Vermilion Falls Gold Mining Company

Share No. 566 Vermilion Falls Gold Mining CompanyShare No. 571 Vermilion Falls Gold Mining Company

Preferred Citation: S2279 Vermilion Falls Gold Mining Company stock certificates, Northeast Minnesota Historical Center Collections, Archives and Special Collections, Kathryn A. Martin Library, University of Minnesota Duluth


The Vermilion Falls Gold Mining Company was one, of several, gold mining concerns which formed during the years 1865–1866 to outfit and search for gold at Lake Vermilion. Pictured above are two shares from the Vermilion Falls Gold Mining Company. Each share was issued to William P. Farrell on February 9, 1867. The original shares are part of the Archives and Special Collections, Kathryn A. Martin Library, University of Minnesota Duluth.

The Vermilion Falls Gold Mining company was formed in St. Paul during November 1865. Other known gold mining concerns, which worked the Vermilion gold fields, include the Minnesota Gold Mining Company and the Mutual Protection Gold Mining Company both headquartered in St. Paul. The reports of gold at Lake Vermilion excited the St. Paul business community, however, the news of the discovery traveled far and Superior, Wisc., Chicago, Philadelphia and New York investors were also willing to buy stock in hopes of receiving healthy returns on their investment. More than twelve companies were organized with the goal of developing the Vermilion Gold Fields.

Once incorporated, the Vermilion Falls Gold Mining Company issued 6,000 shares of stock at $50 per share. Sold at this price the entire 6,000 shares would have raised $300,000. LakeVermilion.net finds it curious that the two shares held in the special collections at the Kathryn A. Martin Library are numbered 566 and 571, respectively, and are dated February 9, 1867. History informs us that the Vermilion Lake Gold Rush was largely completed by the end of 1866 and gold seekers were leaving the area in droves at the time William P. Farrell purchased these shares in 1867.

Ossian E. Dodge, “Oro Fino”

Ossian E. Dodge

One of the principal organizers of The Vermilion Falls Gold Mining company was Ossian Euclid Dodge, who served as its secretary. An itinerate songwriter, Dodge moved to St. Paul during the early 1860s and in September of 1865, traveled to Lake Vermilion to report on the activities at the gold fields for the St. Paul Pioneer. His “letters from the gold fields,” published under his pen name “Oro Fino,” translating into “Fine Gold,” enthralled people in the capital city and were soon picked up by newspapers in large cities across the country. The gold rush was on!

Dodge’s reports to the St. Paul Pioneer inform us that the Vermilion Falls Gold Mining Company set up its operations on the southern shore of Lake Vermilion and also controlled the falls at the head of Lake Vermilion. The falls provided a source of water power and newspaper reports claim that a saw mill was put into operation in 1866.

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