Pueblo, Hardscrabble, Greenhorn
The Upper Arkansas, 1832-1856eBook - 1981
Pueblo, Hardscrabble, and Greenhorn were among the very first white settlements in Colorado. In their time they were the most westerly settlements in American territory, and they attracted a lively and varied population of mavericks from more civilized parts of the world-from what became New Mexico to the south and from as far east as England.
The inhabitants of these little walled towns thrived on the rigor and freedom of frontier life. Many were ex-trappers full already of frontier expertise. Others were enthusiastic neophytes happy to escape problems back home. They sought Mexican wives in Taos or Santa Fe or allied themselves with the native Indian tribes, or both. The fur trade and the illegal liquor trade with the Indians were at first the mainstays of their economy. As time went on they extended their activities to farming illegally on the land owned by the Indians and trading their crops and other trade articles. They enjoyed themselves hunting, gambling, trading, and with their women, freely mixing Spanish, Indian, and Anglo-American cultures in a community without laws or bigotry.
This idyll was brought to a close by the Mexican War and the lure of the California Gold Rush of 1849. The expectation of a railroad on the Arkansas brought many of the settlers back, only to be scared away again by the massacre of Pueblo by the Utes in 1854 of which Mrs. Lecompte has reconstructed a very complete record. When the gold seekers rushed to Pikes Peak in 1858 and stayed to establish farms and towns, some of the pioneers of the early days returned with them, and shared their skills and knowledge to make possible the permanent settlements that resulted.
Mrs. Lecompte has documented the history of the region from diaries, letters, and the reports of such distinguished passers-by as J. C. Fremont and Francis Parkman. The result is a complete and compelling account of a neglected part of American frontier life. It is illustrated with more than fifty photographs and contemporary drawings.