Marysville, Montana

Northern Pacific Railroad trestle at Marysville, Montana 1887
Northern Pacific Railroad trestle at Marysville, Montana 1887

Marysville History

In 1870 the mining town of Marysville was established and named for the first pioneer woman here, Mary Ralston, by Thomas Cruse, owner of the famous Drumlummon Mine.

By 1900, the Marysville Mining District was reported to be the richest gold mining area in the world with a production of $60,000,000 one-half of which was taken from the Drumlummon mine.

City Meat Market in Marysville Montana 1889
City Meat Market in Marysville, Montana 1889

Other local rich gold mines also producing at that time were the Bald Mountain, Bald Butte, Empire, Belmont, Penobscot, Gloster and Shannon.

The towns population at its peak was estimated to be 4000 residents. They had the service of two railroads and 60 business establishments including 2 newspapers.

The above text is from a historical marker.

Marysville Montana
Early 1900s view of Marysville, Montana

Mining at Marysville

The fabulous Drumlummon mine was discovered in 1876 by Thomas Cruse, a poor immigrant from Ireland that had a reputation for taking grubstakes and never producing any returns on them. Cruse was ridiculed by his fellow miners until he discovered the Drumlummon lode, and overnight "Irish Tommy" became "Mr. Cruse".

Drumlummon mine Marysville Montana
Drumlummon Mine at Marysville, Montana ca. 1884

Marysville was founded after the discovery of the Drumlummon mine and was the principal settlement of the Ottawa mining district (aka Marysville district). The district had many rich mines, and Marysville became a thriving mining town for several decades.

The Drumlummon Mine became one of Montana's richest and longest-operating gold mines. Cruse ultimately sold the mine to an English syndicate for $1,600,000, an enormous sum at the time. Cruse would live the rest of his days with his family at Helena.

Drumlummon mine Marysville Montana
Air compressor at the Montana Company's (Drumlummon) mill ca. 1885

Other important mines in the district were the American Flag, Bald Butte, Bell Boy, Belmont, Big Ox, Calumet, Cruse, Earthquake, Empire, M&L, Mammoth and Strawberry, Nile, Penobscot, Piegan-Gloster and Shannon, and Shakopee and Towsley.

Gold mining continued until the early 1920's when most mines were shut down. The Drumlummon got a new lease on life, reopening in 1924, and continued to operate until World War II.

Big Ox mill Marysville Montana
Crew of the Big Ox mill ca. 1890

Marysville experienced a resurgence in mining activity in the 1930's as modern machinery allowed old mines to be worked again profitably. In 1934 the Sanders County Independent-Ledger described Marysville as "a bustling mining city with 14 mines running and new properties being opened almost daily by scores of prospectors."

Miners at the Drumlummon mine
Miners at the Drumlummon mine

"Two new mills are are being built to apply modern metalurgical science to the recovery of gold which today is worth nearly twice as much as in the days when Marysville produced million. One 150-ton mill has been completed this year and is now in operation. Other mills will be built in the district."

When the mines closed the town declined but was never completely abandoned. Marysville endures to this day with a small population of about 80 inhabitants. Interest in the Drumlummon mine continues to this day.

Mill at the Drumlummon mine
Montana Company's (Drumlummon) 50-stamp mill at Marysville ca. 1885

Over 1,300,000 ounces of gold have been mined from Marysville district mines.

Principal Gold Districts of Montana

Principal Gold Districts of Montana

In Montana, 54 mining districts have each have produced more than 10,000 ounces of gold. The largest producers are Butte, Helena, Marysville, and Virginia City, each having produced more than one million ounces. Twenty seven other districts are each credited with between 100,000 and one million ounces of gold production. Read more: Principal Gold Districts of Montana.

Western Mining History is the work of Aaron Walton. About Western Mining History

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