Weld County History

Find more information as well as
an interesting history of the county go here.

"Under Ten Flags- A History of Weld County" Pub. 1938. PDF files. You will need the free adobe reader to view these.     

"Under Ten Flags- A History of Weld County" Pub. 1938. Greeley Tribune article about the above book. Total of 318 pages in 29 chapters plus the contents and index. The following are PDF files, some of which are quite large. | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 | Chapter 16 | Chapter 17 | Chapter 18 | Chapter 19 | Chapter 20 | Chapter 21 | Chapter 22 | Chapter 23 | Chapter 24 | Chapter 25 | Chapter 26 | Chapter 27 | Chapter 28 | Chapter 29 | Index |


John Gross

Before the coming of white men, it is known that various nomadic Indian tribes inhabited eastern Colorado. These included Cheyenne, Arapaho, Blackfeet, Shoshone, Pawnee, Kiowa, Sioux, and Ute.

The first explorers to the region were Spanish. The Spaniards created settlements in southern Colorado and claimed the land in the name of Spain. Later French trappers and missionaries visited the area.

Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the United States government sent explorers to the area to assess the potential of the land.

The accounts given by the explorers were unfavorable as the area ever being worth anything as far as agriculture is concerned. The area where Weld County is today became known as the Great American Desert.

In the 1830's and 1840's fur trading posts were built along the South Platte River in what is now Weld County. The posts, Fort Lupton, Fort Jackson, Fort Vasquez, and Fort Saint Vrain were stocked with items to trade to Indians for beaver skins. The decline in the demand for beaver brought an end to the commercial use of the forts.

By the 1840's a few settlers were living in Weld County. The numbers of settlers increased between 1840 to 1860. At that time the area was part of Nebraska Territory. Because the capital of Nebraska Territory was distant, residents felt that legal protections for their land claims needed to be nearer to home. The Saint Vrain Club was formed by residents near the abandoned Fort Saint Vrain. It was the start of Saint Vrain County, the forerunner of Weld County.

In 1861 Colorado was declared a territory by President Lincoln. The territory was divided into 17 counties.  Weld County was the northeastern part of Colorado Territory. The county was named after Lewis Ledyard Weld, Colorado Territory Secretary.

The Pony Express and later the Union Pacific routes cut across the northeastern corner of Weld County. 

With the coming of the Union Pacific, Weld County was about to flourish.

St. Vrain was the original county seat. Over the a period of 16 years the county seat was moved from St. Vrain to Latham to Evans to Greeley to Evans and finally in 1877 it was returned to Greeley, where it remains to this day. Greeley itself was founded as the "Union Colony," a settlement that forbade the use or consumption of alcohol products. As complete teetotalers, the settlers were very industrious and prosperous. Over time, though, that original temperance movement faltered and eventually collapsed. There are some areas of Greeley where sale and public consumption (bars, taverns, etc.) are still forbidden, but the city has grown far beyond those early boundaries and things have changed a quite a bit since the 1870 founding of the town.

Page updated on 26 Sep 2011

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