E. L. Gallatin Saddlery History

E L Gallatin & Company Denver, Colorado 1862-1865
Gallup & Gallatin Denver, Colorado 1865-1873
Gallatin & Gallup Nebraska City, Nebraska 1866-1868
Gallatin & Gallup Cheyenne, Wyoming 1868-1873
E. L. Gallatin & Company Cheyenne, Wyoming 1873-1881
T. E. Meanea & Company Denver, Colorado 1881-1887

Edward L. Gallatin was born September 5, 1828 in St. Louis, Missouri the youngest of 6 Children and by 1830 his family moved to Monroe County, Illinois 30 miles from St. Louis, Missouri on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. The family was very poor and in 1840 after hearing about land in Texas Mr. Gallatin and Edward L. Gallatin's oldest brother Albert Gallatin drove a heard of horses to Texas where they were told the horses would sell for a large sum of money and land could be purchased cheaply. Both of these ideas were bad ideas and the horses sold for very little and the land was very plentiful but unusable for farming on the return home Mr. Gallatin died in 1840.

The family moved in 1840 back to Missouri to Herculaneum where they were able to sustain a meager existence until Mrs. Gallatin died sometime between 1845 and 1850 leaving Edward L. Gallatin parentless at a very young age. E. L. Gallatin's Brothers and Sisters were getting married and having families of their own although they provided for Edward until he was 17 years old when he took an apprenticeship with Thornton Grimsley.

Edward L. Gallatin was given this opportunity by Thornton Grimsley by suggestion of a Wealthy individual in St. Louis who had made the acquaintance of Gallatin and liked him a Mr. James Bissel. By story E. L. Gallatin had heard of a previous employee of Thornton Grimsley whom Grimsley thought incompetent because he was Left Handed. This was important because E. L. Gallatin was Left Handed and for more than 2 years he hid this fact from Grimsley fearing for his job, until one night at dinner while cutting a steak Left Handed by mistake and Grimsley asked Gallatin. Edward L. Gallatin wrote a book he had published in late 1900 called "What Life Has Taught Me" and in this book he describes what happened next this way.

There were a number of us and he (Grimsley) was calculating how much each of us was worth to him in dollars and cents when he noticed I was using my knife in my left hand. He was thunder-struck and when he recovered enough to speak he said "Sir, are you left-handed" I said "Yes Sir I am" he said "You can never learn the trade" to which I replied "Please give me a chance to try, Please don't discharge me". He did not discharge me although he haggled me from that day until 2 years later when my apprenticeship was out, until I revolted and offered to bet him $10 that I could do anything he could do and just as good and as quick. After that he gave me some peace but he never lost his prejudice towards me. (E. L. Gallatin described Grimsley as follows): "Grimsley was a peculiar man of very strong prejudices, likes and dislikes".

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The apprenticeship lasted four and a half years between 1845 and 1850 and during that time E. L. Gallatin established friendships with 2 other men who worked with him during that whole time Thomas Hart and S. F. Currie. Over the next 10 years between 1850 and 1860 E. L. Gallatin worked a perfecting his craft working for Thornton Grimsley and then moving over and working with John Landis in Independence, Missouri. After ten years of working after completion of his apprenticeship Edward L. Gallatin had not established his own business or comfort in life and felt it was time for something new.

On May 28, 1860 John Landis left Independence, Missouri heading west to Denver, Colorado shortly after the Pikes Peak Gold Discoveries feeling the miners would need Saddlery & Harness equipment John Landis went west with 2 Wagon loads of Saddlery and 4 of his employees including E. L. Gallatin and Lee Scott driving the rear Wagon Team, John Landis driving the front Wagon Team, Matt Kelly an experienced plainsman as Wagon Master, and a colored man named Old Uncle Rob was installed as the cook. After a fairly uneventful trip the 5 men and two Wagon Teams arrived in Denver, Colorado exactly 30 days later on June 28, 1860 without any incident with the Indians or Desperadoes.

In these early days of Denver, Colorado most of the early city was Camps and Tents with building happening up Blake Street. The original spot where the 5 men setup camp with their tents was where the Denver Union Depot (Train Station) sits today. Mail was brought in by Express Stage Line which was operated by the freighting firm of Russell and Waddell of Lexington, Missouri Express Postage was Twenty Five Cents cash.

In the fall of 1860 John Landis before going back to Independence, Missouri asked E. L. Gallatin to go with him when Gallatin refused and stated he wanted to stay in Denver. John Landis decided to leave the remainder of his stock with E. L. Gallatin and told him do the best he could to meet expenses until John Landis returned the following year. E. L. Gallatin did well with the John Landis Saddlery and Harness goods until the spring of 1861 when mining took a down turn and the cost of bringing goods in to Denver by Express Freighter (Wagon) was very expensive.

John Landis had left instructions with E. L. Gallatin as to how to handle his Inventory while away including allowing no credit of any terms. When the Military had come to outfit men for a local Regiment to fight against the South in the Civil War, E. L. Gallatin refused the men supplies because the officers would pay only by voucher. The officer at the store Colonel Slough paid $35 in gold to E. L. Gallatin for a past debt to John Landis for leather harness goods. That same evening the store was broken into by the Military and more than $100 of merchandise and the $35 in gold was taken by Gun Point from E. L. Gallatin and a boy helper, although a voucher was provided the voucher was never paid.

One of the friendships E. L. Gallatin developed in Denver was that of Colonel A. G. Boone a leading merchant of Westport, Missouri. Col. Albert Gallatin Boone was Grandson of Daniel Boone and a Pro Slavery Sympathizer who was engaged in several covert operations against the Union before the Civil War. Van Daniel Boone and his brother Col. A. G. Boone bought a 1,400 acre ranch south of Pueblo, at a place now known as Boone, Colorado, where he opened a trading post. In 1861 Col. A. G. Boone negotiated the Fort Wise Treaty with the Arapahoe and Cheyenne Tribes ceding their lands in exchange for a reservation between the Arkansas River and Big Sandy Creek, entirely on the Great Plains. E. L. Gallatin always kept a large size oil painting he commissioned of Colonel Albert Gallatin Boone in his home until his death.

In 1861 Francis Gallup arrived in Denver, Colorado at 37 years old, he worked in his original field of trade upon arrival in Denver he was a Jeweler. Francis Gallatin was trained as a Jeweler in Huron County, Ohio and gained much of his Shop Keeping experience through 15 years of experience as a jeweler. While working in Denver Francis Gallup established a friendship with E. L. Gallatin and John Landis.

In 1862 Edward L. Gallatin married Rhoda Maria Parker born September 18, 1827 in Cavendish, Windsor County, Vermont. In E. L. Gallatin's Book "What Life Has Taught Me", there is no mention of his marriage which I found quite strange although he does mention his wife repeatedly throughout the book. Rhoda Maria Parker Gallatin survived her husband for many years she died in Denver, Colorado in 1915.

In 1863 John Landis made Francis Gallup and E. L. Gallatin a proposition to buy him out of the business which the men accepted. The Company name was E. L. Gallatin and Company for name recognition in Saddlery and Harness Goods between 1863 through 1865.

In March of 1864 E. L. Gallatin and his wife Rhoda made a trip to Virginia City, Montana with two loads of Saddlery and Harness Goods. This was not a well thought out trip through the mountains while still in winter which made for a tumultuous trip to say the least. The snow had become so bad at times that the teams had to be led by hand because of lack of visibility and they were lucky to reach Fort Hallack, Wyoming by the Overland Stage Line Route established in 1862.

After starting out again they were held up 10 more days at Platte River, Wyoming because of 10 to 15 foot snow drifts closing Bridger Pass, Wyoming. When they left Platte River, Wyoming they next were detained due to inclement weather at Sage Creek, Wyoming and having to stay there 10 days. This cycle repeated itself and after losing two horses along the way from feed shortages and lack of available feed they finally arrived in Virginia City, Montana in May 1864.

After meeting some friends from Independence, Missouri who helped E. L. Gallatin get a store room and a place to live and sold out of all his Saddlery and Harness Goods in 6 weeks. E. L. Gallatin states in his book he had done exceedingly well with his goods, and all sales were paid in gold which was worth $2.80 on the dollar in Greenbacks (Dollars). With the stock sold out E. L. Gallatin and his Wife decided to head home with about $8000.00 which itself was a large sum of money and a dangerous trip to take.

The trip back to Denver posed new dangers as it was now the later part of July 1864 there were road agents robbing people who leaving mining towns, and the Indian problems had started again between Fort Bridger, Wyoming and Denver, Colorado. After leaving with other people heading South on the Overland Stage Line Route they arrived in Salt Lake City, Idaho where there were 8 Wagons without teams to pull them. After learning that the Indians head attacked the Freighters and they stampeded their livestock and taken some women E. L. Gallatin sold his Freighting Wagons and the majority of his horse teams. Gallatin bought a lighter buggy to drive the remainder of the trip home which remained uneventful throughout they arrived in Denver September 1, 1864.

Early 1865 the Company name was changed to Gallup and Gallatin Saddlery, because Francis Gallup had established a name in the Saddlery business, E. L. Gallatin was going east to establish another branch of the Company. That branch E. L. Gallatin was leaving to setup would be named Gallatin and Gallup Saddlery at Nebraska City, Nebraska which at that time the principal team freight exit to the far west. In July of 1865 E. L. Gallatin and his wife again took a trip this time to the Missouri, River without stock but simply for recuperation as both had been feeling badly. They spent the winter of 1865-1866 in Lexington, Missouri while spending time with E. L. Gallatin's Family members living in various parts of Missouri.

In approximately 1865 Samuel Caldwell Gallup started an apprenticeship at the (Francis) Gallup and Gallatin Saddlery in Denver, Colorado, and in 1869 with the help of E. L. Gallatin and his Brother Francis Gallup the younger S. C. Gallup opened his first Saddlery in Pueblo, Colorado. During the time S. C. Gallup worked at the Gallup Gallatin Saddlery with his Brother Francis Gallup and E. L. Gallatin the three men were instrumental in the development of the California Style Saddle into the Pueblo Style Stock Saddle. An Advertisement in the 1870 Pueblo Business Directory in the Rocky Mountain Directory and Colorado Gazetteer on page 406 S. C. Gallup Saddler and Harness Maker Santa Fe Av. between Third St. and Fourth St.

In the spring of 1866 E. L. Gallatin and his Wife Rhoda departed by Steamboat from Lexington, Missouri to Nebraska City, Nebraska the place selected by Francis Gallup and E. L. Gallatin to start a branch location. It was the largest freighting point heading across the Plains including the largest freighter Aleck Majors which had thousands of freight teams with branches throughout the west and the contract to move all Government Supplies. The Freighter considered a Wagon Train to be 20 Wagons or Prairie Schooners with a team of 5 yoke (pair) of Oxen in each team this was a Harness Makers dream.

The business flourished throughout the first year with most of the business coming from the freighters as anticipated, although not anticipated was how fast the railroad would grow and connect points from the east to the west. By the end of the second year 1868 in Nebraska City, Nebraska E. L. Gallatin found himself supplying Harness Goods to the local Farmers who were not so good at paying until harvest time if they remembered.

In the later part of 1868 E. L. Gallatin and his wife departed for Cheyenne, Wyoming a town being planned by the railroad as a work and transportation hub and all of the foundation work was being laid although ultimately it became simply a freight point. The Railroad had decided Laramie City, Wyoming was the better choice as a hub for their railroad town and transportation center leaving Cheyenne, Wyoming to live or die by the towns own accord. Soon Cheyenne was filled with vacant stores and homes but this was a short term situation because before E. L. Gallatin decided to leave Cheyenne the Cattle Ranchers who were hungry for land found Wyoming perfectly suited to that purpose.

In a short time Cheyenne would become a Cattle Center for Cattle Drivers from Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Utah even as far as Texas. Now still in 1868 E. L. Gallatin was living at the Old Rollins House a place he did not like but he was forced to stay there because the builder had not finished the Saddlery property they had bought and contracted the building of from Denver, Colorado. Gallatin quickly forced the builder to finish the work so he and his wife could move into the rear of the business after having a room added for that purpose. Now needing a sign E. L. Gallatin found a dead horse with a good hide and proceeded to taxidermy the horse and decorate the horse with a Saddle and Bridle on him then mounted this horse on a 12 foot pole and he had a Saddlery Sign for the new Gallatin and Gallup Saddlery.

During the year 1870 Francis (Frank) A. Meanea Jr. had came to work with E. L. Gallatin at the Cheyenne, Wyoming location, Meanea was Gallatin's nephew by his sister Ellen and her husband Frances Meanea Sr. of Missouri. Frank A. Meanea was 30 years old when he started his apprenticeship with his Uncle E. L. Gallatin in Cheyenne, Wyoming and in 1873 he became a Partner in that Saddlery. In 1873 E. L. Gallatin sold his interest in the partnership to Francis Gallup in Denver, Colorado and as part of the deal he took the Cheyenne, Wyoming location and in turn made Frank A. Meanea his partner in the Cheyenne Saddlery now called E. L. Gallatin & Company of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

In 1875 due to extreme Rheumatism E. L. Gallatin had to leave the Cheyenne, Wyoming Saddlery in the charge of Frank A. Meanea. E. L. Gallatin and his wife left Cheyenne, Wyoming to go to California trying to get healthy and visiting many friends along the way. The Gallatin's returned to Denver, Colorado in the fall of 1876 and while maintaining his partnership with Frank A. Meanea on the Cheyenne, Wyoming Saddlery all Saddles continued to be marked "E. L. GALLATIN & CO. Cheyenne, WT".

In 1881 E. L. Gallatin sold his interest in the Cheyenne, Wyoming location to Frank A. Meanea who by this time had established a reputation and legacy of his own for innovation and producing superior quality work like his Uncle E. L. Gallatin. Also in 1881 E. L. Gallatin went to California again although this time with the intention of buying property which he bought some residential property in Oakland, California his base of operation. Although E. L. Gallatin was impressed with Oakland and wanted to make it his permanent residence his wife felt differently and after a couple of years all the property had been resold and they moved back to Colorado again.

In the Denver, Colorado City Directories for the 1881 through 1887 show E. L. Gallatin as working at T. E. Meanea & Company at 205 Kansas Avenue which was manufacturing Saddle Trees. E. L. Gallatin started Theodore E. Meanea in the Saddle Tree Business in Denver in 1880 and continued to work in the business until at least 1887 and possibly through 1890. Theodore E. Meanea was the Nephew of E. L. Gallatin and the Brother of Francis A. Meanea of Cheyenne, Wyoming he was the youngest son of E. L. Gallatin's sister Ellen Gallatin Meanea. The T. E. Meanea & Company Saddle Tree Factory was sold to Henry Ruwart Sr. in 1913 when Theodore E. Meanea was 54 years old. Between 1881 and 1913 all Frank A. Meanea Saddle Trees were purchased from T. E. Meanea & Co. the F. A. Meanea Leather Goods are among the most prized by American Old West Antique Collectors.

In the year 1890 in Denver E. L. Gallatin had an accident that almost killed him when he was struck by a runaway team of horses he was injured with a cracked skull and a broken leg. The accident confined him for nine weeks where he was not able to leave his home at 1420 Logan Avenue and even had the Doctor's call on him. At the time of the accident E. L. Gallatin was 62 years old and Doctor's feared he would be a cripple for the balance of his life although this was not the case.

In 1893 E. L. Gallatin attended the Chicago Exhibition where electricity was first demonstrated in a Functional and Decorative manner changing how we used lighting from that time forward. He felt it was the greatest spectacle he had ever seen and he felt that Chicago would Rival New York as the Largest City in the United States with its central location and train tracks heading in every direction.

In 1895 E. L. Gallatin became involved in The Colorado Co-operative Company which was a colony formed in the winter of 1894 while the State Legislature was in session and two of this bodies members were involved in the undertaking. This was to be a living co-op to protect its members from the Sharks and Speculators preying on people of good intent. There is a lot of information on this ill fated co-operative which can be obtained through reading E. L. Gallatin's book for his prospective or there are other books which document the Colorado Co-Operative Company. By the end of 1899 E. L. Gallatin was no longer a part of the Colorado Co-Operative Company which had lost its luster to E. L. Gallatin over the previous 5 years.

On August 24, 1906 Edward L. Gallatin died in Denver, Colorado survived by his wife Rhoda Maria Parker Gallatin who died approximately 1915 in Denver, Colorado. In E. L. Gallatin's words as he stated about Thornton Grimsley, E. L. Gallatin himself was a peculiar man of many prejudices, Likes and Dislikes. E. L. Gallatin Leather Products are among the most sought after old west collectibles on the market with a very limited number of items available and all trading a premium prices due to their rarity.

Edward L. Gallatin c.1900
Edward L. Gallatin - c.1900

Gallup and Gallatin Saddlery Building 1865-1873
Gallup and Gallatin Saddlery Building 1865-1873

E. L. Gallatin, Cheyenne, WT Saddle Mark 1873-1881
E. L. Gallatin, Cheyenne, WT - Saddle Mark 1873-1881

Gallatin and Company Building, Blake Street, Denver, CO 1862-1865
Gallatin & Company Building, Blake Street, Denver, CO 1862-1865
Bottom Left above Horse and Buckboard

Inside cover of E.L. Gallatin's book:
Inside cover of E.L. Gallatin's book: "What Life Has Taught Me" c.1900

Click the following link to read and/or download the complete "What Life Has Taught Me" by E. L. Gallatin.
You have a choice of how to view and download the book: PDF, Kindle, Daisy, or view it online.