Beautiful certificate from the Union Leasing and Mining Company
issued in 1895. This historic document was printed by Denver Litho Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of a group of workers in a mine. This item has the signatures of the Company's V. President, Robert B. Estey and Secretary, H. J. Higgins and is over 114 years old.
Estey, Robert B.
Robert B. Estey - Leadville Carbonate Chronicle - November 2, 1914
Leadville's Veteran Mining Man Passes Away at Ripe Old Age - Prominently
Identified With Life of District - Robert B. Estey died at Boulder yesterday
afternoon. The telephone message to this effect was received by Mr. A. V.
Hunter, of this city, and later in the evening Mr. Norman Estey gave the
intelligence to the Herald Democrat. Mrs. Estey, the widow, and Norman
Estey, the son, live at 1662 Pearl street in Denver. During the afternoon
yesterday word reached them that Mr. Estey, at the Boulder sanitarium, was
His son at once started for Boulder, but before he could
reach the bedside, Mr. Estey was dead. About two years ago failing health
compelled Mr. Estey to retire from active business life. He spent some time
at Clark's Wells in Pueblo, and a year ago appeared to be considerably
improved. While the symptoms of disease appeared to leave him, he slowly
and steadily grew weaker, and a short time ago went to the Boulder
sanitarium, within easy reach of Denver so that his wife and son were
enabled to spend much of their time at his bedside.
Mr. Estey was 79 years old at the time of his death. "Mr. Estey has done more for the mining
industry of Leadville than any other single man," was the tribute paid last
night to his memory by John Groberg, who for twenty-seven years has been his
most trusted mining superintendent and close personal friend. No man
acquainted with the work which Mr. Estey has done in this district will
doubt for a moment the truth of this tribute. Since 1879 he had been
closely identified with the development of the district and was the active
promoter of many of its largest and most important enterprises.
Estey was born 79 years ago at Calais, Maine, of old New England ancestors.
When a mere boy Mr. Estey was attracted by the stories from the golden
shores of California and was among the first of the Argonauts to reach that
promised land. He made the trip across the Isthmus of Panama and spent
several years in the pioneer days of the first gold discovery on the Pacific
Mr. Estey later lived in Nevada where he actively engaged in mining,
laying the foundation for a practical knowledge of the business combined
with a thorough technical training which proved later so valuable to him
when he came to the Leadville district. He arrived here in 1879, and one of
his first mining ventures was the sinking of a shaft on Iron Hill not far
from the Silver Cord. Later he became associated with Mr. S. W. Mudd in the
development of property on Carbonate Hill, operating for some time the
Leadville Consolidated Mining company group.
In the early nineties Mr.
Estey organized the Union Leasing and Mining company, the first attempt at
consolidation in the Leadville district. The properties acquired by the
company consisted of a number of claims on East Fryer Hill which hitherto
had been operated individually, but owing to heavy pumping expenses could
not be worked to a profit.
The Union company established a central pumping
plant at the El Paso shaft and drained the East Fryer Hill (?) basin, taking
out several million dollars worth of ore up to the time of the strike.
After the Union company ceased operations, Mr. Estey, either individually or
through various companies in which he became actively interested, sank a
number of shafts in many portions of the district, and did much toward the
development of its geology and the opening up of important ore bodies.
Among these enterprises were the Rialto, the Comstock, the Revenue, and the
The Coronado Mining company, one of the largest producers in the
Downtown district, was one of Mr. Estey's most successful enterprises. A
few years ago he and Mr. Norman Estey, his son, who was associated with him
in his mining ventures, operated the Chippewa mine successfully. Mr. Estey
was an authority on the geology of the Leadville district.
Mining men found
him to be a storehouse of knowledge concerning the geological formations and
ore deposits, and the promoters of many large mining enterprises in which he
was not financially interested eagerly sought his advice and counsel. Mr.
Estey was associated in many important mining enterprises, with prominent
eastern capitalists who relied implicitly on his judgment and knowledge of
the mining business.
He was engaged with Mr. S. W. Mudd for a number of
years and entered into an active partnership with the late Henry L. Higgins.
His relations with his employees and business associates were of the most
cordial character. He treated his men justly and generously. The men who
served him faithfully he usually retained in his employee, and some of the
best and oldest miners in the district were associated underground with the
veteran mining man. Engaged as he was during the many years of his active
life in ___ing to his many mining ventures and enterprises, Mr. Estey
apparently had little time for recreation.
He found, however, one source of
genuine pleasure and amusement. During the fishing season he took his rod
and line and spent days at a time along the banks of the Eagle river, his
favorite fishing ground. Leadville will today pay its tribute of respect
and admiration to Mr. Estey, for it is to him and men like him that this
district owes its prosperity and its importance. He made money, only to
spend it again in opening up new sections and new mines. He was a type of
the true western mining spirit, the spirit of venture, the spirit to which
the west owes its greatness.