By Willard Williams and R. Merril. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”
On March 27, 1912 Frank Williams and Mildred were married in Denver by Reverend Hiram Brooks after a long courtship. They were a very handsome, capable couple. Then in August, 1913 their first baby girl arrived, Ida Wilma.
Frank, on September 16, 1914, requested action by the Bureau of Land Management on his homestead claim placed on hold since February, 1909. On February 19, 1915 entry permission was granted for homesteading. The family began to prepare for a change. In March, 1915 another girl, Leona Ruth, their second daughter was born to them.
Frank arranged for a new two story frame house to be built on the homestead located on the west half section 29 of the township 34 south and only 2 miles from a small community called “Atwell” where Mr. Shoot had a water well and there was a small Post Office and school. In April, 1915 Frank arrived at Wilson Switch by the Colorado and Southern Railroad. His family followed when the new house was ready and the new furniture, shipped with him, was moved in. Mildred and the two children, ages one and a half and two months, arrived May 22, 1915, also on the Colorado and Southern Train. Frank met them at the switch tack.
Mildred had worked as a cashier at the Golden Eagle Department Store in Denver prior to marriage; this new life style would be very hard for her with two small children. They were young, strong, brave, experienced and eager and worked hard getting established.
Frank built a corral for their chickens, guineas, horses and later a cow. Mildred hauled water in barrels from Shoot’s well by horse and wagon and stored it in the cistern.
Frank started to work at the Snodgrass Food Company general store and post office in Wilson Switch. The post office was in the store. He drove five miles morning and evening in a horse and buggy in the bitter cold and deep snow of the Colorado winters. Frank hired young Travis Patton, of Wilson Switch to paint and care for his crop and garden.
The store in Wilson Switch was owned by Thomas F. Snodgrass and managed by Henry Stage. Frank worked with Henry Stage, Preston Bransetter and Virgil Rather. Historically it is interesting to note that this store was the fourth store in the Snodgrass Fodd Company chain of stores with headquarters in Trinidad. Thomas F. Snodgrass was president-general manager, Thomas W. Heneritze was purchasing agent and E.A. Seigfried executive secretary. Stores were in Trinidad, Ludlow, Raton, Wilson Switch (also called Coloflats and later Branson), La Junta, Lamar, and Clayton. This chain of stores, after combing with Mc Marr and Piggly Wiggly chains, became Safeway Stores Incorporated with headquarters in Denver. Frank was in partnership for 26 years with Ton Henritize and Mr, Snodgrass. Supplies were purchased from the Sherman Mercantile Supply, the Coulson Wholesale Supply, Sawaya, and Azar Wholesale, Hausman Drug, the Trinidad Creamery and Trinidad Bakery, as well as business in Trinidad. He banked at the Branson Citizens State Bank until it closed and then at the First National Bank of Trinidad. Reuby Choate, formally of Branson, had worked at both of these banks.
At this early time (1915) there were fire places of business in Wilson Switch: small shacks here and there. There was a feed store, a blacksmith shop, a clothing store and a furniture store. The outlying area was fast becoming well settled by homesteaders.
To Mildred and Frank was born in November, 1916 on the homestead, another girl, Irene Edna. Irene while only a girl showed her courageous nature. At times of urgent need she always could be depended on to come to champion their cause and fearing nothing. She learned to be a gifted dress designer and maker and enjoys the sewing crafts. She can make anything she so desired with skill.
Irene married Lennarde Blaisdell and raised three daughters: Beverly, Sharon and Donna. Lennarde worked for the U. S. Government as a military aircraft jet engine mechanic. He is now retired. They now make their home at Dulzura, California near San Diego. Lennarde is an ordained minister and they conduct services for the rest home people. They are of great help to hundreds of people and many lives have been helped and changed to serve the Lord. Irene is a strong believer in the Lord and an inspiration to all who know her.
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