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  • Writer's pictureRichard A. Jones

"Number Please"

Updated: Nov 18, 2023

I begiin with Three past matriarchs of Westcliffe. I’m sure that most of you who knew them won't need a reminder, but I will provide the names anyway.


Left to Right: Annie Hanssen, Sue Canda, Min Armstrong

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Dale Coleman has been reading some of my stories, and being a teacher, he felt it was his duty to give me a few writing assignments. He suggested that I write about all of the family connections in the Valley; you know, who is related to who. For a minute, I just stared at Dale in disbelief. Then I said, “Dale, you have got to be joking. Neither of us will live long enough to finish that story.”


Dale then decided that I should list the names of families who still own, or live on, ranches (or portions of ranches) that have been in their family for at least a couple of generations. This seemed a little more manageable.


Shortly after this, I was sitting with Randy Berry, Rhonda (Berry) Patterson, Gary Patterson, and Rita (Berry) Wilson, as we planned Russel and Eunice Berry’s memorial service. I shared Dale’s assignment with them, and they all took up the challenge with me. John Rusher also added some valuable insight.


I’m sure that this list is not complete, and maybe not even totally accurate, but it is a beginning. A couple of ranches are in the Wetmore area or just over the county line in Fremont County. I am only listing last names, however some names represent more than one immediate family and more than one ranch. These are the names that came to mind:


Adams—Austin—Brandenburg—Berry—Boyer—Camper—Canda—Coleman—Day—Davis—DeGree—Diekman—Donley—Eggleston (North of Hillside)—Geroux—Hobby—Hood—Kattnig—Kettle—Kennicut (Comstock)—Koch—Marrs—Menzel—Miller—Parker (Beck Ranch)—Reid—Reis—Rorick—Rusher—Rusk—Schneider—Vickerman—Walker—Young

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I’m not sure when the valley first got phone service (maybe the late 1940’s?). These adds show the number for Falkenberg Hardware as 38, and Hanssen’s Garage as 9.















I don’t remember single digit phone numbers, but when Barb and I came to the Valley, all personal phone numbers started with the number two, and although the prefix was 783 we didn’t have to use it for local calls. we only had to dial the last four numbers (yes, dial—remember rotary phones?) We knew almost everybody’s number, and since most of us were on a party line, we knew almost everybody’s business.


Before we had direct dialing, we had to go through the long distant operator to make a call outside of the valley. Although she was not permitted to give her name over the phone, she knew our names, and our phone numbers.

One night, Barb and I were visiting friends, and when I made a call from their phone, the operator asked me how my day had been and what we were doing at our friend’s house. After I explained to her the reason for our visit, the latest news from the Valley, and what we were having for supper, she put me through to the number I wanted to call.

In this post, I am including pictures of a phone book from the mid 1970’s. It was Mountain Bell back then, and the entire Westcliffe / Silver Cliff section fit on the front and back of one page plus the front and half the back of a second.


The phone book is old, so the quality isn’t great, and while many of the numbers did not fit on the page, I hope that I haven’t left out any names. Not counting businesses and government offices, I think there are between 300 and 400 names. Remember, this was everybody in the Valley who had a phone, and some people did not. Wetmore was in the Florence book and I think San Isabel was included with Rye.

Phone books from that time only named the man of a family. I’m sure that some of you will be able to add many of the wives and children’s names.


Please forgive the spacing and discrepancy in size of letters. My editing skills are very limited.


I realize that for some, this may seem like merely, a boring list. However, some of you will read these names, remember the people, smile (or not), and maybe re-

visit a few memories of your own………Enjoy!
























































































































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