The Town Boom Years in Southeastern Colorado 1886-1889: A Map

Sometimes it is hard to understand old forgotten towns.  Especially since we don’t always know where they are located in relationship to present day landmarks and towns. The map in this post contains the towns which popped up in the area as well as towns that were connected.  For example, many settlers rode the train to Granada or Lamar and then rode the stage south to get to the communities in what would soon be Baca County. I believe every single community on the map below is mentioned at least once by Sam Konkel.

Kansas towns of Hugo (now Hugoton) and Woodsdale greatly influenced the early development of Southeast Colorado as the infamous County Seat wars of Kansas, specifically the “Haystack Massacre” was a symbol of the bloodshed in Kansas.  Those moving into southeast Colorado wanted to avoid much of what occurred in Kansas.

In 1887 Sam Konkel wrote,

It is a cold day when some new town doesn’t start up in southeastern Colorado.  In the short space of four months, there have been seventeen towns laid out south of the railroad and east of Trinidad.  They are in the order of their ages —

Boston, Albany, Vilas, Carrizo, Springfield, Minneapolis, Humbar, York, Farmington, Wilde, Holmes, Indianapolis, Athens, Bloomington, Brookfield, Plymouth, and Randal — Western World, April 21, 1887.

Note:  You won’t see Athens or Randal on the map.  I may change the map when/and if  I get confirmation of their locations.

For those who don’t know the location of a particular place it should be useful when I find and post clippings such as the following from the  Xenia Daily  (Xenia OH), Gazette September 3, 1887 which tell about a former resident settling on the banks of the “Butte River”.  Yes, if you are from Baca County you will understand why this is in quotes.

In 1936, J.R. Austin wrote,

“Had the old towns of 1887 continued to exist, the interest in them would not be as great as it is today. There’s something about a lost chapter in the natural procession of events that tradition loving Americans like to preserve as a treasure.  The element of mystery makes it attractive. Early events in Springfield and Vilas do not excite the popular imagination; the towns that are here today, many of the old landmarks are still extent, the past has gradually merged into the present, and tradition has become a thing of common knowledge.

But with an old, forgotten town it is different. How entrancing it is to stand amid the ancient stone ruins and lose oneself in reverie to picture in the imagination the scenes that belong to long ago. Tran-scribed there on the lonely plains are the symbols of its past. The long spacious Main Street is still in evidence, the lone cross street begins boldly in the center of the town only to melt away into the plains as the ruins of the buildings no longer confined it to its course. Here the people rode into town, walked across the street greeted their neighbors and friends, they commented on the current topics of Interest. The long rows of stones on the corner may have been the proudest store in town. Another less imposing, may well have been the place where the transient patron sat for meals and dreamed of the places far away.  There, goods were sold and precious money taken by the hard fisted proprietor in exchange.  Still another place may have been a saloon where the stern faced bartender disposed of his wares and kept a steely eye on the more suspicious looking characters who frequented the place.  How many quarrels may have started and ended here?   Lastly, and most important of all, are the little dugouts partly filled with stones where there once were homes.”

I hope these maps are useful.

Here is a July 2018 update to the Boom Town Map.  I added another crazy aka “Trail City”, Holly, Coolidge and Syracuse Kansas and Beer City, Neutral Strip (also a crazy).

Map 1 is the newest version (February 19, 2018) and includes Clayton, NM and Mineral City, Neutral Strip

Map 2 is the original map I post.  Not sure if it is still useful, but thought I would leave it here for now.

The Sidewalks of Old Boston

The Springfield Herald had a regular series in 1918 called “Persons, Stories, and Incidents of Old Boston and the Old Days.”  The episode author is listed as “The Writer” who is actually Sam Konkel.  

Left: Sam Konkel   Middle: Sam Konkel 188ish   Right Sam Konkel 1930ish

Photos courtesy of Zaylan Konkel

The October 19, 1918, edition of the series was titled “Sidewalks”.  The thing that’s interesting about Sam Konkel to me is was in Boston as the publisher of the Western World during its entire existence. It is noted in this article he left the country in 1889.   The 15-year return to a ride through Old Boston corresponds to his return in 1905 to run the Springfield Herald which later became the Democrat Herald.  I bet the silence he mentions up returning was amazing as he was there during its wild lively days.  His recollections are very important to the history of Old Baca County as his was a first-hand account of those days.    This story goes as follows:

Now we will have the sidewalks – see ordinance. This time the city has the contract and will put down the walks if the citizens fail to do so. Sixty days and we will be the only new town except Lamar in Eastern Colorado, with complete sidewalks. We will have another Jubilee then — World August 2nd, 1888.

Jas. D. Newton Saturday brought in the first load of native lumber that has found its way to our town. Dr. Brown ordered the lumber for sidewalks. It’s made from hard pitch Pine about 10 miles south of Troy and sells there at $18.00 per thousand feet. — Western World August 19th, 1888.

To have real sidewalks in those days or something the holler about.  The town wasn’t 2 years old so the sidewalks were really a wonderful achievement, and Boston, of course, is pretty well “blowed up” over it.

The walks we believe were 8 feet wide and extended 4 blocks on Main Street and 2 on 9th Avenue.

The city put down the sidewalks. We presume some of the lot owners paid for the walk collected as payment on that lumber.

In case the parties were to wait for their money till collected as taxes, on the lots, we are not presuming the lumber was ever paid for, as the town and the whole country went to the dogs the next spring, the good people not stopping about such little things as paying the taxes before going.

The writer left the country in May of 1889.  At the sidewalks were still there — as standing (laying or lying) monuments to the industry and enterprise of the good new town; or shall we say as a satire on the stranded hopes and ambitions of those who just a few days before had seen the star of their destiny in the west and had moved to carve an empire out of the country to which the star led them.  And of course old Boston was all there at the time.  

Fifteen years later the writer rode down the Main street of old Boston and do you know, the first thing we thought of was those sidewalks — and they were gone — everything was gone.  

On Nov. 1887, the Boston city council solemnly ordained an ordinance entitled — “To prevent Removal of Town Property.”

But here in the face of that ordinance, solemnly ordained, all the hooks, ladders and buckets belonging to the town were gone, the sidewalks were gone — and the whole durned town was gone.  

What had become of the hooks, ladders and buckets? What had become of the town? And the people — where were all the people?

The thing that probably impressed us most as we rode into and stopped in the center of that old town — was the awful stillness.

Of course we knew before riding into the town that everything was gone, but the feeling of that awful stillness in the center of that town was as if the good people of that good old town had met with some nihilating world catastrophy, and all it’s people were then sleeping beneath what was once it’s lively thoroughfares.

But the sidewalks — bless your sweet life, we never did learn will let them rest.

Something else next week.

Place Names of Baca County by Steve Doner

  This information was taken from the website – Some information may indeed be questionable, but we have to start somewhere. Information I have added is in italics. This format does not allow for grids so the listings follow -Town/Location Name – County – Type – Notes – Section/Township/Range – Reference To save space I often abbreviate Settlement – Set. and Post Office – P.O. For information on the references, visit the website listed above. I realize the “Notes” section is very sparse. If you have names that are not listed here, please post such information in comment section, and I will try to add it to the list. This is not a list of old country schools; that will have to be another post. Using Maps from – (at least 95 map contain Baca County, (1894 lost school map), and (set of 6 1890 U.S. Geological Survey maps) – I have provided a link to the online map with the earliest appearance of most of the place names occurred. Access the online map by clicking on the link. I also included the place names of several items just beyond Baca County’s border and used an * to indicate those names.
  • Adams Las Animas/Baca Settlement Platted 1887. No P.O. Preceded Stonington. 16 32S 43W 3,14
  • *Albany Bent/Prowers Set. Rural P.O.1887-1891 & 1897-1905 33/34 27S 47W 3,12,14 1888 George Cram
  • Antelope Creek Baca Creek Flows E to join Horse Creek near Blaine. 3 1890 U.S. Geo. Survey – Vilas Sheet
  • Artesia (Blaine) Baca Settlement Also known as Blaine. 3 30S 43W 14 1913 Colorado Geo. Survey
  • Athens Baca Unknown 6 33S 47W 14
  • Atlanta (Groft) Las Animas/Baca Set. P.O. 1887-1899. On Two Buttes Cr. 23 29S 49W 3,12,14 1890 George Cram
  • BACA COUNTY First appears in the – 1890 George Cram
  • Bailey Wells Baca Settlement 24 34S 45W 14
  • Baileyville Baca Settlement Correct name is Bailey Wells. 14
  • Baker Baca Settlement Post Office 1915-1921. NE of Lamport. 5 34S 41W 3,12,14 1920 R. D. George
  • Bartlett Baca Settlement Platted 1926. P. O. 1928-1938. 15 30S 42W 3,12,14 1930 National Map Co.
  • Bear Creek Baca Creek Flows E by Springfield to Kansas near Monon. 3 1876 C. Roeser
  • Bisonte (Bisonite) Baca Station RR stop on AT&SF. 10 mi S of Springfield. 15 32S 46W 3,14 Kansas Memory
  • Black Butt Baca Between Vilas and Walsh north side of Bear Creek 1890 U.S. Geo. Survey – Vilas Sheet
  • Blaine Baca Settlement Site 1. Rural P.O. 1900-1939. 27 29S 43W 3,12,14 1901 Rand McNally
  • *Borders Stanton Co. KS approx. 15 mile NW of Minneapolis. Platted 64 blocks in 1887. 1890 U.S. Geo. Survey – Albany Sheet
  • Boston Las Animas/Baca Settlement Platted 1887. Post Office 1887-1893. Home of the Jennings Gang. 28 32S 44W 3,12,14 1888 George Cram
  • Brookfield Las Animas/Baca Set. Platted 1888. P.O. 1887-1902. 19 28S 48W 3,12 1890 U.S. Geo. Survey – Two Buttes Sheet
  • Buckeye (Lyken, Buffalo) Baca Station Highway stop W of Kansas border. 34 28S 42W 3,14 1927 Clason Road Map
  • Buckley (Lycan) Baca Settlement Became Lycan Post Office in 1913. 3 29S 42W 14
  • Buffalo(Buckeye, Lyken) Baca Set. It was Buffalo, then Buckeye, then Lyken. 34 28S 42W 14
  • Buffalo Creek Baca Creek NE of Baca County, flows into Bear Cr. just past KS line. 1890 U.S. Geo. Survey – Albany Sheet
  • Buffalo Point Baca High Pt. NE of Walsh on North side of Bear Creek 1890 U.S. Geo. Survey – Vilas Sheet
  • Burchfield Lake Baca Reservoir East of Walsh near Konantz rock school house. 5 31S 41W 16
  • Buster Las Animas/Baca Set. Rural P.O. 1916-1927. 5 mi NE of Andrix. Next to county line. 6 31S 50W 3,12,14 1920 R. D. George
  • Butte City (Minneapolis) Baca Set. 2 mi E of Minneapolis, which absorbed Butte City. 35 29S 43W 3,14
  • Campbell Store Baca Other 29 30S 49W 14 14
  • Campo Baca Set. Est. 1912. On AT&SF. P.O. 1913 on. Sev 34S 46W 3,12,14 1914 Rand McNally
  • Carriso (Carrizo) Las Animas/Baca Set. Platted 1880. P.O. 1887-1895, with gaps. SW Baca County. 10 34S 50W 3,12,14 1888 Rand McNally
  • Carriso Springs (Carrizo Spr.,Tubs) Las Animas/Baca Set. P.O. 1888-1890. Platted 1888. Convergence of some early wagon roads. 16 33S 50W 3,12,14 1890 George Cram
  • Carrizo (Corrizo, Carriso) Baca Set. P.O. 1900-1902 and 1907-1916. 6 mi S of Carriso Springs. 10 34S 50W 3,12,14 1905 U.S. Geo. Survey
  • Carrizo Creek Baca Creek Flows across SE corner of county into OK. 1881 Henry Tunison
  • Carrizo Flats Baca Settlement Est. 1887. 4 33S 49W 14
  • Carrizo Springs Baca Set. Est. 1887. Abandoned in 1893. Violent cattle town. 16 33S 50W 14 1890 George Cram
  • Cat Creek Baca Flows into Bear Creek about a mile NE of Springfield 1890 U.S. Geo. Survey – Springfield Sheet
  • Cimmarron City Baca Settlement Platted 1927. 26 34S 48W 3,14
  • Cimmarron River (sp. Cimarron) Baca River Flows across SE corner of county and into Kansas. 3 1876 O.W. Gray
  • Clyde(Seward) Las Animas/Baca Set. Rural P.O. 1889-1890 & 1913-1920. 25 31S 48W 3,12,14
  • 1920 R. D. George Collins Baca Store A store. 32 34S 47W 14 Commanche National Grassland Baca Misc SW corner of county. 3
  • Corinth Las Animas/Baca Set. P.O. briefly in 1887. Moved to Minneapolis. 2 mi E of Minneapolis. ? 29S 42W 3,12,14 1894 Lost School Map
  • Corrizo (Carrizo) Baca Set. P.O. 1899-1907. Changed to Carrizo. 10 34S 50W 12,14 1901 Rand McNally
  • Cottonwood Creek Las Animas/Baca Creek Extreme SE Baca County 1881 Henry Tunison
  • Dallas-Canadian-Denver (DCD) Hwy 1920 R. D. George
  • Decatur Baca Settlement Post Office 1888-1891. N of Springfield. 36 29S 47W 3,12,14 1890 George Cram
  • Deora Baca Set. Rural P.O. 1920-1974. 4 mi NE of Frick. Another location 25 28S 49W. 5 28S 49W 3,12,14 1921 Rand McNally
  • Digglers Store Baca Settlement Maybe just a store. 23 32S 48W 14
  • East Carrizo Creek Las Animas/Baca Creek Early name for western future Sand Arroyo 1888 George Cram
  • Edler Baca Settlement Rural P.O. 1916-1947. 15 mi NW of Campo. 14 33S 48W 3,12,14 1920 R. D. George
  • Elder Baca Set. A Post Office 12 mi NW of Campo. 14 (Possibly a corruption of Edler)
  • Estelene Baca Settlement Post Office 1910-1927. SE of Utleyville. 27 33S 50W 3,12,14 1909 Rand McNally
  • Eureka Baca Unknown 15 31S 44W 14
  • Fort Baca Settlement Adobe constructed on N shore of Cimarron River. 24 34S 42W 14
  • Fort Aubry Wagon Road Las Animas/Baca Road Enters Baca along eastern Bear Cr. 1876 C. Roeser
  • Freeze-Out Creek Baca Creek Flows into Two Buttes Creek. 3 1886 Matthew-Northrup
  • Frick Baca Station RR stop on AT&SF. 17 mi NW of Pritchett. 30 28S 49W 3,14
  • Gallinas Canyon Baca Canyon East of Carrizo Creek. 1913 Colorado Geo. Survey
  • Gavley Baca Store A store. 28 32S 46W 1
  • Graft Baca Set. P.O. 1916-1934. Near Pritchett. Also shown at 23 29S 50W. 10 30S 49W 3,12,14 1920 R. D. George
  • Granada Wagon Road Las Animas/Baca Supply road from Granada to Ft. Union 1876 C. Roeser
  • Harbord Baca Station RR stop on AT&SF. A section house. 10 mi NW of Springfield. 28 29S 48W 3,14
  • *Hackberry Springs Bent/Baca Extreme NW Baca County 1888 George Cram
  • Holmes City (Homes City) Baca Set. Platted 1887. Near Carrizo Springs. Said to be misspelling of Homes City. 29 33S 47W 3,14
  • Hornville Baca Unknown 6 28S 46W 14
  • Horse Creek Baca Creek Flows east by Two Buttes to join Bear Creek west of Monon. 3 1881 Henry Tunison
  • Isreal Store Baca Unknown 10 29S 49W 14
  • Joycoy Baca Settlement Post Office 1915-1927. 3 mi W of Pritchett. 10 31S 49W 3,12,14 1920 R. D. George
  • Kirkwell Baca Settlement Post Office 1917-1921. 29 33S 49W 3,12,14 1920 R. D. George
  • Kliesen City (Kleison City) Baca Set. Platted near Vilas? or Same as Vilas? No P.O. 1 31S 45W 3,14
  • Konantz Baca Set. Site 1. Platted 1909. P.O. was in Frank McGowan’s house. 8 31S 41W 14
  • Konantz (Konnantz) Baca Set. Site 2. P.O. 1895-1918 & 1921-1924. P.O. was at the Earl Florey place. 1895, transfer to Colorado. SE of Bartlett. 32 30S 41W 3,12,14 1901 Rand McNally
  • Lamport Baca Set. Site 2. P.O. 1908-1927. 18 mi SE of Stonington. 13 34S 43W 3,12,14 1909 Rand McNally
  • Lamport Baca Unknown Site 1. Also shown at 26 33S 42W. 28 33S 42W 14
  • Little Bear Creek Baca Creek NW corner of Baca County 1894 Lost School Map
  • Longshore Ranch Baca East of Brookfield North Central Baca Co. 1890 U.S. Geo. Survey – Two Buttes Sheet
  • Lycan Baca Set. Rural P.O. 1913-1975. P.O. was at Buckley until 1913. 3 29S 42W 3,12,14 1914 Rand McNally
  • Lyken (Buckeye) Baca School Two story school house. See Buckeye. 7 28S 42W 14
  • Mathews Baca Set. Est. by 1902. 8 mi NW of Lamport. No P.O. See Matthews Ranch. 3,14
  • Matthews Ranch Baca Ranch 27 33S 44W 14 1890 U.S. Geo. Survey – Vilas Sheet
  • Maverick Creek Baca Creek NW Baca County north of Brookfield 1892 Louis Nell
  • Maxey Baca Set. P.O, 1889-1920. On wagon road Springfield to Atlanta. 24 28S 49W 3,4,12,14 1892 Louis Nell
  • McCall Baca Settlement On AT&SF. 36 30S 48W 1,14 1930 National Map Co.
  • Midway Baca Station No Post Office. 4 mi N of Victor(??). 19 33S 42W 2,3,14
  • Miles Ranch (Milas) Baca Ranch 23 34S 42W 14 1890 U.S. Geo. Survey – Vilas Sheet
  • Minneapolis (Butte City) Baca Set. P.O. 1887-1899. Platted 1888. Moved from Corinth. Also shown at 32 30S 45W. 22 29S 43W 3,12,14 1888 George Cram
  • Monon Baca Settlement Post Office 1901-1918. Near Kansas border. Post Office moved from Kansas. Located in John Johnston home 3/4 mile east of Saunders, KS. 33 29S 41W 3,12,14 1905 Rand McNally
  • *Mount Carrizo Las Animas Butte SW Baca County 1881 Henry Tunison
  • Mountain Plains Hwy Baca Hwy From Springfield to Trinidad 1920 R. D. George
  • *Mulvane Prowers Co. 8 mi. NE of Brookfield 1890 U.S. Geo. Survey – Two Buttes Sheet
  • *Mustang Creek Las Animas Creek Flows into western Two Butte Creek 1885 George Cram
  • Navesink Creek Baca Creek Shown on 1885 map. NE of Sheridan’s Cañon. 3
  • North Canyon Baca Canyon East of Gallinas Canyon, which is east of Carrizo Cr. 1913 Colorado Geo. Survey
  • North Fork Cimmaron River Baca River Flows E & NE from near Edler to KS border. 3 1920 R. D. George
  • North Fork Store Baca Unknown 22 33S 46W 14
  • North Junction Baca Station On AT&SF. 14
  • Nowlinsville Baca Settlement Post Office 1916-1919. SW of Campo. 1 35S 47W 3,12,14 1920 R. D. George
  • Oklarado Baca Set. P.O. 1916-1935. Also shown at 32 32S 49W. Reported as 2 locations. 29 32S 49W 3,12,14 1920 R. D. George
  • *Onine Las Animas Settlement On the NW Baca County line. 1920 R. D. George
  •  Las Animas/Baca Settlement Est. by 1882. 10 mi N of Villegreen. 3,14 (I don’t think this is in Baca County, so this is probably a mistake) 1888 George Cram
  • Pat Canyon Baca Creek East of Carrizo Creek, SW Baca County 1890 U.S. Geo. Survey – Springfield Sheet
  • Plymouth Baca Set. Est. abt 1892??. No P.O. Also shown at 36 31S 42W. 16 32S 42W 3,14 1890 U.S. Geo. Survey – Vilas Sheet
  • *Potato Butte (Potatoe) Las Animas E. of Troy. Landmark to early Baca Co. settlers. 3 1881 Henry Tunison
  • Pride Baca Settlement Post Office 1914-1920. Near Cimmaron River. 3,12,14 1916 Rand McNally
  • Pritchett (Joycoy) Baca Set. Est. 1920. Post Office est. 1927. Moved from Joycoy. 1930 National Map Co.
  • Progress Las Animas/Baca Set. P.O. 1888-1895. Between KS & Stonington. 6 32S 41W 3,12,14 1890 George Cram
  • Red Canyon Baca West of North Canyon SW Baca County. 1890 U.S. Geo. Survey – Springfield Sheet
  • Ramp (Harbord) Baca Unknown On AT&SF. Same as Harbord. 28 29S 48W 14
  • Regnier Baca Settlement Unknown history 8? 35S 48W 1905 Rand McNally
  • Reigle Store Baca Settlement 29 32S 46W 14
  • Richards Baca Set. P.O. 1912-1938. Near S fork of Cimmaron River. 19 33S 43W 3,12,14 1913 Colorado Geo. Survey
  • Richodemus House Baca Unknown 1 34S 43W 14
  • Riddle Store Baca Unknown 11 32S 47W 14
  • Rodley Baca Set. P.O. 1910-1937. 15 mi S of Vilas. 3 locations: 10 & 11 33S 45W. 13 33S 45W 3,12,14 1909 Rand McNally
  • Ruff Baca Set. P.O. 1889-1896. On Old Wagon Road from Okla. to Progress. ? 33S 42W 3,12,14 1892 Louis Nell
  • *Rule Creek (Hule) Las Animas NW of Baca County line 1885 George Cram
  • Sand Arroyo Baca Creek Flows E through central part of county to Kansas border. 3 1890 U.S. Geo. Survey – Vilas Sheet
  • Sand Arroyo Baca Settlement Post Office 1915-1917. 14 1920 R. D. George
  • Sand Canyon Baca East of Gallinas Canyon SW Baca County 1890 U.S. Geo. Survey – Springfield Sheet
  • Seton (Setonsburg) Baca Set. P.O. 1915-1916. Changed to Setonsburg. 19 32S 48W 3,12,14
  • Setonsburg (Seton) Baca Set. P.O. 1916-1920. SW of Springfield. 19 32S 48W 3,12,14 1920 R. D. George
  • Shell Rock Cañon Baca Canyon 1885. NW corner of county. E of Hackberry Spring. 3 1894 Lost School Map
  • Sheridan Cañon Las Animas/Baca Settlement Est. by 1876. SW of town of Two Buttes. 14 1881 Rand McNally
  • Sheridan’s Cañon Baca Canyon 1885. NW corner of county. Flows to Two Buttes Creek. 3 1892 Fisk & Company
  • Soldiers Camp Baca Camp At the spring on E. Carriso Creek. 0.5 mi SE of Carrizo Spring site. 22 33S 50W 14
  • South Junction Baca Station On AT&SF. 14
  • Spring Canyon Baca Canyon SE Baca County. Flows into the Cimarron R. 1913 Colorado Geo. Survey
  • Springfield Las Animas/Baca Set. P.O. est. 1887. County Seat 29 30S 46W 3,12,14 1888 George Cram
  • Stevenson Las Animas/Baca Settlement Post Office 1888. 3,12,14 1889 Rand McNally
  • Stonington (New Stonington) Baca Settlement Site 2. Post Office ?-1909 when relocated & platted. 6 mi NE of original site. P.O. closed 4/20/1990 5 32S 42W 14 1901 Rand McNally
  • Stonington (Old Stonington) Las Animas/Baca Settlement Site 1. P.O. est. 1888. 1909, moved 6 mi NE of original site. 9 32S 43W 3,12,14 1889 Rand McNally
  • *Taloga Morton Co. KS On the state line about 10 mile N of the Cimarron R. 1891 George Cram
  • Texas Trail Baca Trail Runs along the east border of the county 1890 U.S. Geo. Survey – Albany Sheet
  • Townsite (Carrizo PO) Baca Settlement P.O. 1900-1902. Same site as Carrizo PO. 12,14 1901 Rand McNally
  • Travis Baca Settlement 9 mi NE of Vilas. 4 mi S of Two Buttes. 3,14
  • Tubs (Carriso Springs) Baca Set. Nickname for Carriso Springs for large wooden watering tanks. 3
  • Tuck (Utleyville) Baca Set. P.O. 1916-1917. Changed/moved to Utleyville. 1 32S 50W 12,14
  • *Two Buttes Bent/Prowers Buttes North of Two Buttes Res. 1876 O.W. Gray
  • Two Butte(s) (Butte) Creek Las Animas/Baca Creek Flows across NW corner of county. 3 1876 O.W. Gray
  • Two Buttes Baca Settlement Platted 1909. P.O. est. 1910. 32 28S 44W 3,12,14 1909 Rand McNally
  • Two Buttes Reservoir Baca Lake North central county, near border of Prowers Co. Sev 28S 46W 1913 Colorado Geo. Survey Geologic map
  • Utleyville Baca Settlement Site 1. Old location 8 32S 50W 14
  • Utleyville Baca Settlement Site 2. P.O. 1917-1973. Moved from Tuck. 10 32S 50W 3,12,14 1920 R. D. George
  • Viena Baca Settlement No P.O. 20 mi SW of Vilas, near Ruff. 32 33S 46W 3,14 1894 Lost School Map
  • Vilas (Villas, Kleison City) Las Animas/Baca Set. On AT&SF. P,O. est. 1887. 1 31S 45W 3,12,14 1888 George Cram
  • Walsh Baca Set. Est. 1914. On AT&SF. Platted 1926. P.O. est. 1926. 32 30S 43W 3,12,14 1930 National Map Co.
  • Wentworth (Wentsworth) Baca Settlement P.O. 1911-1921. 28 32S 42W 3,12,14 1913 Colorado Geo. Survey
  • Westola Baca Settlement South of Konantz 1916 Rand McNally
  • *Wilde Bent/Prowers Settlement NW of Two Buttes Mt. 1888 Rand McNally
  • Willow Creek Las Animas/Baca Creek SW corner of Baca (future Carrizo Cr. ??) 1876 C. Roeser
Maps used and number of references:
1876 C. Roeser Territory of Colorado Map – 4
1876 O.W. Gray and Son – 2
1890 U.S. Geo. Survey Index – 6 sheets – 12
1905 U.S. Geo. Survey – 1 Example of how Baca County is ignored. REALLY!!!!!!
1924 U.S. Geo. Survey – Baca Mining Dist.
1930 Clason Road Map – Interesting Road Map

Some More Old Vilas

The Springfield Herald had a regular series in  either 1918 or 1919 called “Persons, Stories, and Incidents of Old Boston and the Old Days.”  I am a bit confuse on the year because several of the issues have the year 1918 marked out in pencil with 1919 written in. This occurs in several issues but not all.   It is a bit confusing so I think we will just have to go with the flow on this one until I can possibly get some clarification on this issue.  

The story is fun at any rate. The episode author is listed as “The Writer”.  The January 3, 1918  or 1919 edition of the series was titled “Some More of Old Vilas”.   Note the list of stores that were in Vilas in 1889 at the end of the article.  The story goes as follows:

In the Vilas Democrat February 7, 1889. We find a few locals of some of Baca’s old-timers worth noticing, running as follows.

Our old friend Fred Willis to be seen on our street the 4 part of the week.

About a 1,000 times since that time Fred could be seen on the streets of Vilas, he being one of the thousands and one who refused to abdicate his little throne, when all the other kings potentates and high muckamucks were getting out.

Fred owns a whole lot of the good earth over east of Vilas during the middle ages of his stay here was worth all the way from $25.00 to $75.00 per quarter section, now worth from $2000 – $5000 a quarter — after being marked down.

Fred during those middle ages made a whole lot of money out of horses and cattle — until the new fellows took up the range.  When he took up other ways of making money.   

Did you stop at the in Cady and Brothers store and buy that fresh supply of groceries?

The Cadys for years lived over in the West Pretty Prairie country after leaving Vilas and we believe some of them are still in the country.  

C. F. Wheeler has started on a Siege of freight from Lamar. C.F. is bs. from the word go.  

Has there is a point after the s and not after the b, we have an idea there was an i in between the two letters that didn’t show up.

Wheeler in those old days as we understand got $1.00 a hundred freighting from Lamar down and as he can’t pay out anything except for a cracker once in a while, and sometimes buying a stick of candy for his best girl when old Vilas went down and the stores were gone he went out into the backyard dug up that freight money, started a store of his own, sold goods to everybody in Baca County, a way down into Egypt for the panhandle and from Dan to Beersheba the other way, and today he may be worth $50,000, and he may be worth several times that, as far as any mortal outside of himself knows.

Ed Shield came in from Lamar Sunday Evening with a choice stock  of groceries.

Ed Shields may have been the Uncle of Joe Shields, who grew up in Baca county, married Les and Claude Jones sister Mary, and moved a few years ago to California.

Among the advertising firms of Vilas in the Democrat were Ross and Johnson Real Estate  Dr. Hanna drug store, Ryan and Campbell Livery Barn, Ed Shield lawyer, J. M. Conway, Blacksmith, Ryan & Crossman ????? & real estate, W. Ferguson stage line, P. G. Boonewits hard ware and general merchandise.    

When last we saw of Vilas in those old days it was all ????? except the five houses that had been moved to Boston.

It was the second largest town in the east end, and we believe presented a more striking appearance than any of the others.

Then came the general Roundup of the County Seat business with Springfield the winner of that losing game, with the other dozen towns of the county left out in the outdoors of creation.

It was seventeen years before the writer again saw the once-proud city of Vilas. And what a difference in the morning. All there was left of the fine little city of the old days was C. F Wheeler with his double business building in the center of town and one or two other buildings, the old hotel building and we believe one or two residences and the schoolhouse. With a few remaining unpainted weather-beaten dilapidated houses it certainly presented a forlorn site.

But it was still the second size in the county, for the reason that the dozen of towns of those old days it was just one of the to survive, the county seat being the other one.

Something else next time.

My Observations on this:  

  • When you see ???? I couldn’t decipher the text in the scan.  I hope I get the chance to follow up on the originals and fill in the blank.
  • I find it interesting in 1918/1919 they were already calling it Old Boston.
  • Below is the Vilas Hotel that was in Vilas in 1889 when the original article was written.  It can’t be the hotel mentioned at the end of the 1918 or 1919 article as the hotel in the picture was destroyed by fire September 15, 1904.  If they are referencing that as the “old hotel” then it is incorrect. A few of the names mentioned are the same in this post. The picture was taken possibly in March 1887.  Some of the people shown are(note the duplicate names):  W.B. Ross & Family.  Dock Floyd, Charley Spear, D. E. Duptey, Charles Carlile, Dr. Hanna, J.D. Miller, Charles Draper, Charley Spear, Bob Crossman, M.D.  Ryan, Joe McIntire, Dock Ryeson, Dock Draper, Stacy Core, Sam Bigler, Ed Ryan, Ed Shields, Marion Evans, A. J.  Shaw, Bart Roads & setting on the corner of the porch is Dan Warner and John McCoach playing cards.

Tioga County

The Springfield Herald had a regular series in 1918 called “Persons, Stories, and Incidents of Old Boston and the Old Days.”  The episode author is listed as “The Writer”.  The February 1, 1918 edition of the series was titled “Tioga County”.   The story as told by the Herald is as follows:

“Probably there are not many and possibly not any of the old-timers in Baca County who remember Tioga County

It is just barely possible that most of those directly concerned about it and connected with it would remember Tioga County only after having their attentions called to the events of those old days that left Boston out in the cold, and finally resulted in the disintegration and scatterment to the four winds of the earth.

It was down at Trinidad that most of the conspiracies of those old days were hatched and it was there that Tioga County had its birth.   The Democrats were then the majority party in old Las Animas County, and had been for many years, and three or four Democrats of Trinidad and all those old days practically constituted the Democratic Party of the county.

Judge Jennings – lawyer, doctor, politician and orator – the weasel of the East End, Albert Hughes president of the Town company and a good second to Jennings in wire manipulations and cunningness, arranged the county seat matters with the “powers” of Trinidad under which arrangements, A. Hughes was supposed to be sent to the legislature from the east end and of course the election of Hughes meant Boston for the county seat.

Doctor Brown always called “Doc” was the paternal progenitor of the name.   “Tioga” is intended as the name to be applied to the intended cut off from the east end of Los Alamos. “Tioga”  was the name of the county in New York he came from and Doc’s influence with the republican was needed to call the new county Tioga.


The incidents wrapped up in the history of Tioga County of course belonged to the scheme of making Boston the county seat of whatever was cut off the east end.

When the plan was consummated to send Hughes to the legislature, the Western World mildly opposed his nomination, particularly because of his occasional relapses from the strict state of sobriety and, partly out of the fear of last minute treachery.

It was argued go by practically everyone that Hughes interest in Boston were so great that no opposing interest could afford to buy him and that consequently he would be the safest man in that respect and could be sent to Denver.

As to Hughes, whether he came back a broken hearted man or not we do not know,  but we do know that he came back broke as well as coming out back to a broken and friendless town.

He remained in town but a short time, a week or so matter, and like all others afterward, left never to return. He came to Boston repeated to be worth $75,000 and he got away with anything from $1000 to $6000.

Hughes we understand went to Washington into the store business, but whether he’s still there and whether he’s made good we do not know.

But Boston, the probable one-time County of Tioga County, the largest town in all of the east end – all there is now there to tell the tragic story are piles of stone and holes in the ground.

That is how close to the banks of the North Fork of the Great American desert, lying midway between the range lines third 43 and 44, and a mile post south of the center of the town lines of 32 and 33 – all somewhere in the north temperate zone of the 112 North American continent.

Should you ever chance to visit the shrine of the defunct city, stop long enough to shed a tear on the tomb of its departed glory and offer up a prayer for the souls of those are buried beneath its ruins.

It’s all over now and has been for the past 30 years during which the ground has been made hallowed as a range for livestock, coyotes, and badgers, while its one time rollicking,  hopeful care-free people have been scattered as were the children of lost tribes of Israel.

Goodbye poor ol’ Boston for the present — will call again another day.”

My Link To The Old West…

My Link to the Old West originally appeared on Boody’s Blog: Missives from Mythtickle and is re posted with permission from Justin Thompson

Last summer, 2008, I found something out from my Dad that was absolutely astounding. Now this ain’t a myth, this is true. I’m shootin’ ya’ straight here.

My family and I, wife and two little kids, then 6 and 2, drove out to see my Dad in the farm country of Southeast Colorado. He grew up out there in the ’20s and ’30s and finally retired there. I did a bit of growing up in the Denver suburb called ‘Littleton’ back in the day, but anyway…

Lots of driving, over 3,700 miles in 12 days, and we made the most of it and saw lots of neat stuff. Including the Denver Zoo and the Albuquerque Museum of Natural History. We also saw the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and the crisp sprawling beauty of southern Wyoming. We visited with my dad for a few days out there in the plains where he grew up and I found out some weird stuff that I never knew. My Dad never talked much about himself when I was a kid.

So dad was 89 years old last summer, he and my Mom adopted me when he was 43. His Dad (my Granddad) died in 1935 at 80 years old- when my Dad was only 16! You might want to read that again because frankly, if I were reading this on someone’s blog I’d have too. But here’s the startling thing: Gid Thompson (that was my Granddad’s name) and his brother Bill, fled the Carolinas when they were kids, probably to avoid possible conscription in the confederate army of the civil war in the mid 1860s. Over the following decade, in their early teens, they both slowly made their way out West apparently by nefarious means. They reportedly killed a guy in Kansas near Dodge City, this is documented, and robbed him of about 4 thousand dollars. They fled Dodge as many outlaws did at that time by crossing the border into Colorado’s Baca County. They bought up a good amount of land and set up a homestead there. About 10 miles south of the old place they settled on, was a town called Boston. That town was frequented by outlaws and spillover scum from Kansas and was eventually burned down by that same ilk sometime in the late 1880s. At some point, Gid and Bill were arrested for the gunning down of a Sheriff in the main street of Boston, I think his name was Smith or Miller or something, and Bill went to jail for it. They were both caught and went to trial a few years before about the aforementioned murder of that guy in Kansas. Gid spent time in Leavenworth for that but was strangely out in two years. Bill wound up spending a couple of years in jail for the murder of that lawman in Boston, Colorado. It seems that in both cases, one brother took the full rap for the other and was strangely out in two years. For MURDER!

It’s so quiet out there now, but it was a very different place in the late 19th century. A lawyer who was looking up stuff for my Dad recently uncovered these facts in a book about Baca county, and I read the excerpts while I was out there.

One of the many things I found amazing when hearing about the past of Baca county, is that many things we see in TV shows and movies about the old west actually happened in that town of Boston and in that county and the stories were handed down to following generations in the old oral traditions. But because none of the major players involved had a “catchy name”, the people and even the town itself faded as ashes into the dust of memory. If one of the shooters in that town had a name like ‘Bat’ or ‘McGrew’ or ‘Ringo’ or something, they’d still be singing about it. But‘Thompson’ just doesn’t have a ‘catch’ to it that would make its owner immediately famous. (Boy, I’m sure finding THAT out) But the deeds were still done, even though they are not sung.

Now, all that remains is the old Boston graveyard on a hill nearby. My dad and I went there a few years ago and from that graveyard hill you can still look across the farm road and see the tiered flat ground that were the city foundations once. It’s been plowed over dozens of times since then and you can barely make it out. I never knew until this trip what a wild and bloody town that was, and the part my Dad’s father played in it.

Cool trip, I must say.  But think of this, my ‘Grandfather’ was alive when Lincoln was alive. Not Great Grandfather, not Great, Great, Great Grandfather, my Grandad. Makes me feel old to think about it but I’m really not. I’m only in my late 40s.

So fast-forward to this last January, the eve of the President’s inaguration: Dad called me to talk. The last couple of times I had spoken with him on the phone that week, he had seemed grouchy and tired. Exactly how he seemed when I was a kid, but not how he’s sounded in many years. He called to tell me that he’s putting his ducks in a row- or as he called it, ‘closing the gates’. He turned 90 this past April. He said that he wanted to finalize any loose ends so that his affairs won’t be in such a mess when he ‘goes’. The weight of the conversation kept me from asking, “Gee, aren’t ya’ gonna’ watch the inauguration?” He wouldn’t have liked that I don’t think, being as… let’s say ‘non-progressive’ about politics and such.

But despite this fact, and with the burden of a life-discussion on our backs, I let it alone and hung up and began to reflect on the extraordinary bookend that my Dad closes in the twilight of his life and in the hand to hand of his father and himself. Chiefly, that his father walked the Earth with President Lincoln, he breathed the same air as slaves, and heard the first cannons of American civil rights shaking the clouds.

And that man’s son, will likely die under a black President.
About the Author of this Post:
Justin Thompson is the creator of the Mythtickle online comic strip. It’s a comic strip set in the mythical plane of influence. Characters from myth and legend from around the world live here and seem to get along just fine.

Justin can be found:
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