Lost Butte, Montana, a book by Richard I. Gibson, is in stores and museum gift shops around Butte. Or order from the publisher. It's also in E-book formats at all the usual places. And read an interview with Gibson, here, and on KXLF here. The Facebook page has many historic photos of Butte, and the Butte-Anaconda NHLD project showcases many historic buildings. Location-oriented posts can be found on HistoryPin. On Mondays beginning in January 2016, look for Gibson's "Mining City History" column in the Montana Standard.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Naming of the Neversweat

The famous seven stacks, 1900.
The following is taken verbatim from Mining Reporter, Dec. 29, 1904.


We have been entertained many times by the quaint naming of well-known mines, but strangely few of such stories find their way into print. Among mines of queer names and stories are the "Wake Up Jim," "R. A. M.," "Wano-Wato," "X10U8," the alleged Pontius Pilate group on Holy Cross mountain and so forth. At one time the naming of mining claims so appealed to the riotous imaginations of the early miners that the federal government took a hand in the game and made regulations as to how far they could go in giving their locations a name.

The stories as to how some claims received their curious appellations are always Interesting. The Anaconda Standard vouches for the following:

It has been told in the Standard on more than one occasion how the great Anaconda and St. Lawrence mines received their names. A companion mine to these mines is the Never Sweat, and at the present time it may be doubted if there is any greater mine in the entire Butte camp than the Never Sweat mine. While in years past more ore has been taken out of the famed Anaconda, at the present time there is no mine from which a greater amount of ore is taken than from the Never Sweat. It is down 2,200 feet and there is no deeper mine in the camp save the Anaconda itself, which is down 2,400 feet.

H. S. Clark, one of Butte's most esteemed pioneers, was telling to a party of friends the other day how the Never Sweat received its peculiar name.

"I think it was back in the year 1875 that it was located," said Mr. Clark. "I was clerk of the court at the time and it was the custom with a number of the prospectors in those days to give me an interest in the mines they located provided I would file the location and pay the fee, few of the prospectors having much ready cash. Some of my interests in the mines I kept for years; some I gave away; some I sold for little or nothing some I got a good thing out of. All of them nearly would have yielded me handsomely had I held onto them to later days.

"Among the locations made at that time was the Never Sweat. Joe Ransom and Bill McNamara were the locators and they gave me an interest in the property with them.

"Ransom and McNamara had got a little hole dug, perhaps forty or fifty feet deep, when they came by my cabin one day.

"'Well, how is the mine coming on, boys?' I asked.

"'It's a cinch we will never sweat any taking ore out of that hole,' said Ransom.

"'What have you named it?'

"'Ain't named it yet, and don't think it is worth naming," said McNamara.

"'You'd better name it so I can put the location on record in correct shape,' I said.

"'Well, you name it,' said Ransom.

"'Then we'll call it the Never Sweat mine,' said I, 'as you think you will never sweat taking ore out of it.'

"So that is the name it received and the name it has always had. I think I afterwards got about $1,500 for my interest."

The mine is worth untold millions at this day.

* * *

Photo from A Brief History of Butte by Harry C. Freeman, 1900.

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