Amongst the family papers I inherited from my grandmother and great-uncle (orphans Thelma and Fred McLean in my earlier A Telluride story post), I found several old shiny Xerox copies (remember these?) of news articles my great-uncle Fred had made. He must have kept his local library swimming in copy revenue judging by the many such copies I found amongst his papers.
Fred McLean was our family genealogist. He dutifully typed up family stories, transcribed census records and letters, and then sent copies to his sister and her four children, one of whom was my mother, Thelma Jr. I wish Fred were alive today because it was due to him that I have an interest and now gainful employment in the field of genealogy.
Uncle Fred’s copies included a piece about the “Pretty Home Wedding” of his parents, Telluride lawman Kenneth Angus McLean and Alice Pheasey, from the 19 April 1901 edition of the Daily Journal. There were also copies of each of their obituaries from the Telluride Journal, dated 26 October 1905 (Kenny) and 19 April 1906 (Alice). Alice’s obituary ran five years to the day the first paper printed the story on their wedding.
I decided to avail myself of a tool my uncle would have loved if it had been available when he was a younger man – the Internet – to see if there were any other news items about my ancestors. A Google search brought me to the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. I chose the Telluride newspaper from a drop-down menu and began typing in names.
“Kenneth McLean and Alice Pheas[e]y were married last night and left this morning on a bridal trip.”
The first story was a small notice about Alice and Kenny’s marriage that was followed the next day with the full and flowery write-up mentioned above (see above). This short piece on 18 April 1901 read: “Kenneth McLean and Alice Pheas[e]y were married last night and left this morning on a bridal trip.” The story of my great-grandparents’ lives unfolds in the pages of their small-town paper.
The 6 March 1902 issue told of what I hope was an unusual event: “K. A. McLean went up to Savage basin last Wednesday and on his way home, on the trail between the Tomboy and Smuggler [mines], his pistol was jolting in the scabbard and in removing the same to see what was the matter the gun was accidentally discharged and the ball, a forty-five Colt’s struck the horse he was riding in the neck, killing him instantly. The horse, Ned by name, belonged to R. N. Rogers and was considered one of the best saddle horses in town, Bob has a number of times refused $150 for him and he and Kenny feel pretty bad over the loss.”
“The stork visited the residence of Mr. and Mrs. K. A. McLean yesterday…”
In April 1902, a story ran about Kenny playing in a fifteen-night, 100-balls-to-a-game pool tournament at the Clipper Saloon, which he owned with his brother-in-law, Fred Pheasey; the purse was $50. In June, Kenny and two other men were appointed to the executive committee of Telluride Hose Company No. 1.
An August article listed Kenny as serving on two committees for the town’s Labor Day celebration, “the largest of the kind ever held in southwestern Colorado.” The public meeting included a “pretty thorough” discussion of plans for the event, which would include “drilling contests which will be open to the whole country.” In October of that year, Kenny was re-elected chairman of the “central committee” at an “intensely harmonious” Democratic county convention.
The 6 November 1902 issue brought happy news of my grandmother’s birth:
“The stork visited the residence of Mr. and Mrs. K. A. McLean yesterday and left a little girl [she was actually born two days before, on 4 November]. Just see what a pleasure it is to be a successful Democrat about election time.”