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 fortunes.

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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