Lightning Striker & The Maid of Henson

In a previous post I was writing about the mining claims along Henson Creek near Lake City; where the Ute Ulay sits. I was given a map showing the Ute Ulay site and the overlapping mine claims that comprise it.

Apart from the interesting geometry, these mine claims provide a very personal, cultural link with the people who claimed, and named them.

The names Ute and Ulay both have aboriginal American roots. The Ute People had summer hunting grounds on the land where the Ute and Ulay claims lie, at the time the claims were made. Chief Ouray was a powerful chief at that time, it seems that the Ulay (or sometimes Ule’) was (mis-)named after him. Perhaps these names were an attempt to appease the Utes and Chief Ouray. The appeasement did not include any financial gain for the Utes though, and soon after the land was officially taken from the Utes.

Chief Ouray & Chipeta

The other names at the Ute Ulay site are sometimes puns (Lightning Striker, Free Lance), or dedications to people – imaginary or otherwise (Maid of Henson, Mayor of Leadville, Yankee Doodle). They speak to us of the miners’ hopeful and confident attitudes (Winner, Hard to Beat, Hidden Treasure, Invincible), or refer to places which are well known for mineral riches (California, Leadville) – though perhaps they are so-named because of a personal connection with the miner. There are also some which are simply named after the man who claimed them (Mc Carthy, Mc Combe). Looking again at the plan of names, I keep wondering… what happened to Mc Carthy No. 2?


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