Wilbur Fiske Stone.

History of Colorado; (Volume 4) online

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seemed that he should have been spared for many years to come and yet in the five
decades covered by his earthly career he accomplished much for the benefit of his fellow-
men and for the organized community in which he lived. Denver had reason to class
him with her valued and representative citizens and his friends, who were legion, will
cherish his memory for years to come. His demise occurred on the 21st of March, 1918,
after but four days of illness.


Samuel John Thomas, deceased, was the organizer and the president of the
Merchants Bank of Denver, one of the strong financial institutions of the metropolis
and a city, county, state and United States depository. Through well formulated
plans, carefully executed, he brought the establishment to its present position, while
he made for himself a creditable name and place as a financier. His birth occurred
in Gainesville, Florida, October 10, 1871, his parents being Dr. G. P. and Omerea
B. (Fraser) Thomas, both of whom were of southern birth, having been natives of
South Carolina. In early life they removed to Florida and the father became a
well known and prominent member of the medical profession of that state, where
he continued to reside to the time of his death. His wife also passed away in

Samuel J. Thomas was the youngest in their family of five children. In his
early life he attended the public schools of Gainesville, Florida, and afterward
entered the' State University, from which he was graduated with the Bachelor of
Arts degree as a member of the class of 1888. After leaving the University he
established himself in the mercantile business at Gainesville, where he remained
until 1908, and during that period made steady progress not only along commercial
lines but also became identified with the banking business as a representative of the
Dutton Bank of Gainesville. He became one of its heavy stockholders, servfd as one
of its directors and took an active interest in shaping its financial policy. At
length, however, he disposed of all of his interests in Florida for the purpose of
removing to Denver. He came to this city on the advice of his physician, as hi."*
health had become impaired. Here he sought rest and recuperation and was engaged
in no business for a year. At the end of that time his health and strength had
so improved that he again became an active factor in the business world. He
organized what is now the Merchants Bank and managed its affairs most success-
fully to the time of his demise, making it one of the most substantial banking insti-
tutions of Denver. From 1912 he had been its president and a member of the
board of directors. The other officers are: Dr. F. L. Bartlett and Allison Stocker,
who are vice presidents: C. R. Cotton, cashier; and G. F. Hudson, assistant cashier,
while on the list of directors appear the names of E. M. Ammons, who is the presi-
dent of the Farmers Life Insurance Company; Dr. Bartlett, who is a capitalist; H.
J. Bourk, of the Brule & Bourk Commission Company; Carl P. Schwalb of the
Denver Terra Cotta Company; Allison Stocker of the firm of Stocker & Fraser,
building contractors; and Chris Irving, president of the Chris Irving Company.
The bank is capitalized for seventy-five thousand dollars and its deposits amount
to five hundred and sixty-five thousand dollars. Courtesy and accommodation are
made the watchwords of the bank and from its establishment the business has



steadily grown. Mr. Thomas was also the president of the S. J. Thomas Realty
Company and conducted a considerable business in that direction in connection
with banking.

On the 10th of October, 1895, at Greenville, South Carolina, Mr. Thomas was
united in marriage to Miss Anna Hamilton Hill, born in Abbeville, that state, May 12,
1875, a daughter of Judge and Mrs. R. E. Hill. They became the parents of one
child, Samuel John, who was born in Gainesville, Florida, November 1, 1896, and is
now an officer in the United States army. He became a student at the New Mexico
Military Institute, at Roswell, New Mexico, and upon coming to Colorado with his
parents, served as a member of Troop E, Colorado National Guard. When his
country entered the great war, in 1917, he promptly volunteered but was unable to
meet the physical requirements of the service. Persisting in his efforts, he entered
the Officers Training School, at Camp Gordon, where he won a commission as
second lieutenant and was assigned to active duty.

Mr. Thomas was a member of St. Thomas Episcopal church of Denver, to which
his family also belong. He was also a member of Park Hill Lodge, No. 148, A. F. &
A. M., and he was likewise identified with the Knights of Pythias and the Benevo-
lent Protective Order of Elks. His political allegiance was given to no party. He
preferred to maintain an independent course, voting according to the dictates of
his judgment without regard to party ties. He stood for progress and improvement
in community affairs as well as in individual life and he gave active aid and co-
(iperation to all movements which he believed would prove of real public worth.
Such qualities made him a man of genuine worth in his community, so that when
death called him on the 25th of September, 1918, his demise was the occasion of
deep and widespread regret. He left to his family that good name which is rather
to be chosen than great riches, but his possessions were also extensive, his record
proving that prosperity and an honored name may be won simultaneously.


Prominent among the leading physicians of Colorado stands Dr. Frank R. Coff-
man, who in his practice has made a specialty of stomach, intestinal and rectal dis-
eases, in which branch of the profession he has developed eminent ability. Ever
studying along progressive lines, he has kept in touch with the latest scientific re-
searches and discoveries and his practice is the embodiment of the most progressive
thought in this field. Dr. Coffman is a native of Columbus. Ohio. He was born Octo-
ber 25, 1868, of the marriage of Milton H. and Abbie H. (Knight) Coffman, who were
also natives of Columbus, where they were reared, educated and married. In early
life the father turned to merchandising and after a few years he extended liis busi-
ness from one city to another in southeastern Ohio until he had become the owner
of a chain of seven large stores in that section of the state and accordingly ranked
with the foremost merchants of Ohio, his ramifying trade interests reaching out
over a very broad territory. Whatever he undertook he completed and he never
stopped short of the successful accomplishment of his well defined purposes. He
engaged in grain buying in connection with mercliandising and was the owner of
a fleet of one hundred grain carrying canal boats on the Erie canal. In a word he
was a man of marked business capacity and vast resourcefulness, of undaunted energy
and of keen foresight. His business affairs represented the investment of a large
amount of capital and also represented notable administrative direction and executive
control. Obstacles and difficulties in his path seemed but to serve as an impetus for
renewed effort on his part. He died in southeastern Ohio at the comparatively early
age of forty-four years. After the death of her husband Mrs. Coffman removed to
Smith Center, Kansas, where she remained until her demise, which occurred in 1915.
when she had reached the age of seventy-five. In the family were two children, the
younger being Bruce Coffman, a resident of Yuma, Colorado, who is editor and pro-
prietor of the Yuma County Times, a well known newspaper of that section of the

The elder son. Dr. Coffman of this review, pursued his early studies in the public
schools of St. Clairsville, Ohio, and afterward entered the academy there, while later
he became a student in the office of a well known physician of that city, who directed
his reading in preparation for the practice of medicine for several years. He was
also engaged in teaching school for a time in Ohio before his removal to Denver. On
coming to Colorado he entered the Gross Medical College and completed his prepara-



tion for the profession as a graduate of the class of 1S90. Immediately afterward he
removed to Castle Rock, Colorado, where he engaged in private practice for two years
with a fair measure of success. He then accepted a position as physician and surgeon
with the Southern Pacific Railway Company and removed to Roseburg, Oregon, where
he made his headquarters while serving as surgeon for that corporation, remaining
there from 1892 until 1899. In the latter year he returned to Colorado to take up his
duties as division surgeon with the Denver & Rio Grande Railway, having headquarters
at Minturn, Colorado, from 1899 until 1903. In the latter year he returned to Denver
to become medical inspector and commissioner of the board of health and continued
actively in that service for eight years. He also engaged in the private practice of
medicine and at length resigned his public office in June, 1916, for the demands of a
growing private practice were such as to make it imperative that he give all of his
attention to his work in that connection. He is regarded as one of the most success-
ful physicians and surgeons of the city. He has taken a number of post-graduate
courses, specializing in stomach, intestinal and rectal diseases, and he is an authority
upon questions relative thereto. His last post-graduate work was done in the New
York Post Graduate Hospital and also in Detroit, Michigan.

On the 17th of July, 1890, Dr. Coffman was united in marriage in Castle Bock,
Colorado, to Miss Helen M. Lapham, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Lapham,
of Denver, and they now have one child. Max, who was born in Roseburg, Oregon,
in 1895. He is a graduate of the Manual Training high school of Denver and was
a student for three years in the University of Colorado, and later a chemist with the
Great Western Sugar Company. In September, 1918, he entered the Chemical Warfare
Service of the Untied States government, in connection with the war department, at
Yale University.

In his fraternal relations Dr. Coffman is a Mason. He has attained the thirty-
second degree of the Scottish Rite and is also a Noble of the Mystic Shrine. He like-
wise has membership with the Woodmen of the World and he is now serving as a
member of the state board of health, while along strictly professional lines his con-
nection is with the Denver City and County Medical Society, the Colorado State Medi-
cal Society and the American Medical Association. He holds to high professional
standards and ideals and is ever careful to conform his practice to the most advanced
ethics of the profession.


The education of the young has ever been a most important problem of any, but
particularly the newer districts, and Washington county is to be congratulated upon
having such an able superintendent of schools as is Rosa E. Bachman, of Akron, who
is well fitted and highly qualified to fill this important office. Under her administration
the school system of the county has been greatly improved and education here made
noticeable forward strides. Born in Mount Carmel, Illinois, she is a daughter of W. P.
and Elizabeth (Riel) Kingsbury, the former born in Ohio and the latter in Illinois.
The father was an agriculturist by occupation and removed to Illinois in the early days
of the history of that state. There he acquired land which he cultivated to good advan-
tage for many years and then once more moved westward, going to Nebraska. He sub-
sequently retired and resided in Ponca, that state, during the balance of his life, his wife
also having passed away.

Mrs. Bachman was reared under the parental roof and received her primary educa-
tion in Mount Carmel, Illinois, where she attended the public schools. She also studied
at Ponca and Wayne, Nebraska, and in the latter place she attended normal school, sub-
sequently teaching in Nebraska for five years. In 1909 she came to Colorado and
attended the State Teachers College at Greeley, graduating from that institution with
tlje class of 1912. While att&nding school in Greeley she made her residence in Akron,
Colorado. She then taught in rural schools in Washington county and also for two
years in the primary schools at Akron. She displayed rare qualities as a teacher and
soon demonstrated that she was fitted for higher office. In 1913 she was elected county
superintendent of schools and has since served in that important capacity. She not only
thoroughly understands the needs of the scholars but is equally able to judge of the
capabilities of the teachers. She sees to it that the latter are always kept informed
of the latest methods of obtaining results and has succeeded in making the force of
teachers in Washington county more efficient and of greater benefit to the schools. More-
over, she is an able organizer and administrator and has made her office one of real


importance in regard to educational progress in Washington county. Slie has improved
school facilities and has seen to it that where schoolhouses or school equipment were In
need of improvement such Improvement was made. Therefore she has made good
use of her official position in furthering the interests of the public, who well realize the
importance attaching to her work.

In October, 1914. Rosa E. Kingsbury was united in marriage to R. Bachman, a
successful agriculturist of Washington county. He is prominent in fraternal circles,
being connected with the blue lodge of Masons and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows,
the principles of brotherhood underlying these organizations guiding him in his life's

Mrs. Bachman takes a great interest in war service work and is thoroughly patriotic.
She is chairman of the Woman's Council of Defense and also chairman of the Junior Red
Cross and devotes a great deal of her time to this important work. She is a member of
the Parent-Teachers Association, in the proceedings of which she takes a leading part,
and was the organizer of the Boys and Girls Club of Washington County. Fraternally
she belongs to the Eastern Star and to the Rebekahs. Her religious faith is that of the
Methodist Episcopal church and she is much interested in the work of that organization
and charitable institutions. Politically she is a republican, supporting the party plat-
form and party principles. Mrs. Bachman has done much to promote the cause of educa-
tion in Washington county as well as other public causes here, as is evident from her
record. She has proven herself a citizen of the first class and underlying all of her work
there is a loyal and unwavering patriotism.


Charles William Seitz, of Denver, is the president and manager of what is one
of the largest industrial enterprises in the state of Colorado, known as the Mountain
Iron Works Company. The company is a close corporation and the business estab-
lished by Mr. Seitz in a small way has developed until the enterprise is scarcely
second to anything of the kind in the west. A most modest beginning was made
with a capital of about thirty-five dollars in cash and for nearly two weeks this
was all of the money which Mr. Seitz had at his command. He had to buy supplies
for his foundry and also meet the demands of his household, then consisting of
himself and his parents. He faced the situation, as he has many other trying prob-
lems since that time, bravely, courageously and with determination. Step by step
he has advanced, enlarging and extending his efforts as opportunity has offered, and
today his name figures most prominently upon the pages of the history of manu-
facturing in the west.

Such a life story should serve as a source of encouragement and inspiration
to all who have the will to dare and to do. Charles W. Seitz was born in Cahokia,
Illinois, now within the boundary lines of East St. Louis, February 12, 1875, a son
of Fred and Louise Seitz, who were of European birth but came to America in
early life and established their home on Cahokia creek, where the father engaged
in farming. In later years he disposed of his farm and removed to St. Louis, Mis-
souri, where he conducted a hotel for an extended period. In 1891, however, he
came to Colorado, settling in Valverde, where he engaged in gardening and where
he still makes his home. His wife passed away in St. Louis in 1879. They had a
family of six children, four of whom survive, namely: Fred, who is connected with
the Tacoma Times of Tacoma, Washington; Mrs. Tina Shelton, residing in Texas;
Bertha, living in Denver; and Charles W., of this review.

The last named, the youngest in the family, attended the public schools of St.
Louis, Missouri, but at the early age of ten years put aside his textbooks and began
work for the Missouri Car Wheel Company, now the American Car & Foundry Com-
pany. There he remained until 1890, when he came to Denver and secured a posi-
tion in the employ of Thomas Walker at Fourteenth and Wazee streets. In that con-
nection he completed his trade as a moulder and subsequently went to work for
Alfred Cordingly in the Queen City Foundry. He remained a faithful, capable and
efficient employe there for nine years and then in 1902, with a small amount of
money, he began business on his own account under the name of the Western
Foundry Company. He struggled through one year with limited capital, but ere the
close of the year his trade had substantially increased and he leased a lot on Twelfth
street, between Market and Wazee streets, whereon was a foundry. Later, he sold
his interest in the property at a handsome profit. He afterward operated the Colo-




rado Gray Iron Works tor a year and at the end of that period, or in 1909, he
purchased the ground and erected thereon the first buildings that now constitute a
part of the plant of the Mountain Iron Works Company. Since the beginning he
has greatly improved this property and has made addition after addition in build-
ings and equipment until the plant now occupies a solid block of ground and is
one of the busiest centers to be found in the industrial district of the city, with
from eighty-five to one hundred and twenty-five workmen. At the present time
they have a large allotment of government work and contracts on hand and their
activities are constantly broadening in scope. This is destined to become one of
the most prosperous industrial institutions of the west, with more than one hundred
thousand dollars invested in buildings and improvements, while other thoroughly
modern types of buildings are soon to be added. The foundry is today an important
industrial enterprise of Denver, which was incorporated in 1906 as a close corpora-
tion, of which Mr. Seitz has always been president and general manager, while his
wife has been secretary and treasurer. Mr. Seitz still remains one of the active
workers in the establishment and all of the business is conducted under his imme-
diate personal supervision. He is unassuming and at all times approachable and
is constantly among his employes, working with them and assisting them. Besides
his present large contracts for government work, he has done much for the following
corporations: the Colorado & Southern Railway, the Denver & Salt Lake Railway,
the Western Chemical Corporation, the Great Western Sugar Company and many
smaller concerns.

On the 2d of December, 1896, in Denver, Mr. Seitz was married to Miss Clara
W. Wedell, of this city. She was born in Yankton, South Dakota, but from girl-
hood was reared in Cheyenne, Wyoming. She was a daughter of Cornelius and
Susan (Holzwarth) Wedell. Mrs. Seitz has taken not only a keen but active
interest in the business affairs of her husband, and has rendered most helpful influ-
ence as well as material assistance, sharing with her husband credit for the
building up of the business in the days when their combined help was quite neces-
sary for the success that came later. They have become parents of four daughters
and one son. Frank W. Seitz, who was born in Denver, was accidentally drowned in
Cherry creek, July 15, 1913, on his twelfth birthday. The daughters are: Irene
Louise, born in Denver in 1906; Lillion May, in 1908; Elsie Beatrice, in 1911;
and Kathleen Maria, in 1916. The three eldest daughters are now in school.

In politics Mr. Seitz maintains an independent course. He belongs to the Denver
Manufacturers Association and his time and interests have largely centered upon
his business affairs. Working his way upward unaided and alone, his progress has
been continuous and his diligence has wrested fortune from the hands of fate. In
no other land is the opportunity for individual progress so great as in the United
States. Unhampered by any traditions of caste or class, the Individual may prove
his worth and his intelligently directed industry becomes the means of his pros-


John Wesley Baker, owner of a farm in the Wolfcreek district of Elbert county,
•was born at Lexington, Indiana, in 1867. a son of John H. and Susanne Baker. In the
paternal line he comes of German ancestry, his grandfather having left Germany to
establish a home in the new world. He made his way to Indiana, where representatives
of the family have since lived. On the maternal side Mr. Baker comes of French and
Irish lineage and his great-great-grandfather, who was of English and French descent,
•was born in Illinois.

With the removal of his parents to Avon, Illinois, John Wesley Baker there pur-
sued his education and in 1884 he came to Colorado, where he entered upon railroad
■work, being connected with the Burlington & Missouri and afterward with the Denver
& Rio Grande systems. About fourteen years ago he homesteaded in Elbert county and
has since given his time and energies to the development of his farming interests. He
has greatly extended his holdings, adding to his farm from time to time as his financial
resources have permitted until he is today owner of one of the most excellent farm
properties in the Wolfcreek district. His place is equipped with modern machiney, sub-
stantial buildings and every accessory found upon the model farm of the twentieth cen-
tury and the methods which he employs in the production of his crops are most gratify-
ing and resultant.


On the 16th of February, 1897, in Denver, Mr. Baker was united in marriage to
Miss Maud Sturns, a daughter of Washington Sturns, who was a native of Indiana, and
Josephine Sturns, a native of Sweden. Mrs. Baker was born in the building in which
the constitution of Colorado was framed. To Mr. and Mrs. Baker have been born three
children, Washington Edward, Harold Wesley and Linnie Ruth.


John Slattery, who was born in the state of New York in 1860, passed away in.
Colorado in 1902. He was a son of Daniel and Alice (Ryan) Slattery. He pursued
his education in the public schools of New York and when still a boy came to Colorado,
after which he engaged in mining. At a later date he settled in Boulder, where he took
up the occupation of farming, which he followed for nine years. He then removed to
Central City, where he again engaged in mining, and later was connected with the
Cripple Creek district and sought a fortune in the mines in Leadville. He met with
only a fair measure of success in his work as a miner, however, and settled on a ranch
near Denver, where he engaged in farming to the time of his death. He became the
owner of one hundred and sixty acres of land, which he converted into rich and produc-
tive fields and from which he annually gathered large harvests. He was also interested
quite extensively in mining in Leadville and his various business affairs and investments
brought to him a gratifying measure of prosperity as the years passed.

Mr. Slattery was married in Leadville, Colorado, to Miss Jane Gully, a daughter of
Thomas and Temperance Ann (Powell) Gully. Mrs. Slattery was born in Tipperary,
Ireland, and with her parents came to Colorado during her girlhood, after which she
attended school in Central City. By her marriage she became the mother of three chil-
dren, Katherine, Thomas and John, all deceased. The religious faith of Mr. Slattery was
that of the Catholic church and Mrs. Slattery is also a communicant thereof. She is a

Online LibraryWilbur Fiske StoneHistory of Colorado; (Volume 4) → online text (page 13 of 108)