let go by Superintendent D.P. Pierce. In late October of 1882, a boiler exploded at the hoisting works. A carman and station tender named Thomas Bastian was killed. G.W. Bateman and Judge McKenney were also injured non-fatally. In March of 1883, Henrietta Bastian (wife of Thomas) filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the mine for $25,000. By April of 1883, financial troubles were evident. The Silver State reported, "This is bad for northern Lander." The mine owed $6,322 that it couldn't pay. This included $2,000 in wages owed to miners, millmen and other employees. Four bars of bullion worth over $3,600 also came up missing. Foreman John Thomas admitted that he and Superintendent Gillis took the bullion and concealed it. Thomas tried to flee the miners by taking a train to Reno. He was later arrested there. In May, some men who were goofing around near the mine dump, discovered ten hidden tanks of Quicksilver that had also come up missing. By July of 1883, both Lewis and Betty O'Neal were being compared to "A Deserted Village". The article stated, "The late trouble of the Betty O'Neal mine has given Lewis a very serious backset, from which it will take a long while to recover, if it entirely does." Troubles continued for Betty O'Neal through October of 1883. The wrongful death lawsuit filed by Henrietta Bastian was slated for District Court. From this point forward, there was a complete void in reporting (that I could find anyway) until the Spring of 1885. J.W. McKittrick leased the mine from J.A. Blossom and had put twelve men to work. However, the hoisting works, machinery and mining tools were sold at a Sheriff's Sale in May. It was stated that men would be getting equipment in order and pumping the shaft very soon. By June, labor troubles were again brewing in the area. Unionized miners at Lewis were again trying to convince the Betty O'Neal miners to quit or join the union. A June 9, 1885 article from The Silver State reported that the mine was now closed. This was based on "...some trouble with the Miner's Union in regard to the wages paid the miners..." The owner claimed that there was a lot of "dead work" to be done in revitalizing the mine before any profits would be seen. He couldn't afford the miners demands. Therefore, he decided to let the mine go idle until a more opportune time. I was not able to find any further articles until June of 1899. That article only referenced future speculation. From 1885 forward, no real activity would take place here again until well after 1900. Information from 1900 forward is written on the "Betty O'Neal Mine" page.

SEE PART 2 on the Lander County Page in the "Betty O'Neal Mine" link.

Sources: Mines of Lander and Eureka Counties (By: William O. Vanderburg); Daily Silver State/ The Silver State (Newspaper); Eureka Sentinel/ Eureka Daily Sentinel (Newspaper); Gold Hill Daily News (Newspaper); White Pine News (Newspaper); The Central Nevadan (Newspaper); The Goldfield News (Newspaper); Carson Daily Appeal (Newspaper); Elko Independent (Newspaper); The Fallon Standard (Newspaper); Las Vegas Age (Newspaper); Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps (By: Stanley Paher); Nevada Place Names- A Geographical Dictionary (By: Helen Carlson); Romancing Nevada's Past- Ghost Towns and Historic Sites of Eureka, Lander and White Pine Counties (By: Shawn Hall).