Half-wit is not usually a term that people tend to use to describe themselves. However, one group from Cañon City decided it was precisely the correct word for their society. Known as the Royal Order of Half Wits, the group met each summer to go on trips and dance together and have a “general good time”. According to an article in the Cañon City Record on August 25, 1910 titled “Half Wits Left on Camping Trip This Morning”, the group had formed about two years prior while on a camping trip at the Pines. The idea of the society, as the article explains, is to act as foolish as possible “which is not hard for some of the members to accomplish”. The members that left on the trip were the Misses Margaret McKenzie, Tina McKenzie, Catherine McKenzie, May Harding, Della Hoover, Lillian Mason, Mrs. L.L. Harding Jr., Harral Coulter, “Rocky” Amerman, Frank Boyle, and Roderick McKenzie acting as the mascot. Will McKenzie and Harold Waldo were set to join the party later in the week.
The group made the trip with covered wagons and by horseback. This did not go well for Harold Waldo whose horse ran away while he was heading up to join the group according to another article from the Cañon City Record on September 1, 1910. He then had to walk about 20 miles to the camp and his horse was yet to be caught! Despite this, the article proclaimed the party returned in good spirits without any mishaps and planned to repeat the trip at a future date. Hopefully Harold was able to find his horse before the next trip!
The information presented in this article is compiled using research conducted by the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center.