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From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about champion boxer Jack Dempsey dated September 9, 1927:
Manassa, Colorado, Dempsey’s Old Home
In view of the fact that Dempsey is said to have lived in this county and because of the interest in the approaching fight, the following story concerning the early life of Dempsey is printed here:
While the little town of Manassa, in the San Luis valley of South Central Colorado, is not even a pin point on the larger state maps, its 750 inhabitants, more or less, view their community at this time as about the most important place in the United States.
There it was that William Harrison “Jack” Dempsey was born and spent his early boyhood days. Incidentally that is the origin of the scrapper’s pseudonym “The Manassa Mauler.”
Despite the pride the native Manassans display in pointing out an old-fashioned frame and adobe house near the edge of the town as Dempsey’s birthplace, they are not of one accord in their estimates of his general ability. Some are “pulling” hard for Dempsey to win back his lost laurels, while others are hoping Tunney whips him.
According to the official record of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a branch of the Mormon religion which Dempsey’s parents, Hiram D. and Mary P. Dempsey, have long been affiliated as active workers. William Harrison was born June 24, 1895, the ninth child. A brother and sister were born at later dates. In all, the former champion has had five brothers and sisters born in the following order: Don Bernard, Effie, Lavlet Florence, Estella, Mary Alice, Joseph H., Robert, John, Elsie and Bruce, the former champion arriving between John and Elsie. All were baptized in the Mormon faith, according to the church archives in the keeping of G. Wayne Rogers, of Manassa, secretary of the local organization.
Dempsey’s birthplace being 7,600 feet above sea level, he enjoyed the benefits of rarified air during his “growing days” as a boy. The San Luis valley, of which Manassa is a rich agricultural and live stock center, has an area equal to that of Massachusetts and is surrounded by Rocky mountain ranges, so the future world champion had an ample playground to develop his muscle. According to the old inhabitants, he put in all of his spare time from school “climbing around the mountains like a goat,” which may account for his sturdy legs of today.