July-August 1861

Peek at the Week

August 29 – September 4, 1861. The 1st Regiment of Colorado Volunteers, which began organizing earlier in the summer, was reorganized under the command of Col. John Slough and Lt. Col. Samuel F. Tappan. John Chivington was named Major. The previous week companies A and B paraded through Denver, and the ladies of Denver presented Company A with a beautiful silk flag. A very similar flag to that presented is stored with History Colorado and a photograph is available through the Denver Public Library Digital Collections (search for photograph number CHS-X20096). The next day Company A began to mobilize and march south towards Fort Garland. Company B, consisting of men from the mountain precincts, was expected to follow within a few days. However, some of the members of Company B got involved in various “disturbances” while in town and got arrested.

July 17 – July 23, 1861. Horse stealing was becoming a problem in the region. Reported rustling up and down the Platte River and down into New Mexico peppered the pages of the Rocky Mountain News. Dr. Casto reported on the case of a man named Bishop, who was arrested near Mt. Vernon for horse theft. He was tried before a jury of 12 men, who were unable to come to an agreement despite Bishop’s confession of the crime. The local authorities placed Bishop in a wagon, under guard, for shipment to Denver. Near Apex a band of men surrounded the wagon, who took the prisoner and hanged him from a tree on the side of the Hogback, midway between Mt. Vernon and Apex. His body was discovered the next morning and buried near Apex.

Meanwhile, things were heating up in the East with various skirmishes between the Union and the Confederacy in the months since Lincoln took office and the southern states seceded. On July 21, 1861 Confederate and Union troops engaged in battle in northern Virginia, just a short ride from Washington City. The First Battle of Bull Run, also known as the First Battle of Manassas truly opened the door to the unknowable future and four years of Civil War.

July 10 – July 16, 1861. The population of the district, roughly corresponding to Jefferson County, from Golden City and Golden Gate City south to Bradford City and west to Bergen’s Ranch was 764 white males over 21, 118 white males under 21, and 206 women, for a total of 1088 people.

July 3 – July 9, 1861. On July 4, Dr. J. Casto of Mt. Vernon married Miss Julia Lake of Apex. Then on July 8th, Seth Lake of Apex reported that over a dozen people took very ill after eating a wild fruit that resembled currants. Eight members of Frank DeLemar’s family, four from Lake’s family, and several others all were affected. Dr. Hardy of Golden and Dr. Casto of Mt. Vernon responded to the call for help, and all who ate the berries were reportedly recovering.

June 26 – July 2, 1861. On Monday, July 1, the Golden City Convention convened to nominate a representative to Congress. Hiram Bennett was elected as the Territorial Representative to Congress after ten ballots. The convention resolved to support the Union and Lincoln, that a railroad through Colorado Territory was imperative, that public lands be grated to actual settlers in reward for their industry, that the Indian title to lands in Colorado Territory be extinguished without delay, and that public government buildings be erected particularly by the establishment of a branch of the U.S. Mint.

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