Frances Henry McElfresh


Written by Bud Tatum. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”


F.H. McElfresh, former manager of he Colorado Supply Store in Starkville, Colorado, was born in Paris, Illinois on December 21, 1873. His parents were Oscar Edmund McElfresh and Elizabeth Baggerley McElfresh. The Family was Presbyterian.

F.H. McElfresh (Henry) grew up in Osage City, Kansas and attended the College of Emporia. As a young man, Henry was associated with his father, O. E. McElfresh, in the furniture and undertaking business, using the name O. E. McElfresh and son. Lured by new opportunities in Colorado, Henry became manager of the Colorado Supply Store in the booming Colorado Fuel and Iron Company’s mining camp in starkville. Later, F. H. McElfresh was appointed manager of the Colorado Supply’s largest stores in Pueblo, Colorado, near the C.F.& I.’s steel mill.

With his management experience, Henry decided to go into the business for himself. he felt California would be a land of opportunity. He owned and operated Ladies Ready to wear stores in Huntington Beach and Covina, California.

When he was in Starkville, Henry married Jettie Thompson, the daughter of George Thompson, pioneer in Las Animas County. George was a prominent rancher, politician, race track owner, sheriff and Las Animas County Commissioner. Jettie’s mother, Guadalupe Long was first married to Alfred Bent, the son of Governor Charles Bent, the first American Territorial Governor of New Mexico. Governor Bent’s wife and Kit Carson’s wife were sisters. Jettie had a colorful brother, Abe Thompson, who managed the Cokedale store, served as a official of the American Smelting and Refining Co. and named the mining camp of Bon Carbo.

Abe, in his heyday, drove through the streets of Trinidad with Myrtle McElfresh in his expensive Lozier. Henry and Jettie had a son, Francis H. McElfresh, Jr., who was born in Starkville. When Francis was quite small, Jettie passed away.

Before Henry became manager of the Colorado Supply Store in Pueblo, he married Esther M. Dickinson, the daughter of Rev. Samual Fowler Dickinson and Ella Massey. One of Rev. Dickinson’s churches was the First Congregational Church of Colorado Springs. Esther Dickinson, a Kindergarten teacher, had received a fine education at the Pestalozzi-Froebel School in Chicago. Esther was related to the Avery family who invented the Avery stick-on labels. Henry and Esther had three children: Samuel, Faith, and Douglas Dickinson McElfresh.

For many years Henry and Esther owned and operated the McElfresh stores in California. During their retirement years they spent a lot of time in Hawaii. Henry passed away on July, 11 1958 in Covina, California. After Henry’s death, Esther married Dr. William Clithoro. Esther died in Duarte, California on November 23 1967.

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