Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Jungo Mine

While researching my mother's paternal issues, I came across census information that her mother and  stepfather were living in Reno in 1940. Her stepfather, Leo, was listed as a mining company official; her mother was listed as a bookkeeper. Her stepfather's income was only $600, a very small amount even for those days, and her mother Edna's income was reported as zero.

This was interesting for Leo and Edna had owned and operated an apparently successful auto court and filling station in Willits, CA, for years, but they sold it in 1939. I had known about the filling station and auto court from an early age because my mother had told me about it. But I had never heard anything about a mine in Nevada.

My impression is that Leo had sold the auto court to buy into the mine.

He was listed as secretary-treasurer which indicated to me that he had an ownership stake, but I didn't know what mine, or any other details about the operation. Or even if there was an operation. Something told me this may not have been a legitimate company, but I didn't know.

I don't remember quite how it happened but I came across information that the mine was called the Jungo Mine and it was some distance outside Jungo, NV. There was another mine in or near Jungo, a very famous mine, the Jumbo Mine, and even in my research, it was easy to confuse the two. The Jumbo Mine had produced quite a lot of gold, but I could find nothing except advertisements about the Jungo Mine. They were mostly from 1940. And they seemed to deliberately confuse Jungo and Jumbo.

The ads offered penny shares in the Jungo Mine, and in one of them, a man is mentioned who was probably my mother's stepfather. He took prospective investors on tours. Leo seemed to have quite a gift for dealing with people.

The Jungo Mine seems to disappear after about 1940. In 1941, my mother's mother became ill with the cancer that would kill her. She and Leo moved back to California where Leo found work as a machinist at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo. Either they didn't have enough money for Edna's cancer treatment or they chose Christian Science treatment for other reasons, but Edna's condition rapidly worsened.

She died in Vallejo in October of 1941. She was only 52. Leo stayed at the shipyard throughout the War and died of heart failure in 1945 at 65.

My mother never forgave him for Edna's death, though I'm not convinced that there was much that could be done in those days by medicine or religion.

But I'd never known about the mining venture in Nevada. It gives me a much fuller picture of who Leo was.


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