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Boggsville History

Boggsville captures an array of historical themes, persons and events. It encompasses the Santa Fe Trail throughout its entire period between 1867 and 1873. Kit Carson lived the last year of his life at Boggsville and died three miles across the Arkansas River at Fort Lyon. Boggsville served as the first county seat of Bent County after its formation in 1870. Thomas Boggs, for whom the site is named, served as Bent County's sheriff. John Prowers served as a county commissioner. As a major site on the Santa Fe Trail throughout the 1860s into the early 1870s, Boggsville served as the nucleus of permanent settlement in southeastern Colorado and represented a microcosm of the events that contributed to the forming of the American Southwest.

The citizens of Boggsville comprised a panoply of diversity with cultural groups that included Americans, New Mexicans, Native Americans and Europeans. The multicultural aspect of the site is what contributes to the vast importance of this frontier settlement as it represents a true microcosm of the cultural interaction in the American Southwest. The men who began Boggsville were Missourians who had worked for William Bent of Bent's Old Fort and Bent's New Fort infamy. The establishment of Colorado Territory in the 1860s and the gold strikes in the Colorado mountains served as the impetus for permanent settlements throughout Colorado. The settlements included one crucial difference in that these early communities were being populated by continuing the cross-cultural marriage or cohabitating patterns established with the initial cultural interactions where many of the men were marrying or living with Hispanic or Native American women, who also reflected aspects of their cultural makeup. In the case of Boggsville, as an example, Kit Carson was married to Josefa Jaramillo Bent, the step-daughter of Charles Bent. Thomas Boggs was married to Rumalda Jaramillo Luna, and was the niece of Josefa Carson. John Prowers, on the other hand, was married to Amache Ochinee Prowers, a Cheyenne woman whose father, Lone Bear or Ochinee, was killed at the Sand Creek Massacre. These cultural interactions, repeated throughout the American Southwest into the present, served as the important foundations for the settlement of southeastern Colorado.

Boggsville Historic Site is located two miles south of the City of Las Animas on Colorado Highway 101 in historic Bent County. It maintains its original integrity and visible connection to the events and persons through the maintenance of the two restored original adobe historic houses built in the mid- to late-1860s and the surrounding 110 acre property. The Boggs Prowers Houses were restored in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Both buildings represent the only extant remains of the 19th century village and are used to interpret aspects of the principal events and persons who lived at Boggsville in the 19th century. Although the houses are the only extant remains, historical archaeology has played a major role in assisting to interpret the site with valuable information gathered about the two additional wings of the Prowers House, the 1871 schoolhouse, the first in Bent County, the Boggsville Branch of the Santa Fe Trail, and the present search for the Prowers' "Trading House" and the Carson House. The information gleaned from the archaeology has served to provide valuable information both for two interpretive brochures, "Boggsville" and "The Women of Boggsville," and information for a series of wayside exhibits, strategically located along a self-guided walking trail, that explain other important historical locations and information about the site.