LS: History Here and Now November 21, 2008
Pioneer gravesite photos needed by preservation board
“I wanted to be buried in a tomb, on the hill over looking the Grand Valley.” That was the request in the will of George A. Crawford, founder of Grand Junction, who died 10 years after the city was established.
Crawford died Jan. 28, 1891, in the Brunswick Hotel, which he had built and where he lived when in Grand Junction. Crawford did not own a house in Grand Junction; he had a ranch on Rapid Creek near Palisade.
The house at 337 N. Seventh St. at the corner of Seventh and Grand Avenue often has been mistakenly referred to as the Crawford house. It is the White house, built in 1893, two years after Crawford’s death, by W.F. and Fannie White, owners of White Mercantile Co.
In addition to founding Grand Junction, Crawford was one of the founders of Delta and Fort Scott, Kan.
Crawford was often identified as “Governor Crawford,” a reference to the fact that he won election as governor of Kansas in 1861. That election was subsequently declared illegal, but the honorary title continued to be used by many.
Crawford’s tomb was not built until 1896, five years after his death. The land and the tomb were deeded to the city in 1953. Over the years, it had been vandalized and a fence was placed around the tomb in hopes of preventing any more vandalism.
At the foot of the hill, but still at a higher elevation than the Orchard Mesa Cemetery, are the burial plots of the Kent, McClintock and Allen families.
James S. and Amanda Kent and their daughter and son-in-law, Frances and Frank McClintock, came to Grand Junction in 1883, arriving a few months after the railroad was constructed through the area. All were said to be friends of George Crawford.
Both the Kents and McClintocks were committed to making the young town of Grand Junction an important hub in the West.
The McClintocks’ daughter, Merle, was an early-day society editor and one of the best-known Daily Sentinel reporters of the time. After she retired from her full-time Sentinel job, she continued to write stories about the town’s founding and early history. Known as “Miss Merlie” around the Sentinel, she was considered by Publisher Walter Walker the ultimate authority on the history of Grand Junction. By Mr. Walker’s orders, the facts she presented in those stories could not be challenged by anyone on the Sentinel staff.
The McClintocks’ sons were Dr. H.L. McClintock, who was a professor of law at the University of Minnesota, and
James K. McClintock, financial adviser of the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C.
James and Amanda Kent, and their grandson, James K., and his wife, Yna, are buried in the family plot on the hill. Mrs. Kent died in 1895, and from newspaper reports, this is when the family plot was built.
Although I couldn’t find a family connection between the Allens and the McClintocks, Allen is also buried in the Kent/McClintock family plot. J.J. Allen was one of the pallbearers for Amanda Kent when she died.
The obituary for Mary A. Allen, who died in California, said that the Allens were a pioneer family of Grand Junction and that “Old timers will remember the Allens in connection with the Allen School House that stood on the Indian School road about three miles east of Grand Junction.”
Kathy Jordan is retired from The Daily Sentinel and active in the Mesa County Historical Society.