LeRoy Pennysaver & News - page 9

FaurquierCountyGoldMine -TheLeRoyConnection
We were traveling our way
back fromamuseumconference
in Colonial Williamsburg on
Route17 throughVirginia, trying
toavoid the trafficaroundWash-
ington, whenwe saw a sign for
the “Monroe ParkGoldMining
Museum.” Always interested
in obscure museums, I quickly
found a spot to do aU-turn and
we turned into awell-kept park,
with picnic tables, and play-
ground and a fewnewlypainted
museumbuildings. Therewas a
bunkhouse, an assay office and
amess hall.
Although thiswas not the site
of an actual goldmine, thiswas
“TheOfficialGoldMining Inter-
pretiveCenter for theCommon-
wealthofVirginia.” Theexhibits
were very nice and we learned
that gold was discovered in
Virginiaveryearly in the1800s.
It was imbedded inhard quartz.
InFauquierCounty therewere
1832and1861, over100mining
companies were established in
Virginia. The Franklin Mine in
Faurquier County, excavated a
300 foot shaft in pursuit of one
vein of gold and it produced
1.2 million dollars worth of
gold. Early mines employed
experiencedminers fromWales,
England, Germany, Scotland
and Ireland.
Everythingcame toa screech-
ing halt during the Civil War,
when Union soldiers destroyed
any mines or equipment they
came across. After the war, the
gold mining in Virginia slowly
recovered. The gold orewas ex-
tractedbydeep shaftminingand
“placer” mining which utilized
water sluices. But the gold be-
Sunday, July 19
11AM& 3PM
Meet on the steps of theWoodwardLibrary for a
leisurelywalkupMainStreet to theMunicipal Building and
back toLeRoyHouse (about 90minutes).
Tours limited to 20people. Call 768-7433
Suggested donation $10 for Strengthen theArm of LibertyFund
came harder to locate andmore
sophisticated equipment had to
beused. Stripminingscarred the
land and the use of cyanide and
mercuryhad tobeused toextract
the gold from the ore.
What caught our eye as we
were driving by the museum
were these huge balls. They are
called“hornetballs”and theyare
amystery. Theywere found at a
goldmining sitenot far from the
museumand itwasbelieved that
they were used to grind up the
ore to get to the gold. They are
hollow and have a “port-hole”
opening on one side. It is be-
lieved that orewasplaced inside
of the balls and thenusing some
typeofmachine, theywere rolled
around. But even then, it’s hard
tounderstandhow the ore could
beeasily removed.But there’sno
question that theycatchyoureye
as you’re driving along.
Sowhat is theLeRoyconnec-
tion?Well, in one of the exhibit
cases in the Monroe Park Gold
Mining Museum, there is a
displayof items thatmight have
beenused inaminingcamp, and
there in themiddleof thecase isa
and Cold Syrup “free from any
opium,morphine or narcotics.”
It was compounded by S.C.
Wells&Co, LeRoy,NY. “Suc-
cessors to M.M. Fenner.” The
Wells Company purchased the
rights to Fenner’s medicines in
Fredonia, in 1914. The med-
icines included Dr. Fenner’s
GoldenRelief and Dr. Fenner’s
In a note in our files, it also
mentions that whenWells pur-
chased theFennerCompany, he
also acquired one of Fenner’s
best salesmen, GlenVander-
pool, who worked for S.C.
Wellsuntil hisdeath in1949.
The S.C. Wells Company
had a long history beginning
in 1866 when Schuyler C.
Wells bought a drug store
on Main Street called Med-
ical Hall. But Wells was
convinced the money was
in manufacturing the drugs,
so he built a large factory,
equipped with steam power
and stamping presses. By
1873, the business was well
established and in 1877 he
built the four story factoryon
his son,CarlWells tookover
thebusiness, and itwasunder
his tenure of the company
that Fenner’swaspurchased.
He also acquired a number
of other well-known patent
medicines. His last purchase
was inDecember1955when
he purchased Rough-On-
Rats from E.S. Wells (not
related) of Jersey City, New
Jersey. Rough-On-Rats was
the oldest registered trade
name in rodenticides - - the
dead rat onhis back. (As an
additionalnote, eachyear for
at least the last twentyyears,
I have taken a Rough-On-
Rats T-shirt to this museum
conferenceand it issold inan
auction to raisemoney. Ev-
eryonewhohaspurchased the
Rough-On-Rats shirt wears
it to the auction for a group
photograph. This year, the
shirt raised over $100).
FennersBottleMade inLeRoy.
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