Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Colorado City's First Doctor


Doris McCraw aka Angela Raines

Photo property of the Author

Colorado City, otherwise now known as Old Colorado City had a doctor almost from the very beginning of its existence.

James Paul Garvin was born in September 1832 in the state of Pennsylvania. While no record has been found of his early medical education, we know that he came to Colorado at around the age of twenty-seven.

Image of Dr. James Paul Garvin from 
the Oct 12, 1952 edition of the
Colorado Springs Gazette

Once he arrived in Colorado city he and M. S. Beach set about building a cabin where Dr. Garvin not only lived and practiced medicine but also worked as a pharmacist, making his home a doctor's office and a drugstore.

Dr. Garvin remained in Colorado, not taking part in the fighting that we know as the Civil War. There is also the possibility that he was a sheriff in Denver for a brief time, but so far that has yet to be verified.

During Dr. Garvin's stay in Colorado, there is a very good chance that he would have traveled to other parts of the state, specifically gold mining camps, to tend to those who were ill. That he also might have spent time searching for gold is a real possibility.

There is much still to be found about Dr. Garvin's stay in Colorado, however brief that might have been.

From the Find A Grave website.

Sometime in the late 1860s Dr. Garvin left Colorado for good and returned to the East. He may have continued studying medicine, but we do know that he married Cedelia A. Butz, in January 1875 in Terre Haute, Indiana. It was her second marriage and his first. They had three children, two boys, and one girl. The couple later moved to St. Louis Missouri and then to Alton, Madison County Illinois. He remained there until his death in 1902.

Dr. James Paul Garvin and his time in Colorado city has been overshadowed by the cabin that he and Beach built. If one is to visit old Colorado city you will find the cabin standing in Bancroft Park. The building is considered the second oldest building in Colorado City and played a part in the storied beginning of Colorado as a territory and the "First Territorial Capital of Colorado". That is a story for another time.

Until next time, Doris 


Julie Lence said...

Nice blog, Doris. Hope historians are able to piece together more of his career in Colorado before he moved back east. Thank you for sharing.

Renaissance Women said...

My pleasure. I'm still digging, for I find his life pretty fascinating. Doris