Original Miner Pay Check From 1914

This original miner pay check is dated the 10th of December, 1914 (so 110 years old). Back in the day, silver and gold miners would get paid with a pay check. It could be paid out when they went to a local bank in order to get their money.

Highlighted is an original miner pay check that was addressed to Axel Peterson, who worked for ‘The Yak Mining, Milling And Tunnel Company’ which was based in Leadville Co, Colorado (USA). As you can see on the pay check, Axel Peterson received $47,- for his hard work in the mine which he received on the 11th of December. Just one day after he got his pay check.

miner pay check

About The Yak Mining Company

The Yak Mine was one of the richest gold and silver mines in Leadville. And the Yak tunnel was 3.5 miles (5.6 km) long and built between 1895 and 1923, to drain the southern part of the district. It has its outlet in California Gulch, east of the town of Leadville. The tunnel became part of the California Gulch Superfund site in 1983. In October 1985, a large surge of water from the Yak tunnel reached the Arkansas River and elevated the dissolved metals content of the river for tens of miles downstream. Water flowing from the tunnel has been treated by its owner, ASARCO, since June 1991, to remove metals.

miner pay check

miner pay check

The Leadville Mining District

The Leadville mining district is one of the country’s richest mineral regions. This district is located in a high mountain town and the winters are long and bitterly cold. Many miners died of exposure and starvation. The town of Leadville is located on the western edge of the Leadville mining district, on the western slope of the Mosquito Range, in Lake County, Colorado. This is about 80 miles (128 km) southwest of Denver. Altitudes range from 3070 to 4000 meters (10,000 to 13,000 feet), and the mountain scenery in that area of Colorado is spectacular.

The first gold mining boom started in 1860, bringing approximately 10,000 miners to the area. The second boom began in 1878 with the discovery of extensive silver deposits. By 1880, the population was roughly estimated to be between 25,000 and 40,000.

While there is no longer any active mining in the Leadville district, over the course of its history more than 2,800 patented mine claims were filed and the area contains over 1,600 prospects, 1,300 shafts, and 155 adits.

miner pay check

miner pay check

Axel’s Miner Clothing

The miner, Axel Peterson, was most probably dressed in a sturdy pair of blue waist-overalls. A pair that served him during his many shifts in the mine. Maybe he was wearing a pair of Levi’s 501s or a pair like these from Foremost by J.C. Penny. You can read more about these original waist-overalls and their history in previous articles here and here.

miner pay check


Tip! Learn more about original waist overalls in previous articles;

Written by Wouter Munnichs
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine, I'm working as a freelance denim specialist for the industry. Titled as 'Denim Influencer 2020' by Rivet 50. Celebrated my 10th anniversary with Long John in 2021.