Around 1860 John Cox’s servant Pete unearthed chunks of lead, while digging for fishing worms 300 yards north of the old Broadway Viaduct. Though little mining took place at this time, the discovery shaft led to the founding of Joplin.
J.B. Sergeant and E.R. Moffet where encouraged to strike out on their own after wining $500.00 for the Grandby Company who offered a reward to whomever mined the most lead is in a stipulated amount of time.
Moffet and Sergeant scouted out the old” diggins” of Pete at Joplin Creek for a likely prospect. In August 1870, they began sinking a shaft on the east bank of the creek. Nearly quitting from exhaustion for lead the couple borrowed blasting power for one last attempt before abandoning their efforts. That was a fortunate attempt for they unearthed a rich body of lead. The exact location Of “The Discovery Shaft” is not known. The shaft reportedly produced $60,000.00 worth of lead in the first Ninety days. The Moffet and Sergeant Bonanza strike sparked a substantial boom that led to the founding of Joplin and eventually made it to the leading city of the Tri-State mining district.
The Moffet-Sergeant strike site is the beginning of a number of nominations of local sites that are considered important in Joplin’s history. New historic landmark designations will be advanced by the Joplin Historic Preservation Commission. The Commission has also approved landmark designations for the Rev. Harris Joplin’s property and the old Lincoln School.