Henry Neikirk

Full name

Henry William Neikirk

Presence at Shimer


Presence on Earth



Seminary period alum

Henry Neikirk was a student at Shimer College in the early Seminary period. He is listed in the 1862 catalog, indicating attendance for some part of the years 1859-1862.

After three years of study at the Seminary, he read law under local attorney and former Seminary trustee William T. Miller, and later became a successful attorney and Republican politician in Colorado.

Shimer connectionsEdit


  • in Oread, August 1883, "Personals", p. 9:
    Mr. Henry Neikerk, vice president of the National State Bank of Boulder, Colorado, called at the seminary in December last. He has partly promised to attend the next re-union.


  • on FindaGrave
  • on Wikipedia
  • in History of Clear Creek and Boulder Valleys, Colorado, 1880, p. 667:
    Henry Neikirk was born in Elkhorn, Carroll Co., Ill, Nov. 27, 1839, and is descended from German ancestry, who were among the early settlers of Pennsylvania and Maryland. His father, Manasses Neikirk, was a farmer by occupation, and a pioneer of Illinois. The subject of this sketch was educated at the Mt. Carroll Seminary, at Mt. Carroll, Ill. In the fall of 1859, he began the study of law in the office of Miller & Smith, and, one year later; removed to Nebraska. In the spring of 1862. pushed on to Colorado, and went immediately into the mountains. During the first six months he worked on lode No. 6, of the Bobtail mine. From that time until 1864, was foreman on the Bobtail No. 1, Gregory mine, and Smith & Palmer mine, respectively. During the Indian outbreak in 1864, he entered the hundred-days service, and passed through the Indian war. From 1865 to 1867, he was engaged in mining and prospecting in Gilpin and Boulder Counties, during which time he discovered the Hoosier mine, at Gold Hill, Boulder Co., and devoted his attention to developing the same. In 1872, he became foreman for Bela S. Buell, and remained until 1875, having charge of the entire mining and milling business. In May, 1875, he removed to Boulder County and resumed work on the Hoosier mine, of which he was the owner. In June, 187 6, he purchased a half-interest in the Melvina mine, which he has since been engaged in opening and developing, and is also the owner of a ten-stamp mill at Criswell, in connection with other parties. He is one of the principal mining and milling men of Boulder County. In the fall of 1878, he was elected to the Upper House of the Colorado Legislature. He is now Vice President of the National State Bank of Boulder, which was organized in 1878. Mr. Neikirk was married, Dec. 13, 1868, to Miss Emily Virden, daughter of John Virden, of Jamestown, Colo., and has a family of five children—three sons and two daughters.
  • in Portrait and Biographical Record of Denver and Vicinity, 1898, pp. 170-172:
    HON. HENRY NEIKIRK, a pioneer of Colorado, ex-state senator, and a prominent citizen of Boulder, is a representative, in the fourth generation, of a family that was founded in Pennsylvania by three brothers from Germany. His grandfather, Henry, the son of one of these pioneers, was born in Pennsylvania, but removed to Maryland, where he continued to engage in farm pursuits until his death; during the war of 1812 he rendered service in the American army. His son, Manassas, was born in Washington County, Md., and after his marriage removed, in 1836, to Carroll County, Ill., where he improved a large tract of government land that still remains in the possession of the family. He was born in 1809 and died in 1871, at the age of sixty-two years. His wife, Mary, daughter of Josiah Pope, was born in Maryland, of Irish-German descent, and died in Illinois in 1892, when more than eighty years of age. They were the parents of three sons and four daughters who attained mature years, of whom all but one daughter are still living, Henry being the eldest of the sons.
    At Elkhorn Grove, near Milledgeville, Carroll County, Ill., the subject of this sketch was born November 27, 1839. He was educated in the public schools and in Mount Carroll Seminary, where he remained for three years. He studied law in Mount Carroll under William T. Miller, then the most prominent attorney of that section. However, after a year of study, he was seized with the western fever and in 1861 started for the mountain regions, going down the Mississippi to Hannibal, from there to St. Joseph, then horseback to Nebraska City, where he outfitted with an ox-train. Going up the Platte, he established a trading post at Alkali, on the river, two hundred and thirty miles east of Denver, building the first post there. During the summer he carried a load of freight to Denver and returned with a load of lumber for building on his ranch. Alkali was the greatest place for trading he had ever seen, but he was too young to take advantage of the opportunity. While there he had many interesting experiences, such as fall to the lot of a pioneer. On the 25th of December he returned to Nebraska City, and in the spring of 1862 again came west, beginning as a prospector and miner in Blackhawk, Gilpin County. He continued in the vicinity of that place during most of the time until 1875. In the meantime, as early as 1867, he began to work the Hoosier mine in Boulder. In 1875 he located the Melvina, near Salina, which was one of the finest mines of its kind that had been opened up to that time; after running it for five years he sold the property. In 1886 he with others bought the White Crow at Sunshine, and operated it for five years. He is interested in the Freiburg at Gold Hill, of which he is superintendent; Sunshine and Black Swan at Sauna; Black Swan Gold Mining Company, of which be is superintendent and a director; Golden Sheen and Maveric; Colonel Zellar's mine at Sunshine; and Gold Farms, comprising one hundred and seventy-three acres near Magnolia, the most extensive mining property in Boulder County, and operated by the Gold Farms Mining Company, of which he is superintendent and a director.
    In 1875 Mr. Neikirk brought his family to Boulder, where he established his home. In 1881, he located at his present place, buying thirty-four acres, of which he has sold sixteen. He has built a substantial brick residence, set out shade and ornamental trees, as well as a number of fruit trees, and introduced a system of irrigation. In the spring of 1898 he platted and placed on the market the Neikirk-Stewart addition to Boulder City, comprising one hundred and sixty-five lots situated to the north and west of the main business portion of the city. For fourteen years he was a director and the vice-president of the National State Bank of Boulder, but finally resigned. He has been a large land owner, having real estate in Denver, also owned several ranches, comprising twelve hundred acres in Boulder and Weld Counties, and six hundred and forty acres north of Longmont, where he built a reservoir of one hundred acres, that furnishes excellent irrigation facilities.
    The marriage of Mr. Neikirk took place in Jamestown, Boulder County, and united him with Miss Emily Virden, who was born in Grant County, Wis. Her father, John Virden, was born in Kentucky, and became a pioneer farmer of Wisconsin, but in 1863 brought his family to Colorado, settling in Gilpin County, but later remoted to Jamestown. Born in 1816, he is now eighty-two years of age, and can no longer engage actively in business pursuits; he is spending his last days in the home of Mr. Neikirk, where four generations of his family are represented. His wife was Jane Hunt, born in Kentucky, died in Colorado.
    The six children of Mr. and Mrs. Neikirk are named as follows: Fannie, wife of Fred Angove, of Boulder; Jessie, a graduate of the State University, in 1897; Lewis, member of the class of 1898, in the university; Thomas, who assists his father in mining; Burr, who is a member of the high school class of 1900; and Abigail, who is a student in the high school.
    In 1878 Mr. Neikirk was urged to accept the nomination for the state senate and was elected by a majority of four hundred, his opponent being the noted Joe Wolf, who had organized Greenback clubs throughout the county and had worked the district for two years hoping to secure the election. Mr. Neikirk served in the second and third sessions, 1879-81, was chairman of the committees on irrigation and fees and salaries the first session and chairman of the finance committee the second session. During the first session he drew the bill that levied the tax of one-half mill, the nucleus of the fund that built the present state capitol building. He secured appropriation to pay expense of martial law, declared by Governor Pitkin in 1880, during the strike at Leadville. He has frequently served the Republican party as delegate to conventions. During the campaign of 1896 he advocated the silver cause, and has since served as chairman of the county convention of that party.
  • in "Former State Senator Henry Neikirk Dies, Denver Post, 1911-02-18, p. 11:
    Former State Senator Henry Neikirk Dies
    Boulder, Colo., Feb. 18.—Henry Neikirk, Boulder county pioneer mine operator, former president of the National State bank and ex-state senator, is dead at his home in this city from heart disease.
    He is survived by a widow and six children, Mrs. Emily Neikirk of boulder; Mrs. Fred Angove, Idaho Springs; Miss Jessie Neikirk, principal of the high school at Lafayette; Lewis I. Neikirk, professor of mathematics at the University of Illinois; Miss Abigail Neikirk, instructor in the high school at Berthoud; and Thomas Neikirk of Midas, Nevada.



Henry William Neikirk (1839–1911) was a Colorado gold miner, banker, and Republican politician, serving in the Colorado General Assembly from 1879 to 1881. He was also instrumental in establishing the University of Colorado.[1]

Early life and educationEdit

Henry William Neikirk was born to Manasses and Mary Neikirk in Elkhorn Grove Township, Carroll County, Illinois on November 27, 1839.[2] After receiving a basic education from the local district school, he attended the Mount Carroll Seminary, later known as Shimer College, from 1858 to 1860.[2] After leaving the Seminary, he read law with prominent local attorney William T. Miller.[2] This evidently did not appeal to him, however, for in 1861 he headed west to Colorado.[2]

Business and political careerEdit

Upon his arrival in the West, Neikirk established the first trading post at Alkali, on the Platte River 230 miles east of Denver.[2] The following year, he moved into the mountains as a prospector.[2] During the ensuing years, he alternated between prospecting and working for wages in the mines.[3] In 1867, he discovered the Hoosier Lode, although he had to wait until the 1870s before he had accumulated enough money to exploit it.[4]

In 1868, Neikirk married Emily Virden.[5] They had six children.[2] Their eldest daughter, Fannie, also went on to attend her father's alma mater, the Mount Carroll Seminary.[6]

Neikirk moved his residence to Boulder in 1875,[2] remaining based there until his death. From 1875 to 1880, he operated the Melvina Mine near Salina, Colorado. The Melvina was regarded as "one of the very best" of the tellurium mines in this period.[5] Although not one of the original discoverers, Neikirk obtained a share in the mine before its value became known.[7] His technical expertise was key to the mine's success.[8] Neikirk and the other original owners of the mine lost their shares in a hostile takeover by the Scottish-Colorado Mining & Smelting Company in 1883.[9]

In 1878, Neikirk stood for election as a Republican to the Colorado State Senate; he defeated the Democratic candidate by 400 votes despite a two-year organizing campaign by the Democrats.[10] He served in the 2nd and 3rd general assemblies, from 1879 to 1881.[10] In the 3rd General Assembly, he held the powerful chairmanship of the state senate's Finance, Ways and Means committee.[11] In this capacity, he secured funding for the use of state militia against striking workers in the Leadville Miners' Strike.[10]

The 1898 Colorado State Mining Directory lists Neikirk as the owner of the Freiburg Mine, located in Gilpin County; it had been developed to 2,500 feet.[12] Other mines in which he had an interest included the Sunshine, Black Swan, Golden Sheen, Maveric, and Gold Farms mines.[2]

In addition to being president or director of numerous mining companies, Neikirk also served for fourteen years as vice-president of the Boulder State Bank.[13][10]

Neikirk died of heart disease at his home in Boulder, Colorado, on February 15, 1911.[13] He was survived by his wife and all of their children.

Works citedEdit


  1. "Note and Comment". Springfield Republican: p. 8. 1911-02-22. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Chapman 1898, p. 170.
  3. Twitty 2009, p. E99.
  4. Twitty 2009, p. E100.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Brookhaven 1880, p. 667.
  6. "Marriages". Oread of the Mount Carroll Seminary (Shimer College): p. 10. 1892-08. 
  7. Fossett 1876, p. 400.
  8. Twitty 2009, p. E111.
  9. Twitty 2009, p. E118.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Chapman 1898, p. 171.
  11. Senate Journal of the General Assembly of the State of Colorado, Third Session. p. 51. 
  12. Colorado State Mining Directory. 1898. p. 114. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Former State Senator Henry Neikirk Dies". Denver Post: p. 11. 1911-02-17. 

External linksEdit

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