Yuma County, Colorado

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Yuma County Pioneer Photographs:

Daniel and Mary (Thielke) Shields, Idalia.

   Daniel Shields was born near Rockford, Illinois on September 28, 1839. He was a Union veteran of the Civil War and was discharged as a corporal with a Surgeon's Certificate of Disability, February 10, 1863. The disability required he seek a drier climate, so in 1864 he joined an ox train and headed west. He arrived in Black Hawk, Colorado on New Year's Day 1865 where he worked in a meat market. In Black Hawk he met Mary Thielke who was born in Germany and came to this country when a young girl. Daniel and Mary were married in Denver March 3, 1873 and lived near Elizabeth, Colorado, in Elbert County, for several years where their two sons were born; Charles Daniel in 1876 and Oscar Nathan in 1881.

   In 1881 the family traveled by covered wagon, trailing their 400 head of cattle to what was known as "Two Springs", along the Arikaree River just northwest of today's Idalia, Colorado. Here Daniel established the Wine Glass Ranch. He built a rock house for the family. The Shields Post Office, named for its first postmaster, Daniel Shields, was established on the ranch in August 1887.

He had the Wine and Glass Ranch at the head of Little Two Springs. Mr. Shields wrote a very fine story to the Historical Society, as follows: " The Contrast and Why." written by a son of a pioneer. Dedicated to the Beecher Island vicinity and to the common pioneer and pioneer soldier, whose efforts did so much in the formation of the great nation known to civilized man.

For sometime I have had the feeling that I should relate some of the sights and incidents concerning the early history in this vicinity and that feeling was more pronounced as I rode on the highway and viewed on either side the comfortable, substantial homes, the thriving farm villages and town, the productive fields, the electric power and telephone lines, the irrigation wells, and the man-made lake and reservoirs along the streams - - all produced by human hands!

I first saw the country fifteen miles west of Beecher Island in June 1881, a little over seventy years ago. Now, a long time, but to me it doesn't seem so long. There are sights and incidents of those days that are still vivid in my mind, some of which I will explain to you in trying to describe the almost unbelievable contrast in the appearance of this country in the early eighties and as you see and know it today.

In the hills, breaks and rough country the contrast might not be so pronounced. I believe you could still find a knoll or hill to stand upon and view the surrounding rough country and get a fair idea of what it looked like at that early date. But, of valleys along the streams and the flat upland, it is a different story. Along the streams there were large meadows with joint grass growing waist high. Other meadows of luxuriant grass were still untouched by a mower. There were scattered cottonwood trees. On the flats you could gaze as far as your eye could reach and all you could see would be a vast expanse of buffalo grass, specked here and there with white buffalo bones. If you were lucky you might see a buffalo or an antelope or a band of wild horses.

In the fall of 1882 an incident happened that temporarily changed the whole appearance of this community. The preceding summer had been rather wet. Grass and vegetation had made more than normal growth until early fall. Then it turned dry and windy. Far to the northwest a fire started and fanned by northerly winds, it came into this vicinity. It burned for nearly a month before a storm came up that was large enough to put it out. It covered an estimated seventy-five to one hundred square miles. much livestock and wildlife was destroyed. All one could see was a burned black desert. The white bones were still there. This was the most desolate sight I ever saw.

Now, why did seventy years make a change in this country that had lain for perhaps thousands of years in a natural primitive stage? The common pioneer and pioneer soldier. People with that fierce determination and undying effort; they made this change possible. I do not consider myself a pioneer. I was too young and too small to help. Perhaps I was a hindrance. But, I am proud to say that my father and my mother were pioneers in every sense of the word. Pioneering did not start in this community, nor did stop here. Pioneering started some three or four hundred years ago when the pilgrims and immigrants landed along the Atlantic coast of New England. That is where pioneering and soldiering started. The trend was "Ever Westward" until the Pacific coast was reached. I have often thought how appropriate and nice it would be if every country seat in the nation had monument or a memorial dedicated to the common pioneer, so that the coming generations might look upon it and try and realize who first made possible Teri way of life. for believe me, were it not for the common pioneer and the common soldier the beautiful flag "THE STARS AND STRIPES" would not be flying over the greatest and most beloved nation in all the civilized world. Written in 1953 by Charles Shields.

The following are excerpts from a letter written by Mr. Shields on November 25, 1958: It seems best to give you an idea of my father's history in order that you might understand how and why the ranch was established. Early-day history of that part of the country has always been a hobby with me because I spent fifty years there.

Dan Shields was founder of the Wine Glass Ranch located at Two Springs or middle fork of the Republican. Dan was born on a farm near Rockford, Illinois, on September 28, 1840. He enlisted in the Union Army, and was discharged with a medical disability. His health forced him to seek a drier climate, so he joined an ox train and headed west. He arrived at Black Hawk on New Year's Day, 1865. For five years he was employed by J.G. Binkleman who ran a Butcher shop and delivery wagon. In 1871 he homestead near Elizabeth, Colorado, and leased one hundred cows from Mr. Binkleman, who also had a ranch. This was where the Wine Glass brand started.

Sheep men came in and spoiled the grazing so with four hundred head of cows he move to Two Springs. Here he built a rock house for mother, my younger brother and myself. This was in eighty-one. When father moved there, there was only one dug-out cabin along the creek from his place to Jake Haigler ranch in Nebraska. This cabin was at the mouth of Robber's roost. Here at this cabin was an used cattle trail that branched off the Old Kit Carson Trail. There were two ranches on the North Fork: Bowles Bar 11 and Campbell's C-C.

At that time the ranchers had high aims for success and had never thought that farming might replace grazing. They had no fear of hard winters. But, there were great losses from fires, hard winters and rustlers. The losses over the years were heavy. Out of the four hundred cattle turned out in 1881, only one hundred seventy head were gathered. The last big round up was in 1886. Father continued on the ranch until his death in 1892, at the age if fifty-two years. Mother died when she was thirty-two years old on November 4, 1883. The ranch has had numerous owners and is still one of the largest. The brand is still used. Source: Action on the Plains, 1993, pages 149, 150 and 151. (Yuma County Historical Society)

LITTLE TWO SPRINGS: These springs have always been a wonder to the people who knew about them. The flow of water from them was clear and very cold. the spring house was built close to the kitchen so that the water could be used conveniently. Mr. Shields felt that there was an underground current from a mountain stream that fed the springs. Perhaps he was right. This basin of underground water being used for irrigation throughout this area seems to tie in with his story. Source: Action on the Plains, 1993, page 151.


   Mary Shields died November 4, 1883 leaving Daniel to raise the two boys. Mary's sister, Auguste Thieke, came to help out and she and Daniel were married in 1885. Daniel Shields died in 1892. Daniel and Mary are buried in Denver's Riverside Cemetery. Auguste Shields remained on the ranch and later married William Davisson.

   Charles Shields married Elizabeth (Lizzie) Riedesel on August 8, 1899. Elizabeth was born in September 1881 to John and Katherine Riedesel. Their first years were spent on a ranch near Wray. They later established a ranch about 3 miles west of the old home place on the Arikaree River.

   Five children were born to Charles and Lizzie:
Mae Shields, born October 15, 1902, married (1st) Theodore McCoy and (2nd) Clavel Johnson
Katie Maude Shields, born September 9, 1903, died May 12, 1906, is buried in the Lucas Cemetery.
John Earl Shields, born December 1, 1907
Colletta Shields, born and died February 1915, is buried in the Lucas Cemetery.
Mary Shields, born January 22, 1917, married [-?-] Dugan

   In 1930, the Charles Shields family moved to a ranch in South Park, near Como, Colorado. In 1937, they bought a place near Erie, Colorado, and farmed there until he retired. Their last years were spent in Denver, where Charles died in 1964 and Elizabeth in 1969. They are buried in the Crown Hill Cemetery in Denver.

   Oscar Nathan Shields, married Cora Smith of Wray in 1906. They operated a hotel in Wray for a few years before they separated. He spent several years in Louisiana and came back to Colorado in 1929. He died in Denver in 1933. He is buried near his mother and father in the Riverside Cemetery in Denver.

Charles D. Shields was born January 6, 1876, at Elizabeth, Colorado. He married a daughter of John Riedesel. She was born September 20, 1881. The Riedesel family homesteaded west of Idalia in 1886. Mr. and Mrs. Shields were married in a little white church at Yuma, Colorado, August 8, 1899. They lived for about a year on the Ed O'Donnel Ranch, better known as the Fred Johnston Ranch, at Wray. They moved to a ranch on the Arickaree and lived there for thirty years. They celebrated their golden Wedding in Denver and were presented with the golden Wedding Honorary Membership in the Yuma County Historical Society. Source: Action on The Plains, 1993, page 151. (Yuma County Historical Society)

"Charles D. Shields, 88, former resident of the Vernon community, was buried Friday, in Denver. The service was held at Howard's Berkeley Chapel with burial at Crown Hill. He came to the Arickaree Valley when five years old, with his parents and brother Oscar, when they started the Wine Glass Ranch in 1881.

He is survived by his wife, Lizzie; children, Mat Johnson of Denver, Mary Dugan of Salida and Earl Shields of Denver; six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Rutledge and Mrs. E. H. Rutledge of Yuma and Mr. and Mrs. T. J. Wilcoxen of Wray attended the funeral."


Charles Shields image and family information contributed by Dallas Riedesel.
Shields ranch image from the 1978 book "A History of East Yuma County".
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