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Daisy witnesses a shooting in Pagosa Springs

Photo courtesy John Motter The Rose Bud Saloon was one of many saloons in Pagosa Springs built to slake the thirst of soldiers at Fort Lewis during the Wild West Days of this town. Thirteen-year-old Catherine Opdycke witnessed the shooting of a man at this saloon. The Rose Bud was located on the south side of San Juan Street just below Reservoir Hill.

Photo courtesy John Motter
The Rose Bud Saloon was one of many saloons in Pagosa Springs built to slake the thirst of soldiers at Fort Lewis during the Wild West Days of this town. Thirteen-year-old Catherine Opdycke witnessed the shooting of a man at this saloon. The Rose Bud was located on the south side of San Juan Street just below Reservoir Hill.

Catherine Young Opdycke was born Jan. 22, 1826, and died in May of 1920 in Pagosa Springs.

In 1843, she moved to the home of a sister in Knox County, Ohio, and there, on Nov. 5, 1846, she married Jacob C. Opdycke.

In 1856 they moved to Missouri where they lived until moving to Pagosa Springs in 1879.

Mr. Opdycke died in August of 1895. Four children were born of this marriage: Mrs. Mary Opdycke Pomeroy, Cornelius W. Opdycke, Jacob L. Opdycke and Mrs. Daisy Fitzhugh.

Cornelius Wilson Opdycke was born to J.V. and Catherine Opdycke June 8, 1850, in Knox County, Ohio.

In 1878, with the exception of Mrs. Mary Pomeroy, the entire family traveled to Pueblo, Colo. The next year, 1879, they came to Pagosa Springs, traveling overland with ox teams and covered wagons. They reached this place with all of their possessions June 8 of 1879.

C.W. Opdycke was employed at Fort Lewis. When the fort moved to Hesperus, west of Durango on the La Plata River, C.W. made several freighting trips to the new location.

Lincoln Jacob Opdycke, at the age of 16, came to Pagosa Springs with his family. The greater part of his life was spent in Pagosa Springs as a cowboy. He passed away in September of 1916.

Mrs. Daisy Opdycke Fitzhugh passed away in Pagosa Springs in October of 1956 after spending 80 years of her life in this community. She was born in Missouri in 1866 and came to Pagosa Springs in 1879 with her parents. In 1881, she married Edward McIntire, who passed away at the Chromo ranch December 20, 1906. In 1909, she married Edgar J. Fitzhugh, who passed away in Chromo in March of 1916.

As a young girl of 16, while sitting on the steps of the San Juan Hotel on San Juan Street, she witnessed the shooting of notorious outlaw Samuel Maxwell by Big Alex Fleming, bartender at the Rose Bud Saloon across the street.

She wrote her memoirs in the book, “Pioneers of The San Juan Country,” published ca. 1940 in Durango. A favorite memory is of firing the Fort Lewis cannon with the help of the soldiers, to celebrate the election of James A. Garfield as president.

This story was posted on May 2, 2013.