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Full text of "History of the State of Colorado, embracing accounts of the pre-historic races and their remains; the earliest Spanish, French and American explorations ... the first American settlements founded; the original discoveries of gold in the Rocky Mountains; the development of cities and towns, with the various phases of industrial and political transition, from 1858 to 1890 .."

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3 1833 01066 9486 

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FROM 1858 TO IS'JO. 



9 '/ y S VOIAIME IV. 

FRANK 11 A L L , 





Kntercd According; to Act of Congress, in the Year 1S95, by 


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at \Vashington, D. C. 



In submittinof the fourth volume of the History of Colorado, a tinge of regret 
mingles with the author's satisfaction that the task, somewhat reluctantly undertaken, 
in 1887, is completed. There is intense relief that the trials and difficulties attending 
my endeavors at every stage, at times inexpressibly discouraging, are at an end. 
Whatever of regret there may be, arises from the realization that in a literary sense, 
if indeed any such merit appear, I am bidding a final adieu to memories and scenes 
with which I have been so long associated. And, more than all, that under happier 
auspices much that has been omitted might have found honorable place in these 
annals. When, in June, 1887, I engaged to prepare four volumes of 500 to 700 
pages each, the magnitude of the work prearranged seemed appalling, for it appeared 
to me then, before a scrap had been gathered, quite beyond my capabilities to find 
sufticient important, and at the same time generally interesting, material for so large a 
space. I now, after eight years of labor, very forcibly comprehend that the room 
afforded was inadequate to the enormous supply. Two or three hundred pages more 
might have been profitably devoted to such subjects as the development of agricul- 
ture, irrigation, annals of the bench and bar, statistics of mining, climatology, munici- 
pal government, schools, churches, manufactures and connncrce, with a well-di- 
gested epitome of the resources of the state, all of which, from the necessities of the 
situation, have been passed with only brief mention. Indeed, numerous outlines 
of these topics were drawn from time to time, but lacking facilities for perfecting 
them, they were, perforce, laid aside to be taken up and properly elaborated by later 
and more capable writers. The political annals from 1888 to i8yo inclusive are 
hastily sunnnarized in the first chapter. It will be observed that in treating of min- 
ing districts, old and new, little description of mines has been attempted. Sufficient 
reason may be found in the fact that in most sections the chief producers of i8go, 
for example, which then attracted wide attention, were mainly or wholly obsolete a 
few years later, having meanwhile been superseded in public regard by an entirely 
new series of discoveries. One is reminded of these transitor}' conditions by read- 
ing Hollister, Fossett, Cushman and other book-writers of the first and second 
decades, who, in their histories have given extensive accounts of the mines of their 
respective epochs, scarcely one of which attracts even casual mention to-day. The 
whole face of mining and metallurgy has been revolutionized in the last ten years, 
and these intlustries, like the lives of men, have been utterly changed in the third 
and most radical epoch of advancement. 

The delav o{ this volume beyond the anticipated time for its production was 
caused, partly by the disastrous financial revulsion of 1892-93 and partly by events 
which cannot well be explained. Nevertheless, the long interval has enabled me to 
incorporate much valuable matter bearing upon the origin of settlement in Denver, 
and in some of the mountain districts, which would have been overlooked had the 
publication occurred as previously announced. In 1894-95 ''i'' State Historical 
Society, through the efforts of l\lr. Wm, N. Hyers. to whom, ])ernnt me to say '■'/ 
passciit, I am ikeph' indebted for nuich kindly advice and iniitortant inforniatiiin 


from the bcgfinning to the close of this work, was fortunate enough to recover the 
t)riginar manuscript records of the founthng of Auraria (now West Denver), St. 
Charles and Denver, all of which were long believed to be wholly lost. With these 
valuable data at niy disposal, reinforced by trustworthy written and oral statements 
furnished by the first innnigrants who took part in the primary discoveries of gold 
in the Platte Valley, and also in locating the several town sites mentioned, builders 
of the first cabins and other essential improvements, all the important links hitherto 
missing have been supplied, and so placed as to form, with the events set down in 
preceding volumes, a complete, harmonious and interesting narrative. These, sup- 
plemented by chronicles of all county organizations thus far created by statute, with 
the beginning of settlement in each, constitute a compilation of historical memor- 
anda whose value cannot well be over-estimated. 

Readers who have patiently followed us thus far in the lengthy recital, are 
earnestly invited to peruse these histories of the counties, for a majority of them con- 
tain incidents of thrilling interest, relating to the efforts of the early pioneers who 
planted civilization upon the slopes and valleys of the Rocky Mountains. It will 
thus be discovered that not all of the tribulations, tragedies and discomfort incident 
to the process occurred in the City of Denver, but that every town, camp and hamlet 
bore its share of suffering, and is fairly entitled to its share of credit in the grand 

Finally, to illustrate the lives, character and influence of the men of this genera- 
tion, who may be said to have built the substantial connnonwealth we now enjoy, a 
comprehensive biographical department is appended. In conclusion I feel that, 
imperfect as the work may be, the better thought and industry of my now well 
matured life appear in its pages. In large degree it has been a labor of love and 
sacrifice. If it has brought me little beyond a hoped-for increase of respect from those 
an;ong whom all the years of my manhood have been passed, my labors have been 
amply requited. 




A. W. McIntire Fronthpicce. 

Arapahoe County Couri' House.. i6 

J. L. Brush 24 

Dr. Jesse Hawes 32 

B. F. Johnson 40 

J. W. McCreery 48 

H. T. West 56 

E. L. Salisbury 60 

F. E. Bird 64 

Boulder County Court House... 72 

Lake View Farm of T. B. Croke . 80 
Residence of Mrs. Mary E. Eck- 

hart 88 

Residence of J. \V. Fassett 96 

J. \V. Fassett 104 

Property of VV. C. Lathrop 112 

The Lathrop Block 120 

The McNamra Block 128 

The Henry Lee Block 136 

Larimer Street in 1866-70 144 

The Robertson & Doll Block... 152 

N. Robertson ... 168 

H. C. Doll 176 

W. W. BORST 184 

E. M. Ammons 192 

S. S. Kennedy 200 

R. W. Steele 208 

Colorado Central Consolidated 

Mine 216 

1'ropeuty of Geo. \V. Hill 224 

Florence Milling and !\Lning Co. 232 

The Struby Estabrook Block.... 240 

The Stevens Mine 248 

The Seven-Thirty Mine 256 

The Tabor Block 264 

Tabor Opera House, Lnii-.rior 272 

Tahok Opkka House, Exterior... 2S0 
Victoria '1'unnel and Mendota 

Mine 288 


J. E. White 296 

G. W. Gildersleeve 304 

J. F. Gardner 312 

Fred Lockwood 32S 

A. H. Patterson 344 

J. C. Scott 352 

J. W. RocB 360 

Ph. Zang 368 

Adolph J. Zang 376 

Rock Mountain Brewery 384 

J. M. S. Egan 392 

L. H. Cole 400 

J. S. Carnahan 408 

J. W. Barron 416 

E. A. Bromley 424 

Ranch of Oliver Graves 432 

Property of L. A. Melburn 440 

David Orrock's Carriage Works. 44S 

Residence of Alex. Miller 456 

Ranch of Benj. Quick 464 

Residence of J. W. Richards. ... 472 

Ranch of Thos. Skerritt 480 

Property of Mrs. L. E. Taylor.. 488 

Property of J. H. Thompson 504 

Property of J. W. Weir 512 

Property of C. T. Wilmore 520 

Property of J. B. Wright 528 

Residence of W. H. Yankee 536 

Property of G. R. Williamson... 544 

F. W. Kohler 552 

J. F. Phillips 568 

J. P. Heisler 568 

ToRRENCE White 576 

J. O. V. Wise 584 

Property of Fred Kohler 592 

'I'liE Frank Weisenhorn Bkewkrv. 608 

The Tor roNi Restaurant 616 

The Bertenshaw Concenira idr. . 624 


Vol. I. Page 214, line 10, 2il paragraph: '•('ornoi- of SixtoiMith and Ilolladay streets," 

should read: "On Blake, near Sixteenth.'' 
Vol. I. Page 216, last line: "Morton V. Fisher," should read: "C. A. Lawrence." 
Vol. I. Page 324, line 2. 2d paragraph: "18(31," should read: "18(i0." 
Vol. I. Page 39", line 2, 3d paragraph: "Tootle & Leaeh's store," should read: "W. S. 

Vol.1. Page 498, line 2, 4th paragrai)h: ■"At foot of l.Jth street," should read: "foot of 

i;ith street." 
Vol. 11. Page 278, line 2, 2d paragraph: "Forty-seeond Congress," should read: "Forly- 

third Congress." 
Vol. in. Page 46, line 4: "D. P. King-sley of Montrose," should read: "of Mesa." 
N'oL. III. Page 38, line 14, 2d paragraph: "the sueressor of Nathaniel P. Hill." should read: 

"the successor of Henry M. Teller." 


CiLM'TKK v., Vol. I., relating to ClilT and Cave Dwellers, should be read in eonneetion with 

the history of La Plata county. Vol. IV., in which certain new matter appears. 
Vol. 1. Page 95. The site of Lieut. Pike's log fort, in the San Luis Valley, is now a part 

of Covernor A. W. Mclntirc's ranch. 
Vol. I. Page 177. See new account of the Kussell i)arty, its origin and discoveries, in 

History of Denver, Vol. IV. 
\'()L. 1. Pages 179-180-181. Details of the founding of Montana, Auraria, St. Charles and 

Denver, from original records, are given in History of Denver, Vol. IV. 
Vol. 1. Page 188. In connection with George A. .lackson's explorations of lS.")S-ri!), see also 

History of Larimer county, Vol. IV. 
V'OL. I. Pages 218-219. The beginning of our school system. See also "Schools," History of 

Denver, VOL. IV. 
Vol. I. Pages 227-228. Discovery of gold in Park and Summit counties. See histories of 

those counties, Vol. IV. 
Vor,. II. Page 192. Baker's explorations of the San .luaii .Mountains. See further account 

in history of La Plata county, Vol. W . 
Vol. II. Page 227. See additional particulars of (Irccn Uusscll's discoveries, etc.. History 

of Denver, VOL. I\'. 


Political annals continued to 1890, 

From the outset of political organization in Colorado, the Republican party 
has held the ascendency in point of numerical strength. Whenever deprived of 
control it was due to violent internal dissensions or bad management. Nearly all 
the Territorial legislatures were Re])ublican ; the governors of that era without 
exception were of that faith. F"rom the admission of the state in 1876, to the pres- 
ent time, the Republicans have held a majority on joint ballot in every General 
Assembly save one (the Ninth), therefore always able to elect the United States 
senators. The diminution of their strength in the Ninth Assembly was the result of 
a disastrous reversal of popular sentiment on financial issues in i8q2, which elected a 
Populist administration throughout, and also deprived the Republicans of suprem- 
acy in the legislative department. Taken altogether it was the most unfortunate 
political epoch in our history. 

The campaign of 1888 was exceedingly active. An unusual number of candi- 
dates for the governorship were advanced. For the second time, owing to bitter 
contentit)ns, a Democrat — Alva Adams — occupied the executive office. The last 
Indian outbreak to stain our annals had been suppressed, resulting in the expulsion 
of all hostile savages from our borders. With this exception, tranquility prevailed 
in all departments. The two great industries, agriculture and mining, were producing 
satisfactor\- returns; the City of Denver was enjoying unprecedented prosperity 
through phenomenal growtlL Under these happy auspices the Republican state 
convention assembled in the Tabor Grand Opera House, Tuesday, September 4th, 
1888, with Hon. John L. Routt as chairman. After the organization, Hosea Town' 
send of Custer was nominated for representative in Congress by acclamation. But 
for the office of governor five names were presented — Dr. David H. Moore, then 
Chancellor of the Denver University; Job A. Cooper, cashier of the German 
National Rank; Wolfe Londoner, a prominent merchant; Horace A. \\'. Tabor and 
Norman H. Meldrum (then lieutenant-governor), all residents of .Arapahoe county. 
After one or two ballots had been taken without choice, the convention adjourned 
to the 5th, when Mr. Cooper was chosen on the fifth ballot. Meanwhile, Londoner 
and Meldrum had been withdrawn. For lieutenant-governor, William G. Smith of 



Jefferson was nominated on the first formal ballot. At the close the following ticket 
was presented: 

For Presidential Electors. — (Harrison and Morton) — David H. Moore, James P. 
Galloway and Frank F. Osbiston. 

For Judges of Supreme Court. — (Long term) — Charles I). Hayt of Conejos; 
Victor A. Elliott of Arapahoe. 

For Representative in Congress. — Hosea Townsend of Custer. 

For Gmrrnor. — Job A. Cooper of Arapahoe. 

For Lieutenant-Governor. — William (). Smith of Jefferson. 

For Secretary of State. — James Rice of Pueblo. 

For State Treasurer. — W. H. Brisbane of Lake. 

For Auditor of State. — Louis B. Schwanbeck of Saguache. 

For Attorney-General. — Samuel W. Jones of Summit. 

For Superintendent of Public Instruction. — Fred Dick of Las Animas. 

For Regents State University. — Charles R. Dudley of Arapahoe, S. A. Giffen of 

F^or Chairman of the State Central Committee. — Wolfe Londoner of .\rapahoe. 

The Democratic state convention assembled in the same house Tuesday, Sep- 
tember iith, Martin Morris temporary chairman. In the permanent organization 
Dexter D. Sapp was elected chairman. The ticket following was nominated: 

For Presidential Electors. — John M. S. Egan of Clear Creek, Charles J. Hughes 
Jr. of Arapahoe, and L. Horn of Las Animas. 

For Representative in Congress. — Thomas Macon of Fremont. 

For Judges of the Supreme Court. — M. B. (jerry of Montrose, Amos J. Rising of 

For Governor. — Thomas M. Patterson of Arapahoe. 

For Lieutenant-Governor. — John \. Porter of La Plata. 

For Secretary of State — William R. Earhart of Boulder. 

For State Treasurer — Amos C. Henderson of Lake. 

For Auditor of State. — Leopold Mayer of Saguache. 

For Attorney-General. — J. M. Abbott of Washington. 

For Superintendent of Public Instruction.- — John L. Howe of Rio Grande. 

For Regents State University. — Charles Ambrook of Boulder, Frank A. C"havez 
of Conejos. 

For Chairman State Central Committee. — Charles S. Thomas of .\rapahoe. 

The Prohibition state convention met in the Chamber of Connncrce, Tuesday, 
August 28th, 1888, and nominated the candidates following: 

For Judges of the Supreme Court. — A. W. Brazee and V. E. Gunnel 1. 

For Representative in Congress. — (ieorge W. Woy. 

For Governor. — Rev. Gilbert De La Matyr. 

For Lieutenant-Governor. — W. R. Fowler. 

For Secretary of State.— ]. H. Houghton. 

For State Treasurer. — George W. Currier. 

For Auditor of State. — W. A. Rice. 

For Attorney-General. — John Hipp. 

For Superintendent of Public Instruction. — H. E. Gordon. 

F'or Regents State University. — William B. Wheeler and L J. Keator. 

In November the Republicans elected their state ticket, together with a good 
working majority in both l)ranches of the legislature. The ticket was nominated 
and the camjiaign conducted with the cxjilicit understanding that Edward O. Wol- 
cott would bi' tin- ]irincipal c;mdidatc for the United States senate to succeed Thomas 
M. Bowen; therefore, while the state nominees were by no means neglected, especial 


attention was paid to the election of candidates for the legislature by the party man- 

The Seventh General Assembly convened at Denver, Wednesday, Januarv' 3rd, 
1889. Col. M. B. Carpenter was elected president pro tempore of the senate, Willard 
B. Felton of Fremont secretary, and Stanley Stokes of Arapahoe assistant secretary. 

In the permanent organization of the house, H. H. Eddy of Routt was made 
speaker, and R. M. Stevenson of Pueblo clerk. 

On the night of that day the Republican senatorial caucus was held, Senator 
Charles E. Noble of El Paso presiding. Col. M. B. Carpenter nominated Edward 
O. Wolcott in a well-digested address. Thomas M. Bowen was nominated by Rep- 
resentative John H. Shaw of Rio Grande, and Horace A. W. Tabor by Senator C. 
T. Harkison of Arapahoe. In the balloting Wolcott received 45 votes, Bowen 15 
and Tabor i. Mr. Wolcott's nomination was made unanimous. 

The senatorial succession having been definitely determined at the opening of 
the session, legislative deliberations were but briefly disturbed by factional differ- 
ences growing out of this absorbing issue. On the 4th, Governor Adams delivered 
his final message, an able and instructive state paper. Everyone realized that his 
duties had been conscientiously discharged, and that the office had been worthilv 

Governor-elect Cooper was inaugurated with imposing ceremonies Januarv 
8th, 1889, the festivities being crowned by a grand inaugural ball at the Tabor Opera 
House. Of his administration it may be said that it was unattended by any striking 
incident to render it remarkable. Most of his appointments met with public 
approval, peace and prosperity reigned throughout his official term. 

Balloting for a senator occurred in each branch of the Assembly Januarv 15th. 
In the senate Mr. Wolcott received 19 and Charles S. Thomas, the Democratic nom- 
inee, 5 votes. In the house Mr. Wolcott received 43, Mr. Thomas 6. On the i6th, 
the two houses met in joint session, when Mr. Wolcott was duly elected senator for 
a term of si.x years beginning March 4th, 1889. At the present writing his term is 
nearing its close, but his re-election by the Tenth Assembly is assured. His career 
in the senate has been both brilliant and useful to the state. At an early period he 
attracted national attention by his extremely magnetic personality, and tlie elo- 
quence of his addresses upon great national issues. He has stood steadfastly by his 
illustrious colleague, Senator Teller, upon all questions affecting the welfare of this 
commonwealth and the coimtry at large. Universally admired, he has been a poten- 
tial factor in the more important debates arising upon the floor of the most august 
legislative body in the world. 

While it is true that no legislative body escapes sharp criticism, it is a matter of 
record that the Seventh General Assembly gave sufficient cause for much, if not all 
the vehement reproach cast upon it. It was bitterly assailed in the public prints; 
the credit of the state was attacked and quite seriously imperilled by the virtual 
repudiation of certain warrants drawn for printing and stationery and other supplies. 
It was charged that many of the members were grossly immoral; that the closing 
hours of the session were scandalized by debauchery; that stationery supplies 
amounting to thousands of dollars were boxed up and shipped to their homes by 
some of the senators and representatives; that dozens of Webster's unabridged dic- 
tionaries, splendid bronze and cut glass inkstands, gallons of ink and mucilage 
with other costly materials found tlieir way to the same destinations; that a number 
of fine expensive desks disappeared from the stock of legislative furniture, and even 
spittoons, carpets and rugs were not overlooked in the general scramble for spoils. 
Beyond any question of doubt many, indeed most of those accusations, were true. 
The only reasonable defense that has appeared is, that considering its opportunities 
and inclinations, the public debt was not increased so much as it might have been. 

When Frederick W. Pitkin surrendered the government of Colorado to his sue- 


ccssor, there was no public debt. Slate warrants were at par, and at times com- 
manded a premium. The reason for this admirable condition was, that he constantly 
watched the finances of the state, checked legislative extravagance in its inception, 
and shaq)lv supervised the offices of the Auditor and Treasurer. He set his face 
sternly against every departure from strict lines of economy in all departments. 
Therefore, it becomes a pleasure to put upon pemianent record the declaration that 
I'rcderick W. Pitkin was the best executive for the people that has thus far occupied 
the office of chief magistrate in our state. Every subsequent Assembly, except the 
5th, has left its burden of debt; the 4th $324,66'6.8o; the 6th increased it to $565,- 
039.80; the 7th to $687,4(j8.83 ; the 8th to $862,499.34, ami so on until it is now 
more than a million dollars. Since we cannot recall that splendid patriot and states- 
man from the silence of eternal sleep, let us at least study and profit by the great 
lessons Governor Pitkin not only inculcated but practiced, to the benefit and happi- 
ness of the commonwealth. 

We now proceed to summarize the last campaign to be noted in this history, 
that of i8i;o, which, so far as Ara])ahoe county was concerned, was tlie stormiest and 
most disgraceful in the record of the Re]niblican ])arty in this state. After a tempest 
(if dissensions incident to the primary elections, resulting in two conventions which 
provoked bitter antagonisms, the Republican state convention assembled in Coli- 
seum Hall, on Wednesday, September 17th, 1890. Alexander Gullett of Gunnison 
was made temporary chairman, and Abe Roberts of Montrose, secretary. This 
organization was subsec|uently made permanent. After much difficulty in the com- 
mittee on credentials, arising from the opposing delegations from Arapahoe county, 
one representing what was derisively termed "the Gang" and the other "the Gang 
Smasliers," the convention finally settled down to business and, in due process, put 
forth the following nominations: 

Foi- Representative in Congress. — Hosea Townsend of Custer. 

For Governor. — John L. Routt of Arapahoe. 

For Lieutenant-Governor. — W. W. Story of Ouray. 

For Secretary of State. — Edwin J. Eaton of El Paso. 

For State Treasurer. — John H. Fessler of Garfield. 

For Auditor of State. — John M. Henderson of Lake. 

For Attorney-General. — Samuel W. Jones of Summit. 

For Superintendent of Public Instruction. — Fred Dick of Las .Xuirnas. 

For Regents State University. — O. J. I'feiffer of Arapahoe, ^\■. II. Cochran of 
Rio (Jrande. 

For Chairman of the State Central Committee. — E. M. .Ashley. 

The Democratic state convention assembled in Turner Hall, Wednesday, Sep- 
tember 24th, 1890, was called to order by Charles S. Thomas, chairman of the cen- 
tral committee, and Jacob Fillius of Georgetown made chairman. In admirable 
order, without unnecessary noise or serious difference, the delegates proceeded to 
nominate as follows: 

For Representative in Congress. — T. J. O'Donnell of Arapahoe. 

For Governor. — Caldwell Yeaman of Las Animas. 

For Lieutenant-Governor. — I'latt Rogers of .Arapahoe. 

For Secretary of State. — William T. Foreman of .Summit. 

For State Treasurer. — James N. Carlileof I'ueblo. 

For Auditor of State. — W. T. Skelton of Washington. 

For Attorney-General. — Josei)h H. Maupin of Fremont. 

For Superintendent of Puhtic Instruction. — Dr. N. 15. Coy of Jefferson. 

For Regents State University. — Charles L. Ford of Arapahoe, H. O. Montague 
of San Juan. 

For Chairman State Central Committee. — Frank P. .\rbuckle of Arapahoe. 


In tlie Xovember election, the Democrats elected Carlile of Pueblo State Treas- 
urer upon the direct issue of his pledge to turn into the treasur)- ever)' dollar of 
interest earned by the deposit of public funds (which, by the way, for the first time was 
faithfully kept), Joseph H. Maupin, Attorney General, and Dr. N. B. Coy, Superin- 
tendent of Public Instruction, each of whom made an excellent record without blem- 
ish in the succeeding administration, thereby illustrating the advantage of an occa- 
sional change m political conduct. Put perhaps the larger credit is due to Mr. Car- 
lile, the only treasurer who up to that time had not diverted the interest on public 
funds to his own private use. Mr. Maupin was an able and faithful officer, and Mr. 
Coy notably the best superintendent of instruction that has ever graced the office. 

John L. Routt is an effective campaigner. In this instance his canvass was 
mamly a personal one, unmarked by rhetorical flotirish on the rostram, but strong 
in immediate and constant intercourse with the conunon people. From the outset 
iiis election was assured. Judge Caldwell Yeaman, his competitor in the race, was 
generally and favorably known south of Pueblo as a refined and polished gentleman, 
a distinguished lawyer and jurist, a man eminently fitted for the bench and equally 
well equipped for the ofSce of chief magistrate, but in the northerly division of the 
state he was comparatively unknown. He made a vigorous canvass on the slump, 
but in the finality was compelled to submit to overwhelming odds. 

The Prohibition convention was held in the City of Pueblo, September I5t!i 
and i6th, i8qo, when the ticket following was nominated: 

For Representative in Congress. — George Richardson of Arapahoe. 

For Governor. — John A. EUett of Boulder. 

For Lieutenant Governor. — E. Ford of Chaffee. 

For State Treasurer. — George S. Emerson of Huerfano. 

For Auditor of State. — R. W. Anderson of El Paso. 

For Secretary of 5/(7^-.— Phidella A. Rice of Mesa. 

For Attorney Genera/. — John Hipp of Arapahoe. 

For Superintendent of Public Instruction. — J. A. Ferguson of Larimer. 

For Regents State University. — Mark G. Bradford of Pueblo, and J. F. Coffman 
of La Plata. 

The legislature chosen that fall assembled in January, 1891, and the Republi- 
cans, having a large majority, re-elected Henr>- M. Teller to the United States sen- 
ate, the Democrats casting their votes for Judge Caldwell Yeaman. The House of 
Representatives was a riotous liody. and being divided against itself was in almost 
constant confusion. 





In an address delivered to the Pioneer Association at a banquet given in tiie 
Windsor hotel in 1876, I find the following paragraph, which closes with a prophecy 
tliat is worthy of permanent record: "In 1857, General Frank P. Blair, Jr., in an 
address to a ])nblic meeting at Boston, Alass., said, that while visiting a Major of 
cavalry at old I'^jrt Lyon, on the Arkansas river, in 1846, they rode together to an 
eminence beyond the fort which commanded a full view of the Snowy Ranges, when 
the Major, pointing to the Spanish Peaks, Pike's Peak and the northern range of 
mc>untains, and alluding to his campaign in the Mexican war, made this prediction: 
' Beyond those peaks, a few years will discover and develop there a region of the 
precious metals far transcending all that the human family possess or even imagine 
to exist." " 

Certificate number one, for lot number one. block one, consideration one dollar, 
issuetl by the St. Charles Town association to the old plainsman, William McGaa, 
alias "Jack Jones," dated Lawrence, Kansas Territory, December ist, 1858, marks 
the first recorded stage toward the fulfillment of the prophetic assurance just noted. 
The block mentioned is that on which the first Denver Water company located its 
plant at the foot of 15th street in 1871, and is therefore historic ground, for it was 
the beginning of real estate transactions in the City of Denver. 

The certificate, the records of the original Auraria Town company, with much 
other valuable, because authentic memoranda, hitherto inaccessible, are before me 
as I write. Let us examine this primitive history with a view of correcting certain 
errors in preceding accounts, and also of presenting a continuous narrative of events 
that led to tlie founding of four remarkable town sites — Montana, St. Charles, Aura- 
ria and Highlands — almost sinniltaneously under the shadows of the Rocky 
Mountains, before gold in any considerable quantities had been discovered by the 
earlier explorers. 

It may be stated in passing, however, that most of the important annals of 
Denver have been already recorded in the three i^receding volumes. Ikit since then, 
many essential particulars have been secured. At this ejjoch, therefore, with abun- 
dant data for the basis, we may proceed without serious apprehension of future 
controversy over the statements herein set down. 

On the 7th day of bY-bruary. 1838, W. Green Russell left his home in Dawson 
county, Georgia, accompanied by seven others, bound for the wilderness of the 
Rocky Mountains in search of gold. Tt appears that he was led to this undertaking 
by the circumstance of his having met, while in California in 1840. a Cherokee Indian 
named Iteck, who informed him that he (I'.eck) and a comii;mion named i\;dston in 
crossing the i)lains. via the Arkansas route, had paused a wliile on Cherry Creek and 


the Platte river, and in prospecting had discovered gold. The\ then agreed to 
examine the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains together at some future time. 
In due course both returned home, Russell to Georgia and Beck to the Cherokee 
nation. They corresponded, and finalh', early in 1858, arranged to carry out the 
project that had been formulated on the Pacific coast. 

Russell's company consisted of himself, his two brothers, Oliver and Levi J. 
Russell, Samuel Bates, Solomon Roe, Joseph McAfifee, William Anderson, and 
Louis Ralston (Beck's comrade). They arrived in Leavenworth, Kansas, early in 
May, where they were joined by James H. and Richard J. Pierce, relatives of the 
Russells, William McFadding, Jacob Masterson, William McKimmons, T. C. Dick- 
son, George L. Howard, J. Brock, John Young and a Frenchman called " Frenchie.'" 
Having outfitted, they left Leavenworth about the midille of the same montii, cross- 
ing the Kansas river at Fort Riley and striking out thence across the country to the 
old Santa Fe trail, reaching the mouth of Cherry Creek June 23rd. 1858. 

On the Pawnee Fork, a party of Cherokee Indians — Beck's, presumably, by 
previous arrangement — were overtaken and the two companies traveled together. 
Unsettled as to future proceedings, the Indians remained at Cherry Creek, while the 
others went north to Ralston Creek, eight miles distant, where they hoped to find 
rich deposits of precious metal. This venture, however, brought only indifferent 
results, nevertheless evidences of gold sufificient to inspire further search were 
obtained. They then returned to the Cherokee encampment, where they found the 
Indians greatly discouraged and bent upon returning to their own nation. Being 
also apprehensive of trouble with the Utes and plains Indians, they started back the 
next day, leaving the \\ hite men to prospect the country. 

We now take up the narrative of Mr. James H. Pierce, as published in the 
Rocky Mountain "News" of August 13th, 1888, on his return to Denver after an 
absence of thirty years, who tells us how and by whom gold was found on a tribu- 
tary of the Platte. Russell, deeply grieved by the threatened desertion of all his 
associates, with tearful eyes besought them to remain, saying, " if but one man will 
stay with me, I will prospect those mountains," but only twelve decided to remain. 
These were, his two brothers, Samuel Bates, Solomon Roe. R. J. and James H. 
Pierce, of the Georgians: and of those who had joined him at Leavenworth, W. E. 
McFadding, McKimmons, Masterson, Tierney, Herring and Y'oung. Thus sup- 
ported, Russell started up the Platte toward the mountains, prospecting along that 
stream. Most of the company passed ahead of the wagons, while Green Russell 
was somewhat behind them. " W'her. about four miles up the river," says Pierce. 
" I saw a bank which looked as if it might contain gold. I stopped, got a pan of 
the dirt and gravel and began panning it out. I was about half through when Green 
Russell came up, took the pan and finished it. It contained ten cents. 'Run ahead, 
boy,' said he, ' and call the others back, our fortune is made." Being only twenty- 
one years old, I was the kid of the party, so I went and brought back the others, 
when we went into camp. We made a rocker out of a cottonwood log, and the first 
dav obtained about six dollars in gold dust. These diggings were not very rich, 
however, but in prospecting around we discovered some dirt on Dry Creek, some 
three or four miles front the Platte, from which we took three ounces the first clay. 
These diggings paid very well, and from all of them we secured some $600 to $700 
during the summer. 

" While we were working on Dry Creek, a man named Cantrell. who had made 
a trip from the IMissouri river to Fort Laramie alone, came along on his way home 
and camped with us. He saw our dust and asked for a bushel or so of the dirt. We 
gave it to him, and when he reached home at Westport he panned it out and pub- 
lished the results, with an affidavit setting forth the facts just recounted. This was 
late in the fall of i8s8. and is what started the gold hunters in such crowds across 
the plains." 


W'l- will now trace the next expedition, no member of which, it must be imder- 
stooil, knew an^ht of Russell or his doings until after their arrival in the region 
described, but were impelled hither by an entirely different series of events. 

In the spring of 1858, reports reached Lawrence, Kansas, through two Dela- 
ware Indians, "l-all Leaf and "Little Beaver," that gold had been discovered by 
themselves near the base of Pike's Peak. "Fall Leaf" said he had been one of 
I'Yemont's guides through the mountains. Whether true or not, he exhibited con- 
siderable gold dust, much of it in the nugget form, as material evidence of the 
existence of gold in the country named. Xaturally this Indian created a good deal 
of excitement in that quiet Kansas settlement. A number of young men to whom 
he had related his story met secretly at the old Commercial hotel, the upshot of 
which was a resolution to undertake the long pilgrimage to Pike's Peak. 

Therefore, on the 22nd of ]\Iay, 1858, eleven wagons, laden with provisions (or 
six months, implements, etc., departed from Lawrence for the new Eldorado, under 
command of J. H. Tierney,* with George W. Smith as captain of the night guard. 
Tht* train passed 'up to the Arkansas by the Santa Fe trail, thence to the mouth of 
the I-'ountain (|ui liouillc, and north 15 miles above the present City of Pueblo, 
where they halted July 4tli, and formed "Camp Independence" in honor "of the day 
we celebrate." Some days later they found themselves in the " Garden of the Gods," 
where, owing to its vicinity to Pike's Peak, they expected to find immensely ric'.i 
diggings. For three weeks they prospected the region round about, but in vain.f 
They then voted to go south toward New Mexico and accordingly started in that 
direction, but had proceeded no further than Fort Garland near the Sangre de 
Cristo mountains when they were overtaken by a wandering trapper, who informed 
them that Green Russell's company had found rich diggings on the Platte, where- 
u])on they immediately packed up and came north, arriving at Russell's camp on 
l)rv, Creek, five miles above Cherry Creek, September 9th, 1858. Among those 
whoin thev found there were S. M. Rooker, wife, daughter and son (John), Mormons 
who had escaped the tyranny of Prigham Young, the despot of Salt Lake, and " old 
John Simpson Smith," the Indian trader. 

Presently, true to their American instincts, and also in preparation for winter, 
they resolved to form a company and build a town. Josiah Hinman was made 
l)resident, and William Boyer secretarv-; Charles Nichols, Jason T. Younker, How- 
;ird Hunt and others became active promoters of the enterprise. Excepting the 
earlier trading posts on the Arkansas, St. Vrain's near the base of Long's Peak, and 
the military I'ort Massachusetts in the San Luis Valley, this was the first settlement 
of white people in the Rocky Mountain region. It was christened Montana, — the 
feminine for mountain, — several rows of log cabins were built, and called Kansas 
Row, Lawrence Row, Leavenworth Row. etc. 

The next movement. A few days after their lodgment on Dry Creek as recited 
above, a number of the Lawrence party by.]irearrangement stole away in the night, 

* Members of the expedition:— Wni, I'rentiss. Peter Ilalscy, Wni. Mc.Mister, Geo. W. Smith, \Vm. 

Parsons. Bowen, Robert I'eebles, lohn Easter, Ross Hutchins, \Vm. Mills, Jack Turner, Pap Mayweed, 

George Peck, John Miller. Voorhics, \Vm. Copley, Charles Nichols, Adnah French. John A. Churchill, 

Charles Runyon, Cross. Josiah II inman, lason T. Younker, Howard Hunt. Wm. Hoycr, A. F. Bercaw, 

A C. Wricht, Frank M. Cebb. Nick .Smith, Robert Middleton. wife and child, two young men, Charles 
Holmes, Mrs. Annie Archibald Holmes. Albert \V. Archibald, Wm. Regan, Joseph Brown, Wm. Hartley, 
James White, Giles Blood, McKay. 

I Inside the main gateway to the Garden of the Gods may be seen to this d.-iy the following names of 
this Lawrence expedition plainly cut in the sandstone: H. Hunt, A. C. Wright, Josiah Hinman, F. M. 
Cobl), and Wm. Hartley, and beneath, "the year 1S5S," left as an enduring memorial of their encampment 
in one of the most picturesque and beautiful spots in the Rocky Mountains. Mrs. Annie Archibald 
Holmes with others made the ascent of Pike's Peak to its p nnacle. consuming three days on the trip, the 
first accomplishment of that difficult feat since that of Dr. James, the botanist of Major Long's explorers, 
in July, 1S20, 


with the design of founding a city on the east bank of Cherry Creek. Here are the 
names; — Adnah l-rench, Charles Nichols, Frank M. Cobb, WiUiam Smith, J. A. 
Churchill, Wm. Hartley, a surveyor, and T. C. Dickson. At a sulisequent period 
Jolin S. Smith and Wm. iMcGaa were admitted to close communion, by reason of 
their alleged trapper's rights to possess all the territory between Kansas and New 
Mexico. Articles of agreement were drawn, taking this expression: — 

■■ L'pper \\'aters of the South Platte river at the Alouth of Cherry Creek, Arap- 
ahoe county, Kansas Territory, September 24th, 1858. 

"This article of agreement witnesseth: — That T. C. Dickson, Wm. McGaa, J. 
A. Churchill, \\'illiam Smith, AMlliain Hartley. Adnah French, Frank M. Cobb, 
John S. Smith and Charles Nichols have entered into the following agreement, which 
tlie_\- bind themselves, their heirs, antl administrators, executors and assigns, etc., 
forever to well and truly carry out the same." 

Article 1 recites, that — " \Vhkre.\s the aforesaid parties, as above, have agreed 
to lay out 640 acres of land for town purposes, the following Constitution and By- 
Laws are enacted, &c., &c." Provision was made for the election of town officers 
on the 28th of the same month. To each member was assigned a certain number of 
lots, the remainder to be sold to defray the cost of surveys and improvements. A 
rough survey was made b)- Wm. Hartley. The compact closes with this prudential 
afterthought, that, " in case the coimtry ever amounts to anvthing, John Smith and 
McGaa shall separateh claim the west side of Cherry Creek, and use all their influ- 
ence to the end that it may eventually become a part of the contpany's property." It 
was at first decided to name the town Golden City, but it was finally resolved to call 
it St. Charles. At a meeting held in Lawrence, Kansas, November 15th, 1858, a plan 
for the distribution of lots was adopted. The last meeting of record was held Oct. 
24th, 1859, on the town site, when Adnah French resigned as president and J. A. 
Churchill was elected. It is proper to state in this connection, that the original" rec- 
ords of the St. Charles Town company and also those of the Denver Town companx 
were recovered during 1895 and the facts quoted were taken from them by the author. 
These books are now on file with the State Historical Society. 

At a meeting held in I\IcGaa"s lodge on the Platte, Sept. 28th, 1858, Adnah 
French was elected president, McGaa vice-])resident, T. C. Dickson secretary, John 
S. .Smith treasurer, Frank M. Cobb recorder. Hartley, Nichols, Wm. Smith, and 
J. A. Churchill, trustees. 

The St. Charles town site thus established remained a brief statement on the 
pages of an old memorandum book, without improvement until further events, about 
to he related, transpired to enforce more substantial right of occupancy. The autumn 
was deepening into winter, when even the bravest shrank from lingering in these 
cheerless solitudes, therefore a few weeks later all but thirteen of the Lawrence com- 
pany departed for their Kansas homes with the intention, however, of returning 
early the next spring to build their projected metropolis, if it should be justified by 
intervening favorable prospects. At a point about 100 miles down the Platte thev 
met a considerable company en route to the gold fields. Appreiiending confiscation 
of their town site by the new comers. Charles Nichols was sent back to protect it. 
Finding it important to have at least one cabin upon the site to fortify the claim, 
and Nichols having neither the means nor requisite tools for the purpose, he 
approached Mr. A. C. Wright with an oflfer of 62-J lots if he would build a cabin, 
but Wright politely declined the munificent temptation. Then something happened 
to the broad possessions of this ambitious town company, as will appear later on. 

We will now consider in the order of their occurrence the further accretions of 
population from the Missouri river country, that had been impelled in this direction 
hv more or less exaggerated reports of its wonderful resources. 

Major D. C. Oakes — some years afterward an influential agent for the Ute 


Indians — came from Glenwood, Iowa, via the Platte river route, in company with 
li. J. (Iraham, Charles Miles, George Pancoast and Abrani Walrod, arriving at 
Cherry Creek October loth, 1858. Oakes returned to the states subsequently, and 
in the spring of 1859 brought out a saw mill, which was set up in the pineries near 
rlie head of Cherry Creek. From the produce of this mill some of the first frame 
houses in Denver were built. 

Judson H. Dudley, E. P. Stout, Hayman Cha])man, Henry Springer and A. |. 
Smith arrived from Omaha October 20th, 1858. 

Robert S. Wilson, Peter Hudson, and W. C. Gastin followed the same route; 
camped at the mouth of the Cache-la-Poudre, October nth, 1858, then came on to 
the general objective point about the 25th of that month. 

The Plattsmouth-Nebraska company arrived on the scene October 24th with 
fifteen wagons, fifty-six men and one woman — Mrs. Count Murat. Of the names 
recalled were, A. H. Barker, W'm. ]\1. Slaughter, Joseph Hooper, George and David 
GrifSth (for whom tlie mining town of Georgetown was long afterward named), 
Jjart Kennedy. \Vm. Liston, Fred Kocherhautz, Wm. Gullion, Wm. Dermit, Miles 

Fellows, Jervis Richardson, Stocking. Ransom Smith. Andrew Slaine. D. 

Hoover, " French Louey." Count Murat, Capt. Harrington, George A. Bates and 
John Anthony. Of the wagons named, six were from Plattsmouth and nine from 
Kansas and Missouri, the two trains uniting at Fort Kearney. They proceeded 
to the town of Montana (November 2nd) and built " Kansas Row." 

Governor J. W. Denver, on being apprised of the discovery of gold to the west- 
ward, and the strong emigration thither, decided to organize a new coimty to be 
called Arapahoe, from the great Indian tribe of that name to which the country then 
belonged. Taking advantage of the fact that a large party was about to leave 
I^ecompton with the view of joining the processions. of gold hunters, he appointed of 
their number a set of temporary officers thus: — Probate Juilge, H. P. A. Smith; 
Sherifif, E. W. Wynkoop; Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. Hickory Rogers. 
Wynkoop tells us that the governor had also in mind the creation of a new territory 
out here, to be called "Shoshone." and had traced its proposed boimdaries with a 
])encil upon a large map that hung in his office. 

General William Larimer, Jr., his son, W. H. H. Larimer. Richard R. W'hitsilt. 
Folsom Dorsett, M. M. Jewett, C. A. Lawrence and others left Leavenworth Octo- 
ber 3rd, 1858, by the Arkansas route.* About fifty miles east of Bent's Fort they met 
Green Russell going back to Georgia. When near the present site of Pueblo, they 
were advised that Governor Denver's officials, commissioned to organize Arapahoe 
county, w-ere just ahead of them. Shortly they were overtaken by the Larimer and 
Whitsitt party, when they all proceeded together to Auraria. arriving Xoveml^er 
i6tii. 1858, and going into camp under a big cottonwood tree. 

Having thus grouped our immigrants of 1858 together at the common center, 
we are prepared to trace distinct outlines of the movement from which sprang the 
now magnificent ca]Mtal of Colorado. 

lUit before proceeding to the establishment of .Vuraria. let us see what happened 
to the St. Charles town site, and the obliteration of its distinguishing title during the 
absence of its projectors. Whitsitt. Larimer and their associates, finding the west 
bank occupied, came over to the east side and by some means unexplained secured 
the constitution and by-laws of the St. Charles company, probably from old John 
Smith or McGaa. Assuming abandonment, notwitlistanding the presence of 
Nichols, its representative, they incontinently jumped the entire 640 acres, organized 

* In openinj; the record book of the Denver Town Comi)aiiy. (icn. Larimer states that their jonrney 
was long and tedious with a four yoke ox team. Then adds: "I am now living in a house built for a 
blacksmith shop." 


a new company, changed the name to Denver, produced a new survey with dctinite 
platting, and proceeded to sell and donate lots to whoever would agree to build, and 
sent back an agent (Xed Wynkoop) to procure a charter of incorporation from the 
Kansas legislature, printed stock shares and other needed stationery, etc. Then Mr. 
Charles Nichols, who had endeavored in vain to save it for his comrades, went back 
to the states discouraged and disgusted. Aleanwhile, Dickson, French, Cobb, 
CInirchill and the rest, in peaceful ignorance of the destruction of their enterprise, 
had gone to the Kansas capital with their plat of St. Charles, and obtained a charter 
and certificates of stock, the first of the latter being issued to Wm. AIcGaa for lot one, 
block one, as hereinbefore set forth. In June, 1859, they returned, only to find their 
cherished plans swept out of existence. It is said that the matter was finally com- 
promised by giving Cobb, French and Dickson an interest in the new corporation. 
Thus arose, and perished in infancy, the city of St. Charles. 

Auraria. — A few weeks subsequent to the first endeavor to found a settle- 
ment on the east side of our unsightly and sometimes exceedingly vicious channel 
of Cherry Creek, many residents of ^lontana came down to the west bank near its 
mouth, and there located the town of Auraria, so named by the Georgians from a 
small town in their native state. From this point, for greater accurac)'. we follow 
the record of the town company. It begins: 

"At a meeting of the citizens of the South Platte, held October 30th, 1858, for 
the purpose of selecting a site for a town, W'm. .McFadding was appointed chairman 
and A. J. Smith secretary."' A conmiittee of five, composed of Ross Hutchins, Jud- 
son H. Dudley, Dr. L. J. Russell, A. J. Smith and S. .\1. Rooker, was named to select 
a town site, and to inquire into all prior claims if any existed. It may be stated in 
passing, there were no valid rights to anv part of the ground, yet AIcGaa and old 
John Smith, who had been roving plainsmen, consorting with the wild Indian tribes 
for years, set up certain prerogatives under their previous agreement with the St. 
Charles town company hereinbefore mentioned. Another conmiittee of five, consist- 
ing of the same men as the first, save Rooker, whose place was filled by McGaa, was 
chosen to draft a constitution and by-laws. October 31st, two reports were rendered 
and adopted. 

The town site committee " selected a tract having Cherry Creek for the easterly 
line, the South Platte for the northerly line, and extending west and south sufficiently 
to include not less than 640 acres, resers'ing and excepting for the benefit of Wm. 
AIcGaa and John S. Smith the privilege of a ferry landing (Platte river) within the 
river boundary of the town lands." 

November 6th, following, the stockholders of the Auraria town company met 
and elected these officials for one year (Wm. AI. Slaughter being the judge of elec- 
tion, which was by ballot): President, Wm. AIcFadding; Vice-President, Judson H. 
Dudley : Secretary, Dr. L. J. Russell ; Treasurer, John S. Smith, and these, with Henr\- 
Allen, also constituted the board of directors. 

The preamble to the constitution recites, that " We, the citizens of the South 
Platte, have assembled on this, the first day of November. 1858, and agreed to asso- 
ciate ourselves into a company to be known and distinguished as the Auraria Town 
company, by which name we hold ourselves liable to sue and be sued, and to transact 
business as an individual and legal body." Under section 9, the board of directors 
was empowered to supervise the surveying, platting, lithographing or mapping of 
the town site : to print or write shares of stock, levy taxes and take control of all 

Article 10 of the by-laws provides that shares of stock shall be issued to each 
and every stockholder, when he shall have constructed or caused to be constructed 
within the city limits a house not less than sixteen feet square, to be approved by the 
directors, and to be completed on or before July ist, 1859, under penalty of forfeiture. 


One- hundred signatures are appended to the instrument, probably not all at one 
time, but in due course of membership accretion. '■■ 

in providing for the survey, it was ordered that the lots be 66x132 feet; the four 
main streets leading from the public square 100 feet wide, and the remainder 80 
feet, with 16-foot alleys. At the same time — November 8th — it was resolved to 
issue f(nir extra shares of stock to the person or persons who would first establish a 
printing press in tiie town and continue the same for one year. It is needless to say 
in view of all that has been written and published during the last thirty years, that 
W'm. X. iJyers & Co. won the prize by founding the Rocky Mountain " News " 
Ajiril 23rd, 1859, which, excepting a few months in 1864, when their office was 
destroyed by the tremendous flood in Cherry Creek, has been published continuously 
to the present date. 

The surve)'or was W'm. S. Foster, who received as compensation for his services 
$120 in orders, payable July ist, 1859. A number of cabins of hewn and unhewn 
logs arose pending the survey, one by Ross Hutchins. another by J. H. Dudley, still 
others by Wm. RIcGaa, old John Smith, and Blake and Williams, all in a line near 
the cast bank of the I'latte and called " Indian Row," from the fact that two of the 
female occupants were squaws. Let it be understood in this connection that the pres- 
ent channel of the Platte is several blocks west of its course when these events were 
transpiring. On the east side of the creek it ran very near the present Union depot, 
back of which was a slight bluff fringed with cottonwoods, from which were cut 
many logs for the primitive cabins. Later builders, however, were less fortunate, 
some of them being forced to haul their logs from groves four to six miles distant. 

There has been no end of contention among the early settlers as to who built the 
first house in Denver, which, after March, i860, also embraced .\uraria. The extract 
subjoined ffom the written proceedings of the town comjjany would appear to remove 
all doubt, but it doesn't, as we shall see. 

"At a meeting of the board of directors May 27th. 1859, the following resolu- 
tion was adopted : 

" J^eso/ved, That in consideration of John Rooker having built the first 
house in the City of Auraria, there is hereby donated to said John Rooker three 
shares in addition to his former share, making in all sixteen lots." This was S. M. 
Rooker's son who, in his after career totally ignored the scriptural injunction, 
" Honor thy father and thy mother," for he was a worthless little rascal. 

Nevertheless, Mr. A. C. Wright, a member of the Lawrence party, the first to 
arrive after Green Russell's, and to whom I am indebted for much trustworthy oral 
and written data used in this sketch, with some other active spirits during the period 
under consideration who were building cabins for their o\\ n use. assert in the 
positive terms that the honor justly belongs to Ross Hutchins and John Easter, his 
partner, whose house was completed prior to Rooker's. On the other hand, Mr. 
J. H. Dudley, vice-jiresident of the company, is positive that the record given above 
is correct. But it doesn't matter. Most of the few ]iioneers who were brave enough 
to oass the winter of i858-() in the new settlement were comfortably housed before 

* Among those now known to be living are li. A. Willoughby. A. C. Wright. Jiulson H. Dudley. 
Chas. M. Steinberger, James H. Pierce, Jason T. Younker. A. H. Barker, John J. Rcilhman, Andrew 
Sagendorf. Ilenrv Reitzc. C'apt. Wm. Green. Louis Hermans, .\rthur E. Pierce. A. Monti, George C. 
Schlcier, O P. '^Viggins, M. Ivory, John Scudder, Richard Blower, John D. Ilowland, of Denver; Ross 
Hutchins, Salt Lake; Wm. M. Slaughter, Loveland; John Kaster, Cripple Creek; Jack Turner, Durango; 
T. C. Dickson. Cheyenne; John D. Miller. Pueblo; George Peck. Las Animas; Geo. L. How.ard, Spring- 
field. Oregon; Henry Springer, Springer, New Mexico; Wm. H. Clark, Globeville; George A. Jackson, 
Ouray; Albert W. Archibald. Trinidad; J. S. Sanderson. Saguache; J D. Hoover, Clear Creek; F. M. 
Cobb, Pueblo; Wm, Coberly. Nebraska; D. R. Wagstaff, Longmont; A Slaine. Saguache; James Cochran, 
Silver Cliff; Robert Willis, Huerfano; Anthony Potts, Colorado City; John Sutton, Central City; Oscar 
Totten. Helena, Montana; Chas. Dohler. Salt Lake: M. .'\. Avery. New York. Residences unknown, 
James I.ultrell. A. A. Hrookfield, Eli Dickerson 

c<, /^-^c^Jy/{_ 


the end of December, but a large majority, lacking both courage and inducement, 
returned to the states, bearing dismal intelligence of the worthlessness of the country. 

The surve_\' and platting, though begun, was not completed by \Vm. S. P'oster, 
but bv George L. bloody, who was employed by the directors, July 8th, 1859. The 
only plat now existent was prepared by H. AI. Fosdick and Lewis N. Tappan, dated 
December ist, 1859, and embraces the sites of Aiiraria, Denver and Highlands. A 
lithograph copy of this map, together with the record of the town company from 
which I have extracted certain notes, was discovered, and filed with the State His- 
torical Society, by William N. Byers in May, 1894. 

The last entry in this unique mintite book runs as follows, dated May 5th, i860: 

■■ On motion of A. C. Hunt, Tirso/i'cd, that block No. 108 be hereby 
donated to E. Karezewsky, he having built a fine bridge across the Platte river at 
the foot of Terry street, and that a deed to the same be issued at the earliest conven- 
ience, itnh'ss the company refuse to reco;^nizctliis act of the board." 

April 3rd, i860, an election was held, whereby a majority determined that Aura- 
ria and Denver should be consolidated under the latter name. It was ratified the 
same evening by the people of both towns amid great rejoicing, upon a bridge 
thrown across Cherry Creek at Larimer street. And thus perished Auraria, and 
with it subsided the long and rancorous contention between the rival jettlements 
that frequently imperiled public safety. The town of Highlands on the north side 
of the Platte was scarcely more than a mere speculative paper town until many years 
afterward. It is now the most populous and beautiful of our suburbs. 

Blake and Williams w-ere the first merchants of the west side, beginning toward 
the close of October, 1858. Mr. Williams lately died in Denver. Mr. E. A. Wil- 
loughby, who came with him, is still a resident. Mr. C. H. Blake, the senior partner 
for whom Blake street was named, — until after 1870, the business center of the city — 
died at his ranch near Pueblo about the 20th of September, 1894. Avery & Wil- 
loughby were the first building contractors, erecting, among other structures, the 
famous old Denver Hall. The first real estate agents were Wyatt, Whitsitt & Co., 
Wni. Clancy, E. P. Stour, George C. Schleier, and Chas. G. Chever. The first news- 
dealer, and also the founder of the first library association on Colorado soil, was 
Arthur E. Pierce. 

The Denver Town compan\ took formal possession November 17th, 1858, on 
w hich date the city may be said to have been founded. On the 22nd, its constitution 
was adopted and the following officers were elected : President, E. P. Stout ; treas- 
urer and donating agent. Gen. William Larimer, Jr.; secretary, II. P. A. Smith; 
recorder, P. T. Bassett; directors, E. P. Stout, Wm. Larimer, Jr., Wm. McGaa, 
Charles A. Lawrence, Hickory Rogers, Wm. Clancy and P. T. Bassett. Curtis & 
Lowry, surveyors, laid out the principal street, and on the 30th a contract was made 
with them to survey, stake and plat 320 acres of the town. At a meeting held Jan- 
uary loth, 1859, by-laws were adopted. On the 22nd, it was resolved to dismiss 
Curtis & Lowry and invite proposals for surveying the city. On the 6th of June. 
1859, the contract was awarded to E. D. Boyd. September 24th, E. P. Stout resigned 
the presidency, and October 4th, R. E. Whitsitt was elected in his stead. At the same 
time Gen. Larimer resigned as secretary and treasurer and Whitsitt was elected to 
those vacancies also. On the 8th, Hickory Rogers was appointed to negotiate with 
William N. Byers and offer him 24 lots to locate his newspaper in Denver. .\mos 
Steck, P.lake and Williams, S. S. Curtis and others came into the company in i85(). 
The last meeting of record was held March nth, 1861. I am informed by Mr. J. H. 
Duilley that the first informal meeting of the organizers of the Denver town company 
w as held in Wm. McGaa's cabin in Auraria, for the reason that there was no house 
whatever on the east side. It was a picket house chinked with mud. The earth 
floor was covered with buffalo robes, the walls on every side hung with the skins of 
various wild animals, dressed by squaws. Being a cold night, a generous wood firt' 


blazed in ihc ample chimney place. E. 1'. Stout, J. H. Dudley, McGaa, R. E. Whit- 
sitt, Gen. Larimer, C. A. Lawrence, John S. Smith, H. P. A. Smith, Dor^ett, Jewett 
and others were present. McGaa's hospitality as a host found expression in a camp 
kettle full of hot punch, brewed from .Mexican whiskey, or "Taos lightning," as it 
was called. It is proper to draw a veil over the final deliberations of the meeting. 

It would be useless to encumber these pages with a repetition of events that 
have been already presented in preceding volumes. Besides I have neither time nor 
space for a recapitulation. The remainder of this chapter will therefore be devoted 
to a general review of the progress made in successive stages from 1859, to the 
present epoch, which, with the illustrations given, will afiford the reader a compre- 
hensive understanding of the whole. 

Prior to the sunnner of i860, when the immigration was very large, Auraria was 
larger and more substantially built than East Denver. As previously related, this 
tide of heterogeneous elements was impelled hither by the discovery of rich placers 
in the mountains. Green Russell returned from Georgia in the spring of 1859. with 
a strong force of men, passed up to the (iregon,- diggings, and beyond to the gulch 
which still bears his name and the traces of his work, where some important mines 
were found, and operated under his direction with magnificent rewards. After a 
year or so of extreme prosperity, both Gregory and Russell, the two great pioneers 
of discovery, from whose trails such mighty consequences have been wrought in the 
years that have elapsed since their names and deeds thrilled the continent, passed 
into the endless procession of border reminiscences, leaving no monument, nothing 
but the memory that covers a page or two of history. 

To illustrate the value of realty, .Mr. A. C. Wright informs me that in March. 
1859, he was the owner of 124 lots in Auraria, 80 in Denver, and 136 in Highlands: 
also the ranch subsequently known as McNassars, near the present .A.rgo, which he 
"took up" in September, 1858. Desiring to visit Salt Lake, but having no animal 
forthe journev, he offered all this property without reserve to a Mexican iianied Joe 
Merrival for a horse, saddle antl liridle, but it was rejected with sci>rn. Joe felt that 
his horse and etiuipments were worth something, while the land was valueless. It is 
now worth millions. Mr. Wright finally .sold the ranch to a Frenchman for a horse 
and $25 in cash. P.ut in .May, "1859, John (Gregory had solved the problem of Colo- 
rado's future, which instantly dispelled the winter of our discontent and made glori- 
ous summer for the disheartened, when Wright decided not to emigrate. 

Allicrt D. Richardson,* who came out with the venerable and all-powerful 
editor of the .\'ew York "Tribune" in 1859. for the express purpose of discovering 
the extent and value of the golden magnet that was im]>elling thousands across the 
great .American Sahara, that he might speak truthfully to the millions of readers 
who accepted his words as their gospel, writing of the wonderful exodus from east 
to west, said: — " It was an uncontrollable eruiition, a great river of human life roll- 
ing toward the setting sun, at once a triiuuph and a prophecy. Denver was a most 
forlorn and desolate looking metropolis. There were only five women in the entire 
gold region. The men who gathered about our coach on its arrival were attired in 
slouched hats, tattered woolen shirts, buckskin pantaloons and moccasins, and had 
knives and revolvers suspended from their belts." 

The roof of the cabin he occu])ied. an example of a majority, was of baked mud 
upon a lavcr of split logs and grass: the floor of hard smooth earth: no window 
invited adventurous burglars, and the solitary door that swung upon wooden hinges, 
opened to the touch of no key but a pen-knife or a string. The chief articles of diet 
were salt bacon, dried apples, beans and coffee: flour when to be had, fresh meat 
when game abounded. The social fabric was a singular medley, Americans. Mexi- 
cans. Indians, half-breeds, trappers, speculators, gamblers, desperadoes, broken- 

' Beyonil the Mississippi. 

HlSTOl^V ()!■■ COLORADO. 27 

down politicians, ruined bankers, real estate speculators, and now and then an hon- 
est man. There were very few glass windows; but two or three cabins had board 
floors. One lady, by sewing together gunny sacks for a caqjet and covering her log 
walls with sheets and table cloths, gave to her mansion an appearance ol almost 
aristocratic refinement and comfort. Stools, tables, and pole-bedsteads were the sta- 
ple furniture, while rough pine boxes did duty as bureaus and sideboards. The 
vacant places in the lower part of the embryonic city were occupied by Indian lodges, 
enlivened by scpiaws dressing the skins of wild animals, or cooking dogs for dinner : 
naked children playing in the sand, and braves lounging on the ground, wearing no 
clothing except a narrow strip of cloth about the hips. Such was the picture in i85<j. 
It was not materially changed in the spring of i860, except that more and better 
buildings had arisen and the population amazingly augmented. All roads leading 
to the mountains were lined with ox or mule trains with white sheeted wagons wind- 
ing their way slowly to the newly discovered and exceedingly prosperous gold 

The first meeting of officers elect under the constitution of the "People's Gov- 
ernment of the City of Denver," was held October 8th, i860. Present, J. AI. Broad- 
well, William Dunn, D. C. Oakes, Charles A. Cook, Lewis N. Tappan, members of 
the council; J. H. Gerrish, treasurer; A. H. Mayer, secretary; D. A. Wallingford, X. 
Sargent, judges of the Probate Court, and Thomas Pollock, marshal. Absent, A. C. 
Hunt, judge of Appellate Court, and J. Af. Taylor, councilman. Air. Dunn was 
called to the chair and the members were sworn in. The first ordinance, introduced 
and passed, was to prohibit gambling and the sale of liquors or merchandise on the 
streets or in tents. This government prevailed with more or less regularity and force 
until superseded bv the charter granted the city by the first Territorial legislature in 

We present a series of sketches exhibiting Denver as it appeared in 1859 and 
again in 1866, the first by Albert D. Richardson, and the remainder from " Pencil 
Sketches of Colorado " (really quite handsome colored lithographs) by A. E. 
Mathews. I knew both artists, the latter quite intimately. 

Let us now supplement these engravings by a hasty description of East Denver 
a^ it stood in 1870, just prior to the advent of our first railway, for there were no 
material changes in the situation as depicted by Artist Mathews in 1866, until 1870, 
when a brisk revival occurred. We will then show the several stages of progression 
to the present beautiful metropolis. 

Four pre-eminently influential waves of immigration and incidental prosperity, 
through strong development, mark the annals of Denver: The first from 1858, to 
i86i,the second in 1870-71, the third from 1878, to 1883, and the fourth beginning 
in September, 1885, and contiiuiing until the close of 1890. The first epoch has been 
(|uitc fully described. 

The assessment roll of taxable real and personal property for the city, April ist. 
1871, showed a total valuation of $6,772,908. The levy for that year was 7 mills: 
the population (census of 1870), 4.759, and for the entire Territory, only 39,864, a 
gain of but 5,587 in ten years, and for the city proper of only ten people during the 
same period. It seems incredil)le, but that is what the ofificial V. S. census shows. 
The income of the municipal government in 1871 was, from general taxation $35.- 
000; from licenses, $12,245, ^"^1 from all other sources, $3,000, a total of $50,245. 
The expenses, including all improvements, which were few. amounted to $47,079.89, 
leaving a surplus of $3,165.11. For the number of wards, names of officers and 
councilmen, sec appendix to Xn]. II. The first board of supen-isors was elected in 
April, 1885, for two years. Prior to that date the legislative department consisted 
of a board of aldermen, elected amnially. The eastern limit of the builded city was 
Arapahoe street, and the western was Wazce; 17th on the northeast and 14th 
on the southwest. T1ie onl\- banks were the First Xational. Colorado 


Xaliunal, ami W antn Husscv's. In June, 1870, there were i)iit i,i2S buildings of all 
classes in the city, mostly plain, cheap structures, frame and brick. August ist, 1871, 
there were 1,964; December 31st, 2,752, of which 788 were finished in 1871. Tliis 
unusual activity, remember, was due to the introduction of railwavs. The total cost 
of buildings and improvements was roughly estimated at $2,301,375. The sales by 
all mercantile trades, $11,597,437; value of manufactures, $1,013,000. The latter 
embraced wooden fabrics, wagons and carriages, foundry and blacksmithing, brick, 
native jewelry, flour, beer, cigars, planing mills, soap and miscellaneous, shoemak- 
ing, harness, saddlery, etc. The mines of Gilpin, Clear Creek and I'.oulder counties, 
the only ones in which quartz mining was carried on to an\ extent, were estimated 
to yield 150 tons of ore per day. There was but one smelting establishment in tin- 
territory, — the IJoston & Colorado- at Black Hawk. 

The railways in operation were, the Denver Pacific to Cheyenne, the Kansas 
Pacific, the Boulder \'allcy to the Erie coal mines, and the Denver & Rio Grande 
to Colorado Springs. The total freight receipts for the year were 39.384.708 pounds, 
^lostof the coal came from the Erie mines and from the Hazelton beds at Golden. 
The dail)- receipts of this fuel aggregated about 50 tons. The amount consumed here 
during 1871 was 18.250 tons at an average price of $5.75 per ton for ordinary lignite, 
the only kind then available. Railway fares between Denver and Chicago or St. 
Louis, $55; Denver to Cheyeinie, $10; to Kansas City, $44; all local fares, ten cents 
per mile. 

A large majority of the business blocks were only two stories high. Governor 
Evans' building at the coi ncr of Law rence and T'ifteenth, Charpiofs hotel, Schleier's 
adjoining, and the gas and water office on Larimer were, if I remember aright, the 
only three-story buildings. The Holly water system was begun at the foot of 
15th street in July, 1870; the gas works early in 1871. l*"or some time thereafter 
the price of illuminating gas was $5 per 1,000 feet. 

The occupied cast and west parallels were bordered by fine cottonwoods and 
box elders as far down as Market street. There were fifteen school districts in the 
countv, and about 1,200 persons of school age in the city. The amount expended for 
school purposes was $17,347.37; the value of all school buildings in the countv, 
$8,841. The Arapahoe street school — now the Metropolitan club, was commenced 
in 1871. The only churches were the Eirst Presbyterian. .Stuart Presbyterian, Con- 
gregational, Melliodist EiMscopal, M. E. .South. Ej)isco]xd, Catholic. Unitarian. Col- 
ored IJaptist and Coloretl Methodist. Such was the general condition of our little 
inchoate metro])olis in 1870-71. 

Townsite filings of Auraria, and Denver in 1858. and of the townsite of High- 
lands in the year 1859.* First cor]iorate limits of the town of Denver established by 
act c>f the legislature November 7th. 1861. including all territory formerly covered 
by the townsites of Auraria, Denver and Highlands. The corporate limits of Denver 
were re-established by an act approved March ist, 1864. excluding a considerable 
part of the territory cnd:)raccd in the first corporate limits, and establishing as the 
City of Denver all of sections 33 and 34, the south half of section 28 and the s. w. { 
of section 27 in township 3, range 68 west, and the north i of section 4, and the n. w. 
-^ of section 3 in township 4, range 68 west, in all 3}, sections. Of this area i .] sections 
known as the Congressional Grant, and described as section ^i, and the west \ of 
section 34 was, by Act of Congress, approved May 28th, 1864, granted " for the relief 
of the citizens of Denver.'' Within the corporate limits of the city as established by 
the act of 1864 was included, in addition to the territory afterward known as the 
Congressional Grant, that portion of the city in which are located the following sub- 
divisions: Hmit's. Witter's I'irst. Smith's. Elnnvood. Evans". W'hitsitt's. Stiles'. 
Clement's, H. C. Brown's. L'nion. Casement's, Kassenuan's. Gaston's, and Steck's 

From notes furnished me by Mr. John !i. Hunter, city engineer. 


The first extension of the corporate hmits was in 1868, by an act approved on 
the 9th of Januan-, which added an area of abont 1,620 acres, in which the following 
snb-divisions are located: H. C. IJrown's 2nd, J. W. Smith's, Porter's Park Avenue, 
part of Wyman's, Schinner's, San Rafael, Kountze, Earth's, Horner's, McMaini's, 
Downing, Ford's, Hyde Park, Provident Park, Case & Ebert's, Winer's and River- 
side additions, and other small sub-divisions generally known as part of East Den- 

The second extension of the boundaries was by the act of February 13th, 1883, 
and contains about 4,625 acres. This extension includes the territory south to 
Alameda avenue, east to York street, north to Gaston street, and west to Gallup 

The third addition was under an act approved March nth i88g, containing 
2,400 acres, and extending the easterly limits of the city to the Colorado boulevard, 
including the City Park property. 

Approximate area of Denver, including the bed of the South Platte river antl 
Cherry Creek, 11,110 acres; miles of dedicated streets and avenues, 360; miles of 
alleys, 200. 

In that portion of the Congressional Grant known as West Denver, the streets 
running n. e. and s. w., or parallel with what is now Larimer street in West Denver, 
were numbered from ist street on the west boundary of the sub-division to 9th, and 
the streets running n. w. and s. e., or parallel to what is now 15th street in the 
east division of the city, were lettered from B street, near Colfax avenue to Z street. 
near the northeast boundary of the city. By an ordinance numbered 57, approved 
February 20th, 1873, a general change was made in street names and a house-num- 
bering system established in that portion. 

By ordinances Nos. 50 and 67, series of 1886, a new system of house numbering 
was adopted and street names were changed in the residence portion to numeral 
avenues, to conform to the decimal system of numbering thereby established. The 
names of streets and avenues in the City of Denver, as shown on the map published 
by Edward Rollandet in 1885, are adopted as official, except as to certain changes 
provided for and described in said ordinances. 

The Brown Palace hotel, a very beautiful structure, erected in 1892, stands upon 
a part of the land originally pre-empted by Mr. Henry C. Brown. Tiie first house 
built on the eminence known as Capitol Hill, was a small frame pre-emption house, 
by Mr. Brown, located at the corner of 12th and Sherman avenues. In 1864, it was 
moved to the block on which he in later years — about 1880 — erected a large and 
handsome mansion, afterward the property of Mrs. Augusta Tabor, and on part of 
which stand the Metropole hotel and the Broadway theater. The second house was 
that of Dr. Cunningham, on lots i and 2, block 250, in Clement's addition, near the 
Ebert school. Clement's addition, 160 acres, was pre-empted by Alfred H. Clements 
in July, 1864. The first house was a small frame shanty for pre-emption purposes, 
and stood on the present site of St. John's cathedral. Henry C. Brow^i did the work 
for which he was paid $100. The first brick house was that of Calel) B. Clements, 
built in the summer of 1865, and is still there, back of the cathedral. The fourth was 
a frame built in 1865, by Elias Gilbert, and still stands on Welton near 21st. The 
next was on the northeast comer of i6th and Lincoln avenues. The lots were pur- 
chased for $50 each. Col. John Wanless built under the bill on Lincoln, about 1867. 
The next was the Sargent house on Lincoln between iStb and igth avenues. These 
were the solitary evidences of occupancy in what is now the most aristocratic quarter 
of the city, for many years so remote from the general business and residence sections 
as to be almost inaccessible to pedestrians. The coimtry between them and Arapa- 
hoe street was vcrv sparsely inhabited. Early in t87<), Ju<lge G. G. Symcs, and West- 
brook S. Decker purchased lots up there, the first on Lincoln and the other on Sher- 
man avcntic and simultaneouslv built residences there. Judge Decker informs iiic 


that liis predecessors in the Capitol Hill sctllcnienl were the Haskell frame between 
lOth and 17th avenues, the I5yers, on Colfax and Sherman, Air. E. B. Li<;jht, on Sher- 
man, and those just previously mentioned. There were no open streets or regular 
roadways, no transportation lines. Down town people marveled that these gentle- 
men should desire to isolate themselves at points so distant from Denver. That was 
only fourteen years ago, at the close of the second decade. 

The regular and continuous statistical period of Denver's progress begins with 
1884. Between 1878, and the date just cited there arose a remarkable movement 
which assured the future of this metropolis beyond peradventure. The growth was 
simply marvelous, due as everyone kncn\s to an extraordinary influx of capital and 
immigration incident to the discover)- and wonderful outpouring of wealth from 
the mines of the upper Arkansas. 

The census of 1880, taken at the height of the unprecedented development, gave 
this city a population of 35,629. During the two years preceding, Denver was trans- 
formed from a village into one of the brightest and most progressive cities of the 
Union. Almost destitute of substantial manufactures at the inception of this new era, 
and with few business houses of more than ordinary importance, this unusual lodg- 
ment of people and money brought many large establishments. Then followed a 
period of depression, extending from 1882 to the fall of 1885. The state census of 
the latter year made a total population for the city of 54,308, and for the entire state, 
199,327. The volume of wholesale and retail trade for 1883 aggregated $58,336,998, 
and oi manufactures, $23,030,433, including the entire bullion product of the 
smelters. I'ntil about 1884-5, the growth of manufactures was extremely gradual, 
because there was little or no encouragement for such enterprises, nearly all attempts 
to institute them being resisted by the pooled railways which, enjoying the profits 
of the long haul upon about everything consumed here, naturally put forth every 
possible endeavor to retain it. It is a fact that the influence exerted toward the 
upbuilding of manufactures by the Chamber of Commerce in 1884-5, and subsequent 
years was more potential than any other in fostering their development. 

Between 1880 and 1886, there was marked improvement in architectural designs. 
This was especially noticeable in the business center and in a few of the better resi- 
dence districts. Alany splendid buildings for public and private use adorned the 
principal thoroughfares. The City Hall, County Court House, the Union depot, 
Windsor. St. James. Markhani and Albany hotels; several beautiful school houses 
and churches," the Tabor block and Ciranci Opera House: the Cheesnian, Clayton, 
and Barclay blocks, the Colorado National Bank, and a number of others attest the 
more advanced spirit and taste of the time. Meanwhile, certain districts of the 
city had been underlain with sewers. It was largely lighted by electric lamps, and 
many portions supplied with pure artesian water. The suburbs, north, south, and 
west^ naturally separated by the Platte river and Cherry Creek, were connected by a 
series of permanent iron bridges. The site for our miw superb granite capitol had 
been prepared for the superstructure. 

During 1884-5, t'lcrc was but slight activity in real estate and building improve- 
ments. In 1883, the tide began to recede, when the shrinkage of values, though not 
sudden nor great, was distinctly visible in the gradual dismissal of thousands of 
carpenters, builders, brickniakers and layers. ])lunibers. indeed of all classes of 
mechanics and laborers, who were obliged to seek emi)Ioyment elsewhere. While 
at no time did the course of development entirely cease, thereafter, until the beginning 
of 1886, it was sluggish. Real estate dealers, agents and owners sutTered from loss 
of business, and in their abundant leisure freely canvassed the causes of the depres- 
sion, settlin.g down finallv upon the conviction that the railways were to blame. 
But it was not so nuich the merciless extortions practiced by these agencies, as the 
combined operation of stagnating conditions universally prevalent. Only one city 
in the I "nion made anv marked advance. Tt was one of the periods which invariably 


succeed epochs of excessive activity in iron manufacture, railway Ijuildiiic: and s])ec- 

About the beginning of September, 1885, was ushered in the fourth great era. 
It came about easily from a natural impulse wholly uninfluenced by any mining- 
boom. The volume of transactions increased steadily to the close of that year, with 
a slightly accelerated momentum in the first three-quarters of 1886. Many notable 
transfers of realty were made for the purpose of immediate or early improvement. 
The Federal post office, and the state capitol were put under construction ; the com- 
pletion of the East Denver high school added another monuiuent to public enter- 
prise. The mercantile trade in 188O amounted to $67,735,256, and manufactures 
to $24,045,006; the sales of real estate to $1 i.o2i,2o8.Qi. 

The year 1887 was signalized by the most rapid advance that had occurred in 
our local history. Speculative dealing ran wild, especially in the suburbs. Millions 
of money came in from eastern and western centers for investment in buildings and 
landed property. The primary causes of this stimulus were numerous. Several 
new railways were approaching; the Missouri Pacific from southeastern Kansas, 
the Chicago & Rock Island, the Chicago & Northwestern, and the Atchison, Topeka 
& Santa F"e. The Denver, Texas & Fort Worth, with connections at Galveston and 
New Orleans, begun April 14th, 1887, and completed in March, 1888, became the 
most significant factor in the problem. It restored the equilibrium of our hitherto 
lop-sided conunerce which had been running upon pooled paralleled lines from the 
Missouri river. The new outlet insured the future of Denver as a great iidand com- 
mercial emporium capable of indefinite expansion. Again, the Denver & Rio 
Grande, essentially a Colorado road, with a Colorado president and general man- 
ager, was speeding several important extensions to isolated mining districts. The 
Colorado j\lidland was pushing its broad gauge through the mountains to Aspen. 
A fine military post, F'ort Logan, had been located near the cit\-. A tremendous 
hegira of population began moving from the east westward upon the 38th and 41st 
parallels. It was clearly defined and as strong in character as any previous immigra- 
tion had been. Heavy accessions poured into our eastern and southern borders and 
occupied the vacant lands, whereon many new towns arose in due course. 

In the city proper, the activity in real estate was mainly confined to what were 
then the borders; in other words, to the numerous additions that since have been 
almost completely covered by new settlements, and to 17th street, the only rival of 
i6th. The district between Broadway on the southeast, Colfax avenue on the south, 
and Larimer on the north, was embellished with magnificent improvements, while 
intervening parallels were converted into splendid commercial marts. 

At the close of 1887, the real estate sales for the year footed up $29,176,752.79. 
The director)' estimate of our population was 96,000. The report of the building 
inspector placed the estimated cost of building- operations at $4,007,050. The Mis- 
souri Pacific began running trains into Denver over the Rio Grande tracks, in 
December; the Rock Island was rapidly approaching Colorado Springs. Both 
operated to augmetit the demand for property and the rage for building. Between 
1887 and 1893, Wyman's and adjoining additions were covered with magnificent 
residences, where before had been only brickyards and cow pastures. Everybody 
with money to spare, or credit to mortgage, plunged into the busy pool. Some, 
nearly all, suft'ered for it later on, but, meanwhile, before the crash came in 1893, Den- 
ver boasted the largest army of landed millionaires to be found west of the Missouri 
river. At this writing it has been reduced to a mere coqjoral's guard. 

Apart from the large accessions of ca])ital, and the settlement here of hundreds 
of brisk, brainy, pushing business men, of the influences brought into the work of 
development to aid them, none were more jwtential than the building of the Denver 
City Cable railway and the rapidly expanding lines of the Denver Tramwav com- 
pany, to which we will now give hasty attention. 


Four distinct changes liavc been made in tlie title of the last named corporation, 
as follows: 

1st. The Denver Electric & Cable Railway company, incorporated F'ebruary 
5th, 1885. 2nd. The Denver Railway association. January 21st, 1886. 3rd. The 
Den\er Tramway company. May 4tli, 1886. 4th. The Denver Consolidated Tram- 
way company (embracing the franchises of the Aletropolitan), September Cth, 1893. 

The corporators of the first coinpany were J. J. Reithman, M. J. McXamara, 
J. F. Brown, Wm. N. Byers, F. A. Keener, Dr. W. F. jMcClelland. John Evans, B. 
P. Brasher, Cyrus W. Fisher, Rodney Curtis, Scott J. Anthony, R. W. Woodbury 
and W. B. Rundle. A majority of those names still remain as stockholders. Right 
of way was granted by the city council on 15th street and other thoroughfares. In 
the spring of 1885, the original company began experimenting with electricity as a 
motive power for street railway cars. The inventions under which it operated were 
those of Professor Sidney H. Short, of the Denver University. Later inventions 
were made by Professor Short and John W. Nesmith. Some twenty patents were 
obtained. On the last day of July, 1886, the first passenger car was successfully con- 
ducted over 3,000 feet of track on 1 5th street. One or two cars passed over this track 
daily for three months following. Power houses and other improvements were built. 
.•\t the beginning of 1887, three and a half miles of track had been constructed and 
four or five cars were running. But the system did not prove satisfactory, therefore, 
in the spring of 1888, the company prepared i)lans for a series of cable lines. The 
governing inducement was a proposition submitted by property owners along Broad- 
way, south of Colfax avenue, to the efifect that if the company would substitute a 
cable fur the imperfect electric line and extend its tracks to Alameda avenue, then 
the sfjuthern boundary of the city, they would subscribe a liberal subsidy in further- 
ance of the enterprise. About this time also, Messrs. Hayden & Dickin.son; Philip 
Feldhauser; Porter, Raymond & Co.; Donald Fletcher, H. B. Chamberlin & Co.. 
with other large owners of property along C\)lfax avenue east of I'.roadway. a large 
part of which east of Logan and Peimsylvania avenues was but sparsely and much 
wholly unoccupied, realizing the advantage of rapid transit, subscribed and in due 
course paid a subsidy of $80,000 for a cable line on Colfax from 15th street to the 
present " loop," near' City Park. Omitting details, the proposals were accepted, the 
lines built, and the first cable cars started : one series on Broadway and another on 
Colfax avenue FJecember 22nd, 1888. The method adopted was not the San F'ran- 
cisco patent, but certain devices invented by Mr. FI. M. Lane, of Cincinnati, Ohio. 
A double track was laid the entire length of 15th street, and on Broadway and Col- 
fax as stated above. In 1889. the com])any decided to build electric trolley lines, 
but when first proposed it met with furious ojjposition from some of the local papers; 
nevertheless the project was rapidly consunnnated. The first trolley car was run 
on Broadway Christmas day, 1889. Then followed in regular order the Lawrence 
street, )une ,3rd, 1890. The cable was not wholly abandoned on Broadway, however, 
until May, 1893; the Colfax being dropped and electricity substituted in July of that 
year. .Meanwhile, a cable had been laid on i8th avenue, and started Xovember 27th, 
1891. An agreement was shortly after entered into with the Denver City Cable 
Railwav company, whereby the Tramway company took up its tracks on i8th ave- 
nue and relaid tliem for electrical operation on K)th avenue. This line was started 
November 28th, 1891 : the 22nd .>;treet, October nth, 1890: the .-\gate avenue, June 
i8tli. i8()o; the Ashland avenue, July 7th, 1890. January ist, 1891, the University 
Park line was opened, and sinuiltaneously the company ac<|uired possession of the 
Berklev and Rockv Mountain Lake lines (then operating steam motors) and at once 
electrified them. It will be seen by the dates of these several enterprises that rapid 
work was performed: that the remarkable speed attending the construction of so 
nianv railwavs covering much of the inhabited portions of the city and going out 
to distant sub-divisions on the south, east, west and north, manifested a wonderful 

.IKSSK MAW i;-, .M. 1' 


spirit, supported by abundant capital, with remarkable sagacity in anticipating the 
growth of settlement in all directions. 

Meantime, a rival corporation, called the Denver & Suburban railway company 
had entered the field with valuable franchises upon certain streets, intending the con- 
struction of a separate system of roads, but before any lines were built, the Metropol- 
itan company, which was largely composed of stockholders in the Tramway coni- 
pauA-, ])urchased its rights and effected a consolidation. The nth avenue line was 
opened December 19th, 1891 ; the 8th avenue — Broadway to Arlington Park — on 
the same date: the South Tremont and Stout street, January ist, 1892; the Harman 
extension of the 8th avenue, March 17th, 1892; the Platte street, November 24th, 
1892: the Riverside, December 12th, 1892, and the 25th avenue, April 15th, 1893. 
The Park Hill line was purchased and electrified April 29th, 1893, and the Pearl 
street line was built June ist, 1893. 

Therefore, the company has now in operation 995-10 miles of track, 265 cars, 
three large power houses, employs 450 men, and assumes a pay-roll of $28,000 a 
month. The system is so admirably arranged, its details are so completely modeled 
as to form perfect connections all over the city. A car, or any number of cars may 
be started at any given point, and conducted over every mile of track the company 

This is one of the really great institutions of Denver. It is safe to state that 
no metropolis in the land enjoys better transportation facilities; perhaps not one 
w^hose lines are so well adapted to all purposes of convenient and rapid distribution 
as this. At the southwesterly corner of Arapahoe street, the uniting point of the 
present loop, half a square of ground in the heart of the city has been purchased, and 
in due time a grand central depot will be erected. 

The influence of these lines upon the development of many of our more popu- 
lous suburbs, as the Colfax, South Broadway, and the north side extensions has been 
almost incalculable. The\- have converted waste places into beautiful residence 
districts, by causing the building of countless houses. The rapid settlement of those 
additions is mainly ascribable to the easy and quick transportation afforded by the 
multiplicity of roadways thus supplied. 

The company is officered as follows: President, Rodney Curtis; vice-president. 
John J. Reithman; secretary. Wm. G. Evans: treasurer, F. A. Keener; superintend- 
ent, C. K. Durbin. 

The Denver City Cable Railu'ay company. — The greater part of the history of 
this corporation, beginning with its original charter, the building of horse car lines, 
and their progress to recent years, is set forth in preceding volumes. The original^ 
plant with all rights, franchises, etc., was sold to Providence, Rhode Island, capital- 
ists in 1883, and Col. George E. Randolph appointed general manager, who recon- 
structed the tracks, relaid them where necessary with steel rails, opened new routes 
and extended others, and built a large stable and car house at the foot of 17th street, 
w-here all the roads were concentrated. In that year the company had 15^ miles of 
track: 205 horses: 45 cars, and employed 100 men. 

In December, 1888, Col. Randolph let contracts for twelve miles of double track 
cable railwav, which was begun in Februan,-, 1889. November 1st, the Larimer 
street, i6th,' Welton and North Denver lines were completed, and two ver>' 
expensive viaducts across Platte river and the intricate network of railways, con- 
structed. The 17th street line began nmning December ist. 1891 ; the Curtis street 
and West Denver. June 6th. 1892. 

The Larimer street line runs from 40th avenue on the east, across Platte river 
on West Colfax avenue to Maple street, thence west by an electric trolley known as 
the West End Electric, north via Manhattan Beach and Flitch's Gardens to Prospect 
avenue, and thence east to a connection with the i6th street cable at Fairview avenue. 

The i6th street cable runs south from Humphrey's street on North i6tli street, 

3— iv 


to lOtli street, through the center of business to Court place, thence to 17th avenue, 
and thence east along i/tii avenue to York street. The ijtli street line runs from 
the L'nion depot southeast to Broadway. The Welton street from i6tl) along 
Welton to Downing avenue, at 28th avenue to Columbine, with a branch on Gay- 
lord, running north to 38th avenue. The West Denver line on Curtis, from ijtii 
street, westerly to nth street, thence along nth street on Colfax avenue to South 
nth, and thence south on South nth to West 4th avenue. 

The system thus outlined, including the West End electric, embraces about 50 
miles of track in operation. The consummation of these enterprises also vastly stim- 
ulated the itojjulation and improvement of the sections penetrated. They were 
accomplished at great cost and without subsidies. 

The Denver, Lakevvood & Golden, another important electric artery for the 
accommodation of residents in the western sub-divisions, runs from its central sta- 
tion on Ara])ahoe street near 14th, westerly into lutrnum's addition, and thence 
to the town of Golden. 

At the close of 1888, Denver was indisputably one of the liveliest of the younger 
American cities. All trades flourished ; buildings arose in every sub-division in great 
numbers, and in many sections, particularly in Wyman's, Rohlfing's and other parts 
south and north of Colfax, splendid architectural triumphs were achieved. Suburbs 
vacant the year before were nearly covered with fine residences. The mercantile 
trade that year aggregated nearly $128,000,000, and the produce of manufactures 
over $30,000,000. The Rock Island railroad was completed to Colorado S])rings 
and began running trains into Denver over the Rio Grande tracks. During that 
year also, enormous sums of eastern capital were invested. This was in some 
respects the most eventful year of the epoch under consideration, though the tide 
ran high thence onward to about the end of 1890, when it began to recede. In 188'), 
the mercantile trade amounted to $181,136,320; the products of manufacture to $34,- 
499,223 ; real estate sales to $6o.392,o()8. By reason of the enormous activity mani- 
fested in all directions at that time, Denver seemed to be the most inviting field in 
the West for young, vigorous business men, and they accordingly came in great num- 
bers. In the five years from 1885 to 1890, our jjopulation increased from 54.308 to 
106,713. exclusive of the incorporated suburbs. Every channel of human ojipor- 
tunity bristled with energetic forces. I^Yom the abundance of money, interest rates 
fell from 12 to 6, and even 5 per cent on large, long-time loans. The chief product 
of our mines, silver, which had reached a low stage, was largely benefited by the 
enactment of what is conmionly known as the Sherman act of July 14th, 1890, pro- 
viding for the purchase by the United States treasury of 4,500.000 ounces each 
month, which covered the major part of the jiroduce of American silver mines. 
Between the approval of this law and Se]iteniber ist. following, the jjrice rose Stead- 
ilv to $1.20 per fine ounce, but as rajiidly receded after that date. At length the 
adverse legislation at home and abroad caused very disastrous results to the entire 
industrv of silver mining, and almost universal collapse in the world at large. While 
it lasted, the stimulus lent by the Sherman law ser\-ed to accelerate the prevailing 
spirit of progress here. Of course no one then ilreamed of the sudden and disas- 
trous termination of the magnificent movement. But 1 have neither time nor sjiace 
for proper consideration of the momentous questions relating to finance which the 
statesmen and financiers of all nations are endeavoring to solve. 

During i889-<)0. manufacturing industries received many signal acquisitions 
through difTuse advertising of our advantages. A cotton mill, paper mill, woolen 
mill, boot and shoe factory, and several other concerns with an aggregate capital 
ofnearlva million dollars were established. .Xgriculture and mining were unusually 
prosperous, i'.uildings of an estimated cost of $16,541,625 were begun; realty sales 
amounted to $65,500,000: bank clearings to $2i3,5()<).ooi ; sales of merchandise to 
$21 3,. ^46.745; the value of manufactures to $42,034,677. 


The Citizens" Water company, a now corporation, constructed a separate water 
SNStcni with a great main thirty miles in length, from Platte Canon: laid 70 miles of 
iron mains within the city limits, and connected a large number of blocks and dwell- 
ings therewith. The Denver Water coiupan}- also greatly enlarged its plant, 
extended its pipes and built a large reservoir on Capitol Hill. 

The Denver Clearing House. — The primary movement which resulted in the 
organization of this highly important local institution, may be credited to the efforts 
of Gen. R. W. Woodbury, then president of the Chamber of Commerce. His first 
attempt failed to convince the bankers of its necessity, but he persisted and at length, 
in October, 1885, sent a letter to the president and cashier of each bank in the city 
inviting them to meet in the director's room of the Chamber on the 25th of that 
month for the purpose of considering a plan. The response was general. David H. 
MofTat and S. X. Wood of the First, George Tritch of the German, J. A. Thatcher 
and A. A. Denman of the Denver, Wm. B. ISerger of the Colorado, John R. Hanna 
of the City, E. P. Wright of the State and Wm. D. Todd of the Union were present. 
When convened, Mr. Woodbury delivered a short address, epitomizing the object 
of the call and then retired, leaving these eminent financiers to their deliberations. 
Mr. Thatcher was made chairman, and Mr. Denman, secretary. After due consid- 
eration of the minor details, Messrs. Wood, Berger and Todd were appointed to 
draft rules and regulations. Their plan was reported at a subsequent meeting and 
adopted. To save the expense of a distinct clearing house, as in larger cities, each 
bank in the association took it for a period of three months. The first clearings were 
reported to the Chamber and posted in its Exchange Hall, November i6th, 1885. 
This, in brief, was the origin of this now extremely valuable association. Its clearings 
have been reported daily to the Chamber from that date to the present, and the data 
it supplies are among the more valuable features of our statistical literature. 

The Denver Chamber of Commeree. — It may be stated with entire truthfulness 
that this institution comprises in its large membership, the vast wealth thereby rep- 
resented and, in its power for the advancement of the public welfare, much greater 
influence for good than any other commercial organization ever incorporated in 

The first institution of its class was organized late in i860, taking the name, 
" Denver Chamber of Commerce," with General F. J. Marshall as president. It 
was maintained but a short time however. Nothing further in that direction was 
attempted until November 13th, 1867, when the first Board of Trade was formed 
to aid the building of the Denver Pacific railway, as more fully set down in our first 

The Merchant's Board of Trade was organized November 12th, 1880, Joseph T. 
Comforth, president; N. B. McCrary, vice-i)resident; Lewis Mathews, secretary: 
A. W. Tones, treasurer. Its headquarters were in the old " Tribune "" building, at 
the corner of Market and i6th streets. Notwithstanding repeated failures to main- 
tain open boards for trading purposes, it exerted much beneficial influence. For 
a time it received and posted market reports from Kansas City: in 1881. raised by 
subscription a fund to influence the adoption f)f Denver for the state capital, and 
performed other effective service, but with all its efforts, it was not cordially sup- 
ported bv the public. The entire community was dull, spiritless, inert. Meanwhile 
Governor Evans had projected and i)artl\ matured the great enterprise of his life, 
an independent railway from Denver to the Gulf. Recalling the potency of a well- 
organized force, as exemplified by the original Board of Trade, he resolved to create 
a new combination of like elements to further his latest design. Therefore he called 
a meeting of citizens at the district court room on the evening of Januar\' 29th, 1881. 
While plans were discussed and connnittecs appointed to carry them into effect, 
nothing material came of this effort. 

The next step was taken January Xth. 1884, when begins the history of the exist- 



iiig CliambcT of Coinnicrce, wliicli will he hastily epitomized Jf details arc required 
they may be found in tlie recc)rds of the institution and in its reports, which are ver\ 
complete. The first meeting for organization was held in the police court room at 
the City Hall, January 15th, 1884. at which time a constitution was adopted. March 
27th the old Board of Trade was formally dissolved, it having been consolidated 
with the Chamber of Commerce. On the same date an election for directors was 
held, who in turn chose the following oBicers: President, R. W. W'oodburv; first 
vice-president, .M. J. AlcNamara; second vice-president, Joseph T. Cornforth; tem- 
porary secretary, John L. Dailey; treasurer, \Vm. D. Todd. New standing commit- 
tees were appointed: meetings were held each week in the police court room. Real- 
izing the value of real property as a basis for membership certificates, the board was 
no sooner organized than it began to move toward the erection of a suitable building. 
The site at the corner of 14th and Lawrence streets, belonging to the city was leased, 
and the contract for the present structure awarded to Peter Gumr\-, October ist, 1884. 
It was completed and occupied September ist, 1885, the fourth story being reserved 
for a public library and historical museum. The building was dedicated with impos- 
ing ceremonies, September 22nd, 1885. Meanwhile President W'oodbury had organ- 
ized a series of seven commercial exchanges, representing real estate, produce, lum- 
ber, live stock, mining, stocks and manufactures. The latter is the only one that 
has endured the test of time, and it has been of inestimable benefit to the great indus- 
tries under its patronage. It has wrought perseveringly and always effectually for the 
upbuilding of local industries, and has reason to take infinite pride in the remarkable 
development achieved. The city and state are indebted to the first board of directors 
of the C'hamber for the location here of a Commissary of Subsistence, which at once 
openetl a new market for military supplies, and very largely for the project which 
eventuated in the building of Fort Logan. They performed all the preliminary work 
of advancing the bill for it through Congress, and ])repared the way for a committee 
<yf citizens to complete it by purchasing a site and donating the same to the federal 
government. Indeed, the amount of work done by this board and its immediate 
successors was prodigious, much of it of farreachingeffect upon the future of our now- 
splendid metropolis. They founded, maintained, and systematically developed what 
is now the City Library, which, under the able direction of Mr. Charles R. Dudley, 
has become the leading institution of its class in the state. 

Fort Z(^i,'^<7//.* — Early in 1887, Henry R. Wolcott, Senator X. P. Hill, D. H. 
Mofifat, \V. S. Cheesman, and other wealthy and enterprising citizens, foreseeing the 
great advantage of a large garrison near this city, proposed to dcjnatc a tract of land 
sutlicient for the purpose, and offered several sites to the general government for 
selection. Accordingly on the 28th of I-'ebruary, 1887, Congress passed an act 
authorizing the Secretary of War to establish a military post near the City of Denver, 
at some suitable site to be selected by the lieutenant-general of the Army, and 
approved by him. The title to the land was to be first made to the United States, 
free of cost, of not less than 640 acres in a compact body. The same act appropriated 
$100,000 to be expended under direction of the Secretary of War in commencement 
of the work of constructing the necessary buildings. (|uarters. barracks, and stables. 
The state of Colorado was retpured to cede to the I'nited States jurisdiction over the 
tract. General Phillip H. Sheridan came to Denver and selected the jiresent location 

* Many of the facts in this account are condensed from an illustrated and admirably written article by 
Virginia B.asli, Colorado Magazine, April, 18(53. Credit for the establishment of this important military 
post should be given to Major W. S. ICabody who spent many years in Denver but finally removed to 
Washington, D. C. It is entirely true that he forwarded the movement with untirinR zeal from its 
inception to the final consummation, as the agent of the Chamber of Commerce and of the syndicate of 
Denver capitalists who purchased the site and donated it to the government, lie aided in drafting the 
bill and was influential in securing its passage through the lower house of Congress. This is freely 
acknowledged by our senators and representative with whom he was in constant communication. 


out of tlie great number offered, and after it had been accepted by the War Depart- 
ment, Col. George K. Brad)-, with two companies of the Eighteenth infantry, was 
ordered to proceed and erect temporary quarters on the ground, to be known as 
" Camp Near the City of Denver." In November the same year, Capt. L. E. Camp- 
bell, of the quartermaster's department, was ordered to Denver to begin the construc- 
tion of permanent quarters for a twelve-company post, adapted to cavalry, artillery 
and infantry. He engaged the services of Air. F. J. Grodavent, an accomplished 
architect, to prepare the plans and supervise the work. In spite of many difficulties 
and discouragements, the details were pushed, and at the end of three years the 
fi^round was leveled, roads and walks constructed, trees planted and grass sown; two 
large artesian wells were sunk; quarters and barracks built for six companies of 
infantry and a band: an administration building erected, and one of the finest and 
most complete hospitals in the army. Then came that accomplished officer and gen- 
tleman. Col. H. C. Merriam, with six companies of the Seventh Infantry, and took 

Capt. Campbell was succeeded by Capt. F. B. Jones, and he by Capt. M. C. 
Martin, A. O. M., and the work of building went steadily on until accommodations 
for two troops of cavalry and a proposed company of Indians were completed. It 
was some time before a name was affi.xed by authority. Until then it was conmionly 
called Fort Sheridan. In like manner by common consent, the people of Chicago 
had named their post (began almost simultaneously) Fort Logan, but 
Gen. Sheridan had also great love for Chicago, and when the matter was 
submitted to him he reversed the names, and the new Colorado post was christened 
for the favorite son of Illinois. 

It is situated about eight miles southwest of the cit\' upon a sightly eminence 
which affords a few fine views of the mountains and plains. General Sheridan's ob- 
ject in placing it there was to prevent, as far as possible, the soldiers from coming 
into the city and spending their money in dissipation. The fort is connected with 
town by a spur of the Denver & Rio Grande railroad. The design of its founder was 
to make it one of the largest and finest millitary stations in the \\'est. 

Our Publii Schools. — It is not the purpose of this sketch to present in detail a 
complete history of education in Denver, but only to trace the beginnings, with a 
brief review of the results achieved. After 1875, accurate reports were annftall;. 
iniblished. to which reference may be had if greater detail is desired. Limited space 
will not admit of anything further than a passing glance at private scIkioIs, semi- 
naries and colleges. 

On the first Monday of September, 1859, Mr. F. B. Steinberger, then only fifteen 
years ok!, started a school in a little log shanty on Ferry street, Auraria, situated half 
a block from the corner of Ferry and Larimer streets. There were fourteen 
childien, in age ranging between nine and thirteen years. The names were Johnnie. 
.A.melia and Susie Dodson; Mary, John and Samuel Scott: Frank and Enmia Fox: 
"I'onimy Bradford: Homer, John and Samuel Bennett: John and Lucy Hainan. 
This was the original efifort. Mr. Steinberger was one of the founders of Auraria in 
1858; is now a resident of Denver, and has preserved the memoranda from which 
this sketch is prepared. He has also in his possession a little silver gong bell, with 
which he called this school to order, and takes much pride in announcing that with 
it he has called no less than 975 schools to "attention" in different parts of the United 
States. He taught school here until 1862, then followed the great gold e.Kcitement 
of that year to the Bannock mines of Montana, where he established the first Sundax 
and day schools in that territory. At this writing he has a small school in W'est 
Denver, mainly composed of poor waifs who have no other refuge. 

The next attem])t in this directif)n was the Lhiion school, opened in a little log 
cabin with dirt floor and roof, also in the town of .\uraria near the present crossing 


of Larimer street.'- CJn the iiioniiiii;- of October 3rd, 1859, ■"Professor" O. J. (lold- 
rick, one of the quaintest, most orii^inal and altogether pictiires(|iie Irishmen tliat 
ever trod the soil of Colorado, but possessing a thorough classical education and a 
decided penchant for teaching, after much effort succeeded in gathering from the 
juvenile ])(jpulation of that early ])eriod a motley assemblage of twelve or fifteen 
children, Mexicans, half-breeds and native Americans. With this rude material it 
inav be said that he laid the foundation of our present, let us say in truth and justice, 
incomparable system of public schools. While the immediate results were not 
wholly satisfactory, perseverance in a good cause ultimately developed a continuous 
chain of remarkable progression, as we shall see. In i860 the L'nion was supple- 
mented by two private schools, one by Miss Indiana Sopris, the other by that good 
natured and altogether worthy maiden lady of "uncertain age" whom every one 
knew as "Miss Ring."' In the fall of 1861, pursuant to call in a newspaper, a meet- 
mg of prominent citizens was held for the purpose of organizing a school district 
and appointing officers therefor. The delilierations were conducted on a dry goods 
box in front of a store opposite the present Lindell hotel in West Denver. The 
prominent citizens were. General John Pierce. O. J. Goldrick. Frank M. Case, Capt. 
Edwin Scudder and liaxter P>. Stiles. Of these only one ((jeneral Pierce) survives. 
A board of school officers was selected from their own number, and they entered 
upon their duties w ith more or less enthusiasm under the constant prodding of Prof. 
Goldrick whose heart was fully enlisted in the work. 

The first school house actually owned Ijy any district in this city or county, was 
purchased by West Denver in 1865, a two-story brick store known as the Giddings 
building, erected in 1861, and used for mercantile purposes until 1863. During the 
next two years it served the military authorities as a warehouse for ordnance stores, 
hence was dubbed "The Arsenal." The district paid $700 for it, the money being 
raised by subscription. In 1873, it was torn down and a good school building 
erected on the site. In 1862, the territorial legislature provided for the lew of a 
school tax, and also for a superintendent. On the first Monday of September that 
year. Prof, (joldrick was elected sui)erintendent for Arapahoe county, and at once 
instituted a public school in a small building in the rear of Hanauer & Salomon's 
wholesale grocery house, now a part of the Lindell hotel, installing Mr. A. R. Brown 
as principal, with two female assistants. He also divided the county into districts. 
The school board of district Xo. i was organized! ( )ctober 23rd, 1862, bv the 
election of Amos Steck, president; Lewis N. Tai^pan, secretary, an(l Joseph i!. Cass, 
treasurer. There were at this time 188 persons of school age residing in the dis- 
trict. On December ist, Mr. H. H. Lamb and Miss Indiana .Soi)ris were engaged 
as teachers, the session to continue as long as the money held out, which it did until 
the following Aj^ril, when the board ordered an assessment or tax lew of four mills, 
apiK)inting P.. P. Frink to do the collecting. The second school election was held 
in May, 1863, and resulted in the unanimous reinstatement of the old officers. But 
in May, 1866, Dr. W. F. McClelland was installed as president, W. S. Walker as 
secretary and J. B. Cass as treasurer. A brick building on Larimer street, known 
as the Kehler house (site of the present Windsor hotel) was rented at $75 per month 
for* the use of the school. .-Xt this time there were 436 white, and 42 colored children 
of school age in the district. In 1867, the former president was re-elected, W. D. 
Anthony made secretary, and 1. W. Vease\, treasurer. A jictition was offered the 
board to establish separate schools for whites and blacks, but they refused to grant 
it. During 1868, a meeting of citizens established a tax levy of one mill, and Amos 
Stock donated three lots on .'Krapalioc street, near 17th, upon which to erect a suit- 

* Examine pa^cs 218-19. -54. 5I3-J4 Vol. I; also history of Arapahoe rountv. Vol. Ill, pages 271-72. 
\ From a sketch of our public schools by Prof. Aaron Gove, now on file with the ."^tate Histori- 
cal Society. 


able school house. It was built, and occupied in April, 1873. H. M. liridgcs. Miss 
Lucia Hackett, ]\liss F). H. Goff, Mrs. i\L L. Horr and Rufus R. Felton were the 
teachers. The year 1869, saw John S. McCool, John C. Anderson and Adolph Schin- 
ner. as the school board, and a tax of one mill was levied. Dr. R. G. Buckingham 
succeeded Mr. AlcCool in 1870, and great interest in the schools was expressed bv the 
citizens generally. Five adjoining lots to those already owned on Arapahoe street 
were purchased and the Methodist seminary on 14th street was rented at $150 per 
month. In 1871, Mr. Opitz took Mr. Schinner's place in the board, and, on func 
J7th, the board adopted the plans of G. F. Randall for the Arapahoe street school 
l)uilding, this action being approved by the citizens, July ist; R. W. Woodbury, W. 
C. Lothrop and D. H. Moffat were the representatives. It was at this period that 
General Frank M. Case donated block 75, Case & Ebert's addition, upon which the 
30th street primary was afterward erected. Miss A. M. Overton became a teacher that 
year. In September, the contract for the basement of the new building was awarded, 
and a few days later 'Mr. H. Carver was elected superintendent of schools. The citi- 
zens then held a meeting and by a vote of 508 to 202, voted $75,000 in bonds, from 
the proceeds of which the contract for the superstructure of the new school last 
referred to was let. The same bciard was re-elected in 1872, and, on the 24th of June, 
laid the corner stone of the Arapahoe street building. April 3rd following the just 
finished building was dedicated, and Mr. F. C. Garbutt was installed as superinten- 
dent of schools. The board consisted of Dr. F. J. Bancroft, D. J. Martin and Fred 
-Steinhauer. During this administration the lots in Hunter's addition were purchased 
and a new building was immediately commenced. Dr. Buckingham, a firm devoted 
friend of education being a member of the territorial legislature, succeeded in pass- 
ing some excellent school laws. Six members now- constituted the scliool board, 
those in 1874, being Dr. F. J. Bancroft, E. ]\I. Ashley, and P. Gottesleben elected 
for one year, and Daniel Hurd, W. M. Newton and W. C. Lothrop for two years. In 
July, Mr. Aaron Gove was elected to the superintendency, and has held it ever since. 
This event signalized the beginning of a remarkable new era of energetic develop- 
ment. At the commencement of the fall term in 1874, it became manifest that a grade 
higher than any previously taught was essential to the welfare of the schools, there- 
fore the High School was inaugurated with 108 pupils. While representing the state 
in the Forty-fifth Congress, Mr. T. M. Patterson secured the passage of an act donat- 
ing block 143, East Denver, known as " Government S(|uare," to the city for educa- 
tional uses. In 1881, the west wing was begun, completed in 1882, and occupied. 
The entire structure, as it now stands, was not finished until the fall of 1889. The 
library and reading rooms in the west wing were opened to the public with about 
1,500 volumes, Jvuie 8th, 1889. 

The Broadway school house was built in 1875, the 24th street in 1878. the 
Ebert in 1880, the Gilpin in 1881, the Longfellow, 1882: the Whittier, 1883, and soon 
afterward, the Emerson. In district Xo. 2, the Central was built in 1880, the Fair- 
mont in 1883, the I-'ranklin begun the same year, and the Washington in 1884. In 
.\orth Denver and Highlands, the Ashland in 1872. the lirvant, 1882. and the Boule- 
vard the same year. 

There is no institution in our community that is more earnestly and effectivelv 
fostered, or with which the people are more completely satisfied, than the excellent 
system of public sclumMs. And it may be stated, without exaggeration, that thcv arc 
not only eminently deserving of the exalted praise bestowed upon them bv our own 
citizens, but that no city is more faithfully served in this regard. The underlying 
cause is found in the fact that the administration of educational affairs has been held 
above the contaiuinations of political strife. It is here that all shades of political opin- 
ion unite and act together for the public good. The boards of directors are chosen 
from a class known to be thoroughly devoted to the cause and willing to acccjit and 
honorablv discharge the great duties entrusted to them. Lender such control tlure 


has been no conllicl within or withont. A report to the National Conmiissioner of 
Eckicaticjn at Washington, by a representative sent here in 1883. to investigate, says: 
■■ 1 find the Den\er sehool system a(hiiiral)le in all respects. Its development has 
been so wisely and energetically conducted, that already it fairly belongs to the front 
rank of city systems. Tlic creation of a system of schools on so large a scale of such 
exce])tional merits, and in so brief a time, is a phenomenon to which the history of 
education affords no parallel. The school houses of Denver reflect the highest credit 
upon the school officials who are responsible for the plans, and the liberality of the 
citizens in furnishing the funds for their erection. These are all handsome and suIj- 
stantial structures, well located, and of ample dimensions." 

I am indebted to Hon. A. D. Shepard, county superintendent, for the following 
data, covering the year 1894: 

Number of school buildings in Denver. 46; estimated \ahie of the same, $.?,854,- 

Number of children of school age in Denver, males, 12,656; females, 13,371; 
total, 26,027. 

Number of children of school age enrolled in Denver, males, 9,655; females, 
i>,8i6: total 19,471. Average daily attendance, 13.433. 

Number of teachers employed, males, 49; females, 363; total, 412. 

Dinoiiiinational Scliools. — What is now the University of Denver was organ- 
ized under the auspices of the Methodist Society in 1863, and called the Colorado 
■Seminary, for the education of young ladies. Early in 1864, it was chartered by the 
territorial legislature. Funds for the original building, erected near the corner of 
.\raj)ahoe and 14th streets, were raised by subscription. The school flourished for 
about three years, .when financial embarrassment led to a suspension of active work 
until 1880, when new and superior buildings were erected on the site, and the Uni- 
versity system was adoi)ted under the superintendency of Rev. David W. .Moore. 
D.D., as chancellor. As a scrap of history, it may be related that when the territorial 
capital was removed from (Jolden to Denver, in December, 1867, the House of Rep- 
resentatives of the Legislature and the executive officers were installed for the remain- 
der of that session in the old seminary. Shortly after the completion of the ne\v 
buildings, 1 laisii Manual trainmg school was ])laced at the opposite corner, upon the 
site of St. John's church, and ste]3S were taken to build a superior university at Uni- 
versity Park, then within the southerly limits of .South Denver. A large tract of 
ground was secured, and as a beginning University Hall, W'yclifife Cottage and the 
Chamhcrlin Observatory were erected. Under the direction of Chancellor William 
F. McDowell, aided by immificent gifts from .Mrs. Elizabeth Warren, William S. 
llift', H. I'). ClKimborlin and others, I'niversity Park has become not only a great 
educational center, but, liv reason of its attractiveness, a very beautiful suburb of the 
city proper. 

Loi-etto Afadcmy was founded in very early times, begiiniing with St. Mary's 
.\cademv, and at length, occupying an entire square of ground on California, Wel- 
ton, 14th and 15th streets, has in orderly progression been housed in a very beautiful 
building of reil sandstone at Loretto Heights, on the west side of the Platte river, 
some six or seven miles south of Denver. It was built in 1890-91, and occupies a 
bold, sightlv promontory which overlooks Fort Logan just beyond, almost tlic 
entire Platte- valley, the City of Denver, and the town of Littleton, affording superb 
views also of the greater part of the Rocky Mountain range. Here, in quarters thor- 
oughly adapted to all uses for many years to come, with every facility for complete 
mental and jihysical training of young ladies, the Sisters of Loretto make their home, 
one of the rarest and best institutes of its class west of the Missouri river. The Catho- 
lics, from their earliest efforts in this field in i860, have contented themselves with 
plain, inexpensive houses of worship, expending their revenues mainly upon fine 




hospitals and scliools, instead of upon magnificent churches and cathedrals. The 
results are witnessed in the vast benefits achieved. 

T/w College of the Sacred Heart. — A school for the instruction of young men 
for higher educational work under charge of Jesuit fathers, is situated a mile north 
of Berkeley lake, where may be seen a splendid greystone edifice. In addition, the 
Catholics have a number of good parochial schools in different parts of the city. 

Wolfe Hall. — This is now the largest and perhaps the most complete of all the 
denominational schools in or about Denver, a seminary for young ladies. Its 
founder, the Right Rev. George M. Randall, first Episcopal bishop of this diocese, 
a man of great learning and remarkable power, raised the funds for the original 
l)uilding (at the corner, of Champa and 17th streets), among his friends in the East 
John D. Wolfe and his daughter. Miss Catherine, being large contributors, hence 
the name. . It was built in 1867. In 1889, it was torn down to make room for the 
Boston block. Meanwhile a new site had been secured at the corner of Clarkson 
street and 13th avenue, whereon the present beautiful structure was erected. 

Jarvis Hall and Matheius Hall. — Schools for boys, were founded by Bishop 
Randall, in 1868-9. They were first built near Golden, George A. Jarvis of New York- 
furnishing a considerable part of the money. Xovember 17th, 1869. Jarvis Hall was 
blown down by a terrific gale, but was rebuilt and reopened in October, 1870. Some 
years later the schools were removed to Denver, and located on Glenarm street, near 
St. John's cathedral, w'here the work was continued until 1888. In that year the 
Cathedral Chapter, acting as a board of trustees, secured a tract of land in Alontclair 
where a new building, expressly designed for the uses of these schools, was com- 
pleted in December. 1888. It was dedicated h\ Bishop Spalding. March 1st, 1889, 
and was materially enlarged in 1890. 

In the same suburb the Baptist society has erected a large and well-appointed 
college, for the education of women. 

Westminster University. — Under the control of the Presbyterians, was inaugu- 
rated in June. 1891. This large and extremely handsome building of red sandstone is 
situated about nine miles north of the business center of Denver, bevond Clear Creek 
valley, on the line of the Highland boulevard, occupying a fine elevated mesa, called 
Crown Point, the highest in .\rapalioe county. The school is in excellent condition. 

In concluding this review of Denver, I am aware that many details of importance 
have been omitted, for which quite extensive memoranda had been prepared, but 
which, for reasons already cited, must be reserved for a future edition, should I be 
spared to write one. If not, the data will be filed with the State Historical Society. 
for the use of my successor, if he shall find them worthy of compilation. 




According to the United States census, tliis city gained only ten inhabitants 
in tile decade between i860 and 1870. In that period. Blake street, from Cherry 
Creek to 17th, was the chief center of business, with Larimer as the upper or easterly 
limit of traffic. Between Larimer and Blake on 15th and i6th, there were a few- 
business houses. Larimer, Lawrence ami Arapahoe were the residence sections. 
There were only a few residences on Curtis and Champa. East, along the northeast 
and southwest parallels, were small cheap frame houses scattered over the prairie, as 
shown in the sketch by A. E. Mathews. The Methodist church, at the corner of 
Lawrence and 14th, and the United States Branch Mint were the show places of the 
city. Up to 1879-80, when H. A. \V. Tabor, with his abundant wealth acquired in 
Leadville, began purchasing corners and building on i6th, it was believed that the 
general trend of business would always run along the northeast and southwest 
streets. The Tabor block (the first building abt)ve three stories erected here, and 
also the first of cut stone), the Grand ( )pera House, the final location of the Court 
House, the I'ederal Vast Office and the State Capitol combined to change the pri- 
man,- course. The building of the Union depot and the Albany hotel had great 
influence in defining the future of 17th street as a great business thoroughfare. Fif- 
teenth has made less progress, according to its situation and oijportunities, than 
any other in the city. It should, and might have been the ec]ual of i6th in the charac- 
ter of its business houses. 

With this brief introductory we proceed to show what occupied the sites 01 
some of the present splendid structures, many of them grand architectural triumphs, 
before they were erected. 

l£rnest & Cranmer Block. — Amos Steck's homestead. 

Patterson & Thomas Block. — lul. Shai)ler"s residence. Sha])ter was for iiian\ 
years the manager, cashier, etc., of jack Langrishe"s theaters. 

Cooper Building. — Dr. S. W. Treat's residence, a little frame cottage surrounded 
l)y tall cottonwoods. 

Boston lilock. — Wolfe Hall, a seminary for young ladies. 

F(|uital)le I'.uilding. — Mostly vacant. ()n 17th, a little brick Presbyterian church. 
A part on Stout street was occujiied by a brick residence, where Stickney killed 
Compton and a young lady many years ago. Subsequently the Union League club. 

Albany Hotel, — Corner four lots vacant. 

Cass i<: Graham Block. — A handsome frame residence, with green blinds, buiil 
by R. E. Whitsitt about i860, and in its time one of the finest dwellings in Denver. 
It was bought bv Dr. O. D. Cass, who resided there, as also did Warren Hussey. 
The adjoining lots on Curtis were owned by Jonas Deitscli, and next by iM-ed .N. 
Clark. Next adjoining north, frame residence of Redwood Fisher. 

Tabor Opera House.— Residence of .X. B. Daniels, a two-story bnck, sur- 


rounded by fine lawn, trees, shrubbery and flowers, built and first occupied Ijy Sam 
Howe, first sheriff of Arapahoe county, Colorado. In the rear on Curtis, was a two- 
story frame, and next H. Z. Salomon's house. 

Rische Block. — First by what was known as the "Baptist dugout." The Bap- 
tist society excavated a basement and laid the foundation for a church, but lacking;; 
funds the "' cellar " was roofed over with pine boards and used as a place of worship, 
also for a school. Charles Leischenring bought the ground and built Walhalla Hall, 
for theatrical purposes, concerts, dancing, public meetings, etc. The second session 
of the state legislature was held there ; Governor V. W. Pitkin was inaugurated, and 
Prof. Nathaniel P. Hill was elected United States senator within its walls. Next 
below on i6th, Leischenring opened a summer garden; subsequently (in 1880), used 
as a theater by Jack Langrishe. Xext below that, and running clear around Wal- 
halla to Curtis street, were the stables of the old horse car company (now Garson & 
Kemgood's clothing house). Both Henry R. and Edward O. Wolcott sen-ed their 
legislative apprenticeship in the old Walhalla building. 

St. James Hotel. — The old Wentworth house: next adjoining south, residence 
of Rodney Curtis, and on the corner the I'"irst Congregational church. 

Tritch Block. — Curtis and i6th, T. G. Anderson's skating rink, the dd City 
market — small fruit stands. 

Federal P^ost Office. — Residence of Geo. W. AlcClure. In very early times 
Isador Badolet had a log cabin there, on or near the corner. 

Charles Block. — Curtis and I5tli, residence of John O. Charles: frame house, 
with beautiful grounds. 

Walbrach Block. — Sixteenth and Champa. Residence of Mark A. Schaffen- 
burg, also of C. Walbrach. 

Barth Block. — Sixteenth and Stout. Residence of William Barth. 

Symes Block. — Two-stor}' frame residence on the corner. Part of this block on 
Champa street was long occupied by the United States district court. 

Steele Block. — Sixteenth and Stout. Residence of Dr. H. K. Steele. 

Alack Block. — Sixteenth and California. Residence of John J. Riethman. 

Hayden & Dickinson Building. — Sixteenth and California. Residence of Gen. 
W. H. Lessig. Beautiful grounds. 

AlcXamara Building. — Erected and still owned by John j. Riethman. Originallv 
the property of L. F. Bartels, used as a florist's garden, .\fterward a skating rink. 
Senator Voorhies of Indiana, Terence V. Powderly and other national celebrities 
made speeches there. 

McClintock Block. — Sixteenth and California. .\ small frame residence. 

Masonic Temple. — Residence of A. Jacobs, built by Henry Fuerstein. 

Bancroft Block. — Sixteenth and Stout. Residence in earl\- davs of D. 'I'oni 
.Smith. Afterward of Dr. F. J. Bancroft: fine grounds. The home was a wedding 
present to .Mrs. Bancroft by her father. 

Cambridge Block. — (Woman's Exchange) Residence of W. G. iMsher. and 
Chas. H. Reynolds. 

Kittridge Block. — Sixteenth and Glenarm. Residence of Judge D. B. Graham. 
Other small cottages on the site. 

Toltec Block. — Seventeenth and .^tout. Residence of h". A. Keener. 
Jacobson Building. — Sixteenth and Arajiahoe. Two-story brick residence of Luke 
Dubois. On the alley stood his livery stable, afterwar>l owned by Geo. H. Esta- 
brook, and later by B. D. Spencer. Col. Jacobson bought the property just before 
his death. For some years the corner was occupied l)y small fruit stands. 

Arapahoe Building. — Arapahoe .street. Residence and chicken ranch of Chas. 
G. Chever, who imported and distributed along Platte \'alley about Littleton, the 
first live (juail brought to Colorado. were domesticated on the premises named 
above. A numl)er of citizens subscril)ed tlie monev to bring them here. 


liaiik Block. — Seventeenth and Arapahoe. Residence of Jnhns Mitchell. 

Windsor Hotel. — Residence of J. H. Kchler, first sheriff of Arapahoe county, 
Kansas territory. Afterward, residence of Major John S. Fillmore, where he died. 
Later used as a school house, and still later as a carriage factory by Charles \\ . 

St. John's Church. — (Corner of Arapahoe and 14th, incorporated by the legis- 
lature of 1865, as ■■ St. John's Church in the Wilderness " ). First, a little brick struc- 
ture on the alley, with a wooden bell tower in front. Subsequently extended to the 
corner. Bishop George M. Randall, a famous missionary and scholar, delivered 
many splendid sermons and lectures in this tiny little church: also his successor, 
B.ishop Spalding. Revs. Finch and H. B. Hitchings ministered to its congregations. 
It was here that Rev. H. Martyn Hart, now Ucan of St. John's Cathedral, preached 
his first sermon and received his call. The site is now occupied by the Haish Manual 
Training school, of the Denver University. 

Byers Block. — East side of Arapahoe, between 13th and 16th. A very neat and 
attractive frame. Iniilt by Cooper & W_\att in 1859 or 'bo. Then purchased b\- josei)h 
B. Cass, who resided there some years. Bought by Mr. Wm. N. Byers in 1864, who 
also occupied it many years. It was removed in 1882, and the Byers block erected. 
Beyond, toward i6th, was a small cottage occu]Med by A. H. Miles. On the opposite, 
or westerly side, was the brick residence of Mayor AI. INL De Lano, where Generals 
Grant, Sherman and Sheridan were entertained during their first visit to Denver in 
1868. It was subsequently owned by W. H. Pierce. Further on toward i6th, was the 
residence of Mrs. J. S. Fillmore: later rented to Governor Alexander Cunnnings 
and daughter. It was there 1 received my conmiission as secretary of Colorado ter- 
ritory in May, 1866. Near by stood a small frame building, occupied by General 
Emery Upton as department headquarters while he commanded here. There Gen- 
eral Upton formulated his famous system of military tactics, afterward adopted by 
the War dei)artment. I saw the manuscri])t, and received from him an explanation 
of the new method of drill. He was a s])lendid officer, conunanding a division of 
the celebrated Sixth corjjs during the Rebellion. He died at the Presidio. California, 
some years later. 

Lothrop Block. — Corner i8tli and Lawrence. Resilience of Wilbur C. 

King Pdock.- — ^^'est side of Lawrence, between 16th and 17th. Resi- 
dence of' John Hughes, who sold to (a-orge '!'. Clark, and subsequently regained 
possession of the prt)perty. 

' Markham Hotel. — Lawrence and 17th. Residence of J. JL Eanies and 
Charles Lerchen. The Munger house was first built there, subseijuently the Grand 
Central hotel. It was here 1 first met General J. W. Denver, for whom the city is 
named. House remodeled by Markham. I'atterson & Thomas, and reopened 
under its present title. 

Daniels & Fisher. — Corner lOth and Lawrence. Corner vacant. On part of 
the land was a little house occupied by a lame and very eccentric negro named " ( >ld 
Lige,'' w^ho did odd jobs, and among others pranced up and down the streets with a 
big bell searching for lost children. Everybody knew "Old Lige." 

Essex Building. — Rear of lot occui)ied by the Recorder's office, .\rapahoe 

Skimier Bros. & Wright. — The old Denver theater, a large frame building origi- 
nally christened the Platte \'alley theater. Purchased by Jack Langrishe in 1861. 
It was a public meeting house as well, and many distinguished men delivered 
addresses there. Our first railway may be .said to have l^ecn I)orn in that building. 
At any rate the plans for it were submitted to the people from its stage. Next below 
on 16th street stood the carpenter's shop of F.. .A. Willoughby, afterward the Bruns- 
wick hntel, ni>\\ the Mav clothing house. 


People's Bank Building. — Ground owned by George C. Schleier. Formerly 
occupied by a nest of small frame buildings. 

Times Block. — When this ground was purchased by R. W. Woodbury, back in 
the "seventies," there was a small one-and-a-half-story, ugly looking, cheap brick 
building thereon, into which he moved his newspaper from the corner of 15th and 
Lawrence. Next adjoining south stood a white frame cottage, where lived R. R. 
jMcCormic and his father-in-law. ALajor W. H. Johnson. Jerome Rische built the 
present block, which was afterward bought by Miss Emma Abbott, the opera singer, 
and still bears her name. 

Moffat & Kassler Block. — Here stood a little brick cottage where D. H. Aloffat 
lived after his marriage. The lots adjoining south were owned by E. J. Sanderlin, 
who resided there until the present building succeeded. Opposite the Abbott block 
was the Central Fire station, now a business house. 

Hughes & Bissell Block. — Southwest corner of 15th and Lawrence. The Pike's 
Peak and Overland Stage barn. After the present block was erected, the upper floor 
was occupied by the district court and all county offices; the lower for many years by 
the post office. 

Evans Block, opposite the above. — This was one of the first three-story build- 
ings erected in Denver, and attracted nuich attention. The site was formerly occu- 
pied by M. M. De Lano's lumber yards, and E. A. Willoughby's carpenter shop. 

McClelland Block. — Corner Lawrence and 15th. Small frame cottages. Wm. 
Graham built a brick house which was used as a boarding house. He traded the lots 
to Dr. W. F. i\IcClelland for a wagon load of bacon, which the latter had brought 
out from the Missouri river. Adjoining on 15th (L. D. Reithman's block) stood a 
little brick church, built by the Presbyterians, whence the society moved into their 
ne\s' and imposing stone edifice at the corner of Champa and i8th. 

Clayton Block. — Corner 17th and Lawrence. At one time the residence of Wm. 
M. and G. W. Clayton. 

Cheesman Block. — Corner of 17th and Larimer. FYame buildings, in one of 
which ]Major Jacob Downing had his law and real estate office. 

Tabor Block. — Sixteenth and Larimer. The first fine cut stone building in 
the city, every block of which was dressed in Ohio and shipped here. The side- 
walk flagging was brought from Joliet, 111. It was also the first to rise above three 
stories. The site was first occupied by James M. Broadwell who. in 1859, built 
the Broadwell hotel thereon, a large white painted frame. Many years afterward 
it was re-named the Pacific house. It was torn down in 1880. 

McClintock Block. — Sixteenth and Larimer. A one-story frame, built in i860, 
and used as a liilliard room. At one time these two lots were offered in exchange fora 
yoke of oxen, and refused. In excavating for the foundation of the present struc- 
ture, some bones of a mastodon were found, and placed on exhibition at Woolworth 
& Moffat's book-store. The First National bank occupied the corner after its 
removal from Blake street. 

(iood Block. — Corner owned by Henry Fuerstein.but vacant many years. Next 
adjoining the original Good block stood the office of the Rocky ^fountain "News," 
built by Byers & Dailey after the Cherry Creek flood in 1864. Next to that on the 
old F'ilhnore post office lots stood Wallingforrl & Murphy's log store, built in 1859, 
over which a confederate flag was raised in 1861, which came near precipitating a 
riot, until removed by Capt. Sam Logan, of the 1st Colorado regiment. Later, it 
was used as a military prison. 

A])pel P.lock. — Sixteenth and Larimer. In 1S60 occupied Iiy a small frame, the 
office of the county clerk and recorder, where were deposited the records and papers 
of the original Denver Town company, and of Arapahoe county. This building first 
stood on the site of the Hughes & Bissell block, at 15th and Lawrence, whence it was 
removed in .Vpril, i860. In Deceml)tr. 1861. Charles G. Chcver was elected clerk of 


Arapalioc county, and held the office seven consecutive years. When George E. 
Roper leased the ground, and jirepared to build a two-story brick, the clerk"s office 
was removed to the rear of the lot on Lawrence street, where, in 1887, was built the 
Essex block. In 1893, the Appels tore down the Roper building and erected a hand- 
some four-stor\' block. 

Pioneer Building. — Mfteenth and Larimer. .-X row of cheap, one-story frames, built 
bv Charles A. Lawrence in 1859, occupied by saloons and gambling dens; when 
completed, a grand ball was given. Later, Julius Mitchell kept a grocery there, and 
in 1866. Rodney Curtis and Chambers C. Davis the same; thenceforward, until 
torn down, by j. G. Hoffer's meat market. The two-story brick directl_\ ojjposite, 
(n. e. corner Larimer and 15th) was one of the first brick buildings in Denver, 
erected by the Stettauer Bros., of Leavenworth, in i860, for a dry goods store, after- 
ward occupied by the Deitsch Bros. The upper story used by Governor William 
(Jilpin for executive offices and military headquarters. 

Granite Building, directly opposite that last mentioned. First a log cabin 
near the alley built by Gen. Wm. Larimer; occupied by him and also by A. O. 
McGrew, who wheeled a barrow to Colorado, or Pike's Peak. The first house on 
the cornel- was a frame store by P. G. Lowe & Co., of Leavenworth, for dry goods; 
succeeded by a two-story brick by W. M. and G. W. Clayton, who kept a general sup- 
ply store. The Granite building was occupied by M. J. McXamara & Co., dry goods 
for many years. 

Railroad Building. — On the west side of Larimer, erected by Governor Evans; 
stands on ground formerly occui)ied by Criterion Hall (afterward Mozart Hall), a 
dance and gambling den, built in 1859, by Ed. Jumps, probably one of the vilest 
places ever opened in this city; the resort of criminals and desperadoes of all grades. 
The concrete buildings further along toward i6th, numbered 1525-1529, with 
old-fashioned dingy brick fronts were built in early times by George W. McClure. 
The first floor used for stores, and the second in 1S65-6, by the district and probate 
courts, by S. H. Elbert, secretary, and Alexander Cummings. governor of Colorado 
territory.' The territorial legislature of 1865-6 was held there. In the winter of 
1866-7,' Governor Cummings jjacked up and removed all territorial archives to 
Golden City, because the people here were hostile to his eccentric policy. In the 
winter of 1868, they were moved l)ack again, but not to building. 

(;allup & .Stansbury Building. — \\est side of Larimer, between 15th and 14th, 
the old ■■ Tambien " saloon, a famous drinking place. Abmit midway of the block 
o])posite stood the first drug store opened in Denver by Wm. Graham, in a log cabin 
with earthen floor. Later on, the stock was moved to the corner of 15th and Larimer, 
now lohn J. Riethman's. On the second floor. Coleman and Moore published a 
rabid secession new.spaper the first year of the war. 

Cole Block. — South side of Larimer, between 13th and i6th. The upjjcr door 
was a large hall used for dancing and ]niblic meetings. The old Board of Trade held 
many important meetings there. It was the swell society hall of the " Si.Kties." 

'city Hall— Residence of E. P. Stout, afterwards of Charles Page and J. P. Sears, 
built of iogs with a canvas roof. On the margin of Cherry Creek stood the law office 
of Collier & Clancy, a two-story frame. Directly opposite was a long low building 
occu]iied bv St. \'rain and James; afterward the office of the Pike's Peak & Leaven- 
worth P'xpress companv. 

Witter Block.— Corner of 16th and Blake, built by Daniel Witter. Site of the 
old Planter's House, a large frame building erected by ^lajors & Russell, the famous 
freighters oi the plains, for a general warehouse. Subseciuently converted into a 
hotel. When completed, the Witter block was the finest apartment house in 

I'ink Block. — Corner 15th and Market. Site originally occupied by a small 
frame, built bv a South African French trader named Guiraud; subsequently Fre<l 


Cliarpiot"s restaurant. For many years the Masonic orders occupied the upper floor 
(if the Fink block, Garson, Kerngood & Co.. the lower. 

Tappan Block. — Southwest side of 15th near Market. Built by Lewis N. Tap- 
pan in 1867-8. Here were located the offices of the governor, secretary, auditor, 
and other territorial officials after the removal of the Capital from Golden. The 
Masons took the upper floor. The corner of 15th and Market was the stage and 
express office of the Overland Stage company. On the corner directly opposite was 
the Colorado National Bank (prior to 1866, the Kountze Bros.). 

On Market, between 14th and 15th, lower side, stands one of the log cabins 
built in 1859, by Henry Sweigert, and used as a store by Morton C. Fisher. Just 
across the Market street bridge, in West Denver, is another, built by Byers & Dailey, 
for the Rocky Mountain "Xews." Byers and family lived in the rear, the "News" 
was published in the front, and Dailey roomed in the attic. During the mobilization 
of the Colorado First Regiment, it was a recruiting office, and later a military guard 
house. Still later, the city calaboose. It is still owned by John L. Dailey. On Law- 
rence street, west side, near the corner of 15th, is a third of the old log cabins built 
in 1850, now a saloon, with a rude modern front, bearing the legend, "Old Log 
Cabin.'" It is owned by Mr. Jacob Gregory. 

48 HlSrukV Oi- COLORADO. 


The first street pa\ing with asplialt was clone in 1892. 

The City of Denver was incorporated November 8th, 1861. 

The Board of Public Works was instituted by Charter revision in 1889. The 
P'ire and PoHce Board by the same act. 

Most of the original streets were named for members of the Denver Town 
company in 1859. 

In October, 1874, John \V. Smith built the largest flouring mill and grain ele- 
vator in the territory at 8th and Lawrence streets. West Denver. 

J'oit Oftiee Free De/ii'ery. — August 5th, 1879, orders were received, and 
arrangements made by William X. Byers, postmaster, for putting into effect the 
free delivery system, on September ist, following. 

Post bjfficc Building. — Authorized in 1884, with an appropriation of $350,000. 
Contract awarded to ]\icGilvray & Hayes, who began the foundation toward the 
last of January, 1885. 

Colorado Iron Works. — Removed fn nu lUack Hawk to Denver by A. G. Lang- 
ford in 1874; our citizens raised a subscription and purchased the land. Contract 
closed in October, 1874. 

The First Steam Fire Engine was brousiht here in the early "sixties." It ha<' 
belonged to the Manhattan I'ire company, Xo. 8, of Brooklyn. Xew York, and was 
intended for use in hydraulic placer mining, but proved a failure. 

The First Omnibus and Transfer line was established in 1869, by John Hughes 
& Co.. who sold to Lyons & Xnble: thcv in turn transferred to McClure & SanixTn 
The latter bought Mr. McClure's interest, and finally sold to Hughes. Lincoln & 
Co. (John Hughes. Abram R. Lincoln and A. S. Hughes). They ran omnibuses 
and baggage wagons from the old Union depot to up-town hotels and residences. 

Se'iverage. — This subject was agitated in 1878. but took practical form through 
the efforts and arguments of Dr. W. K. Whitehead, while he was a member of the City 
Council, in 1875-76. The ])resent swstem was instituted and largely built by Harvey 
C. Lowrie, while City Engineer. 

Tabor Block. — February 1st, i87<). H. A. W. Tabor purchased the Broadwell 
corner. 16th and Larimer. 75.\I25 feet, for $39,000. and on the same day took pos- 
session (jf the H. C. Brown residence on Broadway. About the last of July, 1879. 
he decided to build a Grand Opera House in Denver. 

Woman Suffrage. — At the election in the fall of 1879, a proposed amendment 
to the Constitution, providing for the enfranchisement of women, w-as submitted to 
the people. The subject had been full v canvassed throughout the state by Susan B. 
Anthony, and other noted leaders. The total vote as 22.047. ^O'' ^'le amendment. 
6.C12: against. 14.053. At this election Wilbur F. Stone, who had been nominated 
bv the Bar .Association, was elected a Judge of the Supreme court without opposi- 
tion: vice, 1", T Wills, resigned. 


Silver Coin. — One of tlie first of the coins known as the " Bland silver dollars," 
struck at the United States Mint in Philadelphia, was presented to the State Histori- 
cal Society, of Denver, by L. A. Curtice, and is now in the collection of its historical 

Col. Robert G. Iiigcrsoll delivered his first lecture in the city at Old Guard Hall, 
corner of 15th and Curtis streets, May 12th, 1877. 

Gfii. JiiJso/i Kilpatrkk, the famous cavalry leader, lectured in Guard Hall, May 
loth, 1876, on " Reminiscences of the War," and subsecjuently at the Presbyterian 
church in Central City. 

Central Presbyterian Chiireli.- — Corner stone laid at the corner of 1 8th and 
Champa streets, January 6th, 1876, Dr. Willis Lord, pastor. When built, it was 
believed by many that the congregation wouKl not go to so distant a point to wor- 
ship. At that time the site was " way out on the plains." 

Albany Hotel. — Completed and opened to the public July 7th, 1885. It was 
then considered the finest hotel in the city. As remodeled and furnished in 1893, it 
has few superiors west of the Missouri river. 

Eleetrie Liirlitin};. — The first public e.xhibition of Edison incandescent lights 
in Denver was given on Saturday, April 21st. 1883, by tlie Colorado-Kdison Electric 
Light company, which was organized in ^ larch, preceding. The plant was located 
at 390 Curtis street, and the lights were si.xteen candle power. 

Grand Army of the Republic.- — The first national encampment in Denver, 
occurred July 23rd-24th, 1883. General John A. Logan was the hero of the occasion. 
Delegations began arriving from all parts of the country on the 15th. Camp Van Der 
Voort was established on the northern outskirts of the city. Brigadier General 
Albert H. Jones, of the Colorado National Guard, commandant. The grand parade 
occurred on the 24th, with about 5,000 veterans in line. 

The First Rollins^ Mill was brought here from Pueblo by \\'illiam Faux, in 
the summer of 1878. F. J. Ebert, Col. W. G. Sprague, and other capitalists subsidized 
the plant. The mill was put in operation in November, of that year, and was situated 
just west of the old Fair grounds, on the Kansas Pacific railway. It ran quite suc- 
cessfully about two years, furnishing part of the rails used in building tlie Denver 
& South Park railway. When the great iron works were established at Bessemer, 
near Pueblo, this mill was purchased, and a year later moved to Bessemer. 

Daniels <b' Fisher. — This firm was an outgrowth of the house of Daniels & Eck- 
hart, located on 15th street, near Blake. Under the name of Daniels & Eckhart, it 
began the dry goods business in October, 1868. In the summer of 1871, they moved 
into the Schleier building, on Larimer, near Charpiot's hotel. In January, 1872, 
W. G. Fisher was admitted to partnership. In January, 1875, -^f''- Eckhart retired, 
when the firm became Daniels & Fisher. In the winter of 1875-6, Mr. Daniels built 
a two-story block on the corner of Lawrence and i6tli. People said: "You may 
build away out there on the borders of the city, but you won't be able to carry the 
trade with you." 

Severe Winters. — There were several of unusual severity between 1870 and 
1880. In that of 1874-5, the Kansas Pacific train, on one occasion, was eleven davs 
in crossing the jjlains. and there were instances where trains were blockaded for more 
than two weeks by snow and sleet storms. L'nder high winds all cuts were compactly 
filled with snow and sand. In the case under consideration, six tons of mail and an 
immense quantity of express matter accumulated. There were eighty-five passen- 
gers on the train which finally was brought in by four locomotives. All food prod- 
ucts in the express cars were consumed by the passengers. 

Artesian ll'ells. — After the accidental discovery of artesian water near St. Luke's 
hospital, in Highlands, in 1883, ]\Ir. T. G. .\nderson was the first to bring the problem 
to practical solution. .As early as 1880, while a member of the City Council, he had 
strongly urged the sinking of an experimental well, but without effect. In June. 

4— IV 


1883, he sunk a well on his property near the Colfax avenue bridge, and at a depth 
of 340 feet, struck strong hydraulic pressure, which brought water in a great stream 
to the surface. Tiien followed a mania for artesian wells, which continued two or 
tliree years, until about two hundred had been put down. 

The Platte Ditch. — March 2nd, 1875. Alderman A. J. Williams presented to the 
City Council a resolution providing that the question of issuing bonds to the amount 
of $60,000 (twenty years at 10 per cent) be submitted to the people at the next ensu- 
ing election, for the purpose of buying the stock and ditch of the Platte Water com- 
pany, with all rights, franchises, etc. The proposition was defeated. It was sub- 
mitted again Alay 19th, 1875, and accepted by a majority of 14. On the 25th, the 
ditch became the property of the city, Mayor W. J. Barker executing the requisite 

First Telephone. — In December, 1878, Mr. F. O. Vaille came to establish the 
Bell Telephone system, circulated a paper for subscriptions to instruments, and 
opened an office at 370 Larimer street. He began with about 200 subscribers. W. H. 
Pierce, of the City Transfer company, had previously used a primitive temporary 
line between his business office and the railroad freight depots, which, though cnide. 
served the purpose very well. While Air. Vaille was perfecting his arrangements, 
the telephone fever inspired a number of people on Lawrence street to experiment 
with tin cans for transmitters and receivers, connected by cotton strings. In due 
course. Mr. Vaille's subscriptions extended over the greater part of the city, as well 
as to Central City. Black Hawk, Georgetow-n, Idaho Springs. Manitou and Pueblo. 
The company was incoiporated January 1st, 1881. under the name of the Colorado 
Telephone company. At the beginning of 1884, it had about 2,000 miles of wire in 
use. It is now one of the most complete systems in the country-, with a building of 
its own on Lawrence street. 

Floods in Cherry Creek. — The first, and most destructive occurred in 1864, as 
described in a previous volume. The next of serious import took place on the night 
of July 20th, 1875, tli<^ water descending in tremendous volume, threatening to 
eclipse the dismal scenes of 1864. The night was very dark; the streets were filled 
with frightened ])eople; all foot bridges were swept away, as also the railroad cross- 
ings, and much damage occurred in the lower part of the tow-n. The third came 
May 22nd, 1878, tearing out bridges and inundating many houses. The water rose 
w-itii great rapidity from cloudbursts on the Cherry Creek Divide. The spring of 
1885 was marked by heavy snows and rains. During the night of July 26th, one 
of the worst floods ever known here occurred. On this occasion, the foundations of 
the City Hall were imperilled. All the mountain railroads and several towns were 
greatly damaged. After the rude experiences of 1875 and 1878, there were frantic 
demands to have the channel of the creek diverted so that it should no longer be 
a source of peril to the citizens. The discussion became hot and furious on the 
streets, in the public prints and in the Council. November 24th, 1875. the city gov- 
ernment devised a ])Ian which ctintcmplated a dam at a point three miles out. and the 
digging of a new channel straight west to the Platte river, intersecting it at a point 
about two miles above the mouth of Cherry Creek. Oliver B. Green, and John B. 
Brown, of Chicago, submitted a contract to do the work for $100,000: $42,000 cash. 
and the balance in lots in the bed of the creek, the value of the lots to be fixed b\ 
appraisers. Then arose a fierce war for and against the proposition, producing 
intense excitement. Nevertheless, the Council passed a resolution accepting the 
terms. On the 27th. a special meeting of that liody was held, when a resolution to 
rescind i)revif)us action in the matter was offered. Alcanwhile the contract had gone 
to Mayor \\'. J. Barker for signature. He asked for twenty-four hours to consider. 
He was warmlv supported by one faction, and fiercely denounced by the other. 
The whole city was up in arms. One alderman proposed that should Mr. Barker 
prove contumacious, tlic power be taken out of his hands by a vote authorizing the 


vice mayor to sign in his stead. Finally, after a heated fight the Council adjourned, 
till 4 p. m. of the last day. In the meantime a large lobby gathered and many peti- 
tions for, and remonstrances against, were handed in. At the proper moment 
■Mayor Barker, who had taken counsel and profoundly considered the matter in all 
its bearings, presented his views at length in writing, concluding with a declination 
to ratify the contract. D. J. Cook, then sheriff, put a quietus upon the conflict by 
serving an injunction restraining the .Mayor from signing. The contract provided 
for a channel only 25 feet wide, which the Mayor contended was about one-fifth 
the size necessary to carry the water at flood time, and also that the contractors 
should widen it to 100 feet if necessary at an agreed price per yard that would make 
the cost about four times that mentioned. In brief, it was designed for a steal of 
large dimensions, hence his objections. 

June 22nd, 1876, an election was held to vote upon a proposition to issue $75,- 
000 in bonds, the proceeds to be expended in an attempt to turn the creek, but it was 
defeated. Again, in 1878, still another effort in the same direction came to naught. 

Ladies' Jiclief Home. — The corner stone of this building, one of the most hide- 
ous examples of the old architectural monstrosities left upon the face of our city, 
situate in Whitsitt's addition overlooking Cherry Creek, was laid with Masonic cere- 
monies December 9th, 1875. i'l*-' societ\- was regularly formed in Xovember, 1873, 
though it had been in operation for some time previous. The first officers were Miss 
Anna Figg, president; Miss Lizzie Aliller, vice-president; Miss Mary Henry, secre- 
tary, and Miss Jennie Downing, treasurer. The society was organized and incor-' 
porated in 1874, when an advisory board was elected, as follows: Airs. John Evans, 
W.J. Barker, Henry Crow, C. B. Kcnintze, John R. Hanna, J. O. Charles, VV. H. J. 
Nichols, D. D. Belden and Richard E. Whitsitt. The site and grounds of the Home, 
12 lots, were donated by Mr. Whitsitt, who also bonded to the society eight adjacent 
lots for $2,000, payable at any time within the succeeding five years. The Home, 
though it accomplished much good for a time, was never equal to the anticipations 
of its builders. 

First Piihlic I. Unary. — The founder of the first i)ublic library, though in dimin- 
utive form, was Mr. Arthur E. Pierce, in i860, for the benefit of Auraria and Denver. 
About the midtllc of December, 1872, press and people became clamorous for a 
general library and reading room. At length, a number of citizens organized an 
association, and established a nucleus in rooms on Larimer street. Cyrus H. Mc- 
Laughlin purchased the private library of Mr. X. G. Bond, which, though small, was 
well selected. A number of newspapers, magazines, etc., were placed i)n file, but it 
did not prosper. After some years of abortive effort, the rooms were closed and the 
books turned over to the East Denver High School, which constituted the basis 
of the present splendid Public Library, in the High School building. It was not 
until the Mercantile Library of the Chamber of Connnerce was started in November, 
1885, that any of the various measures instituted brought effective results. Under 
the able direction of Mr. Charles R. Dudley and well-ordered connnittees of the 
Chamber, it has become an unmixed blessing to the community. 

State Historical Society. — This association should have been organized and 
well provided for by the territory in 1859, but it was not effectively begun tmtil Feb- 
ruary loth, i87(;. On this elate a meeting of those interested was held at the rooms 
of Prof. J. C. Shattnck, then state superintendent of public instruction. Dr. F. J. 
Bancroft was called to i)reside and Prof. Aaroii Cove was made secretary. Under 
the operations of House Bill No. 134, of the legislature, the stingy little sum of $300 
had been appropriated to set afloat one of the more imjiortant institutes of the state. 
With $5,000 at command, the society might have done something creditable, hut 
with only $500 there was slight encouragement to extraordinary effort. Anyhow, 
the association was incorporated, and on July 31st, 1879, the corporators met and 
perfected this organization: F. J. Bancroft, president: Prof. J. A. Sewell and Rich- 


ard Sopris, vice-presidents: \\ . l'>. \ ickcrs, recording and corresponding secretary; 
Win. D. Todd, treasurer; Dr. II. K. Steele, Aaron Gove and W. E. I'abor, curators. 
In the course of the intervening years, the officers have managed under many trials 
and difficulties from lack of funds, to collect a small but fairly representative museum, 
which has been transferred from the Chamber of Commerce to the State Capitol. 
\'ast (juantities of old memoranda, manuscripts and other data relating to the 
history of our commonwealth are in the hands of its pioneers, but should be lodged 
with the society's other relics for the benefit of the future historian. Had this work 
been begun twenty-five to thirty years ago, and properly maintained, the present 
author might have presented a more complete and interesting chronicle of Colorado 
than he has done under the crude conditions that have attended his work. 

First Minini^ Exc/iangi-. — The original movement for the organizati<jn of a 
Mining E.xchange, for the sale of stocks, occurred at the office of Peter W'inne and 
Job A. Cooper, insurance agents, February 6th, 1875. \V. J. Barker presided, and 
Fred Z. Salomon was the secretary. A committee consisting of Daniel Witter, L. 
C. Ellsworth, John W. Smith, Amos Steck, Henry Crow, C. B. Kountze, and R. R. 
.McCormic was appointed to consider the feasibility of the project, with instructions 
to report at a meeting to be held ]\Iarch igth. At the time mentioned, and at the 
same place, Mr. Witter submitted a report of his correspondence with mining men 
as to their desires to list stocks on such an exchange, that was not wholly satisfactory. 
Nevertheless, the projectors concluded to persevere, therefore a CDUimittee was 
appointed to draft by-laws and a general i)lan of procedure. May loth, the following 
officers of " The Colorado Stock & Exchange Board " were duly elected : Presi- 
dent, Daniel Witter; first vice-president, Dr. A. B. Robbins; second vice-president 
and caller, William D. Todd; secretary, E. W. Cobb; treasurer, George E. Snider; 
chairman executive committee, E. M. Ashley; chairman stock list committee, Owen 
E. Le Fevre; chairman arbitration connnittee, Walter S. Cheesman. The mcmber- 
shi]) was limited to 60. The formal opening occurred June ist. 1875, in the old 
"Tribune" building, corner of Holladay and 16th streets. The ])resident announced, 
as a starter, the donation of one share of stock in the Marshall Tunnel at Georgetown, 
par value $100, by Gen. F. J. Marshall, and that it would be sold for the benefit of the 
Ladies' Relief society. The share was called by Mr. Todd, and from $10 was rapidly 
advanced to $100, when it was knocked down to Daniel Witter, who immediately 
redonated it to the Exchange. Again the bidding started briskly, and in a few min- 
utes it was bought by Jere Kershaw for $Co. He in turn put it aflciat, when it was 
taken by O. E. Lc Fevre for $105. Thus, within the hour, this single share of stock 
had contributed $265 to the charity fund of the Ladies' Relief society. 

Stocks of various kinds were bought and sold, one of the most extensive being 
East Roe, of Georgetown. Leadville and the great mines of the western slope had 
not then been discovered. During the winter and spring of 1876, business lan- 
guished, and the exchange threatened to collapse, when it was revived for a time by 
(juile extensive transactions in California and Nevada stocks. A few months later, 
the entire project died out, and no further efTorts were made until 1879, when another 
exchange was established in the Windsor hotel. This prosiXTcd only for a brief 
period. Then came the present Mining Exchange in July, 1889, which began in the 
basement of the Evening Times building, and whose history is well known. 

T/zc Christcnin:^ of Gray's Peak. — This noted promontory of the main range 
above Georgetown, Clear Creek county, w^as named for Prof. Asa Gray, the noted 
botanist, by Prof. C. C. Parry, in 1862, the summer of which he spent in botanizing 
on the liead waters of Clear Creek, largely about the slopes of this peak. His col- 
lection was divided between an institution near his home, Daven]iort, Iowa, and that 
in Philadelphia, of which Prof. Gray was the head. He received credit for 646 new 
plants, gathered by him that season. Dr. Parrv' was the botanist of the government 


expedition which surveyed the "Gadsden Purchase," in Arizona, in the early 
" fifties." 

Much otlier memoranda, more or less valuable, appears in my note books, but 
cannot be set down in this edition for the want of space. The notes just given in 
regard to Gray's Peak, were furnished by IVIr. Wm. N. Byers. 



The inception of this enterprise, following immediately after the completion of 
tiie Denver Pacific, Kansas Pacific and Colorado Central lines, and the beginning of 
the Denver & Rio Grande, has been set forth in \'ol. II, at pages 102-103. As there 
stated, the first articles of incorporation were signed September 30th, 1872, and filed 
October ist. It appears that a new company was formed June 14th, 1873, with a 
capital stock of $500,000. The board of trustees for the first year comprised the 
following: John Evans, Henry Crow, W. S. Cheesman, Fred A. Clark, David H. 
Moffat, John Hughes, Charles B. Kountze, Leonard H. Eicholtz and John C. Rieflf. 
F"or the second and third years they were the same, except that E. F. Hallack and 
John W. Smith were chosen in place of Clark and Riefif. In the fifth year, George 
W. Clajlon succeeded John Hughes, and J. Sidney Brown took the place of Henry 
Crow in the directorate. September 2nd, 1878, John Evans, W. S. Cheesman, Charles 
B. Kountze, L. H. Eicholtz, D. H. Mofifat, J. S. Brown, John \V. Smith, E. F. Hal- 
lack and Geo. W. Clayton were elected. John Evans was made president, \V. S. 
Cheesman, vice-president; C. B. Kountze, treasurer; George W. Kassler, secretary, 
and L. H. Eicholtz, chief engineer. 

August 4th, 1873, the board of county commissioners for Arapahoe county 
subscribed $300,000 to the capital stock of the company by authorization of a vote 
of the people, July 28th, 1873, and, in exchange therefor, issued a like amount of 
county bonds. 

About the middle of August following, the work of grading this line began. 
Surveys, depot grounds, etc., had been provided for by an association of the parties 
interested, known as the " Denver Railway association," with which a contract was 
made to build the road. The plan was t(j construct a narrow gauge to the South 
I'ark, via Morrison, and the company believing the Platte Canon route impractica- 
ble, the original line ran via Bear Creek. Meantime, a new project called the " Den- 
ver. Georgetown & Utah Railroad," had been instituted by the principals in the 
Kansas Pacific, which had in view the use of the South Park line, as far as Bergen 
Park, whence it would build a line of its own to Idaho Springs and Georgetown. 
.\rapahoe county subscribed $200,000 to this scheme, but the bonds were not issued, 
and in due course the project was abandoned. 

While the graders were proceeding toward Morrison, the engineers of the 
South Park companv carefullv examined the Platte Canon, and reporting it ])rac- 
ticable, that route was adopted, and the line located to the mouth of Trout Creek, in 
the Arkansas Vallev. To satisfy all parties, the company resolved to complete its 
road to ATorrison, build thence to Buffalo Creek and thence to the South Park, and 
it was upon this agreement that the i)eople of Arapahoe county ratified the sub- 
scription of $30oWx the stipulation being that the road should be fin- 
ished to Morrison in nine months, and to Buffalo Creek within eighteen months. 


Tlie long detention of the terminus at Morrison, caused by tlic financial panic 
of 1873, gave rise to much caustic criticism of the management by the people, who 
denianded that the road be pushed into the mountains. Out those were hard times 
for railway builders. 'I'he panic fell with paralyzing force upon all enterpnses. 
Nevertheless the pressure for greater activity continued. Smarting under the lash 
of denunciation, harsh, bitter, unreasonable and long continued. Governor Evans, 
the principal target of these assaults, in April, 1876, tendered his resignation as 
president of the company. The Board of Trade that had given such efficient aid to 
the Denver Pacific, realizing the need of financial assistance to advance this later 
venture, undertook to raise funds by subscription, but the effort was not successful, 
owing to the stagnation in every department of business. Added to the financial 
panic came general destruction of crops by locusts in 1874-75-76. When the road 
reached Morrison, it seemed destined by the causes stated to remain there indefinitely 
for the lack of means to carry it on to its ultimate destination. lUit the surveys in the 
Platte Canon were prosecuted with considerable vigor and a fair line was staked out. 
Some of the newsjiapers and a number of citizens violently attacked the company 
for its inaction and, to make matters worse, dissensions arose among the stock- 

These circumstances impelled Governor Evans to resign under the feeling ex- 
pressed to the trustees that he could no longer endure the injustice. Said he, " we 
have fallen upon evil times for building railroads," which was wholly true. Never- 
theless, the trustees adopted a resolution offered by Gen. Ik'la M. Hughes, express- 
ing entire confidence in the management and deprecating the unjust assaults upon 
the governor, closiri'g with a request that he withdraw his resignation, and pledging 
him earnest support in the further prosecution of the work. 

Funds l)eing needetl, and it being impossible to raise them in New York, on 
the 28tli of .\i)ril, 1876, the trustees met and adopted a ])reaml)le and resolution 
which recited in brief that John W. Smith and other citizens had represented that 
thev could probably secure $150,000 wherewith to resume work and complete the 
road to Bailey's ranch on certain conditions. It was ado])ted with the proviso that 
the money was to be raised and duly applied as stipulated in the proposition sub- 
mitted by Mr. Smith. This involved the organization of a new comi)any called 
the "San Itian Construction com])any," which was to assume all obligations of the 
original comjianv. and especially to build said railroad, "and to pay this company 
on the first mortgage .seven per cent, gold lionds of the Denver & South Park & 
Pacific company not to exceed in amount $16,666.66 per mile, and only to be issued 
on the completed road at par, dollar for dollar, for all of the nione\s that have been 
paid in and credited on the stock subscription to this com])any, &c." 

.•\ committee of five was ap])iiinted to assist the citizens in meeting their ])art of 
the compact. Omitting unimportant details, the connuittee labored industriously 
for some time and finally accomplished their mission. On the 23rd of July, 1876, 
the subscribers met and elected as tnistees John Evans, D. H. Mofifat, \V. S. Chees- 
man and Charles B. Kountze of the old board, and W'm. Barth, John \\'. Smith, 
J. S. Brown, F. J. Ebert and George Tritch trustees of the new corporation. The 
capital stock was placed at $330,000. The first meeting of the new board was held 
July 26th, when officers were elected. Under these auspices tlu' mad was com- 
pleted to I'ailey's ranch. 

November 25th, 1877, the Denver & South Park Construction company was 
incoqiorated with a capital stock of $120,000. The corporators were John W. 
Smith, D. IT. AIofTat, Bela M. Hughes, J. Sidney Brown. W. S. Chcesman, Wm. 
Barth, George Tritch, C. Pi. Kountze, A. B. Daniels and John Evans. 

P.v this time the financial horizon had grown nnich brighter: new funds were 
supiilied and it w;is believed that the road could be finished to the .'~^outh Park by 


the middle of June, 1878. By this time also, a new incentive for haste had arisen 
out of the discover)- of extraordinary mineral deposits at Leadvillc. 

Wlien Jay Gould, Russell Sage and their associates began their scheme of con- 
solidating the Union Pacific, Kansas Pacific and Colorado Central railways in 1878, 
overtures were made to the South Park company for close connection in the great 
and growing traffic with Leadville. Gould proposed to advance the Construction 
company $450,000, the latter to apply such part of that amount on debts already 
contracted, chiefly for iron, as might be necessary, and the balance to the completion 
of the road to the eastern foot of Kenosha Hill. In the course of negotiations tlie 
Gould syndicate purchased one-fourth of tlie capital stock of the stockholders in 
the Construction company, and to obtain a still greater interest, proposed to lend 
its aid to the rapid completion of the line to Leadville. But the Construction com- 
])any, now assured of success by the enormously increased traffic and the brilliant 
prospects ahead, was not inclined to part with any larger share of its holdings, so 
the profifer was rejected. 

Toward the close of December, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe company, 
then engaged in deadly strife with the Denver & Rio Grande, endeavored to form 
an alliance with the South Park. Indeed, it made liberal offers of funds, and a 
contract was actually negotiated, but had finally to be abandoned. But the South 
Park company had little difficulty now in raising all the money it required, hence 
the work was pushed with the utmost rapidity over Kenosha Hill, into and across 
tlie Park. 

Meanwhile, Gould and Sage having consunmiated the consolidation of the 
L'nion Pacific, Kansas Pacific, Denver Pacific and Colorado Central systems, and 
owning a large interest in the South Park, decided to obtain absolute control and 
use the latter as a feeder to their other lines. With the Kansas Pacific they had 
also accjuired a subscription of $30,000 made to the stock of the South Park company 
which, with the agreements subsequently made, gave them a holding of about 
$300,000. Placing Gould's quarter of the stock at its face value, and adding the 
claim held by the Kansas Pacific, and the stock held by Arapahoe county, it gave 
them a total of $1,175,000. Therefore to make up the face difference between what 
he held and the full stock, required the payment of only $2,325,000. 

Negotiations for the control began about November ist, iSjq. On the 8th, 
Gould telegraphed Governor Evans asking if he and his associates of the Denver 
]X)ol would take QO cents on the dollar for their stock, and was answered in the 
negative. On the Qth, he asked what they would take for all the stock. On the 
loth. Governor Evans replied. "One hundred cents on tlie dollar." On the same 
day Gould wired that the offer was accepted, and instructed Evans to procure 
proxies of the trustees, together with the stock, and meet him in New York. 

The Governor obtained the proxies of the trustees, and their resignations con- 
ditioned upon the sale, with full power of attorney, and that evening left for New 
York. On the i6th, he telegraphed that the sale had been concluded and the money 

At the stockholders' meeting for the election of directors held January 9th, 
1880, Jay Gould, Russell Sage and Cyrus \\'. Fisher were chosen in place of Win. 
Barth. G. W. Clayton and L. H. Eicholtz: Messrs. Evans, Cheesman, Moffat. 
Brown, Smith and Kountze remaining. The new board elected as officers: John 
Evans, president; W. S. Cheesman, first vice-president; C. W. Fisher, second vice- 
president ; C. B. Kountze, treasurer, and George W. Kassler, secretarv'. 

The road was completed to the mouth of Trout Creek, 30 miles below Lead- 
ville, February ()th. 1880, and from that point to Leadville its trains were run over 
the track of the Denver & Rio Grande. The line was subsequently extended to 
Gunnison via Alpine Pass. 


Sucli. ill brief, is the early history of the Denver & Soutli Park raih\a\-, now a 
part of the L'nion Pacific system. 

Tlie town of P.ucna \"ista was laid out in the month of August. 1879, 'j^' t^'"-' 
IJuena Vista Land company, \V. .^. Cheesman, president; Major \V. Marsh Kasson. 
vice-president and ajjent, and Charles Wheeler, treasurer. It is now one of the 
most attractive and substantial towns in the Arkansas X'alley. 



The first well ordered railway depot, or station for the accommodation of the 
traveling public, and to serve as a common center for the arrival and departure of 
trains, was built by the joint capital and effort of the Denver Pacific and Kansas 
Pacific railways; the first having been completed to this city in June, and the second 
in .August, 1870. From this small nucleus a mighty system has developed with the 
l^assing years until Denver is now one of the great railway centers of the West. 
The structure in question was a large two-story brick, erected in the summer of 
1870, at the foot of 22nd street, then about the limit of settlement in that 
direction and but spar.sely occupied. It was considered quite a remarkable and 
rather imposing edifice in its time, but as railways multiplied and traffic increased, 
a much larger building and general concentration were found to be essential. The 
Colorado Central had erected a small frame structure at the foot of I5tli street, near 
the Platte river, after the change of its line from the Denver Pacific. 

The original plans for creating a Central depot for the narrow gauge roads 
were formulated October 24th, 1879, when Governor Evans representing the South 
Park, W. A. H. Loveland, the Colorado Central, and D. C. Dodge, the Denver iK: 
Rio Grande, conferred at a meeting held on that date. An agreement was then 
reached whereby the Rio Grande and the .South Park, whose stations were on the 
west side of Cherry Creek, extended their respective lines to the Colorado Central 

The first meeting of what was then termed "The Union Dejiot and Railroad 
Conii)any," to consider plans for the erection of the present Union depot, was mainly 
1)rought about by Air. W. S. Cheesman, beginning with a proposition made by him 
to Jay Gould, and subsec|uently ]K'rfectcd by correspondence. The re])resentatives 
of the several roads met in conference November 24th, 1879. The sul)ject having 
been fully discussed, "The Union Depot and Railroad Company" was duly or- 
ganized and articles of incorporation framed, bearing the signatures of liela M. 
Hughes. Walter S. Cheesman, D. C. Dodge, A. A. Egbert and J. V. Welborn as 
corporators, and those of W. S. Cheesman, Sylvester T. Smith, S. H. H. Clark, .'\. .\. 
Egbert and D. C. Dodge as trustees for the first year. The trustees elected tlu- 
following officers: 

President, W. S. Cheesman: vice-president, S. T. Smith; treasurer, George W. 
Kassler; secretary. D. C. Dodge. The capital stock was $400,000. These jiio- 
liniinaries arranged, it became necessar\- to purchase land for the building and 
terminal facilities, which duty was assigned to Mr. Cheesman, who shrewdly foresaw 
that all such negotiations must be conducted with great skill and secrecy to prevent 
the frustration of his purposes by real estate speculators. In due time he secured 
at fair valuation twelve acres of land running from 16th t<} i8th streets, and adjoin- 



, V-^w-.*, t^ ^V'^/\ 



ingWynkoop on the north. On December loth, 1879, the company is,sued $300,000 
of 7 per cent, twenty year bonds, wliich were sold, and the proceeds applied to the 
cost of the land and the proposed building. 

February 2nd, 1880, an agreement was executed by the representatives of the 
roads to concentrate their terminals at this point. 

The company employed as architect, AJr. W. E. Taylor, of Kansas City, who 
completed his plans March 20th, 1880, and on that date advertised for proposals to 
lay the substructure. May 25th, the contract for this was let to A. H. Garfield and 
W. R. Barton, who completed it in July, 1880. On the 2nd, of that month, James 
A. McGonigle of Leavenworth, Kansas, took the contract for the superstructure, 
which was mainly, though not entirely finished. June ist, 1881, at which time, how- 
ever, the building was occupied. It was 503.6 feet long, by 65^ feet wide, two and a 
half stories high, built of lava and sandstone, the first from quarries near Castle 
Rock in Douglas county, and the latter from the sandstone quarries near Morrison. 
The Union Pacific owns four-fifths, and the Denver & Rio Grande one-fifth of this 
now extremely valuable property ; the other roads centering there paying rental for 
the facilities afforded them. The total cost of the building and grounds (without 
recent additions) was $525,000. 

April 28th, 1881, Commodore William 1>. Trufant was appointed superin- 
tendent, and by reason of his marked efificiency, retained that position to the time 
of his death in 1894. 

It is unnecessary to dwell upon the architectural beauty of this great edifice, or 
upon the adornment of the grounds along the east frontage. There are few institu- 
tions of its class in an\- of the large cities of the county more eligibly located for con- 
venience both of the railways and the public, nor do we know of one which has 
more attractive surroundings.* 


Among the numerous charitable institutions with which Denver is blessed, and 
one whose object is so entirely worthy of the hearty commendations of her people. 
The Pioneer Ladies" Aid Society deserves especial mention. Its object is the care 
of indigent pioneers and their families, a class who fonned the vanguard of that 
continuously moving throng who left their comfortable homes in the East in 
1859-60, braved the dangers of the American -Sahara, and courageously pitched 
their tents upon the remote border of civilization. Like the old battle-scarred 
heroes of the war, they are now rapidly passing away, and because of their deeds 
and sacrifices, done anil suffered at a time "which tried men's souls" such of them 
as now survive, and have been unfortunate, should be cared for. Who so well 
fitted to act the part of "ministering angels" as the ]jioneer ladies composing, as 
they do in part, the remaining contingent of Colorado's early settlers? An organiza- 
tion was effected in .September, 1889, at a meeting held by the following ladies, 
each of whom may be classed as a pioneer: Mcsdames Alvin McCune, Andrew 
Sagendorf, .A.. G. Rhoads, W. N. Bvers, Augusta Tabor, L. W. Cutler, Birks Corn- 
forth. R. Moseley. D. Mitchell. J. t. Henderson. Justina Trankle, H. W. Michael, 
C. H. McLaughlin and R. Sopris. 

* The greater part of this buiiUint; was destroyed by tire in 1894. and at this writing has been 
completely rebuilt. 


At a meeting held for the election of officers, the result was as follows: Presi- 
dent, Mrs. llirks Cornforth; first vice, Mrs. Wm. N. Byers; second vice, Mrs. A. 
Sagendorf; third vice, Mrs. Augusta Tabor: fourth vice. Airs. R. Mosely; secretary, 
.\lr.s. L. W. Cutler: treasurer, Mrs. D. Mitchell. From its initial meeting, the 
society had the good will and sympathy of the "old timers.'' and grew in numbers 
until in January, 1894, the membership had increased to 148. 

Up to this date, there had been expended $1,935.52, which was about $500.00 
each vear since the society was organized. Although this was not a large sum, 
it was generously paid as emergencies required, and its judicious bestowal has 
helped to bridge many little chasms, and aided in driving "the wolf from the door" 
of a number of families. Through the efforts of these ladies, a home for the home- 
less was established in March, 1893, and one year later, the society was incorj^orated. 
The present officers are: President, Mrs. V. D. Hardin; first vice, Mrs. Birks. Corn- 
forth; second vice, Mrs. C. H. McLaughlin: third vice, Mrs. Sarah Stanton; fourth 
vice, Mrs. H. N. Sales; secretary. Mrs. A. E. McLellan; treasurer. Mrs. H. M. 
Mitchell. The author bids The Pioneer Ladies' Aid Society "God speed'' in its 
work. The names of its members arc worthy of a place on the fairest page of 
Colorado's history, and will be embalmed in the hearts of not only the old pioneers 
who still linger upon tiie shores of time, but will be remembered with gratitude by 
their descendants. 







Before considering the present status of the small remnant of Ute Indians left 
in Colorado, let us inquire briefly into the antecedent history of the changes in 
their condition effected by the settlement of white people, and by the several treaties 
concluded with the various tribes and divisions, and the different reservations 
allotted them. It is not my purpose to enter upon anything more than a rapid 
digest of matters relating to these red men, but to present a terse review of such 
facts as will lead to a comprehension of how they came to their present allotment of 
lands in the southwestern corner of the state, with a few observations upon their 
condition. In the histories of Rio Blanco, Grand, Conejos, Mesa and Gunnison 
counties will be found some further details, which it is unnecessary to repeat in this 

From time immemorial the Utes, or Utahs, have made their homes in the larger 
parks and valleys of the Rocky Mountains. It is probable that they originally came 
from the south and west, and it is known that for many generations they were closely 
allied with the .*\paches of Arizona and New Mexico. Linguistically they are Sho- 
shones, or Snakes. They, with the Apaches, were long the scourge of New Mexico 
and Utah. The shelter afforded them by the mountain fastnesses, and the abundance 
of game found there, made it an attractive place for them. Prior to 1863 they 
claimed all of the Rocky Mountains now within the lioundaries of Coloraclo, ex- 
cepting a narrow strip on the north and west, while the Arapahoes, Cheyennes and 
Kiowas asserted their ownership to all the plains region east of the mountains. How 
and when their rights were extinguished has been narrated in preceding volumes. 

The Utes are much like the Apaches in physical stature and general character- 
istics, short, hardy, muscular, warlike and cruel, but of darker or more dusky color. 
These two nations appear to have been in hearty sympathy and accord, visiting one 
another, exchanging hospitalities, sometimes inter-marrying and frequently joining 
forces against their enemies, when bloody work was done. 

All the territory of Colorado, west of the foothills, from north to south, down to 
the conclusion of the treaty of 1863 belonged to the Utes. The first township 
survey west of the foothills, imdertaken l)y the government, began in 1867. 
October 7th, 1863, at the Tabeguache Agency in Conejos, Governor John Evans, 
ex-officio superintendent of Indian affairs for Colorado, Michael Steck, Simeon 
Whitely and Lafayette Head negotiated a treaty whereby the Indians surrendered 
all of the mountains except the following territory: 

"Beginning at the mouth of the L^ncompahgre river, thence down the Gunni- 


son ri\cr lo its cuiitlticncc witli the JUiiikara (now Grand) river: thence up the 
Bunkara or Grand to the Roaring Fork of the same; thence up the Roaring Fork 
to its source; thence along the summit of the range di\iding tlie waters of the 
Arkansas from those of the Gunnison, to its intersection with the range dividing 
the waters of the San Luis valley from those of the Arkansas river: thence along the 
summit of said range to the source of Sandy Creek (now the Rito Arena) of the 
San Luis valley; thence down the Sandy or Rito Arena to the place where its waters 
sink at low water; thence in a right line to the point where the channel of the Rio 
Grande del Norte crosses the io6th line of longitude west from (Greenwich; thence 
up the center of the main channel of the Rio (irande del Xorte to the line of the 
lO/th degree of longitude west from Greenwich; thence south along said line to the 
summit of the range dividing the waters of the Rio Grande del Norte from those 
of San Juan river; thence along said summit westerly to a point due south of the 
source of the L'ncompahgre river; thence to said source and down the main channel 
of said Uncompahgre river to its mouth, the place of beginning." 

This, as we trace the lines, covered all the country now embraced by the 
eastern part of Alesa, the southern part of Garfield, nearly all of Pitkin, all of Gunni- 
son, part of Chaffee, nearly all of Saguache, the northwestern jiart of Costilla* the 
northern part of Rio Grande, most of Hinsdale, the northern part of Archuleta, the 
eastern half of La Plata, all of San Juan, most of Ouray, parts of San Miguel and 
eastern Montrose. All this innnense region was then a sort of terra incognita, 
unoccupied and practically imexplored by white men. It was a vast area, but only 
a fraction of that relinquished. This was the first definite treaty concluded with the 
Utes, and embraced only the territory owned by the Tabeguaches and their allies. 
Under this treaty the Mouache bands were settled upon the reservations thus de- 
fined, with the Tabeguaches. 

March 2nd, 1868, a treaty was concluded by and between Nathaniel G. Taylor, 
Alexander C. Hunt and Kit Carson, I'. S. Commissioners, and I're (Ouray) 
Ka-ni-ache, and other chiefs of the Tabcguache, Mouache, Capote, Weeminuche, 
Yampa, (irand River and Uintah bands, whereby the following reservation 
boimdaries were established : 

"Commencing at that point on the southern boundary line of the Territorv^ of 
Colorado where the meridian of longitude 107 west from (Ireenwich crosses the 
same, running thence north with said meridian to a point 15 miles ihie north of 
where said meridian intersects the 40th parallel of north latitude; thence due west 
to the western boundary of said Territon,-; thence south with said w-estern boundary 
line of said Territory to the southern boundary line of said Territorv- ; thence east 
with said boundary line to the place of beginning." 

This very large tract was then set ajiart for the absolute an<l undisturbed use 
and occupation of the Indians named, and of such other friendly tribes as from 
time to time they should be willing to admit among them. Two agencies were to 
be established, one for the Grand river, Yampa ancl I'intah 1)ands on White river 
(in the present county of Rio Blanco), and the other for the Tabeguaches, Mouaches, 
Weeminucher and Capotes on the Rio de las Pinos, or Pine river, but, as we have 
shown in the historv of Gunnison county, this latter agency was actually established 
on Cochetopa creek in Saguache county, Tio miles north of Pine river. They were 
to be provided with houses, agency buildings, saw and grist mills, cattle, sheep 
and agricultural implements, with the usual annuity goods, and an earnest attempt 
made to reclaim them from savagery. That founded on White river (see Rio 
Blanco county) has been noted as the Meeker agency. 

In 1872, by authoritv of Congress, a commission consisting of Plon. John D. 
Long, Gen. John :Mcno'nald and Governor E. M. McCook was appointed, with 
instructions to negotiate a treaty with the Southern Colorado Utes for a reduction 
of their reservation, which then covered a tract nearly 300 miles long by 200 miles 


wide. Prospectors had entered the San Juan mountains and there discovered 
vahiable mines of silver and gold, but as it was a part of the Indian reservation, 
they were in danger of conflicts with the savages. Hence, they appealed to delegate 
Jerome B. Chafifee, who introduced the resolution providing for the commission. 
This negotiation failed, as related in \'ol. II, pages 190 and 508. 

September 13th, 1873, Felix Brunot came out from Washington, and at length 
after much argument (see \'ol. II, 508) succeeded in perfecting a treaty whereby 
the Indians relinquished all their rights to the following part of their reservation: 

"Beginning at a point on the eastern boundary of said reservation, 15 miles due 
north of the southern boundary of the Territory of Colorado, and running thence 
west on a line parallel to the said southern boundary to a point on said line 20 miles 
due east of the western boundan,- of Colorado Territory; thence north by a line 
parallel with the western boundary to a point 10 miles north of the point where 
said line intersects the 38th parallel of north latitude; then east to the eastern 
boundary of the Ute reservation ; thence south along said boundary to the place of 
beginning: Provided, that if any part of the Uncompahgre Park shall be found to 
extend south of the north line of said described countr\', the same is not intended to 
be included therein and is hereby reserved and retained as a portion of the Ute 

They were permitted to hunt upon said lands "so long as the game lasts and 
the Indians remain at peace with the white people." The United States agreed to 
set apart and hold as a perpetual trust for the Utes a sum of money or its equivalent 
in bonds, "which shall be sufficient to produce the sum of $25,000 per annum," the 
same to be disbursed or invested at the discretion of the President, for the use and 
benefit of the Indians; agency buildings, etc., etc., to be provided as before. This 
treaty was ratified by the Senate. April 29th, 1874. 

June 15th, 1880, the year following the massacre of a part of Major Tliorn- 
burg's command, and Agent Meeker and his employes by the White River Utes, 
the chiefs and head men who were taken to Washington for the purpose entered 
into an agreement to sell to the United States their reservation on White river, and 
also to surrender for trial, and punishment if found guilty, the Indian leaders who 
were engaged in the massacre. It may be stated in passing that the guilty Indians 
were neither surrendered nor punished, but the main object — the removal of the 
tribes to Utah — was at length accomplished. The southern Utes agreed to locate 
upon the unoccupied agricultural lands on the La Plata river in Colorado, and. 
should there not be a sufficiency of such lands on the La Plata or in its vicinity in 
Colorado, then upon such other unoccupied agricultural lands as might be found 
on the La Plata or in its vicinity in Xew Mexico. Allotments in severalty were to 
be made to each head of a family, one-quarter section with a like quantity of graz- 
ing land; to each single person over 18 years of age, one-eighth of a section with a 
like quantitv of grazing land; to each orphan child under 18 years of age the same, 
and to each other person then living, or born prior to said allotments, one-eighth 
section each of agricultural and grazing land. Provision followed for the api)oint- 
mcnt of a commission to select the lands they were to occupy and make the allot- 
ments in severaltv, but the latter stipulation has not been executed. It was under 
this agreement tliat the present strip, 15 miles wide by no miles in length, came to 
be occupied bv the Southern Utes. All former reservations were ceded to the 
United States. A glance at any recent map of the state will define its boundaries. 

By the same act the Uncompahgre Utes were required to remove and settle 
upon agricultural lands on Grand river, now in Mesa county, and the White river 
bands to be absolutelv and finally settled upon a new reservation provided for them 
in Utah, called the "Uintah Reservation." All were thus relocated, but as shown 
in Volume III, page 54, Chief Colorow and his band soon afterward escaped and 


matle their way hack to White river, where the\' fell into somewhat violent collision 
with the state authority. 

To compensate them for these concessions, the Indians were to have, in addi- 
tion to the annuities and benefits provided in the act of 1873, a certain sum of money 
sufirtcient to produce the sum of $50,000 per annum, to be distributed per capita 
annually forever. This agreement was signed by Ignacio, Chavaneau.K and other 

To complete the north boundary line of tlie southern reser\-ation, a small strij) 
of 20 miles having been left out and forgotten wiien the original lines were rim, a 
contract to survey that part of the line west from the southwest corner of the ceded 
lands was let January 26th, 1888. 

By an act of Congress of July 28th. 1881, all the L'te Indian lands in Colorado, 
save th(ise mentioned, were thrown open to settlement in September following. 
as related in the history of Mesa county. 

While there have been nutnerous i)etty depredations upon white settlers b\ 
roving bands of Utes, and a few men killed here and there in the mountains, the 
two races dwelt together in comparative amity until the outbreak on White river 
in September, 1879. Although we have had many alarms of uprisings and 
slaughter, that was the only serious conflict. \\'hen we look back over the years 
when these savages were very numerous and powerful, and recall the many occa- 
sions when bloodshed was averted by the influence of their agents and a few lead- 
ing men like Ouray, Kevava and Ignacio, it is a matter of wonder that we escaped 
with so little loss of life and destruction of property. Only a mere fraction of the 
great Utc nation now remains within our borders, and it is to their condition and 
prospects that we now invite the reader's attention. Most of the facts subjoined 
were obtained from their agent, Hon. Charles A. Bartholomew, whom I met at the 
agency in August. 1891, the notes being taken down at Durangt). 

Alxnit 1,000 Indians arc settled upon the reservation, under one supreme 
chief — Ignacio. There are three bands, divided as follows: One-half Weemi- 
nuches, one-third Mouaches, and the remainder Capotes. The Mouaches and Capotes 
occupy the eastern end (if the strij). These bands were formerly located in New 
Mexico. The Weeminuches formerly occupied parts of southern Colorado when 
all together, prior to this combination or consolidation. There are 35 farms of 160 
acres each, mainly owned by the Mouaches and Capotes, the only tribes that have 
manifested much inclination toward farming. There are only three farmers among 
the Weeminuches. A majority of those engaged in cultivating land dwell in frame 
houses, with shingle roofs and plank floors, built by the government. But 500 
acres all told were tilled in 1891, which defines the scope of the effort made to en- 
gage these people in the ways of civilization and render them self-sujiporting. They 
raise by irrigation very good crops of oats, hay, wheat, barley, and all vegetables, 
for which they have a special fondness. The government furnishes implements, 
wagons, harness, seeds, etc., everything except horses. What little farming is 
done is well done, but very few take kindly to the work. They prefer to lounge 
about, permitting others to do the labor while they enjoy the proceeds thereof. 
The government supports them by issuing rations sufficient for their needs. Hav- 
ing no llouring mills, the small amount of wheat harvested is sold, but they consunu 
the vegetables. Except when engaged in hunting, the Indian is habitually indolent, 
despising all forms of manual labor. Those who have reconciled themselves to it 
manage to cultivate their lands in a languid, perfunctory way. There is but slight 
prospect of reducing them to the self-supporting stage. The children, if rightly 
directed and traincxt, might be made tolerable farmers, but the young bucks, the 
middle class and the aged can not well be broken to the yoke. .\\\ their taste.- 
and traditions are against it. They have a few sheep, but no cattle of their own. 
yet they could readily adapt themselves to stock-raising if given the opportunity. 


All save the farmers live in tepees after tlie manner of their fathers. They do 
not like cabins. The rations issued at stated periods consist of flour, beef, sugar, 
coftee, soap, salt and baking powder; their furniture of tinware, knives, forks, 
coffee-mills, washboards, etc., but no household furniture. The farmers are pro- 
vided with all kinds of agricultural implements. There is an agency herd of Ijeef 
cattle, maintained by the government. I'or want of proper attention the herds do 
not multiply, but rather diminish, suffering decimation from hard winters and 
the depredations of thieves who plunder them at every opportunity. Only a rem- 
nant of the herds furnished is left, and it is believed that in a short time this fraction 
will be turned over to the Indians to manage according to their pleasure. 

By an act of Congress of 1888. a conmiission was appointed to investigate the 
expediency of removing these Indians to a new reservation in Utah and settling 
them upon a tract about three times the area of that now occupied, and said to be 
much better suited to their tastes. The line of this tract begins at the southwestern 
corner of Colorado, runs 75 miles north along the line which divides Utah from 
Colorado, to the east bank of the Colorado river; thence down that stream to the 
junction of the San Juan river with the Colorado; thence southeasterly along the 
north bank of the San Juan to the place of beginning. This proposed reservation 
is fairly watered, but the principal attraction to the Indian is the abundance of 
game in the Blue Mountains. There are innumerable springs and large areas of 
fine grazing land, the climate very favorable. For some time pa,st it has been 
one of their favorite resorts in hunting seasons. In due course the conuuission 
concluded a treaty for the change, it was submitted to the Senate, but meeting 
with violent opposition from the Indian Rights Association of New England, and 
also from certain cattle companies, it has not yet been ratified. The Utes are as 
anxious to locate in Utah as the whites are to have them removed. The leaders 
of the Indian Rights Association are strongly favorable to allotting the lands on 
Pine river in severalty, upon the misguided theory that the Indians may then be 
induced to general engagement in agriculture. They are wholly opposed to the 
present system of reservations, and firmly adhere to their proposition that if the 
red men are placed upon farms of their own they will readily embrace civilization 
with all that it implies, including the elective franchise and the higher duties of 
citizenship, hence their remonstrances against the treaty. We do not propose to 
argue the question, but will simply cite the fact that no similar attempt of the many 
undertaken has been successful with wild Indians. The failure of Mr. N. C. Meeker 
is a case in point. 

In our judgment the only way in which it can be accomplished is to separate 
the children from the families, educate them in training schools, and by compulsory 
methods adapt them to agriculture and the mechanic arts. As a rule the old bucks 
and the young warriors and hunters are so deeply convicted against the "dignity 
of labor" as to be wholly intractable. The Cherokees. Choctaws. (~»sages and 
others in Kansas have been brought under civilization only after the older gen- 
eration of warriors and hunters were buried and their children gradually forced 
into present ways. The same process of gradual inoculation must be applied to 
the wild tribes of the West. We have seen that after ten or twelve years of experi- 
menting with the Southern Utes, how little has been accomplished. Mr. Bartholo- 
mew tells us that less than 500 acres are tilled, and these only by a few attached 
to two of the several bands. To render the better lands of the present reserva- 
tion tillable, extensive irrigating ditches be constructed, involving great ex- 
pense. Owing to the influence of the Conejos range on the east and the La Plata 
Mountains on" the north, the lands are not especially suited to grazing. The strip 
is traversed by a number of streams running south into the San Juan, the Xavajo. 
Piedras and Pine, while the Morida empties into the La Plata, and it in turn into 
the San Juan ; then the Animas, Mancos and La Plata, all coursing southerly, render 


the San juan navigalilc. The latter is an affluent of the Culorado. Along the 
margins of these streams there are strijjs of hne arable land. Wliile the proposed 
reservation in Utah is not so well watered the Indians prefer it because of the 
game which abounds there. They care not a fig for the farming, and will neglect 
it so long as the government furnishes rations. Again, the Colorado reservation 
is long and narrow, ccinstantly subject to incursions by outlaws and thieves. It 
contains no game whatever. Except that they are permitted to hunt outside 
wherever game may be found, life would be intolerable to them. 

Again, the white settlers in La Pata and Archuleta counties adjoining find 
the iJresence of this reservation a serious obstruction to their plans for the enlarge- 
ment of agricultural and other entcr])rises. The various streams are needed to 
supply irrigating canals, the clioice lands for farms, towns and cities. Hence the 
irreconcilable conflict. As we write, the Senate of the United States is wrestling 
with the i)rol)lem, with what restilt remains to be seen. 

The annuity goods issued consist of blankets, stamped L'. S. L D., coats, vests 
and trotisers, all of duck or the best quality of jeans; overcoats of cassimere or duck, 
shoes, hats, caps and stockings, but no underwear; suspenders; flannel, grey, blue 
and red; muslin, calico, canvas for tents, skirts for the women, shawls, linsew 
gingham, combs, butcher-knives, pots, kettles and tinware. 

Supreme authority in all matters of local government and direction is vested in 
the principal chief, Ignacio, a W'eeminuche, who stands si.x feet two in his 
moccasins, of well-knit, robust physifpie. agetl 30 years, and weighing 225 pounds. 
He is extremely intelligent, realizing to the fullest extent the responsibility of his 
headship, the ultimate destiny of his race, the importance of maintaining peace and 
concord with their neighbors, and thereby deferring as long as possible the date 
of their final extinction. He is lavislily generous, and to an unusual degree self- 
sacrificing. On annuity days he gives away most of his own share to others who 
may solicit or need the goods allotted to him. He is kind and fatherly always 
when not aroused by disobedience to his commands, like a devoted priest to his 
flock, dividing his money and goods with them and giving wise counsel and 
direction. Mr. Bartholomew pronounces him the best Indian he ever knew or 
heard of. Like his great predecessor, Ouray, he is always for peace. The utmost 
confidence and respect subsists between them, and in all the affairs of government 
they are in perfect accord. Igna'cio, though amiable and kind, is a strict dis- 
ciplinarian, enforcing exact obedience to his orders. In early manhood he was a 
mighty warrior and hunter. While yet a young man, Indians from another tribe 
slew certain members of his family. lie instantly declared war against them and 
in pursuit of his vengeance killed twelve men of that band. In the field he was 
brave, bold and skillful, fn stature and physical proportion he is incontcstably 
the finest LTe now living. These Indians live in harmony with those of the north, 
the Jiccarilla Apaches of the southeast adjoining the reser\'ation, and also with the 
Navajos to the southwest. They have frequently been solicited by the Navajos 
to join them in raiding and deiircdating the white settlements, but Ignacio held 
them to their allegiance. Rut should these L'tes ever be provoked to a serious 
conflict, they would be effectively sujiported l)y all their allies. They are well armecl. 
and confederated would be very formidable. 

Next in order is Mariano, Chief of the Weeminuches. His height is five feet 
seven, strongly built, weighing 180 pounds, aged 45. Controlled by Ignacio, he 
exerts his influence according to the counsel of his superior. He is a brave warrior 
who attained his position by valor in war. 

r.uckskin Charley. Chief of the Mouaches, is five feet six in height, weighs 130 
pounds, massive, sturdy and nniscular. His mother was a Ute. his father an .Xpaclie. 
Strong willed, resolute and commanding, he rules his braves with an absolute 
domination. Possessing much .shrewdness and sound connnon sense, he is both 






brave and scllish. He is regardctl as the war leader of the Southern Utes. In- 
lieriting his color from his father, he is rather light complexioned, for the Apaches 
are not so dark as the Utes. Cliarle\- speaks broken English, but understands all 
that is said to him in that language. He is accounted the most intelligent Indian 
un the reservation and the most craft\-. 

Sevaro is about 45 years old, weighs 180 pounds, is powerfully built, sclfisli, 
treacherous and vindictive. 

Dances and Superstitions. — Everyone who knows anything of Indian character 
is aware that their minds are filled with superstitions. These find themselves con- 
stantlysubjectto malign influencesof onekincfand another, but the strongest emanate 
from white people. Sickness and epidemics, fevers and small po.x are ascribed 
to the pale faces. There are many instances in which illness and death are directly 
traceable to witcheries practiced by some member of their own tribe, and it fre- 
quently happens that the person so suspected is killed and put out of the way. The 
present agent has gradually persuaded them to accept the services of the agency 
physician instead of their own medicine man. and this change has prcjven verv 
beneficial, greatly reducing the mortalit\ . 

Their favorite dance is the "Han-est dance," which occurs immediately after 
the gathering of crops, and is confined to the young men and women. To begin 
with, a green pole ha\ing a cluster of leaves at the top is planted, when they circle 
round it singing and dancing in token of their gladness that the earth has brought 
forth fruit and it has been gathered. The festivities are continued three or four 
days, each man taking for his partner the maiden to whom he is most attached. 
The old men and women sit on the ground watching and enjoying the antics of 
their children. These occasions are invariably harmonious and happy. 

The Bog Dance. — At the close of the hunting season a dog, fattened for the 
purpose, is killed, thrown into a cauldron of boiling water and then cooked without 
the slightest dressing. When sufficiently boiled the pot is carried around the circle, 
each buck taking a part of the li()uor and sometimes a piece of the meat. Its 
significance is not explained. Before engaging in the dance, the men put girdles 
about their loins, bells upon their ankles, appropriate feather dressing to their 
heads, and beat drums during the ceremony. From thirty to forty warriors are 
engaged. It is supposed to be efficacious in warding off disease and in dispelling 
malign influences. The young squaws gather around them, while their elders are 
content with simply witnessing the spectacle. 

The children, like those of all people the world over, amuse themselves with 
various devices and games self-invented. There is no difference in the races in the 
enjoyment of childhood and early life. While buoyant and happy, all manage to 
extract pleasure from any conditions that may surround them. 

The bulk of their food is bread, meat, sugar and coffee. They are also ex- 
travagantly fond of the cleansed, dressed and boiletl entrails of wild animals when 
procurable, but, if not, those of any other animal will do. 

Chastity of the H'omen. — There is but one half-breed Indian on the reserva- 
tion. While the women are not rigidly chaste among the men of their own race, 
they rarely cohabit with other races, save by regular process of marriage. While 
])olygamy is still practiced to some extent, it is fast dying out. The instances are 
rare in which L'te women have married into other tribes. There is no formal 
ceremony of union; the bucks select and purchase their brides, giving ])resents. 
usually horses, according to their possessions. At the death of any Indian, two 
or three ponies are killed to bear him to the hajipy hunting ground. When buried 
all traces of the grave are carefully obliterated. The number of ponies slain de])ends 
upon the number he possessed while in life. .\s with the Caucasian, the magni- 
tude of the disi)lay is measured not so much by the importance of the defunct, as 
bv the amount of his wealth. 


W'hik- inotliers are tender and kind to their offspring, they are seldom demon- 
strati\e or given to much caressing. It is remarked that no squaw has been seen 
to yiss or fondle her baby with that overwhelming passion which is so large a 
characteristic of the Anglo Sa.xons. As soon as ushered into the world the child 
seems to know b\ instinct that it is expected to take things stoically as they come, 
and be content with its cradle lashed to its mother's back. 

The agencv buildings are of logs and frame, the principal one occupied by the 
resident agent. There is a large issue-house, where the rations are distributed, a 
commodious warehouse, implement house, stable, hay-loft, and council building. 
The agent has both a private and a pul)lic office. There are eight employes other 
than Indians; the latter constitute the police force — twelve patrolmen, commanded 
by Chief Ignacio. When the agent requires policemen for any duty, he notifies 
the chief, who sends the men to him. 

Couiuils , are held in a council chamber built for the purpose. Whenever the 
Indians desire a council, Mr. Bartholomew is advised of the fact and its object, the 
matters to be considered, etc. When fully assembled the agent enters with an in- 
terjjreter and a secretary, the latter taking notes of what transpires. These meetings 
arc always public and open to all. If the subjects are of a serious and grave nature, 
demanding earnest thought and prompt action, Ignacio, being fully apprised in 
advance of their import, privately informs the agent in order that he may be pre- 
pared. If it is a grievance against the government or any of its authorities, it is all 
taken down and immediately reported to the Commissioner of Indian affairs at 
Washington. No Indian is permitted to speak more than once. He must digest 
his thoughts with great care and say all he has to say in a single address. The 
signal to ])rocecd is given when the agent removes his hat and takes his seat. The 
Indians simultaneously uncover, conversation ceases and all listen eagerly to the 
opening exercises. It is like a convention of gentlemen called to order. The 
speaker designated for the purpose states the object distinctly and fully, choosing 
well his words since he will have no right to speak a second time. Meanwhile the 
others smoke cigarettes and think eacli of what he shall say when his turn conies. 
The old custom of passing the pipe of peace is obsolete. 

The onlv serious complaint against them is that in their hunting expeditions 
thev go in great numbers anil slaughter hundreds of wild animals, not for food as 
in former \ears when no rations were issued to them, but almost entirely for the skins. j 
Their incursions extend into di.stant counties, where the people look upon the 1 
rapid decimation of deer, elk and other game with indignation and alarm, for if 
continued a vear or two longer these animals will Ik- wholly extirpated. 

The L'les have a strong aversion to sending their children awa\- from home for 
education in the established training schools, but say to the authorities, if the govern- 
ment will build school houses on the reservation and employ good teachers, the 
children may be educated there, but they will not send them away. 

Finallv] as to the agent: JNlr. Bartholomew has been a resident of Colorado and 
New Mexico some thirty years, first in the gold mines of Gilpin county, and after- 
ward in Summit. I'rom 1867 to 1873 he was Lucien P.. Maxwell's agent at the 
Ma.xwell Crant in New Mexico, where the Utes frequently congregated in large 
numbers, for they were very fond of Maxwell, who fed. shcltereii and traded with 
them. Here Mr. Bartholomew became intimate with all the tribes and learned 
their language. Most of the Indians knew and liked him. therefore when he was 
appointed their agent at Pine river they gave him a cordial welcome. Compre- 
hending their nature and habits, and the im])ortance of always dealing fairly and 
uprightly, telling them the exact truth on all occasions, and treating them as rational 
human beings, he has won their complete confidence and respect which gives him 
great influence over them, and which he is careful not to overrate nor abuse. 

Mr. Bartholomew has been a member of several of our state legislatures. 


Great Interior of Colorado 










This county, named in honor of J. M. Archuleta, Sr., head of one of the old 
Spanish families of New Mexico, was taken from the western part of Conejos 
county, and duly organized under an act of the General Assembly, approved April 
14th, 1885, the capital being located at Pagosa Springs. It is bounded on the north 
by Hinsdale and Rio Grande, south by New Mexico, east by Conejos and west by 
La Plata. Its area is 1,100 square miles, and by the census of 1890 its population 
was 826. In natural configuration, advantages and resources, it is much like La 
Plata county. The eastern, southern and parts of the western divisions are moun- 
tainous, with broad valleys and parks between, which are admirably adapted to 
cattle and sheep grazing. The mountains are densely timbered with white and 
yellow pine, cedar and spruce, from which large quantities of lumber are produced. 
It is splendidly watered by the Rio San Juan, Piedra Navajo, Blanco and Nutria 
livers, all large, clear and beautiful streams. The Rio Conejos heads in its moun- 
tains; much of the valley appears to be underlaid with good bituminous coal, and 
there are numerous petroleum springs near the county seat. For years the farmers 
and others have used the oil products that lie at the surface for lubricating the axles 
of their wagons. The two principal parks are the Piedra and Weeminuche, which 
contain thousands of acres of fine agricultural and grazing lands, forming one of 
the most desirable regions for stock growing to be found in the southwestern division 
of the state. The assessment roll for 1890 places the number of cattle feeding upon 
these lands at 3.509; sheep, 17,840, and in addition there were about 1,000 horses. 
It never has been a populous nor an extensively cultivated farming region. Most of 
the settlers, to within a very recent period, were Alexicans, who settled along 
the streams while it was a part of Conejos county. Since its organization as a 
distinct county, many Americans have located there, and engaged in various pur- 
suits. The report of the assessor for 1890 shows that only 5,693 acres of agricultural 
land were returned in that year, but there were 86,000 acres of grazing land. Archu- 
leta is situated to the west of the San Juan range, at an elevation of 5,000 to 7,000 

Fagiisa Spn'iii^s, the capital, situated on the north side of the San Juan river, 
is the only town of importance in the county, and is one of the most noted sanitariums 
of the state. Here are found some twaity hot springs, the largest, or the "Great 
Pagosa," being oval shaped, 50x74 feet, and of unknown depth. The temperature 
near the e(:\^;c is 145 degrees and in the center 153 de.grecs. The following extract 
is taken from an account pu1)lishcd in i8c)i, furnished me by Air. E. M. Tavlor. the 
county clerk. These wonderful springs "were first discovered by the United States 


ixploriiij4' cxpeilitioii. uiulcr cunuuaiHl of J. X. Macomt), Captain of the Topographi- 
cal Engineer Corps, L'. S. A., in the month of July, 1859." It may be well to 
observe, however, that for centuries, perhaps, the L'tes and other Indians had 
known of and frequently resorted to them for the cure of rheumatic and other 

Owing to the great value of the water on account of its medical properties, and 
the maimiioth size of the "Great Spring," the President of the L'nited States (in ac- 
cordance with acts of Congress passed March 3d, 1863, and July 1st, 1864) issued 
an order, during the year 1880, designating one mile square surrounding the prin- 
cipal s])ring as a United States government town site. In the year 1883 it was 
platted by the government into streets, avenues, blocks, building lots, large parks and 
boulevards. In 1885 the building lots were appraised by the C S. Commissioners 
and sold frotii the land ofifice of that district, as appraised government land is sold. 
to the highest bidder for cash. Since then the town has continued improving, and 
in 1891 was incorporated, and elected its first mayor and other officers. Now set- 
tlers are coming in and taking up government land. Surveys have been made for 
a railroad from Juniata, uy> the valley of .San Juan river, to I'agosa, a distance of 
20 miles. The San Juan river, one of the finest streams in the state, flows througli 
the town site. "The overflow from the hot spring, en;ptying into the river, is equal 
to a stream six feet wide by three feet deep." The waters, heavily charged with 
carbonic acid gas, boil and bubble like the witches' cauldron in Macbeth, emitting 
clouds of vapor which, as one writer expresses it, "produces the smell of the infernal 
regions." The prevailing opinion is that this turbulent, odorous Pagosa is the 
•remains of an old geyser. Geologists find here interesting subjects for study. Some 
reinarkable cures have been effected by drinking and bathing in its waters. One 
of the conductors on the Durango division of the Denver & Rio (Jrande railroad 
mformed me that for many years he had been rendered well nigh helpless by acute 
rhe'umatism in his right hip, and that the flesh had shrimk away so that only the 
skin adhereil to the bone, llis left leg was so stiff he could not use it. .-Kdvised to 
try Pagosa, he went there and in a short time was comjiletely cured. Each year 
hundreds of invalids resort to these springs, and while not all are cured, a large 
majority are greatly benefited and many restored to health. Chronic rheumatism, 
sciatica, stomach disorders, blood and kidney diseases have been iiermanently re- 
lieved. Military and other r)fficers of the government have sent many iiatients 
there. These springs are 400 miles southwest from Denver, and j8o miles from 
Pueblo. The nearest railway station is Amargo, a small settlement on the Rio 
Grande railroad, in New Mexico, just south of the Colorado line;, 28 miles away. 
Passengers, mail and express are conveyed thence to the springs by stage. The 
climate is mild and exhilarating, the scenery thereabout very beautiful. The great 
peaks of the San Juan mountains lie to the northward. To the east and west are 
the verdure and forest-clad plains of the valley, stretching far away into New Mexico. 
The springs and bath houses are the property of a Leavenworth. Kansas, company. 
In the pleasant seasons many people bring tents and camp in the groves along the 
-San Juan river, while undergoing treatment. 

The town is head(|uarters for stock and wool growers, and a trading point for 
farmers. Iron ores, many varieties of sandstone, coal, petroleum, and gold and 
silver bearing minerals are among the known resources, but remain to be developed. 
About one-ciuarter of the comity is covered by the Southern L'te Indian reservation. 
.A. further account of these Indians, their reservation, etc., will be found in the his- 
tory of La Plata county. 

Sr//i>oh.-— The school census of Aichuleta county for 1890 shows a total school 
population of 175. The enrollment was 99, with an average dailv attendance of 46. 
riicre are three school houses which cost $5,450. In iS8,'^ district No. i erected a 
fine building in modern style at a cost of ,$3,000. In 1887 district No, 2 furnished 


a small but good hiiikliiig at a cost of $1,500. District No. 3, built at a later date, 
cost $1,400. 

The first officers of the county were: Clerk, E. M. Taylor; treasurer, Isaac 
Code; county judge, J. H. V'oorhees; assessor, J. P. Archuleta; sheriff, Wm. Dyke; 
coroner. Dr. N. Hover; superintendent of schools, F. A. Beyone; surveyor, C. Y. 
Hutler; clerk of the district court, E. M. Taylor; commissioners, J. H. Hallett, A. S. 
Sutton. J. M. Archuleta, Jr. 

Those elected for 1890-91 were; Clerk, E. M. Taylor; treasurer, John L. 
DowcU; countv judge. Barzillai Price; assessor, Chas. H. Loucks; sheriff, J. H. 
Hallett; coroner, Dr. Win. M. Parish; superintendent of schools, VVm. P. Under- 
wood; surveyor, Jas. S. Hatcher; clerk of the district court, E. M. Taylor; commis- 
sioners, R. J. Chambers, Wm. Dyke and Joseph Whitaker. 

The countv is attached to the Durango land district. The Fort Lewis military 
reservation of 20,000 acres was opened to homestead settlement in 1890. The 
assessed valuation of taxable property in the county for i8qo was $368,334.70. For 
189! it was $418,681. 

The first settlers at Pagosa Springs, who located there in 1876, were Joseph 
Baker, L. Hamilton, E. C. Laithe, John Swartz, John R. Crump, John L. Dowell, 
F. A. Beyone, Joseph Lane and W. W. Nassaman. The first house was built by 
i^acob Sclieifeer. 


Origin of name — finf stock-growing region — streams and native resources 
— agricultural products— schools, churches, etc. 

This count)', named in honor of the Mexican Baca family resident in Trinidad, 
niie of whom was the first settler on Butte creek, was created from the eastern part 
(if Las Animas, by an act of the General Assembly, approved April i6th, 1889, and 
forms the extreme southeastern corner of the state. It is bounded on the north by 
1 'rowers and Bent, south by the Territory of New Mexico, east by the state of 
Kansas and west by Las Animas county. Its area is 2,300 square miles, and by 
the census of 1890 its population was 1,479. The county seat is located at the 
town of Springfield, situate on a rolling prairie near the junction of Cat creek with 
Bear creek, and about the geographical center of the county. The region is 
almost entirely devoted to stock growing, but there are a few good farms along 
the principal water courses. Most of the original settlers were Mexicans, but the 
jiresent inhabitants are mainly Americans. In general features it is similar t<i 
Las Animas county from which it was segregated. It is watered by Butte, Bear 
and Horse creeks, the north fork of Cimarron creek, and their numerous small 
tributaries. The climate is mild and liealthful. Nearly all the towns are of recent 
origin, the capital being the largest of the series. On the east are Minneapolis. 
\'ilas, Boston, Stonington and Plymouth; Decatur north of .Springfield. Maxey 
near the head of licar creek, northwest of the county scat, Brookfield still further 
northwest on Two liutte creek, Atlanta on the same stream near the western border, 
Carrizo and Carrizo .Sjjrings toward the southwest. The only considerable towns, 
however, are Springfield, Vilas and Minneapolis. 

Among its natural resources are abundant timber, chiefly pine, and building 
stones. Coal has been found in various sections, but the deposits have not been 


systematically opened. It has been, and is still, a great grazing region, but of 
late years the major jjart of the Texas long horns have been displaced by smaller 
herds of better breeds, which are fed and cared for in winter and as far as possible 
sheltered from severe storms. There are several fine stock farms in the south- 
eastern portion, and others west of Springfield. At his ranch on Bear creek, Mr. 
Sylvanus Johnson has introduced 2,000 Angora goats, believing the region well 
adapted to the successful development of these animals and their vahial)le fleeces. 
JJairy farming is a considerable industry, and large quantities of I)utter arc shipped 
to 'i'rinidad and Pueblo. 

From the report of the assessor to the auditor of state for 1891 we extract the 
following data, in regard to the area of agriculture: Wheat, 2,000 acres; oats, 200; 
rye, 3,500; corn, 4,000; potatoes, 500; sorghum, 2,000. There were 85 acres in 
orchards, and 500 acres of grove and forest trees. Considerable alfalfa and clover 
were grown. 

Schools. — By the census of 1890, the total school population was 896 with an 
enrollment of 698. There were 35 districts and 10 school houses; valuation of 
the latter, $6,800. Springfield has a fine .stone school building, erected at a cost 
of about $4,000. The principal merchants of Springfield are, Dwight Miser, F. M. 
hViend and R. D. Homsher, dealers in groceries and provisions, E. F. Martin, hard- 
ware, T- R- Anderson and A. M. Stanley, druggists. The banking business is 
conducted by James E. Church, manager of the Baca County Investment company. 
In the county are three Methodist Ei)iscopal churches, two Baptist, one Catholic, 
one Presbyterian and one Universalist, with a large number of Sabbath schools. 

In the assessment returns for 1890 there were listed 235,516 acres of agri- 
cultural land. (_)f live stock there were 694 horses, 188 mules, and 12,898 cattle. 
The tfjlal assessed valuati-iu of taxable property was $945,161. 


ORG.ANIZATION, area and population — resources — EARLY SETTLERS THE liENTS 




The county of Bent was segregated I'roni Pueblo count}' by an act of the 
territorial legislature, a])proved I''ebruary iith, 1870. Since that time its dimen- 
sions have been materially reduced by the creation of new counties, all of Kiowa, 
Prowers and Otero, and parts of Cheyenne and Lincoln having been taken from 
its original boundaries. Its present area is 1.500 s(|uare miles, and, according to 
the census of 1890. its i)opulatiou was 1,313. Its first board of commissioners 
consisted of Joiui W. Prowers, Philii) Landers and Theodore Gaussoiu. Their 
first meeting for organization was held at the town of Las .'\nimas. IMarch 12th, 
1870, when Mr. Prowers was elected chairman. These, with the following officers, 
were appointed to serve until the next ensuing general election: Clerk, and re- 
corder, Marrv Whigham; treasurer. Mark B. Price: probate or county judge. 
R. M. Miiore: sheriff, Thomas O. Boggs; assessor, Moses R. Tate: superintendent 


of schools, K. AI. Moore. L ntil 1S72 the county was attached to Pueblo for 
judicial purposes. 

September 13th following, the list subjoined was chosen b)- vote of tlie people: 
Clerk and recorder, George Hunter; treasurer, M. B. Price; probate judge and 
superintendent of schools, R. M. Aloore; sheriff, L. A. Allen; assessor, M. R. Tate; 
coroner, Charles M. Burr. At the same election the county seat was transferred 
from Las Animas to Boggsville.'-' In 1872, by the same authority, it was re- 
established at Las Animas, where it remained until October, 1875, when it was 
permanently fixed at West Las Animas on the opposite bank of the Arkansas 

The region is oi^e of the most fertile in Southern Colorado, equally adapted 
to agriculture, horticulture and stock growing. Originally it covered an area of 
9,500 square miles. It is watered by the Arkansas river which traverses it from 
west to east, just north of the center, its principal tributaries being the Purgatoire 
or Las Animas river, which takes its rise in the Raton range and empties into the 
parent stream near the county seat. Numerous other small affluents contribute 
to its volume, as Butte creek, Granada, Wolf, Clay, Mud, Caddo and Rule creeks 
east of the Purgatoire; Crooked, Arroya, Timpas and the Apishapa on the west, 
most of which rise beyond the southern line of Bent, and, excepting Granada, 
Wolf, and Clay, are well timbered about their sources and for some distance be- 
low. Plum creek has some fine forests of cottonwoods; the Purgatoire and trib- 
utary canons are wooded. The chief varieties are cottonwood, box elder and 
willow, and here and there undergrowths of plum, mountain currant and wild 
grape. But there are no forests adapted to the lumber trade. There are some 
fine mineral springs, the more important situated on Timpas creek thirty-two 
miles from its mouth, which closely resemble the famous Iron spring at Manitou. 
Others of a ditiferent character are found on some of the streams just mentioned. 

The first superficial view^ of Bent county indeed, of all the lower Arkansas 
valley, gives it the appearance of a boundless undulating plain, covered with 
short, but exceedingly nutritious grasses, and occasional fringes of trees and 
shrubbery along the water courses, but more especially observable on the banks 
of the great river. At various points great ridges of grey and red sandstone, with 
beds of gypsum and chalk are seen. The soil is chiefly an alluvial sandy loam, 
and its fertility, where cultivated, has been shown in the production of large crops. 

The primitive history of this valley contains some interesting incidents, for 
it was the theater where were planted the first seeds of modern civilization in 
Colorado. !\Iost of the material facts have been set forth in the first volume 
and need not be repeated here. This region was occupied, at least roamed over, 
primarily by Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Kiowas and Comanches, who made it their 
favorite hunting and camping ground, for at certain seasons game abounded there. 
The Bent brothers, Charles and William, and the St. Vrains established trading 
)iosts and forts, and among those employed by them in hunting and trapping, and 

conducting their merchandise trains, were William Bransford, Ben Ryder, 

Metcalfe, Charles Dubrey, Bill Williams, Old John .Smith, Kit Carson, Uncle 
Dick Wootten, and many others of the old guild of frontiersmen. Charles Bent 
rmd Ceran St. Wain held their head(|uarters in Taos and Santa Fe. Col. Willia!u 
Bent was the moving spirit of all their enterprises. The firm was dissolved in 
1847. ^^'hen Col. William Gilpin was engaged in his famous campaign against 
the Navajo Indians, he at one time applied to the mercantile house of Benl, St. 
Wain iSi Co. for a stock of i^rovisions wherewith to suppl\- his luen, and, while not 

* In compiline the history of Bent countv down to i8Si. an admirable .mil very complete sketch 
written by Charles W. Bowman, then editor of the Las Animas "Leader," for Hist. Arkansas Valley. 
O. L. Baskin & Co.. Chicago, has been followed as a guide but with a different arrangement of the facts. 


actually lelnsvil, met with such opposition as to arouse the anger of William Bent, 
who at once bought out the interest of his brother and conceded to Gilpin the 
supplies he had applied for, being subsequently paid by the government. Robert 
Hem died OcloI)er joth, 1841, aged 25, and was buried at the old fort on the 
Arkansas. George passed away soon afterward, and was laid beside his liruiher. 
but the remains were subse<|uently e.xlumied and taken to their final restmg ])lace 
in the city of St. Louis. 

To the first wife of William llenl five children were born — Mary, Robert, 
George, Julia and Charles, fler deatli followed soon after the Ijirtli of the last, 
when her husband, after a pericxl of mourning, married her sister. Colonel William 
Bent was appointed agent for the Cheyennes and Arapahoes in 1859, but held the 
position less than one year. In the fall of 1859 he leased his new fort (Fort Wise) 
lo the United States for a military station, and it was occupied by federal troops 
(under command of Colonel, afterward General, Sedgwick, who was killed at 
Spottsylvania, Va., May 2nd, 1864) until a short time before the new- fort, named 
in honor of General Lyon, was built. (See \'ol. L page 165.) The same year he 
erected a ])ickct dwelling at the mouth of the Purgatoire, now known as judge R. 
iM. Moore's place, where a part of the land was put under cultivation. This was 
the first improvement in the county outside of the adobe forts mentioned. In i8(X) 
R. M. Moore, son-in-law of Col. Wm. Bent, arrived on the scene from Jackson 
cotmty, Mo., and occupied the picket house, an enclosure looxioo feet, with rooms 
on the nortii and west sides. Then Col. Bent engaged in the business of freighting 
goods for the federal government from Leavenworth to F'ort Union, Xew Me.xico, 
in which, and in trading with the Indians, he continued until his death, Mav I9tli, 

The princi])al agency and rendezvous of the Plains Indians was for many years 
at "Big Timber," a large forest of gigantic cottonwoods, the site of Bent's new fort, 
and was conducted by Major Mtzpatrick. one of the more prominent of the old plains- 
men, who died there in 1855. He was held in great veneration by the savages, for 
he was kin<l, just and brave, knew them, their language, their customs and needs, 
and treated them in all fairness, honesty and justice. Mis wife was a half-breed 
Arapahoe, daughter of John fV)isal, an interpreter known as "Red Eyes" from the 
inflamed state of his visual organs. Robert Miller, from one of the Kansas agencies, 
succeeded i'itzpatrick, and came to Big Timber acconi]ianieil bv a voung and enter- 
prising man named John W. Prowers, who afterward became one of the more noted 
of the stock growers, business men and ])oliticians of that section, for whom Prowers 
county, organized in 1889, was named. He was very energetic, intelligent and 
broad minded, anel in the ])assing years won a clistinguished place in the esteem 
of his fellow men. 

The scout, Indian fighter, and mountaineer, Charley Autobees. formeil a small 
settlement of Mexicans and Indians ttn the Huerfano, the first in that region, and 
Uncle Dick Wootten with a few of the same class lived for a time at the foot of 
the Greenhorn. I'oth raised crops, and after supi)lying their own wants sold the 
surplus to the troops at Fort Ionian. 

At the P.ig Timber agency. Col. Albert G. Boone succeeded Miller, in 1860. and 
in that vear mgotiatcd the treaty whereby the Arapahoes and Cheyennes relin- 
ijuished their titles to most of the plains country east of the mountains. In 1863 
the agency was removed to "Point of Rocks," where building began on a some- 
wdiat extensive scale, and the next spring 300 to 400 acres of land were planted and 
an irrigating <litch taken out. The Indians, becoiuing restless, were irritated by 
the increasing inuuigration of white peojile, and regretting the surrender of their 
lands, also incited by the Sioux, began to ])repare for a prodigious uprising in 1864, 
the particulars of which and its conse(|uences. including the battle of Sand Creek, 
are related in Volume 1, beginning with page 324. 


John W. Prowers brought in his first herd of cattle consisting of lOO cows, in 
the year 1861. This proved the inception of the stock-breeding industry in 
Bent county. In June, 1863, L. A. Allen, with twelve other young men from 
Missouri, arrived at P"ort Lyon with 700 head of stock for Solomon Young of Jack- 
son county, JMissouri. In the fall of the same year came Thomas Rule with three 
sons and encamped upon the stream that bears his narne, where they built a stone 
house, but its abandonment occurred soon after because of the hostility of the 
Indians. Thomas O. Boggs, one of the earlier settlers in the county, and, during 
his lifetime one of the most honored of its citizens, and L. A. Allen, came over from 
Zan Hicklin's ranch on the Greenhorn, bringing a large herd of cattle, the property 
of Lucien B. Maxwell, and effected their settlement on the Arkansas in Bent county. 
Sometime prior to this, however, J. B. Doyle, B. B. Fields, William Kroenig and 
others had settled on tlie Huerfano and engaged in farming, marketing their 
produce at the nearest military posts. A fertile and attractive park known as 
"Nine Alile Bottom," on the Purgatoire, 30 miles above its mouth, became speedily 
settled. Uriel Higbee, Samuel T. Smith, William Richards, Robert Jones, John 
Carson (a nephew of Kit Carson) and James Elkins located there in 1865, and at 
once began stock raising and farming. j\lr. Boggs went to New Mexico, and in 
1866 returned with Charles L. Rite and L. A. Allen and founded the town of 
Boggsville, three miles south of the Purgatoire. Prowers and Robert Bent dug an 
irrigating ditch, and put one thousand acres of land under tillage with satisfactory 
results. At that time corn sold for 8 to 12 cents a pound, flour $8 to $12 per 100 
pounds, and vegetables in proportion. The same year a ntnnber of ranchmen 
staked out farms on the Purgatoire and the Arkansas, and sheep and cattle were 

The name and fame of Kit Carson are held in profoundest veneration by the 
people of Bent county. A sketch of his life appears in \'ol. I, page 153. At the 
close of his military career (1867) he settled with his family at Boggsville. having 
obtained title to two ranches on the Purgatoire from his friend Ceran St. \'rain, 
on which he made some improvements. Carson's second wife was of the French 
Beaubien family. Her mother was a Me.xican. To her were born six children — 
William, Kit, Charles, Estiphena, Rebecca and Josephita. .\t the death of their 
parents, Thomas O. Boggs became the guardian of these children and administrator 
of the Carson estate, which was appraised at about $9,000, mainly in live stock. 

What is known as the old Las Animas Grant w-as convej'ed to Ceran St. 
Vrain and Comelio Vijil of Taos in 1843 by the governor of the Province of New 
Mexico. It is thus described by Mr. C. W. Bowman, w-ho obtained the boundaries 
from one of the heirs: "Beginning on the north line of the lands of Miranda and 
Beaubien, at one league east of the Rio de Las Animas, where there was plowed 
a comer; thence following a straight line to the Arkansas river, one league below the 
confluence of the Animas and the Arkansas, made the second comer on the bank 
of the said Arkansas river: thence continuing to follow up the same Arkansas river 
to a point one league and a half below its confluence with the San Carlos, made the 
third comer; thence following a straight line toward the south to the foot of the 
first mountain, two leagues west of the river Huerfano, and placed the fourth corner; 
thence continuing on a straight line to the top of the mountain where the Huerfano 
rises, and placed the fifth corner; thence following the top of the said mountain 
toward the east until it encounters the line of Miranda and Beaubien, and placed 
the sixth comer: thence following said line to the beginning corner; within the 
counties of Pueblo, Huerfano, Las Animas and Bent in the Territory of Colorado, 
and the county of Colfax in the Territory of New Mexico/' (See Vol. II, page 161). 

During the construction of the Kansas Pacific railway across the plains in 
i868-6<;, the Indians were extremely active and troublesome, harassing all routes 
of travel, killing the freighters, and grading parties, attacking ranches, stealing 


stuck, and nmrdering and hurning uIktcx-ct the iipportunitv offered. Troojjs 
were sent against theni from the east and from I'ort L_\-on. hut it was not until 
1S70 tiiat their depredations fuially ceased. 

-After the Iniilding <jf I''ort Lyon a considerable settlement sprang up on the 
opposite side of the Arkansas river, three-quarters of a mile distant. A town site 
was surveyed by Capt. Wiilliarn Craig in February, 1869, and christened Las 
Animas city. Inhabitants multiplied and the new town grew apace, with flattering 
prospects for the future. The next year a toll bridge was thrown across the stream 
and Las Animas city was thus connected with the fort. It soon became the center 
of a very large freighting traffic between the railroad and towns in Xew Mexico. 
In 1873 Charles W. Bowman brought in a printing office and founded the Weekly 
Las Animas '"Leader." Both Bowman and his well-edited journal became valuable 
acquisitions to that part of the territory, winning the confidence and support of the 
people. During the progress of the main line of the Kansas Pacific R. R. toward 
Denver, the town of Kit Carson was founded. Field &; Hill erected a building 
there in the fall of 1869, and stocked it with merchandise. Joseph Perry built a 
hotel that winter and William Connor another in the spring. It w as an active place 
for a time but soon died out. 

In 1873 the Kansas Pacific extended a branch from Kit Carson to the south 
side of the Arkansas with a view to accommodate Forts Lyc)n and Reynolds, and 
with the intention also of continuing on to Pueblo. It reached the site of West Las 
Animas, Octol>er i8th. The town was platted and lots offered for sale by the West 
Las Animas Town company. The disturbance created by this act has been narrated 
in our second volume. The first actual settler upon the tract was George A. Brown, 
(^nc of the first buildings erected was for a whisky saloon. \\'illiam Carson moved 
the American house from Kit Carson and reopened it at Las .Animas. The Huglies 
lirothers, dealers in lumber. Shoemaker & Earhart. merchants, followed, and Kehl- 
berg & Bartels and Prowers & Hough established commission houses. I*"ort Lyon 
was abandoned in 1890, the property being left in charge of an ordnance sergeant. 

The principal industries of the county have always been cattle and sheep grow- 
ing, .-md some of the larger operators who sold out when live stock brought high 
prices realized handsome fortunes. 

Soon after the Atchiscju, Toi)eka & Santa Fe railway was extended westward 
from Kansas into Colorado, the town of Granada was founded. The railway 
reached it July 4th, 1873, and there halted for a considerable time. Granada and 
Las Animas became competing points for the trade of New Mexico, which con- 
tinued with increasing activity until the terminus of the road was moved to La 
Junta, in December. 1875. The extension of the Denver & Rio Grande road to 
I''l Moro, and the completion of the Santa Fe to Pueblo in 1876. literally destroyed 
the freighting and conmiission trade of Bent county. 

Las Animas, notwithstanding, has grown to be a strong commercial center for 
stock and wool growers, and for the farming region roundabout. It is an important 
station on ihe Santa Fe railway. 83 miles southeast of Pueblo. It has four churches, 
the Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal and Methodist Episcopal, a bank, two hotels, many 
stores and private residences, a weekly newspaper, a large and costly court house, 
city hall, a fine brick school house, a hospital, several secret and benevolent societies, 
etc. The town is situated near the western boundary of the county as at present 
the lines are drawn. 

To illustrate how the county has been shorn of its taxable property by the 
organization of new counties from its once vast area, and also by the decline of the 
range cattle trade, we give the assessment returns from 1877 to 1890 as follows: 
1877. $1,950,741.96: 1878,- $2,279,376: 1879. $2,732,154; 1880. $2,736,110: 1881. 
$2,828,531: 1882, $3,282,011: 1883. $3,663,284: 1884, $4,035,110: 1885. $4,149,303: 
1886, $4,322,994; 1887, $4,908,231: 1888, $7,824,469. In 1889 three new counties 


were created, when the total dropped to $1,285,821; and in 1890 it was $1,467,617. 

In the year last named tiie live stock returned was as follows: Horses, 2,394; 
iiuiles, 159; cattle, 16,048; sheep, 11,802. 

From the report of the assessor for 1891 we abstract the following data; Lands 
under irrigation, 31,053 acres; pasture lands, 42,392 acres. Of the cultivated lands 
there were 4,165 acres in wheat which yielded 29,246 bushels; oats 1,442 acres, 
22,800 bushels; barley 916 acres, 15,093 bushels; rye 4 acres, 100 bushels; corn 326 
acres, 4,449 bushels; alfalfa 5,467 acres, 11,902 tons, and 4,865 bushels of alfalfa seed 
gathered. There were 48 acres in sorghum and 187 gallons of syrup made there- 
from. In grove and forest trees 63^ acres. The wool clip for the year was 77,000 

By the census of 1890 the school population of the county was 452 with an 
enrollment of 369, and an average daily attendance of 212. There were 9 school 
houses, with 470 sittings. The total valuation of school property was $20,165. 

The oi^icers for 1890-91 were: Clerk, Herman Frey; treasurer, John E. Doulon; 
county judge. Joseph Bradford; assessor, James H. Martin; sheriff, Thomas J. 
Hickman; coroner. Dr. John A. Clinger; superintendent of schools, Fred C. 
Ford; surveyor, J. B. Benton; clerk of the district court, John S. Hough; com- 
missioners, David S. Elliott, J. F. Alinniss, M. H. Murray. 

The nearest military post to Fort Lyon was Fort Reynolds in Pueblo county, 
twenty miles east of Pueblo, on the right bank of the Arkansas river. It was estab- 
blished in 1867, named for Brigadier-General J. J. Reynolds, and abandoned in 1872. 


Organization, area and population — general description — harvard, vale 

and princeton peaks — discovery of gold ranches — assassination of 

judge dyer towns buena vista newspapers and banks — first settlers 

famous hot springs — railways at salida schools and churches — poncha 

hot springs — mining camps — marble and iron. 

This county takes its name from Jerome B. ChatYee. in his lifetime the leader of 
the Republican party in Colorado, who was elected first U. S. Senator after the ad- 
missicn of our state into the L^nion. It was segregated from Lake county by an 
act of the legislature approved February 8th, 1879, taking the latter name, but 
by an act approved two days afterward it was changed to Chaffee. It is 
bounded on the north by Lake and Park, east by Park and Fremont, south by Sa- 
guache and ijartly by Fremont, and west by Gunnison. It is quite irregular in form 
owing to the configuration of the Continental Divide, which separates it from Gun- 
nison, while on the east its line generally follows the eastern watershed of the Arkan- 
sas river (which flows through the county in a southeasterly direction) known as the 
Park range. .Among the tributaries of the .Arkansas are the South branch. Cotton- 
wood, Chalk, Cache, Brown, Pine. Clear and other creeks of lesser importance. 
Trout creek rises in Buffalo peaks, antl empties into the .Arkansas three miles lielow 
Buena V'isita. Its area is 1.150 scjuare miles, and by the census of 1890 it had a popu- 
lation of 6,612. A considerable part of its territory bordering the principal streams, 
otherv.'ise the bottom lands, are susceptible of cultivation, although Chaffee holds 
an important rank as one of the great mining counties. The first officers after the 
act of organi7:ation were: Commissioners. Tames P. True, Griffith Evans, and T. E. 


Cole: county judge. Julius C. Hughes: clerk and recorder, George Leonhardy; 
treasurer, R. .Mat. Johnson; sheriff, John ,Mear, all of whom except True, who held 
over from Lake county, were appointed to set the government in motion, and to 
serve until their successors should be chosen by the people at the next ensuing elec- 
tion. On the first of ALiy, Mr. Johnson di«l, when Mr. li. R. Emerson was 
appointed treasurer. =' 

The first meeting of the bt^ard of conmiissioners was held .March i8th. 1879, at 
Granite, the temporar_\- ciumty seat, when Mr. True was elected chairman, the county 
divided into election precincts and judges of election were appointed. ' In November 
following, the people chose the list of ofificers subjoined: Commissioners, T. L 
Briscoe, J. T. Bray, and W. H. Champ; sheriff, L. J. Morgan; clerk and recorder, 
James H. Johnston; treasurer, E. R. Emerson; superintendent of schools, George 
L. Smith : "assessor, Daniel D. \'roey; surveyor, W. R. Whipple. W. W. Dunbar 
was ai)pointed county attorney, but the tecorcls are silent as to the county judge. .\t 
an election held in November, 1880, to determine the permanent location of the 
comity Stat, it was changed to Buena \ ista. 

The southern part of the Arkansas valley is broad and fertile, six to ten miles wide, 
bearing traces of glacial action. The eminent geologist. Prof. Louis Agassiz, was 
of the opinion that many, perhajjs the most, of our mountain canons and deep gorges 
were i)lowed out and cut into the various forms in which we find them by enormous 
glaciers. The marks here are distinct and unmistakable. The lofty peaks, which sen- 
tinel the ranges hereabouts, are a source of continual wonder and delight to the in- 
habitants, and are among the marvels of nature's work to the thousands of tourists 
who annually make the tour from the plains to Leadville and Salt Lake. There are 
the grand peaks of La Plata. 14,126 feet; Harvard. 14,386: Yale, 14.101; Princeton. 
i4.i()9; Antero, 14.145; and Shavano, 14,239 feet above tide water. "In the southern 
boundary line, Blount Ouray, 14.043 feet, stands prominent, and in the eastern line 
the Buffalo Peaks. 13.541 feet. Timber line ranges at an elevation of 11,000 to 11.500 
feet, but above this, and on the southern slopes, almost to the summit of the peaks, 
mav be found grasses and most beautiful flowers, oftentimes close to the snow." 
This is a characteristic feature of nearly all our UKJuntain ranges, and is a source of 
jov to cultivated and enthusiastic botanists. 

\'ery soon after the first discovery of gold in Clear Creek. Boulder and Gilpin 
counties in 1859. prospectors penetrated to the head of the Arkansas valley traveling 
by different routes, finding gold-bearing gravel bars near the present seats of placer 
mining in Lake county, which, as will be seen by reference to the history of that 
county in \'olume HI, embraced nearly all of western Colorado. Therefore, down 
to 1879, the primary annals of what is now ChafTee county belonged to Lake. The 
first work of conse(|uence was performed at Kellcy's I'ar, situated some four miles 
below Granite on the river. While the results obtained were by no means equal to 
those of California and other very rich gulches at a later date, these gravel deposits 
were profitably operated for several years, by individuals and corporate com])anies. 
The Cache creek placers were discovered and opened in the spring of i860. It was 
here that H. A. \\'. Tabor took his initiatory lessons in the labors and uncertainties 
of mining; also Mr. S. B. Kellogg, who, later on. became a member of the San Juan 
exploring expedition, the man who aided in outfitting Capt. Baker, as related in our 
second volume. Cache creek has for more than thirty years been regarded as one 
of the best placers in the mountains, and though worked almost continuously from 
i860 t<i the present is not wholly exhausted. "Georgia P>ar. about two miles below 
Granite, opposite the mouth of Clear creek, was discovered and taken uj) by a 

* In 1881 Mr. Emerson prepared a very complete and accurate sketch of Chaffee county 10 that date, 
for the History of the .\ Valley, by O. T.. Raskin & Co.. Chicago, which is frequently referred to 
by the present author. 


part)- of Georgians the same season," and this also has been almost continuously 
proiiuclive. Gold in considerable quantities was scattered all through this part of 
the valiey. Just below Buena Vista (a town created by the South Park railway in 
1871;, but unknown prior to that time), and below the mouth of Cottonwood creek, 
on the western side, some fine placers were opened. The same is true of Brown 
creek, and of certain grounds at the head of Squaw creek, on the eastern slope of 
Mount Shavano. 

Xumerous ha\-, grain and vegetable ranches were located and cultivated along 
the alluvial bottom lands, deltas of the affluents of the Arkansas, and some of them 
yielded large crops, under irrigation. 

Among the first of these claims was that of \lr. Frank Mayol, about eight miles 
above Buena \'ista, now Riverside station, on the Denver & Rio Grande railwav, who 
realized large sums from the sale of his hay and vegetables in the mining camps. Jt 
was purchased by Mr. George Leonhardy, who in 1872 "built a road to Chubb's ranch, 
on the divide, fourteen miles, thereby opening a short line to the South Park," which 
became the regular mail route until superseded by the Denver & South Park railwav. 
Andrew Bard and Frank Loan in 1864 located a claim on the Cottonwood near 
Buena Vista, and building an irrigating canal made it highly profitable, growing 
hay, potatoes, oats and vegetables. "Benjamin Schwander took up a ranch on 
the east side of the river, near the mouth of Trout Creek ; William Bale, John 
McPherson, J. E. Gonell and others followed in 1865, during which year Galatia 
Sprague, R. Mat. Johnston, John Gilliland, Mathew Rule and others settled 
Brown's Creek. In 1866 John Burnett, Nat. Rich and others settled on the 
South Arkansas, near Poncha Springs." In that year the county seat was removed 
from Oro City in California Gulch to Dayton, near the upper of the Twin Lakes. 
The county commissioners, composed of Peter Caruth, William Bale and George 
Leonhardy, laid out some important wagon roads which afforded better conmiunica- 
tion between the northern and southern parts of the county. " In the spring of 1868, 
R. B. Xewitt took up a ranch on the divide near the head of Trout creek, which soon 
became known as 'Chubb's ranch," and was the favorite stopping place for all com- 
ing from Denver and Colorado Springs into the valley of the Arkansas. In the 
same year Charles Nachtrieb, living on Chalk creek, built a grist mill, which for a 
time was fully supplied with wheat grown on the neighboring ranches." 

Meanwhile Granite had become a strong settlement, while the other formerl)- 
prominent points had retrograded through loss of population. It still had fair placer 
grounds, and some excitement had been raised by the discovery and opening of free 
gold quartz, which at the surface gave fine promise of great yields. Several mills 
were built to crush these decompositions, but as depth was gained the free milling 
products were displaced by ores of a refractory nature, and as the processes employed 
were unequal to handling them, they were gradually abandoned. But the popula- 
tion had become strong enough to warrant the removal of the county seat fi'om Da\- 
ton to that point, which was accomplished by vote in 1868. " The first meeting of 
the board of commissioners was held at the new county seat October 8th, Peter 
Caruth being chairman, Walter H. Jones and J. G. Ehrhart members, and Thomas 
Keycs, clerk and recorder." Mines or lodes were located on Chalk creek as early 
as 1872, but no systematic mining was done until several years afterward. The coun- 
try being well adapted to stock raising, the valleys and hills were covered with cattle. 
But this industry long ago disappeared. The following tragic incident related by 
Emerson, was one of the most exciting events that occurred in the upper Arkansas, 
between i860 and the rise of Leadville in 1879: "The mnuerous streams coming 
into the Arkansas from the west afforded abundant water for imgation, but early in 
the spring of 1874, a difficulty arose in regard to water and certain ditches from 
Brown creek, that resulted in the killing of George Harrington, a ranchman, and a 
neighbor, Elijah Gibbs, with whom he had had a dispute the day before, was arrested 

80 msroRV ()]•• COLORADO. 

and tried lor ilic murder. l)iit ;u(|uilKd. there being no evidence against liiin, the trial 
taking i)lace in Denver. After he had returned to his ranch in tlie fall of 1874, an 
attein;)! was made to arrest and lyncli him, which resulted in his killing three of tin; 
partv making the attempt. A safety committee, so-called, was soon after organized 
and several parties were ordered to leave the county. Judge E. F. Dyer, then county 
and prohate judge, but acting as a justice of the peace, upon complaint being made 
before him, issued warrants for the arrest of certain of this committee. In obedience 
to the summons, they, with associates, appeared at Granite for trial. They were heav- 
ily armed, the sheriff claiming his inability to disarm them, and after the dismissal 
of the case on the morning of July 3rd, 1875, Judge Dyer was brutally assassinated, 
shot dead in the court room. The assassins escaped, and but little effort was made 
to discover or arrest them." 

In the course of our general history of Colorado, mention lias been made of 
the fact that large bodies of Indians made a hunting ground and favorite retreat of 
this regioin. Thev were not only secure from attack by their enemies, l)ut game 
being abundant and grazing e.xcellent, it assured support for themselves and ponies. 
There were buiTalo, elk, mountain sheep, deer, game birds and other sources of food 
supplv. When the white hordes came to dig for gold, both Indians and game fled 
to the parks and valleys to the w-estward. 

During the first ten years of occupancy, a number of log school houses were 
built, and schools established therein, but there were no churches, mainly because 
there were very few women in that region to stimulate religious fervor and spread the 
gospel. Services were held occasionally in the school buildings, and in the log 
cabins of the settlers. With the opening of the mineral deposits in 1878-79, a won- 
derful revival took place, the principal details of which have been set forth in pre- 
ceding volumes. Many new towns were founded in the valley, both as the result of 
mining and the building of railways. The records of the county clerk's ofiice show 
the following: 

Biillioii, was established May 26th, 1879: laid off by A. T. Ryan. Wm. A. Maw- 
kins and C. K. Hawkins, on the South Arkansas. It was simply a town ])lat without 
a town. 

Clfora, .\|)ril 1st. i87(), by .Mden .^peare. <>n the .\rkansas. West Cleora was 
laid oft' by J. E. (iorrcll, June 5th, 1879. 

Poiiciia Springs, July 3rd, 1879, by Thomas .Atwood, on the ."^outh .Arkansas: 
plat filed July 6th, 1880, by James P. True. 

Afays-c'ille, October 20th, 1879, by Tlvomas Atwood, for Miner, Crane & Co. 

Buena Vista, October 4th, 1879, by W. Marsh Kasson, president, for the Ruena 
X'ista Land Company, at the confluence of Cottonwood creek and the .\rkansas 

A//>liii\ in 1877, by J. .-\. J. Cha]nnan and J. 1\. Riggins. and tlie i-'urnace ;iddi- 
lion b\ Harriett E. Chapman and .Mary I. Riggins, March 9th, 1880: the Placer 
addition three days later, by Scott L. Land, agent for the East .-Mpine Placer com- 

Sitlidti, August I2th, 1880, i)y .\. C. hum; \Am recorded September 2lst. 

llaiHOik, July 22nd, 1881 (corrected ])lati, located on the ."^outh I'ork of Chalk 

A^at/iro/'. in 1880, recorded .August i_nh. 1S81 ; laid off l)\ Charles Xachtrieb. 
on the Arkansas river. 

C/i/toii, July 1st. 1S80. surveyed by V. W Lord: on the Xorth I'ork of the South 

Gruiiitf, surveyed in 1876, by W. II. I'.radi : reconled I'ebruary 17th, 1883: at 
the mouth of Cache creek. 

Jiinctioii City, now known as Garfield, August 15th, 1883: filed Xnvember I3tli, 
1S83; near the head of the South Arkansas. 

*. , ^ *? ?^ 

-*%*!— i 





^ #. *■ '^^ 


^^'^^^'^^ y? 


S/. Elmo, located first as Forest City, December 2'jX\\. 1880: ai the confluence 
of the North and South Forks of Chalk Creek. 

Arborvi/h', later known as Conrow, was laid off by A. Arbor. 

j\fonarc/i,Yi\\\ Top, Roniley, Brown's Canon, Magee. Schwanders", Princetown, 
Riverside, Calumet, Kraft, Centerville, Haywood, Cottonwood Springs, Dolomite, 
Hummel, \ icksburg, and Winfield, chiefly small stations, complete the town 
nomenclature of the county. Monarch, however, was and still is a considerable 
center of gold and silver mining. 

Biiciia Vis/a occupies a beautiful site, and is a well-built, substantial mountain 
metropolis, surrounded by magnificent scenen,-, twenty-six miles north of Salida, 
and thirty-six south of Leadville; the center of three railroads — the Denver & Rio 
Grande, JJenver & South Park and the Colorado Midland. It was incorporated in 
October, 1879, and Mr. R. Linderman (now county judge) was its first mayor. 
'"The landscape views of this valley are heightened by the series of collegiately 
christened peaks, mentioned near the beginning of this chapter. The climate 
in summer is mild, bracing, and, as Governor Gilpin would say, "delicious," well 
suited to the rapid recuperation of invalids w-hose ailments require altitude, with a 
l>ure, well-tempered atmosphere, while the winters here are much less rigorous than 
at Leadville and beyond. Some excellent mining districts are in the near vicinity 
and contribute to its trade and prosperity. Its growth and advancement were 
fostered by the land company which founded it. The one principal street, on which 
are the hotels and business houses, with many fine dwellings, mostly of brick, is 
lined with shade trees, watered by little rivulets alongside to freshen and advance 
their growth. While it is simply a railroad town, the terminus of the South Park, 
it was a pretty rough border settlement, infested by gamblers, confidence men, and 
desperadoes, who made it a place to be avoided by reputable people, but all these 
elements drifted away in due course, leaving the law-abiding citizens to build it into 
one of the handsomest of our mountain towns, and verify its name — "Beautiful 
\ lew." It has a fine brick school house built at a cost of $15,000, and five churches 
erected by the Alethodists, Congregationalists, Christians. Episcopalians and Cath- 
olics. A system of gravity water works was constructed in 1882-83 ^t ^ cost of 
$35,000 under the mayoralty of Mr. J. E. Cole. The water is fresh, pure and cool 
from Cottonwood creek, where at a point about one and a half miles from the town 
a bountiful supply for all purposes is obtained. The fire department consists of the 
De Remcr Hook & Ladder Co., and the Buena Vista Hose Co. Theodore Matzen is 
chief of the department. The Masons, Odd Fellows, A. O. L'. W., G. A. R. and 
Modern Woodmen have organizations and lodges. The court house and jail, cost- 
ing about $65,000, two-story brick buildings, were erected in 1882. They are sur- 
rounded by shaded, well-kept lawns. The Seventh General Assembly appropriated 
$100,000 for a state reformatory to be built here, the town donating a large tract of 
land valued at about $15,000. The work was commenced and tem])orary buildings 
entered upon, but as there was not sufficient money in the state treasury to meet the 
appropriation, work was suspended, but afterward resumed and the quarters com- 

N'cwspapers. — The "Herald" was founded in 1881 h\ W. R. Logan, .A. R. 
Kenney and A. L. Crossan ; but finally became the property of Mr. Konnedv, who 
sold to D. M. Jones, Jamiary ist, 1891. The "Democrat," established by John 
Cheeley almost sinndtancously with the "Herald," was soon afterward sold to a 
stock companv. with E. B. Jones, manager. In 1883, George Newland bought the 
paper and the frjllowing \ear sold to \\'. R. Logan. The CliafTee Comity "Times," 
by P. A. Leonard, was the first newspaper in the town: Mrs. .\gnes Leonard Hill. 

* The tract on which Muena Vista stands was first loc.ited as a ranch claim by Mrs. .Msina M. W 
Dearheimer. who built the first house in that section. It was first named Clrand View. 
6— iv 


well known in western journalism, contributing much to its fame and large circu- 

Banks. — Hiller, Hallock & Co. were the first bankers here. The Bank of 
Buena Vista was incorporated December 1st, 1890, but had been previously con- 
ducted as a private bank by R. W. Hockaday and C. L. Graves, who sold to George 
C. Wallace, president, and A. C. Wallace, cashier, in December, 1890. This is tlie 
only bank in the place. 

Tile pioneers of Buena \'ista were I'Vank Loan and Andrew Bard, who located 
ranches there in 1864. and cultivated them. The town site occupies a part of Loan's 
ranch. Among the early settlers in the town w'ere James Mahon, James McPhel- 
emy, the first ])ostmaster, G. D. Merriam, J. E. Cole. J. H. Johnston. John Mear, 
L. H. Waters, W. R. Logan, John Cheeley, P. A. Leonard, Miss Alice McPhelemy. 
the first school teacher. Dr. A. E. Wright. George K. Hartenstein. who actiuired 
much wealth from the Leadville mines, expended about $50,000 on a hotel at Cot- 
tonwood Springs, which was destroyed by fire. Alice, daughter of I'Vank Loan. 
is said to have been the first child boni at Buena Vista. E. B. Bray. Josiah Bray, 
John Thompson. John J. Flannagan. J. F. Erdlen, James E. Flannagan. C. S. 
Libby, Rev. Father Dyer, the Peter Cartwright of the Rocky Mountains. Fathers 
Cahill and Cassedy, Rev. J. McDade, Rev. John Gilliland, Rev. Delong, and Mrs. 
Mellen. the noted lady prospector, were also among the early residents. 

I'/ic Buena I'ista Not Springs, arc situated six miles west of the Capital town, 
(now owned by the J. A. Chain estate), at the gateway to Cottonwood Canon, in as 
pretty and inviting a nook as could well be conceived. The water flows from the 
interior of the mountain and is always hot. There are several springs, but only two 
have been improved. There is a. good hotel and bathing house. These are among 
the best medicinal springs of our state, considered a specific for catarrhal, rheumatic 
and other ailments. They were located by (jeorge K. Waite. and by him sold to 
Rev. J. A. Adams and Mrs. J. A. D. Adams, in November, 1878. Later on a half 
interest was purchased by Mr. George K. Hartenstein. They expended large sums 
in improvements, building a fine hotel and accommodations for invalids. The 
Haywood Hot springs, about nifte miles south of lUiena \'ista, possess similar i)ropcr- 
ties. Cottonwood lake, eleven miles west of the tcjwn. is a favorite resort. Twenty- 
five miles to the northwest are the celebrated Twin Lakes, of Lake county. 

Salicfa. — This flourishing town is the entrepot to tiic Marshall Pass by thf 
Gunnison and (irand Junction divisions of the Denver & Rio (irande railroad 
(narrow gauge line), where the Arkansas valley opens out broadly from the long, 
narrow defile of the Grand Canon of the Arkansas, lofty frowning walls 
leave just sufficient rot)ni for a single line of railway. At this point the valley in- 
clines to the northward along the Ijase of the Continental Divide, the route thereto 
from Canon Citv up through that wondrous awe-insi)iring picture of nature's 
handi\>()rk. plowed, worn and smoothly polished by slowly moving glaciers, 
thou.sands of vears agone, forms the gateway to all the occupied and unoccupied 
regions beyond. Salida is the station whence radiate the main line and several 
branches of the Denver & Rio Grande railway, the first extending northwesterly to 
Leadville, thence through Tennessee Pass by a long tunnel to the li!agle river, 
thence to Gleinvood Springs and Grand Junction, with a l)ranch to Aspen from 
Glenwood: the second south via Poncha I'ass. thence northwesterly over .Marshall 
Pass to Gunnison. Montrose and Grand Junction; the third via \'illa Grove, 
southwesterly to Alamosa. Espanola and Santa Fe, and the southwestern system 
of lines, with a branch to Del Xorte and Creede. There is also a short branch to 
the mining district called Monarch. Tt will thus be seen that Salida is. in these and 
some other respects, the most important station between Pueblo and the western 
lineof our state. In the fall of 1800 the Rio Grande company completed its standard 
gauge system by laying a third rail from Denver to Grand Junction via Leadville, 


the Eagle and the Grand rivers, when that was made the main direct Hnc to Salt 
Lake. But the old narrow gauge route via Marshall Pass was neither changed nor 
abandoned. Tourists traveling for pleasure to Utah and California are given their 
choice of routes, and those from the Pacific the same. The change from standard to 
narrow gauge cars, and vice versa, is made at Salida. The scenic advantages of 
both lines are about equal, alike marvelouslv interesting and enjoyable. 

Salida is the most important station on the line between Pueblo and Grand 
Junction, for the reasons given. It is the general transfer and distributing point, 
and while Leadville is several times larger, and furnishes a large trafific, its relations 
are of an entirely different character. The round houses, repair shops and division 
offices are at Salida. It is 217 miles from Denver, via Pueblo and Canon City, and 
28 miles south of Buena \'ista. By the recently opened short line from Mlla Grove 
to Alamosa, Salida is connected with Del Xorte, Creede, Durango, Silverton and 
all the San Juan region. It is a well built town, largely of brick and stone, and 
enjoys much business activity, owing to its peculiar advantages as a railway center. 
A large and very fine hospital has been built there b\- the railway company, chiefly 
for the use of its employes. It has a superb hotel at the station, elegantly fitted 
up and appointed. The valley is exceedingly fertile, producing grain, grasses and 
vegetables in great abundance. The railway companx' occupy all the space with 
their net work of tracks, and numerous buildings, from the eastern shore of the river 
back to the bluffs. The town itself is situated on a beautiful slope under the shadow 
of the mountains on the western side. 

The old town of Cleora, in which the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe company 
is said to have been interested, one and a half miles below Salida, was founded in 
1878, by parties connected with the company just named, upon the expectation 
that W. B. Strong, and not General Palmer, would build the railway through the 
Grand Canon. Therefore they secured the land and laid out a town site which they 
named Cleora, in honor of the daughter of \\'illiam Rale, one of tlie oldest residents 
and ranchmen in that section, and the proprietor of the stage station used by Barlow. 
Sanderson & Co. It grew quite rapidly during 1879, and was the supply point for 
a number of mining camps located about the head waters of the South Arkansas, 
and the Tomichi in Gunnison county. But when the possession of the Grand 
Canon was granted to the D. & R. G. company they crushed out Cleora by build • 
ing Salida. Among the pioneer settlers here were ex-State Senator T. H. Stead. 
.J.>. Smith. W. W. Roller. E. H. Webb. Capt. J. T. Blake. O. V. Wilson. L. W. 
Craig. D. H. Craig. W. E. Roberson, M. R. Moore, R. Devereaux, F. O. Stead, J. B. 
Brown, J. A. Israel. \\'ilbur Hartzell. Charles Hartzell. Charles Hawkins. George 
McG(jvern (from Silver Cliff, who became mayor in 1888), and J. Gillett, also from 
Silver Cliff, who was elected mayor in i8go. The town was incorporated in 1880. 
and the following were the first city officials: 

Mavor. J. E. Mclntyre; trustees. Rodney Wyman. W. I", (ialbraith. O. \'. 
Wilson and R. Devereaux: treasurer. L. W. Craig: clerk. Robert Hallock: police 
magistrate, W. A. Hawkins: marshal, James Meadows. 

AV7t'j/<7/(v.f. — The "Mail" was started June 5th, 1880, by Henry C. Olney and 
M. R. Moore, simultaneously with the town, printed on type formerly used by the 
Cleora "Journal." of which L. C. McKeimey had been the editor. Two years later 
Moore became sole proprietor. The Maysville "Miner." edited by J. S. Painter, was 
moved to Salida, and the name changed to the "Sentinel." It was absorbed by the 
"Mail" in 1884. In August, 1883, Moore sold to W. W. Wallace. \'arious other 
changes occurred and, March. 17th. 1890, Mr. Erdlen became proprietor, with 
M. D. Sncider as editor. The "Mail" was issued as a daily from 1882 to January 
17th, 1885. when it became a semi-weekly. The next important journalistic ven- 
ture at S.'dida was the founding of the Daily "News" by W. B. McKinney in 1883. 
Hp had edited, the Silver Cliff "Pros])ect" in the more ]>rosperous days of Custer 


count}-. He sold the "Xews" to A. K. Pcltoii, and ilicn engaged in journalism at 
I'ueblo. I'ellon sold lo Howard T. Lee. The "Apex" was founded November 
5th, 1890, by :\1. H. Smith and Howard Russell; The "Call" October 4th, 1889, by 
James 15. Siinp-son, who sold to M. H. Smith, and he to Mark Scott, November 
4th, 189c, who changed it to a tri-weekly L'ebruary 3rd, 1891. The "Frog" and 
"Ledger" were t\\ o other journalistic enterprises, one of which w as removed and the 
other burned out. 

Banks. — The Chaffee County Bank was established in 1880 by W. E. Robert- 
son and Kolx-rt A. Main, since deceased. Mr. Robertson is now sole proprietor and 
n:anager. It is the oldest financial institution in the place. The First National 
IJank of .Salida was founded January 2nd, 1890, L. W. Craig, president; E. 15. 
Jones, vice-president, and V. O. Stead, cashier. The only change since made was 
the election of J. B. Bowne as vice-president; the capital is $50,000. The Continental 
Divide Bank was opened in 1885 by L. \V. and D. H. Craig, who went out of 
business December 31st, i88(j. 

The Edison Electric Light company erected a plant here in December, 1887, at 
a cost of 5-30,000, which has since been materially enlarged. Mayor George VV. 
.McGovern is the manager. There are 20 arc lights of 2,000 candle power, for the 
streets, 13 for commercial uses, and 900 incandescent lamps for private illumination, 
and at tins writing the company is prepared to add 900 more. The water-works 
.s)stem was built by the city in 1882, at a cost of $30,000, and $20,000 has since been 
expended in further improvements. The sup]>ly is taken from a large reservoir 
above the city, which is fed by springs. The place has been visited by three cjuite 
destructive fires, but is now better prepared to meet and check the spread of such 
disasters by the organization of an excellent volunteer fire department. 

Churches. — The Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, Baptists. Christians 
and Catholics have church buildings. The Rev. C. A. Brooks, i>residing elder of 
the ^L E. church for western Colorado, and who preached in the Wet Mountain 
valley twenty years ago, resides in Salida. The secret societies are rej)re.sented bv 
lodges of 1-Vee Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Knights of Labor, 
.\. O. U. \V., (J. A. R., Afodern Woodmen and several orders of Railway men. 
The Opera House built by a stock company in 1888-89, 'it <i cost of $30,000, is one 
of the prettiest and most connnodious in the state. 75x100 feet, of brick, with a 
stage of 35x47 feet, and a finelv a])pointed auditorium with a seating cajiacitv of 

The .Salida Gun Club is one of the most famous organizations of its class in the 
west, embracing a number of splendid marksmen, who have won laurels in many 
sharp contests with other expert clul)s. Mr. A. R. Rose is the president: J. .'\. 
Leheritter, secretary, and E. H. Wheeler, treasurer. 

The Presbyterian Academv was incorporated [nne 2nd. 1884, bv William 
Van Every, E. H. Webb, J. E. Cole, Samuel Harsh, N. H. Twitchell. A. C. Hunt, 
S. P.. Westerfield, J. L. McNeil, T. H. Thomas, W. W. Roller, B. H. D. Reamer and 
J. P. Smith. Capt. John T. Blake donated ten acres of ground in the southern part 
of the town. One wing of the building was erected in 1886, when State Senator 
."-^tead was jiresident of the board. It is of brick, and the property is now valued at 
$12,000. This Academy together with the excellent system of public schools, and 
tine church buildings, the general character of the business houses, the intelligence 
of the ]x-o]>le and the picturesque beauty of its situation all combine to make it an 
attractive jioint for settlement. It is further supported by numerous mining dis- 
tricts, and besides, what few mountain towns can boast, a productive agricultural 
vallev. The streets are shaded, there are many emerald lawns, beautiful private 
residences, and at night is brilliantly illuminated by electric lights. It is not boom- 
ing upon real estate speculation, but growing steadily. 

Poiuha Hot Siblings, located in Pondta Pass, on the Salt Lake division of the 


Rio Grande raihva_\-, five miles southwest of Salida, are amongf the most noted of all 
the curative waters m Colorado. For centuries, perhaps, anterior to our settlement 
of the countr\-, the mountain Indians made it one of their chief resorts for relief 
from cutaneous, rheumatic and other ailments. There are ninety-nine of these 
springs, and many forms of disease yield readily to the use of their waters, by in- 
ternal and external application. \'aluable improvements have been made here by 
the erection of bath houses, a large hotel and a number of cottages. They are 
perched high up on the mountain side, where the air is pure and bracing, the slopes 
covered with pine timber, and whence magnificent views of the valley below and 
vast ranges of snow clad mountains in the distance are obtained. The analyses of 
the waters indicate close resemblance to those of the Arkansas Hot Springs, and 
it is undoubtedly true that they are even more valuable for the treatment of various 

For several years after the general revival of the mining industry on the upper 
Arkansas in 1879, Chaffee county was a large producer of minerals, from a number 
of well worked deposits located in the various districts. While the ardor which 
prevailed from 1879 to 1885 has somewhat subsided, much work is still being done, 
antl material consignments of valuable ores are sent to the smelting centers. It is 
also extremely rich in iron ores, marble and stone. On the Monarch branch of 
the Rio Grande road, west of Salida, are the mining towns of Alaysville, Arbourville, 
Garfield and Monarch, the latter the principal point and center of activity. In 1882 
Maysville was the largest town in the county. "The town site," says Emerson, "was 
taken up some years prior to the discovery of mineral, by Amasa Feathers, as a stock 
ranch, located at the junction of the North I<"ork with the South Arkansas." Two 
smelters and some mills were built there. In 1881 it had a population of al)out 
1,000, good hotels, newspapers, and a considerable trade. At the present time 
it is only a small hamlet. xArbourville is scarcely more than a name. Garfield, 
formerly known as Junction City, is situated on the JMonarch Pass toll road, one 
and a half miles above Arbourville, and being near the valuable mines of Middle 
F"ork and Taylor Gulch, was at one time a busy place but is now, like so many 
contemporaneous towns, fallen into decline. But eight to ten years ago some 
great mining operations were carried on in the neighborhood, for example in the 
Tiger and Columbus mines. Monarch, first known as Chafifee City, one and a half 
miles above Junction City, on the South F"ork, was made famous by the opening of 
the Monarch and other mines. The Monarch was discovered in 1878 and in the 
following year was sold to an eastern company which developed it, extracting large 
quantities of good ore, which in general characteristics closely resembled the car- 
bonate ores of Leadville. The Smith & Grey group was also extensively operated: 
the Madonna. Silent I-'riend, Eclipse and others have been large producers, and 
still are capable of yielding heavily under vigorous and competent management, 
though the original prestige of the district has not been maintained. 

S/. FJmi\ first named Forest City, another exceedingly brisk -and promising 
mining district during the first five years of its existence, surrounded by productive 
mineral veins and deposits, is four miles above Alpine, on the Denver & South 
I 'ark railway (narrow gauge) at the junction of Grizzley and Pomeroy Gulches, and 
the North and South Forks of Chalk creek. In former years the P.rittenstein group 
of lodes or veins, owned by New York cai)italists acquired more than local fame. 
-Much St. Louis capital was also invested here. Many extensive tunnel enterprises 
to penetrate the mountains with the view of striking the ore deposits at considerable 
depths were inaugurated, and large sums expended upon them, but in most cases 
the results anticipated were not realized. "The Mary and Pat Murphy mines located 
on a spur of Chrysolite mountain west of the town were discovered by John Royal 
and Dr. A. E. Wright in September. 1875, and sold in 1880 to a St. Louis company" 
became tmder vigorous management the largest producers in the district, as thev 

80 HISTORY OF (,( )I.()RAI)(). 

were the most extensively opened. The Alamo, Kaskaskia. Lulu, Comstuck, 
Idlewihl, Black Hawk, Livingston, iron Chest, .Mollie, Pinnafore and others, were 
very prt)minent from 1880 onward. The town of Tin Cup across the range in 
(junnison county, about 15 miles west, receives many of its supplies through St. 
Elmo. The "Moimtaineer" was published several years by Howard Russell; the 
"Rustler," jireceded by the same publisher, was changed to "Mountaineer," after 
the first issue. The Colorado ".Mineral IJelt" was a later jjublication by W. R. 

Tifliit Cict'k is another district which gave somewhat brilliant promise in early 
times, after the discovery of carbonates in Leadville. ( )ld settlers will recognize 
this as Chubb's Ranch. R. 1!. Newitt, proprietor, who with others located a nunil)er 
of claims, some of which were productive though none were highly profitable. 
Nevertheless the Iron Chest, Iron Mask and Iron Heart were united under a 
coqjoration with a capital stock of one million dollars. Sand carbonates having 
been discovered, together with some veins bearing gold quartz, in the height of the 
prevailing excitement, some extravagant hopes were indulged, which in process 
of time, by the failure to materialize, were dissipated. 

Nathrop is simply a way station on the Rio (irande railway, eight miles below 
Buena Vista, at the junction of this line with the Denver & South I'ark extension 
to Gunnison, but at one time was t|uite a thriving settlement. 

Hoi tense is a station on the Denver & South Park road, thirteen miles from 
Buena \'ista. It was formerly known as the Chalk Creek Hot Springs. .Many 
years ago Dr. J. (i. Stewart appropriated and to some extent imprt)ved one of these 
springs, while Father Dyer, the pioneer Methodist itinerant preacher, took in the 
upper, subsequently transferring his right, title and interest to D. H. Haywood, 
who converted his possessions into a fine sanitarium, preferred by many to an\- other 
in the county on account of the peculiarly healing (pialities of the waters. They 
are now known as Haywood Springs. In July, 1872, J. A. Merriam and E. \V. 
Keyes, who settled here, discovered and located the Hortense mine on Mount 
Princeton, and worked it for some time with encouraging results. The Chalk 
Creek mining district was organized the same year. The Ilortense was sold to a 
New York coni])any. Henry Altman. managing director, and luigene IL Teats, 
formerlv of (iilpin county, superintendent. This was materially successful for some 
years, tlien from various causes was shut down. It is still regarded as one of the 
better mines of the county. 

Alpine, as its name implies, is the highest station on the Denver & South 
Park railwav. 22 miles from I'.uena \'ista. in the canon of Chalk creek, 12 miles 
from the Arkansas river, and hennned in on all sides by tremendous peaks — Prince- 
ton on the northeast, and on the south ;nid west, .Mount Antero and Boulder moun- 
tain. It never was a large place, and is only a way station now. but it was a mining 
camp of some importance ten years ago, with smelters, a bank, newspa])er, hotels, 
business houses, saloons, etc. A great many mines were located, partially pros- 
pected and some fairly well deveIo])ed. but most of the productive ones w^erc situated 
nearer other towns on the belt line than this, hence its primal .glory did not long out- 
live the first days of excitement. 

A'owley is a shipjiing point for the Mary Muq:)hy mine. Hancock is a small 
mining camp a little soutli of Romley. Along the north, middle and south Cotton- 
wood are a number of mining properties, but mostly undeveloped. The Cora lielle 
company have reeentlv built a concentrating mill for their mines on Fox mountain. 
A number of Uications have been made in Dolomite district east of Buena \'ista. 

.Some very extensive deposits r)f fine white statuary and variegated marbles 
have l)een located and partly o])ened near Calmnet, and also at Garfield. Calumet 
is an iron mining camp, where there are vast beds of rich magnetic ores, whence the 
Colorado Coal and Iron company obtain their supjilies. ,Some of the granite used 


in the Kansas Capitol building at Topeka was taken from quarries near Uuena 
Vista. It is said by Denver builders that the lime produced near Salida is the finest 
they have ever used, and vast quantities of the stone are burned and shipped to 
various points in the state. This region is also a large producer of charcoal. Thus 
it will be observed that the resources and industries of Chaffee county are wonder- 
fully diversified and very extensive. Along the Arkansas valley are the placer 
mines of gokl, hav and 8:arUenuig' rancnes, while in the mountainous districts are 
veins containing gold, silver and lead : near the great shipping point at Salida. injn 
and marble and stone; near Buena \'ista almost innumerable hot mineral springs. 
While as a gold and silver mining county it has not equaled its neighbor, Lake, in 
productiveness, there are vast undeveloped mineral treasures awaiting patient capital 
and labor. 

By the census of i8yo the school population of ChafYee county was i,6og, with 
26 districts, and 2^ school houses, with a valuation of $49,325. Forty-four were 
enrolled in the high school; 573 in the graded, and 504 in the ungraded schools, 
making a total of 1,121, with an average daily attendance of 747. Fourteen teachers 
were employed in the graded schools and t^}^ in the ungraded. 

I'ljllnwing were the county officials for 1890-91: Commissioners, C. S. Elliott. 
A. IL Wade and W. D. White: sheriff, Hugh Cry-mble; clerk, E. G. Bettis; treasurer, 
J. M. Bonney; county judge, R. Linderman; assessor, C. H. Holt; coroner. Dr. 
E. W. Martin: superintendent of schools, Lee Champion; survevor, H. J. Van 
Wetering: clerk of the district court, L. P. Rudoli)h. 

The assessed valuation of taxable property in 1879, the vear of organization, 
was $399,944. In 1890 it was $3,689,358.40. 






This county, which takes its name from the Cheyenne Indians who made a 
Ijart of that section one of their principal rendezvous in the years anterior and 
subsequent to the settlement of Colorado, and with their confederates, the Arapa- 
hoes, owned or claimed most of the plains east of the mountains and west of Kansas, 
was organized by an act of the General Assembly, approved April nth, 1889. 
Its territory was segregated from the southeastern part of Elbert and the northern 
part of Licnt counties. It is bounded (jn tlic north by Kit Carson, south bv Kiowa, 
east by the state of Kansas and west by Lincoln. Its area is 1,800 S(|uare miles, 
and by the census of 1890 its po])ulation was 534. 

The county seat is located at Cheyenne Wells, one of the older towns on the 
Kansas Pacific railway, west of Kansas. The building of this thoroughfare in 
1870 greatly stimulated its growth, by making it an important station for the 
shipment of cattle, wool and sheep. Back in territorial times the Chevenncs. 
Arapahoes and Kiowas frequently made that region extremely perilous to white 
settlers and travelers. Raids came often, and many a pioneer lost his life in bloody 
encounters. Cheyenne Wells was a station on the overland stage line, then known 
as the "Smoky Hill route." It is situated in the eastern part of the county, is the 


principal town and general headquarters for stockmen, wool growers, farmers and 
traders. The entire length of the county from east to west is traversed by the Kan- 
sas Pacific railway, the second rapid transit line built in Colorado (completed to 
Denver August 15th, 1870), and the southeastern part by the Big Sandy and Rush 
creeks, both fed by numerous small tributaries. The famous Smoky Hills, 
rendered historic by the fact of their having been the main headquarters of hostile 
Indians, lie in the northeastern portion, extending into Kansas. It was there that 
man\ ])arties of gold hunters in 1859 and subsequent years were attacked and 
njughly liandled by savages. The first Pike's Peak stage and freight lines came to 
Denver by that route, starting from Leavenworth, and some years later it was 
occupied by the "Butterfield Overland Dispatch." From these bluffs or hills, the 
Intlians sent out war parties that desolated the border, intercepted and destroyed 
stages and freight trains, burnt ranches and stations, and killed all companies of 
white men tliat were not too strong for them. All the sur\-iving settlers of the 
period still cherish lively remembrances of that noted camping groimd, and the 
men who built the Kansas I'acific road also have occasion to remember the fierce 
assaults made on them from the same quarter. 

I"nr more tlian thirty years the tract embraced by Cheyenne county, and 
indeed the entire eastern border, has been a feeding ground for great herds of cattle. 
In none of the counties organized u])on that strip, until recent years, has any con- 
siderable attention been given to agriculture. Cattle and wool growing were 
enormously profitable in favorable seasons. The difficulty and expense of provid- 
ing irrigating canals, since there are no large water courses, deterred such as may 
have been inclined to farming, hence the region has never been thickly populated, 
and has always been dominated by the grazing interests. 

In August, 1882, an attempt was made to discover and utilize the underflow 
of the plains by sinking artesian wells. Senator N. P. Hill having obtained from 
congress an appropriation to defray the cost of certain experiments in that direc- 
tion. The first well was bored near Fort Lyon, in Bent county, and the second at 
Akron, the present capital of Washington county. A digest of the proceedings 
at the latter place appears in the history of that county, lioth failed to accomplish 
the end in view. On the 17th of June, 1883, the derrick, tools, etc., were removed 
iTom Akron to Cheyenne W'ells, where the third and final test was made. By this 
time only a small part of the appropriation remained, but the drilling began, and, 
Sc]itembcr ist, following, a vein of water was opened at a depth of 250 feet. The 
pressure was finite strong, but, in the end, this likewise proved a failure, and like 
the others was abandoned. Xevertheless, it went far enough to demonstrate the 
existence of a large deposit of water. It is now being used by the L'nion Pacific 
railwav companv to sup]ily its locomotives, and in addition furnishes water 
for the town. This well was put down 1,700 feet, and at 750 feet a pow-erful flow 
of natural gas was produced. Soon after the completion of the Kansas Pacific 
road, in 1870, Cicn. W. J. Palmer, w'ho superintended its construction from Kit 
Carson to Denver, undertook to find artesian water at Arapahoe station, and. 
though a well was simk to a <leptli of 600 feet, his object was not attained. 

The assessment roll for 1890, the first year after its creation, shows better than 
anv other record the internal resources and principal revenues of Cheyenne county. 
Oiily 1,551 acres of agricultural land were returned, valued at $3,190; but of grazing 
lands there were 572.930 acres, valued at $861.6:0. The value of the improvements 
on pnvate lands was placed at $2,555. 'Ti^I '^" ''"-' Public lands at $5,500. Of live 
stock the following were listed: Horses 276, mules 21, cattle 5.892 and sheep 6,220. 
The total assessed valuation of taxable property in the county for that year was 
$1,590,218.86, of which the greater part was in grazing lands. This report shows 
that but little land has been cultivated, and as no large irrigating ditches have been 
due. the few farmers rely wholly upon natural rainfalls for maturing their crops. 

— ii 

-^^;^, -'-^ 



hi 1890 tlie wool clip was estimated at 95,000 pounds. Again, more than half the 
population is in Cheyenne Wells, where the Kansas Pacific road, two vears ago, 
moved its division headquarters, consolidating Hugo and Wallace stations at this 
point. Kit Carson, another station on that line to the west, is the only other con- 
siderable settlement, with about 150 inhabitants. In 1869-70, however. Carson 
was a great trading and shipping point, containing 1,500 to 2,000 people. 

In the summer of 1878 a band of Ute Indians under Chief Shawano, while 
hunting in this region, killed Mr. Joseph McLane (July 30th). a brother of Mr. 
L. N. .McLane, now, and for many years, a resident of Cheyenne Wells. There 
were 500 Indians and 250 warriors in the band. W'hy they killed him, if for an\ 
special reason, is not known. Three difTerent searches for the bodv were made, 
covering a period of three years, extending between the K. P. R. R. and the Arick- 
aree, all led by ^Ir. L. N. McLane and conducted at his expense. The government 
furnished a detachment of troops, which was accompanied by 25 range riders. A 
vast region of country was traversed, but the remains were not found until the 
^vinter of 1881. It was one of the sensational mysteries of the period. The columns 
of the state newspapers gave all manner of reports and conjectures and much bitter- 
ness against the Utes grew out of the traged}-. In 1888. when the countrv came to 
be settled by immigrants, near the place where McLane was killed were found 
several trinkets, consisting of a gold ring, shirt stud, and several pieces of coin. All 
the circumstances indicated that a sharp running fight occurred, and that McLane. 
after being mortally wounded, had ridden away from his assailants on a fleet horse 
and concealed himself so com]iletely that they never found him. It was also be- 
lieved that two Indian warriors were killed by him, as several of the tribe subse- 
<iuently acknowledged that two were missing and could not be found. 

The officers for Cheyenne county in 1890-91 were, clerk, \\'. L. Patchen; treas- 
urer, J. W. Lamb; county judge, Robert H. Sheets: assessor, I. F. Jones; sherift. 
C. li. Farnsworth; coroner, Mervin Pinkerton: superintendent of schools, S. C. 
Perry; surveyor, F. W. Steel; clerk of the district court, Henry Eyler: commis- 
sioners, Lewis N. McLane. Joseph O. Dostal. and Ernest Bartels. Most of these 
were the first officers of the county appointed by Governor Cooper. 

The town -of Cheyenne Wells was incorporated June 6th, 1890. Its first 
mayor was John F. Jefifers; trustees, W. L. Patchen, L. N. McLane, L. H. Johnson. 
Win. O'Brien, Fred Runeer. and H. S. Hamilton; marshal B. F. I'.eamer; clerk. 
C. FI. Fairhall; treasurer. J. W. Lamb. 

The officers for 1890-91 were, mayor (pro tempore). Charles 11. Xornian : 
trustees, C. E. Farnsworth. M. P. Trumbor. P. Hastings and J. W. Fuller; marshal, 
p.. F. Reamer; clerk, W. L. Patchen: treasurer. J. W. Lamb. 

The county has a fine court house, built at a of $12,000. According tt> 
the census of 1890, the total school population of the county was 137. with an en- 
rollment of 127. and an average daily attendance of 46. There were seven districts 
and four school houses: value of school property. $42,000. which shows that while 
the population is sparse, the people have been remarkabl\' lil)eral in expenditures 
for educational purposes. The county has no debt. 

In 1888 excellent crops were raised without irrigation, but in i889-()0 rain- 
falls were infrequent, and, in consequence, the crops failed to mature. With 
abundant water, vast areas of land now devoted to grazing might be rendered vcr>* 
l)roducti\e. Init the settlers have no hope of such a consummation, unless it shall 
be accomplished by some of tlie recently invented methods for producing rain In- 
artificial means. 

The county seat has one weekly news])ai)er. the Cheyenne "Republican." 
edited by Mr. T. W. Vanderveer. The first modern houses were built by the R. R. 
comj^any in i86g. One of the oldest settlers is Lewis X. McLane. who came there 
from Erie. Pa., in i860, when onl\- t8 vears of age. commenced work for the K. P. 


R. R. Co. as a telegraph operator and scr\-C(l as advance operator while the road 
was being' extended from Sheridan to Denver. In those (lays, as we have indi- 
cated, and for some years afterward, it was necessary to place military guards at 
the station houses, and send out <letachments of troops to protect the working 
forces. Mr. McLane was permanently located at Cheyenne Wells in 1870, and 
remained a trusted employe of the road until the division headquarters were moved 
to that place in the spring of iSgo. l'"cir the ]Kist fifteen years he has been interested 
in cattle and mining. 

Mr. W'm. O'Brien, another pioneer, settled there in 1869. His chief business 
was hunting hufifalo, making Kit Carson, Sheridan, Grinnel and Bufifalo Park his 
principal trading points. He afterward managed eating houses for the Kansas 
Pacific, at Fort Wallace, Hugo, and other points along the line, but finall\ effected 
a permanent residence in Cheyenne Wells. 

Mr. Ernest Partels, one of the coimt\- commissioners, arrived on the scene 
among the earlv nnmigrants to the Rocky Mountains, and has been almost entirely 
engaged in raising cattle, sheep and horses. He now has a cattle ranch on the 
Big Sandy, seven miles southeast of Kit Carson, and is widely known throughout 
the state. Mr. J. C). Dostal. another of the commissioners, resided in Central City 
up to 1880. when, owing to ill health in that altitude, he located a sheep ranch on 
the Big Sandv near Aroya (now in Cheyemie county) where he has since resided. 
He is a carefiil business man, and by his industry and thrift has made a modest 
fortune. Having known him many years, the author may speak of him as a 
man of sterling (jualities, honest, candid and upright. 


This is historic ground — romantic and thrillino incidents — an old Spanish 

c.rant of 1842 amusing record of original location — colonized in 1854 

nv lafayette head biography of mr. head a life filled with adven- 

lure progress of his colony wars with the utes a remarkahle indian 



The county of Conejos, a Spanish word, pninnuiieed Con-a-hos (Rabbit), as 
created and defined by an act of the first territorial legislative assembly, ajjproved by 
Governor William Gilpin, November ist, 1861, took the name (;uadalu])e. from the 
])atron Saintof Mexico. By an act approvedseven dayslater,the name was changed to 
Conejos, and under that title it was somewhat iiniierfectly (organized. Until 1874 
it embraced all the extreme southwestern part of Colorado, lying between the Rio 
Grande river, which divided it from Costilla county on the east. Lake county, which 
«then extended to the L'tah line, on the north, and New Mexico on the south. Its 
original territorv extended to the Sierra San Juan, and the Sierra La Plata chains of 
mountains, covering also the Mesa Verde, the headwaters of the Rio Mancos, Rio 
La Plata, Rio de las Animas, Rio Grande, I'lorida, Piedras, San Juan, Blanca. La 
jara, Conejos, San Antonio and other streams. But by the demand for the organ- 
ization of new counties, it has been shorn of the greater part of its primal vast 
dimensions. It is now bounded on the north by Rio Grande and Costilla, south by 
New Mexico, west bv Archuleta and east by Costilla. Its present area is 1,200 


square miles, and by the census of 1890 its population was 7,193, an increase ')f 
1,588 during the preceding decade. As the first definitive settlements in Colorado 
were made in Costilla and Conejos counties, then parts of Taos county. New Mexico 
(in Costilla in 1849 and in Conejos, 1854), it is important to trace their origin. The 
partial colonization of Costilla has been set forth in our third volume, page 328. 

A considerable part of Conejos county lying in the San Luis valley or park 
was granted to Jose Maria Martinez and Antonio Martinez of El Rito, liio Arriba 
county. New Mexico, and Julian Gallegos and Scledon \'aldez of Taos, ( )ctober 
12th, 1842. A few settlers came, but were frightened away by the active liostilit\- 
nf the Indians; hence no permanent improvements were made. The boundaries 
(jf this old Alexican grant are thus somewhat vaguely described in the original docu- 
ment now on file in the ofSce of the Surveyor-General of Colorado, at Denver: — 
"On the north liy La Garita Hill, on the south by the San Antonio Mountain, on the 
east by the Rio Del Norte, and on the west by the timbered mountain embraced by 
llw tract." Then follows an account of how the lands were allotted to the original 
colonists, in these words: — "P)y measuring off to them the planting lots from the 
plateau Bend, there fell to each one of the settlers 200 varas in a straight line from 
the San Antonio river and its adjoining hills and its margins, to the La Jara river 
inclusive, there being eighty-four families, a surplus in the upper portion toward 
the caiion of said river remaining for settlement of others, from where the two sepa- 
rate upward, and in the lower portion from the bend aforesaid to the Del Norte river, 
notifying the colonists that the pastures and watering places remain in common as 
stated, and the roads for entering and leaving the town shall remain open and free 
wherever they may be, without anyone being authorized to obstruct them. And, 
be it known henceforth, that Messrs. Antonio Martinez and Julian Gallegos are 
tlie privileged individuals, they having obtained the said grant to the land on the 
Conejos, and they should be treated as they merit. And, in order that all the foregoing 
may in all times appear, I signed the grant with the witnesses in my attendance, with 
whom 1 act by appointment for want of a public or national notary, there being none 
in this department of New Mexico. To all of which I certifv. 

(.Signed) CORNELIO \"IJIL. 

Possession of the grant was given as follows, the same being a transcript from 
the record: 

" Cornelio Yijil, first Justice of the Peace of the First Demarcation of Taos, 
in pursuance of the decree and directions of the Honorable, the prefect of this 
district, Juan Andres Archuleta, under date of [-"ebruary 23rd, 1842, and which appears 
in the petition presented b)' the applicants (Martinez, Gallegos and Valdez), asking 
that the Conejos river be given in possession to them, and L the said Justice of the 
Peace, having proceeded to the tract, in company with the two witnesses in my at- 
tenc'ance, who were the citizens, Santiago Martinez and Eugenio Navango, and 
eighty-three heads of families being present, some of them in person and some by 
.ittorney, produced and explained to them their petition, and informed them that 
to obtain the said land they would have to respect and comply in due legal form 
with the following conditions." 

The conditions were, that the\ were to occupy and cultivate the lands, raise 
stock, etc., etc. Failure to do so for a certain numiier of years would work a for- 
feiture of their rights. 

Then, " All, and each for himself, ha\ing heard and accepted the conditions 
hereinbefore prescribed, they according all unanimously replied that they accepted 
and comprehended what was required of thetn, whereupon, I took them by the 
hand, and declared, in a loud and intelligible voice, that in the name of the .Sover- 
eign Constituent Congress of the Union, and without prejudice to the National 
interest or to those of any third party. 1 V-A them over the tract and granted to 


them ihc laml; and tlicy plucked up grass, cast stones and exclaimed in voices of 
gladness, saying: "Long live the Sovereignty of our Mexican Nation!" taking 
possession of said tract rjuietly and peaceably without any opposition the boundaries 
designated to them. " 

Owing to the lack of proper evidence, when the United States acquired Xew 
Mexico, under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, in 1848. this grant was not, nor 
has it since been, confirmed, though several efforts have been made to that end. It 
covered about one-third of the present valley portion of Conejos county. Much of 
It has been surveyed, entered and duly paid for by settlers under the laws of the 
United States, but rights to certain sections are still unsettled, and will probabh 
be brought before the Court of Private Land Claims, established by act of Congress, 
approved March 3rd, i8yi, which met in Denver for organization July ist. 1891. 

While Martinez, Gallegos and V'aldez took jjossession as stated, the Indians, 
resenting the intrusion upon their cherished hunting and camping grounds, harassed 
the settlers continually and finally drove them out. Nothing further was done 
toward peo])ling this tract until early in 1854, when Major Lafayette Head, who had 
long been a resident of New Mexico, gathered a colony of about fifty families, and 
located them on these lands. 

Mr. Head was born at Head's Fort (erected by his family as a defense against 
hostile savages), Howard county, Missouri, ten miles below Booneville. April 19th, 
.1.825. J^"? '^^'1* educated in the conmion schools. In August, 1846, at the age of 
21, he enlisted as a private in company IS, U. S. volunteers, for twelve months, under 
Colonel .Sterling Price, and marched with the command to Santa Fe. At the ex- 
])iration of his enlistment, he decided to remain in that country; therefore took a 
clerkship in a store, continuing until Feliruary, 1849, when he went to Abiquiu. with 
a small stock of goods, which he sold at a good profit. In 1850 he was ap])ointed 
deputy U. S. marshal for the northern district of New Mexico. In 1857 he was 
elected sheriff of Rio Arriba county, for two years. In 1853. he was elected 
a rei^resentative for that county to the territorial legislature. I'ut a year 
previous he bad been appointed special agent for the Jiccarilla Apaches and Capote 
Utt^ in tile meantime the little wealth he had accumulated — about $15.000 — had 
been lo;,t through indorseiuents for friends: and, having been urged to attempt the 
colonization of the Martinez grant in the San Luis valley, of which he had received 
fav(jrable reports, he accepted, and in 1854, collecting some fifty Mexican families, 
started for the promised land. 

They settled on the north side of the Conejos river: organized a connnunity 
and called it (luadalupe, in honor of "Our Lady of (iuadalupe. " They built adobe 
houses and engaged in cultivating the soil, stock raising and so forth. Some of the 
original band grew faint-hearted and turned back, but their places were filled by 
others, .^t one lime, however, the colony became reduced to twelve families. They 
were fre(|ueinly threatened by Indians, but held firmly to their post. ( )n the I3tli 
of March, 1854, the Utes and Apaches surrounded the town and a lively fight en- 
sued, lasting from just before sunrise until noon, when the savages were driven 
away. .Several of Mr. Head's party were wounded but none killed. The Indians 
carried ofif their dead and wounded. 

In 1S56, Mr. Head was elected to the sen;ite of the New .Mexican legislatin-e. 
to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of Don Juan Benito \'aldcz. In 1858. 
he was re-elected and made i)resident of that body. There were only two American 
nieml)ers. In 1859 he was appointed agent for the Tabcguacbe Utes, which office 
he retained until 1868. In 1873 he was elected to the council, or senate, of the tenth 
territf)rial legislature of Colorado, representing Costilla and Conejos counties. In 
1875 he was elected a member of the convention which framed (Uir state constitution. 
He was appointed on the connnittees on executive deiiartment. on tiie bill of rights. 
;ind to the (•h:iirir,;inshi;i of that on miscellaneous ]irovisions. When the Keimblican 


state convention met in Pueblo to nominate its ticket, he was brought forward as 
a leading candidate for the governorship, but yielded the place to John L. Routt, and 
took the office of lieutenant-governor. In the lirst General Assembly lie presided 
over the Senate. In i8So he was elected a delegate to the Republican national con- 
vention at Chicago, which nominated James A. Garfield, though he voted steadily 
with the 306 which stood for General Grant, and, in recognition of his steadfast ad- 
herence, wears one of the bronze medals issued in commemoration of that event. 

Returning to the original subject, it may be stated that the little colony on the 
Conejos liuiltiplied and prospered during all tliese years. The men took up farms 
along the streams, tilled them and soon acquired a comfortable position. Major 
Head was their leader, counselor and guide, and is so at the present date. Though 
the region is not thickly populated, it is very fertile and productive. 

.Since they form a part of the annals of the county, the reader will pardon the 
intrusion here of cctain interesting reminiscences in the Major's experiences with 
the Indians uridcr his charge. 

In 1866 Kaneatche, a war chief of the Utes, upon some trivial pretext, took the 
war-path with his braves and began depredating upon the property of the dwellers 
in Las Animas county, killing the people, stealing their stock and subjecting them 
to all manner of harassments. At length a company of cavalry under Col. Alexander 
was sent to keep them in check. In the course of operations, Kaneatche challenged 
Alexander to an open tight, feeling confident that he could whip the soldiers. Alex- 
ander replied that he was not there to accept challenges, but to prevent the Indians 
from molesting the settlers. But the chief, bent upon trying conclusions with the 
cavalry, finally managed to bring on a conflict, in which, after a sharp battle, he was 
thoroughl)' punished for his temerity. After his defeat he passed over into the San 
Luis valley via Alosca Pass, killing two settlers en route. Things looked ominous 
of further trouble; therefore. General Kit Carson, then in command at Fort Gar- 
land, sent for Major Head to come there and have an understanding with Kaneat- 
che. He obeyed the order, and after many councils succeeded in patching up a 

The Tabeguaches, like all other races of people, have a tradition of the Deluge, 
and, while not in accord with the Scriptural account, is nevertheless quite uni(]ue. 
They believe that the Ark or boat which contained all the people and all the 
animals to be saved from the universal inunilation landed, not on Mount Ararat, 
but on top of a spur of mountains just back of Palmer lake, 52 miles south of Den- 
ver, and that when the waters subsided and the dry land appeared, they departed 
from the boat and went down upon the plain. There they pitched their tepees, and 
the animals went with them. In the course of time the warriors went out to ex- 
plore the country to great distances, leaving an old woman in charge of the settle- 
ment. She was extremely cross, high-tempered and irritable, this old woman. 
One day, while clearing up the camp, preparatory to the return of the warriors, the 
animals getting in Iier way and hindering her work, flying into a rage, she brandished 
her willow broom about so violently and scolded so furiously, the animals be- 
came frightened and fled, and that is the reason the Indians have ever since been 
r)bliged to hunt them. 

Major Head's colony was the onl_\- one that succeeded in maintaining a perma- 
nent foothold in the San Luis valley. His influence over this people has been al- 
most supreme, and always exerted for whatever he believed to be their best welfare. 
In the many years he has resided there he has acquired large landed estates. He 
lives in a large and fine adobe house, which is a veritable palace in its interior fur- 
nishings and adornment, the seat of a boundless and refined hospitality. In 1865 
he moved from Guadalupe to more elevated ground on the south side of the Conejos 
river and there built his present home. Others followed and it soon became a center 
of trade. When in 1862 it was decided to establish a j)ost office in that section. 


Major Head was asked what name should he designated, and he answered "(kiada- 
luiJC," l)Ut tl'ie post office department, in view of the man\' ])laces of tliat name, re- 
solved to call it Conejos, hence the name of the new settlement where the office was 
permanently located. The original town of Guadalupe remains, and is well in- 

In 185: the Major was united in marriage to Senorita Martina Martinez, with 
whom he liveel in great domestic happiness until her death, November 21st, 1886. 
Twenty-five years ago, being childless, he adopted a little Mexican girl, then three 
years old, cared for and educated her at the Sisters" convent in Conejos. Her name 
was J'iedad ( piety ) Sisneros. She is now 28 years old, and maintains the Major's 
fine establishment with exalted grace. She has been twice married: the last time 
to Alfred Nelson, of Swedish birth, the inventor of the famous Xelson knittiog 
machine, from which he acquired a large fortime. He died in Conejos, December 
14th, 1888. 

Those who have followed the early explorations of the Rocky Mountains, as 
set forth in our first volume, will remeniljer tliat toward the close of 1806, Lieutenant 
Zebulon AL Pike, in the course of his wanderings in search of the sources of certain 
rivers, passed into the San Luis valley and built a log fort on the Conejos river 
just above its junction with the Rio Grande, and that he was there captured by 
Spanish troops and carried off to Santa Fe. Major Head i)ointed out the exact 
locality of this fort to the author, at a point east and opposite the recently settled 
Mormon town of Manassa.* When the Major came into the valley in 1854, he 
discovered the remains of the fort. The logs were still there but so decayed that 
they crumbled at the touch. The house, or stockade, was about twenty-five feet 
square, built close up against a hillside. It was in the usual form of the ordinary 
log cal)in, crowned with a dirt roof. The children of two of the soldiers who were 
members of the command that captured I^ieutenant I'ike are still alive. One was 
Julian Sanchez, of Taos, who moved over to the Culebra and died there: the other, 
Antonio Domingo Lucero, a drummer boy, whose children now live in the valley. 

Among the pioneer hunters and trappers who once made their rendezvous 
in the Mexican settlements were Bill Williams. Kit Carson, Antoine Lerroux, 
Charley Autobees, Tom Toben, I'ncle Dick Wootten, Col. John AL Francisco, 
Thomas Boggs and others. 

Failing to secure a confirmation of the old Mexican grant, many of the settlers 
obtained titles to their lands under the laws of the United States. No stirring 
events transpired in the valley until the arrival at Alamosa of the Denver & Rio 
Grande railway, July 6th, 1878. Then much activity prevailed, and out of it grew 
the present wonderful transformation. 

Conejos. — This town has been the county seat from the beginning of organiza- 
tion under the statutes of Colorado. There is but one established church, the Catho- 
lic, and but one school in the place which is conducted by the Sisters of Loretto. 
In 1856, at Guadalupe, a small picket house, plastered with adobe, was built for 
a place of worship. Subsequently, in 1865, a more pretentious structure was erected 
at Conejos, and a wing of one room attached for school ])urposes. The Sisters 
now have a commodious independent academy near the church. Roth places have 
been made attractive by shade trees, lawns and flowers. On nearly all tlie affluents 
of the Rio Grande there are several groups of Mexican settlers, engaged in farming 
and stock raising. There are two or three stores in Conejos, a saloon or two, a 
flouring mill belonging to Major Head, a blacksmith sho]), numerous adobe 
houses, and the court house, built of a beautiful white sandstone in cubes, a statelv 
and imposing edifice, 42 x 88 feet, the interior finished in polished Texas pine. Its 

* On the ranch owned by Judge .\. W. Mclnlire. now governor of Colorado, elected in Xovember, 


cost was $35,000. It was completed and occupied March 17th, 1891. The archi- 
tcctureof tliisletnpleof justice, and interior arrangement and finish. are not surpassed 
by an\ similar structure in southwestern Colorado. It is impossible to collect 
much information of value relating to the foundation of government from the 
county records, as they were crudely kept in Spanish. But few of the residents 
were competent to open and keep proper records. They were a simple-minded, 
mainly uneducated community, isolated from the world and requiring but little 
government. The officers complied with the laws so far as they comprehended 
them. By the assistance of the county clerk, Mr. David Frank, two or three old 
books were fished out of their forgotten hiding places, from which it was discovered 
that Jesus Maria Velasquez was the probate judge in 1862, but none of the 
t)ther officers, if they had any, were given. In 1863 the following appears of record: 
County clerk, Tvlanuel Lucero: sherifT, Miguel Antonio Martinez: treasurer. Jose 
Gabriel Martinez: chairman of the board of commissioners, Pedro Antonio Lobato. 

Tlie officers for 1890-91 were, commissioners, Hipolito Romero, chairman. 
Joseph F. Thomas, and Benardo Romero: clerk, David Frank; treasurer, Charles 
Brickenstein; sheriff, J. A. Garcia: county judge, L. M. Peterson: superintendent of 
schools, L. A. Norland; assessor, .S. O. Fletcher; coroner, A. B. Wright. 

GtuiJciIi/pe became an incorjiorated town by action of the county commission- 
ers, taken July 26th, 1869, upon a memorial from the requisite number of tax-pay- 
ers. The petition being granted, the following trustees were appointed to serve 
until the next ensuing election in April, 1870, viz: Lafayette Head, Jose Francisco 
.Martinez, Xemecio Lucero, Diego Martinez and Jose de la Luz ^lartinez. The 
limits \\ere embraced within the S. E. \ of section 18, township 33 north, range 9 
east, Xevv Mexico meridian. The town of Servietta just north of Guadalupe, once 
the largest in the county, is now but a little hamlet of two or three families. Cone- 
jos is not incorporated. 

What is known as the San Luis valley or park is now covered by the four 
counties of Saguache, Rio Grande, Costilla and Conejos. It is of eliptical shape 
and of great dimensions, lying between, as Governor Gilpin states it, "the Cordillera 
and the Sierra Mimbres." All the others having been given appropriate consider- 
ation and description, it only remains to state that the park was, in remote ages, the 
bed of a great primeval sea or lake. The plain, as we find it to-day, appears to be 
almost as level as the surface of still water; and. in looking it over, we wonder how 
it is possible for water to flow through the great irrigating canals that thread this re- 
markable valley. Many streams plunge into it from the mountains on all sides, empt\- 
ing at last into the Rio Grande river, which is the parent stream. The average ele- 
vation of the park is 7.500 feet above the sea. It is entirely surrounded by loft\ 
serrated mountain chains, that are crowned by peaks from 13,000 to 14.000 feet in 
height. These, capped with snow most of the year, present an aspect of sublimitv 
and grandeur which no pen can adequately describe. The Del Norte river takes 
its rise in the San Juan mountains, near ^lineral City, flowing eastward to the 
base of the mountains and deljouching into the plain near the town of Del Norte, 
pursuing a serpentine course to about the longitudinal center, when it turns to the 
south, passes into New Mexico and Texas and empties finallv into the Gulf of 
Mexico. Adopting Governor Gilpin's description: "All the streams descending 
from the enveloping Sierras other than the Alamosa converge into it their tributary 
waters. On the west come in successively the I'intada, the Rio Gata, the Rio La 
Jara, the Conejos, the San Antonio, and the Piedras. These streams, six or 
eight miles apart, parallel, equi-distant, fed by the snows of the Sierra Mimbres. 
l.avc abundant waters, very fertile areas of land, and all are of the verv 
highest order of beauty. In the immediate vicinity of Fort Garland, the Yuba, 
the Sangre de Cristo and the Trinchera descend from the mountains, converge, unite 
a few miles west and, blending with the Trinchera. flow west 24 miles into the Rio 


Del Xortc. In the sen-ated rim of the park, as seen from the plain projected against 
the sky, are discernible seventeen peaks at very equal distance from one another. 
Each one differs from all the rest in .some peculiarity of shape and position. Each 
one identifies itself by some striking beauty." 

The valley we are considering is about 125 miles north by south, and has an 
average width of about 50 miles. Its loftiest peak. Sierra Blanca, one of the 
grandest on the continent, standing alone, incomparable, snow-crowned, rises to 
a height of 14,464 feet. The climate of this region may well be termed salubrious, 
the air pure and health-giving. The seasons are much like those of Denver and 
Colorado Sjirings: warm days in smnmer, and cool, refreshing niglits. while in 
winter it is somewhat milder than in the places named, notwithstanding the prox- 
imity of the snow ranges. The soil is a deep, sandy loam. Prior to the demon- 
stration of its value by the settlers, and the construction of large irrigating 
canals, the Illinois and Iowa farmer would have reganled it as wholly unfit for 
cultivation. Yet it has been proven to be as fertile and productive as can be found 
on the continent. It is the proper ap]jlication of water, and knowledge of how to 
,till this ground, that have made it so fruitful in crops. It is especially adapted to 
grasses, wheat, barley, oats, peas, hops and all the hardy vegetables. Much atten- 
tion has been given to raising potatoes, which return large yields and are of superior 
C|uality. Vegetables attain great size; small fruits are prolific and very fine. But 
little corn is grown. Instead, many tracts are sown broadcast to peas which yield 
30 to 60 l)ushels an acre, the cro]) used for fattening hogs and found to be an excel- 
lent substitute for corn. Hops grow wild in great profusion among the mountain 
caiions, and a few fields have been cultivated. Immense tracts are devoted to the 
cereals, others to native and foreign grasses. The success of farming here, as else- 
where in the state, is dependent upon irrigation. Several very extensive canals 
have been constructed. These are supplemented by about 3,000 flowing artesian wells. 
In the center and southern part, this underflow is found at about loo feet; in the 
northern part at 200 feet. The pressure is sufificient to carry it into dwellings. The 
first artesian well was sunk by S. P. ttoine, on Empire farm, six miles south of Ala- 
mosa, in tlie winter of 1887, and a fine flow obtained at a depth of 72 feet. It 
proved a discovery of great importance to all the people of that section, and the 
example thus set was followed by many others during the winter and all through 
the vear 1888. They range in depth from 35 to 500 feet. "One of the wells, si.x 
miles north of Alamosa, in the summer of 1888, tapped a discharge of natural gas 
which created some excitement." The water is pure and of varying degrees of 
temperature. Alamosa is furnished with water from several large, freely flowing 

Fanning. — Tiiere are several immense farms in this region, the largest, under 
the management of .Mr. T. C. Henry of Denver, whose local office is directed by 
Mr. M. B. Colt, at Alamosa. These are the Empire, the San Luis, Excelsior and 
Mosca farm comjianies; the Empire Land and Canal Co.. and the San Luis Land 
and Water Co. .Something over $i,3cx).ooo has been invested in these enterprises. 
The chief influence brought to bear for the reclamation of these arid lands and their 
conversion into fruitful farms and gardens, now among the most productive in the 
connnonwealth, was the action taken l>y Mr. Henry of the Colorado Loan and 
Trust company of Denver, who, realizing the opportunity, began operations there 
in the fall of 1883. very soon after he became a citizen of Colorado. He had long 
been a verv extensive farmer, in Kansas, and had also made a study of irrigation 
in this state. Knowing that little could be accomplished without large canals, and 
that the mountain streams afforded an ample supply of water, he first built the 
Empire canal, next the Del Xorte, next the Citizens', all begun in the fall of 18S3. 
and all practically completed during 1884. In the spring of 1884 he opened up 
what was known as the nortli side farm of 7,000 acres, under the Del Xorte canal 


(for description of which see history of Rio Grande county), and 3,000 acres of the 
south side under the Citizens' canal. These were the tirst farming operations on a 
large scale undertaken in the valley. There were a number of farmers here and 
there along the water courses, chiefly Mexicans, however, but no extended efforts 
had been entered upon. In 1888 he and his associates purchased the San Luis 
canal system, widened and extended it, and made it one of the four large canals. 
This covers the territory immediately north of Alamosa. The cost of these several 
water ways was about $1,500,000. During 1891, there were 150,000 acres of land 
under cultivation in the San Luis valley. • 

The Empire canal penetrates a rich tract of land on the .south side of the Rio 
Gr^.nde. Degiiming at a point two and a half miles south of ^loiite Vista in Rio 
Grande county, it runs 35 miles southeasterly, passing Alamosa 12 miles to the 
west, supplying nearly 100 miles of laterals. It is estimated that 150,000 acres of 
land have been thus reclaimed. 

Its present capacity is 2,500 cubic feet of water per second. In 1890. 18.000 
acres were cultivated under this canal, which returned an average yield of 25 
bushels of wheat per acre. Of the larger tracts fructified are the Empire farm of 
6,000 acres, and the Loveland farm of 3,000 acres. 

Quoting from tiie Alamosa Independent "Journal." — "The San Luis canal sys- 
tem was first organized in 1883. The canal commences 4 miles northeast of Ala- 
mosa and, flowing through Costilla county, empties ultimately into the San Luis 
lakes, making irrigable, in its course, 80,000 acres of fine farm lands, 16,000 
of which were farmed, in 1890, with good results. The main canal is 16 miles 
in length, with five long laterals stretching out their feeding arms for 60 miles. It 
was completed in 1890. 

"The Excelsior farm has 17,000 acres all under fence. The Empire farm near 
.Alamosa, along the line of the Denver & Rio Grande railway, has 5,000 acres under 
fence. There is an artesian well in each quarter section. This farm was organized 
in 1884, and is operated by Mr. T. C. Henry. The Lyden farm, organized in 1895. 
has 3,000 acres under cultivation; the San Luis farm some 3,000 acres. The 
Alosca Land & Canal Co.'s farm is under a large lateral from the ."^an Luis 
canal, covering 5.0Q0 acres partitioned ofT to tenants." 

We take local authority for the yields, since there are no official data. ( )f 
wheat, 30 to 40 bushels per acre; oats, 60 to 95 bushels; barley. 35 to 50: peas. 30 to 
40; potatoes, 200 to 300, and other crops in proportion. 

It is conceded on all sides that the Mormon colonists, manv of whom are 
located on the eastern side of the park, are the most thorough and productive cul- 
tivators. They are industrious, frugal, work upon perfected systems, and possess 
a thorough knowledge of irrigation acquired of experienced settlers from L'tah. 
The history of their immigration is contained in the following abstract from a letter 
written by Elder J. F. Thomas, and published in the .Alamosa "Journal" of January 
1st, 1891. In 1877 John Morgan, a missionary, brought a company of Mormon 
immigrants from the Southern States to Colorado, with the intention of locating 
them in the San Luis valley, but the D. & R. G. R. R. not being completed across 
the mountains, they remained a year at Pueblo, obtaining various employments 
there. There were about 50 persons all told, and as houses were scarce, nearly all 
spent the winter in the old barracks, formerly occupied by U. .S. troops. In the 
S)pring of 1878 a few were sent to the San Luis valley to select a place for settle- 
ment, to which the others who remained behind were to come in the fall. While 
here they were joined by a small company who had come from Utah in wagons, 
and having selected a site for a town near the north branch of Conejos river, thev 
laid out a town on the east half of section 24 in township 34, north range 9 east. 
New Mexico Alcridian, the sur\-ey comprising the entire half section, and named 
the place .Manassa. The streets are loo feet wide, crossing at right angles. The 

7— iv 


blocks arc about 450 kci square, and contain about G acres each. Each block is 
divided into four lots. The town having been surveyed, the party built several 
log houses. Next came the selection of lands and application for purchase. \\ hen 
the D. & R. G. road hatl been completed to Fort Garland, the remainder came over 
from Pueblo, and also another company from the Southern States, when they were 
met b\ those of Manassa with teams and wagons and all taken to the new settlement. 
Arriving at their destination, it was decided to rent some houses from Mexicans 
living at and near the village of Los Cerritos, and here the entire party spent the 
winter. The next spring another small party came from LTah, and in the fall 
anuther, chiefly from Georgia. Up to this time no considerable amount of farm- 
ing had been done. Those who undertook it, even in a small way. were unfortunate, 
for the reason that they were ignorant of the conditions required to prepare the 
ground for crops. Consequently they did not prosper. Obliged to maintain their 
families, they sought employment elsewhere, many going to Leadville, where the\' 
worked at whatever the\' could get to do. In the spring of 1880 they returned to 
Manassa and prepared to farm on a large scale. They took out ditches from the 
Conejos river and built fences; ploughed and seeded the land. After the grain was 
:up, many took emjjloxnient on the I). & R. G. R. R., and in cutting ties for the 
extension from Alamosa to Durango. It will thus be seen that they endured many 
reverses and hardships in the first years. The crops that year were poor, as they 
were for two years afterward. During 1880 seventy more came from the Southern 
States, arriving in March, and in April still another company of about 30, to which 
114 more v\ere added in November. .Since that time the numbers have been in- 
creasing by the coming of such com])anies about twice a year. Some have deserted 
and returned to their old homes, but the majority have remained, and, learning how- 
to farm the land, and how and when to apply the water, have achieved success. 

These people are (|uiet, orderly, peaceful, law abiding, intruding upon no man's 
rights, permitting no infractions of their own. They have their schools and 
churches, and a just form of local government. The capabilities of each man are 
measured, and he is treated according to his merits and worth. At first no farmer 
is allowed to cultivate more than 20 acres of land until he shall have demonstrated 
that he has the abilitx for larger undertakings. If he shows himself unfit for manage- 
ment, by failmg to do his work thoroughly, too ignorant or incompetent for in- 
dividual enterprise, he becomes a common laborer for others. The church authori- 
ties keep strict watch over all, and direct all proceedings. Through the large 
crops realized, these communities have become comparatively wealthy and inde- 
pendent in the last ten years. The\- are adding nuicii to the material resources 
of the countx In the spring of 1882, the town of Manassa was extended to cover 
the west half of the section previously mentioned, and is now a mile square. The 
district school was established at the beginning of 1879, and has been steadih' 
maintained. The peoi)le have built an extensive system of irrigating canals, and. 
during 1S90, had about 5,000 acres under fine cultivation. There are no licpior 
saloons in the settlement. 

With the rapid multi])lication of colonists and their location in and about the 
original base came the organization of three other towns — Sanford, Ephraim and 
Riclifield, all in close proximity and on the east side of the valley along the Conejos. 
Manassa was incorporated April ijtli, 1880. by Silas G. Smith, agent of the colony 
and its ])residing elder. The ]>lat was filed in the county clerk's office. Februarv 
i8th, t8S(). Sanford was platted by the same authority. S. C. Bcrthelson is its 
president, .\lthough in some respects distinct, the four communities are virtually 
consoliilated, with headquarters at Manassa. Individual Mormons are settled at 
various points in the county, engaged in farming and other pursuits. Some are in 
Conejos, others in .Vntonito. The main church is at Manassa. and is much the 


largest house of worship in the San Luis valley. The systems of church ami lucal 
administration are modeled after those at Salt Lake. 

Antoiiito IS a small railway town at the junction of the Rio Grande radroads. 
the main line passing thencu into Xew Alexico with its terminus at Espanola, while 
the branch turns to the southwest, crosses the Conejos range, and, passing on to 
the western slope, reaches Durango. The town was incoqjorated November 14th, 
i88y, and the plat filed by the Antonito Town Co., December 12th, 1889. It was 
surveyed by C. Y. Butler. Here there are a number of business houses, a bank. 
Catholic, Presbyterian and Methodist churches, a two-story brick school house, 
and a neat and commodious depot. It has one weekly newspaper, and a very good 
hotel. It is just one mile from Conejos, and is surrounded by an excellent agricul- 
tural region. 

Alamosa. This was the first of the new American towns established in 

Conejos count)' after the introduction of railways, and was fotmded by ex-Governor 
A. C. Hunt, president of the D. & R. G. Construction Co. After crossing \'eta 
Pass, the raih\a\ reached Alamosa July 6th, 1878. It is situateil near the west 
bank of the Rio Grande river, rather to the south of the central part of the San 
Luis Park, and at the northeastern corner of the county. L'nder the force of 
Governor Hunt's sanguine energy, and as the terminus for some time of the rail- 
way in that direction, it sprang into prominence as the chief outfitting and trading 
point for the San Juan mining region, Costilla county and Xew Mexico. An elec- 
tion for incorporation was held July 20th, 1878, though the town site was surveyed, 
platted, and the plat filed by the .\lamosa Town Co. May 13th of that year. The 
Colorado "Independent," now the "Independent Journal," whose owners had 
persistently followed the extensions of the road from point to point, found a per- 
manent lodgment here, and it has ever since been maintained as the leading ex- 
ponent of the progress of that section. We are indebted to its well edited files for 
much information concerning the same. The Alamosa "News" was founded In 
Matthews Custers. J. W. Hamm & Co., Field & Hill and F. F. Struby & Co. were 
among the principal merchants. The town site of 640 acres, almost as level as a 
house floor, was patented through the efforts of Governor Hunt, that instrument 
being personally signed, it is said, by President Hayes, instead of bearing the usual 
fac simile stamp. 

For three years the railroad terminus remained at Alamosa, then it was ex- 
tended to Xew Mexico and the San Juan. The division headquarters were there, 
and round houses and repair shops added to its importance. During this time it 
enjoyed a large and profitable trade. Most of the houses anil stores were cheaply 
and rapidly built. The spur of the D. & R. G. running 30 miles northwest to Del 
Xorte at the base of the western mountains was built in i88j. On the 29th of 
August, 1878, an election for town officers resulted as follows: .Mayor, D. R. 
Smith; recorder, \Vm. M. Thomas: trustees, Ed. Silk, C. W. Ryres, \Vm. Bingel 
and J. W. McFarlane. The board met for the first time September 7th, and or- 
ganized. Mr. J. \V. Hamm was appointed city attorney: Isaac Morris, marshal; 
Win. M. Tliomas, treasurer, and J. W. Jones, street connnissioncr. At a meeting 
held September 13th the former proceedings relative to the appointment of officers 
were annulled, and the following appointments made by vote: Town marshal, 
Samuel C. Townsend; attorney, j. W. Hughes: street conmiissioner, J. W. Jones: 
police magistrate, P. \:m Zaiidt. The first (irdiuances were introduced September 
i<)th, 1878. 

The officers fi>r i8(>i were: Mavor. Herbert I. Ross; trustees. John .A. 
McDonald, Charles L. Miller, George 11. Siione, S. O. IHetcher, Morris H. Colt: 
recorder, George A. Willis; treasurer, Wm. M. Mallett: attorney, Eugene Engley: 
engineer, Edward I.. Jones; marslial. Joseph R. Simons. 

The]HibIic streets df .\lamosa are broad, and some of them well shaded. Many 


of ilu' iinniitive wooden buildings remain, hut in late years a number of hne brick 
and stone business lilocks have been erected. It has one public school of brick, 
with four larj^e rooms, three churches, the Catholic, Episcopalian and Presbyterian. 
The Methodists hold services in a store building which they own. The water 
system is sufficient for all public and private needs, supplied by artesian and drive 
wells and cisterns. It is lighted from the works of the Alamosa Electric Light and 
Power company. 

The first building of any importance outside of temporar\- claim cabins was a 
two-story frame erected by Governor A. C. Jlunt. at the corner of .'^i.vth street and 
Hunt avenue, in 1878, and was made his headquarters for railway and other pur- 
poses. It is now the \'ictoria Hotel, kept by J. C. ^IcClelland, one of the best in 
the state. At one lime the first floor was occupied by the bank of San Juan: sub- 
sequently the entire building was used for hotel purposes. The Perry House, on 
the same street, was built at Kit Carson on the Kansas Pacific railway, and moved 
along from point to point until permanently located at Alamosa. 

Banks. — The First National was established February ist. 1884, as the successor 
of the Bank of .San Juan. Its officers are H. I. Ross, president: John L. McNeil, 
vice-president; W. F. Boyd, cashier; W. H. Mallett, assistant. Its capital is 

The Bank of Alamosa, first opened by the Schiffer Bros, at Del Norte, as the 
Rio Crande County Bank, was removed to its present location July i8th, 1890. and 
re-established under the name given above. Its capital is $50,000. 

The Alamosa .Milling & Elevator company was organized in Ma\-, 1890, with 
a capital of $50,000, Jerome B. Frank, president: J. A. McDonald, vice-president: 
J. K. Mullen, general manager: M. A. Bowen, secretary: H. E. Johnson, local 
manager. It has one of the largest and most complete flouring mills in the state. 
and an inmiense brick warehouse for the storage of grain and flour. It is produc- 
ing about 250 barrels daily. The principal markets are in the neighboring towns 
and the minmg region of the .San Juan, the trade extending also into New- Mexico. 

The great problem confronting the producers of the San Luis valley as the 
population augments, and the yields are increased from year to year, is where the 
inevitablv large surplus is to find purchasers. At present there is no difficulty, be- 
cause the demand from neighlioring territory is equal to the supply, but when 
thousands more acres bring forth their abundance, where is it to find a profitable 
market? It is hoped that at no distant day it will be found in Texas. However, now 
that new railways arc opening the vast treasures of the San Juan mines, and that 
countrv is l)eing rapidly peopled, it is probable that markets for the greater part w ill 
be found there. Sunniiitville. Creede. Platora, .Stunner and other mining districts, 
all near at hand and directly tributarx . are developing into very ]jroductive mining 
sections and will eventually harbor hundreds, possibly some thousands of ])eople, 
all of whom will l)e supplied w ith breadstufTs from the San Luis farms.* 

The towns of Monte \'ista and Del Norte have been duly considered in the 
chapter relating to Rio Crande county, and those in the upper portion of the valley 
in the history of Saguache county, to which they respectively belong. 

Alamosa is now growing steadily and rapidly. The constant atlvances made 
in the surrounding countrv have stinnilated its growth. There arc a few handsome 
residences, some substantial business blocks. The most extensive operations in 
farm lands and crop production are controlled by the com])any of which Mr. T. C. 
Henrv is the directing force. 

SiCift Socii-ties.— The Masons have a fine stone temple, a large membership 
and well ajipointed lodge rooms. Opposite is Odd I'ellows Hall, also in an elegant 
stone building. Both orders are in a flourishing condition. 

* Since these notes were compiled, a great settlcnienl sprung up .it Creede, and some wonderfully 
rich mines have been opened there. 


La Jara, situated on the east side of the D. & R. G. railway, 14 miles south 
of Alamosa, was founded by the La Jara Town company. It is platted but not in- 
corporated. The plat was filed October 24th, 1887. On the west side the San 
Luis Town & Investment company have laid out an addition. Mr. John Harvey of 
Leadville has an extensive horse breeding ranch near La Jara. 

H(iiry is a small station on the Empire farm, eight miles south of Alamosa. 
It has a few houses, post ofifice, school house, etc. It is neither platted nor in- 

Loi^aii is composed of a small colony of Swedes, about one-quarter of a mile 
north of Henry. 

Sr/ii'D/s. — The general public school system of Conejos county owes much of 
its organization to Mr. C. H. Brickenstein, who was the superintendent in 1888. 
He established seven new districts that year. In 1887 there were only two graded 
schools in the county. A year later there were four, and a material increase of in- 
terest was manifested. By the census of 1890 the total school population was 2,953. 
with an enrollment of 1.933, ^""^l ^" average daily attendance of 1,027. There were 
721 pupils in the graded schools, and 1,212 in the ungraded; sixteen school houses, 
with 1,587 sittings. The value of the property was $29,882.46. 

The total assessed valuation of taxable property in 1877, the year before the 
entrance of the railwa_\-. was only $123,227.25. In 1884, the first in which some of 
the large irrigating canals were operated and farms put imder tillage, it mounted 
to $1,573,086. In 1889 it was $1,889,142, and in 1890, $1,844,469, the decrease 
partly due to the creation of Archuleta county from the western half. In 1889 there 
were returned for assessment 112,674 acres of land valued at $521,947. In 1890. 
207,606 acres valued at $692,949. In the list were 3,816 horses, 215 mules, 7,015 
cattle, 11,205 sheep and 558 swine. 

Readers of our first volume will recall the fact that in 1595 the Spanish cavalier, 
Don Juan de Onate^ led a party into the San Luis valley and reported the discovery of 
mines between the Culebra and Trinchera. Lieutenant-Governor Head and others 
inform me that these same mines were worked to some extent in 1890 by a man 
named A. B. Fetzer. Near by is an old ruin of a fort evidently built by these 
Spaniards as a protection against the Indians. 

Platora mining camp is situated 45 miles from Conejos in the western moun- 
tains at an altitude of 9,500 feet — population about 300. Some excellent mines of 
gold and silver have been found and developed in that region. Stunner is four 
miles from Platora. Only three properties were in operation during the fall of 
1890, the Mammoth, Peoria and Eurydice lodes, but these and others give evidence 
of being strong, permanent and valuable mines. 

10'^ HISJORV Ul- COL(JKA!>'\ 


An ^CCUKATK account Ol IHK IIKST discovery ok (JOLD — THE RANCH OK r.EN- 

The district thus iinmelodiously designated, is by many believed to be one of 
the most extensive and vahiable gold mining sections of the world. It occupies a 
large tract of mountainous country in the southwestern ])art of El Paso county, whose 
annals appeareti in the third volume of our history some time prior to the occurrence 
of the events about to be narrated. Lack of time and sjiace forl)id anything more 
than a rapid outline of its career. 

Parts of this region were visited by prospectors in the summer of 1859. 'I'l*' <it 
intervals in subsecjuent years. In 1882 some excitement arose in Colorado Springs 
over exaggerated reports that gold mines had been found in the vicinity of Mount 
Pisgah near the western base of Pike's Peak, when scores of aniliitious diggers 
hastened to the scene only to be grievously disap])oiiited. Traces of gold were 
obtained but at no point in ])aring ((uantities. Cri])ple L'reek is several miles east of 
Pisgah and was not embraced in the lines of exploration at that time. The first dis- 
coverer of gold in this region, and also the first to develop the vein formation, was 
Theodore H. Lowe, a noted mining engineer and surveyor. In ( )ctober, 1881. ten 
vears prior to any settlement at Cripple Creek, while sulxlividing some pastoral lands 
for his uncle. William W. Womack, of Kentucky, in the western ])art of El Paso 
county, .Mr. Lowe found a detached block of what appeared to be float (juartz. 
Breaking off a fragment, he took it to Prof. E. E. P.urlingame. the leading assayer 
of Denver, for analysis, and in due time received a certificate stating that it containetl 
at the rate of $166.23 gold per ton. Encouraged by this result, lie returned to the 
spot and began searching for the outcrop of the vein whence the '" blossom " had 
been enulcd, and at length found it. Locating thereon a claim called the "(irand 
\"iew." he sunk a shaft ten feet deep, as required by law. and recorded the location in 
the office of the county clerk at Colorado Springs. The vein was large and well- 
defined, but, subsequent assays of the ore ])roving unsatisfactory, nothing further was 
done until the sunmier of 1882 when, lacking means for its development to greater 
depths, he ])ersuaded Cen. Ceorge P. Ihrie to go and examine the find with the view 
of investing a small sum therein. After two days" work Ihrie became discouraged 
at the jirospect and withdrew. Between 1882 and i8()0 several other persons were 
enlisteil in the enterprise, but not one of them remainal steailfast. Ten different 
assays of the vein matter made in 1881 returned from 84 cents to $254.86 per ton: 
two in 1882 gave from $5,^.06 to $73.40 per ton. ami one in 1886 gave $210.60. In 
1887 the shaft had reached a depth of 22i feet, but no one could be induced to ven- 
ture a sufficient amount oi money to carry it on to the paying stage. " Therefore, in 
January. 1801," says Mr. Lowe, "having failed on all sides, yet firmly convinced 
the claim and got him to relocate the lode. Womack went to Colorado Springs and 
that gold in jjaying quantities existed there. I gave Robert Womack an interest in 


induced [)r. L;rannis, ui that i~it_v, to sink tlie shaft 30 feet deeper for a onc-liali niter- 
est in tlie j^roperty. Tiie}- relocated the claim, calling it the El Paso, made the 
improvement mentioned and at the bottom foimd valuable ore. It is now known as 
the ' Gold King." From that time the excitement grew rapidly. The famous Ana- 
conda, one of the principal mines of the district, is located on this vein." 

The land now occupied by the town of Cripple Creek was first claimed as a 
homestead by Wni. W. W'omack, of Kentucky, in 1876, who some years later 
obtained a government patent for it, as surveyed by Mr. Lone. Womack sold to 
the I'ikeV Peak Cattle and Land company, in iS84,of whom it was purchased bvlien- 
nett & Myers, of Denver, in 1885. It was held by the latter and used continuously 
in connection with their cattle business in that district, the home ranch being on this 
particular tract and occupied by George W. Carr as foreman and manager. Dennett 
& Myers also owned several other tracts in the neighborhood, which had been taken 
up to secure water rights and for hay land, they having at that time a herd of 3,000 
cattle in the district. One of the other tracts is now partly covered by the town of 
Arequa; another by the Grassey town site and still another, close to the town of 
Cripple Creek, is still unplatted. The old town called " Moreland "' adjoined the 
town of Fremont — both subsequently incorporated under the name of Cripple Creek 
— on the nortii. Ft was located in 1891 under the title of "Hayden Placer," by 
I*". W. Flowbert, FL C. McCreery and others of Colorado Springs. 

During 1891, Mr. Carr wrote his employers, Bennett & Myers, that gold had 
been discovered there; that strangers were coming in and were building houses on 
their land. Whereupon the owners visited their property, finding the rejiorted dis- 
coveries true and the excitement general. Being shrewd and energetic real estate 
operators, they at once saw their opportunity and took swift advantage of it. Early 
in October of that year they platted 80 acres for a town site, naming it Fremont, in 
honor of the historic Pathfinder. By February, 1892, more than half the lots had 
been sold. The success of this venture induced them to plat the adjoining 80 acres, 
known as the " F"irst Addition to Fremont." The first day after it was placed on the 
market, 200 lots were sold, which illustrates the rapid growth of the embryonic 
camp. Many of the lots that then brought only $25 to $50 each are now held at 
$2,000 and $3,000. The first discovery of placer gold was made by a Florissant 
blacksmith known as " Dick Hooten." The first houses built in the t(j\\ n were a 
general store by Peter Hettig, and a hotel by Fred Appleton. Robert Womack's 
report of gold at Cripple Creek, in January, 1891, soon spread and in due course 
induced ^ilessrs. F. F. Frisbee and Edward De La \'ergne to have the samjiles he 
brought to them assayed. The returns from some of them were highly favorable, 
but the winter season had begun, and the mountains were so deeply covered with 
snow as to forbid immediate examination of the region whence they came. On the 
20th of January, 1891, Frisbee and De La Vergne, after procuring an outfit, began 
their journey to Cripple Creek for the purpose of verifying Womack's account. 
According to their own recital, after four days of unhappy experiences in blinding 
storms and fierce blizzards, they reached the cabin of Mr. George W. Carr, and in 
due course apprised him of their mission. He said he had lived there nineteen years, 
and while more or less prospecting had been done in the vicinity, nothing worthy of 
serious attention had been found. However, the next morning he took them ti> 
some of the old workings, but in none did they find any tangible evidences of min- 
eral. Says Mr. Frisbee, " we were somewhat discouraged by our investigations, but 
nevertheless collected some twenty-five sam])k's during our stay with Mr. Carr. and 
on returning to Colorado Springs we employed Mr. S. Y. Case, an assayer. to test 
them. The values shown ran from $10 to $204 per ton in gold. About the 4th of 
I'ebruary, we again visited Cripple Creek, and made the first locations under the law 
in that district, covering the Eldorado, Old Mortality, Robin and others, and alsn 
Cripple Creek Placer Xo. i, at the mouth of Arequa, and 140 acres known as the 


llavdcn i'laccr lown site. \ cry soon the intelligence that valuable gold mines had 
been discovered awakened nuich attention in Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Denver. 
.X'evertlieless. during that year progress though encouraging was not so rapid as it 
became in i8yj. It is estimated that 2,000 people entered the section in i8yi : some 
excellent mines were opened, and their richer products shipped to the smelters. At 
this time also, Crccde in Rio (irande county was undergoing its first mipetuou> 
excitement caused by the large returns from the Amethyst and Last Chance mines, 
and the ri\al camps vied with one another as to which should attract the greater 
share of ijopulation and capital. Bennett & Myers spent large sums in advertis- 
ing Crijjple Creek, which were rettirned to them with interest from the sales 
of lots m the towns they had platted. Other parties interested in mines 
availed themselves of every opportunity to spread the glories of the new- 
gold region far and wide through the newspapers. Scarcely an issue of the Denver 
daily journals but contained gVnving accounts of gold at Cripple Creek and silver in 
Creetle. Eacli day brought reports of siu-i)risiiig finds in both. At that time the 
more availal)le route was via the Colorado Midland railway to Florissant, and thence, 
by stage or other conveyance, 18 miles to the center of interest. Some ot the veins 
that have since become large producers of rich ore were then penetrated by shafts, 
adits or tunnels. The growth, as also the material development, was much more rapid 
in 1892. for by that time both capitalists and miners had become fully convinced 
of the greatness of the resources existing there. Hundreds of people with wagons 
lined the rugged road from Florissant. As the area of prospecting widened, new 
sources of wealth were disclosed which caused the building of separate towns or 
camps, as ISarry, Lawrence, Mound City, Arequa, Hull's Camp, Cripple City, etc.. 
and later on, Altman and Victor. Stamp mills with other processes for reducing 
the lower grades of ore w ere built, w hile the higher grades were sent to the smelting 
works at Puei)lo and Denver. The outjnU of gold for 1892 was estimated at $6(X),0(xi 
from only a dozen partly o])ened mines. In the spring of 1893, the improvement on 
all sides was much more rapid and satisfactory. Hundreds of new discoveries 
occurred and many reached the paying stage. The output for that year was approx- 
imatelv $2,400,000, r|uite a remarkable advance. The depression folknving the events 
of midsunuuer, 1893, '^^ the closing of the Indian coining mints, the imprecedenteil 
fall in the price of siher, the extra session of Congress, and the repeal of the silver 
jnirchasing act, together with other stagnating forces of previous years, all operating 
togetlier to produce universal ])aralysis, naturally impeded progress here by check- 
ing the investment of capital and preventing the expansion of all enterprise. 

I'Vom the spring of 1892, until al)out the opening of 1894, many perplexing 
pnjbleins confronted the miners, first of all the character of the matrix in which gold 
api)earcd. In the primary efforts it was inijiossible to discover whether the gold bear 
ing matter lav in veins or in a general ])orphyritic overflt)w. h\'w were bold enougii 
to declare in favor of regularly defined and continuous fissures. In brief, it was a 
condition that baffled the wisest examiners. Then came learned geologists who. 
by patient study, evolved certain theories which answered the main purpose for the 
time being. As the shafts and tunnels extended deeper iiUo the formations, revela- 
tions of great value occurred. Metallurgists connected with the jirincipal smelters 
experimented long and earnestly with the different classes of ores. and. in due time, 
pronutlgared the results of their analyses. 

The first well-known geologist to enunciate practical ideas on the subject was 
Prof. I'enjaniin Sadtler, of the State School of .Mines, at Colden. who went down to 
Cripple Creek under the joint patronage of I'ennett & Myers and the Rocky Moim- 
tain '■ News." and on I'ebruary 2Sth. 1892. published in this journal a well-digeste<l 
review of the gold field. He was followed at a later date by Mr. R. C. Hills, now con- 
nected with the U. S. deological survey, who reported as follows: 

" The principal ore bodies at present developed occur in consolidated volcanic 

.1. w . I' a>m:i'i . 


ash resting on upturned granite and gneiss of the western foothills of the Colorado 
range. In places, dykes and intrusive bodies of andesite traverse the tufaceous rocks 
of the district, and in tlie case of the Gold Key this is the material which, having been 
more or less altered and mineralized, contains pay ore. The majority of the ore 
bt)dies of the district may be properly described as mineralized zones, where the 
decomposition, kaolinization and accompan}ing deposition of gold have taken place 
along zones of multiple faulting and fracture. There is good reason to believe that 
the zones themselves will continue downward through the volcanic tufa to the granite 
basement. It is equally probable that the pay ore, subject to the breaks in conti- 
nuity incidental to deposits of this character, will persist to the same depth, and though 
a direct connection has yet to be shown between the zones in the tufa and the veins 
found in the basement rock, the occurrence of gold and granular fluorite as minerals 
common to both systems of deposit argues that such a connection will be demon- 
strated eventuall}-. For the same reason the presumption is strong that the mineral- 
izing process was not one of lateral secretion, such as we see in the San Juan moim- 
tains and elsewhere, but that the source of the precious metals was at least as deep- 
seated as the granites of the district." 

Dr. Richard I'earce, manager of the Iloston & Colorado smelting works, one of 
the ablest living mineralogists, after careful investigation, wrote: — "As to the origin 
of the Cripple Creek deposits, it ma\' reasonably be inferred that they were caused by 
solutions brought up from below through the joints or lines of least resistance, the 
gold being, at the time, associated with silica and fluorine. These circulating solu- 
tions effected a marked chemical change in the rocks through which they percolated. 
In some cases the alteration can hardly be traced beyond the surface, as in the white 
rock of the Garfield-Grouse mine. In others, as in the Anaconda, the whole mass 
of rock became impregnated with pyrite and sylvanite. resulting in its partial meta- 
morphism. As the Cripple Creek mines are explored to greater depths, remote from 
the zone of oxidation, it is not unreasonable to expect that the economic treatment 
nf the ores, by methods other than smelting, will offer greater difficulties than at 
present exist, on account of the association of the gold with tellurium as telluride." 

Again, Prof. \\ni. I'.lake. of Xew York, in a pa])er entitled "The ( iold of Crip- 
ple Creek," says: 

" The ores of Cripple Creek are essentially a telluride of gold, in a quartzose 
granite gangue, generally associated with a pale purple fluorspar in small cubic crys- 
tals. In the upper portion of the veins, where the decomposition has been complete, 
no bright telluride is seen, and the gold is left free, but in a spongy state, with a 
peciUiardull dead brown color, and it is not easily recognized as gold except by the 
experienced eye. At lower levels the telluride appears as a silver white, bright metal- 
lic mineral, and it replaces the native gold. This telluride is commonly known in 
the camp as sylvanite, hut an examination of the few samples I have had convinces 
me that it is richer in gold than sylvanite: that it contains less tellurium and silver, 
and no lead, antimony or copper. It is nearer to the species calaverite or krennite 
than to sylvanite. and it may prove to be different from either. The cr\ stallization 
is prismatic, and nuicii striated. It is brittle, but soft, and gives a blackish gray pow- 
iler which soils paper like graphite. Under the blowpi])e. it gives, instantly, globules 
1 >f high grade yellow gold. In (jne specimen thin crystalline plates upon quartz being 
detached left l)ehind a thin coating or gilding of native gold of a brown color, which 
assumed its normal bright yellow color on being burnishecl. 

"A s])ecimen of ore from below the water level consists chiefly of flesh-red feld- 
spar, but it is permeated by irregular grains of granular quartz, and has numerous 
cavities lined with minute quartz crystals, over which there is a fine druse of pyrites. 
and here and there a prismatic crystal of the telluride. On decomposing, the tellu- 
ride crystals appear to leave the .gold with the form of the original crystal, but in a 
light spong\- condition, wliich is unfavurable to amalgamation. The so-called "cube 


yiiUr lit ilic camp appears to have received its form from the original telluride, and 
is not crystallized gold. The association of fluorspar is not onh unusual, but, 1 
think, unique. The fluor in some places occurs massive and is sent to the smelters, 
who are glad to get it in their mixtures. It has a dark purple color, and some peo- 
ple who have read of the ' purple precii)itate of Cassius " so regaid it. 

"The gold of the camp is unusually tine, averaging in value over t\\ enty dollars an 
ounce, and assaving 998 line, particularly the gold from the placers. Careful exi)eri- 
nients are greatly needed to determine the best way to work the medium and lo\v 
grade ores, which will not bear the cost of transportation." 

All through 1892 and 1893, a great many mining companies were organized, 
reams of stock shares issued and set afloat on the mining exchange at Denver and in 
others instituted at Colorado Springs. Pueblo and Cripple Creek. As a matter of 
fact, nearly every mine and prosjiecl in the district was covered by a company caji- 
italized at from $100,000 to millions. Therefore, if an outside investor desired to 
engage in mining there, he nuist either discover a mine for himself, or take his 
chances with one or more of these highly watered corporations. As a consecjuence, 
very few invested at all, except in stocks of known value. Happily, at this writing, 
many of these schemes have been wiped out, and the camp thereby greatly benefited. 

As usual in all brisk and pros])erous mining sections, much vexatious litigation 
ensued that need not be followed to conclusions here. 

Prior to the establishment of rapitl transit, two lines of stages plied between Flo- 
rissant and P'-emont until the spring of 1893, when a toll-road was constructed from 
Hayden's Divide, and thereafter used, because a shorter and better route. The county 
of El Paso also built a road from Colorado Springs via Cheyenne Canon: there was 
still another from Canon City to the mines. In 1892, the manager of the Colorado 
.Midland railway projected a branch line from Hayden's Divide to Cripple Creek. 
The line was duly surveyed and located, and the work of grading begun. Almost 
simultaneously a company was organized to build a narrow gauge railway from 
l-'lorence in Fremont county, instigated by Mr. D. H. Moffat of Denver, who pre- 
sented the scheme to capitalists in Kcw York. The latter subscribed for about one- 
half of the bonds ($400,000) but did not i)ay for them owing to the then greatly dis- 
turbed condition of the money market. At length, .Mr. Moffat, tired of waiting on 
them, furnished the means and built the road himself, at a cost of $8cx:>.(XX5. It was 
completed to Cripple Creek July 4th, 1894, and at this writing is carrying a large 
traffic and paving a satisfactory interest on the investment. 

Several large mills, lixiviation and chlorination ])rocesses. have been linilt at 
l-"lorence for the treatment of the lower grades of ores, which, by the way, constituti- 
the major ])art of the product, and probal)ly the larger ])roportioii of the aggregate 
yields. Such products can be more cheaply handled there than in or near the mines, 
because there is at Florence an unlimited sup])ly of residuum oils at the refineries 
<jf petroleum for fuel. C)ne of these mills is planned to treat from 250 to 500 tons of 
ore each twenty-four hours. It is calculated that ores containing eight to ten dollars 
per ton can be profitably handled in these works. If so. the profits of mining at Crip- 
I)Ie Creek will be largely enhanced. 

The Colorado Midland branch was conii)K-ted and ])ul in oi)eratii>n to .Midland 
station nine miles from Cripple Creek in the spring of i8()4. and before this volume 
reaches its subscribers it will have been finished to its final destination. 

Cripple Creek, the principal town and the conunercial center of the entire gold 
region, has a pojiulation of about 7.000. It is under nunuci]ial government, with 
many strong business houses, several good hotels, well ordered public schools, and 
churches; has an electric light plant for jiublic and private uses, a system of water 
works, volunteer fire department, two lines of telegraph, two banks, several news- 
papers and local and long distance tele])hones. The town is situated upon a spacious 
slope in the valley of the sinall stream from which its name is derived, with ample 


room for a large metropolis which will be the outgrowth of the great mineral 
resources in the natural line of their development. Alost of the business is located on 
Bennett and Myers avenues, parallel thoroughfares traversing the entire length of 
the settlement. Some of the primitive log structures and other temporarv habita- 
tions are being replaced by substantial buildings of brick and stone. 

Judging from present indications, it is probal)le that the prestige of our state, 
that sufTered so deeply from the partial suspension of silver mining in 1892-93, will 
he restored through the constantly increasing production of gold in this quarter of 
El Paso county. Though frequently interrupted, the forces concentrated upon the 
grand work thus far outlined have never lost confidence in the ultimate issue of their 
endeavors. It is not extravagant to state at this early epoch of its career that if no 
serious obstruction shall arise to check its advancement within the next five years, 
the outflow of gold will then equal the value of the entire silver yields of the state at 
their highest volume in 1892. Meanwhile, should the cause of bimetallism reach the 
stage of adoption by national or international action, and thereby cause general 
resumption of silver mining, the two kindred elements thus reunited will make Colo- 
rado one of the more richly favored states of the world, since we will then be enabled 
to furnish the precious metals in quantities sufficient to supply a considerable part 
of the material required by tlie coinage mints of the world. 


Primitive in'h.\bitants — home ok hunters, trappers and Indians — first white 

settlers the german and mormo.n colonists discovery of mines at 

rosita a plot to capture a rich mine killing ok the leader — progress 

ok settlement how the kassick was discovered silver clikf evenis 

leading to its settlement, eic. 

From November, 1861. when the original counties were organized, tlown to 
1877, tlic present county of Custer, named for the famous cavalr\- leader, Cjeneral 
George A. Custer, was a portion of Fremont county. By an act of the General 
Assembly approved March 9th, 1877, the southerly portion, comprising the Wet 
Mountain valley, was segregated, named as above, its boundaries defined and duly 
organized. Its area is 720 square miles, and, by the census of 1890, its population 
was 2,970, a decrease, from causes hereinafter explained, of 5,110 in the preceding 
decade. The primitive inhabitants were Cte Indians, who made this one of their 
favorite resorts for camping and hunting, the climate being equable, the surroundings 
picturesque, and game abundant. The first Americans to invade its solitudes were 
Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike and his handful of soldiers, who crossed it en route to the 
San Luis valley in quest of the sources of the Red river in 1806. It was hunted 
and trapped over bv the early mountaineers who came in 1826 and subsequent years. 
.\ portion of the Hardscrabb'le park was settled by trappers in r^Iarch. 1843. who cul- 
tivated a few patches of ground, for a season or two. The Wet Mountain valley was 
reconnoitered bv Capt. f. W. Gunnison in 1853. In 1863 Josiah F. Smith, his brother 
Stei)hen, W. H.'WetmoVe, Hugh Melrose and Whl H. Holmes of Pueblo prospected 
1 lardscrabble park for mineral. They located a number of mining claims, but did 
not develop them.* 

* The synopsis following li:is been compiled from an historical sketch written by Richard Trwin for 
the History of the .\rkansas Valley, (). L. llaskin & Co., Chicago, iSSo. 


The first white settlers who made any substantial improvements in Custer 
countv (lont,^ prior to its org-auization. however) were Elisha I'. Horn, John Taylor 
and William \ oris, who in 1869 pre-empted ranch claims, erected cabins and began 
tilling the soil, which they found very fertile and productive. Horn settled on the west 
side of the valley, John Taylor on the creek which bears his name, and on which the 
town of I'la was afterwards located, and \'oris below on the same stream, where 
another small town, called Dora, was established. They were followed in 1870 by a 
number of other locators, who constructed a wagon road to Canon City and thus 
opened communication with the older settlements and markets. Among them were 
the Rrnce brothers, from Hardscrabble; G. W. Smith, connnonly known as "Trap- 
per Smith ; " Daniel Baker and family, with Azor Palmer and family, from Cherry 
creek; Edward P. and Vv'. H. Smith, from El Paso county; the Remine brothers, 
from Central (~ity; C. M. Grimes, previously sheriff of Gilpin county; George Jar^•is 
and family. William Potter and John liiddle, from Clear creek; John Wilson, Frank 
Case, Charles Haines and I'Vederick Paker, of Denver; Charles Sieber, Jacob Ven- 
able and James Lowrie, from Montana territory. To these were added a small I''rench 
colon\- composed of Xels and Benjamin Jarvis, Peter Gamier, PL Y. Young, John 
Albert and J. Hennequin. In December, i86g, Carl Wulsten. Theodore Hamlin and 
Rudolph Jeske, a committee appointed by a company of Germans organized for 
colonization in the west, appeared in the valley and, after e.xamination, selected a 
body of land in the southern portion, returned to Chicago, made a favorable report, 
and, early in 1870, the colony, consisting of 367 persons, including 65 families, emi- 
grated to the spot, arriving March 21st. They founded the town of Colfa.x, but owing 
to widespread dissensions neither the town nor the colony prospered. Much acricl 
feeling arose against Wulsten, their leader, and, after a long struggle, the union was 
hopelessly broken and the members dispersed. Some of them still remain, but the 
majority found homes elsewhere. During the same year (1870), a colonv of Mor- 
mons, from L'tah, consisting of eight families, was brought in by James, Oscar and 
Hilliard Smith, and settled on Taylor cfeek, above L'la, where .some of them still 
reside. A number of wealthy Englishmen purchased tracts of fine grazing land 
and established ranches. While the cultivated section yielded large cro])s. there were 
no accessible markets until after the discovery and operation of valuable mines, which 
brought thousands of people to that cjuarter. In 1871, W. J. Schoolfield brought in 
a herd of stock, purchased ranches from Grimes and Remine brothers, and settled 
with his family. The Rothwell brothers located near Ula, and Charles .\ldrich occu- 
pied Meadow ranch. In 1872, the stock growing interest was further reinforced by 
Wm. T. I'^rink and J. C. Cowles of Pueblo, and by James Chatham. 

In 1871-72 Jacob Riser, Thomas \'ir(len. W. h\ (Jowdv, Wm. lieckwith and a 
number of others settled there, mostly with flocks and herds. Meantime many of the 
pioneers who had spent some years in the mining districts began to discover evi- 
dences of mineral-l)earing lodes. In the autumn of 1870. Daniel Baker, while look- 
ing after his cattle, picked up some fragments of rock near the point where the Sena- 
tor mine was suljsequently located, within the jiresent town of Rosita, and took 
them to his cabin. In June, 1870. Richard Irwin, a famous prospector and an inter- 
esting writer as well, while passing through that section en route to Xew Mexico, 
crushed and paimed some float quartz which gave evidence of being worthy of fur- 
ther attention. In December following he returned and, with a comrade named Jas- 
per Brown, established a camp at Rosita Springs. Out of the prospecting then begun 
grew the town of Rosita (little rose"), which in due time developed into a mining set- 
tlement of consideral)le importance. In the spring of T874, Leonard Fredericks dis- 
covered the- Humboldt, and, soon afterward, a firm named O'Bannion an<l Co. struck 
verv rich ore in the Pocahontas on the same vein. Both yielded largely, and 
brought many people to the district. Theo. W, Herr, now a resident of Denver, 
became the principal owner of tlic Pocahontas. 


Both of these mines were largely profitable until the fall of 1878, when one Col. 
Uo\(l arrived on the scene, and in company with Walter .\. Stuart opened a banking 
house in Rosita under circumstances related in X'olume III, page lyy. They pur- 
chased some old worthless claims against the Pocahontas, and engaged one Major 
Graham, an ex-convict, to lead a party of desperadoes for the purpose of taking 
forcible possession of the property. They finally succeeded, and held it for a week. 
While Graham and his confederates were in town drinking, carousing and shooting, 
janies I'ringle, an inoffensive citizen, was severely wounded. Xext morning (fJcto- 
l)er 13th), by order of the authorities, all the saloons were closed and the main roads 
leading from the town guarded. A company of well-armed citizens, while marching 
to capture the jumpers, met Graham coming down from the mine and killed him, 
whereupon the remainder of the gang fled, were pursued and taken, but released 
upon their pledge to leave the camp at once. 

-Mr. Herr regained possession of his property and resumed work thereon. 
.Many other stirring incidents occurred during the brisk days between 1878 and 1880 
in which men were shot and killed, which tended to increase the notoriety of the lit- 
tle settlement. 

A','s//,r is situated on the eastern edge of Wet Mountain valley, among high, 
dome-shaped hills, seven miles southeast of Silver Cliff. It was the first town based 
u])on the mines of that region. The lots, thirty-nine in number, were originally 
staked off around a plaza, in the center of which is a fine spring whence the inhabi- 
tants drew water for domestic uses. The town site proper comprised 360 acres, and 
it was patented Alarch 22nd, 1876. In 1875 it* population was about 1.500. Only a 
few remain at the present date. It was effectually overcome by the later prominence 
of Silver Cliff. At one time it had a large brewery, smelting and other reduction 
wi^rks. and several strong mining companies operated there. The buildings were 
chieflv cheap, inflammable wooden structures. Xearlv all were destroved bv fire, 
Marcii loth. 1881. 

The first president or mayor of Rosita was W. H. Holmes: trustees, Janies 
Pringle. Edward P. Smith, John Hannerikratt and Martin Bromley: town clerk. 
Janies A. Gooch. The town was incorporated in March, 1881, and in April fol- 
lowing C. C. Smith was elected mayor, James A. Gooch. Charles Schaale, D. 1-". 
Smith and H. W. Kelly, aldermen, and F. A. Tuttle, clerk. 

The first officers of Custer county appointed by Governor Routt were, commis- 
sioners, T. \V. Hull, R. S. Sweetland and H. E. Austin; sheriff, H. T. Blake; super- 
intendent of schools. Dr. J. M. Hoge; clerk, J. A. Davis; treasurer, W. F. Gowdy; 
county judge, George S. Adams; assessor, A. J. Davis. 

The town of Ula was made the county seat until the question of its permanent 
location should be determined by a vote of the people at the next general election. 
At the election Rosita was chosen. The yields from agriculture and grazing were 
about equal in value to the output of the mines. The lands were e.xceedingly fer- 
tile, gi\ing forth great crops of wheat, corn, oats, Ijarley, hay and vegetables of 
the finest quality. The assessment return for 1880 showed 13.802 head of cattle, 
which was probably much below the actual number. The county then had three 
banks, four newspapers, twelve miles of railroad, ten large reduction works, some 
twenty steam hoisting plants, a large brewery. Holly water works, telegraph and 
telephone lines, a stage line, a hundred or more business houses and a large number 
of dwellings, in addition to other farm and town improvements. 

-As already indicated, the tide of prosperity that came to the Wet Mountain 
vallev during the period just mentioned was ascribal)le to the discovery of val- 
ual>le mines of gold and silver, which brought large sums of money for their de- 
velopment, the construction of mills, the building of towns and the swift accretion 
of nniltifarious enterprises. .\t the outset the people believed the resources of 
Custer to be of greater extent than those of any other district. The boom grew 


with fervid expectation. In June, iSSo, when the official census was compiled, 
the county had a population of 7,967: Silver Cliff a total of 5,087, niakins.j it the thin! 
largest town in the state. 

The Maine or Bassick mine was discovered in 1877. Mr. W. H. Holmes, one 
of the earliest explorers of the valley for mines, informs me that the first discoverer 
of the Bassiclc mine was John M. True, who, with a comrade named Charlton, 
was sent there from Pueblo by Capt. O. II. 1'. 15axter, John A. Thatcher and others, 
to prospect for mineral. They made the location and sunk a ten foot hole in con- 
glomerate or agatized quartz, but, finding no valuable ore, they abandoned it. 
Hugh Melrose, who owned a claim called the Musselman on the hill above, formed 
the Centennial Mining com|)any to cut a tunnel into the mountain. Mr. E. C. 
Bassick worked for them in this tunnel, and. in passing to and from the place, at 
length decided to relocate the claim abandoned by True, and extend the shaft. 
Carrving out this intention, he soon made a discovery that a few years later en- 
riched him. Fossett's History of Colorado (1880) tells us that soon after opening 
the deposit he "sent a lot of eight or ten tons to the mill, and, to his astonishment, 
received over $12,000 therefor." The character and appearance of the mineral 
and formation were so different from anything previously known in Colorado, pros- 
])ectors had overlooked or passed over this hill, considering it worthless. "It re- 
mained for Mr. Bassick to unlock here a treasure vault that has few equals any- 
where. From the time of the first sale of the ore, he kept steadily at the work of 
development. Near the surface a nest of boulders, coated and mixed with chlori- 
dized mineral, was encountered, supposed to be a huge mineralized chinniey nearly 
pen^endicular. * "■'• ''- * It is impossible to give the total value of the product, as 
the former owner kept no books and did not preser\'e all his smelter receipts. Those 
in existence show that from July 21st, 1877. when work began, to June 2nd, 1879. 
731 tons were sold for $145,144, averaging $199.92 per ton. The final yield of 
the ore was $186,654.27, or $255.34 per ton. ^Ir. Bassick claims to have sold more 
than double that amount during the time mentioned, and also to have sold $100,000 
worth of ore between June 2nd and August ist, 1879." The property was sold to 
a New York company in July. 1879. This company worked it very successfully 
for a time, extracting large quantities of ore, running very high in gold, but for 
some years past it has been idle. A settlement known as Querida grew up about 
this mine, and in 1880-81 had a poi)ulation of about five hundred. Less than a 
dozen families are there now. It was platted in 1880 by the Bassick Mining Co. 
which simpl\ leased the lots to parties wlx^ became residents. Among the early 
settlers of tin town were Hugh Melrose. Daniel and George Todd. Lewis Railey 
and wife, and l<"rank G. Hagan. 

Daniel Todd was the first postmaster, and Mrs. Jennie .Southgate was the 
pioneer school teacher. Here the concentrating mill and the offices of the Bassick 
Mining comi^any were located. The town prosi)ered until the latter jiart of 1884, 
when the Bassick mine was closed, and about four hundred men were thrown out 
of emplovmenl. Querida was for several years the home of .Mr. C. C. Perkins, the 
manager of the Bassick mines. He was a man of marked individuality, and one 
of the influential citizens of the county. Ula. located about three miles from Silver 
ClifT. is the oldest town in the county. It enjoys the distint:tion of having been 
the first county seat. Dora, like Ula. was never more than a small collection of 
houses, and iioth subsequently were almost entirely absorbed by Rosita and Silver 

Si/irr Cliff. — The circumstances which gave this town its name and fame 
resulted fnMii a certain discovery of mineral by R. S. Edwards. Robert Powell and 
George S. Hofford of Rosita. The latter, it appears, crossed the plains pushing 
a wheelbarrow that contained his provisions, blankets, etc.. with the multitude that 
came to Pike's Peak in 1850. Edwards and Powell had prospected, leased and 


worked certain mines in Rosita. "The low, black stained cliff on the prairie, near 
the old road which crossed the valley from Oak Creek canon to Grape creek, had 
often attracted the attention of prospectors. In August, 1877, Edwards discovered 
the seam and took specimens of the rock, and horn silver, the latter an ore new to 
him, to Rosita for assaj-ing. One assay by Professor Brown gave 245 oz. silver 
per ton; another 20 oz. gold per ton, which, being reported, caused much excite- 
ment until the figures were discovered to be erroneous. Hofford owned a team 
\ihich hiniseli. Edwards and Powell outfitted. They camped at the base of the 
cliff, locating the Horn Silver, Racine Boy and Silver Cliff mines. These locations, 
according to Irwin's acc<junt, were made June 20th, 1878. These mines were after- 
wards develoj'eu. About the year 1880, what was termed the "carbonate craze" 
extended a!! over the mountains, excited of course by the formations at Leadville, 
in Chaffee, Gunnison, Park, Summit and other localities near the upper Arkansas. 
Everybody was searching for carbonates, and if what was found bore any re- 
semblance to the Leadville product, it was at once proclaimed as a wonderful dis- 
cover}'. Sihi'er Cliff burst forth soon after Leadville, and the whole state being 
inoculated with the mining fever, a great rush was made to the Wet Mountain 
valley. The result was that a large town was speedily built near the original cliff. 
Speculation ran riot, mines were staked, bonded and sold without development, and 
upon the flimsiest of surface indications; prospecting took wide range, and it 
really seemed as if the newest settlement was destined to become a large and per- 
manent city. Silver Cliff is pleasantl)- situated in the Wet Mountain \'alley. be- 
tween Grape creek and Round mountain. 

The first house in the town was built by Mdlhenny and Wilson in September. 
1878, a small frame building, which embraced a store and primitive post office. As 
tlie population augmented, a system of water works was constructed, schools and 
churches sprang up and the usual accessories followed. The town site, consisting 
of 320 acres, was laid out and platted by W. H. Holmes, and patented by the govern- 
ment, December 8th, 1879. The first officers elected February 12th, 1879. were: 
Mayor, J. J. Smith; recorder, G. B. McAulay; trustees, Frank S. Roff, Walter V>. 
Jeness, Mark W. Atkins, and Samuel Baeden. 

Banks and Bankers. — Stebbins, Post & Co. established a bank in February, 
1880, with J- V. Jillich as cashier. The Custer County Bank. F. A. Raynolds and 
]•". W. Dewalt, proprietors, with Fred S. Hartzell, cashier, was opened for business 
in Xovember, 1878. H. A. Mclntire purchased the fixtures of the old Boyd and 
Stuart bank at Rosita, and reopened a bank in that place. Mclntire was succeeded 
I)\- Raynolds and Dewalt, under the name of tlu- Merchants' and Miners' Bank. 
They sold to Paul j. Sours. 

Newspapers. — In September, 1874. Charles Baker of Colorado .Springs 
started the Weekly Rosita "Index," with Ben Lane Posey of ]\[obile. Alabama, as 
editor. Baker sold in 1879 to Charles F. Johnson, who changed the name of the 
paper to the .Sierra "Journal." The Silver Cliff "Prospect" began as a weekly. 
.May 5th, 1879, and, a month later, came out as a daily. The "Republican" started 
.\pril 1st, 1880, Dr. G. \\\ B. Lewis, manager; the Alining "Gazette." Xovember 
13th, 1880, C. E. Hunter and H. W. Comstock. editors. 

In 1882, the Daily "Herald" was established by Will C. Ferril, Charles W. 
Bony and S. B. Coates. It ran the greater part of that year and then suspended. 
W. L. Stevens began the publication of the "Miner," at Silver Cliff in 1878. .*\t time (1890) there are only two papers published in the county. These arc 
the \\'ct Mountain "Tribune," published by Alex H. Lacy, at Rosita, and the Silver 
Cliff "Rustler," edited by W. j. Orange, at the county seat. 

Churches. — r)ecasional religions services were held in Ula and Rosita jirior 
to the rise of Silver Cliff, by a \Ietho(list missionarx' named Stokes. A Methodist 
church was organized at Rosita in 1874, Rev. W. L. Smith, pastor, the onlv one 


to survive t!ie changes of time. Tlie Episcopalian.s, Presbyterians and Roman 
Catholics also held services in tliat town in its better days. From 1879 to 1883. 
the Catholics, the Episcopalians, the Alelhodists, the Presbyterians and the Seventh 
Day AdvenLisis built church edifices in Silver ClitY. The Episcojjalians erected 
the first house of worship, with Rev. A. C. Drummond as pastor. Then followetl 
the Presbyterian, the Methodist, the Catholic and the Seventh Day Adventists. 

Masonic and Odd Fellows orders, Knights of Pythias, Patrons of Husbandry, 
United Workmen and other secret societies were organized and had large member- 
ships. The t(jwn had a fine volunteer fire department, which was awarded a prize 
for quick and el'fcctive work in 1885. It has a good school, as have also Rosita 
and Silver Cliff. It now contains a population of about 800, and among its citizens 
are the Hon. Hosea Townsend, who was a member of Congress from Colorado for 
two terms, and John T. McXeely, an infiuential politician and lawyer. Hon. Charles 
Hartzell, Judge A. J. Rising and Oney Carstarphen (the latter was surveyor general 
under Clevclanri's first administration), who now reside in Denver, were for several 
years, citizens of Silver Cliff. 

ll'rs/ Cliff, located one and one-half miles from Silver Cliff, was established 
about 1885, and owed its inception and growth to the Denver and Rio Grande 
railroad. It has a population of about 500. The two towns, Silver Cliff and West 
Cliff, being so near each other, are practically one, and work together for their 
nuitual interests. 

Schools. — The couiit\ was divided into twenty school districts, and there were 
some 1,400 children of school age; i.ioo enrolled, with an average attendance of 
600. W. R. Fowler was the first county su])erintendent, from 1870 to 1872. The 
first public school, taught in what is now Custer county, was presided over by Miss 
Louisa v. Vircien, in 1871-72, in a log cabin located in Wet Mountain valley, about 
four miles southwest of the present town site of Silver Cliff. Every district in the 
county is well provided with means for the support of the public schools, and the 
people take a lively interest in their welfare. The Denver and Rio (irande rail- 
road company completetl its branch line from Caiion City to \\'est Cliff in May. 
1881. This stimulated all local interests, but the road was a source of vast ex- 
pense to the company, by reason of the frequent washouts w-hich interrupted traffic 
and cost great snms for repairs. The storm which occurred August 13th, 1889, 
entirelv destroved about five miles of the railroad, and the company, becoming 
discouraged, aiiandoned it altogether, removing the rails in 1890. 

Custer, like a few other counties in the state, has had tW'O controversies over 
the county seat question, one of which was extremely bitter and engendered at the 
time much disorder. 

The rival towns in this contest were Rosita and .Silver Cliff. The first election 
occurred in 1882, when Silver Cliff received a majority of all the votes cast. A portion 
(if the records was taken to that town, and some of the county officials located 
there, but it was claimed by the people of Rosita that it retjuired a majority of 
two thirds of tiie votes to change the county seat. The supreme court of the state 
decided in favor of Rosita. The contest was renewed in 1886, when Silver Cliff 
became the permanent seat of government. 

riie witlulrawal of all railroad facilities by the D. & R. G. Co. greatly retarded 
the prosperity of the county, but this has resulted in some respects to the benefit 
of the agricultLiralists and cattle raisers. While the railroad was in operation this 
class of citi;:ens purchased their corn, hay and oats in Denver and elsewhere, and 
paid for having them shipped in. Now they raise these conmiodities at home. 
and feed their cattle and stock the products of their farms. They have also, now. 
a home market, wherein better and more speedy returns are obtained. The popula- 
tion of the county is composed of men who possess much of the bravery and in- 
domitable will that characterized the great soldier for whom it was named. The 




early settlers were largely composed of thrifty Germans, sturdy Englishmen and 
thorough-going Yankees. Such men as these, although they may meet with ad- 
versities that may be felt by all, yet, when they are united in feeling as they now 
are. and act in harmony toward the advancement -of the common interests, their 
section of the state can not long remain in the background. 

In conclusion we may say that the present outlook for Custer county is good, 
and constantly improving. The mines of precious metals which have been de- 
veloped and vvorked for years, the still larger and richer fields of gold and silver 
to be discovered in the future, the almost exhaustless fecundity of the soil, and the 
vast area of nutritious grazing lands, constitute advantages that will speedily 
stimulate the building of another railroad and attract numbers of speculators and 


Area, population, p.oundaries, etc. — the beautiful town of delta — descrip- 

The county of Delta was segregated from Gunnison by an act of the General 
Assembly, February nth, 1883. Its area is 1,150 square miles, and its population 
in 1890 was 2,534. Its county seat and principal town of the same name is eligibly 
situated upon the broad and fertile delta at the junction of the Gunnison and Un- 
compahgre rivers, whence its name. The county is bounded on the north and west 
by Mesa, east by Gunnison, and south by Montrose. The Gunnison, L^ncompahgre, 
Rio Escalante, Robadoux, Smith's Fork, F"orked Tongue, Currant, Dominguez, 
Surface and Leroux creeks and the North Fork of the Gunnison are the principal 
streams. Agriculture, horticulture and stock growing are the chief industries. 
Other well known but smaller points in the county are Adams, Pamonie and 

Delta, formerly known as Uncompahgre, was laid ofif by the Uncompahgre 
Town company, April 6th, 1882, by George A. Crawford, president. The patent 
was issued June Qth, 1886, to A. R. King, mayor of the town, in trust for the occu- 
pants. As described by a local journalist, it is situated in a basin surrounded on 
three sides by high mountains, and open to the southwest. "To the south is the 
L^ncompahgre range, whose peaks are covered with snow the year round. The 
Elk range lies to the east some forty miles distant. These two ranges are the 
highest and most rugged in Colorado. To the north is the Grand Mesa, to the west 
and southwest lies the LTncom]>ahgre plateau. These configurations of the county 
undoubtedly exert marked influence on the climate, making the winters warm and 
the summers cool." The landscape view of the mountains and its lovely valleys 
along the streams mentioned above are magnificent. Delta, the capital, is the largest 
settlement in the county, the center of an exceedingly rich and productive farming 
and fruit growing region. The valleys of the Gunnison and L'nconipahgre are 
from two to five miles wide, and back of these is the first mesa or table-land, thirty 
to fifty feet high. The county is liberally timbered, the streams fringed with in- 
digenous cottonwoods. The rivers traverse the central parts of the valleys, the 
better farms being located on either side. The slopes of the mountains are covered 
with yellow pine, much of it suitable for fine lumber. "There is a belt of timber be- 
ginning near Ouray and running parallel with and on the west side of the L'ncom- 


pahgre and Gunnison to Utah, wliicli is fifty to sixty miles long, by five to twenty 
in width, that furnishes lumber equal to the best Chicago or Milwaukee products. 
The better lands lie in the valleys of the Gunnison, Uncompahgre and North Fork 
rivers, and the cultivated portions are irrigated by canals taken from these streams. 
Bordering the valleys are elevated mesas, known as California, Rogers, Gomet 
and Cushman, all well adapted to wheat, oats, rye, barley and alfalfa. Some re- 
markable crops are produced upon these rich table-lands, and they are also useful 
for pasturing horses, cattle and sheep. Some of the more favorably situated tracts 
will eventually be turned into farms and orchards. Cushman Mesa, south of the 
Uncompahgre, is 15 miles long by five in breadth, much of it covered by claims 
watered by canals. Says the Grand Junction "News:" "As early as 1885 nearly 
100 ranch locations had been made on Rogers Mesa, between Lerou.x creek and 
the North Fork. During 1885 many substantial houses were built in Delta, sup- 
planting the primitive structures of logs and adobes. Nearly every farmer has an 
orchard. Samuel Wade, Enos Hotchkiss, Mr. Hanover on the Uncompahgre and 
Mr. Coburn of the North Fork, H. B. Kennedy and others were among the earlier 
fruit growers." 

The station of the Denver & Rio Grande R. R. is half a mile or so west of the 
principal town, an extremely pretty situation with a brisk, prosperous and comfort- 
able aspect, as if the better class of people lived there, were proud of their progress 
and especially of their success in horticulture, which indeed has been almost phe- 
nomenal. The season of 1891 was particularly favorable, for all the trees of bear- 
ing age were literally loaded with delicious fruit. The new Methodist church is a 
fine structure, as also the public high school. As a matter of fact the schools of 
Delta are of a high standard of excellence. The place is encircled by fine orchards, 
grain and alfalfa fields of luxuriant growth. The fruit ranch of Mr. G. B. McGrana- 
han is one of the finest in the state, set in peach, apple, pear, cherry and plum trees, 
with vineyards of the Concord, Niagara and Warden varieties, from which fourteen to 
sixteen tons of grapes were marketed in 1891. Ne.xt to Mesa, Delta is the largest 
producer of fruit on the western slope. 

From notes taken from Gov. George A. Crawford's diary, of October ist, 1881, 
it appears that Anderson, Stevens, M. C. Vandeventer and himself then agreed upon 
and selected a site for the town of Delta. The survey of the town site was begun 
bv Samuel Wade of Lake City for Crawford and his associates, Decemljer 24th, 
1 88 1. Early in January, 1882, Crawford being at Delta received a letter from Hon. 
J. B. Belford, our Representative in Congress, stating that a po.'^t office had been 
established at Delta ahead of Grand Junction. The bridge over the Gunnison river 
was finished in May, 1882. The elevation of the town is 4,980 feet above the level 
of the sea. In September, 1881, the site of 500 acres first selected was duly sur- 
veyed and platted. Governor Crawford was chosen president and general manager, 
Harvey A. Bailey, assistant manager, and M. C. Vandeventer, secretary, of the 
Town company. These, together with D. C. Dodge, W. A. Bell and R. F. Weit- 
brec, were the directors. The streets crossing at right angles are broad and well 
shaded. All of the recently erected buildings are of modern architecture, and of neat 
and attractive appearance. In 18S2 the first town officers were chosen as follows: 
Mavor, M. C. X'andeventer; clerk, A. C. Butler; trustees, J. N. Daniels. Geo. B. 
McGranahan, John Kohnk and Geo. W. Donley; marshal. Harrington; treas- 
urer, W. H. Crotser. 

In 1890 a svstem of water works was built at a cost of $17,000. The water 
is pumped from Gunnison river to an elevated tank on the mesa, whence it is dis- 
tributed. A volunteer fire department was tliereafter organized. In 1886 a frame 
county building was erected at a c(ist of $4,000. In 1884 a fine brick school house 
was built, and L. C. Aley made principal thereof. The Presbyterians, Baptists and 
Methodists have church buildings. The latter are now using their first church as 


a parsonage, and at this writing are preparing to build a much finer edifice for 
worship. The Cathohc society is organized, but as yet has no church. The DeUa 
Social club, established in Xoveniber, 1890, with J. A. Curtis, president, has well 
furnished rooms and a membership of thirty-five. 

Newspapers. — The Delta "Chief" was founded March 7th, 1883, by Robert D. 
Blair. Later the Delta County "Advertiser" was established by Charles W. Russell. 
At length the Delta Publishing company absorbed both these papers, and named 
it the "Independent," with Charles G. Downing, editor. November 22nd, 1887, 
Harry Wilson and J. H. Woodgate purchased the journal. Finally after several 
other changes Mr. J- A. Curtis became proprietor and still conducts it. The 
"Laborer" was founded in the fall of 1890 by R. J. Coffey and C. M. Snyder, the 
former editor, the latter publisher. 

The }iIasons, Odd Fellows and Grangers have organizations in the town. 

Banks. — The Delta County Bank was started by H. A. Bailey and T. B. Craw- 
ford. February 5th, 1887, it was purchased by T. H. McGranahan, E. L. Kellogg 
and A. R. King, with the gentleman first named as president: J. E. McClure, vice- 
president, and E. L. Kellogg, cashier. It was incorporated in July, 1889, with a capital 
stock of $30,000. R. Bigelow & Sons also transact some banking business. 

The present town officials are: Mavor, Walter Scott: treasurer, I. McAIurrav: 
trustees, J. C. Gale, A. R. Howard, A. C. Butler, P. Mundry, J. Jefifers and F. P. 
Shields: clerk, A. Wishart. 

The first county officers were: Commissioners, Samuel Wade, chairman, Enos 
Hotchkiss, A. E. Kirkbride: clerk and recorder, E. L. Kellogg: sheriff, Charles L. 
Andrews ; treasurer, T. H. McGranahan: county judge, W. A. AIcDougal; surveyor, 
Wm. L. Marcy; assessor, Daniel J. McComiick; superintendent of schools, George 
H. Merchant: coroner, W. O. Stephens. 

An adobe building owned by Mr. J. J. Barker was rented by the commissioners 
for county offices. July 3rd, 1883, A. R. King was appointed county attorney, and 
precincts for election purposes were established, judges appointed, etc. The officers 
elected in November, 1883, were: Commissioners, E. H. Capron, John B. Hart and 
David Stephens: sheriff, Ben S. Gheen: clerk and recorder, E. L. Kellogg; county 
judge, A. R. King: treasurer, T. H. McGranahan; surveyor, W. L. Marcy; super- 
intendent of schools, George H. ]\Ierchant; assessor, George H. Duke; coroner, 
Robert Breese. 

After the removal of the Ute Indians from this region in September, 1881, 
stock growers, realizing the great advantage of the valleys and mesas for their pur- 
poses, came in considerable numbers and occupied the land, not alone with Texas 
stock, but with fine breeding cattle of imported blood. The broad, well grassed 
and abundantly watered ranges afforded exceptional facilities for the atlvancement 
of this pursuit. The south side of Grand Mesa, the elevated slopes of the North 
Fork valley. Smith's Fork and Muddy district were almost immediately taken up. 
The growth of the business has been large and profitable. In the horticultural 
sections, all the small fruits are produced in lavish abundance. On the top of 
Grand Mesa are many small natural lakes that abound with fish. Many canals or 
irrigating ditches have been taken out of the Guimison, I'ncompahgre and their 
tributaries — Leroux creek, Forked Tongue and Surface creeks. Smith's Fork, the 
Muddy and others, nearly all the result of home capital and labor. These ditches 
cost from $1,000 to $10,000 each. 

Delta, Mesa. Montrose and Garfield coimtics were a part of the old Ute Reser- 
vation. It is, as we have seen, diversified bv mountains, valleys, superb streams 
and table-lands. Delta shares with Mesa the sublime spectacle of the Grand Mesa 
in the northwest. No countv produces a greater variety of superior landscapes than 
Delta. The mesas comprise the greater part of the county. The soil is rich and. 
under irrigation, viclds grand harvests. It is already famous for its fruits and 


vegetables. All the domestic grasses, alfalfa, timothy, blue top, clover, Hungarian, 
millet, etc., do well by irrigation. Potatoes, corn, melons, wheat, oats and barley 
are equally prolific. Dairy farming is quite an extensive industry. 

The small town of Bridgeport is situated near the Mesa county line and between 
that place and Delta are Dominguez, Robadoux and Escalante stations. "The 
river Robadoux takes its name from Antoine Robadoux," says one of the Delta 
journalists, "a Frenchman who traded with the Utes many years ago, a brother of 
Joe Robadoux, the founder of the St. Joseph Mission." 

East of Delta are the great coal mines and measures of Gunnison, and north 
those of Mesa, which have been mentioned in the history of those counties. Though 
not largely populated as yet, the ground work has been laid for a progressive future in 
Delta county. The advantages of soil, climate, broad expanses of admirable lands, 
the numerous waterways, and the productiveness of the country all combine to make 
it an attractive point for settlement. It is scarcely more than eight years old, but 
in that period much has been accomplished. The settlers have demonstrated the 
capabilities of the soil for agriculture and horticulture, and know what it will 
produce. Great herds of cattle graze and are fattened upon her expansive plateaus. 

By the school census of 1890, there were 775 of school age, 15 school districts, 
and 19 school buildings, with 696 sittings. The value of this property was $16,500. 
In the high school 21 were enrolled; 145 in the graded and 388 in the ungraded. 
The average attendance was 300. Five teachers were employed in the graded 
schools and 19 in the ungraded. Mr. P. M. Condit is the principal at Delta. 

Mark the growth of property values in this county of only 2.534 inhabitants. 
The assessed valuation in 1883 was $450,964.82. There has been a steady and quite 
remarkable advance year by year until in 1890 it reached a total of $991,538. In 
the list returned for taxation are 66,647 acres of agricultural land. 3,169 horses, 86 
mules and 15,541 cattle, the latter indicating the extent to which the grazing lands 
are occupied. 

The officers of the county for 1890-91 were: Commissioners, Robert B. 
Hamilton. Henry Teachout and N. M. Heistand; sherifif, W. S. Girardet; clerk and 
recorder, Adam Wishart; treasurer, Amos R. Howard; county judge, G. W. Henry; 
surveyor, J. A. Cvirtis; assessor. F. R. Burritt; superintendent of schools, P. M. 
Condit; coroner, Dr. H. K. Brasted; clerk of the district court, Arthur H. Brown. 



Explorers of 1831-32 — old hunters and trappers — the baker expedition of 
i860 — extent of primary investigations — prospectors of 1866 — discovery 






Dolores county was taken from tlie southwestern part of Ouray by an act of 
the General Assembly approved February lyth, 1881, and the county seat located 
at Rico. It is bounded on the north by San Miguel, south by Montezuma, east by 
San Juan, and west by the Territory of L'tah. Its area is 1,000 square miles, and 
by the census of 1890 it contained a population of 1,498. In compiling its annals, 
elaborate data collected by Air. A. M. Rogers, and published in the Rico "News," 
has been followed by the author, because Mr. Rogers has been there since 1877, 
and was one of the committee which formerly organized and named Rico. Ex- 
cepting the early Spanish explorers, probably the first white men who ever visited 
the valley of the Rio Dolores were a party in the employ of the St. Louis Fur com- 
pany, led by William G. Walton, commonly known as "Commodore" Walton, who 
in 1878-79 was a resident of Ophir, from whom Mr. Rogers obtained the details 
of his expedition. This party, consisting of about sixty men, left St. Louis in the 
spring of 1831, and during the first year reached Taos, New Alexico. From thence 
they crossed to the headwaters of the San Juan river and trapped beaver and other 
fur-bearing animals along that stream and its tributaries during the fur season of 
1832. They then headed northward and spent the summer of 1833 in the valley 
of the Rio Dolores, and at Trout Lake, where in 1879 the venerable Commodore 
pointed out their camping place to Mr. Rogers. The ancient axe marks on the 
trees were mute but eloquent reminiscences. In the fall of 1833, the party con- 
tinued their journey northward, to what destination is not stated. However, it is 
not important as they made no settlement, and. like scores of others of those and later 
years, simply pursued the object of their mission — fur gathering. The next white 
men of whom we have any au^ielitic account, who penetrated this region, were 
detached prospecting outfits from the Baker party, as already related in the history 
of La Plata county. This party spent the winter of 1860-61 where Rockwood now 
stands, and in the spring of 1861, some of them under Lieutenant Howard, and 
among whom was the late L. H. Randall, well known to many citizens of Rico, 
came up the Hcrmosa and crossed over the range into Scotch creek gulch, and 
followed down this stream to the Dolores river, whicli they prospected in a desultor}' 
manner as far down as the mouth of the west Dolores, when the party divided, a 
part going up the West Fork, and part returning to the headwaters of the 
Dolores. Crossing over to Trout lake they camped there several days, and finally 


crossed the range by an Indian trail to the head of South ]vlineral, which they 
followed down to Baker's Park, where the main party were working. L. H. 
Randall, who furnishes the information, was one of this party. Lieutenant Howard, 
for whom Howard's Fork and also Howardsville were named, accompanied the 
party, which went up the west Dolores and Fish creek and struck the Navajo trail, 
followed across to Naturita and down to the Rio San Miguel, which they followed up 
to the South Fork, and thence up that stream to the intersection of Lake Fork, 
and then up Howard's Fork and over the Ophir Pass, or Lookout Mountain, and 
down to Baker's Park, relieving the party there of great anxiety, for they feared 
they had been taken in by the Indians. 

In 1806, Col. Nash, and a party among whom, we believe, were the fathers of 
our former townsmen, C. T. and J. G. McClain and D. L. Rattik, who is at present 
a resident, came up from Arizona, crossing the San Juan river near the mouth of 
McElmo Caiion, and, following up on the west side of the Sierra El Late mountains, 
struck the Santa Fe and Salt Lake trail at the big bend of the Dolores, where the 
party divided, part following the trail westward to the Sierra La Sal mountains 
and the Grand river, and part marching up the Rio Dolores, and crossing to Trout 
Lake; followed down that outlet and the San Miguel river to the Dolores, thence 
to the Grand and up that river and the Gunnison, and thence via the old Indian 
trail to the settlements on the eastern side of the range. In 1869, Sheldon Shafer 
and Joe Fearheiler left Santa Fe headed for Montana. They came via what is now 
known as Nolan's place, on the San Juan river, taking the Indian trail to Mitchell's 
Springs in Montezuma valley and Lost Canon, which they followed down to the 
Dolores river, and up to where the town of Rico now stands. Both were experi- 
enced prospectors, and had brought a large amount of provisions, tents and other 
necessary supplies. Their experienced eyes caught at a glance the promising in- 
dications for rich mineral, and decided to cam,p with them. They built a cabin on 
Silver creek near where the South Park mine now is, and began systematic pros- 
pecting. Their first location embraced what is now a part of the Shamrock, Smuggler 
and Riverside lodes of the Atlantic Cable group, running parallel with the river. 
This claim they called the Pioneer, and the date of location was in the latter part 
of July, i86g. They soon afterward discovered several claims on the hill northeast 
of the present town of Rico, among them the Phcenix, which they named the 
"Nigger Baby," on account of the large amount of black oxide of manganese found 
in the outcropping, and by them mistaken for sulphuret of silver. From that early 
mining location the famous Nigger Baby Hill derived its name. They also located 
what is now the Yellow Jacket, the Amazon, the Pelican and the Electric Light 
mines. Late in the fall of i86g, they erected a cabin about where the rear end ot 
the lot occupied by the Rico State Bank now is. ami worked on the Pioneer lode 
all winter, sinking a shaft somewhere near the okl dumps of the Shamrock. The 
winter of 1869-70 was remarkable for the light fall of snow, but extremely cold 
weather, which froze a casing to their shaft and enabled them to sink much deeper, 
without being inconvenienced by water and by carbonic acid gas, than they could 
have done had there been more snow and less frost. 

In the summer of 1870, R. C. Darling was surveying the southern and western 
boundarv lines of Colorado, and also the Ute Indian Reservation. He had occa- 
sion to visit Mt. Sneffels, that being a known point on the 9th correction line, for 
the purpose of making certain determinations in connection with his work, leaving 
part of ills force at a spring near the western side of Mesa Verde, now in Montezuma 
countv. Taking two men with him, he proceeded up the Dolores river, where he 
found Messrs. Shafer and Fearheiler at work on their mining property. He stopped 
a day or two and made locations on what is now the Atlantic Cable lode, under 
the old mining law, when claims were much less in area than now. Mr. Darling 
continued his journey to Mt. SnefTels, and on his return found that the place had 


been invaded by five otiier adventurous spirits, Augustus W. Begole, Jack Eckles, 
Denipse)' Reese, Jim Slerritt and Pony Whittemore, who had come up from Fort 
Defiance, New Mexico, and were elated over the rich showing the locaHty afforded. 
Shafer and Fearheiler traded them a portion of the Pioneer claim for provisions, 
and they ran what is familiarly known to most Rico people as "Poison Tunnel," on 
the west side of the river, a short distance below the Piedmont bridge, and now 
being worked by Capt. Waggenslee. They also discovered the Aztec and Columbia 
lodes, which they named Aztec and Toltec ; also the Nora Silley, which they called 
the jNIontezuma. Air. Darling returned to his surveying and when the frosts of 
autumn began to tinge the aspen foliage with yellow the others took their departure 
from Pioneer district, Air. Begole's party going to Taos, while Shafer and Fear- 
heiler started for Fort Defiance, but before reaching there the treacherous redskins 
stole their stock, and their deadly bullets put a stop forever to poor Joe Fearheiler's 
prospecting. Air. Shafer escaped with his life, but never returned to the rich 
bonanzas he and his faithful partner had risked and endured so much to find, in 
the silver-lined mountains on the Rio Dolores. 

We have no knowledge of the Dolores country being visited in 1871 by white 
men, but, early in 1872, R. C. Darling, having completed his contract with the 
government to survey the boundaries of the Ute and Navajo Reservations, and to 
run the lines between Utah, Colorado and New Ale.xico, he concluded to return 
to the Dolores. Interesting several officers of the U. S. Army, and some capitalists 
in Washington, D. C, he outfitted a large party, mostly Alexicans in Santa Fe, and 
started for the mining district of southern Colorado. They reached their destina- 
tion on the 4th day of July, 1872, and celebrated that event by killing an enormous 
cinnamon bear, on the very spot now occupied by the old Rico Electric Light build- 
ings. They packed a few short boards the entire distance from Santa Fe, with 
which they made moulds for shaping adobe brick, and proceeded to construct a 
ATexican adobe furnace, near where the school house now stands, a short distance 
from the Glasgow avenue bridge across Silver creek. They extracted ore from 
the Atlantic Cable, Aztec and Yellow Jacket mines, fired up and charged their 
furnace, and actually produced three small bars of base bullion, but their adobes con- 
tained too much lime, and when heated the furnace collapsed. After one or two 
unsuccessful trials the Alexicans became discouraged, and as their blow-pipe assay 
tests, the only assaying method they had, did not prove as rich as they had hoped, 
and as winter was approaching, they retraced their .steps to .Santa Fe. 

In 1874, the U. S. topographical and geological survey, under Prof. Havden, 
were working in this locality. They took obsen^ations and altitudes, and named the 
principal mountain peaks and other localities in this section, the most of which 
are still in use. The altitude of the Atlantic Cable shaft, at the north bank of Silver 
creek, a few feet west of Glasgow avenue, is given in the official report as 8.200 
feet,* and that of Black Hawk peak as 13.070 feet, this being the highest point in 
Dolores county, except where the lines of Dolores and San Aliguel counties reach 
the summit of Alt. Wilson, which is 14,381 feet, the fifth in height in the state. In 
1877, there was some prospecting activity in Pioneer district, and Alessrs. ATorey 
& .Sperry of New York, manufacturers of mining machinerv, AFr. Fleming of 
Cleveland, Ohio, Prof. Clayton of Salt Lake, and General Hefifcrman of Animas 
City, Colorado, became interested here and located a number of claims, among 
which were what are now the Columbia, Aztec. Phcenix, Yellow Jacket and Wide 
Awake. They employed John Glasgow and Robert Schneider to work the assess- 
ment on them, but as they failed to pay these men for their work, and also recorded 
the property in La Plata county instead of San Juan, of which this was then a part, 
Glasgow and Schfieider, early in 1878, relocated the property in their own names. 

* The survey of the Rio Grande Southern gives the altitude of Glasgow and Mantz avenues (post 
office corner) 8,735 feet. 


L. B. Da Ponte, Scott Burbank, R. C. Darling and H. Bert Clifford were also 
here in the fall of 1877, but did not do much work until the spring of 1878, when 
the camp was occupied by them. In 1878, Pioneer district began to attract con- 
siderable attention, and was prospected quite extensively by John Glasgow, Rob 
Schneider, Bob Darling, Ed. Robinson, Bert Clifford, Thornton Chase, L. B. 
Da Ponte, Scott Burbank, Clabe and Charlie Jones, John Schalle, Sandy Campbell, 
Chas. Humarton, Leon Eggers, Andy D. Masters, Dave Swickheimer and others, 
and several good properties were discovered and worked. When the early snow 
began to tip the mountain peaks with its silvery sheen, the camp was deserted, some 
going to Silverton, and some to their eastern homes, while others repaired to the 
Mancos and remained during the winter. Early in the spring of 1879, Col. J. C. 
Haggerty, who was then prospecting here, visited Ouray for supplies, taking with 
him samples of ore from some claims on Nigger Baby Hill, which, on being 
tested, proved to be lead carbonates very rich in silver. This caused a stampede. 
Everybody who could left the neighboring camps of Ouray, Lake City, Silverton, 
Ophir and San Miguel, and many came even much greater distances, lured by the 
exaggerated reports of the new Eldorado. The hills were soon honey-combed with 
prospect holes, and, in a short time, the country for a radius of several miles from 
the common center, where Rico has since been built, was covered in many places 
three or four deep by overlapping mining claims. The boom was of short duration. 
It was followed by a relapse, when a majority of those who came expecting to soon 
reap a rich silver harvest went away in disgust, cursing the camp. Excitement 
followed in tidal waves for the next three months, each one strengthening the camp, 
therefore, by the first of July, its permanency was an assured fact. In July, 1879, 
E. A. Robinson was appointed justice of the peace, and during the same month 
P. Halderman and A. K. Prescott brought in the first stock of goods, and Frank 
Lovejoy opened the first saloon. In August, 1879, the Wide Awake, Yellow 
Jacket, Phcenix, Pelican, Grand View, Major, Aztec and Columbia were sold to 
Senator John P. Jones of Nevada and John W. Bailey of Denver for $100,000. 
This was the first transaction in mines. 

In the early part of August the first female residents in the Dolores valley were 
Mrs. William Embling and her daughter, Mrs. Henry Knight. During the same 
month, six blocks of the town site were surveyed and subdivided into lots, but no 
organization was effected later on. The last day of August, 1879, George 
McGoldrick, alias the Kid, shot and killed a man called "Frenchy," who was buried 
next day. This was the first start of the cemetery. 

Early in .September the post office was established with A. K. Prescott as post- 
master, and mail service via Ophir was begun. 

On the 2 1 St of August, 1870, the first numbe'r of the Rico "News" was issued 
from the La Plata "Miner" office in Silverton, as were the succeeding six numbers. 
October 2nd, the press, type, and ofiice material of that paper were brought in by 
Reese Riley, who came from Silverton via Animas City, Mancos, Bear Creek and 
the Rio Dolores, and was, with the exception of Jim Mcjenkins' saw mill, which 
arrived about a month previous, the first wagon freight brought to the camp. 

The night of October 5th, 1879, the inhabitants of Rico experienced a first- 
class Indian scare. All the female npembers of the community were corralled in a 
new log cabin without doors or windows, taken to the roof on a hastily constructed 
ladder and dropped down, after which guards were stationed at or near where the 
( irand \'iew smelter nov,' stands and on the grade above the old Passadena smelter. 
The rest of the men repaired to Frank Raymond's store on the lots now occupied 
by the Bailey block, and barricaded themselves upstairs against the expected on- 
slaught. The only casualty was one burro killed by an excited guard, who mis- 
took it for a bloodthirsty Ute. The building used as a bomb-proof in which the 


ladies were corralled is the one now occupied by Shing Lee as a washee house, 
just north of the Rico-Aspen office. 

July 4th, 1S80, the machinery for the Grand View smelter arrived, being hauled 
on wagons from Alamosa, and November 17th, following, it was in place and began 
producing bullion in paying quantities. 

The value and extent of the mineral veins having been established by the dis- 
coveries already made, and the developments entered upon, the people located 
there began to arrange for building a town. As a beginning, six blocks of ground 
were surv-eyed, subdivided and platted, forming a ])art of the existing town site, and 
the lots covered with tents and cabins. Additions under mill site, town site and 
squatter's right claiins were taken up in every conceivable shape, yet the town had 
no name. By some it was called Carbonate City; by others, Dolores City, Dolores- 
ville, Carbonateville, Lead City, etc. At length a meeting was called and a com- 
mittee was appointed to select a name for the town and draft a petition for the 
establishment of a post office. Among the names discussed by the committee were 
Belford, Patterson, Wilson, Glasgow, Lovejoy, and many others, but all were re- 
jected. The conmiittee were at a loss what to call it, until Mr. Wm. Weston, then 
of Ouray, suggested the appropriateness of the Spanish word Rico (riches). Every 
member except A. M. Rogers — who wanted it called Glasgow — accepted and voted 
for Rico, and thus the town came by its name, which it will be admitted is brief, 
musical and attractive, besides being appropriate. A few days later J. F. Wanne- 
maker was engaged to survey the town site as it now exists. A resolution was 
adopted to conform all alleged additions and subdivisions to the six blocks which 
had been surveyed and platted by Van R. Elliott a short time previous. Thus estab- 
lished, many business houses were opened, among them those of Donald Mclntyre, 
Cohn Bros., F. W. Raymond, A. K. Prescott & Co., Cobb & Sherry, Higgins & 
Moore, Dunbar & Bacon. The Rico "News" was founded by John R. Curry, one 
of the most ardent pioneer journalists of the southwest. The first white child born 
in Rico or in the Dolores valley was Robert C. Spencer, son of Mr. and ]\Irs. George 
W.Spencer, October nth, 1879. 

The first municipal election occurred December 5th, 1879, when the following 
officers were chosen: Mayor, Frank W. Raymond; clerk, D. A. McGraw; trustees, 
M. A. Bean, M. C. Marstin, E. P. Kent and H. E. Snyder. The first wedding oc- 
curred April 4th, 1880, that of Mr. C. P. Middaugh and Miss Alice Snyder. In 
1880 there began a move for a separate county organization. Under the act of 
March ist, 1881, creating the new county of Dolores, so named from the river and 
mountain canon, the governor appointed the following officers to serve until the 
next annual election: Clerk and recorder, Frank W. Raymond; treasurer, E. B. 
Cushing; sherifif, Jacob Summa; county judge, S. V. Rosser; assessor, J. P. Norton; 
commissioners, A. A. Waggoner, S. W. McCormick and S. H. Burghardt. In 
February, 1883, a mining boom of respectable proportions v\-as inaugurated on the 
West Dolores; the town of Bowen was laid out and a post office established, but the 
activity was of brief duration, and the town collapsed. 

From time to time various ripples of excitement have disturbed the placid 
serenity of the steadily growing progress. The original settlers found the country 
round about much troubled by Ute Indians, who viewed with sullen indignation the 
gradual occupation of their hunting grounds by white men. The first winter was 
long and severe. Rumors of danger from incursions by the savages were frequent. 
For more efficient protection a "home guard" was organized, which allayed the 
fears of the more timid. Provisions were scarce and the i^rices very high. Ouray 
being the nearest market, supplies were hauled in on hand-sleds from that distant 
quarter. The nearest that beef cattle could be driven was six miles from Rico, 
where they were slaughtered and the meat taken to town on sleds. After a season 
of such hardshi])s maiiN' became discouraged, and in the spring left the county. 


Rico is eligibly situated in a spacious valley on the East Fork of the Dolores 
river at an elevation of 8,737 ^^^^ above the sea. Its population is about 2,000. 
Beyond the incidents noted there was no substantial activity between 1879 and 
1889. The developments made by Mr. David Swickheimer in the Enterprise mine 
on Newman Hill from 1887 forward, wherein' he not onl}- created a very rich mine, 
but solved some extremely intricate geological problems in connection with all the 
veins in that quarter, was the first surprising revelation that led to great conse- 
quences. In 1891, he sold the property to Messrs. Crawford and Posey, for $1,250,- 
000, who disposed of it to a syndicate of New York and English capitalists, and 
they formed the Enterprise iVIining company, which enjoyed large and regular 
dividends from its products. 

We have mentioned the Grand View as the first smelter established. It was 
followed by the erection in 1882 of the Waring and the St. Clair mills and the 
Passadena smelter, all of which were fairly successful for a time. The days of 
local mills and smelters passed into history upon the coming of the railway. The 
first house of worship, known as the "People's Congregational church," was built 
in the fall of 1890, the first service being held therein on Christmas Eve. The 
Pastor, Rev. S. C. Dickerson, was ordained and the church dedicated February 
16-17, 1891. In the summer of 1892 a Catholic church was founded. In the fall 
of that year a four-room brick school house was completed. During the same year 
the people voted $20,000 in bonds for the erection of a court house, and a large 
handsome hotel was finished at a cost of $35,000. In the same period, six fine 
stone and brick blocks replaced an equal number of log structures that formerly had 
been used for business purposes. In addition, a large and complete ore sampling 
plant was put in operation. These and several other improvements of importance 
followed the introduction of the Rio Grande Southern railway, October ist, 1801, 
which event caused universal rejoicing. In February, 1890, the Rico State Bank 
was organized, with a capital of $50,000, David .Swickheimer, president, B. N. 
Freeman, vice-president, and Wesley W. Parshall, cashier. 

The more prominent of the developed mines are the Enterprise, Rico-Aspen, 
Black Hawk, Little Maggie, Grand View, C. H. C, Newman, Atlantic Cable and 
Cobbler groups, and those of the Consolidated Rico Revenue Return Mining 
company. There are almost numberless others in various stages of exploitation. 

There are no prominent ranches or orchards in the county, but a considerable 
number of large cattle ov.ners have extensive grazing ranges in the western division, 
which is comparatively well timbered, broken and mountainous. In the same 
locality are mines of bituminous coal, from which considerable coke is manufac- 
tured. It is said that large beds of good anthracite coal have been discovered and 
partially opened there. The mountains about Rico seem to be literally ribbed with 
veins of precious metal bearing minerals, and at no distant day, when our national 
monetary problems shall have been readjusted on a bimetallic basis, this portion 
of Dolores county will be one of the most productive mining fields in the West. 



March of capt. marcv — old tradition of battle mountain — ancient oraves — 

first settlers discovery of mines ute indian outbreak — organization 

founding of towns — principal mines — agriculture — mount of the holy 


This county was named after Eagle river, which rises in the mountains north 
of Leadville and traverses the entire length of the county from southeast to west, 
uniting with Grand river at Dotsero a few miles northeast of Glenwood Springs. 
It was organized by an act of the General Assembly, approved February nth, 
1883, and was taken from the western part of Summit county. Its area is 1,600 
square miles, and, according to the census of 1890, its population was 3,725. It is 
bounded on the north b% Grand and Routt, south by Pitkin and Lake, east bv 
Summit, and west by Garfield. 

The first authentic account of the exploration of the Eagle river country, if 
such it can be calletl, appears in a book written by Captain — afterward General — 
Randolph B. Alarcy of the United States Army, who, while stationed at Fort 
Bridger, in November, 1858, received orders from the Secretary of War to move 
his command in great haste across the mountains by the most direct route to Fort 
Massachusetts in the San Luis \'alley.* He left Fort Bridger November 24th with 
40 enlisted men and 25 m.ounted men, besides packers and guides. There being 
neither roads nor definite trails, he pursued his way under extreme difficulties to 
the valley of Grand river, probably near Glenwood Springs. Capt. jMarcy speaks 
of passing up Eagle river, but to what point is undetermined. Returning from 
the San Luis valley and New Mexico, the command encamped at the mouth of 
Cherry creek, now occupied by the city of Denver, and while there some of the 
employes washed a small quantity of gold dust from its sands, which Marcy claims 
gave rise to the reports which, the same year, brought the first immigrants to 
the Rocky Mountains. 

There is an old tradition among the Ute Indians, who once owned and hunted 
through the region described, that about the year 1849 two war parties, composed 
of Utes and Arapalioes, met on what is now I'attle Mountain, when a tremendous 
fight ensued, in which many were killed and wounded. Whether true or wholly 
apocryphal, it is submitted for what it is worth. 

I am indebted to Mr. H. W. Smith, clerk of Eagle county, for some inter- 
esting notes relating to the early history of this region. About half a mile above 
Red Clifif, on the bank of the river, is a grave. On the headstone is the following 
inscription: ".\. McEldry-died August 17th, 1859." There are other very old isolated 
graves in different parts of the county, but none that so clearly set forth the date 
of death. Flow or when these people entered the region, whence they came or what 

* An epitome of this expedition and its purpose appe.irs in Vol. I, page 141. 


their purpose are impenetrable secrets. We know, however, that nearly all the 
mountain streams were explored by hunters and trappers attached to the various 
fur con'panies, between 1840 and i860, and it is possible that some of them died 
and were buried there. 

The first actual settlers in the Eagle river country, as far as can be ascertained, 
who located there with the intention of prospecting for the precious metals, were 
Joseph Britt and John Bauman, in March, 1879. They began digging on the 
margins of the river at a point some twenty miles below where Red Cliff now 
stands, at the mouth of Lake creek. These men are still residents of Eagle county, 
Britt occupying his original location, while Bauman is engaged in mining. The 
next settlement, as near as can be learned from the county records, occurred near 
the present town of Mitchell — named for and founded by George R. Mitchell, once 
a noted resident of Gilpin county (elected a member of the fourth, fifth and sixth 
councils of the territorial legislature), who took up a ranch in the upper part of 
Eagle Park. Placer claims were located for mining and town site purposes, March 
17th, 1879, by Frank Benjamin, C. C. Welch and others. A town composed mainly 
of canvas tents was started, but disappeared within a year or two, the placers prov- 
ing a disappointment. 

April 15th, 1879, Robert and John Duncan discovered and staked a few lode 
claims in Eagle river mining district. In Battle mountain district, near Gilman, 
the following discoveries were made which led to the subsequent populating of 
the county: The Little Ollie, April 25th, 1879, by James Deming, Wm. Barney 
and Wm. Helmer; the Eagle Bird, April 15th, by J. T. McGrew, Wm. Hclmer, 
Henry Helmer and D. C. Collier; the Silver Wave on the same date by the Helmer 
brothers et. al.;the Belden, May 5th, by D. D. Belden and Price Merrick. The latter 
was the first to produce workable ores in large quantities. Probably one hundred 
claims were staked and recorded during the summer of 1879 in the vicinity of 

The first locations near Red Cliff were: The Henrietta, July 4th^ 1879, by 
Frank Bowland & Co.; the Horn Silver, July 7th, by G. J. Da Lee, Wm. Greiner 
and Thos. Hall. The ground now covered by the Wyoming group was located 
July 26th, by Dugan, Jenkins, et. al. Da Lee and Greiner built the first cabin 
in Red Cliff in the summer of 1879. July 25th of that year, at a called meeting of 
the mmers and prospectors, the town was named Red Cliff, from the numerous red 
bluffs or cliffs surrounding the site. About July 1st, Ziers & Remain established a 
general provision store, including liquors. Almost simultaneously, George Stevens 
opened a store with a jack-load of goods brought from Leadville. July 15th, 
C. Bottolfson, N. K. Smith, and J. P. Manvill located the Argo mill site, and it was 
upon this that the town was built, but afterward a town company was formed, and 
more territory added. 

Immediately after the Meeker massacre, in September, 1879, the people on 
Eagle river, apprehending a raid by the hostile Indians, built a fort which is still 
standing at Red Cliff, and made everything ready to welcome the Utes to "hos- 
pitable graves," should they come. Scouting parties were seen within a few miles 
of the town, but no attack occurred. In 1880 a smelter was built by the Battle 
Mountain Mining and Smelting company which owned the Belden and other mines. 
Most of the lead bullion turned out was bought by the Leadville smelters for their 
own use. It was abandoned in 1882, soon after the arrival of the Denver & Rio 
Grande railway in March of that year. October 5th, 1880, the first town council 
of Red Cliff' mot. The officers were, mayor, Fred Henry; councilmen, G. J. Da 
Lee, Frank Abair, A. O. Simons and D. W. Smart. A. G. Mays was the first 
practicing physician, Thos. N. Evans first surveyor, Geo. Morris first blacksmith, 
H. L. J. Warren editor of the first newspaper, Melvin Edwards first druggist and 


postmaster. The Star hotel was the original building of that class. W. H. Dun- 
field and James Ash were the first attorneys. 

Bell's camp, midway between Red Cliff and Oilman, was one of the older 
settlements in the county. Dr. Bell and B. S. Morgan located the Black Iron and 
a number of other properties near that place. In December, 1881, the D. & R. G. 
R. R. Co. began the work of extending its narrow gauge line from Leadville into 
Eagle county via Tennessee Pass, completing it to Rock creek in March, 1882, 
where it remained until Januar}-, 1887, when the extension to Glenwood Springs 
and Aspen was begun. 

Up to the beginning of 1883 the territor\- now comprising Eagle county was a 
part of Summit. When the separation took place, the governor of the state ap- 
pointed the following officers to serve until the ne.xt ensuing general election: 

Commissioners, D. D. Belden, H. R. McClelland and John C. Metcalf; clerk 
and recorder, E. F. Campbell; sheriff, N. L. Eby; county judge, L. R. Thomas; 
superintendent of schools, R. B. Foster; treasurer, William McKissick; assessor, 
C. Riter. At the election held November 6th, 1883, Red Cliff was selected as the 
county seat. In 1887 a system of water works was built, the supply taken from 
Willow creek, 3,000 feet distant. The cost was about $4,000, being constructed by 
Mr. A. F. Graham, one of the town trustees. A number of fire plugs are attached, 
and there is a good volunteer fire department. 

Gilinan was founded in 1886. It was first called Clinton, but was changed 
to honor Mr. H. M. Gilnian, a popular and enterprising citizen. It is the largest 
town in the county, and is situated high up on the slope of Battle mountain, about 
1,200 feet above the D. & R. G. R. R. and the valley of the Eagle. The situation 
is one of the most remarkable in the Rocky Mountain region now used for human 
habitations. The causes which incited permanent settlement here were the same 
as those that led to the peopling of Leadville, Gunnison, Ten Mile, Aspen and most 
of the other mining towns — the discovery and development of silver mines. There 
was not room enough in Leadville, nor mines enough to accommodate all of the 
surging thousands that gathered there, hence the surplusage sought other fields and 
found them across the ranges to the northwest and south. As we have seen, the 
earlier prospectors found valuable mines on Battle mountain, then and now the 
principal seat of production. The lofty and rugged slopes became scenes of won- 
derful activity. Some great veins and deposits of rich mineral have been opened, 
among them the Ida May, Little Duke, Ground Hog, the latter an extraordinary 
producer of gold in nugget form, deposited in strange cavities called "pockets;"' 
the Belden, Iron Mask, May Queen, Kingfisher, Little Chief, Crown Point, Little 
Ollie and others. A number of camps were established, as Coronado, Ore Creek 
and Horn Silver. 

Some of the principal mines are situated within a stone's throw of the main 
street of Gilman. Much fine machinery has been placed on the more valuable 
workings, and hundreds of thousands expended in development. (lilman also 
has a system of water works, electric light plant, etc., a good school building, and 
telegraph and telephone lines. Among the early residents and business men were 
John LVban and R. W. Scott & Co.; the latter built one of the first general supply 
stores in the place. 

Afin/urti sprang up as a consequence of extending the Rio Grande railway 
down the valley. It is only a small settlement, the end of a freight division. 

Eas;/t\ at the mouth of Brush creek, is a thriving hamlet, as also is Gypsum, at 
the mouth of Gypsum creek. 

Fulfonl mining camp is situated on Nolan creek, a tribtitary of Brush, and 
takes its name from A. H. Fulford, one of its pioneers. Prospecting began there 
in 1887, and some very rich mines were discovered. In June of that year. William 
Nolan accidentlv killed himself by shooting, on what is known as Nolan creek. 


A. H. Fulford was killed by a snow slide, January ist, 1892, near the place which 
bears his name. B. S. Morgan, A. McLouth, Joe Good, John Bauman and S. N. 
Ackley were among the earlier prospectors in this district. 

Agricicltural. — Ernest Ingersoll, in his "Crest of the Continent," says: "Agri- 
culture in the valley of the Eagle is hopeless, excepting the cultivation of some of the 
hardier vegetables lilve turnips, and perhaps risky crops of oats and barley." But 
Ingersoll wrote in 1884, after a rapid ride through that section. In the last few 
years the valleys below the mining fields have been put under cultivation, watered 
by irrigating canals and made to produce not only vegetables, but satisfactory crops 
of cereals — wheat, oats, barley, timothy and alfalfa, potatoes, and, in the more 
favorable localities, certain of the hardier orchard fruits. Large herds of cattle 
and horses are pastured on the grazing ranges. 

The more prominent ranches are those of Nottingham & Co., J. L. Howard, 
Hollingsworth & Co. and the Crescive Land & Cattle Co., along Eagle river; Mrs. 
S. M. White, Tohn I^ove and A. D. McKenzie, on Brush creek, and the Derby Land 
& Cattle Co., on Derby creek; Frank Dall, A. F. Grundel, Ed. Slaughter and 
Grundel Bros., on Gypsum creek; Dall, Condon & Co., on Sweetwater, and H. B. 
Gillespie, on the Roaring Fork. 

Among the earlier settlers on the ranches of the county are Henry Hermage, 
Robert Mathews and W. E. Frost, on Brush creek; W. W. Livingston, R. M. Sher- 
wood, C. M. White and C. B. Stone, on the Eagle; Stratton Bros., F. M. Skifif and 
Casper Schumm, on Gypsum; W. H. Harris, Robinson & Sons, Thos. O'Connell 
and Luchsinger Bros., on Roaring Fork; Jack Stewart at Dotsero. Aspen Junc- 
tion is a railroad town of some importance on the Colorado Midland railway. 

The principal fruit section is along the Roaring Fork where H. B. Gillespie has 
thirteen acres in apples, apricots, plums, pears, etc., with extensive growths of small 
fruits (see history of Pitkin county); Oliver Jacobs has eight acres in about the same 

Mount of the Holy Cross. — In 1880 some discoveries of gold and silver mines 
were made near :he base of this remarkable mountain, and scores of prospectors 
followed the reports which came from that locality. A number of mines were opened, 
and some expensive mills built, but no great degree of success has been attained. 
The mountain itself, one of the most extraordinary in the entire chain, has been 
rendered famous by the magnificent painting of the great American artist, Mr. 
Thomas Moran, who accompanied a party associated with Prof. F. \'. Hayden's 
U. S. Geological Survey in 1874, and there prepared the studies and sketches for 
the work. Its name, "Mount of the Holy Cross," is derived from a tradition of its 
discovery and christening by two Spanish monks who traversed the country long 
anterior to its settlement by white men. Readers of the history of Dolores and 
San Miguel counties, presented in this volume, will discover that these holy fathers 
wandered on foot over a considerable part of the ,San Juan country, and it is only 
fair to presume that they found and bowed reverently before this colossal symbol 
of their faith. 

The mountain is situated about 200 miles from Denver, and may be seen 
ifrom any of the higher peaks along the front range. One passing down the valley 
of the Eagle, by train or otherwise, will catch glimpses of the cross so clearlv em- 
blazoned upon its crest. It is formed by two great transverse fissures filled with 
snow and ice. The Holy Cross creek flowing from its base is a picturesque and 
beautiful stream, bordered by pines and firs, and in its rapid descent broken into 
beautiful cascades. Near at hand is the mining camp. As to the painting, which 
brought its author both fame and fortune, it is a splendid tribute to American art 
and the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. According to art critics, "Sir. Moran 
was strikingly successful in his translation of this superb fragment of Rockv 
Mountain scenery. "In the foreground is Holy Cross creek, a wild and sinuous 


stream, lashing into foam against the numerous dark and jagged rocks that im- 
pede its course, all skillfully drawn and tinted. But the almost mysterious grandeur 
of the weird white cross, and above it the mass of fine gray clouds, hold the eye 
entranced like a lovely vision, while the name suggests matins and vespers and 
mysterious worship of the old monks." This painting is now owned by Dr. W. A. 
Bell of Alanitou. It has been exhibited in London and several of the more im- 
portant cities of America and Europe. 


Area and population — named for gov. elbert — cattle and sheep growing — 
products, etc. 

This county, named in honor of Hon. Samuel H. Elbert, ex-govemor of the 
territory, and also ex-chief justice of the supreme court, was segregated from the 
eastern part of Douglas county and organized under an act of the territorial legis- 
lature, approved February 2nd, 1874. 

The county seat was temporarily located at Middle Kiowa. The county is 
bounded on the north by Arapahoe, south by El Paso and Lincoln, east by Lin- 
coln, and west by Douglas county. Its area is 1,880 square miles, and by the census 
of 1890 its population was 1,856, an increase of 148 in the preceding decade. It is 
located on the eastern Divide, and is almost exclusively a stock-raising region. 
There are 2,000,000 acres of land available for agriculture, and for grazing purposes 
there are 986,560 acres. There is, however, but very little farming done in the 
county. The mildness of its winters, the abundance of water, and the plenitude of 
nutritious grasses make it one of the superior grazing counties of the state. There 
are no large streams, but many small creeks. These are East, West and Aliddle 
Bijou creeks, Comanche, Running and Kiowa creeks, and also Wilson's and Big 
Sandy, none of them large enough to furnish water for irrigating purposes on a 
large scale. The farmers depend mostly upon the rainfalls, which are frequent. 
There are at the present time six irrigating canals, twenty miles in extent. The 
loam soil is deep and rich, the surface undulating, and the crops that are annually 
gathered are equal to any produced in other parts of the state. 

It has large pine forests in the western part, from which much of the lumber 
was taken in 1859 that was used in building early Denver. The population is 
generally composed of a wealthy class of ranchmen, who are social and intelli- 
gent, largely immigrants from the Atlantic states. During the early settlement of 
the county, portions of it were frequently raided by the Indians, and many of the in- 
habitants were murdered. Those days have long since passed, never to be re- 
peated, and with the passing years the people have become prosperous and happy. 
Coal is found in abundance, principally at the mouth of Hay gulch, Kiowa creek, 
and also on Bijou and Sandy creeks. Alum and sulphur springs of medicinal 
virtue are also found in the county. The scenery is picturesque, especially in the 
vicinity of Elizabeth, the most important town in the county. The Kansas Pacific 
railroad cuts across the northeastern corner of the county from River Fiend on the 
Big Sandy to Deer Trail and Denver in Arapahoe county. The Chicago, Kansas 
and Nebraska railroad strikes at, or near, River Bend, and turning to the south- 


west, crosses the southwestern corner of the county en route to Colorado Springs. 
The Denver, Texas and Gulf, now the U. P. and Fort Worth, crosses the south- 
western corner en route from Denver to the Gulf of Mexico. Elizabeth, Kiowa and 
Elbert are located in the western part of the county, and are the principal towns. 
At Elizabeth the erection of a large hotel and other improvements are contem- 
plated for the benefit of Texas tourists and others from the Southern states. 
Placer gold mines have been worked in the vicinity of Elizabeth, but the yield was 
never very large. The other towns are simply small stations — cattle centers. The 
valleys produce corn and hay, and the highlands alfalfa. The raising of cattle, 
horses, sheep and the clipping of wool are the important industries, and these are 
very profitable. The wool clip in 1891 was 628,540 pounds from 87,000 sheep. 
The first gold that was found in Colorado was discovered in the extreme western 
portion of this county by the Cherokee Indians and Green Russell, as related in the 
history of Douglas coimty, Volume III. To indicate the extent of agriculture, the 
following abstract of returns to the auditor of state for i8gi is given: Acres of 
land under cultivation, 851; acres in pasture, 329,662; wheat, 46 acres, used as 
fodder; oats, 225 acres, cultivated for the same purpose, as were also 17 of barley; 
1,784 of corn and rye; 899 acres of potatoes, producing 22,010 bushels; gi acres of 
timothy, from which 112 tons were cut; 3,285 acres of native grass, producing 
3,880 tons of hay; 361 acres of alfalfa, which made 793 tons. The rolls show 
16,971 cattle and 87,000 sheep. 

Sc/wflls. — At the town of Elbert there is a handsome, substantial brick school 
building, with capacity for 150 pupils. Near the same place there are several 
ranches for blooded stock. A school building was completed at Kiowa in 1885, 
and one at Elizabeth about the same time, costing about $12,000. A creamery 
and a race track are also being built at the latter place. By the census of 1890 the 
total school population was 611, with an enrollment of 371, and an average daily 
attendance of 241. There were 18 districts, and 20 school houses, with 568 sittings. 
The valuation of school property was $12,205. The assessed valuation of taxable 
property for 1890 was $2,232,200.88. Kiowa is the county seat, and is 42 miles 
southeast of Denver. Its population is about 150. The town is supplied with 
daily mails. Its present business men are E. P. Clark, Frank Edinger. Geo. 
Fahrion, John Hanson, Geo. Hessler, Frank Lang, R. H. Manville, Charles 
Mathews, Lee Ramsey, Mrs. Amanda Taylor, H. Willard and Geo. A. Wood. 








This county, taken from .Summit, was named for President James A. Garfield. 
It was organized by an act of the General Assembly, approved February loth, 
1883. Its area is 3,250 square miles, and by the census of 1890 its population was 
4,478. It is bounded on the north by Rio Blanco, south by Alesa and Pitkin, east 
by Eagle, and west by the Territory of Utah. 

Up to 1881, when the Indians were removed to other points, named elsewhere 
(see history of Mesa county), it was a part of the reservation assigned to the Utes, 
hence remained comparatively unexplored and unoccupied by white men. So far 
as is known, the first discovery of mineral occurred in the summer of 1878, when 
two Leadville prospectors, in crossing the reservation, found on the surface evi- 
dences of the existence of carbonate deposits, similar to those which had incited 
the vast activity soon afterward manifest in the valley of the upper Arkansas. 
They simply made superficial observations. It does not appear that they did any 
digging, but on returning to Leadville reported what they had seen. In 1879, 
other parties went in and began exploring the surface indications, which led to the 
belief that immense mineral treasure lay buried there. Resolved to prosecute the 
search, but fearing attack and expulsion should the rightful owners — the Utes — find 
them on forbidden ground, they built a rude fort of pine logs and named it Fort 
Defiance. This was located some ten miles southeast of the camp, subsequently 
named Carbonate City, and the latter six miles west from the junction of the Roaring 
Fork with Grand river. Another account says it was twenty miles nearly due 
from the confluence of the Eagle river with the Grand, at Dotsero, and about sixteen 
miles northwest from the mouth of the Roaring Fork, on the high plateau between 
Grand and White rivers. It is one of the points laid down on Hayden's geological 
maps, indicating a mineral formation. Carbonates of a low grade were found 
there, and much prospecting was done in the spring of 1880, when hundreds 
flocked in from the winter encampment at Dot.sero. A man named Geo. P. Ryan 
sunk a shaft 100 feet deep, finding large quantities of ore containing lead and silver. 
The reports of what had been found in the Ryan shaft, more or less exaggerated, 
inspired strong hopes among the multitude that waited on the ground and at 
Dotsero for the inmiense bodies of snow that fell there that winter to disappear 
and give them entrance to this new and apparently wonderful field. 

Mr. W. C. Wynkoop and W. L. Cooper were among the earlier prospectors 
there. All took their impressions of the value of that region from the showing 
])resentcd in the Ryan shaft, that being the only one from which any definite in- 


formation could be obtained. As the spring and summer advanced, hundreds 
visited Carbonate camp, dug pit-holes and procured numerous assays of the 
mineral, but on the whole nothing to encourage permanent encampment was dis- 
closed. There was an abundance of material which looked like valuable car- 
bonates, but it was all of too low a grade to warrant development. Up to the 
sprmg of 1883 not a single house or improvement of any kind marked the camp. 
In that year, however, the Carbonate Town company was formed. The corporators 
were Chas A. AIcBriarty, Hal Sayr, Samuel Mishler, W. M. Chandler, Charles C. 
Welch, Harper M. Orahood, Willard Teller, A. E. Pierce, Boyd Skelton, John L. 
Dailey, J. D. Best and J. j\l. Clement, nearly all residents of Denver. The officers 
were Chas. A. McBriarty, president; John L. Dailey, treasurer: W. M. Chandler, 
secretary. They filed upon 640 acres of land in a beautiful park and caused it to 
be surveyed. One hundred and sixty acres were platted for a town site, and a few 
lots were sold. When the county was organized in 1883, Carbonate became the 
county seat. Saw mills were taken in and considerable lumber was cut. Wagon 
roads to connect the camp with the Eagle and the Grand valleys were built. During 
the first winter of occupancy, 1879-80, Chas. A. McBriarty, a Leadville prospector — 
one of the discoverers of the famous Chrysolite mine — located a claim, sunk 
two shafts and discovered carbonates. The excitement over Carbonate camp took 
a fresh start in the spring of 1883, but no great finds were made then or since, 
though many extravagant reports were circulated. 

Garfield county is drained chiefly by the Grand river and its tributaries. Grand 
river enters the county near the center of the east boundary and fiows southwesterly, 
leaving the county a little west of the center of the southern boundary. Its principal 
tributaries are the Roaring Fork river. Divide and ]\Iaroon creeks on the south, and 
Elk, Rifle, Parachute and Roan creeks on the north. Trapper's lake, the source 
of White river, is situated in the extreme northeast comer of the county. The north 
line of the county is practically the dividing line between the drainage of the Gratid 
and White rivers. The first fifteen miles of the valley of the Grand river, after enter- 
ing the count}-, is a canon, the grandest in the state, terminating at the mouth of 
the Roaring Fork river. The balance of the valley of the Grand, and the valleys 
of its tributaries, are broad, fertile and especially adapted to the raising of hay, 
grain, fruit and vegetables. The mountains between the valleys afford an excellent 
summer range for cattle, horses and sheep. The western portion is mountainous 
and is chiefly used for stock raising. 

The fruit industry of Garfield county is in its infancy. A few orchards were 
planted as early as 1888. During the past three years a large number of tracts 
have been planted. The success of those ventures has demonstrated that the valley 
of the Grand is one of the finest fruit districts of Colorado. The first orchards were 
located in the vicinity of New Castle, and now supply the local demand, besides 
shipping a considerable quantity to the mountain towns. Owing to the difficulty 
of getting water, improvement of some of the finest fruit land has been delayed. 
The completion of the Grass Valley canal, and the canal of the Riverside Orchard 
and Irrigation company have put about 15,000 acres of this land under water. 
The companies owning these two canals are now subdividing their lands into small 
tracts and selling them to actual settlers for fruit and garden purposes. Small 
fruits are produced and in great abundance. The raising of fruit and vegetables is 
rapidly becoming the leading industry among the ranchmen. The mining towns 
of New Castle, Aspen, Leadville and Red ClifT afford a good market. The settle- 
ment of the valleys has so limited the winter range for stock that there are few 
large herds left except in the extreme west end of the county. Each ranchman 
keeps a herd as large as he can feed during the winter, but the larger ones will in a 
few years be a thing of the past. 

The countv was organized in April, 1883. Carbonate was then the county 


seat as designated in the organic act. By resolution of the board of county com- 
missioners, adopted August 21st, 1883, the public records were moved to Glenwood 
Springs fcsr safety, which town was afterward made the county seat, and is so at 
present. The officers appointed were: Frank Enzensperger, F. C. Childs and 
Geo. P. Ryan, commissioners; C. A. McBriarty, clerk; Jno. C. Blake, sherifT; 
George C. Banning, treasurer; William Gelder, county judge; J. F. Clements, sur- 
veyor; C. S. Cooper, assessor; G. G. Minor, attorney; Forbes Parker, clerk of the 
district court. The first meeting of the board was held April i6th, 1883. October 
1st following, the office of county clerk was declared vacant, 'and J. G. Pease was 
appointed to fill the vacancy, McBriarty having moved from the county. The first 
election was held November 6th, 1883, when the following officers were elected: 
J. J. Langstaff, Wm. McDowell and Charles Von Brandis, commissioners; Nims 
R. G. Ferguson, clerk; Gus G. Minor, county judge; George Ferguson, treasurer; 
A.J. Rock, sheriff; I'>ank P. Monroe, surveyor; M. V. B. Blood, superintendent of 
schools; Samuel A. Parker, assessor, and Pat Tompkins, coroner. 

The town of Glenwood Springs was incorporated August 28th, 1885. The 
first election was held September 21st, 1885, when the following officers were chosen: 
J. E. Schram, mayor; and J. H. Pierce, William Young, R. P. Malaby, W. E. 
Shaffer, Thomas Kcndrick and E. M. Carlton, trustees. The present officials are: 
J. L. Hodges, mayor; and Ed. Korupkat, F. C. Schram, R. P. Alalaby, J. F. McFar- 
land, Wm. Dougan and Paul Blount, trustees. 

The town of Carbondale is situated on the Roaring Fork river, thirteen miles 
south of Glenwood Springs, and was incorporated January 30th, 1888. The first 
election occurred February 20th, 1888, with the following result: M. H. Dean, 
mayor; J. E. Chaney, W. F. Scott, Y. B. Ford, E. R. Alexander, Ward Tucker and 
J. A. Workman, trustees. The present officials are: J. E. Chanev, mavor; Price 
Wickliffe, B. F. Bogan, Jno. Mahnkin, Sr., J. H. Murfitt, G. S. Alcorn and E. D. 
Tandv, trustees. 

New Castle was incorporated February 2nd, 1888. At the first election held 
April I2tli, 1888, M. C. Van Deventer was chosen mayor, and R. H. Mitchell, A. A. 
Harris, W. D. Grant, R. H. McBride, S. B. Stewart and M. F. Collins, trustees. 
The present officers are : Jno. W. Ritter, mayor ; and D. Barry, C. W. Schmeuser, 
Hugh McBurney, D. A. McPherson, Chris. Prechtel and E. E. Drach, trustees. 
Rifle and Parachute are the onl_\' other towns in the county, and neither of these 
is inc()r|5orated. 

There are five churches in Glenwood Springs, as follows: The Presbyterian 
organized in 1885, the Christian in 1887, Catholic in 1886, Methodist in 1888, and 
the Episcopal in 1888. In New Castle there are the Congregational and Catholic 
churches. The former was organized in i88g, and the latter in i8gi. Rifle has 
one church, the Methodist, organized in i8<)o. In Parachute, the Methodist church 
was established in 1890, and the Catholic in 1891, and in Carbondale the Methodists 
organized in 1889. 

Sc/hwl //rwM-.f. — Glenwood Springs built one in 1887, vi'hich cost $25,000: 
Carbondale one in 1890, at a cost of $6,000; New Castle in 1892, at an expense of 
$10,000, and Rifle and Parachute one each, at a cost of $8,000 and $7,000 re- 
spectively. There are also twenty-four other school houses in Garfield county, con- 
structed chiefly of logs, or are cheap frame buildings, and cost cm an average about 
$500 each. In 1890 there were 1,033 school children in the county. The assessed 
valuation of taxable property in the cotmty that year was $1,443,319, and in 1893 
it was $2,567,843, on a basis of about thirty per cent, of the real value. The present 
officers of the cotmty are: Conuuissioners, H. R. Kamni, P. Randolph Morris. 
A. T.Saint; Paul P.lount, county clerk; Geo. H. Moulton, treasurer; T. W. Thomas, 
sheriff; W. P>. Weaver, assessor; Sam M. White, suiicrintendcnt of schools; W. H. 
Bradt, survevor; L. G. Clark, coroner: jno. L. .Xoonan, county judge: J. G. Pease, 


clerk of the district court: H. W. Hallett, member of tlie house of the state legis- 
lature, and David A. Mills, of Eagle county, state senator from the 2ist district. 

Cihi/ Mi/ics. — Coal mines were first discovered in 1882. They were developed, 
and the shipment of coal began in 1887, upon the completion of railroais. They 
are located at New Castle, Sunshine and Vulcan. The two first named were opened 
in 1887, by the Grand River Coal and Coke Co., and in August, 1892, they were sold 
to the Colorado Fuel company. A month later, upon the consolidation of the 
Colorado Fuel Co. and the Colorado Coal and Iron company, they became the 
property of the consolidated organization. The Vulcan mine, about one and one- 
half miles from New Castle, was opened in the summer of 1892, 1)y the Vulcan Fuel 
company, and a year later was sold to the A. T. & S. F. railroad company, when it 
acquired the Colorado Midland railway. At Cardiff, three miles from Glenvvood 
Springs, are located 240 coke ovens of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Co., built in the 
summer of 1887. Shipments of coke began that winter upon the completion of the 
Colorado Midland railroad to that point. They are supplied with coal bv the 
mines at Spring Gulch, situated in Jerome Park, just across the line in Pitkin county, 
to which point a branch road is budt. The coal belt runs diagonally across the 
county from southeast to northwest, and is readily traceable. It is located in the 
great hog-back, and crosses the Grand river at New Castle. The veins pitch at an 
angle of 45 degrees, and are accessible at numerous points. The output of Sunshine 
in 1892 was 30,833 tons, and in 1893, 17,100 tons. This mine was worked out and 
abandoned in July, 1893. In 1892, New Castle produced 169,399 tons, and in 
1893, 82,387 tons. In 1892 Cardiff produced 43,693 tons of coke, and in 1893, 
57,484 tons. C)n account of the change of ownership it is impossible to obtain com- 
plete data covering the total output since the opening of the mines. 

Jiai/nmds. — The first railroad survey in Garfield county was made in 1885, by 
Paul Blount, then in the employ of the Colorado Railway company, a coiporation 
then organized in the interest of the Burlington and Missouri River R. R. company. 
The line of survey was from Denver up the South Boulder creek, crossing the range 
just north of James Peak, and following the Frazier river to the Grand: thence down 
the Grand to Grand Junction. Branch lines were also surveyed up the Roaring Fork 
to Aspen, and to the different coal mines in Jerome Park, Four Mile, Alkali, South 
Canon and Rifle Creek, supplemented by a branch line up Elk and Rifle creeks, 
across to White river. During the summer of 1886 the Colorado railway, the 
Union Pacific, the Colorado Midland, and the Denver and Rio Grande companies 
all had engineer corps and grading camps in the canons of the county. The 
Colorado and the Union Pacific companies withdrew their forces the following 
year, leaving the field to the Colorado Midland and the Denver and Rio Grande. 
The latter was completed to Glenwood Springs in October, 1887, and was formally 
opened with a banquet at the Hotel Glenwood, Governor Alva Adams and staff and 
the officers of the company being present. The Colorado Midland was completed 
to Glenwood Springs the following December, and in the spring of 1888 it was 
extended to New Castle. In 1889 the Denver and Rio Grande company extended 
its road to Rifle, thirteen miles below New Castle, and in 1890 the Midland and the 
D. & R. G. com]5anies combined and extended the track to Grand Junction, mak- 
ing a joint track from New Castle. The gauge of the D. & R. G. R. R. was widened 
at the same time, making it a standard gauge line. In 1892 the Elk Mountain R. R. 
Co. began grading its line! from Sands, a station on the Colorado Midland, twelve 
miles above Glenwood Springs. The line up the Crystal river to the rich 
ore deposits and marble fields near Crystal in Gunnison county. After finishing the 
grade to Marble, the coni])any was unable to secure funds to lay its track, and the 
road was sold to the contractors, Messrs. Orman & Crook, under a mechanics' lien. 
In the fall of the same year, the Cr\'stal River Railway company started grading 
on its line from Carbondale on the D. & R. G. R. R., which parallels the Elk Moun- 


tain. In addition to tlic ore and marble of Gunnison county, the Crystal River R. R. 
company had a contract with the Colorado Fuel and Iron Co. to transport its coal 
and coke from Coal Basin in Pitkin county. The general depression in the summer 
of 1893 forced this company to suspend operations, after it had lain twelve miles 
of track. 

Gknwood Springs was first settled in 1882 by John Blake, Isaac Cooper, Wm. 
Gelder and Frank Enzensperger. These gentlemen, with H. P. Bennet of Denver, 
subsequently organized the Defiance Town and Land company. The original 
name of the town was Defiance, but in 1883 it was changed to Glenwood Spririgs. 
The first house was built by Jno. C. Blake in 1883. Prior to that time the in- 
habitants lived in dugouts or tents. This was the first house built in the county, 
except a few miners' cabins in Carbonate. The first school in Glenwood Springs 
and in the county was taught by M. V. B. Blood, in 1883. The school house was 
a tent, located on what is now Grand avenue, near the site of the Hotel Glenwood. 
The St. James was the first hotel, erected by F. A. Barlow in 1883, and stood on the 
present site of the Hotel Yampa. In 1887 Mr. Barlow removed tlte St. James and 
built the Hotel Yampa, a four-story brick building, 75x75 feet. Prior to the erec- 
tion of this house, he had conducted a hotel and restaurant in a tent. Dick Donavan 
opened the first store in the county at Glenwood Springs in 1885, and sold it to Geo. 
Schram. The Inisiness is still conducted by Fred C. Schram, who took charge 
upon the death of his father. The first store building was erected b\' H. R. Kanmi in 
1884. It was a brick structure, and is still occupied by Kanmi as a grocery. 
William Raglan built the first blacksmith shop, and Dr. Baldwin ran the first drug 
store. The latter was a house constructed on wheels, and had been used by a travel- 
ing photographer. In addition to practicing medicine, selling drugs, jewelry and 
notions, the doctor was a bricklayer and a general mechanic. A. J. Rock and J. B. 
Hardcastlc were the pioneer carpenters. Mr. Rock was afterward elected sherifif 
of the county, and was drowned in the Grand river in 1885. Mr. Hardcastle now 
lives on a ranch in Pitkin county near Emma. The first post office in the county 
was established at Glenwood Springs, and was conducted by Mrs. Garrettson. The 
office was called Barlow. Barlow & Sanderson established the original stage line 
from Aspen to Glenwood Springs. 

The Hotel Glenwood was built in 1884 by Messrs. Cooper, Gelder and Enzen- 
sperger. It was a frame structure, 50x50 feet, and two stories high. ,In 1885 
they built the first part of the present Hotel Glenwood, 25x100 feet, and three stories 
high. The balance of the hotel was finished and opened to the public August 9th, 
1886. It is a brick building, 75x100 feet, three stories high, with Mansard roof. 
It ])ossesses all modern comforts and conveniences. Gelder and EnzensiJcrger laid 
out an addition to Glenwood Springs but never sold any lots. In October, 1891, they 
disposed of all their property in the town to Mr. R. J. Bolles. In 1886, through 
the efforts of Mr. W. B. Devereaux, the Glenwood Light and Water Co. and the 
Colorado Land and Improvement Co. were organized. In December, 1886, the 
Glenwood Light and Water Co. began to sui)i)ly the town with electric lights. In 
November, the same )car, Isaac Cooper began laying pipes for a water-works sys- 
tem. He died in December, and the work was discontinued. The franchise was 
sold to the Glenwood Springs Light and Water Co. In 1888 the work was re- 
sumed, and a complete system of water pipes was laid. The electric light wires were 
extended, and a water-power plant put in to operate the dynamos in place of steam. 
The water \ox the town was brought from No-Xamc creek. Tlie Colorado Land 
and Iniprovenient Co. began the improvement of the springs and bath houses. The 
springs were walled in and placed in a condition so the waters could all be utilized. 
The mammoth swinmiing pool, 150x600 feet, was built in an old channel of tlie 
rivcT, and thoroughly protected from high water and floods. The magnificent 
stone bath house, costing $200,000, followeil. The Xatural Sweat Cave was im- 


proved and enlarged, and commodious dressing and lounging rooms added. In 
all, about $400,000 was spent by the company in betterments during the sunmier. 
In August, 1892, the construction of the Colorado, the largest hotel in the state, 
except the Brown Palace at Denver, was commenced. Situated on the north side 
of the river, the hotel overlooks the town, the baths and the grounds of the company; 
was completed June 15th, 1893, and opened under the management of Mr. Walter 

Ha/iks. — The first bank was established in 1885 by Geo. Arthur Rice & Co. 
It was a private institution with a capital of $10,000. They continued the business 
until December ist, 1887, when a consolidation with the Glenwood National Bank 
was effected. The First National Bank of Gletiwood Springs started in business in 
the spring of 1887, with W. B. Devereaux as president, and J. H. Fesler, cashier. 
The capital slock was $100,000. During the summer of 1887, the bank building, 
50x100 feet and three stories high, was erected. The doors of the Glenwood 
National Bank were opened June ist, 1887, with Jno. L. McNeil, president, and 
C. N. Greig as cashier. December ist, 1887, the Glenwood National purchased 
the business of Geo. Arthur Rice & Co., and in the summer of 1891 the bank was 
consolidated with the First National. The Bank of New Castle was organized in 
March, 1889, by W. J. Miller, J. W. Ross and Paul Blount, with a capital of $10,000. 
In August, the same year, Mr. Miller sold his interest to Mr. Ross. Alay ist, 1893, 
Ross and Blount sold to Miller and J. T. McLean, and in July following they made 
an assignment to J. W. Ross. The Bank of Carbondale began operations in 1888, 
with a capital of $10,000. Mr. S. B. Eubanks was cashier. In November, 1891, 
the building of the bank was burned. The safe and contents were saved, and in a 
few days the business was resinned. 

JVm'spapers. — The first newspaper published in the county was the Ute 
"Chief," a weekly, started in the fall of 1885, by J. S. Swan and W. J. Reid. In the 
spring of 1888, B. Clark Wheeler of Aspen began the publication of the Glenwood 
"Echo," with James L. Riland as manager. Mr. Riland was succeeded by Wm. 
Cardwell. In December, 18S7, the first daily appeared — The Daily "News," edited 
by H. J. Holmes. A few days later the Ute "Chief" appeared as a daily. In the 
fall of 1888. the two were consolidated and conducted for a few months as the 
Ute "Chief-News." The plant was leased to F. P. Warner, James L. Riland and 
F .H. Myers, who changed the name to the New "Empire." In the spring of 1889, 
Geo. C. Banning purchased the plant, added new presses and material, and changed 
the name to the Glenwood Springs "Republican." W. H. Graenhalgh became 
managing editor. In the fall of i88g, it was sold to Lee, Eaton and flyers, who 
ran it until 1891. when they disposed of it, selling to Wm. Cardwell, who discon- 
tinued it as a daily. In December, 1892, the name was again changed to the 
People's "Herald," and is still published under that name. In 1888, Frank P. 
Beslin, the blind editor from Red Clifif, started the Carbondale "Avalanche," a 
weekly. It was sold to H. J. Holmes, who continued to publish it until April, 1891, 
when he moved the paper to Glenwood Springs. In May he began publishing it 
as a daily. Early in 1893, J. S. Swan started the Glenwood Springs "Weekly 
Ledger," which was changed June 1st to a semi-weekly. January ist, 1894, his 
interest was purchased by W. J. Wills, who still conducts it. LIpon the purchase 
of the "Republican" by Wm. Cardwell, James Coughlin assumed charge of the 
"Echo" and conducted it a few months, when the plant was sold to H. J. Holmes, 
who consolidated it with the Weekly "Avalanche." In 1889 Mr. Holmes started 
the Rifle "Revielle," a weekly, which was under the management of H. B. Swartz. 
In 1890, Swartz and J. W. Armstrong became the owners. In 1888 Gen. Geo. 
West of the Golden "Transcript," in company with J. W. Work, began the publica- 
tion of the New Castle "Nonpareil" (a weekly") at New Castle, with Mr. Work as 
manager. A year later it was sold to S. M. White, who changed the name to the 


Grand Valley "Cactus." ¥. C. Coryell became the proprietor in 1891, the paper 
was issued as a daily, which was continued about a year, when it was published only 
as a weekly. In the spring of 1893, G. B. Henderson published the New Castle 
"News," a weekly, which he sold to C. A. Henrie, who is still the proprietor. 

Climes and Tragedies. — About the first of September, 1885, occurred the first 
murder that was committed in Glenwood Springs. Elijah Cravens and Geo. Ford 
got into an altercation over a game of cards, which terminated in an encounter in 
which Cravens was worsted. He went to his cabin, about half a mile from the 
saloon where the difficulty took place, armed himself with a revolver, returned and 
shot Ford, killing him. The murder caused great excitement and threats of lynch- 
ing were indulged. The prisoner was strongly guarded day and night, until after 
his preliminary examination, when he was taken to Leadville to await his trial. 
After several continuances and delays, he was finally tried at Aspen on a change of 
venue in 1888, found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and ser\'ed one year in the 
county jail. In December, 1887, Chester Baker, a gambler, known as "Texas Kid," 
became involved in a fight with another gambler in a saloon, and drawing his pistol, 
fired twice at his opponent. The first shot killed an onlooker, and the second a 
stranger who was quietly reading a paper in the rear of the saloon. Baker's an- 
tagonist was not hurt. At his examination, the afTair was declared to be an acci- 
dent, and he was released. In the fall of 1885, Harry Burrows located on a ranch 
two miles east of Carbondale. While temporarily absent. ?ilike Ryan and Daniel 
Fenton took possession of the premises, and when Burrows returned and found 
his ranch in ]iosscssion of the two men, he shot them from ambush, killing both. 
At his trial, the jury returned a verdict of justifiable homicide, and he was acquitted. 
In July, 1888, Herman C. Babcock shot and killed James Riland, an old man, 
seventy-six years of age. At his trial he was found guilty of murder and sentenced 
to be hanged. A few days before the day appointed for his execution, he was 
granted a new trial, and finally sent to the penitentiary for eight years. 

Early Settlers. — Isaac Cooper settled in Glenwood Springs in 1882, and was 
president of the Defiance Town and Land company, and the founder of the town. 
He died in Glenwood Springs, December 2nd. 1887. William Gelder came to the 
Springs in 1882, and was vice-president of the same company. He w-as elected to the 
state senate in 1888, and now resides in Denver. Frank Enzensperger became a 
citizen of the town in 1882. He moved to Salt Lake in 1891, where he is now in 
business. W. H. Bradt, H. R. Kamm, Richard Grant, Geo. C. Banning, J. G. 
Pease and Jno. W. Ritter located in the town in 1883. Jno. L. Noonan and H. T. 
Sale settled on a ranch adjoining Glenwood Springs: the former in 1883, and the 
latter in 1885. J. L. Hodges located in the town in November. 1884, when he was 
appointed the first register of the land ofifice, with J. W. Ross of Del Norte as 
receiver. The office was established November loth, 1884. Jasper Ward and Perry 
C. Coryell settled upon ranches in 1883; Geo. B. Hurlbut and Wm. Dinkel on 
ranches in 1882, and George Yule in 1884. 


Middle park — taken from ute Indians — a famous hunting ground — general 




Grand county, which takes its name from the Grand river, was created by an 
act of the territorial legislature, approved February 2nd, 1874. It was severed 
from the northern part of Summit county, and the seat located at Hot Sulphur 
Springs, on Grand river. It is now bounded on the north by Larimer, south by 
Clear Creek, Summit and Eagle, east by Gilpin, Boulder, Clear Creek and Larimer, 
and west by Routt. Its area is 2,100 square miles, and, by the census of 1890, had a 
population of 604, an increase of 187 in the preceding decade. Originally, this 
county embraced both Middle and North Parks. In 1877 the western part was 
segregated and Routt county organized. The Middle Park, or the present county, 
was the favorite home and hunting ground of the northern L'te Indians. In 1868, 
by treaty previously concluded, these lands were relinquished. The Utes parted 
with this country very reluctantly, and it was only after a long struggle that they 
were induced to relocate on a reservation provided for them on White river. Prior 
to the invasion of the Park by white settlers, (juadruped and other game abounded — 
elk, deer, mountain sheep, antelope, buffalo and all varieties of bear, including 
grizzlies; grouse, sage hens, ducks, geese, turkeys, etc., whereby it will be readily 
understood that the savages were extremely averse to its abandonment. It was, in 
reality, the best hunting range in all the mountain region. It is watered by Grand 
river, a large and noble stream, fed by many strong tributaries: a beautiful and 
picturesque basin well grassed, and the mountains which surround it on all sides 
are heavily timbered. It is a lovely place in summer, and the winters are not rigor- 
ous except upon the ranges: there the snows fall to great depths. Rut one of the 
principal attractions to the Indians was the large hot sulphur spring, to which 
they resorted for the cure of various ailments; a broad circular pool of hot 
steaming water, strongly impregnated with sulphur, soda and other minerals. It 
is fed by a constant flow from smaller springs in the neighboring hillside. The 
temperature is no degrees Fahrenheit. Trout swarmed in all the streams, and 
Grand lake, in which Grand river takes its rise, contains thousands of these beau- 
tiful fish. 

In the melting seasons Grand river runs full to the height of its banks. The 
Park being a sheltered retreat, well nigh inaccessible to their enemies, the plains 
Indians, and possessing all the advantages which an Indian desires, it is not sur- 
prising that the Utes should have made vigorous efforts to retain it. When the 
Pike's Peak immigration came, and towns and trading posts were established, they 


— , 




brought out tlie furs and skins of animals they captured to exchange for coveted 
goods. Xevava, a brave and wise old man, was the chief of these tribes. 

The valley of the Grand is very fertile, a fine grazing region, but not well 
adapted to agriculture because of the altitude, shortness of growing season and 
cool nights. Yet in certain quarters considerable tracts have been put under culti- 
\'ation, ditches having been taken out to irrigate them. In i88g. there were about 
1,500 acres in grain and vegetables, wholly for local consumption. The Park is 
approximately fifty miles wide from east to west, by ninety miles in length north 
to south, embracing, in addition to agricultural and grazing lands, large deposits 
of iron, coal, petroleum, lime, granite and sandstones, with considerable belts 
of lodes bearing gold, silver, lead and copper, with some extensive placers. 
On all the mountain slopes are immense forests of pine and spruce timber. No 
part of this region has been touched by a constructed railway, though the Burling- 
ton & Missouri River company have surveyed and partly graded a line along the 
Grand valley. The first railway line surveyed and located in the Territory of 
Colorado was by engineer Edward L. Berthoud, who, in May, 1861, began at 
Golden City, twelve miles west of Denver, passed up Clear creek, or \'asquez river, 
to Berthoud Pass, down the western slope into the Park, and thence to Hot Sulphur 
Springs. During the same year he ran another line, but practically over the same 
route, to Gores Pass, thence to Bear and Snake rivers, to Williams Fork and on to 
Salt Lake City, as more fully set forth in the history of Jefferson county. Volume III, 
page 503. In 1865 General Bela M. Hughes partly constructed a stage road for 
Holladay's Overland Express from Salt Lake, via Green river to Middle Park, but 
it was never occupied, indeed never completed. 

Grand county unquestionably is the better unoccupied portion of Colorado 
for railway purposes, including local traffic. It forms the shortest route from 
Denver to Salt Lake and Ogden. When penetrated by steel thoroughfares, it will 
become one of the great centers of production. The fact it has no connection 
with the outer world, no outlet for its native resources e.xcept by long and rugged 
wagon roads over lofty ranges, has prevented multitudes from settling there. The 
main tributaries of Grand river are the Troublesome, Muddy, the Blue, Williams 
and Frazier. As already stated, the Grand heads in Grand lake, a large sheet of 
pure, cold water, situated in the northeasterly part of the county, and, flowing 
southwesterly, unites with the Gunnison at Grand Junction in Mesa county. 

As early as 1859 the hot sulphur springs were located, and in some sense 
claimed by William N. Byers, founder of the Rocky Mountain "News," who still 
retains them. In future time when the Park shall be traversed by railway trains, 
it will be made one of the chief sanitariums of the state. Mr. Byers has covered 
the main spring with a stone bath house. It is a superb fount of health-giving 
waters, where many remarkable cures have been effected. In 1866 Bayard Taylor 
made a pedestrian tour of this region and thus describes it in one of his letters: 

"The sun came out, the clouds lifted and rolled away, and one of the most 
remarkable landscapes of the earth was revealed to our view. The valley of the 
Blue, which for a length of 30 miles, with a brea<lth ranging from five to ten, lay 
under oui- eyes, >\ore a tint of pearly silver-gray upon which the ripe green of the 
timber along the river and the scattered gleams of water seemed to be enameled. 
Opposite to us, above the sage color, rose huge mountain foundations, where the 
grassy openings were pale, the forests dark, the glens and gorges filled with shadow, 
the rocks touched with lines of light, making a checkered effect that suggested 
cultivation and settlement. P)eyond this were wild ridges, all forests: then bare 
masses of rock streaked with snow, and highest, bleak snow pyramids piercing the 
sky. From north to south stretches the sublime wall — the western boundary of 
Middle Park — and where it fell away toward the canon by which the Grand river 
goes forth to seek the Colorado, there was a vision of dim, rosy peaks a hundred 


miles distant. In breadtli of effect, in airy depth and expansion, in simple yet most 
majestic outline, and in originality yet exquisite harmony of color, this landscape 
is unlike anything I have ever seen. There is a great vertical grandeur among 
the Alps; here it is the vast, lateral extent which impresses you, together with 
atmospheric eft'ect occasioned by great elevation above the sea." 

Blue river, a magnificent stream, it may be observed in passing, rises under 
the shadow of Mount Lincoln, in the extreme south end of the Park. For twenty- 
five miles its tributaries are mmierous, among them the Snake, Swan and French 
on the right, and Ten Mile on the left. The latter and the Snake empty into the 
Blue opposite one another, twenty-four miles from its source and ten miles below 

The first officers of Grand county were: Clerk and recorder, C. H. Hook; 
treasurer, W. N. Brown; county judge, David Young; sheriff, John Baker; 
assessor, Charles Fuller. The other offices were not filled. 

A great belt of gold and silver mines, a few of which have been opened, are 
situated in the Rabbit Ear range, northwesterly from Hot Sulphur Springs. Some 
gold placers above Hahn's Peak, now in Routt county, have been worked with 
very profitable results in past years. The silver mines on Rabbit Ear, especially 
the Wolverine, Endomide and a few others, have been sufficiently developed to 
denicnslrate the strength of the veins and the value of the ores. These mines, 
however valuable they may be, can not be made profitable until facilities for reach- 
ing niarkets by rail shall liave been supplied, and the same is true of all the other 

William N. Byers and a trapper named Charles Utter, a bright, handsome 
and rather lively little fellow, known to all the early residents of the territory, 
were among the first to build cabins on Grand river. John S. Jones, whose family 
resided at Empire, owned some land near Utter's place. Byers built a small log 
house at Hot Sulphur Springs in 1859. Another pioneer named J. L. Wescott went 
from Empire to these springs in 1865 and has ever since made Middle Park his 
home. He built the first cabin at Grand lake in 1867. 

We are now impelled to record a series of events filled with contention, blood- 
shed and horror. In approaching the subject I am aware that no account, how- 
ever accurate, written at this late day, will be accepted by all parties as a true 
narrative of the appalling tragedy, owing to the irreconcilable divisions of public 
sentiment that led up to it, traces of which exist to this day although many, indeed 
most of the surviving actors, have removed from the county. '''■ Nevertheless, the 
particulars following will be found correct in the main. 

In 1874, when" the county was created, Hot Sulphur Springs was the only 
settlement, and that a very small one. There were some herds of cattle and 
horses, and a few widely separated cabins along Grand river below the springs. 
In that year, however, a prospector, named Sandy Campbell, discovered a belt 
of excellent gold and silver mines in the Rabbit Ear range. From these developed, 
in due course, a considerable degree of activity which lasted a few years, then, be- 
cause of their extreme isolation, died away. Rumors of Campbell's find brought 
numerous accessions to the population. Among the residents at this time were 
Charles W. Royer, Charles H. Hook, Wm. S. Chamberlin and John H. Stokes. 
Among the later arrivals were William Redman, his brother, Bass Redman, Capt. 
T. T. bean and others. The personal feuds, political and factional disturbances 
which led to fearful disorders and finally to wholesale murder began in 1877, 
and raged with constantly increasing bitterness until after the closing act in the 

* In preparing this sketch I have followed a well written account published in the Colorado "Sun" at 
Denver, February 28, 1892, probably the most accurate that has ever been given to the public. Lack of 
codae me eas omission of minor details, but certain facts not contained in the article mentioned have 
pplebncpeads essential to its completeness. 


awful drama, July 4th, 1S83. In 1879 certain parties conceived and executed a 
plan to establish a rival town at Grand Lake in nearer proximity to the mines. 
Among them were William Redman — a savage, brutal character — John H. Stokes 
and others who were not especially interested in the town of Hot Springs. The 
location of the new town became a fresh cause of malignant dissension. In the 
year last mentioned, eastern capitalists purchased the Wolverine mine, whose de- 
velopment gave promise of great value, and, in 1880, E. P. Weber came out as 
their rejiresentative and manager. He also bore a conspicuous part in hastening 
events to a tragical issue. Out of the mining boom came the founding of the 
town of Lulu on the North Fork, 12 miles from Grand Lake, which ultimately 
became a strong ally of Grand Lake in the contest against Hot Springs. Mean- 
time the town of I'eller had been established in North Park, on the north side of 
the range six miles northeasterly from Lulu, the seat of a mining district with a 
considerable population. It may be stated in passing, that both Lulu and Teller, 
as well as that of Gaskill, are now almost wholly deserted. 

The Grand Lake people now felt strong enough, numerically, to change the 
county seat from Hot Springs to their town. The question was brought to a 
vote and carried in their favor by a small majority. Hot Springs, humiliated and 
embittered by the act, appealed to the courts, which decided against it. The 
records and oiTices were removed to Grand Lake early in 1881. About this time 
E. P. Weber entered the lists as an aggressive factor, when he and his friends came 
into violent collision with Bill Redman and his clan, through a dispute over mining 

Joseph L. Wescott, the first settler, claimed 160 acres of land as a homestead, 
but was not permitted to file upon it for the reason that the township had not been 
surveyed. The claimant of the adjoining section, a Air. Anderson, had sold his 
improvements to J\Irs. M. J. Young. Weber attempted to jump a portion of 
these claims, causing Wescott and Mrs. Young great annoyance, which, with other 
aggressions, rendered him extremely unpopular in the town, and he was equally 
out of favor at Hot Springs. 

Among others to settle in the mining town of Teller was John G. Mills, a 
brave but reckless man who had left Mississippi because of the killing he had 
done there. He had been well educated, possessed much ability as a writer, had 
studied law, and served some time as an editor. In 1880 the North Park was 
claimed by both Larimer and Grand counties. In the election of that year a major- 
ity of its votes were cast with Grand, and Mills, being a candidate for county c(jm- 
missioner, was elected. In 1881 a factional quarrel split Teller into two distinct 
parties, a very large majority being hostile to Mills. His adversaries, supported 
by the North Park "Miner" published at Teller, and the only newspaper in the 
county, fiercely attacked him and a wordy and threatening war resulted. Grand 
Lake, however, was almost unanimously favorable to Mills, which created intense 
feeling between the two towns. In 1881 a general political disturbance occurred. 
In the county election Grand Lake came out victorious, re-electing Charles W. 
Royer, sheriff, W. S. Chamberlin, treasurer, both Democrats, and Lew W. Pollard 
(Republican), clerk. The superintendent of schools, the county judge (Hoyt) and 
one commissioner also resicled there. Royer remained at Hot Springs and ap- 
pointed Bill Redman undcrsheriff. Soon afterward the North Park "Miner" blazed 
with charges of malfeasance, peculation and mismanagement against the Grand Lake 
officials. This induced the latter to establish a pa[)cr of their own — the "Prospector" 
— edited by Bailey & Smart, who took up their defense. From the beginning of the 
campaign of 1882 the factional disturbances grew more and more violent. Hot 
Springs hated Grand Lake because of its rivalry, and Teller hated it through the pop- 
ularity of Mills in that fjuarter. The balance of the population were about evenly 
divided in sentiment. This vear a commissioner was to bo elected, and also two dele- 


gates to the Republican state convention. A mass meeting was held at Grand 
Lake which nominated J. R. Godsmark, of Lulu, for commissioner, and J. G. Mills 
and Charles F. Caswell for delegates to the state convention. As will be remem- 
bered, Henry R. Wolcott was brought forward for the governorship by Senator 
N. P. Hill and his friends, and was opposed by Jerome B. Chaffee, as the leader 
of the Republican party, and chairman of the central committee, consequently 
E. L. Campbell, of Lake, received the nomination after a heated contest. Alills 
and Caswell favored Wolcott. Shortly after the mass meeting just mentioned, a 
small number (only seven, it is said) met at Grand Lake and nominated E. P. Weber 
and Capt. T. J. Dean as delegates to the Republican convention. Being anti- 
Wolcott, they were admitted to seats. During the discussion of the Grand county 
contest, Weber made a speech in which he charged Mills with being a murderer 
and a fugitive from justice. This was one of the direct causes of the impending 
crisis in which both lost their lives. Other personal and political outbreaks oc- 
curred in which most of the principal characters were involved, but it is unnecessary 
to dwell upon them. 

In January, 1883, that fateful year, the board of county commissioners con- 
sisted of John G. Mills, chairman, Wilson Waldren, of Grand Lake, whose term 
was expiring (and in whose stead H. B. Rogerson had been elected), and Barney 
Day. The latter had been appointed in December to fill a vacancy caused by the 
resignatit/n of John Kinsey. In January, 1883, Rogerson resigned and E. P. Weber 
was appointed in his place. This was a severe blow to the Grand Lake faction, 
which had no love for Weber. Matters went on from bad to worse, until public 
feeling reached a very dangerous stage. At length a report was sent broadcast 
that Weber and Day proposed holding a special meeting for the purpose of oust- 
ing the county clerk and treasurer, upon an alleged insufficiency of their official 
bonds, but without notifying chairman Mills. The meeting was held next day 
but a discussion arose between Weber and Pollard, the clerk, as to its legality, 
the latter finally refusing to produce the records or to act as their clerk. Weber 
admitted the informality, and it was at length decided to fix a date for a special 
session, and tiie clerk was instructed to advise Mr. Mills thereof. Again the two 
newspapers broke out in charges and counter charges; other events occurred to 
inflame the public mind, some arrests were made, etc. 

On Monday, July 2nd, 1S83, the full board of commissioners met in the 
office of the clerk at Grand Lake. Many people had arrived from neighboring 
towns. The clerk (Pollard) being absent, his duties were performed by his dep- 
uty, Mr. C. F. Caswell. The room was crowded with interested observers. The 
session passed off quietly. At nine o'clock next morning (3rd) the board re- 
convened. Mills, liowever, stated that Mr. Caswell and himself had been retained 
as counsel in a divorce suit to be tried that day before the county court, and asked 
that they be excused. Mr. Weber, who had meanwhile become chairman, assented, 
saying that he and Day would merely look over the assessment schedule and make 
notes of any matters they might consider necessary to be brought before the full 
board. Weber and Day, in company with Capt. Dean and E. M. Harman, who 
acted as their clerk, spent the day in consideration of matters before them. About 
dusk an order was handed to Sheriff Royer directing him to appear before the 
board and show cause why his bond should not be declared insufficient. This 
was the first intimation of bad faith on their part, and naturally led to great ex- 
citement among tlie factions. This was increased when it became kown that 
orders of like import had been prepared for service upon the countv clerk, treas- 
urer and judge, with certain precinct officers, for it then became only too apparent 
that Weber and Day and Dean had taken advantage of the absence of IMills and 
Caswell to accomplish tlieir long threatened purjDose. Everyone realized that 
nothing but a miracle could prevent bloodshed. 


We now come to the final act, and, in order that it may be made entirely clear 
to the reader, quote tlie description of the battle ground and the events of the 
tragedy direct from the article in the "Sun" heretofore mentioned, because it is 
correct in every essential particular: 

"Grand lake is, in shape, nearly elliptical. The town site is situated on the 
north shore. From the shore the land rises moderately, forming a ridge, and 
descending again extends into a flat expanse. Tliis ridge extends around the 
west shore of the lake to within about 200 yards of the Fairview house, at that 
time the leading hotel, owned by Mrs. Young. It was situated on the property 
which Wcbcr had endeavored to jump. At this place Weber, Dean, Day and many 
Teller and Gaskill people were stopping. The distance from the hotel to the court 
house is about tliree-fourths of a mile. ■ On the town site the ridge mentioned is 
situated between the road and the lake, but, on turning to follow the western shore, 
the road crosses the ridge and lies between it and the lake. It has been said that 
this ridge ends about 200 yards from the Fairview house. It would be perhaps 
a better description to say that the ascending shore gradually grew more level, 
thus obliterating the ridge. In consequence, in traveling from the Fairview house 
toward the town, at a distance of about 200 yards the road began to descend into 
a hollow, and at an equal distance farther the traveler finds on his left a wooded 
ridge, and close on his right the lake. On the summit of the ridge is a mass of 
rocks, and from that rocky point the hotel and surroundings are in full view. At 
that time in the h.ollow by the roadside, and touched by the waters of the lake 
during the spring, was an old claim cabin used as an ice house. 

"The Fourth of July, 1883, dawned bright and clear at Grand Lake. It was 
one of the most beautiful days ever seen in the mountains. Before and after break- 
fast the guests of the Fairview house were indulging in much revolver shooting 
m honor of the day. The cracking of cartridges was also heard from all other parts 
of the lake. Consequently when, about nine o'clock, a sudden fusilade of a dozen or 
fifteen shots was heard, it created no comment until a man rushed up to Deputy 
Sherifif Ma.x James, of Teller, who was at the Fairview house, and exclaimed that 
Weber had been shot. Just where the road commenced its descent Weber was 
found lying on his face. He had been shot through the right lung. Further on 
in the hollow Dean was found lying in a pool of blood. He had been shot in the 
bridge of the nose, the ball lodging in his head; a second ball had completely shat- 
tered his hip-bone. In addition his head was badly cut by blows from some in- 
strument, probably the butt of a revolver. At the corner of the ice house, with his 
head in the lake, was the body of Barney Day. He had been sliot through the 
heart. In the center of the road was a second corpse, afterward recognized as 
John G. Mills. He had been shot through the head and the brains were oozing 
out into the road. The mask covering his face had been burned by the shot that 
killed him. By his side was a single shot Sharpe's rifle containing an empty shell. 
His clothing was covered with a suit of ducking, the coat being so fastened by pieces 
of rope tliat it would have been impossible for him to get at his revolver which was 
strapiJed to him under the ducking. A flour sack witli holes cut for the eyes and 
mouth was drawn over the head and fastened around the neck with a jnece of rope. 
Behind the rock on the ridge was found a rope, and the indentations in the soil 
showed that several per.sons had been standing or kneeling tliere. A trail of blood 
was found and followed for about 300 yards to the outlet of the lake, where it was 
lost. In following the trail a second mask, similar to the one on Mills, was picked 
up, and there were evidences that a horse had been fastened there. 

"The bodies of the dead men were removed to town and the wounded taken 
to the Fairview house. Dr. H. F. Frisius, an able physician and surgeon, happened 
to be at Gaskill, and he was sent for. Weber never spoke after being placed in 
bed, and sank steadily till about midnight, when he died. Dean made a strong 


fight for his hfe, but the severe wounds he had received were too much even for his 
undaunted pluck and strong constitution, and he died on the 17th following. Soon 
after the shooting, nearly the entire population, of Grand Lake and the visitors were 
on the scene. There was one notable exception — Undersheriff Redman did not 
appear." It was afterward made clearly evident that the sheriff, Charles W. Royer, 
had been with the assassins and had taken part in killing Barney Day. "A mes- 
senger was innnediately dispatched to Hot Springs with the horrible intelligence, 
which created the wildest excitement." From a resident of Hot Springs 1 learn 
the following details. Charley Royer immediately after the murders rode to the 
springs and had been there an hour or more before the messenger reached the 
place. He stopped at the house of Walker IMcOueary, four miles above the springs, 
and when he rode up to Walker's door his horse was literally reeking with perspira- 
tion, showing that he had been urged to his utmost speed. Royer talked with 
McQueary, who asked him whence he came in such hot haste, referring to the dis- 
tressed condition of his horse. Royer said he came from Grand Lake. McOueary 
then inquired: "What news from that section; what are the county commissioners 
doing?" He replied that there was no special news, everything was quiet, the com- 
missioners were holding a meeting, etc. But through it all he exhibited great ner- 
vous excitement. After resting his horse, he rode on to the springs, where he 
answered similar questions in about the same manner. An hour or so later came 
the messenger from Grand Lake, bearing the details of the fight, which set the town 
in a fearful uproar. Royer at first endeavored to discredit the report, but soon 
after became sullenly silent, refusing to talk about it. Another messenger pro- 
ceeded across the range to Georgetown and there telegraphed the horrible in- 
telligence to Denver, where it created intense feeling. 

"At the coroner's inquest very little light was thrown on the affair. Dean 
made a statement to the effect that the three had reached the ice house when a shot 
was heard. Weber exclaimed, T am shot,' when Day and Dean caught him and 
were lowering him to the ground, when they also were attacked by three masked 
men, and the fight became general. Day's revolver showed four empty shells and 
Dean's one." 

Royer, in his anxiety to conceal the facts, gave a number of theories as to the 
manner in which the killing was done. All the circumstances indicated that there 
were from six to nine men in the attacking party, although only three took active part 
in the shooting. It was also among the theories that Royer stood near the ice 
house, and that when Day, after being shot by his assailants, ran in that direction, 
he was finished by a shot from Royer's rifle. Charles H. Hook was charged with 
complicity in the murders, but he was in Denver at the time, hence the charge 
was without foundation in fact. That the wounded man whose trail had been strewn 
with blood was Bill Redman no one for a moment doubted. Long afterward, 
from information furnished by detectives and others who followed his traces in the 
hope of a large reward, it vi^as made known that Redman fled to the mountains 
and was concealed in a prospector's cabin about four miles northwest of Grand 
Lake, and that his wounds were dressed by a doctor who had been taken from the 
latter place by Redman's friends and kept there until his patient was able to travel. 
He was then taken by his brother, Bass Redman, through Middle and Egeria 
Parks to a hiding place on the northern foot of the Flat Top mountain, where he 
remained some time and then went further west into the edge of L'tah, v.'here an 
unknown man was killed or committed suicide (which, was never known), and his 
body left to represent that of Redman. There they left one of the saddles that had 
been taken away from Grand Lake on the day of the murders, and also a worn out 
pony. Written in the sand with a stick was the name "William Redman," and the 
same, scrawled upon a scrap of paper, was pinned to the saddle. .After carctu 
investigation the body was found to be that of a man who had wantlered to the 


place had either been slain by others or by his own hand, and Redman, passing that 
way, used it to check further search for himself. He was next heard of in a 
hiding place between the Yampa and White rivers in the southwestern part of 
Routt county, where he spent a part of the following winter. In tiie spring he 
went north to the Sweetwater mining country in western Wyoming, and thence 
south through western Colorado and New Mexico into Arizona. His brother, Bass, 
returned to Missouri. 

Although some attempts were made by the district attorney and the courts to 
develop all the facts of this frightful affair and bring the guilty to punishment, 
nothing ever came of them. 

On the i6th of July, eleven days after the massacre, Sheriff Royer, being in 
Georgetown, committed suicide by shooting himself through the head, making the 
fifth victim of the tragedy. He was not a bad man at heart, and was generally 
popular in both communities. Redman, on the contrary, was a large, muscular 
man, six feet tall, "with a great deal of the savage in his nature. He was faithful to 
his friends, but his hatred of his enemies was of a type that caused him to commit 
the most brutal deeds when an opportunity for revenge presented itself." 

Such is the story in brief of one of the most terrible crimes that has reddened 
the records of our commonwealth. Three county commissioners and their clerk 
assassinated in the broad daylight of our national anniversary, the sheriff slain by 
his own hand, the others immediately concerned in the plot fugitives from justice, 
and all the result of political animosities that might easily have been adjusted by 
the ordinary exercise of rational judgment. 

On the 19th of July, Grand county being virtually without officers, a deputation 
of citizens from that section, composed of L. C. Pollard, W. S. Chamberlin 
and C. H. Hook with Wm. N. Byers, waited upon Governor James B. Grant to 
suggest the names of parties for appointment to the vacant offices. In due course 
the governor appointed Samuel Moffett in place of J. G. iNIills, G. W. Hertel in place 
of E. P. Weber, and T. Webb Preston in place of Barney Day, and these com- 
missioners were authorized to select a sheriff. 

The county seat was removed back to Hot Springs, December i6th, 1888, 
as the result of a vote taken at the November election of that year. 

In 1890 the total assessed valuation of taxable property in Grand county was 
$432,707. In the schedule then returned to the auditor of state there were 27,867 
acres of agricultural land, 1,843 horses, 9,973 cattle, and 2,208 sheep. 

The school census of 1890 shows a total school population of 129, with an en- 
rollment of 59. There were six school districts and five buildings, the latter valued 
at $2,025. 

The officers for 1890-91 were: Clerk, J. N. Pettingell: treasurer, Wm. P. 
Farris; county judge, David Bock; assessor, N. N. Buttolph; sheriff. Walker 
McQueary; coroner, John O. Felters; superintendent of schools, Oliver Neidham: 
surveyor, L. D. C. Gaskell; clerk of the district court, David Bock; commissioners, 
Henry Lehman, PVank M. Smith and Frank S. Byers. 

The principal route to Middle Park is by a wagon road from Georgetown via 
Empire and I'erthoud Pass. It was commenced July i6th, 1874. and the first stage 
passed over it to Hot Sulphur Springs November iSth following. It was built 
by a company of which W. H. Cushman was president, and Thomas Guanella, 
secretary, nearly all the funds being furnished by residents of Georgetown. 


Capt. Gunnison's exploration in 1853 — first white prospectors — discovery 






This county was segregated from the western part of Lake by an act of the 
first General Assembly of the state, approved Alarch 9th, 1877, and its capital located 
at the town of Gunni.son. When thus created it embraced an area of 10,600 square 
miles. Since then four new counties, Pitkin, Delta, Mesa and Montrose, covering 
7,400 square miles, have been taken from its original domain. Its present area is 
3,200 square miles, and by the census of 1890 itj population was 4,359, an apparent 
decrease of 3,876 since 1880, largely due, however, to the organization of tlie four 
counties mentioned. It is now bounded on the north by Pitkin, south by Saguache 
and Hinsdale, east by Chaffee and the northerly portion of Saguache, and west by 
Delta, Montrose and Ouray. 

The first explorer of whom we have any authentic record, though he may have 
been preceded by some of the old guild of hunters and trappers, was Capt. J. \V. 
Gunnison of the U. S. Topographical Engineers, for whom the county, its capital 
and principal stream were named. This expedition was undertaken by authority of 
an act of Congress, approved IMarch 3, 1853. Soon afterward Jetiierson Davis, then 
Secretary of War, directed that a survey be made to ascertain the most practicable 
and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi river to the Pacific ocean, 
and that a line be carried through the Rocky Mountains near the headwaters of the 
Rio del Norte by way of the Huerfano and Cochetopa, or some other practicable 
pass, into the region of Grand and Green rivers, and so on to Lake Utah. A digest 
of this expedition, together with its tragical ending, has been given in Volume I 
of our general history, at page 133. The party left the Missouri river June 17th, 
1853. Capt. Gunnison was killed by Indians at his camp near Sevier lake, October 
26th following. The survey was completed and the report thereof rendered by 
Lieutenant E. G. Beckwith. 

In the course of our researches the following narrative has been discovered, 
and is assumed to be substantially correct. In May, 1861, an adventurous prospector 
named Fred. Lottes crossed to the western slope and was the first discoverer of min- 
eral deposits in the district now known as Tin Cup, so designated because, lacking the 
usual gold miner's pan, he washed out his prospects in a tin drinking cup — which 
recalls George A. Jackson's discovery of gold on Vasquez Fork in January, 1859, 
related in Volume I. It has been said that Taylor Gulch was discovered in i860, but 
by whom is not definitely known. However, the story nins that Mr. Lottes, with 
five comrades, went into Texas Gulch and also Ohio Gulch, in 1862, where they 





-~ '-« ._^ 

- . siStr.. > 


made some locations and gave Quartz creek its name. Mr. Frank Fossett, in his 
history of Colorado (1880), states that in 1861 a company of seven miners from 
Arizona were surrounded and attacked by a large band of Piute Indians in a gulch 
leading into Taylor river. The fighting was maintained three days and nights, and 
at last all the miners were slain. The remains of men, mules and equipage were sub- 
sequently found by prospectors, and the locality was thereafter known as "Dead- 
man's Gulch." 

Fos.sett also relates that Benjamin Graham visited the Gunnison region in 
1S66. Four years later R. A. Kirker, Benjamin Graham, William Gant, Samuel 
jMcMdlen, Louis Brant, James Brennan and C. AI. Defauch fornied an exploring 
association, and, taking supplies for the summer, prospected among the Elk momi- 
tains and their western slopes into the Ute reservation. They discovered many 
galena bearing lodes and a coal vein on Rock creek, which proved to be anthracite. 
A log fort was built as a refuge and defense against Indians. In 1874 the Indians 
came upon them, burned the camp and drove the prospectors out of the countr}'. 
In 1873 Prof. Hayden's U. S. geological survey was made. When, in 1879, a great 
inmiigration commenced pouring into the valley of the Gunnison, Prof. Sylvester 
Richardson wrote that "the Elk mountains were prospected as early as 1872 by 
bands of men from Denver and Golden and were found to contain large true fissure 
veins. At various times the prospecting continued until 1879, when the great rush 
came." During the winter of 1873-74 the Gunnison colony was organized in Den- 
ver, under a charter, and Professor Richardson elected president of the same. He 
says; "We went to Gunnison in April, 1874, and located the town, built roads, 
bridges, etc. Shortly after the arrival of the colony it disbanded, some remaining at 
Gunnison as ranchmen, others going to the mountains to prospect for mineral. 
Following in the wake of this colony came the horde of miners, stockmen, etc.; 
ne.xt. Lake City was founded. In 1876 an excitement occurred which built the 
town of Ouray ; next, Tin Cup, Quartz Creek and Washington Gulch were located." 

In 1868, when Governor Hunt's treaty with the Utes for their location upon 
reservations at White river and the Los Pinos was made, the L'ncompahgrcs, 
Mouaches, Capotes, and Weeminuches were encamped in the vicinity of Fort Gar- 
land, in the eastern part of the San Luis valley. In attempting to remove them to the 
Los Pinos they could only be gotten as far as Cochetopa creek, — where the post 
office of that name now stands, — in the western part of Saguache county. The Los 
Pinos where it was designied that they should be settled is some 60 miles south- 
westerly. But here they were determined to remain, and, consequently, the agency 
was established at Cochetopa in 1869. But in order to conform in some degree to 
the terms of the treaty, a small creek nmning into the Cochetopa at that point was 
named Los Pinos. Here they remained until removed to the Uncompahgre reser\-a- 
tion under the treaty of 1873. The cattle camp was located near the present site of 
Gunnison City, for the reason that it was a fine grazing section. It was some 25 
miles by trail from Cochetopa to the cattle camp. The live stock centered there for 
the use of the agency was bought by (lovernor E. M. McCook. under the circum- 
stances related in Chapter VIIl,\'olume II. The first agent was Lieutenant Speer;the 
second, the Rev. Mr. Trask; the third. General Charles Adams: the fourth. Rev. B. F. 
Bond; the fifth, Major W. D. Wheeler; the sixth. Major W. AI. Kelley; the seventh, 
Capt. Stanley, and the eighth. Major Wm. H. Berry, w'ho removed the Uncom- 
pahgrcs to Utah, under orders from General McKenzie, who led the military escort. 
It was at the agency on the Cochetopa, misnamed the Los Pinos. that General 
Charles Adams took Alfred Packer. "the man eater," in hand, as related in X'olumelll. 
beginning at page 245. When Barlow & Sanderson established their stage line 
from Saguache to Lake City, the road built by Enos Hotchkiss and Otto Mears 
passed directly through this reservation. Mr. Herman Lueders, now sccrctarv^ of 
the state board of capitol commissioners, who was an employe of the agencv under 


Gen. Adams, built one of the cabins at the cattle camp and all of the stock corrals. 
The first was erected by Alonzo Hartman, who came in 1872. Six miles above on a 
stream then called Camp creek, a tributary of the Tomichi, there were two small 
cabins built some years before, by whom no one knows, but probably by trappers 
or prospectors. But the actual foundation of the present city of Gunnison may be 
said to have been laid by Mr. Alonzo Hartman, who built the first house, and Her- 
man Lueders, who, in conjunction with Hartman, built the second, the original cabin 
being too small for their joint occupancy. They are there to this day. 

We have the statement following from Air. Hartman: "I came to Gunnison 
Decemljer 25, 1872, from the Los Pinos agency in Saguache county. I went there from 
Saguache. At that time the government had 1,000 cattle and a like number of sheep 
at Gunnison, or rather at the cow camp cabins that were situated a mile below the 
present town of Gunnison. General Chas. Adams sent James P. Kelle)' and myself 
to take charge of the stock. Sidney Jochnich also accompanied us. Sylvester 
Richardson came with a colony in 1874. They built cabins on ranches from one to 
five miles above Gunnison. Richardson's party was stopped by the authorities, but 
as the leader claimed they were not on the reservation they were allowed to proceed. 
Most of the colonists departed, each in a separate way, but Richardson, J. B. and 
W. W. Outcalt, with others, remained." 

J. R. Trimble, Fred. Pheffcr and one known as "Mick," early trappers and 
miners, came in 1874. James Watt and Jack Howe were among the pioneer ranch- 
men. Jesse Benton came about 1875. Alonzo Hartman, first postmaster at Gunni- 
son, came to Colorado with his parents in 1863. His father, Thomas Hartman, 
died in Denver about 1885. Alonzo spent some time in Black Hawk, Central City 
and Golden. In 1870 he went to Saguache and later to Guimison. Parlin's station 
on the D. & R. G. R. R. was named for John Parlin, who came about 1877 and located 
on a ranch near the present station which bears his name. Sargent, also on the 
same road, was named for Joseph Sargent, who was connected with the Los Pinos 
agency in 1872. He located a ranch in the early time which was simply a cow camp 
for the agency. Nicholas Meyers, a stock grower and ranchman, was also among 
the pioneers of Colorado and the Gunnison region. In his narrative he says: "I 
came to Colorado in May, 1859, and was engaged in mining at Black Hawk four 
years, then went to Trail Run : afterward to Tarryall in the South Park. At a later 
period I was engaged in stock raising on Spring creek, Douglas county, but in 
1873 went to the San Luis valley, locating about 8 miles below on Saguache creek 
and resumed stock growing. In 1879 I left for Razor creek in the Tomichi valley. 
Doyleville, 18 miles east of Gunnison, was the post office station, and there I took up 
a ranch. Among my neighbors were Henry and John Kennedy, H. Hartman, Wm. 
.Snyder, Sam Parratt, George Pierce, J. Ballard Coats, John Coats and others. I 
built the first store at Ohio City in 1880." 

Mr. C. P. Foster says: "I came over from Saguache in 1874 where I was con- 
nected with the commissary department of the Indian Agency and attended to the 
farming. In 1876 I located on the Cebolla, taking up a ranch about 30 miles south- 
west of Gunnison. The post office was at White Earth, near the junction of the 
Powderhorn and the Cebolla. It is now known as Powderhorn post ofiice, and 
is about three miles from the original site. Gunnison received mail once a week via 
Saguache through the White Earth office. Dr. Dorr and Ed. Singer were prospect- 
ing and hunting in this section in 1874-75. The early ranchmen on the Cebolla 
from 1874-76 were A. W. Testamen, James Jones, Eph. Alatthias, Wm. Snyder, Wm. 
Pontus, W. B. Jacks, — Condit, \\'". P. Sammon.s, A. J. .'=^tone, J. R. Smith, E. T. 
Hotchkiss, James Andrews, John Mclntyre and others. This settlement was situated 
about midway between Gunnison and Lake City. Del Dorita was an early mining 
camp, started in what is now called McDonough Gulch. For many years the Ce- 
bolla valley has been a fine stock growing and agricultural region. On the hillsides 


are the famous iron deposits that give promise of becoming the most valuable in 
Colorado. The Kezar settlement, named for Gardner Kezar, was located a little 
east of Cebolla, on the Gunnison, in 1877, by A. \V. Alergleman, James A. Preston, 
P. T. Stevens, A. Pomel, James Brennan, James McLeod, Charles E. Stevens, A. K. 
Stevens, Gardner Kezar and others, who engaged in ranching and stock raising. 
Thus, both east and west of Gunnison, men had been pursuing these peaceful avo- 
cations some time anterior to the great influ.x of prospectors from Leadville and 
other camps in the Arkansas valley, and had become comfortably settled."' 

The vanguard of ranchmen and cattle growers, as we have seen by the fore- 
going narratives, were employes of the Indian agency. The existence of the 
precious metals in the mountains and in some of the gulches was known to them, 
but the countPi' belonged to, or was claimed by, the Ute Indians. Xevertheless, a 
number of bold prospectors had ventured in, made discoveries, and in due course 
exciting reports went abroad which caused the great inpouring that established 
camps and opened the gold, silver, coal and iron mines. 

As related at the beginning of this chapter, the county, though but sparsely 
inhabited, was created March 9th, 1877, at least two years prior to the development 
of the mining sections. W. W. Outcalt and Lyman Cheney, who had been ap- 
pointed commissioners, met April gth, 1877, and were duly qualified, as also Samuel 
B. Harvey, clerk, and Amby Hinkle, sheriff. Wm. Yule, the third commissioner, 
did not meet with the board at that time. At the next meeting Air. Cheney was 
made cliairman; Amos O. Miller qualified for the office of assessor; Robert Stubbs 
was appointed a justice of the peace; Eugene W. Roberts, constable; James H. 
Yates, coroner, and L. S. Alattox, overseer of highways. At a meeting of the board 
held May 22nd, the county seat was temporarily located at Gunnison, then a mere 
cluster of rude cabins. On the 2nd of July the county was divided into election 
precincts and judges of election appointed. 

Giintiison^ the county seat, stands at the foot of the western slope of the great 
Continental Divide near the Gunnison river. None of the customary wild, feverish 
efforts to establish a metropolis and engage in speculation w'ere observable in its 
creation, after the failure of the Richardson colonization scheme in 1S74. The town 
company was organized in 1879, composed of ex-Governor John Evans, Henry C. 
Olney, Louden Mullen, Alonzo Hartman, Sylvester Richardson and others. Mr. 
Mullen became president and manager, Howard Evans, secretary, Sylvester Richard- 
son, vice-president. The survey was made April ist, 1880, by Mr. Richardson, and 
laid off by Henry C. Olney, J. R. Hinkle. Samuel B. Haney, James P. Kelley and 
Alonzo Hartman. The plat was filed March 9th, 1880. West Gunnison was laid 
off by the Gunnison Town and Land company May 14th, 1880, by Louden Mullen, 
trustee, and the plat filed June 1 5th following. It occupies a superb position about 
the center of the valley, conunanding all its great diversity of mineral, coal and 
other resources located and being developed in the adjacent mountains. To the 
north, in the Elk mountains, and to the east in the Continental Divide are many 
mining cam])s, all tributary to this commercial and industrial center. One familiar 
with the region may stand in the streets of Gunnison and point out the locality of 
nearly every town and hamlet in the county, for the view is broad and far-reaching. 
While the towns can not be seen, the places where they lie concealed are in most 
cases indicated by some conspicuous promontory or other distinguishing feature 
of the magnificent landscape. All the principal streams rising in the mountains 
flow toward Gunnison City as to a common level. For some time a spirited rivalry 
between the two divisions of the town prevailed. The Lewis, now the La Veta 
Hotel, one of the finest in the state, was built in W'est Gunnison. In 1880 the two 
were united and incorporated, when the following nnmicipal officers were chosen; 
Mavor. F. G. Kubler; recorder, H. L. Ross; trustees, Joseph x\iiains, J. A. Preston, 


F. C. Smith and Joseph Woodward; treasurer, E. T. Sutherland; poHce magistrate, 
George Simmonds; marshal, J. H. Roberts. 

In 1 88 1 the following were elected: Mayor, F. G. Kubler; recorder, H. L. 
Ross; trustees, Joseph Brennan, J. R. Parks, Herman Holloway, J. A. Preston; 
treasurer, E. T. Sutherland: attorney, Thomas C. Brown; police magistrate, J. P. 
Harlow; marshal, R. C. Bailey. 

In 1880-81 the growth was almost prodigious, stimulated by an incessant rush 
of immigrants from all quarters of the state. Gunnison promised to become one 
of the great cities of Colorado. Business houses multiplied, all manner of ex- 
pensive enterprises were commenced and some of them completed. A number of 
men who have since won considerable fame in state politics and in other directions 
became leaders in the progressive movement. Mr. C. W. Shores, the most remark- 
able sherifif Colorado has produced, who has pursued to capture, trial and im- 
prisonment, various bands of train robbers, and many other desperate criminals, 
who, when he once takes the trail never falters or leaves it no matter into what 
danger it may lead, is still a resident of the county. All over the state he is ac- 
counted the bravest of the brave, an estimable citizen withal, and a man well worth 
knowing. Henry C. Olney, for years business manager of the Rocky Mountain 
"News" at Denver, and the pioneer journalist of the county, register of the first land 
office at Lake City, editor of the "Silver World" in the latter place, and later register 
of the land office at Gunnison; Theodore Thomas, afterward attorney-general of 
the state: Alexander Gullett, Frank C. Goudy and A. M. Stevenson, eminent 
lavi'yers and politicians; James W. Bucklin, one of the founders of Grand Junction; 
Clem and Fred Zugelder, for whom the quarries from which were taken the granite 
which forms our beautiful state capitol, and many others not now recalled, all have 
been prominent in promoting the glory of Gunnison. 

Down to the close of 1S82 brisk activity prevailed, and it was between that date 
and the spring of 1879 that most of the important mines were discovered, camps 
formed and local institutions planted. In its general review of the situation pub- 
lished January ist, 1884, the Daily "News-Democrat," while deploring the sub- 
sidence of the boom, summarizes the condition of things at the close of 1883 sul)- 
stantially as follows: "First and most important, the completion of the Denver 
and Rio Grande railway via Gunnison to the western boundary of the stated and 
thence via the Rio Grande Western to Salt Lake and Ogden; second, the comple- 
tion of the Denver & South Park R. R. to the coal fields at Baldwin, 18 miles north- 
west of Gunnison; the organization of a company for the building of iron and steel 
works and the conuiicncement of work upon the buildings; the completion of the 
Lewis hotel at a cost of $250,000; the extension of a branch line to the Crested 
Butte coal mines; the building at Gunnison of planing mills, round houses and 
machine shops: the grading of streets and paving of sidewalks: the erection of gas 
works, and a complete water supply system ; three costly brick and stone school 
houses; the acquisition tjf seven religious organizations and the erection of six 
churches; the opening of two theaters; a free reading-room, a park and a skating 
rink; one weekly and two daily newspapers; a brick jail, court house and county 
hospital: a smelter for gold and silver ores; steel works in process of building: a 
street railway; numerous lodges of Masons, Odd Fellows, G. A. R., and other secret 
orders; two National banks, many real estate, insurance and loan companies, and 
a large number of strong mercantile houses." All this in Gunnison. In the 
several mining camps a number of mills, concentrators, smelters and other forms 
of redtiction works were established, the great anthracite and bituminous coal mines 
put in active production, and scores of coke-ovens furnished. 

The Moffett smelter, using the Bartlett process, proved a lamentable failure. 
After turning out a few small lots of bullion it was discovered that the process 
was not adapted to the ores, when it closed, and since has been wholly removed. 


The great burst of excitement passed away in 1883 and has not been renewed. It 
was based in the first instance upon the expectation of great rewards created by 
glowing reports of the enormous extent and exceeding richness of the mines, which 
inspired thousands to believe that a greater than Leadville had been or would be 
found among the mountain slopes. While it is true that many superior mines of 
gold and silver were discovered and many e.xtensively opened, distance from 
markets, high transportation charges, the collapse of local reduction works, dis- 
appointment in not finding vast beds of carbonate ores worth millions, the severity 
(jf the winters in the higher altitudes and the lack of capital for investment, together 
with the general decline of interest after the blow which struck Leadville in 1881-82, 
all combined to bring about depression in Gunnison. Again, the influx of people 
during the period mentioned was largely composed of men who came without 
money or provisions, having little or no experience, expecting to pick up gold in 
the ver}^ streets and roads. Many were "Kansas grasshopper sufferers," who came 
west to recuperate their fortunes. They refused to work in the operated mines, 
preferring to follow town site booms in the hope of striking wealth without any 
particular effort. They were neither builders, laborers nor producers, simply drift. 
When the short race was run, they disa,ppeared. The country lost heavily in popula- 
tion, the craze subsided, leaving only a handful of sturdy workers to shape the future 
of the county. 

Ai;ricu/tui-al Hesoiorcs.— Among the tributaries of the Gunnison river, one of 
the most beautiful of Rocky Mountain streams, are Taylor and East rivers, which 
unite seven miles northeast of Gunnison and form the main stream. Next in im- 
portance is Ohio creek. Hot Springs, Razor, Armstrong and Little Tomichi 
creeks are affluents of the Tomichi, a tributary of the Gunnison. Likewise Lottes, 
Texas and Spring creeks are tributaries of Taylor river; Cement, Brush and Slate 
of East river. The valley of Quartz creek, an affluent of the Tomichi, is also an ex- 
cellent agricultural section. The better tillable lands lie along the alluvia! margins 
of the principal water courses named above. Ranches where large quantities of 
hav are cut, vegetables raised, and butter and milk produced, are scattered about 
near the larger mining towns which afford ready cash markets. The Tomichi 
valley extends east 42 miles from Gunnison to Sargent's, and thence northward to 
the mining district which bears its name. Upon these lines and the small creeks 
that flow into it are some of the better farms. 

Ohio creek runs south from above Mount Carbon to the Gunnison. The great 
Ohio creek valley extends from Mount Carbon very close to Gunnison, 17 miles. 
It is from one to two miles wide, well suited to agriculture and the greater portions 
are taken u]) in ranch claims. Although very little grain is raised, potatoes and 
all the hardy vegetables yield profusely. Along the Powdcrhorn, Cebolla, the 
u])per Gunnison, East, Slate, Taylor and Anthracite, there are numerous farmers, 
but hay is the most profitable crop. Some idea of the present condition of agricul- 
ture is obtained from the report of the county assessor for 1891, which is only 
approximately correct, however, but is the best data now procurable. Acres of 
land imder irrigation, 16,870; acres in wheat, 15, yield 200 bushels; in oats, 60, yield 
1, 8(X) bushels: Iiarley, 25, 1,450 bushels; rye, 9, 400 bushels; potatoes, 205, 16,500 
bushels; timothy, 250 acres, 260 tons; native grass, 11,200, 10.500 tons. The 
ranchmen produced 24,300 pounds of butter and 110,000 pounds of cheese. 

As originally constituted, this county embraced all the Elk mountain range, 
which Ilayden describes as "a wilderness of pyramidal cones rising to the height of 
13,00010 14,000 feet, and uni(|uc in form and structure." Here is the great mineral 
belt containing veins of gold, silver, lead and copper, with some fairly valuable 
placers. This belt has been traced clear through to California Gulch. In early 
times, prior to the advent of railways, the ores produced in Gunnison county were 
sacked and packed across the range 90 miles to Lake City for treatment. The only 


practicable route from the east when the tide of immigration rolled in was via 
Alamosa and Saguache, over Cochetopa Pass, a distance of 150 miles over rough 
and rugged roads. Barlow & Sanderson, the famous stage men, carried passengers, 
mail and express. 

Let us now take a hasty glance at the founding of mining towns. It is im- 
practicable to set forth their rise and progress in detail, hence we shall not attempt 
it. Most of them have undergone many changes, some have been wholly aban- 
doned, while others maintain a precarious foothold. Still others, illustrating the 
survival of the fittest, have been materially prospered by the passing years. 

rirgiiiia City was surveyed and platted in May, 1879, by A. J. Sparks. During 
that year this town and its contemporary, Hillerton, were brisk competitors for the 
supremacy in Tin Cup district. At one time Hillerton had a population of about 
2,000, but is deserted now. The name Virginia City was changed to Tin Cup, 
which it still retains. It is situated in the northeastern part of the county. 35 miles 
from Gunnison, and the district embraces some excellent placers in addition to 
numerous gold-bearing lodes. The town is the commercial center of the mining 
section, located at the head of Taylor Park at an altitude of 10,200 feet. It has a 
very large area of superior mining territory. In July, 1882, it had a population of 
about 600. In 1880 the Gold Cup mine was sold for $300,000. The surface ores 
as a rule were high grade, assorted lots shipped to Pueblo carrying from 114 to 
600 ovmces of silver per ton, with a considerable percentage of gold. The mine 
called Tin Cup is an extension of the Gold Cup. The camp, like all the others of 
the early period between 1879 and 1883, was struck by the general paralysis, but in 
1891 a revival took place, and it is now enjoying much prosperity. 

Inttin was platted November 20th, 1879, and the plat filed February 4th, 1880. 
It is located on Anthracite creek, 30 miles northwest of Gunnison. The survey was 
made by Frank P. Swindler, a deputy U. S. mineral land surveyor. It was first 
known as Ruby Camp, from the large quantities of ruby-silver ore found in the 
lodes, but finally took the name of Richard Irwin, a noted prospector and mining 
correspondent. August 24th, 1879, Ira Brown, George K. Cornwell and Richard 
Irwin filed a plat of the town of Irwin. For a time this was regarded as the richest 
district in the county, and believed to be the uniting point of three very extensive 
mineral belts. The more prominent of the mines which procured its fame were the 
l^^orcst Queen, Bullion King, Monte Cristo, Ruby Chief, Justice, Lead Chief, Last 
Chance and a few others which attained importance through development. Smelt- 
ing plants and reduction works were built there. J. H. Haverly, the noted manager 
of theatrical and minstrel companies, purchased a group of prospects in this district 
and advertised them extravagantly. It was a brisk and extremely promising camp 
from 1870 to 1882, but thence forward to 1890 its population decreased until only 
a small number remained. It is now in process of resurrection by the introduction 
of new capitalized forces. The Forest Queen and the Bullion King are steady 
shippers, and the Ruby Chief is being steadily developed. From the large amount 
of excellent mineral in that section, it is clear that an early awakening of its former 
activity may safely be predicted, for it contains treasures worth seeking. 

Si-/iofit'/d was surveyed and platted August 24th, 1879, by J. Evans, for a com- 
pany composed of Daniel Haines, S. H. Baker, B. F. Schofield, H. G. Ferris, \Vm. 
Agee, E. D. Baker, A. H. Slossen and G. Edwards. It is located on Rock creek 
between Elko and Crystal City, 8 miles northwest of Gothic, and some 40 miles west 
I if Gunnison. It never was a mining camp of much importance, though the central 
station for a number of prospectors. 

Pitkin, named for Governor F. W. Pitkin, was surveyed by A. J. Sparks, and 
the plat filed July i6th, 1879. It is situated on Quartz creek, on the Denver & 
South Park R. R., 27 miles northeast of Gunnison. Two years later it had a popula- 
tion of about 1,500, many stores and saloons, a newspaper, one or two hotels, a 


bank and other accessories clcnotinq: a prosperous settlement. Mining claims were 
as numerous as the people. With the general departure of interest which marked 
all enterprises in Gunnison count}-, Pitkin suffered in common with its contem- 
poraries. Within the past two years, however, its prestige has been restored and 
it is now in a better condition than ever before, for the reason that the formations 
enclosing the valuable deposits are better understood and worked by more experi- 
enced miners. The more prominent now under operation are the Fairview, Nest 
Egg, Sacramento, Tycoon and Little Roy. The Fairview was discovered in 1878 
and is accounted a great mine. In July, 1890, its manager began shipping ore to 
market, and there has been a steady increase of the product to the present time. 
The Sacramento has been worked almost continuously since 1880. It consists of 
23 claims, located on the "gold belt" three miles northwest of Pitkin. This district 
bids fair to become one of the great producers of the state. 

Tomichi District, with White Pine for its principal center, is at present the most 
active in the county. Air. Geo. S. Irwin writes that the "first prospectors there were 
the Boon brothers, who came over from Chaffee City in the fall of 1878." Others 
followed in rapid succession, and in 1881 a town company was organized and the 
town of White Pine located, surveyed, platted and soon afterward incorporated. 
Milton Spencer was elected mayor. Stanley Xeal clerk, John S. Barber, John W. 
Jett, John Hannnond and John K. Terrell, trustees. Many mines were located 
on Granite mountain, carrying wire and native silver. "Contact mountain was 
found to be a mass of magnetic iron, and in the eastern part of the district the lime 
belt was discovered, which since has given birth to the famous May-Mazeppa, 
Eureka, Beta, Morning Star and Denver City mines." 

The town of Tomichi was located two miles above White Pine, where some 
e.xtraordinarily rich ores are found in the Sleeping Pet and Levviston lodes. The 
usual excitement and inrush of crowds of prospectors followed, creating a lively 
settlement. In 1882 the Eureka, owned by D. H. Moffat and associates, came into 
market with large quantities of ore. It has been almost continuously productive to 
the present time. In 18S3 a newspaper called the White Pine "Cone" was established 
and has struggled along through all tlepre.ssions and changes to the present, an 
earnest advocate and a helpful friend to the people settled there. At present writing 
the May-Mazeppa, largely owned by Col. Chas. E. Taylor, the father of the Denver 
Mining Exchange, is the principal property at White Pine. It is verj^ productive 
and the ores very valuable. The Beta, Denver City and Morning Star arc also quite 
productive. In 1891 the Magna Charta became a conspicuous factor in the list. 
Granite mountain, in which this and many other lodes are' located, has been 
developed by a cross-cut tunnel, 3,500 feet in length. Contact mountain, as already 
stated, contains vast deposits of rich iron ore. Tomichi was platted by the Tomichi 
Mining company, and the plat filed June i8th, 1881. Among its early promoters 
were W. C. Wynkoop, Herman Beckurts, owner of the Denver "Tribune," and 
E. H. Eastman. 

Gotliic was surveyed and platted in May, 1880. It is the center of mining in 
the Elk mountains, and during its short period of prosperity contained about 1,500 
people. It is 35 miles from Gunnison and 8 miles from Crested Butte. It was in- 
cor])orated July I7tli. 1870, and became one of the more important towns of the 
county. Here were the mines of Copper creek. East river and Gothic mountain, 
the settlement being at the foot of the latter where Copper creek empties into East 
river. Numerous mines contributed to its support, veins carrying gold, silver and 
copper, some of them very rich. The Sylvanite on Copper creek attracted great 
attention because of the quantity of native silver taken from it. Several smelters 
for the district were projected and one built, but none were operated. 

Crested Butte, so named from a remarkable lone mountain or butte in its 
vicinity, is one of the strong coal mining and coke producing towns of the state. 


not so productive, however, as many others, but important from the fact that it is 
the only section where anthracite and the better class of bituminous coals are in 
conjunction. It is situated at the confluence of Coal and Slate rivers, or creeks, 28 
miles north of Gunnison, from which extends a branch of the Denver & Rio 
Grande R. R. to this point and 7 miles beyond to the Anthracite breaker. Wagon 
roads lead thence to Gothic and Irwin. The only anthracite coals broken west 
of Pennsylvania are mined at the point seven miles beyond Crested Butte, distributed 
to the larger towns of the state, and as far east as the ^lissouri river, where they are 
sold in competition with the Pennsylvania products. These deposits are owned by 
Col. George T. Plolt and associates, but operated under lease by the Colorado 
Fuel company under the name, "Anthracite Mesa Coal Mining Co." These were 
discovered by the earlier prospectors long anterior to the general settlement of the 

The plat of Crested Butte was filed May 1st, 1880, and the town incorporated 
June 29th, 1880. In describing the extent and character of the coal measures, Mr. 
R. C. Hills says: "Beginning at the southern extremity of the Grand river field 
near Crested Butte, where valuable beds of anthracite and coking coal are worked, 
the outcropping measures can be traced with but little interruption around Mount 
Carbon to the mines of domestic coal at Baldwin, and thence westward to Mount 
Gunnison where, on Coal creek, large seams of semi-coking coal are exposed. 
From Mount Gunnison the outcrop continues westward across the North Fork of 
Gunnison river and around Grand Mesa to Hogback Canon on Grand river, about 
16 miles above Grand Junction," and so on to the Utah line. "Along the opposite 
margin of the field, the outcropping coal seams are also readily traceable. Sweep- 
ing westerly from Crested Butte, they skirt the western slope of the Anthracite 
range, the southern base of the Ragged mountains, and appearing for a short 
distance on Crystal river, again trend westward into Coal Basin. From Coal 
Basin northwesterly the measures outcrop along the Hinitsman's Hills, tlirough 
Jerome Park and on to Pifion Basin and New Castle The Anthracite Range and 
Ragged mountain coal, as also a part of what is contained in the limited area on 
Crvstal river and on Slate river near Crested Butte, is anthracite and semi-anthracite 
of excellent qualitv but variable in thickness, and contained in beds much broken 
and fractured. On the North Fork of the Gunnison, the aggregate thickness of 
workable beds is known to be as much as 50 feet." For further descriptions see 
Chapter II of Volume II of our general history. The Colorado Coal & Iron com- 
pany own and operate the bituminous and coking coal banks at Crested Butte, 
where they have 154 coking ovens. 

The Balihcnn Mine, operated by the Union Coal Co., is located on the Denver 
& South Park R. R., 18 miles from Gunnison, north. To reach the coal a shaft 
1 50 feet deep was sunk. The vein is about four feet six inches thick. For domestic 
uses it is regarded as among the best in Colorado, being bituminous, bright, clear 
and lustrous, burning with a bright flame and emitting intense heat. It is exten- 
sively used in household grates at Denver, Pueblo and elsewhere. 

T/ie Anthracite Mesa mine is located at the terminus of the Crested Butte 
branch of the D. & R. G. R. R. The vein is five feet thick and yields an excellent 
quality of anthracite. 

It is the general opinion that the anthracite beds, some four miles southwest of 
Irwin on Anthracite creek, though of limited extent, are superior to those operated 
above Crested Butte. From the fact that they ard remote from any line of rail- 
way and can not be operated until reached by iron thoroughfares, none of these 
deposits have been opened beyond the prospecting stage, yet the various analyses 
made show these coals to be among the best in the world. The operation of those 
above Crested Butte afifords the people of Colorado an ample supplv of good hard 
coal for domestic and manufacturing purposes, and, as already set forth, thousands 


of tons are conveyed by the railways to various larger towns in Kansas and 
Nebraska, and west to Salt Lake and Ogden. 

Jion. — In immediate proximity to these valuable coal fields are immense 
deposits of iron ores, in all varieties recjuired for the manufacture of merchantable 
iron and steel. In 1888 Prof. Regis Chauvenet, president of the state school of 
mines, made a thorough examination of the deposits at Cebolla and elsewhere, and 
as he bears a distinguished reputation for knowledge of the subject his report 
invited profound consideration. After setting forth the result of his observations with 
the chemical tests applied, he says: "Whatever may be the future of this industr\- in 
the Gunnison region, there can be no reasonable doubt of the existence of good 
ore in great (|uantity. Nor do I think are the other conditions lacking for the 
establishment in the valley of the Gunnison of iron industries of great magnitude 
and importance." 

After some further preliminary observations the report proceeds to an 
enumeration of the prerequisites to success in the manufacture of cheap pig metal, 
namely: "First, abundant ore running above 55 per cent, of metal, at a low cost 
of mining; second, coal low in ash and sulphur, minable in large quantities; third, 
pure limestone; fourth, reasonable .proximity of all mined products to the furnace 
site ; and, fifth, a scale of wages which will bring the item of labor per ton well 
inside of two dollars. Given such conditions and a market, only the most blunder- 
ing mismanagement could fail." In all these respects he argues, "Gunnison county 
seems to be favored far beyond the majority of furnace sites in the L'nited States." 

Having considered the conditions cautiously and from large experience in the 
business of iron manufacture in St. Louis and elsewhere. Prof. Chauvenet believes 
that pig iron can be produced as cheaply in the section named as in the most 
favored region of Alabama. Again, the pig iron of Alabama "is of a quality which 
unfits it for all such uses as require a non-phosphatic composition, which is pre- 
cisely what can be guaranteed at Gunnison." 

In 1890 J. W. Nesmith, president and manager of the Colorado Iron Works in 
Denver, with Mr. Henry M. Porter, made a similar investigation of these iron 
fields and contiguous advantages, and with like results. This enterprise was vmder- 
taken by them with a view to the erection of great iron and steel works in Denver, 
the iron to be smelted in Gunnison and the \i'vg shipped out for manufacture. The 
enterprise is not yet consummated but undoubtedly will be at an early day. 

Elko is on Rock creek near Gothic. The site was surveyed and platted by 
Samuel Blachtell and laid off by D. F. McGlothlin, R. J. Walter, John Engstrom 
and W. A. McGlothlin, October ist, 1881. 

Kezar was surveyed by F. R. Lockling and the plat filed August i6th, 1881, by 
Gardner H. Kezar. It is located on the Gunnison river anil the D. & R. ti. R. R. of Gunnison, in a grazing and agricultural section. Mr. Kezar filed an 
amended plat June 24th, 1882, as president of the Kezar Town & Land company. 

Anthracite was surveyed by S. G. Rhoads July 29th, 1882, and the plat filed 
August 2nd. It is about seven miles southwest of Pitkin on Little Ohio creek. 

Castlcton was laid off by IIenr\- Pavton, acting for a town company, November 
1st, 1882. It is on the South Park R. R., five miles southeast of lialdwin. 

Sapinero, in the western part of the county, and named for one of the Ute 
chiefs, was laid off by A. A. Ralston and K. Montgomerv-; sur\'eyed by Ira Brown 
December 22nd, 1888. It is on tlie Gumiison river just above the Black Canon, at 
tin- junction of the main narrow gauge line of the D. & R. G. R. R.. and the branch 
cxttMiding up the Lake I'ork to Lake City, 35 miles. 

At Ahcrdcfu arc the fine granite quarries from which the state capitol was 
built. There are near Gunnison vast ledges of beautiful white and colored sand- 
stones, with limitless abundance of statuary and colored marbles on Yule creek, 
which are now being opened by a Denver company. 


Si/hH'/s. — iiy the census of 1890 the county had a school population of 944. 
There were 20 school districts and 18 buildings, with 1,245 sittings; valuation 
$42,850. The average daily attendance was 296. 

The total assessed valuation of taxable property in the county for 1890 was 
$2,383,702. In the list were 24,214 acres of agricultural land, 19,314 acres of 
grazing and 12,295 acres of coal land. Of live stock there were 177 mules, 14,759 
cattle and 3,636 sheep. 

The output of coal for 1890 was 238,139 tons, and of coke 44,521 tons. 

Gunnison has six churches, the Presbyterian, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, 
Episcopalian and Christian. 

The Free JMasons have a blue lodge. Royal Arch chapter and commandery of 
Knights Templar; the Odd Fellows have three ranks, two of which are represented 
by the Encampment and Patriarclis Militant; the Modern Woodmen, G. A. R., 
Women's Relief Corps and Knights of Honor constitute the other organizations. 

There are three school buildings of brick and stone, built between 1880 and 
1883. The county court house cost $20,000, the jail $10,000 and the hospital 
$5,000. It has also a good volunteer fire department. 

Journalism. — Excepting Denver, Pueblo and Leadville, no town in the state 
has been so thoroughly represented by progressive newspapers. The first paper in 
the county was the "Occident," established in May, 1879, at Hillerton, by Henry C. 
Olney. Lack of space forbids a detailed account of the many enterprises of this 
nature. The "Tribune," successor to the "Review-Press," and the "News," which 
succeeded the "News-Democrat," are all that remain of the large number founded. 

The United States Land Office at Gunnison was opened for business April 
13th, 1883, John J. Thomas register, and Fred J. Leonard receiver. Frank P. 
Tanner succeeded Thomas, and M. L. Allison displaced Leonard. Mr. Henry C. 
Olney became register June ist, 1890, and Henry F. Lake receiver June loth 

Banks. — The first bank started in the county was by Edwin Hiller at Hillerton. 
The next was the Bank of Gunnison, organized by Sam G. Gill, H. A. W. Tabor, 
Col. E. P. Jacobson, Mrs. Augusta Tabor and others in March, 1880, opening for 
business in April. This was the first incorporated bank west of the Continental 
Divide. Tabor became president; Col. Jacobson, vice-president; Sam G. Gill, 
cashier, and J. H. Fesler, assistant. The capital stock was $30,000. The safe was 
brought in by wagon from Saguache, Mr. Gill accompanying it incognito as cook 
and general help. They were ten days in making the trip. The safe contained 
$25,000 in cash, hence Mr. Gill's anxiety to accompany it. The boss freighter was 
profoundly astonished when, on arriving at Gunnison, he discovered the name and 
standing of his quondam hired man and cook. The Bank of Gunnison was changed 
to the tron National in July, 1883, Sam G. Gill, president, vice Tabor, resigned. 
Mr. D. H. Moffat and others of Denver were stockholders. The bank went into 
voluntary liquidation in December, 1884, some of the principal owners purchasing 
a controlling interest in the First National, when Mr. Gill became president, Alonzo 
Hartman vice-president, and E. P. Shove cashier. The second bank organized in 
the county, aside from a private banking company in Pitkin, was the Miner's Ex- 
change, started in July, 1881, Lewis Cheney, president; j\l. Coppinger, cashier, and 
C. E. McConnell, assistant. In May, 1882, this became the First National, retain- 
ing the same officers. In January, 1884, the officers were: Lewis Cheney, presi- 
dent; F. C. Johnson, vice-president, and E. P. Shove, cashier. In December follow- 
ing, Mr. Gill was made president, Alonzo Hartman vice-president, with the same 
cashier as before. This bank has a capital of $50,000, a surplus and profit of 
$32,000. In August, 1881, Hon. H. A. W. Tabor. Sam G. Gill, J. H. Fesler and 
J. B. Thompson organized the private bank of Crested Butte. They afterward 
sold out to Carlisle & Thompson, who in turn sold to Metzler Bros. The Pitkin 


Bank of Pitkin, was organized in i88i, and is still in successful operation; R. R. 
Williams, president, and H. L. Curtis, cashier. In 1881 a private bank was founded 
at Irwin by Coppinger and Aletzler, but from lack of business was discontinued. 
There was also a bank at Tin Cup in the same year, opened by Cochran & Devenish, 
but was long since discontinued. For a short time in 1884 there was a bank at 
Tomichi, by A. T. Nathan, but that, too, passed away. 

In conclusion, we are among the many conservative observers of the situation in 
Gunnison county, from the basis of its great and diversified resources and extra- 
ordinary advantages already epitomized, who believe that it will soon undergo a 
wonderful transformation, and that the new era will far surpass any former period 
in ])()i)ulation and general prosperity. 


Original explorers — otto mears and enos hotchkiss — first mines discovered 

lake city splendid scenery organization the packer murders lake 

san christoval true account of its discovery and christening the 

slumgullion stage robbery in 1879 — capture and lynching of billv 


The territorial legislature in 1874 established three new counties in the great 
mountainous region then commonly known as the 'San Juan,'' namely, Hinsdale, 
Rio Grande and La Plata. The first was named in honor of George A. Hinsdale, 
then a distinguished lawyer residing in Pueblo. At present writing it is bounded 
on the north by Gunnison, east by Saguache and Rio Grande, south by Archuleta, 
and west by La Plata and San Juan. By the national census report of 1890 its area 
was 1,400 square miles, and its population 862, a decrease of 625 from the census 
of 1880, which is hereinafter explained. The first explorers of that region of 
whom we have any authentic record were Joel K. Mullen. Albert Mead ami Henry 
Hensun, who passed through it in 1871 and located the Ute and Ule mines, but 
made no improvements thereon, indeed left no other sign or trace. The next was 
Enos Hotchkiss, a wagon road buildei", who, in connection with Otto JMears and 
others, constructed a thoroughfare from Saguache to Lake City in 1874, and in the 
course of his pioneering reached the spot on which Lake City now stands, dis- 
covered and staked a great lode which took his name, gathered some samples of the 
surface ore and departed. A further account of this early pilgrimage will be found 
on page 205, Volume 11, of t)ur general history. 

Lake City, so named from. the series of lakes in the near vicinity, is situated 
very much like Georgetown in Clear Creek county. The site is one of the most 
attractive in the San Juan mountains at the confluence of the Gunnison and Henson 
creeks. The apjiroach thereto by rail via the Lake Fork of the Gunnison river is 
indescribably grand and beautiful. The visitor is lost in wonder at the variety and 
general magnificence of the scener\-, the fantastic rock formations, the marvelously 
picturesque contour of the ranges on either side, and the loveliness of the entire 
valley. In many respects it surpasses any other section traversed by the Rio 
Grande railway, deservedly called the "scenic line of the world.'' There are 
pictures here well calculated to set a great landscape painter wild with desire to 
reproduce them on canvas. 

The town under consideration is prettily nestled in a broad amphitheater of 
the mountains, is well laid out with wide, shaded streets, and quite substantiallv 


built of frame, brick and stone. It is favored with unlimited water power for all 
uses to which it can be applied, and is especially adapted to the movement of 
reduction works — mills, smelters, concentrators and factories. Down to 1877 most 
of the houses were of logs, with here and there a frame dwelling and business 
structure, small and hurriedly erected. Some were of adobe in the Mexican style, 
a few of more enduring materials. At that period the population numbered about 
1,500, with a considerable float or migratory contingent common to the early 
stages of mining districts, when hundreds drift in with hopes of mines or other 
advantages, but drift out again after discovering that there is no place for any 
but honest workers. There were several hotels and all were crowded. In that 
year building was very active, pushing the brickmakers and wood-working 
mechanics to their utmost, upon larger and more pretentious stores, residences, 
schools and churches. The streets stretched long distances up the Lake Fork and 
Jlenson creeks. Banks were founded upon the great promise of the mines; 
indeed, all the customary accessories of a new metropolis were to be found 
there; many stores, some carrying large and well assorted stocks suited to the 
wants of the community; fine churches, excellent schools, with here and there a 
saloon, billiard room, dance hall, etc. In 1877 a land ofifice was established at Lake 
City, of which Mr. Henry C. Olney, formerly business manager of the Rocky 
Mountain "News," under Wm. N. Byers, was appointed register, and C. B. Hick- 
man, also of Denver, receiver. This enabled the locators of lands and mining 
claims to secure a government title to them. The first really great enterprise upon 
which the people chiefly relied for the future growth of the town, however, was 
that of the Crooke Bros., who established a market for ores about a mile above on 
the Lake Fork, where a small suburb grew up. Their reduction works were 
started in August, 1876. They built a fifteen stamp mill, added two Blake crushers, 
two pairs of steel faced rolls for pulverizing, twelve Krom concentrators and four 
Frue Vanners; later oii smelters and chlorination works. There being no coal in 
the neighborhood, coal and coke were brought over from Crested Butte in Gunni- 
son county by wagon transportation. Some of the mines on Henson creek and at 
other points were large and rich, but the Ute and L'le overtopped all the rest in 
extent and steadiness of production. They were first discovered in 1871 by Joel 
K. Mullen and Albert (or Alfred) Mead. Henry Henson and Charles Goodwin 
were ec[ually interested with them in the ownership. The Crooke Bros, bought 
them in 1876. According to the report of the state geologist, the general forma- 
tion of the mining region is eruptive, although there are remarkable exceptions; for 
example, the curious deposit found in 1882 in the Frank Hough mine, which for a 
time was very productive and a puzzle to geologists. The Hotchkiss, the original 
discovery that led to the population of this district (now the Golden Fleece), acquired 
a marked reputation for the richness of its surface ores. The Palmetto, located on 
Engineer mountain about 16 miles west of Lake City, was also a famous mine in 
the early period. 

In 1875 the assessed valuation of taxable property in Hinsdale county was 
$18,349.50. In 1881 it was $757,265. During 1881 the bullion product amounted 
to $187,395, but in 1882 it was $275,000. Great expectations were formed for the 
new county, but they were doomed to disappointment as will be discovered in the 
course of our narrative; also that a grand regenerative revival ensued in due course, 
which seems destined to far outstrip all previous anticipations. 

As a matter of fact. Lake City is the only town of any consequence in the county. 
As already stated it is a beautiful place, with the promise of greater strength and 
im]>ortance in tlie fullness of time. Among other points are Henson. Capitol City, 
Rose's Cabin, Carson, White Cross, Sherman, Lost Trial, San Juan City, Antelope 
Springs, Sunnyside and Bclford. The Lake Fork of the Gunnison and its tribu- 
taries, and the CeboUa, or White Earth creek, flow to the north. The Rio Grande 


and its tributaries have their sources in the southeastern part of the county. The 
whole region is mountainous and not adapted to general agriculture. 

Organization. — The first meeting of the county commissioners for organiza- 
tion, as we learn from the records, was held at San Juan City June 5th, 1874. The 
board consisted of B. A. Taft, A. R. Thompson and B. Hattick, Sir. Taft being 
made chairman. The official bonds presented by J. M. Swiney, sheriff, W. H. 
Green, clerk and recorder, and J. J. Gainey, justice of the peace, were approved and 
filed. It was then ordered "that the building owned by \V. H. Green shall be 
known and used as a court house." O. A. Messier, now residing on the Lake Fork, 
was the deputy clerk. August 4th, 1874, the commissioners declared vacant the 
offices of county treasurer and justice of the peace. Henry Franklin was thereupon 
appointed treasurer, and O. A. Messier justice of the peace. On the 25th of July 
the county was divided into precincts for election purposes; No i at the court 
house in San Juan City; No. 2 at the house of Harry Franklin, and No. 3 in Lake 
district, at the house of J. D. Bartholf. Judges were appointed and an election 
held the next fall, when the following ofiiicers were chosen: County commissioners, 
Harry Franklin, Enos Hotchkiss and J. J. Holbrook. The latter failing to qualify, 
the oflice was declared vacant and the Governor petitioned to appoint James Wade, 
which was done. Mr. Hotchkiss was made chairman of the board. At an election 
held February 23rd, 1875, the county seat was changed to Lake City, where it still 
remains. April 3rd following, the office of county assessor being declared vacant, 
Henry H. Wilcox was appointed. 

In Volume HI, pages 245 to 254, will be found an account of five horrible 
murders committed near Lake City by one Alfred Packer. Among the records 
of Hinsdale county we find as a sequel the following entry among the expense 
bills: "To W. T. Ring, on account of fees in the matter of inquest and burial of 
five men found dead, %yj.'' These were the mutilated remains of Packer's victims, 
given final rest on Gold Hill Bar about a mile above Lake City, in what is known 
as Dead Man's Gulch, the last act in that awful tragedy. 

Lake City was incorporated as a town August i6th, 1875, by the county 
commissioners, who appointed as trustees Henry Finley, John D. Bartholf, Warren 
T. Ring, William C. Lewman and F. N. Bogue. November 2nd, 1875, a town site 
of 260 acres was laid out by Henry Finley, president of the town company, to 
whom a patent was issued in trust July 5th, 1878. A deed of relinquishment of the 
patent was given August 23rd. 1883, by the town, and an amended patent issued 
to Irlenry I'inley, trustee, February 12th, 1884. An ofiicial plat was drawn and 
adopted June 25th, 1879, by John W. Kraft, George F"erguson, D. S. Ploffman, 
J. W. Pirockett and H. A. Avery, trustees, and the same was filed July 3rd, 1879. 
.Samuel Wade laid off Wade's addition to Lake City June 6th, 1877. Lake San 
Christoval and other but smaller sheets of water beyond the town gave it its 

Tlie first newspaperpublishe(ltliere wasthe Silver '"World," by Harry Woods and 
Clark L. Peyton in 1875. The office material was hauled in from Saguache and 
they began with three subscribers. The mail edition of the first issue was taken 
over the old circuitous route no miles to Saguache, then the nearest post office. 
September 7th, 1876, Henry C. Olney purchased the half interest of Mr. Woods 
when the new firm became Olney & Peyton. In 1878 Mr.Olney became sole 
proprietor. In .August, 1885. he leased the paper to .\. R. Pelton. Subsequently 
it met with numerous changes incident to altered conditions. Among its editors 
were Gideon R. Propper, Walter Mcndenhall and F. E. Dacon. Dacon changed 
the name to "Sentinel." which, after a brief career, suspended. The second venture 
of this class was the San Juan "Crescent." started in 1877 by Harry Woods, but 
it was short lived. The Lake City IVIining "Register" endured several years under 
the management of J. F. Downey. The "Phonograph" was established bv ^^'alte^ 


Mendenhall. The Lake City "Times" was founded January 15th, 1891, by the 
Lake City Printing & Publishing Co., D. S. Hoffman, president, and a! R. 
Arbuckle, editor and manager. 

Tlw U. S Land Office was opened in February, 1877. Ohiey and Hickman 
were succeeded by D. S. Hoffman, register, and C. D. Peck, receiver, in 1883; 
W. H. Steele and H. C. Fink were their successors, when the office was removed 
to Montrose. 

Lake City has a fine brick school house, built at a cost of $30,000. Mrs. Gage 
taught school here in the early days and is said to have been the first teacher. The 
Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Catholics have church buildings, and the Baptists 
and Christians church organizations. 

Water works were built in 1890 at a cost of $20,000. The supply is obtained 
from the Lake Fork, a mile or so above the town. Armory Hall, the largest in the 
place, was the headquarters of a military organization formed many years ago, 
known as the "Pitkin Guard," then a strong, well drilled and efficient company 
which rendered good service in the many Indian disturbances that threatened that 
part of the country. 

The Miners' and Merchants' bank was founded in 1876 by the Thatcher Bros, 
of Pueblo, with J. H. Maugham, cashier. He was succeeded by H. J. Alexander, 
and he, in October, 1885, by Henry Derst. The old First National was established 
as the Hinsdale County Bank, but was changed to the First National by H. A. 
Mclntire and others, and finally wrecked. 

Among the tragic incidents of early times may be mentioned the fact that in 
1882 George Betts and James Browning, two dance hall men, were lynched by the 
people on a bridge near the town for killing the sheriff, Mr. E. N. Campbell. 
Hapipily the good name of the county has been stained by only a few acts of 

Retrospective. — After a few years of marked prosperity, continuing until about 
the close of 1879, the lack of markets for ores, inexperience of the miners, the great 
cost of supplies, its distance from the great centers and general inaccessibilitv began 
to undermine the courage and endurance of the people. One after another the 
principal enterprises closed, citizens began to depart for more promising fields, 
chiefly to Leadville, Summit and Gunnison counties, where great e.xcitement pre- 
vailed; the main sources of revenue ceased, and stagnation set in. To crown the 
disasters, on the 8th of November, 1879, a destructive fire occurred which swept 
away the better part of the business center of Lake City. From that time the 
decadence became general, until only a small remnant of force remained to preserve 
its existence. Though confident of the value of its resources, the people dis- 
covered that no material headway could be made until the Rio Grande or some 
other railway should come to their relief, and of this there was no immediate 
promise. The paralysis continued, therefore, with scarcely a ray of hope until mid- 
summer of 1889 when, by strenuous efforts, Mr. D. H. Moffat, president of the Den- 
ver & Rio Grande company, against the general sentiment of the directors, succeeded 
in gaining his point, and built the branch from Sapinero (on the main narrow 
gauge line to Grand Junction), up the Lake Fork to Lake City, 35 to 38 miles. 
Then many of the former residents who had interests there returned, the old works 
were resumed and the mines reopened. At this time that section bids fair to 
become one of the more prosperous and productive of the San Juan region. 

For a healthful, quiet summer retreat, few points in the mountains possess 
greater charm than Lake City. It is now a well-built and substantial town, the 
streets adorned with shade trees, irrigated by little rivulets on either side. The 
atmosphere from June to October is delightfully cool and bracing, v^'ithout ex- 
tremes of either heat or cold. The water is pure and delicious, and in the near 
vicinity are curative mineral springs. Eight miles distant stands the stupendous 


Uncompahgre Peak, 14,500 feet above the sea, crowned with eternal snows. The 
tourist to this giant of tlie Rockies passes up Hensun creek between vast mountain 
ranges, whose summits pierce the clouds, through marvelous craggy cations. If 
one has the strength of lungs and the courage to mount to the apex of Uncompaligre, 
he will behold one of the sublimest spectacles ever witnessed. To the eastward are 
the great plains of Colorado, tu the westward the valleys of Utah, with the splendid 
chaos of the Wasatch Range. Stanley Wood, one of the most charming of our 
descriptive writers, says: "A trip to Lake San Christoval* is delightful in summer; 
it would be hard to find a lovelier spot in the Rocky Mountains. A mile from town 
you pass the beautiful Granite falls; another mile brings you to Argenta falls, 
whose waters come down in sheets of foam and fall with a noise like thunder into 
the seething chasm beneath; half a mile further and San Christoval is seen in all its 
beauty. I'his lake is a beautiful sheet of water, clear and transparent, two and a 
half miles long and one mile wide; it is studded with fairy like isles, where boating 
parties go to enjoy a picnic. The variety of scenery along its borders is the wonder 
and delight of the artist." 

Descending from this entrancing picture to the practical affairs which are shap- 
ing the destiny of Hinsdale county and its pretty capital, we present the following 
as the administration of municipal government in Lake City for 1890-91 : Mayor, 
C. D. Peck; clerk and recorder, A. AI. Wilson; trustees, F. A. Thompson, P. P. 
Kennedy, Wm. Patterson, F. A. Ralph and H. Youmans; treasurer, John Maurer; 
fire chief, Carl Forberg; marshal, Jos. Michaels. 

In speaking of the grand transformation effected by the advent of their first 
railway which raised the long siege and reopened the floodgates, the editor of the 
Lake City "Times" says: "The town has awakened from its long sleep; new people 
and new enterprises are coming in at a rapid rate; outside capital is coming to the 
rescue, and Lake City is on the eve of a prosperity such as it has never seen before. 
Mines that have been practically untouched for years are now being profitably 
worked under the impetus given by ample shipping facilities and cheaper rates; the 
stores and residences that have been so long vacant are rapidly filling up, and the 
patient people who have endured the horrors and the hardships of business in- 
activity for years now wear the smile of gladness and joy." There is no doubt 
of the revival, and substantial evidence of its permanence is found in the productive- 
ness of its mines, of which a great number are in operation. Instead of relying 
wholly upon reduction works on the ground as formerly, the greater part of the 
ores are shipped by rail to Pueblo and Denver, and there sold to the great smelters 
at the highest market prices. Beyond an occasional garden and small ranch, 
Flinsdale produces few crops from the soil, but the grazing lands are very exten- 
sive. The area of agricultural lands as per the assessment roll is only 1,402 acres, 
valued at $2,355. 

Capitol City is a small mining camp about ten miles up Henson creek from 
Lake City. A town plat was adopted by the trustees, Alex Messier, John Pentle- 
ton, G. B. Gregory, J. B. Search and Mathews Dwyer, March 15th, 1879, and the 

* This title as given in current literature is incorrect. It was named "Lake Chrystobal" by Mr. H. 
G. Prout, assistant in charge of the "Reconnaissance in the Ule Country, "in 1873. from one of Tennyson's 
poems. The engineer corps of the U. S. while encamped at this lake resolved to christen it. and in the 
course of the debate "Chrystobal" was suggested by Mr. Samuel Anstcy, one of the engineers, a Cornish- 
man, who was a devoted admirer of Tennyson. A year later I'rout went to Egypt, and afterward became 
major and lieut. -colonel in the army of the Khedive and was second in command to Gordon in the Soudan 
for a time. He is now publisher and secretary of the Amalgamated societies of engineers in New York. 
He was succeeded in the Colorado survey by Mr. Donald W. Campbell, now a resident of Denver, who 
wrote the report and used the name given above. Lake Mary, which lies at the base of Bristol Head, was 
named for the wife of I.icut. E. H. Ruffner. now Captain of U. S. Engineers. This has been changed to 
the Spanish "Santa Maria." Engineer mountain was first named "Mount Ruffner" by H. G. Prout, who 
ascended it, but, I.ieut. Ruffner objecting, Mr. Campbell, in rendering his report, changed it to the name it 
now bears, in honor of the Engineer Corps. 


same was filed April 15th following. A little beyond, on the same stream, is 
Rose's Cabin, a famous landmark on the old trail. Henson is between Capitol 
City and Lake City. San Juan, the original county seat, is situated some 25 miles 
southeast of Lake City, on the Rio Grande river. It is now known simply as the 
San Juan post office. Antelope Springs is a little below San Juan, and about 35 
miles from Lake City. White Cross and Sherman are small points southwest of 
the present county seat, and Lost Trail west of San Juan. Sunnyside lies near the 
eastern boundary where Saguache and Rio Grande counties corner. Belford is 
some ten miles west of Sunnyside. Carson is on the Continental Divide south of 
Lake City. It was named for J. E. Carson, who discovered some mines at that point. 
Burrows Park is near Sherman. 

In the early epoch, before the advent of rail transportation, besides the Crooke 
Bros.' works, already mentioned, were the Ocean Wave, the Lee Mining & Smelt- 
ing company at Capitol City; the Henson Creek reduction works and Van Gieson's 
Li.xivlation works at Lake City. The mineral territory tributary to Lake City is 
divided into four districts, viz.: Lake, Galena, Park and Carson. 

According to the report of Mr. Kislingbury, assistant state inspector of mines 
for 1890, the number of mines worked in Hinsdale county during that year was 56: 
producing mines, 18; miners employed, 229; hoisting plants, 4; mills, i; steam 
drills, i; samplers, i; smelters, i. During that season 15 cars of bullion were 
shipped out. The Ute and Ule mill on Henson creek has a capacity for reducing 
60 tons of ore daily. 

Schools. — The school census of 1890 shows the presence within the county of 
145 persons of school age; 4 districts; 3 school houses, with 192 sittings; valuation, 
$32,000. There were 115 enrolled in the graded schools, but none in the ungraded. 
The average attendance was 80. The assessed valuation of taxable property in the 
county (1890) was $518,761. The highest valuation of any year was that of 1882, 
when tlie aggregate was $830,460. 

The county officers for 1890-91 were; Commissioners, M. J. Carrall, chair- 
man, George Maxwell, Charles H. Woodrufif; clerk and recorder, Geo. F. Fry; 
county judge, T. J. McKenna; sheriff, George F. Gardner; treasurer, D. S. Hoff- 
man; superintendent of schools, W. S. Elmendorf; coroner, Sylvester McFarland; 
surveyor. J. J. Abbott; assessor, T. P. Bell; clerk of the district court, H. A. Avery. 

In 1879 the principal outlet from Lake City to Antelope Springs and Del 
Norte was the Slumgullion wagon road, via Belford station, crossing the Con- 
tinental Divide at an altitude of about 11,000 feet. By this long and rugged 
thoroughfare. Barlow & Sanderson's stages conveyed passengers, express matter 
and mails, and all freight wagons passed that way until after the completion of the 
Denver & Rio Grande R. R. to Gunnison, when the road thence up the Lake Fork 
of Gunnison river was used instead of the Slumgullion route. On the latter, May 
i8th, 1881, about 8;i5 p. m., Barlow & Sanderson's stage was halted by three 
highwaymen, led by the notorious desperado, Billy Le Roy, when the mail, express 
and some of the passengers were robbed. The chief of this band had long been 
known as a desperate and dangerous outlaw. Some time prior to the event, he 
had been captured for a similar offense, tried in the U. S. court, convicted and 
sentenced to a term of ten years in the Detroit penitentiary, but had made his 
escape from Deputy Marshal Sim Cantril by jumping from the train. After 
wandering about for some weeks he returned to Colorado, and with his brother and 
a confederate, who took the name of Frank Clark, plamied the robberv' of the 
Lake City coach. The first attempt was made on the night of ^Liy 13th, 1881, 
near Franklin's ranch, but in halting it they frightened the horses, which ran away 
and therel)y foiled the scheme. On the night of the i8th, while the stage was cross- 
ing the Divide between Mirror lake and Antelope Springs, the robbers, who lay 
in wait, suddenly sprang into the road and fired a volley into it. One shot took 


effect in the leg of engineer Llartlett, of the D. &. R. G. R. R., who sat in the boot 
by the driver, causing a painful flesh wound. After rifling the mail and express, 
and relieving the outside passengers of their monej- and watches, they ordered the 
driver to proceed, while they quickly disappeared in the mountains. Bartlett was 
left at the next station, where his wound was dressed. Intelligence of the robbery 
found its way to Del Norte and Denver, where it created a profound sensation. At 
the former place the citizens held a mass meeting and resolved to pursue the 
robbers; circulated a subscription paper and in a short time raised $1,200 to $1,400 
as a reward for the apprehension of the fugitives. A scouting party of brave, 
resolute men was speedily organized by Sheriff L. AI. Armstrong and James P. 
Galloway, and tliey were soon on the trail. Omitting minor details, it is sufficient 
to state that Armstrong and Galloway found both Billy Le Roy and his brother in 
the mountains, but in order to secure the chief, who started to run away, they were 
compelled to shoot him in the leg. Clark, who had gone to Lake Citv for pro- 
visions, managed to effect his escape. News of the capture reached Del Norte 
late Saturday night, and on Sunday morning scores of people went up the stage 
road, some with the avowed determination of taking the prisoners from the sheriff 
and lynching them. But some of the law-abiding citizens conveyed a message to 
Armstrong and Galloway, warning them of the danger, which induced them to halt 
until after dark. About midnight they very quietly entered the town, and after 
lodging the Le Roys in jail, the posse dispersed. Armstrong went to his home, 
and being worn out by the fatigue of the chase was soon sound asleep. An hour or 
two later he was awakened by a noise at his door. Jumping out of bed to ascer- 
tain the cause, he found the house surrounded by armed men, most of whom were 
masked. On opening the door he was immediately seized, and in spite of his 
struggles and remonstrances the keys of the jail were taken from him. Putting 
him under guard, the leaders assembled their forces, marched to the prison, and 
taking the Le Roys from their cells proceeded to a cluster of tall cottonwoods on 
the bank of the Rio Grande river just below the town and there hanged them. 
Half an hour later the lifeless bodies were cut down, taken back to the prison and 
replaced in the cells, when all who had been engaged in the execution passed 
noiselessly to their homes. 

Revolting as all such summary and unlawful proceedings are to right-minded 
men, there are occasions when a resort to lynching seems justifiable, and this was 
one in which the passions of the community were aroused to the highest pitch, 
more by the shooting of engineer Bartlett, perhaps, than by the mere act of 
robbing the coach. Again, the Le Roys had depredated upon the public until 
forbearance ceased to be a virtue. The chief had been arrested and convicted, but 
had evaded punishment. Their execution put an end to their robberies, and also 
served as a forcible warning to all others of the same class to avoid the Slum- 
gullion stage road and the people of Del Norte. Personally, we can see no reason 
to condemn the action taken. 



Origin of its name — organization — resources — schools — principal indus- 
tries, ETC. 

Kiowa county takes its name from the Kiowa Indians, a tribe which, together 
with Cheyennes and Arapahoes, once occupied the eastern border of Colorado. It 
was taken from the northern part of Bent county by an act of the General 
Assembly, approved April nth, 1889, and its capital located at the town of Sheridan 
Lake, situated near its eastern boundary. It is bounded on the north by Chey- 
enne and Lincoln, south by Bent and Prowers, east by the state of Kansas and west by 
Otero and Lincoln. Its area is 1,800 square miles, and by the census of 1890 its 
population was 1,243. ^^^ entire length from about the center on the <"ast to the 
extreme southwestern corner is traversed by the Missouri Pacific railroad, which 
has its western terminal at Pueblo. Its watercourses are the Big Sandy, Rush 
and Adobe creeks; the principal industries are farming and stock growing. It 
has neither coal nor mineral lands. 

The officers of the county for 1890-9*1 were: Clerk, W. A. Lafferty; treasurer, 
Raymond Miller; county judge, R. W. Hutchcraft; assessor, J. S. Booher; sheriff, 
W. S. Harvey; coroner, J. A. Venable; superintendent of schools, F. E. Torbit; 
surveyor, D. E. [ones; clerk of the district court, W. K. Dudley; commissioners, 
O. A.' Rusk, H. ). Beal and J. Sherman. 

Large tracts of land have been successfully cultivated without artificial irriga- 
tion, thenatural rainfalls usually being sufficient for maturing crops, though there 
are several irrigating canals and a number of farms irrigated thereby. Kiowa is 
a part of what is termed the "rainbelt region," which comprises most of the coun- 
ties along the eastern border of the state where there are no large watercourses, 
no storage reservoirs as yet, consequently the settlers have been obliged to take the 
risk of being favored by the elements. That part of the great Divide formed by an 
offshoot or spur of the main Rocky Mountain range which extends eastward 
xmtil lost in the plains has generally been favored with abundant showers in the 
spring and summer, but there is an occasional failure to precipitate the amount of 
moisture required for grain and other crops. The notable exceptions were in 
1889-90, when many of the crops were destroyed by drouth. Kiowa, unlike its 
immediate neighbors, Lincoln and Cheyenne, on the north, has based its pros- 
perity on grain and other produce of the soil, supplemented by dairying, 
rather than upon cattle and sheep. There is no timber except that which fringes 
the streams, and this is mainly cottonwood. To reinforce the limited amount of 
water carried liy the creeks available for irrigating purposes, the Colorado Land and 
Water company has projected a large reservoir for the storage of this all important 
aid to agriculture that may come from rainfalls, melting snows, springs, etc., 
which will supply a large number of farms and still further diminish the hazards 


of failure. The intelligent and industrious people of this county have laid the 
basis of a large and productive farming region. The experience of the past two 
years has taught them what is retjuired to attain that end, and they are applying 
every known remedy to the improvement of the situation. The season of 1891 
being especially favorable — the precipitation from the clouds being the heaviest 
known in many years — fine harvests were realized. 

We discover by an examination of the assessment roll for 1890 that in Kiowa 
county there were listed 257,250 acres of agricultural land, valued at $514,500.76. 
While no grazing lands were returned, it is well known that there are vast areas 
of that character. The largest item in the schedule is 87.50 miles of the Missouri 
I'acific railroad, valued at $685,610. There were 944 horses, 105 mules, 4,388 
cattle, 378 sheep and 285 hogs. The total assessed valuation of taxable property 
was $1,383,899.26. Nearly all the land in the northern part is covered by con- 
gressional grants to the Union Pacific railroad. The major part of the newer popu- 
lation came from Kansas and the eastern states. 

That they are fully alive to the benefits of education for their children is evi- 
denced by the report of their superintendent of schools, Mr. F. E. Torbit, who 
states that in the spring of 1889, when the county of Kiowa was created, it had thir- 
teen school districts within its boundaries, "yet there were only one or two school 
houses, and a county superintendent had never been seen within its limits, although 
some of the districts had been organized two or three years. Within a year from 
the time the county was otganized the number of districts had increased to twenty- 
three, and as many teachers were employed. During the past year school houses 
have sprung up all over the county." Sheridan Lake" has the finest, a large two- 
story frame building of modern design, and very nicely finished within and with- 
out, at a cost of $2,000. The Arlington school, in the southwestern part, has quite 
a large one-story frame, costing $1,400. District No. 8. at Chivington, has a $1,500 
building. District No. 18, at Haswell, has just completed a frame building at a 
cost of $1,200. District No. 23, at North Arlington, has a substantial frame which 
cost $900. District No. i, at Eads, has just completed a two-story brick at a cost 
of $5,000. District No. 5, in F"ine Flat, has a good one-story brick built at a cost 
of $1,000. 

By the census of 1890 the total school population was 436, with an enroll- 
ment of 411, and an average daily attendance of 224. The churches arc thus 
enumerated: The M. E. South at Towner, Stewart, Sheridan Lake, Galatia, Ar- 
lington, Eads and Chivington, and the United Presbyterian at Towner. 

The state owns 150,000 acres of land in the county, and there are about 
600,000 acres of unoccupied lands available for agriculture. There are deposits of 
gypsum and limestone in the Kiowa valley, together with mineral springs of cura- 
tive value. Dairying is ([uite extensively carried on, and there are three sorghum 
mills which produce syrup and sugar from the native cane. The sugar product 
for 1890 was 30,000 pounds. The climate is mild and salubrious, much like that 
of all northern and eastern Colorado. The population is increasing, and as the 
facilities for irrigation arc expanded it will become one of the more populous and 
])rogrcssive of our agricultural subdivisions. The entered lands as listed for 1891 
are ] 2,018 acres of agricultural, and 250,303.74 grazing. 

The town of Arlington was founded in May and June. 1887, by W. W. Patton, 
John and Hcnr>' Wolfinger, George Hunt, N. j. Foot, J. S. Booher, H. K. Luiger, 
J. B. Ware and W. S. Wintermute. 

Chiviiii^ton, located on the Big Sandy creek near the Chivington battle ground 
of 1864. was founded in the summer of 1887. It was the freight division station of 
the Missouri Pacific railroad until recently. The company erected a $10,000 hotel 

Sheridan Lake \va? foimded in .'\pril, 1887, by the Sheridan Town company. 


Messrs. J^Iarfer, Burnett, Osgood, Brown, Rusk, Blakey, Keeps, et al., being the in- 
corporators. It is situated in the middle of a beautiful agricultural and grazing sec- 
tion and is the largest of the list. The county has built here a good court house 
and jail costing $7,000. There are a number of business houses, consisting of 
groceries, dry goods and hardware stores, a bank, real estate and loan office, good 
hotels, a newspaper, etc. The town with a population of 300 and the community 
round about are settled by people who came to make permanent homes. The 
town of Stewart was founded in the summer of 1887 and has a population of about 

Eads was established in the same year. Its population is 125. Galatia was 
also started in 1887, and has about 100 inhabitants. All the towns are situated 
along the line of the Missouri Pacific railroad. 

I am indebted to r^Ir. W. A. Lafferty, county clerk, and to his deputy, Mr. T. G. 
Lvder, for some of the material facts embraced in the foregoing account. 


General situation — resources and industries — organization — towns and 


This county, named in honor of General Christopher (commonly known as 
"Kit"') Carson, one of the most celebrated frontiersmen of his time — a sketch of 
whose life appears in the first volume of our history — was organized under an act 
of the General Assembly, approved April nth, 1889, and the county seat located 
at Burlington. But an earlier efifort to perpetuate the name of this estimable 
gentleman was made when, in 1870, the county of Greenwood was established 
and the countv seat, Kit Carson, then a considerable town on the Kansas Pacific 
railway, named for him. The extension of this road to Denver, however, trans- 
ferred the shipping business to other points, which caused a dispersion of the in- 
habitants. By an act approved February 6th, 1874, the county of Greenwood was 
abolished, its territory being merged into Elbert and Bent counties. A part of 
the same area segregated from Elbert is now covered by the new county of Kit 
Carson. The people who were instrumental in creating it have thus erected an 
enduring monument to the memory of the man whose name it bears. By the 
progress they have made in the development of that hitherto comparatively arid 
section, it is destined to become an important quarter of the commonwealth. 

Kit Carson county is bounded on the north by Arapahoe, south by Cheyenne, 
cast by the state of Kansas, and west by Lincoln. Its form is that of a perfect 
parallelogram. Its area is 2,150 square miles, and by the census of 1890 its pop- 
ulation was 2,472. 

The principal streams are the South Fork of the Republican river. Spring and 
I-andsman creeks. The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific railroad, under the name 
of the Chicago, Kansas & Nebraska, passes straight through the center of the 
county from east to west, having its western terminal at Colorado Springs. Along 
this road are the principal towns and shipping stations — Burlington, tlie capital, 
located near the eastern border, Bethune, Clairmont, Vona, Seibert and Flagler 
to the westward, and just east of Burlington, very close to the Kansas border, is 
Carlisle. The county seat has a population of about 300 and is the largest of the 


The county oflkers for 1890-91 were: Clerk, Daniel Kavanaugh; treasurer, 
George B. Bent; county judge, Paul B. Godsman; assessor, O. H. McDonald; 
sheriff, Samuel Bcidelman; coroner, C. A. Gillett; superintendent of schools, 
DeWitt S. Harris; surveyor, Wm. M. Hollowell; clerk of the district court, T. G. 
Price; countv commissioners, E. W. Morgan, DeWitt C. Walton, and Charles R. 

This, like nearly all counties situated on the eastern tier, is in tlie "rainbelt 
region," that is to say, having no great rivers or other streams from which large 
irrigating canals can be taken, is mainly dependent upon natural rainfalls for the 
growth of crops. Most of the settlers are from the western states, largely from 
aMebraska and Kansas. As there are no forests, these enterprising residents have 
laid the basis for them in the future by planting two or three million of various 
kinds of trees under the timber culture act. There are no coal or mineral lands; 
while a part of the county is an undulating plain, the greater portion is quite level. 
The soil is of the best quality for corn, rye, oats, barley, etc., and equally adapted 
to wheat. These grains yield abundantly when the land is well watered; a few 
irrigating ditches have been taken from the larger streams, but there is not a 
sufficient volume to cover large bodies of land. 

Reference to the assessment roll for 1890 returned to the auditor of state 
pretty closely defines the principal sources of revenue. The returns for 1889 
showed 246,560 acres of agricultural land, valued at $678,200. In 1890 this was 
increased to 313,990 acres, valued at $895,876. The next largest item for the 
year was 60.11 miles of railroad assessed at $590,615.08. There were 1,543 horses, 
176 mules, 2,465 cattle, 313 sheep and 864 swine, which shows the extent of the 
live stock. The total assessed valuation of taxable property for 1890 was 

In 1889 there were 35,429 acres under cultivation divided as follows: In corn, 
27,406; in rye, 2,417; in sorghum, 3,828; in wheat, 350; in broom corn. 368; in 
millet, 416; potatoes, 182; timothy, 7; alfalfa, 125; oats, 250; the remainder in buck- 
wheat, clover, etc. There are no data as to yields. 

Schools. — In April, 1889, there were thirty-three school districts in the county. 
In 1890 there were forty-five. Several good buildings were erected in 1890. Seibert, 
Vona and Clairmont each have a good school house. Plagler has a frame 
building of three rooms erected at a cost of $3,000; Burlington a two-story brick, 
one of the finest in eastern Colorado, built at a cost of $5,000. By the census of 
1890 the school population was Jt,},, with an enrollment of 641, and an average dailv 
attendance of 355. The value of school property was $10,317.20. 

The years 1889-90 brought grievous misfortune to many settlers on the 
eastern border. The summers were hot, the rainfalls few, and most of the crops 
perished from drouth. But in 1891 rains were frecjuent all through the spring and 
summer, therefore the land was blessed with bountiful harvests. The watercourses 
being insufficient to fill more than a small part of the need of artificial irrigation, 
resort must be had to storage reservoirs, and to the underflow by the sinking of 
artesian wells. 

The town of Burlington was founded in 1887 by the Lowell Town Site com- 
pany. The first house was built by H. L. Page. There are two churches, the 
Methodist and Christian. The secret societies are represented bv the Masons, 
Knights of Pythias and Independent Order of Odd Fellows. 

r.urlington has two newspapers, the "Boomerang." edited by T. F. Murrav, and 
the "Tri1)unc," by J. H. Stewart. 'i1io county has a very fine two-storv court house 
and a good jail with steel cages. It has no indebtedness. Government lands sub- 
ject to entry under the homestead law are procurable near the markets and schools. 


Thrilling details of early explorations — trials anp sufferings of the 







La Plata was taken from the western part of Conejos, and, together with Rio 
Grande and Hinsdale, was organized under an act of the territorial legislature 
approved February loth, 1874, as the result of a large influx of miners attracted to 
the region (then generally designated the "San Juan"), in 1872-73, as will more fully 
appear in the course of our narrative. Its name is derived from the great La Plata 
chain of mountains, which form a part of its boundary. Several counties have 
since been segregated from its original extensive domains, the last — Montezuma — in 
1889. It is now bounded on the north by San Juan, south by the Southern Ute 
Indian Reservation and New Mexico, east by Hinsdale and Archuleta, and west by 
Montezuma. Its area is 1,860 square miles, and by the census of 1890 its popula- 
tion was 5,509, an increase of 4,399 in the preceding decade. Its first officers were: 
Clerk, John L. Ufford; county judge, Samuel Johns; treasurer, B. F. Lovett; 
sheriff, J. W. Wallace; commissioners, Dempsey Reese, Ricliard Carley and Alex 
Fleming. Judicial districts were created the same year, and Thomas M. Bowen 
was appointed district judge; John L. Ufford, clerk of the court. Originally, La 
Plata countv embraced all the territory now included in San Juan, Ouray, Dolores 
and San Miguel, with most of Hinsdale. Howardsville, above Silverton, was the 
county seat and main center oi population. On the west and soutliwest lines of 
the county were united tiie corners of four territories. New Mexico, Arizona, Utah 
and Colorado, indicated by a square monument, the name of each being marked on 
the side it touched. 

As the early annals of exploration and settlement in the San Juan country are 
filled with romance and strange adventure, forming a ston,' of wonderful vicissitudes, 
human devotion and self-sacrifice, considerable space will be devoted to them. The 
narrative of the original "Baker expedition," which left California Gulch in July, 
i860, together with the tragic death of Baker, has been recounted in Volume II, 
beginning with page 192, and need not be repeated here. In August, 1891, while 
in Durango collecting data for this chapter, it was my good fortune to discover in a 
soiled and torn copy of the Daily "Herald," published January ist, 1888, a com- 
plete chronicle in detail of the entire course of the exploration and settlement down 
to 1878, in compact chronological order, prepared by Major E. H. Cooper, now a 
resident of Cortez,' Montezuma county, who was a member of the expedition of 
which he writes. It contains so many facts worthy of preservation among the per- 


manent records of the state, valuable not only for readers and students of tiie 
present generation, but to the historian of the future, I have adopted it, or at least 
that part which begins where the recital just referred to in our second volume 
terminates. Here is the story substantially as 1 found it and will amply repay 
perusal : 

The glowing accounts sent out by Baker of his discoveries and the vast mineral 
wealth of the country induced Benjamin H. Eaton (in 1884 elected governor of 
Colorado), D. H. Haywood, Charles L. Hall (now of Leadville), Oscar Phelps, 
J. C. Turner (sheriff of La Plata county in i888j and many others to undertake a 
journey to that wild country. In the party were several women and children. 
Among the ladies were Mrs. D. H. Haywood, Mrs. Oscar Phelps, Mrs. Xye and 
daughter and some others. They started from Denver in December, i860, with o.x 
teams. Their course was due south through Pueblo and on to or near the Spanish 
Peaks. Crossing the Sangre de Cristo range by way of La \"eta Pass to old Fort 
Garland, passing the Rio Grande at Stewart's crossing near the mouth of Conejos 
creek and following the latter up to Conejos plaza; thence on to Ojo Caliente, 
New Mexico, where they joined the rest of the Baker party. The entire cavalcade 
arrived on the east bank of the Animas river, at the new town of Animas City, 
opposite the Pinkerton Hot Springs, about the middle of March, 1861, and a strong 
bridge of logs was thrown across the stream, which is still being used by the travel- 
ing public. 

Placer mining had proven a failure, therefore the whole party crossed the 
Animas and proceeded northward toward Baker's Park. Most of the company, 
however, onl\- got as far as Castle Rock near Cascade creek, where a halt was 
made and the ladies made as comfortable as possible. The place was christened 
"Camp Pleasant." From here D. H. Haywood and a few others made a trip on 
snow^ shoes to Baker's Park (now Silverton). The snow being very deep, pros- 
pecting was impossible and they soon returned to camp, only to learn that the 
Indians were becoming hostile and were burning the bridges and massacrcing all 
the white people found in small unprotected squads. As they w^ere unable to 
procure supplies, starvation stared them in the face. Hunting parties were organ- 
ized, but, owing to heavy snows, but little game was obtained. Their situation, 
therefore, was perilous in the extreme, and it was at this time that the spirit of dis- 
content with Baker began to be dangerous to him, as already related. During the 
month of June rumors of the outbreak of civil war in the United States reached 
their camp. The ladies of this little band, patriotic to the core even though dis- 
spirited by their trials, at once prepared from their white goods, red petticoats and 
blue bnniicts, a rude American flag. The tallest pine tree was selected for a staff, 
stripped of its branches, and the stars and stri])es hoisted to its top, the first that 
ever floated within the limits of the San Juan region. 

By this time the outlook became dark and dismal. Incomers were being 
massacred by the Indians, and the party was nearly out of provisions. Three 
parties were now organized, one under the leadership of D. H. Haywood, which in- 
cluded all the ladies'and children, to retrace their steps toward Denver. This group 
followed as nearly as possible the route they came, and arrived at their destination 
without loss of life or serious accident. Another small company, with J. C. Turner 
as leader, took a southerly course toward .Arizona ; the third followed Capt. Baker 
in a northwesterly direction. Thus terminated this grand enterprise or attempt to 
settle southwestern Colorado. 

We come now to the second epoch. Early in 1870, while the San Juan was 
covered bv Conejos countv and an Indian Reservation, Dempsey Reese, Miles F. 
Johnson, Abncr Frt-nch, Thomas P.lair and others left Santa Fe for a prospecting 
tour in the San Juan mountains, following nearly the same route pursued by Baker 
to the ,\nimas river, thence to P.aker's Park by way of Castle Rock, Cascade creek 


and the lakes. Late in the fall they located the Little Giant mine in Arastra Gulch, 
and after making a few other locations or claims returned to Santa Fe. In the 
spring of 1871 this party, with Wm. AlullhoUand and Francis M. Snowden added 
to their former number, returned to the mines, entering via Del Norte and Wagon 
Wheel Gap, following the Baker trail. An old-fashioned arastra was built in which 
about $3,000 in gold was secured from the surface quartz of the Little Giant lode in 
the space of about six weeks. They then returned to Del Norte, and the display 
they made of the gold created much excitement. The town of Del Norte, as will be 
seen by reference to the history of Rio Grande county, had just then been founded. 
Early in 1872 the original party returned to Baker's Park with several others, 
among them Seth Sackett and James Kendall. During that season the Aspen, 
Prospector, Susquehanna and other mineral lodes were discovered, some of which 
afterward became noted producers of precious metal. Being unprepared for a 
winter encampment, all returned to Del Norte. This was the primary impulse 
which led to the treaty with the Ute Indians whereby, under the act of Congress 
approved September 3rd, 1873, that part of their reservation was ceded to the United 
States and opened to settlement. For further particulars, see history of the Ute 
Indians, this volume. 

In the summer of 1873 a band of prospectors from California, led by Capt. 
John Moss, with whom were Richard Giles, John Merritt, Thomas McElmel, John 
Mclntire, John Thompson, John Madden, Henry Lee and John Robinson, entered 
the region, trav;eling the entire distance on horseback with pack animals conveying 
their camping outfit. They crossed the Colorado river at old Fort Mohave, passed 
through the Moqui villages in the north central part of Arizona; crossed the San 
Juan river near the southern base of Ute mountain, thence in a northeasterly course 
through the southern part of Montezuma valley — so named by Capt. Moss — 
in July, 1873, reaching the Mancos river at a point where the present town of Mancos 
stands, in the latter part of that month. After a few days' rest, they came over the 
La Plata river and pitched their tents at the mouth of La Plata Canon, and at once 
began prospecting for gold. After having secured a considerable quantity of that 
metal, with numerous fine specimens of quartz rock, they concluded to retrace 
their steps. They had satisfied themselves that the La Plata mountains were rich 
in precious metals, and that the La Plata bar contained limitless quantities of free 
gold. Being out of provisions it was determined to seek some Indian camp as soon 
as possible. On the way back to the Mancos river, when about midway between 
the La Plata and the Mancos, on the north bank of Cherry creek, Richard Giles 
accidentally shot himself in the neck, which came near terminating his life. This 
unhappy event changed their entire progranmie. Capt. ]\loss, John Robinson and 
one or two otheis started at once for Terra Amarilla, New Mexico, 130 miles 
distant, and then the nearest trading post, in search of provisions, leaving Thos. 
McElmel, John Madden and John Mclntire in charge of their wounded comrade. 
A rude shelter was constructed from brush and logs for Mr. Giles, and the 
camp named Camp Starvation, which it retains to this day. For eighteen 
days this little ])arly subsisted on roots, berries and what little game could be 
captured. On the arrival of the Moss party with provisions, Giles had so far re- 
covered as to be able to move over to the Mancos river, where the entire company 
remained several days. The Giles and Merritt ranch was there located and a rude 
cabin of logs erected. This was probably the first permanent ranch claim taken up 
in La Plata county. While these men were rusticating on the Mancos, waiting for 
the complete recovery of Giles, Capt. Moss conceived and executed a private treaty 
V\'ith Ignacio, then, as now, chief of the Southern LTtes, for the right to mine and 
farm 36 square miles of that country, with the center at a point where Parrott City 
now stands, for which ])rivilcge 100 ponies and a quantit\- of blankets were given 
the Indians. From the fact that the treaty with the LTnited States then pending 

N. i!i>iii-;i{rs(»N. 


had not been fully consummated, and all the country was still held by these 
Indians, the movement exhibited much tact and wisdom. The contract was made 
by AIuss for Parrott & Co. of San PYancisco on the side, and Ignacio for the 
Utes on the other, and secured to these prospectors peaceful occupation of what 
they termed "California district." Armed with a copy of this treaty and also with 
many samples of gold quartz and free gold, as indications of immense wealth await- 
ing development in the La Plata mountains, the party proceeded to San Francisco. 
The new enterprise was presented to Parrott & Co., with a glowing account of 
the country, and soon an expedition was completed under ISIoss's direction, who 
was granted (arte blanche to draw on Parrott & Co. for all requisite funds to revisit 
and explore the country. It did not leave California, however, until the next w'inter. 

During the summer of that year, many of those sturdy pioneers who realized 
the necessity of an agricultural country in close proximity to the mining camp 
came down from Baker's Park to locate ranches for themselves and families in the 
beautiful valley of the Animas river. Therefore, within 30 days after the ratifica- 
tion of the treaty with the Indians of September 3rd, 1873, which opened to settlers 
the whole San Juan country, save a 15-mile strip along the southern boundary of 
the territory (that now occupied), ever}' acre of available land in the valley had been 
located and staked off in ranch claims. No surveys having been made, squatters' 
rights prevailed. 

Among the earlier settlers there were Frank Williams, Seth Sackett, Frank 
Trimble, A. Johnson, David Miller, Robert Dwyer and others. Some of these 
men remained all winter in the valley and built a few log cabins at or near the junc- 
tion of Hermosa creek with the Animas river, laid out a town site and named 
it Mermosa (beautiful). In spring, summer and fall, this is one of the loveliest 
spots in all Colorado. Robert Dwyer remained on his ranch on Junction creek 
during the winter and built a log house which he occupies to this day. In the fall 
of tliat year a party from Arizona, consisting of Alex Wilson, Mason Greenleaf, 
William Brookover, M. White, William Crowell and others, started for the La 
Plata mountains on a prospecting tour. Crossing the San Juan river, near the 
mouth of the La Plata, they followed up that stream to La Plata bar, where they 
arrived about November 15th, 1873. Here, to their pleasurable surprise, the first 
pan of dirt washed indicated about ten cents in gold. Active preparations were 
made for gulch mining. About December 1st a heavy fall of snow came, driving 
these ])rospectors out of the country for the season. They took an easterly course 
and at length reached Rol)ert Dwyer's ranch on Junction creek, a mile north of 
where now stands the city of Durango. Most of the party made their way to 
Denver via Terra Amarilla, where an expedition was organized to visit the 
La Plata country as early as possible the next spring. This company consisted 
of Milton White, A. R. Lewis, A. Chubbuck, James Kiimey, William Brookover 
and others. This company arrived on La Plata river May 4th. 1874, and at once 
began preparations for gulch mining, by whip-sawing lumber for sluices, digging 
ditches, etc. April 4th following, tiic (^-llifo^uans under Capt. Moss, arrived on 
the Mancos river. It was composed of Richard Giles. John .Merritt, John Madden, 
Henry Lee, Almerian Root, John Mclntire, James RatclifT, Alex Fleming, John 
Thompson and others. They brought wagons, a plow and some other agricul- 
tural implements, the first ever introduced on the Mancos or in the La Plata valley. 
The snow on the divide between the Mancos and La Plata rivers was so deep it 
w^as found impossible to reach the La Plata at once, therefore they contented 
themselves with locating ranches, building cabins and preparing to plant vegetable 
seeds which they had procured in Califomia. The Giles (litch was soon taken out 
and something over an acre of ground broken to receive the seed. Messrs. Root, 
Ratcliff. Lee. Moss and Mclntire located ranches but made little improvement 
thereon. About May I2th, the snow having mostly disappeared, the party, leav- 


ing John Merritt and Ratcliff in charge of the ranches, started for the La Plata, 
where they arrived May 13th, and were somewhat surprised to find another party 
already in possession and at work. However, all hands joined in the enterprise, 
peace and harmony prevailing. The place was named "California Bar," and staked 
off in claims of 20 acres each. The Parrott City Ditch company was formed, work 
begun and a blacksmith shop of logs built, where now stands Parrott City. In 
the Animas valley T. M. Tripp and his brother Charles, A. M. Fuller, Frank Trimble, 
Seth Sackett, Robert Dwyer and others, including the Lambert family, were 
developing their ranches and planting such crops as seeds could be procured for. 
Thus the settlement of La Plata county began. 

During the summer and fall of 1874 many prospectors and miners came in and 
the San Juan country received much attention from the outside world. Valuable 
mines were discovered and some eastern capitalists invested in them. The town 
of Silverton was laid out and incorporated by Dempsey Reese, Thomas Blair, 
Wm. jMullholland and F. M. Snowden, the latter building the first cabin in the town, 
which he occupies to this day. Further reference to this house appears in the 
history of San Juan county. The camp soon became a prosperous one. The 
town of Eureka, at the mouth of Eureka Gulch, was laid out: Animas Forks and 
Mineral Point were added to the list of towns. Two toll roads were commenced 
from Del Norte on either side of the Rio Grande river and rendered passable as far 
as Antelope Park. On the La Plata all were enthusiastic over the prospects; every 
available man was put to work on the La Plata ditch and each worked with a will 
inspired by confidence. A. Chubbuck, E. H. Cooper and Harry Jones, a colored 
man, arrived on the La Plata river from Del Norte July 4th, 1874, bringing a 
supply of provisions, and were received with hearty cheers from all the men in 
camp, who had that morning devoured the last they possessed. The mail was 
distributed, and, while being passed by the "boys," a right royal Fourth of July 
dinner was being prepared by those not fortunate enough to have letters to read. 
The bill of fare was beans and bacon, bread and coffee with sugar. 

The first lode discovery was made by Almerian Root June 4th and named the 
Comstock. One William Borran, or Barron, had proceeded up the La Plata, five 
miles or more to Barron Gulch, and commenced placer mining on his own account, 
obtaining several nuggets of gold, one weighing over an ounce, which gave new 
imjx'tus to the Parrott Ditch company. -Several mineral lodes were located; Cali- 
fornia Mining district was organized, 12 miles square, with the southern line at the 
mouth of the Caiion. John Moss was elected recorder. The Parrott Ditch com- 
pany had nearly completed their task when winter set in and the miners were com- 
pelled to abandon their enterprise until another season. The party scattered to 
more genial climes in the lower altitudes, but John Alerritt and Richard Giles 
wintered on their ranches on the Mancos river, and this was the general rendezvous 
of the California party. 

We will now proceed to the upper country where the activity and faith of the 
people engaged there have accomplished works of extraordinary value. .Silverton, 
nestled in its beautiful park, had. in the meantime, developed into a town of con- 
siderable dimensions. Geo. Green & Co. had broken ground for the erection of a 
smelter. Thev also opened the first general merchandise store in La Plata county, 
under the supervision of W. E. Earl. Many mines had been located and the 
as.sessment work done. Several gentlemen, G. W. Kingsbury, J. R. Hansen, A. W. 
Burrows, C. H. Mclntire, W. H. Van Geison, P. Houghton and others, were 
prospecting and locating mines around Mineral Point and developing them as 
rapidly as jjossible. There were also many locations in Boulder Gulch, Ara?tra 
Gulch, on both sides of the mountains above and below Silverton, descriptions of 
which may be found in Hayden's report of 1874. W. H. Jackson and Ernest 
Ingersoll made an extended trip southwest through the Animas valley and over to 


the La Plata river, making their hcatlquartcrs at Parrott City, which had been 
located and surve\ed during the suninier by Capt. John Moss and Major E. H. 
Cooper, and a fine cabin built, from which point Mr. Jackson was accompanied 
by Major Cooper, Capt. AIoss and Henry Lee. This party moved west to the 
Mancos river and camped at Merritt's ranch, Aloss and Lee being the guides. 
Their main object was to take views of the country. (W. H. Jackson was the 
photographer of Hayden's U. S. Geological Survey, and resides now in Denver. 
It was his discovery and report upon the ruins of the Cliff and Cave Dwellers 
which called the attention of the scientific world to their importance as prehistoric 

While visiting in one of the Moc[ui Pueblos en route from California, Capt. 
Moss obtained from the head men the following very interesting 


■■The whole of La Plata county as it now stands upon the maps was once a 
land of paradise, and was densely populated. Its inhabitants lived in peace and 
harmony with the world; they weire not a war-like people and knew nothing of the 
arts of warfare. Their lands produced abundantly of everjthing they planted. 
They were a happy and prosperous people and lived in the love and fear of their 
God. But eventually a terrible trembling of the earth oceurred. The waters dis- 
appeared and great mountains occupied their places. Mountains crumbled into 
dust; new water courses appeared. The larger part of the people were destroyed.''' 
The remainder, however, continued their former avocations, made new 
and again began to prosper and multiply. They discovered a bright yellow metallic 
substance in many of the streams, and a bright white metal in the mountains. 
They began to use these metals in barter and trade with one another. According 
to the Mofjui tradition, and according to their method of computing time, this must 
have occurred about 6,000 years ago. This condition of affairs prevailed until 
within a thousand years ago, when they were visited by savage strangers (nomadic 
bands) from the north, w-hom they treated hospitably. Soon these visits became 
more frequent and annoying. These troublesome neighbors began to forage 
upon them, and finally to massacre them and devastate their farms. So to save 
their lives, they built houses in the cliffs, high up, where they could store food and 

* Since tliis ch.ipter was written, what seems to be a remarkable confirmation of this tradition comes 
in a letter to the author from Mr. George A. Jackson, a veteran prospector, frequently mentioned in our 
history, who in the autumn of iSgi penetrated a group of mountains in New Mexico situate near the 
Continental Divide, whose western slopes drain into the San Juan river. These mountains are not named 
on any map, the entire section being designated as "lav.a" or "unsurveyed." They are thirty to thirty-live 
miles in length, by ten to twenty in width, much shattered by volcanic convulsions. Near the center is a 
lofty peak, on top of which is a well-defined crater, whose outlet was through a canon leading to the west- 
ward, a distance of nine or ten miles, where it joins another and larger canon whose waters flow into the 
San Juan river. In the smaller cai'ion may be seen three distinct flows of lava, probably from three 
volcanic convulsions, following close upon one another, and all proceeding from this crater. "In one of these 
cafions," says Jackson, "I found Cliff Dwellings that were nnquestion^bly inhabited before this volcano 
burst into active eruption, as the houses can now be plainly seen, some half covered with lava, others, no 
doubt, entirely buried, while some are still standing, with floors of obsidian or volcanic glass thrown in on 
top of the second flow of lava by the last eruption. Here is an interesting field for antiquarians and 
geologists. I could fill many pages with descriptions of my e.vplorations among the houses of the little 
people who once inhabited nearly every cai\on in this and many other parts of New Mexico and Arizona. 
I send you two fragments of corn-cob, a piece of reed, three pieces of string, and part of a scalp with hair 
intact, which I dug out of one of their houses buried under six feet of debris. My comrade, Mr. H. Z. 
Owens, found a skeleton almost entire, with a stone axe in another house of the same village, but as soon 
as exposed to the atmosphere the bones crumbleil to ashes Now. it is absolutelv certain that those people 
lived here prior to the outbreak of the volcano, for the chain of evidence is complete. Perhaps experienced 
geologists can determine from the overflow when the eruption occurred, which would, to some extent, 
enlighten us as to the period when the Aztecs first occupied this now isolated and desolate region." In 
view of the facts just recited, the tradition seems entiiled to more respectful consideration than would 
otherwise be accorded, for it now reads like a well-digested chapter of history. 


hide away until the invaders should leave. But one summer these northern men 
came witli their families and settled down, laying siege to them, as it were. Driven 
from their homes and land, and starving in their little niches in the high clilTs, 
they could only steal away during the night and wander from place to place across 
the cheerless uplands or mesas. At the Christone, or last battle ground, near the 
head of McEhno Canon, they halted for rest and to make preparation for crossing 
the great lake (now the lower portion of Montezuma valley and extending south 
and west into and across the desert lands of Arizona). Here they erected fortifica- 
tions and watch towers, and filled the adjoining caves full of little nests for these 
human wrens and swallows until their boats could be built. When the last of the 
women and children were embarked and were well out to sea, the alarm and signal 
were given from one of the watch towers that their foes had pursued and were upon 
them. For long months the northmen fought and were driven back, but as often 
they came again with renewed numbers. At length, however, the besiegers were 
driven away. But the tradition goes on to say, in evidence of the great battle, that 
the hollows of the rocks were filled to the brim with the mingled bodies and blood 
of conquerors and conquered, and that red veins of blood ran down the cafion. It 
was such a victory as they could not afford to risk again, therefore they soon 
followed their wives and children across the waters. There in the deserts of 
Arizona, on a well nigh unapproachable, isolated bluff or mesa, they built new 
towns and their few descendants, the JMoquis, live in them to this day, preserving 
more carefully and purely the history and veneration of their forefathers, and the 
love and fear of God, than many of our well-informed and enlightened nations."" 

Returning to modern times and resuming the threads of our narrative, we find 
that during the fall of 1874 Hugh Lambert and family moved into the valley of the 
Animas and settled at what is known as "Waterfall ranch," now owned by Mr. 
G. W. Wigglesworth. Hugh Lambert's wife was the first white woman to settle 
there. The first post oflice was established at Howardsville, named for Lieut. 
Howard of the Baker expedition, with Mr. W. H. Nichols as postmaster, who 
also was the first assayer to open an office in the San Juan country. J. C. Sullivan 
and James Galloway brought over the range the first blacksmith outfit for public 
use, which was set up in Howardsville. J. C. Sullivan was appointed foreman of the 
Prospector mine and continued work all winter. Airs. W. H. Nichols, Mrs. W. E. 
Earl and Mrs. J- F. Cotton were the first white ladies to settle in Baker's Park. 
They soon were followed by Mrs. Ben Harwood and Mrs. Ben Aspas. All thest 
ladies remained in camp all winter. In the spring Mrs. W. H. Nichols gave birth 
to a boy baby, the first white child born in La Plata county. 

The year 1874 was an active and prosperous one for the county. In 1875 the 
county seat was moved from Howardsville to Silverton by the county clerk, without 
leave or license. Mining operations were active that year; many eastern capitalists 
made investments there. Green & Co. completed their smelter under the super\'i 
sion of Mr. J. L. Pennington. J. L. Porter was the metallurgist and E. T. Bowman 
assayer. This was the first water jacket furnace erected and successfully operated 
in the state. Fair wagon roads were completed from Del Norte to Silverton and 

* The interested reader is now invited to turn back to Vol. I and reperuse chapters two to live inclusive, 
and compare the facts therein with the material parts of the foreqfoing. This, lilce all ancient traditions of 
the various races, contains certain elements of fiction, but it also contains several statements which, in the 
absence of other light, may be repjarded as the probable history of that remarkable people. If nothing 
more, we find at least a reasonable cause not onlv for their occupation of the cliffs and caves, but of their 
evpulsion and dispersion. The remains which are exciting profound attention among the scientific minds 
of our day were not, according to this account, voluntary' and permanent homes, but fortresses to which 
they only resorted as impregnable defenses against their enemies. There is scarcelv room for doubting 
that the existing inhabitants of the Pueblos in Arizona and New Mexico are the direct descendants of the 
people referred to. The chain of evidence seems to be complete. It is more than probable, also, that the 
swarm of .Vztecs which swept down upon and overthrew the Toltecs of Mexico began their migration from 
the same point in southwestern Colorado, 


they were lined with freight wagons laden with machinery and supplies. Various 
branches of business, saloons, etc., multiplied. Capt. P. Stanley (whose adventurous 
career is set fortli in our biographical department) was the first brickmaker and 
built the first brick house. 

Isaac Grant opened the first hotel at Silverton. Henry Gill and Capt. G. S. 
Flagler opened a general store and saloon at Howardsville, Januar}' ist, 1875. 
John \V. Shan built several houses at this point, and a manager of a company 
located and patented 160 acres of placer ground on the Animas river above Howards- 
ville. On the 5th of June, near the summit of the range, at the head of Stony 
Gulch, under a fir tree, upon a huge bank of snow. Airs. Geo. Webb, who was 
en route to Silverton with her husband, gave birth to a girl baby, the first female 
white child born in the San Juan country. A wagon sheet was at once stretched 
for a cover, fir boughs were cut and laid upon the snow, upon which a comfortable 
bed of blankets was made, and Airs. Webb rendered every possible attention. 
The accouchement was performed by Drs. Blake and Gushing. In a few days she 
was able to resume her journey, with the mountain lily or "snow line baby,'' as it 
was called. In honor of the event the people of Silverton presented the child a 
city lot. 

In the Animas valley much land was improved, crops planted and matured, 
and on the Alancos also. But work on the La Plata progressed slowly. Alost of 
the old parties returned, and some new ones made their appearance. The ditch 
was completed, but not in time for operation. The Hermosa post office was estab- 
lished, with A. N. Fuller postmaster. The first mail came in via Howardsville and 
was brought over the range on snow shoes. Both these offices were established 
in 1874, but no delivery occurred until early in 1875. This year a post office was 
located at Parrott City, but there was no service until late and it was discontinued 
during the winter. Theodore Slack located a ranch on the Rio Florida, early in the 
spring, and planted some crops but was burned out by the Indians, when he fled 
to the Animas valley for safety. A report was sent to Silverton that an Indian war 
had broken out below, and that all settlers were in danger. In less than an hour 
nearly 100 miners, well armed, were on the way to the Animas valley. They 
traveled nearly all night, but on their arrival found that the cause of alarm had been 
removed. Later in the season, Tim McClnre brought in a herd of cattle of about 
800 and located on the Rio Florida. The Hampton Bros, and Dave Alurray 
followed with cattle of their own, and Bally Scott or Henry Sefton, John Reid and 
Mr. Weed brought cattle down from the upper country in the Animas valley, 
mostly milch cows. This was the first introduction of cattle into La Plata county. 
During August and September nnicli development w^ork having been done on the 
Comstock lode on the La Plata, and a rich pocket of tellurium ore found, Parrott 
& Co. of San Francisco sent out an expert. Prof. A. H. Phillips, and a Air. Xoonan, 
an experienced placer miner, to examine into their interests. The reports rendered 
were verv favorable, and Capt. AIoss, their manager, was again authorized to draw 
on the firm for all funds necessary to develop their property. 

A general election for territorial and county officers and also for delegates to a 
constitutional convention was to be held in 1875. At this time the idea of dividing 
the county was advanced and strongly favored. .-Xt the election which ensued 
II. R. Crosby was chosen to represent La Plata county in the constitutional con- 
vention, and T. M. Trippe and Reuben J. AIcNutt were elected to the House of the 
legislature. Adair Wilson was elected to the Council or upper branch. Major 
E. H. Cooper and Capt. John AIoss proceeded to Denver and, as supporters of the 
representatives, labored for the creation of a new county. At length a bill was 
passed providing for the division and the organization of San Juan countv. the 
lower part still retaining the name La Plata, with Parrott City as its capital. Silver- 
ton was made the seat of San Juan county. It will be comprehended that the 


present county of La Plata was not organized until the year 1876. The bill was 
approved January 31st of that year. Major E. H. Cooper was made county clerk; 
Richard Giles, sheriff; Charles Bennett, treasurer; Henry Lee, assessor; H. R. 
Crosby, county judge; John Moss, John Merritt and J. H. Pinkerton, commis- 

The first wedding in La Plata was that of Frank Williams to a daughter of 
J. H. Pinkerton. 

The altitude varies from 4,400 feet in the valleys to 14,200 feet on the loftier 
mountains. The La Plata chain and Needle mountains stretch across the northern 
part from east to west, forming the northern watershed of the great San Juan 
valley, and are the sources of the beautiful clear rivers Florida, Piedra, Las Pinos, 
Animas, La Plata and Mancos, all flowing the entire width of the county from 
north to south, through beautiful valleys. The mountains are covered with timber, 
yellow and white pine, fir and spruce, and both mountains and valleys for the most 
part are well grassed grazing grounds for cattle and sheep. In the early spring 
of 1876, the firm of Scott, Earl & Cooper, consisting of Geo. L. Scott, John 1*. 
Earl and Major E. H. Cooper, landed on the La Plata river with a saw mill, which 
was brought from Pueblo by ox team via Canon Large, crossing the San Juan river 
above Farmington, New Mexico, then crossing the Animas river and following up 
the La Plata to its destination. The first lumber was sawn May 5th, 1876, and this 
was the beginning of lumber manufacture in the county. Next came Wm. Chub- 
buck & Co. with a mill. E. H. Cooper & Co. brought in a stock of groceries and 
supplies and located at Parrott City. Others followed in due course and thus the 
town grew; many others came in and built stores and dwellings. On the Mancos 
were several ranchmen planting crops, constructing ditches, etc. Among these were 
John Merritt, John Mclntire, James RatclifT, H. M. Smith, Peter Kellmer and others. 
The same was true of the Animas country. 

La Plata county was formally organized, and its commissioners met for busi- 
ness about July 2nd. For a time the offices were in a one-room log house, occupied 
by Major E. H. Cooper, the clerk; Scott J. Anthony (now of Denver), deputy clerk, 
and John M. True, assistant. During the latter part of the summer General Hatch, 
department commander of New Mexico, sent in a company of cavalry and stationed 
them at or near the mills of Scott. Earl & Cooper. The final result was the loca- 
tion of a military post at Pagosa Springs and an agency for the Southern Utes on 
Pine river. On the Rio Florida several settlers established themselves, among 

them Tom Johnson and Bartholomew. On Pine river John O'Neil and George 

Morrison made locations and brought in cattle. The Animas City Town company 
was organized. John Fowler's ranch was purchased, laid out and platted, and the 
town incorporated with Ira Smith, Dr. Aukeney, C. J. Marsh and E. H. Cooper as 
officers. This year sufficient crops were raised to supply the home demand. In 
the early part of October, at a general election, Capt. John Moss was elected to the 
state legislature; Richard Giles, sherifif; John Reid, county clerk; A. R. Lewis, 
treasurer; Henry Lee, assessor; H. M. Smith, J. C. Turner and \V. Findley, com- 

The next winter was unusually mild, with but little snow. Early in the spring 
of 1877, C. E. Dudley planted a few fruit trees with some small fruits on his ranch 
near Hermosa creek, as an experiment: also erected a small Mexican flouring mill 
and manufactured a fair quality of flour from wheat grown in the valley. Stock 
raising and farming became permanent industries. 

The Indian Agencv on Pine river was established, with Rev. Mr. Weaver as 
agent. Charles Johnson and familv settled on the same stream at the crossing 
of the Animas City and Pagosa Springs road. John O'Neil, George Morrison and 
some others also located on Pine river. Major D. L. Sheets and familv and many 
others settled in Animas City. 


Pine river is the second in size of the seven streams that cross La Plata county 
from north to south. Its volume is more than sufficient to irrigate all the lands 
to which it can be carried in canals. The valley has an average width of half a 
mile. On either side are tributary streams and valleys — Texas creek, Beaver and 
others — and broad mesas, embracing some 12,000 acres of good agricultural land. 
The altitude is 6,000 to 7.500 feet. There is a considerable settlement in this valley, 
with schools and churches. Grain and small fruits thrive to perfection, also wild 
cherries, currants and hops, likewise oats, hay, etc. The soil and climate favor 
lu.xuriant growth. 

As we have seen by the foregoing recital, 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 com- 
munication 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 
prodigious labor a more direct thoroughfare was opened on which wagons could 
be used. In 1876 the opening of the Crooke 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. This event opened a new era that has been steadily 
progressive to the present. 

Diiraiigo, the jiresent capital of the county, was laid off as a town site and 
settled upon Saturday, September nth, 1880, when some 40 lots were selected for 
preferred parties. The survey of lots and blocks began Monday, the 13th. On 
the 1 8th the first money was accepted — about $7,000 — and receipts given for lots 
purchased. The original plat was filed February 24th, 1881, by W. A. Bell, 
trustee, for the Durango Trust or Town company. Fassbinder's addition was filetl 
April 28th following. The D. & R. G. road was completed to the town July 27th, 
1881. It was extended to Silverton, 45 miles beyond, in Alarch, 1882. Then the 
place began to advance with great vigor, and the entire San Juan region revived 
under the influence of rapid transit. The town site of Durango, with the surround- 
ings of lofty and strangely shaped mountains, is highly picturesque, fronting on 
the east bank of the clear and beautiful Animas river. By the railway it is 465 miles 
south of Denver. The business streets, with stores, shojjs, factories, etc., are along 
the first bench, parallel with the stream, while the churches, schools and residences 
of the people are upon an elevated mesa or ])lateau adjoining, away from the noise 
and dust of traffic. Here are many pretty houses on shaded avenues, adorned by 
emerald lawns brightened by flowxTS, creeping vines, shrubs and ornamental trees, 
the public schools and several handsome churches. Most of the people are from 
the eastern states. The situation of Durango proper, with all its natural advantages 
though admirable, is much less attractive in summer than the farming section in the 
valley a few miles above. Some of the larger lot owners have planted fruit trees 
in their gardens — apple, pear, i)lum, etc. — which have now reached the bearing stage 
and at the time of my visit in August, 1891, were literally breaking under their 
lovely burdens, whereby it was made apparent that this w'il! in the near future become 
a fruit producing section of considerable magnitude. It is seldom that any frosts 
occur between Ma>- and September. There are many fine gardens, for the s<iil 
is rich and deep and there is abundant water for irrigation. The upper part of the 
valley, which is not above a mile wide at the broadest part and contains only about 
8.000 acres of tillable land, is shadowed on either side by towering ranges — not 
bleak, bare and dismal like those of nortliern Colorado, but studded with trees, 
verdure-clad and b(-autiful. I saw wheat and oats six feet high in the fields, 
nianv incomparalile tracts of alfalfa alt in iMiq)le bloom, and a wonderful luxuriance 


of all kinds of vegetables, not excelled, if equaled, in any other part of Colorado. 
Alany of the farms are simply narrow strips of alluvial land bordering the Anmias 
river that, well tilled, will produce splendid harvests every year, for there are no 
failures. The farmers have been prosperous; many of them are comparatively 
wealthy, for there is a ready market in Uurango and in the mining regions of San 
Juan and Ouray counties above for all they can produce, at excellent prices. In 
all the West there is no lovelier agricultural section than this. The eye never tires 
of looking at its splendors, and the senses of the stranger passing that way are 
entranced by the scores of superb pictures presented. Ingersoll, in his "Crest of the 
Continent," very justly names it the "Queen of the Canons." Every available acre 
of arable land has been taken up and put under the highest stages of cultivation. 

A brisk trafific enlivens the principal business street of Durango, a mile or more 
in length traversed by horse cars, and lined on either side with substantial build- 
ings of brick and stone, many of them of handsome architecture. In i88g a large 
jiart of the old and hastily built metropolis was destroyed by tire, which swept away 
about 125 buildings, including three churches and a number of residences. At 
first it was considered a public calamity, and so it was in the losses sustained, but, 
as with most places worth saving, it proved a public blessing, for the present 
Durango, with the improvements introduced in rebuilding, shows great strength 
and permanence, as if it were built to stand. It is estimated that in 1890 no less 
than $500,000 was expended upon new structures. The work is still going on. 
The Strater hotel, one of the best in southern Colorado, was completed and opened 
in September, 1888, built by Anthony F. Strater, of Cleveland, Ohio, by induce- 
ment of two of his sons, who reside in Durango, at a cost of about $75,000 furnished. 
There are two fine brick school buildings, and the funds are in hand for a thirty 
thousand dollar high school. The streets and most of the buildings are illuminated 
by incandescent electric lights. There are a number of handsome churches. 
Mercy hospital, conducted b_\- the Sisters of Mercy, is a large three-story stone 
building adjoining the Catholic church on the north side. 

The Baptists organized in 1881 ; the Catholics in the spring of that year; the 
Episcopalians in the autumn of 1880; the Presbyterians in June, 1881: the M. E. 
Church South in Durango and Animas City in the summer of 1882; the Methodist 
Episcopal in July, 1S74," antedating all the others. Rev. B. F. Cary, then presiding 
elder, preached the first sermon in the Animas valley. 

The Presbyterians, Baptists, Episcopalians, Methodists, M. E. Church South, 
Catholics and German Lutherans have large congregations and church edifices. 

There are two public parks, one in the principal town, the second in the north 
section. The secret societies are represented by the Masons, with a blue lodge. 
Royal Arch chapter and Ivanhoe commandery No. 11, Knights Templar; P. O. S. 
of A.; the Odd Fellows; Knights of Pythias, and A. O. U. W. The Durango 
Gentleman's club has a fine suite of rooms well furnished, with a small but well 
selected library. 

The U. S. land office was established here by an order issued by Hon. Henry 
M. Teller, Secretary of the Interior, dated April 20th, 1882. It was opened for 
business October 2nd following, by Major D. L. Sheets, register, and Willard S. 
Hickox, receiver. Their terms" expired September ist, 1886, and they were suc- 
ceeded by Dr. Edmund T. Pittman and Richard McCloud. December ist, 1889, 
Major Sheets was appointed receiver and Hon. Ben Wade Ritter, register. The 
land district now embraces all of La Plata, Montezuma, Archuleta and San Juan 
counties, the greater part of Dolores, taking in the mineral lands, the more valuable 
districts of Ourav, San Miguel and Hinsdale, with a small area of agricultural land 
in Rio Grande countv. The district is about 145 miles long by 75 in width. 

Banks. — The Bank of Durango was established by John L. AIcNeil, for 
Daniels, Brown & Co., in 1881, as a branch of their house at Alamosa. In 1885 

II. k:. dui.l. 


they piircliased the charter of the First Xational, and the two were merged into the 
I)rcsL-ni Ijank of that name. A. P. Camp is president, John L. McNeil, vice-presi- 
dent, and Win. 1'. Vaile, cashier. The capital, surpkis and undivided profits 
aggregate $70,000. 

The Colorado State Bank was organized December 29th, 1886, by Frederick 
L. Kimball, Benjamin N. Freeman, Thos. F. Burgess, Wm. E. Morgan and Jas. 
H. Hoskins, Jr. Its capital is $30,000. F. L. Kniiball, president; Major D. L. 
Sheets, vice-president; B. X. Freeman, cashier; F. W. Strater, assistant. 

The water supply of the city is pumped from the Animas river above the town. 
There is one large flouring mill, iron works, several lumber yards, brick yards, 
dairies and creameries, lime kilns, granite and sandstone quarries in and near the 
city. Large deposits of iron ore are found in the near neighborhood. 

The municipal officers in i8yi were: Mayor, J. H. McHolland; treasurer, 
F. W. Strater; clerk, ]•". Gallotti; aldermen, E. J. H. Amy, Joseph Clark, \V. S. 
Croke, L. E. Dickson, Harry Jackson, H. R. Ricker, J. C. Sanford, Fred Steineger; 
city solicitor, Reese McClosky; police magistrate, Cyrus F. Newcomb. 

Smelters. — The works of the San Juan Smelting and Mining company are 
situated adjoining the town near the river to the southwest. E. J. H. Amy is the 
manager. The original plant was built at Silverton by Green & Co., in 1880, but 
n(jt prospering there, in 1S82 it was moved to Durango, where it has undergone 
various changes and enlargements. These works were built by J. H. Ernest 
Waters of Telluride. April ist, 1888, the company was reorganized in New York, 
\vith H. Amy, president; J. A. Davidson, secretary and treasurer; J. A. Porter, execu- 
tive advisor, and Ernest J. H. Amy, manager. The present capital stock is $2,000,- 
rx30. Its supply of ores comes from the mining region of Silverton, (Juray, Rico, 
Telluride and other points of the upper country. The company owns coal mines 
and coke ovens, hence it is always furnished with cheap fuel and of the best quality, 
as will appear later on. It has two water jackets and eight calciners, and handles 
from 90 to 100 tons of ore daily. During 1890 some 20,000 tons were smelted. 
This is the only concern of its class in the southwestern country, and it is very 
fortunately situated with reference to water, fuel and ores. Its coal mine is located 
on the mountain siile within a few hundred yards of its furnaces. The coal seam 
is three and a half to four feet thick. A tramway from the tunnel opening runs to the 
base of the hill where there are 12 beehive coke ovens, whence the smelters are 
furnished a sujX'rior article of coke, the best for the purpose, according to Mr. 
Ann's opinion, that is produced in Colorado. From the ovens the fuel is conveyed 
in tram-cars direct to the stacks. By this very convenient arrangement the San 
Juan comjjany possesses better facilities for the economical reduction of ores than 
any other establishment in the state. It is clear to every careful observer of the 
situation that Durango, by virtue of its advantages of location as the natural seat 
and capital of the entire San Juan mining country, must soon become a strong 
center of the smelting industry. All railroads and highways of every sort from the 
mines of La Plata, San Juan, Ouray, Telluride and Rico, unquestionably the more 
extensive and richer portion of the state in minerals, lead down hill to Durango. 
To illustrate: Otto Alears' Rainbow Route from Ironton to Silverton commands 
the products of Ouray and San Juan counties. The' Rio Grande Southern com- 
mands all of San Miguel and Dolores counties, and the terminus of the road is at 
Durango. The terminus of the Silverton branch of the Denver & Rio Grande is at 
the same point. With these facts in view, united with the vast advantage of cheap 
fuel, and, further, the great reduction of transportation charges from the present 
cost of freighting these ores to Pueblo and Denver, the conclusion named seems 
well founded. The miners comprehend the difTerence and will avail themselves 
of the cheaper rate. Otto Clears and his associates built their two railways for the 
express purpose of controlling the ore traffic. Being independent of the Denver & 
12 — iv 


Rio Grande company, they will naturally control the haul on all the ores within 
their jurisdiction, which means that they will deliver them at Durango. Should 
the older company be inclined to make trouble for them on the Silverton line, it 
would be an easy matter to extend the Rainbow road down the Animas river to 
Durango, when they would be undisputed masters of the situation. Thousands of 
tons of ore that are not now sufSciently valuable to bear the cost of shipment to 
Pueblo or Denver can be readily and profitably marketed at the nearer point just 
designated. The business of concentrating will become general. Instead of hauling 
ores, the Rio Grande road will be reduced to the necessity of loading its cars with 

But to carry out this sweeping revolution, the erection of new smelters and the 
opening of active competition in the purchase of minerals will be necessary The 
San Juan company, stimulated by new railway connections and the largely increased 
production of minerals, is rapidly enlarging its plant A new smelting company 
has been organized and during 1892 should have its furnaces in operation. Others 
may follow. The entire business community is fully alive to the opportunity thus 
presented. When consummated, Durango will become one of the strongest and 
best towns in the state. 

Coal Mines. — In his report for 1886, State Inspector John McNeil, in review- 
ing the coals of La Plata county, says: "Extensive coal beds are found to underlie 
the greater part of the county. It is principally bituminous and well adapted for 
coking, as has been demonstrated by the quantities that have been coked in the 
beehive ovens owned by the San Juan Smelting company, from the various seams 
in pro.ximity to Durango. A great many openings have been made along the 
mountain sides, where the coal crops out in abundance in numerous seams of 
varying thickness and qualities. In places over 1,000 feet of coal formation — 
geologically known as the Fox Hills group — are exposed to view." Not less than 
600 men are employed in and about the several coal mines. The Porter Coal Co. 
owns 500 acres of coal land in Wild Cat Canon, four miles from Durango, on the 
Rio Grande Southern, and also about the same amount on the La Plata river ad- 
joining the Fort Lewis Military Reservation, 14 miles distant. The San Juan com- 
pany owns 275 acres within a mile of Durango and its mines are connected with the 
D. & R. G. R. R. ; the La Plata conpany owns 640 acres, four miles east of the city, 
connected witli the D. & R. G. by a branch at Florida station. The City coal mine 
in Horseshoe Gulch is only a mile and a quarter from the city. The Black Diamond 
is two miles northeast and the Champion one and a half miles southwest. There 
are several other smaller mines at different points. The production for 1890 was 
33,045 tons. These facts are given to indicate the wide distribution of the coal 
measures. The veins are from three to eight feet thick. Just over the line, west, in 
Montezuma county, there are immense deposits of coal; of limestone and iron there 
seems to be endless abundance. Therefore, if the people of La Plata county fail 
to take advantage of the wonderful gifts with which nature has supplied them, they 
will be the blindest community of men of which we have any record. According 
to Mr. Amy, the coal from the San Juan company's mine yields 57 per cent, of 
coke per ton. 

In the upper Animas valley the Seth Sackett ranch has a beautiful orchard set 
with apple, plum and cherry trees, all in the bearing stage, together with gardens 
containing all the smaller fruits. Mr. Richard E. Gaines secured a homestead 
therein 1875, t'^e second m priority of residence. The G. W. Hadin ranch consists 
of 480 acres. One of the finest in the valley is the "Home ranch," eight miles above 
Durango, owned by the Lamb estate, where there are extensive fruit orchards, 
dairies, canning and packing works, etc., whence the city receives a considerable 
part of its supplies. At the head of the valley is the Ambold ranch of 320 acres. 

The county is splendidly watered by the Animas, Pine. La Plata and Florida 


(the latter so named from the great quantity of beautiful flowers along its banks), 
Cherry creek, V'allecito and several other streams. The l-'ort Lewis ^Military 
Reservation, occupied by one compau}' of U. S. troops, is situated in the south- 
west corner of the county, just west of Duraiigo, adjoining the Indian Reservation. 
It was established by executive order January 27th, 1882. 

While the production is not large. La Plata occupying a minor place in the 
mineral producing system of the San Juan region, gold, silver, copper and lead are 
found in the California, La Plata and Needle mountains. About 75 miners are 
employed upon 26 mines opened, but in 1890, according to the state inspector's 
report, only six were producing mineral and those not in large quantities. 

The present officers of La Plata county are as follows: Clerk and recorder, 
George Weaver; sheriff', Will T. Longnecker; county judge, Henry Garbanati; 
treasurer, John F. Bell; assessor, W. N. Bagby; surveyor, O. L. Omohundro; 
superintendent of schools, C. A. Pike; coroner, T. Peterson; district judge, George 
T. Sunnier; clerk of the court, George N. Raymond: county commissioners, R. H. 
McFadden, W. T. Bailes. The third district is vacant. 

Sc/mi/s. — By the census of i8go the total school population of the county 
was 1,056, with an enrollment of 745, and an average daily attendance of 432. 
There were 16 districts and the same number of school houses, with 760 sittings. 
The value of school property was $32,079. 

'J7u- Assessed Valuation of Taxable J'roperty for 1890 was $2,008,717. The list 
contains the following: Agricultural lands, 23,315 acres, valued at $210,736; graz- 
ing lands, 28,380 acres; horses, 2,519; mules, 210; cattle, 13,836. 

Old Animas City, the original point of settlement, is about three miles north 
of Durango. Many of the first log cabins still remain. The site is very attractive, 
near the Animas river. There are few signs of improvement, its great rival below 
having absorbed, as it will continue to do, all the commerce and life and activity of 
the region. The survey of the town site was completed September 21st, 1876, bv 
Ira H. Smith, and the plat filed October loth following. The survey was assisted 
by John F. Hechnian who, with Major Scott J. Anthony, transcribed the mining 
district records when the county was divided from San Juan. Passing on up the 
valley en route to Silverton, the train stops at Trimble Springs (discovered by and 
named for Frank Trimble), seven miles from Durango, where the valley broadens. 
It is a beautiful spot; the scenic surroundings grand and sublime. The owner, Mr. 
T. D. Burns, of Terra Amarilla, built a fine hotel there, with bath houses. The 
grounds are embellished with shade trees, lawns and flowers, making it a lovely 
(|uiet retreat for invalids. Hermosa, a few miles above, in a broad, rich valley, 
blooming with all manner of crops, is a delightful picture of rural loveliness. 
Rockwood is 18 miles above Durango, in a forest of pine timber, simply a railroad 
station, whence led the old primitive trails to Rico, now supplanted by the Rio 
Gran<le Southern railway. 

At the time of my visit the only newspaper in La Plata county was the 
Durango Dailv "Herald," published by Geo. N. and M. Raymond, an excellent 
journal and a forceful representative of the entcn)rise and intelligence of that ad- 
mirable conimunitv. Mr. George Raymond is also clerk of the district court. I 
am indebted to these gentlemen for many courtesies and to their files for many 
interesting notes. 

In conclusion, mv observations of La Plata county may be tersely summarized 
in the statement that its prospects for the future are in the highest degree favorable 
to a large and prosperous settlement. Leaving its gold and silver mines out of the 
(|uestion, the great extent and excellence of its coals, the production of its farms, its 
(|uarries of lime, granite and sandstone, deposits of iron ores, its splendid water 
courses, its great forests of timber, and, above and beyond all, its advantages for (lie 
location of large reduction works, are sufficient to attract and must inevitably acquire 


millions of new capital and thousands of industrious people in the next few years. 
The climate is not rigorous even in the severest of winters, and in the spring, 
summer and autumn it is delightful. The enormous snow falls, of which so much 
has been written, occur above in the higher ranges of mountains, and below on the 
Conejos range on the eastern slopes. We have shgwn, by the luxuriance of its 
agriculture and the promise of its horticulture, the general salubrity of that part 
of the western slope, warmed by sunshine, blossoming with flowers and rejoicing in 
plenty, the prevailing error that Durango and the Animas valley in their incom- 
parable beauty are snow and ice bound in winter. As a matter of fact, the people 
of the northern, and measurably of the southern, divisions of the state have but 
little true comprehension of the marvelous attractiveness of its scenery, nor of 
the extent of mineral treasure found there in the great ranges of the San Juan. 
I found it one of the great treasure houses of the commonwealth. It has taken 
vears to develop its resources, but some of the richer have now been opened, and 
the outpouring of wealth into the channels of trade from that quarter should be 
large and continuous through all succeeding years. 


The story of antoine janise the trapper — original occupants of la porte 

indians and traders christening of the c ache-la-poudre old fort 

walbrach a settlement of mountaineers with squaw wives primitive 

camps fort collins the agricultural college irrigation — first 

canals — big and little thompson how they were named, etc. 

The principal settlements of Larimer county, one of the most fertile and pro- 
ductive agricultural sections of northern Colorado, are situated on a beautiful 
stream called the Cache-la-Poudre, and upon two others known as Big and Little 
Thompson creeks, whereof some interesting incidents may be related from the 
primitive epoch, years anterior to the period of gold seeking which induced our 
generation to enter and occupy the Rocky Mountains. One of the "ancient" 
chronicles relates to a party of French traders and trappers who were journeying 
through the country and carrying heavy burdens of goods designed for barter wiiii 
roving bands of Indians, who camped a few days near the present site of the town 
of Laporte. To lighten their packs before entering the mountains, such goods 
as could be well spared, and among them some canisters of rifle powder, were 
cafhcd or secreted in a pit excavated in a large bank of sand, to be recovered and 
disposed of on their return. The spot was marked for identification, and the stream 
designated Cache-la-Poudre, sigfiiifying the place where the powder had been 
cachcti. Traces of this historic spot remained until recent years and were known 
to all the inhabitants round about. 

So far as we have any record, the first settlers in that region, and probably the 
first except the builders of old Fort St. Vrain, who established that post about 1835 
in northern Colorado, was a French trapper named Antoine Janise, who established 
a camp and land claim adjoining the present Laporte on the west, and had his 
title thereto confirmed by the Indians. In a letter to the editor of the Fort CoH'ns 
"Courier" dated March 17th, 1883. written from Pine Ridge Indian Agency in re- 
sponse to an in(|uirv concerning his personal recollections of the valley, he savs: 
"In regard to the early history of the Poudre valley, I will state that as one of the 


party (that made the original location), I have in my possession all the facts relating 
to the first settlement, including the names of the persons, days and dates. On the 
first of June, 1844, 1 stuck my stake on a claim in the valley, intending the location 
selected for my home should the country ever be settled. At that time all the 
streams were very high, and the country black with buffalo. As far as the eye could 
reach, scarcely anything but buiTalo could be seen. I was just returning from 
Mexico, and thought the Poudre valley the loveliest place on earth, and have not 
since changed my opinion. The gold fever broke out in 1858 (referring to Green 
Russell and the Cherokee expedition). Soon after locating my claim, I moved over 
from Laramie and settled upon it. The place is just above Laporte. One hundred 
and fifty lodges of Arapahoes moved there with me at the time. They asked me 
if 1 wanted to settle there. I told them I did. Bald Wolf, the chief, then called 
a council of his braves, and they finally gave us permission to locate there, and 
donated to us all the land from the foot of the mountains to the mouth of Box Elder 
creek (which is about eight miles from the mountains). My associates in the 
donation were Llbridge Gerry and Nicholas Janise. In the winter of 1858-59 set- 
tlers and prospectors came flocking in. A town company was formed, consisting 
of Nicholas, Gerry, Todd, Randall, Raymond, John Batiste, Oliver Morisette, 
Antoine Lebeau, B. Goodwin, Ravofire and others, who located a town site and 
called it Colona (changed subsequently to Laporte). We had the site surveyed and 
mapped, and built fifty houses or cabins. I was born at St. Charles, Missouri, 
March 26th, 1824, and came first to what is now Colorado in 1844. It would con- 
sume too much time and space to give all the particulars and interesting incidents 
connected with the first settlement of the Poudre valley, and my health is such that 
I dare not undertake the task." This letter may be accepted as a brief but authentic 
record of the original settlement and of the first town site regularly established in 
northern Colorado. 

The following notes were furnished the author by Mr. George A. Jackson, 
discoverer of Jackson's Bar in Clear Creek county. In his own words the story is 
told: "In the spring of 1858 I came over from old Fort Laramie with a party 
conveying goods for trade with the Indians at old John Smith's trading post on 
Cherr\' creek. There were in the party twenty-five Ogallalah Sioux under Chief 
Swift P.ird, a brother-in-law of Antoine Janise; Chief Chaka, Swift Bird's lieutenant; 
Big i'hil (John (Gardner), ( )liver Sclioficld, Antoine Lebeau, Nick Janise and his 
family — a Snake squaw and children — Jose Merrival, a Spaniard, and a half-breed 
boy who drove the cattle attached to our trading wagons. We came up Cheyenne 
Pass where a detachment of U. S. troops, abcnit 250 in number, under command of a 
major, were building I'ort Walbrach in the pass, where also some 800 Cheyennes 
were encamped. The result of this meeting was that we sold out all our goods 
and went back to Fort Laramie for another stock. Coming back, at the crossing 
of the Cheyenne trail over the Cache-la-Poudre, wt met 500 to 600 Indians. Ni 
Wot's band of Arapahoes and Big Mouth's Cheyennes camped there, to whom we 
sold all of our second stock of goods. Here we also met Jim Sanders, Chat Debray 
and Rocky Thomas, who joined our party. Antoine Janise and other trappers 
were encamped on the Cache-Ia-Poudre." From Fort Walbrach they prospected 
all the streams they came to for gold, but the first of any consequence obtained 
was on what was then known as the Benito Fork of the St. Vrain. On reaching 
Cherry creek, they found Green Russell's company prospecting along the streams 
about the present site of Denver. After a short time at John Smith's post, they 
proceeded to the J\'orth Fork of the Vasquez river (now Ralston creek), where thev 
found some gold, but soon returned to the Cache-la-Poudre. The remainder of 
Jackson's adventures and discoveries have been related in Volume I, page 187. 

Mr. A. F. Howes, a brother-in-law of General Carlos Buell, now residing at 
Fort Collins, states that he reached Denver in i860, and after it had been de- 


termined by Congress to build a Pacific railroad, he, in order to avail himself of 
the advantages to be derived from that highway, determined to search for the most 
feasible pass through the mountains, and when satisfied on that point, to settle down 
at the most natural pass for the future great city of the plains. In pursuit of this 
enterprise he followed along the base of the mountains to the crossing of the Cache- 
la-Poudre, where he found a small settlement of mountaineers, who had formerly 
been employed, first as hunters and trappers by the American Fur company, and 
subsequently as guides and scouts to military commands in the mountains. Find- 
ing them communicative, he discovered that the only practicable route for a rail- 
road through the Rocky Mountains, "from the little they had heard of railroads,"' 
was up the South Platte, Cache-la-Poudre and over the Cherokee trail, and, upon 
these representations, and being also deeply impressed by the beauty and fertility of 
the valley, he settled down there to await events. The information then given was 
afterward corroborated by Jim Bridger, Jim Baker, Old John Smith and Tim 

This settlement of mountaineers, numbering twelve to twenty, with Indian 
wives, was called Colona. "The principal occupations of the resident claim- 
ants,'' says Mr. Howes, "consisted in sitting cross-legged, Indian fashion, making 
cigarettes from plug tobacco cut up fine, for their own personal enjoyment and 
immediate use, and occasionally regaling themselves with good sized horns of 
villainous whiskey. Being talkative, they vied with one another in recounting their 
mountain experiences and romantic adventures, in a manner that would have put 
Baron Munchausen to shame. Their chief amusements were playing cards and 
raising Indian ponies. Of the latter, they and their Indian relatives owned some 
good ones. Ponies, buckskins and moccasins generally constituted the measures 
of value of everything they dealt in, even to the purchase of squaw wives. The 
parents or guardians of the fiance required payment for her in such number of 
jionies as could mutually be agreed on. The numerical size of the mountameer's 
family — generallv large — occasionally filled a 'baker's dozen" of half-breed children, 
and all the relatives of the wife thrown in. Two of these mountaineers, respectively 
named John Batiste Provost and Laroque Bush, still remain. The present wife of 
one is a French woman, and of the other, a German. Both are good citizens with 
respectable families." Among other old settlers were Rafael Corafel and Jesus Luis. 
Corafel related to General Hal Sayr, from whom the author olitained it, this in- 
cident: "One time, long anterior to his residence on the Cache-la-Poudre, while 
out hunting, eighty miles north of Fort Laramie, he was caught in a terrible snow 
storm, and in the freezing weather which followed both his feet were frozen. He 
walked the entire distance to Laramie on his knees. Many a time the wolves 
flocked around and threatened to eat him alive. Having his gun, he killed a 
butYalo and cutting ofi the meat managed to subsist upon it until he reached the 

Besides the foregoing on the Cache-la-Poudre, there was a blacksmith named 
Dawson, with a white wife and one son, who resided there. Above, on the river, 
three young men had but a short time before located on ranches, one of whom 
married and since has made a fortune in the cattle business; built a good house at 
Fort Collins, and has practically retired from business. His name is Abner Loomis, 
and both he and his family are higlily respected. Below, on the river, there lived 
Mr. Robert Strauss, a thrifty old bachelor and a good citizen. Below Strauss lived 
James B. Arthur and his brother John. The latter was killed by a runaway team. 
James married, and, like his neighbor, Loomis, acquired a fortune by stock raising, 
and now resides with his family in Fort Collins. -Still further down the stream, near 
the present town of Greeley, resided Messrs. Boyd and Rice. The latter, while 
en route to the "States," was shot and killed by Indians who fired into the overland 
stage coach in which he was a passenger. The partner, Boyd, resides on their 


ranch some seven miles below Coloiia at the junction of Box Elder creek with 
the river." 

The foregoing, with one other, a freighter, named Jones, whose ranch Gov- 
ernor Eaton afterward occupied, embraced all the settlers and settlements on the 
Cache-Ia-Poudre, down to the time mentioned therein. Some time later, Captain 
Sylvester and son, Hal Sayr, a civil engineer, John Peabody and Thomas Price 
came in and located on ranches. Up to that time the settlers at Colona had evinced 
great anxiety to have a new town company organized to relocate Colona, inasmuch 
as the Denver parties interested in the old organization had abandoned them, and, 
after consulting with Sayr, Peabody, Price and Sylvester and son, a new company 
was formed including in its membership the last five named, Mr. A. F. Howes and 
most of the resident members of Colona, and oamed it "The Laporte Town Site 
company," under which the site was located, covering two sections of land, whicli 
were surveyed into blocks and lots, with streets and alleys and platted under the 
supervision of Hal Sayr. The new town site included Colona and was rechristened 
Laporte ("the door"). 

Late in i860, or early in 1861, Jesse M. Sherwood and his brother, F. W. 
Sherwood, with a few others located on the stream. The former died some years 
ago. The latter married and now resides in Fort Collins. 

The territorial legislature of 1861 divided the territory into counties, designat- 
ing the boundaries thereof. The section which embraced nearly all of the valleys 
of Big and Little Thompson creeks, the greater part of the Cache-la-Poudre and 
Estes and North Parks was named Larimer, in honor of General William Larimer, 
one of the founders of Denver. The establishment of law and order and the intro- 
duction of the rudimentary elements of civilization at first was highly distasteful 
to the mountaineers, who had so long lived without other than self constituted laws, 
and grew suspicious lest the new order of things might infringe upon some of 
their rights and privileges, but they soon fell into amiable acquiescence. 

In 1862 Laporte was garrisoned by United States troops that were encamped 
at Point of Rocks a short distance west of the town to keep the Indians in check. 
During that year the Overland stage company changed its route from Xorth Platte 
to the Den\er and Laporte route, and in September, 1864, the garrison was removed 
to the military reservation on which the town of Fort Collins now stands. Colonel 
William O. Collins, of the nth Ohio regiment, located the camp and established 
the reservation, which embraced a tract four miles square. The original camp was 
located near the spot where Antoine Janise had driven the stakes of his homestead 
eighteen years before. Colonel Collins died in Hillsborough, Ohio, October 26th, 
1 880. 

When the ]>ost was abandoned, and the reservation opened to settlement in 
1874, the lands were immediately taken up and settled upon. 

The growth of population and the development of agriculture were slow, not- 
withstanding the great attractiveness of the region, until after its abandonment by 
the military, which occui:)ied the choice lands of the valley. The county is bounded 
on the north by the state of Wyoming, on the east by \\'eld county, on the south 
by Boulder and Grand counties, and on the west by Grand and Routt counties, 
having a length of ninety-six miles by fifty-one miles in width, embracing an area of 
4,100 square miles. By the census of 1800 its population was 9,712, an increase of 
4,820 in the preceding decade. Its elevation ranges between 4,500 and 12,000 feet 
above! the sea. I'rom the base of the foot-hills to the cast line the plains vary in 
width from twelve to twenty miles, accf)rding to the trend of the mountains. The 
center of the county from east to west is high, broken and mountainous, inter- 
spersed witii numerous beautiful jiarks, caverns and rocky gorges. The extreme 
western |>arl included in Xorth Park is a high plateau having an elevation of about 
(),ooo feet and surrounded by snow-capped Conlilleras. 


Agriculture, stock raising, wool growing, dairying, mining and the quarrying 
of superior paving and building stones constitute the principal industries. Agri- 
culture is mainly confined to the plains east of the mountains, but all the hardier 
vegetables are grown to a considerable extent in the mountain parks. The original 
settlers were stock growers. These were succeeded by farmers who constructed 
irrigating canals, and began sowing and planting the virgin soil, which gradually 
pushed aside the stock growers, who sought the broad plains as feeding grounds 
for their large herds. 

The first farms were confined to the first and second bottoms of the streams, 
the uplands being considered worthless for tillage. The occupants of the lowlands 
were engaged in growing hay and marketing the same by hauling it in wagons, at 
first, to the mining towns of Gilpin, county, where tremendous prices were obtained. 
After a time it was demonstrated that the uplands were among the best grass lands 
of the workl, after which capital to build ditches and canals for them was easily 

According to the census report of 1870, the population of Larimer county was 
838. Ten vears later it had increased to 4,892, and the growth was steady and quite 
strong during the succeeding decade. Most of the productive farms are in the 
valleys of the Cache-la-Poudre, and on Big and Little Thompson creeks and their 
adjacent table-lands. 

The county is widely renowned as the agricultural garden of the state, un- 
surpassed in fertility of soil and the abundance of its harvests. An infinite variety 
of cereals, vegetables, grasses and fruits are grown. The soil, while no better, per- 
haps, than that of Boulder and Weld counties, is rich and enduring. Some of the 
farms have produced sixty bushels of wheat per acre, and the same crops have 
been grown on the same land for fifteen years in succession without any appreciable 

The first irrigating canal was taken out of the Cache-la-Poudre in 1859 by a 
man named A. E. Lytton, afterward the first sheriff of the county. It was a diminu- 
tive affair, surveyed by Hal Sayr, scarcely worthy to rank among the great water 
ways of later times, nevertheless it served well the needs of its builder, who used it 
to fructify and render fruitful his small garden. It was, moreover, one of the first, 
possibly the original, efforts in that direction in this part of the Rocky Mountains, 
and to-day stands first on the list of priorities in Water district No. 3, in the great 
system since created by legislative enactments for the advancement of husbandry 
throughout the state. It is now known as the "Yeager ditch,'' and the several 
"appropriations" equal 176.06 cubic feet of water per second of time. To ilhistrate 
the advances made, it may be stated that the total appropriations of water claimed 
in district No. 3, and taken from the Cache-la-Poudre and its tributaries, aggregate 
4,442.73 cubic feet per second.* 

.^ays Lagrange, perhaps our highest authority on irrigation: "Frequent in- 
quiries are made of how much water is required to irrigate an acre of land. In 
my opinion, there have not at this time been sufficient data collected to determine 
the ([uantity necessary to irrigate any given area. That the ultimate duty of water 
can be determined upon in any case is not, in the nature of things, possible at the 

As a general thing the duty of water is increasing in the older sections of the 
state where irrigation has long been practiced. Climatic and atmospheric in- 
fluences incident to a high mountain region, and the variableness in the character of 
our soils, place all calculations at fault. Improved methods in preparing land 
and increasing skill in the application of water, all have a tendency to lessen the 

* The next ditch was surveyed by Hal Sayr on the Big Thompson, for J. L. Brush. Judge Osborn, 
Wm. Stover, Hrucc Johnson and others, and he also surveyed and sectionized all their lands on the 
Thompson after the government had surveyed the 40th parallel. 


amount necessary to the growth of crops. The duty of water might be expressed 
by an announcement of the quantity required to irrigate an acre of land. Thus 
in tile case of a ditch that dehvers water at the rate of two cubic feet per second 
through the season, and accomphshes the irrigation of 200 acres of land, it is said 
that the water performs a duty of 100 acres per second foot; that is, a continuous 
flow of one cubic foot per second for the season will irrigate loo acres of land, 
l-'rom my experience and observation, the duty of water in this district varies from 
one and a half to two cubic feet per second, necessary to irrigate a growing crop 
of wheat on 80 acres of land, and that the highest duty of water is only attained 
where its scarcity compels the utmost economy in its use." 

The first regular organization of Larimer county and the beginning of local 
government occurred, as previously stated, in 1861. Governor (Gilpin appointed 
Abner Looniis, John Heath and W. A. Bean, county commissioners. Up to 1864 
no serious difficulties with the aborigines occurred, although many threats of 
massacre were uttered by a few malicious half-breeds, evidently for the sole 'object 
of spreading alarm among the settlers. In the year named, when Mr. Loomis was 
on his way to Denver for a supply of provisions, he met near St. Vrain's creek a man 
named Fackler, with a number of beef cattle owned by his employer, named Reed, 
who had taken a contract to supply Fort Sanders, near Laramie City, with beef. 
Loomis informed Fackler that the Indians were becoming troublesome in the region 
beyond the Cache-la-Poudre, and strongly advised him not to proceed without re- 
inforcements. He went on, however, without assistance and was killed. 

Fort Collins, situated on a plateau fifty feet above the river, is the seat of 
Larimer county, and according to the census of 1890 had 2,011 inhabitants. It is a 
well established and prosperous community with an excellent system of graded 
schools, an agricultural college that is the pride of the state; a system of water 
works for fire and domestic purposes, built in 1883 at a cost of about $150,000; 
])erfected sewerage; an electric light plant; two large flouring mills, each ca- 
IKible of producing 500 sacks of flour daily; two railroads, and the promise of 
others; fine hotels; solid blocks of brick and stone business houses occupied by 
enterprising merchants; sidewalks of stone; well established and substantial banks; 
grain elevators capable of storing great quantities of grain; a cheese factory equal 
to the production of 3,000 pounds of cheese daily; a superb court house erected 
in 1887 at a cost of about $50,000; a city hall and engine house of brick; six beau- 
tiful churches; two newspapers with commercial printing offices attached; many 
handsome residences, in short, everything requisite for a brisk and growing town. 
It was organized in 1872. The assessed valuation of property in 1880 was $388,000, 
and in 1889 it had increased to $1,000,000. The first newspaper, the "Express," was 
established in April, 1873, by J. S. McClelland. Later in the same year the 
"Standard" was founded by Clark Boughten, who survived the birth of the paper 
only a few months, when it passed into other hands and soon after suspended. In 
1878 the "Courier" was established by Ansel Watrous. and in 1885 the "Bee," by 
S. W. Teagarden. This latter venture exj)ired soon after the first year. At present 
the "Express" and the "Courier," the former Republican, the latter Democratic, 
occupy the journalistic field. 

The Odd Fellows, IMasons and .\. O. I'. W. have strong lodges, the Alasons 
having a Royal Arch chapter and a commandery of Knights Templar. 

The State Agricultural college is an institute of great value tt) the agricultural 
interests of the entire .state. It may be said to exert a controlling influence upon 
that industry through its extensive and well-ordered e.xperiments in the propagation 
of various plants and seeds, whereby it has demonstrated what can be successfully 
cultivated in the various soils, and the better methods to be employed. Since its 
introduction it has measurably relieved the farmer from the necessity of experiment- 
ing on his own account, by taking that branch of labor and inquiry to itself, and 


developing by intelligent effort the conditions by which crops of all kinds may be 
raised. I'lie facts show that the knowledge thereby imparted has been of mcal- 
culable benefit to the entire field of husbandry, and that it will long continue to be 
of paramount importance will not be denied. 

The college, in common with those of like character in other states, had its 
origin in the act of Congress of 1862 which granted 90,000 acres of land as an en- 
dowment fund for a college "where the leading objects shall be, without excluding 
other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such 
branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in order 
to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several 
pursuits and professions of life." No benefit was derived from this grant, until by 
a subsequent act of April 24th, 1884, it was confirmed to the state. The land has 
now been located, and a small part sold, the proceeds to form a perpetual endow- 
ment fund. The state has generously supported the college by providing for the 
levy of a tax of one fifth of a mill annually on each dollar of valuation, which gives 
it a steady endowment but does not greatly foster its growth. 

This institute was incorporated by the legislature in 1870. The act was 
amended in 1872, and again in 1874, but no steps were taken toward the erection 
of a college by the board in charge. In 1877, by the death of the president of the 
board and the removal of other members from the state, an emergency was de- 
clared to exist, and a new law was enacted and given immediate effect. To the 
state board of agriculture, then reorganized, was intrusted the work of building a 
college. Fort Collins was selected as the site, and at a meeting held February 27th, 
1878, it was determined to erect a building suited to college purposes. The corner- 
stone was laid July 29th in that year, by the Grand Lodge A. F. & A. M.. of 
Colorado, Grand Alaster C. J. Hart, of Pueblo, officiating. Before the end of the 
year, the building was completed, but was not opened for the reception of students, 
however, until September ist, 1879. The dormitory v^^as built in 1881, and the 
chemical laboratory a year later, though not thoroughly fitted for work until May, 
1883. In 1882 a small propagating house was built for experiments in horticulture. 
The present elaborate and complete greenhouse, equipped with all modern appli- 
ances, was completed September ist, 1883, and simultaneously the mechanical 
department was finished, ready for the students. 

At this time the college comprises the following distinct departments: Agri- 
culture, chemistry and geology; horticulture, botany and entomology; history, liter- 
ature and modern languages; mathematics and military science; mechanics and 
drawing; physics and engineering; veterinary science and zoology. During the 
first year — 1879 — but twenty students attended. In 1887 the number was one 
hundred and forty-five. 

Tlie development of the school is best shown by the growth of departments. 
At first there was but the single department of agriculture, with the regulation 
English education, with a smattering of the sciences. This continued until Septem- 
ber 1st, 1882, when mechanics and drawing were added, and the chemical depart- 
ment put into active operation. Within a year mathematics and engineering were 
made a distinct line, as also was horticulture, merged with botany; then came 
veterinary science. In this manner a comprehensive foundation was laid for the 
education of each young person who might seek it here. Labor, two hours daily, 
is enjoined by law upon all not exempt by reason of physical disability. Military 
drill is also obligatory. 

Tliat the Colorado Agricultural college is one of the best in the L'nion is 
attested by the reports of numerous committees of inspection from foreign lands, 
that were sent to the L^nited States with instructions to visit and examine all such in- 
stitutions founded by our government. The educational work is, to take young 
people, and, by a four or five years' course, familiarize them with the sciences on 


which agriculture, horticulture and other industries depend, and at the same time 
impart a good English education and training for useful citizenship. Much m- 
lelligent effort has been employed in experimental work, first, for three years, on the 
farm, then adding horticulture, and, at a later period, experiments in the fiow of 
water and evaporation, with studies of the diseases of animals. 
i Here in Colorado the conditions are found to be so different from those of 
older states, new experiments must be instituted, and those of other states re- 
peated, to attain results of value to occupants of the arid region. In 1887 the 
Hatch "experiment station" bill passed Congress, and in February, 1888, an appro- 
priation was made to carry out the provisions of the act. This gives the sum of 
$15,000 annually to support an "experimental station" in Colorado in connection 
with the State Agricultural college. 

The state board met February 20th, 18S8, and proceeded to organize such a 
station as the law contemplated, and make it one department of the college. It 
was named "The Agricultural Experiment Station," and is governed by an exe- 
cutive committee of three members, but e.xperiments are decided by a council 
composed of the officers and workers of the station, and are afterward ratified by 
the committee in charge. This department has auxiliary stations in other parts of 
the state, viz. : At Rocky Ford, Bent county ; near Ea.stonville, El Paso county, and 
in the San Luis valley, near Del Norte. Experiments at these stations are in 
consonance with those of the college department as named above and under the 
same management. 

In the conditions that exist in Colorado no more important field for experi- 
ment can be found, and the determination of the adaptability of certain crops to 
the soil and climate by the experimental stations will be worth to the people far 
more than maintaining the school and station for a quarter of a century. The 
determination within the past three years of the value of the tobacco plant as a 
crop to be raised will be of great value, and especially since it has been demon- 
strated by the experiments thus far conducted that our soil is capable of pro- 
ducing tobacco equal to the best raised in any of the American states. The 
Seventh General Assembly appropriated $25,000 for the construction of an addi- 
tion to the main college building and a horticultural hall, both of which have been 

The business of quarrying stone for building and street paving is rapidly 
assuming vast proportions. It is the basis of what will soon become an extensive 
commerce, exceeding in tonnage our annual traffic in coal. About the year 1876, 
a few entcr[)rising residents in and about Fort Collins conceived the idea — then re- 
garded as the height of folly — of utilizing the immense deposits of flagging stone 
found in the first scries of foothills west of the town. Pursuing this idea to a 
practical conclusion through many difficulties, first in opening the quarries, and 
next in getting the products to market by wagon transportation, since there were no 
railways, the work proceeded slowly until the year 1881, when the Greeley, Salt Lake 
& Pacific railway company built a track from its main line to the quarries that are 
now owned and operated by the stone department of the Union Pacific railway 
company. .Since that time the traffic in stone has been augmented steadily through 
the stimulus furnished by the constant demands from the builders of Denver, and 
those of towns and cities to the eastward, along the Missouri river, and the in- 
terior towns of Kansas and Nebraska. In 1886 the Union Pacific built a branch 
from its Colorado Central road, at Loveland, to its quarries a few miles west, 
where immense ([uantities of stone are produced and shipped to various points. 
Ft is an extremely hard, compact and durable, pinkish-gray sandstone, equal to 
the better granites for building and street paving, in fact, it has no superior in all 
the broad range of our resources in that line. In 1886 the company employed 
about three Inmdred and fifty men, and the amount expended for quarrying. 


dressing and loading on the cars was $250,874.78 for the single item of labor. 
The company shipped from that point during that year 4,645 carloads of stone for 
curbing, paving, sidewalks, etc., in Omaha, Kansas City, Salina and Topeka, Kan- 
sas; Lincoln, Nebraska, and other points along its lines. In 1889 it shipped about 
12,000 carloads. 

The redstone quarries near Belleview also are extensively operated, and from 
which many beautiful buildings have been constructed. About fifteen miles north- 
west of Fort Collins a large deposit of fine white marble has been discovered, and 
will, at no distant day, be extensively utilized for various purposes to which it is 
peculiarly adapted, in the state and elsewhere. 

The mineral resources of Larimer county are as yet but imperfectly developed, 
though in the mountainous portion a number of gold and silver bearing lodes 
have been found and partially opened. The Teller district, at the head of Jack 
creek, in North Park, has many veins that contain galena ores, bearing silver in 
paying quantities, and near them are large deposits of excellent coal. Manhattan dis- 
trict, about forty miles west of Fort Collins, has some veins of gold ore that, when fully 
developed, may become profitable mines. Again, in the vicinity of the North Fork 
of the Cache-la-Poudre, some forty miles northwest of the town named, are some 
deposits of copper ore, samples from which yielded by assaying sixty per cent, of 
metallic copper. 

The history of Fort Collins and its immediate neighborhood having been thus 
briefly sketched, it is proper to turn our attention to the other towns and settlements 
of this rich and beautiful section of country embraced within the boundaries of 
Larimer county. 

Away back in early da\s, so runs the story, when the California gold fever 
swept over the land, a train of immigrants, in wliich we are especially interested, 
was winding its way toward the Pacific slope, gathering to its numbers as it slowly 
advanced, until more than a hundred and twenty men were included. One day, 
while on the Platte river, a short distance west of the turbid Missouri, this train 
overtook a solitary wagon drawn by two mules and occupied by two men, one a 
veritable giant in stature, the other small and insignificant in appearance. They 
gave the names of Thompson, and said they were brothers. Uniting with the band 
first mentioned, they came to be commonly designated as "Big and Little Thomp- 
son." Journeying on together, no incident of importance occurred until the stream 
now known as Big Thompson creek was reached, when the larger of the brothers, 
astride one of the mules, went hunting for game after camp had been made for the 
night. An hour later the mule returned with Thompson clinging to the saddle, 
and three or four Indian arrows sticking in his back. He said he had been ambushed 
while endeavoring to ride around a bunch of antelope. Seeing no Indians, he 
was not aware that there were any in that vicinity until sharply apprised of the 
fact by being struck by two arrows at once. He died that night and was buried 
on the banks of the stream, and from that day it has been known as Big Thompson 
creek, and its neighbor took the pseudonym of his brother, "Little Thompson." 

Taking its rise among the rocky precipices of Long's Peak, flowing down 
through picturesque Estes Park and on through mountain gorge and canon, until 
it debouches upon the plain, it is one of the most attractive affluents in all Colorado. 
The valley it traverses, though not wide, is of remarkable fertility, and is divided 
into farms, all of which bear unmistakable evidence of great thrift and pros- 
y)erity, dotted with substantial houses, and in the fields graze herds of sleek, fat 
cattle and horses. The first stage .station of the Overland Stage and Express com- 
pany on this creek was at the ranch of a noted mountaineer, trapper and guide 
named Mariano Alodcna, a Mexican of the better class, who was as well known 
to, and as profoundly respected by all the early settlers of this region as Carson, 
Bent, Baker and other celebrities of the guild. 


The first white man to take up a residence on the Big Thompson, however, 
was William McGaa, known far and wide as "Jack Jones," who had much to do 
also with the founding of Denver and Auraria. He built in 1859 a cabin oqi the 
place now designated the "Abe Rist ranch." The following year quite an influx 
of settlers came and located upon the inviting lands. In i860, or 1861, the first 
irrigating ditch was built, taking the rather ostentatious title of "The Big Thompson 
Irrigating and Manufacturing Ditch company." The "Chubbuck ditch'' was the 
first taken out to convey water to the bluffs or uplands, in 1867. As every in- 
habited region where considerable numbers are congregated must have a town or 
mail and trading post, it was established at Modena's ranch, where all the stages 
stopped, but the town of St. Louis, a mile, or so from the site of Loveland, suc- 
ceeded. In 1877 the Colorado Central railway was built across the valley and 
the town of Loveland established, which became the trade center of all the valley. 
It is one of the most beautiful little towns along the base of the mountains, claims 
a population of about one thousand, maintains two banks, quite a number of busi- 
ness houses, excellent schools, several churches, etc. Its one w'eekly newspaper, 
the "Reporter," was founded in 1882, and is devoted to the interests of that section 
of country. It has a system of water works that are supplied from the mountain 
canon about seven miles distant. The town was named for Hon. W. A. H. Love- 
land, under whose supervision the Colorado Central railway was extended from 
Longniont to Wyoming Territory. 

BertluHid, named for the chief engineer of the Union Pacific system in Colo- 
rado, is situated about six miles south of Loveland, also near the railway, on a 
high, rolling prairie betw'een the Thompson creeks, in a prosperous farming region. 
The town was platted in the autumn of 1883 but was not incorporated until 1888. 
The population in iS8g numbered about three hundred. It has one hotel, a bank- 
ing house, anil a number of substantial business houses, a grain elevator, and a flour- 
ing mill, with the latest improved processes for the manufacture of flour. 

Laporte, the successor of the original Colona, and the first in northern Colo- 
rado, occupies a superior site in the valley of the Cache-la-Poudre, near the moun- 
tains. Time was when corner lots in Laporte or Colona were held at higher prices 
than those in Denver. At one time it was an Indian trading post of considerable 
prominence. A store owned by one Joe Knight was the central depot and rendez- 
vous for trappers and Indians. Arapahoes, Ules and Cheyennes there obtained 
their supplies of sugar, flour, coffee and tobacco; trading furs and skins therefor. 
Knight closed out his store in the fall of 1863, or spring of 1864, and went to 
•St. Louis. Laporte was one of the first telegraph stations on the line between 
Denver and Laramie. The farming country adjacent is one of the best in the 
state, producing remarkable harvests. 

The county ofTficers for 1890-91 were: Clerk, J. T. Budrow; treasurer, F. P. 
Stover, county judge, H. I. Garbutt; assessor, A. La Fever; sheriff, T. H. Davy; 
coroner, Walter (iough; sujierintendent of schools, S. T. Hamilton; surveyor, 
.'Miner F. Sprague; clerk of the district court, John C. Hanna; commissioners, 
F. (}. IJartholf, V. R. Baker and George F. Scott. 

The total assessed valuation of taxable property for 1890 was $4,424,420. In 
the list were 114,975 acres of agricultural land, and 419,822 acres of grazing land. 
Of live stock there were 15,907 liorses, 49,320 cattle, 20,163 sheep, 1,355 hogs and 
376 mules. 

Local statistics show that there were marketed from the crop of 1890. mainly 
at l-'ort Collins, the general shii)ping point, 400.000 bushels of wheat. 100.000 of 
oats, 100,000 of potatoes, 50,000 of corn. 4.000 tons of hay, 6,000 head of beef 
cattle, 1,000 horses, 10,000 sheep, 50,000 pounds of wool, bushels of apples. 
100 carloads of garden vegetables, 25.000 quarts of small fruits, 25,000 pounds of 
cheese, 200,000 of butter and 300,000 of ])ork. These figures are approximates 


simply, and are given to show something of the extent of the various industries, 
since exact data are not procurable. 

The school census of 1890 shows that the county had a total school popula- 
tion that year of 2,757, with an enrollment of 2,272, and an average daily attend- 
ance of 1,334- There were 56 school houses, the valuation of which was $88,385. 
At Fort Collins there are two very fine public school buildings, the Franklin, com- 
pleted in 1887, at a cost of $20,000, and the Remington in 1878, at a cost of $10,000. 
These, with the State Agricultural college, afford extensive and very superior edu- 
cational advantages. 

There are 55 counties in the state, of which Larimer stands eighth in the 
assessed valuation of its taxable property. 

First Settlers — enterprises established — peculiar Spanish nomenclature — 





Las Animas was created from the southeastern part of Huerfano county by an 
act of the territorial legislature approved February yth, i86b. It has since been 
shorn of much of its original territorj' by the creation of other counties. It is 
bounded on the north by Huerfano, Pueblo, Otero and a part of Bent, south by 
the Territory of New Mexico, east by Baca and west by Huerfano and Costilla. 
Its area is 4,700 square miles. By the census of 1890 its population was 17,208, an 
increase of 8,305 in the preceding decade. The account of its early history which 
follows is furnished by Hon. Albert W. Archibald of Trinidad, the county seat, 
now the oldest living resident. 

"I settled in what is now Las Animas county on the 3rd of March, 1861, and 
my home has been continuously at this place since that tim5. I came to Colorado 
in 1858 with the first Lawrence company. From September, 1858, until November, 
i860, my home was in New Me.xico, most of the time near Fort Union, at Wm. 
Kroemg's place. About the 12th of November, i860, I left Kroenig's, 
now near the present railway station of Watrous, with two ox teams 
belonging to myself, with produce for Denver, in company with F. C. Taylor (now 
residing in Denver), my eldest brother, Ebenezer, and others. November I7tli 
we camped on the margin of the Purgatoire river on the present site of Trinidad. 
At that time there did not exist any human haliitation within the existing limits of 
the county, although a man named John Hatcher* did establish a temporary resi- 
dence about 1852, while employed by Bent & St. Vrain, as a herder of their work 
oxen. Hatcher's residence on the Purgatoire, however, was not an attempt to 
settle, but only a temporary residence for the purpose of taking care of the property 
given into his charge by Bent & St. Vrain. 

"The road from Fort Union to Denver, as far as what was afterward known 
as Grev's ranch on the Purgatoire, is the same over which the army of Colonel 
Sterling Price marched in August, 1846, en route to New Mexico, and is more 

* A further account of H.itctier's <;ettlement will appcir in the course of our narrative. 


particularly described in Lieut. Emery's Reconnoissance of New Mexico 
and California, published by the War Department in 1849. From Grey's 
ranch northward, it followed the stage road, afterward used by the stage line of 
A. Jacobs and Barlow, Sanderson & Co. When our party arrived at the Purga- 
toire, November 17th, i860, and camped at the present site of Trinidad, it was 
snowing, and we found encamped in the brush on the margin of the stream 
Augustus Clermont and one Chalafa, whose christian name I have forgotten and 
of the orthography of whose surname I am uncertain. Li December, i860, I 
returned in company with Gilbert Huntington, who had come over the road with 
our party in November. We journeyed on horseback and our mission was to 
learn the fate of a young man named Samuel Anderson, of Iowa, who left our com- 
pany on the 1 6th of November and returned toward Fort Union in search of two 
mules belonging to himself and Huntington, and who had failed to overtake us. 
His failure to join us with the mules raised the suspicion that he had been murdered 
by a Mexican whom he had employed as a guide to assist him in fintling the 
animals. We went direct to Barclay's Fort (Wm. Kroenig's place), one mile from 
Watrous, and on the evening of our arrival there learned facts that confirmed our 
worst fears in regard to Anderson's fate, and pointed conclusively to a Mexican 
namtd Marcial ^loya as his murderer. We were informed that Moya was at Mr. 
Watrous' ranch and did not doubt our ability to surprise him in the morning, but 
he was made aware of our pursuit and Hed. After spending two weeks in fruitless 
cfTorts to find him, Mr. Huntington and myself returned to Field & Kroenig's 
place on the Huerfano river in Pueblo county, stopping over night on the Pur- 
gatoire. I neglected to mention that as we went south to New Mexico we stopped 
overnight with a man named Joaquin Young, who, with his family, had come from 
Taos in December, i860, and was then living in an unfinished log cabin one-half 
mile above the place known as Grey's ranch. On our return we found his house 
deserted, and no one was then living in the valley of the Purgatoire. This was in 
January, 1861, and Young's abandoned cabin was the only house that had been 
used as a human habitation then existing in what is now Las Animas county. 
The only other settlement south of Pueblo, on the east slope of the mountains and 
north of the 37th parallel of latitude, were Francisco & Daigrie's ranch on the head 
of the Cucharas (now La Veta), Bobois' ranch on the Huerfano, Hicklin's ranch 
on the Greenhorn, George Babcock's ranch and Isaac Bass' ranch on the St. 
Charles. On the Huerfano were living John Rice, N. W. Welton, Benj. B. Field, 
Charles Autobces and several others. In February, 1861, my eldest brother 
I'.licnezcr and myself built a cabin in the valley of the St. Charles, then more com- 
monly known as El Rio de Don Carlos, from the fact that Don Carlos Beaubicn, 
then living in Taos, N. M., had formerly resided there. After building our cabin 
and preparing s<mie ground ,for planting, my brother and I concluded that the 
water supply of the Don Carlos was insufficient for irrigation purposes, therefore 
wc determined to settle on the Purgatoire. We accordingly started for that place 
where we arrived on the evening of March 3rd, 1861. We found settled at the place, 
since known as the O'Neal ranch, Don Gabriel Gutierrez, a native of Bernalillo 
county, N. M., and his nephew, Don Juan N. Gutierrez, Jr. The latter is still living 
in this county. In their employ were two or three ser%'ants who were assisting them 
to build houses. 

".\ little below where Trinidad now stands was encamped Xavier Fresne (I am 
onlv certain of the spelling of his first name), a wagon-master of Col. Ceran St. 
Vrain. He had in his charge about 200 head of work oxen belonging to St. Vrain, 
which he was recruiting preparatory to a trip to Independence or Kansas City. 

"Within the present limits of Trinidad, on the north side of the Purgatoire. and 
within 400 feet of the present site of the Atchison. Topeka & Santa Fe depot. Riley 
\\ l^unton, a native of Maine, and William Frazier, a Scotchman, were endeavoring 


under many disadvantages to build a log cabin. With two small saddle ponies 
they were hauling logs from the woods on the margin of the river wherewith to 
build the walls of their cabin. I had two yoke of good oxen and a wagon, and niy 
brother and myself assisted Dunton and Frazier to finish the cabin, alter which 
we formed a partnership in the planting of a crop, which was accomplished after 
we had constructed the irrigating ditch now known as "The Gurule ditch." Herman 
Penida and Francisco Penida were at that time building a house for Don Filipe 
Baca, at the place where Major Chacon's dwelling house now stands. The parties 
mentioned above, my brother Ebenezer and myself constituted the entire population 
of what is now Las Animas county on the 4th day of March, 1861. 

"About the ist of April, 1861, Horace Long, a native of Kentucky, who had 
been a resident of Taos, N. M., since the year 1839, came into the valley of the 
Purgatoire and settled six miles above Trinidad at the mouth of "Long's Canada.' 
There came with him the Lave brothers, Manuel and Miguel, and Uriel Fligbee, now 
living at 'Higbee' in Bent county. About the 15th of April five or six families from 
Mora, N. M., settled in the valley of the Purgatoire within four or five miles of 
Trinidad, among whom were Lorenzo Sandoval and Juan de Dios Ramirez, who 
are still living in this county. About the 15th of May, 1861, James S. Grey and 
Juan Cristobal Tafoya arrived with ten or twelve families, all from Taos, N'. M. 
Tafoya was wantonly murdered in February, 1872, while holding the office and 
discharging the duties of sheriff of Las Animas county. Grey died a few years 
ago at Trinidad. Both he and Tafoya were good men and helped to make the 
history of the county. 

"Meantime Gabriel Gutierrez and Juan N. Gutierrez, Jr., had been joined by 
the father and brother of the latter. Don Juan N. Gutierrez, Sr., the father of 
Jlian N., Jr., and Antonio C. Gutierrez, was the most polished, cultured and talented 
Mexican who has ever resided in the state of Colorado. In the territory of New 
Mexico he had been elected many times to the territorial legislature. He died at 
his home in this county a few years ago. His sons, Antonio C, Juan N. and 
Abjandro, are still living here. 

"In July, 1861, Barney O'Neal, an Irish-American, came here from St. Louis. 
At this date the population of the county not of Mexican lineage and nativity con- 
sisted of Horace Long, Uriel Higbee, William Frazier, Riley Vincent Dunton, 
James S. Grey, Barney O'Neal, Ebenezer Archibald and Albert W. Archibald, and 
none others. No woman of pure Caucasian lineage could be found at that time 
within 60 miles of Trinidad." Thus ends Mr. Archibald's account, which we find 
quite complete, authentic and interesting. 

Dr. M. Beshoar, in his history of the county published in 1882, savs the Rio 
de Las Animas, which traverses the valley from southwest to northeast, is so called 
because of a peculiar moaning sound frequently heartl, and apparently rising from 
the earth. This sound conveyed to the minds of the early Mexican explorers the 
idea of the groans of suffering spirits, and for that reason they named it the "River 
of Spirits" or Rio Las Animas. Hence, also, the name of the county. Nearly all 
prominent points bear Spanish titles, mostly in honor of the patron saints of the 
different communities. Trinidad, the principal town, up to recent years mainly 
settled by Mexicans, signifies "the Trinity," or the "City of the Holy Trinity.'' The 
Raton Peak, near by, derives its name from a peculiar species of rodents that in- 
habit it. The Indians called it Chuquirique (Rat), in the Spanish "Raton." Fre- 
mont changed it to "Fisher's Peak," and it was so designated upon manv of the 
earlier maps. The Spanish Peaks the Indians identified as "Los Juajatoyas." 
The Apishapa, also of Indian origin, signifies stagnant or stinking water. The early 
Sjianiards named it "Rio San Antonio." "Rito San Lorenzo," or Rito de Grey, was 
named for James S. Grey, the pioneer of the valley. The Mexicans substituted 
San Lorenzo in honor of Saint Lawrence. La Frijoles signifies "beans" or the 

i;. M. AMNIONS. 


"bean fields." When the settlement was formed, Saint Isadore was chosen as their 
patron saint, hence they called it "San Isadoro.'' Alanco Buro means "Lame 
Jackass" or donkey, La Trinchera, "The Trench." Chiquaque, "Box Elder," 
"Cereza," Cherry creek, Piedros Coloradas, "Red Rocks," La Junta, "The Junction," 
and so on. All Spanish names rendered in the sott accents of the Spanish language 
are very musical, and far preferable to the harsher Anglo-Saxon nomenclature. 

Las Animas county embraces m its western division a part of the eastern slope 
of the main Rocky Mountain range, with its outlying foothills. The summit of the 
Raton range forms the dividing line between Colorado and New Mexico. There 
are many picturesque and highly fertile valleys and parks, some of which are occu- 
pied and under tillage. The western part is mountainous. The eastern and much 
the larger portion comprises a series of table-lands. The better available lands lie 
in the valley of the Purgatoire or Las Animas, the Apishapa, San Francisco and 
Trinchera. The valley of the Las Animas is about one mile in width and perhaps 
IOC in length. There are some good modem farmers, but a majority are Mexicans 
who have taken out ditches and cultivate after the fashion of their fathers, by shallow 
plowing with crooked sticks, and producing just enough beyond the wants of their 
families to trade for such clothing and household goods as they may require, in the 
larger towns where stores are kept. 

Desirous of learning the true history and present condition of agriculture and 
horticulture in this county, I applied to Mr. S. W. De Busk, one of the recognized 
authorities on these subjects, who furnished the following epitome. 

"The first irrigating ditch made in Las Animas county was dug by John 
Hatcher, the first white settler, in the year 1846. It was a small ditch covering only 
the low river bottom on the south side of the Purgatoire and not more than two 
miles in length. Hatcher was a wagon-master for St. Vrain & Vijil, claimants of the 
Las Animas Grant, which included this county. These land holders furnished him 
teams of mules, horses and oxen; the necessary implements and laborers to open 
a farm in the rich Purgatoire valley." Mr. De Busk's farm, occupied by him since 
December, 1874. is the original Hatcher tract. A part of his adobe ihvelling was long 
called "the Old Fort," having been used as a defense against the Indians. It was built 
by J. \V. Lewelling, Hatcher's successor. Here was born his daughter, May, about 
the year 1866. In proving up his water right in the district court, Mr. De Busk 
discovered Hatcher's water right, and from the oldest settlers gathered up its 

"in the fall of 1846 Hatcher brought his teams, tools and peons (Mexican 
slaves) from Taos, N. M., built his cabin on the north side of the Purgatoire, 18 
.miles east of Trinidad, and began taking out a ditch on the south side. It was 
surveyed only by the eyes of unskilled men. In May, 1847, Hatcher planted such 
land as he had cleared and plowed — some 40 acres — to corn. In July his crop was 
a novel, interesting sight in the valley of tall cottonwoods, smaller box elders, dense 
willows, plum, locust and hop vines. About roasting ear time the Indians waited 
ujxin .Mr. llatciier, told him the land was theirs and farming would not be permitted. 
On his refusing to give up the crop, the Indians killed his oxen, took his nuiles and 
destroyed his crop, telling him they would kill him also unless he moved away at 
once. Hatcher improvised a cart from the remains of his wagon, which the red 
skins had demolished, and attaching one steer and one mule thereto, reached Bent's 
Fort on the Arkansas river. Thus ended the first attempt at farming in this county. 

"Some thirteen years later, further efforts to establish agriculture began to be 
made by the Mexican settlers then arriving about Trinidad. June 17th. 1861, the 
Gurule ditch was begun, and November ist. i860, the .'\ntonio Lopez ditch. In 
1862 four ditches were conmienced — the Baca, the Leitensderfer. the Chilili and the 
EI Moro. In 1863 five more were started, the old Riley Dunton. the llilario M.-ulril. 
the Revez Montoya and the Jesus Fernandez, and Chacon and Espinosa." 
13 — iv 


It is proper to state in this connection that the foregoing data respecting the 
construction of the canals are taken from a pamphlet containing a "Decree of the 
District Court adjudicating priorities of irrigating ditches," a valuable historical 

"In 1864 four other ditches were begun, and in 1865 three additional. One 
of these was the Lewelling; that was simply a reopening of the old Hatcher ditch. 
Lewelling and his friends measured off their farms with a rope, and each took, or 
aimed to take, a mile of the valley. On the tract settled by Lewelling is found the 
first trace of fruit tree planting. Two walnut trees still live and bear their fruit; 
several clumps of the cultivated cherries survive, sprouts coming up from the roots 
of the original trees, which perished. Benjamin Titsworth, who settled near Lewell- 
ing about 1866, planted apple trees, but all perished. Wm. Bransford, 
a pioneer on San Francisco creek, also planted apple trees but without 
result, therefore these people voted apple culture a failure and concluded 
that the excellent wild fruits were all that nature intended them to enjoy. These 
early farms grew heavy crops of com, oats and wheat from the virgin soil. Having 
no fences, farming began each year when spring had fully arrived, and the domestic 
animals, goats, cattle and horses could be herded away from the crops by day and 
corralled at night. The early rule was to irrigate the field early until an ox would 
bog in the soft ground, then, as soon as dry enough, plow and put in the seed. The 
moisture thus stored by this early and thorough irrigation was sufficient to grow 
the crop on into June, before irrigation of the growing crop began. These settlers 
grew large quantities of oats and corn, much of which the government purchased 
for military posts at high prices. But everything they required was expensive; 
for example, a spade cost $2.50, a paper of needles a dollar, bacon one dollar a 
pound and butter the same. 

"In 1866 six more ditches were begun, among them the Hoehne, at the station 
of that name now on the A. T. & S. F. R. R. Hoehne ("Dutch Bill") was an enterpris- 
ing German. He built the first mill, introduced the first threshing machine, planted 
strawberries, trees of apple, cherry, etc. He went so far as to put a fence around 
his trees, which was a surprising innovation. It doubtless made him more success- 
ful than the others. However, he lost all the apple trees of his first planting, but 
in course of time he renewed the experiment, and put out an orchard about 1874, 
entirely of crab apples, and alternated rows of crab apple and rows of cottonwood 
to afford wind breaks and give the protection of timber. Hoehne intended to graft 
good fruit on these hardy crab apples but it was never done. As they bloomed 
early each spring, the blossoms were killed much oftener than in case of standard 
apple trees, and for a decade after Hoehne had left it, these trees, because of their 
early blooming, demonstrated to the early settlers the utter impossibility of grow- 
ing apples, etc. This man was an extensive farmer. He had nearly a thousand 
acres of fine land, which he operated for some ten years, growing extensive crops. 

"Six other ditches were begun in 1867, one in 1868, and in 1870 five, one of the 
latter being a mill ditch at Trinidad. In 1872 I observed people coming from 
considerable distances to the two flouring mills at Trinidad with wagonloads of 
grain to be grovmd. 

"At the present day there are 89 main ditches for irrigation in this county. 
The longest of these is sixteen miles, but the majority are small. The total 
mileage of main canals is about 300 miles. The running water is all ex- 
hausted for irrigation, but a vast amount might be stored in reservoirs. The 
topography of the county is very favorable for reservoir systems. 

".Ml grains, grasses, vegetables and fruits adapted to a semi-tropical climate 
appear to do well. The tomato, a semi-tropical fruit, is grown by the wagonload 
on the higher lands, with sand in the soil. In the mountains and foot-hills — the 
western one-third of the county — irrigation is not practiced. Here are grown 


enormous crops of potatoes, oats, rye, vegetables and the small fruits. At Stone- 
wall — altitude 7,500 feet — apples and pears arc grown. After leaving the foot- 
hills no farming is attempted without irrigation. The rainfall is appro .xiniately 15 
inches per annum, including moisture from snowfall. The chief advantage agri- 
culture enjo)s is in the fact that production in all lines is less than the home demand. 
Whatever the farmer produces he takes to market himself and sells under his own 
eye, thus saving freight tariffs and the elastic charges of commission mercliants. 

"The reason that so few orchards exist is that very few men of sufficient 
means or energy, or both, have chosen to adopt this line of industry. The pro- 
prietorship of a herd, or a coal mine, a store, or some speculation, has captivated the 
majority. At this date the foot-hill and mountain farmers sell the one staple — 
potatoes. The valley farmers have the one staple — alfalfa; a very few are becoming 
feeders of live stock as well as producers of raw materials. 1 estimate that Trinidad 
consumes 2,000 pounds per day of butter, yet there are not twenty professional 
dairymen in the county. The home product supplies much less than half of this 
demand, in winter not a tenth. Strawberr)- culture is totally neglected, yet would 
pay large margins. Our altitudes, ranging from 10,000 down to 4,500 feel, should 
give a strawberry season of three months. I know of one patch of less than one- 
eighth of an acre which netted $120 in one season. E. J. Hubbard cultivated an 
acre of grapes for seven years at El Moro. The Hartford, Champion, Delaware 
and Concord were entirely successful. The Ives Seedling was not. The Mission 
grape of New Mexico was too tender. Henry J. Niles, on Grey creek, grew 
Muscatels successfully. All the small fruits, except the blackberrv', thrive and yield 
abundantly. This exception requires winter covering of the tall stifT canes, and 
the extra labor is conceded to cost more than the profits of a crop. Many of us 
have discarded fruits or vegetables as being too tender to be grown, and later on 
have found that the same could be produced successfully in a different location. 

^^Temperature. — Our principal streams being tributary to the Arkansas river, 
the temperature of the plains portion of the county is very similar to that of the 
Arkansas valley, allowance being made for the increased altitude. Not until this 
year(i89i) have there been sub-stations of the U. S. weather service in this county. 
The following is a comparison of the mean temperature of one station, five miles 
from the foot-hills, compared with Fruita, in Grand valley (Mesa county), and 
Rocky l'"or<l, in the Arkansas valley (Otero county), for June, July and August, 1891, 
as reported by the U. S. Weather Bureau. 

June. July. August. 

Apishapa 62.8 70.8 73.4 

Fruita 68.6 75.6 73.1 

Rocky I'ord 68.6 73.2 73.9 

It will be seen from the foregoing that our mean temperature is l)Ut a few 
degrees lower than in the two greatest and warmest valleys of the state. 

•'Prnch Ciiltinc. — To the surprise of all. the peach and apricot trees, a few- 
lingering ones, representing a forlorn hope, about many residences both in the city 
and countrv', bore well and matured their fruit in the season of 1891. An almond 
tree planted by ex-State Treasurer Geo. R. Swallow at his old home in Trinidad 
bears well. Isolated cases of fruitful peach trees have been observed through a 
number of vears. Last spring was exempt from late frosts. Possibly we may in 
time learn to grow the peach as we have learned how to do other things." 

In conclusion, Mr. I)e I'.usk gives the following result of fruit culture upon his 
own farm at Downing, on the Las Animas river, a few miles northeast of Trinidad: 

"In 1874 I planted a small orchard on low bottom land, but lost all the trees. 
In 1881 I began planting again on higher ground, a northern slope. Of apples, the 
following fruited heavily this season: Tetofsky, Red Astrachan, Cooper's Early 


White. Fall Spitzenburg. Whitney No. 20, Ben Davis, Missouri Pippin, Rawles' 
Janet, Gideon, Winesap, Flyslop, Transcendent, Chicago, Shields and large Red 
Siberian Crabs. It is safe to say that the hardy and half-hardy varieties find a 
congenial home in Las Animas county. 

".-/// Acre of Grapes. — E. J. Hubbard stated to the State Horticultural society, 
in 1884, that to plant and care for an acre six years cost $300. The sales of fruit 
during that period amounted to $600, the family supplies being furnished in addi- 
tion to the sales." 

As indicated by Air. De Busk, and confirmed by other trustworthy authorities, 
all the available water of the several streams has been e.xhausted b}' the many canals 
already constructed. Any enlargement of the supply must come from the reservoir 
storage system, or from some of the rain-compelling inventions. Little or no grain 
is grown for export. It is quite clear that these valleys, however e.xtensive and 
fertile, can not at present be converted into grain fields, in competition with the more 
favored localities which are nearer, and therefore have command of the markets. 
This branch of industry, together with its auxiliary, horticulture, has been so in- 
telligently summarized in the foregoing pages we need not dwell longer upon it. 

We will now turn to the one basic industry of coal mining, which has been very 
extensively developed and is a source of great revenue to the county and its capital 
city. Coal is literally king of the region. A few years ago the chief element of 
wealth was stock growing, when tens of thousands of cattle and sheep fed upon the 
hills and plains. The coal miners are now producing and shipping from 6,000 
to 7,000 tons daily. Great numbers of men are employed in the several fuel fields, 
among them many Mexicans and negroes, and of course great activity prevails, for 
the reason that much of the supply for state consumption and for export to Texas, 
Kansas and other states is there produced. The primal discovery, at least the first 
of which we have any record, was made by Alajor W. H. Emery of the U. S. 
Topographical Engineers, attached to the military command which passed through 
this valley in 1846. Dismounting under the shade of a fine cottonwood, Emery 
noticed that the ants were constantly bringing to the surface little black particles 
which they heaped about their homes. On examining he discovered it to be a fair 
bituminous coal, lumps of which were afterward found thickly strewn over the 
plain. These fragments were erosions from the outcrops of the great coal measures, 
some of wliich are now extensively operated. Mr. R. C. Hills, the most eminent 
authority in the state, estimates that what are known as the Raton coal fields will 
embrace a total of 1,300 square miles. "In the Trinidad district there are usually 
two workable seams present, occasionally three, belonging to the lower series ; and 
always one, and often two, belonging to the upper Canon deAqua series, outcropping 
from 800 to 1,000 feet higher in the measures. None of these seams maintain a con- 
tinuous workable thickness over large areas, but as there are quite a number in the 
section, at least twenty-seven being known, one or more in a given locality will be 
found of workable size, though not correspondingly to the thick coal developed in 
the adjoining ground. At Engleville the coal is won from the lowest bed in the 
measures, while at the Starkville, Sopris and Valley mines it is some one of the higher 
scams of the lower series that has the greatest productive capacity. Up to the 
present time nearly all the coal extracted from the mines of the district has been 
taken from seams ranging from si.x to nine feet in thickness, usually about five 
and a half to seven feet of this amount being available. Trinidad coal produces a 
hard, extremely dense coke and is much used as fuel for locomotives and for smelt- 
ing ores. Adjoining the Trinidad district on the west is the Purgatoire district in 
which the lower series of seams do not outcrop. This district may be defined as a 
strip about twenty miles long, of varying width, extending up the vallev of the 
Purgatoire and including several of its lateral branches. Here the nearly horizon- 
tal measures have been deeply eroded, so that both from the valley itself and the 


principal side canons the lower scries of scams can be easily readied through shafts, 
while the up[)er series can be mined directly from the outcrop. Uy this means a 
large area of land, probably as much as 135 square miles, will eventually be made 

In his biennial report for 1890 the state inspector of coal mines, Mr. John 
McNeil, gives a general review of the several prominent mines, from which we con- 
dense the following data: The Sopris mine is located five miles in a southerly 
direction from Trinidad, and is owned and operated by the Denver Fuel company. 
This is the largest producer in the state, 2,000 tons having passed over its single 
tipple in less than ten hours. The daily capacity is about 1,750 tons. A portion of 
the product is converted into coke at the company's ovens in proximity to the mines. 
The vein is from five to six feet in thickness and dips to the south at an angle of three 
to five degrees. The output for 1890 was 301,225 tons. The Valley mine was 
abandoned during 1890. It was opened in 1888 by the Raton Coal & Coke company 
in the interest of the Denver, Texas & Fort Worth railroad company. The mine 
was extensively worked, yielding above 500 tons a day; the vein is four feet five 
inches thick and is interstratified with four to eight inches of slate near the center, 
besides other impurities. 

The El Moro mine up to i8go was the largest producer in Colorado, but has 
been surpassed by the Sopris. It is a drift opening. The coal seam is si.x to eight 
feet thick, and its capacity 1,200 tons a day. It is owned by the Colorado Coal & 
Iron company. 

The Chicosa mine is owned and operated by the Trinidad Fuel company. It 
consists of two separate drift openings, having parallel entries from the crop of the 
coal. The vein is seven feet thick. Its capacity is about 750 tons a day. 

The Grey Creek mine is located about six miles east of Trinidad and opened 
by drifts. The coal seam is about seven feet in thickness, but is interstratified with a 
seam of shale 10 inches to two feet thick. The Victor is comparatively a new 
mine situate some sixteen miles north of Trinidad, on a branch of the Fort Worth 
R. R. It consists of three separate openings. Its capacity is about 1,000 tons a 
day. The vein is seven feet thick. Near the mines are 100 coke ovens. 

There are two Starkville mines — No. i and No. 2. The first is located at 
Starkville station on the A. T. & S. F. R. R. The coal seam is six feet thick, and 
its capacity 100 tons a day. This mine has been practically abandoned. Stark- 
ville No. 2 is an extensive mine, having a capacity of 600 tons a day. The vein 
is about six feet thick, with a gentle dip of two to three degrees. The coal is hauled 
by a small locomotive from the mine entrance to the company's tipple and ovens, 86 
in number, which are situated near No. i mine. 

The Road Canon mine is situated three miles south of the Victor. The vein is 
six feet thick, and is opened by three separate drifts with parallel air courses. The 
capacity is about 1,000 tons a day. 

The I'loom mine is two miles south of Trinidad opened by a drift. The coal 
is six feet thick, and its capacity 25 tons a day; most of the output is sold to the 
local trade. 

The IJutler & Spencer is two and a half miles south of Trinidad, has a drift 
opening; coal seam six feet thick; capacity 30 toms daily. 

The oldest mine operated in the district is the Engleville, nearly two miles 
southeast of Trinidad. This mine was opened in 1877, and it has been very exten- 
sively developed. Its capacity is about 1,500 tons daily. The output for 1890 
was 323,326 tons. There are 635 coke ovens in the county. Inspector McNeil 
places the total output of coal in this county for 1890 at 1,134,845 tons, an in- 
crease of 234,320 tons over 1889; and of coke 149,503 tons, an increase of 30,067 
tons. The coal being so near Trinidad, customers in town are supplied with a 
superior screened product at $2 per ton. and they ofTcr to mamifacturers a fine coal 


at one dollar a ton. One of the local statisticians estimates tlie value of the coal 
of the Trinidad district for 1890, on the cars ready for shipment, at $2,340,676.50; 
coke $522,550.50, or $2,863,227 for both products. The coke produced for 1888 
was 120,736 tons; for 1889, 119,436; 1890, 149,503 tons. The coal produces about 
66 per cent, of coke, at a cost of about $1.15 per ton, loaded into cars for shipment. 
In the northern part of the field, the sulphur increases and the coal is unfit for 

The Sopris mine had, in 1891, 100 coke ovens; the Starkville, 85; the El Moro, 
250; the Victor, 200; which, when all in operation, produced 1,125 '"-""s daily. The 
Sopris people were contemplating an addition of 100 ovens to their plant. 

I found some diversity of opinion respecting the extent and value of the iron 
ore deposits. Mr. J. W. Shryock, the accepted authority, informs me that it is simply 
an undemonstrated problem as yet. The county has not been thoroughly prospected 
for iron, yet, from the examinations thus far made, none except banded seams, 
mostly limonite, too thin for working, have been discovered. But at several points, 
50 to 80 miles south of Trinidad, near Elizabethtown, in New Mexico, there are large 
beds of superior steel ores, as well as high grades of manganese. The list dis- 
covered there includes hematite, specular, magnetic and bog iron. The first three 
are in veins from three to seven feet thick, but there is no railway connection nearer 
than 12 to 15 miles. Only one of the veins appears to have been opened. This shows 
seven feet of solid ore. If Trinidad is to achieve her highest ambition, which is to 
be a large center of iron and steel manufacture, the deposit just mentioned must be 
her main dependence. It seems to me, however, that Pueblo is too near, with its im- 
mense iron and steel plant, and the influence of the Colorado Coal and Iron com- 
pany too great to permit a rival to be successfully established at Trinidad, or any- 
where else in the state, if it can be prevented. 

Stock Grooving. — A few years ago Las Animas county was the center of a vast 
cattle trade. Some of the largest and wealthiest dealers in live stock resided at 
her capital, built elegant residences there and accumulated large fortunes from the 
traffic. Of all the tens of thousands of cattle that once fed upon the ranges, scarcely 
more than twenty-five per cent, remain. That is to say, according to the testimony 
of many prominent owners with whom I personally conversed on the subject, fully 
seventy-five per cent, of the great herds have disappeared. Hard winters destroyed 
thousands, other thousands have been sold, and still others moved further south 
into New Mexico, Indian Territory and Texas. The ranges formerly well grassed, 
forming excellent feeding grounds, have been exhausted by cattle and sheep. Un- 
satisfactory prices have driven many out of the trade. Such as remain are only 
waiting for the long anticipated rise, when they, too, will sell out. It is clearly 
apparent that the range stock industry is gradually approaching extinction. Since 
1891, owing to the unusually abundant rains, the ranges have been greatly improved, 
but the main fact just stated has not been materially changed. There are still some 
breeders of fine stock, but they are in the minority. Many of the principal business 
men of the county have been deeply interested in stock growing, and nearly all have 
suffered from it during the past three or four years from the reasons given. The 
abstract of assessment returned to the state auditor for 1890 placed the number of 
cattle in this county at 49,219, the sheep at 54.552. and the horses at 7.716, which still 
leaves a pretty large remnant. It is probable that the county contains not less than 
120,000 animals of the different classes, which shows the extent of the ranges, after 
a long period of decimation. The total assessed valuation of all taxable property in 
the county for 1890 was $6,990,910.21, less than fifty per cent, of the actual valua- 
tion. For example, the return gives 53.405 acres of coal land, valued at $421,462. 
or a little less than eight dollars an acre. The actual wealth of the county can not be 
far from $12,000,000. 

Trinidad, piously designated "the city of the Holy Trinity," is somewhat 


romantically situated on the Purgatoire, or Las Animas river, occupying both 
banks, in the southeastern part of the county, and near the base of a spur of the 
Roci<y Mountains, flanked on either side by lofty hills that are studded with cedar 
and pinon trees, resembling in some degree, at least conveying a suggestion or re- 
minder of Santa Fe, New Mexico, but much more compact, populous and substan- 
tial. When I first saw it in 1868, it was a large Mexican village, built of adobes, 
pickets and logs, with scarcely more than twenty-five American mhabitants. This 
state of things prevailed, with occasional introduction of modern improvements 
through the gradual acquisition of Caucasian immigrants, until after the arrival 
of railways in 1878. The actual beginning of progressive development was m 
1883. It is now a strong and substantial center of trade. The business 
streets. Main and Commercial, the first running northeast and southwest, and 
the second nearly north and south, are compactly built of stone and brick, on either 
side, and traversed by a not very creditable line of horse cars, which later on, in the 
fall of 1 89 1, was supplanted by an electric road; at least such a change had been 
provided for. Many of the stores are stocked with fine goods, and there is an air 
of briskness which indicates an active commerce. The city is environed by foot- 
hills, and on either side are castellated promontories, much like those near Castle 
Rock, in Douglas, and east of Ciolden, in Jefferson county. Through the center of 
the valley runs the river which takes its rise in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. The 
valley is from one to two and a half miles wide "decreasing toward the west and in- 
creasing toward the east." The city was incorporated by act of the territorial 
legislature, approved February loth, 1876. The limits were one mile in all direc- 
tions from the intersection of Main and Conunercial streets. There are two 
strangely formed and very conspicuous peaks on either side of the city, that on the 
north called "Simpson's Rest," on the ver\' pinnacle of which lie the remains of 
George S. Simpson, one of the historic pioneers of the county, and that on the south, 
"Fisher's Peak."' To the northwest are the magnificent Spanish Peaks, upon which 
many writers have exhausted panegyric, in attempting to portray their grandeur. 
Back of these sweep the apparently interminable Sangre de Cristo mountains. 

The first board of trustees of the newly incorporated town was comj^osed of 
Abner Rowland, Jesus Maria Garcia, Dr. AL I'.eshoar, Sam Jaffa and Thomas C. 
Stevens, who met February 14th, 1876, and elected Mr. Jaffa chairman, and Mr. 
Stevens clerk. These were appointed by the county commissioners to serve until 
the next ensuing municipal election, at which time the following were chosen: 

Charles P.^Treat, T. C. Stevens, Thos. E. Owen. Isaac Levy, Abe Mansbach 
and W. De la Warren, trustees; officers: Thos. E. Owen, presitlent; clerk, Julius 
II. Clark; constable, John J. Sclles; street commissioner, David Henry. The town 
site was entered at the I'ueblo land office, .A-pril i6th, 1878. From 1878 to Decern- 
bcr 13th, 1879, Joseph Davis was ])rcsident of the board. On the date last named, it 
was made a city of the second class, by proclamation of the governor, and, in 1880, 
Mr. Thos. K. Owens was elected first mayor. 

The mean elevation of Trinidad is somewhat above 6,000 feet. It is a dis- 
tributing point for all the region round about, and for many years, long anterior 
to the building of railways, enjoyed a considerable trade with Santa Fe and other 
lioints in New Mexico, the greater part of which was supplied by the strong mercan- 
tile firm of Davis & P.arraclough. There are many small settlements in the agri- 
cultural districts which do their marketing here. Its position is favorable for steady 
development, being connected with all exterior towns by three great railways, the 
Denver I'l: Rio Grande, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe and tjie LTnion Pacific, 
Texas & Gulf. The Santa Fe road crosses the Raton Pass (which is 12 to 13 miles 
south of the town) into New Mexico. The first passage was made by an ingenious 
"switch-back," November 30th, 1878, but this was subsequently displaced by a tun- 
nel throu'di the range. Excepting Pueblo. Trinidad is the largest and most ini- 


portant town in southeastern Colorado. The production of coal and coke in its 
immediate vicinity is about one-third of the total product of the state. Its public 
institutions, city and county buildings, schools, churches, banks and mercantile 
houses impress the obser\'er by their solidity and evident prosperity. It is ex- 
pected that the Chicago & Rock Island railroad will, in the early future, be extended 
from Colorado Springs to this great center of coal mining, as its line has already 
been surveyed, and, besides, one of its main objects in coming to Colorado was to 
obtain supplies of fuel from these and the Huerfano fields for its own use, and to 
supply the many towns along its line in Kansas. 

The water supply of Trinidad is now ample for all purposes. The first system 
of water works was built in 1879 by Delos A. Chappell, and consisted of a large res- 
ervoir and pumping machinery near the river. In 1890 the company in control 
adopted the gravity system, with greater supply and pressure. They tapped the 
Las Animas, 15 miles above, conveyed the water some three miles by ditch to a 
settling and filtering reservoir, thence to a distributing reservoir located on Reser- 
voir hill, just south of the city and 250 feet above the level of the river, whence it is 
distributed by conduits to consumers. The original plant is retained for emer- 

Gas works were built by a company organized April 14th, 1881. Recently an 
electric light plant has been added. Hon. F. D. Wight is the president, who or- 
ganized the Trinidad Electric Light, Heat and Power company and con- 
solidated the gas company therewith, furnishing both arc and incandescent lamps. 

Many elegant brick, stone and frame residences, with ample lawns embellished 
by shrubbery, ornamental shade trees and flowers, dot the slopes on either side. 
On the south those of Delos A. Chappell, a beautiful palace of stone, a large and 
elaborate mansion of brick, formerly the home of Mrs. Lacey, widow of a wealthy cat- 
tle baron. Dr. W. L. South and Mr. Frank J. Bloom are especially noticeable. In 
James" addition are the handsome homes of Morris James and J. O. Packer. On 
the north side of the river, away from the noise and dust of the city, upon the 
elevated hillsides, are those of Hampton Layton, Judge Caldwell Yeaman, W. E. 
Howlett and others, in the midst of hundreds of neat cottage homes, with many 
groves of ornamental trees. This struck me as being the more desirable residence 
quarter of the city. 

The Mexican population, which for many years predominated, has been over- 
whelmed by the influx of Americans. While many still have homes there, only a 
fraction of the old settlers remain. They, like the Indians, are disappearing before 
the march of civilization to which only a few have readily adapted themselves. 
They are not progressive, hence can not compete in any direction with the swift mov- 
ing Americans. Most of their homes are gone, their lands have been absorbed by 
the new generation and hundreds have emigrated. The farmers can not plow with 
crooked sticks, raise and harvest crops by their primitive methods, against the im- 
proved machincr)' which the white race uses. They are therefore giving way. and, 
in a few years. Las Animas will be wholly occupied by their successful antagonists. 

Banks. — The Trinidad National was organized in 1874 as the Bank of Southern 
Colorado, but, in 1886, was nationalized. Its capital is $100,000: surplus and un- 
divided profits, $12,000. James L. Lombard, president: Caldwell Yeaman, vice- 
president: H. K. Holloway, cashier. 

The First National was established in 1875, capital, $100,000, and in July, 1891, 
its surplus was $62,500. M. D. Thatcher, president; D. A. Chappell, vice-president; 
H. J. Alexander, cashier. 

The American Savings Bank was incorporated February ist, 1889. with a paid- 
up capital of $25,000, James Lynch, president: H. F. Moore, vice-president; W. H. 
Robinson, cashier. 

At the time of my visit in August, 1891, the First National was building a 


splendid structure of cut stone, on ]Main street, five stories high and of admirable 
architecture, at a cost of $100,000. This is the handsomest building in the city. 

Churches. — The Catholic church was established here at a very early date, 
its people have progressed with the years until they now have a large and very fine 
establishment, consisting of a stone church, convent and hospital. They have 
exerted themselves to improve the condition of the Mexicans, and toward educating 
their children In tiie English language, manners, customs and sentiments. The 
j\l. E. church was organized by the Rev. E. J. Rice toward the close of 1868, and has 
a fine edifice. The i\L E. Church South was organized in 1872, and has made its 
way to a successful establishment through many trials and discouragements. The 
Presbyterians organized under the leadership of Rev. Sheldon Jackson, September 
7th, 1873; the Baptists by Rev. W. B. Johnson, in January, 1879; the Christians in 
Se])teniber, 1879, by Re\-. Air. Spencer; the Episcopalians about 1880. The Con- 
gregatiunalists, German Lutherans and Hebreus also have strong organizations 
and fine houses of worship. Strange as it may seem, there are two churches erected 
))y the very large colored population, the Alethodists and the Baptists. Many negroes 
are employed in and about the coal mines. 

Schaoh. — There are three superior public school buildings, each two stories 
high, of brick with stone trimmings, and fitted with all modern conveniences. The 
sclioois are graded, and tlie most compt-tent teachers are employed. The people are 
lavishly generous in providing the best facilities for education. Besides there is the 
Tillotson Academy, an excellent institute established eleven years ago, and a com- 
mercial college, near the center of town. 

By the census of 1890 the total public school population of Las Animas county 
was 4,765, with a total enrollment of 1,844. There were 2i2< school houses, but out- 
side of Trinidad mostly cheap structures or rented buildings. The Catholic private 
schools control the Mexican element. 

Of hotels there are three very good ones, the Grand Union, built in 1881-82, 
the first large brick building erected in Trinidad, at the corner of Main and Com- 
mercial streets; the Trinidad hotel built in 1879, of sandstone, and the Southern in 
1882. The old United States hotel, formerly conducted by Davis & Sherman, is 
now practically obsolete. 

There are two smelters, a rolling mill, two iron foundries, flouring mills, planing 
mills, grindstone works, cement works and a large brewery; a modern telephone sys- 
tem, telegraph lines, express offices, an opera house, etc. The Trinidad Gentlemen's 
club has a membership of 100, and elegantly furnished rooms. 

The Daily "Advertiser"^ is the only morning journal, but there arc three even- 
ing papers. 

The first county officers ajjpointed in 1867 after the creation of the county 
were: County clerk, James M. Stoner; probate judge, Horace Long; sheriff, 
George McBride; treasurer, Wm. Hoehne; superintendent of schools, Jefferson W. 
Lewelling; assessor, Samuel Smith; commissioners, Jacob Beard, Isaac \'an Bremer 
and llelario Madril. The first elected officers, 1867-68, were: County clerk, 
George S. Simpson; probate judge, Juan N. Gutierrez, Sr. ; sheriff, Juan \. Gutier- 
rez, Jr. (who resigned January 14th, 1868, when John D. Kinnear was appointed 
to fill the vacancy); treasurer, James M. Stoner; superintendent of schools, Jefferson 
W. Lewelling, who resigning in October, 1867, Joseph Davis was appointed; 
assessor, |esus M. Garcia; coroner, Ramon \'ijil; commissioners, Lorenzo A. 
Abeyta, James S. Grey and Wilford B. Witt. 

Those elected for 1890-91 were: Clerk, J. M. Garcia; treasurer, T. B. Collier; 
county judge, W. G. Ilines; assessor, J. L. Budge; sheriff, L. M. Kreeger; coroner, 
W. L. Walker; superintendent of schools, G. C. Shiels; surveyor. J. F. Ramey; clerk 
of the district court, A. B. Holland; commissioners, R. H. Purington, W. A. Collins, 
Thomas Cook. 


It is indisputable that the capital city of Las Animas county might have been 
advanced far beyond its present dimensions and strength, but for the almost crimi- 
nal policy of the Palmer-Hunt management of the Denver & Rio Grande railway. 
This line was completed from Pueblo to El Moro, in 1876, but instead of extending 
it five miles further to the established commercial emporium of the county, and thus 
aiding its people to build a large city from its multifarious resources, it was ob- 
stinately held there for the dual purpose, first of creating a rival town that was in- 
tended to sap and destroy Trinidad, and secondly, to accommodate the coal mines 
and coke ovens of the Colorado Coal and Iron company. 

This state of thmgs continued until 1888, when the road was completed to its 
proper destination, and, by the subsequent laying of a third rail, opened it also to 
the trains of the Denver, Texas & Gulf road from Pueblo. It was this suicidal 
folly which caused the people of Trinidad to espouse the cause of the Atchison, 
Topeka & Santa Fe road during its desperate struggle with the Denver & Rio 
Grande, in 1878-79. El Moro was founded by the Southern Colorado Coal and 
Iron company, in 1876, and occupied chiefly by the station and workhouses of the 
railway company and the employes of the Colorado Coal and Iron company, work- 
ers in the coke ovens built there, the coal being brought to them from the great 
Engleville mines, two miles east of Trinidad and about seven miles south of El Moro. 
They put forth great efforts to absorb and destroy the main town, but never suc- 
ceeded. Immediately after the extension of the road to the capital, El Moro was 
practically abandoned by all save the employes of the Coal and Iron company. Most 
of its buildings were moved or fell into ruin. Outside of Trinidad, Engleville, Stark- 
ville and Sopris, all coal mining settlements, and the coke ovens, there are no con- 
siderable towns, but there are a number of small farming hamlets along the various 
water courses, devoted to agriculture, stock raising, etc. 

The native resources of the country are very numerous, and will eventually be 
developed. The principal city is admirably situated for a large export trade with 
New Mexico, Arizona and Texas when its people shall have established factories for 
the conversion of its abundance of raw materials into merchantable forms. It has 
been, and is still, a center of great wealth, but the subsidence of its vast trade in cat- 
tle, sheep and wool left a certain paralysis from which the place is just now recover- 
ing. The present is an opportune time for the introduction of new blood, capital 
and enterprise. When this is done, Trinidad will rise to a city of great magnitude 
and importance in the Colorado system. 


General description — stock growing and agriculture — early settlers — 

SCHOOLS, etc. 

This county was named in honor of President Abraham Lincoln, and was 
organized by an act of the General Assembly, approved April nth, 1889, from 
territory originally belonging to Elbert and Bent counties. It is bounded on the 
north by Arapahoe, south by Otero and Kiowa, east by Kit Carson and Cheyenne 
and west by Elbert and El Paso. Its area is 2,600 square miles, and by the census 
of 1890 its population was 689. Though but recently elevated to the dignity of 
a distinct corporation, Hugo, one of its settlements, dates back twenty years or 
more, when it was a part of Arapahoe county. It is watered by the Big Sandy 
river, which takes its rise in the IJivide in Elbert county and flows across Lincoln 
in a southeasterly direction, finally emptying into the Arkansas, just west of Toledo, 
in Prowers county. In the northern part of Lincoln are the headwaters of the 
.-\rickaree. which flows northeast and empties into the North Fork of the Repul)- 
lican, near Haigler, Nebraska. In the southern portion are Rush, Horse, Steele's, 
Fork, Pond creek and other small streams. The valleys are moist and the whole 
surface is covered with rich grasses. The soil is a rich loam, and is highly pro- 
ductive. But little farming is done, although the possibilities are boundless. The 
section is a virgin one, with a million acres of available agricultural land. It is the 
stockman's paradise, for its range is very e-xtensive, and the wire fence of the farmer 
is confined solely to a few valleys. But, while the land is fertile and under irriga- 
tion, is capable of producing as abundantly of grain and vegetables as any part 
of the state, the people haTe been content to continue in the pursuits long since estab- 
lished of raising beef and shee]) and producing vast quantities of wool for the 
eastern markets. With the new accessions which have been coming into the county 
during the past few years, the old industry of stock and sheep growing is chang- 
ing, and the prospect is that agriculture will be more generally followed, for no 
county in the state is better adapted naturally to the pursuit of farming than 

Tlie early settlers were nearly all from Texas and dififerent points in Colorado, 
but the recent population is largely from the eastern states, and it is this element 
tliat has taken up the business of tilling the soil. There are some years when farmers 
in this county may wholly rely upon the natural rainfall for the fructification of 
their cro])s, but where irrigating canals are universally used, as they soon will be, 
no such thing will ever be heard of in Lincoln county as the failure of crops through 
insufficient moisture. Looking to the official reports for data, we find in the assess- 
ment roll of the county for 1890 that 18,200 acres of land had been used for agri- 
culture. The number of acres is now much greater and is yearly increasing, and 
will continue to nnilliply under the new imjiulse which has been given by the in- 


coming population. The Kansas Pacific branch of the Union Pacific railroad 
and the Roclc Island and Pacific roads pass through the county. 

Arriba, Simon, Bovina and Mirage are small stock raising stations. 

Schuoh. — There are seven schools in the county; some of them in sod houses, 
but all supplied with maps, charts, globes, etc. Says Mr. H. A. Lowell, the county 
superintendent: "It is surprising to see what neat and comfortable houses they are, 
both in winter and in summer. They have a good corps of teachers and are making 
fine progress. The principal school is at Hugo. The building is constructed of 
brick, costing $8,000. District No. 3, at Arriba, built a good frame school house 
in the spring of 1 89 1. Bovina has a sod house, 18 x 26 feet,"' and, says the super- 
intendent, 'T doubt if many frame houses of its size are as well lighted and com- 
fortable as this one." The schools of Lincoln county are in a very creditable con- 

The assessed valuation of taxable property in 1890 was $1,763,856.62. 

Nii^i^o is the county seat. It is located 105 miles southeast of Denver, has a 
population of about 450, and its altitude is 5,000 feet above tide water. 

Its present business men are: W. L. Clowes (postmaster), John Connolly, 
Ewing & Powell, J. W. Gardner, Holt Live Stock Co., John Johnston, T. M. 
Lint, H. A. Lowell, W. S. Pershing, F. Schneider, Dr. Thayer, Frank Tompkins, 
U. S. land ofifice (J. H. McKee, register, and L. E. Foote, receiver), W. H. H. 
Wagoner, Wagoner & Henry, J. W. Williams and D. Wilson. 


The founding of towns — organization — early settlers — building canals 



This county was named for Major-General John A. Logan, one of the most 
illustrious volunteer commanders in the war of the Rebellion. It was established 
from the northeastern part of Weld county, by an act of the General Assembly, 
approved February 25th, 1887. As then instituted, it was bounded on the north 
and east by the state of Nebraska, south by the new county of Washington, created 
at the same session, and a small part of Weld and west by the latter. The eastern 
part of Logan was again subdivided, and Sedgwick and Phillips counties created 
therefrom in 1889. It is now bounded as follows: North by the state of Nebraska, east 
by Sedgwick and Phillips counties, south by Yuma, Washington and Morgan, and 
west by Weld. Its area is 1,830 square miles, and by the census of 1890 its popula- 
tion was 3,070. It lies in the open plains region, and is devoted to agriculture and 
stock raising. The principal stream is the South Platte river, with Pawnee, Cedar, 
Lewis and other creeks as tributaries. 

The following towns have been surveyed and plats filed in the county clerk's 

Sterling, September 24th, 1881. by M. C. King. Atwood, July 28th, 1885, by 
V. P. Wilson, of Dickinson county, Kansas, filed Julv 2()th, 1885; survcved bv J. C. 
Ulrich. Red Lion, November sth, 1S86, filed November 8th, 'bv F. O. Beirand 
E. O. Wright; surveyed in March, 1886, by A. B. Codding. l\\^\ April i6th, 1887, 
by Andrew Sagcndorf, register of the state board of land commissioners of Colo- 
rado, by direction of said board. Willard, October 29th, 1888, by the Lincoln Land 


compan_v, II. B. Scott, president, and R. O. Phillips, secretan-, filed December 7th, 
1888; surveyed June I3tli, 1888, by A. B. Smith. Rockland, November 27lh, 1888, 
by Charles E. AlcPherson, George F. Weed and Robert Plunkett. Le Roy, Feb- 
ruary 13th, 1889, and filed February 14th, 1889, by Michael Thimgan; surveyed bv 
W. L. Hayes, the same month. Fleming, February' 21st, 1889, filed on the 26th by 
the president and secretary of the Lincoln Land company; surveyed June 14th, 
1888, by A. B. Smith. 

When established by the legislature, the following county officers were ap- 
pointed by the Governor: Commissioners, D. B. Morgan, Henry Schneider and 
Jacob Furry. The latter deceased during his term, and W. S. Hadfield was ap- 
pointed to the vacancy; sheriff, John Tobin; clerk and recorder, W. F. Kiester; 
treasurer, M. H. Smith; county judge, T. L. Watson; assessor, H. T. Sutherland; 
coroner, Dr. David Beach; superintendent of schools, Oscar Frego; surveyor, 
J. J. Cheairs. 

The first meeting of the commissioners was held March i8th, 1887, at Sterling, 
which had been designated as the county seat. D. B. Morgan was elected chair- 
man of the board. July 15th, voting precincts for election purposes were estab- 
lished, and judges appointed. In November following, the list of officers sub- 
joined were chosen: 

Conmiissioners, J. W. Ramsey, C. C. Washburn and J. F. Watts; sheriff, 
D. Buchanan: clerk and recorder, J. N. Knoblaugh; treasurer, M. H. Smith; county 
judge, R. L. Rowden; coroner, David Beach; superintendent of schools, Oscar 
Frego; assessor, H. T. Sutherland; surveyor, J. W. Whipple. At this election also, 
the question of permanently locating the county seat was voted upon, and a sharp 
contention for the prize ensued. Sterling received 605, Holyoke 517, Julesburg 
138, scattering 74. The total vote was 1,334. No place having received a majority, 
another election was called for December 20th, 1887, at which time 1,222 votes were 
cast, of which Sterling received a majority and was declared to be the county seat. 
Julesburg, at a later date, became the capital of Sedgwick, and Holyoke of Phillips 
county, which left Sterling undisputed master in Logan. 

Below are the present officers of Logan: Commissioners, J. W. Ramsey, 
Joseph Cramer and Wesley Desellem ; sheriff, D. Buchanan ; clerk and recorder, 
Charles L. Lake; treasurer, M. Thimgan; county judge, E. E. Armour; superin- 
tendent of schools, W. B. Wheeler: assessor, George E. McConley; coroner, T. W. 
Ritchie; surveyor, B. J. Ball; clerk of the district court, H. E. Tedmon. 

.SV(v7/«<,'- is the largest and most important town in the county. It is situated 
on the South Platte river, at the intersection of the C)maha .Short Line of the L^nion 
Pacific with the Burlington & Missouri River railroads. The county building, a 
two-story brick, was erected in 1888 at a cost of about $10,000. The jail, built the 
same year, is of Fort Collins sandstone, and cost about the same amount. The 
county building was first built as a town hall for the city, but was sold to the county, 
which furnished it at a cost of $5,000 and arranged the interior for the use of its 
officers and courts. The ujjper floor is used for the three-fold purpose of a court 
room, public assembly hall and opera house. Sterling has two fine school build- 
ings, the Franklin (frame), erected in 1883, at a cost of $6,000, and the Broadway in 
1888, costing $10,000. These several edifices, together with private business blocks 
and many fine dwellings, impart an ajipearance of solid permanence, and denote 
the character of the people who have cast their fortunes there. The site, a smooth, 
level plain, is surrounded by fertile farms watered by canals from the Platte river. 
Davicl Leavitt, a railway surveyor, in passing through this section in 1871-72, was 
so well pleased with it, he returned a little later, located a ranch and surveyed the 
Sterling ditch. A post office was established on his claim and the basis of the 
future town laid, which he called Sterling for a town of the same name in Illinois, 
his former home, and to which he, very naturally, was partial. When the C)maha 


branch of the Union Pacific railway was built, the post ofifice was removed to the 
present site of Sterling. The settlement was confined for several years to the line 
of the Sterling ditch, but the construction of the Pawnee ditch and the railroads, 
together with other enterprises, gave this section, then a part of Weld county, a 
new and strong impulse. M. C. King and R. E. Smith were the first to erect houses 
in the present Sterling. The original settlement mentioned above is one of the 
historic points in the eastern plains. Among the immigrants attracted to Greeley by 
the success of the Union Colony were quite a number from the southern states. To 
them is due the greater credit for founding this settlement and the building of the 
Sterling canal. Major E. L. Minter, who had been an officer in the Confederate 
army, was among the leaders in this movement. The Sterling settlers started 
from Greeley in June. 1873, with several rafts of lumber, which they floated down 
the Platte. But, the water getting low, they were obliged to abandon their rafts 
at the narrows, some 45 miles from their place of destination, whence the lumber 
was hauled to tlie settlement and built into cabins on the claims they had selected. 
When these locations had been perfected, a part only remained to make improve- 
ments thereon, the others returning to Greeley, to farm and raise money to aid the 
new enterprise. Among those who remained to build and improve were J. !\I. 
King, Wm. Calethorp, Robert Eaton, James Ralls, Hugh Clark, Frank Saper, 
A. McCleod, B. F. Prewitt and others. The Sterling ditch was built in the fall of 
1873 and 1874 by the settlers who had learned something of irrigation methods at 
Greeley. It was taken out just below the mouth of Pawnee creek, and extended 
thence to Cedar creek, a distance of about 17 miles. The first crops were raised in 
1875 bv ^I- C. King, R. E. Smith, R. G. Smith, R. C. Perkins, Major E. L. Minter, 
M. S. Smith, Hugh Davis, Hugh Clark, D. B. Davis, H. D. Ayres, J. H. Prewitt, 
and others whose claims were watered by this ditch. Miss Carrie Ayres, now the 
wife of Dr. J. N. Hall, of Sterling, taught the first school in the Sterling settlement, 
in a sod school house. She was the first teacher there for five years. The original 
school was convened and for some time held in a dugout, in remarkable contrast 
to the pair of fine houses for educational purposes since erected. But it is a striking 
feature of Colorado people, no matter whence they came, when fairly settled them- 
selves, to build tine, substantial schools just as soon as they can be afiforded, and 
as remarked elsewhere, they are, as a rule, the best structures in the town. 

Soon after founding the settlement they were threatened by roaming bands 
of Indians, but escaped serious damage. Three cowboys from Tracy's ranch, near 
Pine Bluff, Wyoming, while driving a herd of stock from Iliff, were killed near 
Seventeen Mile Springs, northwest of Sterling. Four cowboys were in the party, 
and the one who escaped came to Sterling and reported the facts. A company 
was organized and started in pursuit of the Indians, but failed to find them. They 
recovered the bodies of the slain, bringing them back for burial. This raid caused 
them to take defensive measures, therefore a fort was built about three miles below 
the present Sterling. It was 200 feet square, made of sods and dirt, and large 
enough to shelter all the families. They would often congregate at each other's 
houses to guard against attacks that might be threatened or made. S. S. Kempton 
was elected captain of a temporary military company. Arms and ammunition were 
supplied by the state. At another time, when the Cheyennes broke loose from their 
reservation, and took the warpath in Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas, some of the 
Sterling settlers moved their families to Sidney, Nebraska, for protection. 

Among the pioneers was II. Godfrey, who owned the old Fort Wicked ranch 
on the Overland Stage route, near Merino, on the South Platte. The Wisconsin 
ranch, about twelve miles east of Fort Wicked, was another old time stage station, 
which about 1874, was used by the Schneider Bros. (Henry and James) for a sheep 
ranch. John W. Iliff, J. L. Brush, Bruce F. Johnson, M. P. and W. L. Hender- 
son and S. S. Kempton were among the early stockmen when Logan formed a 


part of Weld county. W. S. Hadficld owned the Hadfield ranch, near the mouth 
of Pawnee creek, in 1872. M. H. Smith, who founded tiie Bank of Sterhng, was 
one of the original Greeley colonists. He came from Pennsylvania. Mr. Smith 
staked a claim near the old Jim Moore ranch, in 1871, on the south side of the Platte, 
aljout three miles east of Sterling. M. P. and \V. L. Henderson, from Greeley, also 
staked claims about the same time. In 1875 Al. li. Smith and W. L. Henderson 
ran a dairy there, marketing the products in Denver. 

There are five churches in Sterling, the Cumberland Presbyterian, Christian, 
iJaptist, M. E. Church South and the Catholic. The Methodists have an organiza- 
tion, but, as yet, no building. The M. E. Church South was first organized in 1875, 
by the Rev. Mr. Craven. The Rev. W. A. Freeman was appointed to that 
work October 31, 1881. He was succeeded by Rev. J. M. JNIajor, August 14th, 
1882; August 24th, 1890, Rev. H. S Groves took charge. At the first quarterly 
conference of the M. E. Church South at Sterling in 1881, the presiding Elder, the 
Rev. D. L. Rader, and the pastor, Rev. W. A. Freeman, were present, and the follow- 
ing were the church trustees: J. A. Gragg, J. W. Snyder, R. G. Smith, S. li. Roe- 
buck, S. R. Propst, Rev. Mr. Cage, W. E. Tetsell. The church is now a brick struc- 
ture erected in 188 1. Their first house of worship was a sod hut. 

The Catholic church (frame) was built in 1887-88. The Rev. Father Hewlett 
has been prominent in the Christian work here. The Cumberland Presbyterian is a 
frame building. Rev. J. G. Lange, pastor, who, in October, 1889, succeeded Rev. 
R. A. Williams, who had ministered to the congregation for several years. The 
Baptist church, a frame, was erected in 1889. Rev. Mr. Kneeland is the present 
minister. The corporators were G. W. Barrett, F. S. Lewis, H. C. Hatch, J. D. 
Adams and Wm. Harris as trustees, with T. J. Salisbury, church secretary. The 
Christian church was incorporated July 14th, 1888, with W. H. Bennett, Nimrod 
Hicks and A. C. Stratton as trustees, with W. D. Taylor as secretary. The build- 
ing was erected about four years ago, the Rev. M. Meavers, Evangelist, in 
charge. It was dedicated by the Rev. Eugene Brooks. Rev. Mr. Winters was the 
first regular pastor. A series of revival services by Evangelist Meavers led to the 
organization of the church. 

The first quarterly conference of the M. E. church at Sterling was held ( )ctober 
27th, 1888, by the Rev. J. H. Merritt, presiding elder, and the Rev. W. P. Rhodes, 
pastor. Prior to that time the following members had been received: .Mrs. A. H. 
Pettit, Mrs. Mary Watts, John F. Watts, A. W. Warren, Airs. Augusta Warren, 
Mrs. Orpha Bump and S. A. Burke. Rev. W. P. Rhodes was succeeded by Rev. 
Wm. John, in September, i88q. 

Tlic Emanuel church of the Evangelical association of North America was 
incorporated July 15th, 1889, with the following trustees: George Shoeman, 
I'rederick I'ernhard, Peter Koenig, John G. Field and Fred Dorn — the church 
being at Le Roy. The Fairview Union church, of h'airview, was incorporated 
August 20th, 1890, with II. H. Kister, D. S. Wall and W. J. Collctt, trustees. 

Forty-one of the residents of Sterling filed with James C. Scott, judge of Weld 
county, October 7th, 1884, a petition ])raying him to call an election for the in- 
corporation of the town. On the 13th he ai)pointed Jesse S. Waugh, John Alex- 
ander, .Martin H. .SmiUi, Thomas L. Watson and .Morris Davis, commissioners, to 
provide for such election, which was held November 8th, when 65 votes were cast 
in favor and 4 against. The first mayor was George E. Wilson. The early records 
are not in possession of the city clerk, hence we are unable to present the list com- 
plete. The first accessible appears of date November 29th, 1887, as follows: 
Mayor, Richard Scully; trustees, M. II. Smith, D. B. Delzell, George Gunn, F. P. 
Jones and George Piarrett; clerk, !•". M. McDonald. 

A])ril 3rd, 1888, the following were elected: Mayor, J. N. Hall; tru.stees, S. E. 
Vance, L. M. Judd, A. O. Tagader, H. C. Sherman, J. D. Adams and Allen Winch; 


treasurer, Geo. A. Henderson; clerk, F. H. McDonald; marshal, J. L. Hicks; 
attorney, C. L. Allen: police magistrate, George Barrett. J. H. Plain became 
mayor m 1889, and J. C. Scott in 1890. 

The people of Sterling voted $10,000 in bonds for a water system, which was 
built. It has a hose, and hook and ladder company. The public library con- 
tains about 1,000 volumes. An athletic club was organized in 1890 with 21 mem- 
bers, W. Nauer, president, and H. D. Hinkley, secretary. This club has a reading 
room, connected with a very complete gymnasium. 

The Logan County Fair association was incorporated June 13th, 1888, by 
J. A. Tyler, L. E. Sherman, Oscar Frego, A. O. Tagader, W. H. Schenck, John 
Tobin, A. F. Spoor, Thomas L. Watson, R. J. Patterson, H. C. Sherman and F. S. 
Lewis. The Sterling Cheese company was incorporated January 29th, 1890, by 
J. H. Plain, George A. Henderson and W. L. Hayes, of Sterling. 

The Pawnee Ditch company was incorporated December 29th, 1881, with a 
capital stock of $45,000, by Benjamin H. Eaton, J. L. Brush and Silas Haynes. The 
Pawnee Ditch and Improvement company was incorporated April 5th, 1882, with 
a capital stock of $45,000, by Benj. H. Eaton, J. L. Brush, Charles Emerson, George 
H. West and Silas Haynes. 

JVi-K'spnpcrs. — The Logan county "Advocate" was started at Atwood by John 
W. Wilson in October, 1885, who moved it to Sterling in March, 1887, where he 
still publishes it, with V. S. Wilson as local editor. There were three other papers 
in Sterling, but the "Advocate" has survived them all. The "Republican," still 
published and edited by A. F. Spoor, was founded by him January 19th, 1890. 
Mark Little, who established the Colorado "Cactus" at Leslie, in Washington county. 
May 13th, 1888, is employed on the Sterling "Republican." He sold the "Cactus" 
to W. T. Michel, November 22nd, 1889, who changed the name to the Leslie "Re- 
publican." Among other papers in Logan county were the Fleming "Herald" 
by Reed Bros.; the Le Roy "Republican" by Mark Little; the Rockford "Times" 
and the Wemple "Optic," near Le Roy. 

Banks. — The Bank of Sterling was established as a private institution in 1884 
by M. H. Smith, who still conducts it. Its capital is $20,000. The Logan County 
Bank, of the same character, was opened in 1887 by Allen Winch, the present 
owner. Its capital is $30,000. 

At the session of 1889-90, Congress established three new land offices for 
Colorado, one at Sterling, another at Akron, and a third at Hugo. The Sterling 
office, which includes in its district all of Logan, Sedgwick and Phillips counties, 
and parts of Yuma, Washington, Morgan and Weld, opened August 15th. 1890, 
with Norman H. Meldrum, receiver, Herbert E. Tedmon, register, and C. E. Don 
Carlos, chief clerk. 

Secret Soiiftics. — The Masons have Sterling lodge, No. 54, opened under dis- 
pensation. May 26th, 1883. Logan lodge. No. 69, I. O. O. F., was organized Feb- 
ruary 19th, 1887, and September 28th, 1887. a charter was issued. Both orders 
have large memberships. The order of Modern Woodmen also has an organiza- 
tion at Sterling. 

The county seat of Logan county is a thoroughly well-established town, with 
most encouraging prospects for the future. 

Among the stations on the Cheyenne branch of the Burlington railroad are 
Willard, west of Sterling, and Fleming, east. Atwood and Merino are on the 
Omaha Short Line of the Union Pacific, southeast of Sterling, and Iliff, Crook and 
Red Lion, on the same railroad, northeast of Sterling. Rockland is in the far 
southeastern part of the county, and about three miles from Le Roy. All are 
small places with school houses, and where religious services arc occasionally held. 
There is a Methodist church at Fleming and a number of business houses. Ex- 
cepting churches, the same is true of the others named. 





By the census of 1890 Logan had 1,104 persons of school age; yj enrolled in 
the high school; 126 in graded and 710 in the ungraded schools, the total enroll- 
ment for the year being 873, with an average attendance of 506. There were 39 dis- 
tricts, and 30 school houses, with 917 sittings. The valuation of this property was 
$32,336.56. There were six teachers in the graded schools and forty-nine in the 
ungraded. W. F. Bybee is the principal at Sterling. 

The assessed valuation of property in Logan county in 1887, the year of its 
organization, was $1,420,085.00 In 1888 it had increased to $3,326,313.10. In 
1889 Sedgwick and Phillips counties wtere severed from its territory, when the aggre- 
gate dropped to $1,845,297.18. For 1890 it was $1,736,613.14. Of agricultural 
land returned, there were 317,130 acres, valued at $497,855. In the list were 3,630 
horses, 133 mules, 18,223 cattle, 14,368 sheep and 720 hogs. 

Expatriation of the ute Indians — reservation opened to settlers — fort 





Mesa county was created from the western part of Gunnison, by an act of 
the General Assembly, approved February 14th, 1883. Its name is derived from the 
Grand Mesa, a prominent table-land within its boundaries. It is pre-eminently a 
region of mesas and valleys, flanked by mountain ranges. It is bounded on the 
north by Garfield, south by Delta and Alontrose, which were created almost simul- 
taneously with Mesa, east by Pitkin, Delta and the northerly part of Montrose, and 
west by the Territory of Utah. Its area is 3,000 square miles. Dy the census 
of 1890 its population was 4,260, but has since been materially augmented by 
immigration. Up to the year 1881* all the region described was comprised in the 
reservation of the Uncompahgre band of Ute Indians. The tragic events attend- 
ing the massacre of Major Thornburg and a part of his command on ^lilk river, 
and of Agent N. C. Meeker, together with the employes of the agency on White 
river, in September, 1879, as stated in the history of the LUe Indians in this volume, 
and in Volumes II and III preceding, left the general government no alternative 
but to remove these troublesome savages out of Colorado. But even after the 
act of Congress had been approved, the entrance of settlers was for a long time 
obstructed l)y the sullen obstinacy of the Indians, who refused to vacate. Abridg- 
ing the details, in the latter part of August, 1881, General McKenzie, then com- 
manding the United States troops in that section, received orders to remove the 
L'ncompahgres by force, if necessary, to the new reservation .provided for them 
at Uintah in the Territory of Utah, and they were promptly executed. Pending 
this movement, a number of white people had congregated upon the border, ready 
to make the descent as soon as permitted. Meanwhile, however, in preparation 

* Many of the important facts relating to the early annals of this county are compiled from a pamphlet 
published in 1886 by Charles W. Haskell, the accuracy of his dates and statements having been vouched 
for by Icadin}; citizens of Grand Junction. 
14— iv 


for opening the lands to settlers, a corps of surveyors led by Russell J. Mershon 
had surveyed the same. The troops held the intruding immigrants in check by 
picket lines. At five o'clock on the morning of September 4th, 1881, permission to 
enter was given by the commanding officer, and soon the various bands of impa- 
tient waiters passed the boundary and began making locations. There was no 
tumultuous disorderly rush, nor were there any disgraceful conflicts, but a delib- 
erate, orderly entry of earnest, intelligent, law-abiding men, who came to make 
homes and render these valleys fruitful. A small company led by the Russell 
brothers crossed the Grand river September 8th, and about the same time J. S. Gor- 
don, William Green and a Mr. I'orbush entered the Grand valley from the west. The 
first ranch located in this valley was by J. Clayton Nichols, September 9. Some 
of the men, on returning to Gunnison for provisions, met there Governor George A. 
Crawford, formerly of Ivansas, who had been for some time exploring the western 
slope with a view to the establishment of new towns, and had organized a party 
for that purpose. ]\lr. Crawford induced Mr. Wm. McGinley to accompany him- 
self and associates as a guide, and, with R. D. Mobley, M. Rush Warner, Col. 
Morris and S. A. Harper, he proceeded to Grand river, arriving September 22nd, and 
on the 26th formally selected section 14, at the junction of the Grand and Gunnison 
rivers, the most eligible situation for a town site in all that region of country. As 
this event forms the basis of nearly all subsequent operations in the county, let 
us first define the incidents attending the primary stages of occupation. 

The original certificate of incorporation of the Grand Junction Town com- 
pany was drawn at Gunnison, October loth, and contained the names of Geo. A. 
Crawford, R. D. Mobley, M. Rush Warner, James W. Bucklin, Allison White 
and H. E. Rood — the last two residents of Philadelphia — as corporators. It was 
filed with the secretary of state November 19th following. On the 31st of October 
Crawford and Mobley returned to the town site, accompanied by A. G. Robinson, 
and occupied a log cabin which had been built in the meantime by Wm. i\IcGinley, 
J. Clayton Nichols and J. Milton Russell for the town company. This cabin stood 
on the street called Ute avenue. John Allen, representing Mershon and I\Iajors, 
lived in a tent in the middle of the company's section, and called the town, or what 
there of it, "West Denver." On the 5th of November a meeting of settlers 
was called, when Governor Crawford stated the object, and presented petitions 
for signature, asking for the construction of a county road by the state, and for a 
post office and the establishment of post routes by the post office department; also 
for recognition by the interior department of the reservation survey. It was then 
determined by unanimous vote to name the town Grand Junction. On the 15th 
Wm. Oldham and A. G. Robinson began a log building for Mr. Mobley, and on 
the i8th work began upon a cabin for the town company. On the 21st F". Bascom 
Wilson arranged to run an express line to the military cantonment, seventy-five 
miles distant (afterward called Fort Crawford), and carry the mails. 

Meantime, about the last of September, a surveying part\- sent out by the 
Denver & South Park railway company under Capt. Irwin entered the valley, and 
on the 3th of (October were followed by another corps in the interest of the Denver 
& Rio Grande railroad. At this time the embrv'onic city had but a small population, 
and as most of the names have been preserved, we record them as follows: Geo. A. 
Crawford, R. D. Mobley, J. M. and O. D. Russell, T. Clayton Nichols, Wm. 
McGinley, M. A. Graham, Walter Christley, H. P. Giles.'j. S. Gordon. Wm. Green 
and familv, |. C. Brown, J- N. McArthur and family, D. G. McAithur and familv, 
C. F. Mitchell, M. Haggerty, C. A. Brett, B. F. Carey, Daniel Mullen, Wm. Nish- 
witz, Thomas Williams, Wm. Keith, J. C. Holden, W. S. Kelley, Messrs. Warner, 
Fitzgerald and Foster, M. L. Allison (now president of the town company), Benj. 
Scott and N. N Smith. Most of the available river front foi- twenty miles had been 
covered by ranch claims. 


At the outset of this enterprise the prospect must have been dismal in the 
extreme. The landscape presented was dreary and forbidding. Excepting the 
flistant mountains, there was scarce an object upon which the eye could rest with 
pleasure. The land, a reddish adobe, was covered wiih sage brush, spotted here 
and there with alkali, and, to all but the few who had some familiarity with its 
ciualities, seemed utterly worthless for agriculture or anything else. It must have 
required great courage and fortitude for any farmer accustomed to more inviting 
conditions to content himself with this bleak desolation. There were neither roads 
nor bridges. All provisions had to be brought in by wagon or pack trains from 
Gunnison or from the cantonment, seventy-five miles away. Only a few rude cabins 
had been erected, winter was coming on apace, and there was still much appre- 
hension that the Utes might break away from their reservation just over the border 
and return for pillage and massacre. 

The first stock of merchandise arrived December loth, brought in by Giles & 
Mitchell, who opened a store. Prior to the introduction of a sawmill by Wm. 
Innis and Martin Hobbs, late in 1881, all the lumber used was whip-sawn, mainly 
by Henr\- and Robert Henderson, which they sold for $160 per 1,000 feet. To 
illustrate the scarcity of lumber at this period, it is mentioned that Governor Craw- 
ford obtained as a special favor three small boards to make a cupboard for his 
cabin. His door was of the class called "puncheon." 

The first regular meeting of the directors of the Grand Junction Town com- 
pany was held December 12th, when by-laws were adopted. On the 14th J. Clayton 
Nichols, B. A. Scott and G. H. Broderson made a tape-line survey of the west end 
of Colorado avenue, there being no regular surveyor nearer than Ouray or Lake 
City. The town company's boarding house, a log building — afterward the Grand 
Junction hotel — was begun at this time. On the last day of December Governor 
Crawford returned from Gunnison accompanied by Samuel Wade, an engineer, 
who surveyed the town site substantially as we find it at the present epoch. It 
was begun Januar>- ist, 1882, and completed on the 5th. On the 14th the Grand 
Junction house, the first hotel in the place, was opened by William Green. On 
the 9th of May a post office was established and R. D. Mobley installed as post- 
master. The town site of 640 acres was duly entered in the L'nited States land 
ofifice at Leadville, December 6th, 1882, by Mayor Charles F. Shanks. 

Uncjuebtionably, the Hon. George A. Crawford was the founder and inspiriting 
force in all the primary movements leading to the selection and subsequent devel- 
opment of Grand Junction, that is destined to be a city of great prominence and 
wealth, for, notwitiistanding the dreariness of the prospect, the work that has been 
done by this ])eoplc in the few interv'ening years demonstrates that no other place 
among the towns recently located possesses conditions more favorable to such an 
issue. He was a singularly magnetic, lovable man, of fine culture, remarkable 
gifts of orator)', great persuasiveness and very charming manners. He was scrupu- 
lously honest withal. The absolute purity of his life inspired all men with 
unbounded faitii in him. He was as free from mercenary thought and action as 
any man of his time. He had been a stalwart champion in the early battles of the 
I'Vce soil element in Kansas, a mighty politician of the patriotic school, a leader 
in the highest and best principles of his party. He took a vigorous, thoroughly 
loyal part in maintaining law and order, in the enlistment of troops for the war, 
in the founding of good government for the territory and afterward for the state, 
and was foremost in locating and building some of the better towns of Kansas. 
His friends nominated and fairly elected him to the chief magistracy, but he w'as 
not permitted to reach the office. He was appointed connnissioner to the Centennial 
Exposition of 1876. and exerted great influence toward its success. The Colorado 
and Kansas exhibits were combined in one Iiuilding and he promoted both. Soon 
afterward he came to Colorado and began an investigation of its resources. He 


was a natural organizer of towns, manifested superior judgment in the selection 
of eligible points, in laying them off and in starting them on the high road to pros- 
perity. This is evident in the location of Delta and Grand Junction, for both were 
of his choosing. In his expeditions to the western part of our state he traveled 
on horseback, and at length discovered at the junction of the Uncompahgre and 
the Gunnison, and also at the confluence of the Gunnison and Grand rivers, two 
of the most admirable sites within our jurisdiction, and there, as soon as permitted 
by the expatriation of the Indians, planted the colonies of Delta and Grand Junction. 
As we have seen, he drew the articles of incorporation and secured the proper 
institution of these places, built cabins, encouraged tlie formation of ditch and 
canal companies, and in multifarious ways advanced all worthy undertakings. He 
was a man of the people, a wise counselor, a safe guide, not a mere speculator, 
nor a selhsh money-getter for himself, for he accumulated but little property; a help- 
ful friend rather, fond of well-doing and of promoting the welfare of all witii whom 
he was associated. He had been the friend and companion of many distinguished 
men, all of whom appreciated his great talents. What a pity he could not have 
lived to witness something, at least, of the grand consummation of his plans for 
Mesa and Delta counties, the bright prospects he had assisted in preparing for those 
he had drawn about him. 

Governor Crawford passed away at the Brunswick hotel in Grand Junction 
on MoH-day, January 26th, 1891, mourned by every soul that knew him. In his 
death the western slope lost one of its greatest and best men, a statesman, philan- 
thropist and philosopher. 

While the town was in process of formation during 1881-82, other settlers in 
the valley were preparing for the development of agriculture. They had then no 
thought of its better adaptability to horticulture. It being distinctly manifest that 
no crops could be matured without irrigation, the first steps taken were in 
the cooperative construction of ditches. "Originally the canal system of Grand 
valley comprised four distinct corporations. The 'Pacific Slope' was the first con- 
structed, mainly to supply the town of Grand Junction with water. It is about 
nine miles long. The next was the 'Pioneer,' or Mesa county, covering about 9,000 
acres of land, with a length of twelve miles. The third was the 'Independent Ranch- 
man's,' taken out of the Grand river below its junction with the Gunnison, watering 
about 5,000 acres, and extending to a point just west of Fruita, twelve miles 
down the valley. The fourtli and most comprehensive was the 'Grand River canal,' 
designed to cover some 50,000 acres. These four canals, projected in 1882-83, 
were all completed and in running order in 1885." Grand river has its source in 
Grand lake, in Middle Park, and flows into Green river, the two forming the Rio 
Colorado, which empties into the Gulf of California. "From the point where the 
Grand debouches from the Hogback Canon, fifteen miles east of Grand Junction, 
to where it enters the canon be\ond Fruita, the valley or basin is about thirty-live 
miles in length, varying in width from three miles at Grand Junction to fifteen at 
Fruita. It is in this basin that the Grand River canal meanders." The Grand Valley 
Ditch company was organized in the summer of 1882 by E. S. and William 
Oldham, John Biggies and Wm. Cline. It was surveyed, located and partly con- 
structed by January ist, 1883, when a controlling interest was purchased by Matt 
.\rch, of Tomichi, who reorganized the company under the name of the Grand 
Valley Ditch company. The head of the canal is twelve miles northeast of Grand 
Junction, three miles below the mouth of the canon. In 1884 a partial supply of 
water was furnished to farmers, but it was not imtil the season of 1885 that a full 
volume of water was flowing. It is 35 feet wide at the bottom, 50 feet at the 
surface, and 5 feet deep. The grade is 22 inches to the mile. "There are four 
falls or drops along the line; the first 5 feet, two and a half miles cast of Grand 
Junction; the second of 15 feet is half a mile further west; the third of 33 feet is 


just north of town, while the fourth of 15^ feet hes just above Fruita. At the 
big^ drop of Ti^, feet the canal bifurcates, and what is called the "lateral' or Fruita 
canal leaves the main chainiel and runs in a general northwesterly direction for 
sixteen miles. In 1883 not more than 1,000 acres were in tillage; in 1884 about 
5.000; in 1885 fully 8,000, and in 1886 over 10,000." Work began on the Pioneer 
ditch, located by Harlow & h'itzpatrick, March ist, 1882, designed to water their 
farms twelve miles above the town. It was completed April 20th, and during that 
sununer J\lr. Harlow raised the first crop of vegetables, cereals and grasses har- 
vested in Mesa county. This was, in fact, the first practical demonstration of the 
qualities of the soil, proving its value and inspiring all others with hope and courage. 

The Pacific Slope canal was begun March 20th, 1882, and opened July ist 
following. During that season the settlers were severely harassed by horse and 
cattle thieves, who committed numerous depredations, but they were pursued by 
the officers and citizens, their leader was killed and the gang effectually broken up. 

It will be discovered by the foregoing that from September, 1881, to the 
spring of 1883 the few people were mainly engaged in perfecting their locations, 
founding the capital, opening roadways and ditches, and in laying the various lines 
incident to residence in new and untried lands. These undertakings made but 
little impression upon the state at large, owing to the complete isolation of the com- 
munities. They were as insulated and alone, apparently, as if they had formed a 
jjart of Alaska's interior, and almost as completely neglected by their contempo- 
raries. I'>om 1882 to 1885 the farmers raised fine crops of grain, but owing to 
their remoteness from markets no profits accrued. In the meantime, a few, believing 
that certain fruits could be matured, planted trees and vines. The issue being 
extremely favorable, a majority abandoned agriculture for export and turned their 
attention to horticulture, with what efifect will appear in the course of our narrative. 

Although there were but few women and children, one of the first public 
enterprises established, after shelter for their families had been provided, was the 
oi)ening of public schools, a noteworthy characteristic of all American settlements. 
This element of character is one of the most prominent in the race, and one of the 
more conmiendable. It is the basis of much of our greatness as a nation. Xo man, 
tmless he be utterly depraved, willingly permits his children to reach maturity 
without acquiring some sort of an education. 

The first election held was for a school board, when the following were chosen: 
Dr. H. E. Stroud, O. D. Russell and W. M. McKelvey. The .school house at this 
time was a rude picket cabin, and Miss Nannie Blain was the teacher. 

The vote on incorporating the town was taken June 22nd, 1882, and carried 
without division. The first Union Sunday-school was organized in July, and met 
every Sunday thereafter until superseded by a regular organization under the 
auspices of tlic M. E. church (South), superintended by Mr. J. A. Hall. Services 
were held in the jiicket school house. 

The first regular numiciiial election was held Julv i6th, with the following 
result: Mayor, Charles V. Shanks: trustees, A. A. 'Mi'ller, J. M. Russell, G. W. 
Thurston and W. I", (ierry; city clerk, P. H. Westmoreland. The trustees 
appointed James Davis, marshal; W. J. Miller, attorney, and H. C. Hall, street 
conmiissioner. The year 1882 witnessed material progress. Among the more 
notable events, and one that caused greatest rejoicing, stimulated hope among 
the unfortunate and despairing, and advanced all things most rapidlv toward con- 
sunnnation, was the arrival of the Denver & Rio Grande railroad from the east, 
to connect at that point with the Rio Grande Western from Salt Lake and Ogdcn, 
thus forming a new trunk line across the continent which pierced the heart of Colo- 
rado. A temporar}- bridge across the Grand river was completed November 23rd, 
wheti the first locomotive entered the precincts of Grand Junction. The first 
freight train crossed on the moniing of the 25th and a few hours later arrived 


the first passenger train from Denver. The work of building roundhouses, machine 
shops, etc., began in April following. These valuable accessories gained, the 
future was no longer problematical. This little band of sturdy settlers then began 
to comprehend the great importance of the situation they had chosen. Their 
next move was for the creation of a new county by the legislature that was to 
assemble the following January (1883). A petition setting forth their desires was 
circulated, signed and placed in the hands of their special representative. Mr. W. J. 
Miller, with instructions to lay it before the Assembly and labc steadfastly for 
divorce from Gunnison county. At a later period, to expedite matters. Governor 
Crawford and M. L. Allison were deputized to assist him. The bill creating the 
county of Mesa passed the Assembly P'ebruary nth, and on the 14th received 
the signature of the governor, Hon. James B. Grant. The attainment of 
aim was hailed with universal rejoicing. A public meeting was held and enthu- 
siastic speeches graced the occasion. On the 21st following Governor Grant vis- 
ited Grand Junction, the newly ordained county seat, and was cordially welcomed. 
Soon afterward he made the following appointments to serve until the next general 
election in the fall of that year: 

Clerk and recorder, M.L. Allison; sheriff, Martin Florida; county judge, Robert 
Cobb; treasurer, S. G. Crandall; assessor, Wm. Keith; surveyor, A. J. McCune; 
coroner, J. N. Mc Arthur; county commissioners, George W. Thurston, T. B. 
Crawford and B. F. Carey. 

In April the following municipal government was elected: Mayor, W. J. Miller; 
recorder, W. P. Coghill; trustees, J. R. Gibson, A. A. Miller, J. E. Ballew and 
Charles Youngman. A . J. McCune was appointed surveyor, and J. T. Clegg street 

On the nth of June the commissioners met at Gunnison, with the authorities 
of that county, to determine the proportion of the indebtedness of Gunnison county 
to be assumed by Mesa, which was ultimately fi.xed at $7,208, when the latter issued 
a bond for the amount. At the November election, 1883, the following county offi- 
cers were chosen by popular vote: Clerk and recorder, J. A. Layton; county judge, 
R. D. Moliley; treasurer, N. N. Smith; sheriff, Wm. Innis; assessor, J. E. Scribner; 
coroner, Dr. H. E. Stroud; superintendent of schools, Geo. S. Caldwell; surveyor, 
A. J. McCune; commissioners, J. F. Brink, C. A. Brett and J. M. Russell. The 
first term of the district court was begun January 26th, 1884, Judge M. B. Gerry 
presiding. On the 14th of F'ebruary the Western Stock-growers' association was 
organized and on the i6th the following officers were elected: President, J. F. 
Brink ; vice-president, Allen D. Campbell ; secretary, Fred. S. Rockwell ; treasurer, 
F. R. Fish. The stock-growing industry has from the beginning constituted a 
prominent feature of Mesa county's internal economy, and the association com- 
bined all the various interests for mutual protection and advantage. 

One of the important events of 1884 was the building of the Roan Creek toll 
road, a project conceived by Mr. Henry R. Rhone. The plan was to build a 
road some thirty miles in length, from a point ten miles east of the town of Grand 
Junction, on the north side of Grand river, through Hogback Canon to Garfield 
county, and thus open communication with Glenwood Springs. It was known 
to be a very difficult and expensive undertaking, and therefore, the people being 
poor, it met with little encouragement. But Mr. Rhone persevered, organized a 
company, borrowed a little money, began grading, and then laid siege to the 
directory of the Chamber of Commerce in Denver for further aid, but was not 
successful. He finally succeeded in raising $1,000 in Denver, which bridged 
present difficulties, but, needing many thousands more than could be secured 
from sales of toll road scrip, he went to Salt Lake, but received no assistance there. 
Finally, through Mr. Darwin P. Kingslev, afterward auditor of state, the requisite 
funds were procured, and in due course this important thoroughfare was completed. 


During this year, also, the primitive scliool house at Grand Junction was sup- 
])Ianted by a tine two-story brick structure, built at a cost of $8,237.97. Realizini^ 
tlie potency of effective cooperation for the attraction of immigrants and capital, 
which they so much needed to carry on the work thus fortuitously begun, the princi- 
pal citizens, in December, 1894, met and organized a Board of Trade that was, in 
fact, simply a bureau of inmiigration, for the collection and distribution of statistical 
and descriptive literature, comprehending the advantages of that section and the 
opportunities offered to settlers. Air. D. Crandall was made president, W. E. Shaf- 
fer, secretary, and W. T. Carpenter, treasurer. This action produced the effect 
anticipated. The world began to hear of Grand Junction and Mesa county in terms 
that brought many accessions to the population. Among the earlier residents were 
many who believed the soil and climate of all the valleys to be peculiarly favor- 
able to fruit culture, consequently large quantities of small trees and vines had been 
imported from the east and west, planted, watered and carefully nurtured. The 
result has fully justified their views. Among the first experimenters were Messrs. 
C. W. .Steele and E. Ulain & Sons of Hopedale, J. P. Harlow at the mouth of Rapid 
creek, Mr. Ralph, Robert A. Orr, A. B. Johnson, Morton Florida, George Hawx- 
hurst, James Seminoe, Messrs. Shropshire, Penniston and Coffman at Whitewater, 
who, with others, began planting in 1883, continuing each year until they had ac- 
quired considerable orchards. \'ery few came into thrifty bearing until 1886. To 
advance the cause by the free interchange of experiences, and for effective cooper- 
ation, on the 15th of December, 1884, the fruit growers met and instituted the Mesa 
County Horticultural society, when R. A. Orr was made president: A. K. Hamp- 
ton of Plateau valley, C. W. .Steele of Grand Junction, A. D. Mahany of Fruita and 
Mr. Washburn of Kannah Creek, vice-presidents: A. L. Peabody, treasurer; Mrs. 
A. L. Peabody, corresponding secretary, and R. W. Temple, recording secretary. 
Through this and auxiliary efiforts many of the splendid achievements subsequently 
attained were consummated. Each exhibited intense pride in the development of 
his particular branch of the great scheme, and in due time, as we shall discover, 
brought Mesa county into universal notice as the finest horticultural section of the 
West, that is to say, between the .Missouri river and California. In the meantime 
the farmers had been eciually active in demonstrating that everything except corn 
could be raised in great quantities. Thus closed the year 1884. 

In 1 88 S some of the philanthropic spirits conceived the idea of establishing a 
school for tiie moral and mental training of young children from the Ute Indian 
tribes stationed in I'tah. Tiie citizens donated one hundred and si.xty acres of 
land to the object, situate some two miles east of Grand Junction. A. W'. Gullett of 
Gunnison and J. W'. Bucklin took the lead in the movement. Appealing to Con- 
gress thnnigh our representative in that body, an appropriation of $23,000 for a 
building was secured. It was begun soon afterward and completed A]>ril 1st, 1886. 
Dr. J. J. Roberts was made superintendent. In August he was succeeded by Pro- 
fessor W. I. I'Javis, formerly superintendent of a similar school in the Indian Terri- 
tory, and Dr. Robertson became physician to the school. In October Rev. Thomas 
Griffith of the M. K. church (.South) was appointed principal and .Miss Mamie Hen- 
derson, teacher. It was opened in November, 1886, with a considerable number of 
dusky ])upils. and from that time to the present has. as far as practicable, fulfilled its 
mission. It is unnecessary to dwell ui)on the l)enefits derivable from schools of this 
nature, for we all comprehend that, if the remnants of the savage races are ever to be 
humanized and adapted to civilization, it nnist be done by taking the young out of 
the camps and away from the wild roving life, and fashion them for citizenshi]) by 

In 1885 the state legislature appropriated from the internal improvement 
fimd $25,000 for the construction of an iron bridge across the two rivers at Grand 
Junction. The citizens contributed $15,000 additional and the contract was 


awarded to the Groton Iron Bridge company of New York for $32,893 and by 
them completed. Theretofore passage of these streams was by ferry, the first estab- 
Hshed by Weil & P'itzpatrick at a point opposite Mr. M. J. Werriam's ranch. 

The first white child born within the present limits of Mesa county was 
Hattie Dunlap, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. G. Dunlap of Plateau valley, 
March 7th, 1882. The next, according to the published chronicles, was Harrison 
E. Gavin, son of John T. Gavin, of the Grand valley, in September of the same year. 
The first house erected in the county was a log cabin by C. A. Brett on his rancii 
one mile below Grand Junction, in the fall of 1881. The Brunswick hotel appears 
to have been the first brick building erected at the capital city, built by John Hal- 
derby in the summer of 1882 and it still remains the principal, indeed the only, hos- 
telry of importance. It may be observed in passing that it should be super- 
seded by a structure more in keeping with the magnitude and increasing importance 
of the city. 

The fruitage of all crops in 1886 definitely shaped the destiny of the Grand val- 
ley and its tributary precincts. It was shown that these intelligent and pains- 
taking people had built and planted more wisely than they at the outset com- 
prehended. The experimental venture had blossomed into magnificent certainties, 
and, in viewing the crops gathered, it became distinctly manifest that the desolate 
reservation of 1881 was to become the main dependence of the state for the best 
products of horticulture. All the cereals had yielded abundantly from the limited 
areas sown; the little sprouts of peach, apple, plum, prune, apricot and other trees 
had come into bearing without serious mishap or attack from any deleterious source, 
growing with extraordinary rapidity. The few vineyards set out were equally lux- 
uriant and productive. The Manufacturers' Exchange of Denver opened an exposi- 
tion in September that year and invited the state to participate in the exhibit. 
Mesa county sent W. E. Pabor and C. W. Steele with a collection of fruits, grains 
and vegetables, and their excellence and variety attracted much attention. In 1891 
Mesa county alone could have filled the entire building with selected samples 
of the finest fruits ever brought to this market, and thereby created a vast sensation. 
A glance at any well-executed map of the state will show that the county occu- 
pies a central position, so to speak, on the extreme western border of Colorado. Its 
principal town is only thirty-six miles east of the Utah line. The altitude of Grand 
vallev is 4,500 feet above the sea level. It is surrounded by cliffs and mountain 
ranges, and its valley, instead of being an open plain like that of the Uncompahgrc, 
is interspersed with elevated mesas or high table-lands which, utterly worthless 
except for grazing without irrigation, become very productive by the proper appli- 
cation of water. Most of the farming thus far has been scattered along the margins 
of the different water-courses, but in a short time, as soon as canals can be carried 
over the uplands, they will be no less fruitful than the lower sections. The climate 
from April to November is almost tropical, very hot, usually quite dry, and with 
few winds. The nights are less cool than on the eastern slopes, or upon the plains 
east of the Sierra Madres. The region is quite lavishly endowed with large streams ; 
the Gunnison and the Grand, into which all the others find their way, are two of 
the largest rivers in Colorado. The first, coming down from the southeast, and 
the Grand, from the northeast, and meeting at Grand Junction, form one great 
river equal to the Arkansas at Pueblo. It is these influences with their affluents 
which arc to plav a mighty part in the future of that county. In the southern part 
is the Uncompah'gre plateau, drained on the south and west by the Dolores river, 
and from the north and east by the Grand and Gunnison. Along the northwestern 
division are the Grand Mesa, drained by the two rivers named and Plateau creek, 
and Battlement mountain, which with the Book Cliffs nearest the capital city, 
are drained bv the Grand. All these cliffs and plateaus converge in the Grand 
valley. The Grand river is the largest in the state. The Gunnison is almost as 



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great in volume, while the Dolores, in the southwest, is a river of considerable 
niagnUude, ranking third in the series. All along their branches, putting down 
from springs and snows, the margins, though trecjuently narrow, are extremely 
fertile, upon which anything adapted to the climate may be grown in great luxuri- 
ance. The more prominent of these valleys are Parachute and Roan, the Cactus, 
Bluestone and I'lateau on the Grand, east and west, and Kannah creek and 
Whitewater valleys on the Gunnison. 

The Grand valley has an estimated area of 150,000 acres of good tillable 
land, beginning at the mouth of Hogback Canon, fifteen miles above the junction 
of the two rivers, and extending forty miles along the river, fn width it is from 
five to fifteen miles. The Plateau valley extends along the creek of that name, 
three hundred yards to three-fourths of a mile in width, and fifty to sixty miles in 
length. It is largely occupied by farmers and fruit growers. George Haw.xhurst 
and familv were the first settlers in that region, locating there September loth, 

The Unaweep valley is crescent shaped and extends the entire distance between 
the Gunnison, opposite Whitewater, and the Dolores rivers. It is formed by a break 
in the Uncompahgre plateau. These lands, also, are extremely productive. The 
first white settler liere was Mr. J. O. Gill, in December, 1881. The next was 
John M. Xolan, who came January 7th, 1882. These were followed by T. H. 
Loba, Allen D. Campbell, Chas. Berg and Capt. Anderson. Kannah creek and 
Whitewater, affluents of the Gunnison, both traverse fertile and well tilled valleys, 
superior lands for horticulture. 

In all my observations of Mesa county, taken in September, 1891. when the 
prospect on every side was at its best, I saw nothing comparable to the bright 
little valley of Whitewater. To one bred in northern Colorado from early man- 
hood, witnessing but few of the efforts there made toward fruit culture, it was a 
beautiful vision, a surprising revelation of loveliness and plenty such as I had 
never expected to witness in any part of the Rocky Mountains. The orchards of 
Messrs. J. R. Penniston, W. H. Coffman, R. W. Shropshire and others were 
in full fruitage ; a])ples, pears, peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, quinces, etc., 
in almost endless variety, each tree bent by the weight of its lovely burden, formed 
a new and entrancing experience, a wonderful testimonial to the fertility of the 
soil and its supreme adaptability to the purposes to which the farmers had given 
deepest attention. All lived in fine houses, were apparently satisfied and pros- 
perous, with immeasurable confidence in the wisdom which had guided them 
to make homes in this little Elysium. In all the fruits of this region, indeed of 
every section where this industrv' has been rightly carried on, there is a richness 
of coloring and a peculiar delicacy of flavor that may be attributed partly to the 
nature of the ground, but more particularly to the constant sunshine. There is a 
marked improvement in all respects over any similar products imported from Cali- 
fornia, and this is especially true of the peaches, apples, quinces, grapes and melons. 
As I traversed these fields with the several owners and beheld the magnificence on 
every side, the si)irited rivalry between competitors as to which should produce the 
best results, each having exerted himself to the utmost to reach perfection, it certainly 
seemed as if their lines had been cast in pleasant places, and that perseverance in well 
doing would surely bring them fame and fortune. Mr. Shropshire sent some of 
his choicest apples of the season of 1890 to the Chicago Exposition of that year, 
where they took first premium over those of the most favored states represented 
there. I was fortunate enough to stand under the tree from which they were 
taken and to receive from his hand one of the most beautiful of those then ripening.* 

* I am indebted for much of the pleasure of this excursion to Mr. and Mrs. M. I.. Allison, of Grand 
Junction, and for the privilege of examinine several other orchards and vineyards adjoining the capital of 
the county, to the courtesy of Mr. Benton Canon. 


It is indisputable, I think, that no better apples, peaches or grapes have been pro- 
duced west of the Mississippi than were found here. They are not onlv perfect 
in form and color, but possess all the other desirable qualities of size and flavor. 
The best varieties to be procured in the American Union have been planted and 
largely improved by the transplanting in this genial climate. They are now so 
well established on all the creeks and valleys where horticulture has been made 
a special feature, the h£U"vests have been so plentiful since the trees and vines 
matured, the markets are so near and the prices obtained so profitable, one needs 
but a tract of twentv to forty acres to insure a moderate fortune in a few years. The 
chief markets are among the neighboring mining towns and camps, which con- 
sume all the)- are at present capable of producing. Mr. Penniston informed me 
that all of his select peaches sold readily for ten cents a pound. 

The hamlet of Whitewater is situated on the creek of that name, a tributary 
of the Gunnison, some twelve miles southeast of Grand Junction, and the settle- 
ments on Kaniiah creek of a similar character are on the same line a few miles 
below. Bluestone and Cactus valleys extend along the east side of Grand river 
for twenty miles, and are from one to two miles in width, well settled. The Roan 
creek valley extends from Hogback Canon, a distance of twenty-five miles along 
Roan creek, and is about two miles wide. These are fine agricultural sections, 
with considerable areas of grazing lands. 

Fniita is situated some twelve miles northwest of Grand Junction, on the Rio 
Grande Western railway. It was founded by the Fruita Town and Land company, 
T. C. Henr}', president, and W. E. Pabor, secretary. Pabor came to Colorado 
in 1870 as secretary of the Union Colony, which founded Greeley; was afterward 
intimately identified with the founding of Colorado Springs; a prominent journalist, 
with a decided leaning toward agriculture and horticulture, and is a somewhat 
famous poet withal. The town site of Fruita was originally a part of the ranch 
claim preempted by Messrs. Steele, Ross, Sutton and Downer. An attempt had 
been previously made to establish a town there called "Fairview," but it was not 
perfected. Messrs. Henry, Pabor and their associates purchased the claim in the 
fall of 1884. The town was surveyed by A. J. McCune and the plat filed July 23rd, 
1884. Surrounding the place are fruit orchards in five and ten acre tracts. Sub- 
secjuently the town company was officered by J. P. Bronk, president; J. W. Burrows, 
vice-president and treasurer; F. J. V. SkifT, secretary, and W. E. Pabor. superin- 
tendent. The residence blocks have been bordered by ornamental shade trees 
and the village is very attractive. The phenomenal peach orchard of the state 
is located here, owned by Rose Bros. & Hughes, a tract of 80 acres, containing 
12,000 trees, all in bearing to the fullest extent of their capacity. Up to the 22nd 
of August, i8gi, the owners had shipped 38 tons of peaches, and still had an 
enormous crop in reserve for further shipments. This illustrates as fully, perhaps, 
as anything that can be advanced, the fecundity of all the peach orchards of Mesa 
county, for there is little difiference except in the areas planted. All are alike 
prolific in yields. The trees bear all they can sustain, and many have been broken 
by the weight. It is difficult to repress one's enthusiasm after witnessing such 
marvelous displays of the bounty of nature as were ever\-where observable about 
Grand Junction and its tributary valleys. There was such lavish abundance on 
ever)' hand, so many evidences of local pride and gratification over the success 
of the new phase of industry established there. By new phase, let it be understood 
that while (Hher quarters, as Canon City, Montrose, the Animas valley. Rocky Ford, 
on the Arkansas, and in several northern counties of the state, as Arapahoe and 
Boulder, great progress in horticulture has grown out of the past fifteen years, 
in no other section has the cultivation of peaches, apricots, nectarines, prunes, 
raisin grapes, etc., reached so extensive and perfect a development as here. It 
is doubted if any other quarter of equal extent excepting Delta will ever be able 


to produce them on so large a scale and in such variety. I visited a number of 
orchards adjoining the town of Grand Junction, notably those of Mr. T. R. 
Thatcher and Hon. C. F. Caswell, all of which gave the common testimony of 
excellence and abundance. In the one small vineyard examined, that of Mr. 
Baumgardner, opposite Mr. Thatchers, the same results were manifest. All the 
better varieties of grapes, including the wine and the raisin, flourish grandly in 
tliis soil and climate. I do not imagine that California has any advantage in 
this respect except in immensity of acreage. Black walnuts, English walnuts, hard 
shell almonds, with olives and figs, can be grown here quite as well as in thejr 
native climes. Indeed, there seems to be no limitation to the capabilities of that 
country' e.xcept in the lines of tropical fruits. 

Of agricultural pi"oducts, the staples are wheat, oats, barley, alfalfa, potatoes, 
both Irish and sweet, the latter especially fine. Xo section of the Union produces 
better sweet potatoes. While cultivation of the cereals can be enlarged tt) almost 
any extent, markets are distant and competition so strong that farmers have aban- 
doned the idea of raising grain for export. Since the limited number engaged 
in horticulture as a specialty have met with such e.xtraordinary fortune, farming 
has become a secondary pursuit, and each year the grain fields have been super- 
seded by orchards and vineyards, upon the understanding that, with the best and 
largest crops raised, the market can not be overstocked. 

The first orchards were planted in the spring of 1882. As their growth justified, 
additions were made each succeeding season. In 1886 the earlier trees began to 
bear profusely. Mr. C. W. Steele, statistical reporter for the bureau of statistics in 
Washington, in his report for 1891, says: "Long seasons and warm summers, with 
immunity from insect pests, tend to make this one of the best localities in the 
United States for the growth of the finer fruits, as well as the more hardy. Apples 
and pears grow to a phenomenal size and of surpassing flavor." Of the other 
advantages he notes, '"an abundance of water for irrigation; a low altitude in the 
Rocky Niountain system; freedom from hailstorms and tornadoes; and, owing 
to the dryness of the atmosphere, no late destructive frosts in the spring, no insects 
such as are common to the Mississippi valley. The general character of the soil 
is adobe, with about one-half of the area of the valley lands river alluvial and a 
reddish sandy loam." 

■ The ])rincipal fruit growers about Crand lunction are Messrs. C. W. Steele, 
R. A. Orr, W. A. Kennedy. A. M. Olds, T. R. "Thatcher, J. F. Spencer, C. F. Cas- 
well, Benton Canon, H. R. Rhone, the Smith Bros., and the Orchard Mesa 
Fruit- Land company: at I-'ruita, the Keifer Bros., Rose Bros. & Hughes. Car- 
penter & Gage. J. H. Berry and Mr. A. 15. Johnson. 

There are two fine public school buildings in Grand Junction, one of them 
the most imposing edifice in the town, but there are no county buildings as yet, 
except a jail. There is a good system of waterworks, the supply taken from Grand 
river and distributed through the streets in jiipes, with hydrants at the corners for 
the use of the fire companies. The cost of the system was about $100,000. There 
is a very efficient volunteer fire organization, composed of young racers and 

The main streets are lined with brick and stone buildings, and there are many 
pretty residences. C)ne line of horse cars runs from the railway depot to the center 
of the town. The Grand Junction Town and Im])rovement company is operated 
bv M. L. .Allison, president and general manager: C. 15. Rich, assistant manager. 
The original officers were Geo. A. Crawford, president; Thomas B. Crawford, sec- 
retarv and treasurer, and the following directors: D. C. Dodge. W. A. Bell. W. M. 
Hastings, of the D. & R. G. R. R. Co., J. W. Bncklin and Allison White. At the 
beginning the company issued .stock shares to the amount of $100,000. of which 
the D. (.*v- R. G. R. R. Co. owned one-half. But when that company fell into the 


hands of W. S. Jackson as receiver, the title to the land was attacked; therefore the 
town company purchased the shares held by the railroad company, perfected its 
title and proceeded to carry out the purposes of the organization. Prior to this, 
however, the capital stock had been increased to $500,000, one-lifth of which was 
reserved for internal improvements, the erection of hotels, residences, mills, facto- 
ries, business houses, waterworks, gas and electric plants, etc. The proceeds of 
lot sales have been devoted to such improvements. The town is 116 miles from 
Ouray, 96 from Ridgway, 100 from Gunnison, 312 from Pueblo, 447 from Denver 
via the Denver & Rio Grande railroad, and 36 from the Territory of Utah. It 
bears every evidence of thrift, substantial means and rapid expansion. Within 
five years it should have a population of 25,000 to 30,000, according to the promise 
of the present epoch. 

The Press. — The "News" was founded by Edwin Price, October 28th, 1882, and 
was the first newspaper in the town. In May, 1883, Darwin P. Kingsley, who 
afterward became auditor of state, purchased an interest and edited this journal 
until 1886, when he resold to Mr. Price. The Grand Junction "Democrat" fol- 
lowed in 1883, Chas. W. Haskell and C. F. Coleman, proprietors. This venture 
proved unfortunate and suspended, when Mr. Haskell started the Mesa County 
"Democrat." The "Inter-State" was founded by A. K. Cutting, G. W. Frame and 
D. A. Nunnell)'. It was subsequently purchased by a joint stock company and 
consolidated with the "Democrat," \V. E. Pabor, editor. Later on the Grand 
Junction "Star" was founded upon these two plants, and Col. J. L. Bartow, formerly 
editor-in-chief of the Leadville "Democrat," became editor. The "Star," at Fruita, 
was established by W. E. Pabor. 

Banks. — -The Bank of Grand Junction, started by S. G. Crandall, in 1882, 
passed into voluntary liquidation some three years afterward. The Mesa County 
Bank was founded in 1883 by W. T. Carpenter. July ist, 1888, it was incorporated 
as the Mesa County State Bank, W. T. Carpenter, president, and Orsin Adams, Jr., 
cashier. In December, 1889, Mr. Carpenter sold to Benton Canon, who became 
president, Mr. Adams continuing as cashier. These two, with \V. P. Ela, James 
H. Smith, George P. Smith, W. J. Quinn and W. A. ]\Iarsh constitute its directory. 
Its capital is $50,000. 

The First National Bank was organized March 15th, 1888, by Wm. Gelder, 
A. A. Miller, John O. Boyle, T. J. Blue and David Roberts ; George Arthur Rice, 
president; T. M. Jones, vice-president, and J. F. McFarland, cashier. This bank 
succeeded the house of George Arthur Rice & Co., who succeeded the Commercial 
Bank, founded in 1886 by J. F. ^McFarland. The First National has the most elegant 
building thus far erected in the western part of the state, of beautiful design and 
extremelv attractive in e.xterior and interior finish. It is built of fine red sandstone, 
found in the vicinity of the town, and would be a credit to any city in the state. 

Of secret and benevolent orders, there are Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights 
of Pythias, Knights of Labor, Patriotic Sons of America and Grand Army 

Churches. — The M. E. church (South) was the ftrst religious society duly 
organized in Grand Junction. The Rev. D. L. Rader, its presiding elder, entered 
the field in 1882. Early in the summer of that year the Rev. Isaac Whitcher 
became the first resident pastor. He was succeeded by the Rev. Mr. Amsbary in 
1883, who commenced the church building. He was succeeded by Rev. Thomas 
Griffith. At a later period the church building was sold to the Congregationalists, 
Rev. J. W. Rose, pastor. The Baptists and Catholics followed soon after. The 
Baptist society was instituted February 7th, 1883, in the office of Mayor Shanks. 
August 20th the Rev. W. D. Weaver was called and began his pastorate Sep- 
tember 5th. The church was dedicated May 21st, 1884, by Rev. Dr. Jeffries, of 
Denver, but it was opened for services July 2nd, 1883. In the summer of 1885 


Rev. C. M. Jones became its pastor. He was succeeded by Rev. Geo. Walker 
in 1889. 

In the Catholic church Rev. Father Servant, assistant priest at Gunnison, held 
the first services Alarch 24th, 1883, and on June 7th was appointed pastor by Rt. 
Rev. Bishop ^lacheboeuf, his work also embracing Delta, Montrose, Ouray and 
the .'-ian Miguel countr\-. Their new church was opened for services in April, 1884. 
Fathers McGreevy and Martin have since been pastors. The AI. E. church also 
began its work in 1883 Rev. R. H. McDade, then in charge at Salida, organized 
a church at Grand Junction in March, 1883, with ten members. In 1884 Rev. C. A. 
Brooks became pastor. In 1887 Rev. A. L. Chase was appointed and was suc- 
ceeded by Mr. H. J. Grace. They have a handsome brick church. 

The Presbyteriaiis organized January 20th, 1884; Rev. T. S. Day began preach- 
ing herein June, 1883. The first services were held in McClure's hall and afterward 
in Armory hall. James Davidson was elected elder. In the second year Mr. Day 
retired. In 1888 Rev. F. AI. Collier was pastor at Delta and Grand Junction. In 
September of that year Rev. Charles P'uller assumed charge and was followed by 
Mr. Collier, who was succeeded in due course by Rev. E. F. Mundy. Quite recently 
a church was erected. The Episcopalians, though without a church, hold services, 
Rev. O. E. Ostensen, rector. 

The observer, when fully cognizant of the internal conditions of Grand Junc- 
tion and its neighboring precincts, will be impressed by its enterprise. There is an 
atmosphere about it which tells of thrift, solidity, manifest resources and definite 
assurance of support. A great majority of the farmers occupy good houses, and 
whatever mortgages may have encumbered their possessions have been wholly 
canceled, or materially reduced from the profits of the last two seasons. There 
are no evidences of poverty or destitution. They all feel that they have some- 
thing belter than mines of gold and silver in their horticulture. As near as can 
be estimated there are now some 1,400 acres in fruit, and it is just at the begin- 
ning. There is a steady market in Denver, Trinidad, Pueblo and the mountain 
towns of the southwest for more than 12,000 tons of fruit each season. As yet 
but small provision has been made for canning and preserving such as can not well 
be shipi)ed, hence many tons are literally w-asted. Another year these economic 
auxiliaries will be provided and thereby add much to the profits of the trade. Most 
of the lands under ditches already built are occupied by fruit growers, and other 
immense canals are projected for the reclamation of 75,000 to 100.000 acres of land 
not now availai)le. For twenty years we have been paying out millions tt) the 
horticulturists of California and other states; every carload we can produce at 
home will be so much money saved to our people for the enhancement of their 
welfare instead of enriching our neighbors. Therefore, every aid and encourage- 
ment ])ossible should be extended to every section of Colorado where this industry 
has been or can be maintained. It is a matter that should engage the attention 
of our legislators and incite them to reasonable liberality in furthering the construc- 
tion of irrigating canals and other improvements. Our laws exempt mines from 
taxation. These fruit growers do not ask any such concession, but they should 
have fair recognition in expenditures from the internal improvement fund. 

Asp/ia/tiim. — There are immense beds of this useful material, extending from 
the north line of Mesa county, on Grand river, across White river into Utah. 
They have not been much developed as yet. Some of it is unfit for paving, but 
there are places where it seems to be entirely free from impurities, and would 
undoubtedly make an excellent street paving. If fairly and fully tested, perhaps 
we should not be compelled to go to the West Indies for such material. 

Coa/. — .'\t a distance of twelve to fifteen miles north of Grand lunctiou there are 
large deposits of coal, nuich of it along the standard gauge of the Denver & Rio 
Grande and the Colorado Midland railways. The late Governor Crawford's estate 


has a tract of 320 acres, in which an eight-foot vein of good coal has been devel- 
oped, and upon the surface stands a young, thrifty orchard of 120 acres. The 
coal is semi-bituminous, not a good coking variety, but valuable for domestic 
use. It is found in the Uncompahgre plateau, the Grand Mesa, the Book Cliffs 
and other points. A cog-wheel railroad, built by W. T. Carpenter, runs from 
Grand Junction to the Little Book Cliffs coal mines, some thirteen miles distant. 
The well-developed mines of New Castle and Jerome Park are but a short distance 
away, hence fuel is both abundant and cheap. In addition there is much fire-clay 
and red brick clay near the town. 

Silver Mines have been discovered on Coates creek, thirty miles south, on 
the mesa between the Dolores and the Grand. They were discovered in the sum- 
mer of iSqo. Some of the ores are rich in copper. Three carloads shipped to 
Denver yielded about 60 per cent, of copper and carried 30 ounces of silver to the 
ton. The veins are in granite formation and appear to be true fissures. 

StOik raising has been and is still a prominent industry. Range cattle are 
gradually disappearing and thoroughbred stock taking their place. There are 
many ranches where superior blooded horses and cattle are raised. 

De Betjue is situated on Grand river, thirty-two miles northeast of Grand 
Junction. It was laid owt by the Curtis Town and Land company, George Arthur 
Rice, president, November 12th, 1889. It is a small but growing settlement, with 
evidence of value as a fruit-growing center. 

Cleveland, adjoining Fruita, was established by the Cleveland Town and 
Mercantile Co., November 19th, 1890, by Joseph P. Keifer, president, and B. F. 
Keifer, secretary. As its situation indicates, it is in a superior fruit-growing 

Sehools. — By the census of i8go Mesa county had a school population of 867 
There were twelve school districts and a like number of buildings with pro- 
vision for 1060 sittings. The value of this property was $24,398. Fifteen were 
enrolled in the high school, 389 in the graded and 287 in the ungraded. The aver- 
age daily attendance was 396.7. The educational facilities are excellent. The 
people of Fruita have a good brick building; Whitewater, a neat frame: Plateau, two 
schools, one on Kannah creek, the other on Roan creek, with good buildings. 

The county officers for 1891 were: Clerk, A J. McCune; treasurer, T. B. 
Crawford; county judge, W. A. Marsh; assessor, I. W. Smith; sheriff, Milton Cra- 
mar; coroner, L. F. Ingersoll; superintendent of schools, Ed. T. Fisher: sur- 
veyor, Edward Thompson; clerk of the district court, Arthur P. Cook; connnis- 
sioners. J. W. Rose, J. P. Brown and C. P. Noland. 

The total assessed valuation of taxable property for 1890 was $2,106,673. The 
increase has been steady and regular year by year. In the list we find 79,270 acres 
of agricultural land, and 88,949 acres of coal land. Of live stock returned there 
were 4,385 horses, 36,122 cattle 8,423 sheep, which illustrates, but in only a lim- 
ited degree, the extent of stock raising as a feature of its internal economy. For 
a county only seven years old and with less than six in which any considerable 
profits have been realized, we think the foregoing epitome presents a very flatter- 
ing exhibit. Whoever writes the history of the next decade will show a marvelous 
change in advance of present conditions. The five railways now centering there, 
the Denver & Rio Grande broad and narrow gauge lines, the Atchison, Topcka & 
Santa Fe and the Rio Grande Western, give it a position of great importance, and 
these will undoubtedly soon be supplemented by other roads en route to the 



Discovery of mines by n. c. creede — tremendous rush to the new camp — great 
riches disclosed arrival of the railway condition of the region. 

This county was organized under an act of the Ninth General Assembly, ap- 
proved March 27th, 1893. It was taken from Rio Grande, Hinsdale and Saguache 
counties, and the capital located at VVason. As it was created two years after the 
histon.' of each of the counties of which it then formed a part had been prepared for 
the press, only the salient features of its settlement will be recorded in this 

No one questions the fact that the first settler in the region to be described was 
Mr. N. C. Creede, or that all subsequent progress sprang from the discoveries 
made by him. He was a prospector of wide experience, possessing only a common 
school education and no scientific attainments whatever. It may be stated in pass- 
ing, that mines of gold and silver are seldom unearthed by scientists, but, almost 
invariably, the world over, by the poor, uneducated and generally poverty-stricken 
individual with sharp instincts in the pursuit of his calling. For many vears Mr. 
Creede had ranged over the hills and valleys of Colorado searching for veins and 
deposits of mineral, and in several instances had found them, though in the final out- 
come he profited little thereby. Through long study of rock formations he had 
become familiar with the class which at the surface indicates the presence of lodes. 
He was one of the discoverers of Monarch district, in Chafifee county, which be- 
came a great producer of silver and lead. During the spring of 1890, while wandering 
over the mountains above Wagon Wheel Gap, he found certain traces of mineral 
" float "' or " blossom." In May of that year he exposed, by digging, a promising 
vein and called it " The Holy Moses," from a commonly used exclamation in the 
miners' vernacular. Sinking a shaft upon it disclosed a large body of ore 
between well-defined walls. The next stej) was to ascertain its value by assaying. 
The results gave $80 and u])ward per ton, which assured him that he had made an 
important find. Realizing the necessity of ])rocuring means for further develop- 
ment, after satisfying himself of the full strength an<l permanency of the deposit, 
he applied to Mr. David H. Moffat at Denver. The latter becoming interested, sent 
his manager. Mr. liben Smith, with instructiims to examine and report. The result 
being favorable, Mr. Moffat paid Creede $1,000 and, taking a bond and lease fur the 
remainder ($64,000), associated with himself in the enterprise Capt. L. E. Caini)l)ell 
of the U. S. army and Sylvester T. Smith, then general manager of the Denver & 
Rio Grande railroad company, who organized the Holy Moses ^Mining company. 
The property thus bargained for was at once put under systematic operation with 
a view to ascertaining its future jxissibilities. Alcanwhile, however, Creede had dis- 
covered another vein calling it Ethel, which was included in the purchase. Active 
work began on these mines by the corporation just mentionetl. in October, i8qo. 
Convinced that other veins might be found in the vicinity, Mr. Creede was employed 


by Moffat, Smith and Campbell to continue prospecting, under an agreement that 
he should be entitled to a one-third interest in all the workable mines he might dis- 
cover, they to furnish capital for development. During the sunmier i\Ir. Charles F. 
Nelson, a native of Denmark, entered the field and also began prospecting, locating 
the Solomon, Ridge and other claims which he subsequently sold to ex-Senator 
Thomas M. Bowen of Del Norte. From these beginnings originated reports that 
produced much excitement over the state, causing throngs of prospectors to join 
the pioneers in this apparently richly favored district. 

The fact that Aloffat, Smith and Campbell had invested there was a sufficient 
guaranty of its value, therefore it was not long before a settlement arose in the 
narrow winding canon of Willow Creek, which was called Creede. By this time, 
however, winter had set in with considerable severity. The mountains being thickly 
covered with snow, but little work beyond the building of cabins could be done. 
Merchants from Alamosa and Del Norte, with a number from Denver and Pueblo, 
erected temporary quarters and filled them with merchandise suited to the locality. 

The first cabin after those by Creede and Nelson was erected by Capt. Camp- 
bell, superintendent of the Moses, for ofifice uses. He soon had many neighbors; 
stores, saloons, shops, gambling dens and dance houses followed. As time passed, 
toward spring, the gulch became crowdecl witli rude buildings and dense masses 
of people. In the spring of '91 an overwhelming rush was made, when the demand 
for the extension of the Rio Grande railroad from Wagon Wheel Gap to the new 
camp became imperative. 

The district was christened at the beginning "King Solomon's Mines," from 
Rider Haggard's story of that name, but almost universally was called Creede. It 
occupies a lofty position on the Continental Divide, about nine miles northwest by 
north of Wagon Wheel Gap, and is shut in by mountains ranging between 13,000 
and 14,000 feet in height. Travelers went by the D. & R. G. R. R. to Alamosa, and 
thence by a branch of the same up the Rio Grande river to Wagon Wheel Gap, 
thence by wagon conveyance, or on foot, to Creede. 

Mr. Moffat, then president of the railway company, realizing the urgent need 
of extending the line, appealed to the directors in New York for funds to build it, 
but was denied. He then resolved to build it himself, and did so at a cost of $70,000. 
It was completed in October, 1891, but not opened to general traffic until No- 
vember. It was subsequently purchased by the D. & R. G. R. R. company. Mean- 
time an event occurred which firmly established the future of the camp. In the 
kiwer part of the valley, Ralph Granger and Erl von Buddenbock had opened 
a meat market and were making mone\'. One day a prospector named Theodore 
Renniger happened in, and said if they would "grub stake" him he would prospect 
for them on shares. They accepted the proposition, and in company with a 
comrade named Julius Haas he started out to- explore for indications. In August 
they found on what is now Bachelor mountain a vi'ell-established outcrop, ami 
began to work upon it. Soon afterward Mr. N. C. Creede came that way and 
stopped to examine it. His well-trained eye told him that a great find had been 
made, though the discoverers were unconscious of it. He asked Renniger to 
define and stake his claim, which he did, naming it "The Last Chance." Creede 
immediately staked off a claim adjoining on the outcrop for Moffat, Campbell 
and himself, and named it "The Amethyst." In course of their development these 
two properties became the largest producers of rich ore in that district, and except- 
ing the New York Chance, near by, discovered and opened some time afterward, 
were the only ones that returned large profits to their owners. 

The interest of Julius Haas in the Last Chance was purchased by his partners 
for $10,000. In November Renniger and Von Buddenbock sold their interests 
to Jacob Sanders, of Leadville, Henry R. Wolcott, Senator E. O. Wolcott and 
others for $65,000. When the great wealth of the mine came to be known, these 

. I i 








parties offered Ralph Granger $100,000 for liis interest, but he refused it, and 
thereby realized a handsome fortune from continuous and large dividends. 

At the period under consideration, many very large enterprises were inaugu- 
rated, great tunnels begun, immense quantities of machinery purchased and 
placed upon the mines. Long and expensive iron tramways stretched between 
the leading mines and the railway for the transportation of ores, etc. Some highly 
promising discoveries were made on Bachelor and other mountains, and thousands 
of dollars were expended in exploiting them, but, as already stated, only three 
really great dividend payers have yet been brought to light. Between the summer 
of 1801 and that of 1893 many of the wild scenes which marked the primitive 
times in Leadville were witnessed in Creede. The later arrivals, finding all available 
space occupied in the upper town, went down a mile or so where the valley is 
much broader and founded "Jimtown." The new town site was sun.eyed and 
platted by Mr. L. M. Stoddard and the plat filed November ist, 1891. Then 
came a heated controversy over the right of possession, the land belonging to the 
state, but then leased to Mr. M. V. B. Wason. Omitting details for want of space, 
the state land board assumed possession, directed the state engineer, Mr. J. P. 
Maxwell, to survey and plat the town site, and finally sold the lots at auction. 
The demantl being extremely brisk, a large number were disposed of at good 
prices, thereby realizing a generous sum for the public school fund. The new 
town prospered and grew to be an important center of traffic. There were many 
business houses, a bank or two, scores of saloons, gambling and dance houses, 
etc. It had scarcely been built before it was almost wholly destroyed by fire. 

A newspaper correspondent writing of Creede in January, 1892, thus epitomizes 
the situation there: "The train when it conies is a sight to behold, the smoking 
car being an especial marvel. It is jammed. Men sit on one another, and on the 
arms of the seats, stand in the aisles and hang on to the platforms. Pipes, blankets, 
satchels form the major part of their equipment. At night there are no policemen 
to interfere with the vested right of each citizen to raise as much Cain as he sees 
fit, and it is a reasonable estimate to say that fully three-fourths of the population 
are of that kind which does see fit. The quiet party goes to bed and dreams of being 
an icicle; the noisy majority goes out and imagines itself a whale. The saloons 
and dance houses are in full blast, and sur/i dance houses as they are, and si/c/i 
discarded remnants as the old fairies who flatmt around in them never were seen 
before. Along in the morning, when the wheezy accordeon lets up, the time is 
occupied by a riot. Nobody bothers. Drunken men come out occasionally and 
empty their revolvers into the air or somebody's legs. The latter process inclicates 
a cultivated softening of the old lirutal habits. There are a few liacl men in Creede, 
and many who are reckless." 

From the completion of the railway in the fall of 1891 to midsummer, 1893, 
Creetle was one of the liveliest comnumitics in the state. It never was and never 
will be a pleasant place to live in, but, with an advance in the price of silver, the 
three princi|)al mines would pay large profits to their shareholders, and it is prob- 
able that, from the great number of prospects here and there on the mountains, 
some would be brought to the paying stage. Here, as in all the other mining 
sections of the West, the people are waiting and praying for the free coinage of 
silver at the ratio established by the fathers. \\'ill their prayers be answered? 
Possibly after 1896; unquestionably not before. 



Homes of the ancient cliff and cave dwellers — how the country was 

settled — the killing of settlers by ute indians — founding of cortez 

general description of the country some great irrigating canals — 

the aztec indians. 

This county, which appropriately bears the name of the historical king of 
the Aztecs, was created from tlie western part of La Plata by an act of the General 
Assembly, approved April i6th, 1S89. it is bounded on the north by Dolores, 
south by the Territory of New Mexico, east by La Plata, and west by Utah Ter- 
ritory. Its area is 2,640 square miles. According to the census of 1890 its popu- 
lation was 1,529. The county seat, where the major part of its inhabitants are 
concentrated, is the town of Cortez, situated just south of the center. For some 
years prior to the date given above, the Montezuma valley was occupied as a 
winter grazing range for numerous large herds of cattle from the regions round 
about, the hills and valleys being well grassed, the climate mild, and all conditions 
favorable. The Montezuma valley proper is in form approximately an equilateral 
triangle, in area about 150 square miles, the Hovenweep region forming the western 
boundary, the divide between the Dolores and San Juan river watersheds form- 
ing the northeastern boundary, and the Mesa Verde, the Aztec divide between 
McElmo and San Juan watersheds and the divide between the Mancos and 
McElmo, the southeastern, the last named stream carrying the water of the valley 
out north of LTte Peak to the San Juan river. Separated from the Montezuma 
valley by the Aztec divide, and running southwesterly between the Mesa Verde 
and the Sierra El Late to the San Juan river, is a narrow but very fertile body 
of agricultural land drained by the Aztec Springs creek, and known as "the Aztec 

The present reservation occupied by the Southern Ute Indians cuts across 
the southern boundary, as is more fully described in the history of La Plata county, 
this volume, hence that strip of valualile land, although included by the county, 
is not presently available. The estimated area of good agricultural land in the 
county, that is to say, lands that may be irrigated by canals already constructed 
and projected from the Dolores river, is 250,000 to 300.000 acres. 

In 1885 there were only ten white persons in the IMontezuma valley. In July, 
1873, Capt. John Moss and his company of California miners reached the point 
where now stands the town of Mancos, where they remained a few days. In the 
fall of that year, Richard Giles and others of the party built a rude shelter there, 
and the Giles and Merritt ranch was located, probably the first in the present limits 
of T\lontozuma county. In the spring of 1874, Capt. Moss, on his second return 
from California, brought wagons, agricultural implements, seeds, etc., when his 
comrades took up a number of ranch claims, but made few improvements. No 
considerable attempt to cultivate these lands occurred until four years later. The 


first actual settlers in the Montezuma were William Wooley and Louis Simons, 
who located tiiere with their families in 1881. The next was a man named Cientrj'. 
In the spring of 1886 the latter was killed by the Utes under the following cir- 
cumstances, as related to me by Mr. James W. Hanna, who obtained his account 
from Mrs. Gentry: Several bands oi Utes had obtained permission from their 
agent to leave their reservation for a hunting expedition on Beaver creek, about 
sixty miles from the head of Montezuma valley. While in camp si.x Indians, one 
squaw and a boy aged fourteen were attacked while asleep in their tepees by a 
mob of cowboys, and all except the boy killed, and he, though wounded, con- 
trived to make his escape. Proceeding as swiftly as he could to the reservation, 
he met en route another party of his tribe going into the valley, to whom he 
related the story of the massacre. They, bent upon revenge, came at length to 
Mr. Wooley's place, which they plundered, driving out the family, but, strangely 
enough, did not slay them. The next jilace on their route was Gentry's, a mile or 
so below Wooley's, where they arrived after dark. He had a good log house 
and fine improvements. His family consisted of his wife and three children, the 
youngest an infant. Gentry and the children had retired for the night, but his 
wife sat up reading. About eleven o'clock she smelled burning wood from the 
outside, and in her apprehension of danger called her husband. He soon dis- 
covered that his house was on fire. Asking Mrs. Gentry to hand him a bucket 
of water, he opened the door and was instantly shot by the Indians who lay in 
wait for him. He shouted back to his wife: "Indians; save the children!" then 
fell and immediately expired. Mrs. Gentry seized the youngest child, and bidding 
the others follow, fled out of a back door, but instantly received a terrible wound 
in her shoulder. She managed to conceal herself till daylight in a thicket some 
distance from the house, then, the savages having departed, she made her way 
to Mr. Wooley's cabin, whence she was taken to Durango for treatment, and 
finally recovered. The Indians sacked the house and burned it, together with the 
body of her husband. This tragedy came near precipitating a general war with 
the L'tes, for they were deeply excited, and the young men were only restrained 
by the wiser judgment and imperative orders of Chief Ignacio. The afTair was 
amicably adjusted in due course, and the danger of a bloody conflict thus avoided. 

That part of the great valley better adapted to agriculture and grazing is an 
immense basin, diversified here and there by little hills dotted with cedar and 
pinons. It is traversed by the McLlmo, a channel that is flooded at certain 
seasons, and at others dry. Latterly, however, it receives much water from the 
irrigating canals. On the south side the soil is an alluvial deposit, from 5 to 70 feet 
deep, ascertained by digging wells, and by deep ravines cut by spring torrents. 
It is especially adapted to the luxuriant growth of wheat and corn, the latter 
attaining as fine perfection as in Kansas or Illinois. On the north side the base is 
limestone, locally termed "red ash soil." from 5 to 15 feet deep, and normally cov- 
ered with sage brush. In this class of lands great crops of oats, all the small 
grains and alfalfa are grown. Owing to the jieculiar adaptability of the south side 
to corn, the settlers are giving much attention to the raising of swine. So far as 
their experiments have extended, it appears to be one of the finest corn-growing 
districts of the state. 

Within the past two or three years the people have planted many fruit trees, 
in the belief that all the varieties common to the northern and middle states can 
he made productive in this altitude. The region seems to be well suited to pears, 
apples, the hardier varieties of grapes ami plums, and it is thought that even 
peaches and apricots can be grown. At first they were somewhat skeptical as to 
peaches, but the results of several trees in iSgi removed serious apprehension 
on that score, and they are now confident that this delicate fruit can be pmduced 
as ahundantlv as at Farmington, New Mexico, or about Grand Junction, in 
this state. 


For a description of the western part of the county, which is not occupied, we 
refer to the report of Mr. W. H. Jackson, of Hayden"s geological survey, who 
says: "The Hovenweep ('deserted valley') is a tributary of the AIcElmo, which, 
together with the wide-spreading arms of the Montezuma, drains into the San 
Juan all that portion ot country lying between the Alesa \'crde and the Sierra 
Abajo (or Blue mountains), covering in the aggregate some 2,500 square miles. 
Their labyrinthine canons head close to the Dolores on the north, and ramify the 
plateaus in every direction, with an interminable series of deep, desolate gorges 
and wide, barren valleys.'" It is among these canons that some of the more remark- 
able ruins of the ancient Cliff Dwellers are found. 

Whilst farming has been carried on with gratifying success in the valley of 
the Mancos river, near the eastern border, since 1880, and a considerable business 
center established at the town of Alancos, it was not until after the construction of 
great canals in the Montezuma, in 1885-86, that the development of industry 
began in the latter. In 1885 the Montezuma Valley Water Supply company was 
organized in the city of Boston by Mr. James W. Hanna, formerly of Denver, 
now a resident of Cortez, to take water from the Dolores river, which, according 
to Hayden's report for 1875, has its origin in two large streams that rise in the 
northwestern part of the San Juan mountains. The North Fork rises in the 
southern face of the group named San Miguel mountains, and the South Fork, 
or Bear river, drains the Bear river group of mountains and the country between 
it and the La Plata mountains. The course of the Dolores, after the junction of 
the two forks, is south. It then turns abruptly west and next flows north a short 
distance, and then to the northwest, emptying into the Grand in Utah. Mr. 
Hanna's company proposed to tap the stream at the Big Bend, by a canal to be 
used for the reclamation of the valley. Mr. B. L. Arbecan, of Boston, was made 
president; James W. Hanna, of Cortez, vice-president and general manager; E. S. 
Turner, of New York, secretary, and H. B. Chamberlin, of Denver, treasurer. Hav- 
ing accomplished his mission, Mr. Hanna returned to Cortez, surveyed the line 
and began the work of construction. Superior skill was requisite to accomplish 
the difficult undertaking. The point of beginning was at the bend of the river. 
The canal is 25 feet wide at the bottom and 6 feet deep, leading to a tunnel 7x9 
feet; is 5,400 feet long, cut through the solid sandstone of the Dolores divide, 
which intervenes between the river and the open valley. Having penetrated 
this obstruction, the ditch extends a distance of thirty miles. The greatest diffi- 
culty and expense lay in boring this tunnel, and in forming the head-gates at 
the source of supply. In 1888 the company was reorganized as the Colorado Water 
Supply company. In 1887 Mr. B. S. Lagrange, of Greeley, organized the Dolores 
Land and Canal company No, 2, commonly known as "The No. 2 company.'' The 
first section is taken out very near the one first mentioned, the two headgates 
adjoining; it is six miles long before entering the valley, 25 feet wide at the 
bottom and 6 feet deep, leading to an open cut through the divide 4,000 feet in 
length, 10 feet wide at the bottom, and 40 feet at the highest point. In May, 
1889, the two corporations combined, forming the Colorado Consolidated Land 
and Water company. It has about 100 miles of constructed canals, including 
mains and laterals, and covers some 80,000 acres of fine agricultural land. By 
priority of appropriation it controls the supply from the river through the arteries 
just described. The canals may be used separately or together, as the need appears, 
by means of diverting dams and headgates. The cost of the two was about 
$700,000. Further extensions have been partly constructed, and storage reser- 
voirs located. The president of the new corporation is Henr\' N. Tuttle, of 
Chicago, and the general manager, Mr. S. W. Carpenter, formerly of Denver, now 
a resident of Cortez. 

The Mancos river and valley is twenty-seven miles west of Durango. The 
headwaters of the stream are in the western slope of the La Plata chain. Though 


not larf;^c, it is a beautiful watercourse, witli picturesque borders, coursing through 
inviting valleys one-fourth to three or four miles wide in places. The town of 
-Mancos stands on the west bank. Two wagon roads, bvit little used, however, 
lead therefrom, one to the Big Bend of the Dolores, and the other down the Mancos 
valley, over into the Montezuma, on to the San Juan river, and thence to Bluff City, 
Utah. Though narrow, this is a very productive valley. A small colony of Mormon 
farmers is located there. 

The tract known as the Mesa Verde is reported to be extensively underlaid 
with coal, but owing to the lack of railway transportation and convenient markets, 
tlie veins have not been opened. Some gold-bearing placers have been found 
on the upper Mancos, and some silver lodes in the La Plata mountains. 

Cortez, the county seat, was located in December, 1886, upon a part of the 
homestead owned by Mr. James \V. Hanna, who suggested its name, and sold 
the land to the Montezuma Land and Development company in 1887. It was 
surveyed and platted by Mr. J. M. Mack, December 15th, 1886, but is not yet 
incorporated. The streets are rectangular, 100 feet wide, well watered and partly 
fringed with maples and other ornamental shade trees. The town stands on the 
north side of the AIcElmo creek, an elevated plateau about 6,200 feet above the 
level of the sea. Just above the McElmo is divided, flowing on either side of 
the town. It is nine miles south of the Big Bend of the Dolores. The altitude 
of the valley varies from 4,500 to 6,500 feet. To the north and northwest are 
the peaks of Mount Wilson and Lone Cone in the Dolores Range; to the north- 
east the superb La Plata mountains; on the south and southeast Lookout mountain 
and the Mesa Verde. Still further to the south and west, beyond the San Juan 
river, are the Navajo and Lucachuca ranges. L'te mountain, covered with pinon 
and cedar, is two miles from Cortez, and the Sierra Abajo, or Blue mountains, lie 
to the northwest in Utah. 

The first house built in the capital of Montezuma county is credited to Major 
E. H. Cooper, whose explorations and experiences in the San Juan region are 
set forth in the history of La Plata county. He was also the first postmaster of the 
place, appointed by President Harrison. His house was completed and occupied 
January 17th, 1887. Mr. F. M. Goodykoontz opened the first boarding house 
and restaurant in a tent, January 3rd, 1887. School district No. 7 was organ- 
ized and school opened August ist, 1887. 

Mr. J. \V. Hanna, first manager of the Montezuma Land and Development 
company, built a two-story block of white stone, 70 feet long by 40 feet wide, at 
a cost of $20,000, which is now occupied by the county officers. Mr. H. B. Cham- 
berlin and associates furnished the capital for the Montezuma Valley Bank — 
$30,000 — of which Mr. H. A. Harrison is the present cashier. Subsequently, the 
name of the town company was clianged to "The Cortez Land and Improvement 
company,'' and built a white stone block 100x75 feet. In due course a newspaper, 
the "Journal," was founded by the veteran pioneer of San Juan journalism. Mr. 
John 1\. Currv. Stores and shops suited to the needs of the young coninumity, 
lumber yards, stone quarrying and cutting were ackled. Quite recently a flouring 
mill has been erected to acconunodate the wheat growers. 

Public Schools. — Mr. D. M. Longenbaugh, the county superintendent, reports 
that a high school has been established at Mancos and a graded school at Cortez, 
where a .stone building of two rooms, well furnished, has been completed, and 
two new districts formed. The census of 1890 gives a school population of 5411, 
with an enrollment of 366, and an average daily attendance of 192. There were 
40 in the high school. The value of school property is placed at $13,374. 

The first regular church at Cortez was the C(Jngregational, Rev. Joel P. 
1 larpcr, pastor, organized in 1889. Mr. Harper died in December, 1890, just 
after the completion of his church, a fine edifice of white sandstone. 


It is well ascertained that there are large deposits of hgnite and liiituminous 
coals in Montezuma valley, the latter much like that found near Durango. Only 
the lignites have been mined as yet, and are limited to domestic use. Being without 
any considerable development, the value of the coal measures must be left to the 
future for determination. The mountains are heavily timbered with white and 
yellow pine, and spruce. The markets for hay, grain and flour are in the mining 
regions of Rico, Silverton, Telluride and San Miguel. The chief market, how- 
ever, in which large quantities of produce are sold, is the Navajo Indian Reserva- 
vation, thirty miles south, in New Mexico, where about 20,000 Indians are 

There are many herds of cattle upon the ranges. The abstract of assessment 
for 1890 reports 8,821, which undoubtedly is far below the actual number. Sawmills 
in the pineries are turning out large quantities of lumber. 

The county officers for 1890-91 were: Clerk, Frank Humble: treasurer, John 
White; county judge, M. T. Morris; assessor, T. W. Wattles; sheriff, Adam Lewy; 
coroner, G. L. Alitchell; superintendent of schools, D. M. Longenbaugh; surveyor, 
Frank H. Mayer; clerk of the district court, Wm. M. Snyder; commissioners, A. T. 
Samson, James T. Giles and Charles Mattson; county attorney, C. W. Blackmer. 

The Rio Grande Southern railway, narrow gauge, en route from Rico to 
Durango, touches the new town of Dolores, twelve miles from Cortez, and this is 
the nearest rail connection. A working survey of a line called the Salt Lake & 
Gulf railroad was made in 1890 by Mr. J. W. Hanna, which conunences at a point 
on the Atlantic & Pacific railroad near Wingate, N. M., and runs north to Farm- 
ington, on the .San Juan river, whence a branch is projected to Durango, while 
the main line continues down the San Juan, through the ]\Iontezuma to Cortez, 
with Salt Lake City as its ultimate destination. 

Dolores Valley, or caiion, contains about 4,000 acres of land within Monte- 
zuma county, simply narrow strips bordering the river, averaging, ])erhaps, one 
third of a mile in width. Here quite a number of farmers are raising fine crops. 
Its counterpart may be seen in portions of the upper Animas valley above Durango. 
No farming of consequence is seen beyond three miles below the Big Bend. Large 
yields of alfalfa, wheat, oats and potatoes are produced. All these farms are in 
the deep canons, where the walls rise to a vertical height of 150 to 450 feet. Mr. 
Wni. May is one of the oldest settlers there. Mr. Charles Johnson, a noted horse 
breeder, has a breeding ranch for thoroughbreds in this isolated canon. The in- 
habitants of the Dolores are mostly from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and the 
New England states, Iowa and Illinois. 

Witliin the county along the Mancos, McElmo, Dolores, Hovenweep and 
Montezuma, centuries ago, how many can not be told, lived a numerous people, of 
whose origin beyond the ascertained fact that they were Aztecs but little is 
known. Whence they came prior to their lodgment in these mountains, is a mys- 
tery, for none of the legends extend beyond these points, nor are there any similar 
remains, except in southern LTtah near Colorado, to denote their migration to these 
vallevs. The best light we have been able to gather is epitomized in the opening 
chapters of the first volume of our history. Among the chronicles of La Plata 
countv will be found a tradition of the Moqui Pueblos relating to their origin, the 
cause of their dispersion and how they came to dwell in cliffs and caves. It is cer- 
tain that away back in the ages, how far we can not now penetrate, they dwelt there 
by tens of thousands, as indicated by the great stretches of country strewn with the 
ruins of their works. They were numerically powerful but not a warlike people, 
possessing a considerable degree of civilization. Whether they w-ere a part of the 
vast horde of Aztecs that swept down upon and overthrew the Toltecs of Mexico and 
occupied their territory is not distinctly known, yet it is reasonably certain that 
the descent began from this place. If it be true that the conquerors of the ancient 


Toltecs iK'gaii their march from the wild canons of the ^^lontezuma, the Alancos, the 
Chaco and the Rio de Chelley, it is only reasonable to assmne that some hundreds 
or thousands, perhaps, remained behind initil the last remnant was driven out by the 
savage nomads, as narrated in the legend just mentioned, probably the ancestors of 
the Apaches, Utes and Navajos. But without attempting to trace the matter further, 
since it has Ijeen quite fully considered in a preceding volume, it is a fact that these 
ruins and tlie many unexplored caves form the most interesting series of subjects 
to be found upon this continent for investigation by archaeologists, hence they should 
be religiously preserved, not wantonly destroyed. The state should set it aside as 
a public park, and keep strict watch over these phenomenally interesting relics of 
a great prehistoric race. Some day, perhaps, scientific research will be able to 
solve the mystery of their origin and decay. 

The state assessment roll of Montezuma county for iSgo shows a total 
assessed valuation of $595,603. The number of acres of farming land returned was 
39,272. There were 8,821 head of cattle, no sheep at all, and but 162 swine. 

During 1891 substantial advance was made both in population and internal 
improvements. With its abundance of native resources, a fine climate, plentiful 
water, rich soil, and extensive coal measures, it must make rapid development. 


Opened to settlers in 1881 — scenic effects in the valley of the unco.mpahgre 


Montrose county was created from the western part of Gunnison by an act of 
the General Asseml)ly, approved February nth, 1883, and its capital located at the 
town of -Montrose. It is liounded on tlie north by Delta and Mesa, soutli by Ourav 
and San Miguel, east by Gunnison, and west by Mesa and the Territory of L'tah. 
Its area is 2,300 scjuare miles, and by the census of 1890 its population was 3,980. 
its name is derived from Sir Walter Scott's legend of Montrose. Down to August, 
1881, when, by orders from Washington, General McKenzic effected the removal 
of the Uncompahgre Utes to their new reservation in Utah, it was a part of their 
restrvatiiju in Colorado. It was opened to settlement in September, 1881, when 
large numbers, knowing the value of the lands for agricultural purposes, came in, 
located claims under the laws and built log cabins thereon. Some of the more 
impatient crossed the line in advance of the withdrawal of the Indians but were ex- 
jielled by the troops. 

Ai)])roaching Montrose from the southwest, soon after leaving Portland, a few 
miles below Ouray, the fine agricultural valley o])ens out broadlv to tlie view, and 
iiere the scenic magnificence, which is so impressive and bewildering above, sub- 
sides into somewhat commonplace ranges of foothills, mesas and mountains. 
After having passed through the wonderful upper cations and gorges, they appear 
so like the ordinary motmtains seen elsewhere that they seem to be without charm or 
special interest except as to the changes produced by fantastic movements and for- 
mations of the tinted clouds floating above them. The Uncompaligre vallev is wide 
and fertile, and the better lands are mostly occupied hv prosperous farmers to a 
])()int between Ridgway and Dallas, where low-, barren ridges have been interjected. 
At Dallas it opens out again, and thence to Montrose, and for a long distance be- 
yond, it becomes an immense park, where grains of all kinds, alfalfa, native and tame 
grasses, and vegetables testify by their luxuriance the excellence of the soil. Here 


and there we find fruit orchards and vineyards just beginning to bear. This is des- 
tined to become the granary of the western part of the state, occupying the same 
relative position to the great mining districts of the western slope that the San Luis 
valley does to the eastern and southern divisions. 

Montrose was located as a town site* January 20th, 1882, a survey being made 
at that time, and each lot staked. The plat contains 320 acres, the tract being one 
mile long by half a mile in width, running the long \vay from southeast to north- 
west, that being the course taken by the Uncompahgre river at this point. The 
streets and avenues are 100 feet in width, and the alleys 20 feet. Each lot is 25 feet 
wide by 125 in depth. The first building erected on the town site was built by Mr. 
John Baird, January ist, 1882. It was a frame building 18x30, and is still stand- 
ing. Owing to the scarcity of building materials, the growth of the town was at 
first very much retarded, but early in February a number of log and picket houses 
were put up from the cottonwood trees obtained on the river. In April W. A. 
Eckerly & Co. brought in a sawmill, located it about fourteen miles southwest of 
the town and began producing lumber, after which the improvement was quite 
rapid. Frame buildings began to appear in place of log cabins, among them the 
bank building, 18x36: the "Messenger" office, 18x25; the town company's office, 
25-X25; Sanderson & Co."s stage barn, 24x40; B. J. Wolfe's store, 20x40; H. Pat- 
terson's store, 18x32, and a number of others. At the time this account was 
written there were about 125 buildings in the place. 

An election for incorporation was held in April, and on the 2nd of May the 
election for town officers, when 112 votes were cast and the following chosen: 
Mayor, Dr. W. Cummings; recorder, Wm. A. Eckerly: trustees, A. Pumphrey, R. C. 
Diehl, W. Wilson and Thomas Hiebler. At the first meeting of trustees held on 
the i6th of May, a commissioner was appointed for the purpose of conveying all 
the lots and blocks to Joseph Selig and 0. D. Loutsenhizer as trustees, to enable 
them to obtain from the U. S. government a patent to the land and thus secure 
absolute title in behalf of the settlers. 

Montrose is situated on the LTncompahgre river at its confluence with Cedar 
creek. At this point the Utah extension of the Denver cS: Rio Grande narrow gauge 
railroad first strikes the river named, and runs thence to Grand Junction in Mesa 
county, the point of union with the Rio Grande Western from Salt Lake and Ogden. 
A branch was begun from Montrose up the Uncompahgre valley to Dallas in Ouray 
county, in the spring of 1887, completed to the point last named August 31st follow- 
ing, and extended to Ouray December 27th of that year. The capital of Montrose 
county is eighty-five miles west of Gunnison, thirty-five miles northwest of Ouray 
and twenty-five miles above the junction of the Uncompahgre and Gunnison rivers 
at Delta. The railway makes a short turn to the northwest at the southeast comer 
of Montrose and runs straight as an arrow for several miles down the river, and in 
this angle of the road the town is located. The surface is smooth and even, admir- 
ably situated for irrigation, the land gradually sloping and descending with the 
fall of the river. 

The Belvidere hotel, within a block of the railroad station, a large, well-built 
structure of brick, fitted with all modern improvements and lighted by electricity, 
was erected by a joint stock company in 1890-91. In the latter year it was purchased 
by Mr. H. A. Green of Denver. The town is not compactly built as yet, but 
scatters over the corporate limits. In the center there are a number of verv fine 
buildings of pressed brick and good architectural designs, but the majority are frame. 
The opera house, court house and school buildings are handsome brick structures, 
as also the chief bank building and two or three of the larger mercantile stores. 

* Montrose " Messenger," May 25th, 18S2. The .-iccuracy of this account is vouched for by leading 




Montrose is still in the inceptive period of development. The limited capital at the 
command of its citizens has been largely devoted to enterprises calculated to de- 
velop the surrounding country, such as great irrigating canals, flouring mills, the 
improvement of farms, orchards, vineyards, etc., and the laying of trattic lines for 
the support of their embryonic metropolis, as will appear in due course of this sketch. 
The water system is excellent, ample for domestic uses and for the extinguishment 
of fires. The future of Montrose depends largely upon the growth of agriculture 
and horticulture. Fruit growing is becoming an important feature of industr)-. 
Grapes, ap|)les, peaches and pears give promise of extensive productiveness. The 
broad uplands or mesas which environ the town are apparently verdureless, yet 
form good grazing ranges, and, under irrigation, are capable of producing all the 
grains in abundance, though very little corn is seen. However, only a few sections 
of Colorado are adapted to the growth of Indian corn. 

[. L. .Sanderson & Co., the famous stage men of the country prior to their dis- 
placement by railway builders, ran four-horse coaches on their route between Gun- 
nison and Ouray, conveying passengers, e.xpress and mails. The stage fare from 
Gunnison to Montrose was $16.50 and each passenger was allowed fifty pounds of 
baggage. In 1882 the price of town lots ranged from $50 to $150 each, according 
to locality. There is excellent limestone in the neighboring hills, which some years 
since were covered with cedar and pinon woods, whence the people obtained their 
fuel, until the railways brought coals from the Crested Butte mines. 

The first county officers were: Commissioners, A. E. Buddecke, O^ D. Loutsen- 
hizer and S. H. Nye; county clerk, Joseph Selig; county judge, George Simmonds; 
sheriff, I'rank Mason; treasurer, Geo. M. Huskins; superintendent of schools, C. W. 
lilockmer; surveyor, G. M. Effenger; assessor, David Markley; coroner, F. P. Brown; 
county attorney, S. H. Baker. The first meeting of the commissioners was held 
March 12th, 1883, when the county was divided into precincts, and judges of elec- 
tion appointed. At the election held in November of that year the following were 
chosen: Conmiissioners, J. H. Woodgate, A. Hoffman and Mont. Hill; sheriff, 
J. B. Johnson; clerk, James S. (jrier; county judge, R. B. Amsbary; treasurer, Lin- 
coln Stewart; surveyor, J. H. Anderson; superintendent of schools, Nathaniel 
Young; assessor, D. L. Markley; coroner, J. W. Owens. 

The county is most eligibly situated on the western slope of the great Conti- 
nental Divide, and is traversed by the Uncompahgre river, whose source is in the 
San Juan mountains. The Gunnison, Spring, Robadeau and Rio Escalante streams 
are in the eastern and northeastern parts; and in the western the Rio Dolores, 
with the East Paradox, Rio San Miguel, Naturita, Horsefly, Tabeguache, Cimarron 
and other water-courses. The Black Canon of the Gunnison, beginning in Gunni- 
son county just beyond Sapinero, and terminating near Cimarron in eastern Mont- 
rose, is one of the grandest and most interesting gorges in the mountains, and the 
one which impels thousands of tourists to take the Denver & Rio Grande railroad — 
narrow gauge division — that traverses its entire length, and thereby enjoy its mar- 
vels. While not so wild, weird and awe-inspiring, perhaps, as the Royal Gorge of 
the Arkansas river, a few miles above Canon City, it is much larger, and, to many 
observers, even more wonderful and attractive. Here are many miles of deep and 
very narrow -chasms environed by towering cliffs bearing the marks of glacial ac- 
tion, the rocks worn smooth by the plunging stream. The Gunnison, which is consid- 
ered the most beautiful of Colorado rivers, finds its tortuous way through these won- 
drous depths, winding and t\visting and turning like a serpent, followed along its 
margins by the railway, which, when shut out on one side, crosses to the other and 
back again as the varying changes occur, in ohedii nee to the caprices of the torrent. 
The dark overhanging walls shut out the sunlight most of the day. and impart to it 
its name, "The Black Canon." .At Cimarron the railway abandons the stream, and. 
mounting the divide, turns down the valle\- of the I^ncompahgre to Montrose, 


thence onward to Delta and Grand Junction. At Cimarron, whicli is a pretty little 
.settlement, resides Capt. M. W. Cline, one of the oldest white settlers on the Indian 
reservation, also one of the founders of Ouray, and who achieved much distinction 
as a member of the General Charles Adams party that recaptured the white women 
carried into captivity by the Utes after the awful massacre at the White River agency 
in 1879. Montrose, tlncompahgre. Fort Crawford, Brown, Naturita, Cameville, 
Paradox and Bedrock are among the towns of the coimty, though all except the 
county seat are small but improving settlements. The county is well timbered along 
the valleys and streams; beds of lignite coals have been located to the southeast of 
Montrose, but they are comparatively undeveloped. Large deposits of gypsum, 
limestone, fine building stone, and fine brick clays lie in the near vicinity. The tim- 
ber of the mountain sides is chiefly yellow pine, cedar and pinon. There are vast 
areas of fine grazing lands, watered by small lakes and springs, where herds of cattle 
and flocks of sheep find pasturage the year round, owing to the mildness of the 
winters, the purity of the climate, and the luxuriance of the native grasses. Accord- 
ing to the assessment roll for 1890 there were 34,846 head of cattle, and 10, 784 sheep. 
Here, as elsewhere in the well-watered agricultural sections, the rich alluvial bottom- 
lands were first taken up and improved, for the reason that little or no irrigation is 
required; next, the uplands, where a different but equally valuable soil is found, but 
requiring artificial canals to render them tillable. It is estimated that there are fully 
200,000 acres of irrigable land in the county. The Uncompahgre river and other 
streams afford an abundant and never-failing supply of water for irrigation. The 
largest canal is the Uncompahgre, taken out seven miles above Montrose, which irri- 
gates about 65,000 acres.* It is 24 feet wide at the head-gate, and approximates 725 
cubic feet per second; has an average slope of i in 1,560; length of main channel 
32 miles, and length of lateral channel 19 miles. The entire vallev has a consider- 
able fall to the north of about 50 feet to the mile, which gives the canal the appearance 
of having an ascending grade, and necessitates the frequent use of drops or overfalls. 
Fourteen miles from its head it reaches the edge of an inclined mesa, and the water 
drops 230 feet over a precipitous rocky cliff into the bed of a dr\' wash. Following the 
channel of this wash some six miles, it is again taken out and carried to the top of a 
second mesa. There are about six and a half miles of rock excavation. Eighteen 
flumes or aqueducts are required, most of them long and high, aggregating more 
than one mile in length. Nearly 850,000 feet of lumber was used in these flumes 
and the entire cost of the canal was $210,000. The lands under this waterway are 
on the west side of the river. The Loutsenhizer canal, taken from the river three 
miles above Montrose, is capable of irrigating 8,000 to 10,000 acres, and supplies the 
farmers on the east side. It is 10 feet wide at the bottom, carries about 4,000 statu- 
tory inches per second, and when fully completed will water some 40,000 acres 
of fertile land in Montrose and Delta counties. The Selig ditch, located by Joseph 
Selig, October 5th, 1883, is taken from the river three miles below Montrose. Its 
capacity is 3,000 statutory inches, and covers some 8,000 acres. In addition to 
these principal sources, there are numerous other smaller ditches, constructed by 
individuals and by communities of farmers. The existence of an artesian underflow 
is relied upon as a final resort, after the .streams shall have been fully utilized. Two 
wells were bored by the city of Alontrose in 1886, and water found in each at a depth 
of 800 feet. The flow from the casing was 1,320 gallons an hour, and the hydro- 
static pressure sufificient to cast it six to eight feet above the surface. But, instead 
of being pure, it is heavily charged with sodium carbonate, calcium sulphate and 
other mineral ingredients which give it great value for its medicinal properties. 

Still another natural resource, that must ultimately contribute much to the 
wealth of the country, is the extensive placer mines, located on the Dolores river 

* Report of the American Society Civil Engineers, 18S6. 


four miles below it* junction witli the San Miguel. The operative plant of the Mont- 
rose Placer Alining company, formed of St. Louis capitalists, and managed by 
Col. N. r. Turner, an e.xperienced California miner, is one of the remarkable 
triumphs of engineering in our state. The nearest railway point is Placerville, sixty- 
eight miles distant, on the Rio Grande Southern en route to Telluride. The com- 
pany owns six and a half miles of mining ground on the Dolores river. To success- 
fully work them by hydraulic process it was found necessary to tap the stream thir- 
teen miles above, and carry the water by ditch and flume the entire distance. For 
more than six miles this flume is supported on brackets from an overhanging cliff, 
ranging from loo to 150 feet above the river and from 250 to 500 feet below the 
sunniiit of the gorge. "In places the cliff hangs over at an angle of fifteen degrees, 
and such water as escapes the flume strikes on the opposite side of the river 100 
vards from its base." A wagon road was constructed along the cliff at the apex, 
from which workmen were let down by ropes for the purpose of drilling into the 
face of the cliff, inserting the iron brackets and setting the flume thereon. The sur- 
veyors ran their line by triangulation, the only feasible way. The flume is six feet 
wide and four feet high, and 1,800,000 feet of lumber was consumed in its construc- 
tion. Col. Turner was engaged more than two years in perfecting this wonderful 
enterprise. It carries 80,000,000 gallons of water each twenty-four hours. Its 
grade is 6 feet 10 inches to the mile, and its cost was something over $100,000. At 
the placers the latest improved hydraulic machinery is employed, and the work of 
cutting and sluicing began in the early sunnner of 1891. Col. Turner's lowest es- 
timate of the gold contents of the ground is 25 to 30 cents per cubic yard, and he 
washes down into the great main sluice from 4,000 to 5,000 cubic yards daily. The 
gold is extrenielv fine, and can only be saved by the liberal use of quicksilver. At 
the time of my interview with him at Ouray, and afterward at Montrose in Septem- 
ber, 1891, he had made no general "clean up" of the sluices, but had taken from the 
head four or five balls of amalgam about the size of hen's eggs, as a partial indica- 
tion of the precious metal being saved. It was, of course, wholly impossible to de- 
termine the results of the season until the final investigation to occur at the close 
of operations for the year, but he was very confident that large profits would accrue 
to the conijpanv for many years to come. Should their expectations be realized, 
in even a mtxlerate degree, it will undoubtedly lead to the engagement of others in 
similar enterprises and thereby largely increase the gold production of the state. 

The valley of the Uncompahgre is about 60 miles in length from the head of 
the park to the Gunnison. From the narrows below the park it is about 40 miles 
long. The bottom-lands proper are of varying width, but the average is about three 
miles. It is a tine rich soil, tinged with red. 

The town of Montrose stands at an altitude of 5,780 feet above the sea, less than 
500 feet higher than the Platte valley about Denver. Water for street irrigation is 
supplied by the Montrose and Uncompahgre Ditch company, organized in Decem- 
ber, 1881, and incorporated under state Maws. The company wascomjjosed of 
A. Pumphrey, O. D. Loutsenhizer, Joseph Selig, John Pjaird and T. H. Culbertson. 
The site is broad and smooth, regularly laid out, with streets running at right angles, 
and partially lined with shade trees. A ]ilat of the town was filed for record Feb- 
ruary 25th, 1882. It was surveyed by II. C. Cornwall. It has a commanding 
position in the valley, and is the outfitting and distributing point for the mining 
regions of Ouray and Telluride. To the south are the mighty ranges of the San 
Juan, Mount Sneffels and the I'ncompahgre Peaks, snow capped and treasure filled, 
with populous towns distril)Uted over a great extent of couiUry. producing nothing 
Init silver and gold, and dependent upon the lower valleys for breadstuffs, vcgetaliles, 
hay, fruits and other products of husbandry. To the west is the L'ncompahgre 
(ilateau; to the northwest the great valley, and to the northeast are the rugged 
mountains of the Gunnison river. P.eside numerous business houses carrving well- 


assorted stocks of merchandise, there are many pretty residences, an opera house, 
a beautiful school building, three churches, two banks, two hotels, and two well- 
conducted newspapers. The Alethodist,, Catholic and Congregational societies 
have large memberships and good churches. The Episcopalians hold their sen'- 
ices in the opera house. The school building, a two-story brick, was erected in 
1884, and in 1889 two wings were added to accommodate increasing demands. The 
Farmer's and Merchant's and the Montrose flouring mills furnish home markets 
for grain. The opera house was erected in 1887 by A. E. Buddecke and R. C. 
Diehl at a cost of $20,000. 

Dr. W. H. Cummings was the first mayor of Montrose, after its organization. 
Joseph Selig and his partner, W. A. Eckerly, were among the founders and active 
influences in promoting its higher interests. Mr. Selig died December 5th, 1886, 
and Mr. Eckerly became his executor, carrying on the work which they had jointly 

The Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Ancient Order of United 
Workmen, G. A. R. and Knights of Labor have flourishing organizations. The 
place is illuminated by electric incandescent lamps. There is an excellent system of 
water works for fire and domestic uses, the supply taken from a large reservoir fed 
by the Uncompahgre. Its cost was about $25,000. The business men have a 
Chamber of Commerce for the promotion of the general public interest, the collect- 
ing and publishing of statistical data relating to the resources and advantages of 
the county. There is both room and necessity for a considerable number of manu- 
factories to fashion into merchantable forms the many varieties of raw material 
found there. 

The Press. — The Montrose "Messenger" was established in 1882 by Abe 
Roberts. In 1886 it passed into the hands of F. J. Land and W. A. Cassell. The 
"Republican," started by C. Sum Nichols, was absorljed by the "Messenger.'' In 
1889 Mr. Land purchased Cassell's interest, and in 1890 Mr. Roberts again be- 
came the owner. In January, 1891, he leased the paper to W. A. Cassell and T. \V. 
Monell. It was quite recently succeeded by the "Industrial Union," a Farmer's 
Alliance paper by J. G. Barry and J. W. Calloway. The "Enterprise" was founded 
by Matt L. Koppin in January, 18S9. The "Register," established byj. F. Downev 
on a plant fonnerly owned by Mark W. Atkins, was purchased by M. L. Koppin, 
and later merged into the "Enterprise." The "Champion," founded' by Dr. Johnson, 
Rev. E. B. Read and Prof. Condit, was published only a few months. The "Farmer 
and Fruit Grower" by F. J. Land, in 1890, suspended. 

Banks. — The Bank of Montrose was opened August ist, 1882, bv C. E. McCon- 
ncll & Co. P. A. Burgess bought out E. P. Shove and M. Coppinger, and the 
name was changed to the Uncompahgre Valley Bank. J. E. McClure "bought Bur- 
gess's interest in 1884, and in 1889 it was incorporated as the Bank of Montrose. 
Its officers are: J. E. McClure, president; R. C. Diehl, vice-president, and C. E. 
McConnell. cashier. Its capital is $100,000 and surplus $10,000. The First National 
Bank, with a capital of $50,000, was started as the Montrose Countv Bank in 
1888, and in April, 1889, it was nationalized. The officers were T. B. Townsend, 
president; E. L. Osborn. vice-president, and A. L. Bonney, cashier. Mr. Townsend 
is still president, C. B. Akard is vice-president and E. L. Osborn. cashier. 

Laiul Office. — This oftice was transferred from Lake City, Hinsdale countv, in 
September, 1888. W. H. .Steele is the register, and H. C. Fink receiver. 

The U. -S. Signal Station was established at Montrose Fcbruarv 6th, 1885, 
T. S. Collins, observer, who was succeeded, injuly,i887, hy R. H. Paxton. The pres- 
ent ofticer in charge is E. H. Thompson. 

The fire department is composed of Montrose Hose compan\' No. i. The 
town has sufl'ered from several conflagrations, but in each rebuilding great improve- 
ment was shown in the more substantial character of its structures. 


Eight miles above Montrose, near the Uncompahgre river, is the abandoned 
miUtarv post known as Fort Crawford, built in 1880 and garrkoned by Federal 
troops'coninianded by the famous cavalry leader, General McKenzie, to keep the 
Indians in check. Tlie first troops arrived in the valley May 25th, 1880, consisting 
of four companies of the 4th cavalry, five companies of the 19th infantry, and two 
of the 23rd infantry, when a cantonment was established. It was known as the 
"Military Cantonment"' until March 12th, 1884, when it became Fort Crawford 
by a presidential order of that date. It was named for Capt. Crawford, who was 
killed by the Apache Indians in Arizona. A part of its reservation was vacated by 
order of the secretarv of the interior, on a report by the secretary of war, July 22nd, 
1884. In the neighborhood was the historic site of the Uncompahgre Indian Res- 
ervation, opened to settlement in 1881, and now mainly occupied by farmers.^ 

Colorow, named for the stormy Ute chief of that name, was located by George 
Roberts, and a plat thereof filed December 26th, i8go. It lies north of Niontrose, 
near the countv line, but is merely a post-ofifice station. Cedar, Cerro, and Cimar- 
ron are small points on the D. & R. G. R. R. Paradox is in the valley of that name 
in the western part of the county. Bedrock on the Rio Dolores is in the same 
valley. Cameville and Xaturita are on the San Miguel river. 

The fertile valleys of the Uncompahgre, San Miguel, Dolores, Paradox and 
Cimarron, with the irrigated table-lands, are among the better lands of western Colo- 
rado. The settlers on Spring Creek Mesa, at Colorow, in California and North 
Mesa, the ^lontrose river bottoms at Riverside and other points have been success- 
ful in raising fruits. From Montrose through Delta, and on to Grand Junction, 
the center of Mesa county, these western valleys are being rapidly settled and ren- 
dered very productive. 

Sc/ioo/s. — By the census of 1890 Montrose county had 921 persons of school 
age. There were seventeen districts, and nineteen school houses, with 1,160 sittings. 
The valuation of these buildings was $36,318. Four were enrolled in the high 
school department. 400 in the graded and 15 in the ungraded schools. 

The countv officers for 1890-91 were: Commissioners, C. E. Church, J. D.Gage 
and William McMillen; sherifT, M. H. Payne; clerk, J. P.. Killian; treasurer. H. \V. 
Christo])her; county judge, A. L. Thompson; assessor, George H. Rawson; coroner. 
Dr. W. W. Ashley; superintendent of schools. John J. Tobin; surveyor, J. H. Ander- 
son ; clerk of the district court, James F. Kyle. 

T/ie assessed valuation of taxable property in the county in 1884. the first year 
after its organization, was $757,878. The next year it amounted to $1,112,710. 
There has been a steady increase of value to 1890, when the total was $1,885,187.50. 
The county at this writing is only seven years old. When organized in 1883, 
it was simply a wilderness, sort of a primitive desolation, an Indian hunting ground. 
Vast labor and expense were requisite to prepare the ground for tillage. Towns 
liad to be built, shelter provided, great irrigating canals constructed, all the multi- 
farious accessories to settlement furnished. Most of the people were very poor 
when they went there, but now many, if not rich, are in comfortable circumstances 
with bright prospects for the future. A few years hence that section will be thickly 
peopled, and made one of the richer agricultural and horticultural gardens of the 


Life and character of colonel Christopher a. morgan — the fort commanded 



This county was named for Colonel Christopher A. Morgan, one of the vol- 
unteer heroes in the L'nion army during the war of the Rebellion, of whom further 
mention will be made in the course of our narrative. It was established by an act 
of the General Assembly, approved February 19th, 1889. It was the last of the 
series to be shorn from the broad dimensions of Weld county, and was taken from 
the southeastern part of what remained after instituting the counties of Logan and 
Washington in 1887. It is bounded on the north by Weld and Logan, east by 
Logan and Washington, south by Arapahoe, and west by Weld. Fort Morgan 
was designated as the county seat. Its area is 1,290 square miles, and by the census 
of 1890 its population was 1,601. 

The South Platte river, with Wild Cat and Antelope creeks from the north, and 
the Kiowa, Bijou, Badger, Little Badger and Beaver creeks from the south, furnish 
more water than is found in the contemporary counties on the eastern border. Irri- 
gating canals have been taken out of some of these streams and along them fine 
crops have been raised. Here, as in those adjoining, agriculture and stock rais- 
ing are the main industries. It is traversed by two lines of railway, the Omaha 
Short Line of the Union Pacific north of the Platte, and the Burlington & Missouri 
south of the stream. 

By the courtesy of Mr. L. C. Baker, editor of the Fort Morgan '"Times," we 
are able to present the material facts in the life and death of Col. Morgan, he hav- 
ing obtained them from E. Morgan Wood, of Dayton, Ohio, a nephew of that 
gallant officer. As they form a part of the history of the county, they have rightful 
place in these annals. 

Colonel Morgan was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was there liberally educa- 
ted. Upon attaining his majority he became a partner with his father and two 
brothers in the business of book publishing and printing, under the fimi name of 
E. Morgan & Sons. At the beginning of our civil war in 1861, the subject of this 
sketch relinquished his business and enlisted as a private in the 39th Ohio volunteers, 
but soon afterward was promoted to a captaincy in that regiment. Major-General 
John Pope, recognizing in young Morgan a man of unusual merit, attached him to 
his stafif. His courage and good judgment were conspicuous in the numerous 
campaigns and battles in which he was engaged, and in his continuous ser\'ice 
throughout the war, therefore he was promoted to the rank of colonel. \Vhen 
peace was at last proclaimed, his ability was so fully recognized he was induced to 
remain hi the military service, continuing on tlie staff of General Pope, who had 


been assigned to the Department of the Missouri, with headquarters at St. Louis. 
Here Colonel Morgan was made inspector-general of the department. He oc- 
cupied rooms in General Pope's residence on Choteau avenue. It was in midwinter 
and his sleeping apartment was warmed by a gas stove. By some accident, during 
the night of January 20th, 1866, while he slept, the fire was extinguished, and the 
gas escaping into the room asphyxiated him. His character is thus defined in 
General Pope's orders announcing the death of his aid: 

"His personal character was without a blemish and beyond rcprcjach. To his 
admirable qualities as an officer were added a high sense of honor, unswerving 
moral rectitude, and constant respect for the rights and feelings of others. A true 
and gallant soldier, a high-minded and gallant gentleman, a firm and unwavering 
t'ricnd, he was an ornament to the service and to the society in which he moved.'' 

\Vith these facts in mind, the ijride of the people in the name of their county 
is easily understood. 

The original old sod fort, built in the summer of 1865, in what is now Morgan 
county, was the work (as we learn from a letter written by Capt. M. H. Slater, a 
member of the First Colorado cavalry', and who was stationed in that region for a 
time, to the F^ort !\Iorgan "Times," published December 13th. 1889) of a detachment 
ui "galvanized rebels" under conmiand of Lieut. Col. W. Willard Smith. "The nick- 
name given these troops arose from the fact that they had been Confederate prisoners 
of war who assented to enlistment in the Federal army as the easiest way out of the 
difficulty that had befallen them. They were sent to the plains for duty against 
the hostile Indians. Two miles below, and probably half to three-quarters 
of a mile to the northeast of where the real fort was afterward built, stood the 
trading station of Sam Ashcraft, who located there about 1861. Sam was 
a noted frontiersman, and rendered our territory efficient service during the 
Indian troubles of 1864-65-66. His wife was a Sioux squaw and his mother-in-law- 
was as wretched a specimen of facial ugliness as her tribe could produce. Being 
a Sioux, she kept her son-in-law advised of the approach of Cheyennes and Arap- 
ahoes, with whom she had no sympathy or kindred, although during these wars 
the Sioux not infrequently took part with the tribes named, and were the actual in- 
stigators of the wars." 

The first military post in this region was named Camp Tyler; later it was 
changed to Camp Wardell, and June 23, 1866, was named in honor of Col. C. A. 
Morgan. It was garrisoned by troops whose principal duty it was to guartl the 
overland stage line, and protect, so far as they were able, isolated ranchmen. From 
this jioint was establishccl the "Denver cut off," that is, from the main Salt Lake line 
to Denver. F.migrants to Utah, Oregon and California followed up the I'latte, 
while those destined to Pike's Peak took a southwesterly course across the country via 
Living Springs to the present capital of Colorado. One of the old-time scouts 
of the plains, and who lived in this section many years, is Mr. O. P. Wiggins, now a 
Policeman of Denver. He was employed bv the government and made an excellent 
1 1 cord in a very useful and dangerous calling. The site of old Fort Morgan is 
about one mile north of the Burlington depot of that name, and is now a part of 
L. C. liaker's ranch. Parts of the adobe walls are still to be seen there. Although 
the Pike's Peak and California trails separated at Fort Morgan, some of the 
emigrants, preferring to follow the water-course, united with those bound for the 
west, and continued with them as far as Latham (the old seat of Weld county), 
where the trails again diverged. 

11. S. Tracy, who was a sutler at Fort Morgan during its occupation by the 
military, now resides on a ranch some five miles northeast of that point. Tiie 
Murray ranch was a stage station, about nine miles northeast of the Fort. Jack 
Sumner's ranch was located near the mouth of Big Beaver, or the i^resent town of 
Brush. The olil Perkins ranch was near Murray's. Fort Wicked stood near what 


is now the corner of Logan. Washington and Alorgan counties, also on the original 
Platte river trail. L. F. More located a claim across the river nearly opposite Fort 
Morgan in 1874-75. J. W. Iliff, known all over the border as the "Colorado cattle 
king," also owned an extensive cattle ranch on Wild Cat creek, a few miles east of 
More's. Chris Liehe, Henry Kruger and C. R. Roberts owned claims near More's. 

Tyler D. Heiskell, the present clerk of ^lorgan county, located in 1871 near 
the mouth of Lost creek, in the vicinity of Green City, Weld county. The latter 
place was named for Mr. D.S.Green, who established the Corona colony about twenty- 
five miles west of Fort Morgan. The old Lyman Cole ranch in Fremont's Orchard, 
which had previously been owned by J. L. Brush and others, became the property 
of B. B. Putnam. Fremont's Orchard was ouce a noted point on the immigrant 
road, some three miles above Deuell station and on the south side of the Platte from 
the present Orchard, and five miles distant. It was the camping ground of Colonel 
John C. Fremont on one of his exploring expediticuns, probably the first up the 
South Platte, while en route to St. Vrain's Fort. It was simply a small forest of 
cottonwoods and undergrowth, which presented a very inviting shelter after a long 
journey on the treeless plains. The author himself camped there in the latter part 
of May, i860. It is now a part of Mr. Putnam's ranch, and at one time was known 
as Bilderback Bottom. 

W. G. Warner located near the existing town site of Fort Morgan in 1882. 
James H. Jones, present county judge, settled in 1875, on the Platte, fifteen miles 
below, and near Snyder. Among his neighbors were John R. Holland, W. E. 
Tetsell, M. L. Stevens, John H. McGinnis, James R. Chambers, Peter Hughes, 
R. R. Kendall, Sanuiel Raugh and James Wright. 

Among the pioneers at the town of Fort Morgan were W. H. Clatsworthy, 
J. H. Farnsworth (the first hotel keeper), J. E. Fisk, S. M. Prince (the first school 
teacher), W. S. Morton, C. N. Fisk, John L. HafT. W. H. Flynt and Mrs. C. A. C. 
Flynt. L. C. Baker located his ranch in 1883, which includes the site of the fort, 
and built the first residence on the present town site. L. W. Kimball and George 
Graham built about the same time, but three miles distant. The early settlers at 
Corona were Wm. Brewer, A. Chapman, W. B. Chapman, John Church, H. B. 
Marion, W. B. Cronkhite and others whose names are not recalled. The new 
Corona is a station on the Burlington road eight miles southeast of the original 
town of that name, which took the place of Green City. The town of Brush, east 
of Fort Morgan, named for Mr. J. L. Brush (now a resident of Greeley), had among 
its early settlers R. Nelson, S. K. Cheadle, J. P. Kinsey, John Wylie, John H. Mc- 
Ginnis and others. Brush is on the Burlington railroad, and across from it on 
the South Platte, on the Omaha Short Line of the L'uion Pacific, is the town of 
Snyder. The name of Weldon, a station east of Orchard on the Union Pacific, was 
changed to Deuell. 

The first officers of Morgan county under the act of organization were: Com- 
missioners, L. W. Kimball, H. W. Twombly and G. T. Goodrich; sherifif, A. A. 
Smith; clerk and recorder, E. C. 'Luce; treasurer, W. B. Sinton; county judge, 
J. D. Johnson; assessor, M. L. Stevens; coroner, A. S. Baker; superintendent of 
schools, \\'. E. Garver; surveyor, Wm. Gilbertson. The commissioners met for 
organization March 19th, 1889, and July 19th established precincts and appointed 
judges of election. In November the following were elected: Commissioners, 
the same as named above; sherifif, Frank J. Dingman; clerk and recorder, Tvler 
D. HeiskeU; treasurer, W. B. Sinton; county judge, W^alter B. Howard; superin- 
tendent of schools, Wm. E. Garver; assessor, M. L. Stevens; coroner, J. J. Losh; 
surveyor, John A. Gilbertson. 

The county officers for 1890-91 were the same except that J. H. Jones is county 
judge, H. M. Putnam, coroner, and John H. Glassey, commissioner, in place of 
L. W. Kimball. Mr. G. W. Warner is clerk of the district court. 


The vote on the location of the county scat resulted in a considerable majority 
for Fort Morgan, ihe only formidable competitor being Brush. Fort Morgan was 
surveyed in .March, 1884, by A. B. Smitli, and laid off by Abner S. Baker and 
Sarah F. Baker, his wife, Alay 1st, 1884. It was incorporated in 1887, when the 
following constituted the town government: Alayor, ^lanley F. Lowe; treasurer, 
L. W. Bartlett; clerk, H. M. Putnam; trustees, AL B. Howard, J. T. Devin, L. C. 
Baker, J. F. Brown, W. H. Clatsworthy and J. D. Johnson. 

To its everlasting credit, let it be proclaimed, there are no saloons in the town, 
and their presence there is strictly prohibited. This, more than any other single 
feature, indicates the godliness and morality of the people. Such a people ought 
to and will prosper. Again, the fourth building erected in the town was a school 
house, and in 1887 the primitive structure was supplanted by a fine edifice of brick 
and stone, at a cost of $6,000. 

Churches. —The Presbyterians built a house of worship in 1887, but it was 
destroyed by fire just before its completion and immediately rebuilt. The Rev. 
G. C. Huntington, who had been pastor for the society at Morgan and Brush, found 
the work increasing so rapidly as to need assistance, therefore the Rev. Geo. 2^1. 
Darley, formerly of the Presbyterian college at Del Norte, was appointed to the 
Fort Morgan charge. Other denominations occasionally hold sers'ices there. The 
Masons and Knights of Pythias have lodges in the place. 

Banks. — The Morgan County Bank, incorporated under state laws, with a 
capital of $30,000, was opened in November, 1889. It became a state bank in May, 
1890, with L. M, More, president; A. C. Fisk, of Denver, vice-president, and Burton 
Preston, cashier. The bank of Fort Morgan, the pioneer institution, suspended in 
1890, having previously passed through a number of changes. The State Bank 
was started September 4th, 1890; Arthur Hotchkiss, president; John M. 
Wallace, vice-president; John T. Ross, cashier, and Arthur Ilotciikiss, Jr., assistant 
cashier. The paid up capital is $30,000. 

Newspapers. — The "Times" was established September 4th, 1884, by L. C. 
Baker and G. W. Warner. Shortly afterward the former assumed entire control. 
In 1885 he leased it to Lute H. Johnson, but resumed the management in March, 
1S87. In I-"ebruary, 1888, Mr. Johnson purchased a half interest, and this ex- 
cellent weekly journal is now edited and published by those gentlemen. The 
Morgan County "News" was established by E. E. Pettengill in 1888. It is now 
published by Geo. B. Pickett. The "Eagle" is published by I'errel and Graves. 

The town of Fort Morgan is situated in a fine agricultural country w-here the 
soil is very fertile and watered by large irrigating ditches. Fine crops are produced. 
All the requisite lines of business are represented. Much attention is given to stock 
growing. The prospects for the future are e.xtremely encouraging. 

Brush, east of Fort Morgan, on the Burlington railway, was surveyed in May, 
1882, by A. B. Smith, for the Lincoln Land company, and laid off in June, 1882. 
It has a substantial school house, and a number of strong business houses. 

Corona, west of Morgan and also on the ISurlington railroad, near the Weld 
county line, is the new Corona that was laid off by Thomas J. McCartney, Judson 
Gardner, James C. Dobbins, George K. (ioulding, llalcott C. Anderson, W. L. Brett 
and W. FI. Morrer, September 20th, 1888. 

Orchard, named as hereinbefore indicated, is north of the Platte river, a station 
on the Omaha Short Line, in the western part of the county. It was surveyed 
March 7th, 1890, by J. D. Stanard and laid off by G. IT. West' and P. W. Putnam, 
June 17th, 1890. A part of the present site was also platted by the Union Pacific 
Railway company, July 7th, 1890. 

Deuell, a station on the U. P. railway, was surveyed by Frank Mott, November 
15th, 1885, and was laid off by Lafayette More. April ist, 1886. The plat was 
vacated, and the station called Weldon was changed to Deuel!. 
16 — iv 


The Weldon Vallej', Fort Morgan, Platte and Beaver, Platte and Beaver Sup- 
ply, Deuell and Snyder are the principal canals taken out of the Platte river in 
Morgan county. These water-courses were constructed at great expense and fertilize 
vast tracts of fine agricultural land. The failure of the Southwestern, or "Tennessee 
Colonv" as it was called, had an unfortunate influence upon or against canal build- 
ing in the region. But in 1882 George Dresser, Henrj', Albert and Jerome Igo, 
Dr. S. K. Thompson, J. F. Gibbs, James Hurley, H. Girardot, the Putnam brothers 
and others built the Weldon Valley canal, about sixteen miles in length, taking their 
supply from the north side of Platte river near old Corona. 

About the same time B. H. Eaton (late governor of Colorado), J. L. Brush, 
A. S. Baker, Bruce F. Johnson, J. Max Clark, Lyulph Ogilvie, E. E. Baker, Daniel 
Hawks and others were engaged in the important enterprise of building the Platte 
and Beaver canal south of the river. The two Platte and Beaver canals are each 
about 25 miles in length. The Fort Morgan canal, also 25 miles long, is south of 
the river. Abner S. Baker was the projector of this canal. These and other im- 
portant irrigation enterprises have made Fort Morgan the center of a productive 
agricultural region, imparting to it more than ordinary prestige as a favorable place 
for settlement. 

Schools. — The school census of Morgan county in 1890 was 359. There were 
eight school districts and nine buildings, with 422 sittings. The valuation of 
school property was $18,425. There were enrolled in the graded schools 147; and 
in the ungraded 168, with an average daily attendance of 182. Four teachers were 
employed in the graded, and fourteen in the ungraded. 

The assessed valuation of property in the county for 1889, the year of organ- 
ization, was $1,229,869.64. and in 1890, $1,289,146.22. In the list we find 74,326 
acres of agricultural land valued at $225,019; 2,577 horses, 55 mules, 9,848 cattle, 
22,268 sheep and 267 hogs. 




This county, named in honor of Miguel Otero,* descended from one of the old 
.Spanish families of New Mexico, head of the mercantile firm of Otero, Sellars & 
Co., founders of La Junta, was taken from the western part of Bent county, and 
duly organized under an act of the Seventh General Assembly approved March 
25th, 1889. It is bounded on the north by Lincoln, south by Las Animas, east h\ 
Bent and Kiowa, and west by Pueblo. Its area is 2,050 square miles, and by the 
census of 1890 its population was 4,192, the largest of any county on the eastern tier 
excepting Arapahoe. It may also, in strict justice, be stated that the results 
achieved by its people testify in a marked degree to the breadth of their intelli- 
gence and enterprise. While the superior developments about Rocky Ford and 
La Junta have not been accomplished without many trials, hardships and privations 
running through the experimental stages, their patience and well-directed endeavors 
have at last been quite abundantly rewarded. Prior to 1889, when Kiowa. Otero 
and Prowers, and parts of Lincoln and Cheyenne, were shorn from its domain, the 

* The name was suggested by State Senator Barcla of Las Animas county. 


county of Bent covered about 9,500 square miles, and througli its center coursed 
the great Arkansas river. Until a recent period (about 1888), the principal revenues 
were derived from the cattle and sheep pastured there. It was in no large degree 
a farming region, though as well adapted to agriculture as any portion of the state. 
The few farms cultivated produced mainly for home consumption, but compara- 
tively nothing for export beyond its borders, except beef, mutton and wool. The 
more interesting details of its primary settlement, thirty-two years anterior to the 
first Pike's Peak immigration, with the general current of events down to the pres- 
ent, are set forth in the history of IJent county. 

A certain revival of interest occurred when the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe 
railroad arrived in 1875, and superseded the overland stage and express line, but 
it was only superficial and temporary. It created some activity in commerce for a 
time, but no permanent advantage to the county ensued. The old routine of fat- 
tening cattle and shearing wool continued, the fertile soil patiently await- 
ing the plowshare, the seedtime and the harvest, remaining undisturbed until an- 
other generation of men should appear, with skill and faith and courage to unlock 
the deeper secrets of nat\ire. After an inter\'al of ten years a mighty awakening 

The town of La Junta, ])ronounced "La Hoonta" (the junction), now the capital 
of Otero county, was founded in December, 1875. as the temporary halting place of 
the A., T. & S. F. R. R., which hatl then been extended from Granada, and also of 
the Kit Carson branch of the Kansas Pacific which had been extended from Las 
Animas City. It took the place of Granada as a shipping point by wagon trains to 
the markets of New Mexico, Chick, Brown & Co. and Otero, Sellars & Co. being 
the heavier commercial traders in and the founders of the place. It was from La 
Junta that the Pueblo and Arkansas branch was built and completed to Pueblo in 
February, 1876. after which occurred the long series of exciting events attending 
the memorable conflict between the Santa Fe and the Denver & Rio Grande, which 
have been related in preceding volumes. During the winter of 1875 a large ccjm- 
niission, forwarding and freighting business was transacted at La Junta. In 1876 
the Rio Grande road was completed to El Moro, thus conmianding the trade of 
Trinidad and Santa Fe, which left La Junta stranded and well nigh forsaken. Dur- 
ing the perioil first named it iiad a population of three to five hundred; a year 
later it was simply a small and unimportant station. In 1878 the Kit Carson branch 
of the Kansas Pacific was sold, the rails taken up and the road demolished. Simul- 
taneously the Santa Fe projected its main line southward to Trinidad, and across 
the Raton Range into KVw Mexico. But recognizing the future importance of 
the station, the ci^mpany built a fine depot, roundhouses and repair shops and made 
La Junta the headc[uarters of the Colorado division. 

The town was incor[:)orated under state laws in the spring of 1881, and Mr. 
J. C. Denny was its first mayor. Its growth was insignificant until after the large 
influx of settlers from Kansas and other states in 1885 and succeeding years, who 
began to experiment with the soil. By the census of i8t)o it had 1,465 inhabitants, 
but since this enumeration was taken its growth has been very rapid. In 1891 
a great many houses were built and occuiiied, and the ])opulation increased to 2,500. 
The Santa l'"e company moved its train crews from Pueblo to that point and 
naturally enlarged the scope of its operations there. La Junta has become a strong 
connnercial center in recent years. It has four churches, the Baptist, Catholic, 
Episcopal and Methodist: an elegant school house costing $12,000: three weekly 
newsi)a])ers, tlu' "Tribune," Otero County "Democrat" and the La Junta "Water- 
melon:" four hotels; a bank (I'irst National, T. M. Dickey, president): an opera 
house, and other institutions denoting prosperity. The railway company lias a 
fine hospital. It is the principal center of stock-growing and shipping interests, 
the trading point for farmers. It is also the general transfer point to and from the 


main trunk of the Santa Fe (whicli extends from Chicago to the Pacific coast) and 
the Pueblo branch. 

The Puebl'j and state Hne division of the. ^Missouri Pacific railway docs not 
touch La Junta, but enters the county from the southwest corner of Kiowa, and 
runs southwesterly to its teniiinus at Pueblo. The Santa Fe line strikes Otero 
about the center and runs thence across the southwestern comer, while the Arkansas 
valley branch extends from La Junta northwesterly to Pueblo, which gives the 
countv three strong lines of rapid transit and many shipping stations, whence its 
products are readily sent to profitable markets, cast, west and south. A glance 
at the map of the state will show the advantages of La Junta's position, under the 
influence of the new era that is producing wonderful changes in that highly favored 
portion of the Arkansas \'alley. It has passed through all the trying stages of 
artificial growth, decline and misfortune, to a new resurrection that is filled with 
promise, based upon new blood and wealth gathered from a soil that under proper 
tillage produces abundantly, and also from its large cattle and railway trade. 

Jiiu-ky Ford. — Two towns of this name were founded, the first at the river 
forty-five miles above Las Animas, by A. Russell, in 1868, who started a trading- 
store there, and in 1870 sold an interest therein to Mr. G. W. Swink, when the firm 
became Russell & Swink, who also received and distributed the mail. From 1870 
to 1874-75 many settlers located on the Arkansas, and the station mentioned above 
became a general rendezvous for them. After the completion of the Santa Fe road 
to Pueblo, the post office was transferred from the river to the railway station, three 
miles southwest, and the store of necessity follow-ed the post offlce to the same 
place, where the present town of Rocky Ford was laid out by Russell & Swink. 
This occurred in 1877. Six blocks were surveyed and platted, and trees planted 
on the streets. In 1887 an organization took place, when 400 acres were platted, 
and almost innnediately most of the lots were sold to incoming settlers. Mr. 
Swink's town, therefore, soon became quite a thickly populated community. Real- 
izing the attractiveness of a beautiful site, he and others planted a great number 
of Cottonwood trees, which, being well cared for, soon made this a lovely oasis in the 
otherwise treeless region. Other settlers came, built houses and began tilling the 
soil, first in garden patches, but gradually extending their efforts to general agricul- 
ture by the construction of ditches. The success of these endeavors attracted 
others. It was found to be one of the most desirable farming countries of the 

The tributaries of the Arkansas river, none of them very large, are Horse creek 
from the north, Timpas creek from the south, and the Purgatoire. or Rio Las 
Animas, from the southeast. The chief dependence of the farmers, however, is 
on the main stream, which carries an abundance of water. They cultivate their 
lands exclusively by irrigation, placing no reliance upon natural rainfalls. In 1800 
three large irrigating canals were taken out, the High Line, Otero and Rob's 
creek, and extended into the heart of the agricultural region, one 80 and another 
about 100 miles in length, and calculated to recbim nearly 200,000 acres of land. 
By their intelligence, vigor and enterprise the people have made Rocky Ford one 
of the most inviting towns in southern Colorado. Within five years they have 
converted the primeval desert about them into one of the richer granaries and 
fruit-growing districts of the state. In that time, also, the settlement of a few 
hundreds in the country has been increased to more than 5,000, for it has had 
material accessions since the official census of 1890 was taken. 

Somehow, at an early stage, the idea of raising watermelons as a specialty 
came to be suggested, as the result of the high state of perfection attained bv garden- 
ing. Each year it became apparent that melons could be made an important 
element of their internal economy, and bv general adoption, their highest hopes were 
realized. Bv recommendation of Mr. George W. Swink, one dav in each vear is 


set apart as "Watermelon Day," and the people of the state are invited to come and 
feast upon their abundance of this fruit, and at the same time witness the prolusion 
and excellence of uther products, as grains, grasses, vegetables, etc., etc. How 
this plan was executed, and its value as an advertising medium, are known through- 
out the commonwealth, and as far east as the Missouri river. These festivals have 
been held annually about the 7th of September for the past five years, and are 
attended by the governor, state officials, and some thousands from various quarters. 
These gatherings have been very effective in making widely known the ad- 
vantages of that part of the Arkansas valley, and from them have been evolved 
!nuch of the gratifying development observable in all branches of husbandry. 

Melons attain a size and perfection here witnessed at no other place in the 
West, some weighing fifty to sixty pounds, and are of delicious flavor. Much of 
this is due to the qualities of the soil, and a genial climate, but more, perhaps, to 
the care and attention given them in process of growth. Other specialties are 
alfalfa, and the harvesting of the seed of this remarkable forage plant. 

We now come to another and still more profitable branch of industry of recent 
introduction, the advance of horticulture. In 1885 Mr. J. H. Crowley, the sec- 
tion foreman of the A., T. & S. F. R. R., purchased a tract of land about two and 
three-fourths miles from Rocky Ford, and with his family took possession. The 
next spring he and Mr. Swink set out thereon a number of standard fruit grafts. 
The first experiment in this line, however, was made by Mr. Swink in 1877. The 
results attained in 1884 convinced him that the valley was an excellent fruit 
country, hence he planted more trees, and encouraged others to do likewise. Mr. 
Crowley was the first to establish a nursery. From the small capital at his com- 
mand, he began purchasing diiTcrent varieties and planting them. It was an e.x- 
periment, of course, but as the settings throve and demonstrated their adaptibilitv. 
he continued his purchases, and in two or three years the demand for such trees 
advanced beyond his ability to supply. The small saplings grew rapidly, and in 
due course came into bearing. At last accounts he had forty varieties of apples, 
fourteen of plums, thirty-three of grapes, eight of cherries and twelve of pears, 
beside all the varieties of small fruits, all of which when sufficientlv matured 
became largely productive. In size and flavor these fruits are unexcelled. From 
the evidence thus far developed, Otenj county seems destined to be a very pro- 
ductive horticultural section of the state, since many, indeed nearly all, the farmers, 
taking precedent from Mr. Crowley's experience, have devoted certain parts of 
their lands to fruit growing. 

The Rocky I'\ird ]\lilling and Flevator company, a home corporation, in i8qo 
built a large and very complete flouring mill ca|)able of i)ro<lucing 100 i)arrels per 
dav, which is supplied from wheat growing districts in that vicinity. In i8i)i they 
completed a large elevator for storing grain. In 1890 the Bird Brothers of Ne- 
braska erected a canning establishment in the town, which gives employment to 
many people, beside furnishing a ready market for surplus tomatoes and other 
vegetables. Here about 10,000 cans of such goods are prepared tlaily. Rockv 
Ford has two good hotels, many mercantile houses and small manufactories; one 
weekly newspaper, the "Enterprise," extensive lumber yards, one banking house 
(the ."^tate Bank, T. F. Godding, cashier), a post office, two churches (the ^Iethodist 
Episcopal and Presbyterian), an excellent public school, a good water system, 
etc., etc. West of Rocky I'ord is the small town of Catlin, and near the western 
boundary of the county the town of Oxford. 

The .'Vrkansas \'alley .\gricultural l-lxiieriment Station, established under state 
laws, began farming operations on the lands of the state on the south side about 
one mile from the town, March ist. 1880. since which time it has been instrumental 
in introducing several new crops, and establishing new and better methods of culti- 


vation for those formerly produced.* It is carrj'ing on a series of experiments with 
Irish potatoes, which promise to be of great value to the surrounding country. 
It has introduced many new and improved varieties of fruit, large and small, and 
conducts a systematic course of work for the discovery of varieties suited to the 
soil and climate, using the best known methods of cultivation, and studying new 
methods with special reference to irrigation. The results obtained thus far indi- 
cate that there are grand possibilities in store for the Arkansas valley when the 
hand of the progressive farmer shall lay hold of the forces of nature and awake 
the latent resources of soil and climate. By these and individual efforts the people 
have satisfied themselves that everything producible in a semi-tropical climate will 
reach perfection there. They raise all the cereals, vegetables, sorghum cane, broom 
corn, peanuts, the sugar beet and certain varieties of tobacco. In 1890 there were 
about 18,000 acres in crop. Thousands of cottonwood and other trees have been 
planted under the timber culture act. For miles about Rocky Ford there are 
great fields of melons, the yield being about 1,000 per acre. These find markets in 
Trinidad, Pueblo, Denver and the smaller towns along the railways. Numerous 
small tracts of five to ten acres about the town are used for gardening and fruit 
raising. Otero county has no advantages of mountain scenery. The general 
aspect of the country is that of an open and comparatively level plain. 

Some very extensive improvements have been made upon the north side of 
the Arkansas, along liob creek, where the state has located large bodies of agricul- 
tural land.f After running several ditch lines, it was found they could be reached 
by a canal from the Arkansas. Air. Swink first called the attention of the locating 
agent of the .State Land board to that section, and after thorough investigation 
the board decided to occupy it under the right given it by Congress. Several canal 
companies were formed and much surveying was done, with the view of building 
a ditch, but all schemes failed until Mr. T. C. Henry, of Denver, organized the 
Colorado Land and Water company, and constructed a fine large canal at a cost 
of over $400,000. This canal was taken out of the river some ten miles above 
Nepesta, in Pueblo county, and runs northeast to Horse creek, covering more 
than 40,000 acres of the state laud and as much more in the northwestern part of 
the county. There are several large reservoirs in the system. It enters Otero 
county north of the center of the west line, and runs north of the Missouri Pacific 
railroad. The Arkansas River Land, Reservoir and Canal company's ditch, 1". C. 
Henry manager, starts at a point some three miles west of La Jnnta on the north 
side of the river, and covers about 165,000 acres in Otero, Bent and Prowers counties. 
It is nearly 120 miles in length, including the Prince Reservoir lateral in Prowers 

The recently established town of Ordway, named for Mr. George N. Ordway, 
formerly of the Denver board of supervisors, who owns a splendid farm there, is 
situated on the line of the Missouri Pacific railroad some twelve miles north of 
Rocky Ford, and fifty miles east of Pueblo, in the center of a rich agricultural 
section. The town site is one of the best in the state; is well laid out, with reser- 
vations for a park, church and school buildings. It has a good reservoir and water- 
works, and is a Prohibition town, all contracts and deeds to real estate forbidding 
the sale of intoxicants. At the last election it had 100 votes. Great expectations 
of the growth of this new and 'well-situated community have been formed, and it 
is believed that the full measure of its hopes will be realized. 

The Holbrook ditch, partly built in 1891, was taken out of the north side of 
the Arkansas, between Rocky "Ford and La Junta, running thence to Horse creek. 
It covers some 30,000 acres in the northeastern part of the county. 

* From data furnished by Mr. VVatrous, the superintendent. 
I From notes furnished by Mr. George W. Swink. 


By the foregoing epitome it will be seen that many wisely-ordered and costly 
improvements have been entered upon, vast areas of virgin land prepared for 
tillage, and some great enterprises inaugurated, from which must inevitably grow> 
large wealth and prosperity. All the conditions for such results are of the most 
favorable character. 

The county officers for 1890-91 were: Clerk, J. E. Ganger; treasurer, Jtjlm 
Fisher; countv judge, Uriel Sebree; assessor, C. X. Allen; sherifif, A. H. Gentry; 
coroner, Charles Barnes; superintendent of schools, S. R. Lyon; surveyor, W. X. 
Randall; clerk of the district court, T. i\L Dicky; commissioners, John Carson, 
R. A. Steele and John C. Vroman. 

Si/iools. — By the census of 1890 the total school population was 763, with an 
enrollment of 497, and an average daily attendance of 297. There were 1 1 districts 
and 9 school houses, with 545 sittings. The value of the property was $6,940.52. 
in 1891 the total was considerably increased by buildings erected at La Junta and 
Rocky Ford. 

By the assessment roll for 1890 the total assessed valuation of taxable propertv 
in the county was $2,222,429.21. There were 55,227 acres of agricultural land, 
valued at $315,489, and 40,000 acres of grazing land, valued at $60,000. ( )f live stock 
returned, there were 4,798 horses, 366 mules, 17,478 cattle and 7,245 sheep. 

The county is being rapidly settled and the cultivation of lands enlarged. The 
Santa Fe railway company is doing nuich to foster its growth. 

Named for a celebrated ute chief — early prospectors — grandeur of the 



The orthography of the name taken by this county has undergone several 
changes since the white settlers came to know and admire the famous Ute chief, the 
brainiest of his race, in whose honor it was applied to the county and its capital. It 
was first given out as Ule — -"00 (ugh) lay" — but subsequently altered to Ure— "00- 
rav" — aiul finally printed in official reports, newspaper correspondence and other 
literature of the pericjd as "Ouray." After its atloplion in this Anglicized form, the 
chief himself signed all treaties in that manner. It has no romantic or otlier ex- 
ceptional signification. An account of Ouray's life and character, together with his 
portnut, engraved from an oil painting, appears in Chaister XXIV, \'olunie II. 

( )urav county was established from the northern part of San Juan, by an act 
I if the legislature, approved January i8th, 1877, and, in general outline, included all 
(if the present San Miguel and a part of Dolores counties. By an act of February 
27th, 1883, the name Ouray was changed to Unconipahgre, and what is now San 
.Miguel took the name Ouray, with its capital at Telluride. But a few days later, a 
change of mind occurring among the representatives from that section, the name 
Unconipahgre was abolished. Ouray took back its original designation, and the 
territorv segregated was christened San Miguel. At this time its area is only 450 
square miles. 

According to the census of 1890 its population was 6,510. It is boimded on 


the nortli by Montrose, east by Gunnison, south by San Juan, and west by }*Iont- 

Like all counties in the San Juan region, its boundary lines are irregular, follow- 
ing the configuration of the mountain ranges. The whole country, except the 
portion included in Unconipahgre Park, is mountainous, broken here and there by 
narrow valleys, only a few of which, owing to the altitude, are susceptible of culti- 
vation. The principal stream is the Unconipahgre,* which takes its rise in the San 
Juan range, above JMineral City, in San Juan county. Among its tributaries are 
the West Fork, Red Mountain, Dallas, Coal, Canon, Beaver, Bear, Oak, Corbett, 
Burrows, Willow, Red Canon and other small creeks. To the westward, some 
nine miles from the town of Oura)', is Mount Sneffels (named for Prof. Sneffels, 
of the Hayden Geological Survey), one of the loftiest peaks in the La Plata system. 
It is here that some of the greater silver mines are located, on the east and southeast 
slopes, mainly above timber line, and extending well up toward the apex, where, for 
at least nine nionths in the year, the prospect is wintry and repellent in the ex- 
treme. The mines lie in and around the rim of two alpine basins, Imogene and 
Yirginius, each about two miles long, and perhaps half a mile in width. Here head 
the several branches of Cascade creek, that rushes down the mountain to the east- 
ward, uniting with the Unconipahgre at Ouray, the capital of the county. Between 
Ouray and Silverton, on the south, and Lake City, on the southeast, the La Plata 
mountains present a scene of stupendous sublimity witnessed nowhere else upon 
any of the traveled routes of the state. It is beyond the power of words to de- 
scribe, beyonfl the skill of painters to adequately portray. The spectator is simply 
lost in wonderment, filled with supreme awe of the marvelous power manifest in this 
mighty upheaval. Neither brush nor pen, however skillful, could more than feebly 
outline its glories. 

Other ranges have peaks as numerous and loftier, but none possess the rugged 
sublimity and variety of coloring found here. 

The town of Ouray is, to my mind, one of the most beautiful situations on the 
American continent, nestled in a little undulating park of the L^ncompahgre river, 
whose course is almost due north, inclining a little to the west. Four miles below the 
valley becomes a gi-eat amphitheater, known as the Unconipahgre Park, which ex- 
tends northward to the Gunnison, and it is here that we find a substantial planting 
of agricultural industry, stock ranges and the inception of horticultural productive- 
ness. The soil is excellent, the climate unexcelled for the growth of cereals, al- 
falfa, vegetables and fruits. Twenty-five miles below the capital stood the old Un- 
conipahgre Utc Indian reservation, with Fort Crawford as its militar)' protection, 
established in 1880, General McKenzie, commandant. Near Montrose was the 
ranch and modern liouse of the great chief of that name. 

The town site is about one-fourth of a mile wide, and perhaps a mile in length, 
an incomparable spot for such as are fond of quiet life in the mountains; a delightful 
dwelling place for those whose lines have been cast there in mining or other busi- 
ness pursuits. It is known all over the land by the extensive advertising given it 
by the Denver & Rio Grande railway, and also by the many superb photographic 
reproductions of its scenic splendors by W. li. Jackson. Before the settlers 
came and destroyed them, it was quite thickly studded with pines, firs, balsams and 
shrubs : but a few of the original trees still remain. The streets are wide and the site 
is regularly laid ofif in rectangular blocks. At first the homes were rude log cabins, 
but, later on, these were supplanted by pretty cottages, and rows of frame and brick 
structures. The first brick building was erected by Mr. D. C. Hartwell, a commis- 
sion merchant, in 1881. 

* This orthography is employed simply because of its general use in the literature and maps of the 
country. There is no such word in the Indian tongue as " Uncompahgre." The Ute word is Un-ca- 



7/ \ i 

its »■ /- 



\ ...... 


V '^ 


r % "^p 




The mines which induced settlement here were mainly in Alount Sneffels 
district, but its growth has been stimulated and rapidlj- enlarged by later dis- 
coveries and other influences, that will appear as we proceed. Since it was rendered 
accessible to tourist travel, thousands have made the pilgrimage to its resplendent 
shrine. Lieutenant Marshall, who accompanied Capi. George M. Wheeler in his 
geological survey of the Rocky Mountains, and for whom Marshall Pass was named, 
in his report of the field season of 1875, referring to the scenic panorama of the 
Uncompahgre gorge, between Ironton and Ouray, says: "The mountains, or 
rather the ruins bordering the gorge, especially on the western side, are simply in- 
describable. If the god of desolation ever exercised his wildest freaks on earth, 
he chose this spot, and cut the lofty masses into these strange forms and weird 
shapes; these yawning chasms with their red jaws, these beetling precipices with 
their plutonic brows, horribly frowning, capping all with slender columns and spires, 
under different angles of inclination to the horizon, which, projected against the 
sky, seem to be black figures of supernatural origin, dancing over the ruins below.'' 
But it would be idle to attempt a description, either of this marvelous canon, or 
of the magnificence of the pictures about Ouray. It can not be done. One can 
only look and admire, and feel his insignificance and feebleness as a mere atom in 
the universe, while contemplating the work of Omnipotence. He might circum- 
navigate the globe and witness all that the world has to present, without finding 
one spot of greater natural beauty and attractiveness. 

Xow as to the origin of the discovery of the precious metals in this particular 
region, we shall present such well authenticated accounts as have been handed down, 
mainly from those who maile the first explorations and located the first claims. The 
Ouray "Plaindealer" of January 2nd, 1890, gives the following narrative: 

"The history of Ouray dates back to the founding of the town of Ouray, in 
1875, wlien the little park was discovered by A. W. Begole and Jack Eckles, who 
came over from Green mountain, above Howardsville (San Juan county), in luly 
of that ytar,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 supi)lies. and returned on the i ith 
of August following. I'egole located the Cedar and Clipper lodes, covering the 
hot springs and what is known as 'Ohlwiler's Park,' after which they returned 
to San Juan, via Mineral Farm hill. On their way through the Red Mountain 
country, thoy met a large number of jjrospectors, among them A. J. Staley, Logan 
W'hitlock, Judge R. F. Long and Capt. AI. W. Cline, to whom they related what they 
had seen and done. Long and Cline came down to hunt and fish, and while here 
Staley and W'hitlock, wIkj were of the party, discovered the Trout and I'isherman's 
lode, 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 I-'arm' until after the Trout and I'^isherman had been discovered by 
Staley and W'liillock. (ireat excitement followed these events, and that season 
the valley was alive with prospectors from Silverton 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 peoi)lc in other sections of the wealth and wonderful 
beaut\- of the new country. Spring brought a great influx of people from Lake 
City and other [joints. It was also ascertained when spring came that a band of 
prospectors, among them Andy S. Richardson and William Ouinn, had found their 
way into the Sneft'els district, the ])receding fall: had located mining propertv which 
they had worked all winter, not knowing that the town of Ouray had been founded, 
nor that any persons other than Ute Indians were between them and Utah. Nor 
did those in Ouray know there were any men in Sneffels." This statement was 
confirmed by Mr. Richardson, whom I personally met in Ouray in September, 1801. 

.Mr. William Weston, in a few notes furnished the author, says: "In July, 


1875, A. W. Begole, Jack Eckles and Juhn Munroe came up the Uncompahgre into 
the amphitheater, where now stands the town of Ouray, and staked two lodes, the 
CHpper and Cedar, runnmg through the present town site, and, later on, the famous 
liegole Mineral Farm, a remarkable group of parallel veins, the location covering 
about 40 acres. About the same time, two prospectors, A. J. Staley and Logan 
Whitlock, came dovvn from Mineral Point on a prospecting tour, and, while engaged 
in fishing on the bank of the Uncompahgre, noticed the green stain of malachite, or 
green carbonate of copper, on the rock beside them, and this led to the discovery 
of the Trout and P'isherman lode. In February-, 1876, Capt. M. V. Cutler took out 
two four-horse wagons laden with ore for Pueblo. It proved to be extremely rich, 
and he returned with his teams laden with provisions. This first year gave the 
town of Ouray a name. George A. Scott, James Macdonald and Thomas G. Gib- 
son arrived in August, and, in September, located the Grand View and the Opliir 
mines, both in town. 

"Jacob Ohlwiler, Col. Blythe, Capt. Cline and Judge Long also came in during 
the sununer of 1875, and Capts. Cutler and Cline prospected up the Uncompahgre 
river, just above Bear creek, locating the Alother Cline lode, afterward owned by 
the late Governor F. W. Pitkin." 

The town site of Ouray was surveyed in 1875 by D. W. Brunton, the well- 
known engineer, nov^^ of Taylor & Brunton, and the following winter Samuel 
Stewart, Capt. M. \''. Cutler, James Macdonald, George A. Scott, a man named 
Bullock and Capt. Cline wintered there, the remainder going out and returning 
the next spring. The first woman in Ouray was Mrs. Charles Morris, who came 
up from the LTncompahgre agency, in March, 1876. Mr. Bond was Indian agent 
at the time, Ouray, head chief, Shawano, war chief, and Sapinero, farmer chief. 
In 1878-79 the Indians frequently came up to Dry creek, some twelve miles from 
town, and had pony races for Navajo blankets and other stakes with the inhabitants 
of Ouray. Others would go on to the town to trade, and were hospitably entertained 
at her cabin by Mrs. Cline, her husband and herself being great favorites with the 
Uncompahgres. Capt. Cline was the first postmaster, his office being established 
in a frame building on the site now occupied by the court house. He was also presi- 
dent of the Town company. Ouray was incorporated in 1876. At the fall election 
that year, there were 160 voters. Major Charles Mclntyre was elected to the 
legislature. Judge James B. Belford and T. M. Patterson, opposing candidates 
for Congress, visited and made speeches in the town. 

Mount Sneffels mining district, as already stated, is nine miles south of Ouray. 
In the winter of 1875-76, George and Edward Wright came over from Silverton 
on snow shoes and staked oft a claim on the Wheel of Fortune lode, the discovery 
of phenomenally rich ore in which was heralded throughout the country. Andy S. 
Richardson and Wm. Quinn simultaneously made a number of locations in Imo- 
gene Basin, and, in the spring of 1877, William Weston arrived from London, 
England, where lie had been taking a course in metallurgy in the Royal School 
of Mines, and with his partner, George Barber, staked six claims, and subse- 
quently went to Del Norte and brought in an assayer's outfit on pack animals. 
These two worked these claims, winter and summer, until 1881, driving over 800 
feet of tunnels in solid rock, and ultimately selling out to a New York company for 
$50,000. During this time Mr. Weston wrote many glowing accounts of the 
region to the "Engineering and Mining Journal" of New York, the London "Min- 
ing Tournal" and the Denver "Republican." 

The now justlv celebrated Virginius mine was discovered by Williajn Feeland 
in 1877. Shortly afterward it was purchased by C. C. Alvord. It is now owned 
by the Caroline Alining company, Mr. A. E. Reynolds, of Denver, president. It 
has been operated continuously and profitably since 1878. Its depth is 1,300 feet 
from the surface, and its various levels and other openings aggregate something 


over three miles. The altitude of the mine is 12,000 feet above the level of the 
sea. Its present manager is Mr. H. W. Reed, a noted engineer. It was probably 
the first in the state to adopt electricity for lighting the mine, and has the largest 
electric piuiips in use in the United States, in 1877 the Wheel of Fortune man- 
agers paid $35 per ton for transporting the ores of this mine on pack animals to 
Lake City for treatment in \ an Gieson's li.xiviation works, and the Yankee iioy 
and other ores from the Sneffels district were sent over the mountains to the Green 
smelter, at Silverton, where $45 per ton was paid for treatment. The Virginius, 
Wheel of Fortune, Yankee Eoy and the Weston mines, at Snetfels, are all at or 
above timber line, 11,000 to 12,000 feet above the sea. The district is one of the 
most productive in the San Juan country. 

In 1877 Air. Wni. N. Byers wrote from Ouray to his paper, the Rocky 
Mountain "Xews," that the Wheel of Fortune was located, October 7th, 1875, by 
W. H. Brookover and E. Wright, and the first test of the surface ores, or out- 
croppings of the vein, gave 1,200 ounces of silver to the ton. Subsequently, G. L. 
Wright, Alason Greenlee and S. H. Crowell purchased interests in the discovery. 
During the summer of 1876, it was considerably developed, and in 1877 produced 
large quantities of rich ore. It was sold in October, 1877, ^o B. J. Smith and A. G. 
Hoyt, for $160,000. 

The San Juan "Sentinel," in its issue of September i8th, 1877, confirms the 
statement that Quinn and Richardson established a settlement in Sneffels district 
prior to the founding of Ouray, and that they also opened a trail to the latter place. 
In its issue of January ist, 1878, it was announced that Augustus W. Begole and 
John Eckles discovered the "Mineral Farm" in July, 1875. Among the early 
settlers were A. J. Staley and Logan Whitlock, Jacob Ohlwiler, W. B. Bullock, 
Judge R. F. Long, Col. j. C. Hagerty, J. V. Dowling, M. \'. Cutler, Major Abram 
Cutler, Capt. M. W. Cline, R. F. Blythe, James R. jNlacdonald, Geo. A. Scott, T. G. 
Gibson, Geo. H. Smith, W. B. Hayden, Samuel Stewart and Thos. Goshom. 
Among the first ladies in Ouray were Mrs. Geo. W. Mclntyre and Mrs. Dr. G. E. 
Moon, who were accompanied over the old Ute "Horse Thief Trail" by Geo. W. 
.Mclntyre and Dr. Moon, Byron ]\lclntyre, A. \V. Hafer and .S. H. Tuttle. In 
October, 1875, the first cabin was erected by Staley and Whitlock, and the second 
by Scott and Macdonald. In October, 1875, Judge Long and the Cutler brothers 
went to Del Norte and Saguache to bring in supplies for the winter. They left 
Sagauche on their return, November 7th, 1875, with two wagons, but at Las Pines 
Indian agency were forbidden passage across the reservation, which, however, 
they refused to obey. At White Earth, or Cebolla creek, they were joined by Ca])t. 
Cline, his two sons and their teams, and arrived in Ouray December 7th, 1875. 
Christmas was celebrated at Long and Cutler's cabin, the dinner being prepared by 
Judge Long. The same month, Cline went back to Saguache, and in .March, 1876, 
returned with thirty people. 

The first store was opened by J. D. Crane. In June, 1876, came Ira Y. Munn, 
his wife and son, William. Charles .Munn having preceded them. The first board 
of trustees in Ouray was composed of Ira Y. Muim, M. ^\^ Cline. R. F. Long, 
Theron Stevens and James Call. The first meeting was held October 4th, 1876. 
November 13th, following, R. V. Long and Miss Josephine Hadley were married 
at the residence of Major Cutler. Harry Cutler was the first wliite child bom in 
the town. April and, 1877. H. W. Reed, Israel Lohacli, W. A. Dobbins, J. F. 
Dowling and F. W. Harrison were elected trustees. The town site had been entered 
January 26th. 1877, at the Del Norte land office by Capt. Cline, president of the 
board of trustees, and on February 3rd the first notice was issued to claimants 
of lots to file on the same. 

The town was dulv incoq^orated in 1876. by order of the commissioners of 
San Juan countv, upon the usurd jietition signed by citizens. A rude survey had 


been made in 1875. March 7th, 1877, the commissioners of the newly created 
county of Ouray held their first meeting at the house of Major James Call, who, 
with W. J. Buchanan and H. J. Hammon, formed the board. ^Ir. Hammon was 
elected chaiman and A. E. Long clerk. The day following Ouray was designated 
the county seat until the next general election. It was then made the permanent 
seat by vote of the people. A contract was entered into with Jesse Benton to furnish 
a building for the use of the count)'. Benton has been marshal of several towns 
in the San Juan region and until recently held that position in Ouray. He is rated 
as one of the bravest and truest officers on the frontier. R. L. Wood was appointed 
county attorney at a salary of $600 per annum. 

June 5th, 1877, the commissioners established voting precincts and appointed 
judges of election. In the fall of that year the following were chosen: Commis- 
sioners, Jacob Ohlwiler, W. L. Cornett and A. S. Richardson; sheriff, E. S. Finch; 
clerk and recorder, A. E. Long; county judge, Theron Stevens; treasurer, W. W. 
Stoddard ; assessor, D. F. Watson ; coroner, R. L. Wood ; superintendent of schools. 
Rev. C. M. Hoge; surveyor, H. W. Reed. Mr. C. W. Hoskins, deputy clerk, tran- 
scribed the records of San Juan county for Ouray county, and afterward became 
county clerk. 

The official plat of Ouray, as accepted by the board of trustees October 17th, 
1887, signed M. H. Mark, mayor, and Geo. C. Pierce, recorder, was filed December 
23rd, 1887. In 1880 a system of water works was constructed at a cost of $40,000. 
The main reservoir is situated on Mount Hayden, some three miles up Sneffels 
creek, and contains 3,500,000 gallons. An auxiliary reservoir from Oak creek con- 
tains 500,000 gallons. In 1883 the citizens erected a handsome brick school building 
at a cost of $12,000. 

There are four church edifices, the Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic and 
Episcopalian. The Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights Templar, Knights of Pythias, 
Patriotic Order Sons of America, Good Templars, Red Men and United Workmen 
all have organizations and well-appointed lodge rooms. The court house and 
jail, built of brick, cost $40,000. The Miners' hospital was the result of voluntar}' 
contributions, and is managed by the Sisters of Charity. 

Jotiriialisiii. — The San Juan "Sentinel" was founded by Dowling & McKinney 
in 1877, ^'^^'^ suspended in 1878; the Ouray "Times" in 1877 by Wm. and Henry 
Ripley. After varying fortunes it was absorbed by the "Budget," established July 
6th, 1886, by C. A. Ward. Later on it was purchased by L. N. White, and the 
name changed to the "Plaindealer.'' Mr. Chauncey L. Hall was one of the editors of 
the "Budget," and is one of the oldest writers and press correspondents in the 

The "Solid Muldoon," one of the most remarkable newspapers in the west, 
because of the peculiar style and quality of its paragraphs, rich, racy, and not infre- 
quently scalding, was established September 5th, 1879, by the Muldoon Publishing 
company, with David F. Day, a soldier in the Union army during the rebellion, 
and the "humorist of the San Juan " as editor. Beginning October 17th, 1882. it 
was issued daily during the political campaign of that vear, but subsequentlv receded 
to a sparkling weekly. Mr. Day became sole proprietor in 1882. In May, 1885, 
Mark W. Atkins purchased an interest, but sold it in 1891. The Red Mountain 
"Journal" at Red Mountain is edited by George Seaman; the "Miner" by John R. 
Curry (now publishing the "Journal" at Cortez, Montezuma county); the "Pilot" 
by C. S. York and the "Review" by R. W. Morrison were published at Ouray, but 
are now extinct. The "Argus" was established in September, 1891. Early in 1892 
Mr. Day removed the "Muldoon" to Durango and issued it as a daily. 

Banks. — The Bank of Ouray was founded by J. Fogg in 1877, but soon after- 
ward it went into voluntan,' liquidation for want of capital. The Miners' and Mer- 
chants' Bank of Ouray was founded in 1878 by M. D. and John A. Thatcher of 


Pueblo, A. G. Siddons, cashier. He was succeeded by A. \'. Bradford, he in turn 
by J. Al. Jardine, and the latter by E. J. Bent, the present incumbent. The capital 
is $50,000. The First National Bank was opened for business September 5th, i88y, 
with George Arthur Rice, president, L. L. Bailey, cashier, and A. G. Siddons, 
assistant, which positions they still retain. The capital is $50,000. 

Ouray is lighted by electric incandescent lamps and arc lights. The Opera 
house, built by H. E. Wright, has a seating capacity of 500 to 600. The Beaumont 
hotel is one of the best in the commonwealth. There are many substantial brick 
business houses, and in the residence portion many pretty cottages. It is in all 
respects a strong and beautiful town with unecjualed scenic environments. It is 
the center of all the great mining interests of that region. Watered at its feet by the 
Uncompahgre river, which is of about the same size and character as the Rio 
Animas at Durango, it flows rapidly down into the Uncompahgre valley below, 
where it is utilized m irrigating the splendid farming lands, thence onward to Alont- 
rose and Delta. A few miles below Ouray we pass out of the narrow canon into a 
semi-tropical region — the fertile Uncompahgre I'ark — where there are no mines, 
but well-cultivated farms instead, bearing grand crops of grain, vegetables, fruits, 
alfalfa, etc. Only a few years ago this valley was an Indian hunting ground, nothing 
more. While bordered by high mountains on either side, they are distant, and, 
instead of rendering the country bleak and uninviting to the husbandman, shelter 
and protect it from violent storms, tempering the climate to the exact conditions 
required for agricultural progress. 

On the bordering mesa or table-lands, large herds of cattle are pastured. It 
is like stepping out of the region of winter into a land blossoming with flowers. 
Portland is a small settlement four miles below Ouray, situated on the Uncompahgre. 
It was surveyed and platted by the Reed brothers in February, 1883, and is a charm- 
ing spot. 

Jiidi^7C'ay, ten to twelve miles north of Ouray, is the initial point of the Rio Grande 
Southern railway, a narrow gauge road, whence it supplies Telluride in San Miguel 
county, Rico in Dolores, and passing thence southwesterly unites with the Denver 
& Rio Grande system of roads at Durango, in La Plata county. This being an 
exceptional enterprise, and one of vast importance to the regions penetrated, it is 
proper to give a brief account of its origin and progress. 

T/ie Rio Griindc Soiithfni A'ai/rcm' comiJany was originally comjiosed of Otto 
Meats, Fred Walsen, M. D. Thatcher, Job A. Cooper, Wm. S. Jackson, John L. 
McNeil and Joseph W. Gilluly. Its officers are: Otto Mears, president and gen- 
eral manager: J. W. Gilluly, treasurer, and John L. McNeil, secretary. The road 
was begun at Ridgway station on the D. & R. G. branch from Montrose to Ouray 
April 25th, 1890, and comjjleted to Telluride, forty-six miles, November 15th, 1890. 
The line from Illium station to Telluride is a 1)ranch designed for the accommodation 
of the capital and the chief mining ])<)ints of San Miguel county. The main line 
continues soutliwesterly to Rico, to which place it was completed September 30th, 
1891. FVom thence it runs southwesterly to Dolores, through the county of that 
name, and thence southeasterly to its terminus at Durango, penetrating the county 
of Montezuma en route, and opening to settlement and commerce an immense 
regif>n filled with all manner of resources. The length of this line is about 175 miles, 
and is wholly through a mountainous region, with some very heavy grades, tall 
bridges and much expensive rock cutting. The cost when finished was about 
$5,000,000, all local capital. In the amount of new territory' thus rendered accessible 
to the principal markets of the state, and in the magnitude of the new enterprises 
that will soon be established there, the Rio Grande Southern must be regarded as 
one of the more consequential thoroughfares of the state. The credit of its inception 
and much of the spirit that moved its rapid construction must be given to its 


president, Mr. Otto Alears, whose directing hand now controls all of the traffic of 
the mines of the southwest. (See history of San Juan county, this volume.) 

Jili/gicay, named for superintendent R. j\I. Ridgway of the mountain division 
of the Denver & Rio Grande, has superseded the town of Dallas, a short distance 
below, and, as the junction of the D. & R. G. branch from Montrose to Ouray and 
the Rio Grande Southern, has absorbed much of its importance. The new town 
was surveyed by Geo. R. Hurlburt and the plat filed July 7th, 1890. It was laid 
off by the Ridgwa}- Town Site company June i6th, 1890, Charles H. Nix, presi- 
dent, and W. A. Sherman, secretaiy. An effort is being made to build up a strong, 
substantial place. Several stores and residences have been erected, a large fine 
hotel built, a weekly newspaper established. The town was incorporated in the 
spring of 1891. At this point the valley of the Uncompahgre reaches its broadest 
dimensions in the twelve miles between Ouray and Uncompahgre Park below or 
north of Dallas. Leaving Ridgway for Telluride, the Rio Grande Southern passes 
through the lower part of the magnificent agricultural valley of Dallas creek, named 
for Geo. N. Dallas (vice-president of the United States with James K. Polk), one of 
the loveliest and most fruitful parks in Ouray county and under high cultivation. 
The original Indian name was Unaweep. What a pity it was changed. It is not 
very extensive, but very beautiful, dotted with productive farms. LTpon the e.xterior 
slopes are fine grazing ranges for cattle. 

We will now retrace our steps to the capital of the county and examine its 
chief mining districts, Red Mountain and fronton. 

-Red Moimiain mining district, which takes its designation from three scarlet 
peaks, at the feet of which it is situated, at an altitude of about 11,300 feet above the 
sea, is one of the most remarkable mineral-bearing sections of the state. The town 
is within one mile of the boundary line between San Juan and Ouray counties, 
twelve miles south of Ouray. Some discoveries of mineral in this region appear to 
have been made in September, 1879, but, owing to its inaccessibility, the severity 
of its winters and the difficulty of constructing roads for the ingress of supplies 
and egress of ores, no development of consequence occurred until 1882-83. In the 
summer of 1881 — as we learn from Mr. Wm. Weston — John Robinson, A. Meldrum, 
A. E. Long and A. Deitlaf discovered the Guston mine, but, as the ore was not at the 
surface of sufficient value to warrant shipping to market, they went out when winter 
approached but returned in the spring of 1882, when Mr. D. C. Hartwell, agent for 
the Pueblo Smelting and Refining Co. in Ouray, anxious to obtain lead ores, 
induced them to develop the Guston. On the 14th of August following Mr. John 
Robinson, while hunting deer in Red Mountain Park, picked up a fragment of rock, 
and, surprised at its weight, broke it and found it to be solid galena. He then began 
prospecting for its source, and soon discovered the Yankee Girl mine, which on 
being opened revealed an enormous body of valuable ore. On the 20th of Septem- 
ber, when the shaft was only twenty feet deep, it w^as sold for $125,000 cash. As 
there were no sides or bottom to the ore, it was impossible to define the course of 
the vein, but, to secure it beyond doubt, two other claims adjoining were staked, 
the Robinson and the Orphan Poy, both of which proved almost equally valuable. 
The mineral taken out was shipped by mule pack trains across the divide to Silver- 
ton. The Guston and the Yankee Girl are about 300 yards apart. These discoveries 
brought clouds of prospectors, scores of claims were located and thus Red Moun- 
tain sprang into a camp of great importance. The first wagon road was 
commenced in the autunm of 1883. The Yankee Girl is now owned by an English 
company, stocked for £240,000, and has been developed by the better methods. 
The Genessce was located in 1882 bv Jasper P)rown and Adelbert Parsell, which, 
with tlie Adelbert, is owned bv a St. Louis company. 

The town of Red Mountain, at first a small collection of tents, now bears the 
characteristic appearance of a hurriedly built mining settlement. It was platted 


June i8th, 1883, and is connected with Silvcrton by Mr. Otto Means' railway across 
llic intervening range, which has been described in the history of San Juan county. 
It has a system of water works, a scliool house, a number of business houses and 
shops of various kinds, an excellent, well-edited weekly newspaper, secret and 
benevolent orders, and a municipal or town government which, in 1891, was com- 
posed of the following: Alayor, A. Johnson; trustees (2 yearsj, Theo. Ressouches, 
Harry Hope and C. Hoeft'el; trustees (i year), Samuel Leslie, D. S. Baxter and 
W'm. Quigley; treasurer, James Duggan; marshal, Fred C. Rosen; clerk, W. H. 

I'he Scarlet Peaks. — Considering the origin of the many brilliant colors pre- 
sented by the Red Mountain peaks, which are the wonder of all beholders. Prof. 
Hayden in his report for 1876 says: "They are due to admixtures of certain 
mineral substances. Dark colors may be said to be characteristic of the main bulk 
of this group, but a very prominent exception is made by what I have termed "the 
red stratum.' Originall}' white, the presence of ferric oxygen compounds gradually 
changes this color to yellow, orange, red and brown. The rock is a micro- 
crystalline, feldspathic paste of white color, containing very minute transparent 
crystals of sanidite and small crystals of p\rite. Throughout the district, w'herever 
this stratum could be traced, the cr}-stals of pyrite were contained in it as an im- 
pregnation. Decomposition of pyrite releases the suljihur and changes the iron 
from a bisulphide to hydrated sesqui oxide. This, in varying percentages, produces 
the colors and shades above enumerated. This mineral (pyrite) was probably 
segregated during the period of the cooling of the rock. Its presence denotes 
nothing save the existence and ejection of a large amount of iron and sulphur at 
the time of eruption." 

It was by Hayden's indication of mineral-bearing zones in this district that 
Leadville and other prospectors were led to it and to the great discoveries there- 
after made. 

Ironton, three miles below Red Mountain, was founded in 1883 and its plat 
filed March 20th, 1884. It is situated at the head of Red Mountain Park, the 
terminus of the Rainbow railway, whence passengers, mail and express are con- 
veyed by a four-horse stage down through the marvelous canon of the L'ncompahgre 
to Ouray. From Ironton may be seen the more celebrated groups of mines situate 
upon the mountain sides, the Saratoga, Candice, Silver I'ell, Paymaster, Guston, 
Robinson, Yankee Girl, Genessee-Vanderbilt, National Bell, and many others, sur- 
mounted by suitable buildings filled with mining machiner^^ It has a town 
government. com])()sed of Lon Hunter, mayor; trustees, C. M. Strayer, A. G. 
I'runer, J. H. Slattery, Jas. Winchester, F'rank Leonard and O. P. Lyon; treasurer, 
Thos. Hunter: clerk, A. S. Holman; justice of the peace. Finney Jones. 

Red Mountain district extends from Ironton south to the boundary line of 
the county, some five miles. Only a limited number of the veins discovered and 
recorded are extensively developed. From these millions have been extracted. 
For the general characteristics of the country and its mineral deposits we abstract 
the following notes from a paper published by Mr. T. E. Schwartz, a prominent 
mining engineer, until quite recently manager of the Yankee Girl and new Guston 
properties, read by him before the .'\merican Institute of Mining Engineers: "It 
is in the heart of a ver)' extensive area of eruptive rocks, andesites, trachytes and 
breccias, in w hich occur most of the productive camps of the San Juan country, such 
as Alarsliall P.asin, Mt. SnefTels, Mineral Point, Lake City and Silvcrton, all within 
a radius of fifteen to twenty miles. The topography of the district is marked by 
bare, r.ngged cliffs and red patches of oxidized material on the upper mountain 
sides, while below are considerable areas of heavy slide rock, carrving large 
detached masses. Between these areas of detritus occur benches and terraces cov- 
ered with shallow soil, and diversified here and there by knolls or mounds of hard. 


porous, siliceous rocks with a reddish hue or stain. The ores are classified as (i) 
secondary or oxidized ores; (2) the primary or unoxidized ores. In some properties 
ores of both character occur, the one beginning- where the other terminates. 

"The secondary ores occur above a former water-line, either attached to the 
walls of caves, as broken detached masses, or as a bed of clayey mud or sand, more 
or less completely filling the caves. The cave formation is identified with the 
massive outcroppings or knolls of silicified andesite, ordinarily termed 'quartz.' 
These knolls rise 25 to 200 feet above the surrounding surface, and, while sometimes 
quite conical in appearance, they more generally have a greater length than width, 
in some instances being 400 to 500 feet long by 200 feet wide. They present a rough 
mass of quartz, cut up by cross fractures, and showing small vughs and cavities 
on the exposed clifif faces. The ore-bearing caves, which ramify throughout the 
mass, generally come to the surface along the clifif base, where they are partially 
or wholly covered by slide. In size the caves vary up to chambers of 50 feet in 
diameter, which are connected by irregular rounded passages, branching out toward 
the surface, but diminishing and coming together in depth. The ores are mainly 
carbonates of lead and of iron, together with the iron oxides, lead sulphates and 
arsenates. Kaolinite occurs in considerable quantities and zinc blende is common. 
The latter occurs in botryoidal masses, consisting of nearly concentric fibrous layers, 
and is usually found detached from cave walls. Galena also occurs, but generally 
as the core of an o.xidized mass. Such are the ores of the National Belle, Grand 
Prize and Vanderbilt mines, while other properties near by, viz., those in the Enter- 
prise group, omit the lead minerals and carry the o.xide and sulphide of bismuth. 

"(i) The secondary ores are richer than the sulphide ores occurring between 
them; (2) the ores of adjoining or connecting caves are sometimes greatly different 
in grade. (3) In some cases the formation of the caves along fracture or cleavage 
planes is evident, but in others all traces of such planes are quite obliterated. (4) 
The cave walls are a porous, sandy quartz, the sand from the disintegration of which 
forms part of the cave filling. (5) The line of change from o.xidized to unoxidized 
ores, or the former water-level, is very marked. It varies as much as 100 feet in 
elevation in properties within 1,000 feet of each other, rising to the south and west. 
The quartz outcrop rarely rises more than 200 feet above it. (6) In isolated cases 
may be found masses of the unoxidized ore, the enargite, above the lines of change, 
in the vicinity of the secondary ores. The formation of these ores is readily ac- 
counted for in the oxidizing and dissolving properties of surface waters, which, 
moving along the fracture planes, took into solution the original sulphide ores and 
portions of the adjoining rock, and deposited new ore bodies in the resulting caves. 

"The bulk of the Red Mountain product has consisted of the primary ores. 
Although large amounts of the carbonate ores have been shipped from such 
properties as the National Belle and Vanderbilt, their depth is soon exhausted and 
sulphide ores are reached. The latter begin where the cave ores cease, and in many 
properties, such as the Yankee Girl, Hudson, Guston and Silver Bell, in which the 
cave-formation has been removed by erosion, or never existed, they outcrop at or 
near the surface. They consist of a great variety of the sulphides and sulphar- 
senites of the metals, and are productive of the following minerals in quantitv, viz., 
enargite, galena, chalcopyrite, erubescite bismuthinite, gray copper and stromeyer- 
ite. Among the minerals of rarer occurrence are silver glance, polybasite tennantite, 
proustite and others not yet determined. Associated with these ores are rhodonite, 
gypsum, heavy spar and kaolinite. 

"(1) )The ores occur as 'chimneys,' so called, having in some cases an elliptical 
or a circular cross section, but more generally long in proportion to their width. 
The greatest length of ore body so far observed has been about si.xty feet. (2) The 
immediate envelope of the ore chimneys is 'quartz,' which is sometimes of consid- 
erable extent, while the whole is enclosed in an area of greater or less extent of 




aiulesite. In the case of six chimneys occurring (jn the Yankee Girl, Guston and 
Silver Bell properties, being the only ones on which depth has been obtained, a 
marked increase in the silver content of the ores occurred from the surface down 
to 300 to 400 feet of depth. Changes in character of ore with depth are noticeable 
in several chimneys, but notably so in the main Yankee Girl chimney. In this 
case the distinctive minerals in order of depth have been galena, gray copper, 
stromeyerite and bornite. In those chimneys in which enargite has been the sur- 
face ore, no depth has yet been obtained. The chimneys frequently change their 
pitch, sometimes quite suddenly. Any one chimney may recede from a given 
vertical line for a considerable distance and then approach it again. A jump of 
fifteen to twenty-five feet along some horizontal plane is iiot infrequent, rendering 
it difihcult to locate the chimneys on succeeding levels. In the Guston and Yankee 
Girl, the increase in the amount of the copper ores with depth, and the fact that 
the silver is confined niaitdy to such ores, is notable." 

Air. Schwartz concludes by saying, that "to the practical mining man as well 
as to the theorist, mineralogist and geologist, this section is a most interesting 
one. Chemical and structural geology here have a brilliant field for study. Many 
new and rare mineral combinations may here be brought to light. The miner is 
interested in a district which presents more ditificulties in following one's ore body 
than almost any others, and requires the most careful study of rock faces." In 
regard to the quality of the Yankee Girl ore, he says, he has shipped several car- 
loads which carried 1,500 to 3,000 ounces of silver to the ton, and one lot of six 
tons returned 5,300 ounces to the ton. 

As to the present value of this remarkable district in other mines than those 
enumerated, while it is impracticable and outside of the puq)ose of these histories 
to enter upon a description of properties, it may justly be said that within the 
past three years it has risen to great prominence, from the volume and richness 
of its products, and now ranks third among the great districts of the state. Some 
millions of English and American capital have been invested there, the most im- 
proved appliances for hoisting, mining, milling and concentrating ores supplied, 
and the facilities afforded by railway switches leading from all the greater mines 
to the Rainbow railway for transportation to the ore buyers at Durango, Pueblo 
and Denver are unequaled by any other mining quarter. 

Following \\ere the county officers 1890-1891: Commissioners, Samuel J. 
Couchman. W. II. Wilson and A. Humphrey: clerk and recorder, Felix J. Par- 
kins; .sheriff, J. F. Bradley; treasurer, J. S. Myers; county judge, W. M. Stewart; 
assesscjr. Burr Culver; coroner, James T. Pierson; superintendent of schools, P. H. 
Shue; surveyor, F. L. Biddiecumb; clerk of the district court, J. W. Abbott. 

Sc/iflo/s. — In 1890 Ouray county had a school population of 733. There were 
ten districts and an equal number of school houses. The valuation of school prop- 
erty was $23,800. There were enrolled in the high school 8, in the graded 250 and 
in the ungraded 328, making a total of 586, with an average daily attendance of 

The total assessed valuation of taxable property (mines not taxed) for 1890 
was $1,255,399. 

The agricultural portion of the county, between Portland and Ridgway, as 
alreadv mentioned, is equal to any within our knowledge, much of it under cultiva- 
tion and producing hountifid harvests. Its scenic prospects are among the grand- 
est in the world. The Denver & Rio Grande railroad company completed its 
branch from Montrose to Dallas near the present site of Ridgway August 31st, 1887. 
and its extension thence to the town of Ouray December 27th, 1887, since which 
time that entire section has been advancing with remarkable rapidity. 

In 1889 a series of remarkably rich golil-hearing veins known as the "Gold 
Belt" were discovered bv Col. Thomas Nasli, of Virginia. They are situated along 


the crest of the mountain to the right, just below Ouray, and two, the American- 
Nettie and the Bright Diamond, have been quite extensively developed. Large 
quantities of ore. extremely rich in gold, have been taken from them. At this 
writing they are among the more prominent mines of the region. 


Pioneer explorers of 1859 — discoverv of gold on tarrvall — Hamilton — gold 

at fairplay buckskin joe the phillips mine montgomery — naming of 

mount lincoln — beaver creek placers — discovery of silver on mount 
bross — alma and dudley. 

This is one of the nine counties originally organized by an act of the first terri- 
torial legislature in 1861. It embraces and derives its title from the South Park. It 
is also the geographical and, in a large degree, the geological center of the state of 
Colorado; bounded on the north by Clear Creek and Summit, south by Fremont 
and Chaffee, east by Jefferson and El Paso, and west by Summit, Lake and Chaf- 
fee. Its primary dimensions have been but slightly curtailed by the later institution 
of counties. Its area is 2,100 square miles. By the census of 1890 its population 
was 3,548. 

The annals of primitive beginnings here are extremely interesting. The facts 
subjoined comprise the essential particulars, and were obtained from some of the 
participants in the first exploring party, by whose efforts some important discov- 
eries were made. 

The first authentic record of pemianent settlement, caused by the discovery of 
gold in Park county, dates back to July, 1859, when a party of prospectors who had 
been unable to secure satisfactory claims in the Gregory diggings, in what is now 
Gilpin county, organized to explore the western slope. Not one of them had ever 
seen the country, and they appear to have been led by instinct rather than by knowl- 
edge, both in the inception of the enterprise and its final issue. We find among 
the pioneers of that period and of this expedition, the names of \V. J. Curtice, Clark 
Chambers, Earl Hamilton, W. J. Holman, M. V. Spillord, Thomas Cassady, James 
Merrill and Catesby Dale. 

In the month named above, they left Gregory Point, now a part of the incor- 
porated city of Black Hawk, passed over to South Clear creek (then Vasquez Fork), 
near the present town of Idaho Springs, thence up Chicago creek, over the main 
range, crossing the head branches of the North Fork of the South Platte, and also 
the Kenosha Range via Kenosha creek into South Park. Here they were joined 
by a company of gold seekers from Wisconsin, consisting of John Aldrich, George 
Barnes, William Meacham, Thomas Jenkins, John Horseman and Edward' WH- 
liams. Agreeing to proceed together, they descended into the magnificent basin 
of the South Park, as beautiful a vision, seen from the summit of the Kenosha Range, 
as ever mortal eye beheld in the Rocky Mountains, a broad, smooth and com]iara- 
tively level plain, surrounded by mountains and threaded by numerous atthicnts 
of the Platte river, debouching from the lofty ranges on either side. Skirting 
the northwestern rim of the park, after two days spent in prospecting with- 
out satisfactory results, they came to a creek which was named Tarryall, signifying' 
that all the company encamped here, otlierwise /anicd, for a more thorough search 
since the conditions were of the most inviting character. 


Two miles below this spot the town of Hamilton was subsequently located, and 
in a short time became one of the most populous and attractive mining camps in the 
country. Here Messrs. Curtice and Chambers, who had acquired their gold dig- 
ging experience in Califo'rnia, sunk a shaft in the bed of Tarryall creek, panned 
tlie dirt thrown out, and by the encouraging exhibit of yellow metal knew they had 
found a profitable placer. Other pits were excavated at different points, each yield- 
ing similar results, which settled the problem beyond peradventure. Thus their 
temporary lodgment became a permanent settlement. The margins of the stream 
were soon staked ofif in claims, the first fourteen being limited to loo feet each. 
One of the traditions runs, that a member of the party, weary and footsore, perhaps 
a little discouraged withal, from the long tramp, as he threw himself upon the 
ground exclaimed; "We have traveled far enough; let us tarry here." "Yes," said 
Mr. Holman, "we'll tarry all," and by imanimous consent the stream and the dis- 
trict were christened "Tarryall," which name they retain to the present day. 

The town of Hamilton, three-fourths of a mile above Tarrj^all City, near the 
head of and in the western edge of the park on Tarryall creek, was named for a 
member of the original company, mentioned at the outset of this sketch. All the 
claims then located proved quite rich, some of them yielding fortunes to their 
owners. Reports of the find soon reached Denver, Gregory, Russell and other 
camps to the eastward, hence in a short time a multitude came pouring in. The 
later comers, however, finding that all the paying ground had been absorbed by 
the original company, and that they stoutly opposed all proposals to divide up 
with the new crowd, the latter in derision changed the name to "Graball," and 
proceeding further west, at length discovered gold-bearing placers on the South 
Fork of the South Platte where Fairplay now^ stands, so designated to indicate 
their opinion of the Tarryall miners who had declined to admit them to close com- 
munion. This discovery occurred August 19th, 1859. During i860 both Tarry- 
all and Hamilton grew rapidly, expanciing by increased numbers and the location 
of many business houses, into a commercial center for all neighboring settlements 
on JefTerson, Michigan and other creeks where mining was carried on. George 
Wing was the first recorder of claims in Tarryall, but resigned, and at a special 
election, held in 1862, George \\\ Lechner was elected to the vacancy. 

Some large and substantial log structures were erected, many well-assorted 
stocks of merchandise, suited to the locality and trade, established. Hotels, board- 
ing houses, with several saloons; a huge gambling tent running twenty tables oc- 
cupying the large plaza, a theater and finally a news])ai)er became brisk acces- 
sories to the newly-fledged metropolis, the latter foundetl by Byers, Dailey & liliss 
of the Rocky Mountain "News," printed in I3enver, but dated and circulatetl in 
Hamilton and the region round about, as an influence in the first political cam- 
paign, which came on in i860. 

In the second year eight to ten thousand peoi)le. chiefly men, inhal)ited the 
northwestern sectitMi of the South Park. Denver being then, as now. the chief 
depot of supplies, communication therewith was opened by the construction of rude 
wagon roads. 15ut the throng of prospectors and camp followers became too 
numerous for the limited resources of Tarryall, hence the suq^lus scattered abroad 
into the other sections, on to Ten Mile, Breckenridge, Georgia Gulch, up and down 
the forks of the Platte, across the range into the upper Arkansas vallev, and even 
into the distant mountains of the San Juan. 

In due course, Ihickskin Joe, Montgonicrv-, Mosquito and other encampments 
were made. In the absence of trustworthy records, it is impossible to state the 
amount of gold extracted by the early settlers, but certain estimates have been 
collected which will appear in the course of our narrative. None of the placer 
districts were largely inhabited after 1863. In 1861 appeals for volunteers by 


Governor Gilpin took away some hundreds into the Colorado regiments. Some 
returned east to unite with the Union or Confederate armies, a few engaged in 
agricuhural pursuits, stock raising, etc., hence the first flush of prosperity endured 
only about three years. At the time of my first visit there in the summer of 1864, 
Hamilton, Buckskin Joe and Mosquito contained each only a few families. Fair- 
play being the only town which gave any signs of permanency. In 1S73-4 
corporations with capital began purchasing, relocating and consolidating the old 
100-foot placer and lode claims, which were thereafter operated under improved 
methods. Tarryall creek was worked for a distance of five miles. Leland Peabody, 
Curtice and Hibbard, Barrett, Hall & Rische and the Leibelt Bros, were among 
the larger owners at that time. William Liebelt has been working for twenty 
years at the head of Glacier channel near Bovver's Point. In 1879- Peabody em- 
ployed fifteen men from May to October, the usual season, and cleaned up nearly 
$7,000. Some large nuggets, with much coarse and fine gold, were taken out by 
Barrett, Hall & Rische, but the scarcity of water was a serious obstruction to ex- 
tensive mining by modern methods. Nevertheless, considerable quantities of gold 
have been obtained at different times since 1874. Much of the un worked grumid 
would pay well if a plentiful supply of water were accessible. In i860, at Nelson's 
bar, some twelve miles below Hamilton, just above the junction of Michigan and 
Tarrj-all creeks, a number of miners congregated and engaged in placer mining 
with quite satisfactory returns. Lodes containing both gold and silver were 
prospected, but not extensively opened. In 1880 the town of Hamilton had a 
population of less than fifty souls. In the near vicinity are a number of productive 
hay ranches. 

Tarryall City was laid out in 1861 by J. W. Holman, but for twenty years 
not a vestige of the town has remained, save here and there a pile of stones to 
indicate where the chimneys of the cabins once stood. Governor Gilpin was 
accorded a reception at Hamilton in 1861 under the auspices of the Free Masons 
of that town. 

Buckskin Joe. — The discovery of gold which led to the founding of this dis- 
trict occurred in August, i860, when Joseph Higginbottom, known as "Buck- 
skin Joe," W. H. K. Smith, M. Phillips, A. P'airchild, D. Berger, David Greist and 
others found precious metals in the margins of the creek and along the gulch where 
the town is located. These men formed a district, adopted laws for its govern- 
ment, and proceeded to develop their find. The place was named in honor of 
Higginbottom, taking his pseudonym of "Buckskin Joe." The stream was named 
for Mr. Fairchild. The Phillips lode, which subsequently proved extraordinarily 
rich, was discovered in September following and named for Mr. Phillips. Dur- 
ing the two years of its operation it yielded something over $300,000 from the 
surface decompositions. These extended to a depth of fifteen to fortv feet, when 
iron and copper pyrites supervened, which, in due time put a stop to mining on 
that lode for the reason that the pyritiferous ores could not be successfully treated 
by the stamp mills located there. This deposit was the largest and most profitable 
that has been found in Park county. 

Winter descends upon that region in October and prevails until May, hence 
little beyond preparatory work was done until late in the spring of 1861, when the 
district was reorganized, new laws were framed and adopted. I. W. Hibbard was 
elected president. David Griest, who had been elected recorder of claims in i860, 
being alDsent, Jacob B. Stansell was chosen in his stead. Later on Griest re- 
turned, when much controversy arose over the of^ce of recorder. It was settled 
by the resignation of both claimants and a new election, which resulted in the 
reinstatement of Stansell by a large majority. During this year all the neighbor- 
ing gulches and mountain slopes were prospected, and many lode claims staked. 


The original location certificate of the Phillips, filed in June, 1861, ran as follows: 

"Know all men by these presents, that we, Buckskin Joe & Co., claim 1,800 
feet on the Phillips lead, and I, Buckskin Joe, claim the right of discovery." 

Recorder Stansell was presented with claim No. 6 because he recorded the 
certificates without fees, and this proved the rich