Now this is a great photo! What’s not to love about a 4th of July celebration? These guys were definitely taking it seriously. According to the very detailed, typed information on the back of the photo, this was the Reception Committee for a July 4th, 1910 celebration in Riverside Park, Manzanola, Colorado. Lot’s of “honorables” were in attendance that day. From La Junta, to Rocky Ford, to Pueblo and Manzanola. Most of these small towns are in Otero county in the southeast quadrant of the state (so convenient having a square state).
This post will focus on one of these men, the Honorable Louis Sickenberger. He is the first person kneeling on the left in the close up photo. I say “honorable” is unconfirmed only because nothing I found described him as a public official elected or otherwise. He is listed as a farmer in every census. But in these small western towns that may have been a mere formality. He was at least once described as “an honored and prosperous citizen of the community” per the Denver Rocky Mountain News.
Louis was born William Louis Sickenberger in 1862 in Illinois. His parents were Phillip and Elizabeth Sickenberger. Not surprisingly they were from Germany – where else can you get a last name like that? Dad was a miller in Illinios. They lived in Tyrone, Franklin, IL in 1880. Lewis was 19 with younger brother John 14. By 1900 however Louis (often referred to as WL) had moved to Otero county where he would stay. He was married to a Mary a few years his senior and his mother lived with them as well. Louis and Mary appeared to have no children.
Now in 1910 (the year of this photo) Wm. Louis lived in East Rocky Ford, Otero county with a new wife Anna. Ann was 10 years his junior. They too would have no children. I can only assume that Louis and Mary divorced at some point. She doesn’t seem to have died until 1947. The wedding of Louis Sickenberger and Anna was no small affair. They were married a few months before this photo on April 23, 1910. The article in the Denver Rocky Mountain News describes the beautiful and elaborate ceremony.
Later that year, in late July of 1910, Louis was elected Director of the Manzanola Commerce Club and in 1919 chosen President of High Line Canal Co. at Rocky Ford. He certainly prospered in his adopted state. If only there were descendants equally interested in this honorable man. Find a Grave website has Louis, Anna, Phillip, Elizabeth, and John’s memorials listed. All are buried in Manzanola Mountainview Cemetery.