Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Terrellville and the Lincoln Store - circa 1870

Ranch Life and Other Sketches by Michael Hendrick Fitch  1914

A. Jacobs owned a well equipped line of stages which ran from Denver to Pueblo, each stage drawn by four fine horses, with relay stations located every fourteen miles. A stage would start in the morning at a certain hour from each end of the line and make the distance, 120 miles, by a certain hour in the evening, the fare $20.00 each way. The route from Denver proceeded via Cherry Creek to Franktown (named after Frank M. Gardner, the owner), over the divide about four miles east of Palmer Lake and thence into old Colorado City, thence down the Fountain river to Pueblo.

The American's destination was the ranch on the little Fountain, known

Fountain Burns!

That and other assorted newspaper clippings gleaned from the Colorado Springs papers:

Colorado Springs Gazette November 10, 1878
Baled Hay. Upland Blue-Joint Hay
Constantly on Hand at OS Loomis’ Hay Yard, Fountain.

Colorado Springs April 5 1881
Trustee’s Sale
Whereas JS Sage of El Paso County by his certain deed of trust, dated Nov 28 1879 and recorded in book 29 page 122? of El Paso county records, to secure payment of his two promissory notes for $50 dollars, payable in 90 days, the other for $150, payment in one year from date to M. Wiley or order, did convey to Robert Douglass as trustee all those premises herein described. Whereas the notes are in default, sale to the highest bidder for cash will occur on May 3, 1881, to wit: Beginning at the section line between sections 5 and 6, T16S R65W, where the north side of Iowa Avenue crosses said section line running 18 6-10 rods, thence east 142 feet, thence south 18 6-10 rods, thence west 142 feet to place of beginning. Also a piece of land described as follows, to wit: Beginning at the NE corner of JS Sage’s House lot in Fountain, running west with is line 142 feet, thence north 306[?] feet, thence east 142 feet, thence south 306 feet to place of beginning.

The Denver & Rio Grande road grade

A Bridge to Fountain

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Land Record Research - draft

I have been using Real Estate Transactions published in the old Gazette newspapers to try and identify who owned the Ark and nearby land in the 1870s.

One article from 1874 of interest was an advertisement for the
Fountain Hotel,
GA Wilcox, proprietor.
Entirely re-fitted and re-furnished.
Everything new.
Comfortable home for tourists and invalids.

No mention of where this was, and why in 1874, it would need to be remodeled!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Military Service in the Fountain Valley

Other information and photographs of local men and women who served in the Armed Services are welcome.  This page is arranged chronologically.

Civil War Veterans Buried in Fairview Cemetery

James T. Bell Private Co. E 114th Illinois Infantry 
James Bell was born in Virginia in about 1824, and is buried at Fairview Cemetery.  His date of death is not known.  The 1880 census shows him as a single man living near Fountain in Township 16 South Range 67 West, with his father Zebulon Bell, and the Keetons.  Samuel Keeton homesteaded near Rock Creek and Highway 115.  Although their relationship to Sam Keeton was given as brother and father, it is more likely that they were his wife Mary Keeton’s relatives.  Both men were wagon makers.  In 1870, James Bell lived with the Priest family, who homesteaded in Dead Man’s Canyon along Hwy 115, and the father Zebulon lived with his son Lance Bell in Fountain.  The Bells appear to have moved to Colorado by about 1866.  In 1860, the family lived in Springfield, Illinois.

William Christian Private Co. G&H 16th Regt TN Infantry 
William Briton Christian was born in Tennessee on May 18, 1839.  He enlisted at Harris, Franklin County, TN.  He married Lovica Bess in 1870 and they had five children.  William's mother, Margaret Pace, was 1/8 Cherokee and when he heard that Native Americans could obtain free land there, he moved to Missouri.  He did not qualify, and they stayed in Missouri for 2 years before coming to Colorado.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

$40,000 of Gold missing

In a dramatic story retold by Elsie Keeton, and later published in Larson's history of the Fountain valley and in a bicentennial newspaper in Fountain, a stage coach was robbed of $40,000 in gold payroll, which was never recovered.   Here is the story as it ran in the Fountain Valley Centennial Review Souvenir Edition, Advertiser and News, Sep 15, 1976.  
In the 1860s, the old stage road ran from Deming, NM, to Colorado City, then the state capital.  It crossed Little Fountain Creek just west of this old post [Lincoln Trading Post], and continued to the Charter Oaks Ranch, then a government feeding station and stage stop.  According to a story written by Elsie Keeton on Oct 13, 1941, the site for the ranch was selected because of its meadows.  There was a cook house, corral and shed, all surrounded by an 8-foot concrete wall.  It had a gate on the east side.  At the time, there were only 4 white families living on the east side of Fountain Creek between Pueblo and Colorado City.  The stage road ran along the west bank of the creek because the land to the east was considered neutral territory.  It was used as hunting grounds by the Utes and the Plains tribes.  The stage road came to a point east of the Charter Oaks station, and then proceeded down Fountain Creek to the trading post to deliver goods.  The stage then went back up the Fountain Creek to Charter Oaks, and on to Colorado City on the west bank of the creek. 

Somewhere southeast of Fountain near the site of a stagecoach robbery, $40,000 in gold is rumored to be buried under the hot sands and cholla. 

On top of the arid hills, east of the Mike Christian ranch on Rock Creek, are graves of Indians killed in a raging battle with angry white settlers.  Rumor has it that not all of the attackers were Indians, as the Utes didn’t care for gold, but were instead renegade whites and Mexicans dressed as Indians.  The rock-ringed graves remain as testimony.  Christian’s ranch was ½ mile from Little Fountain Creek and a few miles southeast of Fort Carson’s Golf Course. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pettengill's Epitaph

On a recent visit to Fairview Cemetery we tried to decipher the epitaph on the headstone of Anna Pettengill, her son James, and his wife Gertrude.  All that was visible was "Our Hero". 

A rubbing of the poem, made with plain typing paper and a graphite crayon, produced marginal results.  Much of the rubbing seen here has been enhanced with photoshop.

Once a few strings of words were deciphered, we would have been able to trace this poem to its origin, using the internet.  This is what I found.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Terrells - Fountain Pioneers

This story is based on census data, newspaper articles from the Colorado Springs Gazette, and land records.

Amos Terrell was issued a homestead patent for land in T16SR65W sections 5 and 8, in September, 1869, making his one of the earliest grants in the Fountain Valley, and reflecting his settlement here before 1865.  His property in the W½SW¼ of section 5 represents the land along and east of Main St. in Fountain, and some of this was subdivided into town lots in 1871.  They sold lots 5 and 6 of Block 11 to OS Loomis for $50 in 1877.

This map is of the 1862 survey of T16SR65W, available online at  It shows the trail or stage coach route leading along the east bank of the Fountain Creek, much as the road does today, with the solid line being the addition of the Denver & Rio Grande railroad line in 1872.  It is interesting to note that the Terrell house does not appear on the map.  The only inhabitants shown in this part of the Fountain Valley are farther south, such on Tom Owens.