county is rich in minerals, and contains a great
variety of them. Lead is the most valuable,
and has been worked
for more than a century and a half. When Renault,
in 1720, entered the county with his miners, he
accompanied by La Motte, a mineralogist, who in
one of the earliest excursions, discovered the mines
the northern part of this county, which still bear
his name. Of this mine, Moses Austin wrote
in 1804 as follows:
La Motte was discovered by Mr. Renault, about
the year 1723 or 1724, who made an exploration,
but finding no silver ore abandoned it. About
the year 1723 a man by the name of La
Motte opened and wrought the mine, after who
is was called. About the years 1738-40
a la Motte was considered a public property,
and the people in general were allowed to work
At that time it furnished almost all the
lead exported from the Illinois. But soon
after the discovery and
opening of the Mine a Burton the mine a la Motte
was in a great measure abandoned, the mineral
at Mine a Burton being much easier melted. The
Mine a la Motte is at this time claimed as
private property; in consequence, the inhabitants
in general are denied the privilege of working.
the quantity of lead is greatly reduced. For
the years 1802 and 1803 the quantity of lead
made at Mine a la Motte did not exceed 200,000
pounds' weight, although about thirty men were
employed from four to six months each year."
claimants of the mine at this time were J. B. Pratte,
J. B. St. Gem, Francois Valle and J. B. Valle, who
that they purchased the property in 1790. To
the United States Commissioners they submitted evidence
to show that the mine was worked by one of the Valles
as early as 1763; that in 1769 the Chickasaw
Indians killed the son of Valle, and by other acts
of hostility drove him from the land; that a short
time after, he attempted to resume work, when one
of his companions was seized and burned by the
Indians; but that in 1780, or 1782, he was once
more returned to work.
In 1827 the grant,
of about 24,000 acres, was confirmed to three claimants
or their representatives, who in 1838 sold
to C. C. Valle, Louis F. Linn and E. E. Pratte.
These owners divided the mining section into
of forty acres each, and leased them for a term
of ten years, which was afterward extended three
Various parties worked under these leases,
and four or five furnaces were operated. In
years an aggregate of 19,000,000 pounds of lead
was produced. During this period, a partition
of the property took place, and some Philadelphia
men became part owners. A legal fight over
ensued, and lasted until the beginning of the civil
war, during which time there was little mining done.
1861 the works were destroyed by the Federal troops.
In 1868 the property was purchased by the
Motte Lead Company, composed of R. G. Hazard, of
the La Motte Lead Company, composed of R.
G. Hazard, of Rhode Island; R. B. Lockwood, of New
York, and W. A. Scott of St. Louis. Modern
and furnaces were put up, and preparations made
for more systematic work, but the stockholders
disagreed, and a financial wreck was the result.
In 1876 Rowland G. Hazard became the
sole proprietor, and still owns and works the mines.
His manager is Mr. J. D. Sanders.
mines are worked. The ore is raised by steam,
and carried over tramways to the works, where it
is treated to much the same process as the disseminated
ore at other mines. The mines my be shallow,
deepest not going more than 130 feet below the surface.
The ore lies in isolated masses, the veins
three or four feet thick. in 1876 the total
amount of lead produced from these mines since their
discovery was estimated at 110,571,436 pounds. In
1887 the yield was about 80,000 pounds.
lead mines in the county have been worked at different
times, and recently there has been considerable
prospecting for this metal. It is thought
that there are ore fields as rich as those of St.
County, if they were sought out and developed.
1843 copper was discovered by John Craddock, one
and a half miles east of Fredericktown. He
out to Dilly & Avery who formed a company to
develop the mine, but four years later the property
was transferred to J. T. Foster & Co., of New
York, who worked it until 1880, taking out
large quantities of black oxide and yellow sulphuret.
Soon after the close of the ware, work was
and has never been resumed. In 1838 copper
sulphides in paying quantities were found
on the Mine la Motte tract, and in 1845 a mine was
opened. Work was carried on for three
and it is said that the net profits from the copper
taken out amounted to $150,000. The ore in
was exhausted, and the work was suspended..
the smelting of lead at Mine la Motte, some cobalt
and nickel are found, and shipped to Europe in its
raw state. The amount averages about seventy-five
tons per year.
fifteen years ago a company of St. Louis capitalists
was organized to develop what was thought to
be a very rich deposit of tin. It was found
in what has since been known as Tin Mountain, ten
of Fredericktown. Half a million dollars was
expended in putting in machinery and opening up
the mine, but no tin was obtained, and the company
was forced to the conclusion that the mine had
"salted" by interested persons, since
specimens assayed had yielded large returns.
equally fruitless attempt was med to develop a silver
mine in the western part of the county, but it is
that had this company continued their work they
would have met with success.
the exception of lead, the most valuable mineral
production in the county at the present time is
A quarry has been opened by the La Motte Granite
Company, about three and one half miles from
Fredericktown, and a large force of men are employed
in getting out granite paving blocks.
miles southwest of Fredericktown is a marble quarry,
from which have been taken some very beautiful
specimens, but it has not been extensively worked.
It is a very beautiful color, takes a good
and is highly valuable for ornamental work. Besides
the minerals mentioned, there are large deposits
of kaolin and hydraulic cement, but neither have
Source: History of Southeast Missouri