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193 10 DOI: 10.5876/9781607322375.c10 “Times Have Become Quiet Again” Panic Recedes in South Park but Murder Moves Elsewhere Euphoria spread throughout central Colorado in the wake of the killing of Vivián Espinosa. John McCannon’s possemen basked in a general glow of gratitude. Wrote an editorialist of the Rocky Mountain News Weekly: The people of California Gulch are entitled to a great deal of credit for the zeal they displayed in ridding the country of a desperado, and having performed the labor and spent the time necessary for that object it is no more than fair that other localities should stand the expense incurred. California gulch was not more directly interested than Denver or any other locality—not nearly so much so as some places—yet her people shouldered the main burden of the undertaking. Let Denver respond by paying a portion at least of the expenses incurred.1 As in the case of the Oro City committee’s call for reimbursement of McCannon’s volunteers, it is unknown whether the News’ solicitation produced a monetary outpouring equal to the enthusiasm of its appeal. Whether or not McCannon, Joseph Lamb, and Charles Carter received rewards, all three would long be remembered for the roles they played in ending at least part of the Espinosas’ reign of terror. InSouthPark,mattersgraduallyreturnedtonormal. Nearly contemporaneous with the death of Vivián “times have become quiet again” 194 Espinosa there was one more brief flurry of excitement on the northern verge of the Park when a party of men from Gold Run in the Blue River country were assaulted by five “guerrillas” on the same route Lehman and Seyga had traveled, the Denver, Bradford, and Blue River toll road. According to the May 9 edition of Central City’s Miner’s Register, the attack resulted in “a terrible fight” after which four of the ruffians were taken, the fifth escaping. The Register’s informant reported the not unfamiliar news that two of the miscreants were “hung to make them reveal the whereabouts of their accomplices—one of these died in the operation, and the other was so nearly killed as to render him unable to travel. The other two are said to have been sent to Denver.” Evidently not yet aware of the activities of “Commandant” Wilson’s mob and John McCannon’s posse, the Register’s editorialist declared, “it is high time the bands which infest some portions of our Territory were exterminated,” though of course he was at pains to explain, “we are not in favor of mob law as a general rule.” However, the people, he insisted, should “take the law into their own hands, so far as to preserve their lives and remove the danger of constant attacks.”2 Meanwhile, a private named John T. McGahey in Lieutenant Wilson’s Company F, First Colorado Cavalry,3 sent a reassuring bulletin to the Weekly Commonwealth and Republican from Fairplay: “Times have become quiet in the Park again, and we poor soldiers are beginning to have it easier; citizens are traveling unmolested and it is hoped the country is rid of the robbers and murderers infesting it for the last two or three months.”4 Mining activity had resumed and wages were good, the only drawback being “the want of water, the ditch not being large enough to supply the demand.” However, business was falling off dramatically in Cañon City, ninety miles away. McGahey and some friends had visited there recently, only to find the place “almost entirely deserted, without trade or travel.” Only a single inhabited ranch existed between Cañon City and South Park.5 Clearly the Territory’s population drain was being felt. However, the Weekly Commonwealth’s “Dornick” agreed the Park was enjoying its interlude of peace, writing from Pueblo on May 23 where he was again attending a term of US District Court, this time for the Third Judicial District. “All is quiet throughout the country in regard to jayhawkers, and murders especially ,” he reported, “since the capture and summary execution of the Mexican Espinosa near Canon City. . . . The one who escaped has not yet been taken or heard of.”6 “times have become quiet again” 195 The Third District, by far the largest in the Territory, encompassed Lake, Fremont, Pueblo, Huerfano, Conejos, and Costilla counties. Originally based in Cañon City, the court had recently moved to Pueblo,7 doubtless another reflection on the decrepitude of the once bustling mining supply town...


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