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    THVExtra: History of Sherwood's silver mining boom

    8:01 PM, Feb 15, 2013   |    comments
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    SHERWOOD, Ark. (KTHV) - Mining operations were boom or bust for early settlers. The pattern was the same almost everywhere in the late 1800s, including in Pulaski County.

    Driving along Kellogg Road in Sherwood, little evidence remains of what used to be.

    In the 1820s, a farmer named Benjamin Kellogg made his way to Arkansas and settled in the area that is now known as Sylvan Hills.

    Darrell Brown with the Sherwood History and Heritage Committee says Kellogg unearthed some precious minerals.

    "The story goes when he was out here farming he finds some minerals that he thinks is silver," explained Brown. "So he contacted the Arkansas Geologic Commission and they sent the chairman of that commission out here to study some of the minerals and sure enough they did find silver out here, they found a lot of lead and zinc as well."

    Under a lease from Benjamin Kellogg, Brown says The South Western and Arkansas Mining Company began operations.

    "We know in 1848 they shipped a whole lot of silver ore over to Wales and the United Kingdom. They sent it down the Arkansas River, down the Mississippi to the Port of New Orleans where it was shipped over to Wales."

    Documents indicate operations in this period yielded up to 500 tons of lead-silver concentrate, valued at close to $50,000.

    Brown says mine manager Thomas C. Newton used his earnings to develop a town along the Arkansas River.

    "One of the original names of North Little Rock was Argenta, and that's the name Mr. Newton gave it and he named it in honor of his mining operation out here because Argenta comes from the Latin word which means 'silver,'" said Brown.

    Operations shut down in the early 1850s, but Brown says sporadic mining in these hills would continue into the early 1900s.

    "We know from records kept by Confederate soldiers in their journals that the Confederates come out here to the Kellogg Mines and they mine for lead and they use that lead to make bullets that would be used in what we call the Campaign for Little Rock."

    Lead bullets are the only artifacts in existence from the Kellogg Mine operation.

    Brown says the final mining push would come in 1923 when former governor and U.S. Senator James Clark purchased the land.

    "He set up a mining operation out here at the Kellogg Mines and it was fairly successful, but it only lasted about four years. I think it shut down around 1927 and then after that there was no more mining out here in this area."

    Today, tiny traces of the Kellogg Mine Operation remain along the banks of Kellogg Creek.

    Where mine shafts once existed, Brown says a gated subdivision now sits on a part of our state's history.

    "The story of the mine and the legend of it, it's kind of gone away."

    The Kellogg Mine included Arkansas's deepest mine shaft, which extended down more than a thousand feet below the surface.

    To read more about Silver Mining in Arkansas, click here.

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