Oliver Henry Shoup: Colorado workhorse governor connects area's history

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Threads that connect Governor Oliver Henry Shoup to this area are woven into to the very fabric of Pikes Peak area history. Shoup, a rancher and businessman of Northern El Paso County, served two terms from 1919 to 1923.

Something as basic as a Colorado workhorse, bred for cow savvy and performance capabilities, reflects those ties. The linage of the legendary “Colorado Ranger Horse” breed for example, can be traced to one of two sires: Patches #1Z and/or Max #2Z. Patches was a descendant of horse given to Ulysses S. Grant by the Sultan Abdul Hamid of Turkey. Max came from Shoup's ranch north of Colorado Springs.

Oliver's son, Merrill E. Shoup, was president of the Golden Cycle and the Holly Sugar Corporations, as well as numerous other companies originally controlled by Cripple Creek empire builder, A.E. Carlton.

The younger Shoup is credited (through his congressional testimony) with helping to get the government to raise the price of gold over the pegged rate of $35 per ounce and lobbied to keep limited production going after the government declared gold mining non-essential to the war effort.

The elder Shoup, Oliver, began his business career in 1888 with a job at General William J. Palmer's Colorado Springs Company, according to James Chipman and Erin McDanal, staff archivists at the Colorado State Archives.

“Eight years later he was offered the position of private secretary to Verner Z. Reed, a wealthy mining man, who at that time was conducting an investment and real estate business. After a few years, he became general manager of Reed's extensive enterprises. While working with Reed and other Colorado Springs capitalists, he became interested in the oil industry, later making his fortune by opening a number of Wyoming oil fields. He was the first president of the Midwest Oil Company; and in 1914, he became the first president of the Midwest Refining Company. Two years later, he retired from active participation in the oil business and devoted his time to stock raising and agricultural development throughout the state,” says the state archive.

Oliver Shoup was also a primary management influence and owner of the Edgar Box and Lumber Company that leased and cut timber for a sawmill located on land in the Black Forest area owned by Cort Burgess.

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