Monday, February 29, 2016

Put your name on your house!!!

They have been doing that for centuries in the northeast.  Sometimes it's a family name.  Other times they would give it a name like "Spring Lake" or "Robin's Peak".  When you drive around in the New England states, you will see the little wood posts on the houses that show you it's name!  Sure makes it easy to find the specific place you are looking for!

At Cotopaxi, there were 2 buildings that we know of that were "named".  One was "Saltiel".  This particular photo has been used to "prove" that the town was once known as "Saltiel".

It's obvious the name is on the building.  So I started my research.....looking high and low to find out when the town was called "Saltiel".  I can find a single reference to a "Saltiel Park".  One reference to it being called "Saltiels".  Absolutely nothing else.

I have gone back to 1876 in the local clerk and recorders office.  No mention of it being called Saltiels in any document ever.  In fact, the first name used other than "Fremont County" or "Arkansas Valley" appears in 1879 in a legal document, calling the place "Cotopaxi."

So why did this building have the name "Saltiel" on it?  Just a carryover of the hundreds-year-old tradition from buildings back east?

I wonder!

In the 1880 census, we see that Emanuel and Elizabeth Saltiel were living in their home with their 3 children....and eight boarders.  Was this a hotel of sorts???  The beginning of a hotel?

and just for's not listed as "Cotopaxi" in the census dated June 23, 1880.  It's still known as Fremont County.  

In the 1880 census, Cotopaxi was a very small place.  The train was just being built through the canyon and the railroad had built a boarding house (maybe 2?) but did not yet have a depot.  There was the first hints of a stagecoach road coming in from the south.....either late 1880 or early 1881....after the train stop was built.

The census verifies this with lists of boarders....and only a very few families:
Richard McCoy, age 43, farmer ("famous father of the McCoy gang" - probably lived east of Cotopaxi in what is now known as McCoy gulch)
Nicholas Owens, age 45, farmer
H. Rogers, age 32, keeping rr boarding house,  family and 16 boarders
J. W. Miller, age 30, farmer
W. H. Murray, age 33, keeping rr boarding house, family and 22 boarders
Levi Bradish, age 75, farmer

(and keep in mind that "farmer" is a term for rancher....these men were cattle ranchers....not farmers like you would think of in the midwest).

It appears that Rogers and Murray were brought in to run the boarding houses built by the railroad.  The timing is perfect for June as the first train was in December, 1880.

That leaves us with McCoy, Owens, Miller and Bradish as the only ranchers in the valley.  Of these, only the McCoy's stayed (from my research thus far).

Once the train stop was built, the town started growing rather rapidly.  

In the 1880 Colorado State Business directory it states:

Cotopaxi - New camp on D&RG RR 34 miles west of Canon City, 
P Brogan, J C North, Carpenters and Builders (not listed in the 1880 census)
JW Harrison, E H Saltiel, Mine Operators (Harrison resided in Canon City)
Cotopaxi Hotel
M Harrison, Blacksmith (not listed in the 1880 census)

North was living in the same boarding house with Gold Tom in Precinct 1.  Cotopaxi was in Enumeration District 46 in the Arkansas River Valley.  I think Precinct 1 might have been Texas Creek, but not sure yet.  More research to do!

Nonetheless, in 1882, Cotopaxi was new, tiny, and truly part of the wild west.  Was Saltiel's house the hotel....and had been a boarding house in 1880?

And then.....I came across this "Saltiel house" photo...and this is probably the original.  It has not been cropped.  Exact same people in the exact same positions:

Notice the street lamp over to the right? I seriously doubt this photo was taken in 1882.  I doubt these were the Jewish colonists in the photo.   There was no electricity or gas power in Cotopaxi in 1882.

I think someone found this photo, cropped it, and then declared that the town was once called "Saltiel"!!!

My next task is to take all the buildings that were present in Cotopaxi in 1882 and determine what was a hotel (might have been 2 of them), what was a store (pretty sure there were at least 2) and what other businesses there were in "town" when the Colonists were there.  

My point - put your name on your house and one day it might just turn into the name of the place where you lived!  OK...just joking!  My point is that one should not take literally what they read or see in print.  Understand that oral histories can evolve because someone wants you to believe something.  Take the time to do the research to prove what someone else writes.

As a final thought on this you see the tall cacti in the photo?  Cholla cactus, aka "walking 
stick" cactus.  They cover the hillsides and are everywhere....guess they were here in the 1880s as well!  They grow 2' to 4' tall.  

Walking Stick Cactus

You can see the areas covered on the ground with this type of cacti,  some call it prickly pear, or elephant ear.  I can guarantee you that you don't want to step on it!  LOL!

Go back and look at the photos....these is the darker areas on the ground...absolutely covered...and still in the area today, just go take a hike in the hills, but be sure to wear leather shoes or boots and watch where you step!  Tennis shoes just won't cut it!

Can you imagine sending a group of Jews to this area to farm?  Ask yourself the same question about your own ancestors....what did they face when they attempted to farm, to build a house, to eek out a living as they moved west across this country.  What do you know about your ancestors??  It's so much more than just putting a name into a family tree.

Maybe we should all put our names on our homes!

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Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Stouts, McCrorys, Youngs.....

There's a 2-story stone house in Howard with the word "Stout" on it.  Sits on the south side of Hwy 50 - hard to miss as you drive by.

Over 300 years ago, Richard Stout, who lived in New Jersey, had several children, among them 2 sons, Peter and David.

Peter's 5th gr granddaughter was Cora Stout, married to Benton McCrory and they owned the land where the Cotopaxi Texaco Station and the Cotopaxi Store were in the 70s.  They built the house next to the gas station about 1912.  Their son, Dal, had the Texaco Station.

David's 5th gr grandson was Harry Moore, a factory worker in Anderson, Indiana.  His son, Leon Moore was driving through the mountains in Colorado, happened to stop in Cotopaxi, saw the Texaco Station was for sale and bought it about 1973.

My parents bought and lived in the house that their very distant, distant cousins had built.

What are the chances????  I know that dad never knew this.

Yes, my brother, Nelson Moore, and I and our siblings are distant cousins to all the Young/McCrory/Stout's who live in the area.

Who knew???

I've created a tree showing just the 2 lines and how they descend to today.  If you fit in the tree, I'd love to hear from you!!!  Sort of gives new meaning of the history of Cotopaxi to me!  I had absolutely no idea about any of this when I first started researching the Jewish Colony that was in Cotopaxi in 1882.  These are merely those who were living in the area when the Colonists arrived there.

So we are 9th cousins once removed to the current generation....B, T & K Young in Cotopaxi.

I wish I had done this tree in the 70s when dad was still living.  Lesson learned - when you see a house with a name on it that you recognize, take the time to do the research and find out if it's someone related to you.  This house is 1200 miles away from where we grew up.

The chances of dad buying a place that was built by distant cousins.....astronomical!!!

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Emmanuel Saltiel - a Jew from Portugal? And his cousins, the Harts:

I love how oral histories turn into something they are not.  I have read so many places where the author will state that E. H. Saltiel came to America from Portugal.

I think not!

It does state that he was a "Portuguese Jew" -  and I'm sure that's where others come up with the notion that he was from Portugal.   However...the term is slang meaning that he was a Sephardic Jew.  And that would separate him from the Ashkenazi Jews who were the colonists.

What is the difference?  Check here - not much!

I have done the family tree for Emanuel, I have collected the census records....he was born in Bath England.  He immigrated to this country at a very young age about 1862 and he immediately entered the military in the Civil War.  His father, grandfather, gr grandfather and gr gr grandfather were all born in England.  His 3rd gr grandfather was born in Greece.  The next one born in Italy and the next one in Crete.

Saltiel was not Portuguese, nor did he come from Portugal!  But he was a Sephardic Jew - and he probably practiced it some of the time.  He married Elizabeth M. Wolfe in 1870 in New York City.   In a 1871 newspaper article, he state that she was Episcopalian.  But further research shows she was born a Jew.  He was buried as a non-catholic in a catholic cemetery at Rawlins WY in 1900.

What's interesting is that he was a Sephardic Jew who arranged to have a group of Ashkenazi Jews brought to Cotopaxi in 1882.  Fascinating chapter of the Jewish migration to the Western United States.

Along with Saltiel was his cousin, Eleazer Samuel Hart, better known as E. S. Hart.  He had a store and a hotel in Cotopaxi.  Hart was raised as an Ashkenazi Jew (see that story here).   Hart's daughter was married in a synagogue in Chicago.  After Cotopaxi, this family migrated Denver, then  to Chicago IL where we find them in the census records.

His son, Myer Hart, had a son Robert M. Hart, who at some point moved from Chicago to Boulder CO.  Robert married Miriam Rothberger.  They were united by a Rabbi in Colorado.

they were living in Chicago in the 1940 census:

Robert and Miriam Hart were living in Boulder where she died in 1986.  He died there in 1995.

The Miriam R. Hart Regional Radiation Center in Boulder was built in her honor.  An amazing contribution to Colorado from the descendant of someone who was part of the Cotopaxi Colony.  So while most of the story of the Cotopaxi Colony has been one of the ashkenazi jews who were escaping persecution in Russia, I think we cannot forget the sephardic Jews who were there at the same time.

Wonder what I can find on other descendants!

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Finding new evidence of hard times at Cotopaxi

A few years back, I found the miner's lien that proves the Colonists worked in the mines unpaid.

But someone alleged that they were paid in script and could use that at the Cotopaxi store.

I wonder.

In the past few weeks, I've unearthed some rather interesting documents that tell this story (note, much more research to do in order to validate this).

1.  Saltiel incorporated all of his property into a business called the Cotopaxi Placer Mining Company

2.  The Cotopaxi Placer Mining Company then sold part of this to E. S. Hart (a cousin of Saltiel)  for $5600.00 in Oct, 1881, and included in that property was a 10 roomed building known as the Cotopaxi Hotel.  I am not sure if the Cotopaxi store was included in this property description or not -  part of future research.)

I'm pretty sure that in 1881, $5600 was quite a lot of money!

3.  In November, 1882, the Cotopaxi Placer Mining Company filed a lawsuit against Hart and demanded that he vacate the property.

I will search the local court records for more on this suit.  But Hart must have won.  And to what expense?

4.  A few months after this, in May, 1883, Hart borrowed money from D. G. Peabody and placed a lien against the store, it's contents and the hotel.

5.  In Sept, 1884, Hart sold the hotel to L. J. Hylton.  He must have split the store off because it is not listed in this sale.

The miner's lien was for unpaid work performed between 2/1/1883 and 4/14/1883.  After the lawsuit against Hart.

We first read of Hart's financial problems in May 1883.....just after the miner's had worked for free and when Hart supposedly provided them with product for their script.  But nothing showing that Saltiel ever paid Hart.  That would be more than enough to bankrupt Hart!

This study has taught me that dates are extremely important.  Until now, we did not know that Saltiel had sued Hart (his own cousin!) via the Company that he (Saltiel) had incorporated  himself into.

We did not know that Hart had paid him $5600 for the property.

My personal opinion is that the Colonists who were part of the lien against the mine for unpaid wages would not have used script in the store....but that other miners surely did.  And this is what lead to Hart's financial difficulties.  The timing is perfect.

Can you imagine going as much as 62 days without pay?  One of the miner's did!!  Here's a list of the claims from that document.

Again  - there is absolutely no evidence that Saltiel ever reimbursed Hart, in fact, we now know that Hart had to borrow money in May 1883, he sold the store for only $150.00 in Sept, 1884.

These documents probably bring up more questions than they answer!  Proving oral histories may turn out to be a bigger puzzle than just finding names to put in a family tree!  Right now, I'm pretty much loving the "hardship" stories of the colony.  The known colonists on the list are Warsitzer, Lauterstein, Neuman, Schaums, Minkovsky, Dublitzky, and Charvsky.  But I do see a few more names that might well be Jewish!  At what point do I end the research and just start writing the story?

Good question!!!

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Never give up!

Yesterday was a great day for me!  As a genealogist, I can't say it enough - never give up!  Keep going back, doing the same research over and over.  Review what you think you know.  Check dates. And then start over again!

It is not easy. It is WORK!!!  And some days, I do feel like pulling my hair out!!!

In Flora Satt's thesis, she reverenced an article written by Dr. C. Spivak 

2. Denver Jewish News, April 6 - April 25, 1925.
Today this newspaper is known as the Intermountain Jewish News, but the issues cited were in a special Anniversary Edition and included a two-page spread on the Cotopaxi Colony. The April 25th issue contains a feature article on the Colony, newsworthy then as a result of a 'Reminiscence Dinner' given for the surviving members of the group. 
I didn't always keep great notes.   But I had a note from somewhere stating that the article was on Page 38 - 39.

I had another note where someone said the article had been torn out of the newspaper and was missing.

That made me give up.  I had been to the Denver Public Library, to Denver University's Beck Archives, and to the Colorado History center and looked at their digitized newspapers.  I found the Anniversary only had 8 pages.   I read every single page.  Nothing about Cotopaxi.  It had to have been a special supplement for the anniversary edition that simply wasn't digitized, or was missing before that time.  So I stopped looking.

One day, not too long ago, I decided to spend time searching the online catalog from the Beck Archives at Denver University.  When you do a search like this, you need to take the time to open every file, and read the individual contents of the collection.  I spent an entire day and didn't begin to get through what they have.

I found this under the topic:  Jews   Publications   1897 - 1998

  • Abstract

    Books - ''Made in Hungary''; Hebrew scriptures with wooden cover; ''Cookarama''; and Yehoash sheet music; Inter Mountain Jewish News 13th Anniversary Collection; Denver Jewish News 10th Jubilee Edition; the Jewish News and Hebrew Standard.
  And there was a call number.  I must give great credit to Thyria Wilson at the library who has helped me so much over the last few years!  I think she must get so exasperated with me as I just do not give up!!!  I had just been in to see her a couple of weeks ago and she had pulled box after box of files for me to sit and go through.  And here I am asking for more!!!

She had emailed me this note:     (department head's name removed) says she never found an article on Cotopaxi by Dr. Spivak. 

I was just so pleased that Thyria continued to help me out.  And together, we found the article!  In this box labeled Jews/Publications.   I didn't even have to fight traffic to get to their office - Thyria sent me these scans.  

The article by Dr. C. V. Spivak.  You should be able to click on the 2 pages and download them so you can read them better.  or email me ( and I'll send them to you.

Dorothy Robert's article in 1941, p 124,  is a near duplicate, but this dates the information to 1925, which is great!!  And...there are a couple of new clues that I will begin searching - maybe the next time I need a reason to come to Denver!

Another good lesson learned this week.  Librarians are custodians.  The take great care of and preserve these documents and records for future generations.  It is not up to them to know the contents of what is in their libraries.  It is up to us to do the legwork, the research, and to be politely persistent in insisting on what we want to see.  As more and more archives become digitized, this will get even easier for future generations of researchers.

In the meantime.....never give up!!!

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

One person's trash.....

I was at the History Center a few weeks ago and they shared with me a story that made my hair stand on end!!!  And of course, they wouldn't/couldn't give me any details, so I will repeat this as it was shared with me.

"Someone" filled a dumpster with old documents.

"Someone else" driving down an alley saw the dumpster with the old documents in it.  They took it upon themselves to pull everything out of the dumpster and take it to the local history center.

And the good folks there started filing it all away and organizing it.

They were kind enough to allow me to search through boxes of the records that should have been in the incinerator by now!

Low and behold....I found several pertaining to Cotopaxi, but this was the most helpful:

Bill of Sale
Joseph Nudelman to
E. S. Hart
17 Aug 1883

This indenture made on this the thirteenth day of April in the year eighteen hundred and eighty three.

Witnesseth that I the undersigned Joseph Nudelman of Cotopaxi, Fremont County State of Colorado, do for and in in consideration of One Dollar lawful money of the Untied States of America, and other valuable considerations, receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged sell, assign, transfer and set over to Eleazer S. Hart of Cotopaxi, Fremont County, State of Colorado a certain frame house or dwelling situated on ground leased for the purpose, near the track of the Denver and Rio Grande Railway on the Northerly side of said track and distant about five hundred feet Easterly from the present site of the Cotopaxi Hotel, and adjourning the house of Solomon Chuteran in Cotopaxi as herein before described, said dwelling being the same as heretofore occupied by myself and my family as a place of of residence and which was erected for my use and benefit and I hereby declare that I have full right, power and authority to sell and transfer the property herein described and I deliver the same I do herby further sell, transfer and assign to said Eleazer S. Hart the furniture in said dwelling ouse; consisting one kitchen stove with its op..., tenancies and utensils, two beds, one table, six chairs and other miscellaneous articles.

In witness whereof I hereby affix my hand and seal this the day and year first able written.


Joseph Bardini

State of Colorado
Fremont County

Personally appeared before me the subscriber and acknowledge this as his free act and deed and wishes it seconded as such.  Witness my hand and seal this the 30th day of April AD 1883.

Att. Rumel
Justice of the Peace

This assignment has not been accepted and not conveyed

E. S. Hart
Witness H. S. Towling

For value received I hereby assign all 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 R. McCoy

Witness my hand and seal this the sixteenth day of August AD 1883

E. S. Hart
witness Att Rummel

Personally appeared before me the subscriber and acknowledged this as his free act and deed and wishes it to be recorded as such.

Witness my and and seal this the sixteenth day of August AD 1883

M. Banta
Justice of the Peace

Several things of interest in this single document:

We know that Joseph Nudelman arrived in 1882.  In this short time, he had acquired a house, an oven, a table, 6 chairs, and 2 beds.

We now know that this house was next door to the Chuteran residence.

This house was sold to Susan McCoy....who just happened to be the mother of the McCoy Gang of the Cotopaxi area.

E. S. Hart was acting on behalf of Joseph Nudelman, so we can assume that Nudelman had already left the area (history tells us that he went to Painted Woods, North Dakota and I have him in documents there).  He most likely left in April, 1883, about 1 year after he arrived.

One of my goals is to establish exactly where the colonists lived.  So next, I will go back to the clerk and recorder's office and see what I can find on Susan McCoy transferring this house to the next person.  If I can find which house this was, can I find the Chuteran residence?

500 feet east of the Cotopaxi Hotel which I think was the house just east of the store which I think is now owned by Mullins.  So much to do!!!

Valuable information that was tossed into a dumpster.  How fortunate that "someone" just happened to be driving down an alley and found it.  How lucky am I that the staff at the history center let me look through all this!!!

One person's treasure!

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Genealogy - research snafus

I decided to start this blog to help my fellow researchers.  More on that in future posts.  But today....let's talk about your local clerk and recorder's office.  No better way to start something than to dive right into the heart of it!!!

The Canon City, Colorado, Clerk and Recorder's Office has lost a book!

Well, maybe that's too deep of a dive!  LOL!!!  Years ago, I started researching the Cotopaxi Jewish Colony.  I visited the Clerk & Recorder's Office and went through the Grantor/Grantee index and started writing down books I needed to look at.  This was long before they digitized their records.

There was a book simply titled AL or "A of L" in the index.  I asked one of the gals for it and she came back and said she couldn't find it, it must have been an error in the index.  When I showed her 5 different pages that referenced this book, she decided to go look again.

I remember that day well.  She would come back up from the basement every half hour and report to me that she was still looking.  I was busy doing other research so I didn't mind.  At 4:30 pm, she found it!  It was a tiny narrow journal and had been stuck between 2 large journals.  She said that she had worked there 33 years and no one had asked to see this journal.

For me, it was a land mine - an explosion filled with everything I needed to prove oral histories!  As I sat and thumbed through the journal...all legal jargon about mine liens, lawsuits and more, I decided to pay to have almost the entire journal copied.

I missed a page or 2.  So about a year later, I went back and asked to see the journal again.  This time, the news was rather devastating.  I was told that the journal had been sent to the National Archives to be digitized and it had been lost.  They were hoping it would be found.

Oh my gosh!  How lucky am I that I made copies of it!

Yesterday, I was back doing a bit more research.  Everything has been digitized and computerized.  I love it!  I happened to run across an entry for the miner's lien out of that journal, so I popped over to the desk and asked if they had ever recovered the AL journal. is gone forever.

So I told them the story and that I had copies of the journal and offered the copies to them.  They said that they couldn't accept them.  That they could only use documents in their possession.

Sort of weird as I really did get my copies from them and have the receipt to prove it.

One of these days, I will make a copy of my copies and donate them to the local History Center.  But how sad....someone going to the clerk and recorder's office will never know where to go to find them. There is no link between the 2 offices.  Someone will go in, look at the grantee/grantor book, see the names, request the AL journal, and be told that it doesn't exist.

Be still my heart!  As a researcher, this devastates me.  As a genealogist, it slightly infuriates me.  I am offering them copies of something I got from them in order to help future genealogists and they are declining my offer.

I am writing this so that you will know.....if you run into a dead end, look around the corner.  Here in Canon City, go to the History Center on Hwy 50.  And try to remember - employees clock in at 8 am and out at 4 pm.  It is just a job to them.  There is no compassion and they don't really concern themselves with a tiny little insignificant lost journal!

Why is this important at all?  The family stories of the descendants of the Cotopaxi Colony claim that the Jews were tricked into going to Cotopaxi.  They were lured with stories of how great farming would be when a man named Saltiel only wanted them to work in their mines.  They were tricked.  They ended up working in his mines to survive....and then he didn't pay them.

This lien does 2 things.  It provides the names of some of the members of the colony, and it shows how many hours they worked without pay.  Some worked 2 1/2 months without receiving their pay.  Can you imagine doing that today?

They got together as a group and put a lien against Saltiel's mine to stake a claim for their wages.

You can see the entire document on the Cotopaxi-Colony website. 

So even though I acquired this from the local Clerk and Recorder's office, you cannot go there to verify my research.....other than to see the document, 10869, still listed in the index books.  Fortunately, it is listed in each index with the name of each miner, so I don't think that will ever be removed.

Lost from the Clerk and Recorder's office.....but not lost from the world!  Ah! gotta love research snafus!

Edited - February 19, 2016

I woke up at 2 am this morning with a realization of the significance of the "loss" of the book A of L by the Clerk and Recorder's office.  Is this a crime???

A of L was book "A" of Liens.  The entire book was liens against early mine claims in Fremont County.

How very convenient that this book is found after not being looked at for 33 years....and then it miraculously turns up "lost"....."forever"!  Liens against a mine that have not been resolved could easily alter the course of ownership to the present day.  Title insurance companies could go broke because they "insured" that the property was clear.  An entire book of liens - found - could create a nightmare for the assessor's office, the clerk and recorder's office....I think the list might be endless!!!

And so the book was "lost".

And although I have copies of most of the liens in this book - if you were to do a title search to the property - and you do not have the original would be screwed because the lien is no longer in the clerk and recorder's office.

And absolutely no one is held accountable for this crime!  I am sure everyone who works there is thinking that no one will ever question them some 134 years later.  I am now wondering if this book was ever actually sent to the national archives to be recorded....or was it tossed in the trash?  Small town Canon City - people "take care of business" their own way?


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