Rocky Mountain Hi
Everyone has a story. Somewhere hidden in our time to live, there is something special that makes us unique to others; something of which we are completely and totally unaware. As a matter of fact, that “something” is a fascination to others and we may never become fully acquainted with that individual called “self”, if we don’t go digging for more.
For millennia mankind has been pressing kith & kin into the future by preserving their past. It’s part of who we are, were and will be. Making ourselves aware of how special and interesting we are! That’s what discovering and pressing the past forward is about.
Before starting on my own family discovery, I was convinced my family was about as “boring” and “ho hum” as you could get. Through a plethora of events I ended up being the keeper of the family tomes. However, at that stage of my life I had no time to devote to it. More life passes by, one thing after another and I soon find myself with no immediate relatives to speak of. Asking myself, “Who am I and Who were they?”. So, I decided to find out. Not even anticipating what incredible things I would “dig up” about my ancestors or myself, and it all started with a simple thought and no experience .
In the spring of 2006 I thought I would like to check into my father's side of the family history. My grandfather and I were fairly close. At least as close as you can get to a man who doesn’t like to talk much! He passed away in 1993 and all I knew of his forbears was, my great grandfathers name, where he had lived and about the time he died. I thought I would start looking for this great grandfather’s obituary. I contacted my local library and found they could obtain his obituary for me. However, it took about 6 months to get a copy because the facility that had this info was changing locations. So I had to wait. When I finally received it, I discovered he had moved to Leadville, CO from Tarrytown, New York, when he was about 4 years old. The family then moved to someplace called Winfield, CO and then on to Buena Vista, CO. Winfield intrigued me, because in my memory, my grandfather had a cabin he called Winfield that I visited when I was very young. All I could remember about this cabin was it’s name and it was an A-Frame cabin. My kids were going to camp in July so my husband and I took a few days off to go do some family history sleuthing. July finally comes! We drop the kids off at camp and head for a Rocky Mountain High.
Stopping at Leadville’s local library, we find “directories” showing where the former New Yorker’s lived and some census info. We found my great-great-grandparents living in Leadville with their four children and my great-grandfather being one of them. I asked the librarian if she had heard of someplace called Winfield? She said it was a little ghost town down the highway a few miles and then up into the mountains on a dirt road for about 12 miles. This place is higher than Leadville which is 10,152 feet. The highest incorporated city in the US. We decided to take a look. Good thing it was summer! I though my grandfather probably named his cabin after this place or it was just some common name used around this area (I didn't know where my grandfather's cabin was, only that he named it Winfield). We found Winfield and went exploring, finding an old school house and a few cabins. One of the cabins had old photographs inside. As I peered through the window I saw the old photos labeled with my great-grandparents names.
I had hit the jackpot! Looking further, a bonus! My great great grandparents with photos! I was totally shocked! It was too weird to be real! I did not know any of this. Since that time, I have followed my Wallace line back to my 6th great grandfather Robert Wallace in 1690 Scotland; the land of my ancestors and so much more.
Stacey Wallace Rehbein