SHORT HISTORY OF WELD COUNTY COLORADO
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pony Express and later the Union Pacific routes cut
across the northeastern corner of Weld County.
the coming of the Union Pacific, Weld County was about
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
Page updated on 26 Sep 2011