Highlights from the
140 years ago
Characteristics of Some of the Men who Court Her Favors Sleeping, Eating,
And Drinking in the Gambling Houses in Leadville.
Saturday, March 3, 1883
Fortune often fails to smile on the most ambitious and deserving. In no place is this more noticeable than in Leadville, where every day men court the fickle goddess. It has been said before, we believe, that “one half the world does not know how the other half lives.” To localize the expression, it can be as truthfully said that one half the people of Leadville do not know how the other half lives. After many of the stores along Harrison avenue, State and Chestnut streets have closed, a CHRONICLE reporter last evening strolled along these streets the better to gain a knowledge, if possible, of the characteristics of the habitues of the gambling houses. Starting down Harrison avenue toward the gulch, he entered many of these houses, and a scene, it may be called, of desolation was in many places presented to his view. On the tables, in the chairs, even on the floor, were men sleeping. Some had been drunk, others had been wearied out by the day’s excitement at the gaming table, and many had lain down heedless of the wife and family that were waiting anxiously at home for their coming, disconsolate with their ill luck. At some of these houses it was worse than others, but, taken as a whole, in one group they show how fickle fortune is and how fanciful are her vagaries. A bar-tender in one place on State street was the only one who could explain how it was that these men came to lie down in the houses in which they gambled.
“How is it?” he said. “Why, because they have got no money to go elsewhere.”
“How do you know this?”
“Because those who are not nightly lodgers come and ask to be permitted to lie down on the tables and elsewhere.”
“Then you have nightly boarders?”
“Yes, sir. But what I mean by that is the men who are nothing but vagrants. They loaf around the gambling houses and if they can borrow any money they try their luck. If it is good and they win they at once make it an object to get drunk and get put away. As soon as they are [out] again, though, they come back to their old haunts.”
“Do many of these men lay any claim to respectability?”
“Yes, sir; many of them are the sons or near relations of many highly respectable eastern and European families.”
“I suppose they were all possessed of wealth once?”
“Yes, sir; many of them have been worth a great deal of money, but have squandered it in mining and gambling.”
“Do they ever complain of their condition?”
“Very often they come to some of us and ask for a little money to take them away from Leadville. One case of this sort in particular I remember. A young Polish count had come to this country and out to Colorado. He was engaged in mining in the neighborhood of Red Cliff, and was successful. In 1880 he came to Leadville and fell into dissipated habits until he had squandered all his cash and sold his mine, and was in a short time penniless. I gave him twenty dollars, as I am a Pole myself, to take him to Denver. He went there, and I heard no more of him for three or four months, when I saw in the newspapers that he had committed suicide by drowning himself in the Platte. This is only one of the many cases, however, which could be told.”
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THE STAGE ROBBERY.
Details of the Capture of the Perpetrators of the Outrage.
How Judge, Forrest, Lawrence and Sears Came to Be Arrested.
The trial of the Aspen stage robbers now in progress arouses interest in the story of their escape and capture. The robbing was a bungling affair throughout and the arrest of the perpetrators was accomplished by the perfidy of one of the participants. A gentleman who has taken a lively interest in the hunting down and bringing to justice of the robbers, yesterday, in communication with a CHRONICLE reporter, gave the details of their capture, which will be read with interest. He said:
“As is already known, after the committal of the robbery, Judge remained in Leadville for a time. He found, however, that things were getting too hot for him, and made up his mind to go to his old haunts in Texas. He took with him Bryant B. Sears, a young man who had been associated with him in stealing horses. They took the most difficult and unfrequented route through the mountains. They finally brought up in Wise county, Texas. There Judge began to organize a band of horse thieves, and wanted Sears to stand in with him. Sears objected to this scheme, and declared he was ‘tired of the business.’ Judge replied angrily, ‘Well, if you don’t I will.’ Two or three days after this conversation Judge started out of camp early in the morning, leaving Sears in charge of it, with two horses and most of whatever booty Judge had received as his share of the proceeds of the robbery. As soon as Judge had got out of sight Sears saddled one of the horses, leading the other, and, taking what valuables were in camp, started off to the county seat of Wise county. Judge returned to the camp in the evening and found everything missing. He at once struck his tent and also went into the town. There he discovered Sears and found that he had sold the jewelry. He then went to the sheriff of Wise county, T. R. Allen, and complained that Sears had robbed him. Sears was accordingly arrested by a deputy sheriff. He thereupon made a statement that Judge was getting up a horse-stealing scheme, and had him also locked up. Sheriff Allen’s suspicions were aroused, and, knowing of the Aspen stage robbery, at once telegraphed United States Marshal Smith. That gentleman wired back, telling Sheriff Allen to hold the two men until he should arrive. In a few days the marshal arrived, and on his entering the apartment where Judge and Sears were incarcerated, the former exclaimed: ‘Well, boys, it’s all up; we’ll have to go back to Colorado.’ Before Marshal Smith’s arrival, Judge sent a letter to Gov. Grant, declaring his complicity in the Aspen stage robbery, and also giving the names of his confederates. The governor at once turned the matter over to the postal authorities, and the result was that Jack Lawrence was arrested for doing the holding up, and also Harry Forrest, the stage driver, for being a party to the conspiracy. Judge and Sears were brought on here in the custody of Sheriff Allen and United States Marshal Smith. On the train dire threats of violence were made by Judge against Sears. He at one time went so far as to threaten to murder him. On nearing Leadville Judge asked to be allowed to make a confession. Marshal Smith would not listen to him. Judge, however, obtained a book and wrote down a statement, which was substantially the same as that printed in Saturday’s CHRONICLE. That is the whole story now.”
THE OTHER WORLD.
A Chronicle Reporter, Through a Trance Medium, Has an Interview.
With the Second Adam, King of the Jews and Redeemer.
Saturday, March 17, 1883
In a morning paper the following advertisement was inserted yesterday morning:
“Ladies and gentlemen who wish to consult the Second Adam, the King of the Jews, the Redeemer, may do so by calling at ___ Poplar street.”
A reporter of THE CHRONICLE, walking listlessly along Poplar street this morning, noticed on the east side of the street, near Seventh, a low frame dwelling. Nailed to the door was a small sign which conveyed the information that Mrs. La Pierre lived there, and that she was a clairvoyant. There is a mysterious air about the building, but this only added to the news-gatherer’s desire to enter. Cautiously approaching the door and feeling if he had his pistol with him, he knocked. No one answered, and the sound of his knuckles a second time on the door resounded through the entry way. He tried it a third time, and this time his persevering efforts were crowned with success. The rickety door creaked on its hinges, and there appeared the head of a woman whose face bore an if-you-don’t-go-away-I’ll-paralyze-you look.
“Is Mrs. La Pierre in?” queried the trembling reporter.
“Oui, monsieur. Je Suis la femme.”
“I can not speak much French, madame.”
“Tres bien (very well). I am ze lady.”
“I wish to consult the second Adam, the King of the Jews, the Redeemer, about the place of my future abode.”
“Il est bien (it is well). Walk in, sare.”
The reporter was ushered into what seemed to him a chamber of hades, for it was as dark as that place is declared to be. He was followed by Mrs. La Pierre, who struck a light which gave the reporter’s surroundings a novel, sombre and ominous appearance.
“Now, sare, we will consult ze King of ze Jews. I will go into ze trance, and you can zay any questions you pleaze.”
The woman then settled into her chair, and was soon, as the reporter thought, in the arms of Jesus. She soon began to make motions as though she would like to fly, and the reporter thought he would begin his interruptions. He tried the usual telephone salute of “hello, hello,” but could receive no response. Finally he said:
“Are you the second Adam, the King of the Jews, the Redeemer?”
“Yes, my beloved son, what wouldst thou have me do for thee?”
“Can you inform me if I will ever be permitted to cross the golden river?”
“Yes, thou and all thy kin, for newspaper men are mine, and indeed shall yet dwell in the land flowing with milk and honey.”
“Will any of Leadville’s politicians dwell there also?”
“Mayor Dougan is a true and holy man, but the others shall gnash their teeth yet for their wickedness.”
“How about Sheriff Becker?”
“He, too, is one of the number.”
“Will those who endeavored to force the net output bill on the people go there also?”
“Yes, my son, they, too, are numbered with the damned.”
The reporter thought he would make himself scarce then. He had investigated sufficiently into the affairs of the other world to know that all newspaper men go to heaven, so he quietly sneaked out of the room and left the madame still in her trance.
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