In the '7o's Weld County embraced all of
northeastern Colorado. This wide region was then a treeless waste,
overrun by immense herds of cattle that fattened on the nutritious grama
grass. Settlers were few and far between. The '8o's saw the beginnings
of towns in this county. Sterling was started in 1881, and Atwood in
Creation of Logan County.
In 1887 Logan County was set apart from Weld
County. It then extended to the Nebraska line. Two years later Phillips
and Sedgwick Counties were carved out of it, so great was the influx of
settlers in the late '8o's. That was a period of development for
Colorado. The population of the State doubled in the decade, 1878-1887.
Logan County is bounded on the north by Nebraska,
on the west by Weld and Morgan Counties, on the south by Morgan,
Washington, and Yuma Counties, and on the west by Phillips and Sedgwick
Counties. The South Platte River flows through it diagonally in a
northeasterly direction; it is here a wide, shallow stream, with a big
wooded island here and there. The county is traversed by the Burlington
and the Union Pacific Railroads. The " Short Line " of the Union
Pacific, from Julesburg to La Salle, was completed in 1881, and the
Burlington road was constructed the following year.
The area of the county is 1,733 square miles. The
valley or basin of the South Platte is from 3 to 6 miles wide. To either
side of the valley are rolling plains or tablelands. In some places may
be found eminences that are hundreds of feet higher than the river. The
mean annual precipitation of Logan County is about 15 inches, and the
average temperature 50° to 55°.
The cultivated area of Logan County in 1900 was
57,639 acres; in 1910 it was 100,000 acres, mostly under irrigation. The
soil is well adapted to grain and potatoes. The chief crops are hay and
sugar beets. Stock-raising is a leading industry.
In 1900 Logan County had 3,292 inhabitants. Since
then the population has nearly trebled. In 1910 it was 9,549.
The county seat is Sterling, 140 miles northeast of
Denver. This is the most important town in the county, and was named
after a city of that name in Illinois. Sterling is pleasantly situated
on the west bank of the river, at the intersection of the Union Pacific
and the Burlington and Missouri Railroads. Its elevation is 3,932 feet.
The valley in the vicinity was settled in 1871. Being occasionally
threatened by roving bands of Indians, the sturdy pioneers built a sod
fort, 3 miles northeast of the present townsite. Like the pioneers in
other counties, the men worked in squads while sowing and harvesting,
and had their guns ready to repel attacks of prowling savages. The first
school in the settlement was held in a sod school- house, and dugouts
were commonly used for dwellings. Churches, banks, and newspapers were
established in the '8o's, and the United States Land Office in 1890. A
beet-sugar factory was opened in 1905. In 1900 Sterling had 998 souls;
the population in 1910 was 3,044.
Other places in the county arc Atwood, Merino, and
Iliff. The latter town was so called after John W. Iliff, of Ohio, who
came to Colorado in 1860 and engaged in the cattle business, making a
A historic interest attaches to Cedar Cañon, a
gully about a dozen miles northwest of Sterling. In the spring of 1864
Captain Jacob Downing was sent out with companies of cavalry to chastise
a band of hostiles that had been committing depredations in the South
Platte Valley. The redskins had vamosed; they were trailed to their
hiding-place by Sam Ashcraft, an Indian trader. According to one
account, Spotted Horse, a sub-chief of the Arapahoes, was captured and
tied to a stake, and a fire kindled around his feet; then the stolid
buck cried out that he would tell where the band was hidden. The troops
charged them at daybreak, and, after several hours of hard fighting, the
tribesmen were routed with a loss of several killed and a large number
wounded. One soldier was slain in the engagement, and some were wounded.
The troops destroyed the village and captured over 100 ponies.
Colorado : By Eugene Parsons
Author of "The Making of Colorado," etc.
With Maps and Illustrations
Little, Brown And Company, Publishers
By Little, Brown, And Company.
All rights reserved
Published, October, 1911.
Electretyfid and Printed by
The Colonial Press
C. H. Simendi & Co., Baton, U.S.A.