“Chief Satanta, I Presume?”

Henry Morion Stanley, who later found Dr. Livingstone, reports the Treaty of Medicine Lodge, Kansas, October, 1867

In the summer of 1867, after more than a year of relative peace between Indians and whites, the southern Plains were in a shambles. It was an old story of blood and blunder by then. Consider this brief scenario: at dawn on November 29,1864, Colonel John Chivington, 1st Colorado Cavalry, had led his men in a surprise attack on a sleeping camp of some seven hundred Cheyenne at Sand Creek, Colorado.Read more »

Pronounce It “callaradda,” Son

The year is 1859. Throughout the region popularly called Pikes Peak, a hoard of gold-hungry miners are swarming around the front range of the Rocky Mountains, spurred by discoveries of the rich mineral at Cherry Creek and Clear Creek and in the foothills that rise above the little supply town of Denver. Even as the hills are being turned from wilderness into mining camps, some settlers are already looking beyond the muddy streets and make-shift laws toward a goal: statehood. Read more »

Larcenous Mrs. Cody Vs. Pious Miss Gould

Throughout the summer and fall of 1898 a lady named Margaret E. Cody, aged seventy-five or there-about, was a reluctant guest of the county jail in Albany, New York. Mrs. Cody’s preferred residence was in Denver, Colorado, where she and her long-deceased husband had once been leading citizens.

“I am one of the pioneers of Denver,” she said proudly. “I helped to make that city what it is.” Read more »

The Summer White House In The Clouds

Perched on Mount Falcon as the mist rose and the cloudcapped towers caught the first rays of the morning sun, it would seem a dream palace, the residence of the Great Khan or a Dalai Lama, remote, unapproachable, yet somehow the center of the world. The rational air of midday would give the granite battlements and vast donjon the more formidable aspect of the krak des Chevaliers or Marienburg of the Teutonic Knights.Read more »

A Wrecker’s Dozen

There are places on this earth, in Europe particularly, where conservation is taken to mean the preservation of the notable works of man as well as nature. Magnificent old railroad stations and churches, public buildings, historic houses, architectural landmarks of all kinds, are valued for their beauty or for the memories they evoke, for the sense of continuity they give a place, or, often, just because they have been around a long time and a great many people are fond of them. But here in America we don’t—most of us, anyway—seem to feel that way.Read more »

Love In The Park

A tiny, ailing, middle-aged Victorian lady and an alcoholic, one-eyed mountain man are a couple far too unlikely for fiction. But just such a pair met, and fell in love, and suffered in Estes Park, Colorado, in 1873. Isabella Lucy Bird, our improbable heroine, became a prolific and popular travel writer as well as an intrepid tourist, and her journeys resulted in many books, some of which are still being reprinted. This story of her Colorado romance is from A Gallery of Dudes, to be published soon by Little, Brown.

The poor invalid, Isabella Lucy Bird, was sick again in the spring of 1872, suffering from backache, headache, insomnia, bad teeth, and nervous tension, to say nothing of the pain of having passed her fortieth virginal year.

“Dont Let Them Ride Over Us”

Surrounded, starving, far from help, Major Forsyth and his gallant little band of scouts prepared to face wave after wave of Indians.

For five days, beginning September 17, 1868, a party of fifty frontier scouts under the command of Major George A. Forsyth held off an estimated four hundred to one thousand Cheyenne, Sioux, and Arapaho warriors on a small sand island in the nearly dry Arikaree fork of the Republican River in eastern Colorado. The island was later named Beecher Island, in honor of Lieutenant Frederick H. Beecher, a nephew of Henry Ward Beecher, who died there in one of the most dramatic battles ever fought between Indians and white men.

The Bloody End Of Meeker’s Utopia

Even when death struck suddenly, the starry-eyed Indian agent was still dreaming of turning his Ute wards into white men overnight.

On September 29, 1879, a small band of Ute Indians went wild on the Western Slope of Colorado and murdered their Indian agent and all his employees at the remote Ute Agency on White River. A few hours earlier, another small Ute band ambushed a relief force of soldiers at Milk Creek 25 miles away. All told, the White River Utes, who had never hurt anybody before, killed 30 white men and wounded 44 more.

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