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Mine Fatalities of Keweenaw County

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This project is a sub-project of the Lake Superior Mine Fatalities, For the county of Keweenaw, Michigan.

The Ahmeek Mine
The Ahmeek Mining Company was organized in 1880 as an exploration wing of the Seneca Mining Co. to work the Kearsarge Conglomerate lode. The original operations consisted of two shallow shafts, but production was irregular. In 1903, with the discovery of the Kearsarge Amygdaloid lode, the Ahmeek Mining Co became its own entity. The new workings consisted of four inclined shafts that worked to a depth of 3,000 ft. Two of the shafts, 3 and 4, were unique in that both were serviced from a common shaft house. In 1923, the company merged with C&H, and operations were suspended in 1931. The mine re-opened in 1936 and continued in operation until 1966 when it closed permanently.

Ahmeek Fatalities -

The Allouez Mine
The Allouez Mine consisted of two shafts located near Allouez, just north of Calumet. The Allouez Mining Co. was organized in 1859, but work didn't start until 1869 on the Allouez Conglomerate lode. Work continued until 1877 when it was leased on tribute until the company resumed control in 1880. In 1885 the mine was again leased to tributers until 1889 when the company again resumed control. There were three shafts operation in 1906. In that year it was reported that the Allouez was second only to the Wolverine in production from the amygdaloid lodes. In 1923, the Allouez Mining Co. was absorbed by Calumet & Hecla and mining operations ceased shortly thereafter.

Allouez Fatalities-

The Central mine.
In 1854, John Shawson discovered native copper in the bottom of an ancient Indian pit several miles from the Cliff Mine. The Central Mining Company was organized in 1854 and mining began in 1856. The Central Mine and had the distinction of being the first Michigan copper mine to turn a profit in its first year of operation. The Central Mine was located on a fissure deposit and consisted of 4 shafts and 2 adits. Work continued until 1898 when all operations ceased. Between 1856 and the end of the 19th century the company built over 130 structures for the mine and the community of workers. Central was once home to 1200 people. Central was the only mine in Keweenaw County to pay a dividend in 1882. A record amount of 2,512,886 pounds of copper was produced; yet, due to the expenses of the mine, only $40,000 in dividends were paid. It was sold to the Frontenac Copper Company in 1905 and later absorbed by Calumet & Hecla. In its 44 years of operation, the Central Mine produced 52 million lbs. of refined copper and a large amount of silver. The Central Mine paid $1,970,000 in dividends on an initial investment of $100,000.

Central Fatalities-

The Cliff mine
The Cliff Mine was established in 1845, operated and owned by the Pittsburgh & Boston Mining Company, and was one of the most productive copper mines in the United States & operated consistently until 1854. The Cliff quickly became the first profitable copper mine in the region. The first dividend of any mine in the Keweenaw was a $60,000 dividend declared on May 21, 1849. But by the early 1870s, the mine was in a financial decline and was sold. The land at Cliff was eventually taken over by the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company, but by the early 1900s, all mining interests in that region were abandoned for more profitable pursuits. Large-scale mining stopped in 1878. The Pittsburgh and Boston Copper Harbor Mining Company and its successor the Pittsburgh and Boston Mining Company operated the Cliff mine from 1845 to 1870, then sold the property to the Cliff Copper Company in 1871. The Cliff Copper Company operated the mine from 1872 to 1878. The combined dividends paid by the companies were $2.5 million. The mine was then leased to tributers, who continued minor copper production through 1887. Total production was 38.2 million pounds of refined copper. The Tamarack Mining Company bought the Cliff property and did extensive subsurface exploration from 1903 to 1908, but did not find any new ore bodies worth mining.

Cliff Fatalities-

The Copper Falls mine (1845-1901)
(The Copper Falls mine was a set of numerous copper mine shafts and adits south of Eagle Harbor, Michigan. The mine is in Eagle Harbor Township, near the community of Copper Falls.)
The Copper Falls Mining Company has had a long and eventful career. The property, which contains a large tract of land in Keweenaw County, at the site of a prehistoric mining pit, lies not far from the Central Mine, on and near Lake Superior. The original development work was done under the auspices of an association formed Oct. 16, 1845, known as the Copper Falls Company, which purchased some 4,261 acres of land, for $11,060.97. Work continued until 1850. About that time, Mr. H. W. Hill, the superintendent, determined the existence of 6 distinct transverse veins designated as the Jacobs Creek, the Hill, Copper Falls, Old Copper Falls, and Child veins, Vein No. 3, and subsequently a longitudinal lode, which he named the Ash Bed from its volcanic, scoriaceous, ashy character. The main dependence of the Copper Falls mine was the Ash Bed. These various veins were operated with greater or less success up to 1855, when, the capital stock of the company having become nearly or quite exhausted by assessment. The annual product continued to increase from year to year, and in 1859 it had become double the previous year's yield, while the expenses had diminished somewhat. In 1861, the company set off 1,700 acres of its estate to a new company, receiving therefor $30,000. In 1865, a magnificent deposit of masses was found in the 40th, 60th, 70th, and 80th levels, in all about 4,000 tons. In 1873 and 1874, the mining was done in rich ground, and the product was large. In the years 1875, 1876, and 1877, the product kept diminishing. In 1877, the company was again reorganized, the value of the shares being increased to $50 per share, making the capital stock $1,000,000. The stamp mill was burned in 1878, and for a number of years after that the product was comparatively light. However, the outlook became more inviting, and the mine had come to the front again, as a large producer. The mine operated for over 40 years and produced, according to a Daily Mining Gazette article from 1956, “12,843 tons of ingot copper,” and employed “mostly Cornish, Finnish, and Irish” workers until its closure in 1901.

Copper Falls Fatalities-

The Delaware mine (A.K.A. Northwest mine & Pennsylvania mine)
The Delaware mine is located 12 miles southwest of Copper Harbor, Known originally as the Northwest Mine, it opened on a fissure deposit in 1847 and produced more than 500,000 lbs of copper over three years, but it cost more to produce the copper than it sold for, is the Delaware Copper Mine which dates from 1847-1887. (The Delaware had a tempestuous career of organization, operation, shutdown, and reorganization for 40 years.) After struggling along for 10 years with an annual deficit, the Northwest mine was reorganized as the Pennsylvania. Now working the bedded deposits, rather than the fissure deposits, prospects looked so good that a new stamp mill was erected on Lac LaBelle, 5 miles from the mine. A second company was formed, called the Delaware, and also built a stamp mill on Lac LaBelle. Even with the high price of copper during the Civil War, the companies could not turn a profit. Eight million pounds of copper were removed from the five shafts that reached a depth of 1,400 feet with ten levels. In 1876 there was a reorganization and the combined properties were renamed the Delaware Copper Mining Company. The new company had no better luck than the old one and suffered the same financial fate. After five years of losing money, a new conglomerate lode was discovered under the greenstone. A new company, called the Conglomerate, was formed. Although the lode was large, it was deficient in copper content and much of the fine copper was lost in the recovery process. The name was changed several times but no further development took place until Calumet and Hecla took over the property under the name of the Manitou Mining Company.

Delaware Fatalities -

The Mohawk mine
The Mohawk Mining Co. was incorporated in 1898 with Joseph Gay as president after lumberman Ernest Koch found copper on the property in 1896. Its best-known mineral to collectors is mohawkite. The mine also produced a large amount of native silver., especially in the upper levels. In 1923, the Mohawk Mining Co. took over the Wolverine Copper Mining Co. and the Michigan Copper Mining Co. The Mohawk had 5 shafts numbered 1 through 5 running from north to south. The Mohawk Mining Co. had a mill at Gay, at the mouth of the Tobacco River on Traverse Bay, near the Wolverine mill. The Gratiot Mine, a subsidiary of C&H lay just to the north of the Mohawk Mine.

Mohawk Fatalities-

The Ojibway Mine Fatalities-

The Petherick mine
The Petherick Mining Company was organized in 1861 by the Copper Falls Mining Company. It consisted of 10 shafts and at least 2 adits. The mine ran steady from 1861 to 1868, and again from 1872 to 1877. In 1880, the mine was reorganized as the Ashbed Mining Company and work continued until 1884, at which time the mine shutdown. Exploratory work was conducted in 1898, 1900, and 1905, but was never re-opened.

Petherick Fatalities -

The Phoenix mine
In 1846 work began at the Phoenix Mine, on the Phoenix Fissure Vein. By the time the mine reached 90' in depth a considerable amount of mass copper and silver had been produced. At the same time, the nearby Ashbed Lode was being explored. The Phoenix was a successful early copper producer whose property was taken over by the Keweenaw Copper Co. in the consolidation of several old properties in 1889. This consolidation left the Keweenaw Copper Co. with 2,505 acres around the Phoenix Mine and access to five fissure veins. Production ceased on the property in 1917 due to high production costs and a shortage of available labor stemming from World War I. The Phoenix Copper Company was established originally by the Lake Superior Copper Company, whose investors hoped for an operation as fabulously productive as the nearby Cliff Mine. Producing silver as well as copper, the Phoenix yielded not only the largest single piece of native silver ever recovered from the district, purportedly over eight and a half pounds, but a mass of copper weighing over 500 tons.

Phoenix Fatalities-

The Seneca Mine
The Seneca Mining Company was established in 1860 and sold in 1916 to Seneca Copper Corporation. The Gratiot Mine was opened by the Seneca Mining Company in 1910 to mine the highly profitable Kearsarge Lode. This mine is actually the Seneca No. 2 shaft but is referred to in most books as the Gratiot. In 1945, Calumet and Hecla Mining Company purchased the Gratiot Mine and operated it until 1966 when it ceased operation

Seneca Fatalities-

Other Keweenaw mine Fatalities -