In 1856, twenty-year old Thomas 'Tommy' Cruse immigrated
to America from his Irish homeland.
He lived in a small parish called Drum Lummon. Within a
few years, he caught the American 'gold fever' and moved from
New York to the west coast to find his riches. By 1867, Tommy
ended up at Silver Creek, six miles northeast of what is now
Marysville. It is there that he met a Swedish immigrant named
William Brown, and began a friendship which will last a lifetime.
Whether it was out of sympathy or a sincere wish to help
this poor immigrant, William gave Tommy one of his five valued
'placer mines'. He was hopeful he could get him started and
stay in the area. Tommy accepted the generous offer and began
to work his area in earnest. In time, he began to ponder the
quartz encrusting the gold nuggets in his sifting pan. He
soon was convinced that he was near a real mother load...
his dreamed-about treasure. Excitedly, Tommy told William
about his speculation and tried to persuade his friend to
go with him to find the riches. To his dismay, his friend
wanted to maintain his meager 'placer mines', but wished him
Alone, Cruse began his short quest along the riverbed and
in 1868 found the quartz. It was on the side of a mountain
and spilled into a ravine. For years, he worked the quartz
mine for what he prayed would soon become gold. The ore was
there, he knew it. He was plagued by flooding, but continued
to dig his tunnel into the mountain, even at the scoffs of
other miners disbelief in his logic.
In the process of digging a 500-foot tunnel through the mostly
granite mountainside, Tommy Cruse discovered the rich ledge
of gold in 1876, which was soon to be called Drumlummon Mine.
The discovery was of a vein of immense wealth. Although there
are stories discounting his rights to the claim, he did record
the deed and maintained ownership. Naming it in honor of his
hometown, Drumlummon Mine would prove to be one of the highest
producing high-grade gold ore mills in the area.
As word of the discovery spread through the area, hundreds,
if not thousands flocked to the area. By accounts of the time,
Cruse soon named the blossoming mining camp after Mary Ralston,
the first woman believed to have arrived in the area.
By 1880, the mine was producing its first ore. Soon it had
become a 5-stamp mill. This was small for the amount of gold
estimated to be buried there, but Tommy continued to operate
the mine mostly by himself. The long dreamed about treasure
didn't generate a lot of money; but the potential was still
there. So much so, that in 1883, he sold all but one-sixth
of the mine to the Montana Company, LTD. His 'Gold Mine' turned
into a 1.6 million dollar prize, and he even managed to hold
on to part of it.
It was during the management by this company, that the mine
saw its greatest success. In 1884, a new 50-stamp mill was
constructed and the operations continued until 1889. Soon,
a feud developed between the St. Louis and Montana Companies,
concerning a dispute in mining rights. It continued for the
next eighteen years, with the St. Louis Company eventually
being awarded ownership of the Drumlummon Mine. By that time,
most of the highest quality ore had already been removed.
Many problems; such as, flooding and collapse, plagued mining
operations and caused the mine to be eventually abandoned.
It has been estimated that $50,000,000 worth of gold has been
removed from the original Tommy Cruse Mine.