Person:GAUSS, Robert (1851 - 1913)

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GAUSS, Robert (1851 - 1913)
Family(s): Gauss
Person ID (Link to genealogy): GED link doc.gif I233
Descendant of C. F. Gauss
Sex: M
Date born: 1 Sep 1851
Born in: St. Charles, Missouri
Date died: 19 Jan 1913
Died in: Denver, Colorado
Buried in: Oak Grove Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri


Father: GAUSS, Eugene (1811 - 1896)
Mother: FAWCETT, Henrietta (1817 - 1909)
Spouse(s): Unmarried
Children(in Wiki):

Occupation(s): Farmer, Journalist, Lawyer
Fawcett book: GAUSS, Robert (1851 - 1913)
Other attributes
Needs annotation: Yes

From Bill Fawcett's book:

ROBERT B/W. GAUSS was born on September 1, 1851 in St. Charles, Missouri to Eugene Gauss and Henrietta Fawcett (Hall 1891:152). He studied law in his home town, and practiced for a short-time there before he moved to St. Louis, where he practiced for several years.

Robert Gauss came west looking for a place to situate his law office. He visited Albuquerque, New Mexico (on Feb. 4, 1876) and Arizona, after touring Colorado in 1876 (Denver Republican 1/21/1913:7). He returned to visit his parents in St. Charles early in 1876 (Letter V Fawcett to E Fawcett 2/12/1876).

Robert Gauss moved to Grand Valley at Grand Junction, Colorado in 1880 (Hall 1891:152; Denver Republican 1/21/1913:2), but contemplated moving to New Mexico. Next, he wrote editorials for the Leadville Hearld-Democrat and later the Leadville Chronicle (Hall 1891:152)--the leading Republican newspaper. Leadville was too lawless, so after two years, in the spring of 1882, he moved to Denver.

Robert Gauss entered into a legal practice in Denver with an older lawyer at 379 ½ Larimer Street (Rocky Mountain News 5/7/1882:5), and then from his apartment in the Opera House (16th/NW corner Curtis [1883 Denver Directory]).

In 1884/85 Robert Gauss became the associate editor for the Denver Republican (Letter V Fawcett to E Fawcett 4/27/1882; 1886 Directory; Hall 1891:152; Denver Republican 1/20/1913:1). During one year of the Spanish-American War, he served as the managing editor, but he prefered writing editorals. The newspaper was located at 339 Lawrence (1881 Directory), but then moved to 1118 16th (at Tremont [1883-1914; building demolished 1981]). Under the ownership of Senator Nathaniel Hill this conservative newspaper was anti-labor and favored the corporate elites. Upon his death (1900), Crawford Hill, continued his father’s policies. Robert Gauss never missed a day of service while writing some 9000 editorials for the newspaper. To prepare for them, he read widely in science, drama, mathematics, classics, history, and sociology in Hebrew, German, Spanish and English. He was facinated with socialism (Denver Republican 1/20/1913:4). Rather than support Theodore Roosevelt’s candidacy for President, Robert Gauss planned to resign from the Denver Republican (Denver Republican 1/21/1913:7).

Robert Gauss returned to his parents home near Columbia, Missouri in mid-February 1894 to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary (Letter Henrietta Gauss to Lucy Fawcett 2/28/1894). At some point he began to preface his name with Colonel (Rocky Mountain News 1/20/1913:1). Later, Robert Gauss returned to Missouri to visit his widowed mother at Christmas (Denver Republican 1/20/1913:4).

Over the years, Robert Gauss roomed in many Denver hotels: Opera House (16th/NW corner Curtis [1883 Directory]), Symes Block (16th/SW corner of Champa [1886-1887 Directories]), 824 13th St (1890 Directory), The Drexel (433 17th/SE corner Glenarm [1893-1895+ Directories]), 311 16th (1902-03 Directories), 1752 Stout (1911 Directory), Belvedere Hotel (1904?-13, 15th/Glenarm Sts [Rocky Mountain News 1/20/1913:1). None of these building exist today in Denver. He apparently owned a farm near Denver.

Robert Gauss’ paper on his experiments at breeding drought resistant grains was read before the U.S. Congress. In 1896 he began experiments in dry farming at his home in the suburbs of Denver (Denver Times 9/30/1905:1,3). Robert Gauss began by planting Improved Fife wheat obtained from what is now Colorado State University at Fort Collins. He also experimented with sugar beets, wheat, barley, rye, potatoes, Hopi corn, field peas and alfalfa. He continued to improve upon his experimental dryland crops for over 30 years without any complete failures due to drought. He supported through his editorials the development of irrigation projects and water law. His successes led Senator Guggenheim to introduce a bill that created the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station in about 1911/12. They planned to name it after Robert Gauss (Steinel 1926:267; Denver Republican 1/20/1913:1). Robert Gauss turned over his experimental data, wheat and rye seeds, and papers (including: Acclimation in Breeding Drought-Resistant Cereals) to Prof. R.C. Buffum of Worland, Wyoming, and earlier communicated his findings to Prof. A.E. Blount of Colorado State University in Fort Collins (Denver Republican 1/21/1913:7, 1/22/1913:4). On December 20, 1912 Robert Gauss wrote his final editorial for the Denver Republican about his experiments.

In 1911 Robert Gauss revisited his friends, including the city attorney (James W. Bocklin) and postmaster (Mr. Price) in Grand Junction for the first time since he left (by 1883 [Denver Republican 1/21/1913:2). He stayed for several days.

During the last three weeks of his life, Robert Gauss suffered attacks of la grippe which confined him to bed for a few days. He also suffered from heart disease during his last years, and like his father was going blind (Denver Republican 1/20/1913:1,4-5).

Robert Gauss died in Denver on Saturday night, January 19, 1913 (Gauss 1982). He died within a few hours of his brother, Charles Henry Gauss. Both died from heart disease. Robert Gauss was found by a negro porter, Edward Welch, who awoke Robert Gauss each morning at 7 a.m. (1899-1913).

A note beneath his pillow requested that his brain be removed, weighed, and photographed to compare to the weight (1492 gms) and photograph of his grandfather’s brain (Karl Frederick Gauss). Both were said to bear a close resemblance. His requests, first written in 1890, were executed by T.C. Henry, Prof. and Mrs. Edward F. Hermanns (--all three knew him since boyhood), and Mrs. E.L. Woodward. For 15 years (1897-1913) he resided in Woodward’s Belvedere Hotel. Drs. A.K. Worthington and Graham served as Robert Gauss’s physicians. Dean H. Martyn Hart read a simple Episcopalian service at 12:30 on December 21 at St. John’s Chapter House. Pallbearers were T.C. Henry, Prof. Edward F. Harmanns, Dr. A.K. Worthington, Arthur Chapman, Ralph Butler, and Lute Johnson. Other friends wrote tributes to him, including Rev. William O’Bryan, E.T. Gove (former state senator), John Hipp, Maurice M. Rathburn (Greeley Tribune), Thomas M. Hunter, John Brisben Walker, William Stapleton, Alivin T. Steinel, and Edward T. Yetter. Robert Gauss was honored by the Sons of Colorado, because on August 1, 1906 he established Colorado Day. After the service his body was taken to Riverside cemetery for cremation (Denver Republican 1/21/1913:7). His obituaries are published in Denver Republican (1/20/1913:1,4-5), Denver Times (9/30/1905), Rocky Mountain News (1/20/1913:1, 4) and Columbia University Missourian (1/21/1913:1-6).

McElhiney (1970) indicates that he was buried with his parents and siblings in the Oak Grove Cemetery at St. Charles, Missouri, however no marker exists because he was cremated in Denver. Other Gauss relatives (O.W. Gauss and his children) also choose cremation perhaps because they shared Robert Gauss’ fear of being buried alive (Denver Republican 1/20/1913:5).


From A History of the Fawcetts and Related Families in America by William Bloys Fawcett. Used by permission of Dr. Fawcett.

This book was first published in 1996 and some of the information is quite dated. If you find errors or want to add updates, contact me, and I will add notes to the page.

Copyright © 1996, 2007 by William Bloys Fawcett, Jr. All rights reserved. No copies may be made of this document through any electronic, photocopying or other means without permission of the author.

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