Pueblo County, Colorado
Pathbreakers and Pioneers

Contributed by Karen Mitchell.

Pathbreakers and Pioneers of the Pueblo Region
A History of Pueblo from the Earliest Times
The Franklin Press Company
Copyright. 1917.


To have been permitted to write the story of the evolution of the Pueblo region from a barren expanse of prairie, teeming with bison and red men, to a magnificent district containing the metropolis of the southern Rocky Mountain region, is a rare privilege indeed.

For the past year the writer has trapped with Kit Carson, explored the head waters of the Arkansas with Fremont, fought Indians with Chivington, and engaged in city building with Pueblo pioneers. During this time many long forgotton trails have been rediscovered and new ones have been blazed. The weariness and discomfort of the trail have been more than compensated for by the pleasing companionship with those who travel thereon.

But after all, this was pioneering by proxy; it was smelling the rose without feeling its thorns. The real pathbreaker and pioneer, however, well knew the difficulties which infested the trail — of the thorns which lay hidden among the flowers, yet, knowing of these things, was undaunted by them. Inured to hardships and privations, he and his good wife boldly faced the grave problem of home-making in this western land with a bravery and strength of purpose unequaled in the annals of frontier development.

Much that might have been written about the development of the Pueblo region, and the men instrumental in its development, has been omitted in the interests of a greater condensation. It is hoped, however, that the story is sufficiently complete to serve as a guide to him who would familiarize himself with the early history of the Pueblo region, as well as with those influences which have brought about the evolution of the city of Pueblo.

In that part of the work relating to the growth of Pueblo proper, i. e., chapters four and five, the writer has made no attempt to show the influence of individual pioneers upon the development of the town ; these chapters are rather a chronology of what transpired than an attempt to give credit to individuals who were instrumental in the making of Pueblo.

It is a pleasant duty to acknowledge the assistance and co-operation of those who have so kindly aided in the preparation of this work. The writer is especially grateful to the following persons and organizations:

Judge Wilbur F. Stone, ex-Governor Alva Adams, Stephen S. Smith, Eugene Weston, Col. I. W. Stanton, Col. M. H. Fitch, Supt. J. F. Keating, The Southern Colorado Pioneers' Association, The Pueblo Commerce Club, and The Pueblo Chieftain.

M. L. W.
Pueblo, Colo.,
January 15, 1917.

Chapter I At the Branching of the Trail
Chapter II Trappers and Traders of the Valley Region
Chapter III The City on the Boiling Fountain
Chapter IV The Battle With the Wilderness
Chapter V The Battle Won
Chapter VI Indian Adventures in Valley and Plain
Chapter VII The Romance of Railroads
Chapter VIII Industrial Pueblo
Chapter IX Public Education in Pueblo
Chapter X Around the Camp-Fire

Were it possible to turn back the wheels of time a brief space of sixty years the view presented to us by the upper Arkansas would be strange indeed. Where now rumbles the locomotive there would be seen the wagon train wending its weary way westward to some point in Colorado or New Mexico or even to far away California. Where now chugs the automobile upon a graveled road, then the buffalo and antelope had their paths or the Indian his trail. Instead of groves and green fields there would be presented to the eye of the traveler an endless expanse of prairie, broken only by bluffs and arroyos. Here in this garden spot of the West the Indian and the bison were in undisputed control with only the appearance of an occasional trapper or freighter to remind both that their reign in this vast western empire was about to be contested.

It was in this valley that many of the stirring events which came to typify western life, were enacted. It would be impossible to go back to the time when the Arkansas valley was not used as a trail. The first introduction to this locality occurred probably in the 16th century at which time the Spaniards made intermittent attempts to secure a foothold in this region.

It was not until the year 1740, however, that they succeeded in establishing anything of a permanent nature in the Arkansas valley. During the years 1740-1750 they maintained a trading post on the Huerfano river, not far from its mouth. Ruins of houses, remains of irrigation ditches, both of Spanish origin, have been found for a distance of thirty or forty miles below Pueblo. This seems to indicate that the Spaniards had made serious attempts to settle this region. It is extremely unlikely, however, that any permanent settlement could have been maintained here at this early date, owing to the exposed condition of this region to marauding bands of Indians.

The French became a source of much trouble to the Spaniards in their attempts to control the Arkansas valley. Upon at least two occasions Spanish expeditions were sent out from New Mexico into this region to drive out these French invaders.

In the year 1714, it was reported to the Spanish authorities in New Mexico that French settlers from the region of the Mississippi had traversed the Arkansas, or Napesta, as it was then called, to its source. Fearing that attempts would be made by the French to secure a foothold in this region an expedition of one hundred five Spaniards with thirty warriors of one of the Pueblo tribes, set forth from Santa Fe to punish these invaders. From a description of their route, it is probable that this expedition entered the Arkansas valley by way of the Sangre de Cristo Pass. This being the case the expedition very likely passed over the present site of Pueblo. They continued their journey as far north as the present site of Colorado Springs and may have crossed the divide into the valley of the Platte. Although the Spaniards came into contact with some Apache Indians who bore fresh gunshot wounds inflicted by the French, no other trace of them could be found.

Again in the year of 1720 a military force of about two hundred men accompanied by 1,200 or 1,300 colonists set out for the north. Although their destination has always been in doubt, they probably followed the same route taken by the former expedition as far as the Arkansas. Turning east their course led down the river where they were led into a trap by the Indians, the entire body of soldiers and colonists being massacred, a priest alone, by the name of Father Juan Pino, being allowed to live.

After this disaster no further attempt was made by the Spaniards to keep the French out of this region. The French continued their activities in the Arkansas valley until their final downfall in America, which occurred in the year 1763.

According to General Amos Stoddard, who represented the Government of the United States in the transfer of the northern part of the Louisiana Purchase to this country, and who, some years later, wrote a book entitled "Sketches of Louisiana," some French traders came up the Arkansas with a quantity of merchandise and erected a trading post not far from the base of the Rockies. This occurred before the year 1762. The Spaniards deeming this an invasion of their territory, arrested these traders, seized their goods and demanded the punishment of the adventurers. The prisoners were eventually liberated and their goods restored on the grounds that the trading post in question was within the boundaries of Louisiana. A further description of this French trading post indicates that it was located on the present site of Pueblo, on the east bank of the Fountain river.

If the assumption is true as to the location of this French trading post, Pueblo becomes the location of the first building of permanent nature, not only in Colorado, but also in the entire Rocky Mountain region north of the Spanish settlements in New Mexico.

Although the Spanish inhabited this region for several decades and the French explored it during their supremacy on this continent, yet neither of these nations left any mark of their presence in the way of mission or trading post or settlement of any kind. With the transfer of this region north of the Arkansas to the hands of the Spanish in 1762, the French abandoned the Arkansas valley entirely and the Spanish seem to have done nothing in the way of exploring it during the thirty-eight years in which its legal title rested in that nation.

In the year 1803, in a manner unprecedented in American history, that almost limitless region lying between the Mississippi and the crest of the Rockies, and north of the Arkansas fell into the hands of the United States. Scarcely had the vast domain come into our possession than plans were made for sending a government expedition into the interior, for purposes of exploration. In 1804 Lewis and Clark, both of the army, were sent into the Northwest and two years later Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike was sent up the Arkansas.

This expedition of Pike's, which was to give the nation the first semi-authentic report of the southern part of our new acquisition, left St. Louis on July 11, 1806. His little command consisting of twenty-three men, departed with apparently no intention of remaining away until the opening of winter, as their clothing was wholly inadequate for extended exposure to cold weather; but scant preparation had been made for an extended journey, even in warm weather. Neither had the leader of the party provided himself with such geographical data as an explorer could easily have obtained concerning the region to be explored. But, in spite of this, as well as of Pike's inability to chart his own route with any degree of accuracy, the report of the expedition, inadequate though it was, gave to the nation its first real knowledge of the Arkansas valley.

We are interested for the present only in that part of Pike's expedition which took him through the Pueblo region. When this little band entered the upper Arkansas valley there was not a human habitation throughout its entire extent and he encountered no human being in this region except the Indian. True he came upon traces of Spaniards, but they had been sent into the valley for the purpose of preventing Pike from exploring this region. It should be remembered that at this time, Spain and the United States were at the point of war with each other, hence Pike was obliged to move with the utmost caution to prevent falling into the hands of the military expedition which had been sent out to apprehend him. In fact he did finally wander into Spanish territory and permit himself to be captured by the Spanish authorities.

Pike crossed what was for the first time designated as "The Great American Desert," and entered Colorado by what was later known as the Santa Fe trail. He describes his first view of the Rocky Mountains as follows : "About two o'clock in the afternoon I thought I could distinguish a mountain to our right which appeared like a small blue cloud; viewed it with a spyglass and was still more confirmed in my conjecture, yet only communicated it to Dr. Robinson, who was in front of me, but in half an hour they appeared in full view before us. When our party arrived on the hill, they, with one accord, gave three cheers for the Mexican Mountains."

Thus did Pike, for the first time, look upon that massive mountain which was ever afterwards to be the monument commemorating to succeeding generations the heroism of this courageous man and his band of faithful followers who struggled, half clad, through snow and ice as they explored the head-waters of the Arkansas.

On November the 21st Pike and his party entered the present boundaries of Pueblo County, and camped a short distance below the mouth of the Huerfano river. At this point he discovered the camp of a body of Spanish troops and also the tracks of two men who had ascended the river the day before. This discovery caused him to take every precaution to prevent being surprised and captured.

Pike's introduction to Pueblo County was anything but pleasant. In the vicinity of Avondale he encountered a band of Pawnee Indians. The adventure is described in Pike's own words : "November 22. Marched at our usual hour and with rather more caution than usual. After having marched about five miles on the prairie, we descended into the bottoms, when Barony cried out: 'Voila un Savage! We observed a number running from the woods toward us; we advanced to them, and on turning my head to the left, I observed several running on the hill as it were to surround us, one with a stand of colors. This caused a momentary halt; but perceiving those in front reaching out their hands, without arms, we again advanced; they met us with open arms, crowding around us to touch and embrace us. They appeared so anxious I dismounted from my horse; in a moment a fellow had mounted him and was off. I then observed that Baroney and the doctor were in the same predicament. After some time tranquility was so far restored, they having returned our horses all safe, as to make us learn they were a war party from the Grand Pawnees, who had been in search of the Tetans (Comanches); but not finding them were now on their return. An unsuccessful war party on their way home are always ready to embrace an opportunity of gratifying their disappointed vengeance on the first person whom they met."

There were about sixty warriors in all, some with fire arms and the remainder with bows and arrows. A circle was arranged and the pipe was brought forth. Pike ordered presents distributed, consisting of knives, fire-steels and flints. The Indians demanded kettles, blankets and ammunition but were refused by Pike. It was some time before the Indians consented to smoke the peace-pipe, but according to Pike the party was "presented with a kettle of water and drank, smoked and ate together." The presents were distributed but some of the Indians contemptuously threw them away. The little band was soon encircled by the Indians who began stealing their tomahawks, blankets and other articles of value. When the chief was appealed to his only reply was that "they were pitiful." Becoming desperate, Pike ordered his men to place themselves in position to give battle and at the same time informed the Indians that he would kill the first one that touched his baggage, whereupon the savages filed away, having stolen a tomahawk, a broad-axe, five canteens and sundry other smaller articles.

On November 23, 1806, the expedition arrived at the present site of Pueblo. The complete entry in Pike's diary for this day is as follows: "Marched at 10 o'clock; at one o'clock came to the third fork, (St. Charles) on the south side and encamped at night at the point of the grand forks, (confluence of Fountain with the Arkansas). As the river appeared to be dividing itself into many small branches, and of course must be nearing its extreme source, I concluded to put the party in a defensible situation and ascend the north fork, (Fountain river), to the high point of the blue mountain, (Pike's Peak), which we conceived would be one day's march; in order to be enabled, from its pinacle to lay down the various branches and positions of the country. Killed five buffalo."

The next morning, November 24th, very early in the morning, Pike caused fourteen logs to be cut and with them erected a breastwork five feet high on three sides and the other thrown against the river. The fact is worthy of our attention that this crude breastwork here on the banks of the Arkansas was the first habitation in the present limits of Colorado to be erected and occupied by Americans. No trace of this temporary fort has ever been found, but since it was so near the bank of the river it is quite probable that the floods of summer washed away the logs and obliterated all other evidences of it.

Pike left a part of his command at the fort and with two or three others took a little side trip up the Fountain river with the intention of scaling Pike's Peak. In true tenderfoot style he departed at one o'clock in the afternoon intending to camp near the base of the peak that evening. Much to his surprise, after marching all afternoon and the entire day following, was he able to camp only at the base of what he supposed was the great peak. But again he was deceived for, after he had spent two days more struggling up the mountain side through snow waist deep, and going without food or baggage during this entire time, he found to his chagrin that he had reached the summit, not of the great peak, but of a smaller one, probably Cheyenne mountain, and that the summit of Pike's Peak appeared some fifteen or sixteen miles away. Pike declared that, "It was as high again as what he had ascended and it would have taken a whole day's march to arrive at its base, when I believe that no human being could ascend to its pinnacle. This, with the condition of my soldiers, who had light overalls on and no stockings, and were in every way ill provided to endure the inclemency of the region, determined us to return." The party arrived back at the camp on the Arkansas on the afternoon of November 29, and the next day abandoned the breastwork, the entire force moving up the Arkansas in the midst of a severe snow storm.

Following Pike's expedition very little is known of the Arkansas valley for nearly twenty years when Jacob Fowler made his famous journey to the present site of Pueblo, an account of which will appear in the next chapter.

Following the report of Pike's expedition the attention of traders was drawn to the Arkansas valley as a possible route to Taos and Santa Fe. In 1812 a party of traders composed of twelve men under the leadership of Robert McKnight, James Baird and Samuel Chambers, set out for Santa Fe by way of the Arkansas valley and the Sangre de Cristo pass. Again in the year 1815 August Chouteau and Julius De Munn traversed the Arkansas river route to the Spanish settlements by way of Taos. Chouteau established a camp at the mouth of the Huerfano river near the present town of Boone. His party spent the entire winter hunting and trapping on the head waters of the Arkansas. After accumulating a large quantity of furs and just on the eve of Chouteau's departure for St. Louis, the entire party was arrested and taken to Santa Fe.

William Becknell conducted the first successful expedition to Santa Fe over what became the Santa Fe trail, and to him belongs the honor of being called the father of this most famous of western highways. Becknell left the Missouri river with a company of some seventy men for the purpose of "trading for horses and mules and catching wild animals of every description." His route was up the Arkansas to the present site of Pueblo and crossing the river near the present Santa Fe Avenue the trail extended south and west past the present location of Lake Minnequa in the southern edge of the city, and thence in the direction of the Greenhorn range. Crossing the range at the Sangre de Cristo pass the trail entered the Rio Grande valley and led from thence to Taos and Santa Fe.

It is usually stated in sketches of the Pueblo region, that Stephen A. Long visited the present site of Pueblo in the year 1819. In fact Long himself believed that he was at the point where Pike had erected his log fort several years before, but a careful reading of Long's diary is conclusive proof that, while he believed that he was descending the Fountain river, he was in fact descended Turkey creek and was many miles from the present site of Pueblo.

About the year 1823 John McKnight ascended the Arkansas and erected a small trading post near the present site of Pueblo. The most that is known of McKnight is that a short time after his trading post was erected he was found dead near it, having been slain by a band of Comanche Indians. The Bent brothers, Charles, William, Robert and George, of St. Louis were the first to make a serious attempt to establish themselves permanently for trade in the Arkansas valley. Others had traversed this region, hoping to reap financial reward by a brief sojourn here but Bent brothers were the first to see the advantages of the Arkansas valley for purposes of trade. Their keenness of discernment forsook them, however, when it came to selecting the exact location for a trading post. In 1826 they built a trading post on Adobe creek in the Hardscrabble region, a few miles above Pueblo. Ceran St. Vrain, a young man of French parentage, was associated with them in this enterprise. Finding that they had gone too far west to be in the main line of travel, they abandoned their fort in 1828 and established themselves near the mouth of the Las Animas river. Again they made the mistake of passing by the mouth of the Fountain river which, as subsequent events proved, was the only logical location for a trading post.

In 1830 a French trader by the name of Maurice Le Doux, erected a trading post above Pueblo, near the one abandoned by Bent brothers two years before. Le Doux was soon surrounded by a group of Mexicans who engaged in farming on the Hardscrabble. Two years later two fur traders, Blackwell and Gantt entered this region and erected a trading post about six miles below the present site of Pueblo on the north bank of the Arkansas. How long they remained at this place is not known, but the location of their trading post is made certain by means of an old government map.

About this time a few Mexicans settled on the Greenhorn and Huerfano rivers, but did not seem to prosper in their farming efforts and soon disappeared. Bent brothers returned to a point near their former post on Adobe creek in 1840, but abandoned it in 1846.

By the year 1840 the trails of southern Colorado had become well established. As has already been pointed out, the main trail which connected this region with the Mississippi and Missouri river regions, entered the present boundaries of Colorado, by way of the Arkansas valley, proceeded directly to the mouth of the Fountain and from thence extended southwest to Taos and later to Santa Fe, by way of the Sangre de Cristo pass and the Rio Grande valley. One important branch of this trail extended up the Arkansas to the present site of Canon City where it turned northward and entered South Park. Another branch of even more importance extended north from the present site of Pueblo up the Fountain river, crossing the divide into the region of the Platte river.

This branching of the trail in three directions at the mouth of the Fountain, making easy communication with all parts of the Rocky Mountain region, is of special significance in studying the causes underlying the later development of Pueblo. The courses of these trails were in general the same as the courses of the railroads in later years.

Although the Santa Fe trail originally passed through the present site of Pueblo, as the trade with Santa Fe assumed larger proportions a more direct route was demanded. At this time a cut-off was established up the valley of the Las Animas river from Bent's fort and across the mountains by way of Raton Pass. Another branch was also established, leaving the main trail at Fort Larned, Kas., and traversing the valley of the Cimmaron river.

Just when and under what circumstances the old Pueblo fort was established is and perhaps always will be shrouded in mystery. The most reliable records indicate that it was established in 1840 by George Simpson and two associates, Barclay and Doyle, although the notorious James Beckwourth, whose veracity is as doubtful as his parentage, claims to have established it himself in the year 1842. Some writers have confused Fort Pueblo with Fort El Puebla, situated five miles west of Bent's Fort. The annals of this last named fort are brief, indeed. It belonged to a company of American and Mexican trappers, who, wearied with the dull routine life of Bent's Fort had withdrawn and established Fort El Puebla. These men were engaged in raising grain, vegetables, horses and mules for the various trading posts of the Arkansas valley. The description of this trading post and its inhabitants sounds strangely similar to that of Fort Pueblo proper — indeed, so much resemblance exists that it seems a fair assumption that the inhabitants of Fort El Puebla being located too close to Bent's Fort were obliged to change their location and at the close of the year 1839 or early in 1840 abandoned the site near Bent's Fort in favor of the more promising one at the mouth of the Fountain.

Fort Pueblo was located on the west side of what is now Union Avenue a short distance south of the Santa Fe depot. For many years after Pueblo had developed into a city, the foundation of the old fort was plainly visible. The fort was inhabited by a more or less roving group of trappers, consisting of both Americans and Mexicans. A description of this historic building has been passed down to us by one who saw it. Ruxton, a trader and trapper, who passed through here in 1847, gives the following description of it: "It was a small square fort of adobe with circular bastions at the corners, no part of the walls being more than eight feet high, and around the inside of the yard or corral are built some half dozen little rooms inhabited by as many Indian traders and mountain men. They live entirely upon game, and the greater part of the year without even bread, since but little maize is cultivated. As soon as their supply of meat is exhausted, they start to the mountains with two or three pack animals and bring them back in two or three days loaded with buffalo and venison. In the immediate vicinity of the fort game is scarce, but is found in the mountain valleys, particularly in the Bayou Salado," (South Park).

Fitzpatrick, United States Indian agent, located at Bent's Fort, gives the following description of "the Pueblo": "About seventy-five miles above this place and immediately on the Arkansas river, there is a small settlement the principal part of which is composed of old trappers and hunters; the male part of it are mostly Americans, Missouri French, Canadians and Mexicans. They have a tolerable supply of cattle, horses, mules, etc., and I am informed that they raised a good crop of wheat, corn, beans, pumpkins and other vegetables. They number about one hundred fifty souls, and of this number about sixty are men, nearly all have wives and some have two. The American women are Mormons, a party of Mormons having wintered there, and on their departure for California, left behind them two families. These people are living in two separate establishments near each other, one called Pueblo and the other Hardscrabble. Both villages are fortified by a wall twelve feet high, composed of adobe. These villages are becoming the resort of all idlers and loafers. They are becoming the depots for the smuggling of liquors from New Mexico into this country."

Fremont visited the Pueblo settlement in July, 1843, and again in 1848. He described it as a "pueblo," composed of "mountaineers who have married Spanish women in the Valley of the Taos." In the summer of 1846 Francis Parkman and Quincy Adams Shaw visited Pueblo and gave a somewhat lengthy description of the place.

The population of the little village rose and fell during succeeding years because of the uncertainties attending the lives of the inhabitants. On Christmas Day of the year 1854 the seventeen occupants were massacred by a band of Ute Indians. A full account of this massacre will be found in a succeeding chapter.

It is of interest to note in closing this chapter, that of all the attempts to establish trading posts in the upper Arkansas, by far the most of them were in the Pueblo region, and that those that were not at the confluence of the Fountain and the Arkansas, merely indicate an unconscious groping for the strategic spot; that spot, as subsequent history proves, was at the "branching of the trail."


The story of the Rocky Mountain trapper and his influence upon the destiny of this land beyond the Mississippi has never been written, nor has the debt, which the nation owes this brave man, ever been fully appreciated. It is true, as has been pointed out by other writers, that these western trappers were in many respects reduced almost to savagery and that "all the romance and most of the poetry (about these trappers) are the creation of highly imaginative people who know very little about them," but to dismiss the whole subject by characterizing them as a class of men who "built nothing, founded nothing, and with the exception of a trading post here and there, left no trace of anything that could lead to the betterment of mankind," and that they were "marauders, bent only upon pillage," is to fail utterly to comprehend or to appreciate the character of these trappers or their profound influence upon the development of our western frontier.

These men would surely fail to measure up to our standard of morals or to meet our present day requirements in etiquette. They would make a mean appearance in our social circles of today, but in the fundamentals of character — in loyalty, in faithfulness to friend, in honesty of heart — these men as a class were not wanting. Robbery or theft were of rare occurrence; very seldom would they rob even an avowed enemy. Willful murder was very unusual and occurred usually as the result of their drunken debauches which took place whenever liquor was smuggled in from the states by representatives of the great fur companies. The fraternity of trappers possessed a code of morals which was straightforward and simple. The person who violated this code was summarily dealt with.

It was the trapper and the trader who were the real discoverers of the great West, yet posterity has erected no monuments to their memory. It was the trapper and not the government official who knew the geography of the West and to whom appeal had to be made when boundary lines were in dispute, yet he was never pensioned or his services in any other way recognized. It was the trapper and hunter who had well- nigh taken possession of this western empire before the nation had gained a title to it, and a part of which was in possession of Mexico, and the remainder in the disputed possession of Great Britain. It was the trapper who led the military expedition through the mountain passes to Santa Fe in 1846. When gold was discovered in California a continuous highway to that region had already been established, not by any government action but by the trapper. "Finally, the nation owes a debt of gratitude to those resolute pioneers (the trappers), who, single handed and alone, stood their ground against their British rivals between the Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains. Their valiant bearing prevented in a large degree those international complications which so often threatened the peace of the two nations along other portions of the frontier."

The beginning of western development is so intricately related to the fur trade as to make any discussion of the former impossible without a comprehensive review of this industry. In the early part of the nineteenth century practically every stream of any considerable size, from the Gulf to the Pacific, abounded in fur-bearing animals of many varieties, especially the beaver, and the woods and prairies were well peopled with mink, fox, deer and buffalo. There were three common methods of procuring furs. The first and by far the most fruitful source was from the Indians. The trader had only to resort to the Indian village, laden with such cheap trifles as would touch the fancy of the Indian. The red man usually placed a very small value upon his stock of furs and he could never understand why the trader was willing to part with wares of such value for articles of such trifling worth as beaver skins. The second means of obtaining the much-sought-after furs was by means of paid trappers and hunters. These men were employed at a fixed salary and their term of service was usually for a year or even longer in some cases. The third method consisted in purchasing the furs from what were known as free trappers and hunters, i. e., men who were not connected with any fur company but who came and went at will, disposing of the product of their efforts, either at a "rendezvous," or by taking them to St. Louis, the great fur market for the entire West.

The lives led by these trappers and hunters affected them in a very pronounced way. Their lives of solitude were broken only by an occasional meeting with one of their kind, and it was not unusual for a trapper to go for weeks without seeing a human being. For this reason he was gruff in demeanor and of few words. His life was in constant peril as he went about his daily tasks. He never knew at what moment he might be ambushed by some treacherous band of savages. His living depended upon his ability in pitting his wit against the keen instinct of the beaver, but his life depended upon his being able to outwit the wily savage. All this made of him a bold but silent man. His eye was keen, his nerve tense, his mind always alert to anything that betokened danger. Sometimes a savage would follow him for days or even weeks, awaiting an opportunity to ambush him. Although many a trapper lost his life at the hands of these savages, it more often occurred that the trapper was more than a match for his crafty enemy.

His life of physical hardship influenced his appearance in a marked degree. He was gaunt and brown, with matted hair, and skin as dark as the savage. His brow was deeply furrowed and his countenance bore evidence of the life of danger and exposure to which he was subjected. Largely through necessity, the trapper adopted the garb of the Indian. He soon found that the costume of civilization was useless in his rough life in the wilderness.

The presence of the Indian caused the fur industry to take on a character that it would never otherwise have assumed. Had it not been for the presence of these savages no permanent forts or posts would have been erected in the West, but all furs would have been collected and transported at once to the fur market. The enmity of the savage caused trappers to move in groups, thus establishing definite trails. To more effectively protect themselves against their enemies, the trappers were obliged to give a more careful and painstaking scrutiny to the country surrounding them. Thus it will be observed that the enmity existing between the trappers and the aborigines, while it resulted in the loss of many lives, was nevertheless a definite influence in the development of the West.

It was around the trading post that much of the so-called romance of early western life had its center. But as has already been intimated, the romance of the trappers life existed largely in the imagination of those who knew very little about him. The two most famous rendezvous of the Arkansas valley were Bent's old fort and Fort Pueblo. Here, at the close of the season, came hunters and trappers laden with skins and furs, the result of many months of arduous toil; to these places came the Indians also, with the results of their season's labor, while waiting to meet them was the trader with an adequate supply of currency and supplies for the white trappers and plenty of trinkets, consisting largely of beads and vermilion, for the Indians. A liberal supply of liquor was always on hand in spite of a prohibitory law against its importation into Indian territory. If we add to this assemblage another person who, although not a necessary part of the group, was nevertheless an important actor in the scene about to be described, our cast is complete. Remember that these trappers and hunters have been in seclusion for the greater part of a year and have been separated from such luxuries as gambling and liquor, also that they have in their possession from $1,000 to $5,000 in money or its equivalent; one can now see that an ordinary police reporter, and not a poet, would be required to describe the scene which would usually be enacted. After the furs had been sold and accounts settled, the gambling and drinking began and for a period of many days, in fact as long as money and liquor lasted, debauchery and drunkenness ensued. After the trapper had squandered all of his possessions he shouldered his pack and once more turned his face toward the hills for another year's work, having saved barely enough to purchase a small quantity of sugar, tobacco and a supply of powder and bullets. Often rifles, saddles, horses and even clothing were staked and the trapper returned to his work, in debt for the very outfit in his possession. Year after year these men returned penniless to the hills to earn a few more dollars by trapping a few more beaver, only to squander it all, sometimes in a few hours, but at best in a few days, at the trading post. Yet in what way did they differ from many other men of their time? Only that their "sprees" were more extravagant and prolonged because they occurred with less frequency, their pay day occurring yearly instead of weekly or monthly.

It should not be understood that all trappers indulged in such excesses as have just been described. While it is probably true that such was the general rule there were many notable exceptions. The annals of the hunters and trappers contain the names of many who were temperate in their habits, and who died leaving fortunes of considerable size which they had accumulated in their occupation.

An entire volume might easily be devoted to the stories of the lives of these hunters and trappers, and the adventures in which they were engaged. The foremost among these was the far-famed Kit Carson, trapper, hunter, Indian fighter, scout and, above all, a true western gentleman. Kit, as a lad of sixteen, had been bound out to a Missouri saddlemaker, but in the year 1826, as a party of traders was passing the home of his master, he decided to run away. Although but sixteen, his restless spirit impelled him to leave the humdrum of existence in the shop and seek a more exciting life in the West. Accordingly he joined the party of traders which was bound for Santa Fe. The following notice appeared in the Missouri Intelligencer immediately following the boy's disappearance:

"Notice: To whom it may concern: That Christopher Carson, a boy about sixteen years old, small of his age, but thick set, light hair, ran away from the subscriber, living at Franklin, Howard County, Mo., to whom he had been bound to learn the saddler's trade, on or about the first day of September last. He is sup- posed to have made his way to the upper part of the state. All persons are notified not to harbor, support or subsist said boy under penalty of the law. One cent reward will be given to any person who will bring back the said boy." (Signed) DAVID WORKMAN, “Franklin, Oct. 6, 1826."

This was the beginning of a long career in the West, for he never saw his home again and did not even return to his native state for sixteen years. With the restless energy of his young manhood he traversed every section of the great West; we see him now hunting in New Mexico; again we get a glimpse of him trapping in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado; he is next heard of in California with Captain Ewing and a party of American trappers, operating on Spanish soil without a license, barely saving the trappers from arrest by his prompt action in getting them under way and out of the forbidden territory before the authorities could apprehend them. Soon after this adventure we hear of him in the employ of the newly organized Rocky Mountain Fur Company, a deadly rival of that better known organization, The American Fur Company.

Carson engaged himself to this new company, not as a hired trapper, but by merely agreeing to sell his furs to it. His party left Taos in the fall of 1830 and passed over the usual trail of the trapper to Bent's Fort, and from there up the Arkansas to the Fountain, and from thence north to the Ute pass. The party very likely passed through this vicinity by easy stages, trapping as they went, as beaver abounded both in the Fountain and the Arkansas at that time. Again we hear of this intrepid trapper, at the age of twenty-one, in the great Northwest, trapping on the Snake river in the region occupied by the dreaded Blackfeet Indians. Once more, unable to curb his restless spirit, he severed his connection with the Rocky Mountain Fur Company and joined a party bound for Taos. They pushed directly south from the Laramie plains to South Park, over one of the most rugged regions of the entire range, and entered the Arkansas valley at the present site of Canon City. Passing down the river the party went into winter quarters not far from the present site of Pueblo. It was at this place that an adventure with the Crow Indians took place, an account of which appears in Chapter VI.

In 1842 he engaged as guide to Fremont, upon the latter's first expedition into this western region. Again in the following year he met Fremont at the old Pueblo fort, at which time he rendered an important service to the noted explorer. Fremont had started south from Fort St. Vrain, his destination being Taos and his purpose being to purchase horses and mules for his expedition. Upon his arrival at Pueblo, Fremont found that all trade with New Mexico had been forbidden. Fortunately he met Kit Carson at this place and prevailed on him to go to Bent's Fort and endeavor to procure the needed animals for him. Carson rendered the service requested of him by Fremont, meeting the explorer at St. Vrain's fort with the horses and mules which he had succeeded in procuring at Bent's fort.

In 1846 we find Carson once more in the far west; this time he is a member of that famous military force under Fremont, taking part in that important expedition which made California a part of America.

Once, as Kit Carson was traveling the Taos trail, an incident occurred which illustrates not only the alertness of this famous hunter, but also indicates, in a measure, his mercy to his enemies: Carson and four associates were taking a number of horses from Santa Fe to Taos and had just entered the Kiowa country, when several warriors of that tribe rode into their camp. Carson had been away from that vicinity so long that the younger generation of savages did not recognize him, or it is highly improbable that they would have hazarded an attack of the kind which they had planned. Carson, understanding their language, soon learned that they intended to fall suddenly upon the party and murder them; the signal for the attack was to be the passing of the peace-pipe for the third time. Carson immediately apprised the other members of his party of the murderous intentions of the Indians and instructed each one to be ready to shoot the moment he gave the signal.

The circle was formed and the peace-pipe was passed according to the usual custom; just as it was started for the third time around the circle the Indians suddenly threw off their blankets and brandished their weapons, but Carson and his men were too quick for them for, as the Indians sprang to their feet, they found themselves facing the rifles of those whom they had planned to kill. Carson addressed them in the following words: "You red dogs! You thought you could murder us; do you know who I am? I am Kit Carson! Take a good look at me before you die." The Indians dropped their bows in astonishment. "Go," said Carson to them as they slunk away, "go and tell your cowardly tribe that you have looked upon Kit Carson and he let you live. Take your bows and arrows with you, for you might have to protect yourselves against the rabbits on your way home."

Kit Carson's long and eventful life came to an end at Fort Lyon, near Las Animas, Colorado, in 1868. Scarcely an event occurred from 1830 to the time of his death, the influence of which made for the development of this western region, that did not bear the imprint of his hand. As guide to government expedition, as soldier in the Mexican and Civil wars, as Indian agent and as pathfinder and scout in the trackless West, his service to his country was of the highest order. We record with pride the fact that Pueblo and vicinity was the scene of some of the most interesting and thrilling experiences of this illustrious man.

One of the most picturesque of these western trappers was Jacob Fowler, to whom reference has already been made. An account of his journey up the Arkansas is given here, not because of any vital influence exerted by him upon the region which he traversed, but because the record of this expedition gives us one of the earliest, as well as one of the most accurate views of the Pueblo region.

Jacob Fowler and a company of trappers, of whom Colonel Glenn was the leader, set out from Fort Smith, Arkansas, "thorsday, 6th September, 1821," according to the diary kept by Fowler. His was the first party to traverse the Arkansas river from that point to the Pueblo region, and was among the first to traverse the trail from Pueblo to Taos by way of the Sangre de Cristo pass.

Fowler kept a very careful diary in which he recorded the daily events of the expedition. His spelling and punctuation are a wonder to behold — totally unlike anything on the earth or in the sky or in the waters under the earth, so far as is known. Bits of this diary will be inserted from time to time as the account of this interesting journey is presented.

This party had no sooner entered the Colorado region than a serious accident befell them, which resulted in the loss of one of their members. It was while passing a point near the mouth of the Purgatoire river that one of their men was attacked by a bear, and, before assistance could be rendered, was so badly injured that he died. The unfortunate man was buried on the banks of the Arkansas, near the place where he met his death.

The remainder of the party continued up the valley and camped near the mouth of the Huerfano river. Here they were joined by a large band of Kiowa Indians, from whom Fowler endeavored to procure some additional horses. At this point of his diary appears the very improbable statement that these Kiowas, together with a band of Arapahoes, who had joined them here, had in their possession about 20,000 horses. Although these Kiowas were almost destitute of anything else, the trappers experienced the greatest difficulty in persuading them to part with a few of their horses.

On reaching the mouth of the St. Charles, about seven miles below Pueblo, the party came upon a band of about sixty Spaniards, who had come into this region to trade with the Indians. Fowler tried to purchase some corn from them, but found the price, ten dollars a bushel, prohibitive.

The following interesting paragraph from the diary gives a glimpse of an interesting New Year's incident of the camp :

"Jan. 1, 1822. this being a holaday With our nibours We lay by all day — Haveing about two pounds of bacon Which I Head kept as a Reserve I Here Shewed it to the Indeans — the Cheaf asked What kind of anemel maid that meat When He was told a Hog He Requested the shape of it to be maid on the Sand When that was (done) all the Indeans said the(y) Head never seen Such an animal and appeared to Wonder and think it Strange that the(y) Head never Seen the like soposing them Selves to Have seen all kinds of Anemels — "

Fowler observed that the location of his camp here on the St. Charles was somewhat dangerous, as they were in the heart of the Indian country and directly in the path of war parties against other tribes, as well as against the Spaniards, with whom the Indians seemed to be at war. In order to more effectually defend themselves against the depredations of these war parties, they erected at the mouth of the St. Charles, a "hors pen" and "a Hous with two pens four logs High — Which maid part of the Horse pen Which Was so Strong that a few Indeans cold not take the Horses out With out Choping Some of the logs." Fearing that some attempt might be made by the Spanish authorities to take them prisoners, Fowler decided, after making a thorough reconnoisance of the surrounding country, to remove his camp to a more defensible location. He selected a site at the mouth of the Fountain river, not far from the spot where the old brewery building now stands. The camp had no sooner been removed to this place than a war party of Crows passing by, stopped, and under the guise of friendship, began stealing anything they could lay hands upon. Their experience was similar to that of Pike's party a few years before. Fowler showed a more militant spirit, however, than Pike did under similar circumstances, for we read, "on fellow came into my tent threw down his old Roab and took a new one — I took it from him and toled him to take his own — and on his takeing it he took my Saddle Bagg al so — I took it from Him and Pushed him out of the Tent." One fellow, coming back, "Presented his gun at Simpson — on which We were All ready for Battle In an Instent". The Indians made no further attempt to intimidate the party, and soon filed away, but not without stealing a few small articles, such as blankets, knives and shot-pouches.

Immediately after this episode the trappers began erecting a house. This house contained three rooms, with but one outside door, and was built so near the horse pen that it would be impossible for the Indians to take horses out of the pen without the knowledge of the owners. This house was built, "seven logs high and well chinked." Fearing that the Indians would return that night and drive off their horses, of which they had thirty-eight, they chopped down trees, letting them fall across the gate to the pen. The Crows gave them no further trouble at this time, but on their return trip the same scene was enacted as before.

It should be noted that this little house, erected by Fowler's party, was the first permanent building erected on the present site of Pueblo, of which we have any definite record. This building was probably near the foot of "sugar loaf" hill, the summit of which Fowler used as a lookout to prevent being surprised by the "Indeans." The party remained here until January 30, when they broke camp, abandoned the little cabin and took up their march toward the Greenhorn mountains.

These two sketches represent two extreme types of hunter and trapper. Carson was one of the class whose love of the wilderness life far outweighed his desire to gain financially from the profits of his labor. He took far greater delight in leading an expedition safely through the enemy's country or in playing the gallant in a spectacular rescue of a friend from danger, than he did in all the beaver skins he was able to accumulate, yet he was a successful trapper. Fowler was of the prosaic type, whose only love for the wilderness consisted in a desire to exploit its products — the beaver and buffalo, and whose forward trail always lay where furs were most abundant and whose back trail was a straight one ending at the fur market.

Two factors, the influence of which seemed to begin simultaneously, spelled the doom of the fur trade. One was the growing use of the silk hat, which began to supersede the beaver hat, and the other was the gradual disappearance of the beaver from western streams, as no attempt was ever made to conserve this vast resource of the wilderness. As early as 1832, John Jacob Astor prophesied the destruction of the beaver fur industry because of the growing use of the silk hat. Two years later Sillman's Journal stated as follows: "It appears that henceforth the fur trade must decline. The advanced state of geographical science shows that no new countries remain to be explored. In North America the animals are slowly decreasing, from the persevering efforts and the indiscriminate slaughter practiced by hunters, and by the appropriation to the use of man of those forests and rivers which have afforded them food and protection. They recede with the aborigines, before the tide of civilization; but a diminished supply will remain in the mountains and uncultivated tracts of this, and other countries, if the avidity of the hunter can be restrained within proper limitations."

With the receding of the aborigines and the beaver, began the disappearance of that most picturesque of westerner — the trapper. His tribe is now extinct and his sturdy deeds and sterling character remain alive only as a fond memory of the days that have gone by. While few monuments have been erected to the memory of these heroic men, yet posterity has given them more fitting monuments than any that could be erected by man, in naming, in their memory, nature's landmarks, her rivers and mountain peaks — the most fitting monuments that could be erected to the memory of nature's noblemen.


The search for gold exerted a greater influence upon the early map-making of America than any other activity in which the early inhabitants ever engaged. The existence of the Spanish power in Mexico, the English in Virginia, the organization of the great state of California and its segregation from the slave holding interests, all were the direct results of the quest for gold. The political map has been influenced more profoundly, however, by the search for gold than by its discovery.

It is to a group of gold seekers that the present City of Pueblo owes its origin. It came about in the following manner: In 1849 a band of Cherokee Indians, living at that time in Georgia, hearing of the gold strike in California, decided to visit that region and prospect for gold. Not finding things to their liking they returned. On this westward expedition they passed through the Cherry creek region and discovered strong indications of the presence of placer deposits. Some of their band desired to stop there and make a careful investigation. These Cherokees never forgot this location and in the year 1858, being located then in Southern Kansas, they determined to visit it again and make careful investigation as to the source of these placer deposits. Word was sent to some of their friends, living in Georgia, inviting them to accompany the expedition.

In this way, Green Russell, a restless citizen of the South, learned of this proposed expedition and asked permission to join it with a group of his comrades. The request being granted, Russell and his party joined the Cherokee expedition, overtaking it forty miles west of Pawnee Forks in Kansas. The Indians were led by one of their number, George Hicks by name, an Indian of remarkable character. Accompanying this expedition was a Philander Simons, who is responsible for the details of this account. Green Russell was not the leader of the party, as has so often been stated, but occupied a subsidiary position under Hicks.

The party wended its way up the Arkansas river past Bent's fort and to a point near the mouth of the St. Charles river, but at this point the course was northwest, traversing what from that time became known as the Cherokee cut-off which connected with the Fountain river some ten miles north of Pueblo.

Immediately upon their arrival at Cherry Creek these prospectors, whites and Indians alike, began washing for gold. After three days work with but a small quantity of gold to show for their labors, a cloud of gloom settled over the camp. The Indians, being averse by nature to hard work, soon abandoned the purpose which had led them there and began hunting antelope and deer on the present site of Denver. The white members of the party soon scattered in various directions and continued their search for gold. Being unable to locate the source of the placer deposits, most of these prospectors drifted back to the states, Russell remaining, however, throughout the year, "keeping up the excitement by reporting great discoveries and big strikes, which were never made."

The unprecedented discoveries of gold in California had prepared the minds of the people for belief in the most fantastic tales of newly found wealth, hence the stories of Green Russell spread abroad in the Missouri river region, to the effect that a rich strike had been made and that this field could be reached without the dreaded journey across the mountains and the Great Basin, electrified the entire country. During this same year six quills of gold were exhibited in Omaha, which tended to confirm these stories, and in a short time the migration to the Pike's Peak region had begun.

Our interest centers in a certain party which left St. Louis in the summer of 1858, bound for the gold fields of the Rockies. This party was composed of Josiah F. Smith, Otto Winneka, Frank Doris and George Lebaum. These men took the Santa Fe trail route and followed the Arkansas to the mouth of the Fountain river, at which place the trail forked, one branch extending south over Sangre de Cristo pass and the other extending up the Fountain and across the divide to Cherry creek. These men arrived at a point on the Fountain river, near its confluence with the Arkansas, on the 15th of September and finding it a pleasant location with plenty of grass and firewood, decided to halt for a time and rest their animals. Here they were joined by Captain Wm. H. Green, Wm. Kroenig, Charles and George Peck, Robert Middleton, J. D. Miller, Stephen S. Smith and a few others.

Finding that there was grave doubt as to the authenticity of the reports from Cherry creek, and fearing that they would not reach that region in time to make adequate preparation for winter, the party decided to pass the winter on the banks of the Fountain.

Strange as it may seem, by the time spring arrived the little band had lost all desire to move on, the gold fever having in a great measure subsided. About thirty cabins had been erected of logs and adobe. Two Missourians, named Cooper and Wing, came and opened a store while two engineers, named Shaffer and Brown, who arrived at the same time, were employed to survey the site of the new town which it had been agreed to establish. The site was duly surveyed and platted by these gentlemen, and the name Fountain City was given it The town was situated just east of the Fountain river, the main street running east and west near what is now known as Damson street. Eighty lodges of Arapahoe Indians were camped near by during the winter and carried on a trade in furs, skins, etc.

The two years, 1858 and 1859, gave birth to a notable group of towns in the Pike's Peak region, namely, Denver, Boulder, Idaho Springs, Golden, Nevada City, Central City, El Paso — later called Colorado City — and Fountain City, which was soon to give place to Pueblo. The Pike's Peak region was roughly bounded by the Arkansas river on the south and extended as far north as any one cared to extend his prospecting endeavors, which was seldom beyond Clear creek, but in some instances as far north as the head waters of the Cache la Poudre.

The river, upon which the new town was situated, had been known from the earliest times by the French and Spanish, and later by trappers and traders, as the Fontaine qui Bouille, or the Boiling Fountain, its name being derived from the carbonated waters which issue from its source at the present town of Manitou.

The region at the mouth of the Fountain river had been long known to the Indians and Mexicans as highly suited for agricultural pursuits. The inhabitants of the old Pueblo fort had carried on farming operations at this place and had, according to reports, succeeded in raising a considerable supply of corn, Mexican beans, pumpkins, etc. It is not surprising, therefore, that the founders of Fountain City were attracted by the promise of rich returns from this little valley and that they chose to remain here and engage in agricultural pursuits, rather than to engage in that more hazardous occupation of gold-seeking.

In the spring an old irrigation ditch, which had been formerly used by the Mexicans, was repaired and a small tract of land in the immediate vicinity of the settlement was placed under irrigation. This ditch was taken out of the Fountain near what is now East 12th street and extended south almost to the present site of the old brewery. Later it rounded the point and furnished water for the Goldsmith ranch.

A large acreage of vegetables and some corn were planted, which experiment proved a real "bonanza" to these erstwhile prospectors. The season in the Arkansas valley being about two weeks earlier than in Denver, gave these newly-arrived agriculturists of Fountain City a very decided advantage over the farmers of the Cherry creek region. The products of their gardens were hauled to Denver where they arrived ahead of similar products in that locality and fabulous prices were received. Much of their produce, however, was sold to gold-seekers passing through the town on their way to Denver.

It is singular that these men were contented to remain here on the banks of the Fountain when there was a constant stream of humanity passing by, bound for Denver. The explanation offered by one of the founders of Fountain City to the writer may help to a better understanding of their action. "It was so easy to live in those days," said he, "that there was no desire on our part to push on. Buffalo, venison and fish were so plentiful that very little effort was required to procure meat; corn and vegetables were raised with ease, and as for clothing, there were plenty of canvas sacks to be had, which, with a little ingenuity, could be fashioned into crude clothing. Our land and houses cost us nothing and our living being assured, we were not anxious to leave this place for the hurly-burly of a mining camp."

These men were not at all times immune to the gold-fever, however, for in the spring of 1860 when the secret of the great strike in California Gulch, now Leadville, was disclosed, the temptation was too strong for these farmers to resist and a grand exodus from Fountain City took place. But the announcement of the discovery of fabulous wealth at that place was premature by a period of seventeen years, hence these Fountainites along with about 6,000 others silently withdrew, wiser but not wealthier. Most of those who left Fountain City at this time returned in the fall.

It is difficult to form any adequate conception of the seething mass of humanity that started pell-mell across the plains when the Pike's Peak excitement was at high tide. During the summer of 1860 there occurred one of the largest migrations that ever took place in the history of the country. During the month of May it was estimated that there were 11,000 wagons on their way to the gold regions of Colorado, vast numbers of which moved by way of the Santa Fe trail and the Fountain river.

The soil upon which Fountain City was located was a part of Kansas Territory, but the people of the entire Pike's Peak region soon began to take steps looking toward a more effective government than could be given them from the almost unorganized territory of Kansas. These hardy pioneers, led by a small group of men in Denver, decided that a new territory should be organized embracing this new region. Accordingly, in the fall of 1859, even before there was any assurance that there was anything in this region to support a permanent population, and when there were not more than two thousand people in the entire Pike's Peak region, an election was held to form a provisional government and to select a set of officers for the new Territory of Jefferson. It is stated by an early writer that so enthusiastic did the citizens of Fountain City become over the possibility of "home government," that although there were but twenty-five legal voters in the town, when the ballot box was opened there were 1,500 ballots cast, all for one set of candidates.

Much as the citizens of the Pike's Peak region desired to form a government of their own, it was not until 1861 that Congress gave heed to their importunities and authorized the organization of the Territory of Colorado.

These people, soon numbering high in the thousands, would have been left practically without a government, had not that ancient Anglo-Saxon instinct for self-government asserted itself. It was not possible for these hardy pioneers to await the slow action of the federal government to provide a code and a set of duly appointed officers, but with the true colonial spirit inherited from their pre-Revolutionary ancestry, these men stood ready to substitute what was lacking in the general code. People's courts sprang up in every locality, meting out stern justice to law breakers and effectively safeguarding the rights of society. It is true, that in some instances the hand of lawlessness held sway for a short time, but eventually law and order prevailed. Probably no other people on the face of the globe could have met under similar circumstances and have established law and order so effectively and with such apparent ease as did these resolute frontiersmen.

The stern purpose of these men is indicated in the following extract from the constitution of a nearby town, organized in 1860 :

"Whereas, it sometimes becomes necessary for persons to associate themselves together for the purpose of such as the protection of life and property ; and as we have left the peaceful shades of civilization — left friends and homes for the purpose of bettering our own condition, we therefore associate ourselves together under the name of the “Arkansas Valley Claim Club” and adopt the following constitution."

The serious determination of these men would brook no interference in their endeavor to establish such institutions here in the west as would guarantee them the same happiness as had been theirs to enjoy before leaving "the peaceful shades of civilization." Their emergency courts were not harassed by the technicalities of our modern courts of justice and from their decisions there was no appeal.

The principle which governed these men of the Pike's Peak region, and which was the basis of action of the Oregon pioneers and the California gold seekers, was set forth by W. N. Byers in one of the earliest numbers of the Rocky Mountain News: "We claim that any body or community of American citizens, which from any cause or under any circumstances is cut off from, or from isolation is so situated as not to be under any active and protecting branch of the central government, have a right, if on American soil, to frame a government, and enact such laws and regulations as may be necessary for their own safety, protection and happiness, always with the consideration precedent, that they shall at the earliest moment when the central government shall extend an effective organization and laws over them, give it their unqualified support and obedience."

No clearer or more logical statement of the rights of the people to inaugurate democratic governments could be made, than that quoted above.

Fountain City is described by Stephen S. Smith, one of its founders, as consisting of a group of houses composed mostly of adobe, situated on one single street extending directly west from the base of what is now known as "Sugar Loaf" hill, which was the "washed rock" of Fowler's description. This historic landmark known as "Sugar Loaf," deserves to be better known to Pueblo citizens than it is. It was probably very much higher almost a century ago when Jacob Fowler camped at its base, as its formation indicates that it is undergoing rapid erosion. Fowler often used it as a lookout post to guard his camp against attacks by the Indians. He suggested that the table land nearby would be an excellent location for a fort. The residents of Fountain City used this rock for an entirely different purpose, according to Mr. Smith. A board would often times be hung on the west face of its summit as a target and the idlers on the streets would try their skill with long range rifles, often shooting from as far west as the banks of the Fountain. Mr. Smith assured the writer that there were not a few among their number who could "hit the bulls eye at 400 yards."

Fountain City, the "oasis of the desert," refused to grow; with the opening of 1860 its population began to dwindle, and although a few of its original inhabitants lingered on for several years, the town was doomed to an early death and in a few years it existed as a mere memory in the minds of Pueblo citizens, the constantly overflowing of the Fountain river having obliterated the last vestige of this "City on the Boiling Fountain."

(PHOTO) The first street was Santa Fe Avenue, the cross street Fourth Street. The following are indicated by figures on the picture: 1. In this building Kastor and Berry had started a store, but at the time this picture was taken they had moved to the building marked (14). Several persons kept stores here, among whom were Cal. P. Peabody and Jake Wildeboor. 2. James Rice's store for sale of cigars and small articles. 3. Hiney House or "Planters Hotel." 4. Pueblo Flour Mills, completed in 1866 by O. H. P. Baxter and Thatcher Brothers on the ground now occupied by the Federal Building, southwest corner of Fifth and Main Streets. The mill ditch can be seen to the right. 5. O. H. P. Baxter's house, southeast corner Fifth and Main Streets. 6. House of "Governor" G. A. Hinsdale. 7. J. E. Smith's house. 8. J. D. Miller's house. 9. Law office of H. C. Thatcher and A. A. Bradford. 10. Thatcher Brothers' warehouse, northeast corner Fourth and Santa Fe, where Pueblo Hardware Company now is. 11. Thatcher Brothers' store, on the southeast corner of Fourth Street and Santa Fe Avenue. 12. W. D. Burt's restaurant. 13. Dr. P. R. Thombs' Drug Store. 14. Kastor and Berry's store, see (1) above. 15. Thomas Waggerman's store. 16. Log house of a gambler, F. Y. Howe. 17. Dr. J. W. O. Snyder's book and shoe store. 18. National House. 19. Lampkin's Livery Stable. 20. This lot at the southwest corner of Fourth Street and Santa Fe Avenue was covered in 1870 by a two story brick building, which included two store rooms, that in the corner being occupied by the First National Bank, established in 1871 by Thatcher Brothers, the adjoining room by James Rice's store. The United States Land Office was on the second floor over this store. 21. Joseph Hart's Harness Shop. 22. House of Henly R. Price. 23. "Bill" Carlile's Livery Stable. (Reproduced by permission of Sociological Dep't of the C. F. & I. Co.)


Ever since the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers on our eastern coast, there has been waging a battle with the wilderness. In this struggle, the usual measure of a man — education, wealth and social position — were put at naught by those more virile qualities of strength, physical bravery and aggressiveness. Our frontier population has always been composed of the flower of our civilization ; not in the sense that it represented the culture and the education of the times, but because it stood for the strength, the courage, the virility of society.

It has always been true that nations have been obliged to give their best blood in the defense of their frontiers — not only in war but also in times of peace. Men of muscle and brawn, of courage and determination, men who were self-willed and strong in initiative have always been the ones who pushed forward into the firing line, either in war or peace and became the framers of the nation's destiny. If perchance a weakling was carried forward by the tide of battle, he was speedily destroyed or was forced to retire.

The men who composed the vanguard of our Colorado civilization were no exception to the rule. In the struggle to gain the mastery of the "last American frontier," the men were composed of the best blood and courage to be obtained from the Missouri river region, who in turn were the best of successive waves of westward immigration extending back to our first frontier, the Atlantic sea board.

No danger could daunt these men as they faced the Unknown West and stood ready to enter with their families, this almost trackless region for the purpose of establishing themselves on the soil as farmers or on the river banks as city builders. The call of the West has ever been irresistible to the real red blood of America; bad roads could not stifle it, dense forests were unable to hold it in check, blood-thirsty savages were ineffectual in stemming the tide. "A steady procession of pioneers has marched up the slopes of the Appalachians, across the trails of their summits, and down the various approaches to the Mississippi valley."

The frontier lying beyond the great bend of the Missouri, which was reached in 1821, proved to be the most stubborn of all and for almost forty years refused to yield to the determined assaults of the hardy pioneers. A new difficulty confronted the immigrants at this point. Heretofore, all frontiers had been conquered by following the navigable rivers, but at the western line of the state of Missouri, the friendly course of the river forsook the travelers, compelling them to strike out across the prairie. This, being a new experience, necessitated a considerable period of delay, and for a period of nearly forty years the enemy successfully resisted all attempts at invasion.

In 1858 the enemy weakened and by the year 1860 the great tidal wave of western immigration advanced into the enemy's territory. The wilderness was possessed but not conquered.

Pueblo received her quota of men such as have been described above. Here, to the forks of the river — at the crossing of the trails, came men whose blood was hot with the ambition of youth, whose souls were stirred by the possibilities offered in this western land, whose spirits were undaunted by the dangers and hardships with which they were confronted as they came with their families to hew out their fortunes in the valley of the Arkansas.

In addition to solving the problem of establishing homes for their families and providing sustenance for them, these men found time to bear arms in defense of this western region against the Indians and against the forces of disunion; they found time to lay the foundation of a great city and not a few found time to become a dynamic force in the building of this great commonwealth. These men were truly a band of nature's noblemen.

We have told the story of Fountain City, how it was established by a group of men who came west as a part of that vast tide of gold seekers — how they stopped at the mouth of the Fountain river and surveyed the City on the Boiling Fountain. We shall now record the beginning of the city of Pueblo. It often happens that the original location of a town is not in the place where nature intended it to be. This was true in the case of Pueblo. There were many factors which prevented Fountain City from becoming the nucleus from which should grow the city of Pueblo. In the first place Fountain City was situated upon low ground which was in constant danger of overflowing during the summer months, yet there seemed to be no good reason why the town might not have been laid out on the higher ground in the region now occupied by the residence portion of East Pueblo. Again, the character of its population led to the ultimate failure of the original town. There had drifted into Fountain City, during the summer and fall of 1859, a class of undesirable citizens — men who were the direct antithesis of the original settlers. In order to avoid the influence of these undesirables, a group of citizens, composing the better element, decided to lay out a new town. Another factor which was a vital force, not only in the location of the new town, but also in its ultimate success, was the location of the trail from the north and of the ford across the Arkansas. This trail followed the Fountain river down its east bank until it reached the vicinity of the present site of Woodcroft where it crossed over to the west bank and proceeded to the ford of the Arkansas, which was at the foot of the present Santa Fe Avenue. It was at this point that the new town had its beginning. In the winter of 1859 and the early spring of 1860 two or three cabins had been erected in the vicinity of First Street and Santa Fe Avenue, but it was not until late spring of 1860 that any definite action was taken toward laying out a new town.

On the 22nd of May, 1860, a meeting was called for the purpose of considering the organization of a town.

According to the records of the Southern Colorado Pioneers' Association, the following persons were present at this meeting: Jack Allen, John Kearns, Albert Bercaw, W. H. Ricker, Dr. Catterson, Wesley Catterson, Ed Cozzens, A. C. Wright, Mrs. A. C. Wright and Mrs. Mary Simms. These records further state that it was on July 1, 1860, that the town was formerly "laid out" and named Pueblo in honor of the old fort which had stood for so many years on the opposite bank of the Arkansas, a single prophecy of "things yet to be."

The town site was surveyed by Buel and Boyd, two surveyors from Denver. These surveyors presumably had a vision of a great city judging by the extent of the original survey. In the words of an early writer, it was encompassed by the following boundaries, "from the river back (north) two or three miles toward the divide, and from the Fountain on the east to Buzzard's ranch on the west. Near the mouth of Dry Creek was an extensive city park, filled with serpentine drives and walks, rare shrubbery and exotic flowers, amid which the alkali dust was gently subdued by the spray of a dozen refreshing fountains."

It has caused keen disappointment to those who have attempted to record the development of Pueblo during its first decade of existence, to find that no records exist to corroborate many of the events which took place during this embryonic stage of the city's growth. Even the date of the formal laying out of the townsite is somewhat in doubt, although the date of July 1 is generally confirmed by pioneers still living.

The rich gold strike in California Gulch, now Leadville, in the spring of 1860, was a fortunate event for the newly born town. First indications pointed to a discovery which would rival that of the Clear creek region, hence it was very reasonable to suppose that Pueblo would probably become the metropolis of the entire Pike's Peak region. It soon became evident, however, that if Pueblo's only hope of growth was dependent upon the success of the gold strike in California Gulch, she was doomed to an early death, for in a short time the hopes of the prospectors went glimmering, and an exodus of people took place which seriously affected Pueblo.

For seven long years Fate seemed to be against this struggling little village. During the years 1861 to 1865 the Santa Fe trail became almost impassable and during 1864 was practically abandoned, owing to Indian outbreaks and to bands of Confederate guerillas operating in the Kansas region. Thus Pueblo and the entire southern part of the state were almost entirely cut off from communication with the east. This condition together with the general exodus of disappointed gold seekers from the entire Pike's Peak region, was a serious blow to the prosperity of the town.

As late as July, 1864, one of these guerilla bands, composed of twenty-one Texans under one Reynolds, a former resident of Colorado, caused great excitement in the Arkansas valley. After robbing several wagon trains on the Santa Fe trail, in the eastern part of the state, the band proceeded up the Arkansas, and leaving Pueblo unmolested, entered South Park where they began plundering ranches throughout that entire region. They were pursued by a band of determined citizens who succeeded in killing four of the band and capturing the others. The prisoners were sent to Denver where they were turned over to the military authorities. From Denver they were ordered sent to Fort Lyon under a heavy guard. In a short time the entire military guard returned, stating that the prisoners had been killed while attempting to escape. The fact was that the prisoners were taken to the head of Cherry creek and killed by the guard in order to be relieved of the journey to Fort Lyon.

The necessities of life commanded fabulous prices during this period of isolation and only such food as was raised in the region could be purchased at any price. Flour brought $50 a barrel while corn and other grains were sold regularly for ten cents a pound. Eggs sold for $1.00 to $1.50 a dozen and butter at $1.00 to $1.50 a pound with other supplies in proportion. Strenuous measures were often adopted to procure the necessities of life. Judge Stone, for many years a resident of Pueblo, recounts the following incident which occurred during this time:

A certain Pueblo citizen, Squire Fowler by name, had loaded his ox-wagon with Mexican corn, which he had raised on the Fountain, and having hauled it to Joe Doyle's mill on the Huerfano had it ground into meal, intending to take the meal to California Gulch, which place was facing a famine through their inability to purchase supplies. The usual trail to that place led through Canon City, which was entirely out of both flour and meal. Certain citizens of Canon City, learning of the contents of the Squire's cargo, halted him in the middle of the street and demanded that he sell his entire load of meal in their town, threatening to take it by force if he refused. Fowler gladly sold his entire load at a good figure and returned to Pueblo where he loaded his wagon as before and proceeded to California Gulch. At this place the Squire sold his load of meal for almost its weight in gold dust.

The temporary abandonment of the southern trail threw all western traffic into Denver by way of the Oregon Trail and the South Platte, and as all arrivals in Denver were told that "there was nothing worth seeing south of the divide," the isolation of Pueblo became complete.

After Pueblo was laid out Fountain City ceased to prosper and by autumn of 1860 its population was less than it was the year before. In spite of the death blow which had been dealt it by the new town, however, its inhabitants continued their agricultural efforts, bringing under irrigation a constantly increasing area from which very profitable returns were realized. Although the greater part of its population gradually drifted away, a few families continued to reside in the vicinity of Fountain City for several years.

Judge Stone arrived in Pueblo in the winter of 1861-62. At that time he remembers seeing but three cabins, that of Jack Allen at the foot of Santa Fe, on the banks of the river. The principal business of Jack was "the sale of bacon, flour, coffee, Mexican frijoles and Taos lightning." Jack also kept a tavern, his guests being required to provide their own blankets, the landlord furnishing space on the dirt floor for their beds. There was also an adobe cabin, built by Col. Albert Galletin Boone, a grandson of Daniel Boone of Kentucky, and on the east side of Santa Fe Avenue near Second or Third Street was a two-room cabin of cottonwood logs. Aaron Simms was the first postmaster and Daniel J. Hayden was the second one.

As has already been intimated, the growth of Pueblo during the sixties was very slow. Its population was constantly shifting. In 1867 there were only twenty or thirty houses, but during the next three years its population showed a substantial increase as the United States census of 1870 credited the town with a population of 666. An interesting account was given the writer by Eugene Weston, who, as county clerk took the first county census. This census was taken in 1866 and showed a population in the county of 800 persons. Mr. Weston states that out of this entire number there were but six unmarried females over fourteen years of age and four of these were Mexican girls.

Uncle Dick Wooten was one of the historic characters of Colorado long before Pueblo had its beginning. Having given up his former life as a trapper, he settled at the mouth of the Huerfano river in 1853, where he engaged in farming. He removed from this place eight years later, according to his "autobiography," and located on the Fountain nine miles above Pueblo where he continued his agricultural pursuits until floods and grasshoppers caused him to abandon the farm for more lucrative employment. On leaving Pueblo he took up his abode south of Trinidad on the Raton Pass where he built a wagon road, the toll from which provided a comfortable income for him during the remainder of his life.

Mr. Wooten built two houses in Pueblo in 1861, in one of which he conducted a mercantile business. Uncle Dick had been quite familiar with the Pueblo region for a great many years, having traversed it before there were any evidences of civilization in this locality. His own story of the "buffalo farm," which he conducted on the present site of Pueblo is interesting and well worth recounting even though one chooses not to believe it.

In 1840, when Uncle Dick was engaged in supplying meat to Bent's Fort, he succeeded in capturing two buffalo calves, whose mothers had been killed. He placed the two orphans in a corral with a milch cow but "bossy" stoutly protested against any such abuse of her motherly office although she finally was induced to submit. The calves thrived and grew to maturity. This gave Uncle Dick an idea; he began capturing buffalo calves wherever he could procure them, his entire accumulation amounting to forty-four. He then built a corral at the present site of Pueblo, in which were placed a sufficient number of cows to minister to the physical wants of these little strangers. According to his story his experiment was entirely successful, the calves soon becoming so tame that they could be turned out on the range with the cows. He kept them until they were three years old when they were sold to New York parties to be placed in zoological gardens and in traveling menageries. He drove them overland to Kansas City, and two of the buffalo being hitched to a wagon at the start were well broken by the time their destination was reached.

Pueblo County was organized in 1862 and included the entire south-eastern part of Colorado, embracing in addition to its present territory, the counties of Bent, Baca, Otero, Prowers, Huerfano, Las Animas and Crowley. The first Board of County Commissioners was composed of R. L. Wooten, W. H. Chapman and O. H. P. Baxter, Mr. Wooten being chairman. The first meeting of this board was held on February 17th and its most important action was the formal location of the county seat, the selection of a site for a court house and adopting specifications for a county building.

These specifications called for a log house 18 feet by 24 feet and 10 feet high, with a roof composed of three inches of mortar covered with four inches of dirt. The contract for this pretentious edifice was awarded to Aaron Simms for $300. The most interesting fact about this building is that it was never erected. The county records are silent as to the reason for failure to erect this building although it is probable that funds were not available and that the amount of county business was so insignificant as to make any expenditure of money for a building, unnecessary. Rooms were rented for office purposes until 1866, when the building now standing at Third and Santa Fe, known as No. 228 N. Santa Fe, was purchased from Stephen Smith. This building was occupied until 1872 when a new and very imposing brick structure was erected on the present Court House Square.

Many people have wondered why the old court house building at Third and Santa Fe was built in the street. Mr. Smith, its original owner and builder, gave the writer the following account of its erection:

Not long after the organization of the new town, lots were assigned to those who were instrumental in laying it out. Although Mr. Smith was one of the first residents of the town, his claim to a lot was overlooked owing to his absence from the town at that time. Finding, upon his return, that the desirable lots had all been assigned and that nothing remained for him, he erected this building in the middle of Third Street.

The first revenue of the new county was derived from a license tax of $2.50 to $5.00 a month levied on all business firms. The first regular tax levy which was made some months later was as follows: "3 mills on the $ levied on all property assessed for territorial purposes. Also that there shall be a tax of 1 mill on the $ for county purposes, also 1/2 mill on the $ for school purposes." At this time Col. A. G. Boone, grandson of the famous Daniel Boone, was chairman of the board, one of the original members having resigned.

Following are some interesting extracts from the county commissioners' records:

"August 10, 1862, Resolved: That the clerk be empowered to rent a certain house known as William Kroenig's, at a rent of not more than $10 a month, to be used for County purposes."

"September, 1865, Resolved: That the room occupied by the County Clerk in the house of P. K. Dotson, be rented for County purposes at $10 per month."

"July, 1866, Resolved: That Messrs. Keeling and Thomas be ordered to procure a license for running their ferry boat across the Arkansas river, and that the fee be placed at $25."

In October, 1867, the records disclose the fact that the county sheriff was ordered to procure a load of wood for the use of the county during the October term of court.

On July 7, 1869, the commissioners received a communication from the Arkansas River Ferry Company asking the county authorities to fix rates of toll across the river. In accordance with this request the following rates were established:

For foot passengers $0.25
One or two horse vehicles 1.00
Four horses or mules 2.50
Three yoke of oxen 2.50

An interesting picture of Pueblo as it appeared to a traveler in 1866, is found in an old volume, long since out of print. "The town is composed of some fifteen or twenty houses, three stores, a tavern, and an immense sign board which has evidently seen better days in some more metropolitan locality. The sign in question bears this 'strange device': EL PROGRESSO.

"Behind and under it is a saloon, making the prospective 'progress' for Pueblo of a dubious and questionable character, landed on the south bank (of the Arkansas), we camped near a magnificent grove of large cottonwoods — one of them measuring sixteen feet in circumference."

If the writer of the above lines were to visit Pueblo now he would doubtless be pleased to note that after fifty years of the "El Progresso" type of prosperity, she has finally abolished the "big sign" and the "strange device" from her midst and that her prosperity is based upon a higher type of business than that mentioned above.

On November 25, 1867, the board of county commissioners, consisting of G. H. Puntenny, J. P. Murray and P. D. Moore, passed a resolution which was of far reaching importance, financially to the county. This was a resolution authorizing Mr. George A. Hinsdale, (the name of Mr. Mark G. Bradford being substituted later), acting as trustee for Pueblo County, to make application to the Federal Land Board at Denver, for a quarter-section of land lying between what is now 7th Street and 15th Street, the proceeds of this land to be used for a county building. This action was taken under the federal statutes permitting counties to preempt land not otherwise appropriated, the proceeds to be used as stated above.

This venture proved unusually successful. As the town began to grow, several public auctions of lots were held by the commissioners, the total proceeds, up to the sale of April 13, 1872, amounting to $35,225. Other sales were held by the commissioners subsequent to this, and quite a number of lots were sold during the year 1876, while Charles Henkle was chairman of the board.

Before 1862 there was no regular mail service to Pueblo, the only means of receiving mail being through the more or less irregular arrivals of parties from Denver. Although Denver enjoyed daily mail service as early as the summer of 1860 it was not until two years later that a government route was established in the Pueblo region, the service being weekly. Later the service was extended to three times a week, Mr. A. Jacobs of Denver being the carrier. Mr. Jacobs at the same time put into operation a fine stage line between Denver and Trinidad. Mr. Jacobs was succeeded by Barlow and Sanderson, who in 1870 inaugurated a daily service between the above points which was maintained until the building of the Denver and Rio Grande railroad in 1872.

During the summer of 1863 a company of the First Colorado Cavalry was stationed at Pueblo for the purpose of escorting the stage up and down the valley, a regular stage line having been established between Kansas City and Fairplay, via the Santa Fe trail, by Barlow and Sanderson. Mr. Charles Henkle, one of the oldest residents of Pueblo, was a member of this company, and states that their headquarters were at the present site of Lannon's foundry, which was then south of the river.

The federal government at this time was straining every nerve in its struggle against the forces of disunion and as a consequence the troops were withdrawn from Pueblo, thus leaving the trail unprotected.

According to their usual custom the Indians who had been on the war path, signed a treaty of peace as winter approached and were given the usual government bounties of food, blankets and ammunition. The murderous savages were thus placed in comfortable winter quarters and provided with a liberal supply of ammunition for another campaign in the spring — and all at government expense.

Again, true to their usual custom, with the opening of the spring of 1864, the plains Indians went on the war path, keeping the entire region from Denver to Pueblo in constant terror. Details of the threatened attack of Pueblo by the Indians and the erection of a stockade and block-house, will be given in a subsequent chapter.

In 1862 the first flour mill was erected in Pueblo. Eugene Weston, now of Canon City, secured the assistance of an Illinois company, the machinery being brought to Pueblo only by the greatest difficulty. The timbers which composed the lower part of this three-story structure, were hauled from Mace's Hole in the region of what is now known as Beulah, the sawed lumber being hauled from a sawmill on the divide near Palmer Lake. This mill, which was located about thirty or forty yards south of the present asylum grounds, was looked upon as a thoroughly modern structure. It seemed for a time that there was to be added to Pueblo's industries one that would be of vital importance to the entire region, but Fate had decreed otherwise, for no sooner had the building been completed and the machinery installed than the entire structure took fire and burned to the ground. The plant was a complete loss.

No further steps were taken to establish the milling industry in Pueblo until 1865, when Mr. Jewett erected the mill that stood for so long a time on the present site of the Federal building. The old mill ditch will be remembered by pioneers as running through the property where the Rood Candy Company's plant now stands; traversing that section of town lying just south of the Hinsdale school, it ran in a southerly direction after leaving the mill and joined the river near the vicinity of First and Main Streets. It should be remembered that at that time the river approached the city to the vicinity of Eighth and West Streets at which point it took a bold turn south to First Street. It crossed First Street at about the place occupied by the Traction Company's Triangle Block.

The flour mill was purchased the following year by O. H. P. Baxter and later was operated by the firm of Thatcher and Baxter. This mill became the Mecca for farmers in all directions from Pueblo, wheat, in some instances, being hauled a distance of seventy-five miles.


The victor who stands upon a summit and views a conquered city wrested from the enemy by a fair fight, has feelings akin to those of the pioneer who looked out over this vast area of western territory and beheld the receding forces of nature withdrawing from the combat.

The battle with the wilderness was a fair one, but with odds somewhat in favor of the wilderness. This advantage was due to two things over which the pioneer had no control. In the first place the wilderness was in undisputed control and in the second place it had enlisted as an ally, that dreaded foe — the red man. Against this combined foe thoroughly entrenched, the pioneer was compelled to charge. It seemed for a time that this combination was too strong for the pioneer to cope with successfully, but his indomitable perserverance, his undaunted courage, his unparalleled bravery finally won for him a lasting victory.

Three events occurred in the year 1868 which not only indicated the progress of the town but also gave promise of its permanence. They were the building of the telegraph line to Pueblo, the establishing of a weekly newspaper, The Colorado Chieftain, and the building of the first church.

In the fall of 1867 the United States and Mexico Railway and Telegraph Company was organized in Denver for the purpose of building a railway and telegraph line to Mexico via Pueblo and Santa Fe. In May of the following year their telegraph line entered Pueblo, thus making the first permanent link in that chain which was to bind the town to eastern civilization.

The Colorado Chieftain, the first issue of which appeared on June 1, 1868, was the pioneer newspaper of Southern Colorado, and for some time continued to be the only paper published between Denver and Santa Fe. This paper, now known as the Pueblo Chieftain, has had a somewhat remarkable career, never having missed an issue or changed its location since it began nearly fifty years ago. Its files are complete and contain some of the most valuable historical material to be had anywhere in the west. The paper was established by Dr. M. Beshoar. A year or two later Dr. Beshoar removed to Trinidad and sold the Chieftain to Samuel McBride, who later sold it to Captain J. J. Lambert. George A. Hinsdale and Wilbur F. Stone were its editors. The subscription price of the paper was $5 a year and 25c a copy. It continued its weekly publications until 1872 at which time it became a daily.

Among the business firms who advertised in the initial issue, the following will be of interest to the older residents of the city: C. D. Peck, meat market; Henry Hiney, Planters Hotel; James Rice, cigars and tobacco; Rettberg and Bartels, groceries; Thatcher Bros., dry goods, groceries, hardware and clothing; Leonard and Dotson, saw mill at Mace's Hole. The following professional cards appear in the same issue: P. R. Thomes, M. D. ; A. A. Bradford, attorney-at-law; Wilbur F. Stone, attorney-at-law; George A. Hinsdale, attorney-at-law ; Henry C. Thatcher, attorney-at-law.

The first issue of the Chieftain contains a notice of the death of Kit Carson, and a memorial tribute to the famous pioneer by Wilbur F. Stone.

The following are interesting news items selected from the first issue of the Chieftain :

"The railroad prospects for Southern Colorado are growing brighter every day. Three different routes through the southern part of the state have been surveyed or examined by the U. P. R. R. Co., from which to select for the main line of their road. The third route is up the Arkansas through Pueblo."

"Several of our boys have just returned from a prospecting trip about the headwaters of the Huerfano."

"M. D. Thatcher received nineteen heavy wagon loads of freight on Friday last. He has now a splendid stock of goods."

"Messrs. Wildeboor & Gilman have placed a row of pine boughs in front of the awning of their popular restaurant. They make a delightful shade. The idea is a capital one."

"We note that a good many hogs are running at large in our streets in violation of the statutes. Their presence in the streets is a nuisance which ought to be abated. Why is not the law enforced?"

"Among the improvements lately commenced in our town we notice a large warehouse for M. D. Thatcher, Esq., at the corner above Thatcher's store."

"H. C. Thatcher, Esq., is also erecting a new office building on Santa Fe Ave."

"J. E. Smith is erecting a capacious blacksmith shop on the first cross street above Anker's."

An account of the Democratic County Convention, held on May 13, 1868, is given in this first issue of the Chieftain. The names of the following persons appear as delegates to the state convention : M. Anker, Wilbur F. Stone, J. M. Branneman, P. K. Dotson, M. Beshoar, Lewis Barnum and others.

An account of the Republican Convention, which was held a little later, shows the following men as prominent in political circles: M. G. Bradford, J. D. Miller, H. C. Thatcher, A. A. Bradford, O. H. P. Baxter, M. D. Thatcher and C. J. Hart.

The following stage schedule published in the Chieftain gives a vivid picture of the splendid isolation of Pueblo before the coming of the railroad:

Schedule of Mail Stages.
Pueblo to Denver Tues., Th., Sat
Pueblo to Canon City Mon., Fri.
Pueblo to Santa Fe via Ft. Garland Thursday only
Pueblo to Bent's Fort Tues., Th., Sat.

The article quoted below, from the Chieftain, gives a glimpse of the development of the Pueblo region during 1867 and 1868:

"A glance at the products of Pueblo County for the last year (1867), will indicate faintly some of Pueblo's resources. There were produced during the past year in Pueblo County, 300,000 bushels of corn, 100,000 bushels of wheat — to say nothing of oats, buckwheat and barley. There were owned in the county, 12,000 head of cattle, 20,000 head of sheep and 2,000 hogs.

"Eight months ago there were scarcely 75 inhabitants in Pueblo; now its population is but little less than 500 souls. Pueblo stands forth today with bright prospects of a permanent and prosperous future."

In 1871 the "Pueblo People," a weekly paper, made its first appearance, with Mr. Hinsdale as editor. It continued its existence until 1874 when the plant and equipment were taken over by the Chifetain.

In 1874 the Pueblo Republican was established under the management of J. M. Murphy. After a short life it was purchased by Dr. Hull and brother of Missouri and in 1876, after a change of name and principles, it emerged as the "Democrat," and still later became the "Daily News," under the ownership of Judge Royal.

In April, 1868, steps were taken toward the erection of the first church building. Church services had been held by various denominations in the old court house at Third and Santa Fe. The Episcopal Church continued its efforts until the organization known as St. Peter's Church, had been effected and sufficient funds raised to warrant the erection of a church building. The project was placed in charge of the following committee : George A. Hinsdale, Wilbur F. Stone, H. C. Thatcher, J. W. Snyder, F. W. Walker, Jas. Rice and Klaas Wildeboor; the building committee being composed of Messrs. Hart, Young and Weston. The building was constructed of adobe bricks and still stands at the corner of Seventh and Santa Fe. At the time it was erected it was in the outskirts of the town, there being but two buildings beyond it.

A tower, ten feet square, was erected upon the church from which was suspended a bell. A member of the committee states that on a certain beautiful Sunday morning, when for the first time the old bell pealed out in clear tones its call to worship, — tones which were strange, indeed, to the ears of these isolated westerners — tears came to the eyes of more than one person whose soul was stirred by the memory of a little church back in the "states," from which he had been separated for so many years.

In 1868 another serious Indian outbreak occurred. The Indians remained on their good behavior for some time after their Sand Creek lesson, but the spring of the year just mentioned saw them on the war path again, and during that summer they kept the inhabitants of the Fountain valley and Monument creek in El Paso County, in constant terror, many atrocious murders being committed by the savages. Fortunately, the Pueblo region was again spared, no depredations being reported from this section. Much apprehension was felt for the settlers in the more remote sections of the Pueblo region, however, and many of them loaded their belongings upon their wagons and taking their families, came to Pueblo to remain until the Indians were ready to sign another "treaty of peace."

The following clippings from the Chieftain of September 10, 1868, speak eloquently of the situation:

"Quite a number of families have moved into town for the purpose of being safe from the Indians."

"The Indians took, on Saturday last, 29 head of horses belonging to Jacob Geil. The horses were taken from a place near Terrils on the Fountain, 30 miles above Pueblo."

"Owing to the Indian dangers along the route from Denver to this place, the coaches on the Denver and Santa Fe stage line will run only once a week until it becomes sufficiently safe to replace the stock at the stations on the route."

The danger in which the Pueblo region was placed by the Indian outbreak was greatly augmented by the removal of the troops from Forts Reynolds and Lyon. The inhabitants of Southern Colorado had by this time become indignant beyond bounds at the failure of the government to protect its citizens from the savages. The government not only failed to provide adequate protection to its frontier population, but it persisted in the pernicious practice of issuing arms and ammunition in large quantities to the Indians, presumably for their use in hunting buffalo. In many instances the Indians were better armed and possessed greater quantities of ammunition than the settlers.

In the year 1869, the business men of Pueblo and vicinity realizing the benefit to the city of united action in advertising the resources of this region, organized the Board of Trade of Southern Colorado, their primary object being to publish and distribute literature advertising the Arkansas valley hoping by this means to attract the Union Pacific railroad to this region. From this pamphlet the following information is gleaned: The population was slightly less than 800. The moral tone of the town was pronounced by the editing committee as "good," the tangible evidence offered in proof of this assertion being the fact that the town had two church organizations, the Episcopal and the Methodist. The location of Pueblo, "at the crossing of the great routes from the east and between New Mexico and Colorado, brought a throng of people to its public houses." This report shows further that during the year 1868 the value of merchandise sold was $390,980, and the total value of manufactured goods, consisting largely of leather goods, furniture and agricultural implements, aggregated $35,600, and, finally, that during the same year one million pounds of freight had been received in Pueblo.

Of the many "colonies" establishing themselves in Colorado during the early seventies, one is of special interest to us in view of the fact that it located in close proximity to Pueblo.

In 1869 a group of Germans living in Chicago were desirous of securing a location in the west. The advertising pamphlet of the newly organized Board of Trade of Southern Colorado, having fallen into the hands of one member of the group, it was decided to send a committee to the Arkansas valley to reconnoiter. The final result of this investigation was a recommendation that the colony be brought to the Wet Mountain valley, some fifty miles west of Pueblo.

Accordingly, in the spring of 1870, the colony, consisting of about 350 persons with a full equipment of farm implements and machinery for grist mills, etc., embarked from Chicago under the leadership of Carl Wulstein, one of their own countrymen. They were obliged to make the journey overland from the terminus of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, which was at that time in western Kansas. The United States government cooperated freely with the colonists in this enterprise. Their goods were hauled by government wagons, they were given the use of government tents and it was even asserted that provisions for the journey were provided at government expense.

A grand reception was held for these colonists upon their arrival at Pueblo. The usual round of addresses of welcome and responses were given by citizens and leading members of the colony. The travelers camped just outside the town, and, upon their departure the next morning, halted on Santa Fe Avenue in order that their caravan, consisting of some seventy wagons, might be viewed by the populace.

From Pueblo the party moved on to the Wet Mountain valley where all who were eligible took up homesteads. Soon afterwards the town of Colfax was laid out. Lacking a motive either political or religious, it was inevitable that there could be no permanent coherence and in consequence but a short time had elapsed e'er the process of disintegration set in. Although most of the colonists remained in the valley and became prosperous farmers, the organization itself soon disbanded.

The Central Colorado Improvement Company, though often referred to as the "South Pueblo Colony," was not a colony in the strict sense of the term. Although it was responsible for the establishing and the developing of South Pueblo, it acted more in the capacity of a townsite company, drawing people to its project by means of advertising the resources of this locality. The most characteristic feature of the "colony," namely the simultaneous movement of a group of settlers into a region, was lacking. The history of this organization will be considered more in detail in a later chapter.

On March 22, 1870, Pueblo became an incorporated town with the following persons as trustees: George A. Hinsdale, M. G. Bradford, James Rice, H. C. Thatcher, and J. D. Miller as clerk, and Z. G. Allen as constable, all receiving their positions through appointment by the Board of County Commissioners. On April 4, following, an election was held, the following persons being elected: George A. Hinsdale, Lewis Conley, O. H. P. Baxter, Sam McBride and C. P. Peabody, with August Beech as clerk and J. F. Smith as constable. At this election 110 ballots were cast.

While the federal census of 1870 recorded the population of Pueblo as 666, the county census at the close of that year gave the town a population of 1002 and that of the county 2323.

Other events which indicated the rapid and substantial development of the town at the close of this period were the securing of a daily mail service from Denver, the creation of the Arkansas Valley Land District, together with the opening of the land office in Pueblo, the abandonment of the old toll bridge, which was made possible by the erection of a new county bridge across the Arkansas, and the erection of the new court house, these events occurring within the space of two years.

During the first ten years of her existence, Pueblo was obliged to content herself with nothing better than a tri-weekly mail service, but in the winter of 1870, through the influence of Pueblo's territorial delegate, A. A. Bradford, a daily service was secured between Pueblo and Denver.

Pueblo had long felt the need of more adequate facilities for entering public lands, the nearest office being at Denver. By the most patient and painstaking efforts of our territorial delegate, the office at Pueblo was secured with M. G. Bradford as the receiver and Ed. Wheeler as register.

Early in the history of Pueblo a private bridge was built across the Arkansas at the foot of Santa Fe Avenue, and for many years W. H. Young enjoyed the exclusive privilege of collecting tolls from all those who preferred to cross the river with dry feet. The question of a county bridge had been agitated for some time but through the influence of the owner of this private bridge, definite steps toward the building of a free bridge were postponed from time to time.

Finally, however, matters had proceeded so far that the private monopoly seemed in imminent danger of being swept away by the progressive spirit which had taken hold upon the community, whereupon, Young threatened to institute injunction proceedings to prevent the erection of the bridge or to bring suit for damages against the county in case the bridge was built.

Another controversy arose over the location of the proposed bridge. One faction wished the bridge to be located at the foot of Main Street, while the other faction stoutly insisted that it should be on Santa Fe. The Main Street faction raised a bonus of $1600 to secure the bridge on their street, and, although the Santa Fe-ites secured a bonus of only $1525, the commissioners decided in their favor and built the bridge on Santa Fe.

In April, 1872, the contract for building the bridge was awarded to the firm of Redfield, Smith & Co. The commissioners, fearing legal difficulties with Young, required of those citizens interested in having the bridge built, a guarantee bond to protect the county against any judgment that might be secured by Young. The bond was presented by Wilbur F. Stone and was signed by Bartels Bros., John A. Thatcher and sixteen others. So far as the records show no damages were ever sought.

In October, 1872, the first annual fair was held by the newly organized Agricultural Society of Southern Colorado, although it was not until November, 1886, that the present State Fair Association was incorporated, at which time fifty acres of ground near Mineral Palace Park was purchased for $3,000, some $5,000 being expended for improvements. The first fair was held in the fall of the next year. Land values increased so rapidly that in 1890 the association was able to sell its property for $48,000. Soon after this the present location, comprising 100 acres on the mesa, was purchased for $30,000.

The Pueblo Public Library Association was founded in 1873. This was a stock company which issued 200 shares of stock at $50 each. The stock was quickly purchased by public spirited citizens and articles of incorporation were duly filed by the committee consisting of G. Q. Richmond, J. O. Jordan, A. P. George and C. J. Reed. In May of the same year the Pueblo Library and Reading Room was formally opened by an address by Mr. George A. Hinsdale. This first library was located on the west side of Santa Fe Avenue, just below Fourth Street.

On May 9, 1871, the Board of County Commissioners voted to call for the submission of plans for a new court house and for bids for the erection of the same, the building to be erected upon the ground which had been secured by pre-emption. All of these years court had been held in the little adobe building on Santa Fe, but now it was proposed to erect such a building as would be adequate for many years to come.

There were in the treasury something over $35,000, the aggregate receipts from the sale of the county land. This made it possible to erect this magnificent building without adding a cent to the tax levy. This building served the county for nearly forty years and was torn down to give place to the largest and most costly county building in the state.

With the completion of the court house and the coming of the Rio Grande railroad, Pueblo took her place as the recognized metropolis of Southern Colorado. Its rapid growth is indicated by the fact that on March 26, 1873, the town trustees passed an ordinance, declaring that Pueblo, having exceeded the required population of 3,000, should become the City of Pueblo, it having been originally incorporated as the Town of Pueblo. Its population at this time was nearly 3,500.

In the same year a bond issue of $130,000 was authorized by a vote of the people for the purpose of installing a system of waterworks and on June 24, 1874, the present water system was completed. Business houses were closed and with impressive ceremony, conducted by the Masonic lodge, the water works building was dedicated. Probably no other single improvement had as much to do with the subsequent growth of Pueblo as did the building of this water system.

The coming of the railroads into Colorado affected profoundly the destiny of the state, the most important result being the hastening of statehood through the rapid increase of population and wealth. The history of the struggle for statehood is an interesting one, — so interesting, in fact, that the writer almost yields to the temptation to turn aside and devote some time to its consideration. Since it is not properly a part of this book, however, its discussion must be omitted. Suffice it to say, that Pueblo was a vital force in shaping the future welfare of the state, during the period of constitution-making, through her two most excellent and able delegates, Hon. Henry C. Thatcher and Hon. Wilbur F. Stone.

The Centennial celebration of 1876 was observed by Pueblo and due regard was had for the fact that it was also the celebration of Colorado's admission as a state. Upon this day, under the cottonwood tree near the old Baxter mill, where the Federal building now stands, Judge Stone delivered a historical sketch of Pueblo. This sketch was later forwarded to the national capital and deposited in the archives of the Library of Congress.

The gold discovery in Leadville, in the year 1877, proved a bonanza to Pueblo. During the seven years following this date her population was increased threefold. Other mining camps sprung up in the vicinity of the headwaters of the Arkansas, all of which increased the carrying trade and other forms of business of Pueblo, this being the chief and practically only distributing point for the entire region of the headwaters of the Arkansas.

Under this stimulus many new business blocks were erected and new firms entered the field to capture a share of the lucrative business which had sprung up as a result of these various mining enterprises.

Two interesting bits of history not generally known by the younger generation of Pueblo citizens deserve mention here, not so much because of their importance as on account of their interest.

On January 1, 1874, a bill was introduced in the territorial legislature for the removal of the state's capital to Pueblo. A strong array of facts was presented by the Colorado Chieftain in support of the bill. A forty-acre tract of land was to be provided and a cash bonus was to be raised by Pueblo citizens to reimburse the state for certain expenses incident to the removal of the offices to Pueblo. This bill passed the house by a vote of 16 to 5, but was lost in the senate through the "perfidy" of a certain senator from the southern part of the territory.

The other incident was the proposed secession of Southern Colorado and the organization of the state of San Juan. This occurred in the year 1877 and was the result of the influence of certain men in this section, who felt that Denver and the northern part of the state were securing more than their share of the political honors of the state. A memorial was prepared to be presented to Congress pleading the right of the citizens to organize a new state, using as a precedent the case of West Virginia.

In the height of its popularity the movement suddenly collapsed through the influence of a newspaper article written by E. K. Stimson of Pueblo, holding the whole movement up to ridicule.


It is difficult for us to get the point of view of the frontiersman in regard to the Indians and how best to deal with them. He was not in position to apply any finely spun theory regarding the rights of the "poor Indian," or how to make him over into an American citizen. He was facing the stern fact which none knew better than he, of kill or be killed, and that in the very nature of things he could not live side by side with these Indians without his life and the lives of his family being in constant jeopardy. His logic was that the only trustworthy Indians were the dead ones. Nor had the hardy pioneer arrived at these conclusions by the study of any long drawn-out "reports of committees on Indian affairs." He had been driven to this way of thinking by bitter experience.

Undoubtedly, much injury was done, not only to the frontier settlers in the useless loss of hundreds of lives and millions of dollars worth of property, but to the Indian himself, by the sentimental attitude of the government in dealing with these aborigines. The whole problem resolved itself into this fact which is universal in history and biology, that the weaker and less developed life, — whether human or animal, must give way before the onset of a stronger and higher developed one. Any attempt to make the outcome otherwise, is but a fruitless endeavor to stem the tide of evolution. It were better by far that we should forget that chapter of American history which treats with governmental dealings with the Indians.

The adventures recorded in this chapter are the most typical ones gleaned from early records and given by word of mouth by pioneers who lived in the Pueblo region when its possession was disputed by the red men. They are true in-so-far as the writer has been able to determine their truth, and being true they may be lacking in that "thrill" which is typical of the "made- to-order" adventure. They possess a sufficient amount of interest, however, to have held spell-bound the juvenile members of a certain family upon many a star-lit evening as they were told and retold even to the point of being worn threadbare by repetitions. It is more on account of their interest than because of their historical value, that they are made a part of this book.

The most notable Indian massacre occurring in the immediate vicinity of Pueblo was the one which took place on Christmas Day, 1854, when the entire population of the old Pueblo fort was massacred.

The Utes who occupied the foothills region west of Pueblo, had been restless for several days before the date above mentioned and had begun wandering away from their usual confines out into the valley. Uncle Dick Wooten, who lived down at the mouth of the Huerfano, had been out on a hunting expedition to the Hardscrabble region above Pueblo. Noticing indications that an Indian outbreak was imminent, he put out immediately for home to make ready for a visit from these savages. This was the day before Christmas, and as Wooten passed the Pueblo fort, he stopped and warned its inhabitants not to permit any Utes to come within the fort. From this place he hastened on to his home on the Huerfano to make ready for the expected attack.

Unfortunately, the inhabitants of the fort did not take this warning seriously as we shall see. On the afternoon of Christmas a single Indian was seen galloping his horse up the trail to the fort. Upon his arrival he met the men with a friendly greeting and suggested to Sandoval, who was in charge of the fort, that they set up a target and try their skill as marksmen. Sandoval, believing that no danger could possibly arise from the presence of one Indian within the enclosure, permitted him to enter. A target was set up and with the entire group of men standing by the shooting began. Sandoval fired first and was followed immediately by the Indian; whereupon, two more Utes appeared riding up the trail. Upon their arrival they greeted the group with a friendly "How" and took their places among the other spectators. The next time four shots were fired and four Indians appeared. It was evident that the firing of the shots was a signal for more Indians to appear. The shooting was resumed and in a short time the entire band of Indians, fifty in number, had arrived and were intently watching the contest.

Blanco, the Ute chief, requested food for his followers, whereupon the entire group entered the fort. Food was given them as well as a liberal quantity of "Taos lightning." Suddenly, at a given signal the entire band of savages fell upon the occupants of the fort and began their massacre.

Against such odds these men were unable to contend and in a few minutes they were all killed except four, one woman, the two sons of Sandoval, seven and twelve years old, and one man who was shot through the cheek and left for dead. The woman was killed at a spring near by as they were leaving the fort but the boys were kept as captives, but were finally restored to their people after peace was made.

The Indians passed on down the Arkansas, bent on further bloodshed, but finding their other intended victims at Wooten's ranch, so well prepared for them, they did not risk an attack but returned to their camp far into the mountains.

The old fort remained deserted ever after this massacre, the superstition of the roving trappers of this region preventing their ever occupying the place again. Ghost stories of "hair-raising" type soon sprang up around the memories of the old adobe building which deterred even the most stout-hearted from ever taking up his abode there again. The "dobies" composing its walls were removed later, some being used in erecting the first buildings in Fountain City, and the remainder being placed in the walls of the first buildings of Pueblo proper.

The redoubtable Kit Carson was the chief character in an adventure with the Crow Indians which occurred in this vicinity some time before the occurrence just described.

Carson and nine associates were just returning from an extended trapping expedition into the northwest and had established a camp on the Arkansas near the present site of Pueblo to await the return of one of their number who had gone on to Taos to dispose of their furs. It was late in November when they arrived at the Arkansas and they had no sooner established themselves at this place than a wandering band of Crows passed through the vicinity of their camp and drove off several of their best horses and escaped under the cover of darkness.

Early the next morning Carson and his band made preparations to take up the pursuit of the thieves, but the situation was complicated by the falling of a light snow during the night and later by a large drove of buffalo crossing the already dim trail. With the instinct of the born hunter, Carson stuck to the trail and followed it throughout the entire day with the tenacity of a savage. Their route lay in the direction of the divide where a heavy snow covered the ground.

As night came on the party camped in the edge of a clump of cedars, when preparations were made for building a fire for protection against the frosty night. They had no sooner began these preparations than they perceived smoke arising only a few hundred yards in front of them. A careful reconnoissance revealed the presence of the Indians whom they were pursuing, apparently unsuspicious of the presence of their pursuers. Not daring even to build a fire, the group made themselves as comfortable as their situation would permit and patiently awaited the coming of darkness.

Under cover of night, while the savages were celebrating their successful escape by giving a war-dance, Carson and his men approached stealthily to the vicinity of the Indian camp and finding their stolen horses tethered near by, actually removed them to their own camp without being detected. The majority of the party was in favor of returning at once to their camp on the Arkansas with their recovered property. Carson, however, insisted stoutly that the thieves should be punished. His influence prevailed and a bold attack at daybreak was agreed upon. Just as light was beginning to break in the east, Carson and eight of his men marched boldly up to the sleeping camp and opened fire. Taken by complete surprise, the Indians were at first terror-stricken and lost heavily at the first fire, but soon rallied and from behind trees and rocks sent forth such a galling fire that the attacking party was forced to retreat. Being reinforced by one of their number, whom they had left in charge of the horses, they made another charge but were unable to dislodge the Indians, although several of the savages were killed. Back and forth they wavered throughout the entire forenoon. Finally, however, neither side being able to win, Carson and his party withdrew, their only casualty being a slight flesh wound, received by one member of their party. With their recovered property they took up the return march and arrived without further incident at their camp on the Arkansas.

Mr. David Proffitt, who has been a resident of Pueblo and other points in Southern Colorado for the past sixty years, remembers many lively tilts with the Indians which occurred during the time he was engaged in freighting from Kansas City to Fort Garland. His route lay over the Santa Fe trail, through Pueblo and south over the Sangre de Cristo pass. The adventure which is here given was told the writer by Mr. Proffitt himself and occurred upon one of his homeward trips from Fort Garland.

For safety three trains had united in making this journey across the plains, two trains of the Proffitt brothers and one belonging to a man named Miller, their wagons all being loaded with wool. There was accompanying them a man named Spencer, who had been permitted to avail himself of the protection of the train on his way back to the States. During all these journeys their vigilance was never permitted to abate, all the men being under strict military regulation. During this entire journey they were constantly watched by marauding bands of Indians. It was a strict rule that no person should separate himself from the train because of the presence of hostile Indians, but in spite of this rule, as they were passing along one day about eighty rods from the Arkansas river, it was suddenly noticed that Spencer had separated himself from the party and was approaching the river for the purpose of filling his canteen with fresh water. No sooner was his dangerous position discovered than a shot rang out and Spencer was seen to fall. The train was halted and the call to arms was given, as it was certain that a band of Indians was in ambush near by and that an immediate attack would probably be made.

An order was immediately given for a detachment of forty men to go to the rescue of Spencer. An arroyo extended to within a hundred yards of where Spencer lay wounded. Proffitt led the rescuing party safely to the point where the arroyo ended and on emerging to the open plains the landscape seemed suddenly to become alive with savages. A large band of savages charged the rescuing party while a still larger one attacked the wagon train, thus hoping to prevent an assistance from that quarter while they made a desperate attempt to cut off the rescuers from retreat. Proffitt and his party fell back to the arroyo and from that point sent forth such a terrific fire into the midst of the red-skins that they were compelled to withdraw, but the retreat was only temporary for in a few moments they emerged again and pressed the attack more furiously than before. The rescuing party was well nigh overwhelmed by the furor of the second attack, one of their best men being wounded. It was only through the fearless action of Proffitt, who at the most critical moment in the fight bravely mounted the bank and with a six-shooter in either hand, began dealing death to his murderous assailants, that the utter rout of his party was prevented. His action gave such courage to his comrades that they succeeded in repelling the second attack. As the Indians began to withdraw the party rushed forward to the place where Spencer lay wounded, and found that he had been shot in the hip. Proffitt raised him to a sitting posture and had just asked him whether he was badly hurt when the wounded man was again struck by a bullet which resulted in instant death.

Their return to the wagon train was even more hazardous than their advance had been. A determined assault was made upon them — this time by the combined strength of the savage forces, several hundred in number, the attack upon the wagon train having been abandoned. At this critical moment, however, the forces guarding the train, being relieved by the withdrawal of the Indians from that quarter, were able to make a flank attack which dealt such destruction to their savage foes that they withdrew, carrying some forty of their dead with them.

Another incident which occurred in this same vicinity and to the same party illustrates the danger to which these freighters were constantly exposed.

The train had halted at the river bank one afternoon somewhat earlier than usual. The oxen were "turned loose" and the men were taking a swim, their usual precautions having been taken to prevent a surprise by the Indians. It was noticed that a part of the oxen had strayed somewhat farther from the herd than usual and one of the men, whose name was Reed, started after them. Having reached a distance of several hundred yards from the river, a lone Indian mounted upon a pony, suddenly bore down upon him. Reed, being unarmed, was at the mercy of his antagonist. As the Indian approached nearer preparatory to firing, Reed, in desperation, caught up a handful of gravel which he threw directly into the face of the pony, causing it to swerve suddenly to one side. This caused the savage to miss his victim. The Indian turned and bore down upon him the second time. Reed had in the meantime taken from his pocket a small knife which he threw full into the face of his fiendish assailant, striking him in the forehead and inflicting a wound which bled profusely. Being blinded by the blood from his wound, the Indian in his confusion halted his horse for an instant, whereupon Reed suddenly caught him by the arm, and dragged him to the ground. There ensued a terrific struggle for the only weapon, the pistol. Reed proved the stronger and wrenching the gun from his antagonist, felled him with one blow upon the head and before assistance arrived the Indian had been killed and his pony was galloping away across the prairie.

In the summer of 1864 there occurred one of the most serious Indian outbreaks that this region had yet experienced. In fact the uprising was so general as to include most of the tribes of Colorado as well as of Kansas. Because of the defenseless condition of the settlers, the lives of hundreds of families in the region extending from Pueblo north beyond Denver, were placed in jeopardy. The fighting force of the Indians being so much greater than that of the settlers, placed the latter at a serious disadvantage. From the foot hills almost as far east as the Missouri river, these roving bands of savages held sway throughout that entire summer, while settlers in scattered groups were attempting to occupy a narrow strip of territory close to the foot hills. These brave-hearted men and women were truly "an island of civilization in a vast sea of savagery."

The Indians had planned a simultaneous attack along this entire front, hoping to rid themselves once for all of the presence of the settlers. To Elbridge Gerry, of Revolutionary ancestry, is due the everlasting gratitude of the entire frontier populace of the state for his timely warning of the impending attack.

Gerry had lived for many years on the Platte river some seventy miles east of Denver with his Cheyenne wife, and had enjoyed the confidence of the various Indian tribes of that region. One night, long after the Gerry household had retired, two Cheyenne chiefs arrived and warned the occupants that the attack would take place on the morrow. The plan was to send one hundred warriors to the valley of the Platte, two hundred fifty to the head of Cherry Creek and about four hundred fifty over the divide to Colorado City and down the Fountain valley to Pueblo. Upon being informed of this intended attack, Gerry immediately saddled his swiftest horse and stole quietly away and as soon as he was at a safe distance from the house, put spurs to his horse, never stopping until he drew rein in front of the governor's residence in Denver. Governor Evans, upon being apprised of the danger by which the foot-hill population was confronted, immediately dispatched swift couriers to warn the settlers of the impending attack.

The arrival of this courier in Pueblo caused intense consternation. The settlers in the remote districts of this region, being notified by couriers sent out from Pueblo, hastily loaded their possessions in farm wagons and came into town, where they remained until the danger subsided. The excitement was greatly augmented by the information that a band of Indians had been seen a few miles above Pueblo on the Fountain. An adobe block house was hastily built on Tenderfoot Hill and a stockade was erected near Third Street. The stockade, which was one hundred ten feet long and twelve feet high, was built of logs furnished by Eugene Weston, to whom the writer is indebted for the details of a part of this incident. School was closed, public gatherings were dispensed with and everyone was in an intense state of suspense. A squad of men did sentry duty day and night and for many days men scarcely slept, the attack being momentarily expected.

But the attack never materialized. The entire plan failed, due to the warning sent out by the governor. Wherever the Indians planned an attack they found that the settlers either were ready to give battle or that their houses had been abandoned and their valuables removed. Only three persons lost their lives in this attempted wholesale massacre. These persons lived on Cherry creek and had for some reason failed to heed the warning sent out by the governor. Although the general attack failed, the Indians continued on the war path throughout the entire summer and until late in the autumn. They were brought to terms only after the most severe chastisement ever administered this "scourge of the prairies," by an enraged populace.

One of the most fiendish crimes ever perpetrated by the savages occurred on the Santa Fe trail, a few miles below Pueblo in the late summer of 1864. Jack Smith, a half-breed Cheyenne, with a band of Indians, attacked a government wagon train on its way up the valley. Although the train was being escorted by a small group of soldiers, the attack was so fierce and so well planned that the entire party was soon overwhelmed and captured. Among those taken prisoners were a blacksmith, his wife and two boys. The wife was compelled to witness the horrible death of her husband by burning. The two boys were declared to be in the way and were killed by being dashed against one of the wagon wheels. After being repeatedly outraged by her fiendish captors, the woman succeeded in stealing stealthily from her bed in the middle of the night and with a leather thong committed suicide by hanging.

The government finally, but with inexcusable tardiness, authorized the organization and equipment of a regiment for one hundred days service for the purpose of punishing these Indians who had been spreading terror throughout the entire Colorado region. Under this authority the Third Regiment of Colorado Volunteers, with Col. George L. Shoup in command, was organized. Company G of this regiment was recruited almost entirely from Pueblo, the following persons being officers of the company : 0. H. P. Baxter, Captain ; S. J. Graham, First Lieutenant ; Andrew J. Templeton, Second Lieutenant. Among other members of the company, the following names have been preserved : Chas. D. Peck, Joseph Holmes, John W. Rogers, Jas. O'Neil, Abe Cronk, W. W. McAllister, John Bruce, John C. Norton, John McCarthy, Wm. H. Davenport, Jessie W. Coleman, H. W. Creswell, Henry B. Craig, Joseph W. Dobbins, Tom C. Dawkins, A. A. Johnson, L. F. McAllister, H. H. Melrose, F. Page and Eugene Weston. The company was brought up to its full quota by the addition of ten or eleven men from El Paso County, and on August 29, 1864, was mustered in at Denver as a part of the United States Army.

Company G was sent into camp at a point about five miles east of Pueblo. Here the company was obliged to wait two months for equipment. In October a snow nearly two feet deep covered the entire southern portion of the state. Roads were blocked, traffic ceased and all supplies were cut off. The little company of volunteers was facing starvation when the order was given by the commander to disband temporarily with instructions for each man to go to his home to remain until the weather would permit the sending of supplies to their camp. Within two weeks the roads became passable and supplies and equipment were forwarded from Denver, whereupon the company were reassembled.

The main body of troops had been encamped in Denver while awaiting equipment from the government. In November the entire regiment under Col. John M. Chivington, began moving south from Denver and in due time annexed Company G of Pueblo. Their course was down the Arkansas, although no one, not even the soldiers themselves, knew their destination. Leaving Pueblo on November 25, they moved by forced marches, allowing but six hours rest out of twenty-four, and in three days arrived at Fort Lyon, much to the surprise of the garrison at that place. Absolute secrecy as to the destination of this regiment had been maintained; every person encountered along the trail from Pueblo to Fort Lyon had been held a prisoner lest the presence of the troops should become known to the Indians.

It was known that the Indians who had been terrorizing the settlers, had gone into camp some distance north of Fort Lyon. It was also believed by many that the relations between the garrison at Fort Lyon and these Indians was of such character as to preclude the hope of securing any assistance from this source in a further prosecution of the purpose of the expedition. Subsequent events proved the semi-treasonable intercourse which had existed between the garrison and the Indians as well as the indifference of the commandant as to the success of this campaign against the savages.

Halting only long enough to procure food and water the order was given for each man to prepare rations for a three days' march and to be ready to move at 8 o'clock. Their course was due north and after an all-night's march over a difficult trail they came in sight of a large Indian village just at the break of day.

The regiment immediately opened fire upon the Indians, who fled in panic, but soon concentrated their forces along the banks of Sand creek, upon which stream the Indian camp was situated. The battle lasted from early morning until three or four o'clock in the afternoon. The fighting forces of the Indians met almost complete annihilation. In all about 500 Indians were killed, while the troops had ten of their number killed and forty wounded.

This, briefly, is an account of the famous Battle of Sand Creek. Few incidents in western history have been bolstered up by such an array of misstatements and absolute falsehood as has this famous engagement. Even at the risk of being accused of reviving a controversy long since settled, the writer can not refrain from deviating from the purpose of this chapter long enough to state the facts concerning this battle.

The following statements are based upon a discussion of this battle and the events leading up to it by Irving Howbert, who presents convincing documentary evidence in support of his statements.

The three chief accusations of the government against Colonel Chivington and his troops were that they had massacred a body of friendly Indians, who were under the protection of the government, that defenseless women and children were massacred under the instructions of Colonel Chivington and that Chivington acted without authority in taking such extreme measures against these Indians. The facts as presented by Mr. Howbert are as follows:

First, these Indians, far from being friendly, were viciously hostile, having been on the war-path the entire summer. They had in their possession at the time of the "massacre," property identified by some of the troops as belonging to residents of Pueblo and El Paso Counties. Fresh scalps were found in their tepees, some of which were those of women and children.

Second, there was little, if any unwonted killing of women and children, although it was impossible to avoid the killing of some of these owing to the fact that they were present in considerable numbers during the battle, the squaws in some instances taking an active part in the engagement.

Third, Major-General S. R. Curtis himself had instructed Col. Chivington to pursue these Indians regardless of district boundaries and to wage a war of extermination against them.

It is unfortunate that the so-called investigation instituted by the government in connection with this battle could not have been carried on in the interests of truth and that the right of Col. Chivington to an impartial hearing could not have been accorded him. Had it been so, the military record of this man, who never acted more safely within his rights or more nearly according to instructions, would not have been left with a cloud hanging over it.


One of the most romantic chapters in the history of the West is the one dealing with its railroads. It is a story of achievement by great men — men of keen insight, of prophetic vision — men with unbounded faith in the ultimate greatness of the West, whose faith was evidenced in many instances by the investment of the last dollar of the accumulated funds of a lifetime in western railroads.

From the time in the early fifties when the dream of a transcontinental railroad first began to take definite form, down to the present time when those magic steel bands extend to almost every nook and corner of the great west, the story of their progress is as attractive and enticing as the most fantastic novel.

The emigrant had no sooner left his abode in the Missouri river region to make his home in this western land, than he began to clamor for some regular method of communication with friends and relatives whom he had left behind. As early as 1849 government stage lines were established to form regular routes of communication with these isolated colonists, but it was not until the late sixties that the overland stage assumed the gigantic proportions which caused it to be looked upon as one of the wonders of the western world.

One of the most interesting episodes in connection with governmental attempts to solve the question of the conquest of the prairies, occurred in the year 1856, at which time the War Department, then being administered by Jefferson Davis, sent one of its representatives to Arabia for the purpose of purchasing camels. The idea was prevalent at that time that the only way successfully to cope with the problem of western transportation was by the oriental method. Under an appropriation of $30,000 by Congress, seventy-five camels were imported and sent to Texas to become acclimated. By the next year, however, Congress seemed to have outgrown the camel idea, and demanded something more speedy than the "ship of the desert." Accordingly, the postmaster-general was authorized to call for bids to establish a subsidized fast mail service from the Mississippi river to Sacramento. What became of the camels, history fails to record.

The first overland mail contract directly to the Pacific coast was let to a company headed by John Butterworth. Under this contract, the company was to maintain a semi-weekly service from St. Louis and Memphis to the Pacific coast via Preston, El Paso and Fort Yuma, the journey to occupy not more than twenty-five days. The company was to receive annually from the government, the sum of $600,000.

On September 15, 1858, stage coaches left opposite ends of this newly established line. The distance, which was 2,795 miles, was traveled in somewhat less than the required time.

This was but the beginning of numerous stage lines which began to penetrate to the remotest sections of the newly-discovered West. The discovery of gold in the Pike's Peak region soon brought the stage to Colorado to minister to the needs of the myriads who came pouring in. On June 7, 1859, the first stage coach of the Pike's Peak Express arrived in Denver, bearing the distinguished personage of Horace Greeley, who was making a tour of the west in the interests of his paper, the "Tribune."

By the year 1860 the stage company operating from Kansas City to Santa Fe began sending some of its coaches up the Arkansas into Southern Colorado, but constant Indian outbreaks caused this service to be suspended at intervals until after the close of the Civil War.

By far the most picturesque outgrowth of this overland mail service was the famous "Pony Express." In 1860 W. H. Russell, who was connected with the Pike's Peak Express Company, startled the country by announcing that on a certain date he would begin carrying letters between St. Joe and Sacramento in nine days. The best time that had been made up to this date had been twenty-one days. The charge for carrying letters was to be $5 each for letters weighing two ounces or less. The mail was to be carried by pony riders, who would make the distance between stations with as great speed as possible, the mail being passed to another rider, mounted on a fleet pony, who was waiting ready to dash on to the next station. Some two hundred of these stations were scattered along the route at convenient locations. Mere boys were employed as riders because of their light weight. Wm. F. Cody, "Buffalo Bill," was one of these. He showed his great endurance by riding 320 miles without rest.

The experiment of the "Pony Express" excited great interest throughout the country. At the first trial the riders started simultaneously from each end of the route, one rider upon a jet black pony of magnificent appearance, while the other was mounted upon a white one of splendid form. The initial trip was made in eight days and four hours, this time being subsequently lowered to somewhat less than eight days.

For a period of eighteen months the "Pony Express" continued to render valuable service to the western country during the opening stages of the war, but it went out of existence with the establishing of the Continental telegraph, which was accomplished in 1861. The expense of operating this line was so great that it was run at a loss from the beginning, the venture bringing ruin upon Russell and those associated with him.

Ben Holiday became the great power behind the overland stage business in the sixties, and after disposing of his interests to the Wells-Fargo Express Company, he put his indomitable energy into the building of railroads. Mark Twain illustrates Holiday's reputation throughout the West as a manager of stage lines in the following anecdote : A young man from the West was traveling in Palestine and vicinity with his teacher. On one occasion he was being told in glowing terms of the wonderful skill of Moses who led the people of Israel safely through the wilderness for a period of forty years, leading them in all a distance of 320 miles.

"Forty years? Only 320 miles!" said the young westerner in astonishment. "Why, Ben Holiday would have fetched them through in thirty-six hours."

Holiday not only conducted the main stage lines extending into the West, but he also controlled many spurs extending into most of the Rocky Mountain states. He developed the stage business into a huge system almost perfect in its mechanism, but the slow but sure encroachment of the continental railroad into this territory caused him to accept the inevitable and dispose of his business before the crash came, for by May, 1869 — much earlier than his successors, Wells- Fargo and Co., anticipated — the overland stage business was at an end, the last named company losing heavily because of its early termination.

With the completion of the Union Pacific railroad there came to an end an institution which constituted the greatest business enterprise that the country had seen up to that time, many millions of dollars being invested in the stage and freighting business. At Fort Kearney it is stated that in a period of six weeks, in 1865, trains comprising in all 6,000 freight wagons passed, on their way to the West. Russell, Majors and Waddell, during the height of their business, owned 6,250 wagons and 75,000 oxen.

After more than a decade of petty quarreling and bickering, much of which was due to sectional jealousy between the North and the South, Congress finally authorized the building of a transcontinental railway, subsidizing it heavily with public lands. This enterprise was scarcely under way e'er a corporation of energetic men was organized in Denver for the purpose of building a branch line from that place to Cheyenne, the nearest approach of the transcontinental road.

No group of men ever undertook a project in the face of greater discouragement or faced difficulties of greater magnitude than did the people of Denver when they undertook the building of the Denver Pacific Railroad. The success of the enterprise was finally assured by the voting of a half million dollars in county bonds and work was begun at the Denver end of the new road on May 18, 1868. On June 15, 1870, the first railroad train to enter the Colorado region, steamed into Denver. Two months later the Kansas Pacific Railroad also completed its line to the same point.

With the coming of these two roads, a new epoch in the development of Colorado was ushered in. Events transpired with a rapidity that was astounding. Railroad talk was heard on every hand and new lines were projected in every direction from Denver, but with such men as W. S. Cheesman, D. H. Moffat, J. B. Chaffee and W. J. Palmer and others of like character back of these movements, it was not at all surprising that many of these projects resulted in substantial roads.

On October 27, 1870, articles of incorporation of the Denver and Rio Grande Railway Company were filed, the incorporators being W. J. Palmer, A. C. Hunt and W. H. Greenwood, the board of directors being composed of W. J. Palmer, A. C. Hunt, both of Colorado, R. H. Lamborn of Philadelphia, U. P. Mellin of New York and Thomas J. Wood of Ohio. The capital stock was fourteen million dollars, and bonds at the rate of ten thousand dollars a mile were issued for construction purposes.

The faith, and the almost prophetic vision evidenced by General Palmer and his associates in projecting this enterprise and carrying it through to completion, is almost beyond belief. The original plan of the company was to build a road from Denver to El Paso, a distance of eight hundred and fifty miles. Although being confronted by financial difficulties which were almost insurmountable, and being obliged to divide territory and traffic with competing roads, the latter fact being unforeseen in the beginning, and being obliged to fight almost every inch of the way from Pueblo, before the close of the year 1883 the Denver and Rio Grande had pierced the chief mountain passes of Southern Colorado and New Mexico, and had almost reached the western border of the state, its direction having deviated from the course originally planned.

A more unpromising territory for a railroad which was to depend upon its immediate earnings for running expenses, than that through which this new road was to extend south of Denver, could scarcely have been found anywhere in the West. There was no town of any size along the entire line contemplated by the promoters, with the exception of Pueblo, and it was regarded as being too far to one side to really be considered in the territory to be pierced by the new road, the plan being to extend the line directly from Colorado City to Canon City and thence to Raton Pass.

On the 27th of July, 1871, the first rails were laid on the new road, and in October of the same year the track had been laid to the newly born town of Colorado Springs.

At this juncture the critical moment in the destiny of Pueblo arrived. Pueblo had hoped to secure the transcontinental line of the Union Pacific, and at one time it seemed that there was some ground for this hope. On July 9, 1869, the Congressional Committee, having in charge the preparation of a report on the southern branch, arrived in Pueblo on a tour of inspection. The committee proceeded to Denver from this point and from there a part of the committee extended their tour to California while the others returned to Washington. The hope of securing a railroad from this source soon faded away into a hazy mist, leaving Pueblo to secure railroad connections from some other source.

As was stated in the preceding chapter, a commercial organization had been perfected for the purpose of attracting the Union Pacific railroad to Pueblo. Its eastern division had been completed into western Kansas and there seemed strong ground for the hope that the road would traverse the Arkansas valley to Pueblo and Canon City. This Board of Trade was organized on January 30, 1869, with the following officers: President, M. D. Thatcher, vice president, George A. Hinsdale; B. F. Rockefellow, of Canon City, secretary, and Wilbur F. Stone as treasurer.

On the afternoon of the day on which the commercial organization was perfected, a mass meeting of Pueblo citizens was held in the old court house on Santa Fe, where the first campaign was inaugurated to secure a railroad for Pueblo. But as has already been stated this organization failed to interest the Union Pacific in the Arkansas valley route, hence Pueblo was obliged to turn her attention elsewhere.

The opening gun in the campaign to secure the Rio Grande Railroad for Pueblo was fired by the Colorado Chieftain six months before the road had commenced laying rails from Denver. In January, 1871, the Chieftain set forth in an admirable manner the reasons why a railroad into the Pueblo region would be a paying venture. The argument in brief was as follows : By situation and natural advantage Pueblo is destined to become the chief distributing point for Southern Colorado. It is already the business center of the rich agricultural and stock regions of the Arkansas, the Huerfano, the St. Charles, the Greenhorn, the Cucharas, the Chico and Turkey creek. Pueblo is the headquarters of the Southern and Eastern stage lines, and Pueblo is the richest county and comprises the most thickly settled district south of the divide.

Soon after this article appeared, agents of the Rio Grande appeared in Pueblo and intimated to certain citizens of that place that if the county would vote bonds and subscribe to a liberal amount of railroad stock, the route of the new road would be changed so as to include Pueblo. A mass meeting was held at the old court house on February 4, 1871, to deliberate over the matter. Among the leading citizens of Pueblo who were present at this meeting were Hon. Geo. M. Chilcott, Chas. D. Peck, R. M. Stevenson, J. D. Miller, 0. H. P. Baxter, M. H. Fitch, P. K. Dotson, M. L. Blunt, J. N. Carlile, John A. Thatcher, L. Conley and C. J. Hart.

There followed in rapid succession a meeting of the committee with the railroad officials, the calling of another mass meeting, the appearance in Pueblo of representatives of the Rio Grande to confer with the people, and a proposal from the Kansas Pacific which was rapidly completing plans to extend its line from the western border of Kansas up the Arkansas valley.

The appearance of the Kansas Pacific officials in Pueblo with a definite proposition to extend their road to this place, seriously complicated the situation. Theirs was to be a broad gauge road, while that of the Rio Grande was to be of the narrow gauge type. These men urged the people of Pueblo to consider carefully whether they wished to have direct communication with Kansas City or to tie themselves to the Rio Grande and thus surrender the destiny of their town into the hands of Denver.

Grave doubts existed in the minds of many as to the financial ability of the Kansas Pacific road to extend its line into this region, even with the assistance that might be rendered by Pueblo. Several weeks of discussion ensued, the final result of which was an agreement to petition the County Commissioners to call a special election for the purpose of voting bonds in aid of the Rio Grande project. The proposition presented by the officials of this road called for the purchase by the county of $100,000 in stock of the company, the same to be paid for by 30-year bonds bearing 8% interest. The road was to be completed to Pueblo within one year and a depot was to be established within a mile of the court house.

On June 9 of the same year the election was held, which resulted in a large majority in favor of the bonds. A total of 679 votes were cast, 576 of which were in favor of the bonds. By this act Pueblo County committed itself to a policy of bond voting which did not end until a million dollars in bonds had been voted to aid the various roads that desired to extend their lines into Pueblo. Some $450,000 of these bonds went by default, however, owing to the failure of some of the roads to fulfill the conditions under which the bonds were voted.

On February 1, 1872, a further issue of bonds, amounting to $50,000, was voted to aid the same company in the construction of a branch line to the coal fields of Fremont County.

Work on the line from Colorado Springs to Pueblo was soon begun and in the spring of 1872 the road began to approach Pueblo. It is impossible for those of later generations to have any adequate conception of the feelings of a people when the first railroad reaches the land in which they have established their homes. On May 30 of this memorable year, the Chieftain contained the following comment on the near approach of the railroad:

"The track layers are crossing Sutherland's ranch, twelve miles north of town, and the rails are said to be arriving as fast as they can be spiked down. A large water tank is nearly completed at Sutherland's and on Monday next trains will come down to that point, leaving only twelve miles for the stage. Verily, the gap grows smaller and beautifully less." On June 19, at 7 p. m., the last rail was spiked down at the depot near the east side of the present Mineral Palace Park, and the railroad to Pueblo was an accomplished fact.

On July 2 a grand excursion from Denver to Pueblo was given in honor of the new road, and an imposing reception was held in the new court house, which had just been completed. A special train arrived from Denver at one o'clock, bearing one hundred ten invited guests. From the depot the guests were escorted in carriages to the court house, where an elaborate banquet was served by the ladies, music being provided by the Pueblo Cornet Band. After addresses, fitting to the occasion, had been delivered by G. Q. Richmond, Geo. W. Chilcott and Wilbur F. Stone, of Pueblo, and replies by some of the Denver delegation, the guests were taken on an excursion to the principal points of interest in the vicinity of Pueblo. The celebration ended with a grand ball at the court house in the evening.

The readjustment of business and of the customs of the people, due to the advent of the railroad, must have been remarkable. Having habituated themselves to the slow and expensive method of transportation which had held sway for so many years, these people had well night ceased to travel. During the last year the stage was in operation between Denver and Pueblo, it carried an average of less than three passengers a day, while during the second year that the Rio Grande operated between the same points it carried a daily average of nearly one hundred people.

Although the year 1871 had seen the population of Pueblo nearly double, the year immediately following the advent of the railroad witnessed a veritable boom. As noted in a statistical sketch of the town published in January, 1873, one hundred seventeen buildings had been erected in 1871 at a total cost of $215,750, while in 1872 the total number of buildings erected was one hundred eighty-five, the total cost being $621,700. During the autumn of 1872, the East Pueblo addition was laid out by Lewis Conley, who, with about twenty-five others, began building operations in that section.

By far the most important result of the coming of the Rio Grande railroad was the founding of South Pueblo. The Central Colorado Improvement Company, which was an adjunct of the Rio Grande Railroad Company, had purchased a large tract of land lying directly south of Pueblo and known as the Nolan Grant. This was one of the famous Mexican grants, the title to which was guaranteed the owners by the treaty of 1848. This grant originally contained some 400,000 acres and extended six and a half leagues up the Arkansas from the mouth of the St. Charles river, and south to the Greenhorn range. In July, 1870, title to 48,000 acres of this grant was confirmed by Congress, and the Nolan heirs immediately sold the grant to Charles Goodnight and others — who, in turn, sold it to the Rio Grande. Under the name of the Central Colorado Improvement Company, plans were soon begun to place the entire tract under irrigation and to divide it into small tracts which were to be sold on easy terms to settlers. A ditch was surveyed, extending from the western border of this grant to its extreme eastern limits.

In the month of October, 1872, work was begun on the first buildings in South Pueblo, and within a month some fifteen or twenty houses had been erected. The town, as laid out, began immediately south of the river and extended far back upon the mesa, the first buildings being located on the low ground near the river. A vivid description by an eye-witness is quoted below:

"Very quietly, almost imperceptably, without any flourish at the hands of real estate owners or speculators, a new town has sprung into existence on the south side of the Arkansas, and unheralded and almost unthought of, is moving forward to commercial prosperity with the force and momentum of an avalanche. A few weeks ago the resident of Santa Fe Avenue found his vision obstructed only by one or two dwellings on the other side of the river. He now is surprised to behold roofs of dwellings and broad, well arranged streets, while his ears are assailed by the din and clatter of saws and hammers. The construction of a branch railway to the coal fields of Fremont County was the enterprise which awoke to life the addition on the south side of the river."

The second chapter in the railroad history of Southern Colorado opened in September, following the arrival of the Rio Grande, when the Kansas Pacific, organized in Colorado as the Arkansas Valley Railway Company, requested a subscription from Pueblo County to stock in their company to assist in building their road from the eastern border of the state to Pueblo. Receiving sufficient encouragement from leading citizens, the Commissioners called a special election to vote on the question of issuing bonds.

At this juncture there appeared on the scene the representatives of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, acting in this state under the corporate name of the Kansas and Colorado Railroad Company, and proposed to build a road to Pueblo and to complete it in much less time than was promised by the rival road, whereupon there ensued one of the most exciting scenes that had ever been enacted in the town. The voting population seemed utterly unable for several weeks to determine which of the two roads should receive their support. Wild stories of Santa Fe money being used freely to purchase favor were circulated throughout the entire county, much credence being given these stories by the sudden action of the Commissioners in postponing the election in behalf of the Kansas Pacific road and placing the date for the Santa Fe proposition one week before the Kansas Pacific election. The Santa Fe proposition was voted upon on January 15, 1873, and that of the Kansas Pacific on January 22, and greatly to the surprise of every one, both propositions carried, thus adding $400,000 in railroad bonds to the $150,000 already voted.

It should be noted at this point that neither of these bond issues were ever made, as the Kansas Pacific road soon became involved in such financial difficulties that it was utterly unable to make any further extension of its line and the Santa Fe soon united with the Colorado and New Mexico Railway, the Pueblo and Salt Lake Railway and the Pueblo Arkansas Valley Railway, and participated in a bond issue of $350,000 which had been voted in March, 1874, to the Salt Lake road. By this consolidation of the various competitors for the Arkansas valley route, the long sought for eastern road to Pueblo was assured. The new road was completed to Pueblo on February 26, 1876, and formally opened on March 1st by monster excursions from Denver and points in Kansas.

The Rio Grande road had not anticipated any competition in the region into which its road was to extend, and it looked upon the Santa Fe as an interloper, but the latter road soon not only began to plan extensions that would parallel the Rio Grande, but that would also control the chief mountain passes of Southern Colorado. The conflict between these two roads resulted in one of the most spectacular, and at the same time most disgraceful railroad wars ever witnessed in connection with the building of American railroads. The Rio Grande had planned an extension through Raton Pass and another through the Royal Gorge, but its wily antagonist hastily gathered a force of men and secured possession of Raton Pass, thus effectually blocking the former road. In April, 1878, the Santa Fe began grading from Pueblo to Canon City, its intention being to parallel the road of its enemy to Canon and also to extend its operations far enough into the Gorge to prevent the Rio Grande from occupying that important pass.

In some manner the intention of the Santa Fe to occupy the Royal Gorge became known to the officials of the Rio Grande, who immediately began to take steps to prevent it. The Santa Fe, learning that their intentions had become known to their rival and that steps were being taken to thwart their purpose, immediately dispatched their chief engineer, William R. Morley, who was at that moment at La Junta, post haste to procure a force of men and hold the gorge against the enemy. Morley secured an engine and made a record breaking trip to Pueblo, but upon applying to the Rio Grande for a narrow gauge engine with which to continue his journey to Canon City, was met with a prompt refusal. This occurred at 3 a. m., at which time Morley also learned that Palmer was ready to send a force of one hundred men to the Gorge early that day. Baffled in his attempt to secure an engine, Morley at once hired a swift horse and started on a forty-five mile race to Canon City, hoping to arrive there ahead of Palmer's men.

A wild race ensued with odds slightly in favor of Morley, owing to his early start, but just before reaching Canon City his horse fell dead from exhaustion. It looked now as if the Rio Grande would win, but the intrepid Morley immediately resumed the race on foot. He arrived in Canon City where he immediately gathered a force of one hundred fifty men and rushed them to the mouth of the Gorge, where he awaited the coming of his disappointed rival.

The Rio Grande apparently defeated on every hand, and having incurred heavy burdens of debt because of its southern extension, was on the verge of bankruptcy when announcement was suddenly made that it had leased its entire system to the Santa Fe. The details of the lease were rapidly completed and on December 2, 1878, the Santa Fe took possession under a thirty year lease. This movement stopped the war but immediately started another one.

It soon became apparent that the ultimate purpose of the Santa Fe was to build up the trade of its own main line from Kansas City, using Pueblo as a center and the Rio Grande lines as feeders. Since this would sacrifice the prestige of Denver and seriously cripple the development of the Rio Grande, a strenuous remonstrance was filed in court. This was followed by a court order requiring the surrender of all the Rio Grande property to its owners.

At this juncture both parties flew to arms, the Rio Grande officials demanding the possession of their property and the Santa Fe stoutly refusing to surrender. Judge Bowen instructed the sheriffs located at4;he various points along the Rio Grande, to see that the order of the court was carried out. At Pueblo the sheriff telegraphed the governor that an armed mob had taken possession of the Rio Grande depot and had refused to surrender. Governor Pitkin refused to take part in the impending war, and instructed the sheriff that he must act upon his own discretion. With a body of deputies the door of the dispatcher's office was forced. Several shots were fired, but no one was hurt. A. C. Hunt of the Rio Grande arrived on the scene about dark with a force of two hundred men, having secured possession of all Rio Grande property between Denver and Pueblo. Hunt proceeded to Canon City and soon secured possession of the company's property in that place.

In the meantime the Santa Fe had appealed the case to the higher court.

The events just narrated occurred on June 11th. On the 12th of June Judge Hallett reversed the decision of the lower court, stating that Judge Bowen had erred in issuing the dispossessing order in favor of the Rio Grande. He ordered the property restored to the lessee and suggested that the only recourse of the Rio Grande was to contest the lease.

It was some time later than this that the suit filed in the Royal Gorge case was decided in favor of the Rio Grande. After fighting until their strength was exhausted, these two roads learned the lesson which all railroads have learned and found so valuable since that time, namely, that co-operation and not competition brings the greatest assurance of ultimate success.

It would be interesting to follow the history of the railroad stock owned by the county and to recount the various refundings of the county bonds, but space will permit but a brief statement concerning this matter.

On July 1, 1885, bonds to the extent of $225,000 were refunded at 6%, the original bonds bearing 8%. Again, on January 1, 1897, a refunding took place, new bonds to the extent of $350,000 being issued; this included all outstanding indebtedness up to that date. This issue of 1897 was again refunded at 4% in 1911, thus saving a large amount annually in interest.

In 1877 the Santa Fe officials approached the County Commissioners and offered to purchase the stock of the Santa Fe Railroad Company, then being held by the county to the amount of $350,000, for the cash consideration of $50,000. The commissioners, through the press, gave notice that unless protests by at least fifty tax payers were filed with them before a certain date, the stock would be disposed of at the price stated above. Some 190 tax payers filed a remonstrance, whereupon an election was announced by the commissioners for April 23, to determine what action the people desired the county officials to take in the matter. So unpopular did the Santa Fe's proposal become that they requested the matter to be dropped without permitting it to come to a vote. Charges and counter charges were freely made and "fraud" and "swindle" were directed at many of those concerned in the attempted sale of this stock at a price far below its real value. Shortly after this episode the stock was placed on the market, through Messrs. Ballou and Co., of Boston, and was sold at 63 cents on the dollar, $50,000 worth being sold at par.

Instead of receiving $50,000, as was originally offered by the Santa Fe, the county received a total of $239,000.

In the course of time there came other railroads to Pueblo, attracted thither by the ever increasing carrying trade of Southern Colorado, but the history of none of these contain the romantic elements in such degree as characterized the early history of the two roads already discussed, nor was their influence upon the development of the Pueblo region as marked as was the influence of these earlier roads.

With the coming of the railroad to Pueblo, came also the dimming of the trail. No more would the wagon train be seen struggling up the dusty valley or across the treeless plains ; never again would the Indian have such opportunity for plunder and murder. The old has passed away — a new regime is being ushered in, for the whistle of the engine resounds down the valley.


One of the most remarkable occurrences of the nineteenth century was the unprecedented growth of American cities. At the beginning of that century the United States had but six cities of 8,000 inhabitants or more ; in 1880, there were 286 and in 1900 the number had grown to 545. In 1800, less than four per cent of our population lived in cities ; at the present time this percentage has increased to nearly fifty. The fundamental causes of this rapid increase in our urban population — the substitution of mechanical for muscular power, the application of machinery to agriculture, and the development of railroads — are such as promise its continuance for an unlimited time in the future. The most vivid imagination can scarcely conjecture what the present century will bring forth in the way of the growth of American cities. During the decade from 1900 to 1910, sixty-three cities in the United States of over 10,000 population, increased more than 100 per cent in population, while out of more than six hundred cities of this class but twenty-three showed any decrease during the same period. In view of these facts it behooves every city in the land, our own included, to lay broad foundations for the future.

Pueblo presents an interesting case for the study of the development of cities. In the brief space of one generation her population has increased from less than 1,000 to more than 50,000. In the fifteen years from 1870, at which time the town was considered as well established, its increase in population was 1,700 per cent; the next fifteen years saw an increase of 243 per cent. From 1900 to 1910 the increase was in excess of fifty per cent — to be exact, 57.7 per cent, and it is extremely probable that the present decade will experience an increase even greater than that of the previous one. This is a remarkable record when our attention is called to the fact that this growth has been attended by but very little of "boom" or "wild-cat" speculation, such as has characterized the history of so many of our western cities. In the face of three serious national panics, Pueblo has forged steadily forward, never having received a serious set-back during the entire period.

The reason for this unusual record of growth has its foundation in Pueblo's geographical situation, which has brought to the city the most substantial industries and the most complete and efficient transportation facilities of any city in the entire Rocky Mountain region. The story of the industrial development of Pueblo is, indeed, a "tale of two cities" — Pueblo proper and South Pueblo. In fact, modern Pueblo is composed, not of the union of two cities alone, but of four distinct municipalities. The present strength of the city is due in a great measure to this combination of forces.

As has already been shown, Pueblo proper had its beginning in the spring of 1860, and on the north side of the Arkansas. South Pueblo was laid out some twelve years later, its first business houses being located in the bottoms near the bluffs, while the first residences were erected on the mesa in the vicinity of what is now known as Mesa Junction. This town on the south side of the Arkansas was incorporated October 27, 1873.

There was a large tract of land lying between these two towns which, in a sense, was a sort of "no man's land." Because of the periodic overflowing of the river, this tract was first upon one side and then upon the other of the river. It was largely occupied by "squatters" in early days, but, as the course of the river gradually came to be controlled, this land assumed considerable importance and finally a town, Central Pueblo, was established and on June 21, 1882, was incorporated.

On March 20, 1886, by a popular vote of the three municipalities the union of forces took place. The town of Bessemer, which was laid out in 1880, was the child of the present Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. The town was incorporated in July, 1886, and in March, 1894, Bessemer was annexed to Pueblo.

Pueblo, being situated at the head of one of the richest agricultural valleys in the state, supplies the agricultural wants to a vast population in this valley and also ministers to the wants of one of the most extensive mining districts of the Rocky Mountain region. In its wider aspects, Pueblo is the trade center, not only of the entire southern part of the state, but also of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Western Nebraska and Kansas and the northern parts of Oklahoma and Texas, comprising a region whose natural resources have scarcely been touched and the possibilities of whose industrial development is just beginning to be realized.

The location of Pueblo, in the midst of the greatest Coal producing section of the West, assures forever her prestige as a manufacturing center. Of the 1,800 square miles of coal lands in Colorado, the greater part is adjacent to Pueblo. When we remember that the city is so situated with reference to these coal lands, as well as to the sources of all raw materials produced in the West, that they may all be hauled to Pueblo on a down grade, we easily see what a profound influence its location will exert upon its future growth. If any other proof is needed of the certainty of the brilliant future in store for Pueblo, it is found in the fact that it is situated at the gateway of the only natural passage in the state, from the Mississippi valley to the Pacific coast.

The Honorable William D. Kelly of Pennsylvania, an expert on the production of pig iron, delivered an address in Pueblo in 1882, which not only illustrated his keen insight into the possibilities of Pueblo's location, but also expressed in clear language the basis of Colorado's greatness. He said in part, "There are three causes which create great and enduring states. First, the possession of immense masses of precious metals. This it was that called together the people of California, Australia and of Colorado when it was announced that there was gold at the foot of Pike's Peak. Another, that some part of the state and some of the cities shall lie on a great line of inter-state travel, and furnish points for the exchange of commodities or in plain language, have facilities for the establishment of commercial centers. My third proposition is that the possession of the materials for the production of iron and steel, and adequate fuel and fluxes for working them, will give prominence and prosperity to a state." A few days later in Leadville, Mr. Kelly stated : "The production of iron and steel, and establishment of every branch of industry dependent upon the production of these metals, may be established more advantageously at Pueblo than at any other place I know of on the face of the globe."

A further advantage enjoyed by Pueblo, because of her geographical situation, is her most equable climate. The city is in a latitude low enough to escape many of the extremes of winter temperature and yet not too far south to experience the extremes of southern heat. As these lines are being penned, although it is in the midst of winter, the city has enjoyed an almost unbroken winter of sunshine and warmth, while during this same period, the entire northern part of the state has been in the grip of snow and ice. Comparative statistics from the Federal weather bureau indicate that there are few cities whose variation from the normal in temperature, wind and rain-fall is as slight as that of Pueblo. Pueblo's climate has been one of the important factors in the development of its industries; health and comfort go hand in hand with efficiency.

As has been pointed out in a previous chapter, Pueblo's growth dates from the coming of the Rio Grande railroad in 1872. Other roads soon saw the strategic value of gaining a foothold in this region and, within slightly more than a decade, three other roads had pierced this territory, making at the present time four trunk lines, the Denver and Rio Grande, the Santa Fe, the Colorado and Southern and the Missouri Pacific centering in Pueblo. In addition to these there are other local lines radiating from the city.

This complete railroad system makes possible, not only the bringing in of raw materials to our factories, but it also provides a perfect system for their distribution throughout all local territory as well as to all eastern points. Pueblo has grown to be the largest railroad center in this western region and receives "a greater tonnage of freight than is received by any city between the Missouri river and the Pacific coast. An army of nearly five thousand men, living in Pueblo, receive employment from the various railroads entering the city. Jay Gould once said of Pueblo : "It holds the key to the railroad situation in the West."

The smelting industry of Pueblo dates from the year 1880, when Mathers and Geist erected the first buildings of the plant then known as the Pueblo Smelting and Refining Company, but now known as the American Smelting and Refining Company. Somewhat later than this the United States Zinc Company erected its plant three miles east of the city and established the suburb of Blende. This plant has the distinction of being the largest of its kind in the United States. The two concerns provide employment for more than a thousand men.

Since the steel industry constitutes the backbone of Pueblo's prosperity, it is fitting that more attention be paid to it than to other industries of the city. The development of the stuponduous industry of steel production has been so sudden and so spectacular as to fairly daze the intellect of him who attempts to grasp its significance. Fifty years ago the steel industry, as it is known at present, was not even dreamed of. "If this unparalleled development had been the result of centuries, it would still be wonderful enough; but it is practically the result of one generation's sowing. There is not a chapter of ancient history in the Story of Steel. Any one who visits the little Pennsylvania town of Bethlehem may still see John Fritz, who might almost be called the father of the steel mill. In Louisville still lives the little white-haired old lady, the wife of William Kelly, the original inventor of what is called Bessemer Steel."

The story of William Kelly, the Irish inventor of our present Bessemer process of steel manufacture, is the same old story of intermittent success and failure, disappointment, bankruptcy, humiliation and final victory, that has attended the development of many of our most important industries. Interesting though the story of steel may be, we must omit that part of it which does not have a direct bearing upon the development of that industry in the city of Pueblo.

The history of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company reads like a romance. The battle between John W. Gates and J. C. Osgood, father of the institution, and the victory of the latter, the titanic struggle between Osgood and E. W. Harriman, a second victory for Osgood, but at a terrible cost, are stories that have never yet become a part of written history. Osgood, being in desperate straits during the attack of Harriman, received two deliverers with open arms, but, like the Briton of old, these two men, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and George J. Gould, whose assistance he had asked, proved to be his Hengest and Horsa, for, although he succeeded with their assistance in defeating his antagonist, he no sooner threw himself free from his grip than he found himself overshadowed by his allies, to whose influence he was obliged to succumb.

The present Colorado Fuel and Iron Company had its beginning on January 23, 1880, and was organized by the same forces that brought the Denver and Rio Grande railroad to Pueblo. Foremost among this group of men were General William J. Palmer, Robert M. Lamborn and William A. Bell. Three small concerns, The Central Colorado Improvement Company, The Southern Colorado Coal and Town Company and The Colorado Coal and Steel Works Company, were united on the date above mentioned to form the Colorado Coal and Iron Company, with more coal than iron.

A. H. Danforth supervised the making of the first iron at this place. Work on the plant was commenced in February, 1880, although no iron or steel were manufactured until the next year, the first furnace being blown on September 9, 1881. "The foundry and the machine, carpenter and pattern shops were the only other structures then standing on the site of the now Minnequa Works, which was at that time far out on a desolate cactus-strewn waste, over two miles from any well settled part of Pueblo. April 7, 1882, the first steel was made in the converter. About this time, the Colorado Coal and Iron Company started to build the puddling mill and nail mills."

In the year 1892, a further consolidation of companies was effected, the result of which was the organization of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, with J. C. Osgood at its head. Osgood was an unusual man, and the early success of the new company was due in a great measure to his rare ability. His keenness in judging men made it possible for him to surround himself by a coterie of business and political advisors of unusual merit. The success of this new company soon drew the attention of eastern capitalists and precipitated the fight to which reference has already been made, and which resulted in the resignation of Osgood. No blame seems to attach to any one for Osgood's retirement ; he simply became overshadowed by his partners and preferred oblivion to a position of dependence. In resigning he declared that he refused to be a "hired man, no matter who his employer might he."

Grave doubt existed in the minds of eastern steel men as to the possibility of making steel rails in Colorado ; Osgood's answer to his doubters was the sale of an order of rails to the Santa Fe Railroad on condition that they be laid in Joliet, in front of the plant of the Illinois Steel Company.

Osgood had selected, as his business associates, three personal friends, Julian A. Kebler, Alfred C. Cass and John L. Jerome. These men, known as the "big four," controlled the destiny of the company for a decade, but upon Osgood's retirement, his three friends and business associates all died within a brief space of five months.

While Osgood's management of the company had been along broad and constructive lines, a serious handicap had been experienced on account of a lack of funds, but with the change of ownership came the unlimited backing of the Gould and Rockefeller millions.

Under this new management, therefore, the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company began a period of expansion which has made of Pueblo the real "work-shop of the west," and the end is not yet, for with the unlimited resources of this western region and the ever increasing demand for iron and steel products, this industry will continue to exert a most important influence upon the future development of the city. This company now employs more than six thousand men at the Pueblo plant, and maintains a pay-roll of more than a half million dollars a month, to say nothing of the vast army of men employed in its coal and iron mines throughout the Rocky Mountain region.

Pueblo possesses fifty or more smaller manufacturing concerns which provide regular employment for more than a thousand men throughout the year. Two of these establishments deserve more than passing notice. The saddle industry in Pueblo has been brought to such a high state of perfection as to attract attention in foreign countries. Pueblo saddles are being shipped throughout various parts of the world. The other industry to which reference should be made is that of the manufacture of tents. Pueblo tents not only reach every part of the United States, but a regular trade has been established with the United States Government, Mexico and Canada. The Northwest Mounted Police of Canada are supplied with Pueblo made tents. The total pay-roll of Pueblo amounts to more than a million dollars a month.

Pueblo is the third largest city in a vast region comprising nearly 900,000 square miles, being surpassed in population only by Denver and Salt Lake City. It is already the greatest railroad center as well as the manufacturing center of this region, and is destined to become the metropolis in point of population as well as in its industrial strength. The reasons for this view are, briefly, as follows : The p

resent metropolis of the Rocky Mountain region gained its prestige through the creation of a temporary and wholly artificial situation in the northern part of the state. It is shut from the Pacific coast by a solid wall of granite more than two hundred miles in extent, and for this reason is most awkwardly situated, geographically, to be able to maintain its leadership indefinitely. When the 900,000 square miles of territory, comprising the Rocky Mountain region, reach a more complete state of development, all artificial barriers will be swept away and natural trade laws will assert themselves. When this time arrives it will be seen that, of the three leading cities of the Rocky Mountain region, Pueblo alone has the proper location and other facilities to give her the industrial leadership of this vast area.

It is scarcely probable that the present generation will live to see the fulfillment of this prophecy, although on our western coast events far more improbable have transpired within the span of one generation. It is also true that New York City was obliged to wait for mote than a century to be recognized as the metropolis of the United States, and after it had been in existence 175 years its population was but 33,000. Yet there is no one now, who cannot easily point out the forces which made New York City the metropolis of the nation.

In like manner it may require a wait of many generations to bring about the readjustment of industrial conditions in the West along natural lines. Artificial conditions may cause a temporary suspension of the laws of nature, but it should be remembered that in the end the laws of evolution are inflexible in trade development as well as in other kinds of growth.

Pueblo is just entering a period of greater growth than it has enjoyed at any time during the present century. It is probable that the next fifteen years will see its population reach the one hundred thousand mark, and what the century may bring forth, in the way of increased population, no one can guess.

It has been pointed out by Casson, as well as by McCrary, that Pueblo's location is unique for beauty. Casson writes as follows : "Of all the iron cities of the world, Pueblo has the most picturesque location. It stands three-quarters of a mile above the level of the sea, at the foot of the red crags of the Rockies. Its smoke is blown against the hoary head of Pike's Peak, fifty miles northward. To the east stretch a thousand miles of level field and mesa, across which come five busy railroads." From McCrary's report we read that, "Pueblo's site is a picturesque one at the junction of the Arkansas and Fountain rivers. Unlike most cities of the plain, the face of the earth here has a good many bumps, which prevent monotony through the city, and which are at once the city's great assets for beauty." A definite opportunity presents itself to Pueblo, on the eve of its greater development, for laying the foundations of a great city along modern lines. It has been a cause for keen disappointment to those now occupying our large cities that the past generation failed to plan definitely for the greater growth of these cities, as well as to regulate and direct their development along lines that would result in a higher degree of civic beauty as well as greater comfort to those now occupying them. Pueblo must not make this mistake. The present generation faces the opportunity now, of inaugurating a system of civic improvements in this city which will not only attract people from all over the country, but will also cause future generations to "rise up and call them blessed."


When one views the progress made by our American public schools in the last fifty years, he stands amazed that an institution of such magnitude and possessing such a high degree of efficiency could be developed in so brief a time. True, the origin of our free public schools dates farther back than fifty years ago, but it is equally true that it has been much less than fifty years since our free schools seriously set themselves at the task of educating the public.

If any one should have prophesied, at the close of the Civil War, that in fifty years every city of three thousand or more inhabitants in the United States would have a college which every young person in the community might attend without cost, he would have been declared insane, but this is exactly what has transpired. Today, every young person in this broad land, who lives in a city large enough to support a modern high school, has an opportunity to secure an education equal to that offered by the colleges of fifty years ago. Such historic institutions as Harvard, Princeton and Yale, whose work has always been above high school grade, should be excepted from this comparison.

In this brief space of time an equal advance has been made in elementary schools. Fifty years ago it was assumed that any one was qualified to teach in elementary grade. It was quite the custom to give the school, which was usually conducted for three or four months during the winter, to most any needy person in the community — the chief requirement being that he be needy. Less than a quarter of a century ago the writer taught in a middle western state with an education equal to not more than that offered in a sixth grade at the present time. How different do we find the situation today, when practically every youth in this great nation is under the instruction of a trained teacher, selected because of his special qualifications for educational work.

In other features of educational work the progress has been equally marked; this is particularly true of two features, namely the equipment of school buildings and the wide range of subjects taught. When we add to this the movement of our state universities in bringing a real university to the various sections of the country, the statement, made in the opening sentence of this chapter, is justified, that one "stands amazed" at the magnitude and high degree of efficiency of our system of public schools.

The history of the development of the public schools of Pueblo, were it to be written, would contain all that is remarkable and wonderful in the development of our American public schools at large. Beginning in a one-room cabin of small dimensions, there have been developed in the city of Pueblo, within one generation, two of the most efficient school systems to be found anywhere in the West. A few persons are yet living in Pueblo who have witnessed the evolution of our schools from their embryonic stage back in the early sixties. These schools represent the flower of which the little cabin on Santa Fe Avenue was the seed.

In every American community there has been a definite order in which its institutions have been established ; first the general store and the lodging house, and after these the school and the church, established either simultaneously or one at a time, in the order named. This chapter makes no pretense of giving a complete history of the Pueblo schools, but is rather a record of their early development.

One of the first legal acts of our board of county commissioners, at their first meeting, held on February 17, 1862, was the levying of a tax of one-half mill for school purposes. The income derived from a half-mill tax in Pueblo county at that time was very small — too small in fact to make possible the opening of a school without other assistance. The first school building which was erected, therefore, was paid for largely by private subscriptions.

This building was completed and ready for use in the fall of 1863. Its location was on Santa Fe Avenue, about where the rear end of the building at 421 North Santa Fe now stands. It is stated, by one who attended school in this building, that it was a frame structure about sixteen by twenty feet. This diminutive building served the community for all school purposes until the erection, in the year 1869, of the "Adobe School," at Eleventh and Court streets. Two members of the first board of education were Jack Thomas and Captain Wetmore; the name of the third has been lost in the hazy mists of the past.

The person having the distinction of being the first school teacher in Pueblo, was George Bilby. Mr. Bilby came to Colorado in the late fifties and was, by occupation, a miner, having taken an active part in the California Gulch excitement in 1860. He spent practically all of his life in Pueblo county, being at one time under sheriff and again, city marshal. Mr. Bilby has a son, George F. Bilby, and two daughters, Mrs. Ollie Stewart and Mrs. Clara Barr, who still reside in Pueblo.

Among those who attended school in this first building, the following are still living in Pueblo: M. Scott Chilcott, P. T. Dotson, Jeff Steel and H. E. Steel. Some interesting and exciting accounts are given by Mr. Bilby's "scholars" of their teacher's ability in wielding the rod. There is a rumor also to the effect that some of his pupils objected so strenuously to his castigations that certain articles of school furniture were badly demolished e'er the question of mastery was settled.

The summer of 1864 was an interesting one for the school. Miss Clara Weston, a sister of Eugene Weston for many years a resident of Pueblo, was employed to teach a summer term. She, with her sister, lived at the home of A. A. Bradford, on the east side of the Fountain river. Miss Weston adopted a method of crossing the river which, to present day members of her profession, would be pronounced at least unique. For four months this young teacher removed her shoes and waded that stream twice a day in going to and from school. Since there was no bridge, the only other method was to cross on horse back, but in true pioneer style Miss Weston resorted to the primitive method.

During this summer, the school was closed for several weeks, owing to a threatened attack by the Indians. At this time practically every woman from Beaver creek on the west, to a point twenty-five miles below Pueblo, was crowded into the stockade built for the defense of the populace. A serious salt famine occurred at this juncture, the situation finally being relieved by securing a quantity of this indispensable article, the price paid being a dollar a pound.

Miss Weston, now Mrs. McCannon, is still living, her home being in Denver. Among others who taught in the old building were George Peck and E. A. Jamison.

It was during this early period that some of the more serious difficulties of the district occurred. A county superintendent absconded with school funds to the amount of $652.97, which amount was collected from his bondsmen, N. Paquin and G. M. Chilcott.

In 1866, C. H. Kirkbride filed his bond with the county commissioners as the first county superintendent of schools, and in that same year School District Number One was organized. It should be remembered that it was several years after the organizing of the first school before it became necessary to extend the school system beyond the settlement at Pueblo. The income from the school tax continued small. We note from the county records in 1868 that the tax levy for school purposes was five mills, and that it yielded an income of $2,043.78. If we assume that the assessed valuation of property in 1862 was as great as in 1868, we see that the first school tax levied would have yielded an income of barely more than $200. It was not probable that the valuation at this earlier date would have been half as great as in 1868, hence the income with which to inaugurate the school system of Pueblo in 1863 amounted to the munificent sum of $100 or less.

The school report, which is given below, tells more of the early school on Santa Fe Avenue than it would be possible to give in an entire page of description:

"Report for the week ending Friday, December, 18, 1868.

The following were constant and punctual in attendance at school for the week ending, Friday, Dec. 18, 1868:

Olivia Waggoner
John Waggoner
Sarah Waggoner
Charles Shaw
Alice Allen
James Rice
Emeline Shaw
Ambrose Bradford
Frances Burt
Charles Hinsdale
Douglas Wetmore
Frank Davis
Max Dickerman
Adolph Nathan
Florence Allen
Lewis Nathan
Nettie Allen
Average daily attendance 39
E. A. JAMISON, Teacher."*

By the year 1869 the school population had increased to such extent as to require the erection of a larger school building. Accordingly, a site was purchased at Eleventh and Court streets upon which the adobe building was erected and for twenty years it occupied the south-east corner of the block upon which the Centennial building now stands. Before the erection of this building the old Methodist church, which still stands at the corner of Seventh and Main streets, had been rented for school purposes, the board paying $15 a month for its use. This school building was completed in March, 1871.

The complete itemized report of the erection of this building was published by the school board in the Chieftain under the date of April 30, 1871, and contains items of sufficient interest to warrant its publication in full. The report is as follows :

Amount paid for south half of Block 20, $100 ;

deed $3 $ 103.00

P. Craig's bill, stone for foundation 180.00

Do. sand, etc 15.75

Lewis Conley, plan for house 25.00

Mariana Gormez, making adobes 207.00

R. N. Daniels, lime 35.00

G. B. Schidmore, lime 15.30

Z. G. Allen, laying foundation and walls 540.00

Do., material furnished 28.25

M. Huese, hauling sand 8.00

Eichbaum & Co., for water 8.80

Gomer, for lumber 885.53

Ferd. Barndollar & Co., lumber 190.00

Thomas Owen, carpenter's bill 875.00

Thatcher Bros., material furnished 102.28

Jacob Schipper, painting and glazing 60.00

William Edmundson, plastering 218.39

Steinberger & Co., paints and oils 18.80

H. E. A. Pickard, brick for chimney 6.30

Stove for school house 30.00

E. M. Smith, for building privy 28.50

Do., leveling yard, etc 16.00

Benches and fasteners for windows 11.75


Bal. Due $963.30

This building consisted of two rooms and stood facing east. In striking contrast to the more modern and expensive furnishings of school rooms, is the item referring to the expense for benches for a two-room building.

The item of $8.80 for water will recall to the minds of pioneers, Pueblo's water system prior to 1874. All family and other regular consumers of water were provided with barrels for receiving water from the water wagon, which made regular daily trips much the same as our milk wagons do at the present time. The water was taken directly from the Arkansas river with perfect fearlessness for, as some one has remarked, "there were no germs in those days."

The board of education, under whose direction this building was erected, was composed of M. G. Bradford, P. Craig and C. G. Allen. Among other members of the various boards of education during the early period, the following names have been handed down: L. R. Graves, H. C. Thatcher, D. Sheets, Eugene Weston and Charles Peck. The early teachers in this building were Mrs. E. S. Owen, Mrs. S. J. Patterson, Mrs. William Ingersoll, Miss Hillock and Miss Lottie Meyer. The salaries for teachers in those days ranged from $75 to $80 a month.

No sooner had this building been completed, than additional quarters were required to house the increasing school population, a building on Main Street being rented for this purpose. This adobe building continued to serve as a part of the growing school system of District Number One until 1889, when it was torn down.

The next step in the development of Pueblo's schools was the organization of District Number Twenty, in South Pueblo. This new town, which was laid out in the autumn of 1872, was growing with great rapidity and immediate steps were taken to erect a school building. It was largely through the activity of Alva Adams, now one of our honored ex-governors, that this new district was organized.

The first school building was erected in 1873 on South Union Avenue, on the top of the bluff directly north of the McClelland Library. It was demolished and removed only a few months ago to make room for a gravel pit. The first teacher in District Twenty was Mrs. William Ingersoll, known at that time as Miss Lou Stout. This building being located on the bluff, was difficult to approach. Mrs. Ingersoll recounts many a scramble in stormy weather to reach the heights upon which South Pueblo's educational center was situated. Following Mrs. Ingersoll came Theodore F. Johnson, now Dr. Johnson of California, who was a boyhood friend of ex-Governor Adams, and who came to Pueblo at the latter's invitation.

This building served the needs of the district until 1882, at which time a new building, the Central, was erected. This was South Pueblo's first high school, and was opened in 1883, with C. W. Parkinson as principal.

The next year, Mr. Parkinson was elected the first superintendent of schools of South Pueblo. In addition to Mr. Parkinson, the following persons have served as superintendents in the past thirty-three years : F. B. Gault, P. W. Search, H. E. Bobbins and J. F. Keating who for almost a quarter of a century has superintended the educational interests of District Number Twenty, and has brought the schools of this district to their present high state of efficiency.

The first class graduated from Central High School in 1886. Many members of this class of '86 are well known residents of Pueblo. The class was composed of the following persons : Grace Guernsey, Ralph Jones, Clara McCann, Alice McDonald, Charles McVay, Harlan Smith, Mable Stonaker, Nannie Walker and Frank Young.

A fact which is well worth recording in connection with the development of the schools of District Number Twenty and which illustrates the progressive spirit which has always dominated the board of education of that district, relates to the introduction of manual training into the schools. In 1889, this course was established in the Central building, District Number Twenty being the first school district west of the Missouri river to introduce manual training as a part of the curriculum, with the exception of the city of Omaha, where it was introduced at the same time as in Pueblo. Two of the wood lathes forming a part of this original equipment are still in a good state of repair and are being used in the manual training department in the new Central High School. Another fact worthy of mention concerns the tenure of office of two members of the board of education of this district W. L. Graham recently resigned from the board with a record of twenty-four years of continuous service, while Dr. R. W. Corwin will have served continuously for a somewhat longer period upon the completion of his present term of office.

The story of the erection of the Centennial building in District Number One is of more than ordinary interest. In 1874, the question of a new school building was brought before the people, in the form of a proposal to issue $30,000 in bonds for the purpose of erecting a modern school building. It should be remembered that at this time the town was experiencing a rapid growth, owing to the recent coming of the Rio Grande railroad. For some time prior to this date a building on Main Street had been rented for school purposes.

The bonds were voted by the district and were sold at twenty per cent below par. The board of education was composed of Judge Wilbur F. Stone, Col. I. W. Stanton and Sam McBride. The building was well on the way to completion when the board was suddenly apprised of the fact that their treasurer, Sam McBride, had absconded with more than $14,000 of money belonging to the district.

This was a serious blow to the enterprise which had been undertaken by the community, and it was only through the heroic efforts of the board of education that it was made possible to complete the building. Bills were falling due, labor must be paid for, and still more bills must be incurred in the completion of the building. In the face of all this, the treasury was empty. The difficulty was finally bridged over by issuing interest-bearing warrants, payable in one, two and three years. In this manner the building was completed in 1876 and was named Centennial.

The district was unable to collect from the bondsmen of the absconding treasurer because of some technical flaw in the bond, the entire loss to the district being $14,392.32.

The Centennial building was built of brick and contained eight rooms. It was looked upon as the most up-to-date school building in the state. School was opened in this building in the autumn of 1876, with Isaac Dennitt as superintendent of schools and principal of the new building. Mr. Dennitt served as superintendent until 1879, when he accepted a position at the state university. Mr. Dennitt was succeeded by J. S. McClung, who has had a remarkable career as city superintendent, serving for a period of twenty-six years continuously, with the exception of a few months in 1887, during which time Judge J. H. Voorhees acted as superintendent. During Mr. McClung's administration of twenty-six years, the foundation of a broad educational system was laid, and when in 1905 this energetic superintendent passed on the reins of government to his successor, no more efficient system of schools could be found anywhere in the West than the schools of District Number One. The following persons have held the office of superintendent since that time: George W. Loomis, Milton C. Potter and Frank D. Slutz, the present superintendent.

In 1878, the school census showed 449 children of school age within the district, the appropriation for school purposes being $2,126.26. East Pueblo comprised what was known as District Number Nineteen, but in 1879 this district was added to District Number One, thus increasing the school population to 720. The amount expended for teachers' salaries in 1880 was $675 a month. This amount seems insignificant when compared with the monthly budget for the same purpose at the present time.

In June, 1884, occurred the first graduation from Centennial High School. The Chieftain of that date published a full account of this first graduation exercise ever held in the city. This was back in the time when custom required each graduate to deliver an oration. Many of the names of the members of this class are familiar to a vast number of Puebloans at the present day. Following is a list of the graduates, with the subject chosen for the commencement oration: Loren M. Hart, "Growth"; Geniveve Hinsdale, '•Germs"; Nellie Corkish, "Old Wine in New Bottles"; John W. Collins, "The Coveted Goal"; Ella Hart, "Nota Bene", (Mark Well) ; Ella Shepard, "The Marble Waiteth" ; Rebecca Nathan, "Dangers of the Republic."

The exercises were held at the First Baptist Church, the address to the graduating class being delivered by Judge Wilbur F. Stone, who was then living in Denver. During the course of his remarks he announced that he would offer a prize of ten dollars for the best poem written by a student of Centennial.

District Number One, like her neighboring district beyond the river, has been extremely fortunate in the selection of her superintendents, there having been but five different persons appointed to this office during a period of more than forty years.

The public schools of Pueblo are today looked upon by impartial educators as standing for all that is sound and at the same time progressive in the educational world. The only step required to place them in the fore front as the leader in public education in the entire Rocky Mountain region, is the union of the two districts.


One who chronicles the leading events of a people, a state, or a nation, is said to have written their history. Those who have read the chronicle of these events believe that they are acquainted with the people whose history they have read. This is far from the truth. To know a people it is necessary to brush elbows with them off the stage — behind scenes — between the acts. The real life of a people is composed not of events, but of incidents.

An attempt is made in this chapter to record a few of the many incidents which gave color to a life that would have been dreary and colorless without them. The most interesting and important of these incidents occurred in the struggle of those orderly and peace loving pioneers to establish good government. The West had more than its share of "undesirable citizens" — especially of that class who were obliged to seek a change of climate "for their health." It was the presence of this class of refugees that made the problem of government a serious one. Those organizations known as "peoples' courts" and "miners' courts," which sprang up in every frontier settlement, administered justice with a strong arm, and being unhampered by any legal technicalities, made the miscarriage of justice almost impossible. The only escape of the wrong-doer lay either in flight or fight, for if he was once apprehended his fate was sealed. It sometimes occurred that a desperado of the Charley Dodge type, whom we shall describe presently, would be successful in holding the entire forces of law and order at bay for quite an extended period.

The penalties of these "courts" were few in number but were inflicted without mercy. For serious crimes, such as horse stealing or highway robbery, the penalty was death, while for crimes of a less serious nature the culprit was often banished from the settlement and forbidden to return on pain of death. These "courts" administered justice in their crude way in our frontier towns for quite an extended period in many sections before the regular governmental machinery could be put into operation. There were no "palatial halls of justice," in those days, the court more often convening on a street corner or in a saloon. One of the most serious cases ever handled by a "people's court" had its hearing in the back yard of a hotel, with the chief actors sitting upon the wood-pile.

One feature of these "courts" which distinguished them from regular tribunals of justice was that men were permitted in a great measure to settle their own disputes and difficulties with their fellows. If in the course of settling a controversy it became necessary for one person to shoot the other, no action was taken by the "court," provided public opinion justified the act, hence every man was in a large measure the defender of his own rights.


One of the first incidents in this region that resulted in bloodshed occurred in the fall of 1859. The Settlers of Fountain City had raised their first crop of corn and were in high spirits over the prospects of its sale at a price ranging from $6 to $8 a bushel, when one evening there appeared in the town a group of Missourians on their return journey from the Cherry creek region. Being disappointed because of their failure to make a stake in the gold region, they were in just the proper mood for trouble. Noticing the fine corn field nearby they immediately unyoked their twelve hungry oxen and turned them into the corn field, refusing to give any heed to the remonstrances of the owners. The settlers, being unable to prevail upon the ruffians to desist, gave fair warning to them and then opened fire. A lively battle ensued in which several of the Missourians were killed. The oxen were finally rounded up and driven into a corral by the irate citizens, where they were held until ample damages were paid for destruction to their crop. The defeated Missourians were allowed to remain over night, being kept under heavy guard and the next morning were piloted out around the base of old "Sugar Loaf" hill and sent down the trail, a wiser but sadder group of men.


One of the most noted desperados of the Pueblo region was Charlie Dodge. Charlie "was small of stature — touch as gentle as a woman's, of pleasing address, an eye which seemed to penetrate in all directions at once. He could never be caught off his guard. True to his friends, he observed his word with a sacred regard, but when he made up his mind to kill, the deed was performed without compunction of conscience. He killed no less than three men in Pueblo." His first exploit occurred while returning from California Gulch.

Charlie and his "pal," on their way to Pueblo, overtook a miner who was returning to the states with a fortune in gold dust which he had made in the mines. Although the man was well armed, he was captured and hanged and his fortune confiscated by the two desperadoes. His dead body was then cut down and dragged by a lariat a quarter of a mile down the river, where it was thrown into a ditch and covered with a small amount of dirt, the toes of his boots being visible to passers-by throughout the winter.

Charlie soon arrived in Pueblo, where he shot the Mexican marshal named Taos on account of a fancied insult. He soon jumped a claim at the old Goldsmith ranch just east of Pueblo, then owned by a man named Fred Lentz. Dodge sold the claim to a third party, whereupon Lentz laid the matter before the People's Court at Pueblo. Returning from town on this day, Lentz was met by Dodge and Bercaw, his associate. Dodge immediately opened fire upon Lentz, shooting him five times in the back, although Lentz had thrown up his hands and surrendered. As Lentz's friends raised his head from the pool of blood in which he was lying, he looked at Dodge and said, "Charlie I call this taking advantage of a man." Dodge merely replied, "Oh well, never mind. Die like a man." In a few moments Lentz was dead.

Dodge and Bercaw gave themselves up, but in this instance the People's Court was unable to measure up to the occasion. The two men stood trial with their six-shooters on their laps. When a vote on the fate of the prisoners was called for not one person was found willing to risk his life by voting "guilty." Thus, "six-shooter logic" dominated over justice. The grand jury later indicted Dodge for this crime, but no one could be found who would attempt to arrest him. Dodge moved westward to escape the advance of civilization. He finally died of smallpox at Fort Hall, Washington.


A settler living up the Fountain river had three fine horses stolen. He secured the services of Templeton, the noted trailer and thief hunter, and these two after trailing the thieves almost to Pueblo, lost the trail. Coming on into town they learned that during the night two men had attempted to force their way across the Toll Bridge over the Arkansas. They were halted, however, and compelled by the vigilant owner to pay the usual toll before being allowed to proceed. Templeton feeling sure that these were the men for whom they were searching, immediately took up the trail and after riding for several hours in a southerly direction overtook the two men with the stolen horses. The men begged piteously to be allowed to go on their way by surrendering the horses, but in spite of their plea they were handcuffed and compelled to return with their captors.

On account of the lateness of the hour when they arrived in Pueblo, they secured permission to lodge their prisoners in the town jail. About eleven o'clock that night the two men appeared and asked possession of their prisoners, saying that they had decided to continue their journey during the night as it would be cooler. The prisoners were turned over to them as requested and the quartet disappeared. The next morning the inhabitants of Pueblo were horrified to discover the bodies of the two thieves hanging to a telegraph pole not far from the jail.

It was learned that these two men were the noted desperadoes "Tex" and "Coe," who had been operating in Southern Colorado for an extended period prior to this time.


One of the interesting characters of the Pueblo region in early times was Juan Trujillo, who, because of his diminutive stature, was called Chiquito, meaning "small." Juan was a Mexican of unsavory reputation and had lived in the vicinity of Fountain City long before any Americans had taken up their abode in that place. He was described to the writer by an old freighter, who first knew Chiquito in the fall of 1859. The old Mexican was at this time in temporary retirement, because of a wound which he had received in an encounter over some horses which he had stolen. He was dark of skin and of sullen disposition and was looked upon as an outlaw by those who knew him.

Juan Chiquito gained fame and the everlasting admiration of the more gallant of the populace of Fountain City by an incident in which he was the chief actor. It seems that he had been attracted by a young damsel living at the Mexican settlement at Doyle's ranch on the Huerfano, and not being received kindly by her parents, had been in the habit of meeting her in a clandestine manner. It was finally agreed by these two lovers that Juan should meet her at a certain time at an appointed spot and would bear her away on his pony to his adobe hut on the Fountain.

Their plans were consummated according to schedule, but the eloping lovers were no sooner on their way than their purpose was discovered and the irate father, with a group of his Mexican friends, was soon in hot pursuit. In spite of the determined pursuit by the father, this young Lochinvar succeeded in eluding him and in a few hours arrived safely at Fountain City with his bride. But his troubles had just begun. The determined parent, with a large band of armed Mexicans, soon arrived and demanded the surrender of his stolen daughter. Juan, in true knightly style, refused to give up his treasure and barricading his door, prepared to give battle. His enemies immediately opened fire upon his adobe hut, but they might as well have aimed their guns in the air or against the side of "Old Sugar Loaf hill” nearby. The party soon learned that it required much heavier artillery than they possessed to have any effect on the adobe walls which surrounded the object of their attack.

But the valiant Chiquito, using the one small window as a loophole, struck terror in the ranks of his enemy. All day long the battle raged, but the wary Juan did not give his enemies any opportunity to do effective work with their bullets and finally, being wearied with the uselessness of continuing the battle, they withdrew, deeply chagrined at their failure.


In the spring of 1863 there occurred a series of cold blooded murders, so shrouded in mystery that the entire populace of the upper Arkansas was terror stricken. In the brief space of a few weeks more than twenty of these mysterious murders were committed, and in no case could any clue as to the whereabouts of the murderers or reasons for their actions be discovered.

The first murder that occurred was of a soldier at Conejos, the next on the Hardscrabble, just above Pueblo, when an old man was murdered and robbed. They next appeared in Park County, where they murdered two persons, Brinkley and Shoup. In quick succession the bodies of murdered men were found in various parts of the region extending from Canon City to the Little Fountain near Colorado City. Upon the find- ing of the dead bodies of two prominent citizens of California Gulch, a call was made for volunteers, and a determined campaign was inaugurated for the purpose of running down the murderers. After forced marches, night and day, in which the volunteers scoured every nook and corner of the entire region in the vicinity of California Gulch, they came suddenly upon two horses tied in a secluded spot. Being sure that they had followed a continuous trail from the place where the murdered men had been found they immediately surrounded the spot and orders were given to shoot the murderers on sight. Soon a man appeared, moving cautiously towards the horses. Just as he stooped to remove the hobbles from one of the horses the posse opened fire upon him. Although wounded at the first fire, the murderer dropped upon his knee and prepared to give battle, but before he could fire he was struck squarely between the eyes and instantly killed. The other murderer appeared, but, before a shot could be fired threw himself over a precipitous bank into a ravine and was lost to sight.

In their camp were found articles belonging to twelve of the men whom they had murdered, and also a diary which showed that the total number of murders up to that time was twenty-three. This diary also indicated that the two men, Espinosa by name, were fanatics bent on revenge for some fancied wrong.

The Espinosa that escaped made his way into the San Luis valley, where he engaged a relative to assist him in the continuance of his murderous career. Their lives were brought to a sudden end, however by Tom Tobin and a squad of soldiers, who tracked them into a canon and killed them both.


During the sixties the southern part of the state was infested by a gang of stock thieves who for a long while defied capture. Very few of the stolen animals were ever recovered, such an efficient organization being maintained, extending from California Gulch through Canon City, Pueblo and Trinidad and on to Taos, that the thieves and their booty were safe from detection.

One of these had its headquarters on the Dry Cimmaron and operated in Southern Colorado and New Mexico under the leadership of William Coe. In the spring of 1868 a flock of 3,000 sheep was found in their possession — stolen from New Mexico. The gang was arrested by a sheriff from Trinidad and sent to Fort Lyon for safe keeping. Within two weeks they had all escaped, but five of them with their leader were subsequently recaptured and turned over to the authorities at Pueblo. Shortly after being incarcerated in the Pueblo jail a squad of "soldiers" forcibly took the leader of the gang from the jail and hanged him. This drastic action effectually broke up the gang.


At the beginning of the war for the Union there was grave doubt upon which side the influence of Colorado would be thrown. In the Arkansas valley region fully one-half of the population sympathized with the South. Arms, ammunition and other supplies were gathered from various sections of this region and secretly passed on to the South for use in the Secessionist army. The Knights of the Golden Circle maintained an organization near Pueblo, where considerable activity was shown during the early part of the war.

On July 4, 1862, an armed clash between the two factions in Pueblo was barely averted. The circumstances were as follows: A grand barbeque was being held, the settlers from the entire Pueblo region being in attendance. An arbor of boughs, nearly two hundred feet long, had been built on the bluff facing Santa Fe avenue. Under this arbor the tables, groaning with luxuries, had been spread for the feast. All went well until it was suggested that, as this was the Nation's birthday, the Stars and Stripes should be displayed. The Southern sympathizers objected to this and declared that if any flag was to be displayed it should be the Stars and Bars. The noted Jack Allen had been busy throughout the morning dispensing his famous "Taos lightning," until a great number of both factions were ready for trouble — in fact were anxious for it. Every man, who had a gun or could procure one stood ready to participate in the impending conflict This strained situation lasted for several hours, without any shots being fired, however. Finally saner council prevailed and the conflict was averted — but not until the Stars and Stripes had been raised.


Lying some thirty miles southwest of Pueblo is the beautiful valley in which the town of Beulah is situated. The early trappers of this region designated it by the somewhat ferocious title of Mace's Hole, so-called because of its having once been the rendezvous of a desperado by the name of Mace.

During the year 1860-61 Mace's Hole became famous as the headquarters of Col. John Heffiner, who was attempting to raise a Confederate regiment. His purpose was first to capture Fort Garland and then join the Conferedate forces in New Mexico. At one time there were some six hundred Confederates secreted in this locality, some of whom were fairly well equipped with uniforms and arms.

"Zan" Hicklin, who, according to legend, was living on the Greenhorn when the coyotes and prairie dogs came to Colorado, succeeded, during the time Heffiner was carrying on his operations in Mace's Hole, in successfully "carrying water on both shoulders," by guiding Federal troops by day and driving beef cattle to the rebels in Mace's Hole by night. Hicklin continued to act in this dual capacity until the rebel regiment at Mace's Hole was dispersed by Federal troops. Upon one occasion he was arrested on the charge of being disloyal, but so clever was his defense that he was released upon his taking the oath to support the constitution.

Hicklin was famous for his practical jokes. One evening, as he and his man were returning from the prairie, where they had been hunting, they noticed that two men had arrived at the cabin to stay over night. One was a man whom Hicklin did not like, so he planned a huge joke upon him. Before permitting themselves to be seen, Hicklin contrived to procure a white sheet from the cabin and with this wrapped the carcass of an antelope, which they had shot. With feigned secrecy they stole into the cabin with their mysterious burden, all the time being viewed by the two guests. That evening as supper was being prepared Hicklin was heard to remark in a loud voice, "Why did you shoot this tough old Arapahoe? Don't you know that they take more lard than they are worth? Why didn't you shoot one of those nice young Utes?" His guests were speechless with amazement when they beheld their host bring in from the kitchen and place before them a hind quarter of this, "tough old Arapahoe." In a way which their host could not understand, their appetites fled, neither being able to eat a bite, but sat silently by while Zan and his man gorged themselves with nice juicy antelope. The travelers remained until morning, but departed before breakfast, declaring that they wished "to get an early start and couldn't stay to eat."

Upon another occasion two well-dressed young men were at the Hicklin ranch, expecting to stay over night. After they had retired for the night, Hicklin remarked in a voice easily audible to his guests, "I don't believe we had better kill them. These well- dressed fellows never have any money anyway." Hicklin chuckled with delight when a few minutes later the two strangers were seen to steal quietly out of the house, mount their horses and ride swiftly away.

My quill is worn blunt and the oil in my lamp is running low; these are unmistakable omens that it is time to cease writing, but I am loath to close this volume without a special tribute to those bold and fearless pioneers, the makers of Pueblo. I might have dedicated this book to them, but that in itself would be but empty praise.

The present generation has little conception of the hardships, the privations and the sacrifices of these pioneers who first entered this barren region for the purpose of establishing their homes. When I think upon these things — when the scenes of olden times flit by me one by one, I am constrained to ask, "Could men, mere men, achieve these things in the face of such difficulties and hardships?" Then I am reminded that, "there were giants in those days," and had it not been for those "giants" in brains and brawn, in heroism and courage, Pueblo could not have been.

It is, therefore, in a spirit of reverence, almost akin to worship, that, as a representative of a younger generation, I record this tribute to those brave men and women who "planted the trees in this valley of delight."

Especially do the names of our noble pioneer women deserve a place in the Western hall of fame, because the hardships and dangers of pioneer life fell most heavily upon them. Without their patient and true-hearted co-operation, the very frame work of our Western civilization would have fallen to the ground.

All honor to the pioneers, who wrought out the beginnings of this great commonwealth, in sacrifice and blood; who made possible our presence in this great green valley, teeming with its abundant harvests, its happy homes and its loyal men and women.

The End.

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