JOHNNIE

NAME: Johnnie
COUNTY: Nye
ROADS: 2WD
GRID: 8
CLIMATE: Mild Winter, hot summer.
BEST TIME TO VISIT:
Anytime.
COMMENTS: Near Amaragosa Valley. Great article on Johnnie.
REMAINS: A few buildings. Is on private property and visitors are not allowed.

The story of Johnnie is the story of the "Lost Breyfogle." A prospector by the name of Byron Breyfogle brought a very rich piece of ore into the mining center of Austin, Nevada, sometime in 1861. It is said Breyfogle was more dead than alive, near starvation, emaciated and without memory of where he found the rich piece of ore. When he was sufficiently recovered, he began the search for the site and thought he remembered it being somewhat east and north of Death Valley. After a number of fruitless searches, Breyfogle took on a partner named Duncan. They set out on a new search which proved to be Breyfogle's last. While on the search, he died but not before he told Duncan all he remembered about the lost "mine." Shortly thereafter, Duncan joined forces with George and Robert Montgomery who were also searching for the mine. They hired a Paiute Indian named "Indian Johnnie" as a guide who took them to a site where the gold was like "plums in a pudding" according to one of the Montgomery brothers. Whether this was the "Lost Breyfogle" or not, we'll never know. Submitted by Henry Chenoweth.

Johnnie, first known as Montgomery, was formed in early 1891 soon after prospectors discovered gold a few miles northeast of the townsite. It was know as the Johnnie mine. There was a small rush of people to the camp that came mostly from fading camps to the north. By May, there were more than 100 men and women living at the camp. The Congress and the Johnnie mines were the mainstays of Johnnie. By 1895, only the Congress mine was active where seventy men were employed. But the veins turned out to be quite shallow and the camp quickly emptied. A Utah mining company bought the Congress mine in early 1898 and soon more than fifty people were back at the camp. However, there were a number of labor disputes that were never resolved and all operations were shut down. The post office closed in 1899 and the town was once again a ghost. New discoveries were made in 1905 that prompted the reopening of the Congress mine and work on a number of new claims began. By early 1907 almost 350 people were living in Johnnie. Several new stores, saloons, hotels, and restaurants were added to the business section. Activity began to fade in 1914 and the population dropped to less than 15. Prospectors made yet another discovery in 1916 that signaled the beginning of Johnnie’s last and longest revival. Activity continued until 1925 when financial problems caused the mining company to fold. But Johnnie did not fold. Even though the post office closed for good in 1935, a handful of people stayed. After World War II, the entire site was purchased and was privately owned as it still is today. There are numerous remains but permission is required to visit the site.


Johnnie Mine, NV. April 11, 1999.
Courtesy David A. Wright


Johnnie Mine, NV. April 11, 1999.
Courtesy David A. Wright


Johnnie Mine, NV. April 11, 1999.
Courtesy David A. Wright


Johnnie Mine, NV. April 11, 1999.
Courtesy David A. Wright

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