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Immigration and Early Settlement

Immigration and Early Settlement > The Economy > Pike's Peak Gold Rush
16 Topic Specific Items
Photograph, Pike's Peak-Street in Denver City, Kansas Territory
Author: No authors specified.
Date: Between 1858 and 1860

Photograph of an illustration captioned Pike's Peak-Street in Denver, Kansas Territory. It shows buildings on both sides of the street, people, and wagons. The source for the drawing is unknown.

Keywords: Denver City, Kansas Territory; Photographs and Illustrations; Streets

Letter, J. J. I. [John J. Ingalls] to Dear Father [Elias T. Ingalls]
Author: Ingalls, John James
Date: October 24, 1858

After nearly two weeks in the territory, Ingalls was somewhat more optimistic about his prospects, and in this letter to his father, Elias Ingalls, John Ingalls wrote of the gold rush and his legal business, which "opens very well." but he was still weary of "social conditions," as there were no churches in Sumner and "a total disregard of the Sabbath." Atchison, where he had gone in a futile search for an Episcopal Church, was little better in this regard.

Keywords: Atchison, Kansas Territory; Churches; Community life; Courts; Free state settlers; Ingalls, John James, 1833-1900; Lawsuits; Pikes Peak gold rush; Religion; Sumner, Kansas Territory; Weather

Photograph, Pike's Peak Emigrants, St. Joseph, Missouri
Author: Bierstadt Bros., Photographers, N. Bedford, Mass.
Date: 1859

A view of Pike's Peak emigrants in St. Joseph, Missouri., 1859. Photographed by Bierstadt Bros., Photographers, N. Bedford, Mass.

Keywords: Bierstadt, Albert; Covered wagons; Emigration and immigration; Mules; Penton, White & Co. Pike's Peak Passenger & Freight Express Company; Photographs and Illustrations; St. Joseph, Missouri

Letter, Albert C. Morton to Mr. Hill
Author: Guthrie, Abelard
Date: January 8, 1859

Albert Morton wrote from Leavenworth City, Kansas Territory, to Hiram Hill in Massachusetts. Morton reported that there was "a good deal of excitement out for Pikes Peak" and many Leavenworth citizens spoke of traveling there to dig for gold the following spring. His investments were not earning him much money, and he expressed his desire to sell land in order to pay what he owed to Hill and Abelard Guthrie.

Keywords: Guthrie, Abelard; Hill, Hiram; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Morton, Albert C.; Pikes Peak gold rush; Quindaro, Kansas Territory; Railroad companies

Letter, W.T. Sherman to James B. Goddard
Author: Sherman, William T. ((William Tecumseh), 1820-1891
Date: January 17, 1859

From Leavenworth, W.T. Sherman wrote to a correspondent in Louisville, Ohio, regarding the uncertain prospects of "the Gold Mines of Kansas." He speculated that the Pikes Peak mines would yield some gold but nothing like the mines of California and Australia, and offered some travel advice.

Keywords: California; Fort Riley, Kansas Territory; Goddard, James B.; Gold mines and mining; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Ohio; Pikes Peak gold rush; Salt Lake, Utah; Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891

Letter, J. J. I. [John James Ingalls] to Dear Father [Elias T. Ingalls]
Author: Ingalls, John James
Date: March 15, 1859

Although Ingalls began this relatively brief letter from Sumner with comments on the local election (he won the race for city attorney), he devoted most of it to the Pike's Peak Gold Rush--"the amount and character of the emigration to Pike's Peak is truly astonishing. . . . [T] military roads are already thronged with anxious hundreds, on foot, dragging hand carts, on mules, and with ox teams."

Keywords: Business; Cities and towns; Economic conditions; Elections; Ingalls, John James, 1833-1900; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Lecompte, Samuel D. (Samuel Dexter), 1814-1888; Medary, S. (Samuel), 1801-1864; Pettit, John; Pikes Peak gold rush; Sumner, Kansas Territory; Town site speculation; Travel

Letter, Tho. Ewing Jr to Dir Sir [William F. Roelofson]
Author: Ewing, Jr., Thomas , 1829-1896
Date: March 26, 1859

In this March 26, 1859, letter to William F. Roelofson, London, England, T. Ewing, Jr., discussed an investment but also observed: "The city streets are black with the swarms of Pikes Peakers and our prospects are better now than ever. We are getting 2/3rds of the whole of this emigration: and our merchants are doing an enormous business in outfitting for the mines."

Keywords: Commerce; Ewing, Thomas, 1829-1896; Gold mines and mining; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; London, England; Merchants; Pikes Peak gold rush; Railroads; Roelofson, William F.

Letter, Wm H Goode to Rev. J. Denison
Author: Goode, William H.
Date: July 18, 1859

William Goode wrote to Joseph Denison from a camp at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Goode described "forbidding" circumstances at the start of their journey West, having met a "great stampede" of settlers returning East. However, upon arrival at the mining operations, Goode found the settlement orderly, provisions plentiful, and the landscape beautiful. Though he hesitated to speculate, Goode predicted that the following year would be prosperous for mining enterprises.

Keywords: Business enterprises; Denison, Joseph; Emigration and immigration; Goode, William H.; Landscape; Mining; Pikes Peak gold rush; Rocky Mountains

Letter, H. H. Ropes to Dear Sir [George Collamore]
Author: Ropes, H.H.
Date: November 12, 1859

H. H. Ropes wrote from Barilyar[?], New England, to George Collamore in Kansas Territory. Ropes inquired after, presumably, a family member, Edward, as he had not heard word from him for a long time. Ropes also commented on the poor reporting of the "Herald of Freedom," owned by George W. Brown, commenting to Collamore that "you have never yet had a decent newspaper out there."

Keywords: Arapahoe County, Kansas Territory; Brown, George W. (George Washington), 1820-1915; Collamore, George W.; Colorado; Denver City, Kansas Territory; Herald of Freedom; Mining; Newspapers; Ropes, H.H.

Letter, John McCannon to Capt. James Montgomery
Author: McCannon, John
Date: December 24, 1859

John McCannon, writing from Clear Creek, K. T., a location that is currently in Colorado, described politics and the economy in the gold mining region of western Kansas Territory. McCannon commented on the formation of the Territory of Jefferson, an extralegal government formed in 1859 by residents of Arapahoe County, K. T. in 1859. McCannon also mentioned mining activities in the area.

Keywords: Arapahoe County, Kansas Territory; Clear Creek, Kansas Territory; Colorado; Colorado gold fields; Gold mines and mining; McCannon, John; Montgomery, James, 1814-1871; Territory of Jefferson

The New Gold Mines of Western Kansas, Second Edition
Author: Parsons, William B.
Date: 1859

This booklet contained a description of the gold mines in the Cherry Creek and Pike's Peak regions of Kansas Territory. It included information on routes, campling places, equipment needed, and "everything important for the emingant and miner to know." It had advertisements for businesses in St. Louis, Missouri, and Lawrence, Kansas Territory,

Keywords: Advertisements; Arapahoe County, Kansas Territory; Cherry Creek, Kansas Territory; Colorado; Gold mines and mining; Pikes Peak gold rush; Travel

Contract, Investment partnership of B.F. Dalton and Edward E. Ropes
Author: Dalton, Benjamin F. ; Ropes, Edward E.
Date: April 5, 1860

Benjamin F. Dalton and Edward E. Ropes each agreed to divide interest in their assets (land, provisions, and equipment) in half in order to go into the gold mining business in western Nebraska and Kansas Territories. This contract outlines the details of the agreement, which was signed and witnesses by George Collamore and Charles Ingersoll.

Keywords: Business enterprises; Collamore, George W.; Dalton, Benjamin F.; Gold mines and mining; Ingersoll, Charles; Kansas Territory; Land claims; Legal documents; Merchandise; Nebraska Territory; Ropes, Edward E.

Certificate, mining claim for H. C. Childs
Author: Stansell, J. B.
Date: September 19, 1860

Stansell was the recorder for Buckskin Joe's mining district and signed the certificate showing Childs was the owner of mining claim No. 28 SW on the Bates Lode. Apparently, since the certificate was printed by the Rocky Mountain News Printing Company, this district was located in Arapahoe County, which became part of the state of Colorado.

Keywords: Arapahoe County, Kansas Territory; Certificates; Childs, H. C.; Colorado gold fields; Gold mines and mining; Mining claims; Stansell, J. B.

Letter, Ford to My dear Learnard [Oscar E.]
Author: Ford
Date: November 14, 1860

This piece of correspondence was written by a man named Ford, from Missouri City, Arapaho Co., (later part of Colorado Territory). Ford had apparently left Burlington, Kansas Territory for "gold country" the previous year. He related some of his experiences in the gold fields and his desire to return to Kansas. Ford intended to stay "until I make enough to pay me for coming here and some more if I can," and he mentioned additional discoveries in the San Juan Mountains in Mexico, which caused "a great rush for those diggins."

Keywords: Arapahoe County, Kansas Territory; Burlington, Kansas Territory; Coffey County, Kansas Territory; Colorado; Colorado gold fields; Gold mines and mining; Learnard, Oscar E., 1832-1911; Missouri City, Kansas Territory; Pikes Peak gold rush

Hints and Information for the use of Emigrants to Pike's Peak Embracing a Concise and Comprehensive Sketch of the Gold Region, the Best Routes, Points of Outfit, etc.
Author: Drake, Samuel Adams
Date: 1860

This printed guide to those intending to go the the gold fields near Pike's Peak included a short history of the region since the discovery of the gold and a list of distances from Leavenworth via various locations to Denver City. It contained various tips about how to prepare for the trip. The pamphlet also promoted Leavenworth as "superior to any point on the border" and contained information about the city and the businesses there. For example, the pamphlet listed the number of various kinds of businesses, manufacturers, occupations, and social institutions in Leavenworth. A hand written note on the item indicated the information in the pamphlet was published in the Leavenworth Daily Times on February 14, 1860.

Keywords: Business enterprises; Denver City, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Pikes Peak gold rush; Retail businesses; Town promotion; Travel

Photograph, Denver City, K.T.
Author: No authors specified.
Date: December 15, 1860

Photograph of an illustration captioned "The Kansas Gold Region-View of Auraria and Denver City, Cherry Creek, near Long's Peak." The drawing was made by Col. D. H. Huyett and was published in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, December 15, 1860.

Keywords: Denver City, Kansas Territory; Huyett, D. H.; Photographs and Illustrations

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Letter, J. J. I. [John J. Ingalls] to Dear Father [Elias T. Ingalls]
Authors: Ingalls, John James
Date:  October 5, 1858
On his first full day in Sumner, Ingalls penned a second letter to his father to convey his first impressions of "that Promised Land." The reality Ingalls found and described was quite different than what was depicted in "the lithographic fiction" he had been shown back East. Other than the hotel, the "city" was composed of a "few log huts and miserable cabins . . . None of the premises are fenced," wrote Ingalls, "the whole place being open to the incursions of dogs and pigs which exist in large numbers and seem in fact to constitute the greater amount of the population." Virtually everything about the place distressed Ingalls, who was "quite unable to convey to you any definite idea of the disappointment, not unmingled with anger and mortification with which I contemplate the State of affairs here."

Keywords: Business enterprises; Commerce; Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad Company; Houses; Ingalls, John James, 1833-1900; Livestock; Pikes Peak gold rush; Sumner, Kansas Territory; Town development; Town promotion


Letter, J. J. I. [John J. Ingalls] to Dear Father [Elias T. Ingalls]
Authors: Ingalls, John James
Date:  October 24, 1858
After nearly two weeks in the territory, Ingalls was somewhat more optimistic about his prospects, and in this letter to his father, Elias Ingalls, John Ingalls wrote of the gold rush and his legal business, which "opens very well." but he was still weary of "social conditions," as there were no churches in Sumner and "a total disregard of the Sabbath." Atchison, where he had gone in a futile search for an Episcopal Church, was little better in this regard.

Keywords: Atchison, Kansas Territory; Churches; Community life; Courts; Free state settlers; Ingalls, John James, 1833-1900; Lawsuits; Pikes Peak gold rush; Religion; Sumner, Kansas Territory; Weather


Letter, Chas. Chadwick to Hiram Hill
Authors: Chadwick, Charles
Date:  November 17 & 24, 1858
Charles Chadwick wrote from Quindaro, Kansas Territory, to Hiram Hill in Massachusetts, defending Quindaro from rumors that deemed the town defunct. Chadwick blamed the bad management of the Town Company for the current troubles, and described various opportunities Quindaro still had for further development. Though property was not selling at all, according to Chadwick, prospects for future railroad and ferry traffic still were positive. He expressed his disappointment at Robert Lawrence, and accused him of giving Chadwick a false impression of the likelihood of Hill winning the land claim dispute with Robert Robetaille. A businessman had landed with a great deal of machinery looking to build a "manufactory", and Quindaro's investors were doing all they could to woo him.

Keywords: Business enterprises; Causin, Nathanial Pope; Chadwick, Charles; Ferries; Gold mines and mining; Hill, Hiram; Land claim disputes; Lawrence, Robert J.; Pikes Peak gold rush; Quindaro Chindowan; Quindaro, Kansas Territory; Railroad companies; Real estate investment; Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Timber; Town development; Wyandotte County, Kansas Territory


Letter, J. J. I. [John James Ingalls] to Dear Father [Elias T. Ingalls]
Authors: Ingalls, John James
Date:  November 21, 1858
Much of this interesting letter, dated November 21, 1858, from Sumner, describes the Ingalls law practice and the nature of a "frontier" court proceedings that often attracted "nearly all the population." According to Ingalls, "the chief difficulty arising [in the courts came] from the conflict of the two Codes, adopted by two hostile legislatures, each of which had adherents who call the other 'bogus.'" Ingalls also discussed the business of land sales, as something many successfully combine with the practice of law.

Keywords: Adams, Henry J.; Atchison County, Kansas Territory; Coal; Courts; Ingalls, John James, 1833-1900; Land sales; Lawyers; Lecompte, Samuel D. (Samuel Dexter), 1814-1888; Pikes Peak gold rush; Sumner, Kansas Territory; Thanksgiving Day; Weather


Letter, J. J. I. [John James Ingalls] to Dear Father [Elias T. Ingalls]
Authors: Ingalls, John James
Date:  January 2, 1859
From Lawrence, K.T., where he went to lobby the territorial legislature on behalf of Sumner's city charter and a "Pikes Peak Express Company," John J. Ingalls wrote to tell his father about the journey that took him through Leavenworth. He made some interesting observations about the condition of the roads and the general discomfort involved in overland travel ("The coaches are constructed with special reference to safety in passing over corduroy roads, through sloughs and ravines, having no regard whatever to the comfort of the passengers."), as well as nice descriptions of both cities, Leavenworth and Lawrence.

Keywords: Delaware Indian lands, Kansas Territory; Delaware Indians; Eldridge House; Ferries; Ingalls, John James, 1833-1900; Kansas Legislature; Kansas River, Kansas Territory; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Pikes Peak gold rush; Roads; Stagecoaches; Sumner, Kansas Territory; Territorial government; Transportation; Wakarusa River


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