VIPs at Coal Camp Days, 2004
Colonel William Horace May homesteaded Rockvale land in 1863. May was born in Vermont in 1832 and died of typhoid fever on July 29, 1888. He was only 56 years old. He settled on low farmland in 1860. After suffering losses twice by floods, he moved to higher ground on the site that became Rockvale. He received his first patents from the United States land office of February 26, 1864. The first land grant consisted of one hundred and sixty acres and forms the east part of Rockvale. The second patent was granted to Colonel May on July 15, 1868. The grant consisted of one hundred and sixty acres and forms the western part of Rockvale.
Colonel May was one of the incorporators of the Canon City Coal Company which was incorporated in October of the year 1878. On July 10, l882, he gave a quick claim to 47 acres of the land to the Canon City Coal Company. This land was plotted in lots and blocks to make the town site of Rockvale.
Colonel May built a cabin and used his holdings as grazing land, not realizing at that time that millions of tons of coal lay under his land. They found small outcroppings of coal. Mining in a small way continued until 1880 when the Canon City Coal Company leased the mining property. In 1896, the Colorado Fuel & Iron Corporation acquired it.
The log cabin (still standing) built by Colonel May was composed of cottonwood logs which were cut and shaped by hand. The walls had portholes built in them. These were necessary as a protection against the Indians who wandered in and out of the settlement. However, the Indians were essentially peace-loving only looking for food. The cabin has recently been moved to the park across from the YMCA. Was on railroad land.