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"Nathaniel Cushman Alford, 1834 - 1916" was published in AAFA ACTION, Winter 1998, pp. 49-52. This biography is adapted from that article.
Bibliography: Watrous, Ansel. HISTORY OF LARIMER COUNTY COLORADO. Fort Collins, CO: The Courier Printing & Publishing Company, 1911.
Nathaniel C. Alford was born at South Hope, in the state of Maine, on the 29th of November, 1834. The story of Mr. Alford's life reads like a romance and is well worth the study of any young man as an example of what may be accomplished by diligent application to the work which presents itself, and a character of strict integrity. Until he was 18 years of age, our subject worked upon a farm in his native state and then served three years in learning the carpenter trade, receiving during this apprenticeship no other wages than his board.
At the age of 21 he started west, and, arriving at Rockford, Illinois, remained there three years working at his trade. In the spring of 1859, the Pike's Peak gold excitement being at its heighth, Mr. Alford was seized with the fever which at that time drove so many young men to the West. Joining with three others he went to St. Joseph, Missouri, and on the first of May the party started on the overland trip with an outfit of two yoke of oxen and one yoke of cows and a wagon and arrived in Denver in June of the same year. Of the hardships, such as they were, of the experiences of that journey we have no information.
The first work engaged in by Mr. Alford after his arrival in Denver was the pulling of one end of a whip-saw in the manufacture of lumber which was sold to the miners to be made into sluice boxes. In August, 1859, he went with a party of sixty to Middle Park, where they discovered the Breckenridge mines. They then went down the river through Eagle and Pitkin counties and finding themselves getting short of provisions were obliged to return to Idaho Springs.
During the next two years Mr. Alford was engaged in freighting between Denver and Missouri river points in the summer season. During the winter of 1861--2 he wintered his oxen at a place seven miles above Livermore, in Larimer county, and hauled game for a band of six hunters to Denver. The rigor of the life led at this time is evidenced by the fact that Mr. Alford camped during the entire winter without tent or other shelter.
In the summer of 1862 he crossed the Plains to Oregon and in the following winter went to the Boise mines in Idaho, where, in the succeeding summer, he started a vegetable farm, doing the first plowing and irrigation done in that state. Here he remained until the fall of 1865, in the summers carrying his vegetables with a train of sixteen pack mules to the mines in the valley.
He then sold his business and returned by the Panama route to his native state, but returned to Colorado in the Spring of 1867. When the town of Cheyenne, Wyoming, was started Mr. Alford was there and burned the first kiln of brick ever made in that state. The following winter found him conducting a grocery business at the Elizabethtown mines in New Mexico. Selling out his business at this place he went to Texas in the spring of 1868 and bought a herd of cattle which he drove to the Arkansas river and wintered, and in the following summer moved them to Nevada, where he sold them and returned to Colorado.
In 1870 he went with Mr. A.C. Goodhue to Illinois, where they purchased a train load of brood mares which they shipped to Colorado, this being the first train load of horses ever shipped over the Union Pacific road. The mares were held at Rock Creek, in Boulder county, during the summer of 1871, and Mr. Alford returned to Illinois where he purchased and brought to Colorado the first Norman draft stallion ever brought to the state. In the fall of 1871 he drove his horses and about one hundred head of cows into Larimer county and settled on Rabbit creek, a few miles north of Livermore.
His wanderings were now about at an end. In the winter of 1871--2 he returned to Maine and was married to Ann E. Hobbs of the town of Hope. The newly married pair arrived in Colorado in March, 1872, and went to their home on Rabbit creek. A log cabin with a single room was erected and served as the family mansion until the fall of 1880, when they moved to Fort Collins, which city has been their home to the present time.
In 1877 Mr. Alford served as a member of the first State Legislature of Colorado. In 1881 he embarked in the bee business, starting three apiaries and shipping the first car of honey ever sent out of Larimer county. This business was conducted successfully for eight years. In 1881 and the following year, joining with six other men, he started the construction of the Larimer County ditch, since known as the Water Supply & Storage Company ditch, and finished it to a point seven miles east of Boxelder creek. He was made president of the company and had charge of the work of construction.
With unusual foresight, Mr. Alford purchased a large body of land under the newly constructed ditch, which, as the benefits to be derived from irrigation became manifest, rose rapidly in value and secured him a competency for his declining years. The land thus purchased was fenced and farmed for a number of years, furnishing pasturage for about four hundred head of cattle during the winter season.
In 1893 he became a stockholder in the Poudre Valley bank and was elected a member of the directorate, which office he retained until the fall of 1909. At the time of the institution's being changed from a state to a national bank, in 1905, he was elected president and acted in that capacity until, warned by advancing age to seek relief from some of his business burdens, and in November, 1909, he resigned the position.
Mrs. Alford was permitted to enjoy life through all the years of struggle and for some time after their pathway had become less thorny. In the month of November, 1910, however, she was called from the scenes of this life. She will be long remembered as a kind and helpful neighbor, a devoted wife and loving and sensible mother.
There were born to Mr. and Mrs. Alford a son, George, who did not live to complete his first year, besides two sons and two daughters, who are still living in Larimer county. Of these children Fred C., was born on the 22nd of May, 1875; Lore E., on the 28th of Nov., 1876; Abbie A., on July 19th, 1878; Anna Helen, on Sept. 12th, 1885.
Mr. Alford's life has been that of a pioneer. To prepare the way for the comfort of those who followed him he faced the hardships and dangers of an entirely uncivilized country. To such men as he the country owes a debt which can scarcely be paid. With brains to plan, with courage to struggle against great odds, with perseverance to persist in the face of danger, with confidence in the future of a great people, they blazed the trails and marked in the desert with their camp-fires the sites of teeming cities which some of them, as the subject of this sketch, have been permitted to view ere called away to their rest.
Ancestors of Nathaniel Cushman Alford
Source: AAFA records -- corrections, changes, additions welcome
Nathaniel Cushman Alford born Nov 29 1834, South Hope, Knox County, Maine, occupation Rancher; married Anna E. Hobbs, born Feb 13 1844, Knox County, Maine, died Nov __ 1910, Larimer County, Colorado. Nathaniel died Jan 4 1916, Fort Collins, Larimer County, Colorado, buried: Grandview.
i George N. Alford born Apr 13 1873, Larimer County, Colorado, died Jan 14 1874, Larimer County, Colorado, buried: Grandview Cem, Ft Collins, Larimer Co CO.
ii Fred C. Alford born May 22 1875, Larimer County, Colorado. Death date unknown.
iii Lore E. Alford born Nov 28 1876, Larimer County, Colorado. Death date unknown.
iv Abbie C. Alford born Jul 19 1878.
v Anna H. Alford born Sep 12 1885, Larimer County, Colorado. Death date unknown.
Nathaniel Alford born Mar 13 1807, Warren County, Maine, occupation Colonel; married (1) Apr 13 1828, Deborah Cushman, born Jan 3 1806, Warren County, Maine, died Mar 14 1854, South Hope, Knox County, Maine. He married (2) Betsey P. Harwood, born Hope, Warren County, Maine. Nathaniel died Nov 21 1887, South Hope, Knox County, Maine.
Children by Deborah Cushman:
i Enoch L. Alford born Jun 5 1829, Knox, Maine; married Lydia Barclay, born LaGrange, Fayette County, Texas. Enoch died Jun 10 1912, Bexar, Texas, buried: Odd Fellow, Bexar, Texas.
ii Frances Helen Alford born Jan 3 1831, Waldoboro, Warren County, Maine; married Anson Hewitt, born Rockland, Warren County, Maine. Frances died Feb 5 1861.
iii Eliza Ellen Alford born Jun 13 1833, Waldoboro, Warren County, Maine; married . Blood; Theoran L. Blood, born Lawrence, Essex County, Massachusetts. Eliza died Dec 30 1863, Indiana.
iv Nathaniel Cushman Alford born Nov 29 1834.
v Delphina V. Parris Alford born Feb 25 1836.
vi Lore Alford born Mar 5 1838.
vi Llwellyn R. Alford born Sep 25 1839, Maine, died Sep 25 1839, Maine, buried: Maine.
viii Lucia Maria Alford born Mar 24 1841, Maine; Orison McGuire, born California.
ix Ana Louise Alford born Aug 2 1843, Maine, died Mar 12 1867, New Hampshire.
Children by Betsey P. Harwood:
x N. Gertrude Alford born Dec 15 1856, Maine.
xi Clara M. Alford born Mar 13 1858, Maine, died Nov 11 1860, Maine.
xii Ella Alford born Oct 27 1859, Maine, died May 22 1861.
xiii Katie W. Alford born Apr 20 1861, Maine.
xiv F. May Alford born Jun 26 1864, Maine.
Deacon Lore Alford born Nov 11 1766, Simsbury, Hartford County, Connecticut, occupation tanner; married Lydia N. Montgomery. Deacon died Nov 2 1818.
i Abigail Alford born 1790, Warren County, Maine, died 1793, Warren County, Maine. Abigail died of throat distemper.
ii Elizabeth Alford born Apr 7 1791, Warren County, Maine; married Feb 9 1815, in Knox, Maine, Boyce Crane, born Knox, Maine. Elizabeth died Jan 22 1875, Maine. They had ten children. [AAFA needs the names of the children.]
iii Eber Alford born 1792, died 1792. He died of throat distemper.
iv Amasa Alford born Sep 17 1795, Warren County, Maine, died Oct 24 1813. Amasa died of lockjaw.
v Louisa Alford born Apr 20 1797; married Calvin Hemenway. They had eight children. [AAFA needs the names of the children.]
vi Reuben Alford born about 1800.
vii Lore Alford born May 27 1801.
viii Charlotte Alford born Mar 30 1803.
ix Nathaniel Alford born Mar 13 1807.
Nathaniel Alford, Jr. born Jan __ 1738, Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut, married Feb 28 1760, in Simsbury, Hartford, Connecticut, Abigail Hill. Nathaniel died Jun 13 1818, Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut.
Nathaniel Alford, Sr. born Feb 10 1698, Simsbury, Hartford, Connecticut, married Jul 31 1724, in Simsbury, Hartford, Connecticut, Experience Holcomb, who was born 1707, Simsbury, Hartford, Connecticut, died Simsbury, Hartford, Connecticut. Nathaniel died Feb 6 1769, Simsbury, Hartford, Connecticut, buried: Feb 6 1769, Simsbury, Hartford, Connecticut.
Josiah Alford (Benedict5, Thomas4 William3, Alexander2, John1) born Jul 6 1649, Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut, married May 22 1693, in Simsbury, Hartford, Connecticut, Hannah Westover, who was born Apr 8 1668, Killingwirth, Hartford, Connecticut, died Aug 10 1753. Josiah died Aug 12 1722, Simsbury, Hartford, Connecticut.