First edition of The Colorado Chieftain

First edition of The Colorado Chieftain

The first edition of The Colorado Chieftain Volume 1, Number 1, was printed June 1, 1868. The original 1868 edition was bound with the 1868 weekly editions and stored in a safe at the The Pueblo Chieftain for 145 years. In 2013 the edition was donated to the Pueblo City-County Library District Special Collections department and added to their complete collection of The Pueblo Chieftain and Star Journal newspapers spanning 1869-1965. The fragile first edition is in need of conservation, but the entire bound volume is in remarkable condition considering the age and ephemeral nature of newsprint. 

How Does The Artifact Relate to Colorado History

The Colorado Chieftain assembled an impressive editorial board and benefactors composed of prominent Colorado figures in order to provide quality writing. Henry Thatcher, prominent rancher and banker, Judge Wilbur Fiske Stone, noted Colorado historian, and George Hinsdale, who eventually became Lt. Governor were all members of the editorial board. Judge Wilbur Fisk Stone was the first editor of The Colorado Chieftain and remained editor until 1873. The edition reported significant news documenting Colorado and the Southwest, describing the landscape, and diverse peoples occupying the area. A June 5th editorial in the Rocky Mountain News predicted success for the fledgling newspaper.

Why Is This Artifact Significant?

The Colorado Chieftain was the first newspaper published in Southern Colorado. This weekly publication was founded by Dr. Michael Beshoar in the pioneer town of Pueblo in what was then Colorado Territory. Beshoar enlisted the assistance of Sam McBride as the printer and ordered a Washington hand press and paper with Stebbins & Porter in Denver to provide the first newspaper to the area. The first edition provides an account of the geography and history of Southern Colorado and reported the death of Kit Carson, an article written by Wilbur Fisk Stone. Dr. Beshoar treated Carson prior to his death.

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Artifact Location

Pueblo City-County Library District
100 E Abriendo Ave
Pueblo, CO 81004
United States

First edition of The Colorado Chieftain

Year(s) Nominated
2015 Top Ten