Page 31 - Cornelius Hedges Story
P. 31

For This And Succeeding Generations  Gardiner 18

    On the 17th, they took up a new claim, and with renewed hope
sent one of their number, Dave, to join in on the Yellowstone gold

    By October 1, he was back with the discouraging news of a false
alarm. And the next day, Hedges related “traded my pistol to Dave
for his share of the pony... traded one rubber blanket for his bake
oven -Dave is going home.”49

    His luck continued to run in streaks, on October 19, he traded
his gold watch for a $27 lumber bill, but the very next day they had
their best run yet, cleaning up $51.30. And by November 9, they
had contracted for yet another claim at $750, payable in monthly
installments as it came out of the ground.50

    In spite of the long, hard days of toil, there was diversion,
and occasionally a few bright spots. On October 22, because the
ditch broke and he could not work, Hedges went to town to hear
Samuel McLean and Wilbur F. Sanders debate. Even though still a
Democrat, Hedges confided “Liked Sanders best, almost persuaded
to vote for him.”51As it turned out, he did not the first time,52 but that
day did begin a life-long friendship which ended only with Sanders
death in July, 1905. The election returns resulted in only a one-seat
majority for the Republicans in the territorial Council (Senate), a
one-seat majority for the Democrats in the House, and the election
of Democrat Samuel McLean as Territorial Delegate.

    One of the happiest days of the year for Cornelius was November
22, when he received news of the birth of another son on October
28, at Southington, Conn, and his response was:

   “How thankful for such good news.” The new-born was
   named Henry Highland, because Hedges was then working in
   Highland Gulch.53
    Problems continued, in mid-December, due to disputes over
water rights and side ditches, could not get the necessary water to
work their claim.54 But to off-set that, “lady luck” smiled in time to
give them an early Christmas present - three days of good run. On
the 22nd, they took out $98, with one nugget worth $11.10, they
cleaned up $30.85 on the 23rd, and just $22.50 on the 24th. His first
Christmas day in Montana was marked by a visit from Tim Wilcox.55
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