A Georgia Gold Mining Rarity
Finely crafted map of Lumpkin County and White County, Georgia, highlighting the Dahlonega Gold Belt, copyrighted to N[athan] H. Hand in 1880.
The map was used by Nathan Hand and the Singleton Gold Mining Company to promote its mining interests in the area. The map includes an elaborately colored depiction of the roughly 30 operating mines in the two counties, naming the mines and describing the size of the mills and lot numbers.
At the corners are 4 mining related illustrations, including images of the Singleton Mill, Barlow & Hand Mill and the Benning Mill.
The property mined by the company was purchased by Nathan H. Hand from William R. Crissom in November 1875 to N.H. Hand, Trustee. in January, I878, to Thomas H. White, who in turn transferred the property to The Singleton Gold Mining Company, for which he was apparently President. Hand is listed as Secretary and Treasurer of Singleton Gold Mining Company on the cover of the map.
The map was issued as a promotional map by the Singleton Gold Mining Co. of Georgia. The December 9, 1882 Engineering and Mining Journal was reporting that the company was attempting to dry mine the veins and that the company mill was still not yet running, as "it first being necessary to finish its tunnel through to the Gowdy lot." As of 1884, the Report of the Director of the Mint Upon the Production of the Precious Metals in the United States During the Calendar Year was still reporting no milling activity.
The first discovery of Gold in Georgia was on Duke's Creek in Habersham County in 1829. By 1830, Gold had also been discovered in Lumpkin County, as part of the "The Dahlonega Gold Belt," which extends through all of White County also. Gold may have been discovered in White County as early as 1828.
Nathan H. Hand
Nathan Hand was an investor, who was reported to have come from Cleveland, Ohio, but more likely from Boston. While some historians suggest that he was engaged in mining in Georgia as early as 1845, the earliest mention we find for Hand is in the Georgia Weekly Telegraph, Journal and Messenger of April 26, 1870, which notes that "Mr. N.H. Hand, of Boston, is the manager [of the Yahoola Mine] and has furnished most of the capital." This is likely the same Nathan H. Hand who married Almira C. Hawthorne of Boston in October 1850 and was probably engaged in the mining business in New England until about 1870 and filed for certain mining patents in 1872.
Hand seems to have been active in Georgia mining beginning with his investment after the Civil War in the Yahoola and Cane Creek Hydraulic Company, which had originally been formed by a group of investors in Boston in 1858. The company built an important canal to the gold field, but the Civil War interrupted construction and mining operations. After the war, the company completed the the aqueduct, providing water to a portion of the company's property.
Much of the capital was needed for the project and for the erection of stamp mills was furnished by Hand. After the improvements are completed, litigation commenced between Hand and Frank W. Hall, who was then called the richest man in Lumpkin County. The lawsuit ended when the United States marshal sold the property to Hand to pay debts owed by the Yahoola Company to Hall. The Georgia legislature granted Hand and his associates a new charter under the name Hand Gold Mining Company. The Yahoola Canal became known as the Hand Canal, and the company enlarges the Hand Canal to sell water to other mining companies.
Hand seems to have remained an important figure in the region until at least the end of the 19th Century.
OCLC lists a single example at Western Michigan University. We found no reported auction or dealer records.
The map is recorded in Phillips, List of Maps of America in the Library of Congress at p. 299.