Donnelly Mining District

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The Donnelly Mining District is in the Calico Range.[1]

Ore was first discovered by Mr. J. H. Murray in June, 1902. Murray was a cook for a Vaquero outfit for the Gerlach Land and Livestock Company under James Raser on Donnelly Mountain. Donnelly is on the maps as Division Peak, but was known to the stockmen of the time as Donnelly Mountain[2]

The Donnelly district includes a gold mine operated by James Raser who built a 5-stamp mill in 1911.

"Vanderburg (1938) wrote: "The Donnelly district is in southwest Humboldt County on the west slope of Donnelly Peak in the Black Rock Range, 47 miles by road a little east of north from Gerlach, Nev., a station on the Western Pacific Railroad and the nearest shipping point. The best road to the mine is via Leadville, Nev. This road turns off the Gerlach-Cedarville road a little north of the Swingle ranch; the distance from Gerlach is 55 miles. The claims in this area are at an altitude of 6,800 to 7,300 feet."

"Gold was discovered in 1907 by a cowboy who located several claims, which were sold to James Raser, formerly of Gerlach. Raser shipped a little high~grade ore and in 1911 erected a 5-stamp amalgamation mill, which operated for several years. The Reeder mine south of the Raser property was worked in former years on a small scale by Lem and Joseph Reeder, who produced a small amount of gold bullion in an arrastra. The total production from the area is said to have been about $90,000, most of which was made by James Raser."

"When the Writer visited the district in June 1937 there was no activity"[3].

Vanderburg continues to describe the Hermit Group: "The Hermit group of six unpatented. claims and one fraction, formerly included in the Donnelly and Reeder properties, is owned by J. J. Thrasher and associates of Gerlach, Nev. Development work consists of eight adits, which, with lateral workings, total about 2,000 feet. Equipment consists of a mill, erected by Raser, and several camp buildings. The mill is equipped with a jaw crusher (8 by 12 inches), 5-stamp battery (1,050-pound stamps), Diester table, and a 60-horsepower, 1-cylinder, gasoline engine. Mill equipment is in poor condition and of little value. Water for milling and domestic use is available from several springs in the vicinity."

"The ore occurs as lenses in narrow veins in granodiorite intruded into slate and quartzite. The principal veins strike northwest and southeast, dipping 30° northeast, and they vary in width from a few inches to a maximum of 2 1/2 feet. The gangue is chiefly iron-stained quartz. The gold is disseminated through the quartz in fine particles associated with a small amount of silver."

Lincoln (1923) states that Raser discovered the mine in 1910 and that the Reeder Mine to the south was was said to have used an Arrastra[4].

"What can be accomplished in mine development by one man is splendidly illustrated when one visits the property of James Raser, located 40 miles west of Gerlach and about 10 miles north of Leadville. This property was first noticed by Mr. Raser while riding the range for cattle. So firmly was he impressed with the surface showing that he quit the cattle business and turned his attention to the development of this property. It was a difficult proposition that confronted him, as the property lies far up in the mountains and required the grading of a road for several miles before it could be reached by team, and, worst of all, the snow is so deep during the winter months in that section that freighting to the mine is almost impossible. However, he went to work with a will, taking out ore during the summer months, shipping the higher grade to get funds with which to build a mill, and today he has an up-to-date 5-stamp mil1, plates and concentmtor. The mill is run by a 35-horsepower Charter gasoline engine. The mine is developed through a series of tunnels to a depth of 250 feet. The vein is very flat and the stopes are held by stulls and back filling." [5]

In 1914, the following was written: "The Donnelly Mountain Mine Co., has been incorporated with a capital of $10,000 to operate the Donnelly Mountain, Belle of the West, Antelope, Lava Butte, Lulu B and Klondike claims, in the northwester portion of Humboldt County. Directors are James Raser, G. J. Blanchett [sic], John Raser and H. L. Norton of Gerlach. James Raser is manager. It is planned to start work immediately." [6]

Mineral Resourced 1929 states that three producers in the Donnelly mined gold. The ore was "closely sorted and treated in hand mortars."[7]

Carlson states Granite Creek was "a former gold mining district, located in May 1902 by James Raiser [sic] and James D. Murray of Granite Creek. In August, 1902, the name was changed to Donnelly and the town or Raiser City was laid out."[8]

Overton (1947) states that John James Thrasher owned property in the Donnelly Mining District[9].

It could be that the Donnelly District was named after J.P. Donnelley, the superintendent of the Nevada State Police. However, it is more likely that the district was named after a James Donnelly. The 1910 Census shows James Donnelly (b.1863) living at Deep Hole.

Sessions Wheeler states that Wheeler Ranch is also known as the Parman Ranch or Donnelly Ranch and is located on Donnelly Creek. [10].


  1. Joseph V. Tingley, "Mining Districts of Nevada," Report 47, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, 1998, 2nd Edition. See map for details.
  2. "[ Mountain and Its Wealth]," Daily Nevada State Journal, p.3, April 23, 1903.
  3. W. O. Vanderburg, "Reconnaissance of mining districts in Humboldt county, Nevada," U. S. Bureau of Mines 6995, p. 20, 1938.
  4. Francis Church Lincoln, "Mining Districts and Mineral Resources of Nevada," Verdi, Nev.: Nevada Newsletter Publishing Co., p. 234 1923.
  5. Annual Report of the State Inspector of Mines," p. 36, 1913.
  6. Mining and Engineering World, Volume 41, 1914.
  7. "Mineral Resources of the United States," p. 98, 1929.
  8. Helen S. Carlson, "Nevada Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary," p. 126 (1974). The district was named the Granite Creek in May, 1902 and the name changed to Donnelly in August, 1902.
  9. Theodore D. Overton, "B046: Mineral resources of Douglas, Ormsby, and Washoe Counties," B046, Nevada Bureau of Mines & Geology, 1947. Full version with lower resolution images. Includes images of Fly Geyser, the Petrified Forest, Gerlach Hot Springs that are in the collection at UNR.
  10. Sessions Wheeler, "Nevada's Black Rock Desert," p. 171.

See Also