The mine opened in 1854. With the Civil War brought the rise of price in copper. 64 year old Smith Ely, heir to the New Jersey Leather manufacturing company was elected president of the Vermont Copper Mining Co. Ely poured his fortune into the mining operations. By 1880 they employed almost 800 people and had built the village of Copperfield below the mine. The village population at its height reached 1,875 people and it included a Catholic church, Methodist church, School house, Meeting hall, Company store, barber shop and even a Women’s Hat Shop. Smith Ely now an old man, brought his grandson in to run operations. Ely Ely-Goddard came from a wealthy family and showed it off with his ornate uniforms and fancy parties. By 1883 the company was in financial trouble and unable to make payroll due to falling copper prices. The workers who saw Ely Goddard’s wealthy lifestyle, found it hard to believe the company was unable to pay back wages. The mine started to cut employees and continued to withhold pay into 1883. By July of that year the 300 workers still employed by the mine demanded their back wages paid by Sunday or else. They threatened to ransack the town and dynamite company property. With demands not met the workers emptied the company store and held the company hostage. On the morning of July 7th 1883, 200 militia members under orders by the governor entered the town that morning prepared for bloodshed. They met no resistance in the town. 12 men were arrested as leaders of the strike. With order restored the company was back to business. The Company filed bankruptcy 5 years later. In 1907 almost all of the 150 buildings on the property were auctioned off and removed from the Site. Even Ely Goddard’s Mansion named Elysium sold for a mere $150.00. Today the site is barely recognizable after 114 years of mother nature reclaiming what was hers to begin with.
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