Clarence Clark Hamlin


cch-obit(The other big news headline: “Draft Lottery Half Completed in 10 Hours” – The historic peace time draft lottery was slightly more than half completed at 9 p.m. [29 Oct 1940] after more than 10 hours of drawing blue capsules from the big goldfish bowl, and of intoning and recording the numbers they contained. The names of more than 850 men in El Paso County, Colorado were tabulated.)

Obituary for Clarence Clark Hamlin

Published in the Colorado Springs Gazette, Wednesday, 30 Oct 1940:

C. C. Hamlin, Publisher and Political Leader in West for Over 40 Years, Passes Away

Noted Figure in City and State Dies After Illness of Nearly Year; Only Office Ever Held Was Dist. Atty.

By T. W. Ross, News Director

Clarence Clark Hamlin, publisher of The Gazette and The Telegraph, political leader in Colorado for nearly 40 years, Cripple Creek mining pioneer, one of the west’s best known attorneys and a man of wide acquaintance with the nation’s leaders, died at his home, 1122 Wood Ave., last night at 11:45 o’clock.

He suffered a paralytic stoke on November 16, 1939, and never made any appreciable recovery.

Physicians marveled at Mr. Hamlin’s fight to live, although from the very start of his illness he was bedridden and unable to speak.  He suffered another stroke August 31, and on numerous occasions it was feared the end was near, but his stout heart fought on and on.  He was 72 years old last January 7.  Mr. Hamlin was almost the last of that great coterie of Colorado Springs’ great men who worked shoulder to shoulder in business and politics, including Spencer Penrose, C. M. MacNeill, Eugene P. Shove, A. E. Carlton and L. G. Carlton, O. H. Shown and others.

Few men in Colorado’s history added so much to the pages of accomplishment of lasting value as Clarence Hamlin.  Since his four-year term as district attorney started in 1905, Clarence Hamlin held none but honorary political office, but hundreds of men who have held office will attest the fact that he was responsible in a large degree for their election.

A lifelong republican, Clarence Hamlin never quit fighting for his views, but he numbered among political opponents some of his closest friends.  In May, 1937, he announced the decision to make these newspapers independent as to candidacies but reiterated his opposition to new deal policies.  In the November, 1938, elections, the papers were independent and supported a number of democrats, including Sen. Alva B. Adams.


Stabilized labor conditions in the Cripple Creek mining camp that exist today have existed for more than 30 years and can be traced to the strength of Clarence Hamlin’s character, his ability as an organizer and his courage.  During the strikes instigated in the early turn of the century by the Western Federation of Miners, the Cripple Creek district seethed with rebellion, riots, bloodshed.  The operators engaged Mr. Hamlin to direct their affairs and he successfully fought off the attempt to unionize the camp, ended bloodshed and put the camp on its present open shop basis from which it has never deviated.

It was during this strike that nationwide attention was attracted to Cripple Creek.  The blowing up of the Independence depot, the explosion in the Strong mine and other acts of violence made Cripple Creek a by-word for rioting and lawlessness.  W. D. (Big Bill) Haywood, who died a few years ago in Russia, an outcast from his native land, got his start in rebellion at that time.  Harry Orchard, sentenced for life in the Idaho prison; Pettibone, Moyer and other radicals who tangled with the law, all were in the Cripple Creek strike up to their ears and many of the acts of violence there were traced to their organization.

During the strike at one time Mr. Hamlin addressed a mass meeting held in downtown Victor with union sharpshooters taking potshots at him from nearby buildings.  Not a bullet touched him as he stood in the bed of a wagon and gave his address – never flinching as the whining bullets barely missed him.


Clarence Hamlin was born in Manchester, Iowa, January 7, 1868.  He was the son of Henry Fayette and Harriet A. (Clark) Hamlin.  He attended the public schools there and then spent four years in the law school at Iowa State university, getting a degree of Doctor of Law in 1890.

He began his law practice in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where in the six years of his residence achieved statewide fame as an attorney and a political power.  He was elected twice to the Wyoming state senate and in 1895 was named a member of that state’s commission to revise the statutes.  In 1896 he was a delegate from Wyoming to the national republican convention.

Late in 1896 he moved to Colorado Springs.  He was first associated with the law firm of the late Judge Allen T. Gunnell.  Here he established his home and surrounded himself by men of affairs.  In a few years he became a leader of his party here, and in 1906 was elected district attorney for the fourth judicial district.  He won statewide acclaim in his four years as fighting prosecutor.  His record of convictions during an era of much lawlessness has seldom been equaled.  That one office, however, was the last one he would accept, but his power in the republican party grew with the years.

C. C. Hamlin, portrait copied from the program of the Republican National Convention, held 14-16 Jun 1932 in Chicago, Illinois, which renominated President Herbert Hoover and Vice President Charles Curtis for their respective positions - In 1932, C. C. Hamlin was an Officer of the Executive Committee of the Republican National Committee.

C. C. Hamlin, portrait copied from the program of the Republican National Convention, held 14-16 Jun 1932 in Chicago, Illinois, which renominated President Herbert Hoover and Vice President Charles Curtis for their respective positions – In 1932, C. C. Hamlin was an Officer of the Executive Committee of the Republican National Committee.


He was elected national committeeman in 1924, reelected again in 1928, and retired in 1932 after eight years, during the party’s greatest years of power.  He was a close friend of Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, the last republican presidents.  He dined with them all in Washington many times.  He was a delegate to the national convention of the republican party at every convention from 1896 up to and including 1928.  He served on the executive committee of the republican national committee in both 1924 and 1928 campaigns.

Mr. Hamlin’s frequent visits to Washington made him a favorite among the newspaper correspondents there and his friendly disposition made him one of the west’s best publicized political leaders.

In 1899 Mr. Hamlin married Seddie Gunnell in this city.  Their daughter [Elizabeth] is Mrs. Tor Hylbom, one of the city’s most prominent musicians.  Two granddaughters [Ingrid Hylbom, Elizabeth Hylbom] and a grandson [Tor Martin Hylbom] also survive.

Mr. Hamlin belonged to the Masonic Orders, was a 32nd degree Mason, a member of Colorado Springs lodge No. 309, of Elks.  He belonged to the Cheyenne Mountain Country club, the El Paso and Cooking Clubs here; the Denver club and the Congressional Country club at Washington, D. C.

Mr. Hamlin was always interested in mining and until that company’s sale five years ago was president of the Granite Gold Mining company, one of the larger Cripple Creek properties.  He was also interested in farming and owed a large ranch in Garden City, Kan.


He was associated with Spencer Penrose, Charles M. MacNeill, Charles L. Tutt, A. E. Carlton and other financial leaders of the community in a number of ventures and in the early days here was a business associate and close friend of Verner Z. Reed, mining man and oil magnate.

The friendship of the leading men of the community was always Clarence Hamlin’s.  He represented many of them in legal battles and was general counsel for many of their enterprises.  Until a few years ago he was vice president of the Midland Terminal railroad and was associated with the early days of the Holly Sugar corporation and many other local companies.

Altho[ough] he was a man of wide interests and responsibilities none interested him more than his newspaper connections.  Early in the century he acquired control of the Evening Telegraph.  That struggling newspaper then was printed in this old plant of The Gazette and its assets were very small.  An uphill struggle for several years was eminently successful under the present management, and in 1923 The Telegraph bought The Gazette from C. P. Dodge and M. A. Ege and consolidated the two papers in the company’s present building and plant, which The Telegraph had purchased in 1919.

At the time of the consolidation he made it possible for some of his associates to become financially interested in the newspapers and they are all still in the organization.  T. E. Nowels, as general manager to whom Mr. Hamlin referred as “the man behind the gun,” continues as the active head.  He is also vice president and treasurer.  T. W. Ross, news director, and Frank Foster, mechanical superintendent, James R. Miller, cashier, also have stock interests.  The El Pomar Investment company, which was the late Spencer Penrose’s company, and Charles L. Tutt are the only other stockholders in the publishing company.  Mr. Tutt is also a vice president of the company.


In his “Thirty Years Ago” column, published November 19, 1922, the late H. S. Rogers, pioneer Colorado Springs newspaper man, devoted his column to Clarence Clark Hamlin.  This reveals many interesting sidelights on Mr. Hamlin’s career that only a working newspaper man of that era would know.

His Column that day said:

“In the early summer a young man named Clarence Clark Hamlin of Rock Springs, Wyo., had been in the city visiting Verner Z. Reed.  I never did know how the shifting sands of life particles brought these two together.  Perhaps they knew each other as youngsters in Iowa, but, anyway, they formed a friendship that was to last to the end of one of them and reach down deeper into the affairs of his huge estate and the protection of his family.  It was to his friend that Reed left the largest bequest in his will after the family.

“C. C. Hamlin had been elected state senator from Rock Springs, which is a small coal mining town on the western side of Wyoming.  He had been elected as a republican, in a strongly populist district, attesting his popularity with the miners.  It is an interesting fact that Mr. Hamlin’s uncle, Clarence Clark, was defeated for congress at this election in the tier of counties in that same senatorial district in which the nephew was elected.  However, Mr. Clark was not done for and came back as a United States senator, serving two terms.

“Hamlin lacked three days of being old enough to qualify at the time of election, but attained it before the session was called.  He was the youngest man that had been elected to a legislature in Wyoming.  Five years later young Hamlin gave up his law practice and chances of advancement in the Cowboy state and came to Colorado Springs.  This place was humming then as the center of mining and every activity that clustered around Cripple Creek gold.  I suspect that Reed had most to do with Hamlin’s coming here in 1897, but Reed personally did not have much to offer him at the time.

“Hamlin formed a partnership with Judge A. T. Gunnell, who had come here a year or two before from Leadville, and pretty much stepped into the practice of law that Judge William Harrison had built up before his death.  In a year or so he married Miss Seddie Gunnell, the judge’s only daughter.

“I believe I turned to Hamlin his first paying client, at least one that gave him some Cripple Creek business, which all were looking for at that time.  Frank Arkins, an old newspaper friend of mine from Denver, and an associate had bought the Cripple Creek Times and on their way to the camp stopped here.  Frank told me he had some legal matters to look after, and did not know a likely young lawyer who could handle it and not tap him in fees so hard that he would not have a newspaper left.  I said there was a likely sort of young chap lately come to town who had offices with Judge Gunnell.  I took him over there and made the necessary introductions.  That turned out to be an excellent thing for both.  Hamlin was a good mixer and soon was hand and glove with the group of young men that was coming to the front and destined to wield such power in this section – the Carltons, MacNeill, Tutt, Penrose and associates.  But no other person has had more prominence here in the quarter of a century.  He is a charged dynamo of energy, and some folks on whose corns Hamlin has trodden in his busy rush have said mean things about him, but nobody has ever suggested that he is a coward – not since those fateful days of 1904 when he stood on a wagon at Victor and finished his speech while bullets rained upon his crowd from the strikers’ fortified hall across the street.  But, excuse.  I forget, it’s the boss I am discussing right out in public.  Isn’t that just like the old fool gossip?”



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