Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Terrells - Fountain Pioneers

This story is based on census data, newspaper articles from the Colorado Springs Gazette, and land records.

Amos Terrell was issued a homestead patent for land in T16SR65W sections 5 and 8, in September, 1869, making his one of the earliest grants in the Fountain Valley, and reflecting his settlement here before 1865.  His property in the W½SW¼ of section 5 represents the land along and east of Main St. in Fountain, and some of this was subdivided into town lots in 1871.  They sold lots 5 and 6 of Block 11 to OS Loomis for $50 in 1877.

This map is of the 1862 survey of T16SR65W, available online at  It shows the trail or stage coach route leading along the east bank of the Fountain Creek, much as the road does today, with the solid line being the addition of the Denver & Rio Grande railroad line in 1872.  It is interesting to note that the Terrell house does not appear on the map.  The only inhabitants shown in this part of the Fountain Valley are farther south, such on Tom Owens.

The Terrells land in sections 5 and 8 would be where the trail forks, as seen in the map above, and where Jimmy Camp and Fountain Creek join.  Jimmy Camp Creek seems to have changed its course since this map was made, and we know there have been catastrophic floods along both creeks numerous times.  This matches up with stories that the Terrells lived on the east bank of a creek, along the stagecoach route, and that their house was damaged by a flood and torn down.
On this modern map you can see the changes in the Jimmy Camp creekbed.  It would be interesting to locate the original location of the Terrell's home.  In a letter written by Daisy Torbit in the 1960s, she placed their home opposite the Ark on S Main Street, where Marshall's welding garage stands today.

Notes from the Bulkley files:

The Terrells were Quakers and came out west to avoid participation in the Civil War.  Near the junction of the two creeks was the home of the Terrells and their small children.  In the spring of 1859, Amos had built a house on high ground on the east side of the road, overlooking Jimmy Camp Creek.  As soon as possible, the Terrell home became a stop on the road, and Mary began feeding the freighters.  Over the years, flood waters ate away at the bank until finally the house washed away.   In Fountain, the Terrells started a Quaker Church.  Amos was appointed postmaster 8 Aug 1864 and ran the post office from his home.

Amos Terrell was born in Ohio in 1827.  He married Mary T Hutchin in about 1850, and son Joel was born in Cincinnati in 1851.  They moved to Iowa in about 1853, living in Blackhawk Township, Jefferson County in 1860, and continued on to Fountain, Colorado in 1863.  They lived next to her brother Isaac Hutchin in Fountain in 1870, but were not found on the 1880 census.  The Terrells moved into the Springs in about 1888, and lived at 614 S Tejon in 1900.  He was involved in mining and raising cattle.  In 1895, Amos was elected deacon of the 2nd Congregational Church in the Springs.  Amos died in August, 1903 from heart disease.  Mary lived on Tejon Street until her death in 1906.  They are buried at Fairview Cemetery in Fountain [census, cemetery index].

Gazette 8-12-1903
In 1876, their daughter Eva, born in Iowa in 1857, married Lycurgus Ellington, son of Alpheus, who lived in Fountain in 1870.  A November, 1874 Springs Gazette notice tells of the dissolution of the partnership between AH Terrell, SC Robinson, and A. Ellington, with Ellington leaving the Rocky Mountain Museum Company.  [No word on what this company did, however intriguing the name.]  Another daughter married JO Quick of Fountain.

In a Feb 21, 1937 newspaper article written by C.S. Dudley, published in the Sunday Gazette and Telegraph, and found in the Pioneer Museum files, we learn that "Residents of town today do not know whether he [Tom Owens] or Mr. and Mrs. Amos Terrel were the first to build a house in the Fountain district.  Owen's house stood three miles south of Fountain and was destroyed in the Memorial day flood in 1935.  Another adobe house, constructed by Mr. and Mrs. Mathias Lock, very early residents of the place, also south of Fountain, likewise has vanished.  A frame and earth building which Mr. and Mrs. Terrel built at the south edge of what is now the town of Fountain was torn down after the flood.  A ranch house, with windowed lookout from the roof, said to have been constructed for use also as a fort, which stood some little distance north of Fountain, has been razed, after a bronze memorial tablet placed upon it was stolen.  There remains, as one wall of a cowshed at the Sweetland ranch, a short distance north of Fountain, part of an old fort in which Mrs. Hovena Spicer, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lock, can remember taking refuge at time of expected Indian raids.  In the south fringe of the town there is an old earth building which Tom Owens helped to construct.  At the time Owen was building his house, if not just before or a little after, Mr. and Mrs. Amos Terrel built their house, partly frame and partly earth, on the very site of what was to become the town of Fountain.  The building was not only their home, but was ling a stagecoach station.  The house which they constructed, and which was torn down as the river banks were cleared after the flood, has been called the first house built in El Paso County.

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