self-government; and of the evils attending the government of bodies of men by
agents of States or Territories at a distance, or of legislation without representa-
tion ; and,
" 'Whereas, We, men of various vocations in life, having found this country
which we have sought not only abounding in gold, just as represented by a majority
of those who have written on the subject of these western gold fields, and of all
those who were in the habit of weighing well what they wrote: and having also
found it a country rich likewise in timber, in rock, and in crystal w.iter: a country
with soil capable of producing food for its inhabitants, if not equal to the richest
western agricultural states, at least superior to those of Xew England; and abound-
ing in inducements sufficient to retain its present population and a large number
of the immense rolling wave of emigrants now on the way from the east, and soon
to leave their own crowded homes to partake of the homes and harvest which we are
now providing; and,
" 'Wliereas, Owing to the absolute and pressing necessity for an imrnediate
and adequate government for the large population now here and soon to be among
us, actively engaged in the various acts of life : and aware of the impossibility of
an early formation into a territorial government, that duty having been neglected
by the recent session of Congress ; and also believing that a territorial government
is not such as our large and peculiarly situated population demands: therefore,
" 'Resolved, That the State contemplated shall embrace the following terri-
tory, viz.: its northern boundary commencing at the [intersection of the] 102d
meridian of west longitude from Greenwich. Eng., w^th the 43d parallel of north lati-
tude, and running west on the said parallel to its intersection with the 110th merid-
ian of west longitude, thence south to the 37th parallel of north latitude, thence
east on that parallel to the 102d meridian, and thence north to the beginning; and
that the name thereof shall be the State of JEFFERSON.'
" 'Resolved, That the citizens of the proposed State be requested to elect dele-
S3-5 HISTOEY OF COLORADO
gates to attend a constitutional convention, to be held in Denver City on the 1st
Monday in June, 1859, and said election of delegates shall be held on the 2nd Mon-
day of May next, or between that time and the time specified for the meeting of
" 'Resolved, That it shall be the duty of said convention, when convened, to
prepare a constitution for the said state, to call an election for state officers and
members of the senate and legislature and representatives to Congress, and to specify
the time and place of holding said election, and appoint election officers of each pre-
" 'Resolved, That said constitution shall be submitted to the people for ratifica-
tion or rejection at said election, and if rejected, the said election shall be con-
sidered null and void. Said election shall be conducted as all elections of a similar
"'Said convention shall consist of delegates, as follows: one delegate from
every precinct, and one additional delegate for each 250 inhabitants of each precinct,
and each delegation shall be bound to present to the convention satisfactory proof
of the number of voters in its precinct.'
" 'Precincts as follows : Fort Laramie, Colona, Cache a la Poudre, Arapahoe
City, Boulder City, Lupton's Fort, Cheyenne Pass, South Park, Jefferson, Sander's
Ranch, Auraria, Denver City, Douglas City, Eldorado, Fountain City, Fort Garland,
Montana, Brownsville, Huerfano, Russellville, EI Paso, Canon City, Junction City,
and that the central committee shall have power to organize any precincts that
may come under their knowledge ; also to see that the different precincts are furn-
ished with a copy of the above resolutions, and request their cooperation, and lo do
whatever they may think best to carry out the object of their meeting.'
"On motion, the following gentlemen were appointed a committee to prepare
an address to the citizens of the intended State of Jefferson, viz. : H. P. A. Smith,
L. J. Russell, L. J. Winchester, H. McCoy, and D. B. Castro.
"On motion the foliowing gentlemen were appointed as a Central committee,
viz. : Wm. Clancy, C. Davidson, C. Gilmer, J. M. Shafer, and \V. M. Slaughter.
"On motion the proceedings were ordered to be published in the papers of the
whole United States friendly to our objects. A vote of thanks was passed to the
officers of the Convention and for the use of the Hall, and the Convention adjourned.
"The kindest feeling prevailed and the proceedings w-ere conducted with the
utmost unanimity ; and we fully believe that the ball now started will continue to
roll on until the most brilliant State in the Union will be fully inaugurated and its
In the "full discussion of the important points" by the speakers who
addressed the convention "at length"', it was held that the conditions in the
new country were such and would for some years inevitably continue to be
such that a Territorial form of government would be inadequate to meet
and control them; that it would be a brake upon the wheels of progress,
an injustice to the people, and an olficial nuisance ; and that nothing but a
free and independent State government would be equal to the require-
ments. It may be remarked here that the Territorial establishnient pro-
vided by Congress two years later turned out to be at times during its
existence pretty nearly everything bad that these men had predicted for
such a form of government.
The boundaries proposed for the "State of Jefferson" .embraced an
area more than two-fifths larger than that of the State of Colorado, as they
included all that part of the present Nebraska lying west of the 10'2d
meridian ; nearly half of the present Wyoming ; and one longitudinal degree
of the territory of the present Utah. The figure of the State would have
been almost square ā about 416 miles from south to north and a mean of
about 425 miles from east to west; an area approximating 177,000 square
miles. Our pioneers gave each of their numerous ambitions a wide range.
Not all of the "precincts" designated by the preliminar\' convention
HISTORY OF COLORADO 333
as places for holding elections for delegates to the "State Convention" were
settlements. Most of the names in the list stood for districts or localities,
as in the cases of Cheyenne Pass, Lupton's Fort, South Park, Huerfano,
and others. Nor were there towns to represent all the town-names. For
examples, Eussellville, in the neighborhood of which there was a consider-
able number of prospectors in the spring of 1859, was a place well up on
Cherry Creek, where the Russell part}- had done some prospecting in the
summer of the preceding year, and where a solitary structure, half cabin
and half "dug-out", now had been built; and Douglas City and Brownsville
were far more prospective than actual as settlements. However, as fortitne-
seekers already were coming into the Pike's Peak cottntry daily by hundreds,
with thousands trailing in their rear, it was thought necessary to have
a plenty of voting places.
The committee appointed "to prepare an address to the citizens of the
intended State of Jefferson", wasted no time in producing the document,
which was published in the 2}\ews on May T'th, and which is an able and
interesting presentation of the reasons why the Pike's Peakers should at
once organize a State government. It follows here :
"Address of the Preliminary Convention to the Electors of the Intended State of
"It has been made our duty to address you at this time, to set briefly before
you the reasons for requesting you to unite as one man in throwing off the feeble
ties that bind us to the far off governments of our several territories, and forming
what in our isolated position becomes a necessity, viz.: a new and independent
State. It has always been the policy of the United States to foi'm and admit new
States into the Union as fast as the necessities of the people have required it. So
much has this been the case that it may almost be called an immutable rule, and
how strongly does this rule apply to us. Severed by a distance of over seven hun-
dred miles from the governments of Kansas and Nebraska, and four hundred from
New Mexico or Utah, nature itself has rendered it impossible for us to depend upon
either of them. The time necessary to send a petition or receive even a message of
any kind is so great, that such a government becomes almost a farce, and we are forced
to act as if we had nothing but ourselves to depend upon. The business of our in-
tended State will be principally mining ā of the others entirely agriculture ā two
means so different as to be under the circumstances incompatible. The prices of
labor are and will be so different that no laws that applj' to one will apply to the
other, while divided as we are between Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Utah,
our representation will be but nominal with each, and we at the mercy of men who
know nothing of our wants, cannot realize our situation, and will use their positions
only to enrich themselves at our expense.
"Again, if crime be committed, the U. S. Courts of a Territory are the only
ones competent for a trial, and what criminal will be deterred from the commission
of crime when his judge is separated from him by seven hundred miles of arid
waste? Government of some kind we must have, and the question narrows itselr
down to this point: Shall it be the government of the knife and the revolver, oi
shall we unite in forming here in our golden country, among the ravines and gulches
of the Rocky Mountains, and the fertile valleys of the Arkansas and Plattes, a new
and independent State? Shall the real keystone of the Union now be set on the
summit of the arch, and a republic inaugurated that can from her mountain serie
east her eye to the Pacific on the one hand and the Atlantic on the other? Embrac-
ing the waters of the Arkansas and the Plattes flowing into the Atlantic, Grand
river and the Colorado flowing to the Pacific, she at once becomes the real center
of the Union.
"We may soon expect the advent of the iron horse, and a national railroad is
no longer a question. Northern and southern routes will no longer be a cause of
delay, for nature has provided by her golden largess an argument for its location
that will be irresistible, and both roads will become not a disputed issue but a re-
334 HISTORY OF COLORADO
"Let us then all unite as one in so great an object; forgotten be for the time
all party creeds and political differences, and with an eye solely to so glorious a
result, let us all push forward to the one point before us, the formation of the State
of Jefferson. The convention of which we are for the present the mouthpiece, has
decided its limits to be from longitude 102 deg. west to longitude 110 deg. west, on
the -ISd parallel of latitude, as the northern boundary; from lat. 43 deg. north to
lat. .37 deg. north, on the 110th deg. of west long., as the western boundary; from
that point following tlie 37th deg. of lat. to long. 102 deg. west as the southern
boundary; and the 102d deg. of long, to the first mentioned point as the eastern
boundary. It will thus be seen that we include within our limits all the material
necessary to make not only a State but a nation. With our mountains teeming with
minerals and metals of every kind; our valleys richer for agricultural purposes than
any part of the Union, with a population hardy as the hills they traverse, and
prairies to divide us from the rest of the world, we may indeed feel free as the
mountain air which brings to us health and vigor. Let each precinct be represented
fully at the constitutional convention on the first Monday of June, and let each
member feel that upon liim devolves a responsibility such as can happen but once in
a life. Each precinct will be entitled to one delegate, and one for each 250 voters in
the precinct, and let no portion of the State be omitted in the election of delegates.
It is a glorious cause, and a feeling of pride as well as of duty should lead us to act
in it. Let each individual then feel that upon him rests a responsibility to see that
the best men are selected, and that the future interests of his home be not entrusted
to those who will betray the trust confided to them."
"H. P. A. Smith, Denver ;
"Henry McCoy, Fountain;
"D. B. Castro, Arapahoe;
"L. J. Kussell, Auraria ;
"L. J. Winchester, El Dorado."
The second Monday in Ma}', the day on which delegates to the proposed
convention to arrange for organizing a "new and independent State of the
Union" were to be elected, was the 9th of that month. By that time there
were vague rumors afloat of rich deposits of gold having been found sorne-
where at no gi'eat distance from the Cherry Creek towns. But, as I have
alread}- related, only a few persons knew just where they were, as knowl-
edge of the discoveries by Jackson and Gregory had not yet been made
public. Xotwithstanding these tantalizing reports, which were so well
calculated to divert the minds of men from political affairs, elections were
held, or were alleged to have Ijeen held, on the designated day in a majority
of the "precincts"' named by tlie preliminary convention, and at which
delegates to the State convention were more or less duly chosen.
Monday, the 6th of June, the day on which the State-building con-
vention was to begin its sessions, in Denver City, found the great majority
of the Pike's Peakers in a state of excitement and enthusiasm over the dis-
coveries of gold by Gregory and Jackson, and the subsequent developments
of placer-mining, on the upper waters of Clear Creek. ISTevertheless, thirty-
two of the fifty delegates that had been elected, representing thirteen of the
twenty-three "precincts", assembled on that day, at the "Denver House",
or "Blake and Williams' Hall", the pioneer "hotel" of Denver City. After
a temporary organization had been effected by electing William N. Byers
to be President and Thomas Gibson to be Secretary, the first business trans-
acted was the appointment of a committee on credentials, which presently
reported "that they have examined the credentials of the parties from the
following districts, and report the following named persons as legally elected
delegates", eighteen of whom were not present at the time :
"Atiraria. ā W. M. Slaughter, Henry Allen, R. L. Wooton, W. N. Byers, T. Pol-
lock, L. J. Russell, D. D. Cook. W. D. McLain, A. Sagendorf.
HISTORY OF COLORADO 335
"Fountain City. ā Henry McCoy, Daniel Davis, C. B. Patterson, R. Eads, J.
M. Shafer, J. B. Calvin, G. McDougal, F. F. Brunio, Martin Fields, S. J. Ensley.
"Douglas City. ā W. G. Preston, J. Provost.
"Lupton's Fort. ā A. J. Williams.
"Denver City.ā Gen. W. Larimer, jr.: S. W. Wagoner, W. Clancy, S. W. Beall,
W. P. McClure, E. P. Stout, H. P. A, Smith, J. M. Fox, R, E. ^\^lltsitt.
"Gregory Diggings, ā D. J. Castro, Dr, Davenport, J. H. Turner, S. Reed, Thomas
Warren, R. Sopris, W. S. Foster, W. A. McFadding, F. A. Edwards, J. H, Gregory,
"Hurfano. ā Hickory Rodgers, Levi Ferguson.
"Sander's Ranch. ā J. J. Rariden.
"Eldorado. ā L. .J. Winchester.
"Russellville.ā X. J. Wyatt.
"Baden.ā A. C. Smith,
"Highland,ā J. H. Dudley.
"Colona.ā J. McDonald, C. Raymond."
This report having been accepted and approved, permanent officers of
the convention were chosen, as follows : S. W. Wagoner, President ; Henrj-
Allen, E. P. Stout, Richard Sopris, Levi Ferguson, C. B. Patterson, Vice-
Presidents; Thomas Gibson, Secretan'; John J. Shanley, Assistant Secre-
tary: and J. P. Farrer, Sergeant-at-Arms. The pioneer clergyman among
the Pike's Peakers, George W. Fisher, of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
then instituted the convention's further proceedings with a prayer.
Most of the leaders of the assemblage already had concluded that, in
consideration of the current circimistances which absorbed the attention
of so many of the people, and of the population's insufficient representation
present, it would be the wiser course for the convention to make certain
preliminary preparations for a State organization and then adjourn to a
time when there could, and doubtless would, be a larger number of delegates
In accordance with these views and on motion of Mr. Byers. the Presi-
dent was instructed to appoint committees, each to consist of three delegates,
"on the several topics necessary in the drafting of a Constitution for a
State government", and to report the committees "to-morrow morning".
The delegates appear to have been early birds, for they then adjourned
"to to-morrow morning at 8 o'clock".
When the convention reassembled in the morning of June 7th, Presi-
dent Wagoner reported the several committees on a State Constitution, and
which were as follows:
"On Boundaries and Bill of Riglits.ā W. X. Byers, E. P. Stout, D, .T. Castro.
"On Suffrage and Distribution of Power.- William Larimer, Jr. ; W. M. Slaugh-
ter, W. .T. Foster.
"On Legislative and Executive Departments. ā Henry McCoy, A. J. Williams,
"On Judiciary. ā N. G. Wyatt, W. P. McClure, Henry Allen.
"On Militia, State Debts, and Corporations.ā J. H. Turner, Hickory Rogers, R.
"On Education and School Funds.ā L. .T. Russell, S. W, Beall, J. J. Rariden.
"On Amendments and Miscellaneous Matters. ā J. M. Fox, J. M. Shafer, Tliomas
"On Schedule.ā L. J. Winchester, H. P. A. Smith, D. D. Cook."
These committees, as constituted by the President, were approved, and
instraeted to be prepared to report to the convention at its next session.
On motion, the President then appointed two other committees: one, con-
sisting of X. G. Wyatt, E. P. Stout, and D. Davis, "whose duty it shall
336 HISTORY OF COLORADO
be to form new precincts, from which delegates may be sent to the conven-
tion on the same ratio of population as agi'eed upon at the preliminaiy
convention"; the other, consisting of Henry Allen, General William Lari-
mer, Jr. ; William N. Byers, Henry McCoy, and N. G. Wyatt, "to memorial-
ize the President of the United States for the appointment of a resident
agent for the Arapahoe and Cheyenne Indians."
After agreeing to a motion "that W. N. Byers and Thomas Gibson
[publishers of the Rocl'ij Mountain News] be appointed public printers by
acclamation'', and thanking the oflBcers of the convention "for their efficient
discharge of their duties" and Blake and Williams "for the use of the
room", these State-builders adjourned, to meet again on the first Monday
in August ā the first day of that montli.
In an article entitled "The State of Jefferson", in the issue of \heNews
(still the only newspaper in the Pike's Peak country) of Jime 11th, referring
to the convention's adjournment for about two months, the editor of that
"This we think was the best course which could be pursued. Had the terrible
panic not stricken the emigration we would ere now have had a population almost
sufficient to entitle us to a representative in Congress, but now after those already
on the road have arrived we need not expect many more until a complete reaction
has taken place and the minds of the people in the States have been disabused of
the erroneous ideas into which they have fallen. Tliis will require some months and
we can hardly expect another inflowing of people before fall. That we will have a
sufficient population and be admitted as a sovereign State before the adjournment of
the next session of Congress we have scarce a doubt. To attain that end we will
lend our influence, feeling confident that it is our best course and that the goal is not
too high for the ambition of our people. All hail the future State of Jefferson!"
During the months of June and July a considerable opposition to the
movement to organize a State arose among the people, most of those who
arrayed themselves against it now favoring, or professing to favor, a Terri-
torial form of government. There had not been a second "inflowing of
people", and in the meantime no trifling number had outflown, while others
were preparing to do so. Therefore those who advocated a change of pro-
gramme argued that the remaining population would not be large enough
to bear the cost of maintaining a State organization, and pointed out that
much of the expense of supporting a Territorial government would fall
upon the United States Treasury.
The wisdom of the policy of adjournment and delay was demonstrated
when the convention reassembled, in Denver City, on Monday, August 1st.
There were now in attendance, including those who had been chosen in the
interval, 166 delegates, representing forty-five "precincts" ; and among
them was an increased number of men who had had, at their former homes,
practical experience in such work as that which they had met to do.
The delegates assembled at the Denver House, where the first day's ses-
sion was held. But finding the "hall" of that hostelry too small to accom-
modate so large a body, the convention moved, on Tuesday morning, to a
building in Auraria City, that stood upon the southwest corner of Denver's
present Lawrence and Tenth streets, and which it occupied until its final
The Rocky Mountain Gold Reporter and Mountain City Herald, pub-
lished at Mountain City by Thomas Gibson, who had Ijeen elected Secretary
of the convention, made its initial appearance upon the last day of that
GUVERNOK FREI)I':RI<'K w. titkin
HISTORY OF COLORADO -^3?
week (August 6th). In an account of the iirst day's proceedings of this
gathering of State-huilders, and which appeared in that issue of his paper,
Mr. Gibson commented as follows upon some incidents of the session :
". . . Tlie afternoon was spent in admitting delegates, and endeavors of the
supposed candidates for office to display their erudition and patriotism. Such a
time of 'explaining' and 'defining positions' is seldom seen. Gentlemen seemed burst-
ing with anxiety to tell where they stood, when, with due deference to self-esteem,
no one present or absent cared a penny where they stood, whether it was upon one
leg or two. A great many affirmations of disinterestedness were made, and as they
were generally doubted by those who seemed to know, we suppose they were not
quite sincere. Quite a contest occurred on a motion to adjourn to Auraria, and to
the great chagrin of the Denverites, the motion prevailed. The reason for this was
the inconvenient situation of the place of meeting, it being so far out upon the
plains that a question was raised whether it was in the 'proposed State of Jeffer-
The names of the delegates, as reported by the Committee on Creden-
tials, and those of the "precincts" they represented, follow :
"Arapahoe.ā G. B. Allen, M. Chilacott, W. L. Crooker, M. Cook, Sam S. Curtis,
J. R. Gould, Asa Smith.
"Auraria.ā Henry Allen, W. N. Byers, D. D. Cook, W. D. McLain, W. M.
Slaughter, A. Sagendorf, Levi J. Russell, R. L. Wooton. Thomas Pollock.
"Baden.ā A. C. Smith.
"Bay State. ā . . . Hill, A. N. Parsons.
"Beaver Creek. ā Beverly D. Williams.
"Cold Springs. ā Thos. P. Van Trees.
"Colona. ā J. McDonald, C. Raymond.
"Cheyenne Pass. ā R. S. Parks.
"Denver. ā William Larimer, Jr. ; S. W. Wagoner, W." ClaTicy, S. W. Beall, W.
P. McClure, E. P. Stout, H. P. A. Smith, J. M. Fox, R. E. Whitsitt.
"Deadwood. ā John Graves, G. H. Washburn, S. M. Logan, M. W. Gamble, W.
F. Morris, S. D. Ingle.
"Diekerson. ā B. S. Harvey, S. Crepts, Charles Nichols, T. C. Dickerson.
"Douglas. ā W. G. Preston, J. Provost.
"Downeyvillc. ā A. B. Steinberger.
"Eldorado. ā L. J. Winchester.
"Eureka.ā D. S. Bentley, J. P. Brown, B. F. Fuller, W. F. Sigler, A. H. Barker,
J. H. Knox, H. Goodwin.
"Fountain City. ā R. Eads, Henry McCoy, J. B. Calvin. G. McDougall, Daniel
Davis, C. B. Patterson, J. M. Shafer, F. F. Brunee, M. Fields, S. J. Ennesley.
"Golden City.ā H. C. Green, W. H. Loveland, J. M. Ferrell. T. P. Boyd, Eli
Carter, S. Y. Baldwin, A. F. Garrison, W. Ford, J. H. Wisner, S. Bronson, James
McDonald. J. M. Whittemore.
"Golden Gate.ā E. G. Seachrest, J. S. Rodgers, H. J. Hawley, C. C. Post, S.
W. Lincoln, Alf Tucker.
"Griffith.ā G. H. Eayre.
"Gregory Diggings. ā J. Casto, Tlios. Warren, R. Sopris, W. S. Foster, W. A.
McFadding, J. H. Gregory, R. W. Steele, J. Emerson, G. W. Brown, J. H. Brad-
street, W. W. JIason. G. W. Cook, . . . Bucheardt, E. W. Barck, N. L. Witcher.