Huerfano County, Colorado
Oral Interviews
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Richard Charles Deus

Scanned and edited by Dick Chenault
History of Charles Deus as written by Mr. Sharp

Mr. Deus was born in Germany in 1823. His family came to Mt. Pleasant, Mo. (Augusta), where he farmed and operated a grist mill and a distillery for wine. At sixteen he trained as a tanner where he worked until he was 21. In 1845 he took a job herding cattle for Blummer's Caravan. Later, at Bent's Fort, he shipped furs to St. Luis. He went home and stayed until the U.S. declared war on Mexico in 1846. He joined a company of German dragoons turned to light artillery and he became a gunner. In January of 1847 his battery went from Santa Fe to La Canada and then on to Taos. When scurvy broke out among the troops, he manufactured vinegar for them. His battery went to El Paso in February of 1848 and he later mustered out of the service in October 1848. He then went back to Santa Fe, erected a grist mill, and established the first brewery in the Rocky Mountain region. He also opened a saloon and billiard parlor and became a very prosperous man. He then went to Independence, Mo. and bought horses and wagons which he could sell at a big profit. When he returned to Santa Fe, he found that a flood had damaged his brewery. He then opened a hotel in Santa Fe.

The governor of New Mexico appointed Deus as Captain of four companies to quell the Indian uprising there. (These Indian tribes were the Utes, the Jicarillo, and the Apaches). Later, on Christmas the Indians had killed all the people at Ft. Pueblo. The four companies went to Ft. Union and chased Indians around Taos, Albuquerque, Ft. Massachusetts and Poncha Pass areas. During the end of the campaign against the Jicarillos they followed the Indians to the north end of Wet Mountain Valley and on the way back to Santa Fe, they went down the Huerfano River. At the foot of the Muddy River, he said “This will be my home.” He went on to Santa Fe, where he married Juana Marie Gallegos in l857. This same year he drove a herd of cattle into the Huerfano Valley and staked a claim at the junction of the Muddy and Huerfano Rivers. This later became the site of the town of Gardner. He turned this claim over to his help and took his wife to another claim on the Culebra River above San Luis. He built another brewery and raised the first potato crops in the San Luis Valley. In 1859, he started freighting to the mines. In 1860 he went back to his ranch on the Huerfano River and told his help that he planned to raise a company to fight the Union. He sold his oxen to Col. Francisco and left the ranch in charge of John Bailey. He took 132 men around the San Luis Valley and marched to Ft. Union, where they mustered on August 4, 1861. First they were in infantry and then in mounted. They went from Ft. Union to Ft. Craig, where they fought in the battle of Valverde on Feb. 12, 1862. From there, they went to Ft. Garland and on to Lauretta (Buckskin Joe's) where he recruited more men, and back to Ft, Union on Nov. 9, 1862. He and Kit Carson fought against the Navajos, then back to Ft. Wyngate. In the spring of 1864, he went to Ft. Sumner and then back with Carson against the Comanche and Kiowa Indians. He was mustered out at Ft. Bascom in 1865. He picked up his family at Santa Fe and then went to his place above San Luis. Bailey, who was caring for his ranch, had become a Southern sympathizer, and had stolen everything from Capt. Deus, including the horses, cattle, and tools. Deus and a man named Solomon had started a store. Solomon swindled him out of it all. He then went to Wyoming and was working there with my grandfather, Tom Sharp, cutting ties and poles for the Union Pacific Railroad. He persuaded my grandfather and John White to come back to Huerfano County. They came up the river and filed on land near the river at what was later called Malachite, in 1868. He farmed there for 35 years. He built a large 10 room adobe house. He planned to use the house as a rooming house because it had numbers over all of the upstairs rooms. This land and house later belonged to my father, W.A. Sharp. It was where I was born and raised. It was on the crest of the hill above the Huerfano River. He built a stamp mill and also a grist mill, on what was the Ute Trail, close by. The stamp mill was used on the ore from a mine to the south on Pass Creek. It was called Copper Bull Mine, but it had mostly malachite ore. The town of Malachite was named for it. Three rooms were added on to the big house and it was called Ft. Malachite. It was used as a trading post for a time, before a little town Malachite sprang up to the north of the Deus place.

In 1887, Deus received a pension of $8.00 a month, in 1895, the pension was raised to $12.00 a month. A niece came to take care of Mr. Deus and later took him back to Missouri in 1902. He died in 1904.

It is not known how many children Mr. Deus had. He had two marriages, according to some accounts. Most of this account of Mr. Deus came for Capt. Deus. Ceran St. Vrain climbed Baldy Peak on the Greenhorn Mountains on July 4, l855. They were most likely the first Anglos to climb it.

The documents, I gave you, I found in the attic of the 10 room house where I was born. My parents bought this place in 1907. The place was sold in 1950 and the house deteriorated quickly, as adobe does when no one lives in it.

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