Valles Mine Investigation

Francis Valle was one of the founders of Missouri’s first settlement, St. Genevieve. The Valles from France immigrated to Quebec and then to Kaskaskia, Illinois. They then crossed the river to what became St. Genevieve which was commonly known as “Papa Valle.” There Francois Valle replaced the aging Deguire as Militia Captain. Some say that he was the last of the Spanish El Commandants.

When the Spanish arrived in 1767, four years after officially winning the Louisiana Territory from Spain, in the Seven Years War, Valle was quick to make his mark. It has been written that he fed and housed Francois Riu, commander of the Spanish force. He did the same for Don Pedro Piernas, the new Governor of the Louisiana Territory, when he passed thru the state.

In 1749, Francois Valle and his new bride, Marie Billeron, left the settlement of St. Genevieve to go and live in an outpost in the new Northwest Territory. They were given a log cabin from Marie’s father as a wedding gift. Today, that cabin is a part of the building that houses The “Lost History Museum.” The Valle’s came to this part of the country to trade furs and to buy lead from local Indians. Mine LaMonte and Old Mines were also outposts where the Valle’s were among the first settlers.

In the early 1800s, Francois’ son Jean Babptiste was operating a successful lead mine in the area. It is thought that The Valle Mining Company was formed in 1819 and was incorporated in 1821, when the Louisiana Purchase was consummated and Missouri became a state. In 1823 The “Valle Big Lode” mine was discovered and the area and then appropriately named Valle’s Mines. In a few years these mines were to become the number one lead producer in North America and the town of Valles Mines grew fast.

The first U.S. Port Office at Valles Mines was established in July of 1826. Thomas Tarpley, a miner and storekeeper was the first postmaster. Tarpley’s post office was a log structure with a one room and stone cellar beneath.

With more shafts being sunk regularly in the area of the “Big Lode”, the mining industry was soon in full operation. Between the years of 1829 and 1859, some 101 mines were open and operating. Each mine employed anywhere from two to four men per shaft. Many others were employed in related jobs, such as hauling, smelting, cutting mine props, cribbing, blacksmithing, carpentry, agriculture and son on.

Soon, two more stores sprung up, a hotel, (in those days called a boarding house) three schools, offices, churches and mills. Several other small villages sprang up adjacent to and even on Valle Mining property. Among them were Halifax, (a few homes plus Heaton’s store and Post Office) Avoca, (farms, store, saloon, Post Office and a stagecoach stop) Bisch Town (later became known as Silver Springs) Knorpp, Fletcher Springs, Prospect, Coonville and others. One community, just west of the “Big Lode” later became known as Tunnel Town. This area adopted that name around 1890 when the M.R. & B.T. Railroad blasted and dug a 240 foot long tunnel thru solid rock in the middle of the town. The tunnel was referred to as Tunnel Bill, named for the Bill family who lived and had a mine in that area and a German immigrant named William Heinrich.

On top of the tunnel was Homer Carter’s general store. The village also had a depot, siding, several residences, a zinc furnace, 2 offices, equipment shed, charcoal works and a cemetery. Even the post office was once moved to Tunnel Town, but only for about a year. Unfortunately, it was just another “Boom Town” as it was abandoned when the price of ore went down along with the demand. In the early 1900s, Valle Mining Company workers dismantled the town’s buildings. Some were reconstructed in Valles Mines proper and Carter moved his store. All that remains today is a couple of foundations, the cemetery and the tunnel itself.

The LaVallee family has been traced back to Hon Charles LaVallee, born in Rouen France in 1584. Francois Valle was born in Beauport, Quebec in 1716 and founded Valles Mines in 1749. He died in St. Genevieve, where he called home. Due to women of the Valle Family marrying men of the Rozier family, Valles Mines fell largely in control of the Roziers, another prominent French family of St. Genevieve.

(Credit: History of Valles Mines to the Lost History Museum.)

During the Civil War, it is said that a minor skirmish took place between combatants of the Union and Confederate armies.

Located at: 14115 Valles Mines School Road, Valles, Missouri 63087

Telephone: 8636-586-3680 or 636-586-5573


Hauntings: Tunnel Bill (William Heinrich) who was somewhat disabled was employed there and his main chore was to keep kids and people away from the tunnels. Tunnel Bill remained when everyone left and lived out the rest of his life here with his wife. His wife would do laundry for those working in Silver Springs, which was a mile down the railroad tracks. Since sometimes she would come back home after dark and it was a bit dangerous to attempt to walk down the tracks, her husband Bill, would hang a lantern for her to see. To this day, numerous people have claimed to have seen a strange lantern light or ghost light many times.

An old slave cemetery is just beyond the tunnel and many of those who died were buried there, many without any markers of any kind. Others had simple stone markers and later both flat and upright markers were placed there. Some believe that the restless spirits still wander around looking for their homes.

Other strange and unusual events have occurred over the years. It’s said that in the Lost History Museum some see distorted faces in the upstairs window and pictures have been found upside down or have fallen off the walls.

(Credit: “A History of Hauntings in Valles Mines” by Renee Bronaugh, a reporter for the Daily Journal.)

There are other reports of people having their hair tugged by unseen forces and several strange inexplicable photographs have been taken on the property in the past.



Equipment setup: No equipment was set up either at the Lost History Museum or at the cemetery; only handheld devices were employed.

Experiments performed: EVP, Ovilus X and Mini-Portal sessions were conducted at both the Lost History Museum and at the cemetery.

Personal experiences:

Kathie Para: GRS spent the day at Valle’s Mines, Missouri visiting the slave’s cemetery and the historic settlement.  Our group consisted of Dale Kaczmarek, Stan Suho, Mike Rosario and me. We were joined by Dean Thompson and Cliff Gaither from El Quatro Paranormal of Alton, IL and Jeanne Chilton from PRIOM of St. Louis, Mo. area.

The original settlement house was built in 1749. We spent quite a bit of time in there but due to all the noise contamination I didn’t feel we were able to conduct a proper investigation. There were also a lot of mud wasps in the building and, being allergic, I was happy to spend much of my time in the general store building listening to the history of the area from the owner, who is a fifth (I believe) generation mine manager. There were a few other out buildings we had access to, including a tiny slave’s cabin.

We were taken to the black slave’s cemetery by a guide. These slaves worked the mineral mines when they were in operation. It was about a thirty minute, 5 mph drive through the woods on a narrow, winding road. That in itself was a real adventure! Expecting to come upon a clearing, I was surprised when we just stopped in the middle of the woods and were told we now had to hike ¼ to ½ mile in the woods to the cemetery.

It was sad to see how overgrown the old cemetery was. You could hardly tell it was a graveyard until you started looking for grave markers and head stones. Apparently there are apparitions to be seen there. It was a somber and sad place, but one like I’d never encountered before. We spent a good amount of time there, some of the group trying to connect with spirits of those laid to rest there. I personally had no paranormal experience. Luckily we came across no bears, which are common to the area.

It was a very interesting day full of history. One of the perks of ghost hunting!

Mikey Rosario: This was my first trip to the Historic Valles Mines with the GRS. Located completely off the map, the Valles Mines are situated in nearly three miles of forest from the main road, and with very rugged terrain, to say the least! I wouldn’t recommend taking an ordinary car deep inside that area, as you can bottom-out or get flat tires very easily. I risked taking the GRS group inside my Ford Crown Victoria (retired police cruiser), because it was durable enough to handle such conditions due to its heavy duty police package. Thankfully, it was a successful ride to and from the site of the mines, and even the abandoned cemetery located even further into the woods.  

The investigation took off with a very nice lead guide telling us the full history of the entire area. I was using my Sony HandyCam HDR-XR160 AVCHD 42xEZ, attached it to my tri-pod, and started recording audio/video near the abandoned cemetery location. There, while filming at the same time, I started taking pictures of the area with my disposable Kodak and Studio 35mm single-use cameras. I also used my K-II Meter to get some base readings of the cemetery as well. All ranged between 1.5-1.7mG. Nothing too active.  

I figured I’d investigate over by the exhumed graves where hidden treasure was buried. I took several photographs of this section, and was getting small spikes on the K-II from 1.9-2.3mG every now and then.  

We then packed up and headed back to the main site to investigate the old cottages that were built back in the mid-1740’s! Quite an amazing site for me! So far, the cottages are the oldest abodes I’ve ever set foot in, so, it was definitely a record! There, I unpacked and set up the camcorder, and did a base sweep of the main house with the K-II. Readings were slightly spiking at 2.0-2.3mG at times. We used Dean’s Mini-Portal device for a good EVP session. We did get some interesting words here and there, but nothing really distinct or major. 

I didn’t pick up anything audio/video-wise on my recorder. However, only some spikes on my K-II Meter instead.

Conclusion: It was such an interesting adventure, the Valles Mines! I truly enjoyed my time at this location! There might be something here in this area, as we did pick up some minor EVPs, and felt some cold spots. However, I wouldn’t mind coming down here again to visit and possibly collect more evidence of this haunted land that was once a very thriving community back then.  

Overall: A very productive and interesting investigation completely filled with history. It was definitely worthwhile!


Stan Suho: We crossed the Big Muddy to a point south of St Louis. It was nice to see Jeannie again. We visited an old mining museum followed by a tour of a very old cemetery. To get there we traveled down a very rugged spring busting road, through an old railroad tunnel, and then a trek up through some woods. Photos and EVP sessions were conducted, then back to a very old haunted house that dates back to the early 1800s. No setup was attempted but several EVP sessions were conducted which I recorded. After dinner we headed north and were treated to a UFO sighting. No missing time to report but Dale thinks he now has an implant. An interesting day to say the least.

Dale Kaczmarek: An interesting day indeed! Not only were we able to investigate an original mining camp building but went a trek down an almost impassable boulder-strewn road, thru a haunted railroad tunnel to finally arrive at an old slave cemetery which was also rumored to be haunted! I must admit that even though Mikey’s Crown Vic handled the road quite well for being a “beast”, I found myself in almost a panic attack as it took forever to arrive at the graveyard. It was worth the trip and, of course, it took a lot less time going back than traveling to the boneyard.

A few graves were dug up and our guide told us a story about some bank robbers that apparently had buried their stash in the cemetery. The money wasn’t recovered after their arrest and when they were finally released, they might have come back to retrieve their loot.

The inside of the original building was a haven for wasps, especially upstairs where we avoided. It was indeed an adventure!


The Ghost Research Society investigated Valles Mines June 25, 2017. Team members included: Stan Suho, Kathie Para, Mikey Rosario and Dale Kaczmarek with help from Jeannie Chilton from PRIOM and Dean Thompson & Matt Smith from El Quatro Paranormal








Evidence collected: Believe it or not, no EVPs, pictures or videos were recorded at either location. Just goes to show that you don’t always get something all the time.

Conclusions: Anytime I get the chance to work with Jeannie Chilton, Dean Thompson or any of my fellow colleagues from Missouri, it’s a real pleasure and always look forward to it. The mine was an amazing place. We got to meet some amazing people including Steve Frazier who autographed a book he wrote entitled, “Ghosts, Spooks and Spirits and Other Unexplained Phenomenon; Stories from Valles Mines and Surrounding Areas.” They were both a wealth of information and the museum had a vast array of old mining implements, pictures, books and other memorabilia from the old mines. Talk about natural trigger objects. I would recommend this location and the cemetery to anyone for a good investigation and lots of history!

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