The story of St. Joe is of a relentless and
successful search for new mineral deposits, of finding better ways of taking
ore from the ground, of efficiently processing it into useful industrial
materials and of developing new and larger markets for its commodities. The
story of St. Joe is also the story of the personalities who initiated and
developed the mining operation and lent culture to an isolated spot in the
County while at the same time
they faced and overcame handicaps that would crush men of lesser stamina.
St. Joe’s story began on
March 25, 1864 when
Lyman W. Gilbert, John E. Wylie, Edmund I. Wade, Wilmot Williams, James L.
Dunham and James L. Hathaway incorporated the St. Joseph Lead Company under
the laws of the State of
New York. To all intend and purposes it
was just another of the many stock-jobbing ventures that were in existence
at that time. Few of the incorporators knew or cared much about the mining
Since lead had been mined in southeastern
Missouri from the time of the earliest
French and Spanish explorers, James L. Dunham, one of the incorporators
contacted a Mr. Anthony LaGrave who owned 946.32 acres of land in and around
the present town of
Bonne Terre. This entire acreage was
purchased by the St. Joseph Lead Company for $25,000 cash and three notes in
the amount of $25,000 each. These were reduced later to two notes of
$25,000 each. St. Joseph Lead Company now owned land of which the lead
content was not known and was in debt $75,000 with most of its stock sold
and little cash on hand.
young lawyer by the name of J. Wyman Jones with a modest practice in
New York had accepted a block of St. Joe
stock as partial settlement for a debt owed him by one of his clients. The
acceptance of this stock destined Mr. Jones to play an important part in
building an organization that was to become one of the great lead and zinc
mining companies of the world.
Seeing a notice in a
New York paper, announcing a stockholders
meeting of this new company in which he was now a stockholder, Mr. Jones
decided to attend. It was on
June 13, 1865 that he
attended this meeting and became involved in a venture that was to set his
A most discouraging picture was painted and many of the
stockholders learned for the first time the encumbrances upon their
property. So many embarrassing questions were raised that the meeting was
adjourned. At a reconvened meeting, Mr. Jones was asked to visit the
Missouri and to assume the presidency of
the St. Joseph Lead Company. Upon acceptance of the presidency, Mr. Jones
started his trip to
Missouri. We will not attempt to
enumerate the trials and inconveniences encountered on such a trip from
New York to the property in the
Missouri, he found the lead mining
business to be one of back breaking labor, crude and slow operating
equipment and submission to the elements. The hardships of that first year
were summed up in a report made by Mr. Jones. It stated, “The annual report
of the Trustees stated that there had been many serious and unlooked-for
drawbacks to rapid and successful operations during the last year, such as,
an immense drought in July preventing the washing of minerals; then, in
early Autumn, a raid by the Confederate General Price’s Army, breaking up
the company’s operations and preventing the return of workmen for nearly two
months; then an unusually severe winter, and lastly, the heavy floods of the
Spring which destroyed roads and prevented transportation for several
Successive years did not lessen the problems – only changed
them. Again Mr. Jones reported, “it will be readily seen that the labor
involved in blasting, moving, breaking, crushing, jigging and smelting ores
was quite out of proportion to the value of say 2,300 pounds of lead per day
at five cents a pound, and that we derived little encouragement in the way
“Some of the greater difficulties then encountered in working
the mines profitably are not apparent from the above account of dressing and
smelting of ores. All the ore was taken from open cuts or surface shallow
shafts. In wet weather, the miners could not work in them because the cuts
were full of water. In winter the sleet and ice interfered with work. In
dry weather, as we depend upon rains for the necessary water for dressing
the ores, we could not “jig” or crush that for want of water. Hence, with
all our earnestness and energy, we could not do more than about six months’
work in a year, far too little to cover expenses.”
Equipment was crude and inefficient. Furnaces were
old-fashioned stone ovens, which sloped to the front with a large firebox
for wood beneath. Separation of the rock from the lead was done by a
process called “jigging.” The jigging machine, used at that time, is
described as a long heavy pole lying across a large log or wooden horse with
a water-washed sieve filled with crushed ore. Constant short, sharp motions
by a man on the end of this pole would move the material in the sieve up and
down in the water. The heavy particles of lead would sink to the bottom
while the lighter particles of stone would remain at the top.
In 1865, two blast furnaces were erected for smelting of lead
but were not satisfactory and were abandoned. In early 1866 a reverberatory
furnace the output of pig lead could be increased as far as it was
practicable to hire and accommodate men.
From a copy of the report to the stockholders for 1866 we find
that a new Resident Superintendent, J. C. Winslow, was employed for the
Southeast Missouri operations and a number of Cornish
miners, so called “Cousin Jacks,” were brought in. Incidentally, many of
these Cornishmen have left descendants who are an important part of our
Two hundred fifty tons of pig lead was sold in 1866, which was
more than double the sales of the previous year.
President Jones was exhausted and thoroughly worn out with the
many trials and tribulations he had encountered as head of the mining
venture in the wilderness of
Missouri. Soon after the annual meeting
of October, 1866 he and his family left for
Massachusetts for a vacation and rest.
It was here that Mr. Jones met Dr. Charles Bunyan Parsons a man
who was to play an important role in the development of the lead mining area
Missouri. His work and ingenuity were
instrumental in developing processes of ore extraction.
Dr. Parsons’ education was in the field of dentistry. He set up his office
Michigan and practiced there until the
outbreak of the Civil War. He volunteered and was commissioned a Captain in
the Union Army. He was forced to resign his commission in March of 1863 due
to bad health.
Persuaded by his doctors that he must get into some profession
where he could be out of doors more than his dental practice would allow, he
accepted a job with a small mining company in
During many of the evenings in
Northampton, Mr. Jones told Dr. Parsons
all about the new mining company in southeast
Missouri – the many troubles encountered
getting it underway and the tremendous possibilities that lay ahead. Here
were two men of entirely diverse educations and professions thrown together,
a dentist and a lawyer, discussing lead mining, neither of who knew too much
about the intricacies of treating ore.
Toward the end of Mr. Jones’ vacation he asked Dr. Parsons if he
would make a trip to
Missouri and there investigate the
property and then return to
New York and make a report to the Board
Finding a convenient time to make the trip, Dr. Parsons made a
close inspection of the southeast
Missouri property and gathered what
information he could. He returned to
New York to report to the Board of
Directors. He presented so much new information of value and because he
had grasped the problems so effectively, he convinced these men that he was
the man needed to assume charge of their operations in southeast
Dr. Parsons was offered the position of Resident Manager but
hesitated to accept until he had discussed it with his wife. He had married
a very charming lady in 1862 and he felt that it was beyond all decency to
drag her so far from things that she had been used to and set her down in a
wilderness where there was little else than mud and a few log cabins. He
asked for more time before giving his answer to which the Board readily
Dr. Parsons was inclined to accept this challenge of his skill
and ability but he cautiously outlined the proposal to his wife Jane with
the full expectancy that she would refuse to go to the wilderness of
Missouri. She might have refused had she
been acquainted with a chigger or had she ever seen a tick. Much to his
surprise she agreed and told him she felt this was the thing which could be
beneficial to his health.
On the first of May in 1867, Dr. Parsons associated himself with
the company and he and Mrs. Parsons started on the long trip to
Missouri where they were to spend the
remainder of their days. Late in May, Dr. Parsons arrived and assumed his
duties as Resident Manager of the
Southeast Missouri operations.
The “Works” consisted of one small crushing mill, one set of
Cornish rolls, three reverbertory furnaces and a few hand-operated jigs.
Ore was gathered from so-called
“Openings” which were no more than shallow pits and a few inclined drifts
extending to the bed rock.
Dr. Parsons’ first efforts were to increase production. More
pumps were purchased to keep the inclined pits dry so work could continue
daily. Several more furnaces were installed and the “Parsons Mechanical
Jig” was installed which was an improvement over the one-man job.
There is no doubt but that the enthusiasm and wisdom which Dr.
Parsons brought to
Missouri were the reasons that the
company survived those early days. Dr. Parsons’ great interest in his
company combined with his unequalled skill in handling men and inspiring in
them the same enthusiasm he possessed, did much to establish the integrity
and reputation of the little mining camp.
Perhaps it could be expected that Dr. Parsons’ increased
expenditures would be questioned by some of the stock-holders. They had
already expended more than they felt justified in doing and hesitated to
throw more money into the business. This created quite a hassle, but Dr.
Parsons ultimately proved himself right by processing enough lead to pay a
small dividend. This small dividend persuaded the Board of Directors to
issue one hundred thousand dollars worth of bonds, which were sold to the
stockholders. In January of 1868 the company was free of debt with the
exception of that owed the stockholders.
As mining activities continued, it was found that by sloping
underground a better grade of ore was encountered and much better protection
for the men was provided from the inclement weather. Another economic
advantage resulted in that the overburden of dirt was not removed. Men were
able to work successfully the entire year.
One of the locations known as “1095” or the Bonne Terre supply
shaft, produced good ore as far down as thirty-five feet in the clay and
seemed to get better toward the bottom of the drift, with lead ore imbedded
in it, convinced Dr. Parsons that good values lay in the rock further down.
With sledge hammers and drills they continued downward using black powder to
blast the lead contained rock. This is perhaps the first record of “hard
rock mining” in this district.
Dr. Parsons immediately wrote President Jones regarding the
experiment in hard rock mining and asked permission to continue the
Dr. Parsons had read
an article in a magazine regarding a new invention called a diamond drill.
This device would cut deep into the rock and bring up samples of the rock
through which it had drilled. Mr. Jones felt this device seemed to have
application to the lead mines. He owned a plot of land near
Peekskill-on-the-Hudson under which was reported to be a valuable body of
find marble. He contacted the inventors, Severance and Holt, and contracted
them to drill his property. The fact that the diamond drill proved the
marble was of no particular value convinced Mr. Jones that his device had
great possibilities for the lead mines.
presented his report regarding the diamond drill to the stock-holders hoping
that they would approve the necessary money to move the drill and an
experienced driller to
Missouri. He was met with an unexpected
refusal. Their objection was that more ore had been discovered than could
be processed in several years.
Mr. Jones had one enthusiastic backer in Mr. Hugh N. Camp, Sr.,
Treasurer of the company, who agreed that although much ore was in sight
there was nothing to prevent the company’s expansion. Increasing the output
of the mines would thus earn additional money.
Mr. Jones and Mr. Camp advanced the necessary funds to move the
March 5, 1869, the drill
arrived at the mine along with Mr. Albert Shepherd who had operated it at
Peekskill. Mr. Shepherd lost no time in
setting his rig in operating order. The first drilling was started close to
the Hathaway incline (1095) and reached the depth of ninety feet but
disclosed only a few specks of ore. Moving southeast about fifty feet and
drilling to a depth of seventy-five provided no better results. It was
discovered later that had this hole been drilled some thirty feet deeper a
fine body of ore would have been discovered. The use of the diamond drill
was the first step toward progressive modernization. In the years to follow
large areas of good ore were discovered as the diamond drills continued to
reveal the character of the rock and minerals imbedded therein.
The discovery of new ore bodies and increased production
necessitated drastic changes in the smelting process. Several types of
furnaces had been tried and none proved too satisfactory.
Mr. Gustave Setz, a highly skilled metallurgist from
Germany, was employed on
February 1, 1879 to take
charge of the smelting operations. By April 10th he succeeded in
adapting the McKenzie furnace to operate fairly efficiently. Fourteen
calcine furnaces were installed to drive off the sulfur. This roasted ore
was sent to two stacks of cupola furnaces where, when mixed with charcoal or
coke, a heavy blast of air quickly reduced the ore to its metallic state.
Mr. Setz’s technical skill proved invaluable to the company in those early
days. He remained as smelter superintendent for many years, became a
stock-holder, and in 1900 was made a member of the Board of Directors. When
the smelter was later moved to
Missouri, Mr. Setz was placed in charge.
His contributions did much to make the refinery a success.
With the increase in production and sales, it soon became
apparent that the construction of a railway was an absolute necessity.
Numerous attempts had been made to find a satisfactory route to replace the
crude wagon transportation used by St. Joe. The wagon roads, if they could
be called roads, were mere tracks through the woods. After some use, these
roads became continuous mud trenches. When the teams pulled heavy-laden
wagons through these trenches, the wheels often sank up to the axles.
Hauling was slowed to such an extent that it became impossible to secure
enough teams to handle the job. The much-needed railroad, some 13 ½ miles,
was completed in January 1880 to the
Summit station of the
Mountain and Southern Railway.
The annual reports to the stockholders for 1880, 1881 and 1882 each reported
material gains in metallic lead produced and sold. The 1882 report states
that production reached a high of 15,214 pigs of lead weighing 81.5 pounds
each. Net profits for the year were $200,000.
At this point in history of the company when many of the
problems seemed to have subsided and profits were on the increase, a major
disaster occurred. It was a cold Sunday morning,
February 26, 1883,
shortly after the shift had gone home when flames broke out in a portion of
the mill. Because of insufficient fire fighting equipment and strong north
winds, it was only minutes until the entire mill was engulfed in flames.
St. Louis newspapers called it a quarter
million dollar blaze and predicted the end of the St. Joseph Lead Company.
They were wrong for they did not know the temper of these men who had
suffered other serious setbacks and still had carried on. The embers of the
fire had hardly cooled until reconstruction of a new mill was underway. A
new 900-ton capacity mill was completed in four months at a cost of
The smelting of lead required many cords of wood daily making it
necessary that the company own large acreages of timberland. One such
acreage was a 344-acre tract called Penn Diggins, which later proved to
contain a very rich deposit of lead. In 1886 the Penn Diggins shaft was
sunk and the lead produced from this tract not only made it possible to pay
for the new mill, but also financed the building of a new railroad
connecting the Lead Belt and the Mississippi River and thereby effecting a
drastic reduction in shipping costs.
Other acquisitions of land in the vicinity of the present town
Leadwood such as the McKee Diggins, T. W.
Hunt tract, Hoffman tract, Jake Day tract all proved to contain rich
deposits of lead. Shortly after the purchase of the Hunt tract a shaft was
started and operations were underway in a fairly good orebody by the end of
1900. Houses were built for the employees, and in a short time the town of
Huntington was in existence. On
August 4, 1900, the
Hoffman tract was purchased and a shaft sunk during 1901. Again carpenters
were brought in and houses were built for the employees along with a company
October 12, 1901, a
Post Office was established using the name of Owl Creek after a stream
nearby. The citizens disliking the name Owl Creek, petitioned the Post
Office Department to rename the town to that of Leadwood and such was
approved in 1902.
Since the Hunt and Hoffman tracts were producing large amounts
of ore, it was decided to build a processing mill. By the spring of 1904, a
new 1200-ton capacity electrically operated mill was in operation.
A branch of the
Mississippi River and Bonne Terre Railroad, named the
Hoffman branch, was built to handle materials from Bonne Terre to the bluffs
on the north side of
River. An aerial tram was
erected in 1901 spanning
River from the bluffs and
terminating near Hunts shaft.
A switchback was in use north of
River in 1902 so that trains
could be brought down to the lower level on the south side. A trestle built
across the river now made possible train transportation in and out of the
The St. Joe venture in
County was attracting
considerable attention through the area. Just north of St. Joe property in
Bonne Terre was a tract of land originally granted to Jean Bte. Pratte,
designated as U. S. Survey No. 3099. It was this tract of land that
attracted the interest of the Desloge family. As a merchant in
Potosi, Firman Desloge had handled lead
ore. A charter was requested and granted to the Missouri Lead and Smelting
June 5, 1874. The
corporate name was changed to “The Desloge Lead Company” on
February 21, 1876.
Three shafts were sunk during 1876 and 1877 and a new mill was built. A
fire in March of 1886 destroyed the mill and did great damage to the entire
surface plant of the Desloge Lead Company. Rather than rebuild, the Desloge
Lead Company was sold to St. Joe.
the same year Mr. Jones, with other Trustees, formed the Doe Run Lead
Company, which was subsequently absorbed by St. Joe.
In 1890, St. Joe began construction of the large smelter at
Missouri, to process concentrates from
the early 1890’s many new mining companies were formed in
County which merged with the
larger companies and later became a part of the St. Joe operations.
Some of the newly formed companies in
County were the Desloge
Consolidated Lead Company, Flat River Lead Company, National Lead Company,
Doe Run Lead Company, Central Lead Company, Federal Lead Company and
Theodore Lead Company.
Mr. Wyman Jones died on
October 27, 1904 at the
age of 72. During his 39 years as President, St. Joe had grown from an
uncertain operation producing a little more than $17,000 worth of salable
goods in a year to a company which had distributed $1,774,000 in dividends,
invested another $1,750,000 in permanent improvements, and was responsible
for creating a thriving community of 5,000 persons at the center of its
operations in Missouri.
Dwight A. Jones, who had been with the company nine years as
Secretary and Trustee, succeeded his father as President.
The problems confronting him were quite different from those that the
founders had faced. The chief difficulty was to maintain the Company’s
momentum. Dwight Jones overcame this obstacle with conspicuous success. He
saw clearly that the Company would have to acquire new properties and build
new plants to meet the rapidly changing conditions of the new century. This
was not always easy. Aggressive new mining interests had come into
Missouri, and St. Joe had to compete
vigorously in its efforts to obtain title to land with ore-bearing
potential. Between 1890 and the Panic of 1907,
St. Joseph Lead Company spent or committed
almost $10,000,000 for new land and plant equipment.
In 1907 Panic set in motion forces that created new problems for
the industrial community. During the next four years, St. Joe and Doe Run
(then still a separate entity) ran up short-term debts totaling more than
$8,000,000. Dissatisfaction was expressed vigorously by a minority of
stock-holders, and St. Joe became involved in litigation and controversy
that for awhile threatened its existence. The Doe Run Lead Company was
merged into St. Joe and the Company went ahead on an entirely new footing.
At this point in the history of St. Joe,
January 23, 1910, Dr.
Parsons, who had served as Resident Manager of the
Southeast Missouri operations, died at his home on
Mississippi River at
Riverside. Prior to his death, his two
sons, Roscoe and Girard, had taken over a great deal of the management of
At the annual meeting of stockholders in 1910, Mr. Roscoe R. S.
Parsons was elected a Trustee of the Company and appointed Resident Manager
to succeed his father.
Roscoe Parsons made many changes in an effort to effect
improvement in operations and to improve economics. Air locomotives
replaced mules in 1911 on the mainline haulage at Leadwood. The Bonne Terre
mill was equipped to operate electrically. Electric motors replaced the
outmoded steam engine.
Mr. Dwight A. Jones, who had served as President of the Company
since his father’s death in October 1904, died
December 6, 1913.
Mr. Clinton Hoadley Crane was elected President of the Company
December 12, 1913. He
had served as a Trustee following the death of his father, Jonathan Crane in
1911. As a Trustee, he made an important contribution by his comprehensive
knowledge of engineering, which he had acquired as a naval architect. He
fully understood the principles of mechanical power and he saw how to apply
it to St. Joe’s needs in an era of increasing mechanization.
He also had the same gifts as his predecessors – the capacity to
grasp important issues and the ability to select capable men to weld
together an efficient organization. Mr. Crane was insistent on studying the
problems himself so he made frequent trips to the Lead Belt, making detailed
examinations of St. Joe’s procedures as well as those of its competitors.
During the latter part of 1914, Mr. Crane brought to the Lead
Belt, Mr. Charles J. Adami, of
Montana, who assumed the position of
General Manager of the Southeast,
March 1, 1915, Mr. Adami
brought to the Lead Belt another man from
Montana, who was destined to play an
important role in the modernization and mechanization of the St. Joe
Southeast Missouri. This gentleman was Louis T.
Sicka, who later became General Manager.
By the end of 1915, two years after Mr. Crane had taken office;
St. Joe had paid off practically all its debt. It was modernizing its
methods, notably by introducing the flotation technique in its concentrating
mills, effecting substantial savings. It had established its own sales
force, a far-reaching step which did much to fortify and extend the already
high reputation enjoyed by St. Joe products throughout the
Progress and Expansion were steady throughout the years of World
War I and the pre-Depression era. St. Joe acquired a number of mining
properties in the Lead Belt, the most important of which was the Federal
mine, purchased from the American Smelting and Refining Company in 1923. It
expanded its underground rail system and consolidated these properties,
including the Federal mine, into a network of more than 250 miles of narrow
gauge track, running under the towns of
River, Leadwood, Desloge,
Rivermines and Elvins. This system of underground transportation greatly
increased the efficiency and effected large savings in costs. It eliminated
expensive surface haulage, consolidated maintenance of equipment, and
centralized the work of hoisting ore and lowering supplies underground.
During Mr. Crane’s administration in 1925, St. Joe became
interested in foreign operations and investigated an outcrop of lead ore
that had been discovered about 2,000 feet below the summit of a 17,000 foot
mountain in northern Argentina, not far from the Bolivian border. After
extensive exploration, which revealed the presence of a rich
lead-zinc-silver orebody, the Company exercised its option on the property.
Today, the Aguilar mine not
only is a most important mining operation in
Argentina, but is one of the
world’s outstanding lead-zinc-silver mines as well. Included in St. Joe’s
foreign operations today is another lead-zinc-silver mine called
Santander, which is located in the
Mountains some 14,500 feet in
Another important development during Mr. Crane’s long
administration was St. Joe’s entry into the zinc field.
The Edwards and Balmat
properties in upstate
New York were purchased from the Northern
Ore Company in 1926.
A smelter at Josephtown was
built by St. Joe to produce zinc oxide and later zinc metal from the
concentrates supplied by the Edwards and Balmat properties.
Going into the thirties or Depression era, St. Joe like many
other companies, was confronted with little or no sale for its products.
Rather than close operations, as many did, St. Joe in 1932 curtailed its
operations to one week per month. During the summer months, St. Joe
provided garden spots for employees that they might raise food for their
families. During the winter months permission was given to cut wood off
company lands for heating and cooking purposes. During the depression
years St. Joe borrowed $10,000,000 and stockpiled thousands of tons of lead
concentrates in order that each employee might have some money for his
Operations were back to a five-day workweek schedule by the end
of 1936. Operations were changed to a six-day every other week work
schedule in the spring of 1938.
Hitler and his German army were on the move in
Europe toward the end of 1938 and St. Joe returned to
a five-day work week schedule.
With the World War II years to follow, things sky-rocketed all
over the country. St. Joe had in excess of 3,000 payroll employees working
in the Lead Belt area by the end of 1945. It was during these years that
the payroll employees became unionized.
Mr. Crane was succeeded as President in 1947 by Mr. Andrew
Fletcher, a graduate in mechanical engineering from the Sheffield Scientific
School of Yale University. Mr. Fletcher had been a Trustee of the Company
since 1921 and was Vice President and Treasurer of the Company from 1929
until 1947. Mr. Fletcher served as President until
February 16, 1960 when
he was elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees, an office which had not
been filled since the retirement of the late Mr. Clinton Crane. Mr.
Fletcher’s contributions to the success of the Company were many during his
Presidency. Today he is Honorary Chairman and head of the Finance Committee
and a member of the Board.
Mr. Louis T. Sicka, who had succeeded Mr. Adami as General
Manager of the
Southeast Missouri operations in 1927 was retired
after having served the company for twenty years in that capacity. Mr.
Sicka’s energy and enthusiasm were important to the successful
accomplishment of the many changes and developments which took place during
his years at St. Joe.
Mr. B. Franklin Murphy was appointed General Manager, replacing
Mr. Sicka on
February 1, 1947. Mr.
Murphy grew up in
County and received his degree in
mining engineering from the Missouri School of Mines at Rolla in 1910. Mr.
Murphy’s plan of organization during his six years as General Manager
resulted in standardizing practices in the mines, mills and shops of
Southeast Missouri operations. Mr. Murphy was
October 1, 1953.
Mr. Elmer A. Jones became Division Manager of the
Southeast Missouri operations in 1953 after having
served twenty-seven years in various capacities, starting as a mining
engineer in 1926. He was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1963 to
1968. He served as Vice President and Board Member of the Meramec Mining
Company from 1963 to 1967. Mr. Jones is a graduate of the Minnesota School
of Mines with a degree in mining engineering.
While serving as Division Manager, he initiated many changes and
innovations; the first trackless mine in
Southeast Missouri, the first rotary drilling by
large jumbo drills and the use of transloaders for loading and hauling. He
helped establish the Mine Research Department, which conducts studies on
rock mechanics. Mr. Jones retired on
September 1, 1967.
Mr. Francis Cameron was elected President of the Company on
February 16, 1960
replacing Mr. Fletcher. Mr. Cameron, a geologist, came to St. Joe from
Anaconda Copper Company in 1945. He was elected a Vice President in 1946
and Trustee in 1953. Prior to becoming President, he had general
supervision of the Company’s southeast
Missouri mining and milling operations
and its exploration programs. These exploration programs revealed many new
ore bodies in
Southeast Missouri including Indian Creek, Viburnum,
Meramec and Fletcher.
Indian Creek was the first of the major new lead mines in
Missouri to be developed by St. Joe.
This modern plant is located about thirty-five miles northwest of Bonne
County. It started producing
lead concentrates in December of 1953.
The Viburnum plant which began production in 1960 was regarded
at the time as one of the most modern and efficient lead mining and milling
installations in the world. The No. 27 mine is located at
County approximately five miles
northwest of the city of
Viburnum. No. 29 mine is located in
County some five miles northeast
of Viburnum and the No. 28 mine and mill are located in
County within the city limits of
The Fletcher plant is located in
County about six miles east of
Bunker and about fifteen miles south of Viburnum. It is the largest
individual producer of lead in the
United States. The first car of
lead concentrates was shipped on
February 28, 1967. The
first car of zinc concentrates was shipped on
March 17, 1967 and the
first car of copper concentrates shipped on
May 27, 1968.
Mr. Cameron was awarded the Saunders Medal for “distinguished
administration in finding and development of new mines and for inspiring
leadership in the non-ferrous industry.”
Mr. Cameron succeeded Mr. Fletcher as Chairman of the Board of
May 8, 1967 at which time
Mr. Lawrason Riggs III became the sixth President of the St. Joseph Lead
Mr. Riggs attended
St. Paul’s and Harvard, graduating in
mining engineering from Harvard in 1936. He received his Masters degree
Mr. Riggs started his career with St. Joe as a summer employee
in 1936 at Balmat, N. Y. He began regular employment at the Bonne Terre
October 3, 1939 as an
Apprentice. He was called to active duty in the Navy in January, 1941 and
served until September of 1948 as which time he was released from active
duty after attaining the rank of Commander. Upon his return to the Lead
Belt he assumed his duties as Mechanical Engineer at the Bonne Terre Shops.
He served as Mine Engineer, Mine Captain, Asst. Mine Superintendent, Mine
Superintendent, Business Repr. and Division Superintendent prior to being
transferred to New Brunswick in 1954. He was transferred to the
office in 1958 and Asst. Vice
President and in 1960 became Vice President in charge of coordinating the
Company’s domestic mining and lead smelting activities.
Mr. Lawrence Casteel assumed the position of
Division Manager of the Southeast Missouri Mining & Milling operations on
September 1, 1967, succeeding Mr. E. A. Jones who retired on this date.
Mr. Casteel had been Asst. Division Manager since July 1957.
Mr. Casteel is a graduate of the
Missouri at Rolla where he
received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mining Engineering. He also holds
an Honorary Master of Science Degree from the same school.
His first employment was on
6-3-37 as a summer
employee in the Bonne Terre mine. After graduating in June 1938, he
returned to St. Joe as an apprentice in the Bonne Terre mine. He has held
positions as Mine Engineer, Division Superintendent, Asst. Division Manager
and his present position as Division Manager.
The company is continuing its expansion. A site is being
cleared for a new mine and mill to be known as Brushy Creek. This site is
located approximately six miles north of the Fletcher plant in
County. It will be similar in
design and capacity as the Fletcher plant and will produce lead, zinc and
copper concentrates. Completion date for the new plant is set for 1973.
As we move forward in the second hundred years of mining, we
know we cannot rest on our past success. Our leaders today, like those of
the past, are men of vision with optimism, foresight and determination that
St. Joe will always be a leader in the mining industry.