Recollections of Early Colorado

In the 1920s and 1930s, many early Colorado pioneers were still alive, and a number of them were able to tell their stories in the Colorado Historical Society’s Colorado Magazine. The magazine also published many Colorado settlers’ letters and diaries. These firsthand accounts include those of both men and women as well as those of various nationalities and ethnic groups. Their reminiscences provide fascinating primary sources on life in Colorado Territory and the early days of Statehood. Some examples include:

  • Ashley, Susan Riley, “Reminiscences of Colorado in the Early ‘Sixties,” November 1936
  • Burt, William P., “Back Stage with a Medicine Show Fifty Years Ago,” July 1942
  • Case, Frank M., “Experiences on the Platte River Route in the Sixties,” August 1928
  • Clarke, A.K., “The Utes Visit My Ranch on the Plains,” August 1928
  • Estes, Milton. “Memoirs of Estes Park,” July 1939
  • Hall, Mrs. M.B., “Experiences in Leadville and Independence, 1881-82,” March 1933
  • Hanington, C.H., “Boyhood Recollections of Central City,” July 1939
  • Hodder, Mrs. Halie Riley, “Crossing the Plains in War Times,” July 1933
  • Keyes, Elizabeth, “Across the Plains in a Prairie Schooner,” March 1933
  • Manzanares, J.M., “Colorado Recollections of a Centenarian,” May 1933
  • Morrison, Sidney B., “Letters from Colorado, 1860-63,” May 1939
  • Pratt, Harry E., “Diary of a Pikes Peak Gold Seeker in 1860,” November 1937
  • Sanford, Albert B., “Recollections of a Trip to the San Luis Valley in 1877,” September 1933
  • Sibley, F.C., “An Experience at Grand Junction in the Early ‘Seventies,” November 1936
  • Simonin, Louis, “Colorado in 1867 as Seen by a Frenchman,” March 1937
  • Steele, Robert W., “Jefferson Territory (Colorado) and its Resources, 1859,” March 1937 (Steele was the first governor of the short-lived and illegal Jefferson Territory)
  • Stobie, Charles Stewart, “Crossing the Plains to Colorado in 1865,” November 1933 (Stobie was also a well-known Colorado artist, and the same issue includes information on his art)
  • Wallace, R.B., “My Experiences in the First Colorado Regiment,” November 1924 (the First Colorado were the troops who carried out the Sand Creek Massacre).
  • Woodward, R.O., “With the Troops in Colorado,” May 1926

Colorado Magazine was published from 1923 to 1980. It then became Colorado Heritage, which still exists today.  Issues of both publications are available for checkout from the State Publications Library.

Charles Stewart Stobie and one of his paintings. Both, courtesy History Colorado.