The last stagecoach holdup

Photo courtesy John M. Motter Several historic gems remain off the beaten path in Pagosa Country. This building, known as the Bond House, remains on the upper reaches of the Navajo River where that stream meanders northward. The building once served as a hotel and as a school. It is a reminder of the only gold rush in Archuleta County. Gold was reported in the area during the 1890s and that is where a man named Bond erected this building as a hotel. Old courthouse records reveal a lot of claims were filed, but, excuse the pun, they didn’t pan out. This building is on private land, so don’t trespass searching for it.

Photo courtesy John M. Motter
Several historic gems remain off the beaten path in Pagosa Country. This building, known as the Bond House, remains on the upper reaches of the Navajo River where that stream meanders northward. The building once served as a hotel and as a school. It is a reminder of the only gold rush in Archuleta County. Gold was reported in the area during the 1890s and that is where a man named Bond erected this building as a hotel. Old courthouse records reveal a lot of claims were filed, but, excuse the pun, they didn’t pan out. This building is on private land, so don’t trespass searching for it.

We’ve been writing about lawlessness during the pioneering days of Pagosa Country settlement. We continue that venue today by describing the last stagecoach holdup.

Before getting into the story, I feel compelled to tell an often repeated story I heard several times while drinking coffee with some of the oldtimers I knew shortly after moving here in 1970. The chief proponent of this story was Earl Mullins, the former barber.

According to Mullins, the stagecoach running between Chama and Pagosa Springs had been held up. In the process, the robber or robbers had abandoned the stagecoach somewhere in the aspen groves on the south side of the Blanco River, maybe as far east as the Upper Blanco Basin.

Mullins didn’t claim to have seen the derelict coach himself, but said Red Sisson had seen it and told him about it. Red was the husband of school teacher Ruby Sisson, for whom the Pagosa Springs library is named. The Sissons ranched on the Upper Blanco a short distance east of the bridge crossing shortly after the road reaches the river bottom. An old country school once stood on the north side of that road near the Sisson place. Early in her career, Ruby taught at that school. The school building still survives, but has been moved to the Fred Harman Art Museum.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

 

This story was posted on June 25, 2015.