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Jacob Alexander Betts of Wetmore, Colorado


November 12, 1830 – August 31, 1909

Presented By: Kathy West

My Great Grandfather, Jacob Alexander Betts, was born November 12, 1830 in Hagerstown, Washington County, Maryland and died at the age of 79 at his home near Wetmore, Colorado.

As a boy in Maryland, he learned the tailor’s trade until he was 24 years old. He then went west to Illinois and on to Colorado, crossing the Missouri River in 1858 and arriving in Denver in May of 1859. At this time, he found Denver to be a small town of tents and the few residents destitute of comforts. He then worked as a miner in the summer and in the fall started to New Mexico with his teams but found that the winters were too harsh for his cattle. He returned into Colorado in the spring to resume mining. However, he soon returned to New Mexico to pursue prospecting. At that time the Baker excitement started in the San Juan Valley so he started to go there. As he was nearing Pueblo, he became quite ill and spent time at the Hicklin Ranch. When he finally recovered, Jake spent some time working for Mr. Hicklin, caring for his stock for two years.

After the time with the Hicklin’s, he went back to Denver, intending to go on to the Black Hills in Montana. Upon hearing that the Indians were numerous and hostile in that area, he decided it would be best to stay in Colorado. Jake then returned to Pueblo where he engaged in the grocery business. During the years of 1864 and 1865, he served as sheriff of Pueblo County. At that time, the city of Pueblo was the headquarters of a lawless gang and the work of sheriff involved many dangerous duties. In the spring of 1867, he sold the grocery store and bought a large herd of cattle from John Dawson. IN 1868, Jake moved the cattle to the Red Creek Springs area, which is just east of Wetmore, from the St. Charles Mesa in 1868.

On November 8, 1866, Jake married Sarah E. Parker, the daughter of Richard Parker. The Parker family were from Tennessee and came to Canon City in 1865. Jake serves as President of the School Board in Wetmore for almost 15 years and it is largely due to him that eight to nine months of school are taught rather than four months. He was also owned half interest in the Whistle Lode Mine in Querida, which he started with Hugh Melrose.

Jacob and Sarah were the parents 9 children: William D. (Willie) born1867, who was shot and killed by a drunken Mexican at 16 years of age and is among the earliest people buried at the New Hope Cemetery near Wetmore: Rose E, born July 18, 1869; Emma M, born October 20, 1872; Alice J, born, 1875; Annie E, born February 17, 1877; Jacob Alfred, born 1878; Mary L, born 1882; Evalyn C, born February 1, 1884; and Edith H, born January 1, 1886. As each of their children married, Jake and Sarah gave them property. They owned property in Canon City, the Florence area and Wetmore.

My Grandmother, Edith Helen Betts, married George Francis Hall who is from another pioneer family. Being the baby of the family, George & Edith received the homestead in Wetmore. My Grandfather, George was a younger brother to Southern Chapter member Kathy Uhland's grandmother, Hettie.

The Betts homestead at Wetmore. The family members are Jacob Jr (on donkey), Rose, Emma, Alice, Anna, Mary, (seated) Jacob A & Sarah (Parker) Betts with little Eve between them. This is 7 of their 9 children.

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