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Friday, November 23, 2012

MY WESTWARD TREK Chapter 17


Gold Miners
courtesy photobucket.com
 
The house Virgil bought wasn't very large but it had a good size barn and a few acres.  

He and Morgan increased the size of the corral, for he had six horses and a pack mule. Then he filled the barn with hay so his wife could feed the stock while he was away in the hills panning for gold.

They bought plenty of food stuffs and prepared to head for the gold fields.

Morgan had fixed him-self a room in the barn, while Virgil slept in his bed in the house. This was the last time he could do that for at least a month when he would return for more food.

They took their guns and plenty of ammunition for they didn't know what they would face upon arriving at their claim.

When they arrived they discovered a couple of claim jumpers working the claim but they left as soon as Virgil pulled his gun and cocked it.  He shot in the air by accident so he said and that sped up the men's departure.

An old miner came by, and asked for a job for his claim played out, and he was broke.  Neither Virgil nor Morgan knew as much about mining as the old man did, so they took him on, and he taught them many secrets for getting the most from their mine.

The first month went by fast and they were doing very good with the old man’s help, when they decided Virgil should return and replenish their supplies. He was gone several days, taking the gold they had found and when he arrived home, he converted it to dollars, and placed it in the bank.

A lot of miners had been robbed while on the way to Sacramento but Virgil stayed off the regular trail, and had no trouble.

While he was gone the two of them struck a vein that produced a lot of gold. By the time Virgil returned they had become rich. The old man was invaluable, and they rewarded him accordingly.  For the next few months they worked the same vein till it ran out and winter was coming on.

It was time to return home and bank their earnings. Without telling anyone the three set out before daylight and were well on their way by sun up.

They took a route that no one else would travel. Although it added an extra day to their journey, they always had the high ground, and it would have been difficult for robbers to sneak up on them.  Without any trouble they made it to town and to the bank.

They paid the old miner his share, and divided the rest between themselves.   The old man figured that he had enough of mining, and so he took a job cleaning the saloon for a few dollars plus room and board.

Morgan had decided to spend the winter at the claim in the shack that was there. It had a good cook stove, and could heat the shack also.

Virgil returned to the claim with Morgan and carried enough supplies for the winter. It took both the pack mule and a horse to carry it. Then Virgil returned with the animals, and prepared to spend the winter with his wife.

Between cutting wood and a little work at the claim Morgan was kept busy but being alone his thoughts were about Bessie, and his coming wedding next year. He tried to picture her face and her shape. Sometimes the image of Ellie would cause Bessie's likeness to fade away.  He couldn't understand why that was so.

Morgan was prepared for the coming months with wood and supplies, and during the bad weather he would have time to read some books he had traded for.

He would visit the claim every clear day and from time to time he would find a nugget that had washed out of the ground. It was too cold and the ground too hard to try to mine for gold.  

To be Continued!

 

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