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Biographies for Unspecified Counties

HENRY ALERTON
Born and reared in the midst of the highest civilization, with all the blandishments and enjoyments of cultivated life around him, as manhood opened before him with radiant promise.  Henry Alerton nevertheless did not hesitate to turn away from it all and seek a destiny of toil and hardship in the western wilds of this country, and with manly and intrepid spirit met all its burdens, braving extremes of heat and cold, and drought and flood, of loneliness and hunger, in order that he might in his own way work out a career without the aid of adventitious circumstances or fortune’s favors, and gratify a love of adventure that was inherent in his nature.  He was born at Lockport in western New York in 1848, the son of John and Hannah (Newboldt) Alterton.  His father, a native of England, settled in that portion of the state when a young man and there followed the business of a merchant tailor until his death, in 1857, at the age of forty-five.  His wife died when her son Henry was but two years old, leaving nine children, of whom he was next to the last.  He was reared by his uncle George Reading, a boot and shoe manufacturer of Ontario, Canada, and when he was eighteen went to work in a grocery store and bakery to remain two years.  At the end of that time he returned to Lockport and learned photography under F. B. Clench, of that city.  He then started westward without any settled destination, but eager to see the country and find if he could a desirable location wherein to establish himself and accumulate a competency.  In the course of two or three years he reached Trinidad, this state, just in time to take part in what is known locally as the Trinidad war, a short and sharp conflict between Americans and Mexicans.  His first occupation in this part of the country was driving cattle for Loring & Goodnight, cattle kinds of that day, in whose service he made a trip to Texas.  After that he hauled saw logs to the mill to be sawed into lumber for use in the construction of the new Fort Lyon, and after the logs were all in he went to the mill and helped to saw them, continuing at his work until the contract was fulfilled, which occupied about six months.  From there he went to Denver and took employment as clerk for the Tucker Lumber Company, and remained in their service six months, then going to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he worked for the Union Pacific Railroad until it was completed, when he went to California, and from there made his way to the Comstock mine in Nevada.  During the next five years he worked in Sutro Tunnel, then made a trip from Virginia City, that state, to Colorado, traveling a distance of three thousand two hundred miles through California, New Mexico and Arizona to Alamosa, this state, crossing the desert in July when the thermometer register one hundred and twenty degrees and going over the mountains when it was forty degrees below zero, making the whole trip with a team and wagon.  Locating at Lake City, he remained five years conducting summer resorts on the lake, then transferring his base of operations to the Uncompahgre valley, he engaged in the cattle business, taking up a part of his present ranch at the mouth of Happy Canyon in 1886.  The land was covered with sagebrush and all his acquaintances who knew the conditions prophesied that he would fail to make the place productive or continue to live on it.  His work was difficult here and full of discouragements.  But he persevered until now he has one of the best ranches in this part of the state, having succeeded in his venture beyond all expectations.  He has added one hundred and sixty acres to his original tract and has that also in a good state of cultivation.  For some years he was extensively engaged in the dairy business, raising Shorthorn and Jersey cattle and making large quantities of butter, but of late he has given his attention mainly to fruit culture having a very prolific orchard and raising the finest varieties and best quality of fruit, his “Flaming Tokey” grape being unsurpassed, single clusters weighing as high sometimes as fifteen pounds.  He also has a fine residence and beautiful flower gardens.  He was married in 1869 to Miss Eliza Furst, a native of Troy, New York, who ably seconds all his efforts.
[Source: Progressive Men of Western Colorado, Publ 1905. Transcribed by Nancy Overlander]

MICHAEL ASKINS
            For a period of twenty years Michael Askins has been a resident of Colorado, and during the whole of that time, up to the full measure of his capacities and opportunities, he has contributed to the growth and development of the state and the expansion of its industries.  He was born in Ireland in 1833, the son of Edward and Katharine Askins, also natives of Ireland, where their forefathers had lived for many generations, and where the father was actively and profitably engaged in the shipping trade.  He and his wife were members of the Catholic church, and both died some years ago, leaving five of their eight children to survive them, the father’s death occurring in 1881 and the mother’s in 1897.  Their son Michael attended the common schools of his native land at intervals until he reached the age of fourteen, then began to help his father in this shipping business, in which he was employed eight years.  At the age of twenty-two he went to Scotland, and during the next five months worked at railroading at a compensation of fourteen shillings a week.  In 1863 he came to the United States and located at Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he engaged in coal mining.  Six months later he moved to Schuylkill county, and two years afterward to Northumberland, where he was still employed in coal mining, and he continued this line of useful activity at Welchberry until 1872.  In that year he moved to Illinois, locating at Fairbury in Livingston county.  Six months afterward he moved to La Salle county, where he remained ten years. In 1884 he came to Colorado and took up his present ranch, a homestead claim of one hundred and sixty-four acres, one hundred acres of which he has under cultivation, producing hay, grain and other farm products, and raising cattle and horses.  The business is prosperous and the profits are increasing and Mr. Askins is regarded as one of the successful and up-to-date farmers of the county.  He is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Order of Wolf Tones, and belongs to the Republican party.  In July, 1866, he united in marriage with Miss Katharine O’Garra, a native of Ireland, daughter of Patrick and Mary O’Garra, also native there.  Her father was  merchant and farmer and both parents were members of the Catholic church.  They died sometime in the ‘sixties Mr. and this Mrs. Askins had eight children, but five of whom are living, Katharine, Margaret, Patrick, Sarah and Anna.  Their mother died in November 1885, and on November 10, 1897, the father married a second wife, Mrs. Rebecca (Davidson) Brown, a native of Ontario, Canada, and daughter of John D. and Mary (Quick) Davidson, who were born and reared in Scotland.  The father was shoemaker and farmer, and he and his wife were Wesleyan Methodists.  She died in 1863 and he in 1884.  Six of their children are living, Rose, John, Isaac, James, Rebecca (Mrs. Askins) and Alice, all respected and honored citizens.
(Source: Progressive Men of Western Colorado, Publ 1905. Transcribed by Kathy Scott)

JOHN DELANEY
            From the Emerald Isle which has given so much of talent, vivacity, versatility and useful labor in various lines of productive effort to our country, came the prominent and progressive cattle and ranchman who is the subject of this article.   He was born in Ireland on April 23, 1847, the son of John and Mary Delaney, also Irish by nativity, as their forefathers were for many generations before them.  The family emigrated to the United States in 1854 and took up residence in the state of New York.  Here the father, who had been a wholesale grocer and liquor merchant at Dublin in his native land, and also a farmer in the vicinity of that city, because a manufacturer of paper, and was making steady progress to a successful business career in this country when in 1861 death cut short his life and usefulness, he having for five years survived his wife who died in 1856.  Thus orphaned at the age of fourteen, their son John, the second born of their three living children, the other two being Mary A. and Theresa, was thrown on his own resources and, stimulated by the sharp spur of necessity, began to make his own way in the world with commendable industry and frugality.  He had received a limited education at the common schools in the neighborhood of his home, and in starting out for himself found employment as a farm hand, an occupation to which he adhered for a number of years in New York and Pennsylvania.  In 1880 he became a resident of Colorado, and during the next seven years devoted his time to mining at various places on the Western slope.  In 1887, having determined to turn his attention to ranching and the stock industry, he took up a ranch of one hundred and sixty acres by pre-emption, the one on which he has since made his home.  In addition to this he has purchased three hundred and twenty acres of the whole tract he cultivates three hundred acres in the ordinary farm products of the region in which he lives.  His principal reliance in his business is, however, the cattle he raises and handles, and in this line of enterprise he is very successful, conducting his operations on a large scale and with excellent results.  He is a leading citizen of his section of the county, an earnest Democrat in politics, a cordial supporter and helpful aid in all undertakings for the good of his community and a widely known and esteemed citizen.  He was married in 1872 to Miss Sarah Durkin.  They have had eight children.  John B. died on December 13, 1900, and Mary, Sarah, James, Edward, Anna B., Frank and Joseph are living.  All the family belong to the Catholic church.  In his life in this state, Mr. Delaney has seen some strenuous times.  In 1887, when there was an Indian outbreak in the vicinity of his new home, and he happened to be at Glenwood Springs, although he had plenty of money for the purpose, he was unable to hire any one to take him home so that he could assist in putting down the savages; but he reached the scene of action in time to be of material assistance in protecting the community and restoring peace.
(Source: Progressive Men of Western Colorado, Publ 1905. Transcribed by Richard Ramos)

GRAVES & AHRENS
            This enterprising and far-seeing real estate firm, the leading on in the San Luis valley, which has sold more land and other real estate than any other agency for the same purpose in the region in which it operates, is composed of Arthur Graves and John M. Ahrens, two of the most active, energetic and progressive business men in the Rocky Mountain region.
            Arthur Graves, the senior member of the firm, was born on August 29, 1862, at McFall, now Gentry, then Harrison county, Missouri.  He is the son of William and Jane (Jones) Graves, prosperous farmers of that state.  The son was educated in the public schools and assisted his parents on the farm until he reached the age of fifteen, then during the next five years worked for wages on his own account. In 1882 he moved to Clark county, Kansas, and pre-empted land which he improved and after farming it two years sold it.  In 1884 he came to Colorado and located at Canon City, and for two years farmed for wages. In 1886 he made a visit of several months to his old Missouri home, returning to this state in 1887.  During the next three years he worked at various occupations in different places, and save his earnings.  In 1890 he moved into the San Luis valley and located a ranch which he still owns and which he has increased to three hundred and twenty acres.  It is ten miles northeast of Monte Vista and yields excellent crops of wheat, oats and pears.  The improvements on it are modern and complete for its needs.  Since 1903 he has been engaged in the real estate business in partnership with Mr. Ahrens, and has been unusually successful.  He is a Republican in politics, and in fraternal life a Woodman of the World and a Knight fo Pythias.  On June 9, 1894, he was married to Miss Reno Brewer, a native of the same county as himself.  They have had four children.  Of these Walter has died and Eldon C., Charles and Ethel M. are living.  Mr. Graves is one of the most popular wide-awake and enterprising men in the valley of his home and one of its most popular citizens.
            John W. Ahrens, the junior member of the firm to which these paragraphs are dedicated, was born on October 11, 1860, at Attica, Fountain county, Indiana, and is the son of Hein and Augusta (Kemper) Ahrens, both natives of Germany.  The father was a stone-cutter and contractor.  The son obtained his education at the high school in his native town, but grew weary of school life and did not complete the course.  He was a lover of nature and preferred hunting, fishing and outdoor occupations to confinement in the school room, and as he lived on the “banks of the Wabash far away” from his present abode, he had abundant opportunity for the gratification of his taste.  At the same time, he lived no idle, loafing life, and was not devoid of teachers in the great school of Nature; and besides he was fond of reading, and by these means became a well-informed man.  After leaving school he entered mercantile life at Hedrick in his native state, being then twenty years of age.  He began his mercantile career in 1880 and through the dishonesty of his partner failed in 1884.  The year before he began manufacturing tiles at Hedrick, but his enterprise was swept away with the mercantile business.  He then returned to Attica, Indiana, and there went into the milling business in partnership with his brothers. This industry was sold in 1888, and Mr. Ahrens turned his attention to farming.  Not finding this pursuit congenial, he quit at the end of a year and started a fire insurance business at Attica, afterward adding dealing in chattel mortgages, farm loans and real estate to his line, and carrying on the business fourteen years in partnership with J. Shannon Vave.  During this period MR. Ahrens took on as side lines dealing in fast horses and backing a friend who had a patent right, which he still thinks has merit, but neither venture was profitable.  In August, 1903, he came to Colorado and located at Monte Vista, and first engaged in the real estate business in partnership with Mr. Graves and Richard Blakey.  After nine months Mr. Blakey retired form the firm and it has since been known as Graves and Ahrens.   Having a great many friends in his native home, many of whom had their eyes turned toward the setting sun for better prospects, it was not difficult for Mr. Ahrens to induce them to come to the favored location in which he was operating, and the business of the firm has been excellent in volume and value.  Since he entered the firm it has sold 21, 319 acres of land for $395,500, and the prospects for trade in future are exceptionally bright.  In political faith MR. Ahrens is a stanch and active Democrat, and in fraternal life a Mason, an Odd Fellow, a Modern Woodman and a Knight of Pythias.  He is as yet a bachelor, but if indications can be credited the flowery yoke of Eros is not far before him.  He is one of the brightest men and best citizens of the valley.
(Source: Progressive Men of Western Colorado, Publ 1905. Transcribed by Richard Ramos)

JOHN T. JARVIS
            Mr. Jarvis belongs to an old and highly respected Virginia family, and was born in Doddridge county, in what is now West Virginia, on October 8, 1849. His parents were Granville D. and Sarah M. (Chapman) Jarvis, both natives of Virginia and belonging to families long resident in that state. In 1852 they moved to Missouri and located in Knox county, where they farmed with success and profit to the end of their lives. They had eleven children, and of these seven are living. Mrs. Louisa Brunick, John T., Mrs. Virginia Burk, Mrs. Angeline Houghtaling, Frank, Mrs. Laura Sanders and Edward. Three of the others died in infancy and Mrs. Margaret Brunick in 1898. Their son John T. received a common-school education and learned habits of useful industry and frugality on the paternal homestead, remaining with his parents until he reached his twenty-fourth year. He then turned his attention to mining, going to California and locating for the purpose on the Middle fork of the American river. He followed mining and prospecting in that state from 1880 to 1886, with the too frequent luck of the men engaged in these enticing but uncertain pursuits, securing nothing of value for his labors. In the year last named he moved to Leadville, this state, and here he met with better success both in mining for wages and working leased properties. In 1891 he determined to devote his time and energies to ranching, and with this purpose in view moved to his present location on Williams fork, where he pre-empted one claim and homesteaded another, securing in all two hundred and eighty acres. He also owns a one-fifth interest in forty acres of bituminous coal land. His ranch yields abundantly of the usual farm products, but his main reliance is raising cattle. He takes an active and helpful interest in public local affairs, withholding his support from no worthy enterprise in which the general welfare of his community is involved. In political matters he supports the Democratic party with ardor and stands high I the counsels of his party. On May 8, 1902, he was joined in marriage with Mrs. John Kellogg, a widow whose maiden name was Susan Peirson, a native of Tompkins county, New York, and a daughter of Albert and Julia A. (Rhodes) Peirson, the former born in Orange county, New York, and the latter in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania. In their early married life they became residents of Illinois, locating at Harvard Junction, McHenry county. There the father, a prosperous farmer and an earnest Republican, died in 1874. At present the mother, who is past ninety-one years old, makes her home in Yellow Medicine county, Minnesota. They had thirteen children, eight of whom are living, Mrs. William H. Bowen, Scuyler J, James A., Jarvis, Mrs. Jarvis, Frank S., John M., William P. and Mrs. George W. Conn. Three died in infancy and Hattie E. and John in later life. Mrs. Jarvis owns three hundred and twenty acres of land on Deer creek and also has a homestead in another place—four hundred and eighty acres of good land in all. Both Mr. and Mrs. Jarvis are highly respected and have a wide and wholesome influence throughout all the county surrounding them.
(Source: Progressive Men of Western Colorado, Publ 1905. Transcribed by Kathy Scott)

ELIJAH B. THOMPSON
            From his youth the subject of this sketch has been actively with the stock industry, and he has learned the business by practical experience in every department of it.  His life began in Tuolumne county California, on August 27, 1856, and he is the son of George and Sarah (Blakesley) Thompson, farmers of Virginia who moved to California soon after the discovery of gold in that state.  There the father devoted his attention to mining and in his work discovered and located several valuable properties, among them the Red Bluff gold mine, which he discovered on March 9, 1857.  There were two children born in the family, Obediah and Elijah.  The latter had no opportunity for attending school beyond a period of six days.  He reached man’s estate through labor and privation, enduring hardships and encountering dangers of various kinds in the wild unsettled country in which his earlier years were passed, and as soon as he was able became a range rider in the cattle industry.  In the employ of the Pitchfork Land & Cattle Company he drove cattle from Texas to Rockyford, in this state, bringing them over the trail in the absence of definite roads, and also served the company in other ways during a period of ten years, being their foreman seven years of the time.  He became a resident of Colorado in 1884, and on May 30, 1890, purchased a ranch of three hundred and twenty acres on Snake river where he was busily occupied in ranching and raising cattle and horses until 1900.  Here he suffered many reverses, but in spite of them he made steady progress.  On November 4, 1898, his buildings were destroyed by hostile Indians who had risen against the whites because of their destruction of game was ordered stopped by the game warden.  They gave the settlers a great deal of trouble over this order, and as Mr. Thompson was able to speak the Mexican language, he served as interpreter in bringing about a settlement of the dispute.  One battle was fought in which six Indians were killed, and during the turmoil he himself marked for slaughter, the notorious Tom Horn having arranged to kill him and four other men on October 27th. The plot was only partially successful, Isham Dart being killed by the desperado on the date named and Matthew Rasch by the same hand on October 4th, the others, Mr. Thompson, Joseph Davenport and Samuel Bassett, escaping.  From 1900 to May, 1904, Mr. Thomson was engaged in the livery business and in dealing in horses, and he is now located on a good ranch of three hundred and sixty acres on William’s fork. He has three hundred acres under cultivation, raising good crops of hay, grain and vegetables, and also carries on a thriving cattle industry.  In political life he is an earnest Democrat and fraternally belongs to the Woodmen of the World.  In Ma 1890, he was married to Miss Armida Bowner, who was born in Wisconsin.  Three children have been born to them.  One died in infancy and Lyman B. and Anama are living.  It should be mentioned as a matter of interest that there are large deposits of bituminous coal on Mr. Thompson’s land and the outlook for the vigorous and profitable working of mines there is very promising.
(Source: Progressive Men of Western Colorado, Publ 1905. Transcribed by Richard Ramos)

 JAMES P. VEERKAMP
This prominent professional man of the San Luis valley, who owns and occupies one of the finest residences in Monte Vista, and enjoys a high rank at the bar and one of the most lucrative and representative practices in that part of Colorado, is almost wholly a self-made man, having earned by his own exertions the money to pay his way through the higher schools and the law department of Missouri University at Columbia, was born near Troy, Lincoln county, Missouri on May 7, 1862, and is the son of Bartholomew and Sarah (Brown) Veerkamp, the former a native of Hanover, Germany, and the latter of Lincoln county, Missouri.  The father was successful in farming and raising livestock, and an esteemed citizen of his locality.  He was a Democrat in political allegiance until 1861, then became a Republican over the issues involved in the Civil war.  He died on November 17, 1903, at the age of seventy-eight years.  The mother is still living at the old Missouri home.  The son attended the common schools until he was about twenty years old, then taught school in Texas and Missouri to earn money for the purpose of securing a more advanced and professional education.  At the age of twenty-three he attended high schools at Dexter, Iowa, and in 1886 entered the law department of the Columbia (Missouri) University, having previously prepared himself for his professional course in that institution by diligent study and attentive reading of the text books on law while teaching school.  He was examined and admitted to the bar at Mexico, Missouri.  In 1892 he opened a law office at Stockton, Missouri, and continued his practice there until 1899, then moved to his present location, Monte Vista, this state.  He has a general practice, appearing before all the courts and conducting all kinds of cases, and is looked upon as one of the leading attorneys of the San Luis valley.  In addition to his legal reputation, he has that of being a public-spirited and progressive citizen, and a generous and considerate man, and the distinction he enjoys in all respects is well deserved and based on demonstrated merit.  Fraternally he is connected with Odd Fellows and the Woodmen of the World.  He is a Republican in politics, and while living in Missouri served as docket clerk in the state senate in 1892 and 1893.  On February 16, 1896, he was married to Mrs. Emma Hedges, a native of Missouri, born in Pulaski county.
[Source: Progressive Men of Western Colorado, Publ 1905. Transcribed by Nancy Overlander]



 


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