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Harold Moritz August 15, 2012 10:27PM
This is NOT the oldest copper mine in the US, that honor belongs to the Newgate Copper Mine, now in East Granby, Conn. Copper mining began there in 1707 (see references), and it is now widely reported as the oldest mine of any kind in the US. The speculation by Manchester (1931) (he says "probably" on page 34) that the Schuyler Mine is the oldest copper mine is incorrect.
Dan Fountain August 16, 2012 12:07PM

Perhaps from a colonial / ethnocentric viewpoint, but the prehistoric copper mines of Isle Royale and Michigan's Keweenaw peninsula predate either of these by centuries at least.
David Von Bargen August 16, 2012 12:15PM
Well, mining for copper occurred 3500 years ago in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. (they raised masses up to 2700kg by cribbing from shallow shafts)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/16/2012 12:21PM by David Von Bargen.
Paul Brandes August 16, 2012 01:51PM
More recent work by archeologists through carbon dating has put ancient copper mining in the Keweenaw to around 3,000 BC and possibly back as far as 5,000 BC. A good read about some of the myths and fantasy surrounding the copper deposits was written by Susan Martin from Michigan Tech and linked below:

The State of Our Knowledge About Ancient Copper Mining in Michigan
Don Saathoff August 16, 2012 09:46PM
.....and we're also neglecting the turquoise, copper and silver mining pn New Mexico, Arizona & Nevada both prehistorically as well as later under the Spanish.....not to mention the amcient chert, obsidian, flint and basalt qjarries.

Harold Moritz August 16, 2012 10:32PM
Well, sure, there are Native American mines (soapstone, quartz for example) here in New England that are much older than 1700. I will amend the Old Newgate Mine page with the info above, but someone needs to tell it to wikipedia, etc. Perhaps the question is what is the oldest mine in the Colonial US? John Winthrop, original governor of Massachusetts colony was supposedly mining gold in Cobalt, Connecticut in the 1660s, which no one believed until it was rediscovered there in 1986.
In any case, it is not the Schuyler mine.
Michael Kieron August 16, 2012 11:58PM
There are also the Saugus Iron Works in MA (1648 - 1668) and depending on your definition of mining, the Lime Rock quarries (January 27, 1662 - 2004) which quarried marble for lime for agricultural use and for mortar. Because of this, RI extensively used stone for building, much more than any other colony.

-Mike K.
David Von Bargen August 17, 2012 12:09AM

"In 1608, just after the Jamestown colonists came, John Smith shipped several barrels of ore back to England. The East India Company found that the ore yielded top-quality iron. So in 1619 they set out to buy Virginia iron. And a Virginia company sent iron-workers out to set up smelting operations. Three years later, just as a settlement of 25 people was starting to smelt iron near present-day Richmond, Virginia, Indians massacred them and destroyed their furnaces. Virginia Iron-making limped after that, and eyes turned to the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts."

Saugus Iron Works: 1646 (Mass.) - used bog iron ore.
Howard Heitner August 17, 2012 01:10AM
The Schuyler Mine can claim a first in mining technology. According to this website the first steam engine in America was used to pump water from the Schuyler Mine in 1753. The urban legend is that it is at the bottom of one of the now filled in shafts.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/17/2012 01:31AM by Howard Heitner.
Rob Woodside August 17, 2012 01:22AM
The imperialist ("colonial") mines in the Americas started with their arrival. The Spanish were first, but Martin Frobisher's gold mine in 1576 was the first British endeavor There is no evidence that the Norse mined anything when they were here around 1000 AD.
Harold Moritz August 17, 2012 02:02AM
By mine, I believe the general meaning is an underground working, as opposed to knocking something off an outcrop or excavating things like bog ore. There were many bog iron excavations before 1700.
Dennis Tryon August 17, 2012 02:11AM
The Chino mine in New Mexico had copper at the surface which was used by the Indians for arrowheads and ornaments.

AJMI August 17, 2012 02:11AM
Rob Woodside said, "There is no evidence that the Norse mined anything when they were here around 1000 AD. "

Maybe the Norse did some mining in Canada?

According to the website - "At the Norse settlement in L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, Canada, there is clear evidence that Norsemen harvested and smelted bog iron to use as the raw material for the iron rivets they fabricated to repair their ships there 1000 years ago."

"At L'Anse aux Meadows, the iron was probably used to make rivets and washers for ship repair. The wrought iron was rich in silicate impurities, which formed a glassy surface on the iron. This is visible on the parts even today. The surface helped protect the iron from rust, even when immersed in sea water."

The website has some neat pictures and even more information about Norse mining. :c)
Paul Brandes August 17, 2012 02:16AM
It appears to me that this could be a whole new thread all to itself solely on the first mining in North America..... :)-D
andy givens August 17, 2012 03:37AM
i am the super for apts rite over the schuyler copper mine..... i am intrigued with the history of it.
Jim Chenard August 17, 2012 03:54AM
The Schyuler Mine was around 1719-1720. There is evidence that the Griggstown Mine may have been in operation as early as 1699. Local lore has the early Pahaquarry Mine, along the Old Mine Road as early as 1644. This cannot be substantiated, since there is considerable conjecture on the age of the road and whether or not the ore could be smelted, at that early date. From the New Jersey standpoint, Joshua Hornblower did install the first steamengine during the mid 1750's. The early mines in the Bridgewater area most likely date from the 1730's and 1740's.
Oliver August 17, 2012 09:25AM
Harold Moritz Wrote:
> By mine, I believe the general meaning is an
> underground working, as opposed to knocking
> something off an outcrop or excavating things like
> bog ore. There were many bog iron excavations
> before 1700.

What about open cast mining?
Rob Woodside August 17, 2012 06:43PM
Thanks so much AJMI. I googled Frobisher and should have googled L'Ans aux Meadows. The early reports I heard made much of Scandanavian Iron found there, proving the Viking settlement. It makes perfect sense that they would smelt and forge local Iron and the evidence is there!!! .
Steve Cantiello January 27, 2013 02:07PM
Hi everyone
what a wonderful topic this is.Seems nice that we are all becoming AWARE of the different knowledge out there on this subject.Makes me humble thinking about it.Perhaps the lesson here is we all see different things and can only bring our LIMITED knowledge into any conversation?Hence by SHARING our personal knowledge we ALL gain something which we did not have before.
Nate May 11, 2013 02:35AM
To me, the wording "first copper mine in the US" implies that Newgate was the first copper mine to incorporate as a company in the US. Thats United States, not N. America. The US didn't exist prior to 1776, so not only could a copper mine not exist within the US prior to 1776, it also could not incorporate as an entity under its law.
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