We owe much to the pioneers who settled Pagosa Country. They blazed the trails, built the first roads, cleared and plowed the land, harvested the first timber, erected homes, founded the first businesses, organized the first local governing bodies, and consecrated the first churches. I often think that more sweat and stick-to-it than genius was required for those tasks.
For example, C. O. Dunagan was born Jan. 10, 1875, at Ashton, Nebraska. His parents moved to Denver in 1876, where his father engaged in freighting. I wonder how many times the young man accompanied his father on those freighting trips. Dunagan moved to the San Luis Valley in 1894, and to Archuleta County in 1906, and settled on the old Waldeck place. In 1908, he acquired land in O’Neal Park and, in 1924, he purchased City Garage. He served as county commissioner from 1921-1925. He died in July of 1954. His garage was between Citizen’s Bank and the alley on the north side of San Juan Street.
Algernon S. Dutton was one of the early pioneers of Colorado. Family legend says he prospected in the San Juan Mountains, particularly in the Rico area, before the Civil War. His discharge from Company D, Second Regiment Colorado Cavalry, given at Fort Riley, Kansas, June 19, 1865, after three years of service, disclosed that he was born in New York, was 32 years old, five feet, seven inches tall with a fair complexion and blue eyes, and when enrolled in 1862, had been a miner.
With his wife, Harriett Dodge Dutton, he was living in Pagosa Springs as early as 1879. The family came to Pagosa Springs by covered wagon. He homesteaded on Dutton Creek, which is named for him. A. S. Dutton was one of the first three Archuleta County Commissioners, being appointed by the state governor when Archuleta County was formed in 1885. He was also treasurer for the first local school district. He died December 14, 1885. The list of his descendants reads like a who’s who of county servants.
Harriett M. Dutton, nee Harriett Dodge, was born at Frankfort, Maine, on Sept. 28, 1832, and died at Pagosa Springs May 14, 1900. She married John B. Woodward Jan. 24, 1855. He was killed in the Civil War at Pleasant Hill, La., in April of 1864. To this marriage, two children were born who later drowned in a flood at Wakefield, Kans. She married Algernon S. Dutton in May of 1866.
William Dyke was born in England during the late 1840s, lived for a time in Leadville, Colo., and moved on a homestead in Archuleta County during the early 1880s. He was an early county sheriff and county commissioner while ranching along Stollsteimer Creek. A post office and community at his ranch site were named for him. A frame, false-front building which served as a store, post office and railroad stop remain on the property west of Pagosa Springs.