The HC Atmore Collection is a mixed collection of material including manuscripts, artifacts and photographs. The primary focus of the collection is on Charles Atmore (1828-1918); born in England in 1828, he came to the US with his family in 1844. Charles was one of eleven children born to Mathew (also noted as Matthew) and Maria (Pond) Atmore. Siblings were: Anna A., Elizabeth, Richard, John “Jack”, Maria, Susan, Matthew, Robert, Sarah and Sally.
The documented significance of the Charles Atmore story is emigration from England, catching gold rush fever, detailed information about his trips on the overland trail including encountering American Indians, food eaten, money made and spent and settlement in Colorado in including Brighton, Denver and Kremmling. His story is also linked to his son George (Denver businessman), his wife’s family—Knight and his brother John “Jack”—details for all follow.
After arriving in New York the family settled in Michigan around 1850; Charles’s father was a farmer and preacher in the Methodist Church. Per 1898 biographical sketch (copy in file) Charles’s father Mathew lost his property in England when he gave it to the Methodist church believing he could do better in America. This sketch also notes that Mathew Atmore was anti-slavery. In Michigan, Charles had a governess at the age of 6 and at the age of 10 was sent to a private school. Around age 15 he entered into an agreement with his brother-in-law James Bryant; also a farmer in Michigan. After five years he found work as a foreman on a farm. In 1852 he caught the gold rush fever and on March 22, 1852 started for California with his brothers Richard and John to California (HC Mss.00022 has detailed descriptions of trip). On this trip they passed through Steamboat and Soda Spring, Colorado. They reached California in August of 1852. In the winter of 1853-54 Charles Atmore returned to Michigan. On March 22,1854 he traveled for a 2nd time to California (second Overland trip). He reached St. Joseph Missouri about May 15 and Sacramento California on September 25. During the time he was in California Charles Atmore engaged in mining.
In 1856 he returned to Michigan where he bought land to farm. On January 1, 1857 he married Eliza Jane Knight (1836-1906). Eliza was born in Michigan to English parents. Charles and Eliza had three children: George P. Atmore (1856-1937); he lived in Denver by 1879 and had a long career as a Denver businessman, Anna Maria Atmore (1858-1928); she was noted as living with her father in Brighton in 1896, and Rose Alleta Atmore Hill (1871-1956); she married F. W. Hill and in 1896 was living in Denver. After the Civil war he sold his farm and purchased his father’s old homestead in Michigan.
In 1888, Charles and Eliza Atmore came to Colorado and settled in Brighton where they purchased 160 acres. Their farm produced hay, corn, and oats and had milk cows. Eliza died in 1906. Charles died in Brighton in 1918.
Note: Charles Atmore’s brother John “Jack” is living in Kremmling, Colorado with his son in 1900
Collection notes for H.6563:
Donation of parlor stove (Jewett’s & Root’s Folding Door, patent 1850) that according to the documentation in file was “brought across the plains in 1859 by Charles Atmore who owned the first music store in Denver—was called Knight –Atmore (now Knight-Campbell). Donor has owned stove for approximately 40 years (donated in 1962, would make the date1922) Atmore gave stove to donor’s father.” Also, letter from donor Tom Smith of Brighton notes “I have a heating stove brought across the plains from the Missouri river in 1859 by Charles Atmore who had the first music store in Denver known as Knight Atmore Music Co.
Based on research the above information is incomplete and incorrect. It is likely that the stove did belong to Charles who lived in Brighton for many years. It is possible that Charles had the stove on one of his Overland trips (1852 and 1854) and/or acquired it in 1854 during a stop in St. Joseph Mo.--As noted in the bio sketch from 1898). The citation for the music store seems incorrect. It is possible that it was used for a time in the Knight-Atmore Piano Co. but this was not the first music store in Denver—see info below for more on the piano store. Charles’s son George P. Atmore had clothing and furnishing store in Denver from around 1886 to 1898. It is possible that the stove was used there but seems unlikely given the size of the store and the fact that a fire destroyed the offices and portions of the store in 1887. It is more likely that Charles brought the stove with him to Colorado from Missouri and used it in Brighton. It is possible that it was purchased on one of his Overland trips but questionable given the weight of the stove and practical use on such a trip. Finally, Charles died in 1922—the donor would have had it for around 45+ years. The amount of time that passed before the stove was given to HC would contribute to the historical errors.
Note: George Atmore likely worked for and went into business with F. A. Knight as his mother was from the Knight family. Parents: Charles Atmore and Eliza Jane Knight. The Knight family owned businesses in Denver including Knight & Atmore. It is possible that the Atmore family came to Colorado because of the Knight connection. George first around 1879 and his parents in 1888. History of George P. Atmore in Colorado includes arrival around 1879, followed by managing a store in Leadville in 1881; Knight Bros. & Waterbury near California Gulch. Around 1886 Knight & Atmore opens; managers F. A. knight and George P. Knight. By 1889 George is working as a salesman, an occupation he keeps until around 1900. Around 1908 works for Western Clothing Co. By 1912 opens Knight-Atmore Piano Co. By 1922 he is president of the Knight-Atmore Piano Co. 1927 George is selling insurance in Denver. In 1929 he is a salesman for A. Nash Co. George dies in 1937—same year his widow makes donations to HC.