The Babcock home; Alonzo Babcock homesteaded here. Date unknown.
Alonzo S. Babcock, born in February 1838 in Willimantic, Connecticut, traveled to the Colorado Territory with his brother in 1859. They settled in Boulder, which was nothing more than a few shacks at the time. Alonzo helped to plan the town of Boulder, putting in streets and lots for businesses and residences. After hearing about the gold rush in the mountains, Alonzo went up to Central City to try his hand at gold mining. He met with no real success, so he returned to the Denver area in early 1860. He settled on a homestead a few miles south of Littleton and made it his home. Four years later, 26 year old Alonzo married a 19 year old local girl, Rose Estlack. They had several children: Jessie, Eugene, Charles, Ida (who died at 1 year of age), and John. Rose passed away in May of 1877 at the age of 32, due to complications from the birth of her son, John, who died the following year.
Alonzo desperately needed a wife to care for the children, and found the ideal candidate in Lillian Darrow, a local schoolteacher. They were married in 1879. Eldest daughter, Jessie, kept a short diary of daily life on the homestead. In it she described the activities of her father, stepmother, brothers, and several others. Alonzo was a life-long Republican and all elections were important events. He often had guests stop by to discuss politics. Jessie's brothers did chores and went hunting, while Jessie made the beds, cooked, sewed, and kept track of the "goings-on." According to her diary(PDF, 163KB), Jessie's grandparents lived with the family. Jessie married John Pollack and remained in the area all of her life.
The Babcock ranch, c.1902.
Alonzo made many friends in the Littleton community. He was a man of strong character who "prided himself on his strict honesty in all his dealings..." From 1878 until 1882, Alonzo served as Deputy U.S. Marshall for the District of Colorado. Later, he served as deputy sheriff of Douglas County. He also farmed and successfully raised cattle at his homestead.
Tragedy struck the Babcock family one hot July, in 1900. Charley Babcock, the 29 year old son of Alonzo, shot himself one evening. He had been working hard in a hay field approximately ten days before and had developed a severe case of heat stroke. A suicide note was found and an inquest determined that Charley had died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds. The Babcock family deeply mourned his loss.
Alonzo was considered one of the most prominent citizens of the area. When he died on January 31, 1903, his obituary was printed on the front page of the Littleton Independent. Alonzo died at the homestead he first purchased in 1860. Two children, Eugene and Jessie survived him.
Babcock, Jessie. Diary. 1867. Collection. Littleton Museum.
Littleton Independent. Littleton, Colo.; The Littleton Independent Publishers, 1888-.
Littleton Museum. Biographical File: "Babcock."
Photographs courtesy of the Littleton Museum unless otherwise noted. To order copies, contact the museum at 303-795-3950.
Compiled by Rebecca Dorward
Edited by Phyllis Larison and Lorena Donohue
Updated March 2021 by Phyllis Larison