Mostly Denver and Boulder, Co. January 11, 1890 - August 24, 1895. Thirty-one letters (approximately pp.), eight telegrams, two newspaper clippings, and assorted ephemera. Housed in a modern three-ring binder, letters organized chronologically in sheet protectors. Original mailing folds, moderate toning, light soiling. Overall very good. Item #WRCAM55117
An interesting archive of letters from Major William Boerum Wetmore (1849-1919), a prominent businessman in Colorado in the late 19th century. Major William Wetmore was a military officer educated at West Point, who served as a lieutenant at U.S. Army Forts Riley, Wallace, and Leavenworth in Kansas, and as a major in the New York State Militia. Wetmore was married to Annette Butler but divorced around 1900; they had three children. His father was Samuel Wetmore (1812-1895) and he was a descendent of Colonel Jackson Browne of the British Colonial Army and Captain William Boerum, U.S. Navy, a distinguished veteran of the War of 1812. Over the course of his life, William Wetmore resided in New York, Philadelphia, Newport, and New Jersey. He traveled often, collected coins and art, was fond of sailing yachts, and as seen in these letters, actively invested in Colorado mining ventures. The thirty-one letters are almost all multi-page efforts from Wetmore on bifolia sheets, totaling approximately 160 pages of written correspondence. All of the letters were written to Wetmore's mother Sarah Tayler (or Taylor) Wetmore, who lived in New York City. Almost all of the letters are written on "Denver Club" letterhead, as Wetmore was living at the Denver Athletic Club during his time in the city (one letter includes a cut-out illustration of the Denver Club building on which Wetmore marks the location of his room); other letterhead utilized by Wetmore include the Manitou House and the Brainerd Hotel in Boulder, Co. Wetmore's letters report home about daily life, with information on both personal and business finances, the economics of his mining ventures, observations relating to the railroad, family history, real estate details, and sailing. Particularly noteworthy in Wetmore's correspondence are the following: a description and a hand-drawn map showing Wetmore's land near Herington and McPherson, Kansas; a letter detailing his presence at mining exchanges in Colorado, selling shares of Ironclad, and a mining property in Ouray county on which the two newspaper clippings report; a brief mention of his travels up Pike's Peak by rail, and a letter regarding the flags of his yachts, with hand-drawn illustrations of the flags and instructions for his mother to take the illustrations to a publisher. Other notable subjects communicated by Wetmore include real estate development in the Denver area, his travels in Colorado and Kansas ("Pueblo ia a large place now & Colorado Springs has grown considerably..."), and his efforts to avoid his soon-to-be ex-wife. He also recounts instances of fishing in a stock pond in Denver, playing poker, and witnessing a battalion drill at the newly- constructed Fort Logan near Denver. A curious letter to Wetmore in March 1890 mentioning "Mrs. Wetmore" warns the major that "probabilities are that all your movements will be watched & it is not impossible that detectives will be placed upon you. Please bear this fact in mind & see that no color is given to a charge of even the least indiscretion on your part." This letter may refer to Major Wetmore's divorce proceedings or to the matter covered in the next letter in the archive, in which Wetmore's mother has to suddenly give up their family home. Most letters pertain to Wetmore's daily activities, though a healthy amount of the letters detour into local color and paint of portrait of the comings-and-goings of a prominent businessman in the American West in the last decade of the 19th century.