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Elmer, Missouri - Early History
The Mercyville Gold Rush
In October, 1875, there was considerable excitement up the Chariton valley about Mercyville, now Elmer, concerning gold discoveries. A correspondent of the Macon Republican writes this in the issue of October 14 about the situation:
“New Cambria, October 11. Great excitement! Our hotels are crowded with strangers going to and returning from the gold regions, this being the most accessible point. Doubt no longer exists that gold can be found in paying quantities. It has been found in dust as high as fifty colors to the pan. Nuggets have been found varying from the size of a grain of wheat to that of a grain of corn. The number now prospecting in the vicinity of Mercyville is estimated at from 400 to 800, the people coming here from all parts of Missouri, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Iowa and many other states. All agree that the prospect for gold is as good as that of California or any other western state or territory. Your correspondent, having a desire to know the true facts, visited the region himself last week and looked the whole field over, until he was thoroughly satisfied that it was no humbug. He saw the particles washed out in different places, and has now in his possession a specimen the size of a helf grain of wheat. Anybody can see it by calling at my office in this town. I have also some beautiful specimens of fine stones of the order of diamond, ruby, agate, etc., all of which will compare favorable with any found in foreigh countries. Every person I met was jubilant and all were busy arranging to engage in mining for the precious metal. Old miners are cursing themselves because they had in days gone by spent all their means to prepare themselves to go to the far west to dig for gold, when at the same time, had they but known the truth, they could have found it right at their own door in paying quantities. Hurrah for old Macon County!. The good time has come!”
The character of mining prosecuted at that time was known as placer, like that of California in the early days. The excitement up at Mercyville finally died down when the gold ceased to appear, though from time to time small discoveries have since been made.