‘Ida’ author featured speaker at Eagle Historical Society meeting | VailDaily.com

‘Ida’ author featured speaker at Eagle Historical Society meeting

Special to the DailyIda Herwick poses with her family in this undated photo. Carol Crawford McManus spent 25 years researching her grandmother Ida.

EAGLE, Colorado ” Carol Crawford McManus spent nearly 25 years researching the story of Ida Herwick, the grandmother she never knew.

The end result was the 1999 publication of a biography titled “Ida: her Labor of Love.” It’s the biography of a true pioneer woman, who followed her husband, Josiah, to the Eagle Valley from Kansas in 1881.

McManus will be the featured speaker Friday, Oct. 24 at the Eagle County Historical Society’s annual meeting.

In the years since “Ida” was published, McManus continued to research the history of the Herwick family. She’s ready to share what she calls “the rest of the story,” which includes true stories of the struggles of pioneers, a murder, and a divorce (rare in those days).

“All families have secrets. Mine wasn’t any exception,” McManus says.

Ida and her family lived at many places throughout the valley, continually uprooting the clan and moving them whenever her husband, Josiah, changed jobs.

“Grandpa was what was called a ‘boomer.’ For him, the grass was always greener someplace else,” explains McManus. Josiah Herwick moved about the valley, trying different jobs ranging from ranching to cement contracting (he built the first bridge at Wolcott) to operating a sawmill.

The family initially settled in the Avon-Edwards area, moved to Wolcott, and moved to Eagle. Ida gave birth to McManus’ father, Oren, in a tent at State Bridge in the middle of winter. Ida stood by her husband when they ranched in the northern reaches of the county, attempting to raise sheep in an established cattle-growing community that was openly hostile to such an intrusion.

For the 20 years that they lived in the Eagle Valley, Ida, Josiah, and their growing family (there were 13 kids total) followed Josiah to wherever his work took him, always taking on the next challenges. Ida and her family lived in situations that varied from a sod hut at Wolcott, a log cabin at Burns, and later in her life, a beautiful, two-story wooden house on Howard Street in Eagle.

She buried three of her children in the Edwards cemetery.

“This is just an incredible story of her resilience; and of how people lived their lives in those days,” McManus says.

McManus refers to herself as a “researcher who writes, rather than a writer who researches.”

As a child, she often traveled with her family to parts of Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties while her father talked about the Herwick family’s role in the history of each area.

Her work as an author followed a more than 30-year career as a pioneer in the development of alcohol and drug abuse treatment and prevention.

In addition to “Ida,” published another book, “Bess: A Woman’s Life in the early 1900s.” She is currently working on a sequel to that book.

What: Carol Crawford McManus , author of “Ida” to visit.

When: Friday, short business meeting starts at 6:30 p.m., featured speaker Carol McManus at 7 p.m.

Where: Eagle Town Hall, Town Board Chambers.

Cost: Free.

Details: Everybody welcome. Refreshments will be served.

More information: Call 970-328-7104.

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