Todd: Meandering through our ancestral pages

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Meandering through the ancestral pages of our great-grandparents, the Ouray Times and Ouray Herald, can be a fun way to connect to the past. It takes only one search to get me going and then I’m off to another and another. Here are a few items I ran across in pages prior to the turn of the century—the other century:
“Fred H. Andrus, wife, child and maid, of Chicago, spent several days at the Beaumont the first of the week, and enjoyed the beautiful mountain scenery of Ouray. Mr. Andrus is a member of the firm of A.G. Spalding & Co., Chicago, and in 1876 belonged to the Chicago baseball club, which won the National League pennant for the first time.”
Ouray Herald, Oct. 12, 1899, page 3
Andrus was a member of the Chicago White Stockings, one of eight teams in the newly formed league in 1876. He played in only eight games and batted .306 that year with only 32 at bats. Eight years later he would play in his only other season, pitching a complete game and earning the victory in his only appearance that year. He was treasurer for his famous boss, Albert Spalding, when he signed the registry at the Beaumont. How many hotel guests bring their own maid to Ouray these days?

“Remove the Indians to the Uintah reservation in Utah. The physical characteristics, climate, etc., are almost the same as those of the present reservation, and there they would be as much out of the way of advancing civilization as anywhere they could be placed. That reservation, we are advised, is amply large, and would give each man, woman and child of the tribe about one hundred acres of agricultural land and about four times as much timber and grazing. A colony of whites would jump at the chance of getting such an amount of land.”
Ouray Times, Jan. 3, 1880
The cry of the day was “The Utes Must Go!” and with their removal an immense amount of valuable land was free for the taking, stated Dee Brown in her book “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.” They were removed in the 1880s. Not surprisingly, the whites did not heed the above suggestion and jump at the chance to take the Uintah land and leave the Utes in place.

“The Denver Tribune. Daily and weekly editions. Official organ of the Republican Party in Colo. Has the largest circulation of any paper in the state, and is everywhere recognized as the best advertising medium west of the Missouri River.”
Ad in Ouray Times, Dec. 14, 1878
Unlike these days, newspapers of the time clearly advertised their political persuasions. State press conventions were meetings where newspapers editors argued the political platforms and planks they would support for the coming year. Newspapers are not nearly so transparent these days, right?

“Frank Stanton, a ranchman living near Ridgway, turns out in the neighborhood of 100 pounds each week of a fine article of butter, for which he finds a ready market in Ouray. Should others of our valley friends follow his example the thousands of dollars that are annually sent outside for butter could be kept at home, where it is very much needed.”
Ouray Herald, Dec. 10, 1896
And some people think the movement to “buy local” is a recent phenomenon.

“Ouray Brewery, corner 5th Avenue and 2nd Street, Ouray, Colo. David Geiger, Proprietor. No. 1 Beer furnished in Kegs or Bottles. All orders promptly attended to.”
Ouray Times, July 5, 1879
You don’t have to wait anywhere for a beer in Ouray today, and apparently you never did.

We now take you back to your regularly scheduled newspaper.

Alan Todd is publisher of the Ouray County Plaindealer. You can reach him at atodd@ouraynews.com.