Wyoming Gold Reports 1855
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    Oct 2016
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    Wyoming Gold Reports 1855

    The August 5, 1855 edition of The New York Herald featured a lengthy travelogue from the Weston Missouri Reporter describing, among other things, a group of Mormons from Salt Lake who "were industriously engaged at dam-ming and turning the bed of the Sweetwater," not far from Devil’s Gate, looking for gold.

    The men found silver in large quantity; and one man was said to have found $40 worth of gold in a single day. "There is no doubt in my mind but rich deposits of gold will be found in the Sweetwater country," the men concluded. The full text of the article is as follows:
    THE NEW YORK HERALD
    New York, New York
    August 5, 1855

    INTERESTING FROM UTAH AND THE PLAINS
    –––––––––
    The last Weston Missouri Reporter publishes a letter from a recent traveler across the Plains, which contains a good deal of interesting information. The writer left Salt Lake City on the 29th of May, at which time business was very dull, and the prospect for crops very poor, owing to the dry weather and the destruction of almost everything by the grasshoppers. Many of the fields of wheat were entirely eaten off, and the ground looked as bare as when it was first plowed. Even with the most favorable change, the crop would not come to one fourth on average, as the grasshoppers were increasing and the weather dry.
    Mr. Holman, District Attorney of the United States for Utah, was left at South Platte. He is on his way to Washington, and is bearer of dispatches from Colonel Steptoe to the War Department. The roads were in fine condition, but the grass was very poor until the party got to Fort Bridger, beyond the grasshopper region. No Indians or whites were met on the road until the party reached Sweetwater. There they found some thirty or forty persons exploring for gold, where it is supposed it will be found in pretty large quantities.
    Gold signs were seen and particles of gold had been found, but not in qualities satisfactory to seekers. They were at work, however, very energetically, confident of full success. Mr. C. L. Craig, of St. Joseph, was at the head of the principal party, all of them were Mormons from the Valley, and were industriously engaged at damming and turning the bed of the Sweetwater, which is the most speedy way of coming at the object of their hopes.
    This enterprise had been undertaken a little below where Strawberry Creek empties into the Sweetwater. This a portion of the Indian country where I would fear as many Indian troubles as any other. In fact, a few miles below, at Devil's Gate and Independence Rock, the traders were very much alarmed, having had several threats from the Indians about the time we passed. Every animal about Independence Rock had been stolen by the Sioux.
    I saw a letter to C.L. Craig, from one of the gold seekers, who was about one hundred miles from the body of the party, and near the Devil's Gate, which stated that he had found large quantities of silver, and that a man in that vicinity had taken $10 worth of gold in a day. There is no doubt in my mind but that rich deposits of gold will be found in the Sweetwater country. Numbers of the emigrants last year found it in passing up that beautiful stream. I saw and brought home some of it with me.
    Gold has also been discovered on the Medicine Bow, a stream southwest of Fort Laramie. A band of two hundred Arapaho Indians were encamped a short distance from Medicine Bow river. They were peaceable, but told Mr. Archambeau, the Indian trader, that they were awaiting the arrival of the troops from the States; and, if war took place between the Sioux Indians and the troops, they intended to join the strongest party.
    Emigrants were first met at Platte Bridge, about the 9th of June. They were in good health, and getting along well. The Sioux had stolen twelve horses from them at Ash Hollow.
    The Sweetwater Miner reported that a Georgian working for the American Fur Company had first discovered gold near South Pass in 1842, but that Indians killed him before he could develop his bonanza. Much later, in 1869, a newspaper in Chicago, repeated this tidbit of history:
    CHICAGO TRIBUNE
    Chicago, Illinois
    May 22, 1869
    A writer in the Sweetwater Mines, published in South Pass City, Wyoming Territory, says gold was first discovered in that region in 1842 by a Georgian, who was killed by the Indians while returning to the States to organize a party to work the mines.

 

 

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