George Andrew Jackson – The Man Who Started it All

A Missourian by birth and cousin to Kit Carson, prospector George A. Jackson worked in the California goldfields from 1853 to 1857. He headed to Colorado when gold was discovered here in 1858. In January, 1859, he left his winter camp to go on a hunting trip. While on that trip, he camped at the junction of Clear Creek and Chicago Creek, and while panning some of the gravel with his drinking cup, he discovered gold! He became the first man to uncover the incredibly rich placer deposits on Clear Creek. Word spread quickly (of course) and prospectors rushed out to find their own fortunes. Small camps quickly sprang up, dotting the valley that is now Idaho Springs.

According to The Geo Zone, in 1867-1868, Jackson and a partner found another rich gold deposit somewhere near Walton Peak. The two prospectors organized a large party in Georgetown to return and work the deposit for as long as possible. They managed to mine and cache some $10,000 worth of gold but were driven out of the mountains by Chief Colorow’s Ute Indians. Jackson himself was never able to return to the mine – he accidentally shot himself to death before he had the chance. As far as anyone knows, the other prospectors were barred from returning by the hostile Utes. When they finally did come back, they were unable to locate the cache or even the site of their old camp. Apparently, a former employee of the U.S. Forest Service stumbled upon some old workings on Walton Creek believed to be from the Jackson party, but unfortunately there is very little gold in Walton Creek. The mine and cache remain hidden to this day. There is nothing like the allure of hidden treasure ~ practically in your own back yard!

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