Monday, January 20, 2014

A Brief Introduction to the Blog

Greetings to our many blog followers!  Be sure to check the research pages at right for other new articles.

Fountain is a small town about 10 miles south of Colorado Springs that was founded in 1859.  Formerly, it was a railroad shipping center for local ranches and farms. Now, a lot of residents work on Fort Carson or other nearby bases, but the town still maintains it own identity.  

The blog is an online repository of photographs, stories, land records and biographies of the settlers of Fountain, Colorado.  Many of these sources were given to me to add by the Fountain Museum and Historical Society.  My goal was to make this information freely available to researchers.  Use of this data for personal research is encouraged.  Reproduction of any or all of the content for commercial purposes is prohibited, or we'll track you down and bury you in an ant hill! Just kidding.  Contact the Museum to request photo rights. The image above shows a foot race down Main Street in the early 1920s.

The search feature only looks in the main column at left.  Those articles added to the subsets at right (people, gossip, railroads, etc) are not indexed, but I've tried to add a note to the index at the top of each column. 
Lastly, as is true of all history, we all have our own recollection or opinion of what happened. I've had people tell me that an article was wrong! The guy didn't know what he was talking about!  I have tried to include my source for each story or article.

Monday, December 2, 2013

An Internal Index to the Research Pages

To aid in your search this is a partial index of the Research Pages at right:

About Town
Joe Vasquez still raiding party
     1871 plat of town and businesses at the time, Society of Friends or Quaker church, Fire and Police Departments and the town jails, history of town founding, Lincoln Trading Post and Charter Oak Ranch, mountain water 1911-13, excerpts from the Fountain Herald 1921-24, photographs of businesses, and highlights from the Commercial Club annual of 1919, 1940 with Torbit history, 1948 and prohibition, Post Office history, John Metcalf, Walt Fortman

Bulkley Files
     Harkins grave, Dead Man's Canyon ghosts, maps of Fountain, Cherokee Trail, Post Office history, Spicer murder

Friday, March 29, 2013

Fountain telephone directories

PPLD's Special Collections has a few old Fountain phone books available on microfilm.  Here are the results for 1907, 1917 and 1937. 

1907 Telephone Directory: Fountain
Fountain phone exchange. Businesses:
AT&SF Railway Co. Depot                            
Colorado Telephone Co, Public Pay Station, Mrs. Lucy Eichel Exchange Manager
D&RG Railroad Co., Wigwam Station
First National Bank of Fountain, Main St.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Interview with Mr. Quick and Mr. Williams, Fountain Settlers, 1942

Interviews with Mr Quick and Mr Williams, early Fountain settlers, were conducted by the historian from the Pioneer Museum in 1942.  Through research by Angela Hahn and Patrice Grimmnitz, a copy of the report was obtained from the Museum.

Early Days in Fountain, Colorado

The story of Fountain, as well as that of many other frontier settlements, can well be told in the biography of a few of its outstanding pioneers, especially when their lives involved the interests and activities of their neighbors.

In the 1850s many Quakers in America had forebodings of approaching war and traveled westward to the frontier to establish homes in a region so sparsely settled that they might escape the conflict.  Amos Hubbard Terrell was one of these Quakers.  In the summer of 1857, he, with his wife, Mary Tapscott Hutchin, came to “Jimmy Camp”, some twelve miles [east] of the present Colorado Springs, that historical and rather enigmatic spot where a make-shift cabin and their own wagons and tents provided a sort of shelter for travelers bound westward during their brief pauses in the journey.  After leaving Jimmy Camp, the Terrells proceeded on their way, turning south to follow the beautiful piedmont valley of the Fountain, which is held to be the original of Longfellow’s Fontaine qui Bouille.  Arrived at the site of the present town of Fountain, Amos Terrell took up the land for a homestead, but later sold it for town lots.  He was “Uncle Amos” to everyone in the early times and his wife was “Aunt Mary”.  Their house, the first in Fountain, was built on the bank of Sand Creek in the spring of 1858; Anthony Bott built his house, the first in Colorado City, in the fall of the same year.  On the strength of these facts, Fountain may justly lay claim to the first permanent home built in El Paso County.  This earliest building was a large one, run by the Terrells as a stage station and eating house.  The original building was of the type known as “grout”.  It was wrecked thirty years later -- in 1888 -- by an explosion on the Santa Fe railroad.  It was then rebuilt as a smaller grout structure and used for only a home.  It was still standing in 1910 or even later; now the basement walls only are left, at the southeast corner of town. They overlook a swamp more recently formed by the diversion of water in irrigation projects.  The swamp lies along Sand Creek, and is the rendezvous of many red-winged blackbirds.  But here the Terrells had flower gardens and an orchard of berries and fruits.  These were started with plants they had brought across the plains in the 1850s, carefully nursing them during the difficult journey.  This place in Fountain seems to have been the home of the Terrells in general for years.  Their daughter, Anne Caroline Terrell, married JO Quick and made her home one block north of her parents.  Her son, J. Alfred Quick, Amos Terrell’s grandson, was born there in 1874.  The Quick home was well built of logs.  At the time of the explosion, however, they were living over by the Fountain on a ranch.  J. Alfred has been sent in to town that day by his father to have some farm implement sharpened.  He can remember hearing the detonations of the explosion that wrecked or burned so much of the town, but he was too far away to have any idea of the nature of the accident.  The log home of the Quick’s in town escaped injury, being substantially built and not taking fire, but it has since been replaced by a frame house.

[Census records show that the Terrells still lived in Iowa in 1860, and arrived in Fountain in about 1863, based on the ages and birthplaces of their children. The informant for this article, J. Alfred Quick, Terrell’s grandson, may have been biased and overlooked Tom Owen as the first inhabitant of the area.]

An interesting story recalled by Mr. Quick at Fountain was the one about the Little Red Shoes.  At Jimmy’s Camp the Indians often passed the encampment, coming and going from their hunts on the plains.  If they were alone, the women were somewhat frightened.  One old chief, seeing some little red shoes and stockings that belonged to the small daughter of Isaac Hutchin, was determined to secure them for his papoose.  At first Mr. Hutchin refused, but so persistent was the old chief, that Mr. Hutchin finally traded them to him for moccasins and some large tanned deerskins.

For some reason which even Mr. Quick does not know, the Terrells, during the 1860’s, built a second stage station on the old Pueblo road, north and west of their original homestead.  This new location was around a quarter of a mile west of the modern paved Highway 85 and one mile south of the present Widefield School.  Grandpa and Grandma Terrell kept the relay horses – six horses to a relay.  The drivers changed horses here, and all travelers who wished to do so ate their meals at the stage station also.  Probably the change was made in an effort to secure more patrons; but after a time the Terrells moved back to their old home and Mrs. Terrell’s brother, Henry Hutchin, ran the later stage station in the late 1860s.  Its site is very indistinctly marked now by a large old locust tree planted near the roadhouse in 1860; this tree has a number of small ones about it that have come up form its roots, and there is an old post near the cluster of trees.  Very near the trees on the south can be found can be found the “grout cellar” of the stage station on the very bank of La Fontaine.  There is nothing left of the building itself. 

South of this stage station was the site of the “Little Dave Cell ranch”.  It is now owned by people named Wilson and is equipped with modern buildings.  At the mouth of Lanahan Hollow was Henry Hutchins’ ranch.  It is almost on a line with the south end of Cheyenne Mountain and just below the recently built camp Carson (1942). 

Anna Caroline Terrell, on her 14th birthday, Apr 23, 1869, was at her Uncle Henry’s ranch.  She, with her cousins, Joel, Annie, Eva, Lou and Emma, were up on the roof of his home house (not the station) and were watching the soldiers – of whom JO Quick was one – over on the west side of the Fontaine.  They were cavalry men and were riding northward along the stream.  The children could see from their vantage point a party of Indians following the soldiers keeping one valley behind them.  One of their scouts would stealthily observe the cavalry from the top of each ridge.  When the soldiers came to Lanahan Hollow, they found water and grass and a herd of cattle.  They camped, and after turning the horses loose to graze, killed a black Galloway calf and set about preparing supper.  The girls watched the Indians steal upon the grazing horses near the head of the draw, and while the soldiers were intent on their meal, the Indians ran off the horses.  The stream was so high that the girls could not ride over on a horse and warn the cavalry.  The men had to walk to Colorado City, a distance of ten or twelve miles, and there secure fresh equipment.  Colorado City was headquarters of the territory at that time.  Mr. Quick’s father, JO Quick, lost his iron gray horse “Colonel” at that time.  The men lost their saddles and all other equipment.  The last serious Indian disturbances of this region occurred around 1868; this raid was doubtless a feature of a more extended uprising, and accounts for the presence of the armed and mounted men. 

A few of the old landmarks in the town of Fountain were noted: the Mitchell house, an early hotel in Fountain; a yellow house south of the Mitchell House which Henry Link moved to its present site and named the Brunswick; the site of the old Quaker church, north of the “new Bank Building”, which has not functioned as a bank since the early 1930s and is now the Catholic Church; and the home of the present mayor of Fountain, which was the Perkins place in olden times and the house where died the father of Arthur Perkins, an outstanding citizen of Colorado Springs at present and historian of pioneer days in El Paso County. 

South of Fountain is the site of a home built in 1860 by John Clay Brown, Indian fighter and the first county of El Paso County [sic], who died in 1870 and was buried in the Pioneer Cemetery on the mesa north of Colorado City.  Across the road was the Rhodes’ home, and south of Brown’s the school section, which was purchased by four old timers, Perkins, Newby, Loomis and Bosworth.  Then came the Lock Ranch, which is now the home of Henry Thomas Williams.  He pointed out, at the nearest corner of the place, the old apple tree which he planted with Mrs. Williams around 1895.  He married Tina Lock September 3, 1890.

Mr. Williams’ Account

Mathias and Barbara Gruber Lock, from Brown County near Buckhorn, Illinois, came by way of Denver in 1859 to take up land in Section 17, Township 16, Range 65 West; they settled at this place, as they supposed.  But later the government survey showed they were not located correctly and they moved to a second place, which was really on Section 17.  In the 1870s they built a grout house, a portion of which is still standing among the buildings of their son-in-law, Henry Thomas Williams.  A small part of this house only remains.  Perhaps some of the material went into the largest dwelling now on the ranch, which was built in 1885; this is also of grout and is a commodious, thick-walled, comfortable farm home.  Grout was the solution of many pioneers in this region to the important problem of building material on the frontier.  It seems a kind of forerunner of concrete, and compared favorably with the dugouts, soddies and adobe devised by the ingenuity of early settlers in other parts of the country.  It consists of seven parts crushed rock, sand or clay to one part of lime, of which there is a plentiful supply in the region.  When correctly mixed by experienced workmen, the combination makes a highly resistant building material.

Mr. Williams has bought out the other heirs to the property but he keeps the place under the original name of the Lock Ranch.  In 1908 he and his wife moved to New Mexico for their health.  They returned to the ranch in 1920.  She died December 23, 1928.  Mr. Williams has made most of the improvements on the place, giving to it its present well-equipped appearance.  Many of these improvements have been added since their return from New Mexico: a small frame cottage for himself; henhouses; storage rooms; barns, garages and granaries; machine sheds; orchards to the east, first, apple trees, now gone except for the lone survivor previously mentioned, but replaced by a new cherry orchard and a mew apple orchard.  A son, Eugene, and his wife Florence live in the main grout house and run the ranch.  By the remnant of the old grout house of the 1870s, there is an old dinner bell, used on the place years ago.  It was cast by Hibbard, Spence Bartlett and Co.; on the reverse side of the bell it is possible to decipher with some difficulty, “No. 4 Yoke 1886 Y.”  This bell together with an old muzzle-loading gun and pictures of the Lock family in pioneer times was secured for the Pioneer Museum by the custodian.


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 (Little) Fountain Creek to the trading post to deliver goods.  The stage then went back up the (Little) 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.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Earliest Burials in Fairview Cemetery, with a little genealogy thrown in

This article identifies some of the earliest burials at Fairview Cemetery, but it also shows how the census and other records can help you track families, one piece of evidence at a time.

Florence Faith was the daughter of Samuel John Liston and Hulda Mable Imes.  She was born in Colorado and died there are at the age of 9 months in 1875.  Her father Samuel appears on the 1870 census in Fountain as a farmer, with $2000 in land and $750 in personal property.  He was single and seems to be living south of the Lock family along Fountain Creek.  Samuel was born in Ohio in about 1833.  By 1880, he had married and then moved his family back onto the plains of Sedgwick County, Kansas.  

From the Mormon website, we learn that Samuel and Hulda married in Fountain in September 1871.  Hulda was the daughter of Moses Imes and Mary Davis, and was born in Iowa in 1852. Hulda's son Willie was born in Colorado in July 1872, and Pearl was born there in 1876.  Between these two children, they lost Florence. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fountain - Main Street

Of the many older houses along Main Street, a number were built by LA Toothman.  The county assessor [ ] dates these between about 1910 and the mid-1920s.  The owners of each house over time are not known.  Other houses in town attributed to him, based on interviews, include 214 S Fountain, 316 N Main and 316 W Illinois.

Nettie Toothman's Home Cafe, Fountain
ca. 1920-30s

Pioneer Essay July 1976, Security Advertiser & Fountain Valley News
by Clarissa W “Toots” Toothman Wilson

This essay is not, by any means, all in chronological order.  The events have come to my mind and, since I am not sure of all the dates, I have just written about them. 

My father, Louis A Toothman, came to Fountain from Mount Hope, Kansas, in 1895.  Since he was a carpenter, he built a few houses and then returned to get my mother, Nettie P (Haskins) Toothman, and my sister.  They came back to Fountain in the Spring of 1896.  My eldest sister, Mrs. Coral Miller of Colorado Springs, was six months old at the time.  In 1900, another sister, was born in Fountain, Mrs. Daisy Torbit.  My brother RB was born in 1902.  I was born August 3, 1910 at 310 W Illinois.  The cottonwood tree at the east corner of the yard was planted by the parents the day before I was born.

RB and Toots Toothman, 1914