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Bancroft Library 


The prime object in the minds of the editor and his assistant writers in 
compiling this History of Colorado, also the intent of the publishers, has been 
to base it on authentic sources, not only in the narrative of the original explora- 
tions of the New World, but in the modern settlement and development of our 

Hence, the facts relating thereto are stated not as opinions or mere con- 
clusions of the writers or individual informants, but, in order to avoid personal 
bias and prejudice, all that is set forth pertaining to important events of public 
interest in the departments of state history the military, industrial, educational, 
religious and social organizations and their progress and results has been taken 
from the records, reports and archives, national and state, of the government 
and administrative bodies relating to the several topics. Errors that have 
been made in the past with reference to Colorado history have been corrected, 
so that the work, as is sincerely desired by the editor and his many friends and 
assistants, may come to be regarded as the standard History of Colorado to 
the present date. 

In the work of writing and compiling the historical volume the editor has 
been ably assisted by Mr. Alfred Patek, a writer well known to Colorado, and 
Mr. Gordon K. Miller, both experienced historical writers connected with The 
S. J. Clarke Publishing Company of Chicago. 

The work of the biographical volumes has been done by a corps of writers 
engaged by the publishers for that department and their work has been gratify- 
ing to the editor and, so far as he has ascertained, highly satisfactory to the 
subjects of the sketches, to whom the typed copy has been submitted before 
reaching the publishers. 

The very efficient work of Mr. Charles T. Sprague in the organization of 
the plan of work, the preparation of the prospectus, securing the names and aid 
of the editor, and persons known to all the people of the state as sponsors of 
the work, and who secured photographs for the illustration of the same, is 
greatly appreciated and deserves the thanks of all the patrons. 

The labor of all who have taken part in producing these volumes, aside from 
the liberality of the publishers in their vast expense in the venture, has been 
great ; but a noted man once said : "There is no great excellence without great 





















































TIES 1 68 



HOOD 183 































































































LAWS 417 












































































































Cl ATION . . '. 732 









































Colorado occupies a central position in the western half o.f the United States, 
between latitudes 37 and 41 north, and longitude 102 and 109 west. It is 
almost a parallelogram in shape, its east, and also its west boundary being 275.7 
miles in length, its northern, 365.7, while its southern is 387.6 miles. The state 
has an area of 103,478 square miles. Two-fifths of this area is highly moun- 
tainous, the remainder being plains, foothills, and high mesas ; 42 per cent of the 
entire state is above seven thousand feet elevation. The plains region, or the 
eastern two-fifths of the state, is crossed by a ridge which forms the watershed 
between the South Platte and the Arkansas rivers. Beginning in the foothills 
north of Pike's Peak, this divide extends eastward, gradually dying away in the 
eastern border counties. The lowest point in the state, Holly, on the Arkansas 
River, has an elevation of 3,386 feet, while Julesburg, on the South Platte, eleva- 
tion 3,458 feet, is the lowest point in the northeastern counties. 


The one hundred and seventh meridian marks the location of the Continental 
Divide in the extreme northern as well as in the extreme southern part of the 
state. In the north this watershed is known as the "Park Range" ; its course is 
southward for a short distance, thence easterly to Long's Peak, thence south- 
westward, forming the eastern boundary of Grand and Summit counties and 
the northern boundary of Lake County; then the western boundary of Lake 
and ChafTee counties, where it is known as the Sawatch Range. From the most 
southerly point in Chaffee County the course of the divide is due southwest 
to San Juan County, then southeastward to the state line, the Cochetopa Hills 
being the divide until the San Juan Mountains are reached. . For four-fifths of the 
distance the summit of the divide is above timber line. Though this area above 
timber line is considerable, it is not nearly so great as is to be found on the de- 
tached ranges and spurs. 


The foothills rise a few miles east of a north-and-south line drawn through 
the center of the state. In the north, high mountains occupy the region to the 
westward of this line for about seventy-five miles, but farther to the south these 
ranges widen out west of Pike's Peak to about one hundred and thirty-five miles. 
At a point not far from the center of the state the Sangre de Cristo Range begins 
and extends southward beyond the New Mexico line. The San Juan, a range of 
great altitude, occupies a large area in the southwestern part of the state. 


A prominent feature of the mountain region is the number of large upland 
valleys or parks. The principal ones, North, Middle, South, and San Luis, lie 
nearly in a north-and-south line, just west of the Front Range. Of these only 
one, Middle Park, is west of the Continental Divide, which forms its northern 
and eastern boundaries ; its surface is undulating ; elevation about eight thousand 
feet. North Park opens toward the north, elevation generally about eight thous- 
and feet. South Park lies in the center of the state, elevation eight thousand to 
ten thousand feet, and is surrounded by very high mountains ; its surface is nearly 
fiat. San Luis Park, the most southerly, is larger than North, Middle, and South 
parks combined; it is an immense elliptical basin, whose surface is remarkably 
flat at one time doubtless the bed of an inland sea. The western fifth of the 
state is occupied by high plateaus, or mesas deep gullies, or arroyos, being a 
feature, with many cliffs and hills. 

Of the peaks above 14,000 feet elevation, the altitudes of thirty-two have been 
determined. Mount Massive, near Leadville, with an altitude of 14,424 feet, is 
the highest, and Mount Elbert, 14,421 feet, is next. The average height of timber 
line is 11,526 feet, with extremes of 10,410 feet on Sierra Blanca, and 12,117 feet 
on Mount Harvard. 

A number of important rivers rise in the state. The Rio Grande has its 
source in the San Juan Mountains, while the Arkansas and the South Platte of 
the eastern slope, and the Gunnison and the Grand, important branches of the 
Colorado, rise but a few miles apart near the center of the state. 


Considering the great distance from the Pacific, and the high mountain ranges 
which the prevailing westerly winds must cross, it is not surprising that low 
humidity, attended by a great range of temperature, should be a characteristic 
feature. Though distant also, the influence of the Gulf of Mexico is appreciable, 
but only to a varying extent. It is most marked during the summer months, when 
there is a general stagnation in the movement of northern low-pressure areas, 
affording sufficient time for moisture to be brought to the eastern slope. That 
this is true is apparent from the increased precipitation east of the Continental 
Divide during the warmer half of the year. 

With the advance of winter the pressure gradually increases over the Great 
Basin until an extensive high-pressure area is developed. Remaining practically 
unchanged for months, it exerts an important influence on the winter climate of 
Colorado, the character depending on location, whether east or west of the Conti- 


nental Divide. To the west of the divide persistent cold for the latitude and 
altitude prevails, especially in San Luis Park, the upper Gunnison Valley and 
northwestern counties. Clear skies and a still atmosphere favor rapid radiation, 
and the topography facilitates a steady flow night after night of the chilled air 
from the surrounding high slopes into these valleys. On the eastern slope at such 
times the prevailing winds are westerly, or over the Continental Divide. The air 
being warmed by compression during the descent to the foothills and plains re- 
gion, the mean temperature is raised materially, and the capacity of the air for 
moisture is increased; or, in other words, there prevails in the eastern half of 
the state a long succession of relatively dry, warm, and bright sunshiny days. 
For the summer months the normal charts show low pressure over the Great 
Basin and western Colorado, with little or no precipitation. On the eastern slope 
the suction exerted by the western depression is sufficient to give to half of the 
state east of the Continental Divide many periods of easterly winds, and as the 
air is drawn up the mountain slopes it is chilled by elevation, and there is pre- 
cipitated during the warmer half of the year practically five-sevenths of the annual 
amount of moisture. 


Considered from the point of mean temperature alone, Colorado may be 
divided into five zones, as follows: 

The zone of 50 or higher, which includes a small area in the valley of the 
Grand and Gunnison in the extreme western part of the state; the valley of the 
Arkansas as far west as the foothills ; the southeastern border counties ; a narrow 
strip bordering on northwestern Kansas, and an area east of the foothills, which 
includes Denver County and parts of Boulder and Adams counties. 

The zone of 45 to 50, or the valleys of moderate elevation and the upland 
plains, includes the Arkansas-Platte Divide, a narrow belt running north and 
south adjacent to the eastern foothills, the middle portions of the Grand and 
Gunnison valleys, and the valley of the Las Animas in the southwestern part of 
the state. 

The zone of 40 to 45 includes San Luis Park, the foothills region, and 
the northwestern counties. 

The zone of 35 to 40 includes North, Middle, and South parks, and gen- 
erally the regions between eight thousand and ten thousand feet elevation. 

The zone of 35 and lower includes the higher mountain masses, parts of the 
Continental Divide, and the narrow valleys near the center of the state in Lake 
.and Summit counties. 

The mean temperature of winter ranges from 35 at Canon City to 11 at 
' Gunnison. For the southeastern counties, the Arkansas Valley, including Colo- 
rado Springs, and for a considerable area in the vicinity of Denver, the mean 
temperature is slightly above 30, while the western valleys, the eastern foot- 
hills, the Arkansas-Platte Divide, and the northeastern counties have means be- 
tween 25 and 30. The mean for San Luis Park is slightly above 20, while in 
the remainder of the parks and higher mountain districts the means average 
below 20. 

The mean maxima for this season range between 40 and 49 throughout 


the region east of the mountains, and values between 40 and 42 prevail 
in Costilla, La Plata, and Mesa counties. In the central mountain region, 
im Summit, and in Gunnison County 29 is the average. 

The mean minima range from 12 to 18 east of the mountains, and from 
14 to 18 in the lower western valleys. For San Luis Park the values are 
4 to 6, and, taking Breckenridge and Gunnison as representative of the 
conditions in the mountain regions of the western slope, we find the means 
for the season to be 1 and 7, respectively. 

For summer the mean temperatures range from 76 in the lower part of 
the Arkansas Valley to 50 near the Continental Divide in Park County. Means 
of 70 or higher are common to the valleys of the eastern slope, and also 
prevail in the lower parts of the Grand and Gunnison valleys. San Luis Park 
has a mean of 63, and slightly higher values are common in the northwestern 
counties. In the valleys of the central mountain region the means are generally 
between 50 and 55. 

The mean maxima are above 90 only in the extreme southeastern part 
of the state. From 91, the highest, the means sink to 68 in the central moun- 
tain region. Mean maxima above 80 are common to the valleys and plains, 
and prevail to a considerable extent in the parks and in the mountain district 
with southern exposures. 

The mean minima range between 61 in the lower western valleys and 35 
in the central mountain region. East of the mountains they are in the fifties, 
and similar values obtain in the middle portions of the Grand and Uncompahgre 
valleys; in the parks and northwestern counties they range between 41 and 46, 
while in the central mountain region they are below 40. 

The mean temperatures for spring and autumn, and also the mean maxima 
and minima, correspond closely with the annual values that have already been 

Maximum temperatures above 90 rarely, if ever, occur in the highest 
valleys and parks, and on the average are noted only three times a year in 
San Luis Park. Leaving out the Arkansas-Platte Divide, where they are noted 
nine times a year, the number of days with 90 or higher east of the mountains 
increases from six at Cheyenne, on the northern border, to sixty-six in the 
extreme southeastern counties. In the western valleys the number varies from 
sixteen to fifty, the latter being the value for the lower Grand and Gunnison 

Minimum temperatures below 32 are very common; their occurrence fewer 
than 150 times a year is confined to the Arkansas Valley and parts of the South 
Platte, Grand, and Uncompahgre valleys. In the northwestern counties and San 
Luis Park they occur from 205 to 227 times a year, and more than 250 times in 
the higher mountain districts. At Breckenridge the average is 283 times. 


As might be expected, killing frosts occur every month in the year in the 
higher valleys contiguous to the Continental Divide. In the agricultural dis- 
tricts, owing to the varied topography, differences in elevation and location, 
whether east or west of the Continental Divide, there is an entire absence of 


uniformity. This will be apparent from a consideration of the following: On 
the western slope at Grand Junction the average date of the last killing frost 
of spring and the first killing frost of autumn is April n and October 28, 
respectively ; and in the northwestern part of the state, at Meeker, the dates 
are June 7 and September 12, respectively. On the southern slope, at Saguache, 
in San Luis Park, the average dates are May 24 and September 17; on the 
eastern slope, at Fort Collins, May 13 and September 21 ; at Denver, May 7 
and October 4, and at Pueblo, April 28 and October 25, respectively. 


The greatest annual precipitation occurs in the northern part of Gunnison 
County at an elevation above 10,000 feet. Between 20 and 25 inches is the 
average for the western slope of the Continental Divide, in the north-central 
counties, over the greater part of the San Juan Range, and locally in the 
south-central counties in the vicinity of the Spanish Peaks. Amounts ranging 
between 15 and 20 inches, occur on the average in the northern half of the 
state for some distance west of the mountains, while on the eastern slope this 
amount occurs in a long narrow belt, stretching north and south, whose eastern 
limits are the foothills. Somewhat more than 15 inches is also the average 
in the counties bordering on Kansas and Nebraska. Between this eastern belt 
and the foothills there is a broad area where the annual precipitation is generally 
between n and 13 inches. Less than 10 inches is the average in the valleys 
along the western border, thence increasing somewhat up the narrow valley 
of the Gunnison. The least precipitation, between 6 and 8 inches, occurs in 
the central part of San Luis Park. 


Boulder, Jefferson, Park, Fremont, Teller, El Paso, Clear Creek and Gilpin 
counties include in one group, situated in the central part of the state, a greatly 
varying topography. This may be termed the mineral edge on the eastern side 
of the Divide. 

Topographically Boulder County is naturally divided into three distinct types, 
viz : mountains, foothills and plains, the foothills flanking the base and an average 
of twelve miles of the western limit of the Great Plains country. It possesses 
great natural resources. The mountain section contains the metal mines, mineral 
springs, timber and water supply; the adjoining foothills, building stones of 
great variety and clays for manufacture of brick, tile, etc., and the plains section 
affords a field of operation for the agriculturist and horticulturist, is largely 
underlaid with a good quality of lignite coal, and late developments demon- 
strate the presence of oil in paying quantities. 

The drainage is through a number of roughly parallel streams that find- 
source near the rugged crest and amphitheaters of the mountains, and have a 
general eastward course until they make exit through deep-cut canyons on the 
plains. Here they join with the St. Vrain River, which is one of the main tribu- 
taries of the South Platte. Locally the main streams are designated as the 
North, Middle and South forks of the St. Vrain, Left Hand, James Creek, 
North, Middle, Four Mile and South Boulder creeks. 


Clear Creek and Gilpin counties are in a rugged mountain section, with 
intervening narrow valleys or canyons, formed largely by erosion. They embrace 
a number of prominent mountain peaks, among which may be mentioned Gray's 
Peak, 14,411 feet; Torrey's Peak, 14,336 feet, near the west boundary; James 
Peak, 13,281 feet, on the north, and Mount Evans, 14,321 feet above sea level, 
on the south county boundary. 

The main drainage is through Clear Creek. This stream, near the west 
boundary, divides into the North, Middle and South forks. The main tribu- 
taries from the north are Mill Creek and Fall River; from the south, Chicago 
Creek all of which have a number of smaller tributaries bearing local names. 
Bear Creek and tributaries afford an outlet for the waters in the southeast part 
of Clear Creek County. 

At Idaho Springs are located some of the most noted mineral springs in the 

The western limit of El Paso County embraces the summit of Pike's Peak, 
and the eastern limit is some thirty-five miles from the base of the mountains 
on the great plains section. The topography is that common to all counties 
lying on the east slope of the Rocky Mountain Front Range and embracing 
the adjoining foothills and plains sections. 

Jefferson County lies in part on the east slope of the Front Range of the 
Rocky Mountain system and includes a portion of the Great Plains country. 
The drainage is to the South Platte River through a series of mountain streams, 
among which are North Fork, Bear, Turkey, Clear and Ralston creeks. These 
streams have a general easterly course, cutting their channels through the 
uplifted and folded strata skirting the mountains and collectively showing a 
complete geological section. 

Within Park County boundaries, and surrounded on all sides by hills or 
rugged mountains, one of the large plateaus of the mountain systems is located, 
South Park. This plateau or basin is comparatively level and has an average 
altitude of about 9,000 feet above sea level. It is about forty miles long by 
thirty miles wide, and has an area of 1,200 square miles in the park proper. 
On the east or northeast side the park extends to the west base of the Front 
Range of the Rocky Mountain system, composed of the granite-gneiss complex 
common to that range. Along the south border of the park is a series of hills, 
with somewhat isolated peaks, attaining an altitude of 9,000 feet, composed 
largely of various eruptive rocks in the form of dikes, intrusive masses, and 
locally the late basalt lavas capping hill tops. On the west are the Trout Pass 
hills and the Mosquito Mountain Range, and on the north a transverse mountain 
section connecting the Mosquito and Front ranges. The drainage may be said 
to be from all sides of it, toward the park center, the tributaries uniting with 
the North, Middle and South forks of the South Platte River. 


Teller County has been the subject of many papers. The following, by T. A. 
Rickard, formerly State Geologist of Colorado, is here, reproduced in its 
topographical aspect only : 

"The known gold-bearing portion of the district covers an area of about 


ten square miles, occupying a group of hills which rise from 300 to 1,000 feet 
above the general surface, and attain an average altitude of 10,500 to 11,000 
feet above the sea. The drainage of the district flows into the Arkansas River, 
whose gateway into the plains is at Canon City. The general slope is southward, 
and the sunny aspect incident to this configuration of the surface has caused 
the hillsides to be clad with sufficient grass, and enabled them, at one time, 
despite the high altitude, to yield good pasturage. 

"Few mining camps have so picturesque a situation and Cripple Creek is 
further notable because the picturesque is not obtained by any sacrifice of 
accessibility. The beauty of the panoramic view to be obtained from most of 
the mines is not due to mere ruggedness or to the ordinary grandeur of a 
mountainous country ; it is traceable to a position upon the slopes flanking Pike's 
Peak, which permits of an uninterrupted view of snow-clad ranges a hundred 
miles away. It is a panorama rather than a picture. In front are hills like 
giants tumbled in troubled sleep, whose feet touch the plateau of the South 
Park. To the left are the Arkansas Hills that confine the river of the same 
name to its tumultuous gorge; farther south is ihe Wet Mountain Valley, and 
beyond that the long, magnificent, serrated range of the Sangre de Cristo. Turn- 
ing northward, the valley of the Arkansas can be seen dividing the mountains 
which overlook Leadville. Farther to the right are the beautiful Kenosha Hills, 
at the headwaters of the Platte, and beyond them are further peaks ennobled 
with coronets of snow." 

Fremont County, embracing, as it does, a part of the western limit of the 
Great Plains country in the eastern portion, and its west boundary being outlined 
by the crest of mountain ranges, flanked with foothills, is topographically divided 
into three natural divisions viz : mountains, foothills and plains. The geology 
has many features in common with that of Boulder and other border counties, 
differing mainly in the fact that in Boulder the Trias rests directly upon the 
granite gneiss of the mountain proper, while in Fremont the Paleozoic rocks 
of the Carboniferous and Silurian periods are exposed and rest upon the granite 
floor. The uplifted strata are well seen along the Arkansas River from the 
mouth of Grand Canon eastward. 

Conejos, Rio Grande, Costilla, and Alamosa counties together form a notable 
topographical group. 

The west boundary line is the summit of the San Juan Mountains, which at 
this portion form a part of the Continental Divide. This section is quite rugged, 
and contains mountain peaks that reach an altitude varying from 11,000 to 
13,000 feet above sea level. The San Juan Mountains at this point mark nearly 
the southern limit of the great andesitic lava flow common to what is generally 
designated as the San Juan country. This volcanic mass is locally traversed by 
a series of dikes, the basalt flows being prominent near the mountain base and 
capping many of the adjoining foothills. 

The Rio Grande River courses the center of that section. The eastern 
portion of Conejos County embraces the southwest part of the San Luis Valley. 
This valley is unusually level, and has an average altitude of 7,500 feet above 
sea level. 

The drainage is through the Alamosa, La Jara, Conejos, San Antonito and 
Los Pinos creeks, and through the Rio Costilla, Rio Culebra and Rio Trinchera. 




These streams head well back toward the mountain summit, envelop numerous 
small tributaries, and all unite with the Rio Grande River. 

The summits of the Sangre de Cristo and Culebra outline the east boundary 
line of Costilla County. The mountain ranges on the east rise quite abruptly 
and contain some of the highest mountain peaks in the state, among which 
may be named Purgatory, 13,719; Culebra, 14,079; Trinchera, 13,340; Blanca, 
14,464; Baldy, 14,176, and Grayback, 12,887 ^ eet > above sea level. 

Near the north end of Costilla County are a number of small lakes, the 
largest being known as the San Luis lakes, and contain several square miles. 
These lakes are fed by numerous springs around the mountain base near Mosca 
Pass and San Luis and other small streams coming in from Saguache County. 
There is no apparent outlet to lakes, and the tendency of all the streams in 
this section is to sink out of sight and appear only at intervals. 

The eastern and major portion of Rio Grande County embraces the flanking 
foothills and mesas and the western limit of the San Luis Valley, which here 
has an average altitude of about 7,700 feet. The Rio Grande River passes 
easterly through the northern portion of that county, and with tributaries 
affords drainage. The principal tributaries from the south are Park, Abiti, Wolf, 
Los Pinos, San Francisco and Alamosa ; from the north, Beaver, Bear and 
Embargo creeks. 

The topography of Custer County in a general way, is that of a compara 
tively level basin or valley, within two mountain ranges. The average altitude 
of the valley is about 8,000 feet. On the west the Sangre de Cristo Range rises 
quite abruptly to 12,000 feet, and contains mountain peaks that reach an eleva- 
tion of over 14,000 feet above sea level. The range front is scarred by deep 
ravines or gorges, with precipitous cliffs or walls. Rising some 6,000 feet above 
the valley, the bold, rugged, front and pyramidal peaks present one of the 
most striking views in the mountains. The main rock of the mountain top is 
granite, but of somewhat different type to that common to the Front Range. 
Along and flanking the mountain front Carboniferous sandstones and conglomer- 
ates predominate. 

The valley which bears the same name as the mountain range on the east 
viz., Wet Mountain is about twenty-five miles long and fourteen to twenty 
miles wide. It is one of the widest mountain valleys in the state. 

The Wet Mountains on the east, originally known as the Sierra Majado, is 
a comparatively low mountain range. The highest points are about 11,000 feet, 
somewhat irregular and separated by comparatively shallow valleys, with easy 
slopes. The rock mass composing this range is a coarse-grained granite. 

The main drainage of this section is through Grape Creek and its numerous 
small tributaries, which empty into the Arkansas River. 

Huerfano and Las Animas counties border the Great Plains country, the 
western boundary being the crest of the Sangre de Cristo and Culebra mountain 
ranges. In the south portion are the Spanish Peaks, and in the north the south- 
ern extremity of the Wet Mountains. The drainage is through Huerfano and 
Cuchara, the Purgatorial and Las Animas rivers, the Apishapa and many tribu- 
taries to the Arkansas River. 

The southern boundary of Las Animas County passes over the summit 
of the Raton Mountains. The mountainous sections are covered with a good 


growth of pine timber, and interspersed with comparatively broad valleys. Ad- 
joining the foothills the mesas, or table lands, merge into the level plains on 
the east. 

In Mineral County, in the southwest part of the state, the drainage is through 
the Rio Grande River and numerous tributaries. The water-shed of the Rio 
Grande River is a basin-like area of horseshoe shape. On the north edge of 
Mineral County the La Garita Mountains have a southwesterly course, and 
near the west boundary of Hinsdale County unite with the San Juan Mountains. 
This latter range, from point of junction, trends southward, and, gradually turn- 
ing to southwest, passes through the southern part of Mineral County. The crests 
of the two ranges form the Continental Divide, which may be said to encircle 
the county on the north, west and south sides. 

Considered as a whole, the topography is unusually rugged. The surround- 
ing mountain chains rise from 10,000 to over 13,000 feet above sea level. From 
these occur somewhat detached spurs, culminating in peaks 12,000 feet and 
over, and occupying the central portion. The intervening valleys are, in the 
main, quite narrow, but locally widen out into enclosed basins or parks of con- 
siderable size. 

In the south central part of the state lies what is known as the San Luis 
Valley. Skirting the south and west are sections rich in coal and minerals. For 
the purpose of a topographical description the central and south central section 
comprises Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache, Conejos, Costilla, Alamosa, Chaffee, 
Custer, Huerfano and Las Animas counties. 

The west boundary of Chaffee County is formed by the Continental Divide 
of, the Saguache Range, and the east boundary follows the more prominent 
peaks of the Park Range. The intervening valley embraces the Arkansas River, 
which with its tributaries affords drainage for the county. This valley varies 
from an altitude of 7,000 feet at the southern to 9,000 feet at the northern 
boundary. While it is quite narrow near the south-central portion of the county, 
the valley widens to twelve or fifteen miles and carries this width for about 
thirty miles in the central portion. The Saguache Range on the west rises to 
14,375 f ee t at Mount Shavano, 14,245 at Mount Antero, Princeton 14,190, Yale 
14,187, Haywood 14,575, a d La Plata 14,311 feet above sea level. 

On the west the main tributaries of the Arkansas River are Cash, Clear, Pine, 
Cottonwood, Chalk, Browns, Boyds, South Arkansas and Poncha creeks. On 
the east, Sweetwater, Badger and Trout creeks. These streams in the main 
course through the granite-gneiss complex or metamorphic rocks common to 
the Rocky Mountain system. Near the base of the mountains they usually 
occupy more or less rugged canyons and locally expose remnants of strata 
assignable to the Paleozoic. 

The Chalk Creek Hot Springs near Haywood have a temperature of 150 
Fahrenheit ; Poncha Springs, a group of hot mineral waters range in tempera- 
ture from 90 to 168, Fahrenheit. 

The southern and southwestern section of the state comprises San Miguel, 
Dolores, .San Juan, Ouray, Hinsdale, Archuleta, La Plata and Montezuma coun- 
ties, including in the larger part of these boundaries what is known as the San 
Juan country and one of the richest and most productive sections of the state. 

The territory embraced within San Juan County boundaries, about 480 square 


miles, is very mountainous. The San Juan Mountains on the north and Needle 
Mountains in the south, with their numerous spurs, cover the entire county. 
The intervening valleys are quite narrow in the main, but occasionally widen 
out into small park-like areas. Baker's Park is the largest and has a mean alti- 
tude of about 9,200 feet above sea level. Through it flows the Animas River 
in a southerly course, affording the main drainage of the county. The narrow 
valleys adjoining Baker's Park are traversed by mountain streams that find 
source in large oval basins or cirques near the summit of the surrounding moun- 
tains. The mountains reach a maximum altitude of nearly .14,000 feet above sea 
level. The lower mountain slopes are covered with a heavy growth of spruce 
timber, which ceases to grow at an altitude varying from 10,000 to 11,000 feet. 
The area above "timber line" in San Juan County is greater in proportion to the 
total area of the county than in any other sub-division of the state. 

San Miguel County in its eastern portion is characterized by rugged moun- 
tains with numerous cliff exposures, cut by deep, 'narrow canyons. The moun- 
tains culminate in numerous peaks that reach an altitude of nearly 14,000 feet 
above sea level, and the intervening gulches have been eroded to a mean eleva- 
tion of about 9,000 feet. The west portion of the county embraces the eastern 
limit of the Great Sage Plains of Utah, having a mean elevation of about 7,500 

Dolores County embraces an area of about 1,000 square miles. The east 
part of the county is mountainous, with rugged peaks rising from 12,000 to 
14,000 feet above sea level. The west, and by far the greater part, consists of 
elevated plateaus sloping gradually toward the west and varying from an alti- 
tude of 8,500 feet near the mountains to about 6,000 feet near the Utah liwe. 
The mountain area is drained by the East and West forks of the Dolores River 
and numerous tributaries. These streams have -a general southwest and south 
course and unite about twenty miles below Rico in Montezuma County. The 
main river makes a somewhat lengthy detour south and west, then turns north- 
ward and crosses Dolores County a short distance east of the Utah line. 

In the Hayden atlas, based upon work of the survey in 1874-76, the moun- 
tains of eastern Dolores County are designated as the "Bear River Mountains." 
Later work of the geological survey has for good reasons changed the name 
to the Rico Mountains. 

Hinsdale County consists of rugged mountain chains, with comparatively 
narrow valleys intervening, well-watered by streams. The valleys occasionally 
widen into comparatively level parks and vary in altitude from 8,000 to 9,000 
feet above the sea level. The mountains in individual peaks are from 12,000 
to 14,000 feet above tide-water. Uncompahgre Peak, in the northwest corner, 
is 14,289 feet, and is one of the highest in the state. The San Juan Mountains 
form the west boundary in the northern part and cross the south portion of 
the county in a southeast direction. Near the center of the west boundary a spur 
extends from the San Juan Range in a northeast direction and joins the Coche- 
topa Hills in Saguache County. This range-spur forms the Continental Divide 
at this point. The territory embraced within county boundaries is therefore 
on both the Atlantic and Pacific slopes. The north portion drains through the 
Gunnison River, the south through San Juan, both streams emptying later 


into the Colorado on the Pacific Slope. The central portion drains through 
the Rio Grande to the Atlantic side. 

Archuleta County as a whole is a hilly one, composed of numerous mesas 
and ridges of sedimentary rock, intersected with equally numerous valleys 
locally widening into parks. The hills and mesas are timbered with some of 
the finest timber in the state, principally white pine, yellow pine, red and white 
spruce. These trees often attain a thickness of three feet or more, and run 
up for fifty or sixty feet, a straight column without a branch. 

The peaks of the adjacent Conejos Range average from 12,000 to 13,500 
feet. The average altitude of the" valleys and parks is between 7,000 and 8,000 
feet. The mesas may rise 500 feet above this. 

Prior to the advent of the white man what are now termed Pagosa Springs 
were known among the Indians as the "Great Medicine Waters," or "Healing 
Waters," and their possession jealously guarded. The main spring basin is 
50 by 75 feet in size, and presents the appearance of an immense seething 
caldron. The temperature of the water is 148 degrees Fahrenheit. The outlet 
from this pool evidences the probability of the springs being justly entitled to 
the claim of the "largest hot spring in the world." 

Montezuma County embraces the eastern limits of the Utah Plains, through 
which two isolated groups of mountains have risen. The El Late group occupies 
about forty square miles in the southwest portion, which in individual peaks, 
reach an altitude of 10,000 feet above sea level. La Plata Mountains are in the 
northeast part of the county, and the culminating peaks reach an altitude of over 
thirteen thousand feet. The plateau, from the base of the La Plata group, de- 
scends in a gradual slope from 7,000 to 5,000 feet at the west county boundary. 
The drainage of the east and south portions of the county is through the Rio de la 
Mancos and its tributaries. The northern portion drains into the Dolores River, 
which enters, makes a big bend, and finds egress through the north boundary 

La Plata County. The topographical features of the southwestern section are 
those common to rugged mountains, flanked by foothills and lofty mesas, inter- 
sected by streams and gulches cutting through the country at irregular intervals. 
In the north part of La Plata County are the Needle Mountains, in the west- 
central portion the La Plata Mountains, each containing peaks that reach an alti- 
tude of between 13,000 and 14,000 feet above sea level. The valley and mesa 
lands vary from an elevation of 6.500 feet, at Durango, to 6,100 feet, near the 
southern border. The county is well watered, and drains through three principal 
streams, viz., La Plata, Anirnas and Los Pinos rivers. These streams are roughly 
parallel, rise in the lofty mountain ranges lying on the northwest and north, and 
flow in a southerly course. The La Plata drains the west, the Animas the central 
and the Los Pinos the east portions of this section. 

Mineral springs, both hot and cold, occur in several localities. The best im- 
proved are the Trimble Hot Springs, about nine miles from Durango. 

With the exception of a small portion in the north end, the topography of 
Ouray County is that of rugged mountains, a number of which reach an altitude 
of 13,000 to over fourteen thousand feet above sea level. The various streams 
head, generally, in large open basins, or glacial cirques, well up above timber line, 


and near the top of the culminating ridges connecting the more prominent moun- 
tain peaks. Below the basins, these streams occupy eroded valleys or gulches, 
gradually deepening into somewhat narrow canyons, and finally uniting with the 
Uncompahgre River, and making exit through the north county boundary line at 
an altitude of 6,500 feet. Timber is abundant on the various mountain slopes, and 
grows to an elevation of 10,500 to 11,500 feet above sea level. 

Ouray County, in its southern portion embraces a small part of the San Juan 
Mountains composed almost entirely of volcanic rocks. These rocks consist, in 
the main, of tuffs, agglomerates and lavas of andesite and rhyolite. In the up- 
per horizons the different lava flows lie practically horizontal, differ somewhat 
in color and present a stratified appearance. Later, this volcanic complex has 
been penetrated by a variety of eruptive rocks in the form of somewhat massive 
intrusions and numerous dikes. 

Lake County is situated on the west flank of the Mosquito Range, near the 
head or north end of Arkansas Valley, and has a mean elevation of 10,200 feet. 
The Saguache Range on the west and the Mosquito Range on the east have a 
comparatively uniform elevation of from thirteen thousand to fourteen thousand 
feet above sea level. The north as well as west boundary form the Continental 
Divide. This basin-like area is drained by the Arkansas River, which flows in 
a southerly course, and a number of tributaries that rise in the mountain ranges 
upon the east and west sides. In the vicinity of Leadville the Arkansas flows 
through a comparatively flat and level valley, six to ten miles wide. On either 
side mesa-like benches rise one above the other to the foothills flanking the 
mountain ranges. The City of Leadville occupies one of these mesas, about 
three miles west of the river valley proper, near the base of the rounded foot- 
hills, and north of California Gulch. 

Summit County is embraced within boundaries that are outlined by the crests 
of mountain ranges, viz., the Williams River Mountains on the east, the Conti- 
nental Divide on the south, and the Park Range on the west. The included terri- 
tory lies wholly on the Pacific Slope and embraces the valleys of the Blue, Swan, 
Snake and Ten Mile rivers, with the drainage basins of their tributaries, all of 
which unite with the Blue and form one of the large tributaries of Grand River, 
which it joins near the north county boundary. 

In the central west lie Rio Blanco, Garfield, Mesa, Delta and Montrose coun- 

Rio Blanco is included within the drainage basins formed by the Yampa 
Plateau, Danforth Hills and Williams River Mountains on the north and east, 
and the White River Plateau, Book Cliffs and Roan or Book Plateau on the 
south. The White River Valley rises from an altitude of five thousand feet at 
the western boundary of the county to nine thousand feet near the eastern limit. 
The mountain peaks in the eastern part vary from ten thousand to twelve thou- 
sand five hundred feet, and the plateaus on the north and south from eight 
thousand to nine thousand five hundred feet above sea level. 

In Garfield County the drainage is through the Grand River, which enters the 
east county boundary near the center and flows in a general southwest direction, 
passing through the south boundary line west of the center. The main tributaries 
from the south are Roaring Fork, Divide and Maroon creeks; from the north, 
Elk. Rifle, Parachute and Roan. These streams occupy narrow valleys, which 


locally open out into comparatively wide and level parks, and in other places are 
closely confined by narrow walls. 

Along the Grand River, Garfield County, for a distance of a half-mile or more 
are noted hot springs. They occur at intervals, and appear to issue from a fissure 
in the Paleozoic rocks. The largest and best improved are on the north side of 
the river. The largest group of springs, called the Yampa, has a flow of about 
two thousand gallons per minute and has a temperature of 120 degrees Fahren- 

In Mesa County the drainage is through the Grand and Gunnison rivers, two 
of the largest streams in the state. The valleys along these streams and tribu- 
taries are of varying width, but are, in the main, comparatively wide and very 

The northeast portion of Montrose County embraces the southern limit of the 
West Elk Mountains. Through this section the Gunnison River flows. 

The Cerro Hills separate the valleys of the Uncompahgre and Cimarron, and : 
both have streams that rise well back in the rugged San Juan Mountains, lying 
south of the southern boundary line. The Uncompahgre River flows north and 
northwest through the country to its junction with the Gunnison River. On the 
west and southwest side of the river the broad valley rises gradually from six 
thousand to ten thousand feet above sea level to another broad mesa known as 
the Uncompahgre Plateau. From the northeast slope of this plateau a number 
of streams flow in a northeasterly course and join the Uncompahgre River. Still 
farther west there is another comparatively level mesa known as the San Miguel 
Plateau. This plateau is drained by tributaries that flow westward and join the 
San Miguel and Dolores rivers. Just beyond the west border are the Sierra la 
Sal Mountains. 

In Delta County the north and east county boundaries are outlined by natural 
topographical divisions. The higher points rise from ten thousand to twelve 
thousand feet above sea level, and the valleys vary in altitude from four thousand 
eight hundred to six thousand five hundred feet. 

In the next group, northwestern Colorado, are Larimer, Jackson, Grand, 
Routt, and Moffat. 

The east portion of Larimer County embraces about eighteen miles of the 
western limits of the Great Plains section. In the western portion the Front 
Range of the Rocky Mountain system ceases, and merges into the Medicine Bow 
Range in Jackson County. These ranges have a general northwesterly course. 
The Park Range, on the west, separates Routt and Jackson counties, and the 
north limit of the Front Range is topographically connected with the Park Range 
by an east and west chain, which chain, with the Park and Front ranges, form 
the Continental Divide. North Park is a large basin-like section, in the west part 
of the county, lying between the Park and Medicine Bow ranges, and north of 
the range connecting the two, and separating North and Middle parks, the latter 
in Grand County. North Park proper is a broad, comparatively level basin, free 
of timber, thirty miles wide, east and west, by forty miles long, north and south. 
The altitude ranges from eight thousand to nine thousand feet above sea level. 
The plains section in the east part of Larimer County varies from five thousand 
to five thousand five hundred feet, and the mountain chains culminate in Jackson 


County in numerous peaks ranging from eleven thousand to fourteen thousand 
feet above tide-water. 

The drainage is through the Little and Big Thompson and Cache la Poudre 
rivers, which flow in a general southeast direction and unite with the South 
Platte River. The North Platte River finds source through a number of radiat- 
ing tributaries in North Park and flows north into Wyoming. The Big Laramie 
River and tributaries drain the east slope of the Medicine Bow Range and flow 
north into the Laramie Plains of Wyoming. 

In Grand County is the Front Range ; on the south, the Williams River Moun- 
tains ; on the west, the Park Range ; and on the north, an east and west range 
that connects the Front and Park canges, separates North from Middle Park, and 
forms the Continental Divide. 

The entire drainage is through the Grand River and its tributaries. This 
stream flows practically east and west through the center of the county, and its 
tributaries have a general north or south course. Near the east boundary the 
Grand River proper divides into two main branches, known as the North and 
South forks. These branches, with their tributaries, drain the west slope of the 
Front Range. From the south the Frazer, Williams and Blue rivers are the main 
tributaries to the Grand River, and all flow in a northerly course. Between the 
Frazer and Williams rivers there is a mountain range called the Vasquez Moun-' 
tains. Between the Williams River and the Blue is a range known as the Wil- 
liams River Mountains. These ranges or spurs are roughly parallel to the Park 
and Front ranges, and the east and west slopes have a number of small streams 
that are tributary to the main streams which occupy the intervening valleys. The 
north part of the county has a series of streams that flow south to the Grand. The 
principal streams from east to west are the Stillwater, Willow, Troublesome and 
Muddy creeks. Each of these streams has a number of tributaries and occupies 
a valley separated by ridges, but not so pronounced as those on ,the south side. 

The central portion of the county is known as Middle Park. It differs ma- 
terially, however, from the broad, open and comparatively level and timberless 
basins known as North and South parks. Middle Park is practically a series of 
valleys along Grand River, with the contiguous valleys of the tributaries of the 
river. The intervening ridges are as a rule heavily timbered, and little idea of the 
general topography may be gained except from some of the prominent, sur- 
rounding mountain peaks. Locally the valley land is much restricted, but gen- 
erally the valleys are of good width and comparatively level. They vary in alti- 
tude from seven thousand to nine thousand feet. The surrounding mountains 
have numerous peaks th,at reach 12,000 and Long's Peak, on the east, passes above 
the fourteen thousand foot mark. 

Routt and Moffat counties extend to the northwestern corner of the state. 
Near the northeast corner the eruptive mountain group called the Elk Head 
Mountains is the most prominent uplift. This group contains a number of cul- 
minating points that reach an altitude of nearly eleven thousand feet, the most 
prominent and perhaps best known being Hahn's and Anita peaks. Both of 
these are very prominent landmarks, the latter being generally called the "Bear's 
Ears," on account of its peculiar formation. Along the south part of the county 
the Williams River Mountains, Danforth Hills and Yampa Plateau, are elevated 
portions varying in altitude from eight thousand to nearly ten thousand feet. The 


main drainage is through the Yampa or Bear River, which flows in a general west- 
ward course through the center of the section and is joined by numerous tribu- 
taries from north and south. The main streams from the north re Elk, Elk Head, 
Fortification and Little Snake ; from the south, Williams River and Milk Creek. 

It contains 150 mineral springs, all of which differ more or less in amount of 
solids held in suspension and in accompanying gases. 

Gunnison, Pitkin, Eagle, Lake and Summit are a central group with a varying 
topography. The Continental Divide or Saguache Range, forms the east boundary 
line of Gunnison County, and has a general north and south course. 

The main drainage is through the Gunnison River, which flows westward and 
departs from the county south of its center through the well known Black Canon. 
Numerous tributaries join the river in the canyon. From the south the principal 
streams are Lake Fork and White Earth creeks ; from the north, Curecanti, Sapi- 
nero, West Elk and Ohio creeks. Near Gunnison, which is the county seat and 
occupies a south-central position in the county, the Tomichi joins the river. This 
stream carries the waters from the southeast part and its main branches find 
source well up toward the Continental Divide. Gunnison River is formed by 
the junction of Slate and Taylor rivers at Almont, about nine miles north of 
Gunnison. These streams, with tributaries, care for the waters in the northeast ; 
the North Fork of the Gunnison carries the drainage from the northwest, and 
the extreme north section is drained by Rock Creek, which is tributary to the 
Grand River. 

The topography of Pitkin County, taken as a whole, is quite diversified. On 
the east is the Continental Divide of the Saguache Range, separating Pitkin and 
Lake counties, and in the south and west sections embrace in part the Elk Moun- 
tains. Both of these ranges contain noted landmarks, such as Mount Massive on 
the east, 14,424 feet, and Castle Peak, 14,115 feet, and Maroon Mountain, 14,008 
feet above sea level, on the south. The general drainage is toward the northwest 
through the Roaring Fork, one of the main tributaries of Grand River. The 
main tributaries of Roaring Fork are Frying Pan, Hunter, Woody, Lincoln, Diffi- 
cult, Castle, Maroon, Sopris, Avalanche and Rock creeks. These with their nu- 
merous small feeders receive the waters from drainage basins near the mountain 
divides at a varying altitude of ten thousand to thirteen thousand feet, and eventu- 
ally unite and pass out through the Roaring Fork Valley at an altitude of about 
six thousand six hundred feet. 

The drainage^ of Eagle County is to the Pacific Slope and through the Frying 
Pan, Eagle and Grand rivers and the Piney. The Frying Pan and tributaries 
are in the southwest part of the county. The Eagle River rises near the south- 
east corner, flows approximately north to the center of the county, then turns 
west and joins the Grand. -The Grand River flows in a southwest direction through 
the northwest portion, and the Piney, in the east and northeast, flows northwest 
and joins the Grand. All these streams have numerous tributaries of more or 
less importance. The crest of the Park Range of mountains on the east forms 
the dividing line between Eagle and Summit counties. This range is quite rugged, 
and rises in peaks to over twelve thousand feet above sea level. Near the south 
boundary the most prominent landmark is the Mount of the Holy Cross. This 
peak rises to an elevation exceeding fourteen thousand feet, and practically marks 
the northern limit of the Saguache Range. 


The Great Plains section of Colorado extends from the foothills to its eastern 
boundary. There are no large streams in the northern district with the excep- 
tion of the Platte River. The small streams in the southern part flow south to the 
Arkansas River and in the north to the South Platte. The Republican River rises 
in this district and is fed by many small streams. The average annual rainfall 
here varies from twelve to twenty inches. In what is called the Divide between 
the Arkansas and the Platte rivers from the foothills east the rainfall is con- 
siderably heavier than on the lower lands on both sides. 

The surface throughout is level or gently rolling with a few restricted areas 
of valley or broken land. The soil is largely a sandy loam varying greatly in 









In order to give a proper perspective to the history of modern Colorado, its 
growth, institutions and relative matters, a few prefatory remarks concerning 
the early Spanish, French and English periods of explorations are necessary. 
Upon this solid groundwork of discovery and romantic tradition the story of the 
State of Colorado is laid. These adventurous and danger-loving men who first 
traversed the ranges, canyons and mountains of this country were actuated by 
the greed of 'their native countries across the sea, but they failed to build strongly 
and the land eventually became the permanent possession of the United States. 
But it is with these early explorations that we now have to do. 

The first of the jurisdictions under which the present territory of Colorado 
came was that of "Nueva Espana" or New Spain, which covered an immense 
part of North America in the Sixteenth Century. The domain of this empire 
included all of Mexico, practically all of the land west of the Mississippi River 
and extended into the unknown and unexplored regions of the Great Northwest. 
Spain's right of ownership was based solely upon the discoveries in the New 
World made by her subjects during the first half of the century. In 1519 Alvarez 
de Pineda discovered the Mississippi River and named it "Rio del Espiritu Santo"; 
and within the next quarter century Spanish explorers had crossed parts of the 
present states of New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, 
Kansas and Colorado. The first settlements were made upon the eastern coast 
of the United States at a time when fully four-fifths of the present area of the 
Union was Spanish territory, under the rights of discovery. 

The Spanish held undisputed sway over this vast territory and were not in 
any way threatened until the closing years of the Seventeenth Century. Then the 
Sieur de la Salle descended the Mississippi River and on April 9, 1682, took pos- 





session of this "Father of Waters" in the name of the French (Drown. He in- 
cluded with the Mississippi all the tributaries and the lands through which they 
flowed and which they drained; thus declaring ownership over a great extent of 
country from the Alleghanies to the Rockies. He named the new possession 
"Louisiane," in honor of his sovereign, Louis XIV. Louisiane comprised about 
one-half of the present area of the United States and included a large portion 
of Colorado. Spain naturally denied the right of France to any land west of 
the Mississippi, but the French succeeded in holding all they had claimed until 
November, 1762, when a secret treaty was drawn up, by which the Mississippi 
again became the eastern and northeastern boundary of New Spain, or New 
Mexico as it was called by that time. 


Spanish history in the territory now included in the southwestern part of 
the United States begins with the story of Alvaro Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, a 
Spanish nobleman, and his three companions, Andres Dorantes, Alonzo del Cas- 
tillo Maldonado and an African negro named Estevanico (Stephen). These 
were the first Europeans to come into this part of the country, and were sur- 
vivors of the ill-fated De Narvaez expedition into the Florida country in 1528. 
De Vaca was held a prisoner by Indians near Galveston, Texas, but after several 
years escaped and struck out for the interior, where he joined his companions. 
The four started in search of Spanish settlements in Mexico and slowly made 
their way from one tribe of Indians to another. Their course is not known, but 
in time they reached the western coast of Mexico, where they met a band of their 
countrymen. Supplied with guides, De Vaca and his companions later reached 
the City of Mexico in July, 1536, after wandering for fully eight years. 

De Vaca's story of the unexplored country through which he had passed and 
his account of the tales which had been told him by the Indians fired the imag- 
ination of the Spaniards and they came to believe of rich and thriving cities far 
to the northward, where the sole industry of the people was the making of gold 
and silver articles. Nufio de Guzman, a high official in the administration of 
New Spain, inspired by De Vaca's stories and those of an Indian, guided an 
expedition northward from Mexico City, but did not go farther than the Yaqui 
River. Don Antonio de Mendoza, viceroy of all New Spain, also determined to 
forage among the rich cities of the North and made preparations for a large ex- 
pedition. He first despatched a scouting party, led by two Franciscan friars, 
Juan de la Asuncion and Pedro Madal, which traveled as far as the Gila River in 
Arizona, then abandoned the quest. Not to be discouraged, however, Mencloza 
iormed a second party and chose Marcos de Nizza, a Franciscan, captain. Ac- 
companied by the negro, Stephen, and Onorato, a lay brother of the order, De 
Nizza began his journey to the northward. 

Onorato left the party soon on account of sickness, so De Nizza and Stephen 
pushed on, acquiring many Indians in their party as they progressed. After a 
time, Stephen and a party of Indians were sent ahead of De Nizza and the others, 
with instructions to report by messenger. In June, 1539, De Nizza reached the 
"Land of Cibola" the "buffalo country," where the seven rich cities were sup- 
posed to be located. Here he learned that Stephen had been murdered. 


Stephen and his Indians had discovered a great pueblo in the western part of 
the present New Mexico. Despite the warnings of the inhabitants, Stephen went 
among them. After a few days his presence became so intolerable that the natives 
put him to death, with a number of his Indian companions. Those of the party 
who escaped hurried southward and one of them returned to De Nizza with the 
account of Stephen's death. The intrepid friar, though dismayed by the news, 
refused to retreat until he had obtained a view of the "city." He reached a 
high point of land and from this eminence saw the "City of Cibola" in the dis- 
tance. Then he- returned home, where his vivid and colorful tales more than 
substantiated the wildest of De Vaca's stories of the rich peoples to the north. 
De Nizza really believed that the pueblo which he had viewed from a distance to 
be larger and richer than the City of Mexico. 


De Nizza stirred the imagination of the Spaniards as no one had done before. 
Dreams of a country vastly richer than Peru were indulged in by the people. The 
remembrance of cargoes of gold and silver from that South American country 
only stimulated their desire to loot the mysterious cities of the still more mys- 
terious north. Mendoza in particular resolved upon a huge expedition for the 
invasion of the country which De Nizza, De Vaca and others had painted in such 
glorious colors. 

Accordingly, in the fall of 1539, Mendoza financed and equipped an expedi- 
tion to be captained by Francisco de Coronado, the young governor of New 
Galicia. On February 23, 1540, Coronado left Compostella, in New Galicia, with 
Friar Marcos, three other Franciscans, 260 Spanish cavaliers, seventy Spanish 
footmen, over a thousand Indians and servants, six pieces of artillery and about 
a thousand horses. This army entered what is now the southeastern corner of 
the State of Arizona by the end of the following spring. The rest of the year 
was spent in subduing the Pueblo Indians and various minor explorations. Win- 
ter found the expedition encamped on the Rio Grande River, discouraged and 

An Indian, supposed to have been a Pawnee, who lived at the Pecos Pueblo 
fifty miles north of Coronado's encampment, told the Spaniards that he was from 
a rich city 1,000 miles to the northeast, where even the commonest of utensils 
were made of gold. The "Turk," as he was called by the Spanish, promised to 
lead them thither. 

This incident had a rejuvenating effect upon the fagged and heart-weary ex- 
plorers, so on April 21, 1541, the march was begun. Ten days later the plains 
Indians were first encountered. A captain in the expedition, Juan Jaramillo, 
afterward wrote that "we began to enter the plains where the cows (buffalos) 
are, although we did not find them for some four or five days. * * * We 
found Indians among these first cows, who were, on this account, called 'Que- 
rechos' by those in the flat-roof houses." One authority suggests the resemblance 
of the name "Querechos" to Apaches. 

Having crossed the Canadian River, or the southerly branch of the same, the 
Coronado party proceeded in a northeasterly course. The exact route taken by 
Coronado has never been determined definitely, several different versions having 


been given by as many historians and investigators. It is probable that Coronado 
reached the southeastern part of the present Colorado; at least, a study of the 
different histories of the expedition would seem to establish this fact. 

The "Turk" eventually guided the expedition in an easterly, then southeasterly, 
course, diverting the Spaniards from the original trail. On the thirty-fifth day 
of the movement named a halt was made at another Indian village, the inhabi- ' 
tants of which were given the name of "Teyans," and who were undoubtedly 
Comanches. Coronado estimated at this time that he had traveled fully 650 
miles from the encampment on the Rio Grande. They were 'now probably in 
what is now Oklahoma, on the north fork of the Canadian River. Here Coronado 
first learned that De Vaca had visited this village. 

A council was held and it was decided that the main part of the expedition 
should go no farther in search of the mythical City of Quivira, but should return 
to the Rio Grande, while Coronado and thirty of his picked horsemen should con- 
tinue the journey as planned. .This was done and forty-two days later, after 
crossing the Arkansas River and marching to the northeast, Coronado reached 

Here, instead of finding a wealthy and populous city, the Spaniards discovered 
a lonely village of Indians, probably Pawnees, who earned their living by hunting 
buffalo and raising patches of corn. For twenty-five days the explorers remained 
at Quivira, garroting the "Turk" to appease their anger and disappointment and 
in punishment for his duplicity. 

Then, with several Quivira Indians to guide them, the party began the return 
journey to the Rio Grande. The route taken is thought to have been one familiar 
to the Indians in their travels to the "flat-roof" villages and which undoubtedly 
crossed southeastern Colorado. 

Coronado met with a cold reception when he returned to the capital of New 
Spain and was openly snubbed by Mendoza. He did not deserve to be discredited 
for his failure to find the mythical cities of treasure, but the fact remains that 
his own sense of disgrace and the obscurity forced upon him by his fellows bore 
upon him until the day of his death, while he was yet a comparatively young 

The exact location of Quivira is not known. Coronado claimed that it was 
"950 leagues," or 2,470 miles, from the City of Mexico. It is thought by the best 
of writers that Coronado's farthest point into the interior of what is now the 
United States was in the vicinity of Junction City, Kansas. Quivira appeared on 
both English and French maps in the early days, in various latitudes and longi- 
tudes, and was really thought to exist. 


When Coronado started upon his homeward trip one member of his party, 
Father Juan de Padilla, decided to stay and undertake missionary work among 
the Indians. With him went Andres del Campo and three educated Indians of 
Coronado's band. They set out with the Quivira guides who were returning to 
their own people. Upon the way Father Padilla crossed a corner of Colorado. 
After arriving among the Quivira Indians he found a portion of them hostile to 
him and it was not long before he suffered death at the hands of these savages, 


Campo and the Mexican Indians escaping and finally reaching Tampico, Mexico, 
there to relate the story of Father Padilla and his fate. 


In 1542-43 Louis Moscosco de Alvarado, who was one of De Soto's lieuten- 
ants in the Florida expedition, explored deeply into the northern part of New 
Spain. While De Soto was in Florida, stories had been brought concerning the 
activities in the West, Coronado's expedition in particular. After De Soto's death 
Moscosco began his march westward from the Mississippi, having been ap- 
pointed commander by De Soto. After many days' journey, it is recorded that 
his scouts sighted mountain ranges to the westward, supposedly the Rockies. A 
few early geographical charts represent Moscosco's route as having crossed 
southeastern Colorado, but, allowing for discrepancies in latitude and longitude, 
it is improbable that he reached the present borders of the state by several hun- 
dred miles. 

Following these many attempts to thoroughly explore the country comprised 
in New Spain, there were very few expeditions of any consequence for a period 
of over forty years. Friars went into the country of the Pueblo Indians, seeking 
to establish missions, but most of them met death as their reward. 


In 1595, Juan de Onate, a prominent Spaniard of the time, relative of Cortez 
and Montezuma, attempted a large expedition into the northern country for ex- 
ploration and colonization if possible. His actual start was about three years 
later and his course followed up the Rio Grande Valley and into the San Luis 
Park region of Colorado. About thirty miles above the site of Santa Fe, Onata 
founded the Town of San Gabriel, the second in the territory now the United 
States. Seven years later Onate founded Santa Fe. 

A short time after establishing San Gabriel Onate despatched his nephew, 
Juan de Zaldivar, with a company of cavaliers, farther into the interior. It is 
believed that Zaldivar progressed along the foothills nearly to the site of Denver. 


The undertaking of Francisco Leyva Boniila in the year 1595 was one fraught 
with tragedy and failure. Boniila was sent to subdue an Indian tribe among the 
northern settlements and had instructions to continue in search of Quivira if the 
condition of his men warranted it. Other authorities have claimed that Boniila 
exceeded his orders by continuing northward. Nevertheless, he traveled up the 
Rio Grande Valley to the plains. Here, in a quarrel with Juan de Humana, one 
of his officers, Boniila was killed. Humana took charge of the expedition, which 
then had passed through southeastern .Colorado into southwestern Kansas. After 
crossing a large river (Arkansas), Humana and his men were surrounded by 
Indians while encamped. The savages fired the dry grass around the Spaniards 
and all were killed with the exception of two Alonzo Sanchez and a half-breed 
Indian girl. Sanchez afterward became a chieftain in the tribe of his would-be 



In 1601 Onate organized another expedition and started northeastward, both 
for the purpose of continuing Zaldivar's search and to learn more of the ill-fated 
Humana expedition. For over three months he was absent upon this journey. He 
came as far north as the site of Denver, then turned eastward into eastern Kan- 
sas and, according to modern writers, went as far as the Missouri River, either 
in Kansas or Nebraska. Nothing of material advantage resulted from this sec- 
ond expedition, aside from the fact that Onate discovered the spot where Humana 
and his soldiers had been annihilated by the Indians. 

Following Onate's last attempt to discover riches in the north, there were no 
more expeditions of consequence until 1662. Roving bands of Spaniards traveled 
north in search of adventure, and generally found it, but their result was negative. 


Near the close of the Seventeenth Century the Spanish settlements along 
the Rio Grande from the Taos Valley to Socorro had become numerous. Stock 
raising and mining for gold were the chief occupations of the people. Pueblo 
Indians were made slaves by the Spaniards and compelled to do all the heavy 
work in the mines. This naturally led to an uprising among the natives, which 
occurred in August, 1680. Then came days of massacre and conflict, with the 
result that the Spaniards were either killed or driven southward toward El Paso. 
By September 1st, it is recorded, not a live Spaniard was left upon the Upper 
Rio Grande and all the settlements were destroyed. 

Notwithstanding their utter defeat at first, the Spanish quickly recuperated 
and sent out small bands to engage the Indians. Finally, in 1693-94, Don Diego 
de Vargas, after desperate fighting, succeeded in retaking the land, but not in 
returning the Indians to a state of slavery. 


With the beginning of the Eighteenth Century there appeared a distinct 
menace to the Spanish and their rights in New Spain. This menace was com- 
prised of French explorers and colonists. La Salle came from France in the 
winter of 1684-85, with a party of colonists, and had located on the Gulf Coast 
about one hundred miles southwest of Galveston. He had previously, in 1682, 
taken possession of the Mississippi River, all its tributaries and basin, in the 
name of the French Crown. Settlements were made near New Orleans in 1699 
and also in the present southern part of Illinois. 

At the same time the Spanish had considerably extended their field of opera- 
tions. Traders, missionaries and adventurers had gone as far as Montana and 
Illinois. Many instances are recorded wherein the Spanish and French had found 
evidences of each other's presence in different places. The trails crossed many 
times, but until 1719 there were no signs of resistance by either. 


In 1719 Governor Valverde assembled about one hundred soldiers and their 
followers for an expedition against the French, whose inroads upon Spanish ter- 



ritory had become serious. Their first purpose was to settle with some unruly 
Comanche Indians and then continue the campaign against the French. The 
party was joined later by Apaches, who had engaged in sanguinary conflict with 
the French. Although Valverde claimed that he advanced farther north than 
any other Spanish explorer, his purpose was unfulfilled and the expedition was 
devoid of important results. 

In 1720 another military force, under Pedro Villasur, left Santa Fe to es- 
tablish a garrison on the northeast Spanish frontier. The object, as stated in the 
De Montigny Memoirs, was to destroy the Missouri Indians, who were French 
allies, and then confiscate the country, also to form an alliance with the Pawnees, 
who were hostile to the Missouris. The Spanish first met the Missouri Indians 
and mistook them for Pawnees. Unwittingly they bargained with these Indians 
and thus exposed their whole plot. The Missouris maintained their bluff and 
three days later, reinforced, fell upon the Spaniards and annihilated them. 

From this time there appears to have been no more military expeditions by 
the Spanish against the French on the northeastern border of New Spain. The 
latter were practically unrestricted in their operations in this territory. How- 
ever, the Spanish turned their attentions in another direction and resumed their 
long journeys from the Rio Grande settlements. Little is known of these explora- 
tions, for the simple reason that the Spanish did not keep records or maps of their 
travels, thus differing from the French. 

In the middle of the Eighteenth Century the present San Juan section of Colo- 
rado became a district of great interest and several expeditions were sent there 
by the Spanish in search of gold and silver. The first of these was that of Juan 
Maria Rivera in 1761. This prospecting trip, such as it was, occupied a few 
months' time without noteworthy result. Rivera and his companions are said 
to have been the first white men to visit the Gunnison Valley. 


About 1773 Father Junipero Serra, in charge of the Spanish missions in Upper 
California, urged that a road be established from Santa Fe to his missions on the 
Pacific Coast. Until 1776 his pleas were ignored, then Father Francisco Silvestre 
Velez Escalante was given the authority to head such an expedition into Cali- 

This exploring party started their journey in a northwesterly direction and 
entered what is now Archuleta County. They reached the San Juan River and 
encamped at a point three leagues below the junction with the Navajo on August 
5th. This spot they called Nuestra Senora de las Nieves and it was the first 
named site in Colorado of which the exact date is known. 

From this place Escalante again took up his northwesterly course, crossing 
several tributaries of the San Juan and giving them such names as Piedra Parada, 
Pinos, Florida, and Las Animas. In order to avoid confusion, it must be stated 
that the Rio las Animas, or Purgatory, is a tributary of the Arkansas in the south- 
eastern part of the state and the Rio las Animas in southwestern Colorado is a 
tributary of the San Juan. Escalante gave the appellation of Sierra de la Grulla 
to the easterly extension of La Plata Range and called the La Plata River the 


Rio de San Joaquim. In the valley of the latter stream Escalante found evidences 
of Rivera's mining investigations. 

Arriving at the Rio Mancos, he heard from the Indians tales of gold mines 
to the northeast and also saw the ruins of the ancient Cliff Dwellers in this dis- 
trict. He was the first white man to visit these historic ruins, but he saw only 
a part of them. From the Mancos Escalante proceeded northward to the Rio 
Dolores. Along this stream he gave names to localities such as Asuncion, Aqua 
Tapada, Canon Agua Escondida, Miera Labarinto, and Ancon San Bernardo. 
To a small tributary of the Dolores the name of Paraliticas was given, the name 
suggested by the sight of three paralyzed Ute squaws the party met there. Gyp- 
sum Valley was entered about this point, otherwise called Cajon Del Yeso. After 
ascending to a mesa, the party went on to the next halting point, called San 
Bernabe. Another six leagues of march brought them to the San Miguel River, 
which they called Rio de San Pedro. Places of encampment upon this stream 
were San Luis, San Felipe and Fuento de la Guia. Leaving the San Miguel they 
crossed the Canada Honda, probably the Uncompahgre Park, and encamped again 
at the Ojo de Lain, so named in honor of their guide. Here Escalante reached 
the Uncompahgre River and christened it the Rio Francisco. The first station 
farther on was named San Augustin. It was estimated by the travelers that the 
distance from the Uncompahgre to the Gunnison River, as they went, was about 
ten leagues. The Indians called the Gunnison by the name of Tomichi, but Es- 
calante renamed it the San Javier. A cross on the river bluff established the 
fact that Rivera had reached this point. 

Proceeding up the Gunnison the Spaniards came to another stream, which they 
named Santa Rosa, and still farther they found another which they called Rio 
Santa Monica. Then came the Rio San Antonia Martir, the present Divide 
Creek. The two buttes, North Mam and South Mam, they gave the names of 
San Silvestre and Nebuncari. Mam Creek they named Rio de Santa Rosalia. 
Across the summit of Elk Range the party took their way and descended into 
the valley of the Grand River, which river Escalante named Rio de San Rafael. 
Continuing in a northwesterly course from the Grand they next encountered the 
White River, called by them Rio de San Clemente. Their point of contact with 
this river was about the Colorado-Utah line and the date September 9th. 

From here the Escalante party passed into what is now the State of Utah. 
From this state they returned to Santa Fe. Although Escalante did not succeed 
in his original purpose, his name has been prominently recorded in the history 
of the southwest part of the United States. In the northwestern corner of Colo- 
rado his name has been given to a large range of mountain hills. Some years 
later a trail was laid down from Santa Fe to Los Angeles, which traversed south- 
western Colorado for a distance of 115 miles. 


The last Spanish expedition to travel into the north country from the south 
was that commanded by Lieut. Don Facundo Melgares. This was primarily a 
military enterprise, undertaken after the United States had purchased the Prov- 
ince of Louisiana. The Spanish became alarmed over the claims of the United 
States and the rumors of Pike's expedition into the West. The Melgares expedi- 


tion accordingly was organized to go out to meet the incursions of Pike, to ex- 
plore all the country between the Platte and Arkansas rivers to the Missouri 
River, and to make friends with the Comanche, Pawnee, Kansas and other Indian 
tribes. Melgares and his little army marched into the Comanche country and 
bestowed upon the Indians presents and commissions, then went northeast to the 
Arkansas River, to a place now in the southern part of Kansas. With a part of 
his force, Melgares then entered the Pawnee country in the northern section of 
Kansas, all the time watching for Pike. Returning to the other part of his band 
on the Arkansas Melgares then followed the stream nearly to the site of Canon- 
City, still in search of Pike. In this quest he failed, as Pike came later, but the 
two had occasion to meet later while Pike was a partial prisoner of the Spanish 
and they became warm friends. 

As stated before this was the last of the Spanish expeditions in the north. 
At this writing there are no evidences of any permanent settlement having been 
made upon Colorado soil by them. From this time on, that is in 1806, when the 
Melgares expedition went northward, Spain's participation in the affairs of the 
Southwest was small. Prior to this time they had been masters in this country, 
even over the region to the northwest which yet was unexplored. The treaty 
made between England and France in 1763 took from the French all their au- 
thority over the land now in the United States and left it under the control of 
either the Spanish or English. In 1800, for some unknown reason, a treaty was 
made by Spain and France, wherein Spain returned to France all the territory 
which the latter had ceded to her in 1762. Three years later France sold all of 
this territory to the United States, a negotiation which shall be described further 
on. However, this still left about one-half of Colorado's area in the possession 
of Spain. Mexico rebelled in the first part of the Nineteenth Century and in 
the region of the Rockies she replaced Spanish ownership. About fifteen years 
later the Republic of Texas came into existence and claimed more than half of 
the present New Mexico, about two-fifths of Colorado and a small part of Wyo- 
ming. This territory Texas held when admitted to the Union as a state. The 
American war with Mexico placed the boundary between the country approxi- 
mately the same as at present and made Colorado United States territory. In 
1850 Texas gave up claims to the northwestern part of her territory in return 
for a large sum from the United States Government. 


The explorations of La Salle, Joliet and Marquette, were responsible for the 
French claims to the Mississippi Valley in the first years of the Eighteenth Cen- 
tury. Also, the French settlements upon the Gulf Coast were a large force to 
this same end. Prior to La Salle's voyage down the Mississippi very few claims 
were made by the French, except in the vicinity of the St. Lawrence River and the 
Great Lakes. Afterward, however, they claimed all of the Mississippi Valley, 
which included fully half of the present State of Colorado. In this claim the 
French not only found opposition among the Spanish, but among the English 
upon the eastern seaboard, who believed that their charters gave them possession 
of the land from sea to sea. 

The belief that the western coast of America was adjacent to, or a part of, 


the continent of Asia; the belief of a great waterway leading directly from the 
Mississippi to the western ocean ; and the prevalence of rich and large mines of 
gold, formed the basis of English and French calculations during the early 
period. Map-makers confidently arranged their maps of the northwestern terri- 
tory according to traditions and stories heard from the Indians and explorers. 
Unscrupulous explorers, such as La Hontan, conceived marvelous stories of great- 
rivers and Indian tribes, which they claimed they had found or traced. Boun- 
daries were indefinite and neither the French nor the Spanish could have pointed 
out exactly the territory which they believed to be theirs. Consequently, when 
the French became the owners of Louisiana, they claimed a vast extent of coun- 
try without regard to the rights of the Spanish or English. 

One of the first attempts of the French to explore the northwest occurred in 
1712, when a band of adventurers journeyed for several months. No record of 
this enterprise exists, but it is known that they reached the plains country and 
heard of the mountain ranges beyond. At this same time French traders and 
trappers had begun to navigate the Missouri River and its tributaries. Although 
it was some time before any of these traders reached the site of Denver, excur- 
sions of equal distance in other directions were taken. The Crozat Government 
in Louisiana, which began in 1713, endeavored to open up trade with the Span- 
ish region to the southwest and in the valley of the Arkansas, basing its hopes 
on the descriptions furnished by Indians. However, this attempt was abortive. 

As an instance of the vague idea then held by the French in regard to their 
western neighbors, the story of Bourgmont may be mentioned. In 1717, Bourg- 
mont, an explorer who had become familiar with the lower part of the Missouri 
River, reported that he had learned of the existence of a race far to the west 
which traded with the Pawnees. The French accepted this story and, although 
they knew that the Spanish were in that remote territory and that a large ocean 
separated China from America, .they persisted in the belief that this new race was 

In 1718 a memorial was prepared in Paris, outlining a plan for the develop- 
ment of the mines on the Missouri and for making Louisiana the commanding 
state in the new world. The memorial also stated : "Inasmuch as the Missouri 
has one branch leading to the South Sea, trade can also be opened with Japan 
and China." This branch assumed to lead to the South Sea was the River 
Platte, of which the French had a very hazy idea. 


In the latter part of the year 1719 two French explorers started for the western 
country, in order to gain some definite knowledge of it and use the same for the 
benefit of their country. One of these expeditions was under command of Du 
Tisne. He started from Kaskaskia and eventually arrived at a Pawnee village near 
the present Fort Riley, Kansas, where he raised the French flag, as customary. 
He made friends with these Indians, and then proceeded farther to visit the Padu- 
cahs, after having gained the consent of the Pawnees, who were enemies of that 
tribe. In November Du Tisne returned to Kaskaskia, without having found the 
supposed Chinese or the river route to the South Sea. 



The other expedition of like character was under the leadership of Benard 
de la Harpe. This expedition also entered the country of the Paducahs. La 
Harpe started from the French post on the Lower Red River, named Natchitoches. 
He ascended the Arkansas River and probably came very near, if not into, the 
plains of southeastern Colorado. At the point where the Santa Fe trail in later 
years crossed the river, La Harpe found an immense gathering of Indians who 
were friendly. They told of how easy it would be to reach the Spanish settle- 
ments by way of the river, but cautioned La Harpe against doing so, well knowing 
the hostility shown by the Spanish toward the French intruders. La Harpe re- 
turned to his starting point without discovering anything of value, other than 
the feelings of the Spaniards. 

The expeditions of Du Tisne and La Harpe greatly alarmed the Spanish and 
the military expedition described in foregoing paragraphs was despatched to 
drive out the invaders. The terrible fate of this expedition at the hands of the 
Missouri Indians has been described. 

In 1721 La Harpe was sent upon another expedition, which was no more suc- 
cessful than the first. The purpose was to learn whether or not the Arkansas would 
make a satisfactory route for trade with New Mexico, also to obtain cattle from 
the Spaniards upon the Rio Grande. 


In 1722 Bourgmont, whose fifteen years among the Indians of the Missouri 
country had well qualified him for such work, was employed by the Company 
of the West Indies, of French origin, and formed for the purpose of extending 
commerce in Louisiana. He was instructed to devise means to hold the Spanish 
from the Missouri. Bourgmont's first action was to erect a fort upon an island 
in the vicinity of the present Jefferson City, called Fort Orleans. In June, 1724, 
he built another fort up the Kansas River. Later, desiring to make friends with 
the Indians, he took with him a small force of men and journeyed into the ter- 
ritory occupied by the Kansas Indians. At a council held with these Indians they 
promised Bourgmont safe conduct for French traders through their country to 
the Spanish settlements on the Rio Grande. This was the last formal expedition 
by the French for a period of fifteen years. Individual traders and adventurers 
delved into the mysteries of the region during this time, returning each time with 
bits of information of interest to the French government. 


With the purpose of finding a waterway into New Mexico, or to find the 
western ocean and its eastern shore, the two Mallet brothers, with a small party of 
Frenchmen, left the French settlements in Illinois in the spring of 1739 and as- 
cended the Missouri River as far as the village of the Arickaree Indians. These 
Indians pointed out to them that they were on the wrong road to the New Mexi- 
can settlements and redirected them. Then, after descending the Missouri for a 
distance, the Frenchmen started across country to the Platte, then known as the 



Riviere des Padoucas. The Mallet brothers, in fact, gave this river the name of 
Riviere la Plat. They followed this stream to the junction of the North and 
South Platte, then proceeded up the latter to its meeting with the Lodge-pole 
Creek, in the vicinity of the present Julesburg. The party then left the river 
and again struck out across the plains in a southwest direction. They passed the 
Arkansas, crossed the southern part of the Sangre de Cristo Range, then on to 
Santa Fe. Here they remained until the following spring, then returned toward 
the Mississippi. At a point in western Oklahoma the band separated, one cross- 
ing the plains to the Missouri, and the other, with the Mallets, going down the 
Canadian and Arkansas rivers to the Mississippi, thence to New Orleans. Thus, 
it will be seen, the route of the Mallet brothers across Colorado began at the 
northeast corner and led directly across the state from north to south. 

The account of this expedition, when told to Governor Bienville at New 
Orleans, led all the officials to believe that the Mallets were upon Chinese soil, 
.Eastern Asia, when they were tramping across Colorado. The governor was so 
excited over the expedition that he immediately made preparations for another, 
in order to explore more deeply into the West. 


For the command of this expedition there was chosen Fabree de la Bruyere, 
a naval officer. In the party were also the Mallet brothers, who wished to share 
in the entrance to Asia, which they profoundly believed possible. La Bruyere 
and his men ascended the Mississippi and the Arkansas in the fall of 1741, but 
diverted his course into the Canadian, instead of continuing up the Arkansas as 
originally intended. About one hundred miles from the latter stream's mouth he 
constructed a small fort, in which the party spent the winter months. During 
the long hours of this wait, the prospect of finding "Asia" and the Chinese be- 
came very discouraging and resulted in the decision to return home. Upon 
the return journey a stop was made at the mouth of the Canadian and all the 
surrounding region was claimed in the name of the French king. 

La Bruyere's journey ended forever the French quest for the western river 
connection with the ocean and the eastern part of Asia. No more expeditions 
were made in the direction of Colorado. Whether the French were convinced at 
last that these things sought for did not exist, or whether the resentment shown 
by the Spanish caused them to seek trade territory in other parts of Louisiana, 
is hard to determine. The waterway to the western ocean, proof of which laid 
only in the Indian reports, and the existence of the City of Quivira, persisted 
for many years. 


Reference has been made in the earlier paragraphs of this chapter to Spain's 
claim over the entire northwest territory. Her claim, naturally, was based upon 
the "right of discovery," a much abused phrase and one calculated to cover 
a multitude of governmental sins. Until the closing years of the Seventeenth 
Century no serious opposition appeared from the Spanish in the Southwest. 
Then, in 1682, when La Salle took possession of the Mississippi River and all 


its immense valley from the Alleghanies to the Rockies, the period of French 
government may be said to have begun. In 1762, eighty years after La Salle's 
voyage down the Mississippi, a secret treaty was consummated between France 
and Spain, the terms of which allowed the Mississippi to be the eastern boundary 
of New Spain, or New Mexico. 

England declared war upon Spain in 1739 and upon France in 1744. This 
overseas struggle did not end until 1748 and even then the peace compact was 
considered nothing more than a truce. The interests of France and England 
in North America immediately conflicted and in seven years resulted in another 
war, which lasted seven years more. This Seven Years' War was concluded by 
the Treaty of Fontainebleau on November 3, 1762, by which France ceded to 
Great Britain all that part of Louisiana lying east of the Mississippi River "ex- 
cept the City of New Orleans and the island upon which it is situated." This 
treaty was ratified by the Treaty of Paris on February 10, 1763, at which time 
it was announced that, by an agreement previously made in secret, "the city 
and island of New Orleans, and all that part of Louisiana lying west of the Mis- 
sissippi, including the whole country to the headwaters of the great river and 
west to the Rocky Mountains," was ceded to Spain. In this way Colorado again 
became Spanish territory, and continued so until the beginning of the Nine- 
teenth Century. 

The French Revolution during the closing years of the Eighteenth Century 
brought into prominence two of the most noted characters in European history 
Napoleon and Talleyrand. These two great Frenchmen, feeling deeply the 
loss of their country's American possessions, soon began to plan for the rebuild- 
ing of a colonial empire, one of the chief features of which was the recovery 
of Louisiana. At that time Don Carlos IV was King of Spain, but Channing 
says: "The actual rulers in Spain were Dona Maria Luisa de Parma, his queen, 
and Don Manuel Godoy, el Principe de la Paz, which title writers of English 
habitually translate Trince of Peace.' " 

Godoy, who had been influential in the formation and adoption of the Treaty 
of Madrid in 1795, which gave the United States the free navigation of the 
Mississippi, knew that he was not liked by Napoleon and Talleyrand. There- 
fore, when they began overtures for the transfer of Louisiana back to France, 
he resigned from the Spanish ministry, leaving the king without his most 
efficient advisor. In exchange for Louisiana, Napoleon and Talleyrand offered 
an Italian kingdom of at least one million inhabitants for the Duke de Parma, 
prince presumptive, who was at once son-in-law and nephew of the ruling mon- 
archs. The State of Tuscany was selected and its transfer to Spain was the 
condition imposed by the secret Treaty of San Ildefonso. This treaty was con- 
firmed by the Treaty of Madrid on March 21, 1801. So Colorado again became 
French territory, so to remain until 1803, when by the Louisiana Purchase, her 
soil came into the possession of the United States. Of this tremendous negotia- 
tion a description is given in the following chapter. 

Perhaps the first governor of the territory now in Colorado was the governor, 
or commandant, at St. Louis, Captain St. Ange of the French Army, who went 
to St. Louis in 1765, a short time after the founding of the city by Laclede and 
Choteau. St. Ange was succeeded in 1770 by the first Spanish commandant, 
Don Pedro Piernas, who served until May 19, 1775, when he was relieved by 


Don Francisco Crozat. The latter remained in office until June 14, '17/8, 
then gave way to Don Fernando de Leyba. De Leyba died in June, 1780, 
was succeeded by Lieut. Silvio Francisco Cartabona, who served until Crozat 
was reappointed. Crozat's second term ended November 25, 1787, and then came 
Don Manuel Perez. Zenon Trudeau followed in 1793 and stayed until 1799. 
His successor was Don Carlos Dehault Delassus, a Frenchman who had become 
a Spanish subject. In 1800, when France again became the controlling power 
over Louisiana, Delassus yet remained at his post and governed until the acqui- 
sition of the province by the United States in 1803. In fact, France had very 
little jurisdiction, other than nominal, during the three years. At this point 
begins the history of the American development of the Great West, which story 
follows in the next chapter. 








A copy of the secret treaty between France and Spain which was confirmed by . 
the Treaty of Madrid (March 21, 1801) was sent to President Jefferson by Rufus 
King, then United States Minister to England. It reached the White House on 
May 26, 1801. In August following, Robert R. Livingston went to France as 
United States minister and immediately upon his arrival asked Talleyrand, then 
the French Prime Minister, if the Province of Louisiana had been receded to 
France. Talleyrand replied in the negative, and in one sense of the word he 
was justified in doing so, as the Treaty of Madrid was not signed by the 
King of Spain until in October, 1802. When President Jefferson received a copy 
of the treaty sent by Mr. King, he wrote to James Monroe: "There is consid- 
erable reason to apprehend that Spain cedes Louisiana and the Floridas to 
France. To my mind this policy is very unwise for both France and Spain, and 
very ominous to us." 

During the next twelve months, President Jefferson and his cabinet officers 
were kept in a state of suspense as to the status of Louisiana and little progress 
was made toward a satisfactory adjustment of the navigation matter. On April 
18, 1802, the President wrote to Mr. Livingston at Paris, advising him that the 
American people were anxiously watching France's movements with regard to 
Louisiana. In concluding his letter he said: "The day that France takes pos- 
session of New Orleans fixes the sentence which is to restrain her forever within 
her low water mark. It seals the union of two nations who in conjunction can 
maintain exclusive (control) of the ocean. From that moment we must marry 
ourselves to the British fleet and nation. The first cannon which shall be fired 
in Europe will be the signal for tearing up any settlement she may have made, 
and for holding the two continents of America in sequestration for the common 
purpose of the united British and American nations." 

Jefferson did not desire an alliance with England, but was firm in the con- 
viction that French possession of Louisiana would force the United States to 



adopt such a course. In November, 1802, news reached Washington that the 
Spanish authorities at New Orleans had suddenly and without warning with- 
drawn the right -of deposit at that port. The country particularly in the new 
settlements in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys was ablaze with indignation. 
The federalists, Jefferson's political opponents, tried to force the administration 
into some policy that would give them a political advantage, but their efforts 
were futile. Says Channing: "Never in all his long and varied career did Jef- 
ferson's foxlike discretion stand him in better stead. Instead of following public 
clamor, he calmly formulated a policy and carried it through to a most successful 

In his message to Congress at the opening of the session in 1802, the Presi- 
dent merely stated that the change in ownership of Louisiana would necessarily 
make a change in our foreign relations, but did not intimate what the nature 
of that change would be. On January 7, 1803, the lower house of Congress, 
acting upon the President's recommendation, adopted the following resolutions: 
"Resolved, That it is the unalterable determination of the United States to main- 
tain the boundaries and rights of navigation and commerce through the Mis- 
sissippi River, as established by existing treaties." 

On the 1 3th of the same month Mr. Jefferson wrote to James Monroe 
that the federalists were trying to force the United States into war in order to 
get into power. About the same time he wrote to Mr. Livingston that if France 
considered Louisiana indispensable to her interests, she might still be willing to 
cede to the United States the island of Orleans and the Floridas. Or, if not 
willing to cede the island, she might be induced to grant the right of deposit at 
New Orleans and the free navigation of the Mississippi, as it had previously 
been under the Spanish regime, and directed him to open negotiations with that 
end in view. A few days after writing this letter, thinking the cession could prob- 
ably be more easily accomplished by sending an emissary direct from the United 
States for that purpose, he appointed James Monroe as minister plenipotentiary, 
to cooperate with Minister Livingston. The Senate promptly confirmed Mr. 
Monroe's appointment and Congress placed at his disposal the sum of $2,000,000 
to be used by him and Mr. Livingston to pay for the island. 

In this connection, it may be well to note that the ultimate success of Liv- 
ingston and Monroe was no doubt furthered by a letter written about this time 
by Pichon, the French minister to the United States, to Talleyrand, in which 
he advised the French prime minister that the people of the United States were 
thoroughly aroused over the suspension of the right of deposit, and that the 
administration might be forced by public opinion into an alliance with Great 
Britain. War between England and France had just been renewed and Napoleon, 
realizing the superior strength of the British Navy, saw that it would be a diffi- 
cult undertaking to hold Louisiana if an alliance should be made between Eng- 
land and the United States. He had a force of troops under General Victor ready 
to send to New Orleans, but learned that an English fleet was lying in wait for 
Victor's departure and countermanded the order. 

In the meantime Livingston had opened negotiations for the cession of the 
island of Orleans and West Florida, believing the Floridas were included in the 
Treaty of San Ildefonso. On April n, 1803, Napoleon placed the entire matter 
of the cession in the hands of the Marquis de Marbois, minister of the French 


Treasury, and the same day Talleyrand startled Livingston by asking if the 
United States would not like to own the entire Province of Louisiana. Livingston 
gave a negative reply, but Talleyrand insisted that Louisiana would be worth 
nothing to France without the city and island of New Orleans and asked the 
American minister to make an offer for the whole province. Another conference 
was held the next morning and that afternoon Mr. Monroe arrived in Paris. 
That night the two American envoys spent several hours in consultation, the 
result of which was that Mr. Livingston was selected to conduct the negotiations. 

Several days were then spent in discussing the matter, Marbois at first asking 
125,000,000 francs ($25,000,000) for the whole province, though it afterward 
cropped out that Napoleon had directed him to accept 50,000,000 francs, pro- 
vided that a better price could not be obtained. The price finally agreed upon 
was 80,000,000 francs, three-fourths of that amount to go directly to the French 
treasury and the remainder to be used in s*ettling claims of American citizens 
against the French government. The next step taken was to embody the terms in a 
formal treaty, called the Treaty of Paris. The treaty bears the date of April 30, 
1803, and was signed by Robert R. Livingston, James Monroe and Barbe Marbois. 

The original cost of the entire territory thus ceded was about three cents 
per acre, but McMaster says: "Up to June, 1880, the total cost of Louisiana 
was $27,267,621." Out of the country acquired by the treaty have been erected 
the following states : Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, 
Minnesota, North and South Dakota, one-third of Colorado, nearly all of Mon- 
tana, three-fourths of Wyoming and Oklahoma. After the treaty was ratified 
by both houses of Congress, Mr. Jefferson appointed William C. C. Claiborne, gov- 
ernor of Mississippi, and Gen. James Wilkinson as commissioners to receive the 
province from Pierre Laussat, the French commissary. The transfer was formally 
made and the Stars and Stripes were raised at New Orleans on December 
20, 1803. 


Not long after the cession of Louisiana to the United States, President Jef- 
ferson began making plans to send an expedition up the Missouri River to dis- 
cover its sources, and to ascertain whether a water route to the Pacific coast was 
practicable. As it was late in the year 1803 before the Treaty of Paris was rati- 
fied, the expedition was postponed until the following spring. The President 
selected as leaders of this expedition Capts. Meriwether Lewis and William 
Clark, of the regular army. Both were natives of Virginia and the latter was 
a brother of Gen. George Rogers Clark. On May 14, 1804, they left the mouth 
of the Missouri River and ascended that stream. Their company consisted of 
fourteen regular soldiers, nine young men from Kentucky, two French voy- 
ageurs or boatmen, an Indian interpreter, a hunter and a negro servant belonging 
to Captain Clark. Their main vessel was a keel-boat, fifty-five feet long, with 
twenty-two oars and drawing three feet of water. It had a cabin, in which were 
kept the most valuable articles, and a large square sail to be used when the wind 
was favorable. They also had. two pirogues, fitted with six and seven oars 
respectively. Two horses were led along the bank, to be used in hunting game. 
These explorers continued to the headwaters of the Missouri River, then crossed 
the Continental Divide and proceeded to the mouth of the Columbia River. 



The life and efforts of young Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike, a young officer of the 
regular army, are very closely associated with the early history of Colorado. 
Pike was a debonair and dashing officer, with individual ideas, and well fitted 
to conduct the expeditions into the western country. Of his unfortunate asso- 
ciation with the notorious General Wilkinson, much has been written, some 
authors giving Pike the benefit of the doubt, while others hesitate not in proclaiming 
him a leader with traitorous designs. 

Pike's first expedition occurred in 1805. On August pth of that year he left 
St. Louis with a sergeant, two corporals and seventeen privates, to explore the 
upper Mississippi River. He states, in his preface to the "J ourna V that "I was 
chosen to trace the Mississippi to its source, with the object in view contemplated 
by my instructions ; to which I conceived my duty as a soldier should induce me 
to add an investigation into the views of the British traders in that quarter as 
to trade, and an inquiry into the limits of the territories of the United States and 
Great Britain." 

In the latter part of August, Lieutenant Pike held a council with the Indians 
near the town of Montrose, Iowa. No attempt was made to conclude a treaty 
with the Indians, but Pike's words of cheer made friends of them. Several 
years later the noted Black -Hawk, Sac chieftain, described Pike's visit as fol- 
lows : "A boat came up the river with a young chief and a small party of sol- 
diers. We heard of them soon after they passed Salt River. Some of our young 
braves watched them every day, to see what sort of people were on board. The 
boat at last arrived at Rock River and the young chief came on shore with his 
interpreter, made a speech and gave us some presents. We in turn gave them 
meat and such other provisions as we could spare. We were well pleased with 
the young chief. He gave us good advice and said our American father would 
treat us well." 

In order to gain a clear understanding of Pike's first trip a summary of his 
journey is valuable. After leaving St: Louis he met a band of Chippewa chiefs 
at Prairie du Chien and persuaded them to better their relations with the Sioux 
Indians. The falls of St. Anthony was reached September 23d and here Pike 
purchased a tract of land nine miles square at the mouth of the St. Croix, for 
the location of a fort. In the middle of October, at Little Falls, Pike constructed 
a stockade, where he left seven men. He arrived at Leech Lake (Lake La Sang 
Sue) and believed it to be the main source of the Mississippi River. He then 
traveled thirty miles farther to Cass Lake (Red Cedar). Here Pike spent his 
time combating the influence of the British among the Indians, then returned 
along the Mississippi to St. Louis, arriving on April 30, 1806. 


In 1806 Lieutenant Pike led his second expedition, under the order of Gen. 
James Wilkinson, westward to the Rockies, within the present State of Colorado. 
The object of this expedition was, primarily, to restore to their people a band 
of Osage Indians which had been held as captives by the Potawatomi of Illinois, 
also to take home a number of Osage and Pawnee chiefs who had been to Wash- 


This portrait of Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike, of the United States Army and 
for whom Pike's Peak was named, is reproduced from a photographic enlargement of an 
engraved portrait of him that was made in 1810. He was the commander of a military ex- 
pedition, ostensibly for exploring the central parts of the Far West, and which, departing from 
Belle Fontaine, near St. Louis, crossed the country that now forms the states of Missouri 
and Kansas, traversed the southwestern quarter of Colorado's area, and thence passed into 
New Mexico, in the years 1806-07. Pike was born in Lamberton, N. J., on January 5, 
1779, and having attained the rank of brigadier-general early in our last war with England, 
was fatally injured on April 27, 1813, while leading the victorious assault on the British town 
of York (Toronto), Canada. 


ington to visit the "Great Father." Pike himself wrote: "The great objects in 
view by this expedition, as I conceived in addition to my instructions, were to 
attach the Indians to our government, and to acquire such geographical knowl- 
edge of the southwestern boundary of Louisiana as to enable our government 
to enter into a definite arrangement for a line of demarkation between that terri- 
tory and North Mexico." 

The United States and Spain were at this time at swords' points over the 
southwestern boundary of the Louisiana Purchase. Troops of the two govern- 
ments were several times on the verge of conflict along the frontiers. Burr's 
conspiracy and its menace to Spanish territory caused great uneasiness amoVig 
the Spaniards; consequently, Pike was closely watched by secret agents during 
the time of his preparation at St. Louis. 

On July n, 1806, Pike went to Belle Fontaine, six miles from the mouth 
of the Missouri River, where a cantonment was located. Late in the afternoon 
of the I5th he and his party, accompanied by fifty-one Indians, left this point 
and proceeded up the Missouri River in two large boats ; the Indians traveled on 
foot along the shore. Pike's main command consisted of : 

Lieut. James B. Wilkinson, son of Gen. James Wilkinson; John H. Robinson, 
physician ; Joseph Ballenger, sergeant ; William E. Meek, sergeant ; Jeremiah 
Jackson, corporal; Baroney Vasquez, interpreter; John Boley, private; Henry 
Kennerman, private; Samuel Bradley, private; John Brown, private; Jacob 
Carter, private ; Thomas Dougherty, private ; William Gordon, private ; Solomon 
Huddleston, private; Theodore Miller, private; Hugh Menaugh, private; John 
Mountjoy, private; Alexander Roy, private; John Sparks, private; Patrick Smith, 
private; Freegift Stout, private; John Wilson, private. 

The expedition traveled slowly up the Missouri northward to the Osage 
River, thence along that stream and its north fork to the vicinity of the "Grand 
Osage" village. One writer locates this village "some fifteen or twenty miles 
northeastward of the present city of Fort Scott, Kansas." Here the captives 
were delivered to their people and pack-horses secured for the remainder of the 
westward journey. 

On September ist Pike and his party, somewhat changed in personnel, left 
the village of the Osage. His course first took a southeast direction, then bore 
northwestward through Kansas. He arrived among the Pawnees on September 
25th and on the 2pth held a grand council. The exact location, of this Pawnee 
village is in doubt. It has been placed just north of the Kansas-Nebraska line 
on the Republican River and also in the northwestern part of the present Republic 
County, Kansas. The former version bears the greater weight of opinion. Here 
Pike learned very interesting news regarding the Spanish, namely, the Malgares 
expedition, which had previously visited the Pawnees. In all, Pike learned that 
the Spanish were apprehensive of American intentions in the Southwest. 

October 8th was the date of Pike's departure from the Pawnees. He now 
traveled south by west and reached the Arkansas River on the I4th, near the 
site of the present Kansas town of Great Bend. A crossing was made and camp 
tents pitched on the other side. Here a rest of ten days occurred, while a detach- 
ment of five soldiers and two Osage guides, under command of Lieutenant 
Wilkinson, descended the Arkansas to visit the post on that river. Recrossing 
the river, Pike then proceeded westward on the north bank, following an old 


Spanish military trail. On the 3Oth of October the party recrossed the river 
again to the south bank and entered the land of Colorado. 


On November I5th Pike first obtained a glimpse of the Rockies, including 
what is now Pike's Peak. At this time he was near the mouth of the Purgatory 
River. In his Journal Pike describes the incident thus : 

"At two o'clock in the afternoon, I thought I could distinguish a mountain 
to our right, which appeared like a small blue cloud ; viewed it with the spy-glass, 
and was still more confirmed in my conjecture, yet only communicated it to 
Doctor Robinson, who was in front of me, but in half an hour it appeared in 
full view before us. When our small party arrived on the hill, they with one 
accord gave three cheers to the Mexican Mountains. Their appearance can 
easily be imagined by those who have crossed the Alleghanies, but their sides 
were white as if covered with snow, or a white stone." 

Two days later Pike added: "Marched at our usual hour; pushed on with 
the idea of arriving at the mountains, but found at night no visible difference in 
their appearance from what we had observed yesterday." 

The march was continued until the 23d when the party arrived at the St. 
Charles, a small tributary of the Arkansas, and encamped. Pike at this point 
determined to make an ascent of the "Grand Peak," now called Pike's Peak, 
although the country was in the midst of winter. The distance to be traveled 
seemed to him to be short, a deception which has occurred to many travelers 
since. Writing in his Journal on the 23d of November, Pike states that "as 
the river appeared to be dividing itself into several small branches, and of 
course must be near its extreme source, I concluded to put my party in a defen- 
sible situation, and to ascend the north fork to the high point of the Blue Moun- 
tain, which we conceived would be one day's march, in order to be enabled from 
its summit to lay down the various branches of the river and the positions of 
the country." A small log breastwork was accordingly built the next morning 
"five feet high on three sides and the other was thrown on the river." This 
insignificant fortification has been located at various points on the Fontaine, one 
writer placing it at a point in Pueblo, where Union Avenue crosses the river. 

However, it is known practically for certain that this small breastwork was 
the first structure erected by Americans in what is now the State of Colorado. 

At one o'clock on the 24th Pike, Doctor Robinson and two of the soldiers 
started toward the peak, leaving the remainder of the company to hold the fort 
and guard the supplies. Pike fully expected to reach the mountain before even- 
ing. Fifty miles was the distance they had to travel in order to accomplish this 
feat, but they made only twelve before night. Pike's Journal, under date of the 
25th, states : "Marched early with expectation of ascending the mountain, but 
was only able to camp at its base, after passing over many small hills, covered 
with cedars and pitch pines." 

However, instead of being at the base of the "Grand Peak," Pike was 
fully ten miles from that spot, mistaking another peak probably Cheyenne 
for the main elevation. Upon the 26th the travelers began the torturous ascent 
of the Cheyenne Peak, alternately marched and climbed all day and in the 


evening made their camp in a cave. They had brought no bedding or food with 
them, as they had expected to make the round trip in one day. Pike describes 
the trip in the following words: 

"Arose hungry, thirsty, and extremely sore from the unevenness ' of the 
rocks on which we had lain all night; but were amply compensated for our toil 
by the sublimity of the prospects below. The unbounded prairie was overhung 
with clouds, which appeared like the ocean in a storm, wave piled on wave, and 
foaming, whilst the sky over our heads was perfectly clear. Commenced our 
march up the mountain, and in about one hour arrived at the summit of this 
chain ; here we found the snow middle deep, and discovered no sign of beast or 
bird inhabiting this region. The thermometer which stood at 9 degrees above 
zero at the foot of the mountain, here fell to 4 degrees below. The summit of 
the Grand Peak, which was entirely bare of vegetation, and covered with snow, 
now appeared at the distance of fifteen or sixteen miles from us, and as high 
again as that we had ascended ; it would have taken a whole day's march to have 
arrived at its base, when I believe no human being could have ascended to its 
summit. This, with the condition of my soldiers, who had only light overhauls 
on, and no stockings, and were every way ill-provided to endure the inclemency 
of this region, the bad prospect of killing anything to subsist on, with the further 
detention of two or three days which it must occasion, determined us to return. 
The clouds from below had now ascended the mountain and entirely enveloped 
the summit, on which rest eternal snows. We descended by a long deep ravine 
with much less difficulty than we had contemplated. Found all our baggage 
safe, but the provisions all destroyed. It began to snow, and we found shelter 
under the side of a projecting rock, where we all four made a meal on one 
partridge, and a pair of deer's ribs which the ravens had left us, being the first 
food we had eaten for forty-eight hours." 

Pike consumed two days' time in returning to the other men and the breast- 
work. On the morning of the 3Oth, he abandoned this place and, under stormy 
and adverse conditions, moved up the Arkansas. On December 3d, Pike, with 
the assistance of Doctor Robinson and others, took the altitude of the Grand 
Peak and by their calculations judged it to be 18,581 feet in height, an error of 
4,400 feet. This mistake was made in over-estimating the altitude of the base 
of the mountain. 

On the 5th the party encamped very near the present site of Canon City, 
from where he sent out small scouting parties to locate traces of the Spaniards. 
This camp was the starting point of a month's wandering through the mountain 
gullies, canyons and across ridges, the men suffering during all the time from 
the severe weather. Provisions became scarce, game for themselves and food 
for the animals were almost impossible to find. A return was made to the Canon 
City site on January 5, 1807. While searching for the Red River, Pike came to 
the South Platte, marched through South Park, left it by Trout Creek Pass and 
then struck over to the Arkansas, which he thought to be the Red River. While 
holding forth at Canon City camp, Pike and others of the party made sepa- 
rate excursions farther up the Arkansas, both for exploration purposes and 
to bag any game which might appear. He found evidences of the Spanish 
explorers' trail, but had no actual conflict with any othdr white men. By January 
9th (1807) the small parties which had separated on the loth of the preceding 


month were reunited at the Canon City camp. "The whole party was once more 
joined together," writes Pike, "when we felt comparatively happy, notwith- 
standing the great mortification I felt at being so egregiously deceived as to the 
Red River." 

"I now felt at considerable loss how to proceed," he continues in his Journal, 
"as any idea of service at that time from my horses was entirely preposterous. 
Thus, after various plans formed and rejected, and the most mature deliberation, 
I determined to build a small place for defense and deposit, and leave part of 
the baggage, horses, my interpreter, and one man ; and with the remainder, with 
our packs of Indian presents, ammunition, tools, etc., on our backs, to cross the 
mountains on foot, find the Red River, and then send back a detachment to 
conduct the horses and baggage after us, by the most eligible route we could 
discover; by which time we calculated our horses would be so far recovered 
as to be able to endure the fatigue of the march. In consequence of this determi- 
nation, some were put to constructing the blockhouse, some to hunting, some 
to take care of horses, etc. I myself made preparations to pursue a course of 
observations, that would enable me to ascertain the latitude and longitude of the 
situation, which I conceived to be an important one." 

. This blockhouse, or cache, was probably constructed within the corporate 
limits of the present Canon City. 

This strenuous journey in the quest of the Red River began on January 14, 
1807. In the party were, besides Pike, the doctor and eighteen soldiers, according 
to the Journal. There is a discrepancy here, as there were only twelve soldiers 
in the whole party and one of them was left at the Canon City site with Inter- 
preter Vasquez. The course first followed Grape Creek into the Wet Mountain 
Valley and after a few days out the men encamped at the foot of the Sangre 
de Cristo Range. Whatever experiences Pike and his men had undergone before 
and whatever hardships and privations they suffered were minimized by the 
intense and terrible suffering which lay just before them. The air was bitter 
cold and when the encampment was made Pike found nine of his men with 
frozen feet. Sleep was impossible under these conditions. Pike and Doctor 
Robinson sallied out the next morning in search of food and on the afternoon of 
the second day were fortunate enough to kill a Buffalo. This was the fourth 
day since they had eaten. Nothing to be gained by remaining at this point, Pike 
resolved to continue the hard journey, even in the face of the past experience. 
Two of the men were unable to move and finally they were left in a shelter, 
with food and ammunition, to wait until relief could come back to them. This 
second lap of the trip was in every way a repetition of the first. A crossing 
of the Sangre de Cristo Range was made and view obtained of the Rio Grande 
River flowing through what is now the San Luis Park. From here Pike took a 
southwest course and on the evening of January 30, 1807, came to the river, 
about the site of Alamosa, Conejos County, Colorado. . 

After crossing the river the party proceeded southward to the Conejos. Here 
a fortified station was erected and the American flag raised. The stockade, which 
was raised on the north bank of the river, is described by Pike thus : "The 
stockade was situated on the north bank of the western branch, the west fork of 
the Rio del Norte, about five miles from its junction with the main river, in a small 
prairie. The south flank joining the edge of the river (which at that place was 


not fordable), the east and west curtains were flanked by bastions in the N. E. 
and N. W. angles, which likewise flanked the curtain on the north side of the 
work. The stockade from the center of the angles of the bastions was thirty- 
six feet square. There were heavy cottonwood logs about two feet in diameter, 
laid up all around about six feet, after which lighter ones until we made it 
twelve feet in height; these logs were joined together by a lap of about two 
feet at each end. We then dug a small ditch on the inside all around, making 
it perpendicular on the internal side, and sloping next the work; in this ditch 
we planted small stakes of about six inches diameter, sharpened .at the upper 
end to a nice point, slanting them over* the top of the work, giving them about 
two and a half feet projection. We then secured them below and above in that 
position, which formed a small pointed frieze, which must have been removed 
before the works could have been scaled. Lastly, we dug a ditch round the 
whole, four feet wide, and let the water into it ; the earth taken out being thrown 
against the work, forming an excellent rampart against small arms, three or four 
feet high. Our mode of getting in was to crawl over the ditch on a plank, and 
into a small hole sunk below the level of the work near the river for that pur- 
pose. Our portholes were pierced about eight feet from the ground, and a plat- 
form prepared to shoot from. 

"Thus fortified, I should not have had the least hesitation in putting the 
hundred Spanish horse at defiance until the first or second night, and then to 
have made our escape under cover of darkness; or made a sally and dispersed 
them, when resting tinder a full confidence of our being panic struck by their 
numbers and force." 

From here five men were dispatched northward to bring in the men who 
had been left on the trail. Part of them were brought in, but two others were 
unable to come, "but they sent on to me some of the bones taken out of their 
feet and conjured me by all that was sacred, not to leave them to perish far 
from the civilized world." These men were afterward returned to the main 
party, also Interpreter Vasquez and the soldier who had been left in charge of 
the first fort. 


Pike's first meeting with the Spanish occurred on February 16, 1807, while 
he and one of his soldiers were engaged in hunting. Pike's own account of this 
incident is as follows: 

"Immediately afterwards (the wounding of a deer six miles from the fort) 
I discovered two horsemen rising the summit of a hill about half a mile to our 
right. As my orders were to avoid giving alarm or offense to the Spanish gov- 
ernment of New Mexico, I endeavored to shun them at first, but when we 
attempted to retreat, they pursued us at full charge, flourishing their lances, and 
when we advanced they would retire as fast as their horses could carry them. 
Seeing this, we got into a small ravine, in hopes to decoy them near enough to 
oblige them to come to a parley, which happened agreeably to our desires. As 
they came on, hunting us with great caution, we suffered them to get within 
forty yards, where we had allured them, but were about running off again, when I 
ordered the soldier to lay down his arms and walk towards them, at the same 


time standing ready with my rifle to kill either who should lift an arm in a hos- 
tile manner. I then halloed to them, that we were Americans and friends, which 
were almost the only two words I knew in the Spanish language; after which, 
with great signs of fear, they came up, and proved to be a Spanish dragoon and 
a civilized Indian; armed after their manner * * * We were jealous of 
our arms on both sides and acted with great precaution. They informed me 
that that was the fourth day since they had left Santa Fe; that Robinson had 
arrived there, and had been received with great kindness by the governor. As I 
knew them to be spies, I thought it proper merely to inform them that I was about 
to descend the river to Natchitoches. We sat here on the ground a long time, 
and finding they were determined not to leave me, we arose and bade them adieu ; 
but they demanded where our camp was, and finding that they were not about 
to depart, I thought it most proper to take them with me, thinking we were on 
Red River, anci of course in the territory claimed by the United States. 

"We took the road to my fort, and as they were on horseback, they traveled 
rather faster than myself. They were halted by the sentinel and immediately 
retreated much surprised. When I came up I took them in and then explained 
to them as well as I was able, my intentions of descending the river to Natchi- 
toches but at the same time told them that if Governor Allencaster would send 
out an officer with an interpreter, who spoke French or English, I would do 
myself the pleasure to give his excellency every reasonable satisfaction as to my 
intentions in coming on his frontiers. They informed me that on the second day 
they would be in Santa Fe, but were careful never to suggest an idea of my 
being on the Rio del Norte. As they concluded I did not think as I spoke, they 
were very anxious to ascertain our number, etc. Seeing only five men here, they 
could not believe we came without horses ; to this I did not think proper to afford 
them any satisfaction, giving them to understand we were in many parties." 

On the morning of February I7th the two visitors departed from the fort. 
From this time on Pike fully expected to be visited by* a large force of Spaniards 
and in this expectation he was not disappointed. On the 26th they came. 

"In the morning I was apprised by the report of a gun from my look-out 
guard, of the approach of strangers ; immediately after two Frenchmen arrived. 
My sentinel halted them, and I ordered them to be admitted after some ques- 
tions. They informed me that his excellency, Governor Allencaster, hearing it 
was the intention of the Utah Indians to attack me, had detached an officer with 
fifty dragoons to come out and protect me, and that they would be with me in 
two days. To this I made no reply, but shortly after, the party hove in sight, 
as I afterwards learned ; fifty dragoons and fifty mounted militia of the Province 
armed in the same manner, with lances, escopates and pistols. My sentinels 
halted them at the distance of about fifty yards. I had the works manned; 
I thought it most proper to send out the two Frenchmen to inform the com- 
manding officer that it was my request he should leave his party in a small copse 
of the wood where he halted, and that I would meet him myself in the prairie, in 
which our work was situated ; this I did, with my sword on me only. I was then 
introduced to Don Ignatio Saltelo and Don Bartholomew Fernandez, two lieu- 
tenants; the former the commander of the party: I gave them an invitation to 
enter the works, but requested the troops might remain where they were. This 
was complied with ; but when they came round and discovered that to enter they 


were obliged to crawl on their bellies over a small drawbridge, they appeared 
astonished; they, however, entered without further hesitation. 

"We first breakfasted, on some deer, meal, goose, and some biscuit, which 
the civilized Indian who came out as a spy had brought me. After breakfast 
the commanding officer addressed me as follows: 

" 'Sir, the Governor of New Mexico, being informed that you had missed 
your route, ordered me to offer you in his name mules, horses, money, or what- 
ever you may stand in need of, to conduct you to the head of Red River; as 
from Santa Fe, to where it is sometimes navigable, is eight days' journey, and 
we have guides and the routes of the traders to conduct us.' 

"'What/ interrupted I, 'is not this the Red River?' 'No, sir, it is the Rio 
del Norte.' I immediately ordered my flag to be taken down and rolled up, feel- 
ing how sensibly I had committed myself in entering their territory, and was 
conscious that they must have positive orders to take me in. He now added 
that he had provided one hundred mules and horses to take in my party and 
baggage, and stated how anxious his excellency was to see me at Santa Fe. 
I stated to him the absence of my sergeant, the situation of the rest of the party, 
and that my orders would not justify my entering into the Spanish territories. 
He urged still further, until I began to feel myself a little heated in the argu- 
ment, and told him in a peremptory style that I would not go until the arrival 
of my sergeant, with the remainder of my party. He replied that there was not 
the least restraint to be used, only that it was necessary his excellency should 
receive an explanation of my business on his frontiers ; that I might go now, 
or on the arrival of my party; but that if none went at present he should be 
obliged to send in for provisions. He added that if I would now march, he would 
leave an Indian interpreter and an escort of dragoons to conduct the sergeant 
into Santa Fe. His mildness induced me to tell him that I would march, but 
must leave two men in order to meet the sergeant and party to instruct him as 
to coming in, as he would never do so without a fight, unless ordered. 

"I was induced to consent to the measure by conviction that the officer had 
a positive command to convey me in ; and as I had no orders to engage in hos- 
tilities, and indeed had committed myself, although innocently, by violating their 
territory, I conceived it would be better to show a will to come to an explanation, 
rather than to be put in any way constrained. Yet my situation was so eligible, 
and I could have so easily put them to defiance, that it was with great reluctance 
I suffered all our labor to be lost, without once trying the efficacy of it. 

"My compliance seemed to spread general joy through the Spanish party, 
as soon as it was communicated. But it appeared to be different with my men, 
who wished to have had a little dust (as they expressed it), and were likewise 
fearful of Spanish treachery. 

"My determination being once taken, I gave permission for the lieutenant's 
men to come to the outside of the works and some of mine to go out and see 
them. Immediately the hospitality and goodness of the Creoles and Mestis began 
to be manifested by their producing their provision and giving it to my men ; 
at the same time covering them with their blankets. 

"After writing orders to my sergeant, and leaving them with my corporal 
and one private who were to remain, we sallied forth, mounted our horses, and 


went up the river about twelve miles to a place where the Spanish officers had 
made a camp deposit, from whence we sent down mules for our baggage." 

Pike's experiences with the Spanish do not form a part of the history of 
Colorado, but are interesting in demonstrating the attitude of the Spanish toward 
the Americans. Pike and his men were conducted to Santa Fe and there cour- 
teously received by Governor Allencaster. The governor questioned Pike mi- 
nutely and examined his papers, but notwithstanding the good treatment accorded 
him, Pike felt himself a prisoner. From Santa Fe the Americans were taken 
to El Paso and from there to Chihuahua, where they were again questioned, 
this time by General Salcedo. Leaving Chihuahua eventually, Pike and his men 
were escorted by a roundabout course through the northeastern part of what 
is now Mexico to the lower part of the Rio Grande, then by way of San Antonio 
across Texas to Natchitoches, where they were released on July i, 1807. 


The name of Zebulon M. Pike has been associated with one of the most 
treasonable plots ever contemplated in the United States that originating in 
the minds of Aaron Burr and Gen. James Wilkinson. Pike has been treated as 
equally treasonable by some writers of history, but on the other hand has had 
staunch apologists who have endeavored to show that he was a spirited young 
military officer who believed he was following orders. There is no doubt that 
the expedition of which he was the leader was formulated by Burr and Wilkin- 
son and was a move for the purpose of planning a seizure of a great part of 
the Mississippi Valley and much of New Spain, and there to establish another 
empire with Burr in supreme command. Wilkinson, who was proved a traitor 
and of the blackest character not only in this, but in other schemes, readily 
fell in with Burr's schemes and immediately began to learn the attitude of his 
younger officers. Wilkinson was at this time at the head of the United States 
Army. Whatever Pike's participation in this plot was, it is certain that he was 
aware of the real purpose of the expedition which he led to the Rockies. Cer- 
tain features of the journey prove that it was not an exploring expedition, but 
something more sinister and deeper. 

After the trial of Burr, Pike wrote: "There have not been wanting persons 
of various ranks who have endeavored to infuse the idea into the minds of the 
public that the last voyage was undertaken through sinister designs of General 
Wilkinson ; and although this report had been amply refuted by two letters from 
the secretary of war, yet I cannot forbear, in this public manner, declaring the 
insinuation to be a groundless calumny, arising from the envenomed breasts of 
persons who, through enmity to the general, would, in attempting his ruin, hurl 
destruction on all those who, either through official stations or habits of friend- 
ships, ever had any connection with that gentleman." 

Harry B. Tedrow, of Denver, who has studied the subject of Pike's life 
with extraordinary thoroughness, in an article on "Zebulon M. Pike and Aaron 
Burr," (Colorado Springs Gazette, August 18, 1901), states: 

"His intimacy with Wilkinson at the time that bombastic general was hand 
in hand with Aaron Burr tinges his reputation with a suspicion that even the 
glory of his soldier's death cannot remove. It is almost too much to believe that 


Pike was ignorant of Wilkinson's ulterior designs in sending him to the Rocky 
Mountain region. At the same time the duty of a soldier admitted of no ques- 
tioning and he might have gone, as soldiers usually go; not because they would, 
but because they must. . . . He (Pike) stands convicted by his own story." 

In regard to the ostensible object of Pike's smoking the peace-pipe with the 
Indians, Tedrow says: 

"But other evidence tends to show that Wilkinson also gave some instruc- 
tions which stopped short of nothing less than premeditated invasion of Spanish 
ground. It takes no extraordinary imagination to believe that the general antici- 
pated the capture of Pike and his men." 

It is altogether probable that Tedrow's article was one of the first published 
which actually attempted to establish Pike's connection with the Burr conspiracy, 
although Elliott Coues, in his "The Expeditions of Zebulon Montgomery Pike," 
(1895), established Pike's connection with Wilkinson and Burr and his duplicity 
of motive. 

It is not the purpose here to set forth in detail the arguments pro and con 
in regard to the Pike expedition. The History of Colorado is concerned more 
with the adventures of this courageous soldier in the Rockies, which have 
been described in preceding paragraphs. The world-famous Pike's Peak has 
been named after him, although he did not succeed in ascending this mountain, 
nor was he the first white man to see it. The Spaniards had looked upon its 
majestic grandeur, fur traders and trappers had gazed upon it, and undoubtedly 
the first American who saw the peak was James Purcell, whose trail led near it 
about eighteen months before Pike's arrival. 

Zebulon Montgomery Pike was born in Lamberton, New Jersey, January 
5, 1779, and was the son of Zebulon Pike, an officer in the Revolution. At fifteen 
years of age young Pike joined his father's regiment as a cadet and at twenty-one 
years of age received a lieutenant's commission. Before his death he reached the 
rank of brigadier general. After his expedition to the Rockies, Pike served 
under Gen. Henry Dearborn in the campaign against York (Toronto), Canada, 
in the spring of 1813. On April 27th he led an attack against the British there 
and dispersed the garrison. As the English fled they blew up their powder 
magazine and a piece of masonry, hurtling through the air, mortally wounded 
the gallant Pike. A few hours later he died. His body was first interred at 
Sackett's Harbor, New York, then in 1819 removed to the military cemetery 
at Madison Barracks, New York, where it now lies. 

In the collection of the Colorado State Historical and Natural History Society 
at the Historical Building in Denver is the sword which Pike wore at the time 
of his death. 


The exploring expedition commanded by Maj. Stephen H. Long in the year 
1820 was the logical successor of the "Yellowstone Expedition" of 1818. The pur- 
poses of the expedition were to explore the Mississippi River above the mouth 
of the Missouri, then the Missouri, the Arkansas and Red rivers; to conciliate 
the Indians ; to locate sites for military posts on the Upper Missouri and to 
locate exactly certain notable points in the western country. This so-called 


This portrait is reproduced from a photographic enlargement of an engraved copy of a 
daguerreotype of him that was made in or near the period of our war with Mexico. Major 
Long was of the old corps of the Topographical Engineers of the United States Army, and 
a native of New Hampshire. It was for him that Long 's Peak was named, and he commanded 
a well organized and efficient exploring expedition into the Colorado section of the Kocky 
Mountains in the year 1820. He died at Alton, Illinois, September 4, 1864. 


Yellowstone expedition was directly in the interest of the people, as it was to 
decide largely whether or not the western country was worthy of settlement. 

A small military force, under command of Col. Henry Atkinson, was sent 
to the site of Leavenworth, Kansas, in the fall of 1818 and there passed the 
winter, expecting to cooperate with Long. The Western Engineer, the second 
steamboat to navigate the Missouri, left Pittsburgh on May 5, 1819, with Long and 
his party on board, arrived at St. Louis on the ipth and on the 2ist began the 
trip up the river. Progress was slow and not until September I7th did the boat 
reach winter quarters, which had been established about twenty miles above the 
present City of Omaha. Major Long went back East for the winter, returning 
in the spring of 1820. In the meantime, Congress had become aggravated over 
the delay and issued new instructions, changing very much the original purposes 
of the expedition. An exploration of the West to the headwaters of the Platte, 
Arkansas and Red rivers, formed the new plan. A treaty between the United 
States and Spain in 1819 decided the location of the Spanish boundary line in 
the Southwest; Colorado's present area west of the Continental Divide and 
south of the Arkansas River was thereby made Spanish ground. 

Long soon had his party organized for the long march to the Rockies. The 
personnel of the expedition was as follows: 

Stephen H. Long, major of the U. S. Topographical Engineers; J. R. Bell, 
captain of Light Artillery, U. S. A.; W. H. Swift, lieutenant of Artillery Corps, 
U. S. A., assistant topographer; Dr. Thomas Say, zoologist; Dr. Edwin James, 
botanist, geologist and surgeon; T. R. Peale, assistant naturalist; Samuel Sey- 
mour, landscape painter; Stephen Julien, French and Indian interpreter; H. 
Dougherty, hunter; D. Adams, Spanish interpreter; Zachariah Wilson, baggage 
master; J. Oakley, civilian; J. Duncan, civilian; John Sweeney, private, Artillery 
Corps; William Parish, corporal; Peter Barnard, private; Robert Foster, pri- 
vate; Charles Myers, private; Mordecai Nowland, private; Joseph Verplank, 

On June 6, 1820, the expedition started westward through the present State 
of Nebraska, passed through and tarried at the Pawnee villages in the Loup 
River district, and on the 22d reached the forks of the North and South Platte 
rivers. From here they moved along the South Platte and, according to Doctor 
James' map, crossed the northeastern corner of Colorado on the 26th. Animals 
in great number were seen in this territory, including bison, deer, badgers, wolves, 
hares, eagles, buzzards, ravens and owls. Doctor James records that "This barren 
and ungenial district appeared, at that time, to be filled with greater numbers 
of animals than its meager productions are sufficient to support. It was, how- 
ever, manifest that the bisons, then thronging in such numbers, were moving 
towards the south. Experience may have taught them to repair at certain sea- 
sons to the more luxurious plains of the Arkansas and Red rivers." 

"On the 3Oth," writes Doctor James, "we left our encampment at our accus- 
tomed early hour, and at 8 o'clock were cheered by a distant view of the Rocky 
Mountains. For some time we were unable to decide whether what we saw were 
mountains, or banks of cumulous clouds skirting the horizon, and glittering in 
the reflected rays of the sun. It was only by watching the bright parts, and 
observing that their form and position remained unaltered, that we were able 
to satisfy ourselves that they were indeed mountains. Our first views of the 


mountains were indistinct on account of some smokiness of the atmosphere, 
but from our encampment at noon we had a very distinct and satisfactory pros- 
pect of them. Snow could be seen on every part of them which was visible 
above our horizon." Shortly after this, the party noticed "three conic summits, 
each apparently of equal altitude. This we concluded to be the point designated 
by Pike as the 'Highest Peak.' " 

However, it was not the mountain peak which had been described by Pike. 
This was the lofty peak which at present bears the name of Major Long. From 
the point of view obtained by Long's party, there appeared to be three peaks, as 
a view from the north now will give. Long's name was not given to the peak 
at this .time, but within the next decade trappers and traders began to call it 
Long's Peak, an appellation which has been maintained. 

On July ist the Long party went into camp on the bank of the South Platte, 
a short distance below the mouth of the Cache a la Poudre River, and on the 
3d the march was resumed, crossing made of the Poudre, Big Thompson and 
Vrain creeks. No side trip was made to the high peak, which was fully forty 
miles distance on the 3d. On Independence Day the camp was made near what 
is now the county seat of Adams County and a fitting celebration held in honor 
of the day. The next day the party ascended the Platte River about ten miles 
and again rested. According to Long's map this brought them to the site of 

On the morning of the 6th the party left this encampment and "crossed Ver- 
million Creek, a considerable tributary from the south." This stream has been 
identified as the present Cherry Creek. In the reports Long describes a "Cannon- 
ball Creek" also, which must have been Clear Creek. Doctor James records that : 
"Opposite the mouth of Vermillion Creek, is a much larger stream, from the 
northwest, which is called Medicine-Lodge Creek, from an old Indian medicine 
lodge which formerly stood near its mouth. A few miles farther, on the same 
side, is Grand Camp Creek, heading also in the mountains. About four years 
previous to the time of our visit, there had been a large encampment of Indians, 
namely, the Kiawas, Arrapahoes, and Kaskaias or Bad-hearts, had been assem- 
bled together, with forty-five French hunters, in the employ of Mr. Choteau 
and Mr. Demun of St. Louis. They had been assembled for the purpose of hold- 
ing a trading council with a band of Shiennes. These last had been recently 
supplied with goods by the British traders on the Missouri, and had come to 
exchange them with the former for horses. The Kiawas, Arrapahoes, etc., who 
wander in the extensive plains of the Arkansas and Red rivers, have always a 
great number of horses, which they rear with much less difficulty than the 
Shiennes, whose country is cold and barren * * * Two miles beyond Grand 
Camp Creek is the mouth of Grape Creek, and a little above on the opposite side 
that of Defile Creek, a tributary to the Platte, from the south, which has its 
course in a narrow defile, lying along the base of the mountains." 

The names of the creeks mentioned in James' report are not those at present 
applied to these streams. It is even hard to identify the streams as described 
by the historian. It has been presumed, however, by modern writers, that Grand 
Camp Creek is the same as Bear Creek, Grape Creek the present Deer Creek, 
and Defile Creek the Plum Creek. 

By noon of the 6th the party arrived at the foothills and at the entrance of 


Platte Canon remained for two days. Doctor James and others expected to 
ascend the distant mountains and return the same day, but, as Pike had been, 
were deceived by the telescopic condition of the atmosphere. Having obtained 
the height of one ridge, the others appeared just as far in the distance, so the 
party returned to the camp. 

They left the Platte Canon camp on the morning of the pth of July, ascended 
Willow Creek to its source, then crossed a ridge to Plum Creek and followed 
this stream for some distance, before making camp. Pike's Peak first came into 
view on the 9th, while the explorers were upon the top of a mesa "elevated 
about one thousand feet, about eight hundred yards in length and five hundred in 
breadth, the summit of which was of an oval form." On the loth the expedition 
discovered and named Castle Rock, of which Doctor James remarks : "One of 
these singular hills, of which Mr. Seymour has preserved a sketch, was called 
the Castle rock, on account of its striking resemblance to a work of art. It 
has columns, and porticos, and arches, and, when seen from a distance, has an 
astonishingly regular and artificial appearance." 

A southern course was then taken, Monument Creek forded, and toward 
evening of the nth the discovery was made that the base of Pike's Peak had 
been passed. As it was the intention of the party to make an ascent of this 
height, in order to obtain the altitude, a stop was made at this point. Of their 
view Doctor James says : "From this camp we had a distinct view of 'the Highest 
Peak.' It appeared about twenty miles distant, towards the northwest; our view 
was cut off from the base by an intervening spur of less elevation, but all the 
upper part of the peak was visible, with patches of snow extending down to the 
commencement of the woody region. . As one of the objects of our excursion 
was to ascertain the elevation of the peak, it was determined to remain in our 
present camp for three days, which would afford an opportunity for some of 
the party to ascend the mountain." 



The journey to the summit was begun early on the I3th of July. Doctor 
James, Lieutenant Swift, the French guide, Bijeau, and four soldiers comprised 
the party. The doctor and two men were to make the last climb to the top, while 
the others were to remain at the base to obtain measurements to assist in com- 
puting the elevation of the peak. Noon found the party at the foot of the peak, 
whence James and his two men started upon the last lap, carrying a supply of 
provisions and blankets. Slide rock, loose sand and gravel impeded their course 
very much during the afternoon and at night they were forced to make camp 
among the fir trees. The next morning the doctor established a cache at this 
point and continued up the mountain, passing the timber line about noonday. 
The summit was attained about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. So, the first white 
men, according to all history, had reached the summit of Pike's Peak. Doctor 
James describes the impression made by the wonderful view: "To the east lay 
the great plain, rising as it receded, until, in the distant horizon, it appeared to 
mingle with the sky. * * * The Arkansas with several of its tributaries, 
and some of the branches of the Platte, could be distinctly traced as on a map, 
by the line of timber along their courses. On the south the mountain is con- 


tinued, having another summit at the distance of eight or ten miles. This, how- 
ever, falls much below the High Peak in point of elevation, being wooded quite 
to its top. Between the two lies a small lake, about a mile long and half a 
mile wide, discharging eastward into the Boiling-spring Creek. A few miles 
farther towards the south, the range containing these two peaks terminates 
abruptly." After a half-hour's rest upon the summit the three men began the 
descent. They were forced to camp for the night without food or covering, hav- 
ing left their luggage at the cache among the fir trees. These supplies, which 
had been hung in a tree, were found to have been burned by some agency when 
they reached them the next morning. 

The bubbling springs at Manitou, and the beads which were thrown into the 
waters by the Indians, were of great interest to the explorers, also a "large and 
frequented road" which passed the springs into the mountains. This road was 
an old trail through the Ute Pass. Lieutenant Swift, after allowing 3,000 feet 
altitude for the base, estimated the summit of Pike's Peak to be 11,507.5 feet 
above the sea level. His measurement of 8,507.5 from the base to the top was 
not far wrong, but his error was made in the altitude of the base, which should 
have been 5,700 feet. 

The journey was then resumed and on the evening of the i6th camp was 
made on the north bank of the Arkansas, near the mouth of Turkey Creek. The 
next morning Doctor James, Captain Bell and two others started the ascent of 
the Arkansas to the mountains. The first day they reached a point some dis- 
tance below the site of Canon City and the next day reached the lower end of 
the Royal Gorge. Here their journey up the Arkansas was halted by the im- 
passable condition of the gorge. After a short stay here James and his men 
returned to the Turkey Creek camp, and then preparations were made for the 
return journey. The journey was begun on the I9th, following down the Ar- 
kansas along the north bank. Pueblo's site was crossed during the day. The 
party proceeded down the Arkansas to about the one hundredth parallel at the 
intersection with the Arkansas. Keeping upon the American side of the Span- 
ish boundary line, they continued their journey to the end. Camping places within 
Colorado's domain were frequently made and the line of the state crossed on 
the afternoon of July 3ist. 

Although Long's expedition was a noteworthy one in point of view of the 
ascent of Pike's Peak and geographical observations, his reports gave a grossly 
exaggerated account of the "Great American Desert" a vast outlay of land be- 
tween the Missouri and the Rockies, which he claimed to be an arid waste of 
sand and stone. Many years passed before actual settlement in this territory 
began, due in principal part, to this erroneous impression given by the Long ex- 
ploring expedition. The existence of this American Sahara was taught in the 
public schools of the East and it is said that, even to this late day, there are 
typical Easterners who believe in the existence of this "desert." Although Major 
Long gave the name of James' Peak to our Pike's Peak, this title did not last 
long. Doctor James was undoubtedly the first white man to reach the summit 
of this elevation, but Pike's personal popularity among the traders and trappers 
led them to use his name whenever speaking of the peak and so it has come down 
in history as Pike's Peak. Some of the early map-makers gave it the name of 
Doctor James, but the practice was of short duration. However, Doctor James' 


name has since been given to another peak of the Continental Divide in the 
southeastern corner of Grand County. This peak is 13,283 feet in height. 

How little these explorers knew of the real worth of the country through 
which they passed, or how little they wished to know, may be understood by the 
following quotations from Doctor James' record: 

"We have little apprehension of giving too unfavorable an account of this 
portion of the country. Though the soil is in some places fertile, the want of 
timber, of navigable streams, and water for the necessities of life, render it an 
unfit residence for any but a nomad population. The traveler who shall at any 
time have traversed its desolate sands, will, we think, join us in the wish that 
this region may forever remain the unmolested haunt of the native hunter, the 
bison, and the jackal." 

And again : "In regard to this extensive section of country, we do not hesi- 
tate in giving the opinion that it is almost wholly unfit for cultivation, and of 
course uninhabitable by a people depending upon agriculture for their subsist- 
ence. Although tracts of fertile land, considerably extensive, are occasionally 
to be met with, yet the scarcity of wood and water, almost uniformly prevalent, 
will prove an insuperable obstacle in the way of settling the country. This ob- 
jection rests not only against the immediate section under consideration, but ap- 
plies with equal propriety to a much larger portion of the country. Agreeably to 
the best intelligence that can be had concerning the country both northward and 
southward of the section, and especially from the inferences deducible from the 
account given by Lewis and Clark, of the country situated between the Missouri 
and Rocky Mountains, above the River Platte, the vast region commencing near 
the sources of the Sabine, Trinity, Brasis and Colorado rivers, and extending 
northwardly to the forty-ninth degree of north latitude, by which the United 
States territory is limited in that direction, is throughout, of a similar character. 
The whole of this region seems peculiarly adapted as a range for buffaloes, wild 
goats, and other wild game, incalculable multitudes of which find ample pastur- 
age and subsistence upon it. 

"This region, however, viewed as a frontier, may prove of infinite importance 
to the United States, inasmuch as it is calculated to serve as a barrier to prevent 
too great an extension of our population westward, and secure us against the 
machinations or incursions of an enemy, that might otherwise be disposed to 
annoy us in that quarter." 


The first of the Fremont expeditions in 1842 was the next to be despatched 
into the western country by the United States Government. John C. Fremont, 
a lieutenant of topographical engineers in the United States army, in his several 
trips to the West, covered more ground than any previous explorer and, although 
in many ways not the first to discover various trails and passes, has been given 
the sobriquet of "Pathfinder" by the majority of historians. 

Fremont's first expedition was organized late in the spring of 1842 and was 
for the purpose of exploring the frontiers beyond the Missouri River and es- 
pecially the Rockies in the vicinity of the South Pass, through which the Amer- 
ican immigrants traveled to the Oregon country; also to locate sites for military 


This portrait, which is an unusual one, is reproduced from a photographic enlargement of 
an engraved copy of an early photograph of him. He traversed Colorado 's soil on several of 
his exploring expeditions across the old-time Far West, the first of which was made in the year 
1842 and the last in 1853. General Fremont was a native of Savannah, Georgia, and died in. 
New York City on July 13, 1890. 


posts, in order to protect the American fur companies from the inroads of the 
Hudson's Bay Company. In his company upon this first expedition, and in 
others, was Kit Carson, the noted guide and scout of the frontier. 

Having gone from St. Louis to Chouteau's Landing, about ten miles from 
the mouth of the Kansas River, Fremont there made final preparations for the 
trip. Departure was made on June 10, 1842, to the westward. He proceeded 
along the south bank of the Kansas for several days, crossed to the Blue River, 
then went northwest to the Platte and along this until the great forks were 
reached, this occurring about the first of July. Here Fremont split his command 
into two sections, sending one to Fort Laramie and taking the other with him. 
For about a week the course led along the South Platte and on July loth Long's 
Peak came into view. He then continued as far as the St. Vrain trading post, 
which was as near the site of Denver as he came upon this expedition. After 
a short stay here, Fremont started northward to Fort Laramie. The homeward 
journey was along the North Platte to the Platte, thence to the Missouri and 
down that stream to St. Louis. Fremont then went to Washington, made his 
report, and was authorized to conduct a second expedition. In the four months 
he was absent upon this first trip, he surveyed the Pass and ascended the highest 
of the Wind River Mountains since known as Fremont's Peak. His right of 
discovery of the South Pass is, of course, of negligible quality, as there was a 
well-defined and well-trodden roadway through the pass when he arrived. Had 
it not been for his intrepid guide Kit Carson the little he did in the way of 
climbing mountains and exploring might never have been done quite so thor- 


The second expedition was organized at Westport Landing, now a part of 
Kansas City, Missouri, with thirty-nine persons, well-equipped and provided 
with a small piece of brass artillery. On May 29, 1843, the expedition moved 
in a southwest direction to the Santa Fe Trail and there was joined by William 
Gilpin, afterwards the first governor of Colorado Territory. The Santa. Fe Trail 
was followed, then the Valley of the Kansas and also the Republican River. 
Finding the progress of the expedition to be too slow, Fremont on the i6th 
separated his party, one division to follow with the heavier supplies while the 
one led by himself was to push on with greater speed. Fremont reached the 
South Platte on June 3Oth, at a point near the present southeastern corner of 
Logan County, Colorado. He then marched up the right bank of this river to 
the north to Fort St. Vrain, where he arrived July 4th. Two days later he left 
the fort and began his journey up the South Platte, encamping the night of the 
7th "a little above Cherry Creek," which is a point now within the limits of west 
Denver. In the river bottoms here they found a large village of Arapahoe In- 
dians, consisting of about one hundred and sixty tepees. The next day he 
continued up the river almost to the mountains, then up Plum Creek, noted by 
him as "Vermillion Creek," a name given by Doctor James to Cherry Creek. He 
then crossed over to the Bijou," thence to the Fontaine-qui-Bouille, which stream 
he followed to the mouth. Here he again met Kit Carson and, recognizing his 
worth to the party, Fremont hastened to add the hunter and guide to his ex- 


From the mouth of the Fontaine, Fremont returned northward along the 
stream to the springs at Manitou, thence up Monument Creek, over the divide 
to the head of Plum Creek, and down this waterway to Fort St. Vrain. Leav- 
ing St. Vrain, the expedition then went northward to the North Platte, then 
across the mountains to Salt Lake and the Columbia River country. 

Upon his return in 1844, Fremont entered the land of Colorado about noon 
of the 1 5th of June at the northwestern corner. He followed a southwest course, 
with the mountains on his right and the North Platte on the left. He described 
this phase of the journey as follows : "The valley narrowed as we ascended and 
presently degenerated into a gorge, through which the river passed as through a 
gate. We entered it, and found ourselves in the New Park (North Park) a 
beautiful circular valley of thirty miles diameter, walled in all around with snowy 
mountains, rich with water and with grass, fringed with pine on the mountain 
sides below the snow line, and a paradise to all grazing animals. The Indian 
name for it signifies 'Cow Lodge', of which our own may be considered a transla- 
tion; the enclosure, the grass, the water, and the herds of buffalo roaming over 
it, naturally presenting the idea of a park." 

Coursing up the west fork of the North Platte, Fremont crossed the Divide 
on the 1 7th and came into what is now Middle Park. By the 2ist, the northwest 
part of South Park was reached and the course followed down the south fork 
of the South Platte River. During the journey down this stream "the face of 
an old familiar friend," (Pike's Peak), came into view, also sounds of a conflict 
between the Ute and Arapahoe Indians were borne to their ears. The party 
left the river on June 22d and "taking a southeasterly direction, in about ten 
miles we crossed a gentle ridge, and issuing from the South Park, we found our- 
selves involved among the broken spurs of the mountains which border the great 
prairie plains. Although broken and extremely rugged, the country was very 
interesting, being well watered by numerous affluents to the Arkansas River, and 
covered with grass and a variety of trees. The streams which, in the upper part 
of their courses, ran through grassy and open hollows, after a few miles all de- 
scended into deep and impracticable canyons, through which they found their 
way to the Arkansas Valley. Here the buffalo trails we had followed were dis- 
persed among the hills, or crossed over into the more open valleys of other 
streams. During the day our road was fatiguing and difficult, reminding us 
much, by its steep and rocky character, of our traveling the year before among 
the Wind River Mountains ; but always at night we found some grassy bottom, 
which afforded us a pleasant camp. In the deep seclusion of these little streams 
we found always an abundant pasturage and a wild luxuriance of plants and 
trees. After several days' laborious traveling we succeeded in extricating our- 
selves from the mountains, and on the morning of the 28th encamped immedi- 
ately at their foot, on a handsome tributary of the Arkansas River. In the 
afternoon we descended the stream, winding our way along the bottoms, which 
were densely wooded with oak, and in the evening encamped near the main 
river. Continuing the next day our road along the Arkansas, and meeting on 
the way a war party of Arapahoe Indians (who had recently committed some 
outrages at Bent's Fort, killing stock and driving off horses), we arrived before 
sunset at the pueblo near the mouth of the Fontaine qui Bouit River, where 
we had the pleasure to find a number of our old acquaintances." 


The last stage of the journey led them down the Arkansas to Bent's Fort, 
eastward across country to the Missouri at the Town of Kansas, and then down 
the Missouri to St. Louis. Fremont was advanced by President Tyler to the 
rank of captain of engineers in reward for his services upon this expedition. 


The third expedition commanded by John C. Fremont was equipped and 
organized in the spring of 1845. The object was to explore the great basin west 
of the Rocky Mountains, little of which had been thoroughly traversed, and did 
not include much work to be done within the present State of Colorado. Per- 
haps the great purpose of this third expedition was to see whether or not a rail- 
road could be constructed through the Rockies. 

The expedition left the old point at the mouth of the Kansas River and 
traveled the Santa Fe Trail to the Arkansas, thence up that river to Bent's 
Fort, arriving August 2d. Fremont left the fort on August i6th, proceeded up 
the Arkansas on the north side, detoured the Royal Gorge, traversed the main 
mountain range at the head of Eagle River and after going down the Eagle to a 
point near the Town of Minturn, he turned northwest and crossed the Grand 
River. From here he continued northwestward to the head of White River, 
down which he traveled into what is now Utah. Fremont reached California in 
December of the same year. 


The fourth expedition commanded by Fremont was not a government enter- 
prise, but a private scheme in the interest of the City of St. Louis and for the 
purpose of surveying a route for a railroad to the Pacific Coast. Fremont and 
Senator Benton were those chiefly interested in the affair, Fremont having pre- 
viously resigned his position of lieutenant colonel in the United States army. 
The expedition was fitted out at Westport, now a part of Kansas City, in the 
autumn of 1848, and numbered thirty-three men, most of whom had traveled 
before with Fremont. 

Departure was made on October ipth and a route taken across the plains of 
Kansas by way of the Kansas River. From the headwaters of its Smoky Hill 
fork Fremont journeyed southwest to the Arkansas and then to Fort Bent. Up 
the Arkansas to the Pueblo the caravan went and here the party was enlarged 
by one "Old Bill" Williams, trapper and guide, whom Fremont engaged to lead 
the party through the mountains. After reaching the mouth of the Hardscrab- 
ble, Fremont turned southwest, crossed the Sangre de Cristo Range by Roubi- 
deaux's Pass, and about the first of December entered the San Luis Valley. 
Shortly the explorers found themselves at the mouth of the Rio Grande Canon, 
among the most rugged of the mountain ranges, but intrepidly they followed 
Williams across this divide. Every day they encountered more difficulties and 
now that the range was crossed their hardships became greater and more bitter. 
Fremont's narrative of the journey at this point contains many passages which 
show the extreme suffering endured by the men, a portion of which story fol- 


"We pressed up toward the summit, the snow deepening; and in four or five 
days reached the naked ridges which lie above the timbered country, and which 
form the dividing grounds between the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. 
Along these naked ridges it storms nearly all winter, and the winds sweep across 
them with remorseless fury. On our first attempt to cross we encountered a 
pouderie (dry snow driven thick through the air by violent wind, and in which 
objects are visible only at a short distance), and were driven back, having some ten 
or twelve men variously frozen, face, hands or feet. The guide became nigh 
frozen to death here, and dead mules were already lying about the fires. Mean- 
time, it snowed steadily. The next day we made mauls, and beating a road or 
trench through the snow crossed the crest in defiance of the pouderie, and en- 
camped immediately below in the edge of the timber. The trail showed as if a de- 
feated party had passed by ; pack-saddles and packs, scattered articles of clothing, 
and dead mules strewn along. A continuance of stormy weather paralyzed all 
movement. We were encamped somewhere about twelve thousand feet above the 
sea. Westward, the country was buried in deep snow. It was impossible to 
advance, and to turn back was equally impracticable. We were overtaken by 
sudden and inevitable ruin. It so happened that the only places where any 
grass could be had were the extreme summit of the ridges, where the sweeping 
winds kept the rocky ground bare and the snow could not lie. Below these, the 
animals could not get about, the snow being deep enough to bury them. Here, 
therefore, in the full violence of the storms we were obliged to keep our animals. 
They could not be moved either way. It was instantly apparent that we should 
lose every animal. 

"I determined to recross the mountain more towards the open country, and 
haul or pack the baggage (by men) down to the Del Norte. With great labor 
the baggage was transported across the crest to the head springs of a little stream 
leading to the main river. A few days were sufficient to destroy our fine band 
of mules. They generally kept huddled together, and as they froze, one would 
be seen to tumble down and the snow would cover him; sometimes they would 
break off and rush down towards the timber until they were stopped by the 
deep snow, where they were soon hidden by the pouderie. The courage of the 
men failed fast; in fact, I have never seen men so soon discouraged by mis- 
fortune as we were on this occasion. * * * In this situation, I determined to 
send in a party to the Spanish settlements of New Mexico for provisions, and 
mules to transport our baggage to Taos. With economy, and after we should 
leave the mules, we had two weeks' provisions in the camp. These consisted of a 
store which I had preserved for a hard day, macaroni and bacon. From among 
the volunteers I chose King, Brackenridge, Creutzfeldt (the botanist of the 
expedition), and the guide Williams; the party under the command of King. 
In case of the least delay at the settlements, he was to send me an express. In 
the meantime, we were to occupy ourselves in removing the baggage and equip- 
age down to the Del Norte, which we reached with our baggage in a few days 
after their departure (which was the day after Christmas)." 

Fremont waited sixteen days without news from King or a relief party. One 
of his party froze to death, which event determined the leader to go in search 
of the missing men. Leaving part of the men with instructions to follow after 
a certain time, Fremont and three others set out on foot, intending to either 


find King or to reach the nearest Mexican settlements and send back assistance. 
A week later Fremont met a small band of Indians, from whom he secured a 
guide and four horses, and in the evening of the same day discovered Creutz- 
feldt, Brackenridge and Williams, almost frozen to death and unable to go 
farther. King had died from the combined effects of starvation and cold a few 
days before. They had lost their way soon after leaving the Fremont party and 
for days had wandered aimlessly over the San Luis Valley. The stricken men 
were placed on the horses and the southern journey resumed. Small Mexican 
settlements were reached on January 20, 1849, and from there Fremont and a 
companion hurried to Taos on horseback. From Taos a posse of Mexicans, led 
by Godey, a member of Fremont's expedition, started back along the trail to 
bring in the remainder of the party. These latter, who had been left at the Del 
Norte, had waited the arranged length of time, then started down the river. 
Food was low and after a few days the band broke up into small parties which 
separated, three or four men having died in the meantime. It is said that their 
hunger became so severe that a few were forced to cannibalism in order to 
avoid certain death. Godey and his Mexicans succeeded in assisting them to the 
settlements, but when the roll was finally called eleven men were missing. 

Fremont remained at Taos for a time as the guest of his former guide and 
friend, Kit Carson, then, in the middle of February, with a new outfit and com- 
pany, left Santa Fe for California, routing his journey down the Rio Grande 
and westward through southern New Mexico and Arizona. He reached the coast 
in April. Fremont always blamed the guide, "Old Bill" Williams, for the dis- 
aster in the mountains, but Williams claimed that Fremont ignored his repeated 
warning not to enter the mountains at such a season. The so-called "explorers" 
of the West who were sent out by the Government owe much to the picturesque 
guides and trappers who accompanied them. It is doubtful whether or not any 
degree of success could have been attained by these men had it not been for 
the sagacity and knowledge of the frontiersmen. More shall be said in a later 
chapter of this type of men. 


By an act approved March 3, 1853, Congress authorized the Secretary of 
War, under the leadership of the President, to employ engineers to find a prac- 
ticable route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Coast, also 
appropriated $150,000 for this work. Fremont was supposed to be the logical 
man to survey this route, but, contrary to expectations, Jefferson Davis, then 
Secretary of War, appointed Capt. John W. Gunnison, of Vermont, to head the 
expedition. In the instructions issued to Gunnison, defining the purpose of the 
journey, he was told "to explore and survey the pass through the Rocky Moun- 
tains in the vicinity of the headwaters of the Rio del Norte, by way of the Huer- 
fano River and Coo-che-to-pa, or some other eligible pass, into the region of 
Grand and Green rivers, and westwardly to the Vegas de Santa Clara and Nicol- 
let River of the Great Basin, and thence northwardly to the vicinity of Lake 
Utah on a return route, to explore the most available passes and canyons of 
the Wasatch Range and South Pass to Fort Laramie." 

The party was organized at Westporf and the journey begun on June 23d. 


Captain Gunnison, of the United States Army, was in charge of explorations, made in 1853, 
for a route for a Pacific railway in the vicinity of the 38th and 39th parallels, which traverse 
the central part of the area of Colorado. While in that service Captain Gunnison and several 
of his assistants were killed by the Indians near Sevier Lake, in Utah. A river, a county and 
a city in Colorado bear his name. The portrait is a photographic enlargement from a dag- 
uerreotype, somewhat impaired by age. 


On July 24th the expedition crossed the border of Colorado upon the east, passed 
the abandoned Fort Bent, went up the Arkansas to the Apishapa and Huerfano, 
through the Sangre de Cristo Pass to the San Luis Park, then through the 
Saguache and Coochetopa Pass, down the Gunnison River to its junction with 
the Grand, and then westward across Utah to the valley of Sevier Lake. On 
the morning of September 25th, Captain Gunnison and a number of his men left 
the camp to explore in the vicinity of Sevier Lake. At daylight the following 
morning they were unexpectedly attacked by a superior band of Pah Utes. Only 
four of the soldiers, who escaped on their horses, lived to return. The others 
were massacred, including Captain Gunnison. The remainder of the expedition 
went to Salt Lake City and there spent the winter. In the spring the work was 
reorganized and commanded by Lieut. E. G. Beckwith. 


At this time, the fifth and last expedition commanded by John C. Fremont 
was under way. The selection of Captain Gunnison by Secretary Davis had 
not been to Fremont's liking and he had hastened from Paris, France, where 
he had been living, to resume his work in the Rockies. The expedition was or- 
ganized in 1853 and most of the expense borne by Fremont himself and Senator 

A start was made and the journey to the Utah Basin accomplished over prac- 
tically the same route as taken by Gunnison along the Arkansas, across the 
Sangre de Cristo Range, San Luis Park westward, through the Coochetopa Pass 
and down the Gunnison. Again, while in the western part of Colorado, Fremont 
encountered severe weather conditions; most of his pack animals died or were 
killed for food; and one man died of exposure. Late in March, California was 
reached and from there Fremont returned by the Panama route to the East. 

This was the last exploring expedition into the West actuated by such pur- 
poses as guided Fremont and Gunnison. During all this time roads had been 
established across the mountains by the immigrants and many routes were dis- 
covered here and there which', for all practicable purposes, fulfilled the desires 
of Congress expressed in their act of March 3, 1853. 








The most remarkable ruins of prehistoric cliff dwellings in the southwestern 
part of the United States are those in the side canyon of the Mancos on the Mesa 
Verde in Montezuma County, Colorado. When Columbus landed in America in 
1492 there were many tribes of Indians living upon the Continent, of numerous 
types and with varying degrees of civilization. There were tribes of low grade 
and others of very high standard such as the Mayas and Aztecs. Little is 
known of the character of the Cliff Dwellers other than that learned from their 
dwellings, which have so recently been exposed to the view of mankind. 

It is strange that these greatest of American prehistoric ruins should have 
escaped discovery until 1888. Years before, innumerable ancient ruins left in 
other states by the ancestors of the Pueblo Indians had been described and pic- 
tured. They had been the subjects of popular lectures ; they had been treated in 
books of science and travel they had become a familiar American spectacle. 
Even the ruins in the Mancos Canon in Colorado were explored as early as 1874. 
Mr. W. H. Jackson, who led the Government party, found there many small 
dwellings broken down by the weather. The next year he was followed by 
Prof. W. H. Holmes, later chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology, who 
drew attention to the remarkable stone towers so characteristic of the region. 
But these discoveries attracted little attention because of their inferiority to 
the better-known ruins of Arizona and New Mexico. Had either of the explorers 
followed up the side canyon of the Mancos they would have then discovered ruins 
which are, in the words of Baron Gustav Nordenskiold, the talented Swedish 
explorer, "so magnificent that they surpass anything of the kind known in the 
United States." 

Stone ruins of pueblos were found in general on the top of isolated plateaus, 



called in the Southwest from their Spanish names mesas or tables. The de- 
pressions between these mesas have been worn down by the rains of centuries, 
which have eroded deep gorges called canyons, often extending many miles, 
showing on their sides alternating layers of rock of different colors and degrees 
of hardness. When softer layers of rock occur below the harder in the sides of 
these mesas, there is worn a cavern often fifty feet high and several hundred 
feet long. 

The Mesa Verde, or Green Mesa, is so called from the cedar and pine trees 
which, growing upon it, impart to it a green color. The mesa is large, fifteen 
miles long and eight miles wide. Rising abruptly from the valley on the north 
side, its top slopes gradually southward to the high cliff bordering the valley of 
the Mancos on the south. Into this valley there opens a number of small high- 
walled canyons, through which occasionally, in times of rains, raging torrents of 
water flow into the Mancos. In the shelter of the sides of these small canyons 
occur some of the best preserved cliff dwellings in America. 

In prehistoric times a large population of Indians, whom we call Cliff Dwell- 
ers, lived in these cavern dwellings. They raised small and scanty crops of corn 
and other grains on the mesa tops, hunted and fished in the streams below, and 
in other ways eked out their existence. The Cliff Dwellers left no written 
language other than various symbols, which were drawn upon the walls of 
their homes or carved into the surface of the rocks. However, scientists who 
have studied the Mesa Verde ruins have been enabled to assign to them a definite 
place in history and to learn much of the customs, habits, character and religion 
of the Cliff Dwellers, among whom there were twenty-three clans. Each clan, 
or social unit, as it were, had its "kiva," or men's room, which was exclusive 


Baron Nordenskiold thus describes in his book "The Cliff Dwellers of the 
Mesa Verde" (Stockholm, 1893), tne discovery of the wonderful dwellings in 
this side canyon of the Mancos : 

"The honor of discovery of these remarkable ruins belongs to Richard 
and Alfred Wetherill, of Mancos. The family own large herds of cattle which 
wander about on the Mesa Verde. The care of these herds often calls for long 
rides on the mesa and in its labyrinth of canyons. During these long excursions 
ruins, the one more magnificent than the other, have been discovered. The two 
largest were found by Richard Wetherill and Charley Mason one December day 
in 1888, as they were riding together through the pinyon wood on the mesa in 
search of a stray herd. They had penetrated through the dense scrub to the 
edge of a deep canyon. In the opposite cliff, sheltered by a huge, massive vault 
of rock, there lay before their astonished eyes a whole town, with towers and 
walls, rising out of a heap of ruins. This grand monument of bygone ages seemed 
to them well deserving of the name of Cliff Palace. Not far from this place, but 
in a different canyon, they discovered, on the same day, another very large cliff 
dwelling. To this they gave the name of Spruce Tree House, from a great 
spruce that jutted forth from the ruins. 

"During the course of years Richard and Alfred Wetherill have explored 


the mesa and its canyons in all directions. They have thus gained a more thor- 
ough knowledge of its ruins than anyone. Together with their brothers, John, 
Clayton and Wynn, they have also carried out excavations, during which a num- 
ber of extremely interesting finds have been made." 


In many cases the word dwelling is misleading, for most of the dwellings, or 
buildings, were in reality whole villages. Spruce Tree House, for instance, was 
undoubtedly a town of importance, harboring at least three hundred and fifty 

The arrangement of houses in a cliff dwelling of the size of Cliff Palace, for 
example, is characteristic and intimately associated with the distribution of the 
social divisions of the inhabitants. As mentioned before, the population was com- 
posed of a number of units, possibly clans, each of which had its own social or- 
ganization more or less distinct from others, a condition that appears in the 
arrangement of rooms. The rooms occupied by a clan were not necessarily con- 
nected, although generally neighboring rooms were distinguished from one an- 
other by their uses. Thus, each clan had its men's room, which was ceremonially 
called the "kiva." Here the men of the clan practically lived, engaged in their oc- 
cupations. Each clan had also one or more rooms, which may be styled the living 
rooms, and other inclosures, for granaries or storage of corn. The corn was 
ground into meal in another room containing the metate set in a bin or stone 
box, and in some instances in fireplaces, although these were generally placed 
in the plazas or on the housetops. All these different rooms, taken together, 
constitute the houses that belonged to one clan. 

The conviction that each kiva denotes a distinct social unit, as a clan or 
family, is supported by the general similarity in the masonry of the kiva walls 
and that of adjacent houses ascribed to the same clan. From the number of 
these rooms it would appear that there were at least twenty-three social units 
or clans in Cliff Palace. The kivas were the rooms where the men spent most 
of the time devoted to ceremonial meetings, councils and other gatherings. In 
the social conditions prevalent at Cliff Palace the religious fraternity was limited 
to the men of the clan. 

Apparently there was no uniformity in the distribution of the kivas. As it 
was prescribed that these rooms should be subterranean, the greatest number 
were placed in front of the rectangular buildings, where it was easiest to exca- 
vate them. But when necessary these structures were built far back in the 
cave and inclosed by a double wall, the intervals between whose sections were 
filled with earth or rubble to raise it to the level of the kiva roof. In that way 
they were artificially made subterranean, as the ritual required. 

The highest part of the Mesa Verde National Park is Park Point, 8,574 
feet above sea level, while Point Lookout, the most prominent point on the Mesa 
Verde, has an elevation of 8,428 feet above sea level. The northern edge of 
the mesa terminates in a precipitous bluff, averaging two thousand feet above the 
floor of the Montezuma Valley. The general slope of the mesa is to the south, 
so that a person on the northern rim has a view in all directions. 

The park is placed under the exclusive control of the Secretary of the In- 


terior and he is represented in the actual administration of the park by a super- 
intendent, assisted by a limited number of park rangers who patrol the reser- 

The principal and most accessible ruins are the Spruce Tree House, Cliff 
Palace, Balcony House, Tunnel House and Sun Temple. Spruce Tree House is 
located in the head of Spruce Tree Canon, a branch of the Navajo Canon. It 
originally contained about 130 rooms, built of dressed stone laid in adobe 
mortar, with the outside tiers chinked with chips of rock and broken pottery. 
Cliff Palace is located about two miles east of Spruce Tree House, in 
a left branch of Cliff Canon, and consists of a group of houses with ruins 
of 146 rooms, including twenty round kivas, or ceremonial rooms, and a taper- 
ing loopholed tower, forming a crescent of about one hundred yards from 
horn to horn, which is reputed to be one of the most famous works of prehistoric 
man in existence. Balcony House, a mile east of Cliff Palace, in Ruin Canon, 
contains about twenty-five rooms, some of which are in almost perfect condition. 
Tunnel House, about two miles south of Spruce Tree House, contains about 
twenty rooms and two kivas connected by an elaborate system of underground 
passages and a burial ground of 5,000 square feet. In each of these villages is 
an elaborate system of fortification, with, in some cases, walls 2.3 feet thick and 
twenty feet high, watch towers thirty feet high, and. blockhouses pierced with 
loopholes. The Sun Temple was discovered in the summer of 1915 and is 
located on the mesa opposite Cliff Palace. 


The total length of Spruce Tree House is 216 feet, its width at the widest 
part 89 feet. There were counted in the Spruce Tree House 114 rooms, the 
majority of which are secular and eight ceremonial chambers or kivas. Spruce 
Tree House in places was three stories high; the third-story rooms had no arti- 
ficial roof, but the wall of the cave served that purpose. Several rooms, the 
walls of which are now two stories high, formerly had a third story above the 
second, but their walls have now fallen, leaving as the only indication of their 
former union with the cave lines destitute of smoke on the top of the cavern. 
Of the 114 rooms, at least fourteen were uninhabited, being used as storage and 
mortuary chambers. If we eliminate these from the total number of rooms we 
have loo inclosures which might have been dwellings. Allowing four inhabi- 
tants for each of these 100 rooms would give about four hundred persons as an 
aboriginal population of Spruce Tree House. But it is probable that this esti- 
mate should be reduced, as not all the 100 rooms were inhabited at the same 
time, there being evidence that several of them had occupants long after others 
were deserted. Approximately, Spruce Tree House had a population not far 
from three hundred and fifty people, or about one hundred more than that of 
Walpi, one of the best known Hopi pueblos. 


Cliff Palace lies in an eastern spur of Cliff Canon, under the roof of an 
enormous cave which arches fifty to one hundred feet above it. The floor of this 


cavern is elevated several hundred feet above the bottom of the canyon. The 
entrance faces the west, looking across the canyon to the opposite side, in full 
view of the promontory upon which stands the Sun Temple. The floor of the 
recess in which Cliff Palace is built is practically covered with buildings, some 
of which, especially those at each end, extend beyond the shelter of the cave 
roof. The total length of the Cliff Palace is approximately three hundred 
feet. The floor of the cave in which Cliff Palace was built had practically one 
level, determined no doubt by a layer of comparatively hard rock, which re- 
sisted erosion more successfully than the softer strata above it. The floor was 
strewn with great angular boulders that in the process of formation of the cave 
had fallen from the roof. These were too large to be moved by primitive man 
and must have presented to the ancient builders uninviting foundations upon 
which to erect their structures. The spaces between the rocks were better 
suited for their purposes. These were filled with smaller stones that could be re- 
moved, leaving cavities which could be utilized for the construction of subter- 
ranean rooms. The upper surfaces of the large rocks, even those which are 
angular, served as foundations for houses above ground and determined the 
levels of the plazas. From the bases of these rocks, which formed the outer 
edge of the level cave floor, a talus extended down the canyon side to the bottom. 
The rooms forming the front of the ancient village were constructed in this 
talus, and as their site was sloping they were necessarily situated at lower levels 
on terraces bounded by retaining walls which are marked features in this part 
of Cliff Palace. At least three different terraces, indicating as many levels, are 
recognized. These levels are indicated by the rows of kivas, or ceremonial rooms, 
which skirt the southern and middle sections of this ancient village. 

An examination of the correct ground plan of Cliff Palace shows that the 
houses were arranged in a crescent, the northern extension of rooms corre- 
sponding roughly to one point. The curve of the village follows, generally 
speaking, that of the rear of the cave in which it was constructed. There is 
little regularity in the arrangement of the rooms, which, as a rule, are not 
crowded together; most of the subterranean chambers are situated on terraces 
in front of the secular rooms. There is one passageway that may be desig- 
nated as a street ; this is bordered by high walls. No open space of considerable 
size is destitute of a ceremonial chamber, and the largest contains five of these 
rooms. It is not possible to count the exact number of rooms that Cliff Palace 
formerly had, as many upper stones have fallen and a considerable number of 
terraced rooms along the front are indicated only by fragments of walls. Roughly 
speaking, two hundred is a fair estimate. 

The Cliff Palace kivas, provided with pedestals or roof supports, furnish 
examples of some of the finest masonry in prehistoric buildings of our South- 
west. Every kiva of the first type has a ventilator, firehole and deflector. There 
were two types of ceremonial rooms, which might indicate a division of the ritual 
into two distinct parts performed by the summer and the winter people, re- 
spectively, a specialization still perpetuated among some modern Pueblos. Secu- 
lar rooms in Cliff Palace may be classified as living rooms, storage rooms, mill 
rooms, granaries, dark rooms, probably for sleeping, towers both round and 
square, and round rooms not towers. 



The Sun Temple is the latest of the Mesa Verde ruins to be explored and re- 
claimed. This was discovered in the summer of 1915 and since then the work 
of excavating and repairing the Temple has been continued, under the direction 
of J. Walter Fewkes. Professor Fewkes describes the work as follows: 

"At the close of a report on field work at Cliff Palace in 1909 I called atten- 
tion to a mound of stones on the point of the mesa directly across Cliff Canon 
and suggested that it might conceal an ancient pueblo ruin. The majority of 
stones strewn over this mound showed pecking on their surfaces and other well- 
marked signs of having been worked artificially, indicating the character of the 
masonry in the walls of the ancient building buried beneath it. Enough soil had 
accumulated on the mound formed by these stones to allow the growth of red 
cedar and pinyon trees, the size of which indicated great age. A more important 
consideration was that it presented evidences that the buried building belonged 
to an unique type of ruin in the Mesa Verde, and gave promise of adding an 
important chapter to our knowledge of the prehistoric people who formerly 
made their home in the Mesa Verde National Park. These hopes were realized 
and the results of three months' work on this mound were more striking than 
had been expected. There was brought to light a type of ruin hitherto unknown 
in the park, and, as well expressed by a visitor, the building excavated shows 
the best masonry and is the most mysterious structure yet discovered in a region 
rich in so many prehistoric ruins. Although at first there was some doubt as to 
the use of the building, it was early recognized that it was not constructed for 
habitation, and it is now believed that it was intended for the performance of 
rites and ceremonies; the first of its type yet recognized in the Southwest. 

"The ruin was purposely constructed in a commanding situation in the neigh- 
borhood of large inhabited cliff houses. It sets somewhat back from the edge of 
the canyon, but near enough to present a marked object from all sides, especially 
in the neighboring mesas. It must have presented an imposing appearance rising 
on top of a point high above inaccessible, perpendicular cliffs. The mound is 
situated on a spur of the picturesque Chapin Mesa separating two deep canyons. 
From it one can look southward down Soda Canon to the Mancos River, on the 
banks of which a group -of cottonwood trees can be seen on a clear day. This 
superb view is rivaled by one of almost equal beauty, looking east across Cliff 
Canon into the cave in which is situated Cliff Palace. In a cave of the precipice 
below Sun Temple there is a solitary, almost inaccessible cliff house, and in a 
cavern not far up the canyon is Oak Tree (Willow) House, and the mysterious 
dance plaza, called Painted House. Other cliff dwellings are visible from the 
ruin, which is practically situated near the central point of a considerable pre- 
historic population. No better place could have been chosen for a religious 
building in which the inhabitants of many cliff dwellings could gather and to- 
gether perform their great ceremonial dramas. 

"The ground plan has been well compared to the letter D. The building is 
formed of two sections, the larger of which, taken separately is also D-shaped 
and may be called the original building, while the smaller, forming the west end, 
is of later (?) construction. The foundation walls of the building, throughout 
most of their length, rest on the solid rock of the cliff. There are about one 


thousand feet of walls in the whole building and its inclosed kivas ; it has 28,000 
cubic feet, or 1,292 perches, of stone masonry in its present condition, and had 
not far from 1,900 perches before the walls began to crumble. The width of 
the ruin at its widest portion is sixty-four feet. The walls average four feet 
in thickness and are composed of a central core made of rubble and adobe, with 
two facings made of well-dressed rock, which, however, were not tied to the core 
and present a serious architectural defect. 

"The rooms in this building vary in form and type, one kind being circular, 
the other rectangular. The circular rooms are identified as kivas or sacred 
rooms; the purpose of the rectangular room is unknown. * * * We find 
in this ruin numerous examples of an early attempt to embellish the walls of a 
building by geometrical figures cut in their surfaces. Many cliff houses are 
known to have their walls painted, but designs sculptured on component stones 
are rare. Several stones with incised figures were set in the walls, but the ma- 
jority were found on rocks that had fallen from the top of the walls. No uni- 
formity in their position in the rooms was noticeable, and the figures were not 
continuous enough to form a band about the room. * * * There are two 
circular rooms or kivas of about equal size in the original building and a third 
occupied the center of the Annex. There are twenty-three other rooms, four- 
teen of which are in the original building. 

"One of the most remarkable structures built on the outside walls of the 
building is near the southwest corner of the Annex. This corner stands on a 
solid rock that projects one and a half or two feet above the otherwise level foun- 
dation of the wall. The cornerstone or foundation of the corner wall protrudes 
two feet beyond the building, and on its upper surface is a fossil with central 
depressed zone with sharp radiating ridges. The figure is not artificial, but is 
possibly helped out by artificial means. A natural object with these characters 
would greatly affect a primitive mind, and no doubt was regarded with more 
or less reverence by the builders. At all events they have partially inclosed this 
emblem with walls in such a way as to inclose the figure on three sides, leaving 
the inclosure open on the fourth or west side. There can be no doubt that the 
walled inclosure was a shrine, and the figure in it may be a key to the purpose of 
the building. The shape of the figure on the rock suggests a symbol of the 
sun, and if this suggestion be correct there can hardly be a doubt that solar rites 
were performed about it long before the Sun Temple was built." 

Professor Fewkes estimates the antiquity of the Sun Temple to be about 
1300 A.D. "From absence of data the relative age of Sun Temple and Cliff Pal- 
ace is equally obscure, but it is my firm conviction that Sun Temple is the 
younger, mainly because it showed unmistakable evidences of a higher socio- 
logical condition of the builders ; but here we again enter a realm of speculation 
which merely adds to the mystery of the building." 

The Mesa Verde ruins are now readily accessible to tourists. The Govern- 
ment has just completed a thirty-two mile automobile road from the Town of 
Mancos. Much of the increased interest shown in the cliff dwellings by students 
and visitors alike is due to the reclamation efforts of Prof. J. Walter Fewkes, of 
the Bureau of Ethnology. Under his direction the ruins have been cleared of 
debris, reconstructed so far as practicable and described in more comprehensive 
language than has ever been used before. The greater part of the above de- 


scriptions are taken bodily from his reports to the Department of the Interior 
and published by the latter for the benefit of those interested. Future years will 
bring to light many other cliff dwellings and Sun temples which are known to 
exist under the mounds in the vicinity; governmental support and investigation 
will eventually add much to the knowledge we have of the primitive peoples of 
southwestern Colorado. 


The exact origin of the Cliff Dwellers is in doubt, although it is generally 
supposed that they were descendants of a race which had disappeared as such, 
just as the Cliff Dwellers themselves were fated to do. Toltecs these ancient 
peoples were called; then again, the Cliff Dwellers were supposed to have de- 
scended from the Aztecs. They might have descended from the Mound Build- 
ers or, in' fact, from one of the many other tribes which occupied the south- 
western country ages ago. There is no doubt today, if the racial and ethnological 
similarities may be considered, that there is a distinct relationship between the 
Cliff Dwellers and the modern Pueblo Indian. Their ceremonies seem to 
be similar and their houses are greatly alike. The Pueblo Indian may 
be the remnant of the Cliff Dweller race, which was either driven out of 
the country now in southwestern Colorado or migrated when food became 
unobtainable. As stated in a preceding paragraph, future investigations 
may disclose the great riddle of these dwellers of the cliffs, of whose life 
no written record or tradition exists. 


. The phrase "American Indian" has been criticized by a number of writers. 
Columbus gave the red men the name of "Indies," a Spanish "word, believing the 
country he discovered a part of India. This led to the adoption of the word 
Indian, or its equivalent, in practically all the principal languages. Then came 
the classification of the Indian as we know him as the American Indian, a name 
that has remained despite the efforts to abolish the use of the title. The name 
"Amerind" enjoyed a short prestige as a compromise expression. However, 
for our purposes, the name "Indian," simple and self-explanatory, is sufficient. 

The history of Colorado is chiefly concerned with the Indians who came 
under the classification of Shoshonean and Siouan stocks. These tribes cov- 
ered all of what is now the states of Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, Oregon, Ne- 
vada, Montana, California, Idaho and New Mexico when the first white settle- 
ments were made in this state. In what is now Colorado the tribal "divisions 
comprised the Utes, Arapahoes, Cheyennes and Kiowas. The Sioux warred 
continually upon the Cheyennes and forced them into other parts of the country, 
while, on the other hand, the Utes were bitter enemies of both the Cheyennes 
and Arapahoes. The Potawatomi, Pawnee, Arkansas, Choctaw, Creek, Chero- 
kee, Padouca, Sac, Kickapoo, Osage, Delaware, Otoe, Missouri and Omaha, 
with other tribes, also occupied land now in Colorado at different times, but not 
to the extent of the Utes and Arapahoes. 

The Shoshonean Indians were in greater numbers west of the Missouri 



The building is about 425 feet in length and in the central part is about 80 feet in depth. 



River when explorations were first made to the Rockies and foothills. The 
seven tribes of the Utes camped in the valleys and on the mountains of Colo- 
rado, and along the Platte and Arkansas rivers. East of the Front Range and 
north of the Arkansas were the Cheyennes and Arapahoes, while south of the 
Arkansas were the Kiowas and Comanches. The Navajoes and Apaches, of the 
Athabascan group, later came to the Rockies. It is said that the Spaniards 
found Navajoes along the Rio San Juan in the Sixteenth Century, at which 
time they were hostile to the Utes. 

The early Spanish and French explorers came into frequent contact with 
the Indians, with whom they traded and from whom they obtained information, 
often fanciful, of the country. These foreigners gave the Indian tribes names 
which have long since disappeared from use. The early maps gave to the various 
tribes certain sections of the country such, for instance, as that of Delisle's map 
of Moscosco's journey west of the Mississippi. Here what is now Colorado and 
the northern part of New Mexico was designated as the "Country of the Apaches 
and Padoucas," and upon a later map the country between the North and South 
Platte is occupied by the "White Padoucas" and the valley of the Arkansas by 
the "Black Padoucas." The Padoucas apparently were in the majority at the 
time of French exploration, as the name predominates in every French descrip- 
tion of the country. Upon other old charts of the country the Platte River has 
been given the name of Riviere des Padoucas. 

The central part of Colorado, in the vicinity of Denver, was occupied largely 
by the Arapahoes. Of this tribe little can be said in commendation. They com- 
bined all the characteristics which go to make up the "bad Indian." Crafty, 
treacherous, cruel, pugnacious, dishonest and even murderous they were. The 
site of Denver was a favorite camping ground for them and when the first set- 
tlements were made there arose many difficulties between them and the white 
people. The contact of civilization did them no good, as it brought to them all 
the vices, including whiskey, to further inflame their warlike propensities. 

Left Hand, Little Raven, and Buffalo Billy were noted Arapaho chiefs of 
this day; the former met his death when Chivington massacred the Indian band 
at Sand Creek in 1864 and the latter was killed in 1860 during a drunken spree 
at the camp southeast of Denver. 

The Pawnees occupied only a part of what is now Colorado, to be exact, the 
northeast corner. Their country was along the Platte River principally, in the 
west half of Nebraska, but their excursions took them over into Colorado many 
times ; whence they were generally driven back by the enemy tribes. 

The Cheyennes, probably of the Algonquin family, were so relentlessly warred 
upon by the Sioux that they were driven from their native habitat along the 
Cheyenne River and a large number of them came southward to form an alli- 
ance with the Arapahoes. They were good warriors and hunters and consider- 
ably strengthened the latter tribe. Roman Nose, whose name is identified with 
the history of Colorado, was a Cheyenne chieftain who fomented a large amount 
of trouble wherever he went, and whose activities eventually cost him his life 
on the Arickaree while attacking Forsyth's troops. 

The Crows, an exiled branch of the Sioux, were feared in Colorado on ac- 
count of their depredations. The Sioux Indians considered a Crow a natural 


enemy despite the distant relationship and, for that matter, the white settlers 
never trusted one of the tribe whose raids reached as far as the site of Denver. 

The Kiowas, thought by many writers to be of Shoshone blood, were once 
inhabitants of the upper valley of the Arkansas and on the South Platte. From 
here the Arapahoes, with the Cheyennes, compelled them to migrate southeast- 
ward, where they found refuge on the lower Arkansas and its tributaries. 

The Utes, of the Shoshone family, were closely identified with Colorado's 
period of settlement and were the cause of most of the Indian troubles of the 
time. They once occupied all of the mountain country of Colorado, the south- 
western part of Wyoming and a great part of Utah. They were at peace with 
no other Indian tribe, except the notorious Apache on the South, with whom they 
were allied mostly for defensive purposes. The Ute Indian was of a high order 
and possessed many qualities not ordinarily associated with the American In- 

At least two chieftains of more than ordinary intelligence were produced 
among the Utes. Ouray, without question the best of the Utes, was a man of 
great sagacity and administrative ability. He was a pacifist and continually 
strived for peace between his people and the whites. The White River massacre 
by the Utes was contrary to his advice and his services in the investigation after- 
wards were meritorious. Ouray was born in 1839, the son of a Ute father and 
an Apache mother, and died at the Southern Ute Agency in Colorado during the 
year 1883. 

Ignacio, of the Weeminuche tribe of Southern Utes, was another chieftain of 
high intellect and wisdom. He succeeded Ouray as the head of the tribe and 
always followed in his predecessor's course of promoting peace and prosperity 
among his people. He understood thoroughly that the Indian could not with- 
stand the civilization of the white man, also that hostile opposition only hastened 
the doom of his people. With this view strongly inculcated into his every pur- 
pose, he performed a notable work during his life that of keeping his subjects 
at peace. 

On the other hand there were a number of Ute chieftains who were personi- 
fications of everything despicable treachery, cruelty, immorality, inebriety and 
love of bloodshed. Captain Jack, chief of the Yampai White River Utes, was a 
man of this character. He refused to acknowledge the wisdom of keeping peace 
with the whites, was forever an enemy of the settlers, and strongly resisted any 
attempt to civilize his race. Land cultivation or, to his mind, manual labor, was 
very distasteful. He led the band of Utes which ambushed Major Thornburg 
and his troops in 1879, at the time of the attack on the White River Agency. 
Captain Jack was killed in October, 1897, during a drunken carousal at Navajo 
Springs, Colorado. 

Douglas, who led the attack on the White River Agency in 1879, was a chief- 
tain of ability and intelligence, but combining with those laudable qualities others 
of criminal character, which made him all the more dangerous. Until the time 
of his dastardly attack on the Meeker family he had professed a desire for peace 
with the whites. However, the opportunity had no sooner arrived than he 
changed and literally bathed his hands in blood. Douglas was never punished 
for this act and lived until 1885, dying at the Uintah Agency, White Rocks, 


Colorow was a chieftain who was more thoroughly disliked, both by the whites 
and the Indians themselves, than any other leader of the Utes. He had the 
qualities of a wolf and a coyote, with not enough character to inspire respect 
even among his kinsmen. It is said that he traveled around the country alone, 
visiting ranch houses when the men were absent and frightening the women. 
After the White River Agency massacre, he was taken to the Uintah Reserva- 
tion, in Utah. He declared boastfully that he would not stay in Utah and in 
1887 he, with his small band, left and came back to southwestern Colorado. He 
speedily got into a quarrel with the authorities of Garfield County and state 
troops were sent there to subdue him. The troops came into conflict with the 
Utes, killed several of them and suffered slight casualties themselves, but old 
Colorow was taken back to Utah. He died there in 1888. 

Buckskin Charley, a chieftain of the Southern Utes, was a natural leader. 
He was very tactful and shrewd, but did not rank with Ouray and Ignacio in 
intelligence. Having had an Apache father, it was hardly possible for him to 
be wholly good. How r ever, he did not antagonize the whites to any extent and 
always managed to maintain a high position of leadership among his people. 
He was a familiar figure in Denver during the later years of his life. 


The desire of the United States Government to bring about a peaceable re- 
lationship and amicable understanding with the Indian tribes of the Great West 
and also to encourage friendship between the tribes was the foundation of sev- 
eral military expeditions to the western country about the middle of the Nine- 
teenth Century. 

The first of these that of Col. Henry Dodge, of the First Regiment of 
United States Dragoons, in 1835. This was the first expedition of strictly mili- 
tary character to march to the Rockies. The personnel of the expeditionary 
force, as described by Colonel Dodge's own adjutant, was as follows: 

"Company G, 37 men, commanded by Captain Ford. 

"Company C, 40 men, commanded by Captain Duncan. 

"Company A, 40 men, commanded by Lieutenant Lupton. 

"Lieutenant Wheelock doing duty in Company C; Lieutenant Steen, ord- 
nance officer, in command of two swivels. Lieutenant Terrett, assistant commis- 
sary of subsistence, etc. Lieutenant Kingsbury, acting adjutant, and Doctor 
Fellows, assistant surgeon. Major Dougherty, Indian agent, was to accompany 
the command as far as the Pawnee village; and Captain Gantt, Indian trader, 
who was well acquainted with the country over which we were to march, accom- 
panied the detachment in the capacity of guide. 

"The companies were directed to take sixty days' rations of flour, and ten 
days' rations of pork; and the assistant commissary of subsistence to take twenty- 
five beeves and two wagon loads of flour." 

The Dodge expedition left Fort Leavenworth on May 2gth and. proceeded 
to the Platte River at a point forty miles above its mouth, where a grand council 
was held with the Otoe Indians. Later, the Omaha Indians under Big Elk met 
Colonel Dodge here and another council was held. The journey was then con- 
tinued up the south side of the Platte to the camp of the Grand Pawnees (below 


the foot of the Grand Island). Although the Pawnees distrusted the Americans, 
they received Colonel Dodge with all Indian hospitality and despatched messen- 
gers to outlying Indian villages, calling the chiefs in to a grand council. This 
formal gathering was held on June 23d and was a success. The Indians promised 
to be more friendly among themselves and also to make peace with the Chey- 
ennes and Arapahoes. 

Upon the continuation of the march up the Platte, negotiations were opened 
with the Arickaras, considered to be the most warlike of the tribes west of the 
Missouri. A council was held with this tribe a short distance beyond the forks 
of the Platte, when Dodge assured them of the Whites' friendship and desire 
for their welfare. Nothing of interest or pertinent to the history of Colorado 
occurred at this meeting. 

On the afternoon of July 9th the expedition entered Colorado at the north- 
eastern corner of the state, following the right bank of the South Platte. The 
command went up the east side of the river, crossing Denver's site, and pro- 
ceeded almost to the Platte Canon mouth, then up Plum Creek, over the ridge 
to Monument Creek, down the Monument to the Fontaine qui Bouille, thence 
down the stream to a place within fifteen miles of the mouth, thence south- 
east to the Arkansas and down this stream into Kansas. Bent's Fort was 
visited on the route. 

In his formal report to the Government, Colonel Dodge writes as follows : 

"On the 28th of July, I encamped in full view of Pike's Peak, on the 
Rocky Mountains. The next morning two Spaniards arrived at my camp and 
stated that they had been sent by traders from the Arkansas River in search 
of the Arepaha (Arapaho) Indians. On the 3Oth of July, I arrived at the Arkan- 
sas River, about five miles from the point where that river leaves the Rocky 
Mountains. Here I saw about sixty lodges of the Arepaha Indians with their 
families. This nation claims the country from the south fork of the Platte 
River to the Arkansas, and numbers about eleven hundred warriors. They 
have never entered into a treaty with the United States. They are said to have 
come from the Rocky Mountains, and are the descendants of the Blackfeet 
Indians, whose tongue they speak. I found them desirous of cultivating the most 
friendly understanding with me. From this place I despatched a messenger, 
with a few dragoons, in search of some of the principal chiefs of the Arepaha, 
with some of the Cheyenne and Blackfeet Indians, who were on the waters of 
the Platte. 

"On the 3ist of July, I commenced my march down the Arkansas, and arrived 
at the fort of Bent and St. Vrain on the 4th of August. This fort is built on 
the Arkansas River, about one hundred and thirty miles from the Rocky Moun- 
tains, and its owners are trading under a license from the superintendent of 
Indian affairs at St. Louis. They erected the fort to protect them against 
a sudden attact of the Indians, and have a six-pounder and several light field- 
pieces; they trade with the Arepaha and Cheyenne Indians, and also with the 
Camanches of the Red River. At this place I met a number of the Cheyenne 
Indians. On the 6th of August, my messenger arrived with one of the principal 
chiefs of the Arepaha Indians and some of the Blackfeet who reside with the 
Arepahas. At Fort William (Fort Bent), on the /th of August, I met a large 
assembly of Indians in council, and endeavored to explain to them the views 


and wishes of the Government in relation to them. A small deputation of 
Pawnees accompanied my command from the Pawnee village, and had a friendly 
understanding with their old enemies, the Arepahas and Cheyenne Indians. I 
made a few presents to them, in the name of the great father, the President 
of the United States, which appeared to have a great effect upon them, they 
being the first ever made to the Arepaha or Blackfeet. At this council, I learned 
that the Osages and the Arepahas, who had been at war for many years, had made 
peace, and that a party of the Osages had gone to the Camanches, on the Red 
River, to confirm the peace made between them last year. Mr. Bent, of the 
trading-house of Bent and St. Vrain, arrived at Fort William, on the Arkansas, 
the day after I had held the council with these Indians. He had visited the 
Camanches on the Red River, and stated that he had seen upwards of two 
thousand, and they treated him with great kindness, and expressed a desire to 
be included in the peace made by me with the Camanches last year. 

"When the boundary line is run between the United States and Mexico, I 
believe that more than one-half of the country now claimed by the Camanches 
will be within the territorial limits of the United States. 

"On the 1 2th of August, I took up my line of march down the Arkansas, 
and on the i<4th arrived at a village of the Cheyenne Indians, composed of about 
sixty .skin lodges. In the evening after my arrival, I held a council with the 
principal braves of this band. About eight o'clock, next morning, my attention 
was directed to the firing of a number of small-arms in quick succession, at the 
distance of about one-half mile; more than one hundred guns were fired in one 
or two minutes. Supposing this firing to be an attact on the Cheyenne Indians 
by some of their enemies, and that this band might ask protection from me, I 
instantly formed the dragoons in order of battle, until I could be informed as 
to the cause of the firing. It was, however, soon ascertained to be a party of 
the Pawnees and Arickaras, about one hundred in number, under the command 
of one of the principal chiefs of the Pawnees, which Indians, upon arriving 
in the vicinity of their enemies, the Cheyennes, had fired their guns, to prove 
to them their friendly disposition, by approaching with empty guns. I was much 
gratified to meet the Pawness and Arickaras at the village of the Cheyennes, 
on the Arkansas River. I had advised them in council, on the river Platte, to 
make peace with their old enemies, the Arepahas and Cheyennes. This I con- 
sidered a fortunate meeting of the old enemies, as it enabled me, as the mutual 
friend of all, to effect, I hope, a lasting peace between them. The Cheyennes 
made presents to the Pawnees and Arickaras, of upwards of one hundred horses ; 
and the latter made a present of fifty of their guns to the Cheyennes. I en- 
deavored to impress strongly on the minds of these Indians, the mutual advantage 
that would result to them by making a lasting peace." 

Lieutenant Kingsbury was the chief journalist of the expedition and recorded 
in excellent language the appearance of the Colorado country through which they 
passed and the Indians with whom they became acquainted. He found the 
country literally blackened with buffalo herds, also saw droves of wild horses. 
The sight of the mountains, with their snow-capped peaks extending above the 
clouds, impressed him with their "beautiful and splendid appearance." Not- 
withstanding the intelligence of the members of the Dodge expedition, the 
description of the route taken, distances, and names of rivers are recorded 


incorrectly many times. The official map published after the return is also 
seriously in error. Of the Indian descriptions, however, more confirmation can 
be given. Colonel Dodge and Lieutenant Kingsbury both made accurate and 
colorful narratives of the red man, his life and habits. Naturally, as their 
principal object was to make friends with the native, their observation was 
both thorough and unbiased. Of the Cheyennes the record states: "The Chey- 
ennes are a bold and warlike band of Indians, and at the time of our arrival 
were in a state of great disorganization. They had just killed their principal 
chief, and had separated into three villages, and were wandering about the 
prairie without any leader. They were at war with the Camanches, Kiowas, 
Pawnees and Arickaras ; a large war party had gone out against the Camanches, 
and had not returned at the time of our arrival. The Osages had visited the 
Cheyennes and Arepahas early in the summer, and had made peace with them. 
A party of the Arepahas then went with the Osages to visit the Camanches, 
with whom they wished to establish friendly relations. The Cheyennes are a 
better looking race of Indians than any we have seen, and more cleanly in their 
appearance. The women are remarkable for their beauty and the neatness of 
their personal appearance. The Cheyennes formerly lived on the Missouri 
River, where they were visited by General Atkinson in 1825. They left that 
country shortly after, and came to the south fork of the Platte, and have since been 
living with the Arepahas, with whom they have entered into the strictest terms 
of alliance, both offensive and defensive, and will, doubtless, in a few years, 
become incorporated with that nation. They are now about two hundred and 
twenty lodges, six hundred and sixty men, or two thousand six hundred and forty 
souls in all. They range between the Platte and Arkansas, near the mountains, 
and subsist entirely upon buffalo and the wild fruit they gather along the moun- 

"Of the Arepahas, there are about three hundred and sixty lodges, one 
thousand and eighty men, or three thousand six hundred souls in all. They 
are a less warlike nation than the Cheyennes, and appear to be a small and 
more delicate looking race of Indians, and are governed in their war movements 
almost entirely by the Cheyennes. The names of their principal chiefs : Ena- 
cha-ke-kuc, or buffalo bull that carries a gun ; Oe-che-ne, or old raven ; E-thaw- 
ete, or strong bow; Waw-lau-nah, or black dog; Waw-hin-e-hun, or mad bear; 
Naw-tuh-tha, or buffalo belly. They are less neat in their appearance than the 
Cheyennes, and make their clothes of buffalo skins. They range with the Chey- 
ennes between the Platte and the Arkansas, and subsist entirely upon buffalo. 
The bow and arrow is the principal weapon they make use of in war, and in 
killing game. Some few of them have guns and ammunition that they have bought 
of the American traders for robes and fur. They kill their buffalo upon horses, 
by running at full speed into a large gang and snooting them with their arrows. 
The Arepahas formerly lived upon Maria's River, near the forks of the Missouri, 
but emigrated to this country a long time since. 

"The Gros-ventres of Fort du Prairie, now living with the Arepahas, are a 
band of the Blackfeet. They speak the same language with the Arepahas, 
emigrated from the sam'e country, and have the same manners and customs. 
There are now about three hundred and fifty of them living with the Arepahas. 
Seven hundred lodges came to the Arkansas in the summer of 1824 and returned 


in 1832, and are expected again on the Platte and Arkansas, in September, 1835. 
The names of their principal chiefs are Nash-hin-e-thow, or elk tongue; Ka-aw- 
che, or bear tooth. There is also a small band of the Blackfeet proper, consisting 
of about fifty, who live with the Cheyennes and the Arepahas. A band of 
Kiowas, called the upper band, consisting of one thousand eight hundred or 
two thousand, and another who are called the Apaches of the plains, consisting 
of about twelve hundred, also frequent this portion of the country. All these 
Indians frequent the Arkansas and the Platte near the mountains, for the pur- 
pose of killing buffalo, upon which they subsist, and make their clothes of the 
skins. They all have large numbers of horses, upon which they hunt buffalo 
and pack their baggage. The women do all the work, and wait upon the men, 
who do nothing but kill the game." 

Throughout his journey among the plains Indians, Colonel Dodge never was 
met with hostility. He was an emissary of peace and as such he was ex- 
tremely successful; for the time being he aroused better feelings among the 
Indians, both toward the white men and toward each other. He pointed out 
to the savage the economic benefits to be gained by friendly intercourse. Maj. 
Gen. Edmund P. Gaines, writing to the adjutant-general at Washington, stated 
that the results obtained "are not only altogether deeply interesting, but are, 
in part, extraordinary, and I may add, unprecedented. For example, the ex- 
pedition embracing a traverse of 1600 miles of continuous wilderness, alternate 
prairie and woodland, in which many nations of Indians were conferred with, 
and most judiciously impressed with the justice, humanity and power of our 
Government and Country, and then passed by without sustaining any injury 
or loss by any casualty, excepting only the short illness and death of one of the 
brave dragoons, and without loss or any material injury done to the horses of the 

Henry Dodge reached the rank of colonel, which he bore at the time of his 
expedition; served in the War of 1812 and the Black Hawk war; was the first 
governor of Wisconsin Territory; elected the first junior senator from the 
State of Wisconsin in 1848 and continued until 1857. He died July 9, 1867. 


Of slightly different character was the military expedition commanded by 
Col. Stephen W. Kearney, which visited the plains Indians in 1845. Wherein 
Colonel Dodge effected his purpose by conciliation and mediation, Colonel 
Kearney sought to accomplish his purpose by an exhibition of the "mailed fist." 
Indian raids had been made upon the emigrants traveling to the Oregon country 
and more were anticipated, so it was believed by the governmental authorities 
at Washington that a lasting impression should be made upon the Indians by 
proving to them the military power of the white men. Colonel Kearney was in 
command of the First Regiment of United States Dragoons. 

With several companies of this regiment, Kearney left Fort Leavenworth 
on May 18, 1845, and pursued a westerly course until he arrived at the Oregon 
Trail in the valley of the Big Blue. He followed this trail to the Platte River, 
thence up the North Fork to Fort Laramie, from where he journeyed beyond 
the South Pass. He returned to Fort Laramie during the middle of July, then 


struck out in a southerly direction through what is now Colorado, along the 
foothills, to the Arkansas. The expedition then turned eastward, followed the 
river to the Santa Fe Trail, thence to Leavenworth. In his official report, 
Colonel Kearney stated: 

"During our march we met with the Pawnees with several tribes of the 
Sioux Indians with the Cheyennes and Arapahoes. They were distinctly told 
that the road opened by the dragoons must not be closed by the Indians, and 
that the white people traveling upon it must not be disturbed, either in their 
persons or property. It is believed that the Indians will remember to observe 
what has been told to them on this subject. * * * 

"There are a number of white men from our own states, who have nomin- 
ally their residence near Taas (Taos) and Santa Fe, and who come frequently 
into the Indian country between the upper Arkansas and the Platte, between 
'Bent's Fort' and 'Fort Laramie' ; bringing whiskey with them, which they 
trade to the Indians ; consequently causing much difficulty and doing much harm. 
This should be prevented ; and possibly might, by the appointment of a sub-agent, 
which I recommend, located at 'Bent's Fort,' who, under instructions from the 
War Department, might put a stop to that traffic in that section of the country." 

Colonel Kearney strongly advocated placing the entire Indian country under 
martial law; in fact, he believed in controlling the Indians with threats, and with 
brute force, in general with an iron hand. The relative value of the Kearney 
and Dodge theories of Indian government is a matter of debate, but the prepon- 
derance of opinion seems to be in favor of Dodge's conciliatory methods, for 
ultimate ends if not for immediate. 

In 1846 Colonel Kearney was again present upon Colorado soil, but with a 
different purpose. He had with him the forces which he employed in the "blood- 
less" conquest of New Mexico in August of that year. The soldiers marched 
from Leavenworth to a point nine miles below Fort Bent, where all were 
assembled. The army thus gathered went into New Mexico by way of the Raton 
Pass. Shortly after, Colonel Price's command, consisting of 1700 men, followed 
practically the same route and crossed Colorado ground. 


The presence of such great bodies of United States troops upon the plains thor- 
oughly aroused the militant spirit of the Indians of the central and south west. 
The Comanches, Kiowas, Apaches, Osages and Pawnees soon began to attack 
the wagon trains on the Santa Fe Trail. The depredations committed along 
this great highway, the cold and ruthless murders and the accompanying atrocities 
were many during the summer and autumn of 1847. The Utes and Navajoes, 
also the Apaches, began to don their war-paint in northern New Mexico and 
make trouble. Troops from New Mexico were despatched in detachments 
to drive out these bands of Indians and were more or less successful. 

One particularly successful command was given to Lieut-Col. William Gilpin, 
afterwards the first governor of Colorado Territory. Gilpin had taken part in 
the conquest of New Mexico and the march to Chihuahua City as a major in 
the First Missouri Volunteer Cavalry. He returned to Missouri in 1847 and 
then was given the command of a volunteer force organized for the purpose of 



suppressing the Indians who were committing the depredations along the Santa 
Fe Trail. There were three companies of infantry and two of cavalry, com- 
prising about eight hundred and fifty men, in Gilpin's new command. The 
expedition started from Fort Leavenworth in October and on November ist 
reached a point where Walnut Creek enters the Arkansas. Colonel Gilpin 
stated in his report that "By careful inquiry, I estimated the losses sustained 
from Indian attacks during the summer of 1847 to have been: Americans, 
killed, 47; wagons destroyed, 330; stock plundered, 6,500. The greater amount 
of these losses were sustained by government trains, passing with supplies to 
and from Santa Fe. * * * Such had been the losses sustained from the 
Pawnees, and from the allied tribes and Camanches and Kiowas, upon the 
Arkansas and the Cimardn, and from the Apaches, upon the Canadian River, 
farther west. Rumors reached me from all directions, that, inflamed by these 
excesses, an arrangement was negotiating between the latter people, and the 
powerful tribes of the Cheyennes and Arapahoes to carry on the war with their 
united strength, as the season of 1848 should open." 

Gilpin decided that the best strategy would be to enter the Cheyenne and 
Arapaho country boldly. He proceeded to the abandoned Fort Mann, where 
the Santa Fe Trail crossed the Arkansas, there left a portion of his troops as 
a garrison, and then took the remainder of the command directly into the hostile 
country. He encamped on the north side of the upper Arkansas, near what is 
now Pueblo City. "Being without provisions and transportation, my command, 
dismounted for the most part, endured in tents the rigors of the long winter, 
subsisting the men upon such provisions as could be procured from New Mexico 
and the Indians, and the horses upon the dead winter grass. The Indians were, 
however, overawed by this immediate contrast of a military force, abandoned 
all intercourse with the southern tribes, and invited the Kiowas to withdraw 
from the Camanche alliance ; to unite with them in pacific relations with the 
Americans." The Kiowas obeyed the request of the Cheyennes and Arapahoes 
and ceased their warlike activities for the time. 

The two divisions of American troops were again united and a definite 
campaign begun upon the Comanches and Apaches along the Santa Fe Trail. 
Many encounters occurred between the troops and Indians, none of them in 
Colorado, however, and the savages suffered heavy casualties. Colonel Gilpin 
reported: "It will be perceived, then, in what manner so many tribes of Indians 
inhabiting an immense and various territory, have been defeated by a single 
battalion. By the winter march and residence of my cavalry command at the foot 
of the Rocky Mountains, the Kiowas, Cheyennes and Arapahoes were forced 
to abstain from hostilities. These tribes being cut off and kept in the rear by 
the subsequent operations during the spring and summer upon the Canadian, 
Cimaron and middle Arkansas, the Camanches, Apaches, Pawnees and Osages 
were attacked, defeated and driven off in opposite directions. As neither treaties 
of peace nor fortified points nor troops now exist to control this numerous 
cloud of savages, it is clear that all of the atrocities of a very severe Indian 
war may be momentarily looked for, and are certain to burst forth with the 
early spring. * * * The continually crippled condition and destitution of 
supplies caused by the ignorance, the laziness and the vicious character of the 


officers in the frontier depots, has fatally retarded the pacification of the Indian 
country, and heaped up unmeasured trouble for the national government." 

In 1851 the Comanches again went upon the war-path, not only against the 
Americans, but against several other Indian tribes. This outbreak was quelled 
by the military force under Col. John B. Sanborn. From the Arkansas River 
crossing of the Santa Fe Trail, Colonel Sanborn and his troopers marched north- 
ward through Colorado to Fort Laramie, after the Indian trouble was quieted. 
Thereafter several other small military expeditions came through the Colorado 
country, generally following the foothills; the destination of these detachments 
was usually Fort Laramie. One of these, that of Captain Marcy in November, 
1857, followed the route through the San Juan Mountains, and hardships and 
sufferings only comparable to those of Fremont were experienced. An account 
of Marcy 's hazardous journey is given elsewhere. 

The gold-seekers of the late '505 had very little trouble with the Indians. 
The Cheyennes and Arapahoes were disposed to be friendly with the prospectors 
who had located along the eastern slope of the mountains, as the latter formed 
a sort of buffer between them and the Ute tribes. For the same reason, the Utes 
were strongly opposed to the new white settlements. A lone prospector named 
Banker was killed during the summer near the site of Golden, also several other 
miners in the Clear Creek district were murdered by the Utes. On June 26th 
a party of prospectors consisting of J. L. Shank, J. L. Kennedy and William 
M. Slaughter were attacked while they were working just south of Mt. Evans. 
The first fire from the Utes killed Kennedy and mortally wounded Shank, but 
Slaughter escaped. Another tragedy was reported in September. The bodies 
of six white men and one Indian, scalped and mutilated in Indian fashion, were 
found in Dead-men's Gulch, Gunnison County. 


The Indian uprising of 1864 had its beginning in 1861, when the North and 
South became locked in warfare. The Indians of the plains did not fully under- 
stand this great struggle which had begun east of the Missouri River; they 
thought that the "tribes" of the North and South would quickly exterminate 
each other and leave them in complete freedom of the great plains as of yore. 
The Indians were not slow to take advantage of the opportunity. In order to 
facilitate the redemption of their hunting grounds and the expulsion of the 
Americans they began quietly to prepare for a concentrated attack. They were 
wise enough to realize that only in united effort could their wish be gratified, 
and not by desultory attacks or unorganized movement. In this they were only 
partially successful. Some of the larger tribes were willing to confederate, but 
others hesitated to ally themselves with those hitherto their bitter enemies. An- 
other factor which prevented an expeditious union was the lack of guns and am- 
munition. The day of the bow and arrow as an offensive weapon was past. 
Accordingly, with stealth and diplomacy, all of the plains Indians began to 
accumulate weapons from the white men. They would either steal, trade or 
buy rifles and ammunition. The suspicion of some ominous occurrence to fall 
upon the settlements became general among the Americans, but all questions 
put to the Indians in regard to their consuming desire for ordnance were an- 


swered evasively or by skillful falsehood. The Cheyennes and Arapahoes, 
although of the most peaceful attitude apparently, were also making prepara- 
tions for war. The Utes did not conceal their true feelings so well, but main- 
tained an openly hostile front. The small depredations and killings reported 
from the mining districts in the late '503 and the early '6os were all perpetrated 
by the Utes, generally small bands acting independently of the main tribe. 

By the summer of 1862 the necessity arose of making a serious effort to 
counteract the growing restlessness of the Indians of the plains. On July 18, 
1862, Governor Evans, in his message to the Territorial Legislature, strongly 
advocated the organization of a militia force and recommended a statute for 
that purpose. The Legislature immediately complied with this request. But 
action upon the new law, with immediate advantage to be gained from its enact- 
ment, was impossible of accomplishment and the settlers were left during the re- 
mainder of the year with inadequate protection. It is true that the Second Colo- 
rado Volunteer Infantry had been organized, but this regiment was poorly 
equipped and in all probability could not have withstood a very severe attack. 
In August, 1862, several stage stations along the Arkansas River in Kansas were 
plundered by Indian bands, but no men killed. In the same summer, northwestern 
Iowa, southwestern Minnesota and southeastern Dakota received their baptism 
of blood at the hands of the Sioux. New Ulm became history and over a 
thousand men, women and children were slaughtered. Hostilities there really 
began as early as 1855, when the massacre at Lake Okoboji, Iowa, occurred 
and four white women were carried away to hideous captivity. 

The first raid within the borders of Colorado occurred in March, 1863. At 
this time a band of Cheyennes and Kiowas appeared at the settlement located 
at the mouth of the Cache a la Poudre and confiscated every horse and gun 
they could find. No murders were committed here, showing, without question, 
that the Indians had decided upon a definite course and were not yet ready 
to begin killing. Other raids of similar nature were conducted by the Indians 
along the Platte and the South Platte during the remainder of the year, all the 
time enlarging their means of warfare. Governor Evans appreciated the neces-, 
sity of quick and forceful action on the part of the government and repeatedly 
conveyed his fears and knowledge of conditions to Washington. However, the 
government had its hands full fighting the Southern Confederacy and was unable 
to hasten any material aid to the western plains. From reliable sources in- 
formation had come that the Indians were to be ready the following spring 
and would then turn loose with all their pent-up ferocity and hellish purposes, 
beginning with the sparser settlements and gradually consuming the larger centers 
of population. 

With the coming of spring in 1864 the Indian activities began to assume 
definite character. A central ground was established on the Smoky Hill fork 
of the Republican River, in western Kansas, and here the Indians gathered, 
sending out raiding parties on the eve of their offensive, both to learn of the 
disposition of the Whites and to gather more- supplies. The only military 
organization in Colorado Territory then was the First Colorado Cavalry. A 
detachment of this regiment, consisting of a hundred men armed with two 
howitzers, met fully three hundred Cheyennes about ten miles from Fort Larned. 
The Indians immediately attacked openly, but were repulsed with heavy loss 


and were scattered. About the same time a smaller detachment of soldiers of 
the First met a half hundred Cheyennes at the mouth of Kiowa Creek, in Morgan 
County, Colorado, engaged in rustling a drove of horses. The soldiers de- 
manded the surrender of the animals and were answered by a volley, which 
killed one cavalryman and wounded three others. The troops did not have their 
carbines, so permitted the Indians to escape with the stolen horses. 

These skirmishes resulted in the quick despatch of a full company of the 
First Colorado down the South Platte. At Cedar Canon, in what is now Logan 
County, the company encountered an encampment of about three hundred In- 
dians and quickly opened fire upon them. The engagement became bitter, but 
at last the Indians were defeated, with a loss of thirty-eight killed. One 
cavalryman was shot during the melee. Quite a number of horses were captured 
by the troops, more than recompense for those stolen by the Indians just 

Governor Evans then sent word to Fort Leavenworth, requesting of Gen. 
S. R. Curtis, commander of the Department of Kansas and the Indian Ter- 
ritory, a sufficient number of troops to protect the settlers in Denver and 
vicinity. Curtis replied that he had no soldiers to spare. Governor Evans then 
repeated the request to the authorities in New Mexico, but again was refused. 


To increase the general alarm, a report came . to Denver, during the first 
week of June, that a large body of Indians was approaching the city from the 
north and east, with the intention of massacring the inhabitants and sacking the 
homes. Governor Evans practically placed Denver under martial law, and 
ordered all business houses to close at 6:30 o'clock in the evening, in order that 
the citizens might assemble at the corner of I4th and Larimer streets for drill. 
The women and children were congregated in the brick buildings during the 
night and a close network of sentinels established on the outskirts. The report 
soon proved to be false, however, although the situation was rapidly becoming 
desperate. Just one company of the First Colorado was left at Denver, the 
remainder of the regiment having been sent to Fort Lyon a few days before. 
It is easy to understand that a concerted attack by even a thousand Indians 
at this time would have resulted in a massacre greater than any which after- 
wards occurred during the Indian wars. The people of Denver were not in 
a position to defend themselves to any extent and would have been quickly 
overcome by the savages. The bloodshed which would have followed is hor- 
rible to contemplate. 

Under the provisions of a territorial act of 1862, Governor Evans attempted 
to form a military force and began by appointing Henry M. Teller as major- 
general of such force and with the authority to organize the same. At the 
same time he requested the authorities at Washington to allow him to organize 
a volunteer cavalry troop for the period of one hundred days. After much 
delay this was granted. In the meantime the citizens of Denver fortified every 
available building in the town and made all preparations for an attack. 

On June i8th word came to Denver of the massacre of a settler named 
Hungate, with his wife and two children, at his ranch on Running Creek, twenty- 


five miles east of the city. A band of savages led by Roman Nose, a northern 
Cheyenne chieftain, had committed the deed and burned the houses after 
taking all the plunder and stock desired. The scalped and terribly mutilated 
bodies of the Hungate family were carried to Denver and here exhibited to pub- 
lic view as a rather ghastly warning to the people. 


By autumn of 1864 the Indian uprising was in full force. The whole plains 
region between the Rockies and the Missouri River and from the Canada 
boundary to the Rio Grande was in the throes of Indian war. All routes of 
travel were the scenes of bloody massacres and running fights. Lurking bands of 
Indians awaited the stages and either compelled them to seek safety in headlong 
flight or submit to capture, which meant slow torture for the passengers and driv- 
ers until death relieved them. Freight caravans traveled only in large groups and 
even then they were subject to attack and in some cases the Indians killed all the 
defenders and carried off the women and merchandise. During this "reign 
of terror" on the plains the Indian mind devised every known means of inflicting 
torture trpon his captives. Bodies of white men were found in an unmentionable 
state of mutilation, this having been accomplished before death. Ranch houses 
were raided and the owners killed or carried into captivity. The latter recourse 
applied only to women and their fate was even worse than death. Many of 
the American women were driven insane or to suicide by the inhuman and 
brutal treatment accorded them by the savages. When one -reads of the whole- 
sale slaughter by the Indians, the tortures inflicted upon helpless people, the 
destruction of property, the acts committed upon the white women and all 
of it according to the plan they had so carefully wrought during the pre- 
ceding years, the massacres just for the pure love of killing and sight of blood, 
the heavy toll exacted by Chivington at Sand Creek seems to have been, as pun- 
ishment, a mere reprimand. Notwithstanding the Indians' apologists in later 
years, the savage was at heart a beast, of primitive impulses and atrocious 
motives. Had not their deeds of crime during the uprising proved this, their 
life, personal habits, and their customs would have substantiated the fact. 

Governor Evans sent messages to certain Indians whom he thought to be 
peaceable and advised them to seek safety at some military post, but none 'of 
them so warned heeded his words. At the same time the governor gave all 
citizens of Colorado authority to kill Indians wherever they were found and 
to take their property, but to avoid attacking peaceful Indians, if there were any. 
Col. J. M. Chivington was the commander of the Colorado Military Division, 
subordinate to General Curtis at Fort Leavenworth, but little aid was expected 
from this source, as the Confederates in Missouri under Price compelled the re- 
tention of all Federal troops there. 

In the latter part of August a large force of Indians congregated on Beaver 
Creek, near its junction with the South Platte, with the intention of attacking 
the white settlements along the foothills through Colorado. Word of this came 
to Denver on the night of the 2Oth of August. Colonel Chivington immediately 
called together all the available, military forces, including a company of home 
guards which had been organized by Attorney General Samuel E. Browne and 


Gen. Henry M. Teller. This force of men was sent down the river to prevent 
the raid at all costs. The Indians, who had counted greatly upon the element of 
surprise, gave up their plan when they learned of the approach of the troops 
and returned to their depredations on the Platte River Trail. 

In September, 1864, a proposal was made to the commander of the Fort 
Lyon post by the Indians in the Smoky Hill district to make peace, provided 
that the agreement included the Kiowas, Comanches, Arapahoes, Apaches and 
Sioux. This written proposal, coming from a mere encampment of five or six 
hundred Indians, was signed by Black Kettle and other chiefs. The sincerity of 
the proposal was questioned, as the matter seemed to have been presented too 
casually to bear much weight. The Indians also agreed to surrender some white 
women and children whom they had captured. One of the women, a Mrs. Sny- 
der, had hung herself a few weeks before rather than endure the shameful treat- 
ment accorded her. 


Finally, an arrangement was concluded whereby five of the chieftains were 
to go to Denver for a peace conference. These turned out to be Black Kettle, 
his brother, White Antelope, Bull Bear, a Cheyenne, Neva and Bosse, Arapahoes. 
Before going to Denver the Indians gave up four prisoners to the Fort Lyon com- 
mander and then on the 28th of September a council was held with Governor 
Evans, Colonel Chivington and others of the white leaders. Black Kettle and 
Bull Bear addressed the meeting ; the former blamed the murders upon the young 
men of the tribes, while the latter stated that the uprising originated with the 
Sioux. Governor Evans spoke to the Indians then and warned them against 
further warfare, but it remained for Chivington to end the meeting with his 
characteristic strenuosity. He told the Indians plainly and in none too mild 
language that to continue their depredations would mean just one of two things 
submission to the white man's will or extermination. Nothing definite was 
decided at this council and the Indians returned to Fort Lyon under escort. 

Within the week, Governor Evans left Denver for Washington, leaving the 
administration in the hands of Acting Governor Elbert and Colonel Chivington. 
He remained in the East for seven months. 

By this time the Third Colorado Volunteer Cavalry had been organized. This 
was the organization of one-hundred-days' men which Evans had requested per- 
mission to organize. George L. Shoup was the colonel of the regiment and the 
encampment was located in Denver. A few small reconnaissances were made, 
but no serious conflict was had with the Indians during the recruiting stages. 
Camp was moved to the head of Bijou Creek about the first of November. 

During the autumn months Indian activities had increased alarmingly along 
the Missouri River trails and on the Arkansas. People ceased to travel overland 
and freighters refused to move unless adequately protected by the military. 
Hundreds of emigrants from the East waited at the Missouri River during the 
summer, until the conditions upon the plains became better. The more adven- 
turous pushed on despite all warnings and generally came to grief. The total 
loss of life during this time has never been accurately computed, but it is safe 
to say that over one hundred white people lost their lives while traveling through 
the plains country. 



Black Kettle and his four companions returned to the Smoky Hill rendez- 
vous after the council in Denver. The Arapahoes under Left Hand, to which 
band Neva and Bosse belonged, went to Fort Lyon in October and surrendered 
much of the plunder that had been taken, to the officers of the post. The com- 
mander kept them at the fort for a few days, then advised Left Hand to take 
his warriors to an encampment upon Sand Creek, a tributary of the Arkansas. 
The Arapahoes did as they were bidden and proceeded to a point forty miles 
west of the fort, where they were joined by Black Kettle and his Cheyennes. 
The whole band formed a village of some eight hundred men, although the In- 
dians claimed after the massacre that there were only about two hundred of 
them. The real purpose of the Indians at this time is not known for certain. 
Some writers have claimed that they believed themselves to be under the protec- 
tion of the forts and that they were peaceable, while other historians have ad- 
vanced the theory that the Indians were simply taking a breathing spell and were 
planning to go upon the warpath again. 

After the conference at Denver, Colonel Chivington began to make preparations 
for dealing a severe blow to the Indians before winter. General Curtis, at Fort 
Leavenworth, advocated ruthless measures to punish the savages for their past 
crimes, consequently Chivington felt secure in whatever he might do. Soon he 
developed a plan to attack the Cheyennes and Arapahoes encamped on Sand 
Creek and so carry into effect the threats he had made to Black Kettle in Den- 
ver. For his campaign he selected the greater part of the Third Colorado Cavalry 
and several units of the First Cavalry; two field-pieces of light artillery were 
also taken. With this outfit he marched rapidly toward the Sand Creek encamp- 
ment, first going to Fort Lyon. He arrived at the fort on November 28th and 
after a few hours' rest here he continued toward the Indian village, with 125 
extra men and two more cannon. He came upon the Indians at sunrise the next 

Chivington had given definite orders to his men while at Fort Lyon and 
these orders in a word were no quarter! They were to kill without mercy, 
sparing neither man, woman nor child. His intentions had been a secret before 
reaching Fort Lyon, as he desired more than anything to take the Indians com- 
pletely by surprise. 

The hour was early and many of the Indians had not come from their lodges. 
A raking artillery and musketry fire met them as they ran wildly about, endeav- 
oring to organize for defense. Their horses were stampeded by a detachment 
of soldiers. Many of the Indians, thinking the soldiers had mistaken them for 
a war party* ran toward the troops, with their hands raised in token of peace. 
This was of no avail and they were shot down without consideration. Fully a 
hundred of the other warriors began to fight and continued desperately, but 
against such heavy odds that they were quickly slaughtered. White Antelope 
and Left Hand fell early in the fight, the former with his hands raised in sur- 
render and the latter standing motionless, refusing to fight men whom he had 
always considered friends. The women and children crowded together for 
safety, but the troopers killed them as they stood. Nor were the wounded spared ; 
the white men scalped and mutilated the bodies in a manner unsurpassed by any 


bloodthirsty savage in the past. By the testimony given during the Federal in- 
vestigation of this massacre it would seem that the soldiers became fiends incar- 
nate. The condition of the bodies and the evidence of frenzied butchery is hard 
to believe as the work of Americans, but such it was. Not content with merely 
killing the savages and their families, some of the soldiers insanely cut the 
bodies to pieces, mashed the heads of others, and in numerous ways satiated their 
abnormal desires. Black Kettle and 200 of the warriors succeeded in escaping 
about midday and were not apprehended. By 2 o'clock in the afternoon the 
soldiers ceased their bloody work, as there were no more Indians left to kill. A 
few women were found hidden in the lodges, but these were quickly murdered. 
Then began the work of pillage. 

The results of this massacre were far-reaching and many. Chivington, after 
a few days' search for another band of Arapahoes supposed to be under the 
leadership of Little Raven, returned to Denver where he was received with ac- 
claim. His losses had been small, ten men killed and thirty-eight wounded, of 
whom four died. He reported boastfully that he had captured no prisoners and 
that he had left between five and six hundred Indians dead upon the field. In 
the matter of estimating the number of Indians engaged, the number killed, etc., 
there is a wide variance of opinion. Deeds committed in white heat are not 
easily reduced to figures afterwards. A trader by the name of Smith, who was 
in the Indian encampment at the time of the massacre, said there were only about 
two hundred fighting men engaged. One person actually "counted" four hundred 
and fifty corpses on the ground, while Major Anthony, of Chivington's force, esti- 
mated that there were one hundred and twenty-five Indians killed. As to the 
whole number of Cheyennes and Arapahoes in the encampment, there is a still 
greater variance. From a study of all reports, it is believed that there were 
not over six hundred men, women and children in all. Colonel Chivington reported 
that he had with him "about five hundred men of the Third Regiment, and about 
two hundred and fifty of the First Colorado; Anthony's battalion of the First- 
Colorado, and Lieutenant Wilson's battalion of the Third Colorado; in all about 
one thousand men." 


The people of Denver welcomed Chivington and his troops when they re- 
turned, proclaiming him as their deliverer. But it was different in other parts 
of the country. Chivington was denounced with the same terms as had been 
hitherto applied to the Indians. In January, 1865, Congress took heed of the 
wave of indignation which had spread over the land and ordered an investiga- 
tion to be made of the massacre. Many things of interest were brought out at 
this formal probe into the details of Sand Creek. 

The testimony showed that Black Kettle hoisted a white flag over his lodge 
when the troops were first seen and that it was disregarded by Chivington. On 
the other hand, it was proved that numerous scalps taken from the heads of white 
people were found in the lodges, some of them still fresh. Other articles of 
plunder which were recognized as having come from Americans were discovered. 
Various bits of testimony were given and the circumstances of the tragedy were 
built up detail by detail. 


Notwithstanding the fact that the people of Colorado, that is, the majority 
of them, stood up for Chivington and the Territorial Legislature passed resolu- 
tions of approbation, Congress took a different view of the matter. The com- 
mittee which had conducted the investigation reported the following May and in 
no uncertain terms condemned the act committed by Chivington. The report 
stated that "it is difficult to believe that beings in the form of men, and disgracing 
the uniform of United States soldiers and officers, could commit or countenance 
the commission of such acts of cruelty and barbarity as are detailed in the testi- 
mony." In regard to the leader the committee stated: "As to Colonel Chiving- 
ton, your committee can hardly find fitting terms to describe his conduct. Wear- 
ing the uniform of the United States, which should be the emblem of justice and 
humanity; holding the important position of commander of a military district, 
and therefore having the honor of the Government to that extent in his keeping, 
he deliberately planned and executed a foul and dastardly massacre which would 
have disgraced the veriest savage among those who were, the victims of his 
cruelty. * * * The truth is that he surprised and murdered, in cold blood, 
the unsuspecting men, women and children on Sand Creek, who had every reason 
to believe they were under the protection of the United States authorities, and 
then returned to Denver and boasted of the brave deeds he and the men under 
his command had performed. * * * In conclusion, your committee are of 
the opinion that for the purpose of vindicating the cause of justice and uphold- 
ing the honor of the nation, prompt and energetic measures should at once be 
taken to remove from office those who have thus disgraced the Government by 
whom they are employed, and to punish, as their crimes deserve, those who 
have been guilty of these brutal and cowardly acts." 

After the governmental investigation, the reaction came to the people of 
Colorado. There arose a constantly growing group of citizens who condemned 
Chivington. The matter became a political issue, a social question and, in fact, 
pervaded the very life of the territory. The question of statehood was before 
the people then and those favoring statehood were Chivington men; conse- 
quently, those opposed to statehood became anti-Sand Creek men. 

Colonel Chivington stoutly defended his actions, claiming that he had un- 
doubtedly saved Denver and other Colorado communities from imminent attack 
and suffering and that such treatment was the only kind the Indians appreciated. 
In this radical view, Chivington had many supporters, particularly among those 
familiar with the Indian and his character. On the other hand, he held many 
enemies throughout the remainder of his life, enemies in such number that his 
future activities were failures*. Chivington left Denver in 1867 and went to 
San Diego, Cal. In 1873 ne moved to Cincinnati, O., remained there until 
1883 and then returned to Denver. He held a few minor public offices here 
before he died October 4, 1894. It may be interesting to note that he was a 
Methodist minister before entering the Government service. 


Instead of cowing the plains Indians into submission, the Sand Creek mas- 
sacre only added fuel to the flame of their hatred and hostility. The killing of 
their tribesmen brought all the tribes together in a unity otherwise impossible 


and in hundreds of ways they exacted their toll from the Americans. They cre- 
ated a reign of terror unknown before and the whole plains region from the 
Colorado settlements to those of Kansas and Nebraska became an untenable 
space. Stage stations were burned and the keepers killed, all livestock had been 
captured, the overland telegraph line was destroyed, and even the troops occupy- 
ing posts were compelled to remain behind their stockades. The absence of any 
freighting upon the trails brought about a panic in Colorado Territory. Sup- 
plies were low, prices arose exorbitantly and the winter months were of extra- 
ordinary severity. The Third Colorado Cavalry had been mustered out previ- 
ously and there arose the necessity for more troops. Acting Governor Elbert 
issued a call for several companies of volunteers, mounted, but the sentiment 
against Sand Creek was too strong and the volunteering was negligible. Colonel 
Chivington was succeeded as commander of the Colorado District by Col. Thomas 
Moonlight, of the Eleventh Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, in January, 1865. Colonel 
Moonlight suggested amendments to the territorial militia law, so as to provide 
pay and bounties, also horses, for the proposed volunteers, and while the Legis- 
ture filibustered for a fortnight over the bill, he declared martial law in the ter- 
ritory and closed all business houses and industries except those dealing in 
necessities. Governor Elbert now asked for seven companies ; two from Ara- 
paho County, two from Gilpin County, one from Jefferson, one from Clear Creek 
and one from Boulder, Weld and Larimer counties together. The outcome was 
satisfactory and the companies were quickly recruited to full strength and placed 
under the command of Samuel E. Browne. 

The Indian depredations continued without abatement. Colonel Moonlight, 
in his report to Gen. Grenville M. Dodge, then in command of the Department 
of Missouri, said : "The Indians are bold in the extreme. They have burned 
every ranch between Julesburg and Valley Station, and nearly all the property 
at the latter place ; driven off all stock, both public and private. These Indians 
are led by white men, and have complete control of all the country outside my 
district, so that I am hemmed in." It is said that the glare of flaming homes 
could be seen at night from Denver; in fact, almost all of the surrounding coun- 
try was in the hands of the redskins. The stage route from Denver to Julesburg 
had been devastated every mile of the way, every ranch and every station de- 
stroyed. Warehouses and the station at Julesburg were burned. It is needless 
to describe the fate of the Americans who were captured by the Indians. 

The Wisconsin Ranch, about one hundred miles northeast of Denver, was 
attacked by a large force of Cheyennes and defended by the owner, Holon God- 
frey, and three other men. Four women were there and assisted in every way 
during the fighting which continued all day, the attack having been made in the 
morning. After nightfall, one of the defenders, Perkins, escaped from the 
ranch and rode for help to an encampment of soldiers near Fort Morgan. Four 
soldiers and a corporal accompanied Perkins back to the ranch and succeeded 
in stealing into the house unmolested. With this reinforcement Godfrey repelled 
the Indians and won for himself a reputation among them as "Old Wicked." 

Another ranch owned by Elbridge Gerry, located about seventy miles north- 
east of Denver, was attacked at the same time as that of Godfrey. There were 
five men, one woman and a child, there at the time and they made a heroic de- 
fense of the house before the Cheyennes and Arapahoes forced an entrance. The 




It is probable that in its original height the top of the tower afforded a wide view of 
the mesa that lies back of it. 


Indians killed all but the woman, whom they carred away to a worse fate. These 
are but instances, two of the countless stories which could be told of the incidents 
which happened in Colorado during this period. 

The efficiency of General Dodge began to have effect shortly after he took 
office. Many of the more important trails were opened, including^that along the 
Platte River, and before summer the Santa Fe Trail was again a comparatively 
safe highway. The Colorado volunteers engaged in guarding the Denver-Jules- 
burg stage route until the last of April, when they were mustered out of service. 
They were the last of the Colorado volunteers to see active service against the 

The close of the Rebellion released many troops for service in the West 
and several military posts were established, more for the purpose of protecting 
the trails than to carry on an organized warfare against the Indians. This gave 
the Indians the opportunity to continue killing white men, holding up stages and 
capturing women, which they did to the full extent of their ability. Hardly a 
day passed but some new atrocity occurred ; and it is equally safe tp say that not 
a stage, nor an emigrant train, succeeded in crossing the plains without one or 
more fights with the Indians, sometimes winning and other times .suffering an- 

Although a treaty was made in October, 1865, between the hostile tribes and 
the United States, the Indians considered their agreement as a "mere scrap of 
paper" and in the next year resumed their old tactics. 1866 was not a year of 
such intense activity as 1865 and during the greater part of the time emigrant 
and freight caravans crossed the plains to Colorado without serious interrup- 

However, the year 1867 brought a renewal of the Indian outbreaks. The 
depredations, burnings, killings and other deeds once more grew common and 
the trails through Colorado again became impassable. Several stage stations in 
northern Colorado were destroyed. This resumption of hostilities led the United 
States Government to inaugurate a more extensive and enlarged campaign against 
the savages, the details of which are not associated with the history of Colorado. 
The courses of the Platte and Arkansas rivers continued to be dangerous coun- 
try for Americans, as the Indians maintained their warfare against small bands 
of settlers and travelers despite the expeditions launched against them by the 
Government. But they were doomed to complete and utter defeat; the white 
troops hunted them down in all parts of the great plains; tribe after tribe was 
compelled to sue for peace, until finally, late in the spring of 1869, the last of 
the tribes had been subdued. 

The Cheyennes and Arapahoes were moved from their reservation in Colo- 
rado to Oklahoma in 1867, which ended the occupancy of Colorado by the plains 
Indians. In 1868, however, having been reinforced, the Cheyennes and their 
allies again went upon the warpath, confining their ravages to the western part 
of Kansas. In August 3 number of the Cheyennes and Arapahoes came into 
eastern Colorado, bearing letters which certified that they were peaceable In- 
dians, these letters having been issued the year before when their treaty was 
made and which were now void, or rather, forfeited by their behavior. They 
attacked and killed a number of settlers on Bijou and Kiowa creeks. Some of 
them penetrated into the South Park by way of the Ute Pass and there attacked 


their old enemies the Utes, killing several^of them. In the meantime, they had 
secured entrance to Colorado City by their letters, the citizens believing them to 
be peaceable. After their skirmish with the Utes, the supposed friendly In- 
dians stole all the livestock they could in Colorado City and escaped. A short time 
afterward several attacks were made along Monument Creek, in which a num- 
ber of the white settlers lost their lives. Three men were murdered in the 
southeast part of Larimer County by a small band of Cheyennes. 

No troops were available in the territory and appeals to General Sheridan, 
at Fort Hays, in western Kansas, were fruitless. On August 28th a small force 
was hastily thrown together in Denver and before daylight on the following 
morning had started for Bijou Creek, led by Maj. Jacob Downing. But the 
Indians had gone, taking their plunder with them. 


One of the most remarkable battles between United States troops and hostile 
Indians during the whole plains war occurred on Colorado soil. The details of 
this singular engagement follow. 

Brev. Col. George A. Forsyth, serving on the staff of General Sheridan 
during the summer of 1868, requested to be appointed to active service in the 
field. Forsyth had won his spurs and was considered a good Indian fighter, con- 
sequently his request was granted. Sheridan ordered him to organize a company 
of fifty trained scouts, for duty along the Colorado-Kansas frontier. Forsyth 
speedily recruited his men, fifty in number, in addition to himself, First Lieut. 
Frederick H. Beecher, of the Third United States Infantry, and Acting Assistant 
Surgeon J. H. Mooers, unattached. 

Forsyth left Fort Hays on August 29th and campaigned for a few days with- 
out noteworthy result. On the evening of September i6th he and his men pitched 
their tents on the Arickaree, or Middle Fork of the Republican River, at a point 
about fifteen miles south of the Town of Wray, Yuma County, Colorado. They 
had reached this place by following an Indian trail which appeared to be fresh 
and to denote rather a strong aggregation. 

The soldiers opened their eyes the next morning to see hundreds of Indians 
on the bluffs overlooking the river on the opposite side. Men, women and chil- 
dren there were, literally swarming along the bank. At the head of the band 
was Roman Nose, a notorious character, who had participated in the Indian 
war since the beginning. The Indians immediately opened fire upon the troops, 
whereupon Forsyth selected a small, sandy island in the center of the river and 
there moved his men. In this way he had the protection of water on all sides. 
The men quickly dug rifle pits in the sand, also using the bodies of some of the 
horses which had been shot for barricades. Then ensued a battle which consti- 
tutes one of the most heroic and brilliant features of American military history. 


Forsyth received three wounds early in the fight, but protected himself as 
much as possible and directed his men. Charge after charge of the Indians was 
broken up by the accurate fire of the Americans. Several of the troopers were 


hit, one of them killed. Roman Nose, a magnificent type of Cheyenne, led the 
warriors, but in one of the earlier charges received his death wound. Forsyth, 
in Harper's Magazine, June, 1895, described Roman Nose thusly: "As Roman 
Nose dashed gallantly forward, and swept into the open at the head of his superb 
command he was a very beau ideal of an Indian chief. Mounted on a large clean- 
limbed chestnut horse he sat well forward on his bare-backed charger, his knees 
passing under a horse-hair lariat that twice loosely encircled the animal's body, 
his horse's bridle grasped in his left hand, which was also closely wound in its 
flowing mane, and at the same time clutched his rifle at the guard, the butc of 
which lay partially upon and across the animal's neck, while its barrel, crossing 
diagonally in front of his body, rested slightly against the hollow of his left arm, 
leaving his right free to direct the course of his men. He was a man over six 
feet three inches in height, beautifully formed, and save for a crimson silk sash 
knotted around his waist, and his moccasins on his feet, perfectly naked. His 
face was hideously painted in alternate lines of red and black, and his head 
crowned with a magnificent war bonnet, from which, just above his temples and 
curving slightly forward, stood up two short black buffalo horns, while its ample 
length of eagles' feathers and herons' plumes trailed wildly on the wind behind 
him ; and as he came swiftly on at the head of his charging warriors, in all his 
barbaric strength and grandeur, he proudly rode that day the most perfect type 
of a savage warrior it had been my lot to see. * * * he drew his body to 
its full height and shook his clenched fist defiantly at us ; then, throwing back 
his head and glancing skyward, he suddenly struck the palm of his hand across 
his mouth and gave tongue to a war-cry that I have never heard equaled in 
power and intensity. Scarcely had its echoes reached the river's bank when it 
was caught up by each and every one of the charging warriors with an energy 
that baffles description, and answered back with blood-curdling yells of exulta- 
tion and prospective vengeance by the women and children on the river's bluffs, 
and by the Indians who lay in ambush around us. On they came at a swinging 
gallop, rending the air with their wild warwhoops, each individual warrior in all 
his bravery of warpaint and long braided scalp lock tipped with eagle's feathers, 
and all stark-naked but for their cartridge belts and moccasins, keeping in line 
almost perfectly, with a front of about sixty men, all riding bare-back, with only 
a loose lariat about their horses' bodies, about a yard apart, and with a depth of 
six or seven ranks, forming together a compact body of massive fighting strength 
and of almost resistless weight." 


The charge was received with a galling fire from the troops and after a half- 
dozen volleys the Indians broke ranks and retreated. The ambushed Indians 
maintained a fusilade upon the troops while the charge was in progress and suc- 
ceeded in killing at least two of the Americans and wounding several others. 
After the failure of the attack and the death of Roman Nose, also the medicine 
man of the tribe, the Indians were disconcerted and rode wildly about, while the 
squaws kept up an unearthly wailing in grief over the loss of their men. Other 
charges were attempted during the day, but like the first, were not successful. 

Spotted Tail (Sintegaleshka) a Brule 
Teton Sioux. A distinguished leader of the 
Siouan people. 

Red Cloud, Chief of the Oglalla Sioux, 
who in his prime was the great military 
leader of the Sioux Nation. He was born 
in 1822 and died on December 10, 1909. 

Mon-chu-non-zhin (Standing Bear), of 
the Ponea Branch of the Dhegiha Sioux. He 
was an exceptional chieftain, and devoted to 
the welfare of his people. 

Geronimo, a Chiricahua-Apache. His 
Indian name is Goyathlay "One Who 
Yawns." He was a leader, and always hos- 
tile to the white people. 


Toward the end of the day the brave Lieutenant Beecher received his death 
wound. Forsyth thus describes Beecher's untimely end : 

"Lieutenant Beecher rose from his rifle pit, and, leaning on his rifle, half 
staggered, half dragged himself to where I lay, and calmly lying down by my 
side, with his face turned downward on his arm, said quietly, and simply: 'I have 
my death wound, General, I am shot in the side and dying.' 

" 'Oh, no, Beecher no ! It can't be as bad as that !' 

;> 'Yes. Good night.' And then he immediately sank into half unconscious- 
ness. . In a few moments I heard him murmur 'My poor mother,' and then he 
soon grew slightly delirious and at times I could hear him talking in a semi-uncon- 
scious manner about the fight ; but he was never again fully conscious, and at sunset 
his life went out. And thus perished one of the best and bravest officers in the 
United States Army." 

While Surgeon Mooers bent over examining the wounds sustained by For- 
syth he, too, received a fatal wound, from which he died on the second day 


With the coming of night upon that first day, two of the scouts Jack Stil- 
well and Pierre Trudeau volunteered to attempt to reach Fort Wallace, there 
to procure help for the besieged men. During the night they succeeded in es- 
caping from the island and eluding the watchful Indians. 

On the second day of the battle another charge was attempted and failed. 
Whereupon the Indians changed their tactics and prepared for a slow siege, to 
compel the men to surrender from starvation. This was continued until the 
ninth day thereafter, except for one small charge on the last day. The troopers, 
especially those who were wounded, suffered much from the heat during the 
days, while food became exhausted. The flesh of the dead horses was eaten and 
the rest buried in the ground to retard putrefaction. Water was obtained by dig- 
ging into the sand. On the evening of the third day, two more scouts crept from 
the island, to try to make Fort Wallace for aid. A greater part of the Indian 
band had left, but there remained a sufficient number to hold the troops on the 
island. Sniping was the main pastime during the long hours and many of the 
soldiers received wounds. 

On the morning of the ninth day after the first attack, and after a half-hearted 
charge, the Indians suddenly withdrew. The reason soon became apparent. In 
a short time the fluttering pennons of American cavalrymen were seen by the 
desperate soldiers on the island. A troop of the Tenth United States Cavalry 
had arrived from Fort Wallace. The mission of the four brave scouts who 
escaped from the island had been accomplished. 

When the casualties were noted, it was found that besides Lieutenant Beecher 
and Surgeon Mooers, three of the scouts were dead, one was mortally wounded, 
and seventeen were wounded more or less seriously.' Forsyth recovered from 
his wounds and became a distinguished soldier in the United States Army. A 
monument was erected on this historic island in September, 1898, and the island 
itself has always been preserved as one of the most honorable spots upon the 
western plains. Beecher Island, as it is called, has upon it the graves of the 
men who there died. 



The last Indian uprising upon Colorado soil occurred in September, 1879, at 
the White River Agency, near the present Town of Meeker, Rio Blanco County,' 
Colorado. What is now Rio Blanco County was at that time a part of the 
White River Ute reservation. 

In the forepart of the year 1878 N. C. Meeker, one of the founders of the 
Town of Greeley, had been appointed to the position of agent at the White River 
Agency. There he found that the Utes were not in the best of humor and, in 
fact, had been sullen and dissatisfied for two years previous. Meeker was not 
a man of sufficient ability, or personally fitted, to manage Indians. He was 
sincere in his desire to reform their methods of living, but was too much of an 
idealist. The Utes had previously made several raids into the Middle and North 
parks, killing several white men and stealing everything they could carry away. 
After Meeker took charge of the agency two parties of Utes, led by "George 
Washington" and Piah, made a foray upon the plains and killed a settler named 
McLean near the head of the Republican headwater forks. Returning to their 
home, the Indians came through Denver, then into Middle Park. Here one of 
the savages was killed by a white man, in revenge for which they murdered a 
settler named Elliott shortly after. 

A posse of men was formed at Hot Sulphur Springs and sent to the White 
River Agency to apprehend the guilty Indians. The Indians persisted in holding a 
council, at which time they denied any knowledge of the Elliott murder or other 

Conditions at the agency became worse and Meeker was unable to stem the 
tide of unrest arising among the Utes. The chieftains assumed the upper hand, 
while Meeker became really a subordinate to such notorious Indians as Colorow. 
The visit of the white men after Elliott's death quieted them to some extent 
until the spring of 1879, when fresh deeds were committed. Bands of the Utes 
burned houses and stole stock, also maliciously started forest fires. Meeker 
became alarmed and, although he had repeatedly stated that he would have no 
troops at the agency, he decided that it had become necessary to have military 
protection. He reported to Washington to that effect and also requested of Gov- 
ernor Pitkin of Colorado some sort of military aid. At the same time, the Indians 
made efforts to have Meeker removed from office, as they strongly resented his 
efforts to civilize them. A number of them, led by Captain Jack, visited Governor 
Pitkin at Denver to this effect. 

Finally, Gen. John Pope, under instructions from Washington, ordered Capt. 
Francis S. Dodge, with a company of fifty colored soldiers from the Ninth L T nited 
States Cavalry, then at Fort Garland in the San Luis Valley, to conduct a small 
campaign in the Middle and North parks, to protect the settlers and keep the 
Indians within the bounds of their reservation. Despite the presence of the hated 
negro troops "buffalo soldiers" as called by the Indians the Utes continued to 
send out marauding parties and create havoc among the settlements. 

The settlers themselves attempted to resist and one of them, Maj. J. B. Thomp- 
son, obtained warrants for the arrest of "Bennett" and "Chinaman," two of the 
Indian leaders. Sheriff Bessey, of Grand County, with four men, went to the 
agency to arrest the culprits, but was informed by Douglass, another chief, that 


the two Indians were not there. This enraged the Indians more than ever and 
shortly afterward Meeker himself was attacked by "Johnson," the medicine man 
of the tribe, and would have lost his life had it not been for timely assistance. 
Several other attempts to injure the white men occurred, all of which forecasted 
an approaching crisis at the agency. 

Further representations were made to the Indian Bureau, by both Meeker and 
Governor Pitkin, concerning the situation. Meeker was warned time after time 
to leave before he was killed, but he took no heed of this advice, believing that 
the Indians would not go that far. 

On September loth a war dance was begun at the agency and was continued, 
notwithstanding Meeker ordered the Indians to cease and return to their lodges. 


In the meantime, the authorities at Washington moved. General Sheridan 
was ordered to send a sufficient force to the agency to keep the Utes in abeyance. 
From Fort Steele, near Rawlins, this expedition set out. It consisted of a com- 
pany of the Fourth United States Infantry, commanded by Lieut. Butler D. Price, 
E Troop of the Third United States Cavalry, in command of Captain Lawson, D 
and F Troops of the Fifth United States Cavalry, commanded by Lieut. J. V. S. 
Paddock and Capt. J. S. Payne. The whole force was led by Maj. T. T. Thorn- 
burgh, of the Fourth United States Infantry and accompanied by Acting Assistant 
Surgeon Grimes, also of the Fourth Infantry. On September I4th the slow jour- 
ney southward was begun. At a spot known as Old Fortification Camp, on Forti- 
fication Creek, a branch of the Yampa, the commander left Lieutenant Price with 
the infantry company to protect the line of communication. Then, with the three 
companies of cavalry, he moved forward. After going some distance he encoun- 
tered a party of ten Utes, who raised their hands in friendship. Believing them 
to be upon a hunting expedition only, Thornburgh permitted them to proceed. 
Later, the same Indians again met the troops and offered to guide them to the 
agency, but upon the advice of one of the scouts this offer was refused. 

On the morning of September 24th, as the troops were moving along the valley 
of Milk Creek, they were ambushed by about, three hundred Utes, led by Cap- 
tain Jack. F and E Troops were in the advance and so received the first fire of 
the Indians. For the space of a few moments the soldiers resisted the sudden 
attack, then fell back to the wagon train, in charge of D Troop, a half mile in the 
rear. Major Thornburgh and several of his men had been killed by the first shots 
and many others were wounded. The cavalrymen, now under Captain Payne, 
placed the wagons so as to make a fortification, further strengthened by the bodies 
of dead horses. Here the soldiers were besieged for eleven days, until the morn- 
ing of the 5th of October. A messenger was sent out on the first night to Raw- 
lins for reinforcements and also on the night of the second day two more men 
were slipped through the lines to find Dodge's colored cavalry. All were suc- 

On the morning of the 2d Dodge's troops arrived and galloped into the be- 
sieged camp, but even then an attempt to attack the Indians would have resulted 

On October ist the news of the attack upon Thornburgh reached Fort Russell, 

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at Cheyenne, Wyo., and immediately four troops of the Fifth United States Cav- 
alry were sent to Rawlins by railroad, thence overland to the battleground on 
Milk Creek. At Rawlins four companies of the Fourth United States Infantry 
joined the cavalry. On the morning of the 5th of October this force reached the 
besieged men, passing a short distance back a destroyed wagon train, with the 
murdered and mutilated bodies of the men who had accompanied it. These bodies 
had been partly burned, without doubt while the victims were still living. 

Under General Merritt, with the infantry and three troops of the cavalry, an 
advance was made toward the Indians, who had not fired at the newcomers. A 
few scattering volleys met the troops, but did not stop them, and all the morning a 
desultory fire was maintained. About noon a white flag was shown by the In- 
dians and one of them approached General Merritt, stating that word had come 
from Ouray, chieftain of the whole Ute tribe, that the fighting had to stop. This 
ended the engagement on both sides. The Americans had lost thirteen killed and 
forty-seven wounded. After a rest and attention had been given to the wounded. 
Merritt's men moved on toward the White River Agency and the troops under 
Payne and Dodge started on their homeward journey. 


On the same day that Thornburgh and his men were ambushed on Milk Creek, 
the agency at White River had been subjected to a brutal attack by a band of 
twenty or thirty Utes, led by Douglass. This was on the 29th of September. All 
of the men were killed, most of the buildings burned, and the women carried into 
captivity. General Merritt arrived at the agency on the nth of October and dis- 
covered the bodies of the slain lying ngar the buildings and along the trail. They 
were for the most part stripped, obscenely mutilated, and presented a horrible 

The men killed here were: X. C. Meeker, agent, William H. Post, assistant 
agent, Henry Dresser, Frank Dresser, George Eaton, E. W. Eskridge, Carl Gold- 
stein, E. L. Mansfield, Julius Moore, E. Price, Frederick Sheppard and W. H. 
Thompson twelve in all. Eskridge's body was found upon the northern trail 
leading from the agency and in the pocket of his coat was found the following 
letter : 

"\Yhite River, September 29, i o'clock p. in. 

"Major Thornburgh: I will come with Chfef Douglas and another chief and 
meet you tomorrow. Everything is quiet here, arid Douglas is flying the United 
States flag. We have been on guard three nights, and will be tonight not that 
we expect any trouble, but because there might be. Did you have any trouble 
coming through the canyon ? 

"N. C. MEEKER, United States Indian Agent." 

Evidently this was written but an hour or so before the attack and Eskridge 
despatched northward to meet the troops. Eskridge was accompanied by two 
Utes, one a chieftain named Antelope, and it is believed that they murdered him 
when a short distance from the agency buildings. 

The white women sought refuge in one of the outbuildings when the Indians 
began their ghastly work. The Indians fired the building and compelled them to 


give themselves up. . Douglass was compelled by Ouray, the head chieftain of 
the Utes, to surrender his captives in November. During this time they had 
suffered untold miseries. In the Federal investigation of the massacre, Mrs. 
Price, Mrs. Meeker and Josie Meeker, the agent's wife and daughter, testified of 
the cruel treatment accorded them by Douglass, Pahson and other of the Indians. 
These chiefs repeatedly outraged the white women, confined them to the lodges, 
and in addition they were made the sport of the squaws and children of the band. 
No punishment was ever meted out to the offending Indians as individuals, al- 
though Congress assigned to the rebellious Utes a new reservation in eastern 
Utah, known as the Uintah Reservation. The Southern Utes, who had taken no 
part in the trouble, were left upon the reservation in southwestern Colorado, where 
they yet remain. 

The prompt intervention of that splendid chieftain of the Southern Utes 
Ouray undoubtedly ended what would have otherwise been a widespread slaugh- 
ter of white men. He ended the fighting at Milk Creek by a word and afterward 
forced Douglass to surrender the white women. By these acts, and many others, 
Ouray has taken place as one of the greatest characters in Colorado history, a man 
of attainments and intellect immeasurably superior to his race. 








The period from the latter part of the Eighteenth Century until the middle 
of the Nineteenth may be termed that of fur trading and trapping. In no way was 
this period constructive, nor was it a period of notable events; on the contrary, 
during this time, what is now Colorado was but a part of an immense area over 
which roamed the traders and trappers and, consequently, no permanent settle- 
ments were made, except at the trading posts. These were not permanent set- 
tlements in fact, but supplied the only community life of this vast territory then. 
The prosaic life of the trapper was occasionally interspersed by days of excite- 
ment ; the Indians at times become obstreperous ; but otherwise few things hap- 
pened which could be called factors in the life of Colorado. 

But what romance and what legend have been written about the frontiers- 
man, the Indian fighter and the trapper ! The lore of these picturesque characters 
occupies a large place in American literature. Tradition has made of the frontier 
and its inhabitants a colorful and thrilling story. Never again will such life be 
duplicated in this country or upon this globe, so it has been the effort of all writers 
of the Great West to preserve the history of those days and the stories which 
have been told of the frontiersman. 

The history of the great fur companies which occupied the West before per- 
manent settlements were made is one of great interest. Bitter rivalry existed 
between these companies rivalry which assumed the proportions of organized 
warfare. Trading posts were established at advantageous points and here the 
hunters and trappers brought their pelts after a season had closed. 

Then the trapper himself. He has been immortalized, it is true, but generally 
he was not a man to invite intimate companionship. In the first place, he was 
illiterate and uncultured, but generally with "five strong senses, which he knew 
how to use." Secondly, he was a nomad. He cared not for a home ; wherever he 
found hunting and trapping he called his place of abode. The pinch of civiliza- 
tion drove him farther along the trail, ever seeking the openness and freedom of 
the frontier. Long seasons he spent in the solitude of the mountains and forests, 



gathering his furs; then came the return to the post and Mexican whiskey, a 
drink venomous to the extreme. A wild, dissipated orgy followed, which was 
continued so long as the money lasted or the factor would advance additional 
funds. Many of the fur dealers held the trappers perpetually in their debt in this 
way, thereby having full rights for their services. It was customary for the trap- 
per to have an Indian wife, as much of his trading was done with the Indians 
whom he unmercifully cheated. In general, the trapper and Indian were indis- 
pensable to each other. From the Indian the white man secured valuable pelts 
for a pint of whiskey or similar articles of little value and from the white man 
the Indian obtained flour, cloth and tobacco which he desired. 

In another class altogether must be placed the so-called "free" trapper. This 
type of trapper worked independently of all the fur companies, quoted his own 
prices for furs and sold to all the posts. They were men of higher character and 
among them were such as Christopher "Kit" Carson, who have lived through 
history by their reputations as trappers, guides, Indian fighters and red-blooded 
adventurers. Much of the credit received by such explorers as Fremont should 
have been given to the frontier guides who conducted them across the mountains 
and pointed out trails which they had discovered long before. They were expo- 
nents of law and order and sturdily fought the encroachments of banditry and 
crime which overran the West for so many years. 


The Missouri, Platte and Arkansas rivers were familiar to many of the early 
French trappers during the latter part of the Eighteenth Century. Just how 
many of them reached the land now in Colorado is unknown, but it is to be pre- 
sumed that some few did. One of the first expeditions of this character of which 
any record exists was that of Maisonneuve and Preneloupe in 1799. In the spring 
of the year this expedition, consisting of perhaps a score of men, left St. Louis 
and proceeded up the Missouri to the mouth of the Platte, taking with them a 
quantity of goods, which they exchanged with the Indians for furs of all kinds. 
The two leaders despatched the furs back to St. Louis under guard and then, with 
a small detachment, continued westward via the Platte and South Fork. By the 
middle of July they reached what is now the site of Denver, where they found 
numbers of Indians and a small Spanish scouting party. 

In the History of Colorado (1913) Jerome C. Smiley writes: "The great body 
of the American people believed for many years that the western and northwestern 
parts of the Louisiana Purchase formed a region that was practically unknown 
by any of their countrymen before Fremont put forth to explore it. It was the 
common supposition that all previous knowledge of this vast domain by American 
citizens was limited to the somewhat meager results of the going and coming of 
Lewis and Clark through its northern section, and to those of the expeditions of 
Captain Pike and Major Long across the central plains to the mountains in what 
is now the State of Colorado ; Colonel Dodge's being unknown outside of military 
circles. From the voluminous and fulsome exploitations of Fremont as 'the 
Pathfinder of the Far West/ most of the people in the older parts of the United 
States were given to understand that until he began to search this wide land of 
plains and mountains its paths were few and hard to find. 


''Some Americans from Illinois had been trading on the Missouri River before 
Lewis and Clark ascended that tortuous stream upon their way to the Pacific 
Coast ; and prior to Pike's expedition others had been well up on both the Platte 
and Arkansas. It is known that one American had been in the mountain section 
of Colorado before Pike saw the Rockies, and some French traders from St. Louis 
doubtless had built cabins upon soil of our state in advance of Long's summer visit 
to our eastern foothills. A great merchandizing business, carried on in fortified 
posts and stations, large and small, scattered between the northern border of New 
Mexico and the headwaters of the Missouri, and that gave employment directly 
and indirectly to hundreds of American citizens and caused the western plains 
as well as the recesses of the mountains to be seamed by many paths and trails, 
had reached its prime when Fremont set out upon his first expedition into the 
Far West. The trans-Mississippi fur trade of that period attained relatively a 
large development within the bounds of Colorado, the trading-posts upon the up- 
per Arkansas and the South Platte, together with Fort Laramie, which was 
located seventy-five miles north of the site of the present City of Cheyenne, Wyo., 
forming a chain of business establishments that made this part of the West rather 
a busy region as long as the trade flourished." 

History has stated that the first American to tread Colorado soil was James 
Purcell, a trader among the Indian tribes. Pike mentioned him prominently in his 
Journal, calling him "Pursley," and strongly recommended his character after 
their meeting in Santa Fe. Purcell was a native Kentuckian and came to St. 
Louis to enter the trapping business in 1799. Purcell and some companions, while 
engaged in trapping along the South Platte in 1803, were attacked by Sioux In- 
dians and driven into the mountains. It is thought that Purcell reached the South 
Park by way of the Platte Canon when fleeing from the Indians. Purcell later 
went to New Mexico and for many years was a citizen there. 

Many other traders and trappers, both French and American, came into the 
West at this period and until the first of the American expeditions. Few of 
them gained much notoriety or left any record of their work here. Ezekiel Wil- 
liams, a Missourian, came to this vicinity in the fall of 1811, in company with 
nineteen other trappers. They experienced much difficulty with the Indians and 
were plundered several times. Shortly after all but six left this country and 
went elsewhere, leaving Williams as one of the half dozen who elected to stay. 
Three of these were killed by the Arapahoes, but Williams and the other two 
were protected by friendly Indians on the Arkansas. He spent one winter at the 
camp and then returned to his home in Missouri. In 1812 other adventurers of 
like character, including Joseph Miller, John Hoback, Jacob Rezner, Edward Rob- 
inson and a Mr. Cass, came within the boundaries of Colorado. Their hardships 
were many and in addition they were robbed on several occasions by the Arapa- 
hoes. One of the party Cass was lost in some mysterious fashion, presumably 
killed by the Indians, while the others were rescued when upon the verge of 

In 1814, in the forepart of the year, "Phillebert's Company," consisting of 
Phillebert, a trader of St. Louis, and a score of French hunters and trappers, en- 
tered the mountains in Colorado upon a fur-gathering expedition. From all ac- 
counts, this party of men made a large haul during the season. Ezekiel Williams, 




mentioned before, was a member of the party, having returned to the Colorado 
country to secure some furs which he had hidden two years previously. 


The experiences of Chouteau and De Munn in Colorado and their conflict 
with the Spaniards forms an interesting incident in the history of Colorado. 
Auguste Pierre Chouteau and Jules de Munn were St. Louis traders and were 
interested together in a scheme to trap extensively around the headwaters of the 
Arkansas and Platte rivers. In September, 1815, they started for the mountains, 
with nearly a half-hundred Frenchmen with them, including Phillebert, who was 
going back to get a quantity of furs he had cached the year before. Chouteau 
and De ATurkn learned that he had left a portion of his men behind with the furs 
and, desiring to increase their own outfit as much as possible, bargained success- 
fully with Phillebert for the furs and also for the services of his men. After a 
grand council with the Indians on the Platte, a few miles north of Denver's site, 
the party went to the junction of the Arkansas and the Huerfano, where Phille- 
bert's men were to wait. But in this they were disappointed, learning from the 
Indians that the men had waited until provisions had become scarce. and then 
gone to Taos. 

De Munn was appointed by the others to go to Taos for the men and also to 
obtain permission from Governor Maynez, of New Mexico, to trap upon Spanish 
territory south of the upper Arkansas and along the headwaters of the Rio Grande. 
De Munn was successful in finding Phillebert's men at Taos, but in his other quest 
he was not so fortunate. The Spaniards were not trustful of the American inten- 
tions in the Southwest, a suspicion which had been heightened by Pike's expedi- 
tion. Also the southwest boundary of the Louisiana Purchase was yet in doubt, 
so the Spanish were alert and watchful of any move from the states. The gov- 
ernor was evasive with De Munn, so the latter returned to his companions. He 
then went to St. Louis for supplies and equipment, while Chouteau and the rest 
were to remain until spring and then take the furs to the mouth of the Kansas, 
there to be joined by De Munn. By September, 1816, the expedition had again 
reached the Huerfano, thence proceeded southwest to the base of the Sangre de 
Cristo Mountains, where they encamped. From here De Munn started for Santa 
Fe, again to request his former favor of the Spanish. Governor De Allande had, 
in the meantime, succeeded Maynez as the administrative head of the Province 
and was not so gracious with the American "intruder." He peremptorily ordered 
him to remove himself and his men from Spanish soil. De Munn returned to 
the Sangre de Cristo and withdrew his men to the Arkansas, where the winter 
was spent in hunting and trapping part of the time on the Spanish side, contrary 
to the governor's orders. 

In the spring of 1817 De Murm went to Taos, still endeavoring to obtain the 
desired permission from the Spanish governor at Santa Fe. He was received at 
Taos in hostile manner and was conducted back to the Arkansas by 200 Spanish 
soldiers. It is said that Governor De Allande had received the startling news of 
a force of 20,000 Americans upon the upper Arkansas who had fortified them- 
selves strongly. The leader of De Munn's military escort was to ascertain the 
truth of this report and, if found to be without foundation, was to drive De Munn 


and his exploring expedition to the Missouri. In this he did not obey orders 
strictly, as he permitted the Americans to remain so long as they trapped only 
upon the American side of the river. 

But Chouteau and De Munn, anticipating further trouble with their Latin 
neighbors on the south, decided to strike out for the Columbia River country. The 
impassable condition of the mountain trails prevented this journey, however, and 
the decision was made to remain on the Arkansas and South Platte, to continue 
their operations as heretofore and to take the furs already gathered back to St. 
Louis De Munn to perform this task. 

Just as he was about to leave,' though, there appeared a company of Spanish 
troopers, with positive orders to take Chouteau and De Munn, with all their men, 
supplies and furs, back to Santa Fe. Once in Santa Fe, they were seized and 
cast into prison, their belongings were confiscated and in other ways they were 
subjected to insult. Two months later they were tried by court-martial and or- 
dered to leave New Mexico without further ado or loss of time. Each man was 
given a horse in order to expedite this sentence. Their treatment by the Spanish 
authorities was severe and is well described by De Munn in a letter written to 
William Clark, governor of Missouri Territory, on November 25, 1817. De Munn 
states : 

"After forty-eight days' imprisonment, we were presented before a court- 
martial, composed of six members and a president who was the governor him- 
self. Only one of the six members appeared to have any information, the others 
not even knowing how to sign their names. Many questions were asked, but 
particularly why we had stayed so long in Spanish dominions. I answered that, 
being on the Arkansas River we did not consider ourselves in the domains of 
New Spain, as we had a license to go as far as the headwaters of said river. The 
president denied that our Government had a right to give such a license, and en- 
tered into such a rage that it prevented his speaking, contenting himself with 
striking his fist several times on the table, saying, 'Gentlemen, we must have this 
man shot.' 

"At such conduct of the president I did not think much of my life, for all the 
members were terrified in his presence, and unwilling to resist him ; on the con- 
trary (were ready) to do anything to please him. 

"He talked much of a big river that was the boundary line between the two 
countries, but did not know its name. When mention was made of the Mississippi 
he jumped up, saying that that was the big river he meant ; that Spain had never 
ceded the west side of it. It may be easy to judge of our feelings to see our 
lives in the hands of such a man. 

"That day the court did not come to any determination, because the president 
(as I heard him say to Lieutenant de Arce) had forgotten everything he had to 
say. Next day we were again presented to the court, but as I knew the kind of 
man we had to deal with, I never attempted to justify myself of any of his false 
assertions. We were dismissed, and Mr. Chouteau and myself put in the same 

"Half an hour afterward the lieutenant came in with a written sentence ; we 
were forced to kneel down to hear the citure (recital) of it, and forced, likewise, 
to kiss the unjust and iniquitous sentence that deprived harmless men of all they 
possessed of the fruits of two years' labors and perils. 


"What appears the more extraordinary is that the governor acknowledged to 
me afterward in the presence of Don Pedro Piero, the deputy of New Mexico to 
the Cortes, and several others, that we were very innocent men; yet notwith- 
standing this, all our property was kept and we were permitted to come home, 
each with one of the worst horses we had." 

Notwithstanding the visible unfairness of the Spaniards, De Munn never 
received reparation. 

Following the experiences of Chouteau and De Munn in Colorado little fur 
traffic occurred here until after 1821. The site of the City of Pueblo became a 
mecca then for fur-gatherers, adventurers and traders and continued as the 
favored spot for this class until the middle of the Nineteenth Century. 


The expedition headed by Hugh Glenn and Jacob Fowler, the former from 
Cincinnati and the latter a native of Kentucky, entered the land of Colorado on 
November 5, 1821, by way of the Arkansas River. The party, numbering twenty 
in all, carried a stock of merchandise which they intended to take to Santa Fe. 
Their entrance into Colorado was inauspicious, except for the fact that one of 
their men Lewis Dawson v^jas killed by an enraged grizzly bear and a meeting 
was had with a large encampment of Comanches, Arapahoes, Cheyennes, Kiowas 
and Snakes. The journey was continued up the Arkansas to a point near the 
mouth of the St. Charles, where Glenn decided to leave Fowler with the goods and 
a few companions, while he went to Santa Fe in company with some Mexican trad- 
ers whom he met to investigate conditions in Mexico. 

No history of Colorado would be complete, nor has one ever been written, 
without quotations from Fowler's diary. This classic bit of English, if such it 
may be called, has been published in recent years, and forms an interesting nar- 
rative of frontier life. In regard to Glenn's departure for Santa Fe from the 
Arkansas and other matters Fowler wrote : 

"Jany 2nd 1822 this morning the Spanierds Began to Collect their Horses and 
load for their departure Conl glann and four men Set out with them leaveing 
me with Eight men in an oppen Camp With the ballence of the goods after takeing 
Some things With Him to Sell So as to pay their Exspences. We are now in 
the Hart of the Inden Cuntry and Emedetly on the great Ware (war) Road not 
only of one nation against the others in the road to all the Spanish Settlements 
With Which the Indeans on this Side of the mountains are at War So that our 
Setuation is not of the most Plesent kind We Have no meet In Camp and Con 
Clude to Send two Hunters out with Horses in the morning to kill Some meat 
Intending to Set the ballence of the Hands at Work to build a Hous and a Strong 
Peen (pen) for the Horses at night. 

"Jany the 3rd 1822 Roas Early to Start the Hunters ordered two of the men 
to Prepare the Horses While the Hunters got Readey but the men lay Still I 
maid the Second Call but With no better Sucsees I then discovered that a 
mutney Was Intended and Emedetly drew one of the men from His beed by the 
top of His Head, but (some) of his friends in the Plott asisted Him and We 
Ware Soon all In a Scoffel, but Robert Fowler Soon Came to my assistance and 
the bisness as Soon Ended tho it Was Some time before the gave up their In- 


tended muteney and five of them Separated to them Selves and declared the 
Wold do (as) the plased and Wold not be ordered by any other person I soon 
discovered that the Exspected the Spanierds Wold not let Conl glann Return and 
that they Intended to make the best of the goods the Cold aledgeing the Ware 
the Strongest party and that the Wold pay them Selves on Which discovery 1 
told them that un less the Wold Return to their dutey I Wold send for the Arra- 
poho Cheef Who Wold be gld to asist me to take Care of the goods and that the 
might go Whare the plased and that I Wold not Suffer them to meddle With 
the goods the then Held a Councle and sent one man to tell me that if I Wold 
be acountable to them for their pay the Wold go to their dutey and do What I 
ordored them to Which I toled them I wold make no new Bargen with them 
and that If the Chose the might go on With their mutenous Seeen that. I could 
protect the goods till the Indeans Came for Which I Wold Soon Send the then 
All Came and Stated that the Wold do What I told them and Wold go to Work 
Emedetley and asked me to think of them and Secure the pay for them If Conl 
glann Shold not Return Which the Espected He never Wold, and that it Wold be 
Heard for them to loos all their Wages to Which I toled them if the Continued 
to do as good and Honest men aught that as fare as the goods Wold Reech they 
Shold be paid the two men Went out to Hunt but Returned With out killing any 
thing now all Hands Went to Worke Willingly and by night We Head the 
Hors Peen finished and the Hous With two pens four logs High Which maid 
part of the Hors Pen and the door of the Hous in the Hors Peen Which Was 
So Strong that a few Indeans Cold not take the Horses out With out Choping 
Some of the logs and must Waken us all tho We Slept Ever So Sound 

"Friday 4th Jany 1822 Went to Work Early got our House nine loggs High 
and began to pitch the tents on the top by Way of a Roof Just Wide Enof for 
that purpose. * * * 

"Saterday 5th Jany 1822. * * * this day finished our House and Packed 
in all the goods." 

A fortnight later, having become worried on account of no news from Glenn, 
Fowler decided to abandon the south side of the Arkansas, where the above de- 
scribed camp had been located, and occupy a new site farther up the river on the 
north side. This new location was on the site of the City of Pueblo. Fowler 
wrote of this: 

"tusday I5th Jany 1822 * * * I then Went to look out a good Setuation 
for a new Settlement on the north Side of the River Intending to move tomorrow 
Should no acoumpt Reach us from Conl glann as We began to Sopose He is 
now not at liverty to send or Return there being the full time Elapsed in Which 
He promised to Send an Exspress and We think that a party of Spanirds may be 
Sent to take us prisnors for Which Reason Intend makeing a Strong Hous and 
Hors Pen on the Bank of the River Wheare it Will not be In the Powe of an 
Enemy to aproch us from the River Side and Shold the Spanierds appeer In 
a Hostill manner We Will fight them on the Ameraken ground, the River Hear 
being the line by the last tretey 

"Wensday i6th Jany 1822 moved Camp Early up the River on the north Side 
to the Spot I looked out yesterday We Built a Strong Hors Peen and put up the 
Horses at night no Word from Conl glann We begin to Conclude as Is not 
Well Him. * * * 


"Friday i8th Jany 1822 * * * We built the Hous With three Rooms 
and but one out Side door and that Close to the Hors Pen So that the Horses 
Cold not be taken out at night Without our knowledge We got the Hous Seven 
logs High and Well Chinked the goods all stoed a Way before night. * * * " 

Glenn, having found that the Spanish rule in New Mexico had been overthrown 
by the Mexicans and that the feeling toward the Americans had become cordial, 
despatched messengers back to Fowler. They arrived at the Arkansas "Hous" on 
January 28th and requested Fowler to proceed into New Mexico, there to join. 
Glenn. On the 3Oth Fowler started for Taos with the men and supplies and 
reached there nine days later. The party remained in New Mexico until June ist 
and then returned to the United States, crossing southeastern Colorado while en 
route to the Arkansas River. The Glenn-Fowler expedition was a success, in that 
it accomplished its original purpose of trading and merchandizing in New Mex- 

John McKnight was another trader who established a small post upon the 
upper Arkansas. McKnight met his death at the hands of the Comanche In- 
dians in 1823 and the post was never occupied again. 


The Bent brothers were- the most prominent of the traders who established 
posts in Colorado. In 1826 Charles, William W., Robert and George Bent, of 
St. Louis, built a small post on the Arkansas River, half way between Pueblo and 
the foothills. Associated with the Bents in this small undertaking was Ceran 
St. Vrain, a young Frenchman, and who was later to make a name for himself 
as a trader. The post which was thus established was but a small affair, consist- 
ing of little more than a stockade, for protection against marauding Indians. A 
few years later it was deserted. 

In 1829 the Bents, in company with St. Vrain, established a larger and more 
important trading post on the north bank of the Arkansas, at a point near the 
eastern boundary of the present Otero County. The firm was known as Bent & 
St. Yrain, also as Bent, St. Vrain & Company. Four years were spent in com- 
pleting this new trading station and in the fall of 1832 the company moved into 
it, at which time the old post on the Arkansas, built in 1826, was abandoned. 

The post was a strongly fortified one. The dimensions were 100 by 150 feet; 
the stockade was seventeen feet high and six feet in thickness at the base. One 
gate opened to the outside and at the northeast and southwest corners there were 
bastions, ten feet in diameter, upon the top of which were cannon. The walls of 
these fortified towers were filled with loopholes for the use of the defenders in 
case of attack. The interior of the post, or fort, was as comfortable as the condi- 
tions would permit. Except the rafters and the gates, which were of wood, the 
adobe construction was used throughout. Something of the general appearance 
of the post is described by Doctor Wislizenus, excerpts of which article are given 
later in this chapter. 

The post was first named Fort W'illiam, in honor of William Bent, but 
this name soon became obsolete and the place was thereafter known as Fort 
Bent or Bent's Fort. This post became the largest and most popular of the 
Rocky Mountain fur stations. From here great trading operations were launched, 


not only with the Comanches, Arapahoes, Cheyennes, Pawnees, Utes, Sioux, 
Crows and Snakes, but with the Mexicans and the hordes of French and Amer- 
ican trappers who infested the region. In certain seasons, June, August and Sep- 
tember, thousands of Indians came to the post and encamped in the vicinity. At 
these times no little apprehension was felt by the dwellers of the post; a certain 
amount of safety lay in the fact that the Indians were not agreeable to one another, 
but there remained the omnipresent fear of attack. 

Fort Bent was even more than a trading post. Next to Fort Laramie, in what 
is now the State of Wyoming, it was one of the few touches of civilization sought 
by the droves of emigrants bound for the Great West. Military expeditions such 
as those of Col. Henry Dodge, Gen. Stephen W. Kearney and Gen. Sterling Price 
stopped at Fort Bent and there left those of the forces incapacitated. It was a 
rendezvous for every type of humanity. 

William Bent was the principal trader at this post, the other brothers, also St. 
Vrain, remaining at Taos most of the time. He began negotiations in the late '405 
for the sale of the post to the Government and demanded the sum of $16,000. 
However, the Government agreed to give only $12,000, which was far from satis- 
factory to the owner. Bent desired to establish a new post at another location and 
the Government wished the property on the Arkarisas to convert into a military 
station. Finally, Bent became so disgusted and enraged over the dilatory tactics 
of the Government and his inability to obtain his price that he deliberately de- 
stroyed his whole property. After removing everything of value, he set fire to the 
buildings and the flames soon reached the magazine, resulting in a heavy .explo- 
sion, which destroyed the walls and left only a heap of smoking ruins. This ended 
the active era of fur trade in the land of Colorado indeed, some years previous 
the business had declined, for many reasons. One writer places the year 1838 as 
the last period of active fur-gathering and marketing. 

There were six of the Bent brothers in all William W., Charles, John, George, 
Robert and Silas, the sons of Silas Bent of St. Louis. All, except John and Silas, 
engaged in trading. John resided in St. Louis, while Silas enlisted in the United 
States Navy service. Charles and William Bent were the most prominent of the 
large family of boys and both engaged in trafficking between Santa Fe and the 
northern settlements in addition to their regular vocation of fur trading. Charles 
was appointed the first American governor of the Province of New Mexico in 1846 
and was the incumbent of this office when killed January 19, 1847, during the revolt 
of the Pueblo Indians. William Bent died at Las Animas, Colorado, May 19, 

Gantt's trading-post, or "fort," was another pioneer post on the upper Arkan- 
sas, established in 1832 by two St. Louis traders named Gantt and Blackwell. 
From the best of sources, it is believed that this post was situated on the north 
bank of the river about five miles above the mouth of Fountain Creek. Little else 
is known of this post. 

M. Le Doux, a French trader, built a small habitation which might be called a 
post in 1830 at the junction of the Arkansas and Adobe Creek, in what is now 
Fremont County. A number of Mexicans were quartered near this place during 
this time and shortly afterward. 



The Gantt-Blackwell fort was succeeded by the trading-post known as "the 
Pueblo," a habitation built in the style of Bent's Fort, of adobe, and which became 
a meeting-place of various desperate characters as well as Indians and bona fide 
traders. The identity of the founder of this post is somewhat in doubt. Writers 
of history are nearly unanimous in designating George Simpson, an Indian trader, 
and his two companions, Doyle and Barclay, as the founders of the fort. James 
P. Beckwourth, a notorious personage of the times, claimed that he erected the post 
about the first of October, 1842. His veracity in this and other matters has been 
seriously doubted, however, and it is generally conceded that Simpson established 
"Pueblo" in the summer of the year 1842. The post eventually became a harbor- 
age for a motley collection of individuals. 

The Hardscrabble post was built by Simpson, Doyle and Barclay the year 
after the Pueblo was established and was located on the north bank of the Arkan- 
sas, near the mouth of Hardscrabble Creek. The similarity of population and the 
general character of the community caused it to be considered as a part of Pueblo, 
or an adjunct, although there was a distance of twenty-five or thirty miles be- 
tween the two. 

Francis Parkman, in his book, "The Oregon Trail" (Boston, 1847), described 
his visit to the Pueblo in August, 1846, during his journey through the Far West. 
He wrote : 

"The Arkansas ran along a valley below, among woods and groves, and closely 
nestled in the midst of wide corn-fields and green meadows, where cattle were 
grazing, rose the low mud walls of the Pueblo. * * * It was a wretched 
species of fort, of most primitive construction, being nothing more than a large, 
square inclosure, surrounded by a wall of mud, miserably cracked and dilapidated. 
The slender pickets that surmounted it were half broken down, and the gate dan- 
gled on its wooden hinges so loosely that to open or shut it seemed quite likely to 
fling it down altogether. Two or three squalid Mexicans, with their broad hats 
and their vile faces overgrown with hair, were lounging about the bank of the 
river in front of it. They disappeared as they saw us approach ; and as we rode 
up to the gate a light, active little figure came out to meet us. It was our old 
friend Richard (a Fort Laramie trader). * * * Shaking us warmly by the 
hand, he led the way into the area. Here we saw his large Santa Fe wagons 
standing together. A few squaws and Spanish women, and a few Mexicans, as 
mean and miserable as the place itself, were lazily sauntering about. Richard con- 
ducted us to the state apartment of the Pueblo, a small mud room, very neatly 
furnished, considering the material, and garnished with a crucifix, a looking-glass, 
a picture of the Virgin, and a rusty horse-pistol. There were no chairs, but in- 
stead of them a number of chests and boxes ranged about the room. There was 
another room beyond, less sumptuously decorated, and here three or four Spanish 
girls, one of them very pretty, were baking cakes at a mud fireplace in the corner. 
They brought out a poncho, which they spread upon the floor by way of a table- 
cloth. A supper, which seemed to us luxuriant, was soon laid out upon it, and 
folded buffalo-robes were placed around it to receive the guests. Two or three 
Americans besides ourselves were present. * * * When we took leave of 
Richard it was near sunset. Passing out of the gate, we could look down the little 


valley of the Arkansas; a beautiful scene, and doubly so to our eyes, so long ac- 
customed to deserts and mountains. Tall woods lined the river, with green 
meadows on either hand ; and high bluffs, quietly basking in the sunlight, flanked 
the narrow valley. A Mexican on horseback was driving a herd of cattle towards 
the gate, and our little white tent, which the men had pitched under a tree in the 
meadow, made a pleasing feature in the scene." 

Frederick Ruxton, who visited the Pueblo in 1847, describes it briefly as fol- 
lows : "The Pueblo is a small square fort of adobe with circular bastions at the 
corners, no part of the walls being more than eight feet high, and around the in- 
side of the yard or corral are built some half-dozen little rooms inhabited by as 
many Indian traders and mountain men. They live entirely upon game, and the 
greater pan of the year without even bread, since but little maize is cultivated. 
As soon as their supply of meat is exhausted they start to the mountains with two 
or three pack-animals and bring them back in two or three days loaded with buffalo 
or venison. In the immediate vicinity of the fort game is very scarce, and the 
buffalo have within a few years deserted the neighboring prairie, but they are 
always found in the mountain valleys, particularly in one called Bayou Salado, in 
the South Park, which abounds in every species of game, including elk. bears, deer, 
big horns or Rocky Mountain sheep, buffalo, antelope, etc." 

Among the better class of trappers and hunters the Pueblo suffered a decreas- 
ing popularity. Dwellers at this whiskey-ridden and immoral post became fewer 
and fewer and those that remained comprised only the riff-raff of the frontier, 
many of whom found safety here which would have been denied them elsewhere. 

Then, on Christmas Day, 1854, occurred the Indian massacre at the Pueblo, 
which forever afterward caused the fort to be deserted and shunned. Accounts 
of this massacre differ materially ; there are as many as a half-dozen versions of 
the story. One story is that the fort was occupied on Christmas Day by a few 
Mexicans and seventeen Americans, all of them hunters and trappers. They were 
engaged in celebrating the season with a generous supply of Mexican whiskey and 
had reached the stage of inebriety when a large band of Indians appeared, were 
invited to join the festivities and accepted. When the Indians had fairly caught 
up with the white men a quarrel arose, which culminated in a general fight, with 
the result that fifteen white men were killed in cold blood. According to this 
story the only survivor was a teamster, who had gone from the Pueblo in the 
morning and did not return until after nightfall, in time to escape the massacre. 

Another account places the date as the morning of the 24th of December, 
rather than Christmas. A large war-party of Utes appeared before dawn at the 
post and asked to be admitted inside the stockade. When the white men refused 
this, they attacked and forced an entrance, killing all the men and carrying off a 
Mexican woman and two children. The woman they murdered shortly afterward, 
but the children were recovered. 

Milo Lee Whittaker, in his book, "Pathbreakers and Pioneers of the Pueblo 
Region" (1917), describes the massacre with the following words : 

"The most notable Indian massacre occurring in the immediate vicinity of 
Pueblo was the one which took place on Christmas Day, 1854, when the entire 
population of the old Pueblo fort was massacred. 

"The Utes who occupied the foothills region west of Pueblo had been restless 
for several days before the date above mentioned and had begun wandering away 


from their usual confines out into the valley. Uncle Dick Wooten, who lived 
down at the mouth of the Huerfano, had been out on a hunting expedition to the 
Hardscrabble region above Pueblo. Noticing indications that an Indian outbreak 
was imminent, he put out immediately for home to make ready for a visit from 
these savages. This was the day before Christmas, and as Wooten passed the 
Pueblo fort he stopped and warned its inhabitants not to permit any Utes to come 
within the fort. From this place he hastened on to his home on the Huerfano to 
make ready for the expected attack. 

"Unfortunately, the inhabitants of the fort did not take this warning seriously, 
as we shall see. On the afternoon of Christmas a single Indian was seen gallop- 
ing his horse up the trail to the fort. Upon his arrival he met the men with a 
friendly greeting and suggested to Sandoval, who was in charge of the fort, that 
they set up a target and try their skill as marksmen; Sandoval, believing that no 
danger could possibly arise from the presence of one Indian within the enclosure, 
permitted him to enter. A target was set up and with the entire group of men 
standing by the shooting began. Sandoval fired first and was followed immedi- 
ately by the Indian ; whereupon, two more Utes appeared riding up the trail. 
Upon their arrival they greeted the group with a friendly 'How' and took their 
places among the other spectators. The next time four shots were fired and four 
Indians appeared. It was evident that the firing of the shots was a signal for 
more Indians to appear. The shooting was resumed and in a short time the entire 
band of Indians, fifty in number, had arrived and were intently watching the 

"Blanco, the Ute chief, requested food for his followers, whereupon the entire 
group entered the fort. Food was given them as well as a liberal quantity of 
'Taos lightning.' Suddenly, at a given signal, the entire band of savages fell upon 
the occupants of the fort and begun their massacre. 

"Against such odds these men were unable to contend and in a few minutes 
they were all killed except four, one woman, the two sons of Sandoval, seven and 
twelve years old, and one man who was shot through the cheek and left for dead. 
The woman was killed at a spring near by as they were leaving the fort, but the 
boys were kept as captives, and were finally restored to their people after peace 
was made." 

No attempt was ever made to renew life at this post, and, among the Indians 
and trappers, the deserted rooms and walls were believed to harbor the spirits of 
the slain, whose waitings and moanings could be heard almost any night. The 
place was regarded with superstitious dread and rapidly fell into decay and demo- 
lition. Reliable authorities have placed the exact site of this post adjacent to the 
spot where the Ferris Hotel in Pueblo stood for many years. The other frontier 
post at Hardscrabble had disappeared several years before the massacre at Pueblo. 

El Pueblo, or Fort Pueblo, was another small post established upon the north 
bank of the Arkansas, about five miles above Bent's Fort. This is not to be con- 
fused with the Pueblo trading-post mentioned in the preceding paragraphs. Two 
other small stations were built during this same period both near the mouth of 
Timpas Creek, on opposite sides of the river. These three posts were inhabited 
and utilized mainly by Mexicans and Frenchmen, whose principal business, accord- 
ing to the general knowledge of the frontiersmen, was the smuggling of bad 
whiskey across the international boundary. 



In 1832 the first fur-trading station was built along the South Platte. Vas- 
quez, a trader, brother to Pike's interpreter, is thought to have been the builder of 
this post, using cottonwood logs which he obtained in the vicinity. The site was 
about opposite the mouth of Clear Creek, almost within the present city limits of 
Denver. In this connection, it may be said that Clear Creek bore the name of 
Vasquez Fork at that time and until the middle of the Nineteenth Century. 

Dr. F. A. Wislizenus in his narrative treating of his trip through the Rockies 
in 1839, and from which extensive quotations have been used in another part of 
this chapter, wrote of a fort owned by Vasquez and Sublette, located on the South 
Platte five or six miles above Fort St. Vrain. This was undoubtedly the same 
Vasquez and the other owner, William L. Sublette, one of the builders of Fort 

In 1833 Peter A. Sarpy, a St. Louis Frenchman, erected a log trading-post on 
the South Platte, five miles down the river from that of Vasquez. Little is known 
of this post, or that of Vasquez, as the amount of business transacted was small 
and the posts themselves were short-lived. Both Sarpy and Vasquez were veteran 
fur traders; the former afterward entered the employ of the American Fur Com- 
pany on the Missouri, while Vasquez was known as a "free" trapper in the moun- 
tains until the late '405. 


In 1836 or 1837 Fort Lancaster was constructed on the east side of the South 
Platte, "about seven miles north of the south line of our Weld County." The 
builder was Lancaster P. Lupton, a lieutenant attached to Col. Henry Dodge's ex- 
pedition to Colorado in 1835 and in command of Company A, First Regiment, U. S. 
Dragoons. Lieutenant Lupton resigned from the United States service March 31, 
1836, for the purpose of entering the fur-trading business, which, he had convinced 
himself, held great opportunities for money-making. 

It is not known whether Lupton made money with his trading-post, but it is 
known that he abandoned it within the decade. Hunters and trappers called it 
"Fort Lupton" and "Lupton's Fort" rather than the original appellation of Fort 
Lancaster. In fact, some writers have stated that Lupton built two forts in the 
vicinity, one known as Fort Lancaster and one as Fort Lupton. 

J. C. Smiley states in his History of Colorado (1913) that "The change gave 
rise in our settlement period to rather a general belief, which has been transmitted 
to the present time, that Lupton had built two trading-posts in that vicinity, the 
earlier being Fort Lancaster, which was supposed to have stood upon the eastward 
side of the South Platte, several miles above the mouth of St. Vrain Creek ; and 
that the trader had bestowed his given name upon the first, and his surname upon 
the second. But some of our pioneers thought that Fort Lancaster was the prede- 
cessor of Fort Lupton, upon the same site. 

"In a Table of Distances from Omaha, N. T. (Nebraska Territory), to the 
Cherry Creek and South Platte Gold Mines,' by way of the Platte and South 
Platte rivers, originally compiled and printed at Omaha in the winter of 1858-59, 
and published in the Rocky Mountain News, in the settlement at the mouth of 


Cherry Creek, in April and May, 1859, and which contained various references to 
the character of the route and also indicated the better camping-places, 'Fort 
Lancaster' is located seven miles above (south of) Fort St. Vrain; and 'Fort 
Lupton,' six miles above (south of) Fort Lancaster. Each of the two is noted 
as affording 'good camp/ " 

Fremont visited Fort Lancaster and described it as it appeared on July 6, 1843; 
when he stopped to visit the lieutenant, as in a fairly prosperous condition with 
an abundance of live stock and poultry. Fremont, in his Memoirs, also mentions 
that, after leaving Fort St. Vrain for Fort Lancaster, he passed "two abandoned 
forts," one "of which was undoubtedly that of Vasquez and Sublette. The other, 
it is thought, once belonged to obscure traders. 


The trading-post known as Fort St. Vrain was the largest of its kind on the 
South Platte and was the third largest in the whole fur-trading region of the 
Central West, Fort Laramie and Fort Bent being of greater size and importance. 
It was constructed on the right side of the South Platte, about a mile below the 
mouth of St. Vrain Creek, by the Bent brothers and Ceran St. Vrain. The post 
was built of sun-dried bricks (adobe) and measured approximately seventy-five 
by one hundred and twenty-five feet in width and length, with fourteen-foot walls. 
The construction, or architecture, of the fort was similar to that of Fort Bent, 
having a central court, picketed walls, one gate and corner bastions. 

During the few years of existence Fort St. Vrain was a lively competitor of 
Fort Lancaster, and was the half-way point between Fort Bent and Fort Laramie. 
It was located on the well-beaten trail which led from the upper Arkansas to Fort 
Laramie. This trail, of which I5th Street in Denver is a part, became one of the 
most important of the frontier highways and was for several years part of a 
pony-express route from Fort St. Vrain to Fort Bent, thence to Taos. Six and a 
half years Fort St. Vrain maintained its popularity among the emigrants, traders, 
trappers, adventurers and other what-not of the frontier. Parkman visited the 
place after its abandonment and in his "Oregon Trail" speaks of it thusly : 

"At noon we rested under the walls of a large fort, built in these solitudes some 
years since by M. St. Vrain. It was now abandoned and fast falling into ruin. 
The walls of unbaked bricks were cracked from top to bottom. Our horses 
recoiled in terror from the neglected entrance, where the heavy gates were torn 
from their hinges and flung down. The area within was overgrown with weeds, 
and the long ranges of apartments once occupied by the motley concourse of 
traders, Canadians and squaws were now miserably dilapidated." 

Like many of the frontiersmen, Ceran St. Vrain was of French descent and a 
native of St. Louis. All of his life he engaged in the fur-trading and trafficking 
business, operating a wagon-train over the Santa Fe Trail in trading with New 
Mexico. His death occurred at Mora, New Mexico, in 1870. 


Antoine Roubideau was another St. Louis Frenchman who built for himself a 
log trading-station on the left shore of the Gunnison River, a distance of between 


one and two miles below the mouth of the Uncompahgre, near the present Town 
of Delta, Colorado. Roubideau started this small post some time in the '303 and 
continued his lonely trade for several years. He became unpopular with the Utes 
and finally they mercilessly burned his buildings and drove him from the vicinity. 
This intrepid Frenchman, in honor of whom a pass in the Sangre de Cristo Range 
has been named, was a wanderer over the entire West, following his trade and 
undergoing hardship and adventure wherever he went. He is known to have 
been in the western part of what is now Colorado as early as 1824, and in 1844 he 
was the proprietor of Fort Uintah, a hundred miles southeast of Salt Lake City. 
His garrison here was annihilated by the Indians, but Roubideau himself hap- 
pened to be absent on that particular day. 

In the extreme northwestern corner of Colorado stood Fort Davy Crockett, or 
just Fort Crockett, on the left bank of Green River, just on or near the present 
state line. Three Americans St. Clair, Craig and Thompson constructed this 
post. Doctor Wislizenus visited the post and described it as a one-story adobe 
building, with three wings, but no stockade. This fort was abandoned in the 
early '405. 

Fraeb's Post, built by "Jim" Bridger and Henry Fraeb about 1840, was located 
on St. Vrain's Fork, but several miles beyond the northern boundary of Colorado. 
Fraeb and several of his men were killed during an engagement between his garri- 
son of over half a hundred men and a band of hostile Sioux. It is thought that 
the post was abandoned shortly after this occurrence. 


Although Fort Laramie's history properly belongs to the history of Wyoming, 
within whose boundaries it was located, this historic fort played such an important 
part in the drama of the Great West that a few words must be said of it in con- 
nection with the other forts, which were situated within Colorado. Fort Laramie 
was located near the junction of the North Platte and Laramie rivers, and received 
its name from Jacques Loramie, or Laramee, a French trader who was killed in 
1821. In 1834 William L. Sublette and Robert Campbell constructed a trading- 
post near the confluence of the North Fork and the Laramie, and named it Fort 
William, after Sublette. In the next year the firm of Fitzpatrick, Sublette & 
Bridger, with strong affiliations with the American Fur Company, purchased the 
post and renamed it Fort John in honor of John B. Sarpy. Notwithstanding the 
official cognomen of the post, the trappers soon began to call it Fort Laramie. 
Then, in the early '405 the owners of Fort John built a larger and stronger post a 
short distance farther up the Laramie River and called it Fort Laramie, old Fort 
John being abandoned at the same time. This new fort became the strongest and 
most important in the Central West. Surrounded by a sixteen-foot wall of stone 
and adobe, with bastions at two corners and a tower above the gate, the fort pre- 
sented an imposing appearance. Fort Laramie was a stopping point for all the 
emigrants to Oregon and California, and in 1849 the United States Government 
purchased the property, improved and enlarged it, and utilized it as a military post 
until the end of the Indian wars. 



The Santa Fe Trail, that great highway of trade and travel, which extended 
from the Missouri River to the capital of New Mexico, crossed the southeastern 
corner of what is now Baca County, in the State of Colorado. This trail was the 
principal highway through the Great West. Adventures of infinite variety and 
numerically greater than could be recorded in a work of this scope were experi- 
enced by the hundreds who journeyed along this trail. 

When trade first began with New Mexico the traders usually followed a route 
straight west from the Missouri River to the mountains, then turned south to 
Santa Fe by the trail from Taos. It was not long, however, until the amount of 
travel increased to such an extent that an easier and quicker route had to be 
devised. The road then followed along the left bank of the Arkansas River until 
the stream turned to the northwest, and then crossed the river and went southwest 
to Raton Pass. 

Baptiste La Lande and James Purcell (Pursley), in the years 1804 and 1805 
respectively, were the first to open a regular trade with the New Mexicans, while 
representing American interests. Purcell liked the New Mexican country so well 
that he became a permanent resident of Santa Fe. In November, 1809, three 
other American traders McClanahan, Patterson and Smith left St. Louis for 
Santa Fe, for the purpose of trading, but were never heard of afterward. 
Whether they were killed by Indians or met other mishap is not known. Another 
and larger party of Americans, including Samuel Chambers, James Baird and Rob- 
ert McKnight, went to Santa Fe to trade in 1812, but they were received as enemies 
and imprisoned at Chihuahua, where they remained for nine years, or until 
Mexico revolted successfully from Spanish rule. 

After the downfall of the Spanish administration in New Mexico the Santa Fe 
Trail as a route from the Missouri to Santa Fe became an established highway. 
The revolution occurred in 1821 and late in the same year William Becknell, of 
Missouri, with a large party, went to the capital. He has been termed "the 
founder of the Santa Fe trade and the father of the Santa Fe Trail." His journey 
was undoubtedly the first of any importance after the Spanish were downed by 
the Mexicans, and for this reason was probably the first to obtain unmolested 
entrance to the markets of the southern province. His route led him straight 
west to the mountains, all the time following the Arkansas River, and then turned 
southward. In 1822 several caravans followed the trail to Santa Fe and in this 
year the trade may be said to have opened in earnest. 

The original eastern terminus of the Santa Fe Trail was the small hamlet of 
Franklin, located on the Missouri River, about one hundred and fifty miles west 
of St. Louis. After ten years or so the terminus was changed to the town of Inde- 
pendence, Missouri, near the present Kansas City, then in the '505 to Westport 
and to Kansas City. From Independence the Trail ran southwest to the extreme 
northern point of the great bend in the Arkansas, then along the north bank to the 
looth meridian. At this point a crossing of the Arkansas was made at a place 
known as the Cimarron Crossing, and the course continued southwest to the 
Cimarron River, thence along the north bank of this river, crossing the south- 
eastern corner of the present Baca County, Colorado, over the Cimarron Pass 


through Oklahoma, northeastern New Mexico to Santa Fe. The total distance 
covered by the Trail is estimated to have been 840 miles. 

After the Mexican War traffic upon the Trail vastly increased. Mails were car- 
ried over its route, troops were marched and transported along its broad stretches 
and caravan after caravan of "prairie schooners," pack-animals, riders and pedes- 
trians followed its course to the mountains and the Far West. The Bent brothers 
opened a branch road from their first trading-post, following the north bank of the 
upper Arkansas to the Santa Fe Crossing. This is now a public road from the 
mountains to the eastward. The trail from the upper Arkansas to Fort Laramie, 
via Fort St. Vrain, has been mentioned before. Another trail afterwards led 
from the second Bent trading-post, which was Fort Bent, into New Mexico by 
way of the Raton Pass, joining the Santa Fe Trail after entering the Territory of 
New Mexico. There were numerous other and smaller trails established during 
this period, many of them to suit the convenience of the trappers alone. 

The Santa Fe Trail continued as a highway of commerce until after the Civil 
War and the coming of the first railroads. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe 
Railway was built up the Arkansas Valley in the early '705 and as its steel rails 
were advanced the old Trail was just so much shortened. Freighters used the 
Trail only so far as to reach the beginning of the railroad. On February 9, 1880, 
the first train over this railroad by way of the Raton Pass entered Santa Fe and 
the famous Santa Fe Trail became a thing of the past. 


William Bent was the last fur trader within the limits of the present State of 
Colorado. After he had wilfully destroyed Fort Bent, he constructed a few log 
houses on the left bank of the Arkansas at a point known as the "Big Timbers," 
in what is now Prowers County, Colorado. In 1854, having abandoned his cab- 
ins, he began the construction of the New Fort Bent, on the Arkansas, eight 
miles west of Lamar. Although smaller, in general appearance and equipment 
this new fort was very similar to the original Fort Bent. Bent maintained a trad- 
ing-post here and also negotiated with the government for its sale as a military 
post. In this latter he had better success than formerly, and in 1859 the govern- 
ment purchased the fort and renamed it Fort Wise, in honor of the Governor of 
Virginia at that time. In 1861 it was again renamed Fort Lyon, after Gen. 
Nathaniel Lyon. Afterward it was rebuilt and relocated at the mouth of the Las 
Animas or Purgatory River. Of the picturesque characters developed in the 
Great West during the fur-trading period more shall be said in a later chapter. 
Such men as "Kit" Carson, "Jim" Bridger, "Uncle Dick" Wooten and Tom Tobin 
were classed as "free" trappers, and, although possessing many of the rough traits 
of the frontier, were ever staunch defenders of law and order, valiant fighters, 
true friends and in all men of red blood and iron sinew. 


In his journey to the Columbia River region in the year 1839, Dr. F. A. Wis- 
lizenus saw parts of Colorado, also passed through the state upon his return jour- 
ney. Doctor Wislizenus wrote a narrative of his trip, which was published in the 


original German by Wilhelm Weber at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1840. In 1911 a 
translation was made of this book for the Colorado Historical and Natural His- 
tory Society by Mr. Alfred Patek. It is from this translation that the following 
excerpts are taken : 

"About the middle of April, 1839, I left St. Louis for the purpose of traveling 
westward. I took the steamer St. Peter up the Missouri to 'Chouteau's Land- 
ing.' This took six days, as the water was low and it was a trip of no particu- 
lar interest. The little western border town of Westport lies six miles from 
Chouteau's Landing, and it was there that I determined to await the departure of 
the annual caravan westward. This little town contains thirty to forty houses and 
lies hardly more than a mile from the western border of Missouri. It is the ac- 
customed gathering place for travelers to the Rocky Mountains. Its neighboring 
town, Independence, which lies twelve miles away, is also a rendezvous for 
those who are traveling to Santa Fe. 

"I bought a horse and a mule, the former to ride upon and the latter for bag- 
gage. I prepared myself in other ways for a long journey. On the 4th of May the 
company that was to make this journey had arrived and prepared itself for the 
trip, and the first stop was eight miles from Westport at a place called Sapling 
Grove. The journey to this point was through the land of the Shawnees, friendly 
Indians, who have settled here and who have become the owners of valuable 
farms. Their customs are very much like those of the whites, some of them 
even speaking English. My first day's travel was not auspicious, for I did not 
understand how to pack the baggage upon the mule's back. The usual way con- 
sists in dividing the luggage into two equal halves, tightening each separately 
and then with loops adjusting it accurately to the shape of the pack saddle. 
After this has been done a lash rope, made of buffalo leather, is bound around 
the belly of the animal and then effectively wound around the baggage. My 
entire outfit weighed from 150 to 200 pounds, which is the usual burden of one 
of the animals, but it was not properly divided, so that I was compelled to unpack- 
repeatedly, and I did not arrive at the first stopping place until after dark and 
long after all the others had reached the place." 

Speaking of the difficulties of pack-saddling, Doctor Wislizenus states later: 
"During the first days of a journey it is the custom to lead the pack animals 
with ropes, but later they are permitted to run free and are driven in front of the 
caravan. The amateur travelers have considerable trouble with their baggage. 
At one point the pack has turned to one side ; at another point it is under the very 
belly of the animal. At times when the animal sees its load falling, it stops and 
awaits the coming of the master, but some of them, frightened, start on a wild 
run and do their utmost to free themselves of their loads. But the caravan, like 
an army deserting its fallen, moves forward. The older ones repair the damage 
in silence, but with angry faces, and the younger ones do not hesitate to give vent 
to their feelings in picturesque language, to say the least." 

Of the personnel of the company the Doctor says: "Our caravan was small, 
for it consisted of only twenty-seven persons. Of these, nine were in the employ 
of the Fur Company of St. Louis, Choteau, Pratte & Company, and were going to 
the annual rendezvous on the Green River with a transport of trading goods. 
Their leader was a Mr. Harris, a mountaineer of no particular culture, but with 
five healthy senses which he knew how to use. The others had joined the excur- 


sion for purely personal reasons. Among them were three missionaries, two of 
whom were accompanied by their wives and who were on their way to the Colum- 
bia, that they might aid in converting the tribes in the Northwest. Several others 
were talking of a permanent settlement on the Columbia River, others had Cali- 
fornia in mind, but nearly all were impelled by trading interests. The majority 
of the company consisted of Americans, the. remainder were Canadians, French 
and Germans, with one solitary Dane. 

"Our direction during those first two days was due west. For one day we 
traveled along the broad Santa Fe Trail, then turned to our right into a narrower 
road, which had been blazed by the early travelers to the Rockies, but which was 
often so faint in its outline that even the leaders lost it, and were governed by the 
camps. Our path took us through a prairie with rolling and fertile ground, 
watered here and there by brooks and streams. Upon these shores we found as a 
rule a narrow strip of undergrowth. On the prairie we found no timber. For 
several days we were forced to drink dirty and stagnant water, but usually we 
found pleasant and romantic places along clear streams. We saw but little animal 
life and shot only a few prairie chickens. The weather-"beaten elk skull and elk 
horn were evidence to us that at some time those old residents of the wilderness 
were grazing in these regions. On the fifth day we arrived at the Kansas, or, as 
it was called, the Kaw River. * * * We were now about one hundred miles 
above its junction with the Missouri." 

On the afternoon of May 2$d the party came into view of the Platte River. 
"A short distance below the junction of the two forks (North and South) the 
stream separates anew and forms a large and long island. It was at this point 
that we reached the Platte." 

The caravan proceeded along the Platte to the forks and then followed the 
course of the South Platte for a few days. Shortly the journey was taken in a 
northwest direction, to the North Platte. Nothing of importance happened along 
this route, except a glimpse of a drove of wild horses. Wislizenus describes the 
country as follows : "The North Fork and its environment is much like the South 
Fork much sand, very little wood and no buffalo. * * * The bluffs on our 
side of the stream, and on which I noticed pine for the first time, grew smaller 
as we advanced and were at last mergd entirely in the prairie. Farther back, 
however, we saw the first red cliffs, precipitous and imposing. In these the sand 
formation is also predominant. Many of these rows of cliffs seemed to have 
been telescoped into each other. Leading up to them are grass mounds which 
are in the nature of foothills, and these in turn flatten out. Along the range are 
numerous cliffs that seem thrown apart from the main range and shape them- 
selves into most peculiar forms. The first cliff at the beginning of the range and 
about eight miles from the stream had the appearance of an old castle or citadel 
More remarkable still is the last one in the same range. Its tower-like pinnacle 
can be seen for thirty or forty miles and it has therefore been named 'The Chim- 
ney.' It is not more than a mile from the stream. Its cone-formed basis is about 
three-quarters its height, while the pyramid-like pinnacle takes up the other quar- 
ter. The upper part of the formation is of sandstone and the foundation is calca- 
reous. The entire height of the cliff is 525 feet the pinnacle about 125 of this." 

Without further mishap, the party reached the Green River rendezvous and 
on July loth Wislizenus began his return journey. 


"We left Fort Crockett on August i8th and moved easterly toward the North 
Fork of the Platte. For several miles our path led along the Green River and 
then turned into a gulch, six to eight miles long, known as Brown's Hole. At the 
end of the gulch we camped. The following morning we gathered up the shreds 
left in our meatsacks and ate them, hoping to come across fresh meat before long. 
Our path, however, led over a sand waste, sparsely covered with grass and no 
game. During the morning we crossed the Vermillion, a brook with reddish- 
looking water, which flows into the Green. * * * On August 25th, in the 
evening, we reached the left bank of the North Fork of the Platte, at a point 
which we had not touched in our westward journey. This was probably 100 miles 
in a straight line from Fort Laramie. The stream here was wide, but shallow, 
and we forded it with ease. We left it at once, however, going southwest to 
reach the South Fork. We arrived there in about eight days. On the first day 
we crossed over fairly high hills the range that belongs to this North Fork terri- 
tory. On the 5th we crossed the range which divides the terrain of the North 
Fork from that of the South Fork and over which there is a comparatively easy 
path. The mountain formation was again sand and limestone. On their sides 
were mostly pines. On the seventh day we reached the Cache a la Poudre Creek, 
which empties into the South Fork. On the ninth day we were at the South 
Fork. On September 3d we were unexpectedly to the left bank of the South 
Fork and crossed. On the right bank here there are three forts only a few miles 
apart. These are Penn's and Savory's Fort, Vasquez and Sublette's Fort and 
Lupton's Fort. They are of the customary construction, the outer walls being 
of doby. There is much enmity and jealousy between these places. * * * In 
the second I met the famous Fitzpatrick, whose adventures in the mountains have 
been many and marvelous. He is a slim, bony figure, with expressive face and 
snow-white hair. His whole being seemed to breathe emotion and passion. * * * 

"On September 7th we left the South Fork forts on the way to the Arkansas. 
For but half a day we followed the course of the former stream. At the sruth- 
west, along the left shore of the Platte, there came into view a mountain range 
whose topmost peaks were partially covered with snow. It made a beautiful 
background for the cottonwood lines along the Platte and for the broad prairie 
which stretches along its opposite bank. \ 

"On the fourth day we traveled in the country that lies between the water- 
sheds of the Platte and Arkansas. The country is somewhat hilly and covered 
here and there with pine woods. In this wide prairie which stretches to the 
Arkansas we came across buffalo herds again. Here, too, we met two lodges of 
Arapahoes who had just killed a buffalo cow and invited us to the repast. The 
squaws were still busy cutting away the meat, and we smoked for a time and 
assisted in gathering buffalo chips, which we had to use for fire, as no wood was 
available. We traveled together after our meal. The squaws pack their animals 
with wonderful economy. One horse carries a pack weighing 300 pounds, but 
also the squaw and her children, she deftly preserving the equilibrium of it all. 
Even one of the dogs carried a load of fifty pounds. We camped at a sandy creek 
in the evening. The Indians were also going to the Arkansas, but they traveled 
too slowly for us and so we separated, reaching the Arkansas in two days. 

"The Arkansas and the region round about are much like the Platte country. 
It rises in the same range on the South Fork and courses eastward toward the 


Mississippi. At times its shores are bleak, at times lined with cottonwoods. 
There is rolling country on both sides. It is a rushing stream, but shallow and 
navigable only for small boats. Catfish abound in it. We moved along the left 
shore for sixty miles toward Penn's (Bent's) Fort, the environment changing but 
little. Here and there along the shore we found wild grapes, which, though sour, 
were extremely palatable. They were larger than any I had seen before in the 
United States. We also found a red fruit, something on the cactus order, sweet 
to the taste. The grass was getting dryer as we moved along. Only by the side 
of the stream was it fresh. The high grass burns like tinder once it is lit. 
Through carelessness this happened in camp, and it was with the utmost difficulty 
that we saved our- baggage. Buffalo were no longer plentiful. On September 
I5th we reached Penn's (Bent's) Fort. This lies on the left bank of the Arkan- 
sas River and is the largest and most beautiful fort we had visited on our entire 
journey. The walls are doby (adobe) and a watch tower, with loop-holes, rises 
on each side of the front wall. In the spacious center cattle are herded. They 
have in addition to these herds of cattle, sheep and goats and three buffalo calves 
that graze in the nearby fields. They have no surplus of horses, for Indians with 
unbelieveable boldness, recently drove off a hundred head. The fort lies about 
one hundred and fifty miles from Taos, in Mexico, and about three hundred miles 
from Santa Fe. Many little expeditions leave quite often for Taos to get flour, 
bread, beans, sugar, etc. ' In addition, ox wagons bring large consignments of 
goods annually from the Missouri border. About four miles above this is a sec- 
ond smaller fort called Bublo's Fort, which is occupied largely by French and 
Mexicans. We purchased some Spanish flour, which might better have been 
called bran. But our appetites had not been spoiled, so it was palatable to us. 
We left on the I7th. The many wagons that make the journey annually have 
carved out a well-defined road which lies largely along the river and joins the 
Santa Fe Trail about one hundred and fifty miles below. We followed this road. 
It was the same monotonous, treeless, sandy prairie. On the second day we 
reached what is called the 'Big Timber,' a spot on the Arkansas which for several 
miles is well-wooded. But below it is again destitute of trees. The Comanches, 
who here play about the same part the Blackfeet do in the North, scour the region 
for prey. We were fortunate enough not to make their acquaintance. On the 
fifth day we again encountered buffalo herds. On the sixth we reached the Santa 
Fe Trail. This broad road, like a chaussee, had gradually been made by the 
great ox caravans which annually cover the distance between the Missouri 
boundary and Santa Fe. The distance between Independence and Santa Fe is 
about nine hundred miles and the direction is southwest through the prairie. 

"At a point less than half way between the towns is crossed the Arkansas. 
The stream there is shallow and is easily forded. It was at this crossing that we 
hit the trail. The road gradually left the river and wound its way toward smaller 
streams which empty into it from the north. The first day we traveled over a 
broad plateau, on which there were countless buffalo, but very little water. On 
September 26th we reached Pawnee Fork, on the next day Ash Creek, in the 
vicinity of which there is a cliff right in the midst of a prairie. This is said to 
mark the half-way point between Missouri and Penn's (Bent's) Fort. Many 
travelers have engraved their names on this. 

"An unfortunate accident here separated me from my companions. My horse 


had weakened in the days that preceded and I was compelled to walk more than 
I care to. As there was some delay in breaking camp the next morning I took 
my animals by the bridle and walked them ahead in the hope that the party would 
soon overtake us. I tried afterwards to drive the animals ahead of me, but they 
ran to the side so often that I finally got into the tracks of another road, which 
gradually became less and less denned and finally disappeared. It was foggy 
and I could not see my companions in any direction. In order to lose no more 
time I determined to move east and thus strike the trail farther along. After 
going a few miles I came to a swamp. I could not see clear land either to the 
north or south. In the east it seemed to be only a few miles in length. The 
water was not deep, the soil fairly solid and I therefore determined to move 
along. Slowly I sent my horse forward. It, however, slipped after going over 
the wet grass and reeds. My packhorse I led by a rope. Waterbirds of all kinds 
swarmed about us. I do not recall having seen such quantities of swans, cranes, 
pelicans, wild geese and ducks in one small area. The marsh was covered with 
them and they felt so secure that I could have killed hundreds of them with my 
gun barrel. At this time I was not anxious to hunt, but rather to get safely out 
of the miserable swamp. My horse was getting weaker and I barely covered a 
mile an hour. With a great effort I finally reached what I thought from the 
distance were trees, but which turned out to be high reeds, and the other half 
of the swamp lay before me. I could no longer get my horse to move while 
riding it, and I therefore dismounted and led it by the bridle. At times the water 
was breast high. It was with measured and slow step that I moved along, my 
dog swimming after the bedraggled procession. It was sunset when I finally 
reached the end of the swamp. Before me lay a chain of small hills and nearby 
a creek with a wooded shore line. To this I led my wornout animals. The lone- 
someness of it all would at any other time have seriously affected me. Now it 
actually had a charm. I built a fire and dried my clothes. On the following 
morning, just as I was at breakfast, a herd of deer visited me. They came very 
close, but I did not shoot at them, for I still had a supply of dried meat, nor did 
I care to attract the attention of the Pawnees who were accustomed to crossing 
this district. I still moved eastward. The grass was often man-high and going 
was miserable. Nowhere did I strike a sign of a road. The country looked as 
if it had never been traversed by a human being. I crossed several small brooks, 
the bottom of some of which were so treacherous that my animals sunk in them. 
Several times I had to take the baggage off the pack animal. In the afternoon I 
reached a larger wooded creek, probably Cow Creek, and camped there. My 
horses were tired and worn out, so I remained there all of the next day as well, 
dried my baggage and animadverted on the solitude. 

"The following morning I started again and struck the last buffalo herds of 
the journey. I sank into a few more creeks and camped on the Little Arkansas, 
a stream with a precipitous shore line. It took me a long time to find a place to 
water my horses. The following morning my animals were gone. On climbing 
a tree I spied them a mile away. It was impossible to get them across with the 
pack, so I dragged this over myself and then came back and got the animals 
over. After going eastward several hours longer I suddenly struck the Santa 
Fe Trail again. Even my animals seemed overjoyed. I found traces of my 
companions. That night I camped at a pool filled with frogs. This was for lack 


of a better place. I had now been separated from my companions for six days. 
On the following morning I traveled twenty-five miles in one stretch to Cotton- 
wood Creek, a wooded stream which here makes a half circle. I was just about 
to select a camping place when I heard a shot that must have been fired from a 
hollow nearby. I rode toward it and found my companions. They had waited 
for me a day at the Little Arkansas, but finally concluded that I was ahead of 
them. We still had 200 miles to the Missouri River." 

Doctor Wislizenus reached Westport, now part of Kansas City, and from 
there went to St. Louis, arriving on the last day of October. 

How well Doctor Wislizenus prophesied the future life of the Great West 
and the coming of civilization is shown by his words in concluding his journal, 
which follow : 

"The fate of the western Indian may be foretold by the history of those who 
once occupied the eastern half of the country. Civilization will conquer even 
the last remnant, aided as it is by disease and whiskey. Many eastern tribes, as 
terrible as the Blackfeet are now in the West, have disappeared and hardly their 
names remain. Some have taken up agriculture and live, but as shadow pictures 
of a vanished people. The western tribes, it must be admitted, are protected from 
the advance of civilization by the vast sandy prairie which stretches from the 
boundary of Missouri 1,000 miles to the foot of the range. They have also the 
great wall of the Rockies and the sand steppes beyond to add to their security. 

"But civilization will not find these difficulties insurmountable. Fully half 
of the prairie lands can be put under cultivation, and the lack of timber, which is 
due less to the nature of the soil than to the many prairie fires and the great 
herds of game, particularly buffalo, will not count for much with the advance 
of civilization. Illinois, too, had many treeless stretches which later civilization 
changed to wooded sections. 

"When the waves of civilization from east and west will cover the vast sand 
dunes, and break against the mountains, the few free tribes will fight for exist- 
ence, but the waves will rise higher and higher until they reach and submerge 
them where they will make their last stand in the Rockies. The buffalo and the 
antelope and the bloody tomahawk will disappear in the flood. But there will 
be no peace pipe to smoke, for the new people will bring with the virtues all the 
evils of civilization. They will wallow in the lap of these Rockies to bring to 
light the precious metals that lie buried there. When they have found these, 
greed and envy and every ignoble quality will be aroused and the civilized race 
will find itself no happier than the vanished red brother." 









On September 7, 1858, the Lawrence party of prospectors, whose history is 
narrated elsewhere, having established their camp north of the Russell, or Platte 
River, "diggings," organized the "Montana Town Company." The purpose of 
this company was to start a town to be called "Montana City," the site of which 
is within the present city limits of Denver, 4^ miles south of the state capitol 
on the east side of the South Platte. Josiah Hinman was elected president of 
this company; and William J. Boyer was chosen secretary. A few log cabins 
were constructed upon the site of this first Pike's Peak town and the community 
began to show signs of becoming the principal town of the gold region. How- 
ever, the creation of other communities at the mouth of Cherry Creek defeated 
the ambitions of "Montana City" and before the next summer, 1859, little or 
nothing was left of it. 


In September, 1858, a number of the members of the Lawrence party, be- 
coming dissatisfied with the location of Montana City and believing that a better 
site could be procured on the South Platte, separated from the Lawrence organi- 
zation, with the intention of forming a new town company. With the Lawrence 
"seceders" John S. Smith and William McGaa, Indian traders, joined; their co- 
operation was much desired by the Lawrence men as in that way they could hold 
friendly intercourse with the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians. On September 
24th the members met at the mouth of Cherry Creek, formally took possession of 
a mile square tract of land, drew and signed an agreement of organization, the 
latter signed by William McGaa, John S. Smith, Adnah French, T. C. Dickson, 
John A. Churchill, William Hartley, Frank M. Cobb, William N. Smith and 
Charles Nichols. Upon the same day they adopted the "Constitution of the St. 



Charles Association," as their organization was named, which, with the articles 
of agreement and the by-laws, constitute the earliest municipal documents rela- 
tive to the settlement of Colorado. On the 28th of September the following first 
officers were elected : Adnah French, president ; William McGaa, vice president ; 
T. C. Dickson, secretary; John S. Smith, treasurer; Frank M. Cobb, recorder; 
the above officers, with William Hartley, Charles Nichols, William Smith and 
John A. Churchill, trustees. 

Still making Montana City their headquarters, the members of the St. Charles 
Company began the survey of the new tract. William Hartley, a surveyor con- 
nected with the party, superintended this work, which was done with a rude 
pocket-compass and chain. The survey was started from a point within the 
present Denver city block bounded by Larimer, Fourteenth, Lawrence and 
Fifteenth streets, and the general plan of the streets followed north and south 
and east and west lines. Stakes and claim notices were set up on the land, 
notwithstanding the fact that the Indians held title to all of the land in question. 

The name St. Charles, suggested by Charles Nichols who had lived at St. 
Charles, Missouri, was given to the new town, although several of the company in- 
sisted that the town be called "Golden City." 

In the forepart of October, 1858, the Lawrence members of the St. Charles 
Association decided to return to eastern Kansas for the winter months, leaving 
Smith and McGaa in charge. In this way they hoped to advertise the new 
country and their townsite, also to obtain a charter from the Kansas Territorial 
Legislature. They believed that no further immigration to Colorado would oc- 
cur during the winter and that the prospects of St. Charles could be greatly en- 
hanced before the spring months. But this decision proved to be fatal to the St. 
Charles Association. 

Shortly after the Lawrence men had departed upon their return trip to 
Kansas they met the D. C. Oakes party en route for Cherry Creek, where they 
arrived October loth, and, still further along the trail, they met another party 
of Pike's Peakers, also bound for Cherry Creek. Frequent bands of immigrants 
were encountered thereafter and before long the St. Charles members began to 
be apprehensive of their holdings. They held a consultation and finally ap- 
pointed Charles Nichols to return to the St. Charles plat and construct a build- 
ing upon the site, in order to show their priority of right, also to induce the 
new settlers to locate there, of course under the authority of the St. Charles 
Town Association. 

Nichols returned to Cherry Creek and there found about a half hundred new 
settlers encamped on the west side of the stream, around the quarters of Smith 
and McGaa, also the Russell men. Smith and McGaa, the two Indian traders, 
had become indifferent to Nichols and the St. Charles people and refused to 
assist in building a cabin on the platted ground. Nichols thereupon laid four 
logs upon the ground, which, according to pioneer custom, was assumed to be 
the beginning of a log house and to serve as protection of claim rights. His 
efforts, though were of little value, for the others calmly proceeded in their own 
fashion without regard to the former St. Charles Company. 



By the 24th of October, the settlement on the west side of Cherry Creek hav- 
ing been augmented by the arrival of a number of people from Kansas, Nebras- 
ka and Missouri, the proposal was made to form a company and establish a 
"city" upon the land there. Public notice was given on the 2/th that a mass 
meeting would be held on the 3Oth, at which time a town company would be 
organized. This meeting resulted in the formation of the company, as intended, 
and may be identified as the actual beginning of the present City of Denver. 
The record of this first meeting follows: 

"October 30, 1858. 

"At a meeting of the Citizens of the South Platte for the purpose of select- 
ing a suitable site for a town, Wm. McFadding was appointed as chairman, and 
A. J. Smith as Secretary of said meeting. The President stated the object of the 

"On motion of Mr. Hutchins a committee of five was appointed to select 
said site, with power to examine into any and all previous claims. The chair 
appointed the following, viz. : Hutchins, Dudley, Dr. Russell, J. S. Smith and 

"The Committee reported that they were not able to report at this meeting 
and asked further time. Permission was granted. 

"On motion of A. J. Smith a Committee of five was appointed to draft a 
Constitution, viz. : A. J. Smith, J. H. Dudley, William McGaw (meaning McGaa), 
L. J. Russell and S. M. Rooker. 

"On motion Wm. McFadding was added to the Committee. 

"On motion meeting adjourned to Oct. 31, 1858. 

"A. J. SMITH, Secretary." 

This second meeting was officially reported in the minute-book of the associa- 
tion as follows : 

"October 3ist, 1858. 

"Meeting met pursuant to adjournment, Mr. McFadding in the Chair. 

"Minutes of Meeting 3Oth inst. read and approved. 

"The Committee to whom the selection of a town site was referred reported 
the Following, which was adopted, viz. : 

"The Committee reports that they have selected a town-site upon the follow- 
ing lands. A tract having Cherry Creek for the Easterly line and the South 
Platte for the northerly line, and extending west and south sufficiently to include 
not less than Six hundred and forty acres. The claimants to said portions being 
present and acquiescing. Reserving and excepting for the Benefit of William 
McGaw and John S. Smith the privilege of a ferry landing within the river 
boundary of the town lands. 

"The Committee appointed to draft a Constitution and By-laws reported on 
the Constitution and By-laws, which were adopted with the following amend- 
ment, viz.: To the 9th article of the Constitution When it becomes necessary 
to lay a tax for any improvement upon the town site it shall be the duty of the 




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Board of Directors to call a meeting, notifying the Stockholders to that effect. 
A majority of the quorum always being necessary to levy such tax. 

"On motion adjourned. 
"A. J. SMITH, Secretary." 

The constitution and by-laws of the Auraria Town Company, according to 
the secretary's report of them, were such as the following: 

"Constitution of Auraria Town Company. 

"We, the Citizens of the South Platte, "having assembled on the First day 
of November, A.D., One thousand, Eight hundred and fifty-eight, and agreed to 
associate ourselves into a Company to be known and distinguished as the Auraria 
Town Company, and by which name we hold ourselves liable to sue and be sued, 
and to transact business as an individual and legal body. 

"Article ist. 

"This Company shall be known and distinguished as the Auraria Town Com- 

"Article 2nd. 

"There shall be elected by the Stockholders of said Company a President, 
Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and One Director, who shall hold their 
offices for the term of one year from the date hereof, at the expiration of which 
term there shall be a new election. 

"Article 3rd. 

"In case of any failure of such election at the expiration of said term of One 
year, or should a vacancy occur through resignation, death or absence, a majority 
of the Board may direct a meeting of the Stockholders to be called and elect 
others in their places. 

"Article 4th. 

"It shall be the duty of the President to preside over the meetings of the 
Board, to preserve order, and likewise to sign all certificates of shares, and to 
discharge all the duties usually devolving upon the President of meetings and 

"Article 5th. 

"It shall be the duty of the Vice President in case of death, resignation, or 
any absence from any cause, of the President, to discharge all the duties required 
of the President. 

"Article 6th. 

' "It shall be the duties of the Secretary to keep the books and accounts of 
said Company, to record all meetings of the Stockholders, or of the Board of 
Directors ; likewise to sign all shares and transfers of shares and record the 
same. Keep a record of all documents and papers relating to Town property, 
and to notify stockholders of all assessments and when to be paid. 

"Article ;th. 

"It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to take charge of all monies which the 
Board of Directors may place in his hands, and receipt for the same ; to collect 
all assessments which the Board may make, and receipt for the same; and shall 
upon an order from the Board disburse any funds belonging to said company, 


and shall submit a statement of his proceeds in office at any meeting of the 
Board when called upon to do so by said Board. 

"Article 8th. 

"The President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and One Director shall 
constitute a Board of Directors, all to be chosen from the Stockholders of said 

"Article 9th. 

"It shall be the duty of the Board of Directors to superintend the surveying, 
platting, lithographing or mapping, of the Town Site. Printing or writing shares 
of stock, superintending all company improvements, and hold all Company prop- 
erty in trust for the benefit of said Company. And also when it becomes neces- 
sary to levy a tax for any improvements upon the Town Site, it shall be the 
duty of the Board of Directors to call a meeting notifying the stockholders to 
that effect. A majority of a quorum always being necessary to levy such a tax." 


"Article ist. 

"All shares donated by said Company shall be improved in such manner as 
the Board of Directors may contract, within Sixty days after the day of Dona- 
tion. But if such specified improvements be not made, then the title of such 
person or persons to whom such donation shall have been made is null and 

"Article 2nd. 

"The election of Officers shall take place on the first Monday in November 
in Each year, the vote shall be cast by ballot, and two-thirds of the vote cast 
shall be necessary to a choice. 

"Article 3d. 

"Each stockholder shall be entitled to one vote at the first election. At every 
succeeding election each stockholder shall be entitled to on.e vote for every share 
of stock as originally issued, providing all arrearages of assessments are paid. 

"Article 4th. i 

"Thirty days shall be allowed for payment of assessments, and if not paid 
within said thirty days the Secretary shall advertise the same for thirty days ad- 
ditional, and if not paid within said time the Secretary shall cause such share or 
shares to b,e sold to pay such assessments. 

"Article 5th. 

"The owner or owners of any stock sold as above provided to pay assess- 
ments, by paying, within 90 days after such sale as aforesaid, the purchase money 
and fifty per centum added thereto, shall be entitled to redeem such stock. 

"Article 6th. 

"Each member of the Board of Directors shall be held under bond for the 
faithful discharge of his duties as such member, the sum of which bond not to 
exceed the sum of Twenty-five hundred dollars and not less than Two thousand 

"Article 7th. 

"There shall be set apart four hundred shares for the use and benefit of the 
Stockholders, the remaining two hundred shall be set apart for donation, public 


improvements, etc., and it shall be the duty of the Board of Directors to take 
charge of such donations, and all profits arising from such donations shall be 
set apart for the benefit hereafter of said Company. 

"Article 8th. 

"The number of Original Stockholders shall not exceed the number of One 
hundred. In the absence of any stockholder he may appoint an agent to cast the 
vote or votes to which he may be entitled, and to act as proxy, generally. 

"Article Qth. 

"No transfer of stock shall be considered legal unless such transfer be signed 
and recorded by the Secretary in the books of the company at the time of making 
such transfer. 

"Article zoth. 

"Shares of stock shall be issued to each and every stockholder when such 
Stockholder shall have, or caused to have been, constructed within the City Limits 
a house not less than Sixteen by sixteen feet, to be approved by the Board of 
Directors. Such improvements to be made and completed on or before the first 
day of July, A.D., 1859, or the shares become forfeited to the Company. 

"Article, nth. 

"This Constitution and By-Laws thereunto annexed may be revised and 
amended at any general meeting of the Company by a vote of Two-thirds of 
the Stockholders of said Company." 

At a meeting of the stockholders of the Auraria Town Company held Novem- 
ber 6th the following officers were elected: William McFadding, president; 
J. H. Dudley, vice president; L. J. Russell, secretary; John S. Smith, treasurer; 
Henry Allen, director. 

The name "Auraria," meaning "Gold Town," was one of two suggested by 
Dr. L. J. Russell and appears for the first time in the title of the constitution. 
Auraria was the name of Doctor Russell's home town in Lupkin County, Georgia, 
where gold "diggings" existed then and which are still 1 being worked. 

Auraria was in this way the first town that was established at the mouth of 
Cherry Creek and was the nucleus of the present City of Denver. Here many 
of the first features of Colorado, including the first newspaper, the first Protest- 
ant church and the first church school were started. Nichols, the custodian of 
the St. Charles Company site, in the meantime stood by and watched with grow- 
ing apprehension the rise of Auraria. There was nothing he could do just then 
to hold the interest of the others, even though he did complete a cabin which he 
had started with the four logs. This was near Cherry Creek in the vicinity of 
the present Blake Street crossing, and was located outside the mile-square plat of 
the St. Charles Company, but upon land which Smith and McGaa were to have 
obtained for the organization. 


The Denver City Town Company was the result of the arrival of a company 
of pioneers at the mouth of Cherry Creek in November, 1858, many of the mem- 
bers of which became very prominent in the early life of Denver. This company 
was really a union of two parties formed in eastern Kansas. One of them was 


For whom the city was named. He was born in Winchester, Va., on October 23, 1817, 
and died in Washington City on August 9, 1892. His tomb is at Wilmington, O., in which 
town he had resided for many years. 


organized at Lecompton in the summer and among the members were Hickory 
Rogers, Edward W. Wynkoop and H. P. A. Smith. James W. Denver was 
then governor of Kansas Territory and thought there should be some represen- 
tative government in the new Pike's Peak gold country. With this end in view 
he appointed Smith probate judge, Rogers chairman of the county board of 
commissioners and Wynkoop sheriff, of the County of Arapahoe, then nothing 
more than a name attached to the western end of Kansas. In this way the 
three "county officials" were authorized to proceed to the new country, which 
they did. 

The other half of the pioneer company was from Leavenworth, in fact be- 
came known as the "Leavenworth Party." This company consisted of Folsom 
Dorsett, M. M. Jewett, Gen. William Larimer, Jr., his son William H. H. Lari- 
mer, Charles A. Lawrence and Richard E. Whitsitt. The six men departed from 
Leavenworth on October 3d, with a prairie schooner, four yoke of oxen, and a 
horse for each of the party. Five weeks later they arrived at the site of Pueblo, 
there meeting Governor Denver's county officials and others. The two joined 
and traveled to Auraria, reaching there November i6th. 

The newcomers quickly perceived that a rival city could well be platted on 
the east side of the creek from Auraria and with this end in view allied them- 
selves with E. P. Stout, P. T. Bassett, William Clancy, Smith and McGaa, the 
traders, and a few others. A meeting was held in McGaa's cabin on the night 
of November i/th, when the Denver City Town Company was organized. Nichols 
was present, according to all accounts, and protested strongly over the "jumping" 
of the St. Charles Company's land, but later kept silent when he was threatened 
with being the guest of honor at a "neck-tie party." No official record of this 
first meeting exists. The gathering was more in the nature of a love-feast, how- 
ever, with the flowing bowl much in evidence, and undoubtedly no one was in 
the humor to keep the minutes. The minute-book of the Denver Town Company, 
though, contains the following as its first record : 

"Denver City Company adopted their Constitution on the 22 Nov. 1858, and 
Elected the following Board of Directors and Officers: 

"President E. P. Stout. 
"Treasurer Wm Larimer Jr. 
"Secty H. P. A. Smith. 
"Recorder P. T. Bassett. 

"E. P. Stout. 
"Wm Larimer Jr 
"J (William) McGaa 
"C. A. Lawrence 
"W. Clancy 
"Hickory Rogers 
"P. T. Bassett 

"The Board of Directors appointed Wm Larimer Jr Secty of the Board and 
also Selected the Same to donate lots under the instructions from the Board 

"Under a previously appointed Committee of Messrs Rogers, Bassett, McGaa, 
Lawrence & Larimer they secured the services of Curtis (Col. Samuel S. Cur- 


tis) on the 22nd Inst and laid out one principle Street and further the Same 
Committee Set posts and bounded two miles square for a town site. Called 
Denver City. 

"Wm Larimer Jr 

"Secty of the Board. 
"Denver City 
"22 Nov. 1858" 

The new city was named in honor of Governor Denver, the head of the Kan- 
sas Territory administration and who played such an important part in inaugur- 
ating the movement which led to the establishment of the community. The 
identity of the individual who proposed Denver's name is not known and by 
many writers it is claimed that his name was chosen by acclaim as he was upper- 
most in the thoughts of many of the members of the Company. The St. Charles 
Company stockholders were given shares in the new company in recompense for 
the "jumping" of their townsite. The Leaven worth-Lecompton party has been 
accorded the honor by many authorities of being the founders of Denver, but 
this statement is visibly in error. The members of the Auraria Company hold 
much greater claim to this distinction; in fact, E. P. Stout, one of the members 
of the latter company and the first Denver City president, had staked off a town 
upon the St. Charles site before the arrival of the Leavenworth-Lecompton party. 
In this work he was assisted by Smith and McGaa, who seemed to have an inter- 
est in every scheme broached in the Pike's Peak region. 

When the Leavenworth-Lecompton men arrived, there were about a dozen 
cabins constructed upon the site of Auraria and sn equal number in the course 
of building. The first house actually built on the St. Charles site was the first 
house, necessarily, erected upon the land platted by the Denver City Company, 
and this was the one erected by Charles Nichols, in the attempt to hold the claim 
of his companions, and used for a time as a blacksmith shop by Hank Way. 
General Larimer occupied this cabin after his arrival, until his own house was 
constructed on what is now the northeast corner of Fifteenth and Larimer 

As stated before, Montana City was gradually absorbed by the Cherry Creek 
towns. In December, Samuel S. Curtis laid out another paper "city" about two 
miles east of the present Town of Golden. This he named "Arapahoe City." 
Not until the spring of 1859, though, did any settlement of consequence occur 
here, then a portion of the great army of fortune-hunters occupied the site. 


The first mercantile business in the Pike's Peak region was established in 
1858 at Auraria. This was started by Charles H. Blake and Andrew J. Wil- 
liams, under the firm name of Blake & Williams. These men came from Cres- 
cent City, Iowa, and arrived at the mouth of Cherry Creek on October 27th, with 
a train of four wagons, each hauled by four yoke of oxen. The wagons were 
loaded with merchandise of all descriptions and especially adapted to the needs 
of the frontier country. On the first day of November Blake & Williams began 
business in a tent, but shortly afterward moved into a double log cabin, located 
on the north side of the present Wewatta Street, near Twelfth Street. 


One week later, the firm of Kinna & Nye came to Auraria with a stock of 
hardware. Kinna was in charge, Nye not arriving until the next spring. Kinna 
secured a location near the northeast corner of Eleventh and Market streets and 
there erected a cabin, to serve as both residence and store. 

The third merchant in Auraria was J. D. Ramage, a jeweler, who located near 
what is now the southeast corner of Eleventh and Larimer streets. On December 
25th Richens L. Wooten, known as "Uncle Dick," an old Indian trader, came 
to Auraria with two wagon-loads of merchandise, consisting principally of New 
Mexican "fire-water," and called "Taos Lightning" by the Pike's Peakers. By 
way of establishing an acquaintanceship with the citizens of Auraria and Denver 
in the briefest time, Wooten placed the contents of one barrel at the mercy of 
the public, to be consumed as a part of the general holiday celebration. 

Auraria and Denver were quickly recognized as the center of the Pike's Peak 
gold region and nearly all of the argonauts made for the Cherry Creek settle- 
ments the first thing. Auraria made a better appearance during this first winter 
than Denver, having about fifty log houses while Denver had only a score or so. 
Little time was occupied in improving the condition of the towns, as gold was 
the all-absorbing topic and the settlers were impatient to get to the "diggins." 

By an act of the legislative assembly of Jefferson Territory, Auraria and 
Denver were consolidated into one municipality in April, 1860. The Denver title 
became the most popular and the name Auraria was gradually dropped. The 
first territorial assembly of Colorado, by an act approved November 7, 1862, in- 
corporated Auraria, Denver and Highland as the City of Denver, which was 
largely a repetition of the consolidation act of the Jefferson Territorial As- 


By the spring of 1859 several more town companies had been established in 
Colorado. These companies are to be distinguished from those mentioned in 
another chapter by the fact that gold-mining was the basis of their organization, 
their members were prospectors for the greater part, whereas colonies such as 
Union and the Chicago-Colorado had agriculture as a stimulus and Colorado 
Springs and South Pueblo were conceived by the railroad interests. 

The colony at Red Rock, having been enlarged considerably, organized the 
"Boulder City Town Company" on February 10, 1859. There were fifty-six 
stockholders in this company and Alfred A. Brookfield was elected president. A 
tract of ground covering 1,240 acres was selected, extending from the mouth of 
the canyon for a distance of two miles down Boulder Creek. This land was 
divided into 337 blocks, each of which was subdivided into twelve lots. Within 
a few weeks the town was fully laid out and cabin-building actively begun. There 
were about two thousand people then living in the vicinity of this new townsite 
and the stage was splendidly set for the growth of a large community. However, 
speculation by the most of the shareholders effectually obstructed the growth of 
Boulder City for some time. The larger faction desired to hold the lots for high 
and exorbitant prices, while the minority wished to give alternate lots to set- 
tlers who would improve them and in this way establish a town equal to Auraria 
and Denver. The high cost of the lots caused the early failure of this com- 



YEAR 1874 

The name of the town was changed to Nederland a few years after this picture was made. 


munity, only a quarter section being retained finally upon which to build the 
future city. Had the majority of the shareholders followed the experience of 
the Cherry Creek towns it is reasonable to suppose that Boulder would have 
become a very strong competitor to Auraria and Denver. 


Coincident with the start of Boulder City, the Town of La Porte came into 
existence. The company which established this town, or "Colona," as it was 
first called, was formed among the settlers on the Cache a la Poudre, near the 
present site of Fort Collins. Among those included in this organization were: 
Antoine Janise, Nicholas Janise, Elbridge Gerry, John Baptiste, B. Goodwin, 
Antoine Lebeau, Oliver Morisette, and others named Randall, Ravofire, Ray- 
mond, and Todd. A half hundred houses were constructed upon the plat and 
the community began to take definite form. Several years afterward the town 
was reorganized and the name La Porte, meaning "the gate," was substituted 
for Colona. 


On the Fontaine qui Bouille, a short distance above the mouth of Monument 
Creek, another community organized a town company during the winter of 
1858-59. This company was named the "El Paso Town Company." The site 
for the town which was laid out as El Paso City was located at an Indian trail, 
in the gateway to the Ute Pass, through to the South Park, so the name El Paso. 
Little is known of the character of this town organization or the names of those 
who were active in the formation of the same. It is known, however, that the 
town plat of El Paso lay within the present boundaries of Colorado City. El 
Paso City experienced a very short life, though, and was succeeded during the 
following summer and fall by Colorado City. 


Another of the ephemeral town companies which sprang up about this time 
was the Fountain City organization. This was formed among the small settle- 
ments on the east bank of the Fontaine qui Bouille near its mouth, a half mile 
east of Pueblo by the christening of the community "Fountain City," which was 
superseded in the winter of 1858 by the formal town company. The town plat, 
which was surveyed by J. M. Shafer and a Mr. Brown, was laid out immediately 
and about thirty cabins, of logs and adobe, were erected. Some of the material 
used in the construction of these small adobes was taken from the old Pueblo 
trading-post of former years. The people residing here soon moved to Pueblo 
and for a few years the huts were occupied by Mexicans, who farmed the ad- 
joining land. The site of Fountain City was afterwards absorbed by the City 
of Pueblo. 


During the days of the gold rush the formation of "cities" and "town com- 
panies" was a matter of common occurrence. Wherever gold was discovered 


and a strike made the prospectors would gather by the hundreds, make a loca- 
tion, and immediately proceed to organize a company and lay out a city, hoping 
that it would be the metropolis of the gold country within a very short time. An 
instance of this is "Mountain City," later absorbed by Central City, the present 
seat of Gilpin County. 

Mountain City was the result of the discovery of gold upon the north fork of 
Clear Creek. By midsummer of 1859 about two hundred dwellings and busi- 
ness houses were constructed here, but the town flourished only for a year or 
two, then, as stated, was merged with Central City. 

Nevada, two miles west of Central City, began in this summer, and still 
continues as a mining center. Idaho Springs and Georgetown were also laid 
out during this same season. 

Missouri City was platted a short distance southwest of the Central City 
site in the autumn of 1859, but did not long survive the competition from its 
larger neighbors. Altona was another of the unfortunate, laid out at the mouth 
of the Left Hand Creek canyon, eight miles north of Boulder City. The "Shiann 
Pass Town Company" made a great noise when they organized on June 5th to 
establish a town in the Cheyenne Pass through the Laramie Mountains. The 
company platted a tract of land and advertised it as the site for the future great 
city of the West. Arapahoe City, on Clear Creek, had sprung into prominence 
with a town organization and about sixty cabins, but the diggings in the vicinity 
proved valueless and before the end of 1860 the city had been abandoned. 

Golden Gate, at the mouth of a gulch some two miles above the site of 
Golden, was another town to live for a space, then die. Through here the wagon 
road from Denver to Central City led and all the travel to the Gregory "diggins" 
passed over it until the railroad was built from Denver to Central City. This was 
the death of Golden Gate and its highway. The town company here organized 
is described in another paragraph. 


In June, 1859, the Pike's Peakers in the neighborhood of Arapahoe City had 
become familiar with the site of Golden, where some of them had settled and 
were engaged in more or less profitable placer mining. To these men this loca- 
tion seemed to be the ideal one, being located conveniently to the Clear Creek 
mining district and of great natural beauty. The founding of a "city" soon sug- 
gested itself to these men, the leaders of whom were members of the "Boston 
Company," eight in number, who had come to the neighborhood on June I2th. 
A meeting was held on June i6th, where the "Golden Town Company" was dis- 
cussed, and on the 2Oth the organization was effected, with George West as the 
first president. Prominent among these men were: W. A. H. Loveland, J. M. 
Ferrell, E. L. Berthoud, David K. Wall, A. F. Garrison, William Davidson and 
J. C. Kirby. Land to the extent of 1,280 acres was secured for the townsite, 
on the south side of the creek, and one-quarter of it was surveyed into streets, 
blocks and lots during the summer. Buildings were constructed rapidly and be- 
fore the end of the summer this town, named after the character of the surround- 
ing district, had a population of over seven hundred people. Golden prospered 






The picture was given to the Society in October, 1902, by Gen. George West, of Golden, 
who was one of the builders of the structure. 


as no settlement had done since Auraria and Denver and, indeed, it became a 
serious rival of the latter two. 


Another town which came into being during the summer of 1859 was that 
of Colorado City. This town lay along the Fontaine qui Bouille from a point 
near the gypsum bluffs above the mouth of Camp Creek toward the mouth of 
Monument Creek. Fully 1,280 acres of land, or a tract two miles long and one 
mile wide, were included within this townsite. Most of the founders of this 
"Colorado Town Company," which was organized in Auraria and Denver, were 
citizens of the latter communities and included such men as E. P. Stout, R. E. 
Whitsitt, Lewis N. Tappan, L. J. Winchester, S. W. Wagoner, Charles H. Blake, 
H. M. Fosdick, W. P. McClure and D. A. Cheever. L. J. Winchester was the 
president of the company and Lewis N. Tappan secretary. One of the founders 
thus described the origin of the town in the Rocky Mountain News (History of 
Colorado; J. C. Smiley; 1913): 

"On the first day of August, immediately following the receipt of authentic 
information that rich and extensive gold-fields had been found in the South 
Park, and upon the Blue River, the only easy and natural access to which was 
by the old Ute Trail, passing into the mountains at the foot of Pike's Peak, at 
the famous Boiling Springs, a body of gentlemen, comprising some of the leading 
business men of the country, associated themselves together, and entered upon 
possession of a site lying near the old townsite of El Paso, some two miles, how- 
ever, nearer the mountains. It was decided to establish a town and designate it 
by the title of Colorado City, the recently discovered mines (evidently meaning 
those on the Blue River) being, as was then supposed, on the Colorado River." 

Despite a period of depression shortly after the founding of the town, when 
the prospectors poured from the South Park and from the Blue River district, 
claiming that the diggings there were no good, the Colorado City settlement, in 
its weak state, managed to survive and by the middle of autumn settlers once 
more began to come in, houses were erected in great numbers and in all the 
new town began to prosper and grow amazingly. However, Colorado City never 
became the metropolis which the founders hoped for and desired. A direct road 
was laid out from Denver and Auraria to the South Park and Blue River district, 
which became the established line of communication, also the Indian depreda- 
tions along the Arkansas trails in the years which followed diverted much of 
the travel to the northern routes along the Platte and South Platte rivers. 


The Town of Canon City was established about the middle of October, 1859, 
when a number of the residents of Fountain City and Pueblo, namely: Josiah F. 
Smith and his brother Stephen, William Kroenig, Charles D. Peck, Robert Ber- 
caw and William H. Young, being apprised of the gold discoveries in the South 
Park, went up the Arkansas River to a point just below the mouth of the gorge 
and there platted the new town. The only improvement made by them at this 
time consisted of a small log cabin, in which Robert Middleton and his wife, 


former members of the Lawrence Company of Argonauts, lived during the 
winter months following. In the spring of 1860, upon the discovery of gold in 
California Gulch at the head of the Arkansas River, near Leadville, another 
and much larger party of men from Auraria-Denver, took possession of the 
Canon City site and much additional land, making in all about one thousand two 
hundred and eighty acres. A new platting was made, but the town name of 
Canon City was retained. 


Of the many other towns founded in the year 1859, one of the principal ones 
was Golden Gate. In July, 1859, the "Golden Gate Town Company" was organ- 
ized by Thomas L. Golden, J. S. Rogers, Charles Fletcher, H. S. Hawley and 
W. G. Preston, 640 acres of land two miles north of Golden City was selected, 
and a town platted there and named Golden Gate. The town grew to some size 
and became a rival of Golden City, but after a few years of apparent prosperity 
it declined and finally disappeared. 

In October "Mount Vernon," another city of the ephemeral type, was sur- 
veyed upon a site five miles south of Golden, upon the highway to several of the 
better diggings. Mount Vernon existed but a few years. Three miles north of 
the mouth of the Platte Canon another collection of log cabins was given the 
name of "Piedmont." Another "Huntsville" on the road from Denver to the 
South Park, was a small settlement, also "Bradford City" which was sixteen miles 
southwest of the mouth of Cherry Creek. 

Tarryall, Jefferson City, Hamilton City, Montgomery and Buckskin Joe are 
other towns now but a memory, with the exception of Fairplay and Buckskin 
Joe, although there is a small station on the Colorado & South Park Railroad now 
named Jefferson City. 


Near the close of the summer of 1860 Nathaniel Albertson, John Armour 
and Harrison G. Otis founded and platted "Central City," its site "being nearly 
central between the locality of the Gregory Diggings and that of the upper mines 
in Nevada Gulch." By the end of the year Central City had assumed great im- 
portance as a mining center for the North Fork of Clear Creek district and was 
made the county seat of Gilpin County when the latter was organized in the 
winter of 1861-62. Mountain City, near by, lost its postoffice to Central City 
and soon began to merge with the newer and more energetic community. 

"Empire City," near Georgetown, was another Clear Creek town which was 
created during 1860. 

"Oro City," the metropolis of the California Gulch diggings and the ancestor 
of Leadville, rose to a height of great prosperity in 1860 and was a typical mining 
town of the wild West. However, after a few years Oro City declined, when the 
richest of the placer gold had been worked out, but it continued to be a strong 
producer until 1877, when the discovery of the lead and silver carbonates gave 
it the name of Leadville and a boom of world-wide fame. 

Breckenridge, founded in the late spring of 1860, proved to be the first town 



of permanence established upon Colorado's western slope. However, prior to 
the start of Breckenridge, there were two other town propositions in the western 
part of the Territory. In April, 1860, a meeting was held at Mountain City by 
those interested, for the purpose of organizing two town companies. At an- 
other meeting, held May 5th in Mountain City the "Grand Junction Town Com- 
pany" and the "Saratoga Town Company" were organized, both to form a town 
in what is now Grand County. Grand Junction was located at the junction of 
the Grand and Blue rivers and Saratoga West, as it was called, was situated on 
the site of the present Sulphur Springs. Neither one of these town projects was 
successful, however, for within three or four years they had been completely 


It has been stated before that the City of Pueblo was preceded by "Fountain 
City." This latter community became demoralized to a great extent during the 
year 1859 an d those who composed the better class of citizens decided that a new 
town would be the most desirable thing. Also the California Gulch gold strikes 
influenced this move to a great extent, while the Fountain River trail from the 
north was a factor. Various accounts have placed the actual formation of the 
Pueblo Town Company during the winter of 1859-60, but this is in error. Milo 
Lee Whittaker, in his "Pathbreakers and Pioneers of the Pueblo Region," 
(1917) states: 

"On the 22nd of May, 1860, a meeting was called for the purpose of con- 
sidering the organization of a town. 

"According to the records of the Southern Colorado Pioneers' Association, 
the following persons were present at this meeting: Jack Allen, John Kearns, 
Albert Bercaw, W. H. Ricker, Dr. Catterson, Wesley Catterson, Ed Cozzens, 
A. C. Wright, Mrs. A. C. Wright and Mrs. Mary Simms. These records further 
state that it was on July i, 1860, that the town was formally 'laid out' and named 
Pueblo in honor of the old fort which had stood for so many years on the 
opposite bank of the Arkansas, a single prophecy of 'things yet to be'." 

Among the prominent founders of Pueblo City were Col. William H. Green 
and Albert F. Bercaw, who were associated with the organization of the Foun- 
tain City Company; Dr. W. A. Catterson and his brother, Wesley; Dr. George 
Belt, Silas Warren, Edward Cozzens and Josiah Smith. These were men who 
recognized the worth of the location and the need for a better and more pro- 
gressive city. That their dreams were of stable quality is proved by the growth 
of Pueblo since that time to the rank of second city in Colorado. 

The Pueblo site, bounded on the east by the Fontaine qui Bouille and on 
the south by the Arkansas, was surveyed and laid out into streets, blocks and 
lots in the summer of 1860 by George B. Buell and E. D. Boyd, of Denver. Judge 
Wilbur F. Stone, who came to Pueblo in 1860, has written that the site "extended 
from the river back two or three miles toward the divide, and from the Fontaine 
qui Bouille on the east to Buzzard's Ranch on the west." 

Fountain City, the site of which is now known as East Pueblo, soon lost her 
identity and the citizens became residents of the new town Pueblo. 

The street shown is a part of Santa F6 Avenue. 


The large building in the upper right-hand corner of the picture was the Pueblo County 



The founding of the City of Leadville was the direct result of the discovery 
of silver mines in that district. Something of the California Gulch strike and 
the rise of Oro City is given elsewhere in this and other chapters. After a 
period of depression following the exodus of the miners from this locality there 
came the silver strike made by the three Gallagher brothers in the winter of 
1876-77 and in the following spring hundreds of prospectors came to the district, 
followed during the year by many more. In June a town was started and in 
January, 1878, this community had grown to such an extent that it was incorpo- 
rated as the City of Leadville. For a few years after 1880 Leadville equaled 
Denver in population. 


Grand Junction, the county seat of Mesa County, was founded in the autumn 
of 1881 by George A. Crawford. In September of that year Crawford, with 
William McGinley, R. D. Mobley, M. R. Warner and others, went to the junction 
of the Grand and Gunnison rivers and on the 26th claimed 640 acres of land 
there for a townsite, the same now being the central part of Grand Junction. 
McGinley remained upon the ground, while Crawford and the others returned 
to Gunnison. There, on October loth, the "Grand Junction Town Company" 
was organized, with Crawford, J. W. Bucklin, R. D. Mobley, H. E. Rood, M. R. 
Warner and Allison White as the incorporators. In the meantime McGinley 
erected a cabin on the site, which was the first building of Grand Junction. John 
Allen, a settler, was living in a tent there also in October, when Crawford and 
Mobley returned, and was calling the place West Denver. However, within a 
few days fully a half hundred people had located there and at a public meeting 
held November 5th it was decided to name the community "Grand Junction." 
The townsite was platted in January, 1882, by Samuel Wade, a surveyor, and 
thereafter building construction proceeded rapidly. 


The Town of Delta was also started by George A. Crawford, who, in Sep- 
tember, 1 88 1, decided to lay out a town at the confluence of the Gunnison and 
Uncompahgre rivers. Associated with him was M. C. Vandeventer and others. 
The "Umcompahgre Town Company" was organized, the organizers being Craw- 
ford, H. A. Bailey, W. A. Bell, D. C. Dodge, M. C. Vandeventer and R. F. 
Weitbree. Samuel Wade platted the town in December of the same year upon 
the 500 acres selected. At the same time the name of the town was changed 
from Umcompahgre to Delta. 


The townsite of Montrose, consisting of 320 acres, was located in January, 
1882, when the only building thereon was a cabin erected by John Baird about 
a month before. The town was the result of the Montrose and Uncompahgre 





Ditch Company, organized in December, 1881, and incorporated by John Baird, 
T. H. Culbertson, O. D. Loutsenheizer, A. Pumphrey and Joseph Selig. 


Glen wood Springs, the seat of justice for Garfield County, was founded in 
August, 1882, by the "Defiance Land and Town Company," an organization 
formed by Judge H. P. Bennet of Denver, John Blake, Isaac Cooper, William 
Gelder and Frank Enzensperger. First the company named the town Defiance, 
but in 1883 the name was changed to the present form. The first dwelling was 
erected in the spring of 1883 by John Blake. Glenwood Springs has become 
noted as a health resort, the chief attraction being the hot springs and baths there 
on the north bank of the Grand River. 


The Town of Gunnison owes its inception to the silver investigations in the 
surrounding district which were conducted in 1873, * ne details of which are 
given in another chapter of this work. Under the leadership of John Parsons 
and Dr. Sylvester Richardson, a large party of Denver people, having heard of 
the treasures of the country around the Gunnison site, proceeded there. Rich- 
ardson became enamoured with the country and resolved to found a colony there, 
consequently during the winter of 1873-74 he gave his full attention to this 
project, also enlisting the aid of several others. An organization was effected, 
of which Richardson was the president, and on April 21, 1874, the first group 
of colonists arrived on the ground later occupied by the Town of Gunnison. 
The land was surveyed into sections and quarter sections and each member of 
the company was given an allotment of 160 acres. The tract which was drawn 
by Doctor Richardson was made the site of a town, which he named Gunnison 
City, in honor of Capt. John W. Gunnison, of exploration fame. In 1876, Rich- 
ardson's town not having prospered, other men laid out another town adjacent 
to Gunnison City, but this, too, was a failure. 

.Not until 1879 did the community begin to take definite form as a city. In 
the spring of this year a rush began, as valuable ores had been found, and the 
prospectors made a concerted rush for the district. On June 5th an entirely new 
town organization was formed, the company being composed of John Evans, 
Henry C. Olney, Louden Mullin, Alonzo Hartman and Sylvester Richardson. 
During the following winter differences arose in the town company and a rup- 
ture occurred. Richardson and Mullin, with others, withdrew and negotiated 
with the Denver & South Park Railroad for the establishment of another town 
"West Gunnison." Alonzo Hartman and others remained the leaders of "East 
Gunnison." In 1880 the two rival towns were united under the name of Gun- 
nison City, and the community remains to this day as a prosperous center of the 
surrounding mining district. 


Silverton is one of the prosperous towns of southwestern Colorado which 
had its beginning at the start of the statehood period. Silverton was established 


in 1874 and the plat filed for record in September, by a town company consisting of 
Francis M. Snowden, N. E. Slaymaker and Dempsey Reese. The first cabin 
was built three years before by Snowden. Silverton grew very slowly, in fact, 
lost prestige, until the coming of the railroad in July, 1882, whereupon the com- 
munity took new life and became progressive. 


Ouray was founded in 1875, owing to the metal discoveries in the summer of 
that year by A. W. Begole, John Eckles, John Munroe, R. F. Long, A. J. Staley, 
Logan Whitlock, M. W. Cline and others. Many prospectors thronged to the 
vicinity immediately, where Cline and Long had formed a town company. D. W. 
Brunton surveyed the plat a few weeks afterward and a few cabins were con- 
structed thereon. During the winter months little building occurred, owing to the 
fact that the prospectors left, but in the following spring the rush began again, 
and Ouray, named after the celebrated chieftain of the Southern Utes, began 
its growth. ' . 


The City of Telluride, county seat of San Miguel County, is another product 
of the mining activities in the '705. Telluride, originally known as "Columbia," 
was founded in January, 1878, but had a slow growth until 1880, when the Rio 
Grande Southern Railway entered the town. 


The Town of Durango was established in September, 1880, by the organiza- 
tion of the "Durango Town Company." The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad 
entered the town July 27, 1881, and from that time until the present Durango 
has enjoyed an uninterrupted life of prosperity and progress. 






The first permanent settler in Colorado was William Green Russell, the leader 
of the Pike's Peak Argonauts, who came to this territory in the month of June, 
1858. The settlements made by Russell and his brothers, as well as the numerous 
others made by gold-seekers, are described in the chapters upon gold mining. 
It is the purpose here to treat only of the settlements made in the state under 
the "colonization" scheme. 

The completion of the railroads into Colorado and to the City of Denver in 
the summer of 1870 marked the end of the pioneer period and the beginning of 
the period of colonization. The railroad brought advantages of travel and 
freight-carrying hitherto impossible to obtain. The long and arduous journey 
across the plains, the hardships and imminent dangers connected with such a 
trip, had, in great measure, isolated the Territory of Colorado from the plains 
region. Prospective settlers thought twice before risking their lives and for- 
tunes by journeying across the Indian country to the mountains, especially when 
settlements could be made closer to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. How- 
ever, the frontier slowly pushed westward. The gold seekers invaded the land 
of Colorado and established their camps. These men could not be considered 
permanent settlers as a class, but fortune-hunters. Then came the railways and 
new ambitions were born. Agriculture and livestock raising claimed an increas- 
ing share of attention. What had been a straggling line of colonists, creeping 
across the plains with no fixed purpose, became organized communities, with 
definite purposes, the members of which had decided upon certain locations in 
the new country, chiefly with a view of successfully developing the agricultural 


The first organization established for the purpose of forming an agricultural 
community in Colorado Territory was known as the "Chicago Colony," also the 
"German Colonization Society." This body was organized in the City of Chicago 
* 158 


August 24, 1869, with Carl Wulsten as the president. Later in the same year a 
committee was appointed and directed to proceed to Colorado Territory, there to 
select a suitable location for the new home. Accordingly, the committee, after 
some investigation, arranged to acquire about forty thousand acres of land in 
part of the Wet Mountain Valley. This tract is now contained within Custer 
County, but in 1869 Fremont County extended over it. 

On March 21, 1870, eighty-six families, mostly native Germans, arrived and 
later in the year nearly one hundred additional families joined the community. 
Land cultivation was begun and a town, christened "Colfax" in honor of the 
Hon. Schuyler Colfax, Hoosier statesman, was laid out. However, difficulties 
soon began to beset the new settlers. The old adage "too many cooks spoil the 
broth" was very applicable to the Colfax community. Mismanagement, ill 
feeling and general failure to obtain cooperation caused the unsuccessful close 
of this first attempt at colonization. Many of the settlers left, leaving very few 
to further develop their holdings, and the Town of Colfax disappeared. 


The second colony to invade the Territory of Colorado in 1870, with the in- 
tention of devoting its time to agriculture, was the "Union Colony," a product of 
New York City. 

Those responsible for the organization of the Union Colony were Nathan C. 
Meeker, agricultural editor of the New York Tribune and Horace Greeley, owner 
of the same newspaper. In the summer of 1859 Greeley had visited Colorado 
while journeying to the Pacific Coast. While here he was greatly impressed 
with the natural resources of the region and strongly realized the pos- 
sibilities of the country under development. Greeley voiced his convictions 
upon his return to New York City and among those becoming inter- 
ested was N. C. Meeker. In the summer of 1869 Meeker came to Colorado 
with a number of friends, to look over the ground and decide as to the exact 
character of the Pike's Peak region. South Park first claimed his attention and 
he hastily decided that upon this mountain-valley land a settlement should be 
made. However, after conferring with the citizens of Denver, he changed his 
decision in favor of the lowlands below the foothills. With this in mind he re- 
turned to New York City. 

Immediately he and Greeley began a newspaper campaign, widely advertising 
the merit of the Colorado country and proposing their colonization plans, asking 
for volunteers to go to the western country for the purpose of making a perma- 
nent settlement. Hundreds of readers, seeing therein an opportunity to escape 
the confining influences of the East and to make a new start, rallied to the 
cause and, at a large meeting held at the Cooper Institute in New York City 
December 23, 1869, the organization of the "Union Colony" was effected and 
the following officers elected: Nathan C. Meeker, president; Gen. Robert A. 
Cameron, vice president ; and Horace Greeley, treasurer. Meeker, Cameron and 
A. C. Fisk were appointed as a committee to go to Colorado and fix upon a 
proper location for the colony. 

This committee came to the Territory in March, 1870, and chose a site near 
the confluence of the South Platte and the Cache a la Poudre rivers, in Weld 


County, and nearly twelve thousand acres of land were purchased from the 
Denver Pacific Railway Company and from individuals, also provisional title 
was secured to about sixty thousand acres of public land, the whole necessitating 
an immediate expenditure of about sixty thousand dollars. At this time there 
were a few farmers in the vicinity chosen and near the mouth of the Cache a la 
Poudre was a small village named Latham. The plan inaugurated by Meeker and 
his associates resembled that of a stock company with equitable divisions of land 
among the members. 

Then, in May, 1870, there arrived the first party of the Union Colony settlers, 
numbering about fifty families. Immediately irrigating ditches were dug and 
the site for a town was platted and named Greeley in honor of one of its illus- 
trious founders. The townsite was divided into 520 business lots, 25 by 190 
feet; 673 residence lots, ranging in size from 50 by 190 to 200 by 190 feet; and 
277 lots reserved for schools, churches, public buildings and buildings of like 
character. The adjacent lands were divided into plats of from five to one hun- 
dred and twenty acres each, according to the distance from the center of town, 
and each member was allowed to select one of these plats under his colony cer- 
tificate of membership. All the lands were to be supplied with water and were 
not subject to assessment on any account, except for the nominal cost of keeping 
the irrigating canals and ditches in repair. A plaza, or public square, of ten 
acres was laid out in the center of the town, artificial lakes constructed, trees 
planted, and by June, 1870, the first canal was completed and water running 
through all the principal streets. An island in the river, just above the town, 
comprising nearly fifty acres, and shaded with native cottonwoods, was reserved 
for public uses and named "Island Grove Park." 

During the few months after the first company of colonists came several 
hundred other families arrived, mostly consisting of people from New England, 
New York, Ohio and Indiana. The majority of the men were farmers, but there 
were a few of other vocations, some merchants and a few professional men. 

Greeley itself prospered amazingly. Within the space of a year's time the 
town had become an active business center and a bank, hotels, the Greeley 
Tribune, several first class stores and many up-to-date dwellings had been estab- 
lished upon the new plat. In June, 1871, an enumeration of the population showed 
1,155 people living here. Greeley enjoyed the distinction of being the first pro- 
hibition town in the state. One of the stipulations in the real estate deeds, given 
by the Union Colony to its members, was that no intoxicating liquor should either 
be manufactured or sold upon the town plat. 


The Chicago-Colorado Colony was the first of three colonial organizations 
established in Colorado during the spring of 1871 for agricultural purposes. The 
two others were the "St. Louis Western" and the "Southwestern," but the Chi- 
cago-Colorado was the first of the trio. This colony was organized in the City 
of Chicago on November 17, 1870, with Robert Collyer, a Protestant preacher, 
as the president temporarily ; he was succeeded shortly by Seth Terry. Like the 
Union Colony, a committee came to Colorado, in December, 1870, and late in 
January of the following year selected a location in the northeastern part of 



Meetings of members of the Masonic order were held in this cabin. 



Boulder County, which consisted of land well drained by the St. Vrain and Left- 
Hand tributaries of the South Platte River. The committee purchased fifty-five 
thousand acres of land at this site for the colony. The general proceedings of 
the Chicago-Colorado Colony were modeled greatly after the Union Colony at 
Greeley, as the latter had proved a success. 

The first members of the organization began to arrive early in the spring of 
1871, and before the beginning of summer several hundreds had joined the com- 
munity. An elaborate system of irrigating ditches and mains was constructed 
and the Town of Longmont platted. Longmont quickly became a town of im- 
portance and well populated, also equipped with sizable stores, a newspaper and 
public-spirited citizens. 


The second colony established in Colorado during the spring of 1871 was the 
St. Louis Western. This organization had been formed at Oakdale, Illinois, on 
November 29, 1870; A. C. Todd, a clergyman of Protestant faith, was the presi- 
dent. Shortly after the organization, the "New England Colony of Boston," 
united with the St. Louis Western. The first families arrived in Colorado in 
April, 1871, and occupied land in the vicinity of Evans, named for Governor 
Evans, which town had been laid out and platted in October, 1869, and was only 
a straggling community of a half hundred souls. Before the end of the spring 
season, however, Evans experienced a great "boom," fully five hundred people 
settling near by. The settlement prospered and has always been rated high. 


The Southwestern Colony was established at Memphis, Tennessee, in Janu- 
ary, 1871, and consisted mainly of people from Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, 
Indiana and Illinois. The organization was effected chiefly through the efforts 
of D. S. Green, of Denver, who was elected the first president. The colony 
selected land in Colorado on the South Platte River, about twenty to thirty miles 
eastward of the Town of Evans. About one hundred families arrived during the 
spring, an equal number following during the summer months. 

Irrigating ditches were dug and a town, named "Green City," in honor of the 
first president of the colony, was laid out. This town was located in the vicinity 
of the present station of Masters, Colorado, on the Union Pacific Railroad. 
However, notwithstanding the efforts of the Southwestern Colony, it did not 
become a success, and within a few years disappeared as a distinctive community. 
The settlers had hoped for the construction of a railroad from Golden City to 
Julesburg along the South Platte, and had indulged in many grand dreams of the 
future prosperity of Green City. But the panic of 1873 effectually halted all 
railroad construction, which gave the opportunity for Evans and Greeley to 
absorb all the trade of the section. Green City in this way collapsed. 


The organized bands of colonists were not the only settlers in Colorado 
during the years 1870 and 1871. Many individuals came to the state, seeking 


good agricultural lands, and generally sought a location near to one of the 
colony towns. These independent farmers, in fact, outnumbered the organized 
colonists during these years. 

Citizens of Colorado strongly urged newcomers to settle upon the land of 
the state and cultivate it, and great efforts were made to induce people to leave 
the eastern states and locate in Colorado. The Ninth General Assembly passed 
an act, approved February 9, 1872, which established a Bureau of Immigration, 
the bureau to be in charge of a board of five commissioners. The duty of this 
board was "to adopt and put in execution such means as will best promote and 
encourage immigration to the Territory, and for this purpose shall publish and 
disseminate such useful information as it can obtain concerning the developed 
and undeveloped resources of the Territory, and may provide for one of its 
number, or such other person as the Board may select, to attend such Agricul- 
tural and Institute Fairs as may be deemed expedient for the display of the 
Agricultural and Mineral products of the Territory." 

But the advertising campaign conducted by this committee, or bureau, acted 
in the nature of a boomerang. The advertisements and literature circulated 
throughout eastern states, giving information relative to the advantages to be 
found in Colorado were flagrant, deceptive, misrepresentative and filled with 
gross misstatements of fact which led the people of other states to believe that 
Colorado contained opportunities for every kind of workman, whether skilled 
or unskilled. Colorado was pictured to be the elysium of industrial oppor- 
tunity and consequently thousands of people, of every profession and trade, 
came across the plains to the Territory, expecting to earn a quick fortune. 
Many of them found advantages suited to their tastes, but the great majority 
were bitterly disappointed, and angered at the deception which had been prac- 
ticed upon them. These disgruntled ones returned to their native states, told 
the story of their experience, and then began the back-fire. The eastern news- 
papers "exposed" the 'fraud, as they termed it, and strongly advised against 
further immigration to Colorado. This injured the then Territory to a great 
extent and considerably retarded settlement and development. 


There were also in Colorado Territory at this time several settlements which 
might be called non-agricultural. The principal one of these was that at Colo- 
rado Springs. 

In 1870 Gen. William J. Palmer and Ex-Governor Hunt organized the 
Denver & Rio Grande Railway Company. General Palmer in addition to his 
promotion of the railroad, conceived the idea of developing the country of 
Colorado through which the railroad was to pass. One of these ideas was to 
establish a town near the east base of Pike's Peak, to be known as "Colorado 
Springs." Late in the year Palmer organized the "Colorado Springs Company," 
of which he was elected president, with Henry McAllister as executive director. 
This new company secured about ten thousand acres of land, the greater part 
along Monument Creek and east of Colorado City, with some west of the town and 
including the soda springs. Settlements had been made in the vicinity ten years 
before, but no improvement of value had been made, and Colorado City itself, 


once cherished with such high hopes, had shrunken to a mere village of a half- 
hundred people. 

General Palmer first visited the site of Colorado Springs on July 27, 1867, 
although he twice before had been in Colorado. His early efforts in establish- 
ing the Colorado Springs Company are well told in his own words, following: 

"To start a railroad under these circumstances (the fact that there were not 
10,000 white people in Colorado south of Denver, Colorado City having eighty- 
one inhabitants and Pueblo 666) required stronger considerations than any 
promise of immediate returns from the business of hauling freight and passen- 
gers. There was no national subsidy in land or money, and no county or town 
aid. But one thing was not in doubt the effect of a railway on the value of 
land, if judiciously chosen along its route. Our subscription paper was sent out 
on December i, 1870, for the first section of seventy-six miles. It provided 
that all who subscribed for the railway securities should enjoy the privilege of 
subscribing, pro rata, to a land and townsite investment, called 'The Mountain 
Base Investment Fund,' embracing tracts at selected points along the projected 
railway, where the greatest rise in values by reason of its construction was 
expected to occur. 

"This was the parent of the Colorado Springs Company.' It was thought 
that many of the first disadvantages to immigration might be counteracted by 
the formation of such land companies, with capital enough to construct the 
irrigation ditches, lay out the farms and towns, plant the trees, aid the building 
of hotels, and even that of dwellings in some cases, while selling the tracts and 
lots to arriving colonists on small annual payments distributed over several years ; 
that by such a system, the colonization of the country could be greatly stimulated, 
the railroad earnings increased and 'the work of twenty years be concentrated 
into ten.' Of the capital of our land company, as of that for the initial seventy- 
six miles of railway, about one-half was raised in America, chiefly among my 
own friends in Philadelphia and the East, and the remainder in Europe, chiefly 
among the friends of Dr. W. A. Bell. 

"The money was raised that winter and spring, construction began in a very 
quiet way in January, 1871, and the track reached a point a few miles out from 
Denver, when the first stake was driven at the town on July 3ist, and by 
October 23, 1871, the railroad had reached the townsite. As soon as the money 
for the railroad was assured, everything was ripe to organize, and on June 26, 
1871, in Denver, the Colorado Springs Company held its first meeting, elected 
officers, authorized the construction of roads, bridges and hotel, and on the 
next day the whole party, with Colonel Greenwood, the chief engineer of the 
railroad, started from Denver to lay out the new town, appraise the lots, and 
start business. We had then, or shortly afterward, secured the services of Gen- 
eral Cameron, of Greeley, to come to Colorado Springs to initiate and take 
charge of the infant colony; and with him, or in his immediate footsteps, came 
the first detachment, perhaps forty or fifty people, who settled on our tract and 
began building their homes." 

The first stake driven upon the site was set in place July 31, 1871. The 
city plat contained seventy blocks, each 400 feet square. By the end of the year 
1871 there were 159 structures of various kinds erected upon the plat of Colo- 


rado Springs, the first dwelling having been commenced on August I5th. The 
various improvements this first year cost about $160,000. 

In the summer of 1871 the "Fountain Colony of Colorado" was organized, 
with Gen. Robert A. Cameron as the leader. This was a subordinate organiza- 
tion to the Colorado Springs Company, was not incorporated, but conducted a 
part of the business belonging to the Colorado Springs Company. 

In 1872 the Town of Colorado Springs further developed. An improved 
roadway to the soda springs was built and a good hotel constructed there. 
These various improvements were made possible by the fact that the Colorado 
Springs Company had decided to devote all the proceeds from the sale of land 
to the improvement of the community. Liquor was forbidden in Colorado 
Springs, as it was in Greeley, but there arose some opposition to this and the 
case was finally brought before the Colorado courts, who eventually decided 
that the liquor clause in the land deeds was valid. Appeal was taken to the 
United States Supreme Court and in 1879 tms cour t affirmed the decision of the 
Colorado courts. General Palmer wrote the following in regard to the liquor 
situation here: 

"The liquor restriction had already been adopted by Mr. Meeker for his 
Greeley colony. In the early summer of 1871, while we were making arrange- 
ments with General Cameron and some of his confreres to interest themselves 
in our new enterprise, I was asked by them whether we would adopt a similar 
restriction for the proposed Fountain colony. Having had some experience with 
the railroad towns of the day in the new West, especially those whose generally 
short but always lively existence punctuated the successive stages of advance 
westward by the Kansas Pacific and Union Pacific railroads, I answered 'Yes.' 
At Sheridan, especially, on the former road, where I had the privilege of a resi- 
dence of some eight months in 1870-71, while directing the construction of a 
railroad to Denver, the most noticeable suburban feature, notwithstanding the 
salubrity of the air and the brevity of the settlement, was a fat graveyard, most 
of whose inhabitants, in the language of the looth meridian, had died 'with their 
boots on.' " 

General Palmer continues : "We had, of course, the inevitable . fire, until 
which no Rocky Mountain town feels that it has really entered the lists for a 
permanent race in growth; the Jay Cooke panic in 1873, after which corn was 
\2,y 2 cents per bushel in Kansas and Nebraska, and potatoes here were about 
as worthless as they now are on 'the Divide' ; a grasshopper invasion and an 
Indian alarm the same year, when the able-bodied men of the town were organ- 
ized under Capt. Matt France, and on October 6, 1873, marched to Jimmy's 
Camp to meet 3,000 Cheyenne who were killing cattle, because, as they said, 
'The white man has been killing our buffalo.' This was the last Indian alarm in 
this neighborhood. 

"Distinguished visitors came along. Among the first was Samuel Bowles, 
the able and spirited editor of the Springfield Republican; later on, Charles 
Kingsley, who helped us to celebrate the third anniversary of the town, in the 
tent of Mrs. Giltner, who kept the shoe shop; General Grant twice, Jefferson 
Davis, General Sheridan, Henry Kingsley, Lord Dunraven, Asa Gray, Sir 
Joseph Hooker, the Duke of Northumberland, General Sherman and many 
others. Some came to witness the operations of the colony, and of the novel 


railroad gauge. Others were attracted by the budding fame of the locality for 
scenic interest and healthfulness." 

Colorado Springs has become known as one of the most beautifully located 
cities in the United States. Possessed of all the climatic advantages con- 
ducive to health, surrounded with the most artistic handiwork of Nature, the 
city has been the Mecca for tourists from over the whole world and has grown 
from the barren plain of fifty years ago to one of the most prosperous cities 
in the West. 


The settlement of South Pueblo, across the Arkansas River from the early 
town of Pueblo, was undertaken in much the same manner as that of Colorado 
Springs. For this purpose, the "Central Colorado Improvement Company" was 
organized, which was auxiliary to the Denver & Rio Grande Railway Company 
and under the direction of Gen. William J. Palmer. This organization, in 1872, 
purchased a large tract of ground, the Nolan Mexican land grant, along the 
Arkansas, opposite Pueblo. By the middle of the year the Denver & Rio 
Grande Railroad was completed to Pueblo and about this same time the plat of 
South Pueblo was laid out, covering approximately one thousand acres. Shortly 
afterward the terminus of the railroad was taken from Pueblo and brought to 
the ne'w town of South Pueblo, which occurrence caused much bitterness between 
the two communities. However, the closeness of the two towns really made 
them one, although for thirteen years each had its own governmental organiza- 
tion. The Pueblo of today includes the plats, with additions of both, forming 
one consolidated municipality. 


The start of the settlement at Fort Collins occurred at nearly the same time 
as that of South Pueblo. In the early '6os a military post was constructed on 
the Cache a la Poudre River, four miles southeast of the village of La Porte, 
and named "Fort Collins," sometimes called "Camp Collins," in honor of Lieut. 
Col. William O. Collins, of the . Eleventh Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, portions of 
which regiment engaged in fighting the plains Indians. A large space of ground 
was included in this military reservation, and so remained until 1872, when it 
was thrown open to entry by an act of Congress, approved May 15, 1872. 
After this land had been opened for settlement, Gen. Robert A. Cameron, of 
fame as a colonizer, organized another colony company, of which he was elected 
president, for the purpose of founding a town upon the new land and developing 
it agriculturally. The beginnings of settlement were similar to those of Greeley 
and Colorado Springs, and, within a year the present City of Fort Collins had 
been started. Many immigrants came to the vicinity of the new town and 
located, also residents of other parts of the Territory moved here. Since that 
time Fort Collins has had a steady growth and is now the county seat of Larimer 
County and the center of one of the leading agricultural sections of northern 
Colorado, and the location of the State Agricultural College. 


It was a United States military post that occupied a part of the site of the present city 
of Fort Collins. The original picture was a pencil drawing made by a soldier who was sta- 
tioned at the fort in 1865. The lower part of the two-story building (back of the flag-staff) 
was occupied by the sutler, and its upper story was an assembly hall. The buildings to the 
left of this, and also those that are ranged about the staff, afforded living quarters for the 
officers and men. Some of the other structures were stables for the horses and some were 
warehouses for supplies. 










The area of the State of Colorado includes cessions by France, by Texas 
and by Mexico to the United States. The northeast section, bounded north 
and south by the 3ist and 4Oth parallels, east by the 25th meridian and west 
by the Rockies, was in the original Louisiana cession, and was transferred by 
Congress from the Territory of Nebraska to the Territory of Colorado. The por- 
tion east, bounded north by the 4Oth parallel, east by the 25th meridian, south 
by the Arkansas and west by the Rockies, was taken from Kansas and trans- 
ferred to Colorado. It was part of the Louisiana Purchase. The southeastern 
portion of the state, bounded north by the Arkansas River, east by the 25th 
meridian, south by the 37th parallel, and west by the 2Oth meridian, was in 
the cession from Texas and Mexico, and was transferred from the Territory of 
Kansas to that of Colorado. The southern part of the state, bounded by the 38th 
and 37th parallels, the 2Oth meridian and the Rockies, was a Texas and Mexico 
cession, transferred from the Territory of New Mexico to that of Colorado. 
The western portion, bounded by the 4ist and 4Oth parallels, the Rockies, and the 
32d meridian, was ceded by Mexico and was transferred from the Territory of 
Utah to that of Colorado. 


In the fall of 1858 the handful of settlers within a few miles and on the 
present site of Denver called a meeting "to establish security and to prevent and 



punish crime." This gathering took place November 6, 1858, in the settlement of 
Auraria, containing at that time about two hundred inhabitants. The assembly, 
though composed of immigrants from different states, acted as citizens of Kansas 
Territory. Out of the Pike's Peak country, as that part of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, and the plains around their base, were called, they formed a county, de- 
fined its limits, and named it Arapahoe, from a neighboring tribe of Indians. 
They also declared Auraria to be the county seat. They then proceeded to elect 
a delegate to Congress and a representative to the Kansas Legislature. H. J. 
Graham was chosen delegate, and A. J. Smith representative. This action of 
the assembly manifested a rare spirit of enterprise in politics. They declared 
a district of Kansas to be a county, and deputed one of their number to the leg- 
islature with credentials of his election, and petitions that the county be estab- 
lished, and their representative be received. At the same time a delegate was 
dispatched to Congress with instructions to have the county converted into a ter- 
ritory. The delegate of Kansas Territory would be duly recognized and 
admitted to a seat in Congress. But to the delegate of Arapahoe County no 
such recognition or position would be tendered. His labors would be con- 
fined to the advocacy of the petitions and claims of the people he represented 
before committees, or with individual members of the House or Senate. Never- 
theless, Mr. Graham hurried to Washington, impelled by the delusive hope that 
his mission would be successful, and that he would enjoy the honors and emolu- 
ments of territorial delegate. The people of Arapahoe County were 700 miles 
distant from Leavenworth, the capital of Kansas, without railroads or tele- 
graphs, and with immense uninhabited plains lying between them and the terri- 
torial authorities. They, therefore, naturally desired to have the Territory of 
Kansas divided, and the western part organized into a new territory. This 
arrangement, if consummated, would place the country on a stable footing. 
Peace and order would be maintained, the general prosperity promoted, while 
Congress and the nation would be directly acquainted with the growth, pros- 
pects and necessities of the country. Mr. Graham exerted himself to prevail 
on Congress to respect the petition of his constituents, but his efforts proved 
unsuccessful. Their representative, A. J. Smith, succeeded in his mission, had 
Arapahoe County confirmed, but was not admitted as a member of the Kansas 

The first election of Arapahoe County officers, under Kansas laws, was held 
March 28, 1859. Over seven hundred votes were polled, of which 231 were 
credited to Auraria and 144 to Denver. The spring months brought a great 
increase to the mining population. From authentic sources it has been com- 
puted that, during the summer, the Pike's Peak gold regions contained 20,000 
souls. An established and accessible government became indispensable. The 
subject pressed itself more and more urgently on the public mind. Their first 
attempt, in 1858, to impress Congress favorably with the necessities of their 
situation had proven abortive. But a profound sense of their needs moved 
them to renew their efforts to prevail on Congress to consummate a partition of 
the Territory of Kansas, and to establish a separate government in this distant 
but even then populous region. A mass meeting was called, to convene in 
Auraria, April n, 1859. In the resolutions adopted it was expressed as the 
unanimous sentiment of the meeting that a separate and distinct government was 


not only important but necessary. By these resolutions, also, the several pre- 
cincts of Arapahoe County were requested to choose delegates, to meet in joint 
convention on the fourth day after the meeting, April I5th, to consider the ques- 
tion of organizing a new state or territory. On the day appointed the delegates 
met. In order to save time and determine quickly, they pursued an eminently 
judicious course. They resolved on one subject of debate, and only one: 
"The formation of a new and independent state of the Union." It must be 
remembered that Kansas, at this time, was only a territory, though pressing her 
claims for recognition and admission as a state. Thus early, and prematurely, 
as facts subsequently proved, did the people, who crowded into this new coun- 
try, seek for the honors and privileges of statehood. 


This Auraria convention, as a summing up of their labors, ordered a general 
election of delegates on the second Monday in May, such delegates to meet on the 
first Monday in June. At the time designated fifty delegates assembled. As 
in the April convention, only one subject, it seems, engaged their deliberations 
the attainment of statehood. The work of drafting a constitution was en- 
trusted to eight committees, in order to economize time and secure a complete 
instrument. The committees were requested to report, and submit their labors 
to a fuller convention, which was enjoined to meet on the first Monday in 
August. In the interval the several committees prepared their work. When 
the convention, which consisted of 167 delegates, met, the committees presented 
their reports. A constitution was completed, and arrangements made for its 
acceptance or rejection by the votes of the people. Though some members of 
the convention were sanguine of success, the majority thought that the result 
would be adverse, and sought to provide against such a contingency. The day 
set for voting on the constitution and movement for a state was the first Monday 
in September. The convention therefore resolved that should the constitution 
be rejected, a delegate to Congress should be elected on the first Monday in 
October. The delegate would represent Jefferson Territory the name given 
by the convention to Arapahoe County, or the Pike's Peak gold regions. On 
September 4th the votes for or against the constitution were cast, and resulted 
in 2,007 against and 649 for that instrument. A short time before the October 
election it was proposed, at a mass meeting held in Auraria, that on the day a 
delegate to Congress was elected delegates should be chosen to form a Provi- 
sional Territorial Government. The proposition was adopted. Accordingly, on 
the first Monday in October this double election took place. 

The Governor of Kansas, in 1859, had issued a proclamation that Arapahoe 
County be established, and that a representative be elected. The Arapahoe 
County election for Kansas officials was therefore also held. Capt. Richard 
Sopris was elected representative, and was the first member from Arapahoe 
County admitted to a seat in the Kansas Legislature. 


At the October election D. B. Williams was chosen delegate to Congress. 
He was the exponent of the August Convention, and entrusted with the mis- 


sion to memorialize Congress to separate the Pike's Peak region from Kansas 
and organize it into a territory under the name Jefferson. The other delegates 
chosen were instructed to form a provisional government. Eighty-six delegates 
met in convention. They entered upon their duties with great earnestness. A 
new constitution, called the "Organic Act of the Territory of Jefferson," was 
framed and adopted. Other important measures received their approval. The 
territory was divided into legislative districts. A full ticket was nominated, and 
an election ordered for the fourth Monday of October, the same month in which 
they had been elected, had convened, had acted. The election took place ; 2,000 
votes were cast in twenty-seven precincts. The provisional government was 
adopted, a full corps of legislators chosen, and, indeed, all but one of the entire 
ticket elected. The purpose of the parties who had determined on a provisional 
government ran swift to its fulfillment. The legislature thus suddenly and 
questionably brought into existence, began its sessions. The message of the 
governor, R. W. Steele, was received with the usual formalities, and was fol- 
lowed by diligent legislative labors. Many general and special laws were 
enacted; nine counties were organized; a poll tax of $i was imposed, and a 
committee appointed to report full civil and criminal codes to an adjourned ses- 
sion, January 23, 1860. In each of the nine newly organized counties the 
governor appointed a probate judge, to hold office until the regular county elec- 
tion on the first Monday in January, 1860. The legislature met pursuant to ad- 
journment, and for the remainder of the session devoted its attention to the 
report of the committee. Full civil and criminal codes were finally adopted. An 
imperium in imperio was now fairly established. Right in the midst of the Kan- 
sas government stood the Provisional government. The first resistance to the 
authority of the latter, and protest against its legality, arose from the Arapahoe 
County officials, who were elected according to Kansas territorial law, and 
were, therefore, beyond a doubt, legal. Besides this, a remonstrance against 
the per capita tax, signed by 700 miners, was sent down from the mountains. 
In the valley, therefore, the Kansas and the Provisional governments held di- 
vided sway ; and in the mountains the miners' courts and the Provisional govern- 
ment contended for the mastery. Golden was the only settlement that wholly 
submitted to the Provisional government. In truth, the authority of the Kan- 
sas officials was never fairly recognized, and they soon ceased to have even a 
nominal existence. 


From 1858 to 1861 two classes of courts existed in the Pike's Peak region, 
whose decisions were final. These were called the People's Courts and the 
Miners' Courts. The People's Courts were improvised assemblies of the people, 
who convened to adjudicate criminal cases, such as murders, homicides and 
other felonies. They were usually presided over by a probate judge or justice 
of the peace. The extreme penalties were hanging, lashes on the bare back, and 
banishment. The Miners' Courts were differently organized. Pursuant to a 
general call, all occupying a mining district met together. They fixed the limits 
of their district, adopted a miners' code, defined the duties of officers, and 
elected them for the ensuing year. A president, judge, sheriff, collector, sur- 


veyor and recorder, who was ex officio treasurer and secretary of the district, 
composed the officers of the court, who were all responsible to the superior 
tribunal, the Miners' meeting. These courts settled all claims and offenses in 
mining districts. When a case was not settled in the courts it was carried to the 
Miners' meeting. There was no appeal from their decision. The courts organ- 
ized under the Provisional government were respected by the people, and their 
decisions accepted with general satisfaction. In Denver arid some other places 
the People's Courts alone were recognized. 

But as a rule these People's Courts were orderly affairs. An illustration will 
bear this out. In July, 1860, James Gordon, while on a spree, and entirely un- 
provoked, shot down a man named Jacob Gantz. Escaping to Fort Lupton, he 
was able to barricade himself, but finally, hard-pressed by a posse, escaped by 
riding through the crowd of pursuers. He was captured on the Indian Terri- 
tory border by W. H. Middaugh, acting as people's sheriff, and when taken to 
Leavenworth was acquitted in a farcical trial. A mob turned him over to the 
Colorado sheriff, and Gordon was brought to Denver. A People's Court was 
formed, and the judge in addressing it said: "The trifling of one of the highest 
courts of the land with the life that is now in our hands has turned the eyes of 
tens of thousands in the states towards Denver, where no law of the great 
American Union claims jurisdiction. Let us temper justice with mercy, and let 
no mob or unlawful attempt interfere with the 'People's Court.' " Gordon was 
defended by able lawyers, and twelve of the most respected men in the com- 
munity found him guilty. He was executed some days later, time having been 
allowed for friends to attempt to secure a reprieve. 


On February 26, 1861, Congress created the Territory of Colorado, and the 
new officials, headed by Governor William Gilpin, arrived on May 29th of that 

The other coordinate branch of Federal Government had now to be estab- 
lished. This was the Territorial Supreme Court. On July loth, the governor 
assigned the judges to their districts, and the Supreme Court immediately organ- 
ized. On July nth he issued a proclamation, in which the Territory was de- 
clared to be one congressional district, and the congressional district to be 
divided into nine council and thirteen representative districts, and in which the 
election of a delegate to Congress, and of a legislative assembly was ordered. 
The election was held on the igih day of August, Hiram P. Bennet being chosen 
delegate to Congress. The Legislature of the Territory of Colorado convened on 
the 9th of September. They adopted full civil and criminal codes. They rec- 
ognized the miners as authority in mining legislation, acknowledged the legality 
of their courts, adopted their laws, confirmed their decisions, and arranged for 
the transfer of cases to the regular courts, so that no jarring, nor inconvenience 
was experienced. Great praise is due to this legislative body for the laws 
they enacted, and though some have been found faulty and others repealed, yet 
they effectually served the needs of the Territory. 

In 1867 Congress passed an act providing that the legislative assemblies of the 
several territories of the United States "shall not, after the passage of this act, 


grant private charters or especial privileges, but they may, by general incorpora- 
tion acts, permit persons to associate themselves together as bodies corporate, 
for mining, manufacturing and other industrial pursuits." 

In the same act it made the salary of each of the Territorial Supreme Court 
judges $2,500 per year. 

Biennial sessions of the legislative assemblies of territories were provided 
for in 1869. 

The civil and criminal codes enacted by the first territorial legislation were 
founded on those of Illinois, the practice act of that state being almost bodily 
appropriated, and the acts of the People's Courts as well as the Miners' Courts 
were in many instances ratified. The records of some of these early courts, kept 
by able secretaries, are still to be found in the court archives, and have been 
repeatedly reverted to in litigation. 


When the first territorial legislature met one of its earliest tasks was the 
creation of seventeen counties, as follows: 

Arapahoe, with Denver as its county seat. 

Boulder, with Boulder as its county seat. 

Clear Creek, with Idaho as its county seat. 

Costilla, with San Miguel as its county seat. 

Douglas, with Frankstown as its county seat. 

El Paso, with Colorado City as its county seat. 

Fremont, with Canon City as its county seat. 

Gilpin, with Central City as its county seat. 

Guadaloupe, later changed to Conejos, with Guadaloupe'as its county seat. 

Huerfano, with Autobees as its county seat. 

Jefferson, with Golden City as its county seat. 

Lake, with Oro City (Leadville) as its county seat. 

Larimer, with La Porte as its county seat. 

Park, with Tarryall City as its county seat. 

Pueblo, with Pueblo as its county seat. 

Summit, with Parkville as its county seat. 

Weld, with St. Vrain as its county seat. 

Many of the seventeen counties were larger than some of the eastern states, 
but the Arapahoe and Cheyenne Reservation, in southeastern Colorado, was not 
included in the division. Arapahoe extended from the Jefferson County line 
to the eastern limits of the territory. Weld occupied the entire northeastern 
part of the territory. Huerfano was even larger, extending from the Arkansas 
and the Pueblo County line to the New Mexico line. Douglas stretched to the 
territory's eastern limit. El Paso and Pueblo, Larimer and Fremont, were all 
big divisions, but were dwarfed by the extent of territory occupied by Summit, 
Lake, Costilla and Conejos counties, which extended over much of what is now 
the San Luis Valley, North Park, and a good part of the higher country along 
the Arkansas, as well as the entire western slope. 

The judicial districts were three in number, the first comprising Arapahoe, 
Boulder, Douglas, El Paso, Larimer and Weld ; the second, Clear Creek, Gilpin, 


Jefferson, Park and Summit; and the third, Conejos, Costilla, Fremont, Huer- 
fano, Lake and Pueblo. 

The first Legislature also lost no time in clearing up the many "Jefferson" 
territory enactments, ratifying the consolidation of Denver, Auraria and High- 
lands, and the granting of a charter to Denver. Titles to real estate given in the 
days before territorial organization were finally smoothed out by congressional 
action in 1864. 


The first Legislature, empowered by Congress to increase its membership 
from nine in the council to thirteen, and from thirteen in the house to twenty- 
six, arranged for the additional representation. Two days before it adjourned 
it made Colorado City the capital of the territory. This was done largely to 
injure Denver, the country members believing that the hustling little town was 
endeavoring to "do all the governing.'' Despite this feeling, when the next 
Legislature met in the log cabin provided at Colorado City it remained but nine 
days, resuming its labors in Denver, July 16, 1862. This was accomplished 
despite the southern members, who as Judge W. F. Stone, a member of that 
body, relates, "were finally brought together in Mother Maggart's Hotel under 
pretense of compromising the matter, locked in, and when the vote was finished 
we adjourned to Denver." 


Golden City was fighting for the honor, however, and before that second 
Legislature adjourned it specified that town as the seat of territorial govern- 


The third Assembly met in the new capital, but adjourned almost at once to 
Denver. This Legislature finally changed the meeting date from the first Mon- 
day in February to the first Monday in January. The fourth Legislature stuck 
to Golden throughout its session. The fifth remained in Golden a single day. 
The sixth, which began its meetings December 2d, remained at Golden. The 
seventh first of all changed the convening date to the first Monday in January 
which is still the date for the opening of the Legislature, and then, on Decembei 
9, 1867, made Denver the permanent capital of the territory. 

But the work of that first territorial legislative assembly was perhaps as 
constructive as that of any that has since met. In giving married women con- 
trol of their own property and the power of making contracts they took a long 
step toward suffrage, which came many years later. With the enabling act pro- 
viding a fund, it began the work of establishing a state university. The third 
assembly passed the act providing for incorporation of giant stock companies. 
The fifth passed the important law requiring a discovery shaft of ten feet on a 
lode claim. But when Congress passed the mining law of 1872 Colorado adjusted 
its entire mining code to conform to it. This was largely the work of the tenth 


Colorado City was the capital of the state for three days. 



In the enabling act, which was approved March 3, 1875, Congress pro- 
vided first of all for the formation of a constitution, which was to be "republican 
in form, and make no distinction in civil or political rights on account of race or 
color, except Indians not taxed, and not be repugnant to the Constitution of the 
United States and the principles of the Declaration of Independence." 

It provided that perfect toleration of religious sentiment shall be secured, 
and "no inhabitant of said state shall ever be molested in person or property on 
account of his or her mode of religious worship; secondly, that the people inhab- 
iting said territory do agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and 
title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory ; that the lands 
belonging to citizens of the United States residing without the said state shall 
never be taxed higher than the lands belonging to residents thereof, and that 
no taxes shall be imposed by the state on lands or property therein belonging 
to, or which may hereafter be purchased by the United States. 

"That sections numbered sixteen and thirty-six in every township, and 
where such sections have been sold or otherwise disposed of by any act of 
Congress, other lands, equivalent thereto, in legal subdivisions of not more than 
one quarter-section, and as contiguous as may be, are hereby granted to said 
state for the support of common schools; fifty entire sections of the unappro- 
priated public lands within said state, to be selected and located by direction of 
the Legislature thereof, be granted to said state for the purpose of erecting 
public buildings at the capital of said state for legislative and judicial purposes ; 
that fifty other entire sections of land are hereby granted to said state for the 
purpose of erecting a suitable building for a penitentiary or state prison ; that 
seventy-two other sections of land shall be set apart and reserved for the use 
and support of a state university ; that 5 per centum of the proceeds of the sales 
of agricultural public lands lying within said state which shall be sold by the 
United States subsequent to the admission of said state into the Union, after 
deducting all the expenses incident to the same, shall be paid to the said state 
for the purpose of making such internal improvements within said state as the 
Legislature thereof may direct; that the two sections of land in each township 
herein granted for the support of common schools shall be disposed of only at 
public sale and at a price not less than $2.50 per acre, the proceeds to constitute 
a permanent school fund, the interest of which is to be expended in the support 
of common schools; that all mineral lands shall be excepted from the operation 
and grants of this act." 

Under this act delegates to frame a constitution were duly elected, met in 
convention in December, .1875, and adjourned after completing their task March 
13, 1876. A complete history of the framing of the constitution will be found 
in the succeeding chapter. 


The Legislature convened at 12 o'clock M. on the first Wednesday in January, 
1879, and at 12 M. on the first Wednesday in January of each alternate year 
"forever thereafter," and at other times when convened by the governor. 


Custom, so prevalent and so ancient as to have the force of law, has made 
it the duty of the clerk of the previous house to call to order, and to conduct 
the proceedings generally, until a speaker is chosen, but any member-elect is 
competent to perform this duty. 

In other states it is the custom of the secretary of state to furnish to the 
clerk a certified statement of the names of the members-elect, which is read. 
The members then advance to the clerk's desk, generally the delegation of each 
county by itself, and subscribe the oath of office. But in this state the usual 
proceeding is to choose a speaker and a clerk pro tern., and to appoint a com- 
mittee which examines credentials of members-elect, and reports to the House 
thus temporarily organized. 

The oath of office is then administered to the members-elect. It may be 
administered by the president of the Senate, the governor, secretary of state, 
attorney general, or any of the judges of the Supreme Court. It has been 
administered in this state usually by one of the judges. After all are sworn 
the roll is called, when, if a quorum is found present, the speaker pro tern, de- 
clares the House to be qualified and competent to proceed to business. 

If the members present have determined their choice for officers, the election 
proceeds forthwith; if not, an adjournment is had until the next day. 

It is determined by the House whether the election for speaker, clerk, and 
sergeant-at-arms and the subordinate officers shall be by ballot, viva voce, or 

Candidates for speaker are nominated and the vote taken. 

The speaker pro tern, announces the result, and names a committee to con- 
duct the speaker-elect to the chair. The other elections proceed in the same 
manner, except that when the result is announced by the speaker the officer- 
elect advances to the clerk's desk and is sworn in by the speaker. 

A committee is then appointed to wait on the Senate, and inform it that the 
House is organized; or the clerk is directed, by resolution, to inform the Senate 
of the fact. 

It is customary for the speaker to appoint a committee of three to meet with 
a committee of three from the Senate for the purpose of forming joint rules for 
the government of both houses; and when completed the committees report to 
their respective houses. 

By concurrent resolution both houses meet in joint convention to canvass the 
vote for executive officers. 

When it has been determined who are the executive officers, a joint com- 
mittee of both houses is then appointed to wait on the governor and inform him 
that both houses of the General Assembly are organized, and that the houses 
are in readiness to receive any communication from him. 

The Senate -and House usually assemble in joint convention in the chamber 
of the House upon some day and hour suggested by the governor, during the 
first week of the session to hear his message. 

The message is usually read by the executive, but may be read by his private 
secretary, or by anyone the governor may appoint. 

At the first opportunity after hearing the message read the various recom- 
mendations therein contained are referred, by resolution, to appropriate standing 
committees, or select committees. 


Standing committees are appointed by the speaker at as early a day in the 
session as is possible. Each committee usually consists of five members, but 
the House determines the number. 


William Gilpin, appointed by Abraham Lincoln .July 8, 1861 

John Evans, appointed by Abraham Lincoln April 19, 1862 

Alexander Cummings, appointed by Andrew Johnson Oct. 17, 1865 

A. C. Hunt, appointed by Andrew Johnson May 27, 1867 

Edward M. McCook, appointed by U. S. Grant June 15, 1869 

Samuel H. Elbert, appointed by U. S. Grant March 9, 1873 

Edward M. McCook, reappointed by U. S. Grant August, 1874 

John L. Routt, appointed by U. S. Grant March 29, 1875 


Lewis Ledyard Weld, appointed by Abraham Lincoln July 8, 1861 

Samuel H. Elbert, appointed by Abraham Lincoln April 19, 1862 

Frank Hall, appointed by Andrew Johnson May 2, 1866 

Frank Hall, appointed by U. S. Grant June 15, 1869 

Frank Hall, reappointed by U. S. Grant June 18, 1873 

John W. Jenkins, appointed by U. S. Grant. . . .' February 12, 1874 

John Taffe, appointed by U. S. Grant August 16, 1875 


George T. Clark, appointed by Governor Gilpin November 12, 1861 

Alexander W. Atkins, appointed by Governor Evans March 17, 1864 

A. C. Hunt, appointed by Governor Cummings January 25, 1866 

John Wanless, appointed by Governor Cummings September 5, 1866 

Columbus Nuckolls, appointed by Governor Hunt December 16, 1867 

Columbus Nuckolls, reappointed by Governor Hunt March 17, 1868 

George T. Clark, appointed by Governor McCook February 14, 1870 

George T. Clark, reappointed by Governor McCook February 17, 1872 

David H. M off at, Jr., appointed by Governor Elbert January 26, 1874 

Frederick Z. Salomon, appointed by Governor Routt February n, 1876 


Milton M. Delano, appointed by Governor Gilpin November 12, 1861 

Richard E. Whitsitt, appointed by Governor Evans March 10, 1864 

Richard E. Whitsitt, appointed by Governor Cummings January 26, 1866 

Hiram J. Graham, appointed by Governor Cummings .December 13, 1866 

Nathaniel F. Cheesman, appointed by Governor Hunt January 7, 1868 

James B. Thompson, appointed by Governor McCook February 15, 1870 


James B. Thompson, reappointed by Governor McCook February 14, 1872 

Levin C. Charles, appointed by Governor Elbert January 26, 1874 

Levin C. Charles, reappointed by Governor Routt February 12, 1876 


William J. Curtice, appointed by Governor Gilpin November 7, 1861 

William S. Walker, appointed by Governor Evans November 15, 1863 

*Alexander W. Atkins February 10, 1865 

*John Wanless January, 1866 

*Columbus Nuckolls March, 1867 

Wilbur C. Lothrop, appointed by Governor McCook March, 1870 

Wilbur C. Lothrop, reappointed by Governor McCook March, 1872 

Horace M. Hale, appointed by Governor Elbe'rt. July 24, 1873 

Horace M. Hale, reappointed by Governor Elbert 1874 

Horace M. Hale, reappointed by Governor Routt .February 9, 1876 


Hiram P. Bennet, elected December 2,1861 

Hiram P. Bennet, re-elected October 7, 1862 

Allen A. Bradford, elected July n, 1864 

George M. Chilcott, elected November 14, 1865 

George M. Chilcott, re-elected August 7, 1866 

Allen A. Bradford, re-elected September 8, 1868 

Jerome B. Chaffee, elected September 13, 1870 

Jerome B. Chaffee, re-elected September 10, 1872 

Thomas M. Patterson, elected September 8, 1874 


Benjamin F. Hall, appointed by Abraham Lincoln March 25, 1861 

Stephen S. Harding, appointed by Abraham Lincoln July 10, 1863 

Moses Hallett, appointed by Andrew Johnson April 10, 1866 

Moses Hallett, reappointed by U. S. Grant April 30, 1870 

Moses Hallett, reappointed by U. S. Grant 1874 


Charles Lee Armour, appointed by Abraham Lincoln March 28, 1861 

S. Newton Pettis, appointed by Abraham Lincoln July 9, 1861 

Allen A. Bradford, appointed by Abraham Lincoln June 6, 1862 

Charles F. Holly, appointed by Andrew Johnson June 10, 1865 

William H. Gale, appointed by Andrew Johnson June 10, 1865 

William R. Gorsline, appointed by Andrew Johnson June 18, 1866 

Christian S. Eyster, appointed by Andrew Johnson August II, 1866 

James B. Belford, appointed by U. S. Grant June 17, 1870 

* Ex officio as Territorial Treasurer. 


Ebenezer T. Wells, appointed by U. S. Grant February 8, 1871 

James B. Belford, reappointed by U. S. Grant 1874 

Amherst W. Stone, appointed by U. S. Grant March 1, 1875 

Andrew W. Brazee, appointed by U. S. Grant February 24, 1876 


Name Date of Appointment 

Theodore Edwards March 27, 1861 

James E. Dalliba August 19, 1861 

Samuel E. Browne April 8, 1862 

George W. Chamberlin October i, 1865 

Henry C. Thatcher. , April 19, 1869 

Lewis C. Rockwell June 7, 1870 

H. C. Alleman April 15, 1873 

Charles D. Bradley June 30, 1875 

Westbrook S. Decker January 12, 1877 

Edward L. Johnson May 10, 1880 

Andrew W. Brazee September 5, 1882 

Henry W. Hobson May 28, 1886 

John D. Fleming March 23, 1889 

Henry V. Johnson April 15, 1893 

Greeley W. Whitford April 20, 1897 

Earl M. Cranston April 25, 1901 

Thomas Ward, Jr February 17, 1908 

Harry Eugene Kelly February 17, 1912 

Harry B. Tedrow June 26, 1914 


Time of Length of 

Year Meeting Adjournment Session No. Mems. 

1861 September 9th November 7th 60 days 22 

1862 July 7th August 15 40 days 39 

1864 February ist March nth 40 days 39 

1865 January 2nd February loth 40 days 39 

1866 January i st February 9th 40 days 39 

1866 December 3d January n, 1867 40 days 39 

1867 December 2d January 10, 1868 40 days 39 

1870 January 3d February nth 40 days 39 

1872 January ist February 9th 40 days 39 

1874 January 5th February I3th 40 days 39 

1876 January 3d February nth 40 days 39 


1865 Aug. 8 Aug. 12 5 days 62 

1875 Dec. 20 March 15, 1876 87 days 39 





The vote by counties at the first general election was as follows : 

Counties John L. Routt, R. Bela M. Hughes, D. 

Arapahoe 2,173 I ,795 

Bent 250 439 

Boulder 1,539 1,096 

Costilla 35 1 J 73 

Conejos 341 218 

Clear Creek 1,072 1,031 

Douglas 282 333 

Elbert 84 117 

El Paso 713 397 

Fremont 522 531 

Gilpin 1,005 763 

Grand 73 *47 

Huerfano 4 614 

Hinsdale 420 382 

Jefferson 537 S9 6 

Larimer 374 3 

Lake 229 234 

Las Animas 669 I 2 7 I 

La Plata 50 108 

Park 465 423 

Pueblo 543 739 

Rio Grande 364 362 

Saguache 306 l8 9 

San Juan 393 4 

Summit ' 201 185 

Weld 788 463 

Total 14,154 




It was by no means certain that the people of Colorado would accept the state- 
hood offered by the Federal Government under the enabling act of March 3, 1875. 
In fact when the constitution was finally submitted it needed no argument, for 
it was throughout an ably prepared document, but its defeat was looked for by 
many because the sentiment against statehood was still strong. 

This was the third effort at statehood, the others having failed respectively by 
reason of an adverse majority and a presidential veto. But in 1875 the popula- 
tion was approximately one hundred thousand, and there had grown up in the 
people of the territory a pride in its resources, its climate, its beauty and gran- 
deur, but above all in its tremendous possibilities. 

True, the panic of 1873 na d J ust penetrated to the Rocky Mountain region, 
the locust pest had devastated the crops in 1873, and all efforts at extending ir- 
rigation systems had ceased for the time. 

But the men who came to frame this constitution were the most influential 
citizens of their respective communities, and, having the confidence of the voters, 
would each personally draw a large contingent to support the document. 

In- the two other efforts to gain admission it was more an attempt to break 
into the union. This time Congress and the President had defined the exact con- 
ditions under which statehood was possible. 

The convention met for the first time in the Odd Fellows Hall, First National 
Bank Building, northeast corner of Blake and Fifteenth streets, on December 
20, 1875. 

The constitutional convention was comprised as follows: 

From the First District, composed of the County of Weld, S. J. Plumb and 
J. S. Wheeler. 

From the Second District, composed of the counties of Weld and Larimer, 
A. K. Yount. 

From the Third District, composed of the County of Larimer, W. C. Stover. 

From the Fourth District, composed of the County of Boulder, Wm. E. 
Beck and Byron L. Carr. 

From the Fifth District, composed of the County of Gilpin, Alvin Marsh and 
L. C. Rockwell. 



From the Sixth District, composed of the County of Clear Creek, Wm. M. 
Clark and Wm. H. Cushman. 

From the Seventh District, composed of the counties of Clear Creek, Sum- 
mit and Grand, W. W. Webster. 

From the Eighth District, composed of the County of Jefferson, Geo. G. 
White and Wm. Lee. 

From the Ninth District, composed of the County of Arapahoe, E. T. Wells, 
H. P. H. Bromwell, L. C. Ellsworth, F. J. Ebert, C. P. Elder and Daniel Kurd. 

From the Tenth District, composed of the counties of Arapahoe and Doug- 
las, P. P. Wilcox. 

From the Eleventh District, composed of the County of Bent, J. W. Widder- 

From the Twelfth District, composed of the counties of Bent and Elbert, 
John S. Hough. 

From the Thirteenth District, composed of the County of El Paso, J. C. 
Wilson and Robert Douglas. 

From the Fourteenth District, composed of the counties of Park and Lake, 
Wm. H. James and Geo. E. Pease. 

From the Fifteenth District, composed of the County of Saguache, W. B. 

From the Sixteenth Dictrict, composed of the County of Fremont, A. D. 

From the Seventeenth District, composed of the County of Pueblo, Wilbur 
F. Stone and Henry C. Thatcher. 

From the Eighteenth District, composed of the County of Las Animas, 
Jesus M. Garcia, Casimiro Barela and George Boyles. 

From the Nineteenth District, composed of the counties of Las Animas and 
Huerfano, Agapeta Vijil. 

From the Twentieth District, composed of the County of Huerfano, Robert 
A. Quillian. 

From the Twenty-first District, composed of the County of Costilla, Wm. H. 

From the Twenty-second District, composed of the County of Conejos, La 
Fayette Head. 

From the Twenty-third District, composed of the counties of Rio Grande and 
Hinsdale, Wm. R. Kennedy. 

From the Twenty-fourth District, composed of the County of La Plata, 
Henry R. Crosby. 

Judge Wilbur F. Stone, of Pueblo, was made temporary chairman, being 
succeeded on December 2ist, by Joseph C. Wilson, of El Paso, permanent chair- 
man. The secretary of the convention was W. W. Coulson. 

The convention was in session until March 15, 1876, and framed the present 
fundamental law of Colorado, on the whole one of the best of the state consti- 
tutions of the Union. Throughout the sessions the men were animated by a 
desire to make the fundamental law as just and fair as the joint opinions of its 
members could frame it. 

The following is a list of its committees: 

Bill of Rights Messrs. Marsh, Widderfield, Hurd, Ellsworth and Wheeler. 


Legislature and Legislation Messrs. Thatcher, Stover, Elder, James, Meyer, 
Wilcox, Clark, Boyles and Cushman. 

Executive Department Messrs. Elder, Hough, James, Head and White. 

Judiciary Messrs. Stone, Wells, Thatcher, Beck, Marsh, Rockwell, White, 
Boyles, Kennedy, Pease and Felton. 

Rights of Suffrage and Elections Messrs. Webster, Bromwell, Stone, Beck 
and Vijil. 

Impeachment and Removal from Office Messrs. Crosby, White, Wilcox, 
Meyer and Garcia. 

Education and Educational Institutions Messrs. Hurd, Stone, Carr, Wheeler 
and Douglas. 

Public and Private Corporations Messrs. Rockwell, Cooper, Ellsworth, 
Thatcher, Wheeler, Meyer, Douglas, Webster and Barela. 

Revenue and Finance Messrs. Cushman, Yount, Hough, Plumb and Ells- 

Counties Messrs. Boyles, James, Stover, Hurd and Plumb. 

Officers and Oath of Office Messrs. Felton, Wells, Lee, Crosby and Quil- 

Military Affairs Messrs. Carr, Cooper and Pease. 

Mines and Mining Messrs. Clark, James, Kennedy, Rockwell, Crosby, Stover, 
Ebert, Carr and Webster. 

Irrigation, Agriculture and Manufactures Messrs. Plumb, Head, Barela, 
Felton, Wheeler, Lee, Ebert, Widderfield and Cooper. 

Accounts and Expenditures of Convention Messrs. Yount, Ebert and Barela. 

State Institutions and Buildings* Messrs. Douglas, Hurd, Quillian, Cushman 
and Kennedy. 

Congressional and Legislative apportionments Messrs. Beck, Thatcher, Quil- 
lian, Ellsworth, White, Meyer, Pease, Kennedy and Clark. 

Federal Relations Messrs. Wilcox, White and Garcia. 

Future Amendments Messrs. Pease, Elder, Boyles, Wilcox and Marsh. 

Revision and Adjustments Messrs. Wells, Bromwell, Carr, Lee and Rock- 

Schedule Messrs. Quillian, Wells, Stone, Marsh and Carr. 

Printing Messrs. Hough, Bromwell and Webster. 

Enrolling and Engrossing Messrs. Cooper, Crosby and Widderfield. 

Miscellaneous Messrs. Head, Beck, Garcia, Lee and Elder. 

State, County and Municipal Indebtedness Messrs. Bromwell, Cushman, 
Hough, Douglas and Yount. 

Forest Culture Messrs. Ebert, Felton and Stover. 


The Bill of Rights guarantees all national and civil rights, and to the end 
that more power should be reserved to the people it declared that the General 
Assembly shall make no irrevocable grants of special privileges or immunities ; 
that private property shall not be taken or damaged for public or private use 
without just compensation ; that no preference shall be given by law to religious 
denominations ; that right and justice shall be administered without sale, denial 


or delay; that aliens, who are bona fide residents of the state, shall acquire, in- 
herit, possess and enjoy property to the full extent as if native-born citizens. 
The grand jury system was modified so as to make a grand jury consist of twelve 
men instead of twenty-three any nine of whom concurring may find a bill, and 
the question whether it may not be abolished altogether is left to the Legisla- 
ture. The petit jury system was modified so as to permit the organization of a 
jury of less than twelve men in civil cases. The right of trial by jury in all 
criminal cases was preserved, and for the purpose of protecting witnesses in 
criminal prosecutions,- and that the accused may always meet the witnesses against 
him face to face, provided for the taking of depositions before some judge of the 
Supreme, District or County Court, which can be used upon trial of the cause 
when the personal attendance of the witness cannot be obtained. 

The term of office of the governor and other state officers was fixed at two 

The Governor was given the power to remove all officers by him appointed, 
for misconduct or malfeasance in office; he was also empowered to grant par- 
dons, subject, however, to such regulations for the application of the same as 
may be provided by law. All the state officers were to be paid by salaries for 
their services, and were required to pay into the treasury "all fees by them col- 
lected in their respective offices." 

The General Assembly was required to meet once in two years. The term of 
office of the senators was fixed at four years; that of representatives at two. 
For the first session the compensation of the members of the General Assembly 
was fixed at $4 per day, and thereafter as may be provided by law. "No mem- 
ber of the General Assembly shall, during his term of office, receive any increase 
of salary, or mileage, above that allowed at the time of his election." 

The evils of local and special legislation being patent, the passage of any 
law not general in its provisions was prohibited. 

To afford protection from hasty legislation, it was required that all bills 
should be printed; that only one subject should be embraced in each bill, which 
should be clearly expressed in its title; that it should be read on three different 
days in each house before being passed, and that no bill should be introduced, 
except for the general expenses of the Government, after the first twenty-five 
days of the session. 

It prohibited the passing of any law giving extra compensation, to any public 
officer, servant, agent or employe, after services rendered, without previous au- 
thority of law ; "nor is any officer of the state to be in any way interested in any 
contracts or awards by which the legislative and other departments of govern- 
ment are furnished with stationery, printing, paper and fuel." 

"It is further provided that no appropriation shall be made to any denomina- 
tional, sectarian or any other institution not under the absolute control of the 

The District Courts were invested with original jurisdiction to hear and de- 
termine all controversies in behalf of the people, concerning the rights, duties 
and liabilities of railroad, telegraph and toll road companies or corporations. A 
Supreme Court, composed of different judges from those of the District Courts, 
was created. "This court," it was explained, "will have three judges, and as 
constituted will obviate the objections long entertained and frequently expressed 


against our present system, by which the same judge who presides over the trial 
of a cause in the District Court sits in review of his own decision in the Su- 
preme Court." 

The judges of the District Courts were to be elected for six, and those of 
the Supreme Court for nine years. 

Instead of Probate Courts, County Courts were created for every county, 
with probate jurisdiction, and such civil and criminal jurisdiction as may be 
prescribed by law, their civil jurisdiction being limited to controversies in which 
the amount involved does not exceed the sum of two thousand dollars. The 
judges of these courts were to be elected for three years. 

The General Assembly was empowered to create Criminal Courts for coun- 
ties having a population exceeding fifteen thousand, and Police Magistrates for 
cities and towns. 

Justices of the Peace were to have jurisdiction to the amount. of three hun- 
dred dollars. 

The general supervision of the public schools was vested in a Board of Edu- 

The maintenance of free public schools, and the gratuitous instruction therein 
for all children between the ages of six and twenty-one years, was forever guar- 

It was declared that the public school fund shall forever remain inviolate 
and intact : "that neither the State, nor any county, city, town or school district 
shall ever make any appropriation, nor pay from any public fund any thing in 
aid of, or to help support any school or institution of learning of any kind con- 
trolled by any church or sectarian denomination whatsoever; that no religious 
test shall ever be required as a condition for admission into any of the public 
schools, either as pupil or teacher; that no religious or sectarian dogmas shall 
ever be taught in any of the schools under the patronage of the State." 

A state census was to be taken in the year 1885, and every ten years there- 
after, which, with the Federal census of 1880, decennially thereafter, would en- 
able the General Assembly to revise and correct the apportionment, on the basis 
of population, every five years. 

It provided for the wiping out of all dormant and sham corporations claim- 
ing special and exclusive privileges ; denied the General Assembly the power to 
create corporations, or to extend or enlarge their chartered rights by special 
legislation, or to make such rights and privileges irrevocable. 

It forbade the consolidation of parallel and competing railroad lines, and of 
all unjust and unreasonable discriminations between individuals in their business 
with such corporations. It retained the jurisdiction of state courts in case of 
consolidation of a corporation within the state with any foreign corporation, over 
that part of the corporate property within the limits of this state. 

For the purpose of defraying the expenses of the state, a tax was provided 
for, not in any case to exceed six mills on the dollar, with restrictions, that 
"when the valuation of property within the state shall amount to one hundred 
million dollars, the rate shall not exceed four mills, and when the valuation shall 
amount to three hundred million dollars, the rate shall never thereafter exceed 
two mills on each dollar of valuation." 

Corporations and corporate property, real and personal, were required to 


share the burden of taxation, and the power to tax the same was never to be 
relinquished or suspended. 

The Legislature was prohibited from lending the credit of the state in aid 
of any corporation, either by loan or becoming a subscriber to any stock, or a 
joint owner with any party, except in case of forfeitures and escheats; neither 
could it assume any debt or liability of any party. It required that appropriations 
be kept within the limits of resources, and that no appropriations be made unless 
assessments were made sufficient to meet them, and at the same session of the 

It provided that the General Assembly shall not by special law remove the 
county seat of any county, but that the location of county seats should always 
remain a question to be voted on by the qualified electors in the several counties. 

It prohibited under very stringent provisions the importation, manufacture 
and sale of all spurious or adulterated liquors. 

It provided liberally for the amending of the Constitution. 

In submitting the document to the people the committee closed its appeal 
with this argument, which gives a clear insight into the insidious nature of the 
opposition : 

"We do not think it necessary to enter into an elaborate argument to show 
why they should meet your approval; believing that you fully appreciate the 
inestimable prize secured by entering the sisterhood of states, whereby you gain 
those privileges that flow only from that form of government, which is the 
offspring of your choice, completely free in its principles, uniting in its powers, 
security, happiness and prosperity of the whole people. But it is easy to foresee 
that from different causes, and from different sources, an effort will be made, 
and many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth, 
and we may reasonably assume that the chief objection made to a state govern- 
ment will not be founded upon the character of the instrument we have framed, 
but upon the alleged and supposed increase of expenses and consequent taxation. 
This is the old cry, and however potent it may have been heretofore, it certainly 
has lost its force in the facts of the present. We meet this objection directly, 
by conceding that a state government will, of course, involve an increased ex- 
pense over that of our present form, but we assert that this expense will be 
more than balanced by the pecuniary gain alone which we will receive by be- 
coming a state. We will suppose that if we are not admitted now, we will not 
have another opportunity of admission for at least five years. The increase in 
our expenses under a State government will be about $50,000 per annum, which, 
in five years, will amount to $250,000. This would be saved to us, or, more 
properly, be delayed in payment, by remaining out of the Union five years 

"Now, let us see what we would lose in that time: The Act of Congress 
granting Sections Sixteen and Thirty-six for school purposes allows the State 
to select an amount of public land equal to that which has been sold out of said 
Sections to settlers prior to survey. Under this arrangement we will be entitled 
to select about fifty sections of land. 

"The Enabling Act grants fifty other sections for public buildings, fifty sec- 
tions for the penitentiary, and seventy-two sections for general purposes mak- 
ing a total of two hundred and twenty-two sections, or one hundred and forty-two 


thousand and eighty acres of land, which, at $2.50 per acre, amounts, in value, 
to $385,200. 

"It will also be remembered that, upon becoming a state, Colorado will be 
entitled to five hundred thousand acres of public land within her borders, by 
virtue of a grant heretofore made by Congress. This amount, if selected now, 
would be worth to us at least $500,000. 

"The Enabling Act also grants the State five per cent, of the proceeds from 
the sale of the public agricultural lands after the adoption of this Constitution. 
The amount to be derived from this source for the next five years would ex- 
ceed one hundred thousand dollars, which, added to the value of the land above 
mentioned, would make a total of about $1,000,000, which is four times the esti- 
mated amount of the increased expenses of the State for this period, so that 
we would really gain over three-quarters of a million dollars in five years by 
becoming a State. More than this, the revenues from sections sixteen and thirty- 
six will save the whole State, in our school taxes, from ten to twenty-five thou- 
sand dollars yearly, making a saving in five years of from fifty to one hundred 
thousand dollars in addition to that already estimated. Should we not be ad- 
mitted, and remain in a Territorial condition five years longer, most, if not all, 
the public agricultural and non-mineral lands in Colorado, which are worth any- 
thing, will have been sold by that time, so that there being none left for selection, 
we would lose all this, even if a like grant should be renewed at the end of 
that time. No one will doubt this statement who reflects upon the small amount 
of public agricultural lands now left within our territorial limits, and considers 
the probable immigration for the next five years. The five per cent, alluded 
to would, from the same cause, like the lands granted in the Enabling Act, be 
forever lost to Colorado, and we would, therefore, at the end of that time be 
obliged to commence our statehood with increased expenses, and at a dead loss 
of over a million of dollars at the lowest possible estimate. In addition to these 
several benefits to be derived by our admission into the Union at this time, we 
would also call your attention to the fact that, by cutting off special legislation, 
we have lessened the expenses of that department almost one-half; by reducing 
the number of petit and grand jurors the expenses of the judiciary department 
are greatly reduced, while the provisions guarding against hasty legislation at 
the close of the sessions of the General Assembly, will prevent great squander- 
ing of public money, and in many cases save more to the State than sufficient to 
pay the per diem and mileage of the members of that body." 

On July i, 1876, the vote on the ratification of the document was: For the 
constitution, 15,443 ; against, 4,062. 

The authenticated copy of the constitution with the certified copy of the vote 
was taken to Washington by John N. Reigart, secretary to Governor Routt. 

On August ist, President Grant issued the proclamation admitting Colorado 
to statehood. 





The executive department of the State of Colorado consists of a Governor. 
Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor of State, State Treasurer, 
Attorney General, and Superintendent of Public Instruction, each of whom 
holds office for the term of two years, beginning on the second Tuesday of Janu- 
ary next after his election, and until his successor is elected and qualified. 

The returns of every election for state officers are sealed up and transmitted 
to the Secretary of State, directed to the Speaker of the House of Representa- 
tives, who immediately, upon the organization of the House and before proceed- 
ing to other business, opens and publishes the same in the presence of a majority 
of the members of both houses of the General Assembly. The persons having 
the highest number of votes for either of said offices are declared elected ; but if 
two or more be equal and highest in votes, one of them shall be chosen to the 
office by the joint votes of both houses. Contested elections for these offices are 
determined by both houses of the General Assembly by joint ballot. 

The age requirement for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or Superintendent 
of Public Instruction is thirty years ; for the other elective officers it is twenty-five 

The Governor nominates and, with the consent of the Senate, appoints all 
officers "whose offices are established by this Constitution, or which may be 
created by law, and whose appointment or election is not otherwise provided 
for." In case of a vacancy in any office which is not elective during the recess 
of the Senate, the Governor makes temporary appointment until the next meet- 
ing of the Senate, when he nominates some person to fill such office. If the 
office of Auditor of State, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, Attorney General 
or Superintendent of Public Instruction is vacated by death, resignation or other- 
wise, the Governor fills the same by appointment. 

The Governor has power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons after 
conviction for all offenses except treason or conviction of impeachment. 

The Governor may, on extraordinary occasions, convene the General Assem- 




bly by proclamation, but, at such special sessions, no business shall be trans- 
acted other than that specially named in the proclamation. 

The Governor has power to disapprove of any item or items of any bill mak- 
ing appropriations of money. 

It requires a two-thirds vote to pass a measure over the Governor's veto. 

The Lieutenant Governor in case of death or disability of the state executive 
becomes Governor. He presides over the Senate. 

The Auditor and Treasurer are not eligible for these offices at next succeed- 
ing elections. 

Following is a complete roster of the Governors, Secretaries of State, Audit- 
ors, Treasurers, Attorney Generals, Superintendents of Public Instruction, mem- 
bers of the Supreme Court, U. S. Senators and Congressmen elected since the 
granting of statehood: 


John L. Routt, (R) 1876-1879 

Frederick W. Pitkin, (R) 1879-1883 

James B. Grant, (D) 1883-1885 

Benjamirf H. Eaton, (R) 1885-1887 

Alva Adams, (D) 1887-1889 

Job A. Cooper, (R) 1889-1891 

John L. Routt, (R) 1891-1893 

David A. Waite, (P) 1893-1895 

Albert W. Mclntyre, (R) 1895-1897 

Alva Adams, (D) 1897-1899 

Charles S. Thomas, (D) 1899-1901 

James B. Orman, (D) 1901-1903 

James H. Peabody, (R) 1903-1905 

Alva Adams, (D) (Sixty-six days) 1905 

James H. Peabody, (R) (One day) 1905 

Jesse F. McDonald, (R) 1905-1907 

Henry A. Buchtel, (R) 1907-1909 

John F. Shafroth, (D) 1909-1913 

Elias Ammons, (D) 1913-1915 

George A. Carlson, (R) 1915-1917 

Julius C. Gunter, (D) 1917-1919 


Henry M. Teller, (R) 1876-1882 

Jerome B. Chaffee, (R) 1876-1879 

Nathaniel P. Hill, (R) 1879-1885 

George M. Chilcott (R) 1882 

Horace A. W. Tabor (R) 1883 

Thomas M. Bowen, (R) 1883-1889 



Henry M. Teller, (R) and (D) 1885-1909 

Edward O. Wolcott (R) 1889-1901 

Thomas M. Patterson, (D) 1901-1907 

Simon Guggenheim, (R) 1907-1913 

Charles J. Hughes, Jr., (D) 1909 

Charles S. Thomas, (D) 1913- 

John F. Shafroth, (D) 1913- 


Wm. M. Clark (R) 1876-1879 Elmer F. Beckwith (D) 1899-1901 

N. H. Meldrum (R) 1879-1883 David A. Mills (D) 1901-1903 

Melvin Edwards (R) 1883-1887 James Cowie (R) 1903-1907 

James Rice (R) 1887-1891 Timothy O'Connor (R) 1907-1909 

E. J. Eaton (R) 1891-1893 James B. Pierce (D) 1909-1915 

N. O. McClees (P) 1893-1895 John E. Ramer (R) 1915-1917 

A. B. McGaffey (R) 1895-1897 James R. Noland (D) 1917- 

Charles H. S. Whipple (D) . 1897-1899 


D. C. Crawford (R) 1876-1879 George W. Temple (R) 1899-1901 

E. K. Stimson (R) 1879-1881 Chas W. Crouter (R) 1901-1903 

Jos. A. Davis (R) 1881-1883 John A. Holmberg (R) 1903-1905 

J. C. Abbott (R) 1883-1885 Alfred E. Bent (R) 1905-1907 

H. A. Spruance (R) 1885-1887 George D. Statler (R) 1907-1909 

D. P. Kingsley (R) 1887-1889 Roady Kenehan (D) 1909^911 

Louis Schwanbeck (R) 1889-1891 M. A. Leddy (D) 1911-1913 

J. M. Henderson (R) 1891-1893 Roady Kenehan (D) 1913-1915 

F. M. Goodykoontz (P) 1893-1895 Harry E. Mulnix (R) 1915-1917 

C. C. Parks (R) 1895-1897 Charles H. Leckenby (D) . . 1917-1919 

John W. Lowell (R) 1897-1899 


George C. Corning (R) 1876-1879 John H. Fesler (D) 1899-1901 

N. S. Culver (R) 1879-1881 James N. Chipley (R) 1901-1903 

W. C. Saunders (R) 1881-1883 Whitney Newton (R) 1903-1905 

Fred Walson (R) 1883-1885 John A. Holmberg (R) .... 1905-1907 

G. R. Swallow (R) 1885-1887 Alfred E. Bent (R) 1907-1909 

P. W. Breene (R) 1887-1889 Wm. J. Galligan (D) 1909-1911 

W. H. Brisbane (R) 1889-1891 Roady Kenehan (D) 1911-1913 

James N. Carlile (R) 1891-1893 Michael A. Leddy (D) . . . . 1913-1915 

Albert Nance (P) 1893-1895 Allison E. Stocker (R) .... 1915-1917 

H. E. Mulnix (R) 1895-1897 Robert H. Higgins (D) . . . . 1917-1919 

George W. Kephart (D) ... 1897-1899 




J. C. Shattuck (R) 1876-1881 Mrs. A. J. Peavey (R) . 

L. S. Cornell (R) 1881-1883 Grace Espey Patton (D) 

J. C. Shattuck (R) 1883-1885 

L. S. Cornell (R) 1885-1889 

Fred Dick (R) 1889-1891 

N. B. Coy (D) 1891-1893 

J. F. Murray (P) 1893-1895 


Helen L. Grenfell (D) 1899-1905 

Katherine L. Craig (R) 1905-1909 

Katherine M. Cook (D) 1909-1911 

Helen M. Wixon (R) 1911-1013 

Mary C. C. Bradford (D) . . 


A. J. Sampson (R) 1876-1879 

C. W. Wright (R) 1879-1881 

C. H. Toll (R) 1881-1883 

D. C. Urmy (R) 1883-1885 

T. H. Thomas (R) 1885-1887 

Alvin Marsh (R) 1887-1889 

S. W. Jones (R) 1889-1891 

J. H. Maupin (D) 1891-1893 

E. Engley (D) iSctf-^S 

Byron L. Carr (R) 1895-1899 

David M. Campbell (R) . . . . 1899-1901 

Charles C. Post (R) 1901-1903 

Nathan C. Miller (R) 1903-1907 

Wm. H. Dickson (R) 1907-1909 

John T. Barnett (D) 1909-191 1 

Benjamin Griffith (R) 1911-1913 

Fred Farrar (D) 1913-1917 

Leslie E. Hubbard (D)....i9i7- 


Elected in 

E. T. Wells (R) 1876 

Henry C. Thatcher (R) 1876 

Samuel H. Elbert (R) 1876 

Wilbur F. Stone (D) 1877 

William E. Beck (R) 1879 

Jos. C. Helm (R) 1882 and 1891 

Samuel H. Elbert (R) i8S6 

Charles D. Hayt (R) 1888 

Victor A. Elliott (R) 1888 

L. M. Goddard (R) 1892 

Wm. H. Gabbert (R) 1892 

John Campbell (R) 1894 

Robert W. Steele (D) 1900 

Elected in 

* Julius C. Gunter (D) 1905 

*John M. Maxwell (R) 1905 

*George W. Bailey (R) 1905 

Charles F. Caswell ( R) 1904 

George W. Musser (D) 1908 

S. Harrison White (D) 1908 

William A. Hill (D) 1908 

Morton S. Bailey (D) 1908 

James E. Garrigues (R) 1910 

Tully Scott (D) 1912 

James H. Teller (D) 1914 

George W. Allen (R) 1916 


In 1876, when admitted to statehood, Colorado was entitled to two United 
States senators, one congressman, and three presidential electors. In 1890 
the state was entitled to two representatives in Congress. In 1900 this had 
grown to three, with the state fairly apportioned, giving the Western Slope 
one representative, the southern part of the state one, and the eastern part of 
the state one. The first congressman was James B. Belford, republican, for 

* Transferred from Court of Appeals. 


the short term, Thomas M. Patterson, democrat, succeeding him for the long 
term. Congressman Belford was returned to the forty-sixth, forty-seventh, and 
forty-eighth congresses. George G. Symes, republican, succeeded him in the 
forty-ninth and fiftieth. Hosea Townsend, republican, was elected to the fifty- 
first and fifty-second congresses. In the fifty-third Congress, 1893, John C. 
Bell, republican, represented the second congressional district, and Late Pence, 
populist, the first. In 1895, the fifty-fourth Congress, John C. Bell and John 
F. Shafroth, republicans, were the state representatives, serving together until 
1903. In that year and in 1905 the state elected Robert W. Bonynge, Herschel M. 
Hogg and Franklin E. Brooks, the latter at-large. 

For the sixtieth Congress, 1907-9, the Colorado congressmen were George W. 
Cook, at-large, Robert W. Bonynge, and Warren A. Haggott. For the sixty-first 
and sixty-second congresses the delegation was Edward T. Taylor, Atterson W. 
Rucker, and John A. Martin, all democrafs. 

The General Assembly, 1913, divided the state into four districts: 

First, the City and County of Denver. 

Second: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Cheyenne, Douglas, Elbert, El Paso, 
Kit Carson, Larimer, Lincoln, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, 
Weld and Yuma. 

Third : Alamosa, Baca, Clear Creek, Conejos, Costilla, Crowley, Custer, Fre- 
mont, Gilpin, Huerfano, Jefferson, Kiowa, Las Animas, Mineral, Otero, Park, 
Prowers, Pueblo, Rio Grande, Saguache and Teller. 

Fourth : Archuleta, Chaffee, Delta, Dolores, Eagle, Garfield, Grand, Gunni- 
son, Hinsdale, Jackson, Lake, La Plata, Mesa, Moffat, Montezuma, Montrose, 
Ouray, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, Routt, San Juan, San Miguel and Summit. 

At the election of 1912 Edward T. Taylor and Edward Keating were elected 
at-large, George J. Kindel and H. H. Seldomridge representing the First and 
Second districts. The entire delegation was democratic. 

For the sixty-fourth and the present Congress the delegation is : First, B. C. 
Hilliard, democrat ; Second, Charles B. Timberlake, republican ; Third, Edward 
Keating, democrat ; Fourth, Edward T. Taylor, democrat. 


On November 8, 1881, the people of Colorado by an overwhelming vote made 
Denver the permanent capital of the state. The matter of locating the capital 
was wisely left open by the men who framed the constitution. They, however, 
made Denver the temporary seat of state government, stipulating that "the 
General Assembly shall have no power to change or locate the seat of govern- 
ment of the state, but shall at its first session subsequent to 1880 provide by law 
for submitting the question" to the people of the state. 

After this selection is made the constitution provides that it can be changed 
only by a two-thirds vote of the electors. 

And in the election which followed 30,248 votes were cast for Denver, 6,047 
for Pueblo, 4,790 for Colorado Springs, 2,788 for Canon City, and 1,600 votes 
scattered in the interests of many other aspirants for the honor. 



The effort to erect a state house began in 1867, when a commission appointed 
by the Legislature secured from Henry C. Brown, of Denver, the deed to two 
entire city blocks, bounded by Col fax and Fourteenth avenues and Grand and 
Lincoln streets. In 1883 the capitol "Board of Directors and Supervisors" pur- 
chased for $100,000 the city block bounded by Colfax, Broadway, Fourteenth 
and Lincoln, thus completing the present site. 

Other sites were given which later created a fund used in the construction 
of the present beautiful building. But the early capitol commissions, particu- 
larly that of 1867, were made up of men opposed to Denver. 

In 1874 there was still a strong sentiment, particularly in the southern part 
of the state, against the selection of Denver. The growth of the present capital 
had been phenomenal, and it was plainly the logical site for the seat of govern- 
ment. The feeling, however, was yet too strong to permit of a decision in the 
constitutional convention. In 1874 a board consisting of M. Benedict, of Den- 
ver, J. H. Blum, of Trinidad, and J. H. Pinkerton, of Evans, was appointed to 
carry out the legislative act to erect a building on the Brown site and have it 
ready for occupancy January i, 1876. The officials of the territory were now 
realizing the necessity for housing the departments under one building, for at 
the time they were located in widely separated office buildings of Denver. The 
matter of fire-proof vaults for records, the difficulty of getting officials together 
for conferences, the many delays and annoyances, were under constant consid- 
eration. The board again found that it lacked funds for the work, and so awaited 
the coming of statehood. 

The third General Assembly, under constitutional direction, did more than 
put the matter of location to a vote. It authorized a levy of one-half mill for a 
permanent state building fund. When the fourth General Assembly met the 
location had been voted on and the first tax fund was about to become available. 
It authorized the immediate selection of "The Board of Directors and Super- 
visors," with the Governor as chairman, ex officio, and Alfred Butters, George 
W. Kassler, E. S. Nettleton, John L. Routt, Dennis Sullivan and W. W. Web- 
ster, members, to erect a wing of the new capitol. There were at once available 
$150,000 voted by the Legislature and an authorized bond issue of $300,000. 
The board decided it could not "build properly" with the moneys at hand. The 
fifth General Assembly voted not to exceed a million and asked for occupancy 
January i, 1890. 

In the competition which followed the plans adopted were those of E. E. 
Myers, of Detroit. The eastern contractors failed to carry out their agree- 
ment, and the construction was finally turned over to Denver men, among whom 
was David Seerie, a prominent builder, who died early in 1918. 

Gunnison County granite was used and added greatly to the cost. 

The Board of Capitol Managers appointed in 1890 comprised the Governor, 
ex officio, Benjamin F. Crowell, Charles J. Hughes, Jr., Otto Mears and John L. 
Routt, with full power to erect a magnificent structure. The board finally ex- 
pended about $3,400,000 on the building, which is thought by the ablest building 
experts of the country to be not only one of the most beautiful, but, considering 
results, one of the most economically constructed state houses in the country. 


The corner stone was laid by the State Grand Lodge of Masons, on July 4th, 
1890, and the first offices were occupied late in 1894. 

In 1897 a State Board of Capitol Managers was created under an entirely 
new enactment, but its existence was limited to the time when the capital building 
would be completed. 

In 1917 this Board of Capitol Managers was made a permanent body. 


The following are the counties created after the first territorial apportion- 
ment : 

Archuleta County was taken from the western part of Conejos County, on 
April 14, 1885, its county seat being fixed at Pagosa Springs. The state honored 
J. M. Archuleta, Jr., head of one of the old Spanish families, in this designation. 

Baca County was created April 16, 1889, and named in honor of the Mexican 
Baca family, residents of Trinidad. It was created from the eastern part of 
Las Animas County. Its county seat is Springfield. 

In the naming and creating of Bent County out of part of Pueblo County, 
the Legislature of 1870 honored the old traders of the Santa Fe Trail. Its 
county seat is at Las Animas. 

Chaffee County, segregated from Lake County, was created in 1879, and 
named in honor of one of Colorado's first senators. Its county seat is Buena 

On April ir, 1889, Cheyenne County was formed out of part of Elbert and 
Bent counties. It was the old rendezvous of the Cheyennes. Its county seat 
is Cheyenne Wells. 

Delta was segregated from Gunnison, February n, 1883^ Delta, formerly 
known as Uncompahgre, is the county seat. 

Dolores County was taken from Ouray County, February 19, 1881. Its 
county seat is Rico. It is named after its principal stream, the Rio Dolores. 

Eagle County was organized February n, 1883, and was formerly part of 
Summit County. Redcliff is the county seat. It is named after its principal 

Elbert County, named after Governor Elbert, was organized February 2, 
1874, out of Douglas County. Kiowa is the county seat. 

Garfield, taken from Summit County, was organized February 10, 1883. It 
was named after the late President James A. Garfield. Its county seat is Glen- 
wood Springs. 

Grand County takes its name from the Grand River, and was organized 
February 21, 1874. Hot Sulphur Springs is the county seat. 

Gunnison County, named after Captain Gunnison, was segregated out of 
part of Lake County, March 9, 1877. Its county seat is Gunnison. 

Hinsdale County was established in 1874, when the Legislature created three 
new counties out of the region known as the San Juan. Its county seat is Lake 
City. The others were Rio Grande and La Plata, both named after the rivers 
of the southern part of the state. George A. Hinsdale, a former lieutenant 
governor, and famous as a jurist, is the sponsor for Hinsdale County. Del 
Norte is the county seat of Rio Grande and Durango is La Plata's county seat. 


The northern part of Bent County was taken to form Kiowa County, April 
ii, 1889. This was the old stamping ground of the Kiowa Indians. 

Las Animas County was created out of the southeastern part of Huerfano 
County, February 9, 1866. Trinidad is its county seat. 

Logan County, named for Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, was created out of part 
of Weld County, February 25, 1887. County seat is Sterling. 

Mesa County, taking its name from the Grand Mesa, was created out of part 
of Gunnison County, February 14, 1883. Its county seat is Grand Junction. 

Mineral County, taken from Rio Grande, Hinsdale and Saguache counties, 
was created March 27, 1897. Its county seat is Creede. 

Montezuma County was created out of the western part of La Plata County, 
April 1 6, 1889. Its county seat is Cortez. 

Montrose County was created out of the western part of Gunnison, February 
n, 1883. Its county seat is Montrose. 

Morgan County, named for Col. Christopher A. Morgan, a Civil War hero, 
was created out of part of Weld County, February 19, 1889. Its county seat is 
Fort Morgan. 

Otero County, named in honor of Miguel Otero, descended from an old 
Spanish family, was taken from the western part of Bent County, March 25, 
1889. Its county seat is La Junta. 

Ouray County was taken from the northern part of San Juan, January 18, 
1877, and is named after the famous Ute chief. Its county seat is Ouray. 

Phillips County, named after a local citizen, was created out of the southern 
part of Logan County, March 27, 1889. Its county seat is Holyoke. 

Pitkin County, taken from the northern part of Gunnison County, February 
23, 1881, is named after Governor F. W. Pitkin. Its county seat is Aspen. 

Prowers County, created from the eastern part of Bent County, named after 
the late John W. Prowers, a pioneer, was organized April n, 1889. Its county 
seat is Lamar. 

Rio Blanco County was created out of the northern part of Garfield County, 
March 25, 1889. Its county seat is Meeker. 

Routt County was taken from Grand County, January 29, 1877, an d named 
after John L. Routt, last governor of the territory, and first of the state. Its 
county seat is Hahns Peak. 

Saguache County was taken out of the northern part of Costilla County, 
December 29, 1866. It is named after the river course and the mountain chain 
within its borders. Its county seat is Saguache. 

San Juan County was taken from the northern part of La Plata, January 31, 
1876. It derives its name from the San Juan Range. Its county seat is Sil- 
ver ton. 

San Miguel County, named from its principal mountain and stream, was 
created out of the western part of Ouray, February 27, 1883. Its county seat is 

Sedgwick County, named after Gen. John Sedgwick, was taken from part of 
Logan County, April 9, 1889. Its county seat is Julesburg. 

Washington County was taken from Weld County, February 9, 1887. Its 
county seat is Akron. 


Yuma County, named for the Town of Yuma, was created from the eastern 
part of Washington County, March 15, 1889. Its county seat is Wray. 

Adams County was created out of part of Arapahoe County, April 15, 1901, 
It is named in honor of former Governor Alva Adams. Its county seat is 

Jackson County was created out of part of Larimer County, May 5, 1909. 
Its county seat is Walden. 

Kit Carson County was created out of part of Elbert County, April n, 1889, 
and is named after the famous frontiersman. Its county seat is Burlington. 

Lincoln County was created out of part of Elbert and Bent counties, April 
ii, 1889. Its county seat is Hugo. 

Teller County, named in honor of the late Senator Teller, was created out 
of El Paso and Fremont counties, March 23, 1899. Its county seat is Cripple 

Crowley County, named in honor of State Senator Crowley, was created 
May 29, 1911, out of part of Otero and Kiowa counties. Its county seat is 

Alamosa County was created out of parts of Conejos and Costilla counties, 
March 8, 1913. Its county seat is Alamosa. 

Moffat County, named in honor of David H. Moffat, was created February 
28, 1911, out of part of Routt County. Its county seat is Craig. 


The State of Colorado derives its main income from the 4-mill levy, which 
in 1917 was $2,509,037.89. This is now, and has been since 1913, assessed on a 
full valuation. From inheritance tax the state received in 1917 $358,330.15; the 
insurance department, after defraying its own expenses of operation, turned 
over to the general fund $247,500. The interest on bank deposits, which range 
from 2}/2 per cent for daily balances to 3 per cent on deposits, amounted in 1917 
to $65,346.31. The Board of Land Commissioners turned in for 1917 the total 
of $1,196,165.59. This represented the sums paid on state lands from sales, 
rentals, royalties and fees allowed for transaction of business. Out of this total 
part of the land board expense is paid, but the bulk of it goes for educational and 
road-building purposes, under constitutional acts and original grants in the 
enabling act, which have been covered in another chapter. Under an act passed 
by the General Assembly in 1915, revised in 1917, the land board now has power 
to make farm loans from school funds. The loaning power is carefully circum- 
scribed in the legislative enactment. 

The state received in 1917 from the premiums on compensation insurance, 
under the state compensation insurance act of 1915, $183,683.19. This is used to 
pay indemnities and death benefits under that act. The state oil inspector turned 
into the state treasury in 1917, $34,817.78. This was from fees of one-tenth of a 
cent per gallon of all oils used in the state. Of this sum, $27,299.67 went into the 
general fund. 

The state's share of the motor vehicle tax for 1917 was $134,982.46. This is 
used exclusively for road-building purposes. The other half collected goes to 


the various counties in which it originates, and is used by them for road-building 

The fees collected by the Secretary of State for 1917, all of which goes into 
the general fund, was $217,000. This includes the flat tax paid by corporations. 
The corporation tax for 1918 under the act passed at the extra session of 1917 
will go to pay the interest on the authorized bond issue of two and a half millions 
passed at the extra session as a war emergency measure. The excess above 
required interest will form a sinking fund to retire the bonds. 

The coal mine inspection fund in 1917 amounted to $39,954.38. This is used 
exclusively to pay expense of protection of employes and inspection of coal 
mines. It is a tax of a third of i cent on the tonnage shipped. The "Brand" 
department fees collected by the Board of Live Stock Commissioners in 1917 
amounted to $44,628.27, used only for the up-keep of that department. 

The State Game and Fish Department turned in $6.8,850.76, fees from hunt- 
ing and fishing licenses. This is used exclusively for the department. 

The escheat for 1917 amounted to $19,153.14. After twenty-one years this 
goes to the school fund. The United States Forest Reserve turned in to the 
state in 1917 $76,594.93, which is 25 per cent of the earnings of the forests in the 
state. The state received from tuition fees, earnings and miscellaneous fees from 
educational and penal institutions and state departments the sum of $372,059.27. 

The various trust and permanent funds of the state earned in 1917 from 
interest on state bonds and warrants, $118,337.06. 

The military department, from rental of armories, poll tax, etc., turned into 
the state treasury $106,896.48. 

Including the sale of $791,500 of the war bond issue, the state received in 1917 
a total of $6,639,569.26. 


The Initiative and Referendum was submitted to the voters in November, 
1910, and carried by a vote of 89,141 to 28,698. By this amendment "8 per cent 
of the legal voters shall be required to propose any measure by petition." The 
referendum may be ordered, "except as to laws necessary for the immediate 
preservation of the public peace, health or safety," by 5 per cent of the voters 
or by the General Assembly. The initiative and referendum is expressly re- 
served to all cities, towns and municipalities as to all local, special and municipal 
legislation. The initiative requires in these instances a 10 per cent petition, the 
referendum one containing 15 per cent of the names of legal voters. This was 
an amendment to Article V, Section i, of the constitution. 

On November 10, 1910, by a vote of 39,245 for to 31,047 against, the people 
amended Article V, Section 6, providing a payment of $1,000 to each legislator 
and traveling expenses for the biennial period. This is paid at the rate of $7 per 
day of service, with the balance payable at the end of the biennial period. 

Article V, Section 19, was amended in November, 1884, providing "that no 
bill except the general appropriation bill for the expenses of the Government, 
only, which shall be introduced in either house of the General Assembly after 
the first thirty it had been twenty-five days of the session, shall become a law. 

In 1916 this was limited by amendment to fifteen days. 


On November 7, 1884, Article V, Section 22, was amended to read : "Every 
bill shall be read at length on three different days in each house." 

The "eight-hour" amendment was adopted in November, 1902, by a vote of 
72,980 for and 26,266 against. It provided eight hours' labor "for persons em- 
ployed in underground mines or underground workings, blast furnaces, smelters, 
and any ore reduction works or other branch of industry or labor that the 
General Assembly may consider injurious or dangerous to health, life or limb." 

On November 7, 1882, by a vote of 32,861 for and 8,378 against, Article V, 
Section 30, which fixed the salaries of the Governor and judges of the Supreme 
and District courts, the latter at $4,000, the former at $5,000 each, and which 
provided that "no law shall extend the term of any public officer or increase or 
diminish his salary or emolument after his election or appointment" was 
amended. It provided in its new form that "this shall not be construed to forbid 
the General Assembly to fix the salary or emolument of those first elected or ap- 
pointed under this constitution." 

In November, 1908, the amendment to increase salaries of Governor and 
judges of the Supreme and District courts was voted down. 

Article 6, that defining the duties and powers of the judiciary, was first 
amended on November 21, 1886, to read: "The judicial powers of the state as 
to matters of law and equity, except as in the constitution otherwise provided, 
shall be vested in a Supreme Court, justices of the peace and such other courts as 
may be provided by law." It had read, "and such other courts as may be created 
by law for cities and incorporated towns." 

On November 5, 1912, by initiative petition, this article was again amended, 
the vote being 55,416 for and 40,891 against. This is the now famous clause, giv- 
ing the people the power of reviewing certain court decisions. It provides that 
"None of said courts, except the Supreme Court, shall have any power to declare 
or adjudicate any law of this state or any city charter or amendment thereto 
adopted by the people in cities acting under Article XX (the Denver charter) 
hereof as in violation of the constitution of the state or of the United States ; 
provided that before such decision shall be binding it shall be subject to ap- 
proval or disapproval by the people." Within sixty days 5 per cent of the voters 
of the state can obtain submission of the decision to the people of the state. 

On November 2, 1886, Article VI, Section 2, was amended to read: "It (the 
Supreme Court) shall have power to issue writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, quo 
warranto, certiorari, injunction and other remedial writs, etc." This had read 
"other original and remedial writs." 

In November, 1904, the term of judges of the Supreme Court, now seven in 
number, was made ten years. The termination of the Court of Appeals was 
fixed on the first Wednesday in April, 1905, and "the judges of said court whose 
regular terms shall not then have expired shall become judges of the Supreme 
Court. All causes pending before the Court of Appeals shall stand transferred 
to and be pending in the Supreme Court." The original State Supreme Court 
consisted of but three members. The Court of Appeals had been created to ex- 
pedite the business of the Supreme Court. In these amendments, carried in 1904. 
provision was also made for future elections of Supreme Court judges. 

Article VI, Section 14, which empowered the General Assembly to create 
judicial districts not oftener than once in each six years and only by a two- 




thirds vote, was amended, eliminating the words "not oftener than once in each 
six years." The vote on this amendment at the election November 2, 1886, 
stood: For, 14,568; against, 14,022. 

An attempt to empower the General Assembly to increase the salaries of the 
judges of the Supreme and District courts "to not more than $7,000 each" was 
defeated by a vote of 16,095 to 20,377 m ^9- 

In 1904 the terms of district attorneys and District Court judges were fixed at 
four years. 

Article VI, Section 29, was amended in 1878, but no record appears save in 
the action of the General Assembly. It provided for the appointment to vacancies 
"on the Supreme and District benches by the Governor, in the office of district 
attorneys by the judge of the district, and of all other judicial officers by the 
county commissioners." 

The suffrage amendment is to Article VII, Section i, and provides that "He or 
she shall be a citizen of the United States (over the age of twenty-one)." This 
was carried in November, 1902, by a vote of 44,769 for and 27,077 against. 

An amendment to Article VII, Section 8, permitted the use of voting machines. 

An amendment permitting the State University to conduct a medical depart- 
ment in Denver was adopted in November, 1910, by a vote of 59,295 for, and 
15,105 against. 

The reorganization of the land board by constitutional amendment was effected 
in November, 1910, the vote being 42,218 for, and 21,300 against. The amend- 
ment created a board of three land commissioners, appointed by the Governor, 
one of whom is designated as president, the second as register, and the third as 
engineer. The salary is fixed at $3,000 for each, and the term of office is six 

The section of Article X referring to uniform taxation and exemption has 
been amended three times. In 1880 a purely technical change was made. In 1892 
the word "household goods" was adopted instead of "personal property," and 
this proviso added : "The provisions of this section shall not affect such special 
assessments for benefits and municipal improvements as the corporate authorities 
of cities, towns or improvement districts may assess and collect under provisions 
to be prescribed by law. This was later, 1904, eliminated. 

On November 8, 1893, Article X, Section n, was adopted and reads: "The 
rate of taxation on property for state purposes shall never exceed 4 mills on 
each dollar of valuation." 

On November 6, 1888, the effort to increase the rate to 5 mills for 1889 and 
1890 was defeated by a vote of 10,102 against and 762 for. 

In 1910 the outstanding unpaid warrants, covering extraordinary expenses in 
strike and other emergency causes had reached the sum of $2,115,000, and by a 
close vote, 40,054 for and 39,441 against, the people authorized a 6 per cent 
funding bond issue. Earlier the bond issue for the state capitol building had 
been voted as an amendment to this clause. But in most instances the effort to 
amend this clause of the constitution for the creation of a bonded debt failed to 
carry. In 1904 the effort to create a funding bond issue of $1,500,000 was de- 
feated by a vote of 51,711 against and 26,334 for. 

Article XI, Section 6, was amended in November, 1888, permitting counties 
to create, by consent of voters, refunding bond issues. 


In November, 1902, the term of county commissioners was fixed at four 
years. In counties of over 70,00x3 the board may consist of five members. In 
others there must be three commissioners. 

In November, 1902, Article XIV, Section 8, was amended, creating the office 
of county attorney, appointive or elective, and changing the election of all 
elective county officers to conform with the biennial election period for legis- 

In November, 1900, Article XIV of the constitution was adopted, providing 
for the method of electing delegates to a convention to revise the constitution. 
By a two-thirds vote the General Assembly may submit the proposition to the 
people. If carried the next Assembly arranges for the election of constitutional 
convention to consist of twice the number of state senators. It also provides 
for the submission of the revised constitution to the people. 

Article XX provides for the consolidation of the city and county govern- 
ments of Denver, and is now, with amendments, the charter under which it 

The original consolidation measure was adopted in November, 1902, and was 
known prior to this as the Rush bill from its author, John A. Rush. 

The section known as the "Home Rule" amendment, empowering the munici- 
pality to "make, amend, add to or replace the charter of said city or town" was 
adopted by initiative petition November 5, 1912. 

The "Recall," empowering the people, on petition of 25 per cent of .the 
electors, to vote upon the question of recalling any elective public officer of the 
state, is now Article XXI of the constitution. It was adopted by initiative peti- 
tion, November 5, 1912. The vote was: For, 53,620; against, 39,564. 

In November, 1913, Article XI, Section 8, was amended to permit cities and 
towns to provide for payment of bond issues within sixty but not less than ten 
years. This had been "within fifteen years." The valuation clause in the section 
was changed from 3 per cent to 10 per cent. 

In November, 1912, Article XIX, Section 2, was amended, compelling the 
publication of all proposed constitutional amendments with the next issued session 
laws and also empowering the Assembly to arrange for their more general pub- 
lication. It also limited proposed amendments to the constitution to six at the 
same session. 

Article XXII, the prohibition amendment to the constitution, provided that 
"From and after the 1st day of January, 1916, no person, association or corpora- 
tion shall import into the state any intoxicating liquors ; and no person, association 
or corporation shall within this state sell or keep for sale any intoxicating liquors 
or offer such for sale, barter or trade." This was voted on November 3, 1914, 
and adopted by a vote of 129,589 for, and 118,017 against. 

In November, 1916, the voters approved Article XXIII of the constitution. 
This provides that "proposed constitutional amendments and proposed initiated 
and referred bills shall be published in two issues of two newspapers of opposite 
political faith in each county of the state." 









As early as 1862 the Territorial Legislature passed an act relating to corpora- 
tions, including those engaged in constructing and operating wagon and rail roads, 
and in a provision of this act, which prescribed the maintenance of toll roads in 
good repair, and withheld the right to collect toll and fixed a penalty if they were 
not so kept, the foundation was laid for later legislation designed to secure the 
proper maintenance of roadbeds of railroads and the rendering of good service 
to the public. 

The Constitution of the State of Colorado, adopted in 1876, gave specific 
authority relating to supervision of railroads. 

. In 1881 an act was passed requiring every railroad company to keep an 
agent in the principal town or city along its line in this state, to adjust and settle 
claims for overcharges and for all loss or damage. The penalty fixed for failure 
to comply was a fine of $3,000 for each month of neglect. A further provision 
of this act, prescribed the settlement by railroad companies of all claims within 
sixty days after presentation. 

In 1883 an act was passed providing that no railroad corporation transacting 
its own express business, or express company doing business, in this state, shall 
charge, demand or receive from any shipper more than double first-class freight 
rates, and "All individuals, associations and corporations shall have equal rights to 
have their express, freight and material transported over such railroads in this 

In 1885 the Legislature established a Railroad Commission, consisting of but 
one member, and granted him extensive powers. 

The first state railroad commissioner under this act was Henry Felker. He 
as well as his successor had a difficult time starting the work of state regulation. 
W. A. Hamil, in his report dated December 31, 1892, when it was known that the 
Legislature would repeal the act creating a commission, said : 



"True it is, that during the last five sessions of our Legislature, the members 
of both House and Senate have been besieged by some of their constituents to 
refrain from passing any railroad legislation; but when these protests are ana- 
lyzed, and the names become known of the signers thereto, it is at once seen 
that they are persons who either act from purely selfish and personal motives, 
many of them being large receivers and shippers of freight, who have received 
from the different railroad corporations large sums of money in the way of re- 
bates, others being the attorneys of the several corporations within the State." 

Governor Buchtel appointed Frederick J. Chamberlin, Halsted L. Ritter and 
Bulkeley Wells the first commissioners under the act of March, 1907. The 
exemption of a few roads with small mileage gave an opportunity for legal entan- 
glements. The Supreme Court finally declared the act constitutional. But, on 
August 12, 1914, under a new act the state railroad commission was merged 
into "The Public Utilities Commission/' with effective supervision over rate and 
service of all utilities, including municipally-owned or operated utilities. The first 
commission under this act was composed of A. P. Anderson, Sheridan L. Ken- 
dall and George T. Bradley. It is now composed of George T. Bradley, Leroy 
J. Williams and A. P. Anderson. 


There have been several amendments to the article creating the state board 
of equalization, whose powers at first were limited, and to a large extent advisory 
to county boards. The board consists of the governor, auditor, treasurer, at- 
torney general and superintendent of public instruction, and until 1912 its fre- 
quent sessions interfered seriously with the conduct of departmental business. 

On May 20, 1912, a tax commission, created by the Legislature, assumed the 
statutory power of the board of equalization, the latter retaining only general 
supervision and the constitutional power of final adjudication. The new law gave 
the tax commission general supervision over the county assessors and of the tax 
system generally. The Legislature of 1913 placed the assessment of local public 
utilities in the hands of the tax commission. The most notable result was the 
equalization of the state at full cash value. The equalization of 1913 was 
brought about by the addition of $186,551,658 to the valuations as returned by 
the local assessors. This was sustained by the Supreme Court. The first tax 
commission consisted of J. Frank Adams, John B. Phillips and Celsus P. Link. 

The tax commission in 1918 is as follows: Celsus P. Link, Edward B. Mor- 
gan, and Charles S. Glascoe. S. E. Tucker is secretary. 


The law creating a revenue from an inheritance tax was passed in 1902, and 
amended in 1909. The work of appraising is done through the office of the attor- 
ney general, who appoints one inheritance tax appraiser for each of three dis- 
tricts. The law provides a graduated tax, which has since its inception amounted 
to $3,078,289.48. The record by years is as follows : 


Inheritance tax collections for 1902 $ 539-77 

Inheritance tax collections for 1903 3,435.18 

Inheritance tax collections for 1904 8,486.02 

Inheritance tax collections for 1905 46,189.08 

Inheritance tax collections for 1^06 51,103.72 

Inheritance tax collections for 1907-1908 438,135.68 

Inheritance tax collections for 1909 91,249.85 

Inheritance tax collections for 1910 133,1 16.04 

Inheritance tax collections for 191 1 228,476.85 

Inheritance tax collections for 1912 184,701.06 

Inheritance tax collections for 1913 141,874.47 

Inheritance tax collections for 1914 323,188.55 

Inheritance tax collections for 1915 295,479,47 

Inheritance tax collections for 1916 773.983-55 

Inheritance tax collections for 1917 358,330.19 



Every General Assembly since the beginning of statehood, as well as nearly 
all of the Territorial legislatures, had framed laws upon the subjects of stock 
inspection and protection. Laws relating to stock generally were passed in 1861, 
1862, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1868, 1870, 1872, 1874, 1876, and 1877, and the first effort 
at a comprehensive system of round-up districts was passed in 1879. ^ n X 88i 
this was again changed. By 1908 it was found necessary to revise all legislation 
on this subject, and twenty-eight districts were defined. All laws with reference 
to round-up districts, obsolete by this time, were repealed in April, 1915. 

The laws relating to the state board passed in 1881, 1883 and 1885 were 
revised in 1903 by the passage of the law creating the Board of Stock Inspection 
Commissioners, whose powers have been greatly extended by each successive 
General Assembly. To-day the entire regulation of the live stock industry, the 
right to establish quarantine, the brand department, the control of abandoned 
stock, regulation of freight shipments, etc., etc., is in the hands of this board. 

The board in 1918 consists of the following: A. E. de Ricqles, Denver; M. 
J. McMillin, Carlton; W. T. Stevens, Gunnison ; A. E. Headlee, Hooper; Sam 
Gamm, Ramah; Coke Roberds, Hayden; Harry J. Capps, La Veta; R. C. Callen. 
Silt ; W. C. Harris, Sterling ; E. E. McCrillis, Denver, secretary. 


The subject of public health, one of the most important matters in the scope of 
the men who made laws, was the subject of continuous legislation. In the terri- 
torial days much was left to local officers, but in 1876 the first general law per- 
taining to the public health was passed by the Legislature. The General Assembly, 
in 1877, 1878 and 1883, created public health officials and made futile efforts at 

In 1893 the first carefully framed law creating a state board of health and 


defining its duties was placed on the statute books. From that period on the 
public health has been practically in the hands of the well organized State Medical 
and County Medical societies of the state, whose representatives are on the State 
Board of Health. 

From year to year the jurisdiction has extended until now it supervises all 
maternity hospitals, licenses embalmers, inspects foods and drugs, gathers vital 
statistics, prosecutes for adulteration, distributes anti-toxin, has power to establish 
quarantine, controls local boards. 

The State Board of Health on January i, 1918, consisted of Dr. L. G. Crosby, 
president ; Drs. E. E. Kennedy, A. W. Scott, C. A. Bundsen, A. C. McCain, C. G. 
Hecker, W. H. Sharpley, F. R. Coffman, C. O. Booth, S. R. McKelvey and John 
J. Connor. 


The General Assembly passed its first civil service act in 1907, amending it in 
1908, and in 1913. While drastic in its provisions, the litigation over its classifi- 
cations and decisions continued during the first five years of its existence. In 1915 
the law was repealed, and an entirely new act passed, which appears to correct 
mistakes of the previous law. The commission is composed of W. W. Grant, Jr., 
Anna Wolcott Vaile, Lawrence Lewis and Eleanor F. Young, secretary. 


The State Bureau of Child and Animal Protection is the successor of the 
Colorado Humane Society. It was incorporated in 1881 to obtain for children 
and dumb animals the protection which they could not procure for themselves. 
For twenty years, from 1881 to 1901, the society existed as a private corporation, 
whose jurisdiction covered the state with local officers in various districts. In 
1901, by act of the Legislature, the Colorado Humane Society was constituted the 
State Bureau of Child and Animal Protection. With the exception of the Juve- 
nile Court laws relating to delinquent children, all laws for the protection of chil- 
dren and dumb animals were passed at the suggestion of the State Bureau of 
Child and Animal Protection. Its secretary throughout its notable career has 
been E. K. Whitehead. The president of the board is E. A. Colburn. Its other 
members are Frank S. Byers, Frank N. Briggs, Mrs. Elizabeth Cass Goddard, and 
William Smedley. 


The State Board of Charities and Correction was created by the General 
Assembly in 1891, and its first president was Myron W. Reed. The other mem- 
bers were W. F. Slocum, J. C. Hay, J. S. Appel, B. F. Johnson and 'Dennis 
Sheedy. At that time there were in existence the Colorado State Penitentiary, at 
Canon City ; the State Industrial School for Boys, at Golden ; the Colorado State 
Reformatory, at Buena Vista ; the State Home and Industrial School for Girls, at 
Denver; the State Insane Asylum, at Pueblo; the Mute and Blind Institute, at 
Colorado Springs, and the Soldiers' and Sailors' Home, at Monte Vista. 


The new board was given supervision of these institutions, and was also the 
State Board of Pardons, but its duties as such were purely advisory. In 1895, 
at the urgent request of the members, the act creating a distinct Board of Pardons, 
consisting of four, was passed, thus segregating the work. But the secretary of 
the Board of Charities and Correction remains secretary of the new Board of 

In 1895 it was enabled to secure the passage of an act creating a Home for 
Dependent Children, largely through the efforts of its president, J. Warner Mills. 
During the presidency of Mrs. Sarah Platt Decker the indeterminate sentence 
and parole law, advocated for many years, was enacted and became effective in 
August, 1899. 

In 1901 the General Assembly passed an act providing for annual reports to 
the board of all private charities in the state, and the licensing by the board of 
all such institutions. 

In 1899 Colorado enacted its first juvenile law, providing that "children under 
sixteen who are vicious, incorrigible or immoral in conduct, or habitual truants 
from school, or who habitually wander about the streets and public places during 
school hours or in the night time, having no employment or lawful occupation, 
shall be deemed disorderly persons, subject to the provisions of the act." 

The earliest Juvenile Court laws of Colorado were enacted in 1903. These 
created the court, giving original jurisdiction to county courts in all criminal 
cases against minors, and provided for the punishment of persons contributing to 
the delinquency of children. This last-named provision was the first of its kind 
to be put upon the statutes of any state in the Union. 

Since 1903 these laws have been amplified and made more effective by neces- 
sary amendment. In 1909 the act penalizing persons responsible for juvenile de- 
linquency or for neglect was passed. 

The creation of these courts was largely the work of the State Board of 
Charities and Correction. The appointment of probation officers by the court 
under the law was in fact at this time made subject to the approval of the State 
Board of Charities and Correction. 

Its work has increased greatly with the growth of the state, and the creation 
of many private, municipal and county institutions, which it inspects, licenses and 
reports upon. 

The members of the board January i, 1918, were: Mrs. James Williams, 
president ; Owen F. Beckwith, Dr. Elizabeth Cassidy, Mrs. Sarah J. Walling, Rev. 
Dr. W. S. Friedman, Rev. William O'Ryan. 

Among the state institutions which have been founded since the creation of 
the board are the State Home for Dependent and Neglected Children, the Indus- 
trial Workshop for the Adult Blind, and the State Home and Training School 
for Mental Defectives. 

The State Board of Pardons in 1918 consists of the governor, ex-officio, Allan 
F. Wright, C. J. Morley, Mrs. Martha J. Cranmer, Harry C. Riddle. 


The General Assembly, in 1915, abolished the district boards of control which 
had been known respectively as the State Board of Lunacy Commissioners and the 


(Reproduced from a photographic enlargement of a wood engraving published in Harper's 
Weekly, New York, March 10, 1866.) 





Board of Penitentiary Commissioners, and created a State Board of Correction, 
which now has direct charge of the Colorado Insane Asylum, at Pueblo, the State 
Penitentiary, at Canon City, and the Colorado State Reformatory, at Buena Vista. 
The appointive members are Frank D. Hoag, of Pueblo, Bulkeley Wells of Tel- 
luride, and Helen L. Grenfell, of Denver. The chief officers of the institutions 
are ex-officio members. 


In 1915 the General Assembly created an Industrial Commission, with powers 
"to inquire into and supervise the enforcement, as far as respects relations be- 
tween employer and employe, of the laws relating to child labor, laundries, stores, 
factory inspection, employment of females, employment offices and bureaus, 
mining, both coal and metalliferous, fire escapes and means of egress from places 
of employment, and all other laws protecting the life, health and safety of em- 
ployes in employments and places of employment." 

In 1917 the Workmen's Compensation law was passed, mapped to a large 
extent on the most advanced legislation of eastern states on this subject, and its 
enforcement was entrusted to the Industrial Commission 

In 1913 a temporary state wage board had been created for the purpose of 
investigating wages and conditions of labor in the state. W. H. Kistler was ap- 
pointed chairman, and Mrs. Catherine Van Deusen, secretary. This went out of 
existence in 1915. At that session a permanent State Wage Board act was passed 
by the General Assembly, but vetoed by the governor as in his opinion "the act 
creating the Industrial Commission practically duplicated this work." 

The new act empowers the Industrial Commission "to investigate and ascer- 
tain the conditions of labor surrounding said women and minors, also the wages 
of women and minors in the different occupations in which they are employed, 
whether paid by time rate or piece rate." 

The commission can then, either directly or by the appointment of a wage 
board, consisting of employer, employe and disinterested parties, fix a "minimum 
living" wage. 

The Industrial Commission, as well as the Minimum Wage Commission, con- 
sists of Hiram E. Hilts, chairman, George W. Densmore and Joseph C. Bell. 
The secretary of the former is Walter E. Schwed ; that of the Minimum Wage 
Commission is Gertrude A. Lee. 

The Industrial Commission also has general supervision over the operation of 
what is known as the "Mothers' Compensation Act." This was approved April 
2, 1907, and was made effective by a referendum vote January 22, 1913. It 
empowers "county commissioners or like officials in cities working under Article 
XX (Denver)" to create a fund for the care of neglected or dependent children, 
which is to be paid to parent or parents. In many cases, notably Denver, such 
funds have been regularly created. 


The first specific law enacted to provide for the health and safety of those 
employed in and about the coal mines and the protection of property was in 


1883, and as a result of the enactment of this law, Gov. James B. Grant appointed 
John McNeil the first State Inspector of Coal Mines. He was allowed one deputy 
inspector. This law was slightly amended several times, until in 1913 it was 
found to be wholly inadequate, for the industry had grown by leaps and bounds. 

In 1883 the production was 1,220,593 tons, and in 1910 it was 12,104,887 tons 
and the field force had been increased from one to three deputy inspectors. But 
as none of the few provisions that applied to safeguarding could be put into effect 
because the law was not supported by any police authority, the department was 
hopelessly handicapped, and there was a general dissatisfaction among the oper- 
ators and mine workers. 

In the winter of 1913, the present State Inspector of Coal Mines, James Dal- 
rymple, with a member of the United Mine Workers of America, John R. Law- 
son, drafted a new law, which was presented for enactment to the nineteenth 
General Assembly then in session. The Senate, before which body the bill came 
up, referred it to a mining committee, which in turn appointed a sub-committee, 
composed of Messrs. James Dalrymple; E. H. Weitzel, manager of the fuel de- 
partment of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company; George T. Peart, general 
superintendent of the Rocky Mountain Fuel Company ; John R. Lawson, repre- 
sentative of the United Mine Workers of America; and Senator John Pearson, 
who was chairman of the committee. These gentlemen revised and amended the 
bill to the satisfaction of all the members of the sub-committee, who advised that 
the Assembly pass the bill as amended. It received the unanimous approval of 
both House and Senate. 

Under the present law coal mining has become a positive science, requiring 
careful training on the part of both the operators and mine workers. The chief 
and the five deputy inspectors are required to qualify by a rigid and competitive 
examination showing both practical experience and theoretical knowledge. Mine 
workers acting as mine officials take competitive examinations showing fitness to 
serve as first-class mine foremen, or second-class mine foremen, or assistants to 
such, or as fire bosses. Even the men who fire the shots after the miners have 
prepared the coal take a shotfirer's examination. The consequence is that only 
certified men now hold official positions in the coal mines. 


The State Historical and Natural History Society was organized February 10, 
1879, by a coterie of professional and business men, who felt that much informa- 
tion then available concerning the old records of the territory and the history of 
early explorations could be saved to posterity by such an organization. This first 
meeting was held in the office of Joseph C. Shattuck, then state superintendent of 
public instruction. In July, 1879, tne articles of incorporation were filed with 
this splendid list of citizens as sponsors : J. F. Frueauff, William Halley, F. J. 
Bancroft, Wilbur F. Stone, Richard Sopris, William D. Todd, Roger W. Wood- 
bury, Fred J. Stanton, John Evans, Fred Z. Salomon, R. G. Buckingham, H. A. 
Lemen, William N. Byers, R. E. Whitsitt, Paul H. Hanus, Williani E. Pabor, 
J. Harrison Mills, Scott J. Anthony, B. F. Zalinger, Edward A. Stimson, Joseph 
S. Shattuck, Edwin J. Carver, A. Stedman, W. B. Vickers, H. K. Steele, N. A. 
Baker, William F. Bennecke, Aaron Gove, S. T. Arensburg. 


The first board of directors consisted of Richard Sopris, John Evans, William 
N. Byers, Roger W. Woodbury, F. J. Bancroft, H. K. Steele, Aaron Gove, 
William D. Todd and William E. Pabor. 

On February 13, 1879, the General Assembly had passed an act donating 
$500 and "the use of the supreme court or state library room * * * when- 
ever there shall be organized within the state, a State Historical and Natural His- 
tory Society." 

With Doctor Bancroft as its first president, and Dr. H. K. Steele, Aaron 
Gove and W. E. Pabor as joint curators, real progress was made particularly in 
the beginnings of what is now the State Museum. In 1886 this was placed on 
exhibition in the upper floor of the Chamber of Commerce building, corner of 
Fourteenth and Arapahoe streets, and remained there until installed on the lower 
floor of the State House. 

This grew to such proportions that in 1909 the General Assembly passed 
an act providing for a State Museum building, which was finally completed, at 
a. total cost of $487,000, in 1915. It is located directly south .of the State House. 
In this the Historical Society occupies the east side of the basement for its news- 
paper files, these dating back to April 23, 1859, when the Rocky Mountain News 
was founded. The entire main floor is filled with one of the finest ethnological 
collections of its kind in the country. It is remarkable for the variety of speci- 
mens covering prehistoric periods in Colorado. 

Nothing equal to its collection of cliff dwellers' utensils is found anywhere 
else in the United States. The collection covers with much thoroughness pic- 
tures of pioneers and pioneering establishments all over the territory. Its collec- 
tion of books on early and later history of various periods in the development of 
this western country has been greatly enhanced by such additions as those in the 
gift of Edward B. Morgan. The society also is custodian of the Dean Collection 
of Civil War and other war relics. 

In 1915 the General Assembly by enactment declared it to be "one of the 
educational institutions of the state." The appropriation for the work of the 
society has never, however, been in any way commensurate with its needs. 

Its officers and directors are: L. G. Carpenter, president; Wm. N. Beggs, 
vice president ; Ellsworth Bethel, vice president ; John Parsons, secretary ; A. J. 
Flynn, treasurer; George L. Cannon, E. A. Kenyon, H. C. Parmelee, Hugh R. 

Jerome R. Smiley, the historian, is custodian. 


In 1883 the state passed the law creating the office of Insurance Commis- 
sioner, making it part of the auditor's office. The first commissioner under this 
act was John C. Abbott. There were then operating in the state thirteen life, 
three accident, fifty-four domestic fire and marine and twenty-six foreign fire 
and marine insurance companies. The total fire risks written in 1882 in Colorado 
amounted to $22,178,195.30. The department was segregated and made a dis- 
tinct part of the state government in 1907. According to the last report the 
total fire risks written in 1916 were $330,612,720. All insurance companies 


operate in the state under a license from the department, and must file annual 
reports. At present the insurance commissioner is Claude W. Fairchild. 

In 1882 the amount carried in the shape of old line life policies in Colorado 
was $5,538,751. In 1916 there was in force in the form of old line life poli- 
cies $217,273,539. 

Fraternal organizations also report to the department; and on January i, 
1917, there was in force in Colorado in life insurance of all classes, $369,000,000. 

There were in 1917 operating in Colorado, 51 life companies, 178 fire com- 
panies, 69 casualty companies, and 61 fraternal societies. 


The State Board of Immigration was first established in 1872, and was lim- 
ited to the publication of statistics covering production and acreage of land avail- 
able for homestead entry or outright purchase from the state, railroad companies 
or private individuals. It was in existence only two years. 

In 1909 the General Assembly again created the State Board of Immigra- 
tion, and its first members were : Alva Adams, of Pueblo, D. T. Dodge, of Den- 
ver, J. F. Mahoney, of Grand Junction, and the governor, ex-officio. This board 
began active work early in 1910, and for two successive years exhibited the 
products of the state at the land shows in Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York, Colum- 
bus, Ohio, and Omaha. It also assisted in the now famous "Western Governors" 
tour of the East, in which the products of all the states were exhibited in specially 
designed cars. All the Colorado exhibits were in charge of Alfred Patek, Com- 
missioner of Immigration. 

For some years the department was without funds, but was recreated in 
1916, and is now amply supplied with money, and is furnishing information con- 
cerning state lands, products, resources, etc., to prospective settlers and investors. 
The present commissioner is Edward D. Foster, of Greeley. The members of 
the board are Thomas B. Stearns, of Denver, H. E. Wallace, of Boulder, L. Wirt 
Markham, of Lamar, and the governor, ex-officio. 


The Bureau of Labor Statistics was first created in 1887, the commissioner 
to be an appointee of and under the secretary of state. It was given the task 
of compiling statistics covering agriculture, mining, manufacturing, transporta- 
tion, labor and kindred matters. Gradually much of this work was transferred 
to various bureaus, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics became in fact a Bureau 
of Labor. The first commissioner under the law was C. J. Driscoll. 

Factory inspection is perhaps the most important of the added duties. This 
was created in 1909, and in 1910 was amended, eliminating the fee system. There 
are now four factory inspectors, one of whom is a woman. 

The free employment offices, of which there are four, two in Denver, one in 
Pueblo, and one in Colorado Springs, were created in 1907. A superintendent 
is in charge of each office, with an assistant, who is a woman. During the fruit 
season a free employment office is opened at Grand Junction, which is in opera- 
tion four months of each year. 


The collection of wage claims has been a continuously growing branch of 
the department. In 1917 over $25,000 in disputed claims was collected for 
wage earners of Colorado. This branch now takes up fully half of the time of 
the office force at Denver. 

The department works in conjunction with the schools of the state in enforc- 
ing the child labor laws. Under these laws no child under fourteen is allowed 
to work at any gainful occupation while schools are in session. Children between 
fourteen and sixteen must have a permit to work from the school authorities. 
No child under sixteen is permitted to work at any dangerous occupation. The 
hour limit for working children in all cases is eight hours. No night work is 

The enforcement of the woman's eight hour law, which was enacted in 1912, 
as an initiated measure, is under this department. This limits the employment 
of women to eight hours in a calendar day in mercantile, mechanical or manu- 
facturing establishments, hotels, restaurants or laundries. This law does not 
apply to domestic or farm service. 

The department also has the enforcement of the eight hour law applying to 
underground mines and work in mills, smelters, reduction plants, etc. 

The department also has supervision over all private employment offices in 
the state working under a license from the bureau. The statute defines in detail 
the manner in which they must conduct their business. This is perhaps one of 
the most important branches of the department, as it gives complete protection 
to the laborer who now has dealings with a licensed private employment agency. 

Mediation of labor disputes, formerly in the Labor Bureau, is now the work 
of the State Industrial Commission. 

The Federal Bureau of Labor has notified the State of Colorado that a com- 
pliance with the state law covering employment of children will be considered 
as a compliance with the Federal law on this subject. The state law preceded 
the Federal enactment by six years. 

The present commissioner is W. L. Morrissey. The statistician is C. J. 


Until 1907 the regulation of banking by the state was confined to statutes 
requiring reports to the secretary of state and to county officials. In that year 
the General Assembly created the office of State Bank Commissioner, and the 
first official under the act was Henry M. Beatty. In 1909, the date of his first 
report, there were in the state seventy-three state banks, forty-six private banks, 
eleven trust companies, ten savings banks, and three banks in the hands of re- 

A compilation of all laws relating to banking was sent with report blanks 
to every bank coming under the jurisdiction of the state bank commissioner. 
Supervision followed, examinations being compulsory twice each year. The 
banking laws of the state were further revised and made drastic in their opera- 
tions by the General Assembly in 1913, and the powers of the state commissioner 
were greatly extended. 



The State Bureau of Mines, created by the General Assembly in 1895, was 
in fact a segregation of the mining department from that of the state geologist, 
an office first created by the Territorial Legislature in 1872. Until 1895 the re- 
port of the state geologist covered the work now done by the State Bureau of 
Mines. In 1899 the powers of the bureau were extended, and the appointment 
of additional inspectors was authorized. Numerous changes were made in the 
law in 1903 and in 1913. The first Commissioner of Mines was Harry A. Lee. 
The present commissioner is Fred Carroll. 


The State Board of Capitol Managers was the final evolution in the various 
steps leading to actual supervision and work upon the new capitol building, de- 
tailed in full in the History of the State House. 

In the act of 1897 the "State Board," to succeed the "Board of Capitol Man- 
agers," was expressly named : John L. Routt, Otto Mears, C. J. Hughes, and John 
A. Cooper, with the governor a member ex officio. The board under the act 
was "to continue until the entire completion and furnishing of said capitol build- 
ing, and shall announce by proper proclamation the same as accepted by and 
through the said board on behalf of the state, and thereafter the said board shall 
cease to exist." 

The board continued in office under this provision notwithstanding the efforts 
made repeatedly to annul it, and finally in 1917 the General Assembly made it a 
permanent body with supervision of the state house, the state museum, and the 
property purchased for the adjutant general's department north of the state 
house, at Sherman and Col fax avenues. The board now, January, 1918, con- 
sists of the governor, ex officio, Otto Mears, one of the original members, James 
Williams, Hiram E. Hilts, and Marshall B. Smith. 


On April 2, 1877, the State Board of Land Commissioners held its first meet- 
ing under the constitutional provision creating it. 

The new state in the enabling act had been given 32,000 acres for the erection 
of public buildings, 32,000 acres for the creation and maintenance of a peniten- 
tiary, 46,080 acres for a state university, and sections sixteen and thirty-six or lieu 
lands in each township for school purposes. This amounted to 3,715,555 acres. 
In addition to this under the act of 1841 the state was granted "for purposes of 
internal improvement so much public land as, including the quantity that was 
granted to such state before its admission and while under territorial govern- 
ment, will make 500,000 acres." The enabling act furthermore allowed the state 
5 per cent from the sale of all agricultural public lands, except those disposed of 
under homestead laws. This was to go to the fund for internal improvements. 
Later Congress gave the state 90,000 acres for the agricultural college. 

The state land board consisted of the governor, superintendent of public 
instruction, secretary of state and attorney general. On April 2, 1877, the board 


organized by the election of the governor as chairman, and the secretary of state 
as secretary. William M. Clark, the first secretary of state, thus became the first 
secretary of the State Land Board. Oh February 12, 1879, the board elected Rob- 
ert G. Howell secretary, who then practically assumed the duties afterwards per- 
formed by the register. The General Assembly, in 1887, in a revision of the land 
laws, created the office of register, who was elected by the State Land Board. 
The first register was A. Sagendorf, appointed at the meeting of March 22, 1887. 

In 1909 the constitution was amended providing for a State Board of Land 
Commissioners, appointed by the governor, one of whom is called the register, 
one is president, and one is engineer. The term is for six years. 

The state lands cannot be sold at less than $3.00 per acre, but the average 
price has been far beyond that. 


1877-1878 $ 44,000.00 

1879-1880 1 12,000.00 

l88l-l882 112,184.09 

1883-1884 239,508.89 

1885-1886 291,251.99 

1887-1888 642,044.87 

I889-I8QO 758,37776 

1891-1892 479,70574 

1893-1894 255,757.28 

1895-1896 231,561.96 

1897-1898 238,008.60 

1899-1900 355,305-97 

1901-1902 37 2 >37 2 -79 

1903-1904 574,176.04 

1905-1906 684,683.62 

1907-1908 825,901.67 

1909-1910 1,294,064.08 

191 1-1912 : 1,596,428.96 

1913-1914 1,364,763.66 

1915-1916 1,788,430.54 


Acres Average price 

1885-1886 12,83^.00 

1887-1888 67,738.00 $ 7.80 

1889-1890 78,464.00 7.85 

1891-1892 28,320.00 

1893-1894 9,621.00 

1895-1896 41,980.00 4-57 

1897-1898 12,148.00 I4-7 1 


Acres Average price 

1899-1900 3>i30-0o $ 4.35 

1901-1902 10,329.00 6.25 

1903-1904 11,120.00 6.25 

1905-1906 29,926.00 6.90 

1907-1908 60,356.25 8.31 

1909-1910 287,340.63 11.59 

1911-1912 79> 6 39-33 10.38 

1913-1914 9 I > 2I 5-57 7-35 

1915-1916 134,218.87 10.27 


With the first appropriation of streams for irrigation purposes came the need 
of state regulation. In the "Decree Book" in the office of State Engineer, the 
Brantner Ditch, appropriating 29.77 cubic feet per second from the South Platte 
near Brighton, was dated April i, 1860. There was a small appropriation of the 
waters of Clear Creek in February, 1860. The first decrees in the Arkansas River 
Valley were taken out during the same year. Regulation under territorial legis- 
lation was at first confined to county officials, with appeals to the courts; the 
amount of water decreed to or claimed by the several early ditches and canals 
being filed with the county and district court clerks. In 1879 the office of Water 
Commissioner was created. This was appointive by the governor, and the duties 
were "to divide the waters of the public streams in times of scarcity among the 
several ditches and canals, according to prior rights of each. In such districts 
as have had their rights adjusted by the courts, he has, under the law, but little 
discretion of his own in the matter of dividing water." 

Under the act of 1881 three water divisions, the South Platte, the Arkansas, 
and the Rio Grande, were created. These were increased from time to time, 
and on March 5, 1881, the General Assembly created the office of State Engineer, 
"to be appointed by the governor for a two-year term." The principal task was 
the making of "careful measurements and calculations of the maximum and mini- 
mum flow in cubic feet per second of water in each stream from which water 
shall be drawn for irrigation." The first state engineer appointed under this act 
was Eugene K. Stimson, who could do little owing to lack of funds. Under his 
immediate successor, E. S. Nettleton, the office was thoroughly organized and 
the first records made. 

In 1889 the General Assembly created the office of State Engineer as it exists 
at present, giving this official general supervision over the public waters of the 
state, the right to inspect and approve or disapprove designs and plans for the 
construction of all dams and reservoirs, embankments which equal or exceed ten 
feet in height, giving, him general charge of division water superintendents and 
district water commissioners. There are now five division engineers and seventy 
district commissioners. The laws governing the engineering work of the state 
were revised in 1903, 1909, 1911, 1913, 1915 and 1917, but only in what may be 
termed minor details. The matter of fees was regulated by amendment in 1911. 
In 1911 the office of superintendent of irrigation was abolished and the governor 
was empowered to appoint five irrigation division engineers. The boundarie; of 
the water districts are fixed by legislative enactment. At present, 1918, the state 


engineer is Addison J. McCune ; deputy, John R. Wortham ; division engineers : 
F. Cogswell, Denver; E. R. Chew, Pueblo; D. A. Norton, Alamosa; H. C. Getty, 
Montrose; A. J. Dickson, Glenwood Springs. 


At! the extraordinary session in 1917 the General Assembly created a State 
Department of Safety, appropriating for its establishment during the biennial 
period the sum of $650,000 out of "Defense Fund, National Defense Bonds, 
Series 1917." The first superintendent under this act is Frank Adams, former 
police commissioner of the City of Denver, who in 1918 is organizing the vari- 
ous companies under the act. 

Enlisted men are paid $720 a year, together with board, lodging and equip- 
ment. Officers are paid as follows: Captain, $1,500 per year; lieutenants, $1,200 
per year; sergeants, $1,000; corporals, $000 per year. 


The territorial government was early made aware of the great need of pre- 
serving the game of the state. By 1870 the buffalo had been pretty nearly ex- 
terminated, a few herds still finding shelter in the mountains. But the plains had 
been cleared. Deer and elk were, however, plentiful, and the sportsmen of that 
day relate that it was not unusual to find whole carcasses fed to hogs. 

The streams of the state were thick with trout, the big streams west or north- 
west of Denver, such as the Larimer, the Poudre, the North Platte, contained 
both trout and pickerel. There was no restriction, and the hunter took all the 
license his needs or pleasure prompted him to take. 

Gordon Land was the first state fish commissioner, later taking also the title 
of game and fish commissioner. But the protective laws were few and not care- 
fully compiled. In 1899 D. C. Beaman revised the game and fish laws of the 
state, and the department was then able to show real growth. 

The open season on mountain sheep was closed twenty-nine years ago, the 
first determined effort to save the game of the country. Large numbers of tour- 
ists visit Ouray annually, attracted by the bands of mountain sheep cared for 
and fed by the citizens of Ouray. Pitkin, Garfield, Clear Creek, Teller, Grand, 
Chaffee and Fremont counties all report bands of mountain sheep. 

The open season for elk was closed seventeen years ago, and today there are 
large bands in Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Grand counties. There are now 
(1918) nearly four thousand elk in the state. 

The open season for deer was not closed until 1913, and the bands of deer 
are gradually increasing, the largest being in Garfield and Rio Blanco counties. 
In 1911 between seven hundred and eight hundred were killed. In 1912 not over 
four hundred were killed. This brought the state to a sudden realization of the 
need for protection of its game. 

While there has been no open season for antelope since 1903, it is a difficult 
matter to protect this animal, as the peopling of the plains is fast clearing them 
out from their prairie habitat ; but even this year, 1918, small bands of antelope 


may be found eating with cattle through Adams, Arapahoe and Lincoln counties. 
In Chico Basin and around Byers the herds number from fifty to a hundred. 

The department has spent a great deal of money in stocking the state with 
various kinds of game birds, such as the Mongolian and ring-neck pheasant, the 
crested quail, bob-white quail, and Hungarian partridges. Senator E. O. Wolcott 
was one of the first to bring the Mongolian pheasant to Colorado, stocking his 
place at Wolhurst with this beautiful bird. W. F. Kendrick followed by' turn- 
ing many thousands of pheasants into the state. While there is no open season 
for the game, permits to kill are given where the pheasants become too plentiful 
and are doing damage to crops. The scaly-breast quail, the old Tennessee breed, 
known better as Bob White, and the crested quail, also known as Gambel's part- 
ridge, are all protected under the law, and there is no open season in the state for 
these birds. They are particularly thick along the Arkansas River and on the 
mesas back of Canon City and in Garfield and Mesa counties. 

The hunting proclivities of the Indians are now kept fairly well in check, the 
Government at Washington cooperating in the matter with the Colorado authori- 

The beaver is again growing plentiful, and the state protection is proving ef- 
fective, as it has the cooperation of stockmen everywhere. 

Under the state law hunting for bear is now licensed by the department, but 
both bear and mountain lions are rapidly thinning out. 

The efforts of the department are confined to the culture, propagation and 
distribution of three species of fish, namely : the Rainbow trout, the Native, or 
"Black-Spotted" trout, and the Eastern Brook, or "Red Speckled" trout. The 
Rainbow spawns first early in the spring. These eggs are taken in large quan- 
tities from the adult fish in Electra, Emerald and the Grand Mesa lakes. The 
natives follow, also in the spring, and thus far it has been possible to secure satis- 
factory quantities of native eggs at Trappers, Marvine, Cotton wood, Grand Mesa 
and Emerald lakes. The brook trout spawn in the fall, thus giving two hatches 
annually. These eggs are secured at Grand Mesa, Electra and Columbine lakes. 

The lakes operated for spawn are as follows : Trappers Lake, in Rio Blanco 
County ; Marvine Lake, in Rio Blanco County ; Cottonwood lakes, in Mesa County ; 
Grand Mesa lakes, in Delta County ; Columbine Lake, in Grand County ; Electra 
Lake, in San Juan County ; and Emerald Lake, in Hinsdale County. 

Trappers, Marvine and Emerald lakes have recently been taken over by the 
department, which is now in absolute control under long time agreements with 
the Department of Agriculture. Cottonwood, Grand Mesa, Columbine and Electra 
lakes are privately owned, and are operated by this department under contracts 
with those in control. 

A total of twenty-one hatcheries, with a combined capacity aggregating 20,- 
000,000 eggs, were operated during the last biennial period. During the summer 
months the entire twenty-one are in operation ; however, satisfactory hatches can 
be made in but eleven of these hatcheries during the winter months. These 
hatcheries, together with their locations, are as follows : 

Owned by the State of Colorado: 

Denver Hatchery, six miles north of the city limits, on the Brighton Road. 
Glenwood Hatchery, Glenwood Springs. 
Buena Vista Hatchery, Buena Vista. 


Del Norte Hatchery, Del Norte. 

La Plata Hatchery, Durango. 

Routt County Hatchery, Steamboat Springs. 
Privately owned, leased and operated by this department: 

Pitkin Hatchery, Pitkin. 

Estes Park Hatchery, Estes Park. 

Cedaredge Hatchery, Cedaredge. 
Privately owned, operated by the department : 

Fort Collins Hatchery, Fort Collins. 

Molina Hatchery, Mesa County. 

Marvine Hatchery, Rio Blanco County. 

Antonito Hatchery, on the Conejos River, reached via Antonito. 

Emerald Hatchery, Hinsdale County, reached via Durango and Vallecito. 

Electra Hatchery, San Juan County, reached via Durango and Rockwood. 

Aspen Hatchery, Aspen. 

Georgetown Hatchery, Georgetown. 

Boulder Hatchery, Boulder. 

Grand Mesa Hatchery, Delta County, reached via Delta and Cedaredge. 

Grand Lake Hatchery, Grand County. 

Walden Hatchery (North Park), Jackson County. 

Walter B. Fraser, of Denver, is the present Game and Fish Commissioner. 
His work has been most constructive, and he has in 1918 been honored with a re- 
appointment for four years. 


The act creating the Colorado Traveling Library Commission was enacted 
July i, 1903. 

The aims of the commission are to make the Traveling Library of the great- 
est usefulness, by finding out the needs of the community or district where boxes 
of books are to be sent, and as far 'as possible supply these needs ; to help small 
public libraries in getting on their feet, by supplying recent fiction, thus making 
it possible for them to invest their funds in reference and other books that are 
necessary in establishing a permanent library ; to lend books to study clubs that 
cannot get the material for their work ; to cooperate with the teacher in the 
rural school in developing the children's reasoning power by placing in their 
hands good, wholesome reading matter, thus guiding the children to the right sort 
of reading and creating in them the love for and the habit of reading good 

The machinery of the commission makes possible the distribution of reading 
matter to many who would otherwise be entirely removed from any oppor- 
tunity of securing it, except through the uncertain and irregular kindness of indi- 
viduals. Such are not only the dwellers on lonely ranches, many miles from 
any railroad, but the men in the convict road camps and the inmates of county 
poor farms. 

The officers of the Traveling Library Commission in 1917 are as follows: 
President, Mrs. Fannie M. D. Galloway, Denver ; vice president, Mrs. W. D. 
Wright, Denver; recording secretary, Miss Ella New, Denver. 


Mrs. Julia von der Lieth Welles, president from 1903 to December 7, 1912, 
the date of her death, was the founder of the "traveling library" idea in Colorado, 
and was largely responsible for its growth. 


During the past decade various professions and trades have been enabled 
to secure legislation creating state examining boards, all of which pass upon 
the eligibility of candidates to practice their respective professions or trades. 
Thus there are in Colorado : the state board of examiners of architects ; a 
state examining board and a state board of examiners for teachers ; a 
state board of examiners of coal mine inspectors; a state board of barber exam- 
iners; a state board of dental examiners; a state board of nurse examiners; a 
state board of pharmacy; a state board of optometric examiners; a state board 
of accountancy ; a state veterinary examining board ; a state board of embalming 

The other boards, commissions, commissioners, are of a minor nature, and 
were created from time to time as emergencies arose. These are such officers 
as the inspector of building and loan associations, an appointee under the auditor ; 
the public examiner, also appointed by the auditor ; the state oil inspector, for- 
merly a fee office, now salaried, and appointed by the governor ; the state boiler 
inspector, appointed by the governor. The superintendent of education is ex 
officio state librarian. The state geologist in the early years of statehood was 
in charge of the bureau of mines. 

The history of the various boards in charge of state institutions is narrated 
in chapters on Public Buildings and State Institutions. 


By Jerome C. Smiley 

The State's Seal is an inheritance from the territory, its design having been 
adopted by the first territorial assembly in a joint resolution approved Novem- 
ber 6, 1861. It was said at the time, and has been the understanding ever since, 
that the seal was designed by Lewis Ledyard Weld, the first secretary of Colo- 
rado Territory, the assembly giving the form and force of law to his conception. 
The framer of the resolution (and no doubt Secretary Weld also) dis- 
tinguished numine from Deo, and it was not the intention that the motto 
should be translated "Nothing without God," but "Nothing without 
the Deity," the latter being specifically stated in the resolution,' which follows 

"Joint resolution relative to a territorial seal. 

"Resolved by the council and house of representatives of Colorado Terri- 
tory : 

"That the secretary of the territory be, and he is instructed to procure for 
the use of the Territory of Colorado, a seal, to be two and a half inches in 
diameter, with the following device inscribed on the same: An heraldic shield, 
bearing in chief, or on the upper portion of the same, upon a red ground, three 
snow-capped mountains ; above, surrounding clouds ; upon the lower part of 




the shield, upon a golden ground, a miner's badge, being the same badge; pre- 
scribed by the regular heraldic rules; as a crest, above the shield, the eye of 
God, being golden rays proceeding from the lines of a triangle; below the 
crest, and above the shield, as a scroll, the Roman fasces (the insignia of a 
republican form of government), bearing on a band of red, white and blue the 
words 'Union and Constitution,' below the whole, the motto, 'Nil sine Numine' 
(nothing without the Deity), the whole to be surrounded by the words 'Sigillum 
Territorii Coloradensis' (seal of the Territory of Colorado), and the fig- 
ures 1861." 

As mentioned above, the state retained the territorial design, the only changes 
made in the seal being the substitution of the words "State of Colorado" and 
the figures "1876" for the corresponding inscriptions on the old one. This was 
provided for by section I of an act of the first General Assembly, approved 
March 15, 1877, an d which reads as follows, but omits a translation of the 
motto : 

"Be it enacted by the general assembly of the State of Colorado 
"Section i. That the seal of the state shall be two and one-half inches in 
diameter, with the following device inscribed thereon : An heraldic shield, 
bearing in chief, or upon the upper portion of the same, upon a red ground, three 
snow-capped mountains ; above, surrounding clouds ; upon the lower part thereof, 
upon a golden ground, a miner's badge, as prescribed by the rules of heraldry; 
as a crest above the shield, the eye of God, being golden rays proceeding from 
the lines of a triangle ; below the crest and above the shield, as a scroll, the 
Roman fasces, bearing upon a band of red, white and blue, the words, 'Union 
and Constitution' ; below the whole, this motto, 'Nil sine Numine,' the whole 
to be surrounded by the words 'State of Colorado,' and the figures '1876.' " 

From the heraldic standpoint, the act prescribes red, golden, white and blue 
as the state's colors, but of course the band of red, white and blue is a direct 
adaptation of the national colors. The "eye of God," the all-seeing eye, is a 
conception of unknown antiquity, and was familiar to all the ancient historical 
peoples in the general region of the Mediterranean. To the Egyptians it was 
the eye of Ra ; to the Chaldeans, the eye of Anu ; to the Greeks, the eye of Zeus ; 
to the Romans, the eye of Jupiter; and to the Hebrews, the eye of Yahveh, as 
in Psalm xxxiii., 18: "Behold the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, 
upon them that hope in his mercy." The Roman fasces, a bundle of elm or 
birch rods, bound tightly together by red thongs, and containing a battle ax with 
its blade projecting from the side, and near one end of the bundle, were borne 
by a lictor, one of a body of public officials attending Roman emperors, dictators, 
consuls and other magistrates, as symbols of authority and power, the lictor 
walking in advance and clearing the way for his superiors. In a time-worn 
story, a father, seeking to teach his children the importance of living and acting 
in unity, in the presence of his sons broke with ease a single rod and kept on 
until he had broken, singly, as many rods as he had sons. He then showed the 
boys that when he tied up a compact bundle of rods, one for each son, he could 
not break them. In modern forms of the symbol, which is a familiar one in the 
United States, the ax handle, ca'rrying a spearhead also, extends entirely through 
the bundle of rods and projects from both ends, thus exposing the ax to full 
view, as seen in the Colorado seal. The fasces suggest to us the sentiment 


expressed in the motto of the State of Kentucky : "United we stand ; divided we 
fall." The three snow-capped mountains represent the Colorado ranges, but in 
the state seal, as in the territorial, as engraved, more mountains are shown than 
the law requires. The miner's badge, bearing a pick and a sledge hammer, 
plainly proclaims its significance. In cutting the die for the state seal the engraver 
slightly flattened the triangle, made a little change in the form of the shield, and 
shifted upward the flying ends of the streamer bearing the motto. 








The first reported mining in Colorado, by no means authentic, antedates by 
more than two centuries and a half the period of the historic discoveries by 
the Russell Brothers. And while the evidence, like fossil remains, lies in the 
opened hills, it is not yet certain that the excavations were made at this early 
period. Don Juan de Onate, an adventurous spirit of the days of the Spanish 
conquest, in 1591, is reported to have opened gold and silver placer mines on the 
western side of the Sangre de Cristo Range above Fort Garland in San Luis 
Park between the Culebra and Trinchera. 

The record of the many expeditions and explorations is fully covered in 
the earlier chapters of this history. Here it is the purpose to record merely the 
actual and reported beginnings of mining operations, and that of Onate even 
if not authentic, should be discussed- as it is at least the supposed beginning of 
the industry in this region. In the Journals kept by Father Francisco Silvestre 
Velez Escalante, of the journey taken together with Father Francisco Atanacio 
Dominguez in 1776 there are references to these earlier discoveries, but save 
for the fact that his work throughout is painfully accurate, there is nothing of 
a convincing nature to substantiate them. 

Escalante states that in the year 1765 Don Juan Maria de Ribera came to 
the San Xavier (the Grand) at a point a little below what he termed its juncture 
with the San Francisco. He describes the San Xavier as being formed above 
this crossing place of four smaller rivers or forks, "and this," says Phillip 
Harry, writing in 1860 of the Escalante journey, "corresponds remarkably with 
the Uncompahgre River, Grand River, Smith's Fork and another large fork." 

But the period of prospecting which began in 1858 and 1859 brought to light 
in many parts of Colorado excavations which had undoubtedly been made by 



early Spanish exploring expeditions. Even about Denver and Boulder there were 
these evidences. Those found on the tributaries of the San Juan and Gunnison 
were probably made by Ribera and his followers. 

Mr. Byers is also the excellent authority for the tale brought to Denver by 
a prospector named -Samuel Stone. His party, in 1859, found evidences of a 
mining camp near the headwaters of Big Thompson Creek near Long's Peak. 
They brought back and showed Mr. Byers a small copper distilling outfit which 
had been used in making brandy from the wild berries that grew so plentiful 
in that region. Near this find they saw deep excavations made by former pros- 
pectors. At Santa Fe, later, Mr. Byers was told that this may have been a 
Portuguese expedition which never returned to Mexico and the members of 
which were probably killed by the Indians. 

More authentic, and yet unverified, except by the testimony of Lieut. Zebulon 
M. Pike, is the discovery of gold by James Purcell, whom Pike in his narrative 
calls Pursley. He had gone to the Rocky Mountains from Beardstown, Ken- 
tucky, in 1802, and Pike thus relates the interview : "He assured me that he had 
found gold on the head of the Plate (Platte River) and had carried some of the 
virgin mineral in his shot pouch for months, but that, being in doubt whether 
he should ever again behold the civilized world, and losing in his mind all the 
ideal value which mankind had stamped upon that metal, he threw it away." 


Both Frank Hall and Jerome Smiley after talks with the late William N. 
Byers assert that "when he traversed this country in 1852, one Tike' Vasquez, 
a trader, informed him (Byers) that 'the hunters and trappers occasionally 
brought small quantities of gold from the mountains to the trading post at the 
mouth of Clear Creek at intervals between 1832 and 1836.' " Rufus B. Sage 
insisted that he had found gold near Vasquez Fork in the winter of 1843-4. 

Reports of discoveries on the Sweetwater and in South Park followed in 
the early '503. 

Col. William H. Paine, a noted military engineer, later under Grant, 
while going to California in 1853, relates that he met a large party headed by one 
Captain Norton, who displayed small quantities of gold found by him in what 
he asserted was "the Pike's Peak region." The editor of this work in his his- 
torical sketch of Pueblo County alludes to the report that the children of Wil- 
liam Bent while enroute from Fort Bridger to Bent's Fort, in 1848, found nug- 
gets on Cherry Creek. 

O. J. Hollister, in his "Mines of Colorado," printed in 1867, says of the 
early reports : 

"There was a story among the mountaineers and traders, that a few years 
previous an old French hunter named Du Chet had picked up in one of the 
principal forks of Horse Creek, a piece of rock containing native gold ; that 
he carried it in his hunting pouch until he got tired of it, and suspecting not 
its value, but only regarding it as an hour's novelty, threw it away. Subsequently, 
at Santa Fe, the emptyings of his pouch, being in part particles of gold, attracted 
attention. But the old hunter could not again find the place. 

"Rufus B. Sage camped on the present site of Golden City during the winters 


of 1843 an d J 844, successively, whence on some of his hunting excursions he 
penetrated the mountains to a considerable distance; but he records nothing in 
his published account of particular interest, more than his confirmed belief that 
it was a mineral region. For instance, crossing from Cherry Creek to the Foun- 
tain, he remarks : 'The country hereabout for an extent of upwards of one 
thousand square miles, is much subject to storms of rain, hail, snow, and wind. 
I can account for it in no way but by supposing it to have some connection with 
the vast quantities of minerals lying embedded in its hills and valleys.' 

"It was the commercial collapse of 1857 tna * se * ma ny adventurous spirits 
in the then West peering into the obscurity beyond them for a new field of 

J. E. Wharton in his "History and Directory of Denver" printed by Byers & 
Dailey in 1866, writes as follows of the first gold discoveries: "The first dis- 
covery of the precious metal was made on the Cache la Poudre, where its waters 
leave the mountains and enter upon the valley, by an adventurous hunting party 
of Cherokee Indians and Georgians. This was in the month of August, 1849. 
The specimens found were surface quartz, glitteringly spangled with gold, which 
the party on their return to the States displayed to others, thus causing small 
parties to venture here in search of the treasure bed." 

Historian Wharton goes on to say: "Many small discoveries were made, 
but nothing of sufficient importance to create an excitement until April, 1858, 
when a party of traders, headed by John Cantrell, of Westport, Missouri, return- 
ing from Salt Lake, reported that they had discovered rich deposits of gold on 
the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, on what is now known as Ralston 
Creek. This report was heralded by the public print throughout the land, and 
soon culminated in a wild excitement. CantrelFs party took with them a sack 
of dirt from what was afterwards known as the 'Spanish Diggings' situated 
on the south bank of the South Platte about three miles above the present site 
of Denver. Mining was then being done at these diggings by a party of Mexicans, 
under John Smith, an old mountain trapper. Cantrell carried this dirt to West- 
port, where it was 'panned out' by a California miner named Ira Emmons, in 
the presence of many persons. The yield of gold was very small, being merely 
sufficient to establish the fact that the country from whence it came was cer- 
tainly gold-bearing. Additional evidence of this being a gold-producing region 
was given by a party of Georgians and Cherokees, with whom were Messrs. 
Russell and McFadden. This caused the first emigration to the Pike's Peak 

Mr. Wharton's information is, however, not reliable, for it was largely a 
conglomeration of wild rumors which had grown with the years into what seemed 
to be historical information, but was later completely disproved. The honor 
of the first actual authenticated gold discovery belongs to the Russell Brothers. 


The story of the Russell expedition is told as follows by Eugene Parsons in 
a notable series of articles published in 1915 in the Mining American: 

"Among the Argonauts of 1849 was a band of Cherokees who stopped on 
their way to California and prospected some of the creeks and rivers of the 



(Reproduction from pictures of some of Denver's pioneer buildings. The originals of 
these pictures are among the Historical Society's collection.) 


eastern slope. They found a little gold in Ralston Creek, a tributary of the 
South Platte. 

"William Green Russell, of Georgia, heard of this strike and, with others, 
he organized an expedition to explore the Pike's Peak country with .the hope 
of running across treasure-trove in the Rocky Mountains. In this company were 
his two brothers J. L. Russell and L. J. Russell and other Georgians. They 
left home February 17, 1858, and traversed Indian Territory and southern 
Kansas on the way to Pike's Peak. From time to time they were joined by 
parties of Cherokees and Kansans. It was considerable of a caravan that jour- 
neyed up the Arkansas River, consisting of 104 persons at one time. Some of 
them stopped at Bent's Fort. Most of the other members of the expedition 
pushed on westward and northward, prospecting Fountain Creek, Cherry Creek, 
the Platte and other streams they came to without finding colors in paying 
quantities. As the days passed their spirits sank ; they had expected to pick 
up gold nuggets as big as hailstones. After weeks of zealous seeking they had 
made no valuable discoveries of gold, and some of the adventurers with Russell 
were losing heart. On June 24, they camped on the bottom land near the con- 
fluence of Cherry Creek and the Platte. That is a historic date. To this day 
the pioneers' annual picnic in Denver is held, in commemoration of this event, on 
June 24 or the Saturday near it. 

"The next few days the men of the expedition scattered and prospected 
Ralston Creek, Clear Creek and other streams, going north as far as Boulder 
Creek. Nearly all of them were disappointed and discouraged, for they found 
only minute particles of the glittering dust ; it was so fine they could do nothing 
with it. After four days of tramping they worked back to their old camp on 
the bank of Cherry Creek, some thirty or forty rods from the spot where the 
City. Hall stands today. On June 29 the party broke up ; the greater number of 
fortune hunters then and there gave up the quest for gold and turned back. 
The Cherokees, thirty-seven in number, disgruntled, left in a body. 

"A crisis had been reached. The leader, Green Russell, got the remaining 
men together and made an eloquent speech. It is said- that he drew upon some 
of his California experiences; he told of the ups and downs of the Argonauts 
when prospecting ; he urged the malcontents to remain longer, saying he believed 
it was only a question of time when they would strike rich placers and find 
valuables mines. Russell had faith, but the majority had not. They deserted 
and set their faces homeward ; the quest was not for them. 

"On June 30, Green Russell found himself with only a dozen men, camped 
near the mouth of Cherry Creek. It was a critical time, and he called a council. 
In a plain talk he said he had come to this country to prospect the Rocky Moun- 
tains. He was unwilling to give it up. 'If only one man will stay with me,' he 
said, 'I will remain until I satisfy myself that no gold can be found, if it takes 
all summer. Will you stay with me?' The twelve men, some of them Georgians 
and some Kansans, declared that they would stick by him. 

"Not at all disheartened by the turn of affairs, the handful of men broke up 
camp and started up the Platte. They were on the constant lookout for pros- 
pects. Here and there they stopped and washed out a panful of pay dirt. One 
day, as James H. Pierce tells the story, he was loitering behind the wagons, 
scanning the bars and shores, when he thought he saw a bar that would pan 



The subjects of these portraits were brothers and distinguished pioneers of the Colorado 
country. They were the organizers and leaders of the "Russell Company," which came to our 
section of the Rocky mountains early in the summer of 1858, thoroughly to prospect the Pike's 
Peak district for gold. They formed the initial organization, which consisted of nine men in all, 
at their homes in Lumpkin County, Georgia, in the old gold field in the northern part of that 
state. At Manhattan, Kansas, the party was joined by twelve other white men; and a few 
days later, pursuant to a prior understanding, by about thirty Cherokee Indians, who were 
under the leadership of Rev. John Beck and Judge George Hicks, both of whom were of 
the Cherokee tribe. 

The company arrived at the site of Denver on June 24th, and immediately thereafter its 
members began searching for the yellow metal in the beds of streams in that locality. While 
the rewards were not large, they were sufficient to convince these prospectors that gold in 
opulent quantities existed in the Pike 's Peak district. The results of the company 's operations 
during that summer were the immediate causes of the founding of American settlements in 
"the Pike's Peak Gold Region" in the autumn months of that year. 

The portrait of William Green Russell (p. 231) is from a photographic copy of a crayon 
picture made in 1857 ; that of Levi J. Russell ( p. 2.35) , a physician, is from a photograph 
made in 1888; and that of Joseph Oliver Russell is sn enlargement of a photograph made 
in 1885. 

William died at Briartown, Indian Territory, on August 24, 1877; Levi died at Temple, 
Texas, March 23, 1908; and Joseph died at Menardville, Texas, October 28, 1906. 


out well. He dipped up a shovelful of sand and dirt and began washing it. 
At that moment Green Russell came up and finished panning it. He secured coarse 
gold flakes to the value of a dime and exclaimed: 'Our fortune is made!' 

"The other men retraced their steps and looked at the gold dust, delighted. 
They all got busy with feverish haste, and in a short time they obtained gold to 
the value of a hundred dollars from the sands of the Platte. The pocket of 
colors was soon exhausted, but in high hopes they kept up the quest, day by day. 
Not long afterward they found another valuable deposit of float gold on the 
bank of Dry Creek. The leader and another man were out hunting antelope a 
little to the south of the Englewood of today and came to a spot where the 
ground sparkled with flakes of gold. Here they got from four to five hundred 
dollars' worth of the yellow metal. That was all, but it was enough to settle 
the fate of the expedition. 

"Reports of the discovery spread to Kansas and Missouri and started an emi- 
gration to the Tike's Peak gold region' in the summer and fall of 1858. News of a 
fiad by a teamster in the army passing down the Platte that year was published 
abroad, and this started a hegira of gold seekers from St. Louis. 

"Such is, in brief, the history of the first finds' of the yellow metal in what 
is now Colorado. To the Cherokees justly belongs the credit of originating the 
Russell expedition, and Green Russell deserves the praise of keeping up Uie 
quest and nerving the remnant of the party until success crowned their efforts. 
For this is William Green Russell remembered and honored as one of the makers 
of Colorado. One of the figures of the Pioneer Monument in Denver was modeled 
after this noble man. 

"Meanwhile there were other gold seekers in the Pike's Peak country in that 
fateful summer of 1858. Green Russell and his companions antedated the 
arrival of the historic Lawrence party by only a fortnight. A Delaware Indian 
by the name of Fall Leaf started this expedition. In the summer of 1857 this 
red man acted as guide to Colonel Sumner while he was chasing some Arapa- 
hoes and Cheyennes on the warpath. One day, Fall Leaf stopped to get a drink 
in a little stream of water flowing down the side of a mountain probably in the 
Front Range. He saw several nuggets of glistening gold lying in the water on 
a rock, and, of course, he picked them up. Late in the autumn of 1857, he 
returned to his reservation and visited the town of Lawrence, Kansas. He showed 
the bunch of nuggets to John Easter, the village butcher. 'Where did you get 
these?' asked Easter. 'Two sleeps from Pike's Peak,' answered the Indian. 
Easter got the gold fever at once. He spoke of the find to his neighbors, and in 
the following spring they organized a company of about forty persons to pros- 
pect the Pike's Peak region for gold. Fall Leaf promised to accompany them 
and lead them to the spot where he found the nuggets, but when it came to a 
showdown Mr. Indian refused, and they went on without him. They proceeded 
leisurely up the Arkansas River, seeing thousands of Indians. They found the 
plains black with bison as far as the eye could see in western Kansas. On the 
third of July the party camped on the present site of Pueblo. Two days later 
they camped in the Garden of the Gods. They knocked about for six weeks, 
having a good time, but not finding any gold to speak of. Then they heard by 
chance of the discovery in Dry Creek and forthwith they set northward for the 
diggings. One of the leading spirits of the company was Josiah Hinman who, 



with a number of other men, laid out the town of 'Montana City' in the month 
of September, 1858. This was the first Colorado village founded by Americans. 
It existed only about six months, however. 

"From time to time other newcomers pitched their tents at the mouth of 
Cherry Creek and the Platte, which had already become a rendezvous for pros- 
pectors and miners. In October seme of them began building log cabins, John 
Easter erecting one of the huts. Nebraskans, Kansans and people from the 
States kept coming, and the little cluster of cabins grew into a hamlet that was 
at first called Auraria, after a place in Georgia. Then the name was changed to 
Denver in honor of General James W. Denver who was, in 1858, the governor 
of Kansas Territory, which at that time extended to the main range of the 
Rocky Mountains. 

"Such was the beginning of Colorado. The settled portion between Pueblo 
and Boulder first went by the name of the 'Pike's Peak country,' the 'Pike's Peak 
gold region,' also Tike's Peak and Cherry Creek.' It is said that as many as 
two thousand gold seekers came here in the summer and fall of 1858. They 
dug up the gravel in many localities, uncovering some 'prospects.' The only 
important discovery of 1858, however, was the find in Dry Creek." 


The gold strikes of the summer and fall of 1858 were small probably no 
more than $2,000 in value but the reports of them, greatly exaggerated, spread 
far and wide and started the rush to Pike's Peak the following year. Fortunately, 
important discoveries of gold were made early in 1859 by George A. Jackson 
and John Gregory. Otherwise nothing might have come of this historic stampede. 

George Jackson hailed from Missouri, and he had in him some of the spirit 
of the renowned backwoodsman, Daniel Boone. Jackson, who had done some 
mining in California, came to the Pike's Peak country in 1858, and with two 
other men, built a cabin on the present site of Golden, the town that afterward 
grew up and was named after one of these men, Tom Golden. The other man was 
James Sanders. 

It was holiday time, when most men would prefer to sit by the fire, that 
these three Fifty-eighters Jackson, Golden and Sanders set out on a pros- 
pecting tour, intending to look for gold in the mountains. That was December 
31, 1858. They struck out on foot into the hills, each man carrying a rifle and 
a small load of provisions. On New Year's Day they sighted a big band of elk, 
and forthwith Jackson's two comrades left him to hunt elk. Undaunted, he 
proceeded up Clear Creek alone, with his two dogs, Drum and Kit, for company. 
Besides his rifle, he carried a blanket, a drinking cup and a little bread and 
coffee, enough to last several days. That was his outfit. He depended upon his 
rifle to supply him with meat. 

Jackson pressed on up Clear Creek, part of the time finding it hard traveling, 
wading here and there through snow two or three feet deep. Along toward 
nightfall, he came to the hot mineral springs, now known as the famous summer 
resort of Idaho Springs. Nearby were some large flocks of mountain sheep graz- 
ing, and he shot one. That night he camped in a clump of cotton wood trees. 
The next day the weather turned cold and snowy; so he stayed in the little 

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This agreement was one of the consequences of the discovery of gold . on the site of the 
City of Denver by the Bussell prospecting expedition into the Pike's Peak country in the 
summer of 1858, and which was followed in the autumn of that year by the founding of 
Denver. When the "parties of the first part" to this agreement arrived at the site of Den- 
ver (which was the principal rendezvous of the Pike's Peak Argonauts) they joined with 
others, who were on the ground, in a town-company enterprise that was a part of the city's 
beginning and thus complied, to some extent, with the purpose of the agreement. 


bough-house he had made to shelter him. The following day being pleasant, the 
ambitious prospector started out in the trackless wilderness to search for traces 
of gold. He wandered up a gulch, finding no traces of colors. 

Jackson's first day's quest was unsuccessful but, hero that he was, he 
resolved to stay and try again, although supplies of provisions were running 
low. He put in another day, tramping up and down creek and canyons, without 
seeing any gold. He returned to camp after dark, tired and hungry, only to 
find that a marauding cougar had stolen all his meat. The man went to bed sup- 
perless, for he had eaten the last of his bread that morning. He did not lose 
heart, however. He got up early the next morning and shot a wild sheep before 
sunrise. He drank the last of his coffee and started out to do some more prospect- 
ing. This day, January 5, Jackson found a place a half-mile up stream where the 
gravel looked good. Here he made a new camp under a big fir tree. The ground 
was frozen hard, and he built a big fire on it. All day (January 6), he kept the 
fire going until the ground was thawed. The next day he had his reward. 
"Clear day," he cheerily writes in his diary, January 7 "removed fire embers 
and dug into rim on bed-rock, panned out eight treaty cups of dirt and found 
nothing but fine colors ; ninth cup I got one nugget of coarse gold ; feel good 

Jackson worked another day, digging and panning until his hunting knife 
was worn out. He then had about a half ounce of gold worth ten dollars. "I've 
got the diggings at last," he wrote in his journal. Having no mining tools 
pick, shovel and pan the man had to quit. He marked the spot of his discovery 
and trudged back to his shack. 

In the spring, Jackson returned to the spot, where he had marked a tree 
so that he could locate it, and took out between four and five thousand dollars' 
worth of placer gold. Jackson Bar was the first large deposit of gold ever uncov- 
ered in the Rockies. The site of this bonanza is near the mouth of a little 
stream, Chicago Creek, flowing into Clear Creek. A monument marks this spot 
in the town of Idaho Springs. This discovery was an event of vast moment in 
the history of the West. 

Meanwhile John H. Gregory, of Georgia, was prospecting only a few miles 
away from Jackson, although neither knew of the presence of the other. Gregory 
discovered rich placer ground, near Blackhawk, in the gulch that bears his 
name. The Jackson Diggings and the Gregory Diggings were some thirty-five 
miles to the west of Denver. 


These were the beginnings of the mineral industry of Colorado, which leads 
all states of the Union, except California, in gold production. Clear Creek County 
was organized in 1861. One mining camp after another had its day, and mil- 
lions of treasure, mostly placer gold, was obtained. The mines of Empire, 
Georgetown, Idaho and other diggings were famous in Territorial days. Many 
rich quartz veins were discovered, and fortunes were made. There was not 
much deep mining done then, the shafts being from fifty to 300 feet deep. The 
Argentine district produced both gold and silver in large quantities many years 
ago. Lead and copper also were found in some of the mining districts of Clear 

This picture was drawn by A. E. Mathews in the latter part of the year 1865. 


Creek County. Not until about 1903 was much zinc obtained. Around George- 
town, silver-lead-zinc ores predominate. 

So long ago as 1870, Clear Creek County was one of the leading producers 
of the precious metals in Colorado. Says Hall in his "History of Colorado," Vol. 
III., p. 323 : "While exact figures are not at hand, the mines of this county have 
contributed about $40,000,000 in gold, silver and lead to the mineral wealth of 
the world, the greater part during the last two decades (1870-1890). The 
product is from two to two and a half millions per annum." 

Since 1890, the mineral production of Clear Creek County has fallen off 
somewhat, and yet it is one of the best mineral counties of Colorado. Its mines 
are still yielding an abundant harvest of the precious metals. The past score 
years, the annual production has ranged from one to two million dollars, and some 
years over two thousand men have been engaged in the mineral industry in this 

In 1895, the State Bureau of Mines was established. Its biennial reports con- 
tain statistics which may be quoted as trustworthy. During the past eighteen 
years, Clear Creek County's gold output has amounted to over ten million dol- 
lars ; the output of silver has been about nine million dollars ; that of lead has 
exceeded three millions; and a half million dollars' worth of copper has been 
obtained. The past dozen years, 1903-1914, the zinc harvest has exceeded one 
million dollars. The grand total of these five minerals during the years 1897- 
1914 is nearly twenty-four million dollars. 

During fifty-nine years 1859-1917 the Clear Creek mining region has pro- 
duced over $100,000,000, mostly gold and silver. But few other counties of 
Colorado have made a better showing. 


The report on the mining outlook of the Pike's Peak region after a few months 
of operation was prepared at the "Diggings" by Horace Greeley, A. D. Rich- 
ardson and Henry Villard. 

And here is that famous report, which gives an accurate picture of the men 
and the mines of that period : 

Gregory's Diggings, near Clear Creek, in the Rocky Mountains, 

June 9th. 1859. 

The undersigned, none of them miners, nor directly interested in mining, 
but now here for the express purpose of ascertaining and setting forth the truth 
with regard to a subject of deep and general interest, as to which the widest 
and wildest diversity of assertion and opinion is known to exist, unite in the 
following statement: 

We have this day personally visited nearly all the mines or claims already 
opened in this valley (that of a little stream running into Clear Creek at this 
point) ; have witnessed the operation of digging, transporting, and washing 
the veinstone (a partially decomposed, or rotten quartz, running in regular 
veins from southwest to northeast, between shattered walls of an impure gran- 
ite), have seen the gold plainly visible in the riffles of nearly every sluice, and in 
nearly every pan of the rotten quartz washed in our presence ; have seen gold 
(but rarely) visible to the naked eye, in pieces of the quartz not yet fully decom- 


posed, and have obtained from the few who have already sluices in operation 
accounts of their several products, as follows : 

Zeigler, Spain & Co. (from South Bend, Indiana), have run a sluice, with some 
interruptions, for the last three weeks ; they are four in company, with one hired 
man. They have taken out a little over three thousand pennyweights of gold, esti- 
mated by them as worth at least $3,000; their first day's work produced $21 ; their 
highest was $495., 

JSopris, Henderson & Co. (from Farmington, Indiana), have run their sluice 
six days in all with four men one to dig, one to carry, and two to wash; four 
days last week produced $607; Monday of this week, $280; no further reported. 
They have just put in a second sluice, which only began to run this morning. 

Foote & Simmons (from Chicago), one sluice, run four days; two former days 
produced $40; two latter promised us, but not received. 

Defrees & Co. (from South Bend, Indiana), have run a small sluice eight 
days, with the following results : first day, $66 ; second day, $80 ; third day, $95 ; 
fourth day, $305 (the four following days were promised us, but, by accident, failed 
to be received.) Have just sold half their claim (a full claim is 50 feet by 100), 
for $2,500. 

Shears & Co. (from Fort Calhoun, Nebraska), have run one sluice two hours 
the first (part of a) day; produced $30; second (first full) day, $343; third 
(today), $510; all taken from within three feet of the surface; vein a foot wide 
on the surface ; widened to eighteen inches at a depth of three feet. 

Brown & Co. (from De Kalb County, Indiana), have been one week on their 
claim ; carry their dirt half a mile ; have worked their sluice a day and a half ; 
produced $260; have taken out quartz specimens containing from 50 cents to $13 
each in gold ; vein 8 to 10 feet wide. 

Casto, Kendall & Co. (from Butler County, Iowa), reached Denver March 25; 
drove the first wagon to these diggings ; have been here five weeks ; worked first 
on a claim, on which they ran a sluice but one day ; produced $225 ; sold their claim 
for $2,500; are now working a claim on the Hunter lead, have only sluiced one 
(this) day; three men employed; produced $85. 

Bates & Co., one sluice, run half a day; produced $135. 

Colinan, King & Co., one sluice, run half a day ; produced $75. 

Shorts & Collier, bought our claims seven days since of Casto, Kendall & 
Co. for $2,500; $500 down, balance as fast as taken out. Have not yet got our 
sluices in operation. Mr. Dean, from Iowa, on the 6th inst, washed from a single 
pan of dirt taken from the claim, $17.80. Have been offered $10,000 for the claim. 

S. G. Jones & Co. (from eastern Kansas), have run our sluices two days, with 
three men ; yield, $225 per day. Think the quartz generally in this vicinity is gold- 
bearing. Have never seen a piece crushed, that did not yield gold. 

A. P. Wright & Co. (from Elkhart County, Indiana), sluice, but just in oper- 
ation ; have not yet ascertained its products. Our claim prospects from 25 cents 
to $1.25 to the pan. 

Tohn H. Gregory (from Gordon County, Georgia), left home last season 
en route for Frazier River, was detained by a succession of accidents at Ft. 
Laramie, and wintered there. Meanwhile heard of the discoveries of gold on 
the South Platte, and started on a prospecting tour on the eastern slope of the 
Rocky Mountains, early in January. Prospected in almost every valley from 


the Cache la Poudre Creek to Pike's Peak, tracing many streams to their 
sources. Early in May arrived on Clear Creek, at the foot of the mountains, 
thirty miles southeast of this place. There fell in with the Defrees & Zeigler 
Indiana companies, and William Fonts, of Missouri. We all started up Clear 
Creek, prospecting. Arrived in this vicinity, May 6; the ice and snow prevented 
us from prospecting far below the surface/ but the first pan of surface dirt, on 
the original Gregory claim, yielded $4. Encouraged by this success, we all 
staked out claims, found the "lead" consisting of burnt quartz, resembling the 
Georgia mines, in which I had previously worked. Snow and ice prevented the 
regular working of the lead until May 16. From then until the twenty-third, I 
worked it five days with two hands, result, $972. Soon after, I sold my two 
claims for $21,000, the parties buying to pay me, after deducting their expenses, 
all they take from the claims to the amount of $500 per week, until the whole 
is paid. Since that time, I have been prospecting for other parties, at about $200 
per day. Have struck another lead on the opposite side of the valley, from 
which I washed $14, out of a single pan. 

Some forty or fifty sluices commenced, are not yet in operation ; but the 
owners inform us that their "prospecting" shows from 10 cents to $5 to the 
pan. As the "leads" are all found on the hills, many of the miners are con- 
structing trenches to carry water to them, instead of building their sluices in 
their ravines, and carrying the dirt thither in wagons, or sacks. Many persons 
who have come here without provisions or money, are compelled to work as 
common laborers, at from $i to $3 per day and board, until they can procure 
means of sustenance for the time necessary to prospecting, building sluices, etc. 
Others, not finding gold the third day, or disliking the work necessary to obtain- 
ing it, leave the mines in disgust, after a very short trial, declaring there is no 
gold here in paying quantities. It should be remembered that the discoveries 
made thus far, are the result of but five weeks' labor. 

In nearly every instance, the gold is estimated by the miners as worth $20.00 
per ounce, which, for gold collected by quicksilver, is certainly a high valuation, 
though this is undoubtedly of very great purity. The reader can reduce the 
estimates if he sees fit. We have no data on which to act in the premises. 

The wall rock is generally shattered, so that it, like the veinstone, is readily 
taken out with the pick and shovel. In a single instance only did we hear of 
wall rock too hard for this. 

Of the veinstone, probably not more than one-half is so decomposed that 
the gold can be washed from it. The residue of the quartz is shoveled out of 
the sluices, and reserved to be crushed and washed hereafter. The miners esti- 
mate this as equally rich with that which has "rotted" so that the gold may be 
washed from it ; hence, that they realize, as yet, but half the gold dug by them. 
This seems probable, but its truth remains to be tested. 

It should be borne in mind that, while the miners here now labor under 
many obvious disadvantages, which must disappear with the growth of their 
experience and the improvement of their now rude machinery, they at the same 
time enjoy advantages which cannot be retained indefinitely, nor rendered uni- 
versal. They are all working very near a small mountain stream, which affords 
them an excellent supply of water for washing at a very cheap rate ; and, though 
such streams are very common here, the leads stretch over rugged hills and con- 


(Reproduced from a photographic enlargement of a photograph made in 1869.) 


siderable mountains, down which the veinstone must be carried to water, at a 
serious cost. It does not seem probable that the thousands of claims already 
made or being made on these leads can be worked so profitably in the average 
as those already in operation. We hear already of many who have worked their 
claims for days (by panning) without having "raised the color," as the phrase 
is that is, without having found any gold whatever. We presume thousands 
are destined to encounter lasting and utter disappointment, quartz veins which 
bear no gold being a prominent feature of the geology of all this region. 

We cannot conclude this statement without protesting most earnestly against 
a renewal of the infatuation which impelled thousands to rush to this region a 
month or two since, only to turn back before reaching it, or to hurry away imme- 
diately after more hastily than they came. Gold-mining is a business which emi- 
nently requires of its votaries capital, experience, energy, endurance, and in 
which the highest qualities do not always command success. There may be 
hundreds of ravines in these mountains as rich in gold as that in which we write, 
and there probably are many ; but, up to this hour, we do not know that any 
such have been discovered. There are said to be five thousand people already in 
this ravine, and hundreds more are pouring into it daily. Tens of thousands more 
have been passed by us on our rapid journey to this place, or heard of as on 
their way hither by other routes. For all these, nearly every pound of provisions 
and supplies of every kind must be hauled by teams from the Missouri River, 
some 700 miles distant, over roads which are mere trails, crossing countless 
unbridged water-courses, always steep-banked and often miry, and at times so 
swollen by rains as to be utterly impassable by wagons. Part of this distance 
is a desert, yielding grass, wood and water only at intervals of several 
miles, and then very scantily. To attempt to cross this desert on foot is mad- 
ness suicide murder. To cross it with teams in midsummer, when the water 
courses are mainly dry, and the grass eaten up, is possible only to those who 
know just where to look for grass and water, and where water must be carried 
along to preserve life. A few months hence probably by the middle of October 
this whole Alpine region will be snowed under and frozen up, so as to put 
a stop to the working of sluices if not to mining altogether. There then, for a 
period of at least six months, will be neither employment, food, nor shelter 
within 500 miles for the thousands pressing hither under the delusion that 
gold may be picked up here like pebbles on the seashore, and that when they 
arrive here, even though without provisions or money, their fortunes are made. 
Great disappointment, great suffering, are inevitable ; few can escape the latter 
who arrive at Denver City after September without ample means to support 
them in a very dear country, at least through a long winter. We charge those 
who manage the telegraph not to diffuse a part of our statement without giving 
substantially the whole; and we beg the press generally to unite with us in 
warning the whole people against another rush to these gold-mines, as ill- 
advised as that of last spring a rush sure to be followed, like that, by a stampede, 
but one far more destructive of 'property and life. 




Hollister in his "Mining in Colorado" writes as follows of that first season 
in the newly opened mining region : 

"It was not unusual for four or five men to wash out from the Gregory, Bates, 
Bobtail, Mammoth, Hunter and many other lodes then newly discovered, one 
hundred and fifty dollars a day for weeks together. Single pans of dirt could 
be taken up carefully from any of a dozen lodes, that would yield five dollars. 
Zeigler, Spain & Co. ran a sluice' three weeks on the Gregory and cleaned up 
3,000 pennyweights; Sopris, Henderson & Co. took out $607 in four days; 
Shears & Co., two days, $853, all taken from within three feet of the surface. 
Brown & Co., one and a half days, $260; John H. Gregory, three days, $972; 
Casto, Kendall & Co., one day, $225 ; S. G. Jones & Co., two days, $450 ; Bates 
& Co., one and a half days, $135; Coleman, King & Co., one-half day, $75; 
Defrees & Co., twelve days with one sluice, $2,080. In one day Leper, Gridley 
& Co. obtained $1,009 f rom three sluices. One sluice washed out in one day 
$510. Foote & Simmons realized $300 in three days. The Illinois Company ob- 
tained $175 in their first day's sluicing from the Brown lode in Russell district. 
Walden & Co. took in one day from a lode in the same district, $125. John 
Pogue took $500 from a lode in the same district in three days. Three men 
took from the Kansas lode in two days, $500. Kehler, Patton & Fletcher aver- 
aged with five hands on the Bates lode, $100 a day for two months. Day & 
Crane on the same lode with seven or eight hands, sluiced for ten weeks, their 
smallest weekly run being $180, their largest $357. J. C. Ross & Co. with four 
hands, averaged $100 a day on the Fisk lode for four months. F. M. Cobb & 
Co. on the Bobtail lode with four men, averaged from $75 to $100 a day for 
two months. Heffner, McLain & Cooper worked four men at a sluice on the Clay 
County lode, averaging $100 a day for ten weeks. Shoog & Co. averaged $100 
a day for three months' sluicing with five men on the Maryland lode." 


As soon as the news of Jackson's discovery spread, a resistless tide of "pil- 
grims" surged up the winding banks of Clear Creek, in search of the "golden 
fleece." In the summer of 1859, the gulches and canyons of the Front Range 
swarmed with prospectors and miners. At the same time there was a stampede 
to the Gregory Diggings in what is now Gilpin County, one of the richest mineral- 
bearing districts of Colorado. 

John H. Gregory, of Georgia, was an adventurous fellow who knocked about 
on the frontier in the summer and fall of 1858, finally reaching Fort Laramie. 
Here he seems to have heard of the gold discovery in Dry Creek. In January, 
1859, ne set out southward, determined to prospect the streams of the Front 
Range. Gregory was no tenderfoot. Like Jackson, he had real. grit and heroism 
in his make-up. In the wintry weather he put up with many discomforts in the 
wilderness. He must have found the cold hard to bear, for he had been used 
to the mild, sunny clime of the South. 

Gregory was an experienced miner, and he knew where to look for colors. 
Working gradually south along the foothills, he prospected the Cache la Poudre 
and other streams. Following up- the Vasquez Fork of the South Platte, he 
came to the vicinity of the Blackhawk of today. Hereabouts he got some colors. 


"Gregory now felt certain that he had found gold," says Hollister in "The Mines 
of Colorado" (1867), "but before he could satisfy himself a heavy snowstorm 
occurred, during which he nearly perished." On account of the snow and the 
lack of supplies, the man was forced to leave the little ravine where he had 
obtained a small quantity of fine gold. He found his way down into the valley 
and subsisted upon venison and other game that he got by hunting. He finally 
turned up in the short-lived mining camp or town of "Arapahoe" on Clear 
Creek, a little below the Golden of today. Says Hollister: "At one time there 
must have been fifty houses in this town; today not one remains." 

Gregory was discouraged. Apparently he was down and out. At this crisis 
in his life he chanced to meet David J. Wall, of Indiana, who had faith in the 
Georgian and "grubstaked" him for another prospecting tour in the hills. The 
Hoosier's confidence was not misplaced. Gregory made good. Accompanied by 
a small party of men, he set out in April and reached the place where he had 
seen indications of gold deposits the previous winter. A little south of Black- 
hawk, the discovery of Gregory Lode occurred May 6, 1859. This was the 
discovery of the season. In '59-'6o "Gregory's Diggings" had a great reputation, 
yielding millions of dollars. 

Was it a chance, or superior judgment, that led Gregory through a maze of 
broken mountains to a ravine two or three miles in length ? In this gulch and on 
the bordering hills he found the heart of one of the richest mining regions in the 

From poverty he suddenly attained affluence. He sold his claims for twenty- 
one thousand dollars. Four months later, he left Denver with gold dust valued 
at twenty-five thousand dollars, and he had previously forwarded five thousand 
dollars to his family in Georgia. Not much is known of his later history. He 
returned home, drifted to Texas and disappeared. We have not even a photo- 
graph of this man, who did so much for Colorado. A town or a county should 
be named in his honor. There are those who think Gilpin County should have 
been named Gregory County. 

First came the discovery of float gold in Dry Creek, between Denver and 
Littleton, in the month of July, 1858. The news of this find, with other rumors, 
started the rush to Pike's Peak in the spring of 1859. The great majority of 
the fortune hunters who flocked to the hills and mountains that memorable year 
were disappointed. They found no gold worth mentioning, and many of them 
turned their faces toward the rising sun, discouraged. The golden treasure 
was here, but they could not locate it; so they gave up in despair and disgust. 
The tide of the "go-backs" was checked by the discoveries of Jackson and 

Others made valuable finds. About June i, Green Russell arrived at Central 
City with 170 followers. Immediately he struck out into the neighboring hills, 
and soon he located the gold-bearing gulch that was named in his honor. At the 
end of the season, Russell took back $21,000 in the glistening grains that formed 
the currency of the new mining region yclept "Pike's Peak," although the dig- 
gings were all located seventy-five miles or more to the northwest of the majestic 
monarch of the Rockies. 

The discoveries of Jackson and .Gregory settled the fate of the straggling 


(Reproduced from a photographic enlargement of a wood engraving published in Frank 
Leslie's Illustrated Weekly, March 24, 1860.) 


frontier settlement. The section of the Eastern Slope embracing Clear Creek 
and Gilpin counties is called the birthplace of Colorado. 

These were the beginnings of the mineral industry in Colorado. Gilpin is 
one of the smallest counties in the state, and yet it has produced a hundred 
millions in metallic wealth, mostly gold. 

There is a silver belt in Gilpin County, but it has never been largely devel- 
oped or very productive. The past eighteen years the annual output of silver 
has averaged something over $166,000, while the gold production during that 
period has averaged $1,275,000 a year. The yearly production of lead has ranged 
from $20,000 to $69,000. The copper output has averaged about $114,000 annu- 
ally. Gilpin County has produced no zinc to speak of. 


The mining history of the state divides itself naturally into four epochs. 
The first, a placer mining period, which began with the discovery of gold by 
the Russell party in 1858 and- in the fpllowing year by Jackson and Gregory 
was wholly crude and spasmodic, and cleaned up what was on or near the sur- 
face. The second period was that which exploited along constantly improving 
scientific lines, the fissure veins, the chief sources of production. The third 
period was that in which the methods of ore treatment were revolutionized the 
era of modern mills and smelters a cyanidation period. The fourth might 
well be termed the deep-mining epoch, in which vast capital was invested in the 
proper and widely extended development of the state's deeper mineral resources 
a period which is yet only in its inception. It is the epoch of great tunneling 
projects, of scientific unwatering, and of new treatment methods that are as 
revolutionary as was the beginning of the cyaniding era. To this time also be- 
longs the exploitation of masses that had been discarded upon dumps as worth- 

It is advisable to go over the periods in a general way before narrating the 
interesting episodes which brought the gold-seekers to Colorado and welded them 
into a powerful community. 

The tracts bearing free gold were extremely limited and each crowded at 
the outset by hordes of men impatient to dig out their fortunes as quickly as 
possible. But the gradual decrease in earnings was the sieve which sent impa- 
tient thousands to othei' fields and left the development of the country to the 
few whose pluck and faith seemed equal to the task. 

From 1863 to 1870 there was a gradual but certain decrease of population, 
and in view of the facts this is not at all strange, for it took much patience and 
hard work to initiate mining enterprises on legitimate development lines. J. Alden 
Smith, state geologist, to whose early reports we are indebted for much of this 
information, asserts that the population in 1870 was " a little over 35,000." He 
adds : "The small amount of solid wealth accumulated meanwhile was due rather 
to hard work and the closest economy than to the productiveness of the resources 
under operation." 

Prior to 1870 or even as late as 1874 the prospector did all his work with 
a gold pan. If the required number of "colors" were not present, the district 
was deserted by him. 


From 1874 to 1890 the gold pan was almost entirely discarded by the pros- 
pector and he depended upon the returns given him by the assayer to determine 
the value of his rind. So complete was the change that comparatively few men 
engaged the assayer to determine more than the silver and lead content, assuming 
that there was no gold. 

With the discovery of Cripple Creek the prospector again changed his method. 
He used both the pan and the assay. 

E. S. Bastin, C. W. Henderson and J. M. Hill in a government publication 
issued in 1917 by the U. S. Geological Survey, thus discuss these early methods: 

"Entering the mountains with little equipment beyond shovel, pick and pan, 
the first miners in this district saved the gold by the usual pioneer methods of 
sluicing, cradling, and panning. These methods were fairly satisfactory when 
applied to the stream gravels and the oxidized surface ore of the veins, but the 
miners soon discovered that as depth was gained on the veins the yield of gold 
fell off rapidly. For this there is an excellent geologic reason, as the early work- 
ings were in the outcrops of the veins, in which the action of air and water had 
distintegrated the ore, freed much of the gold from its sulphide matrix, and 
converted it by solution and redeposition into a coarser form. In the deeper 
portions of the veins the ore was harder, and most of the gold being finely dis- 
tributed through sulphides was much, less readily amalgamated. 

"Appreciating the difficulty, even if not cognizant of its causes, the miners 
sought a remedy in various appliances for fine crushing of the ore. An early 
device consisted of a small mortar whose pestle was attached to a sapling, the 
spring of the sapling raising the pestle. Another device was the 'woodpecker mill/ 
which was an iron-shod wooden trip hammer, worked by water power, which 
fell in a wooden iron-lined trough. The arrastre early made its appearance, the 
first one being constructed near the mouth of Gregory Gulch in July, 1859. Five 
of them, each six feet in diameter, and constructed of granite, may still be seen 
in the valley of Clear Creek just below Dumont. This device was followed the 
same summer by the first stamp mill, a home-made affair with six stamps, set up 
at the mouth of Chase Gulch and run by water power. It had wooden stems, 
shoes, and dies, but the dies were shod with iron plates. Its operation in the 
summer and fall of 1859 is said to have netted its owner about $6,000. The first 
imported mill appears to have been a little three-stamp mill erected in 1859 by 
T. T. Prosser in Prosser Gulch. 

"During the first year of the development of the region near Central City 
the scarcity of water for ore treatment became troublesome, and a company was 
formed to bring water in from Fall River. The ditch built to accomplish this 
end had its head above the mouth of Silver Creek, at the base of the high peaks 
of the range, was twelve miles long, and traversed some rough country. The 
early miners, however, were deterred by no obstacles and had the work com- 
pleted and water flowing at Russell Gulch, Nevadaville, and Blackhawk early 
in the spring of 1860. The ditch later came under the control of New York 
people, who, through short-sighted management, so antagonized the miners that 
the enterprise was of short usefulness. 

"During the summer of 1860 there were sixty stamp mills and thirty arrastres 
run by water power in operation between Nevadaville and Blackhawk. These 
were all working on oxidized ores, but by the end of that year the heavier sul- 


phide ores were reached and the percentage of savings by the mills immediately 

"The year 1861 saw the construction of the first mill on South Clear Creek. 
In Gilpin County the savings from sulphide ores continued to diminish, arid dur- 
ing 1861 it was found necessary to close mine after mine which could not be 
made to pay. Numerous experiments were tried, both with stamp mills and 
leaching processes, none of which was markedly successful. In fact, this change 
at so shallow a depth from free-milling ores to stubborn sulphides was a calamity 
that crushed the hopes of many prospectors and caused a suspension of opera- 
tions by numerous companies operating in the district. 

"In 1861 Caleb S. Burdsall built the first smelter of the region at Nevada- 
ville. This was a crude affair that was unfortunately destroyed too soon after 
its erection to prove its worth. 

"The difficulty in amalgamating the sulphide ores led to what Raymond has 
called the 'process mania.' 

"The process mania, commencing in 1864 and lasting till 1867, was one of 
the main causes which damaged the reputation of the mines to such a degree 
that the country was nearly ruined by the reaction. Upon the first failure of the 
stamp mills, the people came to the conclusion that the ore must be roasted before 
the gold could be amalgamated. One invention for this purpose followed another ; 
desulphurization became the abacadabra of the new alchemists, and millions of 
dollars were wasted in speculations based on sweeping claims of perfect suc- 
cesses put forward by deluded or deluding proprietors of patents." 

Exploitation even of the fissure veins proceeded slowly because of the uni- 
versal ignorance concerning perfected methods of mining and reduction of 
refractory ores. The mineral broken by hand, struggling with adverse condi- 
tions, however rich in gold or silver, returned meager profits to the producer, 
because no one had applied the better knowledge of milling and smelting employed 
even then to good effect in the older mining sections of the country. The beds 
of streams into which the crushing mills poured their refuse were choked with 
concentrates bearing the enormous wastage of imperfect appliances. Excepting 
the few districts in Gilpin, Clear Creek and Boulder counties, very little beyond 
the determination of the permanency of the lodes was accomplished during the 
first decade. The remoteness of industrial centers from the bases of supply 
east of the Missouri River, and the total absence of railways, compelled the trans- 
portation of all commerce, including heavy machinery, across the plains at a 
cost for freightage of from ten to forty cents per pound. 

The coming of the railways in 1870 and the years immediately following 
inaugurated a new mining era. Then began the practical demonstration of the 
character and value of the fissure veins at great depths, which has been prose- 
cuted to this time. The system of milling the sulphuret bearing gangues (quartz 
or rocky non-metallic material) from which the heavier mineral had been pre- 
viously assorted for treatment by fire, advanced briskly under the improvements 
added by science to the work of amalgamation and concentration, and the 
smelters were soon enabled to pay higher prices for the grades best adapted 
to their use, and to multiply their facilities to keep up with the growing demand. 

In a report made in 1882 by A. N. Rogers on gold milling in Gilpin County 
the methods in vogue then betray the fact that there had been little, if any, ad- 


vance in California methods and that the great progress in treatment is in the 
history of later years. Mr. Rogers says in this report of 1882 : 

"Most of the gold ores are reduced by stamping, and amalgamated, both inside 
and outside of the batteries, after which blanketings are caught, to be panned 
or returned to the batteries and put through a second time with the coarse rock. 
Below the blankets, suitable sluices and buddies are used to collect and concen- 
trate the outflowing tailings, which, being reduced to a 10 per cent gangue limit, 
become marketable product for smelters, because of their fluxing qualities more 
than their value. The richer sulphurets are hand-picked and cobbed for the 
smelters and some grades of ore which are not free milling are concentrated and 
likewise sold." 

In 1867, or perhaps a year or two earlier, stamp milling in Gilpin County 
barely escaped disastrous failure because of the refractoriness of the very heavy 
sulphide ores. Stamp mill products, which contained $20 to $50 per ton, under 
the best skill and methods then at command would rarely yield more than 50 per 
cent and in some cases less than 25 per cent of their value. In 1882, of upward &f 
2,000 tons of ore which was weighed, sampled and assayed before treatment 
in the Bobtail mill, the saving, by amalgamation above the blankets, was 70 
per cent of the contained values of gold and about 6 per cent of the silver. 
"This milling," says George H. Gray, assayer and metallurgist, in his report on 
this particular item, "was done at an average cost of but little more than one 
dollar per ton, embracing all items of current expense, repairs, and removals of 
the plant, but not covering interest on its cost." 

Mr. White, state geologist, in his report for 1882, says of concentrates: 
"Mills have been erected in different quarters of the state expressly for concen- 
trating ores, but, with few exceptions, were closed in a few weeks after com- 
pletion, or operated spasmodically without satisfactory results." Mr. White 
attributes the causes of failure to ignorance of the essential principles involved, 
to defective machines, to machinery with insufficient capacity, and to concentrates 
which, when perfectly cleansed, were of too low a grade for existing markets." 

Amalgamation, too, at this period secured only an average of about 70 per 
cent of the gold contents. 

Colorado led in the introduction of the cyanide process through a company 
known as The Gold and Silver Extraction Mining and Milling Company, owners 
of patent for the McArthur-Forrest process, obtained in May, 1889, and in May, 
1890. In November, 1893, the above Colorado company sold to The Gold and 
Silver Extraction Company of America, Limited, a corporation organized under 
the laws of Great Britain, with home office in Glasgow, Scotland, and the 
American agency in Denver. 

Robert B. Turner, in the State Bureau of Mines report for 1897 thus writes 
of the process: 

"A second cyanide company was organized in September, 1894, known as The 
American Cyanide Gold and Silver Recovery Company, which is strictly an 
American and state organization, being incorporated under Colorado laws, with 
headquarters in Denver. This company operates what is generally known as the 
American dioxide-cyanide process, which is the addition of sodium dioxide to 
a potassium cyanide solution. 

"A third company, The General Gold Extraction Company, Limited, has head- 


quarters in Denver, and represents the Pelatan-Clerici process, under the United 
States patents issued in 1894, 1895 and 1896. The mode of treatment of the 
crushed ore is by agitation with a dilute solution of potassium cyanide in a large 
pan, and while such agitation is in progress, the gold is precipitated by an elec- 
trical current and mercury on copper plates. 

"At present time the writer knows of no mill in operation in Colorado using 
the Pelatan-Clerici process, but the company has an experimental or testing plant 
in Denver. Therefore, all the cyanide mills working in the state are using either 
the American dioxide-cyanide or the McArthur-Forrest process. 

"The Cripple Creek district has been one of the best in the state for the 
treatment of its ores by the cyanide process, and has five mills, as follows: The 
Colorado Ore Reduction Company, Elktori, chlorination, 50 tons; cyanide, 60 
tons per day. The Brodie Gold Reduction Company, Mound City, cyanide, 400 
tons per day. The American Reduction Company, Florence, cyanide, 50 tons 
per day. The London, Florence, cyanide, 50 tons per day. 

"As all the above mills are custom plants, it becomes necessary to sample the 
ores in a well equipped sampling works, so as to establish their values for pur- 
chasing purposes before going to the fine crushing department of the mill. 
Therefore, all the Cripple Creek mills have their own sampling department and 
storage bins ahead of the cyanide mills, and ores are held until satisfactory settle- 
ments are made." 

In 1897 the chlorination process was considered the best for the telluride ores 
of Cripple Creek and Boulder counties. The record of the largest mills using 
that process was as follows : 

Tons per day. 
The Colorado-Philadelphia Reduction Company, Colorado City 250 

The Gillett Reduction Company, Gillett 75 

The Kilton Reduction Company, Florence 40 

The El Paso Reduction Company, Florence 100 

The Delano Reduction Company, Boulder 50 

There are to-day no chlorination plants in Colorado. The process has been 
superseded by cyanidation and roasting. The two largest mills in the state have 
been changed over into newer process plants. 

In discussing amalgamation Harry A. Lee, commissioner of mines, in 1897, 
says: "While no radical changes have occurred the old custom of feeding the 
battery by hand is almost wholly replaced. New equipment of crusher, rolls and 
automatic feeders at the 'bead' of the mill being quite common and is now con- 
sidered an essential part of the modern mill. The stamp battery as a reducing 
device has stood the test of generations, but its operation is almost as variable 
as the mills operated. The old reliable slow-drop Gilpin County mill still holds 
sway in that region and the question of utility as compared with the more modern 
compromise or quick-drop mills still remains unsettled except with the various 

In this report for 1897 he says: "A number of stamp mills have been erected 
during the past year in various sections of the state, and as previously stated, 
differ materially in their method of operation. The tendency, however, is towards 
heavier stamps, faster drop and depending more upon the outside plates (the in- 
side plates being often omitted) to collect the gold and the appended devices for 


(Reproduced from a photographic enlargement of a photograph made in 1867.) 


This picture was drawn by A. E. Mathews in the latter part of 1865. Nevada is situated 
in Gilpin County, and was one of the famous mining towns in Colorado's pioneer times. 


concentration to recover the remaining values. The weight of stamps varies 
from 650 to 1,100 pounds, the drop from ten to twelve inches, and screens from 
twenty to sixty mesh. The amalgamation plates are, with few exceptions, silver- 
plated but vary in size and pitch." 

In 1897 concentration methods had made a considerable advance. The in- 
creased use of the canvas tables was a long-considered proposition, but was finally 
very generally adopted. Another departure of this period was the separation of 
the zinc from lead and iron sulphides and the making of a marketable zinc prod- 
uct as well as lead and iron. Mr. Lee, however, adds : "While it may be said 
that concentration has advanced during the past years, there is still room for im- 
provement, and it must be improved before some of the largest ore bodies can 
have commercial value." 

By 1900 Colorado recovered its "stride," so to speak. For the panic of 1893, 
the shutting down of most of its silver mines, introduced a long period of tragic 
depression, and during the closing quarter of 1902 the market price of silver 
reached the lowest point in its history, 49^ cents per ounce. Yet by this time 
the transition had been made from the leading silver-producing to the leading 
gold-producing state of the union. There was a slow but certain process that 
had brought about the change. Prior to 1900 a movement had begun to make 
the mining of low grade ores profitable. Up to a period between 1895 and 1900 
only ores with values sufficient to bear the toll of labor, transportation and 
smelting were sought or mined. The high-grade segregated ore shoots, chambers, 
pipes or pockets were eagerly sought, mined and marketed. The intervening ore 
bodies of lower grade were either left in the mine or, from necessity, removed 
to the mine's dump. To realize profit from the low-grade ore, the introduction 
and erection of metallurgical plants and the installation of improved and enlarged 
mechanical equipment were necessary. Many changes of this kind were effected, 
and mining methods show a decided advance. By this year the processes had 
been greatly improved, cyaniding was thoroughly modernized and concentration 
was given a great impetus by many new and ingenious devices. In these years 
the eyes of the mine owners were also turned upon the old waste dumps and mill 
tailings, and out of these have in recent years come vast fortunes which by the 
earlier and cruder methods had been discarded with the mine refuse. 

As the shafts attained deeper levels the cost of production in many districts 
soon became so heavy that mine after mine was shut down. In fact in many 
districts work was confined to cleaning up old stopes and prospecting surface 
areas formerly considered unworkable, but now made possible by lower cost of 
ore treatment. Then there came the solution of the problem, viz. : the deep drain- 
age tunnel. Perhaps the most important of these first undertakings was the New- 
house tunnel, located at the lower edge of Idaho Springs, and with its objective 
Nevadaville in Gilpin County. The tunnel is now known as the Argo. It pene- 
trates Seaton and Pewabic mountains, Quartz Hill and Gunnell Hill, crossing 
under the county line into the Central City district," and has its present terminal 
under Prosser Mountain. It intersects the mineral veins at an average depth of 
seventeen hundred feet, and is over twenty-two thousand feet long. Part of it is 
double-tracked and electric locomotives are used for hauling ores and waste 
rock which are automatically dumped. The production of Gilpin and Clear Creek 
gives some conception of the value of this tunnel. 


T. J. Dalzell, commissioner of mines, in his report for 1909 and 1910, writes 
thus of the mining tunnels : 

"The largest mining tunnels in the state are the Newhouse, at Idaho Springs ; 
the Roosevelt, at Cripple Creek; the Yak, at Leadville; the Revenue, at Ouray, 
and the Big Five, at upper Idaho Springs. Their use has given the mining in- 
dustry the highest kind of conservation. They have in many cases closely demon- 
strated the existence of the veins at considerable depths. They have drained the 
surrounding area, and are constantly increasing the drainage area they affect. 
They have reduced the cost of mining ore by largely removing the necessity of 
hoisting, and they have practically eliminated the wagon transportation. They 
have assisted ventilation of mines; and, in the Clear Creek district particularly, 
the methods and cost of ore treatment have been improved and*reduced by as- 
sembling the ores of the various mines at centrally operated plants located at the 
mouth of the tunnel, at which points the entire ore product is treated by the 
usual methods which have for years proved serviceable in this district. The 
yearly output of Clear Creek and Gilpin counties was in the neighborhood of 
four million dollars twenty years ago, but has declined gradually, until that for 
1908 was $2,500,000. The improvements and advances which will now mark 
the completion of the Newhouse tunnel will go a long way toward bringing a 
return of the old prosperity to these two pioneer mining districts. The drainage 
tunnel will also have a present effect on the new mines opened, making the work 
easier and of less cost, by reason of relieving the operator of the necessity of 

"In the Cripple Creek district the enormous help of the Roosevelt Drainage 
tunnel lies in this, that practically all the mines are drained an additional 754 
feet, and the use of many separate and expensive pumping plants is made un- 
necessary. The tunnel is 14,000 feet in length, and was finished in November, 
1910, to the extent of first drainage connection being made. Laterals will now 
be run to tap the various hills or sections of the district. The Cripple Creek 
district has produced, in its life of seventeen years, approximately two hundred 
and ten millions. More than half of this sum was produced in the first eight or 
nine years of its history, from the zones in which little or no drainage was neces- 
sary or effected. In late years, the production of more than fifty thousand tons 
of ore monthly has shown what has been made possible by tunnel drainage, and 
there is every reason to suppose that the present tunnel, and other enterprises of 
like character, will maintain the reputation of the district as the greatest gold- 
producing section ever known. 

"The water has begun to fall at a regular rate per day or week a rate that 
is practically the same all over the district. Measurements extending over periods 
of thirty days give a subsidence of three inches per twenty-four hours. While 
this seems small now, it must be remembered that it is the drainage from but 
the one water course thus far cut. Very soon another important channel will 
be intersected and connected with the drainage course, and the heading of the 
tunnel will also be advanced. It is likely that the drainage will settle itself to a 
subsidence of six inches daily, at which rate the 754 feet additional mining terri- 
tory afforded will be drained in eighteen "months. This period will not only 
suffice to develop the productiveness of this new territory, but also serve to per- 
mit plans and organization for the driving of a still lower tunnel, for which the 


site is already available and the project shown to be feasible at a length of about 
thirty thousand feet." 

The Roosevelt deep drainage tunnel in the Cripple Creek district, the Yak 
tunnel at Leadville, the Raymond, the Sandy Hook, the Carter in the Pitkin and 
Ohio Creek districts, and many others which are fully covered in the history 
of the districts, have proven beyond a question that the mineral wealth of Colorado 
is perhaps largest at depths that could not be worked profitably save by the aid 
of tunnels. 

The first dredging for gold in the United States, aside from some experi- 
mental work in Montana, was done in the Breckenridge district in Colorado. But 
the project failed because of the inferior quality of the material used in their 
construction, manganese and other self-hardened steels being then unknown. But 
in 1907 the project was again revived. 

In 1910 five dredges were in operation in Breckenridge, most of them work- 
ing even through the winter, and capable of handling up to three thousand yards 
per day. The Reliance was the largest dredge in the district, and was one of 
two dredges operating in French Gulch; the others were working on the Blue 
River. The yield was in the neighborhood of 20 cents or 30 cents per cubic 
yard, and the field offered extremely promising opportunities to the investor and 
placer miner. 

In the annual State Mining Bureau report for 1916, the commissioner, Fred 
Carroll, says : 

"Dredging, wherever the depth and character of the gravel will permit, is 
gradually replacing other methods of placer mining, but when the gravel beds 
are shallow or the size and percentage of boulders too great, the older methods o'f 
ground sluicing or hydraulic mining are still in vogue ; however, in determining 
the method best adapted for the economical working of any placer deposit, the 
factor governing is largely that of grade, i. e., the value of the gold contained 
in a cubic yard of the gravel. 

"The Tonopah Placer Company, operating three dredges in the Breckenridge 
district, employs about seventy men on the boats, on the surface and in the 
machine shops. 

"The French Gulch Dredging -Company is employing about fifteen men in the 
operation of a dredge, which is equipped with buckets of five cubic feet capacity 
and which is digging gravel at a point opposite the Wellington mill in French 
Gulch. The gravel bed at this point has an average thickness of about thirty feet 
and carries values higher than ordinary in the area mined this season. 

"The Derry Ranch Dredging Company during last year installed a dredge in 
the Arkansas Valley, at a point about twelve miles from Leadville, and has 
operated very successfully for the past two seasons. This boat, which is equipped 
with buckets of 5^ cubic feet capacity, is working gravel which has a thickness 
of about thirty feet. 

"The only hydraulic operations of any magnitude carried on in this state dur- 
ing the past two seasons are those at the head of Tarryall Creek in Park County. 

"The Fortune Placer Company started operating in the spring of 1912 and 
has worked every season since then with a force of from fifteen to twenty men. 
About thirty thousand cubic feet of gravel are handled each season with the use 
of three Number 2 Giants, working under a pressure of from eighty to ninety- 


five pounds. The gravel now being handled has a thickness of from twelve to 
eighteen feet. 

"The Burnhart Placer was worked with a few men this season. A ditch 
and pipe line were completed and a pit started at a point a short distance above 
the pit of the Fortune Placer. 

"The Colorado Gold and Platinum Placer Mining Company has spent a large 
sum during the summer of 1916 in ditches and placer equipment on their prop- 
erty in the Hahns Peak district, and is now ready to start actual mining as soon 
as the season of 1917 opens." 

The output of placer gold from thirty-five placers in 1915 was $693,310, an 
increase of $50,950 over 1914. Summit County, with four dredges and seven 
hydraulic and sluice mines, produced nearly 88 per cent, and one dredge in Lake 
County produced 10 per cent of the placer yield. 

English capital became more heavily interested in Colorado ventures immedi- 
ately after the opening of Cripple Creek, when the entire world listened with in- 
terest and amazement to the stories of fabulous fortunes that were made there. 
But there had been large ventures and big dividends from English monies invested 
in Clear Creek and Gilpin counties long before this. In fact foreign capital had 
many engineers on the ground looking over likely propositions and made many 
investments. It is not the purpose of this history to cover in detail these foreign 
undertakings in Colorado, but to mention two in particular which stand out as 
the solid evidences of a wonderful faith by careful foreign investors in the per- 
manence of Colorado's mineral resources. 

The first of these was the purchase of the Independence mine at Cripple 
Creek from W. R. Stratton, by the Venture Corporation of London in 1899 f r 
$10,000,000. The second great venture was the sale to a group of London 
capitalists of the Camp Bird mine in what is known as the Imogene Basin about 
twelve miles north of Silverton. Thomas F. Walsh sold this property to the 
English syndicate in 1902 for $5,100,000. 

In 1909 the finding of enormous bodies of carbonates of zinc in the old upper 
workings of Leadville mines opened a new era of prosperity for that camp. 
These bodies were supposed for years to be spar and valueless. In 1910 the 
discovery increased the production of the Leadville district over one third. Since 
then the increase has been much greater. In the State Bureau report for 1912 
the district inspector says : 

"Lake County has enjoyed a prosperous period during 1911 and 1912, due 
in great measure to the recent carbonate-of-zinc discoveries, which now total at 
least one-fifth of the output of the district. This new class of mineral has not 
only increased the tonnage, but has added to a large extent to the number of men 
employed underground. In the year 1910 there were employed in mines, smelt- 
ers, and mills a total of 2,460 men, of whom 1,810 worked at mining, 575 worked 
in smelters, and 75 worked in mills. A recent enumeration shows that at the 
present time there are 2,130 men working at mining, 625 in smelters, and 15 in 
mills and sampling works; a total of 2,770 in all the industries pertaining to 
the mining business. This is an increase of 310 men over the last biennial period, 
notwithstanding the fact that the American Zinc Extraction Company shut down 
its works, which formerly employed seventy-five men in the district." 

Since 1015 there has been a new prosperity era for practically all the mining 


camps save that of Cripple Creek. In this camp the production is confined to 
gold, and with increased cost of production, the output has not had the added 
values which obtain elsewhere in the state. The total production of gold, silver, 
copper, lead and zinc in 1915 in Colorado amounted to $44,060,052.47, an increase 
of nearly 30 per cent over 1914. This increase was undoubtedly due to the 
high price of metal prevailing in 1915, together with an increase in tonnage of 
about sixty thousand tons over that made the previous year. The total produc- 
tion in these metals in 1916 was but $49,000,000, an increase of only 13 per cent 
over the previous year, although the average yearly market price of silver for 
1916 was 30.3 per cent higher; that of lead was 45.6 per cent higher; that of 
copper 55.4 per cent higher; and that of zinc about the same, $13 as compared 
with $13.05 in 1915. This condition was the result of a decrease in both quality 
and grade of the gold ore mined in the state. 


In December, 1916, there was handed down by the Supreme Court of the 
United States the now historic decision in the oil flotation case. 

For years it had been known that oil and oily substances had a selective affin- 
ity and would unite mechanically with the minute particles of metal and metallic 
compounds found in crushed or powdered ores, but had no attraction and would 
not unite with quartz or rocky non-metallic material, called gangue. Patents 
had been granted to various individuals, and the oil flotation process had been 
used in Colorado for some years. This consisted in mixing finely crushed or 
powdered ore with water and oil, sometimes with acid added, and then in vari- 
ously treating the mass, the "pulp" thus formed, so as to separate the oil, when 
it became impregnated or loaded with the metal and metal-bearing particles from 
the valueless gangue. From the resulting concentrate the metals were recovered 
in various ways. 

The Minerals Separation, Limited, of London, had obtained patents in the 
United States and all foreign countries in 1906 on a new flotation process in 
which the oil used was infinitesimal and "the lifting force was found not in the 
natural buoyancy of the mass of added oil, but in the buoyancy of the bubbles, 
which, introduced into the mixture by the" more or less violent agitation of it, 
envelope or become attached to the thinly oiled metallic particles." 

The decision in both the Supreme Court of the United States and in the 
House of Lords was in favor of the Minerals Separation, Limited. 

Oil flotation is purely an ore-dressing process, which has supplemented and 
revolutionized concentration methods of sulphide ores. It can be used on any 
bright sulphide or flaky metal. On the sylvanites of Cripple Creek it is used 
with splendid results. Under the decision of the Supreme Court the most ad- 
vanced oil flotation process is subject to license by the original patentees or their 
agents. At present the control in the United States is in the hands of the Min- 
erals Separation, North American corporation, with headquarters in San Fran- 






The following from Fossett's "Colorado" was published in 1880 and makes 
a fairly complete record of production of gold and silver from the earliest periods 
to the year 1880. Fossett introduces his tables with the following explanation: 

"The yields given for a majority of mines are close estimates in coin value 
not currency, as was the former custom. This list embraces all mines in Colorado 
whose product had exceeded a quarter of a million prior to January, 1880, and 
but very few whose yield was less than that. Gilpin and Clear Creek counties 
have many lodes that yielded from one to two hundred thousand dollars, but they 
don't think a mine prominent in those counties unless its yield exceeds such fig- 
ures. Most lodes in Gilpin have several distinct mines on them, but each lode is 
combined here. Leadville has new mines now producing largely that did not 
appear below, and many of those mentioned have doubled their product since 
January i, 1880. So that in this comparison the new Leadville mines do not 
appear to the advantage that they will another year." 

Years of 

Little Annie 


and No Name 

Native Silver 



Columbia Lode 




California, Gardner 


Treasure Lode 













1 Y* 




l l /2 




l l /2 












l /2 















l l /2 









G. and S. 


2 l /2 








Esfd No. 


Entire Lode 



Total Yield 
from DU- 











G. and S. 





G. and S. 



























15 1,100 




Est'd No. Depth in 
Years of Feet of 

Total Yield 
from Dis- 


Work f o 





Entire Lo 

de Shaft 
















Rollins Mines 







Wyandotte Cons. 





















Kent County 







Prize, Suderburg 




























Rhoderick Dhu, 

Borton, etc. 





















American Flag 














Pelican, Dives 

Clear Creek 




2 460 


Terrible Group, 

Brown, etc. 

Clear Creek 






Colorado Central, 


Clear Creek 






Red Elephant Con. 

Clear Creek 








Clear Creek 







Clear Creek 

G. and S. 1871 




Pay Rock- 

Clear Creek 







Clear Creek 







Clear Creek 

G. and 

S. 1861 





Clear Creek 




3 00 


Junction Group 

Clear Creek 







Clear Creek 







Clear Creek 




\ 300 



Clear Creek 




3 00 


Snow Drift 

Clear Creek 






Silver Plume 

Clear Creek 







Clear Creek 







Clear Creek 





Boston Co. Mines 














Dolly Varden 


























Park County lies some fifty or sixty miles to the southwest of Denver, and 
was named after the beautiful valley or plateau called South Park. Never a 
great mining county, it figured largely in pioneer history from the placer camps 
of early days Tarryall, Fairplay, Buckskin Joe and other diggings. The gulches 
and streams of South Park yielded an abundant harvest of gold in 1859-62. The 
Park was one vast placer, and it attracted thousands of adventurers. The first 
comers panned out the colors to the tune of thousands and tens of thousands of 
dollars. The aggregate yield of the mines of the Park region ran up into the 
millions in the early '6os. Many romantic incidents are related of Park County 
in those stirring times. 

Some of the gold hunters who overran Clear Creek and Gilpin in the summer 
of 1859, not striking it rich, hit the trail for fresh pastures. One party of pros- 
pectors Thomas Cassady, Clark Chambers, W. J. Curtice, Catesby Dale, Earl 
Hamilton, W. J. Holman, and several others skirted the Snowy Range and 
explored the edge of South Park. They found pay-dirt in a creek christened by 
them Tarryall. As the story goes, one of the tired men exclaimed: "Let us 
tarry here." "Yes," said one of his comrades, "we'll tarry all." The name of 
"Tarryall" stuck, and it was also given to the new mining camp. So there was 
a "Tarryall City" as well as a Tarryall Creek. The town has been deserted many 

Near by sprang up a mining camp named Hamilton in honor of a member 
of the party. Reports of rich finds spread, and crowds of "Pilgrims" flocked to 
the diggings. The later comers, being told there was no room for them, in 



The town became extinct soon after 1867. 


derision changed the name of Tarryall to "Graball." Moving on some thirty 
miles or more, they had the luck to discover rich gold-bearing gravel and named 
the new settlement Fairplay. Both names Tarryall and Fairplay have passed 
into history and they perpetuate the dispositions of the first arrivals; they are 
significant of traits, selfishness and the love of fair play, which are characteristic 
of Coloradoans today. 

In the summer of 1859, the South Park mining district swarmed with pros- 
pectors and miners. Among them was an odd character called "Buckskin Joe," 
because he wore buckskin clothes. This man, whose name was Joseph Higgin- 
bottom, discovered a valuable deposit of gold dust in the Park mineral belt, and 
the vein or district became known as "Buckskin Joe." A lofty peak in the north- 
western part of Park County was named in his honor Buckskin Mountain. Buck- 
skin Joe was a flourishing mining camp for a number of years, some of its veins 
being of extraordinary richness. The famed Phillips lode is said to have yielded 
over three hundred thousand dollars in the early '6os. Up to 1866, the Buckskin 
district was credited with a production of $1,600,000. 

"This region is rich in gold and silver," says Fossett in 1876. "The placers 
have yielded largely and are again doing so, but in a less degree. Up to the 
time of the silver discoveries in 1871, the gold lodes and placers had produced 
$2,500,000, principally obtained prior to 1866. The silver deposits are, however, 
of vastly greater value and extent. They did not produce largely until 1872 or, 
rather, 1873, but have already yielded nearly three million dollars." 

The section around Fairplay had many productive mines of gold and silver. 
The estimated production of Park County, in gold and silver, amounted to over 
half a million annually from 1873 to 1879, the Moose and the Dolly Varden giving 
big returns. Up to 1876, the Moose is said to have produced over three million 
dollars. Here it may be stated that the estimates of Hollister and Fossett are 
sometimes over the mark. 

Speaking of Park County, State Geologist J. Alden Smith, in his report for 
1882, remarks: 

"High up on the slopes of Mounts Lincoln and Bross, we find some of the 
finest contact mines in the county, many of them extensively developed, among 
them the Moose, Dolly Varden, Russia, Wilson, Lime, D. H. Hill, and others 
of lesser note. For ten years the Dolly Varden group, working but a small 
force, has returned about six hundred and sixty thousand dollars in bullion, and 
it is estimated that the low-grade ores on the dumps are worth five hundred 
thousand dollars. The Moose appears to have been equally productive * * * 

"Both fissure and contact veins are found in Mosquito district. In past 
years some of these have been quite productive. Both gold and silver occur in 
about equal proportions, or rather of equal value. The Orphan Boy, Senate, 
London, Forest Queen, New York and some others have acquired greatest promi- 
nence through exploitation. From the London, besides the smelting product, im- 
mense quantities of free-milling gold-bearing ores are extracted." 

On the top of a peak of Mosquito Range, overlooking South Park, is the cele- 
brated London mine. It is situated about six miles west of Alma, and lies near 
the county line. The London is the foremost producer of gold and lead in Park 
County. It has been one of the great mines of the West. Most of the deep 
mines of the county are in the Mosquito district. 


During the eighteen years, 1897-1914, the gold output of Park County fluc- 
tuated, year by year, from the high-water mark of 1909, $555,815, to $43,644 in 
1914. Park's silver production in the same period totals something over a half 
million dollars. The lead output during those years amounted to about $345,000, 
an average of less than $20,000 a year. The copper production has averaged 
about $5,000 a year. For some years, 1908-11, the zinc yield of Park County 
was considerable, aggregating almost a quarter of a million dollars. These fig- 
ures are based on statistics in reports of the State Bureau of Mines. 


The story of the first prospecting of Summit County belongs to the romance 
of mining. Among the disillusioned fortune-seekers who camped in the shadow 
of Pike's Peak in the fateful summer of '59 was a band of gold-hunters who 
were disappointed but not quite disheartened by their experience. Finding no 
nuggets or colors galore in the region around Manitou, they hit the trail leading 
into South Park, August 4, 1859. In this historic party were Reuben J. Spalding, 
John Randall, William H. lliff, James Mitchell, N. B. Shaw and Bake Weaver. 
Moving in a northwesterly course, they reached the South Platte, crossed the 
Snowy Range and halted at a point on Blue River not far from the site of the 
Breckenridge of to-day. They camped and set about in earnest to find gold in 
the vicinity. 

Mr. Spalding's narrative tells what happened on the afternoon of August loth. 
"We sunk a hole 3 ft. deep on a bar," he says, "and I, having mined in Cali- 
fornia, was selected, as the most experienced man in the company, to do the 
panning. The result of the first pan of dirt was I3c of gold, the largest grain 
about the size and shape of a flax seed. The second panful gave 2?c, both yields 
being weighed in gold scales brought for the purpose. This was the first recorded 
discovery on Blue River. Our little party now felt jubilant over the strike thus 
made and began to realize chat here lay the fulfillment of their most ardent 

There were fourteen in the company, and they proceeded to stake off claims 
on both banks of the river. Spalding's claim was 200 feet and each of the 
others had 100 feet. Believing they had found a rich mining country, the miners 
erected a rude log blockhouse for defense in case of attack by the Utes. Then 
Spalding put up a cabin for a dwelling. This done, he began placer mining in 
the river, washing out $10 worth of dust the first day. 

Digging and prospecting went on, and several mining camps were started in 
1860, one of them being Breckinridge, (afterward changed to Breckenridge). 
The population of the various diggings numbered about eight thousand, and 
many of the pilgrims found placer mining profitable. It is said that the dis- 
coverers of Gold Run, two brothers, cleaned up ninety-six pounds of gold in 
one season, lasting six months. There were other valuable finds. The gulches 
of Summit County were scenes of feverish activity not only in the early '6os, but 
in '64 and later, when placer mining had played out in some other parts of Colo- 
rado. No exact estimate can be made of the golden harvest of Summit County 
in the '6os, but it amounted to several million dollars. Breckenridge and other 


nearby mining districts prospered when some other gold camps of the territory 
were deserted. 

The first notable discoveries of silver in Summit County were made in 1868-9, 
along the Sna'ke River. Some of the mines were worked with varying success, 
but owing to its isolation this section did not become populous. The heavy snow- 
in 11s interfered with mining operations -a great portion of the year. 

In the southwestern portion of the county some of the ore deposits are low 
in silver content, associated with sulphides of iron and copper, the average grade 
of ore ranging from 20 to 100 oz. silver a ton. In the neighborhood of Monte- 
zuma and Chihuahua are veins rich in silver. 

For many years, work has been carried on in the placers along Blue River 
and its tributary gulches. The harvest of the yellow grains, obtained first by the 
gold-pan and sluice and of late years by dredges, has been very large. The first 
gold dredge in Summit County was installed in the Breckenridge district in 1898. 
It was a small affair, but larger and more costly dredges followed. Now gold- 
dredging is a profitable industry. 

Summit County's yield of gold for the eighteen years, 1897-1914, has been 
nearly five million dollars, an average of about $270,000 a year. The silver 
output during the same period has averaged about $130,000 a year; the production 
of lead has amounted to about $2,500,000; copper is a small item, about $100,000; 
while the yield of zinc has been some years enormous, aggregating about three 
million dollars during the fourteen years, 1902-1915. The zinc production of 
1914 was valued at $260,000. 

Summit County is the foremost placer area in Colorado. In 1914, the pro- 
duction of placer gold in this state was $642,360, and 95 per cent of it came 
from the placers of Summit County. The Breckenridge mining district includes 
practically all the placers of any importance. 

Since 1901, dredging operations have been carried on extensively in the 
Breckenridge district, and over $3,000,000 in gold has been garnered in. The 
placer yield of 1913 was upward of $400,000, most of it obtained by three dredges, 
run by electricity. There has been some hydraulic mining in the placers of 
Summit County. Several valuable gold nuggets have been found, one being 
worth $500. 

In recent years gold dredging in Summit County has become a paying indus- 
try where the ground shows an average value of 20 cents per cubic yard. The 
cost of handling ground is about 7 cents per yard, but varies in different locali- 
ties, electricity being more expensive in some places than in others. In some of 
the placer fields the yield is much greater than 7 cents to the cubic yard. Gold 
dredging in the Swan River district has been a profitable enterprise for years. 
The Tonopah Placers Company's three large boats get as good returns of the 
yellow metal as any dredges on this continent. One of the boats of this company 
works successfully both summer and winter. The French Gulch Dredging Com- 
pany has been operating for years past and owns some of the richest gold areas 
in the United States. 

The Wellington is the principal mine of the county. The Wellington mill in 
Breckenridge is well equipped. 



The mines of Lake County have a world- wide reputation. Leadville is as 
famous as Cripple Creek. There have been several epochs in the history of 
this wonderful mining district. In early days placer mining was active in Cali- 
fornia Gulch. The gold diggings of that far-off time, which has almost passed 
into oblivion, yielded up millions of treasure. Then the pioneer miners, after 
making large clean-ups, departed, thinking that the deposits had about played 
out. After a period of depression there was a revival that ranks among the 
world's marvels. The stampede of 1878 is comparable to the Pike's Peak gold 
excitement. Then for a dozen years or more the camp had a considerable popu- 
lation, and things were humming. The period of prosperity lasted until 1893, 
when silver mining got a setback and many mines were closed because of the 
low price of the white metal. Stagnation ensued. That year of panic and de- 
pression will be long remembered. Leadville staggered beneath the blow, but 
recovered. A period of exploration and renewed enterprise followed. The pro- 
duction of gold picked up. The camp was again alive. A campaign of develop- 
ment work was carried on in the gold belt of Lake County. The names of its 
mines became household words. Leadville has had its ups and downs, but is 
still on the map. Of late years zinc has helped its prosperity amazingly. 

Such is a brief epitome of Lake County's growth and achievements. It is one 
of Colorado's most celebrated counties. It is Colorado's most productive county. 
A section of about four thousand acres has given the world nearly $400,000,000 
in metallic wealth. Its hills contain treasure vaults of riches. Its mines are 
still producing. This historic region faces a bright future. 

As the story goes, Russell Gulch became the mecca of Georgians and other 
Southerners in the summer of '59. From time to time parties of these placer 
miners broke away and wandered westward into the mountains, looking for 
pay gravel. One of them, a man by the name of Kelly (or Kelley) is said to 
have prospected on the upper Arkansas and to have found gold in the vicinity of 
Granite in the fall of 1859. His find became known as Kelly's Bar. This event 
led to the discovery of California Gulch the following year. 

In the early spring of 1860 Kelly and a score or more of prospectors explored 
the locality south of the Leadville district of today, getting colors in various 
timbered ravines. In March, 1860, "Kelly's Mining District" was organized by 
these hopeful adventurers, and soon afterward the news of the discovery reached 
Denver, starting a stampede to the new diggings. 

In April, 1860, a company of Georgians headed by Abe Lee drifted into the 
Leadville country in quest of gold. On the slope where Leadville now stands 
they met a party of prospectors from Iowa, led by W. P. Jones. Shortly after- 
ward, on April 26, 1860, the Georgians uncovered a rich deposit of placer gold 
in California Gulch. Building a big bonfire that evening and firing their guns, 
they attracted the attention of the men of the Jones party, who joined them in 
the morning. The diggings proved to be extraordinarily valuable, and the fame 
of California Gulch spread far and wide. So great was the influx of adventurers 
that Lake County in 1861 was the most populous spot in the Territory of Colo- 
rado, just organized. California Gulch, only five or six miles long, had from 
five to ten thousand people in it that summer. For years it was one of the best 


gold-producing ravines in Colorado. In 1860 and 1861 it may have yielded a 
million a year in gold dust. Some of the loo-foot claims panned out from 
$20,000 to $60,000 a season, from $10 to $25 a day to the man, if Hollister's 
figures are to be trusted. This writer was at times addicted to exaggeration. 
The richness of the ground was, however, very uneven. Here a man had the 
good fortune to strike a pay streak that sparkled with flakes of gold, while his 
neighbor got little or nothing. 

"California Gulch, in 1860 and 1861, had a population of something over 
10,000, and was the great camp of Colorado," says Wolfe Londoner, who was 
on the ground in those flush times. "It was strung all along the gulch, which 
was something over five miles long. * There were a great many tents 

in the road and on the side of the ridge, and the wagons were backed up, the 
people living in them. Some were used as hotels. They had their grub under 
the wagons, piled their dishes there, and the man of the house and his wife would 
sleep in the wagon. Their boarders took their meals off tables strung along the 
wayside to take in the cheerful but unwary miner. The game that took the most 
was three-card monte." 

Meanwhile other placers were located. One of them, Georgia Bar, two miles 
below Granite, is said to have been the most productive in proportion to area in 
the county. A venturesome Georgian, Jim Taylor, has the honor of being the 
first prospector to cross the Saguache Range. Taylor Park and Taylor River in 
Gunnison County perpetuate his name. Other fortune hunters wandered up and 
down among the hills, garnering the golden sands in the gulches. Such were the 
beginnings of mining in Lake County. 

California Gulch saw its best days in 1861, but, in the following years of 
lean diggings, the camp was not entirely deserted. Sturdy workers with the 
pick, shovel and sluice-box or "long torn" were to be found here and there, and 
other gulches had their solitary inhabitants. Some claims that were fabulously 
rich at the start were worked over and over till the streambeds were pretty nearly 
denuded of gold dust. Sometimes they quit because of the scarcity of water, 
and returned when it was plentiful. Placer production was light after 1866, and 
miners were few and far between ; it dropped to $60,000 in 1869, and to $20,000 
in 1876. Meanwhile the Printer Boy and other gold lodes were profitably oper- 
ated with stamp mills. The gold production of 1877 was $55> oo , an< 3 $118,000 
in 1878, according to Fossett. All told, the county's gold product during the 
quarter-century, 1860-1884, amounted to $13,000,000. At least, this estimate is 
somewhere near the mark. 

In 1873-7 times were pretty dull in Lake County, and yet things were hap- 
pening that eventually changed the course of Colorado history. In 1873 Lucius F. 
Bradshaw was sluicing a side hill of California Gulch, but was compelled to 
abandon gold washing by the accumulation of heavy sand in his boxes. Sus- 
pecting the presence of lead, he looked around and uncovered a body of lead- 
silver ore. The discovery was made near the spot where Abe Lee found gold 
deposits in the gulch in the spring of 1860. It was an event of far-reaching 

In the summer of 1874 W. J. Stevens and Alvinus B. Wood began to work 
placer claims in California Gulch, using improved methods. It is supposed that 
Stevens heard of Bradshaw's discovery, and it set him to thinking. Anyway, 

Courtesy of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. 




Stevens and Wood, after investigating the heavy dirt they had to handle, found 
it to be carbonate of lead carrying silver. They concluded that the hillside was 
full of it and took up more claims. Two brothers, Charles and Patrick Gallagher, 
became interested and located claims rich with carbonates. Reports of these -dis- 
coveries were noised abroad. Scores of men, then hundreds, were attracted to 
California Gulch in 1877. High grade ore was obtained by digging to shallow 
depths, and a boom was started such as Colorado had not known since the Pike's 
Peak excitement. The mining camp was organized into a city and named Lead- 
ville on January 14, 1878. It has been nicknamed the "Cloud City" on account 
of its high altitude. It is nearly two miles above sea level. 

The "Leadville- fever" was the result of the discovery of bonanza ore bodies 
on Fryer Hill in May, 1878. Then the rush began in earnest. In 1879 Leadville 
was the liveliest town in the world. It had 5,000 residents in January of that 
year, and its population was estimated to be 15,000 in the fall. As if by magic 
a cosmopolitan city grew up in a single year. Again Lake became the most popu- 
lous county in Colorado. 

The railroad was completed to the "Cloud City" in 1880, and the camp 
was a scene of bustling activity. In 1884 it was estimated that Lake's silver 
production up to that date amounted to $55,000,000, and the output of lead 
was very great. 

During the first decade of its existence, 1878-87, Leadville's yield of gold, 
silver and lead exceeded $120,000,000, largely silver (estimated at ninety cents 
an ounce). Meanwhile the "Carbonate City*' had become a big smelting center. 
Its growth was substantial. 

Before the opening of the Cripple Creek mines, Lake County stood first as 
an ore-producing county. Silver mining was the chief industry of its camps 
until the slump of the white metal in 1893. The city was hard hit by the 
demonetization of silver. A period of stagnation followed, but it was not long 
continued. The enterprising citizens of Lake turned their attention to gold, 
lead and zinc. Gold mining picked up, and the county had another period of 
prosperity. During the decade, 1898-1907, its output of gold amounted to 
$15,640,000. In this decade Lake was the banner county in the production of 
silver, yielding thirty million dollars' worth. The bulk of Colorado's supply 
of zinc comes from this county. Its zinc production has ranged from three 
to six millions annually for several years. Since 1907 its gold production has 
averaged more than a million and a quarter a year. During the seven years, 
1908-14, Lake's harvest of the white -metal was about twelve million, five hundred 
thousand dollars, or an average of something over one million, seven hundred 
and eighty thousand dollars. Lead is still extensively mined, and so is copper. 
Lake County's mineral treasure is seemingly inexhaustible. 

The first half of 1916 was a period of marked activity in the mines of Lake 
County, the output being estimated at nine million dollars or more, or equal to 
the mineral production of the entire year of 1914. The yield of the mines in 1915 
was close to sixteen million dollars. Many old .mines, ^ idle for years, have 
been re-opened. Among these are the Harvard, the Mikado, the Greenback, 
the Tarsus, etc. The upward movement in silver has increased the production 
of the white metal, of which Lake County has to its credit about one hundred 
and eighty million dollars in value. 



One of the thrilling episodes of early Colorado history is the Baker expedi- 
tion of gold hunters, who explored the San Juan country so long ago as 1860. 

Among the prospectors and miners who swarmed in California Gulch in 
the eventful summer of 1860 was an adventurer named Charles Baker. He 
.was a restless fellow "who was always in search of something new." Baker 
was eager to penetrate the trackless region of southwestern Colorado, now known 
as the San Juan. He persuaded some men to outfit him for a prospecting trip 
in the terra incognita along the San Juan River or, rather, the mountainous 
district included in San Juan, La Plata and neighboring counties. There were 
six men with Baker on this foolhardy quest for treasure in the Ute domain. 
The leader reported that he had found colors, but the fact is that the party 
obtained very little gold on their wanderings. They knew nothing about lodes 
or quartz veins. They suffered many hardships in this inhospitable region; the 
Utes made it hot for them, and the discouraged palefaces had to get out. 

The San Juan was traversed time and again by other parties of gold seekers 
in the '6os and '705. In 1868 Captain Baker wandered through the mountains 
and over the plateaus of southwestern Colorado and finally met a tragic death 
at the hands of Indians. Baker Park was named in honor of this brave soldier 
of fortune. In this lovely valley nestles the Town of Silverton. 

In 1871-2 some notable finds were made by prospectors in the San Juan 
Mountains. In 1873 that part of the Ute Reservation was ceded to the United 
States and thrown open to settlement. Immediately settlers poured into this 
rich mining country. Silverton and other mining towns date back to the '705. 
Mining, however, was then at a disadvantage in this county, because of its 
isolated situation, and the yield of the precious metals was comparatively small 
up to 1882, when the Durango and Silverton Railroad was completed. From 
'time to time the years have witnessed a magnificent outpouring of mineral wealth 
in the San Juan, the total up to January, 1916, being nearly $67,000,000. 

According to Fossett, the San Juan district had produced $823,000 in silver, 
$416,000 in gold and $115,000 in lead prior to 1879. The area of the county was 
much larger then than now. The pioneer settlers were practically all miners, 
for agriculture is out of the question in this elevated, picturesque region, where 
disaster overtook Fremont on his fourth expedition in 1848-9. 

Says Hall : "The permanent occupation and development of the San Juan 
country was accomplished under almost incredible hardships and by a mere 
handful of resolute people. At first there was no communication with the 
older settlements of Colorado, the nearest of importance being Pueblo; no 
outlet even to the San Luis Valley at Del Norte, except by crude and rugged 
trails which tried the souls of men to the uttermost, until 1875, when by prodi- 
gious labor a more direct thoroughfare was opened on which wagons could 
be used. In 1876 the opening of the Crook Bros, reduction works at Lake 
City in Hinsdale County, offered a temporary market for the products of the 
lode mines, but they were almost inaccessible from this side and soon closed. 
It was not until after the completion of the Denver & Rio Grande Railway to 
Durango that any substantial prosperity ensued." 

Among the eager exploiters of Colorado's mineral resources who ventured 


into the San Juan in 1875 was David W. Brunton, whose interesting "Remin- 
iscences" appeared in the Mining and Scientific Press (November 27, 1915). 
This capable mining engineer roughed it in the 'wilderness about Mineral Point 
on a ridge separating the headwaters of the Animas and Uncompahgre rivers. 
In his journeys on foot, or astride the patient burro, he tramped over or came 
near many a spot afterward celebrated for its mines and diggings. He found 
the andesitic mountain sides seamed with veins, whose outcropping streaks may 
be seen from afar as white lines of remarkable continuity. On some of the 
mountains, King Solomon in particular, the metalliferous veins can be seen 
for miles. 

The San Juan is a great mining country, being ribbed with heavy mineral 
deposits. Many a time the prospector "struck it rich" in the '8os and '905. 
Often he was disappointed when, instead of a fortune, he found a mass of 
low-grade ore. A new era began with the completion of the Durango and 
Silverton Railway in 1882. The Red Mountain and Silverton Railroad, finished 
in 1888, has helped the development of the county, which has an area of 438 
square miles. It is interesting for its geological formations. "The San Juan 
Mountains are volcanic, with an area of quartzite peaks in their midst, and 
flanking the range on the south is an area of carboniferous and cretaceous rocks." 

The search for precious metals began in La Plata County as early as 1861. 
At that time placer mines were alone sought and the history of the pioneers 
is that of great hardships 'endured and dangers encountered. In 1873 ditches 
were constructed near the old site of Animas City, and some gold was re- 
covered from the placer deposits in that section. More recent attempts have 
been made at various places, but the gold is generally fine, hard to recover, 
and exists in limited amounts over comparatively large areas. Owing to the 
great interest in the adjoining San Juan counties, there was but little prospecting 
for gold and silver deposits in veins in the La Plata Mountains prior to 1878. 
Since that time nearly all of the numerous gulches have been scenes of more or 
less excitement. Following meager development the usual proportion of ill- 
advised mills have been erected, and served to retard rather than advance active 
mining operations. The ores of this district are mainly gold-bearing pyrite or 
telluride compounds. 


Among the Fifty-eighters who crossed the plains to the "Pike's Peak gold 
region" was a company of adventurers that camped in the shadow of old Fort 
St. Vrain, October 17, 1858. Some of them climbed to the top of the walls of 
the old trading post and had an enchanting vision of Boulder Valley, whither 
they proceeded instead of going to Denver. These men Capt. Thomas Aikins, 
Charles Clouser and others were the pioneer settlers of what is now Boulder 
County. Having built their cabins, they explored a nearby canyon where they 
found a considerable deposit of placer gold on the I5th day of January, 1859. 
They named the point Gold Hill, which afterward became a noted mining dis- 
trict. Out of the gold gravel of this gulch it is said that they took $100,000 
that season. 

Then valuable quartz lodes were discovered. The Horsfal was the greatest 


of the mines of early days, yielding over $300,000 in the two years 1861-2. 
It was near Gold Hill that the first stamp-mill in Pike's Peak country was 
set up in the fall of 1859. Other stamp-mills followed, and a multitude 
of diggers were busy washing out golden sands of the streams. Mining 
camps sprang up and were deserted as soon as the placers were worked out. 
Then for a number of years, there was not much doing in the mines of Boulder 
County, although farming proved to be a success in the bottom lands along the 
streams. Says Hall : "There was no revival of interest in the mining fields until 
1869-72, when some of the richest veins of tellurium ores known in the world's 
history were discovered, together with veins of very rich silver mines at Cari- 
bou. Other discoveries followed until a great belt of silver-bearing veins (but 
none of gold) was opened." 

In other sections, gold mines were profitably worked, and the mineral in- 
dustry amounted to a good deal in Boulder County, its annual production of the 
precious metals reaching a half million dollars or more. Says State Geologist' 
J. A. Smith in his report for 1881 and 1882: "For ten years, Boulder County 
has produced gold and silver in large quantities and about equal proportions. 
In 1881, the bullion product was $535,482.88. * * * It is sufficient to say 
that, as a rule, the veins are true fissures in gigantic rocks, continuous and well 
defined to the greatest depths thus far attained. Caribou district, situate in 
the southwestern corner of the county, yields the major part of silver, the main 
sources being the Caribou and No Name mines, both quite extensively de- 
veloped." The total output of gold and silver in 1879 was about $800,000. 

In Boulder County, telluride ores both auriferous and argentiferous have 
been found in greater abundance than anywhere else. Some of its mines have 
yielded ore running from $3,000 to $5,000 a ton. The tellurium belt extends 
through Gold Hill, Sunshine, Magnolia and Sugar Loaf districts. It is twenty 
miles long and from three to six miles wide. It lies to the north of the silver 
district. Among the noted telluride mines are the American, the Cold Spring, 
the Red Cloud and the Smuggler. Many choice specimens of Boulder's telluride 
ores have been placed in mineral collections. 

In 1900, deposits of ores containing the somewhat rare mineral known as 
tungsten were discovered in and around the town of Nederland in the south- 
western part of Boulder County. This metal is valuable as an alloy in steel 
tools and is used in the manufacture of incandescent electric lamps. Of late 
years, from sixty to eighty per cent of the tungsten produced in the United 
States has come from the mines of Boulder County, which produces one- 
^eventh or more of the world's tungsten output annually. The principal part 
of the tungsten area lies in the southwestern quarter of Boulder County. In 
the fifteen years 1901-15, Boulder County has given the world tungsten to 
the value of over five million dollars. Boulder's tungsten mines were credited 
with the extraordinary production of $1,625,000 in 1915- 

It is said that Gilpin County was the place where history was first made 
in Colorado. Boulder County is also historic ground. One of the first counties 
organized in 1861, it has figured prominently in Colorado annals. Here is the 
home of the State University, whose foundations were laid in pioneer times, 
the first building for academic work being opened in 1877. Here was the first 
schoolhouse, erected in 1860. To Boulder belongs the honor of having the 


first mining district and formulating a code of laws for local government. Its 
coal fields were worked in the early '6os. A railroad was completed to Boulder 
City in 1874. 

The western half of Boulder County is mountainous and contains the metalli- 
ferous mines. While not a great mining county, its mineral resources are di- 
versified, and its gold veins have yielded good returns without the excitement 
of booms. No exact estimate of the yellow metal has been made, there being 
gaps in the statistics. The State Bureau of Mines in its biennial reports gives 
the following figures as to the gold production of Boulder County during the 
eighteen years, 1897-1914, as follows: 

1897 $512.657 1906 $254,034 

1898 581,302 1907 184,872 

1899 547358 1908 I73>4&> 

1900 607,015 1909 161,838 

1901 774,298 1910 132,909 

1902 538,701 1911 163,051 

1903 43^568 1912 101,446 

1904 4H,58i 1913 51,467 

1905 355,337 I9H 131,024 

The silver production of Boulder County's mines has fluctuated from $15,000 
in 1908 to $125,000 in 1914. The annual yield of the white metal the past years 
has averaged about $45,000. 

The item of lead cuts no figure in mining in Boulder County, the yearly 
average being slightly over $6,000. The harvest of copper is still less ; no zinc. 

These are the mining districts of Boulder County: Central (Jamestown) 
gold and silver; Gold Hill gold, silver, lead, copper; Grand Island (Caribou), 
Eldora gold, silver, lead, manganese, copper; Magnolia gold, silver, tungsten; 
Nederland tungsten; Sugarloaf gold, silver, tungsten, lead, copper; World 
gold, silver, copper, lead. 

Some leading dates may be given, showing the steps of progress in Boulder 
County in pioneer and Territorial days. 

1858 On October 27 gold seekers pitch their tents at the mouth of Boulder 

1859 Placer gold discovered at Gold Hill, January 15. Other diggings were 
uncovered later in the winter. The town of Boulder laid out in February. 

1861 Boulder County, one of the original seventeen counties, organized. 

1869 A prospector named William Martin discovers valuable silver ore. Con- 
ger and other fortune hunters make rich strikes near by, all in true-fissure veins. 

1870 The Idaho and other silver mines discovered in the vicinity of the 
Caribou. Bullion obtained this year estimated at $130,000; total amount prior 
to this year being $950,000. 

1871 Caribou mill built at Nederland, costing $100,000. Metallic product of 
Boulder County, $250,000 this year. 

1872 Gold and silver yield estimated at $346,000, mostly silver. Red Cloud 
gold mine discovered on Gold Hill. 

1873 Output of mines about $300,000; little gold. 

1874 Metallic harvest amounts to $536,000. Boulder City growing rapidly; 


railroad completed. D. C. Patterson finds tellurium ore in lode named Sunshine. 
The American lode discovered in May. 

1875 The Caribou mine produces $204,000. The Dives, Pelican and Poca- 
hontas mines also large producers. Output of precious metals, $605,000 ; quanti- 
ties of gold increasing. 

1876 Gold production picks up rapidly because of tellurium discoveries. 
Silver yield declines. Smelters and mills established. The Smuggler lode un- 
covered by Charles Mullen. 

The Boulder settlers saw flush times in the early 'DOS. Then ensued a period 
of depression, due to the decline of placer mining and to the Indian troubles 
from which Colorado suffered for five years. After the opening of the smelter 
at Blackhawk, in 1868, mining picked up. Boulder miners were prospering 
when the plainsmen were suffering a setback from the ravages of grasshoppers 
in 1873-4-5-6. Those were great days for the Boulderites. They were digging 
fortunes out of the earth. Railroads and towns were building. Men were dream- 
ing great dreams. 


The Cripple Creek mining district, to the southwest of Pike's Peak, is the 
greatest gold camp in the United States. It ranks second only to the famed 
Witwatersrand of the Transvaal, in South Africa. Cripple Creek has had a 
history stranger than fiction, and who can foretell the future of this "three- 
hundred-million-dollar cow pasture." 

The rush to Pike's Peak, in 1859-60, was the first determined attack of gold 
seekers upon the wilderness about this historic mountain. Some of the "Pilgrims" 
of that far-off time tramped over the grassy hills of what is now Cripple Creek, 
without suspecting the existence of an El Dorado beneath their feet. No other 
treasure was revealed near by, and the quest was speedily abandoned. This 
is not surprising, because the gold-bearing ore of the section is different from that 
found in most other Colorado diggings. So the Golconda of Cripple Creek re- 
mained unknown. 

Robert Womack, familiarly known as Bob Womack, was the discoverer of 
gold in the Cripple Creek section. The story of his find and subsequent de- 
velopments is one of the romances of mining that are real history. In the late 
*8os the Cripple Creek region was a lonely cattle ranch. Bob Womack was a 
herder riding the range where Cripple Creek is situated. Time and again he got 
off his horse and picked up a piece of float rock, thinking it might possibly con- 
tain gold. Some of these pieces of float rock did have traces of gold. He took 
them to Colorado Springs, but he could not succeed in interesting capitalists. No 
one believed the district whence they came was a bonanza. Womack never lost 
faith, however, and put in his spare time prospecting. It is said that "he built 
a little log cabin in what is known as Poverty Gulch," and whenever he could get 
away he would go up on the land where he found the float rock and dig for gold. 
It might be said that Womack made the discovery of gold at Cripple Creek so long 
ago as 1889, and he found some more in 1890. He did not get gold ore in 
paying quantities, however, but he kept^on trying. He pegged out a claim and 
dubbed it "Chance." The cowboys only laughed at him, but he did not lose faith. 


One day in January, 1891, he picked up a piece of float rock that looked good; 
he sent it to an assayer, who reported that it went $250 in gold to the ton. Several 
days later he struck a vein that glistened with sylvanite. It was deposited in 
such an unusual manner, it is not surprising that experienced prospectors did not 
discover it. This deposit was later known as El Paso lode of the Gold King Co., 
one of the most valuable properties in the camp. 

This was the first gold discovery in Cripple Creek that amounted to anything. 
It is to be remembered that Hayden's geological party looked about here for 
the royal metal, in 1874, and narrowly missed running across gold. The general 
prospecting that followed the stampede to Leadville brought fortune hunters 
to this district ; they looked the ground over, .never noticing the inconspicuous 
vein outcroppings. In the spring of 1884 a "salted" mine on Mount Pisgah 
started an excitement, and 2,000 miners camped in the vicinity for a short time. 
As the story runs, a shaft "had been shot full of gold and then offered for sale 
as a wonderful prospect." 

Untold ages ago a volcano formed "a chasm in Cripple Creek plateau and 
piled up masses of granite and lava. The gold veins occur in the volcanic 
rocks of the district, which is about six miles square and has an elevation from 
nine thousand feet and upward above sea level. Here the first great deposit 
of gold telluride was discovered. 

Womack's great find set him wild. He made a hasty trip to Colorado Springs 
and loaded up with bad liquor. While half crazed with drink and success, he 
disposed of his bonanza for $500 in cash. He jumped on his broncho and rode 
through the streets, proclaiming his find. In a few days the cow pasture was 
literally swarming with people. Claims were staked out, and Mount Pisgah again 
became a scene of hustling activity. This time it was no wildcat excitement that 
attracted capitalists ; it was the beginning of the most celebrated gold camp of 
the Rockies. Cripple Creek is a veritable treasure vault, and yet the discoverer, 
poor Bob Womack, never realized anything out of the find that brought princely 
fortunes to scores of men. He died in poverty. 

There was at first no wild stampede of miners to the scene of Womack's dis- 
covery. In April and May, 1891, a number of men from Colorado Springs lo- 
cated claims in the new district. About forty prospectors were there then, but 
more came in the summer. 

On the 4th of July, 1891, Winfield Scott Stratton staked out the Independence 
and Martha Washington claims, which soon lifted him from poverty to affluence. 
Other prospectors made notable finds that summer. 

By October a straggling settlement of log cabins and tents had grown up in 
Squaw Gulch, on Anaconda ground and on the site of the present Town of Cripple 
Creek. Lots sold for $25 and $50. A mining district was organized in the fall, 
and it was named after the little stream which had been dubbed Cripple Creek 
from the fact that several men living thereabouts had met with accidents of one 
kind or another. 

The growth of the place thereafter was simply remarkable. In the spring 
of 1892 its population was over four thousand, it had a big hotel, business blocks 
were building, a newspaper was started, there were saloons galore, electric lights, 
etc. Men who knew little or nothing about mining were making and losing 
fortunes in a day. "The people actually went wild," remarks a newspaper man 



who was there. "All of the trading was curbstone, and the streets were crowded 
with excited people." Some incidents of the excitement may be mentioned. "Gold 
King stock was put on the market at 25 cents, and twenty-five thousand shares 
were sold immediately. It soon went to 60 cents a share. Buena Vista went from 
$1.75 a share in one day to $5 a share." 

It is said that the Blue Bell was the first mine discovered and opened. It 
was discovered and opened by Dick Langf ord. Among the pioneer mines were the 
Hub, Ironclad, Marguerite, Princess, Star of the West, Tam O'Shanter and a 
score of others opened in 1892. The mining agitation of that year resulted in 
the discovery of new "gold fields" in the adjacent country. The would-be camps 
near Manitou and other localities in various directions from Cripple Creek never 
panned out much ; they were only shallow placer grounds. 

Not much had been heard of Cripple Creek in 1891, although it had attracted 
many adventurers, some of whom made important strikes. In discovering 
and developing the Independence mine, Stratton did more than any other man to 
make the camp known. The fame of this bonanza district soon traveled to the 
ends of the earth, and Stratton's name was indissolubly linked with America's 
greatest gold camp. 

In 1891, Cripple Creek's output was only a trifle. From that time its produc- 
tion of the royal metal rapidly increased. Previous to that year Colorado's 
yield of gold had never exceeded $5,000,000 a year. Thenceforth the harvest of 
the yellow metal in the Centennial State began to pick up. The stream of gold 
poured out of the mines of Cripple Creek saved Colorado in the lean years of 
the '905. Colorado's gold production (in round numbers) jumped from $5,000,000 
in 1892 to $28,000,000 in 1900. The latter year the mines of Cripple Creek had 
$18,000,000 to their credit, or over two-thirds of Colorado's total yield of gold 
in 1900. Some years in the '905 Cripple Creek's gold output exceeded that of 
the remainder of the state. During the first decade of the camp, 1891-1900, its 
total production of gold amounted to $77,274,872. In this decade the population 
of the district had increased from less than a hundred to over ten thousand. 

Through all these years Stratton had been a dominating personality in the 
life and development of Cripple Creek. There were, however, other brainy 
men who helped in making it a great mining camp. There was an army of pro- 
moters, mining engineers and mine superintendents who contributed to the pros- 
perity of Cripple Creek. Among them a dozen may be named F. M. Symes, 
J. W. O'Brien, Philip Argall, William Weston, John Stark, R. A. Tregarthen, 
W. M. Bainbridge, Milo Hoskins, Joseph Luxon, Sam Strong, Warren Woods, 
J. R. McKinnie, Irving Howbert, E. M. De La Vergne and Verner Z. Reed. 
Cripple Creek gold had made many millionaires. The treasure taken from the 
mines had done much for the upbuilding of Colorado Springs and Denver; it 
had aided the growth of the entire commonwealth. The stimulus of this bonanza 
camp was felt throughout the whole Rocky Mountain region. 

From the start many of the mining ventures in the Cripple Creek district were 
successful because men found high-grade ore at grass roots in paying quantities. 
Much of it ran from $50 to $250 a ton. The ore has been described as "altered 
and enriched rock." The deeper they went, the more productive the mine became 
in numerous instances, and the profits were much larger than in some other gold 
camps of the state. The vein-structure at Cripple Creek is peculiar. So some 


investors were skeptical and wary, even after the mines had produced gold to 
the value of tens of millions. 

While the gold-bearing district of Teller County includes about one hundred 
and thirty square miles, the noted mines are congregated in the hills and valleys 
within a small area. There are over one hundred different mines here, some of 
them having tunnels over half a mile long and shafts more than two thousand 
feet deep. Among the large producers are Stratton's Independence, Cresson, 
Golden Cycle, Granite, Ajax, Elkton, Findlay, Vindicator, El Paso, Isabella, 
Mary McKinney and the Portland. 

There is a group of great mines in this golden crest of the continent, and the 
Portland is the foremost. The story of the Portland is well worth telling. The 
news of Womack's discovery attracted James F. Burns and James Doyle, who 
came to Colorado, in the '8os, from Portland, Maine. A friend kindly grub- 
staked them to do a little prospecting in the new gold camp. That was in 1882. 
"In course of time Doyle found a little unclaimed triangular piece of ground 
and staked it as the Portland in honor of his old home. John Harnan combined 
with Doyle and Burns, and by their partiality his name was also written on the 
stake. They opened up rich ore almost immediately, but kept still about it, for 
their little bit of a claim was so surrounded by conflicting surveys they were in 
danger every minute. For weeks they carried sacks of ore, mined during the 
day, on their backs at night, down the trails to wagons, whence it was hauled 
away to the mills and smelters." The men soon found themselves in possession 
of riches and bought adjoining claims. Presently they had lawsuits on their hands. 
Then Doyle sold his interest. The others stayed with the property and reaped 
a handsome reward, for during the last twenty-four years the Portland has given 
the world bullion to the value of over $40,000,000. Its dividends up to January 
i, 1918. have amounted to $11,047,000. 

Undoubtedly the Portland is the most celebrated mine in this far-famed gold- 
bearing zone of the Centennial State. Its underground area of mineral territory, 
over two hundred acres, is honeycombed with tunnels, drifts and crosscuts. The 
workings extend under the summit and the northern slope of Battle Mountain, 
directly north of the Town of Victor. In 1894 the present company was organ- 
ized with a capital of $3,000,000. About one hundred men were employed at 
that time, and it was shipping sixty tons of smelting ore daily. From time to 
time new pay shoots and ore bodies were encountered, and the extent of under- 
ground workings was increased until a force of more than five hundred men were 
employed. In 1904 its output was 100,000 tons of ore, about one-sixth of the 
total production of Cripple Creek. Up to the time of the discovery of ore of ex- 
traordinary value in the Cresson mine, in December, 1914, the Portland was 
the banner producer of the camp. 

Other Cripple Creek mines have achieved eminence in gold production. For 
instance, the Mar)j McKinney holdings, comprising about one hundred and forty- 
four acres on Raven and Gold hills, have added over $10,000,000 to the money 
of the country, while the Elkton has a still larger sum to its credit. 

It would require a volume to relate in detail all the happenings of the Cripple 
Creek camp the last fifteen years. Some of the principal events are jotted down 
concisely. 4 

1901 The gold production of Cripple Creek this year was $17,261,579, accord- 


ing to figures given in the U. S. Geological Survey report for 1901. Stratton's 
Independence Mine produced about $2,500,000, from which a profit of over $i,- 
000,000 was realized. Notable improvements were made in this mine. The pro- 
duction of the Portland was $2,408,413, the profit being $1,760,939. 

1902 This year Cripple Creek produced gold to the value of $16,912,783. A 
lower grade of ore was handled than in 1901. There were heavy shipments from 
Stratton's Independence mine. Rich discoveries were made in the lower workings 
of the Blue Bird and the Last Dollar mines. Preparations were made to draw on 
an extensive area of the district between the Gold King and Elkton and El 

1903 The gold production of the district this year was $12,967,338, a con- 
siderable falling-off from the preceding year. Labor troubles greatly interfered 
with mining in Cripple Creek ; there were strikes, and some mines were oper- 
ated under military protection. Stratton's Independence mine produced 200 tons 
of low-grade ore daily. Its total production reached the sum of $11,000,000 
since its acquisition by the Stratton's Independence, Limited. Its dividends 
amounted to $260,000 this year. The Portland declared dividends of $360,000, 
realized from 90,000 tons of ore valued at $2,609,000. The Golden Cycle, Strong, 
and Vindicator mines yielded large returns. Two cyanide mills were built this 
year in Cripple Creek. A re-survey of the district was begun in June by Messrs. 
Lindgren and Ransome. The El Paso drainage tunnel was dug at an expense 
of $80,000. 

1904 Cripple Creek's gold output for this year was $14,504,350. Valuable 
discoveries were made in the Portland, Elkton, Gold Coin, Gold King and Blue 
Bird mines. 

1905 Cripple Creek produced gold to the value of $15,411,724, a marked 
increase over the output of the previous year. The average was about $21.50 a 
ton. The Portland maintained its position of supremacy, its output being $2,- 
422,033, from 109,233 tons of ore. 

1906 Cripple Creek's gold output this year was $14,253,245. The banner 
producer of the camp, the Portland, was credited with a yield of $1,932,083, from 
103,614 tons of ore. 

1907 The gold production of the camp this year was $10,913,687. The 
Portland's output was $1,600,950. The Golden Cycle produced 67,397 tons of 
ore, averaging $21.02 in value. 

1908 Cripple Creek produced gold to the value of $12,740,287 this year, 
which saw an influx of skilled miners. Success attended cyanide experiments in 
treating low-grade ore. Steady progress was made in the Roosevelt drainage 

1909 The gold production of Cripple Creek this year was $11,470,673. Min- 
ing operations were reduced in the Portland, the Golden Cycle, El Paso and other 
mines. 9 

1910 Cripple Creek's golden harvest this year was $11,002,253. The yield 
from the Portland mine was 67,515 tons, valued at $1,241,168. 

1911 Cripple Creek's gold production fell off this year to $10,562,653. The 
Portland produced 50,258 tons, valued at $1,140,054, averaging $22.68 a ton. 

1912 The gold production of the .camp this year was $11,008,362, about 
three-fifths of all Colorado's gold output in 1912. The Portland's yield was 
44,562 tons, valued at $987,416. 


1913 The yield of the camp this year fell below the average, being $10,- 
905,003. The Portland, the Vindicator and other mines had a prosperous year. 
The grand total production of the Portland mine from April i, 1894, to Decem- 
ber 31, 1913, was 1,767,592 net tons, of a gross value of $36,268,797. 

1914 The mines of Cripple Creek yielded $11,996,116 this year. As a re- 
sult of the unwatering of the mines by the Roosevelt tunnel, many large bodies 
of valuable ore were disclosed in the Portland, Vindicator and other mines. The 
richness of some of the ore found in the Cresson mine surpassed all previous 
records in Cripple Creek annals. In a chamber 1,265 feet below the surface 
"masses of decomposed quartz, filled with coarse grains of calaverite and sylvan- 
ite" were discovered. The amount of gold was reported to run into thousands of 
dollars to the ton. 

1915 This year witnessed a notable gain in the gold production of the dis- 
trict, it being $13,683,494. Stratton's Independence mine, after producing ore 
to the value of $23,621,728, was sold to the Portland Gold Company. To De- 
cember 31, 1915, the Portland and Independence mines, comprising 250 acres 
of highly mineralized land, had produced 3,653,969 tons of ore, valued at $64,- 

1916 The gold output of the camp this year was about the average, being 
$12,199,550. This was a year of marked activity in the Cripple Creek district. 
The grand total production of the camp, 1891-1916, amounted to $285,245,393, 
according to Government figures. 

1917 Gold production was $11,402,968, making the golden harvest of the 
camp during the past quarter of a century far over three hundred million dollars. 
Work progressed steadily on the Roosevelt tunnel, its total length being about 
24,000 feet. The tunnel has lowered the general water level of the district ap- 
proximately 700 feet vertically. Deep mining was profitable in many of the 
mines, huge bodies of good ores being encountered at depths of 2,000 feet or 


Year Bullion Value Year Bullion Value 

1891 $ 200,000 1904 $21,414.080 

1892 5 8 7>3 10 i95 22,307,952 

1893 8,750,000 1906 16,268,291 

1894 3,250,000 1907 13,148,152 

1895 6,100,000 1908 16,230,525 

1806 ; . 8,750,000 1009 15,850,000 

1897 12,000,000 1910 11,031,555 

1898 16,000,000 1911 10,593,276 

1809 21,000,000 1912 11,049,024 

1900 22,500,000 1913 10,948,008 

1001 24,986,990 1914 12,025,364 

1002 24,508,511 1915 13727,992 

1903 17,630,107 1916 12,177,221 

1917 11,402,968 

Grand Total $357,686,178 



In the winter of 1870 Richard Irwin, a well-known prospector, and a com- 
panion, Jasper Brown, started a camp at Rosita Springs on the site of a float 
quartz discovery made by Irwin in the summer of that year. The stories of his 
discoveries brought the prospectors in great numbers and in the spring of 1874 
Leonard Fredericks had opened up the Humboldt and O'Bannion & Co. found 
a fortune in the Pocahontas. In 1877 the great mine first called the Maine, after- 
ward the Bassick, was discovered by John W. True, who had been sent there to 
prospect by John A. Thatcher and a group of his friends in Pueblo. Abandoning 
the work, it was later relocated by E. C. Bassick. He extended the shaft and 
later by sending a lot of eight tons to the mill was gratified to find it return him 
$12,000. Bassick made a fortune out of it. 

In August, 1877, R. S. Edwards, a prospector who had crossed the plains 
pushing a wheelbarrow, came to the site of what is now Silver Cliff, and located 
Horn Silver, Racine Boy and Silver Cliff mines. This was just before the Lead- 
ville craze broke loose. In 1880 the entire region was flooded with prospectors 
looking for carbonates. The discoveries of Edwards were soon bruited about 
and Silver Cliff became the site of a veritable stampede. Many good properties 
were located in this period on Wet Mountain. The Hardscrabble district, which 
includes Silver Cliff, Querida, West Cliff and Rosita, is still a fine mining 

As early as 1875 mill building commenced, reached its zenith in 1880, and 
closed in 1882. The belief entertained at the beginning of the mill building era 
was, as the industry advanced, changed to conviction, viz. : That each mine must 
have a mill. This, with the fabulous prices asked for undeveloped claims, dis- 
couraged investment of capital and development of prospects. The result was 
that both capital and prospectors sought other fields, where, from reports re- 
ceived, they had reason to believe less capital or labor was required to gain re- 
munerative returns. The aggregate amount of money expended in mill building 
in this section was not less than one and one-half million dollars. With a few 
notable exceptions, the plants erected were total failures. Even some of the 
exceptions were financial failures if successful from a metallurgical standpoint. 
The decline in the mining industry, started in 1881, was not only accelerated by 
one mill failure after another, but also by litigation, that eventually closed the 
leading developed and regular producing properties. This condition can in no 
manner be ascribed to the natural mineral resources of the county, but is di- 
rectly attributable to "boom times" and mills. 

In 1915 the advance in the price of silver had a splendid influence on prop- 
erties all through the Hardscrabble district. 


The mining history of this section centers about Rico, the present county 
seat and leading commercial center. It practically begins with the year 1879. 
Since that time the mines at or near Rico have demonstrated Dolores to be one 
of the important mining counties of the state. Like all mining sections it has 
been more active at certain periods than others, but at no time since 1880 has it 



failed to contribute its quota of precious metals toward the aggregate production 
of the commonwealth. The predominating value in the ores is in silver, which 
occurs in all the richer sulphide forms, at times native, but generally associated 
with lead, iron, copper and zinc, in a quartz gangue. Although the mines were 
formerly spoken of as silver-lead producers, and the general impression was es- 
tablished that gold was not associated in appreciable quantities, under present 
market conditions, and with somewhat recent developments, the producers of 
this section are now ranked as gold-silver-lead mines. In common with many 
other districts in the state a number of mines are operating largely upon ores in 
which gold values predominate. 

The discovery of gold dates back to 1869, wnen Sheldon Shafer and Joe 
Flarheiler, who had reached Santa Fe, decided to go to Montana. They made the 
reservation that only the discovery of mineral could stop them. They were ex- 
perienced prospectors and had no sooner reached the region of what is now 
Silver Creek when the evidence was clear that they were on the eve of a precious 
metal discovery. In July, 1869, they made their first location, embracing what 
is now a part of the Shamrock, Smuggler and Riverside lodes of the old Atlantic 
Cable group. This they called the Pioneer. Soon after they discovered north- 
east of the Town of Rico the "Phoenix" and the "Nigger Baby." They also 
located what was later the Yellow Jacket, the Amazon, the Pelican and the Elec- 
tric Light mines. The district soon attracted attention and settlers began to pour 
in and locate claims. In the spring of 1879 Col. J. C. Haggerty on a visit to 
Ouray found that some ore from "Nigger Baby" hill proved to be lead car- 
bonates very rich in silver. The neighboring camps of Ouray, Silverton, Ophir 
and San Miguel emptied their hundreds into the Rico region. But the boom 
was brief. 

In 1880 the Grand View smelter was built, and in the fall of the same year 
produced some high grade bullion. This afforded assurance of the permanency of 
the district, and the development was more rapid for a few years following. 
The grade of ore necessary to bear reduction charges, and high prices for sup- 
plies were again felt, and progress was slow until the advent of the Rio Grande 
Southern Railroad. This line leaves the Rio Grande system at Ridgeway and ex- 
tends to Durango, via Rico. With transportation facilities the development was 
rapid until the value of silver and lead reached the low range of prices of 1893. 
A large number of producers then either reduced working force or closed down 
entirely. Probably no district in the state was as seriously affected as this. The 
recovery has been slow but sure and, in common with other counties. 


While what is now Eagle County had been previously explored, the history 
of the active development of its natural resources begins with 1879. This year 
marked the great rush to the Leadville district, which joins on the south. The 
discovery of ores similar in character and occurrence along Eagle River served 
in a small degree to relieve the pressure at Leadville, and to quickly populate 
this section. Its establishment, therefore, may be ascribed to the overflow pros- 
pectors from Leadville. The first valid locations were made early in 1879. The 
ore production was limited on account of grade of ore necessary to bear trans- 


portation and treatment charges. In 1880 a smelting plant was erected and pro- 
vided a home market. This plant produced a large amount of lead bullion, but 
ceased operation soon after the advent of the Rio Grande Railway, early in 

The first actual lode claims discovered and staked were in the names of Rob- 
ert and John Duncan, who on April 15, 1879, thought they had made their for- 
tunes in the Eagle River mining district. The Belden, located May 5, 1879, by 
D. D. Belden and Price Merrick, was the first to produce profitable ores in large 
quantities. In that first year a hundred claims were staked near Gilman. The 
Wyoming group near Redcliff was among the locations of the first period. 


The history of this section begins practically with the year 1859. At that 
time Pike's Peak was a name more familiar than Colorado, and this section there- 
fore received a large proportion of the immigrants from the eastern states. 
Colorado City, located near the base of Pike's Peak and the entrance to Ute 
Pass, became temporarily the leading town of the territory and its importance 
was enhanced by being made the first territorial capital. Later the seat of gov- 
ernment was removed to Golden, in Jefferson County, and finally to Denver. 
The removal of the capital from Colorado City in 1861 was followed by a some- 
what continued depression. The Pike's Peak placer mines had not proven lucra- 
tive and the prospectors moved on to the west and north. In the fall of 1871 
the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad reached this section, producing a marked 
change in existing conditions. 

There was formed in those early days the El Paso Claims Club, which had 
its law offices, and in fact was the government of this section. It was primitive 
but it served its purpose as a preventive to "claim jumping." H. T. Burghout, 
with the title of recorder, had all the powers of a judge. 

In common with the Front Range of mountains in other sections, the range 
here is traversed with eruptive dikes and embraces fissure veins carrying precious 
metals. Prospecting is indulged in, a few veins are located and worked to the 
extent of annual assessment, but the ore values appear to be too low to permit 
of extraction and reduction at a profit. While ores of economic importance are 
not as yet found within the new western limit of the county, this section has 
long been noted for its rare minerals, notably at Pike's Peak, Florissant and 
Buffalo Peak. 


The discovery of oil in Fremont County dates back to 1859, when Joseph 
Lamb, a pioneer, claims to have first investigated a flow of oil half a mile above 
the mouth of Oil Creek Canon. The man who, however, located and perfected 
his claim to Oil Springs, was Gabriel Bowen, who, in 1862, sold them to A. M. 
Cassidy. In March of that year Mr. Cassidy sunk six wells but only the original 
upper strata proved profitable. In that first year he marketed several thousand 
gallons. But many wells were sunk and much capital was brought into the field 
before it made any commensurate returns. The great trouble generally lay in 


the weakness of the casing material and few of the prospecting companies reached 
any depth without accident. 

In 1880 D. G. Peabody put down the first well in what is now part of the 
Town of Florence, and what was then known as Lobach's farm. In 1882 his 
company, which consisted of George O. Baldwin, J. J. Phelps, Ed. Lobach, 
Thomas Willey, W. B. McGee, E. B. Ailing and himself, secured a great number 
of leases and began boring with new outfits shipped from Pennsylvania. On 
April 7, 1883, at a depth of 1,205 feet oil was discovered. The strike brought a 
great horde of prospectors to Florence, but the Peabody Company, while it struck 
oil again on several of its leases, never prospered. 

By 1890 the field had been greatly developed and large capitalists were in 
control. The United. Oil Company, with N. P. Hill as president, D. P. Ellis, 
J. Wallace, S. F. Rathvon, I. E. Blake, John Coon and S. Josephi, owned 2,200 
acres of patented land and 38,000 acres of oil rights and leases. They had fifteen 
flowing wells, with a daily output of 850 barrels. It owned a refinery with daily 
capacity of 1,500 barrels. 

The Florence Oil & Refining Company, headed by A. H. Danforth and con- 
trolled by himself and A. R. Gumaer, W. E. Johnson, Dr. E. C. Gray, T. M. 
Harding and Frank M. Brown, had eleven productive wells with a daily output 
of 500 barrels. It also owned a refinery. 

The Triumph Oil Company, Ira Canfield, president, The Rocky Mountain Oil 
Company, Dan P. Ellis, president, The Colorado Coal & Iron Company, and a 
new company headed by Henry and Edward O. Wolcott and holding leases on 
21,000 acres of the Beaver Land Company, were the other corporations actually 
at work in the field. 

At the close of the year 1902 there were fifty-seven wells producing. There 
were two local refineries, with a combined capacity of about twc thousand bar- 
rels per day. The following were the producing companies: Florence Oil Re- 
fining Company, Triumph Oil Company, Griffith, Rock Mountain, Eraser Oil 
and Gas Company, Fremont Oil and Gas Company, Keystone, Columbia Crude 
Oil Company and United Oil Company. 

The oil appears to be found at different geological horizons, the Fox Hill 
shales underlying the coal measures being the most productive. The oils from 
the various wells do not differ greatly in character. A number of tests published, 
and made by competent chemists, show the naphtha and benzine to be about 4 to 
6 per cent; of illuminating oils, 25 to 35 ; paraffine and heavy oils, 55 to 60; and 
a residuum, mainly coal tar, 6 to 7 per cent. The refined products are consumed 
by the western trade, and the residuum is utilized for fuel purposes. 

In 1904 N. M. Fenneman, in a report to the U. S. Geological Survey, states 
that there were 500 wells in the district, which had an area of approximately fif- 
teen square miles. The deepest well in the field he found to be 3,650 feet, but no 
oil sand had been found below 3,000 feet. Of the 500 wells he enumerates, 60 
were pumping, and 175 had been producers. In his concluding paragraph he 
states : "The average life of a well is not far from five years. Many wells have 
yielded oil for from ten to twenty years. One well has been pumped for a still 
longer time, and has yielded more than one million barrels of oil. The product 
is for the most part refined at Florence." In 1901 it produced 17,000,000 gallons. 

In 1907 the Florence field produced 263,498 barrels, valued at $197,025.00. 


In 1908 it was 295,479 barrels; in 1909, 225,062 barrels; in 1910, 201,937 bar- 
rels; in 1911, 210,094 barrels; in 1912, 201,195 barrels; in 1913, 6,785,000 gal- 
lons; in 1914, 6,854,799 gallons; in 1915, 6,039,507 gallons; in 1916, 5,058,615 
gallons; in 1917, 4,442,095 gallons. On January i, 1912, there were fifty-four 
wells producing. In January, 1918, there were forty- three wells producing. 

The producing properties in the Florence field are today owned by the Conti- 
nental, a Standard Oil subsidiary. 

Since 1881 the precious metal mines have been more or less active and pro- 
ductive. The production, however, has never been large, and the mines may be 
said to have scarcely passed the prospective stage of development. The original 
mines, or those that first attracted general attention, were in the neighborhood of 
Cotopaxi and on Grape Creek. The Gem mine, near this stream, gained much 
notoriety on account of nickel being found associated with silver ores. 

Following the advent of the Cripple Creek mines in the adjoining county on 
the north, the northern part of Fremont County was the scene of much prospect 
work, which gradually worked westward and centered mainly about Whitehorn 
and the Cameron districts. There are a number of small camps in this part 
of the county bearing local names, and in the aggregate a large amount of devel- 
opment work has been done. The ores are mainly gold-copper, in a quartzose 
gangue. In the section immediately south of the Cripple Creek district a num- 
ber of properties have been worked extensively. 

Mining for gems and precious stones is carried on profitably in this county. 


Gold was discovered in the Tin Cup and Washington Gulch districts during 
1 86 1 by an adventurous prospector named Fred Lottes. In 1879 the reports cir- 
culated by prospectors were so favorable that, during the following year, there 
was a "rush" to this district second to none in the history of the state. Mining 
camps sprang up at numerous points, and were followed by the usual number 
of ill-advised smelting plants and mills. Precious metal ores were found in 
abundance, but development was too meager to supply the demands of a smelter, 
and transportation of ores to outside markets, even in concentrated form, left 
small margin of profit. The toll on freight at this time was more often calculated 
by the pound than by the ton. 

The "rush" of 1 880-81 to this section was second to none in the state's his- 
tory. Towns sprang up in all districts of the county; the mountains were filled 
with prospectors, who, through specimen assays, kept the excitement at high 
pitch; the "boom" was launched and maintained; capital followed and sought 
investment on the "boom" basis, and smelters and mills were erected at enor- 
mous outlay. It was finally realized that the ores, while abundant, were in the 
main low grade, and that under economic conditions then extant, profits from in- 
vestments made could not be expected. The exodus during the next few years 
was almost equal to the rush of 1880. No county in the state, as prolific in nat- 
ural resources, has suffered from a "boom" as severely as Gunnison. This sec- 
tion, however, did not prove an exception to "mining boom" history, and many 
good pay mines were discovered and opened. These in a measure served to re- 
lieve the general depression, and each year from 1885 to 1892 showed gradual 


increased activity in all the districts. Until this time, the production of lead-silver 
ores received almost undivided attention. With the then current price for these 
metals, profitable mining was impossible except in isolated cases. Prospecting 
ceased and small producers closed. As in other counties, attention was turned 
to prospecting for gold. While the existence of gold was well known, it had, 
prior to this time received little attention. The results have been satisfactory. 

During the past decade there has been a great deal of prospecting done par- 
ticularly in the Tin Cup, White Pine and Vulcan districts. In 1914 dredging 
operations were begun in the Taylor Park district. 


Owing to inaccessibility for many years prior to the construction of the 
Moffat Road, this section has produced but a limited quantity of precious metals. 
History shows this section to have been the scene of much prospecting in 1859. 
At that time, and for a number of years afterwards, it was one of the favorite 
hunting grounds for the Indians. The reported discoveries at different times 
since then have caused an influx of more or less people, and in the aggregate a con- 
siderable amount of development work has been done. At one time Lulu, in the 
extreme northeast corner, became quite a flourishing camp. Also, Gaskill, at the 
mouth of Baker Gulch, a few miles south. At the former camp the veins are 
in granite-gneiss, are locally well defined, but the copper-iron-sulphide ores, carry- 
ing gold, with some silver, appear to occur in short shoots or pockets so far as 
exposed by meager development. Up Baker Gulch the veins are much better de- 
fined and ore deposits are more persistent. The Wolverine properties and a 
number of others, names unknown, showed fair bodies of low-grade sulphide 
ore. In the vicinity of Grand Lake there has been quite an amount of prospect 

The Ready Cash group, that has been a good producer of high-grade silver 
and lead ores since 1880 is still operating with good profits. This group is situ- 
ate near the line between Grand and Clear Creek counties, and the ore is hauled 
by wagon over Jones Pass to Empire station, and thence via the Colorado & 
Southern Railroad. 

The Mollie Groves group has been systematically developed since 1906, and 
is a copper proposition carrying some gold and silver values. It is situate on Elk 
Mountain, in the Blue Ridge district, and is fifteen miles from the Town of 
Parshall, on the Moffat Railroad. 

In 1878-79 some very promising silver prospects were discovered in the 
Rabbit Ear Range, which is about twenty-five miles northwest of the Hot Sul- 
phur Springs. Considerable work was done at the time, but all were abandoned 
on account of the long haul and the low price of silver. 

The first actual discovery of gold in the county was made by a prospector. 
Sandy Campbell, in this very Rabbit Ear Range. The report of his discoveries 
brought the first considerable influx of prospectors into the camp. The Town 
of Teller in North Park had a large population at this time. In the fight for 
the county seat between Hot Springs and Grand Lake, in 1883, four of the 
county commissioners were killed ; the sheriff, implicated in the trouble, later 
committing suicide. 




The history of this section practically begins with 1874, when the first valid 
mineral locations were made. The population rapidly increased until 18/9, when 
the effects of inaccessibility to market were fully realized. In 1889 the Denver 
& Rio Grande Railroad constructed a branch line into Lake City, the county 
seat and commercial center of the county. This branch leaves the main line at 
Sapinero and follows up the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River, and trains for 
Lake City are operated so as to connect with main line trains. Following the 
advent of transportation facilities, there was a marked revival in all the mining 
districts. The general depression of 1893 a g ani retarded advancement, for the 
reason that nearly all ores developed at that' time were lead, silver and copper. 
Since 1894 the advance has been steady, and, in common with many other sec- 
tions, the existence of gold-bearing ores has been demonstrated. 

.The county is divided into five mining districts, viz.: Lake, Galena, Park, 
Sherman and Carson. Lake district embraces the northeastern portion of the 
county. It extends about three miles west and nine miles south of Lake City. 

The Galena and Lake districts are the two principal producers of the county. 
This, however, is largely due to their development and accessibility. The Bur- 
rows Park, Sherman and Carson districts each possess distinctive merit, equal 
in many respects, but less developed than their more fortunate neighbors. 


The first mining in this section was upon the placer beds near Golden. Al- 
though the placer territory is limited, the aggregate production has been quite 
large. In common with the "placer diggings" near the head of the stream in 
Clear Creek and Gilpin counties the beds have been reworked a number of times 
and are still worked in desultory manner each year. The appliances used are 
little in advance of those used by the pioneers. The few who annually engage in 
this pursuit report that they make fair wages by hard work, and occasionally 
find a small bar that "pays well." Several attempts have been made by capital 
to systematically work the bed of Clear Creek and recover the gold deposited near 
l>ed-rock. Another inducement has been to collect the concentrated losses from 
the many mills farther up the stream. There is little doubt that great values 
exist along or under the present stream bed, but so far attempts at recovery have 
proven futile on account of the physical condition encountered, viz., granite 
boulders too large to handle that require breaking up before removal. Following 
the placer excitement was the discovery of large veins of copper with small as- 
sociated values in gold and silver. These discoveries are made annually through- 
out almost the entire granite-gneiss region, but do not appear to pass the 
location and annual assessment stages. The veins and ores exist, but are ap- 
parently too low in grade or limited in deposition to mine with a profit. 

The coal seams in this section were among the first opened in the state. The 
coal is of fair quality for all domestic purposes and the seams conform to the 
enclosing strata and run in an almost vertical position. 

One of the principal industries is the mining and manufacture of the exist- 
ing clays. The fire-clay bed that occurs in the Dakota formation almost continu- 


ously with the mountain range has in this section been somewhat extensively 
mined and manufactured at home, or shipped in crude form to other sections. 
A number of plants are located at Golden, and the required clays for the manu- 
facture of fire brick, pressed brick, tile, sewer pipe, pottery, etc., have been 
found by development to exist in large quantities. 

A number of stone quarries are developed in a small way and produce good 
building and other stone. The lime quarries at Morrison are drawn upon largely 
by the reduction works in the vicinity of Denver for fluxing purposes. 


The precious metal deposits of Larimer and Jackson counties have been 
worked in a desultory manner for a number of years. During the past year the 
greatest activity has been in the vicinity of Pearl, in Jackson County. This camp 
is located within a few miles of the Wyoming line. The section has attracted 
more or less attention since the favorable developments of the mines at Battle 
Lake, west of Grand Encampment, and the territory from that section to Pearl 
and Independence Mountain and Pinkhampton has been subjected to careful 
scrutiny by the prospectors. The veins occur in fissured zones of the granite- 
gneiss country, the vein-filling being largely altered country rock with variable 
gold and silver bearing copper ores associated. Lead sulphide is found in a 
few places, but iron and copper pyrites and pyrrhotite are invariably present. 
The latter possesses the peculiar bronze color that is indicative of the presence 
of nickel. 

Among the leading industrial pursuits, the stone industry has been prominent 
for many years. The stone resource is large and the stone is of variable texture 
and color, and well suited for structural purposes. The Colorado & Southern Rail- 
road has two branch lines into the stone-producing sections, along which a num- 
ber of quarries have been opened and are fairly well equipped. One of these lines 
extends from Fort Collins to Stout via Bellvue. The other from Loveland up 
the Thompson to Arkins. From the various quarries, almost any character of 
stone desired may be obtained. The principal market is local and the leading 
cities of the state. 

On the branch line from Loveland the gypsum beds are well developed near 
Wild's Spur. The plaster mill at that point is well equipped and is operated by a 
company that practically controls the Colorado production. The plaster of paris 
produced is of high grade and is marketed over a large area of country. In ad- 
dition to the higher grades of plaster, suitable for dental and like work, the com- 
pany is making a plaster cement that is meeting with much favor. The gypsum 
deposits of this county are large and workable beds are found from the south 
to the north boundary lines. 

At present the principal mining districts in the two counties are : Empire 
(Howe's Gulch), copper and gold; Pearl, copper, gold and silver; Pinkhampton, 
lead and silver; Steamboat Rock, copper and gold; Teller (Copper Creek), lead 
and silver. 


In the precious metal mines the developments are meager, and the value of 
the properties appears to be yet not fully determined. The Copper Creek or 


Unaweep district, in the south-central and southwest parts of the county, has 
been the most active, and during the past few years has attracted considerable 
attention. The ores are mainly low grade, copper values predominating, and 
only assorted lots may be shipped direct to market. 

At one mine, the Nancy Hanks, a pocket of ore was found at the contact of 
the quartzite with the granite, from which some fifteen cars were shipped, which 
returned from ten to sixteen per cent copper, two or three dollars gold, and from 
three to six ounces silver. 

The discovery of this body of ore led to a "boom" about 1897-98, with the 
usual result of a "set-back," from failure to immediately discover other ore 
bodies, which was, for the most part, due to well intended but misdirected outlay 
of time and money. 


The early growth and development of this section was phenomenal. While 
it had many times been looked over by prospectors, it was practically unknown 
prior to 1890. In 1891 a branch line of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad was 
'completed, and the camp was a large producer. In March, 1893, it was created 
a county. Prior to the construction of the cross-cut tunnels, one of the most 
notable features in connection with the mines was the almost complete absence 
of waste dumps. The mines yielded "pay ore" from the grass roots, and the 
ordinary expensive development was largely eliminated. This fact becoming 
known, the general rush to this section during 1891 and early in the following 
year are notable events in the state's history. 

The magician who brought the flood of population into the section was N. C. 
Creede, a famous prospector, after whom the Town of Creede was named. He 
had prior to this discovered the Monarch district in Chaffee County. In 1890, 
while in the mountains above Wagon Wheel Gap he located what he termed "The 
Holy Moses." Creede interested David H. Moffat, Eben Smith, Sylvester T. 
Smith and Capt. -L. E. Campbell in this prospect, selling it to them for $65,000. 
Creede next found the "Ethel" and then began the rush for the camp. The in- 
vestment of Moffat was in itself sufficient to start a stampede. At the outset 
the district was called "King Solomon's Mines," but soon changed to Creede. 

In 1891 Moffat built the spur from Wagon Wheel Gap to Creede, and this 
gave the district its greatest impetus. The most important discovery, however, 
was made by Theodore Renniger, who was grubstaked by two Creede butchers, 
Ralph Granger and Earl von Buddenback. Creede saw what they had, though 
they themselves did not realize its importance. After they had staked the "Last 
Chance" Creede staked off the "Amethyst" next to them. These two properties 
became the largest producers in the camp. Renniger and Buddenback sold out 
to Henry and Ed. O. Wolcott for $65,000. Ralph Granger refused $100,000 and 
made a vast fortune by his foresight. 

The mines of this section are operated largely through cross-cut tunnels. These 
were driven for drainage purposes and as economic measures to reduce great ex- 
pense of pumping and hoisting. 

Mining operations in this county are in the main on a somewhat extended 
scale, and the production is from comparatively few properties. Market condi- 


tions since 1893 and until 1915 have been somewhat discouraging. As previously 
stated, the ores are mainly low grade, and until within a few years have been 
almost strictly silver-lead ores. Below the 5OO-foot level in the Bachelor vein 
there has been a marked increase in gold values and this has added new vigor to 
operations. In common with some other sections of -the state, concentration 
of values is receiving more attention, and several new mills are contemplated. 
The new Humphrey's mill has proved quite successful, but improvements are 
being added to increase the percentage of saving. Silver and zinc-lead properties 
are gradually increasing their output and have been encouraged by an advance 
in the price paid for silver and zinc ores. 


The mining history of this district begins with the pioneers of 1873-74. Since 
that time there have been several short-lived revivals of interest. All energy, 
however, was expended in search for gold in placer deposits until about twenty- 
seven years ago. At that time George A. Jackson, who was the discoverer of 
the first placer mine in the state near Idaho Springs, called public attention 
to the so-called Baker, or Jackson contact on the west fork of the Mancos. 
Somewhat later his enthusiasm enlisted the cooperation of capital to the extent 
of an investigation, and the erection of a small milling plant. Expectations were 
not realized, and. the district soon ceased to attract general attention. While 
several placer beds were spasmodically worked, and prospecting was followed to 
a limited extent thereafter, not until 1896-97 was there any activity in lode 
mining. Since that time the districts adjacent to the headwaters of the Mancos 
have shown a slow but gradual increasing activity. 

The lode mines are located at altitudes varying from eight thousand to twelve 
thousand five hundred feet and at an average distance of ten miles from the 
Rio Grande Southern Railway. The market for ores is Durango, in the adjoining 
county east. These mines may be classed as low-grade propositions that have 
barely passed the prospect stage. The ores are mainly a complex sulphide, but 
susceptible to concentration or reduction on the ground. Good timber is abun- 
dant and the water supply ample at no great distance from the properties. 

The most important districts at present are: East Mancos, gold and silver; 
California, gold and silver ; Disappointment, copper, uranium, vanadium ; Blue 
Mountain, copper, uranium, vanadium. 


In the spring of 1899 Messrs. C. Friedel and E. Cumenge, of Paris, announced 
the discovery of a new mineral, caniotite, obtained through M. Poulet, of Den- 
ver, from Rock Creek, Montrose County, Colorado. Mr. Poulet had already 
identified vanadium in it. During the year the government sent F. L. Ransome 
and Dr. A. C. Spencer into San Miguel, Montrose and Mesa counties, where 
large deposits were found. 

This at once attracted the attention of foreign and eastern investors, who be- 
gan to secure claims. 


Development, however, was slow, but the following is the record for 1914, 
by which year the field had been pretty thoroughly exploited. 

There was mined from the carnotite deposits in Montrose County, during 
1914, 6,000 tons of ore that would assay 2. per cent uranium oxide and 5 per 
cent 'vanadium oxide, 4,500 tons of which was mined by the Standard Chemical 
Company. None of this ore, in the crude state, ever finds its way into Europe, 
it being shipped to Pittsburgh and the radium extracted at that point. 

The United States Government, managing the national radium property, 
mined close to five hundred tons. This ore was shipped to Denver, at which 
point the Government carried on experiments for the extraction of the radium, 
and the separating of the uranium and vanadium. 

The Currans interests mined during 1914 four or five narrow-gauge carloads. 
Most of this ore went to Europe. 

The Colorado Carnotite Company mined four or five small cars during 1914. 
Most of this ore also was sold in Europe. 

The General Vanadium mined (principally through assessment) three small 
carloads. This ore was shipped to Liverpool, England. 

Several small miners mined from five to ten tons of ore. About half of this 
was sold in Europe and the other half in New York. 

The Standard Chemical Company spent, in 1914, for mining and transporta- 
tion of ore to Placerville, $30,000 a month. The remaining companies, com- 
bined, spent about three thousand dollars per month in the mining and trans- 
portation of ore in 1914. 

Development work during 1917 exploded the certain theory that carnotite 
ore did not extend into the ground for a distance greater than twenty feet. There 
were some tunnels driven during 1917 that show large bodies of ore in the breast 
of the tunnel, the tunnels being driven 150 feet. Some of these large bodies had 
as much as 250 feet of covering on them. 

' There were in 1914 two concentrating mills in Montrose County for the 
concentration of carnotite.' The Standard' Chemical Company had a large mill at 
the mouth of the San Miguel River, which cost $100,000. This mill has a capacity 
of thirty tons in ten hours. 

Some production of radium was made in 1915 and 1916, through a coopera- 
tive arrangement between the National Radium Institute and the Federal Bureau 
of Mines, whose reduction plant is located in Denver, and is under the direction 
of Dr. R. B. Moore. While the exact value of their production is not known, it 
is said that the radium produced had a value of nearly $750,000.00 and the ura- 
nium and vanadium had a value exceeding $100,000.00. 

In the latter part of 1915 another radium reduction plant was established in 
Denver, and has made a considerable production, but does not give out the values. 
Small quantities of carnotite ore were sent outside the state for reduction in 

Toward the end of 1916 the Standard Chemical Company resumed opera- 
tions on a large scale at their concentrating plant at Naturita, Montrose County. 
Other smaller concerns became active producers of ore at about the same time. 
The Denver reduction plant, which was erected by the National Radium Insti- 
tute, operated steadily throughout the year, but passed into the hands of new 
owners toward the end of 1916. 


There was a very small production of pitchblende ores in Gilpin County, but 
the -value probably did not exceed $10,000. 

'Precious metal mining has been prosecuted in Montrose County in a desultory 
manner for a number of years. Along the various stream beds placer locations 
are quite common and evidence the fact that hand sluicing has been indulged in 
to considerable extent. Along the San Miguel River, in the western part, sev- 
eral attempts have been made to operate the placer beds on a more extensive 
scale with hydraulic appliances, but the results apparently have not proven very 

The most active mining section during the past four years had been near 
the western limits of the county, lying east of the La Sal Mountains. Owing 
to great distance from market only the higher grade ores may be handled profit- 


In the Ouray Plaindealer of January 21, 1890, there is told the story of the 
first mineral discovery in this section. 

The history of Ouray dates back to the founding of the Town of Ouray, in 
1875, when the little park was discovered by A. W. Begole and Jack Eckles, who 
came over from Green Mountain, above Howardsville (San Juan County), in 
July of that year, and got down as far as the Horseshoe, whence they saw the 
beautiful park that is now the site of Ouray. They went back for supplies, and 
returned on the nth of August following. Begole located the Cedar and Clipper 
lodes, covering hot springs and what is known as "'Ahlwiler's Park," after which 
they returned to San Juan, via Mineral Farm Hill. On their way through the 
Red Mountain country, they met a large number of prospectors, among them 
A. J. Staley, Logan Whitlock, Judge R. F. Long and Capt. M. W. Gine, to whom 
they related what they had seen and done. Long and Cline came down to hunt 
and fish, and while here Staley and Whitlock, who were of the party, discovered 
the Trout and Fisherman's lodes, which was, in fact, the first actual discovery 
of ore in place in the immediate vicinity of Ouray, as Begole only found "float" 
or "blossom" rock, and did not locate "Mineral Farm" until after the Trout and 
Fisherman had been discovered by Staley and Whitlock. Great excitement fol- 
lowed these events, and that season the valley was alive with prospectors from 
Silvertoh and Mineral Point. The town site was located and named by Long and 
Cline in honor of Chief Ouray. Quite a number remained through the winter, 
while others .went out to equip themselves for the next season, and tell the people 
in other sections of the wealth and wonderful beauty of the new country. Spring 
brought a great influx of people from Lake City and other points. It was also 
ascertained when spring came that a band of prospectors, among them Andy S. 
Richardson and William Quinn, had found their way into the Sneffels district, 
the preceding fall ; had located mining property which they had worked all win- 
ter, not knowing that the Town of Ouray had been founded, nor that any per- 
sons other than Ute Indians were between them and Utah. Nor did those in 
Ouray know there were any men in Sneffels. 



Mount Sneffels, the largest producing district, embraces the southwest corner 
of the county, or the properties tributary to Canon Creek. The most prominent 
mine or group in this district is the Camp Bird, in Imogene Basin. The Camp 
Bird vein, or some one of its near neighbors embraced in the group, is doubtless 
an east extension of the well-known Pandora vein, in San Miguel County. The 
strike of the vein is nearly east and west, and dips about 75 degrees, on an aver- 
age, to the south. 

When the Camp Bird was discovered prospecting was almost wholly prose- 
cuted for silver-lead ores, and gold assays were seldom asked for by prospectors 
when having their samples tested. The Camp Bird vein occupies a fissured zone. 
One of these fissures near the footwall was filled mainly with lead and zinc sul- 
phides carrying low values in silver, and was located and worked to a limited ex- 
tent for this ore, which, under existing market conditions, was of little value. 
Near the so-called hanging wall there is another band that near surface appeared 
to be an almost barren quartz. This was, when removed, thrown into the waste 
dump as worthless. The discovery of the value of this ore by Mr. Thomas F. 
Walsh, and later developments and production will long be remembered as an ob- 
ject lesson of whai "might have been." 

In 1895 Walsh was running a pyritic smelter in Silverton. He knew of the 
low-grade mines in the Imogene Basin and engaged an old prospector, Andy 
Richardson, to sample the dumps. One of the samples from the Gertrude dump 
contained 80 oz. of gold to the ton. Then Walsh, keeping his own counsel, 
determined to look over the ground for himself and take samples. Ill as he was, 
he rode on horseback with Richardson from Ouray to the basin and climbed up 
the steep trail. He was impressed. He could not enter the interior workings of 
the Gertrude and Una because the tunnel was buried beneath deep snow that had 
never melted in a dozen years. Before leaving, Walsh directed Richardson to 
dig through the snow and get samples from the tunnel that had never been fin- 
ished, the work .having been interrupted by snowslide. He believed there was 
gold in the vein. 

On a later trip Walsh went inside and carefully examined the walls of the 
vein, finding tellurium rich with gold. He broke off pieces of rock, filled his 
pockets and carried away sacks of samples, which he took with him to Leadville 
to be assayed. He got samples that ran as high as $3,000 to the ton. That was 
in September, 1896. Returning, he set quietly to work and gathered in pretty 
much all the claims in the Imogene Basin, buying them on tax titles for $10,000. 
He also paid Hubbard Reed $10,000 for the Una claim. In this group of claims 
the Gertrude and the Una formed the most valuable portion and constituted the 
bonanza afterward named the Camp Bird mine, which yielded $2,500,000 of 
gold before Walsh sold out, in 1902, for $5,100,000. 

The Camp Bird has been one of the largest gold mines in the world. With 
the exception of the Portland, it was probably the richest mine in Colorado. The 
output of the yellow metal from the wonderful Camp Bird for a long time varied 
from one to three million dollars a year. During the twenty years (1897-1916) 
it has added $25,000,000 to the money of the nation. 

The Red Mountain district embraces the southern portion of the county and 



This picture was drawn by A. E. Mathews, in the summer of 1865, and is from a point 
between Blake and Wazee streets. The name "F Street" was later changed to Fifteenth 


became famous for its rich copper-silver ores through the Yankee Girl, Guston 
and other mines. This section is practically tributary to Silverton, with which 
it is connected by the Silverton Railroad. 


The mining history of this section practically begins with the year 1870. The 
reported gold discoveries of that year resulted in a rush to that section in 1871. 
Introduction of mills followed during 1874-75. In 1883 this district gained the 
distinction of being the third largest gold producer in the state. Nine amalga- 
mation mills, aggregating 155 stamps, were at that time actively operated. The 
percentage of value saved by the mills was low, even from the highly oxidized or 
surface ores. As depth was gained the prevalence of base metals made milling 
unprofitable, and in 1893 the district was practically deserted. During the past 
few years there has been a gradual return to former activity. Not in search of 
the phenomenal pockets of "free gold ores," but through the application of ad- 
vanced methods in metallurgy to recover the values from the large low grade 

Summitville is now the principal mining camp of the county. This is near 
the site of Wightman's Gulch, where Tames L. Wightman and companions found 
gold in June. 1870. 


In 1864 the Hahns Peak gold placers were discovered by Captain Way, a 
prospector, who brought news of his find to Empire. The next spring Joseph 
Hahn, of Empire, and W. A. Doyle, of Blackhawk, organized a party of forty 
and inspected the field. Later Hahn and Doyle were left alone in the camp for 
the winter, and in their efforts to return for provisions Hahn died of cold and 
exhaustion. In 1874 the Purdy Mining Company employed 150 men on these 

In the vicinity of Hahns Peak there has been a large amount of exploit 
work done, but the search has been almost wholly devoted to "high-grade" ores, 
which occur in the veins in form of small pockets a,nd shoots at irregular inter- 

North and northwest of Hahns Peak are the Whiskey Park and Three Forks 
districts. Both of these districts, together with the Farwell district, east of the 
peak, have attracted considerable attention during the past few years. These 
combined districts embrace the territory between the Elk Head Mountains and 
Battle Lake, in Wyoming. Battle Lake is the leading mining center of what is 
better known as the Grand Encampment mining district. The ores in the districts 
above mentioned occur in fissures in granite-gneiss. In the Three Forks, lead- 
silver ores predominate ; in the Whiskey Park, lead-copper-silver, and in the 
Farwell, copper-silver. All the ores carry more or less gold values. 

Desultory mining or prospecting has been prosecuted along the granite-gneiss 
Park Range, from the Wyoming line to the Rabbit Ear Peak. 

In the Rabbit Ear district the ores are mainly lead-silver, and, although but 
little developed, appear to occur in quite large deposits. 


One of the most valuable resources of Routt' County is its large coal reserves, 
of which mention is made elsewhere. 


Chaffee County's beginnings are those of Lake County for until 1879 it was 
part of the region that had put Leadville on the world map. The first actual 
work 'in the way of mining was done at Kelly's Bar near Granite, for there were 
the gravel deposits which made small fortunes for the adventurous spirits who 
had come into this section. The old -Cache Creek placers were exploited as early 
as 1860 and among the men who a little later struggled with fate in this section 
was H. A. W. Tabor. Five placers were opened in those early days below 
Buena Vista and below the mouth of Cottonwood Creek. 

Great activity prevailed until 1862, when there was an exodus of many to 
other, supposed better, sections. Those remaining pursued mining in a lethargic 
manner; lode claims were located, mills installed and the success attained from 
the supposed exhausted placers and milling of the oxidized ores again attracted 
attention. These mining districts were therefore active during 1874-76. Soon 
after this the discoveries at Leadville became the center of attraction and the 
great revival of the mining industry, which reached its zenith in 1880, again popu- 
lated this section. The various mineral districts were thoroughly overhauled by 
the prospectors, and their favorable reports were productive of a short era of 
smelter and mill building. During the next few years the various prospects 
were gradually deserted for the supposed better fields in the San Juan and Creede 
districts, and finally for Cripple Creek. 

Notwithstanding the apparent willingness of the prospectors to leave this 
county and follow any new excitement, the successful operation and production 
of a few properties has always retained this section among the lists of producers. 
From 1897 to the present time interest in the mines of this county has been grad- 
ually increasing. The close of 1917 marks not only more active operation, but a 
great increase in the list of new operators, many of whom follow mining as a 
business and appreciate the advantages this section affords. In almost every 
mining district in the county there has been substantial improvement. 

The metal production from 1897 to 1901 inclusive amounted in value to over 
two million dollars. Fully half- of this was gold. Its lead, silver and copper 
output has also been quite heavy. The iron beds at Calumet have been operated 
systematically and the product was consumed by the iron and steel- works at 

The La Plata, Hope, and Red Mountain districts in the northwest portion of 
the county have been thoroughly prospected with fair results. Lode mining in the 
Dewey and Granite districts has attracted much attention in recent years. 

The Chalk Creek district has been successfully mined. The Mary Murphy 
was for years one of the best producers in the state. It first attracted attention 
in 1880. The erection of the lead smelter near Salida gave an impetus to mining 
in this section. It is interesting to note that from 1860 to 1901 the records of 
the county clerk at Buena Vista show the filings on placer claims, lode claims, 
mill sites and tunnel sites to aggregate nearly, fourteen thousand. The county 


abounds in mineral waters, both hot and cold. The most important are the Chalk 
Creek Hot Springs near Haywood, Poncho Springs and the waters at Collinwood. 


As early as 1867 Saguache had gained considerable prominence as a distribut- 
ing point, but the history of precious metal mining practically begins with 1879-80. 
During the years of 1880-81 it attained its greatest prominence. This result is 
largely attributable to the Gunnison excitement of these years. To reach this 
latter section the most favored route at that time was via Poncha Pass to 
Saguache, thence over Cochetopa Pass. Many who started to and returned from 
the Gunnison district remained in Saguache County. In the summer and fall 
of 1880 Cochetopa. Creek, Bonanza, Ford Creek and Crestone were active mining 
centers, especially that of Bonanza on Kerber Creek. During 1881-82 "locations" 
were recorded to the number of four thousand or more. Of these less than two 
hundred have been patented. This season of great activity was followed- by 
the usual period of mill and smelter construction, and afterwards, decline. Sev- 
eral years ago there was quite a revival of interest in" the Crestone section. This 
however, was quieted by litigation brought about by reason of locations having 
been made on one of the old Spanish land grants, known as Baca Land Grant 
No. 4. The litigation was finally adjudicated in favor of the Land Grant Com- 
pany, which company later declared the territory open to prospectors under cer- 
tain "rules and regulations." Within the past few years mining operations have 
again been revived, not only in the Crestone and Baca sections, but in all parts 
of the county, and indications favor a largely increased production for the future. 

The ore deposits of this county occur under variable conditions, that of fis- 
sure veins predominating. Locally blanket veins occur as replacement of the 
carboniferous limestone, but these deposits are not far distant from igneous 
dikes, intrusive or overlying sheets. The ores are variable and may only be gen- 
eralized. On the western slope the main value is in gold, often in free form 
or associated with iron pyrites in a hard milk-white quartz occurring in fissures 
in granite. On the eastern slope of the hills the veins are generally larger and 
fill fissures in the volcanic rocks. The ores below limit of oxidation are mainly 
sulphides of iron, copper, lead and zinc, carrying both silver and gold values. 


It was not until 1875 that the first prospector entered the country now form- 
ing San Miguel County, and it was during that year that the first location was 
made upon the great Smuggler vein. John Fallon was the locator of the Sheri- 
dan, locating in one day the Sheridan, the Emerald, the Ausboro, and what is 
now known as the Ajax lode. Mr. White, who was an associate of Mr. Fallon, 
located the extension of these claims, but did not have the same faith in their 
value that Mr. Fallon had. Mr. White allowed the year to go by without doing 
his $100 assessment, as was then required during the first year, and in 1876 all 
his locations were jumped. It was not until the Smuggler was located that the 
vein began to have a reputation. This location was made by J. B. Ingram, and 
was situated between the Sheridan and the Union whose boundary stakes had 


been set out to cover more than fifteen hundred feet of ground each. Very 
high grade ore was struck on the surface of the Smuggler and shipping began. 
The difficulties of transportation were great, it being necessary to first pack by 
burro train to Ouray, and then ship by wagon, 260 miles, to the end of the 
railroad. Moreover, for fully six months in the year the mine was inaccessible 
to pack trains. Transportation charges alone amounted to $60 a ton, and it took 
time to obtain returns. But the Smuggler had ore that could stand the expense. 
One shipment of four tons gave 800 ounces in silver and eighteen ounces in gold 
to the ton. 

The Mendota, just above the Sheridan, was located in 1878, the slide rock 
having made it difficult to find the vein. John Donnellan and William Everett 
were the locators and they, with a third man, worked a lease on the Sheridan 
during the winter of 1878, and ran 100 feet of tunnel on what is now the main 
level of the Sheridan. They took Out considerable ore which by careful sorting 
could pay the high charges of freighting and yet leave a good margin. 

Such were the beginnings of this prosperous camp, which has shown a great 
advance in lode mining since that beginning in 1875. 

The important mines in this district are the Smuggler-Union, Liberty Bell, 
and Tom Boy. There were added two more producing mines in 1914 the Weller 
mine and the La Junta. The La Junta has a fifty-stamp mill in operation. It 
is treating ores by amalgamation, concentration, and cyanidation. 

The only large vanadium mill in the state is located in this county. During 
the past year this mill has doubled its production. The mill is situated at the 
Town of Vanadium, about eight miles west of Telluride. For the past three 
years there has been a great deal of prospecting done in the western part of 
San Miguel County for uranium ores. There are a few mines in this section 
which have produced some high-grade uranium. There are also enormous bodies 
of low-grade ores in this part of the county. 


The mining history of this section practically begins with 1879. Prior to 
this the district had been passed over casually a number of times by prospectors, 
without any discoveries of importance being made. In the Leadville district the 
scramble for territory was followed by an exodus of the numerous prospectors 
who had gathered there to look for new fields. In common with Eagle and Sum- 
mit counties, the Continental Divide was crossed and the territory now embraced 
by Pitkin County was carefully prospected. That the experience and knowledge 
gained by the prospectors during their sojourn in the Leadville district was well 
utilized is demonstrated by the fact that during 1879 nearly all of the mining 
claims were located that have since made Aspen and surroundings prominent in 
the mining world. The general conditions connected with ore deposits in Lead- 
ville and Aspen are similar, and although the most active centers in Pitkin 
County were first in the vicinity of Ashcroft, Aspen Mountain and later Aspen 
were made prominent as early as 1883-84. Owing to inaccessibility to market, 
production was restricted until the fall of 1887, at which time the Denver & 
Rio Grande Railroad reached Aspen. The stimulus given mining by the advent 
of rail transportation was added to by the completion of the Colorado Midland 



Railroad to Aspen early the following spring. Production, which prior to this 
had been subjected to a freight charge of $50 to $100 per ton, could then be 
moved for $10 to $15 per ton. The result was a largely increased tonnage and 
a realized profit from ores that were valueless prior to the advent of railroads. 
Operations were in a short time conducted on a large scale, and the developed 
conditions of ore deposition were productive of litigation of like large propor- 
tions. The value of the ore product was almost wholly in silver, and the decline 
in market price of that metal in 1893 aided in restricting production. By this 
time the mines had attained greater depths, encountered heavy flows of water, 
and operating expenses had so increased that the raw ore could not, as a whole, be 
marketed at a profit. Mills were therefore erected and the values concentrated 
into smaller tonnage. 

The silver ores of the Aspen district are as a whole very low grade. High 
grade silver ores, which at first attracted general attention to this section, are 
still encountered, but are not of frequent enough occurrence to make operation 
for these alone profitable. The success attained in the milling of the low grade 
ores is second to that of no other section in the state and could be advantageously 
followed by various districts where existing conditions are even more favorable 
than at Aspen. 

This, like other mining counties, is somewhat indefinitely divided into local 
mining districts, viz., th^ Roaring Forks, including the territory adjacent to 
Aspen; Highland, south of Aspen; Columbia, south and east of Highland; In- 
dependence, southeast of Aspen and adjacent to Independence ; Lincoln, south 
and east of Independence ; Woody, north of Aspen ; Dry Pine, north of Woody ; 
Frying Pan, north and east of Woody. 

The first important apex case came out of this district. This was the case 
of the Durant vs. the Emma, and was tried before Judge Moses Hallett. Sena- 
tor Henry M. Teller and Charles J. Hughes, Jr., appeared for the "apex" claim- 
ant, and Charles S. Thomas and Thomas M. Patterson for the "sideliners." The 
verdict went to the Durant. 


Year Gold 

Previous to 1870 $27,213,081 

1870 3,015,000 

1871 3.633,951 

1872 2,646,463 

1873 1,835,248 

1874 2,065,595 

1875 ' 2,321,055 

1876 2,726,311 

1877 ..- 3,000,000 

1878 3,366,404 

1879 3,225,000 

1880 3,200,000 

1881 3,300,000 

1882 3,360,000 





S 40,000 







$ 5,000 





















i ,960,207 












Year Gold Silver Copper 

1883 < $4,100,000 $14,912,756 $182,751 

1884 4,250,000 13,984,066 278,801 

1885 4,200,000 13,014,927 127,435 

1886 4,450,000 12,313,404 44,990 

1887 v 4,000,000 1 1,345,608 226,350 

1888 3,758,ooo 13,813,906 270,059 

1889 3,833,859 17,199,486 426,250 

1890 4,150,000 19,665,245 945,ooo 

1891 4,600,000 20,906,554 883,400 

1892 . . : 5,300,000 23,082,600 837,375 

1893 7,527,ooo 20,205,785 765,535 

1894 9,549,73! 14,638,696 624,097 

1895 13,559,954 1 1,683,232 659,050 

1896 15,267,234 14,458,536 820,270 

1897 ; 19,579,637 12,692,448 960,917 

1898 23,534,531 13,690,265 1,304,504 

1899 26,508,676 13,771,731 1,295,611 

1900 28,762,036 12,488,775 1,293,012 

1901 27,679,445 10,901,366 i, 303/297 

1902 28,517,117 8,315,192 1,006,108 

1903 21,605,359 7,079,7n 1,033,643 

1904 24,223,008 7,416,157 1,205,607 

1905 25,577,947 7,743,719 1,536,266 

1906 - 22,588,734 8,499,735 1,844,002 

1907 20,471,527 7, 886 ,736 2,251,258 

1908 22,695,576 4,975,428 1,383,733 

1909 21,946,684 4,587,643 1,220,642 

1910 20,297,536 4,392,736 1,048,835 

1911 19,042,732 3,921,415 1,146,135 

1912 18,691,577 5,023,961 1,445,416 

1913 18,148,711 5,5!5,iO7 1,240,901 

1914 19,883,105 4,864,224 883,010 

i9!5 22,414,944 3,563,182 1,244,694 

i9 l6 19,153,821 5,038,006 2,121,524 








2,429,67 1 

$604,776,589 $452,467,356 .$35,245,862 $166,111,038 

Year Zinc 

J 902 $2,544,993 

1904 3,313,788 

1905 4,774,498 

1906 5,298,602 

TOO; 5,275,377 

1908 1,798,603 




Radium, etc. 






Year Zinc Tungsten Radium, etc. 

1909 $2,295,046 $390,000 $310,000 

1910 3.366>437 7 2 5,o 625,000 

191 1 '. 5,696,188 370,200 945,000 

1912 8,591,624 455,000 1,028,000 

1913 6,218,607 625,000 1,750,000 

1914 4,935,623 295,000 2,750,000 

1915 12,969,779 1,684,250 1,000,000 

1916 17,994,252 5,325,000 1,650,000 

$89,426,681 $11,224,450 $10,596,000 


Adams County Coal, brick clay, sand, gravel, some stone of little economic 

Alamosa County Brick clay, sand, some gravel, little stone of commercial 

Arapahoe County Coal, brick clay, sand, some gravel, some stone of little 
commercial value. 

Archuleta County Undeveloped and largely unproved metal deposits, carry- 
ing uncertain values in gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc, a considerable part of 
the county lies in what is known as the gold belt, but lack of transportation 
facilities has hindered development ; abundance of building stone, chiefly granite 
and sandstone ; clay deposits of uncertain value. 

Baca County Has produced small quantities of silver and copper, in the 
southwestern part, the deposits having been but little developed because of lack 
of transportation facilities; extensive undeveloped deposits of clay, sand, gravel 
and stone. 

Bent County Clay of many varieties, suitable for brick, earthenware and 
drain tile ; glass sand, building sand, gravel and stone. 

Boulder County Gold, silver, copper, lead, barium (barite), cerium (allan- 
ite), tungsten, molybdenum, bismuth sulphide, asbestos, antimony (stibnite), 
cement materials, coal, clay of many varieties, including kaolin and fire clay, 
fluor spar, granite of many varieties, limestone, marble, amber, mercury (small 
deposits), -petroleum, natural gas, pyrite, antimony sulphide, sandstone of many 
varieties, sand gravel, wide variety of road metal, several varieties of shale. 

Chaff ee County Gold, silver, lead, zinc, aquamarine, beauxite, (aluminum) 
beryl, bismuth, bismuthinite, bismutite and tetradymite, brochantite, corundum, 
cuprite, epodite, fluor spar, fuller's earth, asbestos, garnet, granite, building and 
monumental, graphite, iron, clay of many varieties, limestone and other cement 
materials, magnetic iron ore, marble, mimetite, arsenate and chloride of lead, 
molybdenite (silicate of beryllium), phenacite, platinum, magnetic iron pyrites, 
sapphire, building sand, zinc blende, a wide variety of building stone. 

Cheyenne County Clays of uncertain value, building sand, stone of doubt- 
ful economic value. 

, JR 


Clear Creek County Gold, silver, lead, copper, zinc, antimony (polybasite 
and stibnite), beryl, bluestone, corundum, fluor spar, granite, mica, pitchblende, 
platinum, pyrite, tungsten, clays of unproved value, and extensive undeveloped 
deposits of building stone. 

Conejos County Gold, silver, copper, zinc and lead deposits, chiefly un- 
developed; granite, sandstone and other building stone; clay, sand, gravel and 

Costilla County Gold, silver and perhaps other metals, little developed; 
granite, sandstone and other building materials, undeveloped ; magnetic iron ore, 
clays, building sand and potash. 

Crowley County Clays of uncertain value, building sand, road surfacing 
material, some stone. 

Custer County Gold, silver, lead, zinc, copper, alunite, fluor spar, nickel (anna- 
bergite and niccolite), gypsum, granite, sandstone, and a variety of building stone, 

Delta County Coal, gypsum, oil shale, granite, sandstone and other building 
stone, little developed ; sand, gravel, clays of wide variety, mostly undeveloped. 

Dolores County Gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, carnotite, fluor spar, gypsum, 
antimony (polybasite), rhodochrisite, zinc blende, stephanite, granite, sandstone 
and other stone suitable for building purposes, undeveloped ; clays of a wide 
variety, wholly undeveloped. 

Douglas County Gold, silver, coal, sandstone, granite, limestone, allanite, 
amazon stone, clay of good quality, but little developed, suitable for pressed brick, 
earthenware, drain tile, terra cotta and similar purposes; fluor spar, lava stone 
and a wide variety of building stone, partially developed. 

Eagle County Gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, carnotite, gypsum, manganese, 
sandstone, granite and other building stone, little developed ; manganosiderite 
(carbonate of manganese and iron), turquoise. 

Elbert County Coal, clay, several varieties, undeveloped ; sandstone and 
other building stone of uncertain value; sand and gravel, suitable for road build- 
ing and similar purposes. 

El Paso County Coal, clays of wide variety and considerable value for brick, 
earthenware and similar purposes ; also good fire clay ; fluor spar, aluminum 
(cryolite), granite, gypsum, phenacite, smoky quartz and similar gem stones, sand- 
stone and other building stone, partially developed. 

Fremont County Coal, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, nickel (niccolite), 
tourmaline, agate, rose quartz, garnet, amethyst, beryl and similar gem stones; 
lithium (amblygonite), clay of good quality, asbestos, limestone and other cement 
materials in large quantities, petroleum, natural gas, granite of good quality, some 
development; gypsum, lava, mica, lithium and aluminum (amblygonite), building 
sand, sandstone of good quality, partially developed. 

Garfield County Gold, silver, copper, carnotite, clay of many varieties, un- 
developed, cassiterite, (ore carrying tin), coal, granite, asphaltic rock, sandstone 
and other building stone in abundance, but undeveloped and of uncertain value. 

Gilpin County Gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, arcenopyrite, pitchblende, 
pyrite, fluor spar, stone of wide variety, little developed ; a wide variety of clays. 

Grand County Gold, silver, asphaltic rock, antimony (stibnite), bituminous 
rock, clay of wide variety ; molybdenite, asphaltic sandstone, antimony sulphide. 


Gunnison County Gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, aluminum, arcenopyrite, 
antimony, bismuth, sulphur, coal, clays of many varieties, including good fire 
clay, graphite, granite, in abundance, of good quality; iron, (magnetic iron ore 
and hematite), limestone, cobalt (erythrite and smaltite), manganese, marble, 
molybdenum, nickel, oil shale, onyx, mineral paint, platinum, sandstone, slate, 
tungsten, grindstone and other abrasive stones. 

Hinsdale County Gold, silver, copper, lead, alunite, amethyst, iron, pyrite, 
oxide of manganese, wide varieties of stone, undeveloped ; clay, sand and similar 
materials, undeveloped. 

Huerfano County Coal, clay, building stone, including much basalt, a wide 
variety of good sands and other similar materials, little developed ; gold. 

Jackson County Coal, stone and clay, undeveloped. 

Jefferson County Coal, valuable clays, including plastic clay, kaolin, fire clay 
and good clay for the manufacture of earthenware and china ; wide varieties of 
building stone, limestone, granite, sandstone, aquamarine, beryl, columbite, copper, 
fluor spar, gold, (in small quantities) pitchblende, magnetic iron pyrites, rose 
quartz, zeolites. 

Kiowa County Clay and sand of uncertain value ; some building stone of 
little economic value. 

Kit Carson County Clay of uncertain value ; sand and stone of several 
varieties, but of doubtful economic value. 

Lake County Gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, alunite, bismuth, iron ore, 
mostly manganiferous, manganese, geslarite or hydrous zinc sulphate, cadmium 
sulphate, (greenockite), topaz, wide varieties of stone of little proved economic 
value ; clay. 

La Plata County Gold, silver, copper, lead, aikinite (compound containing 
lead, copper, bismuth and sulphur), amalgam, bismuth sulphide, bismutite, cin- 
nabar (mercury ore), coal, clay, cosalite (compound of lead, bismuth and sulphur), 
limestone and wide variety of other stone, including sandstone, granite and other 
good building stone ; quicksilver, building sand, of wide variety and considerable 

Larimer County Marble, granite, wide variety of clay and sand ; copper, 
gypsum, limestone, bismuth, (bismuthinite), sandstone of good quality, marble, 
granite, mica, pyrite, rose quartz, tourmaline. 

Las Animas County Coal, clay, graphite, sand, building stone of several 
varieties, including granite, sandstone and limestone. 

Lincoln County Clay of uncertain and unproved value, sand and gravel and 
some stone of uncertain value. 

Logan County Clay of no high value, sand and gravel and stone of appar- 
ently little commercial value. 

Mesa County Copper, coal, carnotite, clay, mica, petroleum, oil shale, lime- 
stone, sandstone and a variety of other building stone, sand. 

Mineral County Gold, silver, copper, sulphur, barium (barite), lead, zinc, 
fluor spar, alunite, granite, sandstone, limestone and other stone not developed, 
sand and gravel in abundance, undeveloped. 

Moffat County Gold, silver, coal, clay, carnotite, oil shale, wide variety of 
stone. Nearly all mineral deposits, including coal, largely undeveloped ; amethyst. 

Montezuma County Gold, silver, lead, aikinite, coal, clay, stone, sand, gravel 


and other similar materials not extensively developed because of lack of trans- 
portation facilities. 

Montrose County Gold, silver, copper, carnotite and other radium bearing 
ores, coal, oil shale, petroleum, clay, sand stone and other similar materials but 
little developed. 

Morgan County Clays, stone and sand, of comparatively little proved com- 
mercial value. 

Otero County Clays of good quality, stone, sand and gravel of little proved 
commercial value. 

Ouray County Gold, silver, lead, copper, zinc, tungsten, bismuth, iron 
(pyrite), antimony (polybasite), alunite, clay of wide variety, granite, sandstone, 
limestone and many other varieties of stone, undeveloped. 

Park County Gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, vanadium (volborthite), fluor 
spar, manganese (alabandite), coal, beryl, bismuth (beegerite), clay, sandstone, 
limestone, granite and other building stone, little developed. 

Phillips County Clay of little proved value, sand and some stone. 

Pitkin County Gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, antimony (polybasite), coal, 
iron (bornite), hematite, magnetite, pyrite (siderite), arsenic, (pearcite), barium 
(barite), clay and stone almost wholly undeveloped. 

Prowers County Clay of good quality, excellent glass sand, stone of several 
varieties but of doubtful commercial value. 

Pueblo County Clay of many varieties, including good fire clay, sand of good 
quality, including some glass sand, excellent stone, including good sandstone, 
marble and granite, large deposits of limestone. 

Rio Blanco County Coal, carnotite, oil shale, petroleum, asphaltic rock, lime- 
stone, sandstone, granite, sands of many varieties, including asphaltic sands, ex- 
cellent road making material. 

Rio Grande County Gold, silver, copper, sand, asbestos, alunite, lava, sand- 
stone, clay, granite and many varieties of stone, not widely developed. 

Routt County Gold, silver, copper, lead, coal, corundum, clay, asphaltic rock, 
sand and wide variety of building stone, but little developed. 

Saguache County Gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron, alunite, amethyst, 
manganese (pyrolusite), sand, clay, building stone of several varieties. 

San Juan County Gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, tungsten, iron (marcasite, 
pyrite, pyrrhotite), arsenic (arsenopyrite), bluestone, fluor spar, molybdenite, 
antimony (bournonite, polybasite, stibnite), a wide variety of stone of doubtful 
commercial value, clay, utilized to some extent for brick. 

San Miguel County Gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, carnotite and other 
radium-bearing ores, antimony (polybasite), tungsten, barite, fluor spar, arseno- 
pyrite, enargite (sulpharsenate of copper), iron (marcasite, pyrite), minium, 
barium (barite), platinum (in small quantities), stone of many varieties, like- 
wise clay and sand. 

Sedgwick County Plenty of clay, some of which has been utilized for mak- 
ing brick; sand, stone, of doubtful economic value. 

Summit County Gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron (brown iron ore), 
manganese (rhodochrosite), molybdenum, stone of many varieties, undeveloped, 
also sand and clay. 



Teller County Gold, silver, fluor spar, molybdenite, antimony (stibnite), 
topaz, phenacite, tourmaline, volcanic ash, stone of wide variety, clay and sand. 

Washington County Clay, used sparingly for brick, tiuor spar, stone of little 
economic value, fuller's earth, sand and gravel. 

Weld County Coal, clay, stone, sand, gravel. 

Yuma County Clay, used to a limited extent for brick, sand, gravel and stone 
of uncertain economic value. 







The smelter history of Colorado had its actual beginning in January, 1868, 
when Prof. Nathaniel P. Hill opened his smelter at Blackhawk. The crude 
Burdsall smelter at Nevadaville had been destroyed immediately after its erection 
in 1861, but it is doubtful if its operation would have solved the great problem 
of the day. 

When Professor Hill built his smelter it was necessary to send the metal to 
Swansea, Wales, where the gold, silver and copper were separated from the com- 
bination. This was, however, done for a brief period only, as Professor Hill 
and his associates, the success of the smelter assured, soon built their own refinery. 
Nathaniel P. Hill, the father of the smelting industry in Colorado, was a professor 
of chemistry at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. To him practically 
every manufacturer in Rhode Island brought his chemical problem, with a feel- 
ing of confidence that his keen analytical mind would solve it. 

And thus it was that some thought perhaps this problem of the refractory ores 
of Gilpin County could be solved by this genius. Of one thing they felt assured: 
If he undertook the task he would not give it up until he had either solved it or 
knew that it could not be solved. 


When Hill, on the invitation of capitalists, came into Gilpin County he found 
the camp nearly deserted. The task had been a hopeless one to most of those 
men, and they had given it up, for they had found it impossible to wrest from 
these iron and copper sulphides the rich gold stains that lay within them. Stamp- 
ing was of no avail, for the gold was plainly held in a chemical combination, and 
the product obtainable was hardly 25 per cent, of actual gold values. Professor 
Hill made two trips to Colorado. He took small quantities of ore with him to 
Swansea, and to Freiberg, Germany, where the celebrated school of mines is 



located. Finally he returned with a Swansea metallurgist, and with the process 
fairly well outlined in his own mind. They had succeeded with small quantities. 
Could they duplicate their success with a large tonnage? It was an expensive 
proposition this of carting seventy-two tons taken from the Bobtail mine over the 
prairies to the Missouri River, and thence to Swansea. 


When Professor Hill returned with his smelting process completed, the Bos- 
ton and Colorado Smelting Company was organized. Construction was begun 
in 1867, and a stated operation began in January, 1868, and the first matte was 
shipped to Swansea in June, 1868. 

The first smelter consisted of a calcining furnace, and a small reverberatory. 
The fire brick was shipped by rail from St. Louis to the terminus of the road, 
and then 600 miles by wagon. The iron cost 22 cents a pound, and skilled labor 
$8.00 to $10.00 a day. The smelting charges were $20 to $45 a ton. 

In 1869 the works consisted of two reverberatories for roasting and two for 
smelting, together with roast heaps in the open air. In 1878 the plant was re- 
moved to Argo, near Denver. 


In April, 1872, Richard Pearce, of Swansea, Wales, built the Swansea smelter 
(capacity eight tons in twenty-four hours) near Empire, Clear Creek County, 
similar in design to the Hill smelter. Owing to the deficiency of iron pyrites 
the smelter was operated steadily only about one month in 1872, but in 1873, it 
was operated intermittently, the deficiency being supplied from Gilpin County. No 
mention of the Swansea smelter is made in reports subsequent to 1874, and it was 
probably closed when Pearce took over the superintendency of the plant at Black- 
hawk and lead smelters were erected at Golden. Mr. Pearce apparently started 
at the Swansea smelter his experiments for the extraction of silver from the 
matte and carried the results of these experiments to Blackhawk. 

Early in 1871 the plant consisted of two calcining furnaces for tailings, which 
were too finely pulverized to be roasted in heaps, two Gerstenhofer or terrace 
furnaces for calcining (never satisfactorily operated), and two reverberatory 
smelting furnaces. The plant was enlarged during the summer of 1871 by one 
smelting furnace, a reverberatory of the same type as the two older ones. In 
1872 a blast furnace was added for re-working slags obtained by the treatment 
of zinciferous silver ores. 

From the beginning of operations this company had shipped its copper matte 
to Swansea, Wales, for separation, but in the summer of 1873 Richard Pearce 
built separating works at Blackhawk for this smelter, and the first silver bullion. 
0.998 fine, was turned out early in November. The residue was shipped to 
Boston for the recovery of the gold and copper. 


In 1875 Pearce invented a process for the separation of the gold, silver, and 
copper, at Blackhawk. This process was not made public until after the de- 


cision in 1908 to close and dismantle the smelter at Argo, a suburb of Denver, to 
which the smelter had been removed in 1878 from Blackhawk, because of the ex- 
pansion of business and the need of closer accessibility to fuel supplies. The 
refinery at Argo was destroyed by fire in 1906 and was not rebuilt. The fires of 
the smelting furnaces were finally "out" on March 17, 1910. 

It was at the Argo smelter that Richard Pearce developed the smelting of 
copper ore in reverberatories, gradually working up from 5-ton to loo-ton fur- 
naces. The works at one time included five furnaces, later reduced to two, and 
finally to one (1909-10). In 1900 the Argo works were the only works in the 
United States that smelted gold and silver ores to matte exclusively in reverbera- 
tory furnaces. Copper at Argo was merely a vehicle, and only sufficient cupri- 
ferous ore was employed to make sure of thoroughly collecting the precious 
metals, the average charge smelted containing less than 2 per cent copper. The 
ores treated comprised pyritic (auriferous) ores and concentrates from Gilpin 
County and elsewhere, barytic silver ores from Aspen and Creede, siliceous, 
telluride and other gold ores from Cripple Creek, and any and every kind of 
ore containing gold and silver and not too rich in lead. 


While the Hill smelter at Blackhawk had the distinction of being the first 
successful smelter of the district and with its successor at Argo played a most im- 
portant part in the development of this region, several other smelters were also in 
operation at different times. In 1872 there were in operation the Swansea matte 
smelter at Swansea, near Empire; a matte smelter at the Whale mill (now a part 
of the Stanley mill), near Idaho Springs ; and a lead smelter at Golden (Bayley & 
Sons or Golden City Smelting Works). In 1873 a lead smelter (Denver Smelting 
Works) was established at Denver. In 1875 the Collom Company, which already 
had separating and concentrating works at Idaho Springs and Blackhawk, com- 
pleted a lead smelter at Golden. The Golden Smelting Co.'s plant was con- 
structed at Golden in the same year. This plant, which started in September, was 
first operated as a lead smelter, but as the supply of galena proved inadequate, it 
was altered to a copper-matte smelter. Golden became for a short time a smelting 
center of some importance. In 1880 three plants were in operation there, but from 
1884 to 1888, inclusive, only one was in operation. In 1901 the Golden semi- 
pyritic plant was built by F. R. Carpenter according to plans developed at Rapid 
City and Deadwood, South Dakota, for the purpose of treating highly pyritic ores 
from Gilpin and Clear Creek counties. The smelter, operated for several years by 
the Clear Creek Mining & Reduction Co., smelted large quantities of ore from 
the Saratoga mine, which the company controlled, also ore bought in the open 
market. In April, 1910, this plant, after the addition of a reverberatory, was re- 
opened as the North American semipyritic plant for the treatment of copper and 
pyritic ores of Gilpin, Clear Creek, and other counties, and was operated inter- 
mittently until November, 1911. Its building is still -intact, but none of the other 
plants at Golden are standing. 

About the time the owners of the Argo plant were planning to go out of busi- 
ness, a new matte smelter, styled the Modern, with McDonald furnace, went into 
blast on October 22, 1909, at Utah Junction, a short distance from Globeville, 


on ores purchased in the market from Clear Creek, Gilpin, Lake, and other coun- 
ties, but it was closed in April, 1910, and was never opened again, being dismantled 
in 1915-16. 

The American Smelting- & Refining Co.'s Globe plant, at Denver, now 
treats most of the ores of this region. Some ore from Georgetown and Rollins- 
ville goes to the Ohio and Colorado Smelting & Refining Co.'s plant, at Salida. 
Zinc ores and concentrates from Georgetown and Idaho Springs go to the United 
States Zinc Co.'s plant, at Blende, and to smelter plants in Kansas and Oklahoma. 

The smelting and milling charges in the early days of the development of the 
region seem prohibitive compared with those now in vogue. The prices paid by 
the Blackhawk smelter previous to January i, 1870, are shown in the following 
schedule, which was not, however, invariably adhered to. 


Ounces of Percentage Ounces of Percentage 

fine gold of the value fine gold of the value 

per ton of the gold per ton of the gold 

of 2,000 and copper of 2,000 and copper 

pounds paid pounds paid 

10 60 5 45 

9 58 4 40 

8 55 3 30 

7 52.5 2 20 

6 50 

The precious metals in the ores were up to 1874 never paid for below a cer- 
tain minimum, which for silver was 40 ounces and for gold i l /2 ounces. In 
July, 1874, an arrangement was adopted whereby the Blackhawk smelter paid for 
gold ores at the rate of 85 per cent of the total value of the gold and silver con- 
tained after deducting $35 (currency) a ton for treatment. The gold was esti- 
mated at $20 an ounce and the silver at $1.25 (gold) an ounce, with the premium 
(3 per cent below New York quotations) added. 

The above details are from (jovernment reports by Messrs. Bastin, Hender- 
son and Hill, published in 1917. 


After this the smelter industry assumed vast proportions. In 1877 the Ar- 
kansas Valley smelter, one of the largest in the country, was opened at Leadville, 
for the ores here were lead carbonates, and, like the sulphides, had to be smelted. 
James B. Grant, later governor of the state, another graduate of the School of 
Mines at Freiberg, Germany, together with N. H. James, built what was called 
the Grant smelter, at Leadyille, but as this was burned in 1882, these men, to- 
gether with E. W. Nash and Burton Sewell, built the Omaha and Grant smelter 
at Denver. Nash and Sewell put up the refinery at Omaha to handle the bul- 
lion. Another of these Freiberg graduates, and one of the ablest, was Anton 
Filers, who came to Leadville in its opening days. He secured ample capital to 


back him and put up the Eilers smelter at Pueblo, which in a few years became 
one*of the greatest plants of its kind in the world. By 1900 the smelting capacity 
at Pueblo was 2,000 tons daily in smelters owned by The Colorado Smelting 
Company, the Philadelphia Smelting & Refining Company, the original Guggen- 
heim plant, and The Pueblo Smelting Company. 

By 1889 there were four large smelters operating in Leadville, the Arkansas 
Valley, the American, the*Harrison reduction works and the Manville or Elgin 
smelter. These were all prospering, and were using the fine coal and coke pro- 
duced in the Jerome Park mines near Glenwood Springs. 

In 1901 the plant of The Buena Vista Smelting & Refining Company, de- 
stroyed by fire in 1900, had been replaced and was in active operation. The Ohio 
and Colorado Smelting Company was completing its plant just above Salida. 
They had an aggregate capacity of 1,200 tons daily. 

In 1886 Edward R. Holden, backed by C. B. Kountze and Dennis Sheedy, 
Denver bankers, built the Globe smelter, at Denver. 

Meyer Guggenheim, a shrewd investor, had come to Colorado from the 
East, where he was one of the largest importers of Swiss laces in the country. 
Switzerland was his fotherland. He had taken over a Colorado mine, the "A J. 
& Minnie" and one of his sons, Benjamin Guggenheim, was placed in charge. 
This was in the halcyon days of Leadville and every property looked like ready 
money. With ample capital at his command the elder Guggenheim decided to 
go into the more certain end of the business, that of smelting and with E. R. 
Holden, who had just put up the Globe, and in which he also interested Mr. 
Guggenheim, formed The Denver Smelting Company, $500,000 capital, expect- 
ing to locate at the capital. In this respect, as well as in the matter of money 
needed for the enterprise, they altered their plans. They changed the title to 
the Philadelphia Smelting & Refining Company, a tribute to the city in which 
the elder Guggenheim had had his first great success; and in 1888 erected the 
Philadelphia smelter, which eventually cost $1,250,000. 

In 1893 the panic hit the smelters as well as the mines, but the slump, at 
least with the smelters, was not of long duration or as utterly disastrous as in 
some of the silver-mining districts. 

In 1899 eighteen of the largest smelting concerns in the country organized the 
American Smelting & Refining Company, with a capital of $65,000,000. Into 
this came the Standard Oil interests, represented by H. H. Rogers. That fa- 
mous "Freiberg" trio, James B. Grant, Anton Eilers and G. R. Meyer, who had 
constructed a plant at Argentine, near Kansas City, joined the combination with 
their plants. Dennis Sheedy represented the "Globe" in the consolidation, and 
E. W. Nash, the first president, representing with Governor Grant both the 
Omaha refinery and the Omaha & Grant smelter. Thus the Colorado plants in 
the first combine were The Colorado Smelting Company and The Pueblo Smelt- 
ing Company plant at Pueblo, the Durango at Durango, the Omaha & Grant and 
the Globe at Denver, and the Arkansas Valley & Bimetallic at Leadville. Out- 
side of the state eleven smelting and refining companies were in the consolida- 
tion. This new company, the American Smelting & Refining Company, was in- 
corporated on April 4, 1899, as a New Jersey corporation. The only large Colo- 
rado concern not in the new company was that owned by the Guggenheims in 
Pueblo.- They, however, had two Mexican smelters and a refinery at Perth 


Amboy, New Jersey, to assist them in their fight on the new combination. Now be- 
gan an era of good mine contracts, in which liberal propositions were made to mine 
owners, and within two years the Guggenheims were able to enter the combina- 
tion and control it. The American Smelting & Refining Company in 1901 paid 
the Guggenheims $45,200,000 in stock, one-half common and one-half pre- 
ferred. In the market on the date of the sale the value of this was over $35,- 

In 1910 when the Grant and other Colorado plants had been dismantled or 
shut down, there were lefin Colorado as the possession of the American Smelt- 
ing & Refining Company: at Denver, the Globe, seven furnaces, annual capacity, 
322,000 tons; at Pueblo, the Pueblo, 328,000 tons annual capacity; the Eilers, 
295,000 tons; at Durango, the Durango, 146,000 tons annual capacity; at Lead- 
ville, the Arkansas Valley, 509,000 tons annual capacity. 

In 1917 the Colorado smelters, controlled by the American Smelting & Re- 
fining Company, the Globe, Pueblo, Arkansas Valley and Durango, reported 
production of metals as follows: gold, $3,467,186; silver, $4,373,609; lead, $4- 
488,041; copper, $1,807,992; total, $14,136,826. 





The history of mining in Colorado would be incomplete without a reference 
to the development of hydro and steam power plants and their application to the 
operating of the mines of the state. Thus The Colorado Power Company now 
supplies power to mining territory from Twin Lakes on the south, Redcliff on 
the west, through the sulphide belt and into Boulder County. This company, on 
January i, 1918, was serving 275 metalliferous mining properties with a total 
of 30,000 horse power and with installations ranging from 20 to 2,000 horse 


The use of the streams of Colorado for power purposes began in a small way 
with the advent of manufacturing. But not until November 13, 1906, was it 
undertaken on what may well be called a gigantic scale. The idea of harnessing 
the Grand River occurred first to Leonard E. Curtis and Henry Hine, two promi- 
nent engineers of Colorado Springs. On the date above mentioned they incorpo- 
rated The Central Colorado Power Company, with a capita} of $22,500,000. This 
was the final outcome of a long series of tests and of experimentation stretch- 
ing over a decade. 

The incorporators and first directors of the new company were : Myron T. 
Herrick, David H. Moffat, J. R. McKee, Henry Hine, Leonard E. Curtis, Copley 
Amory, J. A. Hayes, Orlando B. Wilcox, Charles A. MacNeill, George B. Tripp, 
Horace G. Lunt, George R. Bucknan, and T. P. Hanscom. 

In the articles of incorporation its purposes was declared to be the diverting 
of, and appropriating for power purposes, the water from the Grand River, and 
the building of a storage reservoir to accommodate the waters of Williams 

Messrs. Curtis and Hine undertook the construction of a finely planned sys- 



tern at Shoshone, on the Grand River, near Glenwood Springs, securing a head 
or fall of 165 to 170 feet. 

The prospect looked feasible, and its construction was progressing so satis- 
factorily that a second company was formed on May 13, 1907, and known as 
The Eastern Colorado Power Company, with Horace G. Lunt, John T. Adams 
and Henry Hine as incorporators. The purpose of' this was to build a dam at 
Nederland in Boulder County, with a complete plant on Middle Boulder Creek. 


The original incorporators soon found that the two projects required a far 
greater expenditure of money than had been anticipated. But eastern capital 
was looking westward. The largest operators in the electric field, the General 
Electric, the Westinghouse-Kerr Company, H. M. Byllesby & Co., of Chicago, 
were directing their eyes to the Colorado field. 

In the adjustments which followed, both hydro plants, at Shoshone and in 
Boulder County, were completed, and on April I, 1913, the properties of the 
two companies were taken over by The Colorado Power Company, which has 
since been extending its field of operations. 

The following statement was issued by the State Board of Utilities for this 
history in January, 1918: 

"The Colorado Power Company with general offices in the Symes Building, 
Denver, Colorado, operates hydro-electric plants at Shoshone, Boulder and Sa- 
lida. The company also operates the property of The United Hydro Electric 
Company, which has a hydro-electric plant near Georgetown. The capacity of 
these hydro-electric developments is as follows : 

"Shoshone 18,000 h. p. 

"Boulder 21,000 h. p. 

"Salida 1,900 h. p. 

"Georgetown (United Hydro) i,45 h. p. 

"Total : 42,350 h. p. 


"This company also operates steam plants at Leadville and Georgetown. The 
plants at Shoshone, Boulder, Leadville and Georgetown are tied together by means 
of a 100,000 volt transmission line. At Salida, there are two small hydro-electric 
plants having a combined capacity of 1,900 h. p., and there is in addition a steam 
reserve plant located in the Town of Salida. The steam reserve plant and the 
hydro plant are tied together by means of a 17,000 volt transmission line. 

"In addition to the above plants, The Colorado Power Company operates 
steam plants at Alamosa, Monte Vista and Sterling. The territory served by 
this company is as follows : Alamosa, Monte Vista, Salida, Monarch, Leadville, 
Redcliff, Georgetown, Lawson, Idaho Springs, Nederland, Sterling and lliff. In 
addition, the surplus output of this company, known as "dump" power, is sold 
to The Denver Gas & Electric Light Company. 

"The officers of The Colorado Power Company, January, 1918, were : Presi- 
dent, George H. Walbridge, New York City; first vice president, Sidney Z. 
Mitchell, New York City; second vice president, L. P. Hammond, New York 
City; secretary, Irwin W. Day, New York City; treasurer, John Connell, Den- 

YUMA IN 1885 


ver, Colorado; assistant treasurer, A. E. Smith, Denver, Colorado; assistant 
treasurer, J. J. Sherwin, Denver, Colorado; attorney, William V. Hodges, Den- 
ver, Colorado; general manager, Norman Read, Denver, Colorado. 

"Directors: Bulkeley Wells, chairman, Telluride, Colorado; A. C. Bedford, 
New York City; Irving W. Bonbright, New York City; Irwin W. Day, New 
York City ; L. P. Hammond, New York City ; George C. Lee, Boston, Massachu- 
setts ; J. R. -McKee, New York City; Sidney Z. Mitchell, New York City; F. C. 
Walcott, New York City; George H. Walbridge, New York City; O. B. Wilcox, 
New York City." 

The Colorado Power Company is controlled by Bonbright & Co., of New 
York, which firm also is closely identified with the General Electric interests. 

On April 26, 1906, The Northern Colorado Power Company was organized, 
with William J. Barker, Thomas Keely and Robert S. Ellison as incorporators. 

Its capital stock was $50,000. and it began its operations in Weld, Boulder 
and'Larimer counties, with the following directors: William J. Barker, Thomas 
Keely, Charles C. Bromley. James P. Miller, William Mayer, Francis E. War- 
ren, Wm. F. Crossley, Joseph J. Henry and Walter S. Schuylerare. 


In the financial readjustment which followed, the Westinghouse-Kerr Com- 
pany became interested in the proposition. The following is from the statement 
issued in January, 1918, by the State Board of Utilities: 

"The Western Light & Power Company with principal offices at Boulder, Col- 
orado, was organized May i, 1915, taking over at that time the holdings of The 
Northern Colorado Power Company, which latter company was organized April 
26, 1906. This company serves either directly or indirectly the following terri- 
tory: Boulder, Lafayette, Louisville, Superior, Dacona, Erie, Frederick, Long- 
mont, Niwot, Mead, Berthoud, Loveland. Gilcrest, Windsor, Wellington, Greeley, 
Eaton, Ault, Pierce, Platteville, Fort Lupton, Milliken, Johnstown, La Salle, 
Evans and Kersey. The company also owns and operates gas and electric 
'properties at Cheyenne, Wyoming, but there is at this time no physical connec- 
tion between the Colorado and Wyoming properties. In addition to supplying 
the power and lighting requirements of the above communities, this company 
supplies practically all of the power requirements for the northern Colorado lig- 
nite and coal fields. 

"The entire output of this company, with the exception of the small amount 
of power purchased from The Colorado Power Company, is generated by means 
of a steam power plant located in the coal fields near Lafayette. The power re- 
quirements of the Denver & Interurban Railroad are likewise furnished from 
the Lafayette plant. The capacity of the plant at Lafayette, exclusive of that 
portion used for supplying the power requirements of the Denver & Interurban 
Railroad, is 5,000 kilowatts. 

"The officers of The Western Light & Power Company, on January I, 1918, 
were: President, Guy E. Tripp, New York City; first vice president, H. U. 
Wallace, Boulder, Colorado; secretary, John Seager, New York City; treasurer, 
John Seager, New York City; auditor, E. E. Sherman, Boulder, Colorado; at- 


torney, M. C. Goss, Boulder, Colorado ; general manager, H. U. Wallace, Boulder, 

"Directors: Guy E. Tripp, New York City; John Seager, New York City; 
N. C. McPherson, New York City; J. R. Hall, New York City; H. H. Wehra- 
hane, New York City ; A. Rothbarth, New York City ; A. W. Krech, New York 
City; A. L. Kramer, New York City; J. Imbrie, New York City; H. U. Wal- 
lace, Boulder, Colorado ; J. A. Davis, Boulder, Colorado ; T. H. Eaves, Fort Col- 
lins, Colorado; W. B. Lowry, Denver, Colorado. 


"The Arkansas Valley Railway, Light & Power Company with principal of- 
fices in Pueblo operates steam power plants in Pueblo and Canon City, and a 
water power plant near Skagway. In addition, small reserve steam plants are 
maintained at Rocky Ford and La Junta. All of these plants are tied together 
by means of a transmission system which extends from Cripple Creek by way 
of Canon City and Pueblo to the Town of La Junta in the eastern part of the 
state. This company furnishes service for mining purposes in the Cripple Creek 
and Victor districts, for coal mining in the Canon City coal fields, for oil drilling 
and oil refining near Florence, for The Portland Cement Company at Port- 
land, to the various industries in the City of Pueblo and to the agricultural com- 
munity east of Pueblo to La Junta. The company also operates the street rail- 
way system in Pueblo, power necessary for this purpose being generated mainly 
at the Pueblo steam plant. 

"The company furnishes all electric service in the following territory : Canon 
City, Victor, Cripple Creek, Goldfield, Turkey Creek, Pueblo, Fowler, Manzanola, 
Swink, Olney Springs, Rocky Ford, Crowley, La Junta, Cheraw, Florence, Rock- 
vale, Coalcreek, Ordway, Sugar City, Altman, Cimarron, Independence, Elkton, 
Anaconda and Penrose. 

"The company was organized November 14, 1911, and began operations as 
The Arkansas Valley Railway, Light & Power Company on December i, 1911. 
A number of plants operating in the communities served were taken over at the 
time of this organization. The combined capacity of the generating plants of 
The Arkansas Valley Railway, Light & Power Company, including a new unit 
recently placed in operation at Canon City, is 18,170 kilowatts. The capacity of 
the hydro-electric development at Skagway is 4,290 h. p. By far the greater 
portion of this company's output is generated by steam plants. 

"The officers of The Arkansas Valley Railway, Light & Power Company on 
January i, 1918, were: President, George H. Harries, Chicago, Illinois; vice 
president, F. C. Gordon, Chicago, Illinois; vice president, W. F. Raber, Pueblo, 
Colorado ; vice president, Otto E. Osthoff, Chicago, Illinois ; secretary, Herbert 
List, Chicago, Illinois; assistant secretary, E. J. Rosenauer, Pueblo, Colorado; 
assistant secretary, William E. McKenna, Chicago, Illinois; treasurer, R. J. 
Graf, Chicago, Illinois ; assistant treasurer, Walter J. Benning, Pueblo, Colorado ; 
assistant treasurer, Herbert List, Chicago, Illinois ; general manager, W. F. 
Raber, Pueblo, Colorado; auditor, E. J. Rosenauer, Pueblo, Colorado. 

"Directors: Arthur S. Huey, Chicago, Illinois; Otto E. Osthoff, Chicago, II- 


linois ; George H. Harries, Chicago, Illinois ; H. M. Byllesby, Chicago, Illinois ; 
W. F. Raber, Pueblo, Colorado. 


"The Colorado Springs Light, Heat & Power Company with principal offices 
in Colorado Springs operates a hydro-electric plant at Manitou, and a steam 
power plant at Curtis, a short distance north of the City of Colorado Springs. 
This company also operates in connection with its steam heating system a small 
steam power plant in the City of Colorado Springs. The company likewise op- 
erates the gas plant in the City of Colorado Springs. All three plants are tied 
together by means of a transmission system. 

"Some power is furnished to the coal mines in the El Paso County coal 
fields, and a large part of the company's output is taken by the Golden Cycle 
and Portland mills. The hydro-electric plant at Manitou has a capacity of 
31,050 h. p. and the combined capacity of the two steam plants is 5,550 kilowatts. 
About one-half of the entire output of this company is generated by means of 
water power. 

"The company was organized as The Colorado Springs Light, Heat & Power 
Company on June 26, 1910, consolidating at that time a number of smaller com- 
panies operating in the City of Colorado Springs. 

"The officers of The Colorado Springs Light, Heat & Power Company, on 
January i, 1918, were: President, George Bullock, New York City; first vice 
president, R. L. Holland, Colorado Springs, Colorado; second vice president, 
George B. Tripp, New York City; secretary, John W. Ryter, Colorado Springs, 
Colorado ; treasurer, John W. Ryter, Colorado Springs, Colorado ; auditor, John 
W. Ryter, Colorado Springs, Colorado ; attorney, R. L. Holland, Colorado Springs, 
Colorado ; general manager, J. F. Dostal, Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

"Directors: George Bullock, New York City; George B. Tripp, New York 
City ; E. G. Connette, New York City ; M. J. Dodge, New York City ; R. L. Hol- 
land, Colorado Springs, Colorado; J. A. Hayes, Colorado Springs, Colorado; W. 
M. Hager, Colorado Springs, Colorado; C. T. Fertig, Colorado Springs, Colo- 
rado; C. Underbill, Colorado Springs, Colorado. 


"The Western Colorado Power Company with principal offices in Montrose, 
Colorado, supplies all electrical service in the following territory: Durango, Tel- 
luride, Montrose, Delta, Olathe, Ouray, Ridgway and Silverton. The company 
was organized on March 12, 1913, taking over at that time a number of smaller 
companies operating in the various communities. This is part of the system of 
the Utah Light & Power Company, controlled by the Electric Bond and Share 
Company (It is believed to be a subsidiary of the General Electric). 

"This company operates hydro-electric plants in the southwestern part of 
the state having a total capacity of 17,250 h. p. In addition, a reserve steam 
plant is maintained at Durango, and steam plants are operated at Montrose and 
Delta for supplying the towns of Montrose, Delta and Olathe and the rural ter- 
ritory thereabouts. The hydro-electric plants of the company, together with the 


reserve steam plant at Durango, are connected by means of a transmission system. 
There is no physical connection, however, between the hydro-electric plants of 
the company and the plants at Montrose and Delta. The plants at Montrose and 
Delta are likewise tied together by means of a transmission line and are oper- 
ated as a unit. This company furnishes practically all of the power requirements 
for metal mining purposes in the southwestern section of the state. 

"The officers of The Western Colorado Power Company are: President, 
Bulkeley Wells, Telluride, Colorado; first vice president, G. E. Claflin, New 
York City; second vice president, C. E. Groesbeck, Salt Lake City, Utah; secre- 
tary, E. P. Summerson, New York City; treasurer, E. P. Summerson, New 
York City ; auditor, P. F. Parkinson, Montrose, Colorado ; general manager, 
J. A. Clay, Montrose, Colorado. 

"Directors: D. C. Jackling, Salt Lake City, Utah; G. M. Dahl, New York 
City; G. E. Claflin, New York City; C. E. Groesbeck, Salt Lake City, Utah; 
Bulkeley Wells, Telluride, Colorado; E. W. Hill, New York City; J. A. Clay, 
Montrose, Colorado; E. P. Summerson, New York City; A. E. Smith, New 
York City. 


"The Trinidad Electric Transmission, Railway & Gas Company with princi- 
pal offices in Trinidad was organized August 7, 1911. This company operates 
steam power plants at Trinidad and Walsenburg. These plants are tied together 
by means of a transmission system which covers the bituminous coal fields in 
the southern part of the state. In addition to supplying service for general light- 
ing and power purposes in Trinidad and Walsenburg and a few other small towns 
in the southern part of the state, the company furnishes the power requirements 
of the coal mines operating in the southern part of Colorado. The transmission 
system of the company also extends into New Mexico, and power is furnished 
to coal mines and to the cities and towns in the northern part of the state. This 
company also operates the street railway and interurban railway system at Trini- 
dad and the gas plant in the City of Trinidad. 

"The total generating capacity of this company's steam plants is 13,000 

"The officers of The Trinidad Electric Transmission Railway & Gas Com- 
pany are : President, E. N. Sanderson, New York City ; first vice president, John 
Dunhill, New York City ; secretary, A. R. Marshall, New York City ; treasurer, 
John Dunhill, New York City; auditor, H. J. Wightman, Trinidad, Colorado; 
attorney, James McKeongh, Trinidad, Colorado; general manager, E. C. Deal, 
Trinidad, Colorado. 

"Directors: E. N. Sanderson, New York City; John Dunhill, New York 
City; A. R. Marshall, New York City. 


"In addition to the plants mentioned, the following companies generate either 
a portion or all of their output by water power developments. Some of these 
companies also furnish a large part of their outputs to the mining industry : The 


Summit Bounty Power Company, operating near Dillon, has a total electrical 
development of 1,600 h. p. The Roaring Fork Electric Company, operating at 
Aspen, has a hydro-electric development of 3,850 h. p. A large part of the 
output of this company is supplied to the metal mines near Aspen. The Rifle 
Light, Heat & Power Company, at Rifle, Colorado, has a hydro-electric develop- 
ment of 240 h. p. The Rico Mining Company, at Rico, Colorado, has a hydro- 
electric plant of 1 60 h. p. capacity. The Meeker Electric Company, at Meeker, 
Colorado, has a water power installation of 143 h. p. The Town of Longmont 
operates its own municipal light plant, and with the exception of a small amount 
of power purchased from The Western Light & Power Company, its entire 
power requirements are generated by means of a water power plant located about 
eleven miles west of Longmont on St. Vrain Creek. The capacity of this plant 
is 525 h. p. The Hinsdale Mining & Development Company, at Lake City, Colo- 
rado, has a hydro-electric plant of 200 h. p. capacity. The Glenwood Light & 
Water Company, operating in Glenwood Springs, had a hydro-electric plant of 
300 h. p. capacity. In addition to the power furnished by this plant, The Glen- 
wood Light & Water Company furnishes power at wholesale from The Colorado 
Power Company. The Gem Electric Company at Idaho Springs until a short 
time ago operated a hydro-electric plant of 900 h. p. capacity. This property 
has recently been taken over by The Colorado Power Company. The Crested 
Butte Light & Water Company has a small hydro-electric plant of 60 h. p. ca- 
pacity. The Buena Vista Electric Light & Power Company furnishes light and 
power for the Town of Buena Vista and generates its entire supply by means of 
a hydro-electric plant having a capacity of 125 h. p." 











Transportation in the sense of freighting with wagons had its beginning in 
1824 along the Santa Fe Trail, which since 1812 had been thoroughly hoof- 
marked by the slow-going pack-mule. The route along the Arkansas River be- 
came familiar to the eastern public, for books and newspapers told more of its 
game-filled sections and of its rich opportunities for commerce than of the dan- 
gers and physical burdens of the long and wearisome journey. 

Zebulon M. Pike had pointed the way, and the adventurous spirits of the east 
and of what was then the western end of civilization came to Santa Fe and to 
Taos to trade the cheapest of American merchandise for the riches of New 

Josiah Gregg in his "Commerce of the Prairies," published in 1831, drifted 
away from the fairy tales of wealth and told of the trials of these early trades- 
men who suffered untold hardships in an' effort to do business with the Indians 
of the great plains and to reach the richer pickings at Santa Fe. The Tetons 
and Comanches were especially susceptible to the cheap glass trinkets and cheaper 
cloths of the caravans. Among these earlier traders whose journeys are men- 
tioned by Josiah Gregg are those who "outfitted" from Franklin, Missouri, about 
one hundred and fifty miles above St. Louis, on the Missouri River. 

These caravans often carried by pack-mules as much as $15,000 worth of 

But in 1824 a company of eighty traders safely transported $50,000 worth 
of goods by wagon to Santa Fe. 

The cupidity of the Indians was now, however, aroused and the Arapahoes, 



Cheyennes and Kiowas were not slow to swoop down on succeeding caravans 
and maim, kill and rob at will. 

In 1829 Major Riley, and in 1834, Captain Wharton, escorted large caravans 
along the dangerous trail, but after 1843 military, escorts were dispatched regu- 
larly with the trading caravans. 

By this time the "outfitting" point had been transferred to Independence, 
near the western border of Missouri, and practically within the Indian belt. 

Many of the more adventurous tradesmen moved directly west to the Rockies, 
then south, following the present route of the Santa Fe Railroad across the Raton 
Range to the Rio Grande. This trip took fifty to seventy days. 

But the Santa Fe Trail, protected as it now was by the Government and with 
several good places for rest and repair work, was long the favorite route. Thi;* 
lay along the Arkansas River, and then followed the Cimarron to Las Vegas, 
San Miguel and Santa Fe. 


General Fremont's five expeditions, the history of which is narrated in an- 
other chapter, were in reality trail-making explorations, and gave the Argonauts 
who streamed into the country in 1859, 1860 and 1861 the incentive to prospect- 
ing long distances from the earliest discoveries of gold. 

In February, 1850, the people of St. Louis, believing that Fremont had dis- 
covered a feasible railroad route to the Pacific, passed a resolution "that the 
thanks of this meeting be tendered to Col. John C. Fremont for his intrepid 
perseverance and valuable scientific explorations in the region of the Rocky 
and Californian mountains by which we have been furnished with a knowledge 
of the passes and altitudes of these mountains, and are now able to judge of the 
entire practicability of constructing a railroad over them from St. Louis to Cali- 

Speaking of the final journey of Fremont, Senator Thomas M. Benton, his 
friend and protector, said: "He followed the course described by the mountain 
men and found safe and easy passes all the way to California, through a good 
country, and upon the straight line of 38 and 39 degrees. It is the route of the 
Central Pacific Railroad which the structure of the country invites and every 
natural consideration demands." 

On March 3, 1853, an act of Congress provided for explorations and surveys 
of "a practicable and economical route tor a railroad from the Mississippi River 
to the Pacific Ocean. When Capt. J. W. Gunnison was chosen for this task, 
which was to end in his death, he was advised by the secretary of war, Jefferson 
Davis, to "survey a line through the Rockies near the headwaters of the Rio del 
Norte by way of Huerfano and Cochetopa, or some other available pass, into 
the region of the Grand and Green rivers, and westerly to the Vegas de Santa 
Clara and Nicollet rivers, to the Great Basin, and thence northward to the 
vicinity of Lake Utah on a return route with the view of exploring the most 
available passes and canyons of the Wahsatch Range and the South Pass to 
Fort Laramie." 

The work of Captain Gunnison and the story of his untimely end are nar- 
rated in another chapter. Lieut. E. G. Beckwith, his associate on the journey, 


completed the task, and the joint reports upon the feasibility of a transconti- 
nental railway are among the archives of the war department. 


After the Mexican War the trade to New Mexico increased greatly, and the 
outfitting points were changed from Independence to Westport, the first settle- 
ment of Kansas City, and later to Kansas City. With the discovery of gold in 
California there was a vast increase, and it took both outfitting points, Inde- 
pendence and Westport, to meet the great crowds that streamed across the 
Santa Fe Trail. The overland mail now began to do business. Each stage con- 
veyed eight passengers, and was drawn by six mules. It was built much on the 
style of a boat, water-tight and in good shape for getting over high streams. 
Eight men guarded each mail stage. At Council Grove and at Walnut Creek 
they built repair stations. This service began with a monthly stage, then changed 
to a weekly run, and in 1862 daily stages were each carrying eleven passengers, 
nine inside and two outside. The passenger fare to Santa Fe from the outfitting 
point was $250. This allowed forty pounds of baggage. Excess was fifty cents 
a pound. When the daily stage runs began there were eating stations at all 
relay points. 

In 1859, and until June, 1860, the caravans had increased in number and 
followed the old and now well-beaten trails. Merchandising for the new com- 
munities which the rush for gold had created was on a much larger scale and 
vastly different from trading with Mexicans and Indians. Here were men 
with the knowledge of merchandise values and with practically all the needs of 
eastern towns. For a year only the emigrant train and merchandise caravans 
had brought to these growing centers the tools, the machinery, the clothes they 
required and the luxuries they craved. Hauling a newspaper plant from the 
Missouri River to the site of Denver on an emigrant wagon was no small task. 
Heavy mining machinery was brought across the Great Plains only at heavy 

The mails came first from Fort Laramie, where the Salt Lake stages going 
east and west left them, and later from the old California route crossing of the 
Platte. Whatever came, whether it was a letter, postage 50 cents, a newspaper, 
postage 10 cents, or merchandise or machinery, had been en route from one to 
four months. 


But there was relief in sight. B. D. Williams, the former and first delegate 
of the territpry of "Jefferson" to Congress, had been engaged to lay out a feasible 
stage route between Leavenworth and Denver. This was done and the line, 687 
miles long, extended from Leavenworth to Riley, thence along the natural high- 
way between the Republican River and the Solomon Fork of the Kansas, then 
following the south side of the Republican River and then going along the 
Beaver, Bijou, Kiowa and Cherry creeks. It was later reduced to about 625 
miles. Fifty-two fine Concord coaches, one leaving either end daily, made the 
trip in from ten to twelve days. 


The first coach left Leaven worth March 28, 1859, and reached Denver June /th, 
with its precious journalistic load, Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune, 
Albert D. Richardson of the Boston Journal, and Henry Villard of the Cincin- 
nati Commercial. Its first title was the "Leavenworth & Pike's Peak Express," 
but its early promoters, including Dr. J. M. Fox of Denver, and Nelson Sargent 
of Denver, soon sold it to the firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell, Government 
contractors, only John S. Jones, of Leavenworth, retaining his original interest. 
Absorbing also the line operating between the Missouri River and Salt Lake 
City, it took the name under which it was chartered by Kansas, the "Central 
Overland, California & Pike's Peak Express Company," but soon generally known 
as the "C. O. C. & P. P. Express." Gen. Bela M. Hughes was president and 
made many improvements, shortening the route to Leavenworth by using the far 
more feasible Platte River road. 

He later expended about forty thousand dollars on the stage route to Salt Lake 
City over Berthoud Pass, with a view of shortening the route to the Pacific 
by several hundred miles.^ The surveys along this route made at this period by 
General Hughes were used as an exhibit, ineffectual however, in the notable 
argument to induce" the Union Pacific to abandon the Bridger Pass and to adopt 
the Berthoud Pass line. 

Ben Holladay finally obtained control of the C. O. C. & P. P. Express, and 
the times improving, the stage line prospered. 

On April 9, 1861, the "Pony Express" covered the distance between Sacra- 
mento, California, and St. Joseph, Missouri, in seven days and seventeen hours. 
With the relay from Fort Laramie to Denver by the ordinary mail route, the "Pony 
Express" brought the new Colorado communities into much closer touch with 
the outside world. 

The C. O. C. & P. P. Express, late in 1860, absorbed the Kehler & Mont- 
gomery and the Hinckley Express lines to the new gold fields in the Gregory 

On September 23, 1865, the first coach of the Butterfield Overland Dispatch 
line arrived in Denver from Atchison via Smoky Hill, a new stage route estab- 
lished by D. A. Butterfield & Company. The Legislature which met in 1866 in- 
corporated the new company, and, with W. A. H. Loveland as president, planned 
to use the Berthoud Pass route to Salt Lake City. The Butterfield Company 
finally suspended all operations, owing to the expenses incurred in construction 
work in Colorado. 


The Holladay Overland Mail and Express Company was incorporated by 
legislative enactment, February 5, 1866, with Ben Holladay, David Street, Bela 
M. Hughes, S. L. M. Barlow and John E. Russell as incorporators. In Novem- 
ber, 1866, this became Wells, Fargo & Company, the Legislature approving the 
change of name. Its capitalization to begin with was $3,000,000. By 1870, when 
the railroads began the work of "freighting" in this section, the capitalization, 
which had crawled up to $15,000,000, was reduced to $5,000,000. It was then in 
charge of the following directors : William G. Fargo, A. H. Barney, D. V. Mills, 
James C. Fargo, Lloyd Tevis. 


Wells, Fargo & Company Express is still a Colorado corporation. Its cap- 
ital was increased in 1879 to $6,250,000, in 1893 to $8,000,000, and in 1909 to 

Denver had from the very outset sought to have the Overland stage routed 
up the South Platte. The deciding argument finally was the fact that the In- 
dians were making the North Platte route more and more dangerous. So in 
June, 1862, the Overland followed the old Cherokee Trail from Denver to La- 
porte, thence via Virginia Dale and Laramie Plains and on west. Later the route 
was changed to pass through Fort Collins. Troops were stationed at the Big 
Thompson, Virginia Dale and La Porte to protect the stage. . 


Of the pony express and of its marvelous feats of speed much was written, 
for its inauguration nearly cut in two the time between the Pacific and the At- 
lantic coasts. It took twenty-two days to carry the mail by water and across the 
Isthmus of Panama from New York to San' Francisco. In 1861 the Pony Ex- 
press, carrying Lincoln's inaugural message, and starting at St. Joseph, made 
the 1,950 miles between that point and San Francisco in seven days and seven- 
teen hours. Its time from St. Joseph to Denver, 665 miles, was made in two 
days and twenty-one hours, the last ten miles being accomplished in thirty-one 

Denver profited only as a branch, its pony service coming from the nearest 
point on the transcontinental route. When the first through line was constructed 
Denver's pony service came from Julesburg, the nearest point on the Pacific tele- 
graph line. The pony coming under drive up Fifteenth Street to the postoffice, 
where David H. Moffat was acting postmaster, was a daily event which half the 
town gathered to witness. 

The freighting firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell inaugurated the pony ex- 
press, but it was at the suggestion of Senator W. M. Gwin, of California, who 
on his journey to the capital in 1854 had covered part of the distance on horse- 
back and in the company of B. F. Fidclin, superintendent for the freighters. 
There were at this period four routes to the Pacific Coast. One of these was 
by way of Panama, the southern route was controlled by Butterfield, the central 
route was operated by Russell, Majors & Waddell, and the Charpenning monthly 
route ran via Fort Kearney, Laramie and Bridger, and confined itself to local 

Mr. Russell, head of the freighting firm, with the prospect of a big Govern- 
ment contract, was won over and in turn persuaded his partners to permit the 
organization of a "pony "'express. The limit of mail to be carried was twenty 
pounds. The first rate was $5 per one-half ounce letter, later however reduced 
to $2.50. Many newspapers printed issues on very thin paper, but the price in- 
cluding transmission was prohibitive, so that this use of the Pony Express was 
not extensive. 

The first Pony Express left St. Joseph, April 5, 1860, and passed through Fort 
Kearney, Laramie, Bridger, Salt Lake City, Camp Floyd, Carson City, Washoe, 
Placerville, Sacramento. From this point to San Francisco a fast steamer car- 
ried the leather pouch with its four locked pockets. It reached Sacramento at 

Office of the Leavenworth & Pike's Peak Express Com- 
ny, built in the autumn of 1859. This company operated 
he first line of stage coaches into Denver, which was also 
the first into the Pike's Peak gold country. 


"The Denver House," the first "regular hotel" in 
Denver, built in the spring of 1859 by Charles H. Blake 
and A. J. Williams. 

Denver's first "Sky Scraper." R. L. Wooton's build- 
ing, the first in Denver of more than one story, built in the 
spring of 1859. 


The depot and office of the Central Overland, California 
& Pike's Peak Express Company. The men in line were 
waiting their turn to reach the company's postoffice. 


5.30 p. m., April I3th, and San Francisco, with the entire town awaiting its com- 
ing, at i a. m., April i4th. 

Stations were established from ten to fifteen miles apart, a rider covering 
approximately seventy-five miles in a day. Two minutes was the time allowed 
to change horses, and at relays no time was lost in the transfer. 

Riders covered larger distances at times. On the famous journey with the Lin- 
coln message "Pony Bob" covered the 120 miles from Smith's Creek to Fort 
Churchill in eight hours and ten minutes. At its height the Pony Express required 
nearly 500 horses, eight riders, 200 station keepers, and as many assistants. It cost 
$30,000 a month to operate it on a semi-weekly basis. 

Later it became part of the Government's million dollar contract, but its 
backers were finally forced out by financial difficulties, which even the high rate 
paid under the Federal agreement could not prevent. ' Senator Gwin, the father 
of the pony express idea, died many years later in Mexico. 


But the agitation for the construction of railroads grew as population and 
trade increased. 

In 1865 W. A. H. Loveland, one of the greatest of Colorado's builders, was 
granted a charter by the Legislature for a railroad "up Clear Creek Canon to 
Empire and Central City, and from Golden City to Boulder and via Denver to 
Bijou." Later its title was changed to "The Colorado Central & Pacific Rail- 
road," and its route was extended to the western borders of the territory. By 
the end of 1865 the survey had been completed, and some capital had been raised 
for actual construction. 

In the meantime the Pacific Railroad bill was again under consideration in 
Congress, and there were indications of a change of the route originally out- 
lined in the measure. But the engineers who came to Colorado in August, 1866, 
and inspected the surveyed line up Clear Creek to Berthoud Pass, decided against 
it, and in favor of the route to Cheyenne Pass, through the Black Hills (the 
name first given to the ridge of mountains at Virginia Dale, between Cheyenne 
and the Laramie plains) and Bridger's Pass. It was Jim Bridger, noted pioneer, 
hunter and trapper, who convinced the Union Pacific officials of the feasibility 
of the northern route. 

There was some consolation in the passage of the measure providing for 
the construction of the Kansas Pacific, the so-called eastern division, which was 
to be built to Denver and "connect within fifty miles of Denver, with the main 

The contest had been a long and bitter one. In Washington John Evans 
and Jerome B. Chaff ee, looking for recognition as United States senators, were 
making a splendid fight for the diversion of the Union Pacific from its proposed 
route, but their work did not avail. 

During the contest the Colorado Central & Pacific was practically offered to 
the Union Pacific, and there was actual dickering in progress as to the disposi- 
tion of the grant lands should the route be accepted. 

In Colorado there had been meetings of its leading citizens who sent to 


Washington trade reports showing the vast growth of the territory in the short 
period since its organization. 


It is interesting to note the great need of transportation at this period from 
the revised census returns of 1870. There "were in the territory in that year 
95>594 acres of improved farms, valued at $3,385,748. The value of its farm 
productions was $2,335,106. Its mineral production at this period is fully cov- 
ered in the mining history chapter. 

But the business of Denver was the best illustration of the great need of trans- 
portation. From the Denver Board of Trade report for the year ending Octo- 
ber 31, 1867, this record is taken: 

Gross sales of merchandise $ 5,946,000 

Cash paid for freight 2,171,000 

Pounds of freight received 17,122,000 

Pounds of corn and wheat sold , . 12,638,000 

Sacks of flour sold 70,386 

Cash value of lumber sold 850,000 

250 buildings erected, valued at A . 722,650 

Cash value of goods manufactured in Denver 887,000 

Cash receipts from passengers by stage line 591,801 

Cash receipts from express matter 168,976 

Gold shipped by Wells Fargo 1,560,000 

Gold bought by banks 604,000 

Gold and silver received by U. S. branch mint 289,158.10 

Average cash deposits in bank 741,000 

Average loans and discounts by banks 398,000 

Eastern exchange sold by banks 8,301,000 

Amount of cash paid over bank counters 77,870,000 

"The exhibit," says the report, "represents the least active year in the history 
of Denver, covering a period of Indian war, when the main lines of travel east 
and west were about closed by Indians and immigration was virtually pro- 

But when on November 23, 1866, Gen. Grenville M. Dodge and his associate 
engineers filed their report recommending the Lone Tree and Crow Creek route 
the dream of Thomas H. Benton was nearing realization. His famous speech 
delivered in St. Louis in 1849 na d indeed been prophetic: "When this mighty 
work is completed," he said in this address, "and the commerce of the East is 
being brought^ over it, and the iron bands connect the oceans, a grateful country 
will carve out of the granite pillars of the Rocky Mountains a statue of Colum- 
bus pointing to the West, and exclaiming, 'There is the East ! There ! There 
is India !' " 

The Union Pacific committee on location, which included Sidney Dillon, 
Oliver Ames and Thomas C. Durant, reported in favor of a branch to Denver 
with spurs into the mining centers. It made particular mention of the vast de- 
posits of coal which would become available by the construction of the branch. 


However, it was not the Union Pacific directorate but pioneering giants who built 
the road and put Denver on the map. 

The act of Congress moreover provided a land grant only for main-line con- 
struction, hence the Union Pacific Company soon came to Colorado with out- 
stretched hands. Again it took the energy and pluck of its pioneers to steer 
Denver out of the grip of wily financiers. 

It is apparent therefore that there were powerful reasons for the adoption 
of the Bridger Pass route for the main line aside from the greater cost of con- 
struction along the Berthoud Pass line. The land grant was figured on a 
mileage basis, as were the subsidy bonds. The larger the mileage the greater the 
borrowing power of the road. So this three years' work of preliminary surveys 
ended as might have been anticipated, with the all-powerful money-making argo- 
nauts clearly in the ascendant and finally victorious. 


For Denver the sudden creation of a railroad metropolis at Cheyenne seemed 
little short of ruinous. The Union Pacific directors had given it a body blow from 
which, without the genius and pluck of its citizens, it might never recover. In 
1867 Denver had about four thousand inhabitants, and even this remnant was 
threatening to go to Cheyenne and to other more prosperous fields. Leading 
firms moved their stock to Cheyenne, be'lieving that only ruins would soon mark 
the site of the City of Denver. On the heels of this news came the information 
that the Kansas Pacific was surveying for a southern route to the far west, elim- 
inating Denver as a terminal. 

After all it was masterful leadership that won the day for Denver and Colo- 
rado, the leadership of a group of pioneers built much on the order of those 
who first carved towns out of the American wilderness along the eastern coast. 

Within its own territory too the Denver men had wounds to heal. W. A. H. 
Loveland, the president of the Colorado Central & Pacific, was one of the found- 
ers of Golden, and at this period bent all his energies to make this the coming 
railroad center of the gold region. In the long struggle which ensued Love- 
land never gave up the dream of building northward along the west side of the 
Platte, which meant a terminal at Golden. 


In June, 1866, came the first ray of hope in the passage by Congress of the 
act compelling the Kansas Pacific to become the eastern division of the Union 
Pacific, although under distinct management and control, and to connect with 
the main line at a point not more than fifty miles west of tfie longitude of 

The Government land grant of the Kansas Pacific, however, ended at Pond 
Creek, and by the middle of 1867 it was unable to go on with construction unless 
aid came from one of two sources, Congress in the shape of an additional land 
grant, or from Denver with its dream of greatness apparently shattered by the 
creation of booming Cheyenne. 

Thus in midsummer of 1867 Denver was facing a "stalled" railroad far off 


in Kansas, what seemed a hopeless fight for a branch road to the north, and 
Loveland still struggling for a "western" Platte route connection. The situation 
was anything but encouraging. 

In this quandary Denver for a time became the prey of groups of wily finan- 
ciers who wanted bonds negotiable securities to tide their companies over dif- 

Some of the propositions of this period were made in good faith, and were 
supported by the leading men of the community, yet in the end it was not the 
intruder and not the foreign financier who brought prosperity and the basis 
of greatness to Denver, but the determination and the pluck and the sacrifice 
of its own citizenship. 


On July n, 1867, Denver was visited by Thomas J. Carter, one of the Gov- 
ernment directors of the Union Pacific Railroad, who came to find out what 
Denver would do toward the construction of a branch to connect with the Union 
Pacific. He suggested using the Colorado Central & Pacific, General Loveland's 
proposed road, from Denver to Cheyenne, with a branch to Golden and one to 
Boulder. But for this the road bed must be built by the people of the counties 
to be benefited. The Union Pacific would lay the iron and provide the rolling 
stock and operate the road, giving to each county stock equivalent to the amount 
voted in bonds. The total to be raised was $600,000, and of this Denver was to 
contribute $200,000, the remainder to be voted by Jefferson, Gilpin, Clear Creek 
and Boulder counties. 

To the keenness and to the genius of John Evans, Denver owes its escape 
from the tangle which outsiders were creating. Even at this early period Mr. 
Evans insisted that the bonds be voted for a direct route between Denver and 
Cheyenne, stipulating the southern bank of the Platte as part of the proposed 

The Kansas Pacific, as stated before, was in financial straits. There was 
the possibility of eventually getting a big stake in Denver, and Col. James Archer 
was sent as the emissary to induce its people to vote down the Union Pacific 

It is true that Congress had passed the act creating the Kansas Pacific as 
the eastern division of the Union Pacific, and that Denver was to be the terminus, 
but there was a belief current that with the "land grant" construction about 
completed the road could be built independent of Government aid toward the 
southwest with Las Animas on the Arkansas River as the first objective of a 
proposed southern route to the Pacific Coast. 

Yet without Government aid help must come from eastern capital or from 
the country traversed, and it was generally supposed that while no subsidy was 
asked for the opposition of the Kansas Pacific to the counter proposition was 
due solely to the fear that Denver could not be "bled" twice in rapid succession. 
There was logic in this argument. 

However, Denver, on August I7th, unanimously voted the aid asked for 
by Mr. Carter, and speedy action was suggested as the Union Pacific was already 


completed to the junction of the North and South Platte, and it would not be 
many months before it would reach Cheyenne. 

The wisdom of John Evans became apparent. General Loveland had no 
intention of giving up his dream to make Golden the terminal and the bonds 
voted were never issued. 

The Kansas Pacific now began its campaign for help from Denver. In Sep- 
tember the engineers appeared on the scene and began the survey of a line con- 
necting the Colorado metropolis with the "land grant" terminal. 


November 14, 1867, ls tne day on which the fate of Denver was in the bal- 
ance. Col. James Archer, of St. Louis, and one of the directors of the Kansas 
Pacific, later an honored and respected citizen of Denver, had come to tell the 
people of Denver of the financial difficulties of his road, so to speak, stranded 
on a Kansas prairie. It would require a subsidy of $2,000,000 to build it to 
Denver. Col. D. C. Dodge, who then represented the Chicago & Northwestern 
road in Denver, had telegraphed the proposed plan of subsidy to the Union 
Pacific officials some days prior to the meeting, and these far-seeing men lost 
no time in sending to Denver George Francis Train, then a famous though eccen- 
tric character, and an orator of great ability. 

Colonel Archer had made his proposition, which was new to many present, 
and fairly staggered the entire gathering. Train followed, and in elaborate and 
convincing argument suggested a local company to build the branch to Cheyenne 
a'long the most feasible route. 

On November i8th John Evans addressed a monster meeting of citizens 
in the Denver Theatre, at Sixteenth and Arapahoe streets, and informed them 
that a company had been formed to incorporate a railroad to run from Denver 
to Cheyenne. In a few days this was done, and its first directors were: 
Joseph E. Bates, William M. Clayton, John Evans, Bela M. Hughes, W. F. 
Johnson, Luther Kountze, David H. Moffat, John Pierce and John W. Smith. 
Its officers were : President, Bela M. Hughes ; vice president, Luther Kountze ; 
treasurer, David H. Moffat; secretary, W. F. Johnson; chief engineer, F. M. 


In a pamphlet published by the Denver Board of Trade in 1868, the railroad 
situation is thus instructively detailed: 

"The Denver Pacific Railway and Telegraph Company was organized under 
the laws of Colorado in November, 1867. Books of subscription were opened, 
and in a single week $280,000 were subscribed by the business men of Denver. 
On January 20, 1868, by an almost unanimous vote the citizens of Arapahoe 
County voted a subscription of $500,000 to the stock of the company. Con- 
tracts for the whole road have been made with prominent members of the Union 
Pacific Railroad Company. Work has commenced. The grading is progressing 
at the rate of one and one-half to two miles per day, and it is confidently expected 
that connection with Chicago will be secured by November and certainly within 
the present year. 


"The Union Pacific (eastern division) has reached Pond Creek, 180 miles 
east of Denver, at which point its government subsidy of $16,000 per mile 
ceases. The policy of the company constructing that road is unknown, but 
there is no doubt that St. Louis, Cincinnati and Philadelphia, which are to be 
benefited by its extension, will at an early day push it through to Denver, and 
beyond to a connection with the main line. 

"The completion of the branch railroad from the Union Pacific Railroad 
during the summer, as contemplated, will give an immense stimulus to the 
growth and business of Denver . . . 

"The United States & Mexico Telegraph Company, with a capital of $1,000,000, 
lately organized under the general incorporation law of the territory, for the 
purpose of constructing a telegraph line from Denver to Colorado City, Pueblo, 
Trinidad and Fort Union to Santa Fe, a distance of 430 miles, have already con- 
structed 200 miles, and the line is being pushed forward at the rate of five miles 
a day. 

"The Arapahoe, Jefferson & South Park Railroad Company, also organized 
under the general incorporation law of the territory, has projected a narrow 
gauge road from Denver to the mining region for the purpose of bringing ores 
to the coal fields of the plains for cheaper reduction, and for the cheaper trans- 
portation of the coal, building stone and lumber used in- Denver. About one- 
third of the capital required for the construction of the first and most important 
section of this road is already subscribed." 

The enthusiasm of the citizens of Denver which, in December, 1867, had by 
legislative enactment become the momentary capital of the territory, thus taking 
much of the prestige which had aided the "Golden" project from that pushing 
little town, is best exemplified in the vote for the half-million bond issue. Out 
of 1,306 votes cast only 47 were against the proposition. 

And yet Loveland, the indefatigable, was not easily defeated. In fact the 
first ground for a railroad in Colorado was broken at Golden on January I, 
1868, and about 200 feet was graded. There, however, the Colorado Central & 
Pacific project rested awaiting financial developments. 

The Denver Pacific Company was not idle. Its promoters were men of great 
energy, who did not know what defeat meant. In January, 1868, the Kansas 
Pacific again sent emmissaries to Denver, who were informed that the com- 
munity was not to be deluded again by promises, but that if the road was to be 
extended to Denver the men back of the eastern division must find the construc- 
tion capital elsewhere than in Denver. 

Governor Evans and John Pierce in the meantime had gone to New York 
and closed with the Union Pacific along the lines of the earlier contract, which 
provided that the local company was to furnish the funds to grade the road and 
that the Union Pacific would supply the iron and the rolling stock. 

The route was to be along the Platte as far as practicable, and was to be 
a direct line between Cheyenne and Denver. As fast as twenty-mile sections 
were graded the Union Pacific agreed to lay the rails and put the road into 

Before actual work was begun the contract with the Union Pacific underwent 
some changes. Durant and Dillon took the contract for building the entire branch. 
The Denver Pacific Company was to supply half a million dollars toward this 


work, and the Union Pacific was in turn to receive a subsidy, based on mileage, 
of Denver Pacific stock, agreeing in turn to operate the road when completed 
and to pay 8 per cent on its two million capitalization. 

Actual construction was to begin at the Cheyenne. end, but ground was first 
broken at Denver on Monday, May 18, 1868, not far from the corner of Blake 
Street and Fortieth Avenue. 

This agreement was never fulfilled, the Union Pacific failing even to com- 
plete the survey, and finally, when the matter was peremptorily put up to its 
directors in Boston, acknowledged that it was financially unable to carry out 
the contract. 

In the meantime Governor Evans, accurately construing the delay; had gone 
to Congress for the subsidy which was really contemplated in the act creating 
the eastern division of the Union Pacific and providing for its connection with 
the main line not more than fifty miles west of the longitude of Denver. All 
efforts to dispose of the Arapahoe County bonds had failed, but with a Govern- 
ment subsidy the path of the project would be cleared of all obstacles. 

The Kansas Pacific fought the act at the first session, but finally an agreement 
was reached, and in March, 1869, Congress provided a land grant of alternate 
sections for the Kansas Pacific to Denver, and for the Denver Pacific to Cheyenne, 
the Kansas Pacific to operate the entire line on its completion. This, in fact, 
confirmed the purpose of the Pacific Railroad act of 1866, creating a through 
line from Kansas City to a point on the Union Pacific in Wyoming. Each com- 
pany was, moreover, authorized to bond the road for not more than $32,000 per 

The news of the success of Governor Evans' effort reached Denver by wire 
over the only part of the Denver Pacific project so far completed. This was 
the telegraph line between Cheyenne and Denver, which had been built in sixty 
days and had been opened for business January I, 1869. 

In the midst of its rejoicing Denver was saddened by news of the death of 
Major Johnson, president of the Denver Pacific. Governor Evans on his return 
succeeded to the office. 


This stage in the railroad history of Colorado is marked by the advent of 
its greatest railroad builder, Gen. William J. Palmer, who was closely identified 
with the Kansas Pacific interests. 

He came into the territory as a constructive power, and soon won the admi- 
ration and respect of all those who had fought so long for this rail connection 
with the outer world. The Kansas Pacific was no longer a beggar. It had not 
alone its new government subsidy, but a negotiable foreign loan amounting to 
$6,500,000. It did not take long to start things moving, the two roads merging 
their interests. 

The capitalization of the Denver Pacific had been increased to $4,000,000 
shortly after the second agreement with the Union Pacific, and this was now 
available for its larger purposes. The company issued $2,500,000 of 7 per cent 
bonds, a lien on 800,000 acres of land secured from the Government. By Sep- 
tember, 1869, the contractors, Governor Evans, Walter S. Cheesman, David H. 


Moffat and associates, had begun laying tracks, and before winter the road, 
approximately fifty-eight miles, with a small equipment, was operating to the 
crossing of the Platte, at the town which had been given the name of Evans in 
honor of the president of the Denver Pacific., 


In May, 1870, construction was begun on the southern part of the line under 
the direction of General Palmer, and the line from the site of the present Union 
Pacific shops to Evans was completed by June nth, a notable day in the history 
of Colorado. The silver spike driven as the concluding act of construction was 
presented by Georgetown, and was inscribed with the name of that town, to 
the Denver Pacific, and the name of John Evans, president of the road. The 
first locomotive, which arrived on that day, was followed, on June 24th, by the 
first passenger train. 

The officers and directors of the Denver Pacific at this time were : President, 
John Evans; vice president, John Pierce; secretary and auditor, R. R. McCor- 
mick ; treasurer, David H. Moffat ; chief engineer, L. H. Eicholtz. The directors, 
in addition to these officers, were: Walter S. Cheesman, William M. Clayton, 
Frank Palmer, of Denver, Robert E. Carr, William J. Palmer, R. H. Lamborn, 
representing Kansas Pacific interests. 

In the meantime the Kansas Pacific was speeding to completion, and on August 
1 5th the first passenger train arrived from Kansas City. A ten-mile stretch had 
been completed in about ten hours, a rare feat for those early days of railroad 
building in the Far West. 

In April, 1870, Governor Evans in an address to the Board of Trade stated 
that it had been found impossible to reduce the capitalization from $4,000,000 
back to the original $2,000,000, which would have materially enhanced the value 
of the Arapahoe County bond issue. "The stock," he added, "represented all the 
value then existing, and it was an absolute necessity that the stock should all 
be given to secure the prosecution and completion of the work. Even then it 
was doubtful if it could be made to answer the purpose, for it must either be 
sold for cash enough, or the assets it represented be made to serve the purpose 
of borrowing enough money upon, to pay for the entire work. Nothing but cash 
will build railways." 

"I took the contract, therefore, to build the road with the remaining stock. 
The county bonds in hand, at the best price that could be obtained for them, 
were barely sufficient to finish the grading and pay the pressing indebtedness 
already incurred for ties and other material. While the contract was thus pressed 
upon me, and while there were serious doubts as to the success of our efforts 
to make the means accomplish the end in view, I held in mental reservation a 
determination to so manage the matter as to make enough out of the contract 
to enable me to donate to the county an additional half-million of the capital 
stock of the road. 

"This purpose I did not at first allow myself to express to anyone, for fear 
of disappointment in making the necessary profit on the contract to enable me 
to do so, and in my negotiations I found it absolutely necessary to place the half- 
million capital stock in trust, to be voted in perpetuity, but reserving to myself 


and my assigns the entire right of property in the same, and all profits and divi- 
dends arising therefrom. 

"I will, therefore, have, to all intents and purposes, the whole intrinsic value 
of said stock in my possession and ownership as soon as the road shall be com- 
pleted, and I now for the first time publicly declare, that it is my. full purpose 
and intention to donate the same to Arapahoe County as soon as I shall become 
entitled to it by compliance with my contract to complete the road to the City 
of Denver. This I do on the condition that the people shall go forward with the 
other enterprises so necessary to our prosperity." 


The Union Pacific had been fairly checkmated in the railroad game in Colo- 
rado, but it did not acknowledge its defeat for some years. Its directors were 
still pinning their faith to the project of W. A. H. Loveland, whose untiring 
efforts to make Golden the metropolis of Colorado, even though unsuccessful, 
are worthy to rank among the great pioneering efforts of this formative period. 

On the part of the Union Pacific it was an effort to secure control of the 
mine output of Clear Creek, Gilpin, Jefferson, and Boulder counties and, as far 
as possible, at the expense of the citizens of these counties. Jefferson, Love- 
land's home county, had voted the Colorado Central $100,000 of bonds, and 
this enabled Loveland to make some progress on his project. He purposely made 
his Denver terminal close to the junction of the Denver Pacific and Kansas Pacific 
lines on or near the site of the now dismantled Grant smelter. By this move 
he hoped to divert traffic direct to Golden and away from the growing town of 
Cherry Creek. As part of this plan he designed a standard gauge connection 
between his so-called Denver terminal and Golden, but the line up Clear Creek 
Valley was to be of narrow gauge construction. On September 23, 1870, the 
standard gauge section had been completed and passenger trains were run. The 
Union Pacific had finally, when the Denver Pacific was nearing completion, agreed 
to put down the rails and equip the graded main line of the Colorado Central. 
Not until 1874 was the route changed to enter the city directly. 

In 1871 a total of ninety and three fourths miles of operated road was added 
to Colorado's transportation system. The Boulder Valley from Hughes to Erie, 
a distance of fourteen and three-fourths miles, was the first branch of the Denver 
Pacific. The Denver & Rio Grande, the history of which will follow, had built 
seventy-six miles between Denver and Colorado Springs, the town then founded 
by General Palmer. But this section had not been opened until November. 


With this added mileage the following exhibit of freight received and for- 
warded at Denver by all railroads during 1871 is interesting as a study of 
immediate growth : 

Lbs. Received Lbs. Forwarded 

January 15,724,679 4,368,359 

February 13,094,741 2,609,735 

March , 17,635,441 2,814,233 


Lbs. Received Lbs. Forwarded 

April 18,888,270 2,679,688 

May 21,397,733 3,577,253 

June . 19,709,435 3,088,963 

July 17,583,666 2,278,441 

August 21,317,435 2,390,689 

September 27,555,105 3,239,9 6 

October 23,769,860 5,853,261 

November 23,318,839 3,574,347 

*December 14,200,000 2,910,406 

At the end of the year 1871 there were in operation within the limits of the 
state 425 miles of railroad. 

The passenger fare between Chicago or St. Louis and Denver was $55; 
between Denver and Cheyenne, $10; between Denver and Kansas City, $44. 
Local fares on Colorado roads averaged 10 cents per mile. Freight between 
Denver and Kansas City or Omaha ranged between 80 cents and $2.80 per hun- 
dred, according to class. Even at this early period the Union Pacific and Kansas 
Pacific made uniform rates from Missouri River points to Denver. 

There was received at Denver over the Denver Pacific and Kansas Pacific 
for the first eleven months of 1872, 88,539,710 Ibs. of freight as against 62,551,- 
690 Ibs. for the corresponding period of 1871. The amount of outgoing freight 
over these two lines for 1871 was 7,031,842 Ibs., and 17,833,625 Ibs. for 1872. 

A few carloads of cattle were shipped east in 1871, just enough to demon- 
strate that the trade could be made a profitable one, both to the shipper and to 
the railways. In 1872, 13,878 head of cattle were shipped out of Colorado. To 
this must be added 31,250 head driven out of the state. The value of live stock 
exported from Colorado in 1872 was $1,016,980. 


In 1870 the clamor of the mining districts was at last heeded and construc- 
tion work was begun by the Colorado Central along Clear Creek Canon. This 
was a most difficult engineering task, but the bonus of $250,000 in Gilpin County 
bonds proved a strong incentive. In 1871 Gilpin had voted $300,000 in bonds 
provided the road could reach Blackhawk in a year. This was an impossible 
task, but the second bond offer of $250,000 was approved, yet the road failed to 
reach Central City in the time stipulated. It, however, reached Blackhawk in 
December, 1872, and Floyd Hill in March, 1873. 

The completion of the four-mile branch from the junction of North and 
South Clear creeks to the western base of Floyd Hill, the entrance to the valley 
of South Clear Creek, gave an immediate outlet to the valuable mines of Idaho, 
Spanish Bar, Georgetown and Empire. In a report issued by the state geologist, 
J. Alden Smith, in 1883, he thus describes the results that followed the advent 
of the Colorado Central in the Clear Creek mining camp : 

"The necessities of the people following the exhaustion of timber on the 
mountain sides, were met by cheaper and better fuel brought up from the coal 
beds of the plains. Goldejs. having by this time become not only an active rail- 

* Snow blockade 


way center, but a strong point for the reduction of ores, competing markets were 
opened to the miners; and the unsatisfactory returns of the stamp mills, which 
up to 1868 when the Boston & Colorado Smelting Works became a competitor, 
were the sole arbiters of the gold product, were supplemented, or rather, for the 
higher grade of minerals, wholly superseded by the more perfect method of 
reduction in reverberating and blast furnaces. The change became a revelation 
to the despondent workers underground, since if brought the promise of sub- 
stantial gains for the present and future. 

"Then began the practical demonstration of the character and value of the 
fissure veins at great depths, and the smelters were soon enabled to pay higher 
prices for the grades best adapted to their use, and to multiply their facilities 
to the extent of the growing demand." 

But the Colorado Central, or rather the Union Pacific, had larger plans in 
mind to meet the last successful move of its rivals. In these years of 1870, 1871 
and 1872 money was still plentiful for investment, and in the financial sky there 
were no portents of the collapse to come in 1873. 

Actual standard gauge construction on what was to be the main line of the 
Colorado Central was begun in 1872 along a survey which extended from Golden 
as a terminal to Julesburg, by way of the coal fields at Marshall, and by way of 
Boulder, Longmont and Greeley, thus completely sidetracking Denver. Boulder 
and Weld counties had voted it $200,000 and $150,000 in bonds, respectively. 

When the panic of 1873 broke upon the nation the Colorado Central & 
Pacific had been completed and was in operation to Longmont. There it 
remained, for the great eastern sources of investment funds were suddenly dried 
up. Work also was stopped on the narrow gauge at Floyd Hill. 

But the plan to sidetrack Denver, which was ended by the panic, had been 
followed earlier along a southerly route as well, where a connection between 
Golden and Littleton on the new Denver & Rio Grande had been completed. 
This was plainly to divert southern business to Loveland's proposed Colorado 

The advent of the Colorado Central and the Denver Pacific into the coal fields 
of Marshall and Erie respectively had an immediate effect in greatly cheapening 
the price of fuel in Denver, Golden, Boulder, reached on June i, 1874, by the 
Denver Pacific, and the other new communities. Prior to the advent of the rail- 
roads into the coal fields the price per ton of lignite coal, delivered by wagons 
direct from the field, was $10 to $15 per ton. When the railroads opened the 
fields the retail price at once went down to $4 and $5 per ton. 

It was not until 1877 that the Floyd Hill branch of the Colorado Central 
was extended to Georgetown. In that year also the coal road from Boulder to 
the Marshall coal banks, six miles distant, was completed by T. G. Lyster and 
associates, of Denver. This was known as the Golden, Boulder & Caribou. 

In 1878 the gap between Blackhawk and Central City was filled by a switch- 
back> a remarkable achievement of engineering skill. 

In 1 88 1 what was known as the Julesburg cut-off was extended from the 
Town of Evans on the Denver Pacific, 200 miles down the valley of the South 
Platte River to a junction with the main line of the Union Pacific at a point about 
five miles east of the old Julesburg station. This made a line to Omaha seventy 
miles shorter than via Cheyenne. 


But this construction work on the part of the Colorado Central and Union 
Pacific was by no means a peaceful proceeding. In fact in the history of Colo- 
rado's railroad wars it is paralleled only by the fight made many years later on 
the builders of the "Moffat road," and which might almost be called a renewal 
of that old trouble. 


The panic had left the Kansas Pacific without the feeders so necessary for 
its existence. It now began to feel the heavy hand of Union Pacific competition, 
for with the Colorado Central's extension to Floyd Hill the latter road, or rather 
the Union Pacific, controlled practically all of the mining trade of the territory. 

In March, 1872, when the pinch of future competition was in evidence, Presi- 
dent John Evans, of the Denver Pacific, resigned and R. E. Carr, executive of 
the Kansas Pacific, replaced him. Their first move was the incorporation of the 
Denver, Georgetown & Utah Railway Company, planned to run through Mt. 
Vernon Canon to Idaho Springs, Georgetown, and then over the range to Utah. 
A branch was to be built to Central City. R. E. Carr was president of this 
company ; John D. Perry, vice president ; R. R. McCormick, secretary ; David 
H. Moffat, treasurer; with Governor Evans as adviser. 

Bond issues were voted by Clear Creek and Arapahoe counties but no bonds 
were ever issued for the Colorado Central had been aroused to sudden activity 
by the opposition movement and speedily finished its line to Blackhawk and Floyd 
Hill as already related. 

The Evans-Carr project lapsed for the time being, and the Kansas Pacific, 
hit hard by the panic and by the failure to establish feeders out of Denver, soon 
showed signs of distress. In 1873 the company defaulted in the payment of 
interest on its bonds and was placed in the hands of a receiver. 

The Union Pacific directorate now became conciliatory, hoping to secure 
possession of the Kansas Pacific and Denver Pacific. Its first move along this 
line was to effect a lease of the Colorado Central to the Kansas Pacific. This 
was ratified by the Colorado Central at a meeting held in April, 1877, an ^ P re ~ 
sided over by Senator Henry M. Teller, who was then president of the road. 
The Union Pacific, in control, had, however, failed to consider the fighting 
capacity of the founder of the Colorado Central, W. A. H. Loveland. The con- 
solidation, or what amounted to such, wiped out much, if not all, of the value 
in the stocks held by the several bonded counties. This brought the people to 
the side of Loveland, and on May 21, 1876, they took forcible possession of 
the road. 

The courts were quick to act, as the Union Pacific had suddenly entered the 
contest with a claim of $1,250,000 for rolling stock and material. Judge A. W. 
Stone, of the Second Judicial District, appointed David H. Moffat receiver and 
arranged to qualify him at Boulder on August I5th, the last day of the term. 
But on the morning of that day the judge was forcibly taken from a train, and 
hidden in the mountains for three days, and finally brought back to Denver at 
night none the worse for his adventure. But the governor extended the term of 
court and the judge then qualified the receiver. Loveland, however, held on by 
counter court proceedings. In the meantime statehood had been granted, and Love- 


land was able to bring the Union Pacific to terms. For two years Loveland con- 
tinued as president, and in that period the Kansas Pacific was given a last body 
blow in the construction of the standard gauge line via Fort Collins to a junction 
with the Union Pacific five miles west of Cheyenne. This marked the beginning 
of a rate war which was disastrous to all lines and finally ended in an agree- 
ment by which uniform and higher charges were made. 


On January 24, 1880, the Union Pacific Railway Company was formed, con- 
solidating the Union Pacific, the Kansas Pacific and the Denver Pacific railroad 
companies. By the terms of consolidation the shareholders in each company were 
to receive shares in the new company corresponding in number to those held in 
the old, the number of shares of Union Pacific being 367,623; Kansas Pacific, 
100,000; Denver Pacific, 40,000; the stock of the consolidated company being 
507,623 shares, or $50,762,300. On February 6, 1881, $10,000,000 additional 
stock was sold at par. 

In November, 1879, the Union Pacific leased the Colorado Central for a 
period of fifty years, and W. A. H. Loveland resigned the presidency. 

Poor's Manual, the railroad authority, in its issue in the early '8os has this 
illuminative reference to the Colorado Central: 

"Colorado Central Railroad Denver to Golden (3 rails), 15.57 miles; Golden 
to Wyoming line, 106.37; Denver Junction to La Salle, 151.16; Golden to George- 
town (narrow gauge), 34.23; Forks of Clear creeks to Central City, 11.12 miles; 
total, 318.45 miles. The Colorado Central of Wyoming is operated under lease 
by this company. The company is controlled by the Union Pacific through the 
ownership of $6,229,000 stock out of a total of $6,230,300, and $4,697,000 first 
mortgage bonds out of a total of $4,701,000 * * * The Julesburg 'cut-off,' 
Denver Junction to La Salle, was built in 1882 in consequence of the extension 
of the Burlington & Missouri in Nebraska to Denver." 

After all it was a great triumph for Denver, achieved by leaders who saw 
not alone the big interests but influential men within the state arrayed against 
its further development into a metropolis, a great railroad center. After 1874 
there was no further question of supremacy, for even the building of the Golden- 
Cheyenne line in 1877, while it injured the Denver Pacific and the Kansas Pacific, 
aided Denver, for it was to the growing metropolis that the rich sections in the 
north sent their product. In the end even W. A. H. Loveland, one of the most 
indomitable spirits of that early period, became a resident of Denver and was 
influential and helpful in its progress. 

In 1873 the Kansas Pacific extended a branch from Kit Carson to a point near 
the present site of Las Animas. This was to accommodate the traffic at Fort 
Lyon and Fort Reynolds, and also was intended to mark the inauguration of 
the long-planned southwestern line. The road was abandoned in 1878. 

The Union Pacific has the following new construction record in Colorado 
since 1910: Sand Creek Junction to St. Vrain, Colorado, 17.45 miles, opened 
for traffic November i, 1909; Greeley to Briggsdale, 26.16, opened for traffic 
May 22, 1910; Cloverly to Hungerford, Colorado, 13.16 miles, opened for traffic 
May 22, 1910; Dent to Fort Collins, 25.25 miles, opened in 1911. 








Gen. William J. Palmer was by far the greatest of the actual railroad builders 
of Colorado. He had been active in the construction of the Kansas Pacific, and 
when he came to Denver to smooth out the difficulties with the Denver Pacific, 
it was found that he was even more than a great engineer, he was a diplomat 
and statesman as well. 

It was with a rare vision that he scanned this great field for railroad oppor- 
tunities. There were no gold camps, no great trading centers, save perhaps 
Santa Fe far south in this vision. There were not 500 people between Denver 
and the straggling village of Pueblo. In Colorado City a few shacks marked the 
site of what had once been a territorial capital. Colorado Springs and Glen 
Eyrie, the town and the beautiful home he built later, were in the vision only. 
At the foot of Pike's Peak the wild vegetation, the pines and spruces and the 
mountain flowers of the region grew in unmolested grandeur and beauty. 

Only a scenic wonderland was here, Cheyenne Canon, Cheyenne Moun- 
tain, Seven Falls, which in his vision all the world would come to admire. At 
these mineral springs he saw the long pilgrimage of succeeding years. There 
was only beauty in the juncture of the valleys of the Monument Creek and 
"Fontaine qui Bouille." 

General Palmer had toured the territory in the early '6os with a Government 
surveying party, one of the many Federal efforts to find a transcontinental route. 
With this knowledge and what he gleaned from many surveys submitted to the 
Kansas Pacific and Denver Pacific, and with an almost prophetic vision, he 
mapped out the present Denver & Rio Grande system. For sources of revenue 
he went to his marvelous faith in what these mountains would give up to the 
miner's pick, in what the axe would supply in the way of timber, in what the 



virgin quarries would give of their stones, and in what these vast ranges could 
feed of cattle, hogs and sheep. 

The system as he mapped it out before 1870 has been built, every line save 
one, and that was a railroad stretching along the valleys of the Grand and the 
Colorado to San Diego. 

In his first annual report to the directors of the Denver & Rio Grande, issued 
April i, 1873, General Palmer states that "the idea of a north and south railway 
following the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains from the principal city of the 
new West Denver, southward to Mexico, arose from a conviction that this 
belt of country had especial advantages in its location, climate and natural re- 
sources. In the first place it was separated from the boundary line of arable 
culture on the eastward, in Nebraska, Kansas, the Indian Territory and Texas, 
by a width of over 400 miles of arid plains, unfit for settlement except in occa- 
sional valleys, and only capable as yet of supporting a population of nomadic 
stock raisers. On reaching the foothills of the great chain, however, new con- 
ditions were found : First, numerous streams of water pouring out upon the 
plains, and fed by the melting of the mountain snows. The slope being favorable 
to the distribution of this water over the adjoining land, the result was a fertile 
agricultural district, capable of raising food for a large population. Although 
this watered belt was not of great width, yet experience had shown that land 
cultivated by irrigation will produce much larger crops than the same amount 
under ordinary culture. Second, the rugged mountains immediately adjoining 
on the westward had been found, wherever exploited, to contain veins and deposits 
of silver, gold, lead, copper, iron and other metals. An active population of miners 
had begun to seize upon these treasurers and they required to be fed from the 
agricultural produce raised near the foothills. At numerous points along the 
whole belt named from Denver to El Paso were found extensive deposits of 
good coal, frequently in connection with iron ore, lime and fire clay. This cir- 
cumstance and the water power afforded by the rapid fall of the mountain 
water courses to the plain, pointed out the country as especially fitted for manu- 
facture." In the next three paragraphs he tells of the vast supply of timber, 
stone and lime for building purposes, of the grazing possibilities, of the genial 
climate. "It was plain," he concludes, "that the long distance from all other 
agricultural districts would cause its farming lands to be rapidly and densely 
settled, that its coal, iron, water power, timber, wool, hides, etc., would soon 
create with railroad facilities, a large manufacturing community. Assisted by 
the natural tariff afforded by the distance of nearly 1,000 miles intervening 
between these and the nearest known iron deposits on the eastward, and of 500 
to 600 miles between these coal mines and those of eastern Kansas; that the 
manufacturing resources and the working of the mines would afford a reliable 
home market to the farmer and grazer, that the larger amount of water near 
the mountains and the shelter afforded by the foothills gave peculiar advantages 
to this section for raising cattle, horses and sheep ; that the climate, scenery and 
mineral springs would attract also a large number of tourists and invalids; that 
the uninterrupted tide of emigration would have to leap across the great plains 
which begin 200 to 250 miles from the line of the Missouri River, and settle 
upon this first inhabitable belt westward ; and that the six or eight great east and 
west railway lines crossing or preparing to cross the continent would, from neces- 


sity, promote the rapid colonization of the new West, and, by competition for its 
trade, stimulate its subsequent growth." 

It was taken altogether, a pioneering task based solely upon the faith that 
would move these mountains, for within them were the riches with which he 
was certain his land galleons would be loaded. He saw in Pueblo the natural 
depot for the raw material of the mines and visioned there the multiplied smoke- 
stacks and whirring wheels of a greater smelting industry. 

Out on the prairies of the Divide men had begun to graze small herds of 
cattle and sheep which were later driven north and sent by rail to eastern 
markets. But to this visionary the potentiality of these plains was clear. The 
railroad would make this country teem with vast herds of cattle, even as it had 
once been filled with buffalo. 

He knew too that the railroad must create towns and passenger traffic, for 
the Pueblo-Denver stage in 1870 carried not more than three passengers daily 
each way. It was not a glorious outlook, for in 1870 it must be remembered 
Leadville was still a few years distant and Cripple Creek two decades away. 
There was hope in the dribbling oil fields of Florence, but that too was but in 
its beginning and but little had been done toward development. The coal fields 
of Fremont County and those far below in Las Animas and Huerf ano were well 
worth reaching by rail. Here, as a matter of fact, were the only tangible evi- 
dences of prospective railroad business. 

But the original incorporation in 1870 under the laws of the Territory of 
Colorado revealed the fact that the great plan of the Denver & Rio Grande 
Railway was a most carefully considered project. Its articles of incorporation 
provided for the location, construction, operation and maintenance of the Den- 
ver & Rio Grande Railway, of the Denver & Southern Railway, of the South 
Park Railway, of the Western Colorado Railway, of the Moreno Valley Rail- 
way, of the San Juan Railway, of the Gallesteo Railway and of the Santa Rita 
Railway. The general route of each was designated, and there were the saving 
clauses which in the long fight with the Santa Fe over possession of the Canon 
of the Royal Gorge finally won out for the Denver & Rio Grande. 

The Denver & Rio Grande Company was incorporated October 27, 1870, 
with the following trustees: Gen. William J. Palmer and A. C. Hunt, former 
governor of Colorado ; William P. Mellen, of New York ; R. Henry Lamborn, of 
Philadelphia; Howard Schuyler, of Colorado. W. H. Greenwood, who became 
superintendent of construction, was also one of the incorporators. He left the 
company in 1874, and later met a violent death in Mexico. The directors the first 
year were William J. Palmer, William P. Mellen, Robert Henry Lamborn, A. C. 
Hunt and William A. Bell. 

The capital stock of the company was $14,000,000, and the road was to be 
bonded at the rate of $10,000 for each mile constructed. General Palmer 
was chosen president, and had able aids in J. P. Mersereau, chief engineer; in 
W. H. Greenwood, and in Samuel E. Browne and Wilbur F. Stone, attorney. 

In March, 1871, the work on a narrow gauge railroad was begun south of 
the site of the present Union Depot and on October 21, 1871, the last rail was 
laid covering the seventy-four miles between Colorado City and Denver. 

Thus far the road had been built without county, state or federal aid. 

In June, 1872, Congress passed an act granting the Denver & Rio Grande 


Railroad the right of way over the public domain, 100 feet in width on each side 
of the track, "together with such public lands adjacent thereto as may be needed 
for depots, stops and other buildings for railroad purposes, and for yard room 
and sidetracks, not exceeding twenty acres at any one station and not more 
than one station in every ten miles, and the right to take from adjacent public 
lands stone, timber, earth, water and other material required for the construc- 
tion and repair of its railway and telegraph lines." 

The act also gave the company the rights, powers and privileges (condem- 
nation rights), conferred upon the Union Pacific by section 3 of the act of 
July 2, 1864, provided it reached Santa Fe within five, later changed to ten, 
years after the passage of the act. Another proviso stipulated fifty miles of con- 
struction below Santa Fe each year. Before the railway replaced the stage-coach 
from Denver to Colorado Springs the latter ran tri-weekly and carried an aver- 
age of five passengers per trip, or thirty both ways, weekly. A few "Mexican" 
and other teams carried all the freight there was before the railway was built. 
The actual freight hauled by the railroad in 1872 (an average distance of sixty- 
one miles) was 46,212 tons, or, omitting construction material, 34,892 tons of 
commercial freight. 

By the census of 1870 Denver had a population of 4,800. In 1872 the city 
directory showed it to have over 15,000. Pueblo when the Denver & Rio Grande 
was begun had 500 people. In 1872 it had 3,500. Colorado Springs did not exist 
in 1870. In 1872 it had a population of 1,500. 

Pueblo now voted $200,000 in bonds and on June 29, 1872, the town cele- 
brated the arrival of the first train from Denver. It marked the beginning of 
the growth and industrial prosperity of the town. 

The line to Florence and to the coal field near Canon City, was built in 1872. 
The people of Canon City were chagrined to find that no plans had been made 
for the extension of the road to the town a matter of only eight miles. They 
appealed to the Santa Fe to build into the Arkansas Valley, but the panic had 
hit that road as well as so many others. General Palmer asked for an issue of 
$100,000 in bonds. It was voted but not issued. Finally $50,000 was subscribed 
to the stock of the Rio Grande and the road was built in 1875, not into the town, 
but to a point a considerable distance below. 

The earnings of the Denver & Rio Grande for 1872, deducting construction 
material, was $281,400.29; operating expenses deducting cost of transporting 
construction material, $175,206.32. Net earnings, $106,193.97. Earnings were 
divided: freight, $172,102.23; passenger, $134,371.56; miscellaneous, $1,645.03. 
Expense: conducting transportation, $63,160.44; motive power, $62,311.73; main- 
tenance of cars, $4,885.95; maintenance of way, $55,060.13; general expenses, 

In the second annual report the "company was able, notwithstanding a panic 
which caused the failure of seventy-seven railroads in the United States, to meet 
all of its obligations promptly and survive the gale." The net earnings for 1873 
increased 60 per cent over those of 1872. 

Out of the wrangle with Canon City grew the struggle for the right of way 
through the Royal Gorge to the Grand Canon of the Arkansas. 

A local company was formed at Canon City, and on February 15, 1877, was 
incorporated as the Canon City & San Juan Railway Company, with Messrs. 


Ailing, Locke and Megrue, all of Fremont County, as incorporators. The feud 
between the Santa Fe and Denver & Rio Grande was then at its height, and the 
former lost no time in backing the Canon City enterprise to seize the route 
through the Canon of the Arkansas. Under the original grant the Denver & 
Rio Grande was confirmed by Congress in any route which it had specified in 
its articles of incorporation. Justice Harlan in his famous review of the case at 
its final hearing in the United States Supreme Court stated: "In 1877 and 1878 
it became evident that that pass was of vital importance to any company desiring 
to reach the trade and business of the country beyond it, whether to the west, 
northwest or southwest. Discoveries then recently made of mineral wealth in 
western Colorado gave it immense pecuniary value in railroad circles, since, as 
the evidence tends to establish, the occupancy of the Royal Gorge by one line 
of railroad would practically exclude all other competing companies from using 
it for like purposes except upon such terms as the first occupant might dictate. 
From the date of the survey made in 1872 down to April 19, 1878, the record 
furnishes no evidence that the Denver company actually occupied that defile 
for any purpose whatsoever. On that day, however, Congress having extended 
the time to ten years from the date of the original act within which to complete 
its road as far south as Santa Fe, that company did, by its agents, occupy the 
narrow portion of the canyon known as the Royal Gorge with the avowed inten- 
tion of constructing its road upon the line of the surveys, made in 1871 and 1872. 
But during the night of April io/, 1878, the board of directors of the Canon 
City company were convened and Robinson and Strong, the chief engineer and 
manager respectively of the Santa Fe system, were elected to the same positions 
in the Canon City company. On the morning of the 2Oth as early as 4 o'clock, 
a small squad of their employes, nine or ten in number, under the charge of an 
assistant engineer, swam the Arkansas River and in the name of their company 
took possession of the Canon." 

The supreme court in this decision gave the Denver & Rio Grande the sole 
right to construct a railroad through the gorge. 

This battle for possession of the Canon of the Arkansas is one of the great 
romances of early railroad building in the west. The wonderful discoveries 
at Leadville proved the lodestone for the Santa Fe directorate which until that 
time had, like so many other eastern powers, regarded Colorado largely as a 
mere matter of "scenery." It was for this reason that the people of Canon City, 
when in 1874 they found the Denver & Rio Grande within eight miles of its 
town limits, were unable to get a hearing from the Santa Fe. But the Leadville 
excitement wrought a magic change. Rates of 4 cents a pound were cheerfully 
paid on freight brought by teams from Canon City to Leadville. Both the Den- 
ver & Rio Grande and the Santa Fe determined to get to the big mining camp 
through the only available mountain pass, the Canon of the Arkansas, twelve 
miles west of Canon City and with hardly fifty feet of width for rail traffic. 

The Santa Fe\ in February, 1878, had fairly outwitted the Denver & Rio 
Grande in securing and holding Raton Pass. Thus on the fateful April ipth of 
the same year it decided to secure a western outlet by the methods which won 
out at Raton. 

Judge Harlan's decision covers the legal phases of the case, the fact that 
General Palmer had designated the canyon route in his original incorporation, 


that Congress had confirmed his right to this in perpetuity if built within a period 
of five years, and was about to extend this confirmation for another five years. 

William B. Strong, who in December, 1877, had been elected vice president 
and general manager of the Santa Fe, was one of the great construction geniuses 
of this period. He lacked the wonderful foresight and knowledge of General 
Palmer, but surpassed him in a native shrewdness which too often degenerated 
into mere trickery. With all that, it took men of his calibre to pioneer these 
early railroads, men who could "vision" towns and industries, mines and manu- 
facturing in these rugged wildernesses. 

The struggles of these great builders were often against the densest ignorance. 
Thus in the New Mexico Legislature the Mexican faction fought the coming 
of the Santa Fe for fear it would people the country with "Americanos." Far 
from granting a subsidy it was largely by subterfuge that railroad and develop- 
ment rights were at first obtained in New Mexico. 

Strong had engineered the fight at Raton. He was the moving spirit in the 
struggle to win the canyon. At that time the Santa Fe was building southwest 
from La Junta. W. R. Morley, in charge of construction at El Moro, reached 
Pueblo on the night of April i8th, only to learn that the Denver & Rio Grande 
construction force had already gone west to take possession of the canyon. 

The people of established towns were nearly all against the Denver & Rio 
Grande, for General Palmer's policy of building up his own towns had not made 
him many friends in the side-tracked places^ This was the case at Trinidad, 
which he purposed to surpass by his own town of El Moro. No bonds were voted 
by Trinidad. It was the case at Canon City, where he had built to a point away 
from the center of the town. 

Morley, therefore decided to reach Canon City and get the townsmen to 
help him seize the canyon. With the best pair of horses he could find in Pueblo 
he made the distance of over forty miles just as the dawn showed him that the 
Denver & Rio Grande construction crew was arriving. He rushed to the home 
of the officials of the Canon City & San Juan Road, was legally empowered by 
them to occupy the canyon, and leaving them to gather a force of men to follow, 
rode to the canyon two miles away and began to dig. The officials of the 
Canon City & San Juan with a few friends, six or eight in number, all armed 
to the teeth, came to Morley's aid. 

For the time being the Denver & Rio Grande was beaten, for its men came 
and saw, and to avoid bloodshed, left. 

For Morley there was the handshake of Strong and the satisfied smile which 
to Santa Fe men was like a Victoria Cross. The repeating rifle, elaborately 
mounted with gold, which was given to Morley for his work in the canyon, was 
later accidentally discharged, killing -this intrepid engineer. 

The Denver & Rio Grande took possession farther up the canyon, erected 
forts, and began actual construction work. The state courts were appealed to, 
arrests of officials were frequent, but finally Judge Hallett enjoined both parties 
from work in the canyon until the matter was disposed of in the supreme court. 

What Leadville meant in the railroad fight between the Denver & Rio Grande 
and the Santa Fe can now best be gleaned from the confidential communications 
made in those years to General Palmer, and in the correspondence of General 
Palmer. These, through the courtesy of the Denver & Rio Grande officials, are 


now available. On March 23, 1878, Col. D. C. Dodge, then holding the title of 
general freight agent, began pouring into General Palmer's offices advices of 
prospective shipments from Leadville. "The Gallagher mine promises twenty- 
five tons of ore a day after May ist." "Harrison reduction works could ship 
100 tons a day if they had the transportation. Want to contract for shipment 
daily of 100,000 Ibs. of ore and bullion." Here's another from Charles B. Lam- 
born, a prominent railroad man of that day, written to General Palmer under 
date April i, 1878: "Mr. Streeter, freighter, informs me that he has arranged 
to take charge of the transportation from Leadville across Weston's Pass and 
South Park, with mule teams. From the Park down to Cold Springs 'bull- 
teams' are being arranged for. He has agreed to commence during this month 
and carry over Weston's Pass 50,000 Ibs. ore and bullion per day and to increase 
at any time on notice, to a capacity of 100,000 Ibs. per day. Harrison's people 
expect soon to ship 100,000 Ibs. per day, and are only anxious about getting 
enough transportation. The rate they expect to pay is $18 per ton to Colorado 
Springs and Canon City." 

One of the earlier "human documents of this period is the letter of General 
Palmer, dated September 15, 1877, f f0m Colorado Springs, and addressed to 
R. H. Lamborn, previously if not then treasurer of the Denver & Rio Grande. 
In this he says : "You will doubtless be surprised to learn that I am satisfied the 
proper route is from Canon City up to Oro (Leadville), no miles, with a branch 
of thirty-nine miles if necessary from mouth of Trout Creek to Fairplay, a cheap 
line to build. We can either run through the Arkansas Canon or via the iron 
mines and down Texas Creek, avoiding the worst canyon and at an increased 
distance of, say, fifteen miles. This would greatly develop Wet Mountain Val- 
ley, which has a surplus of 5,000 tons best hay, besides oats and potatoes; and 
Rosita, which is today as important, perhaps, as Fairplay, and is apparently as 
large as Fairplay, Dudley and Alma put together, and has two reduction works in 
full blast, with another just going up on Oak Creek, and according to Professor 
Hill's statement to me is good for twenty tons daily of shipping ore * * * 
Harrison guarantees at once to a railroad 15,000 tons of the high grade silver 
lead ore for shipment besides the base bullion (33 to 40 per cent) of product 
of two furnaces and the coke and merchandise (This guarantee was later in- 
creased to eighty-five tons of ore, bullion and coke per day, in May, 1878) * * * 
Stevens (of the firm of Wood & Stevens) estimates the daily shipment of ore 
with railroad at 1,000 tons daily; wood, 500 tons daily * * * Every gulch 
in the 120 miles of Arkansas Valley, however, from Grape Creek up to Tennessee 
Pass, on each side of Arkansas River, seeming to have men working on it in 
the mines * * * There are smelting works on Chalk Creek, and another 
just going up; a mill or two at Granite; ore smelting furnace at Oro (Leadville) ; 
ore mill at Printer Boy mine, California Gulch; say three reduction works at 
Rosita * * * the fifty tons daily being now mined at Oro average thirty 
ounces of silver and 40 per cent lead to the ton of 2,000 pounds. Ten bushels 
of coke are used to one ton of ore; 25 per cent iron ore to one ton of silver 
ore. This carbonate district extends from Iowa Gulch to Evans' Gulch, say two 
miles long and one and one-half miles wide. The ore is in three great breaks of 
the strata. There are said to be six to eight such breaks between South Park 
River on the east (head of Mosquito Range of South Park Gulch opposite Fair- 


play) and the Arkansas River on the west, a distance of say eight or ten miles. 
* * * In richness, however, the "Gallagher," which abuts against Weed & 
Stevens properties on the north, far exceeds. Everything appears to pay from 
time of striking the deposit, which is, say, ten to twenty feet down. The Hays 
& Cooper mines were discovered a week or two before my arrival within 200 
or 300 yards of Harrison's new furnace. There was considerable excitement 
and Senator Logan and Governor Routt were there and out with picks, search- 
ing for the treasure * * * Fourteen miles down the Arkansas are the Twin 
Lakes. With a railroad this would be the most attractive summering spot in 
Colorado, and could not be exhausted of fish * * * I doubt if it would be 
necessary- to build lor some time the branch to Fairplay so that less than $1,000,- 
ooo would be absolutely necessary * * * The carbonate of lead district, 
on present yield, and Harrison's guarantee, would pay as follows, to say noth- 
ing of any of the numerous mining deposits from Rosita to Tennessee Pass or 
the South Park, which would come in at Trout Creek. 
Rough Estimate 

One hundred and fourteen miles to Canon City via Arkansas 

Canon to Oro (Leadville) $1,000,000 

Ten per cent on which is per annum 100,000 

Cost of operating per year 120,000 

Necessary to earn gross yearly, to pay operating expenses and 

10 per cent interest 220,000 

Ore and Coke business of Oro only 

Harrison's guarantee, 15,000 tons of high grade, he now pays 
$18 ($25 per ton paid in winter) per ton ore to the Mexican 
wagons, freight to Colorado Springs, by railroad (half pres- 
ent cost) $ 135,000 

Forty tons daily of low grade ore reduced in two Harrison's 

furnaces to thirteen tons base bullion daily, 4,700 tons 43,OOO 

Requiring ten tons coke daily, 3,650 tons, for which he now 
pays freight from Colorado Springs $12 per ton, say by rail- 
road, half, or $6 ($25 paid for half when ox teams not prac- 
ticable) 22,000 

Omaha works in high grade ores, shipped out ten tons per day 32,000 


"By building from Canon, no miles, we would of course, thoroughly control 
the trade and carry it to Denver as readily as Pueblo. We could discourage 
Denver extending the South Park Railroad thus, as readily as by building from 
Colorado Springs. Denver gets now most of Canon City and Colorado Springs 

General Palmer then goes into the advantages of the Canon City route, pre- 
dicting even at that early day the enormous tourist travel of the present day. 
"From Canon City," he says, "to Oro (Leadville) the attractions to passenger 
travel are unusual. The Arkansas Canon would undoubtedly be traversed by nearly 
every tourist coming to Colorado, and much of the California travel would come 
by way of Pueblo and Denver in order to see this bit of grand scenery. The resi- 


dent population of Colorado would mostly manage to see it by means of excur- 
sions * * * As iron works will be at Pueblo large smelting works, etc., we 
> could supply iron cheaper to the mines in the mountains * * * This would 
make a real central and national Pacific railroad line good for Oregon and 
southern California, equally, on the west, and Chicago and Memphis, or Texas on 
the east. * * * The most sheltered and appropriate places for consumptives 
in winter that I have seen are the little warm openings or parks, beside the dashing 
river which separates the several canyons of the Arkansas from Canon City up to 
the South Arkansas (Salida)." 

The letter goes on into minute engineering details, of possible production from 
every existing mining camp, of prospects of raising vast hay and oat crops in Wet 
Mountain Valley and Texas Park, of the forests of fine timber. 

Beauty in nature seemed to have a marvelous appeal for this practical railroad 
builder. Even in this long letter advocating construction for only solid business 
reasons he thinks of the health-restorative powers of the mountains. Here is a bit 
of his description of the scenic wonderland of the Arkansas River : " above the 
Arkansas Canon the ride is mostly through the cultivated park-like valley of the 
Upper Arkansas, interrupted by dashes into occasional short canyons with rapids 
and falls. For sixty miles here, the passenger can look up on one side to the 'Con- 
tinental Divide' which the line runs parallel with, and from whose crest it is but 
about twelve miles distant between Poncho and Oro. He looks up in this three 
hours' railroad ride at ten peaks whose elevation exceeds 14,000 feet, and sees 
fields of snow which drain into two oceans. On the right is the high rim of the 
South Park. When within eleven miles of Malta he passes the outlet of the Twin 
Lakes, a mile or two distant, nearly encircled by high mountains, whose height 
seems doubled by reflection in the blue waters." 

Financially the Santa Fe was winning the long struggle with the Denver & 
Rio Grande, for its resources were immediate while the Rio Grande was still in 
the earlier development stages. In that year, 1878, the Santa Fe had earned 
$3,950,868, while the Denver & Rio Grande was heavily involved. There were 
quarrels with the Philadelphia backers of the Denver & Rio Grande for whom the 
vision of General Palmer was not coming to realization rapidly enough. 

Dr. John Burton Phillips, professor of economics and sociology at the Univer- 
sity of Colorado, in his article on "Freight Rates and Manufactures in Colorado," 
published by the University in 1910, writes as follows of the extension of the Rio 
Grande system from Pueblo to Canon City and to Trinidad : 

"About 1872, the Rio Grande Railroad was built into Pueblo. General Palmer, 
the builder, got into difficulty when the road had reached this city and found -him- 
self short v of funds. He wished to build the road from Pueblo to Canon City, a 
distance of forty-two miles. The Colorado Coal and Iron Company had many 
coal and ore lands in the vicinity of Canon City which they wished to develop. The 
coal and iron company, therefore, raised the money needed to build the road to 
Canon City, taking in exchange therefor the stock of the railroad. In this way 
the road was successfully extended to that point. In a similar fashion, another com- 
pany bought up the coal and iron lands around Trinidad, Huerfano and some other 
points, and then turned over one-half of their interests to the railroad and on these 
properties the funds were raised with which the railroad was built to Trinidad. 
In 1880 or 1881, in order to develop the resources along the road, General Palmer 


got the men interested in these properties, both at Trinidad and at Canon City, to 
put up the capital for a steel plant at Pueblo. All the companies were consolidated 
into the Colorado Coal and Iron Company. About $2,500,000 was expended at 
that time. The two contracts which had formerly been made by the railroads by 
which special favors were granted to the companies in the matter of freight rates 
were then consolidated into one contract with the combined company. This con- 
tract extended special favors to the company in the matter of freight rates as the 
company had united with Palmer in the development of the coal and ore beds and 
was therefore entitled to a good bargain. This is why, according to the evidence 
of the receiver of the Rio Grande, no other companies were allowed to sell coal 
in Leadville except the Colorado Coal and Iron Company." 

On October 19, 1878, General Palmer, much against his own wishes and those 
of his able aide, Col. D. C. Dodge, but acting largely upon the wishes of stockhold- 
ers, leased the road right for a period of thirty years to the Santa Fe, and gave 
up possession December 13, 1878. There had been, it should be added, a decided 
change in the ownership of the stock, the Philadelphians gradually disposing of 
their holdings to the Santa Fe. 

In this lease nothing was said concerning a cessation of the litigation over 
the canyon. But an express stipulation prevented any rate discrimination against 

The Santa Fe was a Kansas road, and its metropolis was Kansas City. Its 
big west-bound business originated at that point, and its east-bound business was 
distributed there. Thus the road was in a way pledged to the building up of 
Kansas City trade. This became apparent at once when rates from Denver to 
the south were raised and its jobbing trade was at once diverted to Kansas City. 
Moreover, in their first wrath it was charged by Denver and Colorado men that 
the Denver & Rio Grande was to be wrecked and scrapped. 

The old officials were appealed to by their Colorado friends to cancel the 
lease and take possession of their road. It must always be a Colorado road. 
General Palmer had no trouble in securing funds for building the road to Lead- 
ville, where it was certain of enormous revenues. Armed men took possession of 
the old forts built in and near the canyon by the Denver & Rio Grande. Councils 
were held by the old officials. Friends all over Colorado tendered their aid. 
Practically all the employes of the system were quietly helping the old com- 
pany. Nor was the Santa Fe idle. It was actually finishing the road to Lead- 
ville, every mile of which had been graded and twenty miles completed before 
the trouble was settled. 

In June, 1879, the Denver & Rio Grande secured an order from Judge Bowen 
restoring the road to the old company. With this mandate the officials decided 
to take forcible possession, a feat in which the employes aided. The sheriff of 
every county traversed by the Denver & Rio Grande system was instructed to 
take possession at 6 a. m., Wednesday, June 9th. The armed volunteers made a 
formidable showing as the time for action approached. 

Leaders were on hand to direct and to fight if necessary. Former Governor 
A. C. Hunt started a train from El Moro and with his posse of 200 captured 
station after station. Col. D. C. Dodge was coming south with a posse from Den- 

The Santa Fe had hired Bat Masterson, the noted former sheriff of Dodge 




City, Kansas, to hold the roundhouse at Pueblo. With a force of Kansas roughs 
he kept the Denver & Rio Grande men at bay, succumbing finally to the peace- 
making efforts of R. F. Weitbrec, a former engineer of the Denver & Rio 

This battle which extended all along the lines was led by General Palmer and 
Col. D. C. Dodge, for whom every employe had the greatest respect and admira- 
tion. As the captured train crews reached Colorado Springs they joyfully joined 
the old ranks and took arms to prevent recapture of trains by the Santa Fe. 

There was an outburst of indignation all over the state when Judge Hallett 
on June 24th appointed Col. L. C. Ellsworth receiver. The latter managed the 
road until it was legally restored to the old company. 

Jay Gould was at this time looking for western railroad investments and the 
Santa Fe stockholders lost no time in disposing of their Denver & Rio Grande 
holdings to him. 

On December 20, 1879, with Gould acting as mediator, an agreement was 
reached which ended the war. The lease was canceled, the receivership termi- 
nated, the line to Leadville purchased for $1,400,000, and all plans for eastern 
development of the Denver & Rio Grande were given up. 

In the annual report for 1880 the agreement is thus outlined: "The struggle 
* * * was finally terminated and the Leadville line was restored to the Den- 
ver & Rio Grande Company on March 27, 1880, and an agreement was then 
made under which the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Company agreed for ten 
years not to build through any portion of Colorado west of the north and south 
line of the Denver & Rio Grande Railway (except a coal road to their coal mines 
near Canon City), or in that portion of New Mexico north of the 36th parallel 
(approximately) and west of the summit of the Spanish Range; while the Den- 
ver & Rio Grande Company agreed for the same period not to build in Colorado 
east of the same north and south line or to Trinidad, or in that portion of New 
Mexico east of the Spanish Range or south of the 36th parallel, except in the 
western part of New Mexico. There were also reciprocal obligations in regard 
to traffic, which included as well the Union Pacific." 

The fight for Raton Pass, in 1878, was, it is asserted by historians of the 
period, lost to the Denver & Rio Grande by half an hour. It is possible, that 
the loss of this gateway to the south would have completely altered the plans of 
the Santa Fe. 

Mr. Strong, in February, 1878, had just returned victorious to Pueblo from 
the long legislative fight in Santa Fe. Like General Palmer, who seemed to see 
far into the future, Strong was arguing for immediate construction. President 
Nickerson of the Santa Fe, like the Denver & Rio Grande's Philadelphia capital- 
ists who fought Palmer, was always for delay. "Why, Barlow and Sanderson," 
he remarked, "have just taken off the stage from El Moro to Santa Fe because the 
Denver & Rio Grande would not guarantee one passenger daily." 

Strong finally got permission to spend a small amount of money on surveys. 
When, on February 26, 1878, A. A. Robinson was sent south to take possession 
of Raton Pass he found Denver & Rio Grande officials on the train to El Moro. 
He believed it was merely an inspection tour, although the presence of the chief 
engineer led him to surmise that their mission might be to Raton. With the in- 
spiration that Strong gave to all his men, he scoured the town for a construction 



crew, and when the day dawned in Raton Pass he was in possession. The Den- 
ver & Rio Grande crew arrived half an hour later and was met by armed oppo- 
sition. The Santa Fe held the pass. On December 7, 1878, the first passenger 
train entered New Mexico. By February, 1880, Santa Fe was reached, Albu- 
querque April, 1880, Deming March ist, El Paso July i, 1881. In 1883 the 
Atlantic & Pacific was completed from Albuquerque to the Pacific, giving the 
Santa Fe the long-sought-for connection from the Missouri to California. 

The Denver & Rio Grande earnings and expenses and mileage of the first 
decade, ending December 31, 1881, were as follows: 

Earnings Expense Net 

1872 $ 301,160.26 $ 197,092.86 $ 104,067.40 

1873 392,653.89 197,124.31 195,529.58 

1874 378,063.07 195,626.09 182,437.58 

1875 363,095,86 208,067.14 155,028.72 

1876 450,118.00 271,729.08 178,388.22 

1877 773,322.07 416,161.55 357> l6 o.56 

1878 1,096,517.15 623,455.22 473,061.93 

1879 1,800,000.00 1,000,000.00 800,000.00 

1880 3,478,066.90 1,767,605.10 1,710,461.80 

1881 6,244,780.83 3,620,029.89 2,624,750.94 

Av. Miles Total miles 

operated at end of each year. 

1872 100 ; 155.5 

1873 155 155-5 

1874 163 163.5 

1875 163 163.5 

1876 240 276.5 

1877 293 307.8 

1878 308 338.4 

1879 337 360.7 

1880 474 685.9 

1881 786 1,066.6 

Before going into the later history of the Denver & Rio Grande Company it 
will be interesting to follow the realization of General Palmer's vision in the 
construction of its many lines in Colorado. In 1876 the branch from Pueblo to 
El Moro was built, with a branch from Cuchara to La Veta. In 1877 the' La 
Veta branch was extended through La Veta Pass, and in 1878 it was completed 
to Alamosa. The work on this line required masterful engineering, for La Veta 
Pass presented many unlocked for difficulties of construction. In May, 1880, 
Salida was reached and Leadville in July of that year. Much of this construc- 
tion was done by the Santa Fe.' In August, 1881, Gunnison was reached by way 
of Marshall Pass, another feat of mountain railroad engineering. By October 
the roa*d was at Crested Butte. In 1880 the road to the San Juan was begun, ex- 
tending from Alamosa over the Conejos Range to Durango, with branches from 
Antonito to Espanola, New Mexico, and from Alamosa to Del Norte and South 


Fork, reaching the latter point in November, 1881. Durango was reached in 
July, 1881. 

In September, 1881, the Villa Grove branch to the upper end of the San Luis 
Valley was finished, as well as the branch to Orient. The road from Leadville 
through Tennessee Pass to Rock Creek was opened in February, 1882; and by 
November the branch to Dillon was in operation. This is by way of Fremont's 
Pass. In November, 1882, the road from Gunnison through Montrose and Delta 
reached Grand Junction, and on December 19, 1882, it was at the Colorado-Utah 
line prepared to carry out the great transcontinental plan of its founder. 

The Rio Grande Western, at this time practically a subsidiary of the Denver 
& Rio Grande, had by purchase of the Utah railroad running from Provo 
to Clear Creek, and by construction at both ends established a connecting link 
between the Denver & Rio Grande and Central Pacific. From 1881 to 1884 the 
Utah road was leased and through trains were run from Denver to Ogden on the 
narrow gauge system. In that year the Rio Grande Western, maintaining the 
connection, was operated under its own management. In 1889 it secured by 
lease the portion of the road running from Grand Junction to the state line. 

In July, 1883, the Denver & Rio Grande extended its Del Norte branch to 
Wagon Wheel Gap, and later, in 1891, when Creede burst upon the world with its 
discoveries, to that point. 

Not until 1887 did the road reach Trinidad from El Moro. 

When the Mollie Gibson began to pour out its great silver ores, and other 
mines in Aspen followed in its wake, the Denver & Rio Grande lost no time build- 
ing along the canyons of the Eagle and Grand rivers to Glenwood Springs, then 
up the Roaring Fork to Aspen, which it reached in October, 1887. In 1889 what 
is now the main line was extended to Rifle. The camp at Lake City was added 
to the Denver & Rio Grande producers in that year. Ouray and its mines were 
reached by a branch from Montrose in 1887. 

By 1881 it was apparent that the road had outgrown its narrow gauge swad- 
dling clothes, although General Palmer in an elaborate printed argument had 
predicted the adoption of the narrow gauge idea all over the country. This was 
in 1870. In 1881 it controlled the entrance to Denver from the south, and with 
the Santa Fe, and later the Missouri Pacific and Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific 
seeking this terminal, it was imperative that the road be broad-gauged at least 
from Pueblo to Denver. The third rail for this stretch was completed in Decem- 
ber, 1 88 1. It then began broad-gauging its main line from Pueblo to Canon 
City, Salida, Glenwood and Rifle. At that point it joined forces with the Colo- 
rado Midland, completing the standard gauge connection to the state line and 
to the tracks of the Rio Grande Western. 

In 1890, after the line from Pueblo to Trinidad had been made standard 
gauge, the Villa Grove extension was built on to Alamosa. 

The Denver & Rio Grande Company has steadily kept up with development 
along its lines. When the coal fields at Ruby, or "Anthracite," were opened, in 
1893, the branch from Crested Butte to that point was built. In 1896 it pur- 
chased the Texas, Santa Fe & Northern running into Santa Fe from its main 
line. In November, 1898, it built its Ibex branch out of Leadville to meet the 
new discoveries in that camp. Later this was in part swapped to the Colorado 
& Southern. 


The Manitou branch, five miles, was built in 1880. 

The Fort Logan branch, two miles, was built in 1889. 

The West Cliff branch, twenty-five miles, was built in 1901. 

The Monarch branch, twenty-eight miles, was built from 1881 to 1883. 

The Silverton branch, forty-five miles, was built in 1882. 

The Farmington branch, forty-seven miles, was built in 1905. 

In 1894, during the height of the Cripple Creek excitement, a subsidiary com- 
pany built the Florence & Cripple Creek Railroad. 

In 1890 the Rio Grande Southern, backed by the Denver & Rio Grande, built 
a line from Ridgway on the Ouray branch to Vance Junction and Telluride and 
this was extended to Rico and Durango in 1891. 

In 1899 the La Veta Pass road was relocated, and standard gauged, the work 
being completed on November 7, that year. 

The road from Pagosa Junction to Pagosa Springs, 30.8 miles, was completed 
in 1900. 

In 1902 the North Fork branch was started, covering rich and extensive coal 
fields and fruit growing farms at Hotchkiss and Paonia. Its length is forty-six 

The standard gauging was extended during 1902 from Monte Vista to Del 
Norte and to Creede, making the whole line from Alamosa to Creede standard 
gauge. The Castle Rock branch near Denver, 2.65 miles, was made standard 
gauge the same year. 

The standard gauge line from Minnequa or Southern Junction to Walsenburg 
Junction was completed in 1911. It affords a low grade line of first class con- 
struction to Walsenburg and the various coal mines in that vicinity, where it 
connects with the main line across the Sangre de Cristo Range to Alamosa. 

The double track "Detour line" from Soldier Summit, fifteen miles to a point 
near Tucker, on the existing line, was completed in 1913. 

In 1882 William J. Palmer retired from the presidency, and the annual re- 
port of that year was issued by L. H. Meyer, first vice president. At the annual 
election Frederick Love joy, of New York, was made president. In 1884 the 
heavy construction work and the lack of necessary increments in business created 
a condition which made a receiver necessary. On July 12, 1884, Judge Hallett 
appointed William S. Jackson to this position. While the road was under the 
jurisdiction of the court the Denver & Rio Grande Railway Company trustees 
elected David H. Moffat president. The trustees were: David H. Moffat, William 
S. Jackson, W. S. Cheesman, all of Denver; T. H. A. Tromp, representing in- 
vestors at The Hague, Holland; William L. Scott, of Erie, Pennsylvania; C. F. 
Woerishoffer, Adolph Engler, Wm. Wagner, and J. C. Reiff, of New York. 

The reorganization was approved July n, 1886, and George Coppell,' of New 
York, became chairman of the board, with Wm. S. Jackson as president. Other 
directors were Robert B. Minturn, Adolph Engler, Richard T. Wilson, of New 
York; John L. Welsh, John J. Stadiger, of Philadelphia ; T. H. A. Tromp, of The 
Hague, and David H. Moffat. 

In 1887 David H. Moffat succeeded to the presidency, George Coppell re- 
maining chairman of the board of directors. On the board Charles M. Da Costa, 
of New York, took the place of T. H. A. Tromp. 

Minor changes occurred during the following four years, but in 1891 Edward 


T. Jeffery succeeded to the position of president and general manager. He had 
been for years in an executive position with the Illinois Central. George Coppell 
remained chairman of the board, the other directors being Edward O. Wolcott 
and Edward T. Jeffery, of Denver; Adolph Engler, Richard T. Wilson, Wm. Mer- 
tens, C. C. Beaman, all of New York; John Lawber Welsh and Edmund Smith, 
of Philadelphia. The Gould interests remained in control. 

The income of the road for the year ended June 30, 1893, was $9,372,221.53; 
its net earnings from traffic, $4,035,561.61, a remarkable showing for the now 
fairly developed system. > 

In the report for 1894 the panic which had hit the west was fairjy well mir- 
rored in reduced traffic and income, but for the year ending June 30, 1895 it came 
back into its stride with net earnings of $2,925,628.65, being $422,136.24 more 
than the previous year. 

The Rio Grande Southern receivership, a consequence of the panic, was 
quickly terminated and the road came into control of the Denver & Rio Grande. 
The Santa Fe Southern, which ran from Espafiola on the Denver & Rio Grande 
to Santa Fe, was also purchased during this period. 

In 1901 George J. Gould became chairman of the board of directors, the re- 
maining members being: Jacob H. Schiff, Edward H. Harriman, both new mem- 
bers, Winslow S. Pierce, J. Edward Simmons, Richard T. Wilson and Arthur 
Coppell of New York; Edward T. Jeffery and Edward O. Wolcott of Denver. 

In 1903 Russell Harding, general manager of the Missouri Pacific, became 
general manager of the Denver & Rio Grande, Edward T. Jeffery removing the 
office of president to New York City. Joel F. Vaile succeeded Edward O. Wol- 
cott as a director. George J. Gould remained as chairman and the Gould inter- 
ests continued in control of the property. 

In 1905 Amos C. Ridgway succeeded to the position of general manager. He 
had been in charge of the Colorado Springs & Cripple Creek Railway for some 

In 1905 President Jeffery gave the first intimation of a determination on the 
part of the Goulds to build their own Pacific Coast line. In this report he says : 
"For many years while the line of railway between Ogden and San Francisco 
was uncontrolled by interests competitive with your system, your company en- 
joyed a satisfactory share of the traffic to and from California, and one of the 
reasons moving the management between four and five years ago to acquire the 
Rio Grande Western, was the closer relationship that would be established with 
the San Francisco line of the Southern Pacific Company and the freer inter- 
change that it seemed probable would result therefrom. Subsequent events were 
in a measure disappointing. The control of Southern Pacific by Union Pacific 
interests has led to unexpected restrictions of interchange, and more especially 
unlocked for impediments in the way of securing traffic in territory reached by 
the Southern Pacific line." 

He announces the formation of the Western Pacific, capital, $75,000,000, and 
states that $50,000,000 of first mortgage 5 per cent thirty-year gold bonds had 
been disposed of. Mr. Jeffery also announces that he has taken the presidency 
of the new road. The bond issue was finally guaranteed by the Denver & Rio 
Grande and the Rio Grande Western. On July 23, 1908, these two roads were 
consolidated, the stock of the Rio Grande Western being extinguished. 


The construction of this road proved more expensive than even the most con- 
servative engineering figures given after the survey. 

For two years, 1909 and 1910, unprecedented floods in the Humboldt valley 
and a series of storms on Great Salt Lake retarded construction and did heavy 
damage to graded sections. Up to June 30, 1910, the Western Pacific Company 
expended (exclusive of accrued interest on second mortgage bonds) $70,438,- 
302.41. Funds were provided as follows: Proceeds of $50,000,000 first mortgage 
5 per cent thirty-year gold boYids; $18,784,033.40 were proceeds with interest 
of $25,000,000 second mortgage 5 per cent gold bonds sold to the Denver & Rio 
Grande Company; and $4,606,412.01 by the Denver & Rio Grande Company in 
accordance with contract entered into June 23, 1905. 

On August 22, 1910, one through passenger train each way daily was inau- 
gurated between San Francisco and Salt Lake City. The railway was placed on 
a full operating basis July I, 1911. 

On August 20, 1910, the Salt Lake City union depot, which had cost $1,217,- 
059.13 and is owned jointly by the Denver & Rio Grande Company and the West- 
ern Pacific, was formally opened. 

In 1912 Benjamin F. Bush, of the Missouri Pacific, succeeded Edward T. 
Jeffery as president, the latter taking the place of George J. Gould as chairman 
of the board. For the time being the Gould interests were still in control, the 
directors being George J., Edwin and Kingdon Gould, Edward T. Jeffery, Edgar 
L. Marston, Edward D. Adams, Arthur Coppell, all of New York ; Benjamin F. 
Bush, of St. Louis ; Charles H. Schlacks, of San Francisco ; Edward L. Brown 
and Joel F. Vaile of Denver. 

On June 30, 1911, the mileage of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Com- 
pany, operated and leased, was 2,604.86; on June 30, 1913, this had been in- 
creased by the building of spurs to 2,639.81. On January i, 1918, with small 
mileage of main track not operated, the total mileage was 2,576.75. 

On November 30, 1912, the company purchased the Rio Grande Junction 
Railway, which up to that time it had owned jointly with the Colorado Midland. 
The line extends from Rifle to Grand Junction, and the price paid for the Mid- 
land's interest was approximately $400,000. A leasing arrangement was made 
for the Colorado Midland. 

The interest due March I, 1915, on the Western Pacific bonds having been 
defaulted, the United States Court on March 5, 1915, placed that road in the 
hands of receivers. In October, 1915, the Denver & Rio Grande was called upon 
to pay the defaulted interest on Western Pacific bonds under its guarantee. This 
has now, January, 1918, ended in an application for a receivership for the road. 
In June, 1916, the Western Pacific Railroad Corporation was organized and 
bought in the road. This corporation owns the entire capital stock of the West- 
ern Pacific Railroad Company and has power to enforce the claims against the 
Denver & Rio Grande. 

On January i, 1918, the directors and officers of the Denver & Rio Grande 
Railroad Company are: Directors, George J. Gould, E. T. Jeffery, George G. 
Haven, Kingdon Gould, Arthur Coppell, Edward D. Adams, Finley J. Shepard, 
Benjamin B. McAlpin, H. U. Mudge, Harrison Williams, Benjamin F. Bush. 
E. T. Jeffery is chairman of the board of directors. H. U. Mudge is president 
of the road. 


In January, 1918, the Denver & Rio Grande system went into the hands of 
receivers by order of the Federal Court. This was done largely to protect it 
from forcible collection under foreclosure for claims arising out of Western 
Pacific guarantee. Later in the year the receivership was annulled owing to prior 
Federal action taking possession of all the railroads of the country. An adjust- 
ment has, however, been reached which will prevent any drastic seizure of the 
property under foreclosure proceedings. 









The Denver & South Park Railroad, as it was first known, was designed as a 
feeder to the Denver Pacific and Kansas Pacific. It was at first planned to build 
the road to South Park by Bear Creek, with prospect of mining business at that 
end in competition with the Colorado Central. The great discoveries of California 
Gulch were still some years in the future, and the new route was a later develop- 

But in Park County, Fairplay was a thriving mining center. There were good 
placer mines and every indication of a fine camp. So that at least in this section 
there would be passenger and freight traffic for the new line. 

Aside from this there was timber skirting the South Platte on both sides, 
there were stone quarries at Morrison, there were rich gypsum beds farther up 
the line. The railroad, it was believed, would bring an army of men into the 
whole region, and development was bound to follow. In July, 1873, when the 
project was in full swing Arapahoe County voted $300,000 in bonds. It was 
found difficult to float them. Prior to this, however, the surveys had been made, 
and the name of the road had been changed to the Denver, South Park & Pacific 
Railroad. Its corporators were those of the Denver & South Park road of 
the previous year: John Evans, Walter S. Cheesman, Joseph E. Bates, F. A. 
Clark, Henry Crow, Bela M. Hughes, C. B. Kountze, F. Z. Salomon and David 
H. Moffat. Its capital, which at first was $2,000,000, was increased to $5,000,000, 
and its purpose was now to build eventually to the Pacific. 

The road was completed by a subsidiary construction company to Morrison, 
sixteen miles, on July i, 1874. By this time the effects of the panic of 1873 
were beginning to pinch the far west and further construction was out of the 
question. This was perhaps a rather fortunate outcome, for the delay brought 
about a complete change in the company's plans. 



It was found that the route up Platte Canon was really feasible, and new 
surveys confirmed them in this belief. 

The people of Denver resented the delay, and finally in 1876 a subsidiary con- 
struction company raised $150,000 and completed the road to Bailey's ranch, 
taking a first mortgage bond issue in payment for the work. This company had 
as directors, John Evans, W. L. Cheesman, C. B. Kountze, David H. Moffat, 
John W. Smith, the leading spirit in this new construction movement, William 
Barth, F. J. Ebert, J, S. Brown and George Tritch. 

But the Leadville excitement now completely changed the aspect of matters. 
The road began to prosper even though built but part of the way to the new 
camp. Stages and freighters completed the journey for thousands from the 
Denver & South Park terminus. At this time Jay Gould was investing heavily 
in Union Pacific, Colorado Central and Kansas Pacific stocks, and soon was 
able to control and complete the line to Leadville. 

The Denver men continued in apparent control and on February 9, 1880, took 
part in the celebration which marked the completion of the line to Leadville. 

In 1886 the extensions and main line comprised a mileage of 322.25. From 
Poor's Manual of that year the following is taken : "Gunnison extension, North- 
rop to Gunnison, 65.50 miles; Gunnison to Mount Carbon, 17.25; Como to Key- 
stone, 35.10; Dickey to Leadville, 34.40; Garo to London Junction, 15.40; 
Bear Creek Junction to mines, 9.70; Como to mines, 4.10; Schwanders to Buena 
Vista, 3.80." 

In this year its capital stock was increased to $6,235,400 to meet construc- 
tion expense. 

The Leadville excitement had died out and the road soon became a losing 
proposition. It was finally in 1889 sold under foreclosure and bought in by the 
Union Pacific interests, who reorganized it under the name of the Denver, Lead- 
ville & Gunnison Railway Company. It continued a heavy loser, finally going 
under in the panic of 1893. In that year, after a receivership, it became a part 
of the Colorado & Southern system. 


The restless spirit of Denver's early railroad builders was forever in evidence. 
To them the metropolis saved from ruin by timely and determined action, was 
now something to build up into the ranks of the greatest cities in America. Their 
faith in Denver and Colorado was little short of inspiration. 

Denver in 1881 had its connection with the east and west and through the 
Denver & Rio Grande and Santa Fe toward the Mexican border. But it needed 
a railroad to the metropolis of the gulf, New Orleans, whence its products could 
more speedily reach the growing Central and South American markets, the gulf 
cities of the United States, the Atlantic coastwise trade and European trade as 
well. So in January, 1881, these men incorporated the Denver & New Orleans 
Railway Company: John Evans, -David H. Moffat, Cyrus W. Fisher, George 
Tritch, J. F. Brown, Isaac Brinker, William Barth, John R. Hanna, John A. 
Cooper, T. G. Lyster, K. Sidney Brown, George W. Kassler and C. B. Kountze. 

Many routes were suggested, but finally the air line to Pueblo was decided on 
as the first branch of the system, and by December, 1882, this was in operation. 


Branches to Colorado Springs and to Franceville gave the new road 138 miles of 
track during its second year of operation. The competition with the Denver & 
Rio Grande was keen and