On July 4th we got up early an made a pilgrimage of sorts to Denver’s Riverside Cemetery. I’m not being cute when I say this is a ‘dead’ cemetery in that burial plots are no longer being sold. They lost their Platte River water rights in the early 2000’s and now whatever grows there does so by the rain that falls there.
It is however a very historic cemetery for the city of Denver and Colorado. I went there to look for two graves that are connected by the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864. Col. Chivington descended on a group of mostly women and children who were supposed to be under the protection of the United States. They were slaughtered. The attack was approved by the then territorial governor, John Evans. They called it a battle but because of Silas Soule it was immediately known that it was a massacre. Soule was part of the Colorado Militia under Chivington’s command and he refused to engage the Indian settlement.
Both Soule and John Evans are buried at Riverside.
Not well seen, the Evans memorial has been spray painted and I”m sure it’s not the first or last time. On the other hand Soule’s grave is decorated - he is considered a hero of Sand Creek - not only for not engaging but also because he filed a complaint against Chivington allowing the truth to start to seep out. For his bravery he was gunned down on the streets of Denver after this event - no doubtedly because of his role in setting the record straight.