Old Telegraph Mine

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(The focus of this research is the mines that made up the U. S. mine and its predecessors in Upper Bingham, and the railroad, aerial tramways, and transportation tunnels that moved the mines' ore to the mills and smelters.)

The Old Telegraph group of mines consisted of the Nez Perces Chief, Roman Empire, No You Don't, and the Telegraph Western Extension mining claims.

A French company bought the Old Telegraph mine in 1879 for an astounding $3 million. The mine's owner, Liberty E. Holden, used the proceeds to buy other claims in Bingham, and Utah and Idaho.

L. E. Holden had come west in 1874 from Cleveland to manage the Nez Perces Chief mine for the owners, a group of Ohio and Michigan investors. After seeing the mine's potential, Holden bought out the group's interest and became sole owner, at which time, in May 1876, he changed the mine's name to the Old Telegraph Mining company, in honor of one its original claims, the Telegraph lode.

(Read more about Liberty E. Holden.)

The new French owners of the Old Telegraph ignored advise about running their mine using established techniques for Bingham mines, and instead brought in their own engineers and managers. The mine production immediately failed to meet expenses within six months, and for the next 12-15 years, the only production (in the range of 500-1000 tons per month) was from leasers. The French tried suing the previous owners, and after two appeals, lost their case, which was finally settled in 1896. The previous owners, including L. E. Holden, showed that they had not withheld any information, including taking the prospective buyers on several tours of the mine itself. The judge essentially said, "buyer beware" and the case was closed.

The most important Bingham claim that Liberty Holden bought with his new fortune was the nearby Old Jordan mine, as well as the South Galena mine. Using modern techniques of mining engineering, as well as some good old fashioned luck, the Old Jordan and Galena mines became very good producers. His son, Albert "Bert" Holden (born in 1866), took a degree in 1888 from Harvard and MIT in mining engineering, and used his own skill and luck on the Galena mine, which he bought from his father in 1889. The senior Holden had moved back to his home town of Cleveland in 1885, using his fortune to buy the Plain Dealer newspaper. Bert Holden eventually owned a controlling interest in the Old Jordan and Galena Mining company, which he reorganized in March 1899 as the United States Mining company. He moved back to Cleveland in 1899 or 1900, but continued to travel between Utah and Boston, where the U. S. company had its headquarters. The growth continued and in 1906, United States Mining merged with United States Smelting & Refining, to become United States Smelting, Refining & Mining company, a name almost everyone familiar with the history of Bingham canyon might recognize.


May 6, 1871
The No You Don't mine was shown as being owned and worked by "T. H. B. Jones & Co." (Salt Lake Herald, May 6, 1871)

January 1874
The Nez Perces Silver Mining Company was organized in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The same principles and interests also held and controlled the Detroit Utah Mines Corporation. (Salt Lake Herald, January 11, 1878)

November 1874
Liberty E. Holden was put in place as the manager of the Bingham mining properties of "the Michigan companies" [Old Telegraph Mining Company and the Nez Perces Silver Mining Company]. (Deseret News, December 12, 1877)

September 13, 1875
The earliest date for shipments of ore from the Nez Perces Chief claim was September 13, 1875. (Salt Lake Herald, January 5, 1878; news item of trial of Cleveland investors vs. Holden)

September 24, 1875
Henry Thompson, Monroe King, William McManamee and L. B. Bartlett, applied for a patent on their Live Yankee mining claim. (Salt Lake Tribune, September 30, 1875)

November 27, 1875
L. E. Holden and wife had arrived from Cleveland. (Salt Lake Tribune, November 27, 1875)

(Read more about Liberty E. Holden)

December 31, 1875
The Old Telegraph Mining Company was organized in Michigan, with L. E. Holden as vice president and managing director. (Salt Lake Herald, January 10, 1878)

February 2, 1876
The mining properties of the Nez Perces Silver Mining company were transferred to the Old Telegraph Mining company. The same persons were principals of both companies.

March 15, 1876
The Old Telegraph Mining Company applied for a patent on the No You Don't lode. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 19, 1876)

March 22, 1876
L. E. Holden applied for a patent on the Montana lode in Bingham Canyon. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 19, 1876)

May 6, 1876
The Old Telegraph Mining Company applied for patents for the Nez Perces Chief and Third Westerly Extension lodes. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 24, 1876)

May 13, 1876
The Old Telegraph Mining Company served notice that the former Nez Perces Chief company was defunct, and had been replaced by the new company. The following comes from the Salt Lake Tribune, May 14, 1876:

Bingham, May 13 - Exit Nez Perces; enter Old Telegraph. The old Nez Perces Company is defunct. All its assets were sold to pay its debts. The mining claims which were owned by that company were sold to the bondholders, who organized a new company called Old Telegraph Mining Company of Utah, so called in honor of the old claim and the name of the mineral belt. The claims, consisting of the Third Extension of the Telegraph West, the No You Don't (which were old claims), the Nez Perces Chief and the Western Chief were duly deeded to the new company with L. E. Holden as manager and W. Brown foreman. Whenever this mine is mentioned in the future it will be as the Old Telegraph.

June 12, 1876
"The Nez Perces is shipping between 75 and 100 tons daily, employing about 60 hands. This mine is now consolidated with the Montreal and Grecian Bend. The ore is of low grade, averaging from 30 to 40 dollars per ton, net proceeds, but the quantity in which it is produced is sufficient to make the mine profitable." (Engineering & Mining Journal, June 24, 1876, page 617)

April and May 1876
The Old Telegraph Mining Company was involved in at least two court cases in Third District Court concerning the boundaries of its claims, and encroaching on adjacent claims, as well as it business with Central Smelting company.

The case for encroaching boundaries finally went to jury trial in May 1877, with the plaintiff being the owner of a one-third interest in the unpatented Montreal claim, the boundary of which overlapped the boundary of the adjacent patented Roman Empire claim, which was owned by the Old Telegraph Mining Co. Holden had offered $30,000 for the Montreal claim as a settlement, but the offer was not accepted.

January 1, 1877
L. E. Holden leased three of the seven furnaces of the Galena smelter on the Jordan river, and was remodeling the stacks with a new design. In the last year, the Galena smelter had processed 235 carloads with 2,470 tons from the Jordan mine. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1877)

January 21, 1877
L. E. Holden is shown as the manager of the Old Telegraph Mining company, and "self-proclaimed owner of a majority of its stock." (Salt Lake Tribune, January 21, 1877)

March 1, 1877
The Live Yankee clam was sold to Michigan interests for a reported $35,000. (Salt Lake Herald, March 3, 1877)

March 7, 1877
The following comes from the March 7, 1877 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune:

The Old Telegraph, probably the greatest lead mine in the world, consists of four thousand linear feet, running in a north easterly and south westerly direction across the head of Bear Gulch, a south fork of Bingham canyon, from the summit of the Nez Perces Hill on the left, or east, to nearly the summit of Silver Hill on the west. When Prf. Holden, who is a practical miner and geologist, took this property and ascertained that he had a mine of low grade ore, the consideration with him became how to work it on a paying basis. Many years of mining experience in the Lake Superior region had taught him the art of initializing natural forces, something that is new to Utah mining, and seems never to have been dreamed of until the Old Telegraph manager showed the way. Instead of going to the discovery shaft on the top of Nez Perces Hill with his hoisting machinery to haul up the ore and waste material from the mine, only to let it down again on the outside, he ran a tunnel from the base of the hill, twelve hundred feet below the discovery point, and by its own weight lets the ore drop out of the mine from the bottom into the ore house.

The ore is then dropped through a chute from the ore house into a train of small cars of a capacity of two and a half tons each, which are run down a tramway four miles in length, to the terminus of the Bingham Canyon railroad, where their contents are dumped into regular ore cars of the narrow gauge road and shipped to the smelters at Jordan. Thus, every time the ore from the Old Telegraph is moved, it is dropped towards the market, and gravitation does, without cost, that labor which steam hoisting works do for nearly all the other mines in Utah at great expense.

Prof. Holden, however, has not limited his efforts to mining alone, but proceeded on the hypothesis that what man dare he can do. Last fall he leased a portion of the Galena smelter on Jordan, and engaged Mr. Longmaid to put up three new wrought iron water jacket furnaces, which have recently been fired up on Old telegraph ore, with sufficiency of flux, and it is found to work admirably. The great difficulty in smelting Utah ores has been to avoid blowing the profits out of the stack, which has been done in the form of dust carrying about twenty per cent of the value contained in the ores. High blast and lack of fume condensers have caused the ruin of quite a number who have engaged in the smelting enterprise in this Territory. But the Old Telegraph chief, with an eye single to economy, says it is cheaper to run many furnaces with a low blast, little dust and less waste, than to scatter the profits of the business to the four winds of heaven through a single smoke stack. Hence he has leased the entire Galena smelter and will immediately commence the erection of three more furnaces, all for the reduction of ore from the Old Telegraph. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 7, 1877)

June 3, 1877
The following comes from the June 3, 1877 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune, discussing the low price of lead:

The Old Telegraph, the leading lead mine in America, has been so seriously affected by the recent decline in the price of lead, that the company found it necessary to reduce the force of their miners from 120 to about 45, and the product from 120 tons of ore daily to a sufficient amount only to keep the Old Telegraph smelters on the Jordan supplied. The tramway tunnel is being worked constantly by Barley drills.

The Jordan, which recently fell into the hands of the Old Telegraph company, is employing ten men, who are repairing the mine and prospecting with good results. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 3, 1877)

July 14, 1877
The following comes from the July 14, 1877 issue of Engineering and Mining Journal magazine.

This camp may be regarded as the principal lead region, and whose mines, although of low grade ore, are well developed and reliable. To give an account of all the mines and works would require more space than is permissible, hence a brief mention of the principal ones must suffice. First of these comes what is now known as the "Old Telegraph," and probably the most extensively worked mine in the Territory. This, composed of several different mines, whose workings have been connected, presents a network of shafts, levels, drifts, and winzes many miles in extent, and too numerous for description. The ore is being taken out at a tunnel driven to tap the lower workings. The mine employs about a hundred and twenty men, and ships about 60 tons of ore a day, averaging 45 per cent lead and 20 oz. silver. Three air drills are in use, and others are to be added. The Old Telegraph Company, under the management of Prof. Holden, have secured a large amount of other property in the camp, and are showing how, by efficient and careful management and by employing every possible advantage in the mining and handling, even the low grade ores may be profitably worked. They have been by far the largest producers within the past six months, and have shipped in the last eighteen months nearly 30,000 tons. Here, as in all these large bodies of carbonate ore, extensive and careful timbering is an absolute necessity, and a constant and heavy source of expense. (Engineering and Mining Journal, July 14, 1877)

November 7, 1877
"L. E. Holden has erected a mill on the Jordan, just south of the Sheridan Hill works, for the concentration of the Old Telegraph ores. The mill has a capacity of 100 tons per day." (Salt Lake Herald, November 7, 1877)

December 9, 1877
"Eleven actions were commenced in District Court of this city before Chief Justice Schaeffer yesterday, against Liberty E. Holden and four corporation defendants, for the possession of a group of mines situated in Bingham, in this territory, known as the Old Telegraph mines. These actions were brought by parties residing in Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio, and in Detroit and Kalamazoo, Michigan, claiming a three-fourths interest in the mines, and six more are soon to follow." The suit claimed that Holden "fraudulently suppressed from the shareholders a knowledge that the mines were largely productive, until he had purchased their interests at merely nominal prices. And it is further claimed that the money with which Holden was enabled to make the alleged purchases, came wholly from the produce of the mines, which should have been paid to them as dividends, rather that used by Holden to buy out their stock." The initial hearing for the appointment of a receiver was set to take place on December 21, 1877. (Salt Lake Tribune, December 9, 1877; Sacramento Daily Union, December 10, 1877)

The four corporate defendants named in the above Holden suit included: the Old Telegraph Mining Company and the Nez Perces Silver Mining Company, both incorporated in Michigan, and the Old Telegraph Mining and Smelting Company and the Jordan Mining and Smelting Company, incorporated in Utah. The 15 cases brought against Holden were by stockholders of the first two named companies. The cases allege that Holden, between January 24 and October 10, 1876, fraudulently purchased what amounted to three-fourths interest in the mining properties in question. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 3, 1878)

The so-called "Holden Trial" took testimony and cross-examination from January 3 through February 20, 1878, with the plaintiff motion for a receiver being denied on February 21st. The judge's decision being based on the fact that Holden was the managing director of the company, had full power of attorney, and produced letters and telegrams, and affidavits for numerous persons stating he gave the other stockholders continuous updates as to the value of the mine, gave detailed tours whenever asked, and was honest in all his description with each visit. However, it was found that he withheld the more hopeful indications of increasing ore values as development progressed. The prices he offered and paid at the times he purchased additional shares from the various shareholders at times they expressed an interest in selling, were fair at the time of each sale. After-the-fact events resulted in the the value of the Old Telegraph mine increasing in value from $30,000 to $500,000, with former shareholders coming forward demanding to share in the benefits of something they had already sold. (Salt Lake Herald, February 21, 1878)

The following comes from USGS Professional Paper 38, p. 248:

The Old Telegraph mine embraces a great number of claims on both sides of Bear Gulch. In 1873 the Nez Perces Chief and No-You-Don't mines were purchased by an eastern company through Winsor & Randall (of Detroit), and though they were in the hands of an expert superintendent·they proved unprofitable, but in 1874 a body of ore was encountered. This was claimed by the adjoining Montreal, which had been on ore since 1873, but the court did not sustain the claim. Through a process of purchase and litigation, a group of these claims became consolidated in 1877 under the name "Old Telegraph" mine. At this period the output was large. In 1878 suit was brought against the superintendent by the eastern company for alleged misrepresentation of facts to depreciate the market value of stock. There were two trials, the first resulting in a verdict favorable to the superintendent, the second for the company. Pending an appeal, the mine was sold to a French company -- "Societe des Mines d'Argent et Fonderies de Bingham." A compromise was effected whereby the superintendent paid the company $200,000. From the French company the property passed into the control of the present owners in March, 1899. The total output of the mine is estimated by them to have amounted to about $16,000,000.

(The "eastern" company mentioned above was a group of disgruntled Ohio and Michigan investors who were bondholders of the defunct Nez Perces Silver Mining Co.)

(Harvey D. Winsor, of Detroit, was also involved in earlier Utah mining attempts, along with Elon W. Hudson and B. Stroh, as the Winsor, Hudson & Stroh partnership. These were called the Winsor Silver Mining Company, in August 1872, replaced by the Detroit Utah Silver Mining Company in 1873. The same partners later organized the Nez Perces Silver Mining Company in January 1874. -- Detroit Free Press, October 20, 1875)

March 10, 1878
"The Old Telegraph smelter closed down last Sunday. The stamp concentrating works are running. The company are shipping ore to Omaha." (Deseret News, March 20, 1878; "From Saturday's daily, Mar. 16")

April 12, 1879
The Engineering & Mining Journal for this date published an sarcastic editorial concerning the apparent purposeful over-valuing by a foreign civil engineer and foreign mining engineer, of the Old Telegraph mine, for its purchase by the French company. The editorial compared the mine's value and potential production as set by local experts, with the value and potential production as stated in the company's prospectus. The ore reserves, as well as the content value of the ore in each ton mined, were exaggerated according to local experts.

The Bingham Company - This is an abbreviated form of the title of a French company, La Societe des Mines d'Argent et Fonderies de Bingham, which is reported to have purchased at 17 million francs the Old Telegraph mine in Bingham Canyon, Utah. The promoters of this scheme have seen fit to keep it pretty quiet in this country; and it was not until this week that we became acquainted with the contents of the prospectus of the company and the reports of its experts. These are so absurdly sanguine and exaggerated, that any expectations based on them will certainly be disappointed; and the effect of such a disaster upon the mining interest in Utah will be lamentable.

(The exchange rate in 1879 is difficult to determine, but a good estimate comparing each currency's value in gold, puts the rate at approximately 5 French francs to each U.S. dollar, making the purchase price approximately $3.4 million. An American mining engineer made a bonded estimate of the same property at the time, stating that the Old Telegraph property's value was $1 million.)

(La Societe des Mines d'Argent et Fonderies de Bingham -- Translation: Bingham Silver Mines and Foundries [or Smelters])

May 7, 1879
The property of the Old Telegraph Mining Company was sold to a French company. (Salt Lake Herald, May 10, 1879)

May 10, 1879
"Societe des Mines d'Argent et Fonderies de Bingham came into possession of the property on May 10, 1879, and ran both mines and furnaces until September 1, 1880, employing about 200 men." In October 1880, the mine was leased to independent operators for a period of two years, employing 5 to 15 men. (Statistics and Technology of the Precious Metals, Census Office, Department of the Interior, 1885; Appendix I, Utah Mines, page 413)

March 13, 1881
The Old Telegraph was being worked by leasers. (Salt Lake Herald, March 13, 1881)

(On August 17, 1881, the same French company purchased the Lexington Mining Company of Butte, Montana. Medhurst was the manager of the Lexington property. -- Salt Lake Herald, August 21, 1881)

July 14, 1880
"In the case of the Old Telegraph Company, the French purchasers paid $3,000,000 for a property that L. E. Holden, the owner, had bonded for $1,500,000, the difference representing the profit made the man who placed it in Paris. The mine, under good management, was probably worth $1,500,000, but Holden did not sell the brains to work it with, and to-day the mine is a failure. The French purchasers, after the usual fashion, sent out one or two experts to examine the mine, and they reported, much to the amusement of the knowing ones, that there were 3,000,000 tons of ore in sight, worth anywhere from $30,000,000 to $50,000,000. They measured the whole body by the appearance of the drifts, which was a method altogether, unique for American miners. But the Frenchmen took the bait eagerly, and gladly paid the $3,000,000 asked. They at once organized an imposing management, the salaries of which aggregated nearly $50,000, and sent out a lot of German and French operators to take charge of the property. These men refused to adopt the American methods of mining, and now set up the cry of fraud, failing to find the mine equal to their expectations. Those who know say there is ore there, and good ore, though perhaps not $3,000,000 worth, and when the French owners shall have followed the example of their English brethren, some shrewd American will probably get possession and make it profitable. One thing is certain, however, and that is, French capital will never again seek investment in Utah." (Salt Lake Herald, July 14, 1880)

March 30, 1881
"The Old Telegraph is shipping heavily at present and the chances are will continue doing so during the remainder of the season and as the mine is described as being one of the most valuable in th entire camp its slight production during the winter has been a matter of wonder." (Salt Lake Herald, March 30, 1881)

February 3, 1882
"Societe des Mines d'Argent et Fonderies de Bingham" "The plaintiff from a time prior to February 3rd, 1882, has been a corporate body organized under the laws of the Republic of France and doing business in Utah." "The appellant, at the time of the transaction in question, was a corporation by virtue of the laws of the Republic of France, by the name of "Societe des Mines D'Argent et Fonderies de Bingham," and that it was working the Old Telegraph mine, situated in Utah" (Societe des Mines d'Argent et Fonderies de Bingham, Appellant v. Richard Mackintosh, Respondent; Report of Cases Decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Utah, Volume 5, January 1888; page 568)

(This case, first filed in December 1884, concerned the disposition of certain promissory notes, between agent or agents of the mining company and a local ore sampling company and its agent, and did not concern or affect the ownership of the Old Telegraph mine.)

("This suit was brought December 23, 1884; tried before the court December 30, 1886, and judgment rendered for the defendant (Mackintosh, an ore sampler who received shipments from the Old Telegraph mine); appeal had to [Utah] supreme court, and on May 2, 1888, judgment was reversed. On January 23, 1890, the case was retried by the court, jury being waived, and judgment again rendered for the defendant [Mackintosh]. A motion was made for a new trial and the motion overruled." The mining company's agent was registered in Utah, but the mining company itself was not, and therefore had no rights in its appeal to not pay the promissory note of its Utah agent. -- The Pacific Reporter, Volume 24, 1891, page 669)

"Lexington Mining Company. -- This company, whose members have a popular reputation in mineral and general business circles for their enterprise and substantial manner of conducting their mining and mill operations, are the owners of the Old Telegraph Mine located at Bingham, Utah; the Lexington Mine at Butte, Montana, and a smelter located twelve miles south of Salt Lake, all of which are valuable properties and well known to experienced dealers in ore all over the country. The present company purchased their interests from a French company that had succeeded the Old Telegraph Mining Company of Utah. Mr. F. D. Medhurst, a practical operator in ore who has had many years experience in mining and smelting, is general manager for the Lexington Mining Company. No work is being done in their smelter at present. The Butte mine is worked by the company and the Old Telegraph mine is leased." (The Leading Industries of the West, 1884, pages 37-38)

(As early as November 1883, Francis Medhurst was shown as the manager of both the Old Telegraph, and the Lexington in Butte. -- Salt Lake Herald, November 24, 1883)

January 1, 1884
"The Old Telegraph comprising the No You Don't, Nez Perces Chief, Montreal and Grecian Bend mines. This mine could at present be the most productive. The vein is at places over forty five feet wide, presenting a solid breast of ore. The mine produces at present with a force of twenty men twenty tons of ore daily. The production could easily be raised to triple that amount. The timbering of the mine is all that it could possibly be. The greatest depth attained is 400 feet." (Salt Lake Herald, January 1, 1884)

January 1, 1884
"Mr. Lovina, who has discovered a means of making low-grade ores pay, by means of the leaching process, has gone to California to procure machinery for the purpose. The machinery will be placed in the Old Telegraph Smelting and Leaching Works, situated on the Bingham branch of the D. & R. G., which have been idle and going to waste for a long while past. The works will probably be in operation before spring." (Sacramento Daily Union January 1, 1884, citing the Salt Lake Tribune.)

September 14, 1884
"Old Telegraph. -- Mr. G. Lavagnino is the new agent of the French company controlling this mine and the Lexington, at Butte; Hazelgrove and Mullett are still working the Telegraph under lease from Medhurst." (Salt Lake Herald, September 14, 1884)

February 26, 1885
Giovanni Lavagnino registered as an agent of the Societe Anonyme des Mines de Lexington. (Deseret Evening News, February 27, 1885, "yesterday")

(Societe Anonyme des Mines de Lexington -- Translation: Lexington Mines Anonymous Company)

December 25, 1889
"The Old Telegraph has only a few men employed, and part of it is under lease. It has shipped during the year about two thousand tons." (Salt Lake Herald, December 25, 1889)

June 14, 1890
The following comes from the June 14, 1890 issue of Salt Lake Times:

The Telegraph. -- Here is a mine that has provoked the speculation and gossip of two continents, that was once the most fatuous mine in the west. It was sold for $3,000,000 and is considered by many to be worth as much today, although it probably could be bought for less money. The mine was first worked extensively by L. E. Holden who took hold of it in 1874 and worked it until 1879, when it was sold to the French syndicate who own it now. During Mr. Holden's ownership its average production was from one hundred to one hundred and fifty tons per day. Those were the palmy times of Bingham.

This company owned the largest smelters at the time in Utah, located at Bingham Junction; the five stacks of which were run almost entirely on the Telegraph ore.

When the property was acquired by its present owners, who also control the Lexington at Butte. Montana, and are largely interested in the gold mines of South Africa, it was placed under the management of W. F. C. D. Medhurst. At the time of the transfer it was paying dividends of $20,000 to $80,000 a month, but strange to say, after the sale it never paid another while being worked by the company, who claimed they had been swindled. The new owners worked it considerably after their purchase, for about six months, when it was closed down for a time, until Hazlegrove, Mullet and Davis took a lease on it and in two years succeeded in producing about $350,000, proving there was still considerable ore remaining in the mine.

Whatever may be the reasons why the mine is idle, or nearly so, I do not know, for it would certainly pay handsomely if worked, one prominent mining man telling me there was at least a half million dollars in sight at the present time. How near true this statement is I do not pretend to say, but that there are some thousands of tons I know, for I saw them. In some places, almost on the surface, there was from five to ten feet of pure carbonates that will run about thirty ounces silver and eighteen per cent lead. In the mine there are immense bodies of ore, carbonates, sulphides and siliceous, the most of which of course is low grade, but a great deal of it would pay. In some places the stopes are as much as forty feet high and all ore.

To say that the mine was exhausted would be entirely untrue, as it is not even prospected below a water level, all of the work done up to this time being by adit tunnels, of which and drifts and crosscuts there are some miles. These workings are kept in splendid repair, the most of the work done being with that end in view, for no effort towards a large production can be made with the ten or twelve men employed.

There is no reason why this mine cannot now produce from one to two hundred tons a day, if the company so desired. Of course much of it would not be of a high grade, but there must be an endless quantity. When it has been demonstrated that nearly all of this low grade ore in this district can be successfully and cheaply concentrated, the value of the Old Telegraph must be very great. (Salt Lake Times, June 14, 1890)

September 6, 1890
"Butte, Sept. 6. -- The Lexington Mining company, officially known as the "Societe Anonyme des Mines de Lexington," filed their annual report today at the recorder's office. The amount of capital stock is 12,000,000 francs, or about $2,000,000. Of this amount one-fifth has been actually paid in money. The remainder is represented by the Lexington, mine, the Old Telegraph mine and smelters of Utah, these pieces of property having been purchased and paid for before the formation of the company by parties entering into it." "The assets of the corporation are reported to be about $4,000,000. These assets consist of the Lexington, Wild Cat, Atlantic and Allie Brown, also the Wappeto and Chinook lode claims with all buildings and improvements. The corporation report no liabilities beyond the operating expenses paid every month." (Anaconda Standard, September 7, 1890)

December 15, 1890
"The Old Telegraph is closed down for the time being, but it is rumored that the cessation of work is only temporary, and that in the immediate future a large portion of the mine will be leased to numerous sets of lessees." (Salt Lake Times, December 15, 1890)

April 22, 1892
The Old Telegraph was shown as being owned by the French conglomerate "Societe des Anonyme des Mines de Lexington". (Salt Lake Herald, April 22, 1892)

August 23, 1895
"The Old Telegraph will soon rescind those leases that cover the base ores, the manner in which they have been marketed having been it is said, unsatisfactory to the management. Those leases covering ground in which the carbonate prevails will be allowed to continue." (Spanish Fork Herald, August 23, 1895)

June 27, 1896
A large body of lead ore was discovered in Old Telegraph ground directly below the previously rich "Gray Stope," which was also known as the "Picture Gallery" vein that had played an important part in the selling of the mine to the French company in 1879. By mid 1896, the Gray Stope had been extensively worked, with 28 sets of timber stoping put in place to support the surrounding rock, with an overall dimension being 600 feet in one direction, and 300 feet in the other. The newly discovered ore body was on ground under lease to Bill Eckmann and Jack Nelson. Bert Holden of the nearby Old Jordan stated that the new discovery was larger than any at Leadville, Colorado. The leased ground was under a restriction that the leasers could not produce more than what four miners could produce (about 600 to 1000 tons per month), and had to install all the needed timber stoping, at their own expense. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 27, 1896)

(The property at Butte of the Societe des Anonyme des Mines de Lexington company, being the Lexington mine, was placed in liquidation on June 29, 1896 in France, by resolution of its stockholders. The reason for the liquidation was that the Lexington mine had encroached on the ore vein of the adjacent Butte & Boston mine, and the cost of the trespass suit bankrupted the company. On June 30, 1897 the property was sold in France for just $50,000. The Lexington mine had been inactive for "several" years prior to the sale, pending the outcome of the litigation. Documents of the sale were recorded in Butte in August 1897. The verdict of $125,000 in favor of the Butte & Boston company was sustained in July 1899 by the Montana Supreme Court. -- Montana Standard, August 11, 1897; October 9, 1897; Anaconda Standard, July 25, 1899)

July 17, 1896
The articles of incorporation for the Conglomerate Mining Company, recent purchasers of the Old Telegraph properties, were filed in Salt Lake County. Mr. Giovanni Lavagnino was to remain as manager, with the company also owning properties in Colorado. (Salt Lake Herald, July 18, 1896; "yesterday"; July 20, 1896)

July 20, 1896
"The Conglomerate Mining company, which succeeds the late Old Telegraph company, as we are informed, is composed of G. Lavagnino, some of the members of the old company and Colorado parties. It takes its name from the fact that the new outfit pooled Colorado property with the Telegraph. It continues to be under the management of Mr. Lavagnino, who holds a long lease on the Telegraph, and the policy heretofore governing the working operations will not be materially changed for the present." (Salt Lake Herald, July 20, 1896)

August 2, 1896
The Societe des Anonyme des Mines de Lexington company received 200,000 shares of stock of the new Conglomerate Mining company for its interest in the Montana lode, and others, all at Bingham. Mr. Giovanni Lavagnino received 100,000 shares of stock in the Conglomerate Mining company for his interest in the Diana lode, and others, all at Bingham. (Salt Lake Herald, August 2, 1896)

October 18, 1896
"A conveyance from the Societe Anonyme des Mines de Lexington to the Conglomerate Mining company, covering fifty acres of mining ground in West Jordan, was placed on file in the Recorder's office yesterday. The consideration is 200,000 shares of stock of the Conglomerate company. The conveyance also Includes the Montana, Third Westerly Extension of the Telegraph, No You Don't, Roman Empire, Nez Perces Chief, Mineral Zone and Key Note No. 2, together with an undivided half interest in a canal running westward from the Jordan River eight miles above the point where the Bingham branch of the Rio Grande Western railway crosses the stream, and a strip of land two rods wide on each side of the canal. The fifty acres of land is in West Jordan." (Salt Lake Tribune, October 18, 1896)

October 25, 1896
"More ore is being shipped from the Old Telegraph at present than any other Bingham mine." (Salt Lake Herald, October 25, 1896)

October 28, 1896
"The Old Telegraph mine, at the head of Bingham canyon, is making regular shipments, regardless of the low price of lead and silver. A few months ago the Old Telegraph group was incorporated under the laws of Colorado as the Conglomerate Mining company, and now it is being operated under the management of G. Lavagnino." (Salt Lake Herald, October 28, 1896)

March 16, 1899
"In part payment for the Old Telegraph, for which the purchasers have agreed to pay $550,000 upon the delivery of the deeds, that are now in escrow, the purchasing company yesterday paid into the banking house of McCormick & Co. $275,000, the balance to be shelled out on March 30th, when, at Cripple Creek, Colorado, the shareholders in the Conglomerate Mining company, owner of the Old Telegraph, will meet to ratify the big transaction. These details disposed of, the United States Mining company will take formal possession and its campaign formally begin." At the same time, the United States company paid $1 million in New York for the Old Jordan and its companions, and $500,000 in Philadelphia for the Niagara. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 16, 1899)

April 12, 1899
"The concluding act in the transfer of the Old Jordan & Galena and Old Telegraph properties in Bingham, to the United States Mining company, a corporation recently organized in Maine, with a capital stock of $10 million, fully paid, was completed yesterday, when deeds of conveyance were executed." "No mention was made in any of the documents of the transfer of the Niagara Mining & Smelting company's property, the third Bingham gold and copper property taken in by the new United States company, but this is accounted for in the fact that this property was acquired by purchase of the stock, which stock was absorbed." (Salt Lake Herald, April 13, 1899)

(Read more about the United States Mining Company)

(The Lexington company [Societe Anonyme des Mines de Lexington] retained an interest in the No You Don't and Mineral Zone patented mining claims, and these were sold at a U. S. Marshall's auction on April 19, 1899. The sale was the result of a claim by two leasers following the shut-down in December 1890. The sale price was reported as $4000, very low for a potential mine in Bingham, indicating that there was no known ore reserve on either of the claims. -- Salt Lake Tribune, April 20, 1899)

A review of online newspapers found that after selling its interest in the Old Telegraph mine in 1899, the Conglomerate Mining company remained in the active mining business, with ownership of mines in Butterfield canyon, and in Colorado and Idaho. In 1903, the Conglomerate company purchased the Butterfield group of mines, and the 8,200 feet long Butterfield drain tunnel.

(Read more about the Conglomerate Mining Company and its ownership of the Butterfield mine and tunnel, after 1903.)