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Sunday, May 5, 2019


Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

Pikes Peak - photo property of the author
I am sharing some of the history I've been researching about early Colorado, specifically El Paso County. After the 'Pikes Peak or Bust' gold rush of 1859, a number of people started to settle in what would become Colorado. 

Originally part of the Kansas, Nebraska, Utah and New Mexico Territory, Colorado was officially made a territory in 1861 and a state in 1876. In those early years there were those who decided that the area had more to offer than just gold. There were some who wanted to farm, others wanted to grow cattle/sheep, and yet others found their gold mine in outfitting the dreamers hunting for gold.

Location of Colorado Territory
Map of Colorado prior to becoming a territory in
1861. Courtesy of Wikipedia
Into this mix two women named Mary made their way to El Paso County, Colorado in the 1860s. One was from Ireland and the other Nova Scotia, Canada. So who were these women? Why should we take the time to learn about them? Perhaps to balance the stories we tell about those early days.

I will say, to find the stories of the early women in the history of the area takes some detective work. It is challenging, yet finding those tidbits of information is worth the effort. Sometimes the historic records do not agree, so the writer/researcher does the best they can with what they find. So join me as we learn ‘Something about Mary’.

The first Mary, Mary Irvine, was born Mary Boyd, in County Antrim Ireland in 1809. She arrived in El Paso County with her husband, John Irvine, Senior sometime around 1859-60. Research shows the couple came to America around 1834. Records show Mary’s husband John, making a living as a carpenter. When the Civil War started, John and his two older sons enlisted in the Colorado regiment, leaving Mary to care for their home and the younger children. Although Mary and John did not remain in El Paso County long, they had a farm near Fountain, Colorado before moving to Pueblo, Colorado. There John helped to  start the Presbyterian church. One son Milton Irvine was well known in business in Colorado Springs where he was eventually elected mayor. In the 1900 census, Mary was living on East St. Vrain in Colorado Springs in the home of her son Milton. She was ninety years old at that time.

Image result for images of first presbyterian church pueblo colorado
Current First Presbyterian Church in Pueblo
located at 10th and Court St
Image courtesy of History Colorado
Mary B. Innes probably arrived with her brother Robert A Innes from Nova Scotia, where she was born in 1847. In October of 1865 she married Burton C Myers in Colorado City at the M. E. Church. The couple, along with Burton’s brother Charles W. Myers, made their home in Colorado City with Mary ‘keeping house’ for the brothers. By 1870, Mary was a mother, having given birth to a daughter, Nora. Nora soon had a sister, Mary. In 1875 Burton passed away of typhoid fever after selling out the cattle business in South Park, Colorado, which Burton and Charles started around 1872. At that time, Mary became a widow with two young girls. Five years later a notice in the November 5, 1880 Gazette, showed a Charles W. Myers and Mrs. B. Myers, both of El Paso County, being wed on October 30, 1880 in Pueblo, Colorado. By the 1920s, Mary B. Myers was again a widow living in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

As Manly and Eleanor Ormes say in their book, “The Book of Colorado Springs”, when they talk of the founding of the El Paso County Pioneers Association: “The objects of the Association were to unite in closer bonds those who had braved the dangers of the journeys across the plains, the dangers here from being surrounded by hostile Indians, and the privations of beginning in a new country…”

Both Mary’s braved the journey. They faced the dangers that all early settlers faced. Both survived to old age, but not without heartache and triumph. We know of their husbands and sons, and now, we know a bit more about them.

Doris Gardner-McCraw -

Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here


  1. Doris, I always love your posts, especially the ones about historical women and the role they played. I actually have an aunt named Mary Boyd. I really enjoyed this! Thanks for another excellent, interesting article.

    1. Thank you. Who knew I'd be spending time researching and sharing the history of early women? I just realized what great stories they had to tell, and there weren't that many telling the story of the average women, not that there was anything average about them. (Smile). Doris

  2. I'm with Cheryl on this--I love your stories and am getting to love Colorado more and more with each vicarious visit through your research. Keep 'em coming.

    1. Thank you Elizabeth. We did have some pretty interesting people settle the state after the Pikes Peak or Bust gold rush. I just find them fascinating. Glad others do also. (Smile) Doris

  3. I can't add anything more than what Cheryl and Elizabeth have already said, and said well. I do love reading your research about the women who helped shape and build Colorado.

    1. Thank you Kaye. I confess, it is a passion. It is possible I will be sharing more stories in the future. (Smile) Doris

  4. Thank you for doing the detective work and digging to bring these stories to life. There certainly was something about Mary, and I know that the investigation is even harder when you have a common name like Mary. Kudos to you for continuing and getting results.

    1. I appreciate the encouragement and support. There are so mamy stories about these early settlers. I confess, it is work, but work I love. (And of course, I find some great pieces of history to include in my fiction writing. LOL) Doris

  5. I am always captivated by the courageous and ingenious women who ventured into the American Plains and made such a difference. These bits of history you post are so interesting. Thank you!

    1. Thank you Sarah. It is exciting when other people seem to enjoy these stories as much as I enjoy finding them. I will probably keep digging until the day I die. Doris