Patrick Curran, an award-winning industrial film maker for the Coca-Cola Company, earned master’s degrees in English literature and Organizational Design. After serving four years in the US Navy as an Explosive Ordnance Diver including one year as a Team Leader in Vietnam, Pat joined The Coca-Cola Company as an internal consultant working in the US and Northern Europe. After ten years with Coca-Cola, he became a partner with Keilty, Goldsmith and Boone (KGB) an organization change consultancy in La Jolla, CA. Ten years later, he launched his own firm, the Curran Consulting Group, and continued working internationally for ten more years.
Pat’s first book based on consulting in twenty-one countries was an organizational change textbook titled: COBRA: The X Factor in Strategy Execution. The COBRA framework has been implemented widely in the International Beverage Industry. After retiring, he wrote a second book, a Cold War novel on the hazards of uranium mining on the Colorado Plateau, titled: Acid Reign and the Rise of Eco-Outlaws. Both books are available on Amazon. His second historical novel entitled: Alta’s Curse, was published in 2016. Pat and his wife Joan purchased a home in Steamboat Spring in 2012. When in town, Pat is a regular at the Steamboat Writing Group.
Pat is currently writing an historical novel about Rico.
Jumping of the Hawk Lode
1880’s Mine War in the High San Juans
By: Patrick Curran
By the late 1800’s, dispossessed Europeans still sailed to the New World for free land and a second chance, as Americans licked their wounds from the Civil War and rushed west for homesteads, open rangeland, and gold—driving off Native Americans. Westward Ho! Manifest Destiny!
Though the General Mining Act of 1872 granted patents to legitimate claimants, it also created a land rush for grasping speculators and claim jumpers. A properly staked claim on the snowcapped peaks of the San Juans could only be worked several months in the summer; as such, it was a magnet for jumpers and high-graders. Big gold fever begot big bold greed. Humans, they say, can be that way!
When Shag Carroll, a Civil War survivor from Kentucky, and Joel Erhardt, an over-dressed Yankee from New York, lawfully staked and claimed the Hawk Lode in June of 1880, they never suspected they’d be in for a mine war and endless legal battles.
As they struggle to defend their claim and resolve their differences, Shag is surprised and delighted to hear he’s the father of a son born to an old flame, Big Mama Louise, the Madam at the Pioneer Saloon in Rico. Though orphaned and abducted by Comanches as a girl in West Texas, she is forgiving enough to support the Utes that are being driven off their tribal land; and touchy enough to “wing” Shag in a domestic dispute.
Bold but badly bent, Shag, a gun slinging drifter, is no match for Big Mama. As he battles to regain the Hawk Lode, to survive the Pinhook Massacre, and become a proper father, she struggles with “good old fashion greed” and Presbyterian respectability.
After several failed efforts, they declare a ceasefire and try to become loving parents, if not loving partners. There seems to be no picket fences in their future, as their case is appealed up to the Supreme Court and they try to patch together their broken lives.