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Allegany County
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Garrett County Silver, page 3

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its historical value only. If this lode is ever discovered it will probably be entirely accidental just as was the original discovery.

The Silver Belle

Two "gentlemen" prospectors named Miller came from Arizona and began prospecting for gold and silver in Garrett County. It can only be assumed that they had heard the story of the Layman Lode. Eventually they announced that they had found valuable ore on the property of Hiram Duckworth. This was in a remote spot in the Backwoods section beyond Fairview Church. I have not visited that section for fifty years but I seem to recall that it lies near the headwaters of Bear Pen Run. Samples were sent away for assay and were found to contain a high percentage of silver. This produced a great excitement throughout the region. Action was begun at once to form a mining company called The Silver Belle. Stock sold readily when it became known that certain bankers at Lonaconing were investing heavily. Whether they invested their own money or bank funds I do not know.

Coal miners were brought from Georges Creek to begin the mining operations. There is a world of difference between hard-rock mining and coal mining but no hard-rock miners were available. In the light of subsequent events, this choice may have been intentional. Considerable activity followed but no paying ore was ever found. When the sale of stock dried up, the work was suspended. The investment was a complete loss.

There were those who claimed that the failure to find ore was due to incorrect mining methods. On the other hand there were others that contended with equal vigor that the whole venture was a stockselling scheme. They hinted that the original ore sent in for assay was in reality brought from Arizona for that purpose. At this late date we are unable to resolve the contending arguments. We can only say that if it was a swindle, it must have been a masterful one.

Phineas Boucher, a well known and respected local surveyor was called in from time to time to make surveys in connection with the property and the mine. He was a close personal friend of my father. When making surveys in the vicinity he always stopped at our home for a visit. I recall that on one such visit he was reminiscing about the Silver Belle. He remarked jokingly that he was probably one of the few persons that ever got any silver out of the Silver Belle.

The Duckworth Mine

Around the turn of the century another flurry of excitement occurred. Silver bearing ore had been discovered on the property of Israel Duckworth. This too, was in a remote section some miles to the east of the Twin Churches at New Germany. It lay somewhere


Roy Durst


Collection Location:
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland

Original Size:
22 x 15 cms

Maryland, History

Western Maryland, 1750-1963

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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