New Castle recognizes early settlers in celebration
Post Independent Correspondent
NEW CASTLE — One of New Castle’s original settler families was honored Saturday at the third annual Founder’s Day celebration.
New Castle ancestors William and Ellen Ganley were recognized as descendants of the Ganley and Davis families and many people came together from all over the western U.S. to enjoy a potluck lunch at the New Castle Community Center.
“When we celebrated our 125th anniversary four years ago,” said Councilor Bruce Leland, “we decided to institute Founders Day, proclaim February as New Castle Heritage Month, and ordain that this event be held.”
Past Founder’s Day celebrations focused on other early settler families such as the Jolley and Rippy families.
William and Ellen Ganley arrived in New Castle from Denver in 1888. According to family records, Ellen was the “first white woman to cross the western range of the Rockies on the newly completed railway.”
“I love being able to say what my grandmother means to me,” said Shara Leech, granddaughter of Ellen Ganley. “A lot of young people know the name Ganley, but they don’t know anything about the people behind it.”
William made his living as a bricklayer, and Ellen served as assistant to the town doctor delivering babies and was the leader of the town book club.
The Ganley and Davis families expressed gratitude to have their heritage recognized at the event.
“It’s nice to have our family honored and remembered,” Shannon Ganley said. “It’s just nice that they weren’t forgotten.”
“I saw this as an opportunity to learn more about our family’s history with New Castle,” said Paul Ganley, named after his grandfather and William Ganley’s son. “I didn’t know much about it.”
Along with the historical presentation of the Ganley family heritage, guests were invited to explore New Castle’s newly established “Museum on the Street.” Prominent New Castle residents were also honored with some newly named landmarks.
“As part of council’s effort to honor the history of New Castle,” Leland said, “we named the hill west of Mount Medaris ‘Ganley Hill’ for the Ganley family.”
In addition, the middle hill from Mount Medaris was named “Slynn Hill,” named after Doris Slynn, who ran the New Castle drugstore.
Organizers were pleased with the event’s outcome and hoped it provided education on the history of New Castle.
“This was a special event,” said Councilor Grady Hazelton. “It’s neat to learn about the community and this is a good way to do it and bring people together to share our history.”
“This was a great way to dive into the heritage of some of the founding families of this area,” said Mayor Art Riddile. “We have a tremendous sense of community in New Castle that comes from all the way back in the 1880s.”
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