A “tailing tale” of David S. Green

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A Colorado Pioneer

By Maggie Magoffin

Born in Licking County, Ohio on November 23, 1838, David S. Green was the son of Congressman Isaac Green and his wife Elizabeth (Brown) Green. In 1848 the family moved to Crawford County, Illinois; then in 1850 they moved on to California where David’s father died four weeks after their arrival.

With the sudden death of Isaac, the responsibility of operating the one-thousand-acre homestead and caring for his mother, brother, three sisters and a niece fell on David’s young shoulders. In the fall of 1858, for the purpose of educating his sisters, David sold the homestead and relocated the family to Marshall, Illinois.

Two years later, in the fall of 1860, twenty-two-year-old David Green set out for Colorado to engage in buying and selling stock in Denver. Sometime later, he purchased a ranch nine miles north of Denver along the Platte River.

In February 1861, he returned to Illinois where he fitted up a train of horses and wagons. On April 12 of that same year, he began the return trip to Colorado, bringing with him his mother, brother, and sisters. His mother was very ill at the start of the journey, but recovered fully by the time they arrived in Central City in June.

David purchased the Briggs House Hotel and the Eureka Lode in Eureka Gulch near Central City. However, due to his own failing health, he was forced to sell the hotel and leave the mine in charge of his brother, Basil. He then purchased a dairy and relocated in the valley six miles west of Denver.

Green continued in the dairy business until the summer of 1864 when he rented the dairy property and took a government contract to put up hay on the Arkansas River. The following January, he moved his mother and sisters to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa for the purpose of further educating his sisters. While there, he organized the Mt. Pleasant Gold Mining Company for the purpose of working the Range Mountain Lode on Chicago Creek in Clear Creek County, Colorado. Outfitting a train of supplies and employing a force of men at Plattsmouth, Nebraska, David returned to Colorado and engaged in developing the mine.

In the fall of 1865, David and Basil traveled to Ottawa, Illinois where David organized the Eureka Gold Mining Co. for the purpose of working the Eureka Lode near Central City. The following April he sent his brother to Colorado with a large train of horses, wagons, and machinery, while he traveled a short while later by stage.

On March 8, 1866, David married Miss Louisa J. Dunnavon of La Salle County, Illinois who later gave him four sons.

In the spring of 1867, leaving his brother in charge of the Eureka Mine, David and Louisa moved to Denver where he spent the next four years engaging in the mercantile business.

In the spring of 1871, he closed that business and formed the Southwestern Colony on the Platte River, 75 miles south of Denver. The colonists initially named the town Green City in honor of their founder, however in 1872 disgruntled residents of the colony ousted Green as president and changed the name of the settlement to Corona. In July 1874, the Greens returned to the mountains and resided in Central City.

Resource: The Real Pioneers of Colorado, By Maria Davies McGrath

Interesting sidebar from: City – Fraud Colony – 1871

Ghost Towns in Weld County

Apparently, our Mr. Green was quite the creative entrepreneur and an excellent salesman. It is said, that he inspired settlers to leave Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio to colonize along the South Platte River southeast of Greeley. He advertised that there were steamships on the South Platte that could transport them to the riverfront town and deliver each to a four room house on a city lot with irrigated farmland.

The town was known by a variety of names, including: Green City, Tennessee Colony, Southwestern Colony, Memphis Colony, Greensboro, Columbia, Corona, and the Fraud Colony. By April 1871, it is claimed that 50 settlers called the colony home and planned to create Platte County out of southwestern Weld County with Greensboro as the county seat.

Memberships were advertised for 100 pounds in Europe and $100 in America. The ads promised the inclusion of continental transportation for four adults, a town lot with a four-room house, a $500 life insurance policy, and an option to settle on a quarter section (160 acres) of government land.

The South Platte River was rarely deeper than three feet – a bit shallow to run steamships. The four room homes had no floors or windows. The colony location was several miles from the river. No water or land rights were filed for. Colony residents attempted to dig irrigation ditches from the South Platte, but the sandy soil would not hold water. Colorado newspapers dubbed it the Fraud Colony, and by 1879 the town site was deserted.

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