Four miners find gold!

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Four miners find gold! - The Mriko! Here l Artist Clinrleg Russell's...
The Mriko! Here l Artist Clinrleg Russell's frraplilc portrayal of the "Gold Discovery In Last riiAnrp Giilrh." These are two of the Four Georgians who stopped for th night bjr a little creek running Into the Prlrkly rear. They dug a few holee, struck it rich and Iast Chance gulch was off to a roaring start. Russell's originnl picture of the discovery is in the collection of Dr. Phillip G. Cole of New York. Last Chance Turned Out Well For Four Georgians, And Many Who Came Later Many Disagree on "the Spot" But One Thing Is Certain, There Was Gold in Them Thar Little Gulches By I. W. Bonier Elghfy-three years ago Monday July 14, 1864 four tired prospectors en route to Alder gulch diggings from a luckless trip Into the headwaters of the Teton and Marias rivers stopped to spend the night by a creek sheltered In the mountain fastness. As a "last chance" venture before calling It quits, the four derided to wash a few pans. A glint of pold and its ring In the miner's pan spawned a roaring mining ramp and later the wealthy Capital city of the Treasure state Helena. The four men were the now re-nownpd Four Georgians. The gold was the first of a fortune panned, luired and now dredged out of Last Chance gulch. The Four Georgians John Cowan, Reginald (Bob) Stanley, D. J. Miller and George Crabb named the gulch long before the gold strike was made. While they were searching the mountains for their fortunes, more than once a remark was dropped about that little creek running Into the Prickly Pear as being their "last chance." So, Last Chance became the name of the camp. However, that wasn't to last long. The story is the name Helena, and be sure of the accent on the "Hel." was selected at a gathering of the miners Oct. 30, 1864. A Minne-sotan, one John Sommerville, championed the name of his former home Helena. The story of the Last Chance gulch discovery, told and retold thousands of times, is one of the adventurous west, its hopes for a lucky strike which made fortunes spent freely and not always wise. The first gold to come out of Last Chance gulch's rocky floor was near the present site, of Wall street, that one-block street between South Main and South ' Park. It was there that the Four Georgians struck pay dirt, i Controversy existed for some jtime over the exact location strike. Claims varied from Hale square to way up the gulch. Agreement ihas been reached now that the strike was made on Wall street near the alley on the southern side. The name "Four Georgians" Is believed to be somewhat of a misnomer. Cowan and Crabb were Georgians, probably from around Dahlonega which was among the first places where gold mining started in the U. S. Stanley was from London, England. One of the most Important factors In fixing the location of the discovery is a deed of Aug. 41, 1S66, from Cowan, Miller and Stanley to William L. Gibson and William Roe for a consideration of $15,000. The deed stated it was for "the discovery ground in Rattlesnake district. Last Chance gulch being 1,050 feet up and down the gulch; including the long cabin now occupied by them (the discoverers) situated on the upper end of the discovery ground . . ." Researchers state this is the only deed for mining property, of record, from the discoverers for the discovery ground from the Discovery company. It is also thought that Crabb, the fourth discoverer, became disgusted with the rapid Influx of civilization and moved over to Nelson gulch, selling out to the other three. Measurements show it is 1,050 feet from Edwards (called Potter for a time in 1866 for John Potter, first postmaster of Helena) to Bridge, now State street. Therefore, researchers think it is logical to assume that State street on the south and Edwards on the north were the north and south lines of the discovery claim, marking as they do the north and south boundaries of original block No. 1 laid out by Wood, Cutler and Bruce as the first town commissioners. The pay stratum of the discoverers is believed to have been a small one, being only 18 inches wide and' four feet thick. Father Palladino, one of the first Jesuits in Montana and a his torian, said gold was discovered "a little above" where Wall street is today. W. M. Sprague, another oldtlmer, said the first sluice boxes were set where the First National bank (now Weggenman's market) was and "they had a little ditch and were making $3 or $4 a day." They moved to another spot nearby and are believed to have taken out J50.000 each in two years. Delvers into old records found many other Interesting reports on Wall street. Incidental to their search to properly locate the discovery claim. Montana history was made cm Wall street. The old First National bank at Wall and Main, was the first national bank in Montana. As financial agent for the U. S. it handled all the army pay rolls and Indian disbursements and most of the early day Indian agents and army officers, Including Sherman, Sheridan, Terry Gibbon and Crook, were visitors from time to time. D. E. Folsom, rancher near what is now White Sulphur Springs, after his trip through the present Yellowstone park in 1869, was invited by N. P. Langford and Samuel T. Hauser to tell his experiences to a number of Helena men interested in that area. Langford, collector of internal revenue; Truman C. Evarts, assessor, and his assistant, Walter Tmmbell, and Hauser all had of fices in the bank building. King and Gillette had a store next door. They had talked of exploring the headwaters of the Yellowstone as early as 1866 at meetings in the directors' room In the bank. The expedition, which General Washburn headed, was. planned In that bank. After it returned, other meetings were conducted by Billy Claggett, Montana's second representative in congress, who introduced legislation creating the park. The building is the real birthplace of Yellowstone park and the national park system. The building burned once and was reconstructed immediately and later remodeled by subsequent owners. Wall street itself was deeded to the city by its owners after a building on it burned, the old Idaho meat market, in 1869. The bank named it Wall street because of financial Interests near it. Wall street gained its present width when the Gans and Klein building was torn down in the early part of this decade. Wall is now a widened cut off between Park and Main without so much as a market to relate the extensive role this one-block street played in the history of Helena, Montana and the west. Home In Cut Bank Is Scene of Very Gay Parties Cut Bank, July 12. The home of Dr. and Mrs. James S. Clark, who were absent on a vacation trip, gave evidence on their return of having been the scene of some wild parties. Not only was there vandalism, but empty beer and liquor b'ottles strewed the place. Several teen-age boys and girls were reported to be involved. The case went to tire probation officer, Mrs. Clara Withee. Hathaway F a r m e r Is Displaying Tall Flax Stalks Miles City, July 12. Fred Bar ringer, Hathaway area farmer, is displaying in a local window a sample of flax stalks, picked at random from his 45-acre patch. The stalks are 2 feet tall and grew without Irrigation, some thing very unusual in that sec tion. Barrlnger says flax crop prospects about Hathaway are fine. . In Phoenix, Ariz., motorists who leave their keys in the Ignition switch may be charged with misdemeanor, subject to six months in jail and $300 fine. It is a step to curb car thefts by Juvenile Joy riders.

Clipped from
  1. The Independent-Record,
  2. 13 Jul 1947, Sun,
  3. Page 9

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