Thursday, April 7, 2011

News from 1872

In the April 6, 1872 issue of Out West, appeared this article, meant to entice easterners to migrate to the Territory.  “Colorado: Pure air and healthful climate; no fevers, consumption, asthma, bronchitis, &c. yield to the influence of this climate, if not too deeply seated; Cattle may be fed and fattened exclusively on wild grass, but should have shelter and a month’s hay provided for each Winter; soil good, but requires irrigation; crops good where irrigated with a good home market at hand in the mines, which are steadily expanding; timber scarce; Coal abundant; probably the best location for Wool-growing on the Continent; daily communication by railroads with St. Louis on the one hand, Omaha and Chicago, Salt Lake and California on the other; settling rapidly.”

A week later, readers were met with this chilly description.  “One of the ‘worst storms ever known’ visited Colorado on Sunday last.  The amount of snow which fell was not very great, but it was so exceedingly fine and driven by such a resistless wind that it penetrated every crack and crevice which it could find, and was blown into huge drifts.  The storm gave nearly all the Railways much trouble.  It is hoped, however, that it was the closing storm of the Winter.”

It seems the Ute Indians had their own explanation for the heavy snows of that spring.  On April 20th it was reported in the same newspaper “The Ute Indians are strangely a superstitious people.  A few days ago a party of chiefs and sub-chiefs, headed by one called by the whites “Dutchman,” called at the house of Mr. Curtice, the Ute interpreter, and laid a case before him as follows:  The late snows of the spring have killed off a number of their ponies and caused them a great deal of inconvenience in various ways.  With their customary superstition they attribute it to the white man’s innovations, and beg the Indian Agent in Denver, Major Thompson, to have the whites stop sending up ‘their water-spouts and little red balls.’  This interpreted means a cessation of water-throwing by means of the Holly Water Works and the sailing of red rubber-balloons by the boys.  They have observed these things during visits to Denver, and are firm in their belief that they are storm-breeders, and thus responsible for the recent snow-storms.”

The next week, the paper published a warning regarding the effects of heavy snows in the mountains.  “Persons who have but lately returned from the mountains say that the snow fall there has been very heavy during the past winter, and the indications are that we shall have some heavy floods this spring.  The St. Charles is now on a ‘big bender;’ the Fontaine is making a move in the same direction, and pretty soon the old Arkansas will get too important for its banks, and swell out on a grand scale.  People residing on the banks of those streams should take time by the forelock, and prepare for flood.”

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