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Reminiscences of
Frank Murray Wynkoop.

    Reminiscences of Frank Murray Wynkoop, interspersed with questions by Mrs. Lurene Englert (member of Colorado Historical Society and Colorado Springs Historical Society), taken down in shorthand by Margaret H. Floyd, December, 1953.

    A brother of my father's, Charlie Wynkoop [1], was a printer, and he worked on the Rocky Mountain News when it was down back where the present Denver city hall is now. Among the historical collection at the Museum in Denver, is a picture of the old newspaper office and of the interior with the printers at work at the cases and Byers [2] seated at the desk, and rifles stacked at each place. Those early day papers used to say some of the doggonedest things about some people. Byers at one time was a very close friend of my father's - still he stuck up for Chivington [3] and Chivington's doings.

Question: When your uncle worked for Byers was that before you were born?

    Oh yes - and also in the picture is another uncle - the one who went south, married a southern girl and joined the Confederate Army. (He couldn't remember this uncle's name at the time.) [4]

    The Wynkoop family was a large family. Among the men of the Wynkoop family was my father, my uncle Frank, the eldest (I do not know, my father may have been the next to the eldest) then came Charles. [5] He came out west a good many years after father first came out.

    Didn't I tell you about the time I was going out Colfax to (he couldn't recall the name, but it must have been Aurora) - the suburban place east of Denver - and I rode with Byers as far as his street, where he got off, in east Denver Heights to go to his home? That street car was just jammed with people, so we had to stand on the rear platform and that is how we got to talking about things.

    I worked on the Rocky Mountain News for a while, and I worked on the old Denver Republican - you know a printer doesn't care anything about politics. I knew Patterson. He was one of the owners of the Rocky Mountain News afterwards.

    When I rode on the streetcar that evening and talked to Byers, he wasn't connected with it any more - he had gotten rid of his interest some way or other. (It stands to reason that a lot of things occured there that I wouldn't remember - it was the striking, historical things that stuck with me.)

Question: Does any early building stand out in your memory as making a special impression?

    Well, the hotel with those bay windows all around it - between Larimer and Holiday - the old Albany.

    My brother-in-law, George Baldwin, was a policeman. His brother married a Mexican in New Mexico. He had been mining and prospecting. He was a famous preacher's son. Speaking of Holiday Street, reminds me of this incident. I used to drop down and visit with George while he was a policeman. They had him driving two beautiful gray horses hitched to a patrol wagon. I used to go down where it was at city hall, placed like a fire engine, with alarms, etc. I had been sitting chewing the rag with George at the front door where the ambulance and horses were kept, in the basement of city hall, and an alarm would come in. George would have

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me join him on the front seat, and he would drive to these places. One time we drove down 14th to Holiday, and then out Holiday to 16th Street, and down 16th Street to Union Depot and picked up a couple of prisoners and brought them up to city hall. It was cobblestones, that part of Holiday, in those days - quite a number of Denver streets were in those days. They made the darnedest racket and were the roughest things to ride over! We went racing down to Union Depot.

Question: Did you ever meet Matty Silks [6] in those trips?

    I remember the name - no, he never picked her up nor any girls when I was with George.

Question: Did you know a young reporter named Forbes Parkhill?

    No, I don't recall that name. You know one of those reporters on the Post I knew so well was the one who wrote that story about John Barrymore - Gene Fowler.

    The original Rocky Mountain News was at 15th and Larimer. [7]

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Random notes taken 11-22-53:

    Frank Murray Wynkoop was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 4, 1870. His father and sister also were born there. His mother brought the family to Santa Fe (in 1883) when Col. Wynkoop was serving as U. S. Timber Agent.

    Frank Murray Wynkoop attended a Brothers' College in Santa Fe, although he was protestant. There was no other school except a small academy with room for only 18. The population of Santa Fe consisted of 6000 Mexicans and 1000 Americans. He and a friend used to pack into the mountains to hunt, guided by Jim Aranja (sp.?), governor of the Santa Clara Pueblo, with three burros. Jim would always come back for them at the appointed time.

    In 1940 he was in Santa Fe for the celebration when the pageant "Coronado's Children" was put on. He had written the story of Coronado's trip and thought it had been used in the pageant. [8] (The story was written by Frank Dobie).

    He first went to California in 1895-96. On this first trip he worked in the grain fields in the Sacramento Valley when he couldn't get printing work. Worked on thrashing machines, bucking wheat sacks, etc.

    "I was publishing the Bland (New Mexico) Herald, a weekly, in 1898. Bland was named after Senator Bland, who came out strong for free silver. Also I was at Allerton around that time - site of a custom ore mill. I visited Bland in 1940 with Harmon, [spelled Harman - chw], and his wife, and Bertha Sloan, with whom I had gone to school. Her brother ran a curiosity shop for years in Santa Fe. He was a 32 degree Mason. I became a 32-degree Mason in Vallejo, California, while living there."

    Frank Murray Wynkoop was named for his father's brother, Frank Murray Wynkoop, who was a general on Scott's staff in the Mexican War. Frank Murray Wynkoop the younger used the name Francis to avoid confusion. Uncle Frank published "The Weekly Antracite" [9] (an 11-column paper set in 6 point or non pareil type) in Pottsville,

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Pennsylvania. He got mining news from all over the world and had correspondence all over the world. "Father and Mother had a bound volume of the Weekly Anthracite for years." "Father had worked in printing too - in Uncle Frank's office - he was an expert at it."

    In the mid fifty's (?) Edward Wanser [10] Wynkoop took the train to Pittsburgh, a boat down the Ohio to the Mississippi, and another steamer up the Mississippi to the Missouri - La Compton (?) [11], capital of Kansas Territory. He lived with his sister Emily and her husband, who was Surveyor General for the territory. It was here he got acquainted with General Denver, whom Uncle Frank had known in the Mexican War.

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    When working nites on the Denver News, Frank M. Wynkoop knew Dave Moffat (builder of the Moffat tunnel). He was then president of the First National Bank of Denver, at 17th & Stoat [?-chw].

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    Ed Wynkoop went to Washington with another fellow. They passed through where Big Phil Gardiner's place was on the way. They went to Washington in order to establish right[s] to certain prairie land that they couldn't include in Denver without clearing in Washington. "My father knew a lot of senators and congressmen, etc."

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    "I gave my father's scrapbook (consisting of clippings from the Rocky Mountain News) to the laboratory of Anthropology in Santa Fe for data on the Indians." [12]

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The following was elicited by a question as to the articles he had written:

    "I was running a printing office for W. W. Day, a member of the Episcopal Church. He employed me to run a magazine, the Diocesan Journal. I came to know a fellow who was a Presbyterian, German born, a clergyman who quit and joined the Episcopal Church and became rector of North Denver Church."

    "My office was on 13th Street near Larimer - a job printing office. I did publications for a mining man who was not a writer. Also I did the printing for the Diocesan Journal and submitted articles to it."

    Re Bishop Hart: "He closed the theaters on Sunday. He always took his wife to England to have each child born there. The last child was born on the steamer. He should never have been appointed to an American territory. He didn't have the spirit of it. To show the nature of Hart, I had a number of copies stacked up on the composing stone. Hart came down to the office. I'll be doggoned if he didn't pile up 25 or 30 of those magazines and pack them out without leaving any money! He had one of the choicest houses in Denver - at the corner of ___________ (couldn't recall), across the street from the ___________ Theatre."

    "I published one of these journals with an article I had written about when Queen Victoria died - all about her career, etc."

    "My mother was English and an Episcopalian."

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    Ed Wynkoop was a Major in the First Colorado Mounted Cavalry, Company A. The First, Second and Third, formed at Denver, went down to Glorieta, New Mexico, where the battles took place. Ed Wynkoop was a Captain when he went to Glorieta, and

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Chivington, in the regular army, was major. Father was appointed a major at Glorieta because of some act of bravery. Chivington and Wynkoop split up at Glorieta - they couldn't get along on the movement of troops, so Chivington took half of the entire regiment and father took the other half. His was the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Cavalry Regiments and Chivington's were the 4th, 5th and 6th, because they didn't quite agree on what they ought to do. Later Ed Wynkoop was given a regular appointment as a Major by the officials in Washington. He was in command of the First Colorado Cavalry for several years on Indian trouble

(Re the following story, Lurene Englert, who is well versed in Colorado history, believes Frank Murray Wynkoop's recollection as to the officer in the following story being Captain Sam Tappan is in error.) [13]

    When Father was major in the First Colorado Cavalry stationed at Camp Weld on the edge of Denver - about where the closest smelter is now and, I think, about where the stockyards are, a captain (Tappan?) was killed, and it was thought it was at the behest of Chivington and Byers. It was said Chivington hired an assassin to murder Tappan under cover of night. Tappan was commanding a regiment under Father. It was Father's duty to attend the funeral. He was riding a spirited stallion which had been presented to him by citizens when he became commander of the First Colorado Cavalry. In the funeral procession, Father was riding across Cherry Creek, under the Larimer Street bridge, when some paper in the creek bed was blown by a gust of wind and startled the horse. The horse shied at the paper and fell on Major Wynkoop and pinned him to the street, on Larimer. A couple of cavalrymen (the cavalry ahead of father was stopped) helped Father up by helping the horse up. That man never suffered a bit of pain, he remounted and went on to the funeral and burial, but the doctor who attended him when he was sick before his death in Santa Fe (he resigned as warden of the federal penitentiary at Santa Fe because of illness), said that his final illness was a result of the injury received when the horse shied and fell over on him years before.

    When asked why Chivington and Byers supposedly hired an assassin to kill Tappan, Mr. Wynkoop said, "I don't know - only that Tappan was a very close friend of my father. Father learned before it happened that they were after Tappan because Tappan had pulled something that Chivington didn't want."

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(In the following also, Mrs. Englert did not believe Mr. Wynkoop had the names right. At the time Mr. Wynkoop told of these things, his memory was beginning to fail him and he was occasionally confused.)

    "Father was in general command of the military district at Fort Lyon. Through Canby, Chivington moved Wynkoop from Fort Lyon to get him away at the time of the Sand Creek Massacre, because he knew he could not get away with it with Father in command of the Fort. He had him report back to Fort Leavenworth (or Fort Larned?). Dad knew Black Kettle very well and always got along, even in the wild and wooly days.

    "After Chivington pulled the massacre, everything about it pointed to the guilt of the action. At the time of the massacre, Wynkoop was moved, through Chivington's influence with General Canby, to Kansas, before Chivington moved his 100-day men - all toughs and murderers, etc. - which accounts for the action the men took in the massacre."

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    After my father's death in Santa Fe, my mother moved back to Denver with us children. Colonel Chivington's home was two doors from ours. Ours was at the corner of Thirteenth and Lawrence. The house between our house and his was occupied by members of the old Curtis family. They owned three houses in the block and may have owned more along the block. They rented the corner house to us.

    At this time, Chivington was Coroner of Arapahoe County. This was during the terrible panic of 1894 - when Coxey's Army [14] marched across the continent to Washington. Place after place closed up. People fear those things when there is no fear to be felt.

    Chivington fixed it with Mother for me to come down to his office to see him. I was assigned to become a member of the coroner's jury. I can't remember how many times I acted on it. It might have been as many as fifteen times.

    Chivington's office was right at the morgue. He occupied a front office and had a big roll top desk. We coroners would meet in a room between the morgue and the front office. The jury consisted of six members instead of twelve. The only time we saw a corpse was when acting on a case in which the corpse had figured, then we were taken into the morgue to verify certain things. That was the only time we saw the corpse.

    On one occasion when I was called down for one of the meetings, I was the first one there and was sitting on the couch in the jury room. I have always been prompt in fulfilling appointments. I never keep another person waiting, but I have spent lots of time waiting for other people.

    As I was saying, I got down there earlier than some of the other jurors called for the case. I was sitting on a large red leather covered couch - an old fashioned sofa. Chivington was at his desk. He was six feet, seven inches tall and proportionately built in the shoulders and the rest of his body, and he had a very long, white beard at the time.

John Milton Chivington

John Milton Chivington

    I was waiting for the other members of the jury to arrive. (Those cases represented accidents, suicides, mysterious murders and other violent deaths where the person dead wasn't known by anyone in the county.) I was sitting there alone - there wasn't another soul in the office - and that tall, giant Chivington got up from his desk chair and came over and sat beside me. As he reached over to me, I did not look up nor speak. He spoke into my right ear. He said, "Young man, your father was right in condemning that Sand Creek massacre."

    Congress investigated the case very thoroughly and in the end got testimony of the guilt of that ex-preacher Chivington. He and Mother and Father, before that Sand Creek Massacre, got along fine. They were friends, early day pioneers. My father, incidentally was a very tall man too - he was six feet, four inches tall [15] and built in proportion. After this incident at the morgue, on several occasions Chivington walked with me from the coroner's office down to our house, and he went on to his. We never referred again to his statement to me about the Sand Creek Massacre, but he would bring up old day times.

Signed:

Lurene Baker(?) Englert                 Frank M. Wynkoop
Kenneth E. Englert

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 12th day of December, 1953.

Notary Public Seal

Margaret H. Floyd
Notary Public

My commission expires June 1, 1957.


Source:

Wynkoop, Frank M., "Reminiscences of Frank Murray Wynkoop," Colorado Historical Society, Denver, Colorado, Edward W. Wynkoop Papers, Mss 695, FF 5, December 12, 1953.

Colorado Historical Society
Denver, Colorado
Mss# 695
Box # -
FF# - 5


Notes:

by
Christopher H. Wynkoop

    These notes were not part of the original document that the Englerts typed up after their interview. This is my attempt to clarify some of the more obscure references in Frank's Reminiscences and to straighten out the family relationships as well. Apart from some confusion over names, I think you'll find that Frank's memory of events rings pretty true, even sixty years on.

    Chris

1. This is actually Charles' younger brother, George Wynkoop. (See Note 4. below for a picture.) [Back]

2. William Newton Byers, Denver journalist, founder of Rocky Mountain News, civic leader, president of Festival of Mountain and Plain, and postmaster.

William Newton Byers

William Newton Byers [Back]

3. Col. John Milton Chivington, a former preacher, turned Cavalry officer.

Col. John M. Chivington

Col. John Milton Chivington [Back]

4. This is Charles Shippen Wynkoop. I've been unable to confirm that he served with the Confederate Army in any capacity, as reported here. The persistence of the rumor, however, now confirmed by his nephew, still gives me pause. Only further research can solve this mystery. Charles did live in the South prior to and during the early years of the Civil War. He was an actor, under the name of Charles McKensie, who ran McKensie's Vaudeville Troupe and later took over management of his wife's acting company, the Katie Estelle Company. Kate was an actress of considerable reknown both during and after the Civil War, specializing in Shakespearean heroines. According to her obituary she took the name Estelle from her brother-in-law, John Estill Wynkoop's middle name. Her real name was Catharine Sinclair Carmichael and she was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. Charles died in Petersburg, Virginia on June 29, 1863 of tuberculosis, which was endemic in the South at the time. They had one daughter, Mai Twiggs Wynkoop, also an actress, who used the stage name of Mai Estelle.

Rocky Mountain News Office

[Left to Right]: George Wynkoop, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown,
Charles Shippen Wynkoop, W. N. Byers [Back]

5. Francis Murray Wynkoop (Frank), was the oldest son, followed by John Estill, Charles Shippen, George and Edward Wanshaer. [Back]

6. "Mattie Silks claimed she had never been a prostitute yet bragged that she was the youngest Madame in the West. At the tender age of 19 she probably was the youngest successful madame that Denver had yet known. But Mattie was not alone in her profession. A Denver man described the scene on Holladay Street, where most of the Cyprians roosted: 'Men took their liquor neat and women took what they could get their hands on.'" - "Wild Women of the Wild West" by Bob Boze Bell, Wild West Magazine, April, 1997

Mattie Silks

Mattie Silks

    Mattie is also known for a duel which may or may not have occurred, depending on which source you happen to believe. (For details of the argument I suggest you see the exchange of retorts published in the Denver Rocky Mountain News on November 15, 1998.)

    Now, personally, I happen to think it's a great story which deserves retelling, regardless of how truthful it may be. This version is from Richard Pavlik's online article "Mattie Silks, the West's Most Famous Madam." You'll find it great reading!

    Incidentally, one version of this story has it that Mattie and her rival, Katie Fulton, fought the duel topless. Talk about colorful!

    Richard Pavlik relates, "The only duel in the strictest Hollywood sense that ever occurred in the Old West between two women took place on August 24, 1877, in Denver, Colorado. The participants were two of the city's best known madams -- Mattie Silks and Katie Fulton.
    The weapons of choice were pistols. The reason for the gunfight was Cortez D. "Cort" Thompson, a man both ladies found desirable. Mattie's second for the duel was, interestingly, the man she was fighting over, Cort Thompson. Katie was represented by Sam Thatcher, a gambler.
    As the story goes, nearly everyone in Denver's considerable red light district attended the event. The occasion was festive: people frolicked, beer and liquor were consumed in great quantities, and betting on who might be the victor dominated most conversations. A band from one of the local brothels is said to have provided music for the affair.
    When the time came to actually consummate the fight, 30 paces were stepped off and both women were stationed -- backs to each other -- awaiting the signal to fire. At the count of three, Mattie and Katie turned and fired. A painful cry cut through the air and a bullet's victim fell to the ground. The two popular madams, both unharmed, stared in amazement at the body laying prone in the dirt. Cort Thompson, blood spurting from a wound in the back of the neck, lay holding the back of his head.
    Fortunately for Cort, his wound was not serious and he soon recovered, almost immediately, to become Mattie's lover and life-long companion. Katie, broken-hearted, took a train to Kansas City the morning after the fight. History does not record which of the two women shot him -- or whether or not the shot was intentional." [Back]

7. 1555-59 Larimer Street

Rocky Mountain News in 1860.

Rocky Mountain News in 1860. [The building on the far right.]
Compare the outside of the building with the inside sketch
in Note 4 above. [Back]

8. Frank's story about Coronado's expedition, "Journey of Conquest", was published in the June, 1940 issue of New Mexico Magazine, (pages 17-19, 59-60).

New Mexico Magazine, June 1940

New Mexico Magazine, June 1940 [Back]

9. The Anthracite Gazette and Schuylkill County General Advocate is the correct title. [Back]

10. Spelled "Wanshaer" - He was a descendant of a Dutch privateer, some say pirate, by the name of Jan Wanshaer who operated out of New Amsterdam in the mid-1600s. He had more aliases than you could shake a stick at, including Jan Janszen j.m., [young man], Van Tubingen, alias Jan Janszen Van St. Obyn, alias Jan Wanshaer. At the baptisms of his children his name was variously recorded as Jan Janszen Van St. Cubis, Van St. Ubus, Van St. Obyn, Jan Van Sara, Jan Wanshaer Van St. Benen, Jan Wanshaer (Manshaer) and Jan de Caper, (the sailor)." The Dutch dictionary defines kaper as a privateer. He married Baertie Hendricks Kip. [Back]

11. LeCompton, the capital of Kansas Territory, which included what is now Colorado. [Back]

12. Now the Frey Angelico Chavez History Library at The Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico. [Back]

13. The officer in question is actually Captain Silas Stillman Soule, (pronounced Sole), a very close friend of Ned's. He was a man of great courage and integrity who refused to obey Col. Chivington's orders to fire on the natives at Sand Creek. He later testified against him at the Government inquiry into the Sand Creek Massacre, rousing the ire of many of his fellow officers. He was murdered on the streets of Denver one evening just weeks after finishing his testimony and only days after his marriage to Hersa Coberly. Silas's story is one of those unsung stories of heroism that still need a good telling. [Back]

14. "In the early part of 1894, numerous "armies" of unemployed were "marching" to Washington, D.C., to petition Congress for issuance of $500,000 worth of non-interest-bearing bonds for improvement of roads - the object being to afford employment for idle men. The movement was headed by Jacob S. Coxey, of Massillon, Ohio, who in November, 1893, announced that he intended to lead 100,000 men to the national capital. Coxey left Massillon March 25, 1894, with his followers, reached Washington May 1, attempted to make a speech from the Capitol steps, and was arrested and imprisoned twenty days for stepping on the grass." - Leslie M. Scott, "Coxey's Army," History of the Oregon Country, Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1924. Volume III, p. 222. See: Coxey's Army [Back]

15. A medical exam done at the time of Ned's induction into the First Colorado regiment places his actual height at 6' 3 " tall. Most contemporary descriptions of him place his height between 6' 1" and 6' 4". [Back]

Created February 10, 2001; Revised July 27, 2006
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