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Cabell Brothers Mines and Mining in the Blue Mountains

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: About 1873 [unknown]
Location: Blue Mountains in Eastern Oregon near Baker Citymap
Surname/tag: Cabell
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The 1870 Federal census for James River, Buckingham, Virginia shows John and Frederick Cabell living with these people Louis W. Cabell, age.56, occupation: Farmer, born in Virginia; Ann M. Cabell, age 50, born in Virginia; Frederick E. Cabell, age 25, occupation: Mining Engineer, born in Virginia; Nannie E. Cabell, age 21, born in Virginia; John B. Cabell, age 19, occupation: Civil Engineer, born in Virginia; Louis W. Cabell Jr., age 15, born in Virginia live in household.[1]

Soon after their names, John Cabell and Fred Cabell, start showing up in Oregon newspapers placing them in Baker and Grant county first in Susanville where they mined quartz for gold. This writer for the Oregonian says the quartz they mined “was wonderfully rich.” However, their expenses outpaced their earnings and this property soon went the Charles Smith. [2]

In 1873 J.B. and Henry Cabell discovered a property , the California Mine in the Cable Cove district, which proved profitable for a while until about 1876.[3] [4] In August of 1874 Frederick Cabell's mining operation in the Elk Creek Mines is given a large write-up in Baker’s Bedrock Democrat. This article reads in part: On last Wednesday Mr. F.E. Cabell of Elk, came to our city with his regular load of bullion, to have it assayed at J.W. Virtue’s Bank. We were invited around to see the bar of precious metal run. It was a beauty and weighed three hundred and nine ounces. This bar was the result of eight days run with an S-stamp mill, crushing about seventy-five ton of rock. Mr. F.E. Cabell, the discoverer, is the sole owner of this fine ledge; he is a scientific mineralogist and Mining Engineer as well as a practical miner, and we are pleased to state that he is able to hold on to and work his mine. He has a shaft down on his ledge forty feet where he has a ledge of eight feet in width and only one side wall struck. It is developing, as he goes down, into a silver mine and the present indications are, as above bar shows, that it will be a very rich one. The rock now being taken out is heavily interspersed with native gold and silver clance. The ledge was discovered the 29th day of last April and in June Mr. Cabell commenced taking out rock and since that time sixty thousand dollars’ worth of rock has been taken out and there is now, at the lowest calculation, one hundred and fifty thousand dollars’ worth of rock in sight. This ledge is about seventy miles distant from this city and thirty miles from Cannon City.[5]

February of 1875 finds Fred Cabell still doing well. A Portland newspaper, the Oregonian had this to say, “Our fried Mr. Cabell puts in his periodical appearance here (Baker City) loaded with bullion from his Grant county mine. Cabell is a preserving, gentlemanly, good man and has a fortune.”[6] The life story of Frederick Cabell in January of 1876 is still good. A writer named Juniper says,” Mr. F.E. Cabell is working a gold and silver mine with great success. Not long since he shipped 500 pounds of pure metal from his mine at one time.”[7] However, in August of 1876 this notice is in the bedrock Democrat: The Quartz Mill known as the Elk Creek Quartz Mill and other properties owned by F.C. Horsley. John R. Roy and F.E. Cabell are in debt to the tune of $569 and Sheriff W.P. Gray is to sell these properties on 2 September 1876, 2 o’clock at the court door, in Canyon City, Grant County, Oregon. [8]

La Belleview Mine

In 1876 the Cabell brothers who were both broke began a joint venture after discovering a property in the Blue Mountains a few miles northwest of Cable Cove at an altitude of 7430 feet.<ref="Delving For Gold" > "Delving For Gold Country Surrounding Granite Full of Prospectors", Oregonian,15 May 1900, p.5, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.geneswlogybank.com: accessed on 9 March 2019</ref> James Waucop Tabor whose father was a miner in this area writes this about them. “The La Belleview mine was discovered by John and Fred Cabell, who at one time operated a mine at Susanville, Oregon. The La Belleview is located on the same range of mountains as the Monumental, about three miles northwest. This property was discovered by the Cabells in 1876. They were dead broke and one winter lived under a big upturned fir as a frame, leaning boughs and young trees against the upturned tree for more protection. These boys went through many hardship- deep snows, very little to eat and mail about once a month, but they carried on and succeeded in uncovering a very promising prospect.”[9] John Cabell located other rich properties. In1882 he located and worked a property which netted him $90,000. In 1900 this property was being worked by the Otter Gold Mining and Milling Company.[10] However, Frederic and John B. Cabell still owned and operated La Belleview mine. The Oregonian referred back the state of this mine in 1885. The article reads, “the la Bellevue was the best developed mine in Oregon. It is a few miles northwest of Cable Cove, at an elevation of 7430 Feet. Upward of $100,000 has been expended in its development. The ore carries gold and silver of about equal values. Some of it has gone as high as $600 to the ton, and has stood a freight charge of $100per ton to the railroad. The mill has a roller mill with a capacity of 12 tons per day. Keith & Bamberger and Cabell Bros. are owners.” [11] An even more enthusiastic endorsement of this Cabell Brothers mine was given in a letter to the editor of the Oregonian on July 31, 1886 from someone called Prospector. He said, “Rich strikes are being made … where there is a little muscle and energy has been used by the prospector his efforts have been crowned with success especially so as to the Cabell brothers who are skillful and competent miners and assayers and pioneer quartz miners of the region.” [12] In 1888 Baker City Democrat reports, the new pulverizer and concentrator recently created on La Bellevue work to perfection and are kept running night and day.”[13]


  1. "United States Census, 1870", database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MFLK-YV8 : 2 January 2021)
  2. "Grant County Gold Parodies", Oregonian, 18 April 1898, p.6, Genealogy bank (https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/newspapers/image/v2:11A73E5827618330@GB3NEWS-12388A5C425AA170@2414398-1231FD34F10BB1D0@5-125BC4EB32710571)
  3. "Mining Matters-Placer Mines," Oregonian,16 Aug 1887, p.6, (Genealogy Bank.com(http://www.genealogybank.com:March,2021)
  4. Potter, Miles F., Oregon’s Golden Years, Caldwell, The Caxton Printers, 1995, p. 144
  5. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn84022647/1874-08-26/ed-1/seq-3/#words=Cabell
  6. "Baker County Mines, Oregonian, 3 Feb 1875, p.7, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.geneswlogybank.com: 9 March 2021
  7. "Grant County Letter -Cannon City-Jan. 2, 1876,"Oregonian,7 Jan, 1876, p.1,GenealogyBank.com (http://www.geneswlogybank.com: accessed on 12 September 2019
  8. "Sheriff's Sale", Bedrock Democrat, Baker City, 23 Aug 1876, p. 3, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.geneswlogybank.com: accessed on 9 March 2019
  9. Tabor, James Waucop, Granite and Gold, Baker, Theresa Tabor Fowler, 2004.
  10. "Otter Gold Ming and Milling Company," The Sumpter Miner,(Sumpter, Oregon) ,21 Nov 1900, p.8,Historic Oregon Newspapers, (https://libary.uoregon.edu/)
  11. "Delving For Gold"
  12. "Silver Creek Mining District", Oregonian,31 July 1886, p.2, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.geneswlogybank.com: accessed on 9 March 2019
  13. "Shipment of Concentrates", Oregonian, 30 Nov 1888, p.8, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.geneswlogybank.com: accessed on 9 March 2019

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