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Identifier: WH602


Rizer's handwritten Civil War journal, which describes 2nd Colorado Cavalry Regiment military operations in Missouri, forms the centerpiece of this collection. Journal typescripts, limited military papers and biographical data in the form of newspaper clippings and notes complete the collection.

SERIES 1 PAPERS [1861]-1912, N.D. BOX 1

The series contains loose journal pages in which Rizer describes military actions by the 2nd Colorado Cavalry in Missouri during the American Civil War. This handwritten journal is incomplete, with pages numbered from page 9 to page 54. The original pages are very acidified and fragile. Typescripts and photocopies of these journal pages are included and should be used for research. Permission to view original materials may be granted by an archivist. An enlistment certificate, newspaper clippings and limited military papers complete the series.


A single muster-in roll for 1st Lieutenant Robert Rizer makes up the series.


  • 1861-1912


The collection is open for research. However, Rizer's original journal pages and his certificate of enlistment are extremely fragile. These documents have been sleeved and stored in envelopes rather than file folders. Researchers must use photocopies and typescripts, which are provided in the collection, for their research. Permission to view the originals may be granted by an archivist.


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.


Robert O'Neill Rizer was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 24, 1837, the son of Charles and Matilda M. Rizer. He attended grammar school in Philadelphia before taking a job with Rowley, Ashburner & Company, a Philadelphia shipping firm. When he was fifteen years old, Rizer moved to Chicago, where he became a bookkeeper and worked in a general store.

In 1859, Rizer superintended a thirty-wagon expedition to Pikes Peak, Colorado. Upon arriving in Denver, Rizer took a job as a general store clerk for Toppan & Company. He resigned this position to enlist as a Union soldier May 16, 1862. Colorado Governor, John Evans, presented Rizer a commission as a 2nd lieutenant of Captain Seymour W. Wagoner's Company K, 2nd Regiment, Colorado Infantry.

Rizer began his military career as a recruiter in Colorado's mining camps. In the spring of 1863, the Colorado 2nd Infantry was ordered to St. Louis, Missouri, where it was augmented by troops from Colorado's 3rd Infantry Regiment. On November 20, 1863, the regiment was reorganized to become the 2nd Colorado Cavalry, and Rizer was assigned to be second lieutenant of Company I. He was later promoted to first lieutenant of Company E. In May 1864, Rizer briefly commanded a fort near Lawrence, Kansas. He later served as aide-de-camp and acting assistant adjutant general under Brigadier General Brown, District of Central Missouri. Rizer received his honorable discharge at Leavenworth, Kansas, September 23, 1865.

With the war's end, Rizer settled in Junction City, Kansas, where he became a bookkeeper for the firm Streeter & Strickler. In 1867 Rizer joined James Streeter to form a bank under the firm name of James Streeter & Company. Rizer served three terms as Junction City mayor. In January 1872, he hosted a dinner for Russian Grand Duke Alexis, who was touring the American West on a grand buffalo hunt with General George A. Custer and William F. Cody. In 1875, Rizer joined John B. Anderson to organize the Davis County Savings Bank, serving as cashier. This firm was liquidated in 1877, but the bank continued operations until 1880, as R. O. Rizer & Company, Bankers.

In addition to three terms as Junction City Mayor, Rizer served two terms as city clerk and two terms as treasurer of Geary County, Kansas. He also served as United States pension claim attorney for many years. Rizer was said to have been personal friends with Major General William S. Harney and also with Kit Carson, whom he once entertained in his home. As Junction City Mayor, Rizer appointed James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok to a brief term as town marshal.

Rizer served as commander of Junction City Post Number 132 of the Grand Army of the Republic. He was also a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Rizer married Mary J. Keith, of Denver, Colorado, in 1865 and the couple had ten children. Riser passed away March 1, 1921.


1 Boxes


Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Frederick Dana Durand donated this material to the Denver Public Library in August 1991.


The Western History/Genealogy Department has additional collections with material related to individual Civil War soldiers experiences, including:

James W. Anderson Papers: WH10

Marshal S. Crawford Papers: -M169

Clarence Augustus Lyman Papers: -M475

Joseph Rodman West Papers: -M835

Lawrence Purdy Papers: -M1210

R.G. Dill Papers: -M1426

J.A. Young Papers: -M1890

Michael Beshoar Papers: WH1083

Romero Family Papers: WH1695

Rollins Quartus Tenney Papers: WH1841


One copy of Revised Regulations for the Army of the United States, 1861 With a Full Index was transferred to the Western History/Genealogy collection.


Dennis Hagen

January 2012


Abby Hoverstock

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

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

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