Cotopaxi, Colorado: Russian Jewish Colony



 The History of Emanuel H. Saltiel


with Gold Tom


George* Henry Thomas, A.K.A. Gold Tom, came to Cotopaxi in the 1870s, quite a bit earlier than Saltiel.

The local history story is that Thomas was called "Gold Tom" because he always had a little gold dust with him in a pouch. 


This history is supported by documents that I will eventually post on this page.

For now, just a draft outline to get some thoughts out.


Henry Thomas sold mining claims to Saltiel or Saltiel's company.


Gold Tom is usually portrayed as a simple minded prospector, the typical poetic view being that he just didn't have the wherewithal to develop the strikes he found and hence he had to sell out to Saltiel.  I wonder about that view, as some evidence indicates he may have been quite knowledgeable concerning mine development and operations.  Thomas may have played Saltiel like a fiddle, instead of the other way around.  I'm not sure about this, this is conjecture at this point.


If so, this would likely have been an irritant to Saltiel's thoughts.  


Thomas was successful at finding gold.


On November 14, 1882 this fact was established.


Below, a clip from  Leadville Daily Herald  Date: Nov 14, 1882; Section: Front page; Page: 1





This is after Saltiel has purchased claims from Thomas.


Gold Tom apparently had a placer claim below (east) of Cotopaxi.  The area is known locally as "Gold Tom Park", and is between the KOA campground and Cotopaxi on the north side of the river. There is still a depression where he allegedly had a prospect, and also some other "diggings" close by.  There is a story that he went up Fern Leaf Gulch to the Waugh Mountain area.  That's a ways from Cotopaxi, but a smart prospector wouldn't be too obvious about his gold source.

There is a large rock in Gold Tom park with a cleft in it.  At the back of the cleft, chiseled in the rock, are the words "Gold Tom".   At one time, it just said "Gold" and an arrow pointed to a crevasse in the rock.  "Tom" was later added.   I suspect a local prankster is responsible for all this, but it is a fun thing to see after a short hike.


If you know where to look, it's easy to find!

 Gold Tom Rock as of Jan. 16, 2016


Most of the placer gold around Cotopaxi is "flour" gold.  It's there, but it takes a long time to pan any measurable amount.  I've done it. Back in the '80s (1980s!!!) I got the prospecting bug.  In the black sands in the cut behind the gas station (now in 2010 the Valley Health Clinic and apartments and Bighorn Liquor) we could get up to 30 "colors" (pieces of gold) per pan.  This was very, very fine flour gold and not (at the time) worth the effort. But all that prospecting is another story for another time.


 It appears Thomas was an older man by 1881 than Saltiel.


Emanuel had many irons in the fire.  This guy was amazing.  It appears he filed legal documents one after the other - possible as a stalling tactic to muddle and slow legal processes against him.  At any rate, Saltiel was the sharp operator, or at least by all appearances.  Whereas he was indicted for fraud and had liens against him for not paying miners their wages, we have not to date (Jan 14, 2010) found evidence that he was convicted of any crime.

So the stalling tactics worked; Saltiel moved on before the courts caught up to him.


Except for court record 10668 Henry Thomas vs. E.H. Saltiel.


Below, Transcript of Judgement against Saltiel for Thomas dated February 13, 1883

Apparently this legal battle had been going on since at least Sept 21, 1881.









So we have documented another case where Gold Tom was an irritant to Saltiel.



Continuing with Gold Tom...


There are several different accounts of who shot Gold Tom, but the most consistent story is that Gold Tom was shot on the night of May 30th, 1884 by G.W Meyers.


Buena Vista Democrat Date: Jun 5, 1884;  Page: 2




According to the Colorado Business Directory, George Meyers was the constable of Cotopaxi in 1883, and

W.D. Henthorn was constable in 1884.  We are not certain if Meyers was the constable when he shot Gold Tom. Saltiel was the President and General Manager of the Cotopaxi Town Company.

So Meyers worked for Saltiel.

Was he his hired gun?


BUT! Note that Meyers was ALSO was on the lien against Saltiel! (dated April 19, 1883)

1882 Cotopaxi Business Directory.




How did Gold Tom Get Shot?

to be continued.....!!!


newspaper clippings

Gold Tom's death record.

Gold Tom - antagonized by a younger man  - Charlie McCoy

McCoy died in 1951 @ 91 years of age. - McCoy would have been about 22 years old in 1882.

Gold Tom was drunk when he got shot! In the back of a building at night!

Account: Josiah Hart - said Charlie McCoy shot Gold Tom.

Charlie McCoy had two taverns in town.

The local paper at the time found it odd that Gold Tom was not killed by the gun shot wound, but rather by lack of medical care, which was delayed.

Gold Tom Died the next day, just a few hours before medical care arrived.

Connections  - Saltiel - Hart -McCoy - Meyers - Banta - Bardin - Hylton

and a description of what happened where.

1/14/2016 Jen Low adds: Gold Tom had recently bought Saltiel's holdings at a Sheriff's sale. Saltiel had been absent from Cotopaxi for quite a spell, and had returned on May, 30, 1884....the same day God Tom was shot. 2 weeks later the Sheriff gave it all back to Saltiel!


And then again, on another track of fun, Saltiel had a son - that he left in George Thomas' care!

Remember, they were both "family" in a sense - as Jews...


Please do not be upset with Saltiel.




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