Friday, April 20, 2007

Never Give Up!

Yesterday I returned to the Colorado State Archives. Once again I asked for the file on the Elijah Gibbs trial in Denver. Once again the clerk checked an index and said, "I'm sorry, I don't see it here."

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."


dmaggiep said...

Hi Gayle, for years I searched for the parents of my husband's Great-Grandmother, Harriet Lee Gibbs, but I never had any luck with the little green leaf on Then about 10 months ago, I had another green leaf at her name. "Another wild goose chase" I thought, but I was wrong, there was her father, Elijah Gibbs...not only Elijah, but I also found his ancestors. I e-mailed the person who had entered the info, I wanted to thank her for being such a help to me. She answered back and told me I might want to Google "Elijah Gibbs, Colorado murder trial." I did that, and was in for quite a surprise...I got more than I expected.

As for my opinion concerning the trial, of course I believe the ones who killed the judge, also killed the man that Elijah was on trial for killing the first time. As that old saying goes, "Actions speak louder than words", and their following actions seem to prove that...they probably got what they wanted, Elijah's land, and the property of others they terrorized.

To give you a little more information, Elijah and some of his family moved to Oregon, and he is buried there. My husband's Great-Grandmother and her husband moved to New Mexico Territory with their children.

Gayle Gresham said...

Hi Maggie! Thanks for writing. Will you please e-mail me at ? I am also in contact with some of the Gillilands. I've learned the more I research, the more questions I have concerining events in Lake County and Chaffee County.