Beginning the battle of life for himself at the age of fourteen in the actual and awful strife of the Civil war, in which he enlisted at that early age and was soon at the front, and after his three-years term of enlistment expired contending with a destiny of toil and often of privation for many years, the subject of this brief review came to his present estate of public esteem and earthly comfort along no primrose path of dalliance and lulled into pleasant slumber on no flowery bed of ease. His was the strenuous life in its most exacting form during much of the time from his very youth. But he was sustained in the struggle by his lofty courage, his native resourcefulness, his sturdy self-reliance and his persistent determination.
William L. Veatch was born at Connersville, Fayette county, Indiana, on September 8, 1848. His educational advantages were few, and he was unable to make full use of what he had. Soon after the beginning of the Civil war, filled with the martial spirit then flooding the country in its hour of peril and need, he enlisted in the Union army and in the midst of the most active field service passed three eventful years. Responsibility educates rapidly, however, and experience, although a hard, is a thorough task-master, and his military service much more than made amends for his lack of schooling, and armed him well for all the subsequent trials and dangers he was destined to encounter. After his discharge at the end of his term he returned to his Indiana home and during the next two or three years he remained with his parents.
In 1867, at the age of nineteen, an age at which many young men of promise are contending for the prizes of degrees and scholarship, or waiting with hesitant spirit for opportunity to seek or be found for them, he once more essayed the weighty task of building his own fortunes, and moved to Ellsworth, Kansas, where, in partnership with his oldest brother, James C. Veatch, he conducted a hotel, an enterprise in which they were successful and prosperous until 1874, when a disastrous fire swept away their property and business, together with a large proportion of their accumulations. During the next three years he lived the uneventful life of an Indiana farmer. In 1877 he returned to the hotel business and he continued in it until 1884, his location being at Denver, this state.
The Red Lion Inn
When travelers arrive in the city, tired and dusty, after a long and wearisome ride, they desire to find some hotel where they will find good soft beds and a well laden table. Such they will find at the Red Lion inn, 204 Sixteenth street. This favorite house has just been refitted and refurnished throughout in fine style, and is well arranged. The table is in charge of a first-class caterer. This house is convenient to the depots, and a very pleasant place to stop.
Source: 1880 Flyer Advertisement
In 1877 the business was sold, and Mr. Veatch moved to Middle Park and bought the improvements on a ranch claim, and once more became a farmer. He remained there engaged in ranching until 1886, when he moved to the White river country among the earliest settlers. Here he followed mining and prospecting in various camps, but still held an interest in the hotel enterprise. He located a ranch of one hundred and sixty acres and soon afterward added another of the same size to his possessions. He set about diligently and with energy to improve his property and continued his efforts with steady progress until he owned a good farm, two hundred acres of which were under cultivation, the ranch being eight miles southeast of Meeker. His principal occupations at this point were ranching and raising stock, and he continued them with profit until he sold out in 1902. In that year he was appointed by the secretary of the interior supervisor of the forest reserve, a position which he is still filling with general satisfaction to all parties interested.
Mr. Veatch has been generally successful in business notwithstanding his several reverses, and is now one of Colorado’s prosperous and prominent citizens. When he reached the White river country the whole section was sparsely populated and Indians in the region were still numerous, but they gave the whites no trouble. There were few roads and no bridges, and even the common conveniences of civilized life were scarce and often unattainable. But the early settlers there were men of hardihood and courage, boldly confronting their difficulties and privations, challenging fate herself into the lists and ready to meet her on almost equal terms. In all the movements for advancement Mr. Veatch took an active and helpful part. He is an earnest and unwavering working Republican in politics, and among the fraternal organizations he has affiliation with four, the Freemasons, the Odd Fellows, its sister organization the Daughters of Rebekah, and the Grand Army of the Republic.
William L. Veatch’s parents were George and Eliza (Baringer) Veatch, the former born in Kentucky and the latter in Pennsylvania. They passed the greater part of their mature lives in Indiana, where they died, the father on February 21, 1875, and the mother on February 28, 1900. The father was a farmer, kept a hotel and conducted a real estate and stock brokerage business, and was very successful. All of their six children are living, James C. Veatch, in Washington, D. C.; John S. Veatch, in Chicago; Martha J., wife of Octave Bigouess, in Washington, D. C.; William L. Veatch, at Meeker, Colorado; Mary E., wife of Hilton B. Hall, at Momence, Illinois, and Nancy C., wife of Tucey Tyler, at Kremmling, Colorado. Mr. Veatch was married on October 15, 1874, to Miss Emma C. Bellows, a native of Missouri, who died in October, 1884, leaving one child, their son Charles E. Veatch.
Editor’s Note: Mr. Veatch would marry a second time on 25 Jan 1885 to Martha Matilda Kinney. By this marriage he would have a daughter, Mary Leavitt Veatch. At her age of 6, the parents would divorce, and soon after, Martha would marry again to ? Christie at Kremmling Colorado where she and her new husband would run the Christie Hotel. After the death of her second husband, Mary Christie would again marry Mr. Veatch, for the second time. The announcement of this marriage occurred in the Routt County Sentinel on 13 Sep. 1918. It is possible, since William lived in Zephyhills Florida while Mary ran a hotel in Kremmling that this second marriage was merely for her to receive financial support from William’s pension. William died on 4 July 1922 in Zephyrhills, Florida. The “widow” of William would file for his pension on 7 Nov. 1922.
Civil War Records for William L. Veatch
Newspaper Articles Mentioning William L. Veatch
Source: The biography was mainly sourced from Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905. The newspaper articles were all clipped from a variety of Illinois newspapers found at Colorado Newspapers Online. All other items are sourced as found in their description.