|Birth: ||Nov. 2, 1823|
|Death: ||Apr. 17, 1905|
JUDGE PETER M. HOUSEL, as one of the oldest pioneers of Boulder County, is justly entitled to representation in the history of her early settlers and prominent citizens. No one is held in higher esteem in, this section, and few, if any, of the founders of the county's prosperity have been more aggressive in works of improvement and progress than he has been. His influence has ever been exerted for the benefit and well-being of his fellows, and the detailed history of his life is a history of innumerable kindly deeds and aid extended toward those in need of his assistance.
The parents of the judge were William and Julia (Johnson) Housel, natives of Northumberland and Union Counties, Pa., respectively. The father was a son of John Housel, a farmer near Milton, Pa., and an extensive land-owner. He was of German extraction, his ancestors having been numbered among the earliest settlers of the Keystone state, and of the Reformed Church in religious creed. The judge's father was a watchmaker, silversmith and jeweler by trade, and made the old-fashioned, tall "grandfather's" clocks still common throughout Pennsylvania. He passed his last days on a farm near Lewisburg, Pa., dying there at the age of sixty years. His wife, Julia, was a grand-daughter of Captain Christopher Johnson, of English descent, and a native of New Jersey, where he lived until the war of the Revolution, when he enlisted and rose to the rank of captain. Subsequently he moved to Union County, Pa., where he carried on a farm until well along in years. Both he and his wife lived to attain their eighty-fourth year. They were adherents of the Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Julia Housel was summoned to her reward when she had reached the threescore and ten years spoken of by the Psalmist as the usual duration of life. She was the mother of two sons and three daughters, of whom but three now survive.
Judge Housel was born November 2, 1823, in Northumberland County, Pa., and grew to manhood in the neighborhood of Milton. He attended the old fashioned subscription schools and the academy in Lewisburg, Pa. Then, having mastered the trade of his father he practiced the calling in Bellefontaine for a few years. In 1852 he came as far west as Davenport, Iowa, the journey in those days being no small undertaking. He went as far as Erie, Pa., by railroad, thence to Girard, Pa., by stage, from there to Cleveland, Ohio, by rail; and on to Cincinnati in the same fashion; then by boat down the Ohio and up the Mississippi. For seven years he made his home in Davenport, his time being employed at his trade. The western fever then being at its height, he decided to make a trip to Pike's Peak, and fitting out with ox-teams he left Newton, Iowa, in 1859. He came by way of Omaha, and Port Laramie, and encountered a vast number of discouraged travelers, who told him stories of the difficulties of the road and the small inducements they had found to stay in the west. Reaching Laramie, Wyo., Mr. Housel had the good fortune to hear Horace Greeley give a lecture and sound advice to the effect that seekers of a home and better prospects than they had hitherto enjoyed, should locate in Colorado, instead of continuing their trip to far-distant California. He concluded to follow the famous mail's counsel, and came to Boulder by way of the present city of Cheyenne. Arriving in this county July 12, 1859, he went to Gold Hill, and engaged in mining on Horsefall Lode, one of the best-known mines in the county. He bought it of the discoverer, operated it for some years and then leased the property. Upon the organization of Colorado Territory in 1862 he was elected the first county judge of Boulder County and, entering at once upon his duties after the election, served for two terms to the entire satisfaction of all concerned.
In the fall of 1865 the judge returned to Iowa on a visit, and when he came back to this county built a flour-mill at the junction of the North and South Boulder Rivers, having brought the burrs and machinery from Chicago, and from Nevada, Iowa, by team. This mill was the first one of any consequence in the county, and after running it for several years he disposed of it. At that time he owned a farm near Valmont, improved it with irrigating ditches, etc., and finally sold the place. He located and constructed the Marshallville ditch, one of the best in the county, and is still a stockholder in the company. In 1876 he went to Bear Gulch in the Black Hills, and made enough gold from his mining to pay for another farm. Returning, he purchased a homestead about five miles east of Boulder, and still owns this place, winch he has greatly improved. He also spent four or five years in mining in the leading camp at Bonanza. In 1898 he retired from active live, and is making his home in Boulder. For forty years he has been a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church. When the first Republican sub-committee met in Iowa City he was a member of the body and has continued loyal in his adherence to the principles of the party ever since, though he takes issue with it on the silver question. In his early manhood he was a member of the Sons of Temperance and has long been connected with the Odd Fellows' society.
The wife of his youth was a Miss Sarah Nesbit prior to their marriage. She was born in Pennsylvania and died a year and a-half after their marriage. Later, Miss Eliza Stuart, of the same state, became his bride, and for thirty-eight years, or until her death, was his companion and helpmate. Her father, Col. Andrew Stuart, was a hero of the war of 1812 and was a very prominent politician in Pennsylvania, serving in both the upper and lower house of delegates. He traced his lineage to the famous Stuart line in Scotland. The four children born to the judge and wife Eliza are living and as follows: Edgar Stuart, of Boulder, a fruit grower and lumber manufacturer; Mrs. Julia Bentley, of this city; William C., a journalist of Boston, Mass.; and James, who is a mining engineer, now in Cripple Creek, Colo. William C., a linguist of great ability, is a graduate of the University of Colorado and of the University of Michigan. Going abroad, he then took a post-graduate course in Leipsic, Germany, and in Geneva, Switzerland. The present wife of Judge House! is a native of Maine, and was Louise V. Bixby in her girlhood. She was first married to Rev. Horace Wolcott, a Congregational minister, and the three sons of that union are named respectively: Edward, Charles and Frank. The last-mentioned is a student in the University of Colorado and the eldest, Edward, is a business man of Denver.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Denver and Vicinity, Colorado (Chapman Publishing CO, Chicago, 1898).
William L Housel (1793 - 1849)
Julia Johnson Housel (1796 - 1871)
Eliza Steuart Housel (____ - 1889)
Edgar Stuart Housel (1854 - 1952)*
William C Housel (1862 - 1912)*
Emily E Housel McCord (____ - 1916)*
Cephus J Housel (1818 - 1887)*
Peter Mandeville Housel (1823 - 1905)
Martha J Housel Wykoff (1826 - 1904)*
Green Mountain Cemetery
Created by: Eric Crow
Record added: Jun 06, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 11105996