Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 1.djvu/155

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load. Skilled mechanics became numerous. The quick means of transit from the Missouri by the stage company—the time had been reduced to six days—also brought a considerable accession of capitalists. In every direction the business of pushing the towns forward was pursued with remarkable energy by midsummer. New buildings were started every day, and their character steadily improved. The original site of Auraria had been taken up by Nebraska men, that of Denver by the party which had come out in consequence of the Leavenworth meeting already mentioned. No Government survey having ever been made, this “taking up” was really squatting at random. The “squatters” had no little trouble in protecting their claims from “jumpers.” As was to be expected, the moment the future of the country seemed assured, “additions” to the town site were staked off for miles from its boundaries to the four points of the compass. The Denver Company originally consisted of twelve members, each holding an equal undivided interest. “General” Larimer, originally from Pittsburg and afterwards a resident of Leavenworth, was the leading spirit. In consideration of my having written up the country so assiduously, I was given a one-forty-eighth interest in the association. (It may as well be mentioned here that I helped to locate and became part owner of other town sites in different parts of the country.)

By the end of August, there were fully five thousand people settled on Cherry Creek, including at least one hundred families. Long before that time, the necessity of protecting the real and personal property of the inhabitants had led to the formation of town governments. Although the population was drawn from every part of the United States—it would not be too much to say from every quarter of the globe—it was remarkably respectable and orderly. I do not hesitate to assert that the percentage of vicious elements, gamblers, thieves, murderers, and bad women, was never so large there as in other mining