The 1880 United States Census listed the northeastern Adirondacks as one of the top ten iron regions in the country. Mines in Clinton and Essex counties produced almost 10% of the nationís iron ore.
By the 1890s, over one hundred mining and processing works had been operating in the Adirondacks. Clinton and Essex Counties were home to operations such as the Chateaugay Iron Ore Company, Witherbee, Sherman, and Company Inc. and McIntyre Iron Works.
Thousands of miners worked in shaft mines to remove mineral resources. Thousands more were needed to make charcoal and to work in forges and furnaces. All of these workers performed necessary jobs, but the miners themselves had one of the most dangerous jobs in the North Country.