Born in Hungary
Little is known about Samuel Butcher, but Harriet and Fred Rochlin mention him in their book, Pioneer Jews: A New Life in the Far West. Samuel appears to have been one of the few Jewish miners in Leadville during the 1880s:
“A few Jews did make industrial mining their lifelong trade. Sam Butcher, a strapping Hungarian Jew who came to Colorado in 1875, worked in Leadville and later in Cripple Creek hacking out a living and a reputation as an able hard-rock miner and blaster. Aware that miners could be abusively anti-Semitic – he had seen a man beaten for no other reason than that he was Jewish – Butcher took pains to conceal his identity. A Leadville tailor, however, gave away the Hungarian’s secret. Challenged by a knot of rough miners to cite a single Jew in their line, the tailor could not resist naming his muscular coreligionist. By then, however, Butcher was an accepted member of the hard-rock miners’ fraternity, and the revelation was received with nothing more than surprise and disbelief.”
While there are no mentions of a miner Sam Butcher in the census or city records, there is a rag seller who appears in the 1888 city directory of the same name. Nothing else is known of Sam Butcher in Leadville.
1 Rochlin, Fred and Harriet. Pioneer Jews: A New Life in the Far West. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984. Pg. 38.
2 1888 Leadville City Directory
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