During my research for Notorious Jefferson County, the name of Leonard DeLue kept popping up in all kinds of interesting circumstances. DeLue was a private detective in Denver at the turn of the last century and was often called upon by local authorities to help in their cases. He appeared in the “Murder of the Judge’s Son” case, a story of a partnership of con men gone bad. He also helped with the “Mystery of the Crescent Postmaster” case.
Born in New York City in 1862, DeLue arrived in the middle of a family of eight children. The 1870 census shows the DeLue family in Chicago, with father Abram DeLue working as a peddler. Young Leonard shows up in a Denver city directory in 1881, working as a clerk for the W.D. Sims & Co. at 450 Blake Street. He would have been 19 years old at the time. On April 5, 1881, he married Media E. Redman.
The 1887 Denver directory lists him as follows: “DeLue, Leonard, detective, bds [boards], Revere House.” In another section of the directory lists him as chief of the Mercantile Detective Agency, 31 and 33 King Block. On March 12, 1890, he married Ada E. Fulton. It’s not clear what happened to his previous wife, Media. His marriage to Ada did not last long either; Colorado marriage records show Leonard DeLue marrying for the third time on August 1, 1894, to Mary F. Long.
In 1898, Delue is a deputy sheriff with an office at the courthouse, living at “b Hotel Broadway.” (Not sure what that means either). By 1899, Deputy Sheriff DeLue has moved to the Sheriff’s Office at 1538 California. In 1900 he lived as a lodger in Rose Maddox’s boarding house. His third marriage also ended through death or divorce, and on October 7 1901, he married Julia L. Halstead. His life finally stabilized with Julia, and they had two children: Leonard, born 1908, and Virginia, born in 1912. By the 1920s, he ran his own Leonard DeLue Detective Agency at the “Gas and Electric Building” in Denver.
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Her first week on the job, and Marshal Beth Mayo is hit with a sex assault case. It’s a nasty shock for the bucolic mountain town of Sugarloaf and for Mayo, who is still recovering from her husband’s death. Her initial skepticism grows into disbelief over the victim’s zany story, and she dismisses the case as a false report. Unfortunately, the same woman is soon discovered in the ruins of a ghost town, most definitely murdered.
Mayo unravels the complex case through a parade of colorful suspects and misfit family members, all the while following a common thread from 150 years earlier — Colorado history’s most notorious event, the Sand Creek Massacre.