Settling the West. There’s gold in them thar hills!. Placer Mining was used to extract gold & minerals from the ground, but only the shallow level of ground was penetrated with this method. . Equipment like picks, shovels and pans were used in Placer Mining. Panning for Gold.
Placer Mining was used to extract gold & minerals from the ground, but only the shallow level of ground was penetrated with this method.
Equipment like picks, shovels and pans were used in Placer Mining
Panning for Gold
When deposits near the surface ran out, miners began hydraulic mining. Miners sprayed high pressure water against the mountain side exposing the minerals beneath the surface.
Hydraulic mining devastated the environment by depositing tons of silt, sand, and gravel into local rivers.
Today, most mining companies dig deep mine shafts into the ground to extract minerals. This is called quartz mining.
Henry Comstock claimed some
land in Six-Mile Canyon, Nevada.
The blue-gray mud there turned
out to be pure silver!
News of this strike caused a boom of 30,000 people to crowd into Virginia City, Nevada almost overnight!
So many people came that Nevada became a state in 1864.
Known as the Comstock Lode, it
generated $230 million to help the Union finance the Civil War.
Virginia City, Nevada
In the early 1800s, no one thought building a cattle ranch on the Great Plains would be successful because the cattle from the east couldn’t live on the tough prairie grass. Before the Civil War, there was no reason to round up the Texas Longhorns because beef prices were so low! Two developments changed this situation.
During the Civil War, the cattle were needed in the east to feed the soldiers.
Cattle could be driven up north to the rail lines and transported to the east at 10 times the price the cowboys could get in Texas for the same cows.
famous sheriff of
Dodge City, Kansas Front Street- 1870’s
Vaqueros, Spanish word for “cowboys,” taught American cowboys their trade and enriched the English language with words of Spanish origin- “lariat,” “lasso,” and “stampede.”
The open range would end when ranch owners began to build fences (barbed wire) to prevent sheep herders from grazing the land meant for cattle. The price of beef fell due to oversupply and many ranchers went bankrupt. Then, in the winter of 1886, blizzards covered the ground so deep that cattle could not graze any grass.
In 1862 the government encouraged settlement of the Great Plains by passing the Homestead Act. For a $10 registration fee, an individual could file for a homestead- a tract of public land available for settlement. A homesteader could claim up to 160 acres of land and could receive title to that land after living there for five years.
John Deere, made it easy for
farmers to plow through the
To get water, settlers drilled deep wells
and used windmills to pump the water
to the surface.
On April 22, 1889, the government opened one of the last large territories for settlement. Within hours, more than 10,000 people raced to stake claims in an event known as the Oklahoma Land Rush.