Turning Back the Pages

30 years ago – February 7, 1986

A psychiatric patient went on a shooting spree in the Wondervu area last Friday night, and although he managed to scare everyone involved, he did not hurt anyone. “It was hairy; it really was,” said Gilpin County Sheriff Rosetta Anderle this week. It was dark, bullets were flying, and at first, no one could tell where the shots were coming from. The sheriff’s office received a report at 5:00 p.m. from the man’s half-sister that he had called her and read her his suicide note. She said the man, James Joseph, Zevalking, was under psychiatric care with Boulder County Mental Health. Anderle and Deputy Jon Bayne responded to the scene in one car and Investigator Bruce Hartman went in another. Due to the proximity of the location with Boulder County, two officers from there also responded. Zevalking, 34, lives in Boulder County, but was at his mother’s house in Wondervu. He was not at the house, but there was evidence that he had been. A suicide note was found and also a shopping bag with a sales receipt for a revolver. When he found that, Hartman advised the other officers of the “extremely high probability of his having a gun.” The officers began to search for Zevalking, but the area was rugged and officers were not familiar with it. It was decided to call for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department helicopter, because it would be able to light up the area. Before that could be done, however, Hartman reported that “we heard a gunshot.” It was hard to determine where it came from due to the high winds and the mountains. A short time later there was another shot that sounded like it came from the house. Several more shots rang out as the officers approached. Hartman reported that he could see a person in front of the house. “At one time I could see the individual firing the gun in my immediate direction.” Then, there was a clicking sound as the gun was fired without ammunition. A spotlight from the Boulder patrol car was turned on the man and he was told, several times, to lie down. When he did, he was handcuffed. An ambulance was on standby and EMTs called for the Flight for Life chopper. Zevalking had told Boulder County Mental Health that he had taken a large number of pills and had been drinking. Anderle said this week, “I’m just glad nobody was hurt.” None of the five officers that were there had ever been fired on before and none want to repeat the experience. They did not shoot back, but Hartman said that at one point it crossed his mind that the County did not have liability insurance and he wondered how that would affect things if the officers did have to fire. Anderle had hoped to be able to get Zevalking into the state hospital in Pueblo for evaluation this week, but was thwarted by the Boulder County Mental Health people. They told her his only problem was with alcohol. Anderle said Zevalking will be brought to Gilpin County Court next Tuesday for formal filing of charges of first degree assault and felony menacing. Then, he may be kept at the Gilpin jail, Anderle said.

Ruth Blake: The comfort and sweetness of peace – let it be joyfully known that Ruth Blake, mother of Dolores Spellman, Elizabeth Branecki and Lina Armbright, mother in law of Bill Spellman and George Armbright, glorified her Father while here on earth, finished her labors for a kingdom of love, and entered eternal life February 5, 1986. We mourn because we are human. We rejoice because we are Christian, and thank God the Father for the gift of life. Additional family: four granddaughters, two grandsons, eight great-grandsons and two great-granddaughters. Private services were celebrated.

60 years ago – February 10, 1956

Miss Marjorie Quiller was a visitor to Denver on Saturday on a shopping tour.

The ground hog obviously saw his shadow, as winter is still with us. About six inches of the “beautiful” fell in this vicinity Tuesday, and County Commissioner Grenfell informs us that over nine inches fell in Rollinsville, so apparently we will have six more weeks of winter.

Fire was discovered in the James Prentice home at five o’clock Wednesday morning, and it required some fast work by Mr. & Mrs. Prentice to bring the blaze under control. It is thought that a spark from a stove ignited the floor of a back room used as an office. Except for smoke and steam, the rest of the house was not damaged.

Word has been received by Mrs. Linold Begg that her brother, Joe Thompson of Mapleton, Oregon, had been seriously hurt while at work, when a 15 lb. iron ball hit him between the eyes, splitting his head open. He has been unconscious since the accident, at a hospital. Joe has many friends here who wish him a speedy recovery.

Attorney Leroy J. Williams received word Tuesday of the death of his brother, George, at Dayton, Ohio, at the age of 81 years.

Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon at the Masonic Hall, under the auspices of Golden Queen Chapter, Order Eastern Star for Mrs. Amanda Wagner, of Russell Gulch, a long-time member of the chapter. Wagner died at Boulder, Sunday, after a short illness, and her remains will be taken to Denver for cremation, later being sent to Minnesota to be buried beside her husband, who passed away thirty years ago. She has been a resident of Russell Gulch for over half a century, and was the widow of Charles Wagner, who operated a grocery store as Wagner & Askew, back in the early ‘80s, and was loved and admired for her many deeds of kindness. She is survived by two sons, Charles A. of Boulder and George R. Wagner, of Russell Gulch; also one daughter Mrs. Marion Heeren, of Russell Gulch; also two sisters, Mrs. Alfon Berg, of Seattle, Wash., and Mrs. Alta Biell, of Alhambra, California.

Mrs. Mabel Richards dies in Denver: We have stopped the press to insert a notice of the death of Mrs. Mabel Richards, who died Wednesday night in Denver. Arrangements are under the auspices of the Tomford Mortuary in Idaho Springs. She has been in poor health for the past year and has been in the Good Shepard Nursing Home for many months past. As far as we have been able to learn, the funeral services will be held tomorrow afternoon at the Methodist Church in this city, and interment will be made in Fairmont Cemetery in Denver.

90 years ago – February 12, 1926

The Calvary Episcopal Church at Idaho Springs, one of the oldest in Colorado, and said to be the second oldest Episcopal church in the state, was entirely wiped out by fire early Monday morning last, entailing a loss of $5,000, with but $1,000 insurance. Special services were held on Sunday evening under the direction of Rev. W. Stone of St. Mark’s Church in Denver, and at 2 o’clock Monday morning, when the fire was discovered it had gained such headway that it was impossible to save the structure. An overheated stove is blamed for the fire.

Mr. C. Ledbetter, accompanied by two young ladies, came over from Idaho Springs Saturday evening to attend the dance given by the Gilpin-Jefferson stock growers at Black Hawk. He stopped his Ford at the watering tank at the head of Main Street, to give the animal a supply of water before proceeding further, and having finished that job, he turned on the power and the frisky animal bumped into the fire hydrant, breaking it off a couple of feet below the surface and releasing the full force of water, which swept down Main Street. Water Commissioner Robert C. Johnson was notified, who worked until 2 o’clock in the morning before he could shut off the water. The force of the impact against the hydrant and the posts that had been placed there to protect it, broke the windshield of the car and one of the young ladies was badly cut on the face by a piece of glass, but did not hinder the parties from taking in the dance. As soon as Mr. Johnson found the party who was responsible for the wreck, he notified him that the damage would amount to at least $100 and that he would hold his car until the amount was paid. The young man said he would pay the damages and the next morning left for Idaho Springs to raise the dough.

Walter Jenkins came over from Boulder Sunday morning on a week’s visit with his parents and to shake hands with his many friends here. Walter is employed by the Public Service Company.

Henry P. Altvater went to Denver last Saturday to interview a dentist and have some of his molars attended to, but had not been able to return up to last evening.

A short note received yesterday from Attorney J. McD. Livesay, of Denver, on Monday last brings the information that Harry L. Snyder had died in Los Angeles, California, on Saturday, of heart trouble, at the age of 60 years. He was the eldest son of the late Mr. and Mrs. L. C. Snyder, pioneer residents of Black Hawk, was born in our sister city, grew up to manhood there and where he spent the greater portion of his years until the family moved to Denver to make their home. He is survived by a brother, Harrison Morton Snyder and a nephew, Dowell Livesay, of Denver. The remains arrived in Denver Wednesday evening and funeral services were held Thursday morning at 9 o’clock. Interment was in the Fairmont Cemetery.

120 years ago – February 7, 1896

Last Friday evening at 5 o’clock Jack Wheeler, a miner, was injured by an explosion in the Frontenac Mine in Russell Gulch. Wheeler and his partner, Gurnsley, worked in a stope in the tunnel level, and previous to quitting work had prepared three holes for firing. Three shots failed to fire, and after waiting 15 minutes, they returned to the stope, when Wheeler attempted to pick out one of the holes and in doing so struck the cap and caused an explosion. Both men were knocked down by the force of the explosion but Gurnsley, being a few feet away, beyond being badly frightened, was uninjured. Wheeler, however, was less fortunate, and after being brought into town, was taken to the surgery of Dr. Ashbaugh, where it was found that he had received a large quantity of rocks and gravel in both eyes and all over his face, and had also several nasty cuts on the left hand. From latest reports, Wheeler is getting along satisfactorily, but it is feared that he will lose the sight of his right eye.

The Rocky Mountain Turnverein will give their 28th Annual Masquerade Ball at their hall on Tuesday evening, February 11th, and the committee having the matter in charge will leave nothing undone to make the occasion one of the most enjoyable and successful ever given by this society. A grand parade will be given in the afternoon of that date, which will be comical in the extreme, and should be witnessed by everybody. Tickets have been placed at $1.00 per couple, with a charge of 25 cents for every extra lady. Music will be furnished by the Rocky Mountain Orchestra, and all who attend can depend upon having an excellent time.

Eunice Goodrich and her clever company, including the child actress, “Pottle’s Baby,” will open a week’s engagement at the Opera House Monday, Feb. 10th. Of those dramatic organizations that have tried to establish themselves, both in the esteem of the public and financially, by presenting good dramas at popular prices, few have succeeded. Eminently among the successful ones stands the Eunice Goodrich Company. Its career has been one of marked success, and it is no longer a problem with the management whether the scheme will pay or not. It has paid, and is paying—the best possible proof that the company is pleasing to the masses. Miss Goodrich is one of those women who grace their chosen profession and she is surrounded by a company of ladies and gentlemen whom it is a pleasure to meet. As a feature of Monday night’s performance, tickets will be distributed about the city which will admit a lady free when accompanied by a 30 cent ticket, if purchased at advanced sale. Seats are now on sale.

Born: In Central City, February 6th, 1896, to the wife of Emel Elofson, a son.

Died: In Central City, January 31st, 1896, Francis Magor, aged 77 years, of paralysis. The deceased gentleman was downtown on the Monday previous to his death, and then seemed to be in his usual health. When death came he passed away in the midst of his children and relatives, and his end was peaceful. He has been a resident of Gilpin County for upwards of 20 years, and was a quiet, unassuming man. The funeral took place on Monday at 2:30 p.m. The Rev. J. Linn conducted the funeral services in the Methodist Church, and interment was made in the Knights of Pythias Cemetery. Although the weather was inclement, a large number of friends followed the remains to their last resting place.

Died: In Nevadaville, February 2nd, 1896, of bronchitis, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Penrose, aged 7 months.

146 years ago – February 8, 1869

From the Weekly Central City Register: At the North Star Mine yesterday, we saw some of the finest looking ore that we have ever seen raised from that celebrated mine. In the lower level, about fifteen feet east from the main shaft they have opened a vein of nearly pure copper pyrites, twelve inches in width, which has all the indications of being very rich in gold. From the appearance of the ore, which is almost entirely free from gangue, we are inclined to the opinion that they have struck a large bonanza of it. At the time of our last visit in this mine, in January last, but very little ore was in sight in the lower level, and we are glad to be able to record this very encouraging improvement.

Oregon begs for two hundred and fifty servant girls to come and do its housework. Wages $25 in gold per month, and from four to ten suitors each. Colorado can discount her on this question. We want four thousand servant girls, at forty dollars per month, and a new feller every night of the week.

A cigar seven feet long and weighing thirty pounds has been made in New Haven, Conn. It is of leaf tobacco, and is about a foot in circumference. It is proposed to present it to Gen. Grant. Yes, but how the dickens is he to smoke it? Speaking of the Grants, a spiteful editor remarks: “If Mrs. Grant should happen to have the measles, every fool woman in the country would put fire red spots on her face and commence taking Epsom salts.” That fellow has evidently been soured on something.

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