Clay Creek: By George Chatham

By George Chatham

First of all my apologies to the “Wondering, Banished, Exiled, and Lost Souls of Baca County, Colorado” (Facebook)group since most of this post took place across the county line in Powers County.

I spoke of the “Clay Creek” place in the previous post. The “Clay Creek” place Fred & Ethel Chatham moved to with Vela was the “Carlton Place” which Fred rented. It is located in Powers County two miles west of US Hwy 385/287 on L Rd and about two miles north via “cow trail” on private land. When I visited the “Clay Creek” site in August of 2001, most of the sand rock walls of the house, barn, chicken house, and some of the corrals were still standing. The house and out buildings were located on the west side of “Clay Creek”. At the time the Fred Chatham family lived on Clay Creek, the area was pretty much “open range”. It had not been broken out, so there was still good grass for the cattle. There was also “live water” in several watering spots along “Clay Creek”. Most of the water holes were only a foot or two deep, but there was one watering hole 3 or 4 miles further north up Clay Creek that was ten or twelve feet deep. The family lived on “Clay Creek” for 3 years.

According to my Aunt Vela after the 3 years on “Clay creek” Fred & Ethel moved to the “Skinner Place”, which my Granddad had bought from Roy Truman. During the Dust Bowl days, a lot of land could be obtained by simply paying back taxes. The Skinner Place was a mile south of the Baca/Powers county line on the south side of Butte creek and a mile west of Hwy 287. Fred & Ethel lived on the Skinner Place until my Uncle Oran came home from World War II. (See picture of my Aunt Vela Chatham Frank standing in front of what is left of the fireplace at Clay Creek)

When my Uncle Oran came home from the service he married Lora Hall (09 Dec 1942) and since they needed a place to live my Granddad Fred Chatham and Ethel moved back to Uncle Elmer’s homestead because the old soddie was vacant.” In 1945 after Elmer Chatham’s death, my Granddad bought Elmer’s homestead from his brother’s estate. It was during this time that the soddie was stuccoed and a screened porch and bathroom were added to the south side.

Next Post: “The Adobe House”

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