Buckskin Joes History

Extra!  Extra!  The Buckskin Bugle reports!Strange Man Discovers Gold: Gets Town Named after Him. – 1861
Joseph Higgenbottom, not very popular in socialite circles, recently led an expedition into the Mosquito Mountain Pass.  A nice enough man, although a little odd, he struck it rich in the Alma region of Colorado.  An explosion of people immediately began scouring the nearby hills in search of precious ore and minerals.  Many found glory in high country; overnight, a mining camp was built.  It didn’t take the people too long to turn the camp into our beloved town, complete with its own bank, a general store-post office, and several dance halls.  When questioned about its success, Mr. Higgenbottom shrugged.  Said he, “Gold brings out the best in everybody.”  A town meeting was called last night.  The folks want to change the name of the town from “Laurette” to Buckskin Joe, inspired, of course, by the peculiar wardrobe choices of Mr. Higgenbottom, who, as is known locally, seems to possess only one set of clothes which happens to be of a buckskin material.  When asked if he did indeed have another set of clothes besides the ones he always wore, Mr. Higgenbottom replied, “Why for?  Thayze warm.”1,238 People Too Sick to Work – 1861
An epidemic has spread, making many in the town too ill to work in the minds.  Dr. Billy Jones insists that everyone should remain calm, keep near their beds, and tend to the sick if they are healthy enough to do so.  Already, people are attempting to evacuate Buckskin Joe.  Dr. Jones may have isolated the cause of such a wide spread sickness, but will not comment as to what it is.  “I have to be sure…and I hope I’m wrong.”Sickness Confirmed – Smallpox takes up residence; Denver deserts Us All – 1861
The population of our beloved town is in drastic decline as the recent epidemic ravages the community.  Dr. Jones believes it to be a nasty case of the smallpox.  “Symptoms include fever, vomiting, weakness, and death.  Of course, if you’re dead, there’s nothing I can do.”  Smallpox is notorious for leaving scars on the flesh of human survivors.
In vain, Dr. Jones has sent for help from Fairplay, Alma, and Denver.  There’s talk of quarantining the entire settlement until the epidemic passes.  
“I’ve sent for help,” says Dr. Jones.  “So far, none have answered.  I’m doing my best to recruit local caregivers out of those still healthy.  Of course, no one wants to get sick.” As of this writing, hundreds of able-bodied people are attempting to evacuate Buckskin until the ordeal passes.  “Might as well get away now,” Dr. Jones says.  “While you still can.”

Who Needs Doctors when We Have Legends? – 1865    
A beautiful dance hall girl known locally as Silver Heels refused to leave Buckskin despite the risk of sickness in the Epidemic of 1862.  Daring to go where even doctors feared to tread; braving smallpox by looking it in the face of every sick miner she has cared for, she fell ill and locked herself away in her cabin, refusing visitors.  The town decided unanimously to gather as much money as they could and wanted to give it to her as a reward for her compassion.  When they arrived at her cabin, however, she was nowhere to be found.  Most, if not all of her belongings remained behind.  There is a good deal of speculation as to where she has gone.  The locals, of course, have immortalized her forever by naming the highest peak overlooking the town Mt. Silver Heels.  Some say she still dwells in the heart of our cemetery, weeping over those lost so long ago.

Every Town Has its Day – 1874
With the mill closing in 1866, most of Buckskin’s folks have moved on in search of other venues of success.  Buckskin Joe resembles more of an abandoned ghost town.  We, of course, cannot survive as a paper on forty-six patrons, but we want to wish our sincere luck and give our deepest gratitude to those of you left.  Buckskin Joe has made its mark on Colorado History, pulling in more than $1,600,000 for the region.  We are proud to say that we were a part of it…we love it here, we just don’t want to go bankrupt.  While the days of the Buckskin Bugle are over, the spirit of Buckskin Joe will live in our hearts.


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