A timeline he provides us in that letter:
I went to Colorado at my own expense and arranged for the building of a number of houses during the summer months, guarding as is usual, loss or delay to the Contractor from flood, fire or visitations of Providence. On the eighth day of May this contract was verbally agreed to, between the Contractor and myself and a memoranda agreement in writing was drawn up, but not signed on that day, but a short time afterwards the signatures of both parties were attached, and the houses proceeded with.So as of May 8, there had been no attempt to build houses. This contract was made with Saltiel's cousin, E. S. Hart who owned the store in Cotopaxi.
Please note that Saltiel was not in Cotopaxi - he had to go there.
The Refugees arrived on May 9,The first statement that the land had not yet been surveyed:
on May 11th I requested Mr. Schwartz to accompany a colored farmer, one Edward Jones, to Oak Grove Creek with a few of the colonists and stake out the bottom land under the farmer’s direction.
On May 27th I went with Schwartz and another man into the Wet Mountain Valley, and selected a corner to start a survey line, and gave directions to run from that point as a centre and take up Two thousand acres of the best land. I drove three stakes into the land and directed Schwartz to tell the colonists that ploughing must commence on the following day.We have located 17 land declarations dated both June and November 1882. I have not yet been able to locate any documentation on this 2000 acre survey. Note - it was not done until AFTER the Colonists arrived!
After Tuska left on July 30, 1882, Saltiel writes:
After Mr. Tuska had left, ... I talked with Mr. Hart and got him to turn over the building contract to me and such building material as he had on hand... and I personally assumed the responsibility of building the houses, and have since that time quietly proceeded with them with two carpenters.In Saltiel's own words.....
He did not start building the Colonists homes until May 8, 1882, one day before their arrival.
He did not start to survey the land for their farms until May 27, 1882.
Their homes were not finished by at least July 30, 1882.
We are successfully proving the oral histories of the Cotopaxi Colonists - one by one.