Henry Harkins - Dead Man's Canyon, El Paso County, CO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member condor1
N 38° 40.272 W 104° 51.504
13S E 512317 N 4280299
Quick Description: The grave of Henry Harkins is located on the southeast side of Hwy 115 about 10 miles south from the main entrance to Fort Carson. If you are heading north on Hwy 115 then it is about 8 miles north of Little Turkey Creek Rd.
Location: Colorado, United States
Date Posted: 4/6/2010 5:44:35 PM
Waymark Code: WM8HXC
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member tiki-4
Views: 15

Long Description:
There is very little information available about this lonely misplaced grave. This is what I have been able to find. Also if you look closely at the grave marker it appears that the original stone was encapsulated into concrete in the shape of a currently traditional headstone.

Extract from an interview in March of 2004 by Kathy Berg of the Salida Regional Library at the home of Wendell Hutchinson in Salida, Colorado. (Key passages for Henry Harkins are in bold)

A second reference can be found here labeled Mile-High History LINK by Jolie Anderson Gallagher and are excerpts from the book "A Wild West History of Frontier Colorado: Pioneers, Gunslingers & Cattle Kings on the Eastern Plains"

"WH: Yeah, It was. For example, I talked about…. I went to my Great Uncle, he was kind of the historian, he said why don’t you talk about Chief Ouray . So I did. I talked about Chief Ouray and his wife Chapitta and their son Pahlone. And about Palone being captured by the Kiowa’s and he, when he was about two, and took him away from Ouray and Chapitta. And then, then later he had a chance to come back and live with them but he didn’t want to. He said “no, I grew up with the Kiowas, they’re my friends and I don’t want to come back.” So, anyway, then the next year when Jake graduated, he talked about the Espinosas."

"The Espinosas. And they were, they were some outlaws that were disgruntled about the ah Spanish American war. A lot of land had been lost during that war in Mexico, and these Spanish guys were disgruntled about it. They came through the country murdering lonely ranchers & miners. In this hard-scrabble county outside of Westcliff there was David Bruce. He was a lonely miner. They came in and chopped his head open and shot him."


"Then they went up in dead man’s gulch, and John, ah John McPherson’s brother Murdock was up there settin up a sawmill and they came down, and their friend Henry Harkins they found him, he’d been chinkin his cabin and they found him murdered. And they thought it was Indians, but it was not the Indians, it was the Espinosas. They cut his head open with an axe and shot him four or five times."

"He’s,.. Henry Harkins today is buried about oh, fifteen miles out of Colorado Springs, and there’s a little white picket fence around the grave there."

"Incidentally, Henry Harkins crossed the plains with my Great, Great Grandfather and Grandmother and their family and my Grandmother Annabelle. So, so, but he was in that same wagon train. In fact, little John McPherson fell out of the wagon some way. I suppose it was their own, McPherson’s own wagon. But Harkins saw it, and he hollered real loud, “Woah, Woah”, and then they did stop just as the big wheel was about to go over little John. Little John was, oh he was born in 1855. They came across in 1860, so he was about five years old. But he was spared, by Henry Harkins. But then Henry Harkins was killed by the Espinosa brothers up there."


"They got over in South Park and killed another one or two. They got up into Oro City, below Leadville and it was a different story. Boy the miners didn’t want to put up with anymore. So they organized a posse and among them was old Chuck Nachtrieb and others, and Henry Lamb. And they, they finally, after quite a lot of research, or lookin for ‘em, found them, and they were up on a peak. Still today it’s called Espinosa Peak. And he was murdered. Ah, they…, Henry Lamb shot him, shot one of the Espinosas. The second Espinosa got away, went back down to New Mexico and got a cousin,…. I believe it was a cousin, and he was only fifteen. And then they came back on a rampage, pretty much in the San Louis valley over here."

So, ah…but they hired, hired some army guys from Fort Garland down there to go, to go lookin for them. And they, they got Tom Tobin, an old trapper to go with ‘em. Tom Tobin did go with ‘em and he, he was able to track ‘em and they got ‘em up ah in kind of a canyon, in a hole and they couldn’t get out and Tobin says “there’s your Espinosas” and he let the army guys shoot at ‘em, they missed. And he said give me the gun”, and they did. He shot both of ‘em, just one shot apiece. But he was an old frontiersman, you know, he didn’t waste his bullet, Anyway, he chopped their heads off, this is the way the story goes, ah he chopped their heads off and then he want back to Ft. Garland where they were havin kind-of a ball that night, and he, he had these heads in a gunny sack and he grabbed the end of the sack and rolled the heads out on the floor and he said “here’s your Espinosas”.

"Now that sounds like a fictitious tale, but It’s supposed to be true."

KB: OK. It’s supposed to be true. So was their mean-spiritedness, was their goal to just rob these people, or just wanted to kill them?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is also a little information about this grave on Roots Web listing some of the early families of Fountain, Colorado

It has mis-spelled the name as (Hawkins v.s. Harkins) but the location is correct and dates match. They state that the grave was relocated to this site in 1965 to make way for the construction of Hwy 115.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here is a Goggle Maps Street View of the site ... LINK ...
Give it a few second to load


There is also a Geocache located at this site: Deadman's Canyon GC24258
First Name: Henry

Last Name: Harkins

Died: 3/19/1863

Born: Not listed

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Recent Visits/Logs:
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WalkingDuo visited Henry Harkins - Dead Man's Canyon, El Paso County, CO 7/19/2013 WalkingDuo visited it
roadrunners visited Henry Harkins - Dead Man's Canyon, El Paso County, CO 8/27/2012 roadrunners visited it
mr.volkswagen visited Henry Harkins - Dead Man's Canyon, El Paso County, CO 7/18/2010 mr.volkswagen visited it
jammarie visited Henry Harkins - Dead Man's Canyon, El Paso County, CO 7/18/2010 jammarie visited it
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Team Laxson visited Henry Harkins - Dead Man's Canyon, El Paso County, CO 7/11/2010 Team Laxson visited it
condor1 visited Henry Harkins - Dead Man's Canyon, El Paso County, CO 4/6/2010 condor1 visited it

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