Take it easy
  Wild Horse District (aka Wild Horse and McCoy Mines)

N 39.86813° W117.49521° Gilbert Creek SW, NV Quad

VISITED October 29, 2016
Our breakfast: Eggs at Jerry's in Fallon
Our supper: Pony Express burgers at Cold Springs Station

From Middlegate, take US 50 east for 33.1 miles; head north on Alpine East Rd for 10.7 miles; turn right onto Alpine North Rd and head north for 11.7 miles.

From Middlegate: 55.5 miles


First, an overview. Although the district is actually inside Churchill County, some early reports refer to it being in Lander County, a mile away.

The presence of cinnabar in the Wild Horse District has been known since about 1916, but little ore was produced until 1940. In that year and early in 1941, deposits discovered in 1939 were mined to apparent exhaustion by the Wild Horse Quicksilver mining Co., which had produced 827 flasks at the end of April 1941.

The area is sometimes called the McCoy District, after one if its discoverers, but this name is more commonly applied to a gold district in Lander County, that lies about 30 miles to the northeast, in the northern part of the Fish Creek Mountains. The Wild Horse quicksilver district should not be confused with the Wild Horse antimony district in Pershing County.

Mining in the district started about 1916 with the discovery of cinnabar by Bert McCoy and associates at the site of the mine still commonly called the McCoy. These deposits were worked intermittently, and some quicksilver is reported to have been produced with retorts in 1919 and from time to time in later years. The Quicksilver Corporation of America did considerable development there in 1936 and reports that it obtained title to the McCoy property in 1937. Since 1937 it has done assessment work only.

The only other property in the district was discovered April 27, 1939, by Clyde Garrett and his son. A number of shallow prospect pits were dug in 1939. In September of that year the Wild Horse Quicksilver Mining Co. acquired control of the property and began work. By the end of 1939 a 20-ton Gould rotary furnace was installed. Quicksilver was produced throughout 1940. Since early in December 1940 there has been comparatively little ore in sight, but production at a reduced rate continued through April 1941. In May of that year a small force was still exploring the property. In April, 22 flasks were produced.

The Wild Horse property is in the southern part of the district, and comprises 14 unsurveyed claims. It is owned by the Wild Horse Quicksilver Mining Co., a subsidiary of H. W. Gould & Co. In 1940 and the early part of 1941 this company produced 827 flasks of quicksilver from some what more than 6,000 tons of ore. It received an average of $168 a flask for the product.

The McCoy mine includes 16 unsurveyed claims. This mine has had several brief periods of activity but its production has been small. The only activity in the summer of 1940 was assessment work.
-The Wild Horse Quicksilver District, Carle Dane & Clyde Ross, Bulletin 931-K, 1941

This doesn't give a location but it could indicate some preliminary work being done here quite early in the century.

Wild Horse Quicksilver Mining Co., H.W. Gould, President, Mills Building, San Francisco, unorganized district, quicksilver, 4 men employed.
State of Nevada Biennial Report of the State Inspector of Mines 1917-1918

Since the Wild Horse is less than a mile due south of the McCoy, this article seems to be describing another quicksilver mine in the vicinity.

Clyde Garrett, Nevada prospector, has made another strike. This time it is quicksilver ore, running very high in places. A Reno miner was on the ground last week and said on his return that the ore showed in five excavations, but that there was not enough work done to date to determine the extent of the discovery. It is situated in Churchill County, about a mile and a half as the crow flies southwest of the McCoy quicksilver mine, owned by Quicksilver Corporation of America. The road, which turns off to the north at Eastgate, is said to be in very bad condition, but Mrs. Garrett is in camp and also Clifton Garrett, who was a former leaser at the Keystone, at Gold Hill, and they have succeeded in reaching the strike with their trailer, in which they live. Garrett has been very successful in the prospecting business, being the discoverer of the Summarone at Goldfield, the Lucky Sunday at Como, the Middle Butte at Mojave, and the Comstock Dixie in Dixie Valley, Churchill county, together with other gold and several quicksilver properties. The family makes its headquarters in Fallon.
1939, June 7, Reno Evening Gazette

There were a few stories in the newspapers about minor happenings out this way. Quicksilver just isn't as exciting as gold and silver.

That the recently-installed retort on the Wild Horse quicksilver property would be operating immediately after the first of the year was previously announced. This is the property that was located by Clyde Garrett of Fallon and sold by him last fall to Gould on an all cash deal. Ore being treated is from rich veins exposed at the surface.
1940 January 10, Reno Evening Gazette

60,000 pounds of ore equaled two flasks - 152 pounds-- of mercury.

Two flasks of quicksilver daily are now being turned out from the thirty-ton Gould retort at the White Horse quicksilver mine fifty-three miles directly north of Eastgate in the extreme northeast corner of Churchill county, the Fallon Standard reports. This amount of the fluid metal is said to be coming from the thirty tons fairly being treated by the furnace. The company, after getting into production, put an additional crew on development and exploration work on the ore bodies exposed at the surface. Twelve men are now employed. This is the property that was discovered by Clyde Garrett of Fallon and sold outright by him to Henry H. Gould of San Francisco, who is a manufacturer of retorts. Gould heads the corporation, known as the Wild Horse Quicksilver Mining Company. He is also president of Henry W. Gould & Company and an outstanding figure in the field of mercury mining. His son, Bruce Gould, has been in charge at the Churchill property.
1940 February 10, Reno Evening Gazette

Apparently the mine's location wasn't too remote for some people

FALLON, Nev. Oliver Teglia, thirty-one, alias Buddy Francis, of Dayton, and Richard Kenneth Sheldon, thirty-four, of Boston, Mass., pleaded guilty on Tuesday to grand larceny charges in connection with theft of a jackhammer and other drilling equipment from the Wild Horse quicksilver property in the northeastern part of Churchill County. They were sentenced to serve from two to fourteen years in the state prison. Teglia and Sheldon are said to have sold the equipment, estimated to be worth $200, to two prospectors east of Fallon for $50. It was recovered by Ralph J. Vannoy, Churchill county sheriff, who Saturday made the arrests. The prospectors alleged they had purchased the machinery from Teglia and Sheldon, who have been in Fallon intermittently during the winter.
1940 May 29, Reno Evening Gazette

Of course, "twenty tons"is ore, not product.

Greatest individual producer of quicksilver in the United States is the H. W. Gould Company with San Francisco, Calif. headquarters, which is operating two Nevada and four California properties and mining approximately one third of the total domestic output, the HUmboldt Star reports. The Gould concern, well known in northern Nevada mining circles, is operating one of its two Nevada mines at the Mount Tobin ground in Pershing county, also know as the Miner's Dream. Work is progressing there steadily. The other Nevada quicksilver producer of the Gould concern is in the McCoy district of Churchill county at the Wild Horse mine. About twenty tons are being produced there daily.
1940 November 27, Reno Evening Gazette

S. E. Friedman, of Detroit, is spending a few days in Reno after completing assessment work on the property of the Quicksilver Corporation of America, situated in the northeastern part of Churchill county, formerly known as the McCoy quicksilver mine, which has been a producer from time to time. Mr. Friendman said that a pending deal might be completed soon.
The property lies near the Wild Horse quicksilver mine, discovered about two years ago by Clyde Garrett and sold by him to Henry Gould. The purchaser installed a rotary furnace soon after, and for a time the output was very heavy. It is now being operated on part time, pending the completion of more development work.
1941 July 9, Reno Evening Gazette

After the ore ran out, equipment was sold by the company to other mines.

The Gould quicksilver furnace which was in use until the ore reserves were exhausted at the Wild Horse Mine, fifty miles north of Eastgate, in Churchill county, has been purchased and moved to the Horse canyon mine in northern Nye county by the Magee Mercury Inc., it has been reported here.
1941 November 19, Reno Evening Gazette




The roads to this area were good, despite the rain. Watch out for cows, who are not concerned with you reaching your destination in a timely manner. Despite the fact that the Wild Horse was the businer mine, the McCoy has the most ruins left to explore; several retort remains, a wedge furnace, a few buildings, and lots of debris scattered over a wide area. Domestic debris seems to be in a large area above the mine and furnace site, by the abandoned car. Pretty sure this is a 1941 Chevrolet, in case you're interested, judging by dashboard layout. Wild Horse, on the other hand, has virtually nothing left. There are large piles of tailings and you can see where the furnace used to be; but other than that, and a well probed mine opening, it's been pretty much cleared out.

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