Pioneer Women of Beaver Creek
This page gives a brief biography of each of the Pioneer Women of Beaver Creek. A chapter in the book is devoted to each of the 25 women along with her photo, quilt square, family photos and information, and tombstone.
The photos below are of the Quilting Bee when we tied the Pioneer Women of Beaver Creek quilt in April 2007 at Penrose Community Library.
The quilt now hangs in an exhibit at the FLORENCE PIONEER MUSEUM, with many other items from Penrose History.
To purchase this book "Pioneer Women of Beaver Creek" contact me, visit my studio or go to www.amazon.com then type in the title.
12 October 1809 - 13 September 1890
Abraham and Elizabeth Banta were among the earliest homesteaders along Beaver Creek, settling there in 1861. They built a log cabin near the school-house, on what was known as the Doctor Patton place. Their four children attended the Upper Beaver School. According to Mabel Hall, “The Banta’s were a cultured, educated people of the middle class, as were most of these pioneers; thrifty and ambitious, laying the foundations for the progress of our great state and nation.”
Anna Belle McGowan Callen
14 February 1864 - 5 January 1908.
Anna married Will Callen, sometime before 1885, at the Glendale Stagecoach Inn on Beaver Creek. She lived on Beaver Creek her whole life. Anna and Will had eight children, all boys, seven of whom died as infants and are buried alongside Anna’s grave in Middle Beaver Cemetery. Anna died of pneumonia in 1908, at the age of forty-four. These words are engraved on Anna Callen’s tombstone:
“All I want the franchise for is to make ours a better government.”
Sarah Jane Moore Callen
1826 – 5 July 1899
John and Sarah Callen came from Iowa in 1864. They were among the twenty-five families living on the lush banks of Beaver Creek on the 1870 Colorado Territorial Census. The Callens owned 120 acres, with half cultivated in oats, wheat, corn and alfalfa. They planted apple trees and built a two story stone house on Beaver Creek. The Callens learned to live with the Indians and made many Indian friends. Sarah and John are buried together in Middle Beaver Cemetery.
Mary Ellen Callen Coffman
1855 -10 April 1944
Mary was nine years old when she came west to Colorado with her parents, John and Sarah Callen, older sister Martha and older brother Will. She had vivid memories of growing up on Beaver Creek; fishing for trout, picking, eating and drying the wild plums, grapes, currants, and chokecherries. Mary married Lafayette Coffman, a Civil War veteran All of their children were born and raised on Beaver Creek: Edwin, Clara, Nettie, Effie, Walter, Elmer, and Lester. Mary is buried next to Lafayette in Beaver Park Cemetery, Penrose Colorado.
Nettie Flora Green Curtis
18 December 1879 – 24 June 1902
Nettie was the first wife of Robert Michaux Curtis. They lived on Beaver Creek and had two children; Baby Curtis was born 18 October 1897 and died the next day. Helen O. was born on 2 June 1902. Nettie died only three weeks later, on the 24. Baby Helen died two and a half weeks after that, on 11 July. Perhaps baby Helen was sick, or simply could not live without her mother to nurse her. Nettie and her babies are buried together in Lower Beaver Cemetery.
Anna Emmeline Lackey Fansher
2 January 1906 - 29 November 1977
Anna Emmeline Lackey was born to Hampton C. and Maria Martha Fleming Lackey, who are both buried in Upper Beaver Cemetery. Her siblings were Mamie, Charles, Ida Marie and George “Jim.” Ida and Jim are also buried in Upper Beaver. The Lackeys were among the early homesteading families along Upper Beaver Creek, as were the Fanshers. Anna married Maurice Fansher 8 February 1926 in Florence. They had no children.
Mariah Esther Palmer Flesher
27 February 1862 - 29 January 1878.
Mariah Esther Palmer was born in 1862. She was the first wife of Zemari Flesher. The date of Esther’s marriage to Zemari “Zem” is also unknown. She died in childbirth, one month shy of turning 16 years old. Baby Stella (Estelle) May was born 16 January 1878 and died 2 February. She was two and a half weeks old. Esther died three and a half weeks later, just six weeks after giving birth. They are buried together in Lower Beaver Cemetery.
Elvira Catherine Palmer Green
20 August 1869 - 28 January 1914
Elvira was born in Kansas, her parents names are unknown although she was a half-sister to John C. Palmer, of Beaver Creek. One wonders if perhaps she was a sister to Mariah Esther Palmer Flesher (above); their maiden names were both Palmer, they lived on Beaver Creek, and were born about seven years apart. Elvira married Lafayette Isaac Green, in 1889. He is also buried in Lower Beaver. Their children’s names are unknown.
Mabel Rosetta Wilson Hall
12 May 1893 - 4 January 1979
Mabel Rosetta Wilson came to Colorado with her parents when she was ten years old. Mabel and Fred Hall married in Canon City on 29 March 1916. Mabel is best remembered for her writing. She wrote many magazine columns for “The Colorado Rancher and Farmer” and published a book of poems. Mabel also wrote two books about the local area, “Upper Beaver Creek” and “The Story of Phantom Canyon” which have become classic volumes on local history. She and Fred are buried in Upper Beaver Cemetery.
Sarah R. Hughes
February 1835 – 1917
Little is known about Sarah and Huston Hughes. They are listed on the Upper Beaver 1885 Colorado State Census, and lived between David Hall and W. P. Hight. Sarah and Huston had six children, and Sarah was a midwife on Upper Beaver Creek. She and Huston are buried together in Upper Beaver Cemetery.
Candacie Brownfield Rishel Humphrey
21 April 1848 -16 February 1911.
Candacie was born in Pennsylvania in 1848. She married George W. Rishel in 1865 when she was seventeen. He was a Civil War veteran. Candacie and George had three children: Clarence, Alva J., and Cora Martha (Floyd). The Rishels settled on Upper Beaver Creek, where George built a sawmill. In 1897, the sawmill exploded, and George and Alva were killed. All the Rishels are buried in the family plot in Upper Beaver Creek Cemetery.
1858 – 1900
Lucinda was the wife of Levi Kelley. She shares a tombstone in Middle Beaver Cemetery, with her son Curtis, who died in 1895 at age seventeen. The Kelley family had a siege with smallpox in early 1900, while they lived on Beaver Creek. All miraculously recovered, but their house had to be fumigated afterward. For some reason, the fumigation wasn’t successful, so their sturdy log home was burned to the ground by the “authorities.” Until a new home could be built, the Kelleys lived in the leaky dirt cellar. During the wet spring, all of them caught pneumonia. Neighbor men took care of the animals and outside chores while neighbor women took turns caring for the family by nursing, cooking, and cleaning.Dr. Richardson came daily to check on the Kelleys. Levi almost died, but only Lucinda did not survive. She was forty-two years old and is buried in Middle Beaver Cemetery.
Martha Jane Callen Kelley
11 June 1850 - 12 Jan. 1936
Martha Jane Callen was born in Tennessee, the oldest child of John Vance and Sarah Moore Callen, who came to Beaver Creek in 1864. Martha had many adventures growing up on Beaver Creek. Her sister Mary Ellen wrote of the Indians coming often for biscuits, which the girls promptly baked then smothered with homemade butter and berry jam Martha married Jessie Kelley at the Mc Clure House, later called the Glendale Stagecoach Inn. Martha and Jessie are buried in Lower Beaver Cemetery.
Mary M. Hall Lackey
28 June 1845 – 1929
Mary married George W. Lackey in North Carolina, in 1864. George fought on the Confederate side in the Civil War. They travelled to Colorado sometime in the early 1880’s. Mary and George’s children were: Catherine, Matt, John, Hamp, Charley, Bud, Bessie, and Sally. George died in 1922. He was seventy-eight years old. Mary died in 1929, at the age of eighty-four. They share a worn tombstone in Upper Beaver Cemetery.
Zulia J. Phillips Lackey
28 February 1876 - 23 May 1902
Zulia Phillips married Hampton “Hamp” Lackey in 1898. She was his first wife. They had four children: Mary “Mamie” Caroline, George James, Turrey and Lawrence. Zulia died in 1902, shortly after giving birth to Baby Turrey, who also died. She was twenty-six years old. In 1906, Lawrence died at the age of six. All three are buried side by side in Lower Beaver Cemetery.
Vester “Bessie” Lackey Lincoln
1882 – 1959
Bessie was the daughter of George and Mary Hall Lackey. She married Charles Lincoln in Portland, west of Beaver Creek, and lived there the rest of her life. It is unknown if Bessie and Charles had children. Bessie shares a tombstone with Charles. She, Charles, and her parents are all buried in Lackey plot in Upper Beaver Cemetery.
1882 – 1902
Josh McCurry married Bettie and they lived on Beaver Creek, with Josh’s brother, Sim. According to Della Goode Lancaster,“One day before Josh was married, he and his sweetheart were taking a walk along the beautiful Beaver Creek. Bettie told her lover, “When I die, here is where I want to be buried. A strange thing to say on that beautiful morning. They were married and when a year had passed, she gave birth to a baby. Bettie and the baby both died and the heart-broken husband remembered her wish and buried her on the hill. Hers was the first grave in the Callen Grave Yard.”
Claudia Klinger McCurry
14 February 1881 - 3 June 1910
Claudia Klinger was born in 1881 to John J. and Alice Klinger. At age 19, she married to Jess McCurry. The Florence “Ex Parte” gave a spirited report of their somewhat scandalous marriage: “Jesse McCurry and Miss Claudia Klinger were married a few days sooner than expected. The groom’s parents objected to the match as he was under age. He succeeded only by going to Cripple Creek, where he secured a marriage license.” It is unknown if Claudia and Jess had children, nor is it known how Claudia died at age twenty-nine. She is buried in Lower Beaver Cemetery.
Mary A. Rudd McGowan
1824 – 1910
Mary was the sister of Anson Rudd, who pioneered and settled in Canon City. The Rudds crossed the plains from Iowa in 1864 with the Callen family. The Rudd log cabin and stone house are still standing in Canon City, behind Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center. Mary and her husband, Joseph Mc Gowan, had four children listed on the 1880 Census: Clara age 22, Abraham L. and Anna age 16 and Chas. G. age 12. Perhaps Abraham and Anna were twins. Mary’s homemade tombstone has her name beautifully engraved in cursive writing. She is buried in Middle Beaver Cemetery.
Louisa Brothers Magner
28 March 1830 - 15 April 1906
Louisa Brothers was born in 1830. She married David Magner sometime before the Civil War and they two children, John Calvin and Nancy Alice. Four of Louisa’s brothers, Charles, Oscar, Horace and George Brothers, vouched for her when she applied for a Civil War widow’s pension. Louisa became blind in later years, so she went to live with her daughter Nancy Alice Magner Klinger in Fremont County, just west of Pueblo. There were several Klinger families living on Beaver Creek during this time. Louisa died at the age of seventy-six and is buried in Lower Beaver Creek Cemetery.
Bessie Kelley Mortenson
11 December 1893 - 6 December 1917
Bessie was the daughter of Levi and Lucinda Kelley, who homesteaded on Beaver Creek. When Lucinda died of pneumonia in 1900, Bessie was only six years old. Jessie Kelley (Levi’s brother) and his wife, Martha, took in young Bessie, and her nine-year old sister Hattie. Bessie married Hans Mortenson. They made their home on Beaver Creek. Their only child, Dessie, was born in early December 1917; Bessie died soon after his birth. Bessie and Hans are buried in Lower Beaver Creek Cemetery.
Narcissa Mae Minter Sapp
17 June 1837 - 17 May 1903
Narcissa Mae Minter was born in Missourri in 1837. She married Joseph Morton Sapp on 22 July 1860, in Missouri. Joseph was a Union Civil War veteran, serving with the Third Kansas Infantry. Narcissa and Joseph moved to Colorado Territory in 1870 and settled on Beaver Creek. The 1880 Federal Census for Beaver Creek shows Joseph as a farmer and Narcissa as “keeping house.” Narcissa died in 1903, at the age of sixty-five. Joseph died in 1915 and is buried next to her in Lower Beaver Creek cemetery.
Sarah Jane Allen Tillery
8 August 1858 – 4 June 1880
Sarah Jane was born in Missouri and married John Tillery as his second wife. The 1880 Federal Census for Canyon City showed he had four sons from a previous marriage, ages nineteen, thirteen, eleven, and eight. Sarah and John had one daughter, Sarah, age four months. On the line next to Sarah Jane’s name is written “Died 4 June 1880” exactly one week before the census was taken. Sarah Jane’s tombstone shows her parents, John and Sarah Allen. No mention was made of her baby Sarah. Perhaps her parents took care of the infant. Sarah Jane was almost twenty-two years old when she died, and is buried in Lower Beaver Creek Cemetery.
Adah Rebecca Payne Bear Toof
1845 - 23 February 1924
Adah Darlington was born in Ohio and married James Alfred Toof in 1864. The Toof brothers were the earliest settlers on Lower Beaver Creek. James and Adah had two infants who are buried in Lower Beaver Creek Cemetery. After Alfred’s death in 1891, Adah married his brother, George Henry Toof, and they had one son, Nelson, who was born in 1894. Adah taught school at Lower Beaver Creek and also taught Presbyterian Sunday School at the Lower Beaver school house. Adah Rebecca Darlington Bear Toof died at the age of seventy-six, and is buried in Lower Beaver Cemetery.
Augusta Dorthea Gahmes Woodriff
14 April 1847 – 1917
Augusta Dorthea Gahmes was born in Prussia. She married Daniel T. Woodiff in England, and they were the parents of at least six children: John, Robert, Jessie, Lucy, George, and Allan. Augusta and Daniel farmed along the Arkansas River, probably on the south side, across from the mouth of Beaver Creek. At one time, there was a Woodriff school and a small settlement named Woodriff. Augusta died in 1917, at the age of seventy, and is buried in Lower Beaver Creek Cemetery, along with a daughter and son-in-law, three grandchildren, and one great grandson.