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On the 10th of February, 1904, Mr. Wilson was married to Miss Dorothy E. Webb, a
daughter of Jean FYancis and Mary Elizabeth Webb, of Denver, formerly residents of
Lebanon, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have one daughter, Grace Eleanor, who was bom
in Denver, December 19, 1910, and is attending the city schools.

Mr. Wilson belongs to the Mile High Club, is a member of Temple Lodge, No. 84,
A. F. & A. M., and of the Junior Order of American Mechanics. He is a member of the
Denver Bar Association and the Colorado Bar Association. Outside the strict path of
his profession he is perhaps most widely known as an ardent republican and one who
has occupied a position of leadership in connection with party affairs in Denver. For
two terms he served as a member of the city council, being first elected in 1904 and
reelected in 1906, and during his connection with the city council he served on various
important committees. He has ever been a believer in progress and one who is fear-
less in the expression of his honest convictions, who places the public welfare before
personal aggrandizement and seeks the benefit of the community rather than of self.
He has taken a most active interest in patriotic work, has been a member of the board of
managers of the Colorado Society of the Sons of the Revolution for a number of years
and in 1913 and 1914 was state president of that society.



JOSEPH H. HARRISON.



Joseph H. Harrison was born in Manchester, England. His parents, Mark and
Rebecca Harrison, gave him the notable traits that go to build up what the world calls
a good reputation and what is inherently character. In the spring of 1872 he came from
England to the United States, settling in Philadelphia. For a time he was employed in
a store in that city and later went to Wilkes-Barre, where he took a position in a general
store. During these formative years he acquired not alone a fundamental knowledge of
business, but also laid the basis for an education which has made him one of the best
informed men in the state.

In January, 1881, Mr. Harrison came to Denver and in 1882 he became general agent
for the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company of Philadelphia. Later he was elected a
member of the executive committee, and afterwards second vice president of the agency
organization of the company; positions which he still holds, being classed among the
most capable men in his line.

In 1906 Mr. Harrison was elected as a republican to the state senate and perhaps
his most notable work in that body was the assistance he rendered in the preparation
and enactment of an insurance measure which has since been used as a model by other
states. He was the father of a proposed amendment to the constitution making judges
appointive; but the progressive spirit was not yet strong enough to pull it through. It
passed the senate but failed of passage in the house. One of the evils of the state at
that time was the inability to convict in cases where those working in a fiduciary capacity
and whose compensation was derived from commissions could, and in numerous cases
did, appropriate to their own use the funds collected for and belonging to others. He
had a bill prepared and succeeded in passing it through both houses, making such acts
of misappropriation the crime of larceny and punishable accordingly; the effect of which



90 HISTORY OF COLORADO

has been to reduce very largely the number of such cases which had been quite numerous
theretofore.

On February 13, 1912, President William Howard Taft appointed Senator Harrison
postmaster of Denver, and during his incumbency (he retired from the position April
1, 1915), the new post office, one of the finest in the land, was planned and constructed.
The adoption of many improvements incidental to the interior arrangements, under con-
sideration by the committee at Washington, with whom he was frequently called in con-
ference, were suggested by Mr. Harrison. His work as postmaster was made notable by
his introduction of new systems for handling the funds of the post office, and the general
delivery patrons. He revolutionized the methods employed for the supervision and regu-
lation of the work of the employes in the interests of the clerks and carriers, no less
than in that of the post office department itself, for which he was highly commended
by the authorities at Washington, who, after investigation. Introduced these improve-
ments in many other post offices over the country.

Senator Harrison has been a factor in promoting the welfare and upbuilding of
the state in general, and Denver in particular. After becoming its general agent, he
induced The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company of Philadelphia, a conservative
Quaker institution, to adopt a program of investments in Colorado which in time secured
to its citizens an aggregate sum of over twenty million dollars, which, invested in first
mortgages, enabled our enterprising people to build up one of the most beautiful and
substantial cities (Pueblo and Colorado Springs included) in the country as evidenced
by its business blocks and dwellings, some of which the Senator had built on his own
account.

Mr. Harrison was married to Esther Abrahams, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on
May 14, 1884. The death of his wife, a few years ago, came as a shock to the entire
community, for she had endeared herself to all by her philanthropic activities, to which
she devoted many years of her life. Senator Harrison is the father of three sons, all
natives of Denver: Mark M., born November 7. 1885, now in business with his father;
Samuel A., born January 1, 1891, who enlisted in the United States army in the fall of
1917, was commissioned as a lieutenant of Company D, Twenty-fifth Infantry, in Sep-
tember, 1918, and Is stationed at Rockwell Field, San Diego, California; and Horace L.
Harrison, born February 24, 1893, an ensign in the United States navy. Engineering
Division, with headquarters at Washington, D. C.

Senator Harrison has always played a prominent part in the philanthropic, civic,
social and political activities of the community, as an ofllcer, director, or member of
many of such organizations. His activities cover a wide field in the progress and
advancement of the community.



JOHN RICHARDS CHAMPION.

The name John Richards Champion is indelibly impressed upon the history of
the development of the mining interests of Colorado. He was born in the Breage
mining district of Cornwall, England, on the 20th of May, 1856, a son of the Rev.
John and Elizabeth (Richards) Champion, the former a minister of the Methodist
church.

He acquired a common school education and throughout his life was a deep and
earnest student of mining and mining methods, in which field of labor he became very
successful, occupying positions of trust and importance. He came to the new world
in 1877 and for thirty-nine years was identified with the development of the rich
mineral resources of Colorado. His ability won him recognition in that field and he
was called to various places of responsibility. During the last sixteen years of his
life he was superintendent of the Yak Mining and Tunnel Company at Leadville,
Colorado, his high efficiency being indicated in the fact that he was so long retained
in that important position.

It was in Leadville on the 3d of June, 1890, that Mr. Champion was married to
Miss Nellie M. Lazenbey, a daughter of Charles and Helen Lazenbey, the former a
mining man of Leadville. Mr. and Mrs. Champion became the parents of two daughters:
Claire L., now the wife of Joseph E. Purcell, Jr., of Fairplay, Colorado; and Edith L.,
a successful teacher in the high school at Arvada. In October, 1910, Mr. (;;hampion
removed with his family to Arvada where he erected a handsome and commodious
dwelling. In August. 1916, he retired from active business life and on the 22d of
May, 1917. after a brief illness, was called to his final rest.




JOHN R. CHAMPION



92 HISTORY OF COLORADO

In his religious faith Mr. Champion was a Methodist, adhering to the teachings
of his boyhood. He was well known in Masonic circles, being received as an entered
apprentice at Georgetown, September 4, 1880. He was raised to the master's degree
in Leadville, April 11, 1883, and he served as worshipful master of Leadville Lodge,
A. F. & A. M., for the term of 1888-9. He was afterward secretary of the same lodge
from 1891 until 1897 inclusive. He became a member of Leadville Chapter, No. 1,
R. A. M., on the 1st of July, 1886, and was elected high priest in 1890. He was made a
Knight Templar of Mount of the Holy Cross Commandery, No. 5, on the 20th of
December, 1893, and served as its eminent commander in 1901. He likewise had
membership relations with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and he was
ever most loyal to his professions and to his obligations. His political allegiance was
given to the republican party and he kept well informed on the questions and issues
of the day, but he never sought or desired office, preferring to concentrate his energy
and his thought upon his business interests and duties. He was a self-made man in
the highest and best sense of the term, carving out his own fortunes and shaping his
career in most honorable fashion.



REV. ALANSON MOODY VIR DEN.

Rev. Alanson M. Vir Den, of Hugo, Colorado, is one of the most forceful preachers
of the Methodist Episcopal church known to this state. For thirty years he has ex-
pounded the gospel and it is due to his untiring efforts and his convincing arguments
that six thousand people have joined the church. His fame is not only known to Colo-
rado but he is a man of national reputation, and his unselfish efforts are so eager and
carrying that he has succeeded in bringing back to God many lost souls. Twenty-one
churches were built and rebuilt because of his earnest appeals and largely through his
efforts the present Methodist Episcopal church in Hugo was erected. He was born in
Ohio, March 16, 1863, a son of William A. and Mahala (Drake) Vir Den, both natives
of Ohio, the father being engaged along agricultural lines in that state. The grandfather
on the mother's side belonged to the famous Drake family of which Sir Francis was the
best known member. A great-grandfather on the father's side is said to be descended
from that Duke of Aleni;on who was the commander in chief of the army which was vic-
toriously led by Joan of Arc. The great-grandparents of our subject were driven out of
France at the time of the French revolution.

Alanson M. Vir Den was the eldest in a family of six children and the only one to
take up a profession. He received his primary education in Ohio and then attended the
Ohio Northern University of that state for two years, while subsequently he studied in
Valparaiso University for three years. His desire to lead his fellow beings to pursue a
true Christian life influenced him to take up theological studies and for two years he at-
tended the Garrett Bible Institute of Chicago. He entered upon his ministerial duties
in South Dakota, beginning to preach in a little sixteen-by-twenty sod church, his humble
congregation consisting of about forty members. This was in the year 1888. He con-
tinued to preach in South Dakota, near Huron, which was one of the live towns of that
day, for some time, subsequently was for eleven years engaged in church work in In-
diana and for five years in Ohio and then removed to Oklahoma on account of the health
of his wife. In 1913 Mr. Vir Den's health also gave way on account of his untiring labors
and he decided upon removal to a more congenial climate, settling at Rush Creek, Colo-
rado, where he homesteaded a farm of three hundred and twenty acres. He has trans-
formed this tract into a beautiful place of residence, creating from a v.'ildemess produc-
tive fields, instituting modern improvements and facilities and putting up suitable
buildings. Following the most progressive methods and ever ready to embrace new
ideas if found practical, he has made his farm one of the valuable properties in the
neighborhood. He gives considerable attention to dairying, keeping Brown Swiss cattle,
and his principal crops are corn, barley and a new grain which has been imported from
Africa called feteretia and also Sudan grass, which are considered two of the finest and
highest grade crops in that country. Rev. Vir Den makes his home in Hugo. Colorado,
and has taken a deep interest in the moral and intellectual development of the commu-
nity. He has been helpfully interested in building the present Methodist Episcopal
church here and in other ways has proven himself a public-spirited citizen who is
always ready to lend a helping hand or give a good word to those who are in sorrow
and distress. He has now been a member of the Oklahoma Methodist Episcopal Church
Conference for fourteen years and for thirty years he has preached the gospel to such
good purpose that six thousand people have been taken into the church. Through his




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94 HISTORY OF COLORADO

efforts and earnest appeals twenty-one churches In different parts of this country were
built or rebuilt and, in fact, his work has been of national importance in the spread of
true Christianity. Moreover, Mr. Vir Den has been instrumental in educating for the
church twenty young men and women, who are now preaching the gospel or are engaged
in other Christian work. The Vir Den family is of French extraction and our subject is
proud of his descent. In his forceful oratory he injects strength of expression by using
the simplest language, preferring the plainest words in order to make his statements
carry to his hearers. In preaching the Christ and exhorting his audiences he is so
positive and convincing that it is practically impossible to escape from the righteous-
ness of his arguments, and his conversions therefore are but the natural outcome of his
personal (appeal. He is "^not a man to impress by outside appearances — that means a
man who seeks to impress by clothes and mannerisms, but he is a man who by five
minutes jaf his presence wins his audiences, who acclaim him as one of them, and their
kind. Ajman of the masses, he is with the masses and stands for the masses. In his
work he jlias been ably assisted by bis wife and they are inseparable in their Christian
work. Tjhey cheer and strengthen each other and in his home Mr. Vir Den finds that
inspirati(jin which ever guides him to new effort. Both are students of human nature
and by closely applying this quality they have succeeded in touching the human heart
and convincing the soul. Mr. Vir Den uses all his force, all the noble earnestness of his
soul and lall his physical powers in order to combat sin in all of its forms as prevalent in
modern Society and he is particularly insistent in regard to temperance. Mrs. Vir Den
sometimejs assists her husband on the platform and sometimes she preaches herself.
Their home in Hugo is a cheerful American abode, and the outcast or the one whom
life has played hard, the oppressed and the distressed, all receive encouragement, help
and sympathy there.

The Stroud (Okla.) Democrat says of Rev. Vir Den: "Rev. A. M. Vir Den, formerly
Methodist Episcopal pastor at Edmond, Newkirk and Kingfisher, but now in charge of
the Methodist church at Pawhuska, is no doubt the most energetic, original and most
industrioiis minister of the gospel in this state. Mentally, physically and nervously
he is a compound of eccentric Ijorenzo Dow, belligerent Peter Cartwright and laughter
exciting Sam Jones. He has been and still is one of the hardest workers in Oklahoma.
He is fearless, eccentric, humorous and full of pure religion." This is the impression
which Rev. Vir Den created in Oklahoma. What the people of his native state of Ohio
think of his work is evident from the following extract from the Lima Gazette: "Rev.
A. M. Vir Den is certainly a man desperately in earnest — a fearless, uncompromising
preacher. He strikes quick and hard and hits the center every time. All who heard
him were profoundly impressed with his zeal for leading men to better things. He is
undoubtedly a winning speaker. He awakens in men at once a desire for nobler living;
men can scarcely refrain from acting at once on their better feelings. He is unique in
his manner and methods, as well as in his presentation of the truth. His illustrated
lecture, 'Life's Golden Pathway,' was attended by an army of young people. An adequate
description of this lecture could not be given in a few words. One must hear it to
fully appreciate its excellence. Sam Jones never spoke more directly or fearlessly than
Mr. Vir Den. They learned that the speaker knew how to talk to men, for he demon-
strated by trend of thought and incidents that he knew his subject. Men were pro-
foundly stirred and lasting impressions for good made."

Charles N. Haskell, governor of Oklahoma, speaks of Mr. Vir Den in the highest
terms, expressing his pleasure at having been able to attend one of his lectures, and
Senator Robert Owen of the same state speaks highly of the value of his lectures, which
"combine humor, pathos and instruction." H. B. Brown, president of Valparaiso (Ind.)
University, says: "His addresses and sermons are inspiring and uplifting," and Con-
gressman Bird McGuire of Oklahoma says: "He entertains his audience continuously
from the first to the last and imparts to his audience information and not misinforma-
tion. I regard him as one of the most entertaining speakers I have ever known."

In 1SS8 Rev. Alanson Moody Vir Den was united in marriage to Docia Grace Hawk,
who was born in southern Ohio, a daughter of Charles E. Hawk, one of the bravest men
who took up the cause of the Union. For four years he served in the Civil war as a
member of the Thirty-sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry and participated in many of the
hotly contested and sanguine engagements, serving mostly under Sherman in the eastern
army, and with him he made the famous march to the sea. He married Christina
Barger, who was born in Ohio of German descent. When General Morgan was on his
famous raid through the southern part of that state Mrs. Vir Den and older brothers
and sisters, as well as her mother, slept in the sugar camp in order to let General
Morgan have the use of her bed. To Rev. and Mrs. Vir Den were born the following
named children. Frances Pearl, who was born in 1S89, pursued her early education in



HISTORY OF COLORADO 95

the public schools, subsequently attended the Defiance high school, of Defiance, Ohio,
from which she was graduated, and later the State Normal School in Oklahoma. On
September 6, 1908, she married Ed G. Klein, who is a professor of English literature in
that state. He is very prominent in the democratic party of his commonwealth, being
at present chairman of the Democratic Club of the state. Earle Alanson Vir Den was
born January 5, 1S92. He received his college education in the Central State Normal
School of Edmond. Oklahoma, and in the Southwestern College of Winfield, Kansas.
He was connected for five years with the Dunbar Bell Ringers, one of the best known
musical organizations of its kind in the country, and was under The Ridpath-Horner
Lyceum Bureau. Since this country entered the war he has enlisted and is now a
member of an artillery band in France belonging to a Heavy Artillery unit of the
Thirty-fourth Division, U. S. A. Miner Raymond, who was born December 3, 1895, at-
tended the Central State Normal School of Edmond, Oklahoma, being also a graduate of
the City High School of Oklahoma City. He spent three years in New York city in order
to train his voice for grand opera and Martinelli and some other Italian singers have
expressed their opinion that he is the greatest American born tenor. In July, 1918, his
patriotism prompted him to enlist in the United States navy and at present he is
battalion adjutant at the Fort Pelham naval training station and is considered one of
the best trombone players in the navy. Blanche Marie, who was born June 1, 1897, also
attended the Central State Normal School of Edmond. Oklahoma, having previously
graduated from the Oklahoma City high school. She married William Jennings Quilliam,
of Oklahoma City, a graduate of the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College of
Stillwater, who at the age of twenty-two years was appointed state food inspector and
was probably the youngest official of t'his kind in the country.

In fraternal circles Rev. Vir Den is well known, having long been connected with
several of the foremost orders of this country. He has been a Royal Arch Mason since
1890, having received that degree in Valparaiso, Indiana. Since 1893 he has been a
valued member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and in 1896 he joined the
Modern Woodmen of America. Although Rev. Vir Den is now numbered among the
prosperous agriculturists of his part of the state, owning a valuable farm property, his
greatest success lies In the work which he has accomplished as a teacher of Christianity
and right principles of living. He is repaid for his arduous work by the consciousness
of having accomplished things for humanity which are greater to him than are riches,
and his achievements in life may be summarized in the words of a modern philosopher,
who has said: "Not the good that comes to us, but the good that comes to the world
through us, is the measure of our



ROLANDUS G. WALKER, M. D.

Dr. Rolandus G. Walker, whose ability in medical circles won him prominence, his
knowledge and skill being attested by professional colleagues and contemporaries, was
born in Paris, Ohio, on the 14th of July. 1867, a son of Albert and Sarah (Brownewell)
Walker, who were representatives of old families of Ohio. He pursued a public school
education, supplemented by study in Mount Union College, from which in due time he
was graduated. He next entered the Ohio Wesleyan University, where he completed a
thorough course of study in preparation for the practice of medicine, after which he
located in Canton, Ohio. Later he was a resident of Lewisville, Ohio, for two years. He
arrived in Denver in 1906 and opened an ofl^ce on Court place, where he continued in
active practice for eleven and a half years. His professional skill and ability soon
became recognized and he was accorded a liberal practice. Constant study kept him in
touch with the onward trend of the profession and his wide reading was manifest in the
excellent results which attended his efforts. As a business man, too, he became widely
known. He was interested in the Jefferson County Power & Light Company of Golden,
Colorado, and was otherwise well known in business and commercial connections as well
as in mining.

On the 29th of May, 1890. at Paris, Ohio, Dr. Walker was united in marriage to Miss
Mary E. Meyer, a daughter of Frederick and Mary (Wolfe) Meyer. They became the
parents of a daughter and two sons; L. Leland, Harry Hugh and Mary Lucile. Mrs.
Walker, who is well known socially and in spheres where other cultured women meet
and exert their efforts in support of worthy movements, is a member of the Eastern Star
and the Royal Neighbors.

Dr. Walker was prominently known in fraternal and church circles. He was a
thirty-second degree Mason and member of El Jebel Temple of the Mystic Shrine. He



96 HISTORY OF COLORADO

was past master of his lodge and served in various other offices in the order, among
them as past patron of the Eastern Star. He held membership with the Odd Fellows,
the Modern Woodmen of America, the Royal Neighbors, the Junior Order of American
Mechanics and with the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. His membership relations
also extended to the Denver Athletic Club. His religious faith was that of the Presby-
terian church. He held membership in the Central Presbyterian church, in which
he served as deacon for three years and for a number of years was usher, taking a very
active and helpful part in its work. His political belief was that of the democratic
party and while residing in Lewisville, Ohio, he served as health officer. Along strictly
professional lines he was connected with the Denver City and County Medical Society
and served on its board of censors. He was a member of the council of the Denver
Civic and Commercial Association and he stood stanchly in support of all those things
which have to do with civic advancement, cooperating in many well defined plans and
measures for the public good. He was one hundred per cent American, was an active
worker in the Liberty Loan drives and stood as a splendid type of American manhood
and chivalry. Death called him when he was but little over fifty years of age. It



Online LibraryWilbur Fiske StoneHistory of Colorado; (Volume 4) → online text (page 12 of 108)