Orson Squire Fowler

Orson Squire Fowler was the first white child born to Vermont Settlers in Cohocton, Steuben County, New York, on October 11, 1809. He attended Amherst College and his best friend at school was Henry Ward Beecher. The young men became interested in phrenology while in school and lectured on the subject to earn money. Following graduation in 1834 Beecher went into the ministry, but Fowler pursued his student interest. As a writer, editor and publisher, he devoted himself to the subjects of Phrenology, Physiology, Self-Culture, Social Reform, etc., and attained a wide reputation as a lecturer.

It was on one of his lecture tours that he first came to Southeastern Colorado and saw great opportunity. He set up an organization, leased 5,000 acres of land from the State of Colorado located 130 miles south of Denver and 30 miles east of Pueblo on the Arkansas River, for a period of five years.

To quote O. S. Fowler concerning the Fowler Colony as written in The Cheyenne Wells GazetteJune 18, 1887:

"Our company," he said, " proposes to start a great farm upon which we will raise all manner and kinds of crops. It will be cooperative but do not confound that with anything tending to socialism. On our farm we will have from 300 to 500 families, all of whom will be interested in the company, but in turn they will lease from the company which will furnish houses, horses, and farming implements. We will have our own store which will be cooperative, the profits at the end of the year to be divided among the purchasers."

What will your company make a specialty of?

"The raising of small fruits which we will put in small jars and place upon the market, cracked wheat under a new process, the juices of all kinds of fruits, unfermented, and meat which will be cured in a thoroughly healthy manner. In fact, we propose to obviate the necessity for servants in the ordinary well-to-do household and will furnish all kinds of vegetables and edibles generally, so that it will take the shortest time possible to prepare them for the table." "For fifty years I have called attention to the best mode of eating so as to maintain health and thus prolong life. I think I will now have an opportunity to put into practical operation my ideas in this respect. The colony will have nothing to sell that does not deem healthy and nutritious and healthful."

With 500 families you will have a host of children.

Concerning children, "Not any more than we want and can utilize. You can depend upon it they will not grow up in idleness as millions are now doing. They will be almost a necessity in picking berries and fruits in the summer season and there will be a thousand and one things to keep their little hands busy.

To pick on Colorado for a colony of this kind you certainly have a great faith in the State's resources.

"That is what I have. It is destined to become one of the very wealthiest and richest of States. This is likely my last public enterprise and I am sure it will be a success. It will be a monument to generations yet unborn that such a man as Fowler lived and worked and labored as best he could for the human race."

July 16, 1887 State News:

"The Fowler Colony in Pueblo county is making great strides towards success. Professor Fowler and wife have a large following in the east and in the southwest, and hundreds of people are applying now for admission to their new Colorado colony."

O. S. Fowler never lived to see his community grow into the thriving little town he had hoped for. He died in his home on a large estate near Amenia, New York on August 18, 1889.

Following his death, Mrs. Fowler, the former Abigail Ayers, sent her nephew and wife, Charles and Caroline Ayers, Jr. to Colorado to manage the affairs of the Fowler Colony Company.

Much of the information about Mr. Fowler was secured from the Ayers Family History which was compiled by Mrs. Fern Jones and Grace Ayers, daughter of Charles and Caroline Ayers; and From the Fowler Tribune and The Cheyenne Wells Gazette.

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