Re: Levi and Aaron Tombaugh, sons of Margaret Strayer, Indiana
On the Levi Tombaugh, Jr. who "moved to a western state," I found in the
HISTORY OF LARIMER COUNTY, COLORADO, Ansel Watrous, pg. 308
LEVI TOMBAUGH had been before his death in March, 1911, as the result of a runaway accident, one of the enterprising and successful farmers and market gardeners of Larimer county. He was a loyal citizen of the Centennial state, a man without guile, a great lover of children, though he never had any of his own, a devoted husband and foster father, a genial, warm-hearted friend and an accommodating and obliging neighbor.
Mr. Tombaugh was born Aug. 22nd, 1849, in Miami county, Indiana.He spent his boyhood days on his uncle's farm, attending the district school as opportunity offered and when his services were not needed on the farm. When 21 years of age he started westward, stopping a few years in Missouri, going thence to Texas and then back again to Missouri. The western fever still raged in his veins and in 1878 he came to Fort Collins to seek his fortune.
The Larimer and Weld canal was then being built by Benjamin H. Eaton, who was elected governor of Colorado in 1884.Our subject hired out to do construction work on the canal for Mr. Eaton, remaining in his employ for three years, and not only helped to build the largest irrigating canal in northern Colorado, but also the High Line canal near Denver, for which his employer was contractor.
He returned to his Missouri home in 1884 and on Feb. 8th, 1885, he married Miss Jane Coy, the union proving a very happy one. In the fall of 1892, he moved his family from Missouri to Fort Collins, having decided that Colorado offered greater opportunities for a man of limited means for establishing a home and acquiring something for a rainy day than any other part of the country he had visited. He bought fifty acres of land two miles southwest of Fon Collins, then known as the Graham place. It was not a promising piece of land, but he could do no better with the means at command, so he took it, going into debt for a part of the purchase money. Part of the tract was covered by a cat-tail swamp and the re-mainder was a dry knoll above water. The first hard work he did on the place was in draining the swamp and converting it into garden land. He ac-complished his purpose, however, and had the satis~ faction of reclaiming about ten acres of what was thought to be a worthless swamp and making of it as rich and productive garden land as there is in Larimer county. He then began raising vegetables and small fruits for market in which he had re-markable success. He soon paid off the debt on his place and succeeded in securing water for his dry knoll, finally bringing that under a high state of cultivation. About five years ago he sold his fifty acres of upland for $10,000, reserving the reclaimed swamp land for his own use. He sold the latter in the spring of 1911 for a big price and moved into Fort Collins, which has since been the family home. His faithful and devoted wife did her full share in bringing about prosperity, for while he was at work in the garden she would drive into town and sell the fruit and vegetables as they were produced on the place. Though, as stated, Mr. and Mrs. Tombaugh never had any children of their own, they have brought up three foster or adopted children, to wit: Mrs. Anna Payne, and Mattie and Edward Tombaugh.