Jacob D. Tourtillott
Echo Ranch included 480 acres on the east side of today’s I-25, south of Greenland and just north of the El Paso County line. The ranches on the ‘Divide’ were many and at one point in time the hope was that this area would become Divide County which included parts of Douglas and El Paso Counties. The new county was not formed and Jacob’s ranch was described by Josephine Marr as being part of the “famed Divide region with their fine potatoes, grain fields and livestock.”
Jacob was born in 1833 in the state of Maine. When he was twenty-two he married Mary Jane Williams and their first child, Eugene, was born in 1857. When Jacob was twenty-nine years old he and his little family moved to Colorado and settled in Douglas County. Jacob and Mary’s second son, William, was born in 1865. One hundred-sixty acres was purchased in 1881 of the land that became Echo Ranch.
Jacob’s ranch was just south of Rattlesnake Butte, named for the large amount of rattlesnakes found on it. The following article was taken out of the Castle Rock Journal of 1885: “J. D. Tourtellotte killed a monster rattle-snake, one mile north of Greenland, last Tuesday, its body was as thick as one’s arm and it measured about seven feet in length. It had eight rattles, but it looks as though some of the rattles were lost, as they were considerably broken up.” Rattlesnake Butte is very close to Greenland, also on the east side of the highway, just north of the Greenland exit.
In the Castle Rock Journal of 1887 the following article appeared written by a member of the paper’s staff about a tour he conducted of the Greenland area. “At the ranch of J. D. Tourtellotte we found Mr. Tourtellotte feeling very poorly, but the stock is in excellent condition. He has things arranged very nicely, and has about the best root cellar on the Divide. For beauty of location, fertility of soil and natural advantages Echo ranch has no peer in this locality.” In the Census and Colorado land records the Tourtillott name was spelled without the ‘e’ but it was found, more than once, in the papers with an ‘e’ attached. In fact the name was found spelled; Tourtillott, Tourtillette and Tourtellotte.
It is not known when Jacob moved from Douglas County, but we do know that he moved to Fowler, Colorado, in Otero County and was living there in 1916 when he passed away. The following obituary appeared in the Castle Rock paper called the Record Journal on June 16, 1916. “Jacob D. Tourtellotte a resident of Fowler, Otero County, Colo., and well known throughout the state passed out of this life on June 3, 1916 at the age of 82 years, 9 months and 15 days.
Mr. Tourtellotte was born in the state of Maine, Aug. 18, 1833. He came to the state of Illinois in the year 1839, with his parents who settled on a farm in Sublette Township, Lee County, ill., where he stayed till he was 29 years old when he crossed the plains in Colorado in 1862.
He was married to Mary Jane Williams, in 1855 at Dixon, Illinois. To this union were born three children, Eugene, who still lived in Fowler, William E. who lives in Spokane, Wash., and a daughter who died at 2 ½ years of age.
Mr. Tourtellotte had been in poor health for many years with a complication of diseases and seemed to rally after each affliction, till the last one which was a cancer of the jaw, and proved incurable.
From 1866 to Aug. 1867, he mined around Georgetown, Colo., being the discoverer of the Mendota mine, which was named by his wife at that time. He shifted about going back to Illinois, then to California, then to Colorado where he spent most of the remaining years of his life. He was a carpenter by trade, and followed this occupation most of the time.”
Eugene was with his father through all those years and nursed him in all his sickness. He proved himself a tried and faithful servant, loved and honored by all who knew him for his never failing energy and going through thick and thin to comfort him. He had a hard task to bear up under and has the sympathy and uplifting hand of this whole community. A Citizen.”
Thanks to the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection; U.S. Census records; Josephine L. Marr’s book ‘Douglas County a Historical Journey’; Ida May Noe History Collection; BLM records and COGENWEB pages.