Biography of Benjamin Sherwood

Born and reared in Connecticut and endowed by nature with the native ingenuity, thrift and shrewdness of the New Englander, Benjamin Sherwood by his advent into this state brought a valuable addition to the resources and mechanical skill of her then small and scattered population, and his career here has not disappointed the promise of his early manhood or the hopes of his usefulness cherished by those who knew him in youth. He was born at Danbury, Connecticut, on January 16, 1847, the son of Albert and Eleanor (Turkington) Sherwood, natives of the same state as himself. The father was in his younger manhood a manufacturer of shoes, but in later life gave his attention to politics and public office. He was an active working Democrat and for many years was sheriff and jailer in his native county. In fraternal life he belonged to the Odd Fellows, and to the Know-Nothings as long as that organization was a non-political secret society. He and his wife were Methodists. They had seven children, of whom four are living, Benjamin; William, at Danbury, Connecticut; Mary E., wife of N.E. Barnum, of the same place, and Sarah E., wife of Charles Allen, also living in Connecticut. The father died in 1890 and the mother in 1897. Their son Benjamin was educated in the public schools and remained at home until he was twenty-one. He then passed some years lumbering in Michigan and Pennsylvania, and afterward located in Kansas where the town of McPherson now stands, remaining there until 1872. From there he moved to Brookville, on the Kansas & Pacific Railroad, where he kept a hotel with excellent profits until a disastrous fire destroyed the town. Then being left without funds he engaged in driving cattle up and down the Smokyhill river country until 1873, when he moved to Great Bend and built the fifth house in the town. He was at that time engaged in butchering for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, conducting his operations along the road and continuing them in that connection until 1874. He then turned his attention to hunting buffalo and was very successful in the business. In 1875, in company with other buffalo hunters, James Watts, Jack Howe, Benjamin Howard, John Barker, Peter Hoss, Red Saunders and George McKay, he came overland from Lakin, Kansas, to Buena Vista in this state, and there, in partnership with Jack Howe, located placer claims and followed mining and prospecting until 1875, his success being irregular. In the year last mentioned he occupied himself in getting out ties from Cottonwood creek into the Arkansas river, and next with his partner located hay ranches at a place called Jack’s Cabin. Here they also conducted a general store, a post office and a hotel for nine years and made money at the business. When the Rio Grande Railroad was built through this section they sold out at that point and journeyed overland to Aspen, where for a time they engaged in the real estate business. Mr. Sherwood next pre-empted a claim of one hundred and sixty acres of land three miles south of Carbondale, on which he ranched until 1896. He then sold this land and moved to California for the benefit of his wife’s health. Seven months later he returned to Colorado and during a number of the following years worked at carpentering at Glenwood Springs, although originally a hatter by trade. In 1897 he was attached to the C.C. & I. Coal Company as an authority on prospecting. The enterprise proved a failure, so he filed on a timber and stone claim for his services. His ranch comprises forty acres and is seven miles north of Rifle. Mr. Sherwood takes an active interest in the public life of his community, and is one of the broad-minded and progressive promoters of its progress and development. He is a Democrat in politics, but although zealous in the service of his party, he is not an aspirant for official position of any kind. On November 20, 1881, he united in marriage with Miss Libby Palmer, a native of Iowa who was reared at Golden, Colorado, where her parents settled early in their married life. They had two children, Mrs. Sherwood and her brother, Clough, both living. The father died in 1875 and the mother in 1883. Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood have three children, Mary E., wife of O. Roby, of Routt county, Clara and Brownie B. For nearly thirty years now Mr. Sherwood has been a resident of this state, and in a number of places he has left the impress of his progressive spirit, his unyielding energy, his mechanical skill and his breadth of view in reference to public affairs. Wherever he has lived he has a good name, and the general esteem in which he is held by those who know him best proves that he deserves it. He is regarded in Garfield county as one of its best and most useful citizens.

Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.

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