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Pagosa pioneers a well-traveled lot

We continue with brief stories about early Pagosa Country pioneers. Much history is revealed by these biographies.

Carrie Chambers was born Jan. 4, 1879, at Sagerstown, Penn., to Simon F. and Ida Flaugh. She lived in Pennsylvania until 1887, when she came with her parents to this area. She married Urban Star Chambers Dec. 29, 1897. The couple had three sons, Percy, Urban H., and Thomas; a daughter, Mildred McNeil; a sister, Alice Parmenter, and two brothers, Tom and Leon Flaugh. Motter’s note: Both the Flaugh and the Chamber families are important to Pagosa Country history. The area around Echo Lake about three miles east of Pagosa was once known as Flaugh. William F. Flaugh was said to be the model for Fred Harman’s Red Ryder cowboy comic strip hero.

Urban Star Chambers, better known as U.S., passed away March 26, 1962. Pagosa was his home for 92 years. His parents were Robert J. and Laudema Ann Chambers. They, with his grandfather, came to this area in a covered wagon train, June 29, 1879, when Fort Lewis still occupied Pagosa’s main downtown block. He attended the first school in Pagosa Springs and was a rancher all of his life, mostly in the Blanco Basin. He was married to Carrie Estella Flaugh.

Robert J. Chambers was born in Green County, Wis., Sept.17, 1845, and moved with his parents to Galesburg, Ill., where he lived until 1867. From there, he moved to Cass County, Mo., and on Sept. 17, 1868, marred Miss Annie McKinney. In 1869, with his family, he moved to Labette County, Kan., and in 1879 they came by wagon train to Pagosa Springs. In 1883, he homesteaded on the Blanco River. (Motter’s note: At least two Chambers family log cabins still stand along the Blanco River. One is visible from U.S. 84 near the intersection of the Rito Blanco and Blanco rivers.) He married twice, his first wife dying in 1891. Of this union, nine children were born. Surviving at the time of his death were his wife, Mrs. Willett Brown, and Mrs. Roy Sanderson; sons E.R., U.S., J.T., and Karl Byron, brothers Charles W. and Ray, and a sister, Mrs. Sadie Stair. He served as a county commissioner and on other boards before he passed away in February of 1916.

Rebecca Ellen Chambers was born May 4, 1878, at Cherry Vale, Kan., and died Sept. 7, 1964. She came to Colorado in 1879 with her parents and married Roy B. Sanderson in 1898. They had five children and moved to Phoenix, Ariz., in 1916, where they spent the rest of their lives.

Joseph T. Chambers was born Aug. 6, 1873, and died Dec. 4, 1950. He came to Pagosa Springs in 1879 at the age of six. On Oct. 30, 1895, he married Miss Harriet Thompson and they had two daughters, Mrs. Leon Flaugh and Mrs. Earl Mason. He was chairman of the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners when he passed away and only recently retired from the town board.

Ernest R. Chambers was born July 2, 1869, at Cherry Vale, Kan., and died in October of 1916. With his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Chambers, he came by covered wagon to Colorado in 1878, spending that first winter at Colorado Springs, then arriving at Pagosa Springs in 1879. In 1894 at Chromo, he married Miss Mattie Sanderson. In 1911, they moved to Fruitland, N.M., then to Phoenix, Ariz.

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