Trouble with the county commissioners

Photo courtesy John M. Motter The man at the controls of the threshing machine is Ethereal Thomas (ET) Walker. He is said to have led the group of armed men who broke up the first meeting of elected county commissioners January of 1886.

Photo courtesy John M. Motter
The man at the controls of the threshing machine is Ethereal Thomas (ET) Walker. He is said to have led the group of armed men who broke up the first meeting of elected county commissioners January of 1886.

When Archuleta County was organized in 1885, the first county officers were appointed by Gov. Benjamin Harrison Eaton. In 1886, an election was held for the first elected county officers. The election kicked off several years of intense confrontation between Anglos and Hispanics for political control of the county.

C.D. Scase, J.P. Archuleta and J.B. Martinez were elected in the 1886 election. They were scheduled to be installed in office during January of 1887. Archuleta and Martinez were members of a fairly wealthy, well-educated and powerful Hispanic group who controlled the vote of fellow Hispanics in the county. Scase was Anglo, but had a Hispanic wife.

In any case, the newly elected commissioners met on Jan. 3, 1887, to be sworn into office according to Colorado law. That first meeting triggered the following article in the Del Norte Prospector. Pagosa Springs had no newspaper at the time.

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This story was posted on April 30, 2015.