Monthly Archives: February 2009

Late Winter In Colorado

Late winter is a great time to touch history in Colorado. I recently rode up to the mining community of Fairplay with my research pal, Christie. It was a little cold and windy that day, but the sun was out, and so were we. The road took us up Buckskin Gulch, to the Alma Cemetery, for some righteous walking and tromping through the snow, and a good photo shoot.

This cemetery is special for its rich mining history and sense of individualism expressed through the various monuments, many homemade, among trees on a rugged, rocky mountainside. My article, “The Place Where Silverheels Danced” in last summer’s issue of “Women Out West” magazine tells the story of a local legend, a dance hall girl named Silverheels, who helped members of the community endure a smallpox epidemic. Her spirit lingers in the cemetery where she greets us with the jingle of nearby wind chimes. The air is crisp and fresh, a blast of vibrant life in the final resting place of pioneers.

Coming soon: On April 21, I will do a presentation about “Researching Cemeteries” at the Columbine Genealogical and Historical Society meeting at 1 p.m. in Centennial.

Joyce B. Lohse – 2/25/09

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Posted by on February 25, 2009 in Western history


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Justina Ford’s Story

February is Black History Month. Currently, I am preparing a presentation which will take place at the Colorado Springs Pioneers’ Museum on February 21, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. The subject is Justina Ford, Colorado’s first African American female doctor. During her career between 1902 when she arrived in Denver, and 1952 when she passed away, she delivered over 7,000 babies. “The Lady Doctor” turned nobody away. She made house calls when she was not allowed to practice in the hospital. This suited many of her clients just fine. After all, many of them could not be admitted to the hospital due to ethnicity or lack of funds. In addition, some did not speak English, or their culture made childbirth and medical treatment in their home preferable. Dr. Ford was extremely capable and determined to bring her patients the best care possible. She was also knowledgeable about preventing germs and infections. Calmly and deliberately, she practiced medicine and took care of her people. By the end of her career, she achieved recognition for her work during a half century as a doctor.

To learn more, read my award-winning book, “Justina Ford: Medical Pioneer”, part of the “Know You Know Bio” series from Filter Press. Order information can be found at,, and Also, the Black American West Museum is located in Dr. Ford’s home at 3091 California Street in Denver. For more information on the museum, visit

Joyce Lohse – 2/10/09

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Posted by on February 10, 2009 in Denver history


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