By John Wireman
to Emory L. Hamilton on July
24, 1940 in Norton, VA. The WPA Project
papers, The Alderman Library, The
of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.
Wireman, age 45, was b. in
Johnson Co., KY and came to Norton
Co.) VA when young. He says that his
stepfather, Calvin Sparks, now about
old was the first person he ever heard
this mine. He resides in the old "Robinett
Fields" on the side of Stone Mountain
overlooking the town of Norton. He
enthusiastic talker of the mine and
believes it to be located in Stone
someplace. He almost raves about
the mine and
becomes very confidential. Mr. Adams
(Emory Hamilton) were working together
around Norton, July 24, when a shower
on and we took shelter in the Norton
Works building. A rickety old one
came clattering along, loaded with
hay and two
men and a lady were seated upon the
too, took shelter with us. We struck
conversation and he told us he lived
Mountain, and I asked if he ever heard
Swift s Silver Mine and he related
foregoing story. I could see that
his wife didn t
approve of his telling his secrets
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
to look for it." We did take a direction
mountain, but stopped off for more
before we got there.
and Monde traveled over
Bowman s Mountain, running from Osborne
Rock to Tacoma (Wise Co., VA). This
old trail - an Indian path, I guess.
I ve seen the
old path they traveled a many a time.
lived in East Virginia.
my brother found a place up
there (Stone Mountain) once. It was
Gravelly Gap at the end of Bowman
Mountain, as you go up Clear Creek
Ramsey. As you cross the last swag
Bark Camp. The place was a big swag
the swag was two graves. The big grave
right in the swag and the little grave
was just a
little bit from this near a stooping
The white oak s dead now but part
snag s standing there. The big grave
was where Monde was buried and the little
was where the "chist" was buried.
the question, "What chest
was that, Mr. Wireman?"
was the chist the history tells
about being hid. The chist was full
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
grave waist deep. We dug till we come
to a flat
rock that was cut out to fit over
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
and when we beat on the rock it sounded
hollow we got scared. We was just
jumped out and started running, hollering,
"Look there!" We waked father so suddenly
started running too. We didn t go
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.
show you cinders in several
places where they smelted the ore.
One place is
at Osborne s rock.
at Tacoma and was out plowing one day when Hamp
Wise and two of his brothers come
traced them to where they d been and
dug up a kittle on the side of the
Monde path. There was the shape of
in the ground and prints of the leg
the bail prints was on a root. The
about two gallons. Of course it had
show on Machine Creek where
some kind of minerals have been mined.
been in the mine and when I s there
the cross timbers were partly standing.
Nettle Patch side at the head of
Lots Creek is a place where the Indians
made a spring. There s an apple tree
spring. Bill Greear (an old man late
who spent his life hunting for this
mine) was told about this spring. He said he
hunting for it ever since the Civil
War. He said
during the Civil War he was 'scouting
laid out at this spring. He said one
when he was laying out there he saw
shining against something bright over
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
After he left there he never could
find the place
anymore. He had the gold when he died.
was getting old when he was told about
spring being found. He said he d give
any man that would take him there
when he got able to make the trip, but he died
ever got to make the trip.