History of the

Three Diamond Mining Company

On a hot summer morning in the year 1884, four old miners were slowly rising from a restless sleep fraught with the fear that yet another day of back breaking work would yield no gold.  As their bitter coffee boiled on the fire, one of the miners decided he could take no more.  Since their claim had been staked, several years earlier, barely enough ore had been scratched from the earth to keep them all alive.  Missing his family and a much easier existence, Jaw Bone Johnson suggested that a contest be held with the winner, (or loser depending on how you look at it) taking the mine so the remaining three could pack their belongings and set out for home.

    Afraid that his suggestions would fall of deaf ears he was surprised when the other men practically jumped at the idea.  They all agreed that cutting the cards would be the fairest way to settle things with the man drawing the lowest card being declared the mine's sole owner.  Hack Saw Wilson produced a worn deck of cards from his bed roll and began to shuffle.  As he placed the cards on a stump he drew a card, the queen of clubs.   Jaw Bone was next and he drew a five of hearts.  Rubbing his hands together and whispering a little prayer, Blue Creek Cloer closed his eyes and slowly pulled a card from the deck, an ace of spades.  As squirrels chased each other in the ancient oak trees high above the mine, Ripshin Mountain Woods reached down and pulled his card from the pile remaining on the stump.  "Damn," Ripshin muttered, tossing a three of diamonds on the ground as he picked up his shovel and slowly disappeared into the worthless mine.

    Later that same day, with his former partners well on their way, Ripshin Mountain was digging away inside the mine.  He thought about leaving too, after all, no one would ever know.  Suddenly the light from his candle made him think he saw some color in the dirt.  He grabbed the small chunk of shiny rock and ran outside for a better look.  It was the size of a man's fist and felt like it weighed twenty pounds.  Brushing dirt from the rock with his shirt tail, he examined the piece of ore in the sunlight.  When he struck the rock with his pick Ripshin realized that his friends had given up too soon.

    Days turned into months and months into years as Ripshin worked away at one of the richest gold strikes in the state.  Eventually people heard of the old man and his gold and started moving to the area hoping to get a piece of the action.  A small community sprang up between the mine and nearby Soloman Creek and the Town of Mine Branch was born.  Ripshin Mountain began hiring workers for the mine and he called his operation The Three Diamond Mining Company, a name taken from the card which had won him the mine some ten years earlier.  

    Fearing that outlaws would invade the town and take everything they had worked so hard for, the citizens of Mine Branch petitioned the Governor for help.  By order of Governor Elias Carr, The Gunpowder Creek Regulators were created and sent to safeguard the interests of The Three Diamond Mining Company and The Town of Mine Branch.

From an article previously printed in
The Cowboy Chronicle