Welcome to Elbert County, Colorado!
Hello, my name is Pauline Drobny, volunteer coordinator for Elbert County. My roots go back a little over 100 years when two sets of great-grandparents settled in the eastern part of the county. As a child, I lived on my grandfather's farm near Matheson, which he built when he married my grandmother in 1916. I now live about an hour away at the base of Pikes Peak so am not quite "local" but do travel to Elbert County, although not quite as much as when I still had close relatives there.
Named after Samuel Hitt Elbert, Governor of the Territory of Colorado, Elbert County was created in 1874 from eastern portions of Douglas County and part of the former Greenwood County. It originally stretched all the way to the Kansas state line. In 1889 the eastern portion of Elbert County became Lincoln, Kit Carson and Cheyenne counties. See Colorado County Evolution for a history of county formation. Shortly after the county's creation, on August 1, 1876, Colorado, "The Centennial State", attained statehood. The photo above shows the central part of the county facing west-southwest. Pikes Peak, inspiration for Katherine Lee Bates' "America the Beautiful" in 1893, is the mountain on the horizon. The dark portion below the mountain is Black Forest which straddles El Paso, Douglas and Elbert counties. This is part of the Palmer Ridge which juts out from the front range of the Rockies. Far northern, eastern and southern portions of the county are similar to the foreground and supports farming.
The Smoky Hill Trail, operated by the Butterfield Overland Despatch from 1859 until 1871, passed through east central Colorado on its route from Missouri to Denver. It skirted the Arapahoe and Cheyenne reservation which once occupied the south-eastern corner of present-day Elbert County generally from the Big Sandy south to the Arkansas River. Branches of the trail broke off at Big Sandy near Limon, and at Cedar Point now in the county, to serve early-day settlers. So far I haven't observed any "BOD" posts which marked the route as there are in Kansas. The service ended in 1871 when the railroad reached Denver.
Elbert's neighbors are Lincoln County, El Paso County, Douglas County and Arapahoe County. If you don't find your ancestors here take a look in our neighboring counties. While not quite "next door", Washington County may also contain data on your ancestors. Further research sites for the state of Colorado can be found on the Resources page.
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