Wilbur Fiske Stone.

History of Colorado; (Volume 4) online

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brought him prominently to the front in the treatment of nervous diseases, so that
his opinions along this line are largely accepted as authority not only by the general
public but by the profession as well.


While almost four years have passed since J. W. Higby was called to his final
rest, Colorado is still benefiting by business interests which he instituted and for
many years he was regarded as one of the most forceful, resourceful and progressive
men of his section of the state. He possessed unfaltering enterprise, keen sagacity,
laudable ambition and high principles of business integrity. Born in Illinois on
the 17th of February, 1854, he spent his youthful days upon the home farm with his
father and after his schooldays were over began farming on his own account, following
that pursuit in Illinois and in Iowa until 1888, when he removed to Eastonville,

At that date Mr. Higby secured employment with the Russell-Gates Mercantile Com-
pany as a clerk and after six months became one of the partners in the business and
for twelve years remained the vice president of the corporation, which at that time
operated twelve stores in El Paso, Elbert and Douglas counties. Successful as he was
along mercantile lines, this constituted but one phase of his activities. In 1888
he homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres and also preempted a similar amount
of land and secured a timber claim of like size near Calhan, Colorado. His wife occu-
pied the claim for six years in order to prove up on the property, while Mr. Higby
remained at Eastonville to conduct the interests of the Russell-Gates Mercantile
Company. He remained an active factor in the conduct and successful management
of that business until 1900, when he sold his interests and removed to Monument,
where he established a mercantile house and, contrary to the predictions of all of his
friends, he made of it a notable success. He closely studied the wishes and interests
of his patrons, as well as the market, ever recognizing the fact that satisfied customers
are the best advertisement. He held to the highest standards in the personnel of the
house, in the line of goods carried, in the treatment of his customers, and his
business showed a rapid and substantial growth. Centering his efforts in a way upon
Monument and the district surrounding, he purchased in 1902 sixteen hundred and
forty acres of woodland near Monument and erected thereon a number of sawmills,
which he utilized in furnishing fifty thousand railroad ties for the Denver & Rio
Grande Railroad Company. He also cut all of the tree tops into cordwood, shipping
hundreds of carloads of cordwood into Fort Logan and Denver. Ranching interests
also claimed his attention to a still greater degree and in 1910 he purchased the
Greenland ranch of sixteen thousand, two hundred and eighty acres at Greenland,
Colorado, and up to the time of his death in February, 1915, he spent most of his time
upon the ranch, leaving his mercantile interests in charge of competent and trusted
employes. The ranch has a capacity of twenty-five hundred head of cattle, with a
thousand acres under cultivation and two thousand acres of hay land. After pur-
chasing this property Mr. Higby sold a two-fifths interest in the ranch to one of his
closest friends, C. C. Henning, of Colorado Springs. The ranch at present is under tne
management of two of his sons, Louis and Carl, who carry on the business under tne
name of the J. W. Higby Ranch.

In 1S82 Mr. Higby was united in marriage to Miss JIarie Emily Briley, of Garden
Grove, Iowa, a daughter of Stephen H. and Jane (Hyatt) Briley, the former a min-
ister of the United Brethren church. Mr. Higby on his deathbed desired it to be
known that to his wife he owed his success in life, saying that any man w'ith a wjfe

President ot the Greenland Land & Cattle Company



like his could not do otherwise than win success, for she at all times was the guiding
spirit of his life, encouraging and assisting him when there were trials and diffi-
culties to be met. Her cooperation and her encouragement were strong elements in
his advancement, as he claimed. In other w-ords, theirs was largely an Ideal com-
panionship. Each shared in the interests, the ambitions and the projects of the other
and their deepest concern was for the welfare and happiness of their six children.
Olive May, their eldest, became the wife of James Killin, a ranchman residing near
Monument, and they have one child, James Lewis. Louis R. married Jennie Lake,
of Colorado Springs, and resides upon the home ranch. Carl M. wedded Dorothy
Hulbert. of Logansport, Indiana, by whom he has three children, Marie E., Carl R.
and John W., and they, too, reside upon the home ranch. William Eugene wedded
Blanche David, of Marionville, Missouri, by whom he has two children, William D.
and James E., and in his business connections is well known as the manager of the
Monument store. Kate is the wife of Fred Noe, living on a ranch near Greenland,
and they have five children. William F., Carl F., Charles L., Campbell and Catharine.
Jack B., who was manager of the mercantile business at Greenland and died of
influenza in the early winter of 1918, married Gladys Johnstone, of Greenland, and
had one son, Ladus Jack. The Higby estate comprises three-fifths of an interest in
the ranch of sixteen thousand, two hundred and eighty acres and the mercantile enter-
prises at Greenland and Monument. The business is largely under the management
of the children, all of whom are graduates of the East Denver high school, and the
daughters are also graduates of the Manual Training school at Denver, Olive grad-
uating from the State Teachers' College at Greeley, while the boys pursued a busi-
ness course at the Modern School of Business in Denver. The family is one of which
the mother has every reason to be proud, for her training and teaching have devel-
oped men of high moral principles, none of her sons having ever tasted intoxicants or
tobacco, and her daughters are proving to be most efficient in modern scientific
housekeeping. Their course reflects credit upon an untarnished family name, and
indicates the wisdom of the training given by the parents. Mr. Higby counted no
personal effort or sacrifice on his part too great if it would promote the welfare and
happiness of his wife and children. In the career of such a man the broadest spirit
of the new twentieth century found expression. The philosopher Emerson once said:
"An Institution is but the lengthened shadow of a man." Judged by this standard,
measured by his extensive ranching and commercial interests, Mr. Higby was a great
man who owed his success to intense industry and not to special ability. An analyza-
tion of the records of most successful men will indicate that their advancement is due
to that quality of intense industry. However, his life was never self-centered. While
he attempted important things and accomplished what lie attempted, his success never
represented another's losses, but was built up through constructive effort. He was a
dependable man in any relation and any emergency — one in whom to have confidence.
His easy dignity, his frankness and cordiality of address, with a total absence of
anything sinister or anything to conceal, indicated him to be a man ready to meet
any obligation of life with the confidence and courage that come of conscious per-
sonal ability, right conception of things and an habitual regard for what is best in the
exercise of human activity.


James Purse, who follows ranching near Aurora, dates his residence in Colorado
from 1881 and after earnest efforts to gain a start in the business world he is now
numbered among the substantial farmers of the county. He is a native son of the
Emerald isle, his birth having occurred in Belfast, Ireland, on the 28th of October.
1852, his parents being John and Jane (Lemon) Purse. At the usual age he began
his education in the public schools of his native country and in 1875, when a young
man of twenty-three years, he bade adieu to friends and native land and sailed for
the new world. He made his way at once to Chicago, Illinois, where he spent six
months, after which he removed to Henry county, Illinois, where he resided for six
years. He was there engaged in farming and during that period took out his citizen-
ship papers, giving his full allegiance to the land of his adoption. He continued his
residence in the Mississippi valley until 1881, when he made his way westward to
Denver. For more than a decade he remained in that city, working in various ways,
but in 1892 rented one hundred and sixty acres of land, which he continued to culti- '
vate for fifteen years. On the expiration of that period he purchased a farm in Adams


county and has since carried on general agricultural pursuits. His land is carefully
and systematically cultivated and his energy has enabled him to overcome hardships
and difficulties and worli his way steadily upward to success.

In Atkinson, Illinois, Mr. Purse was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Irvine, a
daughter of John and Sarah Irvine and a native of Ireland. They have become the
parents of two children: Fred, who married Jennie L. Pedersen and has four children,
Irvine, Bertrand, Bertha and Melvina; and Clara, who became the wife of Walter
Duggan and has two children, Raymond and Timothy.

In 'tis political views Mr. Purse is a republican and fraternally is connected with
the Woodmen of the World. His long residence in this section has made him widely
known and his enterprise and the many substantial traits of his character have gained
him classification with the representative residents of Adams county.


George E. Bermont, engaged in merchandising at Lafayette, was born in Franklin
county, Pennsylvania. November 19, 1866, a son of George and Clara (Gilbert) Bermont.
who were likewise natives of the Keystone state. The father there passed away, but
the mother is still living. They reared a family of six children and all yet survive.

George E. Bermont spent his youthful days in his native state and is indebted
to its public school system for his educational privileges. He continued there until
about seventeen years of age, when he removed westward to Carroll county, Illinois,
where he resided for four years, during which period he was employed as a farm hand.
The opportunities of the far west, however, attracted him and he made his way to
Colorado, settling in Boulder county. Throughout the intervening period he has been
identified with commercial interests, establishing a business at Lafayette, where he
handles all kinds of merchandise and machinery. He has built up a large and gratify-
ing trade and has an extensive stock, being thus ready to meet the demands of his
customers at all times. He has otherwise been closely and prominently identified
with the business development of the community, tor during eight years he was
president of the First National Bank of Lafayette and he is the owner of valuable
property, including a brick store building and a residence in the town.

In 1892 Mr. Bermont was married to Miss Katherine Jones, of Youngstown, Ohio,
a daughter of John W. and Katherine (Fletcher) Jones, both of whom have passed
away. Mr. Bermont gives his political allegiance to the republican party but is not
an office seeker. He has prospered since coming to Colorado and is a self-made man
who as the architect of his fortune has builded wisely and well. He and his wife
are well known socially in Lafayette and enjoy the hospitality of the best homes of
the city.


One of the most attractive commercial and art establishments of Denver is that
of the Jonas Brothers, taxidermists and furriers. Few cities of the world have any
attraction that appeals to the traveling public from so many different angles as does
the great exhibit which their establishment offers. It is a sportsman's paradise to the
hunter or the fisherman and it offers many articles of home adornment to the people
who enjoy spending their time at their own fireside. The most fastidious taste in fine
furs and rugs can here be gratified and to the child this store is a fairy tale come
true. Beautiful fur rugs adorn the floors and the walls are decorated with the finest
mounted specimens of game heads, birds and skins. Here taxidermy seems to have
reached its highest point. Back of the work of Jonas Brothers is a natural love of
animal life, combined with an artist's eye for form and motion and a sculptor's skill
in modeling. The three Jonas Brothers closely connected with the development of
the Denver business are all enthusiastic naturalists as well as taxidermists, and that
their work is continually called for by the leading natural history museums of the
country is indicative of the fact that their work approaches most closely to nature, in
fact is a faithful reproduction of the habits and many times of the haunts of these
animals. Before starting upon their work of mounting any animal they make drawings
and plastic sketches of the living animal. The structure is then built up in clay
in the chosen attitude, reproducing the entire muscular system of the subject. A mold

Vol. IV— 2 2


is made of the finished model, from which a manikin cast Is made of paper. This
form is light, strong, durable and prepared moisture-proof to receive the skin, which
is put on by pasting and sewing. They have received letters of commendation for
their work from curators of museums and prominent sportsmen, throughout the entire
country. With the growth of their Denver house they opened a branch establishment
in Livingston, Montana, and their growing patronage has brought to them gratifying


Pelimon A. Balcom is the vice president and general manager of the Radio-Active
Chemical Company of Denver and is interested in mining. He was born in Halifax,
Nova Scotia, June 22, 1850, and is a son of Silas and Anne (Van Busklrk) Balcom, the
latter of Holland descent. The father was born in Massachusetts and became a prom-
inent merchant, making extensive shipments to and from the West Indies. Both he
and his wife have passed away. Pelimon A. Balcom is descended from one of the
earliest families of England of whom there is authentic record. The name is a place
name and the family is one of prominence. Records concerning the Balcoms date
back to 1309, as shown by the records of the parish church in Bacombe, County of
Sussex, England, and the family tree was planted on American soil at a very early
period in the colonization of the new world by Henry Balcom, who came from England
in 1620 and died April 29, 1683, in Sudbury, Massachusetts. He married Elizabeth
Haynes, who was born at Sudbury, July 19, 1644. Their marriage was celebrated
August 12, 1666, and Elizabeth Balcom passed away November 20, 1715. Their children
were all born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, namely: Hannah, who was born March
16, 1668, and died April 21st of the same year; John, who was born October 15, 1669,
and died August 28, 1743; Elizabeth, who was born August 16, 1672, and became the
wife of Gersham Rice; and Joseph, who was born December 17, 1674, and died Sep-
tember 17, 1745. The last named was married at Marlborough, Massachusetts, to
Tabitha Newton on the 28th of June, 1711. and they had six children, all born in
Sudbury: Joseph, who was born January 13, 1713, and died away from home in 1744;
John, who was born March 13. 1715, and died in 1789; Elizabeth, born May 17, 1717;
Mary, October 10, 1719; Sibelah, born July 25, 1721; and Micah, who was born March
4, 1723, and died in 1754.

The eldest of that family, Joseph Balcom, married Deborah Boise on the 21st of
February, 1733, and they, too, had a family of six children, all of whom were natives
of Sudbury, namely: Samuel, born June 16, 1734; Jonas, who was born August 7,
1735, and died September 3, 1810; Silas, born in March, 1737; Henry, who was born
August 16, 1740. and died October 28, 1812; Isaac, born in July, 1742; and Tabitha, in
July, 1744.

Samuel Balcom, direct ancestor of P. A. Balcom in the fourth generation in
America, wedded Mary Brigham on the 14th of January, 1761. They had children as
follows: Sarah, born in Massachusetts in 1762, as ascertained from her tombstone,
became the wife of George Starrall in 1785 and died in 1824. Lydia was born in
Massachusetts about 1765 and became the wife of Obijah Parker. Henry, born in 1768,
as ascertained from the tombstone, died in 1850. Jonas was born in Paradise, Nova
Scotia, in 1770. The others were: Reuben, born in 1772; Joseph Brigham; Asa, in
1778; Lucy, in 17S0; and Pheba, in 1782.

Of that family Joseph Brigham Balcom was born at Paradise, Nova Scotia, about
1774 and was married about 1801 to Phoebe Tufts, who was born about 1781. He died
about 1840 and his wife passed away about the same time. They had a large family,
as follows: Silas, who was bom about 1802, died in 1899. Major, born about 1804,
married Mary Roax. Lavinia, who was born about 1806, became the wife of John
Remson. Amelia and William died unmarried. David Harris, who was born about
1812, wedded Mary Willett. Seraphina Ann, who was born about 1815. became the wife
of Paul Amberman. Phillis Theresa died unmarried. Leonora, who was born about
1821, became the wife of Jacob Durland. Joseph Allen, who was born about 1823,
was married twice. Samuel Judson, who was born about 1827, married Elizabeth
Banks. Jonas W. H., who was born about 1829, died in 1901. His wife bore the maiden
name of Mary Banks.

The ancestral line is thus traced down to Silas Balcom, father of Pelimon A.
Balcom. He was born about 1802 and died in 1899. His wife, Anne Van Buskirk, was
born in 1804 and died in 1871. They were married in 1823 and their children were as



follows: John Edward, who was born in Annapolis county about 1824, married Louise
Stirk and died about 1901. George Bishop and Phebe Ann are the next in order
of birth. Susanna, who was born about 1827, became the wife of John Fleet. Helen
Maria, who was born about 1829. was married twice. Henrietta was born about 1831.
Catherine and Charles Albert are the next of the family. Silas Wesley was born
about 1836 and died in 1882. William Judson was born ab6ut 1839. Mary Elizabeth,
who was born about 1843, became the wife of John S. Clarke. Rachel Louise was
born about 1846 and died in 1867. Pelimon A. is the subject of this review.

While Pelimon A. Balcom belongs to the Canadian branch of the family, they
were not among the tories who went from the United States to the northern country.
Silas Balcom served in the French and Indian war and while there took a fancy to
Nova Scotia. It was this that caused him and his brother Samuel afterward to remove
to Paradise, Nova Scotia, about the year 1768. During the long connection of the
family with the United States the name has been spelled variously Balcombe, Balcomb
and Balcom. Representatives of the family in large numbers met at the Pan-American
Exposition in Buffalo in August, 1901, and formed a permanent organization to bring
the various branches of the family into closer acquaintance and to establish their
records in a complete way.

Mr. Balcom of this .review pursued his education in the public schools of Halifax
and in an academy there but put aside his textbooks when a youth of seventeen years
and entered his father's office in Kings county, Nova Scotia, there receiving his initial
business training. After a short time, however, he left his father's employ and became
a member of the firm of Wallace & Balcom, dealers in glassware, crockery and fancy
imported goods. He was thus actively engaged until April, 1873, when he came to
Denver and through the intervening period he has been identified with the upbuilding
of this section of the country, with the development of its industrial and manufactur-
ing interests, and is now figuring prominently in connection with its mining and
manufacturing possibilities. As manager of the Radio-Active Chemical Company he is
also engaged in handling mining options, making purchases and other activities of
similar character in various sections of the country. He was with the firm of Phelps,
Dodge & Company from 1880 until 1885. after which he returned to Denver and
established a soap manufacturing business which was conducted under the name of
the Colorado Soap Company .and afterward under the name of the Union Soap Company
until 1893. This business he developed to mammoth proportions, its annual sales
reaching a million and a half dollars. Mr. Balcom is a man of marked enterprise
and executive force. He displays marked discrimination in realizing the value of
any business situation and has splendid powers as an organizer.

In 1884 Mr. Balcom was united in marriage to Miss Lolita Turtle, of Georgetown,
Delaware, a daughter of John W. Turtle. To them was born a daughter, Edna, whose
birth occurred in Denver in 1892 and who is now the wife of Lester C. Thomas, secre-
tary and treasurer of the Mountain States Tractor Company at Denver, agents for the
Fordson (Ford) tractor. Mr. Balcom had been previously married. In 1873 he had
wedded Matilda Gossip and to them was born a son, William Wallace, who is now
forty-three years of age and who is with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Mr.
and Mrs. William W. Balcom have two children: Dorothy, born in 1897; and Pelimon
Carroll, born in 1900.

In his political views Mr. Balcom has been a republican and has long supported
the party, giving to it stalwart allegiance. He is a man of determined purpose whose
long residence in Colorado makes him one of its pioneer settlers, and throughout the
entire period he has been most deeply and helpfully interested in everything pertain-
ing to the welfare and development of the state. His strong personality enables him
to execute his plans and at all times he is actuated by a spirit of enterprise and
progressiveness that accomplishes results.


A property comprising six hundred and eighty acres of valuable ranch land is
the result of the incessant industry, close application and progressive methods which
Julius Aubuchon has displayed in the attainment of his success. He has been a resident
of this state for thirty-six years and is therefore numbered among the pioneers of the
commonwealth, having during that long period greatly contributed toward growth and
development, especially along agricultural lines. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, he
was born in 1860. a son of Joseph and Seline (Chomeau) Aubuchon, both of St. Louis.


and of French lineage. Gregory M. Aubuchon, the grandfather of our subject, was the
first sheriff of St. Louis county, Missouri. He was a native of France and one of those
early distinguished French gentlemen who settled in St. Louis, Missouri, and gave to
the city that air of French refinement, traces of which are still perceptible even in
these modern days of rapid changes. Cecile Aubuchon. an aunt of Joseph Aubuchon,
was the first white child born in St. Louis. On the maternal side the subject of this
review is of French Canadian extraction.

Julius Aubuchon acquired his education in the common schools of his native city
and subsequently assisted his father on the home farm, thus acquiring valuable
knowledge of agricultural methods. At the age of twenty-two, in 1882, he came to
Colorado and homesteaded land in El Paso county, near the county line and about ten
miles from Monument. This land was then in a wild state but Mr. Aubuchon energetic-
ally took up the task of transforming it into cultivated fields and as the years passed
he succeeded and prosperity attended his efforts. He added to his property as his means
increased and today he has six hundred and eighty acres in one tract. The ranch is
now known as Pike View and is considered one of the most valuable within the neighbor-
hood. There are substantial buildings, and modern equipment and machinery are found
upon the place. Enterprising and progressive, Mr. Aubuchon has never held back in
making improvements, but on the contrary has often led the way and has thus inspired

At St. Joseph, Missouri, Julius Aubuchon was united in marriage to Rose Lavelette.
of French Canadian parentage, and to this union were born seven children: Celine, who
married Fred Geiger, a rancher in El Paso county; and George, Bertha. Adele, Homer,

Online LibraryWilbur Fiske StoneHistory of Colorado; (Volume 4) → online text (page 42 of 108)