To some, the fact that we have old business records in our collections might suggest very uninteresting objects. Not TRUE!! Some of the most fascinating reading in our archives relates to some of those old records. Take the Delta County Scalp Record for example. No, it is not a record of people scalps- Indian or otherwise! It was a record of coyote, mountain lion, and other such predator animals killed for bounty in the early days of the county. Back then, there was a one dollar bounty on such scalps, payable by the County Clerk. This book was simply the record of such transactions. Many of the names are familiar to historian.
Then there are the ledger books kept by the Hammond Livery business. There are names like “Doc” Shores, who appears about a dozen times in our livery collection. Mr. Shores was the legendary sheriff of Gunnison County from 1884 to 1892. When he would take the train to Delta, he would usually rent a horse with saddle or a horse and buggy to travel within the county on business and pleasure.
We have many Notary Record books, of such notables as George Stephan (1894-1899 – later LT. Governor) or W. R. Robertson (1896-1898 – the attorney who was in his office at the rear of the Farmers and Merchants Bank when robbed in 1893), or a book of immigration records showing original forms of Father Nicholas Bertrand (from Germany – Delta’s early Catholic Church) and Walter Hillman (from Canada).
Other records relate to the Delta Brick and Tile Company and show how many bricks were purchased to build various Delta homes and businesses, when and where they were delivered, and the cost.
Finally, one of my favorites: early Delta County Agricultural records- showing by year, how many acres were planted for each crop for every rancher and farmer, and if they had livestock, the number of everything from cattle to chickens. There are simply no substitutes for these valuable records of our early history.
Director, Delta County Historical Society and Museum