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Last edited by Steve Hight
September 9, 2010 | History

William E. Pabor

21 May 1834 - 29 August 1911

William Edgar Pabor was born in Harlem, New York, on May 21, 1834. He left school at age 12 to help support his family, but developed an interest in letters. He was a published poet by the age of 16, and became editor of the Harlem Times, a weekly newspaper, by the time he was 19. He achieved enough national recognition as a poet (writing as Willie Pabor and Willie E. Pabor) to be frequently published in national magazines, including Godey's Lady's Book, Peterson's, Ballou's Dollar Monthly, and Ballou's Pictorial, throughout the 1850s and 1860s. Godey's alone published twenty of his poems between 1855 and 1865. He was also a popular song lyricist, working with well-known composers like John Rogers Thomas.

Pabor was a very active Republican in New York and was appointed postmaster of Harlem. An acquaintance of Horace Greeley, he helped plan the Union Colony -- later known as Greeley -- and served as the colony's first secretary when its members left New York and settled in Colorado in 1870. He served as secretary for the Fountain Colony next, renaming it Colorado Springs for the brochures he wrote, then was later co-founder of Fort Collins.

During these years he continued to write and edit, and founded several newspapers and journals in these towns and Denver. He helped found the Colorado Editorial Association, acting as its first secretary, and held the same position with the National Editorial Association, also becoming that organization's poet laureate from its inception in 1885 until his death. He also developed an abiding interest in irrigation and agriculture, with a strong emphasis on fruit culture, and wrote and edited several related journals and books.

In 1883, he came to Colorado's Western Slope to reorganize the Grand River Ditch irrigation project and liked what he saw of the area. He sold his shares of the canal, bought 80 acres of land about twelve miles west of Grand Junction, and there founded the town of Fruita with the intent that it become an agricultural paradise. Within months he enlarged the town by 80 more acres. He remained in Fruita, actively promoting its growth, until his doctors told him to move to sea level in 1892, whereupon he moved to Florida and founded a pineapple growing colony called Pabor Lake near Avon Park. A couple of nonsuccessive very cold winters in Florida ruined the pineapple crops, however, causing the Pabor Lake colony to slowly wither and die, despite his efforts.

Although Pabor was officially settled in Florida, and most of his family had moved there with him, he missed Colorado, and returned several times for extended visits to friends and one of his sons, Frank, also a newspaper editor. It was on one of those visits that he suffered a stroke and died in Denver on August 29, 1911. The Rocky Mountain News eulogized him on the front page the following day. While on a visit to Fruita the summer before, he had expressed his desire to be buried there. His wish was carried out, and after receiving the largest funeral held in Mesa County, Colorado, up to that point -- 600 schoolchildren lined the funeral parade route and accompanied the cortège to the cemetery -- he was laid to rest at Fruita's Elmwood Cemetery.

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History Created April 1, 2008 · 7 revisions
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September 9, 2010 Edited by Steve Hight merge authors
September 9, 2010 Edited by Steve Hight Edited without comment.
September 8, 2010 Edited by Steve Hight I added a psuedonym he used at least once.
September 8, 2010 Edited by Steve Hight I wrote a brief biography, added a lithograph of the author, added his birth and death dates, and added alternative names.
April 1, 2008 Created by an anonymous user initial import