Pueblo County, Colorado
George Miles Chilcott

Contributed by Karen Mitchell and Jean Griesan.

George Miles CHILCOTT, a Delegate from the Territory of Colorado and a Senator from Colorado; born near Cassville, Huntingdon County, Pa., January 2, 1828; moved with his parents to Jefferson County, Iowa, in 1844; studied medicine until 1850; sheriff of Jefferson County in 1853; moved to the Territory of Nebraska in 1856; member, Territorial house of representatives 1856; moved to the Territory of Colorado in 1859; member, Territorial council 1861-1862; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1863; register of the United States land office 1863-1867; elected as a Republican Delegate to the Fortieth Congress (March 4, 1867-March 3, 1869); member, Territorial council 1872-1874; member, State house of representatives 1878; appointed to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Henry M. Teller and served from April 17, 1882, to January 27, 1883; died in St. Louis, Mo., March 6, 1891; interment in Masonic Cemetery, Pueblo, Colo.

George M. Chilcott, 1828 – 1891
George M. Chilcott during a 30 year period, served a term in the Nebraska legislature, in both the house of delegates and the legislative council for Colorado territory. In the house and senate of the Colorado legislature, and in the house and senate of the United States Congress. He came to Pueblo in 1860, was a rancher, a lawyer, investor in real estate, and was one of those instrumental in bringing the railroads to the area. He was appointed Register of the United States Land Office for the District of Colorado in 1863 and while in that position lived in Golden. In 1871 Chilcott built Pueblo's first good hotel. In 1879 he donated land and the state purchased his mansard-roofed home in the western part of Pueblo for the insane asylum. He died in 1891 in St. Louis where he had gone for medical treatment.

The name of Mr. Chilcott is inseparably connected with the annals of Colorado. He was born in Trough Creek Valley, Huntingdon County, Penn., January 2, 1828. He was raised on a farm, and received his education in such schools as the country afforded. In the spring of 1844, he removed with his parents to Jefferson County, Iowa, where he lived, working upon a farm, about two years. He subsequently taught school, and also pursued the study of medicine, until the spring of 1850. He was married March 21, 1850, to Miss Jennie Cox, after which he located near his father, and engaged in farming. In 1853, he was elected on the Whig ticket Sheriff of Jefferson County, which office he held one term. In 1856, he removed to Burt County, Neb., where he was shortly afterward elected to represent the counties of Burt and Cumming in the Lower House of the Legislature, which met in session at Omaha, in the winter of 1856-57. But not yet content with his situation, and with face still westward, Mr. Chilcott started, in the spring of 1859, for the famous " Pike's Peak country," arriving at Denver in the month of May. He engaged in prospecting during the summer, and in the fall following he was elected from the town of Arapahoe to the Constitutional Convention, which met at Denver. Near the close of the year, Mr. Chilcott returned to his family in Nebraska, where he remained through the winter, returning to Colorado the next spring. The summer of 1860, he spent upon Cherry Creek, and in October of that year he removed to Southern Colorado, to the section now Pueblo County. Soon afterward he met with a serious misfortune. Everything he had, consisting of wagon and team and other property, was stolen from him by his only acquaintance, who left for parts unknown. Being left penniless among strangers in a strange land, Mr. Chilcott had to resort to his experience in farming for a livelihood, and he hired to work by the day for a farmer. He engaged in farming during 1861-62, and in 1863 he located upon a farm of his own, twelve miles east of Pueblo. Then returning to Nebraska, he brought out his family in May, 1863. He served as a member of the Territorial Legislature in the first two sessions of that body. In 1863, he received from President Lincoln the appointment of Register of the United States Land Office for the District of Colorado. The office was first located at Golden, and subsequently at Denver. Mr. Chilcott held the position nearly four years, until he was, in 1866, elected to Congress under the State organization then formed, and which sought admission into the Union. But Congress refused to receive Colorado as a State at that time, and Mr. Chilcott could not take his seat. In 1867, he was elected a Delegate to Congress for the Territory of Colorado, and served the people one term. It was he who introduced and got Congress to pass a bill repealing the act which discriminated against all the territory west of the west line of Kansas, and east of the east line of California, by charging letter postage on all printed matter between the two boundaries. He also succeeded in getting larger appropriations for surveys than was ever before obtained, and was instrumental in getting passed an important bill in regard to the St. Vrain and Vigil Land Grant. Mr. Chilcott was a member of the Territorial Council, and President of that body during the session of 1872– 73. He was also a member in 1874. In 1878, he was elected to the State Legislature from Pueblo County, and during the session of 1878 –79, he was prominently before the Legislature as a candidate for United States Senator, Mr. Hill, however, securing the place. In politics, Mr. Chilcott has been a sterling Republican. He is popular with his party, and is held in universal esteem by the people of his section; but having determined to quit public life he has recently declined to accept any nomination for office, his individual interest requiring his undivided attention. Being a man of unusual energy and enterprise, he has accumulated a large and valuable property. His interests are chiefly at Pueblo, where he now resides.

Extracted from "History of the Arkansas Valley, Colorado," O. L. Baskin & Co., Chicago, 1881.

Chilcott, George M., United States Senator for Colorado (1882-1883, Territorial Delegate, 1867-1869, to Congress), was born in Trough Creek Valley, Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, January 2, 1828, and died in St. Louis, Missouri, March 6, 1891. He was reared on a farm and attended the country schools. His parents removed to Jefferson county, Iowa, in the spring of 1844, where he worked on a farm for about two years. Later, he taught school and studied medicine, until the spring of 1850. Mr. Chilcott was elected sheriff of Jefferson county, on the whig ticket, in 1853, serving one term. Removing to Burt county, Nebraska, in 1856, he was elected that same year, from Burt and Cummings counties to the lower house of the legislature, as a republican. He started for the "Pike's Peak Country" in 1859, arriving in Denver in May, that year. He then became a prospector during the summer months. In the fall, he was elected from the town of Arapahoe, to the constitutional convention, which met in Denver. Returning to Nebraska, he brought his family to Denver early the following year. A part of 1860, he spent on Cherry creek, where he had an interest in a saw mill, and in October, removed to Pueblo county. One of his early and most trying misfortunes, in the pioneer days, was the theft of his team, wagon, and other property, by a friend whom he had implicitly trusted. Left penniless, he worked for wages on a farm for a time to get a start. In 1861-1862, he engaged in ranching, and in 1863, settled twelve miles east of Pueblo, on a farm of his own. Mr. Chilcott was a member from Pueblo, of the lower house of the Colorado Territorial legislature, in 1861 and 1862, the same being the first and second sessions of that body. In 1863, he was appointed by President Lincoln, register of the United States land office for the district of Colorado, the office first being located in Golden, and later in Denver. After holding this position four years, he was elected a member of congress in 1866, under the state organization, but owing to the veto messages of President Johnson, Colorado was not admitted as a state, and Mr. Chilcott was denied a seat in congress. In 1867, he was elected to congress as a territorial delegate, and served one term, exerting a wide influence in behalf of the good of this region. Through his influence, the postal law, which was excessive on printed matter from the east, was repealed, and he also secured an appropriation for the payment of the militia that had served in recent Indian campaigns. He was successful in defeating the attempt of the secretary of the treasury, who endeavored to weaken or abolish the Denver mint, and obtained an appropriation therefor, despite the heavy opposition against him. Through his skillful management, land offices were established in the mining camps, and an appropriation made for the survey of Colorado by Professor F. V. Hayden, whose published reports on the Rocky Mountain region are of great historical and scientific value. He was especially active in promoting the passage of bills that assisted in the completion of the Denver Pacific and Kansas Pacific railroads. Much needed surveys were also possible through his influence in obtaining appropriations for that purpose. From 1872 until 1876, he was a member of the territorial council (senate) and was president of that body during his first term. Mr. Chilcott was a member of the lower house from Pueblo, in 1878, and during the session of 1878-1879, he was a prominent candidate for United States Senator, at the time of the election of N. P. Hill. In 1882, when Senator Henry M. Teller resigned from the senate to become secretary of the interior in President Arthur's cabinet, Governor Pitkin appointed Mr. Chilcott to fill the vacancy, until the meeting of the legislature in 1883. When that body was convened, Lieutenant Governor Horace A. W. Tabor was elected to fill the remainder of the un-expired term of Senator Teller, and Judge Thomas M. Bowen was then elected for the full term of six years to succeed Senator Tabor.

In 1884, Senator Chilcott was elected state senator from Pueblo county for a term of four years, serving in the sessions of 1885 and 1887. During his long and honorable public service in Colorado, he was a staunch republican. He was one of the eminent men of Colorado's early history. He accumulated considerable property, and was also interested in Pueblo real estate. He erected the old Fifth Avenue hotel, the first good hotel in Pueblo, also built the Chilcott block, and made other investments. It was through his influence, that the state insane asylum was established in that city.

During the last few years of his life he was much crippled by rheumatism, and it was while visiting St. Louis for the treatment of this ailment that he passed away.

Senator Chilcott married, March 21, 1850, Miss Jennie Cox, and to them were born three sons and one daughter.

Extracted from "Sketches of Colorado: Being an Analytical Summary and Biographical History of the State of Colorado" by William Columbus Ferrill, published by The Western Press Bureau Company, Denver, Colorado, in 1911.

George M. Chilcott was born in Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, January 2, 1828, and moved to Iowa when he was sixteen years of age. There he worked on farms and improved his scant training by study. In 1850 he married Jennie Cox. He located a land claim of his own, though it appears he was more successful as a politician than as a farmer and was elected to several prominent county offices, with one term in the Iowa legislature.

Early in 1859 he came to Cherry Creek, and after a season of prospecting was elected to the Jefferson territory constitutional convention from Arapahoe (near present Golden). In October, 1860, he moved south and later located a farm twelve miles east of Pueblo on the river. When the territory of Colorado was organized he served two terms as a member of the legislature from Pueblo county, and then was appointed by President Lincoln as register of the United States land office at Golden, Colorado. When Colorado adopted a state constitution in 1865, Chilcott was elected representative to congress but through failure of the constitution the election was nullified. He then announced his candidacy as congressional delegate and was duly elected. From 1872 to 1879, Pueblo county was represented in the legislature most of the time by Mr. Chilcott, and on April 11, 1882, Governor Pitkin appointed him to fill the unexpired term of United States Senator Teller. Senator Chilcott was popular with the masses and from his first political appearance was never charged with personal unfairness in any election. In fact he enjoyed the reputation of a ''square dealer," was kind of heart, and had a fine personality. He died in March, 1891, and was buried in his old home town, Pueblo.

Extracted from "History of Colorado," by the State Historical and Natural History Society of Colorado, published by Linderman Co, Inc., Denver, Colorado, in 1927.

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