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, October 31, 2013

Arbuthnot Children born at Haystack Mountain

The six children who were born to William and Mary Arbuthnot at their Haystack Mountain Ranch.  They are... 

Fredrick Wilhelm Arbuthnot, b. 30 November 1869
William Carson Arbuthnot, Jr. b. 12 June 1871
George John Arbuthnot, b. 9 February 1875
Melissa Leona Arbuthnot, b. 7 July 1876
Stella May Arbuthnot, b. 13 January 1878
Sidney Arthur Arbuthnot, b. 17 February 1880

After their father was killed in April of 1882, their mother went and had photographs taken of these young ones.  Here are those photos.  Fred, the eldest was 12 when his father died, and Sidney the youngest was 2 years old.

L to R: William & Fred Arbuthnot

L to R: Melissa, Stella, George Arbuthnot

Sidney Arbuthnot being held by his mother,
Mary Elizabeth [Bader] Arbuthnot
In later years, the children had their photo taken again with their mother...

Front L to R:  Fred, Mary (mother), Sidney
Back L to R:  Melissa, William, George, Stella.
And after the eldest son, Fred, was married, his wife,
Margie Ann [Coe] Arbuthnot joined in the family photo...

Bottom Row:  Melissa and Margie
Middle Row:  George, Mary (mother), Fred
Back Row: Sidney, Stella, William

Related page:  Arbuthnot Family Tree
Related page:  Bader Family Tree

Thursday, October 24, 2013

ARBUTHNOT-BADER Marriage Announced in the Rocky Mt. News 1869

Marriage of William Arbuthnot and Mary Elizabeth Bader appered in the Rocky Mountian News, the paper in Denver, Colorado Territory.  This is from the March 27, 1869 issue.

It reads:
ARBUTHNOT-BADER - At Valmont, March 14 by Judge A. P. Allen,
 Wm. Arbuthnot amd Miss Mary E. Bader
This is the first document that says that Mary and William were married at Valmont.  Most other references say that they were married at Left Hand.  They made their home on Left Hand creek at the base of Haystack Mountain, Boulder County, Colorado Territory.  They were married until William was branding a colt in April of 1882.  The colt kicked him in the chest and he died a several days later.  Mary was left with six children to raise.  She did so with the help of her brother, Fred W. Bader, and brother-in-law, Samuel C. Arbuthnot as well as good neighbors such as Sylvanus Budd.

The following photos are large tin-types that have been hand painted.  Mary has such dark eyes, but Williams are the Arbuthnot blue.

Mary Elizabeth [Bader] Arbuthnot
William Carson Arbuthnot, Sr.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Denver Land Office, 1868

In this photo, you can see the building (on the right side) where the Government Land Office was located in Denver, Colorado Territory in 1868.  This is where the miners came to get land for their homes.  Whether they homesteaded, paid cash, exchanged a military or college script, this is where they came along with their witnesses to back up their claims to the land.

David Bruce Powers supply train from Leavenworth in Denver, 1868.
Western History Collection, Denver Public Library
Click here for a map of the route that the Leavenworth Express Company took to get to Denver.  1859.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Henry M. Skinner Letter from Gold Run

Henry M. Skinner
Photo courtesy Ric Skinner

This letter is the earliest known letter that I have seen from the gold fields of what is now Boulder County, Colorado.  Thank you to Mr. Ric Skinner for sharing your family's story, letter, and photo with me.  I wonder if Henry was sitting up on one of the Flatirons above Boulder when he wrote this letter.  It's sure easy to picture him there with the description that he gives.  Any comments in [brackets] are mine.

Rocky Mountains
District No. 1  August 6, [18]59
[Sent to Rockford, Ill.]

My Dear Friends
It’s with pleasure that I pen you a few lines this morning to let you know our whereabouts and how we are.

I sit here on a mountain that is almost perpendicular.  On one side can be seen the Broad Plains up N. T. [Nebraska Territory] and on the other large mountains covered with snow from one pass and to another.  I left you alas near Fort Laramie on Sabbath.  I spoke of our meetings and what success we were having, also of a young man that was desirous in regard to his souls best interest.
Our usual house arrived for prayer meeting - there was 7 or 8 of us collected in one of the tents and before our meeting closed his burden of Sin was removed and he was able to rejoice with us.  We had a glorious time.  He is now on his way to Heaven with us.  He takes an active part in all our meetings, which we have Sabbath and Thursday evenings.  We arrived at Laramie on Tuesday and was informed that H. Greely [Horace Greeley] had lectured to the emigrants and Gold subject and the mines of N. T.   Our team was thrown into confusion by this for some wanted to go to California and some for the Peak and after a days consideration pack 4 wagons.  Started for the Peak and the rest for Cal.  We went down to the ferry on Wednesday Night and Thursday we crossed the Platte on 3 logs tied together.  Which was a very tedious job.  We all got safe across at about 5 o’clock and camped for the night.  Next morning we started on our journey once more, arrived at Laramie at 9 P.M.  After 2 weeks travel along the foot of the Black Hills and Rocky Mts we arrived at Boulder City about 5 o’clock Thursday, 230 miles.  We found it to be a beautiful situation on Boulder Creek.  With about 100 houses made of pine logs.  On Friday there was a party of 5 of us started up the mountains.  With our packs on our backs found it rather difficult work but we arrived at what is called 12 mile diggings, 12 miles from Boulder.  We saw some gould [gold] taken out some told us they was making from 5 to 8 dollars per day and some as high as $18.  We prospected over a week in the mountains and got lost and got rather close to the Snowy Range.  We have now got our wagons up on the mts and our cattle are ranched in Boulder vicinity.  We have each a claim and are hard at work and 2 of them have a good Prospector.  There is a great deal of excitement to the gould [gold] on the other side of the mts.  The report that some being is a man take out at the rate of a poun [pound] per day pretty big story but it may be so but we will soon see for we purchased a pony Friday and one of our men starts in the morning in ? with 4 others.  It’s rather dangerous ? [lunacy?] on account of the Utah Indians that they are going in the morning.  I was talking with a Gentleman that has been there.  He says there is gould [gold] there and says the Country is beautiful, plenty of Buffalo, Elk, Antelope, Deer, Mt. Sheep, and Bear and Panthers and others to numerous to mention.  Our party will return in 10 to 12 days and then we shall know all about it and I can advise my friends in regard to coming out here.
I would say that for these mines that we are at that they are good but the most of the gould [gold] is in the Quartz and we can not do anything with it until there is a Quartz mill here.  There’s men going after them this fall and have them here in the Spring but if we go over on the Colorado.  It will be all Gulch diggings, where there is no Quartz to bother us.

I often think of the old house at home and those I love when I let down and my mind runs back to past suns?.  I have a little inclination to be homesick.  I often think as I sit down to eat Beans, Bad Bacon and Corn Bread that if I was at Mother’s ? I would have something better.  But never mind, better days coming.  Just tell some of the folks to eat 12 large ears of corn for Skinner.  We could have plenty of Elk meat, Antelope or Deer if we could spend time to hunt it but we have no time.  I often think of the family alter and those I loved to kneel with and break out a Prayer to God for his kind care over us.  But thank God I am not deprived of the privilege of prayer yet.  We meet you Night and Morning at the one common mercy Seat.  We are 5 in No [number] now who are all ?.  We have some good times.  I suppose you have lots of good meetings which we are ? of but it will not be long before we see each other  again.  I suppose there’s a great excitement in the States in regard to the gold discoveries but tell all of my Friends to keep cool until next spring and then they can tell something about it.  I suppose that Frank’s eyes stick out some to see the big stories.  Betty spoke of my wife’s mourning on account of my absence but tell her to cheer up for I hope to see her some day.  Betty I would like to have you see us here living on a mountain where we have to keep the wagon blocked and the wheel chained in order to prevent it’s going down the mountain, it’s a Romantic sight, it rains in the mountains most every day.

Mother, as I am Cook part of the time, I would like you to see my Table Spread sometimes and see me cook for I think I can make as good Biscuits as any of them.  I shall have to close for this time.
I would ask your prayers for our Co [company] that we remain faithful.  Give my love to Anna, Nelly, and Diantha, Mather, Raymond, and all inquiring friends.  Betty Jeane faithfull Hopkins remember me in your Social Devotions, give my love to all my classmates and tell them we are striving to hold up the Blood Stained Banner of the Cross.  May Heaven Bless you all.  We will remember you at our Family alter, for it matters not we are in the mountains in the cold rain with nothing but a blanket to cover us as in camp .  We will pray for those at home.

Yours ever Affectionate
Friend and Brother
In Christ
H. M. Skinner
[Henry Mead Skinner]

Please send Rockford Papers
Direct to

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sheriff C. W. Arbuthnot Auctions a Quartz Claim, 1861

Close-up of Carson Arbuthnot as Sheriff of Gold Hill Mining District.
Boulder County Records, Book B, Page 190

The first time I saw my Great-great-grandfather, Carson William Arbuthnot's name (above) where he calls himself "Sheriff" was when I found this record in the Boulder County Records department.  Sheriff C. W. is preforming some business, an auction of a quartz claim up on the Iowa Lode.  I found this in one of the oldest books, Book B, the second book of Boulder County records.  I had no idea that my Great-great-grandfather had been voted in to serve as Constable until I had found the minutes of the miner's meeting that explains what happened.  This record (below) is a very good example of the work he did, holding a public auction and then going down to the Boulder Court House to record the sale.  So interesting how long it took for the sale to be recorded.  The sale took place in 1861 and wasn't recorded until 1864.  One wonders why it took so long (Gold Hill is 12 miles west of Boulder), and one wonders what else had happened at this claim that resulted in the auction.

Here is the record along with my transcription below.  If I'm unable to read a word, I have replaced it with a question mark.  My additions are in [brackets].
Boulder County Records
Book B, Page 190

Gold Hill District, Boulder, C.T. [Colorado Territory], Nov. 23rd, 1861.
Know all men by these presents that I C. W. Arbuthnot, Sheriff of Gold Hill District by ? of an execution to, we delivered and directed by W. A. Corson, President of the aforesaid district against Glotfelter & Raynon I have sold at Public auction to P.K. Chaffer & Thomas Fergason, they being the highest bidders all the right title and interest of the said George Raynon & Glotfelter ? and to quartz claim no. 5 & on the Iowa lode to have and to hold the same forever for the sum of sixteen dollars and fifty cents to me in hand which this is my acknowledgement and signed with my hand ? with my seal the day and year first above written.
C. W. Arbuthnot

Filed for record April 4th at 12M A. D. 1864
Robert Culles, Recorder

Minutes of the meeting when C. W. Arbuthnot becomes the Sheriff of Gold Hill.