The core of this house is the log cabin built by John M. Tallman (1837-1925) in 1866. Tallman was born in New York in 1837 and came to Colorado at the age of 22. In 1865, he married Elizabeth Pennock and they raised two children in the small, two-room cabin. Elizabeth left a legacy of stories about life in the early Parker area. For example, she wrote about interactions with Ute, Cheyenne, and Arapaho people; Ute bands under Chiefs Ouray, Colorow and Washington crossed the homestead demanding biscuits and even tried to buy her red-haired son for twenty ponies.
Early on, John Tallman had worked a sawmill on Running Creek, somewhere north of present-day Elizabeth. John was one of the first to reach the scene of the Hungate massacre in 1864, and witnessed its horrors. When news of it spread, it inflamed the hearts and minds of the people throughout the area. A little later John, as a member of the First Colorado Volunteers under the command of Col. Chivington, participated in the infamous Sand Creek Massacre. In 1870, John’s brother Jonathan was killed by Indians as he and a friend, John Riley, were riding between the ranch and Kiowa. Jonathan was riding a mule he had just purchased and the friend was riding a horse. When attacked by a roving band of Indians they made a run for it, but the mule was no match for the Indian ponies. Jonathan was killed and scalped. He is buried in the Parker Cemetery.
John married Elizabeth Jane Pennock (1841-1941) in 1865, then in 1866 they settled on a 160-acre ranch east of Parker. It was located just southeast of the present-day Ave Maria Catholic Church. At the same time they purchased a herd of cattle to stock the place. It is generally believed that John built the cabin and the large barn on the property. The barn’s superstructure was of mortise and tenon construction with no nails used. They had two children, Mary Ellen and Charles Strafford. They ranched there until 1878, when John sold out his interest in the property to William G. Newlin (1825-1898). John Tallman had been elected to the position of County Clerk for Douglas County, and that necessitated a move to Castle Rock.
In the late 1880s, John went into business with Ed Krakaw in a grocery store at Franktown. It was during this time frame that he went into a partnership with F. H. Allison and developed five excellent alfalfa hay fields along Cherry Creek, irrigating them with the underflow. A report in the Record Journal of March 8th 1882 stated, “John Tallman has bought property along the line of the D&NO RR, we understand, and will either sell his stock of goods at Franktown, or move it to his new location. Mr. Gardner and Mr. Montgomery are talking of buying his Franktown stock.”
During the late 1890s, the Tallmans were running the Elizabeth Hotel in Elizabeth, Colorado. They had taken over a rundown operation and according to an article from the Denver Hotel Bulletin, were conducting their operation in an exemplary manner.
About 1888 John was appointed by the County Commissioners to participate in a group of respected citizens to pave the way for a new County Court House. Through their efforts, a plan and a contractor were chosen in 1889.
William G. Newlin (1825-1898) his wife Elizabeth (1816-1896), and their two children William Jr. and Mary E. arrived in the Parker area in the 1860s. At first they settled in what is now known as the Newlin Gulch area west of Parker, and through use, gave their name to that mostly dry creek bed. In 1878 they purchased John Tallman’s ranch east of Parker. William brought in a good herd of shorthorn cattle, trailing them all the way from Minnesota - thirty cows and a bull. He developed a large dairy herd and cultivated 125 acres of small grains and hay.
Over the years the Newlins expanded the old two-room cabin several times, adding sections to the south and to the east. The log portion of the cabin was encased in a frame structure by William Newlin’s grandson, Harry A. Local legend has it that Harry’s new bride refused to live in the cabin until Harry improved it.
After the last Newlin died in the 1960s, the property was leased to various renters. It was sold to developers in the late 1970s. In 1996 the Parker Area Historical Society undertook the task of moving and restoring the structure, with Karen Kievit the project director. She had the help of the developer Black Creek Capital, Parker / Johnson Inc, Rocky Mountain Structural Movers, the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, many other donors of in-kind services and money. The cabin was moved on May 14, 1997 to a foundation furnished by Parker/Johnson, located about a ¼ mile north of the original location, near the Newlin Cemetery.
The cabin is now on the Colorado State Register of Historic Places, and has been designated as a landmark by the Town of Parker. It was deeded to the Parker Area Historical Society in 1996 by Black Creek Capital. Significant restoration work was carried out in 2013 with the aid of a grant from the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Information for this brief was obtained from Our Heritage by the Douglas County Historical Society, Douglas County by Josephine Lowell Marr, Parker, Colorado by the Parker Area Historical Society, A guide to Historical Sites in the Parker Area by Frank McLaughlin, an article by James R. Harvey, who had a personal interview with Mrs. Tallman in 1936, and numerous articles from Record Journal.