In 1878, Adeline Hornbeck purchased property west of Colorado Springs in what was known as the Florrisant Valley. Here the widow, with her four children, carved out a livelihood for themselves. Not only did the property have a well constructed home, but had many outbuildings including a milk and chicken house. The home itself was a marvel, the first two story home in the area when it was completed in 1878. It still stands today and was in use as a home up until the 1960's.
Adeline's journey began with her birth in July of 1833 in Massachusetts. It was there she met and married Simon A. Harker. They had three children, Franklin, Anna, and George. According to the 1860 the couple were in Creek Nation, Indian Land, Arkansas (Oklahoma) where Simon was an Indian agent, according to one record. By 1861 they moved to the Denver area and filed on 160 acres. Then in 1864 Simon died, he may have been sickly and moved to area for his health, leaving Adeline to fend for herself and the children. Showing her business sense she purchased 80 acres of the homestead, using a clause in the act, for $100.
In September of 1866 she married Elliot Hornbeck. They had a child together, Elliot Jr.. But things did not remain calm. Elliot disappeared in 1875. There is speculation he may have been married to another woman back east, he may have died, no one seems to know. But Adeline was not done yet. She accumulated enough cash to purchase the land in Florrisant Valley. It is from this base that she built her 'empire', although when starting out she worked in the mercantile in the new town of Florrisant.
Adeline chose well. Her homestead was on the route to the gold and silver fields in the South Park area. Sitting on one of the tributaries of the South Platte River it had good pasture land, pine trees and water. She was also an astute business woman and was active in the community, holding social gatherings at her home and serving on the school board. By the time she paid off her homestead claim, in 1885, the property value was at least five times more than the original.
Adeline was still not done. Around 1900, at the age of 66, she married 47 year old Frederick Sticksel, an immigrant who came to the U.S. in 1882. Five years later, Adeline passed away at age 71 of 'paralysis'.
The land where Adeline Warfield Harker Hornbeck Sticksel built her home for herself and children is now part of the Florissant National Fossil Beds and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Adeline is buried in the Four Mile Cemetery, Florissant, Colorado.
Thank you for joining me on this short journey of a most interesting woman. There is a lot more about Adeline, but for now, we can remember and honor this pioneering woman.
For a follow up post about the region: http://writingwranglersandwarriors.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/settleing-west-of-pikes-peak/