Calloways in Boxelder Valley in the 1870s
Calloways helped settle Boxelder Valley in 1870s
By Arlene Ahlbrandt, Correspondent
Martin Calloway and his family were some of the earliest settlers in northern Larimer County, arriving in the then-remote area of Buckeye in the late 1860s.
Calloway was born on a farm in Clinton County, Ind., on Dec. 20, 1846. His parents died within four months of each other, leaving him an orphan at age 6. During his youth he had to work hard and fend for himself.
In 1865, at age 18, Calloway enlisted in Company F, 150th Regiment of Indiana Volunteers to fight in the Civil War. Surviving that experience, he married Mary Hackerd on Jan. 7, 1868. In April of '69, the couple headed west to Larimer County and homesteaded land in Boxelder Valley. Boxelder is located in the Buckeye area, northwest of Waverly.
Early settlers like the Calloways suffered many hardships and tribulations during their pioneer lives. Life was lonely on their ranch in the hills, many miles from neighbors. In the 1870s, the Calloways raised sheep and sold the wool, a profitable business at that time. Martin also cut native hay and hauled it with a team of oxen all the way to Cheyenne, Wyoming, exchanging the hay for cash and household supplies.
An important development for early-day ranchers in the Buckeye/Boxelder Valley was the arrival of the railroad. In 1877, the Colorado Central Railroad built a line there, allowing ranchers to ship their sheep to markets.
However, the Boxelder Valley remained a lonely frontier into the early 1900s because of the lack of irrigation. Boxelder Creek is a tributary of the Cache la Poudre River, and at the turn of the century the North Poudre Irrigation Company started to furnish water for the farmers and ranchers of the area.
The Calloways had two daughters, Clara and Emma, who attended school in a log building erected in the 1870s on their homestead. The school was called the "Spring School" because it was located near a natural spring.
In the 1870s, when the Calloways lived on their homestead, conflicts with Indians on the Colorado-Wyoming border were practically over, so the family's challenges came primarily from the weather and the isolation of the area.
The Boxelder Valley looked very promising for agriculture, but Martin Calloway did not realize his dream of a long life in the West. He died of pneumonia at the age of 32, in January 1879. Charles Cradock, an Englishman, purchased the ranch from his widow. Mary Calloway later married her brother-in-law, William Calloway.
Other early settlers in the Boxelder Valley included the Woodhams, Roberts, Fred Kluver, and brothers in the Greenacre, Bear and Munroe families. Another pioneer was Dr. Albert Goodwin, a dentist who came to Colorado's dry climate for treatment of his asthma.
~ from The North Forty News, monthly publication, LaPorte, Colorado, December 2000
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