Friday, August 7, 2009

126 Years Ago Today

Rick Mountain
Pond in meadow at the head of Cottonwood Gulch

126 years ago today, on August 7, 1883, Ernest Christison sold his Rick Mountain Ranch. It is also the day he was released from the Fairplay Jail on bond. He sold the ranch to pay his lawyer and his bond.

Several more events took place around the same time. The South Park cattlemen rounded up Watkins' cattle on his ranch and Christison's on August 4, then proceeded to cut out 21 head of cattle that they claimed bore their brands. They drove the cattle away on August 5. This event precipitated the lynching of Ed Watkins on the night of August 10.

It was important to me to be on the ranch this week. I wanted to see the land, the sagebrush (did you know sagebrush blooms? I didn't.), the mountains, the pond which was near the corral where the cattlemen rounded up the cattle. I wanted to be near the pain and frustration of Christison and Watkins; men watching their dreams slipping away. But the land they both loved hasn't changed in 126 years. It is still rugged, condemning, and enthralling. And it draws me, just as it drew them.


DianaR said...

Wonderful pictures - reading you blog often makes me homesick for Colorado...although I'm not sure that technically one can be "homesick" for a place one has never called home! My mom was born in Denver, however, and I have Colorado roots. Can't wait for my next trip out there.

Gayle Gresham said...

Oh, yes. You can be homesick for a place you never lived. Once Colorado touches your life, or that of your ancestors, it leaves an imprint. Let me know when you are in Colorado!