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Woodville Shaft

Storey County

The Woodville is not nearly as well-known as many of the other Comstock mines. USGS says almost nothing about it. Therefore, I decided to go to the old newspaper archives. Doing this type of research really puts things into perspective. For all of the lore and romance that a booming mining district like the Comstock holds, the reality is that it was filled with disputes, legal challenges, court cases, accusations, theft, swindles and every other type of drama that you can think of. The Woodville seemed to be a prominent mine during the mid 1870's. For a couple of years, it was listed amongst the prominent mines in the stock report of the newspapers. The Woodville was discovered by Col. L.W. Wood. On March 16, 1873, the Woodville Company led by L.W. Wood, applied for patent. They laid out the area and description of the property in the patent. The property was south of the Alta and north of the Justice. By 1874-1875, troubles seemed to begin for the Woodville. Competing newspapers were either attacking or defending the company. Claim troubles between the Woodville and the Justice Mine also began. Extremely rich ore discovered at the 300-foot level of the Woodville is what seemed to have stirred the conflict. There was a dispute over whose property the ore was actually on. Allegations of stock scams also emerged. One Woodville board member was convicted of a misdemeanor in San Francisco for refusing to open the books to the stockholders. It appears that the much larger Justice Mine was all in for the legal fight. The Justice Mine eventually either bought the Woodville, purchased a majority of the Woodville stock, or both. This did not stop the dispute. One newspaper article spoke about how the Woodville executives began creating new companies to try to split stocks as a manner of creating controversy. The author of the GHDN article was very sarcastic in his writing about how intentionally confusing this all was. It appears that by late 1877, the Justice was no longer controlling the Woodville property. There were also allegations that $5,000,000 dollars disappeared during the two years that the Justice controlled the property. According to a man named Jim Fisk who was close to the issue, the money had "gone where the woodbine twineth." By early 1879, newspaper ads appeared for the sale of all the Woodville buildings and machinery. By early 1880, Woodville stocks were stricken by the San Francisco Board for non-payment. On May 8, 1880, the U.S. Marshal's sold the property to a man named W.E.F. Deal for $5,224.96. The above write-up is only a small sampling of countless newspaper articles that I found. I can only imagine how busy the civil courts must have been on the Comstock.

Sources: USGS MRDS Report- 10043946 Woodville Shaft; Gold Hill Daily News (Newspaper); Pioche Daily Record/ Pioche Weekly Record (Newspaper); Lyon County Times (Newspaper).

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