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Near Wetmore in Custer County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Hardscrabble

 
 
Hardscrabble Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 7, 2020
1. Hardscrabble Marker
Inscription.  Alexander Barclay
Like so many early Colorado settlers, Alexander Barclay came here in search of fortune but found something else entirely. The British-born corset-maker arrived in 1836 and spent the next nineteen years chasing his dream. He dabbled in fur trading, bison ranching, and whiskey smuggling, basing the latter operation in 1844 at a settlement called Hardscrabble, on the nearby creek of the same name, in what was then Mexican territory. There he met and married a well-known beauty named Teresita Sandoval; but she, like wealth, proved an elusive catch. Shortly after Barclay built his own trading post, Fort Barclay, in New Mexico in 1848, Sandoval left him for a man with better prospects. The trading post fizzled, and Barclay died in December 1855, his fortune still unclaimed. But he had reaped other rewards—independence, experience, perhaps even wisdom—that the West conferred in abundance.

The Hardscrabble Mining District
The name "Hardscrabble" accurately described the mining district southwest of Wetmore — for the wealth came hard, and its denizens were always struggling to get by.
Hardscrabble Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 7, 2020
2. Hardscrabble Marker
Marker is on the left.
The region attracted prospectors as early as 1863, but it did not produce a major strike for more than a decade. Its richest veins, the Possirontas-Humbokit and the Dessick, eventually coughed up several million dollars' worth of silver and gold, sparking steep population booms in nearby Rosita and Querrera during the 1870s. But low-grade ores, high transportation costs, labor unrest, and mineral claim disputes undermined profits in the district. The Possirontas shut down in the late 1870s while the Dessick hit its peak in 1884 but sputtered along thereafter. If nothing else, the Hardscrabble district lured prospectors into the vicinity of richer veins whose discovery and development spawned the historic towns of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff.
 
Erected 2002 by Colorado Historical Society; Colorado Department of Transportation.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ExplorationIndustry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers.
 
Location. Marker has been reported unreadable. 38° 15.875′ N, 105° 5.264′ W. Marker is near Wetmore, Colorado, in Custer County. Marker is at the intersection of Colorado 67 (at milepost 2) and County Road 19C, on the right when traveling south on Colorado 67. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Wetmore CO 81253, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within
Hardscrabble Marker image. Click for full size.
Courtesy History Colorado
3. Hardscrabble Marker
The marker (left) in better condition.
9 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. Cuerno Verde (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Hardscrabble (here, next to this marker); Cliffhangers and Headbangers (approx. 6.1 miles away); Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway (approx. 6.1 miles away); Florence's Beginnings (approx. 8.8 miles away); Early Agriculture & Ranching (approx. 8.8 miles away); James A. McCandless House (approx. 8.9 miles away); Lt. Zebulon Pike's Southwestern Expedition (approx. 9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wetmore.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 16, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 69 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 16, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 5, 2021