Colorado History at Jellystone Park™
Jellystone Park’s History is much like Colorado History. It’s filled with explorers, cowboys, Native Americans, heroes and villains. Much of the history here at Jellystone Park™ centers around DC & Olive Oakes, the first pioneers to live on the land now inhabited by Yogi Bear™ and his friends.
Shown below is a chart of some of the people in Colorado history who have connections to Jellystone Park.™ Click on it to see a larger version. Below the chart is a short description of each person. Highlighted names are links to a one-page biography about that person.
DC & Olive Oakes – participated in the California gold rush and the Colorado gold rush. Highly respected, DC Oakes was voted onto the first city council in Denver. He owned the land that Jellystone Park™ sits on and operated a sawmill here. They had eight children, most of whom did not survive more than a few years.
Sarah Coberly – the first white woman in the Pikes Peak region, a life-long friend of the Oakes’ family. Strong and independent.
Hersa Coberly Soule Lea – Sarah’s daughter. She married Silas Soule about three weeks before he was assassinated. She would later marry Alfred Lea. One of their children, Homer Lea, became an adventurer and was an adviser to Sun Yat-Sen in China.
Silas Soule – a strong abolitionist. Silas Soule was one of the few officers present at the Sand Creek Massacre who ordered his men not to fight. Silas also testified against the commander of the operation, Colonel Chivington. Captain Soule was later murdered, probably in retaliation.
Elizabeth Field Kinner – Indentured servant. When Lizzie’s dad died, her mother could not afford to care for all of their children, so she indentured Lizzie with Sarah Coberly. Lizzie soon turned from a servant to a daughter, even being listed as a family member in subsequent census records.
John Fremont – One of the early explorers of the region, Fremont can rightly be called the first out of state visitor to Jellystone Park.™
Kit Carson – A guide for Fremont, close friend of DC Oakes, and one of the most famous men in Western lore.
Buffalo Bill Cody – The greatest of Wild West showmen, Buffalo Bill was Olive Oakes’ cousin.
Chief Ouray – a leader of the Ute Indians, Chief Ouray helped negotiate treaties with the white men, including DC Oakes and Kit Carson.
Charles Stobie – One of several artists and painters who fell in love with the Rocky Mountains. Stobie served as a guide for DC Oakes, lived with the Ute Indians, and was a well-known character in early Denver.
Jim Baker – Perhaps the most famous mountain man of all. Jim Baker was a close friend of DC Oakes and helped him in his role as Indian Agent.
Albert Boone – the grandson of Daniel Boone. He worked as an Indian Agent and helped Kit Carson and DC Oakes negotiate treaties with the Native Americans. He’s buried at Fairmont Cemetary in Denver.
Alexander Hunt – the fourth territorial governor for whom Hunt Mountain is named. He later bought the land on the top of the mountain for his ranching operation.
Hiram Bennet – a congressional delegate from the territory of Colorado. Two of his nephews married the two daughters of DC & Olive Oakes who survived to maturity. One nephew even had to follow Olive Oakes and daughter Laura to California to convince her to marry him. The ceremony took place at Sarah Coberly’s home in San Jose with Sarah’s daughter, Hersa, as matron of honor.
Hazel Oakes Bennet Kettle – William & Laura Bennet’s daughter was the last surviving descendant of DC & Olive Oakes. She scandalized Denver society when, at the age of 40, she went off to Nebraska and was secretly married to Chief Joseph Red Kettle.
Chief Joseph Red Kettle – a Sioux Indian who adapted to white man’s ways and spent his life advocating and educating people about Native American culture. His wife, Hazel, was an active participant in this work. He died four years after their marriage.
As you walk the trails and gaze up at Hunt Mountain, it’s not hard to imagine Kit Carson or DC Oakes or John Fremont standing in that same place about 150 years earlier, feeling the same dirt under their shoes and seeing the same golden sunset reflecting off of the rock cliffs of Hunt Mountain. It’s in those moments that Colorado history comes alive.