Come Back to Our Valley
I spent a few weeks having George Bauer as a narrator but now would like to devote some space to him and his wife, Augusta E. Schultz Bauer Roessler.
Mr. Bauer met Augusta because of a twisted situation. He had been working on the railroad with Carl Schultz, Augusta’s father. Carl knew very little English and since he and George spoke the same language they gravitated toward one another. Carl had brought his family to Del Norte, Colorado, and, as fall approached with the railroad finished some miles into Utah, he knew he needed to take money to his family. And George felt the need to accompany Carl across the mountains and into Del Norte.
George and Carl joined a group of five other men in Provo who were being guided by Alfred Packer. Winter caught the group in the high mountains and they trudged through deeper and deeper snow. When the other five men began cursing the weather and each other and using their ammunition needlessly Carl told George that they needed to abandon the group and find another way across the mountains.
Carl woke George early one morning in the midst of a snowstorm and the two men struck out on their own for Del Norte. By stopping early and building warm shelters they were able to make their way ever closer to Carl’s home. They had no way of knowing it until later that things would get so bad that the five men turned on each other. Court documents would later reveal that Alfred Packer finished off the last of the group and staved off starvation by eating the flesh of the five men.
Legend has it that Carl and George came upon an Indian village and that George befriended the leader, Chief Ouray, who gave them directions that would take them on the easiest route through the remaining mountains and on into Del Norte. George later had a friendly relationship with Chief Ouray and it all may very well have started in a bad winter when Carl and George stumbled upon an Indian village.
Another rather likely legend states that after spending some time with Carl Schultz and his family that George took off on an exploration trip all by himself and ended up in the Mancos Valley in 1876 and met some of the early cowboys. He vowed to return there some day. What we do know for sure is that George returned from a trip that summer and married Carl’s daughter, Augusta, who turned 16 that summer. It also answers the question of why George had so much liquor on the backs of his burros when he made his first supply trip into the Mancos Valley in 1881.
George was tall and thin and was often bedridden for a day or two because of weakness.
The next column will also be about George and Augusta Bauer.