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    • "Ain't hardly nothin' to do but hunker down till she blows herself out." The man squatted, "Rance, is the name. Been watchin' you, doin' a fine job. You'll do Wheeler, you'll do. Try and get some rest, might end up bein' a long night. Least you won't be ridin' drag come daylight, there's a plus for ya."   He stood and made his way to his shelter to await the grub that was coming.   @Bongo
    • Meanwhile, in the main house, Reb Culverson was visiting with his old friend Fightin' Joe Hooker, who was the ramrod for the fledgling Montana Territory Stockgrowers Association, Northern District. He was there to convince ranchers to join and support the organization, hoping it would take root.   "And just what good is this here association ya got started?" Reb asked.   "It'll give us a voice in the territorial government, Reb, that's what it'll do. Once that happens we'll be able to git us some sortta range police to protect the herds, and the ranchers." Hooker responded. "Rustlin' might not be the threat it was, but you know as well as me, it can come back."   "You get anywhere with Lost Lake, 'er that cow thief on the Evergreen?" Reb asked.   "Can't say as I have, startin' with the smaller spreads an' workin' my way up to them two. I'm well aware of both spreads, and the men that own 'em."   -------------0------------   They swept down out of the trees whooping and hollering and firing off a couple of shots as they closed on both sides of a big group of cattle, just as they had planned. The  lone night hawk knew he had no chance of stopping the raiders, or of saving the cattle while he watched the chunk of the herd moving toward and then into the trees at a run.  He emptied his Colt at the raiders, the whipped out his Winchester  and levered several shots in the area where they had disappeared.   He could not know that one of his shots had found its mark. A man that had just joined took a slug in his back and toppled from his horse. Toole and the men continued to drive the cattle toward the dry riverbed as planned. It was an acceptable loss.   The sound of the shots, mere pops at the distance to the main house and the bunk house alerted everyone, and men boiled out of the bunk house guns in hand, only to watch the night man shooting after the rustlers.
    • Out on the boardwalk they stopped, "So we managed ta git a deal right off, thet's good, it is. Now all we gotta do is convince ol' Wentworth to free up the money so's ya don't have ta use yers right off." Amos commented, "Seems a fair deal but like you say, minin's not no sure thing."   "John and Mary are good folks. It's not a sure thing, but you saw the vein, went to the floor and it looks rich," Speed responded. "And it looks to be wider where they stopped digging. I can't wait to get it assayed to see what we've really got our hands on."   "And it should assay out pretty good from the looks of it, though I know so little about copper ore." Alice admitted.   "Well, you saw the copper ore, which is clearly distinguishable from the surrounding rock due to its reddish, mottled appearance. And that surrounding rock is granite which is not easy to work, but it can be done, and, if we have hit it, the veins could be as much as a mile long, a mile wide, and a mile deep!" Speed explained with a grin. "With that equipment we'll be able to not only dig deeper, we'll be able to tunnel, and we have the property to do just that."   "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" Amos exclaimed. Might oughtta buy up what ground ya can aound 'er, jest ta be certain!"   "First things first, let get on up to the bank." Speed suggested.
    • Justus was more than happy to have a chance to get out of the bulk of the wind, although he knew this was far from over.  And he knew they'd be hacking up dirt for days.     With the picket lines set, he moved over to help put up the shelters for the night, pretty quickly deciding that it was a fool's errand...they were all going to be miserable until this let up.   Squinting, he looked out toward the herd, not able to see but a few in the dust, it looked like they had been swallowed by the big, dirty cloud, and weren't even there.  In fact, he had the eerie sensation that all that was left in the world was this small circle of men and horses.   "Ya need me ta do anythin' else?" he called over the din of the wind.   @Flip
    • Doc Gilcrest walked into the bunck house to see Carson on his feet, dressed. "I may not be able to ride, but I can darn sure walk some. Tired of layin' in that bed."   "I reckon you kin do thet, sure 'nough. No body said ya had ta lie there if'n ya didn't want to. Yer stitched up plenty good. Jest leave thet hog leg where she's hangin' fer now, don't need the weight in thet wound."   "So anybody come sniffin' around?" He asked.   "Not so's you'd notice. There's four men down there keepin' watch, but it don't look like Lost Lake's lost any sleep over their man, that is if'n they even know he's gone." Gilcrest offered.   "He seen that brand an' went ta shootin'!" Carson reflected. "I jest shot straighter. Had no choice in the matter. Fool could'a rode on, but, well, that just ain't what happened. Hell of a mess."   "Oh I dunno. So far nobodies come huntin', the boss ain't upset over it, neither's Granger, so you got nothin' ta worry on 'cept gettin' better."   "I should'a been more careful, but maybe there just wasn't no way to be more careful. Up on the side of that mountain is the purdiest view a man could look at. You can see fer miles, see right where they got them cows of theirs. Now that ain't gonna be no easy matter to get to any of 'em. They're deep on Lost Lake range. Gonna be hard to get at, an' worse to get out. We'll lose some men tryin' this one, that's for sure!'   Gilcrest rubbed his chin. It wasn't like Carson to go on about the prospects of a job.

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Mature Content: Unsure

With: Speed, Alice and Amos. Perhaps others.
Location: Marshal's Office (Where it starts)
When: Mid-July-Mid-August 1876

 

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Speed was in the office before daylight working on the incorporation papers for the Copper Queen Corporation, they had not decided on a name for it,  so he used what they had decided on for the mine as the corporate name. It was as good as any, and better than most to his way of thinking. So when the clerks office opened he would get the papers in, and the claims registered. He as President, Amos as Vice President, and Alice as the Secretary, leaving Pronto and Emeline as voting members for the time being.

 

He looked over the paperwork that lay before him, this would be a different start for the three of them, Pike and Emeline, probably not so much what with the ranch consider, but that was fine. Though it gave him pause, what if Pike turned in his badge to care for the ranch and family? Where would that leave him? He had to consider the choices for himself and Alice, it was not about to be a long engagement, that was a fact, he doubted she would hear of such a thing. Would he step down? Could he? Charlie was hardly ready to assume the job of Town Marshal, and did he even want it?

 

Life is filled with questions, and decisions to be made, some simple and some difficult, with a myriad of  others in between. Every decision had a consequence, be it good or bad, and therein lies the problem. The election was coming up, and was he content to remain as Town Marshal, or would he run for County Sheriff which would free him up as well as enable him to support whoever took on the Marshals job. And, what would either job mean to the mining concern that he was now involved in? Choices...

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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They met at the head of the stairs, father and daughter, embarking on a new 'adventure' with the copper mines and land development. Four hundred acres could hold a lot, that was obvious, but a lot of what? Amos looked at Alice and offered;

 

"You an Speed, took long enough." Perhaps not what she wanted to hear first thing, but she had to agree, they could have been together long ago, or perhaps they were not meant to be together until then.

 

Speed had proposed, and she had accepted, though it was a less than ideal proposal, he had made it, and as far as she was concerned, he was not getting out of it, not now. "It wasn't what I'd call the most romantic of moments last night, but I'll take it. He made some important decisions things he wanted, things that would take in his friends and secure their future, though I understand that Pike, his deputy, is well off in his own right."

 

"Don't seem to matter to him he jest sortta looks out for those he's close to, whether they need it 'er not." Amos said as the reached the foyer of the Hotel. He opened the door for her and together they stepped out on the porch, looking north at the corner of the Municipal Building where the Marshal's Office was. "He's done alright for himself here, whot with them camissens an' his Marshals salary, plus the the cash comin' from New York. He's set, yep, now was his time to take you fer his bride."

 

They stepped off the boardwalk and crossed an empty cul-de-sac where the livery stood at the end. None of the businesses there were open as yet, as it was early, the sun just peaking over the horizon, not yet reaching the roof tops. Stepping up onto the boardwalk and moving to the front door of the building and went in, then a quick right into Speeds office.

 

"Are we still getting married?" She asked with a smile.

 

Speed looked up and beamed at the sight her.

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"Yes Ma'am, we are, though probably not today what with all the things we have to get done, while I tend to the business of the town, Wood and Guyer, and, The Copper Queen, plus, getting you a ring to make it official." He said as he rose to take her into his arms and give her a kiss.

 

"So I hope you two ain't gonna carry on all day with that list of chores ya mentioned." Amos said. "Copper Queen, the mine, right? You usin' thet as the name of are bidness too?"

 

"Yes. We never bothered to name the corporation so I just used the name of the mine instead. Besides, Alice here is the real Copper Queen. And, no, we won't be carrying on all day, maybe a good part of it, but not all day."

 

"We could all go up to the Lickskillet for breakfast." Alice suggested. "Sounds like a busy day ahead for us. Well the ring and the paperwork that has to be done."

 

"Paperwork is done, just needs your signatures and I'll take it upstairs when she opens. But yes, we could do that, be good to stretch my legs some, and I couldn't think of better company." He stepped away from Alice to get his hat, "Shall we?" Then stepped to the door and opened it for them. "A good breakfast'll be a great start to a most important day. I'd like to ride up and have a look-see at the property, if there's time, I can have Charlie watch things."

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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Speed held the door for Alice and Amos, then stepped out himself. The morning was bright and clear, not a breath of wind, but that could change. The streets were still clear of traffic, but the boardwalks had people, people that were going to their businesses to open them for the day. It would not be long before horse and wagon traffic picked up, but for the moment it was almost quiet, and it was peaceful.

 

Speed liked the mornings, the quiet gave him time to do whatever needed doing first thing, even if that was sitting out on the board walk in front of either office just enjoying the start of another day, which he did as often as possible. A cup of coffee and the solitude of the sunrise when he was able to catch it.

 

"Well come back to the mercantile after breakfast and pick out that ring for you, Alice." He said as they walked along. "They'll be open before the clerks office for sure. The Anderson's are prompt about opening even if they are the first ones."

 

"What'er yer plans fer this here election?" Amos asked suddenly,

 

"Pa?" Alice asked as if to tell him that it was not a topic that needed answering.

 

"Nah, it's alright Alice." Speed said, "Name's on the ballot for either County Sheriff or Town Marshal. Guess we'll see if anyone else jumps in for either. Maybe Pike, when he gets back, but then again, maybe not. Guess we'll see." By then they had reached the Lickskillet, Speed opened the door for them and stepped inside, spotting a table right off and going to it.

@Wayfarer

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  • 2 weeks later...

Breakfast had been pleasant as they went over what had been said the night before as they waited for the clerks office to open and make this whole thing real, legal and theirs. They agreed the Pikes would be surprised. And they agreed that if Pronto wanted to invest further,  then his shares would be greater as well. With Speed's knowledge and his ability to get the information they would need, they were sure of a measure of success almost immediately.

 

"So, what we need to do is ride up to the site, see what's been started and what hasn't and where we go from there. We can get mining equipment from Missoula, maybe as close as superior. Everywhere else is farther than I'd like to have to order from. But we'll see what's needed."

 

"Danged if he ain't got  him a hole dug a'ready. Showed real good signs, not somethin' what was salted to look rich, it damn sure is!" His eyes widened, "'scuse me daughter, fergot myself there."

 

Alice laughed, "Yes Pa, I've heard that too many times o be shocked by it."

 

"Well like I said, he's got some equipment and a couple buildin's but he ain't got no one workin' it. Went bust I figger."

 

"Then we need to get up there and see exactly what we have!" Speed declared. He was excited, as was Alice and Amos. This could be the big one. "And the other, we'll need to check on it as well. likely another day, but we'll get them registered to us."

 

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The time spent with the clerk was minimal. Speed left Charlie in charge and he, Alice and Amos mounted up and rode out of town on what was once the Whitefish Road. Heading for the property that promised to provide a healthy income, but also, a healthy outlay of cash to get everything up and running.

 

They arrived at the property, seeing the stakes in the ground, but also behind them off to the left, the Evergreen. But, that was not their problem, at least not just yet if it ever would be. there was a trail leading into the land, and about a quarter of a mile up the mine and the out buildings.

 

They rode to what appeared to be the 'office' for the mine. Two more buildings appeared to be storage sheds. They stopped and the three stepped down and surveyed what they had. Looks good, Amos, real good. Maybe we look in the office and see what was left, then maybe the mine and have a look at the find."

 

"Hell, Speed, there's a shaft with adits runnin' offa both sides, right 'n left. Was down there and there's ore, jest gonna be expensive ta get it out. I seen it. Owner told me he was considerin' open pit minin' with chemer'calls."

 

 

"I don't think I'd like that approach." Alice said "A big hole in the ground? Chemicals that would poison the area, and there's the ground water to consider. This place has a lot of ground water and it would carry that poison quite a ways before it would be safe, if ever."

 

Yes, exactly. Not something I would entertain." Speed said as they went inside the building that served as the office. Dust was everywhere, There were papers stacked on a makeshift desk, though it was nearly waist high, more of a table affair.  There was also a regular desk with papers stacked on it, reports, assayers reports.

 

"Well, looks like we've some reading material." Speed said.

TBC

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"Since the feller sunk a shaft, here on this map, thet ground water what yer talkin' 'bout might jest prove ta be a probl'um fer us, if'in it ain't already. Never thought about thet." Amos stated.

 

"Then again Pa, maybe not. Looking at his maps here, he's down four maybe five hundred feet and look at this, isn't that a vein?" Alice asked pointing to an 'adit', a horizontal off shoot of the vertical shaft." She smiled. "We need to go down and check this tunnel, which appears to follow the vein by the way this diagram shows."

 

"How do you know so much about this process?" Speed asked.

 

"Simple Mister Guyer, I read what was on this diagram of the mine." Alice replied.

 

"Danged if she didn't!" Amos exclaimed. "Might oughtta check the hoist fer grease afore we go down. I ain't sure how long she's been sittin' unused."

 

"Best we get to it thev." Speed agreed. Going down into the mine would require chain as rope would not be trusted, though it had been used many times in many places, chain was more dependable. What they were about to find out was the winch was using a chain, and that it had a handle on top, and one in the cage that would lower them so that they could raise themselves. It did require some grease, which they found at the mouth of the shaft. Their underground experience was about to begin.

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Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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The 'adit' was a tunnel off of the main shaft, in this case the shaft stopped at this vein, not that there might be others further down, but the vein could be seen where the adit began, and it was a good two, two and a half feet thick at that point.

 

"Well Mister Guyer, would you like to be the first to step into this tunnel?" Alice asked. "This candle light surely doesn't throw off much light down here."

 

"No, but the more candles the better the light, so when we hire more men, well they'll have more light to work by." He said stepping into the tunnel, followed by Alice and then Amos. "This vein widens as we move along here!" He announced.

 

The adit did not go more than ten feet in and the vein had not petered out, it simply got wider until it was stopped. "Damn." Speed whipered at the sight of it.

 

"Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" Amos exclaimed. "This here vein's only the beginnin' of what we got, mark my word! This here lode's rich! An' there's likely more the farther down we go. We may a missed some on the way down, but yer right. We need men ta be workin' this claim."

 

"And, boys, there just may be this same stripe right across from us." Alice noted, "They just didn't dig that abit, or whatever you called it. I don't know about you fellas, but I'm for getting above ground."

 

"Yes Ma'am, I do believe I've seen enough, and we know what we need to do. Time we headed topside." Speed agreed. "Maybe we need to get us a steam engine to hoist this cage and the buckets to get the ore out."

 

"That's was whot the man said. He went bust afore he could get him the engine. Wished that railroad was already here, packin' that engine in by wagon'll take some time." Amos informed them as they got in the cage and began pulling themselves up. "Glad they didn't go any deeper."

TBC

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The ride back to town was slow and easy, with the three discussing priorities, and the engine won out over everything else to do with the mine. They were in pretty good shape actually. Considering they went right to what appeared to be a good strike, depending on width and depth of the vein, and, did it go on to the opposite side? Not to mention the buildings were already up with a store of mining supplies on hand already.

 

They had found where the tailing pile from the mine was, but any ore of value was gone. Likely to the assayers office, with luck, in Kalispell. And while Speed was considering  the ore sample and where they had been assayed, Alice spoke up:

 

"So, Mister Guyer, in the midst of all of your current duties, when do you see us marrying?"

 

Speed turned in the saddle, looking at Alice and realizing that in fact they had made not one sing plan for their life together. The mine had taken center stage, and that was not what he had intended, but it was what happened.

 

"I am sorry, Alice. I mean that. Doggone mine just overshadowed what is likely the most important time in my life. Goodness knows I did not mean for that to happen." He said regretfully. "As soon as you would like, as soon as I can get a ring for you. I would have liked Pike to have been here, but God knows when he'll quit gallivanting around the countryside, and I can't ask either of us to wait on that."

 

"I appreciate that, and I know you would want him as your best man. He's your best friend after all." Alice said, sincerely. "I am willing to wait for a while, not forever mind you, but a while any way. I would like them, he and Emeline, to be there because we will become the best of friends like you and Pike. I just want to know that we will be married before I'm forty." Then she laughed.

 

He looked at her and then he too began to laugh, Amos joining in.

 

"Yes Ma'am, but the ring fist." He stated.

TBC

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"Well yes, a ring would make it official, that is certain, Mister Guyer. Though I do look forward to this mining partnership, but not nearly as much as as to our betrothal and beyond. That Mister Guyer excites me more an the widest vein of copper ore!" Alice declared.

 

Speed was smiling at her words. "And I look forward to all that life presents to us." He agreed, happily. "Though I believe we'll need to add onto the Rafter A. A mite small for our needs in the near future. This family is bound to grow, so I believe we should be prepared for that eventuality."

 

"Yep! Grand Childern fer the spoilin'!" Amos chimed in. A dream of his that had not worked out with that no-account Arthur Fletcher, spreading his seed everywhere but at home. But that was all water under the bridge, and now she had a good man and that would produce offspring. At last. "We'll likely have ta see the sky pilot afore long, won't we?"

 

"We will Amos, arrangements need to be made, though I think we should honor the tradition of the extended engagement, but I'll be hanged if we'll go past a couple of months. There'll be no two or three years of engagement.!" He declared. "I believe we have waited far too long already!"

 

Alice looked to him, pleased with his declaration. "Why yes, yes, we have, so a couple of months will allow the mining operation time to get started, the ranch to be expanded, and the election to have past, not to mention the return of your 'Best Man."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Amos cackled at Speeds declaration. "Long enough? Why hell's bells Speed Guyer! This woman's been pinin' fer ya fer long as I kin 'member. Even with that worthless, gamblin' fool she married, she still was waitin' on you. To do whot I got no idee. Two months. Be a spit in the bucket, but I got no idee why you'd need ta wait. Jest up an' marry her!"

 

"One reason, Pike and Emeline. I want to have them at the wedding, as I was for them." Speed responded.

 

"Well, ya might be looking at a year 'er two waitin' on them! My God, they been traipsin' around quite a spell now, ain't they?"

 

"Pa, I want them there  too. They're his best friends and soon to be mine as well. We can hold off until they come back, he's not going anywhere without me, count on it."

 

They pulled up in front of the Mercantile. "I believe we'll take care of the ring business right now. I realize the idea of an engagement ring is sort of new out here, but it has caught on in the east where I'm glad to be far away from. Hopefully they have something that will work for us. Something you like."

 

Alice looked at him and smiled as they stepped down, then mounted the boardwalk.

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Speed held the door for Alice and her father, then followed them inside.

 

"Hello." James Andersen said with a smile. "What can I do for you folks today?"

 

"Here to buy a ring for the lady, my fiance." Speed said proudly.

 

"Well then, we have a collection of rings in several styles and sizes. Now if you'll step down here to the case where they're kept we can have a look.

 

"James Anderson, you step away from that case, I'll help the young woman." Mary Anderson ordered. "Rings an' weddin's, you know as much about them as a field mouse. Now, Alice, I see that you have lassoed the town Marshal. Good catch. And a ring, Marshal? Did you have something in mind?"

 

"Well, I, ah, well, to be honest, no." Speed replied.

 

"Good. These rings are okay, mind you. They are alright, nice choices in silver mostly, but there are some in gold. Now, I have a few in the safe that I think you will like much better. Let me get them for you and we'll have a look."

 

Alice looked to Speed smiling. "You know Mister Guyer, once you place that ring on my finger, the deal is sealed, and you've no way out. My fathers over there looking at shotguns."

 

"There'll be no need of that Alice, I can promise you that." Speed responded as Mary Anderson came back with a tray of several bands.

 

"Now Alice, here are the ones I was talking about. Mary said, then added, "Marshal, you just go on over there and look at guns with Amos and my husband." He didn't move right off. "Shoo!  Go on!"

 

"Yes Ma'am. Speed responded and walked down to where James and Amos were looking at a short barreled shotgun.

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"You don't look to be the foo-foo type to me Alice Fletcher. So, I have this ring that just might fit you, one I think will be one that both you and the Marshal will appreciate."

 

"No, no I'm not, and yes, I'd love to see this ring. It can serve both as an engagement ring and a wedding ring?" She asked.

 

Yes, yes it can. I know that in the east some are going with two rings, which makes no logical sense to me. One with a stone mounted on it for the engagement, then a matching band for the wedding. The things they do in the east. I mean to say yes, that would be nice to have, but as far as being practical for how we live out here, just seems silly."

 

"It does, actually. Even though yes, it would be nice to have, but when would one wear such a thing out here?"

 

"Well here it is, now this is solid silver, Montana silver! It was made down in Virginia City where they have a jeweler. See the exquisite carving that was done on this. Only one like it, well, that I have." Mary explained showing Alice the ring, which gleamed in the light. "Now there was material added to the silver for strength, don't know what, but it's sturdy!"

 

"Oh my, yes, it is beautiful!" Alice was immediately taken with the ring. It was simple yet ornate with the carving done on it. She did know that it was done in a mold, and not carved, but that was not important. "Can we try it?"

 

Mary Anderson handed over the ring to Alice who looked at it, then looked to Mary, and then back to the ring as she slipped it on her finger where it fit perfectly. She fanned out her hand, holding it up to examine the ring on her finger.

 

"Speed." She called out.

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Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

"A Greeners, short barrel, in eight, ten, and twelve gauge. I have one of each in the back besides this one, which is in twelve gauge." Jon Anderson explained, holding up the shotgun for them to inspect.

 

"Speed." She called out.

 

"I'd be interested in the eight gauge." He turned toward her, "Be right there. I've important business boys, be back." Speed walked down the counter to where Alice was holding up her hand for his inspection of the ring she had selected. "Is that the one, Alice?" He asked admiring not just the ring but the hand that it was on.

 

"Yes, isn't it beautiful?"

 

"Almost as beautiful as the woman wearing it, but, I don't know. I mean to say, well, give it to me, would you?" He asked.

 

Alice looked at him as if he had lost it somehow, then slowly removed the band of silver and handed it to him so he could inspect it closely, but he dropped to his knee and asked, "Once more Alice I ask, will you marry me?" Holding the ring up for her to see. The men stopped and looked  on.

 

Tears welled up in Alice's eyes, he needn't do what he was doing, he had already asked,  and she had already accepted. It was so unlike what she would have expected from him, not that she could explain why. "Yes, Speed, I will marry you." She said softly.

 

Speed got to his feet, took her hand, and slipped the rig back on her finger. "I'll be paying for that, you don't need to wrap it."

 

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He took both of her hands and looked deeply into her eyes. "The ring symbolizes the love that I have for you, and it sets the course ahead for us both in life and in business. Our business. All things Guyer are a part of you now, even though the vows have not been said, my pledge is that you and I are partners in life, all of life."

 

Almost unbeknownst to Speed there was an audience to his testimony, John and Mary Anderson, Amos and four townsfolk who had dropped in to fill their list of needs, all stopped as Speed spoke to her, then she to him.

 

"And I accept that this is how things will be. That we are a team, you and I, for the better or the worse. But we should hunt up the minister instead of exchanging vows and life promises here in the Anderson's store. You do have a way with words Henry Guyer, you certainly do, so let's get on with shopping and the rest of this day." 

 

People clapped, which brought Speed back into reality. "Oh, and I'll take that eight gauge Greeners as well as the ring. What do I owe you?"

 

Mary Anderson, smiling, stated, "Seventeen for the ring, and how much John?"

 

"Twelve for the Greeners." John called back, as Amos negotiated for his own shotgun.

 

Speed drew out two double eagles ($40) and laid them on the counter before Mary. "No change." He said softly. "Well, shall we? Things to do people to see, rounds to make." As he said that Amos paid for his gun, and all three walked out of the store and across the street to the Municipal Building to register the claim for the Copper Queen.

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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With the 'Copper Queen' registered, their corporation registered everything was legal and above board. Now , as they crossed the street to his office, Speed with Alice and Amos in tow was considering their next move. Next, Speed produced paperwork for the addition of the Raven mine which Amos had bought as well. "I drew this up, but I wanted your input, you bought it after all. My thought was that you and Alice here could remain the owners of the Raven, and the corporation could invest in it once we're turning a profit."

 

He looked to each of them, "Or, if you like, we can add it to the corporation, probably hold the name, at least for now. That would be up to you. I am neutral on this, so it will be whatever the two of you decide."

 

"It's a ways off from here. The assay was good, so she's rich." Amos stated again.

 

Speed laid three one hundred dollar banknotes on his desk. "Yours Amos. A hundred is finders fee. Now, when you two decide how you want to proceed with the Rav-"

 

"Put it in the corporation, Speed." Alice stated, a wide smile on her face.

 

"Yep, where it belongs." Amos added, a grin plastered on his face. "Best place it could be. And, in time, wall, there's other'n's out thar we could come by, mebee not so cheap as these two, but then, that thar might not be of no concern by then."

 

"Providing both begin to pay off, as we hope they will. It's still mining, and mining is always a risk." Speed cautioned.

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TBC

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Back in the office, Speed sat with Alice and Amos, discussing many things to do with the wedding she wanted and the mining interests which had to include their neighbor Elias Steelgrave.

 

"He may have had ideas about that land, and I doubt it involved mining." Speed speculated, "He believes himself to be an empire builder, but with Whitefish gone, that sort of put a damper on any plans that town could have helped along."

 

"Good when ya have yer own town to draw folks. Makes it easier to spread out and suck up what land's available to ya. Damn shame though, Would'a been good ta have a neighboring town, well, closer'n Columbia Falls." Amos chimed in.

 

"It was an outlaws nest. Case was town Marshal up there, and he and his gang sort of ran roughshod over the folks that lived there. So the idea that we could have trouble with Steelgrave is a real possibility." Speed added. "We'll need to be careful who we hire on, now that Case is back with his mob, well, I can see them trying to get hired on. Lord knows what that might mean."

 

"Hire on through your office here in town." Alice offered. "Makes sense to have control over who applies and gets interviewed, doesn't it?" She had a point, and she knew it.

 

"Yes Ma'am, it surely does." Came the reaction. "That is exactly what we'll do. Advertise away from here, unless of course we know some with mining experience here abouts that have no ties to the Steelgraves.

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"I'd have to agree Alice, using what I already have in place makes the most sense in the current situation." Speed agreed. "Maybe they won't try hiring on, I do believe they have their own problems and their own plans, but yes, we will use the office to ire our help, and we will advertise away from Kalispell and the surrounding area. Though we might set up an office in Columbia Falls, if we can locate a man we can trust."

 

"Cain't never trust whot outlaws'll do in any sitchy'ation." Not where there's money to be had, easy money. Sortta leave copper ore out, I mean they'd have to get it to where they could sell it, and raw ore? Likely as not they'd have trouble don' thet." Amos considered.

 

"True. Wagons that we'll need to haul the ore are not exactly what an outlaw gang would have, and the teams to pull them. No, raw ore would not be what they would be after, but payrolls, now that would be something that would interest them." Alice chipped in. "And who have you got over across the street that would be handling this?"

 

"Ada Fetterman, and I should get over there and fill her in as to what's going on, and what might be headed this way as to hiring for the Queen and perhaps the Raven. Odd having my own mines to consider and plan for, not something I saw coming."

 

"Wall, look at 'er this way, Speed, may not be long you'll be in high cotton an' be able to turn in that tin badge and live a normal life." The Amos burst into laughter. "Hail, you ain't never had no normal life ta compare wit. Not so long as I know'd ya."

 

"Point taken, Amos, point taken. Let's head over to the office and see if young Mister Vaughn is about, I think between the two we can handle what we might be needing." Speed suggested.

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Ada Fetterman was at her desk going over some papers that had to do with properties that had been recently bought or sold by Wood and Guyer. She, of course, did not have anything about the Copper Queen, or the Raven, but Speed would correct that.

 

"Good morning Miss Fetterman. You know Amos here, may I present his daughter, and my fiance, Alice Fletcher."

 

"Miss Fletcher." Ada greeted with a smile.

 

"Missus Fletcher, I am widowed some six years now." She corrected, though that name would change once they were married.

 

Ada looked taken aback, having no way of knowing Alice's status. "I'm sorry."

 

"Not to worry Ada, may I call you Ada, we will be seeing a good deal of one another, and, there was no way for you to know." Alice said in an attempt to quell any embarrassment.

 

"Indeed we will. You see Ada, we are all in the mining business, the copper mining business. We have two properties which the three of us own now.  So yes, here are the records from the clerks office that officially set us up in business." Speed informed her with a proud grin. "Has Mister Vaughn been in today? I'd like him to accompany Amos here out the Raven site to look it over."

 

"No sir, not as yet, but I do expect him." Ada replied.

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@Nova

 

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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"In the mean time, here are the property deeds, the papers registering the claims." Speed said handing here the sheaf of papers that represented the Copper Queen's holdings. "So then, as my employee, Miss Fetterman, I will raise your salary commensurate with the increase in your duties. Between you and Alice here you will oversee the those who will be interviewed by myself and, or Amos here." He smiled, "Say another five dollars a week? Is that satisfactory?"

 

Ada sat in shock, another five dollars a week. That would put her at roughly ten dollars weekly, or forty dollars a month. She would be making more that most cow hands. More than bank clerks, or hired help. "Thank you sir." Was all she could say.

 

"The same will be true for Mister Vaughn, once he arrives. There will be other duties for him as well, connected to the local mine, The Copper Queen. The Raven is a bit far from town so the men there will require us to be vigilant in our hiring practices. For now I need to cross the street and attend to Marshaling duties." Speed concluded.

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Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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Saying his goodbyes to Amos and Alice, which culminated in a hug and a kiss, Speed cross the street and the waiting Marshals who had met with Doc Boone in Columbia Falls and been told of the possibilities that big trouble could be on the way in the form of the Streelgraves,  so they were cozied up in the office that would belong to the County Sheriff if one was ever elected. Though Speed had his eye on that job. Give him more freedom, and more jurisdiction.

 

He stepped inside and went to the Sheriff's office where he found Cook and McNue. "So, how is old Doc Boone?" He asked as he walked in. "Good man that Josiah Boone, sorry to see him go."

 

"Seemed so, and he looked fit as a fiddle, but like we told you, he's belivin' there's trouble afoot." Cook said.

 

"Well that's a given. There's a Town Council Meeting in the morning to settle the hospital matter and stir up whatever the Steelgraves have in mind, though I doubt Case, that's her older brother, would allow harm to come to her. Can't say the same of Elias." Speed stated.

 

You got the one deputy, other ones away and no tellin' when he'll get back. Them three hard cases lookin' after Miss Steegrave, we ain't no match for how many ever men the old man's got." McNue figured.

 

"I kind of doubt Elias would sick his men on the town, but on the hospital? I can see that happening."

 

"And," John Cook began, will she hire security or will that fall to us? Like we said, we're in on this by the Governors hand. But, he's got no more men he can spare. What about the Army? They're just down the road."

 

"True, but with the Indians out they've got their hands full, but It'll do no harm to ride down and parlay with the Commanding Officer. Fact is, I'll do that myself, might come out better from the Town Marshal. Even though you two represent Montana, a local man might get a better response. I'll ride down there today. See what I can do about some help." Speed explained.

 

"Might be you're right. We'll help watch the store while you're away." Cook offered.

 

"Good. Maybe I'll just head out right now. See if we can't enlist some government help."

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Speed took the time to let Alice and her father know where he was going, and why, then mounted up and started out for the fort. He'd not been there, he had seen it in passing, and it was a welcome sight with the Indians out. He understood that the Military had no jurisdiction in town, and likely they might not be willing to help, yet, then again, they might. Protecting citizens was their job. And just because the ones Speed was asking them to protect were in town with active lawmen, A large contingent of outlaws  posed a significant threat.

 

The outlaws, be it Cases' gang or Elias' riders, or both together, it would be more than a handful lawmen could handle, even with the townsfolk defending their town. True, most had served in the War Between the States, but that had been over ten years ago, and true they had fought Indians and outlaws, yet these men were settled down now and past getting into gun trouble. And maybe it wouldn't come. Maybe Neither Steelgrave wanted to tangle with the town and it's people. Yet going to talk with the Army made sense, even if they couldn't really help out right then.

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The ride was easy, the trail well traveled by horse and by coach and freight wagon. It gave a man time to think, one of the pleasures of riding without being in a hurry or with someone to talk with, and Speed Guyer had a good deal on his mind. There was the upcoming wedding, The copper mines, , his other business affairs, and the Town Council meeting the next day.

 

He was well aware that Elias Steelgrave's lawyer would be present, and he would object, unless there was a change of mind out on the Evergreen. If it turned out to be good news for Leah, then it would be bad news for Steelgrave and his lot which might include his son Case. That piece had yet to fall into place so far as Kalispell was aware.

 

The fort loomed head and Speed was surprised at how quickly the time had passed between town and the fort, but his mind had been busy with the things going on in Kalispell, as well as his personal life. He passed through the entrance onto the parade ground, locating the Commanding Officers Office and riding directly to it. He stepped down and climbed the three steps to the door, and stepped inside.

 

"Afternoon, Marshal Guyer to see the Colonel, or his Adjutant." He addressed the duty Sargent. 

@Longshot@Wayfarer

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Mackenzie had been sitting at his desk, reading the latest dispatches that had come across the telegraph from higher headquarters. This part of military command was what drove men like MacKenzie to distraction. For every patrol or ride he took, he spent what felt like an entire day parked behind his desk reading, answering, or composing reports.

 

His head came up at the sound of the office front door. Visitors weren't a normal thing on an army post, especially without being expected. The colonel shoved back from his desk and walked around it toward the door of his inner office. He stopped in the doorway and took in the stranger speaking with the Duty Sergeant. He seemed pleasant enough, and Mackenzie's eye noted the well worn trail clothes, and the pistol worn easily around his waist.

 

"May I be of service to you, Sir...?" Mackenzie stepped into the outer office and waited for the visitor to respond...

 

@Flip @Wayfarer

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"Colonel, Henry S. Guyer, Town Marshal of Kalispell. Like to have a talk with you." Speed stated,  "We have us a problem in town, you may know that Miss Leah Steelgrave is trying to get a hospital built and her father, Elias is against it, so far as we know." He waited to be led into the office.

 

"Now she has a brother, Case, he has a gang of over a dozen hard cases and they have just come back into Flathead Valley. Likely up to no good. The reason I'm here is to ask if we can count on the Army if things get bad, as some expect." There it was, the problem, unvarnished. "I have two Territorial Marshals, two deputies and one man to protect the town. We've no County Sheriff right now."

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  • Flip changed the title to The Marshal's Office

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