W. S. Stratton was the discoverer in 1891 of the Independence Lode near Cripple Creek, Colorado, one of the richest gold mines ever located on earth. Born in Indiana, he had come earlier to the Colorado Springs, Colorado area and worked as a carpenter, then set out following the gold and silver rushes in Colorado, but had never been successful. But on hearing word of gold on the south slope of Pike's Peak he made his big strike.
He had a hard time getting started developing his mine, but once going it was like an underground bank. Not only was Stratton rich; but he was generous. Soon however folks began hitting on him and he became reclusive and eccentric. He drank and read a great deal, but almost never had guests or went out socially.
When he died he left the bulk of his estate for the establishment of the Myron Stratton Home, for "the aged poor and dependent children." Myron Stratton was his father. This bequest was not popular in the reactionary climate of the times. After entended litagation from many adverse claimants only 6 million was finally available; but the home was established successfully.
W. S. Stratton carried this book in his saddlebags when he was prospecting: Plattner's manual of qualitative and quantitative analysis with the blowpipe. From the last German edition, revised and enlarged., Author: Carl Friedrich Plattner, Translated by Henry Bedinger Cornwall, D. Van Nostrand, New York, 1888. Many other editions exist. .