New mines are in full operation near Hat Creek
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer
The new mines near Rawhide Buttes and in Muskrat Canyon (about 30 miles south of here) are reported to be in full operation. New claims are also being located in the area almost every day. The hundreds of tons of heavy mining equipment and supplies needed for these mines have been keeping many freight teams busy on the trail from Cheyenne.
All of this extra traffic has some of the Cheyenne to Black Hills trail in poor condition, especially from Fort Laramie north.
Russell Thorp of Cheyenne has been in the Rawhide Buttes area for the past several months inspecting and investing in mining properties. Thorp's first investment there was in the Deadwood mine on the north side of Rawhide Creek. It is located in close proximity to the Wolverine mine.
Last month he hauled several hundred pounds of rock from his holdings to Cheyenne. They were unloaded in front of Masi's bookstore, the copper bearing one appeared to be rich enough to net $100 per ton in Chicago. Shortly thereafter Masi and Thorp purchased the Wolverine mine.
Russell Thorp is no stranger here, he had purchased the T.A. Kent Livery Stable in Cheyenne in 1875. He has developed a reputation of harboring the best horse flesh in this part of the county. In his extensive livestock sales business, Thorp has come through here several times trailing herds of fine horses to buyers in the Black Hills.
Even when "Doc" Middleton and his band of horse thieves were operating in the area and roving bands of Indians were a constant threat, this young liveryman delivered his stock in safety.
His Cheyenne livery is also known to have the best turnouts (a carriage with horses and equipage). When he added a modern hearse to his livery equipment, he was appointed the city sexton.
In 1877, Thorp launched a street hack and a bus between the Union Pacific depot and the Inter-Ocean hotel. Then early in 1878 he established and managed the stock yards for the Union Pacific railroad in Cheyenne. Livestock in transit on the railroad are fed, watered and rested at these yards.
In 1880, Thorp entered into a co-partnership with William Wightman. This new firm leased Terry's IXL barn in Cheyenne to carry on their business of livery firm and sale stable. Early this spring Wightman bought Thorp;s interest in this operation.
At that time it was rumored that Mr. Thorp would "shortly open a sale and exchange room for carriages and other similar equipment." However after accompanying his family east on a trip, he returned with a "stylish team of black flyers" and at once headed north to the new mining district near the Rawhide Buttes.
(Information source: "The Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage and Express Routes," by Agnes Wright Spring.)