Hite Area

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Around 1885, John Gerrit Ekker, who was a pioneer to Utah and my Great Grandfather, first discovered a gold presence on the eastern flank of the Henry Mountain range just south of the tiny colony of Hanksville.  He was grazing horses and cattle in the upper Crescent creek area when he discovered the gold deposit.  It wasn’t a lot of gold or a big discovery but, never the less, it was gold and it seemed to be plentiful enough for further prospecting.  Great Grandfather John Gerrit filed mining claims and began the testing process to determine if it was a viable resource.  He, and his kinfolk, worked the claims in the spring and summer when winter snows melted and provided water for the gold placer operations.  During these years the Henry Mountain area was really remote.  There were only a few wagon trails that led to anywhere.

To view the area pictures and descriptions, select the text link or the photo.

North Wash Overlook

Dirty Devil


Narrow Canyon

Good Hope Bay


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In 1892, John Gerrit took a couple of gold developers, John Summer and William Butler, up into the high country at the head of crescent creek.  The two men owned gold mines in Colorado and were interested in Great Grandfather John Gerrits’ gold discovery in the Henry Mountains.  They made the long ride upwards to the headwaters of Crescent creek where the men camped and began the hard work of prospecting the find.  It took only a few days for them to prove that several outcroppings contained gold veins.  They had discovered the gold ledge that became the high-grade Bromide Mine.  The men agreed on a plan and that agreement began a 20-year mine production of the property and records indicate that as a result, the mine produced over 84,000 ounces of gold. The discovery also spawned the boom town of Eagle City, Utah.

The Henry Mountain gold was only one adventure for my Great Grandfather John Gerrit Ekker.  Cass Hite had a homestead on the Colorado River in 1882, and the normal route from there to Hanksville and the Henry Mountains was by way of Trachyte Creek.  In the Glen Canyon Gold Rush during the 1880’s there was a pony express mail route from Hanksville to Trachyte, then down Trachyte Creek to Hite.  The pony express contract was owned by my Great Grandfather John Gerrit Ekker.  Great Grandfather John Gerrit had three sons, Cornelius, my Grandfather, John Garrett and Andrew.   They did the riding for their father from Green River to Hite and to the gold diggings in the Henry Mountains.  It took two full days to ride by horseback for Hanksville to Hite.  The overnight stop for the riders was at Trachyte. 

The Cass Hite’s homestead, at the confluence of Trachyte Creek and the Colorado River, was the only river crossing in the Southern Utah Colorado River region.  By 1889 Cass Hite had built a supply depot and a ferry crossing to accommodate the on comers that mined and dredged the river bottoms in Good Hope Bay for gold.  It was also a rough from the east for prospectors and ladies of the night headed to the new towns of Eagle City and Hite mining camps.  A post office and school was established at Hite in 1889.

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