Sitting just four miles below the Continental Divide and
some 25 miles northwest of Helena,
Montana is the once thriving mining
camp of Marysville. The settlement got its start when Irishman Tommy
Cruse discovered a rich vein of gold on Silver Creek in 1876. A placer
miner who had been working downstream, Tommy continued upstream hoping to
find the mother lode, and lo and behold, was the lucky man to find it.
Dead broke, Cruse had to borrow money to to work his claim, but eventually
developed the Drumlummon Mine. Almost immediately he recovered more than
$140,000 in ore from the mine.
Within a short time of Cruse’s find, word
spread of the rich gold vein, and miners began to flood the area.
Marysville Train Trestle and Mine.
Cruse named the new mining camp Marysville for its
first female resident, Mary Ralston. The mine itself was named for the
parish in Ireland, where Cruse was born. In 1880, Cruse built a
five-stamp mill near the Drumlummon Mine. The following year, the
Marysville Post Office was opened in February, 1881 and by that time
the small settlement was flourishing with numerous businesses.
In 1884, Cruse sold the Drumlummon
Mine to an English Corporation for one million dollars in cash and
another ½ million in stock. He then moved to Helena where he built a
mansion, started a couple of banks and at the age of 50, married a
young woman. However, just a year later, his new bride died in
childbirth and Cruse became restless. He soon returned to the
Marysville area and bought the Bald Mountain Mine on Bald Butte above
town, which over the years, produced hundreds of thousands dollars in
gold, silver, copper and lead ore.
Within two years of the sale of
the Drumlummon Mine, the English company built 110 stamp mills to
process the ore. During the 1880s and 1890s, Marysville boomed, with
not only the Drumlummon Mine but also 12 additional mines in the area.
The town soon boasted some 60 businesses, including 27 saloons, 7
hotels, three newspapers, grocery and drug stores, a bank, a dry-goods
store, a bakery, three churches, two doctors, and numerous other
businesses. At that time, the mining camp was serviced by two
railroads, mining operations operated 24 hours a day, and the area
sported as many as 4,000 people. A school was later built that
accommodated over 250 children.
Marysville was also a very social community during its
heydays, with numerous local activities including ice cream socials,
garden parties, concerts by the Marysville Brass Band, and drilling
contests, whereby the miners would compete to see who could work the
drill into huge boulders of hard rock, the fastest. Miners around the
world competed in these contests, vying for World's Drilling Record.
One such event in the Marysville area was said to have drawn over a a
Unfortunately, at the turn of the century
the rich ores were becoming depleted, the mine was involved in a
lawsuit with the nearby St. Louis Mining Company over boundary rights,
production slowed and people began to move from Marysville.