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City of Greeley News

Dearfield Ledgers Offer Treasure Trove of Insight into Community


A gift to the Greeley History Museum will be a rich resource for the study of Dearfield – Colorado’s largest Black homesteading settlement.

Five ledgers kept by Dearfield founder O.T. Jackson recently arrived at the Greeley History Museum, a gift from Richard and Diane Borys of Greeley. Most contain information related to the Dearfield years (about 1910 to 1930).

Names, purchases, loans and payments give a glimpse into Dearfield's history. In some places, receipts, notes and a page from a letter add more details about life in the community.

The ledgers will be on display June 10 at a Greeley History Museum event focused on the Dearfield Study Act. The Act signed by President Biden in December asks the National Parks Service to explore making Dearfield a National Historic Site. University of Northern Colorado faculty George Junne, Ph.D., and Robert Brunswig, Ph.D. will lead the event. Both have spent decades researching Dearfield on behalf of the Black American West Museum in Denver and advocating its preservation.

Brunswig says the ledgers represent a “treasure trove of new insight into the Dearfield past and the lives of its citizens.”

He explains that while the historical outlines of the farm colony and townsite were never fully lost, new research and preservation efforts are expanding understanding of the Dearfield legacy.

“As Dearfield’s heritage becomes more well-known, historic documentation is emerging from the attics, basements, and personal memorabilia of colony descendants, former neighbors and their descendants, from antique book shops, and even the odd family garage and estate sale," Brunswig says.

To See the Ledgers

The ledgers will be displayed at the “Museum at Twilight: Dearfield Study Act Q&A,” from 4- 6 p.m.June 10, at the Hensel Phelps Theatre, 701 10th Avenue. Tickets available at

The Greeley History Museum at 714 8th Street is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Admission ranges from $3 - $8. Learn more at

Caption: The five ledgers kept by O.T. Jackson date from 1888 to 1926 and contain records from grocery store purchases to loan repayments.


Release Date:
Jun 7, 2023

Chris Bowles, Museums Manager


Contact Us

Communication and Engagement Office

1000 10th Street
Greeley, Colorado 80631


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