A Historical Novel by R. Reed Johnson




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by Steve Voynick,
Colorado Central Magazine

Below are links to resources that have a connection to A Thread of Gold.

Western Reflections is a publisher of works reflecting the history and culture of the western United States with an emphasis on the state of Colorado. The works are chosen because of their historical significance or cultural expression and always demonstrate a high standard of quality and a unique presentation of their subject matter.  Publisher of A Thread of Gold.

The Littleton Historical Museum (Littleton, Colorado) is a unique link between Littleton's past and present. Littleton Colorado Historical Museum Located on 14 acres adjacent to Ketring Lake, features two living history farms. The 1860s homestead farm and the 1890s turn-of-the-century farm show how people lived and worked during the early years in Littleton and the South Platte Valley. There is also 
a working, early 1900s blacksmith shop, an ice house and Littleton's first one room school house.

Littleton History Project: Over 40 Topics covering the history of Littleton Colorado - with photos.

Interview with R. Reed and Julius Johnson, Bobbie Krouse and Phyllis Murphy, September 13, 2006.  The interview was conducted as part of the North Fork Valley Oral History Project. The participants, Robert Reed Johnson, Julius E. Johnson Jr., Bobbie Krouse, Phyllis Murphy, all grandchildren of Herbert E. Johnson of Buffalo Creek, discuss their family's history and their own memories of life in and around Buffalo Creek.
Published by the Jefferson County Public Library

A remarkable list of resources and notes for Mr. Sedivy's Highlands Ranch High School history classes including Colorado History and the story of Littleton from prehistoric times to the present. 

Highline Canal - The canal has become a major recreational amenity in the Denver area with Littleton Colorado Highline Canal its trail used for hiking, biking, jogging and horseback riding. Douglas County administers the first 8.7 miles of trail, Highlands Ranch Metropolitan Districts the next 7.1, South Suburban Park and Recreation District 18.1 miles, Denver City Parks 13.2 miles and Aurora City Parks and Open Space 10.7 miles. (map

Denver Colorado GenWeb - The city of Denver was, in the earliest years, located in Arapahoe County.  By 1901 the people of the "Mile High City" believed that Denver should govern herself and they left Arapahoe to form the "City and County of Denver."  In 1902 the state recognized Denver as a separate county.  History and genealogy resources.

Denver: The Rocky Mountain metropolis history - Denver, the capital of Colorado, was established by a party of prospectors on November 22, 1858, after a gold discovery at the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River. Town founders named the dusty crossroads for James W. Denver, Governor of Kansas Territory, of which eastern Colorado was then a part. Other gold discoveries sparked a mass migration of some 100,000 in 1859-60, leading the federal government to establish Colorado Territory in 1861.

Brief Breckenridge History - The largest gold nugget ever found in North America was discovered in Breckenridge on July 3, 1887 by a man named Tom Groves. The single nugget weighed 151 oz. and was about the size of an adult human head. It was dubbed "Tom's Baby" because Mr. Groves paraded it around town like a new-born child.

Founded in 1879, the Colorado Historical Society brings the unique character of Colorado's past to more than a million people each year through historical museums and highway markers, exhibitions, manuscript and photograph collections, popular and scholarly publications, historical and archaeological preservation services, and educational programs for children and adults.

A Colorado Reference - The whole purpose for this guide is to try to provide as much useful information as I can in the form of links and other references relating to Colorado, it's cities, towns, people, history and attractions, along with a few photos thrown in for good measure.

Brief History of Colorado - This chronology describes events of Colorado's prehistory, early history and events up to WWII. It is excerpted from archival records of the State Planning Commission's Colorado Year Book, 1959-1961. Much of this information was obtained from the Colorado State Archives and the Denver Rocky Mountain News.

Doing History/Keeping the Past - Essays on Colorado History and Historic Preservation

Colorado History Special Topics - A Colorado State University reference

Colorado State History - When European explorers first visited the Colorado region, they encountered several different groups of Native Americans.  The Apache, Kiowa, Comanche, and Pawnee roamed the Great Plains and the Ute lived in the Colorado Plateau.

Colorado Charlie's Tales of the Colorado Frontier - Howdy pardner! Come sit a spell and listen to some stories of the old west. Indians... Spaniards... traders and mountain men... soldiers and gold seekers and railroaders - all have passed this way and left their tracks for you to find. There are ghosts to be seen, legends to be heard, and an old trail as enduring as the land itself.

Colorado is the highest state and has more mountains reaching 14,000 feet than any other state. "Grand Mesa", the world's largest flat-top plateau is also found in Colorado. Her mountain scenery is some of the most beautiful and dramatic in the United States and Colorado is a center for vacationers taking advantage of the pleasant summer climate and the ample supplies of powdered snow in the winter.  Some more Colorado history, and another site.

Colorado is a state in the western United States. The name of Colorado came from the Spanish word "colorado" which means "reddish". It is famous for the Rocky Mountains, where the highest peaks of the range exist. The state capital and largest city is Denver. As of the 2000 census, Colorado's population is 4,301,261. The U.S. Post Office abbreviation for the state is CO. (From Fact Index).  Another brief Colorado history

Colorado Lore, Legend, and Fact - Includes a large number of Colorado-related links.

Colorado History, Stories, and Information - Fourteener Country is rich in history. Fortunes were made from the rich mineral deposits of the mountains. And, legends were built from the colorful people who made Fourteener Country their home.

Discover Colorado - The Official Colorado State Website

Colorado State University: Colorado History Resources - This Web page provides links and suggested resources that can be used for doing research on Colorado History.

How To Get To Pike's Peak Gold Mines - Harper's Weekly Article, April 12, 1859 - In Lieutenant G. K. Warren's report of the topographical survey of the Territory of Nebraska, Gold fields of Colorado map speaking of the southwestern portion in connection with the Pacific Railroad, he says: "These regions will yet be inhabited by civilized men, and the communications with the East will require roads, independent of the wants of an interior overland route to the Pacific;" "and should gold be discovered there in valuable quantities, as there have been found indications, this result may be much nearer than we anticipate."  This result has taken place.  Gold has already been discovered in valuable quantities, from Cherry Creek to more than one hundred miles north of Fort Laramie, on nearly all the streams heading in the Rocky Mountains and Black Hills.

The Pike's Peak Gold Mines - Harper's Weekly Article, August 13, 1859 - Far distant upon the boundless prairies stretching away toward the setting sun, and over four hundred and Gold panner fifty miles from the border towns of the Missouri River, this letter is written for the amusement and instruction of your readers.  The author, dressed in a soiled suit of corduroy, and with a ventilated slouched hat upon his head, is seated upon the tongue of a wagon, with a five-gallon vinegar-keg for his writing-desk...  (A first-hand account of the trials and tribulations of the Colorado gold prospectors.  The article has been annotated with links to related sites.)

Gold Prospectors of Colorado is a Non-Profit Educational organization dedicated to the history of Gold Prospecting, and to promoting Gold Prospecting in the state of Colorado for people from everywhere. Make no mistake about it, many call what we do "recreational" gold prospecting, but the reality of it is, we are always looking for the big payday.  Information on the Snowstorm Dredge.

The Pikes Peak Gold Rush of the late 1850's began with rumors. Rumors of gold. Of nuggets and gold-bearing quartz. Of trappers who had seen the flash of color in Rocky Mountain streams. Of Cherokee Indians who had found golden flakes in the sands of Ralston's Creek. Of the Delaware, Fall Leaf, who had returned from the Pikes Peak region with a hoard of gold nuggets tied up in an old handkerchief.

Colorado Gold - The Discovery, Mining History, Geology, and Specimen Mineralogy of Selected Occurrences in the Front Range.

If you get bitten by the gold bug, Gold Fever Prospecting is your resource for all things related to buying natural gold nuggets, recreational gold mining, gold prospecting, and gold panning.  At GoldFeverProspecting.com you can learn about gold prospecting, metal detecting for gold nuggets and practice your gold panning. Become more familiar with recreational gold mining in a safe, friendly, and most importantly helpful atmosphere.

History of the American West, 1860-1920: Thousands of photographs from the Collection of the Denver Public Library indexed by subject.

South Park City - An amazingly authentic restoration of a Colorado mining Boomtown. 
The year was 1859. Gold was discovered in South Park and the rush was on! Hordes of gold-seekers spilled into the Park, and within a few short months the mountains were dotted with mining camps sporting names like Tarryall, Leavick, Eureka and Buckskin Joe. These camps grew to become boom towns, thriving communities on the edge of the frontier. Gradually the mining dried up and the people moved on, leaving their towns and camps to the elements, until all that remained were decaying ghost towns.

Colorado History: Salida & Buena Vista - Historians aren’t sure who the first white men were to visit the upper Arkansas River valley. Indians had roamed the region for centuries when a Spanish troop under Juan Bautista de Anza, governor of Northern New Spain, chased a band of Comanches led by Cuerno Verde — Greenhorn — north over Poncha Pass in 1779.

1894 Colorado Map - Created in 1894 it offers a unique , accurate view of the state's mining camps, towns, rivers and mountains. It also locates hundreds of communities that have long since vanished with the prarie winds ore under the smashing weight of countless winter storms high in the Rockies. {the map is offered for sale, but the site also provides a high-quality downloadable version.

Colorado Volunteers, Civil War - Colorado became a territory just a few weeks before the firing on Fort Sumter signaled the official beginning of the Civil War. Although sentiments were somewhat divided in the early days of the war, Colorado was a Union territory. When President Lincoln called for volunteer soldiers to supplement the regular army, Colorado responded. Eventually, nearly 4,000 men from the Colorado Territory served in the volunteer Union forces authorized by the United States War Department. Hundreds more served in militia companies, authorized by the territorial governor, most of which were formed to fight Indians rather than Confederates.  New Mexico Campaign (1862)

History Connections - Colorado and New Mexico have much history between them. In this space we write some of the stories down before the real history disappears. At the same time, we try to rectify some of the problems caused by the sensationalist writers of the 19th and 20th centuries through telling the truth, as near as we can get to it, and setting the story straight.

The Westernmost Campaign of the Civil War, New Mexico Territory 1861 - 1862 - 
Eleven states seceded from the Union in 1861 and formed the Confederate States of America. The Confederacy was desperately short of raw materials for war production. Those materials had to be imported from abroad and often paid for in gold. Gold and seaports became very important to the South.

New Mexico in the Civil War - Valverde, 21 February, 1862 Glorieta 28 March, 1862
Civil War battles occurred in New Mexico that were little noted in the "States" (New Mexico was then a Territory). In the view of many historians, however, these battles were important in preserving the Union because they ended the attempt by the Confederacy to capture the West (New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado), its people, and its vast resources. Two of these battles were at Valverde, about 29 miles south of Socorro, and at Glorieta, a few miles east of Santa Fe. 

New Mexico in the 18th Century - The 1700s were a period of extraordinary change for New Mexico. After New Mexico was settled by the Spanish in 1598, the colony became essentially a government subsidized Franciscan mission for the Pueblo Indians. Following the Pueblo Revolt and reconquest, the authority of the Catholic Church was reduced substantially, and because of the expanding influence of the French, English, and Russians in North America, the Spanish government held on to New Mexico principally as a defensive buffer against these enemies of the Spanish Crown.

Spain and Texas Timeline (pdf file) - A very detailed timeline from 1497 to 1898 - it's large and takes a while to download.

This the diary of Lieutenant Colonel Juan Bustista de Anza of his expedition (August 15 to September 10, 1779), beginning at Santa Fe, circling north to the front range of the Great Plains near present-day Rye, Colorado, and returning to Santa Fe.

Juan Bautista de Anza - Timeline

Almagre is a Spanish Name. The name Almagre (AL-MA-GREY) pays tribute to the original Spanish name for Pikes Peak. In 1779, Governor Don Juan Bautista de Anza of New Mexico first mapped "La Sierra Del Almagre." Almagre means red earth and is descriptive of the pink-colored rocks of these mountains. Our spelling of the word Cañon with the ñ is also a tribute to our early Spanish heritage.

Juan Bautista de Anza’s role on the frontier was to be governor of New Mexico, win an alliance with the Comanche, and make war on the Apache. Governor Juan Bautista de Anza’s purpose for his campaign against the Comanche was to stop the Comanche raid’s and to form an alliance with them. The experienced Indian fighter knew these goals could only be achieved in battle. 

Juan Bautista de Anza & Cuerno Verde - New Mexico, New Spain's far northern frontier in the 18th century, consisted of a score of native Pueblos and a half-dozen Spanish villages and missions. Since it was founded by Don Juan de Oñate in 1598, New Mexico extended for hundreds, if not thousands, of miles in all directions from Santa Fe, at least in the Spanish mind. New Mexico was a hard won piece of the Spanish Empire but Oñate's legacy didn't last 100 years.

Anza and Cuerno Verde Decisive Battle - The decisive battle between the Comanche Chief, Cuerno Verde, and Juan Bautista de Anza, Governor of New Mexico, reads like a movie script. It occurred near the Greenhorn Mountains, approximately eighteen miles southwest of present-day Pueblo, Colorado, in the 18th century. The stance taken by both men, as the sun set behind the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains, on September 2, 1779, is as dramatic as any movie plot. Darkness, however, offered them a reprieve from next day’s inevitable showdown.

Cuerno Verde and the battle of Greenhorn - Cuerno Verde, which translates to "Green Horn" in English, is the Spanish name given to Tabivo Naritgant because of the green tinted horns that he wore on his head-dress in battle. The English translation of the original Comanche name is "Dangerous Man". He inherited both his name and his distinctive head dress from his father, who was killed in combat against the Spanish at Ojo Caliente, in what is now New Mexico, in October 1768.

Up Fountain Creek - Governor Juan Bautista de Anza had come north from Santa Fe through the mountains with a force of 600 soldiers, including some 200 allied Utes and Apaches. His mission: to punish the Comanches and their arrogant leader, Cuerno Verde (Green Horn), for their frequent depredations against the Spanish settlements. Somewhere along Fountain Creek, Anza’s expeditionary force routed a large band of Comanches, who were awaiting the return of Cuerno Verde from the south. An Indian trail – the same trail that would someday become known as the Trappers Trail – was then followed down Fountain Creek, across the Arkansas River, to the foot of what later became known as Greenhorn Mountain. There Cuerno Verde and his son were killed, and the surviving Comanches scattered.

Review of Hermanitos Comanchitos: Indo-Hispano Rituals of Captivity and Redemption" By Enrique R. Lamadrid and Miguel A. Gandert...Conditions deteriorated between the Comanches and New Mexico residents until 1767, when the Spanish instituted a policy of all-out war. The Comanche consisted of many bands, some hostile and some cooperative, but the Spanish policy noted no difference, with bloody results. The bloodshed reached a peak between 1770 and 1779, with roving bands of 500 or more Comanches attacking Spanish and Pueblo villages and hundreds killed and taken captive. By 1775, the Comanches had advanced to the outskirts of Santa Fe. Much of New Mexico lay in ruins. Spanish soldiers were overwhelmed, the militia exhausted, arms and horses in short supply.
Then, under the leadership of Don Juan Bautista de Anza, a troop of Spanish forces, militia and Pueblo fighters joined by Utes and Jicarillas fought a decisive battle against the famous Comanche chief Cuerno Verde and his band. Afterward, de Anza negotiated the Paz Comanche, a mutual protection pact which made the Spanish and Comanche allies against all comers.

Review of Anza's 1779 Comanche Campaign, by Ron Kessler and Decisive Battle: Anza and Cuerno Verde, by Wilfred O. Martinez - JUAN BAUTISTA DE ANZA was one of the finest frontier commanders this continent ever produced, and he would be much more celebrated in American history if he had been born in Virginia or New York instead of Sonora, Mexico.  In most histories, he may be best known for founding the presidio that would become San Francisco, California, in the summer of 1776. But in our part of the world, at least in the pages of this magazine, Anza is celebrated for being the first person to write about the upper San Luis Valley, Poncha Pass, and the Salida area.

The Comanche Indians - The known history of the Comanche Indians dates back to the early 1500’s. The Comanche were originally part of the Eastern Shoshoni who lived near the upper reaches of the Platte River in eastern Wyoming. With the coming of the Spaniards to the new world the Comanche obtained horses and broke away from the Shoshoni moving south. Other groups followed until about 1830.

Comanche Timeline from the earliest known dates to the breakup of the reservation, some of the dates are estimates due to the lack of records regarding the events.  Another timeline in Word format.

Native North Americans: Comanche - Native North Americans belonging to the Shoshonean group of the Uto-Aztecan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock. They originated from a Basin-type culture and eventually adopted a Plains culture. They separated from the Shoshone and migrated southward in the late 1600s, appearing in New Mexico around 1705. In the late 18th cent. and early 19th cent. their range included SE Colorado, SW Kansas, W Oklahoma, and N Texas.

Comanche History - Before contact, the Comanches were part of the southern groups of Eastern Shoshoni that lived near the upper reaches of the Platte River in eastern Wyoming. After acquiring the horse, groups of Comanches separated from the Shoshoni and began to move south sometime around 1700. Other groups followed at later dates up to about 1830. For the next 50 years most groups of Comanches were located between the Platte and Arkansas Rivers in eastern Colorado and western Kansas.

Native North Americans: Ute - In the early 19th cent. the Ute occupied W Colorado and E Utah. They were fierce, nomadic warriors, who, after the introduction of the horse, ranged into New Mexico and Arizona, menacing and sometimes destroying the villages of the Pueblo. 

Ute - The Ute Indians ranged across much of the northern Colorado Plateau beginning at least 2000 years B.P. The very name ‘Ute,’ from which the name of the state of Utah was derived, means "high land" or "land of the sun." The Ute language, Southern Numic, belongs to the Numic group of Uto-Aztecan languages shared by most of the Great Basin tribes. The Utes, however, included mountain-dwellers as well as desert nomads.

Colorado Ute Legacy - The web site is sponsored by the Southern Ute Indian Cultural Center. The site and database support our 30 minute educational video COLORADO UTE LEGACY which has been distributed to over 500 Colorado schools. The project was jointly funded by the Colorado Historical Society and the Southern Ute Indian Cultural Center.

Ute Indian Chief Ouray - The San Juan country was Ute Indian country. With the onslaught of the miners, the Ute Indians began a war... a war with words against the United States government. An Uncompahgre Ute Chief, Ouray, led this movement to seek peace with the white men.

Ute Mountain Ute Tribe

Indian Tribes of New Mexico & Colorado 

Spain and Texas Timeline (pdf file) - A very detailed timeline from 1497 to 1898 - it's large and takes a while to download.

American Western - Worldwide Window to the West

In the world of guest ranching, Lost Valley Ranch (Graham's Ranch in A Thread of Gold) is at the top. The qualities that make the Foster Family's ranch so unique are their superb staff, excellent accommodations, and fabulous children's/teen program. Everyone at the ranch exudes a caring and enthusiastic spirit. Lost Valley Ranch is a year-round cattle and horse ranch set among tall pines on 40,000 acres of the Pike National Forest. At Lost Valley rugged adventure is combined with fun.

Wyoming Tales and Trails featuring Photographs and History of Old Wyoming - This site doesn't strictly have anything to do with A Thread of Gold, but, as the title implies, it is devoted almost exclusively to the history of Wyoming as told through photographs and is a tremendous resource.

      A Thread of Gold is available now.   Ordering information can be found here!            

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