The Flume recently sat down with Father Dyer, the snowshoe itinerant preacher, who will be giving tours this summer at the South Park City Museum. Since he died in 1901, special methods were employed in speaking with Father Dyer. Methodology is included at the end of this article. Meanwhile, here is the interview.
Who are you?
“I am Father Dyer, often known at the snowshoe itinerant preacher. This is a nickname from my autobiography. I was a circuit rider preacher that covered the entire area of southern Colorado and also did Methodist works in New Mexico.”
What is a circuit rider?
“A circuit rider is someone who is called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, appointed by the church, to cover small churches in a large area.”
What was your travel like?
“In addition to preaching, I also delivered mail from Buckskin Joe (near modern- day Alma) to Leadville, which meant I traveled over Mosquito Pass. I would start my journey at 2 a.m. and arrive at 10 a.m. so I could glide over the crusted snow. During the daytime, the snow would soften and I could not glide over the snow.”
What were your snowshoes like?
“They were actually like what you call skis today; they were made of pine and were long. We called them Norwegian snowshoes because that’s where they were designed. They were about nine to eleven feet long. There is an actual pair of my skis hanging up in the sanctuary of the Father Dyer church in Breckenridge.
What did you eat?
“During my journeys I would catch rabbit and other small game and roast that over a fire. When in town, people would house me and feed me.
What did you wear?
“I was originally from Minnesota and wore miner’s clothing.”
Tell us about your health.
“Although I had a youthful experience with whiskey, I later abstained from alcohol. Up until I passed away at the age of 89, I traveled three times a week and walked 500 miles every four months. I was very strong.”
What else would you like readers to know?
“You can meet me at the South Park City Museum where I will be giving tours. I have a relationship with almost every building. I can talk about the miners, stagecoaches, train, travel, houses, and whiskey, due to my youthful experience. Also, when Colorado became a state, I was one of the 16 people selected for the Hall of Fame. My portrait can still be seen in the stained glass at the capitol building in Denver, and I was the first Chaplain for the Colorado Senate.”
Since it can be difficult to interview someone from “the beyond,” not to mention the paranormal communication gear can be quite costly and not always reliable, The Flume invoked the power of Don Cummings, who has portrayed Father Dyer for many years. In fact, Cummings not only portrays Father Dyer, but he led retreats for other ministers inspired by the life of Father Dyer.
Some of you may know Cummings from his Father Dyer tours and also from Shawnee, where he was a resident for 19 years.
More about the life of Father Dyer can be found out through meeting him at the South Park City Museum; upcoming dates are July 14 and September 14. More can be learned about the life of Father Dyer in the book, “Look for Me in Heaven” for sale in the SPCM gift shop.