a touchstone for tough times
Izzy Bird, the slack time

Izzy Bird, election day

Isabella has arrived in Greeley, Colorado. Or, as it was known then, the Greeley Temperance Colony. More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Colony_of_Colorado

This was 1873, remember, well before the U.S. tried its hand at banning drink entirely. With, one must observe, completely anticipated results. Isabella is pro-temperance, by the way, and will only lean into the movement more as time passes.

Greeley was founded by “emigrants from the East*, all totally abstainers, and holding advanced political opinions.” They bought and fenced 50,000 acres of land complete with an irrigation canal. The population is 3,000 and are the “most prosperous and rising colony in Colorado, being altogether free of laziness and crime.”**

The men of Greeley recently sacked three houses near their enclave that were selling the demon drink and smashed the whisky barrels. Which I’m sure makes them super popular on the frontier.

Still, it is not the perfect town. Dinner at her rooming house involved mostly grease and black flies. The kitchen is the only sitting room — given that there are no bars to hang out in — and she goes to bed early, where she strikes a light and finds “such swarms of bugs that I gathered myself up on the wooden chairs, and dozed uneasily till sunrise.”

The next morning, she lights out for Fort Collins, following the course of the river Cache-a-la-Poudre. The views are lovely.

More importantly, it is election day in the territory and men*** are galloping all over the prairie so that they can register their votes. “They spoke openly and shamelessly of the prices given for votes; and apparently was not a politician on either side who was not accused of degrading corruption.”

She does not note, however, who wins this particular contest.


* I’m assuming she means the U.S. East Coast, not Asia.

** I mean. Sure. We can go with that, even though it seems highly unlikely.

*** and, yes, just men.



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