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Colorado Water History

A guide to finding and using historical information about water in Colorado and beyond

Virtual Exhibit

Dot Carpenter header

Dot Carpenter: The Woman Behind the Man

It Michaela Dot Hogartyis said that behind every great man is a great woman. Delph Carpenter, “Father of Interstate River Compacts,” found greatness through working tirelessly—even when increasingly ill—ably aided by his wife, Dot.

Born Ann Michaela Hogarty in 1878 to Union Colony pioneers, the woman later known as “Dot” married Carpenter in 1901. She spent much of the next fifty years assisting her husband, giving him love, support and basic care as his disabilities intensified. Dot’s contributions in this and in his professional work were vital to Delph’s accomplishments.

Dot’s experiences as daughter and sister prepared her to be Delph’s wife and the mother of his children. At a time when women working outside the home was less common, Dot embraced caring for her family and participating in her community.

In this virtual exhibit, Dot Carpenter’s life is examined in association with just a few of the people who influenced her. Among other achievements, Dot's legacy is reflected in the western water law contributions made by her husband and son, who were so affected by her faithful, supportive, cheerful nature.

Scroll through the gallery to learn more about Dot, and find additional resources at the bottom of the page.

Note: this virtual exhibit was created in 2006 and updated in 2022.


Hogarty family

Member of Pioneer Family

Dot was the youngest of the five children of Michael and Sarah Hogarty. Her father (1835-1925), born in Ireland, came to the United States as a child. He enlisted with the 141st New York Volunteer Infantry as a private in 1863, only to be wounded in the eye one year later. Upon discharge from the army, Hogarty returned to New York where he married Sarah Carr (1845-1918) in 1864.

Image: Hogarty family (left to right from top): Mary, Harriet and William; Sarah and Michael, Barry and Dot, c. 1882

Michaela Hogarty and her parents

Member of Pioneer Family

The Hogarty family gradually migrated west and settled in the Union Colony of Colorado in 1871, just one year after the colony was established. Their last child was born there in 1878. Michael and Sarah remained in Greeley until 1914 when they moved to National City, California. Though others of her siblings moved away, Dot lived in Greeley her entire life.

Image: Michaela Hogarty and her parents on the front porch, c. 1898.

Michael Hogarty

Daughter of Civil War Veteran

Dot's father, Michael Hogarty, did not give up on a military career, even though the bullet that ended his initial service remained lodged in his head. He reenlisted in 1865, and, after the war, continued with the army in Indian Territory until 1870. Hogarty was later promoted to the rank of captain. Captain Hogarty became involved in social organizations in the Union Colony and was very active in the Grand Army of the Republic.

Image: Michael Hogarty, prior to enlistment (c. 1863) and after he was wounded (c. 1882)

Bullet stories

Daughter of Civil War Veteran

The bullet which ended Michael Hogarty's first enlistment stayed with him until 1891, when it was removed by a Greeley doctor. During the 27 years the bullet remained embedded, Hogarty suffered from vertigo and extreme headaches. Years later a second large fragment was expelled from Hogarty’s nose after he sneezed.

Image: Michael J. Hogarty's bullet and piece of lead. On front is a photo and description of the bullet that was removed from his head in 1891. On back is a photo and description of a bullet fragment that came out in 1914.

Eaton family

Sister of Prominent Socialite

Throughout her life, Dot stayed close to her family, including her four siblings. Dot’s older sister, Mary “Mame” Hogarty (1870-1910), graduated from the Colorado State Normal School and then married Bruce Eaton (1868-1947) in 1891. Bruce was a prominent farmer and rancher who lived just north of Greeley.

Very popular in the small community, Mame learned to balance family and church with the responsibilities associated with marrying into a wealthy and public family. During a family vacation, Mame died unexpectedly at age forty, leaving her husband Bruce with five young children.

Image: Eaton family (left to right): Dorothy, Bruce, Rea, Rex, Mame and Marie, 1903

Benjamin Eaton

Sister of Prominent Socialite

Bruce was the son of Benjamin Eaton (1833-1904), one of the many young men who came to Colorado during the 1859 gold rush. Ben Eaton had a successful political career, including local positions as Justice of the Peace and Weld County Commissioner. He is best known as governor of Colorado (1885-1887). Like Delph Carpenter, he took an interest in water issues in the state and was a pioneer of Colorado’s reservoirs. Eaton’s portrait is one of sixteen that adorns the state capitol dome in Denver. A town in northern Colorado also bears his name.

Image: Ex. Gov. Eaton with load of 120 sacks of potatoes, c. 1890s

Dot Hogarty

Classmate of Future Husband

Dot Hogarty and Delph Carpenter (1877-1951) were classmates, both graduating from Greeley High School in 1896. Dot then went to the Colorado State Normal School (now the University of Northern Colorado), majored in music, and earned a teaching degree in 1898.

Though her duties as wife and mother consumed much of her time, Dot stayed an active member of the Trinity Episcopal Church, the Daughters of the American Revolution and other social organizations.

Image: Dot Hogarty in cap and gown, 1898

Delph and Dot

Classmate of Future Husband

Delph Carpenter attended the University of Denver and graduated with a law degree in 1899. Returning to Greeley after law school and a brief job in Denver, Delph married Dot two years later. Delph quickly became a leading member of his community, elected the first native-born Colorado state senator in 1908.

Image: Delph E. and Dot Carpenter, c. 1908

1951 letter from L. Ward Bannister

Wife of Water Lawyer

Having been the lead counsel for the lengthy Supreme Court case of Wyoming vs. Colorado (1911-1922), Delph Carpenter eventually sought out-of-court resolutions of the West’s water problems. He became the leading proponent of the interstate compact idea as Colorado’s interstate streams commissioner and was instrumental in negotiating the Colorado River Compact (1922), among others. Delph traveled extensively for this work, frequently accompanied and aided by Dot.

Image: Condolence letter from L. Ward Bannister calling Dot "a veritable hero," March 2, 1951

Dot Carpenter

Wife of Water Lawyer

From the early 1920s, Delph suffered from symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. After 1933, Delph was bedridden at his home in Greeley, cared for almost entirely by his wife. Dot also kept him engaged and informed by reading to him and taking dictation for his correspondence and diary entries. Delph Carpenter died on February 27, 1951.

Dot Carpenter passed away in 1980 at age 101. Spending more than a decade in a nursing home, Dot filled her time with books, solitaire, and family. To the end, she enjoyed life with good cheer.

Image: Clipping from Greeley Tribune, July 26, 1978

Donald Carpenter

Mother of District Judge

As a mother, Dot raised three daughters and a son who followed in his father's footsteps. That son was Donald A. Carpenter (1907-1993), who, like his father, was interested in law and politics. Earning a law degree from National University (now George Washington University) in Washington, D.C., he became a lawyer and worked for a time with a cousin in Texas.

Image: Donald Carpenter during attendance at the New Mexico Military Institute, c. 1923

Donald Carpenter

Mother of District Judge

Donald Carpenter later served as county judge in Weld County (1946-1952), district judge of the 8th Judicial District (1952-1964) and chief judge of the 19th Judicial District (1964-1978). He also was a veteran of World War II, serving in Europe. Donald married Evelyn Ward in 1941; she passed away in 1963. He married Doris Piedalue Baney in 1965 and both were honored as grand marshals of the Greeley Independence Stampede Parade in 1979.

Image: Donald Carpenter at bench, 1958


Final Resting Place

Dot, Delph, Donald and other family members are laid to rest in Greeley's Linn Grove Cemetery.

Image from 2005.

More Information

This exhibit features items from the Papers of Delph E. Carpenter and Family, a collection in the Water Resources Archive. Each gallery item includes a link to the uncropped version. For more information, see the collection finding aid or browse and search digitized objects from the collection. Also see the virtual exhibit Carpenter and the Compacts.

For more information about the Carpenter family, see Daniel Tyler’s biography of Delph Carpenter, Silver Fox of the Rockies: Delphus E. Carpenter and Western Water Compacts.

See the original virtual exhibit in the Wayback Machine. Contact us for assistance in finding additional items related to Dot Carpenter and her family members.

Also view family trees:

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