Chapter One

Tales of Summit County, Colorado by Everett Hugh Brines (1890-1984)

My father, James P. Smith, being forsightful, convinced his father-in-law to record his early memories on cassette tape in 1967. Here are some excerpts taken from those tapes] "Montezuma is a very old town. It was founded about 1860. It had a post office, a school house, a saw mill, a hotel, and a saloon. It was incorporated in 1881 and had a population of about 800 people. Now it is just about a ghost town. It still has the post office, but most of the town burned down several years ago. St. Johnís is a ghost town about two miles west of Montezuma. In the early days it was a pretty lively town. They had a post office, a hotel, and a library. I guess it was the only town in Colorado that didnít have a saloon. They built a complete and up-to-date melting and smelting works and some of the bricks they used were imported from Europe. We knew a man, Ed Vare, who hauled those bricks and other materials to St. John from Missouri with an ox team and wagon. He told us about stopping in a place in Kansas, called Log Chain, where they had water for sale. I guess there were just certain places where water was available and for sale. Montezuma was a real lively town when we were there in 1908. When we moved there from Breckenridge there were two hotels, a post office, school house, three saloons, two sporting houses, two grocery stores, and a population of 800-1000. Several of the mines were being worked and they had preety good ore. The St. John Mill and Mine were working three shifts and the King Mine and the Old Montezuma Mine were working day and night. The Bell Mine, about a mile south of Montezuma, is noted for itís silver ore. It is about the richest silver ore to be found anyplace. I had a job taking water up to the Quinn Mine. Itís about a mile and a half from Montezuma and it is at about timberline, which is about eleven thousand five hundred feet. There is a good trail and about half way up these is a spring. It is a great mountain spring. Itís as cold as ice. I only had two or three jacks (burroís) with two wooden kegs on each side and I made about two or three trips a day. It took a lot of water for the boarding house. A jack train is not very hard to handle if you have a good leader, and I had a good one. Sometime later, when Montezuma and the mines had electricty, two of the mines, the Wave and the Bullion, built aerial trams to the mines. It was built on wooden towers and had steel cables, and buckets, and it was run with electric motors. They were very much like the ski lifts they have today. Perhaps that is how they got the idea for the ski lifts. My Dad had a saloon and it had a front door, a back door and a cuspidor. We had several spittoons. It was a job to clean those things every morning. We had to carry water and use a broom. Lotís of the men chewed tobacco. The spittoons were made out of real brass. Another job we had every day, and sometimes twice, was carrying ice for the beer. There was an old tunnel up the hill about a quarter of a mile and it had ice in it all year. We took a gunny sack, put some ice in it, and carried it down. We had a pool table, a poker table, a table where we dealt blackjack and stud poker, and we had two or three "one arm bandits". They are the only gambling games that are almost impossible to beat. There is a bout a ten percent chance of beating the card games, but the odds are in favor of the house. The best thing to do is never bet on another manís game. We had poker games going most every afternoon and every night. The tables had drawers underneath and a slot in the top to put chips in after each deal. It was called the "rake Hole". It was used to pay for the wear and tear on the cards and tables. Card games were honest. Dad wouldnít stand for any crooks in the game. Once in a while, one would come into town to get in the game, but they didnít stay long. Itís pretty easy to spot a crook by just watching his actions and the way he plays or it might be just instinct, I donít know. The Bible says if a stranger comes to your door take him in. That is usually what we did. I remember one fella came up looking for a poker game. There were no other games around so he & I played all afternoon. I won seventy or eighty bucks. I was always pretty lucky playing poker and I always tried to play according to Hoyle."


Everett Hugh Brines

Everett Hugh Brines was born June 8, 1890 in Grants, Nebraska to the proud parents of : Thomas Laren Brines (b Oct 21, 1859 Schyler Co., ILL d June 8, 1944 in Sacramento, Calif) and Christina M. Blomstrom (b about 1861 Sweden d February 26, 1926 in Boulder Co, Boulder, Colorado). Grandpa was quite a man.

Here is Everett Hugh Brines at about age 20 in Summit Co., Colorado

Here are Mr and Mrs. Everett Hugh Brines in 1968 at age 78 with their grandaughter, Patricia Smith.

Daisy Irene Allen Brines

Daisy Irene Allen was the daughter of Homer Glenn Allen (b Indiana July 22, 1870 died about 1950 Garden City, Kansas) and Martha Matilda Mize (b January 6, 1874 Mayetta, Kansas d January 10, 1939 Frisco, Summit Co., Colorado). This picture was taken in Montezuma, Summit Co., Colorado when Daisy was about 18 years old. She was born January 6, 1893, Fairview, Brown Co., Kansas and died January 30, 1975 in Arvada, Colordao; buried Mt. View Cemetery, Boulder, Boulder Co., Colorado. She met my grandfather, Everett Hugh Brines in Montezuma and they were married January 6, 1916 in Leadville, Lake Co., Colorado.


  Pictures and story courtesy of former Summit County Coordinator, Patti Smith Lamb

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