Adam Smith, Sheriff of Douglas County 1876 – 1879
James Dallas Wilson Ranch
Colorado became a state in 1876, that same year Adam Smith became Sheriff of Douglas County. The Adam Smith Ranch land was purchased in 1871 and was just over 320 acres on range 67W, township 9, and section number 4. Not much is known about Adam Smith the rancher, but it is known that he left Douglas County in 1884 for Rio Blanco County, Colorado, selling his ranch to James Wilson in 1885. Adam died in the Meeker area of Rio Blanco County in 1913.
James D. Wilson’s ranch was composed of the Adam Smith land at Tomah and the frontage road on the west side of I-25 at Tomah. He also purchased and homesteaded 160 acres off Tomah road directly south of Dawson butte on the south side of the Tomah road. An excerpt from Mr. Wilson’s obituary, of November 18, 1921 tells us this: “He soon took up a homestead, about four miles northwest of Larkspur and applied himself to farming and stock raising and devoted all his spare time to working for neighboring ranchmen with his team, so that, by unrelenting industry and the co-operation of a loving and thrifty wife, prospered sufficiently to be able, in 1885, to purchase the Adam Smith place on the main East Plum Creek state road and by adding to it and his homestead other purchases of land, he formed a fine stock ranch, which in 1907 he sold advantageously and moved with his wife to Castle Rock, where with his team of single horse he became the mainstay for the town and neighborhood in draughting and incidental haul labor.”
“James D. Wilson Dead; “Uncle Jimmy” Wilson, who was seriously injured last week when he fell from a wagon, died at this home Wednesday evening, He was unconscious when found after his accident and did not regain consciousness. Funeral services will be held from the Methodist church at Castle Rock on Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock.” This sad entry was in the county paper called the Record Journal, in November 11, 1921. The talk of Mr. Wilson’s ‘team’, in the previous paragraph, combined with the information on how he died, brings up an interesting story from the book ‘Our Heritage the People of Douglas County’. “In 1907 James and Sarah Wilson moved to 704 Wilcox Street in Castle Rock…J.D. Fell from a wagon in the fall of 1921…It was ironic that he should die in this way because one of his favorite stories about his early years in Tennessee was about driving a wagon during the Civil War. When the war broke out J.D. Wilson was 15 years old. ..He was too young to join the Confederate Army, he drove a supply wagon. He told about how he would be driving along a road with his team of horses, if he was met by soldiers driving a poorer team they would make him trade teams. So the quality of his teams would decrease by the number of times he was stopped.”
James’ wife, Sarah, passed in 1939 and the newspaper called her a “Prominent Pioneer”. She was 18 years old when she married James. They had eight children, four of who preceded their parents in death and three were born before the couple moved to Colorado. Mrs. Wilson lived in Castle Rock until her death.
When the Wilson family moved from the ranch into Castle Rock, in 1902, the September paper told of their ranch being leased to the Jordan brothers, possibly Mac and Aubrey, who would take possession the next spring. Not much is known of the Jordan brothers. Mac Jordan married a Miss. Dakan, daughter of George Dakan. The papers also told of the Jordan brothers moving to Telluride, and their mother lived in Larkspur.
It is not known who owned the ranch after this time.
Thanks for the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection; the Douglas County Sheriff website; BLM records; the book ‘Our Heritage the People of Douglas County,’ and the Ida May Noe History Collection.