Huerfano County, Colorado
Oral Interviews

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Chester Bartlett

Scanned by Dick Chenault
Edited by Dick Chenault
Date of Interview - May 1979
Interviewed by Fred George

Fred: Where were your born?

George: Pawnee County, Oklahoma, about 25 miles west of Tulsa.

Fred: When did you come in here, Chester?

Chester: During July in 1913 for the summer. Back in about 1915 we lived up in Rye. In 1917-18 we moved to Bartlett trail.

Fred: Where is this at?

Chester: It's in Pueblo County. The trail is about three miles south of Rye. It goes up and west and south in Apache country. From there up to the south-east corner of Greenhorn and then it goes over south and comes down by Farisita. The trail goes on to the Maes Creek, from the south side of Baldy or Greenhorn Peak. I built it all the way down to where Highway 69 is now. In 1916 my dad and all his brothers bought the old Apache Ranch above Weston.

Fred: Wow owned that ranch at the time? Who bought it?

Chester: I don't remember who bought it, but we stayed there off and on. It was called our homestead or something like that. In 1918 we bought the old ---------- Ranch on the Huerfano, halfway between LaVeta and Farisita. In 1920 my Dad and brothers built the home we live in now. There was an old store there that was in operation during the Civil War. The government had objected to the man who owned it. I can't think of his name, but anyhow they objected to him. He had a store there and the soldiers on both sides – North and South – stopped in there and impounded him for a while for buying on one side and selling on the other. I can't think of his name. It's on the abstract though. Anyhow, the man who owned the place where I live was Ed Louis who was county treasurer here at the time of the war. Harry Capps was the sheriff here for years and before him it was----. I can't think of his name. A big fellow – the sheriff, and he was running around all over with a buckboard. He didn't ride horses. He was too big. Thorn – Jeff Thorn was the sheriff then. Ed Louis had a lot of the old homesteaders places around-------and Silver Mountain and he had a fair sized outfit. He was running a couple of thousand head of cattle. He and Clay Kindler – that's Johnny Kindler's granddad and then-------was John's dad. No it wasn't. Well anyhow, John's dad took over that outfit when Harry passed away and there was one thing about the Kindler outfit that rode the country and changed the place, they always had a coffee pot and a place to feed your horse, morning, noon, for everybody. They made their own river about eight miles below us and then Taylor Thorn and Martha lived at the home at the ditch.

Fred: Chester, do you remember your Mom and Dad pretty well?

Chester: Oh yeah.

Fred: Did they buy homesteads?

Chester: No, they bought a ranch in Rye and a place in Apache about fourteen miles, the way the road runs, from where I live now. Badito – I mean between Badito and Farisita, and the old timers had-------. It was customary to keep their private cemetery. The place where I'm living now there are one, two, three burial grounds. The old Francisco Martinez was a civil war veteran. He raised seven-eight members of the family. There are several of them still living in Huerfano County. I see some of them every once in a while. He raised a family there. It was a homestead. They don't raise nothing there now to even keep one person, let alone a family. It was like the Kay George place. You know where it is. It was by the Kay George arroya which runs into the river about a mile below the ditch. You see, when I came to the country the name of the post office just above Badito was Talpa. The town and Post office was Talpa and when Jeanette was born, they changed it to Farisita or they called her the Little Fairie, so she was quite a marker at that time.

Fred: I didn't know that. That was unusual.

Chester: Yes it was. You see, there was another town over in the San Louis Valley down in the way south of Alamosa and the name of it was Talpa. So after they changed this to Farisita, they just called the other town Talpa and they never changed the name of it. As I said awhile ago, every body had their own private burial ground. The original owners homesteaded at different places on the river banks, Course you can get the name of them by taking some of the old abstracts. There's an old man by the name of Pino – raised a big family there just four miles down the river from us, about five miles, and there was Perino just across the river. Tom's Dad, of course Tony Bucci.

Fred: He was quite a sheep rancher.

Chester: Oh yes. He told a former friend of him once. She said something to him about having to herd sheep he's gonna keep. He said: “You, if you have em, you're gonna have to herd a part of the time anyhow”. That was his theory and I've seen him stay with his sheep a good share of the time. I've seen him camp there at Tioga. He did it to begin with as a livelihood and still did it as long as he lived, because he liked it. Those sheep were his life and of course he was known all over the mountain and all over Huerfano county. You didn't want to jump Tony for a trade because he'd try to accommodate you in some way. If he didn't have what you wanted, he'd get it.

Fred: That's very true. I remember Tony very well. I really like the old fellow.

Chester: If Tony told you anything, it pretty well had been.

Fred: Yes it was, when I was a young fellow and he began traveling around the world and he'd come back and sit and tell me about his adventures. It was exciting hours.

Chester: Tony could take a world map and he'd -----. Tony was well educated, well versed and quiet a traveler.

Fred: Was he self type educated or did go to school?

Chester: He must have gone to school because he was well versed on any subject I ever tried to talk to him about. We could take one of those earth balls and put his finger on it and give it a flip like that, and when it'd stop turning, he could say no such and such pressure right there and put his finger on it. He didn't have self-study on that. Course the bankers were Snodgrass, the first one at the First National Bank and then Maurice Coween and that other man that was associated with the bank was Pritchard. The big fellow – he and Maurice Coween owned the .

Some of those who homesteaded on the opposite side of the arroya and south westerly direction were Santistevan. He had a bunch of grandchildren here in town. The people from all around got water from that well.

Fred: Didn't Frank Piazza's parents come from out there someplace?

Chester: They came from around the old Badito, La Veta road called Roma Ria. They had a place there and still have it, quite a place. Always has been a fair supply of stock water. That was valuable at that time. Then Taylor Thorn came from -------and lived at Badito. At that time the courthouse was at Badito and they kept the number – so many grains of corn in a jar with your name on it and the cattle they kept with beans. But that is how they kept the two of them. I don't know what they used for horses in the records.

Fred: Did they pay taxes at that time too; that's why they kept the records?

Chester: Yes, they paid tax on everything and got along there too. They don't skip anything like they do now.

Fred: Do you remember the courthouse being built?

Chester: No I don't. As far as I know I was just a kid about 1914.

Fred: Did you go to school here?

Chester: I went to school at Rye and afterward we moved down to Apache. My dad hired a school teacher out of Pueblo. Marie Manners was her name. She lived in our house at the ranch; had a fair size shack at that time, and she taught my dad's grandkids and great grandkids. Not the neighbor's kids; it was just a private school for the family. It wasn't a school, just at home.

There is one instance I could tell, it's my brother's favorite. But there was Frank Montoya and a brother that lived on Turkey Creek where -----is on up in Red Canyon. This Frank lived at the head of the canyon. He came down and told Charlie “I've got a lot of cedar posts I would like to sell you”. I'm not going to buy a cedar post Frank for a fence. I'll trade you something for a cedar post. So he traded him three winter calves for a cedar post and Frank Montoya who was a brother to Toni Bucci's second wife. How am I going to get my cedar posts? Oh I'll start cutting. A few days later this boy came down the mountain. The boy had some little quartz rocks. This boy had been cutting posts with his wagon and getting ready to up to the front wheels of the wagon and drag the posts down. His horse, a flood hit him, a big storm and rain, above the house coming down. His horse fell, then the horse went on home. The boy never came on in so they went out hunting the next day. That started the Turkey Creek people to tromping and looking for gold.

Fred: I'll be darn – that was the content of that rock the boy found.

Chester: Old John Parsons who lived on the Apache was well known horse and buggy service, but anyhow John took this rock and sent it in to the Assayer's office and that started. Tony Bucci said he walked a good heavy new pair of shoes off his feet chasing rocks in the hills.

Fred: Did they have Saturday night dances and things like that?

Chester: Yes, they had lots of them mostly in La Veta. Everyone would get together and dance all night.


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