The first person to make entry for land in the area that is now within the boundaries of the City of Federal Heights was John J. Hagus.  Hagus was born in Germany in 1838.  He came to America in 1849 with his parents and three brothers.  The family first lived in Illinois and then came to Denver in 1858.  John married his wife Helena in 1870.

Hagus settled on his land on November 11, 1873.  He filed for preemption for the two 80-acre plots on June 13, 1874.  Today, those plots in Federal Heights would be bordered by Zuni Street on the west, Huron Street on the East, 84th Avenue on the South and 86th Avenue on the North.

Though the Homestead Act of 1862 would have required Hagus to wait five years to complete his entry (application), Section 8 of the Act allowed him to “commute” his entry and file his application much sooner by paying the minimum price per acre within 12 months of settlement.  He paid $400 for the 160 acres, $2.50/acre for property that was located within railroad limits.  The law required a statement from a credible witness as proof that Hagus had met the residency and cultivation requirements.  His witness, Horace B. Whiting, said about Hagus:

“on the 12th day of November, 1873 he has built on said land a frame house, 14x14 feet in size – one door and one window with roof and floor and has lived in the said house, and made it his exclusive home, from the 12th day of November, 1873, till the present time; that he did not remove from his own land, within the Terr. of Colorado, to make the settlement above referred to; and that he has, since said settlement, plowed, fenced, and cultivated about ----- acres of said land; enclosed about 15 acres with wire fence - has a well 26 feet deep.  This is high land suitable only for stock grazing and cannot be successfully cultivated.”

Hagus received his land patent on March 20,1875.

In 1879, John Hagus and his family moved to Leadville in the height of the silver boom.  At that time, Leadville had a population of around 20,000 and was the second largest city in Colorado.  Hagus became part owner of the first furniture store in the town, Pryor, Hagus & Cooper.  In 1884 John sold out and left Leadville for health reasons.  He became part owner of the Cooper-Hagus Furniture Company which operated a store in Pueblo and a store in Denver on Arapahoe Street at 16th Avenue, advertising the cheapest furniture store in the state.  The Denver store was the site of at least two large fires, one in 1887 and one in 1895.  Hagus retired in 1896.  

Besides being a prominent businessman, Hagus was a stockholder of the American National Bank located at 15th and Larimer Streets in Denver.  

John and his wife Helena were married 40 years and had seven children, four daughters and three sons, two dying in infancy.  Two of his sons were Catholic priests.  The family lived at 1959 Washington Street in south Denver for many years.

On September 5, 1910, John Hagus was struck with ptomaine poisoning. He died four days later.  In his will, his assets totalling over $9,700 did not include the Federal Heights land.

Hagus, his parents, his wife and five children, are all buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.