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NEWS OF 150 YEARS AGO

September of 1859

Editions of the Missouri Democrat throughout 1859 featured numerous articles on the "Pike's Peakers", those who had gone to Colorado to seek their fortunes in the gold fields there. In 1825, Jake and Sam Hawken formed a partnership to manufacture firearms in St. Louis. Hawken rifles gained a reputation as the best on the frontier, owned by such notables as Auguste Chouteau, Jim Bridger, Charles Bent, Kit Carson, and John C. Fremont. Jake died in the 1849 cholera epidemic, and Sam turned his business over to his son William S. Hawken and his partner Tristam Campbell in 1855. Sam retired to Denver in 1859 and wrote to the following letter to the Democrat reporting on his experiences in Colorado.

From The Missouri Democrat, Monday, September 12, 1859.

FROM THE GOLD MINES.

A LETTER FROM UNCLE SAM HAWKEN.

DENVER CITY, K.T., Aug. 29, 1859

Editors of the Missouri Democrat:

Well, here I am, in the new El Dorado of the far distant West, in the thriving city of Denver, which is situated at the mouth of the famous Cherry Creek; and as it is now customary almost with every one to write home something for the newspapers, giving their opinions and ideas of this country, &c., I think that I am entitled to say something myself in regard to this country, for I am one amongst the oldest men that crossed the Plains for the ever memorable Peak this spring, footing as I did nearly all the way with my rifle on my shoulder, a good part of the time, which is a distance, I think, of near 800 miles.

After a residence of thirty-seven years in St. Louis amongst you, I think I have some little claims upon the St. Louis press, and believing so, I shall ask your indulgence to give my letter publication in your journal. I will now give you a hasty sketch of my trip across the Plains, and then give you my opinion of the "gold mines."

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From The Missouri Democrat, Tuesday, September 27, 1859.

FOURTH ANNUAL FAIR
OF THE
Saint Louis
Agricultural & Mechanical
ASSOCIATION

OPENING DAY!

Twenty Thousand People Present!

MILITARY REVIEW!

Immense Display of Fruits, Vegetables, Stock, and Works of Art

Murder--Fatal Accident--Interesting Incidents, &c. &c. &c.

The opening day of the Great Fair, under the auspices of the St. Louis Agricultural and Mechanical Association, yesterday, was a grand affair. The city for a week past has been gradually filling up, and the height has hardly been reached yet.

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