Here is the short version of my NCOWS Persona that I intend to have with me at the upcoming GAF Muster. I am posting it here both for information and to solicit any feedback that readers may wish to send. I will be discussing a longer version with Lone Gunman for submittal to The Shootist. This persona is extensively researched in Swedish, Finnish, and American sources and has biographical aspects.
While this version does not mention guns, they are a mix of American and Swedish, such as 92 Winchester and single action revolver in 44-40, and Husqvarna hammer doubles in 12 and 16 gauge. Included is an external hammer combi gun with one barrel firing US Govt 50-70 ammo, to allow use of the abundant military surplus ammo to hunt elk and other large animals.
My English-language spell checker is dysfunctional and I am not too proficient with the paper and cardboard variants. Please pardon any deviant spellings.
NCOWS Persona -- Assayer and Mining Engineer.
Hello!! Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Lars Harpare and I am an assayer and mining engineer employed by the Black Bear Mining Company, Telluride, Colorado.
I was born in 1855 in the Österbotten region of Finland. Finland has been a Dutchy in the Imperial Russia empire since 1808, when Sweden lost it. My father is a Swedish-speaking Finn whose family came to Finland. My mother is Russian from a family that lived for generations in Shanghi, China. Both families are international traders. Their trade activities keep them well informed about events like the California gold rush. Stories about the placer and hardrock mines of Amerika were abundant.
Immigration from Sweden to Amerika has been extensive since the 1840s, initially to escape the economic hardships of rural Sweden or to form relegious colonies. The Homestead Act of 1862 was a powerful magnet for many, many Europeans and Scandinavians. Now that the agricultural land is taken, the rapidly developing mining industry and building of railroads are attracting immigrants.
Starting in the late 1860s-early 1870s many Finlanders are immigrating to the emerging hardrock mining camps, such as Cripple Creek, Leadville, and Telluride in Colorado Territory and Anaconda and Butte in Montana Territory. Some mining camps even have Finn Towns complete with saunas. The Finns sometimes develop their own mines and hire fellow countrymen to work the mines and sell stock in these mines to fellow Finns in Amerika and in Finland.
I was hired by the Swedish-speaking Finnish owners of the White Bear Mining Company as a young assayer and mining engineer in 1880. I had just graduated from the Mining Institute of the Royal Technical University in Stockholm, Sweden with a degree in Mining Engineering. I am also trained as an assayer. In hardrock mining the gold, silver, etc. are commonly dispersed in minute amounts throughout a lot of rock. Carefull chemical analyses are required to determine the quality of the ore, which in turn determines the course of mining. Assayers are essential to the entire mining operation, from evaluating claims to determing the price a smelter would pay for the ore. In the incessant buying and selling of mining properties assays are essential information and both sellers and buyers have their own assays and often assayers. Assayers seldom have trouble finding jobs in mining camps.
Ore processing facilities commonly accompanied the mines so that only ore actually containing enough gold or silver is shipped to smelters. Because the smelters were nearly all in Denver in the early years and shipping ore is expensive, assayers and mining engineers are essential and well-paid employees. The gold and silver ores in the Telluride mining district are "telluride ores" (hence the name of the mining camp) that required special processing.
The trip to Denver, Colorado from Österbotten was much easier than in the 1840s and 1850s, even the 1870s, because large steamships regularily cross the Altantic, taking about two weeks. Travel from New York to Denver was also swift because of the extensive railroad system. From Denver to Telluride was not so easy because of the mountainous terrain. The latter part of travel to Telluride uses oxen or horse drawn freighter wagons or stagecoaches when the snow allows and sleighs or horses, even Norwegian snowshoes (long skiis), when the snow is deep. I arrived in an ox-drawn freighter wagon.
The White Bear Mining Company mine is at 13,000 feet (4.000 meters) elevation and can only be reached on foot or by riding a mule or horse. In 1892 the White Bear Mining Company was reorganized and changed the color of its fur to become the Black Bear Mining Company. It is known as the Svarta Björnen Gruvbolag in Swedish and Musta Karhu in Finnish.
Lars Harpare, 1894