Sunday, October 14, 2007
Monday, October 8, 2007
This is Cameron Mountain, northeast of Salida. Cameron Mountain stood at the center of the cattle range of Thomas Cameron. Ernest Christison's range was nearby the Cameron range.
I recently came into contact with J.B. Cameron's great-great-granddaughter, Laura. J.B. decided to get out of town around the time Ernest was arrested and moved to Washington Territory . It is so interesting to hear stories from other families.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Last Friday, John and I drove to Salida, then drove up northeast on County Road 175 or Ute Creek Trail. Ute Creek Trail was the road the settlers in the 1860's used to get to Canon City. It was also the cattle range of Thomas Cameron, one of the early settlers and a friend of Ernest Christison. Thomas, Ernest and Thomas' son, J.B. jointly registered a brand in 1880.
Imagine herding cattle through this terrain--without the nice gravel road!
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Ernest's story has been quite a puzzle to piece together and more intriguing than I ever dreamed! It is a wild west movie in real life. I'm working on Ernest's story now and I'm starting to feel like Louis L'Amour!
One of the best things about writing Ernest's story is talking with his granddaughter, Betty. She is the lady who gave me the picture of Wilburn and Elizabeth. Betty remembers Ernest quite well. He lived with her family in Colorado Springs when she was a child. She remembers him playing his fiddle and mouth harp. And she remembers him as the sweetest, kindest Grandpa a child could have.
I will continue Ernest's story another day...
Friday, July 13, 2007
Yesterday I called Jerry, who was a wealth of information. Jerry even knew about Wilburn Christison! We had a great conversation. And now I have an expert I can call and verify facts about Fairplay.
After I visited the archives, I went to the County Clerk's office. Although I've done quite a bit of research into mining records and land records, Wilburn's paper trail in Fairplay is rather confusing to me. Partly because I'm not sure what are Wilburn's personal transactions and what are transactions where he is representing someone as their attorney. After spending an hour looking at deeds and not really understanding what they meant, I gave up and went home completely drained and wiped out.
That night I called Joy, a friend who works in the Elbert County courthouse, and asked a few questions. Joy patiently answered my questions and I finally blurted out, "Joy, I need you to go to Fairplay with me so I know what I'm looking at." And she agreed! What a trooper! She spends her working days looking at deeds and is willling to spend her day off in another courthouse investigating deeds. This will be a tremendous help.
This trip to Fairplay is a reminder that I'm not in this alone. So many times I ferret out information on my own, the independent westerner. But I'm not alone. Each piece of information I find is the result of someone else's work. And I discern the best understanding of the information when I'm able to talk to someone who has expert knowlege on the subject. I so appreciate the people who have told me I can call them or write them with questions. Thank you!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Wilburn and Elizabeth Jane Christison moved to Fairplay in 1873. He was elected Park County probate judge in the October elections. He also practiced law. This courthouse was built in 1874, with the courtroom in the second story.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
I have a much more complete picture of Wilburn now. He had an impressive law practice and involved in many civic matters-- president of the school board, town clerk, Park County's attorney, chairman of the Park County democratic party, etc. It was interesting to think about Wilburn living in Fairplay while reading Silver Lies. While Fairplay never boomed like Leadville did, the silver mining made Fairplay a bustling town in 1880-1881.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
After the workshop Erin, the Simla Branch manager, said she was excited to start researching her family history and that I had given her many ways to get started. Then she told me that her grandfather’s mother had left the family in the middle of the night when her grandfather was around 5-years-old. She wanted to find out where she went and what happened to her. Erin had called her mother the night before the workshop and asked her what her great-grandmother’s name was. Erin told me the name--Ora Christison or Christenson.
I stared at Erin and asked, “Could it be Orrie?” as I grabbed the notebook I had with me. I had brought my notebook on Ernest Christison to show as an example on how to organize research materials. Thumbing through it, I found the family chart on Ernest that Betty Regnier had sent me. Betty is Ernest’s granddaughter. I glanced at the chart and found Orrie, then turned it over and read the notes on the back. Orrie had been married to Thomas Lyons and they had twin boys--Thomas and James. The twin, Thomas, was Erin’s grandfather.
Erin and I just stood there in shock. We were distant cousins. The woman who had abandoned her grandfather as a child had a background and a family history. My family.
I got on the phone and called Betty Regnier. Betty’s mother and Orrie were sisters. Erin and Betty talked. Unfortunately, Betty didn’t know much more about Orrie than Erin knew. Betty said Orrie had left her family, and the only person she kept in contact with at all was her older sister, Grace.
Erin and I looked through the notebook and found a picture of Orrie and two of her brothers when they were children. Erin saw a family resemblance in the picture. She couldn’t wait to show the pictures to her mother, grandmother, aunts and sisters.
Ernest Christison is Erin’s great-great-grandfather. Ernest’s brother, Lewis, is my great-grandfather. My grandfather and Erin’s great-grandmother were first cousins. Incredible. Our common ancestors are Wilburn and Elizabeth.
I’ll say it again, you never know…
Friday, April 20, 2007
But then he glanced down the page, "Wait a minute! Here it is. They started renumbering the files."
The clerk brought out a small packet of folded papers with a rubber band around it. It was the original papers from the trial. I opened the packet and found a witness list. No Christisons were on it, but several of the names were interesting. The next paper I looked at was the verdict by the jury, filed November 6th, 1874 at 9:30 a.m., "We the jury in the above entitled case find the defendents not guilty." Signed by H.A. Tarpening, Foreman.
Along with the subpoenas for the witnesses, the packet contained the Judge's detailed instructions to the jury. This reveals some of the nuances of the trial, but I had hoped for more information.
It was interesting to hold the papers in my hand and know that the outcome of this trial changed not only Elijah Gibbs life, but the lives of his family and friends. Just one piece of paper that read "not guilty."
Friday, March 16, 2007
What is so great about finding these letters (besides the great descriptions) is that the writer became a partner in a mining company with Wilburn Christison and others a couple of years later.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Through the Internet, I’ve come into contact with other descendents and relatives of people who were involved in the Lake County War. I’ve learned more about Elijah Gibbs and the Gilliland family through Brian and Ann Marie. Last week I ran across Vickie, a relative of the Boons who were shot and killed by Elijah Gibbs. Through these people I’ve learned rich details about their relatives which add so much to the history. Details not found in local history books.
Communicating with the relatives have also cleared up some longstanding misconceptions and also keep me from writing new ones!
Sunday, January 21, 2007
I walked through the door of the Victorian two-story home, stopped and stared in awe at the magnificent hand-carved oak stairway. It is glorious. The rooms are beautifully decorated. Visit the website http://www.gazebocountryinn.com/ to see pictures of the home and a picture of Clara and Al Hathaway. Click on “photo tour” for beautiful pictures staircase and the home. Also click on “rooms and rates” to view the bedrooms.