Consolidated Virginia Mining Company Records
Scope and Contents
This collection includes records of the Consolidated Virginia Mining Company; the adjacent California Mining Company; the Consolidated California and Virginia Mining Companies; Consolidated Virginia and California Mining Companies; and the Consolidate and California Shaft (also known as the C&C Shaft) which was jointly operated by the Con Virginia and the California Mining Company. Names attached to records in the following guide were transcribed exactly as they appeared in the collection.
The collection has been divided into seven series which are arranged in chronological order within the series. No attempt was made by the original cataloger to separate records of individual companies. The records consist of both bound and loose document formats. A small collection of photographs were transferred to the Special Collections photo archives and are contained under photo collection UNRS-P1993-47.
- Consolidated Virginia Mining Company (Creator, Organization)
Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.
The Consolidated Virginia Mining Company (Con Virginia) in Virginia City, Nevada, was once the richest source of ore in the Comstock Lode. Its original locations were discovered by Sides, Murphy, White, and Kinney in 1863. Their claims, the California, and Central #1 and #2, were consolidated into the Con Virginia in 1868. John W. Mackay, James G. Fair, James C. Flood, and William S. O’Brien acquired the company in January 1872 for $50,000 hoping that rich ore would be found in a section of the lode between the Gould and Curry Mine and in the original Ophir holdings. The California Mining Company was formed in January 1874 by the Con Virginia out of the northern 600’ of the company’s ground in order to speed up exploration. Their gamble paid off with the discovery of the “Big Bonanza.” In nine years, from 1873-1882, the mines of the Con Virginia produced $105,157,490 and paid dividends of $74,250,000.
The owners of the Con Virginia used their profits to dominate the Comstock. They established a milling monopoly with the Pacific Mill and Mining Company; organized the Nevada Bank of San Francisco to assure financing; controlled water resources with the Virginia and Gold Hill Water Company; and formed the Pacific Wood, Lumber, and Fluming Company to ensure adequate wood supplies. These acquisitions gave the owners control of the whole mining process, excluding transportation via the Virginia and Truckee Railroad. This dominance lasted until 1895 when Mackay sold his interests to San Francisco stockbrokers. O’Brien died in 1878, Fair withdrew in 1881, and Flood died in 1889. In 1895 it became part of the Brunswick Exploration Company.
Sources: Elliott, Russell R. History of Nevada. 2nd ed. revised, 1976. “Individual Histories of the Mines of the Comstock” A joint project of the W. P. A. Nevada State Writer’s Project and the Nevada State Bureau of Mines, 1842.
16 Cubic Feet (35 boxes)
Language of Materials
The Consolidated Virginia Mining Company (Con Virginia) in Virginia City, Nevada, was once the richest source of ore in the Comstock Lode. Mine operation records including reports, assay reports, ore and bullion statements, mill records, annual reports, bylaws, equipment specification books, legal records, resolutions, and account registers. Also included are records of the adjacent California Mining Company, the Consolidated California and Virginia Mining Company, and the C & C Shaft (Consolidated and California) which was jointly operated by the Con Virginia and California mining companies. Dates range from 1859-1935.
The Consolidated Virginia Mining Company Records are divided into the following series and subseries:
Series 1: Operations
Series 1, Subseries 1: Reports and Mine Operations
Series 1, Subseries 2: Assay Reports
Series 1, Subseries 3: Ore and Bullion Statements
Series 1, Subseries 4: Mill Records
Series 1, Subseries 5: Annual Reports
Series 1, Subseries 6: By-laws
Series 1, Subseries 7: Equipment
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by the Consolidated Virginia Mining Company circa 1929; transferred via the Mackay School of Mines, University of Nevada, Reno. Subsequent acquisitions from various sources have been added to the collection.
In May 2018, one annual report from 1887 was purchased from Holabird Western Americana Collections and added to the collection.
Separated Materials Note
A small collection of photographs were transferred to the Special Collections photo archives and are contained under photo collection UNRS-P1993-47.
- Brunswick Exploration Company
- C & C Shaft Company
- California Mining Company (Virginia City, Nev.)
- Comstock Lode (Nev.)
- Consolidated California and Virginia Mining Company
- Consolidated Virginia Mining Company
- Fair, James Graham
- Flood, James Clair, 1826-1888
- Mackay, John William, 1831-1902
- Mines and mineral resources -- Nevada
- O'Brien, William Shoney
- Silver mines and mining -- Nevada
- A Guide to the Records of the Consolidated Virginia Mining Company
- Robert Armstrong
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description