Swift's Silver Mines
By John Wireman

       Related to Emory L. Hamilton on July 24, 1940 in Norton, VA. The WPA Project
  papers, The Alderman Library, The University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.

       Mr. Wireman, age 45, was b. in Johnson Co., KY and came to Norton (Wise
  Co.) VA when young. He says that his stepfather, Calvin Sparks, now about 70 years
  old was the first person he ever heard tell about this mine. He resides in the old "Robinett
  Fields" on the side of Stone Mountain overlooking the town of Norton. He is an
  enthusiastic talker of the mine and staunchly believes it to be located in Stone Mountain
  someplace.  He almost raves about the mine and becomes very confidential. Mr. Adams and I
  (Emory Hamilton) were working together around Norton, July 24, when a shower came
  on and we took shelter in the Norton Machine Works building. A rickety old one horse wagon
  came clattering along, loaded with hay and two men and a lady were seated upon the hay. They
  too, took shelter with us. We struck up a conversation and he told us he lived upon Stone
  Mountain, and I asked if he ever heard of Swift s Silver Mine and he related the
  foregoing story. I could see that his wife didn t approve of his telling his secrets to strangers
  and I can imagine her telling him after we left, "Now John, you ve gone and done it. I ll betcha
  a dollar they ve gone right now to the mountain to look for it." We did take a direction to the
  mountain, but stopped off for more wild stories before we got there. 

       Swift and Monde traveled over Bowman s Mountain, running from Osborne s
  Rock to Tacoma (Wise Co., VA). This was an old trail - an Indian path, I guess. I ve seen the
  old path they traveled a many a time. They  lived in East Virginia.
       Me and my brother found a place up there (Stone Mountain) once. It was near
  Gravelly Gap at the end of Bowman s Mountain, as you go up Clear Creek from
  Ramsey. As you cross the last swag (dip) near Bark Camp. The place was a big swag and in
  the swag was two graves. The big grave was right in the swag and the little grave was just a
  little bit from this near a stooping white oak. The white oak s dead now but part of the
  snag s standing there. The big grave was where Monde was buried and the little grave
  was where the "chist" was buried. We asked the question, "What chest
  was that, Mr. Wireman?" That was the chist the history tells
  about being hid. The chist was full of money. After we found the place we told our
  step father about it and he went back with us one Sunday and we dug in the big grave.
  Father laid down beside the grave and went to  sleep. We (he and his brother) dug into the
  grave waist deep. We dug till we come to a flat rock that was cut out to fit over the grave.
  Rocks had been set up on the side to hold it up. We couldn t lift it out. We beat on it and it
  sounded hollow. Father was laying there asleep and when we beat on the rock it sounded so
  hollow we got scared. We was just boys. We jumped out and started running, hollering,
  "Look there!" We waked father so suddenly he started running too. We didn t go back and
  about 15 years later a bandmill come in and they tore the mountain up hauling over it and
  we never could find the place anymore.  I can show you cinders in several
  places where they smelted the ore. One place is at Osborne s rock.
   We lived at Tacoma and was out plowing one day when Hamp Gilliam from
  Wise and two of his brothers come along. We traced them to where they d been and they d
  dug up a kittle on the side of the Swift and Monde path. There was the shape of the kittle
  in the ground and prints of the leg ground and the bail prints was on a root. The kittle held
  about two gallons. Of course it had money in  it."
       I can show on Machine Creek where  some kind of minerals have been mined. I ve
  been in the mine and when I s there the cross timbers were partly standing.
       On the Nettle Patch side at the head of Lots Creek is a place where the Indians had
  made a spring. There s an apple tree at the spring. Bill Greear (an old man late of Norton
  who spent his life hunting for this mine) was told about this spring. He said he d been
  hunting for it ever since the Civil War. He said during the Civil War he was 'scouting out  and
  laid out at this spring. He said one evening when he was laying out there he saw the sun
  shining against something bright over on the hill. He went up there and found a bar of gold.
  He was 'scouting  and couldn t get any gold to amount to anything for fear of being caught.
  After he left there he never could find the place  anymore. He had the gold when he died. He
  was getting old when he was told about the spring being found. He said he d give $10 to
  any man that would take him there when he got able to make the trip, but he died before he
  ever got to make the trip.

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