Topics in History: Dearfield, Colorado


Poster, RMN-055-1557. Courtesy, Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library

The town of Dearfield, located 30 miles east of Greeley, was established on May 5, 1910 by Oliver Toussaint Jackson, as a self-sufficient African American agricultural colony.  Jackson, a successful businessman from Boulder, hoped the location would accommodate 200 families and quickly began to advertise for “colonists.”  The first families came in 1911 and by 1917 the community had grown to a population of about 60 families with 200 to 300 residents. The town boasted two churches, a school, filling station, grocery store, boarding house, restaurant, and dance pavilion.  

The settlement thrived through World War I, as the residents became self-sufficient growing crops such as corn, oats, barley, hay, beans, beets, cantaloupes and strawberries.  They also raised cattle, horses, hogs, turkeys and chickens.  However most families did not survive the downturn of the post WWI economy.  Many others that stayed were plagued by the drought of the 1930s and soon left for other opportunities.  Jackson held onto the land and continued to try to carry out his dream until his death in 1948.  Jackson’s niece remained in Dearfield until her death in 1973.  A few of the buildings still exist today.  

Historic Newspaper Articles About Dearfield

News Items

Oliver Toussaint O. T. Jackson

This topic in history and the related online primary sources are brought to you by the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection, a free online resource of primary sources.  For this and other topics, please visit the Colorado Historic Newspapers Topics page. For questions about CHNC, contact Leigh Jeremias, ljeremias@coloradovirtuallibrary.org

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