The Montezuma County Historical Society is pleased to offer information on the Civil War soldiers who came into our area and who are known as the early pioneers of our country. Series One may be found in the July 2 issue of the Cortez Journal. This issue will continue with the men buried in the Sunnyside Cemetery at Lewis, Colo. Several old soldiers are buried at the Peoples Cemetery (Old Dolores Cemetery next to the river). This series will feature this group. They came from all walks of life. Carpenter, stonemason, bull-whacker, scout, traveler to South America, medical doctor, hospital nurse and cattleman are just a few.
The government markers for the Union soldiers have a large shield engraved with the name, grade rank and authorization organization, while the government markers for the Confederate soldiers have a “cross type of emblem with a circle.” The name, grade and rank, followed by the letters “C.S.A.” signify their service in the Confederacy. The Union soldier, if injured, received a small pension for his injuries ($6 to $22) and received discharge from service. The Confederate men may have received a small pension from the state in which they served. “A pardon was granted” when a man served in the Army of the Confederacy in lieu of a discharge being granted.
With the help of the descendants of these earlier pioneers and other interested people, the Daughters of the American Revolution chapter in Cortez placed 22 new veteran markers in the local cemeteries — some on previously unmarked graves. If a family stone was in place, another type of Civil War marker/medallion was used, as the government would not furnish the military type marker. In later years through additional research there are “old soldiers” who have a family type stone that might qualify for the bronze type plaque to identify their service for our country; however, the bronze type plaques can no longer be obtained through the Veterans Administration and because of this, the only identification made of their honorable service to our nation may be in various articles naming these men. Perhaps in the future some type of recognition of their service will be placed at their grave sites.
Sunnyside Cemetery, 21284 Road W, Lewis:
Civil War Veterans mentioned in the first series were John L. Duncan, Confederate, and William B. Ebbert and Leicester Tulles, who served in the Union Army. Two additional veterans are interred in the Sunnyside Cemetery at Lewis.
James Clark May (1838-1924). Union Army. Served in Co. K – 74th Ohio Cavalry. Mr. May was a farmer in the Montezuma Valley and died at Lewis. No further information was found.
Thomas Alfred Rutherford (1846-1913). Served in the Army of the Confederacy, possibly with the 1st Texas Cavalry. He enlisted at age 17 years and served for two years. After the Civil War he remained in West Texas and was a Pecos County cattleman. Upon leaving Texas, he went to the Oklahoma Territory prior to coming to Colorado. The family arrived by train in Walsenburg in October 1906. T.A. and his son, Griff, arrived by horseback from Walsenburg on Oct. 21, and they found one foot of snow in Dolores. The family moved to an established ranch at Arriola, and in 1908, purchased additional acreage and moved to Lewis.
Peoples Cemetery (Old Dolores), 29037 Road U, Dolores:
John M. Brumley (1843-1927). Corporal. Confederate Army. Served in Co. H, McCord's Frontier Regt-Texas Cavalry. His early life was spent in the cattle business in Texas, and in 1883 he came with his brother, Jim Brumley, to help with the large cattle herd (L.C. Cattle) owned by their sister, Mrs. Lacy. John lived in the Lewis area where he remained as a cattleman and farmer in the area known as “Brumley Draw” and also spent considerable time in the Big Bend area. He and his brother, Bill, were instrumental in getting the first school in the Dolores area; the children attended school in a dugout at the Brumley place.
Dr. E. Boyd Cabell (1847-1911). Private in Confederate Army. Co F – 15th Kentucky Cavalry. May have served in the Medical Corps. Dr. Cabell came to the Cortez area in 1901 and later moved to Dolores. He was a doctor of medicine and well known in the Montezuma Valley.
Ewen Cameron ( ). Union Army – Co. M – 3rd Michigan Cavalry. No further information was found.
Edward S. Campbell (1845-1923). Union Army – Co. A – 90th Pennsylvania Infantry. While living in Cortez, Mr. Campbell was a carpenter doing contracting business and was also engaged in real estate.
William Clark (1847-1932). Union Army. Co. B – 47th Illinois Infantry. A portion of his service in the Civil War carried him through Custer's Last Stand. Mr. Clark was a member of the contingency that experienced that conflict but was absent on official business when the massacre took place, and returned to find the entire command dead at the hands of the Native Americans. “Uncle Billy” came to the Montezuma Valley prior to 1892, as a freighter, “bull-whacker” from the Eastern Slope. He died at the Tibbets ranch on the Dolores River.
Samuel Gregory (1843-1920). Union Army. Co. I – 29th Illinois Infantry. Mr. Gregory was at one time a member of the GAR post in Telluride. He came to Colorado in 1881 and to the San Juan Basin in 1889, and resided in this area the remainder of his life. No additional information is known.
Nathaniel Kilbourn (1838-1903). Private in Union Army – Co. C – 1st Colorado Cavalry. When quite young, he went to California during the gold excitement in that state. He came to Colorado in 1859, being among the first settlers, and located near the present site of Denver. He was a great traveler, had made the voyage around the Cape, and traveled extensively in the countries of South America. Mr. Kilbourn was a carpenter and traveled all over the San Juan Basin to work. In addition, he quarried stones when not engaged in carpentry; some of the stonework on the monument bases in the Mancos Cemetery are evidence of his fine work. He died in Dolores.
William P. Mann (1821-1907). Chaplain in Union Army. Served in Co. G – 1st Colorado Cavalry. Mr. Mann was one of the trailblazers of Colorado. While in the service, he served as a hospital attendant at Ft. Craig in New Mexico and at Fort Lyon and Camp Weld, both in the Colorado Territory. In June 1862 he served as a hospital nurse at Ft. Craig. His service records mention Empire City and Denver City, areas that were just outside of Denver a few miles apart, but at that time they were in the Territory of Colorado. The majority of Mr. Mann's service was as a hospital attendant or as a nurse at the various regimental units.
George B. May (ca 1838-1918). Served in Confederate Navy as a gunner's mate on CSS Savannah Ship. No further information is known on George May, but he probably was a brother of Dick and Billy May and came into the Dolores Valley with them in about 1877. In 1878/9 George, Richard and Billy were all listed as residents of the Dolores Valley per a survey done by F.M. Goodykoontz of La Plata, that designated the able-bodied men in La Plata County able to serve in the military.
Richard U. May (1839-1881). Served in the Confederate Army. “Dick” May was an early settler in the Dolores Valley. He built a cabin near the site of McPhee, which he later sold to Charles Johnson Sr. May was killed in one of the Native American fights in 1882 when he and another man went out to Cross Canyon to buy horses. Unbroken horses sold for $50 while broken horses sold for $100. Mr. May also had a contract to furnish meat in Rico and planned to buy horses at the same time. The cabin where he died was later known as “Burnt Cabin” or the Thurman cabin.
William M. May (1836-1905). Served in Price's Cavalry in the Confederate Army. Billy was a surveyor who came to the Dolores Valley very early. He lived on the place known later as the “Bill Ritter place on the Dolores River with the big barn.” May had very few instruments to use as a surveyor and the government had no money to pay him, so they told him to take his pay in land, as Billy May wanted this land subdivided.
Lawrence Vanarsdale (1843-1920). Union Army. Co. K – 19th Kentucky Regiment Infantry. This regiment was in many campaigns, including the siege and assaults on Vicksburg and on the surrender of Vicksburg. The regiment served in many parts of the South and was stationed in the New Orleans area several times. There were several Union Regimental Infantry units from Kentucky.
Information on the Civil War Veterans buried in the remaining cemeteries located in Dolores, Mancos and Cortez will be continued in the monthly Looking Back series. The interest shown in this type of pioneer history through telephone calls and personal contact is appreciated. It is evident there is an interest in the early history of our area. Some of the descendants of these men were not aware of their service in the Civil War until the printing of the first series in our stories.
June Head is the Historian for the Montezuma County Historical Society. She can be contacted for comments, corrections or questions at 565-3880.