known as the fourteenth article, and also the fundamental condition herein proposed
[no denial of suftrage, by reason of race or color] ; and in case said Legislature
shall refuse to ratify said amendment and said condition this act shall be null
and void ' '.
The friends of Statehood for Colorado now thought the prospects
for the passage of the bill to be "extremely favorable", but there still was
no material change of sentiment on the subject among the people of the
Territory at large, nor was there more than a languid interest in the mat-
ter manifested in the Senate. The measure and the proposed amendment
were not considered by that body until June 22d, when, after some debate,
they were laid aside. The bill was taken up again on the 27th, wlien it
was discussed at greater length and two or three minor amendments were
adopted. But the "morning hour" now having e.xpired the Senate turned
to other business, and further consideration of the bill never was at-
The principal objection that had been raised against its passage was,
as before, based upon the insufficiency of the Territory's population.
This had been represented now to be between 75,000 and 100,000 ; an in-
crease of from 45,000 to 75,000 since the Territorial census taken two
years previously. But the Senators largely discounted these "estimates".
As the reader will recall, the Federal census two years later made the num-
ber at that time a trifle under 40,000.
As it was expected that the Harlan bill, or another in its stead, would
become a law during the third â€” and last â€” session of the Fortieth Congress,
Senators-elect Evans and Chaffee, professing a desire to clear the field for
a new and more concerted campaign, publicly renounced and resigned all
claims upon the Colorado senatorships, and pledged their further and
hearty cooperation in any movement for Statehood that the people should
But no strongly-supported effort to obtain Colorado's admission was
made in the last session of the Fortieth Congress (December 7, 1868 â€”
March 4, 1869,) nor during the entire term of Forty-first Congress, March
4^ 1869â€” March 4, 1871). On January 11, 1869, George M. Chilcott, the
Territory's Delegate, introduced into the House a bill to enable the people of
Colorado to form a constitution and State government, and that went to
the House Committee on Territories, in the hands of which it died of in-
anition. Four days later. Senator Yates introduced into the Senate a bill
for the same purpose. After its formal readings, with an order to print,
it was referred to the Senate Committee on the Territories â€” and was heard
of no more. As all former proceedings to make Colorado a State now
had been abandoned, these bills contemplated a new constitution and an
entirelv new deal in the matter. During the first and second sessions
484 HISTORY OF COLORADO
of the Forty-first Congress no Statehood measure for Colorado aj)peared in
either of its divisions: but in the third (December 5, 18T0 â€” March 4,
1871) two were i^roduced. On December l'2th, Delegate A. A. Bradford,
who had succeeded Chilcott, introduced into the House a bill for an en-
abling act, which passed into oblivion by the same course that Chilcott's
had taken. On the 19th of that mouth, Senator James W. Xye, of N^evada,
laid a like Ijill before the Senate, and which was referred to the Commit-
tee on the Territories. This committee reported it back without amend-
ment and with "accompanying papers'". But the Senate gave the bill no
Throughout the term of the Forty-second Congress (ilarch 4, 1871 â€”
March 4, 1873) the Senate was barren of enabling bills for Colorado, but
it was not so with the House in the first and the third session. Mr.
Chaft'ee now had advanced or retrograded, as the reader may prefer, from
a nominal senatorship to a real delegateship, and was representing our
Territory in that Congress. Early in the first session, he introduced into
the House an enabling bill for his constituents, and which went to the
House Committee on Territories, but did not return. Soon after the be-
ginning of the third session. Delegate Chaffee introduced another enabling
bill, which, on January 9, 1873. was reported back to the Hoiise by the
Committee on Territories, with a recommendation that it be passed. Mr.
Chaffee made an able and persistent effort to procure it? passage, but
success was denied him. The bill was taken up by the House for consid-
eration and was discussed on several days in that month, but finally, on
the 29th, it was ordered to be laid upon the table, by a vote of 117 to
61 ; sixty-four members not voting. The bill remained upon the table
until its life went oiTt, on the 4th of the ensuing March.
However, this faihrre was followed by the beginning of the end of
the long series of fruitless trials to transform Coloi'ado from a Territory
into a State. Mr. Chaffee had been reelected Delegate in Congress in the
previous autumn, and the improved economic conditions in the Territory
now were causing a change in public sentiment among its people as to the
question of Statehood. The citizens who were inclined to favor the
transition were in the majority, and the number so disposed increased
month by month thereafter. Moreover, while the political sea in Colo-
rado still was boisterous, the animosities and wranglings that had so large-
ly characterized the discussion and management of the Territory's public
affairs were upon the eve of giving way to a higher type of political methods.
Furthermore, Colorado's admission now was favored by President Grant,
who, in his message to the Forty-third Congress, at the opening of its first
session (December 1, 1873 â€” June 23, 1874), said:
' ' I would recommend for your favorable consideration the jiassage of an
enabling act for the admission of Colorado as a State of the Union. It possesses all
the elements of a prosperous State, agricultural and mineral, and, I Iielieve, has a
population now to justify such admission. ' '
On December 8th, two bills for an enabling act for Colorado were in-
troduced into the House. The first of these was by Representative George
C. McKee, of Mississippi, and which, after the usual formalities, was re-
ferred to the House Committee on Territories. The other was by Delegate
Chaffee, whose bill eventually took precedence of McKee's, which, by com-
HISTOEY OF COLOEADO 485
mon consent, was not reported back to the House. On several days m the
following Januar}-, ChaflEee presented to the House a large number of peti-
tions from citizens of Colorado "asking the passage of an act to author-
ize the people of the territory to form a State government, and for the ad-
mission of such State into the Union'". The number of signatures to these
was said to have been between six and seven thousand.
However, the whole subject was hgld in abeyance for nearly five
months, when, on May 28th (1874), Delegate ChafEee, by unanimous con-
sent of the House, reported from the Committee on Territories a new bill
for an enabling act for Colorado, which, after the usual readings, was re-
committed to that committee with instructions that it was '"not to be
brought back on a motion to reconsider". On June 8th, the shrewd and
vigilant Chaffee moved that the rules be suspended and that the bill he
had introduced in the previous December, which had not been reported
by the Committee on Territories, be taken up and passed. He said it was
"an exact copy of the bill passed [by the House] the other day for the
admission of Xew Mexico", and that it was "in the usual form of en-
abling acts". As there was but little active opposition to Clialfee's motion
and his bill, even by the partisan minority, the rules were suspended, and,
in about the time of a wink by the Congi-essional eye, the measure was
passed by 171 yeas to 66 nays; fifty-two members not voting. Going now
to the Senate, the bill was referred to that body's Committee on the Ter-
ritories, which reported it on June 11th, unchanged. But here it received
a setback, for which some Eepublican Senators mainly were responsible,
and who now were dubious as to whether Colorado would turn out to be
a Eepublican or a Democratic State. Action upon the measure was de-
layed until the 23d, the last day of the session, when a motion to postpone
all other orders and take it up for passage was negatived, and by a vote
of 33 to 20 (twenty Senators being absent) the bill then was ordered to be
laid upon the table. This proceeding left it in the condition of unfinished
Although President Grant had not referred to the subject of State-
hood for Colorado in his annual message to Congress on December Tth
(1874), he still favored it, and exerted his influence in its behalf. But
eilorts to have the Senate to act on the pending bill for that purpose were
not successful until February 24, 1875, when it was called up for con-
sideration. The delay, that could have been prevented by the Eepublican
majority, had been due principally to the political situation in Colorado,
as the Territory had, in the preceding September, elected a Democrat
(Thomas M. Patterson) to be its Delegate in the next Congress. Some
Eepublican Senators believed this indicated that Colorado would be a Dem-
ocratic State. But others held it largely to have been due to the malad-
ministration, officious meddlesomeness and other political shortcomings of
Governor ilcCook, and therefore demanded his elimination by the Presi-
dent as a condition precedent to the Senate's passage of the 'bill. McCook
having been forced to hand in his resignation, the Colorado Statehood
bill was, as I have said above, taken up by the Senate on February 24th.
But there still was a disposition on the part of some Senators to defeat
it, a few of these making use of the old question as to sufficiency of pop-
ulation. This was to some extent provoked by the insistence of an exag-
gerated statement as to the Territory's population, which therein was said
486 HISTOEY OF COLOEADO
to be 150,000; thus assuming an increase of 110,000 in four and one-Iialf
years. While it was well known that there had been a steady emigration
to Colorado during that period, and that it was continuing, no one believed
the gain had been nearly 300 per cent, since June, 1870. However, after
the adoption of several minor amendments, the bill was passed by the
Senate on that day by a vote of 42 to 12 ; nineteen Senators being absent.
The bill appeared in the House on February 26th, for concurrence in
the Senate's amendments. But action thereon was delayed several days,
partly by Democratic skirmishing and partly by allowing precedence to
measures deemed by many of the members to be more important. In the
evening of March 3d, and by the very skillful management of Delegate
Chaffee, the attention of the House was obtained and held for a time suf-
ficient to a suspension of the males, and thereunder to concur in the amend-
ments ; and before midnight the bill became a law by its approval by Presi-
dent Grant. The full text of the act is appended to this chapter.
As in all previous Statehood-measures for Colorado, the law made the
boundaries of the Territory those of the proposed State, which embrace an
area of about 104,000 square miles.
The fia-st requirement under the provisions of the act was the election
of delegates in the several counties, and in number (thirty-nine) the same
as that of the total membership of the Territorial Legislative Assembly,
to a convention to frame a constitution for tlie contemplated State, and
which was held on the 25th of the following October. The twenty-five
counties into which the Territory then was divided had been apportioned
into twenty-four districts, and delegates were elected in these divisions, as
First District, consisting of Weld County, S. .1. Plumb and John S. Wheeler.
Second, consisting of Weld and Larimer counties, A. Y. Yount.
Third, consisting of Larimer County, William C. Stover.
Fourth, consisting of Boulder County, Byron L. Carr and William E. Beck.
Fifth, consisting of Gilpin County, Alvin Marsh and Lewis C. Eockwell.
Sixth, consisting of Clear Creek County, William M. Clark and William H.
Seventh, consisting of Clear Creek, Summit and Grand counties, William W.
Eighth, consisting of Jefferson County, William Lee and George G. White.
Ninth, consisting of Arapahoe County, H. P. H. Bromwell, Frederick J. Ebert,
Clarence P. Elder, Lewis C. Ellsworth, Daniel Hurd and E. T. Wells.
Tenth, consisting of Arapahoe and Douglas counties, P. P. Wilcox.
Eleventh, consisting of Bent County, J. W. Widdertield.
Twelfth, consisting of Bent and Elbert counties, John S. Hough.
Thirteenth, consisting of El Paso County, Eobert Douglas and Joseph C. Wilson.
Fourteenth, consisting of Park and Lake counties, William H. .Tames and
George E. Pease.
Fifteenth, consisting of Saguache County, Willard B. Felton.
Sixteenth, consisting of Fremont County. A. D. Cooper.
Seventeenth, consisting of Pueblo Countv, Wilbur F. Stone and Henry C.
Eighteenth, consisting of Las Animas County, ('asimero Barela, George Boyles
and Jesus Maria Garcia.
Nineteenth, consisting of Las Animas ami Huerfano counties, Agapeta Vigil.
Twentieth, consisting of Huerfano County, Eobert A. Quillian.
Twenty-first, consisting of Costilla County, William H. Meyer.
Tweinty-second, consisting of Conejos County, Lafayette Head.
Twenty-third, consisting of Hinsdale and Eio Grande counties, William E.
Twenty-fourth, consisting of La Plata County, Henry E. Crosby.
HISTOEY OF COLORADO 487
The delegates assembled at Denver at the appointed time, December
20, 1875, and organized by electing Joseph C. Wilson, of El Paso County,
President of the convention; and W. W. Coulson (not a delegate), of
Boiilder County, Secretary. The convention remained in session through-
out tliat winter and on into March, when on the 14th of that month, it
completed and certified to its well-done work. In an "Address to the
People of Colorado", by a committee of delegates appointed to prepare
and make public a summary of the provisions of the Constitution, the
following was said :
"Let lis now look at the political and substantial advantages of Statehood
as contrasted with our present condition of Territorial vassalage. By becoming a
State, we elect our officers from our own people and are permitted to join in the
election of the Chief Magistrate of the Nation, thus enjoying for the first time, while
in Colorado, the sweets of self-government.
"Our privileges will then be enlarged, we will no longer be suppliants for the
rights and immunities belonging to freemen â€” we will have gained them. Then we
will be able to assume our proper station among the States of the Union. With two
Senators and a Eepresentative in the Xatioual Congress, we will be enabled to
command respect, and to secure adtlilional appropriations for the fostering of our
industries, as well as of extending our political privileges; then we will have a
voice in the matter of Indian treaties, in the establishing of military posts and roads,
in the location of mail routes, in the passing of laws concerning the title to mineral
veins, and providing for the disposal of the mineral and pastoral lands of the State
as suited to peculiar wants; also upon many other questions which at present interest
us, but upon which we can not now be heard. Who is there among you that would
not rather be a citizen of an independent sovereign State than a mere settler upon
the public lands of the Territory, governed by satraps appointed and removed at
pleasure, as best serves the whims and purposes of political rings and cliques â€”
beggars, asking pittance at the gate of the nation; poor wards dependent upon
the charity of Congress, living in a sort of penal colony, the Botany Bay of political
servitude? Now that the golden opportunity is afforded, shall this state of things
longer exist? We confidently believe it will not. Let us cherish, then, this occasion
with more than ordinary zeal, actuated by the memories of the past, and inspired by
the rewards for us in the future; let us arouse ourselves to the responsibilities of
the hour, and, as citizens of a free Eepublic, become in fact, as well as in name,
citizens of the American Union of Sovereign States. ' '
The time was auspicious and the conditions in the Territory were
ripe for the change. Colorado's population, which had been increasing
at rather a rapid rate since 1870, now was nearly 100,000. The Consti-
tution was in full accord with the recent amendments to the Federal Con-
stitution, and the great majority of the Territory's people were convinced
that the day was at hand for them to shake off the incubus of Territorial
government. The State Constitution was submitted to the voters of the
Territory, for their ratification or rejection, on July 1, 1876. In a total
vote of 19,505 there were 15,443 affirmative ballots, and 4,062 negative;
leaving a ratification majority of 11,381.
All the proceedings having been in due accordance with the Enabling
Act, President Grant, in further compliance therewith, issued on August
1, 1876, a proclamation declaring that Colorado now had become one of
the States of the Union. That year having brought the hundredth anni-
versary of American independence, Colorado was given the nickname,
"Centennial State", and which first was suggested, in anticipation of ad-
mission in that year, by the late General B. AV. Woodburj', then owner
4S8 HISTORY OF COLOEADO
and editor of the Denver Times, in an editorial article in the issue of tliat
newspaper on February 27, 1875.
The Enabling Act provided that during the interval between the for-
mal admission of the State and the inauguration of duly elected State
oflBcers the Territorial officers should continue in their respective positions
and discliarge the duties thereof.
The election for State officers, for members of the General Assembly,
and also for a Eepresentative in the Forty-fourth Congress in its last ses-
sion, was held, as provided by the Constitution, on October 3, 1876. Two
State tickets, Eepublican and Democratic, had been nominated by party
conventions : John L. Eoutt, Governor of the Territory, heading that of
the Eei^ublicans, as candidate for Governor, and Bela M. Hughes that of
the Democrats, for the same office. Both parties waged a vigorous cam-
paign for jwlitical control of the State, but while victory rested with the
Eepublicans, the result proved the two organizations to be nearly equal in
strength. Tlie winning side elected its entire ticket for the executive
and judicial divisions, a majority of the members of both branches of the
Legislature, and the Eepresentative for the unexpired term of the Forty-
fourth Congress. In the total of 27,270 votes cast for the heads of the
Wo tickets, Eoutfs majority was 1,038. The majorities for the rest of
his ticket ranged from 1,729 for Secretary of State to 728 Treasurer of
Colorado's first General Assembly convened at Denver, at noon of
Kovember 1, 1876, and effected an organization on that day. On the
next day the returns of the election for State officers were canvassed and
the results duly determined, whereupon those declared to have been elected
were inaugurated, and entered upon the discharge of their duties, al-
though they had nominalh' been in office from the day before.
On Xovember 7th, the Legislature, as the Constitution authorized it
to do in that instance, elected three Presidential Electors â€” Hennan Beck-
urts, William L. Hadley and Otto Mears â€” each a Eepublican. The ref-
sult of this transaction, which was a legitimate consequence of the people's
will as expressed in the election on October 3d, affords a good example
of the facility with which great political events may, under our system,
be turned one way or another by a political incident. Had the admission
of Colorado and the organization of its State Government been delayed
tliree months, or had the Democrats elected a few more members of the
Legislature â€” which might have been done with a few hundred more votes
â€” Samuel J. Tilden, and not Eutherford B. Hayes, would have become
President of the United States on March 4, 1877.
On Xovember 14th, the Legislature elected Henry M. Teller and
Jerome B. Chaffee, each a Eepublican, United States Senators from Colo-
rado. AVhen they were seated in the Senate, on the 4th of the next month,
the term that ended on March 4th, following, fell to the lot of Mr. Teller,
and thus gave Mr. Chaffee the term that expired on March 4, 1879. But
on December 9th (1876), that Legislature elected Mr. Teller to succeed
himself for a full term.
So, after twelve years of almost continuous striving for the change,
but for the most part of the time by a minority of her citizens, Colorado
had become the thirty-eighth member of the great American Sisterhood
of States and was fully re]iresented in the councils of the Xation.
HISTORY OF COLORADO 489
A peculiar situation was ijroduced liy the proceedings iu the matter
of electing the Representative in Congress. One was to be chosen to serve
in the unexpired part of the term of the Forty-fourth Congress (from
December 4, 1876, to March 4, 1877), and one for tlie full term of the
Forty-fifth. The Republicans nominated James B. Belford for both
terms, and Thomas M. Patterson likewise was nominated by the Demo-
crats. Section 6, of the Enabling Act, authorized the election of a Rep-
resentative in what was left of the Forty-fourth's term to be held on the
same day on which State officers and members of the Legislature should
be elected. But as the managers of the Republican campaign had con-
strued that section, which is somewhat obscure, to mean that a Representa-
tive in both these Congresses should, or might be, chosen on that day (Octo-
ber 3d), Belford was nominated for the two terms; and the Democrats, who
held their convention about a week later, in nominating Patterson, followed
the Republican example. But Patterson is well on record as having re-
peatedly said in public that the Enabling Act did not warrant the election,
of a Representative in tlie Forty-fifth Congress on that day, and that such
election must be held on the 7th of the following Xovember, the regular
day for holding elections throughout the Nation for Representatives in Con-
gress. However, as the Republicans insisted on and stuck to their con-
struction of the clause in the Enabling Act, each party voted on October
3d for its candidate for the two terms. For the short term, Belford re-
ceived 13,303 votes, and Patterson 12,865; and for the full term the vote
was, respectively, 13,532 and 12,544. Therefore, upon the face of the re-
turns, Belford had been elected for both terms. But the managers of the
Democratic campaign, who did not question Belford's election to the Forty-
fourth Congress, now believing Patterson's views to be correct and that there
had been no election for the Forty-fifth, decided to hold an election on Xo-
vember 7 th for a Representative in that Congi-ess. Notwithstanding that
the returns of the October election had been ofScially canvassed and a cer-
tificate of election to the Forty-fifth, as well as to the Forty-fourth, had
â– been issued to Belford, and that the Republicans finally had refused to
concede any invalidity in the previous proceedings or to have anything to
do with the proposition for another trial, the Democrats held an election
according to their programme. But, as shown by the returns, participa-
tion in it was not general even by voters of that party, while those of the
Republican party held aloof almost to the last man. As he had had prac-
tically no "opposition", Patterson received 3,580 of the total of 3,829 votes
that had been cast; and of the remainder, 172 were for Belford, and 77
were classed as "scattering". The House of Representatives of the
Forty-fifth Congress, after a prolonged contest over the tangle, decided
that Jlr. Patterson was the lawfully-elected Representative, and therefore
was entitled to the seat.
The Constitution of Colorado provides that the Governor and other
elective executive officers of the State shall hold office for the term of two
years, beginning on the second Tuesday in January next after their elec-
tion; but it also provided "that the terms of office of those chosen at the
first election held under this Constitution shall begin on the day appointed
for the first meeting of the General Assembly" â€” the first AVednesday in