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CHAPTER VII


The Pike's Peak Gold Fever. 1858-9


THE real aim of my journalistic efforts was a regular connection with the Anglo-American press. I regarded my work for the Staats-Zeitung as only a temporary makeshift, and kept my ulterior object steadily in view. I had given up the idea of securing a position on one of the principal New York papers, and my desires bore upon the Western press. During my sojourn in Ohio, I had daily read the Cincinnati Daily Commercial and noticed the ability and enterprise displayed in its columns. At a venture I went to Cincinnati and offered my services to the publisher of the Commercial, M. D. Potter. He referred me to the news-editor, Murat Halstead, afterwards the principal proprietor and editor-in-chief of the paper. After a few talks with him, we agreed that I should report the important proceedings at the impending sessions of the Illinois and Indiana Legislatures for the Commercial. In the former, I was to look after the reëlection of Douglas. In Indiana, I was to watch the legislative complications that were expected to arise in connection with the claim of each of the two political parties to the rightful control of the majority of the Legislature, which resulted eventually in the election of two sets of United States Senators, by the Republicans and the Democrats respectively.

I spent only a few days early in January, 1859, at Springfield, Illinois, and then went to Indianapolis, where I expected to remain till spring. But my stay was cut short in an unexpected way. In my reports to the Commercial I had occasion to criticise rather sharply one of the Democratic State Senators. The next day he rose to a question of privilege, had the report read to the Senate, denounced me in very violent language, and moved that the usual press privileges be withdrawn from me, or, in other words, that I be expelled from the floor. The motion was carried, and it terminated my brief career as a legislative reporter in the Indiana capital, during which I had, however, formed some valuable acquaintances among Indiana politicians. This was my first conflict as a journalist with legislators, but not my last one.

During the fall and winter of 1858, reports of gold discoveries in the easternmost chain of the Rocky Mountains, in the vicinity of Pike's Peak and along the head waters of the Platte River, began to circulate in the press and to attract a great deal of attention throughout the country. The “gold news” had roused my adventurous spirit before my loss of employment, and now suddenly prompted the idea of going to the Rocky Mountains as a correspondent. There was a general hope that the opening of such new sources of national wealth might bring relief to the country from the lingering effects of the crisis of 1857. Its numberless victims — the vast army of the unemployed — began to get excited, and the newspapers to state more and more that great numbers were yielding to the allurements of the new Dorado and preparing to seek it.

On my reaching Cincinnati from Indianapolis, Mr. Halstead, who had vigorously defended me in the editorial columns against the attacks of the Indiana Senator, very readily responded to my suggestion that I should make an investigation of the facts in the Pike's Peak case on the spot for the Commercial. We agreed on the conditions of my new engagement, which were to be twenty dollars a week and reasonable travelling expenses. The length of my stay in the Rocky Mountains should depend on the developments there.

It was natural that, at my age and with my sanguine temperament, I should feel the highest elation at this, to my mind, most promising turn of luck. There was no strong evidence that another California had actually been discovered, but I had heard and read much of the quick fortunes made in the gold-mines on the Pacific Coast, and hence my imagination readily got the better of my judgment, and, while reason protested, I indulged in the contemplation of all sorts of fascinating possibilities for myself. I had visions not only of successful gold-hunting, but of fame and fortune as one of the founders of new towns and States. They were not to be realized in the immediate future, but I think I can truly say that to my apprenticeship as a pioneer in the Rocky Mountains I owed the insight into practical life and the enterprise and energy to which my successes later in my career were largely due. In one respect certainly my anticipations rested on reality, and that was in looking forward to extraordinary personal adventures in the pursuit of my mission.

At the time in question, a string of towns had sprung up on the Missouri River, mainly in consequence of the large Free-Soil immigration into the Territory of Kansas as a result of the political events in 1854-5 within its borders. There was a fringe of settlements, too, for from thirty to fifty miles on each side of the river. But the western parts of Missouri and Iowa were still very thinly populated. Excepting these towns and settlements west of the Missouri, the great rising plains between that river and the Rocky Mountains now forming the States of Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming were, but for a few trading-posts, absolutely uninhabited. There was but one railroad then extending from the Mississippi to the Missouri, from Hannibal to St. Joseph, Missouri. St. Louis was connected with this line by the North Missouri road. Railroad building in Iowa had not yet reached the western part of the State. There was another road extending westward from St. Louis, but it was completed for only about a hundred miles, to Jefferson City, the capital of the State, on the Missouri River. The only channels of communication for the entire region west of the Missouri River to and beyond the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific States were the Missouri River for steamboats, and the military roads established by the United States Government — that along the Arkansas River to New Mexico, known as the Santa Fé road, and those from Leavenworth and Omaha to Fort Kearny, and thence as a common route along the Platte and North Platte Rivers across the Rocky Mountains to Utah and beyond. Ox- and mule-teams, propelling heavy wagons holding from two to five tons, known as “prairie schooners,” were the ordinary means of transportation along these highways.

After reading up in the public Mercantile Library as well as possible regarding the region to be visited, in Government reports upon the explorations of Long, Pike, Frémont, and others, I started from Cincinnati at the end of February. I went to St. Louis and Jefferson City by rail, and at the latter point took a boat up the Missouri to Leavenworth, my immediate destination, as the best starting-point, according to common report, for “Pike's Peak.” As we made many landings, we were nearly thirty hours in making the trip. The boat was crowded with “Pike's-Peakers” (mostly young Western men) and their outfits. The river scenery was rather picturesque, though without any striking features, and much like that along the upper Mississippi. We stopped an hour at Kansas City, which was then nothing but a scattering village of a few dozen buildings, including some brick warehouses along the bank. It was the river landing for Westport, five miles inland, right on the boundary of Missouri and Kansas, a town of several thousand people, and famous throughout the West as the principal outfitting and receiving point for the Santa Fé or New Mexico trade. Every spring, large caravans of “prairie schooners,” consisting of from forty to eighty wagons, each hauled by ten to twelve oxen or as many mules, set out from that point laden with American goods, returning in the fall with full loads of Mexican wool, hides, and silver bullion. The site of Kansas City was formed by high and steep bluffs between which the streets extended. More unfavorable ground for the development of a town, not to speak of a city, could hardly be imagined; and if anybody had then tried to make me believe that within thirty years a city of 130,000 people would rise upon it, I should have considered him a ridiculous phantast. Yet this actually came to pass.

From Kansas City to Leavenworth the right bank of the river became more animated. Every few miles an embryo town appeared, beginning with Wyandotte at the mouth of the Kansas River and followed by Sumner, Doniphan, and several others whose names I do not remember. Most of them had but a brief, mushroom growth. Leavenworth presented a surprisingly imposing sight. A dozen steamboats were at the landing discharging and receiving passengers and goods, and making a scene of bustling activity. Above the levee, on a gradually ascending plateau, rose the town amphitheatrically. Though but five years old, its resident population was already between six and seven thousand, with a floating one of several thousand more. The main business street was solidly built up with brick and frame structures. The private residences spread out widely over the beautiful parklike rolling prairie with scattered natural groves of trees. The town was swarming with new-comers, and I found it hard to get lodgings anywhere. Over a thousand would-be “Pike's-Peakers” had already arrived, and hundreds were added daily to the number. All seemed as busy as they could be, and I had never seen so much activity in a place of the same size. Leavenworth seemed bound to become an important commercial centre, and the pretensions of Kansas City as a rival looked as absurd to me as they did to the denizens of Leavenworth. Yet Leavenworth soon stagnated, and even to-day hardly exceeds 20,000 in population.

I was well provided with letters of introduction, and quickly made numerous acquaintances. I found also an old one in John C. Vaughan, formerly one of the editors of the Chicago Tribune, a most cultivated and polished gentleman, but much addicted to drink. He, with his son Champion, who afterwards had a most erratic career, was in charge of the daily paper. As was natural, there was an extraordinarily large proportion of active, bright young fellows among the inhabitants, and they included an unusual percentage of professional men from the older Western and the Eastern States, with many Harvard and Yale graduates among them. All were eager to make their fortunes and confident of making them quickly. Every one was full of hope that plenty of gold would be found at “Pike's Peak,” which would surely lead to the rapid growth of their town into a large city. The large outfitting business already done with intending gold-seekers by the merchants justified this theory. Many were getting ready to go and see for themselves what promise of the precious metals the Rocky Mountains really held out.

I made it at once my special object to gather whatever information was obtainable as to past and present developments at Pike's Peak, and for that purpose not only canvassed Leavenworth, but also visited other river towns to the north of it, like Atchison and St. Joseph, which could be easily reached by boat. It was difficult to glean a few grains of fact from the piles of chaff of exaggeration and outright fiction that I found everywhere. All the river points, from Kansas City to Omaha, which had suffered more than other parts of the country from the subsidence of the speculative fever of 1855-7, saw a chance for a rapid revival in the Pike's Peak excitement, and all were working with might and main to feed it, through their local papers and by every other means. The recklessness with which these systematic efforts for enticing the public were carried on bore bitter fruit, as I shall presently have to relate.

The following is the substance of what I ascertained and reported to the Commercial. The first evidence of mineral wealth in the South Platte country was obtained in 1848 by a party of civilized Cherokee Indians, who reached it on a hunting expedition from the Indian Territory, and brought home with them some specimens of quartz-bearing gold. In due course of time, the news of their discovery reached some members of the tribe in Georgia, their old home. One Green Russell, who had been a gold-miner in Georgia as well as in California, heard the story on his return from the latter State, and in the spring of 1857 set out from Georgia with a party of experienced miners to investigate it on the ground. Untoward circumstances compelled the expedition to winter in Western Missouri. It resumed its march in February, 1858, up the Arkansas, over the Santa Fé route. It reached the base of the Rocky Mountains in May, and immediately commenced prospecting for gold. Indications of it were found along the South Platte and its tributaries, but nothing to justify regular mining operations, in consequence of which the expedition dissolved, only nine of the original hundred remaining with the leader. This remnant continued their explorations without satisfactory results, and finally camped on Cherry Creek for the winter. In the spring of 1858, Fall-Leaf, a Delaware Indian, appeared in Lawrence, Kansas, with a small quantity of scale gold which he claimed to have found at the head waters of the Arkansas. This led to the formation of a party of young men who set out in June, reached the base of Pike's Peak, explored the country north and south of it without finding more than the “color” of gold, and wintered also on Cherry Creek.

These expeditions led to the passage of an act by the Kansas Legislature organizing the “County of Arapahoe,” comprising the entire western part of the State to the Rocky Mountains; the State limits in that direction never having been defined. Later on, the Governor appointed the officials of this vast county, which included territory enough for a State. Early in the fall of 1858, a public meeting was held at Leavenworth to organize emigration to the gold region. In the first week of October, a large company of residents of Leavenworth commenced the pilgrimage across the Plains. They took the Arkansas route, reaching the base of the mountains by the middle of November. There they came up with the officers for Arapahoe County, and persuaded them to push on with them to the mouth of Cherry Creek.

Here they found the other parties already mentioned, as well as about one hundred and fifty former residents of Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa, making several hundred people, including two families. To this white population there were added during the winter fluctuating numbers of New Mexicans of Spanish-Indian extraction, and bands of Arapahoe Indians, who fortunately did not molest the new settlers beyond begging victuals of them. With true Western instinct, the first comers lost no time in starting the business of town-making. Their camps were spread over the bottom-land in the two angles formed by Cherry Creek and the South Platte and the low bluffs bordering them. On the left of Cherry Creek, a town site was taken up and called Auraria, and on the right bank another called Denver after the then Territorial Governor of Kansas. On both sides all went to work with a will, and during the winter about one hundred and twenty-five habitations of all sorts and of the rudest description — “dug outs,” “adobes,” log houses, and frame shanties, made with axe and saw alone — were put up, while many continued to occupy tents. The winter proved unexpectedly mild, with but light snowfalls. Enterprising tradesmen were among the settlers, and a few stores with limited supplies, and mechanics' shops, and, of course, some saloons also, were opened.

In spite of the most diligent search, I collected very little direct proof of the existence of gold at Pike's Peak. I felt warranted in saying through the columns of the Commercial that not over a thousand dollars' worth of wash-gold had reached the Missouri River towns from the Rocky Mountains. Green Russell arrived in Leavenworth during the winter, and brought with him about seventy ounces — the fruits of the prospecting of himself and companions during an entire summer. He was beset by eager questioners, but stated candidly that he found no conclusive evidence of really rich diggings, and that the gold he had with him paid him and his followers very poorly for the time and trouble spent in gathering it. He frankly advised against emigration on a large scale, but his warnings had very little effect.

I learned that the enterprising firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell, who did all the freight-carrying for the Government to the military posts on the Plains, had some time before received, from an agent they had sent to the Rocky Mountains to ascertain the facts, a report of so favorable a character that they had decided to start a stage line to Cherry Creek, and had already sent out mules to stock it. I called on the firm, and was told by the manager that I was correctly informed, and that they expected to be able to start the first stage within a fortnight. From all the information I had gathered, it was clear that, in the absence of all settlements for six-sevenths of the distance to the foot of the Rocky Mountains, I had only the choice between the stage and joining a party provided with wagons carrying camping equipage and supplies for a journey of from five to seven weeks. The danger from the numerous tribes of Indians roaming over the Plains had also to be considered. To spend so much time on the way did not suit me, and I decided to engage a seat in the first stage, for which the firm, out of compliment to me as a newspaper man, charged only half price. The travelling time to Cherry Creek was to be only one week.

Having worked up for the Commercial all the material procurable at Leavenworth, I decided to avail myself of an opportunity for a trip to Southern Kansas offered me by the kind invitation of the United States District Attorney, Alonzo G. Davis, a native of New York, to accompany him on an official mission to Fort Scott. As we were to go on horseback and camp by the way, I thought it would be a good preparation for the trip across the Plains. We were gone a week, during which I rode about one hundred and eighty miles in the saddle. Not having been on a horse in years, the first day's trip made me very sore, so that I had no enjoyment, but constant discomfort and pain all the way. Still, I stood it to the end without any suspicion of my sufferings on the part of my companions. We travelled over an unbroken stretch of rolling prairie of obviously extraordinary fertility. Sometimes we did not see a house for twenty miles, and we were guided most of the way by the compass. We passed only two or three small clusters of frame shanties, styled towns. Fort Scott proved to be an old trading post with a score of houses around it. The United States District Judge held court on two days, and I had a chance to see justice administered under the most primitive circumstances. There was no court-house, but the Judge sat in a school-house equipped with the rudest furniture. Both criminal and civil cases were tried. There being no place to confine prisoners, the United States marshal and his deputies had to keep them under constant watch at the only wretched hotel in the place. The effort to secure a jury failed entirely, owing to the scarcity of settlers.

On my return I learned that, for various reasons, the first stage of the “Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Express Co.,” as the new enterprise was called, would start a week later than I had been told. There was, however, no further postponement, and at the appointed time I got off, early in the morning, amid the cheers of a crowd of at least a thousand spectators, in one of the red-painted, canvas-covered vehicles, with three inside seats for three passengers each, known as “Concord coaches,” with four fine Kentucky mules attached that started on a full run. Strange to say, I was the only passenger, owing, no doubt, to the high charges (two hundred dollars), the untried nature of the line, the fear of Indian hostility, and, above all, to the prevailing uncertainty as to the actual state of things at Pike's Peak.

The first day, we followed the military road from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Riley, reaching the valley of the Kansas River after two hours travel, and keeping in it right along to the last-named point at the junction of the Kansas and its main branch, the Republican River. We rolled on, with many ups and downs, all day over a good dirt road at the rate of eight to ten miles an hour, fresh animals being taken on at regular stations from fifteen to twenty miles apart. The warm spring day could not have been finer. The undulating prairies looked beautiful in their fresh verdure. Even twenty-five miles west from Leavenworth, farms became few and far between. We passed a few new towns of very small dimensions, of which Manhattan, at the mouth of the “Blue” Fork, seemed the most promising. We continued on till we reached Junction City between nine and ten o'clock, where we stopped for the night. We had made one hundred and thirty miles in thirteen hours actual driving — a splendid record for the first day. Fort Riley was within half a mile. It was garrisoned by several companies of cavalry and infantry, and all the officers and at least a hundred men had turned out to receive the first stage. The opening of the line was quite an event in their monotonous life, especially as it promised a daily instead of a weekly mail. I was invited to the officers quarters, where I was regaled with eatables and drinkables, and lodged for the night in a very comfortable room. It was my last enjoyment of the luxury of a bed for a long time.

We started again at six in the morning, escorted by half a dozen cavalry officers, who kept us faithful and jolly company to the next stage station, where they took a hearty leave. Several of them I met again a few years later under circumstances that nobody dreamt of then, viz., in the field during the Civil War. We at once left the Kansas River and turned in a northwesterly direction. There was a sort of road for about two hundred miles further up the Kansas, but the stage company had preferred to locate a new route of its own, forming as direct a line as practicable to the settlements at Cherry Creek, and crossing the head waters of the various streams feeding Solomon Fork of the Kansas River, flowing southwardly, and (towards the end of the route) some of the tributaries of the North Platte, flowing northwardly. As the road passed from one divide to another, and as the great Plains rose steadily some five thousand feet from the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains, there were frequent and steep ascents and descents.

The stage stations had been necessarily selected with reference to water and grazing. They were simply small camps of one large and several small tents manned by three persons the station-keeper and an assistant, who took care of the twelve mules with which each station was provided for relays, and a male cook, who provided the meals for the two others and the stage passengers. The large tent served as sleeping- and dining-room for the latter, who were expected, as all travellers on the Plains did, to carry with them their bedding that is, buffalo robes or blankets, rolled up in a waterproof sheet. The mules were grazed under guard in the daytime and picketed at night, when they proved very annoying fellow-campers, as the invariable close approach of prowling prairie-wolves kept them in a panicky state.

The distance from Fort Riley to our destination was about five hundred miles, which it took us six and one-half days to make. There were twenty stations, and we made from three to four a day. We set out at daylight, and it took till dark to complete the prescribed daily run. There was a travelled road for only the first twenty-five miles, and for the rest of the long way we had to trust for guidance over the virgin ground to stakes and piles of stone and buffalo bones and dung erected by the locating party, and the mule tracks left in stocking the stations. The stage had no springs, and hence there was altogether too much jolting. I got out at every ascent, but none the less became sore and stiff, and was glad to stretch out on my blankets at the end of each day's journey. My fatigue ensured the soundest sleep, notwithstanding the hardness of my couch. The bracing prairie air, too, gave me an eager appetite for the two meals a day to which we were limited from want of time. The most magnificent weather favored us all the way.

The first two days from Fort Riley we saw nothing but a monotonous succession of plateaus, frequently broken by ridges, with fringes of cottonwood trees indicating water-courses. We knew that we were in a wilderness inhabited only by Indians and wild beasts. Of the presence of the latter, we had formal notice in the howling of wolves all around us at night. On the third day, we observed that the ordinary prairie grass had given way to the short, early species known as buffalo grass, which had already attained full growth. In the afternoon, the driver, as we came upon a new, long-stretched-out plateau, suddenly shouted, “Here they are,” and pointed with his whip at a long black line ahead of us. We were, indeed, in sight of buffaloes. We approached them apace, and, as we came nearer, one line after another appeared before us, and we perceived that we were going right among a large herd of the wild cattle of the Plains. Soon their clumsy, shaggy bodies could be seen in every direction, aggregating thousands of head, bulls and cows, and hundreds of calves. They were not mixed up in a common and great mass, but formed innumerable files, as it were, each headed by a powerful bull. They grazed very quietly, and our passage right through them did not disturb them in the least, though we came within twenty to thirty steps of several files. Only here and there some of the calves took alarm and broke into their clumsy gallop. We had rifles with us, and could have brought down numbers of them, but we forbore, as it would have been a useless slaughter, the stations being well provided with fresh meat. I had read of the steady pursuit of buffalo herds by wolves, and now saw confirmation of it. We counted scores of a large light-gray species hovering singly, like a chain of cowherd dogs, about the rear of the herd, ready to swoop down upon any unlucky laggard.

It took an hour to get through the herd. In the course of the afternoon, we passed another, and enjoyed the same spectacle repeatedly on the two following days. Some of the drivers, who had passed a long time on the Plains, asserted that we had struck the advance-guards of the millions starting early in the year from Texas and following the well-defined “buffalo range” to the British dominions during the spring and summer, returning in the fall and early winter. It was no exaggeration to say that we travelled for days amid buffaloes. At the end of the fifth day, we had passed beyond the belt of buffalo grass, and had gradually reached an altitude of nearly four thousand feet, the air steadily growing drier. Signs appeared that we had entered a more arid stretch of country. The soil turned gravelly. A species of short cactus began to prevail. The streams became mere streaks of red sand, so that water could be had only by digging for it. Willow bushes took the place of the belts of cottonwood trees along them, and finally even the willows disappeared. Prairie-dog villages, guarded by their comical barking occupants, abounded. Swarms of antelope came in sight, some of which scampered off as soon as they saw the coach, but others fell under the charm, as the drivers said, of its red color, and stood motionless while we came quite close to them. It was a delight to breathe the dry, fresh, and bracing air. The transparency of the atmosphere greatly widened the range of vision, and brought forth one mirage after another. Lakes lined with timber and dotted with islands appeared to right and left, while inverted mountain chains inspired us with awe. The illusive effects were truly wonderful.

Towards noon on the sixth day from Leavenworth, I noticed afar off to the southwest what seemed to be at first a cloud in a clear sky. I soon recognized it as a mountain peak, and judged, from the direction, that it could be no other than that named after Pike, the explorer. So it was, the great landmark thus showing itself in the rare atmosphere at a distance of not less than one hundred and fifty miles. I felt quite exalted by the sight. Within a few hours, another peak became visible to the northwest, which I took to be the twin of the other, named after Pike's associate Long. Before dark, many more summits directly to the west loomed up, indicating the outlines of the main chain of the Rocky Mountains.

An extraordinary incident occurred at the last night-station. The man in charge related to us that five days before, while hunting antelopes, he had suddenly discovered, a few miles from the station, five bodies of white men, four of them with broken skulls and otherwise mutilated. On closer examination, he found that there was still life in the uninjured one. He hurried back to the station for a wagon and fetched him into camp. It was evident that want of food and drink had brought the survivor, who was a very skeleton, to the point of death. Careful nursing revived him so far that he was able to relate how he got into his sad plight. He and twenty others, all from Northern Illinois, had left Kansas City six weeks before for Pike's Peak. They had, like so many others, foolishly concluded, on the recommendations of some reckless newspapers, to follow the example of the Mormon emigrants to Utah in crossing the Plains with small carts moved by hand. Thus equipped, they travelled up the Kansas River, and got along rapidly and without mishap to the point, two hundred miles west of Fort Riley, where the road ended. Thence they undertook to cut across the country for Cherry Creek, pulling and pushing their carts and trusting to a compass for guidance. After a few days they were caught in a snowstorm lasting two days. They suffered intensely from the exposure, became bewildered, and wandered at random. Their provisions gave out, and, exhausted from fatigue, hunger, and thirst, one after another dropped down and was left to die alone in the wilderness. When the survivors were reduced to twelve, brutalized by their sufferings, they entered into a horrible compact that they would live on each other, selected by lot. Some of the victims shot themselves, while others were deliberately killed by the remaining cannibals. The rescued man had three brothers in the party, and admitted that he had sustained himself on their bodies. Subsequent investigation by myself and others proved that his story was true. He was brought into Denver ten days later, physically recovered, but his mind was affected. He insisted that his name was Blue, while an inquiry at his home showed it to be Green.

During our last day's drive, the view of the mountains grew more and more imposing, as we gradually ascended the last and highest plateau of the Plains, forming the dividing ridge between the waters of the Kansas and of the South Platte Rivers. At noon we had reached its very crest, and there to the west and north and south one of the grandest sights to be beheld anywhere in the world was spread out before me. Between my standpoint and the great range lay the basin of the South Platte, which was clearly discernible with its half a dozen tributaries from the west and east. The valley seemed from fifty to seventy miles wide, though broken by many intervening ridges. For three hundred miles, the mighty mountains extended to the right and left, flanked on the south by the great cones of Pike's Peak and the Spanish Peaks, and to the north by the buttress-like form of Long's Peak. They seemed to form an immense wall dividing the continent as if by an impassable barrier. From their summits half-way down, they were all covered with snow, and thence to their base with unbroken forests.

The last fifty miles of our way formed a steady decline, and we spun along at the rate of eight to ten miles an hour. Just as the setting sun was gorgeously illuminating the range, the stage made a final halt in front of the log-house in Denver that represented the headquarters of the stage company. Our coming was not expected, but the glad intelligence that the first overland stage was arriving spread instantly on both banks of Cherry Creek, and the whole population quickly turned out to see it. We brought a mail of several hundred letters and newspapers, the announcement of which fact drew three cheers for the Express Company. It was a great boon, the last news from the Missouri River being nearly five weeks old. Of course, I was the centre of attraction and overwhelmed with questions. Some one proposed that I should tell the news from the “States” to them all, and I was made to mount a log and entertain the audience for half an hour with what had happened during the four weeks before my departure, for which I got a vote of thanks, and which secured me at once the good will of all the settlers.