Cheever Ore Bed

From History of the Iron Industry in Essex County By Frank S. Witherbee, 1906:

“This bed, the oldest in the town, is situated about one and a half miles north of the village of Port Henry. The knowledge of the existence of ore at this point has existed since the first settlement of the region. The late Alexander McKenzie, who was born in the town in 1785, remembered the existence of ore here in his early childhood; it cropped out on the surface of the ground to such an extent as to attract the attention of a casual observer. Ore is known to have been taken from the bed in 1804, but in small quantities, and the matter then attracted but little attention. In about the year

1820 the bed was leased to Charles Fisher, at a rent of two gross tons of bloom iron per annum; this iron was then worth about one hundred dollars a ton. Not long after this the title passed to one John Coates, to whom Dr. Abijah Cheever, as guardian of minor children, had loaned some funds. Dr. ‘. Cheever was subsequently forced to accept the property either in payment or as security for the debt. Dr. Cheever did not appreciate the almost priceless value of his-acquisition, nor did the community about him; for he pressed it upon the market at a merely nominal price, and finally sold it in the year 1838, to Horace Grey, of Boston, for $5,000. In 1840 Mr. Grey transferred his interest to the Port Henry Iron Company, from which he leased in 1846 the furnace property and the Cheever bed. In the fall of 1852 Benjamin T. Reed, of Boston, purchased the property of the Port Henry Iron Company (see history of that company), and in the next year transferred the ore bed to the Cheever Ore Bed Company, composed of B. T. Reed, Samuel Hooper, R. W.

Hooper, of Boston, and Joseph Tuckerman and Lucius Tuckerman, of New York city. From 1853 onward to 1884 the bed was vigorously worked, and it is estimated that during this period one and a half million tons of ore were taken from it. The ore was of great value and purity, needed no separating and worked into the best of iron. Following is its analysis: —

Proto and peroxide of iron .90.54

Phosphate of lime 3.80

Amphibole 2.80

Silicic acid 1,60

Pilanferous iron- 1.26


The main vein is fully half a mile in length and with an average width of of about ten feet; it is now considered as about exhausted.”


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