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The web of Pagosa’s pioneer families

We’ve been dealing with the connectedness of many of the pioneer families who settled Pagosa Country.

Our evidence supporting the theory was supplied by Susan E. Nossaman in a letter addressed to me in response to an article I wrote in 2002.

I’m going to belabor that point a little more by quoting from a letter written to me in April of 2001 by Sara Masco.

I expect all of the old-timers still living in Pagosa Country know Sara. Incidentally, Sara is the source of my picture of Welch Nossaman, her grandfather. I don’t think Sara will mind if I quote from parts of her letter.

“I knew my grandfather as W.W. or Welch Nossaman. He was named after his grandfather William Welch, his mother’s father. She was Sarah Elizabeth Welch and married Wellington Nossaman.

“When Wellington and Sarah came to Pagosa from Pella in 1890 or ’91 Wellington was 73 years old and suffering from what was then called ‘Inflammatory Rheumatism.’ They remained in Pagosa and went to the Del Norte area for awhile, taking the mineral baths while in Pagosa. However, great-granddad did not care for Colorado. He didn’t like all the clay soil since he was used to the loamy, fertile soil of Iowa. He was a farmer amongst other occupations and the type of soil was important to him. They returned to Pella where Wellington died in Oct. 1893 and is buried there.

“S. Morehouse mentioned in the article was Sherman Morehouse who was married to Welch’s sister, Caroline Nossaman. They lived in Pagosa awhile but eventually moved to Oregon where they lived out there lives. I remember ‘Uncle Sherman’ visiting Pagosa with his daughter, Caribel, when I was a little girl. His wife Caroline had died by that time so I never knew her.

“Mrs. J.H. Hallett was no relation to Wellington and Sarah only through marriage. She was Theresa Phillips and a sister to my grandmother Addie Phillips Nossaman. Theresa married J.H. (Jud) Hallett but they were not from Pella (Motter’s note: I might be wrong but I believe the Halletts homesteaded on Mill Creek and Jud served as county sheriff).

“As for G.T. Clark, I’m a little confused. There are Clarks in the family but I have no G.T. listed in my records. John Frank Clark and Maude Todd were the parents of William E. and Harmon Todd Clark. Maude was Wellington and Sarah’s granddaughter. She was the daughter of Mary E. Nossaman and Jake Todd. Some of the Todds were around Pagosa years ago. (Motter’s note: I’ve heard the late David Goodman mention ‘Jersey’ Todd many times.) William E. Clark (Bill as I knew him) was Archuleta County Treasurer for several years. And, of course, Harmon Clark was county commissioner for a number of years. Bill and Harmon were brothers. My sister and I grew up with Bill’s daughter, Doris Ann Clark, who now lives in Moab, Utah. She is Mrs. Bill McDougald. Bill Clark’s first wife was Verna Walker from Arboles. She was the daughter of John Walker and sister to James Walker. Harmon married Opal Kimbal and they had one daughter, Patsy. I think she lives in Durango. Sincerely, Sarah Masco”

Thanks, Sara — John.

Next week we’ll learn more about the Phillips family, since it was a Phillips who had the building erected that we now know as the Hersch Building. The information was supplied by Sara.