Throwback Thursday: Prospector altercation results in miner murder

PARK CITY, Utah. — In September of 1887, two Park City miners entered into an altercation near their camp after returning from a weekend in jail for drunkenness. Once the disagreement became physical, both men armed themselves with weapons, resulting in the murder of James H. Bowen.

According to accounts from the Park Record, two prospectors by the name of Charles P. Axtell and James H. Bowen shared a mine claim near the head of Snake Creek. After spending a weekend in the Park City jail for drunkenness, the two got into a fight as they made their way back to camp.

Just feet away from their shared cabin, Bowen picked up an ax and said, “I’ll fix you anyway.”

Axtell then ran into the cabin, grabbed a gun and told his other roommate, “Jim wants my blood, he wants to kill me Scott.”

Axtell then proceeded to fire three shots, killing Bowen as a bullet pierced his heart and another went through his shoulder blade.

In defense of the murder, Axtell claimed that Bowen was after him saying, “About three years ago there was a man who lived in the cabin about fifty yards below the present one; he disappeared and he has not been heard of since…I always believed that Jim Bowen got away with him; others believed so too.”

For more historical information, individuals can visit the Park City Museum website.

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