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The Sand Creek Massacre
Rocky Mountain News Obituary of John M. Chivington
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9.11.01
We'll never forget
Obituary of Colonel John M. Chivington

Rocky Mountain News
October 8, 1894


HE KEPT THE FAITH

And the Good Fight He Fought Makes His Memory Sacred.

____________


LAST EARTHLY TRIBUTE PAID TO COL. JOHN M. CHIVINGTON.

___________

Thousands Assemble at Trinity Church to Honor the Memory of the Warrior Preacher --
Masons Have Charge of the Services Which are Simple but Impressive –
A Dirge Written for the Occasion by Judge Bromwell and Henry Housely –
Dr. McIntyre’s Touching Address.

___________


Colonel John M. Chivington’s body rests in the grave.  The last sad ceremonies over the dead warrior-preacher
were very simple, but were made doubly impressive by the grand outpouring of thousands of friends to pay a
last tribute of respect and honor.  The services were in charge of the Supreme Masonic Lodge of Colorado, but
Masons from all the lodges attended, as well as G. A. R. veterans and other bodies, and the funeral procession
was long and imposing.  The procession left the house on Stout street about 1:30.  It was composed of a
detachment of the Grand Army posts of the city and Masonic bodies.  The hearse was driven by four black
horses and the pall-bearers walked at its side, while the mourners followed in carriages.

Arriving near Trinity church, the lines of marching veterans and Masons divided and permitted the hearse to
pass to the front.

The galleries of the church were filled to overflowing long before the funeral arrived.  The body of the
auditorium was reserved for the Mason, Pioneers and Grand Army veterans.  The casket was placed directly
below the pulpit and left open.  Upon and around it were arranged the floral offerings.  A beautiful design of the
Masonic apron, bearing upon it the square and compass from the Blue lodge, a triangle from the Chapter and a
Maltese cross from the Grand Commandery of Knights of Templar.

Seated on the pulpit platform were ex-Governor John Evans, Judge H. P. H. Bromwell, President J. D. Howland
of the Colorado Pioneers society, and W. T. S. May and General J. C. Kennedy of the Grand Army.

When all were seated the large church would hold no more.  The service began with a dirge by the
Mendelssohn quartet, and which was especially composed for the occasion.  Judge Bromwell wrote the words
and Henry Housely the music.  It was beautifully rendered by the quartet.  The words are:

Direful Death, thy gauge of terror
Spares the hearts of mortals never.
Shall thy weapon smite forever?
Who shall pass thy square tremendous?
Who confront thy maul stupendous?
Who deliver or defend us?
Blessed Death! thy shrouded portal
Open toward the realms immortal.
There the loved and lost are found.
Glory be to God eternal!
Glory to the “Word” supernal!
There the capstone lost is found.

Dr. McIntyre’s Discourse.

After an earnest prayer, Dr. McIntyre at once began his funeral discourse.  He took for his text Second Timothy,
IV., 5: “I have fought the good fight; I have kept the faith.”

“In the seventeen years of my ministry,” he said, “I have preached hundreds of funeral sermons, and have
probably preached from this same text a score of times, but never have I used it with such perfect aptness and
appropriateness as to-day.  I never in my life knew a man who so represented the soldierly element in
Christianity as did the man whom we are here to honor in the last sad rites of humanity.  As a pioneer, as a
spiritual warrior, as a pathfinder and a patriot, he combined the elements of a Christian and a man.  These
three elements made up the character of Colonel Chivington.  It is our custom when talking of death to speak of
him as a foe to be conquered.  You will notice in the reading of the death of Paul, where he was preparing to die
by the bloody hand of Nero, that he speaks as if his battles were all done.  He knew that he still had to die, but
he says: “I have fought the good fight; I have kept the faith.”  He spoke as though he was done with foes.  Death
is not a foe, and when we get over to the other side, those of us who die in the Lord, we will list death as one of
our best friends.

“The hero of Glorieta is gone from us.  He was a man who walked in the streets of this town, such a superb
figure, that those of us who saw could not help but admire.  He towered above other men like a California
redwood high above the other trees of the forest.  One could never see him without envying his superb
physique.  We shall not look upon his like again.”

The speaker, his voice full of emotion, described how he visited Colonel Chivington during his last illness,
watched the disease gradually conquering the wonderful man: how the eagle eye began to take on a film, and
the hand, always so firm, became weak and unable to perform its duties, and he knew that the end was near.  At
last, he laid there before them, preaching a more eloquent sermon than he ever did in life.

Three Elements in the Fight.

Colonel Chivington had fought the good fight, he continued, because of three elements which go to make up a
good fight.  He fought in a good cause, it was a good career and a good consummation.  In this man were to be
found the three elements.  There was never a holier or more kingly cause than that of the boys in blue.  It was
one of the most unselfish and Christian wars in history.  As to his career, it was that of a brave man.  Hid did not
know what it was to be afraid.  There was no flinching from the stern path of duty – he didn’t know how.  He had
only one way, and that was right on.  He had a good career, and all knew how it was consummated.

“When Colorado lifts aloft the scroll of honor,” he said, “the name of Colonel John Chivington will be emblazoned
near the top.  He always reminded me of Elijah.  I think he was an Old Testament man.  I think that one of his
favorite texts was ‘An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.’  This man knew the principles of the Gospel, but they
appealed to him in his ideas of justice and right.  What a ruin, what a wreck this man might have been if he had
not been reached by the principles of the Gospel early in life.  The real battleground of Chivington was the
battle he fought with his own self.  He fought the fight, though, and he kept the faith from his early life in Ohio to
the end of his stormy career.  Sternly and steadily he kept the faith and died {indecipherable}.  Life is a battle,
anyhow.  The only question is under which flag you will fight, for this temporary world or for the permanent world
beyond.  Chivington fought first for the permanent life and also for this world.  He neither asked nor sought
quarter and gave none.

“The Chivington we love still lives in the Lord.  We shall all see him once more.  So, hero, father, patriot, friend,
farewell!  Good bye for a little while, till in some kindlier clime you bid me good morning.”

Judge Bromwell Speaks.

After that touching anthem, “I Heard a Voice,” by the Mendelssohn quartet, Judge Bromwell spoke of the
deceased from the standpoint of a Mason.  Their motto is to “Trust in God.”  Their brother had gone to the land
where so many millions had gone before, simply trusting in his God.  Those who wept over his coffin had the
most profound sympathy of the brothers, but they all must go, and all simply place their trust in God.

While the organ played a dirge, the thousands of friends of the deceased were permitted to take one last look
upon his face.  For nearly an hour, they passed by – old men and old women who had known the veteran
warrior in the earlier days, and the younger who wished to take a look at the face of the man whose memory
was now so honored.  The funeral procession was re-formed and marched to Fairmount cemetery, where the
Masons performed the last sad rites of burial according to their ritual.  At the grave, the Mendelssohn quartet
sang “Peace to the Memory of the Dead.”  The last words were said, and Colonel John Chivington, one of
Colorado’s greatest heroes, was at rest.
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