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We are continuing a narrative begun last week and written by Pioneer J. R. Scott.
The narrative details the first settlers along the Piedra River and Yellowjacket Creek in the western part of Archuleta County.
Beginning where we left off last week:
“Needing cash in 1878, Welch Nossaman (Motter: In 1876, Welch built the first cabin in Pagosa Springs) helped Perkins dig an irrigation ditch from Yellow Jacket Creek. After working two months for the promise of one dollar a day, Nossaman learned that Perkins couldn’t pay him, and left for Silverton, working for Charley ‘Racehorse’ Johnson at Pine River (Motter: now known as Bayfield) enroute.
“Along about 1878, Henry E. Freeman, an energetic cattleman from Colorado Springs, located some three miles north of the Piedra at the intersection of Yellowjacket and Squaw Creeks, where he afterwards built himself a family and a solid log house foundationed on the unfortunate ruins of the Aztecs (Motter: Anasazi).
“Trailing the spoor of these early squatters, came J.R. Scott in 1880 and R.A. Howe in 1881 (Motter: Howe later became Archuleta County surveyor). Both became tenderfoot sod-busters and erected signs warning the Indians off of their grass.
“These seven Mikados were the first early bird to nest within view of the archaic Chimney Rocks, where the lizards still play peep. In the meantime Little Evans, the Grimes brothers, John Brown, C.H. Freeman, and others had come and vamoosed.
“In the waning eighties the Snooks brothers, John Thompson, Chris Lorenson, Elias Hansen, and the Campbells came crying in this wilderness to knock at Uncle Sam’s land office door.”
Scott did not mention the Farrow family, also early settlers in this particular area. The earlier-mentioned Perkins sold out in 1879 to Mason Farrow, justifying his abdication by claiming the country was getting “too crowded.”
After journeys from the California gold fields to Denver, and then by wagon from Denver to Silverton, Mason Farrow later settled on the Pine River before purchasing Perkins’ property in 1879.