Watson Parker by residence and research is a recognized authority on the Black Hills. Author of Gold in the Black Hills, Deadwood and numerous articles and papers on the subject, he is now retired from the University of Wisconsin in Oshkosh where he served as Professor of American Western and Military History. Returning to live in the hills, he continues to research the historic area.
The Black Hills have been famous ever since the gold rush days of the 1870s when General George A. Custer’s expedition in the summer of 1874 found and advertised placer gold in the Black Hills valleys and a rush to the Hills began. Indian claimants to the area were placated, defeated or ignored and by 1875 a gold rush that continues to the present was under way. The Homestake Mining Company in the Black Hills is today one of the largest operating gold mines in the world.