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Discovery Mining Company Records, 1916-1980

Creator: Discovery Mining Company

Provenance Note: The Discovery Mining Company records were donated to Montana State Univeristy by Mrs. Dolly Smith of Bozeman, Montana on August 24, 2007

Historical Note: The Discovery Mining Company was a shareholder-owned gold mining operation located in the New World Mining District near Cooke City, Montana, although there is no evidence that the claims were ever actually worked while the company was in existence. The Discovery Company was a continuation of the Eastern Montana Mining and Smelting Company, an operation established in 1876 and which consolodated many earlier claims in the area, including the Fire Clay, Rising Sun, Uncle Sam, Alta California and Magnetic Iron. The Eastern maintained a mill and smelter at Soda Butte, but it was abandoned sometime around the turn of the century and the structures had been destroyed. In the early twentieth century, the mineral deposits held by the Eastern were still thought possible to be profitably exploited, and the Discovery Company was formed in 1916 to raise capital for that purpose. However, as the decades passed shareholders found their investments were primarily used for paying the taxes and administrative fees for the various claims held by the company and the smelter and mill were never rebuilt. For many years the company's secretary was Bozeman attorney Eugene F. Bunker who handled much of the correspondence preserved in these records. The Discovery Mining Company was officially disbanded in 1996.

Content Description Note: Discovery Mining Company records consist of stockholder proxy forms dating from 1923-1980. There are multiple samples of both blank and filled-in forms from meetings held in 1923, 1930, 1948, 1954 and 1980. Other materials include company receipts, photos, tax forms, leasing inquiries and other miscellaneous documents from 1923 to 1980 that deal directly with the business transactions of the Discovery Mining Company. In addition there are documents that provide thumbnail sketches of the company's history including its creation and its attempts to lease the claims it controlled to other mining interests. There are nine undated photographs of the claims as well. Correspondence, dating from 1917 to 1973, consists mostly of letters between stockholders and company officers. Inquiries as to the value of the stock, work on mining claims, sale of stock and transferring of stock are common. Also included in the correspondence is information on the stockholders themselves, many representing prominent Bozeman families, and their lives and memories of growing up and living in the Bozeman area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One large volume of the original company stockholder registrations is supplemented by a folder of several supplementary listings, and the records also include a booklet of stock certificates. Many of the shareholder lists are hand written and show names, addresses and number of shares purchased. The first stock sold was to E.D. Ferguson on July 5, 1916. Several of the stockholders were the sons and daughters of Bozeman's earliest settlers including members of the Alderson, Willson, Vreeland, and Mendenhall families.

Box 1
Folder 1. Proxy Forms 1923.
Folder 2. Proxy Forms 1930.
Folder 3. Proxy Forms 1948.
Folder 4. Proxy Forms 1954.
Folder 5. Proxy Forms 1980.
Folder 6. Miscellaneous Company Documents 1923-1980.
Folder 7. Correspondence 1917.
Folder 8. Correspondence 1920-1929.
Folder 9. Correspondence 1930-1939.
Folder 10. Correspondence 1940-1949.
Folder 11. Correspondence 1950- May,1954.
Folder 12. Correspondence June, 1954-1959.
Folder 13. Correspondence 1960-1969.
Folder 14. Correspondence 1970-1979.
Folder 15. Blank Stock Forms.
Folder 16. Stockholder Lists.
Folder 17. Stock certificate booklet.
Volume 1
Shareholder record book.

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