Extension – women’s rest camp (University Historic Photograph Collection, Archives and Special Collections, Colorado State University.)

At the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the founding of Fort Collins (August 21, 1914), Mrs. D. W. Taft spoke about the women in early Fort Collins.

In her words, “As I recall, it seems to me they were women of resource and ability, equal to any emergency, able to meet any demand made upon them; that each one had some strong characteristic that marked her individuality.  They had the true pioneer qualities that shone.  They were always ready and their farm was a sort of show place that all strangers were taken to see and where all were received with open-headed hospitality.I should like to see their lives written up.”

1862      John G. Coy and his bride, Emily, arrived by ox team and wagon and located their farm on the Poudre River bottom east of the present day site of Fort Collins.

1864     A small private school was opened by Mrs. Albina Washburn on the Big Thompson River. She was paid $10, but the school continued only 3 months.

May 4, 1968    Lerah Stratton was born in the pioneer cabin known as Auntie Stone’s cabin.  Her parents, Mrs. and Mrs. Harris Stratton, were the first white couple to be married in Fort Collins and she was the second white child born here.

May 17, 1865   Gratton Lawder was born on an English ship on the border of France in 1865.  She came to Colorado in 1883 and located on the Elkhorn in Larimer County.  She was better known as Lady Moon.

Oct. 31, 1867   Agnes Mason Giddings, the first white child was born in Fort Collins. She was the daughter of Mrs. and Mrs. Augustine Mason and she later married E. Chester Giddings. Her grandson was Colonel Ralph Giddings, a Fort Collins resident and historian.

1870     The first frame schoolhouse in Larimer County was built near the corner of Peterson and Jefferson Streets. The first teacher was Miss Alice Watrous, who later married Arthur H. Patterson.

1876     At the National Grange Convention in Chicago, Mrs. John E. Washburn of Big Thompson, introduced a resolution declaring that justice to women’s demands and the exigencies of the times require that the women be given the right to vote. After some difficulty, she forced the vote on the record delegations from Colorado and eight other states votes favorably, 24 voted against.

1880        U.S. Census – Fort Collins had a population of 236 families, 220 dwellings, 1,150 males and 884 females.

1883     Jessie L. Kissock (later Jessie Clark) was born in Fort Collins in this year. She was society editor of the Fort Collins Leader and also a member of the Pioneer Women.  She graduated from Colorado A&M in 1904, majoring in science.

1893     Women citizens of Colorado acquired the vote by decision of the state’s male voters. The action was on a bill referred by the legislature. The vote was 35,798 in favor and 29,451 against. Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, a leader in the National Suffrage movement spoke at the Fort Collins Opera House in October 1893, shortly before the state election.  The first woman to be elected to the Fort Collins City Council (1895) was Alice Edwards. She won the election in the second ward by a vote of 54 to 52 over Thomas H. Robertson, a well-known businessman.

1893     Kathyrn Bauder was born September 13, 1893 in Whitewater, Wisconsin.  She came to Fort Collins in 1906 with her parents.  Bauder Elementary is her namesake.

1895     Classes in domestic science (home economics) were added to the curriculum at Colorado Agricultural College as a result of efforts by Mrs. John L. Routt, wife of Colorado’s governor. Miss Theodosia G. Ammons, sister of a future governor, became professor and head of the department.

December 4, 1895       Mrs. Elizabeth “Aunty” Stone, Fort Collins’ first permanent woman resident (1864) died at the age of 94.

1896     Grace Espy Patton (Cowles), a graduate and former faculty member of Colorado Agricultural College, was elected superintendent of public instruction on the combined ticket. She was a leader in feminist causes.

1898     Fort Collins was very proud of its literary talent.  Miss Adrienne Roucolle was the author of a book entitled, The Kingdom of the Good Fairies.  It was beautifully illustrated with tableaux arranged by the author and photographed by Seckner of Fort Collins.  Mrs. Verah Armstrong, author of Why the White Farm Failed, had her work published in Ladies Home Journal.

1902      Theodosia G. Ammons was elected president of the Colorado Equal Suffrage Association at the 12th annual session of the association held in Denver.

1904     Madame Marie LaFitte, referred to in a local anecdote as a noted “tenderloin character” was cited into the police magistrate’s court on a charge of violating the excise laws of the city by selling liquor without a license. She pleaded not guilty and took a change of venue to a justice of the peace. Marie later sold her Jefferson Street property to the Union Pacific Railroad for several thousand dollars.

1905     A petition signed by 95 ladies, including Mrs. Franklin Avery, Mrs. Peter Anderson and Mrs. Ansel Watrous requested that the City Council pass an ordinance that would prevent crowds of men from gathering on several corners of the street making remarks to the ladies and spitting tobacco.[1]

1908     Miss Jane Addams of Hull House fame spoke at the College Chapel.

1910      The Daughters of the American Revolution erected a monument on the site where the trappers cached their supplies.

In 1910 Mrs. Turk and Mrs. Arnold circulated a petition to close the post office on Sundays.

1915      An article in the December 1915 Fort Collins Courier Express read “Renaming Streets Seems a Delicate but Needed Action.”  It seems the city was experiencing a problem with naming its streets.  The commissioners felt that naming streets after pioneers (Remington, Sherwood, Loomis, etc.) would cause a storm of protest.  The Woman’s Club disagreed and won.

1921       Iola Pennock came to Fort Collins.  She wrote a book entitled, Pages from our Past about the early history of the Pennock family in this area.

 Early Business Ladies

In 1892 Ms. Carrie Bolinger opened a dressmaking parlor west of Seckners.

In 1898 Miss Jean Belsher, teaching of music in the public schools, had been appointed instructor in “Methods in Teaching Public School Music” in the 2nd district Normal Institute of Larimer, Weld and Boulder Counties.  She taught one hour each day and was paid $6 per hour, which the paper claimed, showed you how highly her services were valued.

In 1899 a large crowd of ladies attended the millinery opening of Mrs. Laura Trimble’s where they saw a fine array of the latest up-to-date hats, bonnets, ribbons, laces and flowers so dear to a woman’s heart.

In 1902 Mrs. M.W. Burns of Denver opened a massage and manicuring parlor at Mme. Eisenhour’s and was prepared to do ladies’ hairdressing in the most approved modern style.

In 1902 Mrs. Whitton had her spring opening of fine millinery.  The ladies of the city were treated to a rare display of all of the most beautiful creations in the line of hats and trimmings.

In 1902 Dr. Nauman, a dentist from Colorado Springs located her practice in Windsor. She was staying at the American Hotel and came well recommended. In Fort Collins, W.W. Zinn was suffering with a fearfully ulcerated tooth, the result of malpractice by a traveling dentist in Fort Collins.

In 1903 Mrs. George W. Moore opened her New York Toilette Parlors at 127 W. Mountain Avenue.  The rooms were beautifully decorated with ferns and autumn leaves and a large number of Fort Collins ladies were present.  Tea and wafers were served.

In 1904, Charlotte M. Burton, Doctor of Osteopath, opened her doors at 218 West Olive.  Dr. Burton was one of a few women doctors in the area.

In 1905 Madam Eisenhauer’s millinery opening was a complete success.  The store was thronged most of the afternoon with a large number of sales being made.  The Easter parade proved quite interesting from the standpoint of beauty and elegance because of Madam Eisenhauer’s fine millinery selection.

In 1905 Edith Simpson opened a manicure and hair-dressing parlor on North College Avenue.  She showed the ladies of Fort Collins a full line of hair goods, pompadours, switches, bangs, etc.  There were also private baths for the ladies.

Ladies Clubs

In 1880 a Fort Collins chapter of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was formed.  Among the organizers was Mrs. Charlotte Calista Edwards, mother of A.A. Edwards.  Mrs. Catherine W. Collins, wife of Fort Collins’ namesake, Lt. Col. William O. Collins, helped found a WCTU chapter in her Ohio home in 1874.

In 1893 The Columbia Club, a new literary club was organized.  The officers were Miss Maude Bell (president), Mrs. S.F. Darrah (vice-president), Mrs. George Black (treasurer) and Mrs. P.J. McHugh (secretary).

In 1893 Daughters of Rebekah Lodge, Delta #25 was instituted.

In 1894 a ladies vocal and quartet was organized.  Miss Irene Edwards was first soprano; Bertha Pegg, second soprano; Lena Wills, 1st alto and Nellie Lunn, second alto.

In 1899 a few of the young ladies of the city organized a Cooking Club.  They met at the home of Miss Minnie Scott and enjoyed a luncheon of their own cooking consisting of salads, Saratoga chips, buns, pickles, gelatin, cake and cocoa.  The remainder of the afternoon was spent having a social time.

In 1903 the first convention of the Colorado chapters of P.E.O. were held in the Unity Church in Denver.  A state chapter was organized and the delegates elected officers from the eight local chapters.  The Fort Collins chapter president was Miss Virginia Corbett.

In 1903 the young ladies of the domestic science department formed a society to be known as the “Domestic Science Club.”  It was to be modeled somewhat after the engineering society.

In 1924 a chapter of the Republican Federation of Colorado Women was organized at the home of Mrs. E. C. Giddings, vice county chair.