Friday, September 22, 2023

Doctor's Hill - Evergreen Cemetery

Post by Doris McCraw

aka Angela Raines

Photo (C) Doris McCraw
Every city cemetery seems to have that place that holds in its space the stories of early history as told through those who are buried there. Usually, these areas are in the older sections, like the one in Evergreen.

For the purpose of this post, I will focus on three doctors who are buried there. While there is a woman doctor on the hill, the doctors discussed here are all men and were practicing in the region prior to 1900. Additionally, these three were also at one time the president of the Colorado Medical Society.

Beginning with the gravesite at the top of the hill lies the first of the three. The headstone sits in a slight depression at the edge of a precipice where the hill has the beginning of a gully. Whether true or not, Dr. Boswell P. Anderson's life feels like it was one of living on the edge.

Dr. Boswell P. Anderson
Photo from Find a Grave

Anderson was born in 1847 in Virginia. He served in the Confederate Army as a member of Mosby’s Raiders. He carried a bullet in his lung as a result of his military service. A story in the book by the Colorado Medical Society is his meeting with General Sherman when in Colorado. It seems he’d been captured as a spy when he met with a Union soldier to trade food/tobacco. He told Sherman that he was trading for coffee for his mother. The story goes, that he and Sherman celebrated the meeting all those years later in the fashion of the day, lots of alcohol. It was also mentioned that two historians called him the most picturesque and colorful character - and the most handsome. He served as president of the society from 1879-1880

Dr. William B. Strickler
Image from Find a Grave

Moving down the hill, almost straight west from Anderson is the resting place of William B. Strickler and his wife. Virginia. Dr. Strickler was also born in Virginia in 1838. Stickler also served in the Confederate Army but unlike Anderson, he was an assistant surgeon in his unit. In addition to his medical work, Strickler was also involved in politics and sheep and cattle growing. One young doctor was to have said, "If there was anything going on that Dr. Strickler wasn't mixed up in, it was not good. And he was a great surgeon." He served two one-year terms as the Mayor of Colorado Springs. He was president of the CMS from 1891-92.

Dr. Samuel E. Solly
Image from Find a Grave

Samuel Edwin Solly is down a slight incline and slightly to the north of Strickler. Dr. Solly was born in 1845 in London England. He was the first British-born doctor to head the Colorado Medical Society. He arrived in the Pikes Peak Region with his wife, who like Solly suffered from tuberculous. The properties that drew so many invalids to the region helped Solly recover but not his wife. Dr. Solly focused his message on the atmosphere of the area and its healing properties. In 1906 his doctors suggested he try a lower altitude due to a failing heart. He passed in Ashville, NC while 'visiting' there. Dr. Solly served as president from 187-88 and was treasurer of the society at the time of his death. 

There is a wealth of stories and information about these doctors and the others who have ‘Doctor’s Hill’ as their final resting place.


Until Next Time: Stay safe, Stay happy, and Stay healthy. 


Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Dr. H. K. Hunt - A Pioneer Most Have Never Heard Of.

 Post by Dois McCraw

aka Angela Raines

Photo (C) Doris McCraw

"As the upheaving island carries up the waters of the ocean around it, even so will woman in her moral and intellectual elevation, carry up the tone of public morals, and of professional and political life in our country and the world. And as the natural philosopher, by unfolding to us the laws of light and vision, has enabled the optician to prepare the finest and truest mediums of sight; so the spiritual philosopher, by exploring the great principles of humanity, will yet enable the philanthropist to understand the necessities of the present age, and provide for its wants intellectually, morally, and spiritually." Harriot  Kesia Hunt, "Glances and Glimpses" published in 1856.

So who was Harriott Kesia Hunt?  

Dr. Harriot Kesia Hunt
Photo from the MA. Historical Society

Harriot was born November 9, 1805, in Boston, MA., and died January 2, 1875. It's the time between those two dates that help define not only her but the future for women's suffrage, and the medical profession.

In 1827 she started a classroom, but in 1833 when her sister became seriously ill she turned her attention to medicine. When her sister recovered due to the treatment of Dr. Richard Dixon Mott and his wife Elizabeth Mott, who hailed from England, she changed her focus to the study of medicine. She and her sister Sarah studied under Mott. When he returned to England, Harriot continued to study medicine.

In 1835, She and her sister started a practice in Boston. Although her sister married and moved on, Harriot continued to practice and study. It was this desire to continue to learn that led her to apply to Harvard Medical School in 1847. Although turned down she reapplied in 1850 and was initially accepted.

Dr. Hunt also was a strong proponent of women doctors treating women patients. She was involved with the women's suffrage movement attending and speaking at the first National Women's Rights Convention in Worchester, MA. in 1850.

Throughout her lifetime she was a strong advocate for women's representation, women's rights, and mental health services. 

In 1853, the Female Medical College of Philadelphia gave her an honorary degree for her years of service as a physician. Many of her contemporaries, despite no 'formal' education, although she did study under a physician as many men did then, identified her as the first woman physician in the country. The following quote from Lucy Stone says it all, "It was said women could not be doctors. Well, Harriet [sic] Hunt has proved by practice that a woman can be, and is, a successful physician."

Thanks to women like Dr. Harriot K. Hunt, and Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the women who traveled West had role models to help them find their own place in the world.


Until Next Time: Stay safe, Stay happy, and Stay healthy.


Monday, July 31, 2023

Devil's Gate and Sun Ranch by Zina Abbott


Sun Ranch was formed in 1872 Tom Sun. Of French-Canadian descent, he was born on February 28, 1844, in Vermont as Thomas DeBeau Soleil. His mother died when he was very young. Due to a terrible relationship with his stepmother, he ran away from home at the age of eleven to seek an uncle in Montana. At some point, because Soleil means sun in French, he anglicized his surname to Sun.

Upon arriving in St Louis he met and became friends with a trapper employed by the American Fur Company named Dakota, who became his mentor. Dakota taught him survival on the plains and how to deal with Indians as they trapped along the rivers of Colorado and Wyoming. Too young for combat during the Civil War, he worked with an army construction crew in Oklahoma. After the war, he returned to the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming and resumed trapping.

In 1874, Tom Sun was asked to join well-known Boney Earnest to scout for the troops at Ft Fred Steele. While scouting in the Yellowstone country the two scouts discovered a hunting party had been attacked, the men all killed and the women taken as captives. Approaching the Indian encampment Sun and Earnest stampeded the Indian horses as a diversion and rescued the women.

The two scouts later worked with a young frontiersman, William Cody, and taught him life in the West. Years later, Buffalo Bill Cody, presented Tom Sun with a rifle from his Wild West Show.




In 1872, Tom Sun built a log cabin along the Sweetwater River near Devil’s Gate. Sir John Reid, a visiting British baron impressed with his scouting ability, provided the funds for stock and the ranch. A trapper turned frontier rancher, he made two trips to Oregon and brought back 4,000 head of cattle. He built his ranch into an empire covering more than three million acres and the largest operation in Wyoming.

Known for his integrity as well as for his ability to use a gun, Tom Sun was highly respected in Wyoming.

 During the 1870s and 1880s, the ranch was typical of many medium-sized ranching operations in cattle country. Located along the Overland Trail, which included the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails, the site of the ranch is both historic as well as scenic.


In 1882, The Cheyenne Daily Leader remarked that "the eastern person of inquiring turn of mind who writes to his friends out west to ask what a ranch is like would find his answer in a description of Tom Sun's."

Tom Sun 1880

In 1883, Tom Sun married Mary Agnes Hellihan, born in 1856 in Cork County, Ireland. They had four children, the oldest and only boy being Thomas Edwin Sun, also known as Tom Sun II, born in 1884. He operated the ranch after the death of his father. The three daughters were Anastasia (1887-1889), Adelaide Mary Sun Smith (1890-1983), and Eva Catherine Sun (1893-1909).

In July of 1889, Tom Sun, along with five other ranchers from the region, was involved with the lynching of James Averill and Ella Watson, also known as Cattle Kate, whom they accused of rustling cattle. When apprehended at his ranch, Sun admitted his involvement and named the other five. All six men were arrested and released on bond. In spite of the Cheyenne Weekly Sun's article full of lurid half-truths and outright lies, which were picked up and sensationalized worldwide, later, more careful investigation showed the issue had more to do with a dispute over land use, not cattle rustling. Three months later, the grand jury hearing the case adjourned without indicting the men because none of the four eyewitnesses to the incident could be found to testify.

In 1900, Tom Sun obtained a lease on 160 acres of land from the state land board.

Tom Sun, Sr., was a member of the Masonic, Knight Templar, and Shriner lodges. He died at St. Joseph hospital in Denver on Saturday, June 5, 1909. He was buried in Rawlins, Carbon County, Wyoming. His wife, Mary, died April 25, 1936 in Alcova, Natrona County, Wyoming and was buried in Rawlins.

The ranch contains the largest uninterrupted stretch of the Oregon Trail.

The ranch site was declared a National Historic Landmark on December 19, 1960. At the time of its nomination as a landmark it was one of the best preserved ranches from the cattle ranging period and was 4,160 acres (16.8 km2) in size.

The ranch remained in the Sun family for four generations until 1977 when it was sold to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because of the historical importance of Martin’s Cove, which was located on the ranch’s property.



In 1997, some of the ranch buildings were transformed into a visitor’s center.

A portion of the ranch buildings have been turned into a museum featuring the early members of the Sun family. 

Featured in the displays are several artifacts contributed by the Sun family and neighbors. These three items, above, were used by the early members of the Sun family.

The above pelt belonged to a white wolf killed by Tom Sun II in 1906 at Sweetwater Rocks (Bear Trap Pocket, two miles west of Sun Ranch) after he and his mate had killed thirty calves in one month prior to being shot. 

This is the fourth of four posts on the early history of white activity around Devil’s Gate. The following are the first three:

“Devil’s Gate and the Emigrant Trails” – Please CLICK HERE

“Devil’s Gate and Fort Seminoe” – Please CLICK HERE

“Devil’s Gate and the Mormon Winter Guard” – Please CLICKHERE


I find myself drawn to Wyoming for much of my writing. My most recent book set in this state and general time frame is Lauren from the Rescue Me (Mail-order Brides) series. Although it is set to the south and slightly east of the Sun Ranch, some scenes reflect many of the attitudes regarding “frontier justice” that turned up in my research on Tom Sun. To find the book description and purchase options for ebook, paperback, and audio, please CLICK HERE






Cheyenne Weekly Sun, Volume 13, August 1, 1889, page 3

Natrona County Tribune, Volume 19, Number 08, July 7, 1909