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Open Spaces

Are there still burial spaces open at Fairmount?

Fairmount Cemetery in Denver, Colorado is the area’s second oldest cemetery. Many natives have stories they tell of their own personal experiences here- from learning to drive (not recommended), to telling ghost stories about the people buried here, to the serene scenery and wildlife. So it’s no wonder people think Fairmount Cemetery is “full”. The truth is, the multi-acre property has built several new areas, and even opened areas previously unavailable. What does this mean for you?

Spaces open at Fairmount

Block 81 is a historical area of Fairmount that has recently redesigned, creating more space. This means you or your loved one can become part of Colorado’s rich history by being interred beside pioneers. Historians, archivists, reenactors, teachers, military, politicians, philanthropists and more can be found among the headstones from as far back as the late 1800’s. Imagine future visitors hearing the stories, not only of Denver’s founders, but also those who loved this great city and chose to be buried with its historical figures.

In additional to burial spaces open at Fairmount, they continue to create beautiful gardens and terraces designed for family and friends to visit and enjoy the peaceful park-like setting Fairmount is known for.

When was the last time you visited Fairmount?

You may be surprised just how much Fairmount has changed over the years. And, they want you to visit. Do you know about these spaces open at Fairmount?

The Mausoleum. Featuring the state’s largest collection of private stained glass as well as prominent Colorado founding families, the mausoleum is a sight to see. Think of the color “RED” as you discover the red velvet chairs in the chapel, hear the story of the Bonfils (think blood), and even find the person behind the Red Baron.

Lower Ivy Terrace Mausoleums. Brand new to accommodate the request for additional space, these modern outdoor mausoleums incorporate designs from the other buildings on Fairmount to create a historical fusion.

 

If you haven’t been to Fairmount in a while, we invite you to come explore once again. Learn about the lives of those here, take a tour of the new areas, explore the trees and flowers on your own and talk with a friendly pre-planning specialist to discover spaces open at Fairmount allowing you to become part of Denver’s beautiful history.

Capt. Silas Stillman Soule

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Captain. Silas Soule

Another shooting on the streets of Denver

Silas Soule (pronounced “sole”) was born in Maine in 1838, and grew up there and later in Massachusetts. His parents were strong abolitionists who joined a group whose goal was to help settle the Kansas territory and bring it into the Union as a Free State. His Father and brother moved to Kansas in 1854, settling near Lawrence, and one year later Silas, his sisters, and mother joined them. Their house became a way station on the underground railway for slaves fleeing the south.

In 1860 Silas and his brother joined the gold rush to Colorado, and after the beginning of the Civil War in 1861 Silas enlisted in the Colorado Volunteers. He was rapidly promoted, and by 1864 he was a Captain in commanded of a Company of the Colorado Cavalry. Later that year they were transferred to Fort Lyon in southeastern Colorado.

In June 1864 a family of four was killed by Indians 25 miles south-east of Denver, leading to a public outcry for armed protection for the city. The Governor, John Evans, could not get troops from either Kansas or the Federal government, however Colorado was allowed to raise a regiment of volunteers for 100 days. Colonel John Chivington, a former Methodist minister, an avowed Indian hater, and the hero of the Battle of Glorietta Pass was put in charge of the volunteers. He raised a regiment of several hundred, and after Evans went to Washington to try to get troops there, Chivington realized the 100 days were almost up, marched his regiment to Fort Lyon where he commandeered 200 more troops, including Silas Soule’s Company, and on November 29, 1864, he fell on the Indian camp at Sand Creek, which was flying the US flag and a white flag of surrender. Although ordered to attack, Soule could see that the Indians were mainly peaceful women, children and old men, so he ordered his troops to stand fast. The rest of the soldiers killed about 160 of the natives, and after the massacre they scalped and mutilated many of the victims. Chivington branded Soule a coward, and threatened to have him cashiered from the army, but when word of the engagement got back to Washington, it was realized it had been a massacre, and an inquiry was instituted. At the Court of Inquiry, held in Denver in February 1865, Soule testified that the massacre was primarily the fault of Chivington, and all those involved were vilified. Governor Evans was asked to resign, and there was talk that Chivington would be court-marshaled, but instead he resigned his volunteer commission and moved to Nebraska.

Silas Soule was appointed the Provost Marshall of Denver in charge of the military police here. On April first, 1865, he married Hersa Coberly, but just three weeks later, on April 23rd he heard a commotion outside his home. He went out to investigate, two men jumped from some bushes, and one shot him in the head, killing him. The shooter, private Charles Squire, a supporter of Chivington, fled to New Mexico, but one of Soule’s Lieutenants, James Cannon, tracked him down and brought him back to jail in Denver. A few days later Cannon was found poisoned in his room. Later that summer, with inside help, Squire escaped from jail and was not seen in Colorado again.

Soule was originally buried in City Cemetery with full military honors. When that became Cheesman Park his body was removed to Riverside Cemetery where it is buried in the Grand Army of the Republic section. His widow remarried, and is also buried at Riverside beside her second husband.

In 2010 a historic plaque was placed on the east side of the Park Central building at 15th and Arapahoe, near where he was killed, commemorating Silas Soule and his courageous stand.

Silas Soule

Silas Soule – Photo of stone by Carol Singer

 

By Tom Morton

Capt. Silas Stillman Soule is buried at Riverside Cemetery – Denver, Block 27

 

 

 

 

 

Was Robert Speer Denver’s Greatest Mayor???

Robert  Speer was the mayor of Denver in the early part of the twentieth century. He was arrogant, autocratic, and somewhat corrupt, but the appearance of the city today has a lot to do with his vision.

He was born in Pennsylvania in 1855, but after contracting tuberculosis there, in 1878 he moved to Denver. Following a short stint as a clerk in the Daniels and Fisher store he entered city government, first as Denver City Clerk in 1884, then as postmaster, then in 1891 as President of the Denver Fire and Police Board where by assigning patronage jobs he built a strong political base, as well as collecting graft from the Red Light district on Market Street, and after hours saloons. In 1901 he became head of the Board of Public Works, the city’s largest agency.

At that time Denver was part of Arapahoe County, but there was a strong movement for “Home Rule”. In 1902 Denver and some surrounding municipalities were merged into The City and County of Denver, and in 1904 Robert Speer became the first Mayor in a disputed election. He immediately set out to change Denver from a dusty western town into what he envisioned as “the City Beautiful”.

He more than doubled the city’s park space to 1200 acres, and ordered that there be no “Keep off the Grass’ signs in any city park, a policy which is still followed today. He had 150 miles of Denver streets paved. He expanded the City Zoo, replacing many cages with moated enclosures. In 1908 he had the Auditorium Theatre built (now the Ellie Caulkins Theatre) just in time to host the 1908 Democratic National Convention. Every year he donated young maple and elm trees to any citizen who promised to care for them, and many of these trees now shade the older residential sections of the city. Cherry Creek had become an eyesore, the original cherry trees had long been cut down and it was used as an open sewer. He ordered the Creek to be cleaned up, retaining walls to be built and trees and shrubs to be planted. In 1910 his supporters changed the name of the street that he had built along the creek from Cherry Creek Drive to Speer Boulevard. He began plans for the civic center, and began clearing the area west of the Capitol building.

By 1912 many people were tired of “Boss” Speer’s authoritarian rule, including the newspapers which charged that his administration was rife with ”cronyism, corruption and crime”. The reformers suggested a commission form of city government. Speer said that would never work, but seeing the mood of the citizens he decided not to run for re-election, but ran for the Senate instead, a race which he lost.

Speer’s prediction turned out to be true, the commission did nothing to beautify the city, although they did shut down the Red Light district in 1913. The mood of the city changed, and when Speer ran again for mayor in 1916 he won in a landslide. He immediately picked up where he had left off, including planning for Civic Center Park, and a large City and County Building.

Unfortunately he never saw these plans come to fruition. In 1918 he came down with a cold which developed into pneumonia, and he died on May 14th. Over 10,000 people attended his funeral, held at the Auditorium Theater, and he is buried in Block 24 at Fairmount Cemetery. His vision of Civic Center Park was completed by succeeding mayors, and his wife Kate donated the bell and the clock on the City and County Building in his memory.

By Tom Morton

Oliver “The Ghost” Marcelle

Oliver Marcelle
(1897-1949)

Riverside Cemetery is the final resting place of Ollie “The Ghost” Marcelle, one of the greatest African-American baseball players. He is credited with
integrating professional baseball in Denver 13 years before Jackie Robinson officially integrated major league baseball in 1947.

Ollie was just a decent hitter, but he was an outstanding third baseman. He snared hit baseballs that the average infielder would have missed.
His nickname “The Ghost” came from his lightning-fast reflexes at third base. He was only 18 when he joined the Negro Leagues with the Brooklyn Royal Giants. He
later played for another black team in New York City, plus teams in Atlantic City, Detroit and Baltimore.

Unfortunately his violent temper erupted one time in 1929 when he and a teammate got into a
fight over a card game. In this fight his opponent bit off Ollie’s nose, causing him to wear a patch over his missing nose for the rest of his life.
After playing some more ball while enduring derogatory comments by opposing crowds, he left professional baseball and ended up here in Denver as a house
painter and handyman (playing occasional semi- pro ball).

In 1934 Ollie persuaded the promoter of the then-popular Denver Post baseball tournament to invite the Kansas City Monarchs to come here and play against a
traveling team called the House of David. The latter team was all white, while the Monarchs were one of the finest-ever African-American baseball teams.
Thousands of people came to watch these two teams play.

When Ollie Marcelle died here of a heart attack in 1949, he was alone and indigent. He was buried in an unmarked grave in the middle of Riverside’s Block 29. His
grave remained unmarked until 1991, when Fairmount and Riverside Cemeteries along with local sports historian Jay Sanford unveiled the current flat marker to “The
Ghost”. The marker bears the words of his Negro League friend Buck O’Neil:
“Baseball’s best third baseman brought black professional baseball to
Colorado.”

By Garry O’Hara

The NISEI Memorial at Fairmount

Niesi-Monument-2-300x200In Block 35, along the east of Fairmount is the beautiful Nisei Memorial. During World War II many people from the west coast of Japanese ancestry were interned in detention camps, including Camp Amache, in southeastern Colorado. Many of those who were born in the U.S. of Japanese immigrants (Nisei) volunteered for U.S. Army service. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team comprised of these Nisei was the most decorated unit in the Army for its size and duration of action in World War II. This memorial was erected in 1963. It lists the names of soldiers of Japanese ancestry who were killed in combat as well as the names of those who were later killed in Korea or Viet Nam.

One of those memorialized is Private First Class Kiyoshi Muranaga, who was posthumously awarded

Kiyoshi_K_Muranaga-218x300the Medal of Honor. His citation reads, in part: “… Muranaga distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 26 June, 1944, near Suverto, Italy.” His mortar squad was pinned down by a German 88mm gun, and all except he withdrew; he manned the mortar himself and fired at the enemy. When the Germans saw where the fire was coming from they fired back, killing him instantly, but then they abandoned their position. … Private Muranaga’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service….” (Read the full citation here).  Kiyoshi Muranaga is buried in California.Near this memorial, in the northeast corner of Block 34, are the graves of many Nisei veterans who survived the war and settled in Colorado, including three soldiers of the 442 Regimental Combat Team:

  • KENNETH SHIBATA: Awarded the Bronze Star medal posthumously “for heroic achievement in action on 16 July 1944 in Italy”
  • JOSEPH ISAO MORISHIGE: Killed during action at Castelpoggio, Italy, April 14, 1945
  • SHIGARO MORISHIGE: Later became a two-time commander of American Legion Nisei Post No. 185 and a member of the Disabled American Veterans.

Photo of PVT 1 CL Muranaga courtesy of 442nd Regimental Combat Team Historical Society; for more information about the 442nd visit:

442nd Regimental Combat Team Historical Society

Never to Sail Again

Life journeys some time take us to places we never expected to go. It was fully expected that Maine born Timothy Reirdan Stinson would spend his life at sea, sailing from port to port and always at a distance from his family. It is no surprise to find “Mariner” next to his name in the 1850 Federal census. Nor is it a surprise two years later, despite his youthful 31 years, to find him in the position as Captain of the newly built packet ship William and Mary.

With a cargo of hay and herring, her maiden voyage from Bath, ME to Charleston, SC must have felt like a cruise to the tropics. The January, 1853, eastbound sail with a load of upland cotton destined for Liverpool, England, was more challenging, as any winter voyage would expect to be. But Stinson’s real test as Captain came on his return voyage. With the William and Mary fully loaded, her steerage with 208 emigrants and her cargo hold with tons of railroad iron and crockery, she sailed low and slow, experiencing one storm after another en route to New Orleans. Some 20 passengers died on the crossing. With food and water supplies dangerously low during their seventh week at sea, everyone was elated on May 3rd when they began seeing evidence they were nearing land. Later that night while passing through the Northwest Providence Channel in the Bahamas, the Captain prematurely changed course, running the ship onto a pile of submerged rock, and puncturing her wooden hull. Immediate the ship began taking on water, alarming both passengers and crew. All through the night, passengers manned the ship’s two pumps and kept the ship afloat. But early the next morning, the Captain did the unthinkable. With a lifeboat stocked with water and food supplies, the Captain, his 2 officers, and several of the crew rowed away from their ship and its deckfull of horrified passengers. Unable to manuever the ship, the passengers did all they could do—they prayed and they pumped. Finally, after two days and just at the point of giving up, a small schooner appeared on the horizon. Although it was manned by Bahamian wreckers, those who make their living salvaging sinking ships, they first moved all the women and children to the western shore of Grand Bahama Island. Next they returned for the men and likewise delivered them to the beach. Eventually the travelers were moved on to Nassau, then to New Orleans, and finally up the Mississippi to become part of the American fabric.

The Captain’s life also changed. The press of 1853 showed no mercy toward Stinson and he quickly disappeared into the western landscape. The 1860 Federal census shows him living in central Illinois; in 1872 he is found in Denver, many miles from the sea, and self-employed as a house painter. The following year, it would appear that he found peace in what had to be a troubling 20 years; he began attending one of the churches in downtown Denver, made public profession of his faith in Christ, and became a member of the church family. Over the next two decades he spent his days painting many of the homes in Denver, and each night went home to his wife. He never returned to the sea. On March 24, 1894, he died of heart failure and was laid to rest in Block 5, Lot 50 in Riverside Cemetery. A large white marble stone, the upper portion somewhat resembling the mast of a ship, now marks his grave and that of his wife and son.

Written by Kenneth A. Schaaf, a retired staff member of the Library of Congress, who lives with his wife near the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.
Photo by Mark DeNooy, Denver

Dr. Joseph H. P. Westbrook, Early Denver Civil Rights Activist

Dr. Joseph Henry Peter Westbrook was a prominent Denver physician and African American civil rights leader.  Born in 1878 in Mississippi, he graduated from Fisk College and Meharry Medical College in Nashville.

In 1907 he came to Denver and started his medical practice.

A doctor and pharmacy owner in Denver for 35 years, he became Assistant City Physician and was on the staff of Denver General Hospital for 17 years.  Deeply involved in several fraternal organizations, he was Grand Chancellor of a lodge of the Knights of Pythias, on officer in a local Elks Lodge, and a Masonic Grand Master who was instrumental in building a new Masonic Hall in the Five Points area.  An active entrepreneur, Dr. Westbrook helped incorporate the Denver Independent newspaper and served on the Denver Chamber of Commerce.  He was an officer of the city’s Interracial Commission and was on the Board of Directors of a branch of the YMCA.  He was a Sunday school superintendent and important member of the NAACP.  He lived in a modest house in Five Points with his wife Adela.

From the 1860s most African Americans voted Republican because that was the “Party of Lincoln,” the party that had freed the slaves.  But by the early 1900s many black people were becoming disillusioned with the Republicans and were seeking reconciliation with the Democratic Party.

Westbrook was one of these dissatisfied voters, and he went so far as to form the “National Negro Anti-Taft League” when William Howard Taft became the Republican presidential candidate in 1908.  Prior to that year’s Democratic National Convention, which was held in Denver, he led a delegation to the Resolutions Committee of the Democratic Party seeking to have a civil rights plank placed on the Democratic national platform.  This request was denied, however, and Taft won the election.

After this black enthusiasm for the Democratic Party decreased again for a number of years, and in 1924 Westbrook was selected to be a delegate to the Republican National Convention that nominated Calvin Coolidge as its presidential candidate.

He was one of the original stakeholders in an African American agricultural colony that was formed near Greeley in 1910.  In fact it was Dr. Westbrook who came up with the name of the colony; it was named Dearfield, for he said that the farm fields there would “be very dear to us.”

Dr. Joseph H.P. Westbrook is perhaps best known to history for being a light-skinned African American who “passed as a white man” to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan.  At great risk to his life, he used his Klan membership to learn of the hate group’s upcoming activities and warn the black community.

In August 1939 he addressed the opening of a conference at the Shorter African Community Church.  When he finished he took his seat and suddenly died of a heart attack.  He was 61 years old.  The headline in the Denver Statesman was, “Dr. J.H.P. Westbrook, Scholar, Civic Builder, Race Factor, and Fraternalist Suddenly Passes.”  He is buried at Fairmount Cemetery not far from the Gate Lodge in Block B.

By Garry O’Hara

Frances Wisebart Jacobs, Colorado’s Mother of Charities

Frances Wisebart Jacobs (1843-1892) has been called Colorado’s “Mother of Charities.”  Born in Kentucky, she married Abraham Jacobs and came with him to Colorado in 1862.  Abraham and Frances’ brother opened a clothing store in Central City.  When fire destroyed their shop, they moved to Denver and opened a new store.  Frances and Abraham had three children, one of whom died in childhood.

Always deeply concerned with the well-being of poor and sick people, Frances became President of the Hebrew Ladies’ Benevolent Society.  Her calling in life soon became caring for the growing number of Jewish immigrants coming to the Denver area with tuberculosis.   (Then called consumption, “TB” was the nation’s major fatal disease at the time; many “lungers” came to the high and dry air of Colorado as a cure for the disease.)  Frances regularly visited the squalid shacks of consumptives, many of whom were poor Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.  She brought them medicines and bandaged their wounds, even though they carried many diseases and lived in high-crime areas.  She quickly realized that others besides Jewish immigrants needed her services, so in 1874 she helped found the non-denominational Ladies’ Relief Society with herself as vice-president.  She was called upon to address many groups and discovered that she was an excellent public speaker.  Frances became the spokesperson for many of Denver’s charities.  In 1887, through her efforts and those of four religious leaders from other faiths, several of Denver’s charity groups were consolidated under the Charity Organization Society (COS).  The interfaith COS soon became the fundraising organization for 23 charities, and Frances was its secretary.  By 1922 the COS evolved into the Community Chest, and many credit it with eventually becoming the United Way.

Frances organized the Denver Free Kindergarten Association and opened Denver’s first free kindergarten for the children of indigent parents.  

In 1892 she worked with the Jewish Hospital Association to start a free hospital for tuberculosis patients in Denver.  It was named the Frances Jacobs Hospital for Consumptives.  However, she died of pneumonia less than a month before the hospital was to be dedicated; she was only 49 years old.  The institution eventually became National Jewish Hospital, and it is still at its original location at Colfax Avenue and Colorado Boulevard.  A sculpture of Ms. Jacobs still graces the entrance to hospital, which did not charge fees for most services until many years later. 

In 1900 sixteen Colorado pioneers were chosen to have stained glass windows of their likenesses displayed in the state capitol rotunda; Frances was one of these, and she was the only woman to be chosen.   A city park at Quebec Street and Tennessee Avenue was named for her, and in 1994 she was installed in The National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York.   She was buried in the Emmanuel Cemetery, the Jewish burial area just west of the main part of Fairmount Cemetery. 

According to the National Jewish Hospital website, “No one ever did more to create Colorado’s humanitarian healthcare tradition than Frances Wisebart Jacobs.” 

By Garry O’Hara

 

Omar D. Blair-Black History at Fairmount

Omar Blair was born in Texas in 1918, and attended high school in Albuquerque where, as one of six black students, he was not allowed to sit with the other students at graduation. But in 1979  he was named the most distinguished graduate of the same school! Growing up he wanted to become  a pilot, however at that time  the United States Army Air Corps was not accepting Black candidates for pilot training. In 1940 he enrolled at UCLA, and during his second year there the USAAC relaxed its colored restriction, and after passing the required tests he was sent to Tuskegee, a small college town in Alabama to become one of the first Black pilots. Whereas white cadets progressed through their training at different bases, the black pilots did all their training (Basic, Primary, and Advanced) at Tuskegee at different fields around the town, and they became known as “the Tuskegee Airmen”. In 2012 a movie,“Red Tails”, was made about their exploits, starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrance Howard, and Bryan Cranston.

Blair proceeded with this 332nd Fighter Group to Italy, where they entered combat, originally flying P-40 airplanes, but later the most advanced US fighter, the P-51 Mustang. Their record for escorting bombers to the war zone was exemplary, and though not 100% true, they claimed that no bomber they were escorting was ever shot down. As well Blair became known as “the Great Train Robber”. When their base was running short of fuel he organized a convoy to hijack a train bound for another base and take the fuel tanks it was transporting to his base!

Following the war he spent some time in Albuquerque, but moved to Denver in 1951 where until 1969  he worked at The Rocky Mountain Arsenal, while remaining in the Air Force Reserve from which he retired in 1985 as a Major. In 1970 he moved to Lowry Air Force Base as the Equal Opportunity Officer, and while there in 1973 he ran for and was elected to the Denver Board of Education, where he served until his retirement in 1985. In 1975 he became vice president of the Board, and two years later he became its first Black president, serving until 1981. It was during this period that Denver was required by a US Supreme Court decision of 1973 to integrate its schools and begin busing of students to achieve this, although several of the buses were bombed during this time.

Blair had also served as Commissioner of the Denver Urban Renewal Authority during the time that they initiated the Sixteenth Street Mall. In 1984 he received an Honorary Doctorate from Metro State College as a “Doctor of Public Service” for his many years of service to education. In 2003 the Blair-Caldwell African American Library at 2401 Welton Street was dedicated to him and Elvin Caldwell, the first Black member of the Denver City Council, and a manager of the Denver Department of Safety. In 2004 the Edison Charter School in Green Valley Ranch was renamed the Omar D. Blair Charter School, also honoring Blair’s work in education.

Omar Blair died in 2004, and is buried near the center of Block 121 of Fairmount Cemetery.

By Tom Morton

Pajama Genealogy and My Beulah Blakley Rose

By Carol Johnson, CGHS Member

On May 16th I attended the Fairmount Cemetery Heritage Rose Sale.  To celebrate Fairmount’s 125th Anniversary, the Fairmount Heritage Foundation, in partnership with High Country Roses, propagated new cuttings from several roses never previously available commercially.  I purchased a Beulah Blakley, a mystery rose new this year from historic Riverside Cemetery.  How interesting to find that such mystery roses are given the name of the person on the nearest tombstone.

Then, on a Memorial Day visit to Riverside Cemetery I found Beulah Blakley’s tombstone in Block 20, Lot 212.  It reads:  “Beulah B. Blakley, Eldest child of A.A. and Ophelia Blakley, Born:  June 24, 1881, Died:  April 15, 1890.”  In front of the tombstone is her rose bush, which was propagated, one of which I bought, and which is now planted in my garden.

Now I want to know more about Beulah Blakley and her family.  Find A Grave includes her obituary from the Rocky Mountain News on 16 April 1890:  “BUELAH (sic) V. BLAKLEY – Died – in Denver, Apr 15, daughter of A. A. and Ophelia Blakley, aged 8 years and 10 months.  Funeral from residence of P.W. Blakley, 3545 Blake Street, 2 o-clock today.  Friends invited.  Riverside Cemetery record, Blakeley, Berelah (sic) V., age 8, interred 4/16/1890” (Find A Grave Memorial #32766991).

In checking for other Blakleys buried at Riverside, I find one of Beulah’s younger brothers is buried in the same block and lot:  Harry E. Blakley was born on June 1, 1889, and died on June 4, 1890, only two months after Beulah.  His tombstone’s inscription reads:  “Youngest child of A. A. & Ophelia L. Blakley” and “Our Baby Boy” (Find A Grave Memorial #99597319.)

The Ausloos Urban Family Tree at Ancestry indicates that Alderson B. (sic:  A.) Blakley (1859-1931) is her father, and Ophelia L. Bonnell (1856-1935) is her mother.

In the Miller-Sheehan Family Tree at Ancestry I learn that P.W. Blakley is Proman W. Blakley, her paternal uncle mentioned in Beulah’s obituary, who is a hackman (a driver of a carriage for hire) and lives at 3545 Blake in the 1888 Denver, CO City Directory (page:  155).

The 1900 Federal Census for Denver, Arapahoe, Colorado, done 7 Jun 1900, lists Alderson Blakley as the head of family living at 3344 West 44th Avenue.  He is a married white male who is 41 years old, having been born in March, 1859, in Kansas.  He has been married for 19 years.  His occupation is Weighmaster (for the Union Pacific Railway).  His wife, Ophelia, is 42 years old, having been born in October, 1857, in Kansas.  She has had 7 children, 5 of whom are still living:  Lilburne, a son born in January, 1883, in Colorado; Arvell, a son born in March, 1885, in Colorado; Dixie, a daughter, born in April, 1887, in Colorado; Ralph, a son, born in March, 1893, in Colorado, and a 4-month-old unnamed daughter (eventually named Bonnell Collins Blakley), born in January, 1900, in Colorado (Family History Library Microfilm:  1240118; Roll:  118; Enumeration District:  0048; Page:  7B; #68-74).

The 1930 Denver City Directory lists Alderson A. Blakley as the president of A. A. Blakley Live Stock Commission Company.  He and Ophelia live at 3433 W. 44th Avenue (page 648).  The 1930 Federal Census for Denver, Colorado, shows them living at the same address and owning the house worth $8,000 with only their 47-year-old son, Lilburne, who is a Newspaper Pressman (Enumeration District:  16-221, Page:  1A, #17-19).

Another of Beulah’s younger brothers, Arvell Alderson Blakley, is listed in the 1930 Denver City Directory as a Vice President of the A. A. Blakley Live Stock Commission Company living at 4540 King Street, a house worth $8,000 which he owns. He appears in the 1940 census as a Livestock Salesman who is married to Viola and owns their house worth only $5,000 at 4540 King Street (Enumeration District:  1; Sheet No. 11A, #20).

The youngest of Beulah’s brothers, Ralph S. Blakley, elopes in 1913 with one of the Meyers sisters, who are pronounced to be “among the most beautiful girls in Denver,” and the marriage announcement appears in a front-page article in the Denver Post (8 Feb 1913, Page 1).  By 1940 Ralph’s occupation is the Vice President of the A. A. Blakley Livestock Commission Company living at 4546 King Street in the 1940 Denver City Directory (page 502).

In checking at Find A Grave for more Blakleys, I find that Beulah and Harry are the only Blakleys buried at Riverside.  Their parents, Alderson A. Blakley (1859-1931) and Ophelia L. (1856-1935) are both buried at Crown Hill Cemetery, Wheat Ridge, Jefferson, Colorado (Find A Grave Memorial #43516072 and #43516073).  Their paternal uncle, Proman W. Blakley, and his wife, Rose Ella, are buried at Crown Hill (Find A Grave Memorial # 62762334 and #62762335).  One of their brothers, A. A. (Arvell Alderson) “Val” Blakley (1885-1955) and his wife, Viola C. (1886-1968) are buried at Crown Hill (Find A Grave Memorial #29939277 and #29939330).

In spite of losing their oldest and youngest child in two months’ time in 1890, the Blakley family achieved a successful life in Denver.  Beulah’s father worked as a hackman at his father’s livery stable and a railway weighmaster before forming a livestock company and serving as Denver’s Excise Commissioner and President of the Fire and Police Board.  He faced some real political challenges during 1913-1914.

Now whenever I look at my Beulah Blakley rose in my backyard, I will recall a morning of what I call “Pajama Genealogy”, when I sat at my computer and researched Beulah and her Blakley family in Denver.  I can hardly wait for next year’s rose sale at Fairmount.  I wonder whose rose I will get then?

Join us for the annual Rose Sale Saturday May 14th! Details Here>>

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