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Wallace Mahan
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Birth: Jan. 13, 1845
Shannon County
Missouri, USA
Death: Apr. 3, 1923
Jasper County
Missouri, USA

APRIL 4, 1923



Wallace Mahan, aged 88 years, died of pneumonia last night at 11 o'clock at the home of his son, William I. Mahan of 1028 Valley street, after an illness of only one day. Mr. Mahan, who was a retired farmer, came to Carthage a week ago from Puxico, Mo to make his home with his son. He was born in Shannon county, Missouri in 1835.
He is survived by eight sons and daughters.

The sons are;
William I. Mahan of Carthage
Joe Mahan of West Eminence, Missouri
Charles Mahan of Belpre, Kansas and
Bishop Mahan of Absarokee, Montana

The daughters;
Mrs. Charity Willard of Deston, Missouri
Mrs. J. M. Sidwell of Puxico, Missouri
Mrs. Alice Benson of Tulsa, Oklahoma and
Mrs. Ola Nichols of Kansas City, Missouri

Contributed by Nancy Brewer


With the death of Wallace Mahan, one of the oldest residents of Shannon County, last week, perhaps the last person who remembers anything about the early workings of the copper mine in Shannon County has passed away. He was ninety and lived practically all his life in the county in which he died. Wallace was six or seven when Joseph Slater, a Frenchman, left St. Genevieve on the Mississippi River, and journeyed to Shannon County to mine copper. Indians had brought samples of the ore to the French trading post and promised Slater to show him where the ore could be found. Slater for several years operated a copper mine on Jack's Fork which he called La Belle France. Slater put in a crude charcoal smelter. The ore in pigs was hauled by teams of oxen to St. Genevieve and by steamboat to New Orleans and exported to France. In 1840 the government made a resurvey of the state which showed Slater's mine to be in a different location from that which he had homesteaded. Another man owned the mine. Slater destroyed the smelter, filled up his shaft, and did everything possible to hide the mine. The miners left the country and the mine was never discovered. Some prospectors have at times claimed to locate the lost mine, but no one knows if they have. Mahan did not remember the location, be he knew it was near Eminence. *taken from Howell County Gazette, West Plains, Missouri, Thursday, the 26th of April, 1923.

The History of Shannon County, Missouri, 1986
Lost Copper Mine in the Ozark Hills

A few miles northwest of Jacks Fork, Missouri, near the Current River, is said to lie the remains of a hidden mine that is rich in copper ore. In the mid nineteenth century, a man by the name of Joseph Slater regularly appeared in New Orleans with huge raft-loads of high-grade copper ore. During these regular visits, he sold more than $50,000 worth of the rich mineral over a three or four year period.

Wanting to keep the location of his mine secret, Slater filed a mining claim on a tract of land that was actually about two miles from the shaft.

Living in a cabin near the Current River with his daughter, Slater continued to mine until he learned through a government survey that the mining claim he had filed was on another man's property.

Though he would have liked to have bought the land, he knew that an offer might reveal the location of the mine. Instead, he and his daughter sealed up the mine, careful to hide any signs of digging, and made plans to go "Back East." His plan was to stay away for two or three years and then approach the owner about buying the land, under the pretense of farming the acreage.

However, Slater never made it further east than St. Louis, where he could keep up on the progress of Missouri mineral exploration and development. But before he was able to return to the Jacks Fork area, he died and his daughter eventually married, moving west without ever returning to Missouri. Though the folks in Shannon County never saw the miner nor his daughter again, the legend of the lost copper mine continued to be told.

On June 4, 1926, the Kansas City Star ran a story about the Slater diggings, stating in part, "There were those who believe that at some time the lost mine will be found and that it will reveal a deposit of copper and perhaps other metals that may revolutionize the Ozark region of Missouri."

The mine is said to be in the vicinity of the junction of the Jacks Fork and Current Rivers, and though many have searched for the mine for more than a century, it has never been found. Shannon County is located in the Ozark Hills of southern Missouri. 
Family links: 
  William Mahan (1863 - 1943)*
  John Henry Mahan (1865 - 1922)*
  Charity Elizebeth Mahan Woolard (1867 - 1942)*
*Calculated relationship
Park Cemetery
Jasper County
Missouri, USA
Created by: Anquestor
Record added: May 04, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 69320539
Wallace Mahan
Added by: Anquestor
Wallace Mahan
Added by: NJBrewer
Wallace Mahan
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Janey Clark
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

So happy to see the added photo of his tombstone!
- Anquestor
 Added: Jun. 20, 2011

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