Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I’m beginning my Penrose History Blog with a series of historical photos/short articles that I wrote during the PENROSE CENTENNIAL 2009, for the Florence Citizen newspaper. Because Penrose has no newspaper, Bob Wood, editor and owner of the Citizen, supported the Centennial in this manner. They are arranged in roughly the chronological order in which they ran in the paper.
A little bit about me - Sherry Johns. I’ve lived in Penrose for over 28 years. I have nine children and twenty grandchildren. Some of my deepest delights in life are reading, going on history-hikes and writing. I consider myself truly blessed to live in rural Colorado, where the sun shines bright and blue, and the air is clean and fresh. I have a wonderful circle of friends who are eager to history-hike with me and encourage me in my research and writing.
After a lengthy marriage then divorce I went back to college and decided to major in Elementary Education. I considered that a responsible choice since I had homeschooled my older kids for over twenty years and still had three children at home. However, after taking an “Intro to Ed” class in which I spent many hours observing classrooms and then being a substitute teacher for three years, I realized my heart was not in the classroom, although I loved to teach. At that point, I met (at the local library!) and married a remarkable man who shared my love of history and travel. Dale has encouraged me to follow my dreams and use my talents ever since. He believes in me and constantly fosters my love of history and need to write.
I began to delve again into local history as I had previously read every book I could find on the local libraries’ shelves over the years. I changed to a double major in Library Tech and History. During the course of writing a career paper in an English class, I emailed random college history professors, asking their advice to me as a future history teacher. They responded in detail and with great encouragement. Mary Richards in particular, from BYU, told me this: “Choose something that fascinates you about history. Delve deep into it, become an expert in that part of history.” Her words sank deep into my heart and I decided to become an expert in the history of Penrose and also Fremont County.
Along this journey that began in 2004, I have met remarkable people, hiked magnificent paths, and become the keeper of Penrose History. I have been given priceless family photos and memorabilia, entrusted with family histories, and fallen in love with the land along Beaver Creek. My enchantment with local history has turned into a passion for the people, particularly the women, who lived and loved here. I feel they are my friends and fully expect to meet them after I depart this life.
For the past five years I have taught local history classes to students in Penrose School, at the Pueblo Community College Senior Mini-College, and various community groups. I curated a two year exhibit of Penrose History at the Wells Fargo Bank in Penrose and have currently re-instated the exhibit at the bank and will shortly have Local History exhibit at the Penrose Community Library. I’ve written three books, "SAN JUAN BAUTISTA CEMETERY" about a small Spanish Catholic cemetery south of Florence, "THE FORGOTTEN CEMETERIES OF BEAVER CREEK" about the people who are buried in Upper, Middle and Lower Beaver Creek cemeteries,and my favorite "PIONEER WOMEN OF BEAVER CREEK." Friends made a beautiful Friendship Quilt to accompany this book with the names of twenty-five women who lived and died on Beaver Creek. It was featured in one of the Penrose Centennial Exhibits during the Penrose Centennial.
My life has become entwined with the past as I take great pleasure in researching, teaching, and writing about local history. I currently serve as Chair of the Fremont County Heritage Committee and am able to mingle with like-minded people from through-out Fremont County as we plan for our Sesquicentennial in 2011. History is a tremendous part of my life; it is in my heart and in my soul. I am dedicated to bringing to life the stories of those who lived before me, whose efforts have made my neck of the woods a better place to live.
Please feel free to comment on my blog, contact me with local history information or to schedule me to speak to your organization or class. I absolutely LOVE sharing history with any age group. I have several Power-Point presentations, historical artifacts, and interesting stories to tell. Also contact me to order my books. They are each $14.95 or 2 for $25.00 plus postage.
Penrose, CO 81240
“…by small and simple things are great things brought to pass.”
Posted by Sherry Johns at 3:40 PM