Shirley Thomas, whose family owns lower Gold Creek, maintains that Stuart's cabin and American Fork were located further down the creek, about at the railroad tracks, where a monument has been erected to the first gold discovery in Montana.
|Shirley Thomas at site of Monument and American Fork|
Based on a detailed reading of both the Mullan survey and later township surveys, Pardee's map is in error and Shirley is surely right!
A careful reading of Mullan's 1861 report shows that his road at first ran down along the river : later the segment between Deer Lodge and "Benetzi Creek" was re-located along the bench to avoid the river crossings, such as the winter crossing of the Hellgate depicted in an illustration for the Stevens railroad survey report (below).
|1871 Township survey|
An 1865 newspaper report on Gold Creek/American Fork states that some of the original cabins were still occupied, though several had been lost to a fire the previous year. Perhaps some of the buildings shown on the plat near the hotel are original cabins of the American Fork settlement.