Gold in Cripple Creek

There is only one church record to be found in our research library attached to the name Hulda Mueller.  It is her baptism record at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.  Hulda was born on January 9, 1871, which is what attracted me to this story today.  Her baptism record spills over into two pages, so I have to show two images.

hulda mueller baptism record - trinity altenburg mo

hulda mueller baptism record 2 - trinity altenburg mo
Hulda Mueller baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Hulda was the daughter of George and Magdalene (Seibel) Mueller.  Hulda was almost certainly confirmed at Trinity, but that was during the “Koestering Hole” when we do not have those records.  In order to find any further records, I had to find her on  A search on that website led me to Colorado and another character from a previous blog.  That post was titled, Rocky Mountain Muellers.  That previous story was about Hulda’s brother, Rev. Heinrich Joseph Mueller.  He is shown in the photo below.

Heinrich Mueller family

The next official record I could find for Hulda was her marriage record in Colorado.  At the time of Hulda’s marriage, Rev. Mueller had two young children and his wife was pregnant with a third one on the way.  It is my guess that Hulda went to live with her brother in Colorado to help with those children.  If we had an 1890 census, we might find her living in the same household in Westcliffe, Colorado with her brother’s family.  She would have been 19 years old in 1890.

On September 25, 1892, Hulda married Gustav Ackelbein.  Gustav was the son of William and Augusta Ackelbein.  Gustav is shown on census records to be born in Illinois, but already when he was two years old, his family was living in Colorado Territory in 1870.  Colorado did not become a state until 1876.  I do not often run across a census from a territory, but this is one of them.

gustav ackelbein 1870 census wet mountain valley co
1870 census – Wet Mountain Valley, Colorado Territory

The 1880 shows Gustav’s family still living in an area called Wet Mountain Valley, where his father was a ranch man.

gustav ackelbein 1880 census wet mountain valley co
1880 census – Wet Mountain Valley, CO

Gustav was the only child in the family who was born in Illinois.

We can see in the Colorado marriage record shown below that the pastor who performed the wedding ceremony was Rev. Mueller from Westcliffe, Colorado.  Westcliffe is located in the Wet Mountain Valley.  Westcliffe was also the home of the first Lutheran Church to be established in the Colorado District of the Missouri Synod.  It began in 1872.

ackelbein mueller marriage record colorado
Ackelbein/Mueller marriage record – Westcliffe, CO

In the first census in which we find Gustav and Hulda (1900), they are living in Fremont County, one county away from Westcliffe, which is in Custer County.  Gustav was a farmer at this time of his life, but that would not last.  Their family had two children in 1900.

gustav ackelbein 1900 census fremont county co
1900 census – Fremont County, CO

One more child would be born in 1902.  By the time we get to 1920, we find a very confusing situation.  First, we find Gustav living in Cripple Creek, Colorado all by himself.

gustav ackelbein 1920 census cripple creek co
1920 census – Cripple Creek, CO

The last “M” behind Gustav’s name indicates that he was still married.  The portion of the same census that shows his occupation can be seen below.

gustav ackelbein 1920 census cripple creek co occupation

Gustav was working in a gold mine.  If you have heard of the phrase “Pikes Peak or Bust”, that was a phrase used when gold was discovered in this general area in 1858, leading to thousands and thousands of people moving there in hopes of getting rich.  The fact that Gustav was still working in a gold mine in 1920 indicates that there indeed was some gold to be found, but it was hard work done by large companies.

Meanwhile, Hulda can be found living in Canon City, Colorado with two of her children in that same 1920 census.

hulda ackelbein 1920 census canon city co
1920 census – Canon City, CO

She also lists herself as being married, even though she is not living with her husband.  In all the other census records I could find through 1940, Gustav was living in Cripple Creek and Hulda in Canon City.  The only thing a little different is the fact that in the 1940 census, it records that Hulda is widowed.  Gustav was definitely alive at the time.

The map below shows how close Canon City is to Cripple Creek.  It is less than 15 miles.

cripple creek canon city colorado map

There are some wild and crazy stories about the mining operations in this area during those days.  There are also some stories about the early days of Lutheran missionaries and pastors in that area.  I just do not have the time or space to include them here.

Hulda died in 1950; Gustav died in 1955.  After what appears to be several years apart during their lives, these two are buried in the Lakeside Cemetery in Canon City with the same Ackelbein family marker.

In this index of mortuary listings for Cripple Creek, we see two Ackelbein names.  William is Gustav’s son, so Gustav did have other family with him in Cripple Creek over the years also in the mining business.

gustav ackelbein cripple creek mining district mortuary books

When I was searching for the surname Ackelbein online, I was amazed that I ran across another blog post that I had written.  It was the story about who was the last original immigrant to die.  In that story with a setting in Sylvan Grove, Kansas, I published this image.

Henry Jacob Kansas census 1905
Enter a caption

Underneath the name of Henry Jacob, you will see the name of Augusta Ackelbein.  That indeed was Gustav’s mother.  Henry Jacob’s son, Rev. John Jacob, married Gustav’s sister, Bertha Ackelbein in 1897.  That marriage also took place in Westcliffe, Colorado.  About the only way I can explain that a pastor in Sylvan Grove, Kansas would find his bride in Westcliffe, Colorado would be the connection between Rev. Mueller’s sister, Hulda.  At that time, I think Colorado and Kansas were in the same district of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.  Maybe Rev. Mueller told Rev. Jacob at a district church gathering that he knew of an available bride in his congregation.  What do you think?






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s