Our Clear Creek County Family Ties

Jody's Story

I grew up in Clear Creek County. My parents, Earl and Hazel Deringer, owned the Hard Rock Cafe in Empire in the 70's. I attended Clear Creek Junior High and Clear Creek High School. My dad worked as the superintendent of Roads and Bridges in Clear Creek County for many years, and my mother worked in the County's land and title office for even more years. We lived in Empire, Idaho Springs, and Dumont, before eventually leaving the county. I still have a sister who lives off and on in the Empire and Idaho Springs areas.

Don's Story

I met this Colorado girl while we were both in the service (USAF) in California, married her a bit more than 2 years later in Wheatridge, Colorado while we were on leave, and after completing college in Oregon and working for a while in Illinois, New jersey, and Singapore, we moved back to the Denver area to be close to her family.

Later I got this genealogy kick, and found out that my grandfather was born in Colorado Springs, and his father was born in Empire, the first white child born in Clear Creek County (as the family story went). Well, the story wasn't completely correct (there was a birth in the Idaho Springs area a year or so earlier), but it gave me ties to where my wife had grown up -- a hundred years before her family ever got there!!

My great-great-grandfather, Stephen Herrington, came to Empire about 1861 with his wife and baby son. Stephen hauled freight between Empire and St. Louis (where he was from), keeping his sister and brother-in-law's (Augustus Guibor) store stocked with the latest goods. His brother Louis (Lewis), who never married, also came along to Empire.

About 1865 Stephen was moving his family back to Illinois when his pregnant wife, Caroline, took fright in an Indian attack on the plains, miscarried, and died on the plains of Iowa. Stephen dropped his two boys off with a family in Lee County, IL for a couple years, then came back and married a young lady, Rebecca, who already had a child (out of wedlock). "Ma Becky's" girl was left in IL, and Stephen, Rebecca, and the two boys moved back to Empire about 1868 where Stephen mined with Augustus and Louis until about 1880. Three more kids were born to the happy couple. About 1880 they moved back to Illinois, then settled on a farm in Iowa, before finally ending up with Stephen and Caroline's son in Colorado Springs. Rebecca died there, and Stephen moved north to live with his eldest near Greeley. He died in Pierce in 1919.

This Herrington family has had an impact on Colorado and the nation. (I didn't even know we had relatives here!) Probably the best known of Stephen's offspring is Thomas Blackburn, the author of the Ballad of Davy Crockett and the co-author of the TV series Davy Crockett. Many of the Herrington family have been teachers in Colorado, others have been authors, doctors, etc.


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This page maintained by: Don Stanwyck