My family came to what is now Boulder, Colorado, arriving when Boulder was three months old. My Great-great-grandfather was Carson W. Arbuthnot and with him, he brought his four sons and a son-in-law. Since a little child I have loved the history of this beautiful mountain area, the legacy's of the Natives who were here when my family arrived, and the way our community has grown to what it is today. My blog is dedicated to seeking evidence of all that happened. The good, the bad and the ugly, I will share the evidence of what I find.

I also share Boulder County and Colorado History through entertaining storytelling. Dressed as one of my early Boulder County ancestors, I will make you laugh, smile and sometimes cry as I share the stories of the people who came before us and who established these communities that we enjoy today. Please visit my storytelling and events pages for information on performances.

Welcome to my blog, I hope you enjoy your time here.

Donlyn Arbuthnot

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fifty-Niner's Directory - A few who arrived in 1859

Denver genealogist, Henrietta Elizabeth Bromwell collected and indexed the names of gold miners seeking their fortunes who arrived here in 1858 and 1859.  These miners were called the '59ers.  She published this collection in 1926 as the Fifty-Niner's Directory, Colorado Argonauts, Pikes Peak Region.

A complete listing of the index is available online through the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection.

While she does not list C. W. Arbuthnot, she does have his company and two of of the four sons that came with Carson.  I've also included some others who were at the 1860's miner's meeting when C. W. was voted in as Constable.  

While Ms. Bromwell has done an excellent job of acquiring this information, some of it, I have found, is not accurate.  Evidence will show that William Arbuthnot returned to the Boulder area before 1864.  We don't know how many trips back and forth the Arbuthnots made to Iowa, but we do know there were several trips made between the two areas.

Here are a few of the men from the Fifty-Niner's Directory, Colorado Argonauts.

ARBUTHNOT & COMPANY, mentioned in papers of 1859 as mining in placers of Pleasant Valley, and working two men.

ARBUTHNOT, Samuel, born Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Aug 17, 1836, arrived gold fields spring of 1859, mined in Gold Hill, Boulder City, Pleasant Valley and Russell Gulch, Gilpin County, later California Gulch, all until 1863, when he went to farming in Left Hand Creek, and took claim in Hay Stack Valley, and in 1880 was President of the Left Hand Ditch Company, organized in 1866. Clerk also of School Board. He married Mar 29, 1870, Miss Mary R., daughter of J. P. Johnson of Left Hand.

ARBUTHNOT, William, arrived 1859. Was born Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Aug 30, 1835; lived first in Iowa, then came to gold fields, mined in Gold Hill in Central City, and Boulder City, returned to Iowa but came back 1864, and in 1869 married, Aug 29, Miss Mary E. [Bader], daughter of J. G. Bader of Left Hand, Colorado. He was a farmer once in Arkansas Valley.

BLORE, William R., arrived Auraria Nov 2, 1858. Was one of the discoverers of the famous Horsfal Lode, in Gold Hill, which gave $10,000 in two seasons, with sluices. This was in Jun 1859. He was born Otsego County, New York 1833, of German descent. Resided as a child Erie County, Pennsylvania. In 1856, Nebraska (Sarpy County). After coming to Auraria he was one of the stockholders, assisting in laying out town, helping to build its first log houses. He mined and prospected in several places, but preferred Boulder County. Was President of the Gold Hill Mining Company, and several others. In three years the Horsfal Lode made $300,000. He had a ranche, which he sold and later was in the War, at the Battle of Sand Creek. He returned “to the States” and later, after returning, bought large ranche.

GLOTFELTER, E. S., Secretary Pro Tem, miners’ meeting of Jul 23, 1859, reported in the RMN. This meeting was at Gold Hill.

HOUSEL, Judge P. M., an arrival of 1859, was born Milton, Pennsylvania 1823, lived Davenport, Iowa 1852, Newton, Iowa 1857, then crossed Plains and engaged in mining at first on Horsfal Lode for three years, after which he removed to Boulder Valley. In 1862 was elected County Judge of Boulder County, elected again ’64, and later trustee of Boulder Valley Railroad, was at first a Whig, later a Republican in politics, and Ruling Elder in Presbyterian Church. (Notes from History of Boulder Valley.)

McCASLIN, Matthew L., was a pioneer, over land, to California 1849. Was born Butler County, Pennsylvania 1822. Then emigrated with father to Iowa, became river pilot and in 1855, after six years in California, emigrated to Auraria with saw mill in autumn of 1858, later mining and working mill at Gold Hill in Boulder County. In 1862 preempted farm on St. Vrain Creek (near Longmont site), and in 1880 was a very prominent farmer, quite wealthy. He married in 1856 before coming to goldfields, Miss Miranda Hagerty of Pennsylvania (see History Boulder Valley, published 1880). In 1859 M. L. McCaslin “of Auraria” Sep 27, was grantor to A. O. Holbrook of same place lots in Auraria on St. Louis Street, with all buildings, etc. (75 feet from the southeast side of lot 11, block 34.)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Population Timeline for Boulder, CO with establishment of surrounding areas.

1858 (Oct. 17) - Original camp of gold-seeking men of European descent camped at the Red Rocks, above the entrance of Boulder Canyon.  Population of 12 men in this first encampment.

1859 - (Jan. 15) Mining District 1, also called Gold Hill Mining District, is established

1859 - Washington Lode was established for it's "wagon coal mine" where settlers would drive up their wagons and load up with coal to take to their home or business for heating and cooking.  This was later sold to Joseph Marshall and the encampment town of Marshall was named for him.  The coal and iron town became knows as one of the toughest and fight-ingest in the entire west.

1859 (Feb. 10th) - Due to a snow storm in the mountains, there were 56 men who came out of the mountains to establish a supply town.  These 56 shareholders (all miners from Gold Hill) establish Boulder City with 4,044 lots surveyed and offered for sale at $1,000 per lot.

1860 - Ward Mining District is established

1860 U.S. Census - Nebraska Territory (included the following communities: Boulder City, Altoona City, Boulder Creek Settlement, Gold Hill Settlement, Miravalle City, Platte River Settlement)  Population of Boulder was 324 residents.

1861 - town of Altona (mouth of Left Hand Canyon) is incorporated (first called Modoc, then Ni Wot, then Altona)

1861 - where the Overland Stage Stop is located, at the St. Vrain River, the town of Burlington is established (Today, the Overland Stage Route is Highway 287 which runs through Longmont, CO)

1861 - Colorado becomes a recognized Territory, combining portions of Utah, Nebraska and Kansas Territories.

1865 - town of Valmont (Valley+Mountain) is platted

1869 - community of Ryssby is established by seven Swedish families (along what is 63rd Street today)

1870 U.S. Census - Boulder County population was 1,939 of those 343 lived in Boulder City with Carson and Frannie Arbuthnot being listed as the oldest residents in Boulder City.

1871 - town of Longmont (for Long's Peak) was founded by the Chicago-Colorado Colony.  The town of Burlington relocates a quarter-mile north to join up with Longmont.

1874 - Even before Colorado had become it's own territory, organizing and lobbying for the university had began in 1860.  In 1874, Boulder was awarded the designation for the University of Colorado after the town of Boulder had raised $15,000 and acquired 44.9 in donated acres, beating out communities such as Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Denver.  Since there are not enough qualified students to attend the university, the State Preparatory School - a high school, is started to prepare the students to enter the University.  This is now Boulder High School and still is represented by the original colors - purple and gold - and the original mascot - the Panthers.

1875 - town of Ni Wot (now Niwot) is established by the railroad company.  Land was donated by Porter T. Hinman, originally a gold miner, for the establishment of this community.

1880 U.S. Census - Boulder - population 3,069 

1882 - town of Louisville is incorporated.  The town first began as the Welch Mine in 1877, a coal mine that served Denver.  The town was established to serve the coal company by Louis Nawatny who platted his property and named the town for himself.

1889 - town of Broomfield established, not incorporated until 1961.  Broomfield is was an agricultural community where grains were grown and loaded on the train to transport to Zang's Brewery.

1890 U.S. Census - Boulder - population 3,330 

1890 - town of Lafayette is incorporated.  In 1888, 150 acres was platted to be the town of Lafayette to serve the growing coal mine.  Platted by the widow, Mary Miller, on her farm which had been established by her and her husband, Lafayette Miller, in 1871.

1896 - town of Superior is founded and later incorporated in 1904

1900 U.S. Census - Boulder - 6,150
1910 U.S. Census - Boulder - 9,539
1920 U.S. Census - Boulder - 11,066
1930 U.S. Census - Boulder - 11,223
1940 U.S. Census - Boulder - 12,958
1950 U.S. Census - Boulder - 19,999
1960 U.S. Census - Boulder - 37,718

1970 U.S. Census - Boulder - 66,870
University of Colorado students were counted by the U.S. Census in Boulder (rather than their home town) for the first time in 1970.

1980 U.S. Census - Boulder - 76,685
1990 U.S. Census - Boulder - 83,312
2000 U.S. Census - Boulder - 94,673
2010 U.S. Census - Boulder - 103,600 (estimated)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

First White Gold Seekers October 17, 1858

At the base of the Red Rocks, on the western edge of what today is Boulder Colorado, and near where the rocks are green, called the Green Rocks, the Arapaho Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution placed a plaque. The DAR placed it there on June 14, 1938.  It was this party of men who first found gold up Four Mile Canyon, Boulder County, Colorado.  They found gold 12 miles up the hill that established the "Gold Run" mining area and up the hill a little further, the first mining camp was established called the Gold Hill Mining District No. 1.  The plaque reads:

Original Gold Seekers Party
October 17, 1858

Alfred A. Brookfield
Captain Thomas Aikins
Daniel Gordon and brother
William Dickens
Theodore Squires
Wheelock Brothers
Captain A. K. Yount
Charles Clouser
Thomas Lorton
Samuel J. Aikins
John Rothrock
L. O. Aikins

It is these first "Gold Seekers" who were camped at the mouth of Boulder Canyon where they were met by Chief Ni Wot (Left Hand).  After coming into the Aiken's camp to negotiate peaceful co-exhistance, the Arapaho Chief shared with the Captain that he had a vision in his dream. Ni Wot had dreamed that the land where he lived was covered by a great flood, swallowing his tribe, yet the white men survived.  He interpreted this to mean that he could do nothing to stop the flood of gold seekers that was about to come to where he lived.  Where the U.S. Government had designated in signed treaties in 1851 (Treaty of Ft. Laramie) that this was "Indian Territory".  Yet, Chief Ni Wot knew that there was little that he could do to stop the flood of those seeking a new place of riches.

Article five of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 establishes the land boundaries where the Cheyenne and Arapaho lived.  The following is this portion of Article five.

The territory of the Cheyennes and the Arapahoes, commencing at the Red Butte, or the place where the road leaves the north folk of the Platte River; thence up the north fork of the Platte River to it's source; thence along the main range of the Rocky Mountains of the head-waters of the Arkansas River; thence down the Arkansas River to the crossing of the Santa Fe road; thence in a north westerly direction to the forks of the Platte River, and thence up the platte River to the place of beginning.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Arbuthnot Family Arrived In Boulder on June 20, 1859

In Boulder Camera newspaper article that was seeking for more information on the Boulder pioneer families, Sam Arbuthnot was listed with the date of his arrival.  Samuel arrived here along with his father, Carson W. Arbuthnot, and brothers, William C. Arbuthnot, James A. Arbuthnot and Charles T. Arbuthnot.  And the husband of their eldest sister, Stephen D. Newton.  Growing up, I was told that our family arrived here in the spring of 1859, in search for gold.  Now I use this date as this is the best evidence that I have of when the Arbuthnot men arrived in what today is Boulder County.  Here’s the article…

List to be compiled of Pioneers of Boulder area, their descendants. 

Boulder Camera, Thursday, Feb 26, 1959.  Page 28.

A start was made late in 1958 to secure the names of descendants of pioneers with a good response.  In March the effort will be renewed.  It is planned that those who came in Boulder county prior to the admission of Colorado as a state on August 1, 1876, will be classed as pioneers as was done by the once active Territorial Pioneers Assn.
At the time of the semi-centennial in November 1909 of Boulder the constitution and by-laws of the Pioneer Society, adopted June 20, 1884, was refered to.  It listed the following as members:

A. A. Brookfield, Oct 6, Boulder
W.R. Blore, Nov 2, Lyons
L.M. McCaslin, Dec 2, St. Vrain
G. R. Williamson, Nov 30, Salina
Jonas Anderson, Sr., Sept., Boulder
E.J. Anderson, Sept., Boulder
A. Arnett, June 7, Boulder
Sam Arbuthnot, June 20, Left Hand
S. M. Breath, August, Boulder
Hiram Buck, Aug 10, Boulder
T. C. Brainard, July, Boulder
A. G. Burke, Feb 2, South Boulder
John Brierley, July 15, Boulder
Wm. M. Barney, July 22, Longmont
Geroge F. Chase, July 22, Boulder
W. A. Corson, July 20, Boulder
J.B. Carson, Boulder
Chas. Dabney, May 27, Boulder
Guy Fairhurst, June 10, Magnolia
Charles Frey, May 1, Boulder
Wm. C. Hake, July 7, Coal Creek
J. L. Haff, June 10, Boulder
W. W. Secor, Sept 10, Longmont
A. G. Soule, Arpil, Boulder
C. L. Smead, June 10, St. Vrain Creek
Wm. Simpson, May 20, Marshall
D. C. Taylor, June 13, Longmont
Joseph Wolff, Boulder
Perry White, May 22, Boulder
T. F. Wagner, May 8, Boulder
Geo. W. Webster, May 18, St. Vrain
The article said the following are some of the oldest lady members who came to Boulder prior to Jan 1, 1861.
Masdames A. A. Brookfield
J. H. Decker
H. Goodwin
M.L. McCaslin
R. Niver
in 1859, and…
Mesdames Wm. Breach,
F. A. Spuires
M. Tourtellot
T. J. Jones
P. A. Leymer
L. McIntosh
John Brierly
Samuel Copeland, and
D. C. Taylor, 1860.
If any Camera reader has a copy of the constitution, The Camera would like to borrow it.  It is possible that not all names were listed in the newspaper article.  It also is possible that all were listed but that the society did not include all eligible for membership.
Names not previously given The Camera should be forwarded to it with data, until headquarters for the Centennial of the “Rush to the Rockies” is opened early in March.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dedication & The 1859 Gold Rush

A Dedication...

By 1800 the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations had come to the foothills of what is now called the Rocky Mountains.  The Arapaho Chief Ni Wot (Left-Hand) wintered along the Left Hand Creek at the foot of Haystack Mountain.  It was here at this same location where my family settled and established their roots.  I would like to dedicate my work here to those who came before us and to those who stand here today.  To those who once lived at Haystack Mountain and to those who return. To the families who love and respect their elders and who love their children, passing along their heritage.   Families who just wanted to live in peace and today, stand proud, still here.  I dedicate my blog to such families as the Left Hand-White Antelope family.  Our family's paths have crossed once again and it is a very good thing.

May the wounds of the past one day be healed and may we know peace and kindness as a humanity.  And to my Arapaho friends, never give up!

Mr. and Mrs. Left Hand-White Antelope at their ancestor's home.
Haystack Mountain, Boulder County, Colorado.
Photo credit: Donlyn Arbuthnot 

The 1859 Gold Rush - "Pikes Peak or Bust!"

My Arbuthnot family had headed west - to Iowa.  They had all been born in Pennsylvania to their Scottish-Irish immigrant parents.  In 1853, there were timber men, working a sawmill, preparing wood for buildings.  It had seemed that they had settled down, had established their roots.

In the early 1800's in Europe, hats and items were made of silk.  As time went on, the Chinese had stopped the exporting of silk and then items of beaver pelts had become popular.  But due to over trapping of the beaver in Europe, the industry turned to the United States as a source.  By the 1830's fur trappers who were registered with the U.S. Government traveled west into the mountains to trap these highly sought after pelts.  Only forts along the rivers housed those who had come this far west.  Until 1858, there were no towns, no cities, no transportation other than ox and horse here in the Rocky Mountain area.

Maj. Stephen H. Long on his expedition here in 1820 had stated that this area was nothing but a dessert.  That this area was unfit for those dependent upon agriculture.  There were no trees on the plains, only short prairie grass, not even along the creeks and streams.  It was clear to him that there was not enough water.

Henry Wood Elliot's drawing of Boulder Valley with Table Mountain and Haystack Mountain.
Mr. Elliot served with the Hayden Expedition Survey Team
This drawing is from 1860 of men digging a ditch.

Imagine what it was like, back in the fall of 1858, when the first 13 white men were camped at the opening of what is now Boulder Canyon.  There were no grocery stores here, no Whole Foods.  No great restaurants, no James Hotel or Boulderado with comfy beds and spas.  There wasn't even a fruit tree here, no apples or cherries.   Only short prairie grass with plenty of pheasants, deer and elk to consume.  Not much else.

The Natives (yes, the true Natives, the American Indian) knew there was gold in the hills.  They knew that this beautiful land would be populated if the white men knew what they knew.  In the fall of 1858, gold was discovered by these white men and the cry went out....


Pikes Peak was the only identifiable, mapped location in the Rocky Mountain region.  So the cry went out that there was gold plentiful along the whole front range that they knew as Pikes Peak.  After suffering from an economic down turn in 1857, the cry of gold gave so many hope for a bright future.  Gold!  A way to take care of their family, a way to be wealthy, free of worry nor want for the future.   And you didn't have to go over the mountains to get to it like you had to do in the California gold rush of '49.  Gold was easily accessible!  Or so these gold seekers were told.

In January of 1859, gold was discovered at Gold Hill, Nebraska Territory  (12 miles up the canyon from what is now Boulder, Colorado).  A bad snowstorm in the gold camp forced the men to come down to where Boulder Canyon opens to the plains.  There the surveyor lined up his scope with Valmont Butte to the east and laid the first street, Pearl Street.  On February 10th, 1859, the town of Boulder City, Nebraska Territory, was born.  A vote was taken and it was agreed that Boulder City would be a "high town".  Lots went up for sale at $1,000 each.  (A" low town" meant that any riff raff, the poor, could settle there.)

When Boulder was being laid out in 1859, my Great-great-grandfather, Carson W. Arbuthnot, lived in Salt Creek Township, Tama County, Iowa.  He had moved his wife and eight children there in 1853.  Two of his brothers families had moved there as early as 1850.  We will never know who's idea it was first to go for the gold, Carson's or his sons.  But we do know that Carson packed up his four sons and his son-in-law, left his wife and daughters, and headed out to "Pikes Peak".

On June 20, 1859, Carson Arbuthnot, and his son's Samuel, William, James, and Charles along with son-in-law, Stephen D. Newton arrived in Boulder City, Nebraska Territory.  Samuel was 25 years old and not married.  William was 23 years old and not married.  One wonders if Samuel or William left a sweetheart behind in Iowa.  James was just 17 years old, Charles was just about to turn 12.  Stephen was married to the eldest daughter, Esther, who stayed behind with her mother and younger sisters in Iowa.

Did the Arbuthnot men find any gold?  I'll leave that up to you to decide.