WILLIAM N. BYERS AND FAMILY PAPERS
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The collection contains the personal papers of William N. Byers and family. The papers date from 1850 to 1938. Most of the material was generated by William Byers. The collection contains his diaries, correspondence, letter books and a small portion of his financial and legal documents. The material primarily documents his personal life, although the diaries and letter books contain information on his business transactions, both personal and professional. The financial records document his investment in land such as the Byers Subdivision and also his ventures in mining.
Included in the collection are the papers generated by Byers' wife, Elizabeth Minerva Sumner Byers. Mrs. Byers papers comprise personal correspondence with her children, Frank S. and Mary; a diary; financial papers; and a small portion of the business records and correspondence from the E. M. Byers Home for Boys. The collection contains the correspondence of Frank S. Byers, Mary Byers Robinson and her husband, William F. Robinson. Correspondence between the members of the Sumner family, (Elizabeth Byers' family) forms a small portion of the collection. Probate records for the estate of Moses Watson Byers (William N. Byers' father) in Muscatine County, Iowa, are also included.
The series comprises material that primarily documents Byers personal life. The bulk of the series consists of diaries dating from 1850 to 1902. (The diaries had previously been numbered for identification. This numbering system was retained and included in the finding aid.) The remaining material includes correspondence, financial records, membership certificates and memorials. The bulk of the correspondence is between William Byers, his wife, Elizabeth, and his two children, Frank and Mary. The financial records document Byers investments in land and mining operations.
This series consists of correspondence Elizabeth Byers sent to her children, Frank and Mary; financial records; a diary; and a manuscript on her life as a pioneer woman. The series includes a small portion of documents generated by the E. M. Byers Home for Boys, which Elizabeth Byers established in 1893 as the Working Boys Home and School.
The series comprises papers of Frank S. Byers, Mary Byers Robinson, William F. Robinson and three members of the Sumner family - Charley, Ed and Robert. It also includes probate records for the estate of Moses Watson Byers. The bulk of material consists of correspondence.
Letter books, a scrapbook, surveys and ledgers comprise the series. The letter books contain copies of the correspondence William Byers sent between 1882-1887. The correspondence is primarily generated by his businesses ventures and investments. One scrapbook contains newspaper clippings Byers kept primarily from the Rocky Mountain News on the weather and finances along with articles by or about him. The second scrapbook contains articles on Byers and his death in 1903.
Images of the Byers family constitute the series including Byers, his wife, his daughter, his son-in-law and his grandson. Photographs of unidentified family members may include his sisters.
The collection is open for research.
The William N. Byers and Family papers are the physical property of the Denver Public Library.
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.
William Newton Byers was born on February 22, 1831 in Madison County, Ohio. The eldest of six children, he moved with his family to Iowa and studied surveying along with common school training. He began working with surveying parties and eventually became the U.S. deputy surveyor. The first surveying and platting of Omaha was under his direction. He continued to survey in Oregon, Washington and California, returning to Nebraska in 1854. When he heard of the discovery of gold in Cherry Creek, Colorado, he purchased a newspaper outfit and with his own teams crossed the plains, reaching Auraria in early spring 1859. On April 23, 1859, he printed the first issue of the Rocky Mountain News.
In 1864, Byers lost his entire plant to the Platte River flood and barely escaped with his family, when their house was moved by the high waters. The following week, Byers purchased another newspaper outfit and resumed publication of the Rocky Mountain News. Byers urged the development of agriculture and the establishment of public schools. Byers engaged in mining and experimented with grains and vegetables. He kept the public informed of his results through his paper. The Rocky Mountain News was open for the discussion of local and territorial government and his own ideas were incorporated.
Byers built the first telegraph line from Denver, Colorado to New Mexico, working the entire path with his men. Byers served as the director and vice-president of the Tramway Company and the director of the State Board of Arbitration. Byers also served as the director and president of the Mountain and Plains Festival Association and the president of the Denver Chamber of Commerce.
Byers married Elizabeth Minerva Sumner in 1854. They had two children, Frank S. and Mary Eva. Mary wed W.F. Robinson.
Mrs. Byers founded and provided for the E. M. Byers School for Boys. William N. Byers died on March 26, 1903. Mrs. Byers passed away on January 6, 1920.
2 oversize boxes
1 PhotoBox, 1 PhotoOVFF
8 microfilm reels (35mm)
Other Finding Aids
The bulk of the William N. Byers and Family papers were purchased from the estates of Frank S. Byers and Mary Byers Robinson. Scott Palmer donated one item. Raymond V. Sumner donated materials in July 2015.
Number of Boxes: 3 (3 linear feet)
Oversize: 2 OVBoxes, 2 OVFF
Photographs: 1 PhotoBox, 1 PhotoOVFF
Microfilm: 8 reels (Mflm 206)
PROCESSED AND ENCODED BY:
- Albumen prints. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Cabinet photographs. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Card photographs. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Cartes-de-visite. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Journalists -- Colorado -- Denver. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Letters (correspondence). Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Photographic prints. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Pioneers -- Colorado -- Denver. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- WILLIAM N. BYERS AND FAMILY PAPERS
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