Colorado Mining Letters from Pole Creek, Colorado - 1880
Caton, Robert. PAIR OF ORIGINAL LETTERS FROM A MINER IN POLE CREEK, COLORADO. Pole Creek: Feb. 13, 1880 and March 19, 1880. Two mss. letters composed in ink with old folds. Very good.
A terrific pair of Colorado mining letters written in 1880 by Robert Caton, a miner from Plainfield, Illinois (near Chicago) who had moved west to make his fortune. These letters were both written in the area of Pole Creek near Winter Park, Colorado. He writes about getting to know the daughter of their congressman, mining prospects, references nearby of Rosita, Milwaukee Hill where the “darling load” of minerals is located. He also talks about selling his pistol for a set of logs to build a house and much more.
(Transcribed in total)
Pole Creek, Feb. 13 / 80
Dear Father and Mother, I hardly know what to write about this week, today we have been moving camp and will finish tomorrow. We are going over on Alpine Creek so as to be nearer to work as we have two more assessments to finish you would have laughed to have seen us make our first trip. We had two barrels one for the flour and in the other we put everything we could stuff in and slung them across the pony and he did look comical.
As soon as we are done with those assessments, Tom and I are going to make the trip to Rosita, and then I shall get that bag.
I expect to get a letter from you tomorrow and in it an answer to my injuries in regard to what Treve thinks of coming out here when the camp starts and it will start soon now as everything is a go and you can’t imagine with what a rush a mining (camp) grows, and this is the time to make the money. And in a new camp sash, doors and shingles are in big demand. I don’t think Treve had ought to throw such a chance over, as this don’t come very often.
I traded my pistol for a set of house logs and as soon as I come back from Rosita, shall put it up. It is 18 x 25 and a fellow can move around in that, a man don’t want to offer me trade unless he wants to be taken up.
The weather had been rather changeable here lately and has been snowing all around us and Moscow Pass is hardly passable, but the weatherman is in better condition and dont bother much.
Well everything is looking first rate for the boy at present, except the grub and we are down to bread, ham, bacon and coffee, but in this country it is always either a feast of a famine, and so it don’t bother us much to run short.
This morning while looking for my pony I scart up them often and it is always the case when I havent my gun along I see lots of game.
I close with much love to all from
Your Loving Son
(2nd letter – fully transcribed)
Pole Creek – mch 19/80
Dear Father and Mother.
“I should have written before, but as I said in my post I had been to Rosita and while there was very busy getting some speculators to come back and see how they liked the mines over here, and they were very much pleased, and they said they would come back and purchase some. Everything looks very well at present, here and at the Cliff and Rosita. There is quite an excitement about this place. I had a very nice time at Rosita and got acquainted with an ex-congressman’s daughter of the ____ that come over with us and she was a very nice girl indeed and when I came over sent her back some very nice specimens, which she wanted to make a mineral cross with.
Now Father abut those bonds ___can tell you all about it better than I can write.
Now about business, John Duncan has gotten a little behind in his assessments and has made the best offer that I have seen in this country, the offer is this—The Darling Lode situated in the Milwaukee Hill has to have the assessment worked, and he offered me 1/4 interest to help him work it down and will sell another 1/4 for $250.00 as he needs some ready money, now this is the lead, there is a quartz lead of four feet with mineral scattered all through it, and there is fourteen inches of mineral that will mill $250.00 per ton, and I can get lots of specimens like the one I sent Treve of pure gold that will run at least $10,000 per ton.
Now I want either Treve or you to take hold of this, at once as John won’t let the offer remain open long so send the money by return mail if possible.There is no possible chance of you losing anything as by the time the assessment is down there will be more than enough ore on the dump to pay the money back and have the mine left.
You want to be careful when you undo the specimen as a lot of the free gold will shake off and if you wish to get an assey you must put the loose in and you must get a good assayer or he can’t get all the gold out as there is a good deal of refractory or flower gold in it. .
Now Father if you have the ready money it is the best investment I ever saw and there are plenty of men here that will be glad to take up with the offer but John is a firm friend of mine and I got him to wait until I could write home and another thing is that he dont like to go into partnership with any of the sharpies out here.
Well we are having lots of nice weather here now sprinkled with some little snow.
Love to everybody from your Loving Son.