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Promise of riches brings pioneers to Pagosa Country

Photo courtesy John M. Motter Narrow gauge trains were a common sight in Archuleta County during the first two decades after 1900. In its original pristine state, the county was covered with large Ponderosa pine trees.

Photo courtesy John M. Motter
Narrow gauge trains were a common sight in Archuleta County during the first two decades after 1900. In its original pristine state, the county was covered with large Ponderosa pine trees.

Gold was a strong attraction during Pagosa Country’s pioneer years.

When Hartley C. Metcalf, while living in Denver in 1873, heard of gold in the San Juan Mountains, he outfitted a pack cart and, on foot, pulled the cart from Denver to Del Norte in the San Juans.

It would be interesting to know what was in his pack cart, but the story of his funeral in 1926 at the age of 79 supplies no specific details. He was survived by his widow, a son and three daughters.

Charles LeGrande Minium rode with Buffalo Bill Cody when he came west at an early age.  He was born in Crawford County, Penn., and was 72 years old when he died in February of 1925. He lived several years in the gold mining camp of Cripple Creek before moving to Pagosa Springs in 1905. He was related to B.F. Minium and Ollie Minium of Archuleta County. B.F. Minium came to Pagosa Springs in 1885. The family was among the earliest to settle in Squaw Valley south of Pagosa Springs. They may still have descendants living in the Aztec, N.M., area.

Manual Montoya was born at Dixon, N.M., in 1862 and moved to Pagosa Country in 1879. He passed away here at the age of 85 in 1947.

Leon Montroy, sometimes called “Frenchy,” was born at St. Poly Carp, Quebec, Canada, March 12, 1846, and died in Pagosa Springs in December of 1920. At the age of 18 he came to the United States, spending time in New York and Pennsylvania. In 1876 he moved west and engaged in mining in Summitville until 1886. In June of 1889 he married Emma Glatzau. After leaving Summitville, members of the family have continued to live in the Pagosa Springs area. Leon’s name has been connected with stories about the lost gold on Treasure Mountain.

Louis Montroy was born in Pagosa Springs Aug. 4, 1891, and passed away July 31, 1936. He was the oldest son of Leon Montroy. He married Ila Reynolds Jan. 16, 1929. He served several terms as an Archuleta County Commissioner.

In 1875, Hadley George Morrison traveled with his family in a covered wagon from Missouri to Del Norte. He passed away in Pagosa Springs in 1850.

Clarinda Holliday married William W. Mullins in Joplin, Mo., in 1898. In 1900, Mr. and Mrs. Mullins, with infant son Lester, came from Missouri to Colorado in covered wagons, one of seven covered wagons carrying five families. They crossed the San Juan Mountains by way of Elwood Pass and came down the East Fork of the San Juan River to Pagosa Springs. William Mullins was a barber. Children of Clarinda and William were Lester W., Rheuy Bell, and Earl H. She passed away in 1953. Lester died while serving in the Army in WWI. Rheuy died in 1903. Earl survived until a few years ago and is well remembered by many local residents, including the author of this article. Earl became a barber like his father. His shop remains on Pagosa Street.

William W. Mullins was born in Pulman County, Mo., Dec. 9, 1871. William served on the town board and in various other community activities. Many details of his life are supplied in the item about his wife, Clara, in a previous column.

This story was posted on February 28, 2013.