Crop Prospects for Southeast Colorado in 1888

PERSONS Stories and Incidents of the Early Day East Enders

Before Baca County became a county in the spring of 1889 it was the eastern end of Las Animas county. As spring is upon us, I thought it might be good to look back at the crop prospects in Southeast Colorado in 1888.  The following  report comes from the The Daily Sentinel (Garden City, Kansas) · 28 Feb 1888.  I have included the towns from  what is present day Baca County and the areas surrounding Baca County including Old Bent County.  If you want to see where many of these towns were located, check out Boomtown Maps. There were many more Kansas listings, but we have chosen those most relevant to the history of Baca County.  If space allows we may present Kansas locations in the future.

Springfield and Vilas were in Old Las Animas County when this was printed.

Brookfield was in the Northwestern part of what is present day Baca County

Troy and Indianapolis were near present day Kim, Colorado. I am still unsure of the location of Alfalfa. If anyone has any clues, let me know.

The following are from Old Bent County which was broken up in the 1889 legislature.

Wilde was just west of Two Buttes mountain in present day Prowers Count. For more on Wilde check out my blog Wilde, Colorado: Colonel York, The Bloody Benders and West Point

When did it the Old Stone Schoolhouse become the Masonic Temple?

The question that led to this blog was, “When did it (the old stone schoolhouse) become the Masonic Temple?”   I couldn’t answer the question off the top of my noggin so I went to a resource I found awhile back, James Hill’s 1941 Master’s Thesis, “A History of Baca County”  Hill was superintendent at Vilas a few years prior to returning to complete his Masters and he did a summary of organizations in the county at that time. The text below provides the answer to the original question.  I have added a couple of news articles to provide some timeline info prior to the purchase of the school as the Masonic Temple. Hope this helps.

Springfield Herald, Sept 22, 1916

Democrat Herald June 17, 1921.
Obviously , this never came to pass when they bought the Old School

A number of Master Masons, reciting in the vicinity of Springfield, met in the basement of the M. E. Church in Springfield on Friday evening, September 23, 1921, at the call of Albert A. Hazerman and Edward C. Measel for the purpose of considering the advisability of petitioning Marshall H. Van Fleet, Grand Master of the Masons in Colorado for a dispensation to form a new lodge in Springfield. The meeting was called to order by L. C. Elver and after a thorough discussion of the situation it was decided to first look into the matter of purchasing a place to meet. The committee of organization was appointed to the meeting adjourned.

The next meeting was on November 21st 1921, and was called to order by L.C. Elver.  The committee reported on the purchase of suitable quarters and it was decided to purchase the old Springfield School building if it met with the approval of The Grandmaster.  A petition requesting disposition was drawn up. L. C. Elver was recommended as master; R. J. Flint, senior Warden; and Lloyd Cole, Junior Warden. Petition was signed by all present and bore the following names:   L. C. Elver, R. F. Flint, C. L. Doughty, J. J. Phillips, V. E. Critz, L. L. Bland, Loyd Cole, E. C. Denney, A. A. Hagerman, Maurice Long, J. M. Royster, J. E. Terrale, R. K. Trivett, E. C. Measel, and J. M. Graft. The next week,  the following officers were elected and appointed: E. C. Measel, treasurer; A. A. Hagerman, secretary; W. A. Strand, senior steward; Maurice Long, junior steward; and Charles A. Roweth, teller.

The dispensation was issued May 13, 1922, and received May 16.  Masons and their ladies met in the basement of the M. E. Church or bank would have been prepared. Fifteen local members in forty-seven non-resident members were present.  James Cade Doughty Lamar lodge number 90 read the dispensation to deliver it to L. C. Elver,” with appropriate remarks, charging him with the duty of maintaining the high standards of masonry in Colorado.”

The Masonic Temple Association, and independent organization, was incorporated for the purpose of financing the newly purchased Temple. Certificate of stock in the various denominations from $5 to $25 bearing interest at 6% per annum were issued members of The Lodge, payable out of the revenue of the lodge. Only one issue was made and the certificate of indebtedness were paid off December 21st 1931. During this time cash sometimes ran low and going was tough, but members advanced private loans to meet emergencies.

On September 22nd 1922 the charger was issued by Marshall H. Van Fleet. The charter members were R. F. Flint, Lloyd Cole, J. J. Phillips, E. C. Measel, A. A. Hagerman, E. C. Denney, C. A. Roth, Albert Neal R. K. Trivet, J. M. Graff, Maurice Long, Charles L. Dowdy, William A. Strand, J. M. Royster, Roy Hodges, H.L. Chapman, S. E. Eaton, L. L. Bland, C. C. Temple, C. S. Grill, J. A. Spikes,  H. C. Kett, V. E. Ritz, J. C. Tara, and L. C. Elver.

At the time it received its Charter, the lodge had 25 members;  today has grown to a membership of 114. The temple is located in the northwest part of Springfield and formerly was a school house.  The building has been reappointed and re-roofed. The basement has a banquet Kitchen in a hall with a restroom and equipment to take care of the social activities of the lodge. The main Lodge Hall is on the main floor. The present officers of the lodge number 158 are H. L. Hershey, master;  E. E. Terry, senior warden Z. T. Howell, junior warden; Joe Perkins, senior deacon; c. L. Dowdy, treasure; B. H. Cox, secretary; V. L. Novinger, senior steward; J. Jackson, junior steward; and C. P. Leimkuhler, teller.

Names of Springfield Residents of 1889 Disclosed in Letter this Week…


The names of those who lived in Springfield and community back in the year 1889 disclosed in a The Democrat-Herald (Springfield, Colorado) 25 Jan 1935. — clipping from the Springfield Herald, the predecessor to The Democrat-Herald.  This is a reprint of a February 25, 1889 letter written from Springfield, Colorado and reprinted in the 1935 Springfield newspaper describing life in 1889 Springfield.  The names of early day residents is integrated in pun form into the text of the article entitled, “O Pun ion Letter.” I bolded the names to make it a little more readable

Tom Oxenreider, who lived north of Springfield, provided the clipping which had been carefully preserved for many years to the paper. When posted they stated, “We know that old timers will enjoy reading it and newcomers will gain an insight into what appeared in Baca County newspapers at that early date.  The paper then was but one-year-old, having been established in 1887.

So much has already been written about Springfield, that my weak and pushy efforts in that direction may fail to interest, but having been requested to write a short article, I trust that those who read it may not do so without some profit.

The rapid hardy growth of Springfield is the wonder of the surrounding country.  It is an accepted fact that since the time of Alexander or we might even say since Adam’s day there has not been witnessed so remarkable a growth.  Some doubting Thomas may say, “What are you Garvin us?” but we ask you to the facts.

Although less than a year old, it Greives our neighbors to see what clingers we are, and with good men at the helm and all our armor on.  We still intend to keep Cohenn (going) until Wheeland at the top, and our enemies bray their loudest, they will soon be compelled to Neil and acknowledge our superiority.

We do not rely sole-Lee on our unsurpassed location for success, altho that is one of the most picturesque in southeastern Colorado: For those who have leisure, our surroundings furnish manifold diversions.  They may scale thee Cliff, ford the streams and climb the Knowles, which dot the prairie, or it too industrious for such pastimes, they may find the sawing the Halling of time a profitable occupation/

As a town, we furnish a most pleasing picture to the artistic eye, each building being painted in White, Gray, Brown and various colors, according to the taste of the owner.

Our inhabitants are refined and industrious and peacefully follow their various occupations of Gardner, merchant, Fisher, Carter, Smith’s etc.

Away from the hurrie-bury of city life, we Love and Haight, and are found Eaton and drinkin’ as in other places.  Ours is an agricultural country as the abundant Kropps of last year witness and we expect the field of cane, millet, Korn, oats, wheat etc. this year, to be sill Moore convincing to the skeptical, and we hope also to see an interest taken in agriculture the coming summer as the addition of pansies, sweet Williams etc. will add much to the beauty of our town.

The Cole mine is in operation northeast of town and is in a flourishing state, the supply being abundant and of excellent quality and we have reason to believe that we will soon have a Silver mine in full blast.

We have one thoroughly organized Church, a good school and post office, and our prospects are in every way brilliant and Sparkling.

We have every assurance that in a very few months, one or more rail Rhodes will be running through our town and we urge all who are seeking Homes in the west to visit Springfield, each individual, whether rich or poor, will find Friends, and we would Barr none from entering our midst.  Whether you be a,Walker or equestrian, or Oxenrider, or whatever your mode of conveyance hither, we bid you welcome.

I think I hear querry “Kinn-a-man still secure a claim hear in your town?”  We reply, “You can.”  But come at once or Maybe you will be disappointed.

There has been found none willing to Willis an interest in his claim, notwithstanding the many hardships of the winter just past.

It is not necessary to bring to Bevil to get the corners and lines of your claim, as a claim is not laid out with oblique angles.  You will find efficient locators to aid you in the selection of a suitable claim with not even a Stump to mar its level beauty.

We desire to keep the Kett-lee bling and invite the daughters of the east (Anderson, also) to come and assist us in heaping on the fuel of energy and perseverance.  And, if the fire Burns us, can we not endure a little sMartin for the sake of the reward in store in the near and glorious future?

Then let us lay aside petty jealousies and prejudices, and unite our efforts in the success of our adopted city.



The Digital Campfire of Social Media and How it Sparked a Book Project

Greetings from an unseasonably mild but windy Casper Wyoming.  I have a little bit of reflection and a couple of messages related to a local history blog, social media,  and the sparks that lit a book project about one of the wildest little towns of the old west.   Four years ago,  I launched  At that time I stated,

Maybe this project stops with a few blog posts and a couple of tall tales, or maybe we can transform the content into an update of the big brown Baca County History book from the early 1980’s.  

Here we are four years later with a great collection of blog posts from multiple folks.  In conjunction with this blog is a realization on my part of how powerful social media can be for recording and sharing local history.  The primary social media tool I am speaking of for this post is Facebook.  Over the past few years, an ever-increasing number of members in two different Facebook groups have provided a continual stream of memories about the place where I grew up, Baca County, Colorado as well as surrounding areas in Southwest Kansas, the Oklahoma Panhandle and the Lamar, Colorado regions. Those Facebook groups have been a primary catalyst for more than one of those blog posts

I usually end up coming back to some technology angle since my day job as the Computer Director at Casper College, usually pushes me that direction.   I must say that beyond the sharing of  history of the county where I grew up, the technological application and interaction of the Baca County Facebook community and its members fascinates me to the “nth degree”  

On the negative side
Social media and digital social networking isn’t for everyone. However, it is such a massive part of all our lives; whether we embrace or reject the media, it is not to be ignored. I don’t want to get too much into the negative aspects of social media other than acknowledging they are there and that I sometimes can’t believe what I see,  Usually, on the negative side I am thinking….”What is wrong with these people?”    

On the positive side
I have grown to think of our Facebook groups as a digital campfire. That descriptor was given to me by Technology/ Geek Rock Star and friend Wes Fryer.  For a moment assume a digital campfire is a gathering place where a whole lot of folks who are in a whole lot of different places in life have found common ground.  The fire is a place to gather together and swap a few tales and warm up before having to get up go out and face that cold, cold world.  If this is true, then the folks where I grew up have found a digital campfire with Facebook.  To them, all I can say is….”you all have done good!” 

On the positive side I find it fascinating that it’s entirely possible to have hundreds of friends on Facebook. They may not be friends I know on a personal level and spend time with in the real world on a daily or weekly basis. But they’re friends nonetheless. Some are childhood friends, some childhood heroes, and some college acquaintances I have reconnected with.  Some I spent a whole lot of time with, and there are several people I consider friends who I have never met face to face— some I probably will never meet  — but that doesn’t lessen the connection we have made these recent years thanks to social networks.  

I waffle back and forth on whether face to face contact to the phone might be better for conversation but the true advantage of how we are connecting on these Facebook groups is that we can use these tools on our terms.  As individuals or time is stretched to greater lengths by work and family commitments. However, social media offers a chance to communicate speedily and efficiently.

With a phone call, for example, you can’t just say what you want to say and then hang up. That would breach phone etiquette and be seen as downright rude. Instead, with a phone call you have to swap pleasantries before saying what you want to say, and then swap more pleasantries before the conversation comes to a close. Sometimes we may describe it as cold, but it certainly provides some efficiencies that allow for interaction with more people than maybe we were able to in the past.

Facebook has allowed us to share interests with others who have those same interests, such as a shared county history.  Facebook, does for example when preparing to connect us asks you to list interests. This makes it much easier to find common ground with other users.

This release of info does require the sharing of information, and in the process giving up a degree of privacy, which is cause for some people to reject social media outright. Keeping key personal information private is necessary, but sharing likes, dislikes, interests, thoughts, and views contribute, it could be argued, to an open society.

As with most things in life, there are pros and cons.  When used in moderation, with checks and balances on how younger people, in particular, are using them, social networking sites are just a tool.  What is our hearts often is what comes out, so we all need to be wary of how these tools are used.  

So what is the book that has been sparked?  For me personally, the journey is not yet a Baca County History book update (although I still think it is a good idea) as was originally thought four years ago.   But instead it has become a more focused book  I am calling, “Boston: Wild As They Come” with a two-part goal, which is first, to tell the story of the now extinct town of Boston Colorado and second to celebrate frontier newspaperman Sam Konkel who has given us a great historical treasure 100 years past its the original publication.  He wrote a series of newspaper articles which provides us what he remembered of those old days.  One social media conversation led to another and another and then a trip to the Baca County Museum and then……Yes, this project really is a new real-life tale about the old west in 1886 Southeast Colorado.  And to answer your question…no it is not historical fiction.  It is those actual events and people of that old time town.

I am not sure I would have gotten involved in this book project without social media, but at this point, we are on track for a late spring 2018 launch.  I have several angry stabby editors blazing away at the narrative and hopefully, I’ll be ready soon to tell everyone when pre-launch sales will open. It has also sparked a couple of side projects that could easily develop into another book or two.    To provide a bit more of an idea about what I am doing with this book project,  I have provided the book cover, a brief description of the story and my Table of Contents as is stands today, (February 2018).

Boston 1886
On the eve of November 15, 1886,  four members of the Atlantis Town Company stopped on the Southeast Colorado plains preparing to stake out and establish Boston, Colorado.  Though short-lived, (1886-1892) Boston was home to personalities ranging from common homesteaders, flat earth advocates, cowboys, and outlaws including the Jennings Gang before they became famous in Oklahoma.  Frontier newspaperman Sam Konkel joined the joined the town company to promote Boston and described it as “The Utopian City of the Plains.” Old Boston was built to catch the railroad and support commerce and agriculture in southeast Colorado but it quickly became one of the wildest little towns on the American old west frontier.

Book Cover

Click the book cover to purchase on Thanks.

Draft Copy of Old Boston Table of Contents February 2018

Note: This post is cross-posted at my tech blog

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.

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

Known All Over Creation and Down in Arkansas as The Great County Builder: Sam Konkel

The more I dig into the history of Baca County, the more I appreciate Sam Konkel’s contributions to the development of early Baca County.  He started the “Western World” paper in Old Boston and ran it throughout the three years Boston existed. He left the county for several years before returning to the high plains of Baca County  and was maybe the most vocal promoter of Baca County  from 1913 to 1930.  I love his work in 1918 and 1919 when he ran a series retelling stories of Old Boston, early Vilas and more.  We learn a lot about the people of that era from him.  That work is significant because he was in Boston and saw it throughout its short and wild existence.  When I have posted stories such as “Tioga County” and “Some More Old Vilas” Sam Konkel is the “The Writer”   Sam Konkel called himself the “Great County Builder” publishing Baca County maps and promotional materials that were sent nationwide.

His efforts were certainly played a part in the population in the 1930 census being the largest in the county’s history (See Summary Chart Below).

He owned several newspapers as shown in the clipping below but his work and passion was Baca County.

His work laid a great foundation for work that was done later  by J. R. Austin, Ike Osteen and others.   Now there is the irony that all of this County Building optimism was a precursor to the most difficult decade in the history of our country. 

Saying Goodbye to our 1000 Readers
June 19, 1930

After Seventeen years it is no small task to say the parting words to old friends and acquaintances, as which the Great County Builder looks upon its thousand readers, some of whom have been subscribers of this great family journal since its first issue in 1887– forty-three years ago.

How time does fly! It has been 44 years since the editor started the Western World at old Boston and seventeen years since taking over the old Springfield Herald–1913–and eleven years since the consolidation with the Baca County Democrat, it then becoming the present Democrat Herald.

We have seen during this time the most wonderful growth of any purely agricultural city in the world, it gradually developed from a berg of a couple dozen unpainted buildings and a population of something like fifty souls, also at that time mostly unpainted and unvarnished, and  little hinky-dinky stores with a handful each of goods– to a city of 1,400 people with a hundred businesses and professional places in the town and mercantile establishments securing stocks of thousands and tens of thousands of dollars worth of goods, some of them actually upward of $50,000 and not sure but the one of them as mere $100,000

During the 17 years the editor has never lost an opportunity to boost for his Town & Country, and believe that we have played no small part in the upbuilding of both, and giving to both the publicity that is made them the most favorably talked of units in the whole last both at home and abroad, and the publicity as a matter of course Accounting for the wonderful transformation of both City and country, has above at line.

The editor believes in the internal law of right, and believes that right — regardless of where it is found, or by what body of man it is promulgated. Believe that right should be the Eternal Rock of one’s convictions, and it should be their policy to “know that they are right” and then go ahead.

With this policy is a guide, we have chosen the party nearest our convictions and in our activities that direction have sometimes stirred up some little resentment among the hot ones on the other side, though among these very ones we can right now count some of our very best friends.

At this stage you want to say that we have the firm Faith to believe the both Springfield and back and County are just now at the threshold, and it inside of 5 years Springfield will be the leading town of the Southwest, and that air that time the Democrat-Herald will become a daily and probably leading daily of the Southwest.

At this splendid outlook we have sold Democrat-Herald to I. C. Ross of Dodge City Kansas and have done so for the soul and whole reason that we have reached the stage in life where the strenuons is no longer appealing and we choose to extend our efforts in other directions that will not call so imperatively for our personal attention; and further than this deponent sayeth not at the present time except to announce that we are not contemplating shaking the dust off our town and country off our feet, though one cannot tell what the future will bring forth.

Having said these words of our self, we want to introduce to you the new owner, Mr. I.C. Ross and his establishment of Dodge City Kansas.

Mr. Ross has won his spurs in the newspaper arena, though not having been active in the harness for a few years. It is a right old saying that having once been in “ink slinging” business period after being out of it a while the fingers begin to tingle for the quill or some other ink slinging device, — now mostly in the shape of typewriters and linotypes and so it was with Mr. Ross.

Mr. Ross for a few years has been running a large job office (a kind of third cousin to a newspaper office)e in Dodge City, finally yielded to the law of journalistic and having visited Springfield several times and seen something of its wonderful development, decided that this was the ideal town for his new journalistic venture–that being the how of this absquatultary  and the introduction of Mr. Ross as the new Great County Builder ramroder.

Thanking both our subscribers and the businessman of Springfield for their favor and liberal patronage and asking the extension to the same to our live-wire successor, we remain yours for a greater Baca County and a greater Springfield.

S.M. Konkel

The Challenge of the Broomcorn Harvesting Machine

“No machine has yet been invented to successfully replace the hand labor.  The men, using broomcorn knives with sharp five-inch knives, move down rows in a field, bending the heads or brush with one hand and cutting the stalk about six inches below the bottom part of the brush with the other hand. “

-Pueblo (CO) Chieftain October 25, 1971

Many words have been spoken about the inability to automate broomcorn harvesting,  but not as much about the attempt to automate.  Disruptive technology such as the vacuum cleaner, the development of the plastic broom certainly contributed to the demise of the U.S. broomcorn industry.   Labor shortages and the inability to create a machine which could harvest the inconsistent heights of the broomcorn plant in the field certainly contributed to this demise as well.   The picture below shows Lon Kerr standing in his broomcorn field in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s.  I want to show this picture as it offers not only some perspective on the varying heights of the individual plants, but also as a bonus (that is correct no extra charge) because Lon was my Little League baseball coach.  

Photo courtesy of Lonnie Kerr

It wasn’t as though efforts were not made to solve this dilemma.  Dr. Sam Moyer told me in a fall 2016 conversation that  since 1862 there have been many patents for broomcorn “harvesters”. They were detailed engineering ideas designed to cut, and usually partially process, the normally tall plants. It is generally not known if most of these were actually made or if they worked.   Starting with the information above and Dr. Moyer’s list I decided to dig into this topic and see what else I could find.  With the power of the Google patent archive I found many additional broomcorn harvesting inventions which include harvesters, seeders, balers and sizers which date back to 1851. In fact between 1851 and 1995 there were at least 75 patents for broomcorn harvesting machines.  I also stumbled upon several addition broomcorn knives to add to my broomcorn post about broomcorn knife patents.   I decided to categorize these inventions first as the ones that originated in or near where I grew up in Baca County Colorado, broomcorn knives, harvesting machines, patents outside the U.S. and Sizers/Eveners and Balers/Bundlers.     

Four of these harvesting machines have Baca County Colorado origins.   One of the sizers has a Lamar CO orign.  Lamar is just north of Baca County in Southeast Colorado.

1648749 Nov 8, 1927.  Broom corn harvesting machine.  Sivert Udstad of Aurora IL and William Owens of Lycan, CO.

2535884 Dec 26, 1950.    Broom corn cutter.  Woods Ralph R. of Springfield CO

2699030 Jan 1955. Method for harvesting broom corn and the like.  Harve Adamson Holly CO assignor of 1/2 to Roy Haney, Walsh CO

3508557  April 1970. Process and apparatus for harvesting broomcorn.  Le Roy Sunday of Springfield CO.

Later in this article we will provide the patent information for a multitude of patents related to efforts to automate the broomcorn industry. Below I am noting a fifth Southeast Colorado patent from the Lamar area for a sorting and sizing machine.  

870280  November 5, 1907.  Broom-corn-fiber sorting and sizing machine.  Richard D. Gallagher Sr of Lamar CO  

There was at least one of the Baca County machines built. My cousin Bill (Brooks) say he remembers that south of Vilas CO, that Adolph Hutches decided to irrigate 60 acres of broomcorn which the Le Roy Sunday machine was tried out. The ultimate problem as you well know was the inconsistent height of the broomcorn and although the dwarf they were growing was somewhat more consistent in height there was still enough variation that it was a mess. Sometimes it was OK and sometimes it got the brush. They tweaked and tweaked but never got it.

Jake Huffman tells us when he was working at the Bunge Elevator in Springfield, Ralph Woods would come over and tell stories.  He showed them an unfinished broomcorn harvester that sat on the lot between the office and his shop along with a lot of other scrap iron drilling equipment, trucks trailers and pipe.  He believes it was cleaned up and hauled off in the late 1980’s

More broomcorn knives

Since I have previously written a post about broomcorn knives I decided to list those first.  I will add this to the broomcorn post as well.  Although none have Baca County origins, there is one which comes from Boise City OK in Cimarron County which borders Baca County to the south.  

1339282 May 4, 1920 Cutter for broom-corn, maize, and the like. NOTE: This is a hand cutter as shown in image below. John E Pelnar of Deerfield KS

155831 January 23, 1974.  Improvement in Knives for Splitting Broom-corn Frederick Gerling & William Broderick of Cleveland OH.

700058  May 13, 1902  Broomcorn knife.  Gustaf Arvid Larson

John Emil Johnson  of Wilcox NE  

1586396 May 5, 1925.  Broomcorn knife.  Homer E. Bellomy of Boise City OK.  

687342 November 26, 1901. Knife for cutting broom-corn or the like.   William Salter of Hardesty, Oklahoma Territory.  

998118 July 18, 1911.  Knife for cutting broom-corn.  Emil A. Peterson of Falun KS.

Broomcorn Harvesting Machines

At few of the machines listed qualify only as a reaper because they just cut stalks. They were  detailed engineering ideas designed to cut, and usually partially process, the normally tall plants.  Again thanks to the Google patent archive I have been able to break out many different machines which have proposed to harvest and/or partially process broomcorn.  

Also included are 3 Chinese patents, 1 Russian patent and a U.S. patent developed in Italy.  The last item on this list has a detailed discussion of the pros and cons as described in correspondence with Dr. Moyer.

8375 September 23, 1851.  Improvement in machines for stripping seed from Broomcorn.  L.D. Grosvenor of South Groton MA.

14596 April 8, 1856.  Machine for combing seed off broom-corn.  George E. Burt of Harvard MA.

36668 October 14, 1862. Improvement in harvesters for broom-corn cut broomcorn at any desired height and deposit on the ground,  Joel Norton Wilton IL.

35214  May 13, 1862.   Improved machine for breaking broomcorn.  Charles Campbell, of Yellow  Head IL.

53126 March 13, 1866.   Improvement in broom-corn and sorghum strippers.  Knowis W. Dounda of Milwood Township Ohio.

68346  September 3, 1867.  Broom Corn Seeder.  James D. Brown of Preble County OH

131718  September 24, 1872.  Improvement in machines for stripping broom-corn.  John B. Stine of Rohersville Maryland.

131138  September 3, 1872.  Improvement in machines for cutting and separating broomcorn.  Alphonso Walrath and John Snell of Fort Plain NY.

158638 Jan 12, 1875. Improvement in broom corn harvesters and

Thrashers  Robert Hinton, Clinton MO

165458 July 13, 1875.  Improvement in broom-corn-sizing machines.  Alphonso Walrath of Fort Plain, Assignor to E.D. Bronson & Co. of Amsterdam NY

212454   February 18, 1879.   Improvement in broom-corn-tablers.   George W. Foulger of Charlson IL, assignor of 1/4 is right to F. M. Parker.

306193 October 7, 1884.  Broom-corn stripper.  Richard R. Truesdell of Sterling KS.

354622 December 21, 1886.  Broomcorn Tabler.  William M. Bowman and Lewis N. Bowman of Lincoln MO

362511 May 10, 1887. Broom-corn harvester.  Charles Huckleberry & Frederick Reese, Paris IL.

367957 August 9, 1887.  Machine for cutting broom-corn.  George Eramus Burkholder of Morantown KS.

413883  October 29, 1889.  Broom-corn Combing Machine.  Abraham Anderson of Galesburg IL assignor to G.D. Colton & Company of the Same Place.

434069 Aug 12, 1890. Broomcorn seed stripper, Henry Poole Battle Hill KS assignor of 1/3 to John H Prescott of Salina KS.  

434070 August 12, 1890.   Broom -corn harvester. Henry Poole Battle Hill KS assignor of 1/3 to John H Prescott of Salina KS.  

485711  November 8, 1892.  Broom-corn Harvester.  George W. Peterson of Leonardville, KS.

488251 December 20, 1892.  Broom-corn cleaner. Frederick W. Reese of Paris IL.

511494 December 26, 1893.  Broom-corn sizing machine. Monroe Basset of Union City PA

515549 Feb. 27, 1894 Harvester (broomcorn+ others).  George Miller   Eureka Springs AR  Assignor of One Half to Benjamin J. Roswater of the same place.

517761 April 4, 1894.  Broom corn sizing machine.  George F. McCombs of Allegheny, assignor to the Hand Stitch Broom Sewing Machine company of Pittsburg PA

545619 September 3, 1895.   Machine for separating broom-corn. Alphonso Walrath of Fort Plain NY

328248 October 13, 1885.  Machine for tabling broom-corn.  Francis M. Parker of Charleston IL.

584499 June 15, 1897.  Broom-corn-sizing machine.  Joseph M. Gaffney and Jacob J. Fischer of San Francisco CA  

580673 April 13, 1897.  Broom-corn cleaner.  Frederick W. Reese of Paris IL.

520568 May 29, 1894. Machine for Removing Stems from Broom Corn  Phillip Lamboy of Fonda NY.  

646612 April 3, 1900. Broom-corn harvester.  James Steven Vaughn, Allenville, IL  Assignor of 2/3 to Albert R. Cox and John Ridgeway of same place.

679753  August 6, 1901.  Broom-corn Harvester.  Marion Ingels of Leanna KS.

670052  March 19, 1903.   Broom-corn Harvester.  Arnold Kobelt of Lowry City MO

716440 December 23, 1902,  Broom-corn Harvester.  Joseph E. Larson of Silvercreek, Nebraska.

729971 Jun 2, 1903. Machine for harvesting broom-corn.  Lark Athen Sproul of Edmond KS.

735805 Aug 11, 1903. Broom-corn harvester.  John Wesley Peifer, of Sullivan IL, Assignor of 2/3 to James H. Thomas and William S. Skiff of Shelby County, Illinois.

762326 June 6, 1904.  Broom corn combing machine.  Samuel C.  Lehman of Galena KS.

767775 August 16, 1904.  Broom-corn Harvester.  Frank Sutton of Matoon IL.

815018  March 3, 1906 Broom-corn-cutting machine.  Charles R. Huckleberry of Paris IL.

833064 October 9, 1906. Broom-corn harvester.  Joseph E. Larson of Silvercreek, Nebraska.

793801 July 4, 1905 Broom-corn or corn harvester.  George Palladay, Allerton IA.

851202 April 23, 1907.  Machine for combing broom-corn.  Charles K. Miller of Alva Oklahoma Territory

869064 Oct 22, 1907. Broom-corn harvesting machine. Burten Curl and Herbert Jefferson Huddleston, Rose Hill, IL.

890386 June 9, 1908. Broom-corn breaker and tabler.   William E. Welch of Matoon IL.

911754 February 1909, Harvester (topper of seed heads) cutting mechanism which can be raised or lowered to suit the height of the stalks; delivered to a wagon box.  AJ Parton, Big Spring Texas, Assignor of 1/2 to J.W. McCutchan, of Big Spring Texas.

930438 August 10, 1909.  Broom-corn header.  Harry L. Tonkinson of Gable OK.

944178 December 21, 1909.  Broom-corn Seeder.  John W. Courtney and John C. Porter of Ringwood OK.

964522 July 19, 1910, Broom-corn Harvesting Device.   William W. Jordan of Wynnewood OK, assignor of 1/2 to Nannie V. Frost of Wynnewood OK.

1034044  Jul 30, 1912, Broom-corn harvester.  Benjamin Titus of Tellville VA.

1036030 Aug 20, 1912, Broom-corn booter. Benjamin Titus of Tellville VA.

1064617 Jun 10, 1913, Broom-corn Cleaning machine.  Emuel Cory of Colfax, IN.

1077863 Nov 4, 1913, Broom corn harvester, Henry S. Thomas of Fargo OK.

1116107 Nov 3, 1914, machine for harvesting broom-corn and the like,  George H. Pallady of Allerton IA.

1149281 August 1915, Broom-corn seeding. George H. Pallady of Allerton IA.

1145919 July 7, 2013  Heading machine (multi crop tool).  Robert A. Porter of Sharon KS.

1178294 April 4, 1916  Broom-corn cleaner.   Charles Edmund Brown of Moundville WV.

1265846  May 14, 1918,  Broom-corn seeding and sorting machine.  August F. Weymer of Syracuse NY , assignor to the A. F. Weymer Co. of Syracuse NY and American Broom and Brush CO. of Amsterdam NY, both corporations of New York.

1266835  May 21, 1918,  Broom-corn seeder and engine.  William H. Lynch of Clayton NM

1339282 May 4, 1920.  Cutter for broom-corn, maize, and the like. NOTE: This is a hand cutter as shown in image below.     John E Pelnar of Deerfield KS.

1267019 May 21, 1918.  Broom-corn Tabler.  Martin Luther Wade of Marlow OK.

1396331 November 8, 1921.  Broom-corn Tabling Machine.  Theodore K. Ladd of Valley Mills TX.

1419262 June 13, 1922.  Broom-corn breaker and tabler.  Paul K. Jenkins of Maysville OK. 

1438192  December 12, 1922  Broom Corn Cleaning Machine.  John B. Smith of Galesburg IL, assignor to Shaw-Welsh & Company of Galesburg IL, A corporation of IL.  

1544450 Jun 30, 1925. Broom-corn tabler.  Edward Hale of Minco OK.

1591675 Jul 6, 1926.  Broom-corn harvester.  Frank Fullerton of Tuscola, IL.

1615981  Feb. 1, 1927. Broomcorn harvester and cleaner.  William Arter James of Hugoton KS.

1639055 Aug 16, 1927. Broomcorn harvester.   Roy G. Patterson, of Hugoton KS, Assignor of 25% to M.R. Stewart of Wilburton KS and 24% to Floyd Beaty of Hutchinson KS.  

1648749 Nov 8, 1927.  Broom corn harvesting machine.  Sivert Udstad of Aurora IL and William Owens of Lycan, CO.  

1781961 Nov 18,1930. Broomcorn harvester.  Augustus Smith of Denver CO.  Assignor to Catherine Teresa Daly and Mary Barbara Daly, both of Billings Montana.

2535884  Dec 26, 1950.    Broom corn cutter.  Woods Ralph R. of Springfield CO.

2599143 Jun 3, 1952. Broomcorn harvester.  Frank H. Thompson of Rolla KS.

2699030 Jan 1955. Method for harvesting broom corn and the like.  Harve Adamson Holly CO assignor of 1/2 to Roy Haney, Walsh CO.

2958174 November 1, 1960. Broom head harvesting machine.  Robert R. Lawson of Beeville TX.

3355217  November 28, 1966.  Broomcorn separating device.   Socorro Lopez Phoenix AZ   

3508557  April 1970. Process and apparatus for harvesting broomcorn.  Le Roy Sunday of Springfield CO.

US3979888 Sept 9, 1976.  A machine for cutting the tops of plants into predetermined uniform lengths.   Adriano Peruzzo,  Curtano Italy.

5379579  January 10, 1995. Method for harvesting broom corn and apparatus therefore.  Thomas F Monohan Jr.  Arcola IL.

This machine is designed to make “hurl” (loose fibers) broomcorn in the field, before drying. First a corn binder cut the plants and made bundles. Then a human bumped the tips evenly and fed it into the prototype. Seeds were scraped off and knuckle and boot were scraped from fibers. Did not require handling each knuckle, fed 3-4″ thick through machine. Did 1000 lbs wet per hr. in Mexico. Fibers dried in open air in 12 hours. They were then sorted by machine, a “selector” (for example Patent number: 870280)  The images below show this machine.  

Unpatented efforts to make broomcorn harvesting machines

Sam Moyer tells us that Carlos Petzold shared his recollection of his father’s involvement in making a broomcorn harvester, not patented. (see text from his email below) A photo of it was on the Dec 26, 1981 cover of BROOM BRUSH AND MOP. It was ahead of its time, but it too was ultimately scrapped.  Carlos recalls in his email to Dr. Moyer:  

To give you a bit of history, this is what I can remember…Dal Maschio, working with my father and a customer in Honduras, planted a bunch of broomcorn in San Pedro Sula Honduras where the weather is “tropical” and so they usually get 3 plantings per year. Dal Maschio made a few versions of the Harvester with the desire to do the following tasks:

  1. Harvest broomcorn 1 row at a time.
  2. Remove the seeds from the broomcorn plant.
  3. Cut the broomcorn at one given height.
  4. Gather up the cut broomcorn into “bundles” and automatically tie them off with twine and dump them into a cart pulled behind the harvester.

The harvester could be raised and lowered accordingly to the “given height” for the crop. The harvester was able to “collect the seeds”.
The harvester was able to cut and “bind” the broomcorn. The harvester was made to be able to connect to any tractor and get its power from the tractor.

All of the above worked fine.

So, why didn’t it sell? Price? No, this was not a problem as it would pay for itself in one harvest.

The problems were:

  • Milky seeds at harvesting were difficult to remove “thoroughly” so, further “scraping” was needed so no process/money savings was realized since all the broomcorn needed to be “scrapped” Again.
  • Cutting at one specific height, you cut lower to be sure you did not cut through a “knuckle”. This left the “boot” on the broomcorn which could not be removed by “machine” and had to be removed by hand. So, once again, no process/money savings.
  • Also, because you cut at “one height”, you had too much stalk left on the plant. Well, that would automatically be cut off by the broomcorn selector once you put it in for “hurl” selection.

Yes, but what about the “insides” (broomcorn with stalk)? Well, Dal Maschio made an “insides selector” as well. Nobody wanted to pay the money for an “insides selector” as they could select and cut with a simple device, the broomcorn “insides” by hand.

In the end, because the entire process did not have significant reductions in the process, labor and cost, it did not work.

Later varieties of broomcorn were to be developed to resolve the following matters:

  • Even height for harvesting
  • Grow out of the “boot”

Well, frankly speaking, these varieties never got “even” enough and growing out of the boot then caused “crooks” as the boot is what supports the heavy plant filled with seeds.

The process worked fine in Hungary and Yugoslavia where they allow the seeds to mature to 120 days so they are hard (not milky) and hence, easier to remove.

Carlos R. Petzold

Bodam International LTD.
903 Cirelli Court
Aberdeen, MD 21001


Patents outside the United States


CN201441926 April 28, 2010.  The utility model discloses a broomcorn hulling and sieving machine.

CN201617020  November 3,  2010.  The utility model relates to a broomcorn harvester, which comprises a small four-wheel tractor. A reaping device, a conveying device and a threshing device are disposed on the small four-wheel tractor.

CN2040471  December 31, 2014  Walking type directional stalk cutting machine.


RU2447642  April 4, 1920.  Industrial crops Harvester.

Sizers/ Eveners  

982914 January 31, 1911.  Broom-corn Holder.  James R. Douglas of Bentonville AR.

33968 December 17, 1861.  Improved machine for sizing broom-corn.  O.M. Truair of Mount Morris, NY.

319859  June 6, 1885.  Broom-corn sizer.  George Smith of Buffalo NY.  

348677 September 7, 1886.  Broom-corn sizing machine.  Jesse. S. Lake of Pleasantville, NJ.

870280  November 5, 1907.  Broom-corn-fiber sorting and sizing machine.  Richard D. Gallagher Sr of Lamar CO

1076025 October 21, 1913.  Machine for evening broom-corn.  Harry H. Curtis of Paris IL.   

1337056 April 13, 1920 Combined (Broomcorn) evener and cutter.  George W. Duvall, Nomran H. Beebe and Harry E. Smith of Davenport IA, assignors to Modern Broom Machinery Company of Davenport IA, A Corporation of IA.

1344332 June 6, 1922.  Scraping attachment for broom-corn sizing machines.  William M Christopher of Amsterdam NY assignor to Pioneer Broom Company of Amsterdam NY.


77939 February 4, 1907. Machine for baling broom-corn.  Charles K. Miller of Seiling OK

869358  October 29, 1907.  Machine for bundling or compressing broom-corn. James Foley of Chicago IL.

877939 February 4, 1908.  Machine for baling broom-corn.  Charles K. Miller of Seiling OK.

1052944 February 11, 1913.  Corn baler.  Fred Osborn of Fort Cobb OK.

958866  May 5, 1924.  Machine for bundling or compressing broom-corn and the like. James Foley of Chicago IL

Other interesting/ related patents:

849804  April 9, 1907.  Broom-corn saw machine.  Albert J. Middleton of Indianapolis IN

2211737 August 13, 1940. Explosive.  Earl Berkley  Western Cartridge Co.   

925615 June 22, 1909.  Machine for removing stems from broom-corn. William H. Van Sickler Jr. of Amsterdam NY.

7694501B1 April 13, 2010  Seed gathering device for use by an agricultural harvester.  Deere and Co.

Recent Efforts

In a recent post I mentioned the work of Dr. Sam Moyer.  Dr. Moyer has done quite a bit of work towards bringing a cottage broomcorn industry back to the United States. The work primarily revolves around producing a seedless and harvestable varieties with less work being done on the development of a machine.  Much of the work was done in conjunction with Dr. Henry Hadley who worked at the University of Illinois / Urbana.   I have permission to repost his writings and will do so in a series of posts.  I will also share any other golden broomcorn nuggets I pick up.  I am sure there will be additional info later but let’s get started with the first installment  which was published in the Broom Makers News in 2007…

All varieties I used this year were dwarf (less than 5′ including the brush; same as dwarf grain sorghum with a brush instead of a head). For the first time since I began collaboration with Dr. Hadley in 1983, all varieties developed multiple brush colors when fully mature.  80 varieties that I developed grew with some difficult weed competition. None have center stems. 37 varieties had too few observations so they will be repeated next year for further evaluation. I saved 6 seed heads from each of the 43 varieties and mixed the seed into two gene pools: 31 varieties with a top leaf near the knuckle and long peduncles for machine harvest; 12 varieties with a top leaf covering too much brush or short peduncles. Samples of these two gene pools will be sent to Univ, IL/Urbana for another performance evaluation. Dr Moyer does provide FREE seed samples from the machine harvestable gene pool are available with a self-addressed stamped envelope on the condition that you do a performance report.   

I produced backcross “hybrid” seed from all 4 generations in the cycle starting with “female” grain sorghum. I will maintain a colorful long variety as a pollinator. Intermediate hybrids make beautiful wreaths and can be used loose for dry flower arrangements. Hybrids are better and more colorful than the varieties but degenerate in about 2 generations.  FREE seed samples of “2nd choice’ advanced hybrids are available to new growers with a  self-addressed stamped envelope. Larger samples are available to experienced growers of decorative broomcorn.  Experienced growers for brooms get 1st choice.

One of the key differences in the new harvestable variety Dr. Moyer now has is in the coloring.  See picture below:

I asked Dr. Moyer what makes the varieties he and Dr. Hadley have worked on machine harvestable as ultimately the historical challenge  for machine harvesting has been in the plants growing at varying heights.   He provided the following:

There are at least three answers outside of the normal growing conditions, spacing, rainfall, temperature, soil etc.   They are as follows

  1.  It is fairly uniformly dwarf. I was thrilled last summer for about he first time to walk thru part of my field with most seed heads about waist high.
  2. The top leaf and the sheath/”boot” that holds it does not cover much of the brush for easy drying (Dr. Hadley said “exserted”, the opposite of “inserted” where the much brush is in the boot) I made a point of harvesting last Fall by cutting with an antique corn knife (similar to machete, only concave) without pulling off leaves. The leaves pulled off easily after drying while sizing. Was pleased that very few brush did not dry properly. (By the way, the boots are beautiful/colorful; I use them for “handles” of whisk brooms). PROBLEM: IF there is a heavy rain storm when the seed head has just emerged, a small % crook over due to lack of support for the boots. (I cut dry crooks at the bend to make hurl) NOT A PROBLEM IF NOT MUCH RAIN, in a dry climate (irrigation) It also has a problem of sometimes more than one shoot from roots (tillers), but may depend on growing conditions. The tillers are useful but often shorter than the parent shoot.
  3. Long stems/(peduncle) give much freedom where to cut without cutting brush/(panicles). Enables the dry boots to pull off easily. The top joint is often near the ground. I’m amazed that there are enough leaves to manufacture a brush.
  4. NO CENTER STEM/”sticks” in any of my broomcorn. Unfortunately, not tolerant to Sugar Cane Aphid infesting broomcorn in Mexico and some grain sorghum varieties. Will cross broomcorn with tolerant grain sorghum to produce tolerant broomcorn in about six years.He also states,  “I thank you for finding my comments that in 2006 I established a gene pool from 6 seed heads each from 31 good performing families out of about 200 resulting from matings in 1983. I’m a bit disappointed that color variation has decreased a bit. But I have isolated true varieties each with a few founders from the main gene pool. Bart Pelton  is evaluating a “dark green” variety in Mexico that is quite uniform, long peduncle, very stiff/no crooks and no tillers, but has a slight panicle problem. Also have some quite uniform short brush varieties good for insides.

Dr. Moyer has also gotten in on some of the efforts at creating a harvesting machine.  He says,

“My attempts failed this year to catch broomcorn on a sheet of plywood behind a sickle-bar grass/hay mower hitched to a tractor (too many grassy weeds).  A tractor PTO grain reaper/binder would be perfect!  I mowed the plants near to the ground and picked up the broom corn by hand making bundles with the tips about even. I tied them with twine and put them under a roof overnight. The next morning, I used a scraper (can be roofing nails in a tire) to deseed the brush and dried it in the sun till mid-afternoon. Then I spread it out under a roof.  (The leftover stalks made good handles.)”

In Conclusion…

The cottage industry demand for broomcorn has remained and actually increased in recent years.  With the aphid issues, drug cartels and now a potential new tariff on Mexican imports the raw supply of broomcorn from Mexico is very much in jeopardy.  One of the most interesting aspects of this attempt to automate the harvesting of broomcorn never has stopped.  For most of us from Baca County the broomcorn industry ended in the mid to late 1970’s, however for others it has continued.

Lucius McAdam: Baca County Pioneer and Confederate Veteran

Lucius McAdam came to Las Animas County Colorado in 1886.  This was a couple years before Baca County was split off from Las Animas County and established as a county.  McAdam was born in Chariton County Missouri January 16, 1845.  He left Chariton County in 1884, spent a couple years in western Kansas before moving to Colorado.  The original McAdam homestead was a couple miles southwest of present day Walsh.  Chuck Wilson of Springfield is his great grandson and is who took me to see the remains of the McAdam homestead shown below:

McAdam Homestead


McAdam Homestead looking northeast toward Walsh CO


The June 30, 1938, issue of the Baca County Democrat-Herald reports that McAdam, Baca County Pioneer and Confederate Veteran, (one of only 4 Civil War veterans in Colorado at the time) attended the 75th anniversary Gettysburg reunion. He was 93 at the time of the trip.  He was accompanied by his son Marion McAdam.

Karla Flook from one of our Baca County Facebook groups  tells us Lucius McAdam is listed in Baca County for 1900, 1910, and 1930 Census. But sometime in 1930 he moved to Texas and applied for a Confederate pension.  Confederate pensions were awarded by the state you resided in when the person applied, not by the state where a soldier served. He was denied because Texas law stated he had to have been living in Texas by 1928 to receive a pension. According to his pension application, McAdam served in Co. K, Major Craven’s Battalion, Smith’s Regiment, and Shelby’s Brigade, Cavalry.

The 1930 time frame also seems reasonable as his wife Annie McAdam died in 1930 and is buried in the Vilas Cemetery.  The two markers for Annie are shown below.   The one embedded with stones was made by their son Marion McAdam who created a frame wrapped it in chicken wire and then embedded the stones in cement to create the marker.   The gray granite marker was later placed by grandson Barney Wilson.   

Annie McAdam Grave Marker


The Democrat-Herald also reports he served  8 months when he was a member of the Company K, calvary regiment of Craven’s Battalion, Shelby’s brigade in General Sterling Prince’s army.   Another of the articles indicates he served immediately under the command of colorful cavalry officer Col Joe Shelby and never saw duty east of the Mississippi.   McAdam said in the Democrat-Herald,

“Their chief duties were to destroy Union supplies and prevent Kansas sympathizers from rendering aid.”  

Toward the end of the war, McAdam’s company was captured and taken to Ft Smith Arkansas.  When the war ended they were paroled and trudged home.  The going was hard.  They paid as much as a $20 bill in Confederate money for one meal.   McAdam also said,

“Tho they were disenfranchised.  The “poor white trash” then in power were afraid of the returned soldiers and appointed them in office.”

The Democrat-Herald also reported that despite his ninety-three years and an accident in which his hip was broken last fall (1937), McAdam is active and spry.  He gets about on a crutch and will soon be able to use a cane.  He reads anything without glasses and can hear any ordinary conversation.  McAdam’s is pictured below (center with the crutch) in a photo taken in front of the courthouse in Springfield.  I don’t believe he ever made it to using the cane as Chuck indicates that his dad Barney Wilson always talked about Lucius hobbling around on the crutch.  

September 27, 1938, Left to Right: Sam Collins, Unknown, Charley Woolley, Alfred Allen, Tom Allen, Crit Allen, Lucius McAdam, Unknown, Jim Bickford, Jake Dillinger, Alvin Wren

There is a bit of discrepancy in the articles about the timing of the broken hip as the “Return From Gettysburg” article indicates he left for the reunion just one week after receiving treatment for a broken hip.   McAdam said of the trip,

I enjoyed myself very much.  Its magnificence was beyond description.   The visit was pleasant and agreeable as I have ever made to any city or town.  I met no one I knew, and I believe I was the only one from my old brigade who attended.  

It seemed when we entered the city that peace and quietude proved everything.  The cordiality extended was the greatest I have ever seen.  Each and every soldier who visited the reunion offers thanks to the president and the people of the nation for the best trip they ever had.

This story begins with a few old 1938 news clippings from the Baca County Museum and is a pretty neat piece of Baca County history by itself, but gets even more interesting.  I shared the 1938 news clippings during a visit with Clyde Rogers from Campo.  He knew of  Marion McAdam and the connection to Barney Wilson as he remembered Barney calling Marion, Uncle Mac.  I contacted Chuck about his Great Granddad’s trip to Gettysburg in 1938 and about being accompanied by Lucius’ son Marion and he said had never seen the 1938 articles.  As we ate breakfast the next day at the Longhorn Steakhouse in Springfield and talked about Marion accompanying Lucius, traveling from Lamar, staying at the encampment as described in the 1938 news clippings,  Chuck said,   I don’t think that is right. Dad (Barney) went on a trip to a Confederate Veteran’s Reunion  with Grandpa Mac but they went on a southerly route. They stayed at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC, not an encampment.  He also stated, Dad got on the train in Dalhart and met Granddad Mac in Austin TX.  He remembered his dad talking about crossing Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana where Barney thought they had reached the end of the earth since he had never seen so much water (sounds like a Baca County boy).  He remembered Barney saying he was worried because it was his older brother Vernon who was supposed to go and is who had been signed up for the trip,  Everything was in Vernon’s name from the train tickets to the registration for the reunion.  He remembered them staying at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC where a young Barney had to dress up to go to dinner every evening and he remembers a story of a young Barney getting to visit the Whitehouse and shake the hand of President Franklin D Roosevelt.

Chuck says that  FDR told Barney (aka Byron) in the news clipping below “Good work my boy, good work” as he was shaking his dad’s hand.  At the same time, Grandad Mac reached over and patted the back of FDR’s hand.  

However, Chuck was puzzled as he didn’t recall anything about Gettysburg or that Uncle Mac had traveled along.  It seems we had a bit of a mystery on our hands.  The more we talked the more confused we became as the stories didn’t seem to line up.  We even got to the point where Chuck indicated that Uncle Mac was sometimes known as a bit of a tale-teller.  We thought for sure there was some miscommunication somewhere.   Chuck said he would check out a box of memorabilia that contained Barney’s Coast Guard uniform and other souvenirs.   We reconvened about 30 minutes later and began sorting through  souvenirs and discovered that in fact,  Grandad Mac at age 93 had not only made the 1938 trip with Marion as the attended to the Gettysburg Encampment and Reunion but had also made a second trip at age 95 in 1940 with  Barney to what by all accounts was the last Confederate Veterans Reunion in Washington DC.  I am going to let the images below tell much of the tale of the Lucius McAdam and Barney Wilson trip to the last Confederate Reunion

One finally Civil War story that Chuck tells us is that both his Great Granddads were Civil war veterans. While Lucius fought for the confederacy, Great Granddad Wilson was a Union soldier.   When Barney was a kid they would sit around on the porch and argue over who was the best soldier.   There were often remarks such as,  

If you had been in my sights you wouldn’t be here.

Lucius McAdams, Civil War Veteran, and Baca County Pioneer  died in Texas on 1 Aug. 1944 – he was living in an Old Soldier’s Home and was 99 years old.   As for Barney, what an adventure for one of Baca County’s own young people.  Thanks to Chuck for sharing.   As noted by Greg Crane on our Baca County Facebook group,  Mr. McAdams was was born before the U.S. and Mexico were battling in the southwest, later served in the Civil War, and lived through the time of the D-Day Invasion. Truly remarkable.

Other related side stories:  

Per our Facebook discussion, Uncle Mac, Marion McAdams lived in Baca County (and is buried there). He spent 27 years in Canon City for cattle rustling and as an accomplice to an attempted murder as a one of the guys he was with who shot the rancher. The guy who fired the shot confessed on his deathbed.  Marion spent 15 years in Canon City and then walked away 3 months before he was to be released. When he was recaptured he spent the additional years in prison.   In prison, he became a  skilled spur maker.  Apparently Marion McAdam spurs fetch a premium price.   After that he live in a little tar paper covered house where the current (2016) Longhorn Steakhouse sits.  Helen Green tells me Marion was quite the gardener.  When it would snow he would scoop up buckets of snow and put them around his trees to provide extra moisture.   

Lucius daughter was Chuck’s grandma, Wanda Wilson.  The Wilson’s moved from Walsh to Springfield when she got the job as the coordinator of the first hot lunch program in Springfield which came about as one of FDRs 1930’s programs.  I think it is an interesting side note considering Barney’s encounter with FDR.



Bear Tracks & Cactus Trees: More Info on Life in Early Baca County

Hi there!  I’m Heidi, Kent’s wife.  I swiped this blog for a minute so I could tell you about a great book filled with Baca County history.  I grew up in Balko, Oklahoma and until recently I thought Kent was my only connection with Baca County.  My parents recently surprised me with a book they have had for many years.   A friend of our family, Iris, had written a couple books about her childhood and early years in Balko.  She gave a copy of each book to my parents, they read them and thoroughly enjoyed them.  Recently, mom was sorting through their collection of books and came across the books from Iris.  Dad decided to read them again.  He realized this time that the first book was Baca County history!   Kent had taken Dad by Soldiers Canyon just a year ago so he remembered the area when reading the book.   Iris passed away many years ago, but she has left us with some great history.  Iris was at our wedding, but I don’t think she knew Kent was from Baca County.   Oh the fun those two would have had had they known their connection!  Well, thanks for letting me be a part of Baca County too : )   I’ll let Kent give you a review of the book now.

One of the books,  “Bear Tracks and Cactus Trees” documents her journeys with her parents from the Oklahoma Panhandle to the Western Baca County to Arkansas and back to the Oklahoma Panhandle.   Baca County residents will enjoy this book as roughly 2/3 of the text covers her time in early Baca County.   What is very interesting about this book is a first person account of how they really lived life in early Baca County

I have included below a few excerpts from the book that many of you may recognize.

The second paragraph in the book tells us,

… my father, Albert Elmer Powell and my maternal uncle, Jess Jackson, had earlier set out to secure some of the virgin, unspoiled land in Baca County Colorado.

Chapter III “The Quiet Prairies”  says,

Nothing, anywhere, compares with the quiet solitude of the prairies before they are touched  by man.

It was easy to see that the day-dreaming child had turned off on the wrong trail and gone east in the direction of the store and Post Office, called Joy Coy, seven and one-half miles away.

Chapter IV, “Strange Bedfellows”  begins,

We arrived on our claims at the exact time.  The merchant at Joy Coy was in need of someone to freight his supplies out from town.  Joy Coy was a general store and Post Office, seven and one-half miles east of our claim.  It was there that we did all our buying, such as that might be.  Stocks in the store were groceries, hardware, shoes, patent medicine, clothing, yard goods and numerous other items, all of which required a lot of freighting.   I have only a vague idea of where all the customers came from.  They certainly did not live close to us and we didn’t even know about them.  I believe there were some few settlers east of Joy Coy (towards Pritchett), and they, no doubt, traded at the store, but in the area west of Joy Coy there were no settlers, except the two families of us, and we lived together.

She discusses when freighting many of the hazards of sleeping outside on the ground including rattlesnakes as well as the following,

On another trip when they awakened, Papa had a feeling of being pinned down, although he could feel nothing extra on top of him.  He asked Uncle Jess to try and see what was holding him down down.  Uncle Jess, quietly, a very unusual action for him, peeked out from under the edge of the tarp and let out a quiet chuckle.   ‘There’s a full grown JJ cow standing right over you with all four feet straddling you.’  he said.  In this case they decided to flap the covers and yell loudly.  The cow almost literally flew off without even touching them.  She didn’t stop until she was well away from those noisy, strange-smelling men.

Chapter IX “Milking Wild Cows”  gives a perspective most of us will recognize even today,

Temperatures in that vast high country can range from a possible 110 degrees in the summer to 20 to 30 degrees below in the winter.  Nothing about that area is consistent, except possibly the inconsistency, so that these are not usual temperatures but have occurred in some years.

There is also discussion of JJ cattle in the chapter titled “Mad Steer”, an entire chapter discussing Soldiers Canyon just north of the Colwell and Jackson homesteads,  as well as a discussion a short time living in Springfield after they moved from the homestead.  There is also mention of familiar area names such as Mizer as well as a note that Iris’s brother Lloyd was friends with LeVoe Holt, son of early Baca County Banker Sam Holt.

This past week while in my hometown I did have the chance to go with my wife, Heidi, and my father-in -law run out west to visit Elmer Briles who lives within view of the location of Joy Coy.   When you head west out of Pritchett, Colorado and then follow the curve of the pavement It is about a quarter mile south of the curve on the west side of the road.  Me and what is left of Joy Coy is shown in the image below.

Elmer gave us a great tour, showing us the Joy Coy site as well as the locations of the Prairie Queen Cemetery and Prairie Queen school.  Following that visit we had a chance to head on west to visit with Eddie and Joyce Ming near the actual Powell and Jackson homesteads.  For those of you who would like to read the rest of the story I am going hold off telling any more of the story for now.   After learning of this I was able to find a few copies on Amazon.  I got a copy for us and I also purchased a copy which has been placed at the Baca County library.   There is also one copy still left on

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