Old Liberty Mine at Sweet Sold to A. M.D. Company

Deal Means Great Things in the Development of Rich Ore Bodies of the Properties

The Emmett Index, 10 October 1929

The Purchase last week of the Old Liberty Mine near Sweet from E. Sweet by the American Mines Development Company, of which L. S. Honsted is president, is fraught with great possibilities to that section in as much as the purchasing company has the resources and experience to develop the property and place it among the rich producers of the state. That is the opinion of Mr. Sweet, its former owner, who is confident the mine is rich in gold and silver ore.

Mr. Honstead, president of the purchasing company, has been engaged in developing and promoting mines in Silver City and the Quartzburg district for thirty years. His last big success was in the financing the Belshazzar property near Quartzburg, which now has the distinction of being the largest gold producer in Idaho. The American Mines Development company has been developing the Grandview property near Grimes Pass for the last 18 months. The company announces it will let a contract at once to push the 900-foot tunnel under the known ore shoot.


For half a century there have been rumors that the old Liberty mine was the holder of great riches. Its most enthusiastic booster has been Zeke Sweet, pioneer rancher of the Squaw Creek section. His faith in its producing qualities is unbounded. The Index asked Mr. Sweet to write a history of the mine, and here it is in his own words:

"Sometime in the "80"s old Jim Kirkpatrick came to me and wanted me to take what is now the old Liberty Mine. I asked him why he did not locate it himself. He said he had all he could represent. I thought, as everyone did, that he was quartz crazy. Not long afterward seven men came down from the north and camped in Timber Gulch just under it. John Gray went up the hill and saw the croppings, picked up a piece and put it in his canteen. They went on south and not finding anything to suit them, John had this piece of ore assayed. It went so good he came back and located it. Some of the others hearing about it came back and sued for an interest. It wound up with Brumback and Lamb getting an interest.

"The following year Gray did not come to represent, and the others were tending to relocate, so I took a team and found Gray sick in bed, got him up, brought him home and in a few days took a load of lumber and went to the mine. There were some two feet of snow there. We cleared off a place and built a cabin. And moved him up. Told him to pick out a nice piece of ore. When I took him back, I took the ore to Boise with him and put it in Pete Sonna's window corner of Ninth and Main Streets. In a short time a Mr. Barry saw it, then hunted John up. John sent him to me and we went up, look it over and he bought it for $12,000. He started an incline with a horse whim, went down 50 feet and had nothing at the bottom. Drifted some 25 feet to the south and struck the big vein. It looked so good he built a large shaft house and for a hoist put a double compartment shaft 100 feet deep. They took out a large quantity of $140 ore, and a carload that worked $1000 at the Denver smelter. But owing to the distance from a railroad they could not do anything with $140 ore.

"About this time three men came out from Denver and offered Barry $30,000 for the min. He refused the offer. They went back and just before Barry's time was up, the money came from Denver to pay John. He told me that Barry lost it all one night in a poker game at the Overland hotel. John refused to extend his time and he lost it. Then C. O. Norcross got it, but never did anything but sell stock and samples of the rich ore, afterwards he got himself in the pen in Colorado, so I've heard. Then I located four claims and had them patented and it has lain there for a number of years."

By the time of the Metsker Atlas in 1939 the four patented mining claims (Liberty, Nellie Gray, Bromide, Cincinnati & Iron Crown) were in Harry Sweet's name. See pg. 13 of Atlas (T8N, R1E), available at the museum.

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