The University of Utah

Silver Reef Miner

1879 - 1883

When news of silver being found in the sandstone of Southern Utah reached the East Coast, geologists at the Smithsonian pronounced the story a hoax. But the silver was real, and by 1876, Bonanza City and the nearby camp known as Rockpile were booming. The camp was renamed "Silver Reef City," and it eventually boasted 37 mining companies. Founded in October 1878, the four-pager published at various times as a weekly, bi-weekly, and tri-weekly. After the first issue, the Deseret News reported: "The editor promises to make it a thoroughly independent journal, leaving the private affairs of the individual untouched, maintaining the right, and opposing the wrong." While under the editorship of brothers John and Edward Pike, the paper was twice sued for libel, having published negative reports about specific mining claims. The Provo Enquirer quoted the Pike Brothers' defiant stance: "We will permit no man or any number of men to clean out this shebang while a round of ammunition can be procured wherewith to defend it." When the price of bleached paper rose by 35%, the editors published instead on brown sheets, clearly visible in the digitized issues.

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