Howbert’s grandson popular at ceremony for reprinting of ‘Memories’
Irving Howbert helped introduce a new generation to his namesake grandfather in a special ceremony April 28 at the Old Colorado City History Center.
Afterward, the 91-year-old retired lawyer estimated he signed “at least 50” copies of the newly reprinted “Memories of a Lifetime in the Pikes Peak Region” - a book that had first been published by the elder Howbert in 1925.
As many as 100 people attended the event, which Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) President Bev Disch called “absolutely a red-letter day for us.”
The book, an autobiographical account by one of the Westside's most prominent early citizens, had not been published since 1970.
The OCCHS republished the 298-page book with the permission of the younger Howbert, who deliberately allowed the copyright to expire to facilitate the process. He had gotten to know the elder Howbert, whose life overlapped his by 17 years. “My grandfather would be pleased,” he told the History Center gathering.
Closing his comments, he said he was happy to sign book copies, however, he joshed, “Note that I am the grandson. It would be a curious thing if my grandfather signed it.”
OCCHS Treasurer Dave Hughes, who helped organize the republishing effort, used the occasion to unveil his discovery (at the Canon City Daily Record) of Volume 1, Number 1 of the Colorado City Journal newspaper, dated Aug. 1, 1861. He previously had obtained the paper's 18th issue, dated Nov. 28 of that year, which announced the arrival in town of “Rev. Wm. Howbert and family [which included 14-year-old Irving], all to spend the winter, and many to make their permanent abode in our romantic young city.”
Asked about issues 2 through 17, Hughes said he doubted those would ever be found.
In his book, Howbert tells about various exploits, including contributing to early Colorado City, serving as El Paso County Clerk, aiding William Palmer in founding Colorado Springs and helping start First National Bank.
“It's a great and easy read,” commented Betsy Shoup of the Pioneers Association, which Howbert helped start. “It's straightforward, from one who lived it.”
What still stirs up controversy are the book's chapters dealing with the Indian wars of the 1860s, describing battles such as Sand Creek in 1864 (now officially called a “massacre”) as necessary responses against Indian depredations from settlers who feared for their lives. Grandson Howbert's new introduction to the book supports his grandfather's position.
But this topic was not raised at the April 28 ceremony. “Everyone had a pretty affirmative attitude about the whole thing,” the younger Howbert said, when asked how the signing went. “There was nobody who had any criticism about Sand Creek or anything.”
In all, the OCCHS printed 300 copies of “Memories,” with the remainder still on sale at the History Center, 1 S. 24th St.
Westside Pioneer article