36 years ago, I visited Dr. Wendell "Hutch" Hutchinson to ask him about my great-great-uncle, Ernest Christison and Ed Watkins. Hutch gave us a tour of his family's homestead and showed us the location of a Christison cabin on the Hutchinson Ranch.
This weekend we returned for the "Ranching Voices: Stories of Our Valley" program at the Hutchinson Homestead. It is now a National Register Historical District and Learning Center to educate youth and families about history and agriculture. The speakers were from four of the oldest ranches in Chaffee County and they shared the histories of their ranches and their stories as ranchers.
I felt like I was sitting at a family reunion listening to the stories of the early settlers I have spent so many years researching! Many of the stories were familiar to me, told through books like Under The Angel Of Shavano by George Everett and Dr. Wendell Hutchinson. Other stories or people mentioned are connected to the story of Ernest Christison and Ed Watkins.
This morning felt like a repeat of the past when Hutch's son, Art Hutchinson, showed me the location of Henry Van Kleeck's house and dairy in Poncha Springs. Art shares his father's love of history and the people who settled the Upper Arkansas Valley. Talking with him felt like talking to an old friend who knows all of the people I know!
Here is a photo of two descendants of 1860's Cash Creek miners, Joseph Hutchinson and Wilburn Christison:
|Gayle Christison Gresham and Lewis "Art" Hutchinson|