A Tailing Tale
This week’s tale comes from Vicki and David Andree of Erie, Colorado. David’s great-great-grandfather was Ernst Andree who arrived at Gregory Gulch on July 9, 1860. The first submission from Mr. Andree’s memoirs appeared in the August 21, 2014 edition of The Register-Weekly Call.
(Continued from July 4 in Denver)
Along the hillside near us, Edward Landcliff, a civil engineer, and surveyor, and Swan Landgreen, a carpenter, had opened a claim called Gold Quartz-Lode. Both being sick, they were unable to work the claim any longer, and they offered me $1.50 a day plus my board, if I would work for them. I accepted the offer and took care of them both, during their long spell of sickness. Mike and Caspar built a long shanty good enough for shelter, and kept right on, sluice mining. Some days, it paid well and others not. Finally my sick friends got well enough to be about and helped us in the mine. One day they told me they intended to go to New Mexico, as Mr. Landcliff had accepted a position as a surveyor and Mr. Landgreen intended to accompany him. From July 15 to July 23, 1860, we kept up the work of the two claims.
Two Gold Claims for $10
Next morning early, I went for a pail of fresh spring water for coffee. At breakfast, Mr. Landcliffe said to me, “Andy (as I was called), if you will give us $10 as a consideration, you can have all the flour on hand, the gold scale and all our tools. We will deduct this amount from your wages due you, and also sign over to you this log cabin and all the rest that’s in it, and because you took care of us so nicely, when sick, our two claims on the Morning Star Lode we will make you a present of, and will make out legal miner’s papers to that effect. The two claims are recorded at Black Hawk district, H.T. Conover, recorded, signed over to you, July 24, 1860.”
The day after, they departed. My thanks followed them. Now I was sole proprietor of the two gold lode claims, house and lot owner, had tools and other miner’s necessities and provisions to last for a while. What next? I notified our sluice gulch miners of this fortune, and they thought best to also work the lode claim. We surely did work hard to find out their values.
About this time a friend of Hennecke’s from Prairie du Chen, a party by the name of Alphonso Wright, came and told us of a wonderful discovery that had been made at Boulder district, 16 miles from Central City near the Snowy range. He had been over there and said that three different parties, miners, were opening up rich discoveries. He showed me some specimens of quartz taken from one of their lodes, which showed rich color of gold.
The last of this September month found us four Badger boys at South Boulder district building one large cabin. Monstrous big pine trees gave us the foundation logs. We now told our cattle to go and be happy, they had to suffer to bring us here. We had no more use for them and later drove them to a ranch. They fattened up and Caspar afterwards told them. Good-by Bill and John, Jack and Mike. Good-by brave friends, good-by.
Elected Town Treasurer
Our new friends, the three miners spoken of before, who had been prospecting, had found this gold region. One day they came to us and said, “We must have a miner’s meeting and make our own miner’s laws.” So we did. This all was pro-forma. The election took place, my friends refused an office. John Bartz was elected president, and he in turn elected Joe Baer, town clerk; Jim Moody, recorder, and E.W. Andree, treasurer. I never had a cent in the treasury and Moody recorded, gratis.
Other miners came after hearing of this gold district and John Bartz and Joe Baer gave some of the new miners the privilege to work their new claims on shares, they are going back to Central City to work their tunnel claims. We were located now on the foot of the Snowy range below the timberline, on elevation from 9,000 to 10,000 feet above the Gulf of Mexico.
Day by day we went around prospecting, quartz peeping out of the ground everywhere we dug, finding several crevices deep in the rocks. We were never reasonably sure of a lode. We took the quartz and pounded them up as fine as possible, put these in old gold pans and washed them in clear water, to our hearts’ delight we found good, rich color of gold. We had found a gold lode, which we named the “Mary Lode.” And had it so recorded. We all worked like beavers; like Monte Cristo, the world was ours. It sounded good to us when we fired a blast, four hands’ full of blasting powder to each shot; we not yet had dynamite. It roared like cannon shots from all over the district and echoed. We cut down some small size pine trees, built slides of these and hauled the quartz on hides down to the river, as fast as we had blasted it out of the rocks—cattle could not be used for this purpose.
Mike and Anthony finished the log cabin; roof made of bark from trees and branches from pine trees, fireplace in the corner for cooking and baking bread, a loophole in the roof for the smoke to escape, bed bunks on the other side, no upper berth for us, a window pin of wood stuffed into a hole bored into a log, two or three inches deep, to keep the hungry beasts out at night. No smoke in our castle, as long as the wind was in the right direction. We were rich lords, considered ourselves so. Paris, our dog was well pleased.
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Published September 8, 2014 in the Weekly Register-Call