To my Fellow-Townspeople of Colorado Springs in the Year 2001,
A loving greeting to you all. It has been assigned to me to write to you concerning the national issues of our time, more particularly as related to Colorado and Colorado Springs. The "Free Silver" craze, which was so dangerous in the Presidential election of 1896, reached its highest phrenzy, and had its storm-centre, in this State. The cunningly-devised plea that silver had been demonetized in 1873 by a legislative trick, the wide-spread theory that the fall in the value of silver was due not to over-production but to a conspiracy on the part of what were called "gold bugs," has, because of the very large silver-mining interests of Colorado, produced in this State a practically unanimous demand for "free and unlimited" silver-coinage. It was a movement which had its deepest roots imbedded in selfishness, just as clearly as the defense of slavery by the Southern states. The debate which raged on this question from 1894 to 1897 was intense beyond all description. My own active participation began in 1891. For many years I enjoyed the seemingly unenviable reputation of being the only outspoken adherent of the Gold Standard in the whole Rocky Mountain region. In 1893, when the repeal of the so-called "Sherman Law" compelling the government to buy not less than 4 ½ million dollars of silver per month was under discussion, my fellow Directors of "The First National Bank" of this city intimated that I ought not to remain on the Directory if I publicly championed the repeal. I resigned immediately rather than be compelled to withhold the publication of my convictions. In 1896, when I decided to deliver an address before the convention of what was known as the Gold Democratic Party, I was warned by friends that some "Free Silver" fanatic might ignite a stick of dynamite under my home. This in no wise deterred me. I mention these facts only in order to convey some idea of the intensity which presided here. For those of you who may be at all interested I enclose copy of my book on "The Question of Silver," - copy of the convention proceedings of 1896 containing my address - and copy of a paper read by me before a Monetary Congress in Omaha, 1898. I am happy to say that the "Free Silver" craze is almost dead. I hardly believe that any exigency of the future could revive it.
The Spanish-American war was wicked, - as all wars of aggression are wicked. Some of the secret influences which brought it about can readily be traced by reading the first pages of Theodore Roosevelt's "Rough Riders". After the battleship "Maine" was blown up, - blown up as I think from an explosion inside the ship, - the feeling in Congress soon ran so high that I feared international trouble. I believed that, if we could gain sufficient time for the national heat to cool, we could obtain any desirable concession for Cuba by diplomacy. This belief has been justified by the statement made to me in this city by General Woodford (our Spanish ambassador in 1898), namely, that if we had waited six months longer, he felt assured that the Spanish flag would have been hauled down in the island of Cuba without the firing of a single shot. About the middle of March the danger signals seemed so threatening that I called up Dr. Slocum (the President of Colorado College) on the telephone and said that, in my judgment, unless public opinion strongly intervened, we should drift into war. I proposed a public meeting of protest. He doubted the possibility of war, but said my suggestion was worthy of consideration. We then drew General Palmer into consultation. We decided that a public meeting was risky, because, under the prevailing excitement our resolutions might be voted down. Accordingly, with a number of other citizens, we signed and forwarded a protest, which was printed in the Colorado Springs Gazette on March 25, 1898. I append copy herein. This protest was copied in some of the Eastern papers and was, so far as I know, the only public protest made against the war. During the war the city was in a whirl of patriotism. A reception was tendered the Colorado Springs Company, that went to the Philippines, in the rooms of the "Young Men's Christian Association" - then situated in the De Graff block, North Tejon Street between Kiowa and Bijou, - and they were presented with a flag in the North Park. The speedy destruction of the Spanish fleets is history.
If, after the fall of Manila on August 13th, 1898, we had unselfishly assisted the Philippine insurgents in the maintenance of their Republic, we would have acted in the true spirit of our own patriot-fathers and we would have lifted all civilization to a loftier plane. The demoralizing influences of the war-spirit had unfortunately aroused the tiger-instinct of the nation. Wise and noble leadership, advising self-restraint and just regard for the rights of other men, would have kept the nation true. The infamous "benevolent assimilation" proclamation, issued by President McKinley on December 12, 1898, impelled the nation to wrong and crime. I wonder, as I write, what your judgment will be of William McKinley. George III has not been dead a hundred years, and yet the latest English historian, Professor Goldwin Smith, says of him: "The name of George III cannot be penned without a pang, can hardly be penned without a curse, such mischief was he fated to do the country." Such, in my judgment, will be posterity's opinion of McKinley. When I think of the 40,000 brave Filipino patriots who were slaughtered in the struggle for independence, - and of the 10,000 American lives sacrificed in so unholy a cause, - I cannot but regard Mr. McKinley as the greatest criminal living on the earth today. I had a long interview with him in the White House in the Fall of '97, and he then impressed me as a weak, superficial, pliant, characterless individual. To me he is an illustration of the fact that the flabby, half-good man like Lord North of our Revolutionary days, - with a veneer of unctuous respectability, - is far more dangerous to the State than the bold, bad man whose character challenges direct opposition.
Unfortunately the choice of the nation last year lay between McKinley and Bryan. If the country had not been so prosperous, of if the opposition had been headed by almost any other public man than Mr. Bryan, Mr. McKinley would have suffered defeat. I am on terms of personal friendship with Mr. Bryan. This, despite my bitter opposition to him in 1896. He is a man of good intentions, of strong will, and of intense convictions. Some of his convictions, unfortunately, like his "Free Silver" views, are ill-founded; - and these stood in the way of his election to the Presidency.
During 1899 and 1900 a brave, patriotic band of men, united under what is known as "The Anti-Imperialist League," fought the crime which was being perpetrated in the Philippine islands. Most prominent among these were the two noble spirits, Carl Schurz and George S. Bantwell. Their names should never be forgotten by lovers of freedom. Mr. Bantwell, as President of what was known as "The Liberty Congress," - held in Indianapolis last August, - proclaiming the necessity in his old age of leaving the Republican Party after nearly half a century of adhesion, - stood out as a most heroic figure. What a contrast to the unworthy, unpatriotic attitude taken by Senator Hoar! On August 14th, 1900 I presided as chairman at a convention of Independents - in Indianapolis. My address is herein enclosed, - as published by The Springfield Republican."
Colorado, and Colorado Springs particularly, was the centre of keen excitement during the last Presidential campaign. An account of the letters we wrote, the speeches we made, etc, will be found in our daily papers. Selfishness, or as it was popularly phrased, "the full dinner pail," triumphed.
Looking back over the last two years, it seems to me that the following lessons can be drawn from our national experiences: It is dangerous to do wrong, even under the inspiration of a noble purpose. We went to war to set Cuba free. We closed the war by crushing out the rights and liberties of millions of men, worthier than the Cubans, living thousands of miles from our shores, - whose very existence was almost unknown until Dewey's victory. Crime cannot be multiplied into virtue. The killing of a man, except in unprovoked self-defense, is murder. Murder cannot be justified by committing it nationally and calling it war. Man must learn to appreciate and to follow Nature's plan of achieving its ends through the slow but sure changes of evolutionary development.
Another lesson to be heeded is the crucial danger of national selfishness. That is the primary cause of our present wrong-doing. We have temporarily (I hope and pray "temporarily") thrown away the noblest jewel of our national existence, - our lofty conception of the equal rights of mankind, - and our cherished ideal that governments "derive their just rights from the consent of the governed." And all this for a doubtful, contemptible prospect of material gain! My present fear is that a great national calamity can alone purify our temper and lead us humbly back to the ark of our national covenant. Unless we atone for our present sin against the holy spirit of Liberty, and again re-consecrate this nation to our original ideal of the sacred equality of man, - of his right to himself, individually and nationally, - we will follow the downward path of the nations that have disappeared, and civilization will have lost its noblest creation. God grant that, when these lines shall be read, our nation may be purified and may again, stainless and unsullied, stand for what is highest among the nations of the Earth!
Louis R. Ehrich
To The President of The United States,
We earnestly hope that in behalf of justice, humanity and of our own permanent national welfare, the United States will continue to refrain from hostile intervention in Cuba. A false step at this time may bring war, and it is possible that victory, by begetting a willingness to interfere in the affairs of other nations, may produce results that might be worse even than defeat.
We deplore the unfortunate suffering in Cuba, but would not have our country invite the risk of calamities much more shocking to human sympathy, or assume any responsibility for the doubtful future of a Spanish-American republic.
It is not "peace at any price" that we advocate, but what we consider the truest patriotism, and the best interests of humanity.
Very respectfully yours,
Wm. J. Palmer, Wm. F. Slocum, Chas. W. Haines, J.F. Humphrey, Louis R. Ehrich, Walter C. Frost, James B. Gregg, Fred V.S. Crosby, Otis S. Johnson, Francis B. Hill, Irving Howbert, I.T. Jones, F.B. Abernathy, Geo. S. Klstun, T.A. McMorris, A.S. Holbrook, Geo. B. Lott, Rich. J. Bolles, George R. Buckman, E.W. Giddings, Jr., T.B. Burbridge, G.A.H Fraser, D.V. Donaldson, E.A. Beecher, W. Postlethwaite, J.M. Bolton, Thos. J. Fisher, E.J. Steinmetz, Otis Remick, Alfred Bartow, Wm. S. Jackson, Gilbert McClurg, Chas. C. Harrison, Henry C. Lowe, O.L. Godfrey, S.E. Solly, Benjamin Brewster, Clark Mellen, Wm. H. Fish, Jr., Wm. P. Bonbright, Henry Le B. Wills, J.H. Avery, J.F. Maybury, Jas. Gardner, Jr., E.E. Evans, W.C. Bisphan, Walter Scott, Will M. Masi, Jr., John W. Sleeper, S.C. Stout, Alden W. Kingman.
Colorado Springs, Colo., March 24th, 1898.
1700 N. Cascade Avenue
Colorado Springs, Colorado.
August 4, 1901.
When my father, Louis R. Ehrich announced the fact that he intended writing a letter to his descendants immediately determined to supplement his letter by writing you of him. Knowing his modesty and unconsciousness of self, I know that he can have given you no idea of his true worth. He urged me to write to my descendants but I replied that I had no idea of having any. After all, this seems a rather curious thing to do, to write to you of the future questions when we of this lack as yet not [?] found our mates. I hope, however, that there may be some of you if only to inherit some of my beloved father's fine qualities.
I suppose that to a measure you will attribute my laudatory remarks to filial decoration, I admit frankly that I consider him the most perfect being I know, but as others, unrelated, have expressed the same thoughts to me, I feel that I am justified in expressing myself.
Endowed with a mind of rare power and intelligence he has always spent every spare minute in conscientious study so that now he is considered one of the very fewest conscious of all [?] the paintings in America, and a well-qualified critic of all national and literary matters. The breadth of his culture and learning can be gauged by that. The Huidoo hagaukar [?], - (a most extraordinary man,) visited us some years ago, and subsequently told a mutual friend that Papa was the most cultured man he had met in America. I have heard the same thing from other equally reliable resources, and we all know that his has become acknowledged one of the master minds of America. Besides his passion for study, - he has the keenest appreciation of all kinds of games and sports; - chess, whist, tennis, base-ball, foot-ball - everything seems worthy of his interest and attention.
What I wish most to speak of, however, is his rare nature, - sunny, cheerful, lovable, and most patient and kindly.
No one has ever applied to him for help vainly [?], - he is always putting himself out for either individual or public good. - I have lived with him for twenty-five years and in all that time have seen him irritated barely a half dozen times; - angry, he was only once and then with full justification.
He is forgiving to a fault and the most generous person I know. When he was financially embarrassed a few years ago, we ( I mean my beloved mother and my two brothers, sister and self,) were careful to express few wishes before him for we all realized how deeply grieved he always was when unable to grant our every wish.
Endowed with all these rare and precious qualities, - he also has a most delightful sense of humor. Nothing escapes him and I have seen him tease and be teased with the intense good-humor.
To us children he has been the most sympathetic of companions, - first, keenly and invariably interested in our thoughts and pursuits.
While not a Christian he is more a follower of Jesus than anyone I know; and this idea was first suggested to me by an outsider.
Fearless in thought, speech, and action, - noble, lofty and humane in all his feelings and sympathies. Can you all wonder that I feel my eyes fill with loving tears while writing of him?
My brother Walter was teoitted [?] a few years ago on his foment [?] worship and accused of finding our father faultless. I was told that he racked his brain for some minutes and finally had to admit that "his only fault was that he was too good"; - a sentiment I heartily agree with.
May you all be worthy of him! ----
Leah Lucile Ehrich
My dear descendants,
You are verily dear to me, and over the span of a century my love goes out to you.
In the pressure of my engagements I was compelled to dictate the body of my letter to you, but I want to add a few words on a subject too sacred to admit of dictation to a stranger ear. When I returned from Europe in the fall of 1870 and entered the store of Ehrich & Co. I found a girl of fifteen seated in the cashier's desk; petite but of perfect figure, eyes large and dark, of beautiful face, strong mind[?], expressive mouth, fine teeth, and with two long braids of hair. This is your ancestress. Her father, having lost whatever money he had, had moved from Newbern, N.C. to New York, and after failure in the running of a dyeing-establishment, had accepted employment with some relatives. Henrietta was too proud to remain at home inactive, and had accordingly accepted the position of cashier, receiving six dollars a week as salary. We soon developed a fondness for another, gradually ripening into love, into an engagement in 1872, and into marriage in 1874. Henrietta was born in New York City, August 16, 1856. Our married life has been immensely happy and blessed. The terrible strain which overtook us with the coming of my illness in 1878 and which threatened to wreck all our hopes, happily passed away. The violent death of our beautiful, noble first-born, which took place when the ocean separated us, left a sear in our lives, -- more especially in the hear of his mother, who grieved bitterly for him for many years. Time has assuaged the sorrow, and has brought so many consolations in the fine growth and development of our other children. Our home-life has always been fine and sweet. Our hospitality is wide, and valued guests are often seated at our table. Our acquaintance embraces the best Americans of our time. Our lives, based on deepest mutual love and respect, have been singularly joyful.
May all possible blessings rest on each one of you! May each of you set his or her life on so high a plane that, in spirit, I shall be proud of you! May you cherish a loving memory of Henrietta and
Louis R. Ehrich
To my descendants who may be living in the year 2001,
Dear Great-Grandchildren, Great-great Grandchildren, and possibly, Great-great-great Grandchildren:-
On this bright August morning, with his eyes directed to Pike's Peak, your ancestor sends you loving greeting. My mind turns on all the possibilities which these hundred years may bring, on the various stations in life in which these lines may find you, and, on the probability that, when this letter shall be read, my memory will have utterly faded from among men. None the less, it has seemed to me that, possibly, there might be living one or more who might bear my name, and who, however far removed, would be bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; and that these would be glad to receive these lines, telling somewhat of the ancestors I have known and of the generation of our family now living.
I know very little of the family on my father's side. This, because my father, Joseph Ehrich, died in 1858, when I was scarce nine years of age. The Ehrich family originally lived in Gudensberg, Hesse-Cassel. I visited there in 1870, and found it a very insignificant village. The chances are that my father's father and mother died young, because they must both have been dead when I was born. My father was, I think, the eldest of his brothers, whose names were Jacob, David and Moses. The brothers all came to the United States in their youth. My father contracted a severe cold at a fire in Albany, New York, which, so far as I could learn, led to consumption, and to his early death, at the age of forty-two. I remember little of my father. He was said to have been a man of intellectual capacity. He was fond of horses, and I remember driving with him, as a boy, behind a spirited team. His pale face looms up in my memory, and I can distinctly see him in his death-bed, in what was numbered 287, Eighth Avenue.
My mother, Rebecca, came from the Sporborg family. Her grandfather, on the mother's side - whose portrait I own - was a Rabbi in the City of Furth, Germany. His son, Rabbi Stein, was a famous Rabbi of Frankfort-on-the-Main, a man of extraordinary oratorical power, and of great literary, especially, poetic, gifts. My mother's mother died in 1871, in her eighty-third year. She had lived for many years in the family of Julius Miller, of Albany, who was the husband of my mother's sister, Jetta. My grandmother was a woman of very refined face, always gentle, very religious, and continually preaching submission to the decrees of Providence. A very good oil portrait exists of her today, of which I hope to have an oil copy. My mother had two brothers, of whom one, Joseph, was very successful in Albany, dying highly respected. The other brother, Moses, was equally unsuccessful, and is now still alive, residing in Denver.
My parents married in Albany, New York, my mother, at the time, being not over eighteen years of age. There were born to them eight children, of whom two died very young. I was the fourth child, and was born on January 23rd, 1849. Before I was a year old, the family moved to New York City, which I have always instanced as an evidence of my youthful precocity. The family first lived in Rector Street, then in Twelfth Street, whence, in 1857, they moved to 287, (or, as it was originally numbered, 279), Eighth Avenue, between Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Streets.
My father opened a very small store, the stock consisting principally of hosiery, and a few fancy goods. I remember my mother's frantic weeping on the day of his death, and her outcry as to what she could do to support her little children. We were a family of six, the eldest, my sister Hattie, being in her fifteenth year, and the youngest, Jule, being in his third year. Mother was about thirty-three years of age, a strong, beautiful woman. Although several suitors soon presented themselves to the young widow, she rejected all approaches, and determined to devote herself wholly to the future of her children. Hattie assisted in the store. The rest of us attended school. It is possible that I showed some aptitude for study, because I was the only one of the children that never attended public school. Mother soon added millinery goods to her little stock in trade. She knew nothing whatsoever about business, but her energy and intense application soon made her familiar with whatever was necessary to carry it on successfully. The family lived immediately behind and above the store, and I well remember a large, rear room which was used as a show-room for bonnets, during the week, and as a parlor for the family on Sundays.
As I was probably small for my age and delicate in appearance at least, my mother must have thought it necessary for me to have a change in my twelfth year. Early in the summer of 1860 I went to New Haven as the guest of the Ashmun family who were second cousins. The family lived on the outskirts of the city so that it was a half country-life. As New Haven seemed to agree with me physically, my relatives suggested to my mother that I should attend school there, with some possibility of entering Yale College in the future. Accordingly, I entered "Hopkin's Grammar School", situated on the corner of High and Wall Streets, in the Fall of 1860. I remained in this school until I entered Yale College in 1865, graduating therefrom in 1869. My mother was willing and eager to give to each one of the children the very highest education that he or she would accept. Unfortunately, however, none of the other brothers received a college education. In my last year at Yale I became interested in the idea of reforming the Hebrew Race in the giving up of most of its senseless religious ceremonies and practices. I finally became so filled with enthusiasm on the subject that I decided to enter the Jewish ministry. Accordingly, in the Fall of 1869 I went to Europe, first studying Hebrew, etc., in Frankfort-on-the-Main, and then entering the University of Berlin. In Berlin I studied the Talmud with a young man, Ehrman by name, who was a remarkable scholar. During the course of the debates on the subject of our reading, which debates became a daily occurrence, I argued with such intensity that I not only somewhat shook his faith but I finally reached the clear conviction that I could not consistently preach from any religious pulpit which defended the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. Accordingly, I abandoned the ministerial career and sailed for home late in September, 1870. My elder brother William, a man of strength and of most excellent business ability, had, after a few years' training in a business house at Petersburg, Virginia, come back to New York and entered the business with my mother. The business had grown somewhat, but when I came home in 1870 it still occupied about twenty-two by one hundred feet, having added several new departments, such as laces, embroideries, ladies' underwear, etc., etc.. At first I felt strangely out of place in the business, but soon developed an intense interest and exerted a large influence in its growth. This growth was marvellously [sic] rapid. In a little over three years we far more than doubled the size of the business, and in a period of eight years we, with the exception of two of the stores at the South end, covered the entire block from basement to garret. We employed some seven hundred hands, with annual sales amounting to about two million dollars. Our net profits were about one hundred thousand dollars a year; and as we all lived somewhat simply, we were rapidly building up a large fortune. On June 14th, 1874, I married Henriette Minzesheimer (the family have now abbreviated their name to Minzie). We first lived in the lower half of No. 353 West Twenty-fourth Street, and later at No. 248 West Twenty-fourth Street. Our first child, Jerome, was born on May 27th, 1875. Our second child, Leah Lucile, was born August 15th, 1876. Our third child, Walter Louis, was born July 9th 1878. In that year the partners in the business of Ehrich & Co. were my mother, my brother William (each of whom owned 37-1/2 percent.) and myself owning 25 percent. In the summer of 1878, inasmuch as my youngest brother Jules was not entirely well, we had sent him on a trip to Switzerland, and my brother Samuel accompanied him. William had gone down with his family to Fire Island. I had taken my family to Summit, New Jersey, and was the only one who had daily attending to business, coming to the city in the morning and going back to Summit at night. The trip at that time took just about one hour. I was overflowing with energy, and although I was somewhat pale I had not the slightest dream that I could lose my health. On August 16th a party of friends came out to Summit to celebrate my wife's birthday. We had a merry party. Before retiring I made an appointment with Samuel W. Weiss, now a very successful lawyer in New York City, who was of Yale '72, and with whom I roomed during my last year in New Haven. On awaking the next morning I went to the window, found it raining and returned to bed, when I suddenly was startled by finding that I was suffering from a hemorrhage of the lungs. I went to Europe in October, my friends S.W. Weiss and Moise B. Levy, now resident in Paris, accompanying me. The sudden death of our darling boy, Jerome, who was run over by a street-car, led to my cabling that my wife, with the two children, should come to Europe as soon as possible. My wife's father accompanied her. We met at Mentone. Our baby, Walter, then eight months old, became so sick that we were compelled to obtain a wet-nurse. Upon telegraphing to our friend, Moise B. Levy, who was then in Paris, he selected for, and sent to, us Claudine Blondeau. She had been forced to marry a man whom she disliked and was glad to get away from her home and her village. She has been with us ever since and is virtually part of our family.
After a winter spent partly in the Riviera in Italy, with a summer in Reichenhall, Bavaria, and in Heiden, Switzerland, we returned to New York early in the fall. Meanwhile, my brother William had also been taken sick from over-work, and he left for Europe with his family soon after my arrival. On January 9th, 1880, our son Harold was born. In that year we made our younger brothers full partners in the business, my mother permanently retiring. The summer of 1880 we al spent in the Adirondacks on Round Lake (between the two Saranac Lakes). Returning to New York in the fall, I was again seized with hemorrhages. My wife and self made a short trip to Aiken, North Carolina, and finding, after returning to New York in the middle of May, that the weather was still cold and dangerous, I took steamer for Hamburg with the intention of taking the first steamer back. The night that the vessel arrived opposite Southampton I was again taken with a hemorrhage which continued for about ten days. By the advice of the ship's physician, I had myself carried to the city hospital in Hamburg. When I left there to take the steamer home, I asked whether some nurse did not wish to go to America, and it was thus that I obtained the services of Gustav Sturm, who has been with us as valet coachman, gardner [sic], etc., ever since. He, as a man, is as faithful and capable as Claudine is as a woman. The possession of these two devoted servants has added greatly to the comfort and happiness of our household.
Inasmuch as I was not able to get back to New York as early as I had expected, I could not be present at the birth of Amy Louise; and when I reached Havre on the return trip, a friend came down from Paris bringing a cablegram that our little daughter had been born. I reached home in still a weak condition. After spending the summer months at Cornwall-on-the-Hudson, we all sailed for Europe in September with the intention of spending several years. The first three winters we spent at Mentone in what was know as the "Villa Camous". The fall of the year was generally spent in Italy; the spring in Germany, and the summers in Switzerland. Amy Louise died at Mentone from bronchitis, in the spring of 1881. The late spring of 1884 we spent in Divonne (a hydropathic establishment), and the summer at St. Moritz in Switzerland, going early in the fall to Davos where we spent the winter. In Mentone I made the acquaintance of a Mr. J.J. Hagerman who was from Milwaukee, but who had also lost his health from over-work and business anxieties. He and his family had intended spending the winter with us in Davos, but the sudden severe illness of his mother, who was residing with a nephew in Denver, led him to change his plans and to go back to the United States in the fall. During the summer of 1885 Mr. Hagerman wrote us that they had gone down to Colorado Springs and had found the climate far superior to any climate they had known in Europe. They urged our going there instead of prolonging our stay in Europe. The years which we had spent abroad had been, of course, mainly devoted to health, but we managed to acquire a thoroughly acquaintance with French and Italian. Both my wife and self had spoken German somewhat from our infancy up. We reached New York City on November 1st. We left for Colorado early in December, arriving at Colorado Springs on December 9th. The city then had about 4500 inhabitants. We were all enraptured with the climate, and in the spring of 1886 I went to New York and proposed to my brothers that I would sell them my interest in the business. William, whose health was still not perfectly restored, after demurring at first, finally concluded that he would also dispose of his interest at the same time. Accordingly, my younger brothers purchased our interest and we retired from the firm of Ehrich brothers. I invested my money in real estate, bank stocks, etc., etc., and for the first years money rolled in on me without limit. Suddenly, in December 1890, came the failure of the then world-famous house of Baring Brothers of London, which failure was so far-reaching in its effects that it suddenly made all the real estate of which I was the owner throughout this Western Region, wholly unsalable [sic]. In the meanwhile, among other investments, I had, with a Mr. Frank White, purchased what is known as the property of the "Colorado Springs Gardens Company" or the "Garden Ranch". It consisted of about 3000 acres situated North of Colorado Springs immediately back of what is now known as Austin Bluffs.
Having purchased some thoroughbred dairy cattle for the property, we established a dairy, vegetable gardens, etc., and Mr. Frank White had special charge of this venture. It consumed money so rapidly that in 1892, in addition to the $64,000 which we had jointly invested, and over $48,000 which I had loaned the company, the property was in debt to the amount of about $92,000. Accordingly, under the pressure of desperation, I bought out his interest and assumed the burden of the property alone. Since that time, although it has paid no interest, it has ceased to be a losing investment, and I hope to dispose of it, making a loss, possibly, of considerably over $100,000.
We first lived in Colorado Springs at 219 North Nevada Avenue, which is between Bijou Street and Platte Avenue, opposite what is called the North Park. It was here that our youngest, Alma Louise, was born on October 27th, 1888. In October 1890, we moved into the home which we built for ourselves at 1700 North Cascade Avenue, occupying the entire block between Del Norte and Espanola Streets. In the years that we had spent in Europe, we had made large collections of everything interesting in the line of Art. I was especially devoted to the collection of old Dutch and Flemish Masters, and possessed the largest private collection in the United States of this School. After exhibiting these paintings for several years in the rooms of the Yale Art School, I was forced to sell them after the panic of 1893, and they were sold at public sale in New York City early in 1894, realizing a little over $37,000. Nevertheless, our house has always been over-crowded with good paintings, and more especially of the old classical schools. At the present moment we have over one hundred examples on our walls. We have all been great lovers of books, and although my own library is extensive, embracing 5000 volumes, yet each of the children has his or her private book collections. We have led a comparatively simple life, devoting considerable time to reading good books aloud in the family. Our son Walter graduated from Yale College exactly thirty years after myself. His mother, Alma and myself were present at the graduation ceremonies. Harold started in at Yale, but suffering somewhat from weak eyes, and possibly also from a lack of application, abandoned his collegiate work. The last ten years, although full of struggle and tension on the business and financial side, have in every way been most happy in the loving mutual affection in our family. At this time, Harold is working in a business house in Chicago, Walter is home on a vacation preparatory to taking his last year at the Golden School of Mines.
The whole family are passionately fond of music. Leah is quite an artist on the piano, and Alma bids fair to follow in her footsteps. She has also just taken up the violin. Walter plays the mandolin and has just started with the violoncello. Harold plays the banjo and guitar, I play the zither and have some facility of improvisation. My wife sings well and is a great lover of good music.
In these years I have, in the intervals of pressing business, done considerable work in writing on economic and other subjects. I enclose herewith copy of an article by my pen "A Religion for all Time", which originally appeared in the "Arena" of 1893. Some Englishman, an utter stranger to me, evidently found it in accord with his sentiments, and consequently has re-printed it, as shown by the enclosed copy.
In closing this brief sketch, I wish, above all, to impress upon the minds of my descendants that whatever may exist in them of nobility of character, of strength of will and of clearness of intellect, must be due to their inheritance from my mother and from my wife's mother. Enclosed we send to you photographs of our dear mothers. My mother died on March 9th, 1900, beloved and respected by all who knew her. She was born mother and father to her children. If she had been favored by opportunity, she would have been one of the world's great women. Her liberality, her shrewd, practical, piecing mind, were alike remarkable. My wife's mother, Mrs. Caroline Minzie, was not so highly gifted on the mental side, but is a woman whose life was always brave, self-respecting and self-reliant despite many unfavorable circumstances. Her husband was a good-hearted man but lacking in steadiness of purpose and in business capacity.
It would delight me to continue writing to you, my dear ones, but, as the originator of the "Century Chest" idea, I am overwhelmed with pressing demands in connection with the dedication ceremonies which take place tomorrow afternoon, Sunday, August 4th. Sending you, therefore, the best and deepest love of my wife, my children and myself, and hoping that these lines may find every one of our descendants blessed in their life-positions, and more especially rich in high moral character, I am
Your very, very, very great grandfather,
Louis R. Ehrich
P.S. Enclosed we send photographs of myself and of my dear wife.
Colorado Springs, Colorado,
August 3rd, 1901.
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