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Dearfield Collection

Identifier: ARL58

Scope and Contents

Includes four distinct items: "Dearfield Research" (compiled by Carol Taylor for the Storytellers Project) that contains a comprehensive index and 43 different documents (mostly 20th century newspaper clippings and journal articles) that relate to the community and its history; "Dearfield: A Videotaped Interview with Erma Downey Ingram" (recorded in Boulder on 23 May 1998). Ingram was a resident of Dearfield from 1918-1925; One archival VHS 1/2" copy of /Dearfield: The Road Less Traveled/; and two photo negatives of Dearfield. NOTE: VIDEOTAPE OF ERMA DOWNEY INGRAM ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW IS MISSING


  • 1994-1998

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.


All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.

Biographical / Historical

African American agricultural colony founded by O.T. Jackson in 1910. Located 30 miles east of Greeley, Colorado. When O. T. Jackson decided to found a Negro agricultural colony, he considered homestead tracts in Larimer, Elbert and Weld counties, deciding upon the Weld location 30 miles east of the county seat, Greeley. In 1910, he filed on the homestead and began advertising for colonists. The name Dearfield was suggested by one of the early settlers, Dr. J. H. P. Westbrook, a physician from Denver. The name was adopted because the land was to be very dear to the hearts of the settlers.

The autumn of 1911 found seven families and three teams of horses in residence. The struggles of the colonists, most of whom had no agricultural experience, taught them techniques of dry land farming, livestock and poultry raising.

By 1921, the Weld County News (Nov.) proclaimed a colony of 700 people with improved lands worth circa $750,000, livestock and poultry worth $200,000 and an annual production of $125,000. Then came the Great Depression and the years of the dust bowl. By 1940, only 12 people lived in Dearfield. O. T. Jackson put his mind to turning circumstances to a more positive position. He offered the colony to Governor Ralph Carr for use as an internment camp for Japanese prisoners of war. This failing, he even offered the townsite for sale, but there was no buyer. After his death his niece, Jenny Jackson stayed on in Dearfield.

A few deserted buildings still stand to remind those who knew its history, of the grand dream. As of 1998, attempts to preserve the townsite were being undertaken by the Black American West Museum in Denver, which submitted an application to the National Trust for Historic Preservation through the Colorado Historical Society.

-- text courtesy of James A. Michener Library, University of Northern Colorado


1 box (.25 linear feet)

1 AVEnvelope

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Paul Stewart, 2003. Gift, Sally Mier, 2004.

Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Denver Public Library, Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library Repository

2401 Welton St.
Denver Colorado 80205