I drove up to Fairplay Wednesday. The wildflowers on Wilkerson pass were gorgeous! First stop, the Park County Library, which is in the old courthouse. The Park County Local History Archives is in a tiny room in the basement. I met Jane, the archivist, who pulled out folders and books for me to look at. From Jane, I learned that many of the Park County court records are in the State Archives. I also met Linda, the historic preservation coordinator. Jane and Linda suggested I call Jerry, a Fairplay history buff.
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!