Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lynn Monroy, Graphologist

Left to Right: Lynn Monroy with Gayle Gresham

Those of you who have followed my journey in researching and writing about my family know that unexpected surprises are becoming common for me. Never knowing what will turn up next or who I will meet is an adventure that I love! Another opportunity opened through a member of Women Writing The West and I decided to pursue it to see what happens. Author Eunice Boeve wrote an e-mail to the WWW group about her cruise to Alaska. For Eunice, one of the exciting parts of the cruise was a daily program about Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday and other men involved in the shoot-out at the OK Corral in Tombstone given by graphologist Lynn Monroy. Lynn had studied and analyzed the handwriting of the men on both sides of the conflict and gave an entertaining and enlightening program by showing examples of their handwriting and giving insight into their character. Lynn also chose three people randomly each day to analyze their handwriting and Eunice was one that was chosen. She thought Lynn's findings about her were fairly accurate. Lynn even pegged her as a writer!

After reading Eunice's e-mail, I decided to contact Lynn about my project. Lynn expressed her interest and said she would be in Colorado and perhaps we could meet. Yesterday we met at the Colorado State Archives so Lynn could look at the original letters and documents. I showed her a note that is signed by both Ernest Christison and Ed Watkins and a note that isn't signed but has the name of Watkins' ranch on it. I had hoped that maybe the note signed by both men was written by Ernest, but Lynn thought it was most likely written by the Justice of Peace or court clerk since it had seal on it. But she was fairly certain the note from Watkins' ranch was probably written by Watkins. She could tell that he was an educated man by the handwriting. I know he did go to college and was active in the literary society in Salida.

Lynn made copies of the notes and several other papers. She thought one of the lawyers must have been quite a character from his handwriting. Then I remembered finding a court case last for which Wilburn Christison was the county judge, so we looked in the file to see if we could find a document he had written. We found one! So Lynn had it copied, too, and will analyze it. I can't wait to learn what she discovers in the handwriting of all of these men. I also hope I can find a sample of Ernest's handwriting--even a signature would help.

Thank you, Lynn! This is exciting!

Lynn's sister, Renee, took the picture of Lynn and I in front of the prison record exhibit at the archives before they left for the airport. Thanks, Renee, for driving Lynn to meet with me!

And thank you, Eunice, for getting me in contact with Lynn! I appreciate all of my friends in Women Writing The West.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Arrest

Mount Princeton - View from Gas Creek
Ernest Christison was arrested in June of 1883 near St. Elmo with seventy head of cattle that had altered brands. St. Elmo is on Chalk Creek which runs just south of Mount Princeton. He wasn't arrested by lawmen, however, but by a group of South Park cattlemen who took him and others with him on a three-day horse ride to South Park. Ernest and the others were brought before a Justice of Peace and then taken to the Fairplay jail.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Colorado State Archives

Today I visited the Colorado State Archives again and sifted through five boxes of court records. Three of them held nothing of interest, the fourth is one I've used frequently, but the fifth box was a gold mine! I recognized many names in the court cases. I also found the court case of a gentleman who escaped from the Buena Vista jail with Ernest. This case even had a grand jury indictment for breaking out of jail which included all of the men who escaped. This defendant also had an original excuse for claiming he did not steal the horse for which he was sentenced to prison--he was too intoxicated by liquor at the time to steal anything.

The highlight of my day happened when a gentleman walked by my table and asked how my research was going. Then he introduced himself as Terry Ketelsen. I immediately recognized the name of the State Archivist and I was thrilled to visit with him. He asked about what I was researching and asked me about the story when I told him I am writing a book. He was interested in the types of sources I am using and where I am finding them. He also asked me how I got started in my interest in Colorado history and in this story. We had a very enjoyable conversation.

Meeting interesting people is one of the benefits of writing this book. What an adventure!