This information was emailed to the Old Colorado City Historical Society's prior web site from a Kathleen Leveroni when it was still in operation about 2010. No other information is available.
My great grandfather was Peter Edwards, born about 1855 in Missouri. My earliest findings of Peter are in the US Census for Colorado City in 1870. I find him at age 15 living with his mother, Jane, and two brothers, William, age 21, and a younger brother, Robert, age 9. There are, unfortunately, no middle initials for any of these individuals, and so, due to common names, I have been unable to positively trace any of these family members other than Peter. The boys were all born in Missouri according to the census and Jane was born in Kentucky. There was also no provision in the census records at that time to indicate whether Jane was divorced or widowed.
I have received some information that Peter's father may be George S. Edwards and his mother Ellender (Ellinor? Or Ellen Jane?) This family appears in an 1860 census in Ray Co., Missouri. The father is George, age 41, the mother is E.J., age 33, James 14, William 10, Peter 3, and Francis M., 6 months. At this point, the connection with my ancestor and this family is just very interesting and nothing that I can prove.
I believe that Peter moved out and moved to Kansas by the time the 1880 Census was done. There is a Peter Edwards, age 23, in Jackson, McPherson County, in Kansas. This Peter was born in Missouri and the parents were both born in Kentucky. Since he isn't found on the 1880 Census in Colorado under the name Peter, Pete, or "P" Edwards, I am inclined to think that he had moved from Colorado, albeit temporarily.
By 1891 he had moved back to El Paso County. I have been able to find a certificate of marriage dated December 6, 1891 uniting Peter Edwards in matrimony with Miss Mamie S. Shoemaker. W. H. Sutherland, Justice of the Peace in Florissant, performed the marriage. Mamie's given name was Mary Susan but she often used the name Mamie. This marriage produced three children, Ruth Ernestine, born May 14, 1892; my grandfather, George Wesley, born July 16, 1895 in Cripple Creek (or Anaconda depending upon which document you look at); and Esther Mary, born December 24, 1895 in Cripple Creek (or, again, possibly Florissant).
During the marriage to Mamie, Peter was a teamster. He worked hauling timber for George W. Sadler and was living in Woodland Park in 1900. He was listed in the City Directory for Woodland Park in the 1900 edition. The Weekly Gazette of April 19, 1899 had an article about George Sadler and in that article he is said to have shipped over a million feet of lumber in March of 1899 from Woodland Park and Divide. There were also ads placed by George Sadler in April of 1900 and October of 1900 looking for as many as 40 teams and drivers. It is apparent that Peter must have worked long hours and been away from home for long periods of time if his employer was as busy as the articles indicate. The 1900 Federal Census lists Peter as working as a teamster and living in Woodland Park. He was listed as a partner with two other men on this document.
According to the Colorado Springs Gazette of January 30, 1901, Mamie filed for divorce on the grounds of desertion. She was awarded $1500 (a huge sum for that time!) and $30 a month alimony as well as $50 to pay her attorney. By this time, Mamie was living with the children outside of Idaho Springs in Clear Creek County. She was shown in the 1900 Federal Census dated June of 1900. Interestingly enough, she is living next door to Mattie and Mabel Lawson and their stepbrother, Calvin Hamblin. Within a year, Mamie has married another Lawson brother, Harry Lawson, who had property in Texas Creek.
It appears to me that Peter's health had started to, perhaps, deteriorate. In April of 1910 he is age 51 and living in Hartsell, Park Co. He is working as a farm laborer at this time. Perhaps he returned to Colorado City for access to medical care. He died 18 months later.
I find that he died in Old Colorado City on October 17, 1911. Alexander Taws, a former police chief for Old Colorado City, signed his death certificate. Alex indicates that Peter was near 63 years of age. Because the date of his birth has remained consistent with each of the Federal Census, etc., I have to believe that he was actually nearer to 56 years old. He died of inflammation of the lungs with alcoholism as a contributing factor.
My husband and I recently spent several days in Old Colorado City trying to piece together Peter's life. I had been trying to connect the signature of Alex Taws on the death certificate with a friendship, work connection, or a professional connection. To date, I have not yet been successful.
Peter is buried without a headstone in Fairview Cemetery in Old Colorado City. The Reverend George H. Stuntz of the Methodist Church in Victor presided at the services. Our trip to the cemetery finds that Peter is buried in very close proximity to Alexander Taws and his wife Rosina. Since Alex was in law enforcement, I suppose it is possible that this was a professional who simply found Peter had died and signed the certificate. However, it had to be someone who had known him at least somewhat, since Mr. Taws knew that he had been born in Missouri, knew that he was divorced, and knew that he had recently worked on a farm. It is also interesting for me to find that, just a week prior to my grandfather's death, the mayor of Old Colorado City removed Alex Taws from office. Would Alex have been in a position a week after he left office to even sign the death certificate in some type of official capacity? I don't believe that my grandfather had the funds to pay for his own burial. He was working as a hired hand and, by all appearances, liked his bottle. Perhaps Alex was just an old friend with a kind heart who provided a resting place. I would like to believe that this is the case.