Fieldtrip Report:

Morefield Mine,
Ligon Mine,
Amelia County, Va.
September 30th and October 1st, 2006

photos by: Cathy Clouser and Lee Fleming,
text: Lee Fleming

Prior to the trip, a menu of grilled chicken and baked beans had been chosen. With the old Weber grill lit, the whole grill surface was covered with chicken sections. Cooking slowly over the charcoal, the chicken cooked completely and came off very tender. Once cooked, each chicken piece was removed from the grill by hand and the meat was "pulled" from the bone. We pulled enough chicken meat to fill two large aluminum pans. One of these pans was left as uncoated chicken while the other pan meat was dosed with a mixture of melted butter, vinegar, and red pepper.

Concurrent with cooking the chicken, we fixed a gallon of baked beans and Drew fixed a big toasted salad and dressing. At 6:30, the whole group showed up at the camp site and we enjoyed another community MAGMA meal. In addition to the chicken dinner, Ken brought a chocolate cake and Cathy brought over her cookies. Finally, we again had a wine table for everyone to enjoy a light wine in wine glasses.

Again, firewood collection became a priority. Tom went off in his new truck and soon returned with a nice pile of wood. In addition, one of the men who stayed in the campgrounds came by with a load of wood pieces from his work. Between the two sources, we had plenty of wood for the evening.

Just as we started the campfire, we noticed that a car had pulled up to our campsite. We were pleased to see that Sam and Sharon Dunaway, the owners of the Morefield Mine had come over to join us. We were pleased to provide them with plates of chicken, beans, and salad. They sat by our campfire and enjoyed their meals. While they were there, we had a wonderful opportunity to discuss with them our points of interest about the Morefield Mine. Once they finished their meal, Sam went to his car and pulled out his fiddle. For about 45 minutes, Sam played his tunes and the group enjoyed an evening of entertainment. Sam's last song was a wonderful rendition of Amazing Grace. As the Dunaways left, they expressed their appreciation for the chance to meet with such a wonderful group as our assembled MAGMA members. This ended the evening's activities and we all went to bed.

Sunday morning again began with dogs barking in the distance. We all got up and began packing our things for a one hour trip up to our third dig site of the trip. Tom led us north out of Amelia. An hour later, we pulled into a country store and found Gene J. waiting for us. As a group, we continued north to the small town of Mineral, VA. A few miles out of town, we pulled into a large graveled parking lot beside the road and next to a creek. Once we collected our digging gear, we climbed down the bank to the creek. Tom led us up to a place in the creek where he had, on past trips, built coffer dams in the creek bed to allow the dewatering of a place where garnets could be pulled from the schist. After re-constructing the dam, and setting up his solar panels and sump pump, he was able to expel the water from within the dam and to begin to find great quality garnets. Concurrently with this work, Gene used his gold pan and started to look for gold in rock crevices.

Gene Jeffers

The trip to central Virginia was a wonderful chance for our MAGMA members to visit different mineral sites. Tom and Cathy did a great job to check out the sites to be visited and for confirming that minerals could be found. The camp grounds were great and the food was great. Special thanks should be given to Sam & Sharon Dunaway for allowing us to take the Morefield tour. This was a once in a life time experience. Thanks to MAGMA for providing us with this visit so that we could go on the tour.




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