Las Animas County, Colorado

Wooton, Richens Lacy "Uncle Dick" (1816 – 1893)

Richens L. Wooton came west from Virginia in the 1830s, serving in the Mexican War. He settled in what is now the area of the Colorado/New Mexico border. He was a mountain man, buffalo hunter and entrepreneur.

He was responsible for building the toll road over Raton Pass. He owned a buffalo ranch near present day Pueblo and is credited with the first cross-breeding of buffalo and cattle, and herding sheep over the Continental Divide to California. He is best known for providing food and “Taos Lightning” to the early settlers of Denver on the occasion of that city’s first Christmas, in 1858.

A real opportunist, Wooton’s generosity was calculated. He was the hero of Denver and dubbed “Uncle Dick.” He opened a merchandise store the next day and became the leading merchant of the city. He retired to his Colorado beginnings near Trinidad. He opened a toll road over Raton Pass, along the Santa Fe Trail.

He is buried in Trinidad Catholic Cemetery in Lot 29, next to his fourth wife. There is a marker.

From "From the Grave, A Roadside Guide to Colorado's Pioneer Cemeteries," by Linda Wommack, published by Caxton Press, Caldwell, Idaho in 1998

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