Building a herd the illegal way

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Photo courtesy John M. Motter This 1894 photo looking in a southwesterly direction across Pagosa Springs shows the four officers’ barracks from Fort Lewis in the foreground. The barracks are on the north side of 4th Street. Two of these buildings were dismantled, the parts numbered, and reassembled as one building on what is today the R.D. Hott Ranch, where the reassembled building still stands.
Photo courtesy John M. Motter
This 1894 photo looking in a southwesterly direction across Pagosa Springs shows the four officers’ barracks from Fort Lewis in the foreground. The barracks are on the north side of 4th Street. Two of these buildings were dismantled, the parts numbered, and reassembled as one building on what is today the R.D. Hott Ranch, where the reassembled building still stands.

A brand-blotting case or “rustling” or “grand larceny” was the big news in 1884. The Hoover Bros. accused the Brown Bros. of the cattle-stealing crime and produced nine cattle at the trial to prove their claim.

Old-timers told me when I first moved to Pagosa Springs circa 1970 that cattle rustling was an all-too-common method to build a herd and place a cattle ranch on solid financial footing. They even named names and told stories about the early cattle rustlers. I’m not going to repeat the names because descendants of some of those families still live in the county.

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