Saturday, August 18, 2018

1980s, and hope it all works out.

Telling the story proves I am human.
I heard the music on MTV.
"That ain't workin'"
Wonder if if all works out.

Best reach for, through music's magic,
The lyric is in our bones.
Smart as the next guy, Roxanne.
The song is in my head.

Nothing special in its fabrication.
I hear the music, frustrated.
They have not been where I have been.
1980s, attachment is hard.

I don't believe in politics.
Those guys aren't dumb.
They push the buttons, pull levers.
We are just a marketing campaign.

New set of data, new digital brand.
I tell the story, seek humanity.
That ain't workin', Tears in heaven,
Somethin's in the air tonight.

I told a story. It was human.
Hear the the music. Sounds like.
"That ain't workin'"
Wonder if it all will work out.

By Rob Carrigan, 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Different Loveland communities' foundations, in a way, rest on fake news and false advertising

'St. Louis' Flour, the promise of a rails,  and 'Maggie Murphy Potato' all played a role

By Rob Carrigan,

Fake news and false advertising was not invented yesterday.
Locally, I can at least provide several examples from more than 100 years ago.

St. Louis Flour
Before there was Loveland, much of the wheat grown in the Big Thompson River valley went through Andrew Douty's mill. Originally near Boulder, Douty moved the flour-grinding operation to an area just south of what is now Loveland proper, in 1867, and small settlement appeared.
"The settlement was given the name of St. Louis when Douty began printing the words"St. Louis Flour" on the sides of the his flour bags, as a marketing ploy to increase sales of his product in the mining districts," wrote Jeff and Cindy Fencis in "Exploring Loveland's Hidden Past."
St. Lois thrived, and in 1868, it was even on the ballot, being considered as the county seat, losing the election to Camp Collins.
"Competing directly with Namaqua for economic development, the town boasted a blacksmith shop operated by Duncan Watt, a general store owned by the Smith Brothers, and a meat market operated by Frank Bartholf and C.C. Bushnell," just for starters.
It later supported a Doctor, and a deputy sheriff (Perry McClanahan, who arrived in 1871, served in both roles.) The first public school system in Larimer County was established in St. Louis and several churches worshiped in the schoolhouse.
Douty's mill continued to operate, under various ownerships and the St. Louis Flour name, at least into the mid-1880s, when steam-driven appeared in Loveland.
"At an unknown date, the original mill building was moved to a farm on Madison avenue near the Great Western Sugar factory, where it was used as a barn until it burned to the ground in a fire in 1969.
The little berg owed much of its early success, of course, to the false suggestion that flour from the valley originated in another St. Louis.

Great Potato Hoax of 1895
On the masthead, the Loveland Reporter made the claim before the turn of the last century, to be "The only strictly truthful paper in Colorado."
 "Yet in 1895, it pulled one of the biggest hoaxes in Colorado history," notes Zethyl Gates and Ann Hilfinger in their book, "Historical Images from the Loveland Museum/Gallery Collections."
The story revolved around  a mammoth potato supposedly grown by a local farmer.
"One of the most successful potato growers was Joseph B. Swan, who farmed Southeast of Loveland. During one year, he reportedly harvested 25,816 pounds, or 430 bushels, from one acre of land.  "Several prominent citizens citizens attested to this after measuring the acre themselves and witnessing the harvesting of the crop. The Reporter, of course, had chronicled that listed 72 different varieties of spuds grown by Swan.
"In 1895 it appeared that Mr. Swan had outdone himself by raising a potato that measured twenty-eight-inches long and fourteen inches across, and weighed eighty-six pounds and ten ounces. The editor of the Loveland Reporter, Mr. W.L. Thorndyke, convinced Swan to have his photo taken holding the giant potato."
The story, in the mechanics of the time, went viral. "Soon letters from all over the world —Austria, Russia, France, Libya, Denmark, Denmark, Germany — everyone asking for seed or pieces of the potato for propagation." For months Thorndyke's paper carried letters received.
"He replied to many of them, suggesting that readers send twenty-five cents for a photo of the famed potato, which by now had been named. "The Maggie Murphy Potato" story continued to be followed including a later story appearing on the front of the paper saying that thieves had broken into the store and "made off with it." The farmer, through the paper, offered a reward of $100 for its return.
Eventually the truth about the magnificent potato was brought to the surface. "'Thorn' admitted he put Mr. Swan up to making the large potato out of wood and having the photos taken. The editor commented on the revelation. "Newspapermen are reported to be the greatest liars on earth."

Build it, and hopefully they will come 
The town of  St. Louis in Larimer County, mentioned earlier, continued to grow, little by little, and the promise of the Colorado Central railroad would extend lines from Longmont north to Fort Collins, with the obvious path being through St. Louis, accelerated that a bit. In 1877, the Big Thompson Hotel was built by Mrs. Harriet Sullivan.
"As expected, the Colorado Central located rail lines though the Big Thompson Valley in late 1877. Unfortunately, the rail lines were routed approximately one mile west of St. Louis, completely bypassing the community," wrote the Fencis in their 2007 book.
"The town of Loveland was quickly established along the rail lines, leading to the immediate demise of St. Louis. Out of economic necessity, most of the business establishments were either closed or relocated to Loveland."

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Mariano Medina and early immigration

Many flags have flown over this land

 By Rob Carrigan,

Immigration is not what it used to be.
Born in Taos, New Mexico, Mariano Medina is widely credited with being the local area's first businessman and permanent resident. That area, mostly in Loveland city limits now, was like a lot of Colorado pre-gold rush ...  sparsely populated.
And like many mountain men, Medina, having associated with the French, French Canadians, Spanish, English, Mexicans, and various Native American tribes probably had developed his own way to communicate in the swirl of different cultural realities. Medina was said to speak 13 different languages, with Spanish as a primary.
"First white'ee man on the Creek!" proclaimed Medina in 1858 when he showed up on the Big Thompson in what then was the un-granted western district of the Territory of Nebraska, wrote Medina biographer Zethyl Gates, in Mariano Medina, Colorado Mountain Man, (1981).
According to American Immigration Council, today nearly 1 in 10 Colorado residents is an immigrant, and a similar share of residents are native-born U.S. citizens who have at least one immigrant parent.
Back then, there was less than 35,000 people in the whole state of Colorado, which is just about half the current population of the city of Loveland.
Gates notes that Medina's father was from Spain and his mother was from New Mexico. About the time Medina was born in 1821, the census of Fernandez de Taos counted 753 Indians and 1,260 Spanish and others (This was largest of the three possible areas known as "Taos" of that era.)
Even the the Native American tribes had exchanged territory in what was to become Colorado in recent times of the millennium prior to Medina, and his other mountain man friends Kit Carson, Jim Bridger, Charles Autobees, and the Bent brothers.
"During the 1700s, the eastern plains sustained various tribes, most notably the Apache,  the Pawnee,  Comanche.  All of the tribes fought with the Spanish, whose horses they took," says the Historic Atlas of Colorado, by Thomas J. Noel, Paul F. Mahoney and Richard E. Stevens.
"Central and Western Colorado had been the homeland for the Utes for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The Utes differ from the plains tribes in that they belong to the Shoshonean linguistic family centered in Utah and the Great Basin."
Loveland historian Kenneth Jessen, said Medina established a small settlement west of Loveland that was later named Namaqua.
"Medina was a small man of Mexican descent with jet-black hair, which never turned gray as he aged. He had piercing, coal-black eyes and a swarthy face. His feet were small, and his hands showed the effects of an outdoor life. He wore rich, colorful clothing and with the side seams of his trousers slashed to mid‑calf with an insert of red cloth," wrote Jessen.
"Medina claimed to be well educated by Spanish priests and could speak 13 different languages. Although Spanish was his native tongue, he knew a little English. From his fur trapping days, Medina could also converse in some Indian dialects," Jessen writes.
After a colorful career, including acting as a guide for one of Fremont's expeditions, he met Louis Elbert Papin in 1844. Papin, like Medina, was a mountain man. Papin had a Flathead Indian wife named Tacaney, and at the time they met, Tacaney was pregnant with Papin's child.
"Papin wanted to return to civilization, but his wife insisted that she remain close to her people. Medina, who had spent a solitary life as a trapper and scout, reasoned that it was time for him to settle down. For some horses and a blanket, Medina purchased Papin's wife, and when the baby was born, Tacaney named the child Louis Papin. (His last named was later changed to Papa.)
During the summer of 1858, prospector George Andrew Jackson met Antoine and Nicholas Janis and Jose de Mirabal in Fort Laramie. These men traveled south to the Big Thompson River where they built a few cabins allowing them to spend the winter trapping. Medina joined them, but unlike the others, his plans were to establish a permanent settlement," according several accounts from Jessen.
Medina filed a homestead claim after the area was surveyed. In 1860, the Rocky Mountain News took note of Medina's new town the newspaper called Miraville.
"Medina recruited Mexican families from Taos to help him work the land and build up the population of the small village. To provide some income, a sturdy toll bridge was constructed over the river.
An Indian raid prompted Medina to construct a small 15-foot by 25-foot stone fort with gun ports that allowed defenders to shoot in any direction. His home was an 18-foot by 20-foot log structure with two doors and three windows. The other cabins, including Medina's combination store‑saloon, were arranged around a plaza," Jessen says.
Travelers could stay in a long low building that included a dining and cooking area as well as several bedrooms. In the adobe store-saloon, Tacaney sold her handmade garments, including buckskin pants and moccasins. This was the only store of any kind in a wide area. In 1862, Medina's settlement gained prominence when Ben Holladay moved the Overland Stage route from central Wyoming south into Colorado. Indian raids prompted the move as well as the growing Denver market. The route north from Denver followed what was generally known as the Cherokee Trail, which ran along the foothills through Laporte. The route crossed the Big Thompson River at Medina's small settlement. A stage station was established with James Boutwell and his wife Sarah as managers. Not only did they receive a paycheck, they also were given the right to homestead 160 acres, according to Jessen.
The cemetery at Namaqua, though graves have been moved, survives in part today out on Namaqua Road.
A friend of the Medina family died and was buried on a small hill about a half mile south of the settlement. This was the start of a cemetery. In 1864, two of Medina's children passed away and were buried next to the friend. Medina constructed of a wall of dry stacked stone around the graves. It was whitewashed and kept immaculate. The gate in front topped by a blue cross. Ironically when Medina died in 1878, the cemetery was full, and he was buried outside the south wall. The place was named Namaqua by Hiram Tadder with the establishment of a post office in 1868 that lasted 11 years.

Flag Chronology
The geographical territory which comprises the present-day state of Colorado has historically been under many flags, according to information from the Colorado State Archives. Following are some interesting elements of that Colorado immigration experience.
  • Coronado's expedition into the Southwest in 1540-42, according to leaders of the country, legitimized Spain's claim to the entire western interior region of what would become the United States.
  • Similarly, In 1662, when LaSalle floated down the Mississippi River, he claimed for the French the entire drainage area of the "Father of Waters,” which included a substantial area of Colorado.
  • During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the British Colonies of New England and Virginia extended their theoretical boundaries all the way to the Pacific coast, overlapping the French and Spanish claims.
  • Between 1763 and 1848, France, Spain, Mexico, and the Republic of Texas all claimed varying proportions of Colorado.
  • In 1803, when Napoleon withdrew his claims to the West and negotiated the Louisiana Purchase, a part of Colorado came under US jurisdiction for the first time.
  • Between 1803 and 1861, present-day Colorado saw flags of the District of Louisiana (part of Indiana Territory), Territory of Louisiana, Missouri Territory, the State of Deseret (predecessor to Utah), Utah Territory, New Mexico Territory, Nebraska Territory, and Kansas Territory.
  • On February 28, 1861, when Colorado Territory was created, the present boundaries were established and have remained unchanged.
  • On August 1, 1876, Colorado became the thirty-eighth state to enter the Union under the flag of the United States.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Internal rot and the trouble with conspiracies

Postcard from the swamp

By Rob Carrigan,
A common definition for conspiracy is a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful.
A conspiracy theory may involve common things like famous deaths, government activities, new technologies, terrorism and questions of alien life. Among the longest-standing and most widely recognized conspiracy theories are the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the 1969 Apollo moon landings and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and alleged plots for world domination by various groups both real and imaginary.
I thought about that today when I noticed a meme on FaceBook circulating that said "I hope that everyone understands. We are in a civil war in America. Media and the Dems are trying to overthrow our government."
Sounds like a conspiracy, but I have been known to consort with both (Media and Dems), so I thought about not saying anything, keeping my head down, and continuing to go about my business, even it includes the media and democratic ideals.
Dan Brown, in writing The Da Vinci Code, understood that.
“Everyone loves a conspiracy,” he said.
“The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory, is that conspiracy theorists believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is actually chaotic. The truth is that it is not The Iluminati, or The Jewish Banking Conspiracy, or the Gray Alien Theory. The truth is far more frightening - Nobody is in control. The world is rudderless,” says Alan Moore, English writer most famous for his influential work in comics, including the acclaimed graphic novels Watchmen, V for Vendetta and From Hell.
“There is a theory going around that the U.S.A. was and still is a gigantic Masonic plot under the ultimate control of the group known as the Illuminati. It is difficult to look for long at the strange single eye crowning the pyramid which is found on every dollar bill and not begin to believe the story, a little. Too many anarchists in 19th-century Europe—Bakunin, Proudhon, Salverio Friscia—were Masons for it to be pure chance. Lovers of global conspiracy, not all of them Catholic, can count on the Masons for a few good shivers and voids when all else fails,” wrote American writer Thomas Pynchon in Gravity's Rainbow.
Every side might engage in development of such theories. Right wing, left wing. The enemy outside, within, above and below, to name a few.
Researcher Harry G. West and others have noted that while conspiracy theorists may often be dismissed as a fringe minority, certain evidence suggests that a wide range of the American population maintains a belief in conspiracy theories.
“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe,” said Frederick Douglass, who was born a slave and became a renowned abolitionist, editor and feminist. 
But there I go again. I have quoted heavily-debated members of the media, writers and researchers, and other ideas that I consider ignorant idiocy. 
"He must be in on the conspiracy," some might say.
I don't think so.  Besides, if I was, wouldn't I employ puppet politicians, or be calling for civil war, Masonic or Catholic purges, questioning the facts of widely reported events, or seeking perhaps total domination of world markets? 
Here I am. Just trying to discredit silly ideas about conspiracy and incorrect information. Another duck floating out there on the surface of the swamp. No ambition, I guess.


Monday, May 28, 2018

I believe the legend of the sacred red fern

Good bye old friend, godspeed

 By Rob Carrigan,

Today, I am sorry to report, I lost one of my dearest friends.
A man's dog is THAT, of course, but you don't think of it happening — until it does.
Ella, and her sister Jenny, have been part of the family for at least a decade now. Ella, the hound dog of no compromise, the moose, protector, rock, and 'Business Manager,' left us this morning.
“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring — it was peace.” said Milan Kundera.
I have struggled to find peace at times. This is one of those times.
More than 10 years ago Ella and her litter mate came into our lives shortly after the loss of another longtime dog friend, Jake.
There, of course was trouble at first, and chaos. Disagreement. Setting boundaries.
But once she had them all established, everyone knew precisely where they stood.
She added texture, light and shadow to our family's world — as dogs do — to all their families.
Hound dogs particularly, sometimes operate as pairs.
Because of that, I guess I worry, a lot,  for Ella's sister Jenny.
The two, I am convinced, through a weird level of cooperation, would have taken on mountain lions, bears, badgers and devil himself. How many times have they smoothed edges with their bay in the woods? And shared the light and texture and shadows? How many crisis averted just by their presence and companionship?
Uncannily, the two of them likely would have prevailed in any fight. Jenny followed her lead, until now. She will, with a crazy eye, and an odd perspective, in her own way prevail, I'm sure.
Wilson Rawls, of course knew hound dogs.
In his wonderful book, "Where the Red Fern Grows"  he writes:
“Men," said Mr. Kyle, "people have been trying to understand dogs ever since the beginning of time. One never knows what they'll do. You can read every day where a dog saved the life of a drowning child, or lay down his life for his master. Some people call this loyalty. I don't. I may be wrong, but I call it love - the deepest kind of love."
After these words were spoken, a thoughtful silence settled over the men. The mood was broken by the deep growling voice I had heard back in the washout.
"It's a shame that people all over the world can't have that kind of love in their hearts," he said. "There would be no wars, slaughter, or murder; no greed or selfishness. It would be the kind of world that God wants us to have - a wonderful world.”
Though I am a grown man, I am crying, like Rawls did over his pups.
“Some time in the night I got up, tiptoed to my window, and looked out at my doghouse. It looked so lonely and empty sitting there in the moonlight. I could see that the door was slightly ajar. I thought of the many times I had lain in my bed and listened to the squeaking of the door as my dogs went in and out. I didn't know I was crying until I felt the tears roll down my cheeks,”  he said.
I want to find peace. I want Jenny to to learn to find her own independence. I want the texture and light, and shadow. I want Ella's memory to inspire us all.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

No short cuts across high saddles above Dunton

 Hard work may never pay off

By Rob Carrigan,

The stories grow like a bad weed in high altitude sunshine on the mountain saddles above Dunton.
If you look down the slopes below — like the miners and outlaws and other desperados of the time — you might understand that hardship, isolation, heartbreak — and realize that hard work may never pay off.
Not far from here, at the turn of the last century,  Matt Warner and his accomplice, known then as Butch Cassidy, (his given name was Robert Leroy Parker) walked into the San Miguel Valley Bank.
Warner pulled the teller over his desk, threatening him with death. Parker filled a bag with cash, eventually calculated to be $20,750. That measures up to more than half -million dollars in today’s currency when adjusted for inflation.
Like Parker, your might have had a bad taste in your mouth and felt mistreated in general.  Perhaps you would come to the conclusion that there might be shortcuts.
"The young man who would become Butch Cassidy was hired to pack ore onto mules and bring the valuable materials from the mines high in the mountains around Telluride down to the mills," writes
"Parker was keeping a colt of his on a local rancher’s property, and eventually he decided to remove it from the ranch. After Parker took his colt from the property, the ranch owner accused him of stealing the animal, and he was arrested and tried for the crime in Montrose. He was eventually acquitted but left Telluride to find work on ranches around Wyoming and Montana, until he returned to the box canyon a few years later to begin his life of crime."
Well some might argue about the timing of such a watershed moment. But it is possible that a young Leroy Parker, high on that ridge or some other, stared down at Rico on one side, and Dunton to the northwest, and formulated a plan for an easier, or at least more exciting way to make a living.
He wasn't going to scratch around in a hole, pack busted rocks up the hillsides, or labor arm-deep in blood, cutting meat all day in the butcher shop.
From that ridge, he could have probably seen the Emma, the Smuggler and the American mines.
He might have even spied Joe Roscio, who  arrived in Dunton in the 1880s from Minnesota. Roscio mined on the West Fork while federal troops were still busy chasing off Ute warriors who called the area home, or at least the equivalent of the grocery store.
The Smuggler, a tipple operation, was built on the steep slope on the shady side of the river. Roscio and his wife had at least four children, including boys Joe, Jr., Chuck, and Emilio (Mello).
They mined and survived up there in the high lonesome by also trapping, logging and supplying other miners. They rented cabins, operated a bar and lodge, and reportedly charged a nickel to use the hot springs.
Young Parker, no stranger to the possibility of fun and entertainment of the region, no doubt knew of the operation at the local hot spot. And he was prone to enjoy a leisurely life.
After their first bank job in Telluride,
"Warner, Parker and one or two other accomplices then headed west out of Telluride on horseback, urging their horses into a gallop and firing their revolvers as a warning to any would-be pursuers as they left town. The group crested Keystone Hill, a few miles west of Telluride, where a horse relay was awaiting them, one of several relay points manned by friends who were given a share of the stolen money in exchange for their assistance in the getaway," Elliot wrote in 2015.
Warner took credit for having the idea to rob the bank. Both riders with a regional reputation for winning horse races, Warner said he approached his friend and fellow racer Butch Cassidy — and then, his own brother-in-law Tom McCarty. According to his version, Butch was excited by the prospect, while Tom was more reluctant. After riding into town and up to the bank, Warner says he placed his gun under the teller’s nose, while Cassidy gathered the cash, and Tom McCarty held the horses outside.
Perhaps because it was their first bank job, the inexperienced outlaws led the teller outside with his hands up, and in the process, alerted the entire town.
After firing a few shots to back off the crowd, the three or four outlaws, made a beeline out of town, eventually ending up in the mountains near Mancos. Running so fast that they left the fresh horses behind, they ran into one of their former employers, Harry Adsit, who later helped the posse identify them and tell the pursuing group what direction they were headed.
Interestingly enough, Telluride Town Marshall, Jim Clark later confessed to the Gunnison County Sheriff to being involved — by not being involved.
Clark reportedly told the Sheriff he received $2200 of the stolen money as payment for being out of town during the robbery and later acquired one of the horses used in the robbery.
Certain accounts speculate that the two horse racing friends, and now, bank robbers, along with McCarty and perhaps additional accomplices, changed horses in the Cortez area (perhaps even at Longabaugh ranch south of Cortez, home of Harry Longabaugh’s father. Harry, (a.k.a. ‘The Sundance Kid”) would later befriend Cassidy and famously ride with the “Wild Bunch,” in Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Texas and New Mexico.
The Roscios sold Dunton in 1974 to a group of investors from Telluride and the East Coast. Dunton clintele morphed from local sheepherders, valley ranchers, reservation workers, bikers, and hippies playing nude volleyball games in high-altitude surroundings — to high-dollar euro tourists and film stars.
In the 1990s, a group of German Chemical company executives and other European investors affiliated with Christoph Henkel, purchased the little frontier village.
"The interior of each cabin was reborn as a piece of art in its own right -- a magazine stylist's collage — created mostly by Katrin Bellinger Henkel, Christoph's wife," according to the New York Time's piece.
The Henkel family radically transformed Dunton from its rough and ready beginnings to an exclusive resort with pricing North of $1,000 per night.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the drafty old cabins with unchinked logs reportedly suffered from hard use by "outlaw" motorcycle gangs, careless hippies,  and a severe skunk infestation — not to mention party-focused local high-school kids and other miscreants.
In early January 2005,  a New York Times travel piece by Anne Goodwin, described how the Henkel family
Tyson Horner, assistant general manager of the place at the time.
"Did you catch those names?" Mr. Horner's eyebrows arched as his practiced index finger nimbly found a prominent "Butch Cassidy," and just below it, a smallish "Sundance."
"Come on," I said. "That's got to be a prank."
"Well," he pulled on the word, grinning broadly, "they're not sayin,' but rumor has it they holed up here in 1889, after they robbed the Telluride bank — their first heist."
Only problem with that, is that it was not likely Cassidy's (Parker's) first legal transgression. He had been suspected of rustling cattle since his teen years in Circleville, Utah, and he was more likely going by another name, like George Cassidy, Tom Gillis, James Ryan, Santiago Ryan, Santiago Maxwell, J.P. Maxwell, James Lowe, Santiago Lowe, George Ingerfield.
And as far as being associated with the Sundance Kid, there also was no record that the two men were associated until later. Though they could have been.
Maybe the Dunton bar has 'Roy Parker' carved in it? Or Harry Alonzo, or Frank Boyd, as Sundance was prone to use as an alias?
Robert Leroy Parker did do a prison stretch in the Wyoming Territorial Prison from 1894-1896 for stealing horses. And in 1887, Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, a.k.a. the Sundance Kid, was sentenced to 18 months in the Sundance, Wyoming jail, for stealing a slow horse.
No evidence suggests that met before Parker was released from prison. But the two incarceration locations are several hours apart — by fast horse.
Perhaps bank robbers did take a short cut along the West Fork of the Dolores River, change to faster horses, and did briefly hide out in Dunton.
Perhaps carving their names in history, and the wooden bar. 
But what names did they carve? It is going to take hard work, hardship, and perhaps isolation and heartache, that may never pay off —before we ever know for sure. 
In the meantime, stories grow like a bad weed in high altitude sunshine on the mountain saddles above Dunton.

Photo Information:
West Dolores Hotel and Bathing House Sept. 18, 1887. Men, women and children in front of the hot springs. Photographed by T.J. McKee. Denver Public Library.

Dunton - Smuggler Mine: Creator: Wolle, Muriel Sibell, Broken lumber and timbers mark the site of the Smuggler Mine, Is Part Of WH906. Muriel Sibell Wolle papers, 1926-1976 Subject Dunton (Colo.); Abandoned mines--Western History and Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library.
Dunton - Emma Mine: Creator: Wolle, Muriel Sibell, Western History and Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library, Dunton - 1950 Creator Wolle, Muriel Sibell, 1898-1977 Date 1950 Donor Muriel Sibell Wolle estate, 1977 Summary View in Dunton (Dolores County), Colorado; shows a harp switch handle at a wye in the ore car tracks; dilapidated buildings and mountains are on one side, a sheer cliff is on the other.

Dunton - 1950 : Creator: Dunton (Dolores County), Colorado; shows a harp switch handle at a wye in the ore car tracks; dilapidated buildings and mountains are on one side, a sheer cliff is on the other. 


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Lurid, violent, dramatic incident leads to lynching

No one tried to stop these dispensers of frontier justice.

By Rob Carrigan,

Today, Old Town is a busy, vibrant place, full of life and laughter, and love, even ...  The feel of small town America is strong here. Dogs are welcome. Folks are peaceful. But there is a saying about animals, that may apply to something that happened in this normally quiet, peaceful town, on this same day, exactly 130 years ago.
“When the Fox hears the Rabbit scream he comes a-running, but not to help.”
By 1888, Fort Collins was settling down to respectability, says Phil Walker in his 1995 book "Visions Along the Poudre Valley."
"There was electricity and running water in most of the houses. Gone were the days of the wild and woolly frontier town. Gone were most of the saloons the brothels, the gambling halls and the riff-raff that all this attracted. No more was the civil and moral code of the community held in open defiance," Walker wrote.
"Eva and James Howe lived in a little house on Walnut Street, just a half block from Linden Street where Old Town Square is today.  They had a fife-year-old daughter. James was a millwright and a very good mechanic and was well-respected in the business community. Eva Howe was a happy, pleasant woman ... quite pretty, and very much liked by all the ladies. Most of the time, the Howes lived quietly as the 1880s rolled by," according to Walker's book.
"But alcohol was eating at James Howe..."
"Herein lies a tale for within this house began a lurid, violent, dramatic incident that ended in murder. A lynching followed the deed," wrote Babara Allbrant Flemming in "Fort Collins: A Pictorial History."
"Mr and Mrs. James Howe lived in the house, then at Linden and Walnut streets. On April 4, 1888, Howe came into the house drunk to find his wife packing to leave him. He became enraged and attacked her with a pocket knife, slashing her throat. She staggered out of the house , though fatally wounded, seeking help, but it was too late. She fell down on the walk and died. Since the house was right down town, everyone around had seen what happened. Howe was immediately arrested, and normal activity halted for the rest of the day," she said.
"That night, when it got dark, the town's newly installed electrical system suddenly stopped working. In the inky blackness, a band of men broke into the jail and hauled the murderer out. He pleaded for mercy, but he was quickly strung up on a derrick being used to build the new courthouse. One account has it that Charlie Clay, the town's black cook and delivery man, sat on the scaffold and played his harmonica while Howe died."
Flemming noted that no one tried to stop these dispensers of frontier justice. And when the had done their work, the electric lights went on again. For a long time, the house was considered haunted, but eventually Daisy Bosworth took up residence there and turned it into a boarding house.
The house was eventually moved to 1314 West Myrtle Street, and is still occupied today.