Scoundrels Rule Rosita
The mines were prospering when, in 1875, Col. Boyd arrived in the company of Walter A. Stuart or Steward (whose real name was Walter C. Sheridan) to open the Rosita bank. Stuart was a stockholder and member of the board of directors of the German Bank of Denver. He was also a bank robber and forger.
Soon the two men purchased some old worthless claims against the Pocahontas mine, the richest producer in the district at that time. In late September 1875, they seized control of the Pocahontas mine while the owner Theodore Herr was in Denver. An ex-convict, named Major Graham, and some twenty armed men guarded the mine. They held it for a week. The mine's employees continued to work. Herr got a writ of injunction restraining them from shipping and selling ores from the mine. Graham and his crew dominated Rosita by a show of force centered around drinking, carousing and shooting. An innocent citizen, James Pringle, one of the founders of the community, was shot through the foot on October 13. The authorities ordered all the saloons closed and the main roads into town guarded. A company of well-armed citizens, commonly known as a Vigilance Committee, marched on the mine. They met Graham coming down the road and killed him. The remainder of the gang fled. Theodore E. Herr regained control of his property. Boyd and Stuart piled all of the money in the bank in a satchel and left town. Rosita residents reported that none of the miners who worked during those troubled days were ever paid.
Reprinted with permission from "Custer County at a Glance" Featuring Rosita, Silver Cliff and Westcliffe by Joanne West Dodds.
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