Monday, November 26, 2012

The Coles–5th Installment

The story of my great-great grandparents continues.

William Returns

One day as Elizabeth was busy sewing for others, there was a knock at the door.  She opened to find a strange man standing there.  “Don’t you know me?” he asked.  William had finally returned after so many years.  He was happy to see his wife and son, but grieved to learn of the death of Little John.

idahocitygoldWilliam was full of adventures to tell and ready to take his family to the great American West.  He had established a mine and was anxious to return to operate his claim.  But, you see, instead of heading for California, William and his party took another route and went into Idaho about 35 miles from Boise, to Idaho City*, which was a fast booming mining town.  He had stock in the mine and had brought with him a pouch of gold and silver.  This would take care of their needs for some time to come. 

Part of the gold was used to form another small caravan to the West.  The family packed up the necessities and started out with a new excited group heading West. 

But, a new development would cause William and Elizabeth to travel only halfway…with a long delay in Chicago, Illinois. 

*Idaho City was founded in December 1862 during the Boise Basin gold rush during the Civil War. At its peak during the mid-1860s, there were more than 200 businesses in town, including three dozen saloons and two dozen law offices. Its 1864 population of 7,000 made it the largest city in the Northwest, bigger than Portland, Oregon. Wood was the prime source of both shelter and heat, which caused Idaho City to burn four times: 1865, 1867, 1868, and 1871.

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