Lead Mines, The
The marker is located 8.5 miles east of Galena at a roadside park on the north side of US 20, with the Galena City marker.
No coordinates identified
Division of Highways and The Illinois State Historical Society The prehistoric glaciers which leveled most of Illinois left much of this Jo Daviess County area untouched. Thus, the lead and zinc ore deposits of the earth's bedrock remained on or near the
The prehistoric glaciers which leveled most of Illinois left much of this Jo Daviess County area untouched. Thus, the lead and zinc ore deposits of the earth's bedrock remained on or near the surface. The indians had a crude system of mining, and reports of their mines reached the French. About 1690 Nicholas Perrot visited the mines in this region, and in 1700 Pierre Charles Le Sueur took sample ore from the deposits along the Mississippi River. The great minng fields marked on early French maps, combined with glowing tales of upper Mississippi minerals, led John Law, a Scot promoter, to emphasize their possibilities in 1717. The French government became so involved in backing him that it bordered on bankruptcy when Law's 'Mississippi Bubble' burst. In 1822 Colonel Richard M. Johnson obtained the first lease from the Federal Government to mine lead around Galena, and he was given a military guard since the Fox Indians were still occupying the area. The United States Government expected to receive royalties on the lead produced but collection attempts failed, and in 1847 the lands were sold outright. The lead mines around Galena reached their peak in 1845, when they produced about 83 percent of the total United States output. Lead in the surface veins was finally exhausted in the 1850's, and without the necessary capital for intensive mining, lead production declined during the last half of the nineteenth century.
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