This Week in Summit County history: Snowslide kills Montezuma miner |

This Week in Summit County history: Snowslide kills Montezuma miner

Compiled by the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance
Special to the Daily
Studio portrait of a cowboy.
From the Summit Historical Society, Courtesy of the Dr. Sandra F. Pritchard Mather Archive |


August Ostburg, aged 45, died early Tuesday morning at the Shoe Basin mine, at the foot of Argentine pass, five miles above Montezuma, as a result of injuries received in a snow slide Monday morning.

The slide crashed down the mountain at 8 o’clock, completely demolishing the bunk house and barn. Ostburg and Ed Larson, miners employed by the Shoe Basin company, were asleep in the bunk house at the time.

Larson was uninjured and managed to dig himself from the debris. He found his way to the transformer house, where he wrapped himself in such pieces of clothing as he could find, and hurried to Montezuma for help. Rescuers hastened to the scene and worked for nine hours in liberating Ostburg, who was pinned beneath the wrecked building in his bed. When taken out he was apparently uninjured except for minor bruises. He lost consciousness at no time and suffered no pain; it was believed that he would be on his feet in a day or two. His death, occurring fourteen hours later, was unexpected and doubtless due to internal injuries which were not manifested in any way.


Mrs. Newton M’Elwain dies at Leadville

Mrs. Pearl Worrell McElwain, wife of Newton McElwain, died Thursday at the home of her mother, Mrs. A.M. Fisher, Leadville, of a complication of diseases. Mr. McElwain who has been employed at the Old Union mine, was called to Leadville Thursday evening when her condition became alarming. For the past several years, Mr. and Mrs. McElwain have made their home at Montezuma. The fire of a few weeks ago destroyed their home and a short time afterward Mrs. McElwain went to Leadville, intending to join her husband here later. She was 31 years of age. She was born in Leadville and numerous friends there as well as at Montezuma, feel keenly the sorrow which her death has occasioned.

She is survived by her husband, two children, Julia aged three years, and Irma Virginia, aged three months, and her mother and step-father, four brothers and two sisters.


Marion Fletcher returns home after surgery

Marion Fletcher, who has been in the Denver hospital most of the time for the past six months, receiving treatment for a crushed knee, which resulted when he was struck by a log, returned home Thursday. He has undergone several operations and experienced many painful ordeals, surgeons having performed unusual operations in an effort to prevent stiffness of the joint. By the aid of crutches, he is able to walk, but has little use of the injured limb. Its ultimate restoration is confidently anticipated by surgeons.


Gives cuticle to save woman’s life

To save his fiancée, Miss Grace Marks, from death, Leo Sprague, a widely known young man of Longmont, allowed physicians to peel more than sixty square inches of skin from his body and place it upon that of the girl. Eighty square inches of skin were required and the balance was furnished by Glenn Vale, a friend of Sprague and Miss Marks. The skin-grafting operation was pronounced successful and the complete recover of Miss Marks is anticipated by the doctors.


Cortez has first bootleg suspect

The first arrest for bootlegging in Montezuma county since the state went dry was made by Sheriff Crawford and Deputy Ince when they took into custody Victor Alexander, 35, a Hungarian living about ten miles north of Cortez. The authorities searched the premises and found several barrels of pint bottled whiskey and part of a barrel, all concealed in an old cellar.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User