HOWARD HICKSON'S HISTORIES
[Index]

 
Old Mose: Designated Burro
 
Casper Lucksinger, a Tuscarora prospector, always rode Old Mose home when his night of drinking at a saloon demanded he get home safely. From reports, this was Casper's plight almost every evening. Old Mose was, in actuality, several burros. Casper gave that moniker to all the burros he ever owned. Saved a lot of remembering when he was inebriated. 
Casper Lucksinger on Old Mose 
Photo of Casper and Mose provided by Antoine Primeaux, Elko.
 
Casper depended heavily on his little beasts of burden. In one of northeast Nevada's severe winters he and several other prospectors were snowed in and ran out of supplies. Lucksinger started a freezing trek toward Carlin and, by the time he reached the place, his feet were frozen. Parts of both extremities were amputated. 

He could hobble around with the help of a cane but traveled easier on whichever Old Mose he owned at the time. His burro was always nearby and came without hesitation when Casper called. This is unusual since most of the little cusses are bullheaded and stubborn to a fault. 
 Casper had a consuming desire to drink himself into oblivion. Winter, summer, fall, and spring - you name it. Come dark, he was off to the nearest saloon on the back of Old Mose. A prospector  always took care of his animal first, so Lucksinger hobbled into the bar to get the burro a bribe to hang around. A bucket of beer persuaded Old Mose to patiently wait for his boss. 

Back in the saloon, Casper downed prodigious amounts of booze. After several hours, he staggered out the swinging doors with the help of the bartender and was unceremoniously draped over the burro who headed straight for home and ingloriously dumped Lucksinger onto his stoop. 
 

 
Casper Lucksinger on Another Old Mose 
Photo of Casper and Mose provided by Antoine Primeaux, Elko.
 
Lucksinger was born February 1, 1854 in Glarus, Switzerland. He arrived at Tuscarora in 1871 when the town was beginning to boom and devoted most of his time to prospecting. Casper didn't hurt for drinking money. He had the good fortune of making a strike near Tuscarora. It wasn't much more than a "glory hole." He did what any self-respecting prospector did in those days - sold it. His joy came from the thrill of discovery, solitude and peace, unrestrained freedom and, probably the best of reasons, relief from worldly responsibility. Casper, most certainly, filled the bill as a bonafide prospector. 

In 1906 new excitement at Goldfield, Nevada temporarily beckoned him. He was 52 then and the golden glitter of hidden treasure offered him another go at the elusive adventure. While digging a cellar there he took out a goodly amount of gold. Not enough to make him rich but more than enough to maintain his trips to the bar when he returned to Tuscarora. He died in 1928 and rests now in the town cemetery. 

He and his burro represented two essential characters of the Old West - the desert rat and his mountain canary. 
 

May 2, 1998 

Notes: Most of the information about Casper and Old Mose came from The Northeastern Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, Winter, 1977 written by Howard Hickson from research provided by Antoine Primeaux, Elko. 

1998 by Howard Hickson. If any portion or all of this article is used or quoted proper credit must be given to the authors.

[Back to Hickson's Histories Index]