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CHASTITY BLOSSOM


Buford and Henrietta Blossom moved from New Jersey to the Colorado Territory in 1852. They moved because they did not have enough land to farm successfully and additional land was beyond their means to afford. In Colorado they were able to purchase 120 acres for the princely sum of $180. The land was about three miles outside of the tiny village of Hoyt and was about ten hours of hard riding from the growing city of Denver. Their land was not in the mountains or even the foothills. Their land was in the flat tall grass prairie east of the mountains. This is ideal land and an ideal climate for growing sugar beets. This is a new crop for America and a sugar mill was to be built in the area.

Buford built a house of sod for the family. There are no trees in the vicinity and wood is very expensive. Sod is actually a very good building material as it insulates to keep out the cold and it insulates to keep out the heat. Like all pioneer houses it had two doors opposing each other on opposite sides of the house to allow the air to blow through in the heat of summer. Buford also built a sod shelter for his horses and a small coop for the chickens. They were nicely settled in and Buford was clearing the land for the first crop.

Henrietta was pregnant with her first child and was very happy about it. She wanted at least ten children but this would be a start. The Blossoms were very religious people. There was a small church in Hoyt but there was no preacher that preached there on a regular basis. There were two circuit riding preachers that stopped on a regular basis so there was a church service on one Sunday a month and one Wednesday a month. The rest of the time they practiced their religion by reading the bible and prayer. They started a prayer group with some neighbors to help those in need.

Henrietta went into labor and the mid-wife was summoned. She was not a good mid-wife. She botched up the delivery. A baby girl was born but the mid-wife’s incompetence caused Henrietta to be barren. When told that the little girl would be her only child she cried and cried. The little girl was beautiful and the parents named her Chastity. As Chastity grew she became more and more beautiful. Chastity learned to read by reading the bible. Buford, Henrietta, and Chastity read the bible every night. They read until it was too dark to read. By the time Chastity was ten years old she knew the bible inside out. If someone said a passage from the bible Chastity could tell them the book, chapter, and verse of the passage. If someone told Chastity book, chapter, and verse she could recite the verse. She knew the bible. Chastity knew how fortunate she was to live in a loving, religious family and she was grateful for her blessings.

Cal Clay was not so fortunate. His home was terrible. Cal’s Father was a gambler and a drunkard. That combination does not make a man successful. Cal’s Father, Jake, was not successful. He won occasionally if the other player was drunker but that didn’t happen often. Cal’s Mother, Marta, supplemented the family income by satisfying the needs of men for money. As a youngster, Cal went to bed hungry more often than the times he was fed. There was never any money for food. Cal wanted to go to school but that wasn’t important to his parents. They wanted him to work. When Cal was fourteen he made a discovery that changed his life. Cal had learned that hunting gave him a way to put meat on the table without having to buy it. While hunting, Cal came upon a man that was dead. From the marks on the ground it looked as though he had been thrown by a horse and broke his neck when he fell. The man was wearing a belt with two holsters and two colt revolvers. He also had a lot of ammunition. Cal found the man’s horse a short distance away and searched his saddle bags and found a lot more bullets for the revolvers and also for the Winchester rifle of the man. Cal helped himself to the man’s belongings and dug a grave for him. Cal was happy to have a horse to ride home. He was tired of walking everywhere.

When Cal got home he told his Father of what he had found. Jake wanted to take the horse and sell it so he could have some money for gambling. He told Cal he would take the horse into town the next day to sell it. That night Cal gathered all of his meager belongings and left home. He knew he would not be back and doubted if he would be missed. Cal felt that he would be better without his parents. They were of no help to him.

After he had ridden for a day he felt it was safe to stop and make camp. He wanted to be in a remote place so that he could practice shooting the revolvers and practice the fast draw. Cal wanted to be a gunfighter and now he had the opportunity. Cal learned well and for the next ten years he developed a reputation. His gun was for hire. If you needed a man killed in a fair gun fight then you called on Cal. He settled many disputes by killing one of the parties to the dispute. He travelled a lot of the west but mostly stayed in the Colorado Territory.

When Chastity was sixteen years old her life changed. Buford and Henrietta had gone into Hoyt because the circuit riding preacher was holding services on Wednesday night. This preacher was a fire and brimstone preacher. Repent your sins; confess your sins or you will go to hell. This was the type of preaching that the Blossoms liked to hear. They were enervated by the preaching. Chastity had stayed home that night because she had a fever and a sore throat and had been vomiting. On the way home to the farm, their horse was spooked by a rattler and reared. Buford lost the reins and the horse was off and running and could not be controlled. They came to a gully. The horse turned sharply but the buggy flipped and Buford and Henrietta were thrown and the buggy came down on top of them. They don’t know if they were killed then or died during the night as they were not found until the next afternoon.

What would Chastity do to survive? She had to do something. Chastity was blessed with a beautiful singing voice. She had only sung in church but she liked to make up songs. She thought that she could go to some of the closer towns and perform her singing for money. Chastity was at an age when her beauty was developing. It was apparent that she was a beautiful girl and would be an even more beautiful woman. She had no problem getting singing jobs. Unfortunately, the only place to perform was in saloons and theaters and these were not wholesome places for a young woman. Chastity was a determined woman and she was determined that she would live up to her name and remain chaste. She did her singing for two years. Many men tried to take advantage of her but there were always other men that wouldn’t allow that to happen. She witnessed a number of fights between her protectors and her assailants. She even saw one of her protectors shot to death while protecting her. This grieved her deeply.

Chastity had a job in the next town. She was driving her buggy when another rider approached her. He was a large man and very dirty. He had the look of evil and Chastity was frightened. She should have been frightened as the man grabbed the reins of her horse and dismounted. He walked up to Chastity who was petrified sitting the buggy. He grabbed her and pulled her from the buggy and started groping her. Chastity felt certain this would be her end. Then they both heard a snarling sound and when they looked they found they were surrounded by a pack of five wolves. The man pushed Chastity away so he could go for his gun but the wolves were too quick and they were on him. Chastity could hear the ripping of clothing and skin and the screams of the man as the wolves mangled him. When the screams stopped, the wolves moved away and started walking away. They stopped and looked back at Chastity and gave a little bark and ran off.

Chastity was mesmerized by what had happened. She knew that she had been saved by angels that came as wolves. She owed her life to the Lord and now she knew what she had to do with the rest of her life. She had to serve the Lord by converting the heathen to his way. She would become a preacher. She wouldn’t preach in churches to the converted. She would preach to the unconverted. She would go into the saloons and bawdy houses and anywhere that sinners could be found. She knew all of the saloon keepers and theater owners from her singing days. She approached them about letting her preach. They laughed and said sure she could but probably no one would listen. She told them that she thought they would. Chastity did not preach fire and brimstone. She preached God’s love and forgiveness. This was a new message for the sinners and they listened and absorbed what she was telling them.

Cal Clay rode into town on a job. A local rancher had offered him one hundred dollars to kill the man that was trying to marry his daughter. It was obvious that he didn’t like the man but that seemed to Cal like a strange way to settle the matter. Money is money and a job is a job so Cal took the job. Cal was starting to be recognized wherever he went. Cal was checking into the local hotel when he saw a lot of excitement at the bar of the hotel. He asked what was going on and was told that there was going to be preaching. Cal expressed surprise at preaching in a bar and was told it was a lady preacher and she was mighty easy on the eyes. Cal had nothing else to do so he would go see what the excitement was about.

Cal sat at the bar and saw the lady enter and they were right, she was beautiful. More than her beauty stunned Cal. Her message of love and devotion and forgiveness was a message that Cal had been waiting a long time to hear. He knew his life was a waste and what he was doing was wrong but didn’t know an alternative way of life. Now he knew what he could do. Even before Chastity was finished with delivering her message Cal walked up to her and asked her to help him. Chastity put her hand on his cheek and Cal swore that he felt the hand of God caress his cheek. Cal’s life was changed forever. That night he took off his guns and swore never to use them again.

After Chastity had delivered her message Cal asked if they could talk and she agreed. He told her of the life he had led and how he wanted to be forgiven for taking so many lives. Chastity told him that by asking for forgiveness he was forgiven. She told him that God is a loving and forgiving God. Cal asked Chastity if he could ride with her as she went from town to town to give her protection. He told her that everyone knew him and wouldn’t bother her if he was at her side. She told him that God was protecting her and told him of the angels that came as wolves. When Cal heard the story he fell to his knees and begged her to let him join her. He wanted the opportunity to profess his faith to men that knew what he had done and to assure them that they could also be forgiven. Chastity thought that a wonderful idea so she agreed to allow Cal to accompany her.

They did travel together and Cal realized that he loved God but he also loved Chastity. He feared telling her of his feelings because she may stop allowing him to join her. Cal didn’t know that Chastity was also developing feelings for him but the truth finally came out. They were married and continued God’s work as a married couple and they were blissfully happy. They cut back on the travelling so they could have children. They wanted to be a family. Cal told Chastity of his family and how badly he was treated and swore that he would never treat his children that way. They settled in the growing town of Denver. Denver had enough sinners and debauchery that they didn’t have to travel far to find sinners. They were very successful in converting a number of sinners. Chastity considered herself blessed to be able to preach the gospel.

The move to Denver was good for the family. Denver was growing and most of the new arrivals were law abiding citizens. They were all enthused about the progress that Chastity and Cal were making to make Denver a better place to live.

Chastity got her wish for a family. In four years she had three children, two boys and a girl. She was adamant that she continue to preach and Cal saw to it that a church was built for her but she still insisted on going into the saloons to preach. No saloon keeper ever turned her down and no rowdy cowboy ever bothered her.

The family was so well thought of that Cal was elected sheriff in a landslide. People knew of his past as he had never tried to keep it a secret. Cal had met a number of hard men in his travels. Now he called on the ones that he felt were trustworthy to join him as deputies. He made certain that these men would be well compensated for the dangerous work. Denver settled down and very quickly became a safe place to live and to raise a family. Cal had put in an order that no guns would be allowed in town. Anyone arriving with a gun had to give it to a deputy to hold until they left town. The murder and gunfight rate in Denver dropped to almost zero.

The good citizens of Denver were so pleased with what had taken place that they elected Cal as Mayor. Life had come full circle for Cal. He had started as a feared killer and was now a respected citizen and the husband of the leading preacher in the territory.

Life was good.





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