Pearson, Arthur L 1968

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Arthur Pearson recalls his experiences as a prospector and gold miner in Colorado, along with recollections of early days in Pitkin. Among other things, he talks about prostitution, the black community, railroad travels and local attitudes toward Populism.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Arthur L. Pearson

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: July and August 3, 1968

Location: Pitkin, Colorado

Interviewer: Charles "Bud" Townsend

Length: 3 hours


Tape 1, Side 1: Biographical material, Parents’ arrival—Cottonwood Pass (1879), Number and length stranded, Buffalo herds, Reason for coming, Listing early prospectors, Naming of Gold Creek, Father’s claim, Denver, Leadville & Gunnison Railroad route (1882), Discontinuance of route, Parents’ biography, Sacramento Mine history, Lynx Mine value, Father’s biography, Political service—Legislator and Senator, Campaigns, Back injury, Chiropractor incident—Dr. Locke, A. E. Reynolds mining, Physical description, Creed land cost, Amount of ore taken, Burrowing Creed tunnel, Width of vein and value, I. L. Johnson’s biography, Gold cup mine swindle, Money invested, Depth of shaft and cost, Biographical material, Partnership with Reynolds, Mining incident.

Tape 1, Side 2: Blank

Tape 2, Side 1: First mine—Terrible Mountain, Listing of miners (1878), Abundance of gold, Winter—depth of snow, Selling price of claim, Name of three mines, Race for town status, Pitkin incorporation (1879), Political service, Number of saloons and houses of prostitution, Cost of whiskey license, Prostitute house incident, Kickapoo Indian incident, Prostitute house killing, Listing of prostitute houses and nicknames, Number of prostitutes per house, Social life, Landmark Hotel (Gunnison), Open gambling games, Saloon hours, Police force, Amount of violence, Interracial marriage incident, Washerwoman incidents, Number of negroes, Alpine Tunnel Boarding House, Mary Murphy mine and location, Patent, Size of Boardhouse, Cost of stone.

Tape 2, Side 2: Blank

Tape 3, Side 1: Alpine Tunnel (continued), Railroad (1881), Train arrival in Pitkin, Denver & Rio Grande and South Park (?) Race, Passenger run, Miles per hour, Cars pulled per engine, Alpine Tunnel altitude, Pitkin altitude, Number of early doctors, Insurance incident, Education, School building, Number of teachers, Enrollment, School incidents, Quitting school, Taking ore out of the mine, Number of wheel barrows, Carrying Pitkin mail, Distance to mine, Second mine—Silver Island, Bear killing, Greatest population, Ohio City fight, Naming of Ohio City, Building of community church, Baptisms, Dance hall burning, Catholic influence, City government positions, Appointed offices, Voting requirements.

Tape 3, Side 2: Blank

Tape 4, Side 1: Populism, Coin’s Financial school, Masonic affiliation, Support for W. J. Bryan, Union College attendance (Lincoln, Nebraska), Grammar incident, Bryan’s daughter’s marriage, Local politics, Election day drinking, Social activities, Scarlet fever and diphtheria epidemics, Deaths, Biographical material, Trip to Michigan, Pool playing, Chicken coop incident, Travel stops, Miners turn cattlemen, Gold Links mine, Wanted poster and worker, Gun carrying.

Tape 4, Side 2: Blank

Tape 5, Side 1: Great snowstorm (1918), Conditions at mine (1898), Wages for bringing up provisions, Weight of provisions, Depth of snow, Length and amount (?) of trips, Profit for month, Sheep shipping incident, Sheep slaughtering incident, Number of present claims, First mine (1878), Personality of old prospectors, Number of prospectors (1879), Number of voters, Equipment, Three Tabor Mine prospectors (1879), Uncle’s name, Populism and W. J. Bryan, Early newspaper, Listing early doctors, Treating pneumonia, Priests wake, Naming of Armstrong Gulch, Race for town status (Pitkin and Quartzville), Epidemic (1877), Finding skeletons, Drunk lawyers, Early poetry and drawing, "Whispering Bill, the Happy Bachelor" accidents and poem, Civil War disagreements, Drinking incident.

Tape 5, Side 2: Blank

Range Dates: 1877-1918

Bulk Dates: 1878-1918

Access Information

Original Recording Format:

Recording Format Notes:


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