A Short History of the Ely mine, page 3

       The demand for copper caused by the Civil War resulted in the growth of Copperfield, a “ boom copper camp.” (47)  There were three farm houses there in 1856; Hemenway, writing in 1870 (48), notes one hotel, a large carriage-manufactory, a rake manufactory, tannery, clothing store, millenary store and a shoe-manufacturing concern.  That year, the Burlington Free Press reports that between 250 and 300 men are employed. (49)   In 1879, there were two churches (a Methodist church for the Cornish, and Catholic for the Irish, both built in 1871, according to Blaisdell), a school with one-hundred fifty pupils, a large company store built in 1873 which housed a barber and the library, houses and everything else needed to support a population, in 1870, of two thousand inhabitants (50), among whom were one-hundred thirty miners, four carpenters, three blacksmiths, three engine operators, three teamsters and one hostler (51), or, as reported in the Burlington Free Press of July 20, 1870 (Evening Edition), page three, column three, from two-hundred fifty to three-hundred workers.   By 1876, the mines required some 400 workmen, working in three eight-hour shifts, with a payroll of between $12,000.00 and $15,000.00 (52).  That year, 1,646,850 pounds of copper were produced; by 1880, 3,186,175 pounds. (53)   In 1880, there were one hundred forty houses accommodating one thousand workers. (54)


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          In 1878, Smith Ely, president of the Vermont Copper Mining Company, purchased the Union mine (charted 1863) in Corinth and named it the Goddard mine, after his colorful grandson, Ely Ely-Goddard (55), the paymaster of the firm since 1876 and member of the Vermont House in 1878 and 1880. (56)  Ely Ely-Goddard had been plucked from Parisian society where his mother, Adelaide Goddard, had removed him for “the doubtful benefits of a foreign education.”(57)  His election to the Vermont House was due, in part at least, to the influence of his grandfather; ballots containing grandson Ely’s name were on colored paper and the miners were obliged to vote on pain of dismissal. (58)  In August 1879, Smith conveyed the mine to his (own) company. The ore from the Union was smelted at Copperfield. (59)   To be noted is the formation of the Ely Copper Company (60) with John Wooldredge, Thomas H. Lord, H. J. Boardman, Otis Hinman, Ransom Fuller Frank B. Dole "and their associates".  The author has not been able to establish a connection with Ely's activities.  In 1880, a new hoisting apparatus was set up at the entrance to the main shaft. (61)  The remains are still visible of the “apparatus” and the footprint of the 1901 hoist house shows on the 1942 map.  During the period of joint operation about seven hundred and fifty men were employed all together; about four hundred fifty worked at Ely. (62) 

          It was reported to be the largest copper operation in the country (63), although the U.S. Geological Survey asserts only that Vermont was the "steadiest copper producer in the East...". (64)  Collamer Abbott questions these claims, stating, "During the Ely mine's most productive years, Michigan turned out more than sixty percent of the United States' total copper production from 1854 to 1882." citing William Gates, Michigan Copper and Boston Dollars, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1951, p. 197-199 (not seen). (65)  When, in 1882, Ely was offered $1,250,000.00 for the property, he declined (66) but he did sell the properties, with the exception of the company store (67), to Mr. Francis Michael Frederick Cazin, a German engineer (68) and grandson Ely Ely-Goddard.  Mr. Cazin invested heavily, but tendered his resignation  (prematurely, in the estimation of Child) at the director’s meeting of November 15, 1882, effective November 3.  Blaisdell, however, states that Cazin’s arrogance and destructive business practices sounded the death knell for the business, which was conveyed back to the original corporation; Col. Ely-Goddard retained his stock.  The opening of cheaper mines in the Midwest contributed to the decline in copper prices from twenty cents per pound in 1880 to seventeen cents per pound in January 1883.  As Barnard had done nearly two decades earlier, Cazin brought suit claiming one third of the property on March 12.  The mine produced only five or six hundred tons those months, and when the price of copper fell to fifteen cents in June, the decision was made to stop operations in the mine and wash house, unless the miners would work for reduced rates.  (They hadn’t been paid for three and a half months). The smelter would continue, and as long as the smelter continued to operate, those miners thrown out of employment could live in their tenements rent free as long as they were compelled to look for work elsewhere. (69)  The owners adopted a resolution to that effect on June 29, 1883 and posted a notice at the store in West Fairlee Saturday June 30, 1883.     [continue...]

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