A glimpse of the past through some of Denver’s most influential people.
If you’ve ever been curious about some of Denver’s history, well, our favorite way to learn about them is through stories, and especially through stories of people. Because Riverside Cemetery is Denver’s oldest cemetery, we thought we’d dig up a little bit of dirt from the past on some of Denver’s most unique, remembered figures. Here are the stories of 5 interesting figures buried in Riverside Cemetery.
1. Captain Silas S. Soule
Cpt. Soule lived during the 19th century and was actually a friend of the famous writer, Walt Whitman and American abolitionst leader, John Brown. One of Captain Soule’s most iconic moves is his refusal to participate in the Sand Creek Massacre, an ordered massacre of the Cheyenne and Arapacho people who lived in Southeastern Colorado Territory. After refusing to carry out the orders, Captain Soule testified against the massacre’s commanding officer, John Chivington, and was, later, murdered in Denver.
2. Kiku Oyama
Have you ever heard of the Denver strangler, a Colorado serial killer who was doing his work through 1894 to 1903, and was responsible for the killings of three prostitutes over 10 weeks. One of these unfortunate victims was Japanese prostitute, Kiku Oyama, an immigrant who moved to Denver in 1893. She was strangled in her bedroom with a towel and before her lover could save her once he found her after an evening walk, she died.
3. Elizabeth Piper Ensley
Elizabeth Piper Ensley was a Black woman born in the Caribbean in 1848, who pursued her university education in Germany and France, before moving to Boston, then finally settling in Denver in 1887. At the time, the Black community was only 2% of the population, and the city was reeling from the Silver Panic of 1893, where the price of silver dropped and a depression ensued. Ensley used her networks from Boston to help fund relief for the poor. She also helped form the Colorado Equal Suffrage Association. She as also a reporter for “Women’s Era,” the first monthly newspaper published by and for Black women. She died at the age of 70 in 1919 and is buried in her family’s plot.
4. Jacob Schueler
Jacob Schueler was born in Germany in 1835, where he then immigrated to American in 1850 and arrived in Denver in 1851. After serving in the American Civil War, he returned to Denver and, in 1873, teamed up with fellow Germany immigrant Adolph Coors. Together, they opened up Golden Brewery, which is now famously known as the Coors Brewery in Golden, Colorado. Another of Schueler’s accomplishments is being known for Rocky Mountain Spring Water, running the Ute Chief Mineral Spring Water bottling company. He died in Colorado Springs in 1918.
5. Chin Lin Sou
Chin Lin Sou was a prominent figure in Colorado history and one of the earliest Chinese immigrants to arrive in Denver. Lin Sou was born in Guangzhou in China around 1836 and immigrated to Denver in 1859. Like many Chinese immigrants, he went to work on the First Transcontinental Railroad and immediately stood out for his ability to speak English and soon become a foreman. He achieved modest success in mining investments and eventually had enough money to move his family over from China, and some of his descendants are still living in Denver. Lin Sou passed away from an illness in 1939.
[featured and all images by hermetic.arts via instagram]