Arthur Lloyd Monk: the mysterious grave on Cochetopa Pass

Brief by Central Staff

Local history – July 1997 – Colorado Central Magazine

Between mileposts 44 and 45 on Colo. 114 west of Saguache, a lone fenced grave sits a few yards south of the road. The marble tombstone carries this inscription:

DIED APRIL 19, 1883
AGED 51 Yrs 7 Ms 18 Dys

And the burden laid upon him was more than he could bear.

It inspires questions, and Abbott Fay, a former Western State history professor writing in the Valley Chronicle of Paonia, has assembled some answers.

A Western student learned from the British military archives that “HM 22 FOOT” refers to His Majesty’s 22nd Foot Soldier Regiment. Alas, there were no records of Monk’s service, though.

Simon Halburian of Saguache recalled a conversation with Glenn Coleman, a local history buff who died in the mid 1980s. Coleman said Monk was a “black sheep” from an upper-crust English family who sent him West as a remittance man.

Barbara Sibley of Saguache found a reminiscence which mentioned Monk as a tall man, and there is lore which suggests that Monk’s wife ran off with another man, which might account for “the burden laid upon him” that “was more than he could bear.”

But that’s about it — so if anybody knows any more about Arthur Lloyd Monk and why he’s buried alongside a lonely road, pass it on to us, and we’ll pass it along in turn.