A Short and Sweet Update

After several months of crazy work and personal time I am FINALLY able to get this post up. Jeeze!

Way back in March of this year I met with a woman named Jean who stumbled across my blog last summer. Last November I got a quick second note from Jean, who after reading my post about Samuel Sturtevant’s probate records, told me that her mother was the cousin who received the Sturtevant estate! The family of Joe’s wife, Anna Lyckman, remained in Colorado and the cousins stayed in contact with Sam and Lotta in Denver.

Jean now lives in the Denver-Metro area and we got together over lunch one snowy afternoon in March. We had a blast chatting about her family, Joe’s family, and we both learned a lot from each other! Jean brought with her some photocopies of just a handful of items she has from the Sturtevants…I was thrilled!!! There are some photos and drawing I had never seen before, certainly a wonderful collection of family treasures, and I was so giddy to see what she brought along!

I will have to go into more details in future post, but some quick items I learned:

1) The correct pronunciation of Lyckman sounds like “Lickman,” which explains the spelling variations I’ve come across. Being German, I had been pronouncing the “y” like the long “i” in pie, to which I am accustomed. I had a difficult time finding details about the Lyckman family but Jean filled me in on some of the family stories and shared some wonderful photographs. Some of the photos show both the Lyckman and the Sturtevants together…priceless!

This New Year’s Day 1902 photo was taken on the Peck’s front porch at 742 Marine Street, right next door to Joe’s house. I know William Peck is the gentleman seated on the chair on the right and his wife Jemima, (Joe’s mom), is most likely sitting next to him. The man in the doorway with the cap on is possibly William’s brother, Henry who lived with them for a time. He has that “Peck” look about him. The woman in front of the window looking to the right is Anna Lyckman Sturtevant (Joe’s wife) and her brother Gustav stands next to her. Gustav’s wife, Bertie Johnson Lyckman is the dark-haired woman seated on the steps. The other two young girls could be Joe’s two daughters, Florence and Blanche. I hope to see a clearer image soon with the hopes of better identifying each person. Photo courtesy of Lyckman family archives.

2) I knew Joe’s daughter Florence married into the Jones family, but I didn’t know they were apparently one of Denver’s society families. I believe her mother-in-law, Louisa (O’Brien) Jones owned some Denver hotels which I think Florence helped operate for a time (need to check into that a bit more). Florence also ran the Kilbourn Apartments at 847 East Colfax beginning in the early 1910s until she died in 1928. The building, unfortunately, is no longer standing. Despite Florence’s husband William turning out to be a deadbeat, she remained in good graces with her mother-in-law, Louisa. I know “deadbeat” sounds harsh, but according to their 1910 divorce papers Florence claimed William never held a job very long and had no interest in working while she was the sole breadwinner. The divorce was granted. According to Jean, Florence was quite popular and apparently mingled in the same social circles as Margaret Brown (famed Titanic survivor “Molly” Brown). Should be fun researching Florence in more depth!

Florence Sturtevant Jones with her niece Blanche Josephine Sturtevant, daughter of Samuel and Lotta. Photograph taken before 1916 when Blanche died suddenly in Denver at the age of 10. Photo courtesy of Lyckman family archives.

The Kilbourn Apartments “The Home of Old Fashioned Hospitality” was owned and operated by Florence Sturtevant Jones. Originally located at 847 East Colfax Avenue in Denver, the building site today is a parking lot. Photo courtesy of Lyckman family archives.

3) I knew Lotta was adopted by William and Jemima (Sturtevant) Peck in St. Paul around 1879-80 but Jean told me the story that she was left on the doorstep of the Peck’s boarding house as a baby! They took her in and raised her as their own even though Jemima was nearly 60 years old and William was in his 40s. I will need to see if there are any official adoption papers or if in those days you could just keep the child you “found.”

4) After Sam and Lotta married they moved to Grand Junction, Colorado where Sam worked as a pharmacist and owned a drug store. Sometime in the 1910s they moved just a bit west to Fruita. I always assumed that Sam just continued in his trade, but apparently he and Lotta also owned an operated a little movie theatre, the Majestic Theatre! It looks like another fun side research project is in store for me to find out more about what life was like in Fruita for Sam and Lotta.

Entrance to the Majestic Theatre run by Sam and Lotta in Fruita, Colorado. Photo courtesy of the Lyckman family archives.

I hope to meet with Jean again soon! Time flies when you are sharing information and stories, three hours just are not enough!

Probate Records – Samuel B. Sturtevant

After coughing up a decent chunk of money for copies of Samuel Bevier Sturtevant’s probate package to the Denver County Probate Court, I was annoyed to find out that Denver Public Library has copies of Denver County probate records from 1930-1989. *sigh* I also found out that since his wife, Lotta, survived him, her will and probate is a lot bigger. Well, now I know where I’ll be going to look for Lotta’s monsterous probate package!!

Samuel Bevier Sturtevant Probate, P-21885, Denver County Probate Court, Denver, Colorado.

Sam’s packet was quite interesting despite the hefty copying fees. The most important finds out of these records were verifying family connections and pinpointing where family members were living in the 1960s. I also found out a bit more about Sam’s interests and associations. Lots of nice clues!

Sam’s health had been deteriorating for some time which probably prompted him to write his will. Three months later he died at the Presbyterian Hospital in Denver on November 8, 1960. The last survivor of five siblings, and having no surviving children of his own, Samuel’s will reveals that he remained connected with his Lyckman cousins in Colorado and his two nieces on the west coast.

Ultimately his wife, Lotta, was the sole beneficiary of his estate, but he stated his wishes if Lotta preceded him in death. This simple list provides wonderful insight into the people and organizations that were important to Sam.

  1. Father’s oil paintings to the Boulder Historical Society
  2. House with furniture and furnishings to cousin Vera (Lyckman) Hill of Denver
  3. $2000 to cousin Ruth (Lyckman) Hansen of Fountain, Colorado.
  4. $2500 to cousin Ernest Lyckman of San Acacio, Colorado
  5. $3000 to  cousin Walter Lyckman of San Acacio, Colorado
  6. $2000 to niece Marjorie (Weeks) Leatart of Long Beach, California
  7. $2000 to niece Betty (Weeks) Hursh of Larsen Air Force Base, Washington
  8. $2000 to cousin  Vera (Lyckman) Hill of Denver
  9. $200 to Josephine Norlie (no relation)
  10. $500 to the Social Order of Beauceant of Denver, for the welfare program
  11. $1500 to Epiphany Episcopal Church of Denver
  12. $2000 fo the Ohio Northern University at Ada, Ohio [Sam’s alma mater]
  13. $2000 to the Colorado’s Women’s College of Denver, scholarship fund

If any person or organization died or lapsed prior to Sam’s death, remainder of estate would be distributed as follows:

  1. 75% to El Jebel Temple, AAONMS of Denver for the Shriners’ Hospitals for Crippled Children
  2. 25% to cousin Vera (Lyckman) Hill, if living; if deceased 25% to El Jebel Temple for general charity fund

Beyond the typical property and investment listings, one unexpected item I found out about Sam was that he was a stamp collector! While I’m not a hard-core philatelist, I do have a fondness for stamps and the amazing art and history represented on them. Sam’s collection was extensive enough for the appraisers handling his estate to estimate his large collection between $5000 and $6000! After punching these numbers into an inflation calculator Sam’s collection would have an estimated value between $38,200 and $45,900 in 2011!! And that doesn’t count for the variation in the collector’s value of the old stamps. Quite impressive, Sam!

Now that I know Lotta was the sole beneficiary, I hope to find her probate packet at Denver Public Library during my trek there this weekend. Then hopefully I’ll get more details about the lives of Lotta, Sam, and the Sturtevant legacy.

Research Update…FINALLY!

Since January of this year I have been side-tracked from Joe research. A new job will do that to you! I scored an awesome job at the University of Colorado Heritage Center as the new Outreach Coordinator. I’m doing research, writing, exhibit development, educational programs, etc., all about CU’s history. Besides getting to do what I love everyday, I also have a small, but great office on the third floor of Old Main, the original university building. Joe took quite a few photos of this fabulous structure.

Courtesy of Carnegie Branch Library for Local History. Boulder Historical Society Collection, S-2888

Trying to juggle a new job, finish up freelance research projects, get a small educational workshop business going, and just typical day-to-day living has kept me away from Joe. But no more!

I have been actively  jumping into the deep end again! Woohoo! I have my stacks of folders out, I’m entering info into spreadsheets, making an outline for an article, re-evaluating all the materials I’ve been collecting the last few years, transcribing records left and right, and contacting archives. I’m finally getting a plan together…again.

I’m thrilled to visit the Boulder History Museum‘s storage facility tomorrow to look at some of Joe’s paintings! Before becoming a photographer, Joe learned his trade of illustrating, sign painting and graining from his step-father William Peck. It appears that when he arrived in Boulder he also took on the trade of paper hanging and occasionally produced custom oil paintings.

According to a 1958 Daily Camera article by Forest Crossen, Joe’s son, Samuel, donated seven on his dad’s paintings to the Boulder History Museum. Five are described in the article: three Boulder Canyon scenes and two biblical subjects. I’m not sure what to expect as far as quality. His illustrations range from rough and sketchy to having wonderfully soft details, quite a dramatic difference, so I’m expecting something similar for his oil paintings.

I have also come across several early newspaper articles describing some of Joe’s artwork. His pieces ranged from illustrations which were published in national illustrated papers such as New York’s Graphic, Day’s Doings, Hearth and Home and Illustrated News, to some custom 9×12 foot paintings of ancient Babylon and Rome for Dr. Perry, a professor of ancient History at the university. Anyone who has researched early Boulder history will be familiar with Joe’s style as many of the building sketches in early city directories are his.

On the other end of the research spectrum, I think I have located one of Joe’s surviving descendants! Through public records, obituaries, and Ancestry.com I have located one of his great-grand children. I’m hoping to contact this person soon. Hopefully this individual is cooperative and has interest in sharing details about their family history. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!