Samuel Hartsel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Samuel Hartsel
Born (1834-11-22)November 22, 1834
Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA
Died November 20, 1918(1918-11-20) (aged 83)
Denver, Colorado
Cause of death
Unknown cause
Resting place
Fairmount Cemetery in Denver

(1) Park County, Colorado

(2) Denver, Colorado
Occupation Rancher; Farmer
Spouse(s) Nancy Boone Mayol (married 1877-1910, her death)

One son (died in infancy)
Three daughters

Two step-daughters

Samuel "Sam" Hartsel (November 22, 1834 - November 20, 1918) was one of the first cattlemen in the U.S. state of Colorado and the namesake founder of the community of Hartsel in Park County in the geopraphic center of the state.


Hartsel was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He became first involved in the cattle business at the age of fifteen, when he drove cattle from Ohio to New York, himself walking the whole distance. By the time he was twenty-one, he drove a freight wagon westward from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In 1860, he came to the South Park country of Colorado to engage in placer mining for gold near Como in Park County. When his provisions were depleted without financial reward, Hartsel returned to the cattle business.[1]

Colorado rancher[edit]

Hartsel's operation became, according to the 1919 book The History of Colorado by Wilbur Fiske Stone, "one of the largest and best-stocked cattle ranches of the state."[1]On fifteen thousand acres, Hartsel grew oats, wheat, barley, rye, and hay. He developed the Hartsel hot springs, which served his own ranch with a two-mile long pipeline of hollow wooden logs. He built a sawmill, blacksmith shop, and a trading post to lay the groundwork for the town, established where the south and middle forks of the South Platte River converge.[1]

As early as 1864, Hartsel diversified his herd with Durham and shorthorns, which he brought to Colorado while on a buying trip to Missouri. Much of Hartsel's business success came from his having never been in debt. Never did he mortgage and of his property or animals. Hard struck by the blizzards of the 1880s, he began to store winter forage so that his cattle could avoid future starvation during inclement weather. Through effective use of rye and native grasses, Hartsel began to raise pigs and sheep. He was originally opposed to mixing sheep and cattle on the same ranch lands but reversed his view on that issue in 1888. Hartsel had good relations with the Ute Indians but troubles with the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Sioux. He was briefly taken captive in 1868 by either Arapaho or Cheyenne Indians who were lost on his ranch property. He was released after he directed the tribesmen out of South Park.[1]

In 1877, at the age of forty-two, Hartsel married a 31-year-old widow, Nancy Boone Mayol, who had two daughters, Amelia and Rose. The Hartsels had four children together, a son, Samuel Bancroft Hartsel, who died at thirteen months, and three daughters, Katherine, Myrtle, and Henrietta. Hs brother, Joseph Hartsel, another rancher, disappeared in 1901 and was believed to have been murdered. However, two years later his remains were found, and it was determined that he had been struck by lightning.[1]

In 1907, Hartsel sold his 240 acres around the hot springs and relocated to Denver, where he was in business until his suddedn death of unknown cause in 1918, nine days after the end of World War I. Nancy Hartsel died in 1910. The couple and other family members are interred at Fairmount Cemetery in Denver.[1]

One of Hartsel's neighboring ranchers was Marie Guiraud, founder of the now ghost town of Garo in Park County.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Laura King Van Dusen, "Samuel Hartsel: 1860s Pioneeer Rancher, One of Colorado's First Cattlemen. Founded Town of Hartsel", Historic Tales from Park County: Parked in the Past (Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press, 2013), ISBN 978-1-62619-161-7, pp. 21-27.