Sunday, February 9, 2014

Oxen team carries woman of history to final rest

At the time of death, she was still actively involved in researching historical properties, doing enactments for adults and children, and nominating properties for the local registry.

 By Rob Carrigan,

"At two o'clock p.m., a funeral procession was formed, in which nearly every man, woman and child of the company united, and the corpse of the deceased lady was conveyed to its last resting place in this desolate but beautiful wilderness." 
__ From The Grave of Sarah Keyes on the Oregon Trail, by William E. Smith, 1936, Kansas Historical Society.

Penny May Burdick, of Larkspur, was carried by Ox cart Saturday, to her final resting place in Spring Valley Cemetery, and laid to rest among other notables in the historically rich, and beautiful grounds known for its Pikes Peak vistas and links to the past. Burdick, 67, died Jan. 30, 2014, after fighting a lifelong illness.
"Penny always loved Douglas County and appreciated her great grandmother's family history of coming to Castle Rock in 1885 from Staffordshire, England. When she was a child, her grandmother, Evelyn, would tell stories about living in the "Rock" as they drove down to visit relatives and that sparked a passion for the history of the area. Her grandmother played piano for barn dances and her Great Uncle Frank Bakewell was the Castle Rock Station Agent for the Santa Fe Railroad for many years," related the memorial program in her honor.
"Penny enjoyed history, children, loved animals, especially horses, and always had some kind of critter needing a home on the ranch. She was involved in many community organizations, serving on the board of directors for Praying Hands Ranch, she was a founding member of the Douglas County Historic Preservation Board, a 4H leader for Cherry Valley AG and was a superintendent for the Douglas County Fair. In addition, she served as President of Cherry Homemakers Home Extension Club and Larkspur Historical Society. At the time of death, she was still actively involved in researching historical properties, doing enactments for adults and children and nominating properties for the local registry. In 2011, the Douglas County Board of County Commissioners recognized Penny for her contributions in documenting Douglas County history."
David and Dandridge, two Oxen owned by Rollie and Paula Johnson, at Three Eagles Ranch, just over the Douglas County line near Monument, carried Penny the several hundred yards from Killin Chapel at Spring Valley Cemetery to the grave site. The cemetery is permanent home to Monument-area historical notables such as Patrick Murphy, Grace Best, John Hodgin, many Noes, and the Gwillim children.
Three Eagles Ranch is one of the few western ranches that raise American Milking Devon Oxen. The breed is now extinct in England and were down to just a handful in the United States until about 30 years ago. Efforts by the American Livestock Breed Conservancy and others have been able to increase the American herd to about 600 animals. The Johnsons, who began demonstrating their Oxen at Penny Burdick's urging, are raising Oxen teams the help of their hired hand of the past ten years, Dulces Granados.

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