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The Mining and Cattle Frontiers

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1 The Mining and Cattle Frontiers

2 St. Elmo, Colorado

3 The Mining Frontier What led people out the Frontier?
The possibility of riches. Result: The development of towns that appeared in many cases almost overnight. These became known as instant towns. For example in 1858, the “Pike’s Peak or Bust” emigration led to 25,000 people moving without verification of any gold or silver. This was all part of a reaction to the “Gold Rush” from 1849.

4 Cherry Creek and Denver City
On the east side of Cherry Creek in Colorado near Pike’s Peak, a man named William Larimer, Jr. set up a city to take advantage of the movement of people and made a fortune. This place was named Denver City.

5 Virginia City A ton of gold ore was worth $1595.
A ton of silver ore was worth $4791. The discovery became known as the Comstock Lode. Henry T.P. Comstock did not make the discovery but did make $11,000 and lost it later in other attempts to be rich. In 1859, a new discovery was made in Nevada. Many came from areas like Cherry Creek when they heard about “blue stuff” that had been discovered. It was silver.

6 Work in the Comstock Lode

7 The Big Bonanza In 1873, John W. McKay along with James Graham Fair, James C. Flood, and William S. O’Brien created the Consolidated Virginia and California Mine Company). There discovery, the Big Bonanza would bring in over 190 million dollars.

8 The change in mining The move from small, individual efforts to large corporative mining became a reality in the West. Corporate efforts used new technologies and large equipment to more efficiently mine the new finds. However, this was expensive. Where did the money come from? Eastern capital

9 Instant (Boom) Towns The most common criminal activities included horse stealing, cattle rustling, bank robbery, and train robbery. Vigilante groups were both supported and feared by settlers on the Plains. Although they fulfilled the role of providing essential law and order, they also used their power to pursue personal vendettas. People could be ‘arrested’ because of their race or because they threatened the power of the vigilantes. However, in the absence of official forces, the settlers were forced to accept their services. Towns attracted gamblers, thieves, and murderers, as well as eager miners. Many times the law enforcement agencies-US Marshalls and Deputies-were many days ride from these towns. Who made the law and who enforced it? The people: vigilante justice

10 With the development of the railroads across the Great Plains, beginning with the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869, the federal and state governments were able to enforce the law more effectively, although there were still problems. Federal officials were appointed for every state by the US government in Washington, DC, and each territory and state was given a clear legal framework. The US government, in the person of the president, appointed a US marshal for each territory or state. The work of the US marshal was extremely difficult, as he was responsible for enforcing the law over a vast area - communications were limited and transport slow. The US marshals chose deputy US marshals to cover sections of their territory or state, making the imposition of law and order more feasible. Backing up the US marshals were three judges appointed by the US president for each territory or state. However, the judges, like the US marshals, had too large an area to cover effectively. Prisoners waited months for trial, and risked the possibility of vigilante attack while languishing in jail. At the local level, towns and counties appointed their own sheriffs and marshals. Towns employed town marshals to enforce the law locally. They often had the hardest job of all the law enforcers, as some frontier towns were frequently overrun by lawless, gun-toting gangs or individuals. Town marshals such as Wyatt Earp in Tombstone had to try to enforce some sort of order. Earp made a career out of law enforcement, initially being employed by the marshal in Wichita, Kansas, moving to Dodge City as assistant marshal in 1876, and then taking an appointment at Tombstone, Arizona. Here he attempted to end the lawlessness and cattle rustling that were endemic in the town, culminating in the notorious gunfight at the OK Corral in Rural counties outside the towns elected a county sheriff who served for a two year period; the sheriffs, too, faced the problem of covering vast areas with limited time and resources.

11 The most famous event in Tombstone's history was the famed Gunfight at the OK Corral, which didn't actually happen at the corral, but in a vacant lot on Fremont Street. On October 26, 1881, members of the "Cowboys" had a run-in with Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp with help from Wyatt's friend Doc Holliday. 24 seconds and 30 shots later, Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury were mortally wounded. In many peoples opinion, it was this one event that has kept Tombstone alive for all these years. Tombstone

12 Jesse James and his brother Frank James

13 The Mining Act: 1866 Enacted the rules and laws many miners themselves had agreed to in these towns.

14 The significance of the mining frontier
Expanded settlement from the Rocky Mountains to the Sierra Nevada range. People learned of the great mineral resources to be found and mined. It provided impetus for railroads, farmers, and the cattle ranchers to follow. Many farmers would stay and farm after the mines were emptied. Cattle ranchers had a population to sell their product Between $12 billion in gold and silver was found

15 Significance continued
A legacy of folklore developed thanks to writings like those of Mark Twain. The Indian Wars Many Instant (Boom) Towns became Ghost Towns

16 Ghost town: South Pass City, Wyoming

17 The Cattle Kingdom In the 1860s, cattle trade was big business. Those who worked on the cattle drives became known as cowboys. Who was a typical cowboy?

18 Cowboys Where were they from?
About 1/3 were former slaves, and the rest a combination of emigrants and immigrants (especially Mexicans) and many former Confederate soldiers. What did they earn? About $.80 a day (15 hour day); $25 per month Typical meal? beans, cattle liver, kidney meat, cattle brains and intestines. Or, a lot of it thrown together in a stew-Son of a Gun Stew What did they have? Typically 8 to 10 horses

19 Cowboys What types of jobs did they have?
On the cattle drives, typical jobs include; “pointers”-who road in front as guides; usually two and “drags”-who would ride behind to keep track of weaker cattle in the rear (usually 3). This left another 11 to 13 cowboys on the sides who communicated through hand signals, 1 captain and 1 “cookie”.

20 What did cowboys fear? Indian Raids Poor weather Stampedes
Cattle drives typically included over 3000 head of cattle over 2 to 4 months and hundreds of miles.

21 A cowboy’s prized possessions?
boots saddle hat horses

22 The cowboy as hero Why is the cowboy remembered as a hero?
He was usually a loner, good at outdoor work, skilled on horseback, on always traveling

23 The cowboy The idea of the “cowboy” originated in Mexico. The terminology is a great clue: saddle, lariat, chaps, boots, spurs, the big hat, sombrero, rodeo, 6 shooter

24 Cattle Trails


26 The cow town Another type of instant town began to develop along the cattle trails. These were the places that railroads crossed the trails. They became places for strangers to gamble, drink and enjoy company of others.

27 Abilene, Kansas Joseph G. McCoy made this cow town prosper.
In 1867, he bought the entire town for $2400. He built a shipping yard, big barn, and a three-story hotel (in 60 days). Sept, 1867: 1st shipment of 20 car loads of cattle. By 1869: He made $250,000 in commissions from the Kansas Pacific Railroad. He made more for the sale of one lot in Abilene than he paid for all of it just two years before.

28 The End of the Open Range
Railroads had become successes and everyone wanted to invest in cattle; TOO many cattle hit the market driving down prices. In 1885 and 1886 poor weather weakened cattle and wiped out some herds. Family farms were beginning to take more and more land and put up fences. Corporations had begun making cattle raising a scientific, large-scale business. Cowboys became cowhands working year round.

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