WHG&HS co-founder Jeannie Culpin was awarded the Wibur T. "Doc" Little Memorial Award during the Fremont-Custer Historical Society meeting on January 15, 2012 in Canon City, CO.
Jeannie was presented this award for her efforts in establishing the Wetmore-Hardscrabble Genealogical and Historical Society."I am just so grateful," Culpin told those in attendance during the award presentation. "It's a wonderful, wonderful award. I extend my gratitude to you and to "Doc Little," she said. "He was a joy to know." On her reasoning for establishing the WHG&HS and its housing at the Wetmore Post Office building, Jeannie said, "I think I just really needed a place to put all my junk so my kids could have it. So we have a repository."
The Doc Little Award was established in 1986 and is named for the late Wibur T. "Doc" Little, Canon City historian and newspaperman and one of the founders of the Fremont-Custer Historical Society. "The award is given to a person who has significantly contributed to the preservation, education and dedication of historic sites and the rich heritage of Custer and Fremont County," said Margaret Storm, current President of the WHG&HS.
Members of Jeannie's family, as well as members of the WHG&HS were in attendance to help celebrate this award with her. We are very, very proud of Jeannie!
Jeannie and members of her family
WHG&HS members Kathy West, Margaret Storm and Peggy Martin
Below is the article featuring Jeannie in the January 12, 2012 edition of the Wet Mountain Tribune
Wetmore’s Jeannie Culpin to be honored for her role in preserving area’s history
Jeannie Culpin of Wetmore, one of the founders of the Wetmore-Hardscrabble Genealogical and Historical Society, will be presented the W.T. “Doc” Little Memorial Award this Sunday by the Fremont-Custer Historical Society.
The presentation will take place this Sunday, Jan. 15, at 2 p.m. at the Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church at 801 Sheridan Ave. in Canon City.
Also during the meeting, a program entitled “Spirits of the Past” will be presented, and refreshments will be served.
Culpin is being recognized for her historical preservation efforts in the Wetmore area.
In 2004, she, along with Peggy Martin, Kathy West and other area residents, founded the WHGHS. Besides conducting educational meetings and offering tours to regional historic sites, the organization has replaced the historic Kit Carson rock sign in Greenwood and installed a replica of the Hardscrabble marker along Highway 67.
About that time, she also purchased the Wetmore Post Office building which continues to house the post office as well as the historical society organization and the various artifacts it has collected.
The post office was established in 1880 and continues to serve the Wetmore community today. The building also was the home of Dr. J.W. Walters who ran his medical practice from the building as well as a small store. Culpin restored the building and its grounds, and it was placed on the State Register of Historic Properties and the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
Culpin was born in Pueblo in 1930, and was raised in Wetmore, the daughter of George and Phyllis (Porter) Sweeten, both of whom were descendents of Wetmore pioneers and homesteaders.
Her father died of polio in 1933 and in 1936 her mother married Louis T. Camerlo who moved the family to Florence. Culpin attended Florence schools and the St. Scholastica Academy in Canon City.
In 1948 she was named Miss Royal Gorge Rodeo, and she and two other local beauty queens traveled to Hollywood with newspaper editor Doc Little to bring back the film “Canon City” for its premier showing in Canon City on July 2, 1948. The film was about the December 1947 prison break from the Colorado State Penitentiary. This was the first of many plane rides for Culpin who later became a flight attendant for Continental Airlines.
Culpin holds a BS degree in psychology from the University of Cincinnati, and a master’s degree in pastoral counseling from the Athenaeum at St. Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati.
In 1952 she married her late husband, Richard Culpin, who was an executive with the Jergens Company, and the couple had five children. They lived throughout the U.S., and following his retirement in 1990 moved to Santa Fe, N.M.
In 2000, the couple returned to the mountains of Colorado and built their home in the Adobe Creek Ranch area near Wetmore, not far from her great-grandfather’s original homestead.
The Doc Little Award, established in 1986 a year after his death, is named for the late W.T. “Doc” Little, Canon City historian and newspaperman and one of the founders of the Fremont-Custer Historical Society.
Other Custer County residents who have received the honor are Irene Francis in 1994, part-time residents John and Carol Fox in 1997, Richard Stermer in 2004 and Jim Little in 2006.