Elbert County, Colorado History and Genealogy

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The 1907 Elbert Exodus to Glendora, California

The Epler Family at their home near Elbert about 1903

One of the stories in my husband's family tells of the Eplers and Greshams moving from Elbert to southern California in 1907. Daniel Epler came to Colorado in 1874 and homesteaded west of Elbert. His daughter, Mary Elizabeth, married George Gresham, my husband's great-grandparents.

The first mention of a possible move to Glendora, California in Los Angeles County is in the February 22, 1907 issue of the Elbert County Banner. Jacob Epler is Daniel's brother, who also homesteaded in Elbert.

Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection
This is the beginning of a flurry of newspaper bits about the Eplers, Greshams and, a surprise to me - other Elbert families - selling their ranches, holding auctions for their farming equipment and household goods, loading railroad cars with what household household items they had left, and boarding the train headed for Glendora. 

October 25, 1907 Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection
November 1, 1907 Elbert County Banner Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection
In all, I have counted 13 men who moved their families to Glendora in October and November of 1907 from Elbert with a total of 37 people! The majority of the people were members of the Epler family or had a marriage connection to the Eplers like the Frank Long family. However, there were at least 7 other families that also relocated. 

March 5, 1909 Elbert County Banner, Colorado Historic Newspaper Colletion

Most of the people returned to Elbert within a year or two. Daniel Epler moved to Gooding, Idaho in 1911 or so, along with a couple of his sons, where he died November 24, 1912. The George Gresham family returned to Elbert in 1912.

Jake Epler (perhaps the instigator of the exodus?) who is listed as a Real Estate Broker in the 1910 Census in Glendora, lived in Glendora the rest of his life, as did Frank Long and John H. Jones. 

Below is a complete listing of families who moved to Glendora or visited Glendora for several months:

Dan Detwiler – On Monday, Nov. 18, 1907 Dan, Bertha and daughters, Clyde and Minnie, boarded train for Glendora. Married to Bertha Dietrich. Her sister married Al Carnahan. 1910 Census Elbert – Buyer & Stockman. 1920 Census Littleton - Buyer & Stockman. Dan died in Denver before 1930.

Daniel Epler – On Saturday Oct. 26, 1907 Daniel and wife, Abigail, boarded train for Glendora. Bought 160 acres in El Centro, CA in 1909. 1910 Census Glendora. Moved to Gooding, Idaho where he died Nov. 24, 1912. Age 69.

Dan Epler, Jr. – Daniel son. Single. 1910 Census Glendora – Owned a feed store. Living with Harvey Harding. 1920 Census Littleton, CO. Died in Denver on May 8, 1960. Age 85.

Elmer Epler – Daniel’s son. Single in Glendora. 1910 Census El Centro, CA – Farmer, living with George Gresham. 1920 Census in Glendora. Married in Colo. Springs 1921. Died in 1961 in Kennewick, WA.

Jacob Epler – Daniel’s brother. Jake and wife and daughters, Amy, Opal and Sarah, in Glendora. 1910 Census in Glendora, listed as Real Estate Broker. Jake stayed in Glendora. Died in Glendora on Nov. 25, 1921. Age 69

Martin “Ed” Epler – Daniel’s son. Ed and Ella and child in Glendora. Married Ella Marie Lundy. Sister of Glen Lundy. 1910 Census Glendora – owned a feed store. 1920 Census Gooding, ID – farmer. 1930 Census Elbert – farmer. Died in Elbert 1962. Age 79.

Sherman Epler – Daniel’s son. On Monday, Nov. 18, 1907 Sherman, wife and daughter, Hazel, boarded train for Glendora. 1910 Census Elbert. 1920 Census Littleton. Died in Littleton, CO on Feb. 28, 1954. Age 84.

George Gresham – Married to Mary Elizabeth Epler, Daniel Epler’s daughter. George, Mary and 3 children in Glendora. 1910 Census El Centro, CA – Farmer. 1920 Census Elbert. Died in Colorado Springs on May 21, 1962. Age 87.

Harvey Harding – Daniel Epler’s stepson. On Oct. 26, 1907 Harvey and wife, Stella, boarded train for Glendora. 1910 Census Glendora – Owned a feed store. 1920 – Gooding – Farmer. Died in Gooding, ID Sep. 14, 1948. Age 66.

John H. Jones – On Oct. 26, 1907 John and wife, Eliza, boarded train for Glendora. Father of Sheriff Ray Jones. Elbert County Treasurer. 1910 and 1920 Census in Glendora. Died in Elbert, Dec. 6, 1921 age 86.
Frank Long – On Monday, Nov. 18, 1907 Frank, wife and daughter, Cora, boarded train for Glendora. Lived in Elbert 1910 census. Glendora 1920 and 1930 census. Died in Glendora (July 26, 1931) age 76.

Fred Long – Frank’s son. Moved to Glendora about 1918. 1920 & 1930 Census Glendora. Died Dec. 24, 1948 in Glendora. Age 64.

Oliver Long – Frank’s son. Married Alice Epler, Jake’s daughter. 1910 Census Glendora. Also lived in Long Beach. Died Aug. 4, 1962 Los Angeles County. Age 83

Glen Lundy – Single. On Oct. 26, 1907 Glen boarded train for Glendora. Brother of Ella Marie Lundy who married Martin “Ed” Epler. Son of J.H. Lundy. 1910 Census Elbert. 1920 Census Pueblo

J.H. Lundy – 1909 – went with D.L. Epler and George Gresham to look at land in El Centro, California. 1910 Census Elbert. 1920 Census Long Beach. Died April 12, 1928 in Long Beach. Age 81. Buried in Elbert.

Frank Neeley (James F. Neeley) – Oct. 26, 1907 Frank and Anna and 4 children boarded train for Glendora. Married Anna May Dittemore. 1910 Census Colo. Springs. 1920 Census Elbert. Died 1929 in Elbert. Age 72.

Alex Oaks – On Monday, Nov. 18, 1907 Alex and wife boarded the train for Glendora. Returned to Elbert January 1908. Brother of Joseph Oaks. Died in Colorado Springs in 1929. Age 86.

Joseph Oaks – Left for California same week Alex returned to Elbert in January 1908. Died in Elbert in 1926. Age 86.

John Strachan – 1907 Mr. and Mrs. Strachan moved to Glendora. (California Newspaper) 1910 Census Elbert - Farmer. 1920 & 1930 Census Long Beach. Died in Long Beach in 1944.

D.R. Williams – Unable to find any info at this time.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

80th Anniversary Remembrance of the 1935 Flood

"Here Comes The Flood, There Goes The Train" will be a special 80th anniversary remembrance of the May 30, 1935 flood though Elbert and Kiowa. The event is scheduled to take place in downtown Elbert beginning at 930am, with a one-hour program by author/historian James R. "Jim"" Jones and the Elbert County Historical Society. A second show, for early evening-- in a larger venue-- perhaps Elizabeth will also be held. A meet and greet with Jim happens at the ECHS museum in Kiowa 2-4pm that day. Jim, who is flying out from Vermont for the event, would like to see see the many friends he made while writing DENVER & NEW ORLEANS- IN THE SHADOW OF THE ROCKIES during the 1990s. Follow the Elbert County Historical Society webpage as details unfold. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Going To Yellowstone (1919) by Lila Tyler

In 1919, my husband's grandfather's family drove to Yellowstone in Model T Fords. Merle Adams was twelve when they made the trip. His cousin, Lila Phillips, was 17. I recently found the story Lila wrote about the trip that she titled, "My Most Memorable Trip." She must have submitted it to a magazine or newspaper because the manuscript has a notation of "$3.00" at the top and "photo returned." The photos are from Merle Adam's photo album.

One hot morning in August 1919, two model T Fords, containing 13 people, camping gear, food, and extra car parts, such as brake linings, and connecting rods left the little town of Elbert [Colorado] for a trip to Yellowstone National Park.

Being farm people, vacations were almost unknown, so imagine the excitement after weeks of preparation of starting out on my most memorable trip. My parents, Ella and Melvin Phillips with three teenagers occupied one car while my uncle and aunt, Sharold and Ethel Adams with three teenagers and two younger boys were in the other car.

In those days you didn't just pick up your sleeping bag and drive off. We rolled up bed mattresses (two full size and one single for our family), tents, bedding, pillows, towels, wash cloths, dish towels, dishes (paper was unheard of), cooking utensils, gasoline stove, food and clothing. Anything you might need for such a trip (including fishing rods) for a month you took along. What courage our parents must of had to start on such a jaunt. We also had cans of gas, oil and water. Of course there were small country stores where we could buy some supplies. I can't remember the price of gas but it was probably around 8-10 cents a gallon. Since Cheyenne Frontier Days was that week, they decided to make that our first stop. We arrived the night before the big parade, pitched our tents at the camp ground on the outskirts of the city. The next morning eight anxious kids could hardly wait to get to  the City Center for the parade, after all we had never seen real live Indians.

After a sweltering day we settled in camp and on the morrow we packed up and headed Northward for Yellowstone, over dry, dusty roads making travel very slow. At one place someone had stuck up a hand lettered sign - Speed Limit 70 Miles Per Hour. Papa, with his great sense of humor, sat up straight in the seat, gripped the steering wheel and stepped on the throttle saying, "We'll never make it, we'll never make it." What a good laugh we all had.

Each night it was a major atsk to make camp and prepare food and make beds for thirteen people.

We enjoyed Wyoming scenery very much, camping along clear pure water streams, even the Bad Lands, Hell's Half Acre, were something to view.

After about ten days or two weeks of slow going we arrived at Yellowstone with all its wonders. Roads were not paved, narrow and winding. I remember going up Mt. Washburn, which is high with narrow curves. We came upon a couple whose car was parked in the middle of the road, they were in panic. Actually, the man was on his knees petitioning God to get them off that terrible mountain. My Papa being a good Samaritan offered to drive for them to get them out of our way, and they gladly accepted. We often wondered how they made it. So my Mamma climbed behind the wheel of our car and we proceeded down the mountain.

On one mountain the brakes were wearing out and the emergency was in jeopardy, so many times the wheels had to be driven into the bank to break the speed.

We enjoyed the hot springs, especially Morning Glory Pool which was beautiful in color and depth. We were intrigued by the bears as long as they stayed their distance. One camp where were were, there were movie men wanting to get a bear in action. They had strung a rope between two trees and hung lucious looking ham and bacon on it and focused their camera ready to snap Mr. Bear when he got the meat. Everyone went to bed expecting to hear and see excitement during the night. Morning came, the hams still hanging untouched but the canned milk and other provisions left at the foot of the tree had been cleaned out, and no one heard a sound. Disappointment reigned.

We camped near Old Faithful and saw it shoot many times. Mamma had a small Brownie Camera and took many pictures which now are very faded but hope they can be printed.

We spent eight days in the park and walked over terraces and saw many things the average tourist never sees. Whenever possible, we camped along creeks or small streams. All had pure water there.

We were from dry land and never had the pleasure of fishing so we tried our luck with little result. My sister, Verna, and Cousin Merle caught a small trout probably three inches, they were so excited they rushed back to camp to show their catch.

We left the park via the Idaho gateway, seeing the rich farm lands and fruit orchards on into Utah. The old Ford had taken a beating and had to be overhauled for connecting rods and brake linings which our dads did themselves. (They could do anything.)

One day the two cars got separated, each thinking they were behind, traveled at top speed to catch up. My uncle decided it was time to camp so they did, and we came upon them. We kids just knew we would not see our cousins until we got home.

We got to Salt Lake City and were really broke, about twenty-six cents was all we could scrape up between us. Mamma gathered three or four of us kids and went to a a bank and truthfully told our plight and came out with the cash we needed for the remainder of the trip.

We toured the Mormon Square and attended the noon organ recital which was impressive. We drove out to Saltair and tried floating in the salt water. The first thing I did was to get "upset" and my head went under, if my daddy had not been close, I'm sure I would have strangled to death, guess that experience made me afraid of water so I never learned to swim well.

Our folks were getting weary with all the work and little play so we started homeward. At Vernal, Utah, more repairs had to be done on the cars before crossing the mountains.

When we got to Berthoud Pass it was so steep and rugged in places the old Fords had to have some help so we got out and pushed. Those curves were a far cry from today's paved roads.

In all, we were gone five weeks and each one was really glad to see Elbert County. Indeed, it was a memorable trip.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Family Search Adds Colorado Statewide Marriage Index

Just in time for Valentines Day, Family Search added the Colorado Statewide Marriage Index 1900-1939 to its battery of databases and indexes this week. The index was a WPA Project in the late 1930's and early 1940's. The cards are arranged by the groom's last name.

Go to http://familysearch.org Scroll down the home page to "Browse By Location" and click on "United States." In the left column of this page, click on "Colorado" and "Colorado, Statewide Marriage Index 1900-1939" will appear. Despite the title, marriage records dated before 1900 are in the index as you can see in my husband's great-great-grandparents' index card above.

This collection isn't indexed. Click "Browse Collection" and pick the name range the surname of the groom falls under. You may browse card by card or you can skip to images using the image number box at the top. The image above is number 4264 Edwards, Luther M. - Epler, Daniel L. (Yes, this made the searching a little easier!)

More information about the original card index and the database can be found on the Western History and Genealogy Blog of the Denver Library.

Have fun and good luck!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Share Your Story of Colorado History

History Colorado has a fantastic new contest called "Share Your Story." Colorado residents are invited to dress up as your favorite Colorado history figure, snap a picture of it, and share your story in 250 words. If you enter by November 13, you may just win an overnight get-away for a family of four to Glenwood Springs!

The “Share Your Story” photo contest will be open to Colorado residents 18 years of age or older beginning on Monday, Oct. 24, 2011 at 8 a.m. MT and ending on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011, 11:59 p.m. MT.
Photo submissions can include yourself, your kids, or your whole family dressed up to tell a Colorado Story. Dress up to look like your favorite Colorado characters and figures—an adventurer of centuries past, perhaps a Colorado sports figure, or a picture of you in a uniform or a costume that relates to your cultural heritage and family legacy in Colorado; or maybe you’ll invent a futuristic character — someone you think has yet to leave their legacy on Colorado’s history.

Visit http://www.facebook.com/HistoryColorado?sk=app_95936962634 for more information and to Share Your Story!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Elbert County Museum Opens Sunday May 29th

The Elbert County Museum opens for the summer this Sunday, May 29th! If you haven't visited the museum before, be sure to stop in for a glimpse of Elbert County history. And if you have visited before, there is always something new! This year's special exhibit is "Yesterday's Tools: Tools from the Home, Barn and Machine Shop."

Main Street features Dr. Denny's office, a bank, a mercantile, and post office. The post office is special to my family because it is the counter of the old Elbert Post Office where my father-in-law was postmaster for 35 years. I feel like I am walking into the old post office and that Warren should be standing at the window!

Here is a link to a
short video about the Elbert County Museum at Our Journey. Click on Elbert County Museum. The post office counter is in this video.

The museum is open Thursday through Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. during the summer.

Be sure to visit the Elbert County Historical Society and Musuem
website for more information.