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Newton — a prominent name in the early days

Photo courtesy John M. Motter Many people who worked in sawmills during the early days of Pagosa Country lived a transient existence moving from mill to mill. When the mill moved, the shanties the mill workers lived in were moved to their new location on the train, as pictured here.

Photo courtesy John M. Motter
Many people who worked in sawmills during the early days of Pagosa Country lived a transient existence moving from mill to mill. When the mill moved, the shanties the mill workers lived in were moved to their new location on the train, as pictured here.

Whitney Newton Sr. was born in Ripon, Wisc., April 5, 1858. He moved with his family to Freeport, Ill., in 1868, and to Denver in 1871. His father, Ezra Newton, had been active in the lumber business in Wisconsin and Illinois. His brother, George, started a lumber business in Pueblo in 1872. He joined his brother in business in 1881, and upon his brother’s death in 1892, he became president of the Newton Lumber Company.

In December of 1881, he married Mary Rose Quigg of Ithaca, N.Y., by whom he had five sons. He served a term as state treasurer in 1903-1904. He died in October of 1919 and at the time was an officer of the First National Bank of Denver and Pueblo, and was a leading figure in the Colorado Portland Cement Company, Cement Securities Company, Pagosa Lumber Company, and Newton Lumber Company.

Wilbur Newton was manager of the Newton Lumber Company in Pueblo; James Quigg was head of the new business trust department of the Equitable Trust Company of New York; Whitney Junior lived in Pagosa Springs; Robert and George lived with their parents. The sons survives their father, as did his wife.

Whitney Newton Jr. died in Pueblo, Colo., Oct. 1, 1970, at the age of 85 years. For many years he owned the Newton Ranches on the East and West forks of the San Juan River, was an officer of Citizens Bank, was an officer of the first National Bank of Denver and Pueblo, and was a member of the Hersch-Newton Investment Company. He sold his San Juan River ranching interests to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Teal in 1955. He was a major principle in the Pagosa Lumber Company.

Thomas Murphy was born in Ireland and had reached the age of 80 years when he died in 1922. A veteran of the Civil War, he came to Colorado during the early gold-mining days of Georgetown and Central City. He married in 1879. His wife had been born in Clinton County, N.Y., and moved to Denver in 1868. She died in October of 1919 at the age of 82 years.

In 1879, the couple moved to San Juan County (Farmington area) in the Territory of New Mexico. In 1902, they purchased the Joe Mann Ranch on the San Juan East Fork before moving to Durango eight years later after selling the ranch.

Charles Gilbert Murray was well-known throughout the San Juan Basin as a conductor for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. He was born in Greensburg, Mo., Aug. 11, 1883, and died during July of 1952.

Mary Ford was born to George and Mary Ford Sept. 17, 1881, in Redbird, Neb. With her family, she settled in Pagosa Country on Devil Creek in 1897. In 1908 she married Axel L. Nelson and the couple lived along Devil Creek, making a temporary home in various lumber camps. She passed away in April of 1969.

Fran Elmer Nevens was a prominent sawmill man who was born in Springfield, Mo., in December of 1869. He passed away in 1938, having resided in Pagosa Country since 1883.

This story was posted on March 7, 2013.