More than forty-five years ago some pioneermen made their way into what is now known as Beulah Valley. Not far above the entrance to this valley and close by the creek stood a log hut already going to decay. Near by, a ditch wound around a strip of land that had evidently been under cultivation, but from all indications many years had passed since anyone had darkened the doorway of the hut. Long ago all had been abandoned to the solitude that had reigned before. Wild animals roamed over the spot and gazed inquiringly on the lone hut built there, none knows by whom.
When these adventurers first beheld the valley from the towering bluffs they believed that no eyes but theirs had ever looked upon the scene. It was, doubtless, more interesting because of this fact. For ages here lay a beautiful, fertile valley locked in the protecting arms of the Rockies and hid thus long from intruding man. Imagine their surprise when, after descending the rocky slope into the valley, they beheld the lonely hut! Dick Wooten, Indian trader and hunter, claimed to have seen Mace's Hole, now known as Beulah Valley, thirty years before these pioneersmen first looked upon it. He told that one Juan Mace, a Mexican horse thief and murderer, here concealed himself and the stolen horses from his pursuers. Other old timers say that Mace herded stock in the valley, but secured them from hunters, traders and freighters at the government post at Canon City to winter, for a certain consideration. Still others have it that it was two young Mexicans named Mace who carried on this business.
The fact is that no one seems to be acquainted with any one who ever knew or had ever seen the aforesaid and oft discussed Juan Mace. It seems that no one can say positively whether or not he is a myth. Some of the literary craft have utilized the "half-forgotten dream" as the foundation for the superstructure of a story with a decided romantic atmosphere to it. Not only one, but many. Mrs. Doctor Marshall wrote a serial in which Mace appeared as the daring Blue Beard of the mountains and plains.
A story appeared in the Youth's Companion a few years ago in which this supposed border ruffian figured as the hero. In his narrative the Three R Ranch, located six miles south of Beulah, is placed contemporary with Juan Mace. But long after Mace's time, the ranch was secured by Peter Dotson who built the stone corrals and fence that failed at times to prevent the irrepressible Juan from making a success of nocturnal raids on the domestic herds; so the story reads. This is mentioned only to show that one may be led to false conclusions about historical facts when a portion of the facts is woven into a romance. 'Tis needless to say that one cannot depend on fictitious narrative of this kind to increase their knowledge of history. Yet many have read these stories in which Mace was the conspicuous character and believe that almost everything therein related is authentic.
If such a person existed it is reasonable to suppose that old and well known settlers would at least have a faint recollection of the fact. Forty-nine years ago Daniel J. Hayden was postmaster and store keeper in Pueblo. He has left no record of Juan Mace. Two years later John B. Rice kept a hotel in the same place. The man and his history - if there was such a man - surely perished in the Pueblo massacre.
The Beulah Breeze