Black History MonthMuseum Blog

The Holliday Family

Mrs. Holiday at 1023 N. 8th Street, ca. 1932. Object ID: 1994.016.402; Copyright Royal Gorge Regional Museum & History Center

Clabe (possibly Clay) Holliday and his wife, Mary, moved to Cañon City around 1902. The city directory of that year lists Clabe as a porter at the Strathmore, with a residence at 423 N. 5th Street. The couple may have been separated by 1905 as they are listed at different addresses. Clabe was living at 227 Macon Avenue while Mary was living and working as a cook at 702 River Street at Farmer’s Home boarding house. In the 1908 city directory, Mary is listed at 423 Greenwood Ave., employed as a domestic worker. Clabe passed away in August 1908, due to an unfortunate accident. While attending a picnic, Clabe was shot accidently by Ernest Tanks. Tanks got into an altercation with Pat Smith and pulled out a revolver to fire upon Smith. He missed, and the bullet struck Clabe instead, who was sitting in a buggy a distance away, not involved in the dispute. It was a fatal wound and an inquest was held where the coroner’s jury charged Tanks with manslaughter. Clabe is buried in Union Highland Cemetery in Florence. 

Clabe and Mary had six children in total: Ki, Oretus, Lucile, Espanola, Lewis, and David. The 1910 Federal Census lists Mary working as a housekeeper for a private family and the eldest son, Ki, working as a porter at a barbershop. Ki moved away to Detroit, Michigan in 1916 but sadly passed away only two years later at the age of only 24. His wife accompanied the body to Cañon City, where he was interred at Lakeside Cemetery.  

The family was still living in Cañon City in 1920 at 709 Rudd Avenue. Mary, Lucile, and Espanola were all listed as working for private families, while Oretus worked as a janitor, and Lewis worked as a furnace tender. Both Lucile and Espanola graduated from Cañon City High School in 1920 and 1923 respectively. Oretus is in the Sophomore class picture in the 1919 CCHS Annual, but no graduation dates have been found for Oretus, Lewis, or David. Lucile moved away and appears in a 1930 Federal Census living in Cincinnati, Ohio, working as a teacher at the Friendship Home for Girls. By the 1940 Federal Census, she was listed as Assistant Superintendent of the home. Espanola left Cañon City soon after her sister and was working as a nurse in New York City in the 1930 Federal Census.

Oretus lived in Cañon City for the rest of his life and worked as a miner, according to census records and city directories. He sadly passed away in 1933 at only age 33 due to complications of typhoid fever. Mary, Lewis, and David are listed as still residing in Cañon City at the time of his death. Oretus was buried in Lakeside Cemetery.


Lewis Holliday, ca. 1932. Object ID: 1994.016.403

The remaining family in Cañon City all moved away sometime prior to 1940. Lewis was working as a clerk at the Liggett Drug Store in New York City in 1940 and David was living in Kansas City, Missouri. According to Lewis’ World War II draft registration, Mary was living in Cincinnati, Ohio in the 1940s.

A file pertaining to the history of the Holliday family in Cañon City can be viewed at the Royal Gorge Regional Museum & History Center, Wednesday – Saturday from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM.


Mary and Lewis Holliday, ca. 1932. Object ID: 1994.016.404; Copyright Royal Gorge Regional Museum & History Center

The information presented in this article is compiled using research conducted by the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center.         

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