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University of California Berkeley




LONG'S PEAK, FROM TOP OF MOUNT MEEKER



THE

MAKING OF COLORADO

A HISTORICAL SKETCH



BY

EUGENE PARSONS

AUTHOR OP " GEORGE WASHINGTON ; A CHARACTER SKETCH,'
" TENNYSON'S LIFE AND POETRY," ETC.



A. FLANAGAN COMPANY

CHICAGO



COPYRIGHT 1908

BY
A. FLANAGAN COMPANY



PREFACE

COLORADO has had a stirring history one verging
upon the romantic. When it was known as a part
of the Louisiana Territory, it was first explored
by Captain Pike; then by Major Long, Colonel
Fremont, and Captain Gunnison. The first per-
manent settlement by white Americans was made
on the banks of Cherry Creek in 1858. Soon
after the rush to Pike's Peak a territorial govern-
ment was organized, and fifteen years later Colo-
rado was admitted to the sisterhood of American
commonwealths as the Centennial State.

In the half-century of its eventful history Colo-
rado has forged to the front in the annals of the
nation. No other western state, save California,
has been so prominent in the public eye. The
fame of its mountains and its mines is world-wide.

In 1857 there were a few score of trappers in the
Rockies and ranchers on the plains; in 1907 the
state had a population of 700,000. Some of the
features of its history the author has endeavored
to present comprehensively and concisely. He
can honestly say that he has loved the truth and

5



PREFACE

sought it diligently in the journals of the old ex-
plorers and in the records of more recent times.
His wish is that this little volume may help the boys
and girls of Colorado to become more familiar with
its picturesque past, also to realize something of
the progress made along industrial lines in this
imperial state.

Colorado has been called the Switzerland of
America. It is the Mecca of hundreds of thou-
sands of sightseers every summer. In preparing
the later chapters of this book the writer has tried
to supply information for this class. For the
average reader the work may serve as an intro-
duction to the elaborate histories written by Hall
and Smiley.

It has been the author's good fortune to talk
with some of the makers of Colorado's history.
From the reminiscences of the old pioneers he has
gleaned many interesting details and vivid pictures
of life in Colorado Territory. He cannot mention
by name all the individuals to whom he is under
obligation. For suggestions and courtesies he
expresses his thanks especially to Mr. William C.
Ferril of the State Historical Society; Mr. Charles
R. Dudley of the Denver Public Library; Professor
George L. Cannon of the East Denver High School ;
Mr. John T. Burns, former Secretary of the Colo-
rado State Commercial Association; Mr. Charles



PREFACE 7

J. Downey of the Daily Mining Record; to Mr.
Gaines M. Allen, and to Mr. Oliver P. Wiggins-
all of Denver.

Major S. K. Hooper and Mr. T. E. Fisher
kindly furnished views of striking scenes along the
Denver and Rio Grande Railway and the Colo-
rado and Southern.

DENVER, 1908.



TABLE OF CONTENTS

AND

BIBLIOGRAPHY

INTRODUCTORY

CHAPTER PAGE

I THE CENTENNIAL STATE 17

Authorities: H. GANNETT, A Gazetteer of Colorado;
GEN. FRANK HALL, History of the State of Colo-
rado; H. H. BANCROFT, History of Colorado; G. L.
CANNON, Geology of Denver and Vicinity.

II EARLY INHABITANTS CLIFF DWELLERS AND

INDIANS 32

Authorities: S. D. PEET, The Cliff Dwellers and
Pueblos; F. H. CHAPIN, Land of the Cliff Dwell-
ers; W. H. JACKSON, Reports in U. S. Geological
Survey, 1874 and 1878; R. I. DODGE, Our Wild
Indians.

PERIOD OF EXPLORATION

III PIKE 48

IV LONG 68

V FREMONT 88

VI GUNNISON 117

9



10 CONTEXTS AND BIBLIOGRAPHY

TERRITORIAL PERIOD

CHAPTER PAGE

VII THE RUSH TO PIKE'S PEAK 127

Authorities: IE,. INGERSOLL, Knocking Round the
Rockies; A. D. RICHARDSON, Beyond the Mississippi;
W. N. BYERS, History of Colorado.

VIII DENVER 130

Authorities: J. C. SMILEY, History of Denver; Rocky
Mountain News, 1859 and I860; F. L. PAXSON in
American Historical Review, October, 1906.

IX COLORADO IN THE CIVIL WAR 157

Authorities: W. C. WHITFORD, Colorado Volunteers
in the Civil War; II. H. BANCROFT, History of New
Mexico; A. A. HAYES, in Magazine of American
History, February, 1886; J. D. HOWLAND, in
Rocky Mountain News, January 27, 1901.

X THE SAND CREEK FIGHT 172

Authorities: Reports of Commissioner of Indian
Affairs, 1861-65; Report of the Military Commis-
sion on the Sand Creek Massacre, Senate Docs.,
2d Sess. 39th Cong., 1866-7; Congressional Globe,
January 13, 1865.

XI THE BATTLE OF BEECHER ISLAND 198

Authorities: GEN. FRANK HALL, History of Colo-
rado; GEN. R. I. DODGE, Plains of the Great West;
GEN. G. A. CUSTER, Wild Life on the Plains; GEN.
G. A, FORSYTH, Story of the Soldier; GEN. P. II.
SHERIDAN. Personal Memoirs



CONTENTS AND BIBLIOGRAPHY 11



CHAPTER

XII TROUBLES WITH THE UTES .......... 223

Authorities: DAWSON AND SKIFF, The Ute War;
J. P. DUNN, Massacres of the Mountains; W. B.
VICKEKS, History of Colorado; G. B. GKINNELL.
Indians of To-day; Ute Affairs, Senate Docs., 2d
Sess. 46th Cong., Vol. I., 1879-80.

XIII THE MINES OF COLORADO .......... 240

Authorities: (). J. HOLLISTER, Mines of Colorado;
A. LAKES, Geology of Western Ore Deposits; Min-
eral Industry, 1891-1906; Reports of the Colorado
Commissioner of Mines; Mines and Quarries of
the United States, Department of Commerce and
Labor, 1902.

XIV THE RAILROADS OF COLORADO . . ....... 259

XV IRRIGATION IN COLORADO ........... 272

XVI AGRICULTURE IN COLORADO ......... 283

XVII CONSTITUTION AND CAPITOL .......... 300

XVIII STATE AND PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS ........ 307

XIX EDUCATION IN COLORADO ........... 314

APPENDIX
GOVERNORS OF COLORADO ............. 323

NOTABLE COLORADO DATES . 324



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

LONG'S PEAK FROM TOP OF MOUNT MEEKER 2

MOUNT OF THE HOLY CROSS 19

WOODLAND IN ESTES PARK 22

ENTRANCE TO THE GARDEN OF THE GODS 26

CLIFF PALACE IN THE MESA VERDE 34

A UTE BRAVE 36

LIEUTENANT PIKE 49

BIGHORN RAM 57

ROYAL GORGE, GRAND CANON OF THE ARKANSAS .... 63

A BUFFALO OF THE PLAINS 73

TIMBER LINE, PIKE'S PEAK 82

PIKE'S PEAK, SEEN FROM COLORADO SPRINGS 102

KIT CARSON 115

LAETAPASS 118

BLACK CANON OF THE GUNNISON RIVER 123

THE PRAIRIE SCHOONER OF A PIONEER 132

JAMES W. DENVER 138

TRINITY METHODIST CHURCH, DENVER 141

ST. JOSEPH'S HOSPITAL, DENVER 143

OLIVER PREBLE WIGGINS ("Old Scout" Wiggins) .... 147

BROWN PALACE HOTEL, DENVER 150

AUDITORIUM. DENVER 152

OFFICE OF THE DAILY MINING RECORD 154

WILLIAM GILPIN, FIRST GOVERNOR OF COLORADO TER-
RITORY 158

AN ATTACK ON A MAIL COACH 174

13



14 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

COL. GEORGE A. FORSYTH 207

CURLEY, GENERAL OUSTER'S SCOUT . 220

CHIEF RED CLOUD 221

OURAY, CHIEF OF THE UTES 224

JIM BAKER 225

JIM BAKER'S FORTLIKE HOME 226

THE GREAT MINING-DISTRICTS OFCENTRAL AND SOUTHERN

COLORADO (Map) 242

DOWN IN A GOLD MINE 246

CRIPPLE CREEK . 252

UNITED STATES MINT AT DENVER 255

PANNING GOLD 257

GEORGETOWN, FROM LEAVENWORTH PEAK 262

UTE PASS PALISADES, NEAR MANITOU 266

CROSSING THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE IN COLORADO . . 270
IRRIGATING GRAIN, NEAR GREELEY .......... 276

BEET-SUGAR FACTORY AT LONGMONT 290

A BEET FIELD NEAR FORT COLLINS 295

THE STATE CAPITOL AT DENVER 301

THE COLUMBINE, COLORADO'S STATE FLOWER *. 304

MAIN BUILDING OF THE STATE UNIVERSITY, BOULDER . . 308
GUGGENHEIM HALL, COLORADO SCHOOL OF MIXES . . . . 309

STATE NORMAL SCHOOL, GREF.LEY 310

McCLELLAND PUBLIC LIBRARY, PUEBLO . '. 312

OFFICE OF THE DENVER POST .315

THE Y. M. C. A. BUILDING, DENVER . . . 317

A COLORADO PANTHER . . 320



INTRODUCTORY

COLORADO, land of gold,
Thy everlasting mountains hold
Their heads aloft with crown of snow,
As Fremont saw them long ago.

Through vistas of the far-off years

1 see the trains of pioneers.

Their schooners headed for Pike's Peak;
The shining grains of gold they seek.

The decades pass; fair cities rise
Where tepees' smoke curled to the skies.
Iron horses quiver o'er the rails
Where bison thundered down their trails.

Thy beetling crags and canons grand,
By ozone-laden breezes fanned;
The metals hidden in the rocks;
The valleys ranged by herds and flocks;

The sunshine bathing hill and plain,
Made fruitful by the snow and rain
These make thy name known far abroad,
O Colorado, blessed by God!



15



The Making of Colorado



CHAPTER I

THE CENTENNIAL STATE

COLORADO is the central state of the West beyond
the Mississippi. In shape it is nearly a parallelo-
gram. Its breadth is two hundred seventy-six
miles, and the length from east to west of its south-
ern boundary is three hundred eighty-seven miles.
It is one of the larger commonwealths of the Union.
Only four other states Texas, California, Mon-
tana, and Nevada exceed it in size. Its area is
greater than that of all New England with Virginia
thrown in, and equal to that of New York, Penn-
sylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware combined.
The state is nearly twice as large as Illinois. One
of its counties, Las Animas, is almost as large as
Connecticut, and the area of Routt County nearly
equals that of New Jersey.

Colorado has three natural divisions plains,
mountains, and plateaus.

The surface of the state is very uneven. In the
eastern part near the Kansas line the altitude is

17



18 THE MAKING OF COLORADO

from three thousand to four thousand feet above
sea level. In the mountain ranges are many
peaks over fourteen thousand feet, or nearly three
miles, high. Colorado has the highest average
elevation of all the states six thousand eight
hundred feet.

The eastern third of the state is composed of
rolling steppes and plains. The absence of timber
is noticeable, except along the rivers, which are
lined with cotton woods and willows. There are
scattering clumps of pines on the high knolls of the
Divide, the watershed between the Arkansas and
Platte rivers. The Divide is the highest ridge on
the great plains extending from Canada to the
Gulf of Mexico. Its elevation at Palmer Lake
and other places is over seven thousand feet.
From this range of hills the watercourses flow
north into the Platte, and south into the Arkansas.
For a distance of from fifteen to twenty-five miles
eastward from the foothills or hogback the country
is broken. Then there is a treeless expanse
sloping gradually toward Kansas and Nebraska.
While there are slight depressions and elevations
here and there, the land is for the most part level.

The middle third of the state is mountainous.
Several ranges of the Rockies, which form a part
of the Cordilleran system, traverse the state and
attain here their greatest altitude. The most



THE CENTENNIAL STATE



19




MOUNT OF THE HOLY CROSS



eastern chain of mountains is the Front Range,
also named the Colorado Range. It enters the

<T>

state from Wyoming, and extends southward to
Pike's Peak. The famous Cripple Creek mining



20 THE MAKING OF COLORADO

district is near its southern termination. Promi-
nent among the lofty heights of this range are
Long's Peak, Gray's, Evans, Torrey, and Pike's,
all over fourteen thousand feet high. The portion
of the range north of Estes Park is sometimes
called the Medicine Bow Mountains. The Platte
and Grand rivers rise in the Front Range.

West of the Front Range is the Park Range,
which enters the state from Wyoming and runs
south to the Arkansas Hills, some twenty miles or
more west of Cripple Creek. Leadville lies in the
valley west of these mountains, which have several
peaks over fourteen thousand feet in height. Among
them are Sherman, Sheridan, Lincoln, Bross, and
Quandary. The headwaters of the Yampa River
are in this range.

The Sawatch Range is a high, massive chain
beginning with the Mount of the Holy Cross and
running south into the northern part of Saguache
County. It is parallel to the Park Range and
about sixteen miles west of it. The Sawatch Range
is part of the backbone of the Rockies, or the Con-
tinental Divide. The streams on the western slope
empty into the Pacific, and those on the eastern
slope into the Atlantic. The range contains some
noted peaks with an altitude of over fourteen
thousand feet the Mount of the Holy Cross,
Elbert, La Plata, Yale, Harvard, Princeton, An-



THE CENTENNIAL STATE 21

tero, Shavano, and Massive. The last named is
the highest known mountain in Colorado. The
sources of the Gunnison River are in the Sawatch
Mountains.

Farther south is the Sangre de Cristo Range,
which stretches from the Arkansas River into New
Mexico. The southern portion, to the east of the
San Luis Park, is sometimes called the Culebra
Range. Running parallel to the Sangre de Cristo
Range, some twenty miles to the east, are the Wet
Mountains, in Fremont and Custer counties.
Three peaks in the Sangre Mountains have an
altitude exceeding fourteen thousand feet Cres-
tone, Humboldt, and the crest of Sierra Blanca.

West of the San Luis Park rise the San Juan
Mountains, running in a northwesterly direction.
This range, which is sometimes called the Alps of
America, forms the southern part of the Conti-
nental Divide. On the eastern slope are the head-
waters of the Rio Grande, flowing into the Gulf of
Mexico. On the western slope are the sources of
the Rio San Juan, which empties into the Colorado
River in southern Utah. The range contains
many high peaks Eolus, Simpson, Stewart, San
Luis, Handies, Red Cloud, Uncompahgre, and
Sneffels, all of them over fourteen thousand feet
in height.

The San Miguel Mountains are an outlying



TiiK MAKING OF COLORADO

group of the San Juan. They contain some very
high peaks, Lizard Head and Wilson being over
fourteen thousand feet high. Farther north are
the Elk Mountains. Of these Maroon and Castle
have an altitude of over fourteen thousand feet.
Some of the short ranges in the state have not




WOODLAND IN ESTES PARK

been mentioned ; and there are solitary mountains,
like the Spanish Peaks on the southern border of
Huerfano County.

The western third of the state is broken into
hills and bluffs, extensive valleys, and broad
plateaus. The higher mesas are wooded. The
surface descends toward the Utah line, and much
of it is desert. There are immense tracts of deso-



THE CENTENNIAL STATE 23

late country, almost bare of vegetation or growing-
only sagebrush.

The mountain parks are striking features in
Colorado's physical structure. Between the Front
and Park ranges and north of a cross range is a
series of high mountain basins collectively named
North Park. It has an average elevation of eight
thousand feet, and an area of two thousand five
hundred square miles, mostly in Larimer County.
It is a wilderness of groves and grazing lands,
diversified by streams and tiny ponds. It is the
home of deer, bear, mountain lions, and other wild
animals.

Middle Park is hemmed in on all sides by the
high ranges of Grar.d County. It has an area of
three thousand square miles and an elevation of
from seven to nine thousand feet. This park is
celebrated for its striking scenery and its hot sul-
phur springs.

South Park, in Park County, lies between Lead-
ville and Cripple Creek. It is fifty miles long and
ten miles wide, with an elevation of from eight to
ten thousand feet. In its sheltered valleys count-
less herds and flocks feed on the luxuriant grasses.
The fertile soil produces grains, potatoes, and
other crops. Within the park are mineral
springs.

Between the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo



24 THE MAKING OF COLORADO

ranges is the great San Luis Park, eight thousand
square miles in extent. Its surface is nearly level
and has an altitude varying from seven to eight
thousand feet. It was once the bed of a fresh-
water lake, sixty miles wide and more than a
hundred miles long. This valley is a fertile
agricultural region.

Estes, Egeria, Animas, and other natural parks
are small valleys of various elevations and many
scenic attractions.

The mountain lakes of Colorado are little sheets
of water found at altitudes of nine and ten thou-
sand feet. They are fed by the perpetual snows
of the surrounding ranges.

Colorado's principal rivers are the Platte, Ar-
kansas, Rio Grande, San Juan, Dolores, Gunnison,
Grand, White, and Yampa. None of these water-
ways is navigable. The Kansas River extends
two arms, the Smoky Hill and the Republican,
into eastern Colorado.

Colorado is the heir of all the ages. Millions
of years before the elevation of the Rockies, her
granite rocks were formed. It is of this granite
bed rock that the Capitol and the United States
Mint in Denver are constructed.

Time passed, a long time, which we cannot esti-
mate in years. There came an era, when, most
of the continent was submerged. The Mississippi



THE CENTENNIAL STATE 25

valley was a vast inland sea, and the Rocky Moun-
tain region an archipelago of large islands.

Another era came, known as the Age of Reptiles.
Huge saurians disported in the waters and were
the lords of creation. In this period of geological
time the "Red Beds" were formed. The red
sandstones from the quarries near Lyons and
Fort Collins are used extensively in the build-
ings of Denver and other cities. The red rocks
in the Garden of the Gods belong to this far-off
period.

In this and later times there were monsters of
the deep, and still greater animals dragged their
unwieldy bodies over the land. It was the time
of the Dinosaurs. These strange creatures were
both carnivorous and herbivorous. Some of them
dwelt on land, and others lived in the water. Some
walked upright, and some crawled about on all
fours. They fed on water plants and browsed
on the abundant herbage growing along the reedy
margins of lakes and rivers. They were sluggish
reptiles of enormous proportions, having some
resemblance to the crocodiles of the present.
The skeleton of one of them, excavated at Morrison,
has a length of eighty feet. Its ribs are ten feet
long and four inches thick. Resting on its tail
and two hind legs, the animal could rear its head
some thirty feet in the air. There were smaller




gf

r



THE CENTENNIAL STATE 27

species that were more active, armed with claws
and sharp teeth.

One queer specimen of a reptile called a Stego-
saur was covered with a sort of armor formed of
great plates of bone. It had a small head and a
long heavy tail. The latter served as a third limb
in sustaining the weight of the body, and also as a
weapon of defense, for tall spines covered it.
This lizard-beast had short fore legs and very long
hind legs, which with the long tail gave its back a
highly arched appearance. Its length was from
twenty-five to thirty feet, and it must have been a
formidable animal to encounter.

The western sea was for a long time the habitat
of Mososaurs, or swimming lizards with long ser-
pentine forms. They had paddle-shaped feet, pow-
erful tails, and massive jaws having sharp teeth
with which they could capture slippery prey. With
these murderous sea-serpents swam turtles a dozen
feet long that had heads a full yard in length, and
voracious fishes with teeth like spikes prowled in
the shallow waters.

In this interesting period of geological history
the beds of cream-colored sandstone were formed
in the foothills. This sandstone is split into slabs
that are much used for pavements in Denver. Be-
tween the rock strata are bands of fire-clay that is
used in the manufacture of brick, tile, pottery,



28 THE MAKING OF COLORADO

and crucibles. The white sandstone of which the
Denver Public Library is built w r as taken from
deposits of this period, formed along Turkey Creek
west of Pueblo. Building material also is ob-
tained from the beds of limestone, some of them
forty feet thick, in the hogback.

At the time of which we are speaking sharks
from fifty to one hundred feet long swam in the
Colorado seas, crocodiles wallowed in the mud
along the shores, and the islands were inhabited
by birds with teeth. One strange flying creature,
the Pterodactyl, had batlike wings that measured
twenty-five feet from tip to tip. Another bird of
bulky figure could swim and dive, but not fly.
The deposits of this period furnish a superior
brick-clay, from which bright-colored bricks are
made.

In an epoch called the Laramie there were
swamps in places where deep waters had rolled for
ages. The climate was a great deal hotter than it
is now in Colorado. There were forests of willow,
oak, poplar, myrtle, and laurel. Semi-tropical
trees like those of California and southern Texas
flourished in the country north of Denver. Species
of palm, magnolia, fig, and other fruit trees grew
in profusion.

The hot, moist climate was favorable to the
growth of dense woods. Of the decaying vegeta-



THE CENTENNIAL STATE 29

tion were formed the layers of coal that underlie
the surface of nearly one fifth of Colorado. The
coal-bearing formations in some sections being
fifteen hundred feet thick, the forest growths of
tens of thousands of years were necessary to
produce the veins of coal.

The Laramie and two succeeding epochs mark
the close of the Middle Ages of geological time.
Most extraordinary animals and reptiles, some of
them of tremendous size, lived then. One land
animal, the Triceratops, was twenty-five feet long
and had a horned head that was all out of propor-
tion to its clumsy body. The skulls of the largest
specimens existing at the time of the formation of
the Denver sandstones were from six to eight feet
long; and there was a bird -footed Dinosaur about
the size of a kangaroo.

Meanwhile the seas and lakes were drained of
salt water, and the land area increased considerably.
The predatory reptilian monsters of earlier ages
came to an end. They were adapted to the ele-
ments in which they had their being, and when
conditions changed they passed away. Other
forms of animal life succeeded them in the Age of
Mammals. Then mastodons stalked through the
forests. Elephants, rhinoceroses, camels, and tigers
had their habitat in Colorado, and all were of
gigantic size.



30 THE MAKING OF COLORADO

Then came the elevation of the sea bottom and
islands of a former time into mountain ranges.
There were mighty convulsions of nature. There
was one uplift after another. The period cf
mountain-making lasted a long while, and took
place at least a million years ago. The earth's
crust was broken and tilted; the strata were
folded and crumpled up. Volcanoes poured forth
floods of lava that rolled down the slopes westward
and eastward. Rhyolite tuff is an eruptive rock
much used for buildings in Denver.

As time passed, enormous masses of debris were
washed from the mountainsides and ridges into
the valleys and plains. A thousand feet or more
of horizontal strata were removed from above the
present site of Denver. The channels of mountain
streams were gradually deepened into canons.
Wind, water, and other agencies are still producing
similar changes in the mountain region.

In the upheavals of the past the strata of the
rocks were exposed, with the result that ore deposits
and veins of minerals were formed near fissures
and in surface placers, where in the fullness of time
they were discovered by man. In a half century
gold, silver, copper, zinc, and lead have been ex-
tracted to the value of more than a billion dollars.

But greater even than this prodigious treasure
is the agricultural wealth of the Centennial State.



THE CENTENNIAL STATE 31

The plains and valleys have a soil of wonderful
fertility. Before the possibilities of farming by
irrigation were known, east Colorado was included
in the "Great American Desert." Now two and
a half million acres of arid waste have by artificial
watering become productive of greater riches than
the metalliferous mines. Colorado's crops of hay,
alfalfa, wheat, oats, and sugar beets harvested in
1906 were valued at $28,000,000, or several mil-
lions more than the output of its gold mines during
that year.



CHAPTER II

EARLY INHABITANTS CLIFF DWELLERS
AND INDIANS

A STRANGE people lived in Colorado long ago.
Centuries before America was discovered by
Columbus, the Southwest was inhabited by a race
of men somewhat civilized. Their skeletons, their
rude stone implements, their architectural remains
have been found in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah,
and Colorado. They appear to have had the same
general characteristics as the peoples found by
Cortez in Old Mexico and Pizarro in Peru.

In various parts of western and southwestern
Colorado are the ruins of habitations and rock
shelters dating back to a prehistoric period. They


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