On October 20, working on a railroad grading crew in the Arkansas River valley and presumably headed back to Connecticut, George made one last pitch for buying a mine. He wrote, “I am convinced that money can be made in the San Juan country, but you must not expect to get rich in a year. Mining should be made a business, just like anything else.” Weston’s correspondence with Dr. Bartlett continued through the winter, with the assumption that George would be returning to Colorado the following summer. In two letters, dated November 23 and December 9, Weston resumed his promotions of the Gertrude and the Crusader (but only half of it, apparently). Ever the salesman, Weston informed the doctor, “…the Hidden Treasure is reportedly sold for $50,000…this is a tremendous lift for me as the Gertrude and the Crusader are the next adjoining veins on either side.” We may never know whether George made that return trip to the San Juan country. A search of Ouray County records found no evidence that the Bartlett brothers ever purchased the Crusader or any other mine in the county.
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ophir: A mule pack team makes its way out of the valley. (pHOTO courtesy of Telluride Historical Museum)
Postscript One has to believe that Dr. Bartlett and brother George kept current on the mining reports coming out of the San Juans, and if so, they may have reacted with serious mixed emotions when learning of the following news items: • In his Descriptive Pamphlet of Some of the Principal Mines and Prospects of Ouray and San Miguel Counties 1882-1883, William Weston cites the Ouray Times and an 1882 report listing the Nevada and Crown Jewel Mines as having shipped ore worth $31,000 and $5,000 respectively during that year. • The most productive mine in the Ophir district during 1882 was the Summit, about which George made no mention in correspondence to his brother. That year, the Summit produced 34,850 ounces of silver worth $45,000. The mine, located on Silver Mountain, was purchased for $50,000 on July 31, 1881, by the Summit Mining Company, headquartered in New York City. Ironically, the company’s secretary, L.J. Atwood, lived in Waterbury, Connecticut. • Weston continued to work the Gertrude Mine into the 1880s. He sold it and the Una, an adjacent claim, in order to pursue interests in the newly opened Red Mountain district. Though trained in metallurgy, Weston had somehow overlooked the quality and quantity of gold in those claims. Some years later, the Gertrude and Una (and possibly the Crusader and Millionaire) were purchased by Thomas Walsh and consolidated into the great Camp Bird complex, which Walsh eventually sold for $6 million. • The town of Columbia was officially incorporated in the summer of 1878, and its lode mines and gold placer operations continued to attract people and investment capital during the last years of the decade. The Dolores News took the occasion to observe in June 1881, “Columbia, with its resources, will, no doubt, make a good little mining town.” For Paul O’Rourke, in mining—as in the game of life—nothing is certain, save that chance will have its say; that what you put in may often have greater value than what you get out.
Susan Bonner Kees M.A., L.P.C.
Couples, Kids, People 2-92
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