Virginia was one of the earliest states in the US to produce gold. The state’s geology in the gold bearing areas is similar to what is seen in the other Southeastern states.
Many of the states to the north of Virginia have only glacial gold deposits with very limited quantities of overall gold production, but Virginia has extensive hard rock deposits that are found throughout the state, reaching as far west as Carroll County and several mines in Dinwiddie County in the southeastern part of Virginia.
The majority of the gold that has been mined comes from the Virginia gold-pyrite belt that runs diagonally across the state from the northeastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the southwest of the Piedmont region through the counties of: Buckingham, Culpeper, Cumberland, Fairfax, Fauquier, Fluvanna, Goochland, Louisa, Orange, Prince William, Spotsylvania and Stafford.
The noteworthy counties with significant gold mining history included: Buckingham, Carroll, Culpeper, Cumberland, Fairfax, Fauquier, Patrick, Prince William and Warren Counties.
Outside of the belt, however, additional mines were scattered throughout the state. Gold can still be found in all the areas that produced gold in the past, with some of the best areas located to the east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A few occurrences were also mined in Halifax and Floyd Counties. Other locations were in Dale City on Neabsco Creek not far from the Interstate.
Placer gold mining began in earnest around 1804. Lode gold mining quickly followed as the various hard rock discoveries were made.
Some other gold mines and prospecting areas were farther south, near South Boston on the Dan River and in Floyd and Patrick Counties. Another large group of mines and prospects occurred along the Fluvanna/Goochland County line.
According to reports from the Virginia Division of Natural Resources, a 9-lb gold specimen and several 1-ounce nuggets were found at the Booker Mine, a few miles south of the towns of Dillwyn and Enonville on Tongue Quarter Creek, a tributary to Willis River.
Many of the creeks around Woodstock and Galax in Carroll County have reportedly produced small amounts of placer gold.
Both the Rapidan and Rappahannock Rivers have been prospected over the centuries, and plenty of fine gold can be found in both the main rivers themselves and in the smaller tributaries throughout the county.
There were several small streams that have gold around the town of Richardsville, which is located on the ridge above both rivers mentioned above. There are placers all throughout this area.
The Bull Neck (William Kirk) Mine, located northwest of the community of McLean, above Great Falls near the Potomac River, had sourced gold along and around the areas of the Bull Neck Run Stream.
One of the largest lode gold mines in Virginia was the Franklin Mine, which mined gold, base and precious metals northeast of Morrisville. Numerous old lode mines are scattered throughout the southeast part of Fauquier County.
Also Read: Gold in North Carolina
Patrick County was a source of both placer and lode gold. Many pyrite-quartz vein exposures were worked by the old-timers and produced gold significant amounts of gold here. Area mine and prospects have been abundant around this area during the height of its gold exploration activities. Drainages in the vicinity of No Business Mountain, north toward Hogpen Mountain have been mined in the past.
Gold mining activities were heavily concentrated at either sides of the northern area of Dumfries in Prince William County. A mile and a half northwest of the town was the Cabin Branch Mine, which mined around the vicinities of Quantico Creek, a tributary to the Potomac River. Northeast of town was the Crawford Mine, which focused mining around the areas of Neabsco Creek which drains into Occoquan Bay.
Clickable U.S. Gold Map