Like Canyon City, Granite was struck by people from California en route to the Boise Basin placer excitement. On account of the high water in the spring of 62, the discoverers of Granite got bewildered when they came to where the North Fork of the John Day enters the main fork.
Their intention was to go via Canyon and Auburn, as had some others, before going to Boise Basin. So, on the fourth day of July, the party made camp on the flat where Granite now stands, or where the old town was, where a good prospect was found. Then men at once started to build a town which they named Independence in honor of the day. This afterwards was changed to Granite when application was made for a Post Office, there being an Independence in Polk County. Two post offices could not have the same name in the same state.
The leader of these prospectors was A.G. Tabor, my father. He located at the present site of Granite, locating the first mining claim taken in the district. My mother came from California in 1865, and on December 31 that year, I was born in a log cabin on the site of Granite.
Eph Day, brother of John Day for whom that river was named, located about five miles above Granite on what is known as Days Flat. He had a small group of miners with him. Granite Creek here was narrow but quite rich. Miners took out from $100-$500 per week per man.
A man by the name of Hamilton with another body of men located 1 1/2 miles above the town on what was known as Hamilton Flat. There was a starter for a town here but was of short duration and never amounted to anything outside of the mining which was very good.
A.J. Dickison, leader of a party of miners, located on what was called Trail Creek. This party of men was the first to draft a local mining law for this district, copying from the local laws drafted in Canyon City.
C.W. Dagget and body of men located near the head of Olive Creek just about a mile from the present Greenhorn City, north. Here was built quite a little burg and was quite active.
Hub Cap and some miners located on the North Fork about nine miles north of Granite and developed another busy little burg. Robert Sargent ran a store there; afterward he became sheriff of Umatilla County.
Near the town of Greenhorn on McNamee Gulch was the place (if I am not mistaken) where the largest nugget was taken out. The Robinsonville sector probably produced more larger nuggets than any other area in these districts. The Daggett nugget there was $1,050; Marshall nugget $14,000; McNamee nugget $600; and many others with fairly good values in them.
Probably the largest clean-up in a years work in the crude manner they had at that time was made by Wm. Carpenter on Olive Creek. In a short seasons run he took out $50,000. The Carpenter brothers were among the oldest pioneers of this part of Grant County.
The placer mining was of very short duration, that is in regard to the whites. After the $20 ground was worked out in about seven years, the Chinese came in and worked all the $3 and $4 ground. In the early 90s, the Chinese were run out, but the $3 and $4 ground was gone.
Next came quartz mining, but it has never been a great success. The Monumental Mine was the first hard rock mine struck in this part of the county and erected the first and only silver mill to be built in the area. The Monumental was struck in the early 70s by Harvey Robbins, Isack Nail, with my father supplying the grub, etc. Quite a few of the old pioneers of the Canyon City district bought stock; among them such men as F.C. Sells, Phil Metscham, Harry McCann, Wm. Burnham, E.J.W. Stemmee and probably a few more that I have forgotten.
Information provided by the Grant County Historical Museum. (From the Record-Courier, Baker City, July 22, 1982.)