More Old Books

This copy of The Emerald Fairy Book was a gift from a British grandfather to an American grandson. The inscription on the fly page reads: “For the dear Arthur from Grandpapa, Christmas 1901.”
          Grandpapa was Joseph Henry Collins of England. He owned an international mining consulting company, J.H. Collins & Sons, Mining and Metallurgical Engineers located in London.
          Two of his sons, George and Arthur (born 1868 in Turo, Cornwall, England), came to America in 1894 to manage company mining interests in Colorado. The following year, Arthur married Margaret Morton Becker, daughter of Judge Clayton F. Becker. The couple had two sons: Arthur Jr. and Lawrence.
          In 1899 Arthur Collins became general manager of the Smuggler-Union Mining Company which operated a silver mine near Telluride, Colorado. Arthur made changes in mining operations that angered the miners and their union. He refused to bargain with the union and 350 miners walked off the job on May 1, 1901. After a shooting incident and intervention by Arthur’s older brother, George, the strike was settled.
          On 19 November 1902, Arthur was playing cards in the mine manager’s house. An unidentified person poked a shotgun through the open window and mortally wounded Arthur.  
          Governor James Orman ordered the rail route cleared so that a special train carrying two doctors and Mrs. Collins could race non-stop from Denver to Telluride. The doctors were unable to save Arthur and he died the following day, November 21, 1902.
          The Emerald Fairy Book, part of Father Tuck’s Golden Gift Series, is a lovely collection of stories by various British authors with illustrations on every pair of pages.
          Read more about the authors and illustrators in the next several blog posts.

The credits:
Stories and Poems by Clifton Bingham, Grace C. Floyd, M.A. Hoyer, etc.
Illustrated by F. Brundage, Dorothy Furniss, T. Noyes Lewis, etc.
Edited by Edric Vredenburg
Published by Raphael Tuck & Sons, Ltd.
Art Publishing by Royal Warrant
Printed in England as part of Father Tuck’s Golden Gift Series, with stories by various British authors, including Clifton Bingham, Grace C. Floyd, and M.A. Hoyer.
Beautiful illustrations enhance every pair of pages.


Old Books

GeographyOld books are intriguing, not only for their content but for the persons who may have owned them.
          One such book on my shelves is Natural Elementary Geography. It was published by the American Book Company, copyright 1897. My copy appears to be a later printing since it reports 1900 census data. Authors are Jacques W. Redway and Russell Hinman
          The Preface page notes the book is “designed for a pupil’s first text-book in the subject, and is intended for a two-year’s course between the beginning of the third and the end of the fifth school year.” You might expect this to be quite a thick volume to occupy students for two years. The 8”x 10” book has only 144 pages and there are lots of illustrations.
          Another Preface note states, “…one of the most important functions of elementary geography is to teach the names, locations, and characteristics of the countries into which man has divided the earth.”
          While the purpose was to prepare students for more intense study in higher grades, it also offered basic knowledge for “the large proportion of pupils who leave school at an early age.” (Between 1900 and 1919, half of the U.S. student population did not get to eighth grade, according to a 1995 study by Tyack & Cuban.)
          The boy who used this book wrote his name on the fly page: Raleigh Louis Poppe. He apparently had a crush on a girl named Isabella Murphy. He wrote her name beside his own several times in the front of the book.
          The back of the book offers two pages of world population data circa 1900.
          The United States had only 45 states. Arizona, District of Columbia, New Mexico and Oklahoma were territories, along with “Indian Territory.” The total population of the United States was 75,994,575.
          In addition, 91,219 people were listed as “Persons in U.S. service abroad.” (Today over 160,00 active-duty U.S. military personnel are deployed in more than 150 countries around the world.)
          Alaska, Hawaii, Porto (sic) Rico, Philippine Islands, Guam, Wake, and Tutuila, were listed as “Outlying Territories.”

Naming Places, Part 5

left handA number of places in Colorado are named for left-handed people. Boulder County’s Left Hand Creek was named for Andrew Sublette, a lefty fur trader.
          Not far away is the town of Niwot and Niwot Mountain. Both are named for the left handed Chief Niwot of the Arapaho.
          According to Wikipedia, “Peoples of the Andes consider left-handers to possess special spiritual abilities, including magic and healing.” The same source reports that “In tantra Buddhism, the left hand represents wisdom.”
          So, take heart you lefties!

For more information about place names in Colorado, see Colorado Place Names by George R. Eichler (1977) or Colorado Place Names by William Bright (1993).

Published in: on March 30, 2015 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Naming Places, Part 4

Rico_CourthouseA little spot in Dolores County, Colorado became very popular after silver was discovered there in 1879. Other prospectors rushed to the area hoping to make their own strike.
          A little village formed as more people arrived. They called it Carbon City, then Carbonville, then Lead City, then Dolores City. Finally, the residents held a meeting to pick a new name for their community, one they could all agree on. One man suggested calling it Rico, the Spanish word for “rich.” That was what all the people hoped to become so that became the name of their town.

For more information about place names in Colorado, see Colorado Place Names by George R. Eichler (1977) or Colorado Place Names by William Bright (1993).

Published in: on March 23, 2015 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Naming Places, Part 3

Canon pintadoCañon Pintado in Rio Blanco County was named by two Spanish speaking priests – Father Domingues and Father Escalante. They passed through the area in 1776 and were struck by the colorful canyon walls decorated with prehistoric Indian pictographs. They named it “painted canyon.”
          Many Spanish names are found in Southern Colorado, which was first settled by Spanish speaking people.
          The town of Nutria in Archuletta County is New Mexican Spanish for “beaver.” In proper Spanish it means “otter.”
          The mountain pass called Raton means “mouse.” In rural New Mexico the term identified a squirrel.
          “Rito” meant a creek in the Spanish language of rural New Mexico and early Southern Colorado. Rito Gato in Conejos County means “cat creek.” Rito Hondo in Hinsdale County means “deep creek.” Rito Oso or “bear creek” is found in Huerfano County.

For more information about place names in Colorado, see Colorado Place Names by George R. Eichler (1977) or Colorado Place Names by William Bright (1993).

Naming Places, Part 2

rabbit The name Conejos means “rabbits” in Spanish. The early settlers, who came from the northern part of Mexico to what is now Southern Colorado, found an abundance of rabbits in the area. They made good eating for the settlers.
          A park in Pueblo County is called Cuerna Verde ark. The name means “green horn.” It was named for a Comanche chief killed there in 1779. 
          Culebra Creek near San Luis is named for the way the creek winds its way across the land like the slithering trail of a snake (culebra in Spanish).
          Curecanti Pass in Gunnison County honors a Tabeguache Ute chief.
          Achonee Mountain in Grand County recalls a Cheyenne named Ochanee or “one eye.” He was killed at Sand Creek in 1864.
          Apiatan Mountain, also in Grand County, is named for a Kiowa Chief known for his singing.

For more information about place names in Colorado, see Colorado Place Names by George R. Eichler (1977) or Colorado Place Names by William Bright (1993).

Published in: on March 9, 2015 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Naming Places, Part 1

AbarrWhen a few people build homes together in a new place, they soon want to give their community a name. In the days of early Colorado settlement, they also named natural landmarks – mountains and valleys, rivers and creeks.
          Some of those names seem strange to us today. For instance, why anyone would call a town Abarr or Egnar?
          Many early towns were named for Indians, probably those who were friendly.
          Antero Junction in Park County was named for Chief Antero of the Uintah Utes. A mountain and a reservoir also carry his name.
          The town of Ignacio in Southwestern Colorado honors Chief Ignacio of the Weminuche Utes.
          Yarmony was named for a Ute Chief called Yaamani. The name meant “quiet man.”
          Oh, yes, you are still wondering about Abarr and Egnar. Located in Yuma County, Abarr was named for the wife of the town’s founder.
          Apparently, the people of Egnar had trouble deciding on a name. The early settlers came there when range land was opened for homesteading. They took the word “range,” spelled it backward, and that become the town’s name.

For more information about place names in Colorado, see Colorado Place Names by George R. Eichler (1977) or Colorado Place Names by William Bright (1993).

Published in: on March 2, 2015 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Buffalo Hunting

buffalo bones“A species of animal which roamed our plains by the millions became a rare circus and zoological specimen in a period of only twenty years.” So said Percy Stanley Fritz in his 1941 book Colorado The Centennial State.
          Fritz noted the buffalo population began to decline when hunters started using guns instead of the bow and arrow.
          In the early 1870s, gun-toting hunters slaughtered some 4 million buffalo just for their hides. The railroads began to advertise “hunting by rail” excursions. Trains slowed when a massive herd of the huge animals came nearby.  Hundreds of men climbed on top of the rail car and took aim. Some fired from their windows. They left countless 1,500-pound animals dead or dying.
          Over 50,000 hides were shipped east by the Santa Fe Railroad in 1874, according to Fritz. The Kansas Pacific Railroad hauled another 125,000 hides. That same year, the Santa Fe carried 3,400 tons of bleached bones gathered from the plains. These were shipped east for use in button factories or ground up for fertilizer. Some 2 million pounds of buffalo meat was sent east as well.
          Colorado Territory’s Congressman, Hiram Bennet, tried to pass a law to protect the buffalo. His plan was rejected on grounds that it could not be enforced.
          The Texas legislature proposed a law to ban the slaughter of buffalo. General Sheridan opposed it. He said the men shooting buffalo for sport “have done more in the last two years, and will do more in the next year, to settle the vexed Indian question, than the entire regular army has done in the last forty years.”
          By the end of the 19th century, only 300 buffalo were reported to remain in the wild. Congress finally took action. They outlawed killing of any birds or animals in Yellowstone National Park, where the only surviving buffalo herd lived.
          More wildlife preserves helped the buffalo population to slowly rebound. Today, there are more than 200,000 buffalo in North America.
          Is it a buffalo or a bison?

Source: Where the Buffalo Roamed, by Gilbert King,


Was Chipeta Really A Queen?

Chipeta___Queen__4985269937fc5If she was not a queen, why did I use the title Chipeta: Queen of the Utes for my first book about her?
          The reference to Chipeta as “Queen” came from an incident that occurred on August 27, 1872. It was the opening day of a treaty council with the Utes and U.S. Government representatives.
          A reporter for the Rocky Mountain News was present. He offered a sarcastic description of Chipeta:
“This afternoon the commissioners were waited upon by the queen of the Utes – Madame Ure [Ouray] I suppose she is called – who swept down in all her royal stations, attired in a skirt of buckskin, a pair of moccasins, an old shawl, and a lot of uncombed hair.”
          The reporter used the word queen to make fun of Chipeta.
          The first definition of “queen” in the Merriam Webster Dictionary is “the wife or widow of a king…or a tribal chieftain.”
          Ouray was not a chosen Ute chief. However, government officials saw him as a chief. He spoke for the Ute delegations that met with officials in Washington.
          Ouray and the Indian Agent both spoke Spanish well. After discussion with the delegation members, Ouray stated the Ute positions in Spanish. The Agent translated into English. For this reason, the men in Washington saw Ouray as the spokesman, and therefore, the chief.
          In the eyes of the U.S. Government, Chipeta was the wife of a tribal chieftain. “Queen” was a fitting title.
          As I researched Chipeta’s life, I came to appreciate her strength. She demonstrated courage in many challenging situations. Her life was not easy. In the end, she was honored by her people as a wise and respected elder.

The book is available from Western Reflections Publishing: <a href="

Published in: on February 16, 2015 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Ute Women in World War I

Ute Women Red Cross 1918 The Ute women in this 1918 photo are knitting socks for the Red Cross.
          After the United States entered World War I, Mrs. L.W. Curry met with the chiefs of the Uintah and Uncompahgre Ute reservations. She explained the work of the Red Cross. 
 SOX         The Indian Agent reminded the Utes that some of their own young men would serve in the war. Sixty-six Utes of military age had already signed up for the first draft in 1917.
          As a result of Mrs. Curry’s visit, 450 Utes joined the Red Cross and paid the $10 membership fee.
          The Utes held a fundraising event for the Red Cross. It included a horse race, demonstrations of Indian dances, and a sale of women’s fancy work. The event raised $435. 
          They also subscribed $50,000 to the Fourth Liberty Bond campaign which helped fund the war effort.

Story from Chipeta: Queen of the Utes. The book is available from Western Reflections Publishing

Photo courtesy Denver Public Library, Western History Collection


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