From: Portrait and Biographical Record of the State of Colorado, 1899
EDWARD MORTON DE LA VERGNE, president of the Raven Gold Mining Company, was the first mining man to enter the Cripple Creek district and has since been one of the most prominent mine operators, as well as an influential citizen, of Colorado Springs. He was born near Marietta, Washington County, Ohio, May 14, 1846, a son of George Washington and Mary (Yates) De La Vergne. His paternal grandfather, who was born in New York, July 6, 1779, operated a line of Hudson River boats, but afterward transferred his business to the Ohio River and ran one of the first lines on that river. His last years were spent upon a farm near Pomona, Cumberland County, Tenn., where he died at a very advanced age. He married Rhoda Collins, who was born December 10, 1778, member of an old family of New York. Of their children four attained maturity. James, who lived in Durango, Colo., died January 30, 1899; Catharine is the widow of W. H. Dodge, of Clinton, Mo.; Edward Morton spent his entire life at his native place on the Hudson and there died.
The eldest of the family was our subject's father. He was born near Fishkill, on the Hudson, in Dutchess County, N. Y., October 18, 1800. By trade a miller, he built and operated a mill on the Hudson, between Fishkill and Poughkeepsie. March 17, 1824, he married Mary Yates, who was born February, 25, 1798. On selling his mill he removed to Ohio and for some years engaged in farming there. In 1848 he moved to Cumberland County, Tenn., where he built and conducted a mill, operating it in addition to superintending his farm. During the Civil war he took his family to the valley for protection. From Tennessee they removed to Clinton, Henry County, Mo., where our subject carried on a real-estate business for ten years, but in 1878 he brought the family to Colorado Springs, where his father died January 15, 1893. Politically he was a Whig until the disintegration of the party, after which he adhered to Republican principles. He was a descendant of French-Huguenot ancestors who were early settlers on the Hudson. His wife, who was born in Dutchess County, N. Y., was a member of a Revolutionary family and the daughter of a successful manufacturer. She, like her husband, adhered to the Presbyterian faith. When she was more than ninety years of age (though in full possession of her faculties until her last illness) she died at her son's home in Colorado Springs in 1889.
In the family of G. W. and Mary De La Vergne there were the following-named children: Mrs. Anna Doss, of Kansas City, Mo.; William, who is engaged in the drug business at Brownington, Mo.; Mary E., who died in Tennessee; Alexander, who was a member of a New York regiment during the Civil war and is now a practicing physician in Hoisington, Kan.; Catherine, who resides with her brother, E. M.; Gertrude Yates; Mrs. E. W. Snyder, who died in Clinton, Mo.; Isaac, who died in boyhood; George, who was lieutenant-colonel of the Eighth Tennessee Mounted Federal troops, received injuries from a shell explosion at Chickamauga, and afterward served as judge of court-martial at Cleveland until the close of the war; Rhoda Collins; Mrs. W. B. Brown, of Sedalia, Mo. ; and Edward Morton, the youngest of the family. Col. George De La Vergne came to Colorado Springs in 1877, and was numbered among the prominent business men of the city. He laid out the village of Lihue, named for one of the Sandwich Islands, where his wife was born. This place, which is now owned and occupied by our subject, consists of seventeen acres, immediately outside of the corporate limits of Colorado Springs, and containing, among other attractions, the finest spring in the country and a little brook formed from it, in which are fine trout. Upon leaving Colorado Springs Colonel De La Vergne went to Honolulu, where he has since made his home.
During the war, when his brothers were in the army, the care of the family fell upon the subject of this sketch. In 1868 he removed, with the others, to Clinton, the county-seat of Henry County, Mo., where he remained for ten years. On coming to Colorado in 1878, he began to learn mining, studying every department from the lowest up, and also gaining a thorough knowledge of mining machinery. At the time of the Gunnison excitement he was one of the first on the Ute Reservation, and located claims there, but the district did not prove a profitable one. He engaged in mining in Silver City, N. M., and Arizona, for four years, after which he was manager of the .Orient mine at Lawson, on Clear Creek, for one year, returning from there to the Springs.
It was about this time that Mr. De La Vergne secured a specimen of ore from a Mr. Johnson. On assaying it he found it ran $240 in gold. He inquired and found Mr. Johnson had obtained the ore from Robert Womack, and the latter said it was from their old ranch near Mount Pisgah. Looking up the records, he located the place. On the strength of the assay, in December, 1890, he outfitted a wagon, and with a partner, F. F. Frisbee, drove to Cripple Creek. The weather was intensely cold and the roads blocked by snow, which made progress slow. At last, after considerable circuitous riding, and after sleeping for many nights in the wagon, he reached the desired spot and located the El Dorado claim, which is the first claim filed from the Cripple Creek district. The first implements brought there for mining were purchased from Barnes & Son, and the bill bears date of March 16, 1891, the goods being shipped on that date via the Colorado Midland Railroad.
From the time of locating the claim, Mr. De La Vergne engaged in prospecting and assaying, and when he found a satisfactory assay he located not only the El Dorado, but other claims, among them the Raven, on the hill named for it. The Raven Gold Mining Company was organized with himself as president and manager, and the mine has proved to be a good producer. With Messrs. Colburn, Frisbee and Seldomridge, he organized the El Dorado Gold Mining Company, of which he was manager and vice-president, and theirs was the first claim filed naming the district. He is now a director of the Virginia M. Gold Mining Company, and is owner of the Lofty and one of the principal owners of the Alhambra. Formerly he acted as manager of the Requa Gold Mining Company, but has sold his interest in this mine. He is a member of the Cripple Creek Club and the Chamber of Commerce in Colorado Springs. Politically he is a Republican, always voting the straight presidential party ticket. In religion he is a Presbyterian.
The marriage of Mr. De La Vergne took place in Colorado Springs and united him with Miss Alice M. Hook, who was born at Davenport, England, and is a daughter of William E. Hook, now of Colorado Springs. In 1895 Mr. De La Vergne made a tour of Europe, spending the summer in visiting points of interest on the continent and in England.
All enterprises having for their object the good of his country receive the sympathy of Mr. De La Vergne and find in him an advocate and friend, ready to give substantial aid, and that, too, without any thought or hope of reaping personal advantage. Fortunate in his undertakings, judicious in all of his actions, prompt and energetic as a business man, and intensely patriotic in devotion to his country, few men are more respected than he.
Information provided by FAG volunteer Ron West
From: Semi-Centennial History of the State of Colorado, 1913
HON. EDWARD M. DE LA VERGNE, of Colorado Springs, State Senator of Colorado, and one of the heaviest and best known operators in western mining properties, is a native of Marietta, Ohio, born May 14, 1846, and a son of George W. and Mary (Yates) De La Vergne. The father was a native of Poughkeepsie, New York, and the mother, of Dutchess County, that state, the maternal ancestors numbering General Yates and other Revolutionary leaders. The paternal branch of the United States originated in a French Huguenot colony which found refuge in the beautiful valley of the Hudson. By trade George W. De La Vergne was a miller, born in 1800, who conducted his business in New York, Ohio and Tennessee, and died in 1893.
Edward M. attended the public schools of Tennessee until the outbreak of the Civil War, at the close of which the family moved to Clinton, Missouri, where he engaged in the real estate business. Thence, in 1878, he migrated to Colorado Springs and engaged in mining in the Ruby district of the famous Gunnison County. After working as a common miner for three years, 'he assumed the management of a small mine in that section of the state. For the succeeding five years Mr. De La Vergne superintended the Old Man Mine, at Camp Fleming, and the Blackhawk Mine, Silver City, New Mexico, and upon his return to Colorado managed the Orient Mines at Lawson, which he operated until the opening of the Cripple Creek district, not long afterward. He himself claims to have discovered the first paying gold in this world-famed district, his assayer's certificate, signed by Professor Lamb, of the Colorado College, early in December, 1890, being perhaps the first authoritative testimonial which started the "boom"; he also holds another certificate of January, 1891, and the United States geological report of the Cripple Creek district affirms the authenticity of his original discovery. Mr. De La Vergne is now vice president and general manager of the Elkton Mining and Milling Company, and is identified with the Raven and Isabella mining properties, as well as with others of less note.
Mr. De La Vergne has been a leader in Republican politics and the public affairs of the state for a number of years. In 1904 he was elected to the State Senate and ably represented El Paso and Teller counties until the expiration of his term in January, 1908. In the ranks of Masonry he appears as a member of Tejon Lodge, Xo. 104, A. F. and A. M., of Colorado Springs. On September 30, 1877, he was united in marriage to Miss Alice Hook, daughter of William E. Hook, formerly a resident of England.
From early boyhood Mr. De La Vergne's life has been one of trials and hardships, which he has gallantly overcome. Being the youngest in a family of five sons and five daughters, and his parents being quite old when he had reached young manhood, the responsibility of supporting the household fell quite heavily upon him, especially as his parents were old and helpless when the family left Tennessee at the close of the Civil war. While he did not inherit world goods of any description, he both inherited and acquired ethical traits which gave to him a sturdy moral individuality. His parents were of the Presbyterian faith, stanch Christians who never faltered or wavered unto death; and it is but a just tribute to the son to state that no citizen of Colorado Springs, public or private, is more deeply honored for his high traits of character than E. M. De La Vergne.
The year of marriage should be corrected to '1896' in the memorial text: "On September 30, 1877, he was united in marriage to Miss Alice Hook, daughter of William E. Hook, formerly a resident of England." Alice Hook was born in 1874.
Contributor: Vern Peterman (49266872)
Buried: 9/19/1917, Source: City of Colo Spgs cemetery record 3/7/09
Alice Maud Hook De La Vergne
1864–1922 (m. 1896)
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