Turning Back the Pages

30 years ago – November 3, 1989
A chill wind blew through the Knights of Pythias Cemetery last Saturday, sending appropriate shivers through the 60 people and nine “spirits” gathered at the first cemetery tour hosted by the Gilpin County Historical Society. Featuring costumed board members of the Historical Society as “spirits” of people buried at the cemetery, the tour took a novel approach to presenting history in an entertaining fashion. Each “spirit” related a brief synopsis of his or her life and death in Gilpin County, to the apparent delight of the crowd. Cemetery tours have gained popularity in recent years, and offer an interesting and unusual glimpse into the past. Nine stories of days gone by were shared with the gathered throng last weekend, all of them different, all of them ending at the Knights of Pythias Cemetery. John Starkey was a hit as Patrick Casey, an illiterate Irish miner who struck it rich in Gilpin County. Gesturing with a prospector’s pick, Starkey regaled the crowd with the story of Casey’s humble beginnings and his eventual life of wealth. Another miner, Andrew Hohn, who died in an explosion at the Bobtail Mine, was portrayed by Jeff Casey. Suitably attired in overalls, pick in hand and miner’s lamp lit, Casey explained how the widow-maker drill he was operating hit a dynamite misfire left by the previous shift. Isaac Welch, an early editor of the Register Call, was portrayed by the nattily dressed Ralph Knull. Welch committed suicide shortly after the turn of the century, mystifying all who knew him. He carried his reasons to the grave, and Knoll was unable to offer further enlightenment on the mystery. Louise Gray, the grandmother of Central City resident Morgan Gray, was characterized by Fran Beyer, who told about the early days in Central City. The most dramatic performance was staged by Bev Nelson, as she related the story of Elizabeth Magor, who outlived all four of her children and her husband, Richard, a driver at Williams Stable in Central City. Big tears streamed down Nelson’s cheeks, and although the story was a sad one, everyone was impressed that she was able to summon up real tears. Also appearing as “spirits” were Bonnie Merchant as Clear Creek Annie, George Merchant IV as Corporal Adolph Kist, Connie Casey as Lucy Rasmussen, and Patsy Ellis as Martha Mitchell. Dan Monroe served as tour leader, and Vince Hennigan of Tomford Mortuary in Idaho Springs drove a hearse at the head of the “funeral cortege” from Central City to the cemetery. Each tour participant was given a black armband to wear. Following behind Marshal Elmo Gatlin, the string of cars arrived at the cemetery to find the spirits scattered among the headstones. This unique approach to history appeared to please attendees. Once the tour was over, several visitors stopped “spirits” to ask questions about their characters. All in all, it was an informative and entertaining afternoon.
The Social Register:
The Merchant twins, Pat and Mike, turned 40 last week. Each went out to buy a birthday present for the other, and even though they live miles apart—one in Seattle, the other in Raymer, Colorado—they turned up with identical gifts! Both Pat and Mike now own bumper stickers proclaiming “40 isn’t old—if you’re a tree!”
Lucy Crawley and Cec Kelsey attended the premiere performance of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra last weekend at McNichols Arena, and Lucy reports that it was “fantastic.” The evening was even better than they expected, she said, and they hope to attend another concert soon.
Born: Mitchell and Jerilyn Glenda are the proud parents of a baby boy, Jarred Mitchell, their first child. Jarred made his entrance at 1 a.m., November 1, at Porter Memorial Hospital in Denver. He measured 21.5 inches in length and weighed in at 10 pounds. Geraldine Glenda, of Denver, is Jarred’s paternal grandmother, and Bernice and Jerry Gross, who live in Missouri, are his maternal grandparents. Dan Glenda is the proud uncle, which we know because he’s the one who phoned the birth announcement to the Register Call on Wednesday! Jarred will join his parents at home in Colorado Sierra.
60 years ago – November 13, 1959
Central City Nuggets:
Across the Crossroads, by A.F. Mayham: For the want of a donut, the day would be lost just like the Captain, General, or what-have-you in a conflict, armed that is. For the want of a horseshoe the war was lost. No such thing would happen to the donut as most every restaurant, joint or dump along the highways can supply the pesky thing with the hole in the middle. Some donuts have bigger holes than others and, while arguments will arise about who put the holes there, Uncle Ed has it all figured out, including the dunking habit. One theory is that a pilgrim wife was baking one day when an Indian shot an arrow through the window and it pierced the dough she was about to drop in the frying pan. Knocked out of her hand, the result was a cake with a hole in it. But the theory Ed sticks to concerns a ship Captain. His favorite food was donuts, but when steering the ship, it required both hands on the wheel so he stuck the pastry on a spoke of the spit, making a clean hole. Anyway, the donut was here long before the country was settled with freeways. The dunking business was invented shortly after. It seems some donuts were left over from the day before just as they are now. Those whose molars were missing conceived the idea of dunking: some of them drew the line at the first knuckle, but there is no hard and fast rule yet promulgated by Emily Post or Amy Vanderbilt, so it behooves the donut dunker to keep an eye on the donut and not on the hole. Presidents including FDR, Herbert Hoover, Eisenhower, and others were dunkers, also Adlai Stevenson. They were all, except Adlai, elected to public office. But there is a moral about dunking too deeply—put your hand in clear up to the wrist, take it out and the hole that remains is how much you’ll be missed.
Died: Mrs. Lillian Hughes Grenfell died Saturday morning in St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver after a long illness. She has been in the hospital for the past three weeks, and death came peacefully to her early Saturday. Lillian was born in Russell Gulch in 1895. She attended the local school and later graduated from the Gilpin County High School. After graduation, she attended Teacher’s College in Greeley, and later officiated as a teacher in various schools in the outlying districts. She was a past Worthy Matron of the Eastern Star, and past President of the American Legion Auxiliary. For the past two years, she and her husband William, who is the County Commissioner from the 3rd District in Gilpin County, have been residing in Black Hawk. Her pleasing smile and sweet personality will be sadly missed by all who knew her. She is survived by her husband; two sisters, Mrs. Payne West, of Arvada, and Mrs. Thelma Gardner, of Denver; and two brothers, Richard I. Hughes, of Arvada, and Hughie Hughes, of Chickasha, Oklahoma, and several nieces and nephews. Funeral services were held Wednesday from the Clinger Mortuary in Denver, with Eastern Star services by Golden Queen Chapter of this city. Interment was in Bald Mountain Cemetery.
Died: George Magor died suddenly Wednesday morning from a heart attack. He had finished breakfast and was arising from the table, when he slumped to the floor, death being at once. Dr. Fowler, of Idaho Springs, was immediately called, but found George dead on his arrival. George was 71 years of age. George was born in Central City on January 24th, 1888, attended St. Aloysius Academy, after which he was engaged in mining, and later was Assistant Water Commissioner for several years. He married Fannie Harper in 1913, and they left here in 1917 for Denver, where he was a patrolman with the Denver Police Department, until 1947, when he retired and since that time has been a resident of Central City. He is survived by his wife; one brother, Oswald, of Denver; one daughter, Mrs. Norman Downer, of Oakland, California; and one son, Frank, of Denver. Funeral services will be held Saturday morning at 10:00 o’clock at the Catholic Church in this city, with increment in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Denver.
90 years ago – November 8, 1929
Saturday night another snow storm struck the mountains, and when the time limit expired, fully another foot of the “beautiful” covered the hills, which added to the storm the first of the week made at least two feet, a good portion of which has disappeared under the warm and pleasant weather of the week. Wednesday night an eastern wind developed, with every indication of another storm.
Mrs. J.M. Thomas has been confined to her bed for the past two weeks with an attack of the flu. Mr. Thomas has been housed up most of the time with a similar attack.
Mr. and Mrs. W.O. Jenkins left for Denver on Tuesday to attend the funeral of the late Mr. Edward O. Williams, which occurred Wednesday afternoon.
Mr. S.W. Bartlett, of Denver, the distributor of the Fada radios for the state, came up from Denver Sunday evening so as to be on hand early Monday morning in the hills, where the elk were expected to roam. He spent the day looking for them, and in all probability the elk did the same stunt, and kept out of his sight, for he failed to locate a single animal, and he had to return home with only an experience of the hard work necessary in climbing the mountains through from two to three feet of snow.
Died: Coroner George Hamllik was summoned to Rollinsville, Wednesday night, to investigate the death of Gus Jacobs, who was found dead in the basement of his store by Richard Mitchell, a youth employed in the store. He found Jacobs dead, with a .38 caliber revolver by his side and with powder burns on the side of his head, indicating that he had fired the shot that caused is death, and after investigating matters, George concluded that an inquest was unnecessary. From what he learned in getting at the bottom of the matter, several men were gathered at the store during the evening, and saw Jacobs writing letters, and when he had finished he arose from his desk and told the men that he was going into the basement to drain a gasoline tank. The men said they had heard a shot, but did not pay attention to it, as the sound could have been made by an auto. Domestic and other troubles were expressed as the cause for his rash act. Mr. Jacobs was born in Germany, September 19, 1894, and was 35 years at his death. He is survived by his wife and four children, and his mother and two brothers, in Denver. Funeral services were held in Denver on Monday.
120 years ago – November 10, 1899
Mrs. H.L. Grenfell, state superintendent of public instruction, came up from Denver to cast her vote in Black Hawk. While here she was the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Ed. C. Hughes, of Black Hawk.
Mr. A.P. Boulter, of Smith Hill, was in Central last Saturday, and had a wild cat which he caught in a trap on the ranch. It weighed 60 pounds and was one of the largest ever seen in this section.
James Nankervis, of Nevadaville, returned Tuesday from his hunting trip in Middle Park. The rest of the party, James Williams and William Martin, were expected home on Wednesday. Jim Williams is reported as having killed a fine elk on the trip.
A new shaft building, 28×54 feet in diameter, with an ore bin 12×16 feet is being erected on the Barnes Mine on Quartz Hill, by the owner Byron Lake, and a new hoisting plant is being installed, which will be of 30 horse power capacity.
At the O’Neill Mine, on Gregory Hill, which is being operated by the Ontario-Colorado Mining Company with H.C. Eastman as superintendent and Herbert Bowden, mine foreman, sinking has been suspended at a depth of 270 feet, and stations are being cut at that depth. After these levels are in safe distance, sinking will be resumed. Sullivan air drills are being used in extending the levels, and in the west 270 foot level the crevice is fully eight feet in width. Enough mill ore is taken out daily to keep 10 stamps employed in the Randolph Mill, which is returning 3 ounces gold to the cord. A fine crevice is showing in the shaft and in the first 75 feet, ore to the amount of $1,500 was taken out at that point.
Sheriff William Mitchell has purchased the interests of John Candy and Joe Bell in their lease on the East Nottaway Mine in Lake District. Messrs. Candy and Bell owned a one quarter interest in the leaet, that is now owned entirely by Mr. Mitchell, the lease running until January 20, 1902.
Born: In Russell Gulch, November 5th, 1899, to the wife of William Manhire, a daughter.
Born: In Central City, November 8th, 1899, to the wife of John Zadra, a son.
Died: In Quartz Valley, Central City, November 7th, 1899, Mrs. Ignass Gundy, aged 58 years.
151 years ago – November 12, 1869
Foster Nicholls, agent of the DuPont powder company, advertised the move of his office from the Pharmacy to the Warren Hussey Bank building.
A new road was being built from Boulder to Central City, coming up Bear Canyon, which was a shorter trip for freight and mail than by going through Denver then up into the mountains.
Zephaneah Meyers was building a two-story brick store in Black Hawk.
The report from the grammar department of the public schools gives the honor roll of rite month of November as follows: Highest five in class A – Richard Jenkin, Albert Buddel, Hattie Elliott, Ella Harvey, and Thomas Lucas. In class B – Sarah Lee, Alice Lee, Irving Hale, Annie Frey, and Seely Sherwood. In class C – Minnie Frey, Cora Wood, Lizzie Frey, Libby Bolthoff, and May Putman.
Hussey & Company, the bankers, bought 600 ounces of mill gold on Tuesday.
Crow and Clark were shipping their concentrated ore to Lewis & Son of Liverpool. The sacking and shipping costs were nearly $100 per ton. They get an allowance for the zinc, lead, and copper in the ore, and with the silver and gold, get better returns than from any mode of treatment in use in the county. The gross value of the ore was over $300 per ton.
Married: In Nevadaville, November 5th, 1869, Rev. Francis Byrne officiating, Richard H. Williams and Miss Catherine Hughes, both of Russell Gulch.

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