Pride of the West Mine

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This page is part of the Donna Nevens Collection.

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The Pride of the West mine is located at the end of the North Fork of the South Arkansas. William L. Billin managed the North Fork Consolidated Mining and Tunnel Company, which operated the Pride of the West lode. Thomas Penrose wrote in his statement:

‘When the arch was built at the Pride of the West Tunnel, an Irishman by the name of Regan was the chief stone mason, and as I had been born and raised in the Parish of St. Agnes in Cornwall, and as a man by the name of Bennett was working there at the time who also came from St. Agnes, he got a quart bottle of beer and threw it at the arch and christened it ‘St. Agnes’ at the time it was finished.’

Pride of the West location certificate — surveyed August 19 & 20, 1880.

Chaffee County Times typescript — contains description of the North Fork Consolidated Mining and Tunnel Company.

Shavano Band
Shavano Band. Thomas Penrose is 4th from the left. This photograph was taken near the Billings Tunnel ca. 1880s.

‘While working at the Billings tunnel, we had a brass band consisting of about ten or twelve pieces. We came down to Maysville for the Fourth of July celebration with the band, played for a picnic there, and received $150 for our trouble. Kid Vernon, who had a livery stable at Maysville, and was later killed by Wilson,  was sent for to bring the band down from the tunnel to Maysville. Maysville was booming at the time, and was probably about at its best. There must have been over a thousand people living in Maysville at the time….From Maysville, Kid Vernon took us down to Poncha. There Major Hulbert invited us to dinner and after that we played some on the street, and from there went to the favorite saloon which was across the street from where Appleby’s store is now. We went back to Maysville that night, and as there was a big dance on at the Knight’s of  Pythias Hall, we were called on there to play some more. Bill Shaw was in Maysville at the time, and was at the dance, which, of course, lasted all night.’

-from the statement of Thomas Penrose

In 1882, several lawsuits were filed against the company for goods and services provided to the company. One suit was filed by a local bank for over $4000 owed on a loan to the company. Here is the July 8 Complaint and the July 13 Complaint. A Writ of Attachment was executed by the Sheriff on all real and personal property, including all buildings. Another suit contained amounts due to five Maysville merchants for goods and services. In 1884, the company defaulted on promissory notes and the company’s mines, buildings, and personal property were sold at auction in Philadelphia. As a result of another local lawsuit, another Writ was executed by the Sheriff in March 1887 and various items were sold at auction.

 

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