Tuesday, April 14, 2020


Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines
Copywrite 2020

 Honoring Their Story

The Headstone that started the research journey
Photo property of the author
Anyone who knows me, knows I spend a lot of time in cemeteries. No, I don’t have a morbid fascination with death. I simply have always been fascinated with the stories told on the stones. So much history, much of it day to day, yet special in its own way. In this post, I thought I’d share one of the stories I’ve found in researching what was written on the stones. Hopefully, the story will resonate with you as it did with me.

This story takes place in Bijou Basin in Colorado. According to enWikipedia, the town of Bijou Basin was situated in El Paso County near the border with Elbert County and looks to have had a train station and a post office that opened in 1869. The area also is known as Bijou Basin, in both Elbert and El Paso Counties was noted for the land that supported cattle and sheep growing.

Additionally Chief Black Kettle, John Charles Fremont, and Kit Carson were also known to have traversed this basin that is bounded by East and West Bijou Creek which meets to become Bijou Creek. This Creek flows north to join the South Platte River near Fort Morgan.

D.M. Holden was one of the first settlers in Bijou Basin along with Steven Holden, and Lewis Hayden who arrived around 1860. This is the story of D.M and his wife Isabel Hayden Holden.

Daniel M. Hayden was born in Antwerp, Jefferson County, New York on August 10, 1833. He arrived in Colorado in 1859, staying briefly in Denver. He died on August 12, 1896. He married Isabel Hayden in November of 1865.

Isabel was born on January 12,1847, in Elkhart, Elkhart County Indiana although other sources have her being born in Iowa. She did live in Iowa for some time before moving to Colorado. Her father was Lewis Hayden.

Photo of cabins near the area - the family may have lived in such a place
Photo property of the author
The couple remained in Bijou Basin until 1882 when they moved to Colorado Springs. They had a ranching concern in the Basin and after moving to town, title to the land seems to have been retained. Mr. Hayden was involved in ranching, banking, mining and owned property in both Colorado Springs and Colorado City. It was said, while no member of a specific church, he gave generously to the building of four different churches in town.

Isabel died in October of 1931 at the age of eighty-five. According to her obituary in the paper, she had six children, ‘lived through Indian troubles and the perils of pioneer life.’

The stories of these early pioneers can be found in newspapers, family journals, city directories and sometimes books. Wherever they can be found, the stories originate with the names and dates on the stones. It is the dashes in between that hold the gold.

These three novels take place in the fictional town of Kiowa Wells
east of the area covered in this post. All can be purchased from Amazon
Bijou Basin News Article

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here


Julie Lence said...

Interesting, Doris. Is Bijou Street in C. Springs names after Bijou Basin? Always wondered the origin of that name. It took me forever to learn how to pronounce.

Renaissance Women said...

I'm not totally sure, but the streets east to west in downtown are named for rivers in Colorado, so the likelihood is pretty strong that it was named for the creeks that run through there. Doris

Kristy McCaffrey said...

So much history. Always fascinating. Thanks Doris!

Renaissance Women said...

You are welcome, Kristy. I have to say one of my abiding passions is to find and tell the stories of the people who helped create this country we live in. Each time I visit a cemetery or read an old newspaper my mind just takes off. Doris