52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2019 #2 – Challenge

In 1998 my mother called me to talk about how much she would enjoy having one of the new “special” license plates Colorado had started a year earlier. “Oh that sounds great Mom, why don’t you go ahead and get one?” was my question to her. “Well,” she said, “I need proof that my grandfather homesteaded in Colorado 100 years ago. This is for Pioneer license plates.”

The Challenge: “Since you live downtown, just a block from the main library, you should go over there and look up the records.” she said. Wait, I’m a self employed business owner, I don’t have time to spend in a library! But she asked so nicely, and how could I disappoint my mother when she was being nice?

I walked over to the library, a whole block and a half, thinking this should be easy. It wasn’t. This is a seven story building that takes up one half of a city block. Although my tax dollars helped pay for it, I had never been in this building.

I boldly approached the librarian and said I needed to find proof of my great grandfather living in Colorado 100 years ago. She advised me to go to the 5th floor which is Western History and Genealogy. It was intimidating to step out of the elevator, historic art work, tables everywhere, rows and rows of books, computers and large machines. Later I found out these machines were microfilm readers which unknown to me at the time I would be spending hours and hours in front of.

Once again I presented my request to the librarian at the information desk and he just looked at me, paused for a moment and asked if this was my first visit to Western History and Genealogy. “Guilty, “I said,” My mother wants to get Pioneer License plates.”

After determining that I didn’t know my great grandfather’s full name, his birth date or his death date, he advised me to check the GLO records which would tell me if he had applied for a land patent through the Homestead Act. Oh, how very helpful this librarian was until he said “We don’t have the GLO records here, you will need to go to the Bureau of Land Management.” It was very hard for me to make the call to my mother and tell her I was not successful at the library and I was referred to another government office to look up homestead records.

Anyway, off to the Bureau of Land Management office I went. The gentleman there only needed the name of my great grandfather to access the records. He found more than one application. My great, great grandfather Jacob Foreman had applied for the Homestead Act ($5.00) as well as the Timber Culture Act ($5.00) in 1890. My great grandfather Robert Sidney Foreman had applied for the Homestead Act in 1892 as did his sister Arte Mesa Foreman for $5.00 each. The requirements were they must be 21 years of age and live and work the land for 5 years and then the Land Patent would be granted. I paid for the copies of the applications and the copies of the Land Patent Warrants. All of the applications and warrants were dated prior to 1897 and I felt my duty was complete.

Then I started reading these documents. The Foreman’s had traveled from their home in tiny Vernon, Colorado, 10 miles south of Wray, Colorado more than 60 miles to Akron, Colorado, to receive their applications and warrants.

The Warrants were signed by President Harrison in 1890 and William McKinely in 1897. The lots were 160 acres. For the Timber Culture Act, Jacob had to plant trees on the 160 acres. If you are not familiar with this north east part of Colorado it is called the “high plains.” there are no trees and little if any water other than the Republican River and a branch of the Platte River.

Robert Sidney Foreman cutting sod with his steam engine so they could plant. The native grasses had roots that could go 12 inches into the soil and had to be removed to plant corn and oats.

The plat for the area shows the lots for Jacob on the east and west side of two county roads on the north intersecting with Robert and Arte Mesa’s lots on the east and west side on the south. This family owned the land around an entire intersection of major north/south, east/west county roads for a total of 640 acres.

Robert Sidney Foreman and his great grandchildren, Don, Linda, Sharon and Carol Stalter. About 1954/55


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2018 #22 – So Far Away

Living in the 21st Century medical assistance is something most of us take for granted to be nearby and instantly obtained. However, in 1895 living in Vernon, Colorado, a small rural town ten miles south of Wray, Colorado, professional medical attention was “So Far Away” for my second great grandfather Jacob Foreman.

Denver General Hospital

Early picture of Denver General Hospital. The building on the right is the original Arapahoe county Hospital pre- 1904 which was the year Denver became a county.

According to the Colorado State Archives Patient Register for Arapahoe County Hospital  (known to most of us as Denver General Hospital), Jacob Foreman, age 54, was admitted February 9, 1895 and treated for multiple neuritis.  He had lived in the county for 7 years, immigrating to Colorado in 1887. Was born in Ohio and married. He was patient number 176 and was discharged on March 4, 1895 his condition being “improved” after three weeks. The entry also notes as a contact John Baxter at 1420 S. 13 Street in Vernon. Mr. Baxter was the neighbor who provided the ‘ride’ to Denver. The term multiple neuritis describes an inflamed nerve causing pain in the body.

In a letter from Jacob to his brother living in Time, Pike County, Illinois Jacob regrettably requests $100.00 to pay for the hospital and 354 mile round trip by wagon and team to Denver.

Jacob Foreman was born in 1840 in Highland County, Ohio and moved to Time, Pike County, Illinois as a young man. He served in the Civil War in the 28th Regiment of the Illinois Infantry, Company E. Jacob Foreman married Sarah Elizabeth Watt in Pittsfield, Pike County, Illinois on March 17, 1867. The family moved from Illinois to Kansas in 1877 but were unable to find a suitable home and settled in Coloma, Carroll County, Missouri in 1878 near several of Sarah’s brother’s and their families.

Vernon Park

Vernon Park – center of town.

In 1887 the family moved to Vernon, Arapahoe County (now Yuma County), Colorado. Jacob paid a $10.00 fee to homestead 160 acres under the government Homestead Act as well as an additional 160 acres under the Timber Culture Act. The government requirement was to work the land for 5 years and then title would be transferred to the homesteaders name.

Left – Town of Vernon in 1900. Right – Close up David Foreman’s home next to Christian Church where he and Jacob were ministers.

Jacob sold his homestead in 1906 and he and Sarah and son George moved to Mustang, Oklahoma near Jacob’s brother Robert Allen Foreman. By 1920 Jacob and Sarah returned to Vernon to be near their children, living in the town of Vernon. Jacob died in 1923 and Sarah died in 1928.

Jacob and Sarah

Jacob and Sarah Foreman ca 1922, Vernon, Colorado

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2018 #18 – Close Up

Jacob Foreman – Close Up


This is Jacob Foreman, my great, great grandfather. He was born in Buford, Highland County, Ohio,  December 7, 1840 to parents Jacob Foreman and Margaret Briggs Foreman. He was the sixth of ten children.

About 1855 the family moved from Ohio to Time, Pike County, Illinois. On November 1 of 1861 Jacob was 21 years old and enlisted with Company E of the 28th Illinois Regiment to serve in the Civil War. The 28th Illinois Regiment was moved down the Mississippi on a steamship to St. Louis and then marched with Ulysses S. Grant to Paducah, Kentucky. Their main duty was to disrupt the supply lines to the Confederates.

Jacob Foreman ca. 1863 Civil War Uniform
Jacob Foreman ca. 1863 Civil War Uniform

Jacob fought in the Battle of Pittsburgh Landing better known as Shiloh and the Battle for Corinth, Mississippi and Vicksberg. He was injured, returned home to recover and then joined Company E of the 28th Regiment in New Orleans to guard a British frigate that had been captured in the Gulf of Mexico. Jacob mustered out of the army in Brownsville, Mississippi in 1865 and returned home.

In March of 1867 Jacob married Sarah Elizabeth Watt. They had 5 children. In 1877 they headed west to Kansas but unable to find a new home they returned to Coloma, Carroll County, Missouri near where several of Sarah’s brothers lived. After 10 years of growing cotton and 3 sons being born and the death of one daughter they set out by wagon for Colorado.

Entire Foreman Family

Jacob and Sarah homesteaded 160 acres under the Homestead Act and 160 acres under the Timber Culture Act in what was Arapaho county, now Yuma county three miles west of Vernon just south of Wray.

In 1897 Jacob became ill and was hospitalized in Denver in what became Denver General Hospital. He was treated for three weeks and then returned home. In 1906 Jacob sold the homestead and he and Sarah with their youngest son George, moved to Mustang, Oklahoma where Jacob’s younger brother Robert Allen Foreman lived. In the spring of 1920, they returned to Vernon, Colorado to be near their children.

Jacob died in 1923 and Sarah died in 1928. They are buried in the Glendale Cemetery near Vernon, Colorado. The house they lived in at Vernon still stands.

Jacob and Sarah Foreman