Based on local records, letters, contemporary sources, this is the biography of a little known figure, William palmer, who shaped the early history of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Mexico. A Quaker rearing, engineering training, then into railroads. The Civil War broke out and although a liberal and pacifist by nature, he fought in it and distinguished himself as a cavalry leader. After the War, back to the railroads, and, turning West, laid new lines to Colorado and the Southwest, eventually starting his own line. His other great achievement was the founding of a colony in what is now Colorado Springs, building up a community with good schools, churches and university. Not of general appeal but definite local interest, though pedestrianly paced.