Monday, May 2, 2011

Gen. William Larimer, Jr.

Gen William Larimer, Jr.

Birth: Oct. 14, 1809, Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania.
Death: May 16, 1875, Fort Leavenworth, Leavenworth County, Kansas.
Burial: Leavenworth National Cemetery, Leavenworth, Leavenworth County Kansas.

Denver Founder. General Larimer's birthplace is within the battle-field of Gettysburg. He moved to Pittsburgh where he became a merchant, a banker, and president of a short line of railroad. Larimer was appointed to the rank of major- general of the western division of the Pennsylvania militia. Larimer came to Nebraska in 1854 and was a member of the House of Representatives of the second legislative assembly. Also, as president of the Larimer City Town Company, he filed a certificate of the claim of the site of the company, comprising about 320 acres adjacent to the present LaPlatte, Nebraska, on July 20, 1857. In 1858 he moved to Leavenworth, Kansas, and in the fall of the same year he went to the Pike's Peak gold fields.

He founded the upstart Denver City by crossing cottonwood sticks at the center of a square mile town plat on November 22, 1858. Larimer chose the east side of Cherry Creek because it was higher ground and on the more accessible side of the Cherry Creek and South Platte River trails. Larimer named the newborn metropolis for James W. Denver, governor of Kansas Territory, to help ensure that it would be chosen as the county seat of what was then Arapaho County, Kansas Territory. A principal street of the city and a county bear his name in Colorado as well as an avenue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a county there.

In 1863, Larimer returned to Leavenworth where on August 12 became captain of Company A, Fourteenth Regiment Kansas Volunteer Cavalry and served until the regiment was mustered out on June 25, 1865. Though his physique was stunning, he rose to no higher rank than captain. The regiment was actively engaged in frontier warfare. Captain Larimer returned to Leavenworth at the end of the war. He was a radical abolitionist before he left Pennsylvania, and he championed the cause of woman suffrage in Nebraska, for which he suffered ridicule by politicians in general and J. Sterling Morton in particular. He joined the Liberal Republican movement in 1872, and was a candidate for the office of presidential elector on the Greeley ticket. He was president of the board of trustees of the institution for the blind at Wyandotte and a member of the board of managers of the reform school at Leavenworth. (bio by: Fred Beisser)

The following information was sent to me by Wanda Gray, who is a well know historian from Arkansas.

Captain William Larimer, Jr. He was quite a 'mover and a shaker'. Came from Westmoreland County, PA, went to Nebraska, CO, and Kansas, was in all sorts of state military companies, in one held the rank of General. He raised the Third Regiment of Colorado Volunteers, and was its first Colonel. Resigned, and went back to Kansas, and after the massacre of Baxter Springs was commissioned Captain of Company A, 14th KS Cav. He was the age of about 54, when in Waldron Arkansas area in 1863.

There is a family history at I believe it is published on pages 652-657, in the History of Westmoreland County, Vol. I, Pennsylvania, by John N. Boucher, New York, 1906.

William Larimer, Jr., was born on 24 October 1808, Circleville, Westmoreland County, PA, and died, 16 May 1875, at Leavenworth, Leavenworth County, Kansas. His wife, was Rachel McMasters, married at Turtle Creek, Allegheny County, PA, on 16 Oct 1834, and had nine children.

Signed, Wanda Gray.

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