This week in history Nov. 12, 1921: County assessor dies in fire, 5 injured in car accident

A baby show was held by the Japanese colony in Los Angeles recently. It was open to all babies between 1 and 2 years old.
Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection/Courtesy photo

This week in history as reported by The Summit County Journal the week of Nov. 12, 1921:

Nocturnal disaster robs county of an efficient servant

Since Thursday afternoon there is a burial mound in Valley Brook Cemetery that few will ever look upon without deep emotion of a singular kind. Beneath the mound rests the remains of County Assessor William T. Keogh, one of Summit County’s most popular figures in social fraternal and political life, who was beloved by many and disliked by few, if any. The remains were deposited there that afternoon by Blue Valley American Legion Post No. 17, of which Mr. Keogh’s older son is a member.

Mr. Keogh’s charred and heat-mutilated body was found at 3 a.m. Tuesday morning in the smoking ruins of a house in the woods on the west side of the Blue River, within the town limits of Breckenridge. The house had been discovered in flames about four hours before.

An alarm had been given and a long hose stretched to the building, but no water was turned onto the flames because an inquiry found that there was no one in the building and that the fire had made too much headway to save anything but unsightly, valueless ruins.

When the fire and smoke had died down considerably and the ruins of the interior gradually came into view, a body was found on the remains of a bed and the coroner was notified. A diamond ring on the left hand identified the body as Mr. Keogh.

Though unconfirmed, Keogh likely fell asleep on the bed as an unguarded kerosene lamp ran amuck and ignited the house while Keogh suffocated.

The 46-year-old arrived in Denver in 1887 and became a corporal serving in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. He returned to Denver and shortly afterward came to Frisco to conduct a general merchandise store for the Excelsior Mines Co.

He married Miss Edna B. Buffington in 1900 and the couple moved to Leadville before returning to Summit County and settled at Robinson, where 15 years ago we was called to the office of county assessor.

He and Buffington had four children ranging in ages 8 to 20 who are now parentless, as Buffington died two years ago. Keogh is survived by two brothers and two sisters.

Car turns over and injures 5 riders

J.E. Collett and E.W. Sproutt of Denver, Henry Brown and Ben Clawson of Yuma, and traveling salesman J.A. Lott received severe bruises and cuts when the auto their were riding in turned over a curve on the road just outside of Breckenridge.

Lott was driving on the Blue River and had just gone over Hoosier Pass when he came upon the four others stalled. Their car had been put out of commission by a broken connecting rod, so he drove them to Breckenridge.

The brake failed to work just outside of town on a sharp curve. One man went through the windshield and two went through the top. The five lifted the car back into the road and came into town, where Dr. Charles Condon dressed their wounds.

Breckenridge thoroughly celebrates Armistice Day

Breckenridge celebrated Armistice Day yesterday under the auspices of the Blue Valley American Legion Post No. 17. The weather was perfect to hold the events in front of the firemen’s hall. A good-sized crowd had gathered at noon, and with the exception of the strong wind that was blowing, the day was superb.

Marshal Stuard tapped the fire bell as the clock struck noon, and all other bells in town were tolled at the same time. The effect of the chime was very impressive as it called together all of our citizens in prayer for the solemn occasion. The ceremony was held in memory of all unknown dead, marked by the burial of an unknown hero in the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington.

After speeches and songs, the evening program consisted of a grad fireworks display followed by a ball in the G.A.R. hall. The hourlong fireworks display was the biggest part of the celebration, consisting of many types of fire and it was proclaimed to be the best seen in Breckenridge for several years.

The ball was also a red letter event with novelties such as paper hats, confetti and balloons. The large crowd danced until the early hours of the morning, and all will look forward to the Armistice Day celebration each year.

Commissioners go to Denver on highway matters

County commissioners H.A. Recen, Eli Fltecher and Andrew Lindstrom left for Denver yesterday morning to meet with state highway officials.

They expect to confer with them on road matters in general, but is is expected that the Holy Cross trail, via Loveland and Shrine passes, will be the most important subject to come before the meeting.

Commissioners from all the counties to be affected by this new cross-state highway are expected to meet in the capital city during this time and some definite plans for commencing work will be formulated. It is thought that a big share of Colorado’s federal aid money appropriated by congress during the past week will be applied on this highway.

Hoosier Pass still in fine shape for auto travel

Hoosier Pass is still in fine shape for auto travel, and cars are running over it every day. There is no snow left on the road and the Summit County side is in very fine condition. The Alma side on the pass has been very rough all summer and still shows no signs of improvement.

Local news notes from all around Summit County

  • J.A. Ober and Leon Ames were Dillon callers at Breckenridge Tuesday.
  • C.W. Palmer and son A.W. of the lower Blue spent the first couple of days this week in Breckenridge.
  • Thomas Sharp of Montezuma and L.A. Wildhack of Frisco attended the Keogh funeral Thursday afternoon.
  • John Valaer is up from his ranch on Willow Creek and is tearing down his former Breckenridge residence. He intends to rebuild it on his ranch.
  • Dr. E.W. Shrock drove over from Alma Thursday morning. He was accompanied by G.W. Patterson, who is employed in one of the Alma mines.

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