The Sheepmen’s/Cattlemen’s War continues

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Photo courtesy John M. Motter Henry Gordon was one of the more colorful characters to saddle up in pioneer Pagosa Country.
Photo courtesy John M. Motter
Henry Gordon was one of the more colorful characters to saddle up in pioneer Pagosa Country.

Last week, we started telling of the Montoya/Howe Sheepmen’s/Cattlemen’s War.

William Howe was a young cattle rancher who homesteaded along the west fork of the San Juan River on a ranch later known as the At Last Ranch. Howe’s life had definitely been on the bloom. He’d married the love of his life in 1891 and was elected county commissioner on the Republican ticket in 1892. Cream was added to the cake when the young bride announced her pregnancy a short time later. If your name was William Howe, life was good.

On the day our story begins, Howe was sitting in his ranch house, hand on his forehead, surrounded by friends helping the bereaved young man deal with the recent loss of his wife as she gave birth to their first child in April of 1892.

The surviving son provided a smattering of solace after the loss of his young bride. The boy was named Abraham in honor of a brother who homesteaded upstream from William’s place. Sadness deepened when young Abe passed away in August, just 4 months old. Joining in the wake for the young lad were Uncle Abe Howe, Old Joe Mann who was a family friend who lived up the east fork of the San Juan River, and several sympathizers from Pagosa Springs.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.