Biography of Joseph Luxen

A self made man in the true sense of the term, since he began the battle of life in his own interest at the age of ten years and has since continued it with success and increasing prosperity through the unaided force of his own capacity and resourcefulness, meeting every emergency with a spirit of undoubting courage and self-reliance, Joseph Luxen, of Rifle, Garfield county, this state, is entitled to the position of substance and consequence he occupies among the people around him, and the satisfaction he must enjoy as the architect of his own fortune. And knowing, too, the stings of adversity, he has won the grateful thanks of scores of men in temporary need he has helped over difficulties and to either a first or a new start in life. He first saw the light of this world on July 6, 1853, in Newton county, Missouri, and is the son of Richard and Lucinda (Roberts) Luxen, the former a native of Ireland and the latter of Alabama. On his arrival in this country the father located in Alabama and some little time after his marriage moved his family to Springfield, Missouri, where he was prosperously engaged in tailoring until his death in the spring of 1860. Four children were born in the family, and of these Joseph is the only survivor, Alfred, William and Mary having died some years ago, the last named being at the time of her decease the wife of Joseph Lively, of Philipsburg, Montana. The mother lived thirty-four years after the death of her husband, dying in 1894. Both were Methodists and the father belonged to the Masonic order. He was an ardent Republican in politics. Joseph attended the public schools for brief periods in his boyhood and when he was ten years old began to earn his own living by working as a messenger boy in the United States quartermaster’s department at Springfield in his native state. He did service there in that capacity three years, then began mining lead at Granby, in the southwestern part of the state. He received one dollar and a half a day for his work and continued at it until 1869, when he moved to Indian Territory and passed two years there as a range rider. In the spring of 1871 he transferred his energies to Texas, where he followed the same occupation near the town of Fort Worth. In the fall of 1872 he returned to his Missouri home and after a visit of some months there, came to Colorado, locating at Georgetown. There he followed mining in the mines on Democrat mountain until the summer of 1874. He then entered the service of the United States government moving troops and hauling supplies from Camp Colonel near Forts Larimer, Fetterman and Kinney, and also to Meeker after the Indian massacre in 1879. He remained in the service of the government until 1881, then moved to Utah where he passed three years in retail merchandising. In 1884 he took up his residence in Rio Blanco county, this state, and engaged in raising cattle, Meeker being his nearest town. This industry occupied his attention until 1898, when he sold his stock and moved to Rifle. For a year and a half he conducted a hotel there, the hostelry now known as Clark’s hotel, in which he made many improvements and carried on a thriving business, although at that time the town was small and rural in comparison with his present condition. In the spring of 1900 he bought a ranch of two hundred acres seven miles from Rifle, making the purchase of J.J. Clausen. This he has since doubled in extent, and now has three hundred acres of his tract under cultivation. He raises large crops of hay, grain, vegetables and fruit, and conducts a cattle industry of large proportions. Mr. Luxen has been very successful in his business, and is esteemed throughout his community as one of its best business men and most representative citizens. He belongs to the Order of Elks and the United Workmen, and in politics gives a firm and loyal support to the Democratic party. With the public life of the county he has been prominently connected for years, and while living in the adjoining county of Rio Blanco served three years as a member of the school board. His ranch is one of the best and most skillfully cultivated in the county. He is a man of extensive knowledge of men and countries, having traveled much and with observing faculties so that he acquired a good command of several languages. He is a typical range rider of the West, full of courage, generous to a fault, with an abiding faith in his fellow men and breadth of view as to the possibilities of his section. On October 8, 1882, he united in marriage with Miss Belle Hall, who was born at Aetna in Coles county, Illinois, and is the daughter of William and Marie (Tuel) Hall, natives of Indiana who moved to Illinois, and later to Missouri, where they died, the mother in 1869 and the father in 1883. He was a prominent and successful contractor and builder, and also a manufacturer of wagons, a leading Republican politician, and for years mayor of Granby, Missouri. Fraternally he was connected with the Masons and the Odd Fellows. Two of their children are living, Mrs. Luxen and Mrs. John Shepherd, of Seneca, Missouri. Mr. and Mrs. Luxen have one child, Richard.

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

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