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GUEST COLUMN - Early women in the region: Something about Mary

By Doris McCraw

Jan. 18, 2019
       In the 1860s, two women named Mary made their way to El Paso County. One was from Ireland and the other Nova Scotia, Canada. So who were these women? Why should we take the time to learn about them? Perhaps to balance the stories
Doris McCraw.
Westside Pioneer photo
we tell about those early days?
       To find the stories of the early women in the area takes some detective work. It is challenging, and even finding tidbits of information is worth the effort. Sometimes the historic records do not agree, so writers/researchers do the best they can. So join in as we learn “something about Mary.”
       Mary Irvine, born Mary Boyd in County Antrim, Ireland in 1809, moved to El Paso County with her husband, John Irvine Sr. The story is that the couple came to America around 1834, with Mary's husband making his living as a carpenter.
       John and his two older sons enlisted in the Colorado regiment during the Civil War, thus leaving Mary to care for their home and the younger children.
       John and Mary Irvine made their last home in El Paso County on a farm near Fountain, prior to moving to Pueblo and starting a church there.
       Their son, Milton Irvine, remained in El Paso County and eventually was elected mayor of Colorado Springs.
       Near the end of the 19th century, Mary was living on East St. Vrain in Colorado Springs in the home of her son Milton. She was 90 years old at that time.
       Mary B. Innes probably arrived with her brother, Robert A. Innes, from Nova Scotia, where she had been born in 1847.
       In October of 1865, she married Burton C. Myers in Colorado City. The couple, along with George W. Myers (no relation), made their home in Colorado City with Mary “keeping house” for them.
       By 1870, Mary was a mother of a daughter, Nora. This was followed by another daughter, Mary B. (the second).
       In 1875, Burton passed away of typhoid fever after selling out their cattle business in South Park, which Burton and his brother, Charles W., had started around 1872.
       Mary was now a widow with two young girls.
       A notice in the Gazette of November 5, 1880, shows a Charles W. Myers and Mrs. B. Myers, both of El Paso County, being wed on Oct. 30, 1880, in Pueblo.
       By the 1920s, Mary B. Myers was again a widow living in Colorado Springs.
       As Manly and Eleanor Ormes write in “The Book of Colorado Springs” when they discuss the founding of the El Paso County Pioneers Association, “The objects of the Association were to unite in closer bonds those who had braved the dangers of the journeys across the plains, the dangers here from being surrounded by hostile Indians, and the privations of beginning in a new country…”
       Both Marys braved the journey. They faced the dangers that all early settlers faced. Both survived to old age, but not without heartache and triumph. We knew of their husbands and sons, and now we know a bit more about them.

(Opinion: Guest Columns)

       Editor's note: Doris McCraw is an area author, historian, poet and actor/musician who has portrayed figures from the past, such as Helen Hunt and Katharine Lee Bates. Her fiction work appears under the name "Angela Raines."

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