A tragic tale in Ouray

Southwest Life

A tragic tale in Ouray

A failed mining dream and the origin of ‘Danny Boy’
Margaret Weatherly, or Jess, and husband, Edward, ran the Neosho Mine south of Ouray in the early 20th century. The dump pile and rails she is standing on are still there, hanging off a ledge in Uncompahgre Gorge. Margaret matched an Irish folk tune with her brother-in-law’s words to create the song “Danny Boy,” but she was never credited for her collaboration. The dirt road that would become U.S. Highway 550 can be seen behind her.
Edward Weatherly, the brother of Fred Weatherly who wrote the words to “Danny Boy,” posed as a patrician from a family of English royalty. In reality, he was a penniless younger son who pretended to be a medical doctor.
Edward Weatherly, far left, and immigrant mine workers stand at the portal of the Neosho Mine. Weatherly sunk thousands of his brother’s British pounds into the mine, which never paid off. Hikers can get to the mine and buildings after a rigorous trek up from the Yankee Boy Basin Road.
Looking like a character out of a Shakespearean tragedy, Edward Weatherly stands amid the ruins of his cabin on steep slopes south of Ouray. He lost his cabin to an avalanche. He would die in poverty after betting on a mining claim that never paid off.
A sight familiar to travelers between Durango and Ouray, the Neosho Mine blacksmith shop with its eye-catching clothesline, is perched on a ledge high above U.S. Highway 550. Three of the mine’s buildings, including the blacksmith shop, have been stabilized by volunteers from the Ouray County Historical Society.
The west side of the Neosho Mine bunkhouse shows evidence of hungry porcupines gnawing on the wooden clapboards as they stood atop snowbanks. Trees obscure the view of the bunkhouse from U.S. Highway 550.
Corner bunks still stand in place at the Neosho Mine bunkhouse even though the ceiling needs work and the floor is rotting.
Margaret Weatherly and her husband, Edward, had high hopes for the Neosho Mine when she penciled her inscription on the bunkhouse door June 7, 1924. Instead, within a decade her husband would be dead. Two years after his death she would be committed to the state mental hospital in Pueblo.
The mine entrance includes the original Neosho Mine sign and modern signage warning of the dangers of entering a 19th century mining portal.
Forest archaeologist and Forest Heritage Manager Leigh Ann Hunt, seen at the Neosho Mine bunkhouse, helped bring volunteers and professionals together to save one of Ouray’s most important mining landmarks, buildings with a direct connection to one of the 20th century’s most famous songs.

A tragic tale in Ouray

Margaret Weatherly, or Jess, and husband, Edward, ran the Neosho Mine south of Ouray in the early 20th century. The dump pile and rails she is standing on are still there, hanging off a ledge in Uncompahgre Gorge. Margaret matched an Irish folk tune with her brother-in-law’s words to create the song “Danny Boy,” but she was never credited for her collaboration. The dirt road that would become U.S. Highway 550 can be seen behind her.
Edward Weatherly, the brother of Fred Weatherly who wrote the words to “Danny Boy,” posed as a patrician from a family of English royalty. In reality, he was a penniless younger son who pretended to be a medical doctor.
Edward Weatherly, far left, and immigrant mine workers stand at the portal of the Neosho Mine. Weatherly sunk thousands of his brother’s British pounds into the mine, which never paid off. Hikers can get to the mine and buildings after a rigorous trek up from the Yankee Boy Basin Road.
Looking like a character out of a Shakespearean tragedy, Edward Weatherly stands amid the ruins of his cabin on steep slopes south of Ouray. He lost his cabin to an avalanche. He would die in poverty after betting on a mining claim that never paid off.
A sight familiar to travelers between Durango and Ouray, the Neosho Mine blacksmith shop with its eye-catching clothesline, is perched on a ledge high above U.S. Highway 550. Three of the mine’s buildings, including the blacksmith shop, have been stabilized by volunteers from the Ouray County Historical Society.
The west side of the Neosho Mine bunkhouse shows evidence of hungry porcupines gnawing on the wooden clapboards as they stood atop snowbanks. Trees obscure the view of the bunkhouse from U.S. Highway 550.
Corner bunks still stand in place at the Neosho Mine bunkhouse even though the ceiling needs work and the floor is rotting.
Margaret Weatherly and her husband, Edward, had high hopes for the Neosho Mine when she penciled her inscription on the bunkhouse door June 7, 1924. Instead, within a decade her husband would be dead. Two years after his death she would be committed to the state mental hospital in Pueblo.
The mine entrance includes the original Neosho Mine sign and modern signage warning of the dangers of entering a 19th century mining portal.
Forest archaeologist and Forest Heritage Manager Leigh Ann Hunt, seen at the Neosho Mine bunkhouse, helped bring volunteers and professionals together to save one of Ouray’s most important mining landmarks, buildings with a direct connection to one of the 20th century’s most famous songs.
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