Search This Blog

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Grace Greenwood - Honorary First Lady of the Pikes Peak Region #PrairieRosePub

As part of an ongoing series about early women in the Pikes Peak Region, October's post is about Grace Greenwood.

To read others post in this series:
Elizabeth McAllister
Cara Bell

Unlike the first two ladies in the series, 'Grace Greenwood' only lived in the area a short time, but her writings sang the praises of Colorado and the Pikes Peak area. But who was 'Grace Greenwood'?

Image result for images of grace greenwood
Image from Wikipedia
Grace Greenwood was the pen name for Sara Jane Lippincott. On September 23, 1823, Sara Jane Clarke was born to Deborah and Dr. Thaddeus Clarke in Pompey, New York. She went to school in Rochester, New York and later moved to Brighton, Pennsylvania with her family.

From an early age, Sara wrote and submitted poems and sketches, and had her first piece of prose published when she was twenty. Like others of her time she used a pen name. Once she started using the name Grace Greenwood, it became who she was. Even friends started calling her by the name Grace.

According the Inez Hunt and Wanetta Draper in their book "Colorado's Restless Ghost" Sara was "Exuberant and self-sufficient in an era when frailty was the fashion. Grace [Sara] grew too tall, was too vital, and too clever. She simply didn't fit her time nor her place; she outgrew them all."

Marrying late in life to Leander K. Lippincott, the couple had one child which they named Ann.While Grace traveled about with their daughter, Leander stayed behind. In 1876 he was indicted for land fraud and fled the country.

Image result for grace greenwood cottage manitou springs colorado
Image from Wikimedia Commons
Grace first came to Colorado in the early 1870s and it was noted in the 'Colorado Magazine' of September 1871, "Grace Greenwood is one of the literary attractions in Denver. She is here on a visiting, lecturing and observation tour, is corresponding for the New York Times and writing up the country in her most graceful style.''  After a visit to Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs she purchased land in the latter town in 1873 and set about having a cottage built for her . While the 'cottage' was being built she stayed with relatives, the Mellons, and enjoyed the company of the town leaders. After moving in, there was an attempted burglary but Grace took her Italian stiletto and went in hot pursuit. After the incident the following appeared in the local paper:
          We now give warning to all gentlemen of burglarious proclivities that a good and gallant friend having provided us with a six shooter, we intend to practice diligently with it, firing promiscuously from our balconies o'nights. I am not Mrs. J.B. Lippincott, and haven't any diamonds, our silver is plated, our money in the bank if we haven't over-drawn...I intend setting the shrubbery full of steel use for them to call again at Clematis Cottage [the name she gave her home] and may be slightly dangerous. P.S. another friend has lent us a brindle-bull terrier--very powerful.

Grace traveled, wrote, lectured and pursued many different causes in her lifetime. She lived in Europe for a time in the 1880s and wrote a a biography of Queen Victoria while there. She died at the home of her daughter on April 20, 1904 at the age of eighty-one.

In the end this woman who championed prison reform, woman's rights, the end of the death penalty and was staunchly anti-slavery, is little known today. To quote the Hunt/Draper book "Her brilliant flash across the Colorado skies had been meteoric and spectacular, but her flame burned out quickly and left no trace." Perhaps it is time to remember the Honorary First Lady of the Pikes Peak Region. 

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Member of National League of American Pen Women,
Women Writing the West,
Pikes Peak Posse of the Westerners

Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Photo and Poem: Click Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here


  1. Wonderful. I love these insights into real people and their lives. What a strong and formidable lady. Woe betide anyone breaking into her house!

    1. She really was quite the lady. And although her prose is written in the flowery style of the period, it is pretty good. When she wrote of her observation of the Nebraska plains while raveling through on the train, it was fascinating. Here is the beginning line: "I suppose these lands of the Platte Valley can hardly be called "plains"; but though not arid and desolate, they are sufficiently lonely and sombre."

      I am glad you are enjoying these posts. I am also enamoured of the lives of these 'pathfinders' and want to share what I find. (Smile) Doris

  2. Lovely article and a fascinating story. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. The more I research and share the stories of these remarkable women, the more passionate I become about sharing their stories. I am thrilled you enjoyed the story of 'Grace Greenwood'. Doris

  3. Oh my gosh. I love this lady so much. "Grace took her Italian stiletto and went in hot pursuit." And the notice she posted in the newspaper is priceless. I especially like the steel traps in the bushes and firing promiscuously from the balcony. It is really too bad there isn't more information available about her. She is a delightfully colorful character.

    1. She is one I will continue to research. Having her live in the region helped the initial research, but like you I want to know more. She really was a pistol. After she split with her husband, she traveled with her daughter giving lectures, writing,etc. We hear about Isabella Bird, but to me Grace is just as interesting. I'll let you know what I find. Doris

  4. Thanks for sharing, Doris. I always enjoy reading about women back in the day. I think many of them would make good friends. :-)

    1. You are welcome Kristy. I think they would be good friends also. They broke rules, played the game and won in many cases. Doris