Kit Carson County, Colorado

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Kit Carson County Pioneers:

William Thomas, 6 South 48 West

William claimed a quarter in 33, 6 South, 48W in 1894.

Possibly he's the William R. Thomas in Denver in 1880 and 1900, a newspaper editor. He was in Fort Collins in 1910, a professor at the state college.

He would have traveled through Kit Carson County in the 1880's

This letter was written by William Russell Thomas (1843-1914) in February 1863 while a student at William College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. William was the eldest son of Chauncey Thomas (1802-1882) and Margaret Bross (1819-1856). His obituary record at Williams College states that "while he was a mere child, his parents moved to Shohola, Pennsylvania, just across the Delaware River from his birthplace [Barryville, New York]. He prepared for college in the academy at Monticello, New York, and graduated from Williams in the class of 1865. During his college course, he took some practical lessons in journalism on the Chicago Tribune, of which his uncle, Lieutenant Governor William Bross, was then chief owner. His first real assignment was the funeral of Abraham Lincoln. Wishing to push on towards the real frontier in the early spring of 1866, he journeyed to Colorado on a stage coach, before the days of western railroads. He spent that summer traveling over the Rockies with Bayard Taylor. In October 1866, he became editor of the Register-Call, a frontier daily paper published in Central City, Colorado. In May, 1867, he went to the Rocky Mountain News as traveling correspondent, in which position he spent several years riding over Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming…He later became the managing editor, which position he held for sixteen years and helped to make it the leading paper of the West." [Obituary Record of the Alumni of Williams College, Class of 1865]

In this captivating letter, William shares his reaction to the news of the day which included the publication of a letter that General Winfield Scott had written to Secretary of War Simon Cameron in the summer of 1862 suggesting that McClellan ought to be court-martialed for his failure to supply him with requested information in a timely manner. [Agent of Destiny: The Life and Times of General Winfield Scott, by John D. Eisenhower, page 396]

Williams [College] February 25th 1863

My dear Father,

I have just read Gen'l Scott's letter on McClellan and I cannot refrain from writing to you on the subject. You will remember that on his removal from command of the Army of the Potomac, I wrote to you saying that I thought Gen'l McClellan a fit subject for a court martial. You denounced me very bitterly for it, but I now have the great pleasure of informing you that Scott thought so just exactly one year before I did. What will you say to that? Will you denounce the Old Veteran as severely as you did me? I cannot believe that you will but that you will at length believe one or two at least of the facts which have come out in documented form respecting the career of the "young Napoleon" and "second Washington."

We are beginning to see the light at last on this McClellan question. Halleck's official report exposed him, McDowell's court of inquiry destroyed forever the assertion that he was not responsible for the Peninsular Campaign, Porter's court martial showed his bosom friend to have been a semi-traitor, his whole course in the country has proved him to be a conceited fool and Gen'l Scott's letter will sink him so low in the estimation of the army and people that we shall hear but little more of Maj. Gen'l George B. McClellan. Facts will out — "Truth crushed to earth will rise again." You will see from Scott's letter that his hope was in Halleck and not McClellan.
Well, what do you think of "John Van Buren's Sommerset" as the "Richmond Inquirer" calls it. As he generally does once every two or three years, he has swallowed himself again, but I am afraid by the time he does it much oftener, he will choke to death.
Don't you think Baltimore has given good proof of its loyalty by listening with loud cheers to the patriotic utterances of the gallant Butler and refusing to hear the foul-mouthed and half-concealed treason of the pusillanimous Valandingham? Mark the difference! A southern and slave-holding city will mob the Northern Copperhead while N. Y. City a few weeks ago cheered the hissing traitor. Shame on such Northern base____!
Write soon and believe me your affectionate son,

— W. R. Thomas

The Overland Stage Coach drivers were a rare and romantic breed of men who drove the overland coach across the plains and mountains from the Missouri River to the Pacific coast and northward into Montana, Idaho and Oregon.

Fearless, tough, often "spilin' for a fight," the drivers carried a revolver in their belts, a knife in their boots and their prized whip in their hands. Inured to hardship, indifferent to danger and experts with reins, stagecoach drivers earned praise from William Russell Thomas who wrote, "I have seen them climb coolly on the box and drive out on the plains swarming with hostile Indians, as unconcerned as if going on a pleasure trip. I have handled newspapers stained with their blood when they had been shot on the box and fell bleeding upon the mail sacks in the boot."

The drivers possessed their virtues and vices but never sacrificed their integrity. Responsible for millions of dollars, Thomas wrote that there is no evidence that any driver "betrayed the trust imposed in him."

William 1842-1914 is buried in Denver # 109700672, with Flora (Sumner) Thomas 1850-1943.

Sullivan County, New York 1914

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