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Charlie (Charley) Utter
aka "Colorado Charlie"

About Charley Utter | Links | Information Sources

Charley Utter from September 1872 edition of Scribner's Monthly
The original

Compare with
the HBO

Much of this information was researched by William Wallworth. He can be reached at william@31centuries.com. My deepest gratitude to him for sharing his work.

Born: reportedly 1832-38 reportedly near Niagara Falls, New York
Died: after 1910
Buried: unknown

Brief Bio:
Born: reportedly born 1838 near Niagara Falls, New York; spent youth in Illinois
Died: unknown: reportedly his biographer, Agnes Wright Spring, traced him to Panama after the turn of the century where it is believed that he was known as Dr. C. H. Utter. Found in ship listing in 1910, so living at that time.

At the moment the names of his parents is not known. He isknown as Charles H., C.H., Charlie and Charley Utter. He was one of the historical people that was involved with Deadwood, North Dakota. He also lived in Colorado, New Mexico, and Columbia / Panama.

Concerning his birth, there is a wide range of dates depending on which record you look at.
1831 - based on age of 49 in the June 1880 Census
1832 - based on age of 56 in the January 1888 Passenger list
1838 - based on age of 32 in the September 1870 Census
1842 - based on age of 68 in the July 1910 Passenger list
1842 - based on age of 70 in the November 1912 Passenger list

His relationship to Stephen Utter is not clear at the moment. Some say that "Steve Utter" was his brother, another says perhaps a cousin.

From the 1870 Census of Georgetown, Clear Creek, Colorado Territory, Enumerated 5th day of Sept 1870, we find the followings, all on the same page: Lines 4-8, 83/74
Utter Stephen 26 M W Mule Packer 1000 / - New York
Alma 24 F W Keeping House New York
Agnes 2 F W New York
Harriel* 1 F W Colorado
* probably because the enumerator was lazy he didn't "dash the t" the name "Harriel" is probably actually "Harriet"
Lines 24-25, 89/79
Utter Charles 32 M W Livery 7000/7000 New York
Matilda 19 F W Keeping House Wisconsin
(Matilda's Father of foreign birth and Mother of foreign birth)
Before the listing of Charles Utter, there was the listing of the family of William Bement age 54, he was a Mining Agent. It is possible that Charles Utter had some business dealings with him.

In the 1880 Census of Ruby City, Gunnison, Colorado, enumerated on Ninth day of June 1880, we find the following:
Utter Charles H W M 49 (married) Miner New York NY NY
Davis D W W M 59 (married) Miner Wales Wales Wales
Brown David W M 40 (single) Butcher Scotland Scotland Scotland
Tallman George W W M 27 (single) Miner Pennsylvania PA PA
Embick Lambert W M 27 (single) Miner Illinois PA MS
Bates Louis R W M 21 (single) Miner Massachusetts Mass Mass

Sometime before 1888, Charles H. Utter went to Columbia (present day Panama) and established himself there. He became a Doctor and a Druggist.

A possible son of his was probably the Richard Van Winkle Utter age 30 who was on a passenger list for 1912, that would put him born 1882 and it stated he was born in Denver, Colorado. Charles Utter's 2nd wife was probably the Mrs. Minnie Utter that appears in the passenger lists and there is another Minnie Utter that was probably Charles Utter's daughter. All these passenger lists involves with ship coming from Colombia - (later became) Panama and Canal Zone. Possibly Charles Utter's father, or his uncle was Josiah Utter.

There is a Report and List of Passengers taken on board the British ship "Costa Rican" of Liverpool. The ship with Robert Watson as Master, burthen 2,133 tons, was bound from the Port of Colon for New Orleans, Louisiana. Among the passengers was:
Charles H. Utter, age 56, Male, Doctor, he was staying at the Cabin of the ship. The ship arrived at New Orleans on January 4, 1888.

Also another list, of passengers taken on board the "S.S. Finance" sailing from Colon, Panama, departed May 17, 1905 and arriving at the Port of New York. Among the passengers was:
Chas H. Utter

Another list, of passengers taken on board the ship "S.S. Turrialba" sailing from Colon, Panama, departed July 21, 1910 and arriving at New Orleans on July 26, 1910. Among the passengers was:
Charles H. Utter, age 68, Male, Married, a Druggist

Another list, of passengers taken on board the ship "S.S. Pennsylvania" sailing from Ancon, Canal Zone, departed November 19th 1912 and arriving at San Pedro, California on January 2, 1913. Among the passengers was:
Chas. H. Utter, age 70, Male, Married, a citizen of the United States

So it is apparent that he stayed in Columbia / Panama for years. Perhaps in Colon itself.

SOME Sources:
1. 1870 Census of Colorado Territory, Clear Creek, Georgetown, Image No. 8, Ancestry.com. The households of Stephen Utter and Charles Utter, Lines 4-8 and Lines 24-25. December 28, 2006 Thursday 2:00 PM.
2. 1880 Census of Colorado, Gunnison, Ruby City, District 57, Image No. 10, Ancestry.com. The household of Charles H. Utter, Lines 37-42. Original Page No. 10. December 29, 2006 Friday 7:49 PM.
3. 1888 Passenger List, Charles H. Utter. New Orleans Passenger Lists. The ship Costa Rican for January 1888. Ancestry.com, Original Source - the National Archives' Series Number: M259_71. January 1, 2007 Monday 4:41 PM.
4. 1905 Passenger List, Chas H. Utter. New York Passenger Lists. The ship S.S. Finance for May 1905. Ancestry.com, Original Source - the Year: 1905: Microfilm serial: T715; Microfilm roll: T715_578. January 1, 2007 Monday 7:01 PM.
5. 1910 Passenger List, Charles H. Utter. New Orleans Passenger Lists. The ship S.S. Turrialba for July 1910. Ancestry.com, Original Source - the National Archives' Series Number: T905_31. January 1, 2007 Monday 4:53 PM.
6. 1912 Passenger List, Chas H Utter. California Passenger and Crew Lists. The ship S.S. Pennsylvania for November 1912. Ancestry.com, January 1, 2007 Monday 6:46 PM.


- By the 1860s Charlie had moved to Colorado where he earned his reputation as a trapper and prospector. "Colorado Charlie," Steve Utter and Wild Bill Hickok arrived in Deadwood in July 1876.

- By 1872 he was a guide, and led a group of men and women up Gray's Peak in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. A description of 'Charley Utter' is given as follows: "Our guide is Charley Utter, who furnishes the twenty-eight saddle horses and the double wagon required by our somewhat numerous party. Dressed in his trapper-suit, Charley presents a figure well worth looking at. Buckskin coat and pantaloons--the latter ornamented with a leather fringe and two broad stripes of handsome bead-work; the former borered with a similar fringe rimmed by a band of otter fur, and embroidered on the back and sleeves with many-colored beads, the handiwork of a Sioux squaw, and a wonderful specimen of Indian skill; vest of buckskin tanned with the hair on, and clasped with immense bear-claws instead of buttons; pistol, knife, and tomahawk in belt, the belt-buckle of Colorado silver and very large; a broad-brimmed hat and stout mocassins;--these are the externals of this famous Rocky mountain guide." [by E.J. Mallett, Jr. in September 1872 edition of Scribner's Monthly].

- In 1876, Utter and Seymour established a Deadwood to Fort Laramie Pony Express.

- The Lead newspaper, Black Hills Time, June 24, 1879 reported:
"Charlie Utter, nuisance, keeping a dance house. To Mr. Utter the Court delivered a very severe lecture, condemning all such practices in unmeasured terms. But in considering that Mr. Utter had closed the place (Judge Moody) sentenced to one hour's confinement and a fifty dollar fine and costs."

- Charlie Utter paid for the gravesite and funeral expenses of "Wild Bill" Hickok when he was killed. He later assisted with the removal of Wild Bill's body to Mt. Moriah Cemetery (where it remains today) and purchased a monument.


Colorado Charlie Utter - http://deadwoodcharleyutter.blogspot.com/

Colorado Charlie Utter - from Digital Deadwood

Information Sources

1. Encyclopedia of South Dakota, by Doane Robinson, First Edition, Pierre, S.D., 1925; page 669-670
2. Scribner's Monthly, article by E.J. Mallet, Jr. in the September 1872 edition.

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