Summit Up 10-27-12: The legend of Lady Silverheels
Ryan Summerlin October 26, 2012
Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that is feeling the Halloween spirit as we start a weekend full of festivities and debauchery.What better a time than right now to introduce a spooky story from Summit County’s darkest days – this is a tale (taller than a pair of 1920s skis) not often spoken or heard among the mountain folk because it brings back a time of horror, fear and very long winters where the snow fell often and covered up much.Back in the turn of the century, smallpox had reached the High Country and was devastating the health and populations of miners in the area.There was one woman, Lady Silverheels, that was known for tending to the sick miners in their most miserable days.The way the story is often told, is that Lady Silverheels, after monitoring the health of the dying men for several weeks, became ill herself and proceeded to wander into the woods infected by delirium.What motivated her to wander into the woods has never been truly known. But many of the mountain folk who are more inclined to gossip, say that she followed a man into the forest who swore he knew the remedy to heal the sick miners.Every day for two weeks, a man tall in stature and pale in the face frequented Lady Silverheels camp where she tended to the sick miners. He was not a person of the town. In those days you knew when there was an out-of-towner among your midst and this man was surely not like the rest of them.Once he started appearing in the camp, miners continued to fall ill from the smallpox that was running rapid through the crews. But something else was happening too, that was much stranger than the stranger that had appeared among them.When a man fell ill from smallpox he showed other symptoms of delirium which drove him, before his death to the feet of the strange man. When a man would die at his feet, this stranger, more often than not, would remove a pocket knife from his city trousers and cut off hair from the dead miner’s head.He became known as the hair collector and when Lady Silverheels disappeared into the forest during one of the worst storms, he was never seen again. Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the story in this special Summit Up Halloween special. We out.