Huerfano County, Colorado
Oral Interviews

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Contributed by Karen Mitchell
Location of interview - Waggoner ranch in Gardner
Lucille Waggoner, born 6-15-1908
Parents - James Edward Stacy and Adda Minear
Paternal grandparents - William Lewis Stacy and Harriet O'Briant
Maternal grandparents - Ellis Minear and Phoebe Carmen Alexander
Ethinc group - German and English
Family origin - Came from Missouri
Date of family arrival in County - August 1913

May 16, 1979

My dad Ed Stacy, came to Gardner in 1913. I was five when he came from Missouri. We came on the train, and when we got to Walsenburg the train was attacked by the coal miners strike. This was during the coal field troubles. I never knew the causes because I was so young, but I knew it was very bad.

We took a horse and buggy to Badito. Soon after we arrived in Gardner, the militia came out, and took everybody's guns away. The nearest mines were the Big Four and Tioga, which were sixteen miles away.

I delivered eggs to the coal camps for forty-one years. All the kids would say, "Here comes the egg lady."

My dad visited a friend in Gardner, and fell in love with the area. He bought his ranch in 1913, and sold it in 1923 to Fred Waggoner who had a place below Gardner. Later, I married Fred and moved back here, so I've lived most of my life right here on this ranch.

My dad built a store next to the County Shop, where those cement steps are. It later became a co-op, and then burned down.

It all used to be open range, and there were no fences. The cattlemen hated barbed wire. All the government land that hadn't been homesteaded was open range. Everyone used the open range for summer grazing, then in the fall the round-up took out, and everyone took their own cattle home for winter. Fred hated sheep. I think about getting a couple of sheep to take care of my yard. but I know Fred would turn over in his grave, if there were sheep on our place.

The water rights on this ranch were taken out in 1866. I have a #13 ditch and that's the best right this side of Badito. I feel sorry for people coming in and buying land. The realtors tell them they have water rights, but some of these ditches never do run, and the rights are so small they couldn't even grow a garden, if they did run. The water rights are misrepresented a lot now.

Fred's father made the first rail shipment of cattle to Denver.

The Hudson and the Ingraham Mercantile Company sold food, clothing, yard goods and even hats. People used to take a trip to Walsenburg with a wagon twice a year. It was a three-day trip; to go, to get the wagon loaded and to come home.

There were two good doctors when we came; Dr. Dolley and Dr. Clay. They took people to Pueblo if they got real sick. My aunt was pregnant and her fingers turned pinks. The doctor said her appendix had burst, and they'd have to operate right here. They didn't think she'd live. Six men carried her cot to his office, above the post office. It was a big two-story adobe building on the corner, where the post office is now. They had to send for a nurse in Redwing. They called her 'pretty lady.' I saw my aunt last week at her son's funeral and she's 88 now. Later, a doctor at the coal camp came up twice a week. For a few years, there were no doctors, and it cost $30 for a doctor to ride out from Walsenburg.

There used to be dances in Redwing, Bradford and Farisita School houses. They had square dances with local musicians. People came in horse and buggies and horseback. Every Saturday night there was a dance some place or another. There were ice cream suppers, pie suppers and box suppers at the church.

There were no-school buses, and the schools in Malachite, Redwing and Rahn were all little. All the kids walked to school, and many of them walked two miles one way. They took their own lunches or went home for lunch. The kids now don't walk enough. Grades one through eleven were held where Carrie Harney lives now. There were nine in the high school upstairs when I went to school.

The mail came to Tioga from Walsenburg. The mailman from Gardner got the mail at Tioga and brought it out.

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