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Chapter Seven
Idaho Springs, 1911-1912

I was now up to me to take things a little more seriously, I had reached what should have been the age of manhood and had spent the money my father had left me to go to college. Fate was in my favor and about the third day a Mr. Evan Jones called and wanted to know if I would go up to Idaho Springs to help him assaying for the Chamberlain-Dillingham Ore Buying Company, for whom my father had worked in Black Hawk about the time I was born. Up I went and obtained room and board with a middle aged widowed Swedish lady who had one other boarder, a young pharmacist named Fiske. The two of us paid Mrs. Lumley all that she spent on the table, plus ten dollars per month a piece for our individual rooms. It was a nice home, good cooking and anything we wanted to eat and plenty of it. It cost me a total of between $22 and $26 per month to live there and live well. Of course my salary was the magnificent sum of $50, which was pretty good for those days, especially as I was inexperienced.

We bought various kinds of ores from large and small miners, from a wagon load to several car loads, crush the ore, sample and assay it for its various valuable metals, generally gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc, as well as for its penalty constituents. Then we would mix these various ores to obtain the mixtures most desirable to a smelter and ship them to the smelters at either Denver, Leadville, or Bartlesville, Oklahoma, according to the type ores. With the chemistry I had at mines and the help of Mr. Jones, who had when he was young been taught by my father, I soon became a fair assayer-chemist and ore-settler. By ore-settler I mean figuring out the values of ores, which was really a very complicated mathematical procedure. This simply basic training stood me in good stead for the next several years. Soon Mr. Jones returned to the head or home office of the company in Denver, and the regular Idaho Springs manager returned from an extended vacation, a Fred Wiley. Wiley had also been a pupil of my fathers, so he helped me in every way.

After being in Idaho Springs several weeks I noticed a girl who appeared to be a school teacher and appeared familiar. I inquired and found she was Florence Jaynes. Remember the girl who was a friend of our next door neighbor Ethlyn Bentley, away back when I was a little boy at 1175 Race Street in Denver? This was that Florence Jaynes. At the time she did not interest me excepting I wondered about having known her years before. One evening at a semi-public dance in the old Trodicero, she came up to me on the dance floor and introduced herself. We became slightly acquainted in a very casual manner, and she was courteous enough to ask me to some and see her, which I did one evening. We soon found we had many things and friends in common through many years. She had gone to Clayton grade school and two years at East Denver at the same time, also had gone to Sunday School at Plymouth Congregational Church and Mrs. Hayden's Cotillion Hall for dancing at the same time I did. In this way we had scores of mutual friends, but just had not been thrown together. She was going steady, very steady, with a young lawyer in town. She was teaching school.

I did not immediately go back to see her, because I assumed she was this lawyer's girl, in fact thought she was engaged to him. However, a few days later I met Mrs. Jaynes on the street and she invited me up to dinner. I there found out she was not actually engaged, just sort of an understanding, but her crowd seemed to take it for granted that Florence and this lawyer were engaged. That night at dinner I did not fall in love with this Florence Jaynes, but I certainly fell in love with her Mother and immediately fell for Mr. Jaynes.

Without any slight doubt I thought and still believe that Mrs. Jaynes was the finest and grandest woman I ever knew, in every sense of the word. She was a lady in the finest sense of the word, a cultured, educated New Englander who had come west upon graduating from a college in Maine to teach school up in the Clear Creek country in the Idaho Springs, Georgetown area, amongst the then rough early day miners. She then met Charles L. Jaynes, a mining man, whom she married. They were your great grandparents. As he would make money from time to time, he bought a house out on Detroit Street in Denver and this is how the family lived in Denver for several years and Florence went to school there, but all of the time Mr. Jaynes maintained his mining activities up around Idaho Springs. Eventually the Jaynes moved back to Idaho Springs and Florence went to high school her last two years up there. She then went to University of Denver, obtained her teaching certificate and returned to the Springs to teach in various outlying schools, then in town where she was when I met, or re-met her.

Mother Jaynes was very strong-willed, firm in her convictions of right and wrong and the niceties of life, yet the most loving and generous of all women. There just are not adequate words for me to express my love and admiration of her. My children, whom had the great privilege of being with her a great deal will all agree with my praises of her. No grander grandmother ever lived. By the way, her maiden name was Inez Drake. She lived into her eighties and finally passed away in her sister's home in Shanandoah, Iowa; we buried her alongside Mr. Jaynes in the beautiful cemetery in Littleton, Colorado, which was in accord with their desires.

Mr. Jaynes, he was always Dad Jaynes to me, was a kindly, quiet voiced man, with a heart running over with love. He worshipped his girl Florence and adored my daughter Anne as a little girl. He had come west from Vermont and Wisconsin as a young man and tried his hand at mining up around Georgetown and Idaho Springs and for a short time tried it at the then new camp of Leadville, when Leadville had a population of some 40,000, mostly living in tents and cabins. For a while during those years he went to Omaha, Nebraska, where he was ticket agent for the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad, his brother then was superintendent of the railroad. Omaha was where Florence was born.

It seems that neither Mr. nor Mrs. Jaynes were very fond of this lawyer with whom Florence was going when I entered the picture, nothing particular against him, just did not want Florence to marry him. Also, both of them, I mean Mr. and Mrs. J., took an immediate liking to me, which was probably the greatest compliment ever paid me in my life. As a result, I soon was 'in' and the lawyer 'out.' Florence did not seem to put up any real resistance and we soon became engaged.

Our courtship was fun and in some ways unusual. I always kidded, not without some seriousness, that I really fell in love with mother Jaynes and she with me. Florence and I went to many dances locally and in Denver and at the Sigma Nu house at Mines. We tramped all over the mountains around Idaho Springs and frequently rented a horse and buggy for day-at-a-time picnics. We certainly spent most of our courtship time in the great outdoors.

The next year, we were married with a private family wedding in the Plymouth Congregational Church in Denver. We then set up housekeeping in Idaho Springs about six blocks away from the Jayne's home. By this time my salary had been raised to $125 per month, which was very good for a young fellow. We rented a nice little home for $15 per month. I mention these salaries and costs, from time to time, to give you a little idea of how the values of the dollar changes through the years. Our young married life, those first months, was full in Idaho Springs. We went around with Florence's old set of young friends and still continued to live outdoors as much as possible in the beautiful mountains. Much of our fun was with Mother and Dad Jaynes. We frequently went down to Denver to stay with the Duchess and Louise; the latter with her family of husband, and two baby girls lived with the Duchess then.

I must back track many times in this story to pick up things I first overlooked, which may interest some of you. Certainly one of the many things that first impressed me about Florence was her singing. She had a natural and beautiful soprano voice and her folks had gone far in giving her the very best vocal training. For several years, she had taken lessons from the great Hatlie Louise Simms who was the then outstanding vocal teacher of Colorado. In fact, you will find her name in the Colorado history books today along with such as the great Paul Whitman. If she, Florence, had stayed with her music, instead of marrying me and raising a large family, no telling how far she would have gone in the musical world. All through the years to follow, she was in demand as the soloist in various churches in whatever towns we lived in, always the lead in local operatic organizations, and upon request of the governor, opened the Colorado State Legislature in Denver one year, with the opening solo; at that time Dad Jaynes was state representative from Clear Creek County.

I mentioned Paul Whitman. When I was going to high school, the head of all the music departments was a J. Wilburforce Whitman who had a son Paul about my age, possibly a year or two older. Paul attended Manual High School that was the then rival of my East Denver. Paul was a rather fat boy, always had a violin case under his arm, even as a high school boy he played in theater orchestras. All of us knew Paul, not chummy like. We boys held him somewhat in contempt because he had only one interest, his music, in fact we thought he was nothing but a freak and a sissy. Later in life he became known as 'The King of Jazz' and has been, still is, without any question the greatest and most famous of American orchestra leaders. So, be careful whenever you are inclined to call a lad a sissy.

Now back to where I digressed. At the time of our marriage, Idaho Springs was a lively well to do little city, many beautiful homes and very cosmopolitan. It attracted several nationally prominent people who had summer homes there. On the other hand, mining was still going strong so we had all kinds of life. Amongst those who summered there was the great Alonzo Stagg, then the most famous football coach in America, the Knute Rockne of his day, he coached at Chicago, then the largest university in America. Both Florence and I, before we were married, played tennis a few times with Stagg. In fact he gave Florence one of his tennis rackets. Another famous man who started to summer there, but liked it so well that he finally made his year around home there, buying it from my boss Fred Wiley. He was the well known author Courtney Rily Cooper, possibly the most successful writer, money wise, of that day; he wrote many books and articles and stories for such as the Saturday Evening Post. I never knew Cooper very well, but Mrs. Cooper was quite a friend of Mother Jayne's and later Florence got to know her as she, Florence, visited her mother after we moved away.

Late in the winter after we were married, young Mr. Champerlain in Denver, Vice president of the Company, telephoned and asked me to come into Denver and run their central or main assay office. This was quite an honor and opportunity for a young fellow of 21. This office was the central office among all seven of the company's plants and the various smelters all over the country to whom they sold their ores and concentrates; the assayer in charge of this central office was bucking against the most experienced assayer-chemists in the country and hundreds of thousands of dollars depended upon the accuracy of his work. The man who had run this central office for many years was the same Evan Jones who hired me in Idaho Springs, he was at that time just substituting for Fred Wiley's vacation as manager of the Idaho Springs plant. Jones had recently been getting older, would not keep up with modern trends and procedures, hence was often losing out against the up to date assayer-chemists at all the various smelters, so the Company retired him. At that time Jones was drawing $250 per month and had been for many years; this was an excellent salary in those days, much more than many bank presidents commanded. I was then drawing $125 as an assayer under the direction and immediate supervision of Fred Wiley, so my job was not in anyway comparable to the Denver job where I was to be entirely upon my own with no help from anyone as none of the Denver officials knew anything about assaying, being strictly business men. Nothing was said about my salary, I just assumed I would receive a substantial raise, at least $50 to start. So, I went to Denver to live temporarily with the Duchess, and Florence remained in Idaho Springs until we could settle in Denver.

I worked hard to make good, many late hours, and was fortunate in getting much needed help and advice from Jack Richards who had a large public-custom assay office right next door, on 19th street between Chanpa and Curtis. Richards was the last of the old time assayers and, as a young man, knew my father slightly.

After I had worked about two weeks and knew that I was holding my own against those smelter men and certainly doing better than Jones had, I hit Mr. Champerlain for a raise in recognition of my added responsibilities and work, this on a Friday. He stalled saying he'd let me know. Hearing nothing the next morning, Saturday, I telephoned his office and asked for a decision. He told me that my work was excellent and entirely satisfactory, but I was only 21 years of age and $125 was a fine salary for such a young fellow, also that they figured it was cheaper to live in Denver than in the Springs, which was far from the truth! In my youthful hot headedness and lack of judgment, I told him, "I am giving you two weeks notice, at which time I will quit if you do not give me a substantial and equitable increase." We then hung up the phones. His office was about six blocks from the assay office. It never occurred to me that I was taking any risk, for I was foolish enough to believe business men were fair, and I knew, without any conceit, that the job and I were entitled to more money.

Within less than thirty minutes, in walked Mr. Champerlain with a stranger, he handed me a check, my pay up to that moment, asked me for the keys to the office, and told me I was fired as of that moment. I was dumbfounded and soon realized what a predicament I was in. We were buying furniture on the installment plan, had no money whatsoever in the bank and Florence was expecting a baby the following March.

Many lessons can be learned from this experience. First, pride goeth before a fall, I should not have acted until I protected Florence and myself by lining up another job first. I shouldn't have been so conceited that I though I was not replaceable. No man is ever indepensible, regardless of what he thinks or is told by others. Then, on the other hand, this unfairness was typical of most employers of that time; little if any sense of fairness to an employee. In general, an employee just took whatever the bosses choose with no questions asked, or was fired on the spot. This in a small sense is typical of why unionism, with all its faults, was eventually forced upon the American worker. The average American never desired unionism, but the 'bosses' forced it upon people. The same as the British forced us to fight the Revolution in defense of our human rights and way of life. It is wonderful how far we have come as a civilized people along these lines in the past thirty years and doubtless we will have gone much further along humanitarian lines by the time you read this.

I spent a miserable weekend waiting for Monday to come so I could start rustling for a job. Monday I tramped from one place to another contacting every possible office of mining and smelting companies, for all I knew and had to sell was assaying. Nothing developed. Tuesday this assayer, Jack Richards, telephoned me and asked me to come to see him. His brother-in-law, John Champion, was superintendent of the Yak Mining and Milling Company at Leadville, then Yak was the largest mining operation in the state. Champion had asked Richards to locate an assayer, because the Yak's head assayer was not satisfactory. So Richards offered me the job at $150 per month to start, of course I took it and left for Leadville the next morning by train.

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©1958 James H. Zisch, ©1974 James H. Zisch, III