Footprints in the Sugar
A History of the Great Western Sugar Company
written by Candy Hamilton


                                  Journey of the Book


                        photos below of Candy and John Hamilton as they traveled throughout Colorado with "Footprints in the Sugar"


One never knows which direction life may take them and I can certainly be included in that vast number of people. As a young girl growing up in Modesto, California, I dreamt of doing many things when I would finally be an adult out on my own. Believe me when I say writing a history book, or for that matter any type of book, was never one of my many dreams or goals.

The stories and history of the Great Western Sugar Company have come alive for John and I as we travel and meet people who were associated with the Great Western Sugar Company.  The experience has brought the book to life for us and is truly the unexpected reward of my writing "Footprints in the Sugar."
Candy Hamilton (photo of Hamiltons relaxing by Cache la Poudre River - June 2009)

As I mentioned earlier in this website, John and I felt people were walking with us as we made our nightly treks through the factory in Johnstown while we lived on the site. We always felt a "presence" and even felt it when we would go to other former GWS factory sites. It was so real we fully expected to see men waving to us as we gazed upwards into broken windows at the various mills.

I was tearfully told by a woman after my presentation at the Loveland Museum in 2009 that I had been chosen me to write the story of the men I imagined walking with John and I, as why else would someone who had no connection to Great Western, the beet sugar industry or any of the ethnic groups mentioned in Footprints in the Sugar feel so obsessed to write a book about the Company and its people?

In all, John and I personally delivered nearly 350 books from June to October 2009. We also were honored to have had the opportunity to visit with hundreds of people, all of whom had fond memories of the Great Western Sugar Company they wanted to share with us.  I am so humbled by the fact that Footprints in the Sugar is now in thirty-seven states and Washington, D.C., and is being reviewed by the Agricultural History Society for inclusion in its "Agricultural History" journal.

October 23, 2009...  I received an email from the Colorado Historical Society stating its  Pauline Miles/Caroline Bancroft Awards Committee had selected Footprints in the Sugar for an Honorable Mention for "Researching and Compiling an Extensive Repository of Primary Sources on the History of the Great Western Sugar Company." The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance won the Caroline Bancroft award for its renovation and reinterpretation of the Edwin Carter Museum; Historic Denver, Inc. won the Pauline Miles award for its 'Denver Story Trek' interactive tour program. There were two Honorable Mention awards, the second was given to the Historical Society of Idaho Springs for community engagement and participation in its 150th Gold Rush Anniversary events. I was very honored to be recognized. 
December 2009-June 2010... Christmas was wonderful even though I actually had to shop for presents instead of giving everyone we know a book! There were quite a few book orders during December and several more during the first six months of 2010, as a result, I sold out the entire publication of Footprints in the Sugar. 

Summer 2010... This summer John and I returned to Colorado and Nebraska to donate my research material to three museums. The bulk of the research is now at the Longmont Museum in its archive (picture "On the Bookshelves" page of this website). The museum's archivist, Erik Mason, has assured me the material will be readily accessible by the public. Several items I had collected from the Morey Merchantile and GWS found a new home at the Loveland Museum & Art Gallery. The final box of material was delivered to Jack Preston and Nancy Haney, curators at the Farm And Ranch Museum in Gering, Nebraska. A portion of research material about the Germans from Russia, Mexican-Americans, and Prisoners of War was given to our son, Erik Brink, for use in the American and World History classes he teaches at Oakdale High School in California.

August 2010... Although John and I were quite certain we would never do a second printing of Footprints in the Sugar, we continue to get requests for the book and feel in our hearts the journey of the book is not complete. Due ro continued interest in the history of the Great Western Sugar Company, in late August I signed a contract with Caxton Printers for a second printing of 500 books.

November 2010 to Early 2011... The second printing came out in November 2010 and by the beginning of 2011, nearly 100 books had been sold. 
I guess the journey of the book was indeed meant to continue.

September 2011...
Once again we loaded our truck and fifth-wheel with books and headed for Nebraska and Colorado for two sugarbeet festivals and two presentations about the book. The weekend of September 17-18 we attended the Farm And Ranch Museum's (FARM) Harvest Festival in Gering, Nebraska, and on September 24, the Rotary Club of Mead's Sugarbeet Festival in Mead, Colorado. We had participated in both events in 2009, and enjoyed seeing old friends, meeting new ones, and sharing stories about the Great Western Sugar Company. Then a case of the nerves hit, as the next two days I was scheduled to give slide presentations about Great Western and the book.

On Sunday the 25th, I gave an afternoon presentation at the Historic Parish House in Johnstown, Colorado, which was hosted by the Johnstown Historical Society. Then, on the 26th, an evening presentation at the Overland Trail Museum in Sterling, Colorado. (By the way, if you have never been to the Museum, it is well worth the drive out to eastern Colorado.) Both presentations seemed to have been well received and, of course, for John and I the best part was the opportunity to visit with people about Great Western Sugar.

We concluded our trip with a visit and lunch with Dick Riddell from Brighton. Dick is a former Sugar Tramp and spent his entire career with GWS in the agriculture department. We met Dick in 2009 and have stayed in touch ever since. On this visit I was honored to be the recipient of his vast collection of Great Western's publication "Through the Leaves" which was distributed primarily to sugar beet growers. The collection is truly a treasure and I thank Dick so much.

February 2012... I was invited to be the guest speaker at the Big Horn Basin Sugarbeet Growers Association annual growers meeting/dinner in Powell, Wyoming, which was a very well attended event. It was a pleasure to visit with growers and people who still believe in the beet sugar industry and continue to be the heartbeat of our country agriculturally. Those living in and around Powell define what is truly great about America.

November 2012...
It has been a busy year personally, so sadly the website has been neglected. However, in September we attended a book signing at the Loveland Museum & Art Gallery. Authors of books about Loveland history were invited for the public event. As always, the Museum staff did a beautiful job of hosting the evening event. Congratulations to the Museum as it celebrates its 75th Anniversary.

July 7-14, 2013...  I have been invited to be a presenter at the AHSGR 2013 International Convention at the Hilton Fort Collins in Fort Collins. Colorado. I will be making two presentations on July 13. I am so humbled and honored to be a part of this wonderful annual event. The American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (AHSGR) is an amazing organization and has numerous chapters. I am also thrilled to be able to personally meet and visit with Dr. Timothy Kloberdanz and Dr. Kenneth Rock, two gentleman whose writings I referred to frequently in Footprints in the Sugar. When researching and writing the book, I often thought "if only I could write and be as knowledgeable as Dr. Kloberdanz and Dr. Rock."  Please take time to visit the AHSGR website,

The conference was an amazing experience for John and I. We learned so much about German-Russian heritage from people whose ancestors created the history. There were heartwarming stories about new beginnings, as well as heartbreaking stories of courage and perseverance. We were welcomed "into the fold" and I was viewed as a"storyteller" which was a huge compliment. Both my presentations were well attended and what I had to say, well received. As the audience learned of the connection between the Great Western Sugar Company and the Germans from Russia, I learned more about the strength and resolve of the people who made difficult decisions to preserve their heritage.

Sorry for the absence, October 10, 2015... John and I are alive and well, although I have been negligent in tending to this website. We found out I had breast cancer in July 2014. What an unexpected discovery that was! However, doctors placed me on a fast track and within three weeks of discovering the rather large lump in my right breast, I had a mastectomy and lymph node dissection. I have now completed chemo and radiation and am being carefully monitored. So far, no reoccurrence anywhere in my body. I am undergoing weekly infusions of a monoclonal antibody called Herceptin for a year, and last week had infusion #13. I guess the biggest change is now I have very curly, dark gray hair where once I had dishwater blonde wavy hair. But, I have hair again, so no complaints. I feel good and very thankful to be where I am in this newest of journeys. John continues to be at my side with love and support. We are now back home in California after being gone for 17 years. 

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