Stories You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

Tiger Times

Stories You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

Tiger Times

Stories You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

Tiger Times

May 22, 2024

Paula’s Story

The history of one woman’s family, and her roots in Erie Colorado.
Story of the Vaughn family.

Paula Martin was born in Denver Colorado, for her life she has spent time moving around the state. She has lived in both Boulder and Denver, and now resides in Erie. It wasn’t until recently through her own research that she found out that she had roots in Erie, when she found that her great grandmother Lena was born there. 


The story really starts with a man who was named Enoch. He migrated to Erie from England around the year 1871. He became a coal miner in Erie’s new economy which emerged because of the trade. He then built a home on 405 Holbrook in Erie around the year 1892, which he then sold later for a whopping one dollar. He made this sale in order to help a man who was hiding the pregnancy of a woman who worked in the town. Martin says, “oddly enough, it turns out the home I live in is only about a mile or so from Enoch’s home.” About living so close to where part of her family tree was born she says, “it’s quite serendipitous, and I’m glad to have learned about this heritage.” 

The Vaughn family home in Erie Colorado

One of Enoch’s children who was born in Erie was Lena, Martin’s great grandmother who married John Wilson. Though one thing that could have turned heads at this point in America’s young history was that John Wilson was an emancipated slave. Martin reflects, “this was another thing that I never knew.” 


While it wouldn’t have been surprising for Enoch her father to have a problem with this unique situation (for the time,) he was accepting and approved of the decision of his daughter. Martin states, “He was a very kind and tolerant person, not just extremely hard working.” 


Though Enoch, according to Martin, was also a fighter for his rights. She says, “I know that he was feisty and you know, fighting for his rights as a laborer as a miner.” Additionally she says, “I know that he was probably very tenacious to come straight from England.” 


Enoch was a part of some of the rebellions that the miners had against the doc in pay they had. Martin recalls that there was a report in a mountain newspaper on April 7th, 1885 that, “due to his reduction of the pay for coal miners and some other things that they had really been upset about,” they had written a petition against Joseph Bates for mayor, but ultimately lost. However on the positive side for their cause, they were favored in the answer to a court case that had ensued because of it. 


Martin shares that Enoch seemed to have a grand connection to the rest of her family tree and that his influence has a strong reach on both sides of her family. Though she also reflects that his influence reaches her as well. She says, “I feel we owe our current relatively privileged lives to how hard they worked.” Though she goes even further to reference the town of Erie as a whole, she says, “I’m so privileged to have learned the history of my family to have my roots here.” 


Through the rare occurrence of finding that one walks in the same town, the same streets, and in the same areas of their ancestors, those like Paula Martin are able to find that they can appreciate the sacrifices of those before them. Not only that, but from the hardships that a town has had to face in order to grow into the state it is in today. 

Paula’s grandparent’s in their eternal rest.
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About the Contributor
Hannah Osmann
Hannah Osmann, Editor-In-Chief
Hannah Osmann is a senior this year, and is excited to take her post as Editor-In-Chief of the newspaper. She has been apart of the Erie Tiger Times since her freshman years and loves to write. She plays for the school's volleyball team, and is excited to crush this season. Also loves music and has been playing for Erie's orchestras all four years. After high school Hannah plans on going to Dordt University, and earning a communications degree.

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