My family came to what is now Boulder, Colorado, arriving when Boulder was three months old. My Great-great-grandfather was Carson W. Arbuthnot and with him, he brought his four sons and a son-in-law. Since a little child I have loved the history of this beautiful mountain area, the legacy's of the Natives who were here when my family arrived, and the way our community has grown to what it is today. My blog is dedicated to seeking evidence of all that happened. The good, the bad and the ugly, I will share the evidence of what I find.

I also share Boulder County and Colorado History through entertaining storytelling. Dressed as one of my early Boulder County ancestors, I will make you laugh, smile and sometimes cry as I share the stories of the people who came before us and who established these communities that we enjoy today. Please visit my storytelling and events pages for information on performances.

Welcome to my blog, I hope you enjoy your time here.

Donlyn Arbuthnot

Thursday, December 26, 2013

News from Gold Hill, April 23, 1859

Published in Denver, back when it was Kansas Territory, in the newspaper Rocky Mountain News on April 23, 1859, the following was published after visiting with a Gold Hill miner.  Gold Hill was only three months old at the time this was published, yet already, there were many men who had come to take the gold from this mountain.  Here is what the article reported...

Mr. O. P. Goodwin has just shown us a parcel of quartz gold, which he states was dug by himself about 8 miles west of Boulder and some 35 miles north of Cherry creek.  

These specimens are intermixed with particles of quartz rock, similar in appearance to that of California.  The largest specimen weighs 32 cents, and the parcel is worth something over $50.  Mr. G. states that he obtained it from a vein of decomposed quartz, six or eight inches in thickness and lying about three feet below the surface of the ground.

Gold Panning
After the silt and sand is washed away, flecks of gold remain.
Panning helps the miner locate where more, bigger gold may be found.

Quartz-Gold is quartz rock with gold in the quartz rock.
After locating where gold might be using panning,
then miners would start to dig to find larger amounts of gold.
Extracting the gold from the quartz was difficult and dangerous.
Extraction required the use of mercury after the rock was crushed.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Article 4, Gold Hill Mining District No. 1 - Laws

In January 1859, high in the Rocky Mountains before there was a Boulder, Colorado, gold was discovered.  The first miners there created the Mining District no. 1 of Nebraska Territory which became to be known as Gold Hill.

These men understood the implications of their discovery and wanted to get control of the situation before things got out of hand.  They held a gathering and created a "Book of Laws".   Below is Article 4 that I transcribed directly from the original law book that was created by the Gold Hill miners.  The book is housed at the Carnegie Library for Local History, a branch of the Boulder Public Library.  Article 4 contains the laws that my Great-great-grandfather, C. W. Arbuthnot, would have upheld as Sheriff in Gold Hill.

Any word that I could not decipher in the original I have indicated with [?] in the transcription.

Article 4 - Of Offenses

Offenses against Society
1.  Any man committing or attempting to commit crimes against the laws of society shall have a fair and impartial trial by jury, and if found guilty shall be dealt with as the people assemble in public meeting shall direct.

Of defacing or removing stakes
2. It shall be unlawful for anyone to obliterate or deface or remove or in any way alter any mark from any stake or tree marking the boundaries of any claim or claims and upon any conviction thereof, he shall forfeit all right or interest in the claim or claims, the mark or marks of which may be so altered or removed.

Of claiming a higher fee than is legal
3. Any officer that shall be found charging more than his lawful fees shall be fined at least ten dollars for the first offence and if convicted a second time shall pay a fine of twenty five dollars and his office shall be considered vacant.  An election for a new officer shall be called.

Of the sale of liquors
4. No one shall be allowed to sell intoxicating liquors within the boundaries of this district except for medicinal or medical purposes.  And upon convection of so doing, shall pay for the first offence a fine of not less than $25. Not more than $50.   And for the second offence a fine of not less than $50. Nor more than $100.  And for the third offense a fine of not less than $150.  And a like sum for every subsequent offense that shall be proven against the person or persons.

Mode of collecting fines.
The fines to be collected the same as other fines to be collected in the District.

5. Any persons who shall sell or give spirit-[?] liquors to any Indian shall receive 40 lashes on their back.

Process in [? - hole in paper] of liquor vendors
6. The President or Justice of the Peace of the District shall upon anyone filing a complaint with him, that he believes any one is guilty of violating the above resolutions, issue a warrant to the Sherriff or Constable for the  arrest of the party or parties so offending, commanding them to be brought before him immediately for trial.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Pickled Watermelon

Every Christmas it was a joy to go down into the cellar and get the jars of Watermelon Pickles that my Mom had canned in the summertime.  These little red and green jewels meant that Christmas was here and our family would be together with our cousins.  While this is a very old recipe, made with the oil of cloves and cinnamon that were purchased at the pharmacy, not the grocery store, I recommend giving this recipe a try today.  Especially if you are an experienced canner, you will be rewarded.

Watermelon Pickles

7 lbs Watermelon Rind 
3 ½ lbs Sugar
1 pint [Cider] Vinegar
½ teaspoon Oil of Cloves
½ teaspoon Oil of Cinnamon

Cut the green skin off the rind; leave some pink fruit (no more than a ½ inch) on the rind.  Cut rind into one-inch cubes.  Cover with hot water and par boil until rind can be pierced with a fork, but be careful not to let it get too soft.  Drain water off rind.
This should be about 7 lbs of fruit.

Bring sugar, vinegar, and oils to boil and pour over rind.  Let stand in kettle over night.  In the morning, drain off syrup, reheat [syrup] and pour back.  Sit over night.  The third morning, heat to hot both the rind and syrup.  Seal in jars.

Makes 8 pints.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Horace Greeley Comments on Pikes Peak June 1859

On June 3, 1859, an article was published in the Rockford Daily News in Rockford Illinois.
(Page 3).  New York Tribune, a newspaper founder and editor Horace Greeley, for which the town of Greeley Colorado is named for, had a great deal to say about the gold rush to Pike's Peak.  He knew how to sell newspapers with the sensationalism of the day!  No doubt, this is the kind of talk that encouraged my family to come and seek gold.   They arrived in Boulder on June 20th, 1859.   

Here is what was published...  

Horace Greeley on Pike’s Peak 

Under date of May 22, Mr. Greeley writes from Leavenworth, Kansas, to the Tribune respecting the gold region, in a tone which shows that he has caught the fever in its worst form. It is evident that the white coated philosopher has been sadly humbugged by someone.

Here is what Mr. Greeley says:

  1. There is gold at Pike’s Peak.
  2. Very little has yet been dug.
  3. A considerable though very inadequate amount of prospecting had been done up to the 10th inst., which is the date of our latest advices.
  4. A great deal more will soon be done, as the snow only begins to be fairly melted out of the gorges of the Rocky Mountains, where the rich mines or placers must be found, if anywhere.
  5. As yet this prospecting has not yielded enough to pay the board of those employed in it.
  6. Yet a few, who have had extra luck, would seem to have done pretty well, and some of them (unless they lie outrageously) are now making $5 to $8 per day to the hand. The board of a rugged, hard-working miner in that region ought to cost $2 per day.
  7. It is known to this hour that any extensive placer has been found, and nearly every miners still prospecting for better digging. (sic)
  8. Hundreds of those who rushed madkly off on a gold hunt across five hundred miles of uninhabited, foodless country, in February and March, have either died outright of starvation, or have suffered and been famished to the last limit of mortal endurance. And all who have started in their track with but a few days’ provisions and scarcely any other resource but the clothes on their back have probably suffered, or will suffer, everything short of death, and some of them will probably die.
  9. There is  as much uncertainty and distrust in the Gold Region as here, and many who have reached Denver City or Auraria have turned back in disgust, which others would do if they could do it in safety.
  10. Many who had gone part way have been discouraged by the reports of those they met and are heading towards the States again.
  11. There is no demand for labor in any part of the alleged Gold Regions, and many are there idle, who would gladly be hired and set to work.
  12. It is not yet decided whether any considerable amount of Gold can be mined with profit in the new Gold Region. Months more of patient and well directed labor may be required to settle that point.
  13. As yet, less than $10,000 in all, has been received on this frontier, in Gold, the product of the Pike’s Peak region.
  14. It is highly desirable and proper that the capacity of the new Gold Region should be tested and ascertained. Those who are rationally employed in this work deserve well of the country. But there are people enough now in or near the new Gold Region for all reasonable purposes – far too many for the amount of food that now is or can soon be placed there.
  15. It is not merely folly – it is criminal madness – to rush off to Pike’s Peak Gold Hunting without ample provision in the shape of food, clothing, blankets, mining implements, and money. He who goes without rushes on a suicide’s fate. H. G.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Clover Vinegar - An old Pioneer Recipe

Clove Vinegar

Put a large bowl of molasses in a crock. 
Pour over it nine bowls of boiling rain water. 
Let stand until milk-warm. 
Put in two quarts of clover blossoms and two cups of baker’s yeast. 
Let this stand two weeks and strain through a towel. 
Nothing will mold in it.

This is a very old recipe and not recommended that you try it today.  
If you do, I hold no responsibility to what might happen, good or bad.
It does make one wonder about the "Nothing will mold in it" 
what effect it would have on the human body.  
But, please, DO NOT put it to the test.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cornish Pasties - Old and New

A very popular recipe in the mining communities, where many miners had come from Cornwall England to mine, were Pasties.  (Pronounced PASS-ti)  Here is an original version that I would not recommend making, and the newer adjusted version that makes this much better tasting.  Thank you to the Trevarton Family, also Pioneer Natives of Boulder County, for sharing this with me.

Cornish Pasties - the OLD way.

For the dough, mix
2 cups sifted flour
1 ½ cups finely chopped suet
½ cup lard
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup water

Filling, mix together
chopped up round steak
ruttabega or tunip
red potato
1 ½ Tablespoon ground suet
salt and pepper

Roll the dough out into circles and fill with the meat filling.  Seal pastry with water, vent the dough.  Bake in a moderate oven until done.

Remember, I don't recommend eating any of the recipes that I label as old.  Please refer to the subject of Recipe - New for the ones that we eat in our home, like the one below...

Cornish Pasties - the New way

For the dough
Sift 3 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon of salt,
cut in 1 cup of shortening,
sprinkle with ½ cup of cold water and mix until it just holds together.
Wrap and let rest in the refrigerator like you do with a pie dough.

For the filling
Mix 2 ¼ cups of cooked, chopped round steak,
1 ½ cups of cooked, diced, red potato, 
¾ cup of chopped onion
1 ½ tablespoon soft butter
salt and pepper

Roll the dough out and cut into 6 inch squares.  Place some of the meat filling onto the dough.  Dampen the dough edges with water and fold over the dough, pinching it to seal.

Place Pasties on a cookie sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven at 365 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes.

Enjoy Pasties warm, after they have cooled from the oven.  Or eat them like a miner, cold and with a bit of brown grainy mustard.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Wanted! 100 Dozen Chickens

Love the old newspapers and the things that one finds there.  Here is a classified ad from the local hotel in Boulder.  This appeared in the Boulder News and Courier, Boulder, Colorado.  Friday August 20, 1880, page 3.

Wanted.  At Brainard's Hotel, one hundred dozen chickens.

100 dozen chickens  = 1,200 chickens!
In the 1880 U. S. Census, the population of Boulder was 3,069.
Were they planning on feeding the whole town?
One wonders who all these chickens were going to feed.
What was happening at this hotel and in this town at this time.