TOWN ADOPTED PUBLISHER'S NAME
The Colorado town of Greeley is named after a famous American newspaperman, Horace Greeley (1811-1872), who founded the New York Tribune newspaper in 1841. Later, he stood unsuccessfully for the United States presidency.
We learned of this in an email from our friend TV Hagenah (that's his real name), editor of the twice-weekly Quay County Sun, in Tucumcari (population 7000), New Mexico.
TV's narrative was so interesting that we asked him if we could post it in this e-book. He replied: "You are welcome to do so if you wish. I have not researched it. It was just the ramblings of a small town editor who got the paper out before 2 a.m. and didn't get enough sleep."
Here is TV Hagenah's story:
The town of Greeley was founded by an obsessive fan of Horace Greeley. When Greeley said, "Go West young man, go West," Nathan Meeker just knew he was talking to him. So he gathered a group of idealistic educators and business people around him and headed to the plains of Colorado to build a city based on the teachings of Greeley.
Meeker was one of those guys that just knew his idol was keenly aware of everything he was doing. It was far from the case. Meeker was sending daily letters to Greeley about the progress of the community and initially Greeley would read them, but as time went on he ordered his secretary to trash them.
Anyway, Meeker repeatedly begged Greeley to design the flag of the Greeley Tribune, named after Greeley and his New York newspaper. By this time Greeley was so sick of the guy he just wrote out in script the words "Greeley Tribune." And that was the Greeley Tribune flag for about 100 years.
Sometime in the 1980s (I believe) the owners of the paper decided the handwritten flag looked a bit silly and designed a modern "hip" masthead. They got so much grief about that from the locals, they ran the old flag superimposed on the new one. Now they've added another kind of flag (the Stars and Stripes) and demoted and reduced the size of Horace Greeley's original masthead.
Now a bit more history of Meeker. As I said, he was an obsessive. He was also something of a blue stocking. He allowed no "evil" influences to contaminate his community. There is still a law on the books in Greeley that if a woman shows her ankles in public she will be arrested. It is no longer enforced, but it is still there.
He also outlawed all liquor sales, dancing and general carrying on in Greeley, so a town grew up just on the edge of the utopian city to provide all those illicit pleasures to individuals who might want a periodic break from the purity of Greeley.
To combat this, Meeker had an eight-foot tall solid wooden fence built around the city separating it from Evans (the evil community). I am told that one of the hottest items in Greeley at that time were maps of the fence showing which slats were fixed so people could go through.
After a while, the people of Greeley eventually got sick of Meeker and ran him and some of his more fanatical followers out of town. He once again called upon Greeley to help him out, and Greeley got him a job as an Indian agent. In those days being an Indian agent was a sinecure and basically all you had to do was collect your pay, skim as much money from the tribes as possible and never go near the reservation.
Meeker would have none of that. He, his wife, his children and a handful of loyal followers actually went to the reservation to make sure the heathens were treated well. The Utes were a hunter/gatherer type tribe and he tried to convert them to farming and Christianity, basically not giving them supplies unless they did planting, went to church, dressed conservatively and the like.
Things went well until he tried to stop horseracing and betting by the Utes on those races. Apparently he had a crop planted on the racetrack and when they continued to race over the crop he punished those involved by withholding supplies and, I have heard, beating a young man involved with a whip.
The young men rose up and killed off all of the white men including Meeker. They were very polite to the women. That was the Meeker massacre. Soldiers came in and killed a number of the Indians and moved them out to a more isolated and desolate area. The town of Meeker now stands not far from the reservation site.
FEEDBACK: In western Kansas, there exists a Greeley County; the county
seat is Tribune and there is a hamlet a mile west called Horace. Greeley,
Colorado, is about 310 miles northwest (driving distance).