Letter to the Editor: Actually, the town of Breckenridge already changed its name | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the Editor: Actually, the town of Breckenridge already changed its name

Bill Fountain
Breckenridge historian

In the March 10 issue of the Summit Daily, Bruce McWilliams suggested it was time for Breckenridge to change its name because John C. Breckinridge was a Confederate Army general. Well, Bruce, the town of Breckenridge did exactly that in 1862. The short version of the long story that I did extensive research on several years ago is this:

Breckenridge was platted by George E. Spencer, backed by Denver capitalists, at the end of August, 1859, three weeks after gold was discovered on the Blue River by Ruben Spaulding. He named the town, Breckenridge, after Breckenridge Pass (now called Boreas Pass), that was named after Thomas E. Breckenridge by John C. Fremont in 1845.

Spencer wanted a post office for his new town and it was suggested he change the spelling to Breckinridge naming it after the then Vice President of the United States, John C. Breckinridge, to help get that accomplished. So, In December 1859, he changed the spelling of his new town to Breckinridge when he sent in an application for a post office saying it was named after John C. Breckinridge. He was granted a post office on Jan. 18, 1860, with him as its first postmaster.

John C. Breckinridge, a Democrat, ran against Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, for President in November, 1860. After losing, he went back to the Senate in March 1861 as a senator from Kentucky.

In September, 1861, John C. Breckinridge joined the Army of the Confederacy and received the rank of brigadier general a month later. The United States Senate expelled Breckinridge on Dec. 4, 1861 and the residents on the town of Breckinridge, generally from non-slave states, expressed their dissatisfaction by changing the spelling from Breckinridge back to Breckenridge.

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