Since its discovery in 1838 silver, lead and zinc were mined at the Washington mine within the town. It was one of the only silver mines in North Carolina. The company that owned the mine was known as the "Washington Mining Company" and then the "Silver Hill Mining Company" and was largely controlled by a group of New York investors who also controlled the company town as well. During the American Civil War, lead from the mine was used in Confederate bullets. The historic Beck's Reformed Church Cemetery is located within the town.
^Hand book of North Carolina: embracing historical and physiographical sketches of the state, with statistical and other information relating to its industries, resources and political condition (Google eBook) (Raleigh News Steam Book and Job Print, 1879), pg. 128
^Report of the geological survey of North Carolina: Vol. I. Physical geography, resumé, economical geology (Google eBook) (J. Turner, State printer and binder, 1875), pg. 289
^Charles C. Bolton, Poor Whites of the Antebellum South: Tenants and Laborers in Central North Carolina and Northeast Mississippi, (Duke University Press, 1994), 35-36.
^Robert J "Bob" Schabilion, Down the Crabtree, (AuthorHouse, 2009), pg. 99