Mining Company Teaches Jacksonville Women to Pan for Gold

Oct 7, 2013

In the election of 1876, there were only 15 votes cast at the tiny mining community of Sterling Creek, home of the Sterling Mining Co., recently purchased by A.P. Ankeny.  The placer mine would become the largest of its kind in Oregon.

 Despite its small size, the community had a school, cemetery, and a store owned by George Yaudes.  The school opened for several short seasons, and community dances continued until dawn.  Hunting was a popular pastime, and John Griffin made the news when he killed seven deer and three bears in a half day of hunting.

The gold mine provided entertainment for the citizens of Jacksonville and became a popular dating spot for young couples.  Jacksonville visitors drove to the mine, looked around, and enjoyed a picnic.  The mining company offered a tour and instructions on gold panning, and allowed women to try their luck, with a promise they could keep any gold they found.

The mining company ended the practice in the 1890’s when two women took their pans to the head of the sluice and did very well.

Source: Haines Jr., Francis, and Vern Smith. Gold On Sterling Creek: A Century of Placer Mining: Gandee Printing Center, 1964. Print