Commerce in the Old West

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Commerce in the Old West

Turns out, this page is a Timeline, but it is also a manifest/invoice/parts list and more, of the burgeoning commerce brought to the West by the European invasion. Starting with the era of trade and barter; what sort of goods were moving in commerce in the Old West? Here we will list the items and sometimes the manifests, sales receipts and inventories, etc. that give us dates, contemporary values and where the item was being traded, sold or transported. In time, everyone: Native Americans, the Mountain Men, the Spanish, the new “Americans” and numerous foreigners became involved in the growing economy.







Always bartered, traded, sold, stolen and killed for…

For related information in Old West Daily Reader


1500’s to presentGold Exploration and mining
Began with the arrival of the Spanish in the Southwest;
of course, maybe earlier, if you buy the Aztec legends…
The Originals Index – Lost Treasures in the Old West


1740’s to 1840’sThe Fur Trade

OWDR Beaver Pelt - A Made Beaver - Commerce in the Old West1742 – One made beaver* for one pound of shot or three flints; four pelts for one pound of powder; ten for a pistol; twenty for a trade gun.
Hudson’s Bay Company (principally Indian trade)
Photo: U.S. PD?, internet (finished pelts would be off the frame).
*References – DictionaryMade Beaver


1759Stepan Glotov arrives in Unalaska, Alaska with the first Russian Fur Trading expedition.

1778 – During the third voyage of Captain James Cook, while sailing north to search for the fabled Northwest Passage, they spent a month in Nootka Sound, on the Northwest Coast and they traded with the Nuu-chah-nulth from the village of Yuquot, collecting 300+ furs, mostly sea otter. They thought them of little value. However, after Cook was killed in Hawaii, the expedition visited Canton, China and were quite surprised to learn just how much the Chinese were willing to pay for the furs. They made an 1,800% profit on their stock. When accounts of Cook’s voyage reached the English public in the 1780’s, it triggered a rush of entrepreneurial voyages to the Northwest Coast.

Beads Crow - Lt Blue - Commerce in the Old WestA made beaver was worth: six Hudson’s Bay beads, three light blue Crow beads and two larger transparent beads. Hudson’s Bay Co. standard value at trading posts. (Indian trade)
The Originals Index – Trade in the Old West – Beads in Old West Trade

1785 – The first British trading vessel dispatched to the Northwest Coast solely for the purpose of the fur trade, was the Sea Otter, commanded by James Hanna. During his visit to the coast, he obtained 560 pelts, which brought a profit of $20,000 in Canton, China. Soon, there would be more traders; British interest in the maritime fur trade peaked between 1785 and 1794.

1788 – The first American traders, Robert Gray and John Kendrick, arrived in the Pacific Northwest by sea in the ships Columbia Rediviva and Lady Washington. After the 1789 fur trading season, Gray sailed the Columbia Rediviva to China via Hawaii, then to Boston via the Cape of Good Hope. Their arrival in Boston completed the first American circumnavigation of the world. Gray made a second voyage from 1790 to 1793, during which he found the mouth of the Columbia River* (named it for his ship).  {001}
*Wk. 19, 05/11/1792

Gold-Dust - Commerce in the Old West1792 Gold: $19.75 oz. (Troy)
U.S. Government set price.
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos – Mining Mineralsgold

Native Silver - Commerce in the Old West1792Silver: $1.32 oz. (Troy), 15 to 1 with gold. 15 ounces of silver bought one ounce of gold.
U.S. Government set price.
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos – Mining Mineralssilver

1799 Russian-American Company founded.


1803 – Flour, tobacco, pork, bacon, lard, feathers, cider, butter, and cheese.
Wk. 43, 10/27/1795 – New Orleans

1803 – The Louisiana Purchase Treaty doubles the size of the United States at less than 3 cents per acre.
Wk. 27, 07/04/1803

1810 – 1813 – Pacific Fur Company

1810 (08/23) – John Jacob Astor paid $37,860* to Fanning & Coles for a 10-gun merchant vessel, the 290-ton bark, Tonquin**. She was to be used by the Pacific Fur Company (Astor had a half-interest) in the fur trade on the Northwest coast of America.  United States Navy lieutenant Jonathan Thorn took two years leave and assumed command of the vessel.  {001]
*2018 equivalent est. – $
*built in New York 1807
see also:
The Originals Index – Expeditions)

1810 (09/08) – The bark Tonquin departed the New York, bound for the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest with a crew of 34, including Captain Thorn. Also aboard were four partners of the company: Duncan McDougall, David and Robert Stuart, and Alexander McKay. As staff for the trading post to be established, a dozen clerks, 13 Canadian voyageurs and four tradesmen: Augustus Roussel, a blacksmith; Johann Koaster, a carpenter; Job Aitkem, a boat builder; and George Bell, a cooper. Cargo on board included fur trade goods, seeds, building material for a trading post, tools, and the frame of a schooner to be used in the coastal trade.  {001}

1811 (02/12) –  The Pacific Fur Company‘s trading bark, Tonquin, re-provisions in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii). They trade “glass beads, iron rings, needles, cotton cloth” for cabbage, sugar cane, purple yams, taro, coconuts watermelon, breadfruit, hogs, goats, two sheep and poultry. A company agent already in the islands provided further meat supplies.  {001}

1811 (03/22) – The Pacific Fur Company’s trading bark Tonquin arrives at the mouth of the Columbia River (WA) to establish a trading post to trade for furs with Native Americans to supply China’s Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1912). (Mostly northern Sea Otter for clothing decoration.) Trading for: silk, tea, ceramics, porcelain, sugar, cassia, curios and other Chinese goods to be sold in the Eastern U.S. American maritime fur traders took their furs to the Chinese port of Guangzhou (Canton), where they worked within the established Canton system.  {001}
Wk. 12, 03/22/1811 – The Bark Tonquin

End Pacific Fur Company References

1810 – 1830 – The increase in Pacific and Orient trade bring in new items that have significant impact on Native American material cultures. This caused the rise of such traditions as fabric appliqué (Button Blankets*) and metalwork, and contributed to a cultural fluorescence with the advent of improved (iron) tools that allowed the creation of more and larger carvings, including “totem poles”. New pigments became available, including vermilion from China, which rapidly replaced earlier red pigments. Archeologists note their use on numerous artifacts from this era. Northwest Coast engraved silver jewelry originated around this time as native craftsmen learned to make jewelry from coins.
References – Dictionary Button Blankets

1812 -1841 – The Russian-American Company operated Colony Ross, (today, Fort Ross) just north of San Francisco Bay. It was RAC’s southernmost outpost, established as an agricultural base for supplying the northern settlements with food as well as for conducting trade with Spanish Alta California. Port Rumianstev at Bodega Harbor served as the administrative center. Several satellite settlements spread out over an area stretching from Point Arena to Tomales Bay and there were three ranches: the Kostromitinov Ranch on the Russian River near the mouth of Willow Creek, the Khlebnikov Ranch in the Salmon Creek valley about a mile (1.6 km) north of the present day Bodega, and the Chernykh Ranch near present-day Graton. An artel hunting camp was located on the Farallon Islands. Fort Ross employed native Alaskans to hunt seals and sea otters on the California coast. By 1840 California’s sea otter population had been severely depleted and the fur trade was almost over.

1811 -The “New Orleans“, the  first steamboat to journey along the Mississippi River, set sail from Pittsburgh, PA, and headed toward New Orleans, LA. The 82-day, 981-mile successful expedition proved the feasibility of steam travel and opened the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys for trade, creating a national market for farm goods.
Wk. 42, 10/22/1811

Bacon-1 1/2 cents per pound
Salt Pork-75 cents per hundred
Horses-$15-20 each
Oxen-$30 a yoke
Large Steers-$10 each
U.S. Army Quartermaster, Fort Leavenworth, KS  – paid to locals for supplies.

1832Steamboat Warrior
A private vessel, leased by the military (Black Hawk War) and afterwards a supply vessel (one of a dozen or so, supplying Ft. Snelling, MN).
see also:
Wk. 31, 08/01/1832 – Battle of Bad Axe
Wk. 25, 06/24/1835 – Steamboat Warrior
Wk. 29, 07/16/1835 – Steamboat Warrior

Bents Fort Hide Press - Commerce in the Old West1830’s – 1840’sBent’s Old Fort: trading with the Indians for buffalo robes (finished tanned hides, hair on), also pronghorn and beaver, probably others as well. A fine English wool blanket traded for four buffalo robes. Buffalo hides were put into a heavy press and packed ten to a bale for shipment east by wagon. Photo: U.S. PD, Bent’s Fort, CO – a modern replica of the old press.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Western Forts and Trading Posts
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Animals – Mammals
Beaver, Bison, Pronghorn

1833 – 1839Fort Jackson, CO
A Fur Trading Post
Claimed $10,000 in furs shipped in one year.
see also:
The Originals Index – Western Forts and Trading Posts

1834Gold $20.67 oz. (Troy)
U.S. Government set price.

1837 –  Alcohol (pint) $4
blanket $20
coffee (pint) $2
cotton shirt $5
sugar (pint) $2
tobacco (lb.) $2
Made Beaver* would be purchased from the trappers at from four to five dollars per pound.
Rendezvous on the Green River at Horse Creek (to-be Wyoming)
see also:
References – DictionaryMade Beaver
Wk. 27, 07/05/1837

1830’s -50’s to Present – Cotton
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation PhotosSteamboats – 5th photo

1840’sEnd of the major Fur Trade in North America.

1840–42Mountain Man Jim Beckwourth worked from Fort Saint Vrain (now in Colorado), floating bison hides and tongues 2,000 miles (3,200 km) down the South Platte/North Platte/Missouri River system to St. Louis, MO. Likely a journey of at least 50 to 60 days, perhaps more. Most of it through Indian country, but before the major hostilities on the plains. (Maybe a little hump meat as well?)  {001}
see also:
Wk.  – Jim Beckwourth
The Originals Index – Western Forts and Trading Posts

1840’sThe Fur Trade is winding down, it’s almost over…

1840’s – early 1900’s – Buffalo Bones: they didn’t mine them, they were there to be picked up from the ground on the vast prairie. Here is the story of boneblack and fertilizer…  {001}
The Originals Index – Cow? What Cow? Buffalo?

Fifty wagons departed Independence, MO, guided by John Gantt for $1 per person. An estimated 300+ men, women and children. Accumulating more settlers along the trail, their numbers had more than doubled by the time the train had reached Topeka, KS. They would be five months on the Oregon Trail.
Wk. 21, 05/22/1843

1840 – 1900… Gold Fever.
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos – Gold Rushes

1845 – 1860’s?
Hide and Tallow Factories
– Somewhere along in here, small factories for the production of tallow began to appear in the “new” Texas cattle country. Before the great cattle drives beginning shortly after the end of the Civil War to the lucrative beef market in the eastern U.S.; an over abundance of cattle left most operations marketing tallow and hides at best. There was no major local market for beef. Locals could probably vary their diet with buffalo and pronghorn, when they tired of cheap beef. Later, there was some market for salted beef, in the Southern U.S. and Mexico. Handling the hides as well only made sense. The hides were made into leather and the hooves into glue. The tallow went to candle makers. No doubt, the local coyotes and gray wolves were fat and happy. Probably the living for some other local predators got a little easier for a few years as well. This was over, well before the European wild hogs arrived.  {001}

1848 – 1855 – During the California Gold Rush…
The State of California paid $25,000 in bounties for Indian scalps, with varying prices for adult male, adult female, and child sizes.

1849Camp Sacrifice, ‘49er Joseph Berrien arrives at Fort Laramie and observing the apparently endless fields and mounds of discards left by previous wagon trains he christened the place “Camp Sacrifice”. The first great dumping ground was trail side within fifty miles of St Joseph, MO, the start of the great journey. By Fort Laramie the reality of the wagon trek over the looming mountains was a strong motivator to lighten the load. Many had hauled extra trade goods hoping to sell them at points west, but the supplies far exceeded need. Over ten tons of bacon dumped near the fort and the real “rush” only beginning.  {003}
Wk. 22, 05/30/1849 – Camp Sacrifice (native location)

1849 – The U.S. Government pays The American Fur Company $4,000 for Fort Laramie, Wyoming Territory.


1850 – Americans were drinking 2.7 gallons of beer per capita.

1850’s (early) – At the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, CA, bartender/showman Jerry Thomas was earning $100 a week – more than the Vice President of the United States.  {001}
The Originals Index – Alcohol in the Old West Jerry Thomas

Wk. 02, 01/08/1856
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos – Mining MineralsBorax

1856 – Chinese silk, English dishes, French perfume, Czechoslovakian beads, champagne and cognac, leather goods (including hides and some 2000 pairs of boots and shoes), home-canned food and supplies for farming, hunting and whole households…
Wk. 36, 09/05/1856 – Steamboat Arabia

S.S. Central America
Wk. 37, 09/12/1857 – S.S. Central America

1857Teaching school
Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe taught at two San Francisco schools in this year, Denman Grammar School, and Broadway Grammar school. She most likely made about nine-hundred dollars for her efforts.

1859 – Gold

The yearly value of the gold and silver deposited at the Government Assay Office in Denver, CO, was over $5.6 million (still at $20.67 oz. [Troy]). Gold and nuggets brought in by miners from the mountains were accepted for assay, then melted and cast into bars which were stamped with the weight and fineness of the gold, then returned to the depositor. Most of the gold came from rich beds of placer gold found in streams and first discovered in 1858, the same year Denver was founded. When that easier supply of gold was exhausted, the emphasis turned to lode mining, uncovering veins of ore with a high percentage of gold and silver.  {001}
see also:
Wk. 18, 05/06/1859
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos – Mining MineralsGold
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos – Mining MineralsSilver

1860 – 1865 -The Civil War
“Well twenty-five cents for the morphine,
and fifteen cents for the beer.
Twenty-five cents for the old morphine,
now carry me away from here.”
A verse from the traditional tune – Soldier’s Joy.
see also:
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – PlantsOpium Poppy & Patent Medicines

1862 -Hollands Gin (Jenever) was being  imported into the United States at a ratio of approximately 6 liters to every liter of English Old Tom Gin.  {001}
Alcohol in the Old WestJenever

1863?Silver price spikes to nearly $5.00.

1865 – “Forty acres and a mule.” Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman ordered 400,000 acres of land in the South to be divided into 40-acre lots and given to former slaves. The order, later revoked by President Andrew Johnson, is believed to have inspired the expression.
also at:
Quotes Index – Commentators Quotes Politics and the Law

1865Montana and Idaho Transportation Lines’ 162-foot sternwheeler Bertrand, under the command of Captain James A. Yore, struck a log in the Missouri River north of Omaha, NE. It sank in eight feet of water within about ten minutes (no lives lost). In the weeks that followed, salvage crews claimed everything useful from above the cold waters, including the pilot house, smokestack, boilers and stern wheel. Insurance company divers recovered some cargo before efforts were abandoned. Lost to the silt-laden spring flow were some 300,000 articles: cargo and personal effects. The entire loss was valued at $100,000 (the vessel was probably worth about $65,000). The Bertrand was completely excavated and her remaining cargo recovered for study in 1969, and insight into the world of 1860’s commerce is still unfolding.
Here is a short list of some of the items recovered:
Mining equipment:
blasting caps and powder
Assay equipment:
wrought iron containers of mercury (claimed 35,000 lbs.).
Farming equipment:
disc sod cutters
large plows
hoes and shovels
butter churns
cow bells
corn and wheat (for seed?)
Clothing and shoes:
137 men’s coats in 7 styles
numerous clothing items
hobnail boots
vulcanized rubber rain suits by Goodyear Rubber Co.
Food items:
blocks of butter
cans of peaches
assorted pickles
brandied cherries
French mustard
and much more…
barrels of bourbon (claimed 5,000 gal.)
Household items:
waffle irons
lamps and chimneys (some recovered intact)
iron (wrought, drawn and cast—some of it likely raw material for the blacksmiths)
blacksmithing tools
leather goods
patent medicines
tobacco and pipes
textiles (cotton, silk, wool)
misc. hardware (undefined)
I would also expect firearms, powder, shot, ammunition, knives, axes, hammers and other basic tools were aboard in quantity.
Many of these “categories” are undefined as to specific items of the material. For example, I didn’t see beads listed but I think they would be a likely item (perhaps listed under “glass”?). Apparently, no gold was recovered.
Cargo consignments came from as far away as the east coast and were scheduled for for various locations between St. Louis and Ft. Benton, MT.
It’s easy to see that far more than “gold fever” was being supported by riverboat commerce.
To see the whole shootin’ match, explore the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge’s Bertrand Museum in Missouri Valley, IA.
Much of this information gleaned from: “Uncovering the Steamboat Bertrand” by Jerome E. Petsche – Nebraska History 51 (1970): 1-15. I did not seek out updated material from newer studies which I am sure now exist. (2015 – Doc)  {003 & 001}
see also:
Wk. 13, 04/01/1865
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation PhotosSteamboats
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos
FYI: The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards
Medicinal PlantsPatent Medicine list tobacco

1865 – Sinking of the sidewheel steamer Brother Jonathon off Crescent City, CA
Large loss of life and gold.
Wk. 30
07/30/1865 – S. S. Brother Jonathon

1865 to 1880More Silver!
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos – Silver Rushes
Photo Gallery Index – Mining PhotosThe Comstock)

1865?Silver drops to about $2.00 and begins a decline to about $.50 an oz. (Troy) by 1900.
Wk. 07, 02/12/1873 – The Crime of ’73

1866 – Captain Grant Marsh brought the Steamboat Louella to Fort Benton, MT. Staying until September, he embarked a load of miners for St. Louis who, among them, carried some $1,250.000 in gold. Marsh’s downriver trip turned out to be the most valuable shipment ever carried on the Missouri River.

1866Nelson Story, Sr. drove 1,000 head of Longhorn cattle from Texas to Wyoming, then up the Bozeman Trail into Montana. The first major cattle drive over that kind of distance.  {001}
The Originals index – Trails

1866 to 1873 – roughly 35,000 miles (55,000 kilometers) of new track laid from coast-to-coast. This, made the railroads the second largest employer, behind only agriculture. required large amounts of capital investment, and thus entailed massive financial risk. Speculators fed large amounts of money into the industry, causing abnormal growth and over-expansion.

1867 – Twenty carloads of Texas-raised longhorn cattle head east from Abilene, KS, on the Kansas & Pacific RR.  It’s only the beginning…
The Originals Index – Cow? What Cow?Where did all the little dogies git along to?

1868 – Average wages for working men were around $2 a day in the Colorado Territory.

Whale Oil sample - Commerce in the Old West1870 – Whale oil, est. $750 a barrel (sperm whale oil somewhat more). Products would include:
fine lubricants
lamp oil and candles (foul smell)
shoe polish
soap, etc.
Photo: U.S. PD 3013,  Kurzon – A sample of unrefined natural whale oil.

1870’s – Buffalo bones (bone black), hides and meat.
see also:
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Animals – MammalsBison
The Originals Index – Cow? What Cow?Buffalo? – 1st photo
The Originals Index – Cow? What Cow?Where did all the little dogies git along to?

1872 – The nation’s growing railroads lay 7,500 miles (12,070 km) of track.

1873“The Crime of ’73”
Wk. 07, 02/12/1873 – the de-monetization of silver

1873 – “The Panic of 1873”
Thus it begins…
Wk. 38, 09/20/1873 – “The Panic of 1873”

1875The Panic of 1873 has reduced RR track mileage production to only 1,600 miles (2,575 km).

All nite $3 - Commerce in the Old West1877Cowboy’s Night Out!
The “parlors” sent out riders to deliver a free token to the drovers coming in with the trail herds from Texas and points south. Hopefully, a cowboy would spend his “free” token and then maybe liquor up a bit and spend all of his trail pay at the establishment. $3.00 for “all night”.  {001}
The Originals Index – Entertainment in the Old West – Brothels, Saloons, Dance Halls, Gambling
Wk. 22, 06/01/1877 – Deadwood Dick)

1877The Great Railroad Strike of 1877
Wk.28, 07/14/1877 – The Great Railroad Strike of 1877

1877-1890 – The largest productive silver district in Arizona, the mines around Tombstone produced somewhere between $40 to $85 million in silver bullion. As with all such things, depending on which records one believes.  {001}

1878 – The value of silver is now $.65 oz (Troy). One ounce of gold buys thirty-two of silver.

1878 – The announcement of the discovery of the Little Pittsburgh Mine at Leadville, CO, marks the beginning of the great silver boom.

1879 – Canoncito, NM, bartender Frank Page kills outlaw Samuel “Rattlesnake Sam” Johnson when he refuses to pay for his drink ($.25) but then discovers he will not be able to collect the offered reward.  {001}

1880‘s – El Paso, TX (aka “Sun City”), prostitution fees: crib girls received from fifty-cents up to a dollar. The girls of the parlor houses along Utah Street charged three to five dollars for their pleasures. As everywhere, the girls paid daily fees for the cribs, or board and room and laundry in a brothel.  {001}

1880′s – Alcohol and opiates were a standard part of the prostitution industry.  {001}

1880′s – Tombstone, AZ. Miners’ wages are $3 to as much as $8 a day for a highly skilled man.  {001}

1880‘s – Whiskey from Jesse Moore, Hunt Co. of San Francisco, CA. Four “brands” to choose from: AA, A, B, and C. Sold by the barrel and half barrel at: $4 a gallon for AA, and C at $3 a gallon.

1880’sTombstone, AZ. Typical fees charged by prostitutes working the cribs* (rented at $3 per day, in advance):
Chinese, Negro or Indian – 25 cents
Mexican – 50 cents
French – 75 cents
American – $1.00
These girls might serve 50 or more customers per shift on a payday. The far more upscale Parlor Houses** ran from around a $10 standard fee, to $30 or more for all night. “Special” skills or exceptional beauty brought significantly more. Tips and gifts were not uncommon at this level of the profession. Madames usually took half the fees and the girls paid room and board and laundry of $5 to $20 a week. Even so, top girls might make as much as $150 for a six day week. The houses usually ran from noon to dawn.
*References – Dictionary crib
**References – Dictionary Parlor House

1882 – The fabulous Comstock Lode is played out. It grossed $320 million between 1859 and 1882, but after costs and expenditures the net gain was only about $55 million. A highly paid miner received perhaps $4 a day for the immense risks taken in these dangerous mines.
Wk 24, 06/12/1859
Photo Gallery Index – Mining PhotosMining on the Comstock

1883-89 – A teamster on the borax wagons in the Mohave Desert made about $200 for the round trip, the swamper somewhat less. Around 240 miles at about 17 miles a day, loaded.
Wk. 35, 08/27/1931

1886The “traditional” price for a bottle of cheap whiskey in a cowboy saloon was two bits (25 cents). (Kansas City Post Gazette, 03/03/1886 – p. 6.  {001}

1887 – “For three hundred dollars I’d cut anybody in two with a sawed-off shotgun.” – Mannen Clements

Wk. 13, 03/29/1887

1887 – (Oct) Black (90%) and white (10%) cane cutters in LA strike for a pay raise to $1.25 a day and to be paid in cash, not company script. This strike was the largest in the industry, involving about 10,000 workers.
Wk. 47, 11/22/1887 – Thibodaux Massacre

1888Richard Sears’ first catalog: watches and jewelry.
Wk. 04, 01/25/1993

1890’s – Colorado boom town Cripple Creek: an overnight stay at The Old Homestead at 353 Meyers Avenue—one of the better bordellos—would set you back $250.

1891 – A single boulder from the Independence Mine brought $60,000, (around 2,900 oz. [Troy] of gold) at the then set price of 20.67 oz. (Cripple Creek Mining District, CO).

1892 – The Panic of  ’93, more problems with silver…
Wk. 32, 08/08/1893

1893Free land!
Wk. 37, 09/16/1893 – Cherokee Strip Land Run

1894Sears, Roebuck and Company distributed the first “Big Book” catalog.
see also:
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos – Railroads in the WestSears Roebuck and Co.
Wk. 04, 01/25/1993

1895 – With gold still priced at $ 20.67 oz. (Troy) (see: 1834, above), the Gold Coin Mine, in the middle of the main street of Victor, CO, was pulling $50 a ton from their ore.  {001}

1897 – San Francisco, a high profitable western port, had a saloon for every 218 people in the city.  {001}

1899 -Between late 1893 and April 1899, approximately 200,000 ounces (5,670 kg) of gold was removed from the Independence Mine on the south slope of Battle Mountain near Victor, CO. This was about $4.13 million in 1899 dollars.


 Independence Mine - Commerce in the Old West1900 – W.S. Stratton sold the Independence Mine to the Venture Corporation of London for $10 million US.
Photo: U.S. PD pre-1923 George S. Stone (Colorado College)
The Stratton Independence Mine and Mill
Reflect on this:
The price included the mine, the mill and all associated equipment, value unknown by us…
Somebody thought there was still at least 500,000 oz. of gold still down there… and even that would just break even on the purchase price. YES, there was ultimately a lawsuit over whether the mine had been salted*! The buyers lost.  {001}
References – Dictionarysalt

1900 – The Cripple Creek Mining District (Colorado’s largest, and the second largest gold district in the country’s history) was reaching its peak. The mines in Victor and Cripple Creek ultimately produced 21 million ounces of gold—about $434 million in 1900 dollars, perhaps $10 billion in 2010 U.S. dollars.  {001}

1900 – A secret consortium of ranchers in Brown’s Hole, CO: Charles E. “Charley” Ayers, John C. Coble, Ora Haley and Wilfred W. “Wiff” Wilson paid “range detective” Tom Horn $500 for every “known” cattle rustler he killed.  {001}
The Originals Index – Landmarks and RegistersBrown’s Hole
Wk. 47, 11/20/1903 – Tom Horn

1903 – The mines at Butte, MT, shut down. Over 9,000 men are thrown out of work.

1909Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog:
Model 1866 Remington Derringer – $4.25*
Colt Single Action Frontier Revolver, 44-40 w/ pearl grips – $20.00**
Factory 44-40 black powder cartridges for the above revolver – 50 for $.68, $12.83 for 1,000***
Dueber Hampden 21 jewel, 14K Hunting style, Gentleman’s Pocket Watch – $47.75
Men’s black and white twilled cotton work shirt – $.38
Full set of blacksmithing tools – $39.90:
drill press
large vise
tap & die set
numerous hand tools
see also:
*Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – HandgunsRemington Derringer
**Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Marcel’s GunsColt SA Revolvers
***Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Ammunition Then and Now
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation PhotosSears Roebuck and Co.
Wk. 04, 01/25/1993

1934Gold $35.00 oz. (Troy)
U.S. Government set price.

Always bartered, traded, sold, stolen and killed for…

Gold (numerous references…)
Horses, Mules, Oxen, Cattle and Sheep.
(see: The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Animals – MammalsCattle, Horses, Mules, Oxen, Sheep)
see also:
The Originals Index – Cow? What Cow?

(numerous references…)

Weapons: Firearms, powder, shot, bullets, related tools. Knives and Hawks.
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos

Women and children
Many Native American tribes held slaves from other tribes. The practice was relatively common. Women and children were stolen, the women for wives and the children often to be raised as the captor’s own. After the Spanish arrived in the Southwest in the 1500’s, they also participated in the practice. One major difference was that the Spanish were looking for far more slave labor than the Indians ever would have—for house servants, mining, agriculture and other work. The practice slowly dwindled into the background (but was still happening) as “civilization” spread throughout the West.
see also:
Wk. 20, 05/30/1836 – Fort Parker entries
Wk. 08, 02/22/1856 – Olive Oatman
The Originals – Battlefields and Massacres – Massacres by Indians
The Originals – Battlefields and Massacres – Massacres of Indians
PLAYERS – SSlaves (taken for)


For related information in Old West Daily Reader

The Originals Index – Trade in the Old West and Beads in Old West Trade
The Originals Index – Expeditions
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Plants
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos – Mining MineralsBorax, Gold, Silver, etc.
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos – Railroads in the West
The Originals Index – Western Forts and Trading Posts
The Originals Index – Gunfighter Statistics – Gunfighter Occupations
Wk. 52, 12/28/1933 – Gold Standard
The Originals Index – Entertainment in the Old West
Brothels, Saloons, Dance Halls, Gambling & Doves & Nighthawks)
References – Dictionary

barbed wire divider -Commerce in the Old WestEnd: Commerce in the Old West

{001} C 08/18; E 129/18; F 01/16; P 07/17

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