When Civil War veteran Theodore Wattles arrived in southwest Colorado in the fall of 1876, he joined a stream of eager prospectors hoping to strike it rich in the mining camps of the San Juans. No gold awaited him, but he went on to become one of the early settlers of the Mancos Valley. His story can be pieced together through the letters he wrote to his family. More people arrived, including the Faunces, his sister’s family, and the Wetherills, who would become in-laws through marriage to the Faunce sisters. The letters written by the various members of these families show us not only how they struggled to get by with ranching, freighting, and guiding activities, but also reveal how these families helped build a new community under challenging conditions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Thursday, June 20
Dr. Lynne Marie Getz is Professor of History at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. She is the author of Abolitionists, Doctors, Ranchers, and Writers: A Family Journey through American History, which was awarded the Barbara “Penny” Kanner Prize by the Western Association of Women Historians, and the Armitage-Jameson Prize for the Best Book in Western Women’s History by the Coalition for Western Women’s History. She is a native of southern Colorado and earned her B.A. at Adams State University.