Pueblo County, Colorado
Jacob A. Betts

Contributed by Jean Griesan.

Jacob A. Betts, who is engaged in farming and stock-raising on Hardscrabble Creek, near Wetmore, eleven miles south of Florence, Fremont County, came to his present place in 1873 and was one of the early settlers of the locality. He has been successful in the cultivation of his three hundred and twenty acres and has carried on general farm pursuits extensively, besides which he has a number of cattle and horses and gives some attention to the stock business.

The Betts family has lived in America for several generations. The grandfather of our subject removed from Lancaster County, Pa., to Boonsboro, Md., where he engaged in farming. David Betts, our subject's father, was born in Maryland, and learned the blacksmith's trade in youth, afterward carrying on a large shop at Funkstown, immediately north of Hagerstown, and on the main thoroughfare from Baltimore to Wheeling. His trade was large; he had as many as eight fires and gave employment to a number of men. In addition, he also conducted a hotel. Politically he was a Democrat and upon his party ticket was elected to a number of local offices. By his marriage to Elizabeth Macsilles he had five sons and four daughters who attained maturity. Of these only four sons are now living, viz.: Daniel, who makes his home in Sterling, Ill.; Luther, of Chewsville, Md.; Jacob A.; and Alfred H., who resides in Columbus, Kan.

Near Hagerstown, Md., our subject was born November 12, 1830. In boyhood he learned the tailor's trade, which he followed until twenty-four years of age. Then, going west, he spent two years in Illinois and from there settled in Colorado. The gold excitement was just beginning when he crossed the Missouri River in 1858. He reached Denver in May, 1859, and found a small town of tents, with few people, and wholly destitute of comforts. Proceeding to the mines, he worked during the summer months as a miner. In the fall he started, with his teams, for New Mexico, but found the winter too severe for his cattle there. Returning in the spring, he resumed mining. Soon, however, he returned to New Mexico, where he prospected. At the time the Baker excitement started in the San Juan Valley he proceeded toward that section of the country, but when near Pueblo was taken ill. For some time he lay ill at the Hicklin ranch and upon recovering worked for Mr. Hicklin, caring for his stock for two years. He then went to Denver, with the intention of pursuing his way to the Black Hills in Montana, but Indians were so numerous and hostile that he concluded it would be unwise to go. Returning to Pueblo he engaged in the grocery business there. After four years, in the spring of 1867, he sold out, and began to be interested in the stock business. He bought, from John Dawson, a large bunch of cattle, which he brought to Red Creek from the St. Charles in 1868. In 1873 he moved to the ranch where he now makes his home.

Politically Mr. Betts is a Democrat. In 1864 and 1865 he served as sheriff of Pueblo County, when the city of Pueblo was the headquarters of a lawless gang and the work of sheriff involved many dangerous duties. For almost fifteen years he has been president of the school board, and it is largely due to his efforts that eight or nine months of school are now taught, instead of four months, as in former days. He owns a half-interest in the Whistle mine at Querida, which, though only partly developed, shows a good assay. Besides his farm, with its handsome residence of stone, built in 1873, he is the owner of real estate in Canon City.

November 8, 1866, Mr. Betts married Sarah E., daughter of Richard Parker. Her father was a native of Tennessee, where for years he owned a plantation, but in 1833 he removed to Illinois, and in 1865 he came with his family to Canon City. Mr. and Mrs. Betts are the parents of two sons and seven daughters, viz.: William D., who was shot and killed by a drunken Mexican, when he was a lad of sixteen years; Rose E., Mrs. John A. Kelly, deceased; Emma M., who married E. R. Tucker, and resides on the home farm; Alice J., Mrs. William A. Tribble, deceased; Annie E., wife of Fred S. Allen, living near the old homestead; Jacob A., Mary L., Eva C. and Edith Helen, who are at home.

Extracted from "Portrait and Biographical Record of the State of Colorado," published by Chapman Publishing Company in Chicago in 1899.

Contributed by Jean Griesan.

Betts, Jacob (arrived in Colorado in 1859)

Jacob Betts came to Colorado in 1859 and located in Pueblo where he engaged in business.

In 1864 he located at Wetmore and went into the cattle business. He was one of the wealthiest men in Fremont County.*

Mr. Betts died on August 31, 1909, at his home near Wetmore, 11 miles south of Florence, Colorado. He was 79 years old. He is survived by a widow, one son, and five daughters.

*Custer County, in which Wetmore now lies, was formed in 1877.

Extracted from "The Real Pioneers of Colorado," by Maria Davies McGrath, published in 1934 by The Denver Museum, retyped with added notes by Jane P. Ohl, in October 2001.

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