top of page

Prospect Mine

Storey County

In the mining world, 'prospect' often refers to a test shaft or an area that is being looked at for potential success in the future. In this case, 'Prospect' was the actual name of the mine. I wasn't able to find any information on this mine through USGS. I did find quite a few newspaper articles on this mine dating back to that era. In May of 1875, it was reported to be one of the most promising locations east of the Comstock Ledge. The mine was discovered by a man named William "Bill" Lee. It was originally called the Lee Ledge and Claim. The Gold Hill Daily News called Lee, "one of the best prospectors and mining locators in this section." Lee received good assays and a tunnel was started at this location. A San Francisco firm financed the mine and Lee was named superintendent. Also in May of 1875, it was reported that the tunnel was approximately 300 feet and active blasting was taking place. Plans were being made to build a steam hoisting works capable of going as far down as 2,000 feet. Equipment and machinery had already been ordered. A building over the shaft and a blacksmith shop were also being planned. By August of 1875, it was being reported that everything stated in the May 1875 article was moving forward at a quick pace. On August 11, 1875, a man named William Henry Branch suffered a skull fracture at the bottom of the shaft that was expected to be fatal. This was caused by overloading the hoisting buckets. I have not been able to find any other articles that give a final outcome of that event. On September 28, 1875, a stone mason by the name of Charley Tracy had his foot badly crushed while laying foundations. I was not able to find any more reporting on the Prospect Mine for almost a year. In August of 1876, it was reported that drilling had begun towards the ledge. On October 17, 1876, a man named Lawrence Healey was killed in a blasting accident. It seems that the only reporting taking place after the summer of 1875 was bad news. From October of 1876 forward, there was no reporting that I could find for almost a year. In September of 1877, the Territorial Enterprise published a lengthy article. This article was in reference to a well-known mining man on the Comstock named George Roth. Roth supposedly fled town after running up debt with many of his associates. Fraud, Forgery and Embezzlement were alleged. The man who swore out the warrant for the arrest of Roth, was Superintendent William Lee of the Prospect Mine. The article also spoke about the Prospect Mine being in debt. They were attempting to settle with a wood contractor named George Elder. The deal would be for $500.00 now, and the rest over the next couple of months. George Roth was present for the negotiations. No agreement was made or finalized. However, Roth wrote to the Secretary of the Prospect Company in San Francisco on September 6, 1877. He stated, "Have arranged things with Mr. Benjamin. Send the $500.00 to G.A. Roth." Roth signed the dispatch with the name of George Elder (the wood contractor). The Prospect Company sent the $500.00. Roth collected the money at the Bank of California. He fled town later that afternoon. He was believed to have gone to California but was later seen passing eastbound through Elko. In total, it appears that Roth may have scammed several thousand dollars before leaving the Comstock. On October 10, 1877, the Gold Hill Daily News printed a lengthy letter written by George Roth. This letter was a lengthy explanation of his version of events. It was sent from Omaha, Nebraska. Roth did not really deny his wrongdoing, but instead took responsibility for at least some of his actions. I have not had the chance to conduct further research on the final outcome of the criminal case. After this event, reporting on the Prospect Mine went silent for almost another year. A July 1878 article simply stated that Superintendent William Lee had located another claim elsewhere. I have not found any further reporting on the Prospect Mine after that date.

Sources: Gold Hill Daily News (Newspaper); Lyon County Times (Newspaper); Eureka Daily Sentinel (Newspaper); Territorial Enterprise (Newspaper).

bottom of page