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Silver In Chloride New Mexico

Years back a lot of towns had the same names. Maybe vocabulary was slim back then and there wasn't enough words to go around. Chloride is one such name as there was a Chloride in New Mexico and there was also a Chloride in Arizona. Today however we are just going to take a peek at Chloride New Mexico and how it all got started.

It all happend back in 1879 when Harry Pye, a prospector / mule skinner was packing some freight through a area known as the Black Range Mountains. Going along the trail he noticed what looked like some silver ore on the side of the mountain. Hand cobbling a few hunks of ore he proceeded on his journey delivering his load of goods. Once he got to town he took these samples to a local assayer and at that time found out that this was a high grade silver. It was termed as "Chloride of silver" and the so called motherlode became known in time as "Pye Lode." Once word got out of this high grade find, it didn't take long and the whole area was swarming with prospectors from everywhere.

Now this area was well known as being Apache country and those Apache's didn't take to having the white man hanging around so there was often shoot outs and ambushes that would leave a few white settlers here or there dead on the trail. In fact it was less than a year after Harry Pye found his fortune that he too was killed by a band of Apaches. In 1881 a group of prospectors were camped out in the area and met the same fate. Two men died while the rest just barely made off with their lives.

By The early 1880's the town had grown in size. No longer a tent town there were now about two dozen houses and there was a store. Soon town lots were surveyed out and by late 1883 Chloride had about 3000 people. There were a number of saloons, 3 different stores and a couple of eateries. There was a lumber yard and a candy store, a post office and even a lawyer had moved into town. Although Chloride was peaceful family town compared to most towns back then but it did have a hanging tree although it is said that it was never used.

Of course by this time there were several mines working in the area. Some of these mines were quite large employing many miners. The silver Monument mine was the main big mine that employed the most men. Other mines in the area included the White Mountain and New Era mine. During this time period about $600,000 worth of silver was mined out. A lot of money back in those days.

By 1896 some of the ore started to run out and a few of the mines closed up up. That same year however the Us monetary standard was changed from silver to gold and the price of silver plummeted. This destroyed any hope for any of the mines to continue on. Mines shut down and people had to move on and by 1900 fewer than 100 people were living in Chloride.

Today Chlordie is just a ghost town but there are about 20 or so residents that still live there. The old Pioneer store has been refurbished as is a few other buildings and you can still go there and walk around and there is a museum there also.