Dan Whitehead Ranch
Jacob Smith Ranch / The Old Waddy Place
Daniel Whitehead, known in the area as Dan and sometimes “Uncle Dan”, started in Douglas County at Williamsville with a ranch where horses and cows were kept and potatoes and oats were grown. In 1896 a home was built for the family and a new well was dug.
Dan worked in some capacity for D.R. Williams as he drove a load of cheese to Denver for Williams in 1898. It was at this time that he met with a serious accident in which he broke some ribs, hurt his ankle and was badly bruised, when the wagon loaded with cheese was overturned. It was sometime in the year 1900 after another injury, when Dan’s home burned to the ground that he moved his family to Larkspur. Dan opened a general store in a building that he purchased from William Noe. This store was reportedly across from the Frink Creamery and would have been lost during the flood of 1965. Dan’s business grew when he built a two story structure which became the Larkspur lodging house and public hall, called Whitehead’s Hall, where dances, church meetings and plays were held.
In 1901 again Mr. Whitehead purchases a ranch which has previously been owned by Jacob Smith and was, for unknown reasons, called the “Old Waddy Place”. This ranch was just north east of Larkspur. Cattle were kept here while Dan worked his general merchandise store and became successful enough to move to a larger store in 1903. Dan had a Lodging house built in 1902 in Larkspur which also had a public hall.
Dan became a “trouble man” for the Colorado Telephone Company in about 1905 and is credited with being a pioneer with the Telephone Company by putting in some of the first lines. Dan possibly was renting out his ranch near Williamsville as a newspaper article in the Castle Rock Journal of January 19, 1906 stated that he sold his ranch to C. L. Titus, who also worked for the Colorado Telephone company. A 1907 Castle Rock Journalarticle mentions Dan in their article entitled, “Out With a Telephone Man”
“Dan Whitehead, the Colorado Telephone Company’s trouble man for Douglas County district, …the county wire was down and (Dan) assisted (a rancher) with valuable information on “How to Repair the Telephone Lines”…we watched Dan climb the poles and do the work, sometimes hanging by his heels with his head down, at other times hanging on to the pole by the northeast corner of his ear….If your telephone is out of order, call on Dan, he’ll fix it for you.”
Dan was married to Eva L. and had two children, Bessie J. and his namesake, Danny. He was a member of the Red Men societyand the Elks, in politics he was a Democrat and he petitioned the county for better roads. Another article in the local newspaper, now called the Record Journal, told of a letter that Dan wrote in regards to better roads. The following is from October 20, 1909; “A Plea For Better Roads”.
“The following letter was received from Mr. Thom. E. Curtin of Colorado Springs by Dan Whitehead, our telephone trouble man, who has been trying for a long time to get automobile traffic to go through Castle Rock, Larkspur and Greenland instead of going along the West Plum Creek Road, thus giving these towns a great deal more advertisement instead of having people travel through our county and not know of the existence of these towns. This route has many advantages over the West Plum Creek road for everybody concerned and with the repair on the road spoken of in the letter which would cost a very small sum, it would not be long until the bulk of the automobile traffic would be going this way.”
We do not have Dan’s letter to Mr. Curtin, but Mr. Curtin’s letter in return finds no problem with the roads and suggests that if there are any problems they are in Douglas County and that he should take up the problem with county commissioners.
In 1911 Dan purchased land in Grand county sold his store to Henry Manhart and was off to the Western slope. This did not last long and in December the whole family was warmly welcomed back to Larkspur, Dan kept his ranch out west and traveled from it to Larkspur regularly.
Thanks to the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection, Clara McClure Turner’s presentation of 1976, Douglas County marriage records and Ancestry.com U.S. Census records.