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A record of some of Pagosa’s earliest settlers

Photo courtesy John M. Motter The Pagosa Lumber Company mill located south of Pagosa Springs on what is now school property was one of the largest, most modern mills in Colorado. It was supported by the Pagosa & Northern railroad, which ran from Pagosa Junction to Pagosa Springs by way of Cat Creek. The mill closed down circa 1915 and moved to Dulce, N.M.

Photo courtesy John M. Motter
The Pagosa Lumber Company mill located south of Pagosa Springs on what is now school property was one of the largest, most modern mills in Colorado. It was supported by the Pagosa & Northern railroad, which ran from Pagosa Junction to Pagosa Springs by way of Cat Creek. The mill closed down circa 1915 and moved to Dulce, N.M.

Edward McIntire was one of Pagosa Country’s earliest settlers. Born Sept. 23, 1850, at Vincennes, Ind., he moved to Colorado in 1863 and to Pagosa Springs in 1878. In Pagosa Country he lived at Chromo until he passed away Dec. 20, 1906. He married Daisy Opdyke at Chama on Sept. 28, 1881. Before moving to Pagosa Springs, he was yardmaster for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad in Denver. One could suspect he used his railroad experience working for the nearby Denver & Rio Grande in Chama and northern New Mexico.

Ox team driver James McIver was born at Hartford, Conn., May 4, 1863, and died in Pagosa Springs April 26, 1940. He moved to Colorado in 1882 and settled in Pagosa Springs in 1885. In 1919 he married Belle Wade at Gallup, N.M.

Emily Potter was born in Connecticut and moved to Pagosa Springs in 1878 at the time Fort Lewis still occupied the major part of the old downtown. She married Ervin M. Mead who had a homestead in Pagosa Springs. The couple moved to Durango in 1897 where she died in October of 1922.

Ervin M. Mead was born at Hume, N.Y., July 18, 1848. As a young man he moved to Kansas and later moved to the San Juan Basin where he engaged in the cattle business at Pagosa Springs and Farmington before moving to Durango in 1897. With his wife Emily Potter he was the parent of George E. and Lyman Mead. He passed away in January of 1932.

George Mee was born in London, England, March 12, 1864. In 1872 he moved with his parents to the United States. The family first settled in Iowa, then moved to Kansas where he married Stella Jones. With Stella’s brothers, Jim and Ike Jones, the Mees crossed the Southern San Juan Mountains in a wagon by way of Elwood Pass and then settled in Pagosa Springs in 1896. Mr. Mee purchased 160 acres of land on the West Fork of the San Juan River, but later moved to the Blanco Basin where he died in October of 1939.

Joseph Matthew Melrose was born April 11, 1874, at Wetmore, Colo., to Sarah E. and Hugh H. Melrose. At the age of 12, in 1886, he came to Pagosa Springs with his mother, Sarah Melrose Bowling, and stepfather H.R. Bowling. He married Ella Kinser in 1901 and she preceded him in death. He passed away in April of 1953. The Bowling family were prominent early merchants and ranchers in Pagosa Springs.

Henry F. Merril was one of the earliest visitors to the San Juan Mountains. He was the youngest member of the Baker expedition which found gold at Silverton in 1860. He was a member of the crew that constructed the first bridge across the San Juan River. The bridge was located about one mile south of today’s Pagosa Springs, about 18 years before settlement of the town started.

This story was posted on February 21, 2013.