TIN CUP, WYOMING ( A PLACE OF MYSTERY AND BROKEN DREAMS)

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 1.37.05 PMTHE AREA OF WYOMING SHOWN IN THE MAP (B) IS A WINDBLOWN, FLAT TOPPED PART OF THE GRANITE MOUNTAINS. WHILE APPEARING TO BE JUST A MOUNTAIN OF ROCK AND A DESOLATE PLACE WITH FEW TREES TO BREAK UP THE DESOLATION. IT HAS BEEN A PLACE THAT ATTRACTED MANY SEEKERS OF GOLD, PRECIOUS STONES, RARE EARTHS AND EVEN THE MOTHER LODE OF URANIUM IN THE DAYS WHEN THE GREAT URANIUM BOOM WAS GOING FULL BLAST. LONG AN AREA OF INTEREST TO PROSPECTORS, ENTREPRENEURS AND ROCK HOUNDS, TIN CUP STILL SEEMS A PLACE OF MYSTERY. THERE ARE THOSE WHO TO THIS DAY BELIEVE IT IS A PLACE WHERE FORTUNES CAN BE MADE.

YOUR AUTHOR AND CO AUTHOR OF THIS POST, COUSIN CLARKE GOODMAN, EACH HAD ONLY ONE OR TWO VISITS TO THE AREA OVER THE YEARS. MY LAST CHANCE TO VISIT WAS MANY YEARS AGO WHEN EVERYONE WHO HAD A GEIGER COUNTER WAS OUT PROSPECTING FOR URANIUM. WHEN WE ARRIVED AT THE TOP OF THE FLAT AREA AT TIN CUP THE EVIDENCE OF THE HARD ROCK MINES WAS SCATTERED THROUGHOUT THE AREA. MANY SHAFTS HAD BEEN DRIVEN INTO THE GRANITE IN SEARCH OF THE ELUSIVE VEIN OF GOLD. AMONG THE SHAFTS WAS THE GOODMAN MINE.

THE GOODMAN MINE DATES BACK TO THE 1920’S WHEN OUR GRANDFATHER, AFTER SOME UNSUCCESSFUL SPECULATION IN OIL AND COAL MINING, DETERMINED TO MAKE HIS FORTUNE IN THE GOLD FIELDS OF GRANITE MOUNTAIN. THE MINE PROVIDED SEVERAL SUMMERS OF “EMPLOYMENT” FOR OUR FATHERS AND THEIR BROTHERS. IT WAS NOT EASY WORK, DRILLING HOLES FOR THE DYNAMITE CHARGES, BLASTING AND MUCKING OUT THE BROKEN ROCK, A BUCKET AT A TIME BY HOISTING IT UP THE SHAFT TO DUMP IN THE WASTE PILE. IT WAS BACK-BREAKING WORK TO BE SURE. SOME OF THE SHAFTS WENT DOWN INTO THE GRANITE AT LEAST 30 FEET OR SO. CLARKE’S FATHER SPENT THE MOST TIME ON THE MOUNTAIN. HE WAS SINGLE AND ABLE TO SPEND MORE TIME AT THE MINE THAN HIS MARRIED BROTHERS. THERE WAS A SOD CABIN AT THE MINE WHERE HE FREQUENTLY STAYED. HE BECAME CONVINCED THAT THERE WAS GOLD IN THOSE HILLS.  IN 1943, HE MARRIED AND HE AND HIS NEW BRIDE, DORIS, SPENT ONE SUMMER AT TIN CUP. IN 1944 THEY HAD THEIR FIRST CHILD AND THE NEW FAMILY PRECLUDED DEVOTING ANY MORE TIME TO THE MINE AT TIN CUP. ABOUT THIS TIME OUR GRANDFATHER LEFT WYOMING AND STARTED A SUCCESSFUL STRAWBERRY FARM IN WASHINGTON STATE.  HIS SPECULATION IN OIL, GOLD AND COAL HAD COME TO AN END.  WHILE CLARKE AND DORIS RAISED A FAMILY OF SIX CHILDREN, CLARKE STILL FREQUENTLY TALKED OF TIN CUP AND HIS CONVICTION THAT THERE WAS PROFITABLE ORE ON GRANITE MOUNTAIN. WHEN CLARKE AND DORIS’S CHILDREN WERE GROWN AND CLARKE RETIRED, HE AND HIS WIFE RETURNED TO WYOMING AND STARTED A COMPANY, GEMCO (GOODMAN MINING AND EXPLORATION COMPANY). IN THE EARLY 1980’S THE COMPANY FILED CLAIMS AT TIN CUP WHERE THE ORIGINAL GOODMAN MINE HAD BEEN. FOR A FEW YEARS, CLARKE AND DORIS LIVED IN A TRAILER THEY HAD MOVED TO TIN CUP. CLARK’S LAST ACTIVITY AT TIN CUP WAS IN 1986. HE PASSED AWAY IN 1987, STILL A FIRM BELIEVER IN THE PROFITABILITY OF THE GOODMAN MINES ON GRANITE MOUNTAIN. TO OUR KNOWLEDGE THE ELUSIVE VEIN OF GOLD WAS NOT TO BE FOUND. IN THE WORD’S OF A GOODMAN BROTHER, OUR UNCLE MARK, ” … MORE MONEY WAS POURED INTO THE HOLE THAN WAS EVER TAKEN OUT.”

CURRENT ACCOUNTS OF THE AREA (SEE LINKAT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG) BOAST OF MANY KINDS OF PRECIOUS AND SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES AVAILABLE IN GREAT ABUNDANCE IN THE AREA.  GEOLOGIC STUDIES OF THE AREA INDICATE THAT THE TIN CUP AREA WAS ONCE THE HIGHEST PLACE IN THE GRANITE MOUNTAINS AND THEREFORE SHOULD BE THE SOURCE OF THE VARIOUS MINERALS AND GEMS, PERHAPS CARRIED BY WATER OVER THE EONS. WHILE ALL OF THIS IS SOMEWHAT SORTED OUT, THE SENSE OF MYSTERY STILL SEEMS TO SURROUND THE AREA AND MANY LONG FOR A MORE THOROUGH INVESTIGATION OF THE POTENTIAL OF TIN CUP. CLARKE DISCOVERED UNDEVELOPED SOURCES OF RARE EARTHS IN THE AREA DURING HIS PROSPECTING DAYS. SO LIKE SO MANY AREAS OF WYOMING, THE MYSTERIES CONTINUE, AND FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF THE AREA IS  AWAITING DISCOVERIES BY PROSPECTORS OR ENTREPRENEURS OF THE FUTURE. WYOMING IS STILL A FRONTIER IS SO MANY WAYS, A PLACE WAITING FOR SOME NEW BOOM TIME, PERHAPS JUST AROUND THE CORNER ONCE AGAIN.

LINK OF INTEREST: tinkup.blogspot.com 

THIS POST WAS THE JOINT EFFORT OF THE USUAL AUTHOR, JIM GOODMAN AND HIS COUSIN, CLARKE GOODMAN WHO PROVIDED MUCH OF THE DETAILS OF HIS FATHER AND MOTHER’S INVOLVEMENT IN TIN CUP AND ITS HISTORY. YOUR AUTHOR THANKS HIS COUSIN FOR HIS VALUABLE INPUT.

A MOTHER’S DAY TRIBUTE

IMG_0970THE TIME WAS THE SPRING OF 1929 AND THE YOUNG WOMAN PICTURED WAS GRADUATING FROM KANSAS UNIVERSITY IN LAWRENCE, KANSAS. HER NAME WAS IRENE BRASFIELD AND SHE GREW UP IN THE SMALL TOWN OF GARDEN CITY NEAR KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI. SHE CAME FROM A LARGE FAMILY WHOSE FATHER WAS A BANKER. SHE WAS A GIFTED WOMEN WHO COULD PLAY CHOPIN ON THE PIANO AND WAS TRAINED TO TEACH GEOGRAPHY TO EIGHTH-GRADE STUDENTS.

SHE WAS A TOUGH AND INDEPENDENT WOMAN WHO CHOOSE TO LEAVE HER FAMILY FAR BEHIND AND HEAD FOR THE FRONTIER STATE OF WYOMING TO TAKE A JOB AS A TEACHER IN A TWO-ROOM SCHOOL HOUSE NEAR RIVERTON AT ARAPAHOE.

I AM STILL AMAZED AT THE BRAVERY OF A SOMEWHAT PRIVILEGED YOUNG WOMEN CHOOSING TO LEAVE HER FAMILY BEHIND AND HEAD TO THE UNKNOWN THAT THE FRONTIER OF WYOMING WAS IN THOSE DAYS, NOT TOO LONG AFTER THE FOUNDING OF THE TOWN OF RIVERTON.  DIRT STREETS AND BOARD SIDEWALKS WERE THE USUAL FOR SMALL-TOWN WYOMING IN THE 1920’S. IT MUST HAVE BEEN A SHOCK TO HER TO LEAVE  DEVELOPED MISSOURI AND GET OFF THE TRAIN IN RIVERTON AND HEAD OUT TO ARAPAHOE TO THE TWO-ROOM SCHOOL. 

FORTUNATELY FOR ME (OR YOU WOULD NOT BE READING THIS BLOG) MY UNCLE, JOHN GOODMAN, WAS IN CHARGE OF THE TWO-ROOM SCHOOL AT THAT TIME. HE INTRODUCED IRENE TO MY FATHER, RICHARD GOODMAN AND AS THEY SAY, THE REST IS HISTORY.

MY MOTHER NEEDED TO BE A STONG AND TOUGH WOMAN MANY TIMES IN HER LIFE. TEACHING 8TH GRADERS IN NOT EASY, ESPECIALLY IN TIMES WHEN OTHER TEACHERS HAD MANY PROBLEMS WITH ROUDY KIDS. SHE NEVER HAD DIFFICULTY WITH DISCIPLINE AND I CAN TELL YOU FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE SHE COULD WITHER ANYONE WITH A STARE FROM THOSE LUMINOUS EYES. THERE WERE MANY PROBLEMS WITH MY FATHER’S ILLNESS AND LATER WITH HER OWN MEDICAL CONDITIONS WHICH WERE BROUGHT ABOUT BECAUSE SHE HAD CONTRACTED RHEUMATIC FEVER AS A CHILD WHICH DAMAGED HER HEART. THE ISSUES WITH HER HEART MADE HER LAST FEW YEARS INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT. SHE HAD TO HAVE AN ARTIFICIAL HEART VALVE INSERTED AS A RESULT. AFTER A BLOOD CLOT IN HER LEG WHICH BECAME GANGRENOUS SHE WAS AIR-LIFTED TO DENVER AND HAD TO HAVE HER LEG REMOVED JUST BELOW THE KNEE. SHE REFUSED TO GIVE UP TEACHING AND RETURNED TO THE CLASSROOM.  ONE DAY AFTER SCHOOL WAS OUT SHE WAS ERASING THE BLACKBOARD TO PREPARE FOR ANOTHER DAY WHEN HER HEART VALVE PLUGGED AND SHE PASSED AWAY. SADLY SHE HAD NOT REACHED HER 65TH BIRTHDAY AND HER PLANNED RETIREMENT NEVER OCCURRED. 

SO ON THIS MOTHER’S DAY I MISS MY TOUGH MOTHER. SHE WAS A TRUE WYOMING PIONEER, IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD. I THANK HER FOR INSTILLING IN HER CHILDREN THE WILL TO SUCCEED, OUR OWN TOUGHNESS PERHAPS, WHICH SERVED US WELL AS WE MADE OUR JOURNEY THROUGH OUR OWN LIVES. LIVES WHICH BROUGHT THEIR OWN SHARE OF TRIALS AS WITH ALL OF US.  HONOR YOUR MOTHER ON THIS MOTHER’S DAY AND REMEMBER WITH JOY ALL THOSE INCREDIBLE THINGS SHE DID FOR YOU EACH DAY.