Holy Moses!

October 2, 1889

Nicholas Creede was born under the name William Harvey in northern Indiana, though he was known as “Billy” to his family and friends. His family moved on to Iowa, and as a teenager Billy worked with the US Army. By the time he was nineteen years old, Billy Harvey was working as a scout for the Army with the Pawnee Indians and traveled throughout the West as they campaigned against the Sioux.

Having been up in the Badlands and the Black Hills when gold was discovered, Billy’s interest in prospecting was sparked. He returned to Iowa in order to marry the girl of his dreams, only to find that she was already married…to his brother. Billy changed his name to Nicholas C. Creede and headed to Colorado in pursuit of a mountain of riches.

Historians indicate that Creede may have changed his name for one of three reasons, and no one is quite clear on the truth. There was a man in Denver named Billy Harvey who committed murder and consequently started something of a prairie war. So either Creede changed his name 1) to disassociate himself from his family after his brother stole his sweetheart, 2) to not be confused with the Denver bandit, or 3) he WAS the Denver murderer and changed his named in order to disappear into the mountains.

Whatever the reason, Nicholas Creede went on to discover silver near Monarch, Colorado, again near Leadville, then Del Norte and Saguache. On October 2, 1889, Nicholas Creede cried out “Holy Moses!” when the Amethyst Vein was discovered and the Holy Moses Mine was named. The town was renamed Creede, Colorado, and almost overnight grew to a population of over 10,000 people.

Among the people living in Creede were Bat Masterson, Robert Ford, and Soapy Smith, the infamous con artist who grew rich on gambling, swindling and cheating others out of their fortunes. Reportedly, Soapy Smith handled a lot of business for Nicholas during their years together in Creede. Up in the mountains, Nicholas also met the woman who became his wife, waking up in New Mexico the morning after celebrating Holy Moses mine shipments to find out he’d married a woman who owned a “boarding house” in Del Norte (aka “brothel”). Nancy Louisa Kyle had been married three times prior, but the “silver digger” hung on to her marriage to Creede as her ticket to financial freedom.

The Creedes packed their things and moved to Pueblo, Colorado before relocating once again to Los Angeles, California. The town of Creede declined soon after when the value of silver took a nosedive. The 2010 Census marked the population of Creede, Colorado at 403. The Creedes were separated in Los Angeles at the time of Nicholas’ death (drug overdose), and after quite a court battle, his wealth was left solely to their adopted daughter, Dorothy Creede.

The town of Pueblo, Colorado has the distinction these days of being the home of the Slopper, an invention that rivals silver in its worth and has become so popular that the Travel Channel featured it on “Food Wars” recently. Having one made for you locally is a treasure…to make one at home follow this recipe:

Green Chili for Pueblo Sloppers
(For a Slopper, serve Chili over an open faced hamburger)

1 ½ pounds of diced pork (or beef)
6-8 Pueblo roasted green chilies, skin removed, cut into small pieces (can also use 8 Mira Sol chilis or 2 poblanos and 4 cubanelles)
1 small yellow onion diced
¼ cup of vegetable oil
¼ cup of flour
30 ounces of chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup of diced fresh tomatoes or 1 (12 ounce) can of Rotel tomatoes & chilies
1 teaspoon cilantro
½ teaspoon salt and pepper

In large skillet brown pork in oil, until the meat is slightly pink.

Add onion and garlic, cook until they become soft. Add flour and stir, browning flour like if you were making gravy.

Add chicken broth slowly and keep stirring until it’s bubbling.

Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, then turn heat to low.

Tip: For picky eaters that don’t like chunks of tomato, peppers, or RoTel, place them into a blender and puree them!

Recipe from: allthingspueblo.com

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