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Wednesday, January 27, 2021
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Bigelow Family Part 3 - Herbert Holmes “Bert” Bigelow
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Youngest son, Herbert Holmes “Bert” married Julia Jones. She was raised on North Creek in Beulah where her parents homesteaded. “Julia’s dad, Percy Alvin Jones was a well know pioneer in the Beulah area. He grew wonderful produce and made weekly overnight trips to market in Pueblo in his horse drawn wagon. He was an authority on birds. He had extensive nest and egg collections and was published in Audubon.”

They had the following children: Herbert Leslie born in 1913, Percy Alvin, Richard Wesley born in Vineland in 1919, Virginia Bigelow Beach, and Julie Marie Bigelow Seveland.

In 1920, the family moved to Second Mace (Fairview). They led a bit of a nomad’s life for five years, spending the summers about two miles toward the top of the mountain “and a ways further north” near Middle Creek where it meets Ophir Creek raising head lettuce; and winters in Beulah. Bert learned how to play the fiddle and the saw from his dad. He would often play the saw while Charlie Aikin played the fiddle and his brother, Glen sang the square dance calls at the community dances.

Richard Bigelow describes the area where he grew up, “There was more wildlife then than now. Part of my growing up was buzzards. When I was a small boy, he (my dad) shot a buzzard so I could see one, except sailing or landed somewhere, but told me not to shoot them as they were wonderful creatures to have.”

The family moved to Rye in 1929. They raised their children on their farm near the Graneros, three miles south of Rye on Greenhorn Road. The property they lived on belonged to the C & S Rio Grande railroad. The railroad purchased the property in 1908 for the McDaniel water rights from 1862.

A pipeline was built east from property. Because of the fall in elevation, ‘relief chambers’ were necessary at every few miles to reduce the pressure. These open tanks held water for anyone living nearby to haul for household or stock purposes. A large open tank near the railroad at Cedarwood collected the water at the end of the pipeline and used to cool the locomotive boilers.

Richard Bigelow recalled, “It was extremely dry in Rye during the Dust Bowl. My dad and us kids were extremely lucky as the land we rented came with #1 and #2 water rights to the Graneros.”

Richard also described an invasion of grasshoppers, “It was right before the Dust Bowl, or maybe about the same time. I remember that my dad built some grasshopper catchers. Pulled by a team of horses, he spread the horses out so they weren't right in front of it. He would drive it across the pastures and unplanted fields. It slid like a sled along the ground. It had a big back-dropped wall made of tongue and grove lumber. The grasshoppers would slide down into a tough with an opening in the bottom that went into the back. He had wire netting on a box in the back. They would go right under there and be caught. He would bring them out and spray them through the netting to kill them; let them dry a little and then burn them.”

The Bigelows were longtime members and supporters of Rye Home Church. They were part of constructing the new building in the 1930’s. To help raise money, “Bert Bigelow, a republican, and Frank Graham, a democrat, started the church’s Fall Harvest Festival as a political rally.”

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The Greenhorn Valley View is a weekly newspaper serving the communities of the Greenhorn Valley in Southern Colorado,
including Colorado City, Rye, San Isabel, Beulah and Hatchet Ranch.

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