I honestly have to say that George Harvey Denton, my maternal great grandfather, has never interested me all that much. He seems like a perfect candidate for the theme of 52 Ancestors, Week #5: “Plowing Through,” since I know that in some sense I’m going to have to plow through my research to find whatever information I might have about George Harvey (evidently always know by his middle name, as he will be here–Harvey). I think the theme also applies to Harvey Denton’s life, in the sense that his life seemed in a way to be a plowing through from one state to another–Illinois, Louisiana, Kansas, Colorado–until it seems he finally found a place where he stopped and took root, or maybe just stopped.
So I went plowing through my notes to find something about Harvey Denton, and I found this:
(referring to the photo, above) I’m thinking that Cecil [my maternal grandfather, Cecil Denton] got his vanity from George Harvey. The man is very well-turned -out for someone who has 10 children. He couldn’t have had much money. The only thing he had was his job at the railroad. I don’t know anything about him. I’ve never heard a single story about him, not even from Doris Denton [famed Denton researcher and my genealogy mentor]. I don’t even know if people called him Harvey or George. His obituary refers to him as “George H. Denton,” but I’ve also seen him referred to as Harvey. [So maybe I’ll change my mind and refer to him here as “George Harvey.”]
When he died in 1918, he was a yard inspector for the Santa Fe railroad. He was probably a member [because his wife Alice was a member] of the Baptist Church. He was also a member of the I.O.O.F., Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
George Harvey Denton married Alice Nihiser in 1892. They were both from Illinois farm families. Once they got to La Junta, Colorado, in about 1907, they settled down to raising their 10 kids: Paul, Edna, Chester, Cecil, Minnie, Glenn, Clarence, Forest, Lester, and Elsie. George Harvey was working as a yard inspector for the Santa Fe railroad in 1918 when he died of heart disease at the age of 48, leaving Alice with five young children still to raise. This she did with the help of her Baptist church and placing her children in the railroad apprentice program, where anyone who was willing to learn and work could start getting a paycheck after the 8th grade. Alice lived in La Junta until she died in 1953. She never remarried. George Harvey Denton and Alice are buried at Fairview Cemetery in La Junta.