George M. and Lillian Mae Tombling


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


George Millard Tombling was born October 5, 1868 in Stokes County, North Carolina.  He was the sixth of eight children born to James M. Tombling (Tumblin) and Nancy D. Flin.  George’s father, who had served 3 years in the 45th Regiment. North Carolina Infantry, and mother moved the family to Iowa in the mid 1870’s.  James finally succumbed to T.B., which he contracted at Point Lookout (Union) Prison in Maryland, in 1890 in Warren County, Iowa.

Lillian Mae Anderson was born November 27, 1869 in Marion County, Iowa near Attica.  She was the second of five children born to Robert Anderson and Eva Deats, both decedents of early Kentucky pioneers.  Her father came to Kansas Territory (now Colorado) with his brother, Thomas Jefferson Anderson, in 1859 by an ox cart during the gold rush.  Robert told his son that the greatest danger in crossing the plains wasn’t Indians but buffalo stampedes.  He prospected in Clear Creek District, where an accident crippled his foot.  Robert helped survey the streets of Denver.  He returned to Iowa in 1865 to marry.  But just as tales would bring four of his five children to Colorado, it would draw him back.  Robert was not only a surveyor, he was a lawyer by profession, but never practiced here, choosing instead ranching near Gunnison.

George M. Tombling and Lillian Mae Anderson were married in December 24, 1889 in Plattsmouth, Nebraska at the residence of Robert Anderson.  They went by wagon to (Old) Rouse, Colorado following the ceremony.  This is were George had a job as store manager with the Colorado Supply Company for the CF&I.  The next thirteen years saw the Tombling family growing in various CF&I camps.  This included Crested Butte, Rockvale and Pictou.  They then moved to Walsenburg, where George was a merchandise broker and one of the Board of Directors, as well as secretary for the ‘Miners’ Handy Match Box Company’.  George was an assignor to the U.S. patent for the ‘Match-Safe Attachment for Miners’ Lampholders’.  He was also part of a failed venture in the incorporation of the Arizona and New Mexico Fuel and Iron Company., along with the Arizona, New Mexico & Colorado Railroad Company.  The family then moved to Aguilar (1904-1912). George was one of the Board of Directors that incorporated ‘Aguilar Coal and Mining Company’.

During this period George was also proprietor of the Commercial and Central Hotels.  He also had dealings with the Jewell Coal Mine and the Rival Coal Mine. 1912 saw the family in Trinidad, George had various businesses in insurance, real estate, and for a time the manager of the Bellevue Hotel (1916-1918), while Lillian cooked.  She would later cook for her brother, William, at his ranch near Gunnision during hay season.  She was known for her cooking abilities and this would draw cowboys to the ranch.  George and Lillian were both avid hunters and fisherman.  Lillian is said to have won a state rifle competition around 1901.  Their children were: Hazel Irene, Clarence Leroy, and Claude Anderson.  Their stories have been enclosed.

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