Take it easy
  Marietta (Mineral Co.)

38° 14' 36"N, 118° 20' 19"W USGS Teels Marsh Quad

VISITED We Visited: 4/9/2005
Our Dinner: MRE's at Columbus
We Visited- July 1, 2017
Our Breakfast- Eggs at Jerry's in Fallon
Our Supper- Burgers at S’Socorro’s in Mina

Directions: Highway 95S from Fallon 114 miles; Turn right on SR 360 for 6 miles; turn right on local dirt road for 9.5 miles, following signs.

From Fallon: 129.5 miles


Of course everyone knows that Marietta is where F.M. "Borax" Smith got his start in the borax business in 1872. But before that, they were packing salt to Virginia City on the backs of camels, and to Aurora by mule. By 1877 Marietta was a going concern. By the 1890's, they had discovered a lot more borax in Death Valley and off they went, leaving Marietta to fend for itself. Nearby mines had some activity later, as you will read below. First, a 1930's overview by Mr. Venerberg:

Teel's Marsh is 2 miles south of the old mining camp of Marietta in southern Mineral County. It is reached by automobile road from Mina, a town on the Southern pacific R.R. 26 miles to the north east by way of Belleville. This marsh, which is in reality a dry lake, was first worked for sodium chloride in the late [eighteen] sixties. The salt supplied the chlorination mills at Aurora, Comstock, and Candelaria. It is interesting to note that this marsh was the site of the first discovery of borax in Nevada by F. M. Smith, better known as "Borax" Smith, and J. P. Smith, his brother. According to S. T. Kelso of Hawthorne, Nev., who was at one time superintendent for the Smith Brothers, borax was found in Teel's Marsh about 1872. Shortly after, several plants for the extraction of borax were erected in the southeast portion of the marsh. These plants maintained a steady production up to 1892, when they were abandoned becuase of the discovery of richer deposits of the borax mineral, colemanite, in the vicinity of Death Valley, Calif. Although Teel's Marsh is not important economically at present, it produced a considerable quantity of borates and played an important part of the development of the borax industry in the United States. Teel's Marsh is 5 miles long, 1 to 2 miles wide, and covers an area of about 6 square miles.

In the early [eighteen] seventies great excitement was aroused by the discovery of borax in the salines of Teels, and Rhodes Marsh in Mineral County and Columbus and Fish Lake Marsh in Esmeralda County. Large plants were erected, which were kept constantly at work day and night 8 months of the year. The crude borax was hauled to Wadsworth, Nev., 130 miles distant, by freight teams. In the
summer of 1875, 28 teams, 16 horses each, were engaged in hauling ore and supplies. As the result of the success of the borax operations in Nevada, the principal producer, F.M. (Borax) Smith, extended his activities to other borax deposits and eventually obtained control of the world borax market, which he held for about 20 years. The Carson and Colorado narrow-gauge railroad was completed in 1882. With the discovery of bonanza ores of Tonopah and Goldfield, the road was inadequate to handle the traffic, and it was converted to a broad-gauge line in 1904. The mining districts included in this report have been active intermittently since the early days, experiencing alternate periods of prosperity and decline. The last period of intense mining activity in the county occurred during the World War, when the prices of metals rose considerably.By 1930 the production of metals had reached an all time low with only $26,699 worth for the entire county. Since 1930 there has been a gradual increase in mining activity by lessees.
Date 1937

Borax was the thing back then. Not exciting enough to make big headlines, though.

Columbus Marsh was the first of the borax arshes which attracted the attention of scientific men. This, like all other marshes, was beleived by those who knew of their existence to be nothing more or less than salt marshes.To some extent they may be called so, as they have heretofore and still continue to furnish large quantities of common salt, or murriate of soda. Traces of it are found over nearly the whole area os these marshes-- in some palces, however, so concentrated that it is and has been used for years for roasting the ores from our mines, and also for domestic purposes, where it is clear and pure as Rhodes' Marsh. Columbus Marsh being the most extensive tract on which borax is found, was always considered the most valuable and most extensive deposit in the country. It found its rival, not in extent but in richness, in Teal's Marsh.
-Nevada State Journal, October 4, 1873

Smith Brothers at Teal's Marsh are making six tons of borax a day.
Daily Nevada State Journal, August 18, 1875

Marietta was mentioned by the news media of the day as benefitting from a new railroad.

The Virginia Enterprise of this morning announces that the Virginia and Truckee Railroad will be immediately extended towards
Bodie.It will place Belleville, Candelaria, Marietta, New Boston, Columbus, Benton, and Indian districts within one day's drive of
the railroad; it will bring Lake district, Belmont, and Alida Valley nearer Virginia City than Aurora now is. With its completion,
property of Esmeralda and Lyon counties ought to double.
-Reno Evening Gazette, October 31, 1879

BORAX.-- The production of this salt on the coast is at present limited to the States of Nevada and California, the first named furnishing 1,250 tons, and the last mentioned, 650 tons of 2,240 pounds, in all 1,900 tons per year.The principal sources of supply in Nevada are Teal's Marsh and Virginia or Rhose's Salt Marsh, situated about 14 miles north-west of Columbus.
-The Commerce and Industries of the Pacific Coast of North America, 1882

The Teals Marsh Borax Works are making and shipping borax to their full capacity.
Daily Nevada State Journal, November 7, 1883

The borax output at the presnt is very small on account of the low price of borax. Teal's Marsh and Columbus Marsh have eight borax works owned by Frank Smith, and leased principally to Chinamen.
-Jerry Quinn, Assessor of Esmeralda County, Nevada, Journals of the Senata and Assembly, 1889

Some twenty-six Chinese left Teal's Marsh last week, all sick, which resulted in the hanging up of the borax ill for some time, as white labor is not in demand.
-Daily Nevada State Journal, March 21, 1891

Mining continued nearby

Marietta, Nev. The old days of Marietta were revived temporarily this week and on Monday three large trucks loaded with ore left for Virginia City from the Joe Rutty mine, for a test treatment, which may be followed by large-scale mining operations and the erection of a new mill. Rutty, bu the way, is one of the oldest settlers in the district. Then the Gold Cliff crew came into camp in preparation for the development work on the old Foster property. The celebration of the day, however, consisted of a big party, a farewell affair following three months of intensive development work on his properties by William E. Goldi, of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios of Hollywood, Calif. This affair, which closed with a corn-husking dance at the Rutty ranch, was attended by Mr. Goldi's family, Ed Werling and family of Hollywood, and also Mrs. Kent Schwartz and Roy Ladd of Reno, who has supervised operations for the Goldi interests.The affair was topped by a dinner which seated fifteen persons.
-Reno Evening Gazette, September 10, 1938

Marietta's leadership appeared to be worldy and progressive.

Hollywood, Oct. 9 - (UP)Joe Butty, 72 year old mayor of Marietta, Nev. (population 9) arrived in hollywood Sunday to see hsi first motion picture, and shake hands with a fe M-G-M stars. It was his honor's first trip to a metropolis since 1899.
-Nevada State Journal October 10, 1938

After the borax period was over, mining activity continued in the area. I couldn't find any record of any locality named "Cloudburst," although it seems to have been used briefly to describe a section within the Marietta Mining District.

Rush from Mine to Stake Claims: New District is named "Cloudburst"
The Gazette has received the following sent by Phil Hussar from Mina: "A new strike is reported to have been made five miles from Marietta with values up to six hundred dollars a ton in silver and gold. Looks like a big new camp, and has been named Cloudburst." Later, L.E. Stein, telephoning from Minda, said that considerable excitement prevailed there and that many men were visiting the
camp and staking claims near the discovery, which was made on the old Endowment property and about a claim's length from the Endowment shaft. In Lincoln's book "Mining Districts and Mineral Sources of Nevada" it is said that the Endowment mine had a production record of %1,500,000 and that it was discovered shortly after 1860. THe main values are silver and lead.
-Reno Evening Gazette, September 25, 1940

Some more detailed information on the mines from a more contemporary source, date unknown:

Mineralization was discovered in what became the Marietta Mining District in the 1860’s, making it the third oldest mining district in Mineral County. The district is most frequently referred to as the Silver Star District in published literature. More recent
publications refer to it as the Marietta District, which also now includes a number of other districts and sub-districts situated in the Excelsior Mountains (i.e. Silver Star, Gold Range, Mina, Black Mountain, and Douglas). Mining started in the 1870’s and continued
intermittently through the 1980’s, but by and large had ceased by 1956. Approximately $2 million in total production in silver, lead, copper, gold, and tungsten was reported by 1939. Just over half of this value was in tungsten. During the period of mining activity
numerous shaft, adits, and declines were driven into altered rock. Production amounts attributable to the Marietta Mines are for the most part unrecorded, but the amount and size of the workings suggest some production was made.

Old workings, varying in age from the 1870’s to about the 1950’s (locally more recent) are found approximately two miles north-northwest of the Marietta Mines. These workings exploit silver-lead veins that trend generally northwest. The following summary is attributed to Alan Day.

The Endowment Mine was the first mine in the district to be worked. The mine produced silver-lead ore in the late 1800’s. The Endowment Mine has been developed by several thousand feet of workings including three winzes and numerous stopes and raises on five different levels. According to Magill (1973), The Endowment Mine produced approximately $1.5 million in ore from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s.
The Sultan group of mines is located about 2400 feet east of the Endowment Mine. It has some past production on narrow high angle structures, but no recorded production. This area was drilled by American Gold Resources in the 1980’s or early 1990’s. According
to MINQUEST (Dick Kern and Herb Duerr) American Gold Resources calculated a resource based on 11 RC holes of: “176,000 tons grading 0.02 oz/ton (0.68 g/t) gold and 3.0 oz/ton (103 g/t) silver”.
The Yellowstone area was drilled by American Gold Resources in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s. Most of the drilling was done on IP anomalies on the hill to the NE of the Yellowstone mine. The D claims were acquired from Maurice Castagne by Monty Moore around
2004. High grade gold mineralization can be found on the surface just west of the main adit at the Yellowstone Mine. Visible gold in outcrop can also be found on claim D-108. No drilling has been done on the D claims. According to MINQUEST, “an intercept of
0.075 oz/ton (2.57 g/t) over 70 feet (21 m)” was encountered on the Yellowstone Mine by American Gold Resources.

15.1 SILVER GULCH (SILVER GLANCE) Desert Pacific Resources (MINQUEST) owned by Dick Kern and Herb Deurr have six unpatented claims covering the historic Silver Gulch Mine.

-Exploration of the Marietta Mines Region in West Central Nevada for Gold and Copper
Prepared for:
Azteca Gold Corporation, Inc.
Edward Brennan, Consulting Geologist
Richard West, Geologist

Some info on the mines from an older source:

ENDOWMENT MINE. Examined by J.A. Burgess and J. F. Thorn, January 14, 1924. Reconnaissance only. Took two samples. Owners: Endowment Mining Company, Herbet Humphrey is said to be a stockholder and I.J. Woodworth is secretary. Captain Whitting of Mina has operation at present time. Not doing work. Probably wants to promote it. FOrmer Production: Said to have produced about $3,000,00 but consider this doubtful. No evidence of such a large amount of ore having been mined. Was worked in the early days. Ore was milled at Belleville. Ore consists of gold, silver, copper, lead.
-Goldfield, Marietta, Tolicha Districts, Nevada- Report by J.A. Burgess, January 1924

The Endowment mine was discovered in this area in the early 1860's, shortly after the discovery of Aurora. In recent years the pricinpal property hase been the Moho Mine. The Endowment mine was idle from 1884 until 1923, when it ws worked by lesses.
-Report, date unknown

Nobody said life in Marietta was boring, though.

Nine miles to the northwest of Belleville, Marietta was the fourth in a group of neighborly camps. It reached its maximum about 1880. That it had some claim to attention is the continuance of some present-day mining among the wreckage that remains of teh camp. Applyng the usual measure of its size, we find that it listed thirteen saloons among its establishments. Marietta offered as its prize occurence "one of the greatest fights the camp ever saw," an instance on sunguinary results matching the noted Clanton-Earp affair in Tombstone. The "king fighters" were men named Tom McLaughlin and John Brophy. Brophy was a butcher from whom McLaughlin bought beef. They were good friends until their women got into a quarrel and the men took it up. While the men prepared for battle, women and children were hustled to safe places, and warriors were summoned. Brophy too his family to his slaughterhouse, but his wife refused to stay put and grabbed her husband after he returned to the battlefield.McLaughlin took a comforting smoke after breakfast and then stepped into the street. Hank Brophy, brother of john, opened fire, with Duck Gillespie and Hank Hankins beside him and also shooting. Tom Taylor, George Marvin, and Fred Schofield were with McLaughlin. McLaughlin walked toward Hank, and Taylor also chose Hank for his mark. John Brophy came on the scene with a rifle. As he shook off his wife, who was trying to get him away, Taylor shot him through the heart. John's finger was on the trigger and pulled off the gun as he fell dead, the first in the fray. A bullet in the shoulder fired by McLaughlin partly disabled Hank, and a shot from Gillespie hit McLaughlin. Gillespie next dropped dead, shot by Schofield, and Taylor went down from a shot from the same gun. Four men were on the ground when the affair ended. Mrs. hank Brophy went to Belleville and opened a restaurant, with Hank as her general assistant. McLaughlin, who recovered, went from marietta to belleville on business. After spending a short time in a saloon next to the Brophy restaurant, he was mounting his horse to leave when Hank Brophy emptied a shotgun loaded with buckshot at him and he was dead when he struck the ground. Brophy got hsi horse and started for Arizona, where he was said to have been lynched for illegal cattle transactions.
-W. A. Chalfant, "Tales of the Pioneers," 1942

Also took a side trip to Bass Camp east of Marietta, originally the home of Albert and Anna Bass, who decided to build a cabin under a million-ton rock and work their mine, among other alleged things. I have no idea how they slept at night. From Find-A-Grave:

Another Pioneer Crosses Divide.
Sunday morning another pioneer of southern Nevada solve the Great Mystery and was called to his home above. This time the Grim Reaper removed from our midst A. A. Bass, a mining man and prospector for the past forty years. He was the 35th man to arrive in Tonopah in February 1901. After securing a lease from Jim Butler which he operated for several months he amassed a comfortable fortune and erected the two-story stone building which is now occupied by the I.O.O.F. lodge and Nevada-California Telephone & Telegraph Company. For the past 17 years he has been mining in Marietta, this county. He came to Hawthorne a few days ago afflicted with a weak heart and passed away Sunday morning. His wife died several years ago at Mina and the remains were taken there Monday, the funeral being held by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, of which he was a member. He saw service in the Spanish-American war. He was aged about 64 years. Another respected pioneer has answered the call. Only a few remain with us today.
- Hawthorne News, March 14, 1934

Death Claims Albert A. Bass.
Hawthorne, Nev., Mar. 14 - (Special) - Albert A. Bass died here early Sunday morning after a short illness. Death was caused by a heart attack which was brought on from miner's consumption and aggravated by a severe cold during the past week or ten days. He came from his home to Hawthorne for medical treatment last Wednesday. Mr. Bass was born in Missouri seventy years ago and had been a resident of the state of Nevada for a number of years where he had engaged in mining in a number of the early day camps. Of late years he had been interested in a property in the old camp of Marietta, where he was engaged in mining when he died. He had been working the property in partnership with his nephew Howard W. Pressley, who is his only known heir. Burial was held in Mina Monday afternoon.
-Reno Evening Gazette, March 14, 1934

July 1877 - July 1881


It was about 7 PM by the time we had got ourselves to Marietta, so we busied ourselves exploring and taking photographs while we still had some light. Folks still live here, for reasons not revealed to us, and of course Marietta is smack dab in the middle of the 68,000 acre government feral burro range, where anywhere from 75 to 100 abandoned and lonley burros call home. Now, since the question came up, a burro is a small donkey. A mule is the offspring of a female horse and a male donkey. A hinny is the offspring of a male horse and a female donkey. Prospectors liked donkeys because they get by on less food, but apparently they didn't like them enough to keep them. As a word of warning, wild burros would just as soon stomp the crap out of you as look at you, so leave them alone and take binoculars or a telephoto lense if you want to see them up close.

Marietta citizens make their living selling mule jerky and dried mule skins.

That was just to get all those PETA folks all worked up. Actually, I have no idea what they do out there, we didn't see any of them, although we did see some obviously occupied dwellings. Thanks, perhaps, to these obviously occupied dwellings, there is plenty to see in the area, most noticeably F.M. Smith's store, the giant walls of which are still standing. Definitely worth going to see, and if you're lucky you might get to chew the fat with an actual Marriettan.

UPDATE July 2017

Spent a little more time wandering around this time. There are a considerable amount of ruins here, mostly made of stone. Lots of cans and similar debris as well. Went up the canyon a bit to investigate one of the other mines up there, and took a punishing Jeep trip over what we now call Paint Shaker Road to the Bass Cabin. Lots to see and do in this area.

I will also say if you time it just right, you can have a great hamburger at S’Socorro’s in Mina. Don't get all bent out of shape if you get there 1/2 hour before closing and they are already closed. It's Mina, for God's sake. Also, don't expect you give them your order and be immediately handed a hamburger. It doesn't work that way. It's worth the wait, and it's easily the best hamburger within 70 miles.

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