Article by Forest Crossen from the Boulder, Colorado, "Daily Camera" (date unknown):
"The old-timers were great people," said George T. Springsteel, 2859 10th St. "I've been with them all my life. I was raised among them. The one I remember better than any other was my grandfather, Solomon Gear. He was out here in this country before the gold mining started in 1859, before there was any Denver or Boulder."
George Springsteel is an old-timer himself. He was born of pioneer parents in Gear Canon, a dozen or so miles north of Boulder, in 1875. This makes him a Territorial Pioneer, one of the last of that brave company.
"Grandfather was a soldier in the U.S. Army, in the (3rd Colorado) cavalry. To the best of my recollection, he was stationed at Fort Laramie, up at the junction of the North Fork of the Platte and the Laramie. They were guarding the Oregon Trail--I've heard him tell lots of times of covered wagon trains going through to Oregon and California--trying to keep the Indians quiet. He saw some pretty rough times."
Grandfather Was Captured By Indians
"One time during an Indian fight he and two other soldiers were captured. The Indians took them to their camp, a long ways from Fort Laramie. The Indians took a liking to grandfather. He was a great fellow and didn't seem to be afraid of anybody.
He had a fast horse, so he challenged the Indians to a race. They were great for horse racing, had some pretty good horses, too. He was shrewd enough to hold his horse back, let them win at first. He kept telling the Indians the distance they were racing wasn't far enough to give his horse a chance. So they agreed to run a longer race, out away from the camp. They started and when they finished Grandfather told them it still wasn't far enough. They kept going out farther and farther.
"Finally, when he was out about half a mile, he showed them what a real race horse would do. I don't know how he had got hold of this horse, probably won him in a poker game. He played enough, would bet on anything.
"He ran off and left them. . .and just kept going. They took in after him but he had too much of a start. He made it into Fort Laramie all right."
George paused, his blue eyes alight. "He was all over this part of the country on those Indian campaigns." Fort Laramie was the focal point from which troops were dispatched in all directions. "I used to ask him where he went and he'd always say 'Everywhere, George, everywhere.'
"Finally he was caught in a bad Indian fight. He was shot in the calf of the leg, the bullet splintering the bone. In those days they didn't have good surgeons, so his leg was never right. Splinters of bone kept coming out. He walked with a cane; he couldn't get around very well."
Built First Cabin In Jamestown
"They discharged him from the army, so he went back to Illinois for his family. That must have been along about 1861 or 62. He brought them out to Denver.
"They started out in a covered wagon with a good team of horses pulling it. Behind the wagon came a milch cow. They came out on the Oregon Trail and then came up the South Fork of the Platte to Denver. Somewhere on the way one of the horses died, so he hitched up the cow and that's how they landed down on Cherry Creek.
"Grandfather went up to Central City and Blackhawk and did some mining. Then he drifted north to Jimtown, hunting gold. He built the first cabin there.
"Finally he found a canon that suited him and he decided to go in for cattle ranching. This canon is the first one to the north after you pull into Left Hand. More of his family came out and they took up nearly all the land there. My father was one of them. I was born there in Gear Canon, named for grandfather.
"He was a short man, heavy set. He had dark red hair and always wore a clipped beard on his chin, I think you call it a Van Dyke. Part of the time he let his sideburns grow. He was the most optimistic man I've ever seen--and he was a money-maker."
Gambled Prospect In Game Of Cards
George chuckled. "But one time he wasn't so lucky. Like most all old-timers, he drank. Over at Longmont one day he got to drinking and gambling. He was a great hand to play poker.
"A druggist over there cleaned him and the other fellows. Then he said to Grandfather, 'Haven't you got anything else to gamble?'
"My grandfather thought a minute, then he said, 'Yes, I've got a prospect up at Gold Hill.'
"'Why don't you put it up? You might win everything back on the turn of a card.'
"My grandfather nodded.
"'What do you figure it's worth?' the druggist asked him.
"'I don't know yet, but I figure $2,000.'
"'All right. I'll bet $2,000 against it.'
"They played another hand. . .and Grandfather lost."
"And the prospect?" I asked.
George smiled, then shook his head slowly. "It was the Alamakee. The druggist went up there and began sinking. He took out $100,000 in the first 100 feet."