These few short stories were told to the writer by three pioneers who took an active part in the early settlement of Colorado.
It has been their desire for several years past to make known to the public (and especially to the citizens of the state of Colorado who have reaped the benefits of the labor, hardships and endurance of the pioneers), the suffering, fear and toils that so barred the settlement in the early days.
Being a Colorado girl and wanting the foundation builders of her native state to get credit for the work they did, the writer undertook to write these stories as they were told to her.
Kind readers, compare the West as it was fifty years ago when the white men first began to settle in it, to what it is today.
Is it any wonder that Colorado has risen up among the leading states of the union?
When it had so sturdy and brave builders, it took not only strength and endurance of body, but mind and determination as well, to undergo their struggles and face the dangers and discouragements they met with, and yet keep pushing their way forward, never wavering or turning back.
There were times when it seemed as though they were working in the dark, and could not see their way through, and often tempted with the question, “Will we accomplish anything or is this just a waste of time’?”
In those darkest days, the fearless frontiersmen would urge onward, giving a helping hand to each other, all working together for one object, “the development of the West.”
The unselfish consideration for each other was plainly marked throughout the years on the frontier by the settlers. They thought nothing of time or money if their neighbors were in need. They thought nothing of self or fear if anyone was in danger. They never asked gold or silver for their services. They knew if need be they would have the same aid and protection that had been rendered to their neighbor. One common characteristic of these frontiersmen is, they are modest about their valor, and when asked about their part of early day struggles and achievements, they try to put you off with, “Oh, I did nothing extra.” Upon a great deal of urging and questioning you can bring to light many deeds that one would almost imagine to be impossible; privations and suffering that would seem beyond endurance. Yet these pioneers did nothing, to let them tell it, but down in their hearts they know they did. Can anything stand without a foundation? Does not the strength and lasting qualities of any accomplishment depend upon what it is built of’? If the frontiersmen had said “fail” and given up, this West would not have been the enterprising land that it is today.
If it had been people weak in body and mind that had started westward first, the savages would have conquered them and this would remain a half civilized country instead of growing to the advancement of civilization that it has reached in such few years.
There were a great many other battles and struggles that are not spoken of in this book, yet they did their part toward opening the gateway into the West and making a garden of prosperity and progress out of the once barren wilderness.
The success of the pioneers proves that “Effort is never in vain” a lesson for the present generation to follow. Cultivate the determination and endurance of the forefathers and carry on the work they began. “Push onward with the standard of civilization and turn the wheels of progress until our West has reached the last round of advancement and development.”
Source: True History of some of the Pioneers of Colorado, by Miss Luella Shaw, Press of Carson Harper Co, Denver, Colorado, 1909