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BESHOAR FAMILY PAPERS

 Collection
Identifier: WH1083

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE

Series arranged alphabetically comprise the papers of this collection. Correspondence constitutes the bulk of the collection, reflecting the number of people that Beshoar knew. The correspondence details his business activities, his medical practice, his friendships and other aspects of his life from 1864-1907. Later papers, dating to 1927 document his wife, Anna ("Annie") Beshoar's real estate transactions after his death. Notes, correspondence and newspaper clippings from the 1930s to the 1960s comprise Barron Beshoar's (grandson) work upon Hippocrates in a Red Vest, biography of Michael Beshoar.

SERIES 1 BENTON BARRACKS 1863-1898 BOX 1

Correspondence from acquaintances and patients that Beshoar treated at Benton Barracks in St. Louis, Missouri comprises this series. It also contains flyers advertising Beshoar's private medical practice. A list of the nurses who served with Beshoar at Benton Barracks is included in Oversize Box 1.

SERIES 2 CIVIL WAR 1863-1905 BOX 1

Postwar correspondence from Confederate friends constitutes the bulk of this series. The series contains a speech transcript and memoir written by Beshoar and a day book of his surgical practice as a Confederate Surgeon.

SERIES 3 COURTS 1877-1898 BOX 1

This series contains correspondence related to court matters that Beshoar dealt with in his role as a county judge.

SERIES 4 DITCH COMPANIES 1890-1903 BOX 1

The agreements and correspondence in this series reflect the importance of ditch companies to provide water for irrigation in southern Colorado. The documents reveal Beshoar's investments in these companies and his efforts to organize the companies officially.

SERIES 5 FORT KEARNY 1865-1968 BOX 1

Detailed property inventories of medical supplies and furniture comprise a portion of the series and are also contained in the oversize series. These original documents sometimes list the drugs used by Beshoar in his treatments and provide insight into the health of the soldiers, such as when Beshoar listed bedding recommended for disposal because smallpox patients had used it.

Correspondence from other U.S. Army Acting Assistant Surgeons stationed in the West describes events at Fort Leavenworth, Fort Ellsworth and Fort C.F. Smith while Beshoar served at Fort Kearny. The series also contains correspondence that Beshoar received in the decades after his U.S. Army service from Fort Kearny soldiers whom he had treated, usually requesting his help in obtaining pensions.

SERIES 6 DRUGSTORES 1867-1873 BOX 1

Correspondence, supply inventories, financial records, invoices and receipts document the businesses that Beshoar established in Trinidad and Pueblo, Colorado to complement his medical practice. Correspondence also confirms the drugstores established by Beshoar in Kearny City, Nebraska and in Pocahontas, Arkansas.

SERIES 7 FRATERNAL ORGANIZATIONS 1866-1905 BOX 1

Records from fraternal organizations including the Masons and the Knights of Pythius document Beshoar's memberships and their importance to him. The general correspondence often mentions shared membership especially when friends and acquaintances request special favors from Beshoar.

SERIES 8 GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE 1866-1967 BOX 1-3

Correspondence comprises this series. The letters were sent and received by Beshoar from people all over the United States he knew through his memberships in organizations, from his medical practice, and from his early life in Pennsylvania and Arkansas. Beshoar's correspondence reflects his lifelong interest in politics, his diverse mining and real estate investments, his reputation in the medical profession and his many friendships. Also included are papers from businesses or about topics that were of special interest to Beshoar.

SERIES 9 INQUIRIES 1873-1905 BOX 3

This series contains inquiries Beshoar received about Trinidad, Colorado. People he never met asked how they could make a living there and if the climate would be good for their health. The correspondence came as early as 1873, but the bulk of it arrived after he published his book, All About Trinidad, in 1882.

SERIES 10 LAUNDRY 1887-1889 BOX 3

This series consists of correspondence related to a laundry in Trinidad, Colorado, one of Beshoar's investments. From the letters, he considered the proper equipment for the laundry and the right people to employ in the business.

SERIES 11 THE MAXWELL LAND GRANT 1872-1898 BOX 3

The papers in this series relate to the nearby territory in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado that was part of the Maxwell Land Grant. The nearby location of land owned by the Grant influenced potential mining investors. Beshoar helped homesteaders who filed preemption claims on land they claimed was not part of the grant, disputed by the company. He also joined with Charles Goodnight in a lawsuit about the territorial claims of the company.

SERIES 12 MEDICAL PRACTICE 1864-1904 BOX 3-4

Correspondence from patients, treatment logs, medical organization papers and publications confirm Beshoar's lifelong commitment to his medical practice. The documents provide detailed insight into a general practitioner's procedures in the nineteenth century. For example, parents wrote requesting a vaccine for their children when they heard reports of smallpox. Correspondence from Beshoar's patients reveals their health and physical condition with vivid, precise language and also provides insight into personal problems that people revealed only to their doctor including women's unwanted pregnancies and men's venereal disease problems. This series also includes correspondence from life insurance companies that paid Beshoar for physical examinations of their potential customers.

SERIES 13 MINING 1871-1906 BOX 5

Beshoar's active pursuit of mining interests is evident from the volume of correspondence received from investors and from prospectors he hired to explore various areas seeking mineral deposits. The bulk of correspondence contained in this series relates to coal mining lands not far from Trinidad, Colorado. Cincinnati, New York and Philadelphia promoters wrote about the formation of The Gray Creek Coal Company or The Cincinnati-Colorado Coal, Coke and Iron Company to develop coal mines upon Beshoar-owned property. Initial correspondence conveys investors' enthusiasm as they planned the venture. Later correspondence is angry and frustrated, leading to legal papers involving Beshoar in numerous lawsuits explained by an undated page of notes in which Beshoar relates the refusal of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Company to haul coal from his mines. Also, investors corresponded about concerns regarding the boundaries of the nearby Maxwell Land Grant.

SERIES 14 POLITICS 1869-1904 BOX 5

This series contains correspondence, election certificates, ballots and newspaper clippings documenting Beshoar's influential position in the region. He was elected to various positions of authority including Colorado State Representative, Las Animas County Judge and Las Animas County Coroner. Unsuccessful campaigns included his race against Casimiro Barela for Colorado State Senator and his 1876 failed campaign for Colorado Lieutenant Governor.

SERIES 15 PUBLISHING 1866-1968 BOX 5

Correspondence, incorporation papers, agreements, legal papers and newspaper clippings constitute this series detailing Beshoar's efforts as a publisher and editor. He began The Pueblo Chieftain in Pueblo, Colorado and The Advertiser in Trinidad, Colorado. Papers reveal that Beshoar sold both papers though he re-invested in the Trinidad paper and maintained close ties with both throughout his lifetime. In 1882, Beshoar published All About Trinidad by broadening The Advertiser to include a publishing company. He also published numerous articles in journals.

SERIES 16 RAILROADS 1871-1901 BOX 5

Correspondence contained in this series documents Beshoar's complex relationship with railroads. His recognition of their importance is evident in unrealized plans to start railroad lines. Other correspondence reveals income and passes gained by acting as surgeon for employees of various railroad companies. Agreements and deeds indicate that Beshoar knew where railroad lines would by built and bought property to negotiate right-of-way claims as investments. Beshoar also invented a highway gate for railroads that is documented by a patent.

SERIES 17 REAL ESTATE 1868-1929 BOX 6

Deeds, preemption certificates, tax receipts, correspondence, title abstracts and lease agreements comprise this series. The land transactions dated original actions in the 1870s to those continued by his wife and children after his death until the 1920s. Considerable landholders in Las Animas County, Colorado, the Beshoars paid property taxes upon their parcels of land over the years, insisting upon profits when they sold them. They also watched for tax auctions and bought land when the taxes were delinquent.

SERIES 18 SCHOOLS 1878-1906 BOX 7

The correspondence, article and speech transcript contained in this series document Beshoar's interest in public education, especially after his children entered elementary school. Letters of application from teacher candidates comprise much of the correspondence.

SERIES 19 SNAKE RIVER LAND COMPANY 1881-1883 BOX 7

Contracts, deeds and correspondence reveal Beshoar planned an investment in building irrigation canals and farm land on the Snake River in Oregon and Idaho. Cincinnati and New York City promoters joined him to sell plots that included residences, barns and warehouses.

SERIES 20 STANDARD BRICK COMPANY 1888-1892 BOX 7

Papers reveal that Michael Beshoar, Jr., managed the brick yard in Trinidad, Colorado. Invoices, receipts and payrolls list expenses and employees.

SERIES 21 PERSONAL 1865-1951 BOX 7

Correspondence sent and received from various family members comprises the bulk of this series. Beshoar's correspondence to his wife, Annie, consists of copies and is arranged by date. Letters received from his oldest son, Michael Beshoar, Jr., reveal the relationship and its problems. Other documents include insurance papers, a wedding guest list in 1872 and biographical information collected in the middle twentieth century.

SERIES 22 BOOK NOTES 1975, N.D. BOX 8

Copies of notes by grandson, Barron Beshoar, for his 1973 biography, Hippocrates in a Red Vest constitute this series.

SERIES 23 OVERSIZE 1864-1897 OV BOX 1, OVFF 1

Oversize documents comprise this series including certificates, real estate papers, U.S. Army Acting Assistant Surgeon inventories and an 1864 roster of St. Louis Benton Barracks nurses.

Dates

  • TBD

ACCESS:

The collection is open for research.

OWNERSHIP:

Literary and copyrights - as appropriate- have been assigned to the Denver Public Library.

PUBLICATION RIGHTS:

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 NOTE

Michael Beshoar was born February 25, 1833 in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania, the son of a farmer, Daniel Beshoar. His mother, Susannah Rothrock Beshoar, died when he was fourteen. He attended the Tuscarora Academy at Lewiston, Pennsylvania and afterwards attended medical school at the University of Michigan, graduating in 1853. He settled in Pocahontas, Arkansas to practice medicine where he also owned a drugstore, edited a newspaper and served two terms in the Arkansas state legislature.

In 1861, Beshoar joined the Confederate Army with his friends and neighbors. As Surgeon for the 7th Regiment, Arkansas Infantry and Captain in the 38th Regiment, Arkansas Infantry, he served under General W.J. Hardee. In 1863, Union Forces captured him. Signing the Oath of Amnesty, he joined the Union Army as an Acting Assistant Surgeon. Assigned to Benton Barracks, St. Louis, Beshoar oversaw the care of white refugee women and children. In 1865, Beshoar transferred to Fort Kearny, Nebraska where he managed the Fort Kearny Hospital.

After the war, Beshoar moved to Denver, Colorado then to Pueblo where he established a medical practice, a drugstore and, in 1868, the city's first newspaper, the Pueblo Chieftain. He later moved to Trinidad, Colorado, and transferred his medical practice and drugstore. He also sold his interests in the Pueblo Chieftain. In 1879, he established a newspaper in Trinidad, The Advertiser. Expanding the newspaper office to include a printing company, he published All About Trinidad in 1882.

During his years in Trinidad, Beshoar served as a judge in the court system. Maintaining an interest in politics, he held several elected offices including Las Animas County Coroner and Colorado State Representative. He ran for Lieutenant Governor in 1876. Unsuccessful, he nevertheless remained active in the Democratic Party. Elected to the Trinidad School Board, Beshoar was appointed Superintendent of Las Animas County Schools, a position he held for many years. He pursued mining interests, becoming involved with a proposed coal mine in the 1880s, zinc mines in Missouri and Arkansas and other mineral exploration in Mexico and New Mexico.

Pueblo County and Las Animas real estate interested Beshoar throughout his life. He bought and sold property routinely, passing many of his holdings on to his wife after his death. She continued the transactions.

Beshoar married three times. He married his first wife, Winifrit Mitchell, in 1853. They had a son, Michael Beshoar, Jr. (who died at age forty of alcoholism after a troubled life). Winifrit Beshoar died at the age of twenty. Beshoar married Jane C. Hilburn in 1856. She died six months later. In 1872, Beshoar married Anna ("Annie") Elizabeth Maupin. They had five children; Beatrice Bonaventura ("Bonnie"), Benedicta Burnett ("Burnie"), Benjamin Bernadin, Bertram Bruno, and John Maupin.

Beshoar died September 5, 1907 in Trinidad.

Extent

8 box(es)

PROVENANCE:

Barron B. Beshoar donated the collection in 1974.

SELECTION OF RELATED MATERIAL

The Western History/Genealogy Department has additional collections with material related to Michael Beshoar including:

Hippocrates in a Red Vest; the Biography of a Frontier Doctor, by Barron B. Beshoar C610.92 B463bes

All about Trinidad and Las Animas County, Colorado: Their History, Industries, Resources, etc, by Michael Beshoar C978.896 B463aL 1990

Physical Description

OVBox 1, OVFF 1

SIZE:

Number of Boxes: 8 Boxes (7.5 linear feet)

Oversize: OVBox 1, OVFF 1

LOCATION:

WH1083

PROCESSED BY:

Ann Brown

2010

PROJECT MANAGER:

Ellen Zazzarino

Title
BESHOAR FAMILY PAPERS
Date
2010
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Repository

Contact:
10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy
Denver CO 80204 United States