Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Wild, Wild West Colfax

     With suburban sprawl in every direction, it’s easy to forget that Jefferson County was a wild western frontier not all that long ago. Local author Carol Turner went looking for historical true-crime stories from the area for her book, Notorious Jefferson County: Frontier Murder and Mayhem, and found more than she bargained for, from a man castrating his brother over an alleged affair to a grisly shoot-em-up involving a half-nude female body at the seedy corner of Simms Street and Colfax Avenue.

     “These were sensational, scandalous stories in their time, and they’re part of the fabric of our local history,” says Turner, who combed through the Colorado Historical Newspaper Database looking for the same kinds of thrilling stories she was seeing on some of her favorite TV shows, then went into investigator mode. “I’ve always had a sort of perverse interest in detective stories, cold case files and the darker side of history. It’s an interesting way to learn history: These are real people who had real problems and faced real violence, and a lot of wild characters emerge, both bad guys and good.”
     Stories from the book include:
The Case of the Lovelorn Prodigy (1919)
Hellion in the High Country (1899 and 1915)
How Deadman Gulch Got its Name (1872)
The Orchitic Strangulator (1893)
Love Triangle at Sherie's Ranch (1923)
The Mystery of the Winter Camper (1921)
Murder on Table Mountain (1910)
Mr. Bellew Runs Amuck (1912)
A Most Tragic Corner of the County (1866-1914)
A Muddled Case of Frontier Justice (1868)
The McQueary-Shaffer Feud (1907)
Murder of the Judge's Son (1916)
The Headless Skeleton (1924)
A Divorce Most Foul (1883)
A Clash over Cucumbers (1881)
The Missing Wagonmaster (1879)
The Peculiar Case of Mary Cobb (1910)
A Horse with Only One Shoe (1884)

Buy the book at Amazon.com today!

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