Mining - Old Log Rocker Method
The log rocker was a part of the gold milling process. After the ore came out of the shaft, it was hauled to the mill house where it was broken down manually by cobbers and then as many as five other processes might have been applied to mill the ore further. The primary type was a Chilean mill. But less expensive mills supplemented the process and were used to extract the gold from “wasted ore.” As the gold ore was successively ground and processed, it took on the appearance of mud. The log rockers were the place where the mud received its final washing. The process was described by David Hunter Strother in an article that appeared in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine in August of 1857:
The cradles are eighteen or twenty feet long, formed from tree trunks split in twain and scooped out like canoes…cut with shallow grooves to hold liquid quicksilver…golden mud is distributed in the upper end of the cradles, a small stream of water turned upon it and the whole thing continuously rocked by machinery….the particles of gold taken up by quicksilver and [it] forms a solid lump called the amalgam.
No. A2103 published by Theodore Buerbaum, Salisbury, N.C. Germany.
Glass, Brent D. King Midas and Old Rip: the Gold Hill Mining District of North Carolina UNC-Chapel Hill Dissertation, 1980