Saturday, December 28, 2019

Silver Mining in Colorado – The History Behind the Story By Donna Schlachter --with Giveaway

Modern-day Silverton, Colorado
Denver and Rio Grande work train on the westside of Marshall Pass. Colorado Historical Society

When most people think about opening up the Wild West, they picture cowboys, wagon trains, and, of course, the gold rush. And all of those would be true and very important to the reasons why folks left the relative comforts of the East—that being everything east of the Mississippi—to head into the Great Unknown.

Typical mining town in the mountains
Sure, there were many other reasons for the Westward Migration, including the promise of cheap land—or land at all, since so many lived in sharecropper or tenement situations in the east. There were also those scoundrels on the run from the law, and in the years just prior to the setting of my story, 1880, the country went through a civil war. So folks headed west in hope of maintaining slaves, in hopes of escaping slavery, and simply in hopes of escaping the whole war thing.

A rail bicycle invented to travel the miles of underground tunnels
Some were adventurers, like Becky’s father, who simply couldn’t let a horizon stay in front of him but wanted to see beyond every mountain and every body of water separating him from “over there.”

The Colorado Gold Rush started in 1858 and lasted until around 1861, and brought thousands of miners, ancillary workers such as drovers, liverymen, blacksmiths, prostitutes, saloon keepers, and swindlers. However, apart from a few areas such as Cripple Creek, which saw its biggest mining deep into the 1890s, most of the gold petered out as quick as it was found.

An interesting tidbit is that silver was discovered because so many were looking for gold. Exactly twenty years after gold was first discovered, silver was found in the area of Leadville and covering a three-hundred-mile swath from the San Juan Mountains to the Foothills west of Denver.

Robert Campbell, in the book, learns of this find, and heads for southwest Colorado, intent on getting in on the ground floor of silver mining in the area. Little did he know that the wealth he counted on would evaporate less than fifteen years later when the government stopped minting silver dollars, a decision that increased gold prices and sent silver prices into the basement.

Leave a comment and be entered into a random drawing for an ebook copy of Double Jeopardy.

Double Jeopardy is available at, and fine booksellers in your area.

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About Donna:

Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick. As a hybrid author, she writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Sisters In Crime, and Christian Authors Network; facilitates a critique group; and teaches writing classes online and in person. Donna also ghostwrites, edits, and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management. Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!



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  1. Visit Jerome Arizona years ago it's an old mining town too. I try to image places like that in the glory days. cheetahthecat1986ATgmailDOTcom

  2. Thanks for the post. I like the comment about Becky's father, who had to get over every "next" hill. Thanks for the giveaway, too, but I have way too many ebooks at the moment. If my name comes up, please draw for someone else. Happy New Year!

  3. Thanks for the opportunity to learn more history! I have visited Leadville and had learned a little of the history behind that area. Thanks also for the giveaway - the story sounds like a fabulous read! bettimace(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. Visiting Silverton always takes me to another time.