Tuesday, April 28, 2015
The small town of Hugo, Colorado, clings to life on the parched plains of Eastern Colorado. It is a ranching town, built by the railroad. The 10 gallon hat and boots are pretty much standard dress apparel. The pick up has replaced the horse although the pick up often has a horse trailer in tow. Up on the ridge, the grassland stretches to the eyes end. Rolling prairie to the horizon, dotted with cattle marked by fences.
Here the land is pretty much the same as it was in past centuries, only now broken by fences. In 1902 the little cow town was a buzz, the president was passing through. It was also round up time and the ranch hands had gathered in town to begin their round up.
News must of spread across the prairie of the president’s trip for there were also more then a couple of photographers in town. These shutter bugs were snapping pictures of the event and the cowboys were proudly posing.
Hugo was a stop on the railroad where steam engines were serviced. So it was with anticipation that they would get to see President Roosevelt. When the train arrived, it was chow time for the cowboys and the aroma of cooking food was drifting in the air.
When Roosevelt stepped onto the platform of his car the aroma of the food engulfed him. The cowboys gathered around to get a glimpse of the US President. Banter went back and forth and soon the cowboys had the president off the train and to have some chow with him.
Cameras were flashing and smiles were growing.
It was time to gather around and break bread with the President of the United States.
Many a picture was taken and many years later these pictures were gathered up into books. One of the photographers traveling with the president became so enamored with the cowboys of Hugo, he returned the following day. Arriving in Denver, He caught the next train east to Hugo and set out to capture more pictures of these boys of the West.
His pictures were gathered into a small booklet and very few copies were made. One resides in the tomes of the Colorado State History Museum and a few can be found here and there.
The photographs by the other photographers have become parts of cowboy book from the early 1900’s.
These books and their photographs give a glimpse into and era that was on the wane. There was no Hollywood yet to glitter up the real thing. Unvarnished, these were the cowpokes that roamed the range, tending to the cattle.
In downtown Hugo, is a small memorial park to this moment when the President of the US stopped in the little ranching town and ate with the cowboys.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
The bustling village of Eastonville has all but disappeared. There is an old shack near the where the RR grade used to be and out in the pasture is an old Cog railway car on the RR ROW. The land has been developed in country estates and lots of the old town is vacant under new development.
The burg had its beginnings as a ranching and logging town a few miles to the west. When the railroad came through in the mid 1800’s, the townspeople voted to move their village next to the tracks. Old Easton as it was known originally, became Eastonville for there was a town up north of Eaton. To avoid confusion they ville behind their town’s name.
It was a wild and woolly town, with the cowboys, loggers and add the railroad workers. There were saloons and other forms of entertainment.
During the spring roundup the cowboys would show off their riding and roping skills. Enterprising stage operators in nearby Colorado Springs would schedule coaches out to Eastonville for the townspeople to watch the cowboys show off. The young city ladies would cheer on their favorite cowboy and money exchanged hands on the riding powers of the cowboys. It was a wide open celebration on the frontier.
The railroad did not last long. In 1935 the floods washed away a major portion of the tracks to the north. Rather then rebuilding, the railroad abandoned the rails and used the tracks to the west. The little town of Eastonville was abandoned. There was still ranching but most of the logging was gone. The glory days of the little town was ending.
The cowboys would still carouse at the saloon on their day off. Into town they would go to whet their whistle. The saloon was busy that day. The two cowboys were talking about their jobs and drinking beer when a black cowboy walks into the bar. Soon the one partner was making nasty remarks about the black cowboy. Being liquored up didn’t help, but the other cowboy got his partner calmed down and out side.
Getting his partner settled and under a tree, He went into the general store to get some supplies for the week, mostly tobacco. Getting his supplies, the cowboy went back out looking for his partner and go back to the ranch.
The drunk partner was riled up again and standing in front of the saloon shouting and waving his gun. His partner walks up to him and tries to calm the drunk down. But to no avail louder he shouts at the black cowboy. Soon the partners are in a wrestling match and the gun goes off. The partner had killed his drunk partner in front of the saloon on main street at high noon.
The Eastonville cemetery is west of the railroad crossing near where the town of Easton had its beginnings. Whether the cowboy is buried their or not is a good question. It sits in a serene spot, surrounded by stately pines. Pikes Peak looks down on the ghosts of the long gone village.
Friday, April 3, 2015
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
I don’t sit down and read the Constitution very often. When I do, I sometimes wonder where some people get their ideas and notions about the document.
Right now the popular argument is about religious freedom, which is part of the First Amendment. Other freedoms are addressed in this amendment but the clause about the government and religion is what I want to focus on.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
Read the last part of the clause, it says the government can not establish a law prohibiting the free exercise thereof. To me it says the government can not establish a religion, of any type, nor can it prohibit one from expressing their beliefs.
Now if I refuse service to someone on my religious beliefs, am I covered by this amendment? One would think so, yet there is a sector of the population that does not accept that. Using the Civil Rights Acts, they are forcing these people to provide service to them.
The Civil Rights Acts were passed in the 60’s to address the situation of voting and segregation. A law that is two parts, government and moral law. It was passed to allow a discriminated segment of our society to have full voting privileges and access to government sponsored institutions, IE schools. It was also used to force business to have customers they preferred not to have. This is the morality of the law and where the law in part has been a failure. For prejudice is still rampant in the United States.
The morality portion of the law is what is being used by the Gay community in the United States to force themselves on people who do not want to deal with them. Using the First Amendment of the Constitution, these business owners say it violates their religious beliefs to serve and or do business with Gay people.
So the Gay people take the business owners to court and use the Civil Rights Acts as their cause to force these people to do business with them. So far the courts have been agreeing with the Gay’s, saying they are being discriminated against.
So I reread the amendment again and to me it looks like the government is violating its own laws. For by forcing somebody to do business with some one they oppose on religious beliefs could be construed as a law against religious freedom. Counter to the First Amendment of freedom of speech and religion.
For a different situation.
You have a car for sale, I stop by to look at it. I am wearing a very flashy shirt with the marks of satan all over it. I offer to buy your car at your price. You decide not to sell it to me. Saying on religious beliefs you do not deal with Satan. I offer you more money, you decline, I leave.
I go to court next day and file a lawsuit against you, saying you discriminated against me, I invoke the Civil Rights Acts. I want the court to force you to do business with me.
Is it really a different situation? Has the Civil rights Act been abused? Has the courts abused their power?