The Sing Sing Silver Mine   Leave a comment

The Sing Sing Silver Mine
The Sing Sing Silver Mine, also known as Silver Mine Farm, was discovered in approximately 1759 and was located just outside what would later become the north wall of Sing Sing Prison. This mine was worked by an England-based company for a period of seventeen years. The company consisted of approximately 25 miners; 16 were skilled miners who were brought to Sing Sing from the UK to work the mine. The company sunk a mineshaft of approximately 120 feet in length at the site and commenced mining soon after obtaining a lease for the site. A British Royal Army officer named Colonel James commanded the miners for a number of years leading up to the Revolutionary War. During these years, a smelting furnace was located near the outlet of Sing Sing Kill in order to produce silver ingots for shipping to the UK. The pre-war years saw the mine reach its peak level of extraction, and the war’s onset in 1776 led to the mine’s abandonment for the remainder of the 18th century.
After lying fallow through the turn of the 19th century and early 1800s, the site was taken over in 1824 by the Sing Sing Mining Company, a group made up of Sing Sing-based entrepreneurs led by civil engineer George Cartwright, and mining resumed for several years. After disappointing results, the mining operation gradually tapered off. Benjamin Brandreth, founder of the Brandreth Pill Factory, acquired a lease to the site for a time during the late 1850s and made an unsuccessful attempt to restart operations at the mine. The Barlow family, owners of the Barlow Block and of the William E. Barlow House acquired the old mine site and were the last owner of the property until the New York and Hudson River Railroad built a spur into the Sing Sing Prison yard that eliminated access to the original mineshaft.
In the 1850s, additional silver deposits were discovered about a thousand yards north of the original site. A lease to the property was acquired by Benjamin Brandreth, who reformed the Sing Sing Mining Company with partners General Aaron Ward and John T. Hoffman. The Company sank a shaft roughly 50 feet down in this new site and began mining here in 1857. The mine yielded modest profits for Brandreth and was eventually flooded and shut down. Today, the original silver mine shaft is now beneath the site of the Ossining Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is run by Westchester County.
Documented Sources of Information:
1. French, Alvah. “History of Westchester County”. (Lewis Historical Publishing Company: 1925) 778-779.
2. Bolton, Robert Jr. “A History of the County of Westchester from It’s First Settlement to the Present Time”, (Alexander S. Gould: 1848), xiv, 492, 504, 509.
3. “Sing Sing and Middletown Silver Mines”. New York Times, April 10, 1856.

 

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Posted May 7, 2014 by ossininghistoryjournal in Uncategorized

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