Fairplay Holiday Bazaar This Saturday!


The annual Bazaar will be this coming Saturday in Fairplay at the school complex, 7th St. and Hathaway. Hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. I will be selling my “Perils” book plus my small cemetery book, “All that Lies Beneath.” In addition, I will have a new book by Arcadia Publishing, written by the Park County Local History Archives for sale plus a History Press book about Fairplay by Linda Bjorklund as well as her Burros! book.

Hope to see you there!

“Perils” and other Projects in 2015

Greetings to all Wild West history lovers! 2014 was a banner year for my book “South Park Perils” with many presentations and book sales opps. Thanks to everyone who purchased the book or stopped by at book signing events to chat. And thanks as always to my publisher, Filer Press Books, LLC for their belief in the book and promoting my appearances. Please take a minute to look at their website: www.filterpressbooks.com.

2015 is shaping up to be a very productive year as well with an upcoming talk on March 14, 2015 for the Park County Historical Society fund-raiser dinner. The dinner is held at 5 p.m. at the Shepherd of the Rockies Lutheran Church, 106 Rosalie Rd. in Bailey, CO. My presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will be on two gangs in Colorado:the Reynolds gang and the Espinosa brothers.  People often ask why I didn’t include the Reynolds brothers in “South Park Perils” and the answer is simply that they didn’t kill anyone! Every chapter in “South Park Perils” involves an historic murder case.

Projects in the works include a forthcoming book by the Park County Local History Archives – a pictorial history of the county published by Arcadia Publishing and a non-fiction account of the infamous Lake County War (1874) in neighboring Chaffee County. This is co-authored by writer Charles F. Price, whose book on the Espinosas, “Season of Terror:The Espinosas in Central Colorado, March-October 1863,” was published last year by the University of Colorado Press. Take a look at Charles’ website: www.charlesfprice.com.

I continue on as president of the Park County Local History Archives plus memberships in the Denver Posse of Westerners, Women Writing the West and the Wild West History Association. In my spare time, professional photographer Sean Brubaker and I continue to visit historic cemeteries where he captures the winter wonders of these historic locations. This image is of an unusual mobile in the Como Cemetery.

To see more of Sean’s intriguing “cemetery scapes,” visit his website at:www.evokeimagescolorado.com














Thanks for your interest!

Wild West History Association Week!

This week is the annual conference for the WWHA which is being held at the Denver Marriott West. I will be presenting stories from my book to over 200 people! I’ve really enjoyed getting to know some other members and had a fun time on Tuesday leading a tour in Fairplay, CO. The highlight was a visit to the old Alma/Buckskin cemetery. Hope to see you at the conference!


I was so pleased to be chosen as one of the four speakers at the Sweetwater County Historical Museum’s Outlaw Symposium! This will be held June 12-14 in Green River, WY. I’ve learned that Wyoming also has a Park County, so it will be interesting to compare the two.

My presentation will be on my book, “South Park Perils: Short Ropes & True Tales”  and I will be telling approximately four stories from each of the Park Co. Colorado regions I’ve outlined in my book. I’m also going to add in the concept of “Ten lynchings in 12 months” which is what led up to John Hoover and Wm. Porter’s untimely demised at the hands of two different vigilante groups.

Thanks again to the Sweetwater County Historical Museum! The registration is now closed but here is a link to the announcement that you will need to copy and paste:


With summer coming, book sales are going well. Please feel free to email me through my website to purchase your copy.




The New Year is kicking off with a great review of my book in the Wild West History Association Journal by well-known historian and author Linda Wommack. Please click on this link to read:


Linda is also an active member of Women Writing the West, which I also belong to, and I was so pleased with her analysis.

During the month of January I will be preparing for 2014′s upcoming talks in Salida, Lakewood and other local venues. In December, I presented a program at the Highlands Ranch Historical Society that was well-received and had a very successful book-signing in Fairplay at the Fairplay Holiday Bazaar.

Please take a moment to look at my website and order “South Park Perils.”!






I’m so pleased and excited to announce that my new book, South Park Perils: Short Ropes & True Tales,” has just been published by Filter Press books! The book contains over 30 true Wild West stories about Park County, Colorado’s outlaws and murderers in the late 1800s. 
The book can be ordered from this website on the “Books” link using the Paypal button.
I will be giving a presentation tomorrow, Sept. 6, 2013 at the History Colorado museum in the auditorium and hope to see you there!

Cover of the book




Regional History Symposium a Success in Colorado Springs!

Saturday, June 8, 2013, I presented my program, “South Park Perils: Mini-Massacres During Park County’s Wild West Era,” to a crowd of 200 + at the East Library in Colorado Springs. I was honored to have been chosen as one of the speakers. The theme this year was massacres, so  I termed lynchings as “mob massacres” and singular murders as “mini massacres.”

I described how ten murders in a twelve-month period in Park County (from 1879 – 1880) prompted two lynchings only 36 days apart. I decided that even the lynchings were not enough to deter further violence, as there were 4 additional murders in the fall of 1880!

The other presenters were excellent and included the subjects of the Sand Creek Massacre, the Nathan Hungate Family Massacre, and other very interesting topics. Thanks to the Pikes Peak Library District and the Special Collections for hosting!

Christie presenting at the "Massacres" symposium on June 8.



I’m so pleased to announce that “South Park Perils: Short Ropes & True Tales” will be released this summer! As of now, there will be 34 chapters, each detailing a different historic murder in Park County, CO from around 1879 through 1903. Although I had originally planned to make the cut-off date 1900, several interesting cases happened in the early 20th century so I decided to include those. There are more than 34 stories to be told, but if there was not enough information to fill a chapter, I had to cross it off the list. What amazes me is that There were probably 50 murders in the county from 1859 – 1900 alone. This does not include those in the 20th century other than the few mentioned above. Sounds like Park County had its own version of the Wild West!

I have spent the last five or six years researching the stories and will miss the excitement of a new discovery. Researching has been tedious at times but something I truly enjoy. My main sources have been the historic newspapers online, original coroner reports, and vintage history books about Colorado. I have been lucky enough to trace several descendants of either victims or suspects, who have been so helpful in allowing me to use family photos or documents in the book.

One of the most enjoyable research activities was locating the mug shot of the suspects via the Colorado State Archives website. I learned that 19th century spelling was casual at best when it came to names .For example, the newspaper reported a murder in Grant, CO by John McClain and I searched and searched for every possible spelling in the online prisoner index with no luck. By coincidence, I discovered it was under the last name spelling of “McLaine” in the prison records when I received another inmate’s record and McLaine was also incarcerated during that time. Unfortunately though, no mug shot was available of him.

All in all, I’ve purchased 14 mugs; here are two samples:




I think it would be fun to have a contest for the “ugliest mug” the meanest looking mug, etc. I think Combs would win the latter category.

Have a safe and fun Memorial weekend!

Alma Walking Tour

Today I attended the first Alma Walking Tour, hosted by the South Park National Heritage Area. There was a big turnout and the tour was fantastic!

Alma was founded in 1872 after the Boston & Colorado Smelter was built at the confluence of Buckskin Creek and the South Platte River. As men came in to work at the smelter, the town of Alma was formed and incorporated the following year. The town was reportedly named after Alma Janes (sometimes spelled James), whose husband ran a store there.




The tour included 20 stops and each historic building was explained. Amy Unger, with Park County Historic Preservation Officer, did a great job telling each building’s history, as did Erica Duvic.

Afterwards there was a reception in the Alma Town Hall with a drawing and some cool prizes were given out.

Alma is the highest incorporated town in the U.S.and is gearing up for a fun summer!



Park County Local History Archives

The Park County Local History Archives (PCLHA) is a non-profit organization that was created twelve years ago from the Park County Historical Society. The purpose of the Archives is to house the many documents, books, maps, photographs, etc. relating to the county.

The Archives Office

I was elected president last spring for two years and thoroughly enjoy my involvement with this group! Our Board meets every other month in the Fairplay library, ironically the site of the old original courtroom where all the 1800s defendants were sentenced.

The original courthouse, now the library

One of our current goals include creating a Collections Policy and we recently finished up our By-Laws. We are also committed to help raise funding for a new Fairplay library, where we will be housed back in Fairplay in several years.I Donations are gladly accepted at this link: http://spfofl.org.

We also publish a quarterly newsletter, available on our website and we are proud of our 3,300 + photos that are online! Here are a few samples:

The Archives office is located in the lower level of the Bailey library and we are open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays. Please stop in when you’re in the area and see what all we have!