Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Schwarz report - part 1

Julius Schwarz was hired by HEAS to go to Cotopaxi with the Colonists.  We know that he was there from May 9 to at least the end of September as he signed the 3 wedding documents.  This report was written on Oct 23, 1882 and is quite lengthy, so I will post it in segments, linking each post to the other.

Remember that Julius is about 21 years old, he had been in this country less than 2 years, he is a lawyer, from Hungary.    These first 3 sections talk about the history of the Colony and the "statistics" of the Colony.

Report of Julius Schwarz to HEAS 
New York, October 23, 1882. 
H. S. Henry, Esq 
President of the H E A Society of United States: 
Sir: - My position as General Manager of the Cotopaxi Colony imposed upon me the pleasant duty of presenting for your information a true account of the standing of the Colony, and of directing your attention to such matters of interested and importance as are involved in its success. 
Above all, I congratulate you, Mr. President and the Executive Committee, as well as all those interested in the welfare of refugees, on the general prosperity of the Colony, and it is with much satisfaction and justifiable pride that I pronounce the agricultural colony in the Rocky Mountains a full and complete success, and the question whether Jews are fit to become farmers, solved and answered in the affirmative; solved not by arguments of eloquence, but solved by the greatest of existing arguments – the argument of facts. 
Things to remember:
1.  He is young and wants to impress his boss - good for his career.
2.  He was in Cotopaxi in the Spring/Summer and possibly early fall.  He had not wintered there.
3.  He is proclaiming the Colony a success the same month Saltiel claimed it a failure.

I would divide the duty of reporting, assigned to me into nine general heads: 
1. The history of the Cotopaxi Colony 
2. The situation of the County of Fremont, and the topographical description of the lands on which the refugees have settled. 
3. The statistics of the Colony; the number of families, of adults, and those of minor age, etc. 
4. Colorado farming, and the peculiarities of the soil. 
5. The condition of the crop of the refugees; what they raise; their houses; the climate; the food they get. 
6. The working capacity of the colonists. 
7. Education and religious life of the colonists. Their relations to their Christian neighbors. 
8. Expenditures made for establishing and supporting the Colony. The property of the Colony. 
9. General remarks and conclusions 
Above are the 9 categories of this report - the first 3 are in this blog.
1 The history of the Cotopaxi Colony
The tyrannical illiberality of the Russian Government, which permitted the cruel persecution of a people for the simple reason that they are of a peculiar race and a peculiar faith, overflowed the free shores of our country with suffering refugees. 
This is evidenced by the tens of thousands of immigrants who flooded NYC daily.  No jobs, no food, no housing.
The desire to colonize these refugees, to make them farmers, and to tie them thereby to the spot which they might choose to be their home, speedily became a sentiment among our thinking co-religionists.
NYC had no means to support this huge quantity of immigrants so HEAS set about to send groups of them to farms throughout the country - to lessen the burden on NYC.
Let us try to colonize them. Let us rescue them from the ever burdening chains of poverty and desolation, by opening for them the boundless fields of our country. Let us break the prejudice of the multitude against Jewish agriculturists. Jews as farmers are no novelty. There are Jewish farmers in Hungary, in Romania, in Russia and they all prosper and get along. The idea, the conception of colonization soon grew to a thought, and the thought was soon carried out and became a fact. 
It was decided that Government land be taken up in Colorado, and an experimental Colony be founded. The scheme matured, and the Committee generously aided all efforts tending to speed the execution of the plan. Proper persons, amongst them some trained farmers, were selected, and on the 3rd of May, 1882, the Colony, consisting of thirteen families, left for Cotopaxi, where they arrived after a five days journey. 
This would put them in Cotopaxi on May 8, but almost all other records confirm May 9.  Notice that there is no mention of Saltiel in the "scheme" that matured.  There were trained farmers in the group.
Although I was at first appointed Clerk to the Colony, its entire management was subsequently entrusted to me. 
The management of the Colony was entrusted to me, and Leon Tobias, of Odessa, was selected as assistant and field overseer.
We know this to be true from the Tuska Report.
2.  The situation of Fremont County, and the topographical description of the lands on which the refugees have been settled
The village of Cotopaxi lies in the County of Fremont, 35 miles west of Canon City, and 25 miles east of the City of Salida, almost in the centre of the great line – Denver – Leadville. 
Fremont County has an area of nearly 1,300 square miles, and is bisected by the Arkansas River, which flows from west to east near the centre of the county, for a distance approximating 50 miles. 
Canon City, the capital of the country, is situated two miles east of the Royal George of the Arkansas, midway between the north and south, and twenty miles west of the eastern boundary line, at an altitude of 5,000 feet above sea level.
The altitude of Canon City is 5331'.  Cotopaxi is at 6362'.  The Colonists farms were at about 8362'.
Thirty-five miles west from Canon City on the main line of the Denver and Rio Grande Railway lies the village of Cotopaxi, so named from the famous volcano in South America. Cotopaxi is the headquarters of a rich mining district; is situated in a beautiful valley surrounded by high mountains, most of which contain valuable minerals, especially silver and copper, galena and lead.
What Schwarz could not have known at this point is that these minerals were limited in quantity and within just a few years, there was no mining left in this area.
The Arkansas River runs at the foot of the valley. It is a pretty lively railroad station, and is by means of favorable site destined to become one of the best places in the Centennial State.
Again, Schwarz could not have know that this never came to fruition.
Opposite Cotopaxi, on the southern banks of the Arkansas River, there are about 500 acres of farming land, ascending in easy grades and surrounded on both sides by high mountains, whose interior resounds with the drilling and blasting of miners, and which are covered with oak trees that furnish an excellent material for fence posts and kindling wood. This land, covered with fresh green grass, which at points reaches the height of two feet, extends to the length of three and one half English miles, and forms the first link in the chain of farms that are under the cultivation of the expatriated Russian Jews.
This is grass as we know it, but rather grazing grass, good for cattle.  It is not planted - it comes up on its own in a good year when there is rain.  Green in June, dry and brown by August.
Here on Oak Grove Creek three of our farmers are located: Joseph Nudleman, himself a farmer:
His plot has a creek running through it.  This is a seasonal creek that dries up after spring run-off.  Nudelman is listed as a carpenter in the directories.
Loeb Zadek, a carpenter, but who is now one of the best farmers, a man who has the most carefully irrigated land, and who is the living proof that Russians are by no means that stiff-necked lazy people for which they were taken.
Zadek's plot is located where Tom Young lived.  Many of us know the location well.  It has the most water - but still on a seasonal creek that will dry up most of the year.  It was also where the stage coach road  had a junction going east to Texas Creek Road, west to Pleasant Valley and north to Cotopaxi.
 The third is Sholem Chorovsky, whose farm looks like a flower garden; a man who while staying in New York was known to the committee only as a boisterous rebel, as a dissatisfied, quarrelsome creature and who now, when colonized and placed in a home, has become a placid, peaceful man who likes his home, and in the closest meaning of the word caresses the spot on which he has based his future. 
I have not found this plot registered in the Clerk's office.  But based on the dimensions and location of the Nudelman and Zadek plots, I almost think it was south of the Zadek plot.  This, too would have been located on a seasonal creek with water part of the time to irrigate with.
A steep mountain range, strewn with gigantic rocks, separates these farms from the second division of the colony – from Wet Mountain Valley, so called on account of the frequent rain falls and the natural humidity of its soil. Here six of the farmers are located, occupying six full lots of 160 acres each, total, 960 acres. The names of the six farmers are: Marcus Chuturan, Sholem Chuturan, Michael Shamess, Baruch Milkstein, Morris Menkowsky and Isaac Shamess.
We have located these plots and they are mapped out.
Four other lots, I found, had been taken up and proved by Christian farmers. I have ordered these to be left, not only to avoid quarrelsome litigation, but because I found, three and a half miles further south, a body of better land, easier to be watered, and run through by creeks, allowing a plentiful irrigation. I, therefore, deserted those lots and located the landless farmers on a body of land comprising two lots. 
As for the 4 lots taken up by Christians - remember, Saltiel never filed any of this land in the land office, so it was "free" for anyone to homestead.
Here, on the third division of the farms, I located the other five farmers, namely: Abel B. Sneider, Samuel Newman, David Grupitzky,
Interesting that this land was originally plotted in Fremont County.  There was a problem and it was resurveyed and no belongs to Custer County.  I have been through all their records and there is nothing with these names on it, but we have these declarations in Fremont County.  On the plot map  you can see the dark lines around these plots which show the disputed areas between the 2 counties.
a man who during the week, shovels the ground and carries lumber, or goes to work, while on Sabbaths he performs the duties of a reader and rabbi,
as evidenced by the fact that he signed all 3 marriage certificates.
 Hirsch Dublitzky and Henry Lauterstein. The farmers Sigmund Vositzer, Zalel Prisrand and Jacob Milchstein, participate in cultivating the farms of B. Milchstein, Isaac Shamess and Michael Shamess. 
Here we see where multiple families lived on the same farms and most likely shared the same homes.
The acreage of the lands already settled amounts to 1,780 acres. Besides, we have at our disposal, surveyed and staked, on Wet Mountain Valley, nine more lots comprising 1,440 acres, which, however, can only be cultivated by means of a three miles long ditch to be dug, through which the water shall be carried from the mountains.
No evidence of this land ever being claimed.  No records in Fremont or Custer counties.  Nothing at the land offices in Pueblo which are now at the archives in Denver.
The amount of land belonging to the colony and being at the disposal of the Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society, is thirty-two hundred and twenty acres.  All these lands have been carefully surveyed, and possess a rich phosphate soil.  Nobody is allowed to occupy more than 160 acres of Government land, this being the legal claim allowed to each individual occupant. 
This is not correct.  There are 16 known plots at 160 acres each which would total only 2560 acres.  If you add in the Chorotsky plot which I have not located, then there are 2720 acres.

If you add in Saltiel's plot of 160 acres, of which he sold 155 acres to his mining company, you would still only be at 2880 acres.  I do not see how Schwarz arrived at 3220 acres.
The laws of Colorado have pretty strict provisions in this respect, they are, however, distinct and without ambiguity.
Numerous reports show that the homestead act was violated time and again in western fremont county.  This law was not enforced until about 1894 at the earliest.  Saltiel, by virtue of claiming 160 acres under the homestead act, then selling 155 acres to his mining company, violated this law.
They compel each colonist to cultivate at least five acres of his claim within six months from the day of his settling upon it, and to stake the balance of 155 acres, or less. After the occupation has been made, the occupant has to file a declaration for record in the office of the Register of his county.
And we have 16 declarations that were filed in June and November 1882.
After this, filing must be done at the land office, either by pre-emption or homestead, where upon the necessary papers constituting title and ownership of the occupant are issued. If filing is done by homestead, the occupant must reside on his land, that is, must have a dwelling thereon. 
This filing never happened.
Four of our farmers have their houses already, and two will have them built in Cotopaxi itself, the remaining six on their respective lands.  Those living in Cotopaxi have, in order to comply with the law to erect log cabins on their lands, which they have partly already done. 
There were 17 families so this does not add up.  We now know that the 2 in Cotopaxi were Nudelman and Shuteran.

Is Schwarz stating that as of October, these homes had not yet been built?

Who were the 4 that had houses built?  Who were the 6 who were going to have them built.  This still only totals 12 houses for 17 families.

Yet this is confirmation of 12 houses being built for 70 people.

Tomorrow I will post the next section of this report.

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