An online repository of photographs, stories, land records and biographies of the settlers of Fountain, Colorado. Use the search box at right to explore such topics as schools, railroads, businesses and homes, people, and gossip. CHECK the Research Categories at right, as these are updated often but are not in the main index.
People of Fountain
Contains Fountain Mayors, Civil War Veterans, founding families: Aga, Barela, Bell, Benedict, Christian, DeGraff, Frost, Godding, Howells, Hutchin, Imes, Irion, Kane, Kraus, Link, Loomis, Love, Monk, Morse, Niles, Orcutt, Powell, Pyles, Rice, Riddock, Rock, Sample, Thompson, Torbit, Wallace, Whalen, Wilson and Wolf
The town of Fountain was platted in 1871 by Amos Terrell and his brother-in-law Henry Hutchins. The First Town Council and Mayor. The town folks got all riled up and someone mentioned a Mayor and a Town Council. The people didn’t think it would work out, but they said they would give it a try, and had an election. They elected Henry Link as the town’s first mayor, and as councilmen named Christian, Lock, Rhinehart , Rock, Trailler, and Corbin. Mayor Link appointed Corbin to draw up the town ordinances. L. A. Toothman was named the first town marshal, and was also the street commissioner. At the time a lot of the street lights were broken out, and kids were tearing things up, so the mayor appointed a policeman, C.C. Childs. Harry E. Ellington was nominated for the town clerk.
Mayors of Fountain
Henry Link 1903- OL Rock about 1906-07
Arthur Wolf 1909
Thomas B Pyles sometime between 1907-1919
WP Riddoch 1919 FE Torbit 1920
Fred H Monk 1921
WA Godding 1922 - 1923 RE Love 1924
Wanden Kane 1942 - 1945
Glenn Powell 1956 - 1958
Bernard Kraus 1958 - 1960
Sigurd Aga 1960 -1978 Elva Orcutt 1978 interim
Harold Thompson 1978-1985, 1997-?
George Rice 1985-1989
Judy Christian 1989-1997 Ken Barela 2006 Jeri Howells
Ever wonder how a road got its name?Some street names in Fountain date back more than 100 years.Link Road, a main thoroughfare around Fountain, is named after the Link family, who moved to Colorado from Missouri in about 1887.Henry Link served as the Treasurer of School District 8, and was elected Mayor of the newly incorporated town in 1903.The Link Hotel, said to have been built before 1882, used to stand next to the livery on West Missouri.
Link Hotel circa 1906-07
Henry Link was born in Missouri in about 1850. He and Elizabeth had 8 children, and by 1910 they were divorced. She lived on Illinois Street in Fountain, and he lived in Elko, NV.
According to Mary Baker (2006 Interview) the Links originally owned the land south of Wilson Road which is now JV Ranch, though they did not obtain it as a homestead. This may be shown in the photo at left. A story by Ada Link Trainor, Henry's daughter born in 1886, published in the Ordway New Era in the 1970s, reads: We left the Woodbury Ranch after Grandpa (Daniel Link) bought the place from Dr. Strickland. After father sold this place it became known as the Midway Ranch. her father had a smokehouse and a cellar, and water was piped down to the house from a good spring a mile away. Men often came to the ranch to hunt or fish, and would board horses there. When Ada was 8 or 9, the family moved to the Springs so that the older children could attend high school. Later, Henry sold the ranch and the family moved to Fountain.
The livery was evaluated as part of the historic building survey of El Paso County in 1976, and is on the State Register of Historic Places. The report mentions that the owner in 1976 was John Meury. Information from Kay Larson's book and personal observation of Gulliford was that the building was built in 1886 as a livery stable for the first hotel in town, the Link Hotel. It was constructed from rocks hauled in from eastern Colorado, and had walls a foot thick. The building is 32 by 30 feet, with barred windows and a cupola on top for ventilation.
A clipping from the Fountain Museum, dated to about 1906-07, notes that Dr. and Mrs. CW Keys managed the hotel at the time.
Otis Rock ca 1906-07
OL Rock lived on Missouri in Fountain in 1910. He was 38 years old, married, and born in Illinois. They also lived in Fountain in 1900, but the census is illegible.
Arthur Wolf 1909
Arthur Wolf was born in Colorado in 1868, his parents having come west from Missouri a few years earlier, and taken up cattle ranching in Douglas County. Arthur married Mamie Smith in 1890, and in 1900 they ran a store in Greenland, on the Palmer divide. Arthur lived on Ohio Street in Fountain in 1910, and was a railroad section foreman.
Thomas Benton Pyles, a veteran newspaper man, died on Dec 27, 1921 at the age of 76 (Fountain Herald Dec 28, 1921). He was born in Illinois, moved to Kansas in 1880, and lived in Florrisant, Colorado in 1890. In 1904 he and his wife moved to Colorado Springs and established the El Paso County Democrat. They purchased the Fountain Herald in 1907 and published this paper until it was sold in 1919. He was largely responsible for the town's new water system, and for eliminating the deadly double railroad crossing just north of town. He backed the electric light system and town creamery, and served as town Mayor and councilman.
Mayor WP Riddoch 1919
FE Torbit Mayor 1920
Fred Monk 1921
William P. Riddoch was born in Scotland in 1881 and came to the United States as an infant with his parents WG and Jane. His family moved to Fountain from Iowa before 1900. In 1920, William lived on Main Street in Fountain with his wife and children. He was a lumber dealer.
FE (Fernando Ellery) Torbit was born in Matton, Illinois in 1863. He came to Eads, Colorado in 1887, and met his wife Rose, a teacher. In 1898 they came to Fountain and opened the Trading Company on Main Street. FE served as Fountain’s mayor, and as a state representative for 4 years. He died in the Springs on September 12, 1921, and was survived by his wife, brothers WA of Fountain and MG of Hidalgo, IL, and a sister.
Fred Monk was born in Iowa in 1868. In 1900, he and his family were living in Teller County, Colorado and he worked as a tinner. In 1910 and 1920 they lived in Englewood, where he owned a hardware store.
W.A. Godding appeared in the 1919 Commercial Club annual, which said he was a progressive citizen. He was buying and repairing houses to rent. He served as mayor in 1922-23.
The 1920 census shows Walter Godding as a farmer, living in Fountain with his wife, their parents and several nephews. Walter was born in Minnesota in 1867. He passed away in Los Angeles in 1945.
RE Love 1924
Robert E. Love was born in Missouri or Tennessee in 1869 to James E. and Elizabeth Love. He married Annie in about 1895, and their four children were born in Idaho. In 1910 they lived on a farm near Fountain, and in 1920 Robert and Annie lived on Race Street. He served as town Mayor in 1924 [Advertiser & News, Cobweb Express, Sep 22, 1999]. He died in 1948 and is buried at Fairview Cemetery in Fountain.
Weekly Gazette Feb 12, 1903
Barney Kraus 1958-60
Barney and Dorris Kraus moved to Colorado from Kansas, seeking better conditions for her asthma.There were three businesses for sale that he was interested in: a sheep camp near CanonCity, an apple orchard near Penrose, or the Arapahoe Food Store in Fountain, and they settled in Fountain.They bought an unfinished two bedroom house on north Main Street that had previously been a CampCarson barracks (seen above).Three daughters were born to the couple: Diane, Mary Jo and Nancy.
Barney's Market 1976
Barney’s Food Market operated in the old Fountain Trading Co. on Main Street from 1949 to 1978.Previously, it had been Christian’s Arapahoe Food Store.Barney was best known for his selection and cuts of fresh meet, although they carried all grocery supplies.Several old-timers that I’ve talked to mention Barney fondly, and he was known for having watched over the town’s children.One woman recalled going to Barney after she skinned her knee, and he lifted her up onto the butcher block table and tended to her scrapes. When the daughters were interviewed, Nancy said that she thought it was great that their dad ran the grocery store, because she could give free candy to her friends, though this fact startled Mary Jo and Diane, who never gave away anything!
The building which housed Barney’s Market was built in the 1890s by FE Torbit.The arched doorway on the south side on the building has been altered, but it was the loading bay for delivery trucks.There was an apartment in the rooms behind, west of, the store, and Leonard lived there in the 1960s.He was a Hispanic barber who worked for Mr. Peebles.Barney didn’t want to live behind the store because people would come by at tall hours to buy bread or milk, though his daughters said this happened anyway.
Barney Kraus was elected Mayor of Fountain in 1958 under the “Economy” party.He served for two years.
This photograph was donated to the Fountain Library by Barney Kraus, and dates from about 1990.
The seven mayors, are, from left to right:
Harold Thompson, served 1978-1985 and 1997-? He owned the liquor store at the corner of Santa Fe and Illinois, which he later sold it to the Paradises.
Judy Christian, served 1989-1997, city council since 1977.Her husband is a descendant of a Fountain pioneer William Christian, who came to El PasoCounty from Tennessee before 1900.
Bernard “Barney” Kraus, served 1958-1960. Moved to Fountain in 1949 and operated a general store on Main St. from 1949 to July, 1978.Born in Ransom, KS in 1913. He passed away in 2006.
George Rice, served 1985-1989. Law editor who moved to Colorado Springs in 1961. He passed away in 2003.
Sigurd Aga, served ~1960-1978, city council in 1958.A masonry contractor, Aga was born in MN in 1907, served in the Army, and settled in Colorado Springs in 1952.He passed away in 1996.AgaPark is named for him. [Elva Orcutt acted as Interim Mayor in May 1978. ]
Wanden Kane, served two terms starting in 1942 and was Colorado’s first woman mayor.Born in New York City, she came to Fountain in 1940, and married Alexander Kane (1918-2003). She passed away in February 1991.Mr. Kane was born on the family homestead east of Fountain on Squirrel Creek Road.His father James obtained the land in T15S R64W section 30 in 1920.Alex became a business partner to Wandeen Matthews La Farge in the purchase of the South Gore Ranch and they later married and built the Kane Ranch headquarters near WilliamsCreek. Alex Kane ranched and produced fine quarter horses for more than 30 years.The Kanes donated land for a county park and funded scholarships to local colleges.
Glenn Powell, served 1956 to 1958. Machinist and owner of the Skelly Gas Station on Santa Fe in the 1970s. Born in KS in 1910, he passed in 1997 and is buried at FairviewCemetery.
The Kraus daughters had fond memories of growing up in Fountain.They would help their parents at the store, but enjoyed roaming around town on their bikes.
The girls attended school in Fountain.The school history as they know it is that the red-brick school was built in 1903 to replace the older wooden one.Above the door was the inscription “FountainHigh School”, although the one building originally served all the grades.Then, in ~1946 another multi-story brown-brick school was added on the same lot, which became the new High School for the upper grades.The elementary and junior high grades used the older school.In the late 1960s, the upper floor of the old school was condemned, although Mary Jo remembers the girls’ volleyball class using that floor for practice.The cafeteria for both schools was on the lower half of the old building.The old school was demolished in about 1971, and the block is now occupied by Aragon Elementary.
The bell that hangs in Aragon’s cafeteria is rumored to be from the 1903 school.But Mary Jo recalled that the old bell stood on a pedestal in front of the Junior High and Elementary School (which would have been the 1903 school), so perhaps the bell in Aragon dates all the way back to the original wooden school.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the Soviet nuclear threat was very real to town residents.Their proximity to CheyenneMountain made them ground zero.The civil defense siren was on Alabama, between Main and Race, and would sound monthly.This scared Mary Jo because she thought the Soviets were attacking.The siren was taken down in the 1970s.Mary Jo got to visit a bomb shelter built on the Love’s property on South Race Street on a school field trip, and she was shocked because the toilet was in the middle of the room, and everyone would see you.
The large, white 2-story house on South Main was infamous. It is known as the Ark.When Mary Jo was in grade school, a classmate who lived there described horrific things that would happen, the ghosts, and seeing faces in the fireplace.The Nashs lived there in the 1960s and 1970s, and their kids were George and Betty Jo.Mary Jo had heard that the Ark was not the old stage stop; that stood across the road by the creek and had been washed away.There was however a locking cement box recessed in the ground in front of the Ark, and this may have been a strongbox for the stage.
North of the Paradise house, Mrs. Elizabeth Hammer Smith Benatti lived in a converted trolley car at 318 N Main.She was a third and fifth grade teacher, and the Kraus girls spent memorable Saturday afternoons with Mrs. Smith doing art projects.She was the first teacher in town to wear jeans to school, on a day when it was very cold.Females prior to this could wear jeans under their dresses, but had to take them off when they got to school.Elizabeth celebrated her 100th birthday in July, 2005 at Kit Carson, CO.
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Wanden Kane, Fountain's 1st Woman Mayor
There is a great article in the Gazette that quotes Mrs. Kane. In it, she discusses the trailers full of prostitutes that she ran out of town, health care for children, and providing treatment for venereal disease to the town's young woman. The penalty for not showing up for your follow-up treatments was jail! Read about it in the gossip column.
This photograph from the 1990 Fall Festival parade shows Kane and Bernard Kraus (middle), Glenn Powell, Sigurd Aga (right), Harold Thompson, George Rice and Judy Christian (left).
Sigurd M. Aga served on the local school board for 2 years, the Sanitation District board for 6 years, and began his sixth consecutive 2-year term as Mayor on Jan 1, 1976.While Mayor, he contributed all of his salary to the City’s Parks and Recreation fund, and provided some of the labor and materials for the community center.
Of Norwegian descent, Aga was born in Leroy, Minnesota on Mar 19, 1907.He returned to Norway at age 8 and attended school there.In 1927, he returned to the US and learned the brick layering trade from his father.He served with the Infantry in World War II, earning a Bronze Star.He started his brick construction business in 1945.In 1949, he married Corrine English in Iowa.They moved to Fountain in 1952.
Sig operated the Texaco station from 1952 to 1956.He built the town’s first mobile home park in 1952, and ran it until it was sold in 1967.In 1968, he constructed the Aga Apartment complex, the town’s first.He has devoted his life to community work.
The Fountain Valley Centennial Review Souvenir Edition was published by the Security Advertiser and Fountain Valley News on Sep 15, 1976. Copy courtesy of Chamber of Commerce.
There are about a dozen Civil War veterans buried at Fairview Cemetery. Obituaries were collected for each, but they reveal little genealogical information. The Fountain Genealogy class recorded all of the veterans markers at Fountain's Fairview Cemetery in 2010. These Civil War veterans were noted:
James T. Bell, Pvt Co E 114th ILL INF
William B. Christian, Pvt Co G&H 16th Reg TN INF
Marcus B. Corbin, Cpl Co F 2nd NE CAV
William M. Foster, Pvt Co F 1st MN CAV
William L. Imes, Co D 1st IO CAV
John P. Kleckner, Capt Co D 83rd PA Regt INF
James O. Quick, Pvt Co H 1st CO INF
Edward Redmond, Pvt 1st MO CAV
Milton H. Rounsavell, Sgt Co B 113th ILL INF
Benjamin Smith, Pvt 6th US INF IND
William Van Endert, Pvt 3rd Co M CO CAV
Marshall D. Warren, Musician Co G 13th WI INF
More information on each man can be found on the front page in the miltary service article.
The Bell Family
This is a wedding photo of Lancelot Bell and Lydia Roberts, taken in about 1865 in Colorado City. It appears on Ancestry and was posted by Barbara Eichel Dittig of Danville, CA.
Lancelot was the son of Zebulon Bell. More information on the family can be found in the military service article on the front page.
The 1878 tax schedule of El Paso County, found in Special Collections by Pat, shows that L. Bell owned 440 acres in T16SR65W sections 5, 8, 9 and 10 (now Countryside subdivision and Jordahl Elementary). This was land that he had purchased directly, and from others including his father. His personal property included a spring wagon, a lumber wagon, $20 worth of furniture and personal goods, 16 horses, 7 head of cattle and 5 swine.
The Benedict and Morse Families
Albert J Benedict, born in Ohio in 1821, married Margaret Edwards and headed west from Iowa, arriving in Colorado before 1867. His son Joseph, born 1857 Nebraska, married Irene Morse, noted as the first white child born in El Paso County.
Irene's parents Henry and Malvina Morse came west from Wisconsin in 1861. Henry may appear on the 1860 census as a teamster in Clear Creek, Colorado. Perhaps he came out during the gold rush and then went back home for his family. According to her great-granddaughter Lola Thompson, Irene was born in a covered wagon in August 1861, shortly after they arrived here. Her father staked a claim on what would become the Charter Oak Ranch [west of the I25 exit 128 and onto Fort Carson]. Irene's mother died when she was 3 weeks old, and she was reportedly sold to the JP Robinson family for $50. Mrs. Robinson had recently lost an infant, and had "empty arms". Irene died in 1950.
According to the Pioneer Museum website, Oscar Wilkins or Wilking came west in 1858-59 and settled on 160 acres near HDL Morse. Neither man filed for homestead land in Colorado. Henry appears in a city directory in 1882 as a miner living in Colorado City (now called Old Colorado City), and he and his second wife lived there the remainder of their lives. He worked as a carpenter until 1891, when we went to Cripple Creek and struck it rich. Henry served as mayor of Colorado City from 1896 to about 1898 [Colorado City Iris Jan 8, 1898]. In 1906, Henry and three family members patented the Buckeye Mine in Teller County. He died in 1912 and is buried at Evergreen Cemetery.
Joseph Robinson was married to Mary Green. After their infant died in 1861, they raised Irene. Mary died in 1871, shortly after the birth of her 9th child Samuel. Irene helped her father raise the younger children. Some of the Robinsons are buried at the cemetery on Hanover Road near Buttes. ----------------------------------------------- Christian family
Christians circa 1891
William Christian was born in Tennessee in May, 1839. He married Nancy Lovica Bess in about 1869. William's mother, Margaret Lillian Pace, was part Cherokee. He took his family to Missouri in the late 1880s, after hearing the land was available there for Native Americans. They did not qualify, and in 1891 arrived in Colorado by train from Seneca, MO.William and Lovica had five children. The Christians are buried at Fairview Cemetery. Lovica's brother Andrew was a miner in Cripple Creek in 1900.
William's son Lee Christian was born in about 1870 and married Mary Ellen "Mamie" Brazil. The Brazils came to Colorado in about 1890. Lee was a section foreman on the AT&SF railroad from 1903 to 1942. Annie "Willie” Christian was born in about 1873 and married 1895 Robert Love in 1895. They owned the Love’s Spring motel, which was south of town along the interstate corridor, near the bridge to the Ray Nixon power plant.The Loves came from Kentucky.At one time they owned the Cave of the Winds, and the land which Colorado College stands on today.
Lee and Mamie’s children were Robert L., who married Helen Jones and owned the Arapahoe Food Store; William J., known as Uncle Mike, who ranched south of Walkup Hill; Evelyn who married Clare Peebles, whose barber shop on the west side of Main St. had a room where people could take baths for 25 cents.This was probably the same shop where Nettie Toothman’s Home Café operated. The Peebles lived on Santa Fe in the white house and ran a cafe there. Lee's son Richard worked for the Pueblo Steel Mill for 34 years. He married Naomi Bolton, and they had a daughter Dorothy. Lee's last son was Martin, who married Viola.
Nettie Toothman's Home Cafe
Catherine J. Christian was born in 1876 and married Louis Niles in 1895. More about them can be found in the Niles family biography below.
Loren Christian (l)
Robert Brazil (r) and
Loren Christian was born in about 1880. In 1910, he was a carpenter working for the AT&SF railroad.He died during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic.
William B. Christian was born in 1883. He married Mary Ellen Hardin in 1904, and they had two children - Ruth and Ernest. William was a carpenter living on Iowa Street in 1920.
In an interview with Dorothy Boyd, she recalled the businesses in the commercial block on the west side of Main St. Her uncle Bob owned the Arapahoe Food Store and Clare Peeble’s was a barber. The Post Office run by Mrs. King was next to Bob's grocery. The pool hall was next to the alley, and it had large windows, changed out since the shop was a theater years before. The Whirlpool laundry, north across the alley, was a skating rink at one time before 1957. On the east side of Main street was Margie and Lee Schwartz's Fountaineer, a variety store and soda fountain that operated in the 1950s. The next shops to the south were owned by Mrs. Crews and Mr. Keys, who had a shoe store.Mr. Peebles had a barber shop in one of these shops originally before moving to the opposite side of the street.Farther south, the shop by the alley was a theater for a time in the early 1950s. -------------------------------------
An article in the Portrait and Biographical Record of the History of Colorado notes that David DeGraff settled in El Paso County in 1871. After conducting a stock business for 15 years he moved to the Springs, where he later owned considerable real estate. David was born in New York in 1825. His uncle Benjamin was also a farmer in El Paso County. David DeGraff took up homestead land baout 8 miles southeast of the Cprings and bought adjoining land, including two ranches on the Fountain Creek. He is said to have introduced alfalfa cultivation to the county, and at one time owned 8000 acres in one unit and 17000 acres in the county, plus 23000 acres of open range that he had fenced. In 1872 he stocked his land with 6000 head of sheep; he switched to cattle in the mid-1880s. At the time of the 1888 explosion in Fountain, the DeGraffs owned a ranch 2 miles north of Fountain.
Long-time ranchers south of the Fountain area, Jon, Mary and Jay Frost, enjoy the breakfast kicking off the Fall Festival, 1973 (Fountain Valley News).
Joel Gibbs (1795 – 1858) and Rachel Tapscott (1798-1861) Hutchin, originally of New Jersey, had six children, all born in Ohio.Isaac Hutchin was born Dec 8, 1823, Henry W. was born Nov 1, 1825 in Hamilton, OH, and Mary T. was born in 1833.In 1860 the family lived in Blackhawk, Jefferson County, IO (indexed on census as Huchin).Brothers Henry and Isaac, and brother-in-law Amos Terrell, moved to Colorado in about 1864-65, taking up homestead land near Fountain.
Isaac had married Victoria Dutton in Iowa in about 1862.She was born in 1841 in Harrisville, Harrison Co., OH.Isaac and his brother Henry were stock raisers near Fountain in 1870.Isaac served as a Justice of the Peace and Treasurer of school district No. 8 in 1877.In Nov. 1877 Isaac and Victoria sold an acre of land in Fountain to Margaret Warren.Isaac died in 1891 and is buried at Fairview Cemetery.His widow Victoria lived in the Springs in 1910; she died in 1921.Ella, who died in 1871 and is buried beside the couple, is likely their daughter. Mary, born 1868 in Colorado, appears with them on the 1870 census.Their son David (1864-1884) is buried nearby.
Henry W. Hutchin appears on the 1870 census as a stock raiser, living near other residents of Dead Mans Canon (Hwy 115 and Little Fountain Creek).He served as a Republican delegate for the county in 1877, and was a grocer in Fountain in 1880.He died on May 30, 1888 as a result of the train explosion in Fountain.His wife Elvina H. was born in Ohio in January, 1828.They married in ~1850 and moved from Ohio to Iowa in about 1855.Their daughter Grace lived in Fountain in 1910 and served as the postmaster in 1911.
Weekly Gazette Dec 17, 1903
Mary T. Hutchin married Amos T. Terrell in about 1850 in Ohio.He was born in Ohio in 1829, and they moved to Iowa in about 1853, living in Blackhawk Township, Jefferson County in 1860.They lived next to Isaac Hutchin in Fountain in 1870.
Henry Hutchin purchased 40 acres of homestead land in T15SR66W section 24 in December, 1865 and obtained a patent for more land nearby in 1875.His land was on the west bank of Fountain Creek near gate 20.Isaac Hutchins owned land in Fountain that he sold to Samuel Bowlby in 1874.
Hutchin purchased lots 2 -5 of block 2 from Requa and Craft in 1880. more data coming.... Read about this in the article Fountain's Oldest Structure.
Federal census, LDS records online, Portrait and biographical album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties, Iowa, published 1890, on HeritageQuest, Colorado Historic Newspaper Project.
The earliest burial in Fountain's Fairview cemetery, according to city records, is Mary Imes, who died on April 17, 1871. Her headstone was found propped up against a tree in 2010. Land records show that Moses J Imes received a homestead patent for the land in T16SR65W section 7 in October 1875. His son Isaac patented adjacent land. The surname appears on census records also as Ijames and Jiams. Moses was born in Maryland in 1823, and married Mary Ellen Davis, born in Pennsylvania in 1823. The family moved from Holmes County, Ohio to Madison County, Iowa in about 1850, and there is an Imes Bridge on the Clanton Creek. the family reached Colorado by 1868. The Imes family may have only been in the Fountain Valley a few years, and appear on the 1880 census in Kansas and the western slope of Colorado.
Buried next to Mary are Mary Jane Imes (1845-1923) and William L Imes (1844 OH - ). Although not direct descendants of Moses and Mary, they are no doubt relatives. William patented adjacent land in 1898. He married after 1900, and he and Mary Jane lived in the Springs in 1910 and 1920. Mary Jane's headstone says - donor of this cemetery. It is now managed and maintained by the city of Fountain.
The Irion Family
The diary of Elizabeth Craig Irion was published (source now unknown) and a copy is on file at the Fountain Library. She briefly recounts her trip from Fountain to Arizona. Elizabeth came west from Kansas in 1865 after her husband Archibald died. She brought her baby Dudley with her to her parents home. She married Robert Irion in 1868. Grasshopper plagues, which ate everything in sight, and a lack of water in the Fountain Valley, forced them to move on. They were advised to settle near Florence, Arizona, and if that was not to their liking, would move on to California. A quote from her journal reads...May 30, 1877. The Day. We left Fountain, Colorado at 8 o'clock after tearful farewells to the Irvines, to make the long exciting drive to Arizona. Our train was lined up: my husband Bob, his sister Anna, our 12-year old son Dudley Craig; Solon Mason, Bill Bley, Luther Bear - the cowboys; Twitchel the camp cook, a dozen chickens, a dog Troussel, Dick the canary, plus 300 head of cattle. This first day we drove 17 miles against miserable wind so this night I am much fatigued, indeed never so tired in my life. Probably the result of weeks and months of preparation.
After traveling 15 miles the next day, the family stopped in Pueblo, had a picture of the family taken - in case there were Indian troubles along the way - and purchased smallpox vaccine, which Bob used to inoculate everyone in the party.
The Bleys owned land in T17SR65W section 3, as shown on this 1864 GLO plat map. ---------------------------------------------
The Loomis Family
Orrin Sage Loomis was born in New York in 1831. He was a farmer in Minersville, CA in 1860 and married Marinda Harrington in 1864. In 1870, he was a merchant in the Rocky Bar mining district of Idaho Territory, and had $10,000 in property. Surely, selling supplies to miners was more profitable than mining. He married Mary Wallace in 1872 in Iowa and their son Andrew was born in Colorado in 1874. Orrin made a cash entry for land in T16SR65W section 15 in 1875. [This is just southeast of Countryside on JV Ranch, and is irrigated by the Fountain Mutual Ditch.] The Loomis' are buried at Fairview Cemetery.
Orrin is mentioned as a Justice of the Peace in an 1877 Gazette article. This matches his involvement with area churches. He appears on the abstract of title for the town of Fountain, purchasing three lots in Block 12 in 1874 from the Terrell. These lots were assigned to the Society of Friends [the Quakers] and are at the southwest corner of Main and Ohio, now commercial lots. He also purchased all of block 14 from Isaac Hutchin in 1873 [the northwest corner of Ohio and Race], and lots 5 & 6 of block 11 in 1877 [the southeast corner of Main and Ohio, now City Hall]. Reverend Loomis was the minister of the Free Methodist Church, said to have been built in 1884 [northeast corner Race and Ohio]. The Fountain Herald newspaper showed that Loomis sold hay and grain from a shop at the corner of Iowa and Race in 1888.
Loomis, Corbin, Ritchie, Mitchell, Crabb(?), Sweetland, Hutchins, Mayo and Thompson appear to have banded together to, if not install a prohibition, at least promote less drunkenness.
Niles- Christian- Whalen Families
In 1889, Louis Gervais Niles headed west from Monroe County, Tennessee to make a life for himself. He was only 14 years old when he left home. He came from a large family and with him leaving there would be one less mouth to feed. This photo of him was made in Iowa in 1889.
LG had many different jobs. He worked on the railroad, and cow punching, and in the gold mines in Cripple Creek before meeting his future wife, Catherine Jane Christian.They married December 18, 1895 in Fountain, CO.
Catherine Christian 1896
To their union eight children were born: Mildred Niles born September 13, 1896, Dudley born May 10, 1898, Eloise born January 21, 1900, Floyd Elkton born December 23, 1901, and Maynard Aubrey born Sept 4, 1904. Floyd died Jan 23, 1908, and Maynard Aubrey died Feb 4, 1905; they are buried in Fairview Cemetery in Fountain. The first five children were born in the small grey house at 303 West Illinois Avenue, which LG built in 1897 [DCB].
303 W Illinois
The other three children were born on the Niles (aka Wayside) ranch south of Fountain on Old Pueblo Rd. Madeline Niles was born July 30, 1906, Wanda born March 10, 1909, and Lorene born May 4, 1914.
Tom Owens was a neighbor of the Niles’ when they lived on the ranch.Part of the Owens ranch was later included in the “Roby Ranch” and part was purchased by L.G. Niles.
Louis and Catherine Niles began farming in the Fountain Valley in 1903. He was instrumental in the introduction of diversified farming.In an article it was noted that the L.G. Niles Wayside farm, south of Fountain, one of the most fertile in that great irrigated valley, produced many crops.The principle crops grown were 150 acres of alfalfa hay, averaging three tons an acre with 3 cuttings, and 150 acres of blue-stem. Small grain crops were also farmed, and the family garden and orchard included apple, cherry, and pear trees, and farm animals- cows, pigs, chickens, geese, and turkeys.
Besides farming, Mr. Niles was involved in the county government.In 1933, he was named superintendent of the El Paso County farm and Mrs. Catherine Niles was the matron of the institution.This poor farm was located near the present Bear Creek Park community garden, and the pest house, for TB and smallpox patients, was near the dog park on 21st Street. Several graves of county farm residents were moved when 21st Street was expanded.
Mr. Niles was appointed county commissioner by Governor Edwin C. Johnson, to succeed Eugene M. Portner when he died.Mr. Niles served as commissioner until 1941, being elected in 1936 and 1938.
LG Niles 1936
In 1919, Herbert C. Whalen came to Fountain from Moore, Oklahoma, arriving by train. The train ticket was for a boxcar, rented to move his mother, father, brother, and sister after a house fire destroyed most of their belongings. Half of the boxcar was for their household belongings and the other half was for their livestock. Herb Whalen and his father W.T. Whalen built a house east of Fountain on Link Road, north of Squirrel Creek Rd. They raised Poland China hogs, hay, grain, corn, and barley. Herb and his father also worked as carpenters in the Fountain area. They built two homes for other families in downtown, one on east Missouri Street and the other on the corner of east Missouri and Walnut St.
Advertisements in the local paper note that - Colonel W.T. Whalen is an auctioneer with 35 years experience.His auctioneer work thus far in our vicinity has been first class.
Herb and his brother William E. “Tuff” Whalen ran a filling station/ garage on Main Street in downtown Fountain, known as Whalen’s Service.
Herb met Eloise E. Niles and they were married Dec 27, 1924 in Pueblo, CO. Their witnesses were his brother WE Whalen and L. Dudley Niles (Eloise’s brother). Herb’s parents, brother, and sister moved to Wichita, Kansas in 1925. Herb stayed in Fountain, and worked in farming south of town. In 1929, Herb and Eloise moved to Oxford, KS, where Herb has a job working on an oil tank farm, and in about 1930, they ran a Keynoilfilling station in Newton, KS. They moved back to Fountain in January 1931. They were happy to be back in Fountain, where there was family, as Eloise’s family lived on a ranch south of town on Old Pueblo Rd. Herb did farming, irrigation, and later was a propane gas distributor. To their union they had three children: D. Donna Whalen born 1931 at 115 E. Missouri (this was one of the houses that Herb and his father built back in the 1920’s, where City Hall stands today), M. Romaine Whalen born 1934 at the Niles ranch south of Fountain, and Niles C. Whalen born 1940 at the Pezolt farm south of Fountain on Old Pueblo Road (house built by Joe Wilson, and now the Toby Wells place).
Many descendants of the Christian, Niles, and Whalen families continue to grow and live in Fountain, CO.
Compiled by Elaine Koop MacKay from family articles and stories, pictures and newspaper articles.
Whalen home, northeast of Fountain about 1 mile, 1919
Hay Barn, Niles Wayside Ranch
Eloise E. (Niles) Whalen was born in Fountain on Jan 21, 1900. She died May 13th 1974, just nine days after her husband passed away. They are buried at Fairview Cemetery in Fountain. Their three children, Niles, Romain Collier and Donna Koop, survive, as well as Eloise's sisters Mildred Kurtz, Madeline McMahon, and Lorene Dacby, all of Colorado (Fountain Valley News May 15 1974).
Arthur E Orcutt was born in Kansas in 1881, and his parents moved to Wilsonville, NE in 1888 and ran a livery and creamery. In about 1907, the family made the 400 mile trip west, taking up homestead land about 50 miles east of Colorado Springs. AE moved to the Fountain Valley in 1917 and bought a garage on Main Street that fall. After a short time in business with his brother, AE built the Park Filling and Service Station south of Town Hall on Main Street. Wanting variety, he sold the garage and raised chickens, and then built the Fountain Flour and Feed store on Ohio Avenue. In 1928, the old garage lured him back, and he opened it as the Square Deal Garage. This building was originally owned by an electrician named Templeton.
In a May 27, 1960 article in the Security Advertiser and Fountain Valley News, Mr. Orcutt said "I spend my spare time keeping out of mischief by bowling and fishing". At the age of 79, AE had his son Harold run the garage. They ate dinner together, but Mr. Orcutt lived alone at his house at 111 W Ohio, his wife Nethers having passed away in 1953. [Formerly Grace Hutchin home/ post office, built 1912]
Wendell Sample was a life-long resident of Fountain.He passed away recently at the age of 85.I interviewed Wendell at the Fountain Library on February 23, 2008.These are some brief notes from our talk. Transcripts and CD recordings are available to listen to at the library.
Wendell’s grandfather, Winford A. Sample, came west from Missouri via Kansas, and settled in Colorado in about 1918.He hoped that Colorado’s climate would be good for his eldest son, Merton, but alas Merton died in 1919, probably from TB.
Grandpa Sample was a farmer and owned a little hotel in Eureka, Kansas.In Colorado, he owned a lot of land in the area, including some along Charter Oak Road and some east side of the Interstate along Bandley. Grandpa had 30 or 40 head of dairy cows, and sold the milk to Sinton dairy, which would come around in a truck and pick up the 10 gallon milk cans.Grandpa also rented a feed store on Iowa, between Main and Walnut.There were a row of businesses on the north side of the block.The Goodmans, who lived to the east had a little trucking business, hauling beets, coal, grain, hay.Next was Grandpa’s store.Wendell never saw it operating, but read about it in his grandfather’s journals.The journals disappeared; Wendell last saw them when they cleaned out the house.There was an old gas station on the corner of Main owned by the Millions, but it was out of business as far back as Wendell remembers.[Iowa Street used to go east across the railroad tracks into the country, until the crossing was moved in the 1980s.]
Grandpa’s farm was off of what is now Crest Drive.When Grandpa got sick, they sold the land to John Chancellor, who developed it.After Grandpa died in 1945, Grandma Olive moved to California to join her son Loren and his family.
The second son of Wilford and Olive Sample was John Kenneth, who was born in Kansas in 1903.Wendell recalls his father telling him that, as the middle child, he didn’t get much attention.There was always a lot of work to do, and he was on “the short end”.Kenneth graduated from FountainHigh School, as did his future wife Grace Ward.From about 1924 to 1936, Kenneth lived at his father’s farm on Bandley.An old tree marks where the Sample homestead was, and a silo remains on Peter Overton’s old property, which was just to the north.In about 1934 Kenneth started his own dairy business, delivering milk around town.In 1936, he bought the Orcutt place at the corner of Valley and S. Main St.They milked about 17-18 cows.Wendell would deliver raw milk to homes around town on a bicycle he bought from Sears in 1937, paying over time with his father as a cosigner.Kenneth stayed in the dairy business until pasteurization became compulsory.He sold his farm in 1952, and moved back to Missouri.The Ward Family was from Iowa.The Wards farmed the land south of Fountain where Countryside housing is located now, until in 1933 they bought land north of town where FountainRegionalPark is now.
Wendell was born in Fountain in 1925.He grew up at the farms on Bandley, and lived on South Main at Valley after 1936.Wendell attended school in Fountain, but quit during the 12th grade.He got his first car when he was 15, and they went into the Springs if they wanted to do anything, because there was nothing here in Fountain.Wendell went to work on JoePalace’s hog farm near Widefield after high school.He was drafted into the Army in 1945, and served for two years during World War II, spending time in the Philippines.
In 1947, Wendell married Mary Vallin.She was born in Burlington, Colorado, and was working in the Springs as a telephone operator.They lived in her apartment in town for six months and then bought the house just north of St. Joseph’s church at 113 N Main.The mortgage was $25 a month.They were poor at the time and the house only had 3 rooms, but over the years they added on more rooms, another bathroom and even a swimming pool.Wendell and Mary had two daughters, Wendy and Julie.Wendell worked on construction projects in the Springs and on the Interstate, and eventually opened his own business.Somehow they managed to make a living.
Wendell heard that the livery stable on W Missouri may have been a stage stop at one time.He knows that some people refer to the Ark (the White house on S Main) as a stage stop, but who knows for sure anymore.People disagree.In the 1940s, Mrs. Holcomb lived in the Ark with her son.Wendell said people were spooked by the place, and they didn’t like Mrs. Holcombe.Mrs. Holcomb was a nurse in Pueblo, but was rumored to be performing abortions.But he still delivered milk there.
This photo from the 1965 flood shows Wendell moving big tree stumps from the roadway.Contrary to what you might hear, the bridge south of Fountain was not washed out.It is solid concrete, and still stands across Jimmy Camp Creek.But the roadbed was washed out just east of the Adams place and the road had to be rerouted.
Wendell also remembered businesses in town. North of Woodmen Hall were restaurants run by the Pelfrey’s, and George Metcalfe, who also had a boarding house.Wendell’s father lost money in the Bank that stood on the northwest corner of Ohio and Main during the depression.Wendell said that he had heard people say it was later a saloon, or whatever, and a restaurant.When asked, he said that they served food there, and they served other stuff.But he had never heard about there being “working girls” there.
Wendell said that there were pool halls south and north of the alley in the commercial block on west Main.George Kerr’s was north of the alley where the laundry is now.After George died in the 1940s, Boyd Rutledge opened Boyd’s Pool Hall south of the alley in the building that was once a theater.They stored onions in there one winter and they all rotted.They had to take out the slanting floor, and that may have ended it being a theater.Gene Williams owned the pool hall after Boyd.
Venetucci Family circa 1920
Nick "the Pumpkin Man" at center
The Wallace Family
Back in 2008, I had the opportunity to talk with Peggy Wallace King and Florence Wallace Paradise about their family, who moved to Colorado in about 1901.
Ernest and Sallie Wallace were living in Finney County, KS, when he got a job working for the Santa Fe Railroad in Wildhorse, in eastern Colorado. Following a strike, he worked for the Midland Railroad, which ran up UtePass to the Cripple Creek mining region.He was responsible for filling the water tanks on passing trains. In 1903, the family moved to Fountain, where he had the same job.
Ernest (see at right) purchased a house on Santa Fe Avenue from Mrs. Holcombe, who may have run an antique store there before she purchased the Ark on South Main St. The Wallace house is now the American Family Insurance Office, just south of the liquor store at Illinois and Santa Fe. Ernest purchased the land surrounding this house, and gave it to his eight children over time. His son Fred acquired these parcels from his siblings.
Fred Wallace was born in 1910.He worked for the railroad all his life, starting off with a section gang. He was often away from home, working in southeastern Colorado, Kansas or Oklahoma.He would come home on weekends, and jump off the train as it passed though Fountain on a Saturday night.On Sunday afternoon, he had someone drop him off at the depot in the Springs, for the next week’s work.He was injured many times over the years, but only missed one day of work.When a spike was driven through his hand, the railroad offered him $1 compensation, but no time off.
Fred built three houses on his lots on Santa Fe Avenue in the late 1950s.One house incorporates a railroad car as part of the kitchen.The Santa Fe Railroad station, which was disassembled in the 1950s, was used for lumber while constructing these houses. Peggy and Florence remember carrying bricks on one construction project.They both looked down at their hands as we were talking.Seems they had worn off their fingerprints doing work for their father, and these had never grown back.Peggy said they were their father’s sons.
Fred purchased a streetcar in Denver and converted it to an apartment, that sits next to his old house on Main Street. When your drive around Fountain today and see these boxcars and streetcars, or whimsical signs that look like cabooses, we can thank Fred Wallace, and his love of the railroads.
The Wallace ladies have lived in Fountain for most of their lives. Florence worked for the Post Office for 30 years, in three locations.The first was on Main Street in the shop now occupied by the Achievement Gallery.The Post Office moved to a new building at 205 E Iowa in the early 1970s, right at Christmas time, which was a mess.Then the new Post Office was built at Santa Fe and Ohio.
Peggy taught third graders at Lorraine Elementary for 20 years, from about 1973 to 1992.The school was previously known as East Elementary, but was renamed to honor Miss Ruth Lorraine, who had been a teacher there.
--------------------------------------------------- Joseph Wilson Farmstead
An historic home on Old Pueblo Road was built in about 1914-16 by the Joseph Wilson family. He was a cement contractor, and may have had a hand in the beautifully glazed bricks that make up the front porch supports and the dining room fireplace. The house itself appears to be a Sears "Westley" kit house. A historic ditch crosses the property just to the west, and used to carry water to irrigate hay fields. Joe's brothers lived nearby, and their land is now the JV Ranch.
Joe Wilson's land was originally purchased in 1870 by Ann Eliza McLaughlin. She was the wife of Cyrus MaLaughlin, who in 1870 was the recorder in the land office in Denver. By the mid-1870s, Cyrus owned 16 parcels of land along the front range, obtained thru cash or by trading in military scrip he had bought from someone else. The McLaughlins may have never lived here, and the land was probably for investment only. The parcel changed hands many times before the Wilsons bought it and built the house. Ann McLaughlin was born Ann Ames in New York in 1827; she may be related to other Ames' who lived in Fountain at this time.
Donna Whalen Koop (2010 interview) lived in the Wilson house from about 1940-42.She remembers that for fun, the kids would wade in the irrigation ditch behind the house.The house had cold running water, and there was a bathroom and bathtub upstairs, but she doesn’t remember ever using that tub.If you wanted hot water, you would heat it in kettles, or take it from a reservoir on the side of the cook stove.They would bathe in a galvanized wash tub in the kitchen on Saturday nights.The house did not have electricity at the time.
East from the Wilson house to the railroad tracks, they raised corn, hay, oats and cane.They had horses, cows, chickens and pigs.There used to be a big barn along Old Pueblo Road.There was a high spot to the east or slightly northeast of the house, and that was where the well was.It was built up higher, and there may have been a windmill there, or gravity may have fed water into the house.[This property was leveled in about 2007-08 for a housing development which failed. ]
An article on Mabel Wilson Borough, Local Treasure, appeared in the Independent in July, no year on the clipping. Mabel was the granddaughter of Irene Morse. She was born on the family farm southeast of Fountain. The family worked 400 acres of corn, alfalfa, oats, wheat and beets. Mabel and her sister Gladys would help cook for the 10-20 neighbors who would come over to help at harvest time. They would gather lambs quarters, a wild green, from the fields, and pluck chickens from the yard. Mabel graduated in 1929. Some neighbors lost their farms during the depression, but the Wilsons survived by running a dairy route, milking 35 cows each morning. Mabel worked as a maid in the Springs to put herself through Blair Business College - she earned $2.50 a week plus board.
El Paso County’s Oldest Document
Colorado Springs Gazette Jan 12, 1903 p8
The recent overhaul of the basement of the county jail, in which are stored the dust-covered books and yellow-edged papers belonging to the county known as the “Archives”, brought to light what is believed to be the oldest El Paso County document extant.It is a poll book made out after the election held at the OM Cotton Ranch on Sept 1, 1863.
The Cotton Ranch was at the time the central habitation of Precinct No. 3, described as: commencing at the junction of Cherry Creek and the Colorado roads, thence down the Fountain que Bouille to and including AD Sprague’s ranch, together with all that section of country between the southern boundary line of El Paso County and north to Bijou Creek not included in other precincts.
Present at the election were several El PasoCounty citizens who still live here: JC Woodbury, B Hall, AG Hill, Anthony Bott, AC Beach, Thomas Owens and AZ Sheldon. The Territorial Council, to which Sheldon was elected, met that year in ColoradoCity, but lacking accommodations it was moved to Golden. Cotton and Owens both received 16 votes for the office of CountyCommissioner.LM Rhoads was elected treasurer, JB Wright assessor, Sheldon surveyor, M Green attorney, H Stevens coroner, RS Kelly sheriff, ET Caten probate judge, Rev WH Fisher school supt, Woodbury and Rothrick judges, S Lister constable and George Bute clerk.
Benjamin Hall, JP Hammons and JB Wright acted as election judges, and Woodbury and Robert McKay as clerks, all sworn before George A Bute.Other voters included George Replogle, Wm Cotton and CL Kiker. Hispanic voters included Jesus Morro, Antonio Sandowale, Juan Teloqui, Francisco Yarrar, Garein Tafor, Osa Bosanti and Jesus Martinez.