Pueblo County, Colorado
Frederick W. Pitkin
Contributed by Jean Griesan.
New York Times 12-20-1886 - Ex.-Gov. Pitkin Dead - One of Colorado's Most
Gifted Men Taken Off in His Prime - Denver, Col., Dec. 19 - Ex.-Gov.
Frederick W. Pitkin of this State died last evening at Pueblo of
consumption, from which disease he had been gradually sinking for several
months. Funeral services will be held in Pueblo to-morrow at 12 o'clock,
after which the body will be brought here for interment.
"Pure in life, pure in politics, and pure in his ambitions," was the verdict
long since passed upon Gov. Pitkin by friends and enemies in his adopted
State. He, perhaps more than any other one man, represented that idea in
Colorado politics which demands that worth rather than wealth shall be the
standard of public honor in the State. Had he been as full of health as he
was of noble ambitions and wise purposes he would have made his mark long
before outside the boundaries of Colorado, but he was condemned to a long
struggle with disease, which sapped his energies and prevented the
advancement in national politics to which his talents and character entitled
him. He has died a comparatively young man, but he has left behind him a
record in Colorado which will not be soon forgotten.
Frederick W. Pitkin was one of the old Connecticut family which bears that
name, and a direct descendant of the first Governor of the Nutmeg State. He
was born in Manchester, Conn., Aug. 31, 1837, and studied at the Wesleyan
University, at Middletown, from which he was graduated in 1858. He then
entered the Albany Law School, and after being graduated from there went
West in 1860, settling in Milwaukee. His legal practice in that city soon
grew to be lucrative, and his prospect for attaining political honors in
Wisconsin were of the brightest, when failing health compelled him to give
up business, and seek a change of climate. He went to Europe in 1873, but
was prostrated in Switzerland, and was brought home in the following year so
ill that his friends believed him to be dying. He had the pluck, however,
of a Westerner, which does not easily yield, and he determined to move
further West and try the remedy of the mountains. The family moved to
Colorado, which had just been admitted to the Union, and there Mr. Pitkin
began roughing it in the mining camps. The treatment proved effective, and
his health improved, while his frank and easy manners won for him the good
fellowship of the mountaineers which was so essential to his political
With returned health came practice, and Mr. Pitkin soon became the man of
prominence in the Southwest. He had some mines of his own, and was doing a
fine legal business, when in 1878 the Republicans of Colorado came to the
front, and demanded that he be placed at the head of the State ticket. He
was elected Governor, in spite of the opposition of the large mine owners,
who spent money freely in the effort to defeat him, and in 1880 he was
re-elected to a second term. His administration was distinguished by wisdom
and firmness. During the Leadville riot he was prompt and fearless in his
support of law and order, and it was to his energetic action that the safety
of much valuable property and many lives was due. In 1883, when Senator
Teller became a member of President Arthur's Cabinet, Gov. Pitkin was
strongly urged by his friends as a candidate for the Senate, but his health
was again failing, and his claims were not pressed.
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