Ray Mica Mine
Yancey County, North Carolina
October 17, 2004
By Mike Streeter
Page 2

The following pictures show just a few of the many fine specimens collected by the group. All specimens without a name attached were collected by yours truly.







We finally dragged ourselves down the trail at around 5:00 PM. I joined Ron who had walked over to Bassey Bennett's house to generously give him a couple dollars for parking, even though Ron parked in the Forest Service parking area. As Ron stated last week on the McRocks message board, "There is a book out called "Mines, Miners and Minerals of Western North Carolinas Mineral Empire" or something like that by Mr. Presnell who lives in Yancey County wrote. Mr. Presnell comes from a local mining family and he has really done a good job in this book of talking about the mining in Western North Carolina with several chapters consisting of interviews with the old miners. There is a chapter in the book about Bassey Bennett. I highly recommend this book, I find myself reading it over and over again. There is a small parking area just inside the National Forest at the mine but I like to park at Bassey's just to say Hi and give him a few bucks. The men like him who worked these mines in the 30's, 40's and 50's are a lot tougher than we will ever know and they have earned my respect. It is sad but there are very few of them left. I believe Bassey told me he started working in the mica mines at 16 and lost a brother and close friend in the mines."

Be sure to stop by Mr. Bennett's house to give him a couple dollars if you ever happen to go to the Ray Mine. And better yet, try to spare a little time to sit a spell and talk with him as he sure enjoys the company.