This is a part two of the downtown Denver article. I found a few research things we need to talk about and give you a little bit more feel for the time period when Marshall arrived and later Amanda.
I never could find direct evidence of Marshall having been in Denver other than their later accounts of when they traveled west. Here is what I can find though! I had some help from a wonderful person named Bruce Hanson on the 5th floor of the Denver Public library.
- It was posted in the Rocky Mtn News on May 7, 1866 that Marshall had a letter waiting. This was a common practice for all the folks coming into town without a permanent address. They would arrive in town, pick up the paper and learn that they had a letter waiting! It is probable that the letter had been written by Amanda and it is probable that he arrived about that time, give a week either way.
- Amanda had letters waiting listed in the newspaper on September 10, October 15, and November 5 of 1866. It is probable that Marshall would have written these letters from Canon City and that he was not in position to have Amanda come down quite yet, which most likely means the most rudimentary living conditions. It appears she would have initially stayed behind in St. Joseph Missouri for the summer and then followed Marshall into Colorado in the fall (on a rather arduous journey along the Oregon Trail taking the overland trail cutoff), remaining behind in Denver.
Although Canon City was only about 110 miles from the downtown Denver area Canon City was a long ways from having a train and it would have also been a rather arduous journey by wagon. Denver was rapidly growing and Amanda most likely would have found work in one of the restaurants or hotels or maybe even doing some nursing work.
I also picked up a book entitled “Silver Images of Colorado – Denver Album and the 1866 business directory” so I had what Bruce had said was an outstanding book describing Denver just after the civil war. I’ve scanned and modified the photos in this post from that publication and credit belongs there.
In their pension application many years later (about 1888) they mentioned a Dr.Scott in Denver. I was lucky enough to find an advertisement for Dr. Scott under the business card directory in the Rocky Mtn News. He is listed as M.L. Scott, M.D. – Homeopathic Physician and Surgeon – Office on Larimer Street between F and G street(15th and 16th). There is not a lot of historic preservation on that block but the block just southeast of it has a lot of its original character. Homeopathy is still practiced today but is not considered mainstream medical practice and has been described by an alternative medical approach. Dr. Scott became the Felch’s doctor off and on during their times in Denver.
Colorado and in particular Denver was on a very rapid growth curve and Silver Images publication includes some descriptions of Colorado in the 1866 time period…“The soil of the territory is wonderfully strong and productive, raising the finest garden vegetables grown in the world.” … In southern Colorado, extensive fields of of the best and later varieties of this grain [corn] are successfully cultivated”. In a description of minerals, petroleum, and salt the publication states “Petroleum abounds in springs in various parts of the territory, and a well in southern Colorado is now producing twenty-tour barrels of crude oil daily”.
Something, Marshall heard or read in downtown Denver when he arrived in the spring of 1866 attracted him to Canon City and it is stories like these. A few years ago thousands of emigrants arrived in Denver because of the descriptions of the gold being discovered right next to downtown Denver and many of them did an about face, wagons east. This would not be the situation with Marshall and Amanda. They both spent time here in Denver off and on for the rest of their lives. Amanda passed away here on New Years Eve in 1893 after an illness. Sarah was born here in the summer of 1868. They had friends and acquaintences and they watched Denver grow rapidly.
To provide a small measure of the types of articles in the newspaper when Marshall arrived, I’ve clipped out one short article from the April 5, 1866 edition of the Rocky Mountain News.