Monthly Archives: March 2009

A Victorian Funeral


Folks might think it a little strange that I would voluntarily spend a springtime Saturday enjoying a funeral. We drove down to Colorado Springs to watch a Victorian funeral procession, escorted across town by police cars, as it entered Evergreen Cemetery. A hearse and carriages were hitched to draft horses, with antique cars at the end of the parade. Local history experts portrayed General William Palmer’s family and friends 100 years after the fact.

Some special friends of mine, fellow members of Women Writing the West, participated in the enactment. Doris McCraw arrived in a white carriage accompanied by “Buffalo Bill”. Way to go, Doris! Dianne Hartshorn was prim and proper as one of the mourners in a black dress with shoulder cape and short veil. Guests were encouraged to place evergreen fronds on the gravestone, as was done at the original funeral, 100 years ago.

Portions of the crowd later adjourned to the Pioneers Museum for a splendid presentation about Palmer by archivist Leah Davis Witherow. It was a memorable day of honoring Palmer, a pioneer who built railroads and cities in Colorado. My biography of Palmer is scheduled for publication in April. “Legends, Labors, and Loves” from Pikes Peak Library District, which includes my work, is sold out, but is scheduled for another print run next month.

Joyce Lohse, 3/22/09


Posted by on March 22, 2009 in Western history


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Celebrating General Palmer

Pikes Peak Library District has published a new book, entitled “Legends, Labors, and Loves: William J. Palmer, 1836-1909”. This book is a compilation of essays from several authors about various aspects of Palmer’s life, including my chapter about young Palmer’s travels abroad. This is a wonderful resource for anybody with an interest in the fascinating life of this important Colorado railroad pioneer. I’ve been devouring it, considering my special interest in the subject with a Palmer biography in the works for the “Now You Know Bio” series from Filter Press. Most previous books on the subject are quite dated. This one provides fresh insights and additional material about General Palmer. PPLD performed their usual outstanding job not only in publishing the volume, but in presenting it last week at a magical reception in the 1905 Carnegie Room of Penrose Library in Colorado Springs on the exact date of the 100th anniversary of Palmer’s death. Raymond Purl portrayed Palmer in a wonderful performance to the delight of the standing room only crowd. Authors who contributed to the compilation mingled with the audience and happily signed books.

Tomorrow, we return to Colorado Springs to observe a re-enactment of General Palmer’s funeral. A procession will parade down Pikes Peak Boulevard, ending at Evergreen Cemetery for a ceremony. I am not sure what to expect, but I am hoping for a photo op complete with horses and hearses. A lecture will follow at the Pioneers Museum for the opening of the new exhibit there. The event is not only totally booked, but the waiting list is overbooked. Palmer history thrives in Colorado Springs.

Joyce Lohse, 3/20/09

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Posted by on March 20, 2009 in Western history


Spring Forward in Colorado

As we spring forward deep into March, daylight savings time looms. In spite of this change, with its annoying psychological adjustments, spring brings hope and optimism, and a full history calendar. The highlight of this spring has been the arrival of a small but mighty little baby named Cutler. All difficulties dim and recede with the arrival of a grandchild.

A birth of a different sort will take place next month with the publication of my next book, General William Palmer: Railroad Pioneer, a “Now You Know Bio” from Filter Press. This book will come on the heels of the Pikes Peak Library District’s symposium collection about William Palmer, to be introduced on March 13, with a chapter I wrote included in the text. “Women Out West” magazine is making a comeback with publication of its winter issue containing my piece about Molly Brown. Looks like a busy springtime in the Colorado publishing and history world.

My appearance and presentation schedule includes the following:
April 18 – Carbon Valley Library, Firestone, Author Open House and Presentation
April 19 – Englewood Public Library, Author Open House
April 21 – Columbine Genealogical & Historical Society presentation, “Lurking In Cemeteries: A Researcher’s Guide”
June 10 – Pikes Peak Genealogy Society, Penrose Library, Colorado Springs, “Family History: Truth & Mystery”

Joyce B. Lohse – 3/7/09

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Posted by on March 7, 2009 in Western history


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