Fascinating manuscript survey issued by the San Juan Consolidated Mining Company, showing a plat of 160 acres north of the North Fork of the Alamosa River in Rio Grande County, Colorado Territory, signed by Thomas Meade Bowen, H.B. Cox and William Johnson and Charles Tankersley.
The San Juan Consolidated Mining Company owned the Little Ida mine near Summitville. In 1870 gold was discovered in the area by John Esmund, a rancher. The Little Ida mine was located in 1874, immediately west and parallel to the Little Annie mine. A rich vein of gold ore was discovered in the Little Ida which assayed $1500 to $2500 a ton in gold ore. Four months after discovering this vein, the mine produced $250,000 in gold. By 1881 the company had a 30-stamp mill operating.
Among the signers of the document is one of its principal owners, Thomas Meade Bowen. Bowen was admitted to the bar to practice law at the age of 18. He joined the Union Army at the start of the Civil War. When the war, ended he settled in Arkansas where he became a State Supreme Court Justice. He was appointed governor of Idaho Territory by Ulysses S. Grant. in 1871. He moved to Del Norte where in 1876 he was appointed judge of the District Court. As a judge, he traveled all over the country and became acquainted with the different mines. Legend says that he was a lucky poker player and in one game won many IOUs, which may be how he acquired ownership of the company.
This company and some of his other holdings made him quite wealthy, so he quit his judgeship to devote his full attention to his mines. In 1883 he won a six-year term in the U.S. Senate. By 1885 the Little Ida mine and the other mines in the area played out, and by 1889 there were only 25 residents in Summitville.