Pagosa’s Past: Pagosa Country pioneers

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Photo courtesy John M. Motter
Shown in this photo are two buildings located on Lewis Street. On the left is the first Archuleta County school building and on the right is the first Catholic Church. The buildings are on the north side of Lewis Street between 3rd and 4th streets.

By John M. Motter
PREVIEW Columnist
One of the most interesting Pagosa Country pioneer family histories describes how a persevering woman overcame what, to many, would have been unsurmountable obstacles to raise her young family to become leaders in their new- found home.
Our story begins when Harry C. Macht was born in New York City July 11, 1877. He accompanied his parents to Colorado Territory when he was 6 years old. On Thanksgiving Day, 1899, he married Lena Adams. They had three children, son Ray, daughter Reva who died in infancy, and his brothers, Will, Jule and Joe. Harry was active in community affairs as he ranched until his passing in May of 1942.
Lena K. Adams, his wife, was born in Newton, Kans., on Oct. 4, 1877. At an early age, she moved to Durango, Colo., where she lived until marrying Harry. She died Dec. 11, 1951.
Joe J. Macht was born in New York City in 1871. At the age of 7, he moved to Del Norte, Colo., and in 1883 he arrived in Pagosa Springs with his widowed mother, three brothers and one sister. He moved to Glendale, Ariz., in 1929 and to Aztec, N.M., in 1942. He married Hazel Adams in 1915 and the couple had two children before he passed away in July of 1947.
Jule Macht was born Dec. 1, 1878, in New York City and passed away June 14,1963. He was the youngest son of Carl and Victoria Macht, the brother of Joe J., Harry, and Will, and sister Mrs. Harry Hampton. The family moved to Del Norte when he was a boy. The father, Carl, passed away in Del Norte and the mother, Victoria, moved the family to Pagosa Springs in 1883.
The family first lived in one of the abandoned Fort Lewis buildings remaining on Pagosa Street in town before moving to a ranch on Turkey Creek Road. He married Jennie Belle Flaugh Nov. 7, 1901. Jule was always active in community affairs. He also built a brick house in town which remains on the corner of 3rd and Pagosa streets, formerly the site of the first Baptist Church in Pagosa Springs. His daughter was Mrs. Fern Hott.
William (Will) Macht was born Jan. 2, 1870, in New York City to Carl and Victoria Macht. Will married Myrtle Adams in 1894. In 1904, they moved to San Diego, but returned a short time later to Pagosa Springs, where they homesteaded a ranch just north of the cemetery. He passed away Dec. 8, 1963.
Next week we’ll take a closer look at how the widowed mother and her sons fared on the wild Pagosa frontier.