Auraria and Denver were rivals for two years, and then merged in April 1860. During that time, the news of gold in the Pike’s Peak country was still spreading like wildfire. Some newspapers seemed to compete to top previous stories. For instance, the Kansas Weekly Press (October 23, 1858) told of a kettle of gold from Cherry Creek valued at $6,000–7,000. It continued: “Emigrants to the gold diggings have become so common it is useless to ask them where they are bound.”


They carried the essentials: “washers, pans, picks, wheelbarrows,” food, and the all-important “whiskey.” Most had no mining experience and must have planned to learn on the job. The Lawrence Republican (September 2, 1858) captured the mounting gold fever in verse. Nevertheless, not everyone was caught up in the gold frenzy. The editor of Brownville’s Nebraska Advertiser (September 9, 1858) solemnly told his readers: “We advise those taken with ‘Pike’s Peak’ fever to not overdo themselves; we think the disease not dangerous, and [it] will pass off without any serious results, by taking a slight dose of reflection.”


He further opined that there seemed to be “no intelligence sufficiently reliable” to warrant a “stampede.” That same day, the Kansas Chief (White Cloud) forecast that many persons “will rake and scrape up all the money they can gather, and proceed to the gold regions, where they will probably meet only disappointment, spend their means, and be left destitute.”