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Historic Two Bit Placer

20 Acre Placer Claim – Virginia City District – Madison County, Montana

Montana Gold And Silver Mines is proud to present the Historic Two Bit Placer Mining Claim for sale. This is a 20 acre unpatented placer mining claim for sale exclusively through Montana Gold And Silver Mines. The claim is located just outside of Virginia City, Montana and has been properly staked and marked. All Montana Gold And Silver Mines claims have been carefully surveyed, mapped and researched. Field work is completed by our own experienced, well educated Mine Survey Team.

Remote Montana gold mine. Brown’s Gulch runs into the middle of Alder Gulch the site of the second major gold rush in Montana Territory. During surveying gold was easily found in the top inches of the creek bed by panning. The claim boasts excellent access and does does have visitors evidenced by the Haul Truck signage on the road. The claim was originally surveyed by Montana Gold And Silver Mines and sampled for rich, free gold deposits in the gravels.

The creek bed is estimated to be over 600 feet on this claim. There is year round water in the creek. There is likely to be some native silver and possibly some relics to be found on the claim but the primary commodity will be gold.

Remnants and items seen in the area indicate there has been work done after 1900. It is estimated by the surveyors that the claim has been worked intermittently in the early 1900’s. No effort to mine for many decades is evident and as the gold has washed down over the decades from the hills and gulches, it has replenished the gold found on this claim. Huge amount of info not listed so if your interested in a gold placer mine feel free to give me a call or text at 406 219 1497. Ken

There is direct road access to this claim and plenty of room for staging, parking and other operations.

The best gold is on bedrock. Brown’s Gulch drains into Alder Creek and is one of the sources of the gold companies dredged on Alder Creek back in the 1890’s. There is still a lot of gold on bedrock on this claim. Don’t pass this one up. It could be your last opportunity to buy a claim on this historic gulch.

The Bureau of Mines has estimated that demonstrated U.S. reserves of gold are 85 million ounces. Approximately one-half of the total resources are estimated to be by-product gold, while 40% of the remaining one-half (56 million ounces) could be mined for gold alone … Most U.S. gold resources are in the nation’s western states. About 80% of the U.S. gold resources are estimated to be in Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana and Washington. (Earthsearch, Inc. 1983)

In the early history of Montana mining, Alder gulch followed close upon the heels of Grasshopper, while Virginia City and Madison were second in chronological order to Bannack and Beaverhead, the vast yield of gold from Alder soon attracted the people of the mountain regions to the camps on that gulch and Virginia City was built up by a prosperous people and soon became the emporium of trade, the capital of the Territory and the center of social and refined life in the new mountain country which soon became Montana.

Alder gulch for sixteen miles from the summit down was as full of men and active life as an ant hill …

Hundreds, yea, thousands filled their purses and belts and secret pockets and grips with the shining dust …

From Alder the miners swarmed out into scores of neighboring gulches whose golden sands rewarded their unwearied labors with rich harvests of the precious metal.

Oro Cache, Bachelor’s, Brown gulches gave our pioneer miners rich returns for their untiring labors …

In these placer mines were found nuggets of gold which contained more or less quartz and masses of quartz which contained particles and nuggets of gold. And, besides, when bedrock was cleaned off there were veins of quartz running through the country rock which contained particles of gold. This led to the conclusion that the gold in the placers came from quartz veins in, around and above the gulches containing the placers.

A vast majority of the placer miners in Alder and the other gulches took out gold enough to make themselves and their families comfortable for life.

These placers have been worked for more than a quarter of a century and they are still giving up their golden treasures to those who continue to work them.

There are many gulches tributary to Alder which are still paying those who work them… Brown … gulch contain placers not yet worked out. (MBMG Open Report 466)

History of the Mines

The Two Bit Placer Mine is located in the southwest quarter of section 28. It is one of the closest claims available to Virginia City on Brown’s Gulch. Two Bit Placer claim is about 5800 feet in altitude. Virginia City is the site of the second major gold rush in the Montana Territory!

The first discovery of placer gold in Alder Gulch occurred on May 22, 1863, when a small group of prospectors, including William Fairweather, Henry Edgar and Barney Hughes, panned the creek while on their way back to Bannack. The party had discovered what would become the richest placer strike in the history of the Montana Territory.

The Sherriff of Virginia City was the notorious Henry Plummer. Plummer was the sherriff of both Bannack and Virginia City at the same time and he and his road agents robbed and killed over 100 miners and stole their gold. The road agents called themselves “The Innocents” and they would ride to intercept the miner’s and rob them. It was thought that the Sheriff of Bannack and Virginia City, Henry Plummer, was the leader of the gang of outlaws that operated in both the Bannack area and Virginia City area. The stolen gold has never been recovered and when Henry Plummer was arrested by the vigilantes he pleaded for his life and told them he could pay them his weight in gold. He said he could see where the gold was from the jail house window and that it would only take him about an hour to retrieve the gold. The vigilantes didn’t agree to let him go get the gold. Plummer’s lost gold has never been recovered.

Even if Henry Plummer’s gold is not in Brown’s Gulch, there is a rich gold deposit that is worth your efforts to mine and who knows, you could be the lucky one to find his hidden gold.

While it is sometimes said old mines have been ‘worked out’ as the saying means there is no gold left, the truth is “it is better to say they are worked over; it is also true that the primitive methods used and the wasteful haste to get rich indulged in, left much of the gold in the ground, so that improved methods … will give even better results than those first obtained.” (MBMG Open Report 466)

Montana Gold And Silver Mines Two Bit Placer

Montana Gold And Silver Mines Two Bit Placer

Mine Diagram

Mine Details:

Access to the Mine You can drive a full size truck to the mine
Tailing Present None. Loose gravels in the creek bed of small pebbles to larger boulders. Boulders are great places for the gold to hide. Benches on both sides of the creek are virgin ground.
Depth / Length Over 600 feet of creek bed gravels. 1320 feet side to side with gold bearing benches.
Minerals in the Mine Historically mined for gold. Minerals of quartz, pyrite, galena, gold, black sands with rare earth minerals would be expected.
Foot traffic at the mine Unknown.
Last Worked Unknown but probably at least 50 years ago or longer.

Montana Gold And Silver Mines Two Bit Placer GE

Aerial view of claim and boundaries.


Number of Mines 1 Placer
Nearest city with amenities Virginia City, approximately 6.5 miles
Access to the Claim A very good dirt road breaks off from the state highway and runs all the way onto the claim.
Parking and Staging on the Claim Claim is situated on open rolling hills that allows for parking of several vehicles if desired.
Resources Year round water, grasses, sage and trees
Structures on claim None
Elevation Aprox. 5800 feet


Two Bit Placer

All the gold flows from the creek and mines above down a steep incline and enters this claim. You won’t find a claim closer to Virginia City. They just don’t exist.

Two Bit Placer

This is the perfect place to mine undisturbed by yourself in seclusion.

Two Bit Placer

Or bring the whole family and have a lot of fun in the great outdoors!

Two Bit Placer

Over 600 feet of creek bed to mine and 20 acres of gold bearing material

Two Bit Placer

The Virginia City Mining District was the site of the second important Montana gold discovery in Montana on May 22nd, 1863.

Two Bit Placer

Estimates of the amount of gold taken from the gulch during the first five years are put at $30,000,000 to $40,000,000.

Two Bit Placer

White placer miners also continued to work the gulch until as late as 1887. An additional $10,000,000 worth of gold was taken from the gulch during this period.

Two Bit Placer

two decades of dredging the seven miles of Alder Gulch were profitable ones with a total of $9,000,000 worth of gold being recovered.

Two Bit Placer

Two Bit Placer

Both the bench and creek bed hold gold and are well worth your efforts.

Two Bit Placer

There is plenty of gravel in the creek bed as well as the benches which are virgin ground.

Two Bit Placer

Virginia City Gold

This Gold Nugget is NOT included with the claim.
It is shown just to give an idea of the gold in the area.


Total Workings

600 feet of creek bed estimated. This assessment is based on what surveyors observed while on site.

Montana Gold And Silver Mines Rating 5


Montana Gold And Silver Mines Rating 5

Accessibility / Location

Good 2-wheel drive truck or RV.

Montana Gold And Silver Mines Rating 5


Free milling gold, gold nuggets or gems

Montana Gold And Silver Mines Rating 5


Wood, Shade, Trees, Year Round Water

Montana Gold And Silver Mines Rating 5

Economic information about the deposit and operations

Operation Type Placer
Development status Past Producer
Commodity type Metallic


  • Gold- Primary

Nearby Scientific Data

  • Pre-Belt gneiss, schist, and related rocks


USGS Database – 10197201

Virginia City District Information

The first discovery of placer gold in Alder Gulch occurred on May 22, 1863, when a small group of prospectors, including William Fairweather, Henry Edgar and Barney Hughes, panned the creek while on their way back to Bannack. The party had discovered what would become the richest placer strike in the history of the Montana Territory. The prospectors, however, had lost most of their supplies in an encounter with the Crow Indians and had to return to Bannack following the initial strike. They tried to keep the discovery a secret, but word inevitably got out and a horde of some 200 men followed them back to Alder Gulch. As word of the rich diggings along Alder Gulch became known, there was a general exodus from Bannack where the placer workings were starting to play out. Miners swarmed up and down Alder Gulch and within a year the population would swell to an estimated 10,000 people, and the Virginia City mining district and its sub-districts were established. Settlements were established along the gulch with Alder at the mouth, Summit at the head, Virginia City in the middle and Adobetown, Central City, Junction and Nevada City scattered in between resulting in a rambling, ramshackle continuous settlement extending up and down the gulch for 14 miles (Figure 1). For this reason the early settlement was also known as Fourteen-mile City. In 1865 the territorial seat of government moved from Bannack to Virginia City which remained the territorial capital until 1875 when the capital was moved to Helena (Malone and Roeder 1976; Wolle 1963).
Ore deposits in Browns Gulch consist of argentite, auriferous pyrite, native silver, tetrahedrite, native gold, sphalerite, and stibnite. The area around the initial strike was organized as the Fairweather placer district on June 6, 1863, the same day Fairweather’s group, and the mob of following miners, arrived back in the gulch. Other meetings followed which adopted mining laws, set up a miner’s court, elected officials and created other mining districts. By the end of 1864 all of Alder Gulch was staked with placer mining claims and divided into placer mining districts. These districts were based primarily on the potential of the placer gravels although they also included lode claims. The Fairweather district was located in the center of the gulch. Above the Fairweather was the Pine Grove district and above it, at the head of the gulch, was the Summit district. Extending down the gulch from the discovery site were the Nevada and Junction districts. Located south of Nevada City, was the Browns Gulch district in the gulch of the same name. The Granite district was established along Granite Creek, about two miles northwest of Nevada City. The Highland, Barton Gulch, and Williams Gulch districts were added later to what became the overall Virginia City mining district (Tansley et al. 1933; Malone and Roeder 1976; Wolle 1963).
Henry Plummer’s stolen Gold has never been recovered. It is still hidden where he left it more than a hundred years ago. When Henry was arrested he told the vigilantes that he would pay them his weight in gold and that he could see where it was stashed from the window in the jail. The vigilantes wouldn’t release Henry to bring back the gold and they hung him from the gallows without ever identifying where the hidden gold was located. It is very likely that a couple hundred pounds of gold is hidden on this claim. But you won’t know unless you buy the claim and search for it yourself!
Estimates of the amount of gold taken from the gulch during the first five years are put at $30,000,000 to $40,000,000. Although the boom was over, lesser amounts of placer gold would continue to be taken from the gulch for the next two decades. Chinese miners leased many of the original claims and methodically worked over the mined areas, recovering considerable amounts of gold missed by the early placer miners. White placer miners also continued to work the gulch until as late as 1887. An additional $10,000,000 worth of gold was taken from the gulch during this period.
Placer mining can only work relatively shallow deposits and many mining experts realized there was undoubtedly a large amount of gold still to be found along the gulch. The only feasible way to get the remaining gold would be with floating dredges. In 1896, the second period of placer mining began when the Conrey Placer Mining Company was organized to dredge the gulch. The company bought up placer ground along the gulch as well as a number of ranches below the mouth of the gulch. The first dredge went into operation in 1899. Ultimately, six dredges were constructed which, during the next 24 years, processed over 37 million cubic yards of ground along a seven-mile long stretch of bottom land from Virginia City to Alder.
The Conrey company’s most productive year was in 1915 when it had four electric dredges working at once. They processed some six million cubic yards of gravel, recovering more than $800,000 in gold. By the first part of 1922 the company decided that all the dredgeable ground was exhausted and it closed down the operation. The company’s two decades of dredging the seven miles of Alder Gulch were profitable ones with a total of $9,000,000 worth of gold being recovered. Shortly after the dredges were shut down, most were disassembled and the equipment sold for scrap while the heavy wooden barges were left to slowly rot away in their dredge ponds (Lyden 1948; Wolle 1963).
For the next 12 years only small-scale sluicing operations occurred in Alder Gulch. In July of 1935 the Humphrey’s Gold corporation set up a 5,000-yard, dry-land dredging operation that operated until June 1937, producing a total of 19,592 ounces of gold. In 1940 and 1941 another company operated a dry-land dredge that recovered about 1180 ounces of gold.
Estimates of the total amount of gold produced in the Virginia City region range from a low of $30,000,000 to a high of $150,000,000. Tansley, Schafer and Hart (1933) put the total at over $54,000,000 in 1933, although this figure was based on conservative estimates of early production from data published by the United States Geological Survey. Even conservative figures show Alder Gulch and the surrounding area to be one of the richest gold-producing areas in the West.
The original gold rush into Alder Gulch in 1863 found what turned out to be the richest placer diggings in Montana. An estimated $30,000,000 in gold was taken from the gulch between 1863 and 1866. During the following 23 years an additional $10,000,000 was taken from the gulch by sluice boxes, pans and rockers. While the initial placer boom is perhaps the most significant historical period, no sites have been recorded that are representative of these early placers. Because of the extensive dredging by the Conrey Placer Mining Company and by later placer and dry land dredging operations, most evidence of the early hand placering of the bonanza period has been destroyed.

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