Hat Creek Dateline: 1878/01/29

Last updated: April 8, 2013

The Lusk Herald
April 3, 1991


New gold rush underway
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer


There is a new "gold rush" going on about 50 miles north of here. This rush is for "black gold," crude oil was discovered bubbling from a spring near Jenney Stockade a few weeks ago. Many miners from Deadwood City have rushed to the prairies west of the stockade to stake their claims. The area is becoming dotted with "claim cabins."

Lieutenant George F. Chase, who is now in command of Third Cavalry troops at the Red Cloud Agency, (Fort Robinson) has organized a stock company for the purpose of sinking a test well near the new petroleum springs. This is the same Lieutenant Chase who captured the road agents, John Babcock and Fonce Rines near Rawhide Buttes last November. Chase, a West Point graduate, was tutored by his brother, Henry, before his appointment to the academy

Henry Chase is the stage station agent and postmaster at Rawhide Buttes. His is a graduate of Dartmouth College and a very remarkable man. He has studied astronomy, medicine, civil engineering and is an expert carpenter. Chase is a great reader of Byron, Tennyson, and Shakespeare. It was in his home in Virginia that Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

After his wife died, Henry came west. He had a ranch on Pole Creek for a while, then he went to work for the stage company. In a skirmish with Indians at the Pole Creek Ranch he had a close call when his horse was shot out from under him.

The bill to create "Lincoln Territory" from parts of the Dakota, Wyo. and Montana territories failed to pass in the second session of the 45th Congress. The interest in organizing the new territory was brought about, because of the increase in gold panning activity in the Sand Creek area in northeastern Wyoming. A new mail route has been inaugurated to serve the area, it leaves from Jenney Stockade, staying on the western side of the Black Hills.

Many of the prospectors have been leaving the Black Hills, since most of the discoveries there are now turning into large mines. Reported discoveries have beckoned them to new diggings on Crazy Woman Creek near the Big Horn Mountains. Many of them also shouldered their picks and shovels and headed for several locations in southern Wyoming, Douglas Creek in the Medicine Bow Range, the Grand Encampment Valley south of Rawlins, and Dale Creek near Cheyenne. Glowing stories also have them heading for Leadville, Colo., and Sitka, Alaska.

(Information source: "The Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage and Express Routes," by Agnes Wright Spring.")




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