Abstract

Papers (1852-1950) of the Dawson family, including patriarch John Barkley Dawson (1830-1918), a trailblazer, Texas Ranger and cattle rancher in New Mexico and Colorado, and several generations of his descendants. J. B. Dawson purchased part of the Maxwell Land Grant in New Mexico. The bulk of the collection relates to research about J.B. Dawson and other family members complied by Delphine Dawson Wilson, family historian. Materials include correspondence between family members, diaries and scrapbooks, photographs and photograph albums, ephemera, and research materials. The collection occupies 5.6 linear feet and is arranged in five series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) DIARIES AND SCRAPBOOKS, 3) PHOTOGRAPHS, 4) EPHEMERA, and 5) WRITINGS.

Historical Background

John Barkley Dawson, patriarch of the Dawson family, drove cattle across the American frontier from Arkansas to the mining towns of California in 1855. In 1857 he homesteaded land in Fort Belknap, Texas, and began a business that sold cattle to government forts, Indian agents and the distant mining towns of Colorado. Dawson blazed the trail that later became known as the Dawson Trail. For a brief period, 1864-1865, he served as a Texas Ranger.

In 1869 Dawson and several relatives purchased 250,000 acres of land on the Vermejo River, New Mexico, from Lucien B. Maxwell. Originally a Mexican land grant given to Judge Carlos Beaubien and Senor Guadalupe Miranda in 1844, the Maxwell land grant was confirmed in 1860 according to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Over the next twenty years, Dawson developed the ranch, stocked his range with cattle, constructed a dam and irrigation system for agriculture, and built a two-story ranch house and numerous buildings.

Controversy arose over the exact boundries of Dawson's property once coal was discovered under much of his range. The Maxwell Land Grant and Railway Company, an English corporation, purchased the remaining portion of Maxwell's land and engaged in an aggressive attempt to remove squatters and lease tenants from portions of the original grant. During the 1880s, the corporation successfully removed occupants without valid deeds of contract. In the early 1890s, the corporation filed a suit against Dawson which was eventually decided in his favor in the United States Supreme Court in 1893.

The costs of litigation and a persistent regional drought created a financial crisis for Dawson in the 1890s. He responded by sending his three older sons on a successful stock drive to the gold fields of the Yukon in Alaska in 1893. In 1901 he sold all but 1250 acres of his ranch to the Dawson Fuel Company (no relation) and moved to Routt County, Colorado. There he built another ranch and raised cattle and horses. The Colorado property also contained large deposits of coal, which Dawson later sold to the Victor American Fuel Company in 1915. John B. Dawson died in Los Angeles, California, in 1918.

J. B. Dawson's son, Si Dawson, continued in the cattle business after the sale of the Routt County ranch. In 1918 he accepted a position as the superintendent of a large ranch called the Fazenda Morungava, located in Brazil. He lived there with his wife Lucy and son Henry Clay until December 1919, when he died of a ruptured appendix. His daughters Delphine and Dorothy were preparing to visit their parents when word arrived of their father's death.

Delphine Dawson Wilson was responsible for assembling this collection of her family's papers. She began to compile information on her family's history in 1972 and is writing a book on her grandfather J. B. Dawson.

Scope and Content

The Dawson Family Papers document aspects of the lives of several generations of the Dawson family, including John Barkley Dawson (1830-1918) and his son Si Dawson (1870-1919). The collection includes letters written by and to Dawson family members (1894-1947), loose photographs, photograph albums, scrapbooks, and miscellaneous items such as the Dawson Family bible. The collection, dated 1852-1950, occupies 5.6 linear feet and is arranged in five series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) DIARIES AND SCRAPBOOKS, 3) PHOTOGRAPHS, 4) EPHEMERA, and 5) WRITINGS.

SERIES 1: CORRESPONDENCE

The first series, CORRESPONDENCE, contains letters written to various members of the Dawson Family. The most detailed group (1894-1909) of letters was written by Si Dawson to his wife Lucy Anne McKean Dawson. Another group of letters was written by Si to Lucy during the stock drive from New Mexico to the Yukon in Alaska in 1898. Transcriptions of these letters are located in Series 5A. The CORRESPONDENCE series also contains letters from Lucy written to her daughters Delphine and Dorothy and to her sister Elizabeth Howard from the Fazenda Morungava in Brazil between 1918 and 1919. She describes aspects of their life on the ranch and her impressions of Brazilian culture, as well as the events leading up to Si's death on December 3, 1919. Transcriptions of these letters are located in Series 5A This series is arranged alphabetically by correspondent.

SERIES 2: DIARIES AND SCRAPBOOKS

The second series, DIARIES AND SCRAPBOOKS, is arranged in two subseries. The first diary, written by Si Dawson in 1897, contains a record of travels, business transactions and reports of day-to-day occurences. Si Dawson's 1898 diary documents events of a risky cattle drive he and two of his brothers led from New Mexico to the Yukon in Alaska. It describes in detail the areas they visited, some of the people they encountered and problems they confronted throughout the trip. The third diary was written in 1918 by an unidentified visitor to the Fazenda Morungava Ranch in Brazil.

Transcriptions of these diaries are located in Series 5A.

This series also contains two scrapbooks. One scrapbook (1890-1920), compiled by Della McKean Dawson (Lucy's sister), contains a letter written to Martha McKean (Lucy and Della's mother) by her brother from an unidentified battle field during the Civil War. This scrapbook also contains photographs of the McKean family, the Chase family, the Wilkins family and of the Dawson ranch in Colorado. The other scrapbook, compiled by Delphine Dawson, documents her trip to Brazil in 1934.

SERIES 3: PHOTOGRAPHS

The third series, PHOTOGRAPHS, is arranged in three subseries: A) Photograph Albums, B) People and C) Places. This series contains images of four generations (1852-1947) of Dawson family members, beginning with the parents of J. B. Dawson and extending to J. B. Dawson's grandchildren. Also included are photographs of the ranch homes in New Mexico and Colorado, along with the surrounding land and livestock. Photographs of the Fazenda Morungava and Sao Paolo are also found in this series.

SERIES 4: EPHEMERA

The fourth series, EPHEMERA, contains miscellaneous Dawson momentos and documents, including the Dawson family Bible, printed in 1852. This Bible is covered in a buckskin binding that was made from the shield of an Indian chased down by J. B. Dawson while he was a Texas Ranger. A detailed account of this incident is laid into the Bible. This series also contains a menu for Christmas dinner in 1897 at the New Mexico ranch, several documents detailing the sale of the Dawson's land in New Mexico to the Dawson Coal Company, and a transcript of the Supreme Court trial "The Maxwell Land Grant Company, Plaintiff in Error, vs. John B. Dawson." This material is organized alphabetically.

SERIES 5: WRITINGS

The fifth series, WRITINGS, is arranged in three subseries: A) Transcriptions, B) Books, Drafts and Articles and C) Genealogical Materials. Most of the material in this series, arranged alphabetically by title, is the work of Delphine Dawson Wilson, J.B. Dawson's granddaughter and daughter of Si and Lucy Dawson.

A) The first subseries, Transcriptions, contains Delphine Dawson Wilson's transcriptions of diaries and letters found in the collection, family papers not housed in the collection and newspaper clippings. Included are the love letters written to Lucy Dawson from Si Dawson in 1894-1896, Si Dawson's diaries, newspaper articles and obituaries of family members. In most instances, the transcriptions are bound and include an introduction by Delphine Dawson Wilson.

B) The second subseries, Books, Drafts and Articles, contains mostly unpublished writings by Delphine Dawson Wilson. Titles include "An Index of Subjects from Old Mexican Newspapers, 1879-1918, "Early Western Horse Records," and "Si Dawson, Foundation Quarter Horse Breeder." The bulk of this series, however, includes writings and research material for Delphine Dawson Wilson's book entitled "John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918." These materials are arranged by draft.

C) The third series, Genealogical Materials, contains genealogical records for the Dawson, Stout and Wilson families. Most of the research was conducted by Delphine Dawson Wilson, but some genealogies were compiled by research firms or by other family members. These materials are arranged alphabetically by title.

CORRESPONDENCE

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11 Adair, Florence, 1919.
12 Aldach, Victor, 1918.
13 Barnhill, Joseph, 1899.
14 Barnhill, Mrs. Joseph, 1901.
15 Chase, Mrs. Ray E, 1919.
16 Chittenden, J. S, 1919.
17 Davenport, Homer, 1911 - 1912.
18 Dawson, Bernice, 1919 - 1941.
19 Dawson, Bruce, 1915.
110 Dawson, Della M, 1941.
111 Dawson, Delphine, 1919.
112 Dawson, Dorothy, 1914.
113 Dawson, Emmett, 1906 - 1919.
114 Dawson, Geraldine, 1906.
115 Dawson, John Barkley, 1895.
116 Dawson, Mrs. John Barkley, 1920.
117 Dawson, Lebbie, 1919.
118 Dawson, Leo, 1903 - 1919.
119 Dawson, Lucy, 1917 - 1920.
120 Dawson, Manley, 1896.
121 Dawson, Margaret, 1944.
122 Dawson, Siria M, 1894 - 1919.
21 Kent, Emma, 1921.
22 McKean, Henry Bryan, 1896 - 1897.
23 Murphy, J. C, 1919.
24 Neild, W. H, 1897.
25 Phi Mu Fraternity, Xi Chapter, 1918.
26 Roberds, Mrs. Coke T, 1919.
27 Roberds, Mrs. Emmett, 1920 - 1921.
28 Ruby, 1919.
29 Shinn, James A, 1912.
210 Shirley.
211 Silva, Jose, 1920 - 1922.
212 Whitney, Edwina, 1919.
213 Whitney, Frederic, 1919.
214 Young, David L, 1922.

DIARIES AND SCRAPBOOKS

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Diaries

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215 Dawson, Si, 1897.
216FB-067-01Dawson, Si, 1898. Entries written during cattle drive to the Yukon in Alaska.
217 Unknown author, 1918. Written during visit to the Fazenda Morungava, Brazil.

Scrapbooks

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218FB-068-01Dawson, Della McKean (Mrs. Gus Dawson). Ca. 1890-1920.
219FB-067-05Dawson Wilson, Delphine, 1934. Scrapbook of her trip to Brazil.

PHOTOGRAPHS

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Photograph Albums

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220FB-066-01Dawson, Augustus. Ca. 1890-1903. Given to him by his mother, Christmas, 1903.
221FB-066-02Dawson, Emmett R. Ca. 1890-1920.
222FB-067-04Dawson, John B. Dawson Family. Photos ca. 1880-1905. Compiled by Delphine Dawson Wilson in Feb. 1994.
223FB-066-03Dawson, Lucy Anne McKean, 1872 - 1950. Compiled by Delphine Dawson Wilson.
224FB-067-03Dawson, Si. Horse pictures. Ca. 1900-1919.
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225 Negatives and Photocopies of Miscellaneous Photos.
226 Daguerrotypes (framed), 1852 - 1867. Thomas Henry Dawson, Letitia de Graffenried Dawson and Augustus G. Dawson (c. 1867) and Henry Bryan McKean (c. 1852).
227 Dawson, Augustus Family. Ca. 1867-1940.
228 Dawson, Augustus Family. Ca. 1867-1940. Includes notes and newspaper clippings.
229 Dawson, Delphine. Ca. 1910-1940.
230FB-067-02Dawson Family Photos. Ca. 1855-1890. 10 mounted, 7 tintype in Victorian box.
231 Dawson Wilson, Delphine and Samuel, 1943 - 1947.
31 Dawson, Henry Clay and Delphine, 1920. Portraits. Originally in folder entitled "Steamboat, Denver."
32 Dawson, Lucy and Si. Early Days. Includes clippings and ephemera.
33 Dawson, Lucy, Henry Clay and Delphine, 1930 - 1940. Trips taken.
34 Dawson, Si Family. c.1890-1920.
35 McKean Family. Before 1900. Includes poem written for Lucy in 1892 entitled "A Dream of Roses."
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36 Alburquerque, New Mexico, 1915 - 1918.
37 Brazil, 1918 - 1934.
38 Dawson Ranch, Colorado, 1903 - 1915.
39 Fort Collins, Colorado, 1930 - 1939.
310 New Mexico, Before 1908.
311 San Diego and Colorado, 1895 - 1941.
312 Si Dawson Ranch, Mt. Sheep, Buffalo, 1910 - 1915.
313 Steamboat, Denver, Colorado. Includes essay for AAA Senior Breakfast, 1927, signed D.D.
314 Tucson, Arizona, 1938 - 1940.
315 Yukon Stock Drive Journey. Photos of trail in Alaska and the ascending Chilkoot Stairway.
316 Miscellaneous photos. Ferry's Ranch, Routt County, Colorado; Jack White's Colorado Homestead; and unidentified, 1909.

EPHEMERA

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41FB-022-05Dawson Coal Company Documents, 1915. Certificate of authority issued to the Dawson Coal Company by Secretary of State of Colorado.
42 Dawson Coal Company Documents, 1915 - 1943. Deed, quit claim, memoranda, first mortgage, and list of stockholders and proxies.
43FB-069-01Dawson Family Bible. Bible printed in 1852 and wrapped in cowhide from Indian's sheild acquired when J. B. Dawson was a Texas Ranger. Includes marriage records for Dawson family members.
44 Ephemera. Christmas cards, commencement exercise invitations, marriage announcements, postcards, and stationary.
45 Leather expansive file of S.M. Dawson. Empty and embossed with "S.M. Dawson, Sao Paolo, Brazil."
46 Menu from Dawson Ranch, New Mexico, Christmas Dinner, 1897.
47 Muir, Jean, "The Big Cattle Drive to the Yukon," TRUE, THE MAN'S MAGAZINE, 1953. Article about the trip Si Dawson made to the Yukon in Alaska, 1898.
48 Newspaper clippings, 1963 - 1980.
49 Poems - "Like a Rose" (by Lucy Dawson?) and "The Cremation of Sam McGee". By Robert Service.
410FB-066-04Supreme Court of the United States: The Maxwell Land Grant Company, 1893. Plaintiff in Error, vs. John B. Dawson. Bound in red leather. This copy belonged to Gus Dawson.

WRITINGS

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Transcriptions

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411 CIMARRON NEWS AND PRESS, Mountain Meadow Massacre, 1875. Articles transcribed by D.D. Wilson.
412 Dawson Family Letters - Miscellaneous. Transcribed by D.D. Wilson, 1896 - 1901.
413 Dawson, Emmett. "I Was a Cowboy in South America". Story transcribed in 1981. Story takes place circa 1919.
414 Dawson, Lucy Anne McKean. Diary -Transcribed by D.D. Wilson, 1945 - 1949.
415 Dawson, Lucy Anne McKean. Letters from Fazenda Morungava, Brazil. Transcribed by D.D. Wilson. Includes preface, index and summary sheet.
51 Dawson, Si. Love letters to Lucy Anne McKean, 1894. Transcribed by Dale Dawson.
52 Dawson, Si. Diary transcribed by D.D. Wilson, 1897.
53 Dawson, Si. 1898 Stock Drive to the Yukon. Working copy, 1898. Diary transcribed by D.D. Wilson.
54 Dawson, Si. 1898 Stock Drive to the Yukon, 1898. Si Dawson's diary and letters to Lucy Anne Dawson during trip combined and arranged alphabetically. Transcribed by D. D. Wilson.
55 Dawson, Si. 1898 Stock Drive to the Yukon. Bound version, 1898. Si Dawson's diary and letters to Lucy Dawson combined and arranged alphabetically. Transcribed by D.D. Wilson.
56 Dawson, Si. 1898 Stock Drive to the Yukon. Letters written to Lucy Anne Dawson, 1898. Transcribed by D.D. Dawson.
57 Dawson, Si. Fazenda Morungava, Si Dawson, Manager, 1918-1920, 1918 - 1920. Si Dawson's diary (Oct. - Dec. 1918) transcribed. Also includes transcribed contract between M. Mackenzie and Si Dawson.
58 Goodnight, Charles. "Indian Recollections" and letter by Goodnight to C. Siring, 1915.
59 Obituaries. Manley Dawson, 1907. John B. Dawson, 1918. Grace Dawson, 1911, 1907 - 1918. Transcribed by D. D. Wilson.
510 SACRAMENTO DAILY UNION. Articles transcribed with notes, 1851-1856, 1851 - 1856.
511 Sanders, Harriet Peck Fenn. "Diary of a Journey Across the Plains in 1863 and Reminiscences of Early Life in Montana." Transcribed by D.D. Wilson.
512 Sumners, Hatton W. "Charles Goodnight visits John B. Dawson on Dawson's Ranch", 1911. Transcribed by D.D. Wilson.
61 Zenus Curtis Testimony at Maxwell Land Grant vs. Dawson, 1863. Supreme Court of the United States. Transcribed by D.D. Wilson.

Books, Drafts and Articles

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62 Bill Egry, a Real American Cowboy.
63 Books Written and Trips Taken by D.D. Wilson, 1934 - 1990.
64 Dawson Family History. Beginning of research for book. Includes D.D. Wilson's correspondence with county clerks, notes, transcripts of articles re: Dawsons.
65 Dawson Family History. Requests for information from libraries, county clerks and repositories. Includes notes and responses.
66 Dawson Family History. Mead notebook, reference notes, questions, etc.
67 Dawson Family History. Notes, outline and reference notes.
68 Dawson Family History. Typescripts, rough drafts, transcriptions, notes.
69 Early Western Horse Records.
610 Index of Subjects from Old New Mexico Newspapers (1879-1899).
611 Index of Subjects from Old New Mexico Newspapers (1900-1911).
71 Index of Subjects from Old New Mexico Newspapers (1980-1918). Includes family history timeline, 1759-1907.
72 John B. Dawson Family.
73 John B. Dawson's Part of the West, 1830-1919, BRAND BOOK NUMBER SIX. San Diego Corral of the Westerners. By D.D. Wilson and R.B. Michaelis.
74 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. 1982 writing.
75 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. Outline of book.
76 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. Barbara Ledbetter, research material.
77 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. Rough draft, first draft. Outline and reference material.
78 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. Chapter 1, first draft. "John B. Dawson Comes West."
79 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. First Draft. "Trail Herd Scout and Texas Ranger." Research materials.
710 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. First draft. "Trail Herd Scout and Texas Ranger."
711 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. First draft. "New Mexico Ranch." Reference material.
712 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. First Draft. Chapter III. "New Mexico Ranch."
81 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. First draft. Chapter III. "New Mexico Ranch."
82 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. First draft. Chapter III. "New Mexico Ranch."
83 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. First draft. Chapter V. "Colorado Ranch."
84 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. First draft. Chapter V. "Colorado Ranch."
85 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. Second draft. Chapters I-VII. Includes photographs.
86 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. Second draft. Chapters VII-XV. Includes photographs.
87 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. Second draft. Chapter I. Kentucky Goodwins.
88 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. Second draft. Chapter II. Nevada research materials - Rough and Ready.
89 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. Second draft. Chapters I-III. Trails - research materials. Includes California Trail, Dawson Trail, and Santa Fe Trail.
810 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. Second draft. Chapter IV. Texas Research materials. Includes Texas Rangers, Fort Belknap and Young County.
91 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. Second Version. Chapter XI. Supreme Court of the United States: The Maxwell Land Grant Company, Plaintiff in Error, vs. John B. Dawson, Oct. 1893. Annotated photocopy.
92 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. Second Draft. Chapter XII. Calendar depicting town, and story "Dawson, the Town That Was."
93 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. Second draft. Chapter XII. Sherman, James E. "Dawson New Mexico," GHOST TOWNS AND MINING CAMPS OF NEW MEXICO, 1975.
94 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. Second draft. Chapter XII. Notes re: sale of Dawson ranch, Colorado. Includes clippings, figures, and allotments to Dawson family members.
95 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. Second draft. Chapter XIII. Dawson Ranch, Routt County, Colorado. Includes notes, correspondence, maps, and deeds.
96 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. Second Draft. Chapter XIII. Map of Routt National Forest, 1974.
97 John B. Dawson, Southwestern Cattleman and Rancher, 1830-1918. Reference material.
98 Legal Adventures of John B. Dawson; Clay Dawson Family, 1613-1973, 1973.
99 Si Dawson, Foundation Quarter Horse Breeder. By D.D. Wilson and Bob Denhardt.
910 Some Highlights of Her Life, Lucy Anne McKean Dawson, 1872-1950.

Genealogical Materials

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BoxFolderOversize
911 Dawson Family Genealogical and Historical Sketch, 1984. Done by Roots Research Bureau, Ltd.
912 Dawson Family genealogical materials - Miscellaneous.
913 Dawson Family Genealogy.
101 Dawson Family Magna Carta Lineage, 1984.
102 Descendents of Samuel Wilson, 1779-1863. Compiled by Samuel Wilson's grandchildren.
103 Great Britain - Genealogical materials.
104 Kentucky Dawson's Family History. Includes clippings, letters and notes.
105 Kings and Queens of England and Great Britain.
106 Stout Family Genealogical and Historical Sketch, 1984. Done by Roots Research Bureau, Limited.
107 Stout Family Genealogy.



Finding aid generated: 2005-10-28