One man gained a firm and everlasting spot in Western history — just by being at the right spot at the right time … and asking the right question. His name was Charles E. Rushmore. He was a New York lawyer back in the last century. His name would have been long forgotten if he hadn’t been curious about a mountain peak in South Dakota on a summer’s day.
It all started when Lawyer Rushmore made a trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota for one of his mining clients.
One evening, just about sundown, Rushmore was returning to the frontier town of Custer, South Dakota, after a hot day of inspecting mining claims. He was riding in a western-type carriage driven by a frontier old-timer.
The lawyer looked at the rugged Black Hills’ terrain — the boulder-heaped mountains and the deep gullies and ravines. He clutched his briefcase and was thankful that his frontier trip was about over. Soon he would be back in his comfortable Manhattan law office.
Within a few moments — he gained lasting immortality.
Rounding a bend on the rugged frontier road, the lawyer was attracted by a mountain peak just a bit more majestic than the others. The cliffs were straighter, and they gleamed in the late sun.
He tugged at the carriage driver’s arm. “What’s the name of that mountain?” he asked. The driver, a grizzled, old pioneer-type, rubbed his chin. This was too good an opportunity to miss, a great chance to pull a joke on an eastern dude.
“Why, Sir,” he drawled, “ain’t you heard about that mountain? That’s the one that’s been named after you. They call it Mount Rushmore.” Attorney Rushmore smiled and settled back in his seat and smiled again. He knew when he was being kidded.
However, the story got around the Black Hills … and the name stuck. The mountain became known as Mount Rushmore. Years later it became the site for Gutzon Borglum’s Mount Rushmore.
Charles Rushmore’s name will live forever — because of a joke on a summer’s day in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
This story is reprinted from Dan Valentine’s book “Spirit of the West.”
Now that is remarkably amusing. Whose leg got or is getting pulled? A Manhattan lawyer’s in an earlier century or mine?
April Fools joke maybe ??