Saturday, July 21, 2012

Amity Giant Crystals (1874)

A recently shared letter from 1874 regarding local crystal deposits and evidencing the long tradition of collecting these mineral anomalies right here from our backyards in Warwick and other local destinations. Recently, Glenn Rhein shared his collection and his knowledge of these local treasures at the A.W. Buckbee Center, and through a generous donation kids particpating in this year's Historical Society Summer History Camp will participate in a faux "dig" uncovering some samples of these crystals that floresce under a special black light for their very own.

Transcribed by Robert Schmick

Penn Yann, New York, July 13, 1874
Mr. Victor U. Drake, Esq.

Dear Sir:
      Since reaching home I have learned a great deal about the geology of Orange Co. and its neighbors. I find that I have but just merely touched upon a few localities of geological and mineralogical interest. If I had thought of making the trip we did or if I had anticipated geologizing at all, I would have read up most thoroughly.
       I am now convinced that I could spend a month or more in Orange Co. alone with profit, and two months in northern New Jersey. But as it is I must content myself for the present to remain at home. As I have been elected to the professorship of the Natural Sciences in the Penn Yann Academy and will have to attend to business.
      I have been corresponding lately with Mr. E. Vansycle [sic] Jr. of Bound Brook, NJ and a few days received a nice box of minerals from him.  I shall make of one in return. He sent some which I already possessed, as he had passed over the same part of Sussex we did. He was an assistant in the State Geological Survey of N.J.
      I would give considerable just now if I had went to Newton [NJ] with you, and seen your collection then. As it must be very fine for I find Newton laid down as the habitat of great many rare minerals. Among which limestone at Newton both crystallized and massive colour red, brown, yellow, and sometimes nearly black.
     This also occurs in Orange Co. a mile south of Edenville, 2 miles east of Warwick and 1 mile east of Amity. Manganise Skar [sic?] is found there. Also at Franklin colour pale rose-red, white streak, occurs in prisms. Corundum [sic]and its varieties and Chrondite. For specimens of these I will give value received.
      If I can possibly procure them. Below I have made out a small list of minerals, with some of their characteristics, and localities given, (all of which are found in Orange Co. as you will observe) which I would like to procure specimens of. And several of a kind when possible. And will you give “Value received” for them in whatever you choose if you can furnish all or a part.
     Before naming the species I will make a proposition  viz. I will get you up a splendid collection of insects nicely preserved, correctly named with both the scientific and common name and neatly mounted in glass cases resembling books. Similar to those in the cabinet at Albany putting up 5 species of insects for every one of every district of species of mineral sent to duplicates to be among the insects.
     Or I will send you a perfect collection of plants on the same basis. The plants to be neatly mounted upon 11 ½ x 14” heavy toned paper with ornamental label attached giving both the common and propor name and place of growth take your choice between having American or foreign species. We have them from all parts of the known world.
     Or if you like---choose a mixture of insects and plants. Or I will pay money down. If you know anything about me you know that I will do the “square thing” by you. I append the list sphere. Best locality ---Duck Cedar pond in the Town of Monroe where it occurs in great abundance and in crystals of large size in the primitive limestone. This mineral also occurs near the outlet of the two ponds, in the same town where it is associated with pyroxene, scapolite and zircon in the white limestone.
     The crystals have a dark chocolate  brown colour, and are often of considerable size sometimes 2 inches in diameter, occasionally their surface is pitted or striated. It is also found 5 miles south of the Village of Warwick. Ilmite [?], color brownish or iron black. It occurs both massive and crystallized. It slightly affects the magnet. Localities---1 mile South of Amity where it occurs in crystals sometimes 1 inch in diameter imbedded in a dark brown serpentine. A crystal was found near Edenville two inches in length Rutile[?] ( Describes where it occurs in Sussex Co.) locality 1 mile North of Edenville. Two miles East of Warwick and 1 mile East of Amity.

Scorodite. Color generally green crystallized, locally. The farm of Mr. B. Hopkins near Edenville is the only place in the united States where the mineral is found. The farm is one of the most interesting mineral localities in Orange Co.

White Iron Pyrites. The crystallized variety occurs 2 ½ miles South East of Warwick. Crystals sometimes 1 inch length in Zirconite. Colors grey, red, white, green, and brown. Crystallized. It is of frequent occurrence in the Towns of Cornwall, Monroe, and Warwick. Near the outlet of the two ponds crystals sometimes more than 1 inch in length are found. On Deer-hill in the Town of Cornwall quite plentifully. 1 mile South East of Cantebury there is abundance, which is associated with magnetic iron ore, or white quartz, here the crystals are of a deep greenish red. It is found also at the southern base of Mt. Eve.

Mica of various colors, green on the banks of a stream running from Mt. Bashar [?] near Forshees iron mine in the twon of Monroe, Greenish black near Greenwood furnace. Silvery variety near Amity.

Bucholzite [?].Color grayish white, with a slight tinge of yellow structure, fibrous, very hard. It occurs with quartz, and Mica near Queensburg forge in Monroe. Also several other localities in the same town.

Tourmaline[sic]. Various colors of this mineral occur in many parts of the Town of Warwick. See page 5.

Crystallized. Crystals various in shape. Localities 1 ½ miles North of Edenville. It is grey, also green. 1 mile North of Edenville it is black. At Rocky hill, black and in quartz. Crystals 1 inch or more in length have here been found. It is found also near the Village of Amity in a vein of white limestone.

Epilote. Color---green. Sometimes black rarely brown or reddish. Also grey. At Bay Meadows in the Town of Cornwall. There is a locality of massive and somewhat fibrous Epidote if a some greenish yellow 2 miles south east of Amity. 6 miles West of warwick crystals and found in quartz. Of a pale yellowish green color.

Feldspar. Beautiful white at Bay Meadow Pond. At McGee’s hill it is red (Warwick).

Scapolite. Color. White. In reddish white—At the two ponds (Monroe) there is a remarkable locality often crystallized form of the very large, one has been found 10 inches in lengths and 5 in diameter. It is found also at Greenwood furnace.

Garnet. O’Niell's mine town of Monroe. Near Amity. Also 1 ½ miles south west of Amity. It is found of a carmine colorand occasionally crystallize spinelle. This is found more abundantly in Orange Co. than in any other part of the world. In the Town of Monroe, in the Forest of Dean, at the Natural Bridge. Greenwood furnace at the so called “Silver mine” the black and green varieties are found. 1 mile south west of Amity it occurs frequently and is remarkable for the size and variety of its crystals.

They are associated with serpentine Chrondite + Chrichton [sic?] it’s 1 mile North of Amity on the farm of W. Raynor, black spinelle is found in twin Corundum and all its varieties (Crystals have been found at Amity).

Hornblende crystallized. Green of Florida of black and green colors near the two finds in white limestone. At the Stirling mines crystallized H of a black green color is found associated with Almenite and Feldspar. About 1 mile south west of Queensbury forge there is a massive and cleavable variety of black color. And high luster. The variety asbestos is found at greenwood furnace also at the Stirling Forshee and O’Niell iron mines, and many other places in the county.

Pytoxine. In the town of Monroe there is several localities of this mineral and its varieties. One of the most noted is the two ponds where it is associated with scapolite in large crystals, zircon, and sphine in the white limestone. The color is green yop grayish grteen and brown. Both massive and crystals. It is found also ½ mile East of Greenwood furnace and 1 mile North west of Edenville , and may with place Talc. Near Amity with Clintonite.

Boltonite. In white limestone 2 ½ miles South east of the Monroe works. At the two ponds. In the Forrest of dean. Always associated with spinelle and hornblende.

Chrondite. In the white limestone of Warwick serpentine. In the Forrest of Dean , in Cornwall is yel;low and dark yellowish green found also 2 miles South of Amity near Antique. Amity. Also east side of Long pond.

Calcedony and Jasper.  4 miles south of Warwick. Quartz 2 ½ mile south east of Greenwood Furnace. Here a bed of quartz rises 15 feet over the gneiss in each side. It contains Coccalite. Apatite. ¾ mile from Edenville in limestone.

Graphite. In white limestone at Duck Cedar Pond, Monroe.

      I would like also to make arrangements with you to get the fossils about Goshen and Eastward . I would much like to get a pretty full set. I start for a trip in Ontario Co. next week with hammer & knapsack for fossils, I understand there are several such localities in the Co.
      In your account of our trip you made quite a mistake in calling our institution at Penn Yann an “University”. It is an Academy. You did well. But I think Mr. Simpson at the Sussex house in the Valley ought to have been mentioned. Please drop me a line soon.

I remain Yours Very Respectfully.

 Berlin H. Wright

V.M. Drake Esq.

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