History of Bachelor
There are conflicting statements as to who discovered the Bachelor mine, although all but one agree that it was located in 1885. John C. Mackenzie is known to have prospected near Sunnyside in that year and is said to have located the mine on Bachelor mountain. Another account claims that J. B. Burrett, (Burnett or Bennett) was the discoverer, and still another gives C. F. Nelson the credit for finding it. A fourth source states that it was found in 1884 by George Wilson. and a fifth gives his name as James Wilson. At any rate, in August. 1891, Theodore Renniger and others found outcroppings of rich mineral on Bachelor mountain similar to those found by Creede in the Holy Moses and thus located the Last Chance. Creede, who was prospecting near there at the time, also discovered the rich float and, recognizing its value, waited till the stakes were set on the Last Chance and then located the Amethyst directly to the north. Ore from both mines brought $170 a ton "from the first shovelful," and immediately, excited men rushed to the hill and staked hundreds of locations.
Soon after its discovery, the Last Chance was bought by the owners of the Holy Moses property for $20,000, and soon afterwards the Bachelor Mining Company was incorporated, with D. H. Moffat as one of the investors. A peculiarity of both the Last Chance and the Amethyst was that they needed no dumps, for the mineral was such that no sorting of ore was necessary.
"The latest townsite excitement is in the park on Bachelor Hill, around Last Chance Boarding House," wrote the Creede Candle on Jan. 21, 1892.
The question of a suitable townsite became tense as squatters began to stake claims upon the land set aside as "school ground," saying that the land was "mineral and should revert to the government." As people began to build homes, sink shafts and open veins of ore, the clash between those usurping the school land and the others became so vigorous that noise of the wrangle reached the ears of the Governor and the State Land Board and early in January they proceeded to Creede in a body. The advent of the governor was announced with such eclat as the limited means of the community could command. Everything that was capable of noise was brought into requisition and the salvos that the hills re-echoed made the huge pines tremble. The leading citizen, in a woolen shirt, broke the trail for his excellency, whose short legs made sorry efforts in tracing the footprints.
The largest edifice in the place was a general merchandise store into which the Governor was led. A beer keg upended was the rostrum and upon this the Governor was raised. The speech was not long . . . but it struck the spot. He would have said more but the physical exertion he made to maintain his equilibrium upon the keg consumed some of his reserve power.
The substance of his address was that the state would aid the camp . . . that lands would be sold to miners by lots and where minerals were present the state would exact a royalty. This solved the problem and the situation became pacific.
Since the trip of the Governor's party, a greater impulse has been given the camp and arrivals vary from 50-100 per day. Sunny San Luis,1889.
When a post office was granted to the camp in April. 1892, it was called Teller, not Bachelor, because there was a Bachelor in California. The following year the Amethyst post office was also recognized with a salary of $1700 for the postmaster and $150 for expenses.
In 1893 Bachelor was one of the liveliest camps around Creede, for such mines as the Bachelor, Spar, Commodore, Del Monte, Last Chance, Amethyst, Cleopatra and Sunnyside were all on Bachelor mountain. There were "eight stores and about a dozen saloons, several assay offices, boarding houses, hotels and restaurants in operation and more going up." Bachelor was considered one of the best suburbs of Creede. There was even talk of building a railroad from the Amethyst mine to Jimtown, below Creede.
Father Downey was active in sponsoring a Catholic Church for Bachelor. In August, the
A benefit for the same project was held in the new opera house, where the "Bachelor City Dramatic Club produced "The Wild Irishman" with acting declared to be much above the usual amateur attempt." The program continued with two recitations, "Shamis O'Brien and "St. Peter at the Gate." and "Messrs. O'Leary and McWade performed in a double-dog act which brought down the house." There were songs and duets, "encores were frequent and enthusiastic," and a dance topped off the evening, which netted the church one hundred and sixty dollars.
Excitement and tragedy were frequent in the camp. A "distressing accident" occurred on the road down Bachelor hill when a hack on the way to Sunnyside Cemetery "with the remains of the six-year-old son of Capt. Hill of Bachelor, and with four ladies in attendance . . . was overturned and rolled over three times down the hill into Windy Gulch. . . . The casket was rolled almost to the bottom of the hill." Fortunately some freight wagons were going up the road and their drivers went to the rescue of the passengers.
Woodruff, a Negro, was shot and instantly killed in front of the Palace bar by Michael Sherry, proprietor of the Miner's Home saloon, in a quarrel over a turkey shoot. Woodruff had threatened to "do up" Sherry the first time they met. By chance the two men collided and Sherry emptied his gun into the Negro, killing him. Woodruff, who had run a laundry and bath house at Bachelor since the beginning of the camp, was "buried with soldier's honors in Sunnyside."
Bachelor had its fires, the first in January. 1892, when the Free Coinage Hotel and Lundy and Sherry's saloon disappeared. Later that year another saloon went up in flames, and again the town was threatened. The Creede Candle of March 10, 1893, announced that:
Again the Candle reports:
Bachelor flourished between 1892 and 1908, the population at one time reaching 1000. But gradually the people moved down the hill to Jimtown below Creede, and the camp was deserted.