About the Hook River Mining Company

Author: Ted Hawkins...More
It was 1902 and Rufus T. Brown was out in the mountains. He'd had enough of civilization so bought a small mule, packed some bags and headed into the unknown. Game was plenty and he was doing fine until one day, a few years later, some ground gave way underneath him. Both Rufus and the mule fell down a steep slope.

When he came round, the mule was dead and a fair sized lump on his head reminded him of the tumble. Some other bruises and minor grazes would see him resting for a bit. During that time he took a look around, it wasn't as bad as he originally thought.

Here was a small dip in the mountain, with one of those little rivers which emerges from the side of a slope, then disappears underground again some miles later on. It was the shape of a hook, so he named it Hook River and liked the place so much that it would become his home. One day, after a substantial rainstorm, he was getting some water from the river and saw a bright glint. Rufus had discovered some gold, not just one or two tiny granules, but a fair amount of them. He went back and registered his claim. The assay office said the gold was good and Rufus mentioned there wasn't very much so could they please not spread word about of the claim.

It wasn't too long before he found a few veins of gold in a nearby granite cliff face not far from the river and began mining it, slowly but surely. By 1910 the mine was producing enough that he realized help was needed and found a few trustworthy souls to work for him.

The Hook River Mining Company had been established with many embellishments, including Rufus buying the mountain. A small railroad was built, mainly out of spare parts from a narrow gauge line about 8 miles away. More land had been purchased and while not yielding huge amounts of the yellow stuff, the company provided a good income for Rufus and his friends. Plus they could live in the mountains enjoying their work along with hunting and fishing as time allowed.

By 1914, Hook River Mining Company was an established firm. It continued on until 1918, when a number of the guys who worked it lost their lives in World War One. Rufus decided to close the company down and retire.