Reflections from Point Park

PP-sign     A Special Place On the Shore of Grand Lake, Colorado

Researched and written by Steve Batty

My family has been coming almost every summer to Grand Lake since 1908 when Jay Adams invited the Battys and Keesters, from Jay’s former home in Alma, Nebraska. That first fall, the Battys, and Keesters purchased two adjoining lots on the south shore of the lake and had a duplex log cabin built by local craftsmen the following year.

I’ve been spending some part of almost every summer at the family cottage since I was a year old. I’m now 72 and usually refer to the Grand Lake area as “My Mountain Paradise”. This includes the area from Mount Baldy to the Rabbit Ear’s Range (now named The Never Summer Range) on the west side of Middle Park. Continue reading

aka Barney McCoy

This project began as I was reading Nell Pauly’s book, The Day Before Yesterdayone fall afternoon while sitting outdoors at The Hub sipping a cup of coffee. It was a beautiful September day with the aspen in full color. The temperature was perfect and Mia, my springer spaniel, was foraging for crumbs and handouts at the other tables.

Nell’s book is about Who’s Who in the Grand Lake Cemetery and is copyrighted in 1972 and can be purchased in the Kaufmann House Museum. Nell (1905-1981) also credits much of the material in her book to her one time mother-in-law Josie Kalsay Young Langley, who for forty-six years was proprietress of the Rustic Inn, on the west shore of Grand Lake.

The story I read that day delt with the life of Little Bill Lehman, his cousins Big Bill Lehman, Art Lehman and friend Barney McCoy.

Nell’s description of Little Bill went something like this. Little Bill was born aboard a ship while his mother was on her way from Germany and spent his childhood traveling between the several Lehman families living in Grand County. He was slight of build compared to his two cousins and struggled at making a living, performing menial labor jobs in the Grand Lake area. He was very shy with women and as he grew older his temper grew with him. When you did see Little Bill he usually was caring his small .22 caliber rifle.

National prohibition had started in 1920 but that did not curb a man’s thirst for liquor. Eventually Little Bill found his niche making white lightening and distributing it in the county.

His two larger cousins teased their smaller, younger cousin terribly. To make matters worse, after he had strained the bugs out of his hooch and bottled it, his cousins would make off with it and have themselves a good night of drinking with friends.

Eventually Little Bill threatened to shoot cousin Art if he took any more of his product. Of course, that did not stop Big Bill, Art and Barney. In June of 1932 Little Bill’s stash of hooch once again disappeared so he went looking. He knocked on J.B’s cabin door with rifle at the ready. When Art opened the cabin door, Little Bill fired. He missed Art and managed to shoot poor Barney McCoy in the heart. He died there on the spot. Little Bill fled and hid out in the snowy hills north of Grand Lake but eventually turned himself in to the law. Little Bill was tried, found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for the criminal insane at Canon City State Prison.

In Defense of Barney McCoy, page 139
US Military – 1stWorld War 1884-1932

“Barney McCoy and his wife Josephine came to Grand Lake in the early 1930. No one ever knew just what brought them. It was widely speculated that they were running from something.”…… During their initial stay they spent time with different families and even rented from Nell and Jake Young for three weeks before renting their own little place along the Tonohoota Creek Trail. Nell and Jake found them to be a very delightful couple, congenial and friendly.

Once the couple was established in their own place they started associating with Art and both Little and Big Bill Lehman. Because Art and Little Bill were into bootlegging whisky it was assumed that Barney was too. Then that fateful day in June 1932, when Little Bill came hunting his cousin Art for stealing his hooch, stopped by J. B’s cabin to do him in but missed and drilled poor Barney through the heart ending his life. Barney went to boot hill and Little Bill to prison for life.

After Barney’s demise more bad rumors started going around town and it seemed that Barney had been the cause of all the crimes in town. Jake and Nellie defended Barney since they had known him as a good, kind and gentle man.

At the funeral, and most folks had left, Jo McCoy, looking lovely in a black satin gown, bent down, kissed Barney on his large white brow and said “It was wonderful while it lasted, Darling.”

Some years later a new marble headstone arrived and replace the worn out white wooden cross, which had marked his grave.

I had been intrigued by Nell’s story of Little Bill Lehman, Barney and Josephine McCoy. It became a personal challenge to me to see if I could learn more about Max K Fraughton aka Barney McCoy. So, as I usually do in mysteries like this one, I went online, typed in and away I went.

First I went looking for Max. In the 1920 US census it showed him living in Heber City Utah with his mother, Eliza and two younger brothers and had been born in 1895. His father was born in English Canada and his mother in Sweden. He was a laborer and worked for wages on a farm.

The next entry indicated he sailed from New York City on June 28th1918 on the ship Justicia for France and that his service number was 1640081. He was an automatic replacement draft – Artillery. Then a little further down on the list it showed he departed St. Nazaire, France on June 20 1919 aboard the ship Pocahontas bound for Fort Hill, Newport News, VA.  Other document shown on were 1) War Service Questioner (with a wrong birthdate on it), 2) Military Service Card showing he received no wounds and was not in any engagements (did not see action), his 3) WW I Military Draft Registration card indicated he was medium build, medium height, light hair and blue eyes. His family shows up in the 4) 1910 Federal Census but his name was Mode Graughton but all the other facts about him match the 1920 census. The 1900 US census showed him listed as Mode Fraughton, same family and to show he was born in 1894 or 95.

Then I went searching for Barney McCoy and Josephine. What appeared first was the 1929 Denver City Directory and – McCoy, Barney (Josephine) cook and they resided at 4845 Irving St.. They also appeared in the 1930 US Census records for Grand Lake, CO with a few notable exceptions. He gave Alabama as his birthplace, age 40 and both of his parents were from Ireland. Josephine was born in Washington and her parents were Canada – English.

So I surmised that the two were hiding out under the alias of McCoy but why choose the name, Barney McCoy? So now I switched over to google search for the name Barney McCoy in the 1920s. And after over looking all the still living Barney McCoy names I found an entry titled “Ernest Stoneman& Uncle Eck Dunford-Barney McCoy – YouTube.” When I clicked on the link I was listening to an old song by the two men. The original song was written in 1881 and now in 1925 was making a come back. It was about a couple of young lovers wanting to migrate out of Ireland and the young lass needing to choose between leaving with Barney or staying with her family. It rather sounded like what was happening with the Grand Lake Barney and Josephine. My thought was that they just used the information in the song to hide themselves in the Denver City Directory and the 1930 US Census in Grand Lake.

I attempted to use to locate a news article that might indicate what crimes Max had supposedly committed. The only newspaper articles I located on Max had to do with is being in the Utah National Guard during the war to end all wars.

It looked to me that my search for Max K. Fraughton, aka Barney McCoy, had come to an end. Well, I might have been a little hasty in my conclusion.

Several months later, I was using to do some of my own family research. I was using the information I found to make my Family Tree when I searched Max K. Fraughton and found a LifeStory timeline on him.

It showed that he had married one Mattie Josephine Whitworth and they had a girl child by the name of Cleo McCoy. In the timeline it stated that they had married in 1913 in Somervell, TX. All of the information in his timeline was correct except for Cleo and his marriage to Josephine. It was all confusing to me until I stopped by the SWN Genealogy Society office in McCook.

It was explained to me that LifeStory timelines were manufactured by from entries found on family trees. Some how Mattie Jo and Max were shown as married. A computer program did the rest.

In further searching I found that Mattie Jo had married Barney C. McCoy in 1913 in Somervell, Texas. They had four children then divorced. She had moved to Wichita, Texas and died in 1961.

I was able to learn the owner of the family tree that contained Max and his family. Thinking she, the owner, might have additional information on Max and Josephine I could use in this article, I tried to contact her. I was even able to find where she and her husband are living but no phone number. I’ve emailed her four times and written her a snail mail letter with no replies.

So, I’ve decided there might be two possible ending to his story. The one about how they used the song to come up with aka Barney McCoy. And the one where he actually hooked up with Mattie Josephine Whitworth McCoy and used her ex husbands name to hid under.

The choice is yours. At this point in my investigation, I can believe either one but at this moment I’m leaning toward them borrowing her ex’s name.

Little Bill Lehman eventually died at Canon City State Penitentiary in 1951 and is buried under a rusty metal marker showing his location.

Along my journey to learn more about Max K. Fraughton aka Barney McCoy I found lots of material using and I would like to share some of my findings as jpg images:

Note 1)I shared this blog with Jane Kemp and here is her reply.

“Great story! Here’s an interesting note about Billy Lehman which I found in our safe. There is an affidavit signed by James Cairns, my grandfather,  that the still which the Sheriff found on his North Inlet property did not belong to him and that he had no knowledge of it. There is also an affidavit signed by Billy Lehman that the still belonged to him and that James Cairns had no knowledge of it.”

James Cairns was an early Grand Lake settler, land owner and business leader. I believe he owned a quarter section up the north inlet surrounding Tonahutu creek. James Cairns died in 1925 so the affidavits had to be dated prior to is death.

Note 2) The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution prohibited making, transporting and selling alcoholic beverages. The Volstead Act spelled it out and law enforcement began in 1920. The 21st amendment to the Constitution repealed the 18th Amendment.  The Volstead allowed Little Bill Lehman to go from laborer to entrepreneur. It was too bad for both Barney and Little Bill that he could not have kept his anger in check for another eighteen months.

Note 3)ADDED 2/22/2020
The following letter was received from Barney’s’ or should I say, Max’s’ grandnephew the summer of 2019. Evidently Josephine McCoy had written it from Lusk, WY and mailed it to Max’s brother, whom she believed was the sheriff of Heber City, UT. According to what the society learned there has never been a Fraughton who was the sheriff of that town.It looks like Max might have assumed his Barney McCoy alias from the song after all.

I called the very small town of Lusk, WY but they had no record of her living there and the 1940 census did not include her name in the WY census. I also looked for Mrs. Aster in the GL 1930 US census but did not locate her name.

Lusk, Wyoming
August 1932

Mr. Fraughton
Sheriff, Heber City, Utah

My dear Mr. Fraughton

Tonite I received a phone call from Mrs. Aster at Grand Lake informing me that you had been in Grand Lake checking up on your brother.  The man I have been living with as his wife since December 24th, 1928.  I knew him as Barney McCoy.  But I knew little of his history.  He was fair to me in so much as he told me McCoy was not his correct name.  Before we decided to make our arrangement permanent, he told me he had been in a “jam”, and that he was an escaped convict.  But that made no difference to me.  I never pressed him for particulars because I knew the horror he had of having to go back, and if I didn’t know his name or the location in which his crime was committed I couldn’t ever tell, and cause him any trouble.  He told me tho, that he did not commit the crime that he plead “guilty” to.

I don’t know what the people of G.L. said about us, the way we lived or anything else.  But I am sure that if you could have known our home life you would have seen that we were all to one another.  He made me happy, and I know he was happy with me.

During the years we were together he spoke some of his early life, and told me disconnected things about his war record.  Last winter, as you have probably been told, we were snowed in at the cabin we called “Trails End”.  Perhaps some one took you up to our little home, I hope so.  He spoke so much of Utah and the Mormon people this winter.  He also, I planned a trip over there thru that state and he said he would gather up the threads, and then I would know all about him.  Also he said we would be married in “his” church.  But something bigger than we were stopped all that.  He died so suddenly.  One thing he always told me to remember and get his finger prints if something did (happen to him.)

I asked the corner to make a list of all the marks of identification anywhere on his body, together with his fingerprints, but when I asked for this I was told the original had gone in thru the American Legion to the War Office in Washington, D.C. and that there was no duplicate or copy.  You see I had no money and my job here was waiting.  I couldn’t stick around and wait or fight.  So I had to be content with writing what I know to the genealogy Dept of his church and wait for the Legion to make their investigation.  I imagine you have been told how the whole business as the time of Barney’s killing was messed up.  When I got to the morgue 36 hrs after he was killed his face hadn’t even been washed.  Then I couldn’t have any of the things he had in …..  (maybe half of the page was not recorded)

…a sherriff somewhere but never said where.  He said you were like his father.  Big – not a little runt like him.  He also spoke of a sister who had some pretty children.  I thot someway that you lived in Wyoming.  Barney told me that the place he escaped from had “contract labour” and he had to work in a shirt factory.  I knew Wyoming had such an arrangement in Rollins.  I made inquiries at Cheyenne for a sheriff by the name of Fraughton, but Mr. Carroll said there had been none in any county by that name for the past 12 years.  I found Barney scribbling “Max K Fraughton” over and over on a piece of paper one day, and when I asked him what he was doing he said “Just writing a name I like”

You know I suppose the identifying marks on his body – if not I can send you a list.  He had M.K.F. on his left leg just above the knee and he once told me that was the oldest of his tattoos.  That’s what made me connect the name he had written with the initials.

Now I was and am very anxious to make a contact with any of Barney’s people, and naturally if I am entitled to any govt. compensation I need and want that, but I would rather do without a dime from that source than to drag his name thru the mud, and blacken it by going thru the Dept of Justice to establish his identity.  I suppose everyone told you about his…. Know and understand that he was not a drunk.  He was the kindest and most loving and considerate man that ever lived.  All ways doing something for others.  I spent nearly six years of complete happiness with him.  We loved one another.  We never had a baby.  Once we thot we were, but the good God thot otherwise.  I was terribly sick and we lost it.  Mac was brokenhearted over it.  But as things are now it must have been all for the best.  The last 2½ years Barney had not been well.  Last summer he had a cancer removed from his jaw, and he never was the same.

Yes, he did everything they told you he did.  Illegal trapping and bootlegging, but he was not physically able to work.  And we had to live.  He made me a living and looking back on our life with each other I realize that our six years together mean more than some married people 60.  For he had no outside activities or interest, and I gave up any and all of mine, and he more than made up in his love for me.  We were happy – But he had that dread of something that kept getting bigger all the time and he wasn’t well; he was afraid of another cancer.  The shell-shocked condition of his made him brood over these things more all the time.  Brother mine, I have seen him lie with his eyes shut and the tears dripping from under the closed lids.  When I asked him “why”, he used to say “I am no good to myself and a …………………….

….thru Sunday nite Aug 22 at 9 o’clock and I’ll be at the phone office.  I do wish I could have met you.  But I have not the money to make the trip to Heber City.  I am going to G.L. with 5 people that want a weeks’ vacation, and they are paying my expenses for the use of my little cabin for 9 days.  I have to be here in Lusk, Wyo on my job the 1st of Sept.  Its only board and room, but thats something in this day and age of the depression.  Perhaps we could set a place midway of GL and Heber City, where we could meet and talk “our family” over.  Did you see the place where I put him?  Isn’t it beautiful?

If you have succeeded in establishing Barney’s identity, I suppose the next thing is to establish mine as his wife.  We lived as man & wife since 12 – 1928 and the couple that were with us that nite we claimed we were such for the first time, can be got at, and are more than ready to sign acknowledgments.

Its queer to think McCoy as a name does not belong to us.  But names don’t matter after all.  He was a man, the man that brot heaven nearer to me than it ever ever came before.  My own Barney –

This letter is long and disconnected but I want you to understand I’d rather never have a dime as long as I live than to think the memory our friends have of him should be replaced……….


2016 GLAHS Newsletter



Searching for Grand Lake’s Colonel Thomas Norton Gimperling

My journey started September 2010 when my Grand Lake neighbor, Bob Jackson gave me an old padlock. The lock had been left behind when the Ferry family had sold him their south shore lake cottage in 1996. In its place, Bob and Mary Ann built one of the nicer new log homes on the lake. The tag on the old lock had written on one side: T.N. Gimperling, Grand Lake, Colorado, and stamped G. A. Spitzmiller, Grand Lake, Colo….

Click on each page below to see a larger image to read the newsletter and the rest of my Gimperling story.

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If you would like to read more of Steve’s Col. Gimperling’s journey just follow this URL.

Also Coming Up…

Wednesday, July 8th 7:00 pmFree GLAHS Annual Meeting and Community Presentation at the GL Community House Hoppe Southway will regale us with the history, and his stories and tales of the Southway Lodge, followed by a brief intermission for treats and then the annual meeting for GLAHS members. The Southway Lodge was still operating in this 1969 advertisement. Can you figure out what the building is used for today?


Saturday, June 25th 5:30 pm – @9:00 pm Souper Stars for the Cottage Camp – This delightful event has a new location this year, high on a hill with an “out-of-this-world” view!

Entertainment by Tight Like That, four kinds of amazing soups and all the extras, live auction, adult beverages, and great company! $50 All proceeds benefit the Cottage Camp Campaign. For information, to receive a written invitation including directions to the venue, or to RESERVE, 970-627-8324 or

Tuesday, July 19th 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Victorian Tea at the The Historic Rapids Lodge – Bring your own or borrow one of our hats! $20 To RESERVE, 970-627-8324 ,, or call the Rapids at 970-627-3707.





Vintage Time Traveler’s Campfire

The Invitation:

The GLAHS is busy preparing for the August 24th Model T Vintage Time Travelers Campfire and Chicken Dinner at the Cottage Court site. It will be great fun – old-timey music, storytelling, and delicious food as we celebrate the Centennial of our National Park and give the Ts a great send off as they begin their reenactment of the 1920 Park-to-Park Trek. They’re not many, but these are some brave and hardy Model T owners taking this on. The first folks attempting a tour of 12 National Parks in 1920 had to deal with crummy roads. Today it’s no easier. Really, where does one go for a quick repair on a Model T? We’ll wish them all our best and have fun looking at their automobiles!

The event was a complete success. Lots of folks showed up to enjoy seeing the vintage cars, visiting with their owners, listening to the songs, music, and eating lots of fried chicken.

The following are several of the photos taken at the campfire. Just click on the photo to see a larger version.

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2015 GLAHS Newsletter


Click on each of the seven pages below to see a larger image and read the newsletter.

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July 2nd GLYC Event


What’s New at the GLAH Society 2015?

P.O. Box 656 Grand Lake, CO  80447   Facebook:Smith-Eslick Cottage Court

Volunteers Needed
…and Adored!
As soon as the weather starts to look a bit like Spring, we at the Historical Society begin thinking of all the projects soon to come. Please consider giving us a much needed hand:
* Docents are needed at the Kauffman House Museum, open daily 11:00am – 5:00pm beginning May 23rd.  Each docent works with a partner for a three-hour shift per week. We’ll help you learn what to do, and can guarantee you’ll learn more about area history and host many happy visitors!  Give us a call at 970-627-8324 or for more information.
* Lots of special events are planned for this summer, celebrating the Centennial of Rocky Mountain National Park and the beginning of the Smith Eslick Cottage Court as well. In particular, a huge party – campfire, storytelling, music, old-fashioned chicken dinner, and more – is in the planning stages for August 24th, when the Model-T Vintage Time Travelers come to camp at the Cottage Camp and begin their re-enactment of the 1920 Park-to-Park Trek. We’ll need lots of folks helping for this one!  Give us a call at 970-627-8324 or for more information.
* In April we’re installing a large TV flat screen and touch screen set up in the Gallery of the Kauffman House. This has been planned for quite a while, and is made possible by memorial donations in honor of Dorothy O’Donnell O’Ryan. We’ll be looking for folks who’d like to help prepare content – films, “power point” types of information , all sorts of net stuff reflecting historical topics of interest. If you’d like to help or learn with us, give us a call at 970-627-8324 or for more information.
Attached is a little brochure we used when we recruited volunteers at a recent Middle Park HS event. Lots more ideas for volunteer work! We have fun and passion, so hope you can join us! THANKS to all those who already volunteer. You are the very soul of this group.

Mark Your Calendar!
On Wednesday, June 10th, character actor Kurtis Kelly will portray Freelan O. Stanley. Stanley and his brother owned the Stanley Motor Carriage Company and introduced the Stanley Steamer to Rocky Mountain National Park. That helped development of roads and automobile tourism through the park and into Grand Lake. Everyone tells us that Kurtis Kelly is “spot-on” as F.O. Stanley, so we are indeed looking forward to his presentation.
The program starts at 7:00pm, in the Grand Lake Community House. It’s free, and treats are included. The GLAHS Members’ Annual Meeting will follow the presentation. See you there!

If you would like to get involved with a fun project at GLAHS take a look at the following images. Just click on the image and it will magically enlarge to its original size.

Events Plans… Mark Your Calendar
Kauffman House Museum opens for the season May 23rd   11:00am – 5:00pm daily  Come see the wonderful, kid friendly West Side of RMNP exhibits and watch the House’s exterior log and chinking repairs in progress!   Adults $5.00, Free to Children 12 and Younger, GLAHS Members
June 10th   Historical Society Annual Meeting, open to everyone   Community House  7:00pm  Free.
July 2nd    Victorian Tea at the Rapids Lodge   2:00pm – 4:00  $20  Watch for more information.
July 31st   2nd Annual Souper Stars for the Cottage Camp at the Ludwig’s Home   5:30pm – @8:30pm
Watch for more information.
August 24th   Vintage Time Travelers Model T Club begins its reenactment of the 1920 Park-to-Park trek with a campout at the Cottage Camp. We’ll celebrate with an all-Town party: chicken dinner, campfires and stories and song!  Watch for more information.
Want to Help?
There’s so much to be done to make these sorts of events the huge successes and community-builders we want them to be. We would love to have your ideas and energy be part of the process. Please call us (970-627-8324) or e-mail, and we’ll send you more info … meeting dates and the like…. so you can join our slightly zany team, and THANKS!
Huge Thanks for Your Support
The Board of Directors wishes to express sincere thanks and appreciation for donations in support of the work of the Grand Lake Area Historical Society and the Cottage Camp project.

The Love Nest is Gone–Forever

When I arrived in Grand Lake for the summer of 2014, I could not help but notice that some of the cabins of the Matchless Mountain Cabins were being loaded up and moved to new locations. NOTE: to see the larger image just click on the pictures below.
One of the new locations.

Being a curious person, I stopped by the location and asked someone who looked like they were in charge, what was going on. I learned that the property had been purchased the year before and given to the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theater group and they were getting rid of the buildings. Below is a photo of the original home on the lots.

Picture of the older rental cabins on the back of the property built by Nell Young.

I was told that several of the  cabins on the back of the property were finding new homes but no one wanted the original house because it was going to cost quite a bit more to be moved. It would have to be taken out in at least three parts. I would love to have acquired the old house but I had no place in which to have it relocated.

After doing some investigation, I discovered that Donna Ready at Mountain Lake Properties in Grand Lake had been the listing agent. So, I went to talk to Donna. After learning a short history of the property, I left Donna with a book written by one of the previous owners titled A Dangerous Woman by Nell Pauly. I took my new book and headed west down Grand Avenue to the Hub with my trusty springer spaniel, Mia, to wet my whistle with a good cup of coffee and read a few pages in my new book.

It didn’t take me long to realize I had my own copy of the book back at the cabin. Several years earlier I had tried to read Nell’s book but just could not get into it. Now I had a good reason to learn what was between the covers. I wanted to discover what I could about her ownership of the property.

Nell Pauly’s book, “A Dangerous Woman” is the autobiography of Nellie Jo Donathan Young Pauly born in Oklahoma in 1905.

I need to take a short break here and talk about an article I read in the spring 2014 edition of AASLH’s History News. The article, “Telling stories with Objects in the Starring Role” is on page 23. It starts off with this: “In 2010, the British Museum launched a new museum theme with A History of the World in 100 Objects. Written by Neil MacGregor and compiled from a series of BBC radio episodes, the book has inspired similar projects, including The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects and the New York Historical Society’s The Civil War in 50 Objects, as well as a host of online offerings using the same format.” What the article inspired me to do was treat this old “Love Nest” cabin as an object and learn what I could about it.

In the paper work Donna gave me it stated that the house was built in 1916 and was purchased by the Fischers in 1973. I’m thinking that they changed the name to Matchless Mountain Cabins but at this time that is only conjecture.

Nellie Jo, the oldest child of Red and Ida Donathan in 1921 moved with her family to Hot Sulfur Springs, about 25 miles from Grand Lake. Offhand, I don’t remember how many brothers and sisters Nell had but there were a bunch. Also, in today’s medical terms, you would have to describe the family as dysfunctional, really dysfunctional and primarily caused by her mother. Here’s what she wrote about her mother on page 35. “Mama’s cruelty did not stop. She didn’t whip me so much for a while but her abuse was just as strong. When she did whip me, she told me, ‘Now don’t tell your Papa or I’ll whip you again, worse than ever.’ She need not have worried. I was too embarrassed to tell Papa that I was so bad that I got another licking. But I think he guessed.”

In 1922, at age 17, Nell married Jake Young from Grand Lake. Jake was born in Grand Lake in 1891 and had served in the Army in France during the “War to end all wars”, World War I. He was described as a 5’ 1” momma’s boy because at age 31 he still lived with his mother in the Rustic Inn Hotel on the west shore of the lake. But Nell was in love with the little Casanova and no one could dissuade her. In my view she was trying to get away from her abusive mother and saw Jake as a way to do it. What really happened was that she traded one dysfunctional family for another.

You have probably already guessed that Nell and Jake moved into the Rustic Inn with his mother right after the wedding. Nell went from being her mother’s slave to be Josie’s slave and working in the hotel.  Here’s Nell description of Mother Josie from page 174, “I had already found out that Josie Young Langley was really one dangerous woman, in her mastering slavery of Jake or anyone else who happened to be around, and was vulnerable to her vicious temper tantrums, I suspected this early in my association with her and felt it in her presence for all the rest of her long life. One could never be sure what sneaking, conniving devilry she would be up to next.”
rustic-inn   rustic-dinning-room

I think it might have been in 1925 when Josie sold the Rustic Inn to The Grand Lake Lodge and they had it removed from the grounds. From page 175 Nell writes, “We had rented a nice, almost new, log house with log beams in the ceiling and four large rooms from Mrs. Dad Harbison. It was furnished for good living. It was only two blocks from the store and post office, and one block from the school, the main part of town in the wintertime. To be back with Jake in a place we could all call our home was like real heaven, and I thought it was even greater. Oh, Happy Day! Thank you God! …. The new house, where we were to live, was on the main mail road. It has a large bay window, and of all things, bore the name, ‘The Love Nest.’ …. This was the last summer we spent at the Rustic Inn. It was 1925. We had two small children. …. So it was that we moved into the nicest house we had since we had been married. .. Even yet, I do not know how we ever made it against every kind of obstacle. It was late October. A long, hard winter was upon us. We had between us $30.00 with which to start the long, cold, snowbound season.” Eventually that winter the four of them move out of The Love Next and back to the Bear House on the old Rustic Inn property.

In October of 1926 Nell and Jake were approached by Mom Harbison and wrote starting on page 184, “Jakie, I have a deal I would like to make with you and Nell. We know through our long years of dealings with you, that you are a reliable, honest man. I remember too, how you always said you would like to own my daughter Lorrain’s house. That precious little house, The Love Nest.” … “Oh, how proud I was. I could not stop fixing things up. …. I tried every way I could to help out, to pay for our new home. I did sewing for people, I did washing and ironing, and kept boarders and roomers. In winters we had our front bedroom for the boarders and roomers. We used one bedroom for ourselves, with little Raymond and Jody in a large-size youth bed.” During the summers Nell and family moved to the unfinished attic so all the rooms in the house could be rented.
Eventually Nell saved and borrowed enough to build these rental cabins and called their place Mountain Home Cabins.

Eventually I went through the old Love Nest and found it in pretty rough shape. Someone had gone through the place and torn parts of the ceiling down, wall coverings off and removed most of the more modern lights. After reading about how Nell and her family had lived in the attic I ventured up the steep stairs and took my first peek.


Most all the steep stair railing had been removed but that didn’t stop this old pilot who respects tall buildings but does not fear them.

MHC-backstairs  MHC-backstairs-2

Eventually I asked permission to take a look at what was in the attic. When I made the climb up the steep stairs and opened the small door I was amazed at how much “stuff” filled the entire three rooms, if you could call them rooms.
Looking west from the entrance door.
At the time I didn’t think about taking a photo of all the junk stored in the attic. To get in the the attic itself you had to move items. Thinking that I might find some old Nell Young items under all the junk I received permission to throw out all the junk and keep any “good stuff” for the GLAHS.  For about a month my routine was to rise early, work in the attic until the sun hit the roof then go have coffee at the Hub and read more. Once the sun was up it became too hot for me pitch the junk out the door and haul it to the giant dumpster. Here’s a picture of the west room where I’m guessing Nell and Jake slept.
The south room below is probably where Nell’s children lived during the summers. Note the card board wall covering, giving some privacy to its occupants. The timbers were also rough cut and full of splinters.

This photo is looking back east toward the door. Notice that the child, less than 5’, is standing in the doorway. When I measured the height of the door it was 4’ 8”. I don’t remember how many times I hit my forehead on the door jam as I pitched trash out to the ground beneath. The bill on my ball cap obscured the top door jam.

One morning, after hitting my forehead several times on the jam, I walked over to see Bob Scott and learn what he knew about Nell. Bob has his Indian Jewelry business where Nell had her Mountain Home Cafe and got to know her a little when he spent his summers working for the James family at the Grand Lake Lodge. My first question to him about Nell was, “Bob, how tall was Nell?” He moved his left hand to his right shoulder and said, “She came to right about here.” I whipped my tape measure out and the distance from the floor to his hand was 4’ 8.” The same height as the attic door was tall.

Below is a photo of the third room and the old metal bed frame stored in it. This room had no floor in it and stored several old mattresses, several mummified large rats, rolls of insulation and hundreds of pine cones.
I did save the old bed frame, one mattress, two green painted wooden chairs with ducks on them, an old throw rung still in good shape, a metal children’s highchair/stroller, and a valentine card signed To our Nellie Jo from Mom and Dad. Nellie Jo was born April 1923. You can find these items in the administrative offices of GLAHS. As a note. It is my guess that the old metal bed and mattress were ones that Nell and Jake used because getting them out was such a chore. Once up there they probably stayed.
MHC-attic-rug  MHC-attic-greenchair-duck
Nell writes in her book that she was an artist and I’m guessing she painted the wooden chairs green, as well as the mallard ducks on them. It would have been cheaper to purchase raw wood chairs and finish them yourself.
mhc-green-chair-duck   MHC-attic-single-mat MHC-attic-stroller

The week my son Todd and his family were at the lake with me I took his two children, Naomi and John to Nell’s attic to show them where they might have lived in GL back in the mid to late 1920s. Once they were in the attic their answer was “No Way!”

One of the items used to enclose the parent’s room was the following with the date of Oct. 6th, 1928. Click to enlarge the photo.

Eventually The Love Next was boarded up and I no longer had access to it. One day I drove by and this is what was left of the old Nest.
Then it looked like this. That was a sad day for me and probably other old timers who had become accustomed to it always being there.

As a side note, Nell and Jake eventually built the Mountain Home Cafe on Grand Avenue.   In 1935 Nell owned a vacant lot on Grand Ave. and Jake had been laid off from the saw mill when it folded so she decided to start another business, one that would be open year round. The story of it’s construction is where Nell got the name, A Dangers Woman and you can find it in her book by the same name.

This is a copy of her advertising post card showing both the cafe and cabins.
Here’s what Nell’s café looks like today. It’s not a cafe any longer and it’s only the left half of the Indian Jewelry store as you look at it. It had eight tables for guests.

I found the two books written by Nell Pauly A Dangerous Woman and The Day Before Yesterday, which I read the summer of 2014, chuck full of old GL names, dates and very interesting facts. I would recommend obtaining a copy of each, settling in at the Hub and enjoy learning about GL from the 1890 until the early 1970s.

The other book I read that summer is titled The Day Before Yesterday copyright 1972 and is full of stories from a long list of people who lived in the GL area as permanent party or summer residents. Most of them being buried in the town’s cemetery located within the boundaries of Rocky Mountain Park, just a short distance NW of town. I found the stories fascinating and it was fun learning more about some of the names I recognized.  My father has mentioned on many occasions that Lon Osborn built the fire place in our family lake cottage in 1909. Nell writes about Lon many times in both books.

I will share one short story in her book about Little Bill Lehman (The Moonshiner) starting on page 135. “Little Bill, as he was known to his relatives and the townspeople of Grand Lake, who had known him all his life, as “Little Bill” because of his slight, almost pathetically small stature and because he was the younger of two cousins, both buried in the Grand Lake Cemetery.”   I find it interesting she referred to “Little Bill” was pathetically small when she was only 4’ 8” and her husband Jake only 5’ 1”.

Anyway, it seems that Little Bill had a difficult time keeping a job so he went to making and selling moonshine whisky. Per Nell, “He was born on board ship crossing the stormy Atlantic Ocean in the 1880’s to a bewildered German peasant girl. His whole life was a sad one of utter turmoil because of infant insecurity, poverty and neglect. He was not as sharp or mentally equipped as some of his young associates.”

It appears that Little Bill hid is moonshine whisky in and near a small creek just out of town and sold it to whomever wanted it, including his cousins Big Bill and Art Lehman and a man called Barney McCoy. When his cousins knew he had made a new batch of rot gut whisky they would go looking for it and frequently absconded with their findings. After this happened several times …”Then one day Little Bill, being desperate and his temper at the breaking point, shook his fist at cousin Art, the worst offender, and said, Art, I warn you now for the last time, the next time you steal my whiskey I’m going to blow you to kingdom come. He patted his trusty .22. Art laughed and said — now would you?”

As you have probably already guessed, Art and friends eventually raided Little Bill’s stash and Bill went hunting his cousin. “Raving mad he took his .22 and made his way to the back door of the friend’s house. He knocked. The door was flung open by Art who had one hand up on the door frame and the other on the door knob. Little Bill had his gun ready and fired point blank at Art. In his frenzy he miscalculated his aim and shot under Art’s raised arm and hit Barney McCoy almost dead center in the heart.”

Bill is eventually tried and convicted to life imprisonment in Canyon City, Colorado, for the criminally insane. He eventually spent the next twenty years there and didn’t make it back to the Grand Lake Cemetery.

Even more interesting to me is Nell’s story about Barney McCoy on page 139 titled “In Defense of Barney McCoy. If you go looking in the Grand Lake Cemetery you will discover a nice granite headstone with the name Max K. Fraughton on it. Actually it should read Max K. Fraughton AKA Barney McCoy. 

New Exhibit at the Kauffman House 2014

The “School Days – a ‘Classy’ History Experience” special exhibit is in the Gallery of the Kauffman House Museum. It’s full of fascinating and fun items and information about the many schools that have been in the Grand Lake area over the years. This special exhibit, and tours of the museum are included in admission: $5.00 Adults, Free to Children 12 and Younger and GLAHS Members.

Here’s a peek at the display of items in our museum.



What’s Happening at the GL Area Historical Society this Summer

But first lets look at the 2013 Wonderful Holiday Event at the Kauffman House.


Some 50 happy guests attended the Historical Holiday Celebration held on December 26th at the Kauffman House Museum. The food was amazingly delicious and bountiful, and the entertainment from ten talented musicians was charming and perfect for the evening. All proceeds benefited the Smith Eslick Cottage Camp Campaign, so a successful evening altogether! Shown above are Trent and Betty Corbin and one table of food before the doors opened, and a few members of the Kauffman Combo, Sarah Clements, Connie Shaw, Dan McGrail and Geoff Elliott. Hope to see you at this great event next year!

Mark your calendar NOW for summer 2014 so you don’t miss any of these wonderful events being planned here in our remarkable community!
June 11th , 7:00PM, Grand Lake Community House in town park
Community Meeting Presenting Master Plan Possibilities for the Smith Eslick Cottage Camp
There’ll be music and yummy treats… all FREE! Come to learn what’s planned, and make your voice heard. The Cottage Camp will be a unique place. Here’s your chance to make it uniquely yours! Please plan to attend this one! The brief GLAHS Annual Meeting will follow the presentation.
June 17th, 2:00PM    at the Historic Rapids Lodge
Lovely Victorian Tea
Amazing food in a perfect location. Sit back and relax while the servants do the work. Bring your own Victorian hat, or borrow one of ours. Such fun, and so not winter! All proceeds benefit the Cottage Camp project. $20. To reserve, call 970-627-8324 or the Rapids at 970-627-3707. Or contact us
July 16th, 9:00AM – 5:00PM
Grand Lake and Kawuneeche Valley History  Rocky Mountain Field Seminar
“History Camp” for fun and learning. Led by Kathy Means with Elin Capps. For more information and to register, contact
July 17th, 10:00 AM +   GLAHS Modular Office south of the Grand Lake post office
Pinecone Victorian Art Workshop **This event will be rescheduled to 2015
Local historian and artist Jane Kemp will show how to use scales from pinecones to decorate small boxes and frames in a most Victorian manner. These workshops are always a hoot. Come to use your hidden talents and come away with a beautiful item for your home. Be ready to laugh; bring a glue gun if you can. $10 for materials. Contact 970-627-8324 or to sign up or for more details.
August 1st, beginning at 5:30PM 
Super Stars for the Cottage Camp at the home of Tom and Lynne Ludwig
A lovely evening of delicious soups… the ones you don’t have time to cook at home, adult beverages, music, a live auction of unique items, some raffle action, and fun! Reserve today! Call 970-627-9644 or contact for more information. All proceeds benefit the Cottage Camp project. And Thank You!
August 2nd, 1:00-4:00PM
History Day at the Kauffman House Museum
Come to visit with characters of the past and listen to some great stories while you visit the museum, Special $1.00 admission, all ages, all day 11:00AM-5:00PM.



End Of an Era – Porter Cabin Is Gone

On Wednesday September 11th 2013 the last of the vertical lodge pole pine cabins on Grand Lake came to an end. It had been owned by the Thomas Porter family sinee being purchased in the fall of 1908 from John Griffin. Porter and Griffin were both from Alma, NE and were in business together there at that time. The Porters named their location on the lake and their cabin Adjidaumo Camp. Here’s another interesting link about Adjidaumo. Below is a photo of the back entrance to their cabin showing its name. When I talked to Bonnie and her daughter Carmon Porter in early September they thought of it as chipmunk camp.


Here is the earliest photo I was able to locate on my computer. The Griffin cabin, at that time, is on the left and the Mason tent on the right. I’m guessing this photo was taken between 1895 and 1900. Many of the early time summer vacationers to Grand Lake would purchase their 25 ‘or 50’ lot and live in a wooden floored tent until they constructed their wood cottages (some full log, some D log and others with slab siding). As far as I know there were only two vertical lodge pole pine cabins on the lake.


Here is a photo of a 4th of July gathering in the Mason tent showing the three members of the Griffin family. John Griffin is the older gentleman on the left with the cigar in his right hand. His wife Helen is the woman to his left looking at him and their daughter Laura is standing with the funky looking hat. After the Griffin’s sold their cabin on GL they moved from Alma to Las Angeles, CA.


When I asked Bonnie Porter what they did while vacationing at the cabin she said “fish.” The following is the only photo I found in the Mason album of an early Porter fishing. This one is son Bruce Porter with his 3 3/8 pound trout. The fence in the background was built by William Mason on the edge of his property.

Here is the only other photo in the Mason album where a Porter shows up. Unfortunately it is a double exposure and not very good. My grand parents, Anna and Earl Batty are shown along with the Keesters, Nora & Riley. All members in this photo were living in Alma, NE at the time of the photo. I’m guessing this photo was taken the summer of 1908 when both the Porters, Battys and Keesters purchase their properties on Grand Lake.

I had wondered for years how all the tiny town of Alma, Nebr. families ended up owning property on the south shore of GL. Well the common thread was Jay Adams. Jay and his older brother Lee were living in Alma when the 1885 Nebr. census was taken.
Jay Adams moved to Denver sometime after 1885 and ended up purchasing a large chunk of the southeast shore of GL. Adams Falls and Mt. Adams are named for Jay Adams. The Battys and Keesters in 1908 purchased two adjoining 55’ lots in Adam’s First subdivision and had a duplex D log cabin built on them. Jay Adams and family eventually moved to San Antonio, TX and returned to GL each summer to market his remaining lots.

The following are some photos of the Griffin/’Porter cottage I took several years ago. If you click on each photo you will see the larger version.




And this was the last time a Porter was going to stand on the porch and look out over Grand Lake and up the North Inlet.
September 1st 2013. Bonnie and her daughter Carmon Porter.


This is how the Porter Place looked on 9/11 2013 after the jaws of death finished with it. By the summer of 2014 will be another beautiful lake shore home.2013-09-12_19-07-17

Now, all that is left is the beautiful North Inlet view and some rocks from the chimney.

Following are some links to historical facts about Thomas Porter, his wife, and their five children.

Thomas Porter & Fannie Porter

Guy Livingston Porter 1889

Robert Bruce Porter

Helen Porter

Lucile Elizabeth Porter

John Lemoyne porter

Here an additional interesting link for Helen.

I’ve had a great time researching the Porter/Griffin cabin and their associated family members.

Steve Batty