Esther (Mosher) Eggleston

Esther Ann (Mosher) Eggleston (1845 - 1924)

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Esther Ann Eggleston formerly Mosher
Born in Mount Gilead, Morrow, Ohio, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Sister of
Wife of — married in Warren Co., Iowamap
Descendants descendants
Died in Howard, Fremont, Colorado, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 6 Jul 2015
This page has been accessed 267 times.

Categories: 52 Ancestors - 2018 Week 10 'Strong Woman' | 52 Ancestors - 2018 Week 35 'Back to School'.


Esther Ann Mosher was born in 1945 in Morrow county, Ohio, to Stephen and Ruth (Smith) Mosher. They were Quakers, and had a "station" on the "underground railroad", helping escaped slaves to make it to Canada and safety. The family moved to Muscatine county, Iowa in 1853. As Quakers, the family did not send any sons to fight in the Civil War, but they contributed in other ways. They were staunch abolitionists. Esther was educated. She attended Iowa City College in 1867, earning a teaching certificate. She taught in Iowa before her marriage.

In Jan. 1872, just short of the age of 27, Esther married Wellington Kinne (W. K.) Eggleston, a widower from Boulder, Colorado with a 4-year-old son, who had come to Iowa, perhaps to find a wife. He had lived in Iowa in 1860, and may have had family there, still. Her brothers drove them after the wedding to the train, which they rode to Boulder, Colorado, in the dead of winter. W. K. had found a homestead along Oak Creek, near Cotopaxi, 35 miles west of Canon City, and intended to start a dairy. They traveled from the train line to Fremont county by way of Denver, via wagon pulled by a team of oxen.

They lived in their wagon while they built a small log cabin with a sod roof (which leaked when it rained--they were in the rain shadow of the Rockies, so that didn't happen too often). Esther did her share of the work, as they did not have a crew to help them. They felled the local aspen for the logs, but brought in boards by oxen from a sawmill for a wood floor, and door and window frames. Esther "held down the fort" while W. K. went off to buy some heifers. Here's an excerpt from her autobiography about the occasion, during which was her first encounter with the local Native Americans. In her own words (she wrote in the third person):

"All was now in readiness for the actual business of the enterprise, so one morning early, the good man started out in search of the dairy herd, to be secured in the up river provinces. The wife was busy in one of her apartments unpacking her trunk which she had not found time to disturb. Little August was near her, and her occupancy of laying out familiar articles of clothing, all teeming with the home and life she had left behind so recently, kept her mind so absorbed that she took no note of time, until suddenly the room darkened, and she glanced up to see the narrow doorway occupied by a stalwart Indian.

"Frightened? yes, but a pioneer’s wife must know naught of cowardice. She advanced with as brave a front as possible to meet the guttural 'how, how' of the savage. His curious eyes peered around the room, taking note of everything. She was not at all reassured by seeing him accompanied by a gusty young brave. Some remnants of food on the table called out the demand 'swap.' Tremblingly, she gave over the slices of bread. 'Where man?' was the next query. What should she say? She was afraid to tell them he was gone for the day, not knowing what the next move might be. She feared to admit he might be near, lest it prolong their stay. She compromised with her own conscience by saying, 'He has gone to the bush after cows.'

"At last they departed with their guns, and as the day passed on, she began to breathe easier once more, on realizing that she and the little lad were not massacred. But at three in the afternoon she heard footsteps, and saw their return from mountain-ward, but this time her fear was not so keen, and at their renewed solicitations to swap, she was ready to barter, especially as they held out for her inspection, a delicious roast of mountain sheep, killed by them during their absence, with some lovely specimens of alpine moss.

"Again the bread excited their attention, but more, a pitcher of molasses excited their envy, 'But you cannot carry it,' she objected. They however were full of expedient and pointing to a tin cup suggested its transfer there to. 'But you won’t bring it back.' They vociferously denied the accusation. She filled it for them and they rewarded her confidence by returning the cup in a day or two. Her fears were again renewed by their continued query, 'where’s man?' She was infinitely relieved by the appearance of 'the man' at this juncture. She learned afterward, that they belonged to the not at all unfriendly Indians of the Ute tribe, who at this time were located in their reservation at Saguache and came over the Poncha Pass each spring on their way to Canon City to barter their winter’s supply of pelts in exchange for supplies. The older of the men was familiarly known by the old settlers as 'Old Spoke,' a minor chief of the tribe." [1]

Other fears braved by Esther were those of snakes, bear and mountain lions. Whenever her husband had to go to town for seed, or stock, she had to manage the farm and all the chores alone, as her step-son was too young to be of much help.

They put in crops of potatoes, wheat and corn, and a kitchen garden. They raised pigs, as well as the dairy herd.

Esther became pregnant that first year, and her husband delivered that her first baby in the winter--there was no midwife nearby. It was a daughter.

The following year, they built a frame house, and moved out of the log cabin.

The fourth summer of their marriage, 1876, they were hit by a plague of locust that ate all the crops. The grasshoppers returned, 3 more years in a row. The only thing they didn't eat was squash, so at least they had that to eat. W. K. went to work in the mining camps, to make money to feed the growing family (they were up to four kids, including Charles ("August"), the step-son, and they had a 5th during these years). The cattle were driven up in the mountains, to fend for themselves during this time. There is record of Esther teaching at Oak Creek during this period, to help make ends meet.

Esther suffered the loss of at least 2 children in infancy.

W. K. went to Pennsylvania to attend dental school in 1880 and 1881. I believe that Ester and the kids stayed home on the ranch during this time.

After W. K. returned, they rented out the homestead, and drove the cattle over the hills to Bonanza, which had more rain and better grazing. Living in a tent the first year, they sold the milk and butter in the mining camps, while Wellington practiced as a dentist there.

They moved to a home on the Arkansas River near Salida, after 3 summers in Bonanza. W. K. opened a dental office in Salida, the kids went to school there, and Esther taught at the local school. They later moved to Orchard Mesa, then to Ouray, W. K practicing dentistry in both places.

The family may have made occasional trips back to Iowa to visit Esther's family, as her step-son, Charles, married Esther's sister Ruth's daughter.

The following family background is from the History of Muscatine County Iowa:[2]

"HENRY MOSHER---Henry Mosher, a highly esteemed citizen now living retired at West Liberty in the enjoyment of a rest he earned by many years of patient application as a farmer, was born near Mount Gilead, Morrow county, Ohio, March 27, 1840, a son of Stephen and Ruth ( Smith ) Mosher. The father was born in Washington county, New York, in 1806, and removed to Ohio with his parents when he was twelve years of age, continuing there until 1853, when he came to Iowa, locating in Wapsinonoc township, Muscatine county. Here he was prominently identified with agricultural interests for nearly forty years, departing this life in 1891. Politically he was at first an adherent of the whig party, but later changed his views and became a staunch republican. In Ohio he was in charge of a station of the underground railway and assisted many slaves in escaping to Canada. Religiously he adhered to the faith of the Quakers, and as he was a man of high principle, he exerted by his example a very beneficial effect upon the community. The progenitors of the family in this country came from England in the early colonial days. A most complete record of the Mosher family appears in the sketch of L.O. Mosher, a brother of our subject. The mother was born in Duchess county,New York, and was married to Mr. Mosher in Ohio. She passed away in 1896 and her remains are buried in the Friends cemetery near West Liberty. There were ten children in the family: Elizabeth, Lemuel, Elizabeth II, Hannah and Elsie, all of whom are deceased; Ruth, now the wife of Mathias Wilson of West Liberty; Henry, the subject of this review; Mary, the widow of Blackburn Vore of Amistad, New Mexico; Esther, now Mrs. W. K. Egeleston of Howard, Colorado; and L. O., of West Liberty."

Under the biography of L. O. Mosher from the same source:[3]

"Esther Ann," the eighth in order of birth, was born in Morrow county, Ohio, March 15, 1845, and on the 4th of January, 1872, was married to Wellington K. Eggleston, a widower of Boulder, Colorado. They began housekeeping in Fremont county, Colorado, living in a covered wagon, while erecting a house of poles scarce six feet in height and roofed with poles and earth. It was in the midst of a vast mountain wilderness, with but one habitation in many miles and that one a bachelor's. There they lived the first year, clearing and fitting the land for cropping. He was away some of the time working at his profession of dentistry in the distant towns and villages, while she remained on the ranch alone save for the companionship of a three year old boy, the son of Wellington K. Eggleston by a former marriage.

They had seven children (two not mentioned):

  1. Elsy, born February 6, 1873, married Louis Freeman, a rancher of Howard, Colorado, by whom she had six children: Elmer L., Arthur W., Howard M., Pearl, Orvil and Floyd J.
  2. Wallace L., born May 11, 1874, married on the 1st of August, 1906, Eleanor Briggs of Pasadena, California, and their children are Solon W. and Alwin H. They now make their home in Monrovia, California, and he is in business in Los Angeles as an architectural draftsman.
  3. Myra, born June 1, 1876, married John M. Nelson of Longmont, Colorado, and they now reside in Ouray, where he is in the mercantile business. They have one child, John N.
  4. Effie, born January 31, 1878, married W. E. Gardner of Bozeman, Colorado, and their children are : a son, now deceased; Alice; and Theodore. They make their home on a ranch near Center, Colorado, and Mr. Gardner is a member of the lower house of the state legislature.
  5. Alwin, born July 5, 1888, is now a resident of Pasadena, California.[4]


  1. Esther Eggleston's autobiography:
  2. History of Muscatine County Iowa, Volume II, Biographical, 1911, page 315 HENRY MOSHER Family History
  3. History of Muscatine County Iowa, Volume II, Biographical, 1911, page 302 L. O. MOSHER Family History
  4. Entered by Sara V Mosher, Nov 16, 2017

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Esther by comparing test results with other carriers of her mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known mtDNA test-takers in her direct maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Esther:

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Images: 3
Ester Eggleston Image 1
Ester Eggleston Image 1

United States National Ho...nteer Soldiers, 1866-1938 Sawtelle, California Register no. 07500-08999
United States National Ho...nteer Soldiers, 1866-1938      Sawtelle, California Register no. 07500-08999

Alwyn and Esther Ann (Mosher) Eggleston
Alwyn and Esther Ann (Mosher) Eggleston


Esther is 28 degrees from Rosa Parks, 22 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 18 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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