Take it easy
  Cox Canyon

39.688333, -118.269167


We Visited: 3/8/2002 and 10/4/2003
Our Dinner: Sausage appetizers and broiled steak 'n eggs


From Fallon, east on Highway 50 4.9 miles to Stillwater Rd (SR 116); NE on Stillwater Rd 30.6 miles; E on local road for about 2 miles


A fair amount of mining activity took place in Cox Canyon. Vanderburg notes that most of the work here took place in the late 1930's, but there was no production. The canyon was named after early mining pioneer William T. Cox.

A "special master" is appointed by a court to carry out some sort of action on its behalf. This newspaper article appears to describe the results of a lawsuit between the Nevada Nickel Syndicate and the National Nickel Company,, and an order of sale. Looks like the National Nickel Company owed the former, and the court ordered the sale of assets, include what appears to be many items located in Cox Canyon. I was somewhat surprised to find this, as it seems to indicate a lot of work going on in Cox Canyon even before the turn of the century.

Special Master's Sale.
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE United States, Ninth Circuit, District of Nevada.
The Nevada Nickel Syndicate, Limited, Plaintiff, vs. The National Nickel Company, Franklin B. Pierce, Milo T. Sipe. Louis Smith, Charles Bell, Charles E. Brooks and H. Peterman, Defendants.
Under and by virtue of an Order of Sale and decree of foreclosure, issued out of the Circuit Court of the United States of the Ninth Circuit, District of Nevada, on the 3d day of November, 1899, in the above entitled action, wherein the Nevada Nickel Syndicate.Limited, the above named plaintiff, obtained a Judgment and decree against said National Nickel Company, Franklin B. Pierce, Milo T. Sipe, Louis Smith, Charles Bell and Charles E. Brooks, defendants, for the sum of $35,616.15, with costs of suit and accruing costs, together with interest, and wherein Louis Smith, one of the above named defendants, obtained Judgment for $263.00, with interest thereon, and costs of suit and accruing costs, which said judgment and decree were on the 12th day of August, 1899, recorded in said Court—I am commanded to sell the following property, situate, lying and being in the County of Churchill, State of Nevada, in said District of Nevada, described as follows, to wit: <SNIP>
Also all the goods, chattels, machinery. fixtures, tools, buildings, property and appurtenances on said mining claims and land purchased by said plaintiff, and al goods, chattels, machinery, fixtures. tools, buildings, property and appurtancee which belonged to John Bridgford, of the city and county of Albany, State of New York, which constituted his mining and reduction plant, situate at Cox Canyon, in the county of Churchill, and which was sold to plaintiff and removed by it from said Cox Canyon, to or adjacent to the said five mining claims above described, described as follows, to wit:

o  One frame building, known as the "Smelter Building," dimensions on the ground about twenty-three feet, three inches by about forty-four feet two inches.
o  One C. G. Buchanan rock breaker or crusher.
o  One Rotary Power Blower, No. 2.
o  One stationary engine.
o  One upright tubular boiler, and all attachments connected therewith.
o  One pump for feeding boiler.
o  Lot of bolting and shafting.
o  Lot of piping, blacksmith tools and fixtures, carpenter tools and fixtures, milling supplies and any and all other property of every name and description, situated and located in said "Smelter Buildnig," except the "Galena Furnace," with water-Jacket appurtenances connected therewith.
o  One frame building known as 'Living Cabin," dimensions about 16 ft. 3 inches, by about 12 feet 4 inches. by about 8 ft. high, together with cooking stove and utensils. dishes and all property of every name and description contained therein.
o  One frame building known as the "Assay Office." dimensions about 18 ft. 3 inches, by about 12 ft. 3 inches, and about S ft. high, together with all chemical., chemical apparatus, tools, fixtures and all other property of every description contained therein.
o  Also all piping, water pipes. charcoal. wood, slag, cars. moulds. fire-brick, tools, harness, wagons and all other chattels. fixtures, tools and property there be around about sald building above described. and which are in any way connected therewith, excepting the "Galena Furnace" and water-Jacket and appurtenances connected therein.
o  Also all other property of every nature or kind placed on said land. mining claims and premises hereinbefore described by said plaintiffs since October I0 1894. or by said defendant. National Nickel Company, or any one claiming by, through or under it.
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that on Saturday, the 9th day of December, 1899 at ONE o'clock P. M. of said day in front of the Courthouse door of said Churchill county, at the town of Stillwater, in said Churchill county. I will. be obedience to said order of sale and decree of foreclosure, sell the above described property, or so much as may be necessary to satisfy said Judgments. with interest thereon, and costs and expense of sale, to the highest and best bidder for cash in lawful money of the United States of America, said sale to be subject to confirmation by said Circuit Court of the United States.
J. F. EMMTTT. Special Master.
Carson City, Nevada, November 18. 1899.

Those darn Curac boys!

The Churchill Standard says that the Curac boys have at last struck a mine in the hills east of Stillwater in Cox's Canyon. The ledge is eighteen inches wide and will average $35 perton in free milling ore.
-Tonopah Bonanza, August 20, 1904

Mining activities continued

At Cox's canyon, Van R. Elliot, representing the Silver Mountain Mining Company, has a force of men developing the Mammoth mine. The tunnel is in 130 feet and the ore shows values as high as $160 in gold and silver.
-Reno Evening Gazette, May 28, 1906

At Cox's canyon, Eugene Kirker, drifting on the Silver Mountain Company's property, struck a vein of silver-lead ore. A specimen assay from the quartz outcropping gave 153 ounces of silver and 72 per cent lead, or $164.70 per ton.
-Reno Evening Gazette, July 21. 1906

Bush Wilson arrived in Fallon Thursday from Jacksonville, Oregon, where he has been making his home since leaving here. On the following day he left with a load of supplies and an assistant for mining properties in Cox's canyon, where the coming thirty days will be spent in development work. Bush expects to spend the coming winter in New York City.
-Churchill County Standard, July 29, 1909

Although there were relatively few people working in the area, they wanted to get mail service.

Coppereid and Shadyrun Petitioning For a Tri-Weekly Delivery.
There is an urgent demand for a rural free delivery route to be established between Stillwater and the mining camps in the northeastern part of Churchill county. There is a sufficient number to be served to warrant the establishment of such a route and the petitioners should receive the support of the people of Fallon and Churchill county in their endeavors. At least 100 persons would he served with mail by such an innovation, at the present,time, and the population of the camps is increasing all the time. Following table gives the number of miles from Stillwater to the various camps along the proposed mail route and the number at work at the present time at each point:

                               Miles. Men.
Stillwater to Desert Wells.... 16.... 4
Stillwater to Cox's Canyon.... 18.... 10
Stillwater to IXI............. 18.... 10
Stillwater to Mill Canyon..... 25 ....5
Stillwater to Shanghai Canyon..27.... 2
Stillwater"to Shady run....... 28 ....25
Stillwater to Fondaway.........29.... 10
Stillwater to Coppereid........33.... 30

IXL is five miles off the road, but could be supplied with rural free delivery, as could all of the other camps. The road from Stillwater to these camps is level and always in fine condItion.
-Churchill County Standard, June 11, 1908

There was lots of relatively minor mining activities going on in Cox Canyon right after the turn of the century

W. L. Cook of Camp Gregory visited the COX canyon country this week in company with Ned Schoeraff. Mr. Cook was well pleased with the holdings of the Midway Mining & Smelting Co. To a representative of this paper he stated that he had gone over the property quite thoroughly and that they had big ledges of low-grade copper ore, with silver and lead. There is no question, he said, but what if capital can be interested, Messrs. Schoeraff and Davis and their associates can open a good mine.
-Reno Evening Gazette, April 10, 1911

Mrs. Depp was the daughter of the original "discoverer" of the Canyon.

Well Known Lady Passed Away Saturday After a Long Period of Suffering
Mrs. T. H. Depp, known by her many friends for the good woman that she was, passed away at the family home in this city last Saturday morning. The fatal illness was of long duration, extending over a period of about four years and death came as a welcome relief to the suffering of the flesh. When stricken Mrs. Depp, accompanied by her husband, visited many specialists and sought the relief that was denied her. Throughout her affliction site was a patient sufferer and looked forward to the inevitable end with admirable patience and fortitude. Few are required to endure as was her lot. The funeral services were held from the home Monday afternoon at two o'clock, and were conducted is accordance with the practices of the Christian Science organization. Mrs. Fannie Painter was in charge and she spoke in tender reminiscent strain of the many splendid qualities of the deceased lady, so well known to her intimates. Following the services the remains were tenderly laid to rest in the Fallon cemetery. The Pythian Sisters, of which order the deceased was a member, assisted in the services. The deceased left, in addition to the husband, four daughters, Mrs. Dean Frazier, Hattie and Frankie Ferguson. and Fannie Depp. In addition there are the aged mother, Mrs. Mary E. Cox, of San Francisco. Mrs. J. E. Rebard, of San Francisco. and Mrs. Mama F. Browder, of Fallon, sisters, and Frank T Cox, of Yerington. brother, and other relatives. The deceased lady was born in Hayward, Calif., February 18, 1869. When a young lady she came to this state together with her parents, her father, the late W. T. Cox, pursuing mining activities here for many years. Cox's canyon, east of Stillwater having been named for him.
-Churchill County Standard, April 9, 1919

Mining activity continnued in the 1920's

Armstrong, Pllummer. and sons have opened a vein of rich sliver-lead ore on Silver Hill in the north fork of Cox canyon, about three-quarters of a mile from the old smelter, the Fallon Eagle says. The ore carries $97 a ton, of which four dollars is in gold. A trial shipment of a ton has been sent to Salt Lake. A new incline shaft, sunk to a depth of forty feet, reveals a vein from six to eight inches thick, which seems to be widening with depth. Traces of the deposit have been found on the surface for a distance of six hundred feet.
-Reno Evening Gazette, May 20, 1927

Turns out there were other ways to make a buck in Cox Canyonn besides mining.

13 Stills Raided on Ranch Near Fallon
FALLON, Dec. 9.—(UP) —Nevada's prohibition squad from Reno last night raided three stills on the ranch of J. G. Pearl, west of here. Pearl is a well known rancher who has lived here for many years. Officers arrested Pearl and two supposed ranch hands who gave their names as Stevens and Wyatt. Agents found one still being operated by Wyatt and two other stills ready to be operated. Pearl gave $2500 bond while Stevens and Wyatt were locked up in the Churchill county jail all night before being taken to Reno. The federal squad yesterday morning found and destroyed a still in Cox canyon, 50 miles cast of Fallon but found no owner or supposed operator.
-Nevada State Journal, December 10, 1931

Even as late as the 1950's, mining and agriculture activities in the Stillwater Range and Dixie Valley prompted investigation into improving transportations routes.

The Churchill commissioners, the Fallon Standard relates, in the near future will travel over an old route over a low saddle in the Stillwater range south of Cox's Canyon, where there was an old toll road at one time. They will consider the possibility of eventually blading out the old route, which would shorten the distance ffom Fallon to the Dixie Valley ranch settlement by 25 miles, making them about 40 miles away instead of 65 by way of Frenchman's Station on Highway U. S. 50. The copper claims are several miles north of the ranch settlement.
-Nevada State Journal, April 5, 1953

Cox Canyon continued to provide useful minerals, but in limited quantities.

Fluorspar Mine Is Now Producer
The Charles Cirac fluorspar mine in Cox Canyon, 20 miles north of Stillwater in Churchill county, again is on the producing list. Ore is scheduled soon to be trucked to the Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation's mill west of Fallon. High-grade fluorspar was shipped from the mine before the world war after Ira L. Kent assumed part ownership of the property. It was regarded as a successful operation until the Navy closed the area for bombing and gunnery practice, the Fallon Standard states. Soon after the mill was built in Fallon, the Kaiser company explored the properly. Ore m, as shipped last fall to the mill. C. J. Brackney and Jim Ryan, operating the mine, recently started putting in an ore chute down from the tunnel level. Ore was due to go to the bin last week. The tunnel Is in 500 feet. While it is planned to stope from the tunnel, plans also include a winze. It is estimated that the property will yield 125,000 to 150,000 tons of mill-grade fluorspar, the Standard said.
-Nevada State Journal, May 16, 1954


There may have been no major production, but someone went to an awful lot of trouble. Thre are a two or three building remains up here, along with several mines and their accompanying chutes, rail systems, etc. It was a pleasant ride, with lots of interesting little things to see.

We returned again in October of 2003 to try and find a route through Cox Canyon over the Stillwater range to IXL Canyon, and thence of Old Man Kellog's Sooper Sekrit Cabin. The map showed a road available over the ridge, which would drop us off at a location an "easy walk" from the cabin. Unfortunately, we were unable to locate the road, and instead had to rely on the road going up the wash, which was blocked every hundred or so feet by downed pine trees. After clearing the trees or going around them, we reached a point where we could make better time just by hoofing it. Unfortunately, we were running out of time, and were forced to turn back lest we end up hking through the mountains at night.

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