Around 1866, a group of
led by Joel Richardson came to what would become known as the North Fork
area searching for placer mining opportunities. When they came to a large
tributary of the upper Salmon River, they set up camp and prospected for
several weeks, but unfortunately did not find gold. However, before
returning to Montana, they named the creek "Yankee Fork,” because everyone
in the party was a Yankee.
Prospectors continued to comb the area and in
1870 gold was found on a tributary of the Yankee Fork near Jordon Creek.
Soon after the discovery, the Yankee Fork Mining District was organized.
The first significant find was made by William Norton in July, 1875, which
produced as much as $20,000 in ore dug by hand by Norton and his partner,
After the discovery of the General Custer Mine
in August, 1876 by James Baxter, an E. K. Dodge and a Morton McKeim, the
area really began to flood with miners.
The three founding members of the mine;
however, realized they didn’t have the resources to develop the mine
and soon sold out to an English firm.
Bonanza today just has a few tumbling buildings, Kathy
Weiser, July, 2008.
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