Irving Giles Whitney

For some of its earliest settlers Alden was, for many years, a sort of base of supplies from which they could, strike at the newer and still more wonderful Far West - the West of gold and buffaloes, of war-painted Indians and alkaline deserts. Crossing the plains was a hazard which hardy young men took with full knowledge that others, as brave and strong as themselves, had undertaken at the cost of their lives. But this furnished no hinderance. It rather added a new allurement to the vision of golden gulches wbere, if once found, the yellow nuggets could be had for the picking up.

Irving G. Whitney was one of these. He made three trips into the Rockies, crossing the plains six times inside of six years. He was born March 4, 1836 in Franklin county, Vermont and arrived in Alden with his brother Andrew in June, 1857. The two worked together at the carpenter trade for one and a half years. In the spring of 1860 he started on his first tour of inspection of Pike's Peak, the land of enchantment. He was accompanied by Messrs. Sibley and Thompson and John W. Kinney, father of Chris and Clark Kinney of Buckeye. Council Bluff was the out-fitting point at that time and from there pilgrims continued the journey in large trains for the purpose of mutual protection from Indians. Notwithstanding this, raids were frequent and rude headboards were frequently seen beside the trail marked "Unknown. Killed by Indians." Julesburg was a point of discouragement where many turned back for the states again. At Julesburg Mr. Whitney saw two partners divide, one going west and one east. They even sawed the wagon reach in two, each taking a pair of wheels. This first trip was disastrous. He worked two weeks and laid up $40. Mountain fever struck him then and he lay for eight weeks more dead than alive. He gave the $40 to the doctor who saved his life and his watch to a man for letting him ride back to Iowa in the hind end of his freight wagon. A buffalo was killed the second day's travel this side of Denver and furnished food for much of the way home.

Mr. Whitney spent the winter at the "American House" in Alden, then under the management of M. J. Davis, and was back in Colorado the next spring. He remained there a year and a half. Happening to meet Gurley and Martin Pritchard, he came home with them.

In the spring of 1864 he started west again, this time in company with Howell, Perl and Frank Sperry, Orra and Geo. Bigelow, Ira Sheldon, Fred Scblegmilch and Wm. Loopold. They took ox teams and carried, as a part of their cargo, eggs bought at three cents a dozen and afterwards sold at seventy-five. The party joined the Bozeman train of 125 wagons and continued with it to Virginia City, Montana. The next train following them, a few days later, had twelve horses and four men killed a few days before reaching destination and Bozeman and his party were wiped out by Blackfeet on the return trip.

Mr. Whitney returned to Alden in December 1865 and on April 15, 1866, was united in marriage to Miss Adaline, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. J. Davis, who became residents of Alden in October 1857. The Davis family came from Michigan and settled first in Belmond in the spring of 1857. All the children, except the youngest daughter, Hattie McMichaelis, were born in Michigan. Mr. and Mrs. Whitney's first home, built by themselves, is now the north part of the Cousins' home. Most of their married life has been spent on the farm west of town, where their family of nine children grew to manhood and womanhood.

Submitted by James WHITNEY