Monday, February 20, 2017

Powerpoint presentation Feb 27, in Canon City

I will be giving my presentation "The Jewish Colony at Cotopaxi" this Saturday, Feb 27, at 1 pm in the back room at Design Ur Memories, 518 Main Street, Canon City

This is the presentation that I will be doing next month in Gush Etzion, Judea, Israel.  This is going to be from a historical perspective rather than a genealogical view.  I plan to cover these issues:

The Cotopaxi area in the late 1800s
Why the Jews wanted to leave Russia
How Emanual Saltiel got involved, what he promised to do, what he didn't do and why.
The past written records and new findings.
The 3 weddings.
The miner's lien.
Saltiel's hotel and who he was.
The cemetery, the records and the road marker.

Those are a few of the things I have been asked to research in the past.

Sorry, this will not be recorded as this is my trial run for the Israeli presentation and I will allow questions at any time during the presentation just so I know what to fix for next month!

If you live in Colorado, I hope you can come.  There are chairs for about 20 people but there's always room to sit on the floor!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Who writes about Cotopaxi and future presentations

It is interesting who decides to write what about the Cotopaxi Colony.  There is a new article out in Hebrew in a Jerusalem newspaper.  Click here.  You can do google translate and will find it's the pretty standard "story" of what happened based on Flora Satt's 1950 thesis and other popular writings.

I just wanted to remind everyone of a couple of other websites that you can use to ask pertinent questions when someone is telling the "story".

The Jewish Gen Kehilalinks Site has numerous pages of information.  The Family Names Page shows us that Nettie Milstein, daughter of Saul Ber Milstein, arrived on the ship "the Polynesia" on July 16, 1882.  She traveled here with her Uncle, Isaac Leib Shames.  She was part of the second group to arrive in Cotopaxi.

Contrary to the "popular" version of the Colony story, she did not arrive in the US in 1880 at the age of 20.  She came in July, 1882, at the age of 17.....AFTER the first colonists arrived in Cotopaxi in May.

I have written extensively about this in a past blog.   I show the marriage certificate as well as the marriage license application forms which show she was only 17 years old in September 1882, and she needed the consent of her uncle, Isaac Shames, to be married as her parents did not arrive in this country until December, 1884.

Because of her age,  because of the requirement to have a signed consent, and because I have thoroughly searched the records in Gilpin County, Colorado, I do not believe there was a marriage prior to the one in September in Cotopaxi.

And this alters the "common" story to some degree.

This link to the Kehilalinks site that shows the various ships manifests is quite valuable because the far right hand column also shows the inter-relationships of the various individuals.   It can be used to prove ages, year of birth, date of arrival, people who traveled together and so on.  It proves and disproves much of what Flora Satt wrote.  It proves that Saul Baruch Milstein was never at Cotopaxi.

I'm pretty sure that the author of the recent article in the Jerusalem News did not know about my research, or about the Kehilalinks site or this blog.  One more great source of information is  the Cotopaxi Colony site by Nelson Moore.   It should be studied in depth as it contains valuable resources and photos.  It also covers the story about the restoration of the Jewish portion of the cemetery at Cotopaxi.

As a quick update - it may be 2-3 months before there are more posts to this blog.  My research continues.   I am currently working on the real estate aspects of the property owned by the Colonists. That's turning out to be an education in itself!

My sister and I are traveling to Israel for almost 6 weeks starting March 2.  We will be giving a powerpoint slide presentation on the Cotopaxi Colony in Gush Etzion the evening of March 21 and possibly another presentation in Jerusalem that same week.    If you are interested in attending either presentation, email me at

I will do one more post when the dates, times and locations are confirmed.

Nancy Oswald will also be presenting on this topic at the Senior Mini College in Canon City.  You can follow this website to see when they post the date and time for her presentation.

If you have questions about the colony, feel free to send me a note or add a comment to a post.

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Saturday, October 8, 2016

More on the Nudelman house

Back in February, I posted a blog about the Nudelman house - from the standpoint that several documents had been tossed into the trash and then found their way to the local History center.

I've been researching it ever since.  I'd like to verify the location of the house today - if it still exists.

First, that original document found in the trash:

Another document that was pulled from the trash is the sale of the other half of the house, the Chuteran property, the same day.  Interesting that this document was just one page.

 The typed version of the Chuteran document:

Bill of Sale
Solomon Chuteran to
W. S. Hart
Filed for Record Aug 7, 1883 at 6 o’clock pm
Jno Wilson Recorder

This indenture made on this the Thirtieth day of April in the year Eighteen Hundred and Eighty three.

Witnesseth that I the undersigned Solomon Chuteran of Cotopaxi, in the County of Fremont, state of Colorado, do for and inconsideration of One Dollar, lawful money of the United States of America and other valuable consideration received hereby, sell, assign, transfer and set over to Eleazer S. Hart of Cotopaxi, same state and county aforesaid a certain frame house or dwelling situated in Cotopaxi as aforesaid, and heretofore occupied by myself and  my family as a dwelling which said dwelling was erected for my use and benefit and I delcare that I have the full right and authority to sell and transfer the said building, which is situated on grounds leased for the purpose near the track of the Denver and Rio Grande Railway on the northerly side of said railway track and distant about five hundred feet easterly, from the present site of the Cotopaxi Hotel and adjoining the House of Joseph Nudelman.  I do further hereby sell and transfer assign and set over to said Eleazer S. Hart the furniture in said dwelling house, consisting of one kitchen stove with appurtenances and utensils, one bed, one table, 3 chairs and other miscellaneous articles.

In witness whereof I hereby affix my hand and seal this the thirtieth day of April, in the year 1883.

S. Chuteran

Witness Joseph Bardine

State of Colorado
Fremont County ss

Personally appeared before me the subscriber and acknowledged this as his free act and deeds, and wishes it to be recorded as such.  Witness my ahdn and seal this the 30th day of April A. D. 1883.  G. H. Rummel seal, Justice of the Peace

For value received I hereby assign all of my right and title to the property acquired by this instrument except the goods as mentioned and conveyed to with the household goods to Mrs Susan A McCoy.

Witness my hand and seal this the sixteenth day of August A. D. 1883  E. S. Hart, seal, Witness G. H. Rummel.

Personally appeared before me the subscriber and acknowledged this as his free act and deeds and wishes it to be recorded as such.  Witness my hand and seal this 16th day of August A. D. 1883.  Z. T. Banta seal, Justice of the Peace.

Down the left side of the page:

For value received I hereby assign all my right and title to the property acquired by this instrument of writing to Mr Epptein. This assignment has not been accepted, has not been conveyed.  E. S. Hart, witness H. S. Tooling.

I have not been able to locate all of the documents that I am looking for but I do have some that refer to this as the "McCoy double house".  As soon as I have a complete "trail" I will come back and update this post.  But it appears that this was 2 families living under a common roof with a wall adjoining their residences...the houses were attached to each other.

It is also evident that the houses were built on land leased from E. H. Saltiel.

In my later documents, the land was sold by O. B. Carroll to A. A Sloan.  Then Sloan sold the double house and the land to W. A. Hendricks.  Hendricks sold it back to Sloan who sold it to Kate Gorman in 1895.  I do not have documentation yet as to how it got to Carroll from McCoy.....or who it went to after Gorman.

Couldn't I just to a title search?  No - that won't work for most of the houses in Cotopaxi.  For most of the houses, sometime between 1910 and 1950...the owners all went to court to prove their ownership.  And by doing such, they didn't have to go back and verify the earliest ownerships.  They would stand on the court house steps in Canon City and literally call out every possible owner's name.  No one showed up and the judge awarded the property to the current owner.

That or they simply had it re-declared under the Federal Land act.

And yes, this may be wasting my time, but I have to wonder.  With these 2 documents are "new" questions.  

1)  Were the Nudelmans and the Chuterans related?  People rarely lived this close together if they weren't.

2)  Did both of these families leave Cotopaxi in April, 1883, when the houses were sold?  Or had they built another house on the land they farmed that was south of Cotopaxi?

I have found no documents showing the sale of any of the plots south of Cotopaxi.

3)  In both documents, the property was "sold" to E. S. Hart who then "sold" them to Susan McCoy.  Was Hart acting as an early realtor in western Fremont county?

4)  It does not appear that the furniture was transferred to McCoy.

5)  This does tell us some of the furniture they had.

6)  The sale was for $1 and "other valuable considerations."    This is a common phrase used and could mean anything.  Did they just want to dump the property?  Was it worth nothing since they didn't own the land it was on.  What would a 49 year lease be worth?  How much would you give for a duplex that sat on a 49 year lease and you didn't know if the lease could be renewed or not?

7) Who did McCoy sell the place to?

Interesting questions!

One thing I do know is that neither Nudelman or Chuteran  were listed on the miner's lien.  It would be doubtful that Saltiel paid them and not the others.  Thus, most likely, they did not owe Hart any money at his store.  

These documents also show us that:

Joseph Bardine was a witness
G. H.. Rummel was the Justice of the Peace
Z. T. Banta was a justice of the Peace
and there was a Mr. Epptein
and a witness H. S. Tooling.

What were their relationships with the Colonists?  with Saltiel?  with Hart?

This is a prime example of how researching local documents can give you clues as to where to go next with your research, whether it is related to your family tree or not.

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Grand Canyon of the Arkansas

That is the 1882 name for what is now known as the Royal Gorge.  Today, we took a train ride up through the canyon to get some photos as it hit me that people who are not from here might want to see what the Colonist saw when they left Canon City heading west to Cotopaxi.

Remember that the train stopped every 7 -10 miles to fill up with water and every 25 miles to add coal.  Since it's 35 miles to Cotopaxi it took awhile for them to get there.

I decided to take photos showing todays train so you could get an aspect as to size and distance.  This is what it looks like when you leave town.  These water diversion gates were not there in 1882....but the landscape was the same and the lack of trees probably the same.

As you round the first couple of corners, you start to see a few more peaks.

Then the river gets more narrow as the peaks get taller

This is the first glimpse of the suspension bridge at the top - you can barely see it, but you can get an idea as to how flat and sheer some of the cliffs in the canyon are.

I wonder what the Colonists thought?  They must have been overwhelmed at the depth of this canon. Of course, the bridge was not there.  And they would have been on a narrow gauge train.  A much different experience than today's ride.

These days, some of the river walls have been cemented in due to floods and erosion of the ground under the tracks.  On the left is a water pipeline that did not exist in 1882.

This photo shows the jaggedness of the peaks going through the canyon.

And this is pretty much the scenery anywhere there is land you could walk on.  Filled with cactus and small shrubs.  Hard to believe this is just a few feet from the river, yet absolutely nothing grows here.

The train stops at Parkdale and then you come back to Canon City.   From Parkdale, the highway follows the train the rest of the way to Cotopaxi.  But if you drive it today, you just will not see what they saw going through the Royal Gorge.

 I was able to get this shot of the water showing how shallow it is.  

Today, rafting is the main industry of this river.  But in the 1880s, logs were cut and then put in the river and floated downstream to Canon City and Pueblo.  This is at Parkdale where the early pioneers ran up to 5000 head of cattle and they crossed the Arkansas here.  That would have been something to see!

On the way back, I was able to get this closeup of the suspensions that support the train tracks through the narrowest part of the canyon.

They were told that they could farm the land and then they saw this.  I just think they had to have shook their heads in wonder!  I do and it's 2016!

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Friday, September 30, 2016

New article on Cotopaxi out today

click here

Released today in the Intermountain Jewish News in the L'Chaim magazine.

An interesting perspective - asking the public to be a jury.  Yet fairly accurate.

He misquoted the website: belongs to Nelson and you will not find the articles there.  You will find his research and his commentary, not mine. is this blog where the articles are.  Just look at the home page, down the right side and you will see links to all of the articles I have posted thus far.  (taking a short break and will get back to this in a week or so).

I do not believe I said Saltiel was "guilty as sin" - perhaps "guilty as charged"?  I know I made it clear that I have not and never would call Saltiel a "villain".   And it is not my belief that we are allowed to judge another human.  But we can show the known facts about a situation.  I think the author is attempting to do that here.  Yet much has been omitted that I would definitely want to present to a jury!

I think the greater question is whether this is a "jury" issue?  I still contend that Saltiel simply wasn't in Cotopaxi very much.    And I think the peripheral story is what matters....the fact that Saltiel had just gotten a divorce, married another woman, had small children, was still traveling to NYC and other places, was in court, in jail, dealing with mine transactions and simply not present much when the Colonists were there.

And since the findings are not complete - the story cannot be complete!  Thus the jury cannot convene and the judgement cannot be made.

Ask yourself how you might read this differently if the writer has presented me, representing the Colonists as the defendant?  After all, I suppose my research is to defend the oral histories handed down by the Colonists families.  And that would make the "bounty" side the prosecution....attempting to prosecute the Colonist for their oral histories.  Now that could have been an equally interesting story!

I had to chuckle that I am being portrayed as the prosecution.  There has been no criminal charge made against Saltiel.  I am not attempting to prove anything about Saltiel.  And I do think that's made clear in the article - I'm working to prove the accuracy of oral histories and the facts of what happened.

Yet, overall, a rather interesting take on the story.  What did you think?

I think I need to skip life, finish my research, and get this written down! week!  Unless life gets in my way.  :)

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Technology and research

In the past few years, I have given presentations on genealogy, Cotopaxi, and other topics.  Sometimes, the venue doesn't have an overhead projector, so I use 2' x 3' posterboards that I have covered with diagrams.

When I share a family tree, I print out all the pages, trim them, tape them together and create a scroll.

Today, I purchased a small hand-held projector.

It will be perfect for displaying family trees in small settings, and to show the powerpoint presentation on Cotopaxi!  What's even more fascinating is that I can download anything to my iPad, connect that to the projector and use my iPhone as a remote to page through the slides.

The guy at the Apple store didn't know if I could get that to I'm quite pleased with the end results!

Now, when I travel, I just take my iPad, iPhone and this projector with is about the size of 2 iPhones!!!

I can share any family tree in a format up to 100" wide on a white wall or sheet.   When I do craft presentations, teaching techniques,  I can use my iPad camera to zoom down on my hands and share with a crowd any craft technique that I'm doing.  And I can zoom in on a photo and trace it with great detail.

Bottom line....if you want the presentation on Cotopaxi to be given in your home or to a small group....I can now supply everything needed - all you have to provide is a white wall or white sheet!

Isn't technology grand???

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Where was it notarized?

I have been doing genealogy research for years.  I have never bothered to look at the location where a document was notarized!  I think I always assumed the notarization took place where the event occurred!

Sometimes - it can change a story!

For Cotopaxi, we know that Elizabeth Saltiel joined her husband there sometime before the 1880 census was taken.  Oral history claims that she had an affair with the local postmaster, Frank Wood.

Documents tell us that he was the postmaster from May 25, 1880 until July 29, 1880.  And as far as the recorded documents go, he was the first postmaster in Cotopaxi.

On May 10, 1880, Frank Wood sold the Iron Arrow Lode to Emanuel Saltiel.

On June 19, 1880, Emanuel Saltiel created the Colorado Coal & Iron Co - which included the Iron Arrow Lode.

Jan 10, 1881, Frank Wood files a surety bond that is witnessed by Emanual Saltiel and A. C. McCoy

Mar 5, 1881, Frank Wood filed an affidavit of labor on the Cotopaxi Placer Mining Co.

And thus ends the records of Frank Wood in Cotopaxi.

I was reading through some of the other documents and found one dated April 21, 1881 between Elizabeth Saltiel and Charles Lamborn.  It was notarized in New York City.

So now we have evidence that she had left Cotopaxi and was residing in NYC as early as April 1881.

I had always believed that she and her children were living in Cotopaxi in May 1882 when the Colonists arrived.....obviously that was not true.

Next, I went back through all the transactions I have with her name on it.  The most recent was Dec 6, 1880, and it was notarized in Fremont County.  So she relocated to NYC sometime between Dec 1880 and Apr 1881.

Interesting what you can learn by looking at where and when a document was notarized.

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