Thursday, July 28, 2016

Phil Helfrich tells the story of Cotopaxi on KHEN radio in Salida - now online for you to hear.

Phil Helfrich conducted an interview with myself and Nancy Oswald about the Cotopaxi Colony.  You can listen to it here:

Cotopaxi Story

He did his own research and he did a great job.  Not too many people get the story as accurate as Phil did!  Thanks!

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Index to the essential documents in the "argument" about Cotopaxi

This is a start.  It does not include everything I have posted....but it does include all of the newspaper items, letters and reports concerning the colony.  I call these the "essential" documents as they are essential to making an accurate decision about what really happened in Cotopaxi.

  • This is the ONLY colony that was established at an altitude above 1000 ft.
  • E. H. Saltiel is the ONLY person responsible for promoting this location to HEAS in NYC.  You will find him to be defensive about any objection to this location even though he later describes it as "one of the wildest parts of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado."
  • Schwarz was young and overly optimistic about the conditions.
  • Kohn/Witkowski were probably leaning too much in the other direction.
  • There is no question that everyone had an opinion about the conditions at Cotopaxi!

You can go directly to my homepage and find this same list down on the right hand side of the page.  Hope it helps!

July 1, 1844 Saltiel’s father - bigamy case - part 2 - Saltiel raised in an Askhanezi home 

The remainder of these documents were referenced in Flora Satt's 1950 Thesis on Cotopaxi. There are absolutely no "new" discoveries, each of these documents was located by Flora Satt - proof that her research was incredible.  I am posting the documents, in a typed format, so you have access to them. You can then click on the link and read each blog.  The peach colored text is the actual document transcribed.  Nothing has been added or omitted.  If you would like to see the jpg image of any of these, just email me 

June 29, 1882  To HEAS from Julius Schwarz. The first report we have on the Colony

Oct 6, 1882 Morris Tuska report from his 7/30/1882 visit to Cotopaxi
Oct 27, 1882  A longer reply from Saltiel to the American Hebrew

Oct 23, 1882  Schwarz Report Part 1
Oct 23, 1882  Schwarz Report Part 2
Oct 23, 1882 Schwarz Report Part 3

Dec 22, 1882 Jewish Messenger’s report on the Colony, author unknown
Dec 27, 1882 Saltiel’s response to the Jewish Messenger’s report (see above)

Jan 30, 1883 The Kohn & Wirkowski report on Cotopaxi - a rebuttal of the Schwarz Report.
Feb 8, 1883  Myer Hart's rebuttal to the Kohn & Witkowski report
Feb 11, 1883  Denver Republican interview with Kohn, Witkowski, others
Feb 11, 1883  HEAS response to the Kohn & Witkowski report
Mar 10, 1883  Philip Nussbaum visit to Cotopaxi in response to Schwarz and Kohn/Witkowski

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Nov 17, 1882 letter from HEAS to Jewish Messenger on Schwartz report.

I thought I was posting in date order, but I found a couple more articles stashed in my files.  This one is from an unknown author, published in the Jewish Messenger, Nov 17, 1882.  From the content, though, it appears this was someone from the Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society in NYC.

The Jewish Messenger1882 Nov 17p 2, c 3
The Russian Emigrants
There was quite a large attendance of Directors of the Aid Society, at the regular meeting held on Monday evening, and an amount of Important business was transacted.  Mr. Edward Lanterbach presented an interesting report of his action while in Europe, representing the Society, and at its conclusion, the following was adopted:
“Resolved, That the thanks of this Society are due and hereby tendered to our worthy colleague, Mr. Edward Lauterbach, for the kind and valuable services he has rendered us during his presence in Europe, not only by representing us at the different aid societies, and vindicating our past course, but also by advocating our cause at the Vienna Convention, and procuring for us Important financial aid, whereby this society has been enabled to carry on its labors.”
Various communications were received and acted upon, among others one from the officers of the United Hebrew Charities, expressing their willingness to cooperate with the society in the work of providing relief to the Russian refugees, in the city.  Mr. E. S. Hart of the Cotopaxi Colony, submitted a flattering and encouraging report of its conditions, stating that the males are earning from two to three dollars a day, and the entire number of colonists are happy and contented, and in good health.
We have not found this report from E. S. Hart.  It would have been written to HEAS prior to November before the first crop failed.  If you recall, Hart, and Ashkenazi Jew as the colonists were, owned the store at Cotopaxi.  He was a 1st cousin, once removed to E. H. Saltiel, a Sephardic Jew who owned/controlled the mines at Cotopaxi.
The number of refugees on Ward’s Island are gradually being reduced in number, mainly by distribution among the various colonies, under the management of the society.  There are now between five and six hundred persons on the Island, and peace and harmony on the whole prevails.  All the children are to be sent to the school maintained by the City on the Island, and applications wil be made to the Board of Education, for additional teachers. 
Mr. Julius Schwarz has prepared a detailed and comprehensive report of the Cotopaxi Colony, in which he pays the following compliments to the good qualities of the refugees:
“Your folks are first-class workers,” that is what I was pleased to hear about the laboring capacities our our people.  There is no doubt that the refugees have shown that they are not the lazy mob for which they were taken.  Under favorable circumstances they have done more than could have been expected.  Only one who knows what it means to break up virgin ground with a common shovel, can appreciate the industrious efforts of the refugees.  They have broken up the ground with a shovel, they have done the hardest part of the work required to make a wagon bridge; they have filled the ditches with rocks, which they have been compelled to cut and hew from the mountains; they went up to their throats in the swift Arkansas River, to make a foot bridge, to enable them to reach their lands; they worked in dark, damp mines, as good and as perserveringly as trained miners; they worked on the railroad giving entire satisfaction to their employers; they carried lumber on their shoulders, to spread the erection of their houses; they walked often twenty miles a day to chop wood in the forests for the purpose of putting fence posts around their farms.
This report can be seen here , and then the following 2 posts as it is in 3 parts.

They left out several paragraphs of the original report, but continue here:
Where these are facts, no theories are needed.  The argument of facts conjuers all other arguments.   The facts are, that the Colony in Cotopaxi is a success, the facts are, that those who advocated the idea that a Hebrew cannot make a farmer, have been refuted   They brought forward opinions, weapons of eloquences and of phrases, which we encounter with the weapons of facts  Facts speak.  Sixty Russian refugees left New York as paupers, five months ago.  Today they are self-supporting citizens.  They had been colonized, thus they became self-supporting; that is the logic of facts.  Do not spend lavishly your money for the purpose of distributing it to a desperate mob—-the mob will ever remain a mob—even if you give each individual the amount he gets now.  The system of money distribution mitigates the pains of the wounds, but does not heal the wound.  Colonize them, give them land, settle them, give them a home, and the mob will become a class of peaceful citizens, who love the spot to which their faith has tied them.  There is a great and sublime principle in colonization.  The principle of the qualification of Judaism.  There never was a better opportunity to show the never dying perseverance of the Jewish race, never a better chance to prove to the world that agriculture is not adverse to the Jewish feelings and inclinations, whereby can be utilized the ? power of the soil.  Distribute money, spend thousands of dollars for supplying daily wants, and you will breed and raise paupers and beggars; colonize and you will make self-supporting men.
All of this is a copy of the Schwartz report.
No author listed
This would be our evidence that HEAS had a copy of the Schwartz report by at least November, 1882.  

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March 10, 1883, the Phillip Nussbaum letter

This is a letter that Philip Nussbaum wrote to the American Israelite.  He lived in Pennsylvania and had been in Colorado in December 1882 and had visited Cotopaxi.

Letter to Editor from Philip NussbaumSent 10 March 1883 Published on 23 March 1883 in the American Israelite
To the Editor of The American Israelite
In December last I was sojourning in Colorado, and while in those parts, visited Cotopaxi with a view of personally investigating how our brethren were faring in their newly-made homes. As anticipated, I found the colonists enjoying the best of health, as the Cotopaxi climate is very salubrious, notwithstanding the expressed opinion of the Denver committee to the contrary.
He must have arrived by train.  How long did he stay?
A long residence in Colorado and some ten years of experience as a stock-raiser, justify me in the above contradiction, as I am very well acquainted with the entire mountain range, climate and soil all around Cotopaxi, clear to Fairplay and the Snowy Range, and have grazed my stock during the summer and early fall in very close proximity to Cotopaxi, but was compelled to drive my herd to the valley in November.
During the entire time of my abode in those parts we have had splendid summer pastures, but grazing alone was profitable and not farming, as the season for the latter are entirely too short, extending from June only to September, and under those circumstances, aside of being a rocky, mountainous range, what colony, even if most completely equipped (which this is far from), could succeed in making a living and supporting its families?
Here he explains the difference between cattle ranching and farming.  Cattle could succeed, farming could not.  He also confirms that the farmers were far from being equipped.
I am satisfied the H.E.A.S. would never have had the remotest idea of planting a colony in that barren country had it not been for the instigation of Mr. E.H. Saltael whose object the circumstances only too plainly demonstrate, and he alone is to blame and is responsible for the unsuccessful issue of the Cotopaxi Colony, and not the H.E.A.S., who have done everything in their power for the promotion and welfare of the unfortunate emigrants, and they (the colonists) are aware of it and are thankful and ever praying for the good health and long life of its committee.
Additional evidence that Saltiel did not provide for the Colonists.  A witness.
Had not the high-flavored, or, as Mr. Henry called it, “rose-colored” report of Mr. Julius Schwartz, LL.D., appeared, no trouble would have been known and no Denver committee needed.
Although adding the no doubt deserved LL.D. to his name, he does not possess good, sound judgment, but, on the contrary, manifests his inexperience and downright ignorance of the requisites of a new colony, peopled by strange people in a strange land, by forwarding a report to the easily beguiled committee (who have reposed all confidence in him) that there was nothing left undone and that the colony was in a very flourishing condition. Although at the time the report was made (I believe in August) everything looked brighter. The crop, if such it can be called, consisting solely of potatoes, was in the ground, yet, nevertheless, J.S., LL.D., brought his great imaginary powers, “Col. Sellers”-like, to his aid, supported by his mathematical abilities, and calculated upon a realization of at least two thousand dollars from the crop, which only goes to show that he had as much knowledge of the fall and winter climate as he did of the potatoes. His calculation went wide of its mark, and the unfortunate emigrants in course of time found out the true state of affairs, but, of course, as is usually the case, after the barn door having been left open, and instead of having potatoes to sell, they found themselves compelled to buy, and were willing to work outside of the colony to meet their daily wants, but only a few succeeded in obtaining work.
Confirmation of my prior posting that Schwarz's math calculations were inaccurate.  And possible confirmation that the Schwarz report was written in August, but not published until October?
This state of affairs they communicated to some of the committee, but could get no reply; they wrote again and again, but no answer was sent them.
It was plainly seen from the President’s (Mr. Henry) report to the Denver Committee that he imagined the colonists well supplied, and that they from choice alone preferred begging for charity. 
Now in the name of humanity and common sense, what could the poor emigrants do? Reply from New York was denied them (as you can see by the letter they wrote to me), work to keep body and soul together they could not obtain; they had no alternative but to lay their very lamentable condition before the Denver Jews.
The Denverites sent a committee Metaglem out to them, and they, in return reported wrongly and greatly misrepresented and exaggerated the matter, and in fact caused more real harm than good to the poor colonists. The ignorance displayed in reporting that a house sixteen by twenty, doubly boarded, etc., costs only, together with stove and cooking utensils, one hundred dollars, is perfectly absurd. I have seen the houses and have been in them, and have the figures of a carpenter. It takes just thirty-five hundred feet of lumber to build the house and partitions, etc., but should not cost over one hundred and fifty dollars, not including any utensils – but there is no use in crying over spilt milk now.
Direct conflict of the report that said the house would require 5000 board feet.

The houses are comfortable enough for eight or nine months of the year, but in the dead of winter no one cookstove can keep them warm, and they have no other.
This is the first time we have heard that they needed more than the cooking stove to keep them warm in winter.  Daytime temperatures can drop to below zero, and a house made of 2 slat boards with tar paper between them, and no insulation, could easily need more than a kitchen cook stove.
They have plenty of wood, not a great distance off, but have to hire it hauled, as they have only one span of horses on a farm of twelve miles.
Today it takes 2 cord of wood to heat a well heated home during the winter in Canon City.  How much wood did they have to hire hauled?
In conclusion, I will say that the emigrants of Cotopaxi are a set of hard-working, industrious people, with good manners and behavior, and are willing to work, as work is what they want and not schnorring. But work they cannot obtain in that forsaken spot, winter is hard upon them, and burdened with families, what can they do but beg or wait until everything is exhausted and starve to death with their families?
By that first winter, the train work would have been gone, no "construction" during the snow season.  Work in the mines?  There was no other industry in Cotopaxi at that time.
Had the colony been planted on a reasonably good tract of farming land where the change for the display of sinew and muscle could have been had, I assure you your committee would have been spared all this superfluous aggravation and trouble, and the emigrants would have been on a fair way to prosperity and happiness.
But, nevertheless, this misstep must not, and shall not dishearten this most praiseworthy H. E. A. S. of the United States, as all beginnings are difficult, but so much more gratifying is the reward.
The moral this high-priced lesson has taught them, is not to take every one’s word for selecting a location to plant a colony.
Probably the best advice yet.
The selection requires a great deal of judgment and good common sense, and, furthermore, an eye for the future and not greed for personal fame and gain, but to put heart, hand and mind in concert to aid our unfortunate brethren to a future state of prosperity and happiness.
I am of the opinion that a great deal of good may arise out of this controversy, as an exchange of views as to the best plan of planting colonies is the proper question to arrive at now.
In my opinion, timber-land in close proximity to a river would be the most suitable place, where an opportunity for improvement and display of energy could be had, and I would kindly request our co-religionists who have this matter at heart to express their views upon it and let us all have the benefit of it.
Yours respectfully,
Ph. Nussbaum.
Bradford, Pa.
March 10, 1883
A little more research and I found that Philip Nussbaum was born in 1830 in Russia.  He was living in Bradford PA in the 1880 census.  He was a grocery merchant, married to Pauline, and his children were Celia, 19, Louis, 23, Benjamin, 21, Mary, 17, and Rebecca, 14.  From the 1900 census, we learn that he immigrated to this country about 1853.

In the 1870 census, he lived in the Colorado Territory, in Pueblo and is listed as a stock dealer.  In the 1860 census, he lived in Dunkirk, NY, and was a peddler.  He died 13 Jun 1970 in Bradford PA.

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Feb 23, 1883 - The Hebrew Union Agricultural Society writes to the American Israelite

The H.U.A.S. is a different society than HEAS/HIAS.  It was established in 1882 by Rabbi Isaac Wise in Cincinnati.  They established the Beersheba colony of 60 people in Southwestern Kansas.  Here, they make an appeal for funds using Cotopaxi as their example of struggling Jews. Based on the contents, this was written because of the Kohn/Witowski report.
H. U. A. S.
The American Israelite  (1874 0 2000):  Feb 23, 1883; p 284
H. U. A. S.
The Hebrew Union Agricultural Society was formed with the object and desire of assisting those of our co-religionists who had chosen farming as their future calling, and aiding others in following a like course.  It was then a fixed fact that a large number of our people were willing and anxious to work.  With perhaps but little experience and limited knowledge of farm life they nevertheless went to work, showing conclusively that such life was their hearts’ desire.  This Society, formed with the praiseworthy object not only of helping those who had chosen the cultivation of land as their employment, but with also a view of encouraging all who would follow a like course, issued its appeal to come forward with material aid to assist in carrying out its designs.  With the exception of a few small towns in the West, no encouragement has been given to the Society.  With fifty thousand dollars, a sum which ought to have been promptly subscribed, the Society would have done an incalculable amount of good.  Fifty thousand good wishes have reached it, but altogether they won’t purchase one loaf of bread to feed hungry children.
Now comes to us the awful and deplorable tale of starvation and misery, death and desolation, from our brethren in Cotopaxi; a stigma and a disgrace that in this land of plenty our own brother should fall by the wayside, his wife and children pleading for a morsel of bread and we, his brethren, refusing it. Yes, refusing it.  The Hebrew Union Agricultural Society has time and again begged, implored you for help, and had it been afforded, every one of these people would have been fed, for the Society has all the time been considering what it could do to assist ALL the colonists and the fulfillment of its desire has been prevented by lack of means.  Oh, you reading this by your comfortable firesides, surrounded by your offsprings, think of what your own feelings would be if you had not food to supply their need!  AS an example of what might have been done, if proper, liberal aid had been given, we state that the Hebrew Union Agricultural Society, with a very limited sum, has fed and clothed nearly one hundred souls in Kansas, who but for its existence would have followed their brethren in Colorado.  Yet food was provided—flour, meat, groceries and vegetables—to last until the first of March, and no additional supplies are supplemented and will be shipped within one week, to last for the two succeeding months.  If all other colonies should fail, Cincinnati says she will make the one in Kansas a success, even if she has to do it without the aid which is so much needed and solicited.  It should be well understood that the Society is not organized for any single colony, but for the general promotion of agricultural pursuits among our people, irrespective of birthplace.  Its work is limited, only by its means.  It pays no salaries, has no expense, and it is wonderful to see how much good it does with its small income.  
A large number of cities reply to the appeal made, “We have so many Russians to support that we can not help your praiseworthy cause, but we wish you eery success in your good work,” and this is all they can do.  Do not these people know that Cincinnati has more than its share of local charity, hundreds of Russian families are here, many depending wholly upon its benevolence, and when the flood reached forty families in one house alone, Cincinnati could not ask St Louis or Pittsburg, or Buffalo, or Chicago, of any other place to come with their skiffs and a flatboat and help to feed and to save these people?  No!  it was done though.  We speak unreservedly on this subject, with fixed ideas that the only relief from the pauperism of over-crowed cities must be found in land culture.  Its success will tend to the improvement and the happiness of our people, who in their own land were engaged in such pursuits.   The laws of tithes, of the Sabbatical year and like enactments, prove that that was our primitive state.  We say to all, come forward and liberally promote the cause of agricultural pursuits among Israelites.

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

***making frequent updates at the bottom of this post*** The hazards of life in Western Fremont County

I thought I'd do a short blog post just so readers understand the weather in Cotopaxi this year.  And then you can understand more about life there in 1882.

Friday, July 8, a small fire broke out on Hayden Creek.  The reports are that it was a lightening strike.  I have recently posted about the Shradsky property might have been located on the Hayden Creek Road, so this is just to the south west of Cotopaxi.

I made this map to give you a better idea.  The blue areas are where the colony plots were.  The red arrow is approximately where the fire is and the direction it is headed.  Maybe 4 miles as the "crow flies".

This photo was taken by someone who lives in Cotopaxi just about an hour ago (Sunday, July 10, 4 pm), looking past the Cotopaxi School to the west.  The fire has broken out.  Flames are shooting 200' into the sky.  It is blowing from the Southwest.

UPDATE  July 14, 5:45 pm.  They have been dropping water and fire retardant along the east side of the fire.  While the middle is still burning, there is no growth to the east.  Hopefully they can now keep it contained.    The colony lands appear to be safe for now.

UPDATE July 16 5:15 am.  Here is a decent website with photos:  Pueblo Chieftain.  The fire has consumed almost 16,000 acres.  It is 5% contained.  It will burn until October when the snows come.  Residents that were evacuated will not have access for up to 2 more weeks.  Over 600 firefighters working the fire today.

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Julius Schwarz replies to the Kohn/Witkowski report

writing to H. S. Henry, the President of HEAS, this was posted in the American Hebrew the very same day as Mr. Henry's response to the report.

Letter from Julius Schwarz to HEASUndated, Published in American Israelite, 2 March 1883To H.S. Henry, Esq., President of the Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society, New York:
SIR: – The so called report of the Denver Committee on the Cotopaxi Colony, signed by one Mr. Kohn and Mr. Witkowsky, has been laid before me, in order to reply to the ignorant and false statements contained therein.
Schwarz is about 21 years old, a lawyer who works for HEAS. He was assigned first as a clerk, then made manager over the Colony.  He was at Cotopaxi from May until October 1882.   He would want HEAS to believe that he did everything "right".  He would need to argue anything written that's negative about the colony.
It is only out of respect to you, Mr. President, and your honorable Executive Committee, that I will try to curb my just indignation and do my best to remain within the limits of objectiveness, for the impudent, cynical and unmanly manner in which the honesty of my administration is attacked, and the almost incredible ignorance of the subject which those gentlemen display in their report, which I could justly call “a tale of falsehoods trimmed with stale poetry,” would justify me to use expressions stronger than those set forth by the two representatives of the “generous Hebrews of Denver.”
 His attempts to make the Denver committee look bad are to be expected.
Trusting, however, that as far as my integrity is concerned, you will find the proper means to defend one of your officers, I can well omit indulging in any controversy whatever with the poetically inclined committee of Denver in regard to the honesty of my administration, and shall treat the subject before me “suaviter in modo, fortiter in re.”
 It was his job to manage the colony.  By this time he was no longer there.  He could not allow the colony to "fail" as it would damage his reputation.  Hewass still employed by HEAS so he absolutely must defend his position.
Anticipating that you, Mr. President, as well as the committee, are cognizant of the circumstance that it was not I on whose advice the colony in Cotopaxi was established; that it was not I who contracted for the erection of the houses, but that it was I who always expressed my opinion that the houses have been charged too high, and that of all the funds expended for the Cotopaxi Colony, only $3,000 were handled by me, of which sum I have on my return deposited $127 as unexpended in your treasure, while for the balance I have given sufficient vouchers even for sums as little as twenty-five cents – I can at once go in “media res.”
No one was accusing him of the above.

With all of the records, reports, writings that were made....HIAS claims today that there are no records.  HEAS did close in June, 1883, and it is possible that all of their records were destroyed when they closed.  HIAS is the present day agency.
The famous report of Denver commences with the history of the Cotopaxi Colony, as copied from my report. Already at the introductory lines we meet with a conspicuous instance of the utter carelessness and the want of study of the case, which those gentlemen willingly undertook or rather snatched up to treat. They say, namely, that since the existence of the colony only one child died, while two children rest in the little cemetery of Cotopaxi, the children of Joseph Nudelman and of David Grupitsky.
Verification there are 2 children that had died before March, 1883.  Perhaps before October 1882 when Schwarz left.
Of course it would have been burdensome for these two gentlemen to lavish their valuable attention on such a trifle as the life of a poor Russian babe is, but it is characteristic and strikingly proves with how little earnestness the writers of the report went on their work. They brought with themselves no earnestness and hardly any understanding, but a large quantity of turgesence and a nauseating mixture of ignorance and conceitedness.
Schwarz is around the age of 21.   He had only been in the US a few years at this point.  Again - in defense of his position with HEAS  - he has to make others appear wrong in order to keep his position.
Ignoring the three lines of poetry that embellish the report and regretting that your honorable committee forgot to communicate its correspondence with Messrs. Kohn and Witkowsky and neglected to solicit the advice of two such practical farmers in settling these people, I find the remark that the houses of the colonists cost $280, but could have been built for $100. This remark again shows how utterly ignorant the writers of the report were of their subject.
We have previously established that the value of the houses could not have been $280 as they were without windows,  doors, stoves, etc.
Had they, instead of putting poetry in their report, examined the houses, they would have come to a different conclusion. The material alone – 5,000 feet of lumber (the houses are double-boarded with tar paper between them, are sixteen by twenty feet and are twelve feet high in the center), nails, windows, doors, tar paper, stove and cooking utensils, cost more than $160, not counting the wages of the carpenters.
Why was so much effort was put into establishing the price of these houses.
Of course the two practical farming gentlemen knew nothing of the price of lumber, nor do they betray too much knowledge of what a house is composed of.
Is he referencing Kohn and Witkowski.  Why does he call them "practical farming gentlemen"?  They were and attorney and a business owner.  Is he mocking them?
To be sure, three hours’ time is hardly sufficient to examine into such trifles, and the gentlemen of Denver were in a great hurry to hasten to their comfortable homes, in order, as the report in its ridiculously fancy language says, “sitting in the parlor, in gown and slippers alongside the hearth” to compose a report, written on legal cap, clad in the vestige of romanticism and falsehood, and trimmed with glittering fringes of heart-rending poetry.
Schwarz missed the entire point about this in Kohn & Witkowski's report.  They were attempting to make the Denver Jews feel guilty and reach into their pockets and donate funds to assist the Jews in Cotopaxi.  It did not mean that they wanted to quickly get back to their homes to sit in their parlors.....

I will say that in 3 hours in Cotopaxi - yes, you could make a determination.  You could probably do it in a 20 minute interview with any of the Colonists.  Considering that at this point, Ed Grimes had walked away from the colony, and that the Snyders/Menkowskys/Newmans had also all left - you could definitely make an assessment in 3 hours.  Perhaps even more so by someone who had lived in Colorado for years and knew the weather, altitude, etc.
It strikes the gentlemen from Denver, as an outrage upon the Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society, that the houses were constructed upon land by the Cotopaxi Placer Mining Company as a town site, and that no leases have been acquired for the lots. 
In the first place, Mr. President, you know full well that our society holds a document signed by Mr. E.H. Saltiel, stating that the Placer Mining Company has granted a forty-nine years’ lease to the owners of the houses, and as soon as the leases will be drawn up, he will send them to your committee.
As meticulous as Saltiel was about putting everything into writing, why were these leases not documented.  Many of the records recorded in the clerks office were completely hand written, so they could not have been waiting on "forms".  Was it intentional?  And if these Colonists were promised land, why were they given a 49 year lease on Saltiel's land.

Remember, I am posting these documents in a chronological time order. It  is fair to go back and forth between current documents and future documents.  At the time of this writing, we did not know what the answers to some of these questions are.  But it is possible that future documents will give us answers.
In the second place, this very statement of the report reflects in the darkest colors upon the earnestness and the competency of the composers of the report. They, namely, after a long “apercu,” exclaim, “What shall become of the sixty-three souls, if perchance the Placer Mining Company should eject them from their grounds?” This remark betrays an almost startling ignorance of the matters of the colony. The gentlemen at Denver seemed to think that the lands of the colonists are on placing mining ground, and that the refugees can be driven away at any time and made homeless. Now the facts are, that only six of the houses are constructed on town lots, that the farms, however, are located on free government land, as my report says on page 5.
The question of 6 of the houses being built on Placer Mining Company ground is quite valid.  We  know that Saltiel claimed this land as part of the homestead act.  He was required to "farm" it for 5 years before it was his.  This land was not yet his.  Yet he sold 155 of the 160 acres to his own company, the Cotopaxi Placer Mining Company - a violation of the homestead act.  He had no right to sell the land, nor did he have a right to lease this land to anyone else.  Most likely, young Schwarz had no clue as to the violations of law being committed by Saltiel.
I can well afford to ignore the ridiculous passage regarding the description of the lands. The two gentlemen of Denver state that they found no farms, and that especially farm No. 3 must have been visionary with me, or been swept away by the devastating floods that storm down the very same creek, of which the report remarks that “it runs dry in winter, and contains no water in summer.”
There is no  land declaration for this 3rd farm.  We know that the Shradsky's (Chorovsky's) were there.  There is no doubt that they farmed.  Yet there is no record of their land ever being declared as were all of the other plots.  Why not their plot?

It is quite possible for a creek to be dry in the winter and contain no water by summer.  Only in spring melt-off would there be water every year.
I refer in this respect, to the respective passages in my report on page three, line twenty- three, to the last line on page four. I would further refer to the personal observations of Mr. Morris Tuska, whose word weights as much as that of Messrs. Kohn and Witkowsky, and who, since twenty-eight years, has been an ornament to American Judaism. He saw the “flower garden” in full bloom, spoke with the owner of the farm, Sholem Chorovsky, settled a family dispute on the spot, and proceeded hence to Wet Mountain Valley, which is one of the most fertile parts of Colorado.
Again, there is not doubt that Chorovsky had a farm.  Somewhere.  And it is possible that the floods or hail destroyed it.  So it's possible to see both sides of this argument - based on the time the observer was present.
Nothing, Mr. President, shows more strikingly the utter ignorance of the Denver Committee than their denial of farm No. 3. While farms No. 1 and 2, on Oak Grove Creek are marked merely by stakes and wire fencing, farm No. 3 is marked by both fence and a house sixteen by twenty feet, which stands just at the front of the farm, alongside the road from Hayden Creek to Wet Mountain Valley. Now if the two investigators did not see the house, they could not have visited farm No. 3; consequently their statement deserves not the least consideration, and must be rejected as an untruth. 
New information.  The Chorovsky plot was on the Hayden Creek Road.  Could it have been the lot just south of Zedek's place.  That is the only place that makes sense.
But the report goes on in ridiculous description of the lands, and says that the farms have been located in a desert. Well, not less than five Christian farmers produce and excellent crop in quantity as well as quality, and one of them, Mr. Lewis, offered his farm for sale for $2,500. Under such circumstances it hardly needs any refutation that “a beast cannot subsist on these lands.”
It would depend on the location of these other 5 farms.  Were they on irrigation ditches?  Live creeks or streams?  Access to irrigation water would make all the difference in the world.  We also know that earlier settlers - those who were there first, bought up all of the water rights.  Thus this is hardly a valid argument.
Not only have the farms on Oak Grove Creek, which, as the report says, is a mean, narrow strip of land, produced a crop, but even the farms on Wet Mountain Valley – those worthless grounds have yielded, and would have yielded a crop larger in quantity, had not an early frost set in and destroyed it.
How one Schwarz claim that there would have been a successful crop when that didn't happen!  There was an early frost.  The crop was destroyed.  That should be the end of the subject.
The grounds must not have been so utterly worthless if it is considered, that despite of the circumstances, that potatoes were sown as late as the end of June, and despite of the heavy hailstorms
Confirmation that there had been a hailstorm substantial enough to destroy crops that first summer.
and the devastations of the thousands of grazing cattle, Loeb Zedek, as he himself states in one of his letters, which I annex hereto, has taken up thirty sacks of potatoes. Zedek’s farm is located on Oak Grove Creek, on the very same mean, narrow strip of land, on which, as the two gentlemen remark, “no beast could subsist.”
Ignoring these remarks about “the clearest printed book which cannot make a man ignorant of the alphabet,” about “Paganini,” and his “violin,” about the “preacher” and the “pulpit”; about the “carpenter” and the “tool chest,” I may hasten to finish my statement.
Is Zedek the man who planted 14 bags of potatoes?  14 to 30 that success?  If you plant 1 potato, you should harvest numerous in return in a  good crop.  In a good harvest, you should get 50 pounds of potatoes for every 2 pounds planted.  That would mean that Zedek should have harvested 350 pounds of potatoes.  This was not a good harvest.  Did Schwarz not understand the return on investment needed?
That the colonists had not more than two plows is not my fault. Besides, you know, Mr. President, that upon my requisition, six more plows, rakes, hoes, scythes, hatchets, mules, seed etc., were resolved upon to be sent to Cotopaxi, and that all these things would long since have been distributed, had not the Denver people interfered with us, and by their attitude in the matter, succeeded in detaining you from furnishing the above enumerated necessaries.
This is a bit confusing at this point.  Is he blaming the Denver committee for the fact that additional resources had not been sent to Cotopaxi?  We know that as of June, 1882, HEAS said they were no longer funding colonies.  Was it that decision that prevented this expenditure and it had nothing to do with the Denver Committee?
As to clothing, I can state that the colonists never suffered for any want of clothing. At the Jewish New Year, when the colonists threw themselves in style, there was a display of dresses and jewelry which astonished me.
The Jewish New year in 1882 was Sept 2.
Black and green silk dresses, heavy gold earrings, rings and bracelets, and other jewelry was to be seen, and there was not one among the whole lot that did not look like any gentlemen or lady of Denver. Most of the Russian women paid a dress-maker in Cotopaxi, to make them dresses, and when a box of old women’s clothing arrived from New York, the women refused to accept them, saying, “What do we want these old dresses for, we have better ones.”
It is not impossible to fathom that the woman wanted special clothing for this holiday.  So perhaps they did have a good dress to wear, but they lacked coats for winter, boots, gloves, etc.  We will probably never know for sure.
On a holyday, I visited three of the Russian houses and I must confess that I found the tables of Messrs. Nudelman, Chuturn and Zedek, well supplied with bread. No, with meat, cakes, tarts, brandy, wine made of currents,
Did they made their own wine?
etc. Mr. Zedek showed me a collection of gold and emerald, golden knives, silver spoons, bracelets, watch chains, and a costly golden goblet from the time of Czar Nicolaus.
Schwarz picked 3 specific families.  What about the other 14 families?  These 3 may have brought a lot of goods with them when they came.  Did all of the others?  We already know that Nudelman and Shuteran shared a "double house" in Cotopaxi.   Zedek had the best land.  Were these the only families with resources?
This illustrates very strikingly the remark of the Denver report, that “the wives of the Russian refugees were driven almost to distraction in their attempt to obey the natural instinct of mothers to shelter their children, and to save themselves from cold and starvation.”
There is an oral history that one couple lived in a former Indian cave their first year.  We know that some of the homes did not have doors or windows.  We know that some had no stoves.  Did Schwarz not know what was going on with all of the families?  Or is he just attempting to make the Denver Committee appear wrong by being selective in the examples he provides?
This, Mr. President, is a falsehood, an untruth, and I cannot find words in which to express my indignation at such a monstrous misrepresentation of facts. “To save themselves from cold.” Why, they can have as much wood as they want, miles of oak trees being at their disposal, besides the coal that the engines throw off alongside the depot. The gentlemen saw the coal and the wood in the houses, and still they thought nothing of publishing it in their report “that they freeze with cold.”
It was 8 miles from the train tracks to some of these homes.  How did they get the coal to their homes?  How did they get the wood to their homes?  Was Schwarz referring only to the houses in town?
It should be mentioned at this place that your director, Mr. Rosentiel, has sent the colonists sixteen good warm blankets, and that most have feather beds and all have received mattresses and pillows.
Again numbers will tell the whole story.  16 blankets for 70 people. Not a lot of coverage.
The report says that the instances of suffering were numerous and pitiful. Of all the instances, the story about the heroic swimming tour appears to them the most pitiful. It was a question of “life and death” says the report. Minkowsky plunged into the river, and no other man would venture in it. Now, Mr. President, permit me to state that when Minkowsky swam across the river, in company with others, he was a single man and no wife and child were waiting for him as the report says. It was summer, the bridge was swept away by a sudden rain-spout that swelled the Arkansas River, and Morris Minkowsky, who returned from his farm in order to keep Sabbath with his friends and to attend worship in the synagogue in Cotopaxi, unhesitatingly undressed himself, jumped into the river and reached the other side safely.
Re-confirmation that there was a synagogue in Cotopaxi.
Re-confirmation that a bridge was sept away by a flood in the summer.  Was it June or July?
Menkowsky's farm  was 8 miles south of Cotopaxi. Amazing that these men would walk 8 miles to attend Synagogue, week after week.  Regardless of weather.
The same thing was done the next day by Joseph Nudelman, Michael Shammes, B. Milchstein and many others,
Some of these men were over 50 years of age.
and I myself crossed the river on horseback, in order to be able to inspect the farms on Oak Grove Creek. Besides on Friday evenings all the Russian women used to take a so called ritual bath in that river, into which to plunge was “a question of life and death.”
Did they do their mikvahs in the winter in this river?  How could Schwarz have known as he left in October.

Usually when the river rises, it remains that way for a few weeks.  There could be spots upstream or downstream that would have been sufficient for bathing.  However, the water right at Cotopaxi is more narrow and thus runs more rapidly than it does at other spots.
Another of the instances of suffering is that there is no midwife in Cotopaxi; that there are three women in a delicate condition. “The cries and appeals of these poor creatures as they contemplate the perils of childbirth, are beyond belief.”
1)  Cotopaxi in 1882 was the wild west.  Only 6 years since it had been made a state.
2)  Indians still roamed the area
3)  The McCoy gang and other outlaws lived in the neighborhood
4)  No medical provisions existed
5)  Was there a traveling doctor?
6)  Bears at night were drive away by bonfires
7)  The midwife lived 8 miles from those who lived in Cotopaxi.  You didn't just pick up the phone and call her!

It is apparent how they might have been concerned.
And further, “In Cotopaxi sickness and death are in store for healthy persons.”
Now I am exceedingly sorry that among all my strenuous efforts to civilize these people
Schwarz  took strenuous efforts to civilize these people.  That is an insult to the Colonists.
I forgot all about teaching them the theory of Malthus, and neglected the establishment of a college for midwives in Cotopaxi.
Schwarz is attempting to put others down to elevate himself?
But here again is proved how little credence can be attached to Messrs. Kohn and Witkowsky.
Schwarz has made their report look much more creditable than his own.  He is putting way too much effort into denying what they wrote.  Almost to the point of making you wonder if they are more accurate than he is.
Above all, the part of Colorado wherein our colony is settled is one of the healthiest in the Union. Of course, Messrs. Kohn and Witkowsky know nothing of the fact that although as one ascends from the level of the sea there is a declension of temperature averaging one degree for every 300 feet of elevation. This is true only when the ascent is made from the surface of the earth, consequently at the base of the Rocky Mountains there is more genial climate and a higher temperature than will be found in the same latitude near the level of the sea. It can be seen now how much truth is in the melancholy but ridiculous remark, “In Cotopaxi sickness and death are in store for healthy persons.”
He fails to mention that the further north of the equator one is, the colder it becomes.   Are Kohn & Witkowsky referring to the risk of becoming ill in such an isolated location where the only means of transportation was the train or a stage coach ride which took 2 days to get to Canon City?  Mrs. Prezant had been ill for 11 weeks.
It is an untruth that there is no midwife in Cotopaxi. There is a midwife in Cotopaxi, and her name is Hannah Milchstein. She has attended to the cases of Mrs. Chorovsky and Mrs. Moskoviz skillfully and ably. So there is no earthly need of taking the three crying and appealing women to Denver to make thereby a grand show of cheap charity. Of course the three crying women would go willingly to Denver. Why not?
By doing the genealogy of these families, here is what I know:

1)  Mindel Shradsky gave birth to her daughter, Sarah, on 11/7/1883 at Cotopaxi.
2) Rachel Shuteran gave birth to a daughter sometime in 1882 and that baby died.
3) nothing to date on the Moskoviz (Moskowitz) family.

I hasten now to conclude. All I have to say is so much: The colonists at Cotopaxi were well satisfied with their lands when I left, as the inclosed letters will prove. When Mr. Morris Tuska was in Cotopaxi, and told them to move further on if they did not like their lands, they exclaimed, “We like the land, and we will live and die here.” They never entertained any apprehension of starvation, as the letter of Henry Lauterstein hereto annexed will prove, wherein he says, “With victuals we are provided, and hope to be able to pull through over the season.”
Schwarz left in October.  This is March.  Without the successful harvest, things could have changed almost overnight.   Schwarz could only address what happened before October 1882.
The farms were in a flourishing condition when I left the colony, and thus I had every reason to believe that the Cotopaxi Colony would be a success. The colonists had their cows, their horses, had to buy no fuel, had work at Salida, whenever they were discharged, having struck for higher wages; some of them had money of their own; they had a Mutual Aid Society, with about $100 in the treasure. The goodness of the soil has been proved by the fact that everything was growing and, despite of the late commencement, thriving, so that the Russians, when they took out their first potatoes, said, in their peculiar way of expressing themselves, “Ach wie ein theures gutes land.” (Oh, what a dear, good land.) They wrote several letters to me, stating that they were well pleased with their lands, and one of them, Loeb Zedek, went so far as to write: “Mr. Schwarz, if I enter my house I think I am Baron Rothschild.”
Certainly would be nice if we had any of these letters.  But here's a question - did they actually exist.  Schwarz says they were attached.  They were not published.  $100 in the "treasure" is not much for the 62 people who were still in Cotopaxi as of October, 1882.
Your committee has, on my requisition, voted another $1,000 to complete the agricultural stock of the colony, and will no doubt take measures to secure the services of a practical farmer to superintend and instruct the people, and thus nothing was left undone to make these people happy and prosperous.
Yet as of this writing, the $1000 had not been sent.  There is no evidence that a practical farmer was hired to superintend and instruct the Colonists.
In conclusion I would say that, knowing the nature of Russians, I fear that the morale of the colony has received a great shock, and that the ignorant interference of the Denver people has spoilt what always has been my only aim to reach, viz: to teach these people that while charity is justifiable in cases of distress, it was the duty of those that once received charity, and were given a fair start in life, to work out their own salvation by the sweat of their brows. I taught the colonists independence, self-reliance, industry. The Denver people, however, have wrecked my endeavors by opening for them the heavens of “Rachmones” (Jewish compassion).
I now close my statements, and leave the report of Denver, as a falsehood from beginning to end, to the contempt of every just and truth-loving man.
Respectfully submitted,
At his young age, one has to wonder if he were capable of teaching.  He's pretty good at word play.  Did he do this with the Colonists?  He's pretty bad at numbers and facts.  

How much had changed for the lives of the Colonists between October 1882 and March 1883.  That was their first winter.  Had they come prepared for harsh weather with appropriate clothing, shoes, outer wear?  Did they own a shovel, broom, items to deal with the snow?  Did they walk the 8 miles to their synagogue if there had been a snow?  Where did the women do their mikvah baths when the Arkansas River was frozen over?  How did they get the midwife to their house in time to deliver a baby?

So many unanswered questions.

Again, there is very little mention of Saltiel in these reports and rebuttals.  Had he been gone for most of the winter?  He remarried in February 1883 and there is no evidence that this wife ever lived in Cotopaxi.  Had Saltiel been in Denver most of the time?

Why was it that Saltiel did not have their houses already built when they arrived?  Why is it that their land had not been surveyed?  Why did he claim to have staked out 2000 acres....yet never accomplished that task?

I think we have a lot of things to think about as we progress through even more rebuttals coming up.

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