Johnnie- Johnnie Mine
AKA: Montgomery; Johny. The area of Johnnie Mine, which also had its own camp, was also known as: Labbe Camp and Yount Camp
Gold was discovered by prospectors in 1890 who were looking for the Lost Breyfogle ledge. The sites that are now known as the Chispa (now Congress) and Johnnie Mines were developed. The Chispa Mine was located west of the Johnnie townsite. The Johnnie Mine was located northeast of the townsite. The Johnnie camp, which was originally called Montgomery, had over 100 residents by May. Water was packed in by donkey across the Pahrump Valley from Horsechutem Springs in the Spring Mountains. Within a couple of years, only the Chispa was in operation. Shallow veins sent the area into decline. In 1898, Angus McArthur made claims on the Chispa and Johnnie Mines. He had learned that the Montgomery's hadn't done enough assessment work to keep their claims legitimate. Not only did the Montgomerys brush this claim off, but they sold their interests to a powerful investing group out of Utah known as the Sterling Group. This caused a great legal dispute that eventually led to a gun battle. After McArthur's claims were brushed off, he hired professional gunfighters to take the Chispa Mine by force. This armed surge was successful. However, these gunfighters, which included legendary Nevada gunfighter Jack Longstreet, let their guard down. They didn't expect the Montgomerys and the Utah group to respond violently. Approximately ten days later, they sent in a group of men to take the Chispa Mine back. A man named Phil Foote was shot in the chest and killed during the gun battle. A headline from the Salt Lake City Tribune read: "Desperadoes Surprised- Volley is Poured into a Crowd- Foote and Two Half-Breeds Fall- Posse of Twenty Deputy Sheriffs on the Scene". Jack Longstreet was arrested and transported all the way to the county seat at Belmont almost 200 miles away. During these mine disputes, the cookhouse and mill were burned and the mine was dynamited. By early 1899, nothing was operating and the camp emptied. Based on discoveries at Rhyolite and Goldfield, some miners drifted back down to the Johnnie area. New discoveries were made at the Chispa/ Congress. By 1907, there were 350 residents living here. This also included stores, saloons, restaurants and a hotel. The Johnnie Mine was also purchased and 70 men were immediately hired to begin work. Activity declined by 1914 and the town was again in descent. I could continue on about the ups, downs, brief revivals and who did what work at Johnnie after this point. However, as I've stated earlier, I'm not trying to re-invent the wheel. There is a ton of outstanding history written on this area. Purchase those writings from the authors who put in so much effort writing about it.
Post Office: August 7, 1891 to March 17, 1894 (at Montgomery); June 28, 1898 to April 18, 1899 (at Johny);
May 27, 1905 to December 31, 1914; April 14, 1916 to November 6, 1935 (at Johnnie); September 14, 1937 to June 30, 1942 (at Johnnie Mine)
Last Trip/ Road Conditions: Johnnie Mine was the first ghost town excursion that I took with my buddies as a teenager. Being from Pahrump, I've been through here more times than I can count. I've explored the east (Johnnie Mine) side of Highway 160 more than I have the west (Johnnie/ Chispa/ Congress) side though. It's been a few years since I've been there. My last trip was probably in 2015. The Johnnie Mine area roads have always been okay to travel. I can't speak for every spur, which may include some bad ones, but the roads that we have taken on the Johnnie Mine side have always been okay for us.
Point of Interest: During that trip to the Johnnie Mine area as a teenager, we went hiking around and found a horizontal mine shaft. Inscribed on the inside of the shaft were the words "BY R. DILLON 9-23-1?" I can't make out that last number. Many years ago, I remember reading an article that said that a man named Richard Dillon had claimed to have found the Lost Breyfogle ledge in the Johnnie area. I have tried very hard to find that old information and haven't been able to. If anyone knows anything about Dillon, or can point me to anything written about this, I would gladly link that info here and publicly thank you for it. See photo of that shaft and written inscription by Dillon below.