Marangoin River Iron Property

March 21, 2016

By Amorin Mello

marangoin1

MARANGOIN RIVER
IRON PROPERTY

EMBRACING
FIVE HUNDRED AND SIXTY ACRES,
IN SECTIONS 16 AND 20,

TOWN 44, NORTH RANGE 5 WEST,

ASHLAND COUNTY, WISCONSIN.

———–
CLEVELAND, OHIO:
FAIRBANKS, BENEDICT & CO., PRINTERS, HERALD OFFICE.
1865.
—–

Detail of Township 44 North, Range 5 West, from Charles Whittlesey’s 1860 Geological Map of the Penokie Range.

Detail of Township 44 North, Range 5 West, from Charles Whittlesey’s 1860 Geological Map of the Penokie Range.

The Penokie Iron Belt rises from low ground into an elevated mountain ridge, near the Fourth Principal Meridian, and extends westerly as far as Range 4 W., T. 44 North, where it drops off into the Valley of Bladder Lake. The iron stratum probably extends in the same general direction, beneath the surface ; but I have been unable to find any out-crop of the ore until after crossing the Marangoin Fork in T. 44, N. R. 5 W. Over this interesting space of about nine (9) miles the country is lower, and covered with the drift materials to a great depth. On the west bank of the Marangoin, in Section 16, T. 44, R. 5, a bold cliff is seen, as a prominent land mark over the country, rising to a level with the Iron Range at Bladder Lake. Here the Penokie system re-appears, embracing a band of magnetic ore, in all respects like that on the main waters of Bad River in Ranges 2 and 3 West. This outburst, or uplift of the strata rises to a height of 200 or 250 feet above the river, and 900 to 1000 feet above Lake Superior It is composed of the same quartz rocks, lying in the same order – the iron near the summit, – has a mural face or bluff to the South, and descends in a distance of about a mile and a-half beneath the level of Aitkin’s Lake on the West, as is represented in the accompanying map.

marangoin4

Atkins Lake may have been named in honor of William Alexander Aitken.
“The second branch [of the Bad River] from the west having, as I could learn, no name, I have called it theMaringouin Fork in my map in commemoration of the myraids of musquitoes that inhabit its banks, that being the name the half-breed French give to those pests of the Bad River region. The Maringouin has its sources near Long Lake, on the west, and on the south interlocks with the upper branches of the Chippewa River, among some lakes, enclosed by drift ridges, which are, by barometrical measurement, eight hundred and seventy-one feet above Lake Superior.”
~ Geological Report on That Portion of Wisconsin Bordering on the South Shore of Lake Superior. Surveyed in the Year 1849, Under the Direction of David Dale Owen, United States Geologist, by Charles Whittlesey, Head of Sub-Corps, page 432.

Beyond this Lake, which discharges into the Nemakagon – a branch of the St. Croix River, the rocks are again generally covered with the drift deposits as far as Lake Long, in Town 44, North Range 7 West. I have not seen iron to the South-west of Lake Aitkin.

The general strike of the uplift through Sections 20, 21 and 16 is North 60° East, and the Dip North West 30° to 50°; but at the west end there is some dislocation, and the strata are flatter. Like the formation at Penokie Gap, there is a series of quartz rocks several hundred feet in thickness tilted more or less to the North. Beneath the ferruginous portion, which is near the middle, there is the same fine-grained, thin-bedded, laminated quartz, approaching to novaculte 50 to 100 feet thick. Below this a bed of coarser sub-crystalline, thicker bedded gray quartz, standing prominent in cliffs, covered with tripe de roche.

Detail of Section 20, reproduced from the Geology of Wisconsin: Volume III.

Detail of Aitkins Lake in Section 20, reproduced from the Geology of Wisconsin: Volume III.

Overlying the iron stratum, is a heavy quartz bed, of a darker color, and more jointed, resembling horne blende rock, 300 to 400 feet thick. The iron portion is in thin layers, which deserve the name of slate. It is full of joints, and the pieces come out in regular forms, with straight edges, not rounded by exposure. It dips conformably with the other beds, to the North, and of course descends with them to great depths, ensuring an inexhaustible supply of ore. On Sections 16, where it is steeper than on Section 20, the breadth of the out-crop is less. Its thickness varies from twenty (20) to sixty (60) feet, although in places there are layers of ore, alternating with quartz beds, over a breadth of 100 feet. Most of the way across the South-west quarter of Section 16 – the out-crop is at or near the edge of the bluff, receding from it towards the East. The height of the bluff is about 100 feet, which gives an excellent opportunity to quarry and throw down the ore, and the atde of a mine.

No analysis of this ore has been made; but it resembles the magnetite of the Penokie Range so closely, as to leave no reasonable doubt of their identity.

Detail of Section 16, reproduced from the Geology of Wisconsin: Volume III.

Detail of the Marengo/Marangoin River in Section 16, reproduced from the Geology of Wisconsin: Volume III.

Four specimens of that ore have been analyzed by three different chemists, the average of which resulted in giving fifty-nine 88/100 (59.88) per cent. of metallic iron. Three of these specimens were selected by myself for the government collections, with the intention of representing an average of the ores. One of the four was selected by a company to represent the best quality of ore, and yielded sixty-eight (68) per cent., the others fifty-six to fifty-eight. A pure magnetic oxide yields 72.40, which is the richest known ore of iron. No injurious chemical ingredient, such as phosphorus, arsenic, or sulphur, has been as yet discovered in the Penokie ores. The only foreign substance is silex, or quartz, a material entirely harmless, and i easily melted with a proper flux. It is from fine grained magnetic ore that the choicest iron is made. This ore is not always as rich, or as easily wrought as the specular and hematite varieties, but invariably produces better iron. It is also very desirable as a mixture with those ores for the purpose f producing a higher grade of metal. Magnetic iron ore is calculated for Bloomeries or common forges, where wrought iron is produced direct from the ore with charcoal, by one process. On this location there is a fall in the Marangoin Fork which I estimate to be equal to a twenty foot overshot wheel. The river is rapid above, and is the most prominent branch of the Bad River. Its sources are in numerous lakes, swamps and springs, which give it great uniformity in the supply of water. The Northern slope of the mountain is heavily covered with hard wood timber for making charcoal, principally sugar-tree. There is an abundance of timber land and water power in the vicinity not yet entered. A horse trail has been cut from the East side of Section 16 to Sibley’s, which is reported to be on easy ground and a trifle over eleven (11) miles in length. From Sibley’s there is a road to Ashland at the head of Chequamegon Bay, a distance of twelve (12) miles due North. At the head of this Bay is a spacious harbor, safe in all weather. The Berlin & Bayfield Railroad will probably pass within ten miles of this property on the East, and the West the Bayfield Branch of the Hudson & Superior Railroad within twelve miles.

Detail of Sibley's saw-mill on the Marengo River from Charles Whittlesey's 1860 Geological Map of the Penokie Range.

Detail of Thaddeus Pembroke Sibley‘s saw-mill on the Marengo River from Charles Whittlesey’s 1860 Geological Map of the Penokie Range.

Thaddeus Pembroke Sibley was accused of being a “champion liar” in the Penokee Survey Incidents.
Ervin “Nigigoons” Leihy had a sawmill located at the Falls on Bad River.

The country on and North of the Iron Range is, for farming purposes, the best part of Lake Superior. Its climate is less severe, and the snow in winter less deep than at the Ontonagon and Portage Lake. Messrs. Sibley & Lehy have for many years raised cattle and farm crops successfully. Hay, oats, potatoes, barley and all kinds of vegetables grow better here than in many farming regions farther South. There is little doubt but wheat and rye can be raised when they are needed. The settlers and the Indians make large quantities of sugar from the sugar-maple, which is abundant and rich in sap. Thus a large part of the forage and the food required about iron works can be produced on the spot. There is no healthier region to be found in the United States. In Europe, a northern climate is considered favorable to the iron business, on account of the increased health and vigor of the laborers, as compared to warmer latitudes. When the railways now designed to connect the Mississippi and the Wisconsin Rivers with Lake Superior, shall have been built, or such portions as shall connect the Iron Range with navigation, charcoal furnaces may be erected at numerous points along the route, where there is timber and water power.

The Penokie Range is now held principally by three organized companies. In case there should be a failure, or a great delay, on the part of the Land Grant Railroad Company in prosecuting that work, on that part of the line from Lake Superior to the iron region, a road will probably by built by the parties interested. No business improves a new country, for the capital employed, so rapidly as the manufacture of iron. The rapid increase of the Town and County of Marquette, in Michigan, where in ten years, from 1855 to 1864 inclusive, the shipments of ore increased from 1,447 to 225,119 tons, is conclusive evidence of this fact. The iron business requires and introduces an intelligent class of mechanics and laborers, because skill and intelligence are necessary to carry it on successfully. For such iron as this pure magnetic ore will produce, there must always be a steady demand, at high prices. The competition for high grade charcoal iron is, and must always be, limited. Thus nature seems to have designed the region watered by the tributaries of the Bad River as an iron manufacturing country.

CHARLES WHITTLESEY.

Cleveland, Jan’y 1, 1865.

Mine shaft found on the Marangoin River Iron Property.

Abandoned mine shaft on the Marangoin River Iron Property.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: