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January 23, 2014 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Gold: Ayres Mine


Shaft mining in central Virginia, c. 1865 (Harper’s New Monthly Magazine)

On July 14, 1838, a letter to the Editor ran in the Washington D.C. newspaper, Madisonian, for the Country. It was in response to “extracts from the New York Gazette, on the subject of Gold Mines in Virginia.” The letter discusses several Buckingham County gold mines which were active in 1838 and was signed, simply, BUCKINGHAM.

Here’s what the correspondent had to say about the “Ayres” mine:

The Ayres mine has been opened some thirty or forty feet deep, and a well defined vein, recently found, containing good ore.  Some parts of it are said to be uncommonly rich.  But the magnitude of this vein has not been so fully ascertained, as those of the mines above mentioned (Morton, Booker, Alcinda, Ford and Nicholas). The proprietor has put in operation a few stamps and workers, on a small stream of water near the vein, which serve rather to test the ore, than to work the mine. A fair return might well be expected, from the expenditure of capital, to operate on this mine in a proper manner.

In 1865, The Ayres Mine was still operating when Harper’s Magazine reviewed Virginia’s gold mines. 

Can a Slate River Ramblings reader identify which branch of the Ayres family operated the mine?

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