Marion Co TOC
Graphics by Rhio
Special 1994 Turkey Trot Issue
The Silver Mine 'story'
A Personal Glimpse to the Past
By Doretha Dillard Shipman
Reprinted from 19 Jun 1919 Mt Echo
Transcribed by: Karen L. (Hildebrand) Stevens
With our laundry tied up in a bed sheet. Lye soap and rub board in hand, Mom and I started down a steep hill to a spring and pool of water to wash our weekly laundry. This was a happy, special event for me since I was a child and didn't have the responsibility of rubbing the clothes clean. I spent my time wading in the pool of cold water and day dreaming of where this little branch ran to and if I could follow it, where would it lead me.
I know now, old timers, hunters and miners had the same curiosity because when I was older, I discovered this water which played hide and seek down the hollow by appearing and then vanishing only to reappear a short distance down stream, ran in front of the Silver Run Mines.
This mine had been discovered and worked in the early 1900s, before I was born. My father Pate Dillard, was affiliated with the mines since they provided work for our people. Several mines were opened in up in Marion County. Hundreds of people lived in this Mull and Desota or "Sylvia" Community and thousands lived and worked at Rush, which is now called "Ghost Town Rush." Silver Run was close for Dad to work and the road to the mines run just below our home. As a little girl growing up, I loved to walk that old country road with its deep shade and heavy forest on either side.
The mines were closed during and just after World War I. I was told how living conditions were while the mines were in full swing and then came more hard times and the depression. So as I grew up t here were no mines operating. But at about age 15, Mr. Palmer, whom Daddy had know since the first mining boom, came back to the Ozark Mountains to build a mill and operate Silver Run Mines once again. In 1940, it looked promising and this mine once again provided our people with work. Daddy helped build the mill, run and maintain it. A dam was constructed from the spring and branch of my wondering and day dreaming a childhood mine, to provide much water needed to wash and cleanse the ore. This was out of the native rocks which there were plenty of. Silver Run Mine shares were sold. Daddy bought some for $100.00 per share.
My grandfather Charlie Davenport was provided with a little "shotgun" cabin at Silver Run and was caretaker and watchman for the mines. I had just finished high school, was 17 years of age and World War II was going big. Some of my classmates were already in the Armed Services. Others were working at ammunition plants, etc. but I was too young to do that. I wasn't to young to "land" my first real job at the Silver Run Mines as cook for the miners. I walked there in the morning and back home in later afternoon after my duties of dishwashing and cabin cleaning were finished. It certainly gave me some experience cooking beans and potatoes on top of a heating stove and baking cornbread in an over which was attached to the stove pipe just above where I probably also had a skillet of gravy going, since that was one dish served about three times daily.
I was sad when once again the mines could not continue. Mining in other parts of the county could furnish the ore much cheaper than the Ozark Mines.
The Silver Run Mill was still intact enough to attract a Mr. Nelson, who used the Matty Mae Mines to obtain the ore, then hauled it to Silver Run Mill for milling. They felt it would be cheaper to bring the ore, to the mill than tear the mill down and move it to the Matty Mae. Roads were built and once again the Sliver Run area was used, but as time went by mining was given up for lack of profitable earning.
Now, most of the workers of these mines are gone from us; they are missed, but the little stream of water from my spring of wonder continues to flow, still playing its games of hide and seek.
The rocks of the dam are now in disarray, but the water flows on.