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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : blogs : verde heritage July 22, 2014

Verde Heritage
By Glenda Farley, Cottonwood, AZ
Local historian Glenda Farley guides us on a journey back in time to discover fascinating moments that make up our Verde heritage and history.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Verde Heritage

"Biggest Deposit of Cobalt Known to Exist Is Discovered a Few Miles South of Jerome. Thomas A. Edison, the 'electrical wizard,' will visit the Red Bluff Cobalt Mine."

"Thomas A. Edison, the world's greatest inventor, will next spring visit the only cobalt mine in the United States, which is located about eight miles south of Jerome, in the Black Hills, at the head of Grapevine creek, says the Phoenix Gazette."

"Cobalt is the metal that is absolutely necessary in the manufacture of Mr. Edison's new electric storage battery, therefore he is vitally interested in this discovery. The owners of the mine are S. Morrison and his son R. E. Morrison. Their property consists of four claims, known as the Red Bluff group. Up to a year ago they were developing the claims for copper, gold and silver. Some excellent copper ore has been uncovered, but they have lost interest in the red metal now. For four years the Morrisons worked on their claims before they learned there was cobalt there."

"The cobalt ledge was found in a spot where there was no more indications of mineral than on a ballroom floor. The earth at that particular spot, was black, and they thought there might be a spring there. On digging down they encountered huge pieces of a peculiar black formation. About four feet beneath the surface they uncovered a five-foot ledge of what ultimately proved to be cobalt. A year before, at another point a little to the eastward, they had thrown several hundred pounds of this material out of a hole they had dug for copper ore. At the time they thought it was white iron. They now decided, however, that they would have it assayed."

"Assays were made in Prescott, Phoenix and other places. All the assayers declared the stuff was cobalt ore running high in values. Cobalt is used for various purposes and the present market price for the pure metal is $2.50 per pound. Their ore runs $500 to the ton, computing at that figure. Should Edison begin the manufacture of his batteries the price would undoubtedly increase."

"The vein, at the point where it was first uncovered, is five feet wide. That is a kind of corner. The vein runs east and north, and it has been traced 600 feet each way. The average width except in the curve, is about two and a half feet. A shaft is now down 20 feet on the widest part of the vein. An expert has computed that there is between ten and twelve thousand dollars worth of ore on the dump. The cost of mining was very light."

"An associate of the Morrisons, a Major Jordan, became very enthusiastic over the cobalt discovery. He took samples east and had 100 pounds tested by the government assayer at Washington. He pronounced the metal undoubtedly cobalt. Major Jordan went to North Carolina, where Thomas A. Edison was at the time, to interview the 'electrical wizard.' Edison listened very closely to Major Jordan's story. He said that his new storage battery, capable of storing many times more electricity than any now in use, could not be used commercially until an adequate supply of cobalt was discovered. If the discovery of the Morrisons was half what it was represented to be, it would be a boon to mankind and mark a great step forward in electrical science, he said."

"After perfecting the storage battery, Mr. Edison advertised to the world that he wanted cobalt. The only mines on the American continent are in Canada, and the supply of the metal from that source is limited. A two inch vein of cobalt was discovered in Tennessee, and great excitement resulted, but the vein pinched out a few feet below the surface."

"Mr. Edison told Jordan that his battery never would be a complete success until a great supply of cobalt was found and that he had strong hopes the Morrison mine would prove to be what was needed. He agreed to visit the property in the spring."

"The Morrisons naturally value their property very highly. They feel sure that they have a vast quantity of cobalt. Their belief is founded upon their own experience as miners and upon the word of experts. Men from the Canadian cobalt mines have visited the Red Bluff mine, and declared unhesitatingly that it carries the biggest deposit of cobalt known to exist."

(Jerome Mining News; Saturday, January 8, 1910; page 1, columns 1-3.)


"During the trip to the La Gracias mines a few days ago, Major T. C. Jordan started up the operation of the property, announcing that it was the purpose of the company hereafter to operate not only extensively but steadily. Big development is contemplated, and a good sized force of men were sent out to the camp. The Red Bluff claim will be the point operated, and where the showing is attractive from former working. On this mine a vein of cobalt ore is exposed that runs to 8 per cent, or 160 pounds to the ton, in that rare metal."

"The market value of this product is $1.50 a pound, and the yield is said to be practically exhausted in the United States, no market quotations being given since 1904. In addition to the values in this yield, the copper showing is also gratifying, and as development progresses the red metal ores will be sent to the Humboldt smelter market, conveniently situated in transportation facilities."

"Major Jordan made the statement that he is opening up correspondence with several firms in the country that consume cobalt in the arts and manufacturing, and specifically mentioned the fact that the fame of the proposition had reached Germany, and several urgent demands were made for that metal from that faraway land, and very much interest was manifested in the proposition for the rare quality of the product."

"He feels somewhat enthisiastic over the future of the enterprise, and in case the cobalt should decrease in quality, the copper values will be of material consideration to the company. A peculiar feature of this mining condition is that the minerals lie distinct and separate in the vein, and to the depth of twenty feet, at one point on the group, both maintain their uniform make and are easily extracted in the mining work."

(Weekly Journal-Miner; Prescott; March 9, 1910; page 4.)


"Beginning on the first day of the new year the La Gracia Mining company will increase its mining force to two shifts, and the beginning of ore shipments to the Humboldt smelter will also be inaugurated and continued steadily. The development has progressed steadily to warrant extensive operations, a heavy tonage being now on the dumps. The assorting of the cobalt ores from the copper is going on for this purpose. The first named mineral will later be treated at the works by a small concentrating plant that will be introduced in the near future, which is to be an experimental appliance and from the mineralogical character of the product is said to be a feasible method. A force is now on the Red Bluff mine of the group taking out copper ores for shipment, this portion of the property carrying a distinctive mineral and some distance away from the zone where the cobalt values exist."

"The general situation at the above camp is one of activity and the ground is assuming an attractive regard among mining men. Major T. C. Jordan, a member of the executive board, reached the city yesterday, en route to Tempe on company business, after a residence of two months at the camp. He is accompanied south by S. Morrison, one of the stockholders and the original locator of the property."

(Weekly Journal-Miner; Prescott; December 21, 1910; page 4.)

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