Other Names: Weaver Creek, Summit Diggings, Hogum, Willard Creek, Grub Gulch, Dry Gulch, Tungsten, Centennial
County: White Pine
Commodities: gold, silver, lead, zinc, copper, tungsten, phosphate (guano)
The Osceola district covers both sides of the crest and the western summit of the Snake Range, extending from Osceola Summit south to Willard Creek and including the placer workings of Dry Gulch, Grub Gulch, Weaver Creek, Hogum, and Summit Diggins. The name Tungsten was used for a short time for an area in the southern part of the district, near the Black Mule Mine.
Whitehill, 1875, p. 78; Whitehill, 1879, p. 157; Angel, 1881, p. 662; Hill, 1912, p. 227; Lincoln, 1923, p. 253; Stoddard, 1932, p. 88; Hose and others, 1976, p. 60; Stager and Tingley, 1988, p.224
Osceola Placer District Description
West flank of the central part of the Snake Range, south of Sacramento Pass, T. 14 N., Rs. 67 and 68 E.
Sacramento Pass 15-minute quadrangle.
Hose and Blake, 1970, Geologic map of White Pine County, Nevada, scale 1 : 250,000.
From Ely, 34 miles south and east on U.S. Highway 50 to dirt road leading to Osceola, 4 miles east of the main highway.
Thick deposits of gold-bearing gravels are on the west slope of the Snake Range in the vicinity of Dry Gulch and Mary Ann Canyon (east half of T. 14 N., R. 67 E.). Less extensive placers are found in gravels of Weaver Creek and the Summit diggings (W1/2 T. 14 N., R. 68 E.) on the east flank of the Snake Range. The most productive placers of the Osceola district are concentrated in the two areas on the west flank. The placers in Dry Gulch and Grub Gulch (formerly Wet Gulch) in sees. 11 and 12, T. 14 N., R. 67 E., were first discovered in 1877.
There the gravels range from a thin covering on quartzite bedrock to more than 200 feet thick. The gold is found distributed throughout the gravel thickness, but highest values are concentrated on bedrock; at the Hampton placer in the upper part of Dry Gulch, gold values ranged from 170 to $8.77 per cubic yard from surface to bedrock (Vanderburg, 1936a, p. 169).
The placers at Mary Ann Canyon are known as the Hogum placers. These deposits are in the alluvial fan at the mouth of Mary Ann Canyon, 3 miles south of Osceola (sees. 23, 24, 26, T. 14 N., R. 67 E.). These deposits were discovered some years after the placers in Dry Gulch (probably in 1879) ; the gold-bearing gravels occur in buried channels under the gravels of the alluvial fan but overlying cemented gravel layers which occur at different levels.
The placers at Summit diggings (sec. 8 or 9, T. 14 N., R. 68 E.) and Weaver Creek (sec. 10 or 15, T. 14 N., R. 68 E.) were not so extensive nor so profitable as those at Dry Gulch and Mary Ann Canyon.
Since the discovery of the Osceola placers in 1877, placer mining has continued in the district with different methods and intensity. In the decades following the discovery, hydraulic placer mining was successful at Dry Gulch. During the late 1930's, hydraulic mining at the Hampton placer in Dry Gulch that had been hydraulicked in the early days produced the highest yearly total of placer gold recorded for the district.
The placers in the Hogum area were usually mined by sinking shafts and drifting through the gravels to reach the channels containing the highest concentrations of gold. Although most of the placer gold recovered from the Osceola district was fine in size, several very large nuggets were recovered during the past century.
The source of the placer gold is the lode deposits that occur in Cambrian quartzites filling regular fractures, or as sheeted zones or irregular shattered masses. The most important lodes occur upstream from the most productive placers—on the ridge west and south of Dry Gulch (sees. 12 and 13,T.14N.,R.67E., and sec. 18,T.14N.,R.68E.) and on the slopes of Mary Ann Canyon (secs. 25 and 26, T. 14 N., R. 67 E., and sees. 19 and 30, T. 14 N., R. 68 E.). Free gold is the only commercial metal in the ores.
Burchard, 1884: States that a placer was discovered in 1883; size of large nugget; extent of placer ground; yield per day per man. 1885: Placer-mining operations; developments by Osceola Gravel Mining Co.; value of gold in deep bars; notes hydraulic operations.
Engineering and Mining Journal, 1887: News note abstracts professional report by George Maynard; extent of placer ground in acres; equipment on property; thickness of gravel; production from hydraulic mine; value of gravel on bedrock; average value of gravel; size of large nuggets recovered; potential developments discussed. 1891: Partial production; size of large nugget recovered (53 oz.). 1892a: Size of nugget found on November 29, 1892; weight of gold in nugget (125 oz.); valued at $2,200. 1892b: Reports recovery of 35-ounce gold nugget with some quartz attached; valued at $550.
Mining Review, 1910: Report of renewed large-scale operations at Osceola by Gold Bar Co.
Paher, 1970: States that placers were discovered in 1872; brief history of Osceola Placer Mining Co. operation; states that nugget valued at $6,000 was found in 1886; photograph of hydraulic mining.
Stuart, 1909: History of placer discovery; size of large nugget (24 lb.) recovered in 1878; production estimates; number of men working gravels; principal placer areas; distribution of gold in Mary Ann Canyon.
Vanderburg, 1936a: History; detailed descriptions of certain placer mines; average value of gravels; thickness of gravels; methods of working gravels; placer-mining operations during the period 1932—35; problems associated with placer mining.
Weeks, 1908: History; early production estimates; distribution of placers; thickness of gravels; size of gold; describes gold veins from which placers were derived; summarizes placer-mining activity from 1877 to 1907.
Whitehill, 1879: Date and location of placer discovery; size of large nugget recovered; placer-mining operations; number of claims located.