Troutfetter Case File from the US Circuit Court-District of Colorado

The casefile for Christopher Troutfetter etal. versus Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railway Company arrived electronically from the National Archives-Denver. An archivist responded quickly to my initial request indicating that they did have the casefile and what the charge for a copy would be. I was given the option of receiving paper copies or electronic copies. I opted for the faster option–never dreaming that I’d receive the file later that same day.

We will discuss the details of the case in an upcoming post, but a quick read of the items in the file did not result in the discovery of any “earth shattering” revelations about the Troutfetter family. Essentially the case file contained:

  • a complete transcript of the documents in the original case file from the El Paso County, Colorado, Court
  • a rebuttal of the Troutfetter claim by the railroad
  • a response to the railroad’s rebuttal by the Troutfetters

There is no record in the file of a final order or decree of the court. That seemed odd to me–but is consistent with a notation on the cover of the file that seems to indicate the case was dismissed in June of 1900 (see illustration). In thanking the archivist for sending me the file, I asked him if there were any court ledgers or dockets mentioning the disposition of the case.

He indicated he had noticed the very same thing when making the copies and that he would look and see if there were any other records that might mention the case. That correspondence took place on 22 December 2017–so I will have to wait a few days for a response.

His comments to me make a good point: it’s helpful when the individual copying the records is familiar enough with them to know when it looks like “something’s missing.” It’s also why it’s important for the genealogist themselves to be familiar with the records.

I became aware of this case being heard in the Circuit Court of the United States–District of Colorado–because it was transferred there from a county court in El Paso County, Colorado. That’s how I initially learned of the court case.

The Troutfetters essentially had two reasons for their suit against the railroad. We’ll see what those reasons were in our upcoming post–one of them appears to be a bit of a stretch and may be the reason for the apparent dismissal.




One thought on “Troutfetter Case File from the US Circuit Court-District of Colorado

  1. My wife and I have been trying to figure out what happened to a great-uncle of hers and we found a docket for a divorce. Run-of-the-mill, not much substance – boilerplate and dates. Then we noticed a small notation in the corner, with another docket number. After the county hauled that docket out of semi-permanent storage and sent us a copy, we were looking at the Master’s report, including the deposition taken by his attorney, and having the uncle’s actual signature. And all the gory details.

    And at that point, we found out that HE divorced HER for desertion, not the other way around! Listed his whereabouts for years prior to the divorce that we hadn’t known, and reasons (job) for why he was where he was at the time of the divorce.

    We still think he was abducted by aliens, since he disappears from any records anywhere after this divorce (1930). Still, it was about 1-1/2 years later than the last City Directory listing for him, and gives us lots more to think about regarding his disappearance.

    City Directories listed him as an engraver (skilled job), yet he was working for a textile mill. How many engravers are employed by textile mills? There’s an avenue we’re still trying to figure out how to explore.

    Just like you did, check all the little details, and ask questions. The clerk making the original copy that we noticed the note on was familiar with the reason for the note of the other docket, and found the other batch in the archives for us.

    Just keep on diggin’ !

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