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Prospector near Pike's Peak (Colorado)

Zebulon Pike. Famous for giving his name to "Pike's peak" in Colorado which he discovered in 1806.

Men on horseback, Las Animas, Colorado, ca 1900

Gold miners combed the Rocky Mountains, including the slopes of Pikes Peak, during the first gold rush of 1859.

Eureka, CO 1900. I love this photo by William Henry Jackson.

On April 22, 1862, Congress establishes the U.S. Mint in Denver, Colorado. Why Denver? That's where private companies already were minting gold coins and ingots out of the gold dust brought by miners during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush.

Miner Boy: Children were cheap labor in the mines. This boy spent 10 hours a day in that outfit with only the light from that tallow wick lamp. He cleaned & played the part of a "canary" (kids were easier to replace than good miners). He was probably Finnish or Swedish & indentured to the company for the purpose of paying his fathers debts. The unions fought bloody battles to get these children out of the coal mines. This little guy worked (& likely died) in Utah or Colorado mines / Scott Cooper

One of the best known female prospectors was Ellen Elliot Jack of Colorado, who is pictured about 1910. Ellen was born in England, but came to the Far West in 1872 after the tragic death of her husband and children. In addition to mining, she was also an early woman business owner.