Placer Creek

Pioneer Canyon

Black Copper

The Memphis Mine was located along Bitter Creek about four and a half miles north of Red River City and halfway to the communities of Anchor and Midnight. Here in 1898, R. L. Pooler staked eight claims - Homestake, Cora Gibson, Ceira Gibson, Memphis Tennessee, Mamouth, Comstock, and Sheba. He selected two of these (Memphis and Cora Gibson) and opened a mine which he called the Memphis, this occurring in the same year that the road from Anchor to Red River was completed.

Almost immediately, the mine became mired in litigation brought by the Midnight Mining Company and as a result of this, the mine sat idle for about a year. In 1899, when the legal problems had been settled, work resumed and within a short time six tons of ore were hauled to the mill in Elizabethtown. The milling results proved to be quite promising and soon six miners were hired to work the Memphis on a regular basis. The following year, Ed Hatton, owner of the June Bug mine, announced plans to build a mill in the town of Red River which would serve the various area mines. As a result of this Pooler began stockpiling ore in preparation for the new mill's opening and within a year had stored 360 tons of ore. When the June Bug Mill opened, Memphis ore was shipped there for processing. The results were borderline at best and it soon became apparent that there was insufficient concentration of gold from the ore to make the mining operation feasible. Within a short time the mine was closed and subsequently many of the buildings burned.

After 1910 there was renewed interest in the New Mexico mines. Pooler found a new partner, William Kershner, and in 1913 the two men discovered a new pocket of gold. This initially assayed at $450 per ton and the entire vein was estimated to average $50 a ton of ore. As a result of these findings, Kershner and Pooler incorporated the Memphis - Red River Mining Company for a total evaluation of $300,000. Five miners were hired and a number of new buildings were constructed.

The owners decided to install their own mill instead of relying on the June Bug Mill. Therefore, Kershner and Lester Snell, a mining engineer, traveled to Denver and purchased the equipment for a twenty-five ton mill. This was installed in late 1916 and processing of the ore immediately began. The initial yields from the ore were somewhat disappointing, but the owners persisted. The next year the quality of the ore improved, but this turned out to be only temporary and the amount of gold yield continued to decline. Work finally stopped in 1918 and the mill was leased to a Denver group organized as the R & S Molybdenum Mining Company.

The Memphis was worked off and on into the 1930s but never very successfully, and the mine was finally shut down in 1937.

Area around Memphis Mine
Area Around Mine

Memphis Tailings
Memphis Tailings