Larimer County's first election featured politician with 'handsomely trimmed and decorated suit of buckskin'

The first Territorial Legislature met in Denver on Sept. 9, 1861. Larimer and Weld counties were (lumped together) in the First Council and Representative district. H. J. Graham was elected to represent the district and Daniel Steele as representative.

Steele was a man of some education, but his opponent could neither read nor write and based his claim to the office on the fact that he had good common sense and wore a handsomely trimmed and decorated suit of buckskin.

The election was held at Laporte and A. F. Howes and F. W. Sherwood were the judges. An old camp coffee pot served the purpose of a ballot box.

In the afternoon a dispute arose among the adherents of the two candidates as to which had polled the greater number of votes up to that time.

Money flashed and bets were made and to settle the controversy the table was cleared of books and loose papers, the votes turned out of the coffee pot and counted, when it was found that Steele was ahead.

This was a frontier way of doing things, but in those days the art of ballot box stuffing had not been introduced and an honest ballot and a fair count was the rule.

Reprinted from 1911 “History of Larimer County” by Ansel Watrous

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