Mandy Turner

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Marble Springs 2.0 screenshot of Mandy Turner

What we know

née Johnson
Mandy married Will Turner in 1872, and they moved from Georgia to Marble Springs in search of silver. After Will’s claims didn’t pan out, he worked for Old Joe's Sugar Boy mine. Four children (Tad, Gus, Silas, and Solace). Two others died as infants in an accident involving the hearth (Ken and William). Mandy died from fever in the winter of' 94 after the mine had closed down.

Striking Silver

After Will died in the third
explosion at the Sugar Boy mine,
Mandy thought of her four children
and the dollar-a-week piecework
she could get from Cole’s store.
She donned Will’s overalls and
went to Old Joe Cattering
asking for the job.
Billie Rose went with her
into the miners’ dry shack1
to change before each shift,
and Mandy singlejacked2
in the dripping dark,
placing her blows carefully
under the low shimmering
of a single candle.
Her thoughts melted into a prairie hen
she found once after
a Kansas blizzard—
her chicks stuffed under its dead wing,
stiff with care.





Keeler, Bronson C. Where to go to Become Rich: Farmer’s, Miner’s, and Tourist’s Guide to Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado; with Complete Text of the Mining Laws, Glossary of Mining Terms, and Maps of New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. Chicago, Illinois: Belford, Clarke, and Company, 1880. Available at the Western History Department, Denver Public Library.

Portal caption and links

A drawing of miner swinging a pickaxe at a rock face, her long hair bound in a braid back. /
Edith Gaylor on the pickaxe as she would have used it
Bridget O’Shanty on the rock face to chisel away sorrows
Zandra Miller on the head as she also used her head to survive.
Billie Rose Cattering on the body for protection
Caroline Croft on the lamp for lamp light in another difficult situation.

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