Bellville was well known for being part of the Ohio gold rush. In 1853 Gold was discovered at Bellville, Ohio 10 miles north of Pleasant Hill Lake on the Clear Fork River. Leases were taken on all the land and mining was carried on in a small way & continues even today. The first gold was panned on Dead Man's Run, which caused people from all over to come to pan for gold. The gold was discovered by James C. Lee. Even though the gold that was found was almost pure, little more was discovered. Dead Mans Run, adjacent to Bellville Road, north of Bellville and Wildcat Hollow, 1 mile west of Butler.
Sluice operation along Dead Mans Run 1905
The Swank Claim is located on Gatton Rocks and Cutnaw Rd. in Bellville, Ohio. It covers approximately 1 mile of the Clear Fork River on the upper claim and 1 mile of Clear Fork River on the lower claim. This claim is known for burgundy colored garnets and fine flour gold. This claim has also produced, two quartz rocks with gold nuggets layered in them, and one valued at $50,000
These claims are located on private property and are only open to GPAA members and during MWCD sponsored special public events.