The Madras College Archive


Former Pupil Biographies

Charles Stobie (1845-1931)

Charles S. Stobie Born in Baltimore in 1845, Stobie attended the Maryland Institute in Baltimore and studied drawing and painting for two years at Madras College in St. Andrew, Scotland. His family moved to Chicago in 1862-63, and two years later Stobie journeyed west to St. Lo uis and secured passage up the Missouri to Nebraska City, where he hired out as a bullwhacker. Stobie quickly became bored with the slow pace of the oxtrain and found employment with a; horse-mule train at a stage station along the route to Fort Kearney. The train skirmished with Indians three times east of Fort Sedgwick and Stobie was credited with killing seven Indians. The fete was noted in the Rocky Mountain News before his arrival in Denver, and "from that time forward,".Stobie later said, "I never wanted for employment, friends or money in Colorado."

Stobie ably combined scouting and painting, and in the winter of 1865 became intimately acquainted with and sought advice from the well-known mountaineer James P. Beckwourth, as well as Kit Carson, Mariano Medino, and James Baker.

During the spring of 1866 Stobie crossed Berthoud Pass and lived with Nevava's band of Utes in Middle Park While living with the Utes Stobie was a member of a war party that took seven scalps in a skirmish with a band of Cheyenne and Arapaho near Grand Lake. Stobie was adopted into the tribe and known as Paghaghet or Long Hair. It was at this time that Stobie, rugged yet sensitive, began to paint and sketch in earnest, particularly the Middle Park region. In the fall he was back in Denver as a scenic artist and actor, and displayed some large landscape paintings with Middle park subject matter in the offices of the Rocky Mountain News.

In 1868 Stobie was again in Indian country as a scout for Major Jacob Downing's expedition against the Cheyenne and Arapaho, and established a studio over the Tambien Saloon at 355 Larimer Street, where he specialized in portraits and l andscapes. In 1869 Stobie returned to scouting once again and assisted in the marking the location of the White River Ute agency in northwest Colorado. Stobie was an active buffalo hunter in addition to guiding and interpreting throughout the upper Colorado river region, and when he wasn't afield, he was painting and promoting his work, and associating with other frontier figures like himself. In the fall of 1875, for some unknown reason, he returned to Chicago.

From 1875 until his death in 1931 Stobie painted mainly at his Chicago studio, moving back to Denver intermittently, once in 1900, where he wielded his brush at 1605 Larimer until 1902, as well as irregularly visiting the southwestern part of the state. Among Colorado contemporaries Stobie was an artist of recognized ability. A writer for the Denver Post observed at the turn of the century the Stobie was a "rare painter of western life and scenery with all the charm and romantic passion that only those who love it, know how to throw into pictures of the West." Among the Ute tribe he was always a great favourite, and in general his attention to detail in the case of Indian dress and village life remains a valuable record Coloradoans are particularly indebted to Stobie for his vivid and colourful paintings of the state and its inhabitants.