Elmer E. Pascoe in Creede, Colorado

Elmer E. Pascoe was born on November 3, 1861, in Indianapolis, Indiana to British immigrant, James Pascoe and Pennsylvania native Louisa Synder Pascoe.  James worked as a boilermaker for the railroad.  Elmer attended public schools in Indianapolis and graduated from high school. 

In 1879, Elmer moved south to New Orleans, accepting a position in the wholesale dry goods business.  A couple of years later, Pascoe traveled west to Colorado, working retail positions in several cities before settling in Denver at the photographic studio of George Stephan.  Pascoe excelled in the field and took responsibility for Stephan’s studio during the latter’s out-of-state move.  In 1891, Pascoe relocated to the silver mining community of Creed, Colorado.  His photographs document the town and local events, including a group gathered for the burial of outlaw, Bob Ford.  

Creede storefront
Elmer E. Pascoe, photographer. Creede, Colorado, 1891, albumen silver print. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

On June 8, 1892, Creede’s Deputy Sheriff Edward O’Kelley shot and killed Bob Ford, the man responsible for killing outlaw, Jesse James.  Ford had opened a dance hall, called Ford’s Exchange on May 29th, 1892.  Six days later, a fire swept through Creede, and the dance hall burned to the ground.  Pascoe’s photo shows a temporary tent erected on the site.  The shooting, two days after the fire, was prompted by a  quarrel several months earlier between O’Kelley and Ford.

Elmer E. Pascoe, photographer. Death of Bob Ford, June 1892, albumen silver print. Courtesy of Bonhams.

By his mid-thirties, Pascoe abandoned photography, took up permanent residence in Phoenix, Arizona, and worked in real estate and the insurance business.  Elmer E. Pascoe died in Los Angeles County on January 6, 1932, at the age of seventy.  He was laid to rest in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.

Thank you to Beverly W. Brannan for proofreading this post.



George Stephan, Photographer, Attorney, and Lieutenant Governor of Colorado

George Stephan was born in Cleveland, Ohio on March 30, 1862, to John C. Stephan and Elizabeth Watson Stephan.  His father worked as a dentist.  George attended Cleveland public schools, graduating from high school in 1878.  George moved to Denver four years later, where his uncle Henry W. Watson ran a photography studio.  George likely learned photography from his uncle.


George Stephan, Photographer. Portrait of Ernest N. Petersen, circa 1885. Collection of the author.

For about six years, George Stephan earned his living as a photographer in Denver.  When he departed Denver for Salt Lake City in 1888, Stephan left Elmer E. Pascoe in charge of his studio. Pascoe continued to run the business (Stephan & Pascoe) until 1892 when the firm was shuttered.

In 1890, George Stephan returned to Colorado, residing in Delta.  He was active in banking and real estate.  By 1900 he had been admitted to the bar and established a large practice.  He held many local and state offices in Colorado.  Stephan was elected  Lieutenant Governor in 1918 and a U. S. district attorney in 1924.  He retired to California and died in La Jolla, California on September 9, 1944.  He was interred in the family plot at Delta Cemetery.

Thanks to Cindy Motzenbecker for gifting me the studio portrait, which inspired this post.  Kellen Cutsforth, Denver Public Library (DPL), provided scans from DPL.