Document written by Mr. La Reanudiere in 1723,

regarding the mines at Mine La Motte, de Maramet's Mines

Submitted by Michael Miller

From French Archives.  Transcripts at Washington

  Paris. Colonies  G.91.   465.

  1723 Aug. 23d    New Orleans

Memoire of the Mines of Mr. De LaMothe and De Maramet by La Ranaudiere

                                                                                            Received by Mr. Perry’s letter of

                                                                                            Feb. 1st, 1723

Mr. LaRanaudiere

                                                L.G. from Carton 22

Aug. 23 1723

                        Account of the mines of Mr. de la Motte and Mr. Maramet with the

                        Results which I have been able to reach from evidence which I have

Gatheres from them.

  It is about fourteen miles from Kaskaskia to the mines of Mr. de la Motte. One must cross from the Mississippi to the Saline, and the lead mines are found a half mile to the west; about five or six paces in width.  In some places the mineral is only one foot below the surface, as one begins to dig, going down to rock, where in the soil, may be found pieces of lead weighing from 20 to 30 oz.  The distance from the rock to the surface of the ground varies from seven to eight feet. , according to the spot which is opened.  We have penetrated this rock about seven feet, the lead is mixed in with it. I worked it and found a little silver and in going further into the rock, the stone changes color, we found a quantity of stones of verdigris, which is a sure indication of the presence of copper in along with the presence of lead, one half foot in thickness by twenty, large.  In certain places the mineral has been burned by the fire in the center of the earth, and is not worth melting;  In locations where the veins are well formed, the mineral is found to be good and produces as much as from 40 to 45 percent.  One extract, melt and refine about 10,000 , per month, ready to work,

With eight men working at short shifts, it can be delivered to the Illinois country, fourteen miles away, four by water and the rest by land.  One may avoid this “portage” by forming a settlement at the mines, in this, the lead might be shipped on a small river which passes ¼ of a mile from the mine and falls into the Mississippi and reached within 20 miles of the Arkansas (country?).

This river is navigable wherever there is a storm, and it only takes nor more than eight day to reach it in pirogues;  From the mine to the Arkansas (country?) I have followed the back of this river which is navigable fro 20 miles; from 5 to 6 thousand of lead may be hauled by pirogue.  By this route one here is about the same distance near New Orleans to these mines as there is to the Illinois, this river called St. Francois. 

In the neighborhood of these mines there are small prairies, about a half mile long by a quarter mile wide; innumerable creeks and rivulets empty into the St. Francois

River; these prairies serve as a refuge to quantities of horned cattle, bear, deers, “cerfs d’Inde”(?) tigers, skunk and other animals in great quantities there are many fruit trees such “asseminiers”(?), persimmons, plum, beam-tree berry, nuts, pecans, grapes, these fruits and the rest furnish nourishments to the Indians; when they go to make lead, the carry with them only their weapons and ammunition.

Two miles from the mines, on the Illinois road, there is a large mountain where there are silver mines, their wealth cannot be estimated because they have not been opened; I dug in one spot, about 1 ½ feet down I made a small test and found a small amount of silver; on the other side of the St. Francois river, a large number of mountains may be seen, in which the color of the stone gives strong indication of mining material.

The distance between the mines of Mr. de la Motte and those of Mr. de Maramet, is about fourteen miles distance, abounding in woods, mountains, small prairies, creeks and small rivers; these last mines,  are very rich in lead.  They produce as much as 80 per cent; the mines have the same exposure to the wind as those owned by Mr. de la Motte which are from East to West, I cannot tell exactly the size of the veins; there are some small ones which are in sort of grooves, from which you would, in 1 day, procure two thousand of minerals from a hole four to five feet deep by fifteen in length; six men can operate three shafts, two at each shaft.  In order to procure much mineral from these openings, they are like trenches, one must follow the veings which are found on the rock, which are about one feet thick, some are less; quantities of lead mineral, in stones which are not attached to the rock, is also to be found, the stones are to be found in the earth.  I dug into three small mountains in the neighborhood of these mines, and found much lead in several places.

  The distance from the Illinois to the mines of Maramet is about thirty miles by land and from sixty to 70 by water, fifteen of which ascend the Mississippi and about 55 miles in the River of Maramet from is source to the mines.  This is very fine hunting

Country, it would be a good place for settlements; there are river in which fish abound, also turtles and a quantity of river birds.

  In the neighborhood there are many mountains of no mean height; the stones which

Detach themselves from these mountains and fall below are minerals, the waters flowing from them, are acrid.  There is no doubt that if these were excavated and dug into, that very good mines would be found.  If a settlement could be formed here upon which there could be put 4o Negroes under the management of capable persons, a good living could be easily made in many ways, and approximately three hundred millions of lead per year.

  There is moreover, a quantity of salt rock all along the River of Maramet.  I have seen several places where the water would be very good for making salt.  Sixteen miles along this river, there is another which comes from the West and is a little larger than the one followed to reach the mines of Maramet.  There are also mines here; I found one of lead eight miles from the other river, a quarter of a miles from the water.  It is a country in which there are likewise prairies and mountains; the wild Indigo is plentiful here as well as other herbs which were gathered by the Indians who were with me; they use them for making dyes and medicines; I noted several among other, there was on most potent against the bite of a rattlesnake, which the Indians provide themselves before starting out on a hunt or a voyage; there is also a root which produces a most perfect and beautiful red.  I shall renew my observations on my next trip and shall try to make some discoveries.  At New

Orleans this 23rd of August 1723.

 

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