Wulsten Leads German Immigrants Across Present-Day Bowen Meadow Ranch

General Carl Wulsten along with 397 German immigrants and 35 wagons left Chicago by a train February 8, 1870 to establish a German colony in the Wet Mountain Valley south of Cañon City, CO. 

They changed trains at Kansas City, and the Kansas Pacific took them to Wallace about the 1st of March, where they unloaded their wagons. This route was previously the Smoky Hill Trail. They “soon were in camp at Eagle Tail” station, Wulsten said. Eagle Tail is known as Sharon Springs today. One night at Eagle Tail, they were hit with a severe blizzard, and a baby was born in one of their tents. Wulsten said the baby survived. They spent a few days there buffalo hunting and gathering firewood, then made their way to Goose Creek to camp. 

They continued the next day to camp at Cheyenne Wells station. It was a few miles north of the current town of Cheyenne Wells. 

Location of the the Old Cheyenne Wells station.

Their journey led them next 24 miles to Sand Creek on what is now our ranch around March 7. After they left their camp at Sand Creek they likely traveled south along the creek to their camp at Antelope Springs and on to Old Fort Lyon.

These are some of the artifacts we found on what we believe to be the German camp site.

Wulsten said they saw Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians poking their heads up above sage brush as they kept their distance. The group used military techniques as they traveled past the Indians, showing “prompt organization, discipline and alert.” The Indians left them alone. 

From Old Fort Lyon, the group traveled to Cañon City, then south to the Wet Mountain Valley. (From the Silver Cliff Rustler, July 1895-editions, July 3, 10, 17)

Camp sites: 

Wallace to Eagle Tail (present Sharon Springs) 10 miles

Eagle Tail to Goose Creek 18 miles

Goose Creek to Old Cheyenne Wells 14 miles

Old Cheyenne Wells to Sand Creek 24 miles 

More information about Wulsten and the German immigrants can be found in our book.

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