Pikes Peak Genealogical Society
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Jimmy Camp Graves
(El Paso County)
During the early May blizzard of 1858 that killed Fagan (see Fagan's Grave), a Mexican herder named Felipe Abeitia or Abeyta also met his demise. He dug a hole in the bank of Jimmy Camp Creek and crawled in, hoping to escape the storm's fury. But he froze to death and was buried at Jimmy Camp, an early trading post and way station east of what is now Colorado Springs. His marker soon disappeared.
The name and account of the death and burial come from an interview Colorado College professor Francis W. Cragin conducted with an old mountaineer, Felipe LeDoux, who had been a guide with the Marcy-Loring Expedition of early 1858. Cragin's papers are at the Pioneers Museum in Colorado Springs.
Gold was discovered the next year in Colorado, and various gold-seeking parties took up the cry "Pikes Peak or Bust!" One party, which started on the Santa Fe Trail, stopped for a sad task at Jimmy Camp. Diarist Dr. George Willing wrote on June 9, 1859:
"At Jim's Spring, fifty miles south of Auraria; on Thursday, June 9th, we deposited in their last resting place, the remains of Thomas Alexander, from Montgomery County, Missouri. He had been ill nine days of bilious remittent fever, and though every attention was bestowed on him that circumstances permitted, yet nothing could avert the fatal shaft. His death made a painful gap in our little party, for he had been a general favorite with the whole train. We buried him beneath the shadow of the Peak he had toiled so anxiously to reach. It seemed a pity he could not have been spared only a little longer."(1)
For a time, Jimmy Camp was known as Alexander's Grave, but it too was soon forgotten.
1. George M. Willing, "Diary of a Journey to the Pike's Peak Gold Mines in 1859," Overland Routes to the Gold Fields, 1859, ed. by Leroy R. Hafen (Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1942), p. 372.