Betty O'Neal Mine

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Lander County

PART 2: The events that occurred prior to 1900 are written on the "Betty O'Neal" link on the Lander County page. The events that occurred from 1900 forward are written here.

I wasn't able to find any further articles on Betty O'Neal until September of 1906. The article from the Central Nevadan stated that a bond was taken out on the property, which was owned by the Blossom Estate. A steam engine and pump were purchased for the mine. By early November, two shifts were working to drain the water from the shaft. Work soon halted when they were unable to secure enough coal to run the engine. I wasn't able to find any other mining related articles until February of 1909. The article spoke about another revival. W.S. Wilhelm of the Omaha-Nevada Company leased the mine to Miller, Beck, Borcherding and Blose. Ore had already been shipped and further shipments were being planned. A new tunnel had been driven 450 feet to connect with the old workings. On occasions in the past, newspapers spoke about revivals at Betty O'Neal, only to see them quickly fail. After February of 1909, I was not able to find another article until September of 1913. It spoke about a new group of owners. There may be a period between 1910-1911 where the Betty O'Neal name was changed to Kimball. I will research this and add what I find. The next "Betty O'Neal" articles that I discovered were in October of 1917. The Carson Daily Appeal article was titled: "Famous Property Sold". They reported that a prominent Lander County mining man name L.W. Getchell was engaged in a deal to purchase Betty O'Neal, as well as some mines in the Lewis area. In October of 1917, the Goldfield News reported: "Upon re-visiting the mine this week the shaft was found to be in practically as fine shape as when worked years before." After this, the boom/bust pattern repeats. The next article that I found was from the Silver State on September 2, 1920. It read in its entirety: "Preparatory work for reopening the Betty O'Neal mine under way." Although some historians have stated that the following events occurred in 1922, newspapers of the era spoke about it happening as early as late 1920. One article from the White Pine News on November 28, 1920 was titled: "Son Works Mine Father Abandoned Many Years Ago." It read that Noble Getchell was now in possession of the mine. He had already re-equipped the mine and pumped 11,000,000 gallons of water from the shaft. The shaft was said to be in good condition. The Silver State reported on December 18, 1920, "Twenty men getting Betty O'Neal mine ready for active development." The Elko Independent reported in June of 1921 that $4,000 a ton ore had been discovered at the 150-foot level. By the end of 1921, major plans for building and expansion were being discussed. In 1922, Betty O'Neal would finally see the major revival that had been attempted so many times in the past. Forty men were employed by January of 1922, with more hiring planned. By February, more high-grade ore was discovered. By April, contracts were being prepared to build a 100-ton flotation mill and other buildings at the site. Newspapers began to report on the prosperity that was coming back to Lander County. 100 additional men were expected to be hired. By late May, a bunkhouse and dormitory were being built. Mill construction was also expected to begin any day. Machinery and construction material was arriving at Betty O'Neal on a regular basis. By July, there were talks of building a power plant at Betty O'Neal. By August, the owners were discussing a deal to further expand the company. An article from the Carson Daily Appeal on November 6, 1922 reported: "Betty O'Neal's new 100-ton flotation mill to go into commission at once." Reports of rich ore, high production and milling success continued. By February of 1923, plans were made to build a railroad branch to Betty O'Neal from the Central Pacific line at Battle Mountain. I was not able to find any further reporting on the railroad line. By May, plans were made to increase the size of the mill to 250 tons. By the summer, the mill was being expanded to that capacity. Employee houses and a recreation hall were also built. However, mining is a fickle industry. Too much good news never lasts. A drop in silver prices led to layoffs in August of 1923. All of the new improvements were also halted. Production at the mine was dropped to 150 tons a day until silver prices increased. By October, operations were in full swing again. On October 24, 1923, the Fallon Standard reported that there were 135 people at the Betty O'Neal camp, with more houses being built. In March of 1924, an extremely rich vein containing 6,000 ounces of silver to the ton had been located. By July, a newspaper called the 'Betty O'Neal Concentrator' began publishing a weekly edition. The Betty O'Neal mine continued to operate with success until just before the end of the decade when it finally ran out of ore. Today, with the exception of a leaning mill that could fall over any day, you would never know that this town was ever even there. The Betty O'Neal was one of the richest and longest lasting mines in Nevada history. A true staple of Lander County and Nevada in general. May her memory live on.

***Historical Note*** While researching Betty O'Neal, I found an article from the Central Nevadan, dated August 15, 1907. It discussed a man by the name of George O'Brighter. He was called "one of the early settlers of Northern Lander." It further stated, "Mr. O'Brighter discovered the Grand Prize mine in Tuscarora and also the Betty O'Neal mine at Lewis, this county." It is obvious that George O'Brighter knew his business very well. Both the Betty O'Neal and the Grand Prize mines were huge parts of building and sustaining the communities of Tuscarora and Betty O'Neal.

SEE PART 1 on the Lander County Page in the "Betty O'Neal" 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).