On 8 October 1904, a notice was put in the Summit County Journal, on page 5:
There was at least one resident of Breckenridge at that time that would have been incredibly interested in this cemetery record. Charlotte Porter, known around town as “Lottie,” fought for years within the community on behalf of Valley Brook Cemetery. Her efforts can still be seen today.
Born in Illinois in about 1868, she was remembered on Memorial Day, 1959, by then Mayor Frank Brown, who said, “Charlotte Porter died in July of 1957 with the knowledge that the project she and the cemetery committee had embarked upon turned into a many, many years’ project. The people of Breckenridge will forever maintain the present beauty of Valley Brook Cemetery.” What exactly did Lottie do to make her stand out? In 1938, she was a member of the Breckenridge Women’s Club, who raised funds for a “cemetery beautification project.” She led a door-to-door and direct mail campaign to do so, with the focus of the work on the perimeter fence around the property. She certainly did not stop at collecting funds, but recruited volunteers to complete the work, as well. An entrance arch was erected at this time.
During World War II, Breckenridge’s gold economy was devastated, and although the town survived thanks in part to zinc production, the entire community fell into financial despair. By 1954 the once proud entrance arch had fallen and lay in twisted debris in the weeds. The challenge once again brought Lottie into the community, encouraging those who frequented the burial grounds to care for family members’ plots to also rake a little extra in the public areas or additional lots; she made plans for a new sign to be erected on Route 9, but ultimately, the arch was repaired and replaced.
Far beyond her efforts in improving the scenic beauty of the cemetery was her work as a genealogist. In the 1940 U.S. Federal Census, she listed just that as her occupation from her home on Ridge Street. Whatever work she accumulated in this role is unknown at this time, but one important and significant impact her work accomplished was the acquisition of Veteran headstones from the United States Army for some of our fallen hero’s.
From this application, you can see that Charlotte M. Porter was the requesting individual to recognize the military service of one Charles Walker. There does not appear to be any familial connection between the two individuals. Lottie simply saw the need for the proper headstone and made it happen, some thirty-seven years after Mr. Walker’s death. Not all of her good deed’s have been discovered, but this effort, and other’s like it, are truly to be commended. She not only made history, she recorded it for future generations.
The story, however, does not end there. A good story wouldn’t! Lottie was laid to rest in her beloved Valley Brook Cemetery, near her friends, Helen Rich and Belle Turnbull. Near her grave sits a bench, which reads:
“Jane Porter Robertson and Charlotte Porter’s father, James H. Porter came to Leadville in 1877 and to Breckenridge in 1883. Ralph’s father, Nicholas Noyes Robertson came to Leadville in 1879. Both James and Nicholas were miner’s. Ralph and Jane met at Colorado College and married in 1907. Charlotte “Lottie” interred Lars at a suitable distance so it would not be assumed they had been more than friends. Helen Rich and Belle Turnbull were Jane and Lottie’s close friends and neighbors. Bench Est. 2008.”
(Transcription: Jen Baldwin, Ancestral Journeys. See image of bench above.)
It does appear that Lottie never married, and the Lars referred to on the bench is a man by the name of Lars Kingstad, just two rows beyond Lottie. He was born in Norway in 1876 and ultimately retained citizenship within the US. His death occurred in 1938.