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Real Pioneers of Colorado

by Maria Davies McGrath
Denver, Colorado 1934

The Real Pioneers of Colorado (PDF)

Access to the Real Pioneers of Colorado in the Library Catalog

Minutes and register of the Pioneer Ladies' Aid Society, constitution and bylaws; original notes for and ms. and published copy of "Real pioneers of Colorado" by Miss McGrath; lists of men and women who arrived in Colorado prior to Jan. 1, 1861; and scrapbooks of clippings about Colorado pioneers and early Colorado history. Located in the Western History and Genealogy Manuscript Collection.


The term "pioneer" has been described by Webster as "One who goes before to prepare the way for another." The term "pioneer" as used in this work follows the accepted general classification in Colorado, which is as follows: Pioneer era: Anyone arriving in what is now Colorado prior to February 26, 1861, is known as a pioneer. Generally speaking, previous to that time, this region was little known except to Indians and occasional explorers. A few bands of Mormons crossed the country en route to Utah.

Territorial era: On February 26, 1861, Colorado was declared a territory and remained so until August 1, 1876. Anyone arriving in the region during that period was known as a territorial son or daughter of Colorado. Maria Davies McGrath, the author, began this work some five years ago. Her desire to make a permanent record of the information that came her way through contacts with pioneers, coupled with the realization that accurate information should be made available, brought about a small beginning of this volume. The business of compiling some 1400 biographies in readable style was not an easy one. Mrs. McGrath, her own life enriched by pioneer experiences, brings to the reader true pictures.

The rewards reaped by an author of biographical work of this sort are few. Historical writings must be given the test of time before their real value is ascertained. By way of pointing forward, too much cannot be said about the care that the author has used in accurately preparing these volumes. Every item has been checked against all available sources. The author by no means implies that the people represented in this volume are the only real pioneers. Countless persons poured into the frontier on every caravan, and a like number returned to their homes in the East. Biographies of thousands of people have not been available, and just as many thousands came West and their stays were unrecorded.

The Denver Museum counts itself fortunate in being able to sponsor the publication of so important a document. The original manuscript, which was entirely handwritten, was loaned to the museum for this compilation, which was done with CWA assistance. Six copies of the volume have been placed as follows: The original copy belongs to the author; two other copies have been given to the Denver Public Library for the reference room and for the Colorado Collection; another copy to the Denver Museum; one to the State Historical Society; and one to Ben Draper.

Maria Davies McGrath

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Updated: June 25, 2013