Cripple Creek is noted as containing more citizens who through sheer ability have risen in the world than any other mining district in the country.
If the metal in a man is to be tested to its full capacity a mining camp is the best place for the trial. It either holds, bends or breaks. Will and perseverance always win out, and with that stock in trade many a man has climbed the ladder to wealth in the Cripple Creek district.
Among the men who have striven long and hard to reach the goal of ease, and succeeded, is James Wright. Today his prospects are as bright as any man's in the camp, and the prospects are due simply to his indomitable courage and will.
Mr. Wright was an early arrival in the camp. He underwent the hardships and privations that are always encountered when everybody is struggling in the vortex. He had his share of it, but never complained.
He was a good, practical miner, and had no difficulty in securing work, which was of a class that won for him promotion. His superiors recognized in him a man of action and progressiveness. He had judgment and that is what a superior likes in a subordinate.
It was not long before Mr. Wright was appointed:
One of the foremen on the famous old Victor mine.
A like position was offered him on the Granite mine on Battle mountain, and much of the development of that property in 1897 and 1898 was under his direction.
Later he took charge of the Extension Gold Mining company, for ex-Governor Mclntyre and George Ross-Lewis of Denver.
He also had charge of the Grace Arthur.
Under his superintendency the Standard tunnel was extended between 800 and 900 feet.
The good work he did attracted the attention of others, and he took charge of the Columbine-Victor tunnel and drove it 600 feet.
In each place he made himself felt. The employer recognized his worth.
Much of the development work of the Eclipse was under his supervision.
After resigning his position as superintendent of the Eclipse company he decided to lease. His experience gave him the confidence to go ahead.
Last summer he secured a lease on the Thompson property, belonging to the Elkton company. The first of September he commenced operations.
The mine had not been worked for a couple of years and was in bad shape. The first thing he did was to make a thorough cleaning up.
In the 300-foot level there was a great mass of mine debris, containing fully 200 tons of material. Every pound of it was hoisted to the surface and shipped close to $20.00 to the ton.
Below the debris, in the floor of the level, he discovered a six-foot vein of good ore. It had been covered by some one.
Realizing that he had a good thing, he started to work and now has it proven for 500 feet in depth. It has been opened right on the surface, in the 200, 300, 400, 450 and 500-foot levels of the mine. What he has in sight has not been estimated yet, for he is too busy breaking it with machine drills to calculate what there is. He knows he has it and is straining every muscle to get it out.
Not content with that ore shoot, Mr. Wright began prospecting the ground. He made an inspection through the main Elkton shaft and studied the conditions where the famous Walter ore shoot faulted. There was every indication that the fault was not very great. To find that was his ambition. Prospecting was started and before many weeks had elapsed he succeeded in opening the ore shoot.
With the new ore shoot to work on he realized the necessity of getting quick action. Machine drills were needed, as was additional machinery. They were installed very quickly and now he has the Walter ore shoot opened in four levels.
At the present time Mr. Wright is averaging shipments of forty tons of ore a day, that is settled for around $21.00 and $22.00 to the ton.
A new ore house has been completed and there is more than enough ore in sight to keep him busy until the expiration of his lease.
Mr. Wright has won through his sheer ability and straightforward dealings with every one and few men hold the respect and admiration of all as he does.