|Pueblo County, Colorado|
Colored Orphanage and Old Folks Home
aka Lincoln Orphanage
Contributed by the Pueblo County Volunteers.
Lincoln Orphanage 1899 1963
A private institution for African American children. No known adoptions. 2713 North Grand, Pueblo CO 81003 Incorporated 8-14-1907
In 1905 The Colored Orphanage and Old Folks Home was known as "the only home for colored children in an area of seven states." It was later named Lincoln Home which was established at 2713 Grand. The institution was the offspring of The Colored Orphanage and Old Folks Home, located then at 306 E. First.
Pueblo Colored Orphanage & Old Folks Home / Lincoln Home
2713-2715 N. Grand Ave.
State Register 12/10/1997, 5PE.571
Constructed between 1889 and 1904, the two houses were purchased in 1914 to serve as the Lincoln Home. In operation until 1963, Pueblos entire black community took an interest in the propertys management.
From the National Registry Tour of Historic Places, Pueblo, Colorado, 2005
National Registry of Historic Places on the North Side of the Arkansas River
Lincoln Home/Pueblo Colored Orphanage, 2713 N. Grand Ave. - 1889-1904
In operation until 1963, it served as the only known orphanage of its type in Colorado. The 16 Colorado Federated Colored Womens Clubs supported it.
Blacks were predisposed to take care of their own, including widows, at what became Lincoln Home.
Colored Orphanage & Old Folk's Home, Lucille A Hargrove supt, 306 E 1st.
Pueblo Orphanage and Old Folks Home Home
Mrs Dorcas Watson superintendent page 403
Pueblo Orphanage and Old Folks Home Home
Mrs Dorcas Watson superintendent page 467
* Pueblo Childrens' Home is listed in the index, but is cross referenced back to McClelland Orphanage
Child's Welfare Station
Mariam C Dawley manager page 230
Fannie Jones widow of Charles matron page 329
Mary F Wilson widow of John cook page 556
Mrs Bettie Thomas matron page 332
Mrs. Hattie Brown matron page 106
Mrs. Rheubecca K McZeal asst matron page 267
Owen E Bradley caretaker residence 2702 Grand Av page 56
Helen Jones employee residence 945 E Routt page 209
Olga Nelson laundress residence 1429 Pine page 288
Pueblo Indicator 9-13-1913 Woman Gets a Bad Fall Mrs. Georgana Anderson, a sister of Harry Marshall, had the misfortune to fall over an embankment in the deep cut on First street last Saturday night. She is an attendant at the colored orphanage and was on her way down town walking along the street and inside the guard fence. She came to a gap in the fence where it was broken down, and thinking she had reached the end of it, turned into the street. She fell about ten feet and received a broken arm and collar bone.
Pueblo Indicator 10-24-1914 Dusky Orphans Colored people are standing by each other in Pueblo more loyally than ever before. Prominent among their race benevolences is the Colored Orphanage and Old Folks Home at the upper end of Grand avenue, occupying a double house or rather pair of houses built a few feet apart and fairly well adapted to the use of the orphanage. The number of inmates has grown until the two roofs now shelter thirty persons, of whom 26 are children or young boys and girls. Executive ability of high order is required to successfully carry on such an institution, and the matron Mrs. Watson ought to receive liberal support both moral and financial, from Pueblo people of all races.
Pueblo Indicator 2-28-1914 Today is Flag day for the benefit of the Colored Orphanage and Old Folks Home. A great many volunteer workers will be on the streets today receiving donations in exchange for the small buttonhole flags.
Pueblo Indicator 10-12-1929 The Community Chest in Action All Pueblo and Pueblo County Indorses This Work of Charity It carries on without calling upon citizens for time and labor. The Community Chest is one central organization of twelve agencies, for the purpose of raising funds for their work, in one big campaign each year. The names of the agencies, and the amount which each needs for this year, are: Child Welfare - $19,645.15; Lincoln Home - $2,043.00; Salvation Army - $7,020.20; Family Service - $16,310.00; Y.M.C.A (Boys' Dept.) - $5,035.00; Boy Scouts - $7,845.90; Emergency Fund - $10.000.00; Campaign - $500.00; Sacred Heart Orphanage - $8,736.74; McClelland Home - $6,472.67; Day Nursery - $1,966.00; Red Cross - $2,258.00; Y.W.C.A. - $6,615.63; Whittaker House - $1,121.13; Care of T.B. Patients - $1,500; Collection and Service to Agencies - $4,500.00. Total Needed - $101,569.27. Sweet Charity is the greatest of all virtues. Charity giving should be a pleasure. Help the needy. Help those who are sick and in distress. It is bread cast upon the waters.
Pueblo Indicator 12-14-1929 The Pueblo Lions club is making a collection of good used clothing for distribution by Mrs. Ben Bridgford. The club also will make a gift of a radio set to the Lincoln Orphanage.
Pueblo Indicator 11-8-1930 The Pueblo County Chest So that the needs of the poor and destitute families and homeless children of the city will be cared for during the coming year the Pueblo Community Chest opens its eighth annual appeal for funds on Monday, Nov. 10. Carrying on the campaign work will be hundreds of volunteers who for one week will solicit business houses and individuals for contributions to the chest. It is expected that demands for relief this year will be greater than ever before and chest workers are stressing the necessity of Pueblo people giving generously so that the total budget of $100,266.18 will be realized. The budget for the coming year is not greater than that of last year, but it is felt that if fully subscribed all the needs of the agencies participating in the Community Chest will be met. Because of the expected demand for relief all the budgets of the relief giving agencies have been increased and the allowances for the character building agencies have been decreased. The agencies, for which the Community Chest collects in one campaign each year are the American Red Cross, Boy Scouts, Child Welfare and Public Health Association, Day Nursery, Family Service Society, Lincoln Home, McClelland Children's Home, Sacred Heart Orphanage, Salvation Army, Whittaker Settlement House, and the boys' department of the Y.M.C.A. and the Y.W.C.A. Last year the agencies gave medical treatment to 2,397 poor people, treated 2,371 children in clinics, cared for 2,378 destitute families, providing them with food, fuel, clothing and rent. The orphanages gave entire care to 330 children last year. Other agencies conducted educational and recreational programs for 3,000 boys and girls, young men and young women. Numbers of ex-service men were assisted in getting compensation from the government. One agency cared for 3,782 children while their mothers worked. Importance of raising the full amount of the budget this year was stated by Max D. Morton, president of the local chest. Many who gave last year will be unable to contribute this year, said Mr. Morton, and it is up to all of us who are gainfully employed to give generously this year. Many other cities have raised more money this year in their campaigns than they did in 1929.
Pueblo Chieftain 2-9-1992 Lincoln Home History The Black History Committee will sponsor a program Thursday on the history of Lincoln Home, which opened in 1907 as an orphanage and "old folks home" for black people in Pueblo. It continued as a home for children and elderly people until 1963. Guest speakers will share their memories at the program at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at McClelland Library, and members of the audience will be encouraged to participate. The program will be taped and preserved in the Western Research Room at the library.
Pueblo Chieftain 2-15-1992 Local Blacks Remember Orphanage and Heritage Leonard E. Hamlet
aide to L.A. mayor. To Pueblo blacks, there was no place like the old Lincoln Home. "Almost every black in Pueblo has had some contact with Lincoln Home," said Leonard Edward Hamlet, an aide to Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley. "I cried the day I had to leave." Hamlet is one of more than a dozen former residents of the Lincoln Home, 2713 Grand, who met in Pueblo this week as part of the celebration of Black History Month. Thursday night at McClelland Library, they gathered to reminisce about matron Marguerite Washington, who made the home an orphanage for black children and a rest home for elderly blacks. Hamlet said it was one of first seven black orphanages in the nation the first west of the Mississippi River. But, to Hamlet and the others who lived there between 1905 and 1963, it was an unlikely safe haven from a pre-Civil Rights world of segregation and racism. "I didn't experience any discrimination until I went to Denver," Hamlet said in an interview Friday. "I made the wrestling team at Manual High School and went to wrestle at another high school. They were calling me `nigger' from the audience. It was a feeling of shock. It affected the way I wrestled. I took it personally." Hamlet lived at the home from 1952 until it was closed in 1963. In those days, he said, the children at Lincoln were unaware of the struggle for equality taking place across the nation. "Lincoln Home was in a mostly Anglo neighborhood," he said. We were included in everything. I learned later that my father couldn't go onto the grounds of the Pueblo County Club, but I learned to play golf there, swam in the swimming pool, the whole shebang. "I was frightened when we started having racial problems. For a while, I thought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was wrong." Now Hamlet is trying to right a different wrong. Contributions of black Puebloans to history are not widely known. So he believes it is important to remember Lincoln Home on occasions such as Black History Week. Besides being treated fairly by their white neighbors, children at the home received frequent invitations from black families in Pueblo to visit their homes and churches. Hamlet spoke sadly about his last day at the home, when he was separated from his three sisters. He and a brother were sent to a foster boarding home. It wasn't until three years later, when his mother gained custody of the children after a 10-year battle, that the family was reunited in Denver. The home was closed because it was in need of repair. "As they were taking families out and were distributing the children, everybody cried," Hamlet said. "We had become one family. One elderly man named Harry Neal refused to leave. I believe they let him stay until he passed. They would have had to shoot him to keep him away." Hamlet believes there is a greater need for places like the Lincoln Home today than ever. They had a mandate to provide a stable environment for young people whose parents were unable to because of separation, divorce or illness. "This was an absolute backup to individual families," he said. "One rule was, you didn't even think about leaving until you graduated from high school."
Pueblo Chieftain 2-14-1993 For Jennie, Pueblo Life is Busy and Full Jennie Madison, 95, recalls her life in Pueblo. Jennie Biffle was only 9 years old when her parents died a month apart in their tiny rural Tennessee town of Erin. So it was a mighty big change in her young life when her father's brother, Primus Biffle of Pueblo, sent for little Jennie, her sister and three brothers. "My father had asked him to take care of us if anything ever happened to him," she said. But Primus Biffle was a bachelor, working at the old Corwin Hospital and living there too. Though he loved the children and wanted them near, he couldn't take care of them by himself. So Jennie and her siblings went to the Lincoln Home, an orphanage and one-time old people's home for "colored people." But that was a long time ago. Today, she is Jennie Madison, 95 years old, widowed for more than 20 years and, according to members of the Eighth Street Baptist Church, "the best cook in the county." "I'd never been to school in my life 'til I was 9 years old," she said last week, comfortably cushioned in her favorite chair inside her apartment at Mineral Palace Towers. She remembers beginning school here at Riverside School, going through eighth grade at Hinsdale and "maybe a month or two" at Central High. But mostly she remembers working in other people's homes first, taking care of babies, then as cook and housekeeper as well. "Oh, they put us out to work whenever somebody needed us to take care of babies," while she was still at the orphanage, Mrs. Madison remembered. She also spent six years working at the old Jones Drug Store in the Thatcher Building. "I baked pies and cakes and sometimes cooked for people outside. They'd have me baking everything." Apple pies were daily fare along with a variety of others as needed, from lemon to berry. As for herself, she still likes burnt sugar cake best. Mrs. Madison met her late husband, A.J., on the streetcar one day. He was working at CF&I. "He asked me if I was any relation to the Maloneys; I was working for the Holmes of the hardware store at the time," she said, the names falling from her lips as if the memories were days rather than decades old. "I told him who I was and he said he knew the Biffle boys, my brothers." (One brother is still living, retired Denver fire department captain Nathan Biffle.) The chance conversation blossomed into a romance and they married. But they had one small problem. Mr. Madison she always calls him Mr. Madison was a deacon at Eighth Street Baptist, but she was a Methodist and attended St. John's right across the street. "Because he was deacon, he always went early and I stayed home and saw to things, then I went to my own church. We would meet afterward." Finally, though, there were so many additional activities at Eighth Street that Deacon Madison was involved in, she switched churches. "I decided `oh, well,' it's all one God and one heaven." That was about 1942, and she's been a faithful member ever since, generous with her pies and cakes at all kinds of church functions until lately, when she hasn't been able to manage so well. A woman comes in daily to help with housework and meals. Two framed pictures in her bedroom give a clue to the attractive young woman of her youth, a girl who loved to dance and who softly waved her hair in the flapper fashion of the day. She doesn't much want to talk about "how things were" for black people in her younger days. But her eyes flash alternately with anger and delight as she recalls the time a 5-year-old little girl defended her. It was before she met Mr. Madison. She worked for some six years in Canon City for Roy and Ruth Thomas, as housekeeper, cook and caretaker of their daughter, Eleanor. The two became very close. Eleanor, 5 years old, had been playing with neighborhood children. When she came home, Mrs. Madison got her ready for bed, then said "Let's say a prayer. She said, `I don't want to say a prayer 'cause I'm mad at God.' I asked why and she said 'What did God do to make you a nigger?' It seems that one of the children had a black doll and had told Eleanor it was "just like your Jennie." Eleanor had never heard the word before, but knew she didn't like it and told the other youngsters so in no uncertain terms. "I told her God made everybody and I don't know why everybody makes so much about differences. Everybody is descended from Adam and Eve." Mrs. Madison still hears from Eleanor, who lives in Los Angeles. She may not like to talk about civil rights changes, but walk through her apartment and you'll see two mounted certificates of membership in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People proudly displayed over her bureau. Above the dining table hangs a "Presidents Plate," with the pictures of all the U.S. presidents through John F. Kennedy.
And mounted in an honor spot over the sideboard is the plaque presented to her by the Black History Researchers of the Pueblo Library District as "Outstanding Woman of 1992." That was the year the group presented its program on Lincoln Home.
Pueblo Chieftain 12-25-1994 Little Remains of Orphanages But Memories and Records Orphanages, A Second Look Maybe it was the times the best of times; the worst of times? or coincidence. But in the very early 1900s, Pueblo seemed on a roll when it came to building orphanages. All three are gone now pretty much having retained their sense of joint timing by disappearing as orphanages in the very late 1960s although remnants of the buildings remain. In 1903, under the guidance of then-Pueblo Chieftain owner John Lambert, a handful of Franciscan sisters established the Sacred Heart Orphanage at 2315 Sprague. In January 1905, the Protestant Orphanage Committee began plans for what soon would become the McClelland Orphanage, and in the same year, what was to be known as "the only home for colored children in an area of seven states," Lincoln Home was established at 2713 Grand. The institution was the offspring of The Colored Orphanage and Old Folks Home, located then at 306 E. First.
McClelland began as a humble operation run by the deaconesses of the Methodist Episcopal Church at 1104 E. Routt. The small house there quickly filled up, and boys were forced to live in a tent in the front yard. Pueblo real estate and investment magnate Andrew McClelland bailed out the operation with a donation to the committee of lots and a three-story building at Lake and Abriendo. McClelland's wife, Columbia, helped a fund-raising committee with a personal check of $5,000. In April 1906, the expanded orphanage opened its doors at 415 E. Abriendo, site of what is now McClelland Learning Center part of which was once the orphanage, but not the original building. Joanne Dodds, assistant director of McClelland Library, writes about Pueblo orphanages in her just-released Pueblo history, "They All Came to Pueblo a Social History." An insight on the McClelland operation: "By 1919 the (McClelland) board reports included data on who paid for the care of the children. The July 1 report records the following: "Twenty-five paid $15 per month, one paid $20, three paid in work, 11 paid $6 to $12 per month, three were county charges for which the county paid $25 and there were 10 charity cases.
"The next board report identified the orphanage population as 56, consisting of 28 girls, 19 boys and nine babies." A 1959 report, on file at The Chieftain, listed the previous year's income for McClelland as $1.33 per diem from the Department of Public Welfare for 13 children; 45 partial payment for 45 children, no charge for 10 youngsters; and failure to pay for 22 orphans. Additionally, the report categorizes reasons for which McClelland's charges had been put into the institution: "Separation, divorce and indebtedness; unfit parents (alcohol, mental retardation); widowers; illness of guardian(s); children unable to adjust to living conditions within their own or foster homes, and inadequate housing." In an interview, Dodds noted that half or more of the children in the homes were there for relatively shorts terms: "The babies and very young children were usually adopted fairly quickly, usually within a few weeks. Older children were placed into homes of relatives or into work situations, both in the city and on the farms." She writes in her book, however, that the remaining group consisted of "older children aged 10 and above who, for unknown reasons, were never placed."
Pueblo Chieftain 1-15-1995 Restoring the Past John Harrison has helped in the restoration of the Lincoln Home into a museum and living library of black history. The ground-breaking ceremony is at 2 p.m. today. A stray pigeon flaps noisily out an upstairs bathroom window, startling human intruders. Wind wafts unfettered through broken windows from one side of the house to the other. Plaster hangs in crazy patterns from the walls or ceiling in room after room. Yet even on a gray day, the sturdy red brick house at 2713 N. Grand seems poised for its comeback. And at 2 p.m. today, members of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission and Cultural Center will gather at Lincoln Home, the one-time orphanage for black children, to break ground for a complete restoration. When the E.M. Christmas Foundation donated the property to the commission in mid-1993, the group hoped to have it operational as a black museum and living library in less than a year. But restoration of the house - actually two houses cheek by jowl that have been united - was a larger and more expensive task than it first seemed. Since then, however, the commission has been tapped to receive two Community Block Grants, totaling $125,000. In addition, it has received grants from the Chamberlain and Thatcher foundations and in-kind commitments from individuals and businesses, such as Sears-Roebuck, treasurer John Harrison said. The combination brings the project's cost to $151,000. The houses were built in 1880, Harrison said, at a cost of $1,550 for one and $1,500 for the other. They changed hands as residences several times until 1914, when they were sold to the Colored Orphanage and Old Folks Corp., a non-profit organization. The name was changed in 1923 to Lincoln Home, which remained an orphanage until 1963, he said. The houses are so close that only flashing joins them at the second floor. "One side was for boys and the other side for girls," Harrison said. The only time they met was in the shed at the back, which served as a dining room, or in the playground outside, he said. The dining room was added by the Works Projects Administration in the 1930s. But boys and girls could talk across the small gap on the second floors. In 1940, the home was able to buy several lots at a tax sale to provide additional play area. But the orphanage was closed in 1963, because of lack of funding at a time when orphanages everywhere were folding, and remained empty until 1972 when Christmas converted the property into five apartments. Today, plans call for walls to be knocked out to create two spacious museum galleries on the first floor as well as a living library of video-taped oral histories. The second floor will be devoted to commission offices and storage, because it can't be used for public access under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This afternoon's ceremony will be one of joy for many in Pueblo's civil rights community, not the least, Ruth Steele, who is president of the commission. Mrs. Christmas is expected to be on hand at today's ground breaking in her husband's place; his health won't permit him to attend, Harrison said. Also absent because of her health will be Jennie Madison, 96, Pueblo's oldest living one-time resident of Lincoln Home, who now lives at Mineral Palace Towers. A reception will follow the ceremony from 3-5 p.m. at the Sangre de Cristo Arts & Conference Center. Today's ceremony is part of a three-day celebration of the birth of civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr., who was born in 1929, but was assassinated April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tenn. Today also, a 5K "Run for the Dream" road race will begin and end at the Pueblo YMCA. Registration is at 8 a.m. The run begins at 9 a.m. and will be followed by a reception and awards ceremony. Monday, the official Martin Luther King Day holiday, buses will leave at 8 a.m. from the Midtown Shopping Center parking lot for a day in Cripple Creek. A ceremony at the Imperial Hotel, which is sponsoring the day, will be followed by a buffet soul dinner at 1 p.m. Cost per person is $6.95. The bus returns to Pueblo at 4 p.m.
Pueblo Chieftain 1-20-1995 Jennie Leaves Memories, Walking Stick For Loved Ones Jennie Madison: She cooked from sunup to sundown, a relative recalls. Jennie Madison's walking stick will be swinging out smartly in parades from coast to coast although the 97-year-old is being buried today. Mrs. Madison, one of the founding members of Pueblo's National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the oldest resident here of the old Lincoln Home orphanage, died Monday. She had been in failing health since mid-year when she moved from her apartment at Mineral Palace Towers. Thursday, her son-in-law, Hollis Carr, said he intends to carry her walking stick in his Zenith New Orleans Parade Band, which performs throughout the country. But today, the choir and members of Eighth Street Baptist Church will bid farewell to their longtime friend at services at 10 a.m., followed by interment at Imperial Gardens. Her daughter, Frances Carr, grew up in the church and recalled that her father, the late A.J. Madison, would "pull me up into the choir" when she misbehaved. And granddaughter Cynthia Harris Singh, whose mother, Della Cook, has died, came back to Pueblo from Berkeley, Calif., to be baptized at Eighth Street. Cynthia Singh, now a sergeant in the Berkeley police department, also remembers visiting her grandparents in the summers. "She cooked from sunup to sundown," Mrs. Singh said. Known throughout Pueblo for her cooking, Mrs. Madison was especially noted for her pies, cakes and candies. And for a young granddaughter, she would whip up the girl's favorites -- lemon meringue, angel food cake and heavenly hash. Mrs. Madison preferred burnt sugar cake herself. The Carrs and Mrs. Singh all live in Berkeley. Mrs. Madison was only nine years old when her parents died a month apart in Erin, Tenn., and she and her four siblings came to Pueblo to live with an uncle, Primus Biffle. Biffle worked and lived at Corwin Hospital, so he couldn't actually take the children in. He placed them in Lincoln Home on North Grand, the same Lincoln Home for which ground was broken Sunday to create a black history museum and living library. Over the years the Madisons were unfailing supporters of the NAACP. Four years ago she told The Pueblo Chieftain, in her typical quiet manner, that Black History Month is "all right. But things could be a lot better." She didn't like to recall the old days of de facto segregation and being called names because of the color of her skin. In 1992 the Black History Researchers of the Pueblo Library District named her "Outstanding Woman of the Year." She and her husband were also faithful Democrats and one of Mrs. Carr's most vivid memories of her childhood is "ice cream" at the perennial political rallies. Raised as a Methodist, Mrs. Madison became a member of Eighth Street Baptist, where her husband was a deacon in about 1942. Although their churches were just across the street from each other, she tired of straddling all the activities of both churches. "I decided, `oh, well,' it's all one God and one heaven," she told the newspaper. She's been a devoted member ever since and is known among the membership as having been "the best cook in the county." Among the hymns for today's service will be one of Mrs. Madison's favorites, "Precious Lord, Take My Hand."
Pueblo Chieftain 10-15-1996 Memories Help Build Tomorrow One-Time Orphans Recall Their Lives at Old Lincoln Home Another step in restoring the old Lincoln Home was taken Monday as orphans recalled memories and dignitaries talked about goals for the dilapidated property at 2713 Grand. In its heyday, the home was the only "colored" orphanage in seven states. "We want to be sure the history of America is whole," said Wilma Webb, wife of Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, who was the driving force behind making Dr. Martin Luther King Day a reality when she was a Colorado state representative. "Dr. Martin Luther King helped the person on the lowest spectrum, and an orphanage is a symbol of caring," she said at Monday's ceremony in Pueblo. The E.M. Christmas Foundation donated the old 3,500-square-foot building and property at 2713 and 2715 Grand to the Pueblo Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday Commission. It will be restored into a cultural center. It is expected to be completed by March 1, 1997. Many organizations have helped raise approximately $250,000 for the restoration, furnishings and artifacts. Donations include a $125,000 Community Development Block Grant, according to Ruth Steele, commission executive director. "We used to play kickball in the yard," recalled Clyde Sampson, who was left at the orphanage by his parents when he was 3 or 4 years old with his older brother, Alvin. "We did lots of crying at first. My parents just left us here. I don't know why." There were nine in his family, and he believes he also had two sisters at the orphanage. "They had an old man that cut hair here called Harry," said Sampson, a disabled former CF&I worker. "They used to store our games like Monopoly here," he said, looking into a closet without a door. Two brothers and a sister who were placed in the orphanage when their parents divorced also toured the old place. Floyd Hamlet works for U S West Communications, and is a union representative for the Communication Workers of America. Leonard Hamlet also works for U S West. Their sister, Stella (Hamlet) Vasquez is an RTD bus driver. Another sister, Gloria Dean, who was unable to attend, works for the Department of Corrections. "There's still an old board from the treehouse," Floyd said, pointing up in the old Elm still alive in the barren yard. "About everybody came out of here successful," Floyd mused. "They're good at careers and raising a family. I don't know of anyone in the penal system. They (orphanage workers) had a good foundation for raising kids. If we had this to do over, we'd do it again." The children went to the public schools, and graduated from high school. "That was my room," said Stella. "I was kind of sickly, so they let me have a room with my sister." Margarite Vandervaull was the matron, Stella recalled, and the home had a cook, laundry lady and other workers. The orphanage was closed in 1963 and the children put in foster homes. The building was used a few years for apartments, but has been empty for about 30 years. Mrs. Webb said many children didn't know Dr. Martin Luther King because they didn't live when he lived, and the cultural center will allow them to learn about him. "We need to carry on a legacy from Dr. King," she said. "He preferred love, unity and non-violence. Children need to know about our past, our present and our future." The oldest living resident from the home is 97-year-old retired Fire Captain Nathan G. Biffle.
Pueblo Chieftain 1-18-1998 Ruth Steele Holds Onto Her Dream Ruth Steele stands in what will be the gift shop at the Lincoln Home cultural center, if all her dreams come true. No children's voices ring through the halls of the old Lincoln Home. Instead, the red brick building at 2713 N. Grand is filled with sighs of the past: white ceramic electrical insulators no longer in use, a stovepipe hole mortared shut, remnants of a doorbell, lath and plaster walls like cake layers oozing frosting. Signs of the new are plentiful as well: a new roof, new windows and skylights, crisply tuck-pointed bricks, a sign announcing the forthcoming Martin Luther King Commission and Cultural Center. The project, now in its fifth year, has suffered some setbacks. But it got a big boost in mid-December when the Lincoln Home was listed in the State Register of Historic Properties. Ruth Steele is thrilled with the designation. "I feel great," said the executive director of the commission, who in her own words also is "founder, organizer and flunky" for the renovation project. "I do everything from cleaning snow to scraping off the graffiti," she said. And she has done it from the beginning. "I had always hoped we could get the building. Every year, someone would give us a building to use from December until after the (King's) assassination date, then we'd have to pack up, and my house was a warehouse. "I always had such a strong feeling about history," she said. "I think it's important that our young people learn about the rich history of black people and all the contributions they have made to this great nation." The 3,500-square-foot building and the property it stands on were donated to the King Commission in 1993 by the E.M. Christmas Foundation. It was built around the turn of the century - the state historical society says between 1889 and 1904 - as two private residences. The houses were joined in 1914 when purchased by the Colored Orphanage and Old Folks Association, but the former separation proved useful: Girls and women were housed in the 2713 side of the building, and boys and men in the 2715 side. Until 1963, it served as the only known black orphanage in Colorado, and possibly the first in a seven-state region west of the Mississippi River, Mrs. Steele said. An estimated 1,000 children found shelter within its walls. "They were from single-parent families, and some were sent by the courts. A lot of kids would stay there when their parents were working and go home on the weekend. Some kids were adopted out of there. "They went to school at Somerlid, then they went to Centennial. They worked, the girls learned how to sew and to crochet. When they got older, they could go out and earn money. Some of the kids went on to become lawyers, doctors; some are teachers, RTD bus drivers in Denver. One, Nathan Biffle, was the first black fire captain in Denver." Of the many children who have been located, not one has been in prison, Mrs. Steele noted with pride. Renovation of the Lincoln Home has been aided by numerous foundation grants and Community Development Block Grants, including $50,000 for 1998, approved last week by Pueblo City Council. Plans call for the building to be used as a museum with a permanent exhibit about the orphanage and changing exhibits about black history. The second floor will have an office for Mrs. Steele and meeting rooms. The grand opening is scheduled April 4, the 30th anniversary of King's assassination. Much work remains to be done, but Mrs. Steele seems confident it will be accomplished and keeps in mind the efforts of Mary McLeod Bethune. "She's my hero. She was one of 17 kids, and she founded Bethune-Cookman College (in Daytona Beach, Fla.) with a cash outlay of $1.50. She sold sweet potato pies and cooked greens to reach her goal.
Pueblo Chieftain 6-24-1998 Lincoln Home Gets Plaque Signifying Historic Status Jo An Jackson performs during a ceremony Tuesday at which a bronze plaque designating the Martin Luther King Cultural Center a historic site was officially put on display. Pueblo Postmaster Robert Podio also presented the center with a framed set of black heritage postage stamps. A hot breeze shook the elm tree Tuesday as Jo An Jackson rattled the ivories in the shade. In soaring alto voice, Ms. Jackson sang of God's love and the beauty of our country. A sheriff's department color guard stood at attention - Colorado and American flags flapping between the two officers - and the guests seated on folding chairs outside the old Lincoln Home bowed their heads. A long table held covered dishes of fried chicken, corn on the cob, cake and cookies - refreshments for the celebration honoring another small step in the evolution of the Martin Luther King Commission and Cultural Center at 2713 N. Grand. "Find some shade," said Ruth Steele, organizer of the local black history museum. "The wind played havoc with our tent." Mrs. Steele introduced Pueblo Postmaster Robert Podio, who gave her a mounted and framed set of black heritage postage stamps. "One of my generous employees bought this black heritage stamp set and asked me to present it to the Martin Luther King Commission and Cultural Center," Podio said, "and to have it displayed in a prominent place." Mrs. Steele said the set of stamps would be displayed inside the museum. And then Rosa Floyd, chaplain of the King Commission, gave Mrs. Steele a brightly colored kinte cloth she had brought from Africa. "Home means Africa to us, Ruth," Ms. Floyd said. "I went home to Africa, and while I was there I thought about your faithfulness. God bless you, faithful servant. This is for you." Mrs. Steele, in turn, showed the bronze plaque designating the site a historic property. It was listed on the State Register of Historic Properties in December. "The late Alva B. Adams, I searched his memoirs to see why he had given this property to the aged and infirm colored people, but I didn't find anything," Mrs. Steele said. "There were three orphanages at the time: McClelland was for the whites, Sacred Heart was for the Hispanics and the Catholics, and Lincoln Home was for the colored people." The red brick building was built around the turn of the century as two private residences, which were joined in 1914 when purchased by the Colored Orphanage and Old Folks Association. It served, until 1963, as the only known black orphanage in Colorado, and possibly the first in a seven-state region west of the Mississippi River. An estimated 1,000 children lived at the orphanage over the years. Six-year-old Josh Pugh spoke at Tuesday's festivities. "It will be good to have a museum because we will have a lot of fun and learn about history," Josh said. The next step in the project is to build a new wall at the back of the property, Mrs. Steele said.
Pueblo Chieftain 2-25-1999 Helen Jones Remembered for Acts Spanning the Years Helen Jones came to Pueblo nearly eight decades ago, and died here last week. At 105 years old, she was a member of a small group of Puebloans born in the 19th century, and she lived almost long enough to see the 21st century. Mrs. Jones, who was born Sept. 28, 1893, in Bellfontaine, Ohio, died Feb. 16 at her home. Services were held Feb. 22 at First AME Church, and burial was at Mountain View Cemetery. Mrs. Jones attended schools in her hometown, then graduated from Wilberforce University in 1914. She moved to Pueblo in 1922 with her husband, Alva, and they established Jones Mortuary. When her husband was inducted into the Pueblo Hall of Fame in 1997, Mrs. Jones took the occasion to remember their early years in the mortuary business in Bessemer and in the local community. Jones provided scholarships, sponsored sports teams, prepared tax returns and arranged burials for many people whose families couldn't afford the services, his wife said. And she worked at his side until they sold the business in 1968 to Charles McCulley, who renamed it Angelus Funeral Home. Mrs. Jones also was secretary-bookkeeper for Mad Sam's Furniture Co. Her contributions to her church, First AME, and to various organizations were almost as extensive as her husband's. She organized the Trustee Helpers Club of St. Paul AME Church (now First AME) and started the annual tea to pay off the parsonage mortgage. She served on the board of the Lincoln Home, a black orphanage and old people's home, and the YWCA. Mrs. Jones was a life member of the NAACP and a charter member of the women's auxiliary of American Legion Post 163. She was widowed in 1984, and she is survived by a niece, a great-grandniece and five godchildren.
Pueblo Chieftain 12-23-1999 Fixup Complete at the Lincoln Home Center "I was going to sit up on the roof and wait, if that's what it took." Ruth Steele. Ruth Steele shows her pride in the progress that has been made at the Martin Luther King Commission and Cultural Center as she sits Wednesday at the center's dining room table. Seeing is believing. And seeing Ruth Steele, with bright smiling face and bright red holiday suit, standing on the porch of the finally restored Lincoln Home Orphanage is a pleasure. Mrs. Steele has been the driving force behind the renovation project, which got its official start in 1993 with the donation of the building and the property by the E.M. Christmas Foundation. The work has lagged at times, and there were people with less faith than Mrs. Steele who abandoned the idea of a black history museum in Pueblo. "We had some people who got discouraged and left," she said. "But if you think I was going to quit, you don't know me. I was going to sit up on the roof and wait, if that's what it took." Fortunately, Mrs. Steele was spared the indignity of camping out atop the 2-in-1 brick building that originally housed old black men and orphaned boys on one side and old black women and orphaned girls on the other. The property at 2713 N. Grand was listed on the Colorado Register of Historic Places in 1997, and that made all the difference, she said. Grant money became more readily available, and the project gained more credence with and support from local people. Today, the Lincoln Home Orphanage is full of antiques, decorated for Christmas and open to the public. On the main floor are the kitchen and laundry area, complete with wringer washer and Peninsular wood-burning range; the dining room whose table is set with blue-and-white Currier and Ives china that was given to the museum by June Howlett; a girl's bedroom that shows a child's iron bed and a trunk of clothes; and the matron's room, furnished with treadle sewing machine and another, larger iron bed. Going through a narrow hallway that joins the two parts of the building, one can look through a window and see the exterior brick walls where children carved their names. The other half of the main floor features a room dedicated to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. --- the museum's official name is the Martin Luther King Commission and Cultural Center --- a boys' and mens' room with an old radio and a cabinet of curiosities, a "memory" room and modern men's and women's restrooms. Upstairs will be a library, a conference room and office space. Many of the objects displayed in the museum have special significance, like the blue-and-white china. It was Mrs. Howlett's first set, and she gave it to the museum because she had spent long hours at the orphanage sewing for the children. Some of the things were found in the rubble between the two parts of the building, Mrs. Steele said. "This quilt was one of the things thrown out between the buildings. It was wrapped up in plastic. We saved a lot of stuff, and we've done a lot of washing and scrubbing to get the color back." The Lincoln Home was built as two private residences between 1889 and 1904, and the houses were joined in 1914 when purchased by the Colored Orphanage and Old Folks Association. It was the only known black orphanage in Colorado --- and possibly the first in a seven-state region west of the Mississippi River --- and operated until 1963. Approximately 1,000 children found a home there over the years. In addition to the museum opening, Mrs. Steele is smiling because the application process for the National Register of Historic Places can start. Until recently, the application was blocked because two unusual second-story windows were thought to be not original. But Mrs. Steele has received old photos that show the windows as they look today. The photos --- plus the word of a local architect who's examined the windows and found them to be original construction --- are enough to satisfy the Colorado Historical Society. The Lincoln Home Orphanage will be open to the public today and Monday through Thursday of next week. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and $2.50 for children and people with disabilities. A grand opening will be held in January. For more information, call 253-1015.
Pueblo Chieftain 2-23-2000 Black History Travels the Distance Vast expanses of prairie separate Pueblo West from the historic Lincoln Home orphanage on North Grand Avenue. On Tuesday, Ruth Steele, founder and executive director of the Lincoln Home museum, reduced the distance between the two when she extolled the historic significance of the orphanage turned landmark to seventh-graders at Pueblo West Middle School. Steele showed the students "The Christmas Gift," a video about the history of the Lincoln Home. It was an orphanage for black children from 1884 to 1963. The documentary's title is derived from the Christmas Foundation, named after E.M. Christmas, who donated the building to the city of Pueblo in 1993. Now it is a museum and cultural center. Five former residents of the home are featured in "The Christmas Gift," along with the orphanage's former matron. They describe the modest duplex at 2713 and 2715 N. Grand as a source of comfort and security during their difficult childhood years. The program will air on KTSC April 4, the 32nd anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. Steele's presentation Tuesday was one of many she has conducted this month. Because February is Black History Month, her services have been in great demand. In her travels to schools such as Pueblo West Middle School and Beulah School, Steele has been impressed but not surprised by the students' knowledge of black history. "I'm not surprised by their knowledge," she said. "I'm amazed by it. Children today are so computer-savvy. They can find any information that they want. I'm happy to see that so many of them read, particularly about history." Reading and art classes at Pueblo West Middle School have focused on black history this month, according to Cheryl Vincent, a reading teacher. Students made quilt patterns out of construction paper to reflect the secret code of the underground railroad, which runaway slaves followed to freedom in emancipated states. The patterns relayed messages that could not be deciphered by slave owners. "With the quilt code project, students realized how fantastic the intellect of the slaves was," Vincent said. "It also taught them a valuable lesson about how the slaves were able to maintain their culture, even as slave owners stole them from their native countries and tried to rob them of their customs." In Vincent's classes, seventh-graders read Julius Lester's "To Be a Slave," a compilation of narratives from relatives of former slaves. Students found Steele's presentation to be a fitting topper to a month of meaningful projects. "It was pretty interesting," said Tim Custard, who turned 13 Tuesday. "The movie taught me a lot about what Pueblo was like for black people in the 1800s." Jeanelle Busch, 12, never knew the Lincoln Home existed. Now, she says she'd like to visit there. "I never knew that we had a home like that in Pueblo," she said. "It's really good that they've kept it going. It's a part of Pueblo's history, and I'd like to see what it's like."
Pueblo Chieftain 9-6-2000 Wall of Memories Ruth Steele has bags full of Pueblo's African American history. The plastic bags contain hundreds of old photographs, featuring some of Pueblo's early African-American residents. Among the stacks of pictures also are believed to be some of the former residents of the Lincoln Home Orphanage, 2713 N. Grand Ave., where Steele plans to display the old photos. "We had bags full of these old photos and we decided that since this is a museum, what better place to put them?" said Steele, executive director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission and Cultural Center which is housed at the Lincoln Home. On Saturday, Steele will host a "kids' day" at the museum where children will be allowed to sift through the old photos, pick out their favorite and tack it on the wall of the dining room of the old orphanage. The wall will be renamed "The Children's Wall." Admission to Saturday's event, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., is $5 for an adult and child.
"We had a lot of children that lived here, and as a museum, we hope to have a lot of children come through here," she said. "We decided to get them involved in the museum by letting them come in and hang up some of the pictures." The Lincoln Home was built as two private residences between 1889 and 1904, and the houses were joined in 1914 when purchased by the Colored Orphanage and Old Folks Association. It was the only known black orphanage in Colorado - and possibly the first in a seven-state region west of the Mississippi River - and operated until 1963. Approximately 1,000 children found a home there over the years. The orphanage, which has been placed on the Colorado register of historical places, was renovated and opened as a museum in December. Since then, Steele has received hundreds of old photographs, many of which had belonged to longtime Pueblo resident Hattie Cutts, a strong supporter of the Negro Federal Women's Club. Steele said the photos were given to her by local pharmacist Joe Klune, who was the executor of Mrs. Cutts' will. "He felt that this would be an appropriate place to put the pictures," Steele said. "And we do too." Steele said Mrs. Cutts was married to A.C. Cutts, who had a daughter that lived in the Lincoln Home. Children will be able to choose from the stacks of snapshots and professionally-taken pictures of babies, children and adults doing everything from riding a bicycle to playing baseball. The pictures will hang on the west and north walls of the formal dining room of the old orphanage. A similar pictorial display honoring Pueblo's African-American police officers already hangs on another wall of the dining room.
Pueblo Chieftain 10-22-2000 Returning Home: Former Puebloan Revisits Orphanage She Called Home For decades, Mary Brown wondered what became of the place she and more than 200 black children once called home on Pueblo's North Side. Brown is 80 now, a retiree and a widow. Time has wrinkled her face, but not her spirit. She's friendly and comfortable in all she's been and done. Two weeks ago, she finally made it back to her childhood home of 13 years, which was known as the Pueblo Colored Orphanage and Old Folks Home at 2713 Grand Ave. As she sat in front of an old organ in what used to be the matron's office and talked about the people who cared for her and how they prepared her for life, Brown's voice cracked and tears rolled down her cheeks. It had been decades since she had been inside the orphanage's walls, or seen the little wood-burning stove she remembered as a kitchen "monster," or looked across the street where she and her friends used to count the passing freight train cars. By the time she turned 18 and left the Lincoln home, Brown was a striking young woman who liked starring on the softball field as much as she liked taking pictures and wearing flouncy, beribboned hats. Her name then was Mary Dixon. She was 5 years old when she and two siblings - Helen, 7, and Junior, 3 - came to live at the orphanage because their parents had divorced. She said her father farmed near Manzanola and knew he couldn't tend both to his farm and to his children. So he took the advice of his friend Frank McClanahan, a respected local black policeman, who advised Dixon to entrust his children to the orphanage staff. "He told Daddy to put the children here so they wouldn't be separated and wouldn't have to be moved from relative to relative," she said. Brown said she was inconsolable at first. She remembered how three of the house staffers first tried to calm her in her first minutes at the orphanage. "I cried; so they took me into the kitchen. They gave me a fried green-tomato sandwich. And I didn't want that," she said. Brown said she cried for what seemed like weeks. "I didn't want to be here. That was something I just couldn't make up my mind about - that I was going to be here from now on," she said. Brown, who was known by the nickname "Dimpy," eventually settled in and flourished. She said she always looked forward to Saturdays when her father faithfully showed up. They shared family time together at the homes of her father's friends. Brown said the orphanage was run smoothly during her 13 years there, but was home to only "one true orphan" with no parental ties. The rest of the children were like her, the offspring of parents who were divorced or needing help with parenting. After a few years at the orphanage, Brown became known as a "jack of all trades," someone who could handle all the household tasks and supervise the younger kids. She had two "charges" she remembers as Ruth and Carney, who were part American Indian and had very thick hair that she didn't iron like other girls' hair. She even took on a coach's role during basement sessions of exercise and gymnastics. "We'd get on the floor down there. I'd catch them on the floor. I was good in gymnastics, basketball, softball, and in all the relays," she said proudly. Sundays were a whirlwind around the orphanage for the 10 girls and 10 boys. There was the weekly ritual of reading the Sunday newspapers and the tasks of getting the children fed, bathed and dressed in time for church services. Brown said her time at the orphanage was uneventful but productive. "I went to public schools and went to church and everything. They taught us how to wash and iron, cook and clean, how to work, and how to be honest. And they taught us how to take care of one another - the oldest children had to take care of the younger ones." Brown said she left the orphanage when she turned 18 and moved in with an aunt who lived in Bessemer. She finished her senior year at Centennial High School and continued to work part time for a North Side couple. She soon married and her husband, John Mitchell, went off to serve in World War II. While he was gone, Brown said she worked at the CF&I steel mill. Mitchell returned from the war in 1946, but the couple eventually divorced, and Mary took a chance on a future in Los Angeles. Brown said she boarded in a rooming house there and was without work for about a week before landing a job sanding baby furniture. Later on, she learned she had cousins who also worked at the same place. She said she didn't sand furniture for long because she didn't like it. But the company's owners must have liked her because they let her work in other departments. She wound up working there for her entire career of 39 years, a longevity she attributes to kind employers. In 1958, she married construction worker Eugene Brown. On trips back to Colorado, they'd come to Pueblo and try to find the orphanage, but never could. However, she always had a connection to the orphanage in Esther Bunch, the oldest living former resident, who lives near Brown in Los Angeles. Eugene Brown died in 1977. In 1994, some of Mary's questions were answered when a Manzanola cousin, Alice McDonald, began sending her stories from The Pueblo Chieftain detailing the Lincoln Home renovation project. McDonald's mother, Rolan Craig, also of Manzanola, had worked as a "substitute matron" at the orphanage during Brown's last year there. Brown said she traveled to Manzanola earlier this month to visit the Craig family. But it was the Lincoln Home, a home renovated to focus on local black history, that brought Brown back to Pueblo. Black women's clubs took special interest in orphanage Colorado's black women used to bake pies, hold rummage sales and host card parties to support the Colored Orphanage and Old People's home on Pueblo's North Side. The women were dedicated not only to taking care of black children whose parents had divorced or were in turmoil, but to "higher social and moral conditions." The women worked toward various social causes through memberships in black women's clubs across Colorado, explained Ruth Steele, founder of the Lincoln Home museum. She said the women sought to close pool halls and gambling dens, while establishing day-care centers, nurseries, children's clubs, industrial schools and orphanages. They also taught sewing, gardening and child care to the less fortunate. Steele explained that black women in the early 1900s organized their clubs on the philosophy of "providing mutual relief within their own communities." Unlike white women, who in the early 20th century organized hundreds of church-related societies dedicated to help others and improve themselves, black women were too poor to organize solely for self-improvement, Steele said. The black women's clubs in Colorado had a special connection to Pueblo, because many sent money to keep the city's black orphanage open, she said. The orphanage was established by the City Federation of Colored Women's Clubs, a Pueblo group affiliated with the Colorado State Association of Colored Women's Clubs. In turn, the state group was tied to the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs established in 1896 on the East Coast. The specifics of the women's roles and much more black history had to be documented in order to obtain state and national designation of the Lincoln Home as a historic site, according to Steele. The Colored Orphanage and Old Folks home originally was located for seven years at 306 E. First St., but was moved because the women wanted a site removed from the city's bars and brothels. When the home opened in 1906, W.B. Townsend, a black attorney, talked about the plight of Colorado blacks since 1863, the year the Emancipation Proclamation took effect. Townsend noted that no local agency would accept responsibility for the "local colored." He lauded the city's blacks, who at the time only made up 4.3 percent of Pueblo's population, for their monumental effort to provide for black children whose needs otherwise would have gone wanting. For a time, the orphanage was partly funded by the rent of senior citizens who lived on the home's second floor. Both children and elders benefited from the extended-family environment, said Steele. These days, the Lincoln Home occasionally welcomes a former resident who hasn't been to the home in years. However, the home also is bolstered by other former residents who frequently meet and celebrate their common bond. Many live in Pueblo, but Steele won't give their names without their permission. She said the museum maintains a list of the former residents since 1915. "From 1915 to 1963, 237 kids went through here and out of that 237, five are deceased and 232 are alive," she said. "Some of them, the group of 1950 to 1963, keep in touch and hold Lincoln Home reunions," she said. The Lincoln Home is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Saturday and Sunday tours are arranged by appointment. Admission is $5 for adults; $3 for senior citizens; $1 for the handicapped; and $1.50 for children under 12. Group rates also are available. For more details, call the home at 253-1015.
Pueblo Chieftain 3-7-2001 Group Seeking Lore of Lincoln Home Take one stroll through Pueblo's Old Lincoln Home and it's not hard to find history living in every room. It's a history that is so rich and so deep that Ruth Steele - who spearheaded the drive to restore the former orphanage for black children - wants to make sure that every school child in Pueblo knows about it and the people who lived in it. "The history is so rich here and we want to share it with others," said Mrs. Steele, the founder/organizer of the Pueblo Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission and Cultural Center located at the Lincoln Home. In an effort to tell the history not only of the old Lincoln Home, but some of its residents, Mrs. Steele is engaging the help (and memories) of several Puebloans in reflecting on some of their personal experiences pertaining to the home. Mrs. Steele said she hopes to compile those notes into a brochure form, which she plans to distribute to schools in Pueblo. "Right now, our students aren't taught black history," she said. "If we can present them the information about some of the people that lived here in Pueblo, maybe more can be taught." City Councilman Bob Schilling was the most recent individual to share his thoughts about the home and its significance in the community today during an interview Tuesday. Schilling said he first learned of the home as an eighth-grader at Freed Middle School, because several of his classmates lived in the orphanage. He said he became good friends with at least three of the residents - siblings Gloria, Floyd and Leonard Hamlet - who attended Freed and then Centennial High School with him. "They were all really good kids," Schilling said. "They played sports and they were all real good students." Schilling said it appeared to him that the residents at the orphanage were well taken care of and happy. "All the people I knew who came out of here all had a wonderful sense of themselves," Schilling said. "They participated in school and were pretty successful." Schilling said many of the residents knew they were going to be in the home until they were 18 and made the most of their time there. "They got the chance to make it their home," he said. "They all worked together and seemed to learn from one another." Schilling said today the home serves as a wonderful asset for Pueblo. "This is a beautiful asset to the neighborhood and the city," he said. "I also think that it's neat that this was saved and all these memories have been saved. It's been restored wonderfully well." The home, which was built around the turn of the century, closed in 1963. In 1993, the E.M. Christmas Foundation gave the home to the nonprofit Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission and Cultural Center. At the time, the home was in disrepair. The home, which is actually two separate residences, was redone and dedicated in 1999. Mrs. Steele said the center also serves as a clearinghouse for information on former residents of the home. She said she hopes the information she is compiling from personal interviews may also be useful for individuals seeking to know about their relatives who lived there. Others providing information in the interviews are Elmer Wells, Judge John Kane, Charles McCulley, Kenzie Hall, Clyde Wilhite, Robert Howlett, Albert Sims, Kay Keating, Dottie Holmes and Tony Berumen.
Pueblo Chieftain 9-28-2001 Former Orphanage Resident Remembers "Oh, yes, I remember," Esther Bunch Jenkins said, while she sat in the kitchen of the restored Lincoln Home at 2713 N. Grand. "We were here for three years and 11 months, and then my dad moved us to a little house on Santa Fe, by the river. I was here with all four of my brothers. My dad was paying $8 a month for us to stay here." Jenkins was 10 years old in 1927 when her parents divorced. "My mom went that way and my dad went the other," she said. For a short while, William Edward Bunch and his children stayed at the private railroad car for which he was the cook. But then, the train left town and Bunch had to leave his children behind. "There was nowhere else my dad could put us to get care for us," Jenkins said. "He worked for the (Santa Fe) railroad, and always came back to see us." During one of her father's visits to the Pueblo home for black children and old people, he sat up all night with his youngest child, Mahlon, to keep the fire going because the boy had pneumonia, Jenkins said. "It saved his life. He will be 75 on Dec. 1." Jenkins is 84, and according to Lincoln Home records, the oldest living former resident of the black orphanage. She lives in Los Angeles, and keeps in touch with Mary Dixon Brown, the second-oldest former resident, who also lives there. Jenkins was in Pueblo for the funeral of James McNeal, her brother who was adopted and grew up in Trinidad. Jenkins said she kept busy at the Lincoln Home caring for her two youngest brothers. "Two were in diapers. I remember the changing of diapers, but not the washing. I remember the triangle folding. I was a mother a long time ago without having children." She does remember the wringer washing machine, though. "That washing machine (at the Lincoln Home today) was the same one. I got a whipping with everything but the washing machine, which was filled with water." Twenty-seven children lived at the Lincoln Home when Jenkins was there - "The most Negro children I'd seen in my life, besides going to Eighth Street Baptist Church" - and two or three old black women lived upstairs in the north building. "We stayed in a dormitory," she explained. "There was nothing between here and the D&RG (Denver & Rio Grande) tracks, just open fields. I used to go out and run snakes. I did catch one once - I should have a snake over at the school (Somerlid) in a jar. "If you called me a name (at school), I'd fight. I'd take up for my brothers, too." Jenkins has other memories of Lincoln Home she chose not to share with the public. I've told Mrs. Steele about them, so she knows," she said. Ruth Steele is director of the Lincoln Home and the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission and Cultural Center, which is housed in the one-time orphanage.
Pueblo Chieftain 11-20-2001 MLK Museum Evokes Holidays of Yore They called it the "Memory Room," perhaps because it was the scene of happier times at the black orphanage on North Grand Avenue. Christmas was celebrated in the front room of the men and boy's building at the Lincoln Home, and that's where the decorated Christmas tree and the gifts can be found today. "They would decorate this room," said Ruth Steele, founder and executive director of the Martin Luther King Holiday Commission and Cultural Center. "One of the matrons told me, 'I would listen all year long and hear what the children wanted, and have one specific thing a child wanted under the tree.' The Pueblo Army Depot, which was going full steam then, would come and pick up the children in big buses and escort them out to the depot. There would be tons and tons of food and tons and tons of gifts, and their little eyes would light up like Christmas. Then they would bring it all back here. Some of the original decorations are here - they had been packed away. Steele said the children and old people at the Lincoln Home would open their gifts Christmas morning, attend a church service and then eat turkey dinner. A photo from one of those dinners is on display in the dining room of the Lincoln Home-King museum, which also is decked out for the holidays. "These are the odds and ends of dishes that were actually used here. The soup bowls and dessert plates were all broken up, so they had to make do. That's what we have to do, too." The dining room table is set with several china patterns, but the overall effect of red and white napkins, candy canes, holiday table cloth and red bows on the chairs makes the discrepancy unimportant. All the rooms of the Lincoln Home-King museum are decorated for Christmas and awaiting visitors. The museum will be open Thanksgiving Day, although Steele will be giving a tour for a group of teachers from overseas. It will be closed Friday, then will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday until after the Martin Luther King holiday in January. It will be closed on Christmas. The museum is located at 2713 N. Grand and charges admission. For more information, call 253-1015.
Pueblo Chieftain 1-16-2002 Lud E. Washington of Pueblo - Lud E. Washington of Pueblo was born Jan. 14, 1914, in Mansfield, La., and expired Jan. 7, 2002, at Parkview hospital. He was the first black foreman, Pueblo Army Depot, Amunition Department. He retired from the PAD with 30 years' service. Past Most Worshipful Master, Ashby Lodge No. 2 F&AM. Honored by Eureka Lodge No. 2 F&AM (PHA) 50-year membership. Mr. Washington assisted his wife as surrogate parent to many children at Lincoln Home Orphanage. Husband of Marguerite Washington, Pueblo; father of the Rev. Kenneth Washington, Pueblo; stepfather of Shirlea J. Neal, Denver, Prentis (Karen Henderson) Vanduvall, Denver, Patti Jo Hester, Las Vegas, Nev.; stepbrother of Frances (Samuel) Williams, San Jose, Calif., Patricia (Willie) Hill, Marian Wallace, all of Pueblo, Colo., Kenneth Twyman, Margaret "Pete" Albrow, both of Colorado Springs, Colo.; eight grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; surrogate parent to children of Lincoln Home Orphanage; and a host of other relatives and friends. Service, noon Thursday, First AME Church, 613 W. Mesa Ave., to Imperial Memorial Gardens. Visitation, 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Angelus Chapel, 1102 E. Evans. Family at 118 Washington and 9 Palma Court. Please take note: Eureka Lodge No. 2 F&AM (PHA).
Pueblo Chieftain 1-17-2002 Local Children's Advocate Dies Retired Pueblo Army Depot foreman Lud E. Washington died Monday. He didn't quite make it to the 88th birthday he would have celebrated on Wednesday or the 50th anniversary of marriage to his wife, Marguerite. But his son, Kenneth Washington, a local contractor and associate pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, and stepdaughter, Patti Hester of Las Vegas, said their father reached his goals of raising his own children and other needy children, along with broadening opportunities for blacks. Washington helped his wife run the all-black Lincoln Home in its final years, 1950 to 1963. The home served "old folks" as well as children. Hester said the Washington family lived at the Lincoln Home. Sometimes, she said, the arrangement caused hard feelings because the Washington children didn't want to share their parents. In his later years, Washington talked about the need for children to have role models and showing them how to live with honesty and integrity. He used his skills at playing football, basketball and baseball to communicate those messages to the orphanage children. "Those things were passed on to the children, including myself, even though I didn't understand it at the time, Kenneth said. Lud Washington was the first black foreman at Pueblo Army Depot, a supervisor's job he earned by passing a government training course. "He opened the doors for many blacks who later followed and became division supervisors and what have you, said Hester. In the late '40s, Washington and the late Linc Wilson led Pueblo's first, and perhaps only, all-black Boy Scout troop. The men were prohibited from working with Scouts of other races, Washington's children recalled. There were nine Scouts in the group. Several became prominent, including Bob Hawkins, superintendent of the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo; the Rev. Orval Miles of Pueblo and Boston physician Joseph K. Hurd. Hawkins said Washington was "committed to having an opportunity for young blacks to have a Boy Scout experience. Whether it was true or not, the perception was we weren't entirely welcomed by the other troops. Hawkins recalled Washington encouraging each boy to "work hard to achieve your goals, and the importance of staying in school and not dropping out. Kenneth Washington and Hester said their father had lived his advice. He excelled as a running back on Kansas football fields, both in high school and as a college freshman. He did so despite, and partially because of, the hostility he felt from peers, said his son. The pros started to recruit Washington but rejected him, according to his children, mainly because blacks then didn't have fan appeal. Hester added that her father, a lifelong "sports nut who always lamented having "bad knees, followed the Los Angeles Lakers, the St. Louis Rams and the St. Louis Cardinals to his last days. Washington also is survived by two other stepchildren, Shirlea Neal and Prentis Vanduvall of Denver. Services are scheduled for noon today at First AME Church, 613 W. Mesa Ave., and Imperial Memorial Gardens.
Pueblo Chieftain 2-17-2002 'Extra! Extra!' An Old Newsboy Remembers a Special Friend Shorty remembers. He remembers the camping excursions, the fancy holiday banquets, the Easter egg hunts, the trips to the movie theater, all the good times made possible by one man's generosity. But, mostly, Shorty remembers George McCarthy Sr.'s kindness. "He was more than a friend - much more," says Tony "Shorty" Bacino. "He treated us all like human beings - even though most of us were Italians." Bacino and his buddies were newsboys in the 1920s and '30s - a bunch of rough-and-tumble kids who staked out their street corners in Pueblo's bustling Downtown and hawked copies of The Pueblo Chieftain, the Star-Journal and The Denver Post. It was an era in which the newspaper was still undisputed media champ, despite the emergence of radio as a burgeoning news source, and a time when ethnic tolerance was far from universal. Some of the city's dance clubs still pointedly advertised that their events were for "Americans only" - that meant "No Italians," Bacino says. And the local roller-skating rink was a popular spot for youngsters, unless they happened to be of Italian heritage - "If we wanted to skate, we had to go to Canon (City) or (Colorado) Springs," he says. But the newsboys were befriended by McCarthy, a funeral director with a soft spot for the hard-working kids, most of whom lived in the old Goat Hill neighborhood. "He felt everyone was equal," says Bacino, who started selling papers as a pint-sized 8-year-old. "He didn't care if you were black, white, green or yellow." And McCarthy was a man of action. He didn't just lend verbal support to the newsboys, who sold papers before and after school and worked seven days a week to help their families get by; he went out of his way to organize special outings for the boys, ages 8 to teens. He made memories for dozens of youngsters - for Chuckles, Specks, Freckles, Gump, Inky, Speed, Buckshot and all the other newsboys who were members of McCarthy's unofficial newsies' club. In the summer, he took them to Beulah for overnight camping trips. To celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, he held banquets for the kids in the city's fanciest hotels, the Vail and the Congress. He organized a massive Easter egg hunt for the town's orphans (including African-American kids from the Lincoln Home) on the Monday after the holiday, and enlisted the newsboys to help hide the eggs in City Park; after the search, everyone slurped ice cream cones. "You know the movie, 'The Jazz Singer,' with Al Jolson - the first talkie? Bacino says. "Mr. McCarthy got us into that movie. He was very, very nice to us. It was like he adopted all of us newsboys." It was a friendship that lasted a lifetime, too. McCarthy went on to help start the sport of greyhound racing in Colorado, and Bacino remembers dropping by the track in Denver one day in the late 1940s, in hopes of saying hello to the man he still reverently refers to as "Mr. McCarthy." Bacino asked the track usher if Mr. McCarthy was around. Yeah, but he's busy, the usher said. Oh, too bad, said Bacino, mentioning that he'd been a newsboy in Pueblo. "The guy grabs my shirt and yanks me in," says Bacino, "and said, 'If he finds out one of his newsboys was here and I didn't let him in, I'd be fired.' He took me upstairs to the Sky Room, and Mr. McCarthy saw me and said, 'Shorty!' He was always happy to see us." McCarthy also had photographs of the newsboys taken in the late '20s and early '30s - classic black-and-white photos that today grace the wall in the George F. McCarthy Funeral Home, a business founded by McCarthy and now run by Kevin McCarthy, his grandson. The images perfectly capture the newsboys' spirit, in all its floppy-capped, overalled, grinning glory. "Grandpa was an activist," says Kevin McCarthy. "He was involved with the orphanage and dog racing and all sorts of things - he had a lot of interests. He loved the Italians and the Slovenians, and he was revered by them. In some ways, he liked those folks better than he did his own family." Bacino, 83, visits the funeral home every once in awhile, to look at the faces and reminisce. Most of his peers are gone now, and only a handful remain from Mr. McCarthy's group: Phil "Slicker" Cabibi, Juventino "Hoovay" Flores, Henry "Gook" Bradish and Frank "Squinty" Paval, all well into their 80s. Each time Bacino looks at the old photos, he thinks about George McCarthy, the man who helped make Shorty's childhood the best of times. But these days, for Bacino, the memories are not enough. "After all he did for us, I think it's time to do something for him, even if it's this late," says Bacino. His plan: to have a plaque made in honor of McCarthy, who died in 1968. It'll be something simple, from the heart, and paid for out of Bacino's pocket. Something to hang beside the photos so beloved by Mr. McCarthy. Kevin McCarthy says he'd love to have a commemorative plaque in honor of his grandfather, but added that he'd been thinking about trying to find a new home for the photos, since "they don't get much visibility at the funeral home." "Maybe we could do a whole wall of photos somewhere and a plaque could be part of that," Kevin McCarthy says. "That would be great - because Grandpa loved those kids."
Pueblo Chieftain 5-6-2002 Will of Iron - You could talk about Ruth Steele without talking about the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission and Cultural Center, but it would be hard, and she probably wouldn't like it. Steele, 67, has worked for almost 40 years to make the center a reality. Once called the Lincoln Home, the two connected houses at 2713 and 2715 N. Grand Ave. were closed in 1963. For the following 10 years, they were used as apartments and a halfway house for released mental patients. The houses were bought in 1973 by the Christmas family and languished, and all the while Steele watched them and dreamed about making the former orphanage and old folks home for blacks into a museum and cultural center. "I always knew that I wanted to restore it and let people know that we are more than welfare fraud and rhythm and blues," Steele said. "I wanted people to know we have a rich culture." After all, it was blacks who invented such necessities as the shoe last and the traffic light, Steele said. The center was needed to show people both the good and the bad in the history of blacks. Steele said she worked on E. M. Christmas every time she saw him around town, asking him to relinquish the buildings, but never with any results. "For 20 years it just sat there, falling down," she said. When Christmas died in 1993, the houses were given to the city and Steele started the even harder part of her vision. The houses she took charge of in 1993 were a dilapidated mess. She and a large group of volunteers worked to remodel and restore them: The floors were sanded and refinished, the roof was restored, the walls were fixed and painted. In 1997, the houses were listed on the state historic register and that helped them attract more money and more attention. Steele was able to move the museum and cultural center into the houses in 1999. The museum showcases the history of blacks and Pueblo, and the cultural center promotes racial and economic equality. Steele said there are plans to expand the cultural center, which needs a large meeting room and handicapped access. Center officials are raising money for the expansion. It will take time, but to Steele, that's only a minor obstacle. After all, she needed 40 years to get the center to where it is now, so she knows the value of patience. A lot of people gave up during those years, and Steele had to steel herself against the endless comments that the orphanage couldn't be saved. "I've lost family, I've lost friends, strictly with this," she said. "I wanted to save all of this," Steele said, while guiding a tour of the center, each room a historical exhibit of some kind. One shows models of the steel mill. Others show the pictures of black law enforcement officers and the history of the orphanage and old folks home. "My life is saving black history. I just always knew we would get this building." Steele came to Pueblo as a child, one of 11 brothers and sisters. Her grandfather came to Pueblo as part of the steel mill's efforts to import labor from the South in the 1900s. An aunt stayed in Pueblo and Steele traveled back and forth from Texas as a child before her family settled here when she was in high school. The Centennial High graduate went to college at the University of Colorado at Boulder and dreamed of becoming a lawyer. But she wound up working in the South in the 1950s and '60s, registering blacks to vote and working for civil rights. The struggle has never ended. She worked for state Democratic legislators in the 1980s and is a member of the national commission for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. She takes on projects such as a state campaign aimed at encouraging blacks to wear seat belts, noting that blacks make up the highest percentage of people who don't wear seats belts, and that makes them more likely to be seriously hurt or killed in accidents. Now retired from working in home health care, Steele has more time to devote to the center and to civil rights. She has become something of a civil rights authority in the region. Companies ask her for advice, and while she was a student at Pueblo Community College a few years ago, she was asked to help recruit minority students. But, for Steele, working to further the incomplete dream of equal rights for minorities and the poor is still her first passion. "I grew up poor and I had to go to the back of the bus," she said. "And I don't want to see other people go through those struggles." Steele continues to work at the center, hoping that education eventually will change people's minds and hearts. She's not going to quit any time soon, she said, because as much as racial relations have improved, discrimination is still a fact of life, even in the melting pot that is Pueblo. "It isn't as open as it used to be, but it's still there." History of the Lincoln Home The two connected houses sit on a 14-lot property donated by former Gov. Alva Adams. Located at 2713 and 2715 N. Grand Ave., the homes were built as separate residences between 1889 and 1904 and joined in 1914 after being purchased by the Colored Orphanage and Old Folks Association. The center was the only known black orphanage west of the Mississippi for some time, and then the only black orphanage and home for the old in a seven-state area. About 1,000 children had lived there before it closed in 1963.
Pueblo Chieftain 11-22-2005 Collective Impact Four agencies from Pueblo and one from Lamar have been honored as finalists for the Awards for Excellence program sponsored annually by El Pomar Foundation
The Martin Luther King Cultural Center keeps alive the dream of the civil rights leader while maintaining the historic Lincoln Orphanage which was operated to shelter orphaned black children. The center is home to a statue of Dr. King and Emmitt Till, a black youngster whose lynching helped inspire the civil rights movement
Pueblo Chieftain 2-1-2006 Mrs. King Remembered For Keeping Dream Alive On the eve of Black History Month, which traditionally begins today, Coretta Scott King, widow of legendary civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., died of natural causes
Beginning this month, anyone who donates $122 to the MLK Culture Center will receive an limited edition photo of the building, circa 1884, when it was the Lincoln Orphanage.
Pueblo Chieftain 8-2-2008 Matron Instilled Family Feeling at Lincoln Orphanage Former Residents of the Home for Black Children Are Among the Guests Expected Today for Marguerite Washington's 90th Birthday Celebration - When Marguerite Washington gathers today with family and friends to celebrate her 90th birthday, there's sure to be a lot of stories told. The spry senior likely will relate some memories from her childhood, growing up in a coal camp near Walsenburg. There's sure to be mention of the many black entertainers that frequented the soul food restaurant she operated in Kansas City. But some of the fondest memories to be told may be of the years that she spent as the matron of the former Lincoln Home orphanage at 2713 N. Grand. Many of the approximately 60 to 80 people joining Washington for her birthday will be some of the Lincoln Home residents she helped raise while working as the matron of the black orphanage/nursing home. The celebration will be held at her grandson's South Side home, where she now resides. "We have people from all over coming to celebrate with mom," Washington's youngest daughter, Patti Hester of Las Vegas, said. "We were all family there. Mom had three children but everyone at that home was like our family," Hester said of the numerous residents who lived at the home during the 1950s and 1960s. "Mom made sure that we all were treated the same. She considered all of the kids there as her family." Washington's other children are Prentis Vanduvall and Shirlea Neal, both of Denver. Washington was born Aug. 4, 1918, at a coal camp just outside of Walsenburg, to George and Lavenia Holmes. Raised by her coal miner grandfather and grandmother, Washington said she has fond memories of her childhood. "It was a good life," she said. "Oh, we worked hard and they'd see to that we did our chores. I remember I used to have to haul wood and coal, and I even learned how to chop the wood." Washington said she remembers attending a one-room school early on and later riding the bus into Walsenburg for high school. "I'd remember walking into town, it was about five miles, and we'd stop and talk to all the people along the way," she said. "We knew everybody along the way. Everybody was real nice and friendly. They'd offer us a glass of lemonade or something to eat and when they'd walk by our place, we'd do the same." After high school, Washington married her first husband, Chester Steamer, and they moved to Kansas City where they operated a restaurant. During the times of segregation, the business catered to the black community and was known to be a favorite eatery among entertainers such as Cab Calloway and Ella Fitzgerald. Washington later moved back to Pueblo, where as a divorced single mother of three, she was hired as the assistant matron and later promoted to matron at the Lincoln Home. She and her children lived at the home for a period of time, where Washington cared for up to 20 children and one elderly man. Washington later remarried and her husband, Lud Washington, also lived at the home for a short period before the family moved to a home in a Bessemer neighborhood. "When my mom took over, she changed the way it was run," Hester said. "She didn't want it to be run like an orphanage, she wanted it to be like a home. That image changed when she became the matron." Washington said she was raised in a loving home and she wanted to see the children at the Lincoln Home were raised in that same environment. "I wanted it to be a home atmosphere because that's the only thing that I knew," she said. The Lincoln Home was closed in 1963 because needed repairs could not be made for the home to comply with state codes. Washington then went to work in the maintenance department at Southern Colorado State College. She retired from the college in the mid-1980s. During the years she worked at the college, Washington often would bring black students home for dinner. "My mother's home was always the community home," Hester said. "It was the place where everybody could come and always feel like they were part of the family." Hester said it has been no surprise that when the word got out about Washington's birthday celebration, the guest list has continued to grow. "She's touched a lot of people's lives and had a major influence on most of us," she said.
Pueblo Chieftain 6-8-2009 Buffalo Gal Notable Woman Soldier Lived in Pueblo She was determined, dynamic, unwilling to settle for servitude, unsuited to be a prostitute and the U.S. Army thought she was a man. Cathay Williams - aka William Cathey - served in the army's 38th Regiment, Company A, right after the Civil War, marched west from St. Louis, swam the Rio Grande in New Mexico Territory and served at Fort Cummings and then at Fort Bayard south of Silver City. She was in and out of army hospitals four or five times but during four of the hospitalizations, medical personnel failed to notice - or ignored the fact - she was a woman. An African-American, Williams is a folk hero to those who call her the first female buffalo soldier, and she's represented in a display at Pueblo's Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission and Cultural Center. Williams' mother, Martha, worked as a matron at the former Lincoln Home orphanage and old people's home early in the 20th century. Ruth Steele, director of the King museum, says Martha Williams helped care for orphans at the home and her daughter did alterations and was a janitor at White & Davis on Main Street during the same time period. "I understand the kids were afraid of her (Cathay)," Steele says. "She was so tall and dark and she walked with a sort of a limp." By that time in her life, all of Cathay Williams' toes had been amputated - for a reason that's unknown to researchers, like many other details of her history. "Most of the information stops right here in Pueblo, at the Lincoln Home," Steele says. Some of what she knows about Cathay Williams has come from Ramona Caplan of Albuquerque, N.M., who's followed Williams' trail for about eight years. Caplan says Williams was the first officially enlisted woman - black or white - to serve in the army. Caplan was living in Trinidad in 2000-2001 and heard about Williams at a small museum in Raton, N.M., where local legend says she ran a boardinghouse. (Caplan says that woman named Kate Williams would have been too young to have served in the army when Cathay Williams did.) "I got the lead that she had come to Pueblo. I did some very serious research in Pueblo and, without question, she was there," Caplan says. Williams was born on a plantation outside Independence, Mo., the daughter of a free man and a slave mother. When she enlisted in the army Nov. 15, 1866, she told the recruiting officer she was 22 years old and a cook, and she said her name was William Cathey. The officer noted she had black hair, black eyes, black complexion and was 5-foot-9-inches tall, according to army records. Caplan says there's no doubt that Williams deliberately deceived the Army. "No sooner had they announced formation of the four black units (38th-41st regiments), than she enlisted. She was obviously very determined, very dynamic, very unwilling to accept conditions in the South after the Civil War. She didn't have many options, but she had gumption. If she had moved west as a black woman, she wouldn't have had many more options. She could have been a servant or a prostitute, but she wouldn't have made a very pretty prostitute. "She was guaranteed a job in the army (as a man)," Caplan says. "There are no records of her being involved in any encounters. Fort Bayard was a gateway to the West. The soldiers were there to keep peace for the Americans and to assist people coming west. She wasn't involved with Indians at all." Many black soldiers served at Fort Bayard, which was established to counter the threat posed by the Apaches to mining and settlement activities. Williams was hospitalized five times (four times, according to army records, and a fifth time, according to Williams herself) during her military career and was discharged Oct. 14, 1868, at Fort Bayard on a surgeon's certificate of disability. The discharge papers say she was "feeble both physically and mentally" and "quite unfit for duty." Williams said in an interview published in 1876 in The St. Louis Daily Times that the post surgeon had discovered she was a woman and she was discharged. Williams also said that after she was discharged she went to Pueblo where she made her living cooking and washing. She married in Pueblo, "but my husband was no account. He stole my watch and chain, a hundred dollars in money and my team of horses and wagon. I had him arrested and put in jail, and then I came here (St. Louis)." She said she expected to get rich in St. Louis, and to take land near the railroad depot once her land warrant came through. "I shall never live in the states again. You see I've got a good sewing machine and I get washing to do and clothes to make. I want to get along and not be a burden to my friends or relatives." But Williams moved to Trinidad and apparently fell on hard times. She'd been hospitalized for about a year when, in January 1890, The Pueblo Daily Chieftain noted she was "lying very sick at her shanty on West First Street and is in destitute circumstances, having been for several days without fire or food." This information was taken from the Trinidad Advertiser, which wrote that Williams was well-known to most Trinidad residents, especially the older ones. "Kate (as she was called) is very masculine in appearance and when she first came to Trinidad passed as a male and went by the name of James Cady." In 1891 in Trinidad, Williams filed for a pension based on her military service, and the physician who examined her found that she was in good general health but her toes were missing. She was denied a pension - it was acknowledged that she had served in the army as William Cathey but determined that she had no disability or at least none that was Army-related, Caplan notes. Williams returned to Pueblo, Caplan says, and worked as a dressmaker at White & Davis in 1909 and 1910 and lived on East Abriendo Avenue. "She says she was married, but I can't find a wedding certificate," Caplan says. And she hasn't been able to find a date of death for either Cathay Williams or Martha Williams. "I've checked diligently in Pueblo, Trinidad and Raton but the records in the 19-teens weren't very well kept." Caplan is a graduate student at the University of New Mexico and is working on a doctoral dissertation about internationally known American Indian photographer Lee Marmon, who lives at Laguna. She's writing an article about Williams that she hopes to have published in an academic journal.
Pueblo Chieftain 9-22-2009 Margaret Arceneaux - Margaret Arceneaux passed away Sept. 16, 2009. Survived by her children, Rose Rice, Edward (Jorene) Arceneaux, Paul (Cathy) Arceneaux and Anthony A. (Alice) Arceneaux; numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren; sisters, Maria Romero, Justa Mendoza; and brother, Julian Mendoza. Margaret worked for the Lincoln Home Orphanage and later as a dietary technician at St. Mary-Corwin Hospital for 25 years. She enjoyed quilting and gardening. Funeral service, 11 a.m. Wednesday, Imperial Funeral Home Chapel, with interment at Imperial Memorial Gardens. Arrangements by Imperial Funeral Home.
Brookins, Mary Ann Burdge Funeral Home Records, Glenwood Springs, Colorado Brookins, Mary Ann. (book 4, page 223), Oct. 25, 1938. Residence: Glenwood Springs. Charged to Olie Thorson, Glenwood Springs. Order given by Jones Mortuary, Pueblo. Born: Jan. 1853. Age 95 years, 10 Months, 21 days. Funeral: Oct. 29, 10 AM, at Chapel, with Rev. Richards. Death at Lincoln Home for the Blind, Pueblo, Colorado. Attending physician: R. K. Redd, Pueblo, Co. Interred at Rosebud Cemetery, Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Paid by Cashiers check, Kansas City, Missouri.
Pueblo Chieftain 3-1-2002 Local DAR Chapter Celebrates 100th Year The Arkansas Valley Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will celebrate its 100th anniversary Saturday at the Pueblo County Club. The roll call of women who gathered in 1900 to start what became Chapter 581 of the DAR reads like a who's who of historic Pueblo families: Edith Baxter McClain, Martha Noble, Edna Baxter, Clara, Ella and Kate Duke and Margaret and Lillian Thatcher. The chapter received its charter in 1902. "The ladies were gathering here during a great boom period," said Donna Bottini, the regent of the Arkansas Valley Chapter. "They were from the East and some of them belonged to the DAR on the East Coast. "To belong to the DAR, you have to be able to trace your family to an ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War. That was the common thread among the Pueblo women." Bottini said the events sponsored by the organization received several write-ups in The Pueblo Chieftain. "They put on plays to raise money to help support orphanages in town such as McClelland and Lincoln," she said
From Ninth Biennial Report of the State Board of Charities and Corrections For the Biennial Period Ending November 30, 1908, by Colorado State Board of Charities and Corrections, published by The Smith-Brooks Printing Co., State Printers, Denver, Colorado, 1909:
List of hospitals, private, semi-private and charitable orphanages, relief societies, charity organizations, neighborhood house, etc., etc.
Hospitals, etc., Pueblo County:
Colored Orphanage and Old People's Home, Pueblo
Brief statement of the various private institutions throughout the State which have filed a report with this board.
Pueblo Colored Orphanage and Old Folks' Home, 306 East First Street, Pueblo, Colorado
Lucile A. Hargrove, Superintendent
Susie Starkey, Matron
Rev. J. C. C. Owens, President
Mrs. Edith B. Settles, Secretary
Dr. S. P. Douglas, Treasurer
Number of persons cared for during year was forty-two. Of these, seven were free and eleven partly paying.
|Bland, Juanita||inmate||f||b||1y 10m||s||Colorado||Texas||Texas|
|Hargrove, Charlotte||foster dau||f||b||15||s||Colorado||Kentucky||Kentucky|
|Hargrove, Ellen E.||foster dau||f||b||17||s||Colorado||Kentucky||Kentucky|
|Hargrove, Lucille A.||Superintendent||f||b||42||wid||Missouri||Virginia||Kentucky|
|Jones, Amanda||inmate||f||b||53||wd 6/3||Georgia||Georgia||Georgia|
|Skiler, Mattie||inmate||f||b||63||wd 4/2||Kentucky||US||US|
|Mumford, John W.||Inmate||M||Mulatto||77||TN||SC||NC|
|Romar?, Floyd B.||Inmate||M||Mulatto||10||CO||Unk||Unk|
|Watson, Mary F.||Cook||F||Black||50||TN||TN||VA|
|Bunch, James G.||Inmate||M||Neg||9||S||Colorado||Kansas||Kansas|
|Bunch, William J.||Inmate||M||Neg||11||S||Colorado||Kansas||Kansas|
|Bunch, Mahlon D.||Inmate||M||Neg||3||S||Colorado||Kansas||Kansas|
|Bunch, Eugene H.||Inmate||M||Neg||5||S||Colorado||Kansas||Kansas|
|Bunch, Esther E.||Inmate||F||Neg||12||S||Colorado||Kansas||Kansas|
|Crout, Corrie L.||Inmate||F||Neg||7||S||Colorado||US||Colorado|
|Dixon, Clarence Jr.||Inmate||M||Neg||8||S||Colorado||Oklahoma||Oklahoma|
|McCallister, William M.||Inmate||M||Neg||57||M||21||Kentucky||US||US|
|McLeal, Rebecca||Asst. Head||F||Neg||24||M||17||Texas||Louisiana||Texas|
|Stemmer, Althea E.||Inmate||F||Neg||11||S||Colorado||Colorado||Oklahoma|