14 September 2011

Mining Camps in Summit County

There are numerous stories around the country that begin something like this:

"He went to find gold and we never heard from him again..."

Yesterday, I allotted myself a couple of hours to read and transcribe from Dave Southworth's Colorado Mining Camps, (Wild Horse Publishing, USA, 1997) which is full of brief histories of the camps listed by county. (Transcription to be posted on the Summit County, Colorado Trails to the Past website.)  A good, easy read, and obviously well documented.

Although the text mentions few people by name, it is still a great source for genealogical or historical researchers in Colorado. I learned about previously unknown (to me) cemeteries, ruins I can drive to and see for myself, and other details of the surrounding area. It also allows the family historian to gain a good perspective on what life was like in the Colorado Territory in the mid to late 1880's and how the communities and camps worked together (or didn't!) to stay afloat.

This was a random grab from the history section in my library, but well worth it. Definitely adding this to my amazon list!

He includes small anecdotes before different sections... here are a few highlights.

p. 177, Breckenridge
"On one occasion, during the early days of Breckenridge, Judge Silverthorne ruled that two miners should settle their dispute by a duel. The two were to stand back to back, walk fifteen paces, then turn and fire. Instead of turning, they both ran in opposite directions, never to be seen again."

p. 179, Parkville
"During an election for County Attorney, candidate Tom Miller advised a Parkville crowd that... as a County Attorney in Kansas, he only lost one case, and it was on a technicality. When a rival asked 'What was the technicality?' Miller's reply was, 'The mob broke into jail and lynched him.' Miller was elected!"

p. 187, Boreas
"A baby girl was born at Boreas in 1882 and hailed as 'the highest born lady in Colorado.'"

p. 239, Ouray
"Upon the death of a Ouray prostitute, David F. Day editor of the Solid Muldoon wrote the following obituary:
'Charlotte,
Born a virgin, died a harlot.
For 14 years she kept her virginity,
An all-time record for this vicinity.'"



Colorado Mining Camps