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The first Anglo woman to live in Pagosa Country

Photo courtesy John Motter The Pagosa Springs Columbine Band, led by Luke Rock, played for many occasions in Pagosa Springs and other communities in the area.

Photo courtesy John Motter
The Pagosa Springs Columbine Band, led by Luke Rock, played for many occasions in Pagosa Springs and other communities in the area.

Matilda M. Richards was the first Anglo woman to call Pagosa Springs home.

She passed away in Pagosa Springs July 30, 1901, at the age of 82. She settled here with her husband, John Kemp, in 1878. He died in 1888.

The couple had four children. Locals acquainted with former Archuleta County Sheriff Tom Richards will be interested to know he was her direct descendant.

Mrs. Rosita Ribas was 94 years old and had spent all of her married life at Rosa, N.M., when she died in April of 1942. Her husband, Louis Ribas, died in 1917.

The town site of Rosa is now at the bottom of Navajo Lake, its residents having been removed when the lake was built shortly after World War II.

Thomas S. Reavis was born at Clinton, Mo., July 19, 1871, and died April 7, 1932. He came with his parents to Pagosa Springs in about 1883.  His first wife, nee Pearl Pargin, was born at what became Bayfield on Nov. 11, 1879, and passed away in June of 1920. He subsequently married Mae Mee of Pagosa Springs. His sister was Mrs. Walter Bowling. He served as an Archuleta County Sheriff and as a county commissioner.

Mrs. Martha Riley was born March 26, 1850, in Adair County, Mo. She died in Denver Jan. 25, 1939. She was the daughter of Josiah Morgan and sister of Judge Morgan, one-time Archuleta County judge. The Morgans lived in the upper Blanco Basin for many years.

Mrs. Charlsy Ann Rippy was born in North Carolina on May 1, 1861, and married Jacob C. Rippy Feb. 14, 1881. The family moved to Pagosa Springs in 1899 where they lived until 1925 when they moved to Watsonville, Calif. She died in May of 1931. For many years, the Rippy family operated a boarding house in Pagosa Springs. They had done the same at Summitville before moving to Pagosa Springs.

Mrs. Emma C. Rippy was born near Lawrence, Kans., April 11, 1954, and died in March of 1929. In Lawrence, she married Price Holt in 1874. They had three daughters: Estella, Mrs. Elvira Dutton and Mrs. Edna Hatcher. With her family, she moved to Colorado in 1879, settling in Del Norte and moving soon after to Pagosa Springs. Following Mr. Holt’s death, she married John M. Rippy in 1895.

Luke Rock, a resident of Archuleta County starting in 1900, passed away in May of 1954. He married Emma Chamut in 1888. He worked in area lumber mills and also led the local Columbine Band.

This story was posted on July 3, 2013.