Placer gold in the Emery (Zosell) district was first discovered in Rocker Gulch in 1872 by H.L. Hoffman. Hoffman, George Boothroyd and a handful of others would continue to work the placers for the next 20 years. The yield was about $75,000 in gold.
Lode mining dates back to the late 1800s but discoveries may have been made even earlier than that. The story goes that Thomas Spring discovered a lode of very high-grade ore. He would mine just enough to take care of his daily living expenses. In 1872, a man named Sam Scott conned Thomas into revealing the hidden location of the goods. Others had also convinced Thomas that letting them develop the mine for half interest on the returns, would be a great deal. The secret stash would never be revealed though as Thomas died of a heart attack out hunting grouse before he was able to give away the goose.
The Hidden Hand would be the first lode mine to be claimed in the district. The chief producer of the district would end up being the Emery Mine named after W. C. Emery who relocated the score after John Renault’s initial discovery in 1888. The Bonanza Mine was first located by W.T. Zosell in 1895 and the camp of Zosell sprouted up soon afterward.
The company town of Emery opened a post office in 1896. Local newspapers described Emery as keeping “well supported stores and an excellently appointed boarding house”. The production of lodes from 1891 to 1928 was valued at approximately $675,000 with 45% of that representing gold.