Patrick Manogue

Father Patrick Manogue is one of the most widely celebrated figures of the Comstock. Born in Ireland in 1831, Manogue immigrated to the United States at seventeen and began his studies of priesthood at St. Mary's Seminary of Chicago. Unable to continue financing his education, he left the seminary and joined the California Gold Rush. He labored in the mines of Moore's Flat for two years when he met Archbishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany, who persuaded Manogue to continue his studies at the seminary of Saint Sulpice in Paris, France.

Opium Smoking on the Comstock

Chinese gold rush miners and railroad workers brought the practice of opium smoking to America's West Coast by the mid-nineteenth century. Among the Chinese on the Comstock, opium smoking was a common indulgence. Like many hallucinatory drugs, it provided a diversion from isolation, loneliness, dangerous working conditions, and the rising tide of anti-Chinese sentiment.

Open Pit, or Open Cast Mining

Mining is a practical industry that seeks efficient ways to extracts mineral wealth from the ground. During the nineteenth century, precious metals deeper than about three hundred feet called for underground drift or hardrock mining.

Nevada's First Mining

Nevada is known as a mining state due to its history of silver and gold mining, which began in the nineteenth century. However, the first miners in Nevada were Native Americans, starting perhaps more than 2000 years ago. Metals that were important in times that are more recent were not important to prehistoric miners, as there was no knowledge of smelting. Important minerals for mining included salt, turquoise, magnesite, and other minerals.

National Mining Act of 1872

The 1872 National Mining Act emerged from decades of debate about mining and public lands. The British Crown, followed by American state and federal governments, experimented with the management of mineral resources. Their approaches ranged from reserving mineral wealth for the government to the leasing or sale of land.

Mining Technology in the Nineteenth Century

Mining technology consists of the tools, methods, and knowledge used to locate, extract, and process mineral and metal deposits in the earth. The methods used to locate ore bodies range from on-the-ground reconnaissance by prospectors to remote sensing techniques such as satellite imagery. Mine excavations take place either on the surface or underground.

Miners' Unions: A Comstock Case Study

Conflict between western hardrock miners and management has its roots in the Comstock. In May 1863, Comstock miners initiated efforts to form an association. The following year, the Storey County Miners' League became the first sustained attempt at unionization of miners in the American West. Organized during a local depression, the League called for a $4 minimum daily wage for underground work and demanded "closed shops," insisting companies hire only union members.

Milling Technology in the Nineteenth Century

One of the greatest challenges the mining industry faces is the extraction of resources from ore, the material that encases valuable minerals. This task follows the better known first phase of mining, the retrieval of ore from the surface or underground. During the nineteenth century, Nevada industrialists revolutionized the milling of gold and silver ore.


The town of Midas, located in northeast Nevada, existed for roughly the first half of the twentieth century due to mining activity. Today it is a retirement community preserving fond memories of its exciting past. Highly successful mining has recently returned to the region without significant changes to life in the tiny town.


Miner George Nicholl found rich silver deposits in the southern part of the Toquima Range in Nye County during 1866. Only sporadic production occurred there until major new discoveries, assaying at $3000 a ton, were made in April 1905. A rush to the booming mining camp ensued, and by the end of 1905, Manhattan had a population of more than 1000, seventy-five frame buildings, and two newspapers. Although the town was at its peak, the San Francisco earthquake in April 1906 had a tremendous effect on it.


Subscribe to Mining