Biography of Charles W. Cain

The most extensive grower of potatoes in Mesa county, this state, and a pioneer in bee culture in this section, Charles W. Cain, living two miles and a half northeast of Fruita, has added two new industries to the extensive and almost universal productiveness of that section of the state, and thereby greatly increased the commercial wealth and activity thereof. And it should be said that his present comfort, prosperity and success are all the more gratifying because of the hardships and privations of his childhood, youth and earlier manhood, the shadows of adverse fortune having hung over him from the cradle and for years after he reached maturity. He was born at Marietta, Ohio, on August 8, 1855, the son of John and Caroline (Benedict) Cain, the former a native of Pennsylvania. They were the parents of two children, both boys, of whom Charles was the younger. He was orphaned at an early age and until he reached eleven was reared by relatives. He then lived in and near Toledo several years, doing chores and odd jobs for his board, working at whatever he could find, to do in summer and securing now and then for a few months in the winter a coveted opportunity to attend the public schools. Being alone in the world, with no capital but his clear head, ready hand and stout heart, he had a difficult struggle to get along. But he saved some money by great economy and when he was eighteen attended the Delta, Ohio, high school for a year. Afterward he worked in lumber yards and wholesale houses at Toledo for a few years, and in the winter of 1879-80 came to Colorado. During the next two or three years he prospected and mined near Leadville, but with no permanent success, accumulating a little money at times; then spending it all on prospects. In 1882 he went to California and he remained mostly in that state until 1893, when he returned to Colorado and located in Mesa county. In the meantime he made trips through various parts of the Western, Southern and Eastern states. On his return to this state in the spring of 1893 he took up a desert claim of one hundred and sixty acres five miles below Fruita, which has since come under the Kiefer extension ditch. Of this he still owns one hundred and forty acres, having donated twenty acres to the sugar beet industry. In 1894 he bought twenty acres of his present home ranch, to which he has by subsequent purchases added sixty acres, making it eighty in all. On these tracts of land he devotes his attention to general farming and the development of his fruit industry. He has an orchard of six acres which yields abundantly, but in his farming he makes a specialty of potatoes, and in addition has a thriving and growing industry in bees, he being the pioneer in this branch of enterprise in this part of the country. His apiary covers one hundred hives and is very productive. He raises more potatoes than any other man in Mesa county.

His crop in 1903 was one hundred and seventy-five tons, and in the last three years has aggregated over five hundred tons. On February 23, 1898, he was married to Miss Eva Lane, a native of New York, daughter of Squire G. Lane, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work. They have two children, Winnie and Ethel. In politics Mr. Cain is an independent Republican, but he is not an active partisan. He is highly esteemed throughout the country, and accounted one of its best citizens.

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

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