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The Phillips family: Pagosa pioneers

This is the final column of a series of columns describing the Phillips family, the Pagosa Springs and San Juan pioneers who built the historic Hersch building which still stands on Pagosa Street.

Information for this series of columns was written to me in a letter from Sara Phillips Nossaman Masco, a granddaughter of the youngest of the Phillips sisters.

“Grandmother was a tiny woman, only about 4 feet 10 inches tall, but full of spirit. I well remember her delicious pies—probably made more so because of the special plates she served them on. Each had a picture of some sort on it and I always looked to see which one I had when at her house. I suspect it was her plan to serve us pie on these plates so we would eat every bite just to find the picture. I was fortunate enough to get some of those plates when she disposed of many items prior to moving to Los Angeles to live with her daughter, Terrie Jones after the death of my grandfather in 1937. She lived there until her death November 21, 1944. Welch and Addie had three children: Sarah Terressa (Terrie) born on Oct. 28, 1888, in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico; Thomas Bowen born December 13, 1890, in Pagosa Springs; and Sallie born May 19, 1892 in Pagosa Springs. Sallie only lived until February 9, 1895.

“Terrie married Walter Bowling Sept. 11, 1911, and they divorced August 9, 1920. She married Clifford Ross March 12, 1921. She divorced him April 8, 1930. She married Frank M. Jones August 10, 1932. Frank died August 4, 1936, in Los Angeles, California. He was a fireman with the Los Angeles Fire Department. Terrie died July 8, 1970, in Los Angeles.

“Tom Nossaman married Hazel Guildersleeve on Christmas Day, 1925, at McPhee, Colorado and returned to Pagosa to ranch until his health began to fail in the late 1950s when he sold the place to the Thomas family from California. Tom was a cowboy who loved the cattle he raised and the horses he broke to ride. He loved the outdoors. He went through the eighth grade twice before quitting school. He just couldn’t stand to be inside when the weather got nice, a trait picked up by his daughters. However, he insisted we finish high school and even college if we could. Since I married at 19, I never attended college. My sister, Martha, finished one year of college at Fort Lewis when the campus was still at Hesperus, before marrying Jim Sharp in 1947.

“Tom and Hazel had just begun to make their life together on the ranch when the Great Depression struck. They had borrowed money to buy the ranch and they never recovered from losses they took during this time. However, we never went hungry, though sometimes we ate quite sparingly. We had wood stoves which also burned coal so we stayed warm in cold weather. We had the beef cattle, but these were the days before refrigeration as we now know it so the only time we ate meat was during the winter when it would freeze by hanging it out of doors. Summers we depended on our garden and a large patch of raspberries for fruit. We also had plenty of rhubarb which supplied us with sauce and pies. We had no indoor plumbing at all during my growing up days and it wasn’t until I had been married for awhile that any of us had bathrooms. Electricity came to rural Archuleta County in the late 1940s or early ’50s, when the cooperatives were formed.

“Much of the material for this article was furnished to me by my second cousins, Shirley Jordan Hopkins of Camp Verde, Arizona, and Dale Jordan Strong of Lynwood, Washington, daughters of Pearl Hallett Jordan and Everett Jordan, and granddaughters of Theresa Phillips and Jud Hallett to whom I am deeply grateful. Without their help, I would not have been able to complete this story. Sara Nossaman Masco, August, 2000.”