Greeley Museum buys historic 1869 letters from prospective Union Colony colonists

GREELEY, Colo. - Thanks to thousands of dollars in donations, the Greeley History Museum has purchased hundreds of letters written in 1869 by prospective Union Colony colonists.

"These letters were written in response to an article in The New York Tribune, by Nathan Cook Meeker, Greeley’s founder," Greeley marketing assistant Emily Odiwuor wrote in a press release. "Meeker, having visited Colorado Territory in October 1869, returned to his home in Brooklyn, NY with visions of founding a utopian temperance and agricultural colony here."

The Union Colony established the town of Greeley in April 1870.

A sample letter provided by the museum is addressed to Meeker and signed by D. L. Freeman, who inquires about the plans for the colony.

The collection also includes a small bible given to Arvilla Meeker, by her son, Ralph, in 1864.

The purchase of the letters, completed Friday, was made possible by donations that ranged from less than $2 to several thousand.

Appraisals set the value of the documents at $15,685. To make Friday's purchase possible, the museum's advisory board organized a fundraiser that began in December.