Pioneer Monument, Subscribers 9-12
As in past posts the names on the plaque of the Pioneer Monument contain well known names in Colorado History and unknowns. Subscriber names 9-12 are: William Cooke Daniels, William Gray Evans, John Evans and Edward B. Field.
William Cooke Daniels was the son of Daniels and Fisher department store, William Bradley Daniels. William Cooke Daniels was born in 1870 in Iowa City, Iowa where his father was a successful merchant. The Daniels moved to Denver in 1878. William Cooke Daniels was rich from his father’s efforts and enjoyed his wealth. He traveled and explored foreign cultures. He was living in Yokohama, Japan when his father died in 1890. Fisher ran the store, but he passed away in 1897. William Cooke Daniels returned to Denver to take control of the store’s affairs. After buying out Fisher’s interest from the family he appointed his friend Charles MacAllister Willcox as General Manager, Wilcox stayed in power until 1929.
During W.C. Daniels’ ownership and Willcox’s management the Daniels and Fisher Tower was built. The store was expanded and remodeled. W.C. Daniels enjoyed adventure and exploration. He traveled to New Guinea for the Royal Geographical Society. In 1907 he married well connected, Cicely Banner of England. The Daniels and Fisher tower was completed in 1911, the a year after the Pioneer Memorial was erected.
Daniels came to Denver once after the tower’s completion, in 1912. He continued to live in Europe, renting an estate in France. During the Great War, his wife lived in neutral Switzerland. William died during a trip to Argentina in 1918. His wife died on a trip to England later the same year, a victim of the influenza epidemic.
The department store was progressive under his leadership. There were many social programs including a school room for cash boys and messenger girls, origanized Cadet Corps, a secretary to look after the needs of young girls, a library, fire department, mutual aid society, an employee fund for those suffering from long illnesses, two weeks paid vacation after one year of employment and Saturday half holidays during summer.
Daniels & Fisher Tower Clock
The Evans name is synonymous with Colorado History. The monument lists William Gray Evans before his father, John Evans. John Evans arrived in Colorado in 1862 because his friend from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, asked him to take over as the second territorial governor after William Gilpin overextended his powers as the first territorial governor. Already a town founder and university founder in Illinois, Evans made money in railroad investments. He sold his interests in Chicago and traveled to Europe. During his trip the real estate he sold was consumed by the Great Chicago Fire.
Because he was Governor during the Sand Creek Massacre he had to answer for what happened. Andrew Johnson, now president of the U.S., asked him to resign on July 18, 1865. John Evans continued to be a favorite son of Colorado, even after he stepped down as governor of the territory.
William Gray Evans was John’s son. He was born in 1855, arriving as a child in Colorado. He followed his father into influential positions. He was in charge of the Denver Tramway Company and carried on with David Moffat’s dream of a tunnel through the Rockies. He secured New York money to continue the tunnel after Moffat’s death in 1910. William G. Evans was president of the Denver Northwestern and Pacific Railway and president of the Colorado-Utah Construction Company which was working on the Moffatt tunnel. Evans was a person friend of Robert W. Speer. Like his father, Evans dominated Republican politics.
William G. bought the Evans’ house located at 13th and Bannock in 1889. They had four children, John, Josephine, Margaret (whom I met) and Katharine. Below: the Byers-Evans house dwarfed by modern Denver.
Edward B. Field is not on the “A” list of Denver’s who’s who. He was the Treasurer of the Colorado Telephone Company. He was also the Secretary and Treasurer of the American District Telegraph Company. He was connected to William G. Evans, as he was on the Colorado Seminary Board of Trustees. His son, Edward B. Field Jr. was a 1st vice president of the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company.
Edward B. Fields, Walter Cheesman, David Moffat and William Gray Evans controlled Denver through the public utilities. The utilities worked through Mayor Speer. Cheesman said: “…politics with us is a matter of business.”
Sources: Colorado: A History of the Centennial State, Carl Abbott, Stephen J. Leonard & Thomas J. Noel.
Daniels and Fisher, Denver’s Best Place to Shop, Mark A. Barnhouse.
Find a Grave., Poors Manual of Public Utilities., Colorado Magazine XLV/1 1968 P1.,
Denver Merchant Princes, the Evolution of the Dept. Stores, Phyllis J. Doner, 1978.