These three people are catching a ride on the Denver South Park & Pacific, also known as the Colorado Southern Railroad, to Alpine from Hortense Hot Springs.
On the left is Joseph Perschbacker, who was a brakeman on the railroad for 40 years.
The woman in the middle was known for most of her life in Chalk Creek as Countess Pearlina Zabriskie, of Polish descent.
The other man is Napoleon Jones. Both arrived in the area in 1882-85. Napoleon and Pearlina were good friends and lived in cabins close to each other in the Alpine area.
Pearlina was a strong and independent woman and did the hunting and furnished game for her and Napoleon. Pearlina once had a chicken ranch in Alpine.
She also climbed in the area with a miner’s pick looking for minerals. She compiled a mineral dictionary and predicted that uranium and molybdenum would someday be valuable.
Napoleon was a part-time prospector and did odd jobs in the area. He did some prospecting, and got wood and coal for the cabin stoves.
When Napoleon was asked by a Chalk Creek woman who knew them well why they didn’t get married, he replied “Why get married and spoil a beautiful arrangement?”
They died within a couple of years of each other, Pearlina in the Denver & Rio Grande Hospital in February 1924. She is buried in the Fairview cemetery in Salida. Napoleon is believed to be buried in the cemetery in Iron City.
During the summer of 1968, two men claiming to be nephews of Pearlina, Harry and George Zabriskie, came to Salida looking for information on their aunt, Lucinda Jane alias Pearlina Zabriskie.
The true story came out that she was one of 10 children born in Iowa in 1850 to a Mormon high priest and bishop. The family moved to Colorado and Lucinda disappeared. She never told her true origins to anyone in Chalk Creek .
Information taken from the booklets “Chalk Creek Colorado,” by Louisa K. Ward 1940 and “Nuggets from Chalk Creek,” 1975 by Lacy Humbeutel. For more information on the heritage behind the history of Buena Vista, visit facebook.com/bvheritage.heritage