James Frederick Johnson
Rawhide Valley Man Burns to Death in Dugout Home
Burned to death in a one-room dugout, J. Fred Johnson's charred remains were discovered by Gint Nolan, the nearest neighbor, last Sunday afternoon, December 24.
Johnson lived alone in his homestead shack in the Rawhide valley, of the Lingle community, where he had resided for the past 35 years.
He was about 75 years of age and well educated, but evidently chose to live the life of a recluse.
Gint Nolan noticed the smoke and went to investigate and found the shack almost completely burned up, but was able to remove the remains from the burned structure.
He had apparently built a big fire in the stove and gone to sleep on his bed nearby. The stove probably became overheated and apparently ignited the upper part of the room. A coroner's jury decided he was probably suffocated by the smoke, as otherwise he could have escaped from the burning room.
Funeral services were held in Torrington and the remains were taken to Fort Collins for interment, as a brother was buried there.