Ghost Town Wednesday: Shafter, The Silver Capital of Texas

This area of Texas is home to just a handful of residents these days, but once boasted a population of four thousand.  The town was named for Colonel (later General) William R. Shafter, commander at Fort Davis, and located about eighteen miles north of Presidio.  It became a mining town after rancher John W. Spencer found silver ore there in September 1880. Shafter had the sample assayed and found it contained enough silver to make it profitable to mine – profitable enough for Shafter himself to invest.  Spencer had thought it prudent to share his secret with Shafter since the area was prone to periodic Indian attacks.  Protection would be needed to carry out successful mining operations.   NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Please check out our new site:  www.digginghistorymag.com.  Go to the Magazine Store and see what’s available.  Don’t miss an issue — subscriptions now available, as well as single and special edition issues and individual articles formerly posted here at the Digging History Blog...

Ghost Town Wednesday: Whitehorn, Colorado

According to a Fremont County, Colorado web site the population of Whitehorn was less than ten as of 2014.  Accounts vary, however, as to who founded the town in the mid-to-late 1890’s.  In one account prospector Dennis Patno came to the area in February of 1897, struck gold and started a rush to the area in the mountains northeast of Salida.  In yet another account the town was founded in May of 1897 by Arthur L. Whitehorn – according to a 1901 article published in the Whitehorn News, he was indeed the founder. Whitehorn had recently been appointed as U.S. Deputy Mineral Surveyor in Pitkin County, having also mined around the Tin Cup area.  He set up his assayer’s tent at the camp some miners humorously referred to as “Suckerville”.  However, the specimens he examined were promising enough and soon the town named in his honor began to be laid out.       NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Please check out our new site:  www.digginghistorymag.com.  Go to the Magazine Store and see what’s available.  Don’t miss an issue — subscriptions now available, as well as single and special edition issues and individual articles formerly posted here at the Digging History Blog...

Ghost Town Wednesday: Lone Star, Texas

  This ghost town in northeast Cherokee County was first known as “Skin Tight”.  According to legend the community got that name after cattle buyer and merchant Henry L. Reeves opened a store.  It’s believed the name was due either to Reeves’ “close trading tactics” or perhaps because he worked as a trapper and animal skinner. The town had begun to take shape in several years earlier in 1849 when Hundle Wiggins settled there after the Texas Legislature created Cherokee County in 1846.  Reeves built a store there in the early 1880’s and on June 13, 1883 a post office was established under the name “Lone Star”.  Not long afterwards Reeves moved to Smith County and was shot to death in Troup on June 13, 1886. By 1885 Lone Star had grown to a population of 160 with a cotton gin, gristmill, sawmill, general store and school.  The town was somewhat isolated but the town continued to grow steadily.  Both Woodmen of the World and the Masons established chapters in the small community.   NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Please check out our new site:  www.digginghistorymag.com.  Go to the Magazine Store and see what’s available.  Don’t miss an issue — subscriptions now available, as well as single and special edition issues and individual articles formerly posted here at the Digging History Blog...

Ghost Town Wednesday: Lulu City, Colorado

This ghost town, now located in Rocky Mountain National Park, was founded in 1879 after Fort Collins merchant and entrepreneur Benjamin Burnett heard about a silver strike in the mountains west of Fort Collins near the headwaters of the Grand River (later Colorado River).  Burnett sent out prospector John Rigdon to investigate the claims. Rigdon went over Thunder Mountain (later renamed Lulu Pass) and camped in a beautiful park situated at an elevation of 9,400 feet.  There he began to prospect, initially finding a vein of silver and lead.  After returning to Fort Collins and having the ore tested down in Denver, Burnett decided to personally investigate. NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Please check out our new site:  www.digginghistorymag.com.  Go to the Magazine Store and see what’s available.  Don’t miss an issue — subscriptions now available, as well as single and special edition issues and individual articles formerly posted here at the Digging History Blog...

Ghost Town Wednesday: Cornucopia, Oregon

Gold was first discovered near the Idaho border in eastern Oregon in 1884 by Lon Simmons.  The town of Cornucopia, which in Latin means “Horn of Plenty”, sprung up – said to have been named after the mining town of Cornucopia, Nevada.  In July of 1885 five hundred men had already converged on Cornucopia, “quite a village”, reported the Morning Oregonian: There is no doubt about the mines.  They are very rich.  Gold is being brought in every day and to see the rock is to be convinced that the mines are a big thing.1 Miners reported veins so rich that big nuggets would tumble right out of the rocks.  Over the years sixteen mines produced 300,000 ounces of gold, although one source estimates that eighty percent of the gold ore body still remains.2   NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Please check out our new site:  www.digginghistorymag.com.  Go to the Magazine Store and see what’s available.  Don’t miss an issue — subscriptions now available, as well as single and special edition issues and individual articles formerly posted here at the Digging History Blog...

Ghost Town Wednesday: Indianola, Texas

Indianola is referred to as the “queen of Texas ghost towns” and could actually be filed under two Digging History Wednesday categories – ghost towns and wild weather.  German immigrants began settling in the area in the mid-1840’s and in 1846 the town of Indian Point was established.  The location was ideal as a deep-water port during the Mexican War and was the chief port of debarkation for thousands of European immigrants who would settle the western parts of Texas. After the area was surveyed and lots were sold the town began to grow.  In September of 1847 the post office opened and a few months later stagecoach service was established.  The nearby town of Karlshaven had been home to some of the first European immigrants (Germans) and in February of 1849 the two communities merged and became known as Indianola. NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Please check out our new site:  www.digginghistorymag.com.  Go to the Magazine Store and see what’s available.  Don’t miss an issue — subscriptions now available, as well as single and special edition issues and individual articles formerly posted here at the Digging History Blog site....