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Home » Entries posted by John Motter, Pagosa's Past (Page 2)
Stories written by John Motter, Pagosa's Past

Peace did not come with the new reservation

Peace did not come with the new reservation

As increasing numbers of settlers and miners occupied the southwest corner of Colorado, including the San Juan Mountains, during the 1870s, tension between the newcomers and the Southern Utes also…

Game grew scarce, leading to threat of war

Game grew scarce, leading to threat of war

During the early years of settlement in Pagosa Country, the naturally occurring wild game such as deer, elk, sheep and antelope nearly disappeared. The cause is obvious, and relates to…

Tempers flared when miners crossed Indian country

We continue from last week. In 1874, E.H. Ruffner from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported, “The consequences of war with the powerful and intelligent tribe occupying the entire…

Confrontations occurred when prospectors trespassed on Ute land

Confrontations occurred when prospectors trespassed on Ute land

When prospectors first started exploring the San Juans for gold during the 1860s, they bumped into the Ute Indians. The Utes were unhappy because the prospectors were trespassing on land…

Pagosa: an interesting stopover for miners and adventurers

Pagosa: an interesting stopover for miners and adventurers

By the early 1870s, Pagosa Springs was an interesting stopover for miners and adventurers on their way to the gold fields in the higher San Juan Mountains. Pagosa Springs was…

Wagon train passes through before town formed

Wagon train passes through before town formed

One of the earliest parties passing through Pagosa Springs before the town formed was the 1861 wagon train led by Thomas Pollock. Constructed in Denver, the wagon train plodded mile…

Story of gold spread like wildfire

Story of gold spread like wildfire

Apparently, Albert Pfeiffer, the guide for Capt. John N. Macomb’s 1859 exploratory journey through southwestern Colorado, spread the story that gold could be found in the San Juan Mountains. Like…

Gold was found in the San Juans

Gold was found in the San Juans

Last week, we introduced Capt. John M. Macomb, the army’s chief topographical engineer in New Mexico, who was in command of an 1859 expedition tasked with exploring the eastern portion…

Expedition from Santa Fe to Pagosa

Expedition from Santa Fe to Pagosa

In an earlier column, we began the report of a Captain Augnex (Augney?), who traveled the Old Spanish Trail from New Mexico to California in 1850. We finish Captain Augnex’s…

Old Spanish Trail influenced Pagosa history

Old Spanish Trail influenced Pagosa history

PREVIEW Columnist Donkeys and mules were used to carry freight along the Old Spanish Trail between Santa Fe and Los Angeles during the mid and early 1800s. The trail crossed…