Henry and Ida Merrill


Written by R. Merrill and Willard Williams. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”


Mildred Ballard Merrill was born august 16, 1886 at Chebanse, Illinois to Henry N. Merrill and Ida Belle (Smith) Merrill. The Merrill’s (originally De Merel and Changed to Merrill) were of French descent. One of the 3 Merrill brothers settled at Hillsboro, New Hampshire and in 1839 migrated to Henry, Illinois. The Smith’s were of English and Scotch descent. Barnet Smith, Ida’s father, was an English nobleman, a Baron, born in London England. On arrival in North Carolina, in Albermarle Sound area, he started a ship building business and was a slave holder; later he set his slaves free.

Henry and Ida Merrill left illinois in 1888 and returned to nebraska where they had earlier married and lived. They moved to the Tehir Fram and lived in a sod house near the Niobrara River. The Merrill’s had 10 Children, Ross, Florence, Abigial, Avery, Jane, Mildred, Willard, Roy, Mary and Gladys. From there they moved to Alliance, Nebraska where the baby, Cladys, died. In 1903 the Merrill Family moved to Denver, Colorado.

In 1906 Frank Williams (see his story) moved to Denver from Fort Collins and soon after started to work for the Old Homestead Bakery and Finance Company as a salesman-driver of bakery products to the Denver stores. His first bakery wagon was pulled by a team of horses.

Mildred met Frank in 1907 when Willard, her brother, worked for frank as salesman-driver at this same bakery. They lived only a few blocks apart. Frank soon began dining at the Merrill’s boarding house the family owned and operated in Denver.

In 1907 and 1908 Frank returned to Ohio to visit his sister and grandmother. He was also seeking a business opportunity of his own and a permanent place to settle. He returned to Denver. In 1909 Frank went from Denver to southeastern Colorado to Wilson Switch, (later called Coloflats and Branson). On return he applied at the Bureau of land Management for 320 acres of homestead land, he had examined, and placed it on hold february 19, 1909. Then in 1910 he again returned to Ohio, Still searching, and in 1911 he traveled as far as Alaska and into Nebraska to make sure of the kind of opportunity he was seeking.

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