“Now And Then” By Loretta (Stevens) Bailey

If It Was Left Up To The Men...

Now:  I have been participating in the festivities that have been meticulously planned for Fremont County’s 150-year Anniversary Commemoration.  This is to pay tribute to the resilient men, women, and children who worked diligently to make this celebration possible. Here are what some of the women long ago  thought should be done.

[At the end of this blog see some of the faces of the past.]

What The Women Have Done for Fremont County

Thursday, May 13, 1913 - Canon City Record (edited)
By: Emma Ghent Curtis

[Emma Ghent Curtis from the Four Mile Area was a teacher and a noted editor of the “The Royal Gorge Review newspaper” from 1891-1896.  She was a supporter of the Populist Party with concerns about Women’s Suffrage. Emma authored two books; “The Fate of the Fool,” published in 1888, and “The Administratrix,” in 1889.]

“If Women Had the Doing:”

  • We would have pure water
  • The curfew would be enforced
  • The hospital would be built
  • The library would have sufficient income to run it in a first-class manner
  • Sunday closing would be closed
  • There would be fewer weeds on the streets and the alleys would be cleaner
  • The ditches on Main Street would be free from paper and refuse
  • Sand would be put on the crossings in advance of the worse storms of the season

[Reported in the Fort Collins Courier on 11/14/1889 page #4:  “In addition to telling a story, Emma’s writings included a message to her readers about the social and economic injustices and inequalities in society at that time.”]

            “Although we cannot claim the honor of having accomplished all of these eight however, we have not only made many of them.  We have outstripped the desires of 1903.”

  1. By virtue of its age Friends in Council status first among the women’s organizations to sign the Constitution of the State Federation of Women’s Clubs.  Fremont County had furnished two women as presidents.
  2. In 1902 the first traveling libraries in the state so steadily increased in value that it enabled by the sale of its holdings from the Library Association. Also, was able to obtain $13,000 from Mr. Carnegie. To provide the present site and building. The corner stone was laid July 4th The library board composed of women and Mayor Peabody as their president.
  3. In November of 1894 the Wednesday Music Club began it life and work among us. Tangible results of it works is evident by increase of its volume of musical literature.
  4. Two lone women working with Mayor Smith procured the Royal Gorge Park from the government for us. All have seen the transformation of an unsightly river-bottom.
  5. Our clean-up day has brought satisfaction to our eyes and to our noses. Accomplished by the Civic Improvement League and the boundless enthusiasm of Mrs. Boucher and Mrs. Harding.
  6. The Art League was formed to actively take over the beautifying of the walls of our school rooms. Funds accrued by rummage sales.
  7. Friends of Council have turned their energies to increasing the funds for the Scholarship Fund. Also, maintains a guest bed at the Graves Hospital.
  8. The Progress Club has kept abreast of the knowledge of the times and has been an invaluable organization to our teachers in public schools. The school boards throughout the county have claimed the interest of our women. Our schools that are in the out-laying districts have been rapidly advanced by the women that have served as County School  
  9. The Sisters of Mt. Scholastica’s Academy developed their school from its early in 1893 are now an acknowledged influence in the state.
  10. The Women of the Relief Corps at the expense of $190.00 have erected upon our school grounds eight flag poles. Seen from these poles the floating our glorious stars and stripes.
  11. The Progress Club has kept abreast of the knowledge of the times and has broaden the branch of study and is a valuable organization to our teachers in public schools.


Now:  I was impressed and seen some lessons that could be practiced today for our City Beautiful.

Amanda Felch

Amanda met & married Marshall P. Felch during the Civil War, where she served as a nurse.  They settled in Montezuma, Colorado and their final move was to the Garden Park area just north of Cañon City.  She cared for Marshall as he struggled with health problems resulting from his war service.  Amanda was a mother of four children and was a great contributor to Marshall’s discoveries of dinosaur bones.  Amanda became well known for her dinners that she prepared and served visitors from near and far who came to see the sites of her husband’s fossil discoveries.

Bird Millman O’Day was born in Cañon City, Colorado on October 20, 1890.  As a child she traveled with her parents performing high tight rope walks in small circuses. her father taught her the skill in the backyard of their home and general store on 3rd and Main Street in Cañon City.  As an adult, Bird went on to a brilliant career.  The little girl from Cañon City had brought pleasure and entertainment to people on multiple continents.  During the Depression of the 1930s, she lost her fortune and her health.  She joined her mother & family back in Cañon City where she died on August 5, 1940.

Bird Millman O'Day
Emma Ghent Curtis

Because of failing health, Emma Ghent Curtis moved from Indiana to Colorado.  Upon her arrival in Cañon City, she resumed her teaching career .  She met & married James Curtis who lived in the Four Mile area northeast of Cañon City.  Emma wrote poetry, short stories, and novels.  Some of which were “The Fate of a Fool” (1888), and The “Administratrix” (1889).  Emma was also the editor of “The Royal Gorge Review” newspaper, in an attempt to promote the idea of women’s suffrage among the farming and labor classes.

Julia Mack came to Cañon City in 1875 by way of wagon train with her husband Henry Mack.  Henry owned and managed a lumber yard named Pioneer Lumber Company, located at 6th and Main Street in Cañon City.  Henry died in April of 1882 and Julia’s third child died in January of 1883.  Alone, she continued to raise her two other children while also running the lumber business.  She stayed active in the church and later she was instrumental in starting the public library in Cañon City and was a charter member of the Friends in Council organization.

Julia Mack
Emma Webster

Emma Alice Webster came to Cañon City in 1871 with her parents and one brother.  She became active with local community service organizations.  She was best known for her involvement with the Cañon City Ladies’ Library Association and Friends in Council.  She, along with other members of the Cañon City Ladies’ Library Association were able to acquire a small building at 505 Main Street to house books that they collected from local townspeople.  One way they solicitated was to push baby buggies around town to various households to collect donated books and other reading materials.

Information for this blog post was compiled by
Loretta (Stevens) Bailey
from various sources including the book:
Spirits of the Past
compiled by Linda M. Carlson, Ph.D. & Margaret Stiles Storm.

This book can be found in the collections at the
Royal Gorge Regional Museum & History Center. 

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