Mining Towns Spring Up

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by lissaaame
Last updated 5 years ago

Social Studies
American History

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Mining Towns Spring Up


After Congressed passed the Homestead Act in 1862, allowing people to settle in the West on the empty land, the discovery of gold and silver attracted immigrants from all over the world. Mining camps sprang up throughout mining regions as word spread and more people flooded the area. This also resulted in a vast number of new mines in the mountains. These camps developed from the Sierra Nevada to the Black Hills and many places in between. They soon organized into more communities/towns rather than camps due to the settlement of women and children.

Miners who moved to the region believed that mining the gold and silver would be a much easier and faster way to earn their wealth. People who weren't as interested in mining saw the interest of making money through supplying miners in the new communities with necessities like food and clothing, which could be hard to find.


Most mining towns were boomtowns."Boomtowns" were communities which faced sudden and rapid population and economic. Particular mining towns only grew and strived through the mining of the gold and silver. If the resources were to disappear, the towns would more than likely be abandoned and become ghost towns. Though, some mining towns developed and since become prominant cities like Virginia City, Nevada or Columbia, California.


Like most communities, mining towns did experience some conflict and violence. So, miners of the communities created rules to settle disputes. If things got really out of hand, vigilantes (self-appointed law enforcers) would be in charge of handling the situation and punishing those who broke the law. Eventually, sheriffs and marshals were hired to maintain peacefulness in the towns.

mining town - a community that housed miners, created around mines

The West was mostly grassland where there was hardly any rain. Without rain, there were no crops. Miners depended on the gold and silver mining to provide for them. Buffalo roamed the West, and provided a source of food for mining towns. Those who provided the miners with their supplies were very nessecary.


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