“Very truly yours Wm. E. Loane”

This simple, bust vignette cabinet card portrait of a handsome, clear-eyed young man  was taken at the studio of Norval H. Busey (1845-1928), Charles and Fayette streets.

After I acquired this photograph, labeled “Very truly yours, Wm. E. Loane, 9.29.82,” I attempted to trace the sitter.

I found a William E. Loane, born about 1858 , son of builder Harry E. Loane, living in Baltimore in 1880.  I traced the family back to 1860 Baltimore.

So far, not unusual. Things got interesting when I spotted a W. E. Loane in the 1885 census of Colorado, born about 1858 in Baltimore, listed as a miner in Clear Creek County.

William E. Loane turned up again as one of the nine victims of the Anna Lee mine cave-in that occurred near Cripple Creek, Colorado, on 4 January 1896.

According to the account I found transcribed on the web, Loane had recently been hired by the Portland Company to be mine foreman. He was said to have been a well-known resident of Aspen, about 150 miles northwest of Cripple Creek, and to have been married, but the name of his wife is not mentioned. Clear Creek County’s Marriage License Index, however, contains a record of a license issued in 1886 for the marriage of William E. Loane, aged 28 to Ida F. Blinn, aged 30.

Loane’s body was recovered and he was buried at Fairmont Cemetery in Denver on 14 January 1896.  A photograph of his grave is posted on Findagrave.com.

The Denver Public Library has many photos of Colorado mining, including this  ca. 1895 photograph of Battle Mountain, outside Cripple Creek, where the Anna Lee mine was located, and an excellent map showing locations of all the mines in the Cripple Creek district.

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