Sheep Herding and Englishmen in El Paso County
- Category: Colorado Springs History
- Hits: 7135
SHEEP HERDING IN EL PASO COUNTY
Yhis is an amazing long, illustrated (by a sketch artist) article in the January 1880 Harpers Monthly Magazine by Augustus Allen Hayes about the 'Shepherds of Colorado.' It is actually only about sheep 'ranching' in El Paso County not the rest of Colorado. But what makes it a unique and rare glimpse into this little remembered aspect of 'ranching' is its treatment by, and about, all the Englishmen who were attracted to 'Little London' far out West just 8 years after the 1871 founding of General Palmer's Colorado Springs. It is well known local history that Queen Palmer and Manitou's Dr. Bell attracted educated and moneyed people from England who came by Palmer's new railroad to his fair city.
But it is very little written about in local histories, that English 'Remittance' men and others, like the 'Colonel and the Commodore,' arrived in 1880 Colorado Territory much like they would have on a trip to a British Empire Colony like India. They, and the writer probes into the arts and economics of raising sheep as a 'business.' They had to learn from thoroughly 'westernized' settlers and characters, some of whom were from Colorado City which is referred to often. The author writes from the viewpoint of an easy chair in the upscale 'El Paso Club' remarking on the furnishings and wallpaper that he expected only back east. It was obviously his first trip west also. The illustrator wonderfully captures the contrast between the rough frontiersmen and the 'Easternerers' and refined Englishmen. The sketch of 'Counting Sheep' on Page 204 is a classic.
This article, acquired at auction in its fragile original page form by Dave Hughes, is 18 pages long with 14 illustrations. Reproducing them digitally just as the pages looked like in the Harper's Monthly 128 years ago does more justice to the flavor of the age than had we just extracted and printed the text. You can buy a copy of just this article and its illustrations in the Old Colorado City Historical Society book store as a small, low cost - $3.00 printed volume. It is long out of copyright.
"Remittance Men" were young English gentlemen who had come to the American West, either willingly or under parental pressure, "to learn ranching." If they did a lot of hunting and considerable "partying" besides, that was understandable, for it was a long distance to England, the source of disciplinary wrath which sent them here.
If you don't have time to read through all the long text, just page through the 14 pages and look at the 14 subtly humorous pen and ink sketches by 'W. A. Rogers' to see through the eye of an eastern artist looking at the still novel and frontier West.