List of names recalls early days in Pagosa Country

Last week we ran the names of a number of businesses new to Pagosa Springs in 1895.

Our purpose was to emphasize the beginning of a growth boom fueled by the logging/lumber making industry.

Among the names we mentioned, but didn’t talk about, were W.G. Sanderson, R.A. Howe, A.J. Weis, and Frank Spickard. Each of these names represented a business which advertised in The Pagosa Springs News.

Sanderson was listed as the owner of the Pagosa Springs Mail, Express and Stage Line. Pagosa Springs had a number of stage connections until the railroad reached town in December of 1900. The railroad ended any need for a stage line.

In 1895, Sanderson’s stage carried mail, people and freight from Lumberton to Pagosa Springs. The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad passed through Lumberton on its way to Durango and so provided the easiest access to Pagosa Springs. Passengers, mail and freight rode the train to Lumberton, then climbed aboard Sanderson’s stage for the bumpy ride through Edith, across Coyote Park, through Halfway Canyon, and finally into Pagosa Springs by way of Mill Creek Road. There was still a Sanderson living on Hermosa Street when I moved to Pagosa about 35 years ago. I don’t know if he was related to the Sanderson who ran the stage line.

An Oct. 2, 1953, obituary in The Pagosa Springs SUN listed a Roy B. Sanderson, born Sept. 10, 1871, in Kingston, Calif. It said he moved to Arizona with his parents in 1878 where he witnessed the gun fight at the OK Corral. He moved to Pagosa Springs in 1896 where he married Bessie Chambers. That same year, he was elected sheriff of Archuleta County. He was survived by his wife; sons Ray C., William R., Roy B., Raleigh J., Joe P.; sisters Mrs. Mattie Chambers; Mrs. Rhoda Patterson; brothers George Sanderson; Ed Sanderson; and Grover Sanderson.

Someone could obtain some good stories by running down some of those family members.

We had another early citizen by the name of Frank Buckles (Buckles Lake) who claimed to have been in Dodge City during the Earp days. Pagosa pioneer Welch Nossaman’s family back in Pella, Iowa, were neighbors of the Earp family.

R. A. Howe was Archuleta County Surveyor for many years. Howe was born at Providence, R.I., Jan. 1, 1861, and died in July of 1933. He came to Colorado in 1881, first settling on the Piedra River, where he was one of the first homesteaders. He moved to Pagosa Springs in the early 1890s, where he married Ruby Sturgill, Descendants of the Howe family should be locatable.

A. J. Lewis was probably Pagosa Springs’ first barber. Abner J. Lewis was born in Rockville, Ind., in 1847. As a boy he learned to be a drummer, baker and barber. He came to Colorado in 1873, settled in Del Norte in 1874, and moved to Pagosa Springs in 1878, the year Fort Lewis was built in town. In 1887, he erected the building which became Pagosa Springs’ first town hall. He served the community as mayor and in other leadership positions before leaving in 1904.