LETTER FROM CAPT. JOHN HOWARD
A PRACTICAL MINER OF 45 YEARS EXPERIENCE,
Recently in the Employ of Reading Coal & Iron Co. of Pa.
Charlestown Mining, Manufacturing and Improvement Company, Charlestown, W. Va.:
I have carefully examined by numerous openings the Strats of Iron through the counties of Jefferson and Clarke and submit the following report:
The first outcrop is on the Potomac river, about eight miles from Charlestown. At this point Ore was excavated in colonial days, and from time to time since, to supply furnaces located in the neighborhood. About a year since a railroad was built to this mine, and it is now being worked continuously, shipping about 1,000 tons monthly.
It is estimated that not less than one and a-half million tons of ore have been taken from this mine, the land worked not exceeding two acres, and to the depth of about 100 feet.
This Ore is a Brown Hematite of the red short variety. I regard this deposit as practically inexhaustible.
I reopened this bank in 1867 and superintended the mining until the panic of 1873.
Since April of this year an ore bank has been opened on the land adjoining the above.
Following the Iron Belt south of the above about four miles, this Strata again makes its appearance about two and a-half miles from Charlestown. The surface soil at this point is full of Wash Ore. I made three excavations from five to seven feet deep, and discovered a solid bank of Ore, corresponding in quality with the Ore on the Potomac. The indications point to an immense deposit of this Ore at this point, and extending over an area of about 100 acres.
A half mile from this I found surface indications of cold short Hematite Ore and of Manganese.
The indications induce me to believe they are both here in large quantities. One and a-half miles south of this deposit is the Maltby Ore Bank, referred to in Maury’s Report in the following language:
“In Jefferson County, on the East bank of the Shenandoah, is located Malthy’s ore mine. This is one of the most valuable mines in West Virginia and gives promise of an abundant supply of excellent quality.”
Cold short Hematite Ore is here in great abundance, and in conjunction with Ore (red short Hematite) mined on the west side of the river was used by the Lockhart furnace, located here in Manufacturing Iron of a superior quality as late as 1858, and more recently has been extensively worked by Mr. C. S. Malthy, of Baltimore.
I have not examined the Ore lands south of these deposits, until we reach the Carnagie Ore Bank, near Castleman’s Ferry, Clarke county, which is referred to in the letter of Prof. W. N. McDonald addressed to your Company.
I am acquainted with this Ore Bank, and from personal examination can fully indorse the estimate made in McDonald’s letter.
Indications point to very valuable deposits of Hematite Ore at the lands south of the Carnagie mine, on which your Company has options.
From an experience of forty-five years spent almost continuously in furnaces and mines, I am confident in giving my opinion that most valuable ores in inexhaustible quantities are to be found in unbroken Strata between the Bank of the Potomac and the Carnagie mine. The ores are of especial value because of the proximity of the cold and red short varieties of Hematite Ore. This taken in connection with the presence of an abundance of limestone suitable for flux, and Manganese in paying quantities should serve to attract the attention of those who are [paper torn in this area] location for the cheap Manufacture of Iron.
It may be well to add that in Pennsylvania, these valuable Ores located in the same Iron belt are becoming exhausted, and are now being shipped from this county to furnaces in that section.
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